Another day, another cringing apologia for theocracy in The Guardian’s comment section. Abbas Edalat’s take on events would be little more than an interesting insight into the official Iranian line if it were not for the strong suspicion that Seamus Milne, the Guardian’s comment editor based in the vilayet of Farringdon, probably agrees with every single word of it.
Edalat is the sort of person who can, without irony, describe the capricious, look-at-me gesture of President Ahmadinejad to release the captured British service people (in time for Easter, bless!) as ‘generous’. It’s a bit like calling a burglar, who makes a few quid selling his loot on a market stall, ‘enterprising’.
The magnanimity of the Iranian President is only matched by the unreasonable behaviour of the British government, which, in deciding to involve the UN security council and the EU, was ‘seeking to add an unnecessary international dimension to the dispute’. It’s not often that one hears Tony Blair criticised in the pages of the Guardian for being too multi-lateralist, but, then again, it’s not often that one reads much criticism of Iran for being too unilateralist either.
One sentence in particular deserves a footnote:
In 2004, a similar incursion involving British service personnel in Iranian territorial waters was resolved in a matter of days, with guarantees that such incursion would not occur in future.
What Edalat fails to mention is that these personnel were released only after having been forced, blindfolded into a ditch and made to endure a mock execution.
The hastily tailored suits given to the sailors as a parting gift yesterday, as well as the prompted insistences on the part of the personnel that they were being treated well and ‘with respect’ (in so far as someone who has been kidnapped and put on television can be treated respectfully), were meant to serve as crass counterpoints to the disgusting pictures of orange boiler-suited detainees being wheeled around the grounds of Guantanamo Bay. It suits the Guardian’s woozily directionless liberal agenda to dwell on this false analogy whilst studiously ignoring the many depravities meted out by the Iranian secret police against socialists, trade unionists and other dissidents in its country.
The original socialist and internationalist position is that we are ‘all in the same boat’. It’s fitting that the Guardian should use a dispute involving the navy to illustrate the fact that it has jumped ship.
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