Like a chord from the past..
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.