Sunday, June 17, 2007

BrainDrain

Disgruntled still, that my fellow Iranian colleagues were not granted visa to attend a scientific meeting in the USA, I woke up to news about the slurring comments of a McGill professor of chemistry (David M Ronis) an opponent to reinstating the membership of 14 Iranian scientists in the American Chemistry Society (ACS)

So they are toughening their sanctions and trying their pressure tactics and then lamenting the huge cost of Iranian brain drain, overlooking, of course, the Anglo-American contribution to the brain drain in countries such as Iraq!

While most of the blame about the alarming rate of the Iranian brain drain falls on the IRI's failing economic an cultural policies, few critiques talk about the direct role of American sanctions on science and technology (and thus economic) development in Iran.

It is also ironic that the US of A happily absorbs the scientists' exodus! Like most scientists, the greater majority of Iranian academics have little existentialist quarrel with politics, as long as the political system funds them to address their research interests. A factsheet of the success rate of the Iranian-American community, puts in perspective the advantage of Iranian brain drain towards West.

According to a study by Ali Mostashari and Ali Khodamhosseini from the Iranian Studies Group at MIT, the 2000 US Census indicates that
The Iranian ancestral group have educational attainments that greatly surpass the national average. In general, the percent of the Iranians over 25 years old who have obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher was at 57.2% in comparison to 24.4% for the rest of the U.S. population. With more than 27% of Iranian-Americans over the age of 25 having a graduate degree or above, Iranian-Americans are the most highly educated ethnic group in the United States. With respect to the gender differences Iranian males and females are both more educated than the U.S. average values. Percentage-wise, Iranian-Americans hold five times the number of doctorates than the national average.
...
The per capita average income for Iranian-Americans is 50% higher than that of the nation, while family average income is 38% higher. ... The percentage of Iranian Americans living in homes valued more than $1 million is nearly 10 times that of the national average.
... (PDF

(for more information see the research reports at Iranian Study Group MIT)

However, to study and train in North America, is not entirely disadvantageous to Iran as it also opens the horizon of career opportunities domestically. In Returning to Iran: Challenges and Promises the authors report that
returning to Iran is a decision often motivated by emotional and patriotic connections to Iran rather than rational calculations. Moreover, level of satisfaction differed across participants and correlated with their success in achieving their career goals in Iran. Cultural and structural barriers to working effectively have been the biggest challenges to most participants while emotional ties and outstanding students have contributed to positive experiences.
Nevertheless, it appears that those who were successful in achieving some of their goals with regard to contribution to Iranian society, and had developed a successful career, were happier with their decisions. A few tentative trends which partially explain the successfulness of different initiatives include:
- There are many potential opportunities in the industry that can be successfully used. ... Examples include information technology, consulting, and financial markets. ...
- Entrepreneurship and institution-building remain central to creating opportunities. Despite some increase in recent years (mostly due to international investments and new large firms) there are few pre-specified, well-paying jobs available. Successful people tend to create the opportunities themselves through starting new ventures which satisfy some unmet need. In short, people who are interested in taking the risks of entrepreneurial activity have better prospects of job satisfaction and making a significant contribution to the Iranian society.

- In the academia the structures are more clearly defined and entrepreneurial activity (e.g. starting a new department or program) is less of an option, with the possible exception of new and growing fields such as management and economics. Under these conditions success is harder, and depends on skills and criteria beyond research aptitude, to secure funds, steer the politics of the departments, and do quality research given very limited resources. The chances of doing quality research also depends strongly on the specific area: theoretical and applied research often have higher chances of success than experimental fields where the resource and equipment become a significant disadvantage for Iranian researchers compared to the international competition.

Let's thank the sanctions for that too.

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

Iran never was successful in absorbing the Iranian citizens who had studied in North America and EU states; before or after the Islamic Revolution. In fact, Iran could only absorb 30% of the foreign graduates and in that sjhe was not that different from many different countries such as India, Egypt, etc.

To my knowledge, Tunisia was, for decades, the most successful country in attracting her foreign graduates into that country. Although I think that no longer obtains.

We really do not have a problem of Brain Drain in Iran. We have educated people that we cannot use in Iran. We could not use them under the Shah and we could not use them under the Islamic Republic.

So, at least they can leave the country and find a home elsewhere - using their God-given gifts helping themselves and the rest of mankind. And they are adding color and flavor to the monoculture societies of North America, Australia, and EU - make them slightly more cosmopolitan.

Additionally, these people, come and visit Iran and we learn certain things from them that we would not have had the opportunity to learn otherwise. They have ideas and experiences that have been obtained through years of living among more advanced socities that they are transmitting to Iran. It is not as well as it could be but still it is better than nothing.

As for the ACS etc. yes the ACS leadership is contemptible. But EU or Candaians are not much better. When TRIUMPH accelerator at the University of BC was being decommisioned, Iran indicated an interest in buying it. No way - said the Candians. You see, that accelerator had no military application but they wanted to keep us down since they still hope to regain their political position in Iran.



This is the price we in Iran are willing and able to pay - scientific isolation for our political independence. As an aspirant to being & becoming a powerful country we have to act like one. Let them exclude us, they are forcing us to stand on our own two feet. As Ayatullah Khamenei has said: "We will not beg..."

"خدا يار منه چون حاجت كس"

Ya Ali Maddad!

pen Name

Anonymous said...

naj:

The Iranians could start and build a vigorous experimental & theoretical program that touches upon all sciences around something that they have in abundance: petroleum.

Possible Areas of Research:

1. Rheology of petroleum,
2. Remote Sensing of Seismic Data
3. Data Visualization,
4. Genetic Engineering of petroleum producing micro-organisms
5. Genetic Engineering of petroleum consuming micro-organisms
6. Ecology of oil-fields & oil transportation disasters
7. Chemical engineering petroleum and its derivative products
8. Chemical engineering of combustion
9. Chemistry of petroleum
10. Fluid Mechanics of petroleum in soils (percolation theory, statistical physics, multi-component fluid mixtures, etc.)
Etc.

They lack scientific imagination not funding.

Pen Name

fatima said...

Are you sure you are iranian
You have among your favourite bloggers a fanatic jewish blogger (stop the occupation as a misleading title typical of them) why ??? do you hate Muslims too ?

Naj said...

Fatima
============================
Welcome to neo-resistance.

Actually, I put that link on purpose. The person was so outrageous that I thought he is doing a great disfavor to Zionists.

When the enemy is eager to disgrace himself and shoot himself in the head, I let him :)



Pen Name
==========================
I cannot comment on
Iranian's petrochemical scientific imagination, as I barely passed all my chemistry courses; and had it not been for Algebra and Modern math, I would perhaps have never seen the light of a university in Iran ;)

So what kind of funding are you talking about? Iranian funding or Foreign funding?

But I also realized from reading up the US treasury documents that the most strict sanctions are imposed on Iran's petrochemical research/collaborations.

Anonymous said...

naj:

My point was that Iranians can build, inside Iran, a scientific research program around oil & gas that could encompass all scientific disciplines : Physics, Biology, Chemistry - and Engineering as well: Chemical, Mechanical, Civil, Soil Sciences, etc.

Iran has the money to do this but not the leadership with the vision to do so.

We have a Theoretical Physics Institute that concentrates on the latest scientific fads of the West - there is money for that. But there is not money for other branches of Physics that could be more applicable to Iran and can establish an independent scientific culture in that country.

The sanctions are not the cause of our pain - our own greed, venality, corruption, and stupidity are. In fact, I like the confrontation with US & EU - they are forcing us to clean-up our act!

pen Name

Naj said...

I agree Pen Name,

Iran suffers a major lack of management. We are an ad hoc kind of a population. Somone had sent a resume a few weeks back from Tehran University. It was impressive, but "ashe sholeh ghalamkar" (i.e. messy.) By and large, we are not trained to be focused and narrowly specialized. Having to live in geographical and political volatility has exacerbated our lack of systemic discipline. I am not sure if it is a good or a bad thing. I think being jack of all trades and master of none has also made us versatile, adaptable and resilient. But yes, we need to clean our act, both inside and outside of Iran.

