“Global Coalition of the Willing,” Ordinary Iranians’ Style: Resistance multiplied by Ethics plus Justice minus Oppression divided by Aggression

August 02, 2019

“Global Coalition of the Willing,” Ordinary Iranians’ Style: Resistance multiplied by Ethics plusJustice minus Oppression divided by Aggression

by Mansoureh Tajik for The Saker Blog

“Global Coalition of the Willing,” Ordinary Iranians’ Style: Resistance multiplied by Ethics plus Justice minus Oppression divided by Aggression

For a brief moment in human history, or what feels like only a fraction of a second now, the United States of America experienced a mirage of a position, dubbed a “superpower,” self-appointed1. Those who lacked ethical and moral imagination went along with that coronation2. Or, perhaps they were just humoring it until a better replacement came along3.

Internally and externally, the United States maintained its illusion of superpower status through the application of diverse tools, some hard and harsh, some soft, and some gray in nature. On the economic front, it mass produced an industrial-scale fiat currency4 as a trading tool and adopted games of chance, fundamentals of speculation5 and gambling as its “genius” economic principles. It manufactured large bubbles of debt6, mimicking a toddler’s birthday party, then divided and sold the airs within as investment bonds. The illusion of trust in an untrustworthy entity was the collateral. No worries though. Whenever the time got ripe and the bubbles burst, sophisticated air-capturing devices and adjustment tools were customized, nicely packaged, and were readied for retail. The hamster on the wheel of finance kept on running but never arriving; alas, the chicanery of economic progress was kept alive.

On the military front, the United States dropped two atomic bombs killing and genetically maiming hundreds of thousands of people for generations to come. In the Eyewitness Account of Hiroshima, August 6th, 1945, Father John A. Siemes, then a professor of modern philosophy at Tokyo’s Catholic University, concluded his remarks by saying:

“We have discussed among ourselves the ethics of the use of the bomb. Some consider it in the same category as poison gas and were against its use on a civil population. Others were of the view that in total war, as carried on in Japan, there was no difference between civilians and soldiers, and that the bomb itself was an effective force tending to end the bloodshed, warning Japan to surrender and thus to avoid total destruction. It seems logical to me that he who supports total war in principle cannot complain of war against civilians. The crux of the matter is whether total war in its present form is justifiable, even when it serves a just purpose. Does it not have material and spiritual evil as its consequences which far exceed whatever good that might result? When will our moralists give us a clear answer to this question?”7

While the “moralists” on whom Father Siemes pinned his hopes seventy four years ago were too busy theorizing about their own slumber, the United States of America stockpiled thousands of ready-to-be-deployed nuclear bombs, as fear-inducing threat tools. It deviated enormous amounts of world’s precious resources into the development of military hardware and software gadgets, using “defense” and “American interest” as its rationale8. It then created chaos and mayhem all over the planet9 as its pressure lever to sell death toys to teeny-weeny boys10—expensive batteries not included and costly -900- numbers for instructions on operations and maintenance11.

On the public relations and propaganda front, it used industrial-scale colorful media forms12 as its tool to lie, to cheat, and to fool. It is useful to remember that the United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, freely burnt alive and made melted charcoals13 of tens of its own defenseless and unarmed mothers, fathers, and children in Mt. Carmel, Waco, Texas14. It bravely broadcasted, live, the entire event on several television networks for days to nip it in the bud for its own agitated population exactly how low it is capable of sinking to maintain its clutch and subdue dissent. For sure, that trick alone silenced many for a few years, Timothy McVeigh15 and his disloyal company excluded, while it worked on another script for another terror-inducing spectacular performance. Too many tricks to remember and too many tools to recount in this short essay; but at last, the jig is up.

