Monday, June 28, 2004

WMD, pain and remembrance!

There is nothing better, as Nietzsche reminds us, to serve as antidote to spiritual anguish than physical pain. I have been feeling excruciating discomfort and thus unable to write much. The advantage though is that one begins to become slightly more attuned to the pain of others. The old man or woman walking slowly in front of you, for instance, who would normally cause slight annoyance, begins suddenly to appear in a different light.

The Iranian attitude to sickness and pain has been a puzzle for years. Most city women, for example, think it cute to feign illness. But when they are in real pain, or seriously ill, all of the sudden they go mum, exhibiting Job like patience. Countless thousand women here suffer seriously from various auto immune disorders, but you wouldn’t know that listening to the litany of endless petty complaints, unless you dot the i’s or visit one of the many meat factories masquerading as hospitals.

So today, there were two demonstrations in Sardasht and Khoramabad to commemorate widespread Chemical murder of Iranians and to call for a speedy trial for Saddam. There are tens of thousands still suffering here with boils on their bodies and acute respiratory ailments amongst so many other afflictions.

It is a strange world we live in, don’t you think? Iraqi’s are invaded, bombed daily and killed because their regime was deemed a threat to the global community. “Bad man” we were told, “that Saddam.” “He killed his own people.” “Attacked his neighbors.” “Used chemical weapons.” Bad, bad man, indeed, that Saddam!

But whom exactly did he attack? Whom did he gas? Who helped him gas our citizens? Who were his allies? Which ones among his old allies are still running the show in the West?

Who amongst you reading this knows the excruciating torment of one of the countless victims? Who amongst you personally knows someone dead or still suffering because of a non conventional (chemical) poisoning?

So the next time any of you—my dear, esteemed members of the international community-- decide to lecture anyone about the potential threat posed by WMD, just remember, some of us here might be able to forgive, but none of us will ever forget.

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