According the April 13th’s magnificent Cape Times Editorial, the P5+1 Iranian nuclear deal is “a crushing defeat for the war-mongering Zionist generals who had been hell-bent on bombing Iran’s nuclear capability to smithereens.”

The foremost question to be asked, on reading such a statement is what in fact is a “Smithereen” and how does one go about bombing a nuclear facility until it is one? The next question is if we still use this somewhat anachronistic expression, given that it is of Irish Gaelic descent and that one of its earlier usages was captured in the 1801 History of Ireland in the sentence “If you don’t be off directly, by the ghost of William, our deliverer, and by the orange we wear, we will break your carriage in smithereens, and hough your cattle and burn your house.”

The Cape Times, South Africa’s first daily newspaper was conceptualized as the local version of the Times of London in 1876, has a circulation of around 35,000. And whereas the paper no doubt has had some impressive and iconic editions, I am not absolutely certain that April 13’s editorial was one of them.

The premise of the editorial is that the Iranian deal came about owing to the steadfastness of the Iranian people to withstand the sanctions imposed on them by the US who intended to break their spirit through these sanctions. The editorial supports the belief that Iran’s intention was to develop its nuclear program for peaceful purposes alone and offers no alternative. And it is a shame on the world, it doesn’t say, but might as well, for thinking otherwise.

The editorial is an insult to its readers. It assumes that they have no knowledge of Iran’s documented support of terror organizations and of its open and dangerous rhetoric that calls for the annihilation of other countries. It assumes that its readers are not conflicted and concerned by the growing tensions in the Middle East and current arming of Iran by Russia. It assumes that they are ignorant of the public hangings and the torture of gays. It disregards the abuse of power by those who have it against those who do not, and paints a picture that is so far from reality that surely even the one who crafted it must have found it a little uncomfortable to do so. At the very least, we can only hope that his fingers were crossed tightly behind his back whilst his scribbled the garbage that was to be the intellectual fodder they were feed their readers.

But the most perplexing, and confusing line is the conclusion. “Can the long night of the generals be far off for Israel?” it wonders rhetorically, and no doubt expects us to do the same.

And I would. I really would, if I only understood what it is we are expected to wonder. Because the “Night of the Generals” was a lovely old movie with Peter o Tool and Omar Sharif in the leading roles. And I couldn’t imagine either playing Netanyahu. So there is no point in wondering that.

The Night of the Long Knives, however, refers to a more sinister Nazi purge where around 85 people were murdered by Hitler in 1934. The obvious would be that if it intended to refer to the Nazi purge, then why not call it by the correct name?

And that might be worth wondering. Along with why anyone would subscribe to a paper that would write an editorial like this one. And why indeed they would still use “Smithereens” when it so two centuries ago.

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