A different kind of cultured

Following the Sydney launch of my book, The Blogging Revolution, last week, Sydney-based Iranian-blogger Nazanin comments on the ways in which Iranian society is fundamentally misunderstood in the West:

Of other points he discussed in this meeting was the clash he has observed between Iranian public and private. He brought examples of Iranians behaviour outdoor, which was somehow in accordance with Iranian version of Islamic behaviour, and Iranians private behaviour, where they hold parties, etc. And live with many Western criteria very different from the way they behave in public. Here it reminded me of Danny Postel’s book. In most of his books and articles about Iran, Postel insists that Iranians are a people who read Habermas, Arendt, Berlin, Negri, and Kolakofsky while many Westerners don’t know these thinkers or they are not familiar with Western literature. Albeit, his mention to these points is not to blame people live in the West, but he examines the needs of a people like Iranians for such texts and their interpretation of such thinkers. That’s why he is a fan of Azar Nafisi’s “Reading Lolita in Tehran”.

All these stories made me think of an interesting issue; that I haven’t talked to an Australian who didn’t know where Iran is and didn’t like to visit Iran some day. Of course, I don’ generalise this for most of those with whom I talk are academics or students. But, I am thinking that the great Persian Empire is getting pale for many people and people like to see Iranian society and the ways Iranians live their lives rather than visiting Pasargad and Perspolis.

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