Thursday, July 29, 2004

On The Importance of Averting A Crisis
I don't know how many Americans are following it, but there is a serious crisis brewing in the relations between Canada and Iran. Canadian citizen and journalist Zahra Kazemi was arrested for taking pictures during a protest in Iran in July, 2003. She was (apparently) beaten to death in prison. Now the Canadian government is demanding that the government of Iran see to it that the people responsible for this murder are brought to justice.

Fortunately I happen to have a book of interesting front pages of the New York Times, and I came across an article describing a very similar situation. That situation was resolved peacefully, and hopefully we can learn from it so as to resolve the current one equally well.

The situation I am referring to was described in the Times on October 15, 1933. A short time earlier -- in separate incidents -- an American citizen, a Swiss citizen and a British citizen had been beaten in Germany for not giving the Hitler salute. There followed outraged responses by the respective governments. Happily, everything worked out okay. The persons guilty of attacking the American were arrested in Berlin and are "facing prompt sentence by a special court attached to the Berlin Landgericht". In fact, we are told that the trial is supposed to take place on Monday. (The article appeared on Sunday.) The other incidents were resolved more quickly. The Germans stated that "the political police arrested today four storm troopers who had taken part in the outrage on [the Swiss and British citizens.] The storm troopers were taken to the Oranienburg concentration camp."

The article (at least on the front page) doesn't explain what a concentration camp is, and I for one have no idea, but at least the crisis was averted and peace restored. I'm sure everyone in the Canadian government is hoping that things will work out just as well with Iran.

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