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April 27, 2006

"Nuke 'Em" Not!
Golbarg Bashi  [info|posts]
Hiroshima victim

A Hiroshima Survivor.

As also mentioned in the previous post, an American online company named "CafePress" has now on sale items as varied as t-shirts, teddy bears, baby clothes, underwear, stamps, caps etc with a "NUKE ‘EM" logo with an atomic mushroom cloud on a map of Iran.

Their new “logo” not only trivialises human death and destruction, but helps shift public opinion towards an ipso facto dehumanisation of non-American life, especially that of the people in the Middle East and of Muslims among young Americans. It is also a dishonour to all victims of nuclear arms, the millions perished in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Vietnam, Halabcha and Falluja.

I feel utterly sad and almost sick to my stomach that I had to write to an American company in 21st century, a company in a country, which wishes to export its "democratic" ideals with cluster bombs around the globe, to tell them that ‘Nuking’ Iran, or any other nation is not a joking matter, but a murderous and inhumane act. I believe that it should be illegal to trivialise human life (whether it is the Twin Tower victims in NYC or innocent Iranian and Iraqi lives) and glorify mass destruction.

Let it be very clear to the American public that any US attack on Iran, will have deadly results on the region for generations to come. An article arguing against this attack has just been published in Asia Times, which I would recommend reading.

I urge all Iranian and non-Iranian anti-war activists to write to this company and express their horror over their cruel and detestable “merchandise” and demand their immediate and unconditional removal. We must make a concerted effort to mobilize massively to boycott all the merchandise of this or any other company that trivializes human life. We all need to be more active in our local anti-war groups and act collectively. Last night I personally had the pleasure of attending an excellent anti-war teach-in at NYU in New York City.

We cannot let any company executives or Presidents of any country (be it Iran or the US) set back our ideals of freedom and a nuclear-free world.

Comments
Babak S at April 27, 2006 07:00 PM [permalink]:

Thanks Golbarg! One thing: CafePress itself is, as I understand, is something like e-bay. They do not design the stuff or produce the items. They are just a store for others to sell their stuff. The guys who are selling actually have a website too and a weblog, etc. I don't want them to get more traffic because of our activism, so I forego the links. But it is clear from their pages (or his/her) that they have the understanding of a peanut. Excuse the language, but they are simply full of crap. I believe no one with intelligence will really buy the stuff or listen to their sickening diatribe.

Justin at April 27, 2006 09:08 PM [permalink]:

Not to in any way marginalize your concern, but goofy people will be goofy and say goofy things.

I would urge you to overlook it so as to not reinforce a certain reactionary stereotype -- even if what they advertise is just plain goofy. Banging the drum at their doorstep serves their cause (which is to sell t-shirts) more than it serves what I have come to perceive as yours -- seriousness and reason, with particular adeptness at seeing meaningful subtlety.

I have a friend who after any lengthy discussion, will signal a loss of interest by uttering something like 'nuke them all and let God sort it out.' He is never really serious about the suggestion, merely demonstrating the degree of his general flustration with the particular situation at hand.

If the US State Department, or worse, Russia or China who seem, and I underscore seem, to be serving as a temper to the situation, started handing the shirts out, then I would protest.

Arash Jalali at April 28, 2006 08:32 AM [permalink]:

Thanks Golbarg for your swift and timely post. After much thought since yesterday I came to the conclusion that it is in fact necessary to show some degree of sensitivity and not be totally indifferent, even thought I concur with Justin that the people behind this T-shirt business are not to be afforded any attention that is beyond their caliber, giving them free publicity. From what I saw in their "dirty jerzy" collection they are a bunch of whacko nut cases looking to appeal to a like-minded market.

