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The Chord From The Distant Past: From A. Griboedov To C. Stevens

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   Like a chord from the past..

   A. Chekhov

History repeats itself in a double -- helical spiral way, similar to that   famous   staircase designed and built by Leonardo Da Vinci for the Chambord Castle in France- his last achievement. The people going up the stairs cannot see the ones going down. Otherwise maybe   Chris Stevens from  the Y2012   could see   Alexander   Griboedov from  the Y1829 and would not go to fateful Benghazi.

In   the Y1829   Alexander Griboedov was barely 34 years old and  a bright rising   star on the sky of Russian imperial politics. He was appointed as a first Russian full ambassador to the recently defeated Iran with the rank of a civil general to   exercise  articles of the peace treaty between the victorious   Russia and humiliated Iran. He was a famous Russian literati,   a recognized genius of literature and musical composition, a highly educated   man (he   knew Persian, French, English and German languages), highly decorated by then Emperor Nicholas   I and   had just happily married a young   stunning beauty Nina Chavchavadze, a   Georgian princess, all relatives of whom loved Alexander dearly and sincerely.

The duty of the Russian embassy was to monitor the exercising of the Turkmenchay   peace treaty conditions   and those were rather tough on Iran. Besides a huge monetary   contribution    the treaty stipulated that every Russian citizen, man or woman forcefully   brought to Iran against his/her will got a right of free return to Russia, also that the former Russian soldiers who for whatever reason   defected to Iran were subjects to extradition. Russian troops in the Northern Iran were there to make sure those   conditions were followed   to the letter.   Griboedov   was   confident and persistent: he established a rapport   with the highest Iranian officials   and developed a process   which was supposed to make sure the conditions are fulfilled   without   an   overwhelming burden   on the Persian people and /or   violation of the Moslem family laws which was especially tough when women, former Russian citizens, abducted and sold to harems were claiming the right of return. Griboedov   established    his own   research and processing   process to verify   claims and discuss all the options. He worked very diligently and   was on the way to fulfill all the conditions so that   the Russian military   could   leave Iran and   join the troops fighting   in the war with Turkey at that time.

But something went wrong.   On February 1829    Russian embassy in Tehran was suddenly attacked by a crowd of fanatics. There were about 10000 or more. For some strange reason   all the high   military commanders in the city    left the city to   rest a day before, also the regiment of the   Persian infantry in charge of guarding the embassy   left without warning. The same took place with the   main   foreign missions. Alexander Griboedov was in the embassy alone; his young wife   was at that time   in the British consulate in Tabriz where she was going through her pregnancy.

Russian   guards, the embassy staff, Griboedov himself and even   valets and servants   defended the embassy to the last man. All  but one were slaughtered. The   bodies were mutilated, chopped to pieces   and hastily buried. When after some time   the Russian government requested the Griboedov's body for the   proper burial, only pieces were delivered, the most close one being his hand with a ring people knew about.   The remains were   buried with higher honors   at the   sacred   Mtatzminda   cemetery on the David's Hill in Tbilisi, Georgia. His wife   gave birth to a dead child. When she died she was buried near him.   She insisted that the following   words were carved on his tombstone:

-Your wisdom and your deeds are forever in the memory of Russia but why did   my love   outlive you?

One person   survived by a  miracle  and Russian government demanded an investigation. But when Iranian Shah presented to   Czar Nicholas a famous   Shah Diamond as a compensation, the matter was closed. Moreover   dark rumors   spread   around about   Griboedov   allegedly exceeding his authority, taking bribes and even violating the Persian families, tearing women away   by force. His name was tarnished   so much that even now   there are people in the currently independent anti- Russian Georgia who want to remove his grave from its place.

Only in about 100 years after the event Russian- Soviet   historical novelist Juri Tunyanov managed to reconstruct   the more-or --less feasible   set of events. Apparently Griboedov's persistence started to worry   several powerful groups, among them the British residents in Iran. That worry turned to pathological fear when   a powerful Iranian   official   originally from   the   Russian Armenia defected to the Russian Embassy    with all his knowledge about English anti- Russian covert operations.   Griboedov also alienated the influential   Iranian elite   who had   stakes in women trafficking and   also used Russian defectors for their personal   deeds. All of that resulted in    a deal struck between those forces and    mullahs of   Tehran   who, after receiving   bribes orchestrated a horrible    attack on the   embassy under the pretense of uncontrolled fanaticism.

The documents also revealed   that Griboedov was at least partially betrayed by his own superiors: they knew   about the danger but   did not do anything.   At that time Russian victories started to worry   English and Russian -- English relations went sour. The unofficial deal was struck that if   for some reason Russian embassy   suspends its activity in Iran for a while (which promptly happened after the event),   British politicians then would not   interfere into  Russia finishing   its war with Turkey on a victorious note. Griboedov was sacrificed for   the love affair   between the two empires.

If only   Chris   Stevens   knew this story.   There are so many questions   open: why was he there, in the consulate   in the tense days of 9/11?   Why did the   former insurgents, funded and supported   by the US   suddenly attacked   the consulate. Why were they armed   so good? Why was the consulate   burned?   Who coordinated   the vicious attacks on   the US embassies   in other Middle Eastern Countries at the same time? Why did it happen exactly at the same time when the Israeli PM   made an open attempt to influence the US internal policy?   Why did Romney team   hurry with the inflaming   statements?   They are not stupid after   all.   Why the US ships   are sent to Lybia which quite recently was   a crowning success of   the US "liberal war' strategy? Who really believes that some obscure   You- Tube movie   was the cause of all that and   at such a proper time?   So many questions.   Do we have to wait   for 100 years again?

What diamond will be presented and to whom to   keep the real issue   closed I don't   know. But what I do know   is that in politics the   repeat is very   common especially when places are the same. It is like a   killer returning to the place of the crime; old sins die hard. If only Chris Stevens knew.   An echo from the distant   past still sounds as a warning. Too bad we don't   hear   it. The dream of mind creates   monsters.

 

The writer is 57 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE, CEM. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.


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