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Abraham, Rostam & Oedipus
The Rostams have failed and are no longer desired. It is time for Iranian men to hand over the ruling of the country to women experts and follow their leadership by cooperating in fulfilling common aspirations


March 21, 2006

In 1899-1900* Sigmund Freud in his Interpretation of Dreams introduced a concept in psychoanalytic theory which he had named Oedipus complex. The term derives from the Theban hero Oedipus of Greek mythology, who unknowingly slew his father and married his mother:

Following a dream during his wife's pregnancy Laius -king of Thebes - was warned by an oracle interpretation that his son would slay him in the future. In order to prevent this from happening when his wife Jocasta (in Homer Epicaste) bore a son, he exposed the infant on Mt. Cithaeron pinning his ankles together (hence the name Oedipus, meaning Swell-Foot).

Found by a shepherd the infant was adopted by King Polybus of Corinth and his wife and was brought up as their son. In early youth he visited Delphi (ancient town in central Greece with a temple where the advice of the oracle was sought) and upon learning that he was fated to kill his father and marry his mother, he resolved never to return to Corinth where - as far as he was conscious - his father ruled.

Travelling toward Thebes, he encountered Laius, who provoked a quarrel in which Oedipus killed him. As he approached Thebes he discovered that the city was persecuted by Sphinx -- winged lion with a head of a woman - who put a riddle to all young men who passed her way and devoured those who failed to answer (no doubt a symbolic representation of the matriarchy struggling to regain the women's suppressed power in the newly established patriarchy at the time).

Her riddle was: What goes on two legs, on four legs and on three legs and is weakest on four? (Without the very last section this is a riddle commonly circulated in Iranian secondary schools amongst the pupils -- at least in girls' schools - typically without the knowledge of its origin. Not unlike the tunes of many songs including the unforgettable maraa beboos which has Persian lyrics to a Greek tune).

Oedipus solved the riddle and the Sphinx hurled herself to her death. In reward, he received the throne of Thebes and the hand of the widowed queen Jocasta. They had four children together before the truth became known to them. As a result Jocasta committed suicide, and according to the later version Oedipus after blinding himself went into exile, accompanied by two of his children Antigone and Ismene. Oedipus died at Colonus near Athens, where he was swallowed into the earth and became a guardian hero of the land.

Freud chose the term Oedipus complex to designate a child's feeling of love toward the parent of the opposite sex and jealousy and hate toward the parent of the same sex, which he saw as a natural part of the child's psychosexual development. This phase according to his analysis would in a normal family situation end by the son identifying with his father and the daughter with her mother at about the age of three to five and hence to the resolving of this complex. In the presence of trauma however, there would occur an „infantile neurosis" that would call for similar reactions during the child's adult life. [1]

As far as I am aware there seem to be no literature which questions the choice of the Oedipus as the name for this complex or looks into the role Laius played as a murderous father.

One of the most revealing aspects of this Greek tragedy is the fact that faith and guilt are intertwined. First Laius and later Oedipus make a choice to escape their faith and fail to do so. Nonetheless Oedipus's feeling of guilt is enormous. It is the consequence of his act that counts and not his initial intentions.

It may well be precisely this aspect that made Freud think of Oedipus's subconscious wish to kill his father. But if so, then this wish was only natural for an infant who had been brutally separated from the mother during his oral phase. The phase in which the one to one bond and the physical contact with the mother is of prime importance for a healthy emotional development of the child.

The general assumption seems to be that Freud chose this name because of the consequence of the actions of Oedipus in killing his father etc. The fact however that in the legend Oedipus blinds himself has been seen as a symbolic self castration due to the association Freud made between the eyes and the sexuality in particular in the interpretation of dreams.

Freud himself on the other hand did not make any comments about the accuracy or inaccuracy of his choice of the name. The tragedy of Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the king) by Sophocles was well known in his time and has been by far the most highly regarded and popular of Sophocles' tragedies in the late 19th and early 20th century. Aristotle had already praised it in his Poetics (4th century BC) as a model of the tragic form.

There remains for me one crucial question: How come that Freud who had such an analytical mind that could see even through the phenomenon of joke and the role that the subconscious plays in making them, never explained his view of the myth itself? Was he conscious of all aspects of this myth and ignored some of those intentionally? Or was this his very own Fehlleistung (= Freudian lapsus)?

So that all started with Oedipus himself and had nothing to do with Laius's behaviour? Did Freud take Laius action for granted? How come that Freud who believed the subconscious played a great role in human behaviour did not consider Laius' behaviour towards Oedipus as much problematic as Oedipus' slaying of his father?

It is interesting that Freud never analysed men's behaviour towards their own children in terms of acting out their infantile neurosis. It is true that in his initial observations of some of his clients' dreams and behaviour Freud initially saw the probability of child abuse experiences, but when increasingly more clients came up with similar dreams and flash backs, he decided that this had to be more a wishful fantasy due to an unresolved Oedipus complex. This aspect has been looked at already by researchers on child abuse (I am not including here the emotional and the physical abuse).

Today we know that statistically 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 8 boys are likely to be sexually abused at some stage during their childhood. Although this research was done in the UK and USA (based on adults revealing their childhood experiences relating to this issue) it is most likely that these facts do apply to many other countries as well, especially those that have their own idea of when a child is not a child (A shop keeper in Tehran had an argument with my mother that a 9 years old girl was not a child. My mother eventually ended the argument by saying 'for our family she is a child'; family law as opposed to tribal / religious law? )    

As for Freud's insight or the lack of it regarding Laius I will attribute it to what I call Abraham complex. This will mean that he was already identifying with Laius as the father when he looked at or remembered Oedipus's dilemma.

Abraham Complex
The West Asian monotheistic religions have the story of Abraham (Ebrahim) and the near-sacrifice of his son as a major common theological myth and concept. This story is a symbolic illustration of the change that took place in sacrificial rituals -- perhaps practiced by some inhabitants in the area -- involving human child, to the one of animals.

Eid ul-Adha (adha spelled alef,zaat,heh and ye. Zaat and zaal in Arabic are pronounced like th or d in English) by Iranians known as Eid-e ghorban which is on the 10th day of the month Dhul Hijja (Arabic lunar calendar) is in fact a celebration of Abraham's readiness to sacrifice his son.

In the bible the son to be sacrificed is Isaac (Is-haq/ As-hagh) who was Abraham's 'legitimate' son with his wife Sarah. In Islam's male polygamy however, it is his first-born son Ishmael (Esmael) -whom he had with his second wife Hagar (Hajar, Egyptian maid or slave of Sarah) -- who was to be sacrificed. Whereas Koran considers Ishmael as one of the prophets, in both Old and New Testaments he is known as the 'son of Abraham' only.