I think petitions are not the right means to deal with such cases where the party at fault would gain more from the albeit negative publicity than their own actual product line. I think we should start thinking about launching a serious campaign gathering support from Iranian individuals and businesses all over the world to fund a legal muscle, not necessarily for this case, but for such cases in general. Petitions would work with organisations enjoying at least a minimal level of respectability. To people like these who are looking for an oppotunity to make a quick profit out of just about anything, law-suits and prospects of financial liability are the best scarecrow to make sure creatures of such kind, and above that, companies like CafePress who provide services and business platforms to them, think twice before they endorse just about any business.

the weazl at April 29, 2006 08:54 AM [permalink]:

This type of demonization, objectification and trivialization is an integral mode of creating the public will to legitimate the slaughter of thousands of people. The Washington warmongers certainly cannot allow people to identify with empathy regarding their "enemy" and there are millions of dollars paid by Right wing sugar daddies such as Richarl Mellon Scaife to propagandists such as David Horowitz to spend their time demonizing each and every threat to be. So it can be Iran, Syria, Mexicans along the border, China, or African Americans within the United States. They have been quite successful at it, but it seems like their hold on the ability to manage and sway public opinion is cracking. Especially as the Left has begun deconstruction such methods as "framing" and documentaries such as BBC's "Power of Nightmares" have deconstructed the warmongers and their methods themselves.

Anyway, best of luck. I invite any of you to visit my website weazlsrevenge.blogspot.com

We get quite a bit of traffic from Europe and the United States, but not enough from the Middle East. I think it would be great to hear more of your voices mixed in among those who frequent the site. Tschuss.

Mohammad at April 30, 2006 01:03 PM [permalink]:

Dear Ms. Bashi,

While I admire your passion and lucid writing, in an effort to add more substance to your article, I need to point out the following facts:

1. The number of victims of "nuclear weapons" is not in the millions. The total number of casualties (and not fatalities) in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki is under a million people.

2. Nuclear weapons were not used in the Vietnam war.

3. In Halabja, Iraqi regime used chemical weapons.

4. Faluja conflict was strictly fought with conventional weapons.

It is good practice to use facts when writing and not to let one's emotions take the upper hand. Very often, just one mistake detroys the credibility of an article. Many people may have serious questions about the conduct and objectives of many politicians, in many countries. But it does not give anyone, especially a well-read and informed writer to twist the facts for sensational effects.

While I enjoyed reading about your passionate and forceful rebutal of this blatant and shameless act, I felt compelled to make this minor observation.

Thank you very much.

Golbarg Bashi at April 30, 2006 01:58 PM [permalink]:

In response to the anonymous writer "Mohammad":

1. The number of victims of "nuclear weapons" is not in the millions. The total number of casualties (and not fatalities) in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki is under a million people.

Answer) Having lived in Japan myself, my reference was not just to Hiroshima and Nagasaki but also to Vietnam as well as all the generations that died not on “impact” but as a result of injuries weeks, months and years later (babies born with genetic effects and birth defects from exposure to radiation are still born and die early as result of the use of WMD) -- so it is correct in saying millions. Plus, if you read my sentence carefully, the number of millions does not refer only victims in Japan, but to all other victims of WMD, which according to international conventions includes nuclear weapons but is not limited to them.

2. Nuclear weapons were not used in the Vietnam War.

Answer) Napalm was used, which is an equally destructive WMD (as defined by international conventions) and is now banned by international conventions.

3. In Halabja, Iraqi regime used chemical weapons.

Answer) chemical weapons are WMD and can put in the same category as nuclear arms. I also do not discriminate between war criminals that use WMD, be it Bush or Saddam Hussein (in case you only wanted anti-Bush rhetoric).

4. Faluja conflict was strictly fought with conventional weapons.

Answer) Napalm was used but under a different name, and Napalm is an equally banned weapon, under international conventions. BBC also reported the use of other chemical weapons in Faluja by the American army (again equally banned under international conventions).

