Nearly all the posts are bilingual.
Presque tous les articles sont bilingues.

English spoken. On parle français. (وكمان منفهم عربي، حبيبي)

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La plupart du contenu de ce blog est soumis aux droits d'auteurs. Par exemple, nombre des illustrations les plus récentes sont faites par moi. Je suis du genre coulant. Si vous comptez emprunter du contenu, SVP contactez-moi en laissant un commentaire. :-)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Teheran theories

Two -consecutive!- headlines read in yesterday's newspaper:

The Iranian Minister of Culture encourages writers to do self-censorship

Teheran alarmed by the «onslaught» from Barbie, Spiderman and Harry Potter...


Um... maybe this explains that? Iranian kids are bored, if all they're allowed to read for fun is the Quran and Ayatollah Khomeyni's Most Excellent And Educational Biography. Especially considering that pictures are prohibited in the former, and those in the latter will give them nightmares with the local version of Santa Claus.

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Deux titres -consécutifs!- lus dans le journal d'hier:

Le ministre iranien de la Culture encourage les écrivains à l’autocensure

Téhéran alarmé par «l’assaut» de Barbie, Spiderman et Harry Potter...


Euh... peut-être que ceci explique cela? Les petits iraniens s'ennuient, à n'avoir pour s'amuser le droit de lire que le Coran et
la Très Bonne et Edifiante Biographie de l'Ayatollah Khomeyni. D'autant que les images sont interdites dans le premier, et elles donnent des cauchemars dans le second, avec la version locale de Papa Noël.

6 comments:

Joe Dick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Dick said...

I know I'd be pretty bored if all I had to read was the Quran - or the Bible or any other religious text for that matter!

I wonder if Spider-Man is quite the same to that audience, though. A science nerd from New York City... I wonder if some Arab dude in Buttfucknowhere, Arabia would be able to identify with Peter Parker.

Btw, have you ever read Jules Feiffer's The Great Comic Book Heroes? It was briefly discussed on Eolake's blog once. It is an excellent analysis of 1940s and 1950s Golden Age heroes.

Johnnie Walker said...

Those poor bastards, having only the Koran to read. Not only is Islam one of the lamest religions on record (yes, let's form a religion around a warmongering pedophile) but any religious text is going to be boring as hell. Even if it's the best-written thing since writing was invented, because it's good for you no one is going to be able to enjoy it.

Walk into any church, mosque, synagogue, Hindu temple, whatever...I bet you next to no one will have read their main text.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

Well, Joe, there ARE nerds in arab countries too. They're just of a different style. Very, very, very different! ;-)

Alas, I've never read Jules Feiffer. I was lucky to just get super-hero comics at all, in my veteran's "good old times".
I've taken a note to remember it in a more opportune future, thanks for the pointer.

JW,
I went to a religious school, so there's little I don't know about "the great joy and superb fun, I say" to be had by reading a religious book. I remember one of the very first things I was told about the Gospel in Catechism: "It is the Good News of Joy, rejoice." (The second was the slaughter of the babies in Bethlehem...)
It was about as successful on me as being told: "Junior, we're about to watch a hilarious Chevy Chase movie, so start laughing right now to get warmed up"...

I HAVE read a lot of my own religion's Book. For the sake of knowledge. It's uncanny, how little there will be in common between the original spirit as perceived by my (self-proclaimed) open mind, and the practical daily facts of belief and worship buried underneath milleniae of archaic traditions and superstitions.

Out of basic caution, since I live in the country where riots followed the Jyllands-Posten affair, I'll leave you to your own opinion regarding the definition of Islam.
I can say this, though: I've read part of the Quran. So far, I've already found in it masses of very explicit CANONIC references which, were I a muslim, I could shove in the face of Bin Laden and his buddies to very scholarly shut their filthy bilious traps. According to many verses -in the 10% that I've read so far- they could easily be prosecuted for flagrant blasphemy. If only, blasphemy by "lying with half the truth taken out of context".

The Quran is a tough read, because contrarily to most of the Bible and Gospel, there's precious little chronological succession. It's not made of episodes, but basically a compilation of scattered sayings, making it, um, an even greater fun to read for upstanding Allah-fearing small children.
Of course, the text as well as its interpretation leave much room for contradictory results. Way too much room for comfort, if you ask me. Supposing I considered "my own" Text as sacred and perfect; when I see how many crimes were committed in History in its name, there's just got to be SOMETHING wrong in this perfect God-willed world...
Same can apply to any other holy-but-sometimes-bloody One Faith.

Another problem with reading the Quran, is that little advisory that's always written on the outside: "لا يمسه الا المطهر", "only the circumcised may touch it". Makes informed conversion somehow delicate, doesn't it?
I metaphysically solved that one: since Islam acknowledges both Judaism and Christiannism, and I've found the verses saying it, why would a "cut" Jew be less worthy than I? I was taught that baptism is the new, spiritual equivalent, of ancient circumcision. So I comsider myself "spiritually circumcised" and therefore authorised. But shhh!, don't tell Osama!

