Sunday, September 16, 2007

Maryam Namazie: Borders Exist To Be Crossed



This is reprinted from Gallery.Net. It is a story concerning Renrgade Eye Blog team member Maryam Namazie. This article will be for long time readers of this blog, a walk down memory lane. Almost every inch of this article has been debated on this blog.


Borders Exist To Be Crossed
By Anthony McIntyre



As I write it is the 26th anniversary of the death of IRA hunger striker, Bobby Sands. His tenacity and endurance in the face of ponderous adversity has inspired many souls throughout the globe to make that daunting step into the cauldron of injustice, the heat of which is only ever tempered by the determination of the human psyche to douse it.

It is often tempting to feel that there is nothing that can be done for Bobby Sands other than to remember him. Perhaps cherish the last few seconds of snatched conversation ever shared with him in a freezing and filthy prison cell on the 18th of December 1980; a mere five months before he succumbed on the 65th day of his hunger strike in demand of recognition that he was political prisoner. Yet to leave it at that would be a disservice to one of the modern era’s most iconic symbols against repression. Bobby Sands was an internationalist. Recognising in other activists throughout the globe the sense of purpose that so animated him affords both further meaning and significance to his life and death.

On the 26th anniversary of his prolonged and torturous demise it is fitting to write of the Iranian exile Maryam Namazie whose activism and writing mirror in so many ways the activities of one unbreakable Irishman who in his own words stood trembling but undeterred on the precipice of finality.

What gives people the strength to cope with adversity is a question often posed when the majority would rather sit in silent anonymity and allow others to risk immolation as a consequence of carrying the torch that casts light into dark corners where injustice mushrooms. Maryam Namazie was never content to view the act of sitting as a strategic option. On many occasions she moved lock stock and barrel from one country to another in furtherance of the justice she thinks is lacking in a heartless world. Nor is she any stranger to torch carrying. Frequently she thrusts it into the vampire-like faces of the things of the night that promote religion as a power structure. Her most recent project, promoting the Third Camp as a radical and humane path between US militarism and Islamic fundamentalism, is only the latest in a long line of initiatives which have placed her at the coalface of confrontation armed only with a voice that so audibly speaks truth to power.

In the campaigning crucible for quite some time, she first came to my attention when she lent her name to a manifesto against totalitarianism. The manifesto was drafted in the wake of the racist religious violence directed against the Danes as a means to discourage Danish artists from exploring perceptions of Mohammed. Namazie was uncompromising in her defence of free speech. One of her co-signatories had been a colleague of the late Theo Van Gogh, hacked to death by a religious bigot as he cycled the streets of Amsterdam in November 2004.

I was appalled as many were by his murder. His ideas and beliefs are not relevant here. He was murdered for expressing them. I think his murder brought home to many the dangers of the political Islamic movement – since assassination has been one of their tools for many decades in the Middle East and also Europe, against, for example, Iranian dissidents.

Her determination in facing down such theocrats and their allies in the totalitarian left has been inspirational to those favouring a broader discussion of the matters that shape their daily lives. When she was profiled in the web journal The Blanket a year ago, her views and activism led to many people professing a better understanding of the issues that so concern her. Seemingly, there had been a pervasive belief that political Islam somehow could be reduced to an anti-imperialist impulse, the dominant strand of which was resistance. Maryam Namazie more than any of the 12 manifesto signatories profiled in The Blanket disabused its readers of that notion. It was uplifting to find amongst their number men who had stood shoulder to naked shoulder with Bobby Sands.

It is this fundamental mischaracterisation of political Islam based on Islam’s own depiction of itself as a resistance force or as a voice for the oppressed and voiceless which annoys her most. ‘I understand the concept that one person's terrorist can be another's freedom fighter but there is no freedom for those the Islamists claim to represent.’ Another bugbear is ‘the somewhat fashionable notion that criticizing Islam and the movement is a form of racism - the deceptive concept of Islamophobia.’

Important as her observation is, there is a strong feeling in particular amongst the left that Islamophobia is the racism of our time. Many Muslims claim to be victims of the phenomenon. Namazie remains to be persuaded:

It’s deceptive because opposition to or criticism of, or even 'phobias' of ideologies, religions, cultures or political movements are not racism. It is only in the bizarre world of the New World Order's cultural relativism that Islamophobia has been increasingly given legitimacy as a form of racism. This is an important point and one I have stressed on numerous occasions because I believe the use of the term 'Islamophobia' is in itself an attempt to silence a critique of Islam, political Islam and its oppression by deeming all those who do as racist.

For Namazie it seems Islamophilia, an ailment peculiar to sections of the European left, is the equal and opposite of Islamophobia but it goes unaddressed. Consequently, issues that are in need of public airing go unexplored.

At present, the life of Maryam Namazie strikes observers as pretty packed and hectic. She campaigns against stoning, the veiling of children, Sharia law, executions, sexual apartheid, and women's rights abusers. A prolific writer and social commentator she also serves as the Director of the Worker-communist Party of Iran's International Relations Committee, host to TV International English and has worked in Amnesty International.

Since giving birth to her child a year and a half ago she senses that the volume of her political activity has lessened. Holding down a full time job while bringing up a child that is breast fed means long hours and sleepless nights. Quitting however is not a feature to be sketched into the landscape of Maryam Namazie. When asked by her father would she give up political activism with the birth of her son her response was to tell him that she had more incentive to engage politically because it has become even more important to have a better world for her child.

Although an unalloyed secularist she was brought up in a Muslim household by parents who were not strict on applying the teachings of Islam. As a result being Muslim never figured as part of her identity. This fortified her emotionally for the intellectual challenge involved in viewing Islam through a critical prism, a path she wandered onto as a result of the Islamic regime being established in Tehran where she had been born and raised as a child. With her family she left Iran in 1980 after the installation of the Islamic regime. Since then her odyssey against oppression has seen her domiciled in the US, Sudan, India and Britain where she currently resides. Her departure from Iran was initially considered only a temporary measure:

Since the schools had been shut down in order to Islamicise them, my mother brought me to India (the only place we could get into at the time because of someone my parents knew) to put me in a school and return but then she never did. My dad had to leave with my baby sister and joined us a few months later.

Life in India was not a matter of simply settling down. The family could not gain residency in the country and so after sitting her O-Levels it packed suitcases and moved to Bournemouth in the UK where Maryam began studying for her A levels. But acquiring residency in Britain proved no easier than it had been in India. The family was on the trek once more, crossing an ocean and state borders. The US became ‘the place that gave my family a home and a place to belong.’ A two year interregnum from the US was spent in Sudan where she worked assisting Ethiopian refugees. A newly installed Islamic government, however, threatened her for setting up a human rights body. She fled the country and returned to the US.

The major influences in her politically nomadic life have been ‘the Iranian revolution, my family, worker-communism and Mansoor Hekmat.’ Tragically, the life of Hekmat was to be cut short by cancer in 2004. He was part of the leadership of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran which was surviving in exile in London. This ultimately brought her to the British capital. She first heard of Hekmat in Turkey ten years before he died and was impressed by his humanity. In distilling the influences in her life down it is evident Hekmat was the most important:

The Iranian revolution gave me first hand experience of the power of people to overthrow a dictatorship. Unfortunately, the revolution was expropriated and crushed by the Islamic movement. A revolution gives you hope, reveals the power of human will, and politicizes you. The experience of flight and the seeking of another home as well as starting over for my family and many others we knew was another. So was the reliance on family and loved ones to get through difficult times.Finally, the most important influence on my life was that of worker-communism and Mansoor Hekmat.

When asked to detail the purpose of the Third Camp she is clearheaded in her presentation of the crucial issue, the intellectual cataract that fails to see that by focussing on US militarism alone, the problems of oppression and injustice are not addressed in a holistic fashion.

The third camp is an attempt to provide people with a principled and human way to mobilize against war without falling either for US militarism or Islamic terrorism. Right now, much of the mainstream 'stop the war' coalitions are focused on US militarism alone and are apologetic towards the political Islamic movement. But a vast majority of people across the world are very opposed to political Islam and Islamic terrorism too. On the other hand those who have seen the atrocities of the Islamists and Islamic terrorism sometimes support US militarism. The third camp is the voice of the majority of people who see both as guilty of crimes against humanity and want to defend and represent humanity instead.

It is difficult for many on the left to see an equivalent threat posed by political Islam and US militarism. Some have expressed abhorrence that people claiming to be progressive argue that the greatest threat faced by global civilisation today comes from Islamic totalitarianism. Namazie responds:

Islamic totalitarianism poses such a great threat because it is spearheading a right-wing restructuring of the ruling class in the Middle East which is in essence anti-Left and inhuman.

Like Professor Fred Halliday she is amazed and appalled at the support the ‘anti-imperialist nationalist left’ has given to this phenomenon. She firmly believes that Western governments have been instrumental in developing political Islam and fails utterly to comprehend why the anti-imperialist left would therefore want to support something that was deliberately fostered and nurtured by imperialism as a battering ram against the Soviets in Afghanistan and left movements in countries like Iran. There is now an added dimension:

Since September 11, its reach has moved beyond the Mid East to affect societies across the globe. It has helped pave the way for political religion's revival. Not to forget though that it is a creation of Western governments vis-à-vis the former Soviet Union and has a lot in common with the right wing US administration.

Despite leftist discourse having a long history of opposition to totalitarianism Namazie feels much of it is posturing. Totalitarianism represents a strong current within political Islam.

Sadly, much of the anti-imperialist nationalist left have fallen for this movement and they see the political Islamic movement as a 'third worldist' resistance force to US militarism; quite ridiculous actually when you think about it because the political Islamic movement is a right wing reactionary movement that has state power and or is vying for power in many places and which has a lot in common with the US right wing administration. It is a great threat because of what it means for human beings and their lives. Anywhere it rules or has power, it means nothing but human suffering in its most medieval forms (including stoning and amputations). But it is also a huge threat for universal human values in places where it is not necessarilya state power but is vying for access like in Europe. It is paving the way for an increase in religion and its influence in society at large.

Unlike others who distinguish between Islam and political Islam Namazie makes no such distinction. But does this not make more difficult the task of winning allies within the Islamic world?

I am wary of the term Islamic world as it associates millions of people as being represented by the political Islamic movement. But more to the point, the relation between Islam and political Islam is the same as between nationalism and fascism. One provides the feeding ground for the other. Islam is the banner of political Islam. You cannot fight one without also fighting the other. It's important to do so from a left and anti-racist perspective so that in fact those deemed or labelled Muslims or who consider themselves Muslims are supported and defended. As the right to religion is a private affair, criticizing Islam has nothing to do with attacking Muslims. The Islamic movement wants to portray it as such. It is our task to show that this is not the case.

It was the Islamic regimes in both Iran and Sudan that showed her ‘the true role of religion and in particular the inhumane capacity of Islam to violate the most basic of rights.’ But becoming an ‘ardent atheist and secularist’ was far from being an overnight event. Working for eighteen years with refugees and asylum seekers, whom she terms, the victims of Islam and political Islam, alienated her from any concept of Islam as a spiritual property. It became clear that religion was a material power structure. Complementing her growth as a human being unfettered by spiritual chains was the thinking and activism of Mansoor Hekmat. He provided a generation of activists in Iran with a framework for developing critical thought and a Marxist humanism. One of her co signatories to the manifesto against totalitarianism, Taslima Nasrin, once asked her how come so many Iranians are such ardent and passionate defenders of secularism and rights. ‘I would say Mansoor Hekmat had more to do with it than anything else.’

One of her most burning campaign issues concerned the brutal Islamic murder of 16 year old Atefeh Rajabi.

She was a 16 year old girl who was hung in a city square in Iran for 'crimesagainst chastity'. The wasted hopes and dreams and life of a sweet 16 girl.I remember being 16 and what I had to look forward to. I think the victimsof political Islam are so great - that sometimes people don't understand itsscale - otherwise how could they ever excuse it. I think Atefeh for me isthe human representation and personification of what it means for people's lives.

Unmitigating in her defence of women against Islam does she fail to see that there are other women in Britain with origins in the Muslim tradition, who claim to be radical yet who sit on the opposite end of the continuum from herself? The Respect activist Salma Yaqoob, for example, has defended the wearing of the veil. How does Namazie explain this?

I think Yaqoob does so in order to defend the political Islamic movement and justify it. With regards the veil, I couldn't say it better than Salman Rushdie – ‘the veil sucks’. It is a tool for suppression and repression. Defending it is like defending the chastity belt or foot binding. It's an abomination.

Another of her more provocative concepts is her characterisation of cultural relativism as ‘this era's fascism.’ She condemns it on the grounds that it excuses violations of rights and holds culture and religion above the human being.

The idea of difference has always been the fundamental principle of a racistagenda. The defeat of Nazism and its biological theory of difference largelydiscredited racial superiority. The racism behind it, however, found anothermore acceptable form of expression for this era. Instead of expression inracial terms, difference is now portrayed in cultural terms. Culturalrelativism is this era's fascism. Cultural relativists are defenders of thisera's holocausts.

For Maryam Namazie, Western societies are under threat from an insidious political Islam. She strongly advocates that the West defends the rights of all political refugees and that no amount of multicultural positioning should ever allow any group within society to claim special privilege for itself in which it is free to pursue its culture over the human rights of others.

Maryam Namazie is nothing if not someone who pushes and probes at the boundaries of life. In ways her writings resonate deeply of those of the anti-fascist Chilean writer Ariel Dorfmann who also explores the imposition of boundaries. Hers has been one of breaking the mould, leaping the barriers that are sometimes called borders, and which delineate and constrain our identities.

I really feel I have crossed so many of the boundaries - much of them constructed - that restrict people, whether it is that of religion, race, nationality, ethnicity, gender. I have come to understand that none of them are sacred; none of them matter; only human beings do.Maryam Namazie

45 comments:

Terry said...

Is Maryam a team member here? Wow!

Truly inspirational - well done Maryam and best wishes in all that you do. You're not alone.

Great article too! (Little heavy on colourful metaphors though!)

Graeme said...

I applaud Maryam and her effort to change her homeland's government. The only legitimate changes come from within. I agree that political Islam is reactionary and should be fought by those living under its laws with complete solidarity from other freedom loving people.

I don't think that the West is threatened by political Islam, however. The West's policies are strengthening Islamic regimes. I believe people like Maryam are perfectly capable of handling their own affairs.

Farmer John said...

LOL! You're are too, too much, graeme. The only legitimate changes come from within. You applaud her effort to change her homeland.

Her changes are no longer coming from WITHIN, graeme! It's coming from OUTSIDE!

Larry Gambone said...

Thank you for running this excvell;ent article on Maryam. I have admired her and the WCPI since I found out about them about 2 years ago. One thing though, one should not overstate the support given by socialists for the Islamists. The libertarian left gives no support to these people. We are really talking about the SWP and its IS tendency here, are we not?

Farmer John said...

