The Green Movement in Iran

Article excerpt

The Green Movement in Iran. By Hamid Dabashi. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2011. 174 pp. $34.95.

On June 12, 2009, Iranians went to the polls to choose a president from among a handful of candidates approved by clerics who are not elected but rather appointed. As voters moved to toss out incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinej ad, the government intervened to award the unpopular president a second term. The blatant fraud proved too much for ordinary Iranians who poured into the streets in a protest that rocked the Islamic Republic to its core. From this outrage was born the so-called "Green Movement," an amorphous group with nearly as many goals as leaders.

Dabashi, an Iranian studies and comparative literature professor at Columbia University, purports to analyze the Green Movement in this short book, which, in actuality, is mainly a compilation of op-eds and online essays he wrote as events unfolded.

Readers seeking to understand recent Iranian politics will be disappointed. Dabashi fails to illuminate the makeup of the Green Movement or its goals. Nor does he differentiate between ordinary Iranians who seek a freer Iran and the career politicians who cloak themselves in the movement but remain loyal to a theocratic system.

Rather than seriously analyze events, Dabashi indulges in potshots at authors whose books have received greater critical and public acclaim than his. …