Write for The Iranian
Editorial policy

If truth be mud
More on the London art show

By Ebrahim Golestan
June 14, 2001
The Iranian

In response to Rose Issa's "Poisonous". Rose Issa was an organizer of the Iranian Contemporary Art Exhibition at the Barbican Center, London (12 April - 3 June, 2001).

I don't think you would like to see your turned into a mud slinging pit. I have no mud to sling any way; but if truth be mud, then we are in a different sphere of meaning and intention. You have kindly offered the opportunity to reply to The Lady Curator . You would have been kinder if you had thought of me differently.

What she has said in her "response", and how she has said it, absolves me of any need to answer. She is ignorant of the subject she is curatoring (I have no other word for what she does) and she is unprepared to understand the things that I have said. She has not read what I wrote since I wrote it in Persian -- and she can not read Persian.

At the end of what I wrote I mentioned her Iranian purse-holders -- and they seem not to have been capable of helping her to read or understand what I said, either. What I wrote could not be read by those of your readers who are not conversant in Persian, even if they cared and tried to see the issues. And if they have remained wondering still, they may have a right to blame your editorial arrangement.

The Lady Curator's response in English is only the expression of an individual's dented desire and defective defence that lacks even a single response to the points I raised. Your decision to publish her unbalanced views, so conspicuously unrelated to what they purport to be directed at, seems to have required, but did not receive the support of a certain integrity and well-considered criteria.

Perhaps it would have been more efficient journalism if you had juxtaposed what The Lady Curator was saying with what you saw in my piece -- which you had privately welcomed, having found it to be timely and deserved. Such balanced presentation could have served your readership better. It could also have saved me from a litigation withoutt getting you involved. Doodling is so easy, and calumnies carry costly consequences.

What you have published as her response is only a pile of meaningless vituperative. It is dreamed up descriptions of my age (not yet 80), my sickness (I am not sick), my home and where it is located (it is not a sea-side resort and it is not in Brighton), my not knowing the name of a wrestler in a photograph, my being a misanthrope (despite her claim that I had a weekly open house or salon in Tehran -- which I never had ), the quality of my cheaply-bought collection of paintings (which she could not have seen as she has never even seen me or been to my house) plus her total ignorance of the more important things and events and dates and personalities as exemplified by her curious claim that Mossadegh nationalised oil in 1953 in a defeated military coup (although the oil had been nationalised some thirty months before that date, and Mossadegh never did or could bring about a military coup, and no nationalisation could be achieved by anybody as the result of that person's defeat).

And on and on. All wrong; all besides the point. All totally unrelated to what I had said. And I had never said any of those things about her "mollahs" or about Abbas Kiarostami, the former -- having no "h" -- being a class to which my grandfather and some thirty generations before him belonged, and the second a friend whose works I praised in writing for years before his international successes.

I never saw any pictures of me in your bulletins to which she refers, and I have always refused to give any photo to any publication or even friends. Do you, as a journalist, find such invented claims and texts interesting or adequate or correct in conception? Why don't you get that piece translated for the benefit of those who can not read the original, including The Lady Curator herself?

The Lady Curator refers to a telephone call where I rejected her offer -- or request or suggestion -- to give my films to her for some other sort of curatoring. Why should she have called on me in the first place if the films that I made fit the kind of description she now applies? And why should I have agreed to her offer on the phone? It is better to be careful about phoned offers. And I must be careful to spell curator correctly, too. I also must be, as I have been, careful to write or say things about filmmakers. I have said much words of praise for some, but silence was deemed better in some other cases.

Anybody is free to feel and do the same. However, I have my constraints and my criteria regarding those who publish them since it is they who turn what is individually said into something that is publicly available. And it is the vulnerable public that grasps, and accepts or rejects, or is led or deviated. The public must be given a balanced chance to decide for themselves. The editor is responsible for that. No laps of vigilance is condonable. Such lapses are passive manipulation.

On the other hand it is a norm of our world that any authority anywhere, including Iranian authorities, could do whatever they can to enhance the image they want the world to have of them. They can pay for that or they can commission their surrogates and those who are involved with them financially or otherwise to procure such help and facilities. It is a reflection of our time that to propagate their prestige they have reached the "bottom of the pot" -- or as we say it in Persian "tah e dig".

The curator or her financiers can say whatever they want and find an outlet for saying it. The truth of the matter will not be affected. They have shown that they do not and can not and care not to know or read much about the Persian language and Iranian heritage, otherwise I would have referred her and her money-dispensers to the well-known line by Sa'adi addressed to a fly.

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment to the writer Ebrahim Golestan


By Ebrahim Golestan

Art show review


"Why Ebrahim Golestan should be so vindictive is a mystery"
By Rose Issa

London calling
Iranian art in London


Features archive

* Latest

* Cover stories

* Feature writers

* Arts & literature

* Opinion

* Satire

* History

* Interviews

* Travel

* Women

* Rights

* Surveys

* All sections

Flower delivery in Iran
Copyright © All Rights Reserved. Legal Terms for more information contact:
Web design by BTC Consultants
Internet server: Global Publishing Group