Freedom of Speech amongst Iranians

I’ve decided to devote more of my blog posts with what I think are unhealthy attitudes and practices prominent amongst many in the Iranian Diaspora including myself. I hope that through the dialogue, regardless of how nominal, it will serve as something positive and as part of the solution rather than the problem.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Iranians, like every other people, are a good people and have many commendable cultural attributes, but also like every other people, we have a lot of issues we have to deal with. Take freedom of speech for example, many in the diaspora community pride themselves in their education and cultural development and claim to be champions of free speech in Iran but fail to practice it themselves. I’ve had countless discussions with fellow Iranians about freedom yet those very discussions fell short of the very idea they propagated. For instance, in such discussions my friends have championed freedom of speech and yet ridiculed and humiliated those who disagreed with them. And it’s not just a problem with Iranians in the diaspora. When I was in Iran 2 years ago I was talking with a former military officer from the old regime and we were discussing Iran’s 20th century history and this and that and he wouldn’t let me get a word in. And when I did, he’d cut me off and told me that I was young and didn’t know any better. He continued preaching for a good hour and then ended his speech by saying that dinner was almost ready and that he’ll conclude with a last word so we can eat. After he finished I told him that I wanted to tell him something but I was worried he would get offended. He responded by saying that he would take offense if I in fact did’n’t tell him what was on my mind. So I proceeded by saying: “Herein lies the problem with Iran, people like you claim to be proponents of freedom of speech all the while monopolizing the dialogue, cutting off and ridiculing anyone who disagrees with them by saying they’re young and don’t know any better, and then trying to end the debate with the last word. To people like you, freedom of speech is just a slogan, not an idea to be practiced.”

He didn’t say another word for the rest of the night and I felt really bad, but I knew I’d feel even worse if I didn’t say anything to him. Here’s a video of Iranians, who claim to be champions of freedom of speech, embarrassing themselves by trying to win the argument by yelling, cursing, ridiculing, and personally attacking those whom they perceive as not knowing any better, much the same way the old officer implied I didn’t know any better when he said I was too young.

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