Joe Dick said...

I can say this, though: I've read part of the Quran. So far, I've already found in it masses of very explicit CANONIC references which, were I a muslim, I could shove in the face of Bin Laden and his buddies to very scholarly shut their filthy bilious traps.

I guess Islam shares at least one of the problems of Christianity – most of its adherents have not read the book. They rely on someone else to dole out a Cliff Notes version.

The Quran is a tough read, because contrarily to most of the Bible and Gospel, there's precious little chronological succession. It's not made of episodes, but basically a compilation of scattered sayings, making it, um, an even greater fun to read for upstanding Allah-fearing small children.

Wow. Even more fun?! How is that possible?! ;-)

Another problem with reading the Quran, is that little advisory that's always written on the outside: "لا يمسه الا المطهر", "only the circumcised may touch it".

I’d have thought the words “Don’t Panic” in large, friendly letters on the cover would have been a better idea.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

"I guess [...] most of its adherents have not read the book."
Not precisely, Joe. Many madrasas (coranic schools) have as practically their sole teaching the memorization of the whole Quran!
Of course, memorizing is not the same as understanding. Especially since even the language itself is considered sacred, and Mustapha Kemal Ataturk raised a massive outcry against him when he had the Book translated from Arabic to Turkish so that his fellow citizens would know what it was they believed in. Meaning that little Afghans -for example- learn to recite it in arabic even though they can't understand a holy word of it all! (Doesn't matter, since "Allah understands".) Can become very hypnotic very fast, rocking back and forth collectively chanting obscure mystical sounds all day...
I wonder whether the whole purpose of this "educational method" might not be that when a predicator quotes bits and pieces to support his extremist theories, the believers will immediately recall hearing these (and reminisce the associated state of mind), and bow their heads in reflex veneration, accepting it whole with the blind trust of faith... Some US preachers do the exact same thing with the Bible, it's nothing new.
According to widespread tradition, even those muslims who've read the book have the pious duty to leave interpretation of its arcanes to the knowledgeable, and follow said interpretations.
Doesn't prevent the ulemas (high scholars) from constantly disagreeing with each other worldwide. "Osama says as a holy fatwa that Fadlallah is a blasphemous misled moron and it is the sacred duty of any true believer to please Allah by slaying him." "Fadlallah decrees that Osama is a straying fool who's got no clue about the true word of Allah, and he's got no place appointing himself as the spiritual leader of a planetary Jihad against the West. It is Hezbollah who fights the good fight by confronting the Zionist enemy on the field of Holy Land every day." "Dalil Boubakar in France rules that in today's world, Jihad is first and foremost a spiritual struggle for the self-improvement of every muslim, and Islam is a religion of love, clearly against violence." That kind of endless disputes.
And the Book of Genesis says that the Earth is flat, while Jesus declared "I'm not saying it is wrong to lapidate an adulterous woman". Want an aspirin? ;-)

My feeling is, whatever the religion anyway, it's like a spanish inn: you eat what you bring, and you find in it a reflection of your own self.
Makes it kinda moot, no?... If the One Truth changes with each person you ask about it. :-(

"Wow. Even more fun?! How is that possible?! ;-)"
Oh ye of little faith. Allah is omnipotent. Therefore, He can surpass Himself anytime.

There are two elements in islamic tradition about the Book:
1- It is the descended material version (fac-simile) of the One Book that has been for all eternity at the right hand side of God/Allah in the Above.
2- Allah, speaking through His Prophet, is of course perfectly free to abrogate a verse with a new one saying differently (explicitly stated in Ch.2, Al-Baqara, "The Cow", verse 106: "We do not abrogate a verse, or make it forgotten, unless We bring one which is greater or like it. Did you not know that God is capable of all things?"). He's free to change His mind, and does so rather often in the Quran. Hence, "there are no mistakes, any seeming contradiction is only apparent".
I'm just reporting, not commenting...

“Don’t Panic” is exclusive to the Jihader's Guide to the Cosmos.
And it brings with it a hitch: in French, "avoid panicking" can be phonetically interpreted as "avoid not fucking"... The Quran does mention sex frequently, and state "fornicate to your heart's content, one and two and three and four" [hence the legitimacy of having four wives], also saying "go to your wives as to a field, and plow with alacrity" and "you shall be rewarded each with 70 houris [eternally virgin sex slaves] in Heaven". But following your idea would suggest somehow that it is a religion solely about pleasures of the flesh. Nuh-uh!
Otherwise phrased: "Do I look like a scandinavian cartoonist to you?"

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