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Equally appalling
Abu Ghraibs in Iran, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Yemen, Cuba, or North Korea, Zimbabwe, China, Russia... you get the picture

May 19, 2003

In response to Lawrence Reza Ershaghi's "When they invade Iran":

You, sir, are another of those self-satisfied socialists who do their denunciations from the comfort and security of a liberal democracy - which is doing its best to educate you; and I thought you people were a figment of my imagination. Why don't you go and do your PhD. in Iran?

Your article has all the words that set off the bullshit alarms in any liberal mind: "colonial", "Chomsky" the country's "sovereignty and honour", the "nation's independence". The nation is a collection of individuals, and generally better informed and discerning than you might imagine, not some single, organic entity that does, and says and thinks as you do, to the chagrin, I'm sure, of political commissars like yourself, or MM. Chomsky, Algar and their ilk (you must love Tariq Ali).

The lesson of history is that circumstances are never identical, which is why we rarely heed the lessons of history. Iran today is not the country of Mossadegh the demagogue and rabble rouser who has become an abusive word people like you keep repeating to "prove" that the United States is evil.

Thankfully today, we no longer have the Soviet Union breathing down our national neck, and the Tudeh and communist rabble have taken a good beating and, I hope, are waiting in the antechamber of historical oblivion, though reading and listening to many Iranians, one wonders sometimes.

I don't know if the most recent source of Iranian trauma is the memory of SAVAK or Mossad's dastardly deeds. The pictures from Abu Ghraib are appalling, certainly. They are equally appalling to Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush. As Rumsfeld told Congress members, the way democracies deal with such incidents is to investigate, catch and then punish the culprits, and prevent future abuse. I would say the United States is doing that now, unless you too are subject to what you term "paranoia" and a "conspiratorial political outlook".

Incidentally, could you send articles you must have written on the habitual torture and murder of detainees, past and present, in Iran, Iraq before the "occupation", Syria, or Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Yemen, Cuba, or North Korea, Zimbabwe, China, Russia... you get the picture. I look forward to them. I'm sure you and your well-intentioned socialist and intellectual friends are, if nothing else, consistent. Nobody could accuse you of double-standards.

You ask if Iranians will stand by and sell-out if the Americans invade Iran (but deplore "jingoistic patriotism"). I'm sure you would have no dilemnas in such a situation. You, I am certain, will immediately cease your studies at the American university you attend, cast aside your Anglicised name with disgust, and rush to fight the colonial engineers. How the peoples of the Middle East must love and admire you, I can only wonder.

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By Alidad Vassigh




Book of the day

Inventing the Axis of Evil
The Truth About North Korea, Iran, and Syria
By Ervand Abrahamian, Bruce Cumings, and Moshe Ma'oz

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