Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 10 Dec 1999 to 11 Dec 1999

There are 2 messages totalling 80 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. an earthquake measuring 3.9 on the
2. Democracy Is Based on Civilization Not Culture

Date: Sat, 11 Dec 1999 06:09:53 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: an earthquake measuring 3.9 on the

kermanshah, dec 9, irna -- an earthquake measuring 3.9 on the
open-ended richter scale jolted gahvareh district near kermanshah
thursday morning.
kermanshah's seismological base put the epicenter of the quake
at 65 km west of the provincial center of kermanshah.
at least three residential units have been damaged by the tremor,
gahvareh governor office said. there in no report on any loss of
life in the earthquake.

Date: Sat, 11 Dec 1999 18:45:32 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Democracy Is Based on Civilization Not Culture

IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL DECEMBER 11, 1999

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Democracy Is Based on Civilization Not Culture

The Head of Tehran City Council, Abbas Douzdouzani, resigned after less than
three months in office. His predecessor, Abdollah Nouri, also resigned from
this post six months after he took office.

Douzdouzani's resignation, which destabilizes the council, was caused by his
disagreements with other members and his quest for more power.

When, for the first time in our history, city council elections were held
last February many of us believed them to be the beginning of the people's
participation in the running of their own affairs, and considered them as the
harbingers of true democracy.

However, we are gradually realizing that when the infrastructure of political
parties are missing and tolerating opposing views is not yet
institutionalized, achieving democracy in the true sense of the word is not
possible.

The ironic thing about the Tehran City Council is that despite the fact that
almost all its members belong to the so-called Reformist Faction, they cannot
tolerate each other's different viewpoints.

We have an exceptionally rich culture and our historical achievements are
almost unparalleled. But the practice of democracy, which is a relatively new
and modern phenomenon (except for a short period in ancient Greece), is based
on civilization rather than culture.

A major component of civilization and the main pillar of democracy is
respecting the rights of others and tolerating views which are opposed to our
own.

Voltaire, the famous French philosopher, believed that tolerating opposition
is the foundation of a free society. Opposing Voltaire's idea, the Austrian
philosopher, Karl popper, said that opponents of freedom should not be given
any freedom. This idea is diametrically opposed to democracy.

Our major problem is that centuries of being ruled by Kings and tyrants have
made us unprepared for a transition to democracy. We need time to ponder the
questions of tolerance, equal rights, and institutionalization of genuine
political parties before abandoning our archaic ideas of tribal and factional
allegiances.

These types of loyalties and allegiances are not conducive to democracy and
will only perpetuate partisan and personal politics which are detrimental to
our national interests and will only enlarge the existing gap between us and
true democracy.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 10 Dec 1999 to 11 Dec 1999
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