October 26, 2000
I suppose the main difference between Iranians and Americans (and perhaps
Western culture) is that the Americans always use a systematic approach
when they analyse a situation. They seem to be very fond of moulding people
into categories. This is quite a logical way for breaking down a big problem
into very small ingredient to better understand the intricacies of human
nature. However, in doing so they go to the nth degree and at times they
lose a proper track of their thoughts. The fact is that in this way they
generalise things and attach a particular trait to a nation. Possibly
the most pronounced feature of Americans is that they like to stereotype.
twelve rules" by Ms Sciolino is definitely another attempt by
an American 'intellecutal' who has been lucky enough to get a little insight
into a very complex society. Obviously for a person who associates herself
with what represents America today it is very difficult to understand subtleness
of a nation that has gone through different phases in its long history.
Thus she purports that "concealment is part of Iranians life".
Ms Sciolino has studied some facets of the Iranian history and has met
a variety of Iranians from different walks of life. But does this mean
she is an authority on Iran? She claims that the 'rules' have helped her
to understand Iranian culture and have assisted her to "survive the
setbacks and embrace the surprises of Iran".
I am not going to analyse each and every one of her 'rules'. But I
take a couple of them and would like to address her on her objectivity
on these two as a 'journalist' and 'intellectual'. Or should I say what
is expected of an unbiased and fair journalist or correspondent. I understand
that over time historians have proved to be biased and perhaps the same
applies to today's journalists. In her 'rule' no. 2 she asserts that 'concealment
makes Iranians very different from Americans. Americans live in houses
with front yards that face out to the street. They sit on their front
porches and watch the world go by'. I am not sure where in America Ms
Sciolino lives. I travelled through 40 states of America about some 24
years ago and can't remember to have seen in any of their major cities
what she is talking about. In their more affluent suburbs there are high
walls, fences and security system to protect those inside.
Furthermore, America by the virtue of its distance from the rest of
the world and the fact that it only has two neighbours to its north and
south had never had to deal with any land invasion to warrant a high wall
around its houses or the country. On the other hand, Iran has had to fend
off intruders and in particular in the late nineteenth century was caught
between its northern neighbour expansionist rulers and the sly imperialist
rulers of the part-ancestors of the Americans (the British). Thus what
Ms Sciolino refers to concealment is not concealment as such but a compelling
need to fend off intruders.
In her 'rule' no. 12 she begins by stating that "Iranians view
America as a land of demons and dreams, of unlimited power and unlimited
promise". I was under impression all these years that is a universal
belief and is not limited to the Iranians. Americans themselves adopted
that land because to them it was the land of opportunities. However, she
finally admits that "America is Iran's worst enemy".
The truth is that American society has been built on the premise of
exploiting others to satisfy their own needs. Here the actual truth comes
out where they finally admit that they have interfered in another nation's
internal affairs by staging a military coup and albeit Ms Sciolino does
not agree that was a criminal act. Depriving a nation from its popular
leader because the ideas of the popular leader did not fulfil their shameless
supremacy over the world that desire to control all the resources of the
world to fatten the American big trusts.
I wonder who is doing the act of concealment. Are Iranians whose life
is concealment or it is the Americans who are concealing their criminal
acts against other countries including Iran. The Americans justify their
involvement in any covert activity by undermining other countries' control
over their own destiny and yet accuse other nations of concealment. Ms
Sciolino talks of Iranians' resentment and anger towards the Americans
without mentioning all the things Americans have done to Iranians amongst
other nations. Mr. Terry Anderson sues the Iranian Government as indirectly
responsible for his capture and imprisonment over seven and a half years
in Lebanon. Americans on the other hand do not have any responsibility
in shooting down an Iranian passenger plane that was 'mistaken' for a fighter
plane by an American navy ship's officers.
Imagine that! The sophisticated American navy ship with all its state-of-the-art
high tech facilities was unable to distinguish between a passenger plane
and a fighter plane. Where on the world Americans are permitted to have
their military navy ship in the waters of sovereign countries and shoot
down another country's plane without first checking with the pilot. Note
that the passenger plane would have been flying on a predefined route at
a speed that is a characteristic of passenger planes and with a larger
body than a fighter plane. Unless of course the American navy officers
claim that it was a bomber of the same size as a passenger plane. Even
if we accept that they had the right to be there, shouldn't they first
warn before they fire at a plane. Obviously the American weaponry is quite
accurately deadly and unlike their 'inability' to recognise a passenger
plane from a hostile vehicle.
Furthermore, if the Iranians are deemed to be indirectly responsible
for the traumatic experience that Mr. T. Anderson and other hostages held
by the Lebanese Hezbollah, then by the same token Americans are responsible
for the trauma they caused to the families of those 291 who perished as
a result of a deliberate and calculated act of the Americans (and not a
mistake as they claim). However, we see that the total amount of compensation
offered to the families of those who lost their loved ones when the passenger
plane was shot down is in no way comparable to the amount the American
courts are affording to Mr. T. Anderson and others.