Small Evils

 

The persistent cruelty of dead-hearted old god-bothering fools in robes:

(There is) a new wave of arrests of pet owners and seizures of their animals in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Police there recently announced that walking dogs in parks was a crime. The ban was justified as a measure to “protect the safety of the public”.

At the same, the Iranian parliament could soon approve the Protection of the Public’s Rights Against Animals bill, which would restrict pet ownership across the board.

Dog ownership is a sign of Westernization. You almost wonder if that will make some people in the West turn against dogs, because now that they think of it, it’s a sign of hierarchical speciesism, remnant notions that justified slavery, late-stage capitalism (all those treats and doggy clothes). 

Here the BBC treads up to the line of Islamophobia, and seems to be implying that the CIA-backed coup that ruined everything for everyone everywhere had an upside:

Keeping dogs has always been common in Iran’s rural areas, but the animals also became a symbol of urban life in the 20th Century.

Iran was one of the first countries in the Middle East to pass animal welfare laws, in 1948, and the government funded the first institution to enhance animal rights. Even the country’s royal family had dogs as pets.

But the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which saw Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi overthrown, changed many aspects of life for Iranians and their dogs.

The theocrats have been at this for a while:

“Debates around this bill started more than a decade ago, when a group of Iranian MPs tried to promote a law to confiscate all dogs and give them to zoos or leave them in deserts,” Dr Payam Mohebi, the president of the Iran Veterinary Association and an opponent of the bill, told the BBC.

“Over the years, they have changed this a couple of times and even discussed corporal punishment for dog owners. But their plan didn’t get anywhere.”

Confiscated dogs are currently sent to compounds where they’re treated like the Western Impurities they are. Granted, when the government is killing students, young women, for the sin of wanting to dress as they please, the fate of Fido is less important. Except that it’s all of a piece. To blazes with the lot of them. 

It seems difficult to imagine a free Iran, doesn’t it? This could be the one, this could be the uprising that seals the mullah’s fate. But it never is. 

Published in Islamist Terrorism
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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    James Lileks: “Debates around this bill started more than a decade ago, when a group of Iranian MPs tried to promote a law to confiscate all dogs and give them to zoos or leave them in deserts,” Dr Payam Mohebi, the president of the Iran Veterinary Association and an opponent of the bill, told the BBC.

    It sounds like a fate befitting Iranian MPs. Or at least a group of them.

    • #1
  2. JosePluma, Local Man of Mystery Coolidge
    JosePluma, Local Man of Mystery
    @JosePluma

    Nice to see someone else is awake this time of night. 

    • #2
  3. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    What petty cruelty. 

    My question: why now and not in 1979? 

    My guess: they know they have a deep rebellion on their hands, and they’re placating the ‘hard liners’.   Or?

    • #3
  4. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    JosePluma, Local Man of Mystery (View Comment):

    Nice to see someone else is awake this time of night.

    • #4
  5. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    None of our ruling class gave a damn about Afghanistan until the Bamiyan Buddhas were blown up.  Perhaps the dogs will get our State Department off their “Die quietly Damn you, we’re doing diplomacy over here” routine.

    • #5
  6. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    James Lileks: Dog ownership is a sign of Westernization. You almost wonder if that will make some people in the West turn against dogs, because now that they think of it, it’s a sign of hierarchical speciesism, remnant notions that justified slavery, late-stage capitalism (all those treats and doggy clothes). 

    That’s not from lack of trying.  PETA and others have been against pets for years/decades.

    • #6
  7. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    James Lileks: Dog ownership is a sign of Westernization.

    From the link:

    The animals are considered impure in Islamic tradition. In the eyes of the new regime dogs also became a symbol of the “Westernisation” that it sought to curb.

    The Koran condemns dogs as “impure” and “unclean”. Americans in Iraq and elsewhere have reported that stray dogs quickly learn to distinguish Westerners who will be kind from locals who will torment them.

    I read long ago that Mohammad was a cat person but unfortunately chose to transform his personal preference into the word of God.

    • #7
  8. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    James Lileks: Dog ownership is a sign of Westernization.

    From the link:

    The animals are considered impure in Islamic tradition. In the eyes of the new regime dogs also became a symbol of the “Westernisation” that it sought to curb.

    The Koran condemns dogs as “impure” and “unclean”. Americans in Iraq and elsewhere have reported that stray dogs quickly learn to distinguish Westerners who will be kind from locals who will torment them.

    I read long ago that Mohammad was a cat person but unfortunately chose to transform his personal preference into the word of God.

    Toxoplasmosis Jihad!

    • #8
  9. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Will you fight for your mother? Your wife? Your children?

    OK, but would you fight for your puppy?

    Well, when you put it that way . . .

    • #9
  10. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle
    @MattBartle

    Send John Wick.

    • #10
  11. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    BDB (View Comment):
    Perhaps the dogs will get our State Department off their “Die quietly Damn you, we’re doing diplomacy over here” routine.

    Nah. As long as “the Big Guy” gets his ten percent, it’s all good. What are the lives of thousands of women and dogs compared to the warmth that money gives His Senility.

    • #11
  12. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    James Lileks: Dog ownership is a sign of Westernization.

    From the link:

    The animals are considered impure in Islamic tradition. In the eyes of the new regime dogs also became a symbol of the “Westernisation” that it sought to curb.

    The Koran condemns dogs as “impure” and “unclean”. Americans in Iraq and elsewhere have reported that stray dogs quickly learn to distinguish Westerners who will be kind from locals who will torment them.

    I read long ago that Mohammad was a cat person but unfortunately chose to transform his personal preference into the word of God.

    • #12
  13. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    James Lileks: You almost wonder if that will make some people in the West turn against dogs, because now that they think of it, it’s a sign of hierarchical speciesism, remnant notions that justified slavery, late-stage capitalism (all those treats and doggy clothes). 

    Won’t happen.  Young adults in Iran still have babies.  Young  adults in the west have pets instead.

     

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    What you don’t realize, silly people, is that they are putting the dogs into re-education camps to convince them that they are really cats! Ha!

    • #14
  15. AMD Texas Coolidge
    AMD Texas
    @DarinJohnson

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    James Lileks: Dog ownership is a sign of Westernization.

    From the link:

    The animals are considered impure in Islamic tradition. In the eyes of the new regime dogs also became a symbol of the “Westernisation” that it sought to curb.

    The Koran condemns dogs as “impure” and “unclean”. Americans in Iraq and elsewhere have reported that stray dogs quickly learn to distinguish Westerners who will be kind from locals who will torment them.

    I read long ago that Mohammad was a cat person but unfortunately chose to transform his personal preference into the word of God.

    No, actually the Koran does not condemn dogs as impure or unclean. It only mentions them a few times and in not one of those passages is their impurity mentioned.

    • #15
  16. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Reminds me of Fauci and the beagles.

    • #16
  17. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    They hate dogs?  Nuke ’em . . .

    • #17
  18. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    AMD Texas (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    James Lileks: Dog ownership is a sign of Westernization.

    From the link:

    The animals are considered impure in Islamic tradition. In the eyes of the new regime dogs also became a symbol of the “Westernisation” that it sought to curb.

    The Koran condemns dogs as “impure” and “unclean”. Americans in Iraq and elsewhere have reported that stray dogs quickly learn to distinguish Westerners who will be kind from locals who will torment them.

    I read long ago that Mohammad was a cat person but unfortunately chose to transform his personal preference into the word of God.

    No, actually the Koran does not condemn dogs as impure or unclean. It only mentions them a few times and in not one of those passages is their impurity mentioned.

    Are you sure? If so, then maybe my source was referring to the Hadiths rather than the Koran itself.

    • #18
  19. AMD Texas Coolidge
    AMD Texas
    @DarinJohnson

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    AMD Texas (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    James Lileks: Dog ownership is a sign of Westernization.

    From the link:

    The animals are considered impure in Islamic tradition. In the eyes of the new regime dogs also became a symbol of the “Westernisation” that it sought to curb.

    The Koran condemns dogs as “impure” and “unclean”. Americans in Iraq and elsewhere have reported that stray dogs quickly learn to distinguish Westerners who will be kind from locals who will torment them.

    I read long ago that Mohammad was a cat person but unfortunately chose to transform his personal preference into the word of God.

    No, actually the Koran does not condemn dogs as impure or unclean. It only mentions them a few times and in not one of those passages is their impurity mentioned.

    Are you sure? If so, then maybe my source was referring to the Hadiths rather than the Koran itself.

    Yes, there are hadiths that  cover this.

    • #19
  20. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    James Lileks: Dog ownership is a sign of Westernization.

    From the link:

    The animals are considered impure in Islamic tradition. In the eyes of the new regime dogs also became a symbol of the “Westernisation” that it sought to curb.

    The Koran condemns dogs as “impure” and “unclean”. Americans in Iraq and elsewhere have reported that stray dogs quickly learn to distinguish Westerners who will be kind from locals who will torment them.

    I read long ago that Mohammad was a cat person but unfortunately chose to transform his personal preference into the word of God.

    I used to date a Muslim woman from Kuwait.  I found out from her that dogs are shunned in the Muslim world.  She was terrified at the sight of the most docile looking dog on a leash, if it looked at her.

    • #20
  21. John H. Member
    John H.
    @JohnH

    Zafar (View Comment):

    What petty cruelty.

    My question: why now and not in 1979?

    My guess: they know they have a deep rebellion on their hands, and they’re placating the ‘hard liners’. Or?

    Or, maybe this crops up quite frequently, and has little to do with religion, or Persian culture. Maybe there’s a lot of dog poop on the streets of Tehran, and one voices one’s exasperation in the laziest of terms, which nowadays thereabouts may be “un-Islamic.” Which may mean no more than certain Westerners calling everything they don’t like “racist.” The adjectives could be empty.

