Good day again dear readers, and welcome to day two of the AJ guest spot. Thanks for coming back. As of right now the guest spots are slated to continue for at least the next week, because it sounds like Jim’s going to be held up for a while. At least, that’s the conclusion I came to after receiving this phone call yesterday:
Operator: You have received a collect call from:
Jim: HELP I’M IN CHINESE JAIL!
Operator: Would you like to accept the charges?
AJ: Ah…no. * hangs up *
Sorry folks, I have neither the funding, the inclination, nor the clean rap sheet required to do dealings with the Chinese government. Don’t worry, Jim is a resourceful fellow. I’m sure he’ll be fine. I mean, it’s not as though the Chinese are known for mistreating political prisoners or anything.
Speaking of the questionable nature of international politics, I would like to talk a bit today about this guy:
For those of you living underneath rocks, inside panic rooms, or just plain north of Barrie, I introduce you to Target #3 on Dick Cheney’s List Of People Who Are Evil And Stuff (right behind the late Saddam “Whoops, No WMDs” Hussein and Kim “No, Seriously, WMDs” Jong-il): Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In addition to being one of only a handful of major political figures in the Islamic world not named Mohammed, the former mayor of Tehran is widely known in the international political world for his notoriously anti-Semitic public commentary on Israel and the subject of the Holocaust.
Seriously. This guy is quoted as saying: “[i]f the Europeans are honest [about the Holocaust] they should give some of their provinces — like in Germany, Austria or other countries — to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe. You offer part of Europe and we will support it.” Controversy? I think so.
My interest in this fellow was piqued, as was the interest of the international community, by his recent re-election as President of Iran: an election that bears a striking resemblance to another controversial political move in the not-too-distant past.
This election marks the beginning of Ahmadinejad’s second term as the adhoc leader of Iran (the major title falls to “supreme leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who apparently supported Ahmadinejad’s re-election), and unsurprisingly, not too many people are particularly thrilled with the result. Ahmadinejad was elected the first time on a platform of revolutionary Islamic principles, tempered by his seemingly-genuine interest in providing for the poorer demographics of his nation. He expressed a desire to utilize Iran’s hefty oil profits to feed and clothe the poor, which won him major points in the poverty-stricken nation. Sounds like a pretty nice guy, eh? Wait for it.
The other side of his original winning platform was his consistent criticism of the United Nations as being an anti-Islamic organization who favoured the policies and opinions of the five permanent members of the Security Council. He took major issue with those nations’ ability to veto global decisions, and argued that the Muslim populace (an admitted 1.5 billion strong) should have a similar vote. He also lobbied strongly for the proliferation of Iran’s nuclear program; his argument was essentially that nuclear power should not be the province of a few privileged nations, and he accused those nations (most especially the United States) of trying to keep Iran down by limiting their research and development of nuclear technology.
Again, kind of makes sense – it’s always been funny to me that the one nation on the planet who has actually used nuclear weapons in wartime is the same nation that gets a major say in who has access to those weapons.
Of course, Ahmadinejad is also a strong supporter of developing Iranian nuclear technology for the purpose of creating an atomic weapons program. Wait a minute. If this guy’s major interest is in feeding and supporting his people, what use does he have for gigantic missiles that could turn another country (* cough * ISRAEL * cough *) into sheet glass?
Oh, right. There’s that whole “let’s wipe Israel off the map” thing. Almost forgot about that.
So basically Ahmadinejad is a man of two faces: one that seems to care deeply for his nation and seeks to help forward Iran’s international standing, and the other one who wants to accomplish this goal through the application of extreme right-wing policies and an aggressive military plan that focuses largely on the eradication of the Jewish state. Haven’t we lived this story already?
I thought so. It’s kind of funny in a very morbid way that a man who so closely resembles that Other Dictator is so absolutely convinced the Holocaust never happened. I’m sensing a disparity here. We like to call that disparity “crazy”.
And it gets better. On June 12, the Iranian general election went down, after what is being called the most competitive campaign in Iranian history. According to an article in Radio Free Europe, the two-term system in Iran is kind of a farce: that is to say, when a president is elected for his first term (and yeah, it’s always a “him”; duh) there’s a tacit agreement that he’s going to get the second term too, and therefore the second election five years in is basically a puppet show to provide the illusion of democracy.
Not this time.
