The Company You Keep
So the news has arrived that Iran is renaming national foods:
Iranians love Danish pastries, but when they look for the flaky dessert at the bakery they now have to ask for "Roses of the Prophet Muhammad."
Bakeries across the capital were covering up their ads for Danish pastries Thursday after the confectioners' union ordered the name change in retaliation for caricatures of the Muslim prophet published in a Danish newspaper.
"Given the insults by Danish newspapers against the prophet, as of now the name of Danish pastries will give way to 'Rose of Muhammad' pastries," the union said in its order.
"This is a punishment for those who started misusing freedom of expression to insult the sanctities of Islam," said Ahmad Mahmoudi, a cake shop owner in northern Tehran.
How petulant, juvenile, and sad. What other country would do something so stupid?
Iran's Danish renaming wasn't the first time a food name has become a symbol of protest. A Republican congressman from North Carolina helped lead an effort to make sure Capitol Hill cafeterias changed their menus to advertise "freedom fries" instead of french fries after France opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Uh, never mind.
(Incidentally, that Congressman from North Carolina, Walter Jones, is now a leading Republican critic of the war, who supports a timetabled withdrawal. Go figure.)
There are actually more substantive ways Iranian policy mirrors its American counterpart. For example they both hate the gay:
At the same time the United States is having an internal debate about whether or not to bomb Iran (or take some type of military action) to stop their nuclear program the US is siding with Iran in a debate at the United Nations to "deny UN consultative status to organizations working to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people," according to Human Rights Watch:
In a letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, a coalition of 40 organizations, led by the Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights Watch, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, called for an explanation of the vote which aligned the United States with governments that have long repressed the rights of sexual minorities.
"This vote is an aggressive assault by the U.S. government on the right of sexual minorities to be heard," said Scott Long, director of the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch. "It is astonishing that the Bush administration would align itself with Sudan, China, Iran and Zimbabwe in a coalition of the homophobic."
Actually, is it all that astonishing? Nations so swayed by religious rhetoric are prone to denying human rights based on the interpretive word of its respective higher power. We've been engaged in stopping a theocracy from taking hold in Iraq while at the same time coming dangerously, precariously close to a theocracy here at home.