There is a great debate going on in the Iranian intellectual community on the issue of American interference in the developments in Iran. This question is of particular interest to me and I have been following this debate by scanning and reading almost every article written on it in English or in Farsi. And I must admit that I have also participated in this debate and have occasionally offered my own two cents worth of opinion. My intense interest in this debate is based on the belief that our intellectual community's position on the issue of foreign interference is in fact a very good gauge of how far we've come to mature in looking at the realities of the world. Are we still bound by our back warded xenophobic attitudes, by which we automatically and almost as a reflex reaction condemn every indication of support from any foreign nation as a gesture with sinister ends behind it? Or have we outgrown these childish pseudo-nationalistic attitudes that have hampered our growth and limited our efforts to achieve democracy in our society for decades?
To my disappointment, I have found that most Iranian intellectuals are still suffering from a misinterpretation of history of foreign interference in our country's social developments and the extent to which it is to blame for our failure to reach freedom and democracy. For instance, a great majority of Iranian intellectuals still point to the 1953 American assisted coup de taut that toppled Mosaddegh's government as the worst example of foreign intervention in the internal affairs of our nation. Without really getting into the historical circumstances of this event, I just say that it is very na´ve to think that in the absence of this coup de taut we would have been able to preserve our independence and establish a democratic system under the leadership of Mosaddegh's National Front. But even if you believed that the United States and England stole our democracy in 1953, you must admit that the world is a very different place today, and holding on to the views that suffer from that historical grudge will only blind our eyes to the realities and opportunities that may be available to us today.
The paranoia that a great majority of our nation's intellectuals still suffer from is the main reason for the unfounded fear of an American military invasion of our country these days. The reality is that, barring the possibility of the lunatics of the Islamic Republic getting their hands on the nuclear weapons, we all know deep in our hearts that the United States will never embark on a military invasion of Iran. The great task of establishing democracy in our country, I'm afraid, is left to us, as it should be. The leadership in the United States, through every declaration by its government officials, conservative or liberal, every unofficial pronouncements by every political strategist involved in any reputable think tank, positions taken by any serious theoreticians in any respectable academic circle, and finally through practically every newspaper column, article, and broadcast news program in the media has made it crystal clear that it is absolutely and categorically against any direct interference in the ongoing democratic movement of our nation, let alone military incursions, or God forbid an invasion of our country. So, it is really nothing but a ridiculous imitation of Don Quixote on the part of some of our pseudo-nationalists that declare this uncalled for crusade against the American dragons? In fact, the American foreign policy is crystal clear: develop nuclear weapons and face the consequences, including a military invasion, no question about it. Other than that, it will be left to the Iranian democrats to overthrow the tyrannical system in Iran and replace it with a democratic system. The American Government has made it abundantly clear that it will not get directly involved in establishing democracy in Iran.
The most ridiculous charade and false pretense of "patriotism" occurred recently when the American President issued a supportive statement, providing moral support to our heroic students who were being brutalized, injured, and imprisoned by the regime's thugs every day during the demonstrations this last June. Astonishingly, a majority of the reformist members of the parliament passed a resolution in response to this gesture condemning it as an American "interference in the internal affairs" of our country! What is this? Have we gone mad? Is this what we mean by nationalism and patriotism? What in the declaration by the U.S. President constituted "interference in our internal affairs"? Besides, the mass arrest of at least four thousand people (eight thousand, by some accounts), numerous cases of kidnapping at gun point, solitary confinement, torture, forced confessions, and beating and harassment of the members of the press is hardly our "internal affairs."
So, my message to those Don Quixote's in our legislative branch and the rest of the pseudo-nationalists in our intellectual community is: grow up, and knock off these hollow and ridiculous poses of patriotism and think of ways that we can use foreign assistance in pursuing democracy in our nation. It is no shame to ask for help when appropriate. The art is to ask for it and use it while maintaining our independence. What is it? Can't we walk and chew gum at the same time? It's been done before, and must be done by the leaders of our democratic movement as well. All we have to do is to realize what to ask for, and when. For instance, one very good and appropriate occasion for practical and immediate assistance that can be requested from any foreign nation, particularly America, has recently come up. The tyrants of the Islamic Republic have taken away our nation's only remaining means of free and uncensored communication with each other. The Ministry of Post Telegraph and Telephone, under the "reformist" government of Mr. Khatami has embarked on filtering and blocking the internet links to two of the major weblog servers that have been used by the majority of our democratic forces to communicate with each other and conduct one of the greatest and most mature debates on democracy of recent history. So, let's ask the Government of the United States, to graciously help us restore this vital communication link in any way that it can. Help us, please. We need this link, and you know that you need a democratic Iran just as much as we do.
There! Now, was that so hard? If the United States heeded my plea and helped us restore our communication links so we can continue our great debate on democracy, will that be a case of "interference" in our country's "internal affairs"? If it is, then so be it. PLEASE INTERFERE. Oh, and while you are interfering, Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian Journalist was beaten unconscious by the Evin Prison's security thugs, and later died in hospital from brain hemorrhage. Please, interfere on this one too. We will all appreciate your support and "interference".
About the author:
"I was born in Tehran in 1958. I completed my Doctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering at UCLA in 1988. I live and work in the Bay Area in a major construction firm."
... Payvand News - 7/18/03 ... --