I seem to recall, thinking back to 1979, that the Ayatollah Khomeine was the American Arch Enemy. During my college days at UMR, I had been harassed by Iranian students--lusty dark, swarthy young men, and I thought it was probably a no brainer: Ay. Khomeini was not a nice guy. I didn't know that he sought the destruction of the whole world.
"A passage from the Ayatollah Khomeini, quoted in an 11th-grade Iranian schoolbook, is revealing. 'I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world-devourers [i.e., the infidel powers] wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all them. Either we all become free, or we will go to the greater freedom which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another's hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours.'"
Today, I bet average folks, especially those born in the 70's and after, have no idea who he is. I hope we remember the pseudo-Islamic terrorists of the 21st century in the same way--which is to say, not at all. Although, some are saying that August 22, 2006 may be a memorable day, etching these monsters in the collective memory of the human race or what's left of it on August 23. This is holy of holy days for the faithful. It's the day Saladin entered Jerusalem in retaliation for the Christian "war" on Islam or Crusades. You remember the Crusades, don't you, from your history classes? Some say the blood in the streets after the Christians invaded Islamic cities was knee high. Others say, it was just a flesh wound, no blood [say, like, Thomas Madden, professor of History at SLU and author of the new book on the subject]. No matter what western Church Historians say about the Crusades, the Islamic memory is what counts--on August 22.
People in the know, probably most world leaders at this point, are aware that Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remembers the Crusades and is not happy. "Ahmadinejad is a strong believer in the Shi’ite tradition of a 12th imam, the so-called “hidden” Imam Mahdi who Allah has miraculously kept alive since his disappearance in 874 AD. As the story goes, Imam Mahdi will return at a time of great global chaos, oppression and bloodshed and usher in an era of (Islamic) justice."
On August 22, 2006, just weeks away, Iran will give its answer to the US and the world concerning Iran's nuclear development. They chose that day specifically--picked it out of a taqiya--a very shallow one (read: hat). Maybe he'll just say, "Well, Ok." But if he's anything like the really scary men who attended classes at US colleges in the 70's, now leading Iran with the benefit of an education from US universities, I think he might not be so agreeable. They are probably not going to use liquids on planes to deliver the message. Not now.