Teenage Wasteland
December 7, 1979 — The Spectrum (SUNY at Buffalo)

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | October 1, 2018                    


One night after the tragedy at The Who concert in Ohio on Dec. 3 in which 11 fans were trampled to death, the famed British rock group performed their next show in Buffalo, New York.

According to this sole editorial in the University at Buffalo (SUNY) student newspaper, anti-Iranian banners and chants among the audience were witnessed.

The editorial linked these incidents metaphorically to the emotional American reaction to the recent hostage crisis, manifested by a dangerous mob mentality and “hysterical nationalism” that seemed to be rising. The U.S. embassy in Tehran was seized one month earlier, leading to campus protests and counter-protests all across the country.

December 7, 1979

Won’t get fooled again?

So 11 people were trampled to death and others injured this week in Cincinnati at The Who concert. And the city’s mayor [Ken Blackwell, a Republican] thinks that banning The Who from ever performing again at the scene of the tragedy will prevent it from ever happening again. Who’s fooling whom?

One psychologist attributed the crowd reaction to a “blurring effect” during which an individual loses his or her sense of self and “the mob becomes the identity.” Thinking becomes muddled.

It seems that recently this “blurring effect” has been sweeping the nation like a new fad. And though there were no tramplings or injuries incurred at The Who’s concert in Buffalo, there were anti-Iranian banners and chants. [Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, Dec. 4, 1979]

Not in recent memory has American individuality been so lost in a sea of hysterical nationalism. When midwestern high school students march and burn Iranian flags because “that’s how the Iranians are treating us” and the Californians hold an anti-Iranian rally in Los Angeles, who’s fooling whom?

Prior to Cincinnati, the old expression “There’s safety in numbers” was coming back in favor again along with American flags. Cincinnati proved that numbers do not determine what is right. The Iranian confrontation has given many who have a need to belong and feel mighty, a movement onto which they can latch. Termed an “intensely emotional issue” by many, it is easy to understand why so many are so zealous. It is easy for those who still want to believe they live in a country given such a good write-up in their grade school history books to break down the conflict to a simple: “They have our people as hostages and think America sucks so we think they all suck.” Americans have always been taught to fight when their pride is at stake.

It is the individual who loses out when majority opinion borne on unwavering emotion shapes the action of a whole. As evidenced in Cincinnati, in the rush to be number one in a long line, we risk losing sight of the people we’ve stepped upon.

And Iran has been stepped on—by the U.S. and the Shah. We should all question our individual behavior before exercising it collectively—or there could be more victims of irrational stampedes.

The 1953 Coup in Iran Was An Act of War | by Arash Norouzi
The 1953 Coup in Iran Was An Act of War | by Arash Norouzi

Search MohammadMossadegh.com

Related links:

Buffalo Bills NFL Offensive Guard Conrad Dobler on the Iran Hostage Crisis (Nov. 1980)

Maniac In Iran: 2 SUNY at Buffalo students agree leftists are “stupid” (1979 letters)

‘We cannot condemn Iranian students in the U.S. for the hostage crisis’ (Dec. 5, 1979)

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Tumblr   Instagram