Sunday, September 09, 2007

A more subtle news media campaign for further war

Tonight an article entitled "Hard Times Help Leaders in Iran Tighten Their Grip" fills the prime spot on the New York Times website. The two-part piece describes a worsening of the economic and political situation in Iran, as inequality increases and democratic and cultural rights are constrained. The regime of Ahmadinejad is somewhat brazenly blamed, with the whole article giving the impression of a despotic ruler acting against normal Iranians. In a certain sense, this is true.

But consider the context: the past few months - and particularly the last few days - have seen continual diplomatic threats and sleights towards Iran, and even scattered reports of planned military action. Coincidentally, the New York Times gives this article front page. Yet what is occurring in Iran is, even at this point, less severe than the political situation in several neighborhood countries - Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Sheikdoms.

Certainly, women and ordinary people fair no better in either. In Saudi Arabia a young Sri Lankan maid faces the death sentence after a baby died in her custody. She worked as essentially as an indentured housemaid ( This case is by no means exceptional, and surely did not receive substantial (if any) coverage from the Times. And what about Dubai, where some 90% of the population consist of foreign workers with no rights whatsoever?!


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