قصد نداشتم در این وبلاگ به زبان انگلیسی مطلبی بنویسم. اما اخیرا یک بحث ایمیلی کوچک بین من و چند نفر از دوستانم در ناتینگهام پیش آمد که به نظرم رسید جهت ثبت در تاریخ (!) آنرا در اینجا قرار دهم. ماجرا از این قرار بود که من به یک لینک جالب توجه برخوردم که شامل فهرستی طولانی از انواع و اقسام ایرانیان در صنوف و پیشه ها و حرفه های مختلف بود و به هر یک از آنها نیز لینکی داده شده بود. بسیاری از این افراد در خارج از ایران هستند. من طی ایمیل ساده ای به شرح زیر لینک را به دوستان دانشجویم در ناتینگهام معرفی کردم. باقی ماجرا را خودتان بخوانید با این توضیح که بحث مهاجرت از بحثهای دامنه دار و کلیدی در نظریه های جهانی شدن است که طبعا پرداختن به ابعاد مختلف آن از حوصله این مکاتبات خارج است.

To: iranian society

From: shb_esf@yahoo. com
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2008 04:54:35 -0800
Subject: successful Iranians
 

Hi,

I found this link interesting. ..and though provoking!

http://www.parstime s.com/Iranians. html 

Shahab

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Sent: Monday, 7 January, 2008 5:31:08 PM
Subject: RE: successful Iranians
 

Salaam to all
It is me and my comments, again.
I had a look at the list. I really do not know what it proves or what we want to get from it.
Shall we feel sad by losing all these talents, or feel proud that Iranian's have achieved this level of success? 
Can we recruit these people's expertise? - With the current rules , most of them will fail the II of Iran's benchmarkings.
On one hand we denounce those who do not agree with our cause or ideals, and on the other hand we show them off as successful Iranians. Does this ambivalence indicate that we know some thing is wrong, or it is a mere reflection of the vanity and egoism that many Iranian believe and show. If it is the first one, there might be a glimpse of hope.
I am still trying to digest the comment by some of the friends that it doesn't matter if Iranians leave the country. I think this list proves that it matters, just  look at the knowledge/money/ job oppurtunity  they can provide. 
I believe this list can provide a good oppurtunity for reflection of what has gone wrong, or provide a stepping stone how to improve things.
All the best

Ramin

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Sent: 08 January 2008 12:36
To: iranian student nottingham
Subject: Re: successful Iranians
 

Dear Ramin,

Thanks for your illuminations! I also had in mind many of the issues you have raised when I forwarded the link, but I preferred to let the recievers think for themselves without me trying to make any presumptions. Perhaps I should have even avoided the term 'successful' to prevent any evaluation. However, I don't think being successful necessarily means being good, in moral terms.

There is a we repeated all through your text which I'm not sure who it refers to. At some points it seems to refer to me! Sometimes it seems to refer to Iranians in general, and othertimes it seems to refer to the Iranian government. I guess it would be better to distinguish between them, instead of unifying them. Clearly different individuals, groups, governments and even politicians within governments have different views about different things including migration.

The history of migration all around the world is much longer and more complicated that what we have experienced in post-revolutionary Iran . This clearly is not the only case. So when you say 'does it matter' that people migrate, it could be asked matter for who? People  migrate from their homelands for a variety of reasons and the outcome of such migrations is not always definite, clear and one way.

For example do Europeans today feel sorry that their ancesters migrated to Australia and moved with them so much talent, wealth, jobs that is currently in other countries? Do Muslims feel sorry that their ancesters migrated to East Asia and laid the foundations of many current Muslim nations in South East Asia ? Do all Africans feel sorry that their fathers and mothers moved to America, when today there is real possibility that Barak Hosein Obamaa, an Africo-American with a Muslim Father from Kenya becomes the next president of the most powerful and wealthy country on earth? etc.

So when we say migration is good or bad, we must not forget that in whose interest are we speaking. Of course governments seek to protect their national interests and in doing so must try to create an environment which would attract not only local talents but even migrants from other places. Not only a closed sense of Islamic identity, but any strong sense of deep rooted identity can block this process. All cultural, ethnic, national, religious identities involve some sense of inclusion/exclusion and divide people into ingroup/outgroup. In places where there is a large majority with a dominat culture - like Iran - creating a tolerant environment is more difficult and takes much more time. Lebanese Shiaa's, for instance, are, I believe, much more tolerant than Iranian Shiaas.

