13 November 2009

Roger Cohen: about hinges and lack thereof

I have no doubt that all of you followed with bated breath the Iranian odyssey of the NYT grand vizier Roger Cohen. Well, if you didn't, here is a reminder. So enamored was our jolly Roger with the regime, that I was quite sure that he became a full time fellow traveler of Ayatollahs. Then, after the democratic elections in this "vibrant democracy" (according to Roger) and the following violence, Roger came up with a rare show of mea culpa, bewailing his own blindness.

One would assume that enough is enough and that Mr Cohen will do his best not to mention this professional fiasco. Even after the ominous sentence he dropped in one of the after-election pieces:

I’ve argued for engagement with Iran and I still believe in it, although, in the name of the millions defrauded, President Obama’s outreach must now await a decent interval.
(We have already seen the attempt to outreach - quite according to Cohen's wishes - and the results of this attempt. But this is not about the current administration. It is about Mr Cohen.)

So imagine my surprise upon seeing the article The Hinge of History where not so jolly Roger takes another approach to Iran:
What if the vast protesting crowd of perhaps three million people had turned from Azadi (Freedom) Square toward the presidential complex? What if Mir Hussein Moussavi, the opposition leader, had stood before the throng and said, “Here I stand with you and here I will fall?” What, in short, if Azadi had been Prague’s Wenceslas Square of 20 years ago and Moussavi had been Vaclav Havel?
This absolutely pathetic piece, which has nothing to do with what professional journalism is about, is just an exercise in mental and moral masturbation. It made me suspect that Mr Cohen nurtures an intent to leave the field of journalism, where the possibilities of rich pickings are somewhat diminished for him, exchanging it for the "what if?" quasi-SF domain. But better people have already cornered this market, so it could hardly be. I don't have an explanation for this miserable excuse for an op-ed column, unless it's a cry of a tortured soul (bleh...).

What I do have, though, is a question: what if Roger Cohen and many of his oh so progressive and liberal colleagues, instead of doing their considerable best to poison the Western minds by their warm and fuzzy about the nice Iranian regime during the years that led up to the current tragedy, tried telling (for a change) not what they desire to see, but the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

But then, Roger Cohen is just another link in the long chain of the fellow travelers (or useful idiots, take your pick), one of whom produced that masterpiece in 1924 for NYT:


P.S. I have already posted that snapshot of NYT article before. It bears repeating.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.