First time I saw her was years ago on a program called After Dark, where her drunken state and continuous unnecessary giggling was just too embarrassing to watch, let alone listening to her utter nonsense. On another Question Time program, where again her constant giggling with Alex Salmond was annoying and embarrassing, she sort of attributed the candle lit march by Iranians paying condolences to 9/11 victims as an Islamic Republic approved event!
Since Haleh Afshar has become a member of the House of Lords, I have been receiving a lot of emails from people outside UK asking me what I think of her, so I thought if I do this post, I can just refer them to this link.
In my view Haleh Afshar, epitomizes the previous generation of over privileged Iranians, confused and full of unresolved contradictions, who liked to embrace fashionable ideas without thinking them through. The very generation of Iranian intellectuals who got Iran in such a mess today and I despise so much.
To make up your own mind just read this BBC religion program interview transcript with Haleh Afshar:
BBC Religion Program
And this is how I summarise it, if you don't have time to read the above:
In her own words she came from such a pampered background that until the age of 14, she had never combed her own hair, dressed or undressed herself or even had a bath by herself without the help of house servants. After reading Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, she became so impressed by the steely women of England who did their own things, that she insisted her parents send her to a boarding school in Britain.
Haleh Afshar is then sent to a Catholic boarding school in England where she embraces Marxism-Leninism.
She then claims to have worked with the Marxist-Leninist Fedayeen Guerrillas group against the Shah [not clear exactly what she did]. This is an underground secret armed organisation, but she tells her father about it! I can just imagine her saying "Daddy, I am working with the Fedayeen Marxist-Leninst guerrillas". Her father's reply, as she describes it in the interview, is you know if they come to power they will execute me and again in her own words in the interview she says 'Oh no, I won't shoot you - I will protect you'.
When the 1979 Islamic revolution happens, she is convinced it will be a Marxist revolution and a Fedayeen victory! But of course after the Shah's men, the Marxists were next to face the Islamic firing squads. She describes this period in her own interview like this:
"y'know every day there would be a lot of people I knew who were dying. So I used to just open the newspaper, read, have a cry and then go to work. And I knew we were defeated"
Just imagine! her friends are dying every day, she opens the newspapers, has a cry and then goes to work!!! No campaign to raise awareness of what was going on? No effort to bring pressure on Islamic Republic to stop the executions? No attempt to solicit the international public opinion? just have a little cry for the abandoned comrades who were dying every day and then go to work??
Disappointed with Iran not becoming a proletarian state, Haleh Afshar continues with her proletarian activities in UK. Again in her own words she describes how she stood in a designer Chanel suit outside Rowntree's factory asking the workers to go on strike! [I am sorry I just had a belly ache from laughter as I am writing this bit in the post]
Oh of course throughout this time she is also a Shia Muslim woman. My mind boggles as she tries to reconcile Marx's dialectical materialism with Shiite theology.
She claims feminism has been her core consistency through life. In one of her replies in the interview she says "I began by always wanting to be a man," :))
Since she has become a celebrity TV Islamic apologist, this is how she justifes gender apartheid in Islam:
"I think that women are oppressed universally by men, and the Islamic countries are no exception"
In recognition of her Islamic apologist stand, the UK government has decided she is an Islamic and an Iran expert and made her a people's peer in the House of Lords, which is just another contradiction in my view. What the hell is a people's peer? when did people decide she is their peer? and I thought I would never live to see a Marxist's delight at becoming a member of the House of Lords!
I think I have said enough and you get the picture. If you get time, read her full interview, and you will see that I have been very fair.