last update : 19/04/05
Here you have some articles that I've found interesting, worth
reading. Choose your field, knowing that normally
- for each
field, most recent is on the top.
For a better World
- For a better World
- An article of Shirin Ebadi in NYT
- Smooth transformations in Iran
- historical days for
- President Khatami : a wise man, a
Iranian Freedom by Tariq Ali
Mullahs Paul Klebnikov,07 .21.03, Forbes
call on Khamenei to intervene in the
- World must promote
ethics to hold dialogs: Khatami
- A humble thanks to
editorial on Iran's failed Revolution
- Articles of Friedman,
after a week, in June 2002, in Iran, and 2 remarks
US And Iran's Quest for Democracy an article by SAEED
- Cleric Uses
Weapon of Religion Against Iran's Rulers
you'll never hear, An Interview with Noam Chomsky, June 14,
- Religions (mainly Islam)
to know a bit more
about Omar Khayyam ?
Or you may see the film
of Kiarostami "The
Wind Will Carry Us", where the conclusion of his film is a
Robaai of Khayyam :
" Some for the Glories of This World; and some
for the Prophet's Paradise to come;
Ah, take the Cash, and let the
Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum! "
I would rather prefer a more precise translation :
"Some tell you that Paradise with Houris is superb.
I would rather go for the juice of grape.
Ah, take the Cash, and let the Credit go,
Cause only the distant rumble of
drum is superb !"
You may think that hedonism is
a "big word", wrong. It's a very simple art : trying to get
the best of the present, which as Ungerer
put it "The present is a single memory vibrating between the
past and the future." He also says : "Life is a
vacation between two deaths." Well, being conscious of these
elementary facts is a big step toward the understanding of hedonism.
Not to forget that the most precious thing that we have is
definitively bounded : Your time is counted.
Many great men and women can be considered as hedonists : Picasso
is one of them, Oscar Wilde is another. He was saying :
"It is mentally and morally injurious to man
to do anything in which he does not find pleasure", THE
SOUL OF MAN UNDER SOCIALISM
Read about Tomi Ungerer ? Try A
The artists, as artisans, who love what they do, are "natural
hedonists". They do care about what's going on around them also.
Picasso was a good example.
Get to know (better)
Bertrand Russel !
If you read this
masterpiece, you'll find the following sentences :
conception of duty, speaking historically, has been a means used by
the holders of power to induce others to live for the interests of
their masters rather than for their own."
fact is that moving matter about, while a certain amount of it is
necessary to our existence, is emphatically not one of the ends of
modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of
something else, and never for its own sake."
this divorce between the individual and the social purpose of
production that makes it so difficult for men to think clearly in a
world in which profit-making is the incentive to industry."
the leisure class, mankind would never have emerged from barbarism."
men and women, having the opportunity of a happy life, will become
more kindly and less persecuting and less inclined to view others
with suspicion. The taste for war will die out, partly for this
reason, and partly because it will involve long and severe work for
all. Good nature is, of all moral qualities, the one that the world
needs most, and good nature is the result of ease and security, not
of a life of arduous struggle."
After such an article, I
was too eager to know more about Russell to let him go, so I
read his Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1950 :
In which I selected in particular, a manner to tell how
beautiful it is to see your ideas confirmed by a great man, and
learn new things :
If one man offers you
democracy and another offers you a bag of grain, at what stage of
starvation will you prefer the grain to the vote?
In the primary group [of
desires] come the necessities of life: food and shelter and clothing.
One of the troubles about
vanity is that it grows with what it feeds on.
Since power over human
beings is shown in making them do what they would rather not do, the
man who is actuated by love of power is more apt to inflict pain than
to permit pleasure.
What they [some unspoilt
race of savages] really value among the gifts that we bring to them
is intoxicating liquor which enables them, for the first time in
their lives, to have the illusion for a few brief moments that it is
better to be alive than dead.
I think it may be taken as
the rule among primitive men, that they both fear and hate whatever
... and if we had no
enemies there would be very few people whom we should love.