The inspiration for all revolution comes from the outside. Else the Phyrgian cap would have little symbolic significance. I think the Greeks symbolized it best...the petasos of Hermes ingenui.

The Roman writers divided all men into Liberi (free men) and Servi (slaves). Those who were born free (liberi) were called Ingenui. Those who were formerly slaves (servi) but were later freed were called (the) Libertini. In other words, the libertini were those who became Liberi after being Servi.

Farmer John said...

Even when seated (and petasos removed) Hermes maintains at least one foot in human affairs...

Larry Gambone said...

As a social historian, the idea that revolutions come from outside is rubbish. They are far more complex than any throw-away line like that.

Farmer John said...

Well larry, I question youe competence as a "social historian." Let me ask you a question. Why do you think Plato's "Athenian Stranger" insisted upon founding his Magnesia in an area that could not be "contaminated" by foreign influence and trade? Was Plato ignorant or "social history"? (Jowett Summary of Plato's, "Laws")

BOOK IV. And now, what is this city? I do not want to know what is to be the name of the place (for some accident,--a river or a local deity, will determine that), but what the situation is, whether maritime or inland. 'The city will be about eleven miles from the sea.' Are there harbours? 'Excellent.' And is the surrounding country self-supporting? 'Almost.' Any
neighbouring states? 'No; and that is the reason for choosing the place, which has been deserted from time immemorial.' And is there a fair proportion of hill and plain and wood? 'Like Crete in general, more hill than plain.' Then there is some hope for your citizens; had the city been on the sea, and dependent for support on other countries, no human power could have preserved you from corruption. Even the distance of eleven miles is hardly enough. For the sea, although an agreeable, is a dangerous companion, and a highway of strange morals and manners as well as of commerce. But as the country is only moderately fertile there will be no great export trade and no great returns of gold and silver, which are the ruin of states. Is there timber for ship-building? 'There is no pine, nor much cypress; and very little stone-pine or plane wood for the interior of ships.' That is good. 'Why?' Because the city will not be able to imitate the bad ways of her enemies. 'What is the bearing of that remark?' To explain my meaning, I would ask you to remember what we said about the Cretan laws, that they had an eye to war only; whereas I maintained that they ought to have included all virtue. And I hope that you in your turn will retaliate upon me if I am false to my own principle. For I consider that the lawgiver should go straight to the mark of virtue and justice, and disregard wealth and every other good when separated from virtue. What further I mean, when I speak of the imitation of enemies, I will illustrate by the story of Minos, if our Cretan friend will allow me to mention it. Minos, who was a great sea-king, imposed upon the Athenians a cruel tribute, for in those days they were not a maritime power; they had no timber for ship-building, and therefore they could not 'imitate their enemies'; and better far, as I maintain, would it have been for them to have lost many times over the lives which they devoted to the tribute than to have turned soldiers into sailors. Naval warfare is not a very praiseworthy art; men should not be taught to leap on shore, and then again to hurry back to their ships, or to find specious excuses for throwing away their arms; bad customs ought not to be gilded with fine words. And retreat is always bad, as we are taught in Homer, when he introduces Odysseus, setting forth to Agamemnon the danger of ships being at hand when soldiers are disposed to fly. An army of lions trained in such ways would fly before a herd of deer. Further, a city which owes its preservation to a crowd of pilots and oarsmen and other undeserving persons, cannot bestow rewards of honour properly; and this is the ruin of states. 'Still, in Crete we say that the battle of Salamis was the salvation of Hellas.' Such is the prevailing opinion. But I and Megillus say that the battle of Marathon began the deliverance, and that the battle of Plataea completed it; for these battles made men better, whereas the battles of Salamis and Artemisium made them no better. And we further affirm that mere existence is not the great political good of individuals or states, but the continuance of the best existence. 'Certainly.' Let us then endeavour to follow this principle in colonization and legislation.

Farmer John said...

Please take note that all of Maryam's revolutionary ideas are "western" in origin.

sonia said...

Excellent piece. Right on the money.

there is a strong feeling in particular amongst the left that Islamophobia is the racism of our time.

The real Islamophobes are those leftists who see Muslim women oppressed and say nothing out of fear that such criticism might benefit George W. Bush...

It is difficult for many on the left to see an equivalent threat posed by political Islam and US militarism. Some have expressed abhorrence that people claiming to be progressive argue that the greatest threat faced by global civilisation today comes from Islamic totalitarianism.

Actually, this is a chicken/egg argument. Most Western leftists (like Chomsky and company) falsely believe that Islamic totalitarianism is caused by US imperialism. Only a few Western leftists (like Hitchens) correctly see US militarism as a consequence of Islamofascist tyranny.

Graeme,

I don't think that the West is threatened by political Islam (...) I believe people like Maryam are perfectly capable of handling their own affairs.

Do you mean that she shouldn't expect any help from you ?

Earlier, the Western Left refused to help the Kurds and the Shiites in their struggle against Saddam's tyranny. We all know the consequences of that betrayal.

Now, the Western Left refuses to help Iranian revolutionaries. We all know what the consequences of that betrayal will be in the near future.

Liberal White Boy said...

