This is a rant. Those of you with gentler sensibilities: please skip.
I am so fed up with this attitude. Nauseated actually! After which book is it exactly that we think we have solutions to all problems that preoccupy millions of others? How could it be that we come to have so many answers all the time?
So I committed a mortal sin. I wanted to know and document who in the Iranian context first used the terms Islamofascism and Gender Apartheid and when exactly. A sensible question, don’t you think? And that is because I have been thinking a lot about fascism lately. I have quite a few questions that I am trying to resolve to my satisfaction. The world has changed much since first I studied the subject many years ago. And so have I.
Having grown up under the Monarchy with many memories still fresh, and in a society conscious of ethnicity and highly attentive to the aesthetics of skin color, the sort of historical material that echoed what I was used to hearing--the Great Leader, White revolution, the Great Civilization, Resurrection, Shah the father, the Light of Aryan (Aryamehr), the teacher, the spiritual leader, builder of roads and bridges and the Guide of the spirit, thought and hearts of his people-- none sounded too terribly atrocious. Some of the more pernicious echoes I hear now were not as important to me then.
And as terribly authoritarian as that was, it wasn’t nearly anywhere as grotesque as the monstrosity that followed it.
And I had no clue who Heidegger was or a Carl Schmitt and what global reach they would have and what sordid past. I can no longer rely on what I thought I knew. It is now time to reevaluate. It has been an ongoing project. So I put out a query. Enters another Anon with the following comment:
I have seen your condescending comments regarding Rahe Karegar or Komeleh or the left in general on another blog regarding the same subject a while back, so it now forces me to reply that I should have done then; just because Jerry Farwell or Pat Robertson and other morons are using the term now does not make the people who employed it first any evil. In your comment and the assignment that you gave to that "Truty Iranian" you were trying to paint them as one. The type of ideology that says one has to be killed for not being one of them is fascism, plain and simple. You probably are not getting any response because the Islamofascist in
I am pretty sure the guy you're looking for is the second to the right, but I don't think he can answer you now.
Yes. It has been more than 25 years since that particular picture moved a lot of us to tears. We all have had our fair share of nightmares that won’t go away. I mean, who could really forget?
Look at the background and the contours of the bodies as they react to the force of the bullets which pierce them. And the first one on the right! Note the defiant audacity of this injured soul facing ultimate doom, and his silent dignity. Look at the upright posture, the poise, that grace and the position of his feet and that pronounced aura that makes even the executioner pause, no?
In any other culture, these audacious souls would have elicited a song or two. Perhaps even a tragedy. A play,at least, about the final moment?
It has been twenty five years. Has anything about that picture changed since?
Is there a single name next to the picture now? Do we know any better who they were? What made them do what they did? What accounted for the dignity that so move us? Their likes or dislikes? Were they married? Any childhood friends? They must have had some, no? They didn’t simply fall out of the sky, did they?
This pathetically cavalier attitude that serves to mask a fundamental timidity in engaging the world around it and the silly lack of curiosity or inquisitiveness I find obnoxious.
There was not the slightest hint of condescension in any of my previous comments. But now I am going to do my best not to fully express the contempt I am feeling.
Where has this omniscient, self satisfied attitude gotten us after twenty five years? Look at that opposition. The entire spectrum, I mean! But we remain focused on the left, for today. Let’s assume that your assumption about whom I wrote to is right. Is it really true that the answer died with the man second on the right? Or is it just another example of some pseudo-cunning wordplay at work here? Standard issue demagoguery otherwise known as Agitprop.
It has been over twenty five years and here is Rahe Karger, and the Marxist Komala, and the Komala Party-Iranian Kurdistan. And the Communist Party of
How about some Fadayees for a chaser?
The Organization of Iranian People’s Fadaian (Majority), and the Organization of Fadaian (Minority) and the Union of People’s Fadaian of Iran and then the plain old Iranian People’s Fadaee Guerilla as well as the Iranian Fadaian Communist league.
