Daily Archives: June 8, 2001

Nobody Here But Us

The Circle


Directed by Jafar Panahi

Written by Kambozia Partovi and Panahi

With Maryam Parvin Almani, Nargess Mamizadeh, Fatemeh Naghavi, Fereshteh Sadr Orafaei, and Mojhan Faramarzi.

By Jonathan Rosenbaum

Last month I was taken aback by an E-mail from a colleague that said, “I thought, as an apparent defender of the Islamic Republic of Iran, that you should read this.” Before I accessed the link–an AP story about a woman stoned to death by court order for appearing in porn movies–I wrote back to say I was insulted by the implication that my regarding Iranians as human beings meant I supported a totalitarian regime. He promptly sent back an apology, but added, “It’s just that sometimes it sounds as if you regard their regime as ‘better’ than ours. Perhaps I’m misreading you.”

His second E-mail upset me even more than the first. The first could be rationalized as a sick joke–reminding me of being called a “nigger lover” when I was an Alabama teenager (an epithet sometimes followed by “Just kidding!”)–but the personal pronouns of the second revealed a blood-chilling us-versus-them mentality. That kind of either-or thinking is surely the most primitive as well as the most dangerous of cold war legacies, and it only reinforces this country’s isolationism.… Read more »