Another example is the deep rooted cultures of Europe where there has always been more anti-migration sentiments than in the root-less American culture. Ironically, root-less-ness is one reason why America has been much more open to migration than other European countries in the past century and migration is what has made the US the US!

So if I were a government official in Iran, perhaps I would try to make possible for more Iranians to stay in the country and even try to invite back some of those who left, because it would benefit the Iranian governments national interests. But in any case when an attempt is made to open up an environment and include those who are politically, religiously, racially or ethnically different, there is resistant and opposition from established and dominant groups who have roots and power in that environment. So it is not an easy task.

Having said that, I must add that my above view is quite different from the statement which I guess is hidden in your argument. It may seem a 'natural' and 'ordinary' statement but I have some doubts about it and am not sure it is always true. That statement is: "People should live in the same countries in which they -or their fathers- where born". Why should we take this statement for granted? Even in Islam migration is at many points recommended and given priority over remaining in your homeland.

Another issue is that national borders are actually artificial inventions made through wars, power struggles and political treaties and contracts. In most cases there is nothing culturally different -let alone essentially different - about people belonging to one ethnicity who live close by on different sides of a national border. Look for example at Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Baluchs in or out of Irans borders. Another issue that can play a role is religion. Couldn’t we say Iranian and Lebanese Shiaa feel more close to each other, than, for example Lebanese Shiaas and Lebanese Sonnis? Further one could refer to the matter class. A rich and upper class family’s in Paris may be more culturally similar to an upper class family in London, than to a poor family in Paris. And so on. This does not mean, however, that nationality and national identity is not important. It just means we should not think there is anything "essential" or "biologic" about a nation.

So regardless of the issue of national interests -which is itself based on the concept of nation-state, which is again based on those artificial borders! - why should we - as individuals, or academics researching the field of culture-  feel sorry when some one crosses a border and decides to live on the other side? This is my question.

Sorry for the long email. I hope I have'nt wasted your time.

Shahab

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Sent: 09 January 2008 16:46
To: iranian students nottingham
Subject: Re: successful Iranians

Hi everybody, Very well discussed as always by Shahab and I agree with most of the points, Nevertheless, I don’t believe when I call myself Iranian, there is no substance to it. It is not just a label rooted in a worthless construct. At least this is not how I feel regardless of where logic may take me.

Regards

Masoud

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Sent: 09 January 2008 12:46
To: iranian students nottingham
Subject: Re: successful Iranians

  

hi everyone, 
your disscussions made me write a new post in my weblog that might be interesting for you:
 
Cheers,
Pooria

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Sent: 12 January 2008 12:46
To: iranian students nottingham
Subject: Re: successful Iranians

Salaam,
Firstly I don't have any illuminations! as I mentioned I made a comment about a list of Iranians, and not about any person. 
 And I did  not talk about the reasons of immigration.
I still think this list means some sort of  compensation for a series of failures and defeats Iranians have endured during the recent years.
I still do not understand the existence of such a list. We have a population of more than 70 million( if I am correct) with around 3 million outside Iran. By any rule there will be wealthy, poor, educated and uneducated, and etc. in these 70 million.
What I meant was there are many Iranians outside Iran who are forced to leave by unjust rules and two tier rules. One tough rule for people like me and a very soft and generous rules for a few (which I strongly believe they do not merit). I give my own example . 7 years of my life has been lost due to an idiot in the ministry of health who did not deserve to be in that job, but unfortunately he was. I am grateful to God that I have lost only 7 years and not more. And by the grace of God I have managed to pull through. And that idiot in the ministry of heath and his friends have been involved in a big scam and stolen millions, AND walking free.
I should feel bitter, definitely I have not enjoyed  the privileges some have and are, unjustly.
And going back to immigration issue: I do not feel sorry about the person who has emigrated, I feel sorry about the wealth of the country going out, and this is what surprises me, people say we have got many of every and any, let them go.
it is the money I feel sorry and the people who are left behind. I talk about my own profession, ordinary people are suffering , who cannot afford their medications, operations etc.They are treated not like humans , I have been in Iran just 4 months ago and have seen it with my own eyes. And our authorities come to London for check ups and stay in free embassy accommodation. Do you think those individuals in the list are allowed to enter the system and make a difference or they will be labelled un-islamic?
And to be honest I feel sorry for some of the people who have emigrated, I treat iranian asylum seekers and see what a mess they are in. I feel sad and curse who ever is responsible for that.
The comments I make are my first hand experiences not an illumination.
And I finish my email with a hadith that Allah will not talk to 3 groups in the day of judgement and one are those who know that do not deserve to be on a position but won't let go.

