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Ahmadinejad's message to Americans
November 29, 2006 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad posts a message to the American people on his blog. (English Ver.).
posted by persia (65 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
You are witnessing daily that under the pretext of “the war on terror,” civil liberties in the United States are being increasingly curtailed.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, concern troll.

It's great that he appeals to our common humanity... that we might come together against "the Zionists." "Fight the real enemy!" He's a regular Sinead O'Connor, this guy.

Really, it's an easier case to make that the Iranian people deserve a better government, than the American people; we have freer elections, and we elected Bush, twice. Well, 1.5 times.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:50 AM on November 29, 2006


This may draw some flames, but I kind of like Ahmedi-Najad. I differ with him on religion, but I think he is in favor of peace provided it is with respect for his nation. His occasional fiery rhetoric has been distorted in the press over here. He's at least as sane as the "hawks" in the US government, and probably more so. His letter to Bush in May was quite reasonable. Of course Bush ignored it. I haven't finished reading this one yet, but it looks comparable so far.
posted by jam_pony at 11:52 AM on November 29, 2006 [2 favorites]


You know, I feel like I should get snarky about him starting in on the "Zionists", or the irony of something this well said coming from an Iranian (since they're supposed to be evil despotic brown people) but I won't, because all in all, I can't really not agree with the guy. Good show.
posted by saysthis at 11:57 AM on November 29, 2006


His punctuation and grammar are execrable.
posted by esquire at 12:02 PM on November 29, 2006


Too bad his myspace page is all in arabic, looks like he has some hot friends.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 12:02 PM on November 29, 2006


ibmcginty, I count 0.5

That's being a bit generous too.
posted by SBMike at 12:03 PM on November 29, 2006


He is in favor of peace, as long as his religious oligarchy is respected.

It burns my chestnuts when people think justice is "what it says in [insert religious text here]".

When he says justice, he doesn't mean bill of rights, supreme court, cruel and unusual punishment.

...and he knows it.
posted by ewkpates at 12:05 PM on November 29, 2006


It is possible to sincerely serve and promote common human values, and honesty and compassion.
It is possible to provide welfare and prosperity without tension, threats, imposition or war.


My thoughts exactly, but I doubt I would live see it even if I kicked the bucket at the ripe old age of 1001.
posted by melangell at 12:09 PM on November 29, 2006


You have heard that the US administration is kidnapping its presumed opponents from across the globe and arbitrarily holding them without trial or any international supervision in horrendous prisons that it has established in various parts of the world. God knows who these detainees actually are, and what terrible fate awaits them.
You have certainly heard the sad stories of the Guantanamo and Abu-Ghraib prisons. The US administration attempts to justify them through its proclaimed “war on terror.” But every one knows that such behavior, in fact, offends global public opinion, exacerbates resentment and thereby spreads terrorism, and tarnishes the US image and its credibility among nations.


Phewf! Thank God our friend in Tehran would never do that!
posted by docgonzo at 12:12 PM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's very much a pot calling the kettle black situation I'd say.
posted by chunking express at 12:24 PM on November 29, 2006


SBMike, exactly what I was going to say (Mefi is super slow this afternoon).

It's true that Iranian ideas of justice, elections and civil liberties are less advanced than those of western countries. But Ahmadi-najad has more integrity than other governments/heads of state in the region. His policies represent only a minor slowdown in modernization of Iran - absent outside interference it is on a good trajectory. The power of the religious parallel government is gradually waning. And the nuclear issue is way overblown.
posted by jam_pony at 12:25 PM on November 29, 2006


Hey, at least it's a change of pace from the kettle calling the pot black all the time.
posted by rxrfrx at 12:26 PM on November 29, 2006


"A" for effort, it's well written. This is someone who understands classical rhetoric, and I appreciate the fact that he is searching for common ground. There would be very, very little for me to disagree with in what he said, if it weren't for the anti-Israel stuff.

