The tragedy of the devil is a book published in 1969 by the great Syrian thinker Sadik al-Azm, at the time a young scholar, worried by the growing instrumental use of religion by political elites in the Arab world. The book, that had from the beginning a huge impact on the Arab intellectuals of the period, provoked the greatest uproar of the 20th century, leading to the arrest and trial of his author. This book, written over forty years ago, it has been now rediscovered and available for the first time in languages other than Arabic.
Since June of 2009, the Islamic Republic of Iran has seen the most dramatic political upheaval in its three decades of rule. The Green Movement has been described as “an Iranian intifada,” a “great emancipatory event,” a “grassroots civil rights movement a century in the making,” and “something quite extraordinary, perhaps even a social revolution.” What are the movement’s aims—are they revolutionary, reformist, or something else altogether? This indispensable volume is the first to bring together the leading voices and key players in Iran’s Green Movement, providing an intellectual and political road map to this turning point in Iran’s history and a vital resource for the study of Iran, social movements, and the future of the Middle East.
Given the persistent vitality of religion, one could ask, where is its place in the “public forum” of our contemporary secularized world? Recognizing its current unavoidable presence, what can we wish for the positive future of human society? These two questions are answered by Mons. Samuele Sangalli in his introduction to the book "Religion and Politics" and summarize the core inspiration of the book itself; which contains contributions made by the participants of the Sinderesi School during the Academic Year 2014-2015. ResetDoc is pleased to share the introduction to the book with its readers. "Religion and Politics" will be presented on the 24th of February 2016 at 5.30 pm in the Aula Magna of the Pontificia Università Gregoriana - Piazza della Pilotta 4 (Rome).
Ramin Jahanbegloo’s The Gandhian Moment (Harvard University Press, 2013) is an impassioned but clear-sighted revisitation of one of the most significant figures of the twentieth century, M.K. Gandhi. Though strongly rooted in history and political theory, the book is not classifiable in the category of “history of thought”, but is rather addressed to our times, insofar as it intends – to my mind, successfully – to draw from the Gandhian heritage indications that are profoundly relevant to the present historical juncture of human society.
One of the many long-term consequences of the Arab uprisings and the end of dictatorship, at least in its old forms, will be the publication of a massive body of literature documenting the atrocities perpetrated by the dictatorial regimes against their peoples in general, and against the political captives and dissidents in particular. Despite the already existing rich body of literature, produced in different parts of the Arab world, the prospective literary works, when they see the light of day, will shed more light on political imprisonment conditions in countries like Libya, Tunisia and Bahrain and many other places, where up-to-now political dissent was repressed, and jails were the ultimate abode for those who were audacious enough to defy dictatorship in its bastions. In addition to availing themselves of the existing narrative discourse techniques to convey their share of frustration, trauma, broken dreams and suffering for half a century, under the reign of dictatorship, prison writers will certainly develop new expressive tools to convey the unspeakable in their experience, particularly with the demise of the ill-cited years of censorship. Arab political activists have finally the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves through the “catharsis” of writing painful memoirs gleaned from these notorious “lieux of disappearance”.
Mostafa Mastur’s “Pig Bone and Leper’s Hands”. A powerful introduction to contemporary Iranian society
One is immediately captured by an incredible rhythm, a narration that is apparently broken but is on the contrary coherent and fully unitary. It is almost a script ready for a movie. What came to my mind was Altman’s “Short cuts”, which is not surprising, since Mastur is the Farsi translator of Raymond Carver, the author of the literary work from which that movie was drawn.
Postel and Hashemi provide us in this book with the most comprehensive coverage of the Iranian Green Movement studied and analyzed in an exceptionally concise and critical manner. Their main concern is to shift our attention from the main issues surrounding Iran's nuclear program, which have dominated the analyses of Iranian politics for the past decade, to a discussion of Iranian civil society and its social, political and cultural potentialities.Despite the incarceration of Mousavi and Karoubi, the voice of protest has not been silenced in Iran. Once again, pro-democracy demonstrations in Tehran and other Iranian cities have eroded the image of the regime as the vanguard of the resistance against oppressors in the Muslim world.
In The Value of Nothing. How To Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy (Picador 2010) Raj Patel, an international intellectual working to change the world’s unequal economic asset, links food, the climate and the financial crisis to vast political failure; that of democracy the way it is practiced today.
How the Jamaat-e-Islami developed and transformed itself within the boundaries of a modern pluralistic democracy, the Indian democracy, is the subject Irfan Ahmed has devoted his research to. To write this book, Irfan Ahmad conducted extensive fieldwork in several small Muslim towns near Delhi, and he describes the gradual process of change and openness, following in particular the development within Jamaat’s universities and their student organisations SIMI and SIO.
In "My Prison, My Home," Ms. Esfandiari, a scholar, author and public intellectual who directs the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, recounts the story of her detention in Iran. From May 8, 2007, it included incarceration in the infamous Evin prison, where she remained for a total of 105 days until she was set free in late August and finally allowed to leave the country. Reading this book makes striking how interlocked we all are in this world - the free and the less free.
“American students are taught early on about the preventive benefits of shielding their genitalia in rubber, but they are not taught about the pressures they will feel to hide their hearts”, writes Roger Friedland, according to whom “love has been censored and stripped of feelings.” The sociologist of religion and expert on the relationship between eroticism, love and religiosity among America's youth, is appalled by his discoveries: statistics have revealed that "sex seems to be the emotion that has outdated love and engagement with the other," – at least in America.
Nineteenth-century French thinker Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that the relationship between religion and democracy in the West was the “great problem of our time.” While arguably it may be less significant in the West now, it is altogether a different matter in the Muslim world. Canadian political scientist Nader Hashemi's book (Islam, secularism and liberal democracy. Toward a Democratic Theory for Muslim Societies. Oxford University Press, 280 pages, $78) tackles the question in historical and comparative perspective, and proposes fresh ideas on reconciling the tensions among Islam, secularism and liberal democracy.