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Days of Throbbing Gristle
Kevin Cole
The Colonel
Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, Mahmoud Dowlatabadi
Adieux: A Farewell to Sartre
Simone de Beauvoir, Patrick O'Brian
A Room of One's Own
Virginia Woolf
Les Misérables
Victor Hugo, Charles E. Wilbour, Peter Washington

گزیده قصاید سعدی

گزیده قصاید سعدی - Saadi, سعدی I didn't know that Saadi's odes were different from his Gulistan and Bostan until yesterday. For what I have learned from ode number 7 I don't say what it is , I'm in awe of Saadi for the rest of my life!

خاکستر ناتمام: گزیده شعرها

خاکستر ناتمام: گزیده شعرها - René Char, حسین معصومی همدانی PONTONNIERS

Il faut deux rivages à la vérité : l’un pour notre aller, l’autre pour son retour. Des chemins qui boivent leurs brouillards. Qui gardent intacts nos rires heureux. Qui, brisés, soient encore salvateurs pour nos cadets nageant en eaux glacées.

There's a long essay at the end of the book about only this poem.

Flowers of Evil

Flowers of Evil - Charles Baudelaire, Frank Pearce Sturm, Joseph Shipley, W.J. Robertson Spleen

Quand le ciel bas et lourd pèse comme un couvercle
Sur l'esprit gémissant en proie aux longs ennuis,
Et que de l'horizon embrassant tout le cercle
II nous verse un jour noir plus triste que les nuits;

Quand la terre est changée en un cachot humide,
Où l'Espérance, comme une chauve-souris,
S'en va battant les murs de son aile timide
Et se cognant la tête à des plafonds pourris;

Quand la pluie étalant ses immenses traînées
D'une vaste prison imite les barreaux,
Et qu'un peuple muet d'infâmes araignées
Vient tendre ses filets au fond de nos cerveaux,

Des cloches tout à coup sautent avec furie
Et lancent vers le ciel un affreux hurlement,
Ainsi que des esprits errants et sans patrie
Qui se mettent à geindre opiniâtrement.

— Et de longs corbillards, sans tambours ni musique,
Défilent lentement dans mon âme; l'Espoir,
Vaincu, pleure, et l'Angoisse atroce, despotique,
Sur mon crâne incliné plante son drapeau noir.


When the low, heavy sky weighs like a lid
On the groaning spirit, victim of long ennui,
And from the all-encircling horizon
Spreads over us a day gloomier than the night;

When the earth is changed into a humid dungeon,
In which Hope like a bat
Goes beating the walls with her timid wings
And knocking her head against the rotten ceiling;

When the rain stretching out its endless train
Imitates the bars of a vast prison
And a silent horde of loathsome spiders
Comes to spin their webs in the depths of our brains,

All at once the bells leap with rage
And hurl a frightful roar at heaven,
Even as wandering spirits with no country
Burst into a stubborn, whimpering cry.

— And without drums or music, long hearses
Pass by slowly in my soul; Hope, vanquished,
Weeps, and atrocious, despotic Anguish
On my bowed skull plants her black flag.

Sentimental Education

Sentimental Education - Gustave Flaubert, Geoffrey Wall, Robert Baldick Sentimental Education: As the title suggests it can be read as an educational novel. How many times have you read a book about sentimentality? Me, none. Perhaps there are many self help books out there, about love, relationships, or many other things, but I never saw a psychological book just about sentimentality.

Frédéric, an 18 years old man, from a small city comes to Paris to continue his education in law. From the very first pages of the novel, from the very first moments of his trip to Paris, in the ship, he meets a woman, a married woman, several years older than him, who every little motion of her, seduces him.

At first sight, it probably seems to be easy to contact with someone that you think you love him/her. But as the matter of fact, there is nothing in the world as difficult as to make someone to respond to your feelings in the way that you expect. And Frédéric understands it very well:

What bliss it would have been to ascend side by side with her, his arm around her waist, while her gown would sweep the yellow leaves, listening to her voice and gazing into her eyes! The steamboat might stop, and all they would have to do was to step out of it; and yet this thing, simple as it might be, was no less difficult than it would have been to move the sun.

