• 14 July 2008
  • Posted By Darioush Azizi
  • Election 2008, Events in DC, Presidential 2008 Elections

McCain Camp Should Be Wary of Huffington Post Hoax

On July 9, the Huffington Post published a story called “McCain Issues Top Ten Funniest Ways to Kill Iranians”. Almost immediately, the link hit the web like a virus, spreading out from one Iranian inbox to another as fast as the web can handle. Obviously Iranian Americans were outraged, as this was McCain’s third reference to killing Iranian people during this campaign, but even non-Iranian Americans were likewise baffled and disturbed.

Outrage, scandal, atrocity? Sure.  But only at first – fortunately for the McCain campaign, the article was a hoax.

Columnist Andy Borowitz regularly posts satirical articles on the Huffington Post, but with little evidence of their true nature other than the sheer outrageousness of it all.

What was supposed to be a joke column was read by many – including myself, initially – as a real news report. It was not until a close friend told me the link that author Andy Borowitz provided directly to McCain’s website was bogus did I realize that it was all ‘bollocks’ as the Brits would say.

Borowitz – surprise, surprise, a comedian – was only joking, yes, but the phenomenon here was not that it was a parody, but that so many people – not just Iranian Americans – believed it to be real.

Why? Because past comments by Senator John McCain have made this not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

Last year’s ‘Bomb, bomb, bomb; bomb, bomb Iran’ comment to the tune of the Beach Boys’ ‘Barbara Ann’ was the first case. Last week, when McCain was asked his thoughts on the US companies importing cigarettes to Iran, he responded that ‘maybe that’s a way of killing them’. After a poke in the back from his wife, he back-tracked immediately, saying he was joking.  That comment was condemned by many from here to Iran, with the Iranian foreign ministry issuing their own statement.

Again, with these comments, McCain targeted the Iranian people, not the government, and thus crossed a threshold that many people here in America and around the world find unsettling.

The McCain camp should be wary of their candidate’s ‘jokes’. Although comments such as these may resonate well in some places, these are few and far between. There are many Republican Iranian Americans, and comments such as this will, undoubtedly, send them running for the hills.  Next November, it’s very likely that Senator McCain will be the only one paying the electoral price for his own misstatements.

Posted By Darioush Azizi

    3 Responses to “McCain Camp Should Be Wary of Huffington Post Hoax”

  1. anonymousejoon says:

    It is a shame that McCain doesn’t seem to get the point and keeps making this “mistake” over and over again. It is funny to him. When George Allen called that guy Maccaca, it was funny to him.

    On a similar note, the New Yorker cartoon was not funny and sends the wrong message. Many people don’t know New Yorker and are now going to say they are a Neocon newspaper. Furthermore, New Yorker has had many cartoons on their cover, one of them being Ahmadinejad in a men’s room having the next door guy tap his foot to catch his attention after he said there are no gays in Iran.

    So how come this cartoon has generated so much negative response? It was not funny and can be used by those who spread the rumors to have ANOTHER tool to reinforce the rumors.

  2. anonymousejoon says:

    t why are you laughing?!

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7,350 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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