A view from the other side of the Iran story

By Satish Sharma

The demonisation of the other to create an enemy you can then fight is a reality few can deny. Over the years I have watched the demonisation of Iran by the free press of the free West, with utter disbelief.
I was in Tehran when the most repeated propaganda ?about the Iranian threat to “wipe Israel off the map” started. I knew the New York Times reporter ?whose “mistranslation’ (to ?put it politely) of a speech began the?demonistaion/?propanganda push. That lie, which is what it really is, is still repeated by lying leaders and media who should, and actually do, know better.
I was in Iran when the move to invade Iraq began. I watched the War ?and learnt ?about how it was just the beginning of a new great game. ?”The real men” -among the diplomats and soldiers- I was often told, ? ” were waiting to go to Iran” ?They are still waiting. Iran is still the ?Big Prize. ?The Big Plunder waiting to happen.

In a concerted and mischievous attempt, the world?s mainstream media have started to pull out all the stops in order to portray Iran a dangerous, abnormal, weird and horrible country which is seeking to develop nuclear weapons in order to annihilate Israel. Iranians are brazenly depicted as fanatics, terrorists and uncivilized people and the whole Iran is shown as an out-of-the-way desert in which no trace of civilization, urban life and modernity can be found.
Demonizing and isolating Iran can be seen as part of a comprehensive and multifaceted campaign of ostracizing and vilifying the Muslim world which has been intensified since the 9/11 attacks which were blamed on the Muslims and set in motion the Global War on Terror.
Before coming to Iran, every foreign tourist fears that he might be killed, or at least arrested as a spy. They perceive Iran in terms of the stereotypes and clich?s which the mainstream media present to them, and many of them are even unaware of the fact that Iranians are the same Persians who lived in the Ancient Persia for more than 7,500 years.
There are some famous myths about Iran which many people across the world have come to believe, and I would like to rebuff them here as best as I can:

??I: Nonintervention In Iranian Affairs 1. The United States pledges that it is and from now on will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran ‘s internal affairs.?
Since its very inception, the United States has violated this bilateral agreement.? It has continued its relentless propaganda into Iran through the Voice of America, Radio Farda, and other State-funded media outlets such as?BBC Persian which receives significant funding from the US government?.?? Launched in early 2009, the BBC Persian as well as Voice of America played a significant role in instigating violence post 2009 Iranian Presidential elections.
It is abundantly clear that America is not a ?Good Samaritan’ State, and its policies are not driven by compassion.?? Ironically, with?drones spying on Americans?,??network neutrality undermined?, and?internet censorship?abound at home, the Obama administration demands that Iran open itself to further sabotage and subversion guised as compassion. ??In other words, embrace the implementation of?Donald Rumsfeld’s Information Operations Roadmap?? namely, computer network attacks, psychological operations, “maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum”, and US ability to ?”disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum”. ??
One would be hard-pressed to believe that the newly imposed sanctions on Iran are a reflection of care and concern for the Iranian people, but rather, they are punishment for resisting the net war. ?Edmund Burke was quite right to say that ?As People crushed by laws, have no hope but to evade power. If the laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to the law; and those who have must to hope and nothing to lose will always be dangerous.?
Satish Sharma is a photographer writer and blogger based in Nepal. He was one of the early tutors of Pathshala.

The Ugly Truth

The Bombs-Away?Election

Many Americans are rightly disgusted by the non-choice they are offered in the presidential race every four years. This year is no different despite the serious problems that the United States faces at home and abroad. Mitt Romney has no actual plan to fix the economy, and the record of President Barack Obama over the past four years speaks for itself. Romney is a big-government Republican, while Obama is an even-bigger-government Democrat. Either will increase the deficit to the bankruptcy point; Romney through more spending on arms, soldiers, and wars, Obama with a sorely needed health-care program that will break the bank because it was created in collusion with the health-care and insurance industries and makes no effort to limit costs. Continue reading “The Ugly Truth”

?The Most Dangerous Moment,? 50 Years Later

by Noam Chomsky and Tom Engelhardt, October 16, 2012

Here was the oddest thing: within weeks of the United States dropping an atomic bomb on a second Japanese city on August 9, 1945, and so obliterating it, Americans were already immersed in new scenarios of nuclear destruction. As the late Paul Boyer so vividly described in his classic book?By the Bomb?s Early Light, it took no time at all ? at a moment when no other nation had such potentially Earth-destroying weaponry ? for an America triumphant to begin to imagine itself in ruins, and for its newspapers and magazines to start drawing concentric circles of death and destruction around American cities while consigning their future country to the stewardship of the roaches.
As early as October 1945, the military editor of?Reader?s Digest?would declare the first atomic bomb ?dated,? and write, ?It is now in the power of the atom-smashers to blot out New York with a single bomb? Such a bomb can burn up in an instant every creature, can fuse the steel buildings and smash the concrete into flying shrapnel.? By 1947, in ?Mist of Death Over New York,? that staid magazine would have a description in ?realistic detail? of an atomic explosion in New York harbor. (?Within six weeks, 389,101 New Yorkers were dead or missing.?) In November 1945, in the ?36-Hour War,??Life?would feature a mushroom cloud rising over Washington in a surprise attack slaughtering 10 million Americans. That December, the?Wall Street Journalwould run a feature article imagining ?an attack by planes and missiles that could wipe out 98% of the population of the United States.? Continue reading “?The Most Dangerous Moment,? 50 Years Later”

America?s Inevitable Retreat From the Middle East

By PANKAJ MISHRA
Published in New York Times: September 23, 2012

THE murder of four Americans in Libya and mob assaults on the United States? embassies across the Muslim world this month have reminded many of 1979, when radical Islamists seized the American mission in Tehran. There, too, extremists running wild after the fall of a pro-American tyrant had found a cheap way of empowering themselves.

