Thursday, October 18, 2007

Place Your Bets, Poets

Dubya is tireless in his publicizing of the dubious mis-translation of Ahmadinejad's 'wipe Israel off the map' statement.

To quote Juan Cole: (

"As most of my readers know, Ahmadinejad did not use that phrase in Persian. He quoted an old saying of Ayatollah Khomeini calling for 'this occupation regime over Jerusalem" to "vanish from the page of time.' Calling for a regime to vanish is not the same as calling for people to be killed. Ahmadinejad has not to my knowledge called for anyone to be killed. (Wampum has more; as does the American Street)."

Now Iran has long been a poetic culture. Rumi and Omar Khayyam are most known in the west, and they are often referred to as 'flowery'. Well, if Dubya could handle perusing FitzGerald's Omar Khayyam, he would note a tone of nostalgia, a sweet sadness, yet a zest for the moment that permeates Omar's observations of life . . . and death.

Mis-translation of poetic phrases for political purposes can come in handy for hegemonic powers. Interpreting Nostradamus' rather abstract poetry as a blueprint for our times has always been a stretch, yet such an effect has oozed into the subtext of society as far as expectations for 'End Times' are concerned. Never mind the Book of Revelation, which is too obvious to mention here. On a different but nevertheless non-trivial plane, Hugo Chavez' reference to Bush as 'a sulphurous presence' at the UN was in the Latin American tradition of theatricality, something that uptight Americans would take as an insult, rather than a touch of levity. Ahmadinejad is not dabbling with levity, but his statements would be best addressed with subtlety rather than with a sledgehammer.

The thing is, there is no such interest in poetic interpretation in the Bush Machine's tactics. Conquest is on their minds, and it will not go away. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that Bush keep such lies alive. The last thing he wants is conciliatory gestures from Iran. The longing for a new, fresher war he can 'win' is now moving toward high gear. Such a war with Iran could, in the Bush/neocon view, vindicate themselves 'out' of Iraq, as it were. Such grasping for a 'win' in Iran seems to be the final, climactic crap shoot of the Bush Administration. The great question is whether they will or can pull it off. To Bush, Cheney & Co., the stakes are high, but it's go for broke time, baby.

'A jug of oil, a loaf of bread, and thou - and it's on to Teheran!' - presumed battle cry, if Bush reads Omar.

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