Saturday, January 24, 2004

I finally saw Forbidden Iran which annoyed me to no end. It is the same feeling I get when I go to the "Middle East" section in bookstores where they cram their shelf with anything from India to Nigeria, as long as Islam is somewhere in the title or the subject of the book. I used to try and talk to bookstore manages about their categorization problems and the responses I got ranged from polite condescension to outright hostility. And, of course, no one ever shifted their books around or re-thought the use of the label "Middle East" as a result of my attempts at intervention. A friend of mine has taken to re-arranging the books on her own instead of bothering with the bookstore staff, a practice which I may soon take up myself.
Anyway, I don't want to spend more than a few sentences on this Forbidden Iran thing since there was pretty much nothing good about it and I don't want to further aggravate myself by listing all its shortcomings. I do have to say, however, that I was especially appalled that they had included an interview with that charlatan Zakeri, a guy who seems to aspire to be Iran's Ahmad Chalabi. (By the way, if you want to see a choice photo of the convicted embezzler and Iraqi puppet government member Chalabi, click here).
The irony in all this is that Frontline did a great piece on Iraq a while ago, where they pressed Chalabi to produce documents to back the many lies he'd been feeding the Western media and Western governments for so long. Of course, Chalabi couldn't produce a damn thing, which really drove home the extent to which the illegal invasion of Iraq was based on faulty intelligence (in more than one sense, of course) and self-interested agendas.
Last point on the Frontline piece: a few pretty boys and a defector may add a bit of sex appeal, but Jane Kokan's superficial trek into the world of Iranian dissent didn't even manage to pull that off.