Friday, May 19, 2006

Arbeit Macht Frei - Coming Soon to Your Neighborhood

From (of all places)
Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.

[…] Iranian expatriates living in Canada yesterday confirmed reports that the Iranian parliament, called the Islamic Majlis, passed a law this week setting a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear almost identical "standard Islamic garments."

The law, which must still be approved by Iran's "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenehi before being put into effect, also establishes special insignia to be worn by non-Muslims.

Iran's roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.

[…] Ali Behroozian, an Iranian exile living in Toronto, said the law could come into force as early as next year.

It would make religious minorities immediately identifiable and allow Muslims to avoid contact with non-Muslims.

[…] The new law was drafted two years ago, but was stuck in the Iranian parliament until recently when it was revived at the behest of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

A spokesman for the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa refused to comment on the measures. "This is nothing to do with anything here," said a press secretary who identified himself as Mr. Gharmani.

"We are not here to answer such questions."

[…] Mr. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly described the Holocaust as a myth and earlier this year announced Iran would host a conference to re-examine the history of the Nazis' "Final Solution."

He has caused international outrage by publicly calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

Well, I think that last line is the point. He didn’t cause much international outrage by calling for Israel to be wiped off the map, and I will be pleasantly surprised if he causes any significant outrage by signing this law into effect. The USA is already about as outraged with Iran as you can get without dropping the big one. The Israelis themselves are pretty close to losing their cool and actually dropping the big one. The Europeans couldn’t care less, any more than they did in the late 30’s. They will probably make a few public statements of displeasure, and at the same time assure the Iranians under the table that things are business as usual as long as the oil flows.

There seem to be many people who are convinced that history has turned some globalized corner from the past and moved on. I run into them all the time, in both political parties. I wonder how much longer before they find out that history may lurch on, but it never turns any corners. What's old is new again.

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
(The Who, Won’t Get Fooled Again, 1971)