15 June 2009

azar nafisi on tehran elections

al jazeera has a nice interview with azar nafisi, author of 'reading lolita in tehran: a memoir in books'. i enjoyed that book very much, and am looking forward to checking out her new 'things i've been silent about'.

the interview is short but sweet, with several insightful comments by nafisi. her main point was that looking at the platform of the candidates--rather than the number of votes (particularly when chances are the votes were rigged)--tells you a lot about society and politics.
...just as important is the fact that many within the ruling elite in Iran are realizing they cannot rule the society the way they claimed they could. A good example is Mr. Mousavi himself.

In order to win Mousavi had taken up the progressive slogans, which he had previously fought against. I was there at the beginning of the Islamic Revolution when he was the Prime Minister, and implemented many of the repressive measures which he now denounces.

I (like many others) was thrown out of the university that Mousavi helped to shut down as part of the Cultural Revolution.

The fact that Mr. Mousavi or Karoobi choose to talk of freedom and human rights show the degree to which the divisions within the regime are affected by the resistance of the Iranian people. I think these are the important points about the elections and not only who won or who lost...

He didn't just campaign against Ahmadinejad but against the very foundations of the Islamic Republic. The fact that Mr Mousavi risked his political career to take up this position suggests that a sizable number of the population don't want what exists now.

you can read the full interview here. there's also a very nice photograph of nafisi!

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