Another outstanding piece by Larry Rohter of NYT explores the world of a notable author inside Iran–and a powerful insight into dealing with oppressive systems not to mention political opponents. Conflict is not the only option, although it tends to be the one that gets headlines. Neither is consensus; Mr. Dowlatabadi tries another direction.
To have “The Colonel” published in Persian, Mr. Dowlatabadi could theoretically turn to one of the émigré presses that flourish in Europe and California, or even, if he were so disposed, authorize a kind of samizdat edition for circulation in Iran. But he said he did not want to do that, preferring to adhere to legal channels, frustrating though that may be.
“My philosophy, my way of working, is not by confrontation,” he said. “I want to keep writing and keep being an Iranian novelist in Iran, so therefore I do not have confrontations.”
Yes, he continued, “I have written things that if you read them they create questions in your head,” but he added: “I did not do it confrontationally, against the state. In fact it’s a good thing for the regime — past, present and future — to have the experience of writers who work within the system. This has to be an established norm or practice in our country: that people who have different opinions can rationally disagree. It shouldn’t be that I want to kill you, I want to confront you or I want to leave.”