Internally, the house has fallen on moral, ethical, justice, and economic grounds, but has forgotten to collapse. Those who cannot see this need corrective lenses or the right standards to evaluate and measure things. Externally, and more relevant to our topic here, the structure of the world’s power relations and alignments are changing rapidly in a tangible and measureable way away from the United States’16 autocratic clutch. While the self-absorbed and the infatuated speak of dangers of a power vacuum, others are quite busy realigning themselves. Let us remind ourselves of Saxon White Kissinger’s poem about delusions of indispensability,

“Sometime when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how they humble your soul;

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining
Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.”17

Coalitions, partnerships, and algebraically aligned groups of countries around the globe, some with hybrid letter-number titles of “this plus that minus the other,” are emerging left, right, and center. Even multi-billioners, themselves cheerleaders and enablers of the Empire of Illusions, are busy, like rats, circling the globe door to door to release their poisonous capital in the hope of infesting another Titanic, another morality-free sinking ship into making. There is a buzz that George Soros is trying to establish his own anti-war ‘Code Pink’ group (should name it Code Navy Blue, perhaps). No doubt, the irony would not have been lost to George Orwell had he lived to see it.

Enough eulogizing. What do all these mean, or should mean, to ordinary people and local community groups around the world? That is, for what, where, when, why, and how should the very people who often shoulder the brunt of all the dregs that roll downhill prepare themselves? For the rest of us, too, no matter what positions we hold and what relationships we have with the rest of the world, the same questions apply. I and the local community groups with and within which I work are grappling with these questions on a daily basis. We are doing what we can to ensure that our short and borrowed lives on this earth is worth the breaths we take. Many of us find ourselves feeling increasingly fortunate to live in Iran where doing so many things in so many ways is possible. More fortunately for us, the general frameworks within which we ask questions, analyze situations, design solutions, and implement them are all intertwined and enmeshed in our culture and belief system: Quran, Our Prophet’s and Imams’ teachings, and an important element called “Al-Hekmah” or the Wisdom. So, how do we evaluate the current transformations in the world around us and how do we try to choose the correct position and make a difference? Here, I present a brief and simple snapshot of our local-universal eye-view.

Firstly, Quran’s ethical teachings, as exemplified through the words and deeds of our Prophet, Imams, and pious scholars, tell us that there is no separation of religion and politics in Islam. As Allammeh Seyyed Hassan Modarres (1249 – 1316 HS, parallel in date with 1870-1937 AD), a religious sage and one of the champions of Iranian Constitutional movement, said in one of his most famous speeches, and Imam Khomeini, the Founder of the Revolution, quoted, “Siasat-e ma eyn_e dianat_e ma, va Dianat_e ma eyn_e Sia’sat_e mast.” (“Our politics is exactly our religion and our religion is exactly our politics.”) The paragraph from which the line is borrowed reads,

“The source of our politics is our religion. We are on friendly terms with the entire world so long as they have not aggressed against us. But, if anyone aggresses against us, we will respond. Our politics is exactly our religion and our religion is exactly our politics.”18

Notwithstanding a particular religious belief and appealing simply to human logic, how would it even be possible for someone to have an authentic personal and private ethical and religious belief about, for instance, “thou shall not kill the innocent,” and live, work, and play within the rules and regulations of countries and political systems that kill innocent people to generate revenues and to maintain their national economic lifestyles of choice? Or, appealing to a more rudimentary level of human thought, how could we possibly afford not to be political, when the concentration of the very oxygen in the air we breathe, the amount of poisons with which our waters and foods are laced, the diseases we suffer, the so-called cures we are allowed to access, our fertility, our sexuality, our freedom to move from point A to point B are all determined by politics? Are we living with our heads buried in the sand?

Given these realities, for our people and local community groups here, being political is not a matter of choice but a religious obligation, a human necessity, and a critical survival instinct. Since we cannot avoid this, we do our utmost and take great deal of care to be well informed in order to be able to choose the right (as in correct) politics. People here take the trouble of going that extra kilometer so that, God forbids, they do not end up assuming they are on the right side and the followers of Imam Ali (the first Imam of Shi’a belief) and Imam Hussein (the third Imam of Shi’a belief) but, in fact, do things that are tantamount to carrying water for the turbines of Mo’avieh and Yazeed (Father and Son corrupt tyrants in Ummayyad dynasty against whose policies the Shi’a imams stood, resisted, and eventually got martyred).

Secondly, our religion and our pious religious scholars teach us that we should neither oppress others nor submit to oppression by others. So, our resistance has at least three dimensions: one, we must resist our own urges to oppress others, while at the same time, resist being sucked into siding with oppressors. Two, we must resist oppression against ourselves by anyone. Three, whenever and wherever we hear the cry for help of the oppressed people (Muslim and/or non-Muslim), we are obligated to respond and help, within our means and capacity to do so, and in a sound and appropriate way. Standing silently on the sideline and keeping quiet out of fear or greed is not an option for us. People here commemorate Imam Ali as the epitome of excellence in justice and in “qist” (particular form of justice). They commemorate Imam Hussein as the epitome of resistance against oppression and injustice. When you hear the chants of “Kullu Yau’men Ashura, Kullu Arzen Karbala” -Every day is Ashura, Every place is Karbala, it is useful to remember that today’s Karbala extends from Afghanistan to Yemen to Syria to Palestine to Nigeria to Sudan to Caracas and to any other place on the globe that people are fighting injustice, resisting oppression, and asking for help.

This stance is not just an isolated religious belief of some uninformed local community groups. It is written clearly into our constitution, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran19. In Article 2, Section 6.c, and in Article 3, Section 5,6,15, and 16, it reads:

2:6.c – the negation of all kinds of oppression, authoritarianism, or the acceptance of domination, which secures justice, political and economic, social, and cultural independence and national unity.

3:5 – the complete rejection of colonialism and the prevention of foreign influence.

3:6 – the eradication of all kinds of tyranny, autocracy, and monopolization of power.

3:15 – the cultivation and strengthening of Islamic brotherhood and general cooperation among the people.

3:16 – the organization of the nation’s foreign policy based on Islamic criteria, fraternal commitment to all Muslims, and unrestrained support for the impoverished people of the world.

Any of our elected and/or appointed officials who would tell you otherwise, is either ignorant of the very law he must uphold (in which case, shame on him) or he has gotten to his position by lying, cheating, and swearing to uphold the very laws he is deliberately breaking (in which case, he is a hypocrite and double shame on him). On a bright note though, the ordinary people in the trenches feel extremely blessed that the most senior person in their land, the Leader, is also the most steadfast champion and the flag bearer of the constitution. To put him on a sanction list means to put the Iranian constitution and millions of ordinary people in local communities on a sanction list. Of course, had the US done differently, we would have questioned our own authenticity.

More generally though, as the current situation in the world unfolds, it is useful to remember some basic facts. No imperialist, no arrogant power, no superpower wannabe operates in a vacuum. There are always cheerleaders, enablers, junior and senior accomplices, profiteers, and conspirators. Regardless of what their mouth says, their action speaks louder. Let’s consider a simple example. The Unites States was able to spend trillions in military adventures killing millions of innocent people around the world and expropriating their resources in two fundamental ways: 1) It shortchanged its own tax-paying population, the young, the retired, and even the unborn in all sorts of social and public rights and amenities. 2) It kept on issuing treasury bonds on its accumulated debt, currently about 22.5 trillion dollars20, with People’s Bank of China, Central Bank of Japan, and naïve citizens21 as its most devoted purchasers.

To speak inside a parenthesis and to be totally candid, the ordinary people here find Japan’s “I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up!” attitude which has lasted nearly 74 years quite puzzling. Once upon a time, they lost a war. Who doesn’t at one point or another? Now that it happened, shouldn’t they stand up, dust off, and shake off this subdued and subservient house servant role and assume an independent position with dignity and self-respect? I am told. As Imam Hussein said, “If you do not have any religion and are not fearful of the Day of Judgment, at least be protective of your liberty and autonomy in your life in this world.22 People hope and pray to God that hardworking and noble people of Japan will rise up and will one day free themselves of the US occupation. Again, regular, ordinary people here are genuinely willing to provide support, if the Japanese themselves are willing to fight for their independence.

We will assume being under occupation by the US is Japan’s excuse. But, what has been China’s excuse? China has been buying the US debt as an export-led strategy to ensure its economic growth23. Therefore, to the extent that China, out of self-interest, has acted as an enabler of the United States aggressions and wars, it, too, is responsible. Its development, too, is contaminated with the crime and injustice against, and the blood of innocent people proportionate to the amount of advantage it had gained through its indirect support of those acts. We will not even address its voting record, until just a couple of years ago, as the UN’s Security Council permanent member. Now that it, too, is a target, its change in behavior is not trustworthy enough because it does not appear to be based on ethical and moral principles. It would not be illogical to assume that the moment the direction of winds changes, it is likely that China’s current stance would change, too.

