The Green Blues Show – Edition # 44


In today’s edition of the Green Blues Show — Iran: Is the Islamic Republic as evil and aggressive as its detractors say? And, via-a-vis the Land of Israel, uttering the A-word. Breaking the taboo.


The great 2020 Pandemic. Covid-19. Everyone’s in a fright. Streets empty. Store shelves cleared of toilet paper and hand sanitizer like there’s no tomorrow.

Thankfully, yours truly is safe at home, lean, fit and feeling fine.

That’s the way I’d like to keep it. I know what it’s like to be assaulted by a nasty respiratory virus. Back in 2012, coming back from the Middle East via the Netherlands, I picked up the ugliest airway infection I ever had. I wonder, looking back, if it was Middle East Respiratory Syndrome I got a dose of. MERS. 2012 was the year.

First felt the tickle in my throat right in the middle of an interview with this left-wing Jewish activist in Jaffa, down the road from Tel Aviv, speaking to me about what it was like, as a little kid, living in a house another kid had lived in, before their parents were forcibly booted out by Zionist militias. [not a dangerous link; override the warning]. Very irritating. Just stopped my questioning dead in its tracks.

A few days later, visiting friends in Haifa, my throat tickle had turned into the nastiest chest cough you ever heard (or felt). By the time I got to Schiphol airport, outside Amsterdam, sleeping on the floor, waiting for my flight, I felt a few steps from heaven’s door. Can’t believe I actually got onto the plane.

The worst was yet to come. Back in Winnipeg, in the middle of the night, sleeping at the Four Points Sheraton hotel at Winnipeg airport, heading up the next morning to Nunavut to teach midwives (this would be the Arctic), I suddenly woke up and realized I couldn’t draw in a breath. Couldn’t do it.

I sat bolt up in bed, got up – naked — walked a few steps, bent over, trying to breath. The episode lasted all of twenty seconds, but it felt like minutes. I just focused my mind, relaxed, and … slowly drew in a breath. I was okay.

Cambridge Bay, Nunavut

But, for the next three months, up in Cambridge Bay, on the edge of the Coronation Gulf, a few degrees north of the Arctic Circle, every three or four dry coughs, I’d go into spasm. Nothing like I had ever experienced before or have since, or ever wish to again. Very automatic. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang …. Thinking in my head, “When I finally stop coughing, will I be breathing?”

Had my chest x-rayed twice in the course of all this. No pneumonia. Just a vicious infection of the bronchial lining, and all the damage done.

So, long-winded reflections on the hazards of infectious disease in 2020. The the worst is likely yet to come. Racing towards three degrees post-Industrial, living things vanishing in droves, in swaths of biomass … Like, how will humanity feed itself when the pollinators vanish? Malnourished humans more vulnerable to drug-resistant bacterial infections, huddling indoors, closets stuffed with toilet paper. We shall see what we shall see. One thing is sure: Willie Dixon was right. It is a crazy mixed up world.


Iran. The Islamic Republic of Iran. According to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, “Iran is a prime disturber of the peace throughout the Middle East,” and is responsible for a wide range of “malign activities.”

Iran is “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” says the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee, Israel’s right arm down in Israel-USA.

Such is the line — largely propagated, rarely challenged — within the mainstream media.

For understanding about Iran, I reached out to Middle East scholar Martin Bunton, professor of history at the University of Victoria, in B.C. He’s the author of The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Very Short Introduction. Also co-author of the academic text A History of the Modern Middle East, co-authored with the late William L. Cleveland, of Simon Fraser University. Listen to our conversation in today’s podcast, and our complete exchange here:



That awful A-word, preceded by the adjective ‘Israeli’.

Lobbyists and clients for the ‘Jewish State’ in the US, EU and Canada go apoplectic when they hear or read the rude and wretched binomial. Mainstream media avoid it entirely. Totally taboo.

Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem.

All the more so these days, with the adoption of a supposedly modern definition of antisemitism. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Working Definition.

A-word users are liable to get fiercely attacked, ignored by the media and shut out of academic and public venues. Astonishingly so, in this free society of ours.

Robert Wintemute has no problem uttering the phrase and exploring the Israeli apartheid concept. Robert Wintemute is a Professor of Human Rights Law at King’s College London, in the UK, and the author of an essay entitled “Israel-Palestine Through the Lens of Racial Discrimination Law: Is the South African Apartheid Analogy Accurate, and What if the European Convention Applied”. Listen to our conversation in today’s podcast, and our complete exchange here:


In this edition of the Green Blues Show, songs by Little Walter Jacobs and Majid Kiani.