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April 12, 2004

Where are we going to?
Hamid Reza Maei  [info|posts]

abdulomassoud copy.jpg The recent parliament election was boycotted by most of the reformist groups in Iran, and the results clearly showed that it was boycotted by most of the people of Iran as well. The actions of "Jebhe Mosharekat" (the Participation Front) as one of the most influential political parties and the one with the majority in the parliament is quite questionable.

There were two ideas before the elections:

1) "To vote, with the possibility of getting a portion of your rights!"
This was a quite useless task. It was very clear that the guardian council simply would disapprove and reject all or most of the so-called independent or reformist candidates that one would have voted for, as they do most of the time.

So the only choice would be to:

2) Boycott.
It seemed reasonable and the most popular outcome, despite "Jebhe Mosharekat" and some other reformist groups that failed in their approach and disappointed most of the people. They also did not introduce any strategy after boycotting elections. It seemed they wanted to just bring the attention of the world to the miserable political situation in Iran. Yes, of course newspapers love to write these stories to fill up their pages and after a while everybody forgets. The question is, should we really wait until other countries do something for us?

Do they really even care? Why reformist parties in Iran do not really show their programme and strategies if they have any? Why just sit in the parliament and do nothing for weeks? Don't we have the experience of years and years and don't we know that it really doesn't work? Having a lot of association parties and groups is very important but the most important point is how they collaborate. It doesn't matter whether they are religious or non-religious, the point is that they have the same goal which is freedom in Iran and the rule of law and democracy in a very established way, based on our culture, and gauged upon our needs and the human rights. It is really a massive work and we need to know the free parameters, to have the option to be able to change to another if one approach didn't work.

Another point:

Does it really make sense that the Iranian associations outside the country write: "We are a non-political association," with the goal of helping the Iranian people? Your life, my life, and every Iranian life is connected with politics; your qualified friend can't get job, visa, grant; It's all because [and part] of the politics. Of course on the other hand the economic improvement should be supported as a parallel approach and other activities should be used to bring the communities closer.

Khatami and his followers' diplomacy has failed. Do you think now it is better to elect the bad rather than the worst or elect none at all? if the latter is correct so what should be the plan? It is a tough question but it better be answered once!

Saeed S at April 12, 2004 06:56 PM [permalink]:

"Why reformist parties in Iran do not really show their programme and strategies if they have any?"

Iran's biggest political problem - aside from cultural problems which take generations to be solved - is the constituition. It's practically dictotarship going on in Iran. You can't really expect reform in the current frame. Khane az paybast viran ast!

I blame reformists to be too sheepy! I don't blame them for the lack of strategy.

Hamid Reza Maei at April 13, 2004 04:54 AM [permalink]:

Saeed, why should we have a dictatorship sort of constitution after more than half a century; fighting for democracy?.
What constitution would we like to replace with the current one?! In "Shah" era, when reformists were fighting for democracy, what sort of constitution they had in mind?.
Was it really publicized; if there was any?.
You are right, reformists have to follow the current constitution and they are tighed with it, no blame!; but what I wanted to mention was there are a lot of scattered ideas about democracy and they have not been able to unify their goals with some specific programs. The main point I wanted to mention was reformist parties didn't have any organized plan after boycotting the election. Now they are claiming they are preparing for presidential election!. How come?; if there is such a constitution and such a nightmare guardian council!.

JFTDMaster at April 13, 2004 08:46 PM [permalink]:

"Iran's biggest political problem - aside from cultural problems which take generations to be solved - is the constituition."
- A constitution is a piece of paper. What peope decide to do, how people organize themselves, who they ask for help, how they prepare for change (and if necessary battle) determines what happens in a nation.

If you come determined to change the government, organized and easily capable of it, the dictators might back down peacefully. If you wait for them to change while they are determined to stay in power, they will stay in power.

The Pagan at April 14, 2004 05:57 AM [permalink]:

"A constitution is a piece of paper."

What a word of wisdom! Dude, your degree is a piece of paper, a marriage certificate is a piece of paper, the law that protects you is a piece of paper, who you are to the world is a piece of paper.

Saeed S is absolutely right about the constitution. Moreover, I have to emphasize on the role of culture. People had a chance in 1979 and they chose the Islamic Republic. The same thing is happening in Iraq all over. Why do you always assume that all the nice people are constantly asking for all the best, and the bad guys up there don't let them have it? What percentage of people would vote for secular government?