Therefore, for ordinary people in local communities here, that is, the very same people who are active, and who willingly volunteer their own lives and their children and spouses to go and fight alongside those who resist oppressions and hegemony by the US and the West, these and other critical points and lessons will not go unchallenged and unlearned. Only those who have a proven record of being honest and trustworthy, of acting on principles, and steadfast in their resolve fighting against oppression are worthy of trust and long-term partnership, regardless of their race, nationality, and religious affiliation. Others must work much harder, regardless of what they profess to be.

As the entire world is moving on, and as partnerships and coalitions are constantly dissolving and forming, and as the nuclear strike buzzes & hypes are being heard again, I would like link back to the beginning of the essay and re-insert, again, the quoted parts of Father Siemes’ remark, but this time, I complement the segment with a new twist in interpretation and prediction. He recounted,

“We have discussed among ourselves the ethics of the use of the bomb. Some consider it in the same category as poison gas and were against its use on a civil population. Others were of the view that in total war, as carried on in Japan, there was no difference between civilians and soldiers, and that the bomb itself was an effective force tending to end the bloodshed, warning Japan to surrender and thus to avoid total destruction. It seems logical to me that he who supports total war in principle cannot complain of war against civilians. The crux of the matter is whether total war in its present form is justifiable, even when it serves a just purpose. Does it not have material and spiritual evil as its consequences which far exceed whatever good that might result? When will our moralists give us a clear answer to this question?”7

I can guarantee anyone who reads these lines that ordinary people in local communities here in Iran are fully aware that what is currently going on is, in fact, a total war against their very existence. They also know there is no difference between civilians, soldiers, and [they add] our Commander in Chief (Seyyed Ali Khamenei). Should one, two, or more nuclear bombs be added to the United States’ repertoire of its pressure levers in its ongoing total war against Iran, unlike the Japanese, the ordinary devout Shi’as in Iran (who are quite significant in number), from all levels of the society, are not going to be sitting around philosophizing, musing, and theorizing about whether or not the total war against them was justified, where all the moralists have gone, or play the role of an obedient house servant. Furthermore, they are not going to enter into a shock & awe state, not knowing what to do. Bihawl’lallah wa Quwwatah (By God’s Power and Might), they will, however, make sure that will not end the bloodshed; rather, it will begin a very effective and exact bloodshed. From my reading of the population here, I can bet my life on that. Can the US, holding tight and fast to its nuclear Trump card, be equally sure of its own bet? If yes, Bismillah.

Mansoureh Tajik lives in Alborz Province in Iran. She has a background in teaching and research in the areas of community and environmental health, environmental justice, and media literacy. She collaborates with various local community members, groups, and organizations to provide support in addressing health and environmental problems, sustainable agriculture, and in design, implementation, and evaluation of relevant improvement projects.

References

1. Thomas Donnelly, Donald Kagan, and Gary Schmitt (2000). “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New American Century,” A Report of The Project for the New American Century, September 2000. Accessed on 7/9/2019; Available online at: https://archive.org/details/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.

2. Fotios Moustakis & Rudra Chaudhuri (2006). “Counting the Cost of an American Unilateralist Policy: a Superpower at Risk?” Published By: Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Conflict Studies Research Centre, Special Series, 06/43. ISBN 1-905058-88-8, August 2006, UK.

3. Jan Nijman (1992). “The Limits of Superpower: The United States and the Soviet Union since World War II.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 82, No. 4 (Dec., 1992), Pages 681-695. Published by Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of the Association of American Geographers.

4. Steven Russell (1991). “The US Currency System: A Historical Perspective.” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, September/October 1991. Accessed on 7/9/2019; Available Online at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/c909/a844511a78720c5d2800170c06109d797fde.pdf

5. Ricardo J. Caballero, Emmanuel Farhi, and Mohamad L. Hammour (2006). “Speculative Growth: Hints from the U.S. Economy.” The American Economic Review,” Vol. 96, No. 4, Pages 1159-1192.

