A costly address
By Farhad Sepahbodi
Somewhere in Arizona
January 16, 1998
* Farhad Sepahbodi's
* Hot implications of U.S.-Iran relations: By Ramin Tabib
* Clinton: "Let's put the past behind us" - U.S. President warms up to Iran :-)
* THE IRANIAN Satire section
* Cover stories
* Who's who
In his recent address to the American people, President Khatami has sort of obliquely expressed regrets for the revolutionaries grabbing American diplomats. In doing so he has opened a Pandora box. Not to be outdone by yet another cunning Iranian, the U.S. State Department is said to be in the process of drafting a formal repentance for helping overthrow the nationalist government of Dr. Mossadegh back in 1953. A formal apology to the Japanese people concerning the Hiroshima bombing and to all American Indians for snatching their ancestral land will follow.
Regarding the Iranian case, the government of tiny Macedonia is currently preparing a draft- resolution apologizing to the noble people of Iran for Alexander the Great's depradations during his invasion circa 300 B.C. Britain too may consider an apology for invading neutral Iran in 1941, and destroying its sleeping fleet at Abadan. It is said that the Prince of Wales will offer a couple of mothballed battleships to Iran as much-belated compensation.
Not to be left behind, the government of Mongolia is weighing an apology to the indegenous peoples of Afghanistan, specially the Talibans for their sufferings at the hands of Genghis Khan in early 13th century. That may compel Iran to apologize for the invasion of Herat during the Qajar era. It is hoped that India will not apologize for something or another for that will force us to restitute the Peacock Throne and other trinklets taken by Nader Shah during his raid on Delhi. Highly worried about the fate of our national treasures, I instantly grabbed my hotline and phoned Cyrus the Great in heaven, his blunt answer was: "sleep well for I am awake."
Experts in transnational remorse at Foggy Bottom have secretly informed me that due to Khatemi's unfortunate remarks many other nations will have to follow suit. For example, the French government is expected to apologize officially to the Spanish people for the horrors inflicted on them during the Napoleonic era; the Belgian government has tentative plans to apologize to the people of Zaire - excuse me Congo - for the misdeeds in the late 19th century; and the Italian government intends to apologize for its abuses during its brief colonial adventure. The German government according to one Bonn official is preparing an apology to "just about everything." Meantime, the Swiss have already apologized for hiding Nazi gold taken from the Jews. The list of apologies is expected to snowball.
According to the Wall Street Journal of January 9, even the kids are listening to Khatemi: At the National Board Games Association convention in Denver last month, 16-year-old Eric Smith apologized to to 11-year-old Todd Litwak for wiping out the entire population of South America in a game of RISK. "Even though it was only a game, I felt that I was practicing vicarious genocide by massacring Todd's entire army." Explains Eric: "I didn't care that much about the soldiers, but annihilating the civilian population was completely unconscionable."
White House officials confirm that President Clinton will soon phone young Eric to commend him for a gesture that "ennobles us all."
Note: It may be plagiarism but I could not resist it. The above is an adptation of an op-ed by satirist Joe Queenan which appeared in the Wall Street Journal of January, 9, 1998 under the title "Who is sorry now..."