by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker blog
What sad news that The Saker is shutting down.
How very far it has come! How much I learned here! What a rare place of intellectual honesty, openness and bravery!
Nobody ever wants to write a eulogy and they are always inadequate, so it will be easy to keep this short.
(I am often told – almost solely by non-regular readers of The Saker – that I write too long.)
Whatever praise I give Andrei – rightly referred to as “The Saker himself” – will feel tremendously inadequate. He has given me a true intellectual home for seven years, and a lifelong friendship as well. Journalistic copy is simply unable to describe what his encouragement and open support have meant to me.
In an age of hyper-partisanship, the current Third Red Scare and the always-present Western anti-socialism, hosting a “token lefty” like myself is truly exceptional, I hope you’ll realise. What Andrei has, and what I may love most about him, is intellectual openness, intellectual honesty and intellectual humility. I assume it’s part of his secret as to how he got to be so good at what he does, and I am immensely in his debt for showing me how well he walked this very uncommon path.
Thank you, Andrei. You allowed me to do the written journalism that I always wanted to; that just wasn’t possible in the medium of television journalism provided by my work at Iran’s English-language PressTV. I am a print journalist at heart – I never imagined I’d be on television – so you have my heart. Thank you, Andrei.
To the commenters: thank you. I read 99% of your comments, and they were truly appreciated. Above all, thank you for your intellectual rigour – I knew that if I was lazy in my fact-checking, logic or analysis that it would never get past you. You, dear commenter, may not believe me but you made me. You reminded me of the family members of the strangers whose obituaries I wrote back at my first job in newspaper journalism: Get the funeral visitation times wrong on someone’s obituary and you will be getting not just an angry call but maybe an angry visit. You are that exacting, that intelligent, that passionate about these ideas which many foolishly claim to be the exclusive domain of an intellectual “elite”. We journalists are given the incredible gift of being permitted to educate ourselves in public – this old saying reached a generous new level with your comments. In total sincerity: I tried to reach your level, and I hope I made it.
The tremendous intelligence of the commenters was a well-known feature of The Saker – this isn’t pandering. It is their intellectual stamina which directly produced my three books published since 2019 (on China, Iran and France): The readers of The Saker (and Andrei himself) were not put off by long essays, and so I realised there was an appetite and appreciation for long, multipart series, which then became books. Maybe I don’t get around the internet enough but I have seen very, very few multipart series-cum-books published on other political websites? If the readers of the Saker didn’t have such intellectual stamina then maybe my books never get written – you can see why I am so grateful to the commenters and readers at The Saker.
These are the thanks which I want to extend, and they are insufficient, but I hope everyone accepts my sincere gratitude, love, respect, appreciation and – you were so nice I have to say it twice – gratitude.
Whither Ramin Mazaheri?
I used to be totally opposed to blogs.
It wasn’t snobbery – journalism was the craft I studied and I refused to give my craft away for free. Why would I kill my own craft, I fairly objected?
Finally, I gave in – it seemed that the internet wasn’t going away.
I rationalised that if I was going to give away my work for free then at least I would only write what I honestly thought! And for as long as I want!
I immediately found that no one would publish my articles.
They were too leftist, too contradictory of the prevailing Western political wisdom and I’m sure many of my (rather foolish) journalistic peers found them flat-out dangerous (to their ladder-climbing). I was unprintable.
I understood. After all, who was writing about things like “Iranian Islamic Socialism”? True, that’s not a topic which is ever going to trend on Twitter, but The Saker allowed me write about such unpublishable topics and to give an unapologetically leftist analysis. You simply had to come to The Saker to find some of these topics in English, and this extends to many of the other great contributors to The Saker.
And people did come to The Saker. Its reach and respect is quantified and clear.
Need more proof? A highlight of my time with The Saker was this for-sale pamphlet published in 2018 by the Trotskyist World Socialist Web Site against my writings – first published on The Saker – on “Iranian Islamic Socialism”. The WSWS is likely the most popular socialist-inspired website on the planet, and they weren’t just reading The Saker but felt compelled to engage in highly public intellectual debate against it.
