Thursday, December 05, 2013

Ordinary People

It has been almost two years since I wrote my last post in here. Meanwhile, I have written a few posts elsewhere trying to figure out what I like to write most. That has helped but now, I am deciding to make these into more specialized blogs. I have a technical blog, a hobby blog, and this one, which I like to assign it to posts that have a more serious tone to them.

Starting today.

And the reason that caused it is this article in The Atlantic.
It is no secret and I don't think the article has tried to conceal it either that there are a lot of people in higher echelons of Iranian regime that have western education. Mohammad Reza Aref, who was the vice president from 2001 to 2005 and who ran for presidency in this year's presidential elections has a PhD from Stanford. I actually took his Information Theory class in Sharif University of  Technology in Tehran, Iran. Javad Larijani, whose brothers basically run the country, one being the head of judiciary and the other one the head of legislative branch, was finishing his PhD in Math at Berkeley when the Iranian revolution happened. Rafsanjani travelled through US when his brother was studying there. And the list goes on and on. So, I find no surprise there. The regime is filled with people with Masters or PhD degrees from universities out of Iran. Some of them of course are fake and some aren't. They see it as a prestige to show off when they are running for office. And if somebody doesn't have it, they go and try to fabricate it with any means possible in any major possible. I highly doubt, even for someone like Rouhani, that there is any scientific passion caused him to go and write a dissertation and earned his PhD. The only explanation I can find is that he, like others, needed this degree to make himself look academic and presentable to people. Now, why do people care? That goes beyond the scope of this short passage but I should get to that some other time as well.

So, I believe that having this many PhDs in the Iranian government is neither surprising nor helpful. It doesn't even show any qualities or qualifications necessarily. And I don't think this even helps them understand the west better. I actually find an inverse trend. Some of these people, after coming to western countries become even more extreme, in the sense that they try to define their identity, primarily because they can't understand the new culture and can't blend in. So they turn against it and see it as the source of their problems. I guess they too, like a lot of other nations, are fascinated by America and the west and fearful of them at the same time.

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