Thursday, December 18, 2003

My World today

Roaming around in my Apartment—feverish and fatigued, I have been cleaning up and cooking most of the day. It has been cold and polluted in Tehran. The normally beautiful mountains that surround this city are hardly visible from here. Wiping the black dust from the couches, coughing up the black stuff in my lungs, and a having a nasty time of it all--little sleep and plenty of nightmares, I keep on thinking about my feverish gibber last night: I suddenly said to myself it must be awfully rotten to die all alone. That same thought must have crossed a lot of minds over the years. But you wouldn’t know that reading about the reactions to Saddam’s capture. Mindless bravado, chest beatings and gloating—all normal human reactions, no doubt. But it isn’t as if these were exclusively the sentiments of the myriad victims of Saddam’s brutalities—that would have been understandable. An acquaintance who lost a brother in the war and loathes this murderous thug called to say that he could not bring himself to enjoy the sight—something unseemly about broken men. But gloating is what we have come to expect from a particular segment of the Anglo-American universe. It is as if theirs suddenly became a world bereft of imagination—mirroring ours. Surely that is not what some must have meant by the phrase “9/11 changed everything.” To go out in a blaze of “glory” and to surrender sheepishly –these both are the sign of cowardice. Go figure

But this is the world we live in now days. The world in which some normally thoughtful thinkers are insisting that humiliating others should become the policy of choice—embarrassment as a tactic. Others are busy dispassionately debating a potential nuclear holocaust.

It is a world in which one of the most popular writers is an ideologue who justifies the campaign to disrupt global life—as odious as it may be—through sheer brute force and avoids genuine substantive discussions by giving out on a daily basis one of his numerous meaningless awards—in a manner reminiscent of the agit-prop apparatchiks of a failed empire:

Funny how Saddam Hussein appears in the news just when both the American and British Governments are struggling to gather support for their respective 'Presidential' campaigns. This fantastic piece of detective work has the same smell as the reason the war was 'inaugurated'." - David, Rome, Italy, another BBC listener.

And a world in which, Victor Davis Hanson the resident historian-warrior of the Freedom Fries Contingent , treats us to the identical sort of muddled thinking, which I presume the the award intended to highlight-- in defense of the same unimaginative policies Sullivan and Co. peddle, week after week: (A Real War)

But when the carnage is simply too much (too many Muslims killed as collateral damage or too many minutes on CNN), then suspects are miraculously arrested in Turkey or Saudi Arabia, or in transit to Iran or Syria — but more often post facto and never with any exegesis about why killers who once could not be found now suddenly are.

This manner of thinking is something very familiar to those of us who live here. There is something terribly Iranian about it all. Take the reaction to the recent debate about the impermissibility of wearing a veil in French schools. A representative of the Iranian regime which insists on forcibly covering half of its population with a mandatory outfit, Mr. Ali Shakoorirad goes on (with a straight face) to complain that: “the ban on headscarves is a measure to limit personal freedom. For a country like France, which has democracy, it is a major failure.”
Perhaps Le Monde will one day say of the Anglo-Americans: Ils sont tous Iraniens.

So I am left all puzzled and unsettled—curious about where all this might be heading: an impending darkness? Or joy and freedom? Who can know for sure? What to do? What to expect? What to hope for? These are the types of musings you can expect to encounter here. Hopefully the dreary monotone I can amend in due time as my health improves and my mood uplifts. Just like the rest of you, I too can be quite temperamental.

For those who can read Farsi, this lady is quite witty. Her prose is ornate and her irony always brings a smile to my face. A fellow brooder, this young lady has some sharp things to say and is always a pleasure to read.

The blogs in English I read can be found here and here and here.

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