Do not please the rulers in a way that incurs the wrath of Allah. And if they come up with innovations of which you know not, stay aloof from them; and remain strong against them, even if you were tortured, deprived or rusticated, so that Allah may be pleased with you! Surely, Allah is Most High and it does not behoove to displease Him, by pleasing His creatures. (Abu Dharr al-Ghifari - may Allah bless him with mercy - attributed in Al-Amail, ch. 20, #4).
This video is an episode on Abu Dharr from the famous series on the last 10 years of Imam Ali (AS) made by Iranian TV - the series is dubbed in Urdu, with English subtitles.
The notion that academics and scholars are honest intellectuals who strive for objective research, and are independent of government (and other) influences is nice sounding, but is nothing more than a myth.
This is especially the case post 9/11/01: The US led War on Islam and Muslims, has resulted in an increased demand for "scholars" and "academics" of Muslim and/or mid-east backgrounds who would willingly act as "researchers" and "policy writers." These "scholars" then produce, and/or facilitate the production of articles, books, and magazines that attempt to justify American Imperialism to what, in their racist assumption, is an ignorant, and unwitting Arab and Muslim population.
A few background resources that readers can consider are:
1. A talk by Hatem Bazian on the Empire's Embedded Intellectuals (audio): Part I and Part II
These types of "scholars", however, are not only restricted to the ivory towered universities - increasingly, they are employed by pro-empire "think-tanks" such as the Brooking Institute and Council on Foreign Relations. It is these "think tanks" that provide the imperial scholars with funding, resources/contacts, publicity, and the cloak of "objective respectable" scholarship. However, as the links above show, these think tanks are anything but "objective" and are, infact, all about providing the intellectual rational for maintaining imperial supremacy.
Now, lets take a closer look at Haleh Esfandiari, an Iranian citizen who is being held by Iran's government on alleged espionage charges and "acting against national security." The right wing and liberals are presenting Esfandiari as if she is just a "scholar" and an "academic." Well, a closer look suggests that she is nothing of the sort:
Esfandiari is the Director of Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (sounds nice don't it?). This "center for scholars" is, infact, a US government outfit - its trustees are all appointed by the President of the US (i.e. Bush). Infact, both the Chairman and Vice-Chairman raised major funds (over $100,000 for Bush and Co.'s electoral campaigns) . The other trustees either belong to major corporations, or, are affiliated with the US government, including the US Secretary of State: Condoleezza Rice. The president and director of this center is Lee H. Hamilton who is on Bush's Homeland Security Advisory Council.
A major supporter of Esfandiari is the neo-con American Islamic Congress whose founder, Zainab Al-Suwaij, strongly advocated for the invasion of Iraq, and is now involved in its so-called "rebuilding" efforts. Others involved with this "congress" and their backgrounds are listed here.Riffat Hassan, the pro-Mu(Bu)sharraf Progressive Muslim scholar is also part of this "congress."
The American Islamic Congress are the ones who set up the Free Haleh website, with another neo-con friendly group called "Freedom House" whose board includes the notorious neo-con and anti-Iran, author Azar Nafisi.
Esfandiari was also a presenter at a 2004 conference sponsored by the notorious Zionist lobby AIPAC, her panel was titled:
Revolution From Within: Can the Iranian People Reclaim the Republic? (Convention Center - ROOM 144 ABC):
-- Mr. Philo Dibble, deputy assistant secretary, U.S. Department of State
-- Ms. Haleh Esfandiari(*), Middle East Project consulting director, Woodrow Wilson Center
Esfandiari's work at this "center for scholars" appears to be focused on women's issues in the "middle-east." An interesting publication is something called "Building A New Iraq" that is focused on "Regional Strategies for Empowering Women." A cursory look at the publication suggests that it is all focused on how women are working for "democracy" in Iraq. There was not one word about the horrendous loss of life that is due to the American occupation, nor did I find any "strategy" that included a call for American withdrawal from Iraq and the "region." The very title "Building a New Iraq" should be a give away about what is going on. Who is doing this "building" and what exactly is this "New Iraq?"
Now, one might call this type of "scholarship" outright US government propaganda, but to suggest that this kind of work has anything serious or relevant to offer for Iraqi women, or any woman is, quite frankly, ludicrous. How is that a "scholarly" publication is talking about people living under occupation, and who are witness to an incredible level of destructive violence primarily due to that occupation, totally ignores that reality?
Now, specific to Esfandiari's case, she is infact an Iranian citizen and, as such, it is even more problematic that she should affiliate herself (a director no less) of such an organization, while the US not only has no diplomatic relations with Iran, but also has been issuing threats after threats, including nuclear threats. While one can possibly fault the Iranian government for being over zealous at times, it is difficult to fault them for being cautious, when one of their own citizens is acting as Director of an imperialist and hostile government's think tank. And frankly, the kind of company she has been keeping in the US does not do her cause a whole lot of service.
***A recent statement by the Iranian government suggests that they are not exactly ignorant of the US "democracy promotion" and what this might mean for the Islamic Republic:
“The truth of the matter is that those bodies are under the umbrella of such titles as democracy, human rights, and are playing the role that their intelligence and information services used to play against countries in question in the past"
…the NED Foundation, relying on the cooperation of other US foundations, theoretized the model of East Europe’s collapse, matched it with the situation in Iran, and tried to pursue it as a project.”
some of those foundations send invitations to Iranian thinkers to give lectures, participate at seminars, or to present research projects, allocating budgets to such activities… trying to choose active partners in our country and link them to the decision maker circles and organization in the United States.”
