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Yazdanpour

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Posts posted by Yazdanpour


  1. http://www.scribd.com/doc/23617060/Kaveh-Afrasiabi-Vilification-of-a-Scholar

     

    Kaveh Afrasiabi: Vilification of a Scholar

    Unwarranted and illogical attacks on a man of learning

     

    esfandiarireza@ymail.com

     

    It was the Roman poet Terence who famously wrote “veritas odium parit” – “the truth gives birth to hate.” A popular Turkish proverb also remarks that “if you speak the truth, make sure to keep a foot in the stirrup.” This could not be closer to reality than in the case of Dr Kaveh Afrasiabi, a widely respected and independent-minded political scientist who has worked at Tehran university and various American educational centres that include Boston and Harvard and who now stands accused of daring to speak the truth that few want to hear.

     

    Despite being a prominent advocate of interfaith discussion and cultural exchange between civilizations both before and during the reformist presidency of Mohammad Khatami, and going as far as to set up an NGO in support of it, Dr Afrasiabi is now subjected to abusive ad hominem attacks and slandered in the blogosphere as being a puppet for a hardline Iranian regime and apologising their every sin.

     

    Despite the fact that he has championed the democratic and human rights of the Iranian people at numerous conferences and seminars, and has served as a U.N/UNESCO consultant on religious and political dialogue, he is portrayed as an opportunist in America and a stooge of alleged paymasters based in Tehran. However, ever since he sued Harvard University a decade ago over the egregious violation of his civil rights and took the matter to a jury trial and eventually to the United States Supreme Court whilst acting as his own attorney. He has continued to win both admiration for his courage but also scorn in the high places that felt threatened by him. Professor Noam Chomsky no less has described his battle with the university as a "sad and shameful chapter in Harvard’s history."

     

    Indeed, amongst serious scholars and journalists, Dr Afrasiabi’s contributions are regarded of great value and indeed indispensable to anyone interested in understanding contemporary Iran and the Islamic world, including many issues that those in the Iranian regime would prefer not to discuss.

     

    His peer-reviewed articles include those in Middle East journal Telos, Harvard and Brown university political and theological reviews, as well as an exhaustive number of op-eds in newspapers such as the New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington post, Der Tagespiegel and The Asia Times, to name but a few, are cited in dozens of scholarly books on the Middle East and enjoy a global readership. He is also an internationally recognized prolific author of several books notably the acclaimed “After Khomeini: New directions in Iran’s policy” (Westview Press, 1995) described by professor Ervand Abrahamian of Baruch college as a "must read for academics and policymakers." His novel concerning women and the Islamic Revolution “Diaries and Jallad” (Astro's Press, 1998) has been referred to by Professor Peter Chelkowski of New York University as "easily the best, most imaginative novel of its kind."

     

    It is of no surprise, therefore, that American TV networks see him as an important consultant on Iranian and international affairs, especially due to his considerable expertise on the Iranian nuclear program, and not someone just parroting a script sent from Tehran. This is a man whose academic freedom, and quite often vigorous defense of it, is hardly in any question by those who really know him.

     

    His critics, however, dismiss this as the behaviour of someone hedging their bets and having “a finger in every pie”, but the reality is that it reflects that of a genuine polymath with scholarship ranging from theology, politics and international relations, feminism, fiction, poetry and ecology. Clearly, such tremendously diverse academic and scholarly pursuits, coupled with a determination to candidly speak his mind on any issue, makes Dr Afrasiabi a unique character in academic and media circles.

     

    At times, his visceral and scathingly critical views on the subject of foreign (mostly British) interference in his native Iran serve to distinguish him from more languid commentators who tow whatever line the organisation backing them supports. In this respect, he shares a popular street sentiment and nationalism with most Iranians and not those scholars who are all too happy to cosy up with the ranks of the British Establishment in the hope of securing their favour.

     

    But it is in recent months that he has incurred the sustained ire of all those in the media and the Iranian expatriate community who have insisted that the June election was “fraudulent” and “rigged”. His vociferous and tireless defense of the official election results has brought him unduly bad attention but such accusations have to weighed against the fact that he actually bothered to examine the evidence which he has demonstrated comports to a natural outcome. He rightly has dismissed the spurious allegations of fraud this time round just as they were made the first time Ahmadinejad was elected. Yet despite the fact that no real evidence of foul play has been forthcoming and that the results of two scientific polls conducted by American organisations (TFT and WPO) showed that the incumbent had indeed won by a landslide, he was accused of helping to prop up a “fraudulent and illegitimate government.”

