Of all of his many talents, one of Danny Postel’s most signature abilities may be his ability to convene conversations.
Danny brings together people from all different backgrounds and nationalities in person, through his relentless sharing of articles and book titles, through his writing and his editing.
It is the latter aspect of his work, along with his unswerving commitment to following his ideals where they logically lead that is most evident in The People Reloaded, a collection of essays about Iran’s Green Revolution he co-edited with Nader Hashemi.
Danny has been engaged in Iranian issues for some time now: the country was the subject of his first book, Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran. In the first essay in that work, he wrote an analysis of why American leftists created whole networks as part of a general solidarity effort with Central American people, but had been so conspicuously silent about Iran.
In that essay, Danny broke that silence and began to immerse himself in Iranian politics and culture.
In his most recent book, he brings together a host of Iranian voices addressing many different aspects of the uprising after the stolen elections of June 2009.
I’m close to halfway through the work and enjoying it immensely on a number of different levels, not the least of which is the pride I feel when a friend has completed a significant accomplishment. Beyond that, though, I am learning a lot about the upheaval’s wide ranging implications.
The eyes of the world these days are understandably on Egypt and the possible end to Hosni Mubarak’s authoritarian 30-year reign. At some point, the focus will shift from those dramatic events to consider the region as a whole.
When that happens, I recommend engaging in a long and thoughtful read in this latest product of Danny Postel’s remarkable capacity to gather people to share their thoughts about the questions of the day, the life of the mind and the values by which we try to live.