On His Knees

Khatami's olive branch does not restore humanity in Iran


On His Knees
by Majid Baradar

I have read in the news media that the former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami urging the Islamic Republic leadership and the people of Iran to forgive each other and reach out to each other for the sake of the country's future (Former Iranian president calls for national reconciliatio).

Simply put, Mr. Khatami is offering an olive branch to the two opposing forces with only one common denominator: a time span of thirty two years. On one side, it is the Iranian people oppressed for the last thirty-two years and on the other side are the Shi’a clergy and their Islamist allies who have brutalized Iranians for the last thirty two years.

As it appears, there are two disproportionate and inequitable forces: the Iranian people and their oppressive government. The former wishes liberation for all people while the latter wishes to secure unelected establishments and their continued oppression of the freedom-loving Iranians.

I would like to remind everyone that I advocate a culture of human rights and prevalence of culture of tolerance based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For Iran and Iranians, I desire the end of the vicious cycle of power plays and forceful governance through the bloody elimination of opposition. Moreover, I advocate and strive for the establishment of a solid and cooperative secular-democratic government that would offer all Iranians the freedom to develop this secular system through constructive dialogue.

I am an Iranian-American with love and respect for the constitution and the Bill of Rights in the United States. I am also deeply proud of my Iranian heritage. Consequently, on the topic of olive branch by Mr. Khatami, my stance can be described as pro Western and pro pre-Islamic.

In this view, to shed light on the present situation in Iran and for Iranians, I offer Mr. Khatami and his supporters this quote from Paulo Freire, a fine Brazilian philosopher- writer (from the same Brazil that the Shi’a clergy and their Islamist allies in Iran have attempted to establish a good relationship with) and hope they will genuinely understand the magnitude of their oppression.

Regarding the struggle for humanization and the affirmation of men and women as persons, Paulo Freire says,

“This struggle is possible only because of dehumanization, although a concrete historical fact, is not a given destiny but the result of an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors, which in turn dehumanizes the oppressed.

Because it is a distortion of being more fully human, sooner or later being less human leads the oppressed to struggle against those who made them so. In order for this struggle to have meaning, the oppressed must not, in seeking to regain their humanity (which is a way to create it), become in turn oppressors of the oppressors, but rather restores of the humanity of both.

This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves. Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both. Any attempt to “soften” the power of the oppressor in deference to the weakness of the oppressed almost always manifests itself in the form of false generosity; indeed, the attempt never goes beyond this. In order to have the continued opportunity to express their “generosity”, the oppressors must perpetuate injustice as well. An unjust social order is the permanent fount of this “generosity”, which is nourished by death, despair, and poverty. That is why the dispensers of false generosity become desperate at the slightest threat to its source.

True generosity consists precisely in fighting to destroy the causes which nourish false charity. False charity constrains the fearful and subdued, the “rejects of fire,” to extend their trembling hands. True generosity lies in striving so that these hands – whether of individuals or entire peoples – need be extended less and less in supplication, so that more and more they become human hands which work, and, working, transform the world.”

Mr. Khatami, your olive branch and false generosity at this juncture of great threat to your source is very understanding. As a human rights advocate and for the sake of Iran's future and international peace, I reach out to you and the Shi’a institutions as whole to swiftly reform, democratize, and modernize all the Shi’a institutions to fully conform to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As for Iran and Iranians, as you bear witness this nation is about to rise up strongly to reclaim its destiny and rightful place among civilized and peaceful nations of the world.

Majid Baradar founded 12Petals Media Group. Majid's vision was to develop a community-production based media group with an emphasis on the "culture of human rights" philosophy >>> www.12petals.org

Freire, Paulo. “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” with an Introductory by Danaldo Macedo (pp. 44-45). The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc: New York, 2007


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Good article!

by PArviz on

Khatami seems to be stupid as well as naive.

He, intentionally, does not want to accept that the majority of Iranians have rejected this regime in its entirety. Most Iranians regard this regime as illegitimate and criminal. He does not want the downfall of this regime because he has been one of the top oppressors and we all know what happens to oppressors when things start falling apart in this neck of the woods.

True peace will arrive only when the cause of all this brutality, oppression and barbarity (i.e. The Islamic Republic) is thrown into the dustbin of history along with all those who helped preserve its filthy existence.


Down with the ENTIRE Islamic Republic!