He tries his best to find her in Paris; to be as near as possible to her. Makes friends with her husband's friends and her husband and finally he is invited to their weekend parties. He sees her…

He's now flying in his dreams; in his illusions or delusions. Life is worth living as long as he can see her at weekend parties. This is an imaginary picture that seduces him, makes him lose his money ,sometimes, his opportunities or friends. You will say: This man lost his head!

What is the mystery of passion?! With whom do we fall into illusions more? Unfortunately, I don't think anybody could yet find an accurate function for that. But probably one of the most governing variables would be "inaccessibility". The more a loved is inaccessible the more the passions are. Madame Arnoux a married woman that needs very much effort by someone like Frédéric a naive, provincial and not that very bourgeois man to possess her thoroughly for himself. Perhaps Frédéric himself can be the representation of the men of his generation:

I want to write the moral history of the men of my generation-- or, more accurately, the history of their feelings. It's a book about love, about passion; but passion such as can exist nowadays--that is to say, inactive.

Perhaps, Frédéric is not likeable; for someone who reads it beyond the lens of rationality. Frédéric like Emma Bovary is sinking in Romanticism. Perhaps it's time to read more about the roots of Romanticism in life. Why we fall in love, why love blinds people and why some people, like Frédéric, live whole their life with only one special picture of love in their own mind?!

In contrast to Frédéric, the main character, that would not be correct to call him a "hero", there are many other characters with different ideologies. Rational men who break their lover's heart for the sake of revolution. Or Sénécal who says art should be only for educating the masses:

No, monsieur, you have no right to excite my interest in matters of which I disapprove. What need have we of laborious trifles, from which it is impossible to derive any benefit—those Venuses, for instance, with all your landscapes? I see there no instruction for the people! Show us rather their miseries! arouse enthusiasm in us for their sacrifices! Ah, my God! there is no lack of subjects—the farm, the workshop.

Or Pellerin, an artist, who prefers the beauty of tigers instead of women and that what fascinates you is just the very thing that degrades her as an idea; I mean her breasts, her hair. Compare it with Frédéric's answer: "Nevertheless, long black hair and large dark eyes…"

Beside the love stories of Frédéric, the historical aspect in this novel is very strong. It is indeed the story of revolution of 1848 in France. Although I don't know much about Flaubert's personality and political view points, I think in this novel he is impartial; he doesn't look like a Democrat, Conservative or Socialist. Characters during the novel change their ideas, whoever who was once somebody's friend will be his enemy finally.

One of the main critiques of Sentimental Education in its time was that it lacked the sense of Ideal and even some critics considered it as a work of an idiot! In response, Flaubert wrote to one of his friends (Maxime Du Camp) that the ideal was not at issue, but the truth that the years since 1848 were ones of "unending lies," "false politics," "false literature," "false credit," and even "false courtesans." This was a time, he insisted, of which it was impossible to write a "jolie histoire."[1]

I don't want to go into so many spoilers, but there were some parts that I laughed out loud (I very much like Flaubert's sense of humor), felt sympathy for Frédéric, or some parts that made me compare myself with Frédéric. And there's, I think something profound in the last two pages, in one of 47-Fredric's memory of his adolescence…

I could not find any new film adoption for this novel. Sometimes when I'm reading a novel, I imagine the main character a famous actor or actress. Here for Frédéric, a great lover, Leonardo DiCaprio might be the first choice, as the actor of Jack in Titanic or much better The Great Gatsby! But actually I couldn't think of him, unless for one part where Frédéric loses his control and gets angry… (that I think DiCaprio is perfect in such situations), instead, I was thinking of Tobey Maguire, Gatsby's friend, as Frédéric. I think he's perfect for such performance (sensitive and fallible):

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Finally, whoever who says Madam Bovary is Gustave Flaubert's best work, he/she hasn't read Sentimental Education yet!

