Date: Friday, February 12, 2010
Daryoush Mohammad Poor is a well know Iranian blogger based in London.
One of the most important aptitudes of the Green Movement is its freedom from structure of power and its ability to internally criticize itself and evolve accordingly. Aside from observing techniques used by the current political power to silence and hijack the voice of the “others”, one of the most important lessons that can be learned from 22nd of Bahman is the fact that both the Green Movement supporters and detractors have wide support.
The Green Movement came to life in opposition to the culture of belittling. Ignoring, Dismissing, Irreverence, slandering, and depravity of thought and language are things that the Greens can learn about by observing their power hungry opposition. But here is the question. Can we label and prejudge those who came out to the 22nd of Bahman rally in support of the current government as “Those who attended the rally for a free juice box [ Sandis ] “? This is a rather important question that has escaped the attention of the green Movement supporters.
It is an undeniable fact that Green Movement’s opposition has noteworthy support in the society – much like the Green Movement has undeniable but ignored support. We do not challenge Green Movement’s opposition based on the number of supporters. We challenge their approach. We challenge their unethical behavior and monopolization of power and access to the public media. Our problem is not their sympathizers. Our problem is the unequal and discriminative distribution of power; a distribution that skips the other portion of the society. But if we ourselves get caught in this same practice, then there would be no difference between us and them.
From the very first day of his campaigns, Mousavi talked of people in poverty. These messages were not to appetite of some, but one has to admit that a big group of our citizens are living in poverty. The green movement sometimes falls prey to inconsiderate and monopolistic bourgeois ideas that divide people into friends and enemies (such divisions are no different than monopolizing policies of the government; they are both divisive despite their different forms.) The classes of people in poverty are the victims of government’s careless actions, a government with imaginary claims of justice, and help to the poor. However, we have seen that all these claims have been empty promises that have [in the end] brought nothing but militarizing the atmosphere of the country and has gained nothing for the poor. A significant part of our society is still suffering from problems in housing, medical care, and education. It is worth noting here that in the past five years, there has been neither any ‘green’ official, nor any reformists in power. Furthermore, being green does not mean having a fancy swimming pool, sauna and a Jacuzzi. It doesn’t mean going skiing on vacations, and going to theatre and music concerts. The green movement is much broader to be summarized in such [bourgeois] characteristics. Maybe those opposing the green movement like to ignore everything and just think that this is what the green movement means. Does that mean we too should be tricked by such [false] similes? Does that mean we too should start ignoring a large part of this society?
It doesn’t matter if the government wants to celebrates its birthdays under security pressure with the presence of army, the revolutionary guards in an artificial, organized and “self developing” environment. Such actions solve none of our economic or political problems. None of such actions would be a solution to the debacle that is our economy and the drama that is our industry. These games would feed no hungry person. Expenditures directed towards friend and allies with excuses of being spent to solve problems of the poor, solves nothing. You will be surprised to know that many of the green movement members are the very people who are labeled as ‘Sandis’ drinkers. Why do we label those who attended these rallies because they believed in it as ‘fools?’ When Mousavi says this game does not have a loser, and everyone is a winner at the end, what he exactly means is that ending discrimination, fighting law breakers, hypocrites and liars would benefit everyone, even those who think we are mistaken.
Choosing a lingo that belittles people, and ridicules those who do not think as we do is the same method that State uses. This is exactly the type of methodology that we should not adopt. Achieving maturity and nurturing the green movement is hidden exactly in attention to such delicate points. Let us not forget that the voices of our laborers, workers and other victims of mismanagement and disorganization have not been heard yet. They might not shout: “where is my vote.” But be assured that they will ask: “where is my right? “
This is indeed the Green Movement in another form. As such, if we criticize the macho politics of fear, we cannot look at those who represent injustice and deception and the majority with the same eye. All we are saying is that the fear-inducing and repressive policies of the past months have divided this nation. The most important demand of the Green Movement is to unify the nation, not the opposite. If we use the same divisive and repelling language the administration is using, there is nothing we can legitimately criticize.
An important ethical message advocated by the Green Movement is that the concerns of all must be heard. The Green Movement is too inclusive to only be concerned about the lust for luxury of a select few – though, similar to everyone else; these few are also entitled to civil rights. Monopoly over power, and the belittlement and dismissal of the opposition is a Phero’s methodology. Let’s leave these tactics to those who are currently in power. Let’s remember that we are Green and that we are a community; we don’t differentiate between those who come from the [luxurious] northern parts and those who come from the [poverty struck] south. We are all equal victims of [the current administration’s] dishonesty, hypocrisy, discrimination, selective interpretation of the law, abuse of religion, and unethical and populist behaviour. Indeed, the portion of the population that has limited access to [varying] sources of news suffers most from these inhuman policies. Human compassion and ethics mandates that we leave monopoly of power out of an ethical and thoughtful movement – a movement that is Green.
Dramatizing the current situation into an epic battle between good and evil is not what we do; it is what our adversaries do. We should slowly teach them that their opposition is not a collection of monsters but human, just like them. Describing division in the nation should not result in prescribing it. Describing this painful situation should make us self-aware, ready to reach across boundaries and strive for unity. The other side – here I clearly mean the powerful, not the masses – benefits from prolonging this crisis, from our misunderstandings, from hostility, from creating an “Us” vs. “Them” culture, from cynicism, from belittling the middle class and sensationalizing poverty. We, on the other hand, must avoid thinking of our opposition as monsters. We must remember that there is nothing wrong with being rich and nothing glorious about being poor. Defiance of God’s words is the real problem. The almighty, who says – Your greatness is in your viture” – He does not imply that a poor and pious individual is better than a rich and pious individual. But the political system, which has deteriorated the living standards of the working class, has also compelled the masses to get used to misery. One of the key goals of the Green Movement is to protect the dignity of all Iranians. It makes no sense for one portion of society to have dignity while the other is belittled, notwithstanding their capability or status.
This game is tricky. We should not be confused by the other side’s deception, [nor should we] acquire their methodology. We should not play their game. We should not respond to dishonesty and immorality with the same. I foresee better days after this 22nd of Bahman. This was a new 22nd of Khordaad that inspired our thoughts. We are no longer an isolated movement, but an inclusive community; the Green Movement that quietly lives and grows in the heart of Iranian society.