Iran: A Cry for Freedom
NB: Please will you read this letter with an open mind and discuss it with friends and foes.
My dear fellow citizens,
Our country is on its knees. Rial has no value; inflation and unemployment have hit the skies. Pollution is a source of many illnesses and a cause of a large number of “natural” deaths. A bunch of cloaked and bearded louts have enslaved us to superstition and religious tyranny. On the international market our natural resources are being sold out and the revenues are for the upkeep of Velayat-e Faqih and their spongers. Akhond, son of akhond, bassidji, pâsdar and hezbollahi take care of their personal interests and are jail wardens to the population.
However, the knockout blow, which would bring any nation to its knees, is our present social depression and desperation; open-mindedness, enlightenment and generosity have vanished into thin air. Bigotry, vulgarity, ignorance and violence thicken the mood of our encounters.
If willingness and might are combined, feeble economics and sick governments can rise in a decade or so. If we put our mind to it, the environment can improve. But social depression and desperation could take many years and spoil some generations before being replaced by self-confidence and open-mindedness.
Social depression and desperation have many roots. Herein, two of them are brought to our attention. To various degrees, and whatever his personal, political and religious beliefs, each Iranian is influenced by two destructive convictions:
A) For every problem and difficulty, political, social, personal, someone else is to blame; he is vexed when contradicted, so confident he is in being lily-white, in his unquestionable honesty and innocence.
B) He is always right in his opinion even when faced with facts to the contrary. The fact of the matter being that he jumps to conclusions thoughtlessly and would not accept criticisms, however mild and sensible; he would dismiss them, hastily and aggressively.
In backing the 1979 Revolution, we wanted to cleanse society and State, and teach the world how to behave and govern things properly. We couldn’t stand listening to a different view. Our slogan was: “Others are blind and ignorant, and have no right to interfere in our business”.
Slowly, when the stench of the Islamic Republic rotting could not be covered up any more, we called our akhonds, ayatollahs, “Arabs” and considered them to be the West’s instruments in destroying our country and imposing dictatorship. We cursed and snubbed the West, and internationally, we were left friendless; only those countries weaker than us and more tyrannical than us, living off the Islamic Republic, came to Tehran kissing hands. Then again, the Western propaganda was to blame. For us, West is materialistic, but we ourselves will not even consider a job, a service or an aid, if there is no money in it. Our slogans are intended to cover the West with shit and shame, but as soon as possible we turn our back to Iran, and let our creativity and abilities bloom in our adopted Western country. And then, hardly ever are the fruits of our toil there to improve conditions in our own country.
Presently, the Velayat-e Faqih and Islamic tyranny are in decline but we have no vision for the future of our country. To find a solution to our miseries, we, Iranians, are expecting the West to rescue the population from the ayatollahs’ tyranny. Our “opposition” is doomed by its own drivel: monarchists, communists, fada-i, others bickering on religious matters, you name it. We are scared of each other; we do not even know how to start a constructive debate with other Iranians complete strangers to us. We have no project and even no will to have one, ready to be manipulated by any donkey promising us the moon.
This is the best ace in the hands of the ayatollahs. Shit happens but we do not want to know what is our share in it and we refuse to take the burden of some responsibility.
Our way of life, be it in politics and government, be it in social and family life, would revert to despotism, smugness, speaking ill and seeing evil. When we get nowhere with these destructive qualities, and we are ignored, we whine, snivel and sob.
Wherever we are, Iran or abroad, whatever our thoughts, Islamist, laic, communist, royalist, capitalist or any other -ist, we do not know how to compromise and build our country. Presently we are yearning to wipe out our detractors and their children. In want of means and the strength to do so, we come out with claptrap attacking their characters.
There is no worse way to strengthen tyranny and bury Iran’s culture than the fast spreading of blind intolerance, apathy and narrow-mindedness. No technology whatsoever – smartphone, Internet, satellite TV – would stop them.
There is no set formula to acquire freedom and democracy except one: each and every one of us sharing the burden of responsibility towards our country and its people. No matter how big and important the subject matter is, only positive debate and then action will produce benefit. If we want to save ourselves and save our country, we should open up, contact Iranians around us. We should get talking about the prosperity and the future of our country with facts and logic.
We do not have to save the world or plan for the universe by using big words; then tired from our palaver, reach a quick conclusion to the effect that all is impossible, we cannot help and all is hopeless.
It is enough to start working together in getting little things done … agree to clean a school or a street together, celebrate Nowrooz with friends, strangers and neighbours: sing, clap, dance. Leave Tehran and travel to provinces and chat with Baloutch, Yazdi, Bakhtiary, Khoozestani, Kord, Mazandarni, Azari … Together – farmer, doctor, worker, judge, gardener, minister, colonel, soldier – make the most of Tchaharshanbeh Soori street parties, blast the county with joy. We should be proud of our place of birth, however remote in the country. We should be proud of the nooks and crannies of Iran as we know them.
Let’s get away from false promises and broken oaths. Let’s keep our words, speak less of “me” and try to be benevolent to others. Let’s stop hastily misjudging and condemning with unproven facts. Fear makes us kiss hands of the mighty and then stab him in the back.
The base of democracy and freedom is a simple thing: stop fearing. Let’s talk logically, stand by our ideas and ideals. Once a positive point is reached by all, go for a drink and a chat with our detractors.
Either revive our country and build the future with confidence …
Or bury Iran deeper in blood and tears.
The choice is yours.
Nassim K., 2009
PS by Albertine Ahmadi:
This text was drafted by Nassim about three years ago, living then in a small Iranian town with his family. He repeatedly wrote: “Iranian cannot count on Iranian” and then crossed it out. In late 2011, his nephew who had an eye on Nassim’s orchard and family house, sold him out to hangmen of the Islamic Republic. Nassim was killed shortly after. His family reached a safe harbour in northern Europe, thanks to some Turkish friends. Their Iranian friends would not get involved, even when they actually could and their safety was not threatened. A banal story, but repeating itself ad nauseam in our society.
“Cry Freedom”, 1987, investigating the death of a journalist in custody.