Iran 472


For me, any sensible discussion of Iran must accept a number of facts. I will set these out as Set A and Set B. Both sets are true. But ideologues of the right routinely discount Set A, while ideologues of the left routinely discount Set B. That is why most debate on Iran is inane.

Set A

Iranian Islamic fundamentalism allied to fierce anti-Americanism was born from CIA intervention to topple democracy and keep in power a ruthless murdering despot for decades, in the interests of US oil and gas companies

Iranian anti-Americanism was fuelled further by US support for US friend and ally Saddam Hussein who was armed to wage a murderous war against Iran, again in the hope of US access to Iran’s oil and gas

The US committed a terrible atrocity against civilians by shooting down an Iranian passenger jet

Iran is surrounded by US military forces and has been repeatedly threatened to the extent that the desire to develop a nuclear weapon is a reflex

There is monumental hypocrisy in condemning Iran’s nuclear programme while overlooking Israel’s nuclear weapons

Set B

Iran is governed by an appalling set of vicious theocratic nutters

Iran is not any kind of democracy. It fails the first hurdle of candidates being allowed to put forward meaningful alternatives

Hanging of gays, stoning of adulterers, floggings, censorship and pervasive control are not fine because of cultural relativism. Iran’s whole legislative basis is inimical to universal ideals of human rights.

Iran really is trying to develop a nuclear weapons programme, though with some years still to go.

There are two very good articles on the current situation in Iran. One from the ever excellent Juan Cole. I would accept his judgement on the elections being rigged.

http://www.juancole.com/2009/06/class-v-culture-wars-in-iranian.html#comments

The other from Yasamine Mather, which puts it in another perspective.

http://www.hopoi.org/articles/elections%20June%202009.html

I am not optimistic about the outcome of the popular protest.


472 thoughts on “Iran

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  • MJ

    “Why is Iran not therefore one of the richest countries in the world? World Bank and IMF figures show that its wealth per capita ranks it down in 80th place or lower”

    You will recall eddie that my 5 points were what I considered the key reasons for the West’s keen – one might even say prurient – interest in Iranian affairs. I don’t think its domestic economic affairs have any bearing on this.

    However since you raise the matter, I should perhaps point out firstly that since Iran has no association with either the World Bank or the IMF their figures are by necessity estimates.

    On the assumption however that the figures are reasonably accurate then of course yes, the US and others do have some responsibilty for Iran’s economic under-performance. For over 30 years Iran has been subject to a variety of trade embargos and other restrictions whose purpose has been solely to destabilise the country. All this because the Iranians had the temerity to overthrow one of the most viciously repressive regimes the world has ever seen.

    It should also be remembered that when the Shah fled the country he took the trouble to ensure that he took unknown billions of the country’s wealth with him, which he deposited in US banks. Iran is still waiting for this money to be returned.

    All in all a rather disgraceful way to treat such brave people, I’m sure you’ll agree.

  • eddie

    “the normative condescension upon all that is not European!”

    I like that phrase. It sums up your position nicely. Translation: Let’s not judge people who do nasty things to each other, it’s only their culture and why should we take the moral high ground? Well, when it comes to things like female circumcision and forcing women to cover themselves up I think I am quite entitled to take an absolutist position and stuff “cultural norms”. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong, it’s wrong. It is true that women dominate science courses in Iran, and are better-educated and more politically astute than many in the region, but the regime severely restricts women’s rights. They cannot run for President or be a judge, their testimony is valued less than that of a man and the man automatically gets custody after divorce. Women can be beaten or jailed for “moral crimes” such as wearing inapproriate clothes or makeup. Khomeini reduced the marriage age for women from 18 to 9, later raised to 13 (that nasty Shah eh? Making women wait until 18 to get married). Women and men are separated in many public places, women cannot inehrit on the same scale as men and women can still be stoned to death for adultery. Is that enopugh evidence of sexual apartheid for you? Is there any substantive difference between that list and the restrictions that black people faced in South Africa?

    MJ “For over 30 years Iran has been subject to a variety of trade embargos and other restrictions whose purpose has been solely to destabilise the country”. As expected, I knew you would come out with that line. You forgot to mention the Iran Iraq war, but of course all these things happened thirty years ago. Yet Iran is an independent and stable country – it can trade almost anywhere it likes, other than the US. Look at Venezuela or Cuba, they seem to have done reasonably well without US trade. Why isn’t Iran trading with China and Africa? Why are they IMPORTING petrol when they have such oil wealth? Surely they could have developed refinery facilities without US support? As I say, it’s the easy cop out always to blame the US. I won’t go into the reasons for the sanctions, other than to say that the Iranian regime is hardly a guiltless party. When “Death to the USA” is the government mantra, repeated every friday at prayers, it is hardly conducive to friendly diplomatic relations.

  • dreoilin

    None of the comments the troll quoted above were mine either. But he still insisted on twisting my name. And he introduced the term “pile of faeces” himself. He does himself no favours.

    I didn’t recommend “forcing women to stay in the home”. I wrote, “there has to be a middle ground”. If he can’t see the effects of family break-up on our societies, he’s doing a version of the three monkeys.

    Clocks are notoriously hard to turn back, but closer extended families and a sense of community — where neighbours actually look out for one another, instead of trying to outdo each others patio furniture — would do a lot for future generations. As would more parents (male or female) staying at home with the kids, more couples staying together, and less “free love” for all and sundry.

    And no I’m not a prude, and yes I was a part of the very Women’s Lib crowd who were campaigning for freedom from the kitchen sink, decades ago. Since that time I’ve reared a family while (on/off) working freelance from home, and my blase youthful assumptions have shifted considerably.

    I don’t *recall* seeing our troll deplore the dreadful bombing, maiming and killing of so many civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the heels of so much death and devastation in Iraq. He has been so exercised over the rights of Iranian protesters, he seems to have forgotten what’s been done in the name of “freedom” to innocents elsewhere.

  • VamanosBandidos

    eddie you cannot keep away from sex for more than ten minutes can you?

    What female circumcision has to do with Iran, or Islam?

    Female circumcision is an all African affair that is going back many centuries, and like it or not, is there and is getting practised, but not in the name of Islam.

    However, the Jewish supremacists bent on deriding all things Muslim have managed to project into the addled minds of simpletons, the likes of yourself eddie, this female circumcision story as an extension of male circumcision as practised in Islam.

    Fact that Judaism itself mandates circumcision of males as in Islam somehow is never attributed to be the progenitor of the female circumcision, despite the fact that Judaism has been around longer than Islam.

    However, that is not the case and still the female circumcision is attributed to the Muslims, regardless of the actualities, and realities. Furthermore in the light of the colonial barbarism that is somehow considered an amiable effort; in civilizing the heathens by the very affable Englishmen, any derogatory statements about Islam suddenly finds traction in UK, and the Europe in general too.

    Once before the Europeans were engaged in religion baiting, but now apparently they have stopped Jew baiting, and instead have chosen to be Muslim baiting, just like the Irish whom have become White, and now are harassing, and racially abusing the Roma in Belfast.

    Therefore, your tired and “absolutist” stance is only a reflection of what an absolute waste of skin and a wanker you are eddie!

    Apartheid is practised in Israel, and used to be practised in South Africa, and nowhere else is it practised, and your effort to make sex a cause for apartheid just does not wash, but hey reactionary tossers like you, are in the habit of regurgitating the sound bites they have been fed.

    PS eddie you have not been engaged in “grammar policing” what is up? Are u off colour, or somefing?

  • dreoilin

    “just like the Irish whom have become White, and now are harassing, and racially abusing the Roma in Belfast”

    Don’t lump us all together, VamanosBandidos. They were a bunch of nasty teenagers, as far as I know. But for some reason that I don’t understand, racism is raising its ugly head in Northern Ireland more often than in the South (although nowhere is entirely free of it.) And if they were mostly youngsters, they are almost a “post-Troubles” generation. It’s a subject I want to read up on.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Cuba hasn’t done that well, actually, though there are number of factors contributing to that, including the US embargo but also the centrallly controlled economy, albeit recerntly modulated. Venezuela was in the US camp until Chavez, and since then they’ve had a lot of trouble. He’s been trying to redistribute wealth and that’s good, but has faced lots of resistance from vested interests who have been supported by the USA. Iran is one of China’s major trading partners. Iran does trade with Africa, including with South Africa and with lots of other countries, including the UK.

    I agree that women’s rights in many Muslim countries is a real issue, including in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is far worse than Iran, btw, in this respect. No question that when Islamists become dominant, the first thing they ‘go for’ is women’s rights.

    Pakistan’s women’s rights regressed hugely and most drastically under a regime which was directly supported by the USA. In Iraq, women’s rights have receded since the USA and UK invaded. And we know about the US-Saudi relationship.

