When there's no democracy

Jahanshah Javid
by Jahanshah Javid

Thanks for your thoughts on Islam and violence in my previous blog.

One thing I have often noticed is that we are quick to blame Islam for everything bad. That's understandable, given what we have seen in the Islamic Republic, and numerous terrorist acts by Muslim radicals for many years.

But the problem is not religion. It really isn't. If you think only Islamists have been prone to violence, think again. ALL major religions, past and present, have resorted to violence to kill or dominate other believers and non-believers.

For centuries, Christians, Jews and Muslims have fought and killed each other in the millions, if you add them all up. Religious leaders from each group have used their holy books to justify murdering infidels and enemies.

The problem we face today is not Islam, its prophet, or the Qoran. The problem is that the separation of state and religion has been slow to develop in Muslim-majority countries.

In democratic countries, where freedom of thought and religion have become institutionalized, religious extremism is at its weakest.

In Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia where democracy is stronger than other parts of the "Islamic World", radical Islamic groups are a small minority.

On the other hand, it should come as no surprise that nearly every "Islamic" terrorist act in the past three decades or so has been carried out by individuals from largely non-democratic countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco...

So the problem is not religion. The problem is that religion becomes a tool for violence where authoritarian regimes do not allow the people to think, speak and act freely.

These are just my observations as a journalist for the past thirty years or so.


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by Nur-i-Azal on

Take healthcare in the U.S. What the Obama administration proposed and
got through Congress was already decided? So all the fierce debates
between Democrats and Republicans was a show? Is it a given that
whatever Obama or Brown or Sarkozy demand the people and legislators
will bow down and accept?

So you deny that the big special interest/lobbyist regime in US politics has strait-jacketed the system, and that the system is effectively no  longer a representative democracy other than in word? This is a rather naive pollyana approach to the nature of contemporary American politics; that is, unless you are deliberately acting the poster-boy!

Take the healthcare reform that Obama did actually get through. It is still nowhere near the kind of universal healthcare system Americans actually need or that Europe, Australasia or Canada already have. Besides the silly socialist typecast fear-mongering in American politics, why is there a visceral resistance to national universal health-care of European scope in the USA? It has nothing to do with socialism and everything to do with the private corporate health-care industry (not to mention the pharmaceutical companies) and the fact that under a European style universal healthcare system they can no longer operate (nay, plunder the American public) on the level, scale and scope that they have been.

These groups and interests put their political action commitees and lobbyists at work in Washington and state capitols and they sabotage any efforts where the long term interests (and profits) of their industry might potentially be hurt in any way. They contribute to politicians and their campaigns, and these politicians are in turn beholden to their interests -- then you have the pork-barrels. How you think such a system is actually democratic and beneficial to the common good, sure beats the heck out of me and many others who have been complaining about such a sorry state of affairs in US politics for decades?

Universal healthcare is only one notable example, and there are many other examples as well. But under such a big special interest/lobbyist political regime, you are no longer living under any kind of representative democracy, but rather a corporate plutocracy!

Take this, for example: there are some people out there who believe that the Clinton administration's attempt to break-up the Microsoft monopoly in late 1999/2000 was ultimately responsible for the forces that coalesced around George W Bush to steal that 2000 election from Al Gore, since a Gore administration would've undoubtedly pursued this anti-trust drive against Microsoft to its ultimate conclusion. If true, then "we the people" has absolutely no real concrete tangibility or meaning in US politics, and hasn't for a long time as many believe.

Is this the kind of democracy you have in mind for a future post-mullocratic Iran?  BTW since you've started censoring my messages again this one is crossposted to USENET. FYI



by Cost-of-Progress on

come on now.....you people have had my ancestoral land for 30 years, sucked her resources, killed many many of her people and dragged her name through mud in the inetrnational community. Before that for almost 1400 years you have polluted her gene pool among other atrocities. One good thing that came out of this (at a high price of course) is the fact hat most Iranians' eyes are now wide open as to just what kind of cult you people are peddling.......No more...

