Sunday, January 28, 2007
it's a wonder that you still know how to breathe:
Every now and then, there's a reminder of how the Iranian regime is less diabolical than it is comical and buffoonish. From Laura Secor's excellent New York Times Magazine tour d'horizon:
Democracy, he explained, was acceptable within the boundaries of Islam, and human rights were contained within Islam, but such rights should not include freedom of worship or freedom to believe things that are untrue or unwise. (His examples were the misguided beliefs of Nietzsche and Machiavelli.) The Islamic penal code required no modification in the modern era; its harshest punishments, he asserted, were no more violent than some American and European spectator sports. He appeared shocked by the suggestion that Iran held political prisoners and demanded an example. I offered the journalist Akbar Ganji, imprisoned for six years on account of his critical writings. Gharavian replied: “Did you read Mr. Ganji’s manifesto? He questioned the whole establishment.” Freedom of expression, he explained, did not include the freedom to “breach the peace of the society.” He demanded, “Don’t you have prisoners in your country?”
UPDATE: We need a moratorium on writing that Country X is "in a sense defined by its contradictions." Please. I'll go first.
--Spencer Ackerman