Fairness and Mischief
August 18, 1953 — The Advertiser

The Mossadegh Project | July 3, 2020                           

Convinced Mossadegh was triumphant, The Advertiser (Adelaide, South Australia) published this orientalist lead editorial. Mossadegh fell the following day, and the newspaper folded the following year.

Australian media archive

The Advertiser (Adelaide, South Australia) newspaper


The Persian volcano — a minor cone, but dangerously situated — is again in eruption; and although the lachrymose Dr. Mossadeq seems to have survived still another plot against his Government, and probably against his life, the events of the week-end are indicative of the continued insecurity of his position, and furnish further proof of his failure to convert his distracted country into the promised paradise of exclusive Nationalism.

Persia was not the only place that was to have been magically transformed by ambitious Nationalists, after “foreign devils,” and particularly the British, had been kicked into the sea, or otherwise disposed of. The disappearance of British influence, and the denial of British principles of fair dealing and the like, may herald very unhealthy and perilous disturbances, as in China, in India, in Egypt, and in other areas for which native Nationalism has made itself, or desires to make itself, solely responsible.

The departure of the British Raj from India, it will be remembered, was followed by one of the worst tragedies in the history of the not always fortunate country, now divided against itself by the forces of religious prejudice, and still as subject as ever to the dreadful evils of famine and pestilence. There are plenty of problems in India, says the increasingly disillusioned Mr. Nehru — three hundred and fifty millions of them. [Premier Jawaharlal Nehru] As W. H. Prescott, the famous historian, once remarked, “Of all human infirmities, there is none more productive of extensive mischief to society than fanaticism.”

Persia, so lacking in this and that, has a most abundant supply of fanatics of every kind, ranging from the more militant army officers to the Red adherents of the Tudeh Party; and the Shah doubtless does well to absent himself for the moment from his unhappy kingdom. Mossadeq’s triumph over General Zahedi and the Court party, may be very far from final. [Fazlollah Zahedi] He has succeeded in disbanding the old Parliament, in spite of the Shah; and, having suppressed a bloodless revolution, he now proposes to hold a general election, after having amended the electoral law and created new political districts, with the amiable intention, one suspects, of making it impossible for his opponents to defeat him by so-called constitutional means.

If is all very unedifying; although the cynics, in Persia and elsewhere are probably much entertained by this further example of the uses of “democracy” in an Oriental setting, and by the readiness with which the twentieth century Eastern despot turns to tanks instead of elephants, for the means of discouraging manifestations of popular discontent.

“If I sit silently, I have sinned”: A guiding principle
The untold story behind Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh's famous quote “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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Related links:

The Revolt In Persia | The Advertiser, August 21, 1953

Somersault In Persia | The West Australian, August 21, 1953

Dictatorship Replaces Monarchy in Little Iran | August 18, 1953 editorial

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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