6. Nathan Perry (2014). Debt and Deficits: Economic and Political Issues. A GDAE Teaching Module on Social and Environmental Issues in Economics. Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University, Medford, MA.

7. The Manhattan Engineer District Report (1946). The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Manhattan Engineer District of the United States Army under the direction of Major General Leslie R. Groves on June 29, 1946. Accessed on 7/25/2019; Available Online at: https://www.abomb1.org/hiroshim/hiro_med.pdf

8. Office of Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) Chief Financial Officer (Feb. 2018). Defense Budget Overview, Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request. Generated on 2018Feb02. Ref. ID: A-6E677F4. Accessed on 7/25/2019; Available Online at: https://dod.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/FY2019-Budget-Request-Overview-Book.pdf

9. Sarah N Pedigo (2016). “United States Interventions: Power Vacuums and the Rise of Extremist Groups.” Master of Arts (MA) Thesis, Sociology/Criminal Justice, Old Dominion University, DOI: 10.25777/86pc-ex82 Available Online at: https://digitalcommons.odu.edu/sociology_criminaljustice_etds/6

10. Zahra Aghamohammadi1 and Ali Omidi (2018). The Prospect of the United States and Saudi Arabia’s Relations In Light of the Khashoggi Murder. Journal of World Sociopolitical Studies, Vol. 2, No. 4, October 2018, Pages 605-632.

11. Congressional Research Service (2019). “The U.S. Export Control System and the Export Control Reform Initiative,” Updated April 5, 2019. R41916· VERSION 49.

12. Sebastian Kaempf (2019). “A relationship of mutual exploitation’: the evolving ties between the Pentagon, Hollywood, and the commercial gaming sector.” Journal of Social Identities, Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 25:4, 542-558, DOI: 10.1080/13504630.2018.1514151.

13. Official Death Reports, Autopsies and Other Reports of the Davidian Dead. Accessed on 7/26/2019; Available Online at: http://www.holocausts.org/waco/death/reports/county-list.html

14. Timoty Lynch (2001). “No Confidence: An Unofficial Account of the Waco Incident”. Policy Analysis, No. 395, April 9, 2001, Pages 1-18.

15. Linder, Douglas (2007). The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Trial of Timothy McVeigh, University of Missouri at Kansas City – School of Law, Posted on Nov. 17, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1030565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1030565.

16. Robbert Kappel (2015). “Global Power Shifts and Challenges for the Global Order.” German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, Policy Paper 2/2015.

17. Saxon White Kessinger (1959). “Indispensable Man.” Available Online at: http://www.appleseeds.org/indispen-man_saxon.htm.

18. Hossein Razmjoo (1366 H.S.). “Modarres and His Principle Non-Equilibrium in Politics.” Meshkaat, The Center for Computerized Research in Islamic Sciences, Dr. Shariati College of Literature and Humanities. Original in Farsi, Translated by the author.

19. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran (English Version). Available Online at: https://www.wipo.int/edocs/lexdocs/laws/en/ir/ir001en.pdf

20. US Debt Clock. Accessed on 7/26/2019; Available Online at: https://www.usdebtclock.org/

21. Kimberly Amadeo (2019). “Who Owns the US National Debt? The Biggest Owner is You!” The Balance. Accessed 7/26/2019; Available Online at: https://www.thebalance.com/who-owns-the-u-s-national-debt-3306124

22. Muhammad Baqer Majlisi (1403 HQ). Translation, by the author, of a portion of Narration (Hadith):

ان لَم یَکُن لَکُم دینٌ و کُنتُم لاتَخافونَ المَعادَ فَکونوا اَحراراً فِی دُنیاکُم

from Bihar ul-Anwar, 2nd Edition, Vol. 45, Page 51.

23. Ingvild Borgen Gjerde, DNB Markets (2019). “Why China will not sell its US Treasuries.” The Note, Market Matters, 15.05.2019. DNB Markets, a division of DNB Bank ASA. DNB Bank ASA is a part of the DNB Group.

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