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In the Name of God بسم الله

What Are You Reading Currently? [OFFICIAL THREAD]

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it was just called 'Muhammed' to be honest, it was wasn't a complicated book either, it was straight to the point, well written and a very nice book.

I think it was because (sadly) I hadn't read up about the holy prophet (pbuh) for a while, but some of the stories really gave me goose bumps.

I don't really like reading books of the computer but here's the link if you want it http://dilp.org/wiki/full-length-texts/muhammad-part-1 it doesn't take that long to get through it

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(salam)

I am currently reading the book “The Ayatollah's Democracy: An Iranian Challenge” by Hooman Majd. This is a fairly new book. Only three people have reviewed this book on Amazon (so far). I found it at the local library (under new releases). I gotta read this book before Thursday morning!

In case you are wondering what happened to the Unicorn book...well ...I stopped reading half way. It was a fairly decent book, but not what I had in mind. This wiki entry here (about the unicorn) is mostly from the book http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicorn

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Martin K. Bradley -- Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty

0312323220.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

I have had some family issues so I haven't been able to read much. But I have read up to page 200 or so of Martin's book.

Right now it's talking about Kim Jong-Il's childhood.

It feels like so long ago since I started the book that I don't remember much. I just remember the part about the Korean war that made me think: "No wonder they don't trust the big powers." About a quarter of North Korea's population died in the war, and North Korean casualties greatly outnumbered that of South Korea and China (and the US, which is pretty much assumed anyway).

(salam)

I am currently reading the book “The Ayatollah's Democracy: An Iranian Challenge” by Hooman Majd. This is a fairly new book. Only three people have reviewed this book on Amazon (so far). I found it at the local library (under new releases). I gotta read this book before Thursday morning!

smh...

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Passing through. I just have to note that someone reads a lot of books about Communists and Communism despite emphatically rejecting the notion that he is a crypto-Commie. ;) :P

That's all. Won't stick around too much in this thread, as work and family have reduced my reading mainly to articles and RSS feeds.

Maybe something to add during the XMas break at my parent's house.

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Passing through. I just have to note that someone reads a lot of books about Communists and Communism despite emphatically rejecting the notion that he is a crypto-Commie. ;) :P

Good observation skills.

Did you also happen to note that the books that someone reads are written by Western authors, all of whom are -- if not hostile to communism -- certainly not believers in communism?

So there you have it folks: according to kadhim, reading about communism (even if it is the writings of non-communists) makes you a communist.

That's a lesson to all you kids out there: don't read about anything or anyone unless you support that thing or if you agree with that person.

Ya hagh

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Good observation skills.

Did you also happen to note that the books that someone reads are written by Western authors, all of whom are -- if not hostile to communism -- certainly not believers in communism?

So there you have it folks: according to kadhim, reading about communism (even if it is the writings of non-communists) makes you a communist.

That's a lesson to all you kids out there: don't read about anything or anyone unless you support that thing or if you agree with that person.

Ya hagh

You need to work on your sense of humor, jack. Lighten up.

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That's a lesson to all you kids out there: don't read about anything or anyone unless you support that thing or if you agree with that person.

No, not this. But your singular love for works written on or about Communism and Communists is a tell tell sign :rolleyes:

(salam)

I am currently reading the book “The Ayatollah's Democracy: An Iranian Challenge” by Hooman Majd. This is a fairly new book. Only three people have reviewed this book on Amazon (so far). I found it at the local library (under new releases). I gotta read this book before Thursday morning!

In case you are wondering what happened to the Unicorn book...well ...I stopped reading half way. It was a fairly decent book, but not what I had in mind. This wiki entry here (about the unicorn) is mostly from the book http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicorn

Adee Zareen, have you read Hooman Majd's other book "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ"? What do you think about it if yes?

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No, not this. But your singular love for works written on or about Communism and Communists is a tell tell sign :rolleyes:

I will say this: the books he mentioned do look like fascinating reads on Communism. I'll keep them in mind for whenever I have the time and desire to learn more about the soul crushing monstrosity of the ideology and its practice.

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No, not this. But your singular love for works written on or about Communism and Communists is a tell tell sign :rolleyes:

I suppose if I read a bunch of books by Richard Pipes and Robert Conquest (the most militantly anti-communist -- and, in the case of Pipes, Russophobic -- of Western Sovietologists), you would say the same?

