Saturday, June 21, 2003

Azam wrote about people from the MKO burning themselves. In April 2003, a suicide specialist in Iran wrote about the reasons for this happening in Iran. In fact he found that 70% of suicides in Ilam province were women. As far as I know, Iran (just Ilam?) and Afghanistan are the only countries where women commit suicide more than men; in all other countries men far outnumber women in this regard. It is no surprise that both are very patriarchal cultures. Also, Bemani is a movie which has self-immolation as part of its theme.

Lady Sun suggests some people think right-wing pressure groups (like Ansar-e-Hizbollah) are being paid by Americans! I could become angry and say "what a retarded concept!". However their beliefs are up to them. People having such beliefs only condemn Iran to more backwardness. Conspiracy theories are linked to blaming others for your problems, which is why many people say that it is "Afghan Arabs", and not fellow Iranians, who are beating up the protesters. Blaming outsiders cannot possibly solve Iran's problems. You can imagine what uneducated Iranians believe! E.g. "the world's economy is controlled by Jews", Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi talking about the former head of the CIA visiting Iran etc. I've even talked to a top student at the School of International Relations (who should know better) who was prepared to give credence to the belief that the CIA planned September 11. My friend from SIR understands English well, and got the idea from Patrick Martin. The cure for this kind of warped, crazy belief is world travel and an end to Iran's international isolation.

Elaine Sciolino has a great quote from the Shah about nuclear weapons. I read the Shah's "Answer to History" where he wrote about his huge nuclear power ambitions, but I didn't know that he publicly spoke of his weapons ambitions before now.

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