    In Indonesia, struggles go on b/w Islamists and others in relation to women’s rights. But the USA and UK supported the ‘Muslim Generals’, as they were known who set up the Suharto regime (around 1 million people were killed) and continued to do so.

    No, all of this is not all the West’s fault, it’s much more complex thatn that, but it’s certainly not going to be remedied by infiltration, destabilisation or invasion by the West.

  • eddie

    VB – I fear that it is you that is obsessed with sex, not me. You know very well that by sexual apartheid I mean gender apartheid. Female circumcision is not an Islamic issue, that is true. But to compare it to male circumscision is a tad stupid, frankly. I think you would know the difference if you were a woman. Your comments on apartheid in Israel are specious. I presume you are talking about the occupied territories, which is not Israel. And, as you raised it, your grammar is poor – particularly the use of who and whom. Who and whoever are in the subjective case, whom and whomever are objective. So, “Who is that idiot VB?”, “To whom does that idiot VB pay his rent?” Clear?

    Dreolin – I see you are now resorting to cheap insults just because I had the temerity to misquote your name. To be fair, I don’t often know who is throwing insults at me because many posters here don’t leave a name – perhaps it is only one person, I don’t know. I suspect KevinB as was may be the worst offender. Whtether it is deliberate or a technical problem I don’t know either. I merely gave a sample of insults, there were many more. I had a feeling that you had reactionary impulses from some of your earlier comments. Nothing like a cconvert to be zealous eh? It’s like ex-smokers. You say you support the family, so here is a test for you. Do you support the right of Gay and Lesbian couples to adopt children and bring them up within a same sex family? I do, and if you don’t where does that leave us on the left-right spectrum? You despise me as a right wing troll but can it possibly be the case that I have more liberal views than you in some areas? As I said, left and right tend to share many of the same opinions and fantasies at either end of the spectrum.

    You write, “I don’t *recall* seeing our troll deplore the dreadful bombing, maiming and killing of so many civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the heels of so much death and devastation in Iraq. He has been so exercised over the rights of Iranian protesters, he seems to have forgotten what’s been done in the name of “freedom” to innocents elsewhere.” Actually, I object to the death of innocents everywhere on an equal footing. I also object to genocidal slaughter in Darfur, Rwanda and Zimbabawe as well. Do you? I object to executions in the USA as well as Iran and China. Do you? And if so, what have you ever done about it other than twitter on here?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Continuing on from my previous post, I think that real change in relation to society needs to develop from within – though of course nowadays especially it’s not so clear what is ‘within’ and what, ‘without’ and maybe the division is increasingly meaningless. However, I don’t think imposing change by overt or covert operations from imperial powers works, in fact in the end it’s usually counterproductive. Nonetheless, I’m sure that some of the recent discord in Iran has been a reflection of real dissatisfaction among certain segments of society. Of course, all of the leaders vying for power there are less than savoury, but at least they haven’t invaded and destroyed countries – which is more than we can say for our leaders. And I don’t think it’s really enough to say that ‘we’ are helping Iraq and Afghanistan build-up societal structures when ‘we’ – or rather, governments which we elected – have been instrumental in destroying any structures there once were in those countries – and I don’t mean the Taliban, I’m talking over a much longer period. In fact, it is only a tacit pact in Iraq b/w the USA and Iran really which has held the (very relative; it’s not calm as we know it) reduction in violence in Iraq since last year, so one could say that Iran, too is helping to build societal structures in Iraq. Iran also cooperates with teh USA/ NATO in relation to Afghanistan, while still vying for its spehere of influence there, too. It’s all realpolitik, of course. The pursuit and retention of power is amoral, it’s Machiavellian right through.

    That doesn’t mean – I talk generally now – that we have to be tribal or (for want of a better word) ideological and relinquish our critical faculties to any of these leaders or empires.

  • VamanosBandidos

    eddie’s brain farts go;

    Your comments on apartheid in Israel are specious. I presume you are talking about the occupied territories, which is not Israel.

    ===

    Oh the raw nerve that is so tender eddie aye?

    No eddie the apartheid Israel that is busy passing a law mandating Arabs to swear an oath of Loyalty to the Jewish State, or get kicked out of Israel!

    The same apartheid Israel that mandates any Arab teacher to be subject of a security clearance by the Shin-bet (internal intelligence service) before these are allowed to teach in any primary school.