It is time for you maggets to GO!

And go you shall. Kicking and screaming....., yeah,  but you'll go......





this is not islam.

by yashar_ahari on

The thing is the majority of iranians have opened there eyes to see that the islamic regime is only using Islam and it is not islamic at all - if it was it would'nt rape woman in prisons and execute people.

 The iranian culture is changing drasticly aswell- Iranian people have started to think democracticly and act it aswell, which is why iran is ready to be democraticly - For 6 months now millions of iranians have protested peacefully against this regime. For democracy and freedom. I ohnastly believe iran is ready to be democratic and thats why we need to overthrow this government becasue its impossible to make it even the slightest bit democratic. Oh and the only allies khomeni and his gang of shiite monkeys have is hamas and bloody chavez....

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

You do Iranian people a disservice. We are not stupid. Iran has 3000+ years of history to build upon. I know to Islamists there is nothing past 1400 years ago. But to most of Iranians there is. How do you think I came to be? I did not just spring up out of nothing. My parents are Azeri and Lor by tribal nature. But more important we are Iranians. We revered Iran before there was Islam and we will be Iranians well after Islam is history. That is what will keep Iran united not some bearded shepeshoo.

As for a Rahbar no to VF. There are far better people available to do the job. Real democracy means elected leaders every so many years we will pick a new one.  We do not need an unelected Islamic dictator. If we need a symbol then RP will do. Get it in your head: Islam is anti-Iranian and anti-human. No way we are going to fall for that again. The imemorable G.W. says: "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."


Democracy in Iran means victory of Islamic groups for sure

by mannya2001 on

Iranians like Iraqis are not prepared as a society for democracy and free elections.  But assuming that it were to happen, Islamic groups would surely have the upper hand w/o a doubt.  The reasons are as follows:

1. while the consitution will be fought over, amended....etc, the Islamic groups already have a 1400 yr old constitutional manual ie Quran that will be a source of stability and unity for them whilst other groups switch alliances and search for a common ground.

2, Islamic groups have a very good track record of organizing and propagating their ideas

3. Islamic groups will always have other Islamic groups in foreign countries to count on when aid is needed

4. Islamic groups have a stronger influence over lower classes and can easily bring the masses out for street protests

5. Islamic events and in particular Shiite celebrations will be an opportunity for Islamic groups to maintain their hold and influence

In such a system, there will be no victor other than Islamic groups.  In the very immediate short term, other groups might rise as a reaction to people's sentiments.  In the long term, Islamic groups will be in control

In such a system, the only way secular and non religious groups can make a difference is by arguing, appealing, postponing  and in general filibustering.

The country's affairs and ministries will be put on hold due to filibustering.  Nothing will move forward or be accomplished. 

People will get very frustrated and wish for the days Khamenie was ruling.

In summary, the Iranian society will always need a GUIDE/RAHBAR or someone with the final word.  A pragmatic and more reformed Velayate Faqih is the only solution for Iran's short and long term politcal system (at least until next 50 years).

Without VF, with free and open elections, the fissures will widen and there would be a great amount of ethnic tensions with Baluchis, Arabs, Turks & Kurds all asking for their "fair" share of the budget. 

In short, free and open democracy and elections will be the start of the fleecing and weaking of the Persian communities.

For further info. please refer to Iraq.  A single amendment takes atleast 6 months amidst intense bickering.  Sunnis are vs Shia. Turkmans vs Kurds and so on ......



by yashar_ahari on

Islam can not be reformed. How can you reform the sharia law.. we need to REMOVE islam from power and then work on making iran better and more democratic.


