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"Fanatic," "dogmatic," "fundamentalist"—these are the words most often used in the West to describe the Ayatollah Khomeini. The essays in this book challenge that view, arguing that Khomeini and his Islamic movement should be seen as a form of Third World political populism—a radical but pragmatic middle-class movement that strives to enter, rather than reject, the modern "Fanatic," "dogmatic," "fundamentalist"—these are the words most often used in the West to describe the Ayatollah Khomeini. The essays in this book challenge that view, arguing that Khomeini and his Islamic movement should be seen as a form of Third World political populism—a radical but pragmatic middle-class movement that strives to enter, rather than reject, the modern age. Ervand Abrahamian, while critical of Khomeini, asks us to look directly at the Ayatollah's own works and to understand what they meant to his principal audience—his followers in Iran. Abrahamian analyzes political tracts dating back to 1943, along with Khomeini's theological writings and his many public statements in the form of speeches, interviews, proclamations and fatwas (judicial decrees). What emerges, according to Abrahamian, is a militant, sometimes contradictory, political ideology that focuses not on issues of scripture and theology but on the immediate political, social, and economic grievances of workers and the middle class. These essays reveal how the Islamic Republic has systematically manipulated history through televised "recantations," newspapers, school textbooks, and even postage stamps. All are designed to bolster the clergy's reputation as champions of the downtrodden and as defenders against foreign powers. Abrahamian also discusses the paranoia that permeates the political spectrum in Iran, contending that such deep distrust is symptomatic of populist regimes everywhere.


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"Fanatic," "dogmatic," "fundamentalist"—these are the words most often used in the West to describe the Ayatollah Khomeini. The essays in this book challenge that view, arguing that Khomeini and his Islamic movement should be seen as a form of Third World political populism—a radical but pragmatic middle-class movement that strives to enter, rather than reject, the modern "Fanatic," "dogmatic," "fundamentalist"—these are the words most often used in the West to describe the Ayatollah Khomeini. The essays in this book challenge that view, arguing that Khomeini and his Islamic movement should be seen as a form of Third World political populism—a radical but pragmatic middle-class movement that strives to enter, rather than reject, the modern age. Ervand Abrahamian, while critical of Khomeini, asks us to look directly at the Ayatollah's own works and to understand what they meant to his principal audience—his followers in Iran. Abrahamian analyzes political tracts dating back to 1943, along with Khomeini's theological writings and his many public statements in the form of speeches, interviews, proclamations and fatwas (judicial decrees). What emerges, according to Abrahamian, is a militant, sometimes contradictory, political ideology that focuses not on issues of scripture and theology but on the immediate political, social, and economic grievances of workers and the middle class. These essays reveal how the Islamic Republic has systematically manipulated history through televised "recantations," newspapers, school textbooks, and even postage stamps. All are designed to bolster the clergy's reputation as champions of the downtrodden and as defenders against foreign powers. Abrahamian also discusses the paranoia that permeates the political spectrum in Iran, contending that such deep distrust is symptomatic of populist regimes everywhere.