Interestingly according to the Old Testament Abraham was also the first biblical character that performed circumcision (symbolic castration?) on his son Isaac on the 8th date of his birth and made it a custom amongst the Israelites thereafter.

Regardless of the differences in the outcome of the stories however, all these religions agree on the part that shows the willingness of Abraham to kill his son, in order to satisfy a demand of his god and to prove his unquestioning obedience. A god who then changed his mind once he saw the readiness of Abraham (according to the story) or perhaps the terror in his son's face (by god, Abraham or both/imagined scenario) and asked him to slaughter a sheep instead (scapegoat).

And here we have the dilemma.

Even though the human sacrifice has been practiced by some pagans, there are no indications of this having been actually performed by the biological father in case of a child. This is of course assumed that the biological role of the father was already established, which would indicate the transition period from a pre-patriarchal to a patriarchal society, of which the Israelites were the local forefathers.

As for the monotheistic religions, in Judaism and Christianity killing a person is taboo - as expressed in the 10 commandments -, in Islam however it is not. Interestingly though adultery is (as in 10 commandments). In Islam for the first you could pay compensation if accepted by the victim's family and get away with it, for the latter you could not and there is death penalty by stoning for a married woman.

It would not be incorrect though to assume that the tribal law of paying the so called 'blood's price' to the family of a murdered person may have helped to prevent continuous feud amongst small tribes in those days of low populations, ensuring their survival.

According to ghesaas - the Islamic law concerned with the specific punishments for various 'crimes' and 'sins' -- however, there is no punishment for a father who kills his child. This is of course because as for women, children in Islam have a lesser value as human beings than men. Obviously the father who kills his child cannot compensate himself, but he cannot be punished neither as he is the patriarch who owns his child.

In comparison on the other hand a mother is not allowed to punish her child physically (generally a good idea, but wait) she should however report the misdeed to the father, who then decides the extent of the punishment and executes it himself.

Islam as a political movement adopted various rules from different tribes (some even contradictory to each other). In this way it facilitated the unity of Arabs and transformed their tribal societies into a one big nation. It is not a coincidence that the prophet of Moslems had expressed his admiration for the Persian king Anushirvan (Khosro I). A king nicknamed aadel (most likely by himself) meaning Just/Equitable, and who is notorious for having ordered the massacre of Mazdakians.[2]

The Persian Empire was a model for Arabs to look up to, as it had managed to bring all various tribes and nations under one flag, allowing them to retain their tribal hierarchy or local governments. These in turn paid yearly tributes to the Empire for their own protection one way or another and provided also conscripts. The relocation of the capital city from Damascus to Baghdad by the Abbasid dynasty was in fact a clear change from the Arabic oligarchic system to the Persian model of autocracy.[3]

At this point I would like to refer to a theory I put forward over 2 decades ago at an Iranian women's meeting in London [4]:

The monotheism in West Asia provided the first theoretical basis for the practice of patriarchy and its eventual establishment in this area. This area was originally populated by a variety of nations living in pre-patriarchal circumstances and of which some were matriarchal.

Whereas the Jews were not interested in converting non Israelites they supported other patriarchal invaders such as the Persians and the Romans. Christianity on the other hand, despite its adaptation of the pagan beliefs - for instance of the earthly mother and the heavenly father as in case of Hercules and the resurrection as in cases of Zeus and the Cretan god of fertility Welchanos - had reached its limitations in becoming the dominant religion of the area and expanded towards the west through the warring efforts of the Romans. In fact it may be precisely for these adaptations of the European mythology that it gained more followers throughout the west in the first place.

It was only through the wars of Islam against the hard to be convinced pagans and Islam's rules in chastising women, that the West Asia finally turned from a multicultural area with a variety of beliefs and social rules to a mono-cultural practicing ground for the ultimate patriarchy.

In the scene of the near-sacrifice what goes on between Abraham, his son and the god creates the triangle of the father, son and god. This is the triangle of patriarchy as compared to the circle representing mother earth and the nature. Abraham's son had to remain alive, both for the future of the species as well as for creating a patriarchal triangle, which could overshadow the cosmic circle.

From then on what remains is the continuous tension between a father's preparedness to sacrifice his child on one hand and his need to keep the triangle intact on the other.

In this the son subconsciously perceives himself as being dispensable for his father and becomes dependent on the great god - who is the one who has won the long battle against all the other gods and goddesses of the paganism -- and whom he can only experience through his father's contradictory behaviour towards himself. For him as the son, god is the giver of double messages until the time he himself becomes a father.

For a man to want to have a child does not commonly involve a physical/hormonal craving, as it is experienced by many women at some stage of their lives, but is usually the result of wanting to pass the name and inheritance to a son, or can be an adjustment to the wish of  his wife/partner.

Once the son (child) is born all of the sudden the father has to cope with the fact that he is not the centre of attention of his partner anymore, especially during the first year and the breastfeeding period. He has lost the symbolic mother he had chosen as wife. And the more attached he is to his wife the more he will suffer. For this reason I would say that it was Isaac that Abraham intended to sacrifice and not Ishmael. This is because he was more attached to Sarah than to Hagar (Later Ishmael and Hagar were sent away to spread the word elsewhere).

Whereas in polytheism Laius had no qualms in making steps towards killing his son for the fear of a prediction based on an interpretation of his dream, the Judaic idea created a sense of guilt in Abraham who then projected his own inner wish - caused by jealousy - onto god. What was his wish turned to god's will.

It was this constant duality of the wish and the guilt-feeling that saved the life of Abraham's son but also triggered perhaps what Freud named Oedipus complex. The son will of course in time learn to identify with the father and overcome the complex- if not traumatised any further. And it is due to this identification that he later will suffer from what his father was suffering, namely Abraham complex. 

The question of the applicability of Freud's theory of the Oedipus complex to other classes and societies has been already raised during the mid 70's at least amongst German academics. Freud's theory was of course based on the psyche of well to do Viennese families in the 19th century, where the father as the head of the family had the total attention of his wife. In these families children played a secondary role for their mothers and were usually brought up by nursemaids.

This certainly was the case for little Sigmund whose mother was much younger than his father - who had already adult children from previous marriage - and bore seven children, Sigmund being her first. I even have come across some biographical literature and a TV documentary film in the past where a dream of Freud was analysed as indicating that he was likely to have been sexually abused by his nursemaid.