(I must note that I bear no ill-will whatsoever to the WSWS – ideas are made to be studied and questioned. Also, “point-counterpoint” is a long-standing journalistic convention which has, sadly, fallen into disuse. Lastly, leftists must just say no to the narcissism of small differences.)
The Saker had an impact. It’s a shame it’s shuttering. It’s a major loss, and I hope my brevity relates my disappointment.
To conclude this article: I don’t know where I’m going to publish my journalism now?
The Saker had a huge reach that will be hard for me to find. The Mainstream Media will never allow honest writing/reporting about things like Iran, Islam, Socialism, or even something in their own backyard like as France’s Yellow Vests. However, I assume that neither will the very few leftist websites as popular as The Saker, such as the WSWS, The Nation, Jacobin and others.
Hey, prove me wrong. If any website is willing to publish regular content from me then please contact me on Twitter (@RaminMazaheri2) or Facebook. Yes, this is me offering to be a regular contributor to your website!
Maybe my only choice will be Substack? I would rather be in a community than starting just another blog – it’s the trained journalist in me, perhaps – but how many people running popular political websites are truly as intellectually open-minded as Andrei to accept regular work from someone like me?
I guess I’ll find out.
But since I may not like the answer, may I make one last request to my deeply appreciated regular readers: please post a comment here, or contact me via Twitter or Facebook, if you have a genuine interest in following me on Substack, and perhaps even paying their lowest subscription fee possible. (Hey, I could do more and better content if I wasn’t so broke from being a journalist, and also doing free journalism, all the time.) If I see there’s actual interest, then I’ll seriously consider Substack and it’s “maximum freedom” virtue.
I think I can fairly speak for all of us when I say: It’s the ideas – and not the money, glory, power or praise – which is why we’re all here reading this article. The ideas promoted at The Saker, in my estimation, belonged to a truly selfless and loving order – or at least that was usually their noble aim. Trust the objective take of a daily reporter – that is so hard to find. Too bad it just got harder.
I can’t thank you enough for reading my ideas. Thank you.
Long live The Saker in our hearts!
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His latest book is ‘France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values’. He is also the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’.
Your articles have been fantastic. I hate to see Saker’s site go also.
The UNZ review might be a refuge?
I used to visit the UNZ review but gave it up. the plethora of unintelligent red neck writings and comments to the more balanced and reasonable, were, in the end, too much to take.
So what exactly is your definition of a “red neck” writing? That term red neck gets thrown around a lot and is in fact a racist term no different than the calling a Spanish person a spic or an Asian a chink. Are you a racist Pamela?
Dont be ridiculous. It’s a well known term for a certain ype of behaviour exhibited by some in America. And you know exactly what it means, too.
I thought redneck meant a low-brow hick weather-beaten by the elements who has lapped up the British Crown’s send your sons to save the Empire rhetoric since inception as opposed to Yankees who talk the talk and are prepared to watch the misguided redneck fodder fed into the global meat-grinder while their offspring attend Ivy-Leagues then write policy for the next century maintaining this status quo.
I recognise Pamela that I could be wrong! Will miss your considered banter.
“Red Neck” is a term invented by US Coal Companies – a pejorative term, it was an attempt to brand the union miners as “communists under Soviet Bolshevik control”.
The miners wore red neck scarves, kerchiefs.
So do I, quite often.
US coal companies didn’t ‘invent’ the term, as it is quite a bit older than 1910. ‘Redneck’ means being weather-beaten (white skinned and poor). The Caribbean ‘redleg’ is essentially the same term.
Thank you brother, while some folks here at the Saker try to spin the racist term redneck using semantics and trying to spin the term you are well informed. Calling a white person a Redneck, Cracker, Honky is the equivalence of calling an Arab a Towel head or Raghead, its a derogatory term but some people choose to join the hey let’s openly bash on White people bandwagon because its the in thing. Meanwhile the crime syndicate that openly calls Russians in Ukraine Orcs are the same people that have declared that its totally cool to be racist against whites in America to divide and conquer the nation, just like Ukraine.
