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I am another Iranian striving for Human Rights and Democracy. read and sign the petition Please support the IRANIAN WOMENS' ONE MILLION SIGNATURES CAMPAIGNto change the discriminatory laws against women in Iran.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Human Race’s Need for Benevolence and Fairness

The Human Being’s nature desires equality, respect, harmony and freedom in its society. We need to be able to learn, grow, think for ourselves as well as conduct our lives as to how we see fit, as long as no harm is inflicted upon other members of the community. Civilization is in need to be able to express various opinions, debate them and improve from the exchange of these ideas. According to Benedicto Spinoza:

"Everyone is by absolute natural right the master of his own thoughts, and thus utter failure will attend any attempt in a commonwealth to force men to speak only as prescribed by the sovereign despite their different and opposing opinions."

Oppression is wrong in any religion. History has proven time and time again that people cannot endure tyranny. Additionally, freedom must be gained with persistent, nonviolent pressure. According to Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights activist for African-American equality, “The oppressor never voluntarily gives freedom to the oppressed. You have to work for it. Freedom is never given to anybody.” Unfortunately, freedom is in very limited supply in today’s Iran.

The forced lifestyle existing in the country today is morally wrong. I believe that God has placed us on this earth to test us by our merits. This is analogous to students going to class, learning the lectures, digesting the material, and then formulating their own answer on their tests as to how they should conduct their lives. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s forcing of the Iranian society to lead their lives as to how it sees fit (which oddly seems to bestow many benefits upon the hardliners) is akin to another individual coercing a student to submit forced answers to his or her test. The student should take the test how he/she views the material is correct and utilize the points that they believe is important and relevant to the subject, not what a third party thinks is the correct response. The same should apply to how society implements religion in their own lives. I personally think that God does not care if a woman wears a veil or not, as long as she conducts her life in a dignified fashion befitting of his most adored creation, the human race. Every human being on the face of this earth has the right to a sacred personal relationship with God. The Islamic Republic of Iran intrudes on this, and forces its society to alter their relationship with him, in fear of persecution. In the end, on Judgment day, God will expect answers and explanations from each individual as to the rationale in how he/she conducted his/her life. Is it better to coerce all women to wear a veil, but permit murder, torture and embezzlement to continue? Which is the bigger depravity in the eyes of the Almighty…murder or no veil? Murder or freedom of speech? Murder or the right to take photos of a peaceful demonstration? Each and every single Iranian will have to answer God as to why currently he/she is choosing murder over these other actions, for silence is cooperation and agreement with the current situation.

I believe that Iranians requesting change are not asking to abolish religion from society, but only from the rule of law. I do not believe that an “Islam-o-meter” has yet been invented or is possible, and the commitment of any one Muslim on this earth to God can never be correctly assessed by man. Therefore granting the right to rule others based on one’s performance in religion, is wrong. One can guide others, but not force others. Democracy seeking Iranians only want true freedom, the right to practice Islam based on the frame of their interpretation, so long as it does not harm other members of society. The freedom to not wear a veil as well as the freedom to wear a veil, a harmless religious choice, should be granted to all, as well as freedom of press, peaceful assembly and protest, and freedom of religion.

It must be emphasized, that if change takes place in Iran, it needs to be nonviolent. Iranians that want a democratic society and respect for human rights should only want to gain the friendship, respect and understanding of their religiously devout compatriots. We should not want severe punishment and revenge for as Mahatma Ghandi stated: “An eye for an eye makes the world blind.” The threat of revenge only leads to further violence and bloodshed. We should learn from South Africa’s triumph over Apartheid. They accomplished the abolishment of racism and the established a democracy without revenge and as a result, their nation is healed and on its way to prosperity. Let these dark days be over, let us move on. Let us finally live with freedom, dignity, respect for human rights and our birthright to choose our own destiny.


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