But the obsession with radical Islam misses a more meaningful analogy for the current state of siege in the Middle East and Afghanistan: the helicopters hovering above the roof of the American Embassy in Saigon in 1975 as North Vietnamese tanks rolled into the city.
That hasty departure ended America?s long and costly involvement in Indochina, which, like the Middle East today, the United States had inherited from defunct European empires. Of course, Southeast Asia had no natural resources to tempt the United States and no ally like Israel to defend. But it appeared to be at the front line of the worldwide battle against Communism, and American policy makers had unsuccessfully tried both proxy despots and military firepower to make the locals advance their strategic interests. Continue reading “America?s Inevitable Retreat From the Middle East”

Warrior Netanyahu and Worrier Obama

Israelis assert the United States should not wait for Iran to decide on building a
nuclear weapon before it considers military action. Dan Meridor, deputy Israeli
prime minister, says: When is the point at which it should be stopped? Just when the
bomb is assembled on the tip of the missile and is ready for launch? This demands
clarification, to my mind, to make clear that even an Iran that is a decision away
from nuclear weaponry, be it within days or weeks, is a nuclear-armed Iran. Iran
could reach stage of nuclear development which would allow it to make a warhead
quickly years in the future when the world's guard was down.
Hermann Goering used to say the people don't want war, but they can always be
brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them
they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for
exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.
http://venitism.blogspot.com Continue reading "Warrior Netanyahu and Worrier Obama"

The Lily-Pad Strategy

The first thing I saw last month when I walked into the belly of the dark grey C-17 Air Force cargo plane was a void — something missing. A missing left arm, to be exact, severed at the shoulder, temporarily patched and held together.? Thick, pale flesh, flecked with bright red at the edges. It looked like meat sliced open. The face and what remained of the rest of the man were obscured by blankets, an American flag quilt, and a jumble of tubes and tape, wires, drip bags, and medical monitors.
That man and two other critically wounded soldiers — one with two stumps where legs had been, the other missing a leg below the thigh — were intubated, unconscious, and lying on stretchers hooked to the walls of the plane that had just landed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. A tattoo on the soldier?s remaining arm read, ?DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR.?
Continue reading “The Lily-Pad Strategy”

Rubbing shoulders: Aung San Suu Kyi, Abbas Kiarostami, Gayatri Spivak

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is an Indian literary critic, a theorist, and a University Professor, the highest honor for professors at Columbia University, where she is a founding member of the school's Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. Professor Spivak was speaking at a seminar at Dhaka University, organised by Naya Krishi, a farmers' cooperative in Bangladesh. ?: Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

She was witty, connected, caring and sharp. Seamlessly moving between colloquial Bangla, bhodrolok Bangla and English, Spivak mesmerised, but did a few ticking offs too. All in her charming style so it took you a while to work out that a steam roller had gone over you. It was standing room only in packed seminar room at Dhaka University. Spivak was one of five visiting speakers, but clearly the one they had all come to see.
I was lucky as I had just returned from Tehran, when Rahnuma told me of the event, and Chulie and Yan managed to get my 100mm macro lens to me in time and I pedalled off to Dhaka University.
A couple of days back, I had made my way to Chiraz Square in Tehran to meet up with my old friend, the brilliant film maker and photographer Abbas Kiarostami. I returned with an arm load of books, including his early masterpiece, Snow White. Here are a couple of pictures from the book:
From the book: Snow White. Photo: Abbas Kiarostami

 
From the book Snow White. Photo: Abbas Kiarostami

The meeting earlier with Aung San Suu Kyi, in Myanmar was opportunistic. But hey with people like that, one doesn’t care how it works out 🙂
 
 
 
 

Afghanistan Chronicles, Part 6:

?Near Ground Zero and in Af-Pak Region, Two Labyrinths

Friday, 30 March 2012 10:17By Suzanne Bauman, Jim Burroughs,?Truthout?| News Analysis

Ground Zero
Ground Zero in New York City. (Photo:?Karen Blumberg / Flickr)The endless war on terror in South Asia – with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, the United States, Great Britain, Russia, India, France, Germany, Spain, all players -? must seem like a senseless maze to the people forced to live with daily random violence in this region. In the United States, too many Americans have emotional yet uninformed responses: either “Kill our enemies before they kill us,” or “Get out of Afghanistan now.” The history of this region is more important than ever to study, as daily headlines inflame both sides without leading to solutions. Continue reading “Afghanistan Chronicles, Part 6:”

Selective Outrage
Media Lens, London, 18 January 2012
News that a fourth scientist in two years, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, had been assassinated in Iran by an unknown agency generated minimal outrage in the press.
Patrick Cockburn notedin the Independent:
?While the identity of those carrying out the assassinations remains a mystery, it is most likely to be Israel’s foreign intelligence service, Mossad??
The Sunday Times published a meticulous account of the planning and execution of the attack provided by ?a source who released details? on the actions of ?small groups of Israeli agents? operating inside Iran. (Marie Colvin and Uzi Mahnaimi, ?Israel’s secret war,? Sunday Times, January 15, 2012)
Julian Borger?s article in the Guardian warnedagainst ‘Goading a regime on the brink.’
We wonder if the Guardian would have described the Iranian assassination of scientists on US or Israeli streets as ?goading?. We also wonder if Borger would have described these as terrorist attacks. Continue reading “”

Chobi Mela VI highlighted on Iranian website

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Source: Ali Akbar Shirjian:

Chobi Mela participant Ali Akbar Shirjian says it is “the first professional website on documentary photography in Persian language. It is the first production of Iran Workshop team to start of own dream through of photography language.”