Carter-Bashing, Constitution Conf, Whitewashing Savak, ...


On Dec 10th, 2002, Jimmy Carter was going to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.  A month before that, in November 2002, a few monarchists created a campaign of Carter-bashing.  They were asking people to send email to Nobel Prize Organization saying that "Jimmy Carter did not deserve this accolade".  They passed around the following article and claimed that the positions of this article were those of *every Iranian secular-minded person":


I wrote an email to one of the proponent of the above article and wrote that she can speak for herself and her friends, but not for every Iranian secular minded person.  I wrote from the first line of my email that I never said she is not entitled to her opinion, but I asked her not to call her position that of *every* Iranian secular minded person, because actually many Iranian secular minded people think Carter's human rights breeze helped ending decades of despotic rule of the Shah, and the unfortunate reality of the mistake of many democratic forces to support Khomeini and Islamists, does not contradict the fact that their fight for democracy and human rights was genuine and justified. 


I had thought she was a young person and does not know Iranian history and I sent her my articles about Shah's Savak and 16-Azar, which showed the life under Shah's regime.  Later she said that she was 20 years old during Carter admin and I was surprised because I found her very naive in her knowledge of Shah's regime.  Or perhaps she was not naive and she is a monarchist who does not like to say it. At any rate,  she was upset as if I was not recognizing her right to her opinion.  I wrote to her, if she does not want to read history, that is her right but she cannot call the above article as the view of *every* Iranian secular minded person sending it to Nobel Prize committee, and if she does, others also have the right and the duty to write and say that this is *not* the view of every Iranian secular minded person.


And as far as being entitled to her opinion, I wrote to her that my disagreement with her political view, whitewashing Savak, does not mean that I am questioning her freedom of thought and expression.  I wrote to her that even a hezbollAhi is entitled to his/her opinion and will defend the Vevak and the torture of political prisoners under IRI, and actually some of these IRI agents living in the U.S. even defended killing of Foruhars on the Internet forums. Yes, they are entitled to their opinion whitewashing Vevak but I also have my right to expose the atrocities of Vevak, the same way I see it my duty to expose the atrocities of Shah's Savak, and these are *not* personal matters, and are political issues of Iran. I asked her to do a research of her own if she wishes to do so, but speaking on behalf of *every* secular minded Iranian is wrong, when she does not have any knowledge of the history of struggle for democracy and human rights in Iran, which dates back to long before IRI, and if one becomes known like a movie star or being a relative of a political prisoner in Iran, one should not use it to promote something one has no knowledge of. 


Many celebrities and movie stars have actually misled the public by talking about things they do not have a clue about and those who use them to push their political line, are either dishonest or are doing something which they may think is helping a good cause, but in my view they create someone who has no qualification to be the spokesperson for the view, and later they will have a hard time to fix the error.


So we both stopped corresponding. I think these kinds of topics are better to be discussed by the ones who are pushing it, on Iranian *forums*, with their *own name* rather than sending email, and telling people to contact Nobel Prize committee as the position of *every* Iranian secular minded person.  There are excellent forums for such discussions and I hope if these folks are sincerely interested in the topics they publish on Internet magazines, to come and post with their own name, on these forums as well, and defend their views, and please do not show up with a new alias, and ask questions about individuals, rather post with your name, because if you are already publishing your calls with your real name in the Iranian Internet_based magazines, you should have no security concern using your name, so why not also discuss your views the same way on Iranian *forums*. The ones who like to discuss individuals, should first say who they are.


What was my point in the whole conversation about Carter?


I have suffered in the hands of Savak when I was in the students movement in my youth. I wrote, "you do not know the hell the previous generation of pro-Democracy activists lived *under*, with the constant threat of Savak every day.  Here are my experiences of that time and please do not write that we lived *thru* it. No, many of my friends were killed under the Shah's regime with broken bottles pushed in their bottom, and with other tortures in Evin. Yes, Evin notorious prison was built by the Shah.  If I was trying to make a judgment about the Qajar era, I would study the works of people like Kasravi, who had lived in that era, rather than just writing on the basis of my dislike of the next era.  One correctly hates IRI, but one cannot make judgments of the previous Pahlavi era, only by using the hate of the current regime",  without acquiring the proper knowledge of atrocities of Shah's regime, which were not just "some mistakes have happened" and it was decades after decades of torture, murder, and terrorizing of political opponents by the Shah's regime.


Whitewashing Savak atrocities to which not only I was subjected to myself, but my cousin was murdered by Shah's regime in 16-Azar, and many others lost their lives, is not just a so-called "mistakes have happened" and these are *not* personal issues, and were all *political* issues.  Savak did not torture and murder people because of not liking their looks.  They did it because of *political* reasons. Let's say if 24 years after the fall of IRI, someone who does not like the next regime comes, and whitewashes the atrocities of IRI, to whom these folks have lost loved ones,  how would *they* feel?


Now what about Carter?  In 1356, when the Carter breeze started, it was an opportunity for the democratic forces in Iran to achieve democracy, and that is when some political prisoners were freed and the shab-hAyeh sher (poetry nights), with participation of Said Soltanpour and many others, started in Tehran, and even some writers in those nights mentioned the word "Carter Breeze".  Was it Carter's fault that the Iranian democratic forces fell for Khomeini's leadership?  Was it his fault that most of Iranian opposition still do not understand the damage of Shariati ideology and still consider the likes of Shariati and Ale Ahmad as progressive thinkers?  Is it the fault of the U.S. that now some of the people in Iranian opposition do not see that the return to Pahlavi monarchy will mean dictatorship?  Reza Pahlavi can be part of pro-Democracy movement *only if he abdicates the throne*, because anything less than a secular republic, after all these years of sacrifices, is parting with all those who lost their lives, fighting the monarchy of Shah and Khamene'i.


I am not against the unity of Iranian opposition.  I have personally suggested that even Reza Pahlavi to take the leadership to start working on the new Constitution for Iran.  But as I have repeatedly noted, *unless he abdicates the throne*, he cannot play such a role, and a few monarchists to post articles,  with a facade of unbiased people, cannot help this process and in fact, their action damages the process of building consensus and trust.  Efforts of this kind cannot be done by playing such games, and people have to be straightforward about their agenda and views, and if they change their views, they should publicly and clearly announce their new *political* views.  Otherwise they are simply wasting the time of Iranian opposition, and we will never achieve a unity this way.  Please to start a new Iran, the most important thing is to be honest about our political views.  These are *not* personal matters. 


I do not want to name people because I am not interested to make this a personal topic, and frankly the individuals doing this, are not the real important political personalities of the Iranian movement, and they may feel big by some people using them to play such roles, but in the long run, this hurts the movement, and also hurts the growth of these people themselves, a growth that they can have in this pro-Democracy movement. They may feel upset that I am very straightforward to say that these folks better spend their time studying Iranian history and politics, instead of writing on such topics.  Discussing these topics needs knowledge and experience of Iranian pro-Democracy movement.  They are free to do as they wish, and those publications who use them, and highlight their writings, as if these people are some authorities in the Iranian movement, are doing a disservice to these naive writers, and to the movement to form the Iranian alternative, by creating a false image of the real opinion leaders of the Iranian opposition.


They are like Jane Fonda who was famous and some people tried to use her name for anti-War movement of the Vietnam era, and it was bad both for her and the movement, because she did not have the needed experience and knowledge for the role she was taking on and the movement got astray by Jane Fonda discussions which had nothing to do with the real issues of the anti-War movement.  This is wrong to give people a role they are not qualified for just because of their name being known.  They will see those who tell them they are not qualified, as personal enemy.  In fact, such people who could otherwise become useful in a pro-Democracy movement, by being used this way, get burned out, whereas if they would take their time and grow naturally, reading works of those like Kasravi and others, they could learn more about a rich history of Iranian pro-Democracy movement for human rights, learn from the experiences of those like Dehkhoda and SooresrAfil, rather than being thrown at a task, which they are not qualified for, and their hiding of their pro-monarchy views, even adds more to the mistrust of people of all shades of Iranian opposition, those who sincerely care for the unity of Iranian movement. 


Let's be honest about our political views when we communicate to Iranian people.  This is not a personal issue, when one is writing about political topics related to Iran.  Especially those who publish such documents in notable Internet_based magazines, should come to discussion forums, with their real name, which they have already used in those publications, to discuss their views in Iranian forums.  They obviously know how to use the Internet and have no problem using their name in the Internet_based magazines.  I hope they visit the following Iranian forums to discuss this and related topics:


We have had enough lying and dishonesty by IRI and Islamists.  Let's begin the process of unity for Iranian alternative, with full honesty about our political views.  Here is an interesting passage from the will and prayer of Dariush, about using qualified people and also about honesty in political life:



Sam Ghandchi, Publisher/Editor
July 6, 2003


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