And it is interesting to note that it was only after his father's death (1886) that he published his theory of the Oedipus complex. He was the darling child of his mother. As her first child he must have had her emotional attention at least for a year to himself. His father having had already grown up sons with grandchildren, could not have been that interested to have children distracting his young wife-at least- emotionally. In his early years the little Sigmund must have associated the presence of his father in the house with the mother being absent from the room and substituted by the nurse.

As for religion we know that although Freud's family was Jewish he himself was like many of his contemporaries influenced by Ludwig Feuerbach's (1804-1872) Projectionstheory. According to this theory religion is the human being's self-worship whereby s/he projects her/his own wishes onto god. However the religion and theology should not be negated, but should rather be dissolved in anthropology, so that the human being's discord in behaviour towards the world and towards her/his own wishes can be overcome.

Based on this idea Freud's psychoanalytic interpretation of religion is that it is an infantile illusion. Here are the wishes of the childish helpless human being for protection against the dangers of life expressed. The secret of the strength of religion is the strength of these wishes. For every individual as well as for the humanity in general, religion is a pubertal phase of passage in the overall development of humanity.

How does Abraham complex apply to Moslem men?
-- As there is no taboo of killing as such in Islam, and moreover no ghesaas for the father who kills his child, when it comes to the triangle of patriarchy the son can not rely on the god's potential protection. This is the case until he not only identifies with his father but also becomes his accomplice. This aspect is mainly expressed in controlling/chastising the females within the family (sisters in particular).

Before this can happen however the father has still the need for his son to survive. So he keeps the tension within the triangle alive. Except that in doing so he relies on his internalized superego (modelled after his own father and teachers) -- with other words self control - and not on god. For this self control of the father, the son has to pay highly by being unquestioningly obedient as not to provoke his father's loss of control.

Whereas the dominant feeling in Judaism and Christianity is guilt, in Islam it is the fear that dominates. By the first two the tension in the triangle is between the wish and the guilt, by the latter it is between the wish and the fear. The fear here is the fear of loosing control. As a result his son perceives him as the potentially dangerous and unpredictable father who has the god within him. This means that whereas the father is conscious of the triangle his son is not. For him the patriarch and the god are one and the same.

In real life situation this inevitable occasional loss of control is expressed in the kind of dangerous physical punishments by the father, which make the interference of the other members of the family or extended family necessary and for which he may be deep down grateful without admitting it. These punishments can be provoked easily and are usually out of proportion to the misbehaviour of the child.

This is the reason why, for a Moslem teenager that is going through the later stage of his /her psychosexual development (3rd stage = genital phase), to turn rebellious against the father would be a much more difficult thing to do than for a teenager of another monotheistic faith.

-- To overcome the jealousy towards his son (child) a Moslem father who is financially in the position to support more than one family has also the option of marrying repeatedly -- either permanently or provisionally (seegheh)- childless/virgin women. This in fact may help him psychologically by either creating a competitive situation whereby his first wife would pay him more attention or by him having more emotional outlets through the multiple relationships.

The less affluent father on the other hand has to be content with the aspect of control only, by restricting the freedom of his wife and children even more and tyrannising the family either physically or with strict religious rules.

Can the theory of Oedipus complex be applied to the Iranian male psyche?

For the average Iranian family everything is exactly the reverse to the affluent Viennese family of the late 19th and early 20th century:

Regardless of whether an Iranian woman has an arranged marriage or a marriage due to love, when she has a child - especially a boy -- almost all her attention goes to her child. This fact is so deeply rooted in the culture that even her extended family expects it to be so. A married woman's quality as a 'good mother' is much higher rated than her emotional support of the husband as a 'good wife'.

Even the husband himself would be ashamed to consciously think that he may dislike the fact that the children have a higher demand on the emotional capacity of his wife, let alone expressing his dislike in words. If he ever happens to expresses his jealousy unwittingly, the whole extended family will hear about it and begin to see him as a selfish father. He is supposed to earn bread for the family and not compete with his children for emotional attention.

The sexual relationship of the parents in Iran is never in the foreground and not easy to imagine for their children until they have reached the age of at least puberty. There is usually no body-language indicating physical closeness between the parents. In poorer families where parents and children share the same bedroom on the other hand, to witness sex between parents, who inevitably would be more self-conscious about it, may not necessarily be perceived as a pleasurable act but a release of tension at least for the father.

So an Iranian boy in general (+ girl in enlightened families) has the total attention of his mother and subconsciously may even feel sorry for his (her) father. However the father's destiny is a very different one. Having been the object of his mother's attention, he fulfils provisionally a wish to ensure the continuation of receiving care by a woman, and starts a family.  In this he recreates a new situation, whereby a younger and perhaps more energetic woman would continue looking after him as his mother did (for a woman to be looked after usually ends once she leaves her mother or when the mother dies or becomes disabled).

He may think that his real motivation is to have family, but this is because he has no idea what awaits him. As soon as he becomes a father, he develops a kind of resentment, subconsciously wishing the child out of the way.

Abraham complex and the Iranian man
When applying the Abraham complex to Iranian man we specifically need to take the Iranian woman's psyche into consideration. In the last quarter of a century we have seen a relentless and continuous campaign by the Islamic government to chastise and control women. Women have literally become the common naamoos of all Iranian men. In fact they are the determining criteria in measuring the virtue of the state which also represents god. In this cultural scenery fabric is the most important industrial product.

Of course the present regime has not been the first to force changing the nation's clothes in order to change the country's politics.

By the end of the first quarter of the 20th century following the constitutional movement and the opening of girls' schools in many cities of Iran, but also the Russian revolution in1905 at its doorstep and the later birth of Soviet Union in1917 -- offering rights for women which even today has not yet been matched by many of the first world countries - many modern Iranian women stopped to wear veils. And even if they didn't, the family started to let their daughters to go without.

Despite these gradual changes however Reza Shah in an attempt to industrialize /westernise Iran speedily enforced the unveiling of women in 1936. For the most reluctant ones this meant that the policemen/soldiers literally grabbed their veils (chador) and pulled it away from their bodies. The timing for this policy was somehow coordinated with the queen of Afghanistan unveiling herself on her journey to France accompanied by her husband/king. It was during this time that many women in the cities started to wear western style hats instead.

For the provincial men on the other hand Reza shah forced a change of hats from the traditional kolah namadi (felt hat) to chapeaus. And men's long loose shirts worn over baggy trousers (shalvar) and the waist coat had to be exchanged for the western styled suits. After Reza shah's departure the veil-politics was relaxed but by this time there was a whole new generation who had never worn veils and did not choose to do so.

