Monday, August 21, 2006

A bit more on Iran

By coincidence it was our Buddhist group's monthly discussion meeting this evening, and afterwards, an Iranian guy who's started practising recently, was telling us about how different Iran is from how it's depicted in the West.
Firstly, the vast majority of Iranians are wholly irreligious. Islam's something that's mainly been forced on the Iranian people, from the Arab invasion of persia through to Khomeini's takeover of the revolution against the Shah. While women have to wear a headscarf and cover their legs in public to avoid the wrath of the basiji, they do whatever they can to get round the dress rules, scarves pushed ever higher up their heads and a whole fashion industry devoted to making the allowable clothing as shapely as possible. At house parties, he reckons Iranian women show far more flesh than westerners!
Moreover, the Iranian people long to be rid of their highly corrupt fundie leaders, and but for the attempts of the west at destabilisation, would have succeeded in gradually chipping away at their power. The west's attitudes have had the effect rather of forcing them into a corner; could ther have been a less sensible approach than Bush's 'Axis of Evil'?
And, as for confrontation, while it's well known that the US and allies propped up Saddam during the Iraq-Iran war, they were also funneling arms to Iran (through Israel at that). Still, they also supported bin-Laden's boys against the USSR, so that shows a sort of even-handedness - supporting radical Sunnis, radical Shia and a vicious, secular dictatorship.


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