The Iranian Blind Spot of Intellectuals

The death of the Saudi King Abdullah has generated a lot of debate heat across the world. In love, as in death, the Kings have always been a point of much debate for a large number of those vying to be called intellectuals who decry Saudi Arabia's human rights violations. We are being three days enlightened over Rauf Badawi's shocking sentence, whereby a ten year prison term is to be supplemented with fifty lashes per week every Friday after evening prayers in public. Stories of daughters being imprisoned or of terrorists being funded in some way or the other keep surfacing. Much ridicule is hurled at the kingdom for its medieval thinking about women rights and the rights of modern day slaves.

The problem with much of this much justified criticism is just one. What is sauce for the goose is just not sauce enough for the gander in the eyes of liberal intellectualism. 'Intellectuals' often talk glowingly about Iran's defiance of the West, particularly the hotbed of capitalism and greed, United States. In their admiration for Iran and it's geo political games, there is often times rank ignorance for the heaps of human rights violations that happen on a daily basis. Just as in Saudi, a woman's testimony is considered to be half in worth to that of a man's. Women can't be seen alone in public without a male relative, since single women can't be trusted to be moral enough. Democracy is just as much a sham - the Ayatollah's supreme council can veto anything.

Very few people would know that the institution of Grand Ayatollah itself is racist like much of Iranian society, since only he who can trace his ancestry back to Fathima, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), can be anointed one. Hence, only someone who is of Arab descent technically can be good enough to lead Iranians on to the path to spirituality. Any challenge to the insulation, particularly from Qom, the real spiritual center of Iran, is dealt with an iron hand. Sufis, minorities, homosexuals and dark skinned people (kaka seyaheh) are all subject to purges akin to Chairman Mao's regime.

Those decrying the death of Saudi King Abdullah will beat their chests in agony on the death of the Iranian Ayatollah Khamenei. This misplaced sense of allying with anyone who really defies the Western powers that be has blinded many of us to the behaviors of regimes. One way or the other, the world has forgotten that the regimes of these two countries are no different in crushing fundamental human rights, and that they are in a battle to the end for supremacy of one sect, one liturgy over the other.

The mirage of an alliance with Islamists to form some kind of Sharia Bolshevik (a term coined by Tarek Fatah) alliance to take on the Devil US had gained quite a bit of credence in recent times. There is a blind spot when it comes to the harassment of liberals in general and Communists in particular, even in Iran. One need not look too far back to know the dangers of trying to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds. To try being a  human Rights advocate when you're begin an apologist of Iran just smacks of double standards. If you can't find fault with one, just shut up.


Anonymous said…
A take on muslim, without the knowledge on the Arab tribes and the rise of Wahabism would be incomplete. Wahabism is a reformist sector in Islam, patroned by abdullah which put him at loggerheads with traditionalists in this case ISIS. I wish it will improve your clarity and understanding on middle east affairs.

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