Friday, January 20, 2006

Middle East Bloggers, Unite!

Hi All,

We've posted about my friend Brian's blog before ("In the Axis"--about his time in Syria) and again I'm going to crosspost something he wrote there. His analysis of Iran is spot on and I'd been meaning to write something similar for awhile now, but he beat me to it.

Since we've got Iran and Syria covered, we just need to find an American blogging in Iraq and we'll have fully reconstituted the "Axis of Evil" on the 'net. If we can get someone in Lebanon too, then we will have created the virtual "Shia Crescent" that some "leaders" in the region are worried about.


January 15, 2006

Middle East Bloggers, Unite!

I first started posting to this blog with the idea that I could share day to day experiences in Syria with people back home. The people of Berks County and the people of the broader United States get a healthy dose of the Middle East on the TV and in the newspaper, for sure. But the countries we read about in the news are not made of terrorists, bombings, and other unsavory news events. They are made of ordinary people, people who share most of our needs, expectations, joys, and fears. It sells newspapers, boosts television ratings, and makes self-serving politicians happy for us to believe otherwise, but such commercial and political interests do not change basic human realities.

One country that has been demonized in our media to the point of caricature is Iran. The scowling and heavy-browed countenance of Ruhollah Khomeini has been conflated with the entire Iranian nation, and Iran now embodies the very essence of evil in our peculiar American comic-book style pandaemonium. Yet Iran, as I have written, is one of the most sophisticated countries in the Middle East, and the antidote to the virulent forms of Islamism we see today may in fact lie in the very Iranian clerical classes that we now demonize.

Iran is a cultural, political, and scientific powerhouse in the region, and it would behoove us to kiss and make up once and for all. Israel, to a great extent, is yesterday, but Iran is tomorrow, and it is time American policy makers adjust our 'special relationship' accordingly. We have a choice between a resource-poor pseudo-democracy of five million who spend over two billion unaccounted dollars of our tax money annually to make much of the world hate us, and a rising oil-wealthy juggernaut of 70 million who we have made mortal enemies mainly because they dared crawl from underneath our boot.

The Iranians make darned good kebabs as well, I should mention.

Enough about what I think. The purpose of this entry is to direct your attention to the site of my friends and fellow American Mideast bloggers Robert and Sara, who are staying in the very heart of the Axis of Evil, in the holy city of Qom, Iran. Robert is doing doctoral research there, Sara is exploring like mad, and they are keeping an excellent and descriptive blog of their experiences in this fascinating country.

Check it out!


Blogger huma said...

you guys are famous -- sara the explorer -- that's something for the resume

3:14 AM  

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