Monday, January 31, 2005

The U.S. installed mayor of Baghdad, Ali Fadel, would like to erect a statue in the city to honor his boss, George W. Bush.

I humbly suggest that he uses the following picture as his model, you know, to show bush's soft and cuddly side:

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Moammar Qadhafi may be a complete looney-toon (if you dont believe me, see his official website), but he has seen the writing on the wall. Like other U.S. supported dictators turned U.S. enemy, he knew his options were as follows:

A) Have your country invaded, bombed, humiliated, and have your natural resources handed over to U.S. companies as war booty

B) Hand over your natural resources to U.S. companies yourself

so what if U.S bombings in 1986 were responsible for killing his adopted baby daughter, right? Qadafi just bought himself guaranteed support as yet another favored dictator whose violations go un-noticed as long as he behaves himself.

hey, but crazy Q will be in good company with other lunatic U.S. backed dictators who sit on millions of dollars worth of oil and gas reserves. My favorite example is Saparmurat Niyazov, the absolute dictator of Turkeministan, friendly to U.S. interests, and known, among other things for:

1. Declaring gold filling unsafe and demanding that the population have their gold-caps removed by painful dental procedures
2. Making July 10 a public holiday in honour of melons
3. Banning circuses
4. Re-naming january after himself, and April after his late mother, whose name Gurbansoltanedzhe, just rolls off the tongue
5. Creating a "Ministry of Fairness"

And as long as Qadhafi and Niyazov play nice with U.S. corporations/administrations, we'll be treated to lots more of the fanciful products of their twisted imaginations. Meanwhile, millions of libyans and turkministanis will be cheated out of their freedom and their access to the natural resources of their own nations.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Khatami when he is alone with foreign guests and can convince himself in pretending that he has presidential powers:

Khatami when he is in the presence of the person who really has the power in Iran, sitting like a bored child waiting for the grownups to finish their serious talk:

The Senate voted 85-13 to confirm Condoleezza Rice as secretary of State, marking the most negative votes cast against a nominee for that post in 180 years. Meanwhile, all eight Democrats on the Judiciary Committee voted against Bush's appointment of Alberto Gonzales as attorney general.

no, this doesn't mean that the democrats suddenly grew ovaries and testicles. but, hey, it is better than nothing I suppose.

For them [the neo-cons], Bush's rhetoric about "eternal hope that is meant to be fulfiled" was a sign of their triumph. The speech, crowed neocon William Kristol, who consulted on it, was indeed "informed by Strauss" - a reference to Leo Strauss, philosopher of obscurantist strands of absolutist thought, mentor and inspiration to some neocons who believe they fulfil his teaching by acting as tutors to politicians in need of their superior guidance.

'Informed" is hardly the precise word to account for the manipulation of Bush's impulses by cultish advisers with ulterior motives

The U.S. troops are worn down, re-enlistment is pathetic, and those with contracts that have been fulfilled are being coerced to stay longer. The situation in Iraq shows no signs of improvement, with the phrase "deadliest day for the U.S." repeated every few weeks.

Meanwhile, Bush, vindicated by his electorate, sticks to giving speeches shrouded in straussian and biblical allusions.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A month or so ago, I was talking to a journalist from a loathsome right-wing UK paper who asked the following question with the feigned curiosity/innocence that most journalists have perfected:

arrogant british journalist: "why isn't there any Iranian cultural production?"
me: "pardon me?"
arrogant british journalist: "you know, like Iran doesn't have the equivalent of say, a bollywood".

what i really wanted to tell the fellow was that just because things were not accessible to his mono-lingual brain, didn't mean that they didn't exist.

Instead I patiently explained to him that contemporary Iranian cinema produces some of the world's most critically acclaimed and creative films, that persian bloggers have surpassed the hundred thousand mark, that Iranian poets, fiction writers,and journalists continue to publish on a massive scale even in the face of censorship and various other restrictions, and that the same holds true of iranian music and theatre.

but the journalist, like his reaction to all the other questions he asked, wasn't interested in hearing answers that contradicted his ill-founded assumptions.

so i didn't bother telling him that attempts at making iranian cultural products accessible to non-Persian speakers were undercut by the same people who preach about bringing freedom to the rest of the world. Almost exactly a year ago, the U.S. federal government warned publishers that editing or translating Iranian manuscripts would have grave legal consequences and that it amounted to "trading with the enemy". And how about the case of iranian human rights activist and nobel prize winner shirin ebadi, whose memoir was refused publication in the U.S. for the same reason?. Or the million and one bureacratic hurdles iranian films have to go through (in the form of getting euro distributors, for example) so that their work can be shown in the U.S.? And how about the U.S. server that terminated its account with the Iranian Student News Agency just the other day?

so much for the free market of dollars and ideas, right?