Azar Nafisi: Western Mythology: What is the West really fighting?

Azar Nafisi:  The way should be . . . should be fighting fundamentalist ideology. Whether they are doing it or not is another story. First of all I think well partly if you are dealing with someone like Osama bin Laden, then I know that the fight is military. Apart from that it shouldn’t be. You know I was very much against the war in Iraq before it happened, apart from the fact that I had lived in Iran and I knew how disastrous it will be for my country, which it was. Because the most extreme elements of the system got into Iraq, and they also got to suppress the Iranian people far more. And every time you talked about democracy they say you’re an American stooge. So for us we paid a price. But I think if the West doesn’t understand that what the fundamentalists are afraid of is the culture of democracy, what is it that they object to? Freedom of women; freedom of expression; freedom of minorities; freedom of culture; all of these is what Osama bin Laden is saying – calling the west decadent the way Stalin used to call the West decadent for these issues. So these are your strong points. If you’re fighting, you fight with culture. You fight with ideology. If you’re fighting with people who torture their own people and others, you don’t do the same thing. So the West I feel should be very careful about not becoming cynical of its own values. What threatens the West is partly radical Islam or radical Islam; partly the fear of terror. But the most threat to the West is cynicism about its own values and principles. And that I think is what threatens the West.


The West should be fighting extremist ideology.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less
Promotional photo of Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones
Surprising Science
  • It's commonly thought that the suppression of female sexuality is perpetuated by either men or women.
  • In a new study, researchers used economics games to observe how both genders treat sexually-available women.
  • The results suggests that both sexes punish female promiscuity, though for different reasons and different levels of intensity.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less