Tashbih – the art of sounding sincere whilst mocking an authority

by Limbic on May 6, 2011

A fine quote from Robert Fisk (usually a figure of contempt):

…An Iranian critic – and Shostakovich fan – who, for reasons of prudence, wishes to remain anonymous, comments on the Russian word ‘yurodstvo‘ and its Central Asian equivalent ‘ketman‘, as invoked in The Captive Mind by the Polish writer Czeslaw Milosz…

“I prefer the Arabic word ‘tashbih’. They all mean the same thing – a way of talking that sounds orthodox whilst secretly mocking orthodoxy. This is an ancient Asian tradition linked with oriental despotism, a system founded on autocratic control of irrigation systems. This despotism exists in the ‘spirit’ of nations like Russia, China, and Iran, irrespective of historical period, viz., Stalin, Khomeini, or the political happenings in China in 1989. The reaction of artists has always been connected with ‘tashbih’ and is still usual in contemporary Iranian poetry.”

From “Love the revolution, shame about the reality”
an article on political corruption in Iran
by Robert Fisk (The Independent, 5th June 1995)

via: Music under Soviet rule: Democracy Wall

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