Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Laugh and Cry Your way From Iran to Sudan

A couple of articles I found on Israeli media websites today made me both want to laugh and vent at the same time, I thought I would share my amusement and frustration.

The first story is from Iran. A popular call in television show had a young girl call in and mention that her father refers to her toy stuffed monkey as "Ahmedinejad," the president of Iran. The article is interesting as it lists other incidences of children, on live TV, saying things that would be considered taboo in Iran. The examples given drive home just how conservative a country Iran is. Interestingly, I could only find this story carried in Israeli media, at least in English. I would be very interested in knowing if there was any legal, political or social fall-out form this incident and what it was. I'd be interested in hearing more about an average Iranian's reaction to this bit of news.

The second bit of news, reported here, here, here, and here at first made me laugh, but then troubled me. Gaddafi, the Libyan leader has suggested that the Sudan is not responsible for the genocide in Darfur: foreigners are, including, you guessed it, Israel. Not a shred of evidence is offered to support this claim and no elaboration was made about this accusation aimed at deflecting attention away from the president of the Sudan who is currently the subject of proceedings at the International Criminal Court. The reason I laughed at first was because I thought: 'what nonsense! How could anyone take this seriously?' If he offered evidence, it would surely be worth a look, but really, you want us to believe that Israelis are complicit, in Janajwid Arab-Muslims slaughtering and displacing (amongst other unmentionable crimes) non-Arab Africans? Where is Israel's interest in supporting the Janjawid? Where is Israel's gain from killing Africans? You've got to be kidding us Mr. G, right?

I was then troubled because I thought to myself, here a leader of a sovereign state accuses another of complicity in genocide, without a shred of evidence, and people may actually listen to him: uninformed people; uncritical people; and people who are looking for another reason to hate. Why is it so absurd to think that the Sudanese government is responsible for what happens in the Sudan? Why must foreigners be responsible for the horror of Darfur? Why must it be someone else's fault? Until I see some proof of this allegation, I cannot help but think that this is just another sad effort to tar foreigners (and especially Israel, the only country specifically alluded to) with the brush of evil just because it's Israel.

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