Monday, February 16, 2015

The Great Problem of Ignorance

Appearing at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC last week, former six-term congressman Rep. Jim Slattery (D-KS) said: “One of the great problems we have to overcome right now is ignorance, individuals in both countries have poor knowledge of each other."

Jim Slattery was making the speech at the Atlantic Council after being the first former US congressman who has visited Iran since 1979. It seems however that all his 'interaction' attempts with the Islamic Republic officials has done nothing to diminish his own ignorance of the ruling religious dictatorship in Iran.

Even before his visit to Iran, Slattery has been doing his best to "interact" with the Islamic Republic officials through the Abrahamic Dialogue interfaith initiative, yet astonishingly, it seems no amount of "interaction" is helping to reduce his sheer ignorance on the nature of the ruling theocracy in Iran.

The Kansas Democrat seems to think he has found a commonality with his counterparts in Iran, religion! “Religion is a big part of their life, just as it is in Kansas”  Slattery told the think tank audience. One would assume on the basis of this commonality he has discovered, he will in the near future, also initiate one of his "interaction" trips with the representatives of the Islamic State, as religion seems to be a big part of their life too.

"the one thing they [Islamic Republic officials] yearn for, is respect,” Jim Slattery, the former Democrat representative shared his new found wisdom with the Atlantic Council think tank. The mind boggles at the stupidity of these Western do-gooders and how easily they can be fooled. I wonder as part of his "interaction tour", whether the former Democrat Congressman, also attended one of the Friday Prayer sermons held across Iran, where the faithful are urged to chant "Death to America!" during every Friday prayer, perhaps he would then been wiser as to what was really meant by "yearning respect". 

All this stupidity and ignorance reminds me of a time when I, myself, met some of the US State Dept officials at the time of George Bush's presidency. I was told straight away by one of them that "the US foreign policy was not about regime change in Iran, instead it was about changing the behaviour of the regime", to which I replied "Ah thats good! and how do you intend to change their behaviour?" 
"We have a website!" The US State Dept official replied. I was shown a website in Persian which promoted democracy and civil society and I assume the hapless diplomat thought that eventually the Iranian ruling clergy will stumble on this wonderful website and find the benefits and advantages of democracy and in time it will lead to a change of their behaviour.
The only words I could find to say at the time was "Well, Good Luck!" and all I can say to the likes of Jim Slattery who attended a conference in Tehran on "combatting violence and extremism" is also "Well, Good Luck!". As I am sure if former Kansas Congressman was around at the time of Hitler, he may have also attended a conference organised by the Nazis on how to combat violence and extremism and came back and told his audience of well wishers, "All the Nazis yearn for is respect!"

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Whose side are you on, you fools?

13th September, 2014. The Iranian national volleyball team is playing in Poland. Amongst the crowds, there is one female Iranian fan, who has not succumbed to the suppression of her national symbols by the Islamic Republic occupiers of Iran. Darya Safaei, as in all the other volleyball matches she attends to, is waving the true national flag of Iran - the green, white and red tri-colour with the historic Sun and Lion symbol in the middle, the true flag of her fatherland. She is also holding a poster of Ghoncheh Ghavami, the girl who was arrested in Iran after attempting to watch a volleyball match.

This is all too much for the Islamic Republic security agents. An intelligence agent of the regime who is leading the Islamic Republic supporters in the crowd, wearing their head scarves and waving their phoney flags, calls a spectator to tell Darya, if she does not bring her flag down, she will be severely dealt with and the stadium stewards will obey his command to remove her.

The dumb Polish officials then move in to obey the instructions handed to them by the Islamic Republic agent. Yet the steadfast Iranian lioness stands her ground and tells them "This is my flag! I will not move!". Another spectator, who unlike the mushy-brained stewards understands what is going on, tries to intervene and yells at the uniformed order-taker "Are you with the Islamic Republic?" 

Darya keeps telling the Polish stewards "That's my flag!" and the idiot steward pumped up on ignorance dares to tell her "No!" and again Darya is not intimidated and the Islamic Republic state TV is resigned to show images of the Sun and Lion flags during the match.

My blood boils when I watch these scenes and I feel ashamed I was not there to help Darya.  I feel ashamed that I was not in the stadium to wrap the steward's ID sling around his neck. I want to yell at these dumb Polish stadium stewards, "Whose fucking side are you on, you dumb asses? Have you forgotten what it was like when your own national symbols were suppressed by the Nazi and the Soviet occupiers?"