All In This Together

 
 Small man, big gun. Front photo of Iranian street art by Icy and Sot/ © Jeanne Menjoulet / Flickr
 
The madness has momentarily stalled, but the bellicose clowns are still running the circus. Thus, a blustering, lunatic Trump - "All is well!" - has failed to offer even a remotely cogent rationale for his lie-based debacle and ensuing escalation in Iran, even as his team of opportunistic, fearmongering thugs are nonetheless busily capitalizing on his lies, raising money by running hundreds of ads declaring, “Thanks to the swift actions of our Commander-in-Chief, (Soleimani) is no longer a threat to the United States, or to the world" - never mind that a growing majority of military personnel of said alleged commander-in-chief don't support him. And, as the world still teetered on meaningless war, the eldest, slimiest and most murderous-of-endangered-species scion of a family that has determinedly avoided military service took to the gun range and Instagram to post preening, oblivious photos of himself brandishing an AR-15 with what he called "a little extra awesome" - images of Hillary Clinton behind bars, and "CRUSADER" etched alongside "Crusaders' Cross" icons from medieval anti-Muslim warriors, which are favored by today's white supremacists. For most people, the ass-hattery offered sorry proof that the answer to the now entirely rhetorical question, "Is there no bottom?" is "no."
 
Meanwhile, for Iran's 80 million people and the rest of the sentient world, life went on. Many people outside Iran, facing down Trump's threats of obliteration and war crimes, posted photos showcasing that country's rich cultural past, or its fashionable present. Others posted the short, poignant Iranian film, "Gharare Panjshanbe," or "Thursday's appointment," directed by 20-year-old Seyed Mohammad Reza Kheradmandan. In Farsi, it shows an older couple in their car playing a Persian poetry game, each reciting a line from a love poem by 14th-century writer Hafez. After a brief inter-action with a squabbling couple in the next car, reality becomes memory, and the man is going to his wife's grave with flowers and dates. Generous Iranians offered to translate its lessons - kindness, compassion, love for humanity. For many these days, those gifts have been hard-won. "You want to know what it feels like to be an #Iranian & #Muslim in Donald J. Trump's America?" asks Omid Safi on Facebook. "It is to have a conversation with your beautiful little girl about all the war talk against #Iran that is coming from the President of these United States of America and to have her grow very quiet and ask you: "Baba, are we safe?" He tries to reassure her,but he himself isn't sure. "You know that none of us is fully safe as long as any of us is unsafe," he writes. "We are in this together."

In Tehran. Photo by Harry Jans

Photo by Simone Tramonte

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