Mahmoud and me

From the Wikipedia entry on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current President of Iran:

During a “World Without Zionism” student conference in October 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad … called Israel a “disgraceful blot” that ought to be “wiped off the map.” He went on to decry attempts to normalize relations with Israel and condemned all Islamic leaders who recognize Israel’s existence as “acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world” …

Kofi Annan said he was dismayed by the comments, and reiterated Iran’s obligations and Israel’s right of existence under the UN Charter. The White House responded by saying Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric showed that it was correct in trying to halt Iran’s nuclear program. EU leaders issued a strong condemnation of the Iranian President’s remarks, stating that “[c]alls for violence, and for the destruction of any state, are manifestly inconsistent with any claim to be a mature and responsible member of the international community.”

Ahmadinejad reaffirmed his position on 28 October 2005, as supporters chanting “death to Israel” and “death to America”, some burning and trampling on Israeli and U.S. flags, marched to a rally in Tehran attended by most of Iran’s top officials. “My words are the Iranian nation’s words,” he said. “Westerners are free to comment, but their reactions are invalid.”

In an age when soft-pedaling, pussyfooting, and political correctness are the norm, it’s refreshing to find a leader with genuine convictions — one who says what he means, and refuses to back down at the first whiff of criticism. Say what you like about Mahmoud; the man is not a flip-flopping wuss.

16 Responses to “Mahmoud and me”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    And if you were to ask me how
    His charms might be improved,
    I would not have them added to,
    But just a few removed!
    Gilad.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    [Following Lewis Carrorl, of course]

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I find some of your posts, such as this
    one, immature. Perhaps you haven’t noticed
    that it is often the heads of rogue states,
    such as N. Korea, and Iran, who make such
    remarks. Have you forgotten that Saddam
    Hussein had praised the 9/11 attacks? These
    people just perpetrate violence and hatred.

    Such so called “leaders” of rogue countries
    ought to be tried according to international
    law by the United nations.

  4. Eldar Says:

    Well, if we go there, I would like to share another observation which is not as immediate as Mahmoud’s final solution. Recently a Saudi television channel purchased a license for broadcasting The Simpsons, and adapted it for the viewers in Saudi-Arabia and neighboring countries.

    However, they went further than translating and dubbing the dialogs. The Simpsons were transformed: Their names were changed to Arab ones, and the show was edited so as the Simpson’s behavior is consistent with Muslim law.

    So here is my question: As far as I know, whenever The Simpsons are viewed by anyone else (say, by an Israeli Jew), they still come forward as Christian Americans doing (sort of) American things. Is it too much for the Saudi viewers to fancy the existence of Christian Americans?

  5. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    Anonymous #3: As anonymous #1 may have noticed, Scott is being sarcastic.

    I have heard the Iranian slogan “Israel must be wiped off the map” before. There was a CNN report a couple of years ago that they paint such slogans in enormous lettering onto their long-range missiles.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    On the contrary (to what anon #3 said), I found your final comments unexpected. If there was an attempt at sarcasm, you hid it quite well!

    I hope you will continue to be “immature.”

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Interesting opinion, Scott. Would you find Hitler “refreshing”, too? Because he probably had all the “qualities” you just named.

    (B.t.w., if you just wanted to be sarcastic, I didn’t notice by your writing. And I find the subject way too serious to laugh about that).

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Greg Kuperberg said…
    Anonymous #3: As anonymous #1 may have noticed, Scott is being sarcastic.

    Maybe anonymous #1 was being sarcastic too …

  9. Kaveh Says:

    I wish you could hear and understand him in Persian. People laughed at him when he was a presidency candidate because of his crazy words and appearance. Now he has taken power (and yes many voted for him) those who laughed are wondering if they should keep laughing or start crying.

  10. Eldar Says:

    Regarding Kaveh’s question, I would vote for “start crying”. My advice to Iranian postdocs in the West is not to return to Iran at the end of their studies for now, as the current president seems to set course towards a singularity.

  11. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    But Iran has 70 million people and generally viable (if fragile) civil institutions, and you can’t just tell everyone to leave. People talk this way about the United States too, that it must be time to move to Canada or Europe if the president is bad. It’s the same mistake. When it is a mistake; often it’s blatant hyperbole.

    I’m as disgusted as the next person by Iranian wrath against Israel, or maybe it’s Jews. But the only solution is deft engagement, not exodus or regime overthrow.

  12. Scott Says:

    Gilad: Thanks so much for the poem!

  13. Scott Says:

    Kaveh: Thanks for your insights. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry either. What makes the situation particularly sad — but, at the same time, gives me a bit of hope — is that there are so many Iranians who feel similarly to you.

  14. Scott Says:

    “People talk this way about the United States too, that it must be time to move to Canada or Europe if the president is bad.”

    Hey, some of us did more than talk. ;-)

  15. Bunny Dee Says:

    Hey people, what’s wrong with voicing an actual opinion, as light-hearted as it may be, instead of just blogging whatever one’s told to think and feel about political issues?

    Scott, man, I’m impressed.

    BTW, I’m 1/4 Greek, and I must point out that the day this was posted is the national holiday celebrating the greek refusal to open the borders to invading italian troops in 1940, during WWII. Interesting coincidence :P

    Just to clarify where I stand:
    I have a humanist heart and a miser’s mind. I am against all forms of verbal or physical violence, I really wish we could have a world without arguments and wars, but I’d rather appreciate the diversity and understand where everyone stands in the political or social map. People always have their reasons for believing things, whether you agree with them or not, mr. so-you’re-the-guy-who-wrote-all-those-poems Anon.

  16. Andrei Lopatenko Says:

    Scott,
    I am not sure that you are completely right.
    It may happen that the behaviour of Mr. President of Iran is dictated by another notion of a political correctness.
    “A political correctness” dictated by religious extremists in his country and Middle East armed groups maybe stronger a political correctness dictated by the West.
    Look at the Moon. Its “behaviour” is dictated by the gravitation fields of the Earth adn the Sun.