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What follows is my reply to one of my readers. He’s the same person that emailed me about the hair and camel thing. I don’t care about his insulting tone because I think he is a clever guy and has a point by playing the Devil’s advocate game. I’m putting my reply in here, because I think many of you have the same questions as this friend does.

Here’s his email:
“Such fear I have not often seen. What have they done to you? You and all the other women there in that horrible, totally male dominated place, a place of evil and ignorance. The men treat the women as if they were animals! They beat them and speak to them as 3rd class citizens. The youth really think that things will change and that soon they will have more freedoms, yet they fail to consider that the power leading their nation of people are backing bin Laden and are supporting the most heinous murdering terrorist in the entire world. The powers there in Iran are so filled with hatred for America and for freedom that they will do anything to destroy all free people in the West and elsewhere. They are tyrants. Murdering tyrants who kill innocent women and children and imprison their own people if even the slightest hint of free expression is found. This is why you remain silent, yes, or is it because you are so weak that the brainwashing has captured your mind and your capacity to think as a free person no longer lives inside you? Yes, you live in constant fear of reprisal by the fanatical tyrant rulers of your country and you are unable to express the hint of freedom.

Your young and more afflent women go to the ski resort and many forget the head scarff there. They “feel” free, but then, in only one hour as and when they return to the City they again yield to slavery rather than suffer the savagery of the butchers who are in charge.

Fear has robbed you of your will to live. Sad. Grim.”

And here’s my reply:

You are right about the fear. But that’s not the whole story. I must add at first that I also don’t know the entire story because first I haven’t read all the available publication and documents, and second, all the documents have not been declassified and published.

There are many problems in Iran, for both men and women, while women are suffering a double burden because of their gender as well. But can you give me an example of a country where people don’t have any problems? Injustice is born with human being’s history and will die with it. You can claim there is injustice in the whole world because of the fear of people to fight with it, but you can’t claim only people in the east or Iran are holding such fear and everything is fine in the west.

People in Iran have never been silent. No fear has been able to shut them up for ever. All through our history we have heroes fighting and getting killed for freedom. In many parts of our contemporary history of the movements and protests of Iran, the same dear western authorities have interfered and blocked the whole movement, because Iran has oil and is rich in natural resources. A weak tyrant government suits the benefits of western powers the best. You can go here and here to get some information about the August 1953 Coup in Iran. This coup took place against Mosaddegh, one of Iran’s most popular Prime Ministers who nationalized oil in Iran. CIA documents clearly show how US authorities have directly meddled with a patriotic movement in Iran and ousted Mosaddegh. I don’t want to comply with the Conspiracy Theory here, putting all the blames on the western powers’ shoulders, although it’s impossible to ignore this fact. I know the main blame should be put on our own shoulders. We can’t ignore that some Iranians have supported those foreign authorities to reach their goals and in one way they have betrayed their country. (There have also been plenty of Americans and other Westerners who have done plenty of good in Iran. During the late 1940’s and early 1950’s in the extension of the Marshall plan that was rebuilding post-war Europe, the Americans also eradicated Malaria from North and Western Iran. It should come to no surprise that this fact has never been mentioned in any of our school text books. This is one of the bad things about history that it’s written to fit the needs of those who hold current power.) But this is not the whole story.

One problem that a country like Iran is suffering from is the fact that Iran’s laws are validated on the rules of religion and the authority is supposedly a religious authority. Wasn’t it the same in Europe before Renaissance? The rule of religion is one of the most dangerous enemies of democracy, because you can do whatever you want under the title of religion, and then put a border of holiness around you, so that no one can get close to you or criticize you. Most parts of our civil laws have been modified based on religion. Whenever a law is to be ratified, the Guardian Council of Iran – run by fanatic hardliners- (which functions like the US Senate or the Upper House of the English Parliament) can easily reject it, reasoning that it is against the guidelines of Islam. There are a lot of interpretations of Islam, but our rules should be only based on one interpretation of Islam that the Guardian Council believes in. If anybody objects that, that means he/she is an atheist and should go through capital punishment. The capital punishment is rarely used however, but its threat is enough to silence many of the people. Therefore, Iranian intellectuals and theorists should be very careful to discuss these matters in a way that they don’t sound as an atheist. What would you do if your country was ruled under such laws? Would you jump for an immediate change of everything? Do you think it is easy to change such a deep rooted phenomenon in a day, or a month, or a year?

Renaissance took 300 years in Europe, Bible had been translated into different languages, Industrial Revolution took place, Cromwell went to Britain’s parliament, and so many other events happened so that the rule of church had been ended. Iran is now experiencing the same Renaissance, (with some differences of course due to its cultural and historical backgrounds.) I personally believe that the information technology revolution is acting like the industrial revolution now and it will surely accelerate the Renaissance of Iran. It takes Iran years to change all the deep rooted laws of Islam and monarchy into laws of Human Rights. We experienced a bloody revolution 25 years ago. So nobody can expect us to jump into another revolution, which will be much fiercer for sure. I, like many of my fellow Iranian citizens believe in gradual legal reform. That’s why 20 million people participated in the previous presidential elections. We knew that Khatami is a Mullah himself. We knew that by choosing Khatami we cannot change the regime, but we knew that a lot will be changed, and that was enough for that time. We wished to continue with this trend of reform in further elections, but the hardliners were clever enough not to let this happen. We are all disappointed now, but still this is not the end of the story.

