Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Seeing the Other

When we think of the tragic schism between Iran and the US we are mindful of the differing concepts of religion, human rights, the power of the state, national sovereignty, Judaism, military power, and the European Holocaust, inter alia. Is there hope or hopelessness in our wish for peace and comity between the two countries? Is Iran a pariah state or is the US?
Quiz: in what document do the following quotes appear?
1. "Promotion of human rights includes respect for those communities whose ways of life, means of subsistence, knowledge and practices depend directly on their local environment."
2. "Efforts to encourage sustainable development must recognise the relationship between human rights and the environment and ensure their mutual benefits are realised. Without integrating human rights and environmental protection, sustainable development and the green economy will not succeed."
3. "Effective alleviation of poverty constitutes a fundamental aspect of achieving sustainable development."
4. "Human rights and the environment can play an integral, indivisible role in achieving sustainable development and equality of access to basic needs such as freshwater, food, and employment while demonstrating how environmental and human rights policies affect each other and can support each other in common cause."
5. "Recommend that Civil society, including both women and men and non-governmental organisations, actively participate with governments and communities on the basis of equality in the development and implementation of sustainable development programmes."

1. Tehran Declaration on Human Rights and the Environment 2009
2. Human Rights and the Environment: Rio+20
3. Tehran Declaration on Human Rights and the Environment 2009
4. Human Rights and the Environment: Rio+20
5. Tehran Declaration on Human Rights and the Environment 2009

Every time Hezbollah attacks anyone--either as terrorists or as insurgents--they are smearing a bad image all over Iran. It is a pity and one wonders how people can sink to such levels of bloodthirstiness.

Every time a US drone kills a member of the Taliban plus a few children and other civilians who live or travel with Taliban members, the US sinks in worldwide esteem. One wonders how low they will go in their arrogance and murderousness.

When someone from the West hears some official from Iran rambling on and on about how glorious Allah is and the Prophet May Peace Be Upon Him we wonder how can people be so backward?

When someone from Iran hears some US official horking on interminably about gun rights even when little children have just been slaughtered by some angry white man with hideous guns that Iranian must wonder at the profound sickness in America.

Guess what? We are all full of it and we are all redeemable. We are all good on the outside with an evil core and we are chameleons who look horrific on the outside and are reachable and empathic within. We are human. Iranians, Americans, all human.

Humans mostly operate with some primal relationship to the Maslowian hierarchy and are long-suffering. They look out for themselves first, their closest relatives next, their "types" next, their nation next. Show me the truly compassionate selfless ones who don't operate that way and I'll show you someone not in power, someone most exceptional indeed.

So, security is key. Physical security, food security, shelter security all outweigh doctrine, profit, conflict management methods and pretty much everything else. You convince Iranians that Americans threaten security and you have Iranians willing to fight. You convince Americans that Iranians want to hurt Americans and you will get permission to act belligerently toward Iran.

The idea is to rip the lies off the real motivations.

Look at the conflict industry. Look at who's in political power, look who is making the nastiest high profits. See who is gaining from conflict and stop listening to them or their agents. Once we do that, we see the Iranians' security is indivisible from ours. Start there. The rest will follow.

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