[1] http://www.ohio.edu/chastain/rz/sentimen.htm

Existentialism And Humanism

Existentialism And Humanism - Jean-Paul Sartre My first exposure to Existentialism is a Humanism was in our faculty book fair when I was the second year student of engineering. I bought this book and another book Hajj written by Ali Shariati. I was totally a blockhead. I knew almost nothing about literature, philosophy, theology, God and whatever else which wasn't science. All I knew was that I was a Muslim, growing up in a religious family and society, but I always wished to choose my beliefs by myself, I mean I wish to have some well thought and examined ideas based on good books that I needed to read. The very first step for a journey of self discovery was to find someone to help me understand at least from which way I had to start. I needed a motive force; an initial velocity or initial condition. But actually the most difficult part was that. To read an atheistic philosophy or a religious book in order to reinforce the basis of your beliefs. The latter was the one that I used to hear from people around myself. You should first read books about your own religion then read other kind of philosophies in order to critic them by your own reasons. Obviously, that way wasn't correct. If my religious thoughts were correct they shouldn't be changed after reading other kind of books. And now that I think about it, my situation was just like the man in that example of Sartre in this book who wasn't sure about which way he had to choose. And Sartre's suggestion was: "You are free, so choose; in other words, invent. No general code of ethics can tell you what you ought to do; there are no signs in the world". Even, I was free in choosing my guidance. Reading Existentialism is a Humanism or Hajj?! That was the question. It was not actually that simple. For a long time I felt I was a suspended particle, with no special orientation. A point in the Cartesian system with no coordinates with a very random and accidental motion.

I chose Sartre.

I chose him not that I knew him or the impression of a friend or someone else encouraged me to read him. All I knew about him was that he was a great philosopher of 20th century. His philosophy affected many things in many countries and my own region of world was not an exception. I needed to feel that I was "Free" . My friends kept saying "Do not engage yourself with Sartre, it will plunge you into despair." Indeed it did. It was officially the first time in my life that I was reading a book saying there was no need to consider God in life, it was extremely different from what we had "proudly" been taught at schools.

Existentialism is a Humanism was indeed among one of top ten books which change my life. A new window. A new way of thinking. A new way of living.

This is the third time that I read it and if I get any time I will read it again. Not that this is too difficult to understand, I think this book needs a general background of philosophy. Surely, I now understand it better that 8 years ago, but still I can't totally connect all the parts and come to one conclusion, for instance I do not know anything about phenomenology, materialism or philosophy of Marx.

The first part of the book is a speech about Existentialism, then two Q&As that the first one still very philosophical and the second one is more about Sartre himself in his 70.

I have already highlighted every sentence of this book. I think this is a precise explanation of Existentialism, a good start in order to read his other work "Being and Nothingness".

Andre Breton

Andre Breton - J.H. Matthews I just can say Surrealism is very mysterious and revolutionary and can't be understood by only a 48-page book!

Things We Left Unsaid

Things We Left Unsaid - Zoyâ Pirzâd, Franklin Lewis Well, it doesn't have anything for me. Well written? Yes; but are all things which are important for a reader, the styles only?! I think I don't like to read the well-written diaries of a mother-wife-housekeeper woman who is sacrificing all her time for such things and then after 17 years she finally, because of a new neighbor – a forty years old man who lives with his mother and daughter- feels she is tired of this living and then what she does?! Nothing! Continues living in such way.

And another point is, this novel has nothing to do with Iran, Iranian culture and people of the years this novel refers to (1960s). The woman, Clarisse is a Christian Armenian, a minority in Iran, living in Abadan with her husband and children and mother and sister in a specific part in this southern city which is separated for engineers working in Gas and Oil companies.

I can't call this even a historical fiction novel about Armenian people. It was more like a chick lit ; single women look for husbands and mothers worry about dust on furniture and parties they have and their lipstick and hair and…

At least she could have written more about women right issues but she's just pointing to another Iranian (not Armenian) activist and that Armenian women are in better situation than Iranian women. She disappointingly and disturbingly separates herself from Iranian culture and politics (even has some arguments with her husband's political activities (that it's not their business and…)), the country in which she is living and his husband has job there and … although she in some ways tries to show her concerns toward other native people in Abadan, I think it wasn't enough. She's more like a western writer looking from above to Iran who drinks coffee – not tea (Iranian public drink) where men kiss women's hands for greetings and other western luxuries. Well, these things are good, but I prefer to read an Atwood instead.

Dada & Surrealism

Dada & Surrealism - Christopher Bigsby This book contains first, a part about Dadaism and then a part for Surrealism: Two of the greatest literary movements in twentieth century.

As my rating in GR tends to higher stars, 3 stars actually mean it was just OK for me. It didn't have enough examples and explanations; rather it was more about the historical and political aspects – good but not enough for a person who even never heard of the word Dadaism before! (I mean myself. I just choose this book for the Surrealism part!)

This book more, in some ways, opened my eyes to –ISMs in 20th century (as they have also other branches or ISMs). I couldn't even imagine that how so many literary ISMs existed and how they were combined in political parties especially Communism.