JG, your comments echo my conversations with Turkish

by Hovakhshatare on

friends in Istanbul. No reasonable person compares Turkish governments to the radicals in IRR. The issue is quality of democracy and whether it can withstand religion. As I mentioned in my earlier comments, religious parties use levers of democracy to usurp it and bring religion to public arena. This has happened to some extent in Turkey as you point out and the fact that it compares to Western European Christian activity does not make it any less dangerous in the long run. The fear of Islamism and its dangers to the Turkish democracy are real as you also seem to point out. Some call it cultural changes. I hope the Nationalist & islamist can balance each other out somehow, because the current assault on military and wiretapping, including the trials of 80 military officers seems like an assault on the defensive mechanisms that the wise Ata Turk put in place to ensure secularity of Turkish democracy.

Sagh Olasan Afandim


about Turkey

by JG on

Before starting I would like to thank Mr. Javid for his wonderful website - a modern version of the Greek agora!

I would like to comment Mr. Javid's following quote The "Islamic" party that holds majority in parliament is nothing like radical Islamic groups we know in other countries. Turkey's Muslim politicians have not turned the country into an Islamic state or implemented the sharia. They are hardly any different than Christian conservative parties in Western countries.

1. In Turkey most people are Sunni Muslim, and there are Alevi Muslim, Christian and Jewish minorities. In my opinion, the three main Turkish parties  (AKP - Islamic, CHP - 'secular', MHP - nationalist) support Sunni Islam covertly (e.g. the Kemalists closing the Halki Orthodox Seminary in 1971 or the absence of reaction after the 1993 massacre of the Alevis in Sivas) or overtly (e.g. PM Erdogan a few years ago - The mosques are our barracks, the faithful are our troops, the domes are our helmets, the minarets are our bayonets!).

2. AKP is in power since 2002 and the bulk of its members are Anatolian conservative Sunni Muslims, some of which had become wealthy in the past years but were always despised by the Kemalist elite. AKP realized it needed Europe's liberal laws for enabling that new rich religious class to enjoy the same rights as the Kemalist elite. Therefore they applied for EU membership. When it dawned upon them that it would last years before Turkey joined the EU, there was a rapprochement between the AKP and the mostly nationalist army - which was always strongly against the EU.

3. Therefore, only very few in the AKP are genuinely pro-democratic and open-minded. This can be seen e.g. vis-à-vis the religious minorities: the political elite hardly reacted during the continuous persecution of the Alevis and when the Italian priest Santoro, the Turkish-Armenian activist Dink or the three Malatya Protestant converts were assassinated. Moreover, in some neighbourhoods it is increasingly difficult for a woman not to wear a headscarf of to find alcohol (e.g. the Fatih neighbourhood in Istanbul).

4. But there is hope in Turkey: a human-rights-loving minority is becoming increasingly vocal, e.g. the 'we are all Armenians' demonstration after Dink's funeral. However, I think that the proportion of such people is much greater in your potentially wonderful country, Iran.

5. Politically, the best think would be that the Kemalist CHP abandon its jingoism and become open-minded. This seems to have started.

6. Last but not least, I would like to recommend the blog of a modern Turkish Islamist with whom I seldom agree but whom I respect because I think he is honest: Mustafa Akyol www.thewhitepath.com

kind regards


Darius Kadivar

Anonymouse Jaan Suis Ton Destin ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Darius Jan

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Thank you for a very through response. As well as a historical perspective.

It fully covers existing constitution. However I like to also know what you and others like to see in the future. We have to be realistic; after the Islamic Republic a new constitution is going to be written. It will not be exactly the Pahlavi era one because there will be other forces at work so any Monarchist constitution would have to be updated before it is presented for a referendum.

Therefore I will pose a few but important questions:

  • What amount  of power will the Monarch have? It is ceremonial like UK or real like it used to be in Iran.
  • How would they be replaced if a Monarch was unfit . Of course the fewer a Monarch's powers the less critical it would be to replace them if the need were to arise.


So DK jaan this is all about Utopia?! Pass the dutchie?!

by Anonymouse on

Pass the dutchie on the left-hand side?! 

Everything is sacred.

Darius Kadivar

Anonymouse Jaan ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

It's Called Utopia.

And As Far as I know Democracy Was also a Utopia before it became a Reality.