All of these atrocities have been thoroughly documented by a group of dedicated anti-war legal activists/lawyers and presented at WTI (World Tribunal on Iraq), convened in New York, Istanbul, Cairo, Barcelona, and Johannesburg: with pending litigation against the US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld at the international Criminal Court.

Your reference to the Faluja MASSACARE as Faluja CONFLICT speaks volume as to your politics and your attempt to take issue with an anti-war position. While you are at it, brushing on your English in reading my prose more carefully, you may also want to look up in the dictionary for a proper word describing the use of Napalm, re-named by Pentagon in order to avoid global condemnation, against civilian targets, as reported by BBC and other international news organisations.

Sincerely,
Golbarg Bashi

An Iranian Student (AIS) at April 30, 2006 02:08 PM [permalink]:

Nice try Golbarg Bashi , in pushing in your ideological and propaganda agenda in between a legitimate issue of concern. It's just that it simply fails.
It is for such attitude partly too that the ideologized anti-war movement is losing its credence by the real victims of dictatorships and wars day after day.

Mohammad at April 30, 2006 06:16 PM [permalink]:

Ms. Bashi,

Then write correctly. "It is also a dishonour to all victims of nuclear arms, the millions perished in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Vietnam, Halabcha and Falluja" reads as it is written. You are referring to victims of nuclear arms, not WMDs. So instead of getting angry, listen to a legitimate point raised.

Moreover, adding all these numbers together, you still do not have "millions" of deaths due to the use of WMDs, let alone nuclear weapons. It is fashionable to talk big, but most of the time these big numbers look idiotic to someone who actually understands the significance of orders of magnitude.

I have to add that I feel sorry for your choice of language. Statements like "Your reference to the Faluja MASSACARE as Faluja CONFLICT speaks volume as to your politics and your attempt to take issue with an anti-war position" does not help a discussion.

First of all, my politics are none of your business. Once you write something and publish it, you have to be able to answer all points raised by anyone. If I am aginst the anti-war movement, it is my right. You are in absolutely no position to dictate the rights and wrongs of this world to anyone. You either have an answer to a question, or you don't.

Second, raising hackles at the slightest criticism does not add to your credibility. If you can not even tolerate someone who has a slightly different position than that of yours, you are in deep trouble.

For your information, I am deeply disturbed and disappointed by the conduct of the current US administration in the way they justified the war in Iraq and the way the occupation has unfolded. On the other hand, I really believe that the US has the responsibility to leave Iraq with a functioning democratic government, a modern constitution that ensures the natural rights of all Iraqis, and after the Islamist insurgents are realistically defeated, so that they can not pose a security threat to the democratic Iraqi government chosen by the Iraqi people. I also do not support hare-brained schemes against Iran. Nuking Iran or fomenting ethnic unrest are simply asking for disaster. So no. I do not like what I see in the media.

Unfortunately, I have noticed that the tone and the language of the anti-war movement is getting dangerously close to that of Christian Fundamentalists. For a centrist person like me, many a time, there is no distinction between a bible-thumping yokel and a left-wing activist. The slogans are different for sure, but the logic and tolerence levels are the same.

Third, I am an avid news junky, yet I do not recall ever hearing about the use of WMDs by the US forces in Iraq. Those slight definition differences you dismiss out of hand, often turn the whole affair into a different beast. If Mr. Rumsfeld ever sees the interior of a war crimes court as a defendant (and that's a very remote possibility), one has to wait and see what the defense team has to say about the WTI evidence. Since you seemingly live in the US, you may want to remember that everyone is assumed innocent until proven otherwise.

Craig at May 8, 2006 02:13 PM [permalink]:

Golbarg,

Answer) Having lived in Japan myself, my reference was not just to Hiroshima and Nagasaki but also to Vietnam as well as...

So, you admit to fabriating your data, then?

Answer) Napalm was used, which is an equally destructive WMD

It is? That's funny, I've been in close proximity to napalm strikes over 100 times with no protective gear on, and that was in the 1980s! And yet, here I am! Strangely, I don't think that would be so if napalm was the equivalent of a neclear detonation, eh?

