Cultural Capacities of the Iranian State and NGOs: How to Cooperate With Reasonable Elements Within the US Government And Directly Interact With the American People
The theoretical [or practical] potential of the Iranian system of governance [with all its checks-and-balances and intricacies] as well as for the Iranian people to culturally cooperate with the American people is so vast, pervasive, and ever-expanding that it would be a disservice to oversimplify these factors in a mere essay.
How the American people can learn and benefit from the cultural dimensions of Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979 as well as the cultural aspect of Iranians as a distinct sovereign nation with a civilization of 700 years is of special importance these days as United States is currently underway in a massive populist movement that has unfortunately been polarized, plagiarized, and high-jacked by Donald Trump. I would argue that Donald Trump is neither part of this revolution of awareness, what we call, The Awakening Movement, nor does he truly lead it ideologically. He is as pro-establishment as they come and when he talks about “draining the swamp”, he must start with himself. As an over-privileged, silver-spoon-fed son of a millionaire, he is an expert at posturing when he pretends to identify with the plight of the common man. As a matter of fact, nothing could be further from the truth. What’s worst is that some of his sheepish followers actually believe this false notion and personal image projection.
As the great Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. elegantly put it, “There is nothing in this world more dangerous than sincere ignorance and consciousness stupidity.”
Mr. Trump’s ”sincere ignorance and consciousness stupidity” has now become a matter of national security to the point that the 25th Amendment is being seriously talked about in various circles in Washington. The 25th Amendment of our constitution specifically addresses mental incapacity to perform the duties of the office.
With that preface being laid out, it is my firm academic opinion that under the current circumstances with the regime occupying the White House, considering the erratic behavioral patterns of the president, there can be no engagement, not even solely at the cultural level, with the present government in Washington.
However, if Iran manages to bypass these governmental barriers, I think the American people are ripe and ready to engage culturally and ideologically with the Iranian people and be reminded that the original revolutionary zeal of the anti-imperialist American Revolution were not so far away from the aspiration of Iran’s 1979 Revolution. I call this, tapping into the Spirit of 1776. Never during the past 40 years of the Iranian-American relation [or lack there-of] have the conditions been this optimal and mature. As a Senior Iran Expert who is also an active participant in the American as well as global media, part of my job is to observe and quantify these socio-political trends and pattern formations.
With the advent of the high-tech revolution well under way and all the subsequent economic uncertainty and psychological anxiety that such systematic changes carry and as the American labor force has been seeing [and feeling] the mass exporting of millions of American jobs to China and other low-wage nations, ripened cultural and psychological conditions have formed to seriously challenge the so-called “American Dream” as this dream is proving to be nothing but a delusion and even a nightmare since it no longer fulfills the social contract for growth and advancement in the Middle Class America. Instead, more and more people are suffering from a host of problems: Debt slavery, prolonged unemployment, substance abuse, chronic depression, a general spirit of malaise, and a sense of despair and hopelessness as the rest of the world is not only catching up to America but in certain sectors even surpassing it.
There are many areas where the Iranian people can culturally cooperate with the American people and vice-versa in a spirit of solidarity, understanding, and bridge building. One such area would be mutual commiseration and bonding when it comes to the adverse effects of terrorism.
Ever since those despicable events in New York on September 11, 2001 and the later formulations of ultra-savage terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Nustra (Al-Qaida 2.0) who have always been sponsored by the very US deep state that pretends to fight terrorism while all along sponsoring it directly and vis-à-vis terrorist-sponsoring nations such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Israel down to the war and near total decimation of law and order and infrastructure in countries like Syria, Libya, and Yemen, I think the conditions are ripe for a deep and meaningful conversation between victims of terrorism in the US and Iran. This would be one way to have direct people-to-people contact and which would morph into dialogue and cooperation in various interfaith and cross-cultural projects. It is imperative to mention that Iran was one of the first countries to send its condolences to United States after 9/11 with hundreds of candlelight vigils held across Iran.
But due to the negative image that has been projected to people in the West primarily by Zionists during the past 40 years, many people in the West may not be aware that Iran itself is one of the biggest victims of terrorism. With over 17,000 terror victims at the hands of CIA and Mossad-sponsored operations carried through the MEK/ MKO terrorist organization who by the way carry the bonus feature of being hosted in Paris, France who have become the darling and most beloved terrorists of Washington who are now also at the behest of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Mokhaberat, Iranians have been deeply victimized by vicious acts of terror. Even Iranian prime ministers and generals were not spared, not to mentioned Iranian scientists.
As of recently, on September 22 to be exact, the world witnessed the savage terrorist attack [by a separatist terrorist group funded by Saudi Arabia and UAE] in the Iranian City of Ahvaz in the southwest Iranian Province of Khuzestan during a military parade where 25 people were killed and over 70 people injured. The American people who themselves have been victims of terror conspiracies during the past 17 years will sympathize with the plight of their Iranian counterparts. I believe this would be an invaluable cultural project well worth exploring.
This to-be-nurtured atmosphere of mutual sympathy has not been present since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 where tremendous animosities were created because the Iranians were correctly pointing out to the evils of imperialism and intervention in their internal affairs. At that time, even though it was only four years after the total humiliating defeat of Washington in Vietnam at which one would wonder certain lessons were supposed to be learned, many Americans were still in denial of the destructive policies of their government. This cognitive dissonance was shattered after 2001. Great documentaries came out, readily available for free viewing on YouTube which seriously challenged the mainstream false narrative of 9/11
Never since the turbulent events of 1960s beginning with the assassinations of President John F, Kennedy (1963), Malcolm X (1965), Martin Luther King Jr. (1968), and Robert F. Kennedy (1968), not to mention the mass protests against Washington’s war in Vietnam, never have the American people formed such negative impressions and attitudes not just towards various administrations that have come and gone every fours years, but in fact the entire political power structure in Washington. The crash of Wall Street in 2008 and the Great Recession, which in fact was an economic depression, that followed deep into 2012 and 2013, only served to reinforce the deeply held belief that our system is in fact a predatory, ruthless, globalist capitalistic model that does not serve the interests of the average American but instead represents MNCs (Multinational Corporations) and powerful corrosive lobbies, some of which directly determined US foreign policy in the Middle East/ West Asia region.
Cultural and socio-psychological experts in Iran must take advantage of this current scenario and bring forth a model of mutual sympathy and understating between the two peoples, especially between family members of the victims of terrorism. As the saying goes, we must not let this opportunity to go to waste. Such organizations and even NGOs already exist in Iran. During my past three academic tenures in Iran, for example, I have lectured numerously in front of such NGOs, notably ADVT NGO (Association in Defense of Victims of Terrorism, a very effective people-to-people organization that is doing a lot of good.
Another area where Iranian people can culturally cooperate with their American counterparts in which the Iranians can benefit from a cultural angle to open a new Iranian [and Persian-speaking] window to US can be in the realm of what I call the strategic cinema. The Iranian cinema industry is second only to India quantitatively. But the American equivalent to the sector which the Iranians call strategic cinema has been engaged far too long in producing anti-Iran and grossly Iranophobic movies, starting with a despicable and appalling movie called “Not Without My Daughter” (released in 1991) followed all the way to a movie called “300” (released in 2006) at the behest of the Zionists deeply embedded within the Bush-Cheney Administration. That movie was so grossly inaccurate and insulting that it constitutes historical slander. There were even subtle but major historical inaccuracies in Oliver Stone’s movie, “Alexander” (released in 2004). Needless to say, the government of Greece actually sued the production company for “Alexander” citing defamation and historical revisionism of Alexander (the historical character) and portraying him as a notorious homosexual.
Much needs to be done in the realm of cinema between the two nations. The Iranians need to cooperate closer with Hollywood scriptwriters, producers, and directors. Famed Director Oliver Stone recently visited Iran. His son (Sean Stone) had visited several year back. I certainly hope solid bridges of cooperation and collaboration were made between him and experienced Iranian movie makers and directors who are directly involved in the Iranian strategic cinema realm. Oliver Stone also recently made a four-parts television series called “The Putin Interviews” about the personage of Russian President Vladimir Putin and all the controversy and propaganda that surrounds him in the mainstream Western media, better known as “fake news”. This four-parts documentary was shown here in United States on the Showtime Channel at a very sensitive time when there is a lot of Russiaphobia not just in America but across the West. The Iranians definitely need similar collaborations with fair-minded directors who could shed light on all the propaganda against Iran and clear its name. This should be a mater of immediate implementation.
Another area where Iran has actually made progress is the advent of 24/ 7 news channels broadcasting the Iranian perspective in various languages. The Al-Kosar and Al-Alam TV networks come to mind which broadcast news and analysis in Arabic. For the Spanish-speaking world, Iran has Hispan TV, a very effective and well-watched news and documentary channel broadcasting to Spain plus Central and South America. South America has been ripe for major anti-imperialist movements for many years now with servant leaders at the help of what used to be corrupt CIA-controlled puppets and generalissimos.
But the greatest prize of them all is Iran’s Press TV which is a 24-hour English and French-language news and documentary TV network affiliated with IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting). However, Press TV’s annual budget, as reported by Mehr News in 2009, has been a miniscule $8.3 million annually. This budget needs to drastically increase if cultural capacities of the Iranian State are to advance further. Being a non-mainstream news channel, Press TV has provided major competition for BBC and CNN International. By bringing on board more academic talent and dedicating more time to expert analysis, Press TV can create even more competition and capture a bigger market share from its western rivals.
In conclusion, much more solid effort and measurable endeavor needs to be put into improving the cultural capacities of Iran [and its NGOs] with the American people. Adequate and generous budgets need to be allocated to such a colossal and Herculean task led by experienced, professional, multi-lingual, cultural experts – or what I would call cultural warriors – leading at the helm who are living in the United States and in Iran who not only have deep expertise but first-hand experience and familiarities with both Iran and United States. Their talents need to be channeled and their ways and means put into practice. Anything short of this ambitious long-term project would create even a bigger gap of misunderstanding and hostility between Iran and United States, something the enemies of Iran have been banking on for decades.