And go back and look through the books I have read, and you will see there are plenty of books that are in no way related to communism.

Negro please. You have no argument here and you know it.

Adee Zareen, have you read Hooman Majd's other book "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ"? What do you think about it if yes?

smh...

Edited by baradar_jackson
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I will say this: the books he mentioned do look like fascinating reads on Communism. I'll keep them in mind for whenever I have the time and desire to learn more about the soul crushing monstrosity of the ideology and its practice.

Fortunately, this ideology has been eradicated from the world.

Inshallah, the other man-made ideologies of the world will soon share the same fate.

Inshallah, the idols 'free market,' 'human rights,' 'democracy,' and 'open society' will share the same fate as the idols Lat, Uzza, Marx, and Engels.

Ya hagh

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(salam)

Adee Zareen, have you read Hooman Majd's other book "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ"? What do you think about it if yes?

No. I haven't read that book. But if his other book is written in the same manner as this one then I'll probably skip that book. Don't get me wrong, I do think Hooman Majd is very knowledgeable (at least the reformist point of views) but I already knew 60%-70% of what he wrote beforehand. His book is very engaging and interesting, but they are a more of a re-cap of Iranian news with interesting gossips and tit-bits, thrown in, that is only available to someone like him, who is very well connected.

Did you write a book review for "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ"? What do you think about this book? :unsure:

I've already read approx 142 pages from his newest book. I am running out of time.

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Fortunately, this ideology has been eradicated from the world.

Inshallah, the other man-made ideologies of the world will soon share the same fate.

Inshallah, the idols 'free market,' 'human rights,' 'democracy,' and 'open society' will share the same fate as the idols Lat, Uzza, Marx, and Engels.

Ya hagh

Yeah, human rights, democracy, and private enterprise - those are ideas that are obviously going nowhere. Who believes in that stuff anymore?

I mean, other than the millions who risk their lives each year trying to get into countries where such ideas have some sway.

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I do think Hooman Majd is very knowledgeable (at least the reformist point of views) but I already knew 60%-70% of what he wrote beforehand. His book is very engaging and interesting, but they are a more of a re-cap of Iranian news with interesting gossips and tit-bits, thrown in, that is only available to someone like him, who is very well connected.

smh...

Yeah, human rights, democracy, and private enterprise - those are ideas that are obviously going nowhere. Who believes in that stuff anymore?

I mean, other than the millions who risk their lives each year trying to get into countries where such ideas have some sway.

Quite a difference between 'free market' and 'private enterprise.'

Free market is the belief in the primacy of individual self-interest in economics. The creation of market economies in the 18th century Europe came with a great human cost. And contemporary attempts (in Chile, Russia, Iraq, and the like) have been equally devastating. 'Private enterprise,' however, is not an economic system in and of itself; it is simply a social reality that has existed in all societies to date (and will continue to exist). It is a natural element of the human condition.

People more eloquent than myself have already outlined the principles of Islamic economics, so I will not bother to repeat their words. But if I were to sum up Islamic economics in a few words, I would say that Islamic economics wants to contain all facets of the economy within the realm of religious values. All economic transactions must be in accordance to Islamic morals and ethics (immaterial of the material outcome of such policies). In essence, it is an anti-materialistic approach to economics. This is, of course, in conflict with modern Western economic doctrine, as well as with Marxist doctrine.

As for your second statement, you are ignoring many subtleties that come along with this issue (the issue of people emigrating to the West). I will just say:

1) It is the material prosperity of the West -- and not abstract notions of 'freedom' and 'democracy' -- that drive people to move Westward.

2) The material prosperity of the West in contingent upon the subservience and enslavement of lesser nations. (Hence, it would be impossible for everyone in the world to consume at American-level rates).

Ya Ali

Edited by baradar_jackson
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smh...

Quite a difference between 'free market' and 'private enterprise.'

Free market is the belief in the primacy of individual self-interest in economics. The creation of market economies in the 18th century Europe came with a great human cost. And contemporary attempts (in Chile, Russia, Iraq, and the like) have been equally devastating. 'Private enterprise,' however, is not an economic system in and of itself; it is simply a social reality that has existed in all societies to date (and will continue to exist). It is a natural element of the human condition.

