Saturday, October 25, 2008

Speaking to Young Iranian Students

At the heart of political resistance and struggle against despotism and imperialism , the Islamic Students Association (ISA) is a six to seven decade long student movement in Iran. I was invited to speak for an audience of 500 freshmen students newly enrolled and members of the ISA from Tehran University on Thursday. I had to address a very lively and youthful audience on the history and features of the student movement in Iran.

During the Shah's regime, alongside communist activists the ISA formed the major focal points of dissent and resistance. The culmination of their protests and strikes in the universities led to the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Many from the ISA were imprisoned and tortured by the dictatorial regime of the Shah.

After the Revolution, the ISA continued on an independent path to promote a progressive democratic and revolutionary interpretation of the Revolution and Islamic tenants. They faced many pressures from governments which did not approve of their critical and independent positions. The culmination of these pressures led to the 18 th of Tir event in which students faced both physical and psychological trauma.

I spoke about these developments and criticized the current government for some of its policies in curbing the freedom of speech in society and particularly in universities. I also spoke about the generational gap and the need to understand our history and culture and to deal with the globalizing world while preserving our identity and heritage.

The students were constantly responding to my political references to the criticisms of the current government and also to my references to the former President Khatami. They repeated their applause for the political views I was elaborating and seemed very excited about the possibility that Khatami would nominate himself for the upcoming elections.

I am not sure that everybody here in the political spheres of Iran would welcome the idea.


Anonymous said...

all these optimistic things that has been written on this site by readers who leave hopeful comments, all these things that have been written here about how CHANGE is coming, HOPE is coming, and how homegrown democracies (like the one that started to shape in Iran 30 years ago) are going to be given a REAL chance in an Obama World to finally take roots and provide the Iranian PEOPLE with the courage and confidence they need to get up and get rid of their anti-democratic WRONG rulers, all that stuff is NOT a sure thing yet!!!!

a message to all the freedom seeking pro-democracy people of the 3rd world, mostly poor Iranians (who almost had it for one year i.e., 1979-1980 and then lost it before they could realize what happened to them, and then again in 1997 during the Clinton era they tried to have a voice again by electing a pro-democracy president Khatami, but then lost all hope when Ahmadinejad's best friend George W. Bush made sure reformists would be humiliated and defeated in the 2005 elections after he called Iran the Axis of Evil even though its democratic President Khatami had helped the Americans in the War on Terror):

don't get too hopeful yet, there's still one week during which time the enemies of the 3rd world people can blow a devastating blow to your SAVIOR i.e., Barack Obama, and you'll all be back to being pawns in War Games of fascists and racist evil-thinkers who look at your lives as NOTHING, and are planning to get you all in a battle between yourselves (Wahabi Taliban and murderous AlQaeda vs. Shiite Iranians near the Afghan and Pakistani borders, terrorist AlQaeda Sunni Iraqis vs. Shiite Iranians near Iraqi borders, Marxist PKK Kurds vs. their Iranian Sunni brother in Iran's Kurdistan, ...)!!!

don't be fooled by the polls, the justice-seeking, fair, decent, pro-democracy REAL Americans who have been doing all they can since 21 months ago, to elect the first African American 21st century JFK as the leader of the FREE world, can indeed get defeated in a matter of one week! this is the same country that had that 2000 Florida fiasco of hanging chads, don't get fooled by the polls, look at them more carefully:

and then ask yourselves:

is there anything you can do to prove the racist McCain supporters WRONG and show these illiterate bigots that Muslims are NOT their enemies? is there anything you can do within the next 7 days???

show these 43% of Americans what the rest of the world knows, what 75% of Europe knows, what 51% of Americans already know, show them that Obama is right in wanting to give diplomacy AND democracy a chance! show them that your fundamentalist extremist radical rulers (e.g., Ahmadinejad and co.) will be on their way OUT as soon as you the people of Iran see a President Obama in the White House! please show them that the opposite of what they are afraid of is actually what awaits them if Obama gets elected!

to Iranian students:
go on the streets of major Iranian cities (on Iranian Students Day = Nov. 3rd) and march peacefully, show America how Obama is right about the Iranian PEOPLE! show the world what true Islam REALLY looks like!!!! not your scary bassiji opponents, but you the pro-democracy friends of Khatami, go out and show the TRUE face of Islam to the world! it's your Islamic duty! if you love Islam, if you value FREEDOM and INDEPENDENCE, if you still love Khatami, go out and make sure the American people (these 43% who're scared of Muslims) see what true Muslims are capable of!!!! prove to the world that terrorists are in fact the products of fascism, not true Islam!
defeat your own fundamentalists, and that way you have served God and Prophet Mohammad's genuine Islam, by blowing a REAL defeat to the hateful ideology of the Frankenstein of western neocons, i.e., the twisted blaspheming Wahabi AlQaeda, murderous Taliban, extremist Shiite Bassijis, and all those who have been dirtying the face of true Islam!

Anna said...

hi dr. ebtekar!
i just read your other comment on your green ebtekar site, i think it was an answer to my comments, so thank you!
what i said about ISA's perfect chance this year to issue an "apology" or express "regret" for their forefathers' actions in 1979 was perhaps one year too early, but i'm sure you agree that if Obama gets elected, and the diplomatic wheels get going again under a new Iranian Reformist regime next year as well, then such an answer (i.e., Iran's statement of "regret" for the 444 days) as a response to Madeleine Albright's 2000 statement of "regret" for the 1953 coup d'etat, will in fact be the appropriate thing to do if Iran wants to move beyond its past grievances with a new just, peaceful, rational America under the leadership of its first ever African American president Barack Obama!

but for this year, why not take advantage of this opportunity to get this new generation of ISA students excited about demanding respect from the world powers with regard to Iran's peaceful nuclear technology rights, and send a good positive, civilized, democratic, peaceful message to the American voter (a day before they get to vote, Iranian Student's Day = November 3rd) that Obama is right in wanting to engage Iran b/c Iranians are NOT just a bunch of angry "Death to America" chanting extremists??? don't you think that at least such a rally has merits this year, even if what i said about bringing up the 444 days is still too early?