Monday, April 02, 2007
15 sailors, 10,460 news items
Last night, while Al Alam and western news organizations were showing the latest confessions from the British soldiers, Iranians were watching Buster Keaton unfold a giant newspaper...
Why is Iran losing its case in international public opinion and why doesn’t the Iranian government care about this?
It is no secret that governments and corporations around the world spend millions, even billions, of $s to improve their public relations. When governments or corporations are under attack or when they see their policies or actions are not received well at the national or, as in this matter, international level, they try to present their side of the story in a compelling and coherent manner. They also seek help or guidance from the partners that they count on to come to their side in times of need. Looking at events surrounding the capture of 15 British sailors in the past 10 days proves that Iran does not care about its public image and does not know how to gain the support of the international community. Iran is speaking with too many voices and has too many different agendas. Iran will come out of this crisis the big loser.
Just a few months ago it seems that the people in the Arab world were supportive of Iran’s policies such as in the case of so-called peaceful nuclear energy and standing up to the west. Now it seems that they are increasingly nervous that Iran might provoke another war. Some guy on the BBC said about this that Iran scored an own goal. (sorry, can’t remember his name)
What Iran needs at this time is a brand new political calculation machine that can better analyze situations both tactically and strategically. If anyone knows of such a machine, there’s a market in Iran.
Why am I saying this? This morning when I got up, I went through all of the comments people left on this blog since the 15 British sailors ware captured on March 23. There is a storm of news articles and opinions about it around the world. I can see very clearly that Iranians writing inside and outside Iran take a similar approach: were the 15 sailors in Iranian waters or not, and if they were, was that right or wrong? I think this shows how black and white we Iranians tend to see international events. I bet there are incidents of foreign ships entering a nation’s territorial waters all the time: these breaches do not become international incidents because they are rationally dealt with and solved. Usually, as I wrote earlier, with a megaphone.
Here I want to give you guys a few statistics regarding a couple of issues Iran is dealing with or needs to deal with. I am hoping to prove to you that whatever Iranians had planned or not planned that the result of their actions is more damaging than the UN resolution against the country. You might say that Iran was good at taking the attention away from the UN resolution, but may have brought extra and more damaging sanctions upon itself through its actions.
Here we go:
If you search for 15 British sailors on Google News, you get 10,460 news items/articles.
Search for subject United Nations Resolution 1747 will deliver 208 hits.
Combination of United Nations Resolution 1747 + 15 British sailors will ONLY deliver 37 hits.
US + 15 British sailors delivered 7,366 hits. In the same time deployment of 21,000 new soldiers in Iraq add only 90 hits
We Iranians should look at what people are saying about us: they say that we have a tradition of taking hostages: there were the Americans taken hostage in their embassy at the start of the resolution, the British sailors that we took a few years ago, and that in the 1800s we killed the Russian ambassador when we attacked his embassy.
This is another disaster for us. It will take years for us to recover from it. It isn’t only the Iranian government that will suffer, it is the Iranian people as well. We need to stop being such losers and so short-sighted. Iranians need to see that we are losing big time in international public opinion. Our image is as important to defend as our territorial borders. Right now the world sees us as out of control. That is a very dangerous image to present to the world.
For the record, these televised confessions that the Iranian government keeps showing on its Arabic channel Al Alam are a big joke and they only serve to make us look stupid. I, like other Iranians, know of many people who were forced into making confessions for television.
People may form an opinion of us in ten minutes that it will take us decades to undo.