Speaking for myself, I think it is no longer acceptable for me to complain about what is wrong in Iran, without rolling up my own sleeves to do something to improve things. I want to build bridges between my two countries. Peace and progress will not come through rhetorics but practices at a very individual level.

nunya said...

Pen Name says

"And they are adding color and flavor to the monoculture societies of North America..."

the genetic engineering went forward before some important information was in: DNA `junk' appears to have uses

You flatter yourself. There's lots of flavor and color in the US. Monoculture? Maybe that's what you want to see.

Naj,

I think Iranians and US citizens are suffering under insufferable governments.
However.
Only the horrible Chinese have used government intervention to deal with (in a draconian way) the world-wide problem of skyrocketing human population. It's frightening how many Chinese men there are going to be in 15 years.

Umm, their economy appears to be booming, No?

Oh, and Dick Cheney appears to be the only one allowed to violate the sanctions.
I really can't stand Cheney.

Naj said...

Wow Nunya, your comment has a haiko flavor to it. I can't make sense of it honey ;)

But actually you picked the "monoculture" quite sharply! Pen, care to clarify what you meant by calling the UK/US/Ausies monocultured?!?

David said...

Almost all the Iranians that I have met personally, or through blogging, who are in the U.S. are pursuing, or have already earned graduate degrees. For the most part, from what they told me, they have all come to America to escape the oppression of the Iranian government. Their decision to move here may be a brain drain to Iran, but in a way, it seems like a win-win for the people who come here and for the Iranian government. A few years ago, I was puzzled as to why the best and brightest students were allowed to leave Iran and come to the U.S. Well, it seems to me now that the Iranian government is happy to get rid of highly intelligent people who might cause trouble and possible revolution if they were forced to stay in Iran. Honestly, I don't know what is in the Iranian leaders minds, but this seems like a plausible explanation to me.

nunya said...

Naj,

I always make the connection between economic difficulties and (over)population.

Pen name also said:

"1. Rheology of petroleum,
2. Remote Sensing of Seismic Data
3. Data Visualization,
4. Genetic Engineering of petroleum producing micro-organisms
5. Genetic Engineering of petroleum consuming micro-organisms"

Numbers 4 and 5 involve genetic engineering and the link is to a recent article on DNA. They've recently discovered that 'molecular junk' might not be junk.

But they've already messed with the
food supply.

and yes, Haiku comes naturally to me.

:)

Naj said...

David,
You have a valid point.
And this is precisely why I cannot let my fear of oppressive regime let me leave my country in the hands of those who want my dismemberment from it.
"we can't empty the country", said a wise friend of mine, many years ago. She was right.

I have maintained that Iran's heroes are those who are fighting the regime from inside Iran, not those who bark from outside.

Nunya,
That DNA junk and etc ... that I didn't get either :)

Anonymous said...

nunya:

I am familiar with the US scene: a largely (Protestant) Christian polity with sprinkling of a honorary "white people" called Jews.

In small towns of America all you see is White.

Yes, the large costal cities are a different story.

And no, I am not flattering myself; I know the nobility that shine through most Iranians - an inherent dignity that white US does not have.

pen Name

Anonymous said...

David:

Iran is not a state like USSR or East Germany were. People are free to come and go as they please. A decade ago we had a lot of Iranian youngmen going for extended stays in Japan to earn money doing menial labor.

Indians and Koreans have been emigrating from India and Korea to US for decades; I would not consider that a sign of escape from political oppression - rather a search for a better economic opportunities.

pen Name

Naj said...

And no, I am not flattering myself; I know the nobility that shine through most Iranians - an inherent dignity that white US does not have.

Sorry Pen, the "Iranian Nobility" prohibits expressing such statements!!

And regarding Iranians escaping for better economic opportunities: it may be true about Indians and etc, but if you bother to survey Iranians, majority of those who have come abroad have escaped social/political oppression.

Nowadays, it is much easier to make money in Iran than elsewhere!

The new wave of immigrants are escaping Ahmadinejad, and the potential of US/Iran war. Let's not kid ourselves my friend!

Anonymous said...

naj:

What you so glibly call "regime" is the legitimate and legally constituted government of Iran.

The form of that government (Islamic Republic) was decided in a referendum. The members of the assembly that drafted the Iranian constitution were freely elected. The constitution passed in a land-slide referendum. There has been 23 clean national elections in that country which, until the Islamic Republic, knew no legitimate elections. And lastly, for the first time in 3000 years, power was devolved to the city and village councils back in 1998.

That “regime” has been more democratic than any Muslim state that has existed up to this time.

It is not as democratic as it could be because it restricts the candidates list – that is a legitimate grievance & criticism. But it will take a couple of more decades to change. Under the present security situation, where your “other country” is a member of anti-Iran and anti-Islam alliance that change will not happen.

For 70 years, Mexico was worse than Iran – a corrupt, oppressive, and venal party ruling over the masses. But there never was a peep out of the North Americans or EU criticizing that “regime”. No sir; far from it. They loved Mexico.

As the Late Great Ayatollah Khomeini said: “Our troubles is due to the fact that we resist US power.”

The opinion of Western people does not carry any weight for me – they left God and followed Satan to Buchenwald and places like that. The Western people are very uncomfortable with religious government – they are anti-clerical to the core and they want to impose that on us. The hell they will succeed.

Ya Imam Hussein

pen Name

Anonymous said...

naj:

the "nobility" is there whether you agree with my statement or not. The faces show it.


And if war comes, it will come. let the weak escape.

In God We Trust!

pen Name

Naj said...

the faces show it

show "what"???

What does nobility look like?

You know, your statemens remind me why I am not living in Iran. It is because of judgmental and overgeneralizing and prejuidiced peole like you, Pen NAme. You think you are RIGHT. but that is what you THINK! And whoever thinks he is right beyond question, in my opinion is not very enlightened.

The form of that government (Islamic Republic) was decided in a referendum. The members of the assembly that drafted the Iranian constitution were freely elected. The constitution passed in a land-slide referendum. There has been 23 clean national elections in that country which, until the Islamic Republic, knew no legitimate elections. And lastly, for the first time in 3000 years, power was devolved to the city and village councils back in 1998.


Landslide referendum???? in a country with "no experience" of democracy hw could any referendum be worth anything? And how come we have not had yet another referendum? And you call the coercing the generally democracy-illiterate people of 30 years ago into voting "yes" or else "not receive oil money" a landslide approval of the IRI??

You are yourself talking about the limitations on Iran's candidacy system. THAT is precisely why this IRI is a regime. It is a regime because it is a group of dinosaurs determines who has the RIGHT to run for election.

It is eople like YOU pen who are keeping people like me out of my country. It is people like you who have run me to exile! No more! You better learn to listen to us as well!

Anonymous said...

naj:

Those illiterate Iranian people of 30 years ago, under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, the greated Muslim Thinker and Doer of the last 100 years, they god rid of the Shah and Monarchy. And if you respect democracy (which you do not) you would have respected these people's choice.

The Iranian people wanted and have wanted islam. They have wanted a religious a government. They have wanted to be certain that the precepts of Islam is not violated by their representatives.

I agree with you that the restriction in the electoral law are limitations on the democratic aspiration of the iranian people. But a samll blemish does not make the Islamic Republic illegitimate. If the Islamic Republic (even the name fills me with vigour) is illegitimate because of the electoral laws, then China, Taiwan, Germany, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Thailand, Burma, and Every Other Single Muslim State are all illegitimate.

Yours is an extremist position and untenable.


Mine is one of patience and hope for the future.


