Saturday, July 15, 2006

Should Ganji meet with Bush

Since Ganji's release about a month ago and his trip abroad, where he deservedly won the Golden Pen award for the "World's Most Distinguished Journalist", all Iranian freedom lovers are openly or privately questioning "If the President of the United States (being the most prominent name in the current challenges of the world's freedom seekers) requests to visit Ganji, what should the answer be?"

The main question is this: Will Ganji, who is a symbol of resistance and persistence for the cause of freedom, lose anything with this visit, or contrary to the nature of this visit, regardless of what may transpire during it, will he be able to show the world the importance of Iran's democratic movement?

Aside from those who are always ready with a dispose with a generic answer, the thinkers and doers are rightfully at pause pondering this question.

First of all, the answer to the above question cannot be formulated with just looking at the fact that George Bush, who is the most powerful man in the world at the moment, is suffering from the lowest level of popularity these days, and that his Republican party and cabinet may be trying to give him a makeover and present him as less of a warmonger in the view of the world after the terrible events of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those who rely on that answer believe that, since Iran and its nuclear case are the most important issue of US foreign policy, and at no other time have the minds of US voters been so focused on Iran, a visit with the symbol of Iran's democracy movement could mean that the Neo-con ruling apparatus is not just seeking to wield its power and create war, but is also concerned with the fate of the citizens of a country which it's name is brightly highlighted within the list of United States enemies; a country which has been shown as the most prominent member of the Axis of Evil for the past 20 years by the US propaganda machine.

That is not an incorrect understanding and has strong roots in reality, but is not the sole answer to our question. We must examine how Ganji and his movement can benefit from this visit. Those who advocate the visit believe that it's most important and primary result would be the creation of a badly needed third route for a dialogue of peace between Iran and the world. The more Ganji can amplify his voice, the more freedom and peace seekers of the world will hear him (which is very important), and a visit with George Bush will accomplish this.

According to the visit's advocates, people of the world can't help but imagine nuclear weapons, war, and death every time they hear the name "Iran" nowadays because of the existence of two extremist governments, Iran and the United States. Obviously, the more Iran and its leaders are portrayed as proponents of a nuclear war, the easier it would be to get a public consensus from US citizens to attack Iran. Iran's insistence that their nuclear activities are peaceful hasn't been very believable by the rest of the world, let alone her neighbors and allies.

German officials aren't the only ones who told the previous president of Iran to take the danger (i/e an attack on Iran) seriously. Everybody, including the Emirate sheikhs, Turkey's prime minister, the Russian president, Chinese officials, Secretary General of the UN, the head of the IAEA, and peace loving scientists, are worried. All this worry means that Iran, despite the wishes of its citizens, is projecting a picture in which nothing can be seen but war and the danger of nuclear weapons, and if there is any empty space in this picture, one finds Iran's support of international terrorism and her proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

All Iranian freedom and peace seekers, regardless of their ideologies and backgrounds, must find and present a better view of Iran in these critical times; a better line, a better picture. There is no other way to accomplish this unless they unite, with not only themselves, but also with the peace seekers of the world. We must hand the reigns to the knight of peace so he will push those who have nothing but a rabid lust for war off the field. This CAN be done! The majority of the world's intellectuals will ride that wave…

I believe that, to answer the question that was posed at the beginning, we must examine whether such a visit would be beneficial or harmful to Ganji's cause. Ganji, being currently the symbol of Iranians' aspirations and struggles for democracy, claims he would visit the devil itself if that would help him be heard louder and further his cause; let alone visiting the one whose decisions and actions can potentially have the most profound effect in the fate of our country, and that such a visit will bring more worldly attention to Iran's peace and democracy movement.

However, it goes without saying that a visit solely based on adventurism and advancement of personal fame, (May that not be Ganji's trait!) can be damaging. Ganji will have to clearly state his opposition to any US military action against Iran and strongly emphasize that such an intervention will deal a definite blow to the process of Iran's liberation. If he fails to assert those points, Ganji's visit can only help improve the awfully damaged image and reputation of the US' warmongering neo-cons and provide their Iranian counterparts yet another excuse to clobber him and further suppress the peace and democracy movement. There are some in Washington who have shown in the past that, in order to restore the miserable state of public's opinion towards the neo-cons, they'd be quite satisfied with a visit arranged between Bush and an Iranian dissident of much lower prominence and stature than Ganji. They believe they could make it work!

Whether he wants to be or not, Ganji is the symbol of a generation that revolted for freedom and independence when they were teen-agers. He does represent the youth who selflessly defended their country against Saddam Hussein and died in great numbers. He is of the generation who raised objection when they noticed another form of despotism was taking roots in their land, and at the height of war and chaos, spoke of peace and thus were shunned by the despots. That generation did not abandon its idealism after the war ended. It carried on and bore the brunt of every dispute and felt the pain there after.
It has battled two dictatorships since the beginning of its existence and it is now sacrificing itself in another struggle against tyranny. This generation is one of the most bloodied and tormented Iranian generations that is now, at the mid-point of its life, is standing up to tyrants who have armored themselves with religion and shielded behind their constituent's faith and beliefs. Ganji carries with him an immense responsibility towards his generation and thus, he has no right to carelessly wager all that is at stake in a gamble that might not hand him a win.

I believe all who love freedom and have an opinion should step forth and present their views before it's too late. The question is the same: Should Ganji meet with Bush?