    I myself have scant idea what really is un-Islamic, never having seen a Koran. I do note however that Turkish Wikipedia, read by people whose flag certainly looks Islamic, has an entry for “pet.” I was unaware that the Turkish for this concept translates literally as “domestic animal,” suggesting that the idea hasn’t quite caught on in that country, and maybe in neighboring Iran it is about as strange. For that matter, even in Portuguese the concept is usually rendered as “animal of estimation,” though in recent years I have heard Brazilians at least adopt the English monosyllable. My point in any case is that household animals, ones you greet warmly by name and allow their choice of room and never expect anyone to cook and eat, may in quite a lot of the world be fairly unusual. I doubt veterinarians in Iran face much hostility or even loneliness but to many Iranians it may seem a peculiar job.

    In this Turkish article by the way is a photo of a Maine Coon, so of course I clicked the caption for that. I am informed that the breed has spread to the entire world! That is surely an exaggeration, though a well-meant one. There is no Turkish Wikipedia entry for Catahoula Leopard Dog, but there is a Farsi one. Now I will stop getting ideas from Wikipedia.

    • #21
  22. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    I spent a few years working at a pet store and if there’s one thing that still (mostly) transcends partisan politics and can help people find the humanity in each other, and form common bonds it’s pets, especially the socialization that comes with having dogs (out for walks, dog park, etc). Maybe this is what the underlying motivation is. Or a twist on our own “broken windows” type of law enforcement? Instead of cracking down on the small quality of life crimes to prevent larger or more violent crime, the Mullahs decided cracking down on these “small evils” will keep people from revolting in a larger, more violent way. Disjoint people from common freedoms and humanity and they will be disjointed from an overall sense of freedom and humanity. Another thoughtful post.

    Thanks @jameslileks

    • #22
  23. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    James Lileks: You almost wonder if that will make some people in the West turn against dogs, because now that they think of it, it’s a sign of hierarchical speciesism, remnant notions that justified slavery, late-stage capitalism (all those treats and doggy clothes). 

    I seem to remember a passage in The Population Bomb somewhat timidly suggesting that Americans might consider slaughtering their dogs, freeing up scarce protein for the starving masses worldwide. I’d check on that, but I threw out my copy of that classic sometime in the late 1980s.

    • #23
  24. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    Chiang Kai-shek, Batista , the Shah, three of our allies who our state department communists allowed to be overthrown (or assisted in overthrowing)  because they weren’t perfect, all replaced by something worse both for their own people and for us. They prefer a communist enemy to a ‘corrupt’ ally. 

    • #24
  25. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):

    Chiang Kai-shek, Batista , the Shah, three of our allies who our state department communists allowed to be overthrown (or assisted in overthrowing) because they weren’t perfect, all replaced by something worse both for their own people and for us. They prefer a communist enemy to a ‘corrupt’ ally.

    If you think the state department communists did it, why wouldn’t you think they at least, consider another communist country/leader to be THEIR ally, not their enemy?

    • #25
  26. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    My only experience with dogs was in Marrakesh when I saw a posh 55-year-old European woman, dressed as from old Lord & Taylor walking her dog, a bright-eyed, open-mouthed, alert but relaxed looking long-haired German shepherd on a limp leash, down the boulevard.  It looked to me that she had somewhere to go, perhaps visiting or shopping.  People stayed 15 feet away, but I took the dog to be a very well-trained cream puff (if you know what I mean).

    The other thing is that the souk was filthy with cat poop.

    • #26
  27. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    John H. (View Comment):
    I myself have scant idea what really is un-Islamic, never having seen a Koran. I do note however that Turkish Wikipedia, read by people whose flag certainly looks Islamic, has an entry for “pet.”

    There is a fairly broad prejudice against dogs in Islamic cultures (something about unclean and your prayers being voided if there’s a dog in the house or room – ??) but Turks are the exception that proves the rule here.  Istanbul, at least, likes dogs.

    • #27
  28. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    Suspira (View Comment):

    James Lileks: You almost wonder if that will make some people in the West turn against dogs, because now that they think of it, it’s a sign of hierarchical speciesism, remnant notions that justified slavery, late-stage capitalism (all those treats and doggy clothes).

    I seem to remember a passage in The Population Bomb somewhat timidly suggesting that Americans might consider slaughtering their dogs, freeing up scarce protein for the starving masses worldwide. I’d check on that, but I threw out my copy of that classic sometime in the late 1980s.

    This is probably correct. Tell the climanistas that not only no kids but no pets. My take on climate activists is still you first: turn off the AC and heat, only walk, and kill your pets. When that happens I might listen to them but I doubt it. The whole climate thing is too hypocritical from beginning to end.

     

    • #28
  29. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    For background on Iran and US relations with Iran, there is a great book titled “The Last Shah,” by Ray Takeyh.  Here is a discussion about that book.

    • #29
  30. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    James Lileks: Dog ownership is a sign of Westernization. You almost wonder if that will make some people in the West turn against dogs, because now that they think of it, it’s a sign of hierarchical speciesism, remnant notions that justified slavery, late-stage capitalism (all those treats and doggy clothes).

    There are lots of references online about dog ownership and white supremacy:

    (Apologies if multiple links actually reference the same source. I didn’t bother following the links multiple levels down.)

    • #30
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