I would definitely follow you to Substack should you decide to set up shop there. Your voice and wit are sorely needed.
Why don’t you start an Iranian Saker. I understood from Andrei Saker Serbia and Latin Saker will still be up and running.
Maybe a U.S. Saker, or maybe a Falcon, or Buzzard, out of Iran or France, or whereever? Does not really matter where it originates from actually. How would we all know that something like that exists should it ever come up. Maybe here on the Saker site before it shuts down we can sign up to some sort of notification list, so that should something come up, we would know where to go?
Or should we all just “invade” some other Saker site that could expand to serve what forum is being lost here?
Rambling thoughts, but hopefully helpful.
Please read the Saker’s last 2 posts (or all) here giving updates on the blog and how to keep in contact etc. Mod.
Remember some time ago when Andrei said he’d bail when it looked like US-NATO v Russia conflict would become direct? Maybe that’s now , today, tomorrow, next week, month.
Hopefully the next few days sees Russia neuter Ukraine, sending NATO packing and inserting the final nail into the coffin of the Evil American Empire and its punch-drunk vassalages.
Thank you Ramin for this brief article. I was feeling miserable about the calendar, knowing that the Vineyard of the Saker will end in just a few short days. There seems little point now in engaging in the commentary dialogue that I so loved about this site. I don’t even want to think about the loss of a source of genuine wisdom that this final curtain will mean. I learnt so much from this site’s writers and commentators.
Even so, it brought a smile to my face to read your Iranian farewell, nobody does courtesy and gentle speech like Iranians. Incidentally, one of my cousins is a colleague of yours at Press TV, so I might get to say thank you to you personally someday for your peerless socialist journalism.
On a positive note, the lack of this irreplaceable resource is itself a great motivator. We can all go off now and become mini-Sakers. We have seen what is possible, and the work that needs to be done, so depending on our individual skills, we can take inspiration from Andrei, and create our own marvellous projects, that point to the truth, and bring real benefit to the world.
‘…Let dead hearts tarry and trade and marry,
And trembling nurse their dreams of mirth,
While we the living our lives are giving
To bring the bright new world to birth.
Come, shoulder to shoulder ere earth grows older
The Cause spreads over land and sea;
Now the world shaketh, and fear awaketh
And joy at last for thee and me’.
(‘Chants for Socialists’. William Morris)
Ramin you are one of my favorite writers on this site and I wish to commend you for your excellent work in spreading the truth to the English speaking community. I also wish to thank you for your kind words regarding us, the regular folk who post periodic comments on these articles.
I find it very depressing that the Saker is shutting down – it maybe an ominous sign of what is to come. Ramin, your articles have always been very informative – especially regarding the Yellow Vest movement in France. I hope you are able to find an alternate forum to publish your writings. Substack is a good start. Unfortunately real news and analysis is so rare in a world run on propaganda.
Très beau texte; félicitations.
Si tu crée un blogue avec “substact”, je suis partant à te suivre. D’ailleurs je me suis procuré ton recent livre “Les Jilets Jaunes: la répression occidentale des meilleurs valeurs de l’occident”.
Thankyou Zamin for your many articles on The Vineyard and this heart-felt au revoir
If I may suggest if you want to continue print journalism, use a 3-string approach.
1 Start up a Substack for your articles
2 Similar to fellow VoS contributor Jimmie Moglia, establish a Youtube channel
3 Given you already have a twitter handle, use twitter to announce the drop of a new article.
The beauty is, those of us who have followed you here can follow & amplify your content on Twitter.
Link your YT channel in your bio on twitter.
Jimmie’s YT channel Historical Sketches: @lucretius39 & twitter account, @jimmiemoglia , suffer as he sometimes writes/speaks in Italian, and I guess, some are not interested in reading machine-generated English language translations.
Oh, and one other thing: prepare to be patient.
All the best for your future!