Particularly in Great Britian where it was born Far Earlier than in Republican France with it's bloody French Revolution and Reign of Terror ( Followed by  two Empires)  or in it's Former Colony the United States ( where the latter hardly delivered democracy to it's black or colored population until the late 1960's).

Et Oui ;0)


But We Will ...



Hee Hee




DK jaan you paint a wishy washy definition of Monarchy!

by Anonymouse on

Everything is sacred.

Darius Kadivar

Answer to VPK on Constitution

by Darius Kadivar on

Thank you for your patience VPK Jaan,

I am not an expert in Constitutional law but from what I do know if that the 1906 constitution was drafted on the Belgian Constitution of the Time. The Belgian Monarchy is a much younger dynasty than that of it's fellow European Monarchies but is a Constitutional one. One will have to compare the two texts that is the Persian and Belgian one to see if all the entries are identical and particularly compare it to the current Belgian Constitution given that it must have evolved like any other draft over the decades through various amendments.

Our 1906 Constitution also must have evolved from it's original draft which was initially written during the last Qajar Kings.

How democratic is it effectively, is a good question. What is certain is that it was often overlooked by both the Qajar Shah's and the Pahlavi Kings. I use the word "Often" and Not "Always" because the Iranian Parliment benefitted from periods of total freedom under both the Qajars and the Pahlavis but particularly under the last Pahlavi Shah (MRP) during the first 12 years of his reign where he reigned but did not rule. That was prior to the events of 1953 and the Oil Crisis of the Mossadegh years.


How much of this freedom was applied in Foreign Relation policies or the Military I don't know. I gather that the Shah as head of State had his own prerogatives when it came to these two political sectors which as a matter of fact is often the case for all heads of State including in democracies. French President François Mitterand for instance lost major elections in the late 1980's which forced him to accept a government run by his political opponents ( Chirac and Balladur) during two terms known as "La Cohabitation". But each time the President had full control in these two major domaines.

But other than that, I suppose that the Shah let the government take responsabilities for the success or failures of it's policies and simply appeared as a Constitutional King whom no one questioned the legitimacy.

After 1953, things changed radically because the Shah would select his prime ministers and name them to the parliment for approval and like in all dictatorial or authorative regimes the result was a vast majority.

However the country had a two party system that gave it some democratic appearance where debates in Parliment were free. The White Revolution reforms were seen as great leaps into modernity so the difference's of opinion between the two parties was mostly based on technical differences than ideological. So democratic or not, ideological debates did not take place as openly as one would expect in a normal democracy. 

But by the mid 70's the Shah's major mistake was to impose a One Party System with the Rastakhiz on grounds that it would boost civil participation and encourage national unity towards what he boastfully called "The Great Civilization" where modernity and economic well being were promised to all.

By doing so, he stepped into the Political arena which normally is not possible for a Constitutional King. It frustrated liberals and all who wanted to see more political freedoms and the advent of political parties outside the authorized ones that existed. Left Wing or Nationalist politicians were thuse more and more frustrated by the political climate and to see a Prime Minister like Hoveyda remain in office for more than a decade. This also explains why after Hoveyda's tenure was put to an end due to the economic crisis and inflation, many successive governments replaced one another particularly during the early years of 1977- 1979 where the revolutionary climate seemed to appear in the streets and even the parliment.

When the Shah aired one of the first debates on TV it created a scandal because people for the first time saw heated debates between deputies and government officials which prior to that were seen as competent.

I personally however recall that the Press in Iran was fairly free but always politically correct. There were satirical newspapers like TOFIG where the government and the ministers could be criticized and made fun of. But No one could make fun of the Royal Family for instance unlike in Great Britain. The foreign press could be purchased easily regardless of what was published. Probably some issues of Time Magazine or Newsweek would not be sold in vast numbers if it contained articles hostile to Iran or the Shah but one could always find a copy in the Airports and the level of censorship could vary given the mood of the government or the Shah's own concerns.

