Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Persian Response to an Imperialist Bigot:

Read the full transcript of the exchange between Bollinger and Ahmadinejad! In response to a barrage of opening insult by Bollinger, Ahmadinejad responded:

"At the outset, I want to complain a bit on the person who read this political statement against me. In Iran, tradition requires that when we demand a person to invite us as a -- to be a speaker, we actually respect our students and the professors by allowing them to make their own judgment, and we don't think it's necessary before the speech is even given to come in -- (applause) -- with a series of claims and to attempt in a so-called manner to provide vaccination of some sort to our students and our faculty.

I think the text read by the (dear ?) gentleman here, more than addressing me, was an insult to information and the knowledge of the audience here, present here. In a university environment, we must allow people to speak their mind, to allow everyone to talk so that the truth is eventually revealed by all. Most certainly he took more than all the time I was allocated to speak. And that's fine with me. We'll just leave that to add up with the claims of respect for freedom and the freedom of speech that is given to us in this country."
Update:
Dr. Farhang Jahanpour asks two interesting questions:
For the sake of argument, let us imagine that the shoe had been on the other foot. Let us imagine that the president of Tehran University had invited President Bush to speak at Tehran University and then had introduced him in the following manner: "Mr president! You have launched an illegal and immoral war against a nation that you falsely accused of possessing nuclear weapons. You killed over a million of its innocent people. You drove 2.4 millions away from their homes to be refugees in their own country, and you have driven another two million Iraqis into neighbouring countries that you also demonise. You have stolen their oil, shattered their country, destroyed its infrastructure, its civil society, and its civilian and military administration. You have created sectarian strife in a country where millions of Kurds, Shi'is and Sunnis had lived in peace for many centuries. You created torture chambers in Abu-Ghraib and Guantanamo and scores of secret torture cells in different parts of the world. Domestically, you have imposed unprecedented surveillance on your people and have undermined their democratic rights. You have arrested a number of Iranian officials in Iraq without any justification and are still holding them despite the pleas of Iraqi leaders that they should be released. You have committed all these atrocities in the name of spreading democracy and human rights. This is a travesty of truth. Will you cease this outrage?"
...

Or let us imagine that Bollinger had invited the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to speak at Columbia University and had described him in the following vein: "Mr Prime Minister! You are a petty and cruel war criminal. Last year you launched a barbaric and devastating attack on your defenceless neighbour Lebanon – the fourth such invasion – and killed and wounded thousands of innocent Lebanese men, women and children. You demolished people's homes and apartments on top of their inhabitants. You indiscriminately bombed bridges, power stations, factories, mosques, churches and airports. On the last two days of your illegal invasion you scattered nearly three million cluster bombs over farms and residential areas in southern Lebanon, which is a war crime, and these kill and maim a large number of Lebanese people, especially children, each day. You have created a concentration camp for 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, who had been driven from their homes by you and by your predecessors, and you attack them from air, land and sea. In the past year alone, you have killed hundreds of Palestinians, including their elected representatives. You prevent anyone from getting in or out. You have even threatened to cut off all essential services to them. According to UN figures, some 80 per cent of the population is now living in absolute misery and poverty as the result of your actions. You continue to occupy Palestinian lands and build more illegal settlements on stolen land. Your government has secretly amassed a large arsenal of nuclear bombs in contravention of international laws, and yet you advocate war on a country that only wishes to have access to nuclear technology under the IAEA supervision. Will you cease this outrage?"

9 comments:

goatman said...

Unfortunately there are many in my country who believe in free speech until the speech does not agree with their beliefs. I am glad that your president was accorded the chance to speak so that those who wished to know his view could hear it first hand.
We can only live together in peace on this planet when we understand the others' viewpoint.
Your president has many odd views but at least he cannot be viewed as a war monger as ours can!

Naj said...

Goatman,

Ahmadinejad is NOT my president. But I give credit to his reasonable deeds. He has got all of us into quagmire with his lack of understanding of how his words are getting translated.

He doesn't have world-savvy speech writers. But that is why he is popular amongst the "weak" of the world!

His ideas are strange, but he also strives on controversy!

Dave said...

Did you see Cindy Sheehan's take on this?

Naj, everyone keeps complaining about Ahmedinajed's "inflammatory rhetoric", as you put it "his lack of understanding of how his words are getting translated". But while there are obviously serious criticisms to made towards both Ahmedinajed in particular and the IRI rulers in general, I don't think this one is particularly fair.

We are almost never exposed to long, in-context quotes from Ahmedinajed, just mistranslations and short out-of-context soundbites. To be invulnerable to this kind of misrepresentation, he would have to spend his whole time worrying about how his words could be construed by someone with an agenda; he would have to scrupulously avoid saying any of the things that have made him popular, and would be reduced to just another tame pro-U.S. politician.

Naj said...

Dave,

Cannot agree more.

HEre's is my point, the ONLY people who have and are suffereing the IRI are the IRANIANS WHO LIVE INSIDE IRAN!

And all this saber rattling, sanctions, and all thi snonense is HURTING THEM and their moves against the IRI GRATELY!

If only the world left Iranians to sort out their OWN systems and worry about their own human rights issues, we would not have been suffering so many set backs.

All Iran needs is for the Western countries to bug off and mind their own F!@#$#@$ business! However, as their !#@$~@#% business is "economic", they are unlikely to do so, to the detrment of ANY reform and hman right movement that is taking place in Iran!

Dave said...

On that I agree. I wonder why the antiwar movement doesn't engage more with Iranian dissidents. Perhaps it would be too risky for the latter, or they are worried about playing into the hands of those who would demonise the IRI for the sake of war - but it seems like some constructive engagement could help both causes.

All I meant was, I don't know how "savvy" or restrained we can ask his speech-writers to be without falling into self-censorship.

Naj said...

Dave,

I think Iranian dissidents are a vry diverse group of people. There are some who are actualy pro-war with Iran! There are some who are totally a-political! There are some who are trying to be independent but vocally anti-war.

What I have been nticing happen in the Iranian community, is a very grass root movement in the academia (as there are just too many Iranian academics) and to some extent in the business community to show the other sign of the coin.

A lot of people like me, are just taking away from their usual work to contribute. Iranians have learned by experience that organization are corruptive and manipulative entities, and have concluded that independent voices are more effective.

But to go back to Iranian dissidents, these days it has become a very lucrative business for many of the so called exiled Iranians to demonize Iran. Look at the number of all those barby dolls who have become great writes suddenly, shedding tear very their frightening experience in revolution.

A lof of Iranian dissidents have not been back to Iran in the past 30 years. They are the partners of the neoconservatives in all this accusation of all that is evil in Iran!

I took my partner back with me, after 25 years, and he fell in love wit the IRan that has become, since those dark years of war!

Anonymous said...

A lof of Iranian dissidents have not been back to Iran in the past 30 years. They are the partners of the neoconservatives in all this accusation of all that is evil in Iran!

Are you one of them? And why? Mullah's woman

A lot of people like me, are just taking away from their usual work to contribute.

Come on give me a break, what your "usual work" are you really working?

Oh yah then why you on Social Benefits scheme?

Speaking about your Partner, did you reported to the Official Social Welfare?

Oh no YOU hid him then to get free launch.

Just another Liar in this world.

an average patriot said...

naj
Now you know why I said it sounded like a satup! There is a full transcript of the speech in my comment section.
I just wanted you to see what I wrote about today and you will see why America and thus the world is in so much trouble. Pay particular attention to the 2nd and 3rd links. Especially the 3rd link, #1
and #2, very scary and Bush will not let those powers go.
Too much power to let it go

By the way, did you see the chief idiot speak at the UN? He has made such a mess out of thinns and ignores it all and talks about burma. He makes me sick. Cuba dissed him and ahmadinejad rightly lambasted him. He is such an embarrasment.

Anonymous said...

"The Human Rights Campaign’s executive director, Joe Solmonese, issued a statement in which he said, "Today’s assertions by President Ahmadinejad that there are no homosexuals in Iran would be simply absurd were it not for the fact that international human rights watchers have long documented some of the most horrific acts of persecution and violence committed against gay people in Iran.""
http://www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=glbt&sc2=news&sc3=&id=23250