BREAD & CIRCUS: It Ain't about Democracy or HR Stupid, It's About Show Business


BREAD & CIRCUS: It Ain't about Democracy or HR Stupid, It's About Show Business
by Darius Kadivar

Dunno for You, but personally what I despise more than vulgarity is political correctness. One can legitimately ask if any of our indignations, or outrages against injustice are genuinely sincere in an age of mass communication where everyone is entitled to their 15 min of fame, and where what matters ultimately is to be "IN" or "FASHIONABLE" in order to come across as "MORAL" and or "JUST" in the eyes of a public opinion we wish to SEDUCE rather than CONVINCE.

Ever since I left Iran 30 years ago having witnessed the Iranian revolution and the atrocities that fell upon a nation I love and cherish, I couldn't ever help feeling frustrated at the idea that all the crimes committed in my country were being overlooked by people in the democratic countries I was lucky to live in or visit. Each time a major tragedy would take place in Iran, and hopes of an upheaval against the regime seemed to be apparent, one tragic incident elsewhere seemed to chase another and totally distract attention at what in my view mattered to me at least. Maybe my interest in films and later on studying about audio visual communication led me to take an even stronger interest in the effect of mass media on the public psyche. Witnessing the executions of Imperial officers and ministers in Iran on State Television was certainly one of the most gruesome interactive experiences I ever had. Watching adults talk or joke about this or that minister being caught and executed and listening to sardonic laughters of highly educated people turned "salon" revolutionaries overnight despite having benefited from the previous regime and spewing hatred of anything deemed "taghouti" as opposed to the virtuous "mostaazaf" often drove my father mad at his fellow university colleagues whom he accused of hypocrisy. I on the other hand felt rather confused at the entire experience which seemed to equally repulse me and intrigue me at the same time. It was hard to imagine that these images were real until one day when I learned of a fellow classmate (whose full name I alas forgot, except for his first name "Kamran") whose father was executed on charges of being a SAVAK officer in Shiraz. Ironically I found out about it before Kamran himself told us about this tragic loss by watching the television one evening and recognizing his father on the Local Prime News. No one in my class ever thought or suspected that Kamran's father who was an engineer was an intelligence officer. Nor were the accusations against him ever clear. Khomeiny had declared a general amnesty for all former regime officers or ministers after months and months of arbitrary trials followed by executions often televised. And Kamran's father had finally decided to deliver himself to the revolutionary tribunals in Shiraz after spending months in the mountain outskirts surrounding the city. 

So the very first and last time I ever saw Kamran's father was on Television. A handsome man in his mid 40's at the time he naturally looked very much like his son. I recall vividly the following day, seeing Kamran at school. He was not an outgoing boy. I recall many of us would make fun of him throughout the year because he appeared shy and clumsy and unlike most of us in our community school, his english was not that fluent. Hence we had no particular reason to spill crocodile tears simply because we had found out about his tragic story. Kids at that age even teenagers as was our case can be cruel if not as cruel as adults. Our only excuse is that unlike adults we are innocent and probably less experienced about life. Thinking back to those days the reaction of some of us reminded me of the scene in marjane satrapi's Persepolis where the kids chase a poor boy whose father is accused of being a Savaki. However on that day everyone felt a deep sorrow for Kamran's predicament. He left school a week later and we never heard of him again. To this day, I don't know if he is alive or managed to escape Iran with his mother and siblings. Did he remain in Iran ? Was he taken to the War Front ? I will never know ...


If only I could remember his family name and try to find out about his whereabouts if any.


But beyond this personal anecdote as I observe all that is going on in the world and particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, I cannot but help think about all the lives which will be shattered or damaged by collateral effects be them physical or psychological on a given generation of Libyans, Egyptians, Tunisians, Syrians, Bahrainis, Yemenis who in the months or years to come may either have to leave their country or remain and endure the hardships or joys that the larger than life events will put in front of them. Life and far less romantic considerations will force them (or their parents if they are too young to decide for themselves) to make choices, often harsh ones and with irreversible consequences which will impact their lives for better or for worse. In short they will have to learn to cope with life, move on or grow up in order to survive.



