Kapuściński: “Obliterated All Contrasts”

From Ryszard Kapuscinski’s book Shah of Shahs (about the last Shah of Iran):

The Iranians resented the fact that, for security reasons, only foreigners were invited to certain celebrations in which the Shah took part. His compatriots also said bitingly that since he traveled almost exclusively by airplane and helicopter, he saw his country only from a lofty vantage point that obliterated all contrasts. I don’t have any photographs of Khomeini in his early years. When he appears in my collection, he is already an old man, and so it is as if he had never been young or middle-aged. The local fanatics believe Khomeini is the Twelfth Imam, the Awaited One, who disappeared in the ninth century, and has now returned, more than a thousand years later, to deliver them from misery and persecution. That Khomeini almost always appears in photographs only as an aged man could be taken as confirmation of this belief.

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One Response to Kapuściński: “Obliterated All Contrasts”

  1. Dave J says:

    Khomeini himself never actually said he was the Twelfth Imam, presumably because he knew he wasn’t and thus to do so would be blasphemy, but he didn’t exactly discourage other people from saying or thinking he was. I’m fairly the Iranian government now officially perpetuates this idea, which would make it a theocracy premised on a heresy against orthodox Shi’ia.

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