30 review for Khomeinism: Essays on the Islamic Republic

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nariman

    یکی دیگه از کتاب های خوندنی آبراهامیان که از 5 مقاله تشکیل شده. در مقاله اول تلاش می کنه خمینی رو به عنوان یک پوپولیست معرفی کنه نه یک بنیادگرای مذهبی، در مقاله دوم عقاید خمینی در مورد دولت، مالکیت خصوصی و کشمکش طبقاتی رو مورد بررسی قرار میده.مقاله سوم به بررسی روز کارگر پس از انقلاب می پردازه و این که چگونه رژیم جمهوری اسلامی اون رو از یک راهپیمایی با شعار های رادیکال کارگری تبدیل کرده به یک گردهمایی بی خطر و تا حد توان از اهمیتش کاسته. در مقاله چهارم که بیشتر از همه به دل من نشست و به سوال های یکی دیگه از کتاب های خوندنی آبراهامیان که از 5 مقاله تشکیل شده. در مقاله اول تلاش می کنه خمینی رو به عنوان یک پوپولیست معرفی کنه نه یک بنیادگرای مذهبی، در مقاله دوم عقاید خمینی در مورد دولت، مالکیت خصوصی و کشمکش طبقاتی رو مورد بررسی قرار میده.مقاله سوم به بررسی روز کارگر پس از انقلاب می پردازه و این که چگونه رژیم جمهوری اسلامی اون رو از یک راهپیمایی با شعار های رادیکال کارگری تبدیل کرده به یک گردهمایی بی خطر و تا حد توان از اهمیتش کاسته. در مقاله چهارم که بیشتر از همه به دل من نشست و به سوال های زیادی که در ذهنم بود پاسخ داد به بررسی تحریف های جمهوری اسلامی درباره تاریخ معاصر ایران پرداخت. شیخ فصل الله نوری شخصی است که جمهوری اسلامی تلاش زیادی برای تطهیر او دارد.در حالی که این فرد جهت گیری های آشکاری به سمت روسیه داشته، اجازه تخریب قبرستان مسلمانان برای احداث بانک روسی را به آنان داد و در درگیری های بین محمد علی شاه و مشروطه خواهان نه تنها آشکارا سمت سلطنت را گرفت، بلکه با بابی و کافر خواندن مشروطه خواهان عملا حکم مرگ آنان را داد. مدرس شخصیت دیگری است که حکومت تلاش زیادی می کند تا او را شخصی ضد جکومت رضا خانی و به شدت حامی مذهب و اسلام معرفی کند. حقیقت این است که مدرس هم به وزیر جنگ شدن و هم به پایان قاجاریه و سلطنت رضا شاه رای مثبت داده بود. و از طرفی همواره شخصیت لیبرالی داشته است و از طرفداران دور نگه داشتن دین از سیاست بوده است. ملک الشعرای بهار همواره او را به دلیل این که از مذهب بر علیه دشمنان خود استفاده نمی کند می ستود. شخصیت دیگری که بسیار بر روی او مانور می دهند میرزا کوچک خان جنگلی است. از دید حکومت وی یک "روحانی" مبارز تصویر می شود که پرچم اسلام را برافراشته و بر علیه قدرت های خارجی مبارزه کرد. این در شرایطی است که روابط او با چپ های ایران و شوروی همواره با معما های بسیاری همراه بوده است .همچنین بزرگنمایی های بسیاری درباره جنبش جنگل پس از انقلاب اسلامی انجام گرفته است در حالی که جنبش جنگل در دوران اوج خود بیش از 2000 مرد مسلح در اختیار نداشت. آیت الله کاشانی، ستارخان، نواب صفوی و... از شخصیت های تاریخی دیگری هستند که در جمهوری اسلامی اعمالشان بزرگنمایی شده است و از طرفی کاراکتر های چپ و لیبرال همچون مصدق، سلیمان میرزا اسکندری، کسروی و ... همواره تخریب می شوند. مقاله پنجم به بررسی تئوری توطئه در ایران می پردازد که بسیار خواندنی است. این مقاله ابتدا ریشه ها و دلایل این مساله رو آشکار می کنه و سپس بررسی می کنه که چجوری تئوری توطئه مانع شکل گیری پلورالیسم در سیاست ما شده و هیچ جناح سیاسی تحمل شنیدن حرف مخالف رو نداره و به سادگی گروه مخالف رو به عنصر بیگانه بودن متهم می کنه. نتایج این تئوری توطئه در بین سیاستمداران و مردم ما بعد از انقلاب به فجایعی همچون کشتار زندانیان سیاسی در دهه شصت و قتل های زنجیره ای منجر شد. کتاب ترجمه نشده و نسخه انگلیسی رو هم به سختی گیر آوردم. اگر می خواید کتاب رو بخونید اون رو اینجا براتون آپلود کردم.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zohra Star

