Tuesday, 21 April 2009

A Win-Win Situation for Ahmadinejad and the West

The UN holds a conference on racism in Geneva. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is invited to speak at this conference. A few Jewish students from the Union of Jewish Students in France wearing colourful wigs try to disrupt Ahmadinejad’s speech. They are hustled out.

In typical fashion, Ahmadinejad starts his address with an Islamic prayer. Later he goes on to brand Israel a "cruel and oppressive racist regime". He says the state of Israel was created "on the pretext of Jewish suffering" from the Second World War. As soon as he does that, diplomats from the UK, France, Spain and a few other western countries walk out. Who wins?

I don’t have much sympathy for Ahmadinejad. However, it must be said that he is a politician who holds office after winning a democratic election. He represents the people of Iran. Like any politician, Ahmadinejad will do whatever it takes for him to keep his constituency happy. The Iranian economy is not doing well at all, thanks to oil prices hitting rock bottom. Now, Ahmadinejad manages to look like a hero on TV, standing up to western powers in defence of Palestine.

Later U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issues a statement criticizing Ahmadinejad for having used the conference "to accuse, divide and even incite." Ban Ki-moon says that he had spoken to Ahmadinejad and asked him not to focus on "divisiveness" in his address. Predictably, Ahmadinejad has not heeded Ban Ki-moon’s request.

Ahmadinejad is known for his love and affection towards Israel. It is expected that he will say something nasty and irritating. The Western ambassadors’ walk-out is also planned in advance. I guess their foreign ministers ordered them to do so in order to please Jewish voters in the West.

A true win-win situation for everyone!


JI said...

The conference has descended into a farce, which was inevitable I suppose. Ahmadinejad is hardly entitled to take the moral high ground on discrimination when Iran's treatment of women, minorities and dissidents are less than commendable. But I have to say, he had the guts to say something which a lot people feel is true but scared to say publicly. Apparently, his speech went down very well in Iran and I'm sure he had his domestic audience in mind, especially with the general elections fast approaching. What better platform for him to stand up to the Zionist state and the imperialist West and give it a good lashing! For that he will get a lot of cheers back home and in the Middle East generally.

I'm no admirer of Ahmadinejad but I do feel western countries, although they treat their women and minorities well, are guilty of the very thing they blame Ahmadinejad for. Isn’t waging war overseas, and the subsequent denial of responsibility for death and destruction racism? As long as none of their own people are not harmed, is it really okay to bomb the hell out of a foreign country? The invasions of Iraq, beginning with the first Gulf War, have led directly and indirectly to the death of millions of Iraqis, which could quite easily be classified as genocide by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention. Why the denial? A country that previously had comparatively high levels of literacy and health care has been ruined.

To me the conference highlights the hypocrisy of nations including Iran. It’s a pity a conference to discuss a pertinent issue has come to this, which means racism and discrimination will remain a reality of modern life.

Winnowed said...

JI, I don't think it is right to admire Ahmedinejad's guts when he has done something wrong. Holocaust denial is wrong. Period. Mind you, I do realise where you are coming from.

JI said...

I agree, Holocaust denial is definitely wrong. At least Mr Ahmedinejad didn't do that this time. I feel many of Israel’s policies are racist. How else do explain the discrimination against its Arab population, the immigration laws, Jewish only roads, etc. Why should it not face criticism for such things just like any other country?