Skip to comments.Renaissance of Iran
Posted on 03/14/2003 8:09:28 PM PST by freedom44
"Problems exist not because people want to have them, but because their belief and behavior create them." Ahmad Kasravi Tabrizi
Zurâbâd is the name of a shantytown integrated de facto into the greater capital city of Tehran. Agglutinated in this masterpiece of nonsense and ugliness, built on an earthquake zone with no sewage system, is a population of 12 million, which has quadrupled in just 2 decades since 1979, 28% of whom, torn between the not-permitted and the less-permitted, suffer from mental disorder, counts 600 thousand prostitutes average age 15, a significant proportion of the countrys 4 million drug addicts, a countless number of military and militia garrisons, and a massive 40% below the poverty line. Out of 215 cities world around, Tehran ranks 157th for urban security, and 167th for the quality of life. Hanging around the city, is a 3 million strong, explosive necklace of poverty whose inhabitants are referred to as the "hâshieh neshin" or the "peripherals". Zurâbâd means the "Land of Coercion"
Since the Fall of 79, the Composite Poverty Index, taking into account inflation and unemployment, has been on steady rise, unemployment has tripled, average inflation has doubled, and economic growth has plunged by 60%, as compared to pre-revolutionary years (1). In 1996, at the height of Rafsanjani mania, 20% of the population suffered from malnutrition, a scourge which represented a 5.6 billion dollar burden on the national economy, or 5.5% of the GDP. The same "achievement" has been performed by Khatamis "independent minded", "anti globalization", post-modern "intellectuals" in 2002, where blood deficiencies alone have been responsible for a net loss of productivity evaluated at more than 3 billion dollars a year! (2)
Between 1994 and 2002, the countrys forests have disappeared at a rate of 30 000 hectares a year. In the past two decades, 90% of the Caspian seas Sturgeon reserves have vanished (3). The country pumps an annual 35 billion dollars from its energetic resources, exporting 17 billion, and burning the remaining 18 billion at home!! The worlds third oil producer has become a net importer of gasoline, while our national riches are being squandered : "Despite the fact that the international oil companies are not exposed to any exploration risk and the buy back contracts are completely risk-free, involving work in a relatively simple environment, yet they are guaranteed a pre-determined fixed remuneration equivalent to 18-20% rate of return on their capital investment" (4). This is just one out of 6 major "shortcomings and disadvantages of development Buy Back agreements so far concluded" by the Islamic Republic, under which our national wealth is being systematically dilapidated.
Smuggling, bootlegging, and trafficking of all sorts, including that of Iranian girls in Pakistan and in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf, a morbidly hungry market for this type of Iranian non-oil exports! represent a black market evaluated at more than 4.4 billion dollars a year. Surpassing their Afghan defunct rudimentary clone, the Taliban, the Islamic Republic has become the "worlds leading country in destroying its own national heritage" (5). One of the darkest chapters in the systematic de-iranization of our country concerns the embezzlement of a golden stele, along with an estimated 50 other archeological treasures, dating from the Hâkhâmâneshian period, from the National Museums Hall of Steles and Tablets, the "tâlâre kâtibehâ". The stele was broken into pieces, melted, and the gold sold on the market for 1000 dollars (6).
According to the latest official statistics, obtained on a sample of 75 000 young Iranians aged 14 to 19, geographically distributed throughout the countrys provincial centers (7) :
- 36% of the youth suffer from lack of "confidence" and "hope" with regard to "life" - 42% does not possess a sufficient level of "self confidence" - 51% suffer from "anxiety" - 54% suffer from various degrees of "depression" - 53% exhibit a violent behavior and an aggressive temperament - 55% have interiorized a "hidden violence" - 40% show an anti-social behavior - 60% present signs of an" introverted" mind state, and - 28% are exposed to addiction by various drugs
The very exceptional occurrence of "cardiac arrest" under the age of 20 ! is now common place in Irans industrial centers and on steady rise (8).
As a partial remedy, "Islamic Valentine" has been proposed by a "neo reformist" cleric, Hojatoleslam Zam, Head of Tehran Islamic City Councils Cultural and Artistic Islamic Organization! Cubism was created by P. Picasso and G. Braque in Paris in early 20th century. A major source of abstract art, rejecting projections and perspective, cubism emphasized flat, two-dimensional planes. Islamic Valentine! Islamic Human Rights! homo islamicus! Are the très chics luminaries of the Tehran-Berlin-Paris "pink crescent" creating Islamic Cubism? Or are they just afflicted by delirium (9)?