As the social and political rights of the individuals in Iran did not grow organically by and for the people themselves, all changes initiated by one autocratic government could be so easily undone by the next autocratic state that replaced it. Just as unveiling was forced during Reza shah's dictatorship within a short period of time, so was the veiling after the Islamistic male chauvinistic coup.

As for reforms in regards to the rights of women in divorce case etc during the last shah's regime, the majority of women were not even well informed about their own rights. So that when these laws were discarded by the new regime many women didn't really know exactly what it was that they lost.

Unveiling the veiled or veiling the unveiled that is the question.
But indeed what Reza Shah managed to change permanently was the nomadic way of life for the majority of the Iranians. Nomads were forced to settle near industrial areas. After all industrialisation without a permanent work force was not going to be possible if the factory workers kept migrating seasonally.

Up to the end of Qajar dynasty's reign a staggering 80% of Iranians lived a nomadic life, moving seasonally to yeylagh (a cool area in summer) and gheshlagh (a warm area in winter). As a result of the policy of Reza Shah nomadic population was reduced to 20% in a mere 16 years of his rule. (Iran's population in 1925 was 11,780 M and in 1941, 14,760 M. This means that 7 - 8, 8 M of those changed their nomadic way of life).

It was of course inevitable that these rapid and forced enormous changes had to give way to certain problems in the future of the Iranian society. The religious lower middle class did not forget/forgive the forced deveiling of their women by the police and the army on the streets of the cities.

The slogan roosari yaa toosari (either a headscarf or a slap on the head!) by the men of the Party of God in 1980 was in fact a reaction to what had happened half a century earlier. Except these were the grandsons of those angered then. And really for them nothing had changed in over 50 years; at least not in their attitudes towards women.

For the Iranian women however some things have changed:

One is the education. And the other is the role women have played in political and social struggles at various times during the last 100 years. From the armed women fighters of Tabriz supporting Sattar Khan during the Constitutional movement (1906-1911) through to the post WWII struggles for social changes, women of Iran have come a long way.

Although the Islamic government was a set back for a great number of Iranian women, it managed to free the women belonging to the religious section of the lower middle class from being housebound. All of the sudden a religious man had to accept that his wife wanted to be religiously active, going out to the mosque and be with other religious 'sisters'. As a result the most conservative women Moslems in Iran cannot really be compared with the housebound women of the 19th century Iran.

The true victims amongst women of Iran are the religiously passive (secular involves more consciousness regarding the functions of state/religion) women of the lower classes, whose exploitation is approved by the current laws.

As for the education, the increase in literacy rate from 30% in 1970's to 86.5% at present must have benefited women in their confidence building although not necessarily in their endeavours to find suitable work. According to 1997 census school enrolment for primary education 6-11 yrs was 96%. For secondary education 53% and enrolment for tertiary education 20-24 yrs was 7%. We know also that of this latter group over 60% are women.

Most of the highly educated Iranian women today are very likely to have had grandmothers or great aunts who could not read and write. In today's Iran 1 -1.5 million women are heads of their families as the sole breadwinners. On the other hand the Iranian woman of today does not only have her own identity but also shares those of her mother's and grandmothers'.

The open dard-e del (=heart's pain/ this is talking to a close - mainly of the same sex - person/s of one's troubles and hurts with some therapeutic effect in self adjustment but not for bringing change as one would expect in counselling or therapy in modern practice) by a mother in presence of her daughter or even as one-to-one with the daughter -- an intimacy not always to the benefit of the daughter -- makes it almost impossible for her daughter to distance herself psychologically from her mother's or grandmother's faiths. With other words she carries the experiences and the life stories of the entire female side of her family as if they were her very own life's story as well.

Despite their dissatisfaction with their own arranged marriages however, Iranian mothers in general like their daughters to get married. In this respect the fact that their daughter is more educated than themselves and perhaps even lucky enough to have a job plays little role. As a result, with little illusion to start with, it is not uncommon to see new generations of women -- especially of the middle class background - entering marriage contracts as if they start a war of sexes trying to ensure they are not going to be the financial losers. It is almost as if they are revenging their mothers and grandmothers for the ways they had been treated in the past.

It is not rare to see or hear of naïve Iranian older men - still living in the past in terms of attitudes and expectations -- marrying young women with the fantasy that they could 'form her' like they would form clay. Little they know that these are rightly a more angry and sophisticated young women who are nearly 100 years old (carrying the experiences of their mothers and grandmothers if not other women of the family and of course the experience of having lived under an extremely misogynist state as well) and they are educated enough not to leave the future of the marriage to faith only.

The modern Iranian women do not think of the Iranian men as emotionally mature beings. The men know this subconsciously and suffer from inferiority complex which in turn makes them more hostile and controlling towards women. It is no coincidence that we have in today's Iran the ultimate of this tendency in the form of Islamic Republic. A system which is nothing but the ruling Iranian man's bureaucratic establishment for the purpose of keeping his harem -- inhabited by the half of the population - in control.

For this deep lack of respect and trust in men and for not taking them seriously (for anything other than the ability to pay the bills) the Iranian women feel also to some extent guilty. Guilty about being superior to their men, or at least being conscious of their men's weaknesses, they overcompensate by letting the man having his way and act as a tolerant mother towards him.

On the other hand not having had received much attention from their fathers - when still a child - women end up to become more possessive about their sons and bring them up with no consideration for their son's future partner, although the role of the father as model and the consequences of the son identifying with him cannot be underestimated.

This aspect of the active role of mothers in maintaining patriarchal values is of course globally widespread. My focus here however will remain on the Iranians only.

As for Freud's theory of penis-envy (a complex resulting in a woman subconsciously wanting to give birth - particularly to a son - in order to compensate for her own 'lack' of penis) apart from this theory being one of his most controversial ones, I find it entirely irrelevant for the Iranian society in every way. Most Iranian mothers openly and consciously state that they want a son because men are better off in Iran and that the son also could act as a kind of social security for their old age.   

No matter how tyrannical or kind hearted an Iranian man is to his family, he never deeply impresses his wife, especially once she has become a mother.

The Iranian man's vulnerability comes through the fact that for his mother's love he never had to compete with his father in the first place. If he is the only son of his mother he is destined to become a frustrated father himself. The competition with brothers for the attention of the mother on the other hand would be on an emotionally equal basis and not threatening to his libido as a child or young adult.

There are various reasons why of all the predominantly Moslem countries Iran had to be the first Islamic state, e.g. closeness to ex USSR, birth of Israel, a change of foreign policies of the West, a disillusioned socialistic minded generation in mid 20th century, some anti imperialistic notions adapted by Islamists, etc.

But here I would like to introduce another aspect which I believe relates to the Iranian collective subconscious, hence offering an untapped source and new potentials for women to use in their struggle not only to bring change to the Iranian society but also to unbalance the patriarchal triangle worldwide:
The first amazons recorded in history lived around the Caspian Sea. When the Aryan tribes entered the lands later to be called Persia 2550 years ago, in some parts there were cultures as old as 10,000 years. Some excavations over 3 decades ago around Caspian Sea (not the Iranian part) and the advanced testing of the potteries have already revealed that women were the sole producers of these products.

Aryans were patriarchal tribes when encountering these indigenous cultures. Their laws already insured inheritance from father to son.

We know that Cyrus II - the first man able to fulfil his imperialistic ideas -- was killed by a poisonous arrow of an Amazon during their battle. This caused the Persians to withdraw and avoid fighting the amazons for another half a century, which is an indication of how strong these women warriors were.

As far as I know the Iranian public is not conscious of this aspect of their history. And since currently ancient historians like Herodotus are rarely read first hand, and are usually known only through selected quotations and passages by the modern historians- who are mainly male- there has been little interest awaken in ancient herstory.   

Another example is that when Cyrus overtook Babylon with the help of the Jewish community living there, the Babylonian's most respected deity at the time was the goddess Ishtar (later changing to Esther, star, Stern and setareh- the goddess who played setar). Cyrus tried to promote the neglected and unpopular god Marduk and claimed to have been sent by him (see Cyrus cylinder). This policy was however not very successful. In fact the Persian army had to return to Babylon repeatedly mainly because the inhabitants tended to get back to their pre-patriarchal rituals and worship of Ishtar.

It was this extensive worship of Ishtar in Mesopotamia that helped to enforce the spreading of Anahita's (the Persian goddess of river downgraded later to an angel in Zoroastrianism) worship amongst large groups of inhabitants living in the west of Persia. This was precisely the area where the only passage through the Zagros Mountains exists leading to the Mesopotamian plain.

We also know from Herodotus that different classes of Persians initially worshipped different gods e.g. priests/magi worshipped Ahura, Mithra and Varuna (the latter remained later an Indian deity only).

In order to measure the differences between the indigenous people and the Aryan invaders -- or their influence on the indigenous people - one only needs to compare the two goddesses' characteristics.

Anahita is a virgin; she is mild and in most images found today 'feminine'. Ishtar on the other hand chooses strong young men as lovers and turns them to bulls and frogs when she is no longer interested or when they - out of fear - reject her. But Ishtar is also the goddess who following the decision of all gods to flood the world (think Mesopotamia) as a punishment, weeps for the humans and the animals and betrays other gods by advising a carpenter to make a ship and take a pair of each species on the board (sounds familiar? the carpenter's name was not Noah).

As for the Persians it is reasonable to assume that similar to India they intermingled with the indigenous inhabitants and that the caste system introduced centuries later by the Sassanids dynasty (224-651) was established around these racial differences which had of course a direct relationship with the limited professions open to these groups as well.

The first Persians being tribal people had no experience in farming. It is possible that some of them mixed with the indigenous people in order to become farmers. But if they did not intermingle at all, this would indicate that all farmers and later their caste consisted of indigenous people only.

Anyone who travels in north Iran along the Caspian Sea during the rice planting seasons will be able to see that the women of Gilan and Mazandaran are the real producers and farmers of these areas, whereas men are the tea-drinkers, sitting around cafes and counting sheep between two prayers.

It is only since middle of 19th century that the Iranians have become aware of their factual ancient kings. Up to then the ancient kings were only a part of the Persian mythology. Perspolis for instance had been named by Iranians as Takht-e Jamshid (the throne of Jamshid); Jamshid being a mythical figure.

This was also a time when a national consciousness in modern terms started to become widespread. Until then the Iranian Moslem men had to go through their Abraham complex in a similar way as the other Moslem men of other countries.

With the emergence of the constitutional movement and the modern third world nationalism there was also a revival of the only Persian nationalistic old literature in the form of the epic called Shahnameh (the Book of Kings) by Ferdowsi.(932 -- 1020 AD).
Ferdowsi was not however the first poet to attempt writing an epic based on Persian mythology. Before him Mas'oodi Marvazi and Daghighi Toosi had already started the project. After young Daghighi was killed by his slave, Ferdowsi continued his work using the same meter and included Daghighi's 1000 verses in the Goshtasp story in his honour.

This nationalistic tendencies amongst poets in the second half of the 10th century can only be explained in connection with the Pashto nationalistic movement taking place around the same time and well into the 12th century AD (for Pakhtoon nationalism see here).

My observation is that despite the fact that throughout the 20th century there was even resentment to Shahnameh by a part of the Iranian intellectuals and the left, the main character of this book namely Rostam has had nevertheless an enormous influence on all Iranian men and their psyche.

Rostam being a pahlevan (warrior Persian style) defeats many other pahlevans, a dragon and even a female witch. But he also does something else:

The story of Rostam and Sohrab and the Rostam complex
On his way to a raid Turan, (Turkish area in Central Asia) Rostam looses his horse Rakhsh near Semengan and accepts the hospitality of Semengan's king in Turan. After a party with music and dance Rostam goes to bed drunk and happy.

Shortly after the dark the servants open the door to his resting place and the beautiful Tahmineh -- the king's daughter- enters the room together with her slave who carries a candle approaching the drunken hero. Obviously Rostam is transfixed by her apparition resembling the sun and moon.

Tahmineh declares her longstanding love for him which was due to all the tales she had heard of his bravery. She also said that no one had ever seen her face or had heard her voice (obviously she meant men) but that she was so besotted with him that she had lost all reason and offered to belong to him if he wanted her. She also expressed her desire to have a son with him who would resemble him (sic!), and promised to order a search and find his horse Rakhsh.

Her extraordinary beauty and her share of 'wisdom' combined with the fact that she was talking of Rakhsh impressed Rostam who then sent an artful magi to the king in order to ask for his daughter's hand. The king was delighted.

After the wedding and a long night with the broody Tahmineh, Rostam got on the saddle no doubt very happy to see his real mate Rakhsh again. Giving Tahmineh his armband for their child to wear, off he went in order to raid the rest of Turan in a different way.

Nine months later Sohrab was born. He looked exactly like Rostam. After only one month he looked as if he was one year old.  As three years old toddler he played polo, at five he used bow and arrows. By the time he was ten there was no one in town who could match his physical strength.