And PaykaroAndishe and the Communist Today and the Internationalist Workers Today and the Workers Left Unity-Iran. And just in case none of these succeed, there is always the Coordinating Committee to Form Worker’s Organization and, of course, the savior of last resort the Muslim Socialists.
Need I go on, and on?
So, what exactly is the meaning of “Islamofascism” in the Iranian context today?
What is now in power is not what in infancy fought a war in multiple fronts and survived leaving the country in ruins. This is a more mature movement. It has experienced many events. It has also assimilated some pretty noxious elements from foreign sources that weren’t there before.
What would all this mean now?
The ways people and movements conceive of the world affect the way they act. In what sense will these developments alter the Iranian society and the global community? What will happen to the Bahais now? And our other religious minorities in case of a conflict?
Let’s move beyond the borders of
Do you recall such a high pitched, feverish clamor of hate and venom-- both religious and ethnic in the recent past? Can you believe your ears, now? What does the use of “Islamofascism” signal on this front? What does it mean, exactly, for those who use it? Is it true that most of our problems and misfortunes, wars and misery, oppression and bigotry and intolerance always originate with a few ‘Morons” as you put it?
Since you are so cocksure about what you think you know, help us out here.
We are going to do an experiment now. Let’s read a story about our Queen Esther and Mordacai. They rest in
I wonder why? Can you guess why? This remains a mere digression for now.
But please do tell us what you see in the following? Hate? Imbecility? Anti-Semitism? Racism? Fascism? Or none of the above?
Amongst the girls so presented to the king was a Jewess whose name was Hadassa, “myrtle,” but had been given the name Esther, “the star” …an orphan and had been brought up by her uncle Mordecai…Mordecai led the kind of life which is still quite common in Asian cities. He used to leave his house in the morning, go to the palace, and spend hours sitting in the shade with people he knew there, exchanging news and getting deviously involved in palace intrigue. He counted on Esther’s good offices to improve his situation, and had impressed on her not to tell anyone who she was or where she came from!
Recognize the themes? The Devious, scheming, lying, parasitic? Are you going to wager our collective IQs against that of the famed J A de Gobineau!
How about the following sentiments? You hear it, with slightly different heroes, often enough these days, don’t you?
Thou too art fallen,
Thou too hast had thy day;
And loathsome Ignorance and Brute Servitude,
Pollute thy dwellings now,
Erst for the Mighty and the Wise renown’d
So one day may the Crescent from thy Mosques
Be pluck’d by Wisdom, when the enlighten’d arm
Was Mr. Robert Southey a moron too when he composed his Thalaba? Is he right? Where do you stand? Shall we wager our IQs against the man? There has been so much talk of national character lately too, no? And so much talk that is almost verbatim. How about the following:
I am apt to suspect the negroes and in general all other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the whites, such as the ancient GERMANS, the present TARTARS, have still something eminent about them in their valour, form of government, or some other particular. Such a uniform and constant differences could not happen in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction betwixt these breeds of men. Not to mention our colonies, there are Negroe slaves dispersed all over Europe, of which none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity, tho' low people, without education, will start up amonst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In
Was he a moron too, Mr. Hume? Or suppose you meet some one over dinner or happen to have a conversation with someone roughly along the following lines:
…Slavs…, cannot be educated as one educates a Germanic people. One must either break them or humble them constantly. At present he does the latter. Our task in the Protectorate is perfectly clear.
How would you react? Even if you end up saying nothing, would he worry you? That he was your neighbor or colleague? It isn’t as if we haven’t been hearing it constantly lately about Arabs, no? Is your mind going to be slightly more at ease when you hear the following from the fellow:
The Italians are not only not doing anything about the war effort, but they are hardly producing anything worth while in the realm of arts. One might almost say that fascism has reacted upon the creative life of the Italian people somewhat like sterilization….fascism is only superficial ...
And how will you react to this:
The Jewish question must be solved within a pan-European frame. There are 11,000,000 Jews still in
And what about the following monstrosity:
In order from Herr Goebble’s Diaries, dated Feb 6, 15 and March 7 and 27)
Haven’t you heard roughly similar sentiments expressed with venom lately? And not only about the Jews, no? What was the meaning of that “preemptive strike of any magnitude?” Will we attentively listen to some “respectable” lawyer gifted in that art of selective verbalization of his thoughts!
