APPEAL TO THE PSYCHOANALYSTS,
TO FRIENDS OF PSYCHOANALYSIS AND FREEDOM
APPEAL TO THE PSYCHOANALYSTS,
TO FRIENDS OF PSYCHOANALYSIS AND FREEDOM
Paris, 7 February 2013
Attention ! No errors ! The campaign for Mitra is not fnished. 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 fst 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 fnd 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 overfow 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
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 fnd 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 scientifc 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 justifed 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
frst 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 diffculty, 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
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
mitra2013.com, and with her husband set up a dedicated site. The frst potential
signatures were solicited by letter, by mail and telephone. The initial signifcant 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 sign for
Mitra. 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 fght 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 without
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
Published by La règle du jeu
(Translated by Victoria Woollard)