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Sunday, February 17, 2019


I stumbled on this impassioned essay about Iran, and I am utterly unfit to evaluate it.  If anyone has some real knowledge about Iran, I would love an informed opinion about it.


Michael Llenos said...

I've always had a loving feeling for the Iranian/Persian people ever since I read the Education of Cyrus the Great by Xenophon the Athenian--a disciple of Socrates. One of my professors in college (many years ago) is a conservative Muslim and I was shocked to find out back then that he never read that particular book. In fact, I believe that because Alexander's name (Dhoulkarnain) is mentioned around three times in the Holy Koran that most Muslims know Plutarch's biography about Alexander better than Xenophon's biography on Cyrus the Great. It is a pity since it's such a good and lovely book. Scipio Africanus the Elder is even mentioned by Niccolo Machiavelli (in the Prince) as being a avid reader of the Life of Cyrus by Xenophon.

UnderOverrateds said...

Dear professor Wolff
you may not actually believe this but I currently live in Fact I and most of my friends were deeply involved in the green movement that accrued in 2009.we were among the crowds ; at that time I was an undergrad student of Chemical engineering in Amirkabir University of technology(Tehran Polytechnic) which is generally recognized as one of the major political forces in Iran's history . I and most of my close friends were heavily involved in the protests and everything that has happened after those years .
recently I stumbled upon your videos on YouTube since I became interested in psychoanalysis and philosophy , actually more to the fact that I just simply fell in love will your unbelievable stories to be honest and somehow ended up here , looking to find the books you mentioned but found the first topic in the top on your blog about my Country ...what a ride life is !
all right , so I guess I should begin by saying that Yes most of the article is accurate about the current state of affairs in Iran but there's more it than just simply reducing the oppositions to two major forces namely the " Mojahedin " and the " Monarchists ".or mentioning the two " masih alinejad " and " masoumeh ebtekar ". that is just not fair and not the whole picture . there are many people who has had a significant effect in the recent political narrative of Iran whom I simply cant name because they are so many of them .
actually most of the debate and activism that is happening,always, in Iran currently is ignited by the new found powers of Social media and the discourse that it brought to the younger generation . in 2008 specially all the discussion of the "Green Movement" was on facebook . many activist ( in the form of anonymous university students using aliases and so forth ) tried to change the narrative established by the government media (IRIB TV , which is the standard TV stations backed and dominated by the government ) towards specific poetical everyday lies and atrocities happening around us.people being murdered in the streets , being arrested and so forth and this force is still very much alive and run by ordinary people ,even though the narrative sometimes gets caught up to very tedious details of the even or argument which loses its significance of forgets the whole picture .
for instance one of our close friends
namely Majid Tavakoli , a student and activist in the university was arrested and put to prison simply because of his speeches and criticism . so we should have no illusion
Iran is not a free country , just like china or Soviet Russia If you were to even mention Leaders name or criticizes the government you would certainty be considered as " enemy of Islam " or stuff like that and put to jail ; even lately the lawyers of activist been arrested and charged on preposterous charges that If I were to tell you wouldn't even believe me . activist in all fields whether be environment , childmarrige , animal rights to all the other kind ; even in the recent years some of the more important sociology professors have been suspiciously arrested and later found dead by suicide a very clear move by the government to silence not only the opposition and the ordinary people but also destroy its intellectual professors ....very sad what's happening to our country before our eyes

UnderOverrateds said...

