Sunday, March 12, 2006

Open Letter to Fatemeh Haghighatjoo

For now, I have taken out the information identifying the event that prompted me to write the letter below, frankly because I don't want to give them even the slightest publicity. But there is an urgency as well a broader applicability to what I have outlined here, so I wanted to go ahead and post it:

Dear Ms. Fatemeh Hagighatjoo-

Few who closely follow Iranian politics can forget your brave public stand in 2004, when you were the first member of the Majles to resign in protest of the disqualification of over 2000 candidates for the Seventh Majles. You had much to lose and were attacked from all sides, but in daring to reveal the hypocrisy of those who claim to be rooted in justice but who only selectively apply just principles, you captured the public imagination and became an inspiration to many Iranians inside and outside the country. For these reasons, it pains me greatly to hear of your involvement with the event that is to take place at [prominent U.S. University].

The organizers of the event, none of whom claim to be Iranian or have any connections to Iranian organizations, assert that they do “not take a stance on policy issues like foreign intervention”. At a political moment when Iran has been referred to the UN Security Council, when Iran and Iranians are daily misrepresented in the U.S. press, and when the U.S. Congress is funneling funds towards “opposition” groups, such a claim of neutrality is untenable, if not an outright and deliberate lie. Given the current climate, I would go further to claim that the event itself is perfectly consistent with the stated aims of foreign intervention in Iranian affairs and is indeed an instance of it.

To stand in solidarity with Iranians who give their blood and sweat for internally motivated change in Iran is to stand against all foreign meddling. Supporting the singling out of Iran for its nuclear program (illegal under international treaties), advocating the destabilizing of Iran through direct funds and aid (illegal under international treaties), and demonizing an entire people and religion (not illegal, but certainly despicable), are not the ways of achieving the goals of social and political justice in Iran.

I urge you to not only withdraw your participation in this event but to strongly speak against this and all attempts at co-opting the real struggles of the Iranian people for political gain. I look forward to the day when organic movements free from foreign influence succeed in addressing the social and political ills of Iran and our region as a whole. I hope you will join me in stopping the drive towards the destruction of Iran and in articulating what it would mean for us to be in genuine solidarity with our independent compatriots.