Fascism (Rose and Proyect)

Mani Salem-Haghighi msalemha at uoguelph.ca
Fri Nov 17 12:48:12 MST 1995


I'm not sure what it means to say that the Iranian "regime" is or isn't
racist. But the policies of the Iranian government, when it comes to race
issues, are extremely weird. Iran has one of the highest refugee
acceptance rates in the world. Large pockets of Turkish Kurds, Bosnians,
Chechens and especially Afghanistani refugees have been granted visas to
Iran. But almost all of these people work as virtual slaves in huge
construction sites in big cities. All they get in return for their labor
is a place to sleep at the site, and some bread. Last summer, the
government organized a huge deportation campaign and, interestingly
enough, it was the ultra right-wing shi'ite fascists who were opposing
the move, claiming that it was compromising the government's commitment
to its "moslem brothers" in favour of nationalist sentiments. On the
social level, the situation is quite different. Western and Far eastern
tourists (Germans, Japanese) are treated with reverence, but Afghans,
Bosnians and other East European or Middle Eastern immigrants are not
respected at all. I was once getting my hair cut in a barbershop when the
ambassador of an African country walked in. The barber kicked him out,
refusing to cut his hair, calling him a black dog.

mani


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