Monday, February 09, 2009

Let's Talk Issues not Illusions!

Hamed Ghoddous an Iranian journalist, a blogger and a doctoral candidate at Vienna Graduate School of Finance has written an open letter to former President Khatami; titled “Do not Disappoint Us”. He asked him to be clear on the issues facing the economy and to select a team of technocrats and professionals, instead of old acquaintances and friends and to dedicate his energies to expanding private sector and to battle the barriers ahead of economic growth. It is a good letter and summarizes some basic facts and issues. Interesting part is the reaction.

Reading the comments to this post, I am puzzled to see the lack of cohesion in economic thoughts and beliefs. While a number of people welcome his approach, a number scolded him for advocating free market, for putting the cause of economy ahead of that of liberty and some discounted Mr. Khatami’s achievements outright.

I do believe the approaching weeks are vital for Iran. They also can decide what the coming election is about. Although many suggest the coming election is about characters, that of President Ahmadinejad and of former President Khatami. And based on this argument they have made their decisions already. I would like to remind every one that the election could be about planning solutions and addressing issues, if issues are debated and discussed in media and weblog arena.

Should discussing issues become a priority for many who follow the events in Iran, then we have a genuine opportunity to transfer this election to a debate scene about solutions and not just illusions. If Iranian media and bloggers fail in this then the coming elections would be a contest of two populists; One running on a promise of a freedom he cannot deliver, the other on a promise of a welfare he cannot provide. It is time to talk about the issues. Putting economy ahead would help us to address the social issues from a stronger position. This is certainly not a time for the illusions of liberty, but a time for pragmatic planning and fact oriented approach to the issues on hand.

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