by Ramin Mazaheri
So ISIL claims to have made their first attack in Iran. The response in Iran appears to be: So what?
Despite an attack occurring near Tehran’s international airport there was no disruption in air travel. Citizens were asked to stay off the metro, but nothing went on lockdown. There was no martial law. Not even a state of emergency has been declared. No civil liberties have been restricted. No Patriot Act being prepared. There has been no executive branch power grab.
Despite an attack occurring near Parliament, lawmakers continued to go about their business, even as gun battles took place in surrounding office buildings. The live radio broadcast of the Parliamentary session did not even stop.
Pretty brave politicians, eh? I assume that their voters are thinking they made a good choice.
(People think it’s so brave to go to war armed with a gun: it’s much harder to be that guy who carried just a banner – all they have is belief and self-sacrifice.)
Foreign commentators are talking about how Iran has finally been successfully targeted by ISIL, as if we are supposed to be scared now.
The reason is simple: Most Iranians today either fought, survived or grew up during the deadliest conventional war ever fought between regular armies of developing countries – the Iran-Iraq War from 1980-1988.
Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, as I’m writing this just a couple hours after the attack was neutralized, but I doubt it. I know Iran and have faith that the terrorists won’t win by scaring us into submissive lives.
Give them time and I predict that Western commentators will eventually admit their befuddlement that the Iranian government isn’t using this terrorist act as a way to increase their own power and control the populace – after all, they’ve been so amazingly effective!
This attack helps the West: to show how disproportionate their responses are
But such a response of “business as usual” is unthinkable in the West. Sure, the UK talks about “Keep calm and carry on,” but we all know that’s just an empty slogan aimed at consumers.
Heck, the BBC even falsely reported: “However, officials announced a nationwide state of emergency in response to the attacks.” I guess they just arrogantly assume we still follow their lead? Not that this bad journalism could ever tarnish their reputation of course….
What happens in the United States? Well, let’s remember the Boston Marathon bombing: They went into to total lockdown. The entire city transportation system was shut down. 19,000 National Guard troops occupied the city.
“Armored vehicles motored up and down neighborhoods. Innocent people were confronted in their homes at gunpoint or had guns pointed at them for merely peering through the curtains of their own windows,” remembered the Atlantic. (Of course, they totally exonerated the authorities, writing: “May no one condemn them.”)
And yet this incident inspired the phrase “Boston strong”.
LOL, I guess it means being strong from behind your locked doors? Strong like “internet tough guys”, who spout self-aggrandizing, bullying nonsense?
Hey, I’m not definitely not insulting Bostonians as cowards. I know exactly why they stayed inside – they feared arrest. They know that if they didn’t comply they would get thrown in jail and have the key tossed away because: that’s America.
Bostonians didn’t fear the terrorists – they feared the police. They feared the justice system. The feared a domestic army ready to attack without notice and the legal system ready to exonerate them.
Of course, the mainstream media never say this. The average American doesn’t even want to accept it, as it would cause great shame. It’s still totally true.
The Bostonians would probably have all courageously rallied in Harvard Square against terrorism…if there was genuine leadership. But there isn’t. The leaders go underground at such moments: “I’m too important” – the essence of Western individualism.
You wake up and: “Ah, bon? More police state dictatorship just one step below martial law? Oh well, we have croissants for breakfast…”
And is anyone going to say that this was a “false flag” operation, as is usually bandied about in the West? You won’t hear anyone but bitter Iranian exiles possibly making those claims. Can you imagine a Cuban saying a similar thing about their righteous, peoples’ government? Hardly.
As I have proven, Iran is effectively a Socialist nation, so maybe it’s the idea of “permanent social war” that stiffens Iran backbone against giving up our democratic liberties? We certainly need those against the capitalists and imperialists who occupy nearly all our neighbors, as well as many other countries.
Iran doesn’t need to use such tragedies to terrorize its own population because it isn’t trying to terrorize anyone anywhere. It truly fights against terrorism – in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Palestine.
There is no doubt that manipulating terror attacks to quell democracy is what happens in Western countries, and the question is why? I would say it’s that the West is truly scared of having its social model called into question due to the repeatedly illegitimate actions of its leadership.
And why not, in this endless age of austerity, yawning inequality, rampant xenophobia and blocked futures?
But the Iranian government has no such fears – the people view them as legitimate.
But the West doesn’t understand Iran at all
The New York Times’ main man in Iran is Thomas Erdbrink – don’t look to him for an understanding of Iran, even though he has been based there since 2002.
He won’t realize that this terror attack is nothing to those of us from the “Burned Generation”.
What is that? Well, as he wrote in 2012, my generation, “…calls itself the ‘burned generation,’ because they feel they lost out on the natural evolution of life. While their parents managed to find jobs, marry and buy houses, this generation’s ambitions have been boxed in by the political decisions of Iran’s leaders and the foreign pressures that followed.”
No: We call ourselves that because we were burnt by chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War. This generation grew up during wartime and saw atrocities.
Sad: How wrong people can be.
Nearly criminally negligent: To be considered a “top” journalist and to get something so very important so very wrong. You can see why I haven’t forgotten, after five years, his disgusting spin.
Because I think that, after 15 years and marrying an Iranian woman, he knows the real definition – I think he spun it that way to push his capitalist and imperialist agenda, and to please his pro-Zionist bosses.