"The real Islamophobes are those leftists who see Muslim women oppressed and say nothing out of fear that such criticism might benefit George W. Bush..."

Gosh sonia, this is the type of horse shit I would expect to step on in one of farmer john's fields.

Larry Gambone said...

Farmer, depending upon classical philosophers for all of one's science, went out in the 15th Century. No one is impressed by your pseudo-erudition. If you want to know about the origins of revolutions, read some history. I have spent 40 years doing so and can tell you that the causes of revolutions are far more complex than you make out.

Larry Gambone said...

"Most Western leftists (like Chomsky and company) falsely believe that Islamic totalitarianism is caused by US imperialism."

Far from being wrong this is bang-on correct. If the CIA had not overthrown Mossedegh in 1954 we would not have had an Islamism in Iran. Islamism is the result of the failure of nationalist secular forces in the Middle East to develop those areas. US Imperialism attacked those same secular forces and backed reactionaries lie the Saudis. Islamism is blow back. And Hitchens is a sad joke.

sonia said...

Larry,

If the CIA had not overthrown Mossedegh in 1954 we would not have had an Islamism in Iran.

Unprovable speculation...

Islamism is the result of the failure of nationalist secular forces in the Middle East to develop those areas.

I agree.

US Imperialism attacked those same secular forces and backed reactionaries like the Saudis.

You got it backwards. It was Arab secularists like Nasser who provoked the Americans by siding with the Soviets. In 1956 Eisenhower backed Nasser against Israel. But later Nasser betrayed the Yanks and joined the Soviet camp.

Islamism is blow back.

Yes, but a blowback against Arab socialism (Baath), not US militarism.

Just like Taliban was a blowback against Afghan Communism...

I know you would love to blame the USA for everything. But historic facts say otherwise.

Farmer John said...

f the CIA had not overthrown Mossedegh in 1954 we would not have had an Islamism in Iran.

I agree with Larry. We'd have had communism instead. Larry's cure is worse than the current disease... especially given the context of the times.

Renegade Eye said...

Maryam represents the Worker-Communist Party of Iran, based in Iran. She is their voice outside Iran. They are Marxist humanist.

I have big disagreements with her, about program, and party organization. I highly respect her consistent anti-Islamist and anti-imperialist perspective.

Farmer: Her ideas are western. Who cares?

Graeme said...

Her changes are no longer coming from WITHIN, graeme! It's coming from OUTSIDE!

I was speaking in cultural terms. She is still Iranian, regardless of where she lives. Therefore, she is pushing for change in her society.

Do you mean that she shouldn't expect any help from you ?

Her movement gets my full support. I was speaking more in terms of my government's militaristic approach to each and every problem. That is "help" that they don't need or want.

Graeme said...

In 1956 Eisenhower backed Nasser against Israel. But later Nasser betrayed the Yanks and joined the Soviet camp.

Technically, that is close to right, but it is not quite as cut and dry and that. Eisenhower only backed Nasser to make it clear to the European's that the ME was to be US territory, their colonialist days were over, the US was the big kid on the western side of the block now. Post WWII, some countries still didn't get that, France and the Brits started to figure it out after the Suez crisis. It was a monroe doctrine of sort, only for the Mid-east (actually I think Eisenhower had his own doctrine) Plus, those Europeans had the nerve to launch a military attack without telling the Americans! They had to get sent to their rooms for a time out. The US hardly wanted to fight the Soviets, who were demanded all countries leave Egypt, over a couple has-been countries colonial memories.

Nasser was playing both sides. Telling each super power what they wanted to hear. One could hardly blame him for warming up a bit to the Soviets after the region's experience with the West.

At any rate, none of this means that Pan-Arabism caused Islamic extremism. Remember, the Islamic Jihad assassinated pro-west Sadat

Farmer John said...

graeme,

I was speaking in cultural terms.

She's rebelling against her own culture. Do you even know what culture is? It's more than a "word".

Graeme said...

I don't know, what would Plato say? Copy and paste for us.

Farmer John said...

Do you even know what culture is?

Graeme:
I don't know

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I didn't think you did, either.

Larry Gambone said...

Farmer, for all his pseudo-erudition is too dense to see that Graeme was being sarcastic.

Larry Gambone said...

Sonia, more precisely capitalist imperialism is the problem, of which the US is the leading force. Indeed, we should talk less about the USA as the corporate state is in the process of shedding its national base.

As for the other issue about secular nationalists, you must remember that US imperialism has virtually always been opposed to progressive nationalist governments - even in the case of its allies like Canada. Someone like Nassar, seeing this would naturally try to cozy up to the USA's the chief opponent, the USSR. Once again, these problems are the result of blow-back from the empire, and I suggest you read the book by that name by Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA man, who I suspect knows a little more of the reality than you do.

sonia said...

Larry,

I suggest you read the book by (...) Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA man

No thanks, I am much too busy reading books by former Gestapo officers...

Fomer CIA men are the least reliable sources imaginable. Like many people doing the dirty work, they often feel guilty about it and want to blame their superiors. But 'I was following orders' ceased to be an excuse by the time of the Nuremberg trial.