From the ruinous state of the economy, to the cancerous growth of metropolitan areas, to prostitution, to child abuse, to homelessness, to the destruction of the Iranian national heritage, to drug abuse, to top soil depletion, to the dilapidation of the countrys natural resources, to the bottomless well drilled into the peoples moral and religious believes, to ramping levels of AIDS, to the psychological devastation caused to our youth, the resounding failure of the Islamic Republic, spanning all its internal components and external apologists throughout the "pink crescent", is indelible. Clinical death has been declared on February 28th, 2003. A thousand years will pass and the stink of the failure will not be removed.
The Third Force and the Diaspora
Irans new generation, born after the 1979 revolution does not adhere to the "ideals" of the Islamic Republic, nor to any of its components. Those under the age of 25 account for 60% of the population, and, based on a 2002 estimate, make a force of nearly 40 million. They assert themselves as a separate, self-identifying social category with a considerable weight on the Iranian socio-political context.
Iranian women, accounting for roughly more than half of the population, constitute the countrys premier progressive force of change and freedom. According to unofficial estimates, there are currently more than 300 NGOs focused on women issues, both inside and outside Iran.
It is these out and forward looking Iranian youth and women that are collectively referred to as the Third Force. This force is a loosely bound, unorganized potentiality. Having Slapped the regime and its apologists throughout the "pink crescent" in the face on February 28th, it demonstrated, through a nationwide civil disobedience movement, its fantastic political maturity, its total rejection of the regime and its founding principles, and its capacity to crystallize into a redoubtable smart weapon when and where needed. In 1978-1979, it was the absence of an organized democratic secular opposition movement with a clearly defined Roadmap for Democracy and Accountable Governance that allowed the disastrous revolutionary vacuum to be created. Nature abhors emptiness. It is up to us not to let wilderness take over once again.
According to a 1996 census (10), the Iranian Diaspora comprises more than 3.6 million Iranians : 1.5 million in the US, half a million in each Turkey and the UAE, more than 100 000 in each Germany and the UK, 80 000 in Canada, tens of thousands in the Scandinavian countries, 50 000 in Israel, Not only the external forces of Iran are important, their role as the boosters of the main internal engine will prove vital in catalyzing final victory. "If Iranians in the Diaspora were as engaged in the future of their nation as Jews outside Israel are engaged in the future of Israel, Iran would be a democratic country today" (11).
Democracy and the "Vision" thing
Decades ago, democracy alone could have made a vision, an ideal in itself. This is no longer the case. In todays world, democracy is a mere tool, the minimal requirement for a socio economic "operating system". Having the "right to choose" is the starting block. Any further step will require a vision, a critical mass of ingenuity, the capacity to translate the vision into projects and carry them out properly. More than anything else, democracy is about accountability, the rule of law and merit, and alternate governance. None of these can be implemented if a proper balance is not found between individual liberties and social responsibilities. It is about time to go beyond the "tool", beyond the "operating system" and start carving a vision. For the vision to become reality, a vast majority of Iranians, of all fringes of society, must adhere to it. In other words, Iran will need all its brains for this, the right and the left.
As a right conservative, I can not be more Catholic than the Pope. Nevertheless, it is my deep belief that no Iranian righteous and dynamic right can be formed if it is not constantly and intelligently challenged by an Iranian left. From Beijing to Moscow, on to Berlin, Paris, and San Francisco, the left strives through a worldwide "identity crisis". The Iranian left makes no exception and in a post-February 28th Iran, the "très chique" empty literature of post modernism will no longer be of any help in a country still entangled in the difficulties of modernization and modernity. Tehran has no "rive gauche" and no "Bay area". Tehran is an aspiration, a forbidden desire, an unpredictable colossus in the making, a "hidden violence", a fault zone. Tehran is the jungle. A decade ago, the Iranian left was forced to turn its idolatrous eyes away from Beijing, Moscow, and Havana. Today, it is in our and in its own best interests to do just the same with the Paris-Berlin-San Francisco rainbow axis. The Iranian left must reinvent itself, taking into account Iranian history and present realities. An even greater challenge would be to reinvent the meaning of the left in general, and its new Iranian style identity. It is in the Iranian rights best interest to catalyze this process.
Democracy, an inclusive and pluralistic vision of the future, and the ultimate task of providing jobs, training and decent purchasing power to millions of Iranians will remain empty words in an environment of no-trust. Revenge will shed blood. Blood will sink us all. When constructing great things, one must keep in mind the long term. No long term construction of any sort will be possible in the absence of a trust environment. Trust will not be institutionalized, if a National Reconciliation Program is not designed, sealed by Third Trusted Parties, and submitted to all Iranians. Human beings are responsible for their individual as well as collective actions. We must demonstrate to the world that we are as human and responsible as the South Africans, the Russians, the Spaniards, the Eastern Europeans, and the Latin Americans. We Iranians, are collectively responsible for the disastrous state of our land. This is the only conceivable starting premise for any future action.
They are standing right at the edge now, I hope they have the courage to take the next steps. It's a hard road, but it leads to the best place on earth.....FREEDOM!