Vision of Change

When I first commented on Professor Rahni’s article for the above mentioned title on Friday Nov. 7, 2008, I never thought the issue would occupy my mind day and night.  I received many emails, articles, etc.  One Iranian cartoonist showed Obama saying “yes, we can” and Khatami thinking “no, we can’t”!  Others compared recent Iranian and American history for the past 40 years cherry picking no change for Iran and tremendous changes for America.  Nothing could be far from the truth on such comparisons.  Cherry picking always works fine for the picker; you simply pick the ones you like, ignoring – if not rejecting—the rest, assuming you do not gift wrap some of your picks and bulk sell others! 

Even worst was the passive mentality in the background that Black America WAITED 40 years to see a Black president in the high office; how long should Iranians wait?  Not only African Americans never WAITED, but also they actively fought against and participated in two entirely different, but formidable and unyielding political environments without ever demanding REGIME CHANGE or CHANGE of a CONSTITUTION that was written by and for masters and landlords who owned slaves and lands.  Still Obama is nothing more than a symbol, and he has a long way to go to even begin representing American people, let alone African Americans.  I maybe wrong, but he is a smiling face in words than a risk taker to distance himself from the financial and political rulers of America.  He is more like Khatami than Ahmadinejad.

But none of these had any profound effect than a single word “dehumanize” my family doctor used in criticizing my comment.  I know him for so long and I respect him not only as a family doctor, but also as a speaker I never hesitated to invite for our cultural meetings.  I remember, one of his speeches was in relation to morality.  So when I read him saying “I feel you have been going out of your way to dehumanize Obama, both verbally in the gathering of Iranian as well as by using Kamaal foundation site, comparing Obama with Ahmadinejad” I was shocked.  So I took it as a medical procedure to bring me back to life!  But in a rather serious matter, I thought his use of the word “dehumanize” must have been unpremeditated.  Therefore, I simply sufficed with responding all people are created equal.  But, it kept pounding my mind.  I just could not overcome the enormity of the issue.

I have always maintained that once you make your opinion public, you ask the public to judge you.  That is obvious, what is not so obvious is the fact that you expect the public to appreciate your hard work, your courage to take a position, etc.  This expectation is by all means unrealistic because except for a tiny minority --regardless of how small or how big the population is--, the majority is not FAIR in judging publicized opinions and/or public figures.  They like them hate them or simply do not care, but hardly ever handle them with FAIRNESS.  In my humble opinion, a civilization should be primarily measured by the degree of how FAIR it is than its advanced technology, civil services, cultural background, etc.

That is why I could not rest without coming in terms with the issue at hand.  I thought I would be criticized for referring to Obama as Mr. Obama but failing to do the same for Ahmadinejad.  Obviously I was too optimistic!  In the course of American political campaign for the high office, Obama ate or responded to many obnoxious name calling, i.e. being associated with terrorists.  He did not hesitate to launch a negative campaign against McCain either, but at least one thing against him was not personal.  To be specific, McCain responded to a fan who called him an Arab that no he is a good family man!  This is the mentality I am talking about and side with many observers who pointed it out: a prevailing mentality that Arab is synonymous to anything except a good family man. 

This same mentality commands the stereotype against Ahmadinejad.  It is simply a brain washed minority who fails to be FAIR.  A minority that easily and humbly attributes his/her achievements to the will of GOD, help of Imams, etc.  But if Ahmadinejad or Shah or even George W Bush for that matter, does it, this particular minority does not hesitate for a second to ridicule them.  A minority that is well aware of what Ahmadinejad meant by saying Israel must be wiped off the map, but submits to its twisted and distorted translation and does not hesitate to keep repeating it as a fact.  A minority that fails to realize such a statement was never originated by Ahmadinejad, but by Khomeini decades ago, and it was repeated by all Islamic officials every single year, at least, on the Qods Day.  You name any name calling, labeling, or bashing against him, and you will not be able to either substantiate it or find it unique to him.

So it is natural to easily and unconsciously perceive him evil or less than human AND be offended to have Obama “dehumanized” in comparison with Ahmadinejad!  I do not mind calling Ahmadinejad a beast as I called George W Bush and Saddam in an article titled a tale of two beasts over five years ago, but only if he is proved seeking war, destruction, human misery, etc.  He is far from it.  His only crime is to resist subjugation in foreign policy and to defy financial mafia in domestic policy.  His religious belief and personal life style are irrelevant.  You may argue his policies are bad, ineffective or brought about adverse effects, but the majority of nonsense against him is originated and manufactured by his foreign policy foes and domestic financial mafia.  Nonetheless, I neither want to defend him nor I am in a position to do so.  In fact, I have already criticized him on a number of issues, and I will never give up my rights to do so in its own scope and perspective.  What is the issue here is the fact that Ahmadinejad is no less human than Obama in any conceivable way even if he is perceived differently. 

In small talks and cyberspace communications with Americans, I have always been offended when they were blunt enough to tell me people of less developed countries are far more prejudice than Americans.  I am still offended because, at least, a normal and cultured Iranian is NOT.  But it does not mean we are unbiased.  Especially in respect to our mouthpiece figures who are either too westernized or too traditionalist.   We are bombarded by so much negativity, political animosity, perfectionism, idealism, and so forth that we are about to lose our identity as a nation, let alone a culture.

In my humble opinion, we badly need change, but the last thing we need is regime or constitution change.  There will never be a regime, constitution or an elected government that is acceptable to all, but there will always be political bashing no matter how civilized, barbaric or devious it might be.  A regime or government is nothing but a selected or elected group of people who could be united for a purpose or divided no matter how they are given the official title and responsibility.  Each and every one of them can be devoted or corrupt.  A constitution, no matter how advanced or how back warded it might be, is always subject to colossal abuses, substantive improvement or simply being ignored.  And yet, a country can function without a constitution like Israel.  So let power hungry minorities play their own game.  We must focus on our needs.

 Last, but not least, I do not mind political, social, and cultural satire.  Actually, I encourage it.  I think that is one of the best ways to engage our minds in seeing things differently or make fun of our public officials.  But everything has its own scope and perspective.  What we need for a change is to take a hard look at our lost mindset or dysfunctional mentality to come in terms with our opportunities and limitations trying to maximize the former and minimize the latter.  We need to live our lives, meaning there is nothing wrong with dreaming and idealism, and it is okay to be pessimistic too, but we must be realistic in our environment at least to some degree.  It is like the law of gravity, you defy it on the top of the roof, and you will fall!  You may blame the roof, the house, the builder, the structure, the city, your family, your luck, yourself, even the law of gravity itself, but it does not change the outcome: you fell.  Period.


Mohamad Purqurian