Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Cry Freedom: The National Review Online has an excellent letter from an Iranian student on what the people of Iran really want.
Iranians, as a people, do not have problems with Western civilization. We are Muslims, but our sense of Iranian national identity dwarfs any religious identity we hold. We are proud heirs of a once-great civilization that brought forth the concept of tolerance and civility predating Islam. Iranians are comfortable with the simple fact that the West has the best-refined modern concepts of democracy, human rights, and individual opportunity.
To us, the Islamic revolution has failed. The system, in its entirely, is the problem; no Band-Aid reform will fix it. Iran's 23-year-old theocracy is as incapable of granting freedom and human rights as was the Soviet Union. No politician associated with the Islamic Republic is acceptable to us. There are no reformers in the clerical government. Our real reformers are among the 600,000 languishing in prison, or the hundreds of candidates who are disqualified in each election for believing in human rights or secularism. Do not sell out our freedom because of Khatami's meaningless double talk and irrelevant rhetoric. He is simply a smiling face of an ugly regime.
Secretary Colin Powell, Senators Arlen Specter and Chuck Hagel, please understand that Iranians are no less deserving of freedom and equality than are residents of Pennsylvania or Nebraska. You cannot fall for the so-called reformers who by design attempt to sway world opinion with promises, yet fail to deliver a single reform at home. Please understand that Iranians themselves have come to the conclusion that the only solution to our present dilemma is a Western-style democracy, complete with freedom of the press, secularism, equality between sexes, and respect for other religious and political beliefs.
Read the whole article here. The Iranian people, but not their government, are our friends. We should do everything we can to help them.