Mon Dec 12th, 2005 at 07:18:08 AM EST
Last week Jerome posted an article which he titled "The Iranian President is a dangerous man". Jerome quotes some offensive (to western ears) comments supposedly made by Iranian President Ahmadinejad on the Pakistani website Dawn. The Dawn article in turn is from Reuters, which attributes Ahmadinejads comments to Iran's news agency IRNA (slow !) without giving further details. I want to revisit the characterization of Ahmadinejad as a dangerous man a) because the discussion of that article was far from satisfying and b) I think that we have all been had by the shallow reporting from Reuters, upon which lastly Jerome commented, we commented and lastly a brawl resulted.
I have in the meantime taken the trouble of looking at the IRNA website - they have an english section - but i could not find the comments attributed to Ahmadinejad, at least in the articles posted since last friday (then the server went "502 Dead Gateway"). I could only find one article where somebody from the iranian govt complains that the response of the european govts to Ahmadinejad's comments are supposedly not corresponding to international diplomatic usances, no specifics.
So why revisit the issue ? As said above, I think the we, the commenters on Jeromes original article have all been had by shallow reporting, because of not having had enough background, because in short we were squabbling over the secondary issue of Ahmadinejads supposed (until I find them at IRNA or another non-western, non-Reuters website) provocative comments instead of discussing the far more important issues he presents in his speech before the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC-OCI) in Jeddah last Thursday.
So why, and to whom, IS Ahmadinejad dangerous ? shortest, after reading his speech he does not come across as a kook to me. A bit longer, he is dangerous to the West because he follows a line of economic policies which is independent of and contrary to western economic and political interests (mostly one and the same IMO). What I mean is that he obviously knows what he is doing (and saying), he knows where his limits are, he understands where the interests of his country and their political castes are.
Judging from his speech before the OIC-IOC, the man is anything but a kook, he is far from preoccupied with shallow provocations against people who have by their past actions and words shown that they are themselves dangerous fools. To me, it looks like Ahmadinejad's preoccupations are (in no specific order) the economic development of his country, technological development of his country, unity of the muslim countries, establishing trade relations with other countries, development for the muslim world, repelling the economic, cultural, military agression of the west against the muslim world and his country - and in the context of this aggression he sees Israel's role of point man.
So, if we are to judge Ahmadinejad as a dangerous man, we should do so because he is intent on extricating his country from the eternal thieving of the "West", because he wants to develop his country, because by doing so he commits a mortal sin against the edicts (.PDF) of the PNAC, wherein it is stipulated that no country should aspire to the role of even a regional power because the US is predestined to be the king of the hill for centuries of centuries amen - a new version of the burden of the white man.
Whatever Ahmadinejad's credentials or his history, his speech and presence at that conference offer a stark contrast to the other mandataries from islamic countries - all of whom have well known credentials of being either toadies various some western country, of taking CIA/BND/MI6/... contracts to torture desparecidos of muslim creed because of the vast experience they have gained while murdering and torturing their own citizens for western interests, of producing and exporting various kinds of drugs to the west, of conniving with western interests (uh, them again ...) to steal the wealth of their countries, of heading incredibly corrupt regimes, or all of the above and more.
For those interested, Ahmadinejad's whole speech is here.
And for those interested in jumping on me and calling me names because of secondary issues, I excerpt the parts of his speech which deal with the Palestine issue, below.
4. Among the old challenges facing the Islamic world is the existence of the occupier Zionist regime. More than fifty years, Muslims have suffered from the aggressions of this regime. Huge human and financial resources have gone away in this struggle. This existence of such a regime that enjoys the full support of the United States poses a lasting pain and anguish for the Muslim Ummah. The honour of our Ummah has been blemished because of the existence of these occupiers. Hardly a day passes without a young Palestinian falling in his blood, a house demolished over the head of the owner, harvest of a farmer set ablaze and olive trees cut to the ground. The existence of such a vicious and destructive force is one of the pains of the Islamic world for which we must find a solution.
We need to have full agreement among ourselves in confronting our common challenges. The usurper regime of Palestine is the shared preoccupation of the Muslim Ummah. Recognition of this regime has no justification both in our Sharia or rules of international law. How can we recognize a regime that has gained strength by aggression and occupation. I said at the UN General Assembly that return of Palestinian refugees, holding a referendum with the participation of people of Palestine origin with different religious beliefs � Muslims, Christians and Jews� is the logical way to determine the type of government in the entire Palestinian land and Al-Qods as its capital. I propose a group comprising representatives of some of the member countries of OIC to follow this up at the UN on behalf of the OIC.
I submit this in the hope that it will help spawn reasonable and constructive discussion of the issue. As a last note, I think that we need to come to terms with the idea that instinctive mistrust of all western media is warranted, because, for example, the shallow Reuters quote from Dawn which served as basis to Jeromes article did more to defame the president of a country which has had enough of western colonialism and thievery than to inform of important economic and political developments in the world around us. Without verifiable and trustable information no informed discourse can ensue, without that informed discourse no kind of democracy can exist in the long run.
What Reuters wrote and Dawn quoted is smear for the gain of the few, not journalism.