It was then that he demanded from his mother aggressively (to her delight) to tell him who his father was. She proudly showed a letter from Rostam with the three rubies attached to three golden beads which he had sent from 'Iran' and emphasised that Afrasiab was not to know who Sohrab's father was, as he would order him to join the Turan's army, which would break her heart.

But Sohrab exclaimed proudly that this was not something he would conceal from anyone. And that he wished to gather some Turani soldiers and attack Iran in order to get rid of Kavus the king and replace him with his father Rostam. Together with his father he would attack Turan and get rid of Afrasiab as well. And off he went to fulfil his dream. With his army at the border where the fortress Sepid was, he had a one to one fight with Hajir and then his warrior daughter Gordafarid.

Gordafarid is one of the 16 women named in Shahnameh (who are usually wife, mother or daughter to a king or a warrior).
As a warrior - despite her near victory in bow shooting and the splitting of Sohrab's spear - she gets only one page out of 646 pages dedicated to her (77 couplets out of 66,000).

Once she does manage to get back to the castle by using some female surviving techniques, she disappears into the oblivion never to return to Shahnameh again. She literally vanishes overnight through a secret underground passage together with the other dwellers of the castle disappointing our mythical and overgrown adolescent, who had been smitten with her charms once he had discovered her female identity.

For the actual fight however she had to cover her hair in a way so that she would be taken as a man, showing that women were not supposed to become warriors whether amongst the Persians nor the Turks. And really she only enters the scene because her father is defeated and kept by the enemy.

Next for Sohrab comes the fight with Rostam. From the moment Rostam enters the scene in this tale his complex starts to show:

-- He lacks wisdom to take his own premonition seriously

-- When he is told that there is a new warrior fighting like Sam (Rostam's father) he laughs saying that he has a son with the daughter of Semengan's king but that this son according to the mother is still a child.

Considering the fact that he is the son of a line of nearly supermen, he is definitely suppressing his own inner knowledge and experience. Rostam and Tahmineh had only one night together for the obvious reason of reproducing another hero. As far as the readers of Shahnameh are concerned this was the only time Rostam spent with a woman. If he was a man usually into buying sex, or if he was a homosexual, can only be speculated.

Otherwise in a way he is a strong, asexual or sexless creature who enjoys a good fight and has a tendency to binge drinking. Fatherhood has absolutely no meaning for him. He has never visited his son, and as a result he doesn't even recognize him during their close fights.

According to Herodotus ancient Persians had several wives, and a still larger number of concubines, and as for their sons: „Until their fifth year they are not allowed to come into the sight of their father, but pass their lives with the women. This is done that, if the child die young, the father may not be afflicted by its loss" ** Even if this was the custom (obviously for the protection of the father) Rostam's absence was still far too longer than the 5 years' restriction.

And how come he didn't see the likeness of Sohrab to himself? Was that because he had never seen his own reflection before?
Rostam is only interested in fights and does not even observe the adolescent he intends to kill. Most of all in fourteen years he hasn't spent any time to think about his life and lacks wisdom. And this is where the analysis of his psyche has to come in:

Subconsciously he is jealous of his son's existence and envies his position as a grandchild of a king. And after all Tahmineh had made it very clear from the beginning that she desired to have a son who would resemble him.

On the day after the wedding when Rosatm left Tahmineh for good, there isn't even one couplet about her feelings. She either didn't have any feelings or was not allowed to have any. In order to suppress his death wish for Sohrab, Rostam never visits his wife and child. As a matter of fact the only woman he pays visits to is his mother.

It is of no significance to him that this young noble pahlevan comes from Turan. Rostam doesn't even suspect or want to investigate before the fight just who this 14 years old fighter might be. Sohrab is of course an overgrown young man, but any older person looking at a very young person's face usually recognises them as being very young. The ability to recognise this is really a part of the life experience and the feeling of having been there already.

As for Sohrab, he is a young version of Rostam and as such a big enough threat to his alienated and competitive father. He has his devoted mother all to himself and with Abraham/father being absent and the mother being single, does not seem to go through any complex of an oedipal character (and with the above mentioned 5 years restriction this could perhaps apply to all boys of his time and race).

No man is competing with him for his mother's love. There are no siblings to be jealous of him or to make him jealous either. His extraordinary physical education indicates the presence of a strong bond with his major trainer who inevitably would have been his male role model/ father.

When he demanded from his mother to reveal the identity of his father at the age of ten he was physically twenty, emotionally ten but mentally 2 years old. He throws a tantrum and threatens to hit his mother if she refuses to reveal the truth. Obviously he is at an age, when he has become conscious of time and the importance of the past and his origins.

Of course the way he speaks to his mother reveals more about the little men's attitude and their socialisation in Persia's 10th century and what seemed normal to Ferdowsi at the time.  Whereas he receives physical education until no tutor in town is able to teach him any further skills or defeat him in battle, there is no mention of him receiving general education.

However through his aggressive conversation with his mother it is revealed that he is not only a bully but also intellectually not developed enough to question his father's behaviour in having been absent throughout his life. Herodotus mentions that 'their sons are carefully instructed from their fifth to their twentieth year, in three things alone --- to ride, to draw the bow, and to speak the truth." **

Even if we assume that Sohrab didn't receive any further education for his mental development until he was twenty years of age just because he lived in Turan, Ferdowsi does not even make a point of this or even notices his shortcomings. Sohrab's naivety in even wanting to make Rostam the king of Iranzamin and Turan is staggering.

Sohrab has no instinct for self preservation. This is because as a child he never sensed a hidden hostility or jealousy towards himself from a father that lived with him or even a sibling; as a result he is incapable to foresee the re-emerging of familiar patterns in the behaviour of those he does not know. During their first fight Sohrab has a chance to kill Rostam but decides not to. He even - full of admiration and hope - asks him if he was not the great Rostam, whereby Rostam lies (obviously very Unpersian).

Later although Rostam laments the death of Sohrab, his grief practically ends with this fairly short story of the voluminous Shahnameh.

In reality no pahlevan can call himself a pahlevan after having killed his son even if it was unknowingly. But astonishingly Rostam does. For this reason the story of Rostam and Sohrab is a tragic story but not a tragedy. The tragedy in Oedipus Rex is the fact that Oedipus's life is irreversibly destroyed, but Rostam continues acting in other stories as if nothing has happened.

In Rostam and Sohrab the tension between Abraham and his son is released by the fact that Rostam actually ignores his own negative anticipations and premonitions, and as a result breaks the triangle by killing his son. Once Abraham becomes Rostam there is no inner god (super ego) to watch his actions. And by having destroyed the triangle he turns to a full stop himself, a dot.