Cheers, Uncle Davy
Being introduced to writers like Mr. Mazaheri was an outstanding feature of the Saker’s site. Maybe substack would be a good place.
Ramin, long time lurker but first time commenter here. Your perspective has been one of the many great things about the Saker’s blog and your books have been hugely valuable to me (first two at least, looking forward to reading the Yellow Vest book). I would definitely follow you and pay for a subscription on substack but along with Arjuna I would suggest unz.com as a haven for despised viewpoints with a very substantial readership. Lots of hard-to-swallow opinion there but it’s useful to have one’s boundaries tested! Thanks for your contribution here and for your excellent books and I certainly hope you find a new home somewhere on the web as I really value your reporting.
Thank you for mentioning Unz.com, I visited the site and indeed there are some great articles there.
Yes it would have been fitting to watch the US Empire with their new made-in-China deckchairs on board crash headlong into irretrievable decay-decline-relevancy here at The Saker.
Alas, life goes on and your own contribution (path) to this ’cause’ is already written in the stars.
Press TV is an institution in itself and will play an ever increasing geopolitical, social and humanitarian role in the future.
Let’s all assemble there
We are in a world where shooting down a passenger plane (to blame Russia) or blowing up vital infrastructure (Nordstream2) is ignored by the masses and tacitely accepted by the elected leaders.
Lies/propaganga supported by censorship will get more and more effective (In France they are talking about internet filters?).
My only hope is that the economic structure of the West (based on debt and ponzi schemes) will eventually self-destruct and we get rid of this nightmare of predatory capitalism and their minions.
Thank you for your articles, all this years at Andrei’s blog.
Cheers from France.
Bookmarked. Thank you.
Ah yes dear comrades, and once was that the long arm of the law reaches far and wide, but in our time, perhaps our dear envious comrade moderators, who fight those feisty, long lasting and losing battles against the fewdom freedom fighters, maintaining strict law and order thereby, now have such arms. And thanks be to God to all who so wisely have discerned and have kept the Saker so free and gladly read by moderaters fair and marvellous.
I have always enjoyed reading your articles. I feel remis not to have sent my appreciation earlier. I feel a soft spot for Iran, and is always very interested in the developments surrounding it from a balanced viewpoint. I will be interested in reading your blog, but unfortunately paying even the minimum subscription will not be possible.
The exchange rate of South Africa to the dollar wouldn’t even be a drop in the bucket, and at the moment we are going through a bit of a undeclared recession.
As long as you think in dollars comrade you’ll forever be mentally scarred.
South Africa, like Cuba, like Syria, like almost everywhere should be doing better. The shackles are still on but one leg and arm are free. Yes, freedom is within your grasp, especially with the recent naval maneuvering.
Ramin, all you said in praise of the Saker and his vineyard is true. And in return, your articles on Iranian Socialism, and on France’s Gilets Jaunes, added to the value of Saker Vineyard as a select source of relevant political opinion.
It seems to me that what you as a modern Iranian have in common with the Saker as a modern Russian, is that both of you belong to the Religious Left: you with your “Islamic Socialism” and Andrei with his (and Putin’s) Russian Orthodox desire to build The Kingdom based on love of God (the God who loved Humankind so much that he came down as a humble man to share our utmost suffering as well as our joy in the ordinary marvellous things like children, flowers, bread and wine that He created.) The Religious Left, in spite of its desire for healing, does not lack courage.
Where to publish opinions that risk “ostracism”. Curiously enough, I believe the time is ripe to “publish” on mainstream Social Media, where viewers are looking for light in the present darkness. For instance, The Duran where two Anglo bloggers of Greek origin support Russia against the brutal stupidity of EU$A and NATZO. Even an “ostracised” Truther such as Scott Ritter — who was dismissed for telling the world that he had done his job properly as UN Weapons Inspector, and Iraq had no WMD — is roaring back on Social Media with a cogent and passionate defense of Putin’s Russia — and China and Iran.
