Shopping Unites

It’s sad, and at the same time kind of cool that the Iranian delegation – about 140 of them, are going bananas over being able to buy Tylenol and shoes. The Daily News reports “While President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leisurely relishes the Manhattan highlife, his Iranian underlings have been scouring the town for low prices — including cheap shoes.

Bargain-hunting members of the huge visiting delegation eagerly visited a Costco, a Payless shoe store, a Walgreens and a Duane Reade in recent days while hunting for discount products in short supply back home: Shampoo. Soap. Vitamins. Tylenol.”

Regular shoppers were freaked out, as one woman said, “The whole place is flooded with Iranians. And the security — it’s horrible.” Another feared that someone was going to throw a bomb. But after meeting and speaking with them, she just recognized them for what they are – “They were very nice people, especially the ladies,” she said. “When I said, ‘Where are you from?’ they said, ‘Persia.’ They didn’t want to say they were from Iran.”

The delegation insider said, “They’re having a good time here, especially the families. For them, it’s like a vacation.”

This is the part of sanctions we don’t get to see. We laugh at and consider sanctions as worthless, ineffective assaults, and for the upper echelon – they are. But the regular people – as is usually the case, suffer. Like these few lucky ones, the ability to actually buy aspirin and soap is a luxury. So, it can be said that sanctions don’t work, except to bring more suffering to an already suffering population. And who is listening to them? Surly not the president or the Ayatollah. Sanction all you want, they snicker…we are immune to your impositions. And that’s what they are for the big shots, not only in Iran but in all of the nation states we sanction and block trade with – impositions.

And so, for as long as the Iranian delegation is here, I say God bless Payless, Costco, and Walgreens. You are providing a short respite to another ugly, inhumane toll of the war mentality.


Calculated Humanity

“Imagine for a moment had there been no egoism, distrust, malicious behavior and dictatorships, with no one violating the rights of others, had humanitarian values been viewed as the criterion for social dignity in place of affluence and consumerism; had humanity not experienced the dark age of medieval period and centers of powers not hindered the flourishing of knowledge and constructive thoughts; had the wars of crusades ensuing period of slavery and colonialism not happened; and had the inheritors of these dark periods followed a course on the premises of humanitarian principles; had the First and Second World Wars in Europe, the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Africa, Latin America and in the Balkans not happened; If the tragic incident of September 11, and the military actions against Afghanistan and Iraq that left millions killed and homeless had not happened. If integrity and honesty have not prevailed on the international relations and all nations and government were treated equally and justly in the global effort to build and expand happiness for the entire mankind. Imagine how beautiful and pleasant our lives and how lovely the history of mankind would have been. Let us take a look at the world’s situation today.”

That is, verbatim, part of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech to the UN. And to me, way more scary than his usual hate – speak. This was classic schizophrenic manipulation. But why? What’s his rationale for coming across like he’s part of Amnesty International? Why did he decide to expose a part of himself that actually made him appear vulnerable? Or did he just snap for a moment under the spotlight? Whatever, it told just how truly crazy this man is. How incredibly serpentine he can be at any given moment. Only he knows why he shifted into peace mode yesterday, and given that he can’t understand what happened, let’s do another “imagine.” Imagine this man with a nuclear weapon. Imagine him having a bad day. Imagine him being nudged by Al Qaeda during his bad day with a nuclear weapon.

Theoris are being tossed around by the “pros” as to why Ahmadinejad went humane for a moment. Former Homeland Security Advisor, Fran Townsend, even suggested that he was attempting to make nice so that he can live here once he’s out of power and susceptible to the Ayatollah’s wrath, last night on CNN. Imagine Fran and Mahmoud as next door neighbors.