Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Don't Forget to Educate NON-Iranians!

The last several days have been a wake-up call for me. Last week I published an opinion column in the local paper regarding the need for international help in the freeing of Iran. The intent of the article was two-fold. First, I had never written an article for the print media and I wanted to gain some experience in that field. I quickly realized that one of the main concerns of a newspaper is the amount of words you use to make your point! My article was so long that the editors whittled my master-piece into a fraction of what it was. Fortunately for me, the central idea of what I wanted to say was not lost in all the erasing. Unfortunately for me, many of my strongest arguments ended up on the editor's guillotine and my conclusions seemed rather vague. Second, because of the impending nuclear showdown between the Regime and UN, I wanted to inform the public in the United States regarding the dissident movement and to educate them on the crimes of the Regime against the Iranian people.

Let me say that ever since I wrote the article, I haven't had a moment's peace. Many people that know me or who recognized me from my picture in the article have stopped me in the hallways of my university campus in order to discuss Iran. What is even more pleasing is the amount of support that the students on my campus have given for the Iranian people. However, much of my time talking to those same people was spent convincing them that the Regime in Iran does not represent the Iranian people. For instance, many people who were rightfully disgusted at the behaviour of Ahmadinejad also believed that he truly was elected by the Iranian people. Furthermore, I had to spend a lot of time explaining the history of our country and the reasons for the current inaction of the Iranians against the regime.

A great example is a conversation that I had with a Jewish classmate on the subject of anti-semitism. He was rightfully upset at the news comming from Iran regarding the denial of the holocaust and, more recently, the anti-holocaust cartoon contest that is being sponsored by an Iranian paper. First, I had to calm him down. Then I had to make the point very clear that the views of the Regime are different then the views of Iranians as a whole. I reminded him that although the Regime threatens Israel everyday, the real victims are the Iranian people who are killed and sent to prison every day. In the end, I was able to persuade him and to direct his anger at the Regime and not Iranians as a whole. The conversation that I had with my Jewish classmate didn't just happen once. It happened many times and was repeated over and over again like a broken record with different people. This has woken me up tremendously

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, it is not enough to focus your attention on the Iranian diaspora. The Iranian people don't need convincing. What we need to do, now more then ever, is to educate those in the west about the plight of the Iranians. We need to make sure that they distinguish between Iranians and the cruel and corrupt Regime that rules over them. As many people in the dissident movement have come to realise, we need the support of the international community if we are going to topple this Regime. We won't have that support if the same people we are relying on can't tell the difference between US and THEM. It seems that our education has to start at home.

From now on, I am going to engage my fellow students and anybody else who will talk to me so that I can bring them on my side. Those of you who live in North America and Western Europe should do the same. You will be amazed and shocked to find just how little the people around you know about you and your cause - even those same people you talk to every day. If we can convince the average citizens of the world that this Regime does not represent the Iranian people, we will have an easier time convincing the legislatures of the world to support us in our fight. Remember!! The governments of real democratic countries actually represent the views of their constituents.

I hope to see all of you on the streets of Iran.

Long Live Iran.
Marg bar Jumhurieh Eslami!

Ruzbeh Hosseini


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