     

    But Dr Afrasiabi took the pains to remind audiences in the West that the people of Iran are not represented by the more visible residents of Shemiran and Niavaran in the North of Tehran but by the largely unseen millions who inhabit the countless villages, towns and cities outside of the capital. In this respect, Dr Afrasiabi is not a “regime apologist” but rather the voice of the silent majority of Iranians inside Iran whom the Western media has chosen to ignore both before and after the June poll. Even so, he has since called for national reconciliation among the various competing factions and for the Iranian Government to adopt much of the social and political platform of the Green movement as well as to release all prisoners accused of inciting sedition and to respect the rule of law.

     

    But it is his reaction to the PBS-BBC documentary “A Death in Tehran”, which has rankled his critics the most. Despite being interviewed by the producer and director of the film, Monica Garnsey, his comments were censored out in large part because they challenged others presented in the documentary, in particular Dr Arash Hejazi whose contradictory statements were not mentioned or scrutinised in any way - he was just allowed to talk about himself as a man of integrity and as a witness to state-sponsored brutality. Dr Afrasiabi rightfully concluded that Hejazi was more interested in contacting the media than in saving the life of Miss Agha-Soltan or honouring her right to privacy in death violated so callously by the filmmakers who surrounded her during her last moments. He also presented new evidence taken from a series of emails he had with an LA Times correspondent that described a different eyewitness account, notably from the music teacher, of what actually happened in the side street where Neda was killed.

     

    However, the producers of the documentary were not prepared to allow for any dissent or questioning of their narrative that was so unashamedly propagandist and biased in nature that even BBC Persian TV was reluctant to air it. What Dr Afrasiabi insisted on was that his participation would not be for the purpose of making the film appear objective but that it was on the premise that it actually would be objective, critical and discerning. Moreover, when the interview was conducted in September it was made clear to him that the film was going to be about the post-election unrest in general and not focus on the death of Neda Agha-Soltan. This is admitted by Iason Athanasiadis, one of the consultants of the PBS-BBC film who has since come out trying to deny that he himself was appalled by the direction the documentary took and the lack of journalistic standards applied in it. Neither was Dr Afrasiabi aware that one of the associate producers of the film was Kelly Niknejad who heads “Tehran Bureau”, a front for the Green movement.

     

    The simple truth is that those who cannot debate him vilify Dr Afrasiabi – this was apparent when Dr Ali Ansari of the pro-establishment British think-tank, Chatham House, walked out of a live discussion on PressTV concerning the Iranian election results. The latter was simply eviscerated by the former and cried foul and left. Likewise, anyone who fears having to defend their analysis of events in Iran has every reason to smear people like Dr Afrasiabi as the only way in which they can get their message across without being taken apart intellectually and exposed for what they are.

     

    Whatever his faults and failings, Dr Kaveh Afrasiabi’s commitment to the scientific method, to freedom of speech and to academic discourse makes him a scholar of worthy repute. His profound experience and knowledge is also something which people would be foolish to ignore especially when it becomes more imperative each day that accurate analyses of the situation in Iran are presented and discussed.


  2. I suggest you review that statement. Your post consisted of nothing but a copied and pasted article!!! So to the contrary, i took the courtesy of expressing opinion and refrained from your method of duplicating an article already readily available eslewhere.

     

    So your attempts at illegitimising my words have failed. keep trying... :)

     

    Yes, and for just posting an article you accused me of spreading "filth". I hope people are interested in alternative viewpoints to their own. There is increasing intolerance by everybody no matter whom they support.


  3. Yazdanpour your agenda is more than transparent. Trying to polute the board with your IR sympathising BS, is a futile endeavour.

     

    You're evidently a little insecure about the attention that dear Neda's murder has courted. If anything, Neda's murder has not recieved enough attention and the same goes for the hundreds of other victims of the IR's massacre.

     

    Your attempts may be more fruitful with the political naive over on the Press TV forums or alike.

     

    In other words, you have nothing to say - nothing which can be construed as rational, logical and informed opinion. You believe only what you want to believe.


  4. Source: Middle East Online

     

    A Memory Abused: No Rest or Peace for Neda Agha-Soltan

     

     

    The ruthless exploitation of the death of Neda for political purposes is an egregious example of a propaganda war being waged by the enemies of Iran everyone should be concerned, however, since the manipulation of the media and public opinion is a feature of domestic news coverage in the West as much as it is of reporting on a Middle Eastern state, notes Reza Esfandiari and Yousef Bozorgmehr.

     

     

    The tragic death of Miss Neda Agha-Soltan continues to reverberate five months after her shooting in Tehran. Documentaries have been made about it on British and American television and a scholarship has been awarded by no less than Oxford University in her honour. The pertinent question that needs to be asked is: why?

     

    Why does the international media focus so much macabre interest in the dying moments of an Iranian woman? Why is there is such callous disregard for her right to privacy that her death should be viewed all over the world on Youtube and Twitter?

     

    The answer, of course, is simple: Nedas murder has been scurrilously exploited by those who seek to put a beautiful name and face to the struggle for freedom in Iran. These same people have decided to posthumously call her the Angel of Freedom [1].

