November 26, 2005

"Poverty and Prostitution."

The NYT profiles Massoud Dehnamaki, whom it calls "Iran's Michael Moore":
Reformists and conservatives alike harshly criticized Mr. Dehnamaki for making the first movie, "Poverty and Prostitution." Conservatives were furious that one of their own had not only highlighted an un-Islamic social pathology but seemed to sympathize with the prostitutes. Reformists believed he deliberately exaggerated the problem to make a case against easing Islamic law....

In the movie, Mr. Dehnamaki interviews more than a dozen prostitutes and many of their customers. All the women tell the same story of poverty and the need to provide for their families.

"We are two sisters working, and we can hardly earn enough to buy food and pay our rent," says a sobbing woman, whose face was covered to hide her identity.

"I sometimes dream of having chicken, or good food, at least once a week," she goes on, wiping away tears. "I have worked at homes where they had so much money that they threw food in the garbage. I always envy people who can eat well."

A woman clad in the traditional head-to-toe chador, who introduces herself as the mother of the two sisters, says she has thought of killing herself and her daughters several times because of the hardship of their lives but she could not find the courage....

Mr. Dehnamaki, 36, believes Iran needs to modernize, within the confines of a strict Islam, but not Taliban-style.

"If we are against the Islam that the Taliban introduced, we must be able to offer a good model of the Islam that we believe is the source of compassion and kindness," he said. "But it has to be according to the needs of today so that it would be acceptable to our youth."
Much more at the link. Very compelling. Did they have to drag in Michael Moore, though?

12 comments:

Troy said...

Come on Ann... Michael Moore is synonymous to "Truth".

Sounds compelling. Who knew there were women poor enough and men sick, desperate, whatever... enough to pay 20 rials for a "magic carpet ride" (or whatever Persian slang for sex acts might be)?

JP said...

Interesting how he was a founding member of Hizbullah (someone please correct me if that's not the same thing as Ansar Hizbullah), and wound up quitting the organization. I would imagine such a decision to be very dangerous - especially if he goes on to publicize the "un-Islamic social pathology".

Dave said...

Michael Moore and "truth" are antonymic, not synonymous....

John Jenkins said...

I think Dave's sarcasm-o-meter is a little out of whack today.

Daryl Herbert said...

Lebanese/Syrian Hezbollah and Ansar Hezbollah are not the same organization. "Hezbollah" means "party of God," so it's not surprising that multiple political factions would want it as their name.

Ansar-i hizbullah, the followers of the party of God, (also known as Ansar-i Hezbollah or Ansar-e Hezbollah), is a semi-official, paramilitary organization in Iran which carries out attacks on those whom it perceives to be violating the precepts of Islam, such as women wearing makeup, reformist protestors, and unmarried couples.

Fun people. This documentarian might have left their organization, and may not support their violent tactics, but he still wants the same end goal--an Islamic state even more radical than the current Iranian government.

Andrew Scotia said...

What worries me about Iran is that they have been one of the very few Islamic countries to have tasted of the "forbidden fruit" during the reign of the Pahlevi Shah. The current regime has gained power through violent repression of the Westernizing elements. Most of the overseas Iranian community voted with their feet during this period. But, there are enough people to make of Iran a pressure cooker with a very thin, too tightly fitting lid and a valve that doesn't work very well either.

The pot rumbles from time to time and those sitting of the lid begin to chant loudly so everyone else won't hear it. I worry about the current regime having a Doomsday plan. They may be the first splatters on the ceiling but the explosion could be grim news for the rest of the kitchen.

ziemer said...

maybe he is like michael moore, then.

moore wants to squander even more taxpayer money on useless social programs and entitlements, and raise tariffs even higher, than the current administration.

brylin said...

Reading this sad story of prostitution makes me wonder what welfare/social services programs are available in Iran. Are there any alternatives?

NUC said...

I keep hearing about Imam Fawaz Damra, we are deporting him for lying about ties to terrorist groups. This got me thinking about radical islam. What is an Imam? Who gives them the title? Does Islam have a hierarchy who can remove an Imam? Why do other Imam accept the radical preaching of the others? I ignorant of the way Islam works.

DEC said...

nuc, you should do your own research. My guess is you already know the answers to your questions.

Kev said...

Troy--"magic carpet ride"...LMAO.

Pat Patterson said...

If Michael Moore got behind the wheel of a taxi in Tehran then we wouldn't have to worry about him ever getting back out. Do they have the "Jaws of Life" in Iran?