    The same apartheid Israel that is maintaining its siege of Gaza, turning it to the biggest open air concentration camp in the history of man kind.

    The same apartheid Israel, that has abandoned the Geneva Convention in its ruthless killing spree, and land theft fest.

    Notwithstanding any of the above, seeing as male circumcision has nothing to do with it, how come female circumcision is always associated with the Muslims, and not the Jews instead? This erroneous conflation is used time and again by the Jewish supremacist shills, included your posts to prove time and again the “barbarity/depravity” of the Muslims , that is clearly an intent to deride Muslims, and incite hatred against Muslims.

    eddie you are on record about sexual this, and sexual that, included the made up phrase of today “sexual apartheid”, clearly indicative of the sex on the brain syndrome that creeps into every little paragraph you write, so don’t blame me for highlighting it, your projections are there to be seen by all.

    Finally you have picked up your role as the grammar police, and as every vacuous waste of time shill does, started to nit pick, and insulting away in your didactic fit, you prevaricate about how is it said rather than what is being said? Poor eddie, knows no better, poor, poor poor eddie.

  • Anonymous

    Iranian Envoy: CIA involved in Neda’s shooting?

    CNN ?” June 25, 2009

    The United States may have been behind the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan, the 26-year-old Iranian woman whose fatal videotaped shooting Saturday made her a symbol of opposition to the June 12 presidential election results, the country’s ambassador to Mexico said Thursday.

    “This death of Neda is very suspicious,” Ambassador Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri said. “My question is, how is it that this Miss Neda is shot from behind, got shot in front of several cameras, and is shot in an area where no significant demonstration was behind held?”

    He suggested that the CIA or another intelligence service may have been responsible.

    “Well, if the CIA wants to kill some people and attribute that to the government elements, then choosing women is an appropriate choice, because the death of a woman draws more sympathy,” Ghadiri said.

    In response, CIA spokesman George Little said, “Any suggestion that the CIA was responsible for the death of this young woman is wrong, absurd and offensive.”

    Though the video appeared to show that she had been shot in the chest, Ghadiri said that the bullet was found in her head and that it was not of a type used in Iran.

    “These are the methods that terrorists, the CIA and spy agencies employ,” he said. “Naturally, they would like to see blood spilled in these demonstrations, so that they can use it against the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is of the common methods that the CIA employs in various countries.”

    But, he added, “I am not saying that now the CIA has done this. There are different groups. It could be the [work of another] intelligence service; it could be the CIA; it could be the terrorists. Anyway, there are people who employ these types of methods.”

    Asked about his government’s imposition of restrictions on reporting by international journalists, Ghadiri blamed the reporters themselves.

    “Some of the reporters and mass media do not reflect the truth,” he said.

    For example, he said, international news organizations have lavished coverage on demonstrations by supporters of Mir Hossein Moussavi, whom the government has said lost to the incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by a landslide.

    But those same news organizations have not shown “many, many demonstrations in favor of the winner,” he said.

    Further, he said, members of the international news media have failed to report on people setting banks and buses afire or attacking other people. “The only things they show are the reactions of the police,” he said.

    Because of restrictions on reporting in Iran, CNN has been unable to confirm many of the reports and claims relating to protests.

    Ghadiri said it is only fair that security forces protect the lives and property of the Iranian people.

    “If in America supporters of Mr. McCain had gotten out on the street and tried to burn the banks during the last election, do you think the police would just sit idly by and be a spectator?” he asked, referring to the GOP presidential candidate who lost the presidential vote in November to Barack Obama.

    Ghadiri called on backers of Moussavi to “accept the majority’s victory.”

    Ahmadinejad’s overwhelming victory was no surprise, Ghadiri said, noting that a poll published in the United States three weeks before the June 12 elections showed Ahmadinejad with a commanding lead. “Why don’t you show that?” he asked.

    Ghadiri also addressed questions about the rapid reporting of the election results, which the opposition has cited as evidence that the ballots were not properly counted.

    “It wasn’t said that only four people counted the 40 million votes,” he said. “There were tens of thousands of people in Iran who counted these votes. They declared that this is very simple.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/06/25/iran.ambassador/

  • eddie

    “..but at least they haven’t invaded and destroyed countries – which is more than we can say for our leaders.” Aren’t you forgetting Thermopylae? The Persians were one of the greatest imperialists of history. Time is relative of course, the Iranians may be benign now but then so is the British Empire if you want to take a less extended timespan of history.

