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Tue Jan 7, 2020, 07:23 PM

Rick Steves on Iran (From his Facebook page)

Iran: If You're Going to Bomb a Place, You Should Know Its People First

A decade ago, I traveled to Iran to better understand a country with whom we seemed perennially on the verge of war. I came home with a one-hour public television special ("Rick Steves Iran: Yesterday and Today" that attempted to understand the Iranian psyche and humanize the Iranian people. I believe if youíre going to bomb a place, you should know its people first. Even if military force is justified, it should hurt when you kill someone.

Some things just don't change. America is, once again, on the verge of war with Iran. And, just like a decade ago, we are not prepared for that reality. As a nation, we donít adequately understand Iran. From my travels there, it's clear to me that Americans underestimate both Iran's baggage and its spine.

"Baggage" shapes a country's response to future challenges. In the USA, our baggage includes the fight against socialism during the Cold War and the tragedy of 9/11. Iranís baggage has to do with incursions from the West. Examples include 1953, when the US and Britain deposed a popular Iranian prime minister (after he nationalized their oil) and replaced him with the Shah; and the 1980s, when--with US funding--Saddam Hussein and Iraq invaded Iran, leaving hundreds of thousands of dead soldiers on Iranís Western Front.

Iran is a proud and powerful nation of 80 million people--long a leader in its corner of the world. When I was in Tehran filming my TV special, I went to the National Museum of Iran expecting to film art from the great Persian Empire (the ďEmpires of EmpiresĒ ruled centuries before Christ by great leaders like Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes). I found almost nothing. Apologetically, the curator explained, ďYouíll need to go to London or Paris. Iranís patrimony is in the great museums of Europe.Ē This is baggage.

The Iranian Revolution of 1979, which deposed the US-friendly Shah, is seen in the USA as a terrible thing. It led to the rise of the ayatollahs and the taking of 52 American hostages (which--speaking of baggage--is why our president recently threatened to bomb 52 targets in Iran). But traveling in Iran, I heard a different narrative: The revolution was a people's uprising in the context of the Cold War, as Iranís young generation wanted to be neither East nor West (independent from the USA or USSR realms).

If you donít know Iran (as, I fear, is the case with our countryís decision-makers), it would be easy to underestimate their spine. Filming there, I was impressed by the caliber and the goodness of the people on the street ó and haunted by a feeling that we could easily radicalize them with a reckless foreign policy.

I'm no diplomat, and I realize that Iran is a challenging puzzle to solve. It seems we will always be in conflict with Iran, and the answers will never come easy. But surely whatever we do should be built upon a foundation of understanding: We must get to know Iran on its own terms. We would be foolish not to recognize its baggage--and not to appreciate its spine.

My public television special, "Rick Steves Iran: Yesterday and Today," is as timely and important today as it was when we first released it in 2009. Back then, when people asked me why on earth I was making a TV show about Iran, I told them, ďI believe if youíre going to bomb a place, you should know its people first.Ē And I believe that now more than ever.

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Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply Rick Steves on Iran (From his Facebook page) (Original post)
Algernon Moncrieff Jan 7 OP
llmart Jan 7 #1
happybird Jan 7 #3
smirkymonkey Jan 7 #7
fierywoman Jan 7 #13
47of74 Jan 7 #18
xxqqqzme Jan 7 #20
Wawannabe Jan 8 #24
llmart Jan 8 #25
soldierant Jan 8 #26
llmart Jan 8 #29
soldierant Jan 8 #30
Kurt V. Jan 7 #2
llmart Jan 7 #4
Kurt V. Jan 7 #5
smirkymonkey Jan 7 #6
llmart Jan 7 #8
amuse bouche Jan 7 #14
dalton99a Jan 7 #17
kag Jan 8 #23
BigmanPigman Jan 7 #9
badhair77 Jan 7 #10
mysteryowl Jan 7 #11
Karadeniz Jan 7 #12
burrowowl Jan 7 #15
SCVDem Jan 7 #16
Hekate Jan 7 #19
IronLionZion Jan 7 #21
Raine1967 Jan 7 #22
Native Jan 8 #27
dhol82 Jan 8 #28

Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 07:29 PM

1. I just love Rick Steves.

He may say he's no diplomat, but I'd put my faith in him to build bridges between cultures more than I'd ever put my faith in anyone in today's GOP, especially the ignoramus that stole our White House.

I've seen this Rick Steves special. It was very interesting as are all of his shows.

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Response to llmart (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 07:31 PM

3. +1 million

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Response to llmart (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 07:39 PM

7. He has done more to build bridges between cultures than any politician I know.

See my post downthread. His video is just amazing!

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Response to llmart (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 08:36 PM

13. +1000000

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Response to llmart (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 09:16 PM

18. The late Anthony Bourdain also went to Iran

Iím glad he didnít live long enough to see what this orange fuck is doing.

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Response to llmart (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 09:35 PM

20. I have seen that Special 3 or 4 times. It is shown

on local PBS stations during pledge drives.
It is very good, very informative.

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Response to llmart (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 8, 2020, 04:55 PM

24. Yep. To all you said.

 



Iíd fire one up with him all day long!

