Friday, June 19, 2009

Iran and Gratuitous Promotion of the Other Brother

Normally when I point to something a sibling has on the Huffington Post it is something by my twin. However, this time, there's a piece by my little brother. Nathaniel talks about the history of the V for Victory symbol and how it is now making its way into Middle-East politics. It is very worth reading. The history of the symbol and how it has evolved makes for fascinating reading. I think that he may be underestimating how diverse its symbolism is in the Middle-East and how fast the symbol's meaning is changing. Anyways, check it out.


Shalmo said...

Ahmadinejad won that election fair and square

I find it funny how here in the West everyone thinks there was some sort of fraud and how everyone in Iran really wants Mousavi

Ahmadinejad won 75% of the vote, so it wasn't even a 50-50 thing as the media here is portraying it as. The poor and the working class are the ones who got him back in office

Mousavi is only good for promising more westernization, more US satellite channels, and so forth. Thus he only appeals to the secular, upper class.

But the real reason Ahmadinejad is hated is because he wants more transparency in government to end a lot of the corruption. Post Khomeini iranians have really had only 2 politicians who were not corrupt, and Ahmadinejad is one of them

Joshua said...


I agree that Ahmadinejad has certainly been less corrupt than some of his predecessors if corruption is measured purely in issues of bribery and similar problems.

However, the fact is that the claimed win of Ahmadinejad was both inconsistent with prior poll data and that the numbers look strange. There are a variety of statistical anomalies that also suggest vote tampering. See for example

It may very well be that most Iranians voted for Ahmadinejad but there is substantial evidence of vote tampering which he ans his supporters have not explained.

sniffnoy said...

Also weren't the results reported too early to have been actually counted? :-/

Shalmo said...

Asking me to trust the "Washington Post" for data on Iran is no more sane than if I told you to go to a white supremacist forum for information on what is going on in Israel.

Do you have anything that is more reliable to prove vote tampering?

This was predicted actually. No matter how the scenario would play out, if Ahmadinejad won, people would be accusing him on election fraud

The reason here in the West they can so easily get away with printing stories like, is because the Shah loving iranians and other expatriates assume everyone in Iran is like them, and have the same values as them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

And as I have said Mousavi appeals only to the westernized iranians, hence why his promises of better relations with the West, not to mention his neo-liberal policies, and love of all things capitalist are what make him attractive to these people.

But since the majority in Iran are poor and the working class, they are the ones who got him into office. Ahmadinejad has done a good job giving villages and different district more transparency in how their khums money is used, and sent a lot of it back into them for economic development. So he's clearly doing something right, which is why these are the people who got him into office.

There is far more chance for Netanyahu and Bush's elections to have been rigged, than there is Ahmadinejad

Joshua said...

Shalmo, the WP article I pointed to reports on the underlying statistical problems. They exist independent of who is reporting it. I'm not a statistician but the anomalies given there as well as other anomalies are simply very hard to explain without some degree of tampering.

Also, I don't think I'd call Mousavi "neo-liberal" based on my understanding of his policies.

Essentially yes. Although I've seen conflicting reports on that. It isn't clear to me whether the early announcement was based simply off of early returns but it certainly didn't seem to be at the time.

Shalmo said...

Joshua please read this:

Shalmo said...

I have another Iran related video for you:

Shalmo said...

Also this is the best of the best of the best of the best:

Shalmo said...

The terrorist state of Israel has no shame. I wish to avoid bloodshed where-ever possible, but so long as Israel exists there can be no peace in that region.

One option is for a peaceful resettlement of the Jewish population into North America and in Europe. Jews there are assimilating outside Judaism, so a re-population from Israel could be fruitful. Jews are prospering in North America, and have pretty much taken over media, government and law outlets, so North America is also an excellent spot for Jewry to re-settle.

Or we can force the one-state solution.

Joshua said...

Shalmo, thanks for the link.

Frankly, it comes across as a bit ridiculous. To list just a handful of problems: a disproportionate fraction of Iranian twitter posters are in English for the simple reason that the more Westernized individuals are more likely to use Twitter and more likely to be supporters of Mousavi. Other statements made indicate either a complete lack of research or just extreme sloppiness. For example, the author points to the fact that twitter posters continued after Iran tried to block access to Twitter. If he was bothering to pay attention he would know that many posters discussed ways to get around the Iranian control (such as TOR and similar systems) and that people actually went out of there way to set up proxy servers to help out (Boingboing and Slashdot both had extensive discussions). Overall, the entire thing reads like standard conspiracy theorizing: pick a few innocent facts, take them out of context, distort some other facts, get a handful of claims outright wrong and then combine in a web that points to a conspiracy.

Shalmo said...

LOL> Guess what!

The voter turn out for Mousavi was 13,216,411 votes. It doesn't get more obvious than this!

Btw what do you think about the video I linked you to. You didn't respond to it:

Joshua said...

Shalmo, I haven't commented on it for a multitude of reasons. Most seriously, I haven't been on a computer in a while that has both internet access and sound. When that occurs if I have time I may take a look. But looking at the article you already linked to, I doubt it will have anything useful to say.

