January 5, 2011

"It’s not a matter of luxury, it’s a matter of loss of identity, loss of connections…"

"... and all the time seeing something really unusual and strange, which was the religious theocracy unfolding inside the country."

The suicide of Alireza Pahlavi, the youngest son of the Shah of Iran...
"I can only imagine [the trauma felt by] someone who had lived at a level of near adoration by those around him, and seen the grandeur with which his father was treated,” said Ms. Afkhami, who now also lives in exile in the US.

“And then to suddenly, really quite suddenly, be dislocated, separated from his parents and also when he was with them to witness his father, whom all heads of state almost universally had courted and admired and flattered, was suddenly a pariah, there was no place for him."

39 comments:

The Crack Emcee said...

That sounds all too familiar,...

Triangle Man said...

That quote bears interesting similarity to something Ingrid Betancourt said about being held hostage by the FARC, "because in captivity you are deprived of your identity and if on top of that you are ignored by the world and somebody else is brought up all the time it’s [even] more humiliating."

Triangle Man said...

Here is the link to the Betancourt interview.

ricpic said...

Let's forget this suicide and think of the immense daily suffering of the Iranian people as the gift that keeps on giving from that great humanitarian, Jimmy Carter.

Titus said...

He lived in Boston.

Bin Laden's brother lives in Boston and owns a hot Afghanistan Restaurant.

Triangle Man said...

Bin Laden's brother lives in Boston and owns a hot Afghanistan Restaurant.

@Titus

Are you sure that you don't mean Hamid Karzai's brother? The Karzai family owns The Helmand in East Cambridge, and also one in Baltimore.

David said...

The King is dead, long live . . . . . .

stevenehrbar said...

As opposed to the son of the Shah of Venezuela?

When you say "Shah" in English, you don't actually have to specify the country.

William said...

I think of that Bertolucci movie, "The Last Emperor". The human eye can only absorb so many bright, rapidly changing colors before it closes and seeks comfort in blackness.

Robert Cook said...

"Let's forget this suicide and think of the immense daily suffering of the Iranian people as the gift that keeps on giving from that great humanitarian, Jimmy Carter."

No...you can thank President Eisenhower and the CIA who helped mount the coup that deposed the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953, at the behest of Great Britain, who were angered that Mossadegh nationalized the Iranian oil fields. The CIA helped put the despotic Shah back in office in place of Mossadegh.

The student takeover of our Embassy in Iran 1979 was (at least in part) spurred by the anger in Iran that Carter gave safe harbor to the Shah to receive treatment for cancer in American after he had been forced to flee Iran with the rise to power of the clerical regime.

Had we never assisted in the overthrow of Mossadegh in 1953, Iran's history (and ours) would have been significantly different. But the world we have today is a case of a mega-blowback from our nefarious deeds of so long ago. One wonders what horrible future awaits as a result of our ongoing horrible and nefarious deeds around the world today?

William said...

The Soviet Union occupied the northern half of Iran at the end of WWII. Truman exerted pressure on the Soviets, and they were forced to retreat. Does this count as intererence in Iran's internal affairs? Do people really think that under Mossadegh Iran would have evolved into a stable, prosperous, progressive democracy? The Persian Empire has existed for thousands of years. Some of the time, its ruling class lived well, but the record clearly indicates that for most of the people who lived there Persia was a shit hole, and the United States had nothing to do with it.

ricpic said...

Cookie salivates for the day when the big satan and the little satan get theirs, courtesy "the clerical regime."

Titus said...

Sorry I get my Muzzie terrorists all screwed up.

Correct, The Afghan Presidential thugs bro owns The Helmund. I have eaten there. It is good but location sucks, right next to a mall but not far from the biotech capital of the world.

Bin Laden's brother left on a mysterious airplane from Boston right after 9/11 when there were no planes in the air.

Titus said...

My husband who is a vege and I ate at The Helmund.

My husband asked what the soup had in it and the waiter said it is vegetarian and just has a "little" chicken stock-up that is not vegetarian Mahommod.

Titus said...

Best Middle Eastern restaurant in Cambridge is Baraka Cafe. Love it.

Cambridge is so fab.

Freeman Hunt said...

The guy was thirteen when his father was ousted, an event that took place over thirty years ago.

One can hardly be expected to believe that that is the real reason he killed himself.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Do people really think that under Mossadegh Iran would have evolved into a stable, prosperous, progressive democracy?

Doubtful. He most likely would have been removed by the same Islamic radicals who overthew the Shah. Over '100 years ago' there have been 4 world changing political revolutions: The American Revolution, The French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution and the Iranian Revolution. Our revolution actually improved the lot of those in the country. The other 3 made worse the lives by countless magnitude.

Hoosier Daddy said...

...at the behest of Great Britain, who were angered that Mossadegh nationalized the Iranian oil fields

Actually MI16 had a lot more involvement in that coup than most want to acknowledge, especially when US bashing is the goal.

edutcher said...

Agree with Freeman. There's a lot more here. Maybe he looked at the current Administration and realized they're on the other side - or, at least, so incompetent, they can't do anything to hurry the current regime out the door.

And ric is absolutely right.

Robert Cook said...

"Let's forget this suicide and think of the immense daily suffering of the Iranian people as the gift that keeps on giving from that great humanitarian, Jimmy Carter."

No...you can thank President Eisenhower and the CIA who helped mount the coup that deposed the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953, at the behest of Great Britain, who were angered that Mossadegh nationalized the Iranian oil fields. The CIA helped put the despotic Shah back in office in place of Mossadegh.

The student takeover of our Embassy in Iran 1979 was (at least in part) spurred by the anger in Iran that Carter gave safe harbor to the Shah to receive treatment for cancer in American after he had been forced to flee Iran with the rise to power of the clerical regime.

Had we never assisted in the overthrow of Mossadegh in 1953, Iran's history (and ours) would have been significantly different. But the world we have today is a case of a mega-blowback from our nefarious deeds of so long ago. One wonders what horrible future awaits as a result of our ongoing horrible and nefarious deeds around the world today?


As always, Cook makes the mistake of getting his history from his pals at The Daily Worker.

Hate to tell him, but it had nothing to do with Mossy. The Shah was getting a bit too repressive and the Lefties, the middle class, and the mullahs made common cause to throw him out.

Carter backed the Lefties and, as usual, he was wrong.

But, yes, it was totally insensitive of us to give the Shah sanctuary and allow him to receive medical treatment, rather than throw him to that mob of barbarians.

Hoosier Daddy said...

But, yes, it was totally insensitive of us to give the Shah sanctuary and allow him to receive medical treatment, rather than throw him to that mob of barbarians.

Could have sent him to England for top flight government paid medical care.

EDH said...

Pahlavi's sister OD'd on sleeping pills in London in 2001.

A commenter in one of the Boston papers said Pahlavi didn't pick up his dog's poop in the park.

The Internet, the Great Leveler.

Robert Cook said...

"Do people really think that under Mossadegh Iran would have evolved into a stable, prosperous, progressive democracy?"

Who knows? No one, but that is beside the point. Whatever the course of events might have been, for good or ill, they would have been different.

As it happens, the course of events following our criminal assistance in toppling a foreign head of state has reaped great and terrible dividends.

Hoosier Daddy said...

As it happens, the course of events following our criminal assistance in toppling a foreign head of state has reaped great and terrible dividends.

Indeed. Good thing Ike learned his lesson and refused to support the Brits and French during the Suez Crisis which ensured Nasser remained in power.

Robert Cook said...

"The Shah was getting a bit too repressive and the Lefties, the middle class, and the mullahs made common cause to throw him out."

The Shah would not have been in power, thus not leading to the 1979 Revolution, had we not helped topple Mossadegh and place the Shah back in power in 1953.

"Carter backed the Lefties and, as usual, he was wrong.

But, yes, it was totally insensitive of us to give the Shah sanctuary and allow him to receive medical treatment, rather than throw him to that mob of barbarians."


Did Carter "back the lefies," or did he just leave the Iranians to their own devices?

As for allowing the Shah to receive medical treatment in America, I don't argue we shouldn't have done so, but it was contributory to the anger the Iranians held toward us at the time, leading to the Embassy takeover. (That America has been instrumental in the Shah's having been put in power in 1953 was certainly also part of their anger toward us, as it rightly should have been.)

Imagine if an American tyrant fled the country after a popular uprising ousted him. Wouldn't we want him returned to us to be tried for crimes against the state? Wouldn't we be angry at another nation who refused to extradite him, and who gave him safe haven?

Freeman Hunt said...

And who knows, maybe he didn't even do it.

stevenehrbar said...

Mosaddegh was "democratically elected" in the sense that he had a parliamentary majority after he suspended the counting of votes from the opposition-dominated rural provinces. Which is to say, he wasn't.

Mosaddegh then had this rump Parliament give him dictatorial emergency powers. Which caused dissent. So he then turned around and abolished the Parliament, unconstitutionally prohibited the secret ballot, and ordered a phony referendum in which he got 99.9% of the vote.

But, you know, clearly he was a democratic reformer, because, um, well . . . Robin? You have an answer here?

Big Mike said...

But, yes, it was totally insensitive of us to give the Shah sanctuary and allow him to receive medical treatment, rather than throw him to that mob of barbarians.

Maybe the Shah could have gone to one of the hospitals in Cuba? According to Michael Moore (and our own Robert Cook, presumably), they're simply wonderful.

Robert Cook said...

"Mosaddegh was "democratically elected" in the sense that he had a parliamentary majority after he suspended the counting of votes from the opposition-dominated rural provinces. Which is to say, he wasn't."

Sounds akin to Bush 2000.

Unlike Bush, Mossadegh did not become a mass murderer and war criminal.