So one cannot claim that the Press in Iran was entirely free. It was not worse however than in other progressive countries like neighbouring Turkey or Morroco today.

But back to the Constitution. Some major changes were made by the Shah himself in regard to his succession. The 1906 constitition was a male oriented one. The Shah could only be succeeded by a male heir to the throne. But the Shah passed on an amendment to the parliment that named the Empress as Regent if he were to die of natural death or not or if  he could not assume his royal duties due to illness or anyother reason that could justify a vacuum of power. But Only until the Crown Prince reached the age of 20 where he would be asked to take Oath in Parliment as King or King to be just like his own father 38 years earlier.

Due to the Revolution, the Crown Prince could not take Oath as King in Parliment so he made that Oath in exile as "Roi de Jure" which explains why his followers call him already Reza Shah II but in practice he just holds the Title of Crown Prince or Shahzadeh and that is how he is also refered to by his secretariat and by his official entourage.

Again given the "male" interpretation of the Constitution the Second in line to the throne is Prince Ali Reza and not their sister Princess Farahnaz which would have been the case in most ( but not all) European monarchies where there is no gender distinction made in this regard. However the Pahlavis were the first to Crown their Queen in many years so the popularity and the various responsabilities that were held by the Empress suggested that the Shah aimed or at least would not have opposed a Queen to succeed to him in the person of a daughter or granddaughter. But for that the Parliment and the Constitutional Assembly would have to give their approval.

So basically Princess Noor ( RP's first born daughter) could only be named Crown Princess if the Constitution is Amended.

Given that if the Monarchy is Restored the Constitution will have to be updated while maintaining the essential laws that clearly stipulate the Seperation of Powers ( Executive, Legislative) one could imagine a less gender oriented rule of succession.

What makes a Constitution stable is it's level of flexibility to change. They can and are often updated by Amendments including in Democracies. France is under it's 5th Constitution if I am not mistaken and that does not mean that the Constitution has been replaced because the regime remains a Republic but is updated in order to reinforce the rights of the citizen or allow more flexibility for the President in case of institutional crisis' with the Parliment for instance.

But none of this can be done by arbitrary decision by the King or President. It is usually carried out after debate and vote in Parliment then submitted to the Senate or Constitutional Assembly for further further drafting and Only when the final draft is outlined it has to be submitted to the Parliment once again for a final vote.

The Key of any Democratic Constitution is to enforce the rights of the Parliment and theirfore the citizen over that of the government while allowing the State to be Run without major crisis.

For instance in France when the 1968 violent protests turned the country upside down and revolution was in the Air, the institutions were strong enough so that the country could not turn into a dictatorship. But were it not for a wise President De Gaulle who perfectly understood the Constitution's rules he was able to operate within legal and democratic means to bring calm back to the nation and organize free elections after dissolving the Parliment.

Naturally with a newly found democracy to be whether it ultimately is a Constitutional Monarchy or a Republic, those who draft the Constitution will have to brainstorm all worse case scenarios in order to come up with a text that will allow a government to operate or resign without risking an institutional crisis that would result in bringing down the entire regime or lead to resorting to violence by the  police of Armed forces in order to maintain civil peace.

Such questions demand competant lawyers used to such legal and political questions. One can imagine a similar gatherings of lawyers, philosphers and Statesmen who drafted the American Constitution in it's final form. The Constitution of the United States has evolved over the past centuries but the core which has to protect the individual rights of the citizen has remained unchanged since 1776.

The same should be done for the next constitution.

Actually Shapour Bakhtiar basically answers some of your other questions in regard of how to carry out the transition towards a democratic State after the fall of the IRI:


The other issues like the choice of the flag etc are things which cannot be decided beforehand, however if one considers Restoration it would seem logical that the Shiro Khorsheed Flag be restored as well as the Pahlavi Emblem. This was the case for Spain after Franco ( although the latter did not entirely modify the Flag but the Fascist Party Flag prevailed over the Spanish Flag).

