Friday, January 05, 2007

1. Even though I was diasppointed recently to see that Zizek had given his blessings to some troubling publications, he is still one of my favorite contemporary thinkers. And I like that he engages public audiences, like in this piece published in the New York Times, where he concludes his article with the following observation:

"In a similar way, Saddam Hussein’s regime was an abominable authoritarian state, guilty of many crimes, mostly toward its own people. However, one should note the strange but key fact that, when the United States representatives and the Iraqi prosecutors were enumerating his evil deeds, they systematically omitted what was undoubtedly his greatest crime in terms of human suffering and of violating international justice: his invasion of Iran. Why? Because the United States and the majority of foreign states were actively helping Iraq in this aggression.

And now the United States is continuing, through other means, this greatest crime of Saddam Hussein: his never-ending attempt to topple the Iranian government. This is the price you have to pay when the struggle against the enemies is the struggle against the evil ghosts in your own closet: you don’t even control yourself."

I cannot think of a single U.S or U.S-based intellectual who would dare be this honest and bold. Not that I blame them, the pressures to self-censor and mince your words is extremely great, especially when it comes to Iran. Unless we get more people who are unwilling to bow to pressures and will go ahead with their straightforward analysis, Iran will become another taboo (after Israel) in American academic and political discourses.

2.Michael Ledeen wouldnt be Michael Ledeen if he wasn't out spreading unsubtantiated lies. His latest? That Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei has passed away. In late December, Ledeen said that Ayatollah Khamenei was severely ill; to convince his gullible fans of the depth of his "insider" knowledge, Ledeen even provided details that Supreme Leader experienced "a loss of feeling in his feet and [was] breaking out in a cold sweat". Two days after Ledeen made these confident statements about Khamenei's health, the Supreme Leader, seemingly in perfect good health held public meetings with Iran's armed forces.

This time Ledeen has gone so far that not even Amir Taheri, the discredited "journalist" who fabricated and spread the false story that Iran was forcing Jews to wear yellow stars, is willing to back him on this one just yet.

3. Now a technical question, anyone know how to convert VCD format (.dat i think) to .Mpeg or .wmv formats? I am trying to upload some Iran video but google doesnt accept the format I have. Is it convertable or am I just out of luck?