The Road to Democracy in Iran (Boston Review Books) by Akbar Ganji

By Akbar Ganji

Akbar Ganji, referred to as via a few "Iran's most renowned dissident," used to be a member of the Islamic progressive shield Corps. yet, afflicted via the regime's repressive nature, he turned an investigative journalist within the Nineties, writing for Iran's pro-democracy newspapers. so much significantly, he traced the murders of dissident intellectuals to Iran's mystery provider. In 2000 Ganji used to be arrested, sentenced to 6 years in legal, and banned from operating as a journalist. His eighty-day starvation strike in the course of his final 12 months in legal mobilized the overseas human rights neighborhood. the line to Democracy in Iran, Ganji's first booklet in English, demonstrates his lifelong dedication to human rights and democracy. A passionate demand common human rights and the fitting to democracy from a Muslim point of view, it lays out the targets and technique of Iran's democracy circulation, why women's rights trump a few interpretations of Islamic legislations, and the way the West will help advertise democracy in Iran (he strongly opposes U.S. intervention) and different Islamic international locations. in the course of the booklet Ganji argues continually for common rights in keeping with our universal humanity (and he believes the world's religions help that idea). yet his arguments by no means veer into abstraction; they're rooted deeply within the realities of lifestyles in Islamic nations, and supply a transparent photograph of the chances for and stumbling blocks to enhancing human rights and selling democracy within the Muslim global. given that his free up from felony in March 2006, Akbar Ganji has been touring outdoor Iran, assembly with intellectuals and activists within the overseas human rights group. he's at present residing within the United States."Ganji is going past faith, ethnicity, or nationality in spotting universality of techniques reminiscent of democracy and human rights. therefore he brings Iran again to the realm, allying himself with democratic parts in his nation it doesn't matter what their creed, and drawing freely upon the writings of democratic thinkers within the West."--Azar Nafisi, writer of analyzing Lolita in Tehran

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Threats, coercion, or violence cannot create belief; nor can a belief be washed away from minds with these tactics. For this reason, the democratic reform movement has come to accept that cultural changes are a primary goal. But culture has deep roots. 28 Much of what needs to change in Iranian culture relates to the superstition, dogmatism, conformism, and prejudice that have permeated our society, particularly in the Shia seminaries. Rejecting these aspects of the dominant religious culture in no way implies rejecting religion.

But we do not believe that those rights are fixed; they are not limited to those specified in the Declaration of Human Rights. The concept of human rights remains open to change: new rights might develop, or old rights might lose their relevance. This mutability has two sources. As humans gain more knowledge about their condition, their self-perception evolves and expands. New understanding of causes of suffering may emerge, and thus require new rights. In addition, as life becomes more developed and more complex, new problems arise.

And we are referring to the kind of experience the people themselves consider painful, rather than those declared to be painful by ideologies and doctrines. We must bear in mind that in their attempt to take societies to a utopian future, free from any suffering, radical social and political projects tend to inflict great suffering on living individuals. 11 We believe further that human rights have a hierarchy, and at the top stand the rights to well-being and to autonomy. In a sense, we consider all other rights to derive from these two.

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