That aside, this is not a question of whether Mossadegh achieved power via some Platonic (or American) democratic ideal, (and I don't even know how accurate your characterization of his ascension to power is, but I'll accept it for purposes of this discussion)--fuck knows few, if any, of our own elections fit those ideals--but simply about the historical fact that we unlawfully and covertly helped topple a foreign head of state over a question of control of access to and ownership of the oil in his nation.

You know, again like Bush, except not so covertly this time around. Bush was more brazen, although he still hid behind lies of WMD and Hussein having ties to Al Qaeda.

edutcher said...

Robert Cook said...

"The Shah was getting a bit too repressive and the Lefties, the middle class, and the mullahs made common cause to throw him out."

The Shah would not have been in power, thus not leading to the 1979 Revolution, had we not helped topple Mossadegh and place the Shah back in power in 1953.


Oh, for Christ's sake. If the dinosaurs hadn't picked to die where they did, the Middle East would be just another sandbox.

The mullahs are a worse bunch than the Shah ever was. Mossadegh could have turned out just as bad and we still might have had the same revolution.

"Carter backed the Lefties and, as usual, he was wrong.

But, yes, it was totally insensitive of us to give the Shah sanctuary and allow him to receive medical treatment, rather than throw him to that mob of barbarians."


Did Carter "back the lefies," or did he just leave the Iranians to their own devices?


He backed the Lefties and Cook knows it. Bucketmouth threw all his support behind Bani-Sadr and Ghotbzadegh - and that probably had more to do with what eventually happened in terms of the US becoming the "Great Satan" than the admitting the Shah into this country.

Alex said...

Imagine if an American tyrant fled the country after a popular uprising ousted him.

Really? When are we going to oust that tyrant Obama? :))))

Alex said...

Oh, for Christ's sake. If the dinosaurs hadn't picked to die where they did, the Middle East would be just another sandbox.

Fossil fuels derive not just from dinosaurs but from other organic matter compressed over the eons.

Robert Cook said...

"Mossadegh could have turned out just as bad and we still might have had the same revolution."

Speculation. You have no more way of knowing that than anyone. Again, it's beside the point...political events in other countries may take negative turns with or without our assistance.

Given our unending self-administered blowjobs for being the greatest, bestest, most free and exceptional nation that ever was, I'd think we are better served in approaching that state of virtue--or at least being less miserably hypocritical--by not assisting in unlawful skullduggery in other nations' political affairs.

Ralph L said...

...we unlawfully and covertly helped topple a foreign head of state over a question of control of access to and ownership of the oil in his nation.

Lawful under our laws at the time. "Covertly" is always a prejorative for some people, until they're in power.

Presumably, western oil companies bought oil rights in the Middle East from someone with the authority to sell them. Should their investments be stolen just because of a regime change? Immoral or not, it's bad business--who will invest in a country that steals?

Roux said...

I thought you were talking about Madoff's son.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

I always liked the way that "Shah" sounded, not with the hard edge of "King" but with the same authority.

stevenehrbar said...

we unlawfully and covertly helped topple a foreign head of state

Except, of course, he wasn't a head of state, just the head of government. The Shah was still the lawful head of state under the Iranian Constitution.

Robert, you've been fed a specific leftist narrative about what happened in Iran that goes out of its way to pretend Mossadegh wasn't a thug trying to make himself dictator of Iran. The fact that you don't know enough to judge my statements of how Mossadegh consolidated power is enough to prove you don't know enough about the complicated maneuverings that were happening in Iran 1951-1953 to have an informed opinion.

Now, if you want to continue inaccurately parroting propaganda written by others in your proved ignorance, hey, that's your right. But you're like someone whose only knowledge of the conflict is watching Braveheart declaiming on the First War of Scottish Independence, and not even getting the details from the movie right.

Ralph L said...

In the mid 70's in DC, there were competing demonstrations: Down with the Shah! Long Live our King!

Robert Cook said...

@ stevenehrbar

Again, not the point, even accepting your representation as accurate. Our unlawful secret interference into the internal affairs of another nation led to a sequence of events that has had dire results for Iran and for us that would not have otherwise occurred.

Now, as no one can know how history would have played out had we minded our own business, other dire results might have come about in the fullness of time, but, then again, perhaps not. In any case, we would not have been the authors of the misfortune.

Of course, we haven't learned any lessons, as we never do, and we continue to intrude into the affairs of other countries, bullying our way around the world, mounting illegal wars, training tyrants as our School of the Americas, validating torture and mass murder as official state policy, and so on. We are seeing the terrible consequences that have already occurred. What more terrible consequences await us on the road into the future?

Robert Cook said...

I found this on YouTube; I had never seen it before.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaGCJmCAJ40

You will, no doubt, take issue with Moyers' characterization of the Mossadegh affair, but it is Moyers' concluding summation of trends at that time--1987, 24 years ago--that is chilling. It is as if he were making this presentation on last week's news, but in the intervening 24 years, the dangers he warns of have become our everyday state of affairs, our reality.