Sunday, August 3, 2008

My City Tehran


Urban and Rural Councils are a clear manifestation of the democratic processes in Iran. President Khatami made the decision during his first term to finally reinstate the law and perform the nationwide elections in which more than 300,000 Iranians were elected in local councils paving way for the implementation of the Constitution and establishment of the basics of local government and decentralization. The current Government now however, sees the Councils as its rival and competes in limiting the authority of these locally elected bodies. According to legislation passed during the previous government, the state was obliged to delegate its local authority in municipal matters to the Councils , instead they are now narrowing the role and authority of these bodies.


In the Tehran City Council we have decided to meet with the people in each district once a week. It is important for us to engage with the people at the local level and with the local authorities. In addition to a 15 person City Council , the Council has held district elections for more than 300 Friends of the Council Groups who are elected in each district for providing advice and oversight and connecting them with citizens at the local levels. This has proved to be a successful experience although there are still shortcomings and problems in terms of the authority delegated to them as well as their budget and plans. Along with some advisors and members of the Environment Committee we visited District No.One in the north of the city. Our first program was meeting with some local people. They had come to meet and speak with their representative. This is a wealthy sector of the city, and the most expensive in terms of land, rent and other daily expenses. It also has many environmental and social problems like other districts.


A large meeting with the local municipal officials had been arranged . They provided reports on environmental management schemes and waste management projects. I then spoke about the importance of environmental protection , sustainable waste management and the challenges we faced in Tehran and the whole country. I told them I hoped to bring the national and international experiences we had to the local level although, Tehran being so vast and highly populated, is a country by many standards. We then met with the members Friends of the Council . They discussed their local environmental issues and I was quite surprised to see them so well informed and sensitive about environmental standards and particularly the protection of green area and trees.


We then visited some of the projects in the city. We inspected a waste recycling center , a mountain trail managed with the assistance of a local NGO, a riverside cleanup project and some other environmental activities. We were finished about 5 in the afternoon. I felt guilty since I told all these people that we wanted to finish soon and we did not have time to stop for lunch. Yet everyone was now hungry. The delegation agreed it was the best tactic to save time.

3 comments:

kathy said...

this comment is not related to this post, but it's about today's non-answer from Iran to the 5+1:

anybody who understands Iranian culture, understands that the reason they can't give a clear "Yes" answer to this offer is that Iranians just can't give clear Yes or No answers to any question, it's just not in their culture!!!!! especially if the question is in the form of a "demand" or "threat"!!!! God forbid!!!! how dare they talk to us that way??!!! right??? ;-)

so that's why i suggested 6 months ago (on Dr. Larijani's website) that the best way of getting around this, is by making it look like you're saying Yes to your own people's request, rather than to the "demands" of the 5+1!!!

this is where you Dr. Ebtekar, and people like Shirin Ebadi and others come into picture:

if you women can organize a peaceful rally at which, your followers (all kinds of female Iranian students from universities across Iran) would gather and ASK the leadership for more flexibility on the issue, just so that negotiations without preconditions can finally begin, then nobody in the system would "look" weak if they appear to be saying "Yes" to their fellow Iranian compatriots (especially that it will be coming from their sisters and daughters), and say we'll just stop adding more centrifuges for the moment so that we can begin negotiations! there's nothing contrary to Iran's dignity or sovereignty or self-respect when it is done "voluntarily"!!!!

they just don't wanna be saying "Yes Sir" to the outsiders, i understand that!!! i am familiar with the PRIDE and arrogance of Iranian MEN, anybody who's ever known an Iranian man understands this!!! Iranian men are the world's biggest and proudest self-centered macho men ever!!!! they need their wives and sisters and daughters and mothers to come to their aid RIGHT NOW!!!

you Dr. Ebtekar, together with ALL other political women of Iran need to mobilize the women, and get your sisters to come out on the streets (peacefully of course), and demand (nicely of course) some flexibility from their macho leaders! and this week is the time for it!!!

btw, whatever happened to that International Fatima Conference that PressTV reported (a few months ago) was going to be held in Tehran in the first week of August??? it's the first week of August now!

Holly said...

هفته گذشته در جلسه علنی شورای شهر تهران، معصومه ابتکار، یکی از اعضای این شورا، گفته بود که نحوه برخورد ماموران با بدحجابی در قالب اجرای طرح امنیت اجتماعی، اثرات منفی در نسل جوان ایجاد کرده است.


Thank you Massumeh.

Aswana said...

Massumeh, as a career woman, working in International Construction firm, I must say that I'm very proud of you being so involve in looking deeply into the environmental aspects of your Tehran city. I'm planning to visit your country during christmas break with my family and while searching iran on wikipedia website, I found your blogger address. It shows how much freedom in Iran to allow you, a lady sits in such important goverment administration.

In many part of the world, not many people wanted to improvise the waste management system, reducing air polution, discipline their people in terms of "keep the city clean". China at some extend manage to control its people from spitting everywhere and succesful organise an Olympic event. I'm sure Iran can one day, open its window to the world under your current president and bring proud to a muslim world, the way the Persian did during safayid's region.

Keep up a good job and wassalam.