Salam, Dispatches –
So, we are back stateside. Been not yet two days, feels like 24.
Our trip was incredibly eye-opening. Iran is a very rich country at all levels, in a better world it would be a “world power on the order of Germany or Japan. Anglo-American-(Israeli) policy over the past 70 years, basically driven by the fear of communism & the love of oil, has basically given us all the shit we’re dealing w/, including an Islamic Shi’ite government that’s corrupt, repressive & like much of Islam right now egregiously sexist. Hard to see how anything good is going to come of it
Much to be said, really. The people are very hospitable & dignified, outside they are demure & somber, inside their homes presumably they actually party & have sex. Also, a very young country w/ 50% of population under 30… They all have the deep sense of belonging to a country which has an integral history going back to the Elamite empire (saw a ziggurat c. 1400 BC in Susa) & which has synthesized elements from all the empires it has been the site of, from the Persians to the Greeks & Seleucids, the Parthians, Sassanids, the Shi’ite renaissance of the Savafids, etc. The Zoroastrian monotheism underlying the culture, presumably older than the monotheism of the Israelites, & the way it feeds into Shi-ism adds to their sense of being a great nation that’s been victimized.
I came back thinking that the Islamic Revolution there – basically cemented into place by the 8-year war w/ Iraq (which, with the blessing of the Reagan administration – which ran exactly parallel to that war – was intended to break the Islamic gov’t’s back) is one of the crucial geo-political events of the last century, occluded by the end of the Cold War, but in the longer term no less significant (esp. as both have as “background” the analog/digital paradigm shift). Yeah, S. Daedalus’s “history is a nightmare…” seems more sadly true to me now than ever…