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Nothing rude about expressing opposing views
On Golbarg Bashi's "They
As you have chosen Iranian.com to send your reflections on the
Iranian Women's Studies Foundation (IWSF)
conference in Vienna and not let's say to IWSF website (but it
hasn't got a section
reflections has it?) I
am going to make a brief comment as far as my recent experience
the Vienna team (Zoroastrians?) of organisers is concerned.
Like you I have great respect for Golnaz Amin and I really intended
to leave my point of view at rest as it was not such a big deal
after all. But there you go. Your article begs for other reflections
which Iranian.com has put under the title of 'debate' obviously
As you have been to this year's conference you are in a better position
to judge if the selection of the speakers was a balanced choice representing
all different opinions along the spectrum. If this was the case then it seems
that tolerance is as always still an issue with the Iranians who have been subjected
to the education system in Iran.
On the other hand you mention radicalism as if it was synonymous with rudeness.
tolerating a conservative speaker is in fact missing the opportunity to attain
and exercise a virtue necessary for democracy. As tolerance is indeed a virtue
particularly well exercised by those who have been exposed to the UK education
system in big cities.
However if no platform were given to any contrasting opinions then this chaos
as you described would be the inevitable destiny of any conference selecting
elite to represent the interests of the half of a nation.
As for my personal experience with this year's organisers: I was sent an
e-mail (for the first time) announcing the dates for proposals. I applied for
a performance as well as for a reading. As outlined for them in a page for the
reading, my approach would have been more in the line of exploring the reasons
why feminism within the framework of Islam as the fundament of an ideology would
not be possible and exploring the ways to survive within this disparity.
I never received a reply via e-mail (which I hope you agree is not a big deal).
They may argue that there were too many applications. But for a conference with
a maximum of 400 women attending how many applications
would you expect? Let's be unrealistic and say 400 applications.
When dealing with a organisation concern with women issues the least I expect
is a round letter to everyone concerned starting with 'dear colleague/women'
and announcing the fact that the selection has taken long, due to high number
applicants and unfortunately 'you' have not been selected on this
occasion etc. blah (yes I am patronizing. But some behaviour calls for patrons
if not matrons).
I would have let my disillusionment with the IWSF management
in Vienna at rest if you had mentioned for instance that a wide range of opinions
on the platform. Now, were they? If your answer is yes, then I have absolutely
no interest in this letter appearing
in the Iranian.com.
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