Ramin
 
PS: I didn't understand Dr Soleymani's second paragraph, can any one enlighten me.

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Sent: 12 January 2008 16:26
To: iranian students nottingham
Subject: Re: successful Iranians

Hi Ramin,

I just made the point that Nationality is not a worthless convention. So it matters when people immigrate although it is not necessarily a bad thing. I don’t need to go far to prove my point! The fact that you yourself feel so strongly about what happens to your country and countrymen proves it. 

Regards

Masoud

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Dear Ramin,

There is no doubt that our beloved country has been suffered from mismanagement for centuries. As a result, our country which was centre of culture and wealth since it was born, now a days turns to a poor country with unfortunately millions of people living in poverty, not only economically but in terms of culture. If you ask me who is responsible for the situation, I would say those -as you mentioned- who do not deserve -due to lack ability- to take sensitive positions which need people with skill and knowledge.

That's a simple fact that immigration is a global phenomenon and Iran is not the only country in the world wasting its potential but I believe the situation is worrying in case of Iran considering the reasons which has been accelerated immigration in recent years or keep those capable individuals abroad and need a serious reconsideration.

By comparing a country like Switzerland with nearly no natural wealth with our country with nearly every, it is easy to realise what management can do (give everything to a country with nearly nothing) and what is the consequence of mismanagement (left nothing for a country which can have everything) and as I said before, it is a merely chronic disease in our country which is not limited to recent years after revolution.  

Hassan

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Dear Ramin,
Salam,
Thanks again for your comments. As far as I know - and I double checked with the dictionary too- 'illumination' means 'clarification' , so theres nothing bad about illuminating!
Any way, I have no objection to your criticism about the mistreatments and wrongdoings you mention in Iran, and particularly since I belive in your sincerity and honesty I can not, for a second, doubt your judgements about your case. Certainly we should be sorry for all those who are "forced" to migrate from where they wish to live. As I said before I too wish that someday there will be conditions in Iran that no one will be 'forced' to migrate. But even that day there will be people who 'choose' to migrate for one reason or another. They may want to live in even better conditions, earn even more money, aquire different knowledges or simply enjoy their life elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with that and it is nothing to be sorry about.
But I think even today many of those who say we are forced to leave Iran have infact chosen to do so. For example within Iranian filmmakers there are those who left the country, make films in other countries and have become citizens in European countries. These directors blame the Iranian government and censorship for 'forcing' them to migrate. While there are many other filmmakers -who even may have faced more limitations and pressure in Iran - but have chosen to remain inside the country. Through struggle and negotiation they have continued making films in Iran, without having any priviledges.
So 'force' can't simply be an explanation for all of the migrations from Iran. Given all the problems we have, some people choose to migrate, some people choose to stay. Both groups may have legitimate reasons for themselves. Yet, clearly not all those who have chosen to stay in the country, or work for the country have special privileges, are idiots, or go to london for check ups. And definitly not all those who have left the country have betrayed it. 
One thing I am sure of, however, is that change does not come about through a magic solution, or from the sky. I think just waiting for top-down changes to happen would be fruitless and such changes usually dont last long. Real changes are those that begins from, or include, the smallest units of a society. So, it is up to every single member of a society to make change, in whatever area of influence they may have.
 
I have learnt much from this email discussion, and it realy made me think. Thanks for that. I will use it as a good example of dialogue in my weblog.
 
