Naz Massoumi

Imperialist hypocrisy

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Compare the media coverage of the elections in Iran and Afghanistan. When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the disputed presidential election in Iran in June the Western media celebrated the mass protests in opposition to the result and there was in-depth critical analysis of the Iranian government and its policies (Feature, Socialist Review, July/August 2009).

In contrast, last month's elections in Afghanistan were lauded as being evidence of Afghanistan's burgeoning democracy, made possible of course by the US occupation, under the banner of Nato.

There is no exposé of corruption, of the true nature of the Hamid Karzai regime, the drugs trade or the devastating poverty under which millions of Aghans live.

The US and British governments want us to believe the lies that the Afghanistan war, and that the government they prop up, are bringing freedom and democracy to that country.

Iran: from Shah to Ayatollah

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With the failure of the "war on terror" has come an emboldened, increasingly influential Iran. But as world leaders look for ways to exert their authority on the country, Naz Massoumi looks at Iran's revolutionary history and its repeated rejection of imperialism.

"Iran, because of the great leadership of the Shah, is an island of stability in one of the more troubled areas of the world," said US President Jimmy Carter on his New Year's Eve state visit to Iran in 1977. He spoke too soon. Just a week later the Shah's police shot and killed dozens of theology students as they protested in the religious city of Qom against a scurrilous attack on Ayatollah Khomeini in a pro-government newspaper. One year later, on 16 January 1979, following months of demonstrations and a general strike, the Shah was forced to leave Iran.

The "War on Terror": is Iran next?

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With two disastrous wars under their belt, the desperate neocons in the White House are pushing for one more throw of the blood stained dice. Lindsey German looks at their plans for another regime change, while Naz Massoumi writes about the consequences of a potential US attack.

Any faint hopes that Gordon Brown would break from George Bush over his foreign policy were dashed by his Mansion House speech to the Lord Mayor of London and assorted businessmen and dignitaries last month. Once more, wearing the white tie and tails he had specially made for the Saudi Arabian state visit, Brown declared himself a strong ally of Bush: "We will lead in seeking tougher sanctions both at the UN and in the European Union, including on oil and gas investment and the financial sector." Brown added that no one should mistake "the seriousness of our purpose".

Shared Destination

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Review of 'Tickets', directors Ermanno Olmi, Abbas Kiarostami, Ken Loach

The thing I hate most about travelling on the train is the walk along the platform. This is where you have to endure the sight of the first class carriages - each carriage as vacant as the previous, each as redundant as the one before. You board the standard class hoping that this time you won't have to stand outside the toilet for the entire journey for lack of available seats.

Losing It Last Time

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Review of 'Hearts and Minds', director Peter Davis

'The ultimate victory will depend on the hearts and minds of the people who live out there,' proclaimed Lyndon Johnson when speculating on the possible outcome of the war in Vietnam. Borrowing its title from Johnson's quote, Peter Davis's Hearts and Minds - an Academy Award winning documentary that highlights the hypocrisy and brutality of the US's war in Vietnam - is a powerful and compelling film and its influence is apparent in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.

Iran: A Cinema Born Out of Poetry and Resistance

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Iranian films reflect the contradictions of their society, argues Naz Massoumi.

The initial international acclaim received by Iranian cinema in the 1990s presented a paradox. The western media's portrayal of post-revolution Iran painted a picture of war, repressive mullahs and fundamentalism (and even more so now, as Bush's hypocrisy reaches new levels when we are told that Iran has a fundamentalist, nuclear-proliferating, unelected government). In this context, the films of childlike innocence and rural landscapes showed a very different, poetic image of Iran, and thus seemed to present a big contradiction.

Supermarket Sweep

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Review of 'Czech Dream', directors Vit Klusak and Filip Remunda

A spectre is haunting Europe - the spectre of consumerism - and when it comes to consumerism the giant supermarkets are first at the checkout. In the Czech Republic this is especially true, where 125 'hypermarkets' have popped up in just five years and where they have a word to describe someone who's addicted to shopping at them - hypermarketom√°nie.

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