In the 1981 documentary film Soldier Girls by Nick Broomfield and Joan Churchill, aggressive Staff Sergeant Abing addresses a platoon of female U.S. Army recruits:
“This morning, we will be discussing the responsibilities of a soldier. Right now we’re a peacetime army. But General Patton put it very bluntly and very clearly: ‘In Peace, we should train for war. Everything else is Bullshit.’ And I believe that.”
The scene cuts to the girls marching in cadence to:
I want to be an Airborne Ranger!
I want to live a life of danger!
I want to go to Iran!
I want to kill an Iranian!
Keep that in mind as you read the rest of this article…
Earlier this month, Iran’s Press TV produced a human-interest story showcasing a group of female martial arts students training in the Japanese art on ninjitsu. In the 6:32 video, the women are shown wielding exotic weapons, doing high kicks and performing other theatrical gymnastic moves. The piece was filmed in a small studio in the suburbs of Tehran and is run by Sensei Akbar Faraji, who established the school in 1989.
Early into the clip, Press TV’s on-the-scene reporter says, “What’s known to the world as the deadliest martial art has proven to be quite popular in Iran, especially among women. There are currently 3,500 female ninjas officially training. They say the world of ninjitsu has actually taught them how to maintain mental and physical balance.”
At one point, ninjutsu instructor Fatima Muamer tells Press TV, “The most important lesson in ninjitsu is respect and humility. They learn to respect themselves. First respect their existence, and then the art they are mastering. Calmness is the most important lesson they learn.”
Sounds innocent enough, right? In fact, the entire Press TV report is rather innocuous and presents the women as athletes rather than warriors. Nowhere does the report come close to suggesting that these women are being trained on behalf of the Iranian government for some type of covert military or intelligence operation.
Of course that hasn’t stopped western media outlets from spinning the story all out of proportion. The Washington Post describes the women as an “Army,” and the Daily Mail recently posted an article with the provocative title, “Meet Iran’s female ninja assassins: 3,000 women training to defend the Muslim state.”
The Daily Mail article uses the Press TV video as it’s entire point of reference, but fails to mention that Press TV does not once use the word “assassins” or say anything about the girls “training to defend the Muslim state.”
However, the simple fact that the girls look like something out of a Hollywood action flick gave the Daily Mail just the artisitic license they need to install this idea into the minds of their gullible audience: “As Israel steps up pressure on Iran, over fears the country is building nuclear weapons, these lethal ninjas could be called upon to represent their country if relations descend into military conflict.”
Although they never mention in, it’s quite possible that the Daily Mail got the idea that these girls were training to “defend the Muslim state” from a seperate article/video produced by Al-Arabiya. This report is entirely independent of the one done byPress TV. In the video that accompanies their article, entitled“Iran trains thousands of female Ninja fighters,” Sensei Akbar Faraji is quoted in subtitles as saying, “What is important to me, as an Iranian and as a teacher, is that I have to do this job so we train women to have strength and ability. We have to do everything (in our power) to protect our homeland.”
In the same video, Iranian ninjitsu student Raheleh Davoudzadeh is quoted in subtitles as saying, “What we’re seeing in the world of fitness and sports is the opportunity to receive training which increases our self-defense abilities and strengthens our bodies.”
What’s curious is that in the Al-Arabiya article, they add this to the end of the aforementioned quote: “…so we are ready to defend our lives and assets.” (excluded from video)
The Al-Arabiya article also adds a quote from a woman not seen in the video: “Our aim is for Iranian women to be strengthened and if a problem arises, we will definitely declare our readiness to defend our Islamic homeland.”
Whether these things were actually said relies on the faith of the reader. However, keep in mind that Al-Arabiya, like Al-Jazeera, is notorious for spreading Zionist propaganda. In fact, Al-Arabiyahas recently come out in support of the Syrian opposition. So any thing they report on should be taken with a grain of salt and scrutinized closely. I wouldn’t put it past them to mistranslate, take words out of context, or actually coax those they interview into saying something that really wasn’t on their mind. For instance, a clever interviewer could constantly bring up the question: “Would you be willing to defend your homeland?,” hoping that someone would take the bait and repeat this on camera.
Even if theses statements are legit, does any of that support the claim that these women are being trained as government sponsored assassins? If anything, it shows that the women are nationalistic and would be happy to serve their country if called. Don’t we expect the same from our own citizens?
Perhaps realizing that portraying these women as potential assassins is a hard sell to the few rational thinkers that America has left, The Atlantic’s Max Fisher offers up another take on the whole Iranian female ninja hullabaloo. He has concluded that “the Iranian regime’s 33-year quest to make Iranian women weak and helpless, to force them into child-like subservience, has failed. Though we in the West often perceive them this way because the hijab and the chador are all we see on the surface, women in Iran are stronger collectively and more assertive individually than the Islamic Republic would have us believe.”
Really, Mr. Fisher? Perhaps you should be reminded that the story originated from Press TV, which is under complete control of the Ahmedinejad government. And maybe you are not aware thatalthough these ninjitsu clubs are independently run, they are supervised by the Ministry of Sports (notice I didn’t say the Ministry of Intelligence), which means that these women are finding empowerment by virtue of the Ahmedinejad government, not in spite of it. That pretty much puts to rest your thesis that “women in Iran are stronger collectively and more assertive individually than the Islamic Republic would have us believe.”
The Islamic Republic is not trying to make us believe anything we can’t see with our own two eyes, Mr. Fisher. As for you–and those of your ilk–who are exploiting this story for propaganda purposes? Well, at least my two eyes know the truth when they see it, and as General Patton once said: “Everything else is bullshit.” And I believe that.