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Iranian Protests in U.S. Streets may Save them from Dehumanization, unlike the Iraqi and Afghan Victims of U.S. Occupation

by Jon Raymond

LOS ANGELES - Iranians have been holding a protest vigil since the Iran election in front of the federal building at Westwood and Veteran Avenues in West Los Angeles. On Sunday, June 28, 2009, about 5,000 of them took to the streets there in the march depicted in this film. Many would not be interviewed on camera, probably in fear of reprisals against their families in Iran by the Iranian government, as some told us. Of those who spoke on camera, they explained how their presence was only to show solidarity with those in Iran. They feel frustrated that they cannot do something more to stop the Iranian government. Some want the U.S. and the U.N. to impose sanctions on Iran, specifically to companies like Nokia that do business with the Iranian government in providing surveillance technology used wrongfully against the Iranian people, to deny them basic freedoms.

However, sanctions on Iran from the U.S. in the past have hurt the Iranian people as much, if not more than it hurt the Iranian government. Is it possible for the U.S. or the U.N. to have the acuity to distinguish between the Iranian people and the Iranian government; to impose selective and targeted sanctions on companies like Nokia, or at least the offending technologies they sell? If so they would then target the Iranian government's anti-democratic behavior without hurting the Iranian people, unlike what the U.S. did to Iraq after the Gulf War in obtuse sanctions that effectively broke down their infrastructure, and took away basic human needs like water and electricity from all the Iraqi people.

One good thing that these marches do is to show the world and the Iranian government the faces of Iranians, which makes it impossible for the U.S. and other governments, to dehumanize the Iranian people in order to wage war, as the U.S. has done in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq War veterans have testified to this fact in the Winter Soldier testimonies on U.S. military racism, citing how their superiors demean Iraqis, and now Afghans, by routinely referring to them as "hodgie", a slag term for Hajji.

It is a well known fact among scholars (like Dr. Haig Bosmajian, University of Washington in Seattle) that the U.S. military has, as a matter of policy, demeaned the people of entire countries that we have gone to war with, ever since the Korean War when they referred to Koreans as "gooks", which carried over to the Vietnam War. It is no stretch to call our military racist. But this was also found during WWII when they called the Germans "krauts". The Germans are especially infamous for their pro-war dehumanization campaign of the Jewish people in calling them "rats". The purpose of this as government policy is to make it easier for people and troops to accept war, especially the killing and genocide of innocent people.

See also: Iran Was an Easier Enemy Before We Saw Their Faces
by David Bromwich, Huffington Post, June 24, 2009 12:32 PM

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