    From today’s Guardian:

    “Jailed Iranian reformists are believed to have been tortured in an attempt to force them into TV “confessions” of a foreign-led plot against the Islamic regime.”

    “According to Iranian websites, the “confessions” are aimed at implicating Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the defeated reformist candidates in this month’s presidential poll, in an alleged conspiracy.

  • avatar singh

    suhayel Sadii-what a beautiful surname you have got! reminds me of the great world poet of iran-sadii> do you know suhayel, what we call mughal grandeur and culture in India was basically a mixture of Indian and iranian culture though mughals thmesleves were of turk origin they imbibed the Iranain culture so high was held the iranain culture.

    in fact iranains are our-Indian’s distant cousins-both being aryas-that is modern days aryans.

    incidently patahns are aryans too.

    anyway-iran has dominated in spehre of cultrue and civilisation for 3 thousand years-donto let thse bumbs lecture to iran about culture and civilizations or democracy.

    in ioran the mullah are ready to have 10% of polling boxes recounted at random whiel in usa even one places’ voting fraudf was not allowed by bought up supre court and which the british bastard coprporation otherwise klnown as BBC advised -only two days after eelction-to Gore not to oppose bush on vote recounting!. so much for dcemocracy for thse scum bags. they donto talk about georgia or ukraineun popular presidents imposed from outside!

  • dreoilin

    Eddie interrogates:

    “Do you support the right of Gay and Lesbian couples to adopt children and bring them up within a same sex family?”

    I do, depending on their characters and the stability of their relationship, as is the case with heterosexual couples.

    “I also object to genocidal slaughter in Darfur, Rwanda and Zimbabawe as well. Do you?”

    I do.

    “I object to executions in the USA as well as Iran and China. Do you?”

    I do.

    “And if so, what have you ever done about it other than twitter on here?”

    Joined Amnesty International in 1971 and became an activist/volunteer.

    And you?

  • chris, glasgow

    Vamanosbandidos

    “You seem to singularly dismiss the primary function of women; to bear the next generation. Ie women have a primary role, and this is not being turned into fuck pots, or adornments to be wrapped around the arms of the rich and powerful albeit old and wrinkled men.”

    That’s an interersting view and one that i would have shared…………. if i was alive say 500 years ago!!!!!! However, pretty much the rest of the world has moved on and recognises that a womans place on earth isn’t just to fufill her primary function.

    ” Conveniently overlooking the simple fact that, this is an admission to the failure of Motherhood in these incidents, which furthermore reiterates the undertones of inherent evil disposition of the criminal class too. (despite the qualification of; latch key door children, in my statement)”

    I was merely trying to give an example that having the wife/mother stay at home to look after her chilren doesn’t mean there will definitely be a reduction in crime. It is stupid to assume that.

    “Motherhood is an honour, it is not mandatory in Iran, those wishing to achieve such mantel of importance are given the opportunity to do so in law, on the other hand if women in Iran do not wish to take such a path, then these can get on with advancing in the field of commerce, science, and government too, it is up to each individual.”

    Iranian government does allow women to pursue careers but it does not do so willingly. It is to the credit of many Iranian women standing up for themselves that they have achieved a more equal society in Iran. For example, under Ahmedinejad’s government, the Centre for Women’s Participation was renamed the Centre for Women and Family Affairs. That doesn’t seem like a goverment who are happy for women to pursue careers, does it?

    More worryingly, you seem to have a bit of hatred stored up against women which is fairly unhealthy. Just because a woman wants to go and work doesn’t mean she is a “fuckpot.” Sort it out and stop ranting like a pshycopath.

  • dreoilin

    “Just because a woman wants to go and work doesn’t mean she is a “fuckpot”.”

    Nasty label, I agree.

    And if a woman doesn’t want any children, that’s her choice too. Now.

    When we were dominated by the Church, women like my grandmother had nine children, and died young. Seven of the nine emigrated to the USA because of extreme poverty. She never saw them again.

  • chris, glasgow

    dreoilin

    “Clocks are notoriously hard to turn back, but closer extended families and a sense of community — where neighbours actually look out for one another, instead of trying to outdo each others patio furniture — would do a lot for future generations. As would more parents (male or female) staying at home with the kids, more couples staying together, and less “free love” for all and sundry. ”

    Couldn’t agree more. There is too much focus on material things that family life seems to be coming second. I think that parents should spend more time with their kids and try to balance work/home ratio better. It’s when you hear about people working all hours to make sure their kids get a good life and then they neglect them because they are never around that doesn’t make any sense to me.

