Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Lipstick Jihad

Azadeh Moaveni, Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran (2005).

Loved this book, mentioned yesterday. Moavani also assisted Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi with her memoir, Iran Awakening (4/21/2007 post).

Lipstick Jihad covers Moaveni's years growing up in an Iranian (or Persian) household in California, part of the Iranian diaspora. It shifts to Iran in the late 1990s and early twenty-first century. Since the period discussed, she has reported on Iran, the Iraq War and the Middle East in general. Presently, she lives in Tehran and has a website.

Moaveni strongly advocates for the separation of mosque and state, which, of course, I can relate to completely. When religion -- any religion -- trumps secularized civil society, the majority religion tends to push non-believers, apostates, and "heretics" around, and such has been the case in Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Moaveni is particularly strong about the rights of women and children, so it's no wonder she worked with Ebadi.

Moaveni loathes repressive fundamentalist Islamic social codes and practices, but she is no fan of President G.W. Bush, either:

Though Iran played no role in Sept. 11, it was, like Iraq and Palestine, contaminated by the fallout. President Bush declared Iran part of an "axis of evil," which did not bode well at the time, since it was becoming clear that Iraq, our neighbor and fellow axis member, was going to be invaded. The term "axis of evil" sounded funny in English, but in Farsi it struck a bizarrely familar note: It was ideological and inflammatory, the sort of phrase a mullah would think up and bellow out during Friday prayer. For years the clerics behaved like madmen, screeching at the Great Satan fron their pulpits, and suddenly there was an echo from the other side, someone screeching back in the same tone . . .

If the ostensible goal of the Bush administration was to promote tolerance and democracy in the Middle East, thereby discouraging militancy and religious extremism, then its policies had neatly produced the opposite effect
(pages 224-225).

Lots of insight in this memoir, and glimpses of Iranian life that rarely make it into mainstream American media. I suppose it's far more urgent to learn how Paris Hilton will respond to jail time in the USA.

Today's Rune: The Self.

Birthdays: Jean Henri Dunant, Youssef Antoun Makhlouf (Saint Charbel), Harry S Truman, Edmund Wilson, Robert Johnson, Sloan Wilson, Don Rickles, Gary Snyder, Sonny Liston, Thomas Pynchon, Philip Bailey, Janet McTeer.

Khoda hafaz!


Charles Gramlich said...

A great title. A lot of Americans should probably read this book. Most of the ones who should probably won't.

the walking man said...

Funny thing is ever since the Reagan administration we have been building our own Religious intolerant society.

The "christians' who put bush in office in Texas first then the white house, without thought of his past and that he was bought and paid for by his Saudi master's. Who bailed his ass out with tens of millions of dollars every time he made a stupid business decision(if he ever made any other kind "geez Dick let's refill the national oil reserves it may cause a bump up in the market price but what the heck our people are working")because they already had daddy bush paid for.

And now although dwindling in some of their fanaticism, these people are now doing every thing to bend and distort the constitution of the United States to make us all conform to their belief structure.

Heard about the protests against gays at the funeral of dead, honorably dead, American service troops stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now you have a sizable flock of lemmings (not sheep)who listen to politics being preached from the tax free pulpit, just as they do in the Middle East.

Curious about the un-ending support of Israel, a state that began with terrorism and is still keeping out the descendants of them who they stole the Palestine from?

God damn christians are trying to foment the conflict between Jew and Muslim with millions in private aid to Israel to clear the way for the destruction of the dome of the rock, so the Jewish temple may be rebuilt signaling to those assholes who, "ever study but never come to a knowledge of the truth," that Jesus is going to return to "rapture" (a term never used in the bible) those who believe in their particular cult of Jesus.

Stupid fuckers...still haven't figured out that Christ has already come back, 2000 yrs ago.

So it begs the question, while the Saudi political structure plays nice nice with the white house why are their Imams preaching some of the most virulent rhetoric against America from their own tax free pulpits.

all forms of organized religion are a good place to start for the first steps on gaining a framework but if after you have the basic tenants of your beliefs down, get the fuck out of them and be FREE of the hypocrisy that the Ted Haggards of THE WORLD preach.

Oh yeah one final note on the Qu'ran. A jihad is only to be fought over the holy land, which in turn means only one place on earth; Jerusalem. And Jews and Christians and Muslims are supposed to abide and tolerate each other because they all believe in the same God and are "people of the book" meaning the torah. go figure.

Anonymous said...

Its not like we don't have a histoy to learn by. Why do we keep making the same mistakes. Vietnam taught us nothing? I learned from that war we can not make the world safe for democracy
but yet our leaders are hell bent on trying to do just that in Iraq and else where. Enjoy the posts Erik. MW