Iranian Motherland (mihan) party
By Amir Sepehr
The Water Is Polluted In Its Source
In evaluating our problems, we’ve fallen into the habit of occupying ourselves more with speculative discussions. I have personally experienced that those of us who are political occupy ourselves with opinions before dealing with facts. The same is true when we try to get a message across. We spin the morsel some fifty times before feeding it to the mind of our readers and listeners. We subject our speech to a thousand bends and turns and deliver it using unfamiliar terms to demonstrate our level of understanding. The result is that in our country they take people’s eyes out and cut off their limbs, but we style ourselves as the greatest intellectuals on the planet! We’ve yet to learn that showing off in speech is a sign of ignorance and that it is such displays of talent (which would have no buyer even in the Bazaar for the artless) that has been the cause of our miseries and misfortunes. If I don’t write in such a way so that more than 70% of my readers get my message and comprehend what I’ve written, then I’ve only been showing off, that’s all. Even the learned among us confuse addressing ordinary people (and who isn’t one) with academic and specialized discussions of the university. This disease has even affected the clergy, so that these days, just about every Mullah in every single idiotic writing of his, will refer to two or three philosophers, and four or five world famous authors to imply his proximity to the society of the masters of Arts and letters! I write this preface to underline the bitter truth that, alas, a society seemingly full of thinkers and intellectuals has fewer intellectuals in the true sense than the number of one’s fingers. If it had, how could it be in such a state of disgrace, helplessness and confusion? It’s not my intention to recite a mournful song, and begin a sorrowful story by recounting for the thousandth time, that which has brought us to this point. But if you and I remain silent, if you and I don’t try to understand, we will once again fail to recognize what we’ve been doing wrong. We are still going the wrong way, and not just one or two, here and there, but probably in tens or hundreds of thousand. And that, apparently the most educated among us (at least they regard themselves as such!). You may then add this to the preface: You know best! What pained my illiterate mother (a most frugal woman from a village) or your house-owning aunt that, in order to have it relieved, they had to follow the likes of Mullah Khalkhali and Hadi Ghaffari? What about my poor late uncle, who had no idea what an Islamic revolution meant? Once he came to visit us from Ardabil, thinking of joining the protesters. When I objected, he shouted “Sonny, you mean to say that all these university folk, doctors, engineers, and intellectuals are all a bunch of donkeys to have chosen Imam Khomeini as their leader?” Perhaps, were he alive today, he would have realized the truth in the reply by hearing of which he then really lost his temper. Laughing Let us go back twenty-five years. Our hopes had been met sooner than all other nations in that part of the world. We were, perhaps, the first to reach liberty. To reach the 1979 juncture, our parents had labored for some 200 years. We were two steps, yes two steps, away from liberty. I’m referring to the Shah’s last Prime Minister, Shapour Bakhtiar, who sacrificed his life for his country. His government was the result of several generations’ struggle and self-sacrifice. But where was one to find an intelligent person who understood the pulse of the nation. One may not have expected much from the “common” people, who with the flimsy rope provided them, had entered a bottomless pit looking for a treasure box. None among the self-styled intellectuals and political types understood that incomparable and unique window of opportunity, and did not realize that: Hey, enough! Henceforth we must protect what we’ve gained, and not continue burning banks, destroy governmental buildings, and sacrifice our reason, our mind, our country, our honor, our prestige, our history, our culture, our dignity, our good name, and our nation’s wealth to welcome the arrival of the Mullahs. If our “intellectual” was intellectual, if our “nationalist” understood nationalism, if our political types had a clue about politics, you may judge for yourselves where we would be today. I wont pretend that we would be a Switzerland or Sweden, but I write without any doubt that not only we would be one of the wealthiest and most prosperous nations in the world, but that we would also have a democracy proportional to ourselves as well, along with a secular government, which we already had! Our children too, instead of starving in schools, would benefit from free milk and fruits, as they already did! Had we intellectuals and political activists worthy of such designations, would we have incurred a million dead and invalids from the war alone? How many millions of drug addicts would we have? Would we see our loved ones displayed for sale in Arabian slave markets? Would our honor and prestige been as blemished in the world? Would our national resources been put on sale? Ebrahim Yazdi, himself a key figure in the transformation of Sheiks and Mullahs into the lords and chieftains atop the Iranian people, and the person most responsible for handing over the elites among the brave officers of the Iranian Imperial Armed Forces to the lunatic and bloodthirsty Mullah Khalkhali, happened to give an interview this year on the occasion of the anniversary of the occupation of the US embassy. Do you know what he said? I shall quote him verbatim so that we learn the condition of our economy as the Shah was leaving Iran. I do not have the slightest doubt that while speaking of these figures, Yazdi was not even a bit embarrassed or felt any pain of conscience. Let us understand what has happened to us in these dark years; let us think why the Iranian people are reduced to selling their kidneys in order to survive. Readers will note that the figures concern our holdings in the US government alone, as in the period under discussion we had tens of other investments in the US private sector. One of these was the ownership of one of the tallest buildings in Manhattan, which, when I was young, I had visited as an observance of my national pride. I had my picture taken in front of its entrance. It was 1977, two years before the revolution. The Islamic Republic sold the skyscraper and the Mullahs pocketed the money. A few years ago, when I chanced to pass by it again, I saw standing about a few