  • CheebaCow

    I hate myself for doing this, because I try so hard not to feed trolls, but for this I just can’t resist.

    Eddie: “Aren’t you forgetting Thermopylae? The Persians were one of the greatest imperialists of history.”

    ahahahahahaha really? Is that the best you can come up with? An event from 480BC when talking about current politics? Do you make reference to the killing of Jesus when talking about the characteristics of the modern states Italy or Israel? Or is the death of Jesus too recent to be considered relevant?

  • CheebaCow

    I consider myself a very progressive person and believe in equal opportunity for all. However I also recognise that in general there are some major fundamental differences between males and females. The sexes are wired differently, each with different aims and perspectives. This is how humans have evolved, it’s a fact. The reality is that the nature of men and women help to balance each other out, and when a culture puts too much emphasis on one it does hurt society. It’s sad that motherhood & extended family is so devalued in modern western society.

    Having said all that some of the social conservatism being displayed here is also very disturbing. The ‘gay agenda’? WTF is that? Who is pushing the ‘gay agenda’? Why do so many animals also ‘succumb’ to the ‘gay agenda’? There must be some powerful lobbyists that can talk to animals. Who spread the ‘gay agenda’ accross the world? When was it spread? Did the Romans and Spartans start the ‘gay agenda’ or were they also ‘victims’?

    People against interracial relations? Have these people not studied biology? Which race is pure? What problems are created by interracial relationships, other than those caused by busy body social conservatives? We all have common ancestors.

    I firmly believe the west should stay out of Iranian affairs, and the affairs of all others when it comes to domestic matters. But please don’t try and whitewash the Iranian system as being some paradise for women. I’m guessing that the people that are claiming it is so terrific to be a woman in Iran are neither women nor Iranian.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Well yes, eddie, even more recently than Cyrus, Darius, Alexander (Iskander, Sikander) and Co., there was Genghis (Changez) Khan and the Mongols and they had the biggest empire of all – which also, incidentally, relates to Avatar’s point (btw, Avatar, thanks for the compliment!) about the Mughals (Mongols), at some level, it’s all a wondrous melange.

    Also, I think that the importance of battles like Thermopylae and (much later) Tours-Poitiers were exaggerated by the ‘Oxford Greeks’ of the British Empire in an attempt to solidify retrospectively into history their idea of ‘Europe’ as a discrete, superior (shorts-in-cold-weather-and-all-that!) and civilising entity. I’ve noticed that such historical events sometimes are drawn on as cultural buckram by buffoonish commentators like Bruce Anderson of the Independent.

    Nonetheless, deep history is fascinating, though it may be a bit of diversion here. Anyway…

    Views of Alexander are interesting. In Arab countries and in South Asia, he was transfigured into a kind of Sufi hero – but I don’t think he’s that popular in Iran, as he conquered and looted what was then the richest and most advanced empire in the world, though of course he married Roxana, but that’s another romance! But as was well-depicted in Nadeem Aslam excellent novel, ‘The Wasted Vigil’, Alexander left his name across vast swathes of territory – from Kandahar to Egypt and beyond.

    However, we’re really talking in this instance about contemporary or near-contemporary geopolitics and near-contemporary leaders.

    Also, while we are still living with the legacy of political decisions made by the British Empire (Palestine, Kashmir, Northern Ireland, Cyprus), those of the Achaemenid Empire, while no doubt forming some part of our civilisation’s nerve-bundles and genetic memory store, no longer have a direct impact on big events.

    Though I am sure we are all descended from a handmaiden of Cyrus the Great (as well as from the lamplighters of the Golden Horde).

    Remember that professor who’d claimed that Africans had inferior intelligence to whites and then fund that his genes were almost 20% African!

    Anyway, I am rambling…

  • Anonymous

    CheebaCow,

    Excellent comment. You can rest assured that to eddie the death of Jesus is of no relevance whatsoever.

    ……except in the context of ‘government’ education policy. He, like New Labour, want it written off the curriculum and out of history. In this particular venture they have been, sadly, enormously successful.

    ….not that it’s got anything to do with the Italians.

  • Anonymous

    So US trying to destabilise Iran….

    Now then, the media is very quiet about this mousarvi character, isnt he some extremist linked with some bombings, hates american, and is just a silvery tongue version of whats already in power?

