Saturday, September 03, 2005

Regarding the upcoming NYC demonstration

What are demonstrations and protests for? What purpose do they serve? For instance, what did I believe Anjomane Padeshahi’s demonstration (July) would achieve before deciding to participate in it?

In general, demonstrations and protests are meant to inform others of the position of a group or groups of individuals (even of a single individual) regarding various issues. This is the goal of demonstrations. This goal, however, rests on a basic assumption, one so central to the goal that the latter is deemed achievable only if the assumption turns out to have been correct. That assumption is that the protest will be reported. After all, how else would others learn of the message if even a million-strong protest were not reported?

In the case of the demonstration by Anjomane Padeshahi, I believed that the coverage of that demonstration would inform others of the existence of a group of Iranians committed to the liberation of their country from an Islamic Caliphate.

Supposing we are certain of the media’s intention to provide some coverage of a demonstration, an equally important and related assumption is that the news concerning it will be objective, informing the reader, listener or viewer, as the case may be, of the true objectives of the its organizers and participants.

With this short preface in mind, let me explain why I (and I speak for no one else) will not be a party to the upcoming demonstration in New York City against Ahmadinejad.

Exactly what is the message that the organizers of this upcoming protest wish to convey? The first time I read of a demonstration against Ahmadinejad in New York was sometime around August 11th, in an article in Sobh Iran by Dr. Rahnavardi. It was stated that in its latest session “concerning the fight against the Islamic Republic,” Kongereye Melliye Iranian (National Congress of Iranians) would join the “demonstration against Ahmadinejad” and will be represented by Mr. Saeed Sakuee. At the time I could only describe the statement as vague, but then this was followed by Ms. Roxanne Ganji’s petition, which I signed and posted on this blog. I signed her petition simply because the way the petition was phrased:

“If he is granted a visa we denounce his visit and wish to announce to the world that this person in no way represents the of people of Iran who are peace loving people, and who have been hostages at the hands of this terrorist regime for the past 26 years. We also reserve the right of holding a peaceful demonstration denouncing Mr. Ahmadinejad’s presence at the session.”

That an explicit “or any other…” did not follow “this person” is regrettable, but the nature of all the representatives of the Islamic Republic is implied.

Is this important? Should political activists be more explicit and clear in their statements? Ask a 10 year old child and he will respond in the affirmative; look at the statements by our “opposition” (all holding PhD’s Alhamdollah) and they seem clueless! Why not state explicitly that the demonstration is a denouncement of the Islamic Republic? Would there be no protests had Mostafa Moin, a reformist terrorist, won the elections? Is not Mehdi Chamran, Ahmadinejad’s immediate superior and one of Islamic Republic of anti-Iran’s most infamous terrorists, less worthy of our outrage? He is reported to be in Ahmadinejad’s entourage.

Well, this sort of ambiguity does have its consequences. For instance, while changing the channels yesterday, I saw Iman Forutan of the “SOS Iran” comedy show and his supporters (Hasteh & Pesteh) distinctly presenting the upcoming demonstration as one against the person of Ahmadinejad! Then there is the so-called NY Committee Against Ahmadinejad! Have you visited the website? Is this a joke?

As to the media coverage, not only are they getting it prior to the demonstration, but also the reports are unanimous in their presentation of the event, it is hardly surprising, as a protest against the person of Ahmadinejad! Read THIS article by the Associated Press or take a look at those placed on the left hand side of NYCA’s homepage.

Dear readers (all three of you), in my opinion if there was an effort to organize a protest against the Islamic Republic, it has been veered and sidetracked, by those who anticipated it, into a protest against the person of Ahmadinejad. Unless the organizers of the demonstration release statements clearly stating the purpose of the demonstration---is it against Ahmadinejad and the “hardliners” or against the Islamic Republic?---, I see no reason why I should participate. On the other hand, if the true objective of the organizers has been misrepresented, it would be rather reassuring to see the release of an announcement exposing such fabrication.

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