Imam Khamenei

It is unlikely I will read the second volume of this book: Imam Khamenei

A few years ago, I read a great French novel entitled “The Thibaults” (Les Thibault in French) by Roger Martin. Great novels from France, Russia and other countries, where eminent novels have been written, depict realities of life. If you read novels by Honoré de Balzac, Victor Hugo or Russian authors, you will find that they’ve artistically depicted the social realities of their time; the same can be said for “The Thibault”. 

The book reveals how leftist and socialist groups in France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland tried hard to prevent WWI, once they felt they were on the brink of war. They failed and all their efforts were in vain. They were hoping to establish a socialist government. Eventually, a socialist government came into power in Tsarist Russia and that became another failed experience for the western movement. The Soviet’s experience was also a western experience; it was not an oriental one. It is true that they called them the east block and the west block, but that front belonged to Europe. It emerged from European as well as Marxist and Engle’s thoughts; it was another failure. [May 09, 2005]

The third and fourth volumes of the book “The Thibaults” have a very valuable historical importance. These two volumes show the circumstances and conditions prior to the First World War, but the first and second volumes are not on this subject at all; their style is different. When I read the first volume, I wrote on the back cover that it is unlikely that I will read the second volume of this book, because it is not compatible with our way of thinking. I write marginal notes in every book that I read. I wrote notes for this translation by you too, both after finishing the first volume and the third volume. Because my perception of this book changed completely after reading the third volume. The tendency toward humanism without religion is very clear in this book. That is, those same humanist tendencies of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are seen very much…
I like this book very much because it is well written and contains much information. I would like to recommend that young people read it – I quoted something from it in a gathering one time too - but I also have some concerns about it. When, for example, that priest talks with that young man and they answer each other’s reasoning, the priest is defeated in the field of argument at the end! It is alright for us. Indeed, a Catholic priest’s ability in arguments is not more than this. There is no doubt that the intellect of that young man of the early twentieth century will prevail over the priest's intellect. But what faults do our Islamic mentality and Islamic worldview have that should be sacrificed for the limited mentality of that priest of the early twentieth century?! [Dec. 9, 1991]


  • Roger Martin du Gard
  • The Thibaults