November 2, 2014

OBASERVING THE 'YPOCRITES:

The book in every Iranian home : The works of the 14th Century poet Hafez can be found in almost every Iranian home - more than 600 years after his death, the writer still offers an insight into his country's identity. (Diana Darke, 11/01/14, BBC)

In Iran they say there are two books in every household - the Koran and Hafez. One is read, the other is not.

To understand this joke you need do no more than join the millions who regularly throng the tomb of Hafez, the 14th Century poet of Shiraz and Iran's national hero, as I did one recent afternoon. [...]

More women than men now graduate from university. The birth rate has dropped so dramatically, to one child per family, that the clerics have introduced financial incentives for couples to breed more. Most refuse, saying that it is still too expensive to have more than one child.

While the west remains obsessed with Iran's nuclear enrichment it is an open secret that the well-connected clerics and businessmen enrich themselves through sanction busting.

When I hesitate over buying a Persian rug through lack of cash, knowing Western credit cards are banned from use inside Iran, the carpet dealer disregards my concerns and simply rings a friend in Dubai to seal the transaction.

Unfortunately for the mullahs the mystic poetry of Hafez, besides lauding the joys of love and wine, also targeted religious hypocrisy.

"Preachers who display their piety in prayer and pulpit," he wrote 600 years ago, "behave differently when they're alone. Why do those who demand repentance do so little of it?"

Bans apply to many things in Iran, including the BBC, yet the BBC's Farsi is the most watched TV channel here. Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus and Instagram are all officially blocked.

Rouhani is calling for internet restrictions to be eased but the last word on such matters rests with the supreme leader, who is so far unrelenting.

Small wonder the people of Iran comfort themselves with the poetry of Hafez. Even the mullahs cannot ban their own national poet.

Posted by at November 2, 2014 7:09 AM
  

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