Instead, the World Philosophy Day will be held in Paris this year. The person who stood behind organizing the event, Gholamreza Avani, director of the Iranien Institute of Philosophy was replaced with Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, better known as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s son in law. Besides this, the government issued also out a message stating that the western social science and philosophy did not suit Iran. The Iranian philosopher Ramin Ahanbegloo was imprisoned in 2006 for having “contact with foreigners” and for “forming a velvet revolution” by bringing Western philosophers to Iran as Hamermas, Rorty etc.
To cancel the event was triggered by the many protest of famous philosophers such as Seyla Benhabib, Juergen Habermas, Michael Walwer, Axel Honneth, Alessandro Ferrara, Andrew Arato, Jean Cohen and Iranian intellectuals such as Hamid Dabashi, Farzin Vardat and Ferzaneh Ganji.
Iran on their side, had celebrated the event using UNESCO’s logo making a web page; www.philosophyday.ir, but the UNESCO logo was removed immediately even if the homepage is still updated with the events program.
So what will the Iranian government reply to this?
I personally think that no matter how wrong the Iranian regime may be, the Western world has the right to protest. But to cancel the event is very harsh, because I’m sure there are many young students or philosophic thinkers who probably were looking forward to attend the event and now can’t travel. It is easy for the protesters outside the country to condemn and protest but they forget about those who are in Iran and don’t think the same way the government does.
Last, what makes me think is that what made UNESCO planning and deciding to make such an event in Iran when they know that the regime is against the western philosophy? It is obvious that they have been against it for years, and the makers in UNESCO must have known this. It seems like a small provocation to the country to tease them.
I hope that the event will be successful in Paris and that no one will be taken away the possibility to learn and transfer knowledge ever.