Sunday, September 26, 2010

Carnival of lies

New York city, August 2010. The carnival of comical lies came to town and with it came a man who has lost whatever little credibility he had, who has become the focal point of jokes in international community for his absurd denials and even more hilarious claims. The annual visit of the funny politician from Iran was just concluded and as expected, his visit brought much attention to the strange and bizzare world that exists in his head.

At the same time, I cant hide my dismay at how we over-estimated the intelligence of integrity of the western journalists. Or could it be us. Could we have been caught up with Iran’s affairs so much that we missed the woods for the trees. We relied on journalists whose priority was clearly not the tragic state of human rights in Iran. When there is promise of more trips and interviews with the little dictator, which naturally begets more sponsorship and advertizing, it would be suicidal for the reporter to shoot himself in the foot by asking tough and sensible questions that leave little wiggle room for escape for the cunning dictator.

Judging from Larry King’s abysmal interview that last less than half the time taken for his sponsors’ ads and the repeat of the same mundane and inane questions on topics that only feeds Ahmadinejad’s self aggrandizing agenda. It only reinforced the belief that Larry ought to limit himself with interviews with the likes of Justin Bieber or American Idol drop outs and leave serious politics to others.

Speaking of serious politics, I am reminded of Charlie Rose’s pitiful attempt to interview Mahmoud, where at one point, Charlie exclaimed he was given a guidebook by Iran’s human right watch on the true face of the regime, the truth about abuse of Iranians prisoners and many more topics. Charlie said: “I was requested to ask you about the human rights abuse in Iran …” and then, after raising everyone’s hope of finally seeing someone press Ahmadinejad on the topic believed to be his weakness, Charlie totally disregards his statement and asks about the nuclear program!

We cant expect the world to care for what we, Iranians care. Surely Christian Amanpour, an Iranian expat knows the truth and will have a different set of priorities than the other journalists. Alas! Aside from a half hearted attempt on the matter of stonning sentence of one Sakineh Mohamadi Ashtiani, she received a complete lie as reply and with no persistence she dived into safe waters of Sara Shourd story.

This year, unlike the last, all the journalists were supplied with enough info, data and stats by various groups to be able to counter any and all lies and falsified claims that are part and parcel of Ahmadinejad’s New York visit. And yet, money trumped integrity and humanity, as we have it.

Mahmoud’s visit ended with plenty of spotlight shined on him and his absurd lies and cover-ups, with American journalists getting a hefty boost of revenues for their mundane and redundant interviews with promise of more in Tehran perhaps. At the same time, news of closure of two more political parties, imprisonment of human rights activists and bloggers, and heavy handed sentencing of any voice of dissent ranging from years of imprisonment to execution fills the news feeds from Iran!

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