I was reading some of the postings by the ardent supporters of Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) and I saw some of the most obvious facts about IRI, such as the harassment of political opponents in Iran, or the lack of some of the most basic civil rights such as the right to wear what you want, to eat what you want, to listen to the music you like, etc, need tons of documents to be proved.  It is as if someone wrote a hundred volume book to convince another that there are trees in the rainforest.


These arguments of the IRI ardent supporters remind me of one thing in the East and another in the West which I would like to share with people who are interested to hear it.  Please ignore if not interested.


I remember at the time of the Soviet Union's existence, I once was talking to one of the tudehii ardent supporters of USSR.  She was mad that I was saying that USSR was dictatorial.


Her face had turned red telling me how arrogant I was not to understand that Soviet Union, this birthplace of Socialism, was surrounded by all these capitalists who were always sending their agents to overthrow it and she could not understand why I expected USSR to allow freedom of travel.  She said, do you know then all these American spies are going to be all over USSR?


I told her, well let's go to Moscow together and see for ourselves how free other people feel they are.  I asked her to sponsor me and take me with her.  She got real scared;).


Then she said no no  no no, you are an anti-Communist.  Or else you would see how free we are.  I said how is it?  She said well, she had gone 48 Km outside of Moscow and they arrested her and the KGB had only explained to her that she needs to have her passport going beyond 48KM.  It was so normal for her.


She could never believe me that in the US, even if you are on a student visa, you can travel anywhere and nobody will stop you for passport on the roads.  Any ways, we were never able to convince each other.  I do not know where she is now.  But I know after the fall of Soviet Empire and the execution of her father by IRI, she should feel different about both Comrade Brezhnev, whom she named every five minutes, and her beloved IRI, which she defended so strongly.


The second thing that the IRI ardent supporters remind me of happened in the West.  After the era of founders of Modern Rationalism (Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibnitz) who started with doubting to arrive at certitude, there were Hume and Kant.  Hume added the Humean doubt to the rationalist certitude and Kant distinguished between Synthetic and Analytic Truth, where the former requires the external reality to be substantiated whereas the latter has its truth in its meaning.  For example, if you have put 2 apples in a jar and then you have added another 2 apples, you will have 4 apples and there is no need to check the reality to arrive at this analytic truth.


Any ways, after Hume and Kant, there was a philosopher called Bishop Berkeley (yes, UC Berkeley is named after him).  Berkeley ended the path of rationalism with his questioning of reality itself.  He said there is no proof that all this world is not in my mind and there is no external reality.


The modern rationalism, which had started thanks to the ones who had challenged the flat-earth theories 3 centuries before, at the end of 18th century, fell into a more absurd logical inquiry itself, and evidently logic was not easily able to put this argument to rest.


In the nineteenth century, social philosophy took precedence, and science gained strength. Marxism grew.  Darwinism and science grew and pure philosophy was forgotten for a while.


But around the end of the nineteenth century, a philosopher by the name of F.H. Bradley became popular.  He was an objective idealist of the Hegelian school at first, but he turned into Berkeley's SUBJECTIVE IDEALISM more and more.  His arguments were just: "prove it to me that there is any  external reality!"  Philosophers of the early 1900s would give him proof after PROOF and he would refute them LOGICALLY one after the other.


UNTIL, there was a philosopher by the name of G.E. Moore in England who used a new approach.  There was a meeting of high-level professional philosophers, where G.E. Moore was a keynote speaker (BTW G.E. MOORE used to write with Bertrand Russell for some time.  Of course he was much older than Russell in the early 1900s).


Any ways, in the meeting, G.E. Moore took the podium and showed his RIGHT HAND.  Then he pointed at his hand and said "  THIS IS MY RIGHT HAND".  Then he raised his left hand and said "THIS IS MY LEFT HAND".  So that was his whole lecture in refutation of Bradley.  No logical arguments. Just raising his hands and speaking.  In other words, the external reality comes first and talking and logic comes next, not the other way around.


Now anybody who has lived in Iran knows what dictatorship means.  What taking a writer like Saidi Sirjani to prison for his opinions is, and what giving other excuses is. Everyone knows Soltan-poor was executed by IRI.  Everyone knows how the War was continued against the wishes of Iranian people for years, when Iraq was outside Iran's territory, and Iraq was proposing a peace which would give Iran much more than what Iran got 5 years later. Everyone knows how much the words of Ayatollah Khomeinito encourage uprising in Iraq provoked Iraqi invasion and everyone sees it today how things like Salman Rushdie and other similar matters are provoking a Western attack against Iran.  What if another war this time with the US breaks up?  Are we going to be proud to be martyrs again?


These are realities, that are talked about, and are known by even the most illiterate Iranian people, when they talk to each other at home, but nobody dares to speak of these things  in public, not because they are imagining these sad realities, but because people are afraid.  It is the REALITY.  RIGHT HAND, LEFT HAND!


If one wants to close eyes and not see these facts and likes to call them unproven allegations, I am afraid only what happened in Soviet Union needs to happen in Iran to help these IRI supporters to see what school of falsification they are following, when they do not look at the most obvious violations of human rights in Iran.


Sam Ghandchi

Sept 10, 1994



* The above article was first posted on SCI (soc.culture.iranian) Usenet newsgroup on Sept 10, 1994


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