Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fact or Fiction?

Last summer, Mexican historian Jimena Canales suggested on the BBC's The Forum that if we substitute the word “Fact” and replace it with “Fiction” and vice versa, the world would be a better place. In other words, she is saying that we need to be critical of our histories but creative with our possibilities. I like this suggestion because when the powerful select some observations to be recorded as fact we usually focus on deconstructing the latter and not questioning the former. By thinking about history as fiction we start to consider the authors of history. What do their stories tell us about them?

Why do I mention this now? Well, anybody who knows me or reads my posts about Iran realizes that I have a deep respect for the Islamic Republic. But some recent statements coming from the IRI are quite disturbing. For example, the semi official Fars News Agency reported earlier this week that the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) was responsible for the violence in the streets on Monday, which resulted in several deaths. And now, according to the Associated Press, the government in Tehran is warning potential protestors that the MKO has sneaked into the country and is planning to open fire on the demonstrations scheduled for later today.

For those who do not know, the MKO are reviled in Iran and have been considered a terrorist organization by the Europeans and Americans on account of numerous and bloody attacks against Iranian and Western targets during the 1970s and 1980s. According to a New Yorker article the contemporary MKO is more like a deranged cult than anything else. However over the last decade they have become strategic partners with Israel and cultivated strong Zionist ties. Since then the group has successfully seduced officials in Europe to take the MKO off the terrorism list in 2009 and is presently working with the neoconservatives in Washington to do the same in the US.

My gut feeling is that these reported facts are totally fiction and are offered as a means to intimidate protestors. No doubt they will unfortunately be somewhat effective. But they do signify the moral depravity of the recent state sanctioned violence. And I can only wonder what this fiction says about the current Iranian leadership? Are they really feeling so weak and vulnerable that they think it is conceivable for Iran to be infiltrated by an insane cult with close connections to Israel? Really?

Round two to the Green Movement.

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