Dear President Obama Please Call for Mr. Tabarzadi's Freedom
Persian Text نسخه فارسی
Dear President Obama,
I am sure you remember how for decades because of our memory of the 1968 Spring of Prague, the symbol of opposition in the former Czechoslovakia known to us in the outside world, was always Alexander Dubček and not Václav Havel but when that country finally was close to freedom, we saw it was the latter and not the former which was the main force of change *inside* that country.
Iran is in a similar situation. The Islamic reformists like Mr. Mousavi, Mr. Karroubi, or Mr. Khatami, with all due respect, but want to keep the *religious* state although they desire to reform it just as Alexander Dubček wanted to keep the *communist* state but desired to reform it. Nonetheless, there is another opposition right *inside* Iran that also includes those like Mr. Tabarzadi, who have come out of the ranks of the Iranian Islamic revolutionaries too, but have arrived at secularism believing that there cannot be democracy in Iran unless the religion and state are completely separated. Of course, contrary to Turkey's experience, Mr. Tabarzadi believes that secularism is not be driven from above but should be introduced as a human right to the society so that both secularism and democracy would take roots and become a lasting achivement.
In other words there are leaders like Mr. Tabarzadi who was just imprisoned again two months ago, who do not want to keep the *religious* state, the same way that Václav Havel did not want to keep the *communist* state and saw this position, as the requirement to have a true democracy. I have explained this reality of the pro-Democracy opposition inside Iran in details in my book "The Futurist Iran.(1)"
Outside Iran, we hear more about the Islamic reformists and this is why your predecessor Mr. George W. Bush, former US President, called for freedom of Akbar Ganji, an Islamic Reformist journalist, as a symbol of Iranian pro-Democracy movement, when Mr. Ganji was in prison and thanks to all those efforts he is free now and lives in the United States. I hope that you would do the same for the secular journalist and political leader Heshmat Tabarzadi who is now in prison in Iran and his family and friends hardly know anything about his whereabouts.
Heshmat Tabarzadi has always been committed to nonviolent struggle just like Martin Luther King in the American Civil Rights movement. In fact, in his last interview with Voice of America two days before his arrest he emphasized two points: First was to make sure to avoid any violent actions despite Islamic Republic's violence and secondly he emphasized separation of religion and state as the only hope for Iran to have a lasting democracy (2).
Mr. Tabarzadi is the founder and leader of Jebhe Democratic of Iran (Iran's Democratic Front) and other coalitions inside Iran has spent many years in Islamic Republic's prison yet he has always courageously expressed his views transparently in his writings and interviews (3).
Dear President Obama, please speak up for freedom of Mr. Tabarzadi and all other Iranian political prisoners.
Hoping for a Democratic and Secular Futurist Republic in Iran
Sam Ghandchi, Publisher/Editor