    This book demystifies the Iranian regime by "reading" the campaign that Khomeini had launched. The best thing I learned from this book is how the Iranian regime, while acting holier-than-thou is actually heretical, according to Ebrahamian, in many ways and it is best compared to South American Labor movements. Munch on this book the next time you want to blurt out generalizations about Islam at your next get-together. This book demystifies the Iranian regime by "reading" the campaign that Khomeini had launched. The best thing I learned from this book is how the Iranian regime, while acting holier-than-thou is actually heretical, according to Ebrahamian, in many ways and it is best compared to South American Labor movements. Munch on this book the next time you want to blurt out generalizations about Islam at your next get-together.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Homa

    کوتاه و مفید بود و باعث شد در مورد تاریخ معاصر ایران کنجکاوتر شم و بخوام که بیشتر بخونم.

  4. 5 out of 5

    TJ Petrowski

    In “Khomeinism: Essays on the Islamic Republics,” Iranian historian Ervand Abrahamian offers a superb analysis of the ideology and complexities of Khomeini. Abrahamian argues in this book that Khomeini’s ideology, rather than being Islamic fundamentalist, not unlike the Afghan mujahideen, as he is frequently depicted in the West, is akin to that of a Third World populist. According to Abrahamian, populism “is a more apt term for describing Khomeini, his ideas, and his movement because this term In “Khomeinism: Essays on the Islamic Republics,” Iranian historian Ervand Abrahamian offers a superb analysis of the ideology and complexities of Khomeini. Abrahamian argues in this book that Khomeini’s ideology, rather than being Islamic fundamentalist, not unlike the Afghan mujahideen, as he is frequently depicted in the West, is akin to that of a Third World populist. According to Abrahamian, populism “is a more apt term for describing Khomeini, his ideas, and his movement because this term is associated with ideological adaptability and intellectual flexibility, with political protests against the established order, and with socioeconomic issues that fuel mass opposition to the status quo.” In contrast to ‘populism’, the term ‘fundamentalism’ “implies religious inflexibility, intellectual purity, political traditionalism, even social conservatism, and the centrality of scriptural-doctrinal principles.” Through an analysis of Khomeini’s shifting views on issues such as private property, the state, and society, Abrahamian demonstrates how “Khomeini broke sharply with Shii [sic – Shia] traditions, borrowed radical rhetoric from foreign sources, including Marxism, and presented a bold appeal to the public based not on theological themes but on real economic, social, and political grievances. In short, he transformed Shiism from a conservative quietist faith into a militant political ideology that challenged both the imperial powers and the country’s upper class. The final product has more in common with Third World populism — especially that of Latin America — than with conventional Shiism” or Islamic fundamentalism. An excellent book for students of the Middle East and Islam!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Theodora

    Loved the comparison to South American labor struggles. Could provide interesting reading for those into liberation theology but might know nothing about the Islamic Republic...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sepehr Keshanchi