I think the ideologies are
merely a way of grouping people, and that the passions involved are
merely those which always arise between rival groups. ... Ideologies,
in fact, are one of the methods by which herds are created, and the
psychology is much the same however the herd may have been generated.
The time has come to sum
our discussion. Politics is concerned with herds rather than with
individuals, and the passions which are important in politics are,
therefore, those in which the various members of a given herd can
I maintain, however, on
one hand, that there are few occasions upon which large bodies of
men, such as politics is concerned with, can rise above selfishness,
while, on the other hand, there are a very great many circumstances
in which populations will fall below selfishness, if selfishness is
interpreted as enlightened self-interest.
And among those occasions
on which people fall below self-interest are most of the occasions on
which they are convinced that they are acting from idealistic
motives. Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or
disguised love of power.
What makes me love people,
everywhere, even in USA :
On my list for reading :
Seeing the Persian
translation of this fantastic article reminded me of its French
translation that I read about 20 years ago, but unfortunately in a
not enough precise/sharp manner. Did you know about these ideas of
Great Albert ?
MIND AND BODY:
René Descartes to William James
This is in
According to the experts contacted by
The Guardian Unlimited, there is no French
director among the 40, while there are 2 Iranians
a great film maker
Here are two interviews with Panahi done by David Walsh :
Where he defines himself as an “independent filmmaker “,
defining “independent” as :
JP: Independent from any kind of
dependency and coercion anywhere in the world. Independent from any
belief I think is not right. Refusing self-censorship and believing
any movie that I make is, in the end, exactly what I wanted to say. A
lot of times, when you say you’re independent, it means
economically, that you don’t get paid by other people. But
where we are, independent means more like independence from politics.
That’s why I don’t make political movies. Because if I
were a political filmmaker, then I would have to work for political
parties and I would have to go along with their beliefs of what’s
wrong and what’s right. But what I say is that art is much
higher than politics. Art looks like politics from a higher end. You
never say what’s wrong or right. We just show the problems.
And its up to the audience to decide
what’s wrong or right. A political movie becomes dated, but an
independent artistic film never gets old and is always fresh.
Although I’m making my movies in Iran as a geographical area,
my voice is an international one. That’s what I mean by
“independent.” Whenever I feel pain, I’m going to
respond, because I’m not dependent on any party, and I don’t
take orders, and I decide independently when I make my movies. I try
to struggle with all the difficulties and make my movie. If I weren’t
independent, I would say yes to anyone. But when I want to make a
movie, I’ll do anything it takes. And that’s not what
government officials like. And the pleasure is much greater.
It is true that the “independent intellectual field” (
a concept taken from Bourdieu) is just
taking shape these days in Iran, Panahi, and his friend, Kiarostami,
are 2 good examples of the ones who “play” in this field.
A touching document, especially for helping people to
find their way in life :
parts of an interview of
Günter Grass with "outlook"
of India :
If you do not live in France or Germany, you
probably do not have the chance to see the
ARTE, where I discovered this fantastic novel
of Jean Giono (4/4/2002) :
on Hugo's Hunchback of
Notre Dame, Frollo,
comparing a book with his old cathedral, says: "Ceci tuera
cela" (The book will kill the cathedral, the alphabet will
An Interview with
Paz, in NPQ, by its Editor Nathan Gardels at Paz's Mexico City
apartment in 1986 :
Border of Time
Year On, A
View From The Middle East by
An article in which you read this,
showing that the (menace of) war is the main preventive factor
against the democracy :
"To question your caliph –
or, even worse, to advance in theological philosophy – was a
form of subversion, even treachery. When the enemy is at the gates,
you don't question authority."
Fisk and the great men in the history
He himself is really very valuable and rare in these days.
The System: Capitalism and its Role in American Society’s Plunge into the Abyss
A fine analysis, giving us some arms, no matter how meager are our
chances, to escape the system. This is a link to the 3rd part. But you
should start from the beginning :
System: Capitalism and its Role in American Society’s Plunge into the
Abyss. Part III of III: The Poisonous Tentacles of Capitalism and
Symptoms of a Disease: Pill Popping for Happiness
"It's funny how the
interests of American corporations are so often, so successfully and
so deliberately confused with the interests of the world economy."
