Thursday, May 21, 2009

How They Change after Three Decades

It is year 1980, one year after the Islamic revolution in Iran. The new rulers are expanding their tentacles rapidly and into all aspects of the Iranian society. One barricade was still resisting the theocratic take over and was still standing; the barricade of the universities. There was no way the new reactionary rulers could tolerate this and so the Islamic Cultural Revolution was engineered resulting in death, injury, imprisonment, intellectual cleansing and closure of the Iranian universities for two years.

In this rare clip below from 1980, the architects and the executors of the 'Cultural Revolution' appear on TV to justify their actions in the aftermath of their victory. The first to answer the presenter [who himself seems uncomfortable asking these silly questions] is Abdolkarim Soroush.

This is the revolutionary extremist jargon he comes up with which was fashionable at the time:
'As soon as the 'far sighted' religiously committed students requested for our universities to move in step with the Islamic revolution across Iran, from the very beginning what was in the thoughts and hearts of these committed students and that of all our revolutionary nation, was that universities should radiate the smell and the fragrance of Islamic that as soon as a seeker enters this garden of flowers [the new Islamicised universities] their senses of scent is enriched by this pleasant fragrance of [Islam]'

Of course Soroush didn't mind not being 'enriched by the pleasant fragrance of Islam' while he was studying himself in London. After all, what is good for others is not good for me, with most of revolutionaries.

Soroush resigned from the Cultural Revolution Council in 1983. In 1998, his magazine Kian was closed down by the direct orders of the Supreme Leader. After year 2000, Soroush became a visiting professor in Harvard university and resident scholar at Yale and several other Western universities. What happened to the passion for the scent of Islamic fragrances that was so necessary to radiate from university campuses and classrooms?

When Soroush's lectures were attacked by the same thugs who attacked the universities in 1980, he said this:
"Has this country (Iran) gone so far so that a teacher takes his life into his own hands when attending class or an academic meeting? Does this country need the likes of Galileo and Giordano Bruno?"

A word of advise for the young impressionable minds, when you see some young educated extremist rant about some outrageous claptrap, do not take them too seriously, they are just going through a phase and they will soon sense the fragrance of errors in their judgements.


barmakid said...


People Change. And you have to giver them that opportunity. Furthermore, this clip doesn't seem new. I was at a mamoni with him about a year ago and he had gained more weight and seemed older. We had a stirring debate about the current regime and he not once lost his composure or changed the tone in his voice.

Abdol Karim is a bright Iranian mind, and it didn't take 30 years for his mind to change. The whole reason his lectures were getting attacked is because he intellectually criticized the revolution's trajectory, and furthermore the "leadership's" version of Islam.

That said, he is a part of the past and his time is over.


barmakid said...

I totally was just watching another clip of Abdol Karim, not the one you had posted. I just watched that one, but my previous post was referring to another one. I just got them mixed up in my mind. But go ahead, have your fun with me.

Azarmehr said...

Only because you said' Go ahead have your fun with me'

This is what I would have replied if I was a nasty bully type person:


Despite the clear step by step explanations such as 'In this rare clip below from 1980,' which is almost 30 years ago, also refer to the title, you show your total aggregate of wisdom and wit by saying 'this clip doesn't seem new'

What happened to the universities in US? Did the likes of Soroush drag them down to such depths?


Anonymous said...

میرحسین موسوی گفت: زمانی که انقلاب فرهنگی اتفاق افتاد من هنوز نخست‌وزیر نشده بودم.

به گزارش آفتاب،‌ میرحسین موسوی در گردهمایی دانشجویان دانشگاه زنجان گفت: «زمانی که انقلاب فرهنگی شد من هیچ‌نوع مسئولیتی نداشتم و این مساله زمانی اتفاق افتاد که من هنوز نخست‌وزیر نشده بودم. البته قصد تایید یا رد مساله‌ انقلاب فرهنگی را ندارم، بلکه مساله‌ انقلاب فرهنگی در شرایط خاص اول انقلاب به فرمان حضرت امام (ره) و توسط جمعی از دانشجویان انجام شد؛ آقای باهنر، شمس آل‌احمد، سروش و برخی افراد دیگر بر اساس فرمان امام (ره) این کار را صورت دادند».

barmakid said...


That's fine. I'll take that.

But honestly, I am not familiar with Abdol Karim in the way you might be. I don't remember him from the revolution, I've only read of his role during the time.

But I have read his philosophy, and he is a secularist. You should consider reading "A Sacral Defense of Secularism," by an Iranian intellectual who wrote for Kiyan when it was in print.


p.s. If your mind doesn't change after 30 years then I don't believe you can call yourself an intellectual, for "change is the only constant."

Sohrab said...

I graduated from an American university, but completed most of my K-12 education in Iran. My schools in Tehran did smell like Islam. The fragrance was a disgusting amalgam of body odor, the smell of feet, and gol-aab.

So thanks but no thanks Dr. Soroush c. 1980!

Azarmehr said...


I don't mind people changing, in fact I welcome it. However if someone has been responsible for something in the past, they should be courageous enough and say, Yes I was responsible for doing that wrong deed but I have seen my errors of judgement and accept that I made a mistake. Rather than denying their role or saying og that was not under my control, like Moussavi is saying for example. I think if they are straight and put their hands up and say I did it but now I realise it was a mistake, people will be more willing to accept them too.

If you want to know how much Soroush accepts responsibility then just read his agressive insulting reply to Dowlat Abadi.

Winston said...

این سروش هم جنایتکار دروغگویی بیش نیست