Last week when I was looking at the newsstand, I only saw government newspapers and yellow magazines. A passer-by, who was also looking at the newspapers, shook his head insorrow and said: ‘Do you know what? Nowadays the best newspaper is ‘Keyhan’!
What worries me is that the British once again offend the Iranian people by giving the Cyrus cylinder to a regime that is trying to erase ancient Persian history, as this history proves that the country is now more backward than it was 2500 years ago.
With regard to Iran, there are two more reasons to give the Turkish referendum proper attention. Like in Turkey, current political debates in Iran are centered on ‘democratization’, ‘secularism’ and ‘religion’. Moreover, Turkey is an important point of reference for political thought in Iran since at least the early 20th century
The rise of the culture of death that we are witnessing today in our societies is an infallible sign that many in the West and elsewhere have given up the project to think and to feel responsible toward the concept of “humanity” which transcends them or even to sacrifice, in the extreme, life itself to that which makes life meaningful. In short, I cannot overcome the impression that Western culture is threatened far more by itself than by Islamic fundamentalism.
There is a chronic lack of transparency and a dizzying complexity of power relations within the Iranian state. This labyrinthine form of networks that together make up Iranian politics is in my view no coincidence.
When I was a child, wearing T-shirts (with short sleeves) and jeans and using gel was forbidden at school. If we didn’t obey the rules, we had to go to the manager’s office and he punished us.
The driver continues while shaking his head: “God bless the Shah! What a stupid mistake we made!” I now mingle myself in the conversation. “You didn’t expect this situation. It wasn’t a mistake at first, the Revolution is not a sudden accident or a point.
Many of Tagore’s views on nationalism, education and dialogue of cultures are intellectually valid, and some off his ideas have attracted and influenced contemporary thinkers and writers both in India and abroad. But let us ask the question: What relevance does Tagore have to us “post-moderns” as we live the first decade of the new millennium?
Iran is one of the few places in the world where the East European experience is still relevant. What can Iranian dissidents learn from the East European dissidents in Soviet time? What are the basic questions the leaders of the Green Movement or any other opposition group need to find an answer for at the moment and “the day after” – the moment of a possible overthrow of the Islamic Republic? What should they be prepared for and try to find and create a compromise on before they would possibly come to power?
The following is based on an unpublished essay, and on several conversations, in which Victor Kal, who teaches philosophy at Amsterdam University, claims in a nutshell that a theocracy can only flourish in a liberal democracy and a liberal democracy only thanks to theocratically orientated citizens. Has this philosopher lost himself in abstract thoughts and gone mad?
There is one power the Iranian regime can’t win its battle with: the Internet. In the past, censorship used to be primarily aimed at writers, poets and journalists, because the regime knows that life in a dictatorship makes the pen mightier than the sword. In our day and age however, the Internet has made everyone a writer.
As odd as it may sound, reading philosophy in Tehran can not only be spiritually comforting, but also politically empowering. It is an open challenge to the monologism of tyrannical thought, but it is also an invitation to become a responsibly dialogical self in a culture that has systematically sheltered itself from the Socratic task of learning through asking questions and “living in truth”.
The Israeli – Palestinian conflict is neither a clash of cultures nor a clash of religious traditions, but it is a clash of intolerances and prejudices among two rescued nations who share the same life boat.
In a contest of violence against violence, the Green Movement would be doomed. Its only chance is a contest of state violence against the power of people acting in concert. Violence could still be effective and destroy the power generated by the Green Movement, but violence can never create the power that is necessary to legitimize good governance. Even if the Green Movement loses its momentum, and its power, it should not drink from the cup of viciousness to satisfy the great thirst for freedom: violence can never be a real substitute for power.
Art reflects life, so I believe it is no coincidence that birds play such a big part in Iranian culture. Look at a bird in the sky. It is free, and freedom is what Iranians have been struggling for since many centuries already.
Confronted with technology of execution, it will not help us to close our eyes to the reality of state crimes. As it appears, belonging to a common world as ours is synonymous to a shared suffering. Suffering refers to our being immersed in the human web of human relationships and making sense of our humanity in the world.
In Iran, people constantly have to lie. I believe that the schizophrenia this has caused is the biggest crime of the Islamic regime against its people. It is tragic that all Iranians have to create a fake copy of their true self.
The central question addressed to Islamists in particular and to the Muslim world in general is to know the ways in which they can come to terms with their own experience of modernity, because modernity is more and more an intrinsic value and a lived practice.
I prefer the edge: the place where countries, communities, allegiances, affinities, and roots bump uncomfortably up against one another – where cosmopolitanism is not so much an identity as the normal condition of life. To be sure, there is something self-indulgent in the assertion that one is always at the edge, on the margin. Such a claim is only open to a certain kind of person exercising very particular privileges. Most people, most of the time, would rather not stand out: it is not safe.
The pro-democracy movement in Iran needs to combine the ‘war of maneuver’ characterized by rapid attacks with ‘the war of position’, in which the movement digs itself deeper into society, fortifies its positions and strengthens its counter-power.