Sunday, 22 July 2007
TEHRAN, Islamic Republic of Iran (22 July) –Barely an hour after signing in Friendster.com early today from a student dormitory for couples here in central Tehran, the first three persons who joined my ring of friends are of course my better half, Mamot, followed by sister Mayhanie, and then an anonymous Papanok (meaning ‘bird’ in Maguindanaon vernacular), thanks to its extraordinary vision.
Since Papanok is flying with its wings of anonymity, I was curious to know its identity. So, I decided to sneak a look at its photo album which contains 14 pictures. Perhaps, at least one of these images could give me a clue.
Seven minutes of browsing failed to suggest any exact identity I could recall. Why? All the pictures are aerial views, impressive though—7 each showing different parts of Cotabato City and its suburbs (where the ORC Complex and the Pulangi River appearing like anacondas are prominent), and the MSU Main Campus (from the furthermost part of the 7th street down to the College of Forestry and KFCIAS).
True, I failed to identify Papanok but nevertheless my venture reminds me of the notoriety that winged-creature has earned here in the Middle East exactly a year ago.
With Papanok’s supply of Google Earth’s free repository of satellite imagery, maps and terrains of the world with exact cartographic grids which is becoming an emergent favorite toy of many online surfers, both the young and the young-at-heart, Hizbullah fighters were able to make a difference with their 4,180 Katyusha rockets fired into military and strategic targets in northern Israel during the 34-day showdown in Lebanon last year.
Through this surreptitious interference of the Maguindanaon bird in a far-flung region’s conflict, a geopolitical landscape is changed, a long-standing balance of terror modified, and the result of a war reversed.
Papanok has illustriously demonstrated the dynamics of asymmetrical warfare in the information age, embarrassed an invading army, shattered decades-old myth of invincibility, emboldened a defeated nation, deterred (or at least delayed) a regional war, and thereby surprised the world.
The unexpected outcome of the war, political pundits believe, significantly deters, or at least delays, impending Washington and/or Tel Aviv aerial sorties against Iran that could trigger regional war with catastrophic global repercussions and for which last year’s month-long devastating face-off was supposed to be a laboratory for experimentation.
Given this exposé, I advise you Papanok, whoever you are, to fly higher or hide yourself in the thick forest of Timaku island as my hunting gun is now loaded with the bullet of a newly crafted draconian law (Anti-Terrorism Law).
(An excerpt from MY TEHRAN DIARY)