Archive for the ‘Iran’ Tag

The Myth of American Tolerance   Leave a comment

The other day my wife and I were talking with an Iranian-American woman. We mentioned that we might teach English in order to finance travelling abroad. She asked why we didn’t become missionaries if we wanted to travel abroad.

I think that question caught us both off guard. Becoming missionaries wasn’t really something my wife and I had ever talked seriously about doing. For me personally, given my Catholic background, that kind of evangelism is deeply counter intuitive. Evangelism happens in the context of a other ministries to the under-served. But even more  than that, it just seems rude to me now. I have been abroad and I am shallowly aware of how little I know of other countries’ contexts and experiences. Going to another country, any other country, with the message “I know what you need,” just seems presumptuous and arrogant at this point in my life.

But my wife responded a bit more simply, “We have more respect for other religions than that.”

And that’s when it happened. It’s only happened a few other times in my life, but every time it does I get a few warm fuzzies and my heart almost breaks with sorrow.

Our Iranian-American friend looked overjoyed and relieved at the same time. She asked if she could hug my wife and looked as if she might cry.

And so the myth of American tolerance died for me all over again. This woman, this person who had come to my country years ago and started to raise a son here, had found it notable that my wife and I did not want to go to her country and tell them all the ways they were wrong. And not just notable, she had found it moving that my wife and I did not feel comfortable being missionaries.

I have never felt like that. I have never felt like that because the people of America have accepted me in a way they never accepted this woman. I have never felt like that because the people of Morocco accepted me too. I never had to ask my mother not to wear a headscarf when she dropped my son off at school so he wouldn’t be bullied, the way this woman had.

As a white Christian male citizen of the country with the world’s most expensive army, sometimes I’m glad that I don’t know the extent of my own privilege. Because even the glimpses of the unprivilege of others  shake my soul.

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Posted 02/28/2013 by reluctantliberal in Generic Post

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Repost: “Argo” as Propoganda   Leave a comment

The movie Argo propagandistic and political. Read about it on Mondoweiss.

One of the actual hostages, Mark Lijek, noted that the CIA’s fake movie “cover story was never tested and in some ways proved irrelevant to the escape.” The departure of the six Americans from Tehran was actually mundane and uneventful.  “If asked, we were going to say we were leaving Iran to return when it was safer,” Lijek recalled, “But no one ever asked!…The truth is the immigration officers barely looked at us and we were processed out in the regular way. We got on the flight to Zurich and then we were taken to the US ambassador’s residence in Berne. It was that straightforward.”

Furthermore, Jimmy Carter has even acknowledged that “90% of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian [while] the movie gives almost full credit to the American CIA…Ben Affleck’s character in the film was only in Tehran a day and a half and the real hero in my opinion was Ken Taylor, who was the Canadian ambassador who orchestrated the entire process.”

Taylor himself recently remarked that “Argo” provides a myopic representation of both Iranians and their revolution, ignoring their “more hospitable side and an intent that they were looking for some degree of justice and hope and that it all wasn’t just a violent demonstration for nothing.”

Posted 02/26/2013 by reluctantliberal in Repost

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Repost: US Foreign Policy is Bad   Leave a comment

Content Note: Economic Distress, Drone Strikes, Government Oppression

From Glenn Greenwald. Read this if you have any doubt that US foreign policy is bad.

Even more infamously, the beloved former Democratic Secretary of State Madeleine Albright – when asked in 1996 by 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl about reports that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of US-imposed sanctions on that country – stoically replied: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.” So extreme was the suffering caused by sanctions in Iraq that one former UN official, Denis Halliday, resigned in protest, saying that the sanctions policy met the formal definition of “genocide”:

“We are now in there responsible for killing people, destroying their families, their children, allowing their older parents to die for lack of basic medicines. We’re in there allowing children to die who were not born yet when Saddam Hussein made the mistake of invading Kuwait.”

In an excellent Op-Ed for Al Jazeera last week, Murtaza Hussain extensively documented the devastation wrought on 26 million Iraqis by that sanctions regime – the one Albright declared as “worth it” – and argues: “that tragedy is being willfully replayed, only this time the target is the population of Iran”. He explained:

“Intensifying sanctions against the country have sent the Iran’s rial into an unprecedented free-fall, causing it to plummet in value by 75 per cent since the start of the year; and, stunningly, almost 60 per cent in the past week alone.

“Ordinary Iranians completely unconnected to the government have had their lives effectively ground to a halt as the sudden and unprecedented collapse of the financial system has rendered any meaningful form of commerce effectively impossible. In recent weeks, the price of staples such as rice and cooking oil have skyrocketed and once ubiquitous foods such as chicken have been rendered completely out of the reach of the average citizen.”

Posted 10/11/2012 by reluctantliberal in Repost

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