Friday, November 09, 2007

Still Waiting for Godot

It is said that Hossein Derakhshan's decision to concentrate more on attacking the US-led multinational empire's campaign against Iran than criticizing Iran's government has cost him political capital in the Iranian diaspora:
All this has left him [Hossein Derakhshan] isolated from the community of politically active expatriate Iranians who formerly supported him. Some bloggers have removed links to his blog. Others have actively urged readers to boycott him. Interview requests from western-based Iranian media have dried up, as have invitations to ex-pat events and panel discussions. (Don Butler, "The Blogfather: Times Are Hard for Iran's Online Free-speech Pioneer," Ottawa Citizen, 2 November 2007)
That is unfortunate, as Hoder has a great deal of useful information to offer, even to those who disagree with him politically, but his exile from exile is all too predictable. Many in the Iranian diaspora have yet to come to terms with the Islamic Republic, and some Iranian leftists are still waiting for a second Iranian Revolution, which makes them unable to listen to, let alone accept, Hoder's new position on the Islamic Republic: "Iran's Islamic republic is still a very new concept and remains a work in progress, he says. Given the chance, 'the major force that could democratize the region is a successful Islamic republic rather than an oppressive, colonizing United States'" (Butler, 2 November 2007).

Such Iranian leftists are not unlike Vladimir and Estragon waiting for Godot, trapped in the plot that immobilizes them rather than sets them in motion:
VLADIMIR: Well? Shall we go?

ESTRAGON: Yes, let's go.

They do not move.
Even my Persian teacher, who, unlike many secular Iranians, does not dismiss Islam or despise Muslims, once fell for a mirage of the second Iranian Revolution: in 1999, he told his wife, to her dismay, that another revolution was about to happen and that he had to go home to join it. 18 Tir, however, was over within a week.

After that, my Persian teacher decided to stop waiting for Godot. He visited Iran last year, welcomed by hundreds of his family and friends at home, and saw how his country had changed -- for better or worse, Iran is not what it used to be. And he will visit Iran again, probably next year. For him, Iran is no longer an idea, the idea of unfinished revolution. But, for some in the diaspora, it still is.


See, also, Richard Seymour, "Tough Times for Iranian Blogger," Lenin's Tomb, 15 November 2007.

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