Russia’s latest assault on the sensibilities of the West comes in the form of an art exhibition in Moscow. You can tell that the press in Russia can’t be truly free because, were it to be so, headlines in Russian red-tops (no pun intended) would surely be inviting their readers to laugh themselves silly at the subject title alone: The Twelve Labours Of Putin. Yep, you got it, they have characterised Putin as Hercules.
Putin grapples with the multi-headed hydra – of Western sanctions!
Those who love the classics may well blanch at the very idea: Hercules is the Greek god and all-time hero Heracles, the son of Zeus. Facts aside, what is so hilarious about this is that the Russians are taking these ridiculously over-adulating images seriously. The only more amusing facet is the degree to which Putin appears to be able to inflate his ego without people falling about laughing: I mean, can you imagine Tony Blair in the guise of St. George impaling Wendy Deng as the dragon? Maybe in a cartoon caricature in The Guardian lampooning the horrible oddity of the two together, but as a compliment? I think Tony would have been media-savvy enough at least to have declined to lend his reputation to the freakish spectacle.
I have a suggestion to make. How about adding a 13th Labour of Putin, along the lines of ‘Vlad syphons more in assets from the Russian people than Bernie Madoff stole in his 40-year Ponzi scheme spree? Damn, Putin wins again!
While the world’s media is focussed on the vile deeds of the Islamic State and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is at the UN asking for Iran to be allowed to enrich uranium, back in Iran the authorities are engaged in a spate of executions and mass-arrests.
In the midst of this there is one man who stands out from the crowd. There can be no question that Ayatollah Hossein Boroujerdi is a brave man and one that deserves international support. Anxious that the heady cocktail of religious and political Islam continued to pose an enormous risk lead the Ayatollah to publicly call for the separation of religion from the political state. We have seen how dangerous this is with the religious fanatics of the Islamic State, who seemingly justify and excuse their heinous actions by religious doctrine. If you believe your next step leads you to eternal paradise, then there is little restraint on your actions.
Mohamad Mohavadi, Iran’s Prosecutor of the Special Court, has publicly condemned Boroujerdi, saying that the punishment for ‘sedition’ is execution. He also vowed that those who assisted Ayatollah Boroujerdi in publishing his papers about the separation of religion from state will also be sentenced to death. The threat to execute Ayatollah Boroujerdi came within 48 hours of his most recent letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.
According to Boroujerdi’s family, he was placed in solitary-confinement cell with his wrists and ankles shackled, with his hands and feet shackled to the wall so he can not move. This is a procedural step towards imminent execution, possibly within 24 hours.
“Certain intelligence agencies have put blades in the hand of madmen, who now spare no one,” Rouhani told the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday. But he didn’t mention the mass executions that are taking place in Iran, nor the arrests of dissidents – and certainly not the fate of Ayatollah Boroujerdi.
Iran is demonstrating to the world that it can execute the Ayatollah without any protest from the western world. This is the country that is asking to be allowed to enrich uranium, a step in the process to developing nuclear weapons. Please retweet this article in support of Ayatollah Boroujerdi, a religious cleric and man of freedom, who is about to give his life simply to forward his belief that religion and state should not rest ultimately in the same hands, something atheists have been saying for decades. Atheists and those of faith who believe in peace should support the actions of such a courageous man.