These days, there has been too much noise over a simple discussion panel held at 'American Enterprise Institute' in Washington DC.
All of the controversy started by a so-called panel named The Unknown Iran and it had a bunch of different representatives of Iran's minorities as speakers of the forum.
And as the http://aei.org/ web site indicates, the aim of such panel was to help non Iranian people know about the ethnic minorities living inside of the country .... ["This AEI discussion will present representatives of these largely unknown elements of the Iranian population, all of whom are experiencing unprecedented levels of repression at the hands of the Islamic Republic"].
Well, at least I consider Mr.Michael Ledeen one of the best friends people of Iran do have and he has been doing great things to help get a country (where he is not from though) rid of the Mullahs and a Theocratic regime we all hate deeply.
There are other people like Kenneth Timmerman too, but Mr. Ledeen is one of those who has done more than enough and there are many more ears for his words. He once held a few positions at the US government and if the Iranian opposition (inside or outside of Iran) expects the US gov't to help them, then they do need to be patient and not become pathetic when they disagree with their friends like Ledeen.
Having said that, it is also true that most ordinary westerners have no idea about the language and culture of Iran. If one asks them what language is spoken in Iran, the answer would most probably be Arabic. Therefore any chance should be taken to educate people around the world about Iran.
Majority of Iranians love the idea of freedom of speech, democracy and rule of law but some of them, practically, might not know how these elements work today. That is why we hear outrageous announcements about this panel from Nationalist groups in the US and Europe and Regime's scholars in Iran. ["He also drew the attention of observers to the anti-Iran activities of the Bush Administration . He said Michael Ledeen, an advisor of US President George Bush has gathered together in Washington, all the separatist, secessionist, underground and even terrorist groups that ( Iraqi dictator ) Saddam Hussein had created to separate Iran's Khuzestan ,and is masterminding a plot to eliminate Iran."]
Democracy in the west is mixed with utmost tolerance for others' ideas even if we dislike it or find it outrageous or wrong. That is what I hoped that those Iranians who have lived in the west in the past two decades have learned. Tolerance, accepting the rights of others to speak freely and preventing harrasment for their opponents are the very first basic rights every one can learn by living in a democratic society. I am wondering why our Iranian friends haven't learned this yet!?
There should be differences between those elements of the Mullahs who seek the destruction of an ancient land and those whose goal is to be free and live in a democratic country.
It is so easy to lose a reliable and helpful friend like Mr. Ledeen and it is hard to build trust with influential people like him too. It will surprise me if I see him write some thing again over the plight of Iranian people to have a free society.
However, the panelists, except that Azeri guy (who was emotionaly unstable), did insist on the territorial integrity of their homeland and refused to speak on behalf of separatists... So what was all this mess about!?