The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


February 6, 2001

Need discipline

I truly enjoyed the literary aspect of your piece ["Theater of deception"], and I know that we should not try to draw logical and pedantic conclusions from literary works.

However, culturally speaking, reading your piece I couldn't fail to notice that two of you, Ali and yourself, are the only main lawbreakers of the English boarding school, while your brother, the other Iranian is its literary star. I think this says a lot about our Iranian culture, a culture of extremes and antagonisms.

Secondly, you mention acquiring "civility" in the school with a smirk. One may feel that you guys might have needed some "civility" after all, although you seem to want to blame your rebellion on the school's overblown sense of discipline and racism.

In fact all we Iranians can use some structure and discipline, as we need to enter modernity, which is based on drill and a sheer sense of discipline, a spin off of the military origins of Anglo-German culture.

One may argue similarly that Japanese and lately Koreans are able to catch up with the West and excel in the game of industrialization, partly due to the fact that they share a sense of discipline and order ensued by their own religion and history.

R. Nafisi


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