Your latest comment is particularly confusing: The vote total isn't reliable. Pointing to claimed voter turnout as evidence that the election was valid is just about as circular as one can get.

Shalmo said...

The objections you offer, election fraud and evidence for it have been considered in the following article:

this is the last one

Joshua said...

Sigh. Another article by someone who either does not know or does not care about the actual problems. Maybe I should write a blog entry discussing them in more detail. The issue that none of these people address are again the statistical anomalies. The raw data fails Benford's Law and its generalizations. Statistically speaking, it doesn't look like what election data should look like. That's what the Washington Post article is talking about. Looking through the relevant statistical tests, this data screams out "I've been tampered with!" Now, it may very well be that Acheminejad would have won without that tampering, but the fact that tampering occurred is unambiguous. Blaming this all on Israel and pointing to volatile polls from before the election don't make this go away.

Shalmo said...

Don't worry I'm not gonna argue the election anymore.

Anyway I thank you for your input and I think its only fair that I give you a 101 on the theocratic model under discussion since you seem interested in it.

Shalmo said...

Personally i have never been a supporter of wilayat ul-faqih il-mutlaqa (the current model in Iran), nor will i ever be a supporter of any regime that gives such wilayat to a jurist.

i agree with iran's political stances on foreign policy and that's about it - i hate that they imprison and persecute mujtahideen who disagree with their fanatic system of wilayat ul-mutlaqa, and i hate that scholars should be afraid of speaking out against such a system. it's absolutely disgusting, and i believe that such a system is flawed and not representative of our ideals and academic standards in fiqh.

Shalmo said...

so what's wilayat ul-faqih il-mutlaqa?

Basically, Wilayat ul-Faqih is the authority of a jurist. Shia muslim scholars say that the jurist is given Wilayat (guardianship/authority in this context) in certain matters pertaining to the affairs of the Muslims. In the 1800s, the scholar Mulla Ahmed Naraaqi theorized in his 'Awaa'id ul-Ayyam that the jurist, according to some proofs mostly from the islamic texts from his point of view, indicate that the jurist is given the same socio-political authority in guiding the total affairs of the Islamic Ummah. In this system, the Wilayat of the jurist is no different from the authority of the 12th Imam shias believe in. Sheikh Murtudha ul-Ansaari, a more well known master in Usool ul-Fiqh and the father of modern ijtihaad and its methodologies as we know it, refuted Naraaqi in his work Kitab ul-Makaasib, an authoritative book written on deductive jurisprudence which is studied by the highest level scholars in the subject of Fiqh in the Hawza (Islamic seminary). Sheikh ul-Ansaari reaches the conclusion, after surveying the evidences posed by Naraaqi, that the jurist is given limited authority, and not absolute authority as proposed in the system of Wilayat ul-Mutlaqa, which means "absolute". Sheikh ul-Ansaari was so elegant in his discussion on the topic, and so masterful and insightful, that there was really no room to argue against him. It wasn't until 100 or so years later that Ruhullah Khomeini (founder of Islamic Revolution in Iran) brought up again the same arguments brought by Naraaq which were taken apart scientifically by Sheikh ul-Ansaari. Syed ul-Khoe'i, who was the leading scholar of his time and one of our greatest mujtahideen in our history, in his book on jurisprudence al-Tanqeeh, again discusses comprehensively the evidences of the Wilayat of the Faqih and says that the evidences for al-Mutlaqa are weak in islamic tradtions, or do not prove what has been said by Naraaqi and Khomeini. He says on page 424 that the Wilayat for the Faqih is proven in only two matters: passing fatwa, and acting as a judge. It is really clear to me and to most of the Mujtahideen even in Iran that Wilayat ul-Faqih is limited and not absolute. I don't see how anyone can raise any doubt on this matter after Sheikh ul-Ansaari, Syed ul-Khoe'i, Misbah Yazdi, Muhsin Hakeem, Tabrizi, etc., the best of the best, have already explained this.

It's simply a silly idea, and to me it appears like a quick stab at trying to get a revolution going and claim supreme authority to control the people. Iran has a nasty habit of harshly condemning and persecuting scholars who do not believe in their system of politics. I think their physical and brute force in such a matter is proof of their inability to push forward such a concept intellectually, because the 'Aql (intellect) rejects such a concept. This has been my mindset for the past few months, and I'm slowly thinking very poorly of Iran and some of its scholars...

What is even more astonishing is that Khamene'i (head of the religious goverment) is not even learned in Fiqh, he has not written any authoritative books or anything of the sort, it absolutely amazes me that people would choose him as their Faqih not only in jurisprudence matters, but in the absolute sense. Absolute authority in these affairs is only for the Imam (as) or somebody else appointed by God, and as far as the greatest authorities in Fiqh are concerned, this is the correct view.

You got that?

Joshua said...

I think so, more or less. Thank you.

Shalmo said...

Ok this doesn't have anything to do with Iran, but it is interesting none the less because its about the myth of Israeli superiority in the muslim world. Check it out: