Dear Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei,
Leader of The Islamic Republic of Iran,
Besides your correct estimation of the youth’s intellectual capabilities in the West, your letter reflects a deep understanding of the incongruity between historical truths and journalistic integrity.
I think that the historical revisionism that has taken place in the West, with a critical eye on the motives and interests of powerful nations, is still an ongoing process far from completion. Historiography continues to privilege the West by extolling the virtues of the American revolution while scorning the vices of the twentieth century’s three great revolutions in Russia, China, and Iran.
The difference between the Departments of History and the field of journalism is in the degree of autonomy. Professors of history are able to combine critical thought with job security, whereas independently-minded journalists confront precarious work, adhering to the belief that the aim of journalism is to wrest the truth from the propaganda. This has been the case with such eminent journalists as Robert Parry and Gary Webb, whose drive for the truth cost them their jobs at The Associated Press and the San Jose Mercury News respectively. Major news publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times have had journalists not only on their payroll but also on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1977, Carl Bernstein, a former Washington Post columnist who went rogue, published an exposé in The Rolling Stone, later followed by a book-length exposé by Deborah Davis in 1979, which each exposed the CIA’s role in manipulating the mass media at home and abroad, dubbed by Deborah Davis as “Operation Mockingbird.”
It follows that the West’s reaction after the events in France and elsewhere over the right to the freedom of expression is a thin veneer, behind which is a vast array of propaganda factories weaving yarns for the consumption of war. This brings me to the final part of your letter. Islamophobia is the distant cousin of the “mission civilisatrice,” under which the principal aim was the colonization of Africa––that is, to liquidate the slave market whose existence and growth owes itself entirely to European demand.
Today, Islamophobia plays its parallel role on the stage dutifully: to tame the savages of the Middle East. Or, to put it another way, to procure and to secure such strategic assets as petroleum. Islamophobia serves a function: it is a frame of mind which justifies the very war that creates the target of its own bigotry. The rise of Islamic extremism can be attributed to the Gulf monarchies who fund, arm, and train the death squads who destabilize sovereign states, with a nod from Washington. Under international law, this is illegal, but to echo Soviet Major General Ye. Sulimov, “No considerations of morals, religion or international law and no consideration based on reason can halt the aggressive desires of the reactionary imperialist circles and the military-industrial complex if they sense their impunity and their superiority in strength.” U.S. foreign policy is served well by Islamophobia, since the State Department is able to militarize around the world and initiate wars in Asia without so much as a cry from its citizenry. But the youth is becoming more and more disenchanted with war, more and more critical of their countries, and more and more aware of the mass media\’s distortion of the truth. The future\’s hindsight will look at Western attitudes toward Islam as another manifestation of the “mission civilisatrice,” one more pretext the imperialists required to pursue their foreign policy aims––and one more blemish on the West’s historical record.
Brief Bio: Edward Lovo is a young, full-time worker and freelance writer on the side. His interests are in global political economy, history, and social movements. He is also a member of the Young Communist League in Canada.
Source: LetterForTruth Response Section