By the Way is a short column appearing from time to time.
Freedom of speech is a human right, and like all other rights it entails
a responsibility. This responsibility ought to be discharged with utmost
care and discipline. The greatest dictatorship that anyone is challenged
to overcome in ones life is the dictatorship of ignorance; ignorance
not necessarily of information, but wisdom. The nature of the crisis
in our country necessitates the active participation of each and every
citizen in credible political debates, forums, and conferences. Any
Iranian activist worth his or her salt should observe a few ground rules,
Find out what is on the agenda ahead of time.
Do your homework before you get to the meeting. Familiarize yourself
with the topic.
Listen before you speak.
When you speak, try to exercise economy and tidiness in your language.
Genuine political debate is not a monologue, but consists of arriving
at the best possible position through a process of collaboration and
Do not meander all over the place, recounting irrelevant anecdotes or
trying to impress others with your accumulated knowledge and background.
In other words: do not wear your knowledge on your sleeves. Stay focused
on the topic at hand.
Democratic debates by definition require tolerance, courtesy and a peaceful
exchange of viewpoints. Primadonnas are out of place in a true political
Be sincere. Wheeling and dealing as an end in itself is nothing but
vacuous and degrading.
When in danger of getting carried away, remind yourself that you are
only one viewpoint amongst almost 70 million.
Always keep in mind that there are far worse fates than defeat. Never
lose sight of the golden rule that it profits a man or a woman nothing
to gain the whole world and lose his or her integrity.
Please let me know of other items that can be added to this list or
any modifications: firstname.lastname@example.org