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


Want to know a bit more about Omar Khayyam ?

A short biography
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
Sigh for the Prophet's Paradise to come;
Ah, take the Cash, and let the Credit go,
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 big kid.
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 :

In Praise of Idleness, by Bertrand Russel


"The 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."
"The 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 human life."
"The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake."
"It is 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."
"Without the leisure class, mankind would never have emerged from barbarism."
"Ordinary 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 :

What Desires Are Politically Important? Nobel lecture of Russell

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 is unfamiliar.

... 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 up 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 feel alike.

I maintain, however, on the 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 :

Letter to my granddaughter on the eve of another war by Russell Banks

Cassirer, great philosopher


On my list for reading :

Language and Myth. Ernst Cassirer.

Why Socialism? by Albert Einstein

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 Spanish :

El 'factor Dios' de JOSÉ SARAMAGO,




The world's 40 best directors

According to the experts contacted by The Guardian Unlimited, there is no French director among the 40, while there are 2 Iranians !

Panahi, a great film maker

Here are two interviews with Panahi done by David Walsh :

An interview with Jafar Panahi, director of The Circle

An interview with Jafar Panahi, director of Crimson Gold

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 :

Letters to a Young Poet (Letter Four) by Rainer Maria Rilke

Rudyard Kipling's verse "if"

parts of an interview of Günter Grass with "outlook" of India :

'Calcutta Robbed Me Of Words, I Was Mute' an interview of Günter Grass

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) : 

The Man Who Planted Trees

Discussion of Umberto Eco

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 kill images).

an interview with Juan Goytisolo by Julio Ortega

An Interview with Octavio Paz, in NPQ, by its Editor Nathan Gardels at Paz's Mexico City apartment in 1986 :    The Border of Time

A Well amid the Waste: An Introduction to the Poetry of Ahmad Shamlu

One Year On, A View From The Middle East by Robert Fisk

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."

International Politics

Fisk and the great men in the history

Our presidents and prime ministers are poseurs. Where are the Great Men of today?

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 :

The 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

Nelson Mandela: Farewell to a friend and a comrade in arms

"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."

Mesopotamia. Babylon. The Tigris and Euphrates by Arundhati Roy

"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, including Europe."

By AMARTYA SEN in It's Right To Rebel

When Chomsky have a nice proposition :

Chomsky : Lesser of two 'evils' can save US a lot of trouble and lives

The Rediscovery of Imperialism by John Bellamy Foster

Nelson Mandela: The United States of America is a Threat to World Peace

Mandela at 85

For the undeveloped countries, It is possible to take control of the natural resources :

Venezuela's Fight for Control of the National Wealth Oil Politics

Democracy, Who is she when she's at home? by Arundhati Roy
Outlook India

April 28, 2002

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 :

To be like them, by Eduardo Galeano Siglo Veintiuno Editores May 05, 1991

An analysis after the 1st round of the French presidential elections in 2002 :

Johnstone: The Irony of It

Pipeline Politics: Oil, gas and the US interest in Afghanistan, by Richard Tanter

What about Robert Fisk ?

A pleasure to see that the 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 are learned.

Among other factors, they are good reasons to keep hope in the future of mankind.

Our friends in the North are just as treacherous and murderous

If the Americans were really honest about the "War against terrorism", shouldn't they do something about Pakistan ??

Did Anthrax Go To The US From Pakistan?

they've planted the grain of "if", a tree called "what to do" came out.
Persian proverb
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 ...
If all the conquerors, in the history, did not think that "the more powerful you are, the more rights you have" ..."

So, what really matters is to make the masses of people conscious that :

if 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 :

The New War Against Terror, Chomsky, October 18, 2001

Do you really know why these people do not have the power to change things ?
I really enjoyed (because learning is an enchanting activity)

this Q&A in India,

also an interesting interview with the Indian magazine Front line :

Chomsky In First Person

containing :
"In 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

Do you know her ? Well reading the French translation of 

The algebra of infinite justice

got me into knowing her better. What a pleasure to find somebody so close ! Some more readings :

Shall We Leave It to the Experts? ARUNDHATI ROY

War Is Peace, Oct 18, loudhailer Roy


with her, or read the article written by a Guardian journalist who has visited her at her home :

"Dam buster"

Symbols, by Eduardo Galeano

Good morning, Uzbekistan!