People like me did not drive you out of Iran. You said that you are not Muslim - and Iran is country of the Shia Muslims for Shia Muslims. You chose to leave.

Accept us the way we are or leave us alone.

pen Name

Anonymous said...

meant "1000 years" and not "100 years" in my last post.

Sorry about that.

pen Name

Naj said...

Mine is an extremist view? and your Islamofascism is not?

You can be amusing Pen!

I am sorry but MANY Shiite muslims inside IRan disagree with your assessment of the greateness of Khomeini!

the regime I am talking about mirrors quite nicely Shah's "hezb-e rastakhiz": "If you care not to be a member, then leave the country!

David was QUITE RIGHT that people like YOU want Iran empty of us! Just because I do not subscribe to Khomeini's doctrine, I am automatically considered an untenable extremist!

Well, I guess your extremism, like that of most muslims, oozed out!

I am shamed to see you so nicely validate all the charges that he neoconservatives of the world are laying on Iranians!! I am deeply shamed and upset that some one of your intellectual ability speaks this way. And I am deeply disapointed that after all discussions we have had here, you consider yourself the PATIENT hopeful and me the extremist!

And again, you are reminding me how necessary it is to fight against the exclusionist mentality such as yours in Iran!

No Iran is not a country of Muslims for muslims. Muslim Iranians do not run non-muslims out of their homes. Iranian muslims are full of tolerance for all. You and your regime do.

And until your guardian council decided who can and who cannot run in elections, your respectable democracy remains on the edge of a farce to me. A farce it is, but I maintain that it is up to voting Iranians to fix it, and we do not need any foreigner's help!

Naj said...

Sorry Pen, I lost my temper.
Buut I only lose my temper with people I care for, and people I respect.

I hope you understand.

Anonymous said...

naj:

"Islamofascism"? Name-calling now?

To my knowledge there are only 24 states that conform to your lofty ideals of representative government AND Rule of Law. Almost all of them are in North America and Western Europe. The rest of mankind, the 90% of us who are not so privileged, live with restricted representative governments (in some cases) and partial protection of law. Yet we live.

I really do not care what other Shia or other people think of my opinions regarding Khomeini; he remains the greatest Muslim Thinker & Political figure of Islam since the assassination of Imam Ali. But he was one man, and he only could carry this burden and this the load so far. Help us move it further if you can.

You say we want to empty Iran of people like you. Both you & David are wrong. It is you who wants to empty Iran of people like us; you who do not respect our religious aspirations and sensibilities. You want to make our polity a secularized one so that you can live your post-Enlightenment fantasy life. You want a religious polity to become non-religious for you & people like you. Well, that is not going to take place.

In Iran, both under the 1905 constitution and the 1980 constitution, Jews, Chaldean Christians, Armenians, Zoroastrians, and Assyrian Christians have been guaranteed one representative each for every 100,000 souls. Under a more democratic system they could never be represented. So we have some advantages here.

I do not care if you or anyone else is ashamed of me or for me. I state my opinions based on what I know of the world.

I am full of tolerance as well but I also know that things will take a long time to improve. You state that you are not Muslim yet you want to live in a country whose historical existence owes to the Shia form of Islam, whose soldiers and volunteers died, in the recent war against Iraq, saying “Din”. And to do so, you suggest, implicitly changes to the Laws of that country. I find that to be a contradiction.

In Argentina, the President of the Republic has to be, by their constitution, a Catholic. That's why Carlos Menem, a Muslim, converted to Catholicism. He did not advocate re-writing the laws of Argentina. Why cannot you accept a similar thing in Iran?

There are 3 legitimate issues in Iran:

- social intervention by the state in the private lives of people

- restrictions on electoral laws

-respect for law (including non-recognized religious minorities such as Baha’si)

All of them will take years -perhaps decades - to resolve. (In US they had restrictions on Jewish enrollments in universities until middle of 1920s, lynching until 70s, etc. And until 1880s you cannot say that US was country with respect for the Rule of Law)

And I do not care about the so-called neo-conservatives or what they think; just another group of (Westerners in this case) pursuing a fantasy project. They have been thwarted and won't be able to do a damn thing to change the Iranian society or the strategic situation of Iran.

چو بشنوی سخن اهل دل مگو که خطاست
سخن شناس نه‌ای جان من خطا این جاست

pen Name

Anonymous said...

Fine.
باشد
pen Name

nunya said...

Pen name

Stop kidding yourself. Elites is elites is elites and they all got politicians in their pockets. All over the planet. Human nature is human nature is human nature. Everybody wants what they think is best for their progeny. For their (ohh, dare I say it?) TRIBE.

Tears for Fears--Everybody wants to rule the world

Welcome to your life
There's no turning back
Even while we sleep
We will find you
Acting on your best behaviour
Turn your back on mother nature
Everybody wants to rule the world
It's my own design
It's my own remorse
Help me to decide
Help me make the most
Of freedom and of pleasure
Nothing ever lasts forever
Everybody wants to rule the world
There's a room where the light won't find you
Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down
When they do I'll be right behind you
So glad we've almost made it
So sad they had to fade it
Everybody wants to rule the world
I can't stand this indecision
Married with a lack of vision
Everybody wants to rule the world
Say that you'll never never never need it
One headline why believe it ?
Everybody wants to rule the world
All for freedom and for pleasure
Nothing ever lasts forever
Everybody wants to rule the world

Naj said...

You state that you are not Muslim yet you want to live in a country whose historical existence owes to the Shia form of Islam, whose soldiers and volunteers died, in the recent war against Iraq, saying “Din”. And to do so, you suggest, implicitly changes to the Laws of that country. I find that to be a contradiction.

None of these charges are valid; thust I won't respond.

A country must have elected representatives, or trusted representatives. Those representatives will write the laws with consideration for the greater good of the majority. Once those laws are written, one is bound by them. People who disagree with those laws must have the right to express their opposition and to seek to change them. Whether they succeed or not with be determined by election. All I seek is to be able to go to Iran and say: people, I speak your language, I live your pain and share your joy, I sleep under the same sky and live under the same law as you do, and I am a creature made by the same divine who created you. I think X should be done in this and that way. If you agree with me, vote for me. If not, don't.

I have no dispute that Iran's is a burgeoning democracy, a young one and one in need for maturity. I thought you and I had that implicit understanding that things are far from perfect but they will be.

I totally agree that Iran's revolution and collapse of monarchy was the best event in the history of Iran. I do not give the credit of the revolution solely to khomeini. I also do not give credit for kicking Saddam out to those who fought it wth religious motivations. We have Christians and Zoroasterians who died for Iran, do we not?

Iran replaced Pahlavi monarchy with religious monarchy; and I have reasons to believe the current religious learedship of Iran is not the most pious one!

One is recently dead, may more of them join their maker. Perhaps then we wil have a breath of fresh air.

Re Islamofascist, I am sorry if it turned out as an insult. I do not consider terms such as nazism or fascism to be pejorative. They are systems of thought and polity; and whether they happen in Grmany on the 30s or the US in 2000s doesn't change their nature.

From wikipedia:
Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers individual and other societal interests subordinate to the needs of the state, and seeks to forge a type of national unity, usually based on ethnic, cultural, or racial attributes.

Anonymous said...

nunya:

The desire to "Rule the World" is a symptom of the progeny of Adam & Eve's Fall from Grace.

Yet we are not automatons. We have Freedom of Choice. We suffer from Lust, Fear, Envy, and other such vices. And we recognize them as vices based on Revelations of the Prophets. And we do what we can to prevent them from consuming our lives.

This Desire to Rule over other human beings is also a manifestation of our Love-Hate relationship with other members of our species. Its universality, as you have pointed out, is an indication of the universal nature of the Fall of Man. From a religious point of view, indulging in such a desire is a sin. It is a manifestation of the Worship of Collective Powers of Man - a blasphemy.

Rule over mankind only belong to God; that's why we can only be free in God.

