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Settle the Mossadegh issue & forget about the A-bomb

September 29, 2003
The Iranian

The Spaniards, like Iranians, adore their cars, as shown by the noise, fumes and stench in Madrid, where I have graciously taken residence.

Lanes restricted to buses and taxis are clogged by single-occupant cars that hoot and hoot in the middle of a trail of fifty cars to say, I suppose, "Hey, get a f**king move on, I'm in a hurr." Or, better still, a van stopped recently in one of those historic alleys, the driver getting out to pop into a shop to buy cigarettes or a pack of gum or just say hi -- leaving a line of a dozen cars waiting behind him. The ones at the back must have wondered if there was a mishap up front ("I hope nobody is hurt," they reflect generously), while the front drivers were braying with fury. Where, I thought, had the Spanish van driver learned this clever piece of Iruni-baazi?

Many of you have cars, and some will at some point have senselessly hooted in the middle of a car-queue, adding to the sum of urban noise and stress. As if you were not selfish enough for owning a car, let me ask, why did you do it? Maraz daashti, naneh?

What does collective folly look like? Last year 'millions' of Spaniards went out into the streets or hung banners from balconies to express their execration of an enormous oil spill off the Atlantic coast of Spain. Human reasoning and logic were manipulated as far as they could be so the populace could blame Spain's conservative government for the spill, as if it had sunk the tanker in the first place.

Admittedly it failed to act fast, but firstly, a Socialist government would have been just as slow, and secondly, the crime of the government of José Maria Aznar was simply that it was conservative, and does not massage the mob with the cloying promises and populist flattery that are the specialty of Socialist governments. Most of these protestors in any case had cars or motorbikes. The petrol spilled into the ocean was destined for these very people and their motorised lifestyles.

I'm a trifle (f**king) disappointed (livid) with Iranians for their relative indifference to (not giving a hoot for) the environment. They care more it seems for a comparatively trivial matter like Mosaddegh (isn't there a song, "If you knew Mossadegh like I know Mossadegh"?, with a cheeky, jazzy rhythm?).

Just to settle the Mossadegh issue (and the endless whinging of the National Front, who have shown what unintelligent and unprincipled scoundrels they are) once and for all: Mr. Mossadegh, or the Qajar Prince Mossadegh ol-Saltaneh, was well-off, doubtless haughty like his (frankly more efficient) relatives Vosuq ol-Dowleh and Qavam Saltaneh, and had a good life. He ate well, spoke French, had his shirts cleaned and ironed. So he spent the last years under arrest on his estate: there are worse places wherein one may be confined.

The Islamic Republic, for example, gave no such option to the Shah's prime minister or foreign minister (Amir Abbas Hoveyda and Abbas Ali Khalatbari), who would have been considerably less trouble. Mossadegh entered the political gambling house and came out empty handed. What would he have become without the coup: Iran's Salvador Allende probably, a paper autocrat , a man of theatrical gestures and populist bombast, denouncing and threatening even as the foundations beneath him foundered for anarchy and communist agitation. He was a good man, and he lived, Alhamdullilah.

Let me clarify this: Iran owes very little to the Qajar elites, even those they now call Rejaal-e Khoshnaam, including dear Mossadegh. But they have hidden behind the firewall of hatred for the Pahlavis. Blame is a bag of beans and we keep shifting this way and that to escape excessive criticism.

A former colleague, one of the countless descendents of Farmanfarma, had an annoying habit in our office of ridiculing the last Shah, perhaps to show me he was liberal, progressive or intelligent. You were a photographer for goodness' sake, not a philosopher. And I always thought, what did grandpappy Farmanfarma do for Iran, other than khordan, khaabidan and ga**an? What did Nosrat ol-Dowleh Firuz, Mozaffar Firuz or the woman who married the communist do for Iran? More to the point, what did they do that Reza Shah and Mohammad Reza Shah did not do more and better?

That's settled then.

Now onto nuclear power: A recent poll on this site indicated that most Iranians thought we should have a nuclear bomb. I said Iranians an budan o antar shodan, but that was a joke the first time round. And a poll on the same site shows that most believe in God. What nonsense. How can you believe in God and not detest nuclear weapons, unless your "belief" is nothing but an opinion that there is, somewhere up there, a God sitting and looking and it's business as usual down here.

Do we want to be like Pakistan, a country with nuclear weapons but not a pot to piss in, where they beat women and dress like our kolfat-nowkars? What makes the Pakistanis think they are respected for their nuclear bombs? By that reckoning, people must have more respect for Pakistan than for Finland, Japan or Canada. (Where is Canada, you ask? I don't know).

But this is all propaganda, some may say, nothing but exaggeration and prejudice. You are right, I say. You are right, but I would add, it is right-wing propaganda, so a verbal chocolate, exhilarating, soothing and brimming with joy. Now if it were left-wing propaganda, it would be nothing but a pack cheap, dirty lies.

Do we wish to leave anything that may be termed "nature"? The world is looking more like a global suburb, with shrubbery for wilderness and rubbish floating in the ocean. Now they want to shove Frankenstein food down our throats. What will the world look like soon, with the nuclear club turned to nuclear bazaar, Monster Monsanto and Mac-families gas-guzzling their way to oblivion?

Is there hope? There is always hope, and mine has the most solid foundations: faith, prayer, pizza, Prozac, Diet Coke, Double Mac-dunkin Frappuccino-n-Chocolate Gue Waffles...

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By Alidad Vassigh





Book of the day

The Clash of Civilizations
The remaking of world order
By Samuel P. Huntington

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