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It is Jafar Panahi that walks the road of Osip Mandelstam, Anna Akhmatova, Vaclav Havel, Heberto Padilla, and Tian Zhuangzhuang.
The ever brilliant Caroline Glick has recently reminded us that “War is a dirty business. Information war is a dirty form of war. And if we don’t want to lose, we better start fighting.” Glick explains that when in May 2001 two boys, Koby Mandell and Yosef Ishran were bludgeoned and butchered near Gush Etzion, local Palestinian television had featured doctored Israeli atrocity footage around the clock for weeks. Such is the actual nature of information warfare.
Glick warns us that in the runup to the January 15 indictments against Hizbullah operatives for the murder of Rafik Hariri, Hizbullah has been engaged in a flurry of deals and intimidations to shape this new page of information war to their ends.
Even the New Year’s Day bombing of the Christian church in Cairo was preceded by an al-Qaeda manual on “destroying the cross,” complete with bomb building videos. Salafi hardliners had been holding anti-Christian demonstrations, passing out fliers calling for violence against Christians, for weeks.
Internationally, the current US administration, diplomatic service, academy, and mainstream media reflexively regard communication as neutral, disembodied, even empty. This is what they have been trained to think and paid to do all their lives. Against domestic adversaries, they are fully into the dirty information war, as recent events reveal.
Right now we must move to support Panahi with concrete actions. There is no reason the figures and agents of radical Islam should be allowed free and easy access to our portals of information. There is certainly no reason to allow these monsters to prance around luxury NY hotels, the UN, or Columbia.
If we cannot act to protect Jafar Panahi, who can we protect?
Edward Azlant is a retired film academic (PhD-UW Madison), screenwriter (WGA), record producer (Lenny Bruce Live at the Curran Theater), and music photographer (The Immortal Otis Redding). He has written for FrontPage, Commentary, Big Hollywood, Big Journalism, and Powerline. Azlant lives in northern California.
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