Unfortunately, most people won't take the effort to read it, and many of those who would probably would stop reading at that point.
posted by empath at 12:36 PM on November 29, 2006


It's amusing that Ahmadinejad has a blog while Bush can barely figure out how to use "the Google" to get around "the Internets".
posted by rhiannon at 12:38 PM on November 29, 2006


jam_pony, I don't know about more integrity. Better propoganda I think it is. I remember thinking back in 2000 that Bush's policies were really only a hiccup on our path to becoming a better nation. Saner voices will prevail, I thought, but even if they don't at least we have a constitution and checks and balances to make sure his power is limited. I also remember hearing several years ago about the great hordes of young dissaffected Iranian students, dissidents, and intellectuals that were right on the verge of leading a reform revolution in Iran, but it never materialized and now the government continues to harrass, jail, torture, rape, and murder these same people. It really only takes one charismatic tyrant to fuck over an entire country. Clearly we agree that Bush fits the bill here. I don't get why it's so hard for intelligent people to see that Ahmadinejad isn't really any different.
posted by SBMike at 12:41 PM on November 29, 2006


The enemy of my enemy is not my friend.
posted by Falconetti at 12:45 PM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


Ahmadinejad frightens me. He's good at feigning sincerity.
Opposing the legitimacy of Israel or the wisdom of some of its policies is one thing. But lets not forget that he likes to question whether the holocaust happened. That leaves his open letter a nice sentiment, but one that lacks conviction.

Can the letter be anything more than a swipe at Bush? I'm sure Bush is needled by an uppity world leader addressing his citizens.
posted by Mentallo The Brain God at 1:00 PM on November 29, 2006


Of course Ahmadinejad looks good, just like Chavez. A charismatic leader with populist and authoritarian tendencies appeals to many people. To one side, it's appealing if he's somewhere else and disgusting if he's ruling your country. To the other side, it's appealing if he's ruling your country and disgusting anywhere else.
posted by Saydur at 1:11 PM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


I've had the theory for a while that Bush is sincere and moral: that he believes that everything he's doing is really the right thing to do, and that he's totally convinced he's working for good. So my problem with Bush has always been that my morals are the exact opposite of his on almost every important political issue. (Not a small problem, I admit)

I kinda think Ahmedinejad is an evil, immoral bastard, though. And his style sheet sucks. How are you going to win the hearts and minds of the American people if you don't know which way our paragraphs align, bitch?
posted by pinespree at 1:20 PM on November 29, 2006


This is someone who understands classical rhetoric

I dunno. Looks like he fell asleep right after the lesson on captatio benevolentae. The entire letter is a sequence of appeals to the supposed "common values" of Iran and the United States followed by a few rhetorical questions. Meh.

You know, the few Jews who remain in Iran are being pushed out at an alarming rate. When they're gone, the Judenreinigung of the Islamic countries will be nearly complete. In a Hebrew class last year, I sat next to a guy in his mid-20's who had left Iran the year before, under cover of darkness because his family feared imprisonment and were tired of oppression. He said they continued to hold onto the keys to the front door of their house and had sympathetic neighbors who were looking after the place. He himself was considering going back to sell family property, but hesitated for fear of being caught.

So, now that the Jews have been kicked out of their ancestral homes in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Iran and elsewhere, and they cling to an impoverished existence in the State of Israel, Ahmidinejad's bellicose rhetoric is something more than casually alarming. There are a great many people in Israel for whom the savagery of Muslim governments is a recent memory. Many of them consider this sort of railing against "The Zionists" to be a preparation for a Muslim "Final Solution" against the Jews in the Middle East.

So maybe if Ahmidinejad really wants to assuage the doubts and fears of those of us in the West who take a dim view of his geopolitical pretensions, he might address the ethnic cleansing that has gone on and is nearly complete in his own country before he takes issues with the racist policies of another nation. Especially when that other nation is the very place to which the victims of his government's campaign have fled.
posted by felix betachat at 1:22 PM on November 29, 2006


Well, that's one sweeping pronouncement made by a head of state who is intensely religious, likes to quotes scriptures, thinks his country (and only his) is allowed to call out other countries for stuff they do, but always has a good reason for what his country does, even if it's counter to international law. In fact he's a bit of a cowboy, but has a graduate degree. He derides the people he doesn't like by calling them something that ends in "ists".

Evidently Ahmadinejad is the George W. Bush of South Asia. Unfortunately most Americans (even, I suspect, the ones here) will steadfastly refuse to recognize that, because by and large they have no more perspective in judging their own heads of states than Iranians do.
posted by clevershark at 1:35 PM on November 29, 2006


How much of this anti-zionist rhetoric is put out there as a sop to the hard-liners in Iran and elsewhere, I wonder. Ahmadinejad knows that the US is not going to turn its back on Israel; it makes me wonder if it's just a posture to maintain his "street cred" among the militant anti-Israel elements that dominate much of the discourse in the middle east.

But let me be clear about this - I don't think you can speak meaningfully of peace in the middle east while spouting hateful anti-Israeli rhetoric. The US is not going to sit down with this guy unless he stops calling for the destruction of Israel. Nor should we.
posted by Mister_A at 1:41 PM on November 29, 2006


Also, persia, allow me to congratulate you on a substantially better post than your last exercise in flame-baiting. Single-link FPP's are rarely worth congratulating, but in your case, less really is more.

btw, check out the bizarre post-script to the Eduardo Agnelli thread. wtf?
posted by felix betachat at 1:42 PM on November 29, 2006


clevershark, as an American who just contrasted the two, let me clarify that the difference between them isn't that big in my eyes: once your morals are as abhorrent as Bush's, being immoral is a small step. (And my Bush theory could easily be wrong)
posted by pinespree at 1:45 PM on November 29, 2006


Thank goodness someone posted this here; I don't think I possibly could have heard about this otherwise (unless I checked just about any news outlet).
posted by Doohickie at 1:55 PM on November 29, 2006


Here's CNN's copy in a more legible format

...and here's my reply:

Noble Americans,

Noble? No sorry, you must have confused us for Canada.


We all deplore injustice, the trampling of peoples' rights and the intimidation and humiliation of human beings.

We all detest darkness, deceit, lies and distortion, and seek and admire salvation, enlightenment, sincerity and honesty.


Being a dumb American I'm not too good with world maps and such, but isn't this the same Iran that hung a 16 year old girl because she committed the unspeakable crime of being raped by an older man? Isn't this the same Iran that also executes people for being gay? Are you really from Iran? I'm so confused.



Hundreds of thousands of my Iranian compatriots are living amongst you in friendship and peace, and are contributing positively to your society.


Yeah, a lot of your compatriots are living here now because they enjoy doing naughty sinful things like enjoying a glass of wine and dating without a chaperone.


We, like you, are aggrieved by the ever-worsening pain and misery of the Palestinian people. Persistent aggressions by the Zionists are making life more and more difficult for the rightful owners of the land of Palestine.


Yes, you care so deeply for the Palestinians that you've invested so much of your own national resources to invest heavily in Palestinian infrastructure such as utilities and roads and ... oh wait, no actually it's the USA that pays for all that!! You on the other hand, send the Palestinians rockets, guns, and suicide belts. You're so sweet and caring!


I consider it extremely unlikely that you, the American people, consent to the billions of dollars of annual expenditure from your treasury for this military misadventure.



What do you know about government acting by the consent of the people? Are you really from Iran? This is a prank letter, right?



You have heard that the US administration is kidnapping its presumed opponents from across the globe and arbitrarily holding them without trial or any international supervision in horrendous prisons that it has established in various parts of the world. God knows who these detainees actually are, and what terrible fate awaits them.


Of course your government doesn't detain opponents at all. You just shoot them, right? Unless of course they happen to be a teenage rape victim in which case you call her a slut and hang her in the village square.



...civil liberties in the United States are being increasingly curtailed. Even the privacy of individuals is fast losing its meaning. Judicial due process and fundamental rights are trampled upon. Private phones are tapped, suspects are arbitrarily arrested, sometimes beaten in the streets, or even shot to death.