"The fact is that the
only institution in the world today that is more powerful than the
American government, is American civil society."
"Around 1000 A.D.,
global spread of science, technology and mathematics was changing the
nature of the old world, but the dissemination then was, to a great
extent, in the opposite direction to what we see today. For example,
the high technology in the world of 1000 A.D. included paper and
printing, the crossbow and gunpowder, the clock and the iron chain
suspension bridge, the kite and the magnetic compass, the wheel
barrow and the rotary fan. Each one of these examples of high
technology of the world a millennium ago was well-established and
extensively used in China, and was practically unknown elsewhere.
Globalization spread them across the world,
When Chomsky have a nice
For the undeveloped
countries, It is possible to take control of the natural resources :
More than 10 years to see how he was right !! A cry of 3rd world
against the current neoliberal (no wonder
that "neoliberal" is not known to to the spell-checker of
Microsoft, !) order :
An analysis after the
1st round of the French presidential
elections in 2002 :
The Irony of It
What about Robert
A pleasure to see that
generation of real journalists is still alive, and keep going.
People who think that "searching for the truth" is their
first "ethical step" and duty. They're aware that the truth
is outside their mind, they can approach it, but not possess
it thoroughly. That's the reason why they continue study, and they
Among other factors,
good reasons to keep hope in the future of mankind.
If the Americans were really
honest about the "War against terrorism", shouldn't they do
something about Pakistan ??
of "if", a tree called "what
to do" came out.
The article in LA Times, "If
the CIA Had Butted Out ...", is quite instructive. But the
writer could continue :
"If the American
state was not the continuation of the British colonialism ...
If the the British
industrial managers did no exploit their people and others ...
all the conquerors, in the history, did not think that "the more
powerful you are, the more rights you have" ..."
So, what really matters
make the masses of people conscious that :
they do not want to live as they do, they should take their
destiny in their own hands.
A dose of Chomsky ?
Well, can you name 2 persons,
incarnating the deep weaknesses of the current "Globalisation"
I would say Noam Chomsky and
Bin Laden !!! Do you know why ?
Because both of them could be
in the "bright side" of a "Globalized
World" (the privileged part of it), (one is multi-millionaire
and the other one is a very learned American), and still, for
opposite reasons, they've both chosen to go against it. That's maybe
the only common thing you can find between them.
This should encourage you to
read the lecture that Noam Chomsky gave in MIT :
Do you really know why these people do not have the power to
change things ?
I really enjoyed
(because learning is an enchanting activity)
also an interesting interview with
Indian magazine Front line :
fact, there is almost nothing in the social sciences that ought to be
called a theory. Human affairs are too complicated."
Arundhati Roy : A
proof of the richness of the world
you know her
? Well reading the French translation of
got me into knowing her better. What
a pleasure to find somebody so close ! Some more readings :
Is Peace, Oct 18, loudhailer
her, or read the
article written by a Guardian journalist who
has visited her at her home :
by Eduardo Galeano
a reaction to the landing of American troops after the
terrorist attacks in NY and Washington DC. (September 25, 2001)
An article of Shirin Ebadi in NYT
I also heard that Hicks has criticized her. A good thing, (even though I do not have to read her article). See our open letter to her.
Smooth transformations in Iran
Here is a nice article written by an activist who has undergone a
personal revolution, even though he does not talk about it. I do not
believe in a sudden revolution in the life of a country, I would rather
cherish the individual time-consuming revolutions, happening mainly
under appropriate social circumstances,. This is how some of the
Khomeynists young revolutionnaries have experienced the prison in the
regime founded by him ! Bâghi is one of them :
It is really amazing to me that this fact, the internal revolution of
the young religious intellectuals in Iran, is ignored or underestimated
by political "analysts" .
historical days for
President Khatami : a wise man, a
Please read his speech given at the start of the scholar year in
university , to see why he is really a wise man :
The first bold expression( highlighted by me), "government
is an ill translation (reflecting the fact that Persian still lacks a
good translation for "state", Khatami wants to say State.
And we know that he has a small role in today's State.
