Said a certain sage, “I saw a crow running about with a stork. I marveled long, and I investigated their case, in order that I might find the clue as to what it was that they had in common.
“When, amazed and bewildered, I approached them, indeed I saw that both of them were lame.”
(Masnavi, Jalal Al-Din Muhammad Rumi, translated by Reynold Nicholson, book 2, verses: 2103-2105)
When I think about radicals in America, Israel and Iran, I find some similarities among them. At first it seems there are none, but if I search down to the roots, I find common grounds and common goals among them: all of them are warmongers—and all of them are lame.
There are lots of events that demonstrate this. The reaction to the negotiations between the P5+1 powers and Iran and the agreement they reached in Geneva on 24 of November, was the most remarkable demonstration.
In three countries—America, Iran and Israel—we see two important trends, despite their differences. First and foremost, the majority of Iranians and Americans are satisfied and happy with the Geneva Agreement, because it has removed the dark clouds of a new war in the region which is already suffering the consequences of earlier disasters. Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and Lebanon, for instance, are facing innumerable problems. Every day brings more bad news—news of bombings and murder.
US President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani played major roles in silencing the war drums. However, radicals in the US, Israel and Iran have sought to impose their idea that the Geneva agreement is a dangerous one. For instance, in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his administration are adamant that the Geneva agreement is a “historic mistake”, which will essentially allow Iran to build its atomic bomb. Netanyahu insists that Iran is an existential threat to the state of Israel.
On the other hand, we also hear a much wiser position expressed by some politicians, journalists, and even former heads of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service. All of them are critical of Netanyahu’s approach.
At a recent conference in the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, a former prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, slammed Netanyahu for his outspoken opposition to American support of the recent international agreement reached in Geneva. “You have to handle this decision with wisdom, quietly—without bombastic declarations—and quiet dialogue as we used to do in the past,” Olmert said. It seems Olmert is strongly against a new war, while Netanyahu is a warmonger.
Iran’s radicals—who loved their former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his bellicose approach—did their best to create obstacles for President Rouhani and his administration. Recently, the daily newspaper Kayhan, which is the standard-bearer of radicalism, has published some articles against the Geneva agreement. The radicals believe such an agreement will limit Iran’s right to enrich uranium. To be honest, I believe they think they will find the real meaning of their lives in war, killing their enemies and willing to be killed and go to paradise!
This dichotomy is obvious in America, between President Obama and the neo-conservatives. I have no doubt that if George Bush the second was still the president of the US today, he would have started a third and fourth war in the Middle East region.
Recently, the Washington Post published a very thoughtful cartoon by David Horsey, on 24 November. It depicted two warmongers playing chess. One of them was saying something to the effect that “Obama fails to understand it is the job of a president to start wars, not avoid them!”
We should support the culture of peace and life, against the culture of warmongers. This is the strongest common thread that connects all the radicals in the US, Israel and Iran—they love beginning new wars!
Fortunately, I believe that the majority of people in America, Iran and Israel, as well as the majority of thinkers and writers around the world, are against a new war. So, it seems to me that all warmongers are lame. Because of that, the roots of their literature are the same.
All views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, The Majalla magazine.