As the Quran states: " we made you into peoples and tribes..". God has willed our diversity but he did not ordain our diversity to become a form of tribalism. And Christ stated: "In my Father's House there are many mansions." Yet, all of our attempts in creating the universal state fails since that state can only be granted if God grants it (us) his grace to do so. It would almost be like Paradise – but we cannot live in Paradise since we are the Fallen!

But these are general and abstract observations. Currently, what I see, is the Western Protestant Christians & Jews are trying to rule over Muslims. They like their servant states such as Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and others but dislike those like us who are opposed to their rule. Attention here: we are not trying to rule over you, it is you who are trying to do so.

pen Name

Anonymous said...

naj:

Iran is not an ideological state, it is a religious state for the Shia. That does not make it Fascist. Iran is multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, and multi-racial. None of what characterizes Fascism obtains in Iran.

David said...

Hi Naj,

My last comment seems to have caused a bit of heated argument and debate. Well, hopefully some good can come from that.

In light of your comments, I think that I will restate one thing that I said before. Iranians who came to America found increased freedom and great educational and economic opportunities. However, it is clear that you, and probably many other Iranians who have come here, miss Iran very much! In light of those feelings, there can be no complete "win" for Iranian expatriots.

I agree with you that Iranians who have chosen to stay and work for positive changes in Iran are heros. My friend Parastoo, who was arrested and sent to Evin Prison for several weeks, was a hero for peacefully carrying a sign outside a courthouse asking for the release of her friends who had been arrested in a similar peaceful protest a few months earlier. Although she was released after her family paid a very high bail, she still faces a possible trial and jail sentence for her peaceful demonstration. Parastoo, and her friends in the Iranian Women's Movement, are simply asking for civil rights, much as black Americans asked for their's in the 1960's. I applaud the courage of these women, and I wish them well.


Pen,

I agree with you that Iran is very different from the USSR or East Germany. Allowing people to emmigrate is a freedom in and of itself. Also, allowing the same people to return to Iran to visit and then freely leave once again is another measure of freedom. However, to present people with the choice to conform to unreasonable, and in my opinion sometimes unconscionable, laws or leave is cruel. Also, it is my understanding that the majority of Iranian people are poor. They do not have the financial means to leave. So, they have no choice but to stay and accept whatever oppression is placed upon them. You are obviously quite happy with the Iranian system of government, with the small caveat of wishing for a more open process for the selection of who is eligible to stand for election. Well, that's great for you, but how can you presume to speak for all Iranians in Iran?

I agree with what you said about Mexico. Even today, the disparity in wealth between the richest and poorest Mexicans is many times worse than what exists in the U.S. Mexicans risk death (many die in the desert) to cross the border into the U.S. by the thousands every month because they are so desperately poor in Mexico. So, I think that you and I can agree that the pursuit of vast wealth by the few, at the great expense of the many, is immoral.

You seem to believe in the morality of the Iranian system of government. Well, what I see is an unelected aristocracy that lives in great mansions in great luxury and comfort, while at the same time wearing the rich and finely tailored robes of Imams, Ayatollahs, and Mullahs and proclaiming to the poor masses of Iran that God wants things to be as they are. As far as I am concerned, truly religious men would choose to live in rags and work tirelessly to uplift the poor as Gandhi once did. If you are a truly religious man, don't you think that the leaders of your government are hypocrites? I suppose that you could ask me the same question. I do indeed believe that there is profound hypocrisy in the current leadership of my own government!

Naj said...

"Iran is a state for the Shia" is DISCRIMINATORY, and borders on fascism.

Since when is it not a country for the Kurdish and Baluchi Sunnis? Since when did you take the ownership of the country away from the Armenians and the Jews?

That the greater majority of the population is Shia means that thing will have more of a shia flavor and that is just fine. But don't tell me Iran is solely for Shias. Some of them may want to share with the rest of us! Why not have another landsliding referendum? Isn't 30 years long enough to test people's wishes?

Anonymous said...

David:

I am not happy with the situation in Iran but I am powerless to change it - History is cruel to those who wish to expedite it. And most of my admittedly small circle of friends are quite frustrated with the way things are. But it is also quite clear that re-writing the Iranian constitution will not change Iran for the better. Until and unless the ruling elites in Iran absorb the ethos of Respect for the Rule of Law we will remain in this disaster - Islamic, Democratic, Socialist, Capitalist etc. makes no difference. The problem that we face in Iran is also not cruelty as such, it is more one of meanness!

My aim in posting at this site has been to point out that the Islamic Republic can be defended intellectually with sound basis in Political Theory and Religion. My second point has been to show that the Islamic Republic is not such a bad system of government - certainly it is the best that Muslims have been able to come up with.

The Islamic Republic has done the most for the deprived people of Iran than any previous government in the Iranian history. It has put in place a primitive social security system for example. There is too much to cover in detail here , ask Naj. But the great disparity of Mexico does not exist here because of hand-outs that are ruining the state budget!


Now, I do not have any problem with criticism on human rights, political freedoms etc. coming from North America and EU - I welcome it. I welcome it because it indicates that people care about the Iranian people and also because it can be used to ameliorate the situation in Iran.

What I object to is all this propaganda used by US & EU to destroy our political independence.

Naj:

Sunni Kurds and Sunni Baluchis (there are Shi Kurds and Shia Baluchis) will be a minority people in Iran for a long-time. Kurds do not share in the inter-ethnic sincerity that exists in Iran today – that is just an empirical observation.

You may not want to know this but yes, Iran is a country of Shia for the Shia by the Shia. This may change decades from now when the Iranian-ness of our identity becomes stronger – but not now.

pen Name

Anonymous said...

David:

No government is moral, human beings are moral. Moreover, all governments oppress human beings to varying degrees. My point was that the Islamic republic of Iran has been established in a legal and legitimate way - even according to US & EU standards.

As for how religious people ought to behave; we haave to leave that to them to decide. the mullah's are just those who have studied traditional religious sciences of Islam - they are like Rabbis in Judaism. They are not like priests in Christianity or monks in Buddhism.

There is no religious injunction that instructs them to be charitable to the point of personal poverty.

pen Name

nunya said...

Pen name,

You appear to be more than willing to stick types of people in nice little organized cubby holes. For what? To convince yourself that you are superior?

You have a lousy sense of humour, also, that song pokes fun at the whole concept of "Ruling the world."

There is no great Christian crusade to rule over the Muslim world, so your "Protestant polity" crap is just that: crap. People in the US take the separation of church and state very seriously.

Oh, and here's some more of your monoculture: letras (en Español)

Why the seeming fascination and hatred for Jews from within the Muslim world (Umma)? How the hell can 13 million Jews make 2 billion Muslims so miserable and hateful towards them?
I don't get it, Hey Pen Name, maybe you can give me a Qur'an lesson?
(How's that for sticking YOU in a cubby hole? You like it?)

(naj, sometimes I just feel mischevious :)

goatman said...

Its unfortunate that a few, mostly Saudi, miscreants could create such a backlash. "Global Economy" my ass!
Now we in US have to redo years of negative reaction to buildings falling.
I will probably die before logic is restored and we can live in peace.
Oh well, maybe next life.
Hope that you are well.

Anonymous said...

nunya:

Last I looked, it was the largely Protestant armies in Iraq killing Muslims. And it is a Christian polity that keeps thretening us, not the Pope, not the Orthodoxy, and not even the Hindus. It is the military vessels of Christian powers that re going up and down the Gulf of Persians saying "I will kill you, I will kill you."

And it is Jews who insist on maintaining their control over the Al Haram Al Sharif - the Third Holiest Shrine in Islam and Muslim people of Occupied Territories.

As for Americans taking the separation of Church and State seriously, that is fine. Yet they speak of a a Judeo-Christian Tradition (a false construct)? And why do largely Protestant churches support Israel?