People more eloquent than myself have already outlined the principles of Islamic economics, so I will not bother to repeat their words. But if I were to sum up Islamic economics in a few words, I would say that Islamic economics wants to contain all facets of the economy within the realm of religious values. All economic transactions must be in accordance to Islamic morals and ethics (immaterial of the material outcome of such policies). In essence, it is an anti-materialistic approach to economics. This is, of course, in conflict with modern Western economic doctrine, as well as with Marxist doctrine.

As for your second statement, you are ignoring many subtleties that come along with this issue (the issue of people emigrating to the West). I will just say:

1) It is the material prosperity of the West -- and not abstract notions of 'freedom' and 'democracy' -- that drive people to move Westward.

2) The material prosperity of the West in contingent upon the subservience and enslavement of lesser nations. (Hence, it would be impossible for everyone in the world to consume at American-level rates).

Ya Ali

Free markets never have and never will exist. Most western economies, although claiming to be champions of free market capitalism have only survived and prospered through massive state interference and intervention locally and staunch protectionism from outside economic forces. A purely free market system wouldn't survive a day, it would literally self destruct. Adam Smith who is a much revered father of free market capitalism himself emphasized this very fact. Everyone likes to refer to his work but he outlined very specific conditions for the whole "a society with individuals pursuing their self interests leads to a prosperous free society as per the invisible hand" notion, conditions which are practically impossible to fulfill. Adam Smith was a bright man indeed but he is completely misinterpreted by capitalists.

1) It is the material prosperity of the West -- and not abstract notions of 'freedom' and 'democracy' -- that drive people to move Westward.

This is obviously true but it is far from being the sole factor let alone the dominant one, countless families do migrate west because societies there are relatively more civilized. You don't risk your life when you stand up to challenge government practices, there is a higher degree of religious tolerance, speech tolerance etc etc, and this is appealing to a lot of muslims. This is all relative of course, but as to your second point, it is true that some of the repressive governmental practices present in eastern nations is directly due to western imperial penetration. If they were left alone to honor their sovereignty, they probably would prosper and keep a lot of their citizens from migrating west. That is not to say however that there are not certain elements of western society that are appealing, and certainly desirable to have implemented in the east.

With respects to islamic economics, there are other non materialistic alternatives to free market capitalism other then simply islamic economics. Islamic economic theory was not established right off the bat, certain fundamentals were of course with respects to interests, taxes etc but current islamic economic concepts that deal with today's complex societies are just as much subject to scrutiny, analysis, further development and implementation as any other proposed non materialistic model. There is no rational basis to suggest that an economic system as proposed by islamic economic scholars is the only reasonable way to move forward, certain fundamentals aside, when these models are actually implemented on a mass scale, that is when their development will really take shape, and no one can predict what the outcome will be. These are complex questions that really have no fixed answer, creative solutions are needed for complex problems in a diverse world. I do think it is absolutely essential that the approach be collective in nature and not individual because the latter has led to tremendous economic inequality around the world that cannot be morally justified.

I do not know what your beef with democracy is, but I am sure you realize that there isnt a truly participatory democracy in the world today. South American nations probably come close but they have some ways to go. In a world where communities are faced with complex problems, no one is better equipped to deal with these problems then the communities themselves through democratic participatory self governance. The age where a panel of experts could lay out a generic plan to be applied all across the board are gone, no one individual or a panel of experts are smart enough to figure out problems they do not face first hand. This is why we need democratic self governance.

Edited by Bonafide Hustler
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Free markets never have and never will exist. Most western economies, although claiming to be champions of free market capitalism have only survived and prospered through massive state interference and intervention locally and staunch protectionism from outside economic forces. A purely free market system wouldn't survive a day, it would literally self destruct. Adam Smith who is a much revered father of free market capitalism himself emphasized this very fact. Everyone likes to refer to his work but he outlined very specific conditions for the whole "a society with individuals pursuing their self interests leads to a prosperous free society as per the invisible hand" notion, conditions which are practically impossible to fulfill. Adam Smith was a bright man indeed but he is completely misinterpreted by capitalists.

1) It is the material prosperity of the West -- and not abstract notions of 'freedom' and 'democracy' -- that drive people to move Westward.

This is obviously true but it is far from being the sole factor let alone the dominant one, countless families do migrate west because societies there are relatively more civilized. You don't risk your life when you stand up to challenge government practices, there is a higher degree of religious tolerance, speech tolerance etc etc, and this is appealing to a lot of muslims. This is all relative of course, but as to your second point, it is true that some of the repressive governmental practices present in eastern nations is directly due to western imperial penetration. If they were left alone to honor their sovereignty, they probably would prosper and keep a lot of their citizens from migrating west. That is not to say however that there are not certain elements of western society that are appealing, and certainly desirable to have implemented in the east.

With respects to islamic economics, there are non materialistic alternatives to free market capitalism other then simply islamic economics. Islamic economic theory was not established right off the bat, certain fundamentals were of course with respects to interests, taxes etc but current islamic economic concepts that deal with today's complex societies are just as much subject to scrutiny, analysis, further development and implementation as any other proposed non materialistic model. There is no rational basis to suggest that an economic system as proposed by islamic economic scholars is the only reasonable way to move forward, certain fundamentals aside, when these models are actually implemented on a mass scale, that is when their development will really take shape, and no one can predict what the outcome will be. These are complex questions that really have no fixed answer, creative solutions are needed for complex problems in a diverse world. I do think it is absolutely essential that the approach be collective and not individual because the latter has led to a tremendous economic inequality around the world that cannot be morally justified.

I do not know what your beef with democracy is, but I am sure you realize that there isnt a truly participatory democracy in the world today. South American nations probably come close but they have some ways to go. In a world where communities are faced with complex problems, no one is better equipped to deal with these problems then the communities themselves through democratic participatory self governance. The age where a panel of experts could lay out a generic plan to be applied all across the board are gone, no one individual or a panel of experts are smart enough to figure out problems they do not face first hand.

If you are going by the literal definition of the free market, then we can't even have a discussion.

If we are going by the literal definition of things, we could say that the collectivization of agriculture that took place in the USSR did not make the USSR a communist state, because it allowed for each farmer to have a small private plot, and to sell the product of that plot in market (2% of Soviet farm land was privately owned in this manner).

Obviously, we can't go by the literal definition or it just makes discussion impossible.

The free market has nothing to do with state regulation or any of that. I don't care that Swedes get subsidized condoms or that they have a special tax on sunflower seed oil that allows them to give free polio vaccines to all citizens. None of that is relevant.

Regulations may offer considerable benefits to citizens of the capitalist countries, but they do not limit the businesses in any way, shape, or form. In market economies, the principle of the primacy of self-interest over group interest remains.

As for democracy, I don't care if there is no true democracy in the world. (Again, we are getting into a needless discussion of semantics). My point is that this word should have no power over us.

The 21st century is the era of the dictatorship of words.

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Free market is the belief in the primacy of individual self-interest in economics.

No, a free market is simply a market that regulates itself through the interactions of its participants rather than through external regulations. It's an abstraction that doesn't exist in the real world, or exists only in pockets. Almost all real markets exist under some regulations. Not many people really argue for totally free markets in general; your supposed "idol" has very few ardent worshippers. The real discussion is around nurturing the private enterprise on which most workers depend for their sustenance, minimizing the encumbrance on these businesses from government regulation to what is absolutely necessary for protection of greater ends.

I would say that Islamic economics wants to contain all facets of the economy within the realm of religious values. All economic transactions must be in accordance to Islamic morals and ethics (immaterial of the material outcome of such policies). In essence, it is an anti-materialistic approach to economics. This is, of course, in conflict with modern Western economic doctrine

No, there's no conflict at all. Perceived conflicts are a result of limited comprehension. "Islamic economics" wants us to be materially successful. Islamic law is rational and has reasons behind it, and the reason for ethical guidelines is that ethical business in the long term and in the big picture leads to better, more successful business, more real, tangible prosperity, more development. When people are honest, people will trust each other more. People are willing to help each other more, give each other credit (from credere, trust), spend less energy being on guard and second-guessing and more on being productive and efficient. Islam wants us to be successful and prosperous; it just doesn't want us to focus on this prosperity for the sake of material prosperity itself.

Conversely, you're not going to find many Westerners who truly seek material prosperity simply for its own sake. As well, these tangible benefits I mentioned above of ethical business - Westerners have figured a lot of this stuff out too, and what works well (honest to goodness, in reality well, and not just smoke and mirrors fake doing well)in the West in business is a result of the efficiency that ethical business brings. Transparency. Accountability. Trust. Reliability. Honesty. Responsibility. Dedication and hard work. Self reliance but willingness to help others.

Also, I'd have to confirm this to be sure, but from what I recall, Americans beat most or all Muslim nations when it comes to percentage of income spent on charitable giving.

As for your second statement, you are ignoring many subtleties that come along with this issue (the issue of people emigrating to the West). I will just say:

1) It is the material prosperity of the West -- and not abstract notions of 'freedom' and 'democracy' -- that drive people to move Westward.

This is generalization. Immigrants come for the full package. They come for the prosperity and the relative social, political, and economic freedom that help make it more possible than anywhere else for them to live their lives without interference, and work hard and have that hard work translate in a predictable way into success. People will put up with a lot if trying to change things involves risk. You need to feel constrained beyond just a lack of funds to, say, risk getting shot trying to escape from East to West Berlin during the Cold War. Freedom is one of the key draws.

2) The material prosperity of the West in contingent upon the subservience and enslavement of lesser nations. (Hence, it would be impossible for everyone in the world to consume at American-level rates).

This is piss-poorly analyzed Marxist nonsense.

America did not get to #1 through robbing anyone. They got to the top by investing in themselves, building themselves and becoming self-sufficient. One thing I cannot critique about Iran, for example, is its efforts to industrialize and make its own stuff. Iran is following the well-established path of classic American School economics in this regard. Now, unfortunately, during the past decades, America has gotten into this free trade, liberalization depending on sweatshops shortcuts in lieu of maintaining their own capabilities. But this has not benefitted them in real tangible terms. Tangible, real physical terms, they have gotten poorer for it. The reason most Americans buy cheap Chinese [Edited Out] is that the real value of their wages no longer affords real goods of quality.

Edited by kadhim
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No, there's no conflict at all. Perceived conflicts are a result of limited comprehension. "Islamic economics" wants us to be materially successful. Islamic law is rational and has reasons behind it, and the reason for ethical guidelines is that ethical business in the long term and in the big picture leads to better, more successful business, more real, tangible prosperity, more development. When people are honest, people will trust each other more. People are willing to help each other more, give each other credit (from credere, trust), spend less energy being on guard and second-guessing and more on being productive and efficient. Islam wants us to be successful and prosperous; it just doesn't want us to focus on this prosperity for the sake of material prosperity itself.

Conversely, you're not going to find many Westerners who truly seek material prosperity simply for its own sake. As well, these tangible benefits I mentioned above of ethical business - Westerners have figured a lot of this stuff out too, and what works well in the West in business is a result of the efficiency that ethical business brings. Transparency. Accountability. Trust. Reliability. Honesty. Responsibility.

You always speak in such general terms when it comes to 'Islamic law.'

I am beginning to think that you don't know much about it. You only state your own personal opinions and then try to paint them as the 'Islamic' position (and even denounce others' views as being deviations!).

In any case, your above statement is wrong. Islamic economics is not as GED-simple as you suggest. I recommend that you read Nazari be nezam-e eghtesadi-ye eslam (An Opinion on the Islamic Economics System) by Shahid Motahari. I don't know if it has been translated into English.

It is filled with critiques of capitalist and Marxist views of economics... so I am sure you will be convinced of Shahid Motahari's Marxistness by the time you are finished with it.

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If you are going by the literal definition of the free market, then we can't even have a discussion.

If we are going by the literal definition of things, we could say that the collectivization of agriculture that took place in the USSR did not make the USSR a communist state, because it allowed for each farmer to have a small private plot, and to sell the product of that plot in market (2% of Soviet farm land was privately owned in this manner).

Obviously, we can't go by the literal definition or it just makes discussion impossible.

The free market has nothing to do with state regulation or any of that. I don't care that Swedes get subsidized condoms or that they have a special tax on sunflower seed oil that allows them to give free polio vaccines to all citizens. None of that is relevant.

Regulations may offer considerable benefits to citizens of the capitalist countries, but they do not limit the businesses in any way, shape, or form. In market economies, the principle of the primacy of self-interest over group interest remains.

As for democracy, I don't care if there is no true democracy in the world. (Again, we are getting into a needless discussion of semantics). My point is that this word should have no power over us.

The 21st century is the era of the dictatorship of words.

I never said regulations the way they are setup limit business in anyway, in fact they protect them and allow them to function as corporate unaccountable tyrannies. This is because regulations are determined and established by big business itself. Regulations if determined through the will of the people can restrict business and put collective interest over self interest.

As for democracy, it is not just a word, the definition is pretty well established, its an ideal, more than just some theoretical concept.

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You always speak in such general terms when it comes to 'Islamic law.'

I am beginning to think that you don't know much about it. You only state your own personal opinions and then try to paint them as the 'Islamic' position (and even denounce others' views as being deviations!).

In any case, your above statement is wrong. Islamic economics is not as GED-simple as you suggest. I recommend that you read Nazari be nezam-e eghtesadi-ye eslam (An Opinion on the Islamic Economics System) by Shahid Motahari. I don't know if it has been translated into English.

I'm not going to write a novel on a web forum. My being brief, particularly at 3:30 AM local time with a day of work ahead at 8 AM does not imply a lack of ability to say a few tens of thousands of words on the subject given time and motivation. What in particular do you want to object to? Do you seriously challenge the notion that Islam as a system seeks out economic prosperity as a goal? That there are reasons for Islamic regulations, namely to enable an optimal state of affairs in this world that allows humans to achieve their full potential? That good business ethics are good business period? What? These are not personal opinions, this is Islamic theology 101. Divine law is for our benefit. Do this to be successful in both worlds. Avoid this to minimize harms. Narrations about al-Mahdi describe a world with prosperity and technology and development unlike anything the world has ever seen. When collectively we do what is right, the heavens rain down on the earth.

As for so-called Islamic economics, I've read the introductory works on the subject by various authors - Sadr, Mutahhari, others. I generally find them wanting. An interesting baby step, but that's about it. The critiques of the Communists are all right, but the critiques of Capitalism tend to be straw man sorts of stuff. Critiquing abstractions that don't exist in the real world, not making proper distinctions between different schools of Capitalism. I can see the place of these works within their historical and political context in the late Cold War middle east and why they would want to try to offer a third way, but they don't have a lot of useful specifics for today. Pointing out why totally unregulated economy doesn't work is not particularly useful insight. Truth is, the choice is not just between a monolithic textbook Communism, a monolithic textbook capitalism, and some supposed Islamic economics put down on paper in the 70s and still exisitng only in rough form. There's the American School of Economics and other mixed models.

Edited by kadhim
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Yallah

It's time for my first book review in a while.

The book is called Aghaz ta payan: seiri dar jang-e iran va aragh, j. 6 (From Beginning to End: A Concise History of the Iran-Iraq War, Vol. 6) by Mohammad Doroudian.

aghaz-payan.jpg

This is the last of a 6-volume history on the war. It is essentially the cliff notes version of all the previous 5 volumes.

It goes in chronological order. It is divided into eight chapters, each representative of a year of the war. It covers selected aspects of the political, military, and economic history of the war. It is very short (200 pages). Considering the difficulty inherent in writing a book about the war in such a small space, I think the author does a very good job. In addition to being very concise, the author has no choice but to skim over certain parts of the war. Yet, he is not afraid to give a good, comprehensive description of the tactics used in a specific operation (say, Operation Fath ul-Mobin). This is not without good reason: Fath ul-Mobin was a pivotal operation for Iranian forces in the war.

He does not seem to lean heavily toward the economic, military, or political aspects of the war. He gives equal attention to all.

He also takes the time to cite the opinions and analyses of historians (and, of course, because Iran is a closed society, he cites the works of Bathist and anti-Iranian authors as well).

It looks like he put a painstaking amount of research into the book. I was particularly impressed by his use of Iraqi government documents.

If there was one critique I had of the book, it's that he barely discusses the air or naval war at all. No mention of the raid on H-3 airfield in Walid, no mention of the Kaman-99 raid, no mention of the quick, decisive defeat of the Iraqi Navy! He gives all attention to the ground war (with heavy emphasis on Sepah forces rather than Artesh forces). In fact, the Army is criticized a lot in the early part of the book: their attachment to classical warfare is blamed for the early defeats, and IRGC -- with its revolutionary jang-e mardomi ("people's war") -- is shown as having saved their [butts]. Of course, this is to be expected: President Bani Sadr was, at the time, supreme commander of the Army. And he was a certified douchebag. Also: this book was published by the IRGC Center for War Research, so naturally they will be partial toward themselves.

In any case, I liked this book. I should have finished it in a few days, but for some reason it took me 50 years. Sorry for letting everyone down.

Now for an update on Martin's book:

He has gone into detail about Kim Il-sung's personal life. He had a very decadent lifestyle. Not only did he own many mansions across the DPRK, but he had an army of young women available to him for entertainment (dancing, singing, acting, etc.) or sexual pleasure. He had many harems. When the girls would become older (early to mid twenties), he would marry them off to party officials (with the party officials never knowing of the women's pasts) and provide for them throughout their life.

Sidenote: reading this stuff made me hate the greenies even more. They always accuse our leader -- Seyyed Ali Khamenei -- of leading a decadent lifestyle (with NO evidence!!!). They should just shut their mouths. They don't even know what decadent means. So again, my message to all the Iran-haters, green lanterns, and counter-revolutionaries is this:

[Edited]

But back to Martin's book...

It talks about the issue of succession. Before Kim Jong-il's selection as successor became known to people outside of the DPRK, the Young Kim had already been working on it diligently. I don't remember the exact post he was appointed to after his graduation from college, but it was something in a propaganda capacity. He reinvented North Korean opera and cinema. He argued that North Korean films were either lacking in artistic prose or lacking in ideological substance. They needed both, he said. The product of Kim's work was some of the best movies/operas (more accurately: operas that were later made into movies) in North Korean history: namely, "Sea of Blood" and "Flower Girl."

I was fascinated to learn that: (1) Long before becoming premier, Kim Jong-il was the second most powerful man in the DPRK, and (2) the cult of Kim Il-sung was started by the Junior Kim, not by the Senior Kim. Kim Jong-il, through his revolutionization of Korean film and opera, reinforced the one-man-ruler ideology. Also, he demanded absolute sycophancy of all Central Committee members and other high-ranking officials. He put them under more surveillance than they had ever been under before. (I think he had become chairman of the Party Central Committee some time in the early 1970s, I don't remember).

There was probably some other stuff, too, but I can't think of it at the moment. I'm tired. Oh yes, there was a lot of stuff about internal political disputes that I did not find very interesting. There was something about a KPAF pilot wanting to marry a woman whose family had moved to the North from Seoul in 1949 but was not allowed to. (In the DPRK, "trusted" individuals can't marry those who are treated with suspicion.)

That's all for now.

Ya Ali

Edited by inshaAllah
Member warned: Inappropriate picture of Imam Khamenei
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Thankyou Muskaan and Zareen for your kind suggestions. Sorry I couldn't reply earlier as I was kind of subconsciously avoiding the "book thread" since my "book reading" button got switched off. The latest is that I have not read a single page since I made that post a few weeks ago. And I got really busy with managing my life. It was good to have no time to think about reading.

(salam)

No. I haven't read that book. But if his other book is written in the same manner as this one then I'll probably skip that book. Don't get me wrong, I do think Hooman Majd is very knowledgeable (at least the reformist point of views) but I already knew 60%-70% of what he wrote beforehand. His book is very engaging and interesting, but they are a more of a re-cap of Iranian news with interesting gossips and tit-bits, thrown in, that is only available to someone like him, who is very well connected.

Did you write a book review for "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ"? What do you think about this book? :unsure:

I've already read approx 142 pages from his newest book. I am running out of time.

I have not read the book so I don't know. I have yet to read anything from Hooman Majd. One of the participants in this thread has bought the book to read. I hope they will share their experience when they finish the book.

Happy reading. . .

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I have not read the book so I don't know. I have yet to read anything from Hooman Majd. One of the participants in this thread has bought the book to read. I hope they will share their experience when they finish the book.

Happy reading. . .

smh...

Is this for real? Is this a real conversation? This can't be for real. You two are playing with me. I know it.

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(salam)

smh...

Is this for real? Is this a real conversation? This can't be for real. You two are playing with me. I know it.

No Brother. We are not playing here. :) At least not from my side. I wouldn't do this, and you should know that.

We are speaking about books that each read; sharing views/opinions. I am uncertain why you get mad when people read books which are not in the “Jackson book list”. I think it is healthy that we have people reading all sorts of books.

I have not read the book so I don't know. I have yet to read anything from Hooman Majd. One of the participants in this thread has bought the book to read. I hope they will share their experience when they finish the book.

Happy reading. . .

I finished reading the book on Friday. To be honest, it didn't buy me anything. Like I said before, if you were following the Iran news or reading most of the topics in the Iran forum here, then you'll probably not find anything new.

As for the book, first, we are presented with the Presidential debate between Musavi and Ahmadinejad. I think I agree with Hooman when he said Musavi could be pretty boring and Ahmadinejad made good use of the opportunity to link Musavi with Rafsanjani. The book then goes on to introduce AhmadiNejad supporters, and other key players in the Iran politics like Rafsanjani, Khatami, Sayyed Khamenei, the revolutionary guards ..etc He spent a lot of time speaking about the reformists, his discussion with ex-President Khatami, the green movement, the hardliners and the general public.

A few of my complaints about the book

The book is pretty basic (if you don't know the Iranian politics well enough then you'll find this book interesting)

He tried to cover as much as possible, so most of the discussions are shallow.

This book is not written in an academic style.

Since this is Hooman Majd, you can almost be certain that he is biased towards the reform movement in Iran. On many issues, he pretty much let you know two side of everything, it can either be true or false, you need to draw your own conclusion.

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[Edited]

inshAllah:

That wasn't a doctored photo. That was real.

The middle finger doesn't have the same meaning in Iran that it does in the West. (Except in recent years, because we of course need to do finger taqlid of the West).

Anyway, it was a real picture and it doesn't have a bad meaning.

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(salam)

I'm reading The Philosophy Gym by Stephen Law

The Philosophy Gym 25 Short Adventures in Thinking

As it seems okay to read such a book regarding understanding philosophy form a beginners point of view, i would have to also condemn doing it so in such a matter.

Reason being, is that this person, despite that he quotes the variety of opinions of philosophers of the past, at the same time gives you a delusional point of view of philosophy from his own prejudice and understanding

Just as he gives you his opinion, which he passes of as doctrine, and to the inexperienced reader seems fine and without notice, he is in fact already drawing you in to think according to the way he believes and sees the world to be, and commands philosophy to be by imposing his own

views down the readers throat, while disfiguring the real truth about philosophy, its history, its teaching, its stances etc.

It is okay to get acquainted with some of these problems which are discuses today in the realm of philosophy, but realize that they are not the most important problems, because it all depends on the stance of the philosopher which you take, or are inclined to, that determines the problems you tackle.

For example, there are two famous Islamic philosophers, and if you read what it is hey philosophize about, it would give the impression about philosophy far from the stance which Stephen Law has taken, and if you read their problems, and their opinions, suddenly philosophy takes on a new form, and even seems to the general laymen as if it is a different science or branch of philosophy, as they tend to miss the point as to the real understanding of philosophy.

Anyways, i just wanted t warn you. Just like anything, short cuts only make a person get lost, unless you are already familiar with the surrounding streets. (there is one philosophical thought for you)

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inshAllah:

That wasn't a doctored photo. That was real.

The middle finger doesn't have the same meaning in Iran that it does in the West. (Except in recent years, because we of course need to do finger taqlid of the West).

Anyway, it was a real picture and it doesn't have a bad meaning.

Given the context of the post in which it was inserted, you intended it to be interpreted in the Western sense, though, didn't you?

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Given the context of the post in which it was inserted, you intended it to be interpreted in the Western sense, though, didn't you?

I will leave that for the reader to decide.

Anyway I've started a new book: Hoghoogh-e zanan, enghelab-e eslami va farayand-e jahani shodan (Women's Rights, the Islamic Revolution, and Globalization)

9647986068.240.jpg

Before you start wondering: this is NOT a greenie, soosooli, traitor book. It is published by the Emam Khomeini and Islamic Revolution Research Institute.

I'm only about 20 pages in. So far she has just talked about the UN convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. It's pretty boring.

I'm tired of reading books. Books are for people who have no wife. One of you idiots go find me a wife.

Ya Ali

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I will leave that for the reader to decide.

Anyway I've started a new book: Hoghoogh-e zanan, enghelab-e eslami va farayand-e jahani shodan (Women's Rights, the Islamic Revolution, and Globalization)

9647986068.240.jpg

Before you start wondering: this is NOT a greenie, soosooli, traitor book. It is published by the Emam Khomeini and Islamic Revolution Research Institute.

I'm only about 20 pages in. So far she has just talked about the UN convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. It's pretty boring.

I'm tired of reading books. Books are for people who have no wife. One of you idiots go find me a wife.

Ya Ali

Books are for people who have no wife? Well the Jews have taken care of that problem as well, and it stares at you from the dark corner of ignorance in your living room, or bedroom, and its called Tv

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