     

    Miss Agha-Soltan, it should be remembered, was not shot while in the act of any demonstration the incident happened in a side street at least a kilometre away from where the protests were occurring. Moreover, the unassuming young woman was neither a political activist nor had any affiliation to a civic organisation. She was a student of Islamic philosophy with musical interests and who had a desire to become a tour guide.

     

    If she intended to take part in any protest, she was certainly not any different from the hundreds of thousands who also did. And, unlike some of the more riotous elements among the demonstrators who also lost their lives, Neda did absolutely nothing to provoke any hostility from the security forces, let alone being shot at. She was a threat to none.

     

    Yet we now have begun to hear that she was a high-profile natural leader [2] of the protest movement, committed to the overthrow of Ahmadinejad whom the Iranian regime had every reason to fear. And if that isnt enough, she was determined not allow Iran to suffer the fate of a tyranny worse than that of the Arab and Mongol invaders of the past [3]. We are also told how she was prepared to be shot through the heart [4] in her pursuit of freedom and democracy for the Iranian people.

     

    Of course, all of this is utter nonsense that only the most naive of individuals cannot see through. There are several points that the investigative documentaries failed to account for or delve into in any way.

     

    A letter sent by the Iranian embassy in the UK to the Provost of Queens college [5], which has awarded the Neda scholarship sponsored by an undisclosed British citizen, correctly states that Neda had a high-resolution camera trained on her for a full 20 minutes before the incident took place this, along with other important observations [6], does give the appearance of it being a pre-rehearsed and staged scenario.

     

    The letter goes on to the mention the fact that Dr Arash Hejazi, a publishing student and medical doctor at Oxford Brookes university, had arrived only two days prior to Nedas death and left the day after anxious to tell the story to the British media of an innocent woman being shot by a Baseej militiaman this despite the fact that the Baseej never ever carry firearms outside of military compounds (they use sticks, chains and other household items).

     

    The media has since accepted his testimony uncritically, in particular Times of London correspondent Martin Fletcher, who has been nothing short of an obsessed anti-regime propagandist in the wake of the June election. Indeed, Dr Hejazi changed his story early on he had initially claimed that the assailant was a rooftop sharpshooter [7], but later said that Neda was shot by a man on a motorcycle [8].

     

    Anyone with even a measure of circumspection would be suspicious of Dr Hejazis actions and motives as well as his possible involvement with British intelligence which regularly approaches Iranian students and residents in the UK to serve as informers in Iran. Yet, he is hailed as the man who heroically tried to save a bleeding Neda (although there is very little to show for it).

     

    The stolen/lost ID card of a certain Abbas Kargar Javid, posted on the Web with the intention of inviting vigilante-like retribution [9], and the video of a semi-naked man being accosted by demonstrators [10] prove absolutely nothing. There is nothing that links any member of the Baseej force with the murder of Neda. These two pieces of evidence were both produced after several months had passed, indicating that they were most likely dug up among the myriad of video footage and documents from the days of the unrest. Moreover, other witnesses present at the scene deny that there was any security presence.

     

    It is inconceivable that an Islamic regime which understands the power of martyrdom in its own culture would sanction the cold-blooded murder of an innocent and ordinary young woman on the streets of Tehran.

     

    However it is every bit conceivable that those who thought the opposition movement needed a symbol and icon of resistance recipients and supporters no doubt of a $400m CIA-backed destabilization program for Iran [11] - would have arranged this horrible murder and try and pin it on the Iranian authorities.

     

    It is especially salient that the British TV station, Channel 4, whose investigative Dispatches program had exposed that policewoman Yvonne Fletcher had not in fact been killed by Libyan diplomats but by underworld operatives linked to the American Government [12], would be so compliant with the official version.

     

    The appalling and brutal murder of an Egyptian woman, Marwa El-Sherbini, in a German courtroom in July of this year has just a matter of weeks after Nedas death - has largely been ignored even though it is one of the worst racially-motivated and Islamophobic killings in recent times. Will Mrs Sherbini, the headscarf martyr, be honoured in any way by a German university or have films made in commemoration of her? Of course not.

     

    The ruthless exploitation of the death of Neda for political purposes is an egregious example of a propaganda war being waged by the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran everyone should be concerned, however, since the manipulation of the media and public opinion is a feature of domestic news coverage in the West as much as it is of reporting on a Middle Eastern state.

     

    Notes:

     

    [1]http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,528441,00.html

     

    [2]http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/15/neda-agha-soltan

     

    [3]http://nedasvoice.com/

     

    [4]http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/6574330/Iranian-killed-in-protest-was-willing-to-be-shot-in-heart.html

     

    [5]http://extras.timesonline.co.uk/pdfs/letter1.jpg

     

    [6]http://www.phoenixsourcedistributors.com/html/who_killed_neda.html

     

    [7]http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2009/0624/1224249417475.html

     

    [8]http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8119713.stm

     

    [9]http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6802669.ece

     

    [10]

     

    [11]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRwUZ-u6KFo

     

    [12]http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/573682

     

    Reza Esfandiari and Yousef Bozorgmehr can be reached at: esfandiarireza@ymail.com.


