Josh Fattal Must Be a Spy

Because it fits our worldview

Them and us. I’ve been listening lately to Rush and Glenn Beck, and Dom Giordano on 1210, because I’m trying to figure out if NPR is as smug and absurd as they are. It’s my litmus test. Maybe I make the same assumptions, just flipped. That conservatives are morons (though liberals are pussies, but that’s an argument for another day). I like to think that I sport a brain instead of a political alignment. Anyway.

Dom recently had a bit on his show where Sean Penn was “interviewed” at the parade in Elkins Park for Josh Fattal, one of the three American hikers finally released by Iran. The “point,” of course, was to make fun of Sean Penn as a stoned idiot stumbling around trying to save the world. And, by extension, those lefty morons who were hiking—sure they were—in Kurdistan, along the Iran border, two years ago. Everyone who wasn’t born yesterday knows they were spies, or, at the very least, up to something. They met at Berkeley.

I should point out that I happen to believe that the hikers are three friends who got lost and then gave up two years of their lives (one of them, Sarah Shourd, was released earlier for health reasons) to an international shell game between Iran and the United States. There is a chance that they were, in fact, spies, just as there is a chance that pigs will soon fly.

But back to them and us. I went trolling. On, a comment that hits the divide:

OK, yes yes, let’s all get it off our chests about how stupid they were for hiking along a dangerous border and they deserved what they got and yadda, yadda, yadda. good lord, when did so many people become such moralizing creeps, gleefully rubbing their hands together and channeling anxious mothers scolding their kids to stop “running in the streets” before supper time? just once i would LOVE to see one of these morons ‘detained’ at an airport and strip-searched, or mistakenly (or malevolently) seized and held.

the obvious lesson is, don’t go somewhere you’re not supposed to be. we get it. the deeper truth is that there are fewer and fewer “zones” where one can maneuver without the threat of such seizure. that goes for peaceful protest (see: wall street), and in this case, hiking in the middle east. so ok, pile on if you must, but i really don’t get this really joyful sort of exaltation in something that can, and increasingly does, happen to all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons. not everyone is stupid, and not everyone is a spy.

The key there is “joyful sort of exaltation.” Forget the political divide for a moment. Forget the guts and honesty, in his statement as a free man, that Josh Fattal displayed in holding the U.S. at least a little accountable in the mess that is Iran-American relations.

Our public discourse has become like driving the Schuylkill, where you give some aggressive asshole the finger and dart off (and hope to hell he doesn’t have the rage and balls to follow you home and beat the living crap out of you).

Josh Fattal just spent the last two years of his life in prison in Iran, not knowing when—or if—he would get out. Please. Remind me again, of exactly what he did to deserve that.