What does Dada mean?!

In French, it means "Hobby Horse", in Romanian, it means "Yes, Yes" and in African, it is a baby name. It can also have some other meanings in other languages.

When, how, and why did they choose this name?!

At 6:00 pm. in 8th February 1916, in a café in Zurich, during a meeting of a group of artists and poets, the name Dada came when a paper knife stuck into a French-German dictionary happened to point to 'dada'. But this is only a theory; some other people say different stories.

As the word Dada suggests this movement was about nothing, it was anti-art, it was absurd. It was more like a protesting movement, against bourgeois nationalist and colonialist interests. It was anti war, it was anti – rationality: In the world of war and destruction how could an artist be normal?! It was a blast of feelings, an irony: Is this the result of your formal discipline: a slaughtering war?! We pity you! We pity all your precise rules, all your formal systems, all your moralities and your political parties too. So my Bicycle Wheel is an objection:

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Marcel Duchamp, 1913

I like my Large Glass, even if it is broken:

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Marcel Duchamp, 1915-1923

In my opinion this Fountain is true art:

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Marcel Duchamp, 1917

What do you think about my Mona Lisa painting?!

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Marcel Duchamp, 1919

And this poem is written for you! Please, don't find a word in any language, I'll be very saddened.

gadji beri bimba glandridi laula lonni cadori
gadjama gramma berida bimbala glandri galassassa laulitalomini
gadji beri bin blassa glassala laula lonni cadorsu sassala bim
gadjama tuffm i zimzalla binban gligla wowolimai bin beri ban
o katalominai rhinozerossola hopsamen laulitalomini hoooo
gadjama rhinozerossola hopsamen
bluku terullala blaulala loooo

zimzim urullala zimzim urullala zimzim zanzibar zimzalla zam
elifantolim brussala bulomen brussala bulomen tromtata
velo da bang band affalo purzamai affalo purzamai lengado tor
gadjama bimbalo glandridi glassala zingtata pimpalo ögrögöööö
viola laxato viola zimbrabim viola uli paluji malooo

tuffm im zimbrabim negramai bumbalo negramai bumbalo tuffm i zim
gadjama bimbala oo beri gadjama gaga di gadjama affalo pinx
gaga di bumbalo bumbalo gadjamen
gaga di bling blong
gaga blung

~ Hugo Ball

Key figures in this movement included Hugo Ball, Hans Arp, Tristan Tzara, Francis Picabia, George Grosz, Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst, among others. And then it influenced later styles like surrealism.

The leader of Surrealism was André Breton, and it started at a night in 1919, when this sentence came to his mind:

There is a man cut in two by the window!

In the first Surrealist manifesto, which was published in 1924 by Breton, Surrealism was defined as:

Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express — verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner — the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.

They were tired of this world proposed by Realism; they needed more dreams in their works – so no wonder that they were so impressed by Freud's Interpretation of Dreams. They even tried on writing their poems or stories during sleeping! (But failed!)

I know, this is not a fair review for these sexy and large words, and now I feel my questions about them increased. I need to read more about them and also their works. To start Surrealism first, what is better than reading Nadja, the first Surrealism novel by Andre Breton?! Any other suggestion is so welcomed!--Thanks!

هزاره ی هرزه

هزاره ی هرزه - علی اوحدی / Ali Ohadi ترانه ای برای تو

می دانم به انتظار،
ایستاده ای در آن سوی دیوار...
در را نمی گشایم اما!
می دانم،
لبخند ماهتابی ات، همین که درآیی،
تبخال می زند کنار لبانم.
دستانت، چونان تاکشاخه های تمنا،
بر داربست خشک تنم می پیچد،
تا باز کنی گره ی اندوهانم را...
بازش نمی کنم اما.

می بینمت همانجا،
با یک بغل ترانه شوق،
دسته گلی میان انگشتانت،
در انتظار، که باز شود در،
و سیل وار، غرق کنی کویر نگاهم را،
در قطره قطره های تمنایت...
بازش نمی کنم اما.

می دانم همین که درآیی،
تنهایی ام فرو میرود،
در ازدحام لبهات،
می خوانی ام به باغ تنت،
و دست های کسالت بارم،
آنسان که ساقه های تمشک،
رقصان می بالند،
از خاک خشک تنم،
و غرقه می شوند، در موج موج گیسویت،
بیدار می شوند انگشتانم،
از خواب خشکسالی شان،
چون برگ های انگور،
گرد ترنج پستانت...
بازش نمی کنم اما!

