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Thursday, May 04, 2006
Here's a nice little story about a Canada-based Iranian blogger. The BBC describes him thusly:
Challenging stereotypes! Way to be! Let's hear all about it.
Ah, yes, the radical policies of both governments -- tit for tat, cycle of violence, faults on both sides, that sort of thing. Well, let's hear these stereotypes:
OK. And the Israelis?
Drat that Israeli government! I mean, you finish off your Friday prayers with "Death to Israel!" and those blackguards tell people that! Honestly, have you ever heard such perfidy? Stirring up people and frightening with absolutely true stories like that.
Now some people thought Robert Fisk was "relaxing" over lunch the other day when he gave a little Moebius strip of an interview to the Australian ABC. In this interview he says, in essence, that harmless bad man Zarqawi, who absolutely exists and really did issue a recent videotape, is completely a creation of American propaganda. That is to say, by broadcasting (or, rather, allowing news agencies to broadcast) Zarqawi's statements on how he wants to kill Americans and stuff, the US government has created a puppet for us to hate because he wants to, um, kill Americans and stuff.
Maybe Fisk wasn't drinking anything stronger than the water over there.
Anyhow, back to the Israelis who've been brainwashed by their government actually repeating Ahmadinejad's statements. Derakhshan is especially concerned for the young Israelis, who don't remember a time when Iran was not ruled by a vicious, repressive regime, but by the Shah[*].
In other words, Israelis can't determine the difference between Ahmadinejad, who has famously called for Israel to be wiped off the map, and Khatami, who merely says that Israel is an "illegal state", and a "parasite in the heart of the Muslim world".
I'm probably being a little hard on Derakshan here, since the rest of this article details the surprises he found in Israel, especially the surprise that there were a heck of a lot Iranians there, including Israel's President and Defense Minister. He's now thinking about organizing a tour of Israel for young Iranian ex-pats. I'm really more amused at the BBC's lede, in which they reassure their readers that he's challenging the stereotypes of both sides, in total fairness.
(Although, I have to wonder about something. Young Iranians in Iran probably don't have a lot of choice in their news outlets, so it's not surprising that they might believe a lot of nonsense about what Israelis believe. So what's Derakhshan's excuse? He lives in Canada. Maybe he doesn't have internet access.)
UPDATE: And here's a late entry in the Ahmadinejad Apologetics Sweepstakes:
according to Christopher Hitchens, Juan Cole says that Ahmadinejad did not actually say that Israel must be wiped off the map (contrary to what some other pesky, war-mongering translators think). Cole responds to Hitchens here, mustering all the grace and dignity at the disposal of a cranky toddler with a messy didy. In particular, he says this:
This is virtually identical to Fisk's droolings. If your demonstrably-batshit neighbors utter hysterical pronouncements of DOOM, and you figure maybe they're serious, then you're just an old warmonger groping for a cartoon villain. Why, you probably said the same thing about Rafsanjani.
[*]The question of whether this is a joke is left as an exercise for the reader.
Fair and balanced Beeb article via Jeff Jarvis.