We're only trying to catch up to you! We drafted a bill to legalize public beheadings of whores and gays but it's stalled in Congress. Alas, this may never pure and Holy nation such as your own! Damn libruls and their secular agenda!


My questions are the following:

Is there not a better approach to governance?


Yes there is! We can have an unelected clergy of unaccountable uneducated tribal mullahs who rule according to whim, family connections, nepotism, tribal loyalties, and bridal preferences. We'll it the Moral Majority.


But, can terrorism be contained and eradicated through war, destruction and the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocents?


Yes, with the right combination of WoW cheats anything is possible.


What have the Zionists done for the American people that the US administration considers itself obliged to blindly support these infamous aggressors?


Hollywood, Las Vegas, Manhattan, Miami. Nice things come to those who treat Jews right. Maybe when you figure that out you decide to join the modern age.


It is possible to lead the world towards the aspired perfection by adhering to unity, monotheism, morality and spirituality and drawing upon the teachings of the Divine Prophets.


Is Iran supposed to be a shining example of that approach, because somehow we don't see it.
posted by StarForce5 at 2:02 PM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


What have the Zionists done for the American people that the US administration considers itself obliged to blindly support these infamous aggressors?

Hollywood, Las Vegas, Manhattan, Miami. Nice things come to those who treat Jews right. Maybe when you figure that out you decide to join the modern age.


Let's not forget bagels, blue jeans, and the weekend. Oh yeah, and...er...nuclear power.
posted by SBMike at 2:14 PM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


Ahmidinejad's bellicose rhetoric is something more than casually alarming.

Very good point, felix betachat; for a while now I've been muttering 'what the hell does this guy think he is doing?' to myself every time I read anything by Ahmidinejad.

It took "Ephraim Sneh, a Labor Party member of the Knesset, [serving] as Deputy Defense Minister" to explain it to me:

The danger isn’t as much Ahmadinejad’s deciding to launch an attack but Israel’s living under a dark cloud of fear from a leader committed to its destruction. . . . Most Israelis would prefer not to live here; most Jews would prefer not to come here with families, and Israelis who can live abroad will . . . I am afraid Ahmadinejad will be able to kill the Zionist dream without pushing a button. That’s why we must prevent this regime from obtaining nuclear capability at all costs.

This quotation comes from a Seymour Hersh article published in the New Yorker and linked in a Metafilter post from within the last couple of weeks, but I accidently scraped off the source when I saved it.
posted by jamjam at 2:16 PM on November 29, 2006


"and they cling to an impoverished existence in the State of Israel"

What is this, Benny Goodman's smallest violin?

(It's almost like you can agree with what a hypocrite says and still disagree with their own solutions.)

In one incredibly powerful way he's right— the United States must address these abrogations of freedom before it can convincly lecture other countries on their abhorrent human rights records.
posted by klangklangston at 2:16 PM on November 29, 2006


now that the Jews have been kicked out of their ancestral homes in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Iran and elsewhere, and they cling to an impoverished existence in the State of Israel,

Wait, what? Impoverished? Come again? Please tell me you're not serious.

You know, it is possible to be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic--like how it's possible to be anti-fundamentalist Christian, without being anti-Christian. Though I sincerely doubt Ahmadinejad's using "Zionist" in the true sense, instead of the "PC-way-of-expressing-hatred-for-all-Jews" sense that's so often employed by modern anti-Semites.
posted by schroedinger at 2:23 PM on November 29, 2006


Ahmadinejad is patronizing liberal Americans who think that George Bush is immoral. It presents a real quandry for those who draw some sort of equivalence between the two -- e.g., those who act as if subjecting interrogatees to loud music and sleep deprivation is on par with removing all persons of Jewish ancestry from the territories where their families have lived for generations. It is a clever play.
posted by esquire at 2:26 PM on November 29, 2006


bin laden's declaration of war and a reasonable explanation of why bin laden's political writings (much like ahmadinejad's) find a following amongst in the american left.

is ahmadinejad the new che guevara?
posted by phaedon at 2:28 PM on November 29, 2006


Schroedinger: felix's tone was rather melodramatic, but I don't doubt that becoming a refugee is one of the less enriching experiences in life.
posted by honest knave at 2:36 PM on November 29, 2006


esquire, to be fair, the Jews of Iran have not (yet) been removed from their ancestral homelands. I'm pretty sure that they don't suffer much more oppression than other Iranians, or at least didn't until very recently. I remember even reading about a Jewish MP^ in Iran's parliament. So while Iran wouldn't be my first choice of where to live as a Jew, they've had a better track record there than in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Libya among others. This just makes the whole situation that much sadder that this community doesn't have a sustainable existence if Ahmadinejad keeps up his rhetoric.
posted by SBMike at 2:37 PM on November 29, 2006


What is this, Benny Goodman's smallest violin?

Wait, what? Impoverished? Come again? Please tell me you're not serious.

The economic and social status of Mizrahi Jews in Israel continues to be a real problem, though it has been getting better in recent years. It's certainly been exacerbated by paternalism and racism on the Ashkenazi side, but the problem was created by Arab Muslim governments.

Check out some of the links put together by Hakeshet Hademocratit Hamizrahit if you'd like to learn a bit more about the difficulties Mizrahim face in Israel. The main site is in Hebrew, but there's an English link at the top of the page and plenty articles on diverse topics.
posted by felix betachat at 2:42 PM on November 29, 2006


George Bush and Ahmadinejad are two separate parts of the same seven headed dragon. (re: Book of Revelations)
posted by Aghast. at 2:53 PM on November 29, 2006


Can infidels leave comments in his blog, or would that result in an e-fatwa?
posted by fandango_matt at 3:13 PM on November 29, 2006


What have the Zionists done for the American people that the US administration considers itself obliged to blindly support these infamous aggressors? Is it not because they have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural and media sectors?

Wait, I thought it was the Jews who controlled those...does Zionism have something to do with Jewish people or something?
posted by ericbop at 3:20 PM on November 29, 2006


On preview, this will end well.
posted by scrump at 3:41 PM on November 29, 2006


Scrump: You mean Ahmedinajen's blog? I hope it never ends. Too many bloggers take up the hobby for a month or so and make some really interesting contributions to the internet, but then they get tired of it and quit.

As a megalomanical tyrant with a wealthy nation's resources at his disposal, I would expect him to have a greater sense of commitment, like Glenn Reynolds or Kos. Unless, of course, he was trying to keep this under wraps, because he had not told the clerical counsel of mullahs that he had started a blog. That would be embarrassing.
posted by esquire at 4:12 PM on November 29, 2006


Is it time for a Hitler reference yet?
posted by Meatbomb at 4:18 PM on November 29, 2006


It's relatively even-handed, considering we turned his country into a dictatorship in 1953.
posted by bardic at 4:35 PM on November 29, 2006


President Ahmadinejad's alleged threat to wipe Israel off the map was probably the result of a mistranslation.

why bin laden's political writings (much like ahmadinejad's) find a following amongst in the american left.

Could you please cite examples of "the american left" supporting bin Laden? Most of the left I'm familiar with hate bin Laden and wonder why President Bush hasn't killed him yet.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:00 PM on November 29, 2006


Did you know... that Israeli President Moshe Katsef and Iranian President Ahmenijad were born in the same town? Interesting, eh?
posted by cell divide at 5:11 PM on November 29, 2006


Unhappy Persia, that in former age Hast been the seat of mighty conquerors, That, in their prowess and their policies, Have triumph'd over Afric, and the bounds Of Europe where the sun dares scarce appear For freezing meteors and congealed cold, Now to be rul'd and govern'd by a man At whose birth-day Cynthia with Saturn join'd, And Jove, the Sun, and Mercury denied To shed their influence in his fickle brain! Now Turks and Tartars shake their swords at thee, Meaning to mangle all thy provinces.
posted by jimfl at 5:52 PM on November 29, 2006


If Ahmedinajen is charismatic, then I declare GW Bush to be schismatic.
posted by furtive at 6:02 PM on November 29, 2006


We, like you, are aggrieved by the ever-worsening pain and misery of the Palestinian people. Persistent aggressions by the Zionists are making life more and more difficult for the rightful owners of the land of Palestine.
Yes, you care so deeply for the Palestinians that you've invested so much of your own national resources to invest heavily in Palestinian infrastructure such as utilities and roads and ... oh wait, no actually it's the USA that pays for all that!! You on the other hand, send the Palestinians rockets, guns, and suicide belts. You're so sweet and caring!


