Revolution/Evolution (Free Speech At The UN)

September 28, 2012
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Most New Yorkers-especially natives-are inured to the daily spectacle which makes their city something of a super-sized freak show. However, most of the time that sideshow is of the sort one normally expects to see in Coney Island, i.e. entertaining enough as a diversionary pursuit, but not so garish or mind-altering as to force you to reconsider your general opinion of humanity.

However, every year the United Nations General Assembly-the Mos Eisley Cantina of international diplomacy-convenes in Turtle Bay so that ostensible heads of state from around the world can make pompous, almost universally forgettable speeches before an assembled crowd of profligate diplomats, spies, Islamic terrorists,  despots and indicted war criminals, among other political luminaries you would expect to find addressing an institution that was once headed by a man complicit in Nazi Germany’s numerous war atrocities in the Balkans.

Of course, because this collection of malefactors great and small decides to make New York City the backdrop for political theater-bankrolled by American taxpayers, of course-it means that the normally colorful streets of New York are graced with an even more eclectic selection of humanity. Including, as you’ll notice by glancing at the photograph atop this page, fans of newly elected Egyptian pharaoh and fan of sharia law Mohammed Morsi.

The first sight that greeted me before arriving at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza was, oddly enough, a group of fervent devotees-including the group of veiled women seen above-of the Muslim Brotherhood, i.e. the organization that’s served as the intellectual seedbed of virtually every pan-Islamic jihadist and/or terrorist movement that’s arisen over the past century. I know what you must be thinking at this point: “Ain’t multiculturalism grand?”

This being a free country, where everyone is allowed to voice his or her opinion-for the most part, at least-there were two bold Egyptian Christians willing to counter the Islamic supremacist perspective espoused by Mohammed Morsi’s New York welcoming committee.

One of the interesting aspects of this small band of counter-protestors was their devotion to their native land. Like Ashraf Ramelah, they obviously consider themselves true Egyptians, even if their Muslim countrymen vigorously disagree with that assessment.

A slightly more baffling sight confronted me as I made my way deeper into the protest pen cordoned off by the NYPD. I’m not quite certain why the man above chose the United Nations for his platform-which seemed to focus upon the inerrancy of Biblical prophecy-although he undoubtedly could have had a feisty conversation about millenarianism with one of the UN’s featured speakers this week.

Needless to say, there were individuals and groups there with a much less eschatological message, one of the most prominent among them being exponents of Falun Gong, or Falun Dafa teachings. In addition to practicing their meditative exercises, these Chinese men and women-most of whom probably can’t return to their homeland, for obvious reasons-highlighted the torture-such as that depicted in the drawings above-experienced by Falun Gong practitioners at the hands of the Chinese regime.

In addition to the routine harassment and imprisonment experienced by anyone in the People’s Republic of China expressing political, philosophical or spiritual beliefs not sanctioned by the ruling Chinese Communist Party oligarchy, Falun Gong adherents have the misfortune of being perceived as an organized political opposition.

Therefore, its followers are subject to a range of horrific penalties, such as the CCP’s penchant for organ-harvesting from those within China’s extensive laogai.

One need only glance at the starkness of contrast between the two photos seen above in order to grasp the horrors inflicted upon ordinary Chinese citizens who run afoul of the their government’s perverse political priorities.

While I don’t have enough information about the subject to state, without reservation, that Falun Gong is “good,” I do know enough to assert that the state which persecutes its followers-and is responsible for the tableau seen in the photograph below-is not.

And although Chinese dissidents were well represented on Wednesday, the vast majority of protestors were assembled to rally against the current Iranian regime, which most regard as criminal in nature, if not so ghastly as to invoke images of one of cinematic horror’s most reviled figures.

One of the more striking features of the anti-IRI activities this week was the artistic dimension of the protests. Some of the efforts seemed redolent of typical political agitprop, using a caricature of Ahmadinejad’s physical features while pointing out the bloody hands of the current president…

As well as his well-publicized Holocaust denial, which was tied into the Iranian regime’s somewhat implausible claims about its nuclear program.

That said, there were some clever, less obvious mockeries of Ahmadinejad, such as the “I’m with stupid” cut-out seen below.

As well as the doormat with the dictator’s face emblazoned upon it, created by United Against a Nuclear Iran, a nonpartisan organization founded by  former ambassador to the United Nations Mark Wallace, which is dedicated to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

One of their campaigns, prior to Ahmadinejad’s arrival in New York, was a call to boycott the Warwick Hotel, which hosted the Iranian leader’s large entourage while he was staying in the Big Apple. Personally, I don’t find the Warwick’s decision nearly as objectionable as the one that allowed he and his cronies to set foot on American soil.