هر صبح و ظهر و شب،
آنجا در آن سوی دیوار،
آوای توک و تاک پایی هست،
و هرم داغ نفس هایی،
مشتاق و منتظر...
می دانم، همین که درآیی،
سقف را می شکافد آوازم،
پر می کنم زمین را،
می زایم از زمان، و،
تکثیر می شوم در تو.
بازش نمی کنم اما،

می دانم! تا باز می شود در،
بالای پله گلی نیست،
دستی به انتظار نمانده،
نه حتی آغوشی، و نه لبخندی!
و باز،
تنهایی ام،
از پله ها سرازیر می شود،
تا باغ می رود،
تا تاک، تا لب آب...
و جهان،
پریشان می شود ز پشیمانی.
در را نمی گشایم دیگر بار،
تا همیشه بمانی، در کوچه کوچه های خیالم!

زن و بازیابی هویّت حقیقی

زن و بازیابی هویّت حقیقی - Sayyed Ali Khamenei ...and in this way we bullshit a nation of 80 millions people.

The Philosophy Of Rene Descartes

The Philosophy Of Rene Descartes - Leo C. Daley I can't say I understood 100% of this book: it's not an introductory book and it needs some fundamental concepts to be known. After introduction and a short biography, three chapters are about three of most important books of René Descartes: [b:Discourse on Method|159418|Discourse on Method|René Descartes|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1405624619s/159418.jpg|17612730], [b:Meditations on First Philosophy|30658|Meditations on First Philosophy|René Descartes|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1405624521s/30658.jpg|6299110] and [b:Principles of Philosophy|1165783|Elementary Principles of Philosophy (New World Paperbacks)|Georges Politzer|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1238027316s/1165783.jpg|1153468]. Each chapter consists of a summary of the book and then the author's explanation. The last chapter is some Q&A about Descartes' philosophy and also its relation and impression on philosophers who came after him.

The first thing about René Descartes philosophy is that he's a skeptic and rationalist who doubts about everything and the existence of himself first. He rejects any ideas that can be doubted, and then reestablishes them in order to acquire a firm foundation for genuine knowledge.

Perhaps one of his most famous quotes which I think everybody heard of it, is: Cogito ergo sum or I think therefore I am. What we might learn from this sentence by a deductive reasoning is:

1. I think;
2. Whoever who thinks, exists;
3. so I exist.

The problem here is the word "therefore" which leads us to this conclusion, which is not a rational reasoning: for proving that one exists one considers an "I" which exists first! What truly René Descartes means by this sentence is in fact: I think; I exist; my thinking depends on my existence.

Although he is a skeptic, surprisingly he doesn't doubt about existence of God! He prefers to not to have any doubt and just prove it (remember: he lives in the century of Galileo Galilei!). And in proving, he says: I can imagine a perfect God, the concept of perfection needs existence, if something doesn't exist we cannot call it "perfect"—so God exists!

Doesn't it sound like just playing with words and how can we imagine a perfect God in our limited minds?!!

من و کتاب

من و کتاب - سیدعلی خامنه‌ای trash

On Cuba

On Cuba - Jean-Paul Sartre In 1960, one year after Cuban revolution, Sartre visited this country and wrote this book and published it first in France Soir newspaper. The first chapters are a brief history of colonialism of Cuba by countries like Spain and then United States and explain how sugar cane was in fact the real reason of misery of this country.

I must admit I like Sartre in nonfiction even more, especially in the last chapters he is wonderfully describing Fidel Castro's , the Prime Minister, personality that how a young lawyer was able to do everything and could learn to manage the crisis after revolution, the places that they visited and his behavior with people and farmers and his speeches. He amazingly admires him. He even says that he has a few real friends in his life and one of them is Fidel Castro!

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in knowing Sartre's political view points and then history of Cuban revolution. It's worth reading!

Twenty Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad

Twenty Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad - علی دشتی, F.R. Bagley, Ali Dashti Warning: If you're an emotional Muslim I do apologize that I dared read this and review it, but because in Goodreads there is freedom of speech I do consider it my own right to have a voice. Simply skip this if you think it might be annoying. Thank you.