Former CIA men having guilt trips isn't a problem. I am glad they feel guilty. It's the lack of guilt among torturers and enforcers of non-Western totalitarian regimes (from Cuba to Nicaragua to North Korea to Syria to Libya to Albania to China to Iraq to Zimbabwe) that is much more worrisome.

How many books by former Mukhabarat agents have you read ?

Larry Gambone said...

"Fomer CIA men are the least reliable sources imaginable... (they) want to blame their superiors"

That is really too much, even for you Sonia. As for the other contemporary secret services, who cares, their record in the destruction of democracy and progressive movements is small along side the CIA's. While other regimes are cruel and oppressive they are small potatoes long side the Empire. Quit apologizing for it.

Larry Gambone said...

I note Nicaragua was on your list. Nicaragua was dominated by torturers and murderers when ruled by Somoza who was put there by the US.

Look at it this way, Iraq did not meddle in Canadian affairs, Zimbabwe did not overthrow Allende, nor install the Brazilian military, nor did Libya create death squads in Central America, etc. - I think you get the point...

Graeme said...

Farmer John said

She's rebelling against her own culture

Yes. that is change coming from within. What is your point?

I am interested to hear Aristotle's take on this. Could you weave that into your answer somehow?

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Farmer John,

You make an intriguing point about the Platonic Magnesia seeking to isolate itself from external influence.

The Great Firewall of China that keeps information out of the hands of Chinese citizens lucky enough to touch a computer with an internet connection comes to mind.

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Great Firewall of China

Farmer John said...

graeme,

I don't do requests.

What influenced her "change from within"? Belief that there might be something better (although, in the case of Marxism, it was a false belief). Marxism is incapable of creation... it can only generate sufficient resentment to destroy.

But that's okay. You've got to card the wool before you can weave it.


Plato, "Statesman"

STRANGER: Weaving is a sort of uniting?

YOUNG SOCRATES: Yes.

STRANGER: But the first process is a separation of the clotted and matted fibres?

YOUNG SOCRATES: What do you mean?

STRANGER: I mean the work of the carder's art; for we cannot say that carding is weaving, or that the carder is a weaver.

YOUNG SOCRATES: Certainly not.

STRANGER: Again, if a person were to say that the art of making the warp and the woof was the art of weaving, he would say what was paradoxical and false.

YOUNG SOCRATES: To be sure.


Anarchists and Marxists have to be already united in a union before they can have any influence. They are incapable of "creating" the circumstances which "require" a union.

The Islamicists have what it takes to weave. And so the order is... Marxists tear down the society, and Islamicist build a new one. That's certainly what happened in Sudan with the Islamic Courts Union.

Without active capitalists building business, Marxists cannot build anything around a "union"... but Islamicists can organize unemployed farmers and peasants around the charities of their church in a heartbeat. They capitalize on the anarchy and create order. Once there is order, then the capitalists can get to work...

Farmer John said...

Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of posies. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!

Farmer John said...

Why Mr. Beamish, it's not only China which seeks to isolate itself from external influence...(today's New York Post article)

As millions of Iranians prepare for the new school year, the scene is being set for what could be a long hot autumn on university campuses across the nation. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has promised to "cleanse" the Iranian educational system of what he calls "the corrupt influence of the infidel" and has mobilized a special militia to crush the expected student revolts.

The radical president refers to his "academic cleansing" plan as "The Second Great Islamic Cultural Revolution." The late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini closed the universities and launched the first "Great Islamic Cultural Revolution" in 1980. A committee created to "cleanse" academia purged more than 6,000 professors and lecturers, virtually destroying Iranian academia. Dozens of academics were executed as hundreds fled into exile. The committee also expelled thousands of students on charges of monarchist or leftist tendencies. It also censored or totally rewrote dozens of textbooks to conform to the Khomeinist ideology.


...and just look what Chavez is doing to schools (even private Catholic ones) all over Venezuela...

sonia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sonia said...

Larry,

As for the other contemporary secret services, who cares

I care.

their record in the destruction of democracy and progressive movements is small along side the CIA's.

Bullshit.

While other regimes are cruel and oppressive they are small potatoes long side the Empire.

'Small potatoes' for whom ? People who live under their tyranny would disagree with you. And they would spit in your face for saying this while living under the protection of that very 'Empire'...

Quit apologizing for it.

I don't appologize for CIA's crimes. You read books by CIA's assassins and believe their lies...

Nicaragua was dominated by torturers and murderers when ruled by Somoza who was put there by the US.

Typical leftist propaganda, that you stupidly swallow hook, line and sinker.

Facts:

1. Somoza came to power by fighting AGAINST US forces in the 1920's and then getting rid of the true revolutionary, Augusto Sandino.

2. Somoza's regime was overthrown by true revolutionaries like Eden Pastora.

3. The revolution was hijacked by totalitarian oppressors like Daniel Ortega who installed a regime that was just as oppressive, and dominated by as many torturers and murderers as Somoza's.

4. Nicaraguan people rebelled again, with Eden Pastrora fighting again against oppression.

5. Violetta Chamorro restored peace and democracy.

6. Daniel Ortega came back in power again, this time democratically, and with support of the Catholic Church, just like Somoza did in the 1930's.