Regards
Shahab
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Salaam,
 
There were very well discussion about the subject of this email for the last couple of days. I thought what I can say about this issue and declare  "ana sharik" (read in Arabic!).
 
The matter of  evaluation in science, particularly, for the qualitative objects are so difficult and requires some basic foundation including the sample. The data at the moments we have in hand to emphasize our statement is the link sent by Shahab i.e.  http://www.parstime s.com/Iranians. html  Can anyone see some recent scientists living in Iran who have made remarkable contribution on research, including Dr. Shamsipour in chemistry, Dr. Behazd in Maths, Dr. Soboti in physics and ...?
That might be a silly question and answers might be:
1-The page has been created by a guy who is more likely keen to support the statement "Iranian who left the country are successful"! . See the last sentences in the link http://www.parstime s.com/informatio n.html#About
2-Recent successful  Iranians inside Iran have not got the link to be addressed!
But, the  issue I am going to consider is the circumstance  those successful guys  managed to achieve. Clearly, migrating to the land with so many facilities had a big impact. Beer in mind these two factors at the moment , though there are more other elements involved. Why we do not have those facilities?. One big impact, I think, is made by war caused by a policy not in favor of in Iran made  this unpleasant circumstance. So loosing valuable sources including those talent people and now we need the time to recover from that disaster, do not we?. Taking this point into account we all, including people living abroad by either force or own willing,  are sorry. This "sorry" is important to be addressed.
 I do believe our beloved country was not deserve of it, was it?.  If there was not war we might have had chance to keep those talents.  That's my opinion and a feeling. Please excuse me if my statement does not agree with the fixed lessons learned in history or politics as it is not my subject.
 
However, there is a big "but" here. That is wasting time, money and resource with recent unskilful management to support at least talent people.  The recent ground to compete  is not fair.
The recent here means the period after war. (So, please do not make unfair judgment!).
Those having labels as "Iranian successful" in abroad did not suffer the recent situation and then prefer to leave. Who is responsible for that?.  Shall we consider this as a negative point or not?. There is no excuse here. We can say that refers to "individual" to be fair in his/her making decision to leave or stay. However, while the wise individuals are not in process of making decision, some individuals are those "idiots" who make huge impact in whole outcome of the government policy. That might be the society has accepted  this policy!?. So, we cannot ignore the effect of the rules which have been established by the system. That's one of the reason which make all of us sad in our (as academic) daily life inside and outside of Iran  and this "sorry" should be seriously taken into account. My means "having accepted this, the reason of migration is important ".
 I should end up my comments here. Now, that's your decision to whether or not take my  "sorry " for this long text into account!.
 
Regards,
Mousa
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Dear All
 Salam
 
I would like to make some  short points, regarding recent discussion ( iranian success). First of all, I think we all would agree that brain drain is different from migration and most of what was happened in our country in the last three decades is brain drain and  not migration.
Secondly, it is true ( as Shahab  has mentioned)  that talents could face the difficult situations ( such as  lack of facilities, low income and ..,) and even overcome them. But I suppose one of the most irritating thing that formed in our country is lack of respect for people. Although common people can bear it and gradually get to used to having such a condition , but it is not the case for talents.
 Finally, I agree with mousa that we have many successful iranian , inside Iran now, but if we evaluate is a relative ratio( I mean,the whole population agianst the number of sucesses), we can see, the number is too low in compare with iranian talent outside Iran. If I recall correctly, one of the iranian talent inside Iran, once said to me , our problem is that we have too many intermediate academic in Iran and very few ( almost rare) actual talents.
 
Regards
Amin 
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Interesting discussions! 

The fact that you bother to discuss and make comments about the state of your country, shows that you care and this is very valuable. 

Staying abroad or returning home is an individual decision in my view and a very difficult one. So while most of what you have said is correct, not any single one of them can explain migration or brain drain. I can assure you that out of every 100 asylum seekers there are 3 potential geniuses.  This is the law of normal distributions. In fact I can argue that the figure is even bigger than this as those who dare to go on this difficult journey should be much more talented. They simply haven’t had the opportunity.

 Nevertheless we are where we are and we should think and act from here.

 Masoud