This weekend, Pedram Mo'alemian from Eyeranian was visiting us in our Iranian club at University of Toronto and he talked about some aspects of politics in Canada. He kept his talk short but gave enlightening answers to questions that were raised afterwards. He inspired me to ask some questions about the nature of political processes in Iran in this place.
In one point in his talk he told us that the debates in politics in the West are not about basic principles, but about down-to-earth and everyday aspects of life and the economic system; This can be seen in municipal, provincial and national levels, especially in Canada. Basically the most important political agendas here have to do with (1) welfare, (2) wealth and (3) security.
It is interesting to contrast the above three concepts with the main political agendas in Iran or many non-West countries: (1) freedom, (2) education and (3) employment. Let me quickly add that this distinction is more or less arbitrary, and we get to hear about all of these concepts and many other things in the political debates all over the world, but these seem to me, to be the most notable trends in politics.
The fundamental distinction between political discussions in the different countries is nonetheless visible. Let me now ask, do we have to debate over freedom before talking about welfare, or is it the other way round? What is the sequence and what keeps it in a sequence? Is there a cause and effect sequence?
The sequence for most of European countries, in terms of realization/negotiation of these concepts is something like this: wealth, employment, education, freedom, welfare, security. In the US the sequence would look more like this: freedom, wealth, employment, security, education, welfare. [The above is my version, yours might be different, we can talk, outside of the class!]
How would this sequence look like for Iran? Iranian history and that of many countries that were under the influence of the West for a long time, do not seem to offer a similar sequence. We found many of these and then lost them again in the process; A process that never actually was. We had freedom and lost it; We still have a good education but it is not a base for anything; We never had security and I am not sure Iranians would have it for a long time to come. We had good employment for masses at some period but we lost it ...
This brings me to my final question: Who is supposed to remember the outcomes of all these debates? Who will remind us of them when they are at stake? One simple answer is political parties. I am not sure if this answer is enough ... A bookkeeper is needed in every successful political system.