However minor Symbols like for the military uniforms or that of the offices of the ministeries etc which do not have the same importance as our national Flag can be modified in due course but if one looks at the Russian Army for instance they basically have kept theirs intact.

The Polish however are quite interesting cause although they declared a Republic after the Fall of Communism, they restored their Royal Flag to represent them which is a Red and White Flag and an Eagle Crest with a Crown on Top to remind them of their Royal heritage.

The Russians also restored the Royal Flag of the Tzars but not the Royal Crest.

So I suppose anything would be possible but that will depend on the nation's behavior to such changes and no government can impose such changes without debates in Parliment.

How is the Royal Family Funded ? In the UK the Royal Institution costs something like 6.6 pence per tax payer. It represents something like 37 Million Pounds Per Year which includes not just the Queen's Salary but also that of her employers that work for the Royal Estates ( gardners, guards, etc ) but also State Dinners, Wardrobes etc :


But Royal or Not they pay taxes ( for the Queen it's only recent but it is being copied in other Kingdoms also like in Morroco which is an interesting evolution). If they become indepted like the Duchess of York ( Sarah Fergoson) they have to refund the government. Princess Sarah Ferguson is currently accumulating jobs as a film producer and other activities in order to pay back her banks and reinburse for her taxes.

So if tomorrow PRince Ali Reza or Princess Farahnaz or their children if they have any or even if Princess Noor, Iman or Farah have financial difficulties they cannot seek help from the government. The goal is not to turn them bankrupt but responsible and so they will not be above the Law.

But they will not be under the Law either. If the Press attacks their private lives naturally they can try to sue them through legal means as is done in all democratic nations and Great Britain with their tabloids.

The Key is the have all these issues debated in parliment and pass ammendments in order to improve the Constitution over the years.

Hope it answers some of your questions. But again I am not a lawyer so all this is merely as I understand it and should not be taken as accurate to the letter. But I think it corresponds to how things are usually done in regard to Constitutional Monarchies in Europe.


RESTORATION: Belgium King Baudouin takes Oath Amidst Republican Animosity (31st July ,1950)

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Re: Malaysia To Fight Court

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


MM Jan,

Imagine a group of brothers and sisters each vying for their parent's attention. They decide to have different nicknames for their parents. Then they fight over who is right and who is wrong. Who gets to use which name. Who is the favorite and who has to cleanup the cat box. This is what is going on.

In a family the parents will eventually tell the kids to coll it and sort things out for them. Unfortunately god is not doing that. So the kids go on yelling and screaming without supervision.

The only solutions I see are: either

  • God has to show up; give all the kids timeout and get them to behave.
  • People need to grow up and stop acting like kids. No longer worry about if they are the favorite kid of god.

Since the first one ain't gonna happen then the latter is the only option.

Unfortunately the faithful like AN are going to do all they can to make God or at least Mehdi show up in person. They figure if they make enough of an ass out of themselves God will have no choice but to either show up or send someone to sort things out. If that happens they may be in for an unexpected surprise!

Jahanshah Javid

Natural competiion

by Jahanshah Javid on

Javandmard, there just isn't any system of government out there that can work as well as a democracy. There's no one kind of democracy but they all have certain common principles, notably freedom of speech, freedom of religion and a variety of individual rights.

Competition -- what you call an unfortunate byproduct of democracy -- is the healthiest form of exchange of ideas. Competition among political factions in democracies takes place in a non-violent fashion. Advocates of the left, right and center fight it out in the realm of views and ideas and ultimately the people decide which side will held power for a limited time.

In non-democratic societies, competition is between those who have the greatest control over the police, security and military organs, in other words violence is routinely used to against opponents.

It is impossible to get rid of competition. It is impossible for everyone in any society to believe in the same things. Some people will support war, some will be against. Some will want universal healthcare, some would prefer private insurance. Some want higher taxes, some lower. Some want more money allocated to education, some want their taxes be spent on building more prisons.

