Friday, May 19, 2006
Iran Takes Another Step
For someone who claims that the Holocaust never happened, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has learned a lot from it... and seems determined to put his education into practice, step by step:
Iran Eyes Badges For JewsHave we learned nothing? There are still thousands upon thousands of people, alive and well, who had to wear Jew badges themselves during World War II and before.
Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.
Iran's roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.
Ali Behroozian, an Iranian exile living in Toronto, said the law could come into force as early as next year.
It would make religious minorities immediately identifiable and allow Muslims to avoid contact with non-Muslims.
Mr. Behroozian said it will make life even more difficult for Iran's small pockets of Jewish, Christian and other religious minorities -- the country is overwhelmingly Shi'ite Muslim. "They have all been persecuted for a while, but these new dress rules are going to make things worse for them," he said.
The new law was drafted two years ago, but was stuck in the Iranian parliament until recently when it was revived at the behest of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Have we forgotten what this means, or what it can lead to?
Or is Ahmadinejad cynically testing to see just how far he can go, in lockstep imitation of Hitler, before anyone does anything to oppose him? Is he pushing to see how far he can go... and are we letting him?
Hitler is often used as the textbook example of pure evil in human form. And sometimes people wonder if, in today's climate of political correctness and multiculturalism, we would have the moral fortitude our grandfathers had when they fought Hitler's Germany.
Would we fight Hitler, if we had the chance? Or would we talk endlessly, as Neville Chamberlain did, and not see, in full view, the long knives being sharpened?
We may yet have a chance to find out. Ahmadinejad seems determined to give us that chance.
(hat tip: Smash)
UPDATE: There are reports that the Canadian National Post article, cited above, is false.
At this point (Friday afternoon, May 19 2006), we don't know. Stay tuned.
UPDATE II: I wanted to be sure about this... but it now seems clear that the original report was incorrect.
As I understand it, the Iranian dress-code law -- which was passed, although it has some legislative hoops to jump through still -- once had a provision in it for the abovementioned colored ribbons. That provision does not appear to be in the law now, although we might yet see this story again as the legislative process continues.
For now, though, we have no evidence that this will come to pass... and it's far too serious an accusation to make without evidence. So let's not have any "fake but accurate" arguments here; neither Ahmadinejad, nor Iran as a whole, should be denounced for something that hasn't happened.
(It's also interesting to see how strongly Iran has insisted that this story was untrue. Perhaps their sabre-rattling isn't quite as loud or as insistent as we thought it was.)
UPDATE III: J.J. McCullough had a good point to make about the whole thing: