Tag Archives: Iran

Temporary Marriage, Shi’ite Variety

Here’s a nice, long article about the practice of temporary marriage in Shi’ite Islam in Iran, from Mother Jones magazine. There is also a Sunni version of temporary marriage.

THE CLASH over the June 2009 presidential vote was a reminder of how deeply divided Iranian society is. The schism between Iranians who believe in the legitimacy of the Islamic republic and those who never will is also reflected in attitudes toward sigheh. Many young Iranians reject it precisely because it’s promoted by the clerics.

“Most of us, we like to imitate all things from Western countries,” said 27-year-old Sina Ahmadinejad (no relation to the president). “Being boyfriend and girlfriend is much fancier than sigheh.” For young liberals like him, dating has become an act of protest, while sigheh remains inescapably Islamic—and uncool.

Still, some young Iranians are beginning to experiment with sigheh in a way that can feel like defiance. Three years ago, Amir, an English teacher, and his girlfriend, Tara, decided to move in together. “It’s impossible to rent an apartment with your girlfriend,” Amir said. “They check if you are officially married.” So Tara proposed a sigheh. After a quick trip to the registry, they broke the news to their friends over pizza and champagne.

The real celebration came later, when they began planning a trip together. Usually, unmarried heterosexual couples have to engage in elaborate stratagems to go on vacation, often coordinating with friends so that men and women travel in separate cars and check into different hotel rooms, only to reconfigure in coed pairs behind closed doors. For the first time in their adult lives, Amir and Tara wouldn’t need to go through those contortions.

Barely an hour into the drive, a policeman pulled them over. In the trunk of Amir’s car was a bottle of whiskey. Drinking alcohol is punishable by 80 lashes or, after repeated offenses, death. The officer eyed the couple suspiciously, demanding, “Are you married or are you single?”

“Tara is my wife,” Amir answered calmly, presenting his gold-lettered marriage certificate.

“Okay, go,” the officer ordered, and the newlyweds drove on.

Read the whole thing at the link, if interested.

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Organ Snatching; WSJ Thinks Arabs are Iranians

Here are a couple of stories to look into. The Arab News reports:

RAMALLAH: The chief Israeli pathologist and director of the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir, professor Yehuda Hiss, has admitted harvesting organs from the bodies of dead Palestinians without the consent of their families.

You can read more at the link. And the other story, found at BoRev.net, is about a Wall Street Journal article conflating Iranians with Venezuelans of Arab descent. To make it more scary.

From the penultimate paragraph of the WSJ article:

What do Fadi Kabboul, Aref Richany Jimenez, Radwan Sabbagh and Tarek Zaidan El Aissami Maddah have in common? The answer is that they are, respectively, executive director for planning of Venezuelan oil company PdVSA; the president of Venezuela’s military-industrial complex; the president of a major state-owned mining concern; and, finally, the minister of interior. Latin Americans of Middle Eastern descent have long played prominent roles in national politics and business. But these are all fingertip positions in what gives the Iranian-Venezuelan relationship its worrying grip.

From BoRev:

Wow, was your mind just blown? Iran is infiltrating the highest levels of the Venezuelan oil sector using…Christian immigrants from Lebanon! I don’t mean to add fuel to the fire or anything, but I think I saw a Sikh cab driver in Caracas once too.

The commenters at BoRev are pretty sure that all those guys are of Lebanese Christian descent, but I can’t verify it. After all, most people don’t have to declare their ethnic descent and religion to the world. A google search on their names mostly brings up dozens of blog posts about this WSJ article. Plus the dismaying realization that attempts to link Iran to Venezuela through Arab Christians has been going on for a while.

There are several sites out there linking Venezuelan Minister of the Interior Tarek El Aissami to Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime in the sense that his great uncle was a Baathist, and I can’t figure out if that’s true or not, but I can pretty much guarantee that a tie to the Iraqi Baathist party is pretty much the opposite of a tie to Iran.

Plus, why did the WSJ writer, Bret “They All Look Alike to Me” Stephens, include Tarek El Aissami’s middle name and maternal last name? He doesn’t go by them, and his name is plenty scary-Arab-sounding without them.

See more mocking of Bret here. I only regret that there isn’t a lot more mocking.

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Filed under arab, arabist

Mister Peabody Visits the Middle East in 1953

And gives Sherman a little lesson in what the CIA has been up to since then in the region. I love it!

I never realized how talky Mister Peabody and Sherman cartoons were until now. Makes it easy to replace the original dialogue with dialogue of your own, if you’re a talented voice artist. I must have learned a lot of history from these cartoons.

Found at Just Another Blog From LA.

btw, there is some foul language, so don’t traumatize the little kiddies.


Filed under arab, arabian, arabist, Iran, movies and shows, Our glorious war in Iraq

Fareed Zakariya Steals Idea from Lawrence of Cyberia

Just about a month ago I posted a link to the Lawrence of Cyberia blog and one particular post, Everything You Know about Iran is a Myth. This morning there’s a Fareed Zakariya column on Newsweek called Everything You Know about Iran is Wrong. Coincidence?

They deal with different topics, though. Lawrence of Cyberia’s informative article is primarily about the notion that Ahmadinejad is a racist Jew-hater and Zakariya’s brief article is mostly about Iran’s nuclear program.

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