a reaction to the landing of American troops after the terrorist attacks in NY and Washington DC. (September 25, 2001)

Iranian Politics

An article of Shirin Ebadi in NYT

The Human Rights Case Against Attacking Iran

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 :

Iran; Smooth Transformations

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 Iran

Well, don't have time to write much about these historical days.
Just a few references, to be kept for later, and give you some
indications :

Iran reformers question Khamenei's role in bans

President Khatami : a wise man, a typical speech

Please read his speech given at the start of the scholar year in university , to see why he is really a wise man :

President-Universities-Remarks      / GNR /                              

    Khatami : Universities not venues for violence, imitation         

Tehran, Sept 27, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami stressed on      
Saturday that universities were not venues for riots, imitation and  
 violence because such behaviors run counter to the true essence of  
    The president made the remark in a ceremony held in Tehran       
University Saturday morning to mark the first day of the new         
academic year in Iranian higher education center.                    
    He noted that exercising violence against universities by        
outside circles will harm both universities and Iranian society      
besides poisoning the community.                                     
    Stressing that universities and students must safeguard their    
independence and stay clear of any kind of circles, institutions and 
movements imposed on them from outside the universities, the president
warned "the government and its members including me, to respect       
the independence, freedom of thought and spirit of seeking scientific
 and social dynamism in the universities."                           
    Pointing out that "no fair people are happy with what has        
happened to our universities in the past years," Khatami termed it   
 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 juncture        
experiencing a new phenomenon which had no precedence in the world and
said this makes it necessary for people to tolerate one another and  
try to go through this stage safely by institutionalizing the rule of
law and democracy.                                                   
    The president went on to point out that the Iranian society has  
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 the        
time and imitating the life of others are among the problems         
facing the society over the past century.                            
    He further referred to democracy as the historic demand of       
 the Iranian nation and said the Iranians have been seeking          
"independence, freedom and progress" for the past one hundred years. 
    During the ceremony, President Khatami also awarded 22 top       
students who ranked first to third in the recent university entrance 
exams held in five different scientific categories early in July this
1424 / 212                                                             

khatami in university

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.

The 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 :

Operation Iranian Freedom  by Tariq Ali

Do not be astonished to read one of the best articles about he main obstacles to democracy in Iran in Forbes.

A fantastic answer to the ignorants who think Khatami can be put beside Rafsanjani.

Millionaire Mullahs Paul Klebnikov,07 .21.03, Forbes

A historical letter for a country searching, with much difficulty, his way to democracy :

MPs call on Khamenei to intervene in the deadlock

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

"To 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 Robert Fisk

Appreciating very much what Robert Fisk writes, I've a subscription to Independent daily news (see ). Seeing the following lines in my e-mail this morning caught my eye :

Defiant Khatami insists Tehran still supports Hizbollah

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, like :

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) :

Iran has other ideas for region (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

What a pity that his other article is not free of charge :

The corrupt, feudal world of the House of Saud, 14 May 2003

NYTimes editorial on Iran's failed Revolution

NYTimes has published an editorial, Iran's 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 :

A revolution crumbles

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 :

The clerics' days are numbered

Toward viable compromise in Iran

A time bomb under Iran

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 !

The US And Iran's Quest for Democracy  an article by SAEED VASEGHI

An Interview of New York Times with a reformist cleric (who quit his Engineering studies  after the revolution !), on September 18, 2000 :

Cleric Uses Weapon of Religion Against Iran's Rulers

An Interview with Noam Chomsky, June 14, 2000, The Iranian :

Things you'll never hear, An Interview with Noam Chomsky, June 14, 2000

Religions (mainly Islam)

No religion has the monopoly of intolerance :

Talibanisation Of Zoroastrianism?

To see how deep the discussions on "Islam" has gone on Iran :

Clergy furious at anti-Islamic pro-Khatami journalist

More than a journalist, he is a historian, researcher, professor of university. He has lost a leg in Iran-Iraq war.

Letter to a Young Muslim by Tariq Ali, Counter Punch, May 13, 2002

A nice article to overview a short story of Islam :

see Mu'tazilite in

Mullahs and Heretics, by Tariq Ali


Mullahs and Heretics, By Tariq Ali

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".

Ecclesiastics and Power (Part One, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

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

How the Christmas Holiday appears in each Epoch

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 :

The Saddam in Rumsfeld’s Closet

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.