Friday, December 09, 2005

Back to basics

Never a dull moment with this President, is there? The man is a bundle of contradictions and partially representative of the kind of a society—and the global polity—we’re forced to contend with today.

I don’t really know where to start! I have been trying to find and check the actual text of his speech before finally reacting. As stated before on a more personal note, I would be impatient with holocaust revisionism. But about one part of his speech there can be no doubt:

"Let's give some land to the Zionists in Europe or in Germany or Austria, so they can have their government there," he said. "They faced injustice in Europe, so why do the repercussions fall on the Palestinians? Offer a piece of land from Europe, and we will back this decision and will not attack this government."

What is articulated here pose a number of difficulties for me.

Above and foremost, in so far as he is a thinking man and a political activist, I would expect from him to engage more seriously with a crucial moment in the history of the Twentieth century regardless of his feelings for Israel, Israeli policies or Palestinian suffering or, for that matter, his dislike for reading.

A group of people who had been marginalized in ghettoes are emancipated and within a short span of time successfully assimilate in the life of a country they have called home. The very same liberal country—the land of Goethe, mind you-- attempts then to put an end to their existence. All of them!

That he can be indecent and so utterly clueless about his repulsively cavalier attitude is, of course, typical for Presidents of a Republic who have presided over a society unwilling and unable to integrate with an open mind and open arms millions of our Afghan denizens who have tolerated living in Iran, toiling and contributing to the routine functioning of the society without much of any rights, least of all respect or proper access to schooling for their children or medical benefits.

And also typical of a regime which has persistently abused the various different ethnic groups that have historically shared the Iranian plateau. Typical, I say, but not easy to overlook or forgive.

Second, as the President of Iran, he is expected a minimal measure of familiarity with Iranian history. Substantive aspects of that history have been preserved, although it continues to be ignored, unexplored and inaccessible, thanks to the collective memory of the Jewish communities whose presence in that region dates from antiquity.

That place is and remains their home. Perhaps the Israelis—much like the rest of us—should be encouraged/learn to be better, more humane neighbours. But it is not Mr. Ahmadi-Nejad’s business to play the role of a disgruntled landlord. No one elected him to that position.

Third, in so far as he is the President and thus partially responsible for the supposed national security of Iranian peoples, he must be expected to be attentive to the history of other nations Iran shares the region with. As long as any of us—and particularly those in power—remain oblivious to those traumatizing re-formative moments in other nations’ self-consciousness, there can be no hope of civil coexistence.

This does not bode well for Iran or the region.

I am increasingly more alarmed at the very real prospect of a brutal, ruinous exchange between Iran-Israel-US, involving conventional and/or chemical, nuclear weapons. And I have no clue how this impending catastrophe could be averted. There are certain factions with strong taste for blood now, and they have proven ruthless and unyielding.

Mr. Ahmadi Nejad, I should add, represents a highly dangerous, authoritarian tendency within Iranian establishment which has become even more deadly by freely appropriating from a particularly odious and dangerous strand of American political thought. And this is not the first time Iranian intelligentsia in power have tried flirting with American “creativity.”

The last time our sycophants became mesmerised by the scents of money and power, they anchored themselves in their understanding of what Mr. Huntington had to offer which resulted in the emergence from above of a proto fascist movement –Rastakhiz or Resurrection and the formation of one party rule with disastrous consequences which we’ve all had to deal with since.

What we’ve got now—and I mean the Iranian nation, our neighbours and the broader global community—with this witches brew of nativist authoritarianism, Shi’ia theology, Mr. Huntington’s creative profundities and a bit of second hand Carl Schmitt from-god-knows-where, coupled with belligerent adventurism of foreign powers--is what a nice lady once described long ago as the “devil’s cauldron.”

Of one thing, though, I am absolutely certain. Beelzebub will be the inevitable, undisputed winner of any future conflict in that region.

No comments: