Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nima Yushij: Animating Modernism in Persian Poetry

A comment by a fellow blogger friend on this post prompted me to look into the history of translation in Iran; and luckily I stumbled on this title:

Nima Yushij (or Yooshij) is the father of Persian Modern Poetry, the so called "شعر نو" (She'r-e No). His contribution to Persian literature comes from breaking with the millennium-old tradition of rhyme and length of a given verse, allowing the imagery of the verse determine its rhythm (even that no longer formulated in almost mathematical beats) and length.

Although resisted to by the usual literary dinosaurs, Nima inspired a generation of modernist poets, not only in form but also in meanings they created.

You can read a nice biography of Nima from the Amazon-inside-look at the book (pages 11-62). The Introduction written by professor Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, who has also edited the book. It is interesting to see how the little village boy, who was educated in a French Catholic School, and was influenced by the Russian revolution, by two World Wars, set the foundation of what, according to Karimi-Hakkak, is the only true accomplished modernism in Iran.

There are a few translations (relatively true to the imagery but not to the language, as you need to know Persian to recognize the syntactic playfulness) following a short biography, by Iraj Bashiri.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ahmadinejad celebrates his birthday together with Mohamad-Reza Shah's!

I was browsing; the news port of Iran's reformist minority in the Iranian parliament, Majles, that I came across a post "The event of Mr President's birthday cake"! A quick surf yields brand new information which has fallen off of our radars:

While we were busy mourning the death of our youth who claimed their votes, while we were suffering the agony of our human right lawyers who were jailed and tortured, while our country's workers, manufacturers, farmers were being crushed under the Chinese boots of our fascist militant-capitalists, Ahmadinejad gave birth to "جشنواره تولد شیرین" The festival of Sweet Birth!!

The festival is set up to celebrate the birthday of the volunteers, employees and also beneficiaries of a charity: بنیاد خیریه نبی اکرم (Bonyad Kheyriyeh Nabi-e Akram). This charity is run by individuals whose photos are on the introductory page but whose names are nowhere to be found. Don't ask me why. Perhaps they don't like to be googled!

Why are they celebrating the charitable birthdays in the month of October? Because that is when Iran's plagiarist, cheating, vote rigging president is born(Oct 28)! In fact, tor the second time, they shall bake a symbolic cake for him. Already, they are makeing ample media noise about the "unveiling of the Presidential cake". So let me join their festive choir too!

According to the secretary of the "Sweet Birth Festival", these festivities are set up according to Islamic tradition to "uplift and cheer up the society of muslims" from the inevitable stresses of modern lives !!

Of course, it is increasingly clear that little Mahmud wants to declare himself the King of Kings of Iran (or to be more shiite, the hidden Imam himself!).

A few months ago he suddenly started paying tribute to Cyrus the great (after all traces of Iranian dynasties having been removed from school history books.). He also declared the parliament irrelvant and secondary to the office of president--officially challenging the IRI's constitution that insists on separation of the judiciary, legislative and executive offices; and makes the executive office (of president and his cabinet) accountable to the parliament at all times.

And now, this? Taking a page from Mohammad-Reza shah's birthday page?

Isn't it ironic that Mohammad-Reza Shah Pahlavi, the so called despot overthrown by Ahmadinejad's Islamic revolution, was born on 26th of October?! Isn't it ironic that the news of cake-unveiling pops on the sweet-birth page on Oct 26?

Isn't this ironic?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Twelve Humanity Departments officially doomed to death

Abulfazl Hasani, in charge of the so called "office of expansion" of the ministry of sciences has announced that the following departments will no longer receive incentives for academic development and expansion. Although, they will continue to accept students, the current curriculum is based on Western schools of thinking, and does not correspond to Islamic Principles. Within the next 5 years, these departments must undergo at least 70% revision. This means 70 percent of current professors will be out of a job within the next five years--a process which has already begun since Ahmadinejad took Office in 2005, and intensified after the election. (Interestingly, according to statistics reported by supreme leaders special representative in December 2009, 70% of Iranian academics did not vote for Ahmadinejad. Many of them were openly campaining for Mousavi or Karoubi BEFORE the election.)

The doomed departments are:
  1. Law
  2. Women Studies
  3. Human Rights
  4. Management
  5. Cultural management
  6. Art
  7. Sociology
  8. Philosophy
  9. Psychology
  10. Political Science
  11. Social Sciences
  12. Education
Not only has the regime been busy "cleansing" the humanity departments, but also they have fired or forced to resignation, noteworthy astrophysicist professors such as Yousef Sabouti ; or Professor Saeed Sohrabpour, the Principal of Iran's top Engineering University, Sharif; or Mohammad Taghi Bathaee, the Principal of the Technical Khaje-Naseer University in Tehran.

In fact, by August 2010; out of 52 Principals of Iran's state universities, 49 were replaced or retired!

In March 2010, The Minister of Science, the plagiarizer Kamran Daneshju (who was also in charge of Election Fraud!) announced that they plan to cleanse Academia of any members who are not faithful to the Supremacy of the leader and operate outside of the regime's interest and agenda.

Such academic upheaval is not unprecedented. Shortly after the so called victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iranian universities were closed to undergo cultural revolution to 'cleanse' universities from Westernized academics. The cultural revolution coincided with the war. Many of the young men who were deprived of seeking university education were automatically drafted by the Army and sent to the trenches of Iran-Iraq war. (Men can postpone the mandatory military service if they are in school).

The irony is that some of the initiators of the cultural revolution, such as Abdulkarim Soroush and Mostafa Mo'in, are now the victims of the second round of cultural revolution! And some of the graduates of the post-cultural-revolution humanity programs, the ex-IRGC member Akbar Ganji and ex-Intelligence officers such as Saeed Hajjarian have become some of the most ardent opponents of the IRI and the supremacy of the Grand leader!

Knowledge evolves organically; it is an adaptive response to a historic necessity. I am not too worried if they will ban Deleuze or Sartre out of Iranian schools; we will carve existentialist postmodernity out of Molla Sadra (16 AD) or Sohravardi (12 AD)--and this won't be re-invention of the wheel either; would be rediscovery of it! Despotism, in its medieval forms, is doomed. The Iranian despot are better off wearing a more modern cloak.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Translated masterpieces of Iranian novels

This is a growing list of WONDERFUL Iranian novels; all classics. And luckily they are now available in English, German, Dutch, French. I provide a hyperlink so you can investigate them further. They are not expensive, so perhaps it is a good idea to take a break from Iranian bloggers, the contemporary phenomena, and try to understand Iran through the writings of some of the finest writers of the country. ***s reflect my personal favorites. The books are not listed in any particular order. I just list them sequentially, as my search stumbles upon. I will add to this list as I come across other books of note. I have not read any of these books in translated versions; I would love to hear your opinion if you pick one up.

Yes ... perhaps 50 years too late, but Persian literature is finding a place on the world's reading list.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Avec Le Temps

I want to forget my home
the sunny days ... the smell of rice in the back alley ... I want to forget it ... want to forget my roots ... want to never miss it again, never never miss it again ... and never remember I grew up in country where I was denied the right to dreams ...

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Iranian Women Movement

I LOVE this cartoon.

And, I personally think the Iranian women movement will have been better off without that group of feminists who are still stuck in the mud of "patriarchic power balance", "sexualization and objectification" and a whole lot of other nonsense! To defend women's ACTUAL civil rights is one thing, to gender-theorize a cause and become sexophobic is another. Yes, most feminists still annoy me--especially those who act like mormons offering you feminist bibles and texts and memberships and etc ... pfff oh how I HATE the word objectification ...