Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Conversation

On Sunday (May 7) I had a brunch meeting with a client.  We had several tax related issues to work out and discuss.  Despite having work with this client since the beginning of the year I was unable to actually meet him in person until Sunday because he was living in Michigan for a period of this year.
I knew the client was a Muslim, but did not know for sure where he was from originally.  Being the nosy wolfish person that I am, and needing to know as much about the people that I associate with as I can, we discussed his background.  It turned out that he was from Iran.  The client had been in the country since he was about 21 years old, and came here to complete his education and become a doctor.
That was just to kind of give you the background on this particular person.  Having not had a Muslim friend/associate in more than 8 years I had not had the ability to ask some anyone that I felt comfortable talking to any questions about the events in the world. So naturally, as part of getting to know him and (again) being that I am a nosy and wolfishly curious person, I asked him about his opinion of the current situation in Iraq.  His response was a very diplomatic "It is very complicated."  I am not sure that I could agree more.  My own opinion on the situation in Iraq is very complicated.
Then I asked the next logical questions. (At least to me.)  What is your preception, as an 'insider,' of the current President of Iran?  (I think I also at this point said something like 'Is he as crazy as he appears in the US media?)  He said he wasn't an 'insider' as he had been out of the country for so long.  As his parents recently came to the US in the last few months though I still felt his perspective would be different than anything I would have access to.
The following are several things that he told me that I wasn't aware of, or really hadn't thought much about: 1. The current ruling class consists of about 5% of the total population of the country.  2. The ruling class, which includes the Mullahs, are not well like by a majority of the population. 3. I barely remember this being covered on the news in the US but there was the student uprising in Iran about 2 years ago.  He told me that the uprising was ended when the government sent the military in to the largest dorm on the campus and basically slaughtered all of the students in the building.  4.  He felt the country really hadn't yet recovered from the Iran-Iraq war and that it really wasn't anywhere near the threat that it was being made out to be.  5. He also said that the President really is just a figure head, that it is really the Mullahs who are running the country.
6.  The military enters the above mentioned dorm on the aniversary of the slaughter and beats some of the students every year.
This conversation made me re-think several things about the media in this country.  I have always felt that the media did at least a decent job of getting the story right, now I am not completely sure that the media is even getting the story at all.  I have barely watched the news since the end of the tax season. (I have previously watched hours of the news everyday.)  Part of the reason is that I am tired of hearing the same unimportant issues reported on over and over.
I am really tired of hearing about the 'illegal' immigration problem.  The problem is solvable in nurmerous ways.  It isn't going to be solved quickly because the solution is one that the big money campaign financers (the Corporation with locations in the South/Southwest) don't truly wanted it to be solved.  This story is distracting us from other things.  Isn't interesting how, until Porter Goss resigned, that the violation of our Constitutional Rights with the domestic spying program was just sort of pushed off the front page.  Isn't it interesting that Fox News felt that Patrick Kennedy's accident was a bigger story than the resignation of the CIA Director.
I am beginning to believe that the majority of the public in this country are easily distracted sheep.  "Looook oooover heeeere, there is a white woman missing."  "Noooo, Looook oooover heeeere, a man got drunk and fell off a cruise ship."  "Noooo, Looook ooooover Heeeere, a girl is still missing in Aruba and we still don't know who did it."  "Noooo, Looook ooooover Heeeeere, there is a problem with immigration."  The only major network or cable news personality that was talking about the immigration issue regularly before the last 6 weeks was Lou Dobbs of CNN. 
Okay what started out as reporting an interesting conversation has turned into a rant.  Time to go.

that is why I avoid t.v. news, waste of time. Like a soap opera you can tune in the next day and all is the same.
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