Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Akbar the Pragmatic!

Read Roya Hakakian hail the emergence of a new “pragmatic” era, now following Mullah Khatami’s “reform era”, signaled by last week’s “historic presidential election” held by the Islamic Republic of anti-Iran.

Much overcome by the references to Rafsanjani as “pragmatic”---references made “from Cambridge to Tehran”, or wherever such non-intellectual references to him as a simple Mafioso are carefully avoided---, a quality “for which no Iranian politician has ever been hailed in the past”---the leading figures of Iranian politics before 1979 having all been from Tanzania---, Hakakian writes,

“The use of that word was a change in rhetoric that signals a shift in the Iranian attitude toward the political process. It offers evidence of an Iran that is growing less idealistic and more realistic, one that is struggling to shed the fundamentalism of the last quarter-century and readying for the establishment of a new political order.

That Rafsanjani has been called ‘the can-do candidate’ and ‘Mr. Fixit,’ instead of a ‘visionary’ or a ‘power,’ is a radical departure for a country where the primary mode of expression for most of its history has been the romanticized, ambiguous language of poetry. And this embrace of a more practical prose speaks volumes about the national mood.”

Hakakian’s vague generalizations, like “the Iranian attitude” or “the national mood,” are not only misleading, but also insults to the victims of the republic. “Embrace of a more practical prose!” Those who differentiate between the Shiite Taliban and the people of Iran, who know that Iranians have had no say in the political process of their country, also know that the shift in attitude attributed here to “Iranians” actually concerns a shift in attitude of a cornered regime forced to make that shift. Does Hakakian actually believe that we had to wait 26 years for a signal, in the form of a word characterizing Rafsanjani no less, to realize that Iranians do not accept the Islamic political order? Do 26 years of repression signify that a regime is popular or that it is generally accepted? As to Rafsanjani, I can assure Miss Hakakian that long before Elaine Sciolino and Co. called him a “pragmatist” he was called lots of other names. Did not “Rasman-Jani” (a play on his name meaning certified insane) or “Akbar Kooseh“ (Akbar the Shark) too signify a change in the national mood or attitude?

There is a point to her intellectualized nonsense. She concludes:

“…The embrace of a word and a concept as unfeeling as "pragmatism" seems like an aberration. But it's an aberration I'm willing to accept if it will lead to a new political order in Iran.”

Needless to say, she does not provide further details on the coming “new political order.”


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