Friday, May 06, 2011

Superstition in Iran

Over in Iran, there seems to be a power struggle brewing between the President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iran being a dictatorship, this struggle isn't being played out through public debate; instead, its manifesting as arrests for "sorcery":

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".

My natural response is to joke about this; "special skills in metaphysics" sounds like something out of the Laundry, not reality. But its not really a laughing matter. These people will be detained, tortured, and possibly executed, because of someone's absurd superstitions about magic. And that's not really very funny.