Friday, March 09, 2007

You Can Have Your Cake And Eat It Too

I rather admire Peter Tatchell. But I sort of suspect that his current interest in Iran is, well, cynical. Go for Iran and the wingnuts will back you (even if they've no idea who you are).
I think it's obvious that newspapers everywhere are far more interested in local news than in information from far away places of which we know little. A train crash in China has to kill hundreds before it makes a short report at the bottom of page 5; the leader of the Opposition falling over on a beach makes headlines for years. And 'Iran oppresses women' is really no more news than 'Dogs bite postmen'.
Peter Tatchell in Tehran's heroic women steps into Nick Cohen territory.

The liberal western media - including The Guardian - has mostly failed to report these women's protests and their bloody suppression.

What is the 'liberal western media' outside the Guardian? The Mirror? The Independent? Channel 4 News? The BBC? The Daily Mail? What is Mr Tatchell's source? Iran women arrested over protest. That looks like a liberal medium to me.

The left, too, ignores the heroic struggle of the women of Iran.

That's the left, not including Human Rights Watch (link on Tatchell's piece), "International Campaign in Defence of Women's Right in Iran-UK, the National Secular Society and the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association." One of the speaker is "Ann Harrison, researcher, Middle East and North Africa department of Amnesty International's International Secretariat". But apart from them. So who's missing? George Galloway, Hilary Benn (you'd think he might have some interest), and representatives from the Eustonites.
The Guardian doesn't seem to have reported this particular action, though it did report Student rebels in Iran expelled and earmarked for army last week. And the BBC is the liberal media in the West - and it did report in detail. No one on the left has said anything - apart from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, etc. As per always.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am more inclined than you to give PT the benefit of the doubt on the question of sincerity, but this line about "THE LEFT IS SILENT!!!!!!!" seems to have crept into his Microsoft Word template about two years ago and remains there in the face of ridicule. At one point, he seemed to me to be perilously close to claiming that John Pilger hadn't said a word about East Timor.

I think he might be trying to shame people into providing more support to him, or something, but it's jolly annoying and he ought to pack it in.

3/09/2007 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

I don't detect a Dylan lyric in the title, do I?

3/09/2007 03:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear...the old 'feminism as proxy' argument that Decents seem to wheel out as a justification: see Afghanistan (liberating women from their burkas/building girls' schools), Iraq (conveniently ignoring the gender politics of all those 'Iraqi democrats') and now Iran. Women's rights are a worthy cause, but not when they get used as an excuse for another bombing campa-- sorry, humanitarian intervention.

3/09/2007 05:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recall a double page spread about Tatchell's worthy campaign against homophobia in Jamaica being published in Libération , which I'm pretty sure counts as the liberal media.

3/09/2007 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

"with the honorable exception", surely?

3/09/2007 10:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I will write an article entitled "Why Is The Left Ignoring Peter Tatchell" and see if it gets printed.

3/10/2007 04:19:00 PM  

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