Revolutions, Wars are not picnics. There is nothing entirely glorious nor is it always triumphant. The Common denominator is that people often die or are hurt one way or another, regardless of which camp they find themselves in. How many lives will be shattered for ever like hers:


BOOK: EVEN AFTER ALL THIS TIME By Afschineh Latifi ( A Memoir )

Or theirs:

SARBAZ: Fereidoun Farrokhzad helps child soldiers of Iran Iraq War

Only so that Some Academic "Expert" in Middle Eastern Studies can then come up with some Scholarly Explanation to all this madness:

WHO'S THE EXPERT? John Simpson Proves Barbara Slavin Wrong on Libya

COLUMBIA PRESENTS: Academic Excellence With Hamid Dabashi & Sadri Bros

Maybe one of the reasons I have always been fascinated by the Past and History in general is that I like to know if as human beings we are any better off today than let's say during the early civilizations known equally for having accomplished great things and yet were also known for their cruelty or what is deemed as cruelty according to our modern standards. 

But Honestly speaking are we any better off than the Romans for instance ? They built aquaducts and roads which have lasted the test of time but they also fed the Christians or gladiators to the Lions or pushed them to suicidal man to man combat.

We have invented the internet, TV sets, the atom bomb, we have gone as far as the moon and we know that technology does not answer all the ills of our times. We boast about having invented democracy and human rights which we uphold as the most virtuous and noble of ideals, we claim to despise War and Love Peace but how genuine are we when we make such intellectually arrogant statements ?

Nations, democracy and peace are a result of decades if not centuries of evolution built upon the corpses of millions of people since the dawn of time. Only a handful of countries in the world, mostly situated in the Western Hemisphere can claim to have achieved this very "Western Concept":


EMPIRE OF THE MIND: The Greeks - Crucible of Civilization narrated by Liam Neeson (PBS-1999)


Hence I find it ironic that be it Western Liberals or their like minds in let's say amongst the Arab League which only recently seem to Uphold these very "Western Imports" (which are precisely Democracy and Human Rights) as their new "Universal" standards yet they have kept a closed eye on the predicament of their muslim brothers in Libya on grounds that they do not wish to see the resurgence of a Neo Colonial Imperialism in the fact of saving a nation from it's tyrant.


So DEMOCRACY is GOOD, But PAX AMERICANA which made it possible in the first place is BAD:


Europe in Ruins and the Marshall Plan



PAX AMERICANA: Hitchens VS Kondracke on Reality or Fantasy of American "Imperialism" (1991)


AXIS OF COOPERATION: Egypt, Jordan and Iran working with US in 1950s

Quite Honestly in the face of all these major transformations and tragedies taking place in the world today, I am not sure who is right or who is wrong nor who with all his sanity left intact has a Solution to the Ills that are inflicting the world today.

Nor do I think that One Person alone can be held responsible for the outcome of all these upheavals (justified or not ?) which at first glance appear as legitimate. 

God knows how much I am angry at Obama and other Western Leaders for their clumsy handling of the events in Libya but it would be unfair to use this merely for political calculation.

For the Sad fact remains that: 


Be it Left Wing, Right Wing, Neo Con, Neutral Green, Monarchist, Republican, Gay, Straight,Black, White, Jew, Muslim, Christian, Atheist, You Name it ! 

But I have Just one Question to ask All of you out there : 

Based on What Argument can You Truly Claim that we are any Better off than any of our Roman, Persian, Greeks or Astec ancestors ?


Cause despite all their shortcomings our deemed "Backward" and "Bloodthirsty" Ancestors must have had at least ONE Quality: they were not Conveniently Neutral Hypocrites !