First of all, Iran does send a lot of money to the Palistineans, and secondly paying for roads dosn't mean much when you also pay for the bombs used to blow them up again. Are you really from the US?

What do you know about government acting by the consent of the people? Are you really from Iran? This is a prank letter, right?

Um, you realize the guy was elected, right?

Ahmadinejad is patronizing liberal Americans who think that George Bush is immoral. It presents a real quandry for those who draw some sort of equivalence between the two -- e.g., those who act as if subjecting interrogatees to loud music and sleep deprivation is on par with removing all persons of Jewish ancestry from the territories where their families have lived for generations. It is a clever play.

Man, what the hell? You know that sleep deprovation and loud music can't cause your death, can't leave you a bloody corpse in a hallway.

And secondly, given the number of Palistineans taken away from their "territories where their families have lived for generations" I find that a bit rich. Not that you claim to support the settlement program, or oppose the right to return. Do you? Most Isreal-backers certainly do.

Anyway I find the idea that forced eviction could somehow be considered worse then physical assault disgusting.

Did you know... that Israeli President Moshe Katsef and Iranian President Ahmenijad were born in the same town? Interesting, eh?

Is he still the president? I'm supprised they let him keep the post, what, with raping nine women and all.
posted by delmoi at 6:33 PM on November 29, 2006


Other than his hatred for "The Zionists", I find that he is better written and more well-spoken than our own President.

(even when translated? Anybody know if he speaks English?)
posted by mrbill at 6:49 PM on November 29, 2006


HEY WAKE UP

it's not Ahmadinejad that sent thousands of soldiers far from home to kill thousands of other people all around the world, all the bad things about him is those that he may do, but America is DOING IT RIGHT NOW

Americans, you are the bad guys in the story, come on you elected TWICE a MORON, WTF TWICE, God how dumb is that?

I think this guy is just a Mofo but America and Israel is as americans likes to say : EVIL
posted by zouhair at 7:27 PM on November 29, 2006


I think the point a lot of people are missing is that while Ahmadinejad may be able to talk real pretty, his actions pretty much are the opposite of his words.

He speaks of justice, but every day in Iran women are beaten for wearing clothing that is deemed "inappropriate". He speaks of justice, but in Iran homosexuals are killed simply for being homosexual. He speaks of justice, but in Iran it is illegal to be non-Muslim.

He talks a good game of freedom, liberty, justice, and so forth, but the policies and core tenants of his nation are opposed to those concepts.

Freedom? Fat chance. In Iran if you're a woman and you want to travel you need the permission of a male who is responsible for you, typically a husband or father.

There is no freedom of speech, no freedom of the press, no right to assembly, and no freedom of religion.

A choice bit from Amnesty International re: Iran.

In one case, an 18-year-old girl, Nazanin, was sentenced to be executed for having, at age 17, stabbed to death one of three men in a park who were attempting to rape her and her younger niece.

That's justice, Iranian style. Execute a woman who was defending herself from a rapist. Note, if she'd actually been raped she likely would have been killed by a relative to "preserve the family's honor". Kind of a lose, lose situation, don't you think?