How about all the French riots lately.
We heard a lot of coverage, didn’t we? The incessant French bashing and all the talk about insider deals and those financial transactions with Arabs and the rampant corruptions and, of course, Eurabia , Paristine, Gaulistan, and Algerian North Bank, was it?
How do you read them? True? False? Jokes? Imbecilic? Racist? Fascist? Threatening? None of the above?
How about the following that had left a memorable impression on me for so many years and my friend Mr. Limitedinc was good enough to help locate and translate it a few months ago What do you think of the following:
Das ist das Hakenkreuz erst sehr spät geworden. Und im ührigen besteht die Frage nach dem irrationalen Gehalt des Antisemitismus. Der irrationale Gehalt der Rassetheorie erklärt sich aus der Mißdeutung der natürlichen Sexualität, des 'Schmutzig- Sexuell-Sinnlichen'. Hier stehen der Jude und der Neger auf einer Stufe in der Vorstellung des Faschisten, des deutschen ebenso wie des amerikanischen. Der Rassekampf in Amerika gegen den Neger spielt sich überwiegend auf dem Boden der sexuellen Abwehr ab: Der Neger ist als das sinnliche Schwein aufgefaßt, das weiße Frauen vergewaltigt. Hitler schrieb über die farbige Besatzung des Rheinlandes:
"Nur in Frankreich besteht heute mehr denn je eine innige Übereinstimmung zwischen den Absichten der Börse, den sie tragenden Juden und den Wünschen einer chauvinistisch eingestellten nationalen Staatskunst. Allein gerade in dieser Tatsache liegt eine immense Gefahr für Deutschland. Gerade aus diesem Grunde ist und bleibt Frankreich der weitaus furchtbarste Feind. Dieses an sich immer mehr der Vernegerung anheimfallende Volk bedeutet in seiner Bindung an die Ziele der jüdischen Weltbeherrschung eine lauernde Gefahr für den Bestand der weißen Rasse Europa. Denn die Ver- [S. 105]pestung durch Negerblut am Rhein im Herzen Europas entspricht ebenso sehr der sadistisch-perversen Rachsucht dieses chauvinistischen Erbfeindes unseres Volkes, wie der eisigkalten Überlegung des Juden, auf diesem Wege die Bastardierung des europäischen Kontinents im Mittelpunkt zu beginnen und der weißen Rasse durch Identifizierung mit niederem Menschentum die Grundlagen zu einer selbstherrlichen Existenz zu entziehen." (l. c. S. 704-705).
The relevant part is, I guess: There exists in
Ein Beispiel rassischen Niedergangs ist für Hitler das ihm auch sonst unsympathische Frankreich. Dieses macht nach Hitler "in seiner Vernegerung so rapide Fortschritte, daß man tatsächlich von einer Entstehung eines afrikanischen Staates auf europäischem Boden reden kann" (S. 730).
(Wilhelm Reich, Mass Psychology of Fascism quoting from Mein Kempf)
I think I’ll stop here. We are in the middle of some fundamental, tectonic shifts with some magnificent, frightening transformations all around us. People are saying things that are both old and familiar and startlingly unexpected. And then we have all these wars and the multiple crisis, and what strikes me as the fatigue or a malaise of spirit coupled with those ceaseless chatters about glory, sacrifice, honor and the supposed constraints posed by the Lilliputians.
Tag on the additional oscillations between cynical realism and romanticism and an emerging cult of infallible leaders coupled with the sort of citizens who can’t even stand being reminded of their own history; and these revolutionary technological innovations as well as the myriad hateful frenzies consuming us.
Throw in an out of control, corrupt executive branch and the ongoing secret surveillances of citizens and their mails, emails, telephones; with suspects/at best accused/ effectively disappearing in a legal non-state state, or being shuttled between secret locations and those brazen defenses of torture and the highlighted SSSSs on airline tickets that get you searched extra carefully and sent to some air blowing machine in the airports…