Thursday, September 27, 2007

The "new Hitler" visits

Contrast the crushingly rude, craven pantswetting introduction by Bollinger with the reasonable, measured answers by Ahmadinejad (with the one obvious exception) in this transcript.

As I've said before, Ahmadinejad has indulged in some fruity rhetoric, but he doesn't come across as a crazed nutter, and he is not a "dictator" or anything like one. That's not to say that the regime in Iran isn't repressive (but whose in the Middle East isn't, including that of our friends in Israel?), or that there are not legitimate concerns about it, but making him out to be the new Hitler is ridiculous.

I'd like to see a neutral translation of the gay thing too. We know that Ahmadinejad has not been well served by translators, including the one who claimed he had said that Israel should be wiped off the map, when he actually said that the Zionist regime would in time be removed from the page of history, which is a very different proposition, not so different from what someone like me earnestly desires for the region. I note that he flatly denied hating Jews or desiring their extinction. That won't be as widely reported in the wingnutosphere, of course.


At 4:19 pm, Blogger Arleen said...

reasonable, measured answers by Ahmadinejad (with the one obvious exception)

and that exception would be...?

What's obvious to one isn't so obvious to another. Is it the whole God spiel? It would be reasonable to assume that you, as an atheist, would not find it reasonable.

Or is it the necessity for further research into the time of the Holocaust? I think his question asking why the Palestinians had to be affected by a European problem is a reasonable one coming from someone who lives in that region and is affected by the results. I think it's reasonable to study every aspect of the horrible things that happen in history in order to determine how we can prevent them in future, and if it means uncovering stupidity on the part of even the "heroes" of the time, isn't that all part of looking at the webs we weave? What if this, or what if that hadn't, etc. I don't trust his gut feelings regarding anything concerning Israel because he's bound to have his own particular and opposite bias than what you'll find over here, but there rests a truth somewhere in between where he's coming from and where supporters of Israel over here are coming from (I don't mean with regard to the taking place of the Holocaust or the numbers, but to the reasons surrounding it and the part that all the players played and the results), and if his words could be taken at face value, and not as superficial smoothing over of deep hatred in order to appear more reasonable than he may really be, well, he does appear reasonable.

I'm afraid I haven't paid much attention to past things that he has said, so don't really know of the "fruity rhetoric" you speak other than the much talked of hysteria over the holocaust stuff, which I never actually heard quotes from.

So, that obvious exception you were speaking of was...?

At 4:24 pm, Blogger Arleen said...

Oops. Forgot one. He says there are no homosexuals in his country. That doesn't sound reasonable. Was that the exception? You mention your doubt over what his actual words were.

At 4:26 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

Yes, he said they don't have that phenomenon in Iran. The question is, does he mean they don't have gays, or they don't have a gay thing? He's smart enough to know that they do have gays and smart enough not to lie about it, so I wonder what he actually did say in Farsi.

At 4:46 pm, Blogger Arleen said...

I know someone I can ask and shall do so pronto. He's just an email away.

At 11:02 pm, Blogger Don said...

He's a smart politician, it doesn't much matter what he really said. Zen's point is quite right in that no matter what he says, the prevailing news market over here will demand it be twisted to fit the caricature we have made of him.

At 3:03 pm, Blogger Arleen said...

Probably no one will come back to see if anything was added so long after the last comment, but here's the reply from my young Iranian friend. This is a 21 year old who grew up in Iran and moved to the U.S. two years ago. His dad came over here ten years ago for work and became a citizen, and now the family is back together.

"About homosexuals. oh man this is so funny! well, he never said "we dont have homosexuals in Iran" (which obviously would be a stupid thing to say), he said "we dont have homosexuals LIKE YOUR COUNTRY", meaning that you cant see homosexuals making out in streets. it's true. homosexuals in iran are not open in public like here. and he said something after it that was not interpreted: "where did you see them or find out about them?" and a guy asked that in Iran you hang people who are gay. I lived there 19 years. I never saw in news or anywhere that people were hanged just because they were homosexuals. they recently hanged two gay men in iran, why? they raped many 10-12 year old boys. and they were sent to jail, came out and do the same thing. In iran there is death penalty for raping or killing. and they do rarely hang them in public (very far away from city I know the place) in special drastic cases like that one.
So his answer to the question is probably the same answer you would get from an American 100 years ago. a traditional belief. do you have homosexuals? probably, but I dont usually see them!"


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