WATCH: Iranian Goes To Extreme Lengths To Avoid Stepping On Israeli, U.S. Flags by the Forward

WATCH: Iranian Goes To Extreme Lengths To Avoid Stepping On Israeli, U.S. Flags

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Need a little something hopeful to break our tense political mood right now? Look no further than this video of Iranian scholar Sadegh Zibakalam. A well-known professor at the University of Tehran, the 68-year-old is seen performing some very unique physical and political gymnastics as he enters a building at another university.

Even as everyone in Zibakalam’s entourage is content to step on the Israeli and American flags at their feet, Zibakalam refuses. First, he carefully walks around the Israeli flag in the entrance. Then, when he reaches the first landing, he climbs up onto the railing and shimmies across it rather than treading on the American flag.

Posted to Zibakalam’s Facebook page on November 5, “liked” more than 5,000 times and viewed on YouTube nearly 100,000 times, the video came with a message written in Farsi: “American and Israeli flags not stepped over when Zibakalam enters Azad University [a private nationwide university system] of Mashhad [a major northeastern city in Iran] to debate Hamid Rasaei [a conservative member of parliament].”

Wondering what motivated the Iranian academic’s behavior? Here’s some helpful background, courtesy of a 2015 profile piece in Tablet:

Over the past few years, Zibakalam has become an outspoken critic of Iran’s nuclear program, and in 2014 he publicly declared that he recognizes the State of Israel. Here’s Tablet again:

Are Zibakalam’s views representative of all Iranians’ views on Israel and the West? Definitely not. Still, it’s nice to see this liberal firebrand taking a stand — and, when need be, a shimmy — for what he believes is right.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.


Sigal Samuel

Sigal Samuel

Sigal Samuel is the former Opinion Editor at the Forward. When she’s not tackling race or identity politics, she’s hunting down her Indian Jewish family’s Kabbalistic secret society. Her novel THE MYSTICS OF MILE END tells the story of a dysfunctional family with a dangerous mystical obsession. Her writing has also appeared in The Daily Beast, The Rumpus, and BuzzFeed. Follow Sigal on Twitter.

WATCH: Iranian Goes To Extreme Lengths To Avoid Stepping On Israeli, U.S. Flags

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WATCH: Iranian Goes To Extreme Lengths To Avoid Stepping On Israeli, U.S. Flags

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