Muscle Power vs. Brain Power

19 09 2007

Iran: Muscle Power vs. Brain Power: an opinion piece published in Asharq Alawsat on the 8th of September.

Apparently Ahmadinejad is starting a new program to Islamify (read: Khomeini-fy) Iranian universities – specifically Tehran University – by enforcing a Khomeini-approved curriculum, and replacing academics with Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members. He’s calling it “The Second Islamic Cultural Revolution.”

The columnist compares it to the first Islamic Cultural Revolution, which he says failed in its attempt to squash political opposition by filling universities with staff and students in or sympathetic to the IRGC.

No Iranian author, academic or scientist of note would be prepared to participate in the so-called “Islamic Cultural Revolution.” Efforts to find somebody to prepare a cursus on Khomeini’s supposed “philosophy” have provoked only derision among intellectuals approached to assume the task. After months of efforts to prepare a special course on Ahmadnejad’s denial of the Holocaust, the committee charged with the task has produced nothing but a slim pamphlet that consists almost entirely of translations from Western “negationist” writers.

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3 responses

24 09 2007
nikta

i am honestly really conflicted about how i feel about ahmadinejad. when i see him speaking at the UN or 60 minutes (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/09/20/60minutes/main3282230.shtml) I really feel like he is the only world leader willing to speak clearly and directly against the bush administration’s actions in the middle east and i honestly feel really proud that he is Iranian. But he really is on the same level as bush when it comes to what he is doing to his country.

24 09 2007
lbrill

I know I’m not Iranian but I’m conflicted in the same way about him. He and Hugo Chávez are the only two world leaders I can think of who are straight-forward about opposing U.S. foreign policy. You know, there are a lot of people who’ll talk a little shit, but at the end of the day they’ll still kiss Bush’s ass – sometimes for aid, sometimes to keep American business in the country – with small countries a lot of the time it’s to keep their regime in power. And yeah, you can’t help but be a little proud of Ahmadinejad and Chávez for squaring their shoulders against such a powerful opponent. Especially since, when it comes to that issue, they have a very good point (hey, stop fucking with us).

But as the (nominal) leader of Iran, Ahmadinejad is in a unique position – he’s able to flip off the U.S. because Iran hasn’t been developing an economic dependency on the U.S. for the past three decades like, oh, everyone else. Which is very very good and we should be very very glad that there is at least one country in the world that can do that. But Ahmadinejad is just saying what pretty much every other country in the Middle East and South America would be saying if they were in a position to do so. And it’s politically viable for him, because who in the world isn’t exhausted with and pissed off about U.S. foreign policy?

Basically what I’m saying is, when Iranians get upset about what he’s doing domestically, he can pull the “the U.S. is so shitty” card. You know? Kind of like Bush pulls the war on turr card, except it’s legitimate. But it’s still a political tool. Also, like Bush, he is a figurehead for a much broader, more powerful, and somewhat demented group of people (of course I mean the Christian Right and the clerical government respectively, not Americans and Iranians). So my conclusion is: I don’t like him. I wish he were someone not in the pocket of the clerics, saying the same things and not fucking with the universities.

24 09 2007

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