Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ"
Iran's censors have approved the screening of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" in the Persian state's cinemas, the official news agency reported. A committee of clerics and officials within Iran's Islamic Cultural and
Guidance Ministry unanimously decided yesterday to let the film be played in its entirety, with Persian language subtitles, the agency said. The state-owned Farabi Cinema Foundation, which is in charge of foreign movies, bought a copy of Gibson's controversial film and has negotiated with theatre owners to screen it in May, the agency added.
Iran, a predominantly Shi'ite Muslim state, is allowing the screening of the film despite strong Islamic objections, particularly from Sunni Muslims, to the depiction of religious prophets in any form. In Kuwait, senior Shi'ites have called for the movie's screening because, as one cleric said, it "reveals crimes committed by Jews against Christ" (AFRWire, 4/29/04)
IRAN: TheShah and Khomeini
Regarding the overthrow of the Shah of Iran and the triumph of Khomeini, Christopher Jones says: "It would appear that Randy Black is lamenting that the political opponents of the Shah's regime were not murdered. As a matter of fact, many at the Khomeini headquarters in France thought that SAVAK would stage an attempt on the Imam's life -- I myself had picked out my hole to jump into if the bullets had started flying. Reality was very different: Khomeini was such a strong personality and the Shah's regime so out-of-touch and decrepit that this was impossible. Imam Khomeini had been living in Iraq, when Saddam Hussein threw him out to do the Shah and the Americans a favor (Oh, how times change). He then came to France where I met up with him. (An enterprising reporter who doesn't suffer from Alzheimer's went back to the little house in Najaf, I believe where the incipient Iranian revolution was born. It is all boarded up and falling into disrepair.) Charismatic, witty and humble, Khomeini was at the head of a vast coalition that opposed the Pahlevis. And critical to the success of this coalition was the support of Tehran's bazaar merchants. And in the end and as usual always wrong, the Americans feared far more the emergence of the Tudeh communist party and the old pals of Mossadegh than the old holy man who they thought could be easily replaced by a General à la Pakistan. However, in Neauphle le chateau I saw the Bazaar merchants making the pilgrimage to pledge their allegiance to the Imam. This was the one single most crucial component in the entire Iranian revolution. At the same time, Khomeini was enjoying promising everything to everyone: he even told me that he would respect to the letter the advances made for women under the Shah". RH: In other words, Christopher was disillusioned. So were most of the Iranians who backed him.
Christopher Jones wrote a sympathetic account of Iran's Khomeini, whom he interviewed in his French exile, Randy Black comments: "I lament that a modern, progressive country such as Iran took a two-century step backward. While Mr. Jones had the tremendous opportunity to see Khomeini up close and meet him in person, I was relegated to watching a part of that era unfold in Dallas. At EDS headquarters in Dallas, when Ross Perot was still CEO, throughout the time that our Embassy employees and Marines were being held by Khomeini’s people, there was a sign by the entrance of the EDS property. It was a number and each day that number was changed. By the time that the hostages were released, I think that the number said, 444. It was a sad time. The sad part was that it happened and that our Marines allowed it to happen without firing a shot in their own defense. Those Embassy guards have only one task and that task is to protect anyone inside a US Embassy anywhere in the world, which those men did not. The sadder part was that our military had been allowed to deteriorate to the point that we could not mount a successful counter attack to rescue those 52 hostages. It probably cost Carter the Presidency".
Repression of Free Speech
Randy Black says: "Prior to the rise of the (current) radicals
in control of Iran, beginning with the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Shah of Iran
ruled over the country as did his predecessors. One of my very close friends,
a Persian from that era told me it was very difficult to watch a modern nation
with more than 2,500 years of proud history go down the tubes thereafter. It’s
a shame that the Shah only exiled Khomeini, thus offering him the opportunity
to return to Iran".
RH: "Only exiled Khomeini?" What more? I visited Iran during the Shah's regime, and it was a peaceful, prosperous country, quite a relief after South Asia. The Shah was dismissed as a tool of the US. Khomeini had been in exile since 1964, and when the Shah left in 1979, few thought he would return from France. Iran was proclaimed an Islamic republic, and Khomeini received the support of the students who had taken 65 US diplomatic personnel hostage. Now the students are fighting the regime set up by Khomeini.
Randy Black writes: "An Iranian court has also reimposed the death sentence of a university professor who criticized clerical rule. Hashem Aghajari faces the death penalty for his public statements". RH: The regime sounds shaky and desperate. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/83167/1/.html
Ronald Hilton -