  • chris, glasgow

    Now then, the media is very quiet about this mousarvi character, isnt he some extremist linked with some bombings, hates american, and is just a silvery tongue version of whats already in power?”

    You are right. He not the icon for democracy and many people seem to be promoting. In fact he doesn’t want to change the current regime that much.

  • eddie

    cheebacow – reference to Thermopylae intended as joke, but perhaps not adverised as such. Suhayl, you know a lot more about ancient history than me, but I would be interested t know how the world would now look if the various empires of the last 300 years had not existed. Also, what is the balance of good vs bad arising from the British empire. Philosophical questions. When I was in Delhi, for example, I was staggered by the amount of cricket being played. Is that a good legacy of the British or not, or would it have happened anyway?

    Dreoilin – I am also a member of AI, Hampstead branch circa 1980 to start with. I probably agree with some of your social views and have written on social capital – Robert Putnam etc. The present recession may perhaps lead to a questioning of meaningless consumption and a realisation that community, neighbourhood and family are more important. If that means women or men staying at home more then that is probably a good thing, the key point is that no one should be forced to do so.

  • dreoilin

    Snap, Eddie.

    I’m smiling because I’m picturing us having a verbal punch-up at an AI gathering.

    FYI, I’m in Ireland. The Republic, not the North.

    Agree about the recession – a shift in values might be the silver lining in the cloud. Might.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Ah, the British Empire, now that’s a question over which historians will wrangle till the gates of eternity swing shut! One cannot separate the rise of capitalism, the industrial revolution and the rise of maritime capitalist empires (as opposed to the older, land empires like the Ottoman Empire). It’s history, as they say, for a whole load of complex reasons well documented elsewhere, it happened from about the last decade of the C16th century, onwards, and we are, what we are, as a consequence.

    I think colonialism probably hindered the development (or whatever one wanst to call it) – industrialisation, shall we say – of countries which were colonised or de facto colonised. They’ve reqd massive revolutions and other changes subsequently to jump on the wheel – but then, so did C18th and C19th Europe – and of course, England’s was the first modern-day revolution, in mid-C17th. Western Europe progressed as much as it did partly because of the wealth and dynamism generated by imperialism. The two are inextricable.

    Nonetheless, the advances attained by Western Europe from C17th would still have been the drivers of change, even if there had been no colonialism and even if, say, Egypt had been allowed to industrialise in the mid-C18th.

    But look at China. For all its faults, through communist revolution and then capitalist change it’s gone from being the opiate-smoking butt of jokes to being possibly incipiently the No. 1 Country. Yes, it was never colonised in the way some places were. India, for example. But it was destroyed in WWII. Singapore – occ. by Japan in WWII, a poor colonised country albeit with Raffles, an enlightened imperialist governor. Someone already mentioned South Korea. And then there’s imperial Japan, which defies all paradigms.

    There are other things than simply colonialism going on. Oil is one big thing, of course, which has affected the ‘Muslim Belt’ for many decades. But there’s more, it’s not as simple as that. I think many people in/ of majority-Muslim, and other, countries understand this.

    The legacy of specifically the British Empire – a very intriguing experiment in imeperalism – is mixed, esp. wrt South Asia but also wrt the UK – many things we think of as ‘British’ were actually developed as hybrids – the class system, for example, went both ways. I am aware of the current crop of revisionist historians who tend to foreground the achievements of the British Empire.

    French imperialism was different, again. The Belgian version was psychotic. The Dutch – very cruel colonialists. And then there’s the indutrialisation of slavery.

    I’m obviously against imperialism, and it is of course entirely hypothetical as to what would’ve happened if it hadn’t happened. I think a lot of places would’ve developed but not in the way it happened in W. Europe. It would’ve been different, is the truism and that’s about all we can say.

  • avatar singh

    Suhyehel

    10 years ago while reading the history of iran -I saw the last pages of book to cjehck on bibliography. Only then did I realise a profound truth. the name by which the west knows the iranian kings are not the name by which they kenw thmesleves and by which they had thier name put on the tablets.

    The name of cyrus the great was really Kurush-a still common name in india-the name of xeres was khyres just like a indian name ankhaye,in there was a datta otherwise known as datis who was the commander of persian army in first greek war. this datta is still a common surname in India.

    in other words if you read the inscription of darius-real name dayayauss-then you realise he was speaking in a langauge which any Indian of even today can recognise let alone of 2500 years ago.

    the reason the name was distorted was because the greeks did not and could not pronounce arayn names as greeks like all europeans were and are not =aryans. so much that the greeks and even horodotus did not know the existence of persiopils because in persipolis were gathered all the aryan kings under the darayayuss otherwise called darius now and non aryans were not allowed there for ceremonies.in the same way partha is similar to an Indian hero arjuan who was called partha.

