SOS Mitra

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Paris, 7 February


Attention ! No
errors ! The campaign for Mitra is not finished. It has just started. This
is the most perilous moment. The authorities of the University of Medical
Sciences of Tehran have taken a direct blow. Dr Mohammad Ghadiri, medical
director of the psychiatric hospital has seen his name circulating throughout
all the medias. And no, not as the name of a Nobel prize winner, but as Mitra’s
guard, the man upon which, in the eyes of the world, depends Mitra’s well
being, Mitra’s freedom, Mitra’s life.


This Thursday
morning, for the fist time since Saturday, I have not found a mail in my inbox
from Mitra. Perhaps she is sulking. Perhaps, in the launching of the campaign,
there has been something that has upset her. Mitra is a perfectionist. But
perhaps this morning’s silence is due to Dr Ghadiri being in a bad mood. Has he
cut the connection ? Or is it rather that, having seen the amplitude that
this affair is going to take, other more powerful hands have taken up the
controls behind him ?


We have nothing
against our Iranian psychiatric colleagues. We would be pleased to be able to
visit them in Iran, and for them to visit us here in France, in America, in
Australia. At the moment, there are certain obstacles to overcome before this
can happen, but these exchanges will be taken up again one day. Yes, the day
will arrive when Iran will regain its place in the concert of nations. That
day, between Iran and the rest of the world, or at least the great democracies,
how nice it would be for there not be a dispute named : Mitra Kadivar.


I pleaded for many
weeks with the psychiatrists of the University of Medical Sciences for us to
find together the means of bringing to an end this miserable affair of
neighbours that has unduly implicated psychiatry. I wrote to them saying that
neither they in Tehran, nor we in Paris, wanted this affair to overflow into
the world. My interlocutor asked me to trust him, that everything would be
alright. Under judicial warrant, he should have done a psychiatric examination
of Mitra, it was an obligation from which he could not withdraw.


I trusted him. I
waited. I even discussed with my colleague N*, the designated expert,
Mitra’s case, the comments she had made to him, of how to interpret them. To
put it short, I collaborated. All that is here in my inbox. Conserved in copy
on the Time Machine. The result of my collegial efforts was : a diagnosis
of schizophrenia with a late triggering ; Mitra bound to her bed ; a
forced injection of haloperidol. I heard this from Mitra’s students. I
expressed my stupefaction to N*. No reply. I tried again. The connection
was dead. I had been shown to the door.


So I came back
through the window. I told Mitra’s students, members of the Freudian
Association, to go and find the authorities of the University of Medical
Sciences. The elements of a solution began to be sketched out. Guy Briole and
Pierre-Gilles Guéguen would leave for Tehran on a scientific and cultural
mission, would give some lectures at the University, would get access to Mitra.






Dr Ghadiri summoned a big meeting at the
hospital attended by the department’s psychiatrists, their
psychologist-psychoanalyst, and four of Mitra’s students. The medical director
justified the measures that had been taken. The students contested them: they
spoke with Mitra, she was as usual, not in the slightest bit mad. The
psychologist supported them : she considered that nobody in the department
was able to evaluate Mitra ; let our French colleagues intervene, she
said. Dr Ghadiri said that he agreed, but it was his responsibility to attend
all the interviews of Mitra with the French. The four students sent me a
detailed rapport of the meeting. They emphasise the conditions posed by
Ghadiri. I replied that his conditions were accepted.


End of the
sequence : Mitra was authorised to connect for one hour a day. Saturday,
her first mail arrived.


However, plan B was
scuppered on Monday.


The Quai d’Orsay,
(the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) feared they could not ensure the safety of
our envoys. Seeing us ready to go against their instructions, our diplomats
strove to dissuade them from leaving. Guy Briole was invited to make an urgent
visit to the Ambassador Z*.  Monday
morning, the Ambassador and his team informed him of certain realities. Briole
has the status of a military doctor ; over there, he was told, they would
only see “military” ; he would be taken for an agent from the intelligence
services. In the case of a difficulty, they told him, we couldn’t do anything.


Laurent Fabius
himself, our Minister of Foreign Affaires, before leaving for Mali, took pains
to address a personal letter to Jean-Daniel Mattet, president of the Ecole de
la Cause freudienne. He urged him to suspend the sending of Briole and Guéguen
to Tehran.


Finally, Mitra
herself told me she was opposed to the journey. Why should the University of
Medical Sciences have to be given, as the price of her freedom, the treasure of
psychoanalytic knowledge ? Does it deserve to have access to Freud and
Lacan ? What has it done to be so redeemed and rewarded ?


“It ain't over till
the fat lady sings”, they say in America. The lady of Tehran is slim. And she
has just spoken. It’s no. She doesn’t want Freud and Lacan to serve as a ransom
for her freedom. You cannot bend a Mitra Kadivar. Monday evening February 4,
“it’s over”.

The appeal to
professional fraternity failed. The university friendly agreement was a
stillborn. There remains plan C : an opinion campaign. I wrote to
Mitra : “Thursday, you will be famous.” She replied : “I am looking
forward to Thursday”.


Olivia at “Le
Point” magazine, Maria at “La Règle du jeu” magazine, and Anne from “Lacan
Quotidien”, were alerted. Eve, at the Champ freudien editions, bought the URL, and with her husband set up a dedicated site. The first
potential signatures were solicited by letter, by mail and telephone. The
initial significant material was put together in haste : I wrote the
communication of February 5 ; I invented, with Bernard, the letter to the
Iranian psychiatrists, under the supervision of our friend X*, an expert
diplomat in Human rights.


Psychoanalysts !
We are divided into a multitude of different trends. There is the IPA and there
are the Lacanians. In the IPA, there are the inheritors of Ego-psychology, the
Kleinians, the eclectic Argentineans and the Argentineans of strict obedience,
my friends of the APA and those of the APdeBA, the followers of Kohut, of
Kernberg, of the French school, of neuro-psychoanalysis, there is bit of
everything. I am asking Vera, who knows everybody, to contact everybody. I am
appealing to my old friend, to my old master, my dear friend Horacio
Etchegoyen, former President of the IPA. Please Horacio, sign for Mitra. Un abrazo fuerte. I am also appealing to
the current President of the IPA, whom I have not had the opportunity to meet.


The Lacanians, we
are like the Talmudists : two rabbis, three opinions. We know each other
well, we’ve fought each other well, we’ll perhaps fight again one day. I am
appealing to all, to my friend Jean Allouch, to my ex-friend Elisabeth
Roudinesco, from Claude Landman to Marc Strauss, who are my neighbours in Paris
6th. I am appealing to all the others.


There are also the
independent psychoanalysts, who are perhaps not the most numerous. There are
the psychotherapists, more numerous, if I might say, than the analysts stricto
sensu. I am appealing to the World Association of Psychotherapy, and to its
founder, Alfred Pritz, in recollection of our dinner in front of the Odéon
theatre with Nicole Aknin and Lilia Mahjoub.


There are the
psychologists. There are the psychiatrists. To all, all the grades, the
with-out grades, the Societies, the Schools, the journals, I’m asking you to
say with us to our Iranian colleagues the price that we accord to the respect
of the human person. This person is not abstract. She is here and now, she is
straight away, Mitra Kadivar.


Let’s go ! All
together, let’s get her out of there. Afterwards, we can start our joyous
arguments again.




by La règle du jeu


by Victoria Woollard



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