No, it turns out the good people of Iran are tired of Ahmadinejad’s shit and they’re ready for something new. In this case, “something new” refers to reformist leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Something new indeed. This guy is just about unprecedented in Middle Eastern politics. If you needed proof that not all Iranians are backward “rag-heads” or whatever horrible slang is being used these days, Mir Hossein Mousavi should be your first stop. According to his party platform, his first move is to create free-flowing traffic of information in his country by disbanding the so-called Morality Police that censor – well, everything. This organization is also largely responsible for enforcing the archaic policies that keep female Iranians from being treated as equal citizens – another facet of Iranian culture Mousavi wants to see radically change. He has also expressed interest in opening dialogues with that bastion of liberal hope, U.S. President Barack Obama, and publicly decries Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust, openly condemning the genocide. In the West, this is pretty much par for the course, but in Iran, this is nothing short of truly revolutionary.
For those of you not paying attention, this guy could be a Big Deal and an integral step towards finally – FINALLY – stabilizing the sociopolitical cluster-fuck that is the Middle East. Or at least, he would have been. Unfortunately, it looks as though our boy Ahmadinejad has pulled a George W. and absconded with an election.
The voter turnout for this election was estimated at approximately 75% of the population (an absolutely astonishing number when you consider the average electoral turnout in North America over the last twenty-five years or so hovers around 67% for Canada and a deplorable 53% for the United States). Clearly, Iranians had a serious stake in this year’s election. Remarkably, the final tally of votes between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi were nearly identical to the results of the election four years ago – the election that resulted in a victory for Ahmadinejad. So Mousavi lost, which is in itself unsurprising since, as I mentioned before, a second term for an Iranian president is more-or-less guaranteed. But something smells fishy this time around. Public support during the campaign swelled around Mousavi, for one thing. For another, this is the first time in modern history that a losing candidate is actually challenging the results of the election. It might be an unprecedented move for Mousavi to call bullshit on Ahmadinejad, but once you take into consideration Ahmadinejad announced his victory before the polls even closed, it starts to seem like a pretty fair move on Mousavi’s part. Once again…haven’t we lived this story already?
Protests have broken out all over the country, decrying Ahmadinejad’s victory as precisely what it is – a total fraud – and to add insult to an already-suspicious injury, authorities have mobilized to detain opposition leaders in an attempt to quell the anger of the masses. If Ahmadinejad had won the election fair and square, I reckon he’d have nothing to prove: just show the dissenters the numbers and they’d have to acquiesce. Of course, if the whole thing was rigged, closer inspection would reveal the deception and somehow I don’t think the people of Iran would be particularly impressed. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that old Ahmadinejad might wind up having kind of a bad day out of the whole thing. Populations don’t generally go in for being fucked up the ass with their ballots, and they tend to have rather colourful reactions when they find out.
On some level you have to admire Ahmadinejad’s balls – I mean, I think on some level everybody would get a real kick out of electing themselves King of Everything and overruling any and all competitors…I mean, it’s the ultimate expression of power, right? During the U.S. Presidential election last year, one of the big supporters of the DNC was a band called the Flobots, and they had a line in one of their songs that went something like this:
I can make anybody go to prison
Just because I don’t like ’em and
I can do anything with no permission
I have it all under my command
They were talking tacitly about Dubya, but it applies here too. And it makes sense. Admit it. You kind of want to be King of Everything for a day too. But it’s a fantasy. People who decide to crown themselves King of Everything tend to wind up granting themselves all sorts of ridiculous powers, which pisses off the populace and in turn requires the populace to be controlled. Then you have to go through all the trouble of creating sort of an Orwellian goon squad to keep all the cheesed-off residents of your little ego-fest of a police state, and let’s face it – the sort of people who sign on with those goon squads are no fun at all.
So why go through all the trouble just so you can keep being a douchebag to your neighbours, antagonizing large and threatening nations who only keep you around because they like your oil, and making sure those evil, dirty women have to walk around in beekeeper outfits? And more to the point, how long are the good people of Iran going to keep putting up with these shenanigans. All they have to do is look east to find out what happens to nations that piss off the U.S. and the world at large, and the overriding sense I get is the average Iranian doesn’t really want to deal with that kind of shit anymore.
Something big is brewing here, my friends. We may live in one of the most interesting times in history. So I turn it over to you: what do you think the Iranians ought to do about Mr. Usurper General who thinks his word is law? Any suggestions? Bonus points for creativity.
In the meantime, I have to go have an unpleasant telephone conversation with the head of the Canadian Consulate in China. Otherwise this might be Jim’s last night as an anal virgin.
Oh, and for even more vitriol, go see what Jeff has to say on this topic at Keep Your Coins I Want Change. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.