Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Reflection on Time, Space and Being...

Reflection on Time, Space and Being in a New Context

Ali Asghar Kazemi*

June, 2011


A Time for Reflection
Basic Concepts                              
1.       The Notion of Time
2.      The Realm of Space
3.      The Nature of Being
Changes in the Context
1.       Being and Virtual Reality
2.      Rise of Universal Man
3.      Lost in  Cyber- Space  
Final Remarks
Further Readings

The extraordinary marvel of the new information technology has provided opportunity for all to plunge into the sea of knowledge for doing rigorous research or simply satisfying one’s intellectual curiosity in a particular field. This revolution has indeed changed all dimensions of our life and has given us the capacity and chance to tackle with all matters and questions of our interest.
With a bit of skill in computer and internet, it is now possible to have access to an immense amount of information concerning every conceivable fields of knowledge in the world. The problem for students in doing researches now is no longer the accessibility to the sources and literature but the selection of proper data and materials to verify or validate a proposition or hypothesis. This is indeed a real revolution that only past academic generations can fully appreciate.
This essay is the product of a simple curiosity and conjecture about man’s fate on earth in the light of extraordinary changes in knowledge and information technology.  The emphasis here is on three important concepts of time, space and being facing such drastic unexpected transformation. I hope this will encourage other interested students of social sciences to ponder upon similar topics.

A Time for Reflection
While not very many people are interested in theoretical matters, there are some important issues in our daily life that have ontological character that require philosophical reflection.
For example, few ideas have penetrated the human consciousness as profoundly as that of time, space and being. The idea of time and space has occupied human thought for thousands of years. These things at first sight seem simple and easy to grasp, because they are close to everyday experience. Everything exists in time and space, so they appear as familiar conceptions. However, what is familiar is not necessarily understood. On closer examination, time and space are not so easily grasped. [1]
By the same token, being and existence, in the words of Heidegger is not definable by a "what", like a simple thing, but by a "who" that is shaped by existence in time. Thus, human being is to exist with a certain past, a personal and cultural history, and by an open series of possibilities that one can seize hold of or not.[2]
There is no doubt that the revolutionary change in technology has also affected the notions of time and space and consequently the reality of human being. Today we talk about “real time,” “cyber space,[3]” and “virtual reality.[4]” This means that we live in a world quite different from what our ancestors used to experience. How much are we aware of our existence in today’s life? How far are we limited in time and space in the fulfillment of our ideals? What is the present condition of human beings in closed societies?
 In this essay we intend to reflect on the old notions of time, space and being in the light of new development in knowledge, with a view to comprehend man’s present condition  and to find out whether he is better off  or worse in life.    Read full text in pdf

[1] See: Relativity Theory,
[2] In what, then, does the being of being human consist? Heidegger's answer is existence (Existenz). Therefore, the question of being is to be accessed by way of what Heidegger calls "an existential analytic". But what sort of thing is human existence? It is obviously defined by time: we are creatures with a past, who move through a present and who have available to them a series of possibilities, what Heidegger calls "ways to be". For Heidegger, there are two dominant modes of being human: authenticity and inauthenticity.  See Infra.

[3]  In current usage the term "cyberspace" stands for the global network of interdependent information technology infrastructures, telecommunications networks and computer processing systems. As a social experience, individuals can interact, exchange ideas, share information, provide social support, conduct business, direct actions, create artistic media, play games, engage in political discussion, and so on, using this global network. The term has become a conventional means to describe anything associated with the Internet and the diverse Internet culture. Wikipedia
[4] Virtual reality (VR) is a term that applies to computer-simulated environments that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world, as well as in imaginary worlds.

* Ali Asghar Kazemi is professor of Law and International Relations in Tehran-Iran. Students, researchers, academic institutions, media or any party interested in using all or parts ‎of this article are welcomed to do so with the condition of giving full attribution to the author, Scholar -Journal and the ‎Middle East Academic Forum. ©All Copy Rights Reserved.‎

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Les dimensions ontologiques des droits de l'homme

Ali Asghar Kazemi *
Téhéran-mai 2011


Introduction ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ....

La perspective ontologique ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

La théorie critique et ontologie juridique ... ... ... ... ...

Concept de «droit» dans la théorie juridique ... ... ... ... ... ..

            - Les droits moraux vs juridiques ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

             Réclamation des droits et des droits de la Liberté ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... -
Droits de l'Homme: Dichotomie ontologique ... ... ...

