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The Supreme Leader’s New Clothes

March 20, 2017
Firouz Farzani
2 min read
The Supreme Leader’s New Clothes

At the end of February, after months of preparation, the 6th International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada opened in north Tehran.

The venue was near the Esteghlal (formerly Hilton) Hotel, in a building set aside for summits on Islamic issues.

Palestinian supporters from around the world registered as delegates, and security was especially heavy as Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, was to give the inaugural address.

There was only one thing missing. The Intifada. 

Fifteen hundred kilometers to the east, no Palestinian youths were throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. There were no clashes in the West Bank or East Jerusalem. Gaza remained quiet.

That didn’t stop the Supreme Leader.  He launched into a speech in praise of it anyway.  And the delegates nodded and clapped.

While he spoke, reporters were excluded from the auditorium.  One of them joked that they were like soccer fans whose team has been disbanded.  “ But they keep cheering anyway”, he said, “even though there’s no game and the players have gone home”

I was reminded of the famous Hans Christian Anderson story about the emperor who orders a suit of new clothes from a couple of swindling weavers. The weavers conspire to clothe the emperor in nothing at all, but spread the word that only misfits and incompetents wouldn’t be able to see the clothes. 

Sure enough, as the emperor walked buck naked among his people, everyone pretended to admire his wonderful new suit. Everyone except a child – who seeing clearly and without fear – shouted,  “But...the emperor has NO clothes!”

If only such a voice had rung out in the 6th International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada, to say “...but there is NO intifada!  What is the Supreme Leader talking about?  And by the way, we are sick to death of you squandering our money on support for Hamas and Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad too.”

But of course – there were no clear-sighted children in that audience. 

And no men or women brave enough to speak the truth. 




Nowruz for Nazanin

March 20, 2017
Natasha Schmidt
4 min read
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