By Ervand Abrahamian
In a reappraisal of Iran's sleek heritage, Ervand Abrahamian strains its irritating trip around the 20th century, throughout the discovery of oil, imperial interventions, the rule of thumb of the Pahlavis and, in 1979, revolution and the delivery of the Islamic Republic. within the intervening years, the rustic has skilled a sour warfare with Iraq, the transformation of society below the clergy and, extra lately, the growth of the kingdom and the fight for strength among the previous elites, the intelligentsia and the industrial heart classification. the writer is a compassionate expositor. whereas he adroitly negotiates the twists and turns of the country's nearby and foreign politics, on the center of his publication are the folks of Iran. it really is to them and their resilience that this publication is devoted, as Iran emerges at first of the twenty-first century as the most strong states within the heart East.
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Additional resources for A History of Modern Iran
The signing of the Oslo agreement allowed the PLO to enter the West Bank and Gaza in preparation for sealing the agreement on a two-Â�state solu- How Did We Come to This? 43 tion. But when, yet again, such a solution did not come into being, the PLO lost its standing among Palestinians, thus allowing for the rise of its long-Â� time rival, the Islamic movement led by Hamas. The choice between these two leaderships seemed, at one stage, like a choice between black and white: we could either follow the PLO along the endlessly winding garden path of negotiations in pursuit of an illusory earthly paradise while Israel continued to entrench itself in the territories it had occupied in 1967; or we could follow Hamas along a thorny path of fightÂ�ing and mortal danger, whose earthly results might take more than a lifetime to bear fruit, but with a guaranteed paradise in the afterlife.
Without that humanity, as exemplified by willingness to risk one’s own life to respond to others’ cries for help, there Â�wouldn’t be anything in life worth speaking for. For the con- 50 w ha t i s a p a l estin ia n st a t e wo r t h ? tending parties in the case of Jerusalem’s Sacred Esplanade, it appears that life’s worth consists in religious beliefs—beliefs positing the Rock as a mystical point of contact between the human and the divine, dispossession from which renders the believer’s life devoid of value.
The list of examples is long and multifarious. Regicide, infanticide (practiced as a religious act and with the community’s general well-Â�being as an objective), preemptive military strikes, targeted assassinations, collateral (human) damage, and suicide bombings are just some of the cases in which people “justify” the taking of life, one’s own and/or those of others, by an appeal to a supposedly worthier cause. Not all the examples I mentioned, however, are in the same category. Regicide, the killing of a despot or king with the intention of improving the well-Â�being of a certain population, seems more akin to targeted assassination (now a recognized Israeli policy), and to war more generally, than to euthanasia.
A History of Modern Iran by Ervand Abrahamian