About a month or so ago anti-war libertarian Scott Horton was ranting about how ridiculous it is to be scared of Iran. A great and truthful sentiment. Pat Buchanan explains why with this paragraph from a recent article.
Iran has no missile that can reach us, no air force or navy that would survive the first days of war, no nuclear weapons, no bomb-grade uranium from which to build one. All of her nuclear facilities are under constant United Nations surveillance and inspection.
Horton expressed basically the same thing, but while he is right to call out the silliness of fear-mongering when it comes to Iran’s military capabilities he took a wrong turn by saying that Iran is a piece of crap country or something to that effect. Now this is of course completely subjective but from what I’ve read and seen of Westerners visiting Iran it’s actually a beautiful place with regards to landscape, people and architecture.
British travel writer Jamie Maslin hitchhiked to and traveled across Iran for his book Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn. Before departing from London, his friends and even Maslin himself feared for his safety. Worrying that he might end up beheaded or stoned to death by camel riders in a barren desert. Upon arrival he was waved through customs without any search at all, the Iranian customs agents exclaiming excitedly “tourist! tourist!”. While there, locals offered him meals and their own beds without him asking. One fellow going so far as to give him his nicest watch. Upon leaving, Maslin writes;
I encountered the friendliest people I’d ever come across and constantly had to remind myself that I was in Iran–part of the so-called Axis of Evil. Although I obviously make no apology for the abysmal Iranian government and it’s terrible human rights abuses, the Iranian people were just incredible.
The misconceptions about far off places that are potential targets for US gov aggression are in part due to a lack of images of the potential victims and their homes. Scott Horton and Lew Rockwell rightly pointed out in another podcast that often all you see of places like Iran or even China in the mainstream media are maps or stock footage of a military parade or protests.
To help combat that phenomenon, I’ve compiled some pics of Iran’s people and places to help make the case that people are people pretty much everywhere. And in the case of Iran it’s more than a desert waste land full of turban wearing nomads.
The first chunk is from “Humans of New York” which has a great post cataloging a photographer’s journey through Iran. Below are some selections from what the photog who runs the site might call a photographic census of Iran. I included some of the original captions and added some of my own.
Some of the next chunk of pics were found on a forum at www.skyscrapercity.com
These aren’t Gov goons. They’re weekend warriors suited up for a game of paintball
Even when the US Sock Puppet dictator Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was in charge of tyranny Iranians were people. Check out these folks chillin’ at the beach on the Caspian Sea in Babolsar, near my dad’s old stomping grounds.
Let’s zoom out a bit and get a feel for where Iranians live, work and play
The above pic reminds me of Salt Lake City. But no, It’s in Tehran with the Alborz Mountains in the background
Jamie Maslin described Iran’s Subway System as “Clean, modern, spacious and generally far nicer than London’s decrepit tube system.”
For statists who are into that, the ROADS can be pretty nice too.
Just like in “Merka” people are fond of getting outdoors in their leisure time. Like taking a stroll on the mountain trail below.
Don’t they look all foreign and primitive and scary? Well…to be fair the dude on the far left is wearing a slipknot hoodie.
Yazd, an ancient city smack dab in the middle of the Iranian desert does look like something out of Aladdin. I don’t think that makes it crappy though. Its beauty is like that of a classic car or a vintage rifle in that we can see state of the art design from another era. My favorite example is what’s called a “badgir”.
A “Badgir” or windcatcher , as seen above, is ancient Persian air conditioning technology still used today in Yazd and other places around the middle east. Below is a diagram of it’s basic operation.
The Obama humpers should be creaming their panties at such “Green Technology”. Instead they are looking the other way as Obama’s administration continues Bush’s belligerence.
West of Yazd is Isfahan the second most populous metropolitan area in Iran with around 3.4 million people. Although a modern urban center it was a former capitol of the Persian empire and is filled with wonders of the ancient world like the bridge pictured above, or the “Blue Mosque” pictured below
Above is a pic from Shiraz. A city in the south, closer to the Persian gulf.
Some of the tourist sites in Shiraz have a bit more of a tropical feel.
Landscapes and Ruins
Babak Castle was built on top of a mountain in Northwest Iran. Its ruins are a hiking destination
Mount Damavand is a volcanic mountain 41 miles north of Tehran in the Alborz range.
Far removed from the desert badlands stereotype are Iran’s Northern Forests
As well as verdant hillsides
Mineral waters at Badab Surat Arvest reminiscent of parts of Yellowstone in Montana
Ali-Sadr Cave is the world’s known underground water cave. Millions of tourist visit this attraction near Hamedan every year to explore the more than 11 kilometers of water paths by boat.
The Ruins of Persepolis. Some theorize it was like the Washington DC of the ancient Persian Empire. Client state delegations would come to pay tribute to the Emperor.
There is obviously so much more, and I hope to travel to Iran myself someday soon. In the meantime I’ll share with anyone who’ll listen the fact that Iran couldn’t pose a military threat to the United States even if it wanted to. So why on earth would anybody support dropping bombs on the people and places seen here? Just so the war profiteers can buy new boats? Next time your neocon friends and or family brings up some Iran fear-mongering show them that Iran is an actual place with fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, roads, cars, hiking paths, skyscrapers, and teenagers wearing jeans. Ask them if they’d look an Iranian civilian in the eye and still hope that civilian gets blown to bits by a Hellfire missile.
Special thanks to Saeid for inspiration, and some helpful links.