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Bravo, Omar!

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By Gus Van Horn from Gus Van Horn,cross-posted by MetaBlog

Leave it to the scheduling gnomes of the FIFA World Cup to find a way to get me to root for Mexico.

I was, of course, pleased to learn the other day that Mexico had, in Jay Leno's words, "gone through Iran's defense like they go through our border." Mexico decisively beat Iran 3-1 in first-round action in Germany.

And so today, Michael Ledeen has an entertaining piece that discusses how the superstitious Iranians might be interpreting that defeat and other recent Iranian setbacks. For background, a Mexican player by the name of Omar Bravo scored two of Mexico's goals.

Third is this ominous line from al-Reuters on the occasion of President Bush's jaunt to Baghdad:
BAGHDAD, June 13 - U.S. President George W. Bush told Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad on Tuesday Iran's "interference" in Iraq must end, said Iraqi government sources who attended the talks.

Can it be that, at long last, we are going to take steps against the mullahs to save the lives of our fighters and the Iraqi civilians who have been targeted by the terrorists who are armed and manipulated by the Iranians and the Syrians? Faster, please.

But that is nothing compared to the clear message from On High on the soccer fields of Germany. No, I'm not talking about the demonstrations against President Ahmadinejad, I'm talking about the Mexican victory over Iran in the first round of the World Cup.

With the game tied 1-1, a Mexican player named Omar Bravo scored for Mexico, which went on to win 3-1. That name, Omar Bravo, sends chills down the spines of the mullahs. "Bravo" is a universal plaudit, enthusiastic praise for the person to whom the "bravo" is directed. And Omar? Well...Omar is the most hated name in the Shiite lexicon, the symbol of the forces of evil, the incarnation of satanic influence on earth.

And why? Because after the death of the Prophet, Mohammed's son in law, Ali (the husband of Mohammed's daughter Fatima) was fighting to become the leader of all Muslims. Ali lost out to Omar Bakr and to Omar, his close adviser and successor as Caliph. To this day, the Shiites believe that Abu Bakr and Omar usurped Ali's rightful inheritance as ruler of Islam. Not only that, but during the succession struggle Omar burst into Ali's house, crushing the pregnant Fatima behind the door, leading to the stillbirth of her son. And although Ali formally accepted the elevation of Abu Bakr, and then Omar, the Shiites still speak of Omar with intense hatred. In Iran today, one of the harshest things you can say about another person is Iaanat be'Omar, cursed by Omar.

To a devout Shiite of the sort that governs Iran today, the defeat of the Iranian national team by somebody named Omar Bravo cannot be easily dismissed as a random event. It cannot possibly be a coincidence (it is hard for Iranians to believe that anything is a coincidence), and it is most certainly a terrible augury. Many Iranians will interpret it as a message to the mullahs: just as Ali was defeated by Omar, so your doom has been signaled by a modern Omar. And that "bravo," can it be an accident? No way. [bold added, link dropped]

Hmmm. "But that is nothing compared to the clear message from On High on the soccer fields of Germany." I have just two things to say about that. (1) Whose fault is it that the Mullahs fear their own superstitions more than the willingness of the United States to give Iran a free demonstration on the proper use and deployment of a nuclear weapon? (2) It isn't too late for us to recalibrate the Iranian leadership, or at least for their subjects to rise up against them in revolt before such a recalibration becomes necessary.

-- CAV


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I was, of course, pleased to learn the other day that Mexico had, in Jay Leno's words, "gone through Iran's defense like they go through our border." Mexico decisively beat Iran 3-1 in first-round action in Germany.

Since I have little interest in spectator sports, until I read this posting, I wasn't aware the World Cup was going on - but the mention of it being in Germany made something click and got me wondering about

earlier tonight on YouTube.com by my absolute favorite contemporary musical group, Max Raabe & Das Palast Orchester which is from Germany. After googling around a bit, I was able to confirm that not only does the video have a World Cup connection, Raabe actually wrote the song for the World Cup and was scheduled to perform it at the opening banquet. If this video doesn't bring a smile to one's face - well, I am not quite sure what will.

While Das Palast Orchester is a contemporary band, it specializes in playing German, British and American popular songs from the 1920s and 1930s and, occasionally, new compositions performed in that style. Vladimir Berkov and I both got to meet the members of the band at a black tie party a couple of years ago when the band stopped in San Antonio as part of a US tour - which was really neat since the people in most of the bands I enjoy are long dead. Raabe and the band are very entertaining and I highly recommend seeing them whenever one has an opportunity to do so. What is especially neat is the song has actually made it to the Top 40 of the German music charts - how often does something like that happen with a 1920s/1930s themed band these days? And, for those of us who dislike rock music and the sight of slovenly looking people, it is a rare opportunity to enjoy a music video - an art form that I think could have lots of potential given the right sort of popular culture. Who knows - with something like this making into the Top 40, perhaps we might someday get a chance to see such a pop culture.

The video can be seen at this link:

The band's website can be seen at Max Raabe und das Palast Orchester

As for the Mullahs, I say make them watch the video - nothing like the sight of people having fun to really tick them off.

Edited by Dismuke
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