Jon Stewart, aka the only newsman who matters on TV, has just interviewed the producers of the Persian language equivalent of the Daily Show, “Parazit.”
You can read a bit about them over on the outstanding website, Tehran Bureau.
Or you can just watch their interview right here on Qizilbash. The guys really are thrilled to be on Stewart’s show. I can’t blame them.
The proprietor of the marvelous photolog Life Goes on in Tehran
got an unofficial boot from Iran. Sad but undeterred he asked his readers to submit their own photos of Tehran\Iran. The results are nothing short of outstanding and worthy of your clicks and admiration!
(update April 25, 2010 - apparently Mr. Life Goes on in Tehran can still carry on in Tehran as he wishes for now. Qizilbash was the victim of a bad april fools joke)
(photo from www.lgoit.com)
In the process of doing some research on some Iranian historical matters I came across the Google Books archive of the legendary and iconic piece of Americana, Life Magazine.
Naturally, I decided to do some searching around for Middle East related things and came across this gem of an antiquated (or as we would call it in 2010, racist) headline (pictured below) that would make Roger Sterling c.1963 proud.
The article itself, published in 1951, is not that much better in that it begins by stating “the Eastern Nations have never distinguished themselves for any understanding of Samuel Johnson’s axiom, ‘a decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.’”
Well, that’s the author’s opinion, but still I can’t help but wonder if the author of the Life Magazine piece even bothered to look up the concept of Zakat? Or analyze Dr. Mossadegh’s ambitious (and democratic) plan for the distribution of wealth in Iran that was quickly quashed by the “civilized” US?
I would argue that these “Western” arrogances (if I may invent a word) as seen here in 1951 continue to frame American views of Muslim societies such as Iran.
I am willing to bet, that were the author of this piece alive today, he would most certainly hesitate to call the United States a backward place despite it’s poor record on poverty. I only wish he would have used such restraint in 1951 as well.
Asef Bayat is currently speaking and has made some very interesting points regarding generational shifts in the idea of what constitutes azadi, Persian for “Freedom.”
For the generation leading the protests of 1979 Bayat argues that azadi was more about liberation from Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and therefore instituting political reforms that included voting rights among others.
The struggle for “freedom” disappeared from the Iranian political consciousness during the Iran-Iraq war only to reemerged at the conflict’s end.
Today’s concept of “freedom” in Iran, is youthful and focused on individual liberties that allow for Iranians to live like other young people throughout the world.
This however, should not be confused with the idea of the 20th Century proto-Islamist that saw these aspects of “Freedom” as an excuse for decadence and other Euro-American sins.
Iran’s movement today is exclusively Iranian, peaceful (despite being confronted with violence), and globalized. Iran’s Green Wave should be seen as a “post-Islamist” movement, that is to say: a movement that seeks to reclaim citizenship within a religious order.
Hamid Dabashi just finished the opening remarks of the of the first panel at the Columbia conference on Iran.
He began with a jab at Columbia President Lee Bollinger who, according to Dabashi, was somewhat responsible for two of his graduate students packing up and fleeing Iran this past summer. As Dabashi noted, the Iranian tabloids had accused Columbia as being the American home of the so-called “Velvet Revolution” in Iran. Bollinger’s comments two years ago in his introduction of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad certainly did not help in allaying the fears of the Iranian regime.
Dabashi noted, there is nothing about Iran that will be said today that will not be immediately relevant to the United States. In other words, as Dabashi said, this is not about “us versus them.” Let’s see.