Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Collecting Signatures on the Internet

Some of the exiled Iranian opposition figures seem to know only one type of political activity, collecting signatures on the internet. To them the height of an effective political action is to write some long winded article and then email it to some website on the web, go back to their comfort zone and expect thousands to have signed it by the next day or two.

I often wonder, even if hundreds of thousands sign these appeals, how will those who called for the signatures actually use them to achieve their objective?
Perhaps thats why so many Iranians like me, have got fed up with this type of action. What do you do with these signatures after you collect them?

This frivolous act is being tried so many times on an almost daily basis on a variety of issues across so many Iranian websites that for me the whole notion of it, is becoming somewhat detestable.

Many traits of a typical exiled Iranian opposition figure can be seen by these appeals for signature on the web. Such as:

1- Narcissism : They think their article is so good and so well written and moving that millions will sign it.

2- Laziness : They either have no idea about effective campaigning or forgotten all about it.

3- Pomposity : You never see these figures in the community mixing with the ordinary plebs. Mixing with plebs is below these scholarly intellectuals. How often have you seen an Iranian opposition figure at an Iranian concert? At one of many Iranian youth clubs or events? At Iranian societies across the universities? Amongst the refugees? or even at a political picket or a demo?

4- Individualism : Exiled Iranian opposition figures do not usually like being part of a team and taking part in a group activity where they are blended in with the rest of the plebs.
If they do turn up at some congress, they must be placed in a distinguished position. Something like special advisor, political consultant, or at least member of the central committee. Thats why a lot of these gatherings have such large central committees, often larger than their entire membership or attendees :)

You often hear these "distinguished" exiles say with some haughtiness "I am not a member of any organisation, party or group, I am independent". As if being part of a group or an organisation is some sort of a vice :)

You even hear Iranian parents advise their children "don't join any group, organisation or party" in the same way they would tell them about avoiding drugs and alcohol.

Writing an article on the web and expecting everyone to sign it fits this trait well.

5- Future Self Justification : A lot of times these Iranian exile figures are not actually interested in whether their appeal achieves anything or even fails. Whats more important is that some time in the future they can say, I (and its a really big I) was the first to ask for this to happen but no one listened to me. Then they quietly expect the sighs and the whispers "If only the Iranian masses had seen the light when you showed it to them".

Young Iranians should pay no attention to these "distinguished opposition figures" or they will be put off Iran for ever. This old generation are the very ones who lost us our country to the mullahs. Both sides are just as guilty, whether they were part of the previous regime or in the opposition to the previous regime. Young Iranians should get together wherever they are and organise their own groups and pay no attention to these dinosaurs. Let them rot in their own condescending undeserved pride.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"What do you do with these signatures after you collect them?"

Perhaps they sell them to various intelligence agencies ?

What do you think of PledgeBank , which tends to lead to some actual action through peer pressure, rather than being just another online petition ?