Friday, March 28, 2008

1. I was sorry when I heard last week that Iranian folk singer Shusha Guppy had passed away. I have one of her CDs, I think its called Persian Love Songs or something. The album consists of well-known folk songs, but her unique voice and delivery made you feel like you had never heard them before. I have to say, however, that I could only take her music in small doses.

Unfortunately, I read the sad news of her death via this idiotic Guardian obituary , which annoyed me so much by paragraph two, that I couldn't read any further.

Roger Scruton, the author of said obituary, states in the second sentence that Guppy was the daughter of grand Ayatollah Mohammad Kazem Assar. In the second paragraph, he notes: "Although Assar enjoyed the title of Grand Ayatollah, and was in all probability a direct descendant of Muhammad, he had absorbed the open-minded philosophy of the Sufi masters, was an admirer of western civilization, and sent his children to the French lycée for their education."

Did you notice the word "Although" ? In the worlds inhabited by the author and his readers, Islam and muslims are equated with all that is evil, backwards, close-minded, closed-in, and violent. But in this world, there are also some "good" muslims as well, they are either the ones who either enthusiastically bash Islam and only Islam, or they are the "Sufis," you know, the "spiritual" and peaceful ones. Roger Scruton has to immediately throw that "although" out there right away or risk tainting the subject of his obituary: It is as if he is saying, "Yes, it's true that she was a child of a Grand Ayatollah, but don't hold it against her, he was in any case influenced by the Sufis."

Well, I hate to burst the oblivious bubble of people basking in some kind of hippie sufi love, but there is no singular entity known as "the sufi" or "the beliefs" of "the sufi."

And here is a fun fact that may really confuse the hell out of these folks who fetishize sufism as a somehow exceptional type of Islam: Former Iraqi Vice president, Ezzat Ad-duri, is a Naqshbandi Sufi, and his Naqshbandia Army is responsible for all sorts of attacks against occupation forces in Iraq.

2. There is a Canada-based Iranian blogger who scours the Net on a daily basis, looking for anything and everything that can be used to make Iran or Islam look like the pits of hell. He then re-posts his findings with glee on his own English and Persian blogs, as well as an Iranian equivalent of the site Digg. Well, this poor guy has been killing himself the last few posts it seems, trying to draw attention to the crappy video of the islamo-phobic fascist who made that anti-muslim "film." Luckily, the reaction to this video has been relatively "muted". I certainly hope it stays this way.

The best way to deal with pigs like this video-maker and the hapless Iranian blogger in Canada doing his bidding, is to ignore their blatant attempts at being provocative. Don't name them, don't link to them, don't click on the video. This is my advice to anyone who is tempted to talk about the whole thing. If you really want to vent about it, do so without giving these thugs and fools the satisfaction of having their names mentioned even on some random blog.

3. And now, for a little happiness, check out the enthusiasm of this little boy during his graduation from pres-school, his pure joy is just contagious: