. The importance of asking stupid questions | Ceasefire Magazine

The importance of asking stupid questions

Today, what I would really like to do is share with you, our readers, a shining example of how our political and media elites are doing a wonderful job, far better than many "gloom and doom" sceptics would like to admit...

Editor's Desk - Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 3:02 - 4 Comments


By Hicham Yezza

I would like to share with our readers a shining example of how our political and media elites are doing a far better job than many “gloom and doom” sceptics would like to admit.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian premier, announced yesteday morning that a contract worth 10 billion dollars for the sale of military aircraft and weaponry has been signed between his country and the Iranian regime. Putin emphasised how the sale was part of Iran’s strategic readjustment in its defensive preparations against possible aggression by the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, countries that have all publicly declared their intentions to use the “military option” against it.

The Russian business media has reported the story as a triumph for the country’s arms industry, highlighting the significant number of jobs that are to be created as a result. Russia Today explained how the sale is part of Russia’s plan to protect its allies from external aggression, especially in the context of growing instability in the region, exacerbated in great part by the US invasion of Iraq and its sponsorship of totalitarian monarchies and unstable regimes surrounding Iran.

In a major victory for Western journalism, within hours of the news emerging, all major US-UK-EU newspapers and TV networks forensically exposed the story and its ramifications, virulently mocking Putin’s claims that this was a deal intended for defensive purposes, and exposing the obvious truth, that Russia was bringing great harm to the region for selfish political and financial gain. The Wall Street Journal, to name one example, bravely investigated the job-creation estimates paraded by Putin, and showed them to be mere governmental-corporate propaganda.

Ok, I have a confession.

Although I did want to share a shining example of etc with you, I am, alas, unable to do so. Because, you see, this story is not entirely true.

Don’t feel let down, the story is not entirely false either. An arms deal involving Iran was announced yesterday but the details are somewhat different:

1- It’s not the Russians who are making the sale, but Barack “Nobel Peace Prize winner” Obama’s administration.

2- It’s not the Iranians who are buying the weapons but one of their major regional nemeses, Saudi Arabia.

3- The enthusiastic business media reaction described was not that of the Russian networks and newspapers but of their US-UK counterparts.

4- Oh, and the deal is worth 60 (yes, sixty) billion dollars and not a paltry ten.

So, how was this deal received by those  media outlets that reported it? How many articles subjected the Administration’s claims that the deal was to increase regional stability and was “part of a broader policy aimed at shoring up Arab allies against Iran”, to any kind of scrutiny? As far as I could detect, the number is, at the time of writing, zero. In fact, the entire mainstream media reporting so far has left the only questions that matter, ie the obvious ones, unquestioned.

For instance: How does pouring 60 billion dollars-worth of weaponry into a heavily-militarised region that has known nothing but death and destruction and suffering and mayhem and misery for decades, anything other than a deeply callous, immoral act? Why is an unelected, human-rights-abusing regime being sponsored and sustained in the name of ‘Democracy’ and ‘Human Rights’? Why are the Saudis, the self-appointed custodians of the Muslim faith, spending this money to help other Muslims being harmed and killed, only to line-up the coffers of death merchants instead of helping any of the millions of the wretched in their country and beyond? And why is everything being done, and allowed to be done, to guarantee a military confrontation with Iran rather than avoid it?

As Noam Chomsky says, our valiant, truth-seeking media never relents in pursuing these questions when they relate to the actions of assorted official enemies, but when it comes to our own Governments and their actions, truisms turn into logical impossibilities. A Martian visiting (or more probably banished to) our planet would be amazed at the way the “Iranian Threat” is reported.

Millions of news stories, reports, cartoons, interviews, profiles and so-called investigations all present the situation to be an obvious one: that of a belligerent, openly-militaristic, illegitimate, theocratic Iranian junta issuing threats of annihilation against peaceful democratic, stable neighbours and, for good measure, against the world’s superpower. This lopsided myopia is, naturally, absorbed, internalised and propagated, largely without comment, every single day. After all, regardless of what our actions entail, they are good by definition, since we commit them and we, also by definition, are good, always.

Of course, the answers, like the questions, are obvious and, as everyone knows, only troublemakers ask the latter, and only fools wait for the former.

Hicham Yezza, is editor-in-chief of Ceasefire.


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sharon allan
Dec 6, 2010 3:16

A brilliant article, well writen by Hichem.

Dec 29, 2011 19:44

Dumb question to “Hicham”: are you for the US, Israel over-throwing another sovereign nation to pillage its assets and enslave its people, just like they have done to so many other peoples?

Hicham Yezza
Dec 29, 2011 22:36

@TheBigWedding – You’re right, that IS a very dumb question
Hicham (or “Hicham”, if you insist)

Jan 5, 2012 9:07

A pretty hefty chunk of the 60 Billion $ will eventually be routed to Isreal in one form or the other, the brain behind US actions.

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