There's nothing all people agree on. There will always be differences of opinion and that translates into competition among politicians who take one side or the other.

You say in democracies, "consultation has turned into a bit of a joke where the government pretends to be consulting about issues that it has already decided about and after a token period of consultation, they go ahead with the decision they had already made."

Take healthcare in the U.S. What the Obama administration proposed and got through Congress was already decided? So all the fierce debates between Democrats and Republicans was a show? Is it a given that whatever Obama or Brown or Sarkozy demand the people and legislators will bow down and accept? No at all. Read the news on any given day.



by javanmard on

JJ wrote: "There already is a tried and tested system of government based consultation and cooperation of all people, religious and non. It's called democracy. That's my preference."

Unfortunately modern Western liberal democracy is based not on cooperation but on competition and conflict between political parties. I may be wrong but I think the only times the two parties in US cooperated in any significant way in the last decade was after 9/11 and after the financial crash of 2008. In other words only a major disaster gets you cooperation in this system and then only because it would loose them votes not to be seen to be cooperating.

As for consultation, that has turned into a bit of a joke where the government pretends to be consulting about issues that it has already decided about and after  a token period of consultation, they go ahead with the decision they had already made. 

That is how I see things - you obviously have a more rose-tinted view.


Re: Malaysia To Fight Court

by MM on

While many are trying to convey that these religions are being serviced by the same God, why would Malasia want to fight the use of Allah by non-Muslims?  That is just the kind of situation that creates the kind thinking that, well:

* I guess they do have a different God

* My God is better than yours (as in the bumper-sticker "My Lawyer Can Beat Yours")

* So, who is your God, again


Just sad



Velayat-e Mardom!

by Taqizadeh on


David ET

JJ : learn from your iranian.com experience

by David ET on

When you started the new format of Iranian.com , you also had your utopian thinking of "everything goes" presuming that means democracy and some of us from day one told you that there is a difference between that and democracy and by everything goes , you simply allow the ones who do not care about democracy to grow , the same ones who do not care about freedom and democracy. Nearly one year later you learned the hard (by putting us through much unnecessary abuse) that indeed accountability is important and required everyone to be registered and the problems subsided.

When it comes to general society you are still in the same frame of mind. On one hand you say you want secularism and on the other hand you want to allow the religious parties in the government!! Those whose goals and ideology is un-secular and you presume you are doing it in the name of freedom! Letting those who are not secular, who do not believe in freedom for all to govern !

You need to make up your mind. If you want secularism, then the seculars (no matter what their personal religion and thoughts are) are the ones who can hold political offices.

Everyone can and should be able to practice their religions and ideologies and express them but they can not impose it on others (govern by them) or that is not secularism.

If you want freedom and democracy , we must think of it as a flower that needs care and protection everyday. 

and not allowing religious parties and clerics run for office does not create dictatorship, but allowing those who do not believe in secularism , those who want to impose their God on others does.

and this is not a personal view but a lesson learned from many secular democracies whose foundation have become threatened by religious parties from Turkey to USA. 

Like I wrote when you were doing the everything goes in Iranian.com, we should learn from experience of others and not try to reinvent the wheel. (an Iranian problem in general) 




Article 8 

The government of Iran is secular and there shall be no official religions or ideologies. The government of Iran shall remain independent of any religious institutions and influences. Government shall not promote any specific religions, ideologies or personal beliefs. In order to secure the Separation of religion and the state, the secular constitution of Iran strictly prohibits participation of any religious based groups and parties in all local, regional, provincial and national institutions of the government. This would also extend to anyone who holds a religious title or leadership, clergy and alike. Religion and religious groups will have freedom to practice their religion peacefully. Individuals within the government may have personal religious preferences but they can not enforce any religious laws and restrictions.