And here lies the tragedy of the Persian man's mind, if not that of the modern absent father of the western societies as well. Ferdowsi does criticise Rostam - although only in three of the couplets - by asking how could have a father not recognised the features of his own son.

We know that Ferdowsi lost his 37 years old son when he himself was 65 years old. The shock and grief of loosing his only son devastated him to such extend, that he had to use a walking stick for the rest of his life from that day on. Considering the times and the culture, we can assume that their relationship was based on love and respect (the latter more shown by the son). But let us look at the psychological dynamism between the two:

Ferdowsi started to write the Epic of the Kings at the age of forty. At this time his son must have been 12 years old. If he wrote the book in the order as it is nowadays printed, then the story of Sohrab must have been written around the second year of the 30 years that he spent to complete writing the Shahnameh.

This means that his son was about fourteen when reading Sohrab (or hearing his father reciting the poems). Note that this is exactly the age that Sohrab was, when killed in the battle with Rostam. This tale I believe must have had a devastating effect on his son's psyche. It was only during the writing of this article that I came across a letter published on the web written by a child and addressed to Rostam. [5]

If a child who does not know the writer of the tale can feel so upset by Rostam's behaviour, it wouldn't be hard to imagine how Ferdowsi's son might have felt especially if he was exactly the same age as Sohrab.

In Psychoanalytical terms the fact that Ferdowsi lost the use of his limb as a consequence of his terrible grief indicates a strong sense of guilt resulting in a permanent self punishment (although guilt is a natural part of processing grief, the extend of it and the consequence varies in degree). By this I am not suggesting in any way an absence of love for his son but perhaps an additional subconscious guilt. I also admit that his age may have been the main factor hindering his recovery.

And of course the rejection of Shahnameh by the Turkish (Turani) king Mahmood Ghaznavi - five years later - must have added to Ferdowsi's grief as well. But surely deep down he must have known hat Ghaznavi's court was not the right establishment for him to get support from. Was this perhaps another act of self punishment?

It was like sending a book about defeating Islamic Republic that is full of praise for the attackers, to President Ahmadi-Nejad to read at his bedtime. Rostam killing his mixed race son Sohrab, and getting away with it, could not have possibly pleased Sultan Mahmood the king who obviously felt alienated by this great poet who happened to look like everyone's dream of a father figure.

Mahmood was otherwise a supporter of art and science and played an important role in making Abu Raihan Biruni's research in India possible. He is known however to have suppressed sectarian tendencies in the area. Perhaps the fact that Ferdowsi was a Shiite (at the time a minority in Persia) which is a Persianised Islam had also played a role (Note the parallels between the idea of hereditary Imamat of the 12 imams in Shiite and the autocratic shahanshahi as expressed in Shahnameh).

With this it seems that in the psyche of today's Iranian man/father the Abraham complex has been replaced by the Rostam complex in which the son/child is not recognized as such and is entirely unprotected. This makes the presence of god in the triangle totally absurd. The triangle of patriarchy hence has turned to a straight line between the father and the son with the god absent.
As a single line can no longer cover the circle, it exposes the uselessness of patriarchy as never before.

And in every act of a father destroying the son this line, which cannot even cut through the circle vanishes within this circle as a mere dot.

Although advanced capitalism benefits from more people being singles -- as more goods will be bought for each separate household and less can be shared - their respective governments have been trying on and off to revive the idea of the traditional family for various other concerns and reasons.

But we know that in patriarchal societies the state has been in fact a grand scale of the family and a reflection of it. For instance in countries with despotic regimes the average family structure is despotic and more patriarchal and visa versa i.e. if the majority of families in a country are despotic they wish to be ruled by a strong man let's say Reza Shah. And while currently 1 in 3 marriages in UK brakes within the first 3 years - at any given time - at least one of the major 3 political parties are going through a kind of crisis as well.

The phenomenon of fanatics who recruit suicide bombers:
Accordingly any wish-to-be-government/ruler has to play the patriarch in order to advance his plans, and amongst them most of all the religious fanatics. Here we have a combination of Abraham complex and the Rostam complex.

With the absence of the taboo of killing and the non biological fatherhood the symbolic father has no need of ensuring the survival of his symbolic children. He can now loose control. But like Rostam he does not even know them and has no intention to do so. The children on the other hand are like Sohrab full of trust and want to elevate him to a world ruler. Their own fathers may be absent from home working in a shop 7 days a week for 14 hours a day.

This makes them an easy target for the fanatic groups' leaders who usually approach youth only, as they have already taken the role of the patriarch in their respective groups. Gaining the trust of these youth the fanatic leader has then the power to finish their lives and shows no mercy in doing so. In the triangle of the patriarchy he is seen by the suicidal volunteer as the only representative of god, if not god himself. Here we have the father as Ezrael (Angel of Death) who rents out the heaven to these youth at the cost of their lives.

In killing himself and his poor victims the son unwittingly also destroys the triangle. The cosmic circle becomes visible again. We are entering a new phase indicating the beginning of the end of patriarchy after over 25 centuries.

And the Warmongers
Similarly within the context of the state and the family, the ordinary soldiers are the sons (in advanced countries also daughters) of the executive forces. The fact that some modern states employ soldiers rather than taking conscripts is a clear indication that these states are not so much concerned about defending their countries but rather attacking others, and mainly for interests concerning their economy.

These soldiers' lives are as much in danger as the suicide bombers with the additional burden that if they survive the wars, they are likely to suffer from psychological traumas -- if not straight forward conscience related issues - perhaps for the rest of their lives. Here again we have the father/Abraham turned to Rostam with no concern for his son and the god. The soldier/son is paid and has to obey taking part in wars that he is neither enthusiastic about -- like Nazis were initially -- nor can he be proud of -- as in the situation of defending one's country.

In this sense although he looks up to the state/father he does not really know him; and he is not known by him either. He is an unknown soldier while he's alive and if he dies the grief of the father/state will be only for a brief period of time. In this sense he is also a Sohrab lacking premonition and self preservation with a short story of life contained in the epic of the Imperialists. In this epic like in Shahnameh the father carries on with his wars as if nothing happened.

Two steps forward and none back
The Iranian woman has been suppressed for 2 millenniums, that is since the Aryans invaded the land, but with times changing, her genetic disposition and heritage connecting her to the amazons has been forcing itself to the surface.