So yeah, he talks real pretty. Wake me up when the actions of his government match his words. Bush sucks, but that doesn't mean Ahmadinejad doesn't suck even worse.
posted by sotonohito at 7:55 PM on November 29, 2006


Let's summarize:

HELLO AMERICA!
You seem unhappy.
Have you considered Islamic Theocracy?

posted by tehloki at 7:57 PM on November 29, 2006


cell divide: it says Khatami and Katsav were born in the same town, Yazd.

kirkaracha: I'm not really sure I feel that "erase the stain of disgrace" is that much less threatening than "wipe off the map". If Ahmadinejad had meant to say "we will create a Palestinian state someday that will live side by side with Israel" it was perfectly possible for him to do so. I was very disappointed that Juan Cole -- a member of the Baha'i faith, which has in Iran suffered persecution greater than that discussed above for Jews -- wrapped himself in knots making sure that we couldn't misunderstand this. But in any translation the general intent remained.

Not that this is the same as threatening a new Holocaust, i.e. genocide. Returning the gift of expulsion (or doubling it up in some cases) is just as easy an interpretation. I don't really believe it's remarkable that a Muslim considers all of Israel illegally occupied. The Malkin/LGF crowd makes that belief alone some sort of proof of intent.

This letter does have faults and is more disingenuous than reasonable. Instead of crap about common values he would gain more traction by acknowledging differences but emphasizing ways in which we can accomodate them. That is true diplomacy. This, on the other hand, is disappointingly bland and empty propaganda.

great hordes of young dissaffected Iranian students, dissidents, and intellectuals that were right on the verge of leading a reform revolution in Iran

They did lead a reform revolution. They elected a reform President, and a reform Parliament. But the supreme authority remained with the religious council that gets to review all legislation, and the Iranian President -- for all that -- isn't that powerful a position. He isn't even the Commander in Chief of the military! The revolution was quashed by a thousand cuts. Iran has democracy, but only within a clearly defined sphere of acceptable public life.
posted by dhartung at 8:06 PM on November 29, 2006


Thanks for the correction, dhartung. Either way, it's cool and highlights something about the Middle East-- not sure what, maybe something to do with artificial borders and instability since the breakup of the Ottoman empire, or perhaps about the decline of the Persian and then Ottoman Empires :)

I like your comment because it highlights something which is little understood in this country-- "they" don't have "us", it's far more complex then that. Iran is oh-so-close, and yet oh-so-faraway from being a moderate, democratic regime. Such a situation is much much harder to appraise from the outside then something like a failed state or a true dictatorship.
posted by cell divide at 8:25 PM on November 29, 2006


Delmoi: I can't understand the point of the rest of what you wrote, but I will respond to this one:

"Anyway I find the idea that forced eviction could somehow be considered worse then physical assault disgusting."

The whole point of FORCED eviction is that if you don't cooperate, you get assaulted or killed. And your family too. And your neighbors. It is unfortunate that discussion of that idea disgusts you so.
posted by esquire at 8:38 PM on November 29, 2006


I think this guy is just a Mofo but America and Israel is as americans likes to say : EVIL

Brilliant, profound analysis! Combat the Manichean world view that drove America into the current disastrous war with...a slightly different Manichean world view. Now scuttle off, the adults are talking.
posted by Falconetti at 8:41 PM on November 29, 2006


Now scuttle off, the adults are talking.

Please treat you fellow Mefites with respect, Falconetti, that sort of response isn't called for.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:28 PM on November 29, 2006


I prefaced my insult with an actual point, which puts me ahead of most.
posted by Falconetti at 9:42 PM on November 29, 2006


That's justice, Iranian style. Execute a woman who was defending herself from a rapist. Note, if she'd actually been raped she likely would have been killed by a relative to "preserve the family's honor". Kind of a lose, lose situation, don't you think?

And I am totally sure that justice, American style, doesn't have its share of equally awful & counterintuitive examples. Hell, I don't even have to look up the Amnesty report on the US to be quite certain that there is more than a single example or paragraph, and I am not even starting on the thinking behind "operation infinite justice".

Secondly - honour killings in Iran? I'm a bit dubious. The place is a hell of a lot more progressive & westernised than you seem to think. I guess it might happen in particularly backward rural areas, but how is that so startlingly different in concept to a redneck killing his cheating partner?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:16 PM on November 29, 2006


Actually, fuck it. I'll bite again. Excessive self-defence is criminal anywhere in the western world. It is completely open for a judge or jury in the US or elsewhere to find that, on the facts, killing somebody in self defence amounts to manslaughter or murder, if it was possible to not use lethal force & still preserve yourself.

