Tuesday, June 14, 2005

To not vote or Not to vote

Edited repost from the Majlis elections , Feb. last year.

Have a look first at these pictures of the latest protests in front of the notorious Evin prison. And a pictorial report also about the aftermath of the explosion in Tehran a couple of days ago.


With the Election Day approaching fast, I find myself brooding about split infinitives. I wonder if those in power ever wonder about such mundane matters. For you see, those odd split infinitives, just like life, work in mysterious ways.

There are no Supreme Leaders having the final word about how they should be employed. There are no Guardian Councils anywhere attempting to disqualify anyone before s/he has had a chance to form an incorrect construct. No one is going to be beaten, tortured, imprisoned, mutilated or dismembered for having used inappropriate syntax.

Yet somehow, millions continue to wonder about split infinitives. People freely associate, cooperate, and learn from one another or instruct each other. Lives have been transformed because of these interactions and because of mutual learning.

Rules have been debated, scrutinized, internalized, and memorized. The matter has never been settled once and for all, and this probably has been for the best. Consequently, the language we use is dynamic, vibrant and perpetually changing in order to keep up with our ever changing material circumstances. So, the language that helps us comprehend, organize, present and disclose this immense set of interrelatedness that constitute our experience of life itself serves as a source of immense joy and enchanting creativity.

And we rush to find the best teachers, find the most intelligent, dedicated, eloquent companions to help us understand proper usage. Sure, we mostly make mistakes all the time, but there are no shortcuts in life.

Can you imagine a world in which mistakes were officially forbidden? Or a world in which a vast infrastructure existed to excise all traces of split infinitives because someone in his infinite wisdom had decided to shield the rest of us mere mortals from the troubles and perplexities of life?

The result, as you might suspect, is a depressing, bizarre landscape where nothing is as it initially appears. The land of the cynics who believe in nothing, care for nothing and respect nothing. Perhaps that ever-present deity, Mammon, should be excepted of course.

This is no longer exclusively about ideology. It is about power and privilege pure and simple.There are those here who have it and are scared to let go. And then there are those who are excluded and want it. For now, those in power would have a lot more to lose by letting go than what those outsiders have to gain by violently contesting the former's hegemony.

Hence the uneasy stalemate and the never-ending back and forth. And the game goes on-- the belligerence, sudden seditions, and the retreats and all.The key to stability in this country lies—I kid you not—in two simple reforms.

Above and foremost, a restructuring of the banking system that could facilitate for our citizens access to credit cards with unlimited funds. And secondly, a relaxation of what is left of our social rules in a manner that would facilitate open fraternization between the sexes without fear, and a re-opening of bars, cabarets and the discothèques.

Anyone who can bring about these two reforms while keeping the violent reactions of the indignant, or the devout and meddlesome in check will have the majority’s begrudging acceptance for a long time to come.

But there is always hope. Hope that we will once again re-discover our moral compass. We Iranians have a tendency to surprise ourselves and others. One day very soon perhaps.

And so, there will be no voting for me this coming Friday--just like every other election under this murderous regime. Simply another day I'll spend reading an old book and mingling with my loving family and friends.

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