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Friday, 11 December 2009
Should Hamid Dabashi Get Away With Re-Inventing Himself?

For years Hamid Dabashi has been known to some in the Iranian emigration as "Hamid the Arab" for his hero-worship of Edward Said, his work as a promoter of the "Palestinian" cause -- i.e., the Jihad against Israel -- and for the sympathy he has  displayed, not least in his interminable book on the  Vdoctinre and practice of Velayet-e faqih, to the Islamic Republic of Iran and all its works -- until the day before yesterday, when he began to describe himself as a long-time ferocious critic of the Islamic Republic . Now that all the most intelligent people in Iran are thoroughly fed up wtih the Islamic Republic of Iran, and a great many of them becoming fed up with Islam itself, and now that, for various reasons, in the West (even among those who have no real opinions, or who were arabisant and islamisant, like Hamid Dabashi himself),  starting with that bellwether of the fashionable West known as the Upper West Side, Hamid Dabashi appears to be reinventing himself, as a brave opponent of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

At least, that is what it appears to be from his appearance today in the Wall Street Journal: 

Iranians Flee Iran

by Steve Stecklow and Farnaz Fassihi



NEVSEHIR, Turkey -- Sadegh Shojai fled Iran after government agents raided his Tehran apartment, seizing his computer and 700 copies of a book he published on staging revolutions.

Now, he and his wife spend their days in this isolated Turkish town in a cramped, coal-heated apartment that lacks a proper toilet. But Mr. Shojai, 28 years old, continues to churn out articles on antigovernment Web sites about Iranian political prisoners, and helps to link students in Tehran with fellow students in Europe.

"I feel very guilty that I have abandoned my friends and countrymen, so I make up for it by burying myself in activism here," he says.

He's part of a small but spreading refugee exodus of businesspeople, dissidents, college students, journalists, athletes and other elite Iranians that is transforming the global face of Iran's resistance movement.

"Because of new technology and the Internet, prominent figures of the opposition can be more effective outside of Iran and do things they wouldn't be able to do there," says Hamid Dabashi, a professor of Iranian studies at Columbia University. People staying behind "are ridiculed and sidelined," or thrown in jail. [to quote Hamid Dabashi here is to mislead, by lending him legitimacy as a presumably principled long-time  opponent of the regime, and of all that it implies]

The United Nations says more than 4,200 Iranians world-wide have sought refugee status since Iran's controversial June presidential vote and bloody street violence. This provincial Turkish town -- near the famed carved-rock dwellings of Cappadocia that harbored outcasts in millennia past -- is home to 543 Iranians seeking asylum.


I don't thnk my friends, who call him "Hamid the Arab," nor any of the other sensible people in the Iranian diaspora, keenly aware of Hamid Dabashi's friendship with Edward Said, and his sympathetic identification with the forces of Jihad (at least, the forces of the Arab Muslim Jihad against Israel), will be fooled by Hamid Dabashi.

Qaere: And what about non-Muslim Americans? Will they allow Hamid Dabashi to present himself as a sympathizer with, perhaps even a long-time secret participant in, the revolt against the Islamic Republic of Iran, and all its works and days? 

Don't let Hamid Dabashi get away with it. There are ten thousand well-educated Iranians who should have had the job Dabashi managed to occupy and monopolize for so long. They have his number. We should have it, too.

Posted on 12/11/2009 6:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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