Letters from Lausanne in Persian

I was researching some history for my grandfather AbdolHamid Hakimiís memoires and I ran into an article from Iraj Afshar, the well-known Iranian Studies academic and writer in the journal he founded with his father Ayandeh.It is from Abolhassan Hakimi to Irajís father Dr Mahmoud Afshar. The letters date back to 1922.

Reading these two letters or glimpses into his past came as a huge shock to me as his torment about the fate of Iran, almost 100 years ago is exactly the same as we suffer today. I had experienced the same shock reading Ali Dashtiís writings in prison called 55 Years. It is an inescapable fact the Iranians do not seem to learn from anyoneís experiences [i], least of all, their own. That is why we keep repeating the same mistakes in our history.

If you refer to AHís webpage, I had accidently discoveredabout his involvement with the Modernists  in exile and contribution to their movement (the Journal Kaveh) based in Berlin. But I had only rudimentary information about his life in Switzerland so the letters give one an interestingglimpse into his life in Lausanne and his contemporaries. Neither did anyof my parentsí generation knew that he was a contemporary of Ali Akbar Davar in Lausanne. Davar was the foremost Modernist of the Golden Era of Pahlavi reign.A man who gave it all to the cause of modernism and identified their success would only come by supporting a strong nationalist minded strong man namely Reza Shah, truly The Great (I say that because he dragged Iran in just 17 years, there is no other way of saying it, from SHIT, to laying the foundations of a country unlike any other countries in the region, some of which in spite of their wealth and smaller populations still do not provide for the most basic human needs to this day in 2012).

AH criticizes Davarís approach (railroading, nay, Blitzkrieging modernist reforms) in Iran by supporting a dictatorship.He correctly predicted that the speed of the reforms would cause problemsand there were (are) no shortcuts. Tragically he was proven right, in Davarís suicide and the events that followed after the removal of Reza Shah by the British.

I enjoyed reading them. I hope you do too.You can open the PDF document by clicking >>here<< or read in the frame below.

June 2012

[i] Just as I was writing this I happened to browse Jamalzadehís introduction to his book on memories of Isfahanand therein he laments the fact that Iranians donít seem to want to learn or have any interest in learning from history and to record it may be a futile effort by older people who make the mistake of thinking it may help younger generations.