Another fabrication, no?

Answer) chemical weapons are WMD and can put in the same category as nuclear arms.

Only if that category is "banned" - that doesn't make all WMD the same. There IS no equal to nuclear weapons. Saddam used mustard gas, a chemical first used in WWI before it was banned, 40 years before nuclear technology even existed.

I also do not discriminate between war criminals that use WMD, be it Bush or Saddam Hussein (in case you only wanted anti-Bush rhetoric).

Considering Bush has not used WMD and yet you compare him to Saddam Hussein anyway, this is anti-Bush rhetoric :p

And it's a lie.

Answer) Napalm was used but under a different name, and Napalm is an equally banned weapon, under international conventions. BBC also reported the use of other chemical weapons in Faluja by the American army (again equally banned under international conventions).

This whole statement is untrue, including the reference to teh Army! US Marines were the perps of the dreaded white phosphorous smoke munitions attack!

And if you bothered to actually READ the international conventions re: chemical weapons, you'll see that smoke munitrions such as white phosphorous are EXPLICITLY excluded as chemical weapons. That clause was written in anticipation of asshats who like to say anythinb that makes use of a chemical reaction is a chemical weapon. Seems to have gone over a lot of people's heads, though :O

OK, I'm skipping the rest. I didn't find a single factually correct thing in anything you wrote. You probably didn't even live in Japan. You lived in the Phillipines and figured that was close enough, right!?

All that said, and even though I'm not an "anti-war activist" I absolutely oppose using nuclear weapons on a non-nuclear Iran.

AMT at May 12, 2006 02:41 PM [permalink]:

I believe your concern, Mrs. Bashi, is with the laymen-perception of these companies- who, incidentally, are engaging in what many people in America have been doing for a while now; capitalizing on the consumers. I agree with the article in that it is not something I would buy, but I do think that the humor is going to outwin you here. Most people will look at the thong and laugh because they can read into the messages and remember that nuking iran is not as easy as pulling up your pantie-hoes.

I think it's definitely a slap-on-the-wrist issue for those conservative websites that promote these advertisements. They do find an audience for these clothes, and that's a bit unfortunate, but again, it doesn't translate to actuality...and anyhow, read Mohammed and Craig, I think they cleared up some of the blurred lines in your post for me.

Jethro at June 6, 2006 04:06 PM [permalink]:

It is easy to get lost in abstraction. As a US citizen it has been clear to me for some time that there are many people in positions of power in the US who want to use nuclear weapons. The manufacturing of the "other" in the form of the terrrorist and "arab" is many decades old and has intensified through cultural products since Septemember 11, 2001. We are using a different site to sell our shirts for the EnoughFear.org campaign which we just launched. Hopefully, we can stand back from just looking at the facts and start countering the hatred and injustice that lies at the root through dialogue, organizing and action. All the best

Suhayl bin Amr at August 17, 2006 11:40 AM [permalink]:

I guess the only viewpoint one can see if the one that coincides with one's beliefs. Where are the Muslims that are outraged by M. Ahmadinejad's call to "annihilate the Zionist nation...", "wipe the Jewish state off the map..." and the Islamic religious and political leaders calling on all Muslims to attack the "US and Zionist interests where ever they may be in the world." Until you show that your viewpoint is not so singularly focused, you will lose creditability and be shown as an idealog. The current "trend" in media is to villify the West and ignore the ravings of the current Islamic fundamentalists. The world will do so at its peril. The world did the same thing during the 1930's with another ideolog, yes?

Chris Andiakos at March 29, 2007 03:20 AM [permalink]:

We can wipe Iran off of the map! I feel the only reason it has not been done is because there is a vast majority of I ranians who wish to be free. to hell with your Mullahs, you can not win we could and should wipe your oppresive government off of the face of the earth, please fire on our warships!