The Psycho-Politics of Wellbeing

An Interview with Orkideh Behrouzan

by Orkideh Behrouzan
published in MER286

Iranians have repurposed, reconfigured and transliterated the psychiatric concepts of depression and trauma as depreshen and toroma. In this wide-ranging interview, Orkideh Behrouzan speaks with Sheila Carapico about the politics of Iranian mental health care policy, public discussion of the effects of 40 years of revolution and war and the ways in which a younger generation is forming identities through depreshen-talk. Behrouzan is a physician, medical anthropologist, scholar of science and technology and the author of Prozak Diaries: Psychiatry and Generational Memory in Iran. She teaches in the anthropology department at SOAS, University of London.

 

Iran Dispatch

by Kaveh Ehsani
published in MER283

Trumpism has discombobulated Iran. Revulsion against President Donald J. Trump’s rhetoric and policies has achieved the rare feat of unifying the disgruntled Iranian public and the fractious ruling elite. This nationalist backlash barely conceals the internal crises facing Iran at every level—social, political, environmental and economic. In January 2018, these frictions exploded in widespread protests across the country. Predictably, the Trump administration’s hypocritical declaration of solidarity with Iranian protesters exacerbated the situation, especially for the protesters. Iran’s security apparatus reacted with the usual repression and mass arrests, pointing to Trump’s rhetoric as proof the protests were a foreign conspiracy.

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How the Houthis Became “Shi‘a”

by Anna Gordon , Sarah E. Parkinson | published January 27, 2018

On December 4, 2017, Houthi rebels in Yemen killed ‘Ali ‘Abdallah Salih, their erstwhile ally and the country’s former president. It was a dramatic reversal: Parts of the national army loyal to Salih had fought alongside the Houthis for nearly three years in Yemen’s ongoing civil war. But shortly before his death Salih turned against the Houthis, making overtures to their opponents, the Yemeni administration-in-exile led by President ‘Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and its backers in the wealthy Gulf Arab monarchies, primarily Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

A “Blue” Generation and Protests in Iran

by Aghil Daghagheleh , Zakia Salime | published January 22, 2018

On Friday, December 29, 2017, a protest suddenly broke out in the shrine city of Mashhad, one of Iran’s major urban centers located in the northeast of the country. Although evidence indicates that the protests were prompted by hardliners in order to undermine President Hassan Rouhani, they rapidly spread across the country and spun out of any one faction’s control. Most international mainstream media were quick to point out that these were the largest and most significant Iranian protests since the Green Movement, the youth-driven protests that emerged after the contested 2009 presidential election.

Another Brick in the Wall

Protesting Education in Iran

by Zep Kalb | published November 2, 2017

At ten o’clock in the morning, Thursday October 5, 2017, about 500 teachers gathered in front of the Budget and Planning Office in Tehran. They were joined by thousands of colleagues protesting in front of education offices in a reported 21 cities across the country. Turning Global Teachers’ Day into a nationwide occasion to express their discontent, Iran’s teachers demanded higher wages and more government investment in education.

Lessons Learned (and Ignored)

Iran’s 2017 Election in Context

by Arang Keshavarzian , Naghmeh Sohrabi | published May 26, 2017

On May 23, 1997, Mohammad Khatami, who had spent most of the 1990s as head of the National Library, defeated Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri, the speaker of Parliament, to become president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The election was a turning point in post-revolutionary history—the underdog beat the preferred candidate of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, successor to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as Leader of the Islamic Revolution (rahbar), with roughly 20 million votes or 70 percent of the total. Twenty years later, the incumbent president Hassan Rouhani drew parallels between that historic event and his own reelection bid, casting himself as the underdog this time and his main challenger, Ebrahim Raisi, as the man backed by the establishment.

Labor and Class in Iran

An Interview with Mohammad Maljoo

by Paola Rivetti | published May 26, 2017

Mohammad Maljoo is a Tehran-based economist researching labor issues and the transformation of capital-labor relations in post-revolutionary Iran. Widely published in several languages, Maljoo is also the Persian translator of numerous books on political economy by thinkers such as Karl Polanyi, E. P. Thompson and Albert Hirschman. The bulk of this interview took place in Tehran in August 2016; it was completed by e-mail in May 2017.

What Is Activism?

by Jillian Schwedler , Kevan Harris
published in MER281

In early 2011, the world watched as millions of people took to the streets across the Arab world to demand the fall of regimes, or at least substantial political reforms. As the weeks and then months unfolded, the broadcast media adopted split screens to show simultaneous live footage of crowds in multiple countries. Some regimes were toppled and many were seriously shaken, but no regime in the region was left untouched. The high visibility of the uprisings, together with massive street protests on nearly every continent, led Time to name “the protester” as the 2011 Person of the Year.

Release Homa Hoodfar

by The Editors | published June 10, 2016 - 11:20am

We are deeply concerned by the arrest and ongoing detention of Homa Hoodfar, an eminent anthropologist and contributor to Middle East Report, by the Revolutionary Guard Corps of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Day Tehran Shook

by Farideh Farhi | published March 17, 2016

Speaking to a journalist days after the February 26 elections in Iran, leading reformist Mohammad Reza Aref stated, “When I saw the results for Tehran coming in, I was shocked.” Aref had expected the top of the list he headed to do well in the contest for Tehran’s 30 seats in the Tenth Majles, or Parliament, of the Islamic Republic. Most pre-election polls, in fact, had predicted that Aref’s slate would come out ahead in the capital. But its first-round sweep of all 30 seats, including many wins by unknown candidates, was a stunner for all involved.