The reactions to Alireza Pahlavi reveal more about the pathos of our politics than the suicide of a person. Mr. Pahlavi’s suicide is tragic and sad. He suffered from depression. Some are genetically predisposed to depression. Traumatic events trigger episodes or long-term depression.
As human beings, we all should feel sorry for our fellow human being who commit suicide. I find the expression of sympathy by so many as one of those healthy signs in our community. I wish to have observed more, much more. Unfortunately, I also observe two forms of pathological responses.
(1) What is pathological is reading glee and happiness over the suicide of a man, a relatively young man. Mr. Alireza Pahlavi did not order any assassination or order the torture of anyone. The sins of this father and grandfather are theirs and theirs alone. Alireza Pahlavi did not commit any crimes.
I find it strange that when someone is down, others want to beat them up further. This is what cowards do. Courage is to stand up and fight against THOSE IN POWER: to expose them, to risk one’s own comfort, to present arguments against them, and ultimately to fight them on the streets. Courage during fighting needs to be completed with magnanimity after defeating one’s enemy. Once the foe has accepted defeat, we need to let them live. There is no honor to take advantage of someone who is down. Courage is what those who stood up and fought against the Pahlavi dictatorship then and against the Islamic Republic’s tyranny today.
In my opinion, today the main problem in Iran is the fundamentalist terrorist regime, and those who promote appeasement of this terrorist regime.
(2) What is also pathological is those monarchists who want use this tragic episode for political gain (not to be confused with those monarchists who are genuinely pained for the sad suicide of a man they consider and call their prince). Instead of grieve, they see opportunity to exploit for personal gain.
The Pahlavi monarchs have committed horrendous crimes from executions, killings, torture, stealing state funds and people’s properties to betraying Iran’s interests to foreign powers. This family has also suffered personal losses. It was courageous to fight against Pahlavi dictatorship when they were in power. It is necessary to fight against them if they want to come back and re-impose their dictatorship. What is bizarre is that there is no realistic chance that the Pahlavi monarchy would ever be re-imposed on Iran. That form of regime belonged to a particular era. Moreover, only a small proportion of the population supports the Pahlavi monarchy (somewhere between 5 and 10 percent). There are several problems with the Pahlavists.
The 5-10% of the population which is wasted on a group with no chance could be better utilized in the democratic opposition which would increase the likelihood of the overthrow of the fundamentalist regime. Monarchists have become even more dictatorial today than they were before 1979. Instead of admitting that the main problems were the lack of freedom, democracy, and human rights, today’s monarchists say the problem was that the Shah did not kill enough people!!!!!!! Although most dictatorial groups in Iran have abandoned their earlier authoritarianism, most monarchists are more dictatorial today then before the revolution. The monarchists spend much of their time attacking other opposition forces, which requires the democratic opposition (which by all indications is the most wanted alternative to the terrorist regime), [see //iranian.com/main/blog/masoud-kazemzadeh/what-do-iranians-want ] from spending its resources against the monarchists instead of against the fundamentalists.
One should not confuse sympathy with political support. To feel sorry for the loss and the grieve of the loved ones is not the same as wishing to be enslaved to their family’s dictatorship. When we see a poor person, we will give him or her some money because we feel sorry for them. This does not mean that we want that poor soul to become our boss.
But everything has its own time and place. When a family is grieving the sad and tragic suicide of one of them, they pose no danger to our lives and our liberties. They are down. As human beings, we should express our sorrow and our sympathies for the loss of an innocent man. I have never felt so awkward writing a blog as this one. This is one blog I did not want to write. When a tragedy calls for our common expression of grief, unfortunately and sadly we observe POLITICAL discussions. The pathologies of our politics has sunk low, very low. Paradoxically, my discussion of this could only be done via discussing politics.
Lets hope that we could wake up and stop this mess that our tortured history has bestowed upon us, our dysfunctional political culture perpetuates it, and we, all of us, are guilty of accentuating it. Our politics is marred by deep divisions. Our political culture suffers from lack of tolerance and empathy. And our political activists are utterly devoid of basic knowledge of our history and democratic principles.
Our community needs to wake up and make serious changes about our priorities. Some time, somehow, we need to put an end to the pathologies that our community suffers from.
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