The 'imaginary emigrants' of Iran

Published October 15th, 2015 - 04:10 GMT
Iranian women look out towards the water on the beach of the Caspian Sea.  (AFP/File)
Iranian women look out towards the water on the beach of the Caspian Sea. (AFP/File)

Mental emigration 

In the late 1930s, when most Germans were intoxicated with the Nazis,  there was a small minority of educated dissenters who felt powerless and intimidated. But rather than engage with the twisted values of Hitler’s regime, they retreated. They could have taken on Hitler’s main intellectual apologist, the philosopher Martin Heidegger. Instead they withdrew from public discourse. An article I read recently coined an excellent term for their reaction: “mental emigration”.

I see the same phenomenon here in Iran.

Every holiday weekend, the educated and the well-to-do fill their cars with bootleg liquor and drive out of Tehran to seclusion and luxury in their villas on the Caspian Sea.

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