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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

May 4, 2014 - 4:38 pm

In the melting pot of the Beltway, anyone branded with a press pass regularly gets an earful from cab drivers and the like about international politics.

I wasn’t wearing any media badges, though, when I sat down for a leisurely patio lunch with my puppacita on Saturday. The restaurant had just opened, and I got a secluded table at the back of the patio area ringed with hedges to enjoy a Pellegrino and grilled chicken with red peppers and gruyere. As you can see in the photo below, the puppacita got doggie ice cream and a dish of water from the waiter.

My waiter, for whom I’ll use an assumed name because his wife still needs to deal with Iranian authorities in her quest for U.S. citizenship, came to check on “the baby,” as he called her, a couple of times, remarking how much his wife would love the puppacita. He began to elaborate that dogs aren’t traditionally kept as pets in his home country of Iran despite a modern shift toward more people desiring pet ownership — “If the police see you with a dog, they will take it from you and put it in the pound,” Farid said.

The regime brands dogs as un-Islamic, though my waiter noted that’s not in the Quran.

And that got Farid going.

If Iranian society had continued as it was under the shah, he theorized, today Iran would a booming center of intellectual capital, math and science, arts and entertainment, and an international destination. It would celebrate the roots of the Persian culture instead of a history that began in 1979. A revolution that, Farid stressed, ruined the whole image of the word “Iranian.”

“Because of the revolution, when I go to an airport and my U.S. passport says ‘Iran’ for country of origin, I am always pulled out for the security check,” he lamented. “They are nice about it and I’m happy to do it, but it is because the mullahs ruined it for us.”

We shared frustrations about how some people consider Iran’s elections to be legitimate even though the candidates are screened and handpicked by the Guardian Council, and how people erroneously consider Hassan Rouhani to be a “moderate.” We talked about how some people in the West still don’t comprehend that it’s all in the hands of the puppetmaster, the supreme leader.

“They are worse than Hitler,” Farid said emphatically of the Ayatollah Khamenei and his minions.

Farid knew by the middle of the conversation that I write a lot about Iran, but I found myself hoping what he did: that his warnings about the regime might meet the ears of a person less educated on the nefarious government in Tehran, the one that hangs opponents from cranes and sits down at a negotiating table with the administration.

And speaking of tables, any waiter who spends that much time calling out the ayatollah gets a 35 percent tip.

 

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
Top Rated Comments   
Treatment of dogs is a bellwether to me. Any society that fails to see the intrinsic value in the domesticated dog is a society that has nothing positive to contribute to the civilized world.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
During my freshman college year (1978), the neighboring Huge State U hosted a pesky Iranian Muslim Students Association, whose Student Union HQ room was next door to that of the Science Fiction Society, where I hung out now and then. When I asked a friend what kind of neighbors they made, he answered, "I haven't taken them seriously since they held their Death To The Shah bake sale last year." Well, you can imagine how they celebrated when the Shah fell at last... only to learn, to their horror, that they were now considered to be morally compromised by their time at a (gasp!) American university - and could never go home again. Schadenfreude...
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dog hatred in Islam isn't in the Qur'an, but it is canonical in the hadiths. Here's just one from Bukhari (4:539) - "Narrated Abu Talha: The Prophet said, "Angels do not enter a house which has a dog or a picture in it." You have to wonder about a society that treats its women like dogs and its dogs like vermin. I hope your waiter's wife escapes that hell-hole and can someday go walking with her own Puppacita. :)
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (30)
All Comments   (30)
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You must always be careful because the enemy of your enemy isn't always your friend. In 2004, I was in Camp Ashraf, Iraq. This was the home of the Mujahadeen el Khalq, a marxist Muslim Iranian terrorist organization. They had participated in the takeover of our embassy in 1979 then had a falling out with Ayatollah Kholmeini who killed around 100,00 of their members (not little girls) driving them into Iraq. They were chameleons (pragmatists charitably) who sidled up to us because we had the power. After having dealt with them, I don't know that Iran would have been any better under them or the Ayatollahs. No matter what they say, I wouldn't trust them.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...marxist Muslim Iranian terrorist organization." Somehow that description sounds worse than "Satan the Devil from Hell"!!
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I got a secluded table at the back of the patio area ringed with hedges to enjoy a Pellegrino and grilled chicken with red peppers and gruyere. As you can see in the photo below, the puppacita got doggie ice cream and a dish of water from the waiter."

Wow. You and I live on different planets. I had to read that three times to know what you were talking about.

That said, watch your back. The isolationists and America-haters will be in a frothing lather that you had the audacity to suggest that the US-backed (oh, the humanity!) Shah, maybe wasn't such a bad alternative after all...
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have MANY friends in SoCAL who "escaped" from Iran during the fall of the Shah's government. Some are Persian Jews, & others are Persian-Armenian Christians, (ALL certainly unwelcome by the Islamic extremists who "took" the country). In the case of the Armenians, they were descended of those who fled communism or escaped the Turkish invasion. NONE of these people had a kind word for the current Iranian regime.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Georgetown, my friend, Georgetown...a truly surreal place and yes, a different planet.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Northern Virginia, actually -- very dog friendly
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hmm. I never heard of doggy ice cream OR gruyere.... I'm guessing Northern Virginia isn't too country-boy friendly.