           Indivisibilité-vs catégorisation ... ... ... ... ... ... ....
          - L'universalisme contre le   Le relativisme ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...  
   - Acteurs étatiques vs non-étatiques ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ....

Conclusions ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ....  
Bibliographie ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..

Lectures supplémentaires ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Beaucoup a été écrit pendant la seconde moitié du siècle passé sur les différents aspects de «droits de l'homme», mais les étudiants de droit, la politique et les relations internationales sont moins familiers avec la base ontologique de cette question d'importance vitale. Depuis l'adoption de la Déclaration universelle des Droits de l'Homme (DUDH) en 1948 et les conventions et pactes internationaux ultérieurs [1] , nous avons vu augmenter critiques de divers milieux sur la justification de l'accent mis sur les extraordinaires telles que les droits inaliénables des peuples du monde entier. Certains ont accusé cette tendance comme un intellectualisme injustifiables en particulier dans les pays traditionnellement en arrière.
En fait, la lecture grâce à l'immense littérature sur les droits humains à tort l'impression que ce sujet est une invention de la puissance occidentale qui est actuellement utilisé comme un instrument de pression politique contre les traditionnels et les moins développés sociétés autoritaires.
Les partisans de l'universalité des droits de l'homme estiment que tandis que les cultures séculaires ont institutionnalisé cette affaire comme «important article de foi," [2] , nous assistons à une crise qui se développe dans d'autres parties du monde et surtout depuis 11 Septembre 2001 de la légitimité des droits de l'homme est sérieusement menacée. [3]
Hannah Arendt [4] a dit que «les dimensions ontologiques des droits humains ont été largement ignorées en faveur de la justice» [5] Cet essai tente de regarder le problème en examinant la question d'un point de vue ontologique. L'objectif principal ici n'est pas «droits humains» en soi et les normes conventionnelles régissant son domaine, plutôt, l'objectif est d'étudier les conditions requises préliminaire pour elle; qui est le fondement ontologique qui embrasse les droits inaliénables de l'homme en vertu de sa nature même un «être humain»    et pas nécessairement en tant que membre de la société ou le citoyen d'une entité politique appelée l'Etat. [6] Dans le décompte final, la question est de savoir si l'homme mépris de sa race, de foi, le sexe, la croyance et l'appartenance politique ou territoriale, à terme existe totalement pour ou en tant que membre de la société ou qui existe dans un certain sens important pour lui indépendant de l'environnement socio-politique? Une autre question importante est de savoir si le droit de ces droits implique un devoir corrélatif ou il s'agit simplement d'un privilège que de base garanties morales que les gens jouiront dans tous les pays et cultures, simplement parce qu'ils sont des êtres humains. Il sera fait valoir que le problème des droits de l'homme est essentiellement un manque d'application effective dans un système disparates internationale chaotique. Lire le texte complet en pdf

* -   Ali Asghar Kazemi est l'ancien doyen et professeur de droit et relations internationales à la Faculté de Droit et de Science politique -.. Post-Graduate Programme, l'AIU, Direction des sciences et de recherche de Téhéran-Iran Dr Kazemi est diplômé de l'Académie française navale et la United States Naval Post-Graduate School, Monterrey en Californie Il est titulaire d'un doctorat de la Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Medford, Massachusetts aux USA.

[1] Les plus connus sont le Pacte international relatif aux droits civils et politiques et le Pacte international relatif aux droits économiques, sociaux et culturels.
[2] L'historien canadien Michael Ignatieff,   Voir:    Ignatieff, M. (1999), dont les valeurs universelles? La crise des droits humains de La Haye:. Essai Erasmianum Praemium.

[3] Rob Buitenweg, droits de l'homme et le paradoxe de l'humanisme 11 mai 2003

[4] Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) était un influent théoricien allemand politique américaine.

[5] Voir: Sarena Parekh,   Hanna Arrendt et le défi de la modernité, une phénoménologie des droits de l'homme. Routledg, 2008.
[6] J'ai emprunté cette approche de Raymond Dennehy, le fondement ontologique des droits de l'homme de l'Université de San Francisco, San Francisco, en Californie.

* Ali Asghar Kazemi est professeur de droit et relations internationales à Téhéran-Iran. Etudiants, chercheurs, institutions académiques, des médias ou toute partie intéressée dans l'utilisation de tout ou partie de cet article sont invités à le faire avec la condition de donner pleine d'attribution à l'auteur, chercheur-Journal et le Moyen-Orient Forum académique. © Tous droits réservés copie.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Ontological Dimensions of Human Rights


 The Ontological Dimensions of Human Rights

Ali Asghar Kazemi*
Tehran- May 2011


Introduction …………………………………………….

