The Chronicles from Iran depict the successive Iranian dictatorships, from the monarchy to the Islamic Republic and its raving puritans. Through real-life scenes in Iran, they highlight humiliations inflicted daily by a religious tyranny upon its population, haunted by fear and bygone traditions. In 2012, the end product is that the Islamic Republic of Iran is an economic, social, environmental and political nightmare. The Chronicles from Iran also sketch a portrait of the Iranian, in equal parts proud and humble, tolerant and traditionalist, passionate and generous, always tormented when faced with choices in domestic and international politics. In the shadow of ‘Arab Spring’, and the turmoil that shakes the Middle East today, the book targets the lack of democracy and freedom - challenging conventionalities of an Islamic society. It brings an insight from Iran that can translate the Iranian and Middle Eastern labyrinth into a more understandable language. It also exposes the Western weaknesses in dealing with Middle Eastern countries. Whereas Islamist cliques make the most of religion to consolidate their tyrannical power, the greedy sets of Westerners pervert democracy, breeding only liberalism, technology and political correctness. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 led to the hatching of a backward Islam in the world. The ideals of social justice and personal development shimmer in the eyes of those who allow themselves to be fooled by Islamic fundamentalism and its vain promises of social justice. After 33 years of politics based on Islamic rule, despotism and censorship, Iran is fragile. Its population remains unaware of the implications of important issues and has given up any meaningful form of resistance to dictatorship. Iranians boast a millennial culture while being shackled by conventionalities and religious superstition. These favour dictatorship and are not conducive to building a society in which free will and freedom of expression are the driving forces. However, the stand taken by many policy makers in the United States and the western European countries has led to considerable mistakes and damages and will continue to do so. In the name of democracy, the Westerners have reduced Iraq and Afghanistan to bedlam. In June 2009, fed up with an oppressive Islamic Republic, the Iranians felt ripe for a new revolution. But they lack a converging ideal. Iranians crave to get rid of the ayatollahs but with what and by whom can they be replaced? The Iranians hesitate and play for safety. After all, the tyranny they endure guarantees some security that their neighbours have long lost. Yet, the softness and lack of lucidity of Iranians allow a retrograde dictatorship based on fanatic Islam to be maintained. Democracy is a matter of concern to each and everyone ... Iranians seem to miss the point.
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Chronicles from Iran
This book is very much about the people of Iran, not just the politics we see on television or read about in the papers.
I was looking for a book that went beyond the usual subjects covers in history books and documentaries Ive seen on Iran and the Middle East. Something we seem to forget when seeing Iran on the news is that it is a country of around 77 million people. When all you hear are the actions of politicians it becomes very easy to dehumanise a country and see it as one collective ideology rather than a country with a rich and varied social history.
From the first chapter it is obvious that this book is very much about the Iranian people, showing both how tolerant and kind they can be, but not holding back in telling how oppressed and controlled they sometimes are by propaganda and political institutions. The book brings the human touch to the people of Iran, sometimes overstepping the mark of just reporting, becoming somewhat of a call to arms to Iranian society to stand up for change and the implications of the Arab Spring on the people of the Middle East.
Fascinating look at Iranian and Western Society
What I found most fascinating about this book is that it is written in a very personal manner from a writer who clearly understands the pros and cons of both Iranian society and Western society. This offers some interesting perspectives that are never seen from just one side of the argument.
Rather than being a general look at the history and politics of Iran on a global level, this book really explains the ramifications these moments in history have had upon the people of Iran. I myself know several Iranians and this book touched on many somewhat risqu points that Ive wanted to ask them about but never discussed with them. Particularly issues relating to democratic values and how the future is viewed by the general population in Iran.
This book pulls no punches in delivering a sharp examination of all aspects of Iranian culture, from a viewpoint which understands the subjects at hand. The writing flowed well, never becoming bogged down in jargon, making it a much more enjoyable read than many other books I considered reading on the subject. The book challenges Iranians, and also the West, to react against perceived failings in their societies, and set against the background of the Arab Spring a call for action like this seems all the more powerful.