    کتاب شامل مجموعه مقالاتی است که چند محور اساسی تاریخ سیاسی معاصر ایران رو شامل میشه و و محوریتش برخورد ایدئولوژی جمهوری اسلامی در مواجه ، تفسیر و ایجاد روایت مطلوب تبلیغی نظام برآمده از انقلاب اسلامی سال 57 در مورد مقاطع تعیین کننده سیاست معاصر ایران میباشد . بصورت خلاصه فضای کتاب مانند سایر کارهای آبراهامیان در فضایی بسیار پژوهش محور شکل میگیره و اگر تجربه مطالعه سایر کارهاشون رو داشته باشید از این کتاب هم لذت میبرید . شاید با توجه به تنوع مقالات کتاب و اینکه در سایر کارهای آبراهامیان هم رد پای کتاب شامل مجموعه مقالاتی است که چند محور اساسی تاریخ سیاسی معاصر ایران رو شامل میشه و و محوریتش برخورد ایدئولوژی جمهوری اسلامی در مواجه ، تفسیر و ایجاد روایت مطلوب تبلیغی نظام برآمده از انقلاب اسلامی سال 57 در مورد مقاطع تعیین کننده سیاست معاصر ایران میباشد . بصورت خلاصه فضای کتاب مانند سایر کارهای آبراهامیان در فضایی بسیار پژوهش محور شکل میگیره و اگر تجربه مطالعه سایر کارهاشون رو داشته باشید از این کتاب هم لذت میبرید . شاید با توجه به تنوع مقالات کتاب و اینکه در سایر کارهای آبراهامیان هم رد پای بسیاری از جملات این کتاب رو بشه پیدا کرد بهترین ریویویی که بشه از کتاب نوشت برآمده از متن باشه : (( مسلماً جمهوری اسلامی تاریخ را انباری از اسناد و مدارک در نظر نگرفته است و برای بدست آوردن حقیقت تاریخی با وسایلی تا این حد غیر مجاز به دردسر افتاده است . کتاب سه هدف عمده رو پیگیری میکند که اول شرح این نکته است که رژیم از چهار مقطع مهم تاریخی شامل انقلاب مشروطه ، جنبش جنگل ، سلطنت رضاخان و دوران نخست وزریری مصدق و کودتای 28 مرداد به عنوان لحظات تعیین کننده استفاده کرده است . لحظاتی که در آنها گویا چپ به ملت ایران خیانت کرده ، در صورتی که روحانیون در مقابل امپریالیسم ، فئودالیسم و استبداد ایستادگی کرده اند . این مقالات نشان میدهند که چه جهاتی از این مقطع تاریخ برجسته شده و چه جهاتی کم رنگ و نادیده گرفته شده است . همچنین موارد سواستفاده از تاریخ در جهت ایجاد نوعی مشروعیت دینی و ملی نموده است . ضمناً تلاش در جهت جداسازی نیروهای چپ از نیروهای ملی گرای غیر مذهبی برای تضعیف هر دو گروه دارد و در نهایت اینکه با مجموعه این تلاش ها به روحیات طبقات پایین تر جامعه متصل تر شود .))

  7. 5 out of 5

    Abel Bisrat

    Decent overview of the populist and working class character of the Islamic Revolution during Khomeini's time but readers should defer to the book Islam and Revolution as it is written by Khomeini itself and isn't saddled with some analysis that occasionally borders on patronizing and even orientalist. Chapters 4 and 5 in particular are weak in comparison to the chapters preceding them in this respect. Gaslighting the Iranian government calling them "paranoid" for daring to mention the threat pos Decent overview of the populist and working class character of the Islamic Revolution during Khomeini's time but readers should defer to the book Islam and Revolution as it is written by Khomeini itself and isn't saddled with some analysis that occasionally borders on patronizing and even orientalist. Chapters 4 and 5 in particular are weak in comparison to the chapters preceding them in this respect. Gaslighting the Iranian government calling them "paranoid" for daring to mention the threat posed by the west despite support for royalists and terrorist cults like MEK that seek the destruction of their society is rather irritating. Nevertheless it is informative in parts and an overall interesting read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bahram Zaeri

    مفید و مختصر آنچه که از خمینی باید بدونیم توضیح میده. شاید مهم ترین نکته کتاب اینه که خمینی یک عوام گرا بود نه بنیادگرا. اصولا انقلاب ایران کمتر زمینه بنیادگرایی داشت و بیشتر در مسیر مدرن شدن قرار می‌گرفت. به نظرم تنها انتقادی که میشه کرد اسم کتابه. ما چیزی به خمینیسم هیچوقت نداشتیم. مخصوصا در مقایسه با مائویسم یا مارکسیسم و ...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Piers Haslam

