Gandhi Shunned Cookies
April 15, 1954 — The Progress-Index
In perhaps one of the more blatant instances of sheer idiocy in the newspaper business, The Progress-Index of Petersburg, Virginia devoted an entire editorial to a frivolous AP story about ex-Premier Mohammad Mossadegh’s snacking habits.
A Cookie Nibbler Cannot Be A Hero
The charge made by the government prosecutor that former President [Premier] Mohammed Mossadegh, of Iran, is a secret cookie nibbler is one of those things which, if true, give pause and blast illusions.
It is not that the cookie nibbler is an unfamiliar species. On the contrary, many households have cookie nibblers, but usually they are small and young. And Mohammed Mossadegh is neither small nor young.
The more familiar type of cookie nibbler arrives at a table and views food with total indifference. Barring parental pressure, accompanied by elementary discussion of the importance of nutrition, the cookie nibbler would sit out a meal and leave without touching food. A truly accomplished and inveterate cookie nibbler, no matter how small or how young, can scale the highest shelves and can detect cookies in the most out of the way places.
To find Mossadegh placed in this category is disheartening, but the government prosecutor says it is so. The former premier who claims to be on a hunger strike says “I can’t stand up any longer—I’m too weak.”
But the prosecutor says, “He’s been eating. He ate sweets last night in the darkness.” And later: “He eats cookies, chocolate and vitamin tablets when the guards are not looking.”
The chocolate (for quick energy, we assume) and the vitamins (they won’t do any harm and they might do some good) give the story an adult dash, but broadly speaking, Mossadegh falls in the small fry category.
Nothing of this kind was ever said about the late Mohandas Gandhi, who probably engaged more often and more extensively in fasting than any figure of comparable importance in modern times. Mossadegh could hardly hope to rival the Indian leader, but he could make an honorable name for himself.
For all his showmanship, there is sometimes a touch of the heroic about the weeping, pajama-clad fallen premier. But nobody could be a hero and a cookie nibbler at the same time.
This Is a Trial? — The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, December 4, 1953
Iran’s Nose — U.S. Editorial, April 24, 1954
Narrow Escape! — The Saratogian, June 8, 1951
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”