Nonetheless, the substance of your column is spot on. Thank you.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
This sounds like a typical SoCAL Menu, I am used to. Cute Doggy, so nice of the restaurant to be so "dog-friendly". I LIVE that about L.A.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
V S Naipaul's Among the Believers was written from his experiences visiting Iran at the time of the revolution when the left was supporting the revolution not realizing that they would get the chop the minute it succeeded. Well worth the read. Also the naivete of the leftist idealists of '79 bears a remarkable resemblance to current day leftist idealists residing at very good addresses in out nation's capitol.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Shah's "brutal" SAVAK killed 500 people (terrorists) during their tenure,
the terrorists killed 20,000 in that same time.

The Shah was a brilliant, patriotic humanitarian who made one big mistake.
He proposed a non- Arab Muslim trading bloc.
Persia, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Western India, Madagascar, Malaysia, a few others.
Non-Arabs outnumber Arabs 3 to 1, and they aren't as crazy.

So Carter and the Saudis funded and promoted an Arabist Lenin pedophile, Khomeini.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The current leaders in Iran know and understand the koran just fine. They're doing exactly what it says to do. You cannot have a modern world and islam peacefully coexist (for want of a better word) together. They are diametrically opposed to one another. Muslim true believers will always want to kill, rape, enslave and persecute non-muslims because... IT'S IN THE KORAN!
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
And about that hanging from cranes thing.
100,000 little girls hung, 30 at a time in warehouses, in 1980.
For the crime of being little girls.

The old, slow strangle kind, little toes trying to scrape the floor for 20 minutes kind, not the British 'mercy snap'.
Not a gosh-dam word from the human rights bunch, either.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why? What were they accused of?
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Being seductive. 6-13 year olds, in hijab, such sinners.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes. Not many people know that. By definition, these are death by slow strangulation, not hangings.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do you have a link for that? I've Googled but can't find a thing.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Found it after 9/11 on a Catholic woman's website.
Rather extensive, with Persian newspaper clips and photos.
The point of the article was that nobody except Iranians knew, where it was headline news during the first two years of the Revolution.
Down the memory hole.

Her unforgettable tagline:
"If you can read, thank a teacher.
If you can read in English, thank a soldier.
If you can read without lifting your veil,
thank a Catholic!"
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
I talked with an Iranian spy.
He ruefully said, yes, the little people loved the Shah. LOVED him.
Only the Tudeh student communists and the Islamists wanted him gone.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
During my freshman college year (1978), the neighboring Huge State U hosted a pesky Iranian Muslim Students Association, whose Student Union HQ room was next door to that of the Science Fiction Society, where I hung out now and then. When I asked a friend what kind of neighbors they made, he answered, "I haven't taken them seriously since they held their Death To The Shah bake sale last year." Well, you can imagine how they celebrated when the Shah fell at last... only to learn, to their horror, that they were now considered to be morally compromised by their time at a (gasp!) American university - and could never go home again. Schadenfreude...
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
RE:
"....but I found myself hoping what he did: that his warnings about the regime might meet the ears of a person less educated on the nefarious government in Tehran, the one that hangs opponents from cranes and sits down at a negotiating table with the administration."

.......shouldn't that thought be changed to read, "... m o r e .... educated on the nefarious government in Tehran"... ? ......that hangs opponents from cranes.

Or, changed to read ...." .....less educated BY the nefarious government in Tehran...?

We seem to have a bunch of crass amateur nouveau arrivistes in the White House and State Dept. who are preening around and exercising in their new authority, basically clueless about pragmatic international "stuff".
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dog hatred in Islam isn't in the Qur'an, but it is canonical in the hadiths. Here's just one from Bukhari (4:539) - "Narrated Abu Talha: The Prophet said, "Angels do not enter a house which has a dog or a picture in it." You have to wonder about a society that treats its women like dogs and its dogs like vermin. I hope your waiter's wife escapes that hell-hole and can someday go walking with her own Puppacita. :)
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Without dogs what would civilization look like.

First and foremost there are these use of dogs by shepherds. without dogs how much greater would livestock loses be. As many early communities lived near the edge, some of those livestock uses would have sent them into extinction perhaps. Pastoralists were key intransmitting goods and knowledge between Central Asia and China.

In prehistoric Kazakhistan would horse riding have been happened as early as it did without dogs acting as on of the pack. That is protecting humans and their livestock? Delay the domestication of the horse or raising them in great number as and perhaps riding happens a few hundred years or millennia later.

There are hadiths to teach children archers and horsemenship. How can you have horses without dogs to guards the flock from wolves?
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Treatment of dogs is a bellwether to me. Any society that fails to see the intrinsic value in the domesticated dog is a society that has nothing positive to contribute to the civilized world.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Being raised around both cats & dogs, I would have to add that cats have been valued for thousands of years for keeping rodents out of food supplies. For those of us who love them, (mine laid on my bed & wouldn't leave my side when I was suffering with cancer/chemo). Sadly, I just lost her a month ago to lymphoma. Pets are such good friends & can help us heal!!
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The dachshund at my feet says 'woof' in agreement.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think you mean "yap". ;-)
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't mess with dachshunds. A friend had one that gutted a doberman in a fight. Yes, a doberman.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe. But it still says "yap". ;-)
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of course dogs are un-Islamic.

They can't recite the Shahada.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
But they can do "Jingle Bells"! ;)
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
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