I don't know if you are aware of or have paid any attention to the raging debate over the arrest of director Roman Polanski in Switzerland at the behest of the California courts on charges that stem from the rape of a child thirty years ago. The facts of the case are little in dispute but the morality of arresting the culprit, now an old man, is being argued from all sides. Many sympathetic to the film maker are invoking moral philosophy, classical literature and the perpetrator's own life story in order to find exculpatory reasons on his behalf. For example, here, here and here.
For others the case is simply one of crime, punishment and the law - the moral issues are undebatable (I agree). It is also worth noting that the best no-nonsense articles from this angle are written by women - here, here and here.
I am hardly surprised by the Polanski debate and even less by who his supporters are. The narcissistic and seemingly liberal world of the arts in general and cinema in particular, is notorious for what it deems appropriate for the common man and non-artistes and what it feels should apply to its own glitterati set. But here is an article unrelated to Polanski which did take me completely by surprise and the underlying psychology and morality of which is far more interesting to ponder than whether a 76 year old lecher should go to jail or not. (links to the articles in the Telegraph, The Village Voice and The Smart Set via 3 Quarks Daily)
A photograph of the Iranian president holding up his identity card during elections in March 2008 clearly shows his family has Jewish roots.
A close-up of the document reveals he was previously known as Sabourjian – a Jewish name meaning cloth weaver.
The short note scrawled on the card suggests his family changed its name to Ahmadinejad when they converted to embrace Islam after his birth.
The Sabourjians traditionally hail from Aradan, Mr Ahmadinejad's birthplace, and the name derives from "weaver of the Sabour", the name for the Jewish Tallit shawl in Persia. The name is even on the list of reserved names for Iranian Jews compiled by Iran's Ministry of the Interior.
Experts last night suggested Mr Ahmadinejad's track record for hate-filled attacks on Jews could be an overcompensation to hide his past.
Ali Nourizadeh, of the Centre for Arab and Iranian Studies, said: "This aspect of Mr Ahmadinejad's background explains a lot about him.
"Every family that converts into a different religion takes a new identity by condemning their old faith.
"By making anti-Israeli statements he is trying to shed any suspicions about his Jewish connections. He feels vulnerable in a radical Shia society."
I am curious now. Will Ahmadinejad /Sabourjian be allowed to migrate to Israel based on his ancestry, in case the Iranian elections are overturned and he finds life in Iran a bit uncomfortable?