Crazy people on the other side of the world: challenges of ethnography and positionality in Iran

BY YOUNES SARAMIFAR I recall vividly that I was pleased with my progress in the field on 14th March 2019. I smiled at the list of confirmed appointments for interviews, walks, dinners and lunches while looking at my agenda for the upcoming days. I was content. Everyone had said yes; almost all of those Iranian women who I had approached agreed to talk to me. I felt arrogant and kind of proud of myself. I told myself ‘yes, I have a great network here. Why shouldn’t they say yes? Who needs a gatekeeper? I am my own gatekeeper’. It has …

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Iran elections (3): Protestbeweging Iran niet te stoppen

Ook vandaag een bericht over de situatie in Iran, al weer van een antropoloog die de situatie van binnenuit kent. Deze keer laten we onze collega Halleh Ghorashi aan het woord. Zij is zelf twintig jaar geleden uit Iran gevlucht en is momenteel bijzonder hoogleraar Diversiteit en Integratie aan onze Faculteit. Zij schrijft in een ingezonden brief in Trouw waarom ze voor het eerst is gaan stemmen, waarom het een historische keuze is en hoe de huidige situatie in Iran haar doet denken aan de revolutie van 1979. Lees verder op de website van Trouw. In het televisie programma Vrouw …

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Iran elections(2): hitting the tweets

In her earlier post on this weblog, Donya pointed to remarkable transgressions on the eve of the national elections in Iran. In the public protests following the elections we see another major innovation: the unprecedented use of new digital media. The newest digital tools for social networking, especially Twitter and Facebook, turn out to be crucial means to mobilize people and report events to the outside world, as Newsy.com points out in this video: This raises important questions for anthropologists. What role can new media play in making political agitation effective?

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© Indrid_Cold (https://www.flickr.com/photos/fredisonfire/49655326671/), via Creative Commons.

Corona choices

BY FREEK COLOMBIJN Rumours, new societal practices, new state policies and self-imposed restrictions by organizations spread as fast as the Corona virus itself. It is almost certain that by the time this blog is published, or even by the time I stop writing, the situation has changed. What is clear: it is the rapid pace of the infection that is the biggest challenge for society, more than the lethality of the virus itself. Health systems run the risk of not being able to give large numbers of patients the necessary intensive care, hospitals are short of respirators, and health care …

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On the Brink of a Pandemic; “World, jiāyóu”

BY JOP KOOPMAN The city of Wuhan, ground zero of the coronavirus, is 6 six days under lockdown when residents take to WeChat and start to suggest that they should chant uplifting phrases from their apartment windows to one and another. The participants decide that at 20:00 p.m. on the 28th of January the chanting commences. As planned, the participants take to the windows and start to chant: Wuhan, jiāyóu!” from apartment to apartment, to building to building, filling the air with words of solidarity. A sense of harmony that’s unique and powerful in times of crisis.  A video shot …

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Famine and War in Yemen

By Helen Lackner. The Geneva ‘consultations’ on 6 September between the two Yemeni warring parties failed to happen. According to the media, it was because the Huthis failed to show. In reality their demand was not unreasonable: guarantees of safe travel to and from Geneva in a neutral (Omani) plane and without ‘inspection’ from their opponent, the Saudi-led coalition. Observers and Yemenis are flooded with statements about the good internationally recognised Hadi government seeking peace and the evil ‘Iranian-backed’ Huthis wanting to continue fighting. However events point elsewhere, suggesting that the coalition’s asserted commitment to a political solution is little …

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Hodeidah is being attacked, but the Western media are silent

By Marina de Regt. “Hodeidah is empty, Marina, there is no one there anymore”, says Noura to me this morning, in a short telephone conversation that is repeatedly interrupted because of the bad connection. Noura moved to Sana’a a week ago, fleeing the horrendous violence that has exploded in the city of Hodeidah since Thursday 14 June, the day before the start of Eid Al-Fitr. On that day the Saudi Led Coalition, mainly consisting of mercenaries and ground troops of the United Arab Emirates army, soldiers of the Yemeni National Army and Hiraak al-Tihama started the long planned attack on …

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Terugblik op de Bijeenkomst: 'Jemen, een Vergeten Oorlog – #WatKanIkDoen?'

Door Handenur Taspinar Maandagavond 14 no-vember is er in samen-werking met het Grote Midden-Oosten Platform en de afdeling Sociale en Culturele Antropologie van de VU een mooie bijeen-komst georganiseerd over de vergeten oor-log in Jemen. De bijeenkomst vormt on-derdeel van drieluik, met als doel  om ach-tergrondinformatie te geven over de gebeurtenissen in Jemen en om antwoord te vinden op de vraag: “wat kan ik doen?” Voor ik binnenkom, stel ik mijzelf dezelfde vraag: hoeveel weet ik eigenlijk van de gebeurtenissen rondom Jemen? Hoe ernstig is het? Af en toe lees of hoor ik over deze indirecte oorlog tussen Saoedi-Arabië en …

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