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By Micah Halpern

Wednesday September 26, 2007


Busy Americans need to move on, to change topics of discussions, to always get fresh material. "Been there, done that" is almost a mantra. But sometimes, some events are so important that we do ourselves a disservice not to keep them at the forefront of our minds and in our conversations for a little while longer than usual.

Like the visit of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to our fair and free country.

Ostensibly, Ahmadinejad came to deliver a speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations. Along the way he detoured and delivered a speech at Columbia University. He made some pit stops and granted a few much coveted interviews to the media. Ostensibly. The United Nations was his entree. Columbia University was his silver platter.

In truth, Ahmadinejad came with one agenda item, he came to disseminate evil. And his mission was successful.

To look at the visit of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from a Western perspective, which we do so naturally, is to misunderstand what this Iranian leader is all about. To understand Ahmadinejad at all, we must view the world from his own perspective. Only then do we have a chance at understanding the impact Ahmadinejad made and the results he has garnered.

American students might have been in his audience at Columbia, but they were not the audience to which he was preaching. Western heads of state and diplomats might have looked up and listened and listened and listened while he stood at the UN podium and delivered his message, but Ahmadinejad himself was looking way beyond this international forum. Ahmadinejad was focused on the Muslim world and the Muslim world exclusively.

Today's leader of Iran was emulating a long history of Muslim leaders, men who extended their hands to the citizens in the lands of their enemies. Ahmadinejad was trying to show the entire Muslim world that he can stand in the heart of the largest, most cultured city of the enemy and speak his mind. His mind. There is nothing PC about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In the Muslim world this visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the United States during the month of September in the year 2007 will be considered one of Islam's greatest victories, a historical pinnacle. The Muslim world has already begun talking and writing about this precise slice of history.

Ahmadinejad wanted to go to ground zero for the same reason he elected to make this pilgrimage to the city of his enemy. He was hoping to make a statement to the Muslim world and to Europe. He was saying that he feels for the American people but rejects United States leadership and policy - especially US policy in the Middle East.

From the perspective of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Israel and the United States are the reasons that there is terror. If you removed the interfering nuisances called the United States and Israel from the Middle East, terror would go away. That was, by the way, the motivation behind the Holocaust Denial conference that Ahmadinejad hosted in Teheran. This Iranian leader wants to change the narrative of the Holocaust. The entire Arab and Persian Middle East believes that Israel exists because of the Holocaust, that if there was no Holocaust then there would be no historical or ethical reason for Israel to exist.

From the perspective of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad there is no reason for the United States to be the most powerful country in the world. That right, in his gestalt, belongs to Iran. Ahmadinejad does not, he cannot, understand why it is the agenda set by the United States that runs the world. He does not understand why America is permitted to interfere in the sovereign decisions of other countries. Unfortunately, he is not alone. The message that Ahmadinejad is sending out to the Muslim world has the attention of other American-hating countries. The message resounds very loudly and very clearly for other American-hating leaders. That explains the intellectual nexus between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Why can't we develop nuclear energy, asks Ahmadinejad. And he answers, it is our right! How will the US provide us with the fuel we need, he asks, when they do not even provide us with parts for old, out-dated airplanes.

We permitted Ahmadinejad to enter the United States. And Ahmadinejad used his visit as a fulcrum to mobilize anti-US venom and build Iranian reputability across the world. By simple virtue of speaking his mind to listening audiences in the hostile environment called the City of New York, by making remarks that were broadcast worldwide, Ahmadinejad realized goals he could never have realized from Iran or anywhere in the Middle East. We allowed this Iranian dictator his pulpit, we built the soap box for him.

Won't we ever learn?

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4 June 2017 12:14 PM in Columns

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