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Response to Wawannabe (Reply #24)

Wed Jan 8, 2020, 05:10 PM

25. Ha!

He's quite the aficionado.


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Response to llmart (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 8, 2020, 05:48 PM

26. I've also seen the show, and

scenes from it keep flashing into my mind and tugging at my heartstrings, especially now.

The one I didn't see because my antenna was down and wish I had seen, was the one that aired last month about Fascism in Europe. Did anyone here see it? Any shares?

Oh, i just found it on Passport and have bookmarked it. Probably tonight.
https://www.pbs.org/video/the-story-of-fascism-in-europe-pthanf/

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Response to soldierant (Reply #26)

Wed Jan 8, 2020, 07:47 PM

29. I've watched that one twice.

That one is just plain spot on and is a basic lesson in how fascism flourishes. The similarities to what's happening today are frightening.

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Response to llmart (Reply #29)

Wed Jan 8, 2020, 09:42 PM

30. Thank you.

I just finished watching it for the first time (probably not the last.) Exactly as you describe. (In fact, pretty much exactly what I predicted it would be. Rick is excellent at communicating FACTS and doing it so diplomatically that it's hard to take offense.)

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 07:31 PM

2. i watched it today on create.tv. It's the 2nd time I've seen it.

Iranians are a society in flux. Young oid. Wealthy poor. Theocracy democracy. women men. It's all there. this is a country ready for change with big obstacles

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Response to Kurt V. (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 07:34 PM

4. That's where I first saw it.

I would put my money on the youth of that country to demand changes. I actually think they are more involved in trying to change things than our youth are.

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Response to llmart (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 07:37 PM

5. or as much. the younger ppl worldwide have vested interest

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 07:37 PM

6. Here is is show on Iran. I watched it in it's entirety and it was fascinating and

beautiful. You will never see Iran as a hostile nation after watching this. Like with us, it is their government and not the people who are the problem. The people are just charming and wonderful and their culture is so fascinating. It is almost an hour long, but well worth the time.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 07:40 PM

8. Thanks!

Hopefully others on here will watch it. I watch all of his shows and even have some of his DVD's.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 08:55 PM

14. I am going to watch this. thanks

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 09:13 PM

17. +1

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 8, 2020, 04:19 PM

23. Thanks. I was going to go looking for it.

Now I don't have to.

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 07:43 PM

9. Here is his show at the link from a DU post by Lucky Charms from Sunday.

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=12843878
Here is the video, I watched it last night on PBS and was sad than really angry over what has happened since it was filmed.



Here is Tony Bourdain's Parts Unknown from Iran, 2017. It was voted as one of his best shows.

https://dai.ly/x59kay7

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 08:04 PM

10. An adult in the room.

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 08:26 PM

11. He does good work with his platform.

I will always remember a program he did on Israel and Palestine. I was shocked to learn what was going on there. Shocked. Palestine is poor and held that way by Israel. There are walls and fences and gates and armed guards separating the two. Shocking. I felt great compassion for Palestine.

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 08:32 PM

12. I saw that special back when and saw that there are good people everywhere. I lived in

Turkey, before Erdogan, and saw them as good people, too. People are not their government's policies.

Someone recently posted an audio of a comic who used to work on the Apprentice. I'd seen an earlier video, so I'd heard about the Adderall. On the audio, he expanded Trump's drug use to include cocaine when he's at Mar-a-Lago. Trump chose this assassination when he was there. I have to wonder if this decision, which everyone thought crazy, was made while he was drugged up.

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 09:06 PM

15. K&R

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 09:10 PM

16. Iran: If You're Going to Bomb a Place, You Should Know Its People First

 

Shouldn't this be addressed to the orange dictator?

I cannot read past the first line!

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 09:26 PM

19. KnR

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 10:47 PM

21. Any country will have their conservatives, moderates, liberals, and any mix in between

Just like America. I wouldn't want people around the world to judge Americans based on our deplorables, bigots, and white nationalists.

A disturbing number of Americans have become radicalized online to be a dangerous threat to other Americans, yet we can't call them terrorists because we reserve that label for perceived foreigners. RW American politicians and religious leaders use the threat of dangerous foreigners coming to kill us as a way to manipulate their people into accepting the most unacceptable policies and propaganda. Same with RW Iranian politicians and hard line religious leaders telling people for decades that American sanctions and hostility is to blame for every problem.

Without mentioning any country or demographic of people, if you post online that "we are more alike than we are different", you will see a hostile reaction from deplorable RWers who think diversity is ruining this country. Iran's religious bigots felt western influence was ruining their country before the revolution, so they chose an extreme "return to traditional values".

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Response to IronLionZion (Reply #21)

Tue Jan 7, 2020, 11:41 PM

22. Agreed.

This is so damn true.

Thank you for saying it.

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Wed Jan 8, 2020, 07:07 PM

27. Damn this is good!

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Wed Jan 8, 2020, 07:16 PM

28. I visited Iran about five years ago

It is a fabulous country.
Most of the people I met had relatives in the US. They were lovely!
Their rulers are humps. Not my problem.
To bomb them to oblivion would be a war crime of the first order!
Diplomacy, people! That is the answer to the future of the world.

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