Why I Created Iranscope?
In business circles there is a saying that if you catch a fish for someone, you have fed them for one day, but if you teach someone how to fish, you have fed them for life. I think fishing needs good tools and the know-how to use those tools. This is why I defined iranscope as not just a gateway to the Internet but as a telescope or microscope focused on Futurist Iran. And I use iranscope as much as other users of this futurist portal.
I lost many friends in the 1979 Iranian Revolution and its aftermath. They sacrificed themselves for freedom, independence, and social justice. But the practical result for our society was a more retrogressive regime than the previous one.
In fact, after the Revolution, if the democratic forces were not suppressed, they did not have a program for future of Iran that could open the way for Iran to the progress towards the 21st Century. My colleagues and I in the NedAye AzaAdi daily paper in Tehran, published a democratic newspaper in the first months after the Revolution, published every afternoon, first in the print shop of PeyghAme Emrooz and then at the print shop of AyandehgAn, and our paper was shut down by hezbollAhis,even before Bani Sadr's escape from Iran. But I should say it myself that even if it had not been shut down, we did not have anything to say after a few months of publishing.
As I wrote before, what was important to me after leaving Iran, following the suppression of the political forces in 1981, was the question of "what do we want?" And years later, in 1994, this was the title of one of my first articles in one of the Internet forums called SCI. In fact, even if the purest and the most honest political personalities of Iran had recognized the Shah and specific individuals around him to be the enemies of democracy, would eliminating the Shah and those people, and even coming to power of those most sincere and honest people, usher in democracy and success for Iran? If in Iran, the mollahs came to power, in Vietnam that was not the case, and the same popular leaders who were symbols of selflessness, humanity and dedication to people, came to power, but Vietnam's conditions are as disastrous and dictatorial as Iran.
What I learned from the experience of Iran was that instead of searching for honest and sincere leaders, one should endeavor for proper programs and plans, so that even the most charlatan and dirty leaders cannot take the society to despotism and destruction. Have all the U.S. presidents been honest and freedom loving people? But the U.S. Constitution that the people had chosen, stops a charlatan leader to inflict the damage of despotism and catastrophe to the people and country.
Nowadays we Iranians talk a lot about the various political forces and about their unity, and when it is not achieved, we feel disappointed. But let's think what is a monarchist force trying to achieve? They want to return of the same situation of the monarchy, which we gave so much blood to get rid of. And are we now sad why we are not united with them? Or the melli-mazhabi forces, what do they want? They want to save political Islam from total collapse and annihilation and they do not stop at just calling Shariati as shAdravAn (meaning God bless his soul), but they also go to the funeral of Ayatollah Khalkhali without saying a word about the crimes of Khalkhali, that treacherous judge. Now what importance does it have to be in unity with them or not? The same goes for mojAhedin, Communists, and other political trends.
You may think that I am against the unity of the majority of Iranian forces for dominance in a war or a revolution. Alliances like those of World War II or Chinese Revolution. No, here the topic of my discussion is not about these tactical or even strategic issues. Regardless of whether regime change will happen with reform, revolution, or war, with this or that alliance, my discussion is about the day after the regime change, that the result is not going to depend much on the thoughts and talks of this and that group, unless there is no contract and law accepted by majority of people prior to the regime change, and a specific group controls the military forces, and the contracts and laws end up to be written after such a take over of power.
If two people decide to form a partnership today, contrary to the era of feudalism, they do not do it by handshake promises, but they sign detailed contracts. European politicians such as Chamberlain, even as late as mid 1900's at the time of Hitler, handled diplomacy in a feudal fashion, and dealt with foreign policy issues by promises and handshakes, and they made fun of American diplomats, who even at that time, emphasized clear and detailed contracts. But at the end we know whose method was modern.
Iranian people in the last 24 years have leaned not to rely on the words of any political individual, group, or organization. People look at the programs of these political entities, and on top of all, the future constitution for Iran proposed or supported by these forces. Because afterwards, when a conflict arises, to behead a mortad or stone an adulterer, real or alleged, nobody says Khomeini had promised so and so in his friendly handshake on so and so date, and the law of the land will be the basis of the ruling about the victim.
If tomorrow Reza Pahlavi becomes a king, and Savakis who today make threat calls to people's home for his sake, go to people's house and slaughter his opponents, nobody will say what Reza Pahlavi said in the unity talks. They will say he is the king and he has the right in the constitution to create a Savak to suppress his opponents. And no matter how much we regret our decision at that time, it will not matter then that that we were deceived by his agents who in the name of being unbiased, told us his not abdicating the throne does not matter, and unity is important. At that time, if alive, we will be in Evin prison, regretting why we were not detailed in our contract when uniting.
Am I saying that the leaders of the noted Iranian political trends are criminals and we need other leaders? No I am not saying that. In fact, I think the majority of leaders of Iranian political groups are the best members of their political tendency. The issue for me is not about individuals. When someone makes a deal in a trade and writes a contract, it does not mean he thinks the other side is a thief. It means that he sees the relationship beyond individuals and especially when it comes to governments, it does not matter how honest an individual who rules is, what is important is how he rules, and the how is defined by the program of the party he represents, and on top of all those platforms, is the supported constitution of that political force.
Let me return to my original discussion. Why I created iranscope. I wanted it to be a telescope or a microscope focused on futurist Iran, so that anybody could use it, together with other tools, and this time, the sacrifices and endeavors of Iranians, would result in a progress and success, rather than a retrogression and defeat. Of course iranscope is just a drop in the ocean of such efforts.
I created various sections of iranscope, so that attention to all realms of life for the social change to be explored, and not just politics. I made the anthology section to collect the main contributions in the areas of particular importance to the future development of Iran, so that it can help the conscious social decision making about Iran's future. And in this endeavor, I found many excellent web sites that were the results of works of many researchers and others that had various realms of life under investigation.
In this experience, I learned a lot from Internet based forums (in English and Persian) and I always asked the readers of iranscope to take their discussions to those forums. Even I asked the political personalities of Iran to do the same, because the Internet has provided an exceptional opportunity for people to directly ask their questions from those who want to represent them. Of course, not everyone is honest and sincere, and the personalities do not need to answer to everyone on the forums, and the readers are very smart and know who the provocateurs are, and there is no need to explain it over and over again, to get distracted from the main issues of discussions, and to waste our time. But these forums have created an opportunity for people to debate "face-to-face" with these leaders, not thru the books of theirs, that can have myriad of interpretations.
Yes, a little candle for those who want to directly make a difference in Iran's future, without waiting for this and that group to do it for them. Let me repeat again that my goal is not to negate the organizations, and to deny the importance of being organized, but my point is to facilitate the making of conscious choices.
It is such a pleasure for me when I see today many others who have reached the conclusion and are working on the future constitution of secular democratic republic of Iran, instead of waiting for another Khomeini to show up and give us the promise of heaven and on the other hand to write the constitution of hell for us, when we do not even have the time to evaluate even one paragraph of it, and with an emotional referendum, to legitimize and force it on us. If that happens again, maybe we will not be alive next time around to say like that crying eagle who said of the arrow that, what is on us is from us (referring to a poem from Iranian poet Nasser Khosro).
Sam Ghandchi, Publisher/Editor
Dec 1, 2003