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Published on February 26th, 2014 | by Jasmin Ramsey

Watch Hooman Majd Talk Iran with Jon Stewart

The perceptive and eloquent journalist and author discusses his new book, The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iranwith Jon Stewart of the Daily Show on February 24th.

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Jasmin Ramsey is an Iranian-born journalist based in Washington, DC.



3 Responses to Watch Hooman Majd Talk Iran with Jon Stewart

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  1. avatar Norman says:

    Certainly is a different exposure here. I wonder how many in the audience will read the book, considering the attention span is so brief today?

  2. avatar khosrow says:

    The above video is not accessible outside the US; so, judging from Mr Majd’s book and some of his interviews he seems to have a better understanding of Iran than other Iranian American experts commenting regularly on Iran, however he is more American than Iranian in his outlook, and certainly lack of close contact with Iran’s lower classes, political groups and ethnic minorities also restrict his judgements.

    Mr Majd has been called “both100% Iranian and 100%American”. Commenting on the hostage taking era he views Iran as “an implacable enemy forever at odds with not just us but”. Here, Mr Majd’s ‘us’ indicates he is speaking as an American. And it is impossible to simultaneously be American (saying them (Iranians) vs. us (Americans)) and be Iranian (saying we (Iranians) vs. them (American)). He is 100% American where he takes an ethical stance condemning the Iranians’ storming of the US embassy in 1979, taking “American diplomats hostage, in contradiction of international law and all notions of international relation, to say nothing of civilized behavior or common decency”.

    It is hard not to reflect on the past and see here how the author fails as an Iranian-American to remember both Faulkner and the Iranian common belief: that the past never dies and you may have to pay for your past: had the US diplomats/agents shown any ‘decency’ or thought of ‘international law’ when Iranian intellectuals, university students, poets, writers, artists were convulsively shaking and screaming like wounded animals and disappeared in SAVAK’s torture chambers – the SAVAK that the US diplomats and civilized agents had supported and trained for decades and provided with all sort of equipments?! Had it been ‘common decency’ or ‘civilized behavior’ when in August 1953 the American diplomats and agents slandered and violently overthrew the late Mossadegh and left 500 dead in the streets and generation traumatized under a savage police state in order to protect the US interest and oil cartels, or was it upholding of ‘international relation’? How can 100% Iranian author be so indifferent to the plight of millions of Iranian poor who suffered under the Shah and died prematurely so that a minority in the US and Iran could live blissfully to their old age. Or, was the directly assisting Saddam in his genocidal chemical attacks on Iranian soldiers and civilians a ‘common decency’ or ‘civilized behavior’ to cause 10s of 1000s of death? 1000s of faces in their prime, brutally denied the right to grow up to experience and enjoy life: they were annihilated so that the US President and politicians could praise their decent achievement! How many families had to mourn and mourn and mourn and beat their chest and head day and night?! How many families had to fall apart and disintegrate and how many heartrending narratives had to be told to the children who would never again see their fathers, brothers and mothers! Our country had become a vast cemetery ignored by the very civilized world that never ceases from proclaiming its exclusive rights to name what is right or wrong, what is civilized and what is barbaric.

    The American public were appalled when they discovered NASA had been monitoring their calls, but their son/father/husband diplomats’ three decades of monitoring of millions of Iranians, plotting and violating their privacy and cultural, religious, economic and political rights, hunting and brutally silencing Iran’s bravest and most intelligent men and women didn’t disturb the conscience of these American People! Mr Majd’s 100% American side/culture does not allow him to realize that the Iranian Revolution had meant the defiance of the very ‘international law’ and ‘decency’ he so highly reveres, because that law and that decency never existed for us and has never had any existence because it has always been the American ‘law’ and the American ‘decency’. But we too have a law and conception of decency that contrast Mr Majd’s Americanized conceptions; yes, we too have founding fathers, and it is here that as Iranian we differ from him.

  3. avatar Hunter says:

    The reference to Faulkner and the omnipresence of the past is telling. It’s true not only of individuals but of nations. “Whatever ye shall sow….” Ending our compulsive interventionism will not result in isolation. It will rid us of a scourge to say nothing of those who are the targeted for it.

    But then, how is the new doctrine to be applied in difficult circumstances? We struggled with it in the lead-up to both world wars.

    Thank you, Khosrow.

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