This timely discussion covers the recent campaign of harassment and intimidation against Iranians and the Iranian diaspora.
The talk features cultural intellectual Hamid Dabashi and former political prisoner and Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari, who have been accused of undermining the regime. This event is presented in conjunction with the Free Library's One Book, One Philadelphia initiative.
Maziar Bahari is an award-winning Canadian-Iranian documentary filmmaker, playwright, editor, journalist and writer who was detained in Iran on June 21, 2009, and held in solitary confinement in Tehran's notorious Evin prison following Iran's disputed presidential elections. Iranian state press claimed that Bahari had "confessed" to unwittingly playing a role in a Western media effort to instigate unrest after the presidential elections. He was released on October 17, 2009, and is currently an international correspondent for Newsweek magazine.
Bahari's accomplishments were honored as a finalist for the prestigious 2009 Prince of Asturias Award for Concord. His nomination was supported, among others, by Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Born into a working class family in the southwestern city of Ahvaz in the Khuzestan province of Iran, Hamid Dabashi received his early education in his hometown and his college education in Tehran, before moving to the United States, where he received a dual Ph.D. in Sociology of Culture and Islamic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. He is currently the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York, the oldest and most prestigious Chair in this field.
Professor Dabashi is a current affairs essayist, analyst, and commentator in major international newspapers and periodicals. He is regularly featured on CNN, BBC, CBC, Al Jazeera, and other global, national, and local venues. His essays regularly appear in al-Ahram Weekly in Egypt, Bir Gun in Turkey, and CNN in the United States.
Trudy Rubin was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary in 2001 for her columns on Israel and the Palestinians. She has special expertise on the Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe.
In 2003 to 2006, Rubin made seven trips to Iraq and two to Iran, and also visited Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, China and South Korea. She is the author of Willful Blindness: The Bush Administration and Iraq, a book of her Iraq columns from 2002 to 2004.