    A wonderfully concise take-down of the characterisation of the Islamic Republic as immovably fundamentalist. Abrahamian shows how malleable Khomeini's sense of the relationship between state and religion was throughout his writings, as well as during his rule. A wonderfully concise take-down of the characterisation of the Islamic Republic as immovably fundamentalist. Abrahamian shows how malleable Khomeini's sense of the relationship between state and religion was throughout his writings, as well as during his rule.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eric Randolph

    Brilliantly useful, engaging and rare -- left me wanting much more.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Danny

    Great argument about the nature of the Islamic Revolution.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris Kelly

    There are few political figures who inspire more emotional reactions in the modern world than Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and there are few events that have garnered more divisive analyses than the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79. Whether receiving the blind support of followers or the derision of detractors, Khomeini and the movement that he led into power, has often been reduced to a singularly uncomplicated phenomenon, guided too often by the content of his rhetoric and not by the many nuances There are few political figures who inspire more emotional reactions in the modern world than Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and there are few events that have garnered more divisive analyses than the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79. Whether receiving the blind support of followers or the derision of detractors, Khomeini and the movement that he led into power, has often been reduced to a singularly uncomplicated phenomenon, guided too often by the content of his rhetoric and not by the many nuances of his writings and the reality of the policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ervand Abrahmian seeks to cut through the simplistic labels of "fundamentalist" or "black reactionary" that are often heaped onto Khomeini by western policy makers and journalists, to paint a picture of a more complex figure. Abrahmian argues in these five essays that Khomeini's long public record of writings and speeches show a man whose political views changed over time in response to the varied political circumstances that he faced. From an elite cleric critical of the policies of the Pahlavi monarchy, to a radical revolutionary who spoke out on behalf of the "mostazafin" (the oppressed), to a national leader who sought to defuse revolutionary furor in favor of bolstering the propertied middle class, Khomeini has behaved, in Abrahamian's view, more like any populist third world leader than a religious fundamentalist. He rejects the view of Khomeini as a backwards looking religious fanatic - arguing that in fact Khomeini's guiding political ideology of "velayat-e fagih" (guardianship of the jurist) was a radically new concept in Shi'i Islam and not an attempt to turn the clock back to the seventh century as some critics have suggested. The five essays in this book examine Khomeini's and the Islamic Republic's record in both theory and practice on issues such as tradition vs. radicalism, property, worker's rights, the use of history, and the "paranoid style" of Iranian politics, noting along the way that the behavior of the regime has been more rational than radical. Implicit in Abrahamian's argument is a strong criticism of the regime and its raison d'etre, illustrating that behind the strong rhetoric used by the revolutionaries of the 1970's, the Islamic Republic has behaved much more like a government of men rife with compromise than like the utopian representative of God's will that it promised to deliver. This is a slim volume, and it would have benefited by the inclusion of essays on a wider range of topics - Khomeini's complex view of women's rights, Iran's foreign policy since 1979, and education and technical training in Iran all come to mind. Nonetheless, Abrahamian's objective look at the reality of the complexities of Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamic Republic is a welcome one in an era of reductionist and simplistic analysis of Iran. It is noteworthy, that the book was published in 1993 during the "moderate" presidency of Rafsanjani. It would be interesting to see how Abrahamian would update the book to cover the past twenty years that have included the rise and fall of the reformist movement and the election of Ahmedinijad in 2005.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Yorgos

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brian Mann

  15. 4 out of 5

    Javad

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Branson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elham Naeej

  18. 5 out of 5

    Abel B

  19. 5 out of 5

    Harry Miktarian

  20. 5 out of 5

    Meredith J LoBello

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anvari

  22. 4 out of 5

    Khashayar

  23. 4 out of 5

    Damian Dempsey

  24. 4 out of 5

    Danial Haqiqy

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cemile

  26. 5 out of 5

    Klyv

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ali Emre

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tina Nazari

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rola

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