Sorry,I'm late to this conversation but it is an important topic

by oktaby on

and David ET, Hovakhshatare, Vildemouse, Khar & Dk, IHACOAT made solid contributions on already. Your main point jj is correct that democracy should be a complete one and not limited. At practical level it has always been a different story. Democracy, is a modern concept and its flagship U.S. that opened democratic doors for its own people at the expense of the rest of the world, starting with native Americans. The European version is hardly different even if it is more socialistic than American version. Also, as the laws of capital have taken hold, more of those very same societies are significantly less democratic compared to 10, 20, 30 or post worls war II era. Some of the East European versions are democracies only in name. Indeed any success with democracy has been in places where religion has not been a factor or the society was already advanced and/or wealthy, as someone pointed out already.

One could readily argue that the Moroccan, Iran (of Shah's time), Tunisian, or Malaysian or Turkish forms of governments are more democratic than the American or European version. Note that I did not say better but more. In all of these countries there is a better distribution of wealth and lesser fundamental rifts in society. I appreciate the freedoms we enjoy here in U.S. but to suggest this is democracy is a stretch. What we trade for this 'freedom' is way too high a price. I take Iran of pre IRR over today's U.S. any day of the week and not just because it is my homeland. And I'm not even a monarchist. My last assertion may prove controversial but I'll be glad to discuss.

The democracy you are talking about is utopian and can only exist in a gloabl context and there is little indication that is the direction the world is moving in. I wrote a related article, 'Is democracy a relic of the past?' (//iranian.com/main/2009/oct/democracy-relic-past) that covers this from the perspective of what Iranian movement might expect but the case can readily be made for dozens of countries and problems around the world.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

I agree Souri

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

I am a bit disappointed with the shift in the blog. Oh well. What can we do? Most people don't have an appetite for discussing religion. Can you blame them?


Ooooch! I stand corrected

by Souri on

I thought that the subject of this blog was : Bashing Islam Vs Democracy ?????????

But you may be right. Every discussion here (from philosophy to the plastic surgery) should finish around RP and his legitimacy.

So much for democracy à la Iranian Monarchy!

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

I agree with JJ and disagree with Souri

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Babak Jan have a field day! Talk all you want abut Baha'i. It is a legitimate topic. Why shouldn't we talk about it? Maybe we will learn something from each other. My vote is that Babak jan have your say :-)

I also think that RP is very relevant to the topic. He is the crown prince of Iran. Like it or not! He is very much a part of Iranian politics. You may not like or support him. But he is a part of Iranian politics.


The only off topic is this RP's subject...

by Souri on

But JJ has never a problem with hijaking his blog :)

An I....well, I do zigzag sometimes too. So, don't worry.

Jahanshah Javid

Feel free

by Jahanshah Javid on

Babak_SD, why are you apologizing? You were not off topic. The Bahai faith has its own ideas about politics. Please discuss if you wish.


My apology Mr. Javid

by Babak_SD on

When I started a conversation on a statement in your blog which I did not agree with, I certainly did not have the intention of hijacking the original intent of your blog.  I see today that many posts after mine had to do with 1 specific religion. 

I will attempt to stick to the subject at hand in future. 

Jahanshah Javid

Free to choose

by Jahanshah Javid on

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek, what you consider bad or wrong or dangerous ideas, is your opinion. The beauty of a democracy is that everyone is free to think and express their views. If you silence your "enemies", then others who disagree with you will try to silence you too.

Once we become adults, we are responsible for our own thoughts and actions. If I choose to become a follower of a dumb religion or ideology, that's no one's business.

Write a book, make a film, deliver speeches... do whatever you can to spread your own ideas and counter any "evil" you see out there. But you cannot stop human beings who have freely chosen their path.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Anonymouse Jan

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

Talking about democracy is cheap and super easy, especially in America
and this i.com.  Finding practical solutions is difficult.

It is not hard. We know the solution for Iran's political problem. It is democracy. We may debate the specifics but the basic problem is solved. Iran already has the Majlis; the office of President and the process of election.  All we have to do is to get rid of the clerical unelected officials. That's it and we have democracy. Sure we have to write details of a constitution but all the building blocks are there. A practical solution is therefore simple.