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The Axis of Decay: Pseudo-Nationalism/Xenophobia/Anti-Semitism

By Mohsen Moshfegh

An article appeared on Payvand site on 29 April, titled "The Emergence of A New Axis: Los Angeles/Tel Aviv/Tehran". The contents of this article made me wonder just how deeply rooted and entrenched the xenophobic and anti-Semitic attitudes in our intellectual community ought to be to lead us to hate America and Israel even more than we love our own nation, as we so often claim. We seem to be willing to sacrifice the interests of our nation, to say nothing of the truth, just to hold on stubbornly to the half-baked and distorted notions that have gotten chiseled into our political psyche. It is amazing how some of us, even after years and decades of living in this country, still think that a hooligan can kidnap the foreign policy of this nation, mobilize its immense armed forces, and over strong domestic and international opposition invade another country, kill thousands of people, risk getting hundreds of Americans killed, all just to win a few fat contracts for his friends to rebuild the infra-structure that he himself ordered bombed and destroyed and get away with it. As if we're dealing with a banana republic with a lifetime president and Mickey Mouse legislature and judiciary. As if the American construction and oil installation companies need an invading army to force themselves on other nations and win contracts. And all of these ridiculous notions, not from your typical "Daei Jon Napoleon", but from a well-educated and reputable professor in one of the most respected institutions of this nation.

The author calls the upheaval that took place in Iran 25 years ago as "one of the greatest revolutions of the twentieth century". I agree with the author, only because every single "revolution" in the twentieth century was a total disaster, which brought nothing but bloodshed and pain for the poor nation that happened to inherit it. It would have been appropriate to remind us all, somewhere in that 10-page article, of at least one of the glorious achievements of this "great revolution". I mean something besides the summary executions and the unimaginable bloodshed driven by the personal vendetta of its ruthless founder. The fact of the matter is that even a slight glimpse at the state of our nation is enough to make us realize that this upheaval was more like a devastating plague that befell our unfortunate nation, and nothing that deserves to be recalled as a "great revolution". A devastating war that was used by the most back warded section of our society to consolidate its suffocating choke-hold on the throat of our nation; a ruined economy with total dependence on oil, a ninety three percent reduction in average per capita income and a ninety nine percent reduction in the value of our national currency; a nation of refugees with most of its best human resources either living abroad, or hoping desperately to leave the country by any means and at any cost; a nation with a destroyed reputation in the world community the very name of which has become synonymous with international lawlessness and terrorism; a lost and desperate society with its faith in God and religion and morality all but vanished; a political leadership surviving solely on intimidation, torture, execution, and terror; a country where jails are filled with the best of our educators, students, journalists, lawyers, and political activists, while streets are filled with AIDS infected prostitutes, junkies, convicted murderers of our national heroes, and bike-riding club and chain swinging hooligans and assassins. A "great revolution", indeed!

We neglect all of this, and focus on distorted and moldy notions engrained into our political paradigms, like the "dominating American imperialism", the "vicious Israeli Zionists", and the "poor Palestinian refugees". We take anecdotal instances of unscrupulous behavior and undemocratic conduct by a few Johnny-come-lately s to justify our 25-year old hatred toward a dynasty from a bygone era. And what are all these distortions and diversions about? They are all about insisting on our baseless and hollow pseudo-nationalism rather than relying on our true national pride; about thorny and coarse projections of national machismo, rather than gentle and confident expressions of national power; about the comfort of holding on to our old and decaying paradigms, rather than courage of admitting mistakes and embracing new ideas for a new world. With our best intellectuals in this state of denial, I weep for our nation. It is indeed a sad state of affairs.

About the author:
Mohsen Moshfegh was born in Tehran in 1958. He completed his Doctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering at UCLA in 1988. He lives and works in the Bay Area in a major construction firm.

... Payvand News - 5/10/03 ... --

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