By Azita Ebrahimi (Azi)
I am a humanist with class-consciousness political views, with the emphasis on the second part when I try to understand and analyze any social or political situation. We live in societies with a class structure, so when something happens, I believe one needs to look at it from that perspective before and above anything else. Yes, there are many layers in any political or social challenge . But these other layers need to be viewed in the context of class dynamics. We don't live in an abstract world and certainly we don't live in a classless societies. Any issue that is out there -- from healthcare, job loss, people losing their home, immigrants' issues to the issue of war and violation of human rights -- needs to be discussed and approached in the context of class dynamics.
Since I came back from Iran I have been paying more attention to news about Iran. I try to check out the articles about Iran as often as I can. At this point, no matter what the position is, Iranians' mode of operation seems to be attacking each other rather than constructive exchange of political views and dialogue. There are many political views among Iranians who live in Iran and elsewhere, and not all of us can be categorized as supporters of the current regime or supporters of the so called Green revolution! Neither of these groups with their political views represents mine.
We need to educate ourselves and understand where the roots of our problems lie. Addressing current problems in Iran requires in-depth analysis of our political, social and cultural situation and not just touching issues on the surface. Do people really think, for example, in the United States where I am reside currently, there is no violation of human rights simply because it has a secular government? Secular governments don't necessary guarantee freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights! Human rights violation by any government has to do with what class of people are represented by the government and who controls the democratic institutions that may exist to safeguard the rights of everyone and not just the privileged ones.
I don't think either the Iranian government or the US government is representing the rights of the majority of people in their countries who are poor and working class. Many of the strong major party candidates who seek the US presidency in general elections are millionaires or close to it! Out of all the senators in the US Senate, two-thirds of them were millionaires in 2008, according to a recent analysis of politicians' fortunes conducted by the Center for Responsive Politics." says Catherine Rampell in her article Your Senator Is (Probably) a Millionaire (November 25, 2009) .
How many of these Senators really represent thousands of people in this country who are homeless, have no healthcare, and have no hope for a better future? How many of these Senators represent people like me who do not support the militaristic foreign polices of US government and want the so-called war on terror to be stopped? How many of these Senators actually sit down with their constituency and listen to their perspectives on issues?
The United States of America has the world's highest prison inmates/population ratio in the world. Workers' right to unionize has been restricted in the United States. Violation of civil and political rights has increased tremendously in this country in recent years and so has brutality by law enforcement agents! And racial discrimination has a long history in this country as we all know. So I wonder why some Iranians are looking to the west, especially the US for support of the human rights, civil liberties, and democracy movements in Iran!
In conclusion I have to say that human rights violation in the USA does not by any means justify human rights violation in Iran. Human rights violations by any repressive government or power elite, wherever it takes place, needs to be condemned. But we should look at these issues in the context of class dynamics and class struggle.
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Azita Ebrahimi, Feb 2010
Visit to Iran
I went to Iran, the country of my birth, in November of 2009 and stayed there for two months after being away for 30 years. I had left Iran right before 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah. Before I left for my visit back to Iran, I was feeling very agitated and depressed about the way things are here in the USA and I felt like I needed to get away for a while. My trip to Iran was a pleasant, interesting, and eye-opening trip, but at times I felt strongly the gloomy atmosphere that was overshadowing the country of my birth. -Azita Ebrahimi
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