Tentatively, Convenience's Reviews > Confessions of Some Highranking MKO Terrorists As Aired on IRI T.V.

Confessions of Some Highranking MKO Terrorists As Aired on IR... by Islamic Revolutionary Prose...
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bookshelves: politics

It wd be even more ridiculous than usual to rate this bk so I'll leave it w/o stars. I picked this up in Australia in 2000. It seemed like something that wd be difficult to get in the United States b/c of the extreme hostilities between the US & Iran. I've had what seems like an unusually high number of (mostly or entirely superficial) brushes up against Iranian culture for at least 32 yrs now. I was superficially acquainted w/, eg, Reza Baraheni (author of "The Crowned Cannibals" - a bk against the Shah's regime) in 1977. Baraheni told me that he had been tortured by the Shah's secret police, SAVAK, by having his feet blowtorched.

This, in a sense, is where it starts to get complicated. The Shah's rule is widely acknowledged as having been a puppet regime controlled by the CIA. The Khomeini-led Islamic Revolution was largely instigated to rid Iran of the imperialism & brutality of such puppeteering - to put Iran under control of its own people again. So where did Baraheni go to to get away from the Shah? The United States. Not another Islamic country. Now Baraheni, who I have no reason to have anything but respect for, has nothing to do w/ this bk. I'm just trying to put things into context here. "Confessions" refers to the leader of the MKO, Rajavi, as having gone into exile in Paris to be protected by his imperialist handlers - his having gone to Paris is presented as despicable. &, yet, as a friend of mine pointed out to me, part of Khomeini's 14 years in exile were spent in France - however, that time, it seems, was unintentionally exaggerated by my friend. Here's a relevant quote from Wikipedia's entry ():

"Khomeini spent more than 14 years in exile, mostly in the holy Shia city of Najaf, Iraq. Initially he was sent to Turkey on 4 November 1964 where he stayed in the city of Bursa for less than a year. He was hosted by a colonel in Turkish Military Intelligence named Ali Cetiner in his own residence, who couldn't find another accommodation alternative for his stay at the time.[49:] Later in October 1965 he was allowed to move to Najaf, Iraq, where he stayed until being forced to leave in 1978, after then-Vice President Saddam Hussein forced him out (the two countries would fight a bitter eight year war 1980-1988 only a year after the two reached power in 1979) after which he went to Neauphle-le-Château in France on a tourist visa, apparently not seeking political asylum, where he stayed for four months. According to Alexandre de Marenches, chief of External Documentation and Counter-Espionage Service (now known as the DGSE), France would have suggested to the shah to "organize a fatal accident for Khomeini"; the shah declined the assassination offer, as that would have made Khomeini a martyr."

ANYWAY, when the Shah was overthrown in 1979 by Khomeini & others, that seemed all well & good to me - after all, why shdn't Iran be self-ruling? I remember a Baltimore artist named Bill White, selling toilet-paper on the streets of Baltimore w/ an image of Khomeini's face on it at the time. That struck me as politically idiotic. Nonetheless, I had no particularly positive expectations from the Imam's regime & wondered how Baraheni wd fare when he returned to Iran, along w/ many other exiled Iranian intellectuals, after the Shah left.

WELL, here's an excerpt from an online bio of Baraheni ():

"Baraheni returned to Iran in the company of more than thirty other intellectuals four days after the Shah fled the country. There was a misunderstanding in those days that every activist retuning to Iran after the fall of the Shah was going to be politically active. Baraheni, who had been a founding member of the Writers Association of Iran, had no political ambitions. He joined his friends in the association, and this time the uphill struggle for democracy and the unhampered transmission of thought, in fact, the battle against repression and censorship, was with the newly established Islamic Republic of Iran. Baraheni’s concentration was on three major themes: 1)the unhampered transmission of thought; 2)equal rights for oppressed nationalities in Iran and; 3)equal rights for women with men. In the wave of the crackdown against the intellectuals, the liberals and the left in Iran in 1981, Baraheni found himself once more in the solitary confinement, this time under the new regime. Upon his release from prison in the winter of 1982 under international pressure, he was fired on the trumped up charge of having cooperated with counter-revolutionary groups on the campus of the University of Tehran. He was not allowed to leave the country for many years."

At least Baraheni wasn't executed & he was still able to teach in the homes of friends & supporters & in his own apartment. SO, while the Islamic Revolution's culture is no doubt oppressive by my standards, it cd be worse - presumably Baraheni's international renown helped protect him. Currently, Baraheni lives & teaches in Toronto.

