For a brief moment in 2007, news of a hit Iranian television series, whose Farsi title was translated variously as Zero Degree Turn or Zero Point Orbit, proliferated across the print and digital mediascapes of the Anglophone world. The series, created by Iranian director Hassan Fathi at great expense and broadcast in a thirty-episode season on the flagship state television station IRIB1, revolves around a Romeo and Juliet plot of illicit romance, with a distinctive twist: while the proverbial Romeo is one Habib Parsa (played by Iranian hearthrob Shahab Hosseini), a Muslim Iranian pursuing his studies in France, his Juliet is none other than a Jewish classmate, Sarah Astrok (played by the French actress Nathalie Matti), with whom he falls in love.
Posts Tagged ‘Iran’
This Friday, February 25, at 6:00 PM, there will be a panel discussion of the resurgence of the Iranian Green Movement in relation to the recent uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East. The panel will feature Hamid Dabashi, Ervand Abrahamian, Nader Hashemi, Golbarg Bashi, and Danny Postel—all contributors to The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran’s Future (Melville House, 2011), edited by Hashemi and Postel.For more information, see here.
“Deep inside the computer worm that some specialists suspect is aimed at slowing Iran’s race for a nuclear weapon lies what could be a fleeting reference to the Book of Esther,” reports The New York Times.
A university campus has become the ground for a political battle between conservatives and moderates in Iran. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has pushed to take over Islamic Azad University, a private university, after it became a haven for political involvement in the Green Movement. This action seems to be directed at former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, founder and chairman of the board of Azad, who “all but allied himself with the Green movement” this past year.
The Iranian regime has decided to further curtail dissident opinion among its youth. A few days after cultural authorities “issued guidelines for permissible male haircuts,” it was announced that Iran “will send 1,000 religious clerics into schools in Tehran to tamp down Western influence and political opposition.” Simultaneously, it has been reported that the Iranian regime looks to strengthen its foothold on the internet and produce more pro-government blogs, reports Nazila Fathi for the New York Times.
Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the influential and controversial Lebanese Shi‘i spiritual leader, died Sunday morning in Beirut at age 75. Though his oft-attributed spiritual leadership of the political party/militant group Hezbollah has been called into question, he was a vastly influential marja (a Shi‘i religious authority) throughout the Shi‘i world community. He was considered a terrorist by much of the Western world with ties to the “1983 bombings of two barracks in Beirut in which 241 United States Marines and 58 French paratroopers were killed.” He narrowly escaped assassination attempts in 1985 and 2006. While he sympathized with terrorist inclinations and vehemently spoke out against the U.S. and Israel, he also supported many progressive Islamic notions. He advocated for women’s rights, was well respected in the female community, and spoke out against the Iranian model.
On Tuesday evening at the New York Public Library, Professor Saïd Amir Arjomand held forth before a sizable and attentive audience on the narrative history and socio-political structures of post-revolutionary Iran. Arjomand is the author of, most recently, After Khomeini: Iran Under His Successors, in which he aspires to provide not only a study of the “long shadow” cast by Khomeini’s legacy over Iranian politics—a shadow, he argues, that has begun to lift only this year, three decades after the Revolution—but, in addition, a social-theoretical framework for the analysis of revolutionary and post-revolutionary politics in the Iranian context.
You see, the interview on Al Arabiya confirms that the politics of fear can safely endure, barely disguised as the politics of love. It’s (Christian) politics as usual, in other words. The extended hand of love and friendship—for the enemy—continues to veil the indisputable fact that there is only one iron fist in “the region as a whole.”
If the state is going to enforce any principle from Islamic sources, according to Abdullahi An-Na‘im, then it should implement the principle that the state should not enforce Islamic principles. This is the crux of An-Na‘im’s new book, Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari‘a. An-Na‘im, a renowned Islamic scholar and human rights activist, is a leading member of the generation of Muslim intellectuals that came to prominence in the 1980s as critics of both Islamist revolutionaries and post-colonial dictators. According to An-Na‘im, the secular state is not just a good thing on public-policy grounds; it is also justified on Islamic grounds. [...]