Our nation is a century behind the rest of the world (well, the advanced part). There is no concept of social freedom whatsoever. There is little understanding of political freedom. There is a substantial demand for real intellectuals who almost don't exist at the moment. I believe it is utterly unrealistic to think a top-down reform approach (specially one initiated by some clueless people) may work by itself. At the very least, it has to be accompanied by some bottom-up approach that aims at educating ordinary people.

JFTDMaster at April 14, 2004 10:36 AM [permalink]:

Britain never had a constitution, despite being centuries old, are they any less of a nation?

If you operate within the legal framework of your state, within the framework of your constitution, you will never change it, because according to this constitution, the power is in the hands of an unelected "supreme council" that wants this power. This is what I think, do you think its true?

Decide on a goal: for example, a democratic Iran. Then the most important thing to do is to come up with a plan: how to change things. Here's my suggestion: organize as many groups who support a real democracy into an "alternative government", and organize networks all across Iran to support that alternative government.
Regardless of whether you want to "take the power back" by yourself (peacefully or otherwise), or if you want someone to help you from outside (say the US if the circumstances are right), you have to organize an alternative.

WhoMan at April 14, 2004 04:23 PM [permalink]:

"Dude, your degree is a piece of paper, a marriage certificate is a piece of paper, the law that protects you is a piece of paper, who you are to the world is a piece of paper"

Do you marry, study, and live for a piece of paper? Without your love and persistance in your study those papaers are just meaningless.

I second with JFTDMaster. Britain has never had a written constitution, and if you compare the Iranian constitution with many democratic countries' including Canada, you will see it is even more progressive in its core. Did you know the Queen can dissolve the Parliament in the UK with a snap of the finger and rule like a dictator? Prime ministers in Canada and UK can stop calling elections every 4 or 5 years, and rule like kings. There is nothing in the constitution barring them from that. The only thing that discourages the Queen in Britain (and prime ministers) is called DISCRETION and TRADITION or even probably MATURITY. That is what the supreme leader in Iran should have whereas he does not apparently have. The rest of the people in the government lack the same virtue too.

Hamid at April 14, 2004 04:33 PM [permalink]:

"Constitution in Iran"

I think one of the most important issues and problems in Iran apart from the lack of established future plans is:

1)Its constitution.

2)The idea of combination of religion and democracy or whatever you call!

Hmmm! The second one may offend some people.
But before criticizing me let me explain:
How do we define democracy?
Democracy is literally "rule by the people". It means you have to
give the right to each single
person apart from whether they
are majority or minority.
Roughly speaking, the country has
to run proportionaly by these
people. How come you set the
rules of religion in government
and on the other hand you want
to allow every body has a portion
of right to run the country?
Even though there is a very liberal
idea about that religion in
government but still you have
biased the rules toward a group
or an idea.

Unfortunately that happens everywhere.
Please note I mentioned religion
because it is one of the most
controvesial problems in Iran.
Some of the so-called sekularism
countries like france might be
in the same category although
with different weights
(by banning women's hijab in
schools, which ofcourse is
not democracy either with
the above definition!).

I should mention the above one
is very general definition
of course we expect people's
activity shouldn't cause harm
to the others
(I'm not sure I said it accurately!).

Eswin at April 15, 2004 04:30 PM [permalink]:

Point of Information:

Australia, Canada, NZ, and the UK all belong to the Common Law Constitutionalist tradition. These countries' constitutions are made up of conventions, practices, and written (legislated) documents. If your definition is a minimalist one, the one that defines a constitution as one document or a single body of complementary documents, well then perhaps you are being too narrow about it.

The office of the Prime Minister of Canada, for example, has not even been mentioned in the British North America Act and the later additions (the Constitution Act of 1982), so does it mean that it is an unconstitutional office? Of course not and if so, then the governor general, and not the Queen can exercise that power. Do not forget that Canadian constitution has been repatriated.

As for the UK, there are several ACTS OF PARLIAMENT that are automatically constitutional documents, such as the Acts concerning Fundamental Rights (Human Rights Act of 1999, down to Queen Ann's Bill of Rights and of course Habeas Corpus and Magna Carta)and the Reform of the Parliament, both Houses, as well as the ones concerning Unity and Evolution (the Scottish and Welsh Assemblies and the terms of the union as stipulated in the Union of Act of 1714 that officially created the United Kingdom of Great Britain).

You may say, though, that British constitution is a flexible and unconsolidated one.

Stuart H. at May 10, 2004 06:29 PM [permalink]:

Beyond Northern Iqaq page. Welcome.