The message sent by the mainstream media ignored all this as if there is a consensus over a politics of representation encouraging that the most spectacular image of the Middle East produced for the white and western audience must be of either fanaticism or sorrow. The saddest truth is that the most progressive forces in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are stuck in the crossfire between the left-right political spectrum of the West.
The western left has been losing constantly over the past decades, yet it still claims the world’s leadership of the progressive forces. On the other hand, some on the left in the MENA have been able to push back the most reactionary forces on earth inch by inch. The post 2011 popular revolutionary politics of the MENA region is either erased entirely or taken hostage by the dominant political forces in the West, whether it be the Democratic vs Republican politics in the US, or the Conservative vs Labour in the UK.
The western left appropriates the rising struggles in the MENA region to win a battle that it has already lost at its own doorsteps.
The right, on the other hand, echoes the voice of Iranians but only in a context within which it could be used as a weapon, which then allows the Islamic Republic to use Iranians as a shield. In this sense, the current assassination of Soleimani, as terrifying butcher of the Syrians as he was, happened to be a God-given gift to the Islamic Republic to distract the public from the shocking mass killing of 1500 protesters in less than two weeks in November 2019.
As in Europe, the left is largely losing the support of the working class and slightly gaining the support of the upper middle class, in the Middle East it has let the people down and sided with the regional dictatorship in the name of anti-imperialism or peace. The white western left tells the people of the MENA to choose the “lesser evil” in order to prevent war, yet it calls upon the people in the West to support them as the most progressive forces.
This is the most fundamental paradox in the domestic and foreign policy of the western left. The recent protests in Iran have been led by feminists, environmentalists, syndicalists, teachers and workers’ unions, i.e. the natural allies of the left. But when it comes to the Middle East, many on the western left has chosen completely different allies: dictatorships, militarists, and totalitarians.
Michael Moore praises a fascistic cult of personality and machoist display of power staged by a militarist and expansionist dictatorship. When the American “alternative media” covers the Iran protests, the interviewees are figures such as Trita Parsi the founder of NIAC who is according to the US district court “not inconsistent with the idea that he was first and foremost an advocate for the regime”.
While the majority of mainstream media were giving the floor to analysts who portrayed the participants of Soleimani’s funeral as the “majority of Iranians”, Masih Alinejad, Iranian journalist and women rights activist, was among the few who gave an alternative account of what was going on. She was swiftly attacked in an article and accused of getting paid by the US government. The piece was written by Eli Clifton who is an expert at the Quincy Institute funded by Koch Foundation and co-founded by Trita Parsi. The piece was shared by the US Rep. Ilhan Omar on twitter while Alinejad’s brother is in detention in Iran and such accusations could most certainly expose him to more severe punishment and even torture.
When Corbyn talks about peace in Syria or Iran, you will never hear the names of Assad or Khamenei, as if they have nothing to do with whatever threatens the peace in the region.
As Corbyn switches the topic from the UK to the Middle East, his addressee changes from people to states. Nancy Pelosi disregards the protests trying to bring the focus back to the death of Soleimani.Print