"You do not see the bright light at the end of the tunnel, my friend."
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Name="(declined to state)"
How is life treating you?="fine, since Allah gave me parents that were Muslim"
comments="To Rich Geib:
I want to begin by congratulating you on a very thoroughly organized, clear, and highly conceptive webpage. That is all I will congratulate you. Your page is horridly racist to the Iranian government and Muslims in general, the proof being your devotion of the 'censorship' to the villian Rushdie and the twirling skulls next to pictures of the Iranian government at work.
You do not see the bright light at the end of the tunnel, my friend. The Shah was a very corrupt man; he was widening the gap between the rich and poor in Iran, and not giving the under class a chance to work their way up for a better life. Why do you think the crime rate in Iran is so low? The harsh laws scare the evil out there, stopping them from doing any wrongdoing.
By allowing alcohol and pornographic material on the streets, this society is ruining the future generations. In Iran there is no such thing as alcohol, which is why there is no drunk-driving accidents, which in turn make the streets safer. Same goes for rape and kidnapping. So before you blast a government and its policies, think of your own country and the incredibly wrong things that are going on in it."
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Dear "Declined to State",
That many people in the United States make poor decisions in terms of alcohol and crime there can be no doubt. But at least in America one has the freedom to choose their path in life for good or for ill. That is a long way from being the case in an Iran where every adult person is treated by the authorities -- under both the Shah and the Imans -- as little better than a child who needs "harsh laws" fashioned by authoritarian elites who enforce the "true" way.
I understand there are many people in Iran today who militate for more liberty and pluralism in that society. In particular, I read just today about the Tehran newspaper "Jameh" which dares to take an independent line and is so popular that hardly do they put the papers in the kiosks then they are gone. I wish them much luck, hoping that a political maturation might occur in a land which has known only absolutism in its long history. If there be any light at the end of the tunnel, that would be it.
Name="declined to state"
comments="You S.O.B. You devote your page to Rushdie, trying to tell the world what a good man he was. You people are incredibly ignorant, and it is because of you that islam is treated so badly in the media and elsewhere. He blasphemized the prophet (PBUH), calling his wives whores and comparing his name to that of the devil, and you think that stuff like that should go unnoticed. What do you think of the impression people will have on islam if they read it that way? Sure, you defend Rushdie since he wrote against islam, but what would you do if another Rushdie blasphemized Christianity or Judaism? You really think that it will be let on bookshelves? Stop swallowing your guilt; you know as well as I that this has nothing to do with Rushdie; it is about islam."
City?="declined to state"
State?="declined to state"
Country?="declined to state"
by Andres Serrano Not exactly great art, in my humble opinion.
Dear "Declined to State",
Andres Serrano published and exhibited his picture "Piss Christ" of a crucifix immersed in urine. I thought the picture rather lame, even as I supported the artist's right to create and display it. Nicolas Kazantzakis wrote a book "The Last Temptation of Christ" -- which I liked very much -- that portrayed Jesus giving into sexual desire and it enraged many Christians. I was unfazed by their objections. In fact, I look upon the most radical of these Christians as little better than the Iranian Ayatollahs. You claim that I support Rushdie because he wrote book "against Islam." Wrong. I frankly don't care either way that he wrote a book about Islam. I don't care.
I do care about Rushdie's right to author and publish his book. And if Rushdie someday should write a book "blaspheming" Christianity or Judaism, then fine for him. It will most likely be just another controversial text -- at least in the West -- languishing in bookstores full of other such books gathering dust without much interest. I do a search at Amazon for books dealing with "Satanism" and come up with a long list of books for sale that I have never heard of and which assuredly do not sell in large numbers. The best way, in my opinion, to deal with a work of art which you believe lacks serious artistic merit is to ignore it.
Suppose an individual writes a book or paints a picture which, in your opinion, is obscene. Serrano's "Piss Christ" clearly qualifies as obscene, in my opinion. But do you honestly think a scatological piece of art is going to drive me to distraction? Do you think I will sit at home at night and tear at my hair because of it? My personal convictions and philosophies are thought out thoroughly enough so that no image or collection of words -- no matter how scandalous -- will drive me to murder! This seems so elementary I feel almost embarrassed to say it out loud! I cannot understand why so many Muslims cannot do the same with Rushdie's book "The Satanic Verses." If you find it objectionable, ignore it. Let your silence serve as contempt if you must; but to let a book move you to violence is to show yourself weak and the book strong. Think about it. If Islam comes across poorly in the media, Muslims who put prices on the heads of authors for "blasphemy" have much to do with that.
This is not about religion. This is about respecting the right of every individual to express themselves - no matter how lamely. This is about the inefficacy of censorship and the importance of pursuing truth by means of words and reason instead of violence. I thought my webpage -- in a hundred different locations -- would have already told you as much.