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Good will to all men
December 25, 2008 12:51 PM   Subscribe

A christmas message from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
posted by Artw (92 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here she be.
posted by gman at 12:54 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Everyone jolly upset
posted by Artw at 1:01 PM on December 25, 2008


Fortunately, today, as crises and despair multiply, a wave of hope is gathering momentum. Hope for a brighter future and hope for the establishment of justice, hope for real peace, hope for finding virtuous and pious rulers who love the people and want to serve them – and this is what the Almighty has promised.

Ah, another Obama fan.
posted by djgh at 1:02 PM on December 25, 2008


That's fuckin' weird cause he's WAY easier on the eyes than Elizabeth II.
posted by gman at 1:03 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


The "outrage" has begun already too. Unsurprisingly. [ArtW pointed it out already I see]

This is Channel 4's "Alternative Christmas Message", it used to be shown at the same time as the Queen's message, but now it's shown later in the evening.

I, for one, find it vastly more interesting to listen to Ahmadinejad than the Queen.
posted by knapah at 1:05 PM on December 25, 2008


What's "shit eating grin" in Persian?
posted by fleetmouse at 1:06 PM on December 25, 2008


Ahmadinejad, real-life forum troll.
posted by pyrex at 1:10 PM on December 25, 2008 [11 favorites]


If Christ were on Earth today

and wandered into iran, you'd kill him
posted by pyramid termite at 1:12 PM on December 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


heh. I like how it's all pretty much general platitudes and fairly inoffensive to anyone and then...

If Christ were on Earth today, undoubtedly He would stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers.

Ha ha! Dick move! That's what we paid our money for!
posted by Artw at 1:14 PM on December 25, 2008 [4 favorites]


fleetmouse: I dunno, but my mom is fond of responding to anything he says with "goh khord," meaning "he ate shit" in farsi, which is a similar sentiment even if it doesn't translate perfectly.
posted by tumbleweedjack at 1:16 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't say I'm terribly upset to see the President of Iran take to a platform previously used by Ali G and Marge Simpson.
posted by edd at 1:16 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


and wandered into iran, you'd kill him

Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet of Allah, just not "The Messiah". So I rather doubt they'd kill him.

Also, Christians have rights guaranteed under the Iranian constitution - including guaranteed representation in Parliament. This isn't to say they've always been or always are treated wonderfully, but Iran really isn't the evil empire it's portrayed as.
posted by knapah at 1:17 PM on December 25, 2008 [12 favorites]


As I understand it it's wandering into Iraq where he'd get the real trouble at the border.
posted by Artw at 1:21 PM on December 25, 2008


Iran really isn't the evil empire it's portrayed as.

i suggest you educate yourself -

and there's more ...
posted by pyramid termite at 1:22 PM on December 25, 2008


"Also, Christians have rights guaranteed under the Iranian constitