Wednesday, May 19, 2004


Huge protest today against the occupation next door as well as some disturbances in front of the British Embassy. I was off to Dad’s though for our favorite ritual. Someday I’ll tell you all about Tehran’s cemetery. You can get lost there reading a lot of poignant poems.

And here is Ledeen vs. NYT. He finally gets it right for once—sort of. But again it was no contest. Even in his sleep, he is far shrewder than Kristof will ever be. To imagine, mistaking hospitality for political insight.

It is hard to get enthused about much of anything these days. I just don’t get it. I mean, if blowing their bugle is their thing, more power to them. If being blinded by hate and humiliating others is what sets their shorts on fire, then that’s that.

Humanitarian considerations and the question of decency aside, is there no realization how important this country is for a brighter future in this region? Can’t they see what damage this whole endeavor and their asinine policies are having on the prospect of change here? Take Mr L’s astute reading:

Iranian jails are far more than detention centers; they are part of a vast system of intimidation. Iranian prisoners are released periodically, for periods ranging from 24 hours to several weeks. They are released so that their friends and families can see the horrible consequences of the tortures inflicted on them. The presence of these doomed people in the society at large is an open threat to the rest: If you challenge us, you will end up like this.

So now lets put things in perspective. All political regimes survive on a mixture of coercion and consensus. So on one side, a regime, with a support base of let’s say 10-15% (population 70 mil), security apparatus, army, money , privilege, status etc. On the other side, great many people who want those things, and have hopes of a better future. It is not only freedom of expression that animates people. It is money, exposing flesh, drinking in public, easier life, bigger cars, more beautiful houses, more furniture, stocks, private property galore, jobs, more security…you get the message. The simple fact is: the materialism and the fetish for accumulating “stuff” evident in Islamic Iran today might shame even some of the more entrepreneurial ex-executives of Enron

People always calculate. What might I gain ….possibly in the future with all the uncertainties it entailes in return for the what I risk in the present. People are survivors here…with street smarts. You would be too. So think occupation models.

Three of them in this region. Here and here for the latest on one model. The other model close by is being supported by people who actually want to see those celebrating and laughing incinerated, and from the looks of it, the guys on the ground are following the advice,however inadvertently.

None of us know how the future is going to turn out with any of the models. But do you seriously think with the fire engulfing the surroundings, any one here is seriously going to risk stability for that uncertain future now? The only people still excited are the caliber of people you wouldn’t trust to walk your dog for you, let alone to watch your back in a serious contumacia. Grim, Grim.

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