The “silent” partnership alluded to in the above poster is a reference to the unusual relationship between the Iranian regime and the leadership of Al Qaeda, much of which sought refuge in Iran after the September 11th attacks. Although the nature of this relationship is a matter of great dispute, the fact that Iran has been willing to support Afghan, Sunni insurgents-including the Taliban-with both tactics and weaponry is something to consider before dismissing the allegation out of hand.

One of the chief organizers of the protests against the clerical dictatorship of Iran was Iran 180. The UNwelcome campaign consisted of a combination of street theater and personal testimony from Iranian-Americans about the true nature of the Khomeinist regime.

FWIW, I felt some sympathy for the individual inside of the gigantic mock head, especially considering the unusually warm temperature that day. I do credit his enthusiasm-possibly the most entertaining part of this street theater being his pantomiming bass-playing on what I think was intended to be a machine gun as For Whom The Bell Tolls played in the background.

One of the costumed personages represented the real ruler of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei. Under velayat-e-faqih, he-along with an equally undemocratic clique of obscurantist Shiite clerics and politically connected hacks-determines the course of Iranian domestic and foreign affairs, as recent events demonstrate.

One of the main, if largely unspoken, themes of the rally was the incestuous relationship between the IRI and the blood-soaked Baathist regime which currently rules Syria. Although the alliance between the government of Iran and that of Syria has been in place for over three decades-virtually since the inception of the Islamic Republic-the imminent threat of Bashar al-Assad’s political demise has forced that blood pact into the open. In fact, the symbiotic nature of the relationship has become so transparent that even Iran’s leading officials have trouble denying it.

Even though foreign policy played a prominent role in Iran 180′s demonstration, there was also a lengthy exposition of the domestic crimes of the Iranian regime, especially with respect to religious, ethnic, and sexual minorities. Gigi Nikpour, the woman seen above, described how the clerical regime which controls Iran had institutionalized many of the canonical aspects of Islam, including Koranic injunctions against homosexuality. These religious proscriptions are not merely theoretical points of discussion, as the scores of gay men and lesbians executed by the theocratic regime in Tehran illustrate.

This is yet another reason why the ubiquitous creeping sharia the rest of the country has just become aware of poses such an ominous threat. It seeks not only to regulate and/or circumscribe our thoughts and speech, but dictate the most minute aspects of our private lives and daily behavior, and eliminate those activities its enforcers deem contrary to the tenets of Islam.

In our next post we’ll explore one of the groups that helped propel these Koran-thumping megalomaniacs to power in Iran, but who soon found that the enemies of Islam are manifold, and subject to arbitrary changes depending upon the needs and political whims of the revolution.

 

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8 Responses to Revolution/Evolution (Free Speech At The UN)

  1. Gigi Nikpour on September 30, 2012 at 2:34 AM

    Thank you for your observant and very informative coverage of this day.

    I was one of the speakers participating with Iran180 on Wednesday. I want to include a portion of my statement here for some of your readers who may find it interesting:

    “One of his [Ahmadi-Nejad] main slogans in 2005 electoral campaign was supposedly about implementing economic justice. However, Iran’s economy during his time in office has been marked by periods of stagflation (simultaneous existence of hyperinflation and recessionary conditions), persistence of high unemployment rate, and lack of growth. Series of economic disasters have contributed to deteriorating living conditions resulting in a spike in the price of basic commodities such as flour, milk, eggs, meat, and rice. His over-reliance on oil revenues for operating costs and development projects, in time of sanctions, has put Iran’s economy in shambles. Inflation rate was 23.5 percent last month, the rial has lost about half its value on unofficial currency markets (Can you believe that rial is now 2,700 to the dollar?), and Iranian oil output dropped to 2.75 million barrels a day last month. Today, people in Iran are suffering economically and this is not just because of European and American sanctions; this is due to inflationary consequences of uncontrolled injection of oil money into the economy.

    And today the Iranian people are facing sanctions solely because of this man who makes statements bordering on mentally insane. By emphasizing Iran’s nuclear accomplishments, Ahmadi-Nejad has turned the nuclear issue into a propaganda slogan to cover up flaws in his domestic and foreign policies, and he is exaggerating the nuclear case in order to divert attention from wide spread internal dissatisfaction with his domestic policies and loss of support from the conservative coalition that carried him into office.”

    • Gigi Nikpour on September 30, 2012 at 2:37 AM

      Contrary to the current belief, it is not Israel but the United States that Ahmadi-Nejad and his regime hate. Because in the U.S. we stand for freedom and liberty and in Iran the regime has done its best to eradicate all of what we recognize as unalienable rights.

  2. G. Perry on September 30, 2012 at 5:20 AM

    Thanks, Gigi! I wanted to credit you in the context of the photo-essay, but didn’t catch your full name. I’ve since amended the post.

    • Gigi Nikpour on September 30, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      Thank you.

  3. arasina on October 1, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Gerard, you have done an excellent job of reporting on the protests. I know I can get authentic journalism from you! I would never have known about the Falun Gong otherwise.

  4. Richard Keefe on October 7, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    While commenting on your recent post exposing the Southern Poverty Law Center’s propaganda campaigns, I spotted this earlier post, regarding Iran. To my mind, the two campaigns are extremely similar, if not entirely identical. If you’re open to some respectful disagreement, I’d like to offer a few thoughts.

    First of all, Democracy wasn’t killed in Iran by Ahmadinejad, or even the Ayatollahs. Democracy in Iran was murdered in 1953 by the American CIA and British Intelligence, at the behest of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (Now known as “BP”), who overthrew the democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadegh.

    Granted, Iran never enjoyed full Democracy. Mossadegh’s government served under Mohammad Reza, the young Shah put on the Peacock Throne by the British in 1940. Mossadegh’s crime was that he dared to demand that the British pay more than the paltry 16 cents on the dollar for the millions of barrels of oil they pumped from Iran each year, especially in light of the fact that the Americans were paying the Saudis 50 percent for their oil.

    The British balked so Mossadegh nationalized the Iranian oil industry. With that, the Brits turned to the CIA to find a way to get rid of Mossadegh, and in the tried and true method of the day, Mossadegh was branded a “Communist threat,” ousted and imprisoned. The methodology employed by the world’s “two leading Democracies” in the CIA’s “Operation Ajax” has been widely reported since.

    Within a few years, the Shah tightened his dictatorial powers, with the help of his Israeli-trained goon squad, SAVAK, who would readily recognize the “stress positions” outlined in the Falun Gong poster shown above. Untold thousands of Iranians were imprisoned, tortured and “disappeared.” Candidates were still allowed to run for office as long as they belonged to the Shah’s own party. Sound familiar?

    By the time the Shah’s health began to fail in the late 1970s, the Iranians were looking for a way to get rid of the dictator. Unfortunately, they thought Ayatollah Khomeini was their savior, only to find out that they had replaced one despot with another.

    When Khomeini’s people seized the American embassy it spelled the end of the most pliable and profitable puppet regime in the region. The US lost its military bases and there was no one to pay off to ignore Israel any longer. Naturally, the US and “its allies” responded with a major propaganda campaign that goes on to this day.

    Ahmadinejad has proven to be a most excellent poster-boy. As President of Iran he holds no real power. He doesn’t command any troops or weapons. Even if Iran should develop a nuclear weapon tomorrow, A-jad’s finger would be nowhere near the button. As you point out in your post, the real power in Iran is Khamenei, who has very little love for Ahmadinejad.

    Ahmadinejad’s job is to promote the idea that Iran is in perpetual danger from The Great Satan and the Zionist Entity, just as the SPLC has to continuously create new “hate groups” to keep the millions flowing in. In doing so, he plays into Israel’s “existential threat” campaign that allows them to do whatever they want in the region.

    A-jad won’t say “Israel,” he only refers to them as the Zionist Entity, which, as a political state is what they are. Just ask Theodor Herzl. Zionism is a political philosophy that underlies the founding and existence of the Jewish State. It’s not a racist slur.

    A-jad “calls for the destruction of Israel.” Actually, what he said was that Israel should be “removed from the map, ” which is not really the same thing at all. Israel was placed on the map on May 14, 1948, by the British and Americans. On May 13 it had been Palestine. Maps change all the time. And even if Ahmadinejad wanted to physically destroy Israel, he has no power to do so.

    Iran is plotting to build a nuclear weapon! Maybe. Israel has more than 300 nukes and it only makes sense that at least a few of them are pointed at Tehran.

    Iran won’t tell the truth about their nuclear ambitions! Well, to date, Iran has remained entirely within their rights as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which Israel refuses to sign. Israel also officially refuses to confirm or deny their nuclear stockpile but you won’t find many UN inspectors poking about any time soon anyhow.

    It also wasn’t so long ago that we had “indisputable evidence” that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction,” which proved false AFTER that war got underway.

    If Iran did get the bomb tomorrow would they use it on Israel or anyone else? Not likely. Obviously, such an action would lead to the immediate immolation of the Islamic Republic. If you look closely, you never see an Ayatollah wearing a suicide belt. They talk the talk but they aren’t as eager to meet Allah as one would think.

    What’s going to happen when Ahmadinejad leaves office next year? He’s been the perfect bogeyman for a long time now that the propagandists are going to have to start over again. As we’ve seen from our own SPLC, this isn’t really a major setback as the actual person involved is inconsequential to the propaganda campaign in general.

    “Hate group,” “Communist threat,” “Islamic threat,” “Existential threat,” the words change from time to time, but the song remains the same.

    Sorry for the lengthy rant.

  5. G. Perry on October 8, 2012 at 2:59 AM

    Iran might not use it, but the problem is that you’re essentially giving a weapon of mass blackmail to a country that has the power to shut down the Straits of Hormuz and lob ICBMs at virtually every major country in the Middle East, should it come to that. Even if you put Israel aside, it strengthens the authority of a totalitarian, theocratic regime. The unfortunate truth is that no one would care much about the IRi, or its mass executions, crushing of dissent, sponsorship of state terror in Syria-and subcontracted terror elsewhere- if the question of a nuclear weapons program were off the table. One of the main pillars of strength enjoyed by the DPRK is its ability to harness nuclear energy for destructive purposes. It’s not merely a deterrent, or a way of extorting wealthy, adversarial nations, but a way of suppressing internal dissent.

    It’s arguable whether Iran has violated the NPT, but it’s actions at Arak and Natanz aren’t exactly evidence of compliance.

    I’m not an expert in this field, but The Institute for Science and International Security certainly believes that Iran is in breach. They could very well be wrong, but they do present some compelling evidence.

  6. Richard Keefe on October 8, 2012 at 7:48 AM

    Those are all valid points, and I should clarify that I don’t want to see Iran with nukes any more than any other country, nor do I defend that regime’s human rights record. My interest is purely in the study of the propaganda techniques employed.

    To play the Devil’s Advocate, though, Iran doesn’t need nukes to shut down the Straits of Hormuz, as we will see if and when Israel launches a unilateral strike (thereby dragging us into another Mid-East war). Iran can shut down the Straits with nothing more than a few rusty Silkworm missiles and even the threat of doing so will spike oil prices.

    And with all due respect, when discussing Middle East politics, there is no “putting Israel aside.” All issues, at least in America, come down to a simplistic “for or against” zero-sum argument. Thanks to a decades-long propaganda campaign there is no middle ground. Any legitimate criticism of the political actions of the State of Israel are immediately denounced as “anti-Semitism,” which effectively stymies any further discussion on the topic.

    One of the best documentaries on that process is the Media Education Foundation’s “Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land,” which every student of communications, persuasion and/or history should see.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2165626245072381061

    As for strengthening the authority of totalitarian, theocratic regimes, the US has propped up the Saudi and Kuwaiti monarchies for decades and we were also the primary reason that Hosni Mubarak was able to “win” election after election for more than 30 years. A lot of US tax dollars find their way into the bloody hands of despots and repressive governments all across Southwest Asia.

    Pakistan and the DPRK both have nukes, yet there is no call to go to war with those countries. Frankly, I think the Iranian regime is far more stable than Pakistan, and probably has a lot less love for al Qaeda too, just as Saddam Hussein did. Dictators are loath to share power with competing ideologies, even if they share similar goals.

    One last note on the propaganda campaign. The effigies and costumes of Ahmadinejad shown in the photos above were professionally made. They’re evidence of a well-funded campaign and frankly, they’re racist (imagine the hue and cry if people went about in swarthy, hook-nosed effigies of Israeli politicians). The point of the exercise is to dehumanize the opposition, just as the SPLC does with its spurious “hate group” designation.

    They are textbook examples of Alinksy’s famous “Rule 11″: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual.”

    Of course, in the case of Iran, A-jad has no power and no authority. He’s merely a marketing ploy, a brand name, if you will, used to simplify a far more complex reality into easy-to-swallow ideologies. It’s a very effective technique.

    I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to have this discussion.

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