Khatami : Universities not venues for violence,
Tehran, Sept 27, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami stressed
Saturday that universities were not venues for riots, imitation
violence because such behaviors run counter to the true essence
The president made the remark in a ceremony held in
University Saturday morning to mark the first day of the
academic year in Iranian higher education
He noted that exercising violence against
outside circles will harm both universities and Iranian
Stressing that universities and students must
independence and stay clear of any kind of circles, institutions
movements imposed on them from outside the universities, the
warned "the government and its members including me, to
the independence, freedom of thought and spirit of seeking
and social dynamism in the
Pointing out that "no fair people are happy with
happened to our universities in the past years," Khatami termed
catastrophe to brand student movements and their demands,
even if they are expressed in the forms of protests and criticism, as
He further remarked that Iran was at the present
experiencing a new phenomenon which had no precedence in the world and
said this makes it necessary for people to tolerate one another
try to go through this stage safely by institutionalizing the rule of
The president went on to point out that the Iranian
been witnessing a conflict between tradition and modernism in the past
He said insisting on the obsolete thoughts of the
past people and
thinkers without taking into consideration the demands of
time and imitating the life of others are among the
the society over the past
He further referred to democracy as the historic
the Iranian nation and said the Iranians have been
"independence, freedom and progress" for the past one hundred
During the ceremony, President Khatami also awarded
students who ranked first to third in the recent university
exams held in five different scientific categories early in July this
second highlighted part says clearly that what the judiciary part,
completely out of his control, is doing with the students is a crime.
It's a pity that the translation is
incomplete. But even a non-religious guy, like me, can not deny that
what he says is wise.
A nice short history of Iran :
Do not be astonished to
one of the best articles about he main obstacles to democracy in Iran
A fantastic answer to the ignorants who think Khatami
can be put beside Rafsanjani.
A historical letter for a country searching, with much difficulty,
his way to democracy :
After my message yesterday, see right below, here
is some nice parts from, I've lost the link to Iranmania
World must promote
ethics to hold dialogs: Khatami
bring down the walls of darkness and oppression, one should be
hopeful to hear the delicate voice of ethics. And I urge everybody to
call for the ethics vociferously," Khatami told a meeting of
Lebanese academics and cultural figures at the UNESCO Hall.
It's amazing how fast Khatami has progressed in
these last years. Nice thing to discuss about what ethics can
be, and what should be excluded, with him.
A humble thanks to
Appreciating very much what Robert Fisk writes, I've a
to Independent daily news (see http://www.independent.co.uk/
). Seeing the following lines in my e-mail this morning caught my eye
Defiant Khatami insists Tehran still supports
So I started reading it without paying any attention to the name of
its author. After a few paragraphs, I had already decided to bring
its reference here, and I was telling to myself that Independent
should really be a good newspaper. Even for a second, I did not think
about Fisk (maybe because I knew him being in Iraq recently). reading
some plain truths, unfortunately rarely said or written elsewhere,
President Mohammad Khatami of Iran – whose election gave him a
far more convincing majority than George Bush received in America
But President Khatami – perhaps the only truly democratically
elected leader in the Muslim Middle East – ...
Politicians – he did not identify them though we could guess –
"exploit science, morality, literature and art for their
individual interests, at their own will, under their talons of
power", he said.
I was really enjoying it, not only because the writer was close to
me, but also because I was seeing that I've reached a point that I
can distinguish, not so badly, a real journalist ("rare ware"
nowadays), from a fake one (can be found in every grocery store). I
was also thinking about the ignorance of some "engineering
faculty student associations in Tehran" (see
their comments on this topics in Persian), who, maybe as a result
of the brutalities and dictatorship of the theocratic part of Iranian
State, are more complaisant to the US rulers than to the people of
the region, among which, of course, Iranian people !
But the best was yet to come: when having finished the article, I
went back to the top, to find out, with such a delight, that the
writer is nobody else but Robert Fisk in person !