A compelling text,

An enlightening book written by a skeptic, rational and yet respectful to the prophet.

Perhaps some of the most important issues in order to choose a historical book – especially history of Islam which is mixed with so many doubts and superstitions – are to know:

1. The author himself, the academic works and papers, he did.
2. Publishers which were eager to publish his book.

For the second issue, this book that I added in Goodreads the publisher is Mazda pub, not a well known one (at least for me). By searching a few minutes in net, I found some wonderful results: according to this page some of the most important publishers of this book are:

1. Oxford Publication
2. Taylor and Frances

I think there are no other publishers more famous than these ones. And they assure the reader that this book is internationally and academically valid.

There are so many other famous skeptic Persian authors regarding to history of Islam, like Shojaeddin Shafa who his books Rebirth and After 1400 years are even more famous and popular here in Iran (definitely among banned books) but I couldn't find any English version for them. Surely, it doesn't mean that the information they have are not valid. Shojaeddinn Shafa is an awarded historian before the Islamic revolution in Iran and also he had many internationally awards like "The International Grand prize of Florence (1971)". Perhaps the reason that he didn't insist on publishing them in other languages was that he only wanted to show the real face of Islam to new generation of after revolution in Iran.

 Shojaeddin Shafa  (1918-2010)
Shojaeddin Shafa (1918-2010)

Ali Dashti, born in a Persian family in Bushehr, studied Islamic theology, history, Arabic and Persian grammar, and classical literature in Madrasas in Karbala and Najaf, both the most Islamic cities in Iraq. He didn't continue his career as a cleric; instead he became a journalist and published a newspaper (Shafaq-e Sorkh) in Tehran . He was appointed a Senator in 1954 until the Islamic revolution in 1979. He first published this book anonymously around 1974 in Beirut and at the age of 88 he died in Evin prison after being tortured by Khomeini's men.

Ali Dashti (1894-1982)
Ali Dashti (1894-1982)

This book covers more (as the title suggests) the last 23 years of prophet Mohammad's life with an introduction to his childhood, his loneliness, his illiteracy and working as a shepherd for his uncle. So desert was a good place for a child to think more about social injustice, God, idolatry and many other issues which could implant the dream of being a God messenger in a person. So he grew up and in his early twenties he was lucky enough to get married to a 40-year-old widowed rich woman- Khadija. So he didn't need to work, and he had enough time for spiritual rituals and for this he sometimes spent almost a month in a cave named hara . One night at his forty he came back home panicked and shivering. The angle of God, Gabriel, had come to the cave and said to him:

"Recite in the name of your Lord who created, created mankind from a clot of blood! Recite! And your Lord is bounteous, He who taught by the pen, taught mankind what they did not know."Sura 96 (ol-Alaq)"

But unfortunately the angle didn't come back for a while, some say for 3 days, other say 3 months or even 3 years. He was so depressed and he more than once thought of suicide, of throwing himself over a cliff.

Again those inspirations came and he began his prophetic career. The first person who believed in him was his wife.

Mohammad's prophetic career is divided into two important eras: when he is in Mecca –with just some a few followers-- the rich, the infidels ridicule him, call him insane, poet sick-- and when he migrates to Medina and starts his battles called ghazwa, the days of blood, killing and slaughtering.

Dashti makes a very interesting discussion about the difference between the kinds of inspiration that the prophet received in this two eras. When he is in Mecca he is the prophet of kindness, there's no obligation in religion everybody can have his/her own beliefs:

"There is no compulsion in religion. Right has been distinguished from wrong.Those who reject false deities and believe in God have grasped the firmest handle, which will never break." Verse 256, Sura 2 (ol-Baqara)

The infidels ask him for a miracle but each time God says to Muhammad in a very irrational way that even if I show you a miracle you won't believe in Islam. God even says in many verses that the real reason that you don't believe in Allah is that in fact God doesn't want so!!!

There's no report of any miracle in the Quarn, any kind of miracle which is said that the prophet had done, is in fact said by Muslim historians.

Eventually it is said that the Quran is, itself, the miracle of the prophet! Some say considering that Mohammad was illiterate, it is so beautifully written and so poetic – despite some grammatical errors which were found.