Iraq did not meddle in Canadian affairs, Zimbabwe did not overthrow Allende, nor install the Brazilian military

Neither did US government, despite your paranoid ravings...

Sontín said...

Sonia

Well actually Anastasio Somoza García was placed as head of the US created National Guard. He, and after he was assassinated, his sons Luis Somoza Debayle and Anastasio Somoza Debayle, ruled the country as a personal fiefdom. Anastasio Somoza García created an enormous fortune for himself and family members and by the time he was killed, his family was one of the richest in the world. Cordell Hull, Secretary of State of the US said “He may be a son of a bitch, but he is our son of bitch”. His son, Anastasio Somoza Debayle, was heavily criticized by human rights groups. The National Guard had people disappear all over the country. My wife, when she was a child, was in school when the National Guard appeared, showed them a 'suspect', took him up in a helicopter and then pushed him to his death. That sort of justice was normal and it is not just “typical leftist propaganda.”

Facts:

1. Somoza (the first one) came to power by collaborating with US forces under the new liberal president and then getting rid of Augusto Sandino, a true Nationalist (not a revolutionary .. his fight was against the US military and political presence in Nicaragua).

2. Somoza's regime was overthrown by revolutionaries like Eden Pastora and also many others who never changed sides.

3 and 4. The government became centralized under a small group including Daniel Ortega. The new government, with massive participation of the general population did wonders in the battle to eradicate illiteracy, provide universal healthcare, promote cultural expression, and redistribute land. They made mistakes and there were abuses of the system. People who had land confiscated were not at all happy, but most people in Nicaragua feel that during the first year or two things went well. Then the embargo started and a civil war was financed (and yes the US did fund it and provide training and materials). With the war, shortages started, people had to line up to be given a piece of soap, there were more abuses of the system and some people were unfairly tortured and killed (as happens in every war, although that does not justifies it).

5. The Sandinista government was democratically elected, the economic situation worsened due to the fall of the Soviet Union, the embargo, the war and some bad economic decisions. However the leaders of most armed groups of the National Resistance (the Contras) had disarmed or stared working on peace processes by the end of the eighties. Violetta Chamorro as such did not so much as restore peace and democracy (the revolution permitted a return to democracy after decades of dictatorship) as try to piece together a shattered nation. The National Resistance disarmed completely and then many groups of ex-contra and ex-compas rearmed when the government did not or could not fulfill its promises. Political armed groups continued to be active in Nicaragua and around Waslala until 2002.

6. Daniel Ortega came back in power again, this time democratically, and with support of the Catholic Church, but with many Sandinistas uncomfortable with what they see as his unwillingness to make the party more open.

”Zimbabwe did not overthrow Allende

”Neither did US government, despite your paranoid ravings...”

Well, they did not do the dirty work, but they were involved in the coup. If someone has a link to the documents that were declassified this year, please show it to Sonia so she can see that not all ravings are paranoid.

sonia said...

Sontin,

Anastasio Somoza García was placed as head of the US created National Guard.

He placed himself there. US didn't 'create' anything. Your blaming of Americans for the crimes committed by Nicaraguans against their own people is pathetic. Grow up.

I know it's easier to blame foreigners rather than one own's countrymen. It's called xenophobia and it allows people not to face reality. The days Latinos will stop blaming gringos for their problems and start to look in the mirror, is the day Latin America will finally start digging itself from the shithole where its gringo-centric xenophobia has landed them...

revolutionaries like Eden Pastora and also many others who never changed sides.

Eden Pastora never changed sides. He was always on the side of freedom and justice. It's the Sandinistas who changes sides, from victims to torturers.

most people in Nicaragua feel that during the first year or two things went well.

When people are falling out the window, things also go quite well at first. Until they hit the pavement...

some people were unfairly tortured and killed

As opposed to others, I suppose, who were FAIRLY tortured and killed...

Daniel Ortega came back in power again, this time democratically, and with support of the Catholic Church, but with many Sandinistas uncomfortable with what they see as his unwillingness to make the party more open.

The Sandinista Party stopped being open when it came to power in the late 70's. Some people take a long time to wake up and smell the coffee. But better late than never.

Allende (...) US government(...) they were involved in the coup. If someone has a link to the documents that were declassified this year, please show it to Sonia so she can see that not all ravings are paranoid.

If you ever find those documents, you will learn that the coup against Allende was organized by Pinochet. And Pinochet wasn't named the Commander in Chief of the Chilean Armed Forces by US president Richard Nixon. Pinochet was named to that position by Salvador Allende himself. Allende knew perfectly well that Pinochet was a ruthless son of a bitch. But Allende thought that Pinochet would be ruthless against Allende's opponents. But Allende was wrong and he got killed by his own attack dog.

And the CIA had a good laugh. But US government didn't organize anything. They were simply lucky. If they could organize a coup in Chile, they could have also organized it in Cuba. But they couldn't. Castro was smarter than Allende. He named his own brother as Commander in Chief.