I’m surprised he’s still tolerated inside Iran. It’s one thing to do critical journalism, but to get your facts wrong means you are no longer a journalist but a propagandist.
It’s not as if Erdbrink is alone, and certainly not as alone as when Iran was fighting Iraq. Back then even the USSR was arming Iraq, too.
Fawaz Gerges, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, told CNN that, “The message is loud and clear: These people are attacking the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic,” Gerges said.
How does a Salafist terror attack even bring up the idea of the legitimacy of the Iranian government? Just like in Syria, the Western media sees ISIL as being freedom fighters…when they oppose a modern government in a Muslim country.
But absolutely nobody believes you inside Iran, Gerges. Outside of Iran, your ideas were retweeted by places like France 24 (run by the French state), because all Western mainstream media hate the democratic choice of the Iranian people and will use any pretext to attack its legitimacy.
Frankly, the smart money is that this wasn’t even ISIL.
Does it matter if it was ISIL? Who is behind ISIL is all that matters, right?
Was it really ISIL? I doubt it – I bet it was the MKO, the Mujaheedin Khalq Organization (here’s a story I wrote on them years ago which has been effectively wiped from Google), because that’s who it usually has been, like with the high-profile assassinations of nuclear scientists, after getting training from Mossad.
This insane cult has zero credibility in Iran because they fought WITH Saddam Hussein and against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war…let that sink in and their lack of domestic credibility is pretty easy to understand, eh?
But they do have Iranian passports, speak the language, know their way around, can fit in, etc. One of the terrorists may have even taken cyanide to commit suicide, as is common with the MKO, when they aren’t setting themselves on fire in capitals across Europe.
Khomeini’s shrine was attacked previously – a suicide bomber in 2009. That was likely MKO, too. It was too bad because I had just been there – it was in the middle of a major expansion and beautification.
The bomber did not stop that – just slowed it down. It will be the same thing in 2017.
Anyway, let’s say ISIL did finally get in to Iran. Who is supporting them to get threre?
According to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei: “ISIS ideologically, financially and logistically is fully supported and sponsored by Saudi Arabia — they are one and the same.”
We all know this. Outside of the West, at least.
Iran gets what fascism is, the West does not
The day before the Iran attacks there was a cop attacked with a hammer at Notre Dame Cathedral. 900 people were kettled inside Notre Dame and forced to keep their hands in the air. Now that’s a tourist story outside the norm….
I was urged by French journalists to drop what I was doing – covering Emmanuel Macron’s new right-wing rollback to the labor code – to cover that story. Fat chance….
Of course, to attack an armed cop with a hammer and two kitchen knives is the definition of insanity, but the man cried, “This is for Syria”.
And yet, a local English-language journalist wrote: “The motive of the man armed with the hammer is unknown….”
Well, if journalists didn’t get that it’s not Islam but France’s foreign policy after the same thing was cited by the Kouachi brothers, Amedy Coulibaly and nearly all the other home-grown French terrorist since 2012…why should I expect they would they get it now?
And it’s the same as the link between Saudi Arabia, the West and ISIL –willful blindness. But also apathy: people prefer low gas prices to forcing their politicians to stop supporting fascist ISIL.
Iran’s Burned Generation and the elder generation know what war and fascism is. People wonder why we have pictures of dead soldiers up everywhere – it’s not to glorify our martyrs, it’s to show the young people that war is real. Once they forget or misunderstand….
The West does not understand fascism – they are even coming close to democratically voting them into office across Europe. In the US a fascist already won.
They don’t understand war: France has had dozens of wars since World War II – all started by France and held on foreign soil. The US hasn’t had a war at home since 1865, and thus their idea of war is distorted by blissful ignorance.
Iran gets war, and they are not about to put themselves on a pathetic faux-war footing like those two nations have done over relatively trivial terror attacks.
The correct response: This attack was ‘trivial’
The West widely quoted Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani for dismissing the attacks as a “trivial matter” being handled by security forces.
I guess this is to portray him as cruel or ruthless or, the worst thing in the West today, insensitive to the feelings of others.
But Iranians know exactly what he means – an isolated terror attack is not the same as war. Sorry to burst the bubbles of the armchair media hawks and the foaming Western generals dying to play with their fancy new toys, but it’s actually just a pale, fleeting facsimile.
And, despite what the West wants this attack to lead Iranians to believe: We will not be fooled into thinking that our entire social model can be called into question by Salafist terrorists. Who are they to question our society, LOL? Anyway, there are definitely far more pressing issues: education, health care, worker compensation, worker protection, etc., which touch every single person for their entire lives. All my condolences to the victims and their loved ones, of course.
If France wants to throw their legal rights out the window over what equals a bad day in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria – that’s their choice. But please don’t expect Iran to do the same.
It’s a terrible thing, 12 people dying and dozens of casualties (so far). But I think many in Iran are looking at Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Palestine, Mali, the C.A.R….and the US, France and the UK… and thinking: it could be a lot, lot worse.
I’d make this column longer, but I want to make sure to get a good seat tonight at the Champs de Mars for when the Eiffel Tower changes colors. It won’t resemble the Iranian flag, of course. I just figure that since the Eiffel Tower famously went dark when Al-Qaeda was finally kicked out of Aleppo, Paris will want to mourn Iran’s failure to be defeated by terrorism by radiating ISIL’s color – black.
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.