Another thing is common: Iran & the US are both barbaric enough to use the death penalty.

So, yeh, pot kettle etc.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:21 PM on November 29, 2006


Instead of crap about common values he would gain more traction by acknowledging differences but emphasizing ways in which we can accomodate them. That is true diplomacy.

Well put, dhartung. Still, I think the letter is promising considering the prospect of getting Iran to help stabilize Iraq. Given that he encourages us to withdraw, this hints that Iran might find the idea amenable.
posted by effwerd at 9:07 AM on November 30, 2006


Secondly - honour killings in Iran? I'm a bit dubious. The place is a hell of a lot more progressive & westernised than you seem to think. I guess it might happen in particularly backward rural areas, but how is that so startlingly different in concept to a redneck killing his cheating partner?

In America, somebody who killed their spouse/daughter/sister for cheating would most likely be prosecuted and arrested for murder. Even in the most rural of rural backwards places.

And I wouldn't be so doubtful about honor killings in Iran. They certainly happen, even if they are less common than in other places. In some respects, Iran is an incredibly modern country, but there is nothing progressive or westernized about the way it treats its women as second-class citizens.

And yes, the country is westernized as you say, but this is because millions of citizens take not-insubstantial risks to learn about western culture covertly and completely against the wishes of the government.
posted by SBMike at 11:23 AM on November 30, 2006


And yet, in the west, we also have tolerance for "crimes of passion", eg if you find your partner in flagrante delicto, fly off the handle & kill them and/or their lover, you can typically expect lighter treatment by the law than a full murder prosecution. Our particular cultural prejudice is for the romantic & passionate, whereas theirs may be more aligned with roles & honour, and I can't see why either can lay claim to natural superiority. Just sayin'.

True point about the risks that Iranians take to learn about the west. Having said that, there are a hundred satellite dishes on every single apartment building, and they're certainly not being used for tuning in to the abysmal Iranian free-to-air television.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:31 PM on November 30, 2006


Excellent points Ubu. I think the difference lies in the fact that in the West, it is typically a jealous lover that kills a cheating partner, rather than a family member. This I can understand (not condone). I cannot comprehend a culture where a daughter's "honor" is more important than her life. Another big difference is that honor killings are often not just carried out against women who have consenting sex, but against victims of rape. This is not just a cultural difference, but a perversion of justice and decency.
posted by SBMike at 3:11 PM on November 30, 2006


Agree with you there, with a few caveats:

I believe that honour killings are more likely to be carried out for adultery or fornication, as opposed to rape, the victims of which might expect a more lenient treatment in most cases. Part of the problem where rape is concerned could be a misogynistic belief that she was actually asking for it, and / or using a false claim of rape to justify her "adultery", but that is a separate (if related) issue.

It is important not to tar all Islamic societies with the same brush. My understanding is that the honour killing thing is big in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan & Afghanistan, and maybe not so much elsewhere. It is pretty hard to imagine in Malaysia & Indonesia, for example, other than as a bizarre exception to the norm.

Just because we cannot understand how honour can be more important than life, having not grown up in that kind of system, does not mean that it is not a real concern for those who hold those values.

Part of the American fuckup in Iraq, I have heard, is that they completely misunderestimated the depth of the tribal honour system, whereby if an American kills some member of your tribe, you & the others are obliged to take revenge to preserve that honour, even if it means a suicide mission on your part. Apparently, these blood feuds can go back centuries, and the civil war we are witnessing is quite strongly driven by this system of age-old simmering feuds that needed a strongman to suppress.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:04 PM on November 30, 2006


Ubu one main reason for that is that many of the awful things which are considered "Islamic" are actually tribal customs. Burqas, FGM, honor killings, etc.
posted by cell divide at 9:28 PM on November 30, 2006


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