So thank you Robert, do not miss, (but because
they have put a portfolio, the following link is somewhere else now)
What a pity that his other article is not free of charge :
editorial on Iran's failed Revolution
NYTimes has published an
Failed Revolution, in which it emphasizes on the evolutions of
some of the revolution activists. This mere fact can not be
considered as a victory ? But it did not make it clear that the
failure of this revolution is whose : Khomeini's or Iranian people ?
The failure of one can be considered as a big victory, especially in
a long-term vision, for the other ! The progress of the Iranian
people, especially in their manner of thinking, has been tremendous
since 25 years. This is the real victory.
Here is a fine, objective to me, article of a journalist who passed
sometime in Iran :
You learn interesting
things by reading it, like :
... one of them, a reformist mullah called Mohammad Ali Zam, shocked
Iranians by announcing publicly that research had shown that 73% of
Iranians - and 86% of students - did not say their daily prayers.
... One of the ironies of Iran's social revolution is that, in part,
Islamic strictures have led to an undermining of the values they were
supposed to uphold.
That gives good reasons
to support the changes and struggle for more democracy and freedom !
Articles of Friedman,
after a week, in June 2002, in Iran, and 2 remarks
After a week, June 2002, in Iran, Thomas
L. Friedman from The New York Times wrote a few articles. That
gave another "reason" to the hardliners to attack the
government, calling him a spy ! Of course you may have some reserves
concerning his "liberal" solutions, economy is the big
absent of the debates in Iran of today; this in comparison to the
nature of the State, and freedoms.
Here are these articles :
Just 2 remarks :
Being an American citizen, it's understandable that he does not
recognize all the depth and complications of a secular struggle
(three is not a real separation between the State and the Churches
there). On the same manner, he is a journalist, not a historian,
otherwise he could understand that the history, even nowadays, is not
measured in years !
- when he says that "Khatami proved to be bust", he goes a bit too
fast. To my opinion, The historical role of Mr. Khatami is far
from being exhausted. What he's doing is far more deep, and hence
important, than what Khomeyni did.
- He has never mentioned the depth of the critics that the
theocratic regime arises, in particular among students. As a matter of
fact, philosophical debates are very vivid and alive !
An Interview of New
Times with a reformist cleric (who quit his Engineering studies
after the revolution !), on September
18, 2000 :
An Interview with
Chomsky, June 14, 2000, The Iranian :
Religions (mainly Islam)
No religion has the
monopoly of intolerance :
To see how deep the discussions on "Islam" has gone on
More than a journalist, he is a historian,
researcher, professor of university. He has lost a leg in Iran-Iraq
A nice article to overview a short story of Islam :
see Mu'tazilite in
The "progressive Islam" has a very hard time in Iran,
fighting with the "traditional Islam". The clergy is also
divided. The progressive part has an important role in wakening the
people. Even though this role is historically limited, its
importance is laid on the fact that people are just coming out of
centuries of obscurantism and superstition. And its historical
limitation should be the conclusion of the masses, not you and me !
I think that the free thinkers should support them, but from their
own positions and points of view. We should help the people to listen
to different opinions and experiment them. That's the best way to
help them to cast the final purpose of the religion.
Here is the translation of an interview with one the most
prominent thinkers and critics of a "theocratic state", M.
Kadivar. You may also see his
interview with the New York Times.
It should be helpful for the the intellectuals of the "Islamic
countries", because I know that many of them are looking upward,
and in a hopeful manner, toward an "Islamic state".
Still I should add that seeing what has happened in Algeria, the
best way for the people is to "experiment" their ideas.
Political independence is the key notion to the development.
The best manner to tackle with the old religions is to supplant
their feasts. The best example is Christmas. See
to understand how Christmas used to celebrate Mithra/Saturn. It
was only in 440 that it was "decided" that Jesus has been
born on 25th December.
This is a nice article about some
"historical relationships" between Donald Rumsfeld
and Iraq :
You may say that 20~30
years ago is not "history" yet. The fact is that we're
living in such a "day-to-day" era that, unfortunately, for
many people it is ! A nice French singer/composer says "éternité
se compte en jour" (eternity is counted in days).
The rulers want us to
have short memory, and we should admit that they are successful, for
most of the cases.