Feaful Ahmadinejad turns to impure dogs

Posted in Iran | 01-Dec-07 | Author: Judith Apter Klinghoffer| Source: History News Network

It is hard to make this stuff up. At first sight it seems that if a man's life were not at stake, the story would be funny. Alas, it is not as it reveals that Ahmadinejad who tries to strut on the world stage like a giant seeking martyrdom is nothing but as the Russian press reported, a fearful midget. So fearful, in fact, that he even enlisted impure dogs to protect him.

blogger Reza Valizadeh wrote that the "canines were deployed to sniff out possible explosives on November 14, before Ahmadinejad's appearance at an annual press exhibition. The sweep left exhibition visitors standing outside the venue for several hours." The four dogs were purchased in Germany at $150,000 each. Dogs are not used by other Iranian leaders' security teams. Indeed, they have not been used in the country during the 28 years of the Islamic republic's existence. Muslim (if not Zoroastrian) dog ownership is controversial because the Koran considers dogs impure.

The Shia docrine prescribes:

The water left over in the container after any type of animal has drunk from it is considered clean and pure apart from the left over of a dog, a pig, and a disbeliever.

There are ten types of filth and impurities: urine, feces, semen, carrion, blood of carrion, dogs, pigs, disbelievers.

When a dog, a pig, or a disbeliever touches or comes in contact with the clothes or body [of a Muslim] while he [the disbeliever] is wet, it becomes obligatory-compulsory upon him [the Muslim] to wash and clean that part which came in contact with the disbeliever.

This means that areas sniffed, touch, licked by dogs must be considered impure. Religious Iranians cannot but be surprised by their president's willingness to defile an area before entering it. It is not an action he could have taken lightly. He must be truly petrified. Just as illuninating is the fact that though the press exhibition must have been swarming with reporters, only one blogger dared reveal Ahmadinejad's religious transgression.

Reporters Without Borders freedom of the press index ranks Iran 166 out of 169 countries. What does that mean? It means that a journalist such as Akbar Montajabi had to change jobs 20 times. Last year I was told by an Iranian reporter I met in India that all his stories must be based on 6 approved sources. Even that does not protect reporters from paranoid Ahmadinejad. Reporters are routinely arrested, harassed, killed.

Ayfer Serçe, a Kurdish-origin Turkish journalist of the Euphrates news agency, was killed in late July by the Iranian army in Keleres, in the northwestern province of Azerbaijan. She first appeared to have died during an operation against Kurdish rebels but evidence received by Reporters Without Borders showed she had been killed on her way to the border after finishing her assignment. She had gone to the region in early July to investigate a spate of suicides by Kurdish women. The Iranian authorities refused to explain how she died or return her body to her family.

Three years after Iranian-Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi was arrested and murdered after photographing families of prisoners outside Teheran’s Evin prison, her killers have still not been identified.

Now, all reporters dare protest is their own treatment:

Valizadeh's arrest comes two days after dozens of Iranian journalists and intellectuals issued a statement to protest the jailing of journalists who are critical of the Iranian government.

One of the signatories, journalist Issa Saharkhiz, told Radio Farda on November 26 that a government crackdown on journalists has intensified in recent months. "There are some who are sitting and thinking of ways to fill up Iran's prisons. Unfortunately, we now see this not only in Tehran but also in the provinces," Saharkhiz said.

Saharkhiz added that journalists and media workers have lost their jobs as a result, and society has been limited to a "single voice."

In recent weeks, several journalists have been detained or charged in cities like Ahvaz, Rasht, and Sanandaj.

With reporters so effectively silenced, bloggers man the front lines. In addition to Reza Valizadeh, Maryam Hosseinkhah who writes on women's issue has also been arrested in the last 10 days:

It is within this context that a reader named Ahvazi left the following poignant comment on Kamangir's website:

The price of a German Dog: $150,000

Bail to release an Iranian: $50,000

If Reza was a dog he would have been valued highter!

Let me quote Mr. Khomenie when he said “An American dog has more rights in Iran than an Iranian”.

I like to say that “A German dog has more rights in Iran than an Iranian!”

When all said and done, life in one totalitarian state is very much like life in any other. Everybody lives in justifiable fear and the leader in constant paranoia. Just go see the brilliant movie, The Lives of Others. Forget all about cultural differences. 2007 Iran is very much like 1985 East Germany. Only scenery, costume and language are different and they are not and will never be the heart of the matter.