Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Nature of the Regime

In Thursday's Star Tribune Gail Rosenblum had a column about an Iranian exile living in the US. Tajadod Pritschet was from a wealthy, prominent family in pre- Revolution Iran. Upon the violent takeover by the mullahs, things turned ugly for her and all of those living non-Islamic fundamentalist compliant lifestyles. For example:

After the shah's fall in 1979, the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini took notice of Tajadod Pritschet, then principal dancer with the National Ballet. To them, dancing was "prostitution" that must be punished.

Her knees were crushed, her feet severed to the bone, leaving her permanently disabled. She was arrested and dragged into prison countless times. Once, the police covered her head and placed her in front of a firing squad next to a close friend who was a professor. Instead, the police shot her friend dead, uncovering Tajadod Pritschet's head in time to see the body dragged away.

When Americans think of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, little is considered beyond the hostage taking at our embassy in Tehran. Unfortunately, in our PC-obsessed, self-abasing culture, the primary focus is usually on what we did to deserve it.

Not well understood, apparently not relevant, is the nature of the regime that seized control in Iran Their motivations, their tactics, their vision for the world. The story of Tajadod Pritschet is a testament to these things and just a small sample of similar fates suffered by many thousands of others in Iran and by extension of their support for terrorism, around the world.

The names have changed to some degree, but that same regime, the same group of militants and thugs, is still in charge in Iran. And they haven't exactly reconciled with their past, gone on an apology tour, paid reparations, etc. On the contrary, they revere their past actions as glorious episodes in the continuing Islamic Revolution.

Those who ignore this either don't know or don't care about history or present realities.

Which brings us to a White House press release from earlier this week, the words of President Barack Obama:

I have made it clear that the United States of America wants to move beyond this past, and seeks a relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. We do not interfere in Iran's internal affairs.

The kidnapping and torture of our diplomats and soldiers at the embassy, not to mention the crushed knees and severed feet of a ballet dancer (and thousands others) due to religious intolerance? Water under the bridge! Besides, that's your business Iran, internal matters. Who are we to judge? Time to turn the page. Press the reset button. Now, about those mutual interests we have.

I don't blame Obama for engaging with Iran. I wish we could ignore them, but these people are hell bent on acquiring nukes. They have to be dealt with. The problem is the naïveté and/or arrogance of assuming nothing in the past matters, we can ignore history. We can start fresh, all because of the presence of Obama, who will be able to charm the Iranians with shiny beads and shallow flattery like they were voters in an Iowa caucus.

It's clear Obama does not understand the nature of the Iranian government as well as Tajadod Pritschet does. Let's hope one doesn't have to metaphorically get their knees crushed and feet chopped off before wisdom is achieved

Speaking of Iranian exiles in the Twin Cities, the Stillwater Gazette had an article about another one, this time addressing a local junior high school classroom:

[Daryoush Allaei] is a Minnesota businessman who fled the Iranian Revolution when he was 21.

This Tuesday he's visiting Bob Manning's ninth-grade social studies class to explain the importance of respect for other cultures and humility with their own culture. It's a question of accepting nuance and complexity.

So how does this mutual respect, humility, nuance and complexity manifest itself?

"What's the Iranian government like?" The Stillwater Junior High student's question to Daryoush Allaei is frank, blunt even, and the Iranian speaker answers just as unequivocally.

"Ugly," he says. "If you want to know what (the Iranian) government is like, go study eight years of Bush and Cheney. They have no goodwill for others."

What is it about public schools and the spreading of Democrat party talking points? Even the Iranian exiles get caught up in it!

If there were any justice, the teacher would have walked over, inspected the dude's knees and feet for crushing and amputation by Bush and Cheney and upon finding no evidence, escorted this partisan hack off the premises. Sadly, there ain't no justice, at least in Stillwater:

Back in Stillwater, the students start gathering their books as the clock ticks down to the next period. Manning holds them still the final few seconds so Allaei can wrap up his speech.

As the next class starts in on a worksheet, Manning explains the subtleties that he hopes his students heard in Allaei's message: Learn about the world. Respect other cultures. Understand that there's more than one way to see something. This is what's needed to succeed.

It's true, there's more than one way to see something. Some believe Bush and Cheney are like Khomeini. On the other hand, some believe they are like Hitler. Class dismissed!

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