Repeat after me: Americans didn't overthrow Allende. Chileans overthrew Allende. Americans were applauding from the sidelines. Not the same thing.

Larry Gambone said...

Thanks Sonia, but this is all right-wing propaganda I have heard many times before, indeed I have been hearing variations on this all my life. You may be naive or full enough of hatred for progressive movements to believe this stuff, but don't expect the rest of us to be so. I should add that I went through a period of disolusionment in the late-1980's-early '90's and spent a good deal of time checking out the right. The dishonest and hypocrtical nature of what I read - other than the anti-war, anti-empire right libertarians,I should add, made me realize that I had to accept progressive movements warts and all - that their warts weere nothing compared to the hideous cancers on the face of the right.

Renegade Eye said...

Allende making Pinochet the commander-in-chief was his own fear of the right. He could have named one of his own. He wanted peace with the right.

The Trotskyists told Allende years earlier, to appeal to the ranks of soldiers, to defend the gains achieved, and go over the heads of the generals. Pinochet understood that more than Allende, during the coup, ordered most of the rank and file soldiers, in their barracks.

Chavez plans to reorganize the army, in such a way, a Pinochet will not develop.

The CIA took part in electoral activity against Pinochet.

sonia said...

Larry,

You may be (...) full enough of hatred for progressive movements to believe this stuff

You have no idea. And I am not alone. But don't call them 'progressive movements'. 'Totalitarian movements' is much more accurate.

Sontín said...

Sonia,

“Your blaming of Americans for the crimes committed by Nicaraguans against their own people is pathetic. Grow up.”

Your denial of the history of American foreign policy is mystifying. I would suggest living in Nicaragua for a few years before you pass judgements so quickly. You might find it a growing experience.

“I know it's easier to blame foreigners”

I am not blaming anyone. I was simply correcting some of the “facts” you had written. The ruling class in Nicaragua spent a long time in civil wars, and as part of these wars, the US marines were invited in to help the conservatives against the liberals. That there were also American economic interests here must have made it that much more attractive.

“The days Latinos will stop blaming gringos for their problems and start to look in the mirror, is the day Latin America will finally start digging itself from the shithole where its gringo-centric xenophobia has landed them...”

Actually, people from the United States are well treated and well liked in Nicaragua … as are … say people from Australia and just about everywhere in the world. We can differentiate between a nation and its government. This is true even for the most ardent Sandinistas.

We are also well aware of the internal problems that we face .. corruption, authoritarianism, nepotism and so on. Had you only told us earlier that it was our “gringo-centric xenophobia” that had landed us in this “shithole”, then we would no longer have children dying of malnourishment, over a third the population of Waslala unable to read or write and we could all be wealthy … or could it be that the problems of underdevelopment are just a little bit more complicated than you give them credit for?

“If you ever find those documents, you will learn that the coup against Allende was organized by Pinochet.”

I never denied that that the coup was organized by Pinochet … I merely stated that the US government was involved. So here are a few quotes from declassified CIA documents:


It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup. It would be much preferable to have this transpire prior to 24 October but efforts in this regard will continue vigorously beyond this date. We are to continue to generate maximum pressure toward this end utilizing every appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG and American hand be well hidden

From: CIA, Operating Guidance Cable on Coup Plotting, October 16, 1970
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB8/ch05-01.htm

And you can find more at:
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB8/nsaebb8.htm

“Repeat after me: Americans didn't overthrow Allende. Chileans overthrew Allende. Americans were applauding from the sidelines. Not the same thing.”

I never said Americans overthrew Allende. I said the US government was involved. Not the same thing.

Farmer John said...

I guess it's true, sonia. There's an Uncle Sam boogeyman hiding under every commie's bed.

Farmer John said...

Just ask Hugo Chavez. ;-)

sonia said...

Sontin,

Had you only told us earlier that it was our “gringo-centric xenophobia” that had landed us in this “shithole”, then we would no longer have children dying of malnourishment, over a third the population of Waslala unable to read or write and we could all be wealthy … or could it be that the problems of underdevelopment are just a little bit more complicated than you give them credit for?

Look at it this way. In late 18th century, all of America was under European colonial rule (British, Spanish, French, etc.). Same oppression, same rules everywhere.

So why 250 years later, North America is rich and Latin America is struggling ?

I will tell you why. North Americans overthrew the British colonial rule and became masters of the their own destiny. There was plenty of foreign meddling in US affairs (France and Britain helping the South against the North, etc.), but the Americans solved their own problems and stopped blaming the Brits for all their troubles. Read an American newspaper in 1800 and one in 2007 and the difference is striking: the pathetic 'all our problems are caused by those evil Englishmen' has been replaced by 'Tony Blair sure is a great guy'.

US has evolved. Latin America didn't. They merely changed the scapegoat. In the early 19th century, it was the evil Queen Isabella of Spain. Today, it's the evil Yankee gringos.

Placing the blame for one's own problems on outsiders is wrong, stupid and ineffective EVEN WHEN IT HAPPENS TO BE TRUE. Why ? Because it's pointless. You cannot change the way somebody else acts. So give it up. Use your energy where you can make a change. On YOURSELF !!!!

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