I do not speak of Umma nor am I accountable for the actions of 1.2 billion Muslims. I state my opinion based on wht I know of the world.

You ask for a lessaon in Quran - here it is :"Lord God commands you to Justice, the doing Of good, and liberality to kith And kin, and He forbids All shameful deeds, and injustice And rebellion: He instructs you, That ye may receive admonition." - Quran, 16:90

pen Name

Naj said...

Goatmannnn, good to see you!

Yes I am growing tired of all this Islam versus whatever, America versus whatever !@#$ as well!

For the few coming days I will be resigning from politics and just enjoying art and science :)

David said...

Pen,

I am very impressed by the content of your last two comments in response to mine.

I agree with you that not everything about the Islamic Republic is bad. I am well aware that women in Iran have much more in the way of freedoms compared to women in some of the neighboring Middle Eastern countries, especially Saudi Arabia. I realize that change takes time. When the United States was founded, women, blacks, and Native Americans had essentially no rights under the law. We have come a long way since then. I think that Iran has the same potential to improve its system of governance. I feel strongly that Iran's political independence should be maintained. If this had occurred in the 1950's, and the tyranny of the Shah had not been forced upon Iran, we might not be talking about the need for political and human rights reforms today.

There is certainly no religious injunction against Rabbis enriching themselves! ;) Protestant Christian ministers are often quite wealthy, especially the televangelists. They certainly don't give all the "tithe" money to the poor. Quite a bit of it seems to find its way into their pockets!

There are a few really exceptional human beings like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa, to name a few from modern times, who seem in some ways to be the physical embodiment of morality. There is something Holy about the way they sacrificed to help others. Of course most people can't live as they did, I know that I can't. However, we can try to follow their example and live better lives. We can occasionally go out of our way to be kind to people who need a helping hand. You said that you are powerless to change the situation in Iran. Well, no one is completely powerless. There is always the possibility that you could make some small gesture here and there to make things better. For example, if you care about the civil rights of women, and you happen to see a woman, or a group of women, conducting a peaceful demonstration, you could at least share a kind word of encouragement with them. It would be a small but meaningful gesture. Words can be powerful. Think about it.

nunya said...

Pen name,

You don't know ANYTHING about Christianity in practice. Did you know Jesus was a Jew? That Christians might want the Jews to be in control of Jerusalem and Bethlehem so they can make their pilgrimages? That since Muslims don't allow non-Muslims into Mecca, that they don't want that to happen to their holy sites?

This war (In Iraq) doesn't have anything to do with Christianity, or Islam, or Judaism.
Although I must say, God (Or Allah, or Budda, or whoever) help the world if Osama's buddies get complete control of the oil. Or should I say God help the fairer sex--women.

Dang, the Chaldeans I've met haven't been nearly as humorless as you are.

Oy vey.

Anonymous said...

nunya:

Mecca is irrelevant to this discussion.

I do not care about the motivations of the Christians in US - they have taken sides against Islam. That is all that counts for most Muslims.

And they (the Protestant Christians of US) have to be disabused of the notion that they can glibly interfere in the affairs of Muslims.

Osama Bin Ladin has stated that he attacked US to avenge the "Towers of Beirut" - i.e. the 1982 Israel's invasion of Lebanon. So, he is there because you are here helping enemies of Muslims- according to him.

If you think that Iraq is not a religious war you do not understand American & Muslim people.

pen Name

nunya said...

Pen Name,

I AM an American. You obviously don't know SHIT about Americans.

you say:
"If you think that Iraq is not a religious war you do not understand American & Muslim people."

You say you can't speak for the Muslim Ummah, yet you presume to speak for Americans? To understand Americans?

feh

You actually sound like you get your information on Americans from "Seinfeld" re-runs, or George Bush speeches, and they are both irrelevent if you want to understand Americans. Obviously you don't. and...

I'm not sure I want to understand Muslims. Islam sounds pretty peachy keen from a MAN's standpoint. From what I've SEEN, Muslims are pretty dismissive of women's equality, which denotes rights, responsibilities AND freedoms.

Why don't you give me some of the more controversial little surahs on how to treat women, eh?

Americans believe firmly in the freedom of religion---unless your religion is oppressive, intolerant, or just plain stupid in the face of modern technology, medicine and science. Even then, just keep it to yourself, don't oppress ME with it.

Osama bin Laden comes from a very important business family in Saudi Arabia. The construction business.

You think he's not interested in controlling the oil?

Bulldozers, helloooooooo?

He wants to spread some hateful, ugly, twisted, INTOLERANT version of Islam. Wahhabism sucks. They can stew in it's 13th century idiocy for all I care.

You simplify the Lebanon war, again, I believe to suit your own purposes.
lead up to war

I'm starting to wonder about your REAL motivations.

Mecca is not irrelevent. Non-Muslims cannot visit there. That is intolerant. Muslims have Mecca.

Leave Jerusalem for the Jews and Christians. (monkey-see, mondey-do, buuuuudeeee!)

As for your lesson in Koran,

"to kith And kin,"

kith and kin(kth n kn)
pl.n.
1. One's acquaintances and relatives.
2. One's relatives.

That sounds pretty nepotistic to me. It also sounds like it's ok to treat "dhimmi" people differently.

That is intolerant. And it won't fly here.

you also say:

"The opinion of Western people does not carry any weight for me – they left God and followed Satan to Buchenwald and places like that."

The Nazi's got plenty plenty support in Muslim Nations during WWII, so there you go.

Anonymous said...

nunya:

You stated earlier that Christian churches support Jews; I suggested that you have reaped what you have swon.

As for Islam's treatment of women; I am not asking you to become a Muslim. At any rate, Islam is a great religion for ugly women, surely you must be able to admit that!

You should not talk about things that you do not know - specifically the Quran which is the actual Word of God. I understand that you do not care but we do and if you wish to denigrate the verses of the Quran please read Deutronomy and learn how to sell your daughter into slavery.

As for leaving Al Quds to Jews and Christians we cannot and we will not. Al Haram Al Sharif is there and until and unless the control is reverted back to Muslim political power the war between Jews and Muslims will continue.

Germany, as a political counter-weight to Russia and UK was popular both during WWI and WWII. That does not mean support for racialist ideologies of NAZI and their kind. And why do you bring that up any way? Your country did not want Jews - passed a law forbidding their immigration into US in 1925. And your country was making a fine sport of lynching black men - a black man was not safe in US intil middle of 1970s.

pen Name

Naj said...

As for leaving Al Quds to Jews and Christians we cannot and we will not.


WHO THE HELL ARE "we"???

And who the hell are WE to decide?

Last time I checked you weren't living in Jerusalem!

SPEAK FOR YURSELF PEN!

YOU ARE NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF IRANIAN MUSLIMS.

YOU ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF AHMADINEJAD, AND THE FEW MILLION WHO VOTED FOR HIM!

YOUR STATEMENST ARE SIMPLY SICKENING!

Naj said...

I'm sorry Pen, but with people like you, I am not surprised peopple are afraid of Iran becoming the next fascist of the world!

Your last comments make me think an enemy of Iran and Islam is writing these nonesenses!

Anonymous said...

naj:

Which statement specifically bothers you; perhaps I can articulate my opinions further?

pen Name

Naj said...

Which statements bother me?

And no, I am not flattering myself; I know the nobility that shine through most Iranians - an inherent dignity that white US does not have.

And it is Jews who insist on maintaining their control over the Al Haram Al Sharif - the Third Holiest Shrine in Islam and Muslim people of Occupied Territories. and then later on in explaining Bin Laden's motivation:
You stated earlier that Christian churches support Jews; I suggested that you have reaped what you have swon.
and it gets worse:
As for leaving Al Quds to Jews and Christians we cannot and we will not. Al Haram Al Sharif is there and until and unless the control is reverted back to Muslim political power the war between Jews and Muslims will continue.

