Here’s an interview with the Persian Javanan Weekly on the Manifesto for your information.
Javanan: You are one of the signatories to the Manifesto against Islamism; were you involved in drafting it?
Maryam Namazie: I wasn’t involved in drafting the manifesto. I had initially refused to sign the manifesto because it mentioned the ‘excesses of communism’ as an example of past totalitarianisms and put it on par with Nazism and fascism. I was then told that it was a mistranslation – since the original was written in French – and that it was in fact ‘Stalinism’. I then decided to sign on to it. Of course I would have written the manifesto differently had I been involved in its drafting but I believed it to be too important to pass up on.
Javanan: How widely has this manifesto been published?
Maryam Namazie: The manifesto has been widely received and publicised in the media. It has been published in newspapers across Europe. In France it has been published in Charlie Hebdo, Agence France Presse, L’Express, RTL, Proche-orient info, RMC, France Info, France 2.fr, Europe 1, RFI, TOC. In Denmark it has been published in Jyllands-Posten, the paper where the Mohammad caricatures were first published (there is also an interview with me on the issue), Politiken, Berlingske Tidende, and Kristeligt Dagblad, In Switzerland, Radio Suisse Romande, Le Temps; in Belgium BELGIQUE RTL, De Morgen, The Brussels Journal; in Germany, DIE WELT; in Italy, Sky news, Libero; in Canada, Radio Canada and the Toronto Star. The Middle East Times, Al Jazeera, BBC and some Iranian sites like rowzane have also published it.
I have also been interviewed by several Danish papers, including the Jyllands-Posten, and most recently by Danish TV. Many of them reprinted the entire Manifesto but of course not in the UK, which is a strong centre of political Islam in Europe.
The response by the public too has been overwhelming. Many feel such a manifesto is extremely timely whilst of course there is the usual hate mail from Islamists.
Javanan: You are the only one to give a party affiliation – usually writers don’t do that. Is this a break with this sort of tradition?
Maryam Namazie: I was asked to write my own introduction as were others. I was the only one who gave a party affiliation (though I signed on to it personally and not on behalf of the party) – because I cannot introduce myself without mentioning the Worker-communist Party of Iran – given that the party and movement and of course Mansoor Hekmat have been so instrumental in giving me the tools and analysis to confront political Islam and also because I really believe that it is worker-communism that has and can respond to the vile political Islamic movement and much more.
Furthermore, it is part of our political culture in this movement to be radical and popular at the same time. The email I received from a Dane after he watched the interview and read some of my blogs says it all: ‘People like you will one day be a principal cause of freedom and justice for all people in the world no matter their gender, sexual preference, religious or political conviction.’ I believe he is referring to worker-communism.
Javanan: Some of the text is really very good and it has an overall positive effect but in my opinion some parts of it uses Cold War expressions; what do you think?
Maryam Namazie: I think much of the content is brilliant and is what we have been saying for many years – on universal values and rights, on cultural relativism, on Islamophobia, on freedom of expression, and the need for an age of enlightenment. What I found interesting about this Manifesto is that our stance is evident throughout and reveals our influence and impact. But as I said before, if I had written it I would definitely do some things differently. The role of western governments in creating and supporting totalitarian states is absent. Whilst I agree that Stalin’s regime was totalitarian, mentioning his rule and not the many western backed totalitarian regimes conjures up images of the Cold War and gives an incomplete picture. What about the US backed Shah’s regime or many of the US backed totalitarian governments in Latin America? Also, the West’s role in encouraging political Islam vis-à-vis the Eastern bloc and their current power struggle is absent. Nonetheless, though, I felt it important to sign on to this manifesto as I mentioned before.
The above was from an interview in Persian in the weekly publication of the Young Communists’ Organisation.