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What's Left?: How Liberals Lost Their Way by Nick Cohen
anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, centre right, Etonian, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Farzad Bazoft, feminist movement, haute couture, kremlinology, liberal world order, light touch regulation, mass immigration, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-industrial society, profit motive, Ralph Nader, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, sensible shoes, the scientific method, union organizing, upwardly mobile, Yom Kippur War
Saddam’s Baath Party slaughtered the Iraqi left and in all likelihood the Baathists murdered her friends years ago and dumped their bodies in unmarked graves. I grew up in the peace and quiet of suburban Manchester, started out in newspapers in Birmingham and left for Fleet Street in 1987 to try my luck as a freelance. I wangled myself a desk next to a quiet and handsome young Iranian called Farzad Bazoft in the old Observer newsroom round the corner from St Paul’s Cathedral. In 1989, he went to Iraq. Extraordinary reports were coming out about Saddam Hussein imitating Adolf Hitler by exterminating tens of thousands of Iraqi Kurds with poison gas. Farzad was a freelance like me, and perhaps he was looking for a scoop to make his name and land himself a staff job. More probably, he was just behaving like a proper reporter.
The play’s conceit was all too realistic: the world would never know of the suffering of the Kurds because the Kurds would never be allowed to speak. The Left, which had thrown the accusation of ‘fascism’ around so freely, still had the sense to fight the real thing and offer fraternal support to its victims. Their struggle was our struggle. Truly, it was. There was one exception. The Tories who made excuses for the judicial murder of Farzad Bazoft and the other crimes of Saddam Hussein did have their counterparts in a small group on the Left in the Seventies and Eighties. It barely seemed worth bothering about at the time, but in retrospect you can see that it beat the path from the Left to far right that was to turn into a six-lane highway in the twenty-first century. The Workers’ Revolutionary Party was one of the ugliest political movements the British left has produced.
Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, call centre, clean water, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Farzad Bazoft, friendly fire, Howard Zinn, IFF: identification friend or foe, invisible hand, Islamic Golden Age, Khartoum Gordon, Khyber Pass, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, music of the spheres, Ronald Reagan, the market place, Thomas L Friedman, Transnistria, unemployed young men, uranium enrichment, Yom Kippur War
Britain, however, made no protest to Iraq over the siege—or over the extraordinary press conference so obviously arranged by the Iraqi government in Baghdad. It was an eloquent silence. Of course, there were those who questioned Britain’s cosy relationship with Iraq. There was an interesting exchange in the House of Lords in 1989—a year after the end of the Iran–Iraq War and shortly after the arrest in Baghdad of Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft and his friend, the British nurse Daphne Parish—when Lord Hylton asked how the British government “justify their action in guaranteeing new credits to Iraq of up to £250 million in view of that country’s detention of British subjects without trial, refusal to release prisoners of war following the ceasefire with Iran and its internal human rights record.” For the government, Lord Trefgarne replied that “the Iraqi Government are in no doubt of our concerns over the British detainee, Mrs.
“The Iraqis are strangely reluctant to explain how they staged last Sunday’s attack,” The Observer’s correspondent wrote on 24 April 1988. The Iraqis used their usual prosaic means; they drenched Fao in poison gas—as U.S. Lieutenant Rick Francona would note indifferently when he toured the battlefield with the Iraqis afterwards. The writer of the Observer report, who had been invited by the Iraqis to enter “liberated” Fao, was Farzad Bazoft. He had just two more years of his life to enjoy. Then Saddam hanged him. Our train back to Tehran contained the usual carriages of suffering, half troop train, half hospital train, although mercifully without the victims of poison gas. The soldiers were all young—many were only fifteen or sixteen—and they sat in the second-class compartments, their hair shaved, eating folded squares of nan bread or sleeping on each other’s shoulders, still in the faded yellow fatigues in which Iran’s peasant soldiery were dressed.
For General Blount to suggest—as he clearly did by saying that the sniper fire stopped once the Reuters camera crew were hit—that the crew were in some way involved in shooting at Americans merely turned an unbelievable statement into a libellous one. Again, we should remember that three dead and five wounded journalists do not constitute a massacre—or even the equivalent of the hundreds of civilians being maimed by the invasion force. And it was a truth that needed to be remembered that the Iraqi regime has killed a few journalists of its own over the years, along with tens of thousands of its own people. The name of Farzad Bazoft came to mind. But something very dangerous appeared to be getting loose. Blount’s explanation was the kind employed by the Israelis after they have killed the innocent. Was there therefore some message that we reporters were supposed to learn from all this? Was there some element in the American military that had come to hate the press and wanted to take out journalists based in Baghdad, to hurt those whom Britain’s home secretary, David Blunkett, had claimed to be working behind enemy lines?
Baghdad Without a Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia by Tony Horwitz
Pressed for details this time, he moderated the threat again: “Your soldiers will go down in the sand. You will not find them.” I was encouraged by Jasim's open and amiable manner, and on the way out, I asked one of his minions, a slick, fluent English speaker named Naji Hadithi, if I needed a permit to visit Babylon (a trip that would let me survey the countryside). Hadithi's calm face curled into a chilling smile. “To follow the line of Bazoft?” he asked. Farzad Bazoft, a London-based journalist, had been hanged by the Iraqis a few months before, accused of spying during a drive south near Babylon. In the elevator, a reporter from The New York Times fired a few follow-up questions about food shortages. Again, Hadithi's smooth veneer vanished. “Do you have another card other than the press card?” he snapped. “Your questions are put the same way as FBI people.”
Culture of Terrorism by Noam Chomsky
anti-communist, Bolshevik threat, Bretton Woods, centre right, clean water, David Brooks, failed state, Farzad Bazoft, land reform, Monroe Doctrine, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, union organizing
., Stephen Engelberg, NYT, Nov. 15, 1986, last paragraph, noting evidence that “the United States was tacitly approving violations of its arms embargo on shipments to Iran” through Israel from 1982; John Walcott and Jane Mayer, WSJ, Nov. 28, 1986, noting that U.S. authorization of Israeli arms sales to be compensated by the U.S. goes back to 1981, with the knowledge of Haig, Weinberger, Shultz, etc.; Glenn Frankel, WP, Nov. 19, 1986. For accurate discussion, see Alexander Cockburn, WSJ, Nov. 13, 1986, which may well have elicited the oblique references just cited; In These Times, Nov. 26, 1986. 18. NYT, Aug. 3, 1987. 19. Simon du Bruxelles and Farzad Bazoft, Observer, Nov. 30, 1986. 20. Simon de Bruxelles and Hugh O’Shaughnessy, London Observer, July 26, 1987; Die Welt (Bonn), Sept. 29, 1987; Newsday-BG, Aug. 3, 1987. 21. Michael Widianski, “The Israel/U.S.-Iran connection,” Tel Aviv, Austin American-Statesman, May 2, 1986. 22. Patrick Seale, “Arms dealers cash in on Iran’s despair,” London Observer, May 4, 1986. 23. LAT, Nov. 22, 1986. 24.
No Such Thing as Society by Andy McSmith
anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Geldof, British Empire, Brixton riot, call centre, cuban missile crisis, Etonian, F. W. de Klerk, Farzad Bazoft, feminist movement, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, full employment, glass ceiling, God and Mammon, greed is good, illegal immigration, index card, John Bercow, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, Live Aid, loadsamoney, long peace, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, old-boy network, popular capitalism, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Sloane Ranger, South Sea Bubble, spread of share-ownership, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban decay, Winter of Discontent, young professional
Suzette Janczykowski, a graphic designer, returned to her rented flat in Bristol at midnight one evening in June 1990 to find that bailiff s had forced their way in with a crowbar, changed the locks and left a message that the property had been repossessed by the Halifax Building Society. ‘I was left locked out in the middle of the night. I could have been attacked or raped or worse,’ she said. In the morning, she contacted her landlord, who denied being in arrears. She was homeless for another two days, until it transpired that the bailiff s had gone to the wrong flat.6 The thousands who were caught out included an Iranian exile named Farzad Bazoft , who had been unable to return home since the 1979 revolution. He had taken out a 100 per cent mortgage on a £69,000 one-bedroom flat in north London before the jump in interest rates forced him to move into cramped shared accommodation. The loss of his flat seems to have increased his determination to establish himself at the Observer, where he was working six or seven days a week, but could not get his name in the paper.