I do not care about the motivations of the Christians in US - they have taken sides against Islam. That is all that counts for most Muslims.

THIS IS WHAT I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH:

This generalized notion that Jews and Muslims HAVE TO FIGHT UNTIL ONE WINS! T

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that Arabs were smart enough to not try to WIPE the Jewish state off the Arab land in 1967! Let's say, they had not assumed that their "collective" arab might would have saved their face from hundred years of humiliation under French and British colonization. And let's say they would not have lost a war in 6 days, TRIPLING Israel's territory! Would this still have been a Muslim versus Judaism fight?

I cannot tolerate the notion of Islam versus Judaism, or Islam versus the West.

I agree that the West is confronted with an anti-colonial movement across the Muslim world; and I agree that there is too much economic power at stake to not take the Islamic movements seriously, and thus portray them as enemy.

I agree with you that it was Khomeini who light up this fire.

I agree with you that Iran is a frightening concept to the western world, because of its ability to survive all adversities and in becoming a significant power in the middle east.

I agree with you that turning the clock back in Iran is impossible.

But I also think that Iran's success is not a much motivated by Iranian's frevor for Islam or their hatred for Christianity or Judaism, nor even the Jewish state. Iran has survived because there is a tradition of survival in Iran. And Iran has flourished not because of HATRED for any "other", rather because of the stubbornness and the "inherent" reaction to being bullied. Iran's success is owed to its reaction to USraelian bullying. Yes Iran wants to be the "leader" of the Islamic world. But this is very much in the same vein as
"This Desire to Rule over other human beings is also a manifestation of our Love-Hate relationship with other members of our species. Its universality, as you have pointed out, is an indication of the universal nature of the Fall of Man. From a religious point of view, indulging in such a desire is a sin."

What I have a PROBLEM with is to "use" religion and an abstract form of divinity, be it islamic, christian or jewish, to disguise the inherent attraction to power.

It's a lazy and disingenouous exercise to throw a blanket of "Iran wants to Save Islam, because god said so!" on geopolitical and socioeconomic factors that motivate Iran.

Iran wants to be a self-determining nation, very good! But it better not claim the custody of other muslim nations. Or else it will be acting as the very same system taht it apears to be fighting now.

What bothers me, Pen, is your inconsistency. On the one hand you call "desire to rule" a sin; on the other hand you "want" Iraq and Jerusalem to be "ruled" in your way. Of course, you claim that "your" way is the the God's way, and your proof for that is Quoran "which is the actual word of god"!

Well sorry, 3 billion buddhist don't think so! Does the actual word of God in quoran encourage you to go and convert them all?!

You want to be accepted the way you are, or be left alone? Well the Jews want to be accpted the way they are or be left alone. The THIRD holiest shrine of muslims, is the FIRST holiest place for the Jews and the FIRST holiest place for the Christians! So why can't muslims and Christians and Jews and Bahais and goldless people who just marvel at the wealth of history and passion that is brried in that city SHARE it?

Could it be, taht the reason why the Christians are fighting Muslims, and not Hindus for example, is because Muslims have proven themselves to be self-righteous expansionists who mobilize their armies "because the actual word of god says so?!"

Anonymous said...

naj:

Your statements contain factual mistakes:

- Arabs were not ruled for several hundred years by Europeans only several decades. There have been independent Arab states and also Arab polities that were part of non-Arab polities such as the Ottomans or the Seljuks.

- There are no 3-billion Buddhist in the world. Chinese are not and neither are Japanese. There are about 20 million in Korea and about similar numbers in Thailand and Burma and another 100 million or so in Indochina.

I think one has to take Bin Ladin's words seriously - that he was avenging the "Towers of Beirut". He blamed US for it and later on it turned up that Alexander Haig, the US Secretary of State, had told Israelis that they had US approval.

In fact, in 1956, the joint Israeli-French-UK attack on Egypt was stopped in its tracks when US told them to stop and go home. US saved Egypt and Nasser at that time. In 1982, the perception here was that US wanted this war against a poor defenseless Lebanon.


You have lived too isolated a life to perceive what is going on in the world of Islam. When Bin Ladin attacked US embassies in Africa, I realized that some Muslim Africans believed that he (Bin Ladin) is fighting for Islam. Even at that time, the perception among many Sunni Muslims was that US was at war with Islam. I recall a Saudi Arabian student telling me the same thing in 1984 - that "America wants to destroy Islam." Now, admittedly, being a Shia Iranian from an insular country, I did not pay much attention to what Sunni Muslim thought. But US has a problem with Islam that predates the Second US Iraq War.

There is no contradiction in my statements regarding desire to rule: I am not advocating Muslims rule over non-Muslim majority areas nor am I suggesting that it will be a good idea for Muslim states to build strong naval forces and go up and down the coasts of the United States or Canada or Britain and say: "I will kill you, I will kill you."

But since Ruler-ship belongs to Allah and Allah alone, the political power must administer human beings based on the Divine Revelation. The articulation of the Revelation is what Philosophers and Jurists should be engaged in articulating.

Unfortunately, there is a distance between Ideals and Reality. I stated my understanding on the nature of desire for Power over other human beings, but the realization of that understanding in the world of Politics will take centuries.

I am suggesting that unless the Al Quds and Al Haram Al Sharif is returned to the Muslim political control the war between Jews and Muslims in Palestine will continue. I am trying to explain what is needed for Peace with the World of Islam.

You have stated several times that you are not a Muslim and thus cannot care about the Al Haram Al Sharif. But Muslim do care about it. As far as the Christians sites are concerned, Muslims had had an arrangement with the Christians that has lasted for several centuries and can continue after the recovery of AL Quds. I do not see any issue there neither does the Vatican nor the Synod of the Orthodx Churches. Anyway, I am articulating an Islamic perspective.

In my opinion, you are like many Western people that are in denial in regards to the Power of Religion and Religious Thought over the minds of men. This is an empirical phenomenon and you are denying it at the peril of your own misunderstanding of the world around you.

In Palestine, for several decades we had a Jewish-Socialist Nationalist fantasy fight an Arab Nationalist fantasy. That situation, in my judgment, no longer obtains. For a variety of reasons, the conflict has evolved (or devolved based on your view point) to a religious one - Judaism vs. Islam. It is regrettable but I did not make it so.

Did you know of the power of Rabbinate in Israel - a religious institution more powerful than the Ayatollahs in Qum? Did you know that the national anthem of Israel sings of "the longing in the should of Jew?" Did you know that at least half of the Israeli population is observant Jews? If these facts do not make that country religious I do not know what would make any country religious! Again, I am not against Israel being religious or not; it is an internal affair of that state. But when a religious country picks a fight with a people whose primary identity is another religion then the conflict has a very high chance of becoming a religious one – which is what has happened.

Islam is not fighting Christianity now - the Orthodox and the Catholic states are not involved. It is the largely nominally Protestant States (US, UK, Australia, Denmark) that are at war with Muslims in Iraq.

It is true that this war between Judaism, Protestant Christians, and Sunni Muslims did not concern most Iranians - we are the Shia and this was a war that did not emotionally involve us except the revolutionary circles.

But the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Iran-Iraq War, the 2nd Palestinian Uprising, the Second US War against Iraq, and constant threats against Iran have hardened our opinions.

In regards to the Quran being the actual Word of God - this is Faith. I do not need proof to have Faith. And Jews consider the Torah to be the actual Word of God as well. It is not just I.

You stated that "Jews want to be left alone." That is an acceptable basis of moving toward peaceful coexistence if it were true. I do not think it is. You are too young to recall Kissinger trying to get Israelis to give the City of Jericho limited autonomy in order to build a foundation for future autonomy of the West Bank. He got nowhere because the Israelis coveted the West Bank. It is land that they want and not "being left alone" as you stated. If they wanted to be left alone they would have built on Camp David Accords not invaded Lebanon in 1982.

pen Name

Anonymous said...

naj:

Another correction:

I do not care to be accepted. I am saying if you or any one else wants to approach Iran and her people, he or she ought to be able to accept us the way we are.