In the Arena:

Scene from Stanley Kubrick’s film in which Spartacusfights Draba the Nubian Slave



“I’m Spartacus”: 

Scene from Stanley Kubrick’s film wherethe Rebellious Slaves Refuse to deliver the real Spartacus in exchange of aless painful death






Andy Warhol's 15 Minutes of Fame Trailer:

Dumb Blond thinks Europe is a Country:

Miss Teen 2007 South Carolina can't answer the question:

La Republique de MonCul: 

Tu Veux ou Tu Veux Pas ?:


The People's Front in Monty Python's Life of Brian:

Life of Brian - PFJ Union meeting:

A funny clip of a Turk who picks up a fight with an Iranian in front of a Doner Kebab in Austria.(No Translation needed):

THE KISS: Don't Mess With GENUINE Daughters of IRANZAMIN ;0) :


Lost In Translation:



Fahrenheit-451 ''do you ever read book, scene' in François Truffaut's adaptation of Ray Bradbury's novel:

(NOTE : To Watch Double Click Here)


Fahrenheit 451 the interactive television in François Truffaut's adaptation of Ray Bradbury's novel:

(NOTE : To Watch Double Click Here)





How Much Proof do You Need ? 





Evidence of Libya torture emerges :

As opposition groups in Libya take overareas outside of the capital, state prisons and military buildings are beingsearched.

In Benghazi, the opposition says they have unearthed equipment usedby the government to torture dissidents, while more and more allegations ofcruelty towards political prisoners are emerging.

Al Jazeera's Tony Birtleyreports from Benghazi, Libya.

These Images are form February but I leave it to Your Imagination to try and imagine what is going on right now in Libya ...

People protest against the Gaddafi Government, with reports of government soldiers shooting peopledead. Reports of wounded and dead civilians in Al Baida. Libya. 19/02/2011

Safeguard the Innocent in Satrapi's Persepolis ( adapted to the case of the Baha'i minority):

Revolutionaries show the corpses of the Shah's generals executed (British News):




Neda Agha Soltan, killed20.06.2009, Presidential Election Protest:



FORGET WHAT MATTERS: Amah Shenavandeh Kooh ? 



Bakhtiar's Lessons in Democracy:






KIOSK - Eshgh e Sorat:

Florent Pagny - Ma Liberté de Penser:

Abjeez - DemoKrasy:

QUEEN: The Show Must Go On:

Recommended Reading:

Is There Really an Obama Doctrine? - Room for Debate (bbc)

Recommended Watching:

Machiavelli's "The Prince" and the "Art" of Governing

Related Blogs:

CLUELESS JON STEWART: "Ebrahim Yazdi Such a Lovely Man"

SATIRE: Egypt's "Papyrus Revolution"

CAMEL SPOTTING: First reactions to Mubarak's Speech on Tahrir Square

Related Blogs On Libyan Crisis:

WHO'S THE EXPERT? John Simpson Proves Barbara Slavin Wrong on Libya

Barbara Walters On Interviewing Muammar Gaddafi in 1989

US, UN, Europe and the Arab League SHAME ON YOU !

IMPOTENCE IN ACTION: Western Powers Can't Figure Out How To Deal with Gaddafi

QUO VADIS ? Nero Sings While Tripoli and Tehran burn

Libya's Exiled Crown Prince calls on world to stop 'massacre,' remove Gaddafi


AUTHENTIC FRONTIER GIBBERISH: Egypt's Rebuffs Washington's Speed Up Calls ;0)


Other Related Blogs:

FED UP WITH POLITICAL CORRECTNESS: Ahmadinejad is NOT my Prime Minister !

SATIRE: I voted ;0)


more from Darius Kadivar
Soosan Khanoom

The sad story of your friend

by Soosan Khanoom on

The sad story of your friend and his father truly touched my heart ........ Revolution was a fire that burned many indiscriminately , guilty or not .  And those in charge shall reap what they sew ...... 

After all the advancements in science and technology are we really better as human beings ?  Human nature remains the same despite of all of these. It is not the physical world that makes us human it is the spiritual world. A world as old as the creation itself.  

You asked:   Are we any Better off than any of our Roman, Persian, Greeks or Astec ancestors ?

I say ..... we are neither better nor worse ...... we are and will always remain the same.  When it comes to love or hate nothing has changed and never will .......