Phi Beta Cons

Hiya, Ayatollah!

Pop Quiz!

Where do you suppose this photo was taken? (Hint: It’s not Tehran.)

Why, it’s Cambridge, Massachusetts–in the courtyard of one of the new Center for Government and International Relations buildings to be exact.
It’s part of the “Walls of Martyrdom: Tehran’s Propaganda Murals” exhibit. Ladies and gentleman, the curator Fotini Christia:

At a time when Iran makes daily headlines and a U.S. attack is certainly possible if not imminent, this exhibit aims to give an insider’s view of the Islamic Republic’s psyche. The exhibit’s primary objective is to document and present images that are part of Tehranians’ daily urban experience and of which people in the United States are largely oblivious. But the exhibit also aspires to debate and deconstruct the murals’ narratives. After encountering the images, it is important to step back and consider the extent to which they express revolutionary fervor and religious fundamentalism or merely the regime’s anxieties and insecurities. These murals underscore the complexities of the relationship between Iran and Iraq that tend to be oversimplified in the context of the current Iraq war. Examining the extent to which they resonate with the Iranian public could lead to an understanding of whether isolationism or dialogue with the West is the best way to render the murals’ narratives unsustainable, if not inconsequential.

Well, it’s too bad she just couldn’t make it through that paragraph without using the phrase “deconstruct…narratives”; and would but a “U.S. attack” be so “certainly possible” as she says! But still, it’s surely not a bad cause to let Americans know the Iran they today face.
(Thanks to a Harvard graduate student for the photo!)

Travis Kavulla is director of Energy and Environmental Policy at the R Street Institute. He is a former president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners who held elected office as a Montana public service commissioner for eight years. Before that, he was an associate editor for National Review.