When he is in Medina, he's powerful, he has many followers so the God here is very cruel and furious with non believers. When one of the prophet's followers askes him what they should do with the prisoners God answers:

"It is not for a Prophet to have prisoners until he has spread fear of slaughter in the land. You people want casual gain (i.e. ransom payments) in this lower world, while God wants (happiness in) the next world (for you).”verse 68 of sura 8 (ol-Anfal)

A very important question that Dashti raises here is by analyzing some verses we can realize that many of them are in fact said by Mohammad himself, like the first sura (ol-fateha):

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful!
Praise to God, the Lord of the Worlds,
the Compassionate, the Merciful,
the Master of the Judgement Day!
You (alone) we worship and from You (alone) we seek help.
Guide us to the straight path,
the path of those on whom You have bestowed bounty,
not of those with whom You are angry and who have gone astray!"

Dashti says:

These words cannot be God's words. From their content it is clear that they are the Prophet Mohammad's words, because they consist of praise to God, homage to God, and supplication for God's help. God himself would not say "Praise to God, the Lord of the Worlds, the Compassionate, the Merciful, the Master of the Judgement Day.

I had read this sura for uncounted times, but never noticed to this precise point which Dashti concentrates on it. And that's a reason that makes this book unputdownable. Nothing new is said, but yet his analyzing is so intriguing.

Even one of the Islamic interpreters rejected it as a sura! So wasn't it actually from Mohammad's own mind? This issue is even more interesting when we study the section about prophet's wives. Mohammad considered more privileges for himself: He could have more than 4 wives – the maximum number that a Muslim could have. Many people say that –-and what our teachers told us at schools-- he got married to them because of some political reasons. But he actually kept sleeping with all of them. While For a common person the sexual desire is decreasing as he gets older, Mohammad's is an invert process: He had only one wife during his youth and a harem in his old hood!

I really enjoyed reading this book. Living in an Islamic country means "only books that are appreciating Islam are available". I think this is not a good way – even for Muslims themselves- to read whole life only Islamic books and burn all other critics and bound yourself only with one way of thinking. Indeed, Mohammad was a great and very smart historical figure as Dashti too accepts this, but insisting on and sticking characteristics to him which make him someone coming from another world and heavenly prophet is wrong as Mohammad himself confesses to his weak points so many times in the Quran: he was a human being like other people.

Link to an English PDF:
23 Years

Persian PDF:
Bisto se saal


Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov, Craig Raine what the hell was it?

Problems of Women's Liberation

Problems of Women's Liberation - Evelyn Reed Much better to say Problems of Marxist Women's liberation!

I bought this book for two reasons:
1. Feminist books here in the book stores are so rare, perhaps because of some political reasons or just lack of interest.
2. It was so cheap!

This book was written by Marxist-Feminist Evelyn Reed in 1970, so many of the solutions for the problems of liberation that she suggested seem to be outdated. Here the main enemy is the capitalism, the root of all problems is the capitalism and so for liberation women first must join the Marxist movement.

In socialism a Family unit or a Nuclear family is not the best way of living especially for women. According to the anthropologists and also this book of Engels- that the author refers to, in primitive era humans did not have anything like legal marriage or pair cohabitation. They had matriarchal/fratriarchy communities in which women didn't know their biological children's father and weren't obliged to raise their children alone. All children were considered the children of all men and women and they were not someone especial's properties. And it was in fact the first commune society. Women in these societies –not to say superior than men-were equal men. While men were hunters they were planters, when they discovered fire they learned how to cook on fire and change the chemical properties of foods. They discovered herbs and learned how to use them to cure diseases. They learned how to domesticate some kind of animals. They were potters, tanners, weavers, construction workers….So women were the first labors and farmers, scientists and physicians, architects and engineers, educators, nurses, artists, historians...

So this myth which believes women's inferiority is biological and natural is wrong. If patriarchal society is known for 8000 years, history of matriarchal society dates back to at least 100,000 years ago.

Then by developing rural and urban life and specially industrial revolution- proletariat and capitalism- women, little by little, were thrown away from their responsibilities. They became slaves of domestic life – nuclear family, man like the capitalism as the main power, woman and children as properties- and consumers. While for women who work outside home they have still excessive house works to do.

So in this way in Marxism, the root of all problems of women's liberation refers to limitations and boundaries which capitalism imposes on the working class of the society.

I think this book might not be whole the truth but can be referred to as a good historical analysis about Feminism with respect to Marxism.