Scenes from Palastine, edited between scenes of demonstrations in Tehran in support of the Palastinians.
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"Oh my f...", yelped a friend having just switched over from a Manchester United game to an interview with our president by a CBS reporter. The ensuing gasps and the shrieks were more appropriately related to the football and certainly the excited leaping from the chairs and fruitless flicking of Vs. "What the... shut up, just shut... you liar!", came the reactions to what was an all together different match. Such emotive responses surrounded me with every touch of the ball by our president, but I couldn't see the fowl play they repeatedly protested about. Yeah, there were dives and excessive rolls, but it's part of the game, and in this game and that room, it appeared I was rooting for the underdog.
I'm an odd supporter of the home team, going so far as to carrying a photographed keyring of our star player. Yet, how I'm scorned at for this, regardless of how far my tongue is wedged in my cheek. I get a similar responses when pushed to vocalise my thoughts; it's not that I'm fashionably backing the outsider, but more that, at times I hold a view that the games can have as much relevance as an actual football tournament.
"This is a terrible translation", both my friends simultaneously remarked as I strained to keep up with the pace; the only errors I noticed being the additional, "Mr. President", and other courteous terms padding the translated questions for the home team. I was enthralled; lost between needing clarification from my friends and not wanting to interrupt. This match was perversely important however; a long running tournament seems to be reaching its final stages, with a great many heated fans hungry for a slip-up; an excuse to vent anger and transcend the event; offering their own interpretation of a red card, regardless of a referee's decision.
For me, these vigilantes who seemingly shroud themselves in their own comfortable understanding of events, have at best, historical amnesia and certainly a gross immunity to self-awareness. This became prevalent with the media circus surrounding a recent visit by our president to the, "Lion's Den", which could be marked as the away-game to the previous week's interview.
"The Evil Has Landed", we read in the morning papers as the cogs of the corporate media shifted a gear. Various tactics had been considered by the home team; or even stolen, with 11/9 victims once again not left to rest in peace. Predictably, the media performed its tacit role of 'amplifier' well, with the volume turned down for this and also for the main reason of the visit: the fact that our president was a guest to the United Nations. Where the volume was increased however, was with our president also being a guest at Columbia University. Here he was made equally as welcome, being introduced as a, "petty dictator". Such flattery! And I'm serious.
no amount of witty uppercase-play can invite the situation whereby he will hover his finger over a phantom red-button
Such flattery that can only exist with tiring ignorance of our system, and this man's role; this democratically elected man I should add. He is arguably less influential than his international equivalents – simply a face, some stock-words and a nice beard, but one should be careful not to over-estimate him. One should know that he does not preside over the military, unlike the much loved former shah who was not democratically elected, did preside over the military and was not shy in using it against his own people (with a blind eye from the west). So one should be aware that no amount of witty uppercase-play ("AhMADinejad") can invite the situation whereby he will hover his finger over a phantom red-button.
The madness could be attributed to the provocative words on the holocaust; clumsy at best, but broaching this taboo in its current way of, "let's allow more research", invites an interesting response. These little pokes at western hypocrisy seem to be chipping away at the roots of a regional issue and – depending on who does your indoctrination – it resonates in great volume, yet in different ways. I might be so bold at this point and suggest that the surrounding rhetoric is awkwardly refreshing; so rare to hear a representative at such a level to stand up against the status quo and even represent his people. Today, for example, is an international day of recognition for the plight of the Palestinians, with a national televised demonstration running through most cities – yes, it reminds me of when in Britain we had national days of recognition for the struggle against the Apartheid. Remember? I put it to you, this guy is not mad; he is a mirror, one that is highly susceptible to smearing.
I heard that the airport flooded with admirers upon the return of our man, with crowds no doubt thankful for his safe return. I couldn't help but also feel thankful for this, as it was with each day that I gritted my teeth and begged that he not slip-up. But how silly of me; this has been proven to not be necessary; the age-old "wiped-off the map" – dusty rhetoric for the Islamic Republic – had recently gotten a fresh mistranslation and amplified by the corporate cohorts.
It is exactly that which we in-turn fear, the cyclical repetition of, "bringing democracy to the middle east", as this for us is like being wiped-off the map
But when these words are not being hideously mistranslated, they are not all that outrageous; in fact, much the opposite in my mind and no doubt the minds of a great many others in the region. I should add, I'm under no illusion that these words are said with as much sincerity as, "bringing democracy to the middle east", but they resonate with the same effect to a different audience. Yet, it is exactly that which we in-turn fear, the cyclical repetition of, "bringing democracy to the middle east", as this for us is like being wiped-off the map.
The tournament is racing to its final stages, and with this, my greatest fear is of the resulting hooligans; for you [my readers] are the one who allows the transcending of the game. Be cautious, your anger or fear might be measured by your ignorance. So I feel we should be vigilant, so as not be seduced for want of our vigilante behavior, for it does us no credit and we far from benefit. I might then end by provocatively suggesting that, if you want democracy, respect it, and respect ours.
Labels: 9/11, Ahmadinejad, America, democracy, football, holocaust, Iran, Iranians, middle east, president, protest, UN