Another interesting twist to the case is that there is a supposed "momentum" to do an "academic" boycott of Iran over her case. But Palestinian advocates who have campaigned for a boycott against the Zionist entity for years, still remain without much of a momentum? Why ? How does one individual, who is with a US government affiliated think tank, get all this momentum, but a boycott against the Zionist entity responsible for killing hundreds and thousands, bombings, dispossession, occupation of an entire people fails? Even the oh so (not so) great, Noam Chomsky has been vague, if not outright against boycotting the Zionist entity. What might this double standards be about?
This kind of racist thinking, that ignores the horrendous occupations, is at the heart of the ongoing (but obviously failing) imperialist drive of the US - and the imperial scholars make the situation only worse by providing an intellectual veneer.
****Calling Cheney a dinosaur is a grave insult to Barney and all dinosaurs! Iran should be grateful that Barney is the forgiving type.... otherwise... *****
The last living dinosaur found in Washington roamed over to the Middle East to growl his final breaths from the deck of USS Stennis American aircraft carrier. Funny how a nearly extinct species chooses another nearly extinct species of a vessel as a setting to bemoan his imminent departure from a life drenched in the innocent blood of his victims.
The US Vice-President Dick Cheney heaved what may well be his last threat against the Islamic Republic of Iran from among officers and men aboard a symbol of the US past as a so-called sole superpower in the ever Persian Gulf.
And while Cheney was busying himself with his little publicity stunt the knives were already being unsheathed in Washington for a welcome home party on Capitol Hill reminiscent of the final welcome Julius César received at the Senate in Rome. Moves to impeach Cheney for consequences to the US of his fossilized Neo-Conservative policies in the Middle East have already begun. A befitting end to a career spanning mass murder, torture, and racketeering, can only be playing the fall guy for President George W Bush.
The changing face of warfare is something that those of Cheney’s light intellectual caliber have evidently not fathomed. The totally extinct dinosaur Donald Rumsfeld did not grasp the new realties of warfare and the advanced doctrines at play either, which is perhaps why he went extinct. Wave after wave of fighter jets, tanks, armored personnel careers, advanced ships and helicopter gunships have failed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Six US occupation troops were killed and another three taken prisoner while Dick Cheney was still in the Middle East.
Perhaps US occupation forces would have a better chance of survival if their vehicles are up-armored with Dick Cheney’s skull because evidently nothing has managed to get through his skull if he still believes that he can threaten Iran militarily at a time when the so-called US troop surges in Iraq have not made the slightest bit of difference to the tragic state of insecurity and daily slaughter of innocent civilians.
Whether the US oil giants Chevron and Exxon may have done well out of their chief lobbyist Dick Cheney’s visit to Iraq is another story. Cheney did not travel to Baghdad out of concern for the US troops stranded in a lose-lose situation, nor did he pay his surprise visit out of compassion for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian fatalities brought about as a consequence of his decisions in occupied Iraq. Mr Cheney went in the hope of sprucing up his shares’ values in US oil companies seeking to impose their terms on the Iraqi nation via a law called the “Iraqi Oil Theft Law” by the press.
Mr Cheney must have believed everything he saw in the recent Hollywood film “300” put about the battle of Thermopile between the Persian Empire and Greek city states to have dared threaten Iran. However myths do not make for facts otherwise the US vice-President would not be arriving in Baghdad International Airport wearing a bullet proof vest.
Last summer 278 lightly armed Hezbollah commandoes stood against the might of the Zionists regime’s reputedly fourth best army in the world in southern Lebanon. Thirty thousand Zionist soldiers backed by tanks, artillery, state of the art battleships and hundreds of US manufactured jet fighters bombing Hezbollah positions around the clock failed even to get a toe hold in Lebanon. They were sent packing back in disgrace to the patch of usurped land they call Israel with the Zionist sponsored Western press trying to put the best face on their humiliating historic defeat through calling the 33-day War inconclusive.
The Hollywood flick “300” was put together from images obtained from a children’s comic book and combined with some Greek self-congratulatory fairy tales. The US trained and equipped Zionist army’s defeat at the hands of just 278 Hezbollah commandos allegedly trained by the Islamic Republic’s forces, happened only ten months ago.
While the anti-Islam (pro "enlightened moderate") puppet regime of Musharraf fiddles.
The Chief Justice of Pakistan (that the puppet Musharraf dismissed) was to address the High Court Bar in Karachi. A major rally was planned by the opposition parties to welcome the Chief Justice, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.
Last week, the Chief Justice addressed a large rally in Lahore that was without any incident. The huge size of that rally, however, shook the puppet regime of Busharraf, and they decided that a similar rally would not be allowed to take place in Karachi.
The Karachi rally was blocked by the puppet regime's hired goons from the semi-fascist "political party" MQM - whose leader gives orders from London. The puppet regime's hired goons opened fire (using automatic, and semi-automatic weapons) on opposition rallies all over Karachi - resulting in over 30 dead, and hundreds injured. This is what democracy, American puppet style, looks like.
However: it is interesting to note that just a few weeks back the same semi-fascist party, MQM, held a rally against Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa. But, at that time, the liberals remained quiet, thinking that MQM was on their side. Now that Busharraf's attack dogs have targeted everyone: liberals, religious groups, lawyers - one would think the liberal elite would come to their senses. But, if one is to read recent articles by the liberal elite commentators, they still don't seem to have learnt their lesson, and think that if they just replaced one "enlightened moderate" with another (maybe Benazir Bhutto - an American puppet in waiting) everything will be OK.
Fact is, if Pakistan, indeed any country in the region is to have any real independence - it has to first, and foremost, become independent of American style "roshan khiyalism" (enlightened thinking)- that might be better termed zalim khiyalism (oppressive/obscure thinking). And its so-called "leadership" needs to stop looking to the American State Department for stamps of approval.