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Re: <nettime> Left is wrong on Iran
Gita Hashemi on Sun, 26 Jul 2009 10:54:25 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Left is wrong on Iran

dabashi is not on my priority reading list, so i will not address his 
writing or the critiques of it that have been posted on this list. 
it's fairly common that at moments like this certain individuals 
strive to be in limelight at any cost.  that should not cloud the 
judgement passed on the dynamics that are much larger and more 
significant than any individual.

so many discussions about iran are driven by complete lack of 
knowledge about what is actually happening on the ground.  people are 
focused on the media circus and celebrity or celebrity-want-to-be 
writers of one stripe or another.  we'd get a better sense of the 
reality if we were to familiarize ourselves with the grass roots 
voices in iran.  after all, a movement is ultimately defined by their 
work, or should be.  and, please make no mistake, long before the 
recent media spectacle, these activists have been building the ground 
- discourses and networks - on which stands what we see today.  that 
has been no easy feat after the terrors and massacres in the 1980s 
and then in 1999.

on the subject of foucault and iran, i suggest the following:

janet afary and kevin anderson's 2005 book, "foucault and the iranian 
revolution; gender and the seductions of islamism", a very worthy 
assessment fully historically substantiated by a key iranian historian

gita hashemi, 2000, "between parallel mirrors: foucault, atoussa and 
me, on sexuality of history" available at 

for the records, in my view, there remains a significant difference 
between foucault and zizek:

foucault was in some contact with iranian islamic dissidents in 
france and did take the trouble to go to iran, 3 times if i remember 
correctly in 1978-79.  so his writing was at least infused with his 
own direct - albeit very limited and ahistorical - observations. 
with regards to his iran writing, i respect him for that.

zizek is talking on the basis of ... wait, what is it exactly that 
gives him the qualification to speak about iran?  direct observation? 
historical research? ...  i'm at a loss here.  but not surprised at 
all.  it's very common to see many white male intellectuals - and, as 
we've seen, their non-white 'native' counterparts - to speak when 
they should be listening and learning.  humility is not the common 
currency in the star-studded academy.

be well.


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