Catching up on the UK news after arriving.

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"That's a horrible thing to say!" my mother snapped while we sipped our tea with milk. The horror had gotten worse, a cricket team showed solidarity by wearing yellow ribbons on their sleeves as the dedicated tail-end of the news detailed the Find Maddy Campaign. Suggestions that the police were frustrated were quashed and progress was shown in the seizing of computer equipment owned by some fresh faced lad in Portugal. Correspondents were there, on location, with speculations, without information, with concern and without anything to learn. "Do you see what they've done there?" I sarcastically pointed out as it was back over to the UK where we were reminded of the solidarity – the ad-hoc campaign press office had headlined posters with 'Look', but the first 'o' shared the blemish of Maddy's right eye. "You're sick you are" gasped my mother.

"What about the 20 woman and children that have probably arrived in Dover this morning?", I retorted, "destined for sexual slavery". It wasn't a cultural lag, where only that morning my tea was sipped without milk in a wholly different nation – one I dare not draw comparisons with. How Iran affords me with a rotten perspective. "This isn't news mum", I pointed out while extracting the thickly layered emotive content from the thinly sprinkled journalism.

The growing album of amateur snaps that hang on the nation's conscience was opening a new page

The media parade increasingly ready to fill the minds of the masses with displays likes these – these yanks on our heart strings – troubles me for the precedence it sets. The growing album of amateur snaps that hang on the nation's conscience was opening a new page, I hope the sticky cellophane won't seal her fate – I genuinely do. Yet my mind found a new level of cynicism as I pondered what the nation's response would be if this young blond beautiful girl wasn't – is that a horrible things to say?

Madeleine's fund as of 01/06/07 totals £581,813.01
Visits to www.findmadeleine.com total 142 million impressions

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Watch that 'q' change to an 'n'.

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"So back over to Tehran. Tell us, would you say that your writing would be different if you were sitting in London?", came the voice on my mobile as I paced the cold echoing hallway having nipped out from the Latin beat and salsa of a Thursday night gathering. I wondered if my anonymity was a good enough example while conducting the cosy conference call of three – plus the few hundred thousand tuning in maybe. A friend then opened the door to see where I'd gone, "Daveed?", they shouted. Damn that echo.

"Yes", was my simple answer before elaborating further, "but it's not necessarily the establishment I adapt for, I worry about antagonising with the people and their culture". I've pondered this matter for a while now and am amused at how my 'freedom of speech' is not restrained by a well placed few, but maybe by the ideology of the mass – it's chickens and eggs though. "But there are ways to present things to... you know?", I semi-smugly added in conclusion.

Also on the BBC I see much the same thing but from the other end. As the homepage repeats 'Iran' (watch that 'q' change) with greater frequency I've taken to visiting its 'Have Your Say' public comments section, a forum for all manner of sqitted mush. Of late there's been a few of the, "How should the world deal with Iran?", "What now for Iran?" and a "Here's a neutral question about Iran, how on earth can you say it's anti-American?".

"45-minutes away, Yellow Cake, Alooominum toobs, satellite images – do they think we're stoopid?"

I use these features as a measure of sorts, a measure of how much stronger the Americans are at the game. Oddly enough when 'Have Your Say' first appeared it was the measuring point that frustrated me. As the entries are monitored and were previously measured before posting, we witnessed a for, against, for against series and no indication as to what the mood was. "There are surely some matters that clearly get a weight one particular way?", I wrote to the Head of News around the time, indicating that maybe their tweaking distorts the picture. You might for example have had 8-displayed responses to, "45-minutes away, Yellow Cake, Alooominum toobs, satellite images – do they think we're stoopid?". Four of these responses might say, "let's blow those sand monkeys further down the evolutionary ladder", and four-hundred could have said, "read the receipts!".

Things changed.

Fourth in the 'most recommended', backed by 179 people to date – John, NYC, USA:
"Another question set up so this "Have Your Say" can become a US-bashing forum. Why should we fear Iran having nuclear weapons? Because they are a fundamentatlist, theocratic state which severly curtails freedoms and human rights. The US, on the other hand, is still a bastion of freedom and human rights despite what is highlighted by the foriegn press. Which do you fear?"

In first place, backed by 261 people to date – Russell, Winnipeg, Canada:
"The world should do nothing about Iran. Iran is a sovereign nation and it is entitled to have nuclear power consumption. Just because the USA is war-mongering doesn't mean the world has to listen to their made up lies. The country the world should fear is America! Their government is crazy!"

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How I see the world.

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"Are they coming? Are the Americans coming?", is a question I'm being increasingly asked - yet the answers to my family's anxious questions change with each day. "Can I go back with you to England - in your suitcase?", asks a distant relative - she's a big girl, but I tell her what she needs to hear.

The increasingly obsessive reading on Iran's near future – or lack of – has led to me being an alternative news source among my relatives. 6-months ago I might have entered their homes dressed in a dooms-day A-board, bringing silence to those that dared inquire, yet shortly after I'd abandoned the opinions in favour of history and facts – thinking it better to distinguish words from events.

I've abandoned this distinction for now though as it appears that the words are the preparation for damaging events.

The '2nd Holocaust' I've heard is a popular mix

Take a few selected moments – possibly true but not essential – frame them in the right way, chuck in some "officials" – whack the blender on [loud whiring noise] and in a remarkably quick time we have a stinky, mucky pulp. These concoctions are tasteless yet easy to digest with many exciting and emotive names - the '2nd Holocaust' I've heard is a popular mix.

For the everyday folk of Iran the noise is disconcerting and rather familiar, yet although we are not the ones swallowing this stuff, we're the ones that suffer from it – even before any bomb has landed.

But we don't recall being asked what power source we'd like and also don't recall anyone suggesting countries be wiped off maps, but we expect to be held responsible for it. We are simply observers, sitting in the stands, able to root for the home-team – to shout, to comment even, but the games goes on despite us. It's the Supreme PR Machine playing at home to the Empire's Noise Engineers, yet worryingly the referee and commentators seem more involved in the game than maybe they should be.

"Two military ships are on their way to the Persian Gulf from the US, – one with anti-missile capability", I inform my family, leaving out any speculation. They are coming, they are here, we are surrounded – I imagine the game will commence once the supporters appear to be sitting comfortably.

RELATED LINKS - These guys say it better than I:
Lost in Translation – Wiped off the map?
Ahmadinejad's interview with SPIEGEL
Iran and impending war
Oil business and war
Wikipedia on Campaign Again Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran
Scott Ritter: Sleep walking into disaster in Iran
Stephen Zunes: Analysis - possible attack on Iran

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