Till now I have found the ubiquitous coverage of the anti-Government demonstrations in Iran on our key news broadcasters in Europe to be merely a minor nuisance as regards my news intake. The BBC, Euronews and similar mainstream stations have merely replaced their Kiev-written scripts about the war as lead news items at the top of the hour with Washington-written scripts about the disturbances in Iran. Both propaganda scripts are tedious and compel me to flip channels to Mezzo, even if I am not particularly in the mood for classical music at that moment.
But this afternoon the propaganda deluge has reached a new dimension. As I strolled down Avenue Louise on my way home from my swim club, I was struck by a new advertising display on the sidewalk which replaced the usual promotional ads for wine or veggies at discounted prices by one or another of the supermarket chains: there was the portrait of Mahsa Amini with her hashtag! My first thought was who in hell is paying for this invasion of our collective right to a politics free promenade down one of the city’s best boulevards.
The website www.iranintl.com informs us that the Mahsa Amini hashtag has broken historic records:
“The hashtag that has been trending in support of Mahsa Amini, the young woman whose death has triggered nationwide protests in Iran, has been retweeted more than 40 million times.”
And how do they explain this success, which is said to be about 10 times more than the trendiest hashtags on twitter: “it is a feat achieved thanks to the cooperation of numerous celebrities and political figures as well as human rights activists and organizations.”
What is missing in this explanation is the unseen hand of the U.S. Government and its helpmates, whether George Soros or other do-gooders, who are surely busy financing both the demonstrations in Iran and the vast media coverage about the demos here in Western Europe if not around the world.
Why the anti-Government demos in Iran that are calling for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic? Why now?
Well, a couple of weeks ago we all learned from the Washington megaphones that Iran is supplying drones, and/or drone technology to Russia to help with the destruction of the Ukrainian electricity and heating infrastructure. The call went up on Capitol Hill to impose new, crushing sanctions on Iran as punishment for its joining the Russian war effort. Unfortunately, it soon emerged that every conceivable sanction had already been imposed on Iran ages ago, so that route proved to be a dead end. Hence, the bright idea of some ambitious careerists in the State Department or its paid consultants to fire up the Opposition forces in Iran and to give them unlimited promotional coverage on global broadcasting.
This ‘turn the tap’ kind of cynical manipulation of public opinion in the West might seem inventive if it had not been so well foreseen and described by George Orwell in 1984.
©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022