    PERISANS CALLED THEMSELVES PERSU WHICH REALLY MEANS ONE HOLDING BATTLE AXE-THE BA=NAME PERSU COMES VERY OFTEN IN iNDIAN MYTHOLOGY AND HISTORY.

    THE PERSIAN THELMELVES SAY THEY CAME FROMT HE EAST-THEOUGH AGANISTAN-NOW AFGANISTAN WAS ALWAYS UNDER INDIAN INFLUNCE -SOMETIMES DISPUTED WITH IRANIAN -UNTIL MUSLIM INVASION.

    so you see how much atmised the iranaina histroy is made if you donto pronounce the correct name.

    the main point i am trying to make is by distorting the names we forget the so much similarity -just brother like similarity-between iranains and indian races otherwise called arya.

    another lesson is -donot let the bastards distort your name because by this means they distort your history aswell.

  • eddie

    Dreoilin yes I’m not sure we’d get on! I’m not too bad if I stay off politics. I have friends in Dublin (Shankill) and a very old friend of mine has a cottage near Moville in Donegal. I love Ireland, it’s how England was in my childhood, although the economy is in a bit of a mess. Shame about all those priests.

    Suhayl – thanks for the history lesson. Interesting thoughts. I went to China in 1985 and took the trans siberian to Moscow, saw Mao and Lenin embalmed- the changes have been incredible . I read the Jung Chang biog of Mao – now he was a monster – but the Chinese have managed to achieve somehting remarkable, whether it is sustainable is another question.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    As for cricket, being in Scotland most of the time I never really got into it deeply, though nothing beats English village green games. Every second ‘gulley’ in South Asia is a cricket-pitch, it’s an amazing phenomenon. Football, being in Scotland, I reacted against it! – though I was commissioned to pen two football stories, one, a paean to Celtic FC, the other turned out as a kind of psychedelic ode to Zidane. Rugby, I always thought, was for giants or masochists. Tennis, I used to like playing; haven’t played for years; and watching – but much more so in the days when it was an art as well as a science. In my opinion, Rod Laver was the best tennis player of all time. I can’t stand to watch all the grunters and the aggressive, constantly grimacing, punching-the-air, hyper-corporatised players, there’s no fun in watching them. The last really artistic top player – though his attitude stank and in retrospect was the start of all that tendency – was John McEnroe. Strawberries and cream are always lovely, though. Agassi was half-Iranian, I think (just so we’re not totally off-topic!). ‘Assyrian Armenian Iranian’, it appears – just to round-off the discussion about ancient empires!

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Thanks, avatar, that’s fascinating. I’ve been exploring the deep past recently and it is fascinating, etymologies, place-names, mis-pronounciations, etc.

    Of course, Afghanistan was part of Bactria and later, part of Khurasan – and as you say, much else, too. Rumi came from what is now Afghanistan. Babur, first Mughal emperor of India, wrote poetry espressing his homesickness for the cool glades of Kabul.

    The history of the Indo-Greek Empire is also interesting.

    History, not unlike faith and language, has always been a contested thing and for much the same reasons. It tells us who we are, how we came into being, what ‘we’ did on the way and – since (like even Michael Jackson, RIP) we cannot be certain of the next moment – in the end, it is all we can know.

  • Anonymous

    eddie,

    Shankill (as in ‘the Shankill Road’)is in Belfast, not Dublin. It is the home and heartland of working-class Belfast Protestantism.

    And yes, it is a shame about certain priests and the way they were protected by the Catholic Church authorities. No reasonable person would defend these people. It’s an old story, sadly…….but, for the record, most priest were (and are) good and decent men.

    It’s just that all the focus is on the wickedness of some rather than the virtue of the many.

    The destruction of Christianity by the media and other agencies of government has gone too far……it is time people understood that we are in an age, via New Labour (at the moment), when satanism rules.

    Christianity is NOT paedophile priests and anyone who thinks that a Christian culture is worse than a Luciferian one (which is what we’ve got) needs to seriously take another look at the foundation of their thinking.

    It is a pity the dead do not have a vote.

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