2nd part of my comment
also as far as my own experience goes I saw many of my own close friends in our own dormitory being arrested and send to prison which created and sustained an atmosphere of oppression amongst student and set a stage for what was to come in the coming years.
. most of these people so traumatized by the experiences of torture and isolation that essentially they were forced to drop out of university leave Tehran or to escape the country.
to this day and after the shift that has happened with so called " the Iran nuclear deal " as a political maneuver to present Iran as a country of reason in the international world and then the subsequent Trump shenanigan isolating Iran more and more ,
there is still a great deal of fire under the ashes of Iranian political unconsciousness even rooting back to the revolution and the war with Iraq . many people because of the oppressive nature of this strange Islamic dictatorship which moves closer and closer hijacking everyday economic and social life , have inevitably chosen to distance themselves from politics altogether .which creates different more troublesome Ideologies .
actually most of the activist in the past ten years have been either arrested , tortured , forced into false and public confessions in the national TV or mysteriously killed. the ones who where able to escape Iran also have a troublesome view , on the one had the have all the freedom they want but they are now disconnected with everyday Iranians and in a very perverted manner would eventually tell Iranian paradox stories to get the attention of the western media somehow , like the whole infamous " Masih Alinejad " complex . someone who has been established by the media company VOA as a journalist but constantly whether consciously or unconsciously hijacks the opposition narrative of Iranian political Struggle into a very waterd-down entertainment of sorts . Iranian oppositions has become an entertainment , a spectacle , a very weird on too .but that's not the whole picture .
there are much more important things going on in Iran which are overshadowed by these sorta people who try to narrate everything into a simple no-Hijab fight which is why this person and most outsiders are seen as opportunistic by oppressed Iranians . unfortunately these sorta movements have some populist attraction but lack the depth of argument and planing and will never become a political party or real civil rights movement . all the true movements in Iran have already been diminished by the secret Intelligence of the government
as you can see from all sides ordinary people have been under more and more pressure .
secondly there are multitude of other serious problems which dictated the conversation , namely the " migration" and " economic collapse " mixed with the " threats of war"
in the past years the sheer number of people migrating from Iran to Europe and recently even to neighboring countries such and turkey and even Georgia has had a very serious effect of the way the people perceive their life even . somehow very strangely this has made a strange dynamic in the people that they think they have a new hope of escaping this prison which is called their country . the sheer access to internet , English learning institutions , movies and social media has at the same time enlightened the youngsters of Iran but at the same time has made them into a very strange and complicated characters . they rebel and argue against different conservative and theological antiquated topics of Iranian culture while pursuing to be accepted in universities in Canada or Germany whilst coming to terms with their old-fashioned oppressive families and society

UnderOverrateds said...

3rd part
I'm sure If you were to just ask around you would find a student in your university who recently left Tehran to pursuit his or her dream .and I'm sure he will be able confirm these problems that I'm suggesting. so you see this new found hope has had a detrimental effect of psyche of Iranians and they are dealing with a melancholic state of mind really. now their concerns are changed in a very strange manner to escape and migrate at all costs.
burning all the resources and all the people around them,exploiting every opportunity here as quickly as possible to get to Europe .
this very weird effect has had a devastating effect on the public consciousness . so in the parties and gatherings people now talk about the daily rising exchange rate of Dollar to Rial everyday or different way to Leave this place as quickly as possible . and this migration works not only on a pure physical level but on a virtual one too . many of my friends who for whatever reason where unable to migrated or find a decent life here(which is practically impossible,whether you have to become a liar-middleman sort person destroying every foundation or a agent of government ) migrated radically into constant addiction to movies , denial of their surrounding and obviously other issues such as alcohol and hashish addiction . this very disposition of the new found knowledge made possible by the access to Internet and the inability to do anything politically or socially to change the circumstance of our lives or improve even the slightest economic or social features literally destroys people willingness to take life seriously anymore. most people life and marriages are falling apart , practically everyone is depressed or suffering a severe mental illness . people of my country are the unhappiest simply by knowing how terrible their lives are and can't do anything about it .that's why illusions are big here .
whilst living in a city where in you where to go from the south to the north you can literally see the class struggle of the whole country , the horrible economic injustices. it's like going from Chicago to Detroit to Bronx to Hollywood hills in 20's terrible how Tehran has become half of the paradoxes of the country combined in a tiny space .
Iran is truely a country of paradoxes , but what I'm aiming at is that the loss of hope which seems to function in itself a conformist category in the discussions among Iranians these days has two major component .
one is that if you were to be a realist in Iran and live your life by the knowledge of all the horrible atrocities that happen around you which you see simply daily on BBC persian news or "Mana Neyestani" 's cartoons for instance ,you would literally feel like a prisoner and sink to the extreme of the depressions simply by the fact that this govenment is so rigged against you that you can never make any sense of it or change it a little bit . you are simply doomed to fail here no matter who you are or what job you have . you don't even have the basic rights of living .
on the other hand if you were to deny the reality and refuge in the govenment-islamic-conservative ideology you will have to stupefy yourself to the point of actually preventing your brain to ask serious political, social and of course logical questions .then you live your life as a sorta animal , a very troubling oppressed creature that wants to bite and resort to every aspect of violence and incivility ...usually towards children , women or other people around them .

UnderOverrateds said...

4th part
something which I fisrt-handly saw with my own eyes among my undergrad colleges .
as the would transition from high school (a complete deprived ideological environment from their small conservative town) to a university (an open-minded modern space full of exciting progressive discussions ) simply in order to function as a human being among all the everyday paradoxes of Iran's society you have to shift,adjust and even morph your own prospective to the point of denying the reality !
which may sound weird but I feel is the exact problem which current Iranian opposition . we as the people , for instance think on two layers , if you go the twitter or even the artistic circles , galleries and cafes in downtown Tehran you will soon find an underground,counterculture vibe , a society and relation standard of like punk era of Britain even . but at the same time when youngsters go back to their homes near midnight(because there are no bars and nightlife is essential prohibited ) where they have to live with their parents mostly because the cant even afford place of their own are confronted with a systemic oppression apparatus that works because it specifically denies the " progressive thought discussion "that it had just yesterday on his or her phone .and rebellious and opposition of the youth and even the older generation can be seen through this lens . people who in their back of minds want to protest but they don't want to lose their jobs or homes or etc. a very weird duality.
this very strange and distorted condition is very clearly portrayed by the melancholy of our contemporary artists namely people like " Mohsen Namjoo " which as a musician always longs for a combination of these two paradoxical aspects of Iranian life .
but my last point
the problem of Iranian people, the major question which is one everybody's minds is why,why despite all these atrocities and oppression and the new found knowledge why don't people rise up ? well the simple answer is the did . and were brutally murdered on the streets.
from the events of 2009 onwards we the youth of Iran see really no option .there is no way out of this mess .
and I can just guess about the future but I think the economic sanctions of the U.S and the current hostile attitude of Trump has had a severe blow not just to the economy of some of the middle class of Iranians (who may want another revolution) but to their spirit in their fights against injustices in general .people are seriously tired of all these conditions .
many of the youth have had not even a single happy year and just simply can't go on so the try to forget reality.
take for instance what happened in the past months first with the teacher's strike and then shortly after with the truck drivers strike and finally with the short lived labor movement in Ahvaz , workers of steel companies there just simply demanded to be recognized as human beings and be simply paid their wages ,showing their solidarity with the French yellow vest movement . not even asking much for their work conditions to be changed or anything ... and the newspapers and the TV stations didn't even mention them once .
all captured and broadcasted in Twitter by common people .what happened in the end ? their leaders arrested twice tortured , forced to confess in in TV shamed by the government , told the truth in Instagram , arrested again and the people ....well the people can do nothing . like literally I'm risking my life writing you these words .... that's the condition here ; a long silence to save our asses and get the hell out of this god damn forsaken place.

UnderOverrateds said...

