Maryam Namazie
Published in WPI Briefing
April 15, 2004

Mohammad Eskandari, the Islamic regime of Iran’s press attachĂ© at its embassy in London, wrote an article in the Guardian newspaper (April 14) entitled ‘Your history of folly in our region’. In it he says that ‘today’s Middle Easterner is convinced that the west only attaches a high value to westerners’ lives’ by giving an example of the minute of silence held for those killed in the Madrid bombings but not the innumerable killed in Iraq. He ends by saying that the future is going to remain ‘bleak and hopeless’ in the Middle East unless “at least three conditions are met: the people are taken into account, they are listened to and not prescribed a pre-packaged recipe from afar and that governments that draw their legitimacy from the people need to be supported.”

First off, in my opinion, it is downright offensive to hear a representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran speak about the value of human life. In case he’s forgotten, Eskandari represents a regime that is responsible for the execution of 100,000 people, stoning, hangings from cranes on street corners, floggings, the amputation of limbs, the institutionalisation of sexual apartheid in Iran, not to mention terrorism in the world including in Iraq and so on and so forth. His representing the value of human life of the people of the Middle East is no different than Bush representing the value of human life of those who died in the September 11 attack or that of the Iraqi people! Neither the USA and western governments nor the Islamic regime of Iran and the political Islamic movement give a damn about human life.

They are in fact two poles of international terrorism in the world today that murder countless innocent people either via state terrorism, i.e. dropping bombs on the people of Iraq, or via Islamic terrorism and suicide bombings. They only use the lingo of human life because they know that human life is valued and does matter to the vast majority of civilised people throughout the world and not just Middle Easterners! For Eskandari’s information, the majority of those killed in the Madrid terror attack were most likely opponents of the war on Iraq and valued human life. They vehemently opposed the Spanish government’s involvement in the war.

Which brings me to my second point. Eskandari looks at the west as one unit – as if the civilised majority that came out to oppose the war on Iraq are one and the same with the western governments that attacked Iraq. He does this in order to make it seem that he and his regime are one and the same with the Iranian people. Well they are not. Just as Bush does not represent the American people and those who died on September 11. Just as former prime minister Aznar does not represent the Spanish people. Just as Hamas and Al Quaeda do not represent the people of the Middle East. In fact, it is just the opposite. They are the cause for the deaths and human tragedies we are witnessing today in the Middle East.

Eskandari is right about one thing though – the conditions he says are needed if things are going to change: that the people must be taken into account and listened to. This is true. Unfortunately for him though, this is translating into an end to the regime he serves in Iran and into a global front of civilised humanity against both poles of international terrorism in the world today – USA-led and Islamic.

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