The Ontological Perspective………………………

Critical Theory and Legal Ontology ……………

Concept of “Right” in Legal Theory……………..

           - Moral vs. Legal Rights………………………………

           - Claim Rights & Liberty Rights……………………

Human Rights: Ontological Dichotomy ………

           -Indivisibility vs. categorization ………………….

          - Universalism vs.  Relativism……………………… 
   -State vs. Non-state Actors………………………….

Conclusions ………………………………………………. 

Further Readings………………………………………

Much has been written during the second half of the past century about various aspects of “Human Rights,” but students of law, politics and international relations are less acquainted with the ontological basis of this vitally important issue. Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948 and the subsequent international conventions and covenants[1], we saw increasing criticisms from various circles on the rationale of such extraordinary emphasis on the inalienable rights of people around the world. Some have accused this trend as an unjustifiable intellectualism especially in traditionally backward countries.
In fact, reading through the immense literature on human rights conveys the false impression that this topic is an invention of Western power which is now being used as an instrument of political pressure against traditional and less developed authoritarian societies.
Proponents of universality of human rights believe that while secular cultures have institutionalized this matter as “major article of faith,”[2] we are witnessing a developing crisis in other parts of the world and especially since September 11th 2001 the legitimacy of human rights is under serious threat. [3]
Hannah Arendt[4] once said that “the ontological dimensions of human rights have been largely ignored in favor of the judicial”[5] This essay attempts to look at the issue by examining the matter from an ontological point of view. The main focus here is not “human rights” per se and the conventional norms governing its realm, rather, the aim is to investigate the preliminary requisites to it; that is the ontological basis that embraces man’s inalienable rights by virtue of his very nature as a “human being”   and not necessarily as a member of society or the citizen of a political entity called state. [6] In the final account, the question is whether man-disregard of his race, faith, gender, creed and political or territorial affiliation- ultimately exists totally for or as a member of society or exists in some significant sense for himself independent of the socio-political environment? Another important question is whether the entitlement of such rights entails a correlative duty or it is merely a privilege as basic moral guarantees that people shall enjoy in all countries and cultures simply because they are human beings. It will be argued that the problem of human rights is essentially lack of effective enforcement in a disparate chaotic international system.    Read full text in pdf

*-  Ali Asghar Kazemi is Former Dean and currently Professor of Law and International Relations at the ‎‎Faculty of Law and Political Science - Post-Graduate Program, IAU, Science and Research Branch. ‎‎Tehran- Iran. Dr. Kazemi is a graduate of the French Naval Academy and The United States Naval Post-Graduate School, Monterrey Calif. He holds PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Medford, Mass. USA.

[1] The best-known are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
[2] Canadian historian Michael Ignatieff,  See:   Ignatieff, M. (1999), Whose universal values? The crisis in human rights. The Hague: Praemium Erasmianum Essay.

[3] Rob Buitenweg, Human Rights and the Paradox of Humanism 11 May, 2003

[4] Hannah Arendt (1906 – 1975) was an influential German American political theorist.

[5] See: Sarena Parekh,  Hanna Arrendt and the Challenge of Modernity, A Phenomenology of Human Rights. Routledg, 2008.
[6]I have borrowed this approach from Raymond Dennehy, The Ontological basis of Human Rights University of San Francisco ,San Francisco, California.

* Ali Asghar Kazemi is professor of Law and International Relations in Tehran-Iran. Students, researchers, academic institutions, media or any party interested in using all or parts ‎of this article are welcomed to do so with the condition of giving full attribution to the author, Scholar -Journal and the ‎Middle East Academic Forum. ©All Copy Rights Reserved.‎

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Politics of Witchcraft and Power Struggle in Iran

Politics of Witchcraft and Power Struggle in Iran         pdf File
A.  A.  Kazemi
May 12, 2011

باش تا صبح دولت ات بد مد       کاین هنوز از نتایج سحر است

Wait till the majestic   glow of the morning light
This is yet the results of the early dawn bright
It took more than six long years for the Islamic regime to realize that the man, who was led to occupy the office of the “president” in Iran, was in fact an empty magic box, making too much noise while connected with a dubious entourage of a witchcraft circle. Indeed, this looks not much bizarre for a pompous figure who has led the nation to the brink of another war with his controversial claims and behavior.  Perhaps he is relying on the magic power of his allies for the management of the world,.  The danger lies on his consistent pretension of being a true Muslim believer having unusual connection with the Almighty “Allah” and his apostles namely the hidden 12th Imam of the Shiites.