Back to this bk:

SO, predictably from my vantage point, Iran probably improved somewhat after the Islamic Revolution but still remained oppressive. The above, very brief personal intro is just an attempt to put things into my context - to give a slight basis for my POV. Wch brings me to my biases:

I HATE RELIGION. I CONSIDER FUNDAMENTALISM, in particular, TO BE A LEADING CAUSE OF STUPIDITY & MISERY IN THE WORLD. Christianity & Islam are neck-in-neck as oppressors. Zionism is behind them. In other words, Islamic Revolutionary Iran, where the Church has become the State, is a nightmare scenario for me. Nonetheless, to review this bk purely from that vantage point, wd be too cheap a shot. It's my intention here to TRY to be 'fair & accurate' - to be, perhaps ironically, what a Moslem might call a "seeker of truth" - even though I doubt that an atheist like myself cd ever be acknowledged as such a thing by IRI.

When I got this bk, I was fully expecting it to be propaganda - presumably the statements of political prisoners exacted under torture & threat of death - & such an expectation is even referenced in the bk itself. As such, I was expecting to be disturbed by the bk & to find it very difficult to find any traces of 'truth' in. &, yeah.., that's been the case.. sortof.

But what I get from the bk is more subtle, a more complex puzzle. If nothing else, I got a taste for IRI's self-definition & learned a little vocabulary. EG: MKO (aka MEK) stands for "Mujahideen Khalq Organization". To probably most people in the US, "mujahideen" refers to the warriors in Afghanistan who resisted Soviet occupation (w/ a little help from the CIA by way of Pakistan). But, "mujahideen" is just a term meaning "holy warrior" & "Mujahideen Khalq" means "holy warrior of the people" - so mujahideen doesn't necessarily refer to a specific group in a specific country. Same sortof goes for "hezbullah" - a word that frequently appears in this bk. Acccording to Wikipedia:

"Hezbollah[1:] (Arabic: حزب الله‎ ḥizbu-'llāh(i),[2:] literally "party of God") is a Shi'a Islamic political and paramilitary organisation based in Lebanon."

& that seems to be the common association.. - but in this bk it basically seems to just mean a supporter of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. As I understand it, the Lebanese organization, is inspired by Iran. To make matters even more complicated, Lebanon's Hezbollah is reputed to be more in favor of equal rights for women than Iran Islamic culture is. So even these 2 groups aren't exactly on the same page.

My problem here is that I can barely even begin to review this bk. The MKO is presented as a terrorist group effectively disbanded by the IRI as of the time of the bk's publication - &, yet, the MKO still exists today based in Iraq & temporarily disarmed, perhaps, by the US invasion there but probably kept around in case they can serve US military purposes. I FERVENTLY HOPE THE US DOESN'T INVADE IRAN.

If I'm to believe this bk, the MKO are a nasty bunch of misguided murderers & torturers indeed. Alas, as far as convincing critical readers goes, this bk shoots itself in the foot by excessively transparent propaganda moves like primarily referring to the MKO as the "hypocrites" - as if the word's synonymous w/ the name. At any rate, reading between the lines here, I'm sure that some particularly horrible struggles for power took place during the time of the Islamic Revolution & that the MKO have been far from innocent & pure in connection w/ the whole mess. Whether they were really responsible for ALL the atrocities outlined I have no way of 'knowing'.

What is, perhaps, clearer is that the Iran Public Relations projects a self-image as much against torture & terrorism & whatnot as the US (or probably any other country). In fact, they project MORE of an anti-torture image than the US did under the despicable (& entirely too long) Bush regime of 1980 to 2008. After all, under the 2nd Bush, the US government took the unforgivable position of CONDONING TORTURE! How did this country stoop so low?! Islamic Revolutionary Iran proposes a one-world government by Allah (aka the Islamic Church/State) & repulsive imbeciles like Reagan proposed a one-world government - in this case, under the leadership of the US of course. Khoemeini's (narrow-minded) Islamic Revolution had 'Allah on its side' & the US, according to President Truman, had "God on its side" when they committed the atrocity of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Religion provides despicable excuses for the worst crimes against humanity.

This bk can be read in English online. I have an English copy of it (I don't read or speak Farsi). Who is this English version aimed at? The price on the back is in Iranian money (rials). Is there such a large English-speaking readership in Iran to justify an English edition of this?! That seems particularly strange & unlikely to me. Regardless, I 'recommend' this bk to readers trying to get a grip on the politics of this area of the world - not b/c I think it necessarily represents the 'truth' but b/c reading it w/ a huge grain of salt can give a strong window into the violent ideological struggles at the root of so much death & destruction. Don't trust the IRI, don't trust the MKO, don't trust the CIA.

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Reading Progress

March 7, 2009 – Shelved
Started Reading
March 13, 2009 – Finished Reading
March 14, 2009 – Shelved as: politics

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