  5.  

     

    * A total of 1,003 interviews were completed; the interview refusal rate was 52 percent.

    * …one in four respondents refused to answer the question about who they voted for in the presidential election…

    * …Asked how they would vote if the election were held again, half say they would vote for Ahmadinejad….

    http://kamangir.net/2009/09/20/world-pubic-opinion-poll-ahmadinejad-is-legitimate/

     

    Thanks, but refusal rates are to be expected....I know I would have hung up on an American research company!

     

    One in four did not state who they voted for but 55% said they voted for Ahmadi compared to 14% for Mousavi. Also 64% express strong support for the President which implies they voted for him (and its very

    close to the 62-63% share of the vote that he received).

     

    The fact that some people who voted for Ahmadinejad may reconsider if a rerun were held does show that the poll is authentic as I know some people who were dismayed by the crackdown....not many though.

     

    In any case, the Iranian people seem to support the IR even though they indicate that its not the most perfect system in the world.


  6. A survey has been published which shows massive support for Khamenei and Ahmadinejad.

     

    http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/sep09/IranUS_Sep09_quaire.pdf

     

    Among its findings.

     

    1) 81% of Iranians regard Ahmadi to be their legitimate President

     

    2) 76% backed Khamenei's decision to stand by the election result

     

    3) 87% express strong or some support for the Islamic Republic

     

    A previous poll had shown strong opposition to the monarchy and Reza Pahlavi.

     

    I think this shows just how delusional many Iranian expatriates living in the United States are. Iran is a traditional, Muslim country - maybe Shemiranat is close to your gharbzadeh vision, but not Qom, Kerman, Semnan, Zanjan etc.

     

    So, my advice to you is to accept this fact and forget about Iran. If you are a citizen of the US, just be that. You don't have to forgo your heritage, but please don't try and interfere with the Iranian nation which you have chosen to separate yourself from...OK?


  7. come together to form a democratic gov't that everyone is free to say what they want and practice what they want.

     

    (3) Iranians will remove religion from form of gov't

     

    The faithful never separate religion from politics. What stupidity is it to think so?

     

    If you want to replace IRI, you will have to kill every one of us - and thats tens of millions.

     

    We love death, whereas you fear it.


  8. i have to say i thought that when i read the article that none of these options appealed to me...i go to iran regularly and spend a lot of time there and even consider going to live there at some point....although i dont find it hard under the current regime doesnt mean i agree with it...it is easy for us to sit in our comfy democratic countries and pass sentence on the current state of iran and how it should become but it is only the people of iran that can help themselves....power to the people!

     

    Iran is a Muslim country. Maybe you gharbzadeh or zartoshti people can't accept that, but its true.

     

    If you want Iran to become the 51st state of America, please leave the country or stay outside of her.

     

    You cannot defeat Saheb Zaman.


  9. We all love the lion and the sun flag but for a democratic Iran it may be more suitable if we decided to change this historical symbol to something a bit more suitable. I suggest putting a farvahar on the flag due to its historical significance. The flag would look similar to this:

    t_iranbannerm_6397b60.png

    Now for those of you that would state the farvahar is a religious symbol so is the symbol of Turkey, the crescent moon, but it didn't stop the majority of Turkic countries from using it.

     

     

    So you want to replace the symbol which represents an Islamic nation with an ancient symbol which represents a dying religion of only maybe 300,000 people?

     

    Next you will saying that we should worship fire like our Zoroastrian ancestors?


  10. Iranians claim to be direct descendants of the Aryans...after all, that is the origin of the name of the nation.

     

    But a recent finding has shown that Iranians are only partially descended from the Aryans of central asia.

     

    Only one in six Iranians has the haplotype group (H3) that is a marker of the Aryans.

     

     

    www.journals.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/resolve ?11133362PDF

     

     

    Indeed, the distribution of Aryan DNA is not uniform.

     

    In Gilan and Khuzestan it is virtually nonexistent.

     

    However it is relatively high in Khorasan, Golestan, Fars and Azerbaijan.

    Khorasan and Fars correspond to the traditional areas of the Parthians and the Persians respectively.

     

     

    One can see it in these pictures:

     

     

    http://www.worldisround.com/articles/7302 2/photo653.html

     

    http://www.worldisround.com/articles/7302 2/photo770.html

     

     

    Most Iranians are the descendants of a very old people that lived on the plateau millennia before the Aryans arrived. Check out the Elamite and Jiroft civilizations.

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