Just very recently a number of Iranian President’s advisers were arrested and jailed for practicing witchcraft. They have been charged with sorcery in an attempt to influence and challenge the power of the supreme Leader in favor of their chief mentor. This has been construed as part of power struggle before the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iran’s political arena. 
How far the practice of witchcraft during the past several years (i.e. during Mr. Ahmadinejad tenure in office) has influenced government’s decisions decision making process? What is the extent of damages caused to the nation as a whole and the Islamic regime in particular as a result of this astonishing practice? What is the fate of the incumbent president after the revelation of the witchcraft scandal?

This short paper shall attempt to shed some light on the subject and evaluate the objectives and consequences of witchcraft practice by the president’s entourage and his reliance upon supernatural phenomenon for the attainment of his long-range political goals.

 Witchcraft in Religion and Politics
Witchcraft can be examined in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts. Generally, it is the alleged use of metaphysical, supernatural or magical powers.[1] Beliefs in witchcraft, and resulting witch-hunts, are both found in many cultures worldwide. In anthropological terminology a 'witch' differs from a sorcerer in that they do not use physical tools or actions to curse; their mischief is perceived as extending from some intangible inner quality, and the person may be unaware that they are a 'witch', or may have been convinced of their own evil nature by the suggestion of others. [2]

Practices to which the witchcraft label has historically been applied are those which influence another person's mind, body, or property against his or her will, or which are believed, by the person doing the labeling, to undermine the social or religious order. Some modern commentators consider the malefic nature of witchcraft to be a Christian projection.[3]
Witchcraft in politics is still practiced even in modern societies. Americans may well remember Nancy Reagan’s alleged reliance on fortune-telling[4], witchcraft and astrology[5] in order to get advice for vital White House decisions of his husband, President Ronald Reagan. It is not known whether the miraculous collapse of the Soviet Union was the outcome of such supernatural practice!  Politicians have often attempted to seek help of magic and supernatural with an objective to attract people’s attention or to destroy the chances of others by “locking the tongue” of their adversaries.

In the Islamic tradition, while Muslims in general believe in magic (Sihr), its practice is explicitly forbidden by Qur’an.[6]  Some Muslim practitioners believe that they may seek the help of the   Jinn[7] in magic. It is a common belief that jinn can possess a human, thus requiring exorcism. Still, the practice of seeking help to the Jinn is prohibited and regarded the same as seeking help to a devil.[8]

However, whereas performing miracles in Islamic thought and belief is reserved for only Messengers and Prophets, supernatural acts are also believed to be performed by “Awliyaa” – the spiritually accomplished. Disbelief in the miracles of the Prophets is considered an act of disbelief; belief in the miracles of any given pious individual is not. Neither are regarded as magic, but as signs of Allah at the hands of those close to Him that occur by His will and His alone.[9] This is the main reason for which some people pretend to have special connection with Good and metaphysics.[10]

Power Struggle and Witchcraft Controversy
While many opposition groups had long accused Iranian president to be associated with circles practicing magic and sorcery, the witchcraft controversy emerged only after his defiance over the supreme leader’s order regarding the Intelligence Minister. He was fired from his post due to some quarrel concerning an eavesdrop scandal of the president chief adviser who happens to run the dubious circle[11]. The supreme leader wanted reinstate the minister on his job, which resulted to the president’s absenting the cabinet for almost two weeks as a gesture of discontent and protest. This led to a widespread verbal attacks and accusation on the person of the president and his staff which followed by the arrest of a group of people allegedly associated with the witchcraft story. The arrests came amid a growing rift between the President and the Supreme Leader which has prompted several MPs to call for the president impeachment. But, when he realized that his political career is being threatened, he decided to return to work.

However, observers believe that recent  President’s  compromising move over the Leader’s order was only tactical and he is prone to further stirrup the situation in future with an objective to strengthen his position by undermining the Leader’s authority and keeping away the clerics from involvement in government affairs. One such action is said to be a documentary film prepared by the “circle” and backed by the President, that claimed the Hidden 12th hidden Imam Mahdi, would be making an appearance soon. This could mean that there is no longer need of his supplants (i.e. The Supreme Leader) since the Imam himself is handling all the business of the nation.