Incidentally, why does Iranian Press TV not give its best English-speaking reporter a Commentator’s slot? Especially since Islamic Socialist Iran has signed a very significant trade deal with Confucian Communist China (as reported by Pepe Escobar on this very Saker Vineyard, just a few items back from your own).
Oops! the Link to Scott Ritter on Youtube:
Thank you, Ramin, for your unique point of view on world events, and on life as she is lived out in these interesting times, especially as seen from Zone B. I have learned much from your writings — the longer the better they were to me.
You are read, and appreciated, by more people in more countries than you can guess, and I humbly suggest that you experiment with Substack, and try out the other suggestions above.
I like especially the suggestion of an Iranian Saker. And why why not an Islamic socialist Middle Eastern point of view? Iran is rising inexorably on the global stage, and a platform such as that will be helpful to all Zone B.
You may never know how one of your ideas might help a school teacher somewhere; or aid in governance of a people by a leader somewhere; or illuminate the mind of some curious thinker….
And so, thanks again, and I shall be looking for your writings on the inter webs.
Happy to read your article-eulogy Ramin Mazaheri, seems you are good at them, anyway, I felt very relieved to read this, and the genuine, heartfelt thanks you gave, not only to the Saker, whose valuable site we will lose, but also to all the commenters over the years, and because of the positive approaches you showed alltogether, very good, and you will keep going, and be read elsewhere for sure !!
I would love to continue reading from you.
Maybe ask Pepe Escobar to be able to publish on his site the craddle.co?
A Great farewell article.
Does anyone know when Saker 1st started? 10 years, 15 years ago? I do not but I recall it was a very modest, high quality, ‘obscure’ website with short articles.
16 years ago, in 2007
Ramin, go to Substack, and archive all of your writings there.
It is not you who are floundering for a place to publish, but we who are at a loss to know how to find you. Set up a home that you control. Then you can worry about being republished elsewhere. Not every piece is a masterpiece, but some will be articles that other sites will want to publish.
Many of your pieces are relatively timeless, the review of the Cultural Revolution in China being an outstanding (and utterly superb) example of this. When you have everything loaded up at Substack, make sure to back all of that up offline, against the day that Substack may become compromised.
You could submit to the Cradle, I like that idea from a commenter here. Also unz.com. And see if Amarynth at global South will publish you too, another thought from a commenter.
To repeat myself, I suggest getting your home base set up first, and only then worrying about wider publication.
Also, the Saker.
It has been a measure of the greatness of his heart that he brought Ramin Mazaheri to our attention. This addition, actually enlarged the Saker. I was always going to love the Saker even if it was just him, but do you see that you added value to his site by being here? I hope you can see that. And I believe that Saker takes pleasure in that thought, magnanimous and selfless as he is.
Ah, friends, what fun we’ve had in each other’s company. Let it not end. Get thee to Substack, friend Ramin, and we’ll find you again :)
I think that your articles are excellent !! My suggestion is that you can very well published in the others “sakers” that still on . The Latino American specially. Translation today is not a problem and surely they will accept your valuable collaboration. Try it and good luck !!. I hope I can read one of your articles in that site in Spanish.🤞🤗👍
I am not good with words Hr Mazaheri.
I hope you start a substack account, your viewpoint is to important to disappear.
You crushed so many of my biases that i almost blush just thinking about them.
Being a child of 2 cultures (a bastard child as it was called in my childhood) should have made me more humble and less jugdemental, you and your “long” articles gave me that facepalm moment.
iow you and your writing made me a better human and i am grateful for that.
Have a great day and may people like you become “mainstream” and given the attention you deserve,
(ps! My offer to guide you around Norway, Sweden, Denmark is open, and if you want to learn about Norwegian genocide of Sami people you will understand why i am on the side of the opressed and why i so admire the Shia fighting for the weak.)
The World Socialist Web Site has taken a stance against Sahra Wagenknecht and Alice Schwarzer who have drawn many anti-war crowds. This reveals them to be utterly wrong. I suspect they are fake, faux-gauche, феik, worse than a controlled opposition, designed to attract and lead people with legitimate leftist concerns such as trade unionists astray.