There will be other elections as well. The young generation is getting familiar with the Internet; we have a voice that can be heard in the world. We will find another way to continue therefore. We are young and clever. It may take us decades, and even centuries. But we won’t forget that Renaissance took 300 years, and it took the western word even more years to reach a semi-kind of democracy. We know that it’s not impossible to end a dictatorship and reach freedom and democracy. We will fight for our freedom and we’ll get it one day. But we aren’t naïve to jump from the frying pan to fire. If you call this fear, it’s fine. Yes we have our own fears. Who are you to tell me I don’t have the right to fear? These hardliners are brutal. They killed a lot of writers and intellectuals of our society a few years ago, because they were afraid of these intellectuals’ words and insight. Student movement has been harshly suppressed. You must have read a lot about student movement in Iran and the imprisonment of students. So we have all the rights to fear, and to think of gradual ways for reform in our country.

About the man/woman issue in Iran, I’ll write to you later. It’s an important issue which needs to be discussed in details.

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I hate writing about politics, but I’m actually doing so all the time! In my Persian blog I usually write about my everyday life, and I enjoy doing that. So I’ll do my best to do the same here, and write about my personal life more, what I think a weblog should mainly be about.

I’m getting discouraged with my job. I was starting to like it. I like my Indian colleagues, because they are friendly and clever. But I have some problems with my Iranian colleagues that are actually my bosses. The Indian group is implementing Enterprise Resource Planning in one of the biggest car factories of Iran. Their project is to modify the organization and management of this factory, as well as computerizing its whole system. The Indian group is supposed to gather data from different departments, by interviewing the managers of each department. Based on the data they collect, they will come to an understanding of the whole system, and will later on work on the solution. Some Iranian parties do not cooperate with them, because they have this false assumption that these Indians are less capable than Iranian experts, and their solution will end up with great amount of unemployment.

I think all this negative assumptions are because of the factory’s weakness in management of change. People are not briefed about the fact that we don’t have any experts who have had an experience in this field. I hate to see people who form their assumptions based on racism or laziness or blind patriotism. I know there are many Iranians out of Iran who are quite capable of undertaking such projects. But they can’t work in Iran because of all the economical, political and managerial problems in here. So what can we do? Should we leave the things as they are, or should we change the ill system somehow?

The funny point is here the organization of this project by the Iranian party. The Iranian party is supposedly undertaking a managerial project, while you see no sense of management around. I couldn’t even find a computer to work with in the last few days! In one day I worked on one document in 5 different computers! Everything is out of order, and they don’t know well how to manage the Indian team.

I hate being in a useless situation, and sometimes because of the lacks of management I am in a useless situation. That’s why I feel discouraged. I like to be active, noisy, and at the same time hard-working rather than taking a nap on my chair in the sleepy and grey environment of this factory. Of course when I am in different shops (salons) of the factory –where they assemble the cars- I enjoy my time, but when I am in the office, I feel bored as hell. I think I have to take some flowers to the factory and put them on my desk. Perhaps the color and smell of the flowers will make the environment more bearable!

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The elections are done. People participated in the elections more than it was expected. God knows if the statistics are right or not. But it doesn’t make any difference. (Of course only 20% of people have participated in Tehran and most of the elected people are chosen by less than 15% of people’s vote.) Everybody knew that the conservatives are going to win.

There are different assumptions about the future of our parliament. Some say the new parliament will give some social freedom to people and improve the economic status of our country, so that ordinary people will be satisfied and the complaints decrease. Some other say they are going to make life hard on people and therefore Iranian society will burst with protests, and some other say everything will become like six years ago –Iran before Khatami’s presidency.

The first thing I hope is that the coming parliament do something about the economic situation of people. Ordinary people are becoming poorer and poorer, social security sucks, and many people are living unstable lives. I hope they won’t be stupid to limit the social freedoms as well. If they do, people will start protests, and brutal conservatives will savagely suppress them. I don’t think that what happened in Georgia happens in Iran as well. Shevardnadze was clever enough to find out that his era is over and left the country for people. But conservatives of Iran will never accept that their era is over. They are ready to do anything to stay in power. The last thing Iran needs is another bloody revolution. I hope they have got the message of all the events of the last 6 years: people are yearning for change and reform.

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I laughed so much when I received this email. I’m putting it here to share the funny lines with you. It’s really a shame that some people don’t see beyond the tip of their nose in the Internet era. But it’s very good that some people can harmlessly empty themselves and relive themselves from their complexes in the internet!

“You are so silly. You obviously wish to appeal to the most simple minded for it is as it is in the aphorism, “water seeks its own level”.

You make me laugh. Your childish humor and incredibly childlike approach to complex issues seem cartoonish and laughable.

Why is it that your people there have for more than 7000 years done little more than ride around on the backs of camels murdering each other?

