‘An ocean of illegitimacy’

In an essay on the Iranian uprising, Martin Amis pays tribute to a society where ‘people go on pilgrimages, not only to the shrines of their martyrs and imams, but also to the shrines of their poets’ and explains why Ahmadinejad is the Islamic Ronald Reagan. Here’s the first para:

The writer Jason Elliot called his recent and resonant Iranian travelogue Mirrors of the Unseen; and I am aware of the usual dangers associated with writing about the future. But what we seem to be witnessing in Iran is the first spasm of the death agony of the Islamic Republic. In this process, which will be very long and very ugly, Mir Hossein Mousavi is likely to play a lesser role than Neda Agha Soltan, whose transformation (from youth, hope, and beauty, in a matter of seconds, to muddy death) unforgettably crystallised the core Iranian idea – the Shia tragedy and passion – of martyrdom in the face of barbaric injustice. Neda Soltan personified something else, too: the modern.

There’s already a response from Abbas Barzegar who derides Amis as – oh, you’ll never guess – a ‘secular fundamentalist’, and claims that the Islamic regime is a ‘viable alternative’ to the ‘liberal intellectual tradition’ and ‘its secular humanist hegemony’. Protestors on Tehran’s streets may disagree.

iran

(Image: Iranian Freedom blog)

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