An Open Letter to the Israeli People
I write to you as an Iranian as well as an American person, and write to you with great urgency. I know that some, maybe most of you, know what I am about to tell you, but somehow cannot admit it publicly. Maybe in such situations a mirror from outside can help.
We’re All Led by Mad Men
Let me begin with something basic. Your government in Israel is led by crazed fanatics who would have you believe that the Iranian state, perhaps equally crazed and fanatic, is bent on an insane obsession with Israel’s destruction. You are being told to believe that Iran is capable of doing such a thing as destroying your country, Israel, which everybody knows is in possession of hundreds of nuclear warheads that can be used to defend your country. Of course, your government knows all this fully well, and can easily verify that Iran can do no such thing physically, in no way existentially, and definitely not militarily.
In the United States of America a law seems to have been passed authorizing the Federal Communications Commission to mandate news organizations operating in the US to automatically apply, much like an ‘if-then’ computer code, a semantic rule dictating that, if and when the Iranian president’s name is mentioned, the following must be inserted: ‘He has repeatedly and regularly called for the complete and utterly thorough annihilation of Israel and all Jewish people’.
This claim, of course, is a lie; which means it is not true, and the automatic repetition of this claim does not help. The need felt for such repeated pronouncements can only prove that, in the eyes of the executives of Western propaganda outlets, people share their most fundamental learning habits with dogs (no insults intended upon dogs, who remain mostly misunderstood by humans).
Simplistic repetition of anything, as most teachers would tell you, gives the learners only a shallow and mechanistically embedded type of information; not knowledge at all. Not very good ideological practice, and it definitely does not go deep enough. True understanding comes when you stop repeating, and start experimenting with words, with concepts, with mathematical rules, chemical structures, physical laws, or with, if you prefer, observing birds singing the way they do.
Believing things just simply because they are repeated daily, weekly and monthly (much like you might have heard repeated about Jews during the Third Reich, let’s say) is not a practice that you as a Jewish Israeli would readily take up, is it?
The most fundamental question that needs asking is this: When did everybody make that magical leap I seem to have missed from evidence to ‘belief’? Since when did it become international diplomatic protocol to simply bow down to any stated ‘belief’ of a political leader of a country? Why should we simply take statements that are never backed up by evidence and are stated purely as ‘beliefs’ as bases upon which we decide to allow the destruction of entire societies? Are we back at the Dark Ages again?
Unfortunately, some prefer to act as if they do not understand how this basic irrationality is so insane. As a result, we can easily fathom how we may be brought to a point where the US government, equally mad and fanatical, currently stuck in the midst of a nightmarish quicksand scenario, can be seduced into finding excuses that can be utilized to externalize blame and to lash out desperately, in order to expand the chaotic hell of its own creation in the hopes that in the ensuing jungle the elephant with the biggest stick may keep trudging on and expanding the ruins for a bit longer.
We’ve Seen Worse
As president Chirac of France has said, and as just about every person on the streets of any Iranian as well as most other cities would know, using nuclear weapons simply cannot be a serious consideration in the mind of a realist or even any of the most religiously adventurous human beings in Iran. So, if regardless of all reality and reason, your governmental wishes come true and a military strike is achieved against Iran, know that we have seen worse.
I am speaking to you as a human being with five thousand years of history. In our long and multifaceted history __ I am now talking as an Iranian __ we have seen people far worse than what the Americans and your own Israeli military-torture industry can dish out; we have seen beasts far uglier, more barbaric and ceaselessly more careless. We have seen the murderous armies of Alexander from Macedonia, the Arabs and the Mongols.
More, at the time of the Arab’s conquests, they were equipped with Islam; a new way of thinking back then fresh out of the ideological oven, a thousand times more compelling than the miserable insult of an ‘offering’ the Westerners can afford to bring to their conquered subjects these days, which is: boys and girls (especially girls) locked out of schools, women kept at home in terror, or turned into prostitutes or forced to occupy other positions deemed ‘suitable’ for women; or along with our men turned into pimps, servants, and functionaries, or else in prisons, tortured or dead; our natural resources looted; our multinational heritages raped; our civilizations robbed; our peoples thrown away like garbage.
To top it, in this day and age of post-industrialism, not even electricity is provided for the conquered peoples! That’s how inept western imperialism has become. It can only destroy and do nothing more.
The point that all of us have to realize is that our ruling elites, hand in hand with their governments, create hoopla virtually out of thin air these days, just so that they will not have to deal with real and concrete social problems created out of the rampages of late-modern capitalism and its insane logic of organizing our social relations, such as they are.
Here is a question that I modestly propose you ask yourselves as Israelis: How have your lives’ conditions changed in the past thirty years? Do you feel more secure? Is this the kind of life you would like to live permanently? Does it not concern you that, to maintain the conditions for the normal reproduction of your lifestyle, such inordinate amounts of misery must be suffered by others on a daily basis?
You need to ponder this seriously: maybe it is because of your troubles at home that you keep lashing out murderously at the world outside your house?
It seems you really do have an existential crisis, not because of threats or acts of others, but because of your own way of living. In what exact image are you making yourselves? The image from the outside is not pretty at all. On the inside, I can easily imagine at least two clearly separate and disparate perceptions, one Jewish and the other Palestinian; not counting the class and gender cross-divides, nor the religious-secular divide. How can there not be such separations, when your leaders, in an unsightly ode to separateness, have just about walled up your entire country in the most bizarre imposition of a ghettoized barbarity?
It is a legally, and definitely socially, sadistic act to construct an apartheid wall zigzagging its way around a country, in the process stealing more land, when in real, simple, clear and concrete, official language, in the form of signed treaties, there are no official borders ever declared by the state of Israel!
One last point: a state that engages regularly in the practice of treating ‘the other’ as garbage has as little concern treating ‘its own’ as disposable.
So, brothers and sisters in Israel, I will leave with this: tomorrow, at breakfast table, if you take it for granted, when you wake up, that your house has not been demolished by the state, and if you wake to the reality of your kitchen still being intact as a matter of certainty, unlike any given Palestinian family’s expectations for their day ahead, look at your children, and do not think how lucky you are, or how unique a person you are, for you are neither unique nor lucky. Think instead of the neurosis-filled fleeting happiness of your breakfast, since you know in the front, back and center of your mind the immensity of the cruelty with which that momentary happiness has been paid for. Do you really need your breakfast table’s quasi-tranquility to be brought to you daily through even more misery?
The way of peace and social justice for all is the only realistic, not simply and merely idealistic, way forward. As long as we let our states drag us through endless, senseless wars to defend against this or that abstract enemy and as long as we let violently inspired absurdities ruin real lives of generations after generations, we will not know peace, and, among all our thousands of potentials, will only continue excelling at our skills of cheating, lying, killing, torturing and maligning others.
REZA FIYOUZAT can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org