5th part
so you see sir we are in a bit of a pickle here ; unfortunately Iranian people also have other tendencies as well to them which is incidentally quite similar to american consumer culture which is their innate fascination by being " surfers !"
they just simply love to surf everysorta stupid wave or trend that's happening around them whether it be the worldcup happening in Russia , the Fajr stupid film festival , the Valentine and Holloween but at the same time the Ramadan and norouz or even the trend of romanticizing their own oppression ! this is where it really gets weird because you see
people here also on some level like to play the victimization card a lot and it goes even back to our cinema during the war . many people are fascinated by the different way we are exploited by our government and the latest of these people are our own so called activist . in a very complex way they try to stage every little bit of oppression as a card to further their agenda which is a really dark a sinister thing to do but unfortunately has happened in the last couple of years . people going on foreign TV shows to promote their own unique way of having been oppressed and I think this last bit is the worst thing to our general cause .
because even if we were to be authentic in telling of our stories at the end of the day we will be viewed as a opportunistic person granting his or her Visa ...
. I mean can you even imagine a more paradoxical social and political psyche than Iranian harbor in their so called "common talk" everyday . they unfortunately have been for the last 40 or even 50 years so swung to left and right , conservative and progressive waves that it seems the whole consciousness of people has gone to waste .they have become a whore of all the worst movements , a spectator , been played all sorta ways to support all sort of candidates that promised hope and freedom and all were simply a lie .
the generation of our fathers and mothers living in small cities live in such a paradoxical ideologies that I even hesitate to write about it here , fearing you wouldn't even believe a single word of mine .being a hardcore Muslim in " Moharam " grieving the death of their so called Third Imam , Hossein at the same time trying to find cheap booze and get drunk so they can perform the strange religious ceremonies better ... like the worst of the paradoxes you could find .
so to conclude Iran is a very complex country even more than Venezuela or Turkey or other so called " third world country " you may ask why is that so . and I can answer simply because of the sheer potential of its youth and the depth of its history . just follow some of the current street photographers on Instagram or the very strange artistic vibrant yet at the same time denied the opportunity and damaged artists living currently in Tehran (which resembles new york in 70s by the way ) to get a good glance of what's really happening .
people are simply migrating into their minds , to the dark and strange places or their existences full of paradoxes and confusion , full of impulsive hopes and dominating depression .
why do you think a 27 year drop out student of engineering like me would become a English teacher then study cinema then become interested in philosophy and Zizek then go to the militarily service for two years come back leave it all out, start studying philosophy and write this whole comment here .what sorta kooky people would do that really
we are seriously strange people living here

UnderOverrateds said...

6ht part

in a very unique positions as well in history , as Europe , the US and most other countries chooses a far-right politician to be their leaders and move closer to another economic collapse , we Iranians struggle to leave this messy revolution stuff behind us not in a physical sense but in a more abstract approach .
while we saw what happened with countries like lybia our people in a panic state have unconsciousnessly decided to migrate to the underground and to the back of their minds .
aha , also I have to mention , yes unfortunately its true Iranian government is heavily involved in interfering conflicts in the region ,terrorism and stuff, mostly mirroring against the acts of suadi arabia , some analysts calling it the "cold war of middle east" . most of theses proxies wars are funded and carried out by "Sepah" of course an organisation and a complete ideological nightmare branch of government which is so crazy I can't even begin to talk about it .which on the same level has modeled its foreign policy after the U.S. by the way .... isn't that a little bit of nice Irony for US ?!!
unfortunately on the other hand people are not consistent in their views nor unmixed in their race and back ground to be united easily. we have many people from many different back grounds from different dialects to different beliefs each oppressed throughout history by the government one way or another but this gap between the people makes our country and our major city lives a place of clash of the cultures . when there is no history or established culture among the ordinary people, people from sheer stupidity and lack or theory knowledge go to either fantasy space talking about Kouroush and 2500 years of our empire or simply go all the way into becoming an agent of capitalism exploiting everything and everyone in their way not thinking about any fellow citizen or even the country. this very dichotomy of our people is core root of their problems . they live everyday between these paradoxical forces , waking up everyday,wearing a mask suitable for another lie, looking for a leader or a wave to submit themselves in not knowing what the consequences will be .
actually if you were to study the 1979 Iranian revolution you would probably find this same " Surfer " pattern there much more clearly and the instincts of Iranian hasn't change much . unfortunately many of what is considered "normal" everyday people are people who simply don't even want to think about their problems and face them since they have been oppressed and sad in a dead-end situation of constant stress for so long they see no point in engaging or the fight and the ones who engage are arrested , killed or forced to exile right in front of our eyes , essentially people here feel that nothing works . no social or political movement can change anything and its just gonna get worse , day by day , and nobody I mean it Internationally , nobody cares about Iranian people .
I hope I didn't bore you too much
by the way I just simply love your videos . wish you would do more one other thinkers like Foucault or derrida ,Heidegger or chomsky
maybe even a simple series talking a little about them would be nice .
Feb 2019

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