Friday, September 04, 2009

New Iranian Purges?

Today is Friday, 4 September 2009.

“Many of the humanities and liberal arts are based on philosophies whose foundations are materialism and disbelief in godly and Islamic teachings,” said Ayatollah Khamenei on Sunday past, in his best imitation of Pat Robertson.

A recent and ongoing barrage of such remarks by government and clerical thugs at all levels indicates that another purge of the Iranian higher education system is in the offing.

After the Khomeini coup of 1979, the universities were closed for a time and faculties and student bodies “cleansed” of dissidents. Khomeini attempted to end the teaching of everything but the natural sciences. This endeavour foundered on the opposition of faculty and students, and the regime's grudging recognition that Iran could not remain a regional power in the 20th century with a 13th century university system. Purges were again widespread during the first term of Ahmadinejad.

Resistance to further purges may be widespread, given that more than 2/3rds of Iran’s population is 30 and under.

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