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July 19, 2003

Letter to Khatami
Vahid Shahrezaei  [info|posts]

As you may have seen the daily "Yaase-e no" published the letter to Khatami in its first page yesterday with the full name and details of all the 150 sharif students who signed it. I am not sure if everyone was looking for such a publicity, but we have got it anyway! First of all, I think it will have a better impact having it published in a iranian newspaper, rather than just in iranian websites. Hopefully this kind of pressure make them rethink what they are doing, and set free the students. I was talking about this with some freinds last night. Some of them have doubt in the role that this kind of letters or petitions can have in causing any change, other than causing problems for the people who sign. But I do not think so, I think it is important to allow to be heard by others. Keeping scilent does not solve anything, and may even be some sort of approval on what is going on. Khatami said recently if people want, he will resign. Looks like he is having problem, hearing what people have to say. So I think writing open letters, is important, to make ourselves clear, and it is the least we can do.
The other interesting thing that took my attention, is the fact that this particular letter, has got more publicity than similar letters, that have been written recently. It could well owe this to the sharif university credit, and the fact that almost all the singnatures belonged to students that are doing higher education abroad. People that are called in Iran "genius people" (Nokhbegan). Iranian people tend to treat "nokhbegan", e.g. winners of Olympiad medals and high rankers of university enterance exam (Konkour {from french: concours}), as celebrities. That could be why the "Yaas-e no" journalists decide to publish the letter in its first page, second important news of the day! I admit this whole thing looks a bit cheesy, but it is a fact. I think we as a community should not be ashamed of this, but use it properly. We have the potential to be heard better, so we should take advantage of this.

yahya at July 19, 2003 09:39 PM [permalink]:

I call this era, "Petition Era." Petitions are effective in two different ways. One is reducing the overall cost of disagreeing with the government, and second is that it helps to bring people who sign them together, to a common goal.

BHS at July 20, 2003 01:54 PM [permalink]:

I too think petitions are important. I also think, more important than making Khatami understand he's lost his popularity—something I beleive he knows well—the open letters to Khamenei are essential in breaking the taboo of talking about him. That will be vital to any reform in the system towards a representative democracy.

Mehrad at July 20, 2003 05:49 PM [permalink]:

Lets suppose Khatami has lost his popularity as Babak notes and lets suppose he will hear the clear voice of Vahid which makes him RESIGN!
Then,I guess,it's better to think of the next popular sentences we're going to speak out loud and clear to these all-ears-Iranians.SOON!

Vahid at July 21, 2003 01:08 AM [permalink]:

I am not sure if resign is the best thing, Mehrad. And I am not sure if that's what most of iranian people want. But I think they should make it clear, that they are not happy about a lot of things that is going on. And they shoud make it heard what they want.

Yashar at July 21, 2003 05:40 PM [permalink]:

I think Iranians expect some action from Khatami.
They want him to stay true to his promises and to his pledge. And yet he doesn't, either because he doesn't have the incentive, or he lacks the courage and determination. either way this frustrates the people who voted for him, and they want him to either overcome his weekness and passivity or accept that he is not fit for the job and resign. the first choice is of course much more favorable but it seems less and less likely.

Mohammad Mahdian at July 29, 2003 07:57 PM [permalink]:

i also think that we, as those who are labeled "Nokhbeh", have a great potential to be heard. So far, we have never used this power (except in the case of this petition). I hope in the future we get more organized so that we can voice our opinions about the political and cultural issues in our country.