Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Dirty, cheating, lying democracy...
“Our generation has lost,” Kamran said to a dear Iranian friend.
“Yes, we have.”
Our friend has lived in Iran all these years, trying to make a life for himself, terminally optimistic about the future of post-revolutionary Iran. Kamran, on the other hand, left during the early 80s when internal purges began and the war with Iraq was just getting under way. “I felt so bad for my friends and family,” Kamran said to our friend. “It got to the point that I could not read their letters anymore. When they wrote me about the war, how could I respond with my adventures at a café? Or the beautiful girl I met the night before? I could never be free from feeling that somehow I did not deserve this life.”
Funny that despite all of Iran’s problems they are currently engaged in the very messy act of building a democracy. What we all tend to forget is that it is indeed a messy process. Democracy/free speech are not neat little products as compact and clean as iPods or toasters. It does not come wrapped up like a gift. It is easy to dismiss the democratic process in Iran because of the religious element, candidate elimination, vote tampering, corruption, and our disapproval of the results. This does not mean that it should be dismissed. I keep pointing people to the last city council elections in Iran and how voters sent a clear message to the current government or Iran. That was democracy in action. It’s not a nice process. It’s just the best of the worst as Churchill would say.
Podcast of Vali Nasr’s talk to the Commonwealth Club (listen to it!)
My post on Tehran’s city council elections
More on the city council elections:
From Open Democracy