Chinese, Japanese, Indians, and others accept us the way we are. Not US & Not EU - they are still fighting the crusades.

pen Name

Naj said...

Listen to yourself Pen:

You have lived too isolated a life to perceive what is going on in the world of Islam.

You have stated several times that you are not a Muslim and thus cannot care about the Al Haram Al Sharif.

In my opinion, you are like many Western people that are in denial in regards to the Power of Religion and Religious Thought over the minds of men.

You are too young to recall Kissinger trying to get Israelis to give the City of Jericho limited autonomy in order to build a foundation for future autonomy of the West Bank.

Did you know of the power of Rabbinate in Israel - a religious institution more powerful than the Ayatollahs in Qum? YUP , the more reason that mixing divinity and state is DISASTEROUS

==============
Anyways, regarding my FACTUAL mistakes, some of them are typos, some of them are rhetorical and none of them change the FACT that you ARE a judgmental and self-righteous individual, who holds himself superior to the rest of the human race because of his being and OLD Muslim!!

Also, whether there are 10 buddist or 10 billion doesn't change the FACT that Muslims think their religion IS SUPERIOR to the rest and that they have a "god given right" to convert the rest of the world to Muslims.

And anyone who opposes that idea gets marginalized, as you are trying to dismiss me and everyone else who is holding an oposite view to yours!

You tell me that because I REFUSE to state my religion and call myself something or other, I SHOULD NOT CARE ABOUT MUSLIMS!

Can you please tell me how your views differe from Zionists who want a JEwish (replace it with Muslim/Shia) state FOR the Jewish (replace it with Muslim/Shia)??

Anonymous said...

naj:

I believe you are making a mistake in calling me judgemental - I have certain judgements that age and experience has impressed on me. I am sharing them with you and other on this forum.

I have been used to having a minority view: among Iraninas, Muslim, Foreigners, Europeans, Americans, and others.


pen Name

Anonymous said...

naj:

In regards to the Zionists: I will not have any problem with them if they give the West Bank and Gaza Strip Palestinians Israeli citizenship and respected their rights to life, their namus, and their property.

This is the one-state solution of Ayatollah Khamenei.

pen Name

Naj said...

Sorry Pen.

I don't know how much older than me you are; I doubt much. But I do tend to have difference of attitude with the generation of my parents as well; and with the general Iranian culture of presuming that age is an indisputable wisdom.

I appreciate your views; I do not appreciate your generalization.

I appreciate our differences; I do not appreciate my voice being dismissed as gullible, isolated, naive. This is not because my ego is threatened. that is because I think every "generation" needs to be allowed to express what it feels is right for it.

Iran today, is a country of young people. These young people are very different individuals than my generation was. And this generation has come to an understanding with its parent's generation that they NEED to listen to each other. I think for the first time, Iranians are breaking away from the hierarchies of "age"; and "this" is perhaps the fundamental brick of building a "democracy."

Once that there is no longer a King, an Imam, a feudal Khan, a Kadkhoda (because those people have died of old age and of cultural extinction) Iranians will become the masters of their destiny.

I think you and I have a similar hope for Iran's future. I want to see a humanity that is not divided in religion, but re-legioned in pursuing peace and respect for one another and for nature.

I think, if we respect nature, we will not be fighting for developing and keeping ideologies (materialist nor theologist) that aim at protecting out identity.

The reason why Zionism is NOT respecting the Palestinians' right to land is because they consider the Jewish people the "chosen" people, and the rightful owners of the Israel land. Our Quoran is full of the storied of the Jewish exodus, the jewish exile, the Egyptian injustice inflicted on the Jews, the Roman injustice inflicted on the Jews (who became Christian).

Only if they were NOT the chosen people, only if Islam was not the BEST religion, this vicious circle would not have been going round and round for as longs as it is, and for as long as it will.

To unite against Israel in the name of Islam is the other side of the exact same coin of uniting against Islam in the name of "freedom". I am opposed to that. I am also opposed to Khomeini's instrumentalization of the Arab-Israel conflict, as the launching platform of his "next century" Islamic project. He sure got the attention! But he sure made it EASY for the "west" to have an identifiable enemy that would give it the JUSTIFICATION to further its post-colonial colonization project. Had it not been for Khomeini, had it not been for Bin Laden, the US would not have come out of the Viet Nam SHAME yet, embarking on Vietnam #2 in Iraq!

Had it not been for Khomeini and Bin Laden, perhaps the USSR would not have fallen in the skirt of capitalism.

Khomeini surely helped Reagan! Just as Bin Laden is helping Bush! And these people, in my opinion are the mirror images of megalomaniacs, thirsty for power: one in the name of God; the other in the name of "freedom" ... Both abstract values, carved out of natureally unnecessary pondering of philosophical minds, both aiming to improve the quality of human life and so called morality, and yet both failing to do so as evidenced by centuries of bloodshed across the earth ...

Anonymous said...

naj:

Dragging the late Great Ayatollah Khomeini in the blood and mud that Bin Ladin has caused is an extremist view that I cannot condone.

Mr. Khomeini - a Mystic, a Jurisprudent, a Philosopher, a Man of God and a humble man cannot be said to be on par with that criminal Bin Ladin - a poorly educated rich boy who was pursuing his own fantasy.

And now you compare Khomeini with Bush and Reagan? Thousands of people have died cursing the name of Bush. Not Khomeini.

No Madame! - what you are saying is that we shoud shut-up and be slaves so that America (Reagan or Bush II) would not come and rape us.


Well, we are fighters - the days of us shaking in our boots are over.

pen Name

Anonymous said...

naj:

About centuries of blood shed:

Human beings like war.

The bloodshed is because we in the state of Fall from Grace (of God).

You can rduce the amount of it (may be) but you cannot eliminate it since God has willed us to be the Fallen.

"Only the dead have seen the end of war." - Plato

pen Name

Naj said...

"Mystic Jurisprudent" who sanctioned the execution of barely teenager political activists?! I am sure you and your mystic friends would not mind executing someone like me for not being a muslim, and for dragging Mr Khomeini in mud with Bin Laden?!

I am sure if you hang me, you will be shaking your head in sorrow:
"She wasn't all that bad a girl, she loved Iran and she cared for muslims and for humans; but in or fallen state from the grace of god, we had to spill her blood, for her unforgivable blasphemy!

"we have fallen, thus we are permitted to kill!"

How convenient is the Yahwa's religious truth, how easily it grants permission to crusaders to spill blood!

If you have not paid attention, most people in Iran are AFRAID of people like you. You yourself advised me some time ago to not be too liberal with saying I am not a muslim because it can put me in danger. So, do you think it is LIKELY, in a country that there is LEGISLATION to prohibit criticism of Khomeini, that people will not necessarily come to you to CURSE him?!

No I am not an advocate of shaking in our boots to anyone. As you see I am not shaking in my boots in front of you sir. And I am sure you won't hesitate to behead me if your Mr Mesbah-Yazdi gives a Fatwa to kill me!

We are destined to kill!!! Not that is fascinating view!

Anonymous said...

naj:

Please kindly refrain from putting words in my mouth.

And you were not criticizing Khomeini, you were slandering him because he did not conform to your views of how the world ought to be.

Khomeini had his shortcoming and his mistakes but he deserves better than be compared to Bin Ladin; in my opinion.

The time for honest appraisal of Khomeini Life & Work has not yet arrived - neither in Iran nor outside of Iran.

I have stated how I see the world; your Enlightenment friends in EU have caused the death of 80 Million human beings over the last 100 years and they were neither religious nor Muslim.

I have not advocated violence against you and people in Iran are not afriad of people like me - they respect me - that is an exaggeration which does not help advance this dialogue.

