NIGHTLINE UPDATE: Reader Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom sends these thoughts:
I caught a few minutes of that, uh, footage of Bahman Farman Ara on last evening’s “Nightline.” It was shot almost as if it were an art house film — with odd cross-cuts and a mist filter, and with pregnant pauses between edits used to punctuate what the producers must’ve thought were Ara’s most trenchant “observations.”
Instead, it came across as a kind of Iranian-flavored This Is Spinal Tap. Honestly. I thought ABC New was kidding.
Reader Mazdak Atighi saw it this way:
I didn’t see the show, but read a transcript and I have to respond to Aaron Schatz’s interpretation. First of all, the point of the show, as Koppel’s intro makes clear, is to give an airing to a point of view we may not be hearing. That explains, I think, the lack of comments from Koppel while Farmanara speaks. As for what Farmanara has to say, he never blames 9/11 on U.S. foreign policy. He does say “We have to discuss, we have to communicate, you have to understand the hatred that is all over.” Particularly coming from an Iranian, who has a legitimate case to make against the U.S. for the CIA-led coup there in 1953, this strikes me as eminently reasonable. . . .I know several Iranians who grew up here (from early childhood, in large, cosmopolitan cities) who have gone to Iran and live there and love it. They don’t love the mullahs and just about all Iranians resent the stranglehold religious authorities have over the political/judicial apparatus of the state, but it’s not nearly as intrusive as Mr. Schatz may believe (and it’s not illegal for women’s heads to be uncovered in their own homes). In short, a little sanity, please.
Well, this BBC story about the popularity of mint-flavored condoms in Iran certainly suggests that Mr. Atighi has a point about, er, certain aspects of Iranian society at least. Meanwhile, reader Doug Allen writes:
I completely agree with what Aaron Schatz wrote to you. I missed the introduction but watched the final 20 minutes or so. I was appalled that Nightline, a show I used to regard highly, chose to present this man’s views in such a manner. I will be interested to see if an individual from a similar strata of Israeli society is given the same folksy platform to air her feelings about the Islamic world. I won’t be holding my breath.
The show reminded me of the days when Vladimir Posner used to be a guest, and they would discuss issues with the pretense/assumption that the Soviet Union was just like us. Ten years later we know what a pile of crap that turned out to be.
Yeah, whatever happened to Vlad, anyway? He had a talkshow for a while, but that cratered.
UPDATE: Reader Brian Miller writes:
I just read the comment written by Mazdak Atighi that you posted about last night’s Nightline program. He says:
He does say “We have to discuss, we have to communicate, you have to understand the hatred that is all over.” Particularly coming from an Iranian, who has a legitimate case to make against the U.S. for the CIA-led coup there in 1953, this strikes me as eminently reasonable. . . .I know several Iranians who grew up here (from early childhood, in large, cosmopolitan cities) who have gone to Iran and live there and love it.
While I don’t have a problem with the vast majority of what he says, this quote in particular belies (in my opinion at least) a serious bias that all to often goes unchallenged. I am so very tired of hearing that something the US did half a century ago needs to be taken into account when a person or a group needs cover for actions they are *currently* taking. If that is the best cover someone can come up with, it’s nothing more than a smoke screen. But now as I think about it, if this can reasonably held up as “the cause” of a nations current actions, why don’t we just back the hands of time up a decade further and use the actions of various Arab nations during WWII as justification for just about anything we damn well please with respect to the middle east today. Hmmmm… I’m guessing the apologists for the Arab tyrannies of the current middle east might just take exception to that.
Yeah, they got off pretty much scot-free for their support of the Nazis. That may have set a bad precedent.