From a wonderful young student from France (yes, they exist, although a very rare species) who sat in on my seminar in Turkey and then journeyed to Iran

July 20, 2015

In Blog Letters To Finkelstein News

Dear Norman Finkelstein,

As you can see I’m still alive and I’m back since few days in your favourite country: France !

We left Iran one week ago with the TransAsia train leaving Tehran to Ankara.

Those weeks in Iran were very rewarding: Iranian are really warm, welcoming and open-minded!
We spend the first week in Tehran, where we met a men, the first day we arrived, who was working with Afghan refugee in an illegal school of Tehran. As the illegal Afghani are not allowed to go to Irani school, a lot of people in Tehran host them and some district of the city organised some Illegal school , where we spend few days with Reza , our host .

Some conference and public debate are organised in the several park of Tehran: one of the topic was about the lack of freedom and the woman condition. This debate was really interesting , to be short ,we were really surprised to see so many young woman having plastic surgery ( lips-job , eyes-job , nose-job … the entire face sometime), of course, which  can mainly being seen in a private space . This debate was outside, in one small amphitheatre of Lalepark and almost all the women who were there, were asking Floriane ” How it is for a women to leave in a free country of Europe” and we finally came to the plastic surgery point , which was for them a peace of freedom , a proof that their body only belong to them and they have a control on it , some kind of disobedience act …even more interesting when we explained that in the West , that kind of plastic surgery can be considered as superficial…

I was really surprised to have this discussion in Iran: a lot of young people in Turkey have plastic surgery too but it’s really hard to speak about it with such honesty and “freedom of speech”!


The other big surprise was that a lot of Iranian, among the youngest, speak pretty well English, and among the oldest people (for your great pleasure :)), some are able to speak French! I’ve been searching for that kind of cultural event , ” underground life “, in Istanbul but it was really hard just to know when and where the events occurred and even harder because almost no one were able to speak English …( just like in France ! )

We felt this open-mindedness all over Iran, except in the North-West, the Turkish side of Iran (around Tabriz) and in the south, close to the Arabic Sea, where people are much more traditional and religious. Another point surprised me a lot: a big majority of the people we have met doesn’t believe in Islam. They are Muslim in the eyes of the government, register as Muslim born, just like people in the West can be baptized and register as Christian without being believer. A lot of them told us that they believe in the word of their sacred poets, Ferdowsi, Sa’adi or Hafez but not in the Coran.

Just a last point about Iran: we spend the last week in the Kurdish side of Iran, in a ranch in Sanandaj province. We met the guy who was the owner of this ranch, who invited us to stay with him for few days. Rida was able to speak English pretty well, which enabled us to have some very interesting discussions about religion, morality, reason, nationalism … We had a nice talk about Ahmad Moftizadeh , a Kurdish leader from Sanandaj. His views about conscience and compassion were somewhat similar to Rousseau’s idea:  human being, is able to know by nature what is just and what is not, while society depraved human being and bring vice in human behaviour. Do you know more about Ahmad Moftizaded?

I hope everything’s fine for you! On my side I’m finishing to write my master thesis and I’m starting to work on my PHD subject. I would like to work on the multi-ethnic state of Kosovo ( for the Balkans ) and Lebanon (for the middle east ) , I’ll have more precise information after my thesis defense in September .
Thanks for your reading 🙂

Best regards!

Have a nice day !

​Tony Rublon​