I suggest you study seriously the religious insights that men of religion have acquired over the last few centuries.

Since you do not understand Islam and are not sympathetic to it I suggest you start with the Christian &N Jewish religious writers. Then, perhaps, you will understand the significance of the Doctrine of the Fall (among other things).

I suggest the following:

"Athens and Jerusalem" by Lev Shestov

And

"Christianity and the World Religions" by Hans Kung

And

"Does God Exist?" by Hans Kung

Study before throwing fire bombs!

pen Name

Naj said...

Please kindly refrain from putting words in my mouth.

Sure. Likewise.

And you were not criticizing Khomeini, you were slandering him because he did not conform to your views of how the world ought to be.

Not at all. I was not even slandering him until you spoke about his mystic jurisprudence; and then I was just reminded of all those 16 years old that I knew, who were executed.

Khomeini had his shortcoming and his mistakes but he deserves better than be compared to Bin Ladin; in my opinion.

I agree. Yet, the point of my comparison was not to rank them on the same scale; rather to express the impact of their "Jihad" in creating the Muslims & Rest-of-the-world poles.

The time for honest appraisal of Khomeini Life & Work has not yet arrived - neither in Iran nor outside of Iran.

I don't disagree with you. But I think every appraisal weighs so much more if it is expressed against the backdrop of criticism. In the past 30 years, I have heard none but appraisal and none but cursing. And I seek a middle view, a non passionate one. I asked you several times to write one such. For now, my views come from observations: He did a magnificent job of waking a dormant (and comatose) Islamic civilizations and
gave the leadership flag to Iran. Yet, he failed to install justice in the Islamic state. He was brutal, and dictating, and installed a new form of monarchy with "velayat-e faghih".

I have stated how I see the world; your Enlightenment friends in EU have caused the death of 80 Million human beings over the last 100 years and they were neither religious nor Muslim.

Who said European Enlightenment is my friend?! I think I have been consistent in considering my friends in the (now) EU the mother of all moral perils our world is suffering now. So why do you put words in MY mouth?!

I have not advocated violence against you and people in Iran are not afriad of people like me - they respect me - that is an exaggeration which does not help advance this dialogue.

No, you have not advocated violence. But I AM afraid of people who consider violence an inherent and inevitable fate of man and justify religious violence in the name of God. The Fatwa against Salman rushdi, for example, is one such example. Had it not been for Khomeini, Rushdi would have remained within the obscure circle of the literary awardees. His book is not even fun to read.

But I have grown 'knowing" that the blood of a Muslim who denounces Islam, is "mobaah"! I could never grasp teh paradox of a religion, to which you can convert ONLY if you state that you believe in ONE god; and you believe Mohammad to be the prophet of that god. Yet, to leave that religion would carry your death sentence.

To fear for one's life is just a natural thing. And in a religion that "fatwah" can take one's life for writing a fiction book, one must be cautious. Was it Makarem-e Shirazi (the currently sugar daddy) who wrote about "taghiyeh" for months in and months out in "maktab-e Eslam" journal?

I suggest you study seriously the religious insights that men of religion have acquired over the last few centuries.

I am quite aware of the religious "insight"; yet I am also aware of the perils of "institutionalization" of religion.

Since you do not understand Islam and are not sympathetic to it I suggest you start with the Christian &N Jewish religious writers. Then, perhaps, you will understand the significance of the Doctrine of the Fall (among other things).

Why should I start with Christian and Jewish Writers? And what makes you believe I do not understand Islam? Has it EVER occurred to you that one MIGHT abandon things after one understands them?!!


Study before throwing fire bombs!

Thank you for suggestions. But I did not throw any fire bombs my firend. I am not after de-religionification of the world. Our own (so called enlightened) century has proven that man seeks it. I prefer to pick and choose from religions; for I believe that god speaks to ALL of us and in MANY languages besides Hebrew.

Accept me the way I am, or leave me alone :)

Anonymous said...

naj:

You won't get any arguments out of me about the need for change in Islamic Law - I would be the first to advocate it.

But all of that change will take time - traditions of 1400 years cannot be changed in 2 or 3 generations. And the same situation obtains for many other things:

3000 years of Lawlessness and Oppression cannot be overcome in 27 years of the Islamic Republic rule. And what Law & Order you see in Iran is because Khomeini insisted on those arrangements.

And the "Velayate-Faqih" which is based on the ideas of Plato's book "The Republic" has kept the political stability of Iran - keeping chaos and dictatorship at bay. Changing it might be desirable in some future time but not now.

As for "Taqiyyah" - its purpose is to preserve Religion. I do not find anything worng with that. There have been historical examples of crypto-Jews, crypto-Muslims,crypto-XYZ. Martyrdom - i.e. bearing witness, is not a requirement of our religions.

I accept you the way you are - that's why I post here.

pen Name

Naj said...

And I accept (respect) you the way you are, that's why I talk to you.

:)

nunya said...

Pen Name,

you say:

"You should not talk about things that you do not know - specifically the Quran which is the actual Word of God. I understand that you do not care but we do and if you wish to denigrate the verses of the Quran please read Deutronomy and learn how to sell your daughter into slavery."

I don't talk of things that I do not know, unlike your supposed expertise on "American Christian polity." That's a mouthful.
Polity is not a word that many people in the US use because it appears to have so many meanings, which makes it's meaning UNCLEAR.
Very vew people that I have spoken with want their religion and their politics mixed. I don't claim to speak for different Christian denominations , or anyone but myself.

I must admit, I've heard more Jewish people refer to Deuteronomy, but never what you are talking about. Perhaps because these practices have been ignored for quite some time?

I was denigrating the Koran? Oh, no, my Koranic expert, I was asking you to tell me about some of the Koranic verses that Muslim women have made disparaging comments about to me. Perhaps because they have felt unecessarily limited by them?

I was also referring to treatment that I have observed of Muslim women by their Muslim husbands.

Or perhaps the treatment I have personally recieved from Muslim men.

You insist that the Koran is the only word of God. Quite a few people around the world might have a problem with that.

Lots of religious people believe that their holy texts are the true word of God.

I'm okay with that.

Are you?

Anonymous said...

nunya:

In addition to Quran, the Torah is also considered the actual Word of God. In Christianity, it is Jesus who is the Word of God.

I do not know which verses of the Quran Muslim women have trouble with - you have to ask them. You asked me for a sample and I gave you one; you declined to treat it with respect and gravity that it deserved.

Neither the Sikhs nor Buddhist claim that their scripture i teh actual Word of God - the Sikhs since there in their scripture the writers are known - some were Persian poets. And the Buddhists have no such claim since their entire religion is silent on God.

And Hindus, as far as I know and understand their religions, do not consider any text to be specifically the Word of God. They consider the Vedas sacred and then there is the Bhagavad Gita (the song of god) which seems to be about on par with the Quran or the Bible in its centrality to them but without the connotation of being the "Word of God" - since it is a conversation between a god and human and not been the God and Man.

pen Name

Naj said...

Pen, how do you so quickly know that a response is posted? I'm just curious if you too are computer glued like me.

Well I must work, but my email just pops!

:) I just feel I should give honorary ownership of my blog to you :))

Hmmm I knew nothing about Buddhists and Hindus. I may consider one for adoption ;)

Anonymous said...

naj:

yes.

Naj said...

Hmm! Is that "yes" a blank check?!

Anonymous said...

"blank cheque"? I do not understand.

Naj said...

well, I wondered what

Naj,
Yes.

means!

Anonymous said...

The answer to your question, of course.

Naj said...

Actually my question was if there is a way to site feed comments as well. My blogging skills are primitive, and I am learning, so I was just wondering how you know a comment is posted for you so soon.

Anonymous said...

naj:

Your default Web-log settings already have enabled feeds from both the posts and the comments.

I was just checking at the time when I saw the new comment - coincidence.

I doubt that I will be able to find the Kurdish paper but I will look.