Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Sudan, brutalities, Israel and Iran

Here is a report on the appalling catastrophe in Sudan. I haven’t read it fully, but it is grim. I am beginning to rely on this man to lead the way (interesting links) concerning items not much found in the news in Iran. What to do? What to do?

The whole world is going to hell in a hand basket. Everywhere you look, grotesque, inhuman barbarities, victimizing the defenseless and those few remaining good natured souls amongst us still managing not to hate--Nick Berg, only wanting to help. Frankly, I am at the end of my rope. If any of you have constructive ideas, I am perfectly willing to listen.

I don’t know why the atrocities in Sudan aren’t being covered in any detail in the Iranian press. I suspect it goes well beyond “conspiracy,” / censorship of the ruling clergy that so many are wont to believe.

Frankly, despite the amazing diversity in Iran, we tend to be a tad on the bigoted side, especially when it comes to the affairs of the “Dark Continent.” It might have something to do with all the despicable, delusional excess baggage of Persianness / the original Aryan Nation gobbledygook and all. Go figure.

For those interested, there is an Iranian writer, Minoo Southgate, who has done some work on the negative perception of Blacks (and women) among Iranians especially as reflected in the Medieval Persian Literature.

In recent times though, the turn has been towards, how shall we say, an “aesthetic” judgment which translates into preferences for “lighter complexions,” as well as apathy for the non-European/American affairs. A cultural silliness compounded by our tendency to do the exact opposite of the majority’s perception of what the regime is interested in doing. So, the more emphasis the Regime places in establishing ties with other countries in the world, the less interested Iranian citizens actually become.

On a lighter note, read this funny little item in Maarivintl today. (Via Leave it to a desperate, resourceful Iranian asylum seeker to walk all the way through Syria, and Lebanon to end up in an Israeli household one of whose members just happens to speak Farsi to boot. He wasn’t there to kill anyone…(happy sigh of relief!)… so he gets fed! He was simply running away from here. Can you imagine that?

This brings me to this other not so funny item. Tensions are up and up again, with Iran (again) “sternly” warning Israel against any ill conceived designs on the nuclear facilities being built. A touchy subject around these parts, as you might suspect.

There are a few “details” to consider when thinking about the Iranian Nuclear ambitions.
First, Iranians of all political persuasions tend to dream big. It is silly I know; nonetheless, for whatever reason however misguided, quite a formidable majority like the idea of nuclear power. I think it might have something to do with our tendency to have absolutely no clue whatsoever about conservation of any kind.

We tend to think we should/do have unlimited resources, and so the more electricity the merrier. Nuclear power, and the ensuing reduction in domestic consumption of natural gas to many translates into more export potential; hence more foreign currency, more imported commodities, more food, clothing, make up; more VCRs and DVDs, etc., more and for perpetuity.

Just remember Iranians use more fuel annually than China for instance and it is subsidized, and we still manage to feel cheated by the Clergy. It’s “our” oil fields you know, and deep down, we simply dream of having direct pipelines right into our houses, and perhaps even direct deposit of the funds into our accounts --our “fair” share of the money if you will. The whole thing started with the Shah, and it continues still today under the present regime, and most Iranians like it.

As for the unspoken quest for the Bomb: consider that as much as this Regime is loathed, this is a land that was bombed, and invaded, with the devastating war leaving hundreds of thousands dead and physically disabled. All of us have been affected one way or another. Aside from the Kurds, Iranians are the only people, to my knowledge, to have thousands still suffering due to the attempted slaughter by means of non-conventional weapons. I still run into some of the survivors, who suffer terribly. It is not a pretty sight.

Some of you are rightfully petrified by the prospect of chemical and biological attacks, but quite a few here have already lived it, courtesy of Saddam and your tax money. Not that any should lose much sleep over it all, mind you. I know quite a few people could care less if any here lives or dies.

I mean, since we are mostly so “contaminated” you know (two posts down) with our abusive relatives, and domineering mothers and all; why… it might be best to cleanse and exterminate the contaminants! .

Fortunately though, as delicious a thought as it might be for some out there, none of us here are that interested in perishing and being incinerated needlessly. We have our hands full with our own shepherds who “mean us well”  So just imagine how we view those with ill intentions.

So, belligerence, threats and chest beatings are not really that compelling. It might be best to insist that the entire region be a zone free from these nasty weapons, fair and square. The desire for safety and security are universal. In the meanwhile, a better tack to counter the Iranian desire for nuclear power might be a sustained campaign to ask some hard questions—persistently, loudly, and relentlessly, from citizens and officials alike. We should speak the issues in a language people understand and give folks time to digest them.

We should ask ourselves (and you should ask as well): Do we really want the unholy marriage of Russian technology and the legendary Iranian engineering prowess? Anyone who lives here is bound to have noticed that our Industrial, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineers work best when they improvise, even when they exist or decide to show up to work.

The work structure is a strictly hierarchically organized with little horizontal integration, and plagued by incompetence, nepotism, and corruption. Are they capable of maintaining smoothly operational processes and to troubleshoot potential breakdowns proactively? Are we willing to risk it? Even a single mistake?

We should ask if we trust our engineers to have the needed capability to properly monitor and control their processes to prevent accidents. Any one who has purchased anything made in Iran is bound to understand that quality control and safety, to our Engineers, might as well be the suburbs of Ouagadougou. Any one who walks the streets has certainly heard the loud, omnipresent leaks from gas pipes coming from practically every house. Are we going to trust the work in the nuclear sector? Another Chernobyl anyone?

We should ask if the clandestine nature of the program as well as the global sanctions has allowed our planners and purchasing managers the flexibility to procure standard components. Do we feel safe with all the possible second hand junk and the critical components which have not been rigorously tested for proper reliability? I can go on but I will stop.

On the plus side, without worrying about mushroom clouds, and radiation poisoning, we can all then simply focus on methodically, gradually and indefinitely killing and tormenting one another using simple sticks, stones, swords, knives, jets, gun ships and other conventional weapons, and bombs

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