Iranian-speaking drug addicts. One of them, who had a dog, and was about the same age as I, when I had first visited the building, stood begging near the spot where I had taken my picture. (Is it even possible not to burn with rage when thinking of common thieves who style themselves after “intellectuals”?) In addition to investments, we had reserves of ready cash in all other industrial nations of the world. France had borrowed a billion dollars from us; so had Britain. But here is an excerpt from Yazdi’s interview with ISNA (Nov 2, 2004): “Billions of dollars of US weapons, including strategic weapons, fighter jets and submarines had been paid for and needed spare parts, and we had to settle this. There were unfinished projects that had already been fully paid for, and we needed to settle that. In Iran’s revolving funds account in the US Department of Defense, there was some 33 billion dollars. Spare parts and military equipment for the Iranian armed forces were all paid for and waiting in US airports, ready for delivery. Before the revolution the surplus from the oil revenue was looked after in US banks. In the United States we had some 14 billion dollars of ready cash.” I wrote that it is not my intention to bemoan the past; what has passed has passed. But have we, the intellectuals and the politically minded among us in particular, learned anything from the experience of our destructive acts? Have we? Perhaps I should share with you a day’s observation on the subject, leaving you to make your own conclusions. Of course, this is a simple and commonplace illustration. The individuals I’ll refer to I consider victims themselves, victims of those, whom from intellectualism have only learned how to abandon a nation wandering in the desert, and how to mistake the realm of the fantasy and the intangible with obvious things and actual potentials in the world of politics. Oh! May they have never read those 15 or so volumes they did read! As you know I live in Stockholm. Here all the residential buildings have their own laundry room below the ground floor, normally used by the residents through reserving a time slot on a computerized board. Three days ago it was my turn. It usually takes about an hour to wash your clothes. After placing their washables in the machines, people either return to their apartments and return an hour later, or take a seat and pass the time by reading a book or newspaper. Anyway, after throwing my clothes in the washer I returned to my apartment. I turned on the television. They were showing a ceremony in remembrance of the Swedes who had lost their lives in the Southeast-Asian Tsunami, in the same hall where the Nobel ceremonies take place. Their King, seated; the Queen, accompanied by their three children. The Prime Minister, all the ministers, present. Members of the Parliament. The clergy. According to the reporter in the live telecast, some 700 cultural and intellectual figures, the main leaders of all Swedish political parties, lawyers, artists and in short all the important people in Sweden are present in this gathering. First, His Majesty Carl Gustaf, the King of Sweden, gives a very emotional and moving speech. This is followed by a speech by Prime Minister Goran Persson. A chorus of female students, beautifully and impeccably dressed, sings a very emotional song. A few religious songs in soprano follow. The musicians play their instruments so emotionally that one’s entire body becomes affected. In between, the clergy perform ceremonies of prayer and eulogy. The poets recite humanist poems, poems that bring people together. National harmony, the spirit of helping and cooperation, unity, sympathy, dignity, civilization, respect, proper attire, culture, humanism, serenity and, in one sentence, the poetic, intelligent and dignified aspect of humanity is displayed at its peak. I look at my watch. I’ve been so engaged with this program that I am 15 minutes late already to pick up my clothes. I’m very much moved by these aspects of civilization and social-cultural progress. I cry in my heart, “Until when…” I enter the laundry room. As I enter, I see two Persian speakers engaged in a political discussion. (May God Bestow His Abundance! Thanks to the Mullahs’ “Justice of Imam Ali” regime, Iranian refugees can be found in every nook and corner!) I know one of them very well. Like 93% of all Iranians, he is a poet. But he had had money, and had published a few 17-paged booklets of poetry, thenceforth becoming one of the thinkers and intellectuals. He is a radical member of the MEK, and not very warm toward other views. I know the other a little. I know that he calls himself a communist. The subject of their conversation is ideology (Mine is better than yours!). Besides a courteous hello, I have no desire at all to enter their discussion. But how is that possible, when they don’t leave you alone! Our Mister Communist regards Sweden, a country that has provided him with asylum and opportunities, a backward capitalist country. He speaks of nothing but Mansour Hekmat and labor issues in Iran. He is of the opinion that in a not so distant future his party will not only free Iran, but will free the world from the shackles of capitalism. Why did you settle in a backward monarchy like Sweden, I ask; why didn’t you go to an advanced country like Cuba or North Korea? He answers in a derisive tone, “Is that what your Shahzadeh Reza has been telling you?” He adds, “Really, one has to be pretty backward to want a monarchy.” As to Mister Mojahed, well, he believes that Monarchy is the disgrace of history. When I remind him of the glories of history, that he and his friends began suicide missions long before the likes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, he replies furiously that that is exactly what the Mullahs say! Adding: that’s why Masoud has repeatedly said no Shah and no Mullah! I tell him dear friend, I wish you had seen the ceremony I was just watching. I add, every nation has its own particular culture and history. Every country’s democracy is the result of struggles and historic events shaped and supported by its people. They reply, one somewhat differently than the other, that Sweden too should do away with all this Monarchy nonsense; these are all swindles by capitalism and class society. I reply with just one more sentence and pick up my laundry. Of course, I say it in my heart: Why did God short-change the Swedes on the number of thinking poets and intellectuals so that the country’s backward and poor Shahollahi (Monarchist) population could too enjoy the benefits of a Supreme Leader, a Revolutionary Guards, and an Ansar al-Islam?