In fact, this curious claim has been on the agenda of the president all along his tenure in office, but few people paid attention to it or took it seriously. Now that the challenge has surfaced, even conservative allies of the President are distancing from him and his circle fearing negative consequences of his sudden downfall. Most optimistic assessments suggest that despite leader’s embarrassment of his full support of the defying President, chances for his staying in power until the end of his term are very slim. The only problem now is how to get rid of this man without damaging the status of the Supreme Leader and the Islamic regime as a whole.

Final Words
Seeking assistance from unusual source of power may be considered only as a cultural malaise for ordinary fatalistic people who see their misfortune coming from the outer-world. But for a supposedly educated man occupying a high political office and claiming the rule of the world, such practice and conviction is a real shame. In effect, relying on witchcraft, fortune-telling, sorcery and other superstitious practices is a vivid sign of ignorance, backwardness and absurdity in an age of revolution in high-tech and man’s conquering the Moon and other celestial bodies. 

Indeed, there is a sharp difference between being a faithful religious believer and reliance on magic and sorcery by looking for help of jinn and other devil spirits. Only a corrupt mind with mischievous aims may rely on such fictive powers for the attainment of his objectives.  
Thus far, Iranians have paid high price for ludicrous behavior and decisions of the witchcraft circle in domestic and international affairs. Now that the underlying cause of this situation is revealed, they should force their representatives in the parliament to stop the trend before the whole nation is engulfed in crisis and disarray. /

Wait till the majestic   glow of the morning light
This is yet the results of the early dawn bright
__________               AAK

[1] A witch (from Old English wicca masculine, wicce feminine) is a practitioner of witchcraft. Historically, it was widely believed in early modern Christian Europe that witches were in league with the Devil and used their powers to harm people and property. Particularly since the mid-20th century, 'bad' and 'good' witchcraft are sometimes distinguished, the latter often involving healing. The concept of witchcraft as harmful is normally treated as a cultural ideology, a means of explaining human misfortune by blaming it either on a supernatural entity or a known person in the community. From Wikipedia
[2] Ibid

[3]Wikipedia, Ibid
[4] Fortune-telling is the practice of predicting information about a person's life, often commercially. The scope of fortune-telling is in principle identical with the practice of divination. The difference is that divination is the term used for predictions considered part of a religious ritual, invoking deities or spirits, while the term fortune-telling implies a less serious or formal setting, even one of popular culture, where belief in occult workings behind the prediction is less prominent than the concept of suggestion, spiritual or practical advisory or affirmation. Historically, fortune-telling grows out of folkloristic reception of Renaissance magic, specifically associated with gypsies. Wikipedia.
[4] Astrology is a system of divination founded on the notion that the relative positions of celestial bodies are signs of or—more controversially among astrologers—causes of destiny, personality, human affairs, and natural events. Ibid

[6] Surah Al-Falaq (meaning dawn or daybreak), which is known as a prayer to Allah to ward off black magic. “ Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the Dawn From the mischief of created things; From the mischief of Darkness as it overspreads; From the mischief of those who practise secret arts; And from the mischief of the envious one as he practises envy.” (Quran 113:1–5)
Also according to the Quran: “And they follow that which the devils falsely related against the kingdom of  Soloman. Solomon disbelieved not; but the devils disbelieved, teaching mankind sorcery and that which was revealed to the two angels in Babel, Harut and Marut ... And surely they do know that he who trafficketh therein will have no (happy) portion in the Hereafter; and surely evil is the price for which they sell their souls, if they but knew.” (al-Qur'an 2:102)
[7] The belief in jinn is part of the Muslim faith. It is  narrated  from the Prophet who said: "Allah created the angels from light, created the jinn from the pure flame of fire, and Adam from that which was described to you (i.e., the clay.)".
Also in the Quran, chapter of Jinn:  “And persons from among men used to seek refuge with persons from among the jinn, so they increased them in evil doing.” (The Qur'an) (72:6)

[8] Wikipedia
[9] Ibid Wikipedia
[10] See my article: Ali Asghar Kazemi, Metaphysics of Violence and Terror in Scholar E-Journal  , April 2011.
[11] Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being “magicians” and invoking djinns (spirits). Ayandeh, an Iranian news website, described one of the arrested men, Abbas Ghaffari, as “a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds”.

* Ali Asghar Kazemi is professor of Law and International Relations in Tehran-Iran. Students, researchers, academic institutions, media or any party interested in using all or parts ‎of this article are welcomed to do so with the condition of giving full attribution to the author, Scholar -Journal and the ‎Middle East Academic Forum. ©All Copy Rights Reserved.‎