A ballad for soft power projection
By: Kian Mokhtari
Michael Harvey says in an article published by Britain's Chatham House: The debate about public spending cuts is shifting from rhetoric to reality, but the impact of austerity on Britain's global standing remains uncertain. Predictably, there has been much debate about cuts in the defense budget, with spending on aircraft carriers and the renewal of the nuclear deterrent - instruments of 'hard power' - coming under particular scrutiny. Less has been said about the implications for the country's 'soft power': the BBC World Service, British Council and intellectual capital.
The World Today article titled: British Power Beyond the Military: Smart On Soft Power goes on to say, "Despite declared support for the role of culture and values in maintaining Britain's appeal, it seems unlikely they will escape the Treasury's axe. Perhaps highest profile have been proposals to trim the BBC World Service budget, reportedly by up to twenty-five percent from early next year. An anchor of British values, the World Service - funded by the equivalent of a $431.64 million grant-in-aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office - broadcasts in 32 languages, reaching a weekly audience of 180 million worldwide."
"There is no doubting that the World Service continues to serve as a beacon beyond British shores - a fact ably demonstrated by US President Barack Obama's choosing to give an interview to the BBC Persian Service, in which he tried to engage directly with the Iranian people in refuting President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's comments to the United Nations General Assembly in September."
The British premier David Cameron has just confirmed at least two points made in Michael Harvey's article; that the BBC budget is going to be slashed and that the BBC World Service is a government sponsored tool for the application of soft power.
For the Iranians who believe that they are serving their homeland's interests by working for BBC Persian, Cameron's comments must seem like a sledgehammer blow to wherever their intellects can be found!
The question must arise in their minds that if they are cogs in a machine that serves the interests of the British government, how could they possibly be serving their homeland? Especially as those Iranians currently busy spreading British propaganda at British tax payers' expense, who worked in the Iranian media beforehand, had been known for their vociferous opposition to British political influence and interference in Iran's contemporary history.
So Iran's media outlets can be tagged as "state sponsored" by Britain's mouthpiece soft power merchants like the BBC World Service that is itself funded by the British government to the tune of nearly $500mn.
What serves as a tragedy for Iranians is that the country's yesteryear petty intellectuals continue to masquerade as broken hearted patriots forced into British slavery through lack of media freedom in Iran….poppycock; and I tell you why: Have any of the Iranian journalists working for BBC Persian ever even dared challenge the British government directly on three hundred years of British imposed misery on the rest of the world and the current political issues like the war in Afghanistan and the British royal family's excesses in times of national fiscal hardship?
It seems just like yesterday, when the true patriotic Iranians who returned from abroad to serve their homeland through thick and thin were derided as "Mullah's little helpers" and "British stooges" by a fair number of those Iranians who are now busily and wholeheartedly serving Britain's soft power politics at BBC Persian.
A large number of Iranian university students were even taken in by the two-faced behavior of Britain's current little helpers at BBC Persian but wised up soon enough: after getting unceremoniously dumped by the opportunists masquerading as "brains of Iran", who quickly made it abroad for groveling servitude to the very British masters they had accused the returning Iranian patriots of serving.
There is a lot that can be said for people with that kind of behavior but luckily for us the British premier David Cameron has stepped in and blown everyone's cover at the BBC World Service as a British foreign policy stooge, including the Iranian "brain drain bunch."
For the information of our countrymen and women employed at BBC Persian, life is not a bed of roses and happiness is not a right of birth. Any nation reaps the benefits of its past courses of actions.
Accordingly Iran is not a perfect paradise and after hundreds of years of neglect by womanizing and ignorant monarchs, treachery and treason by the royal courtiers and cowardice by the military chiefs, the country has to be built back up –from the grass roots up.
Iranians are winners, not quitters. The nation has made it through the bleakest chapters to make its proud mark on mankind's history. Iran would have never achieved such feats by serving its enemies in any capacity.
Freedom enters the heart and occupies the mind before anyone can feel free. Freedom is a journey in making peace with oneself first and foremost; it is not a foreign destination or an out of body experience.
Iran cannot be traded for freedom. Iranians are free and will achieve with or without the "brain drain bunch" at the BBC.