What is your favorite color? What color scarff do you most frequently wear to cover your hairs? How often do you bathe? When did you last shampoo your hairs? Is it true that you have a very hairy back? And, is it true that the hairs on your back are very long and thick at the small of your back?”

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Wow! Thanks to Brian Murphy, the most interesting journalist I have ever met in my life, Lady Sun has found a lot of readers from all over the world. He was in Tehran last week and had an interview with me and my friend about weblogs in a coffee shop (he seems very much like Woody Allen!). I like his article because it is not all about showing everything dark, and gives a realistic picture of the whole issue.

By the way, I have received about a hundred emails and unfortunately I haven’t replied many of them yet. I promise I’ll reply all of them by the end of weekend which is Friday in Iran (I’m very busy at work this week). Thank you very much for your kind emails. I feel very lucky to have the chance to get to know a lot of interesting people from all over the world and hear different voices and views.

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Shargh and Yaas-e No, two popular reformist newspapers of Iran, are now closed. They have been closed because of publishing the MPs’ letter -whose candidacy is rejected for today’s elactions- to the leader. They are closed one day before the elections. Many of my friends who used to work for these newspapers are unemployed now. History repeats itself and the dictators’ game has already begun :(((

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Pensive Persian, my talented cousin who lives in Canada, is back writing his weblog. If you are tired of my poor English, go and enjoy his beautiful diction.

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One day, that I hope won’t be far, the archive of the Iranian TV programs about elections can become a bestseller comedy show! You can’t imagine how funny all the programs, especially the interviews with ordinary people are. Everybody says we have to participate in the elections to send a big fist to the
face of the enemies of Islam! Only God knows who these enemies are? The people that the TV shows are supposedly the majority of people. We have to believe that the majority of people are interested to participate, and they will. We have to believe in the existence of the enemies.

It’s not so difficult to figure out why such people come and talk in front of TV cameras. They are paid! A famous government-affiliated charity organization is
paying the poor people who vote! There will be buses full of people coming to Tehran from other cities to vote in Tehran and increase the number of votes. It
can be imagined what other tricks can be played to make more people vote. The more votes, the more eligibility for the government; more votes, upposedly
translate to more popularity for the regime! (This popularity game is killing me!)

Now all this sounds so bitter to the real majority of Iran. But one day we’ll laugh at all of them. I hope…

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In the comment box of my previous post an interesting discussion took place. It was a bout the French government preventing Moslem women wearing Hijab. I
agree with Laura in this issue. In my idea, no government should force anybody to either wear Hijab or not. Practicing or not practicing a religion is a very individual issue and people should have freedom of choice in this regard. I’m
not talking about the nature of religion, whether it is good or bad. It is as unjust to force a women to wear scarf as to force another woman not to.

It seems wrong to me to mix something as personal as religion with political issues. Iran has suffered from this phenomenon for years, now the French government is practicing it in the other way around. In Iran religion has become an excuse to limit people’s freedom. Therefore, many people who are dissatisfied with this fact try to fight religion back. In fact they want to fight the limitations back. Each year scarves gets a little more backward, and more hair is shown, while for example in Egypt, as I have witnessedmyself, more women are now wearing scarves and cover their hair, while it is not obligatory to do so. I think people in Egypt are dissatisfied with their government as well, and that’s why they are trying to fight their secular government back with practicing Islam more.

Another point I wanted to mention while before in myearlier posts but I forgot to do so is that usually we should not judge the people of a country according to
their government. I have some posts criticizing Bush or nagging about the delay of my husband’s visa. But that does not mean I hate American people! I have met a lot of interesting American people in my life or in the internet. Not every American is like Bush! This is the same with Iranian people. I feel sad when I hear some people from other parts of the world think all Iranians are ignorant, terrorist, or fundamental Moslems. If our government is notorious for all this attributes, it doesn’t mean all Iranians are like this. We should not forget that as Socrates says, we are all citizens of the world.

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I went to Dizin yesterday. Dizin is one of the best and beautiful ski resorts of Iran. It’s not far from Tehran and so it’s easy for us to get there in 2 hours. The only problem with Dizin is that it’s so crowded. We sometimes have to wait for one hour to get to the ski lifts. But when you get on top and you see the beautiful snowy mountains under your feet, you forget about the crowd and ski all the way down with great joy. The Islamic dress code does not exist there! You can hardly find a girl wearing a scarf. Some wear a hat because of the cold weather, but many do not cover their hair. It feels great to let your hair be touched by the chilly breeze.

The ironic thing about yesterday was seeing the girls without cover near a radio that was airing a revolutionary song, and then the reporter inviting people to today’s marching to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Islamic revolution. Nobody was caring about the radio program. And I could even claim that nobody was caring about the whole 25th anniversary at all!

The whole city is decorated with color lights; all the TV and radio programs are about this anniversary and today’s marching. It’s obvious that it’s propaganda for the coming parliament election. They want to show that people are so interested in the Islamic revolution, and they want to encourage people to participate in the elections. But who cares? Well, there are a few people who care, maybe about 15% of people. The same 15 percent that probably have participated in today’s marching would vote. But the point is can we call a government elected and favored by 15% of the people a democratic government?

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