Indeed, what [Janet Afary] terms a "romantic bisexuality" was celebrated and even highly codified. For more than a millennium, Afary writes, "male homoerotic relations in Iran were bound by rules of courtship such as the bestowal of presents, the teaching of literary texts, bodybuilding and military training, mentorship, and the development of social contacts that would help the junior partner's career."With an editorial board that embraced Russian social democratic concepts, including women's rights, MN was also "the first paper in the Shi[ite] Muslim world to endorse normative heterosexuality." Afary writes that "this illustrated satirical paper, which circulated among Iranian intellectuals and ordinary people alike, was enormously popular in the region because of its graphic cartoons." MNs attacks on homosexuality "would shape Iranian debates on sexuality for the next century," and in their wake, "leading constitutionalists enthusiastically joined the campaign against homosexuality."One of those gready influenced by MN was Ahmad Kasravi, whose nationalist movement, Pak Dim (Purity of Religion), developed a broad following. Kasravi preached that "homosexuality was a measure of cultural backwardness," that Sufi poets of homoeroticism led "parasitic" lives, and that their queer poetry "was dangerous and had to be eliminated." Kasravi's Pak Dini movement "went so far as to institute a festival of book burning, held on winter solstice. Books deemed harmful and amoral were thrown into a bonfire in an event that seemed to echo the Nazi and Soviet-style notions of eliminating 'degenerate' art."
Iran's History Comes Out Doug Ireland In These Times; Apr 2009; 33, 4; Docstoc pg. 30 Reproduced with permission of the copyr
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