[News] An Al Quds day letter to Tony Blair. From Lauren Booth, in Iran.
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
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...
Broadcaster and Journalist
Mail on Sunday
Press TV, UK
Article originally appeared on Gilad Atzmon (http://www.gilad.co.uk/).
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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