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Friday, 4 December 2009

Blogging from Tehran

Is fraught with interruptions and to be honest we are working so hard that it is sometimes difficult to remember to post something. For one thing we do not have internet access at work. This was promised weeks ago, but using a MacBook has its disadvantages, especially when the host has a system that requires the installation of a Microslosh program in order to access their systems login .... The MacBook simply refuses to even consider it. Probably rightly.

Some of the other guys have access, but it is slow and erratic, so I don't bother while I'm at the office. Besides we have enough to do just to run the courses anyway as we have some support, but it is usually restricted by language barriers. Much easier to just do it yourself.

It is interesting to see what is reported here and how it is reported. I am strongly reminded of political science lectures from my distant past in which it was pointed out that a common tactic for a government unpopular at home and in trouble to "invent" all sorts of external "enemies" and to play up external threats. So the vote in Switzerland, hardly what I would term a typical example of the west, as "Islamaphobia" and "proof" that Islam is under attack in, and by, the west. I am constantly told here that "freedom of worship" is practiced, yet Christian Churches, and there are quite a number, are generally run down, locked and well hidden. Mosques, on the other hand, are everywhere being built, renovated, or enriched - all with a "Mosque Tax" imposed and collected centrally and available only to the Mosque committees. The people here are told that this is the way the western democracies fund the promotion of Christianity and the "war" on Islam.

Likewise the seizure and freeing of the yacht and its crew in this week is "spun" in the same way our Labour Government "spins" and filters the news at home. No wonder people everywhere are losing faith in their governments and politicians have lost everyone's trust.

Yet, one cannot but be aware of the pride of the people in the street in their heritage and their hopes, not dissimilar from our own, in a bright and free future for themselves and their children. It is surely not such a far fetched ambition? Perhaps if we could actually get a media that is free of political bias, interested in telling the truth and not in spinning the bad for political and financial gain we might begin to understand one another better.

But that is probably far too much to wish for!

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