Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Never have so many been so popular among so few...

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has translated an interview (March 19, 2006) that the reformist Iranian internet daily Rooz conducted with theoretician Hassan Abassi, who heads the Doctrinal Center for National Security, a branch of the Revolutionary Guards.

Concerning the current tension between Iran and the West but particularly between Iran and America, Rooz asked Abassi about the possibility of making minor concessions and using diplomatic methods to improve relations.

Abassi replied:
I've said that you must examine how fair and honest these people [in the American government] are. It is clear that they are neither. How can any country be fair and honest when it has been working for 27 years to destroy the most popular regime in the contemporary history of the world?
The "contemporary history of the world"? Abassi certainly has a deft way with words. The expression seems to point in two directions at once, so Abassi is either very clever or rather dense. If he's clever (and one should never underestimate an adversary), then he reminds me of the salesman who visited my high school trying to sell school rings by informing students, "Now, these are genuine simulated diamonds." The word "contemporary" modifies "history of the world" in the same way that "genuine" modifies "simulated." It contradicts.

I think that Abassi is perfectly aware that he's speaking nonsense, for later in the same interview, he admits that culturally, the West -- and especially America -- has had enormous influence upon Iranian youth:
What attracts our youth today is matters of Western-style human rights and democracy. Everybody views the West as a country preoccupied with attractive philosophical discussions .... Go out to the streets, and see what the young people look like. Everything is imported [from the West]. They choose this [look] blindly, without any thought, and because [the West] bombards [them] with propaganda. Look at the hairstyles, [and at] the pictures and words printed on the clothes. Some of them are official propaganda for the work of Satan. All these are manifestations of the sickness of our society and of the success of the West.
Since Iran's youth make up the bulk of its population, then Abassi can hardly fail to recognize the regime's unpopularity, and the best he can do -- other than engage in doublespeak -- is to point to the role of Satan, whom Islam has traditionally cast in the role of tempter, the one who whispers in believer's ears to allure them with promises of something better...

If 'Satan' ever succeeds in rolling back the Iranian Revolution, then Abassi the theoretician can perhaps seek employment in some university department's position for the study of theory.

Doubtless, he'd find himself in situations like the one caricatured in a New Yorker cartoon some years back: "Oh, you're a terrorist! Thank God, I thought you said you were a theorist!"

Except that Abassi could retort, "Actually, I'm both."


Post a Comment

<< Home