[News] An Al Quds day letter to Tony Blair. From Lauren Booth, in Iran.

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Sat Sep 4 13:02:46 EDT 2010

An Al Quds day letter to Tony Blair. From Lauren Booth, in Iran.

By Lauren Booth
3 September 2010

Dear Tony,

Congratulations on your political memoir becoming an instant 
bestseller. I'm in Iran and have the only copy in the country.  I can 
tell you, its so fiercely fought over, it's worth its weight in 
WMD's. Note to Random House; have 'A Journey' translated into Farsi 
and Arabic asap, it'll fly off the shelves in this part of the world.

Tony, yesterday I went the Al Quds day protest in Tehran. You may 
have heard of it? It's the rally where Iranians gather to protest 
against Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine, including the Holy 
city of Jerusalem.

I'm being sarcastic by asking if you've heard of Al Quds day, because 
I know you have. It is your  very worst nightmare right? After all 
Tehran  is the place where politics and Islam intertwine.

Personally I've never understood this fear of 'political Islam' it 
seems to me that religious people should always be educated on world 
events rather than kept in ignorance. Like say, Mid West Christian 
Zionists in the US The kind of folk who can't find their home city on 
a map of their state but re certain they hate Islam even if their not 
sure whether its a type of curry or a foreign make of veh-ic-ule.

Anyway, yesterday, I stood in the midst of more than one million 
Iranian Muslims all chanting in unison 'Marg Bar Isre-hell!' and 
'Marg Bar Am-ri-ca!' You know what that means Tony I'm sure ; 'Down 
with Israel, down with America'. The men, women and children around 
me withstood a day of no water and no food (it's called Ramadan, 
Tony, it's a fast). Coping with hunger and thirst in the hundred 
degrees heat, as if it were nothing. They can withstand deprivation 
in the Muslim world. Here in Iran they  feel proud  to suffer in 
order to express solidarity with the people of Palestine. It';s kind 
of like the way you express solidarity with America only without 
illegal chemical weapons and a million civilian deaths.

  Some mothers at the rally wept, not out of hatred for 'the West' 
but out of empathy for the mothers of Rafah, Khan Younis, Nablus and 
Jenin. Do you recognise these place names Tony, as Middle East peace 
envoy you really should. Israel has massacred children in all of 
these cities in recent years. Didn't you know?

Today when the streets of London reverberate with cries of 
'Allahuakbar!' and 'Down Down Israel.' Christians and Jews will join 
the thunderous cries of 'Down Down Israel, marching shoulder to 
shoulder with  the 'political' Muslims you say you fear so much.

Perhaps you believe that I am in danger in Iran, especially on a day 
like Al Quds. Well here again Tony, you've been fed and have consumed 
in its entirety, a massive lie. The lie that says when Muslims 
express an opinion in groups, in public, it is always spurred on by 
hatred  of 'us' infidels. As if all protests that are led by Muslim 
communities are a kind of long held grudge against  the Crusades.

Perhaps they should be more, not less angry here than they are Tony. 
Because having read the postcript to your bestseller its clear you 
are on a modern Crusade.

The 'conflict' between Palestine and Israel is according to you all 
about religion and has nothing at all to do with the ethnic cleansing 
of the Arab population, nor the degredation of those who remain 
beneath the boots of their Israeli occupiers. You say that Arabs have 
and always will see 'Jews' as enemies. For God's sake Tony do your 
history. And if you're going to run a 'Faith Foundation' then better 
gen up on Islam 101 don't you think? Did your pals in Tel Aviv forget 
to tell you how many thousands of Jews lived in Historic Palestine in 
harmony with their Arab neighbours before 1948? Do you really not 
know that even today tens of thousand of Jews reside contentedly in Iran?

I've sat with  Muslim families, those whose children have been burned 
by Israeli/US phosphorous bombs. Those who are still suffering hunger 
due to the Israel siege of Gaza. Those who have lived through the 
early days of sanctions against Iran when they needed food vouchers 
just to live. And every single Muslim in these suffering families has 
the same message ; 'We don't hate anyone for their race or their 
religion. We cannot hate Jews they are in our holy book it is against 
the teachings of the Koran.' But Tony let me ask you this. Why should 
any people, Muslim or otherwise, be expected to put up with this kind 
of constant threats from you and your bosses in Tel Aviv and 
Washington? Do you have any understanding of what it is like to live 
in Gaza? Under siege, attacked with chemical weapons, your children's 
schools razed to the ground by Israeli missiles, your hospitals 
shelled, your electricity limited, your water undrinkable?

Actually Tony I think you are a sypathetic person. I actually think 
that you do feel twinges of pain  at the hardships suffered by 
millions in the Middle East as a direct result of your support for 
Israel. Then you put that feeling to one side, because on a 
fundamental level - you think 'they' deserve it don't you?

In your book you say you knew full well how many Beirut homes were 
flattened, how many civilians died in Lebanon in 2006. Yet you 
dismiss Lebanese rage about Israeli occupation of 'Shebas Farm' as 
being an irrelevance, about a 'tiny' amount of land. You cannot see 
it as part of the constant pressure on  Lebanese society as a whole 
by their  heavily armed aggressive Israeli neighbour. You see it as: 
'Israel is attacked. Israel strikes back.' As if Israel lives in 
placid peace, being kindly to all around it in between these massacres.

As other world leaders came out to demand Israel immediately cease 
its 2006 bombing raids on Lebanese cities, you stayed silent.

'If I had condemned Israel' you say in your book 'I would have been 
more than dishonest. It would have undermined my world view.'

Your world view is that Muslims, are mad, bad, dangerous to know. A 
contagion to be contained. Your final chapter is a must read here in 
the Middle East Tony, congratulations! For it lays out the 'them' and 
'us' agenda of your friends in Washington and Tel Aviv.

In the final chapter you say; 'we need a religious counter attack' 
against Islam. And by 'Islam' you mean the Al Quds rallies, the 
Palestinian intifada (based on an anti Apartheid struggle Tony, NOT 
religious bigotry), against every Arab who fails to put their arms in 
the air as the F16 missiles rain on their homes and refugee camps 
andsing a rousing chorus of  'Imagine all the people...'
When you say 'extremism' must be 'controlled and beaten' you mean 
that you and your kind of morally bankrupt (but filthy rich) world 
leader wants control over the rising solidarity spreading through the 
Ummah and being joined by activist of all creeds on the streets of 
Paris, London, Bradford, Rome.
'Not only extremism must be defeated' you have written but 'the 
narrative' ' has to be assailed.'

Iran is indeed the place where Islamic tradition meets political action.

They are highly aware of the history of this region, the wrongs 
perpetrated by Israel against Palestine and the political 
machinations of the US and the UK governments to isolate them.. All 
thing considered and nice as the people have been during my stay. I 
wouldn't recommend coming over on a book tour though...

Lauren Booth
Broadcaster and Journalist
Mail on Sunday
Press TV, UK
Article originally appeared on Gilad Atzmon (http://www.gilad.co.uk/).

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