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.