Parallel to this awakening of the ancient instincts and the genetically re-emerging strength of women in their endurance and their perseverance, in addition to the skills they have gained in order to survive as an entity, the Iranian man's ancient anxiety has also been stimulated. In today's Iran men are anxious and women are fed up. The women have nothing to loose except their veils. There is no lack of human resources to bring change; the only thing needed is a decentralised coordination.

Twenty-five centuries of patriarchy in Iran has thoroughly failed to create a truly developed society and a just one. Iranians have not even achieved what they set to achieve in 1905 namely a real Constitutional revolution. The so called referendum (compulsory) after the revolution in 1979 offered only 2 options for the voters: Do you want monarchy (saltanati = autocratic kingdom) or Islamic Republic?

The wasted votes of those (like me) who added democratic republic at the bottom weren't even counted (in UK they are, which is a way to show the number of people who want to vote but don't find any of the parties/options desirable). In this respect as far as I am concerned the Iranians didn't even know what Islamic Republic really meant when they took part in the referendum.

If the present regime does truly believe that Islamic Republic is what the Iranian society wants, then they should not be afraid to confirm this by another referendum in the near future. This should offer more options and give enough time and resources to people to get the necessary information before they vote and not like the last time only after the referendum. And if the regime does fear another referendum then:
It is time for Iranian men to hand over the ruling of the country to women experts and follow their leadership by cooperating in fulfilling common aspirations.

A period of at least 25-30 years should be allowed for this new experiment. After that with the emergence of a new generation, both sexes could start sharing the ruling of the country equally. During this period there is no reason why men could not wear veils if they choose to do so.

The current situation in Iran with the highest numbers of operations on transsexuals indicates a lack of a sense of humour by the rulers who are incapable to accept transvestism and homosexuality as a fact of today's life. In fact I believe that the increase or decrease in the latter amongst the population may have even a direct relationship to nature's adjustment and its way of birth control in overpopulated areas.

The bizarreness of these operations being permitted more easily than in other countries without the consideration of the social circumstances which motivate these people to go through these drastic operations does relate to the contradictory aspects in the laws of Islam as mentioned already earlier.

For any phenomenon for which there is no written ancient Islamic law and regulations there seem to be room for improvisation. But in this particular case unfortunately this is without proper research regarding the possible implications for the individuals concerned.

The good side of it though is that Islam does not necessarily agree with Freud's belief that 'anatomy is destiny'. For those Moslems who want progress but insist to remain religious this aspect of the potential freedom of choice may be the hidden seed of a constructive change that needs nourishment in order to grow and emerge from the Islam's ground. But the regressive sides of Islam have to go before this can be fulfilled.     

As Iran had the first recorded amazons, the first imperialist (Cyrus), the first modern days' Islamic regime and even according to some claims where the land of Nod was located [6], there is no reason why it could not also be the first modern country ruled by women. The Rostams have failed and are no longer desired. Let the Gordafarids reappear from the dark to meet the lightly sleeping amazons.

There is no reason why evaluations can be applied to projects run by organisations and authorities and not to the system of governing a country or even to a coordinated global policy. The patriarchal societies have exploited the earth to the point of exhaustion and destroyed the environment irreversibly. Only a systematic change through conscious decision making and radical initiatives can give hope of a future for all.

*) Although the book was ready in 1899, he chose the year 1900 for the publication in order to emphasize that his idea was befitting a new century. 

1)  After Freud the female analogue for the Oedipus complex became known as Electra complex, named after another mythological figure, who helped slay her mother.

However in the 1930's during the last years of his life Freud made the statement that in regard to the female psyche more research was necessary. This he believed was because he had not taken into consideration the fact that in normal circumstances the first libidinous instinct /emotion of a newborn girl is toward the same sex namely her mother. By this he meant that the difference in experience at the oral phase (the first of 3 stages in the psychosexual development of a child) would not have a comparable psychological effect on the female psyche as he had initially assumed.

2) They were beheaded and their heads brought and piled up in front of the palace. This macabre and gruesome installation of heads was reported to be the size of a hill.  The news of this large scale horrendous cruelty - not only to Mazdakian but also to the observing community - must have inevitably travelled along the Silk Road. This style of punishment was used centuries later (as a model?) by Genghis Khan (Chengiz) when punishing the Khwarezmian city of Otrar and its shah (of an Oghuz Turkish dynasty) for killing and insulting his 500 trade envoys.

For more historical details on this see here and perhaps initially Genghis even thought that this kind of practice was a culturally accepted method of mass punishment in Persia, as once other cities like Samarqand and Bukhara were deterred from resistance and opened their gates for his army no further atrocities were reported at least up to the 14th century he was not perceived as unjust by Persians. Hafez wrote: bar shekan kaakol-e torkaaneh keh dar taale'e toast bakhshesho kooshesh-e Changez Khani. Later however his son Holaku who apparently liked Persians, massacred the people of Baghdad, perhaps assuming that to do so with the enemies of Persians would impress them

3) From Abu Bakr to Mu'awiyya all were elected by the chiefs of the Moslem tribes. Later Mu'awiyya of the Quraish family admiring the idea of kingdom as practiced in Syria and Persia started a trend by putting his son Yazid forward as a candidate to be elected (by the chiefs) after his death. This trend continued throughout the Umayyads' caliphate but was abandoned by Abbasids as they took over.

Once the Persians had adjusted Islam to their own ancient system by making Imamat hereditary, the Abbasids were able to establish their autocratic caliphate in Baghdad with their support as well.

4) In 1981 following the publication of ghesaas law in Iranian papers and the worsening of the situation for women in Iran, I was invited by the late feminist Manny Shirazi (one of the workers of the magazine Spare Rib and the author of Javady Alley, published in 1984) to analyze this law and do a reading for Iranian women at a meeting. It was there that I put forward my idea of monotheistic religions being the theoretical basis of patriarchy and that Koran and Islamic laws provided the definitive theory which ensured the ultimate hegemony of the patriarchy and its practice in West Asia.

**) Herodotus, On the Customs of Persians, c 430 BCE/ William Stearns Davis, Readings in Ancient History: Illustrative Extracts from the Sources, Vol. 2: Greece and the East (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1912), pp. 58-61.

5) The letter of a five years old boy (Nima Doostkhah) to Rostam here.

6) =East of Eden. This is where Cain (Ghabil) was exiled following the murder of his brother Abel (Habil). The cause was jealousy as Jehovah preferred Abel's offering to Cain's and paid Abel more attention (sic!). This is supposed to be in a valley east of Tabriz - looking out of this world - perhaps Kandovan.  

For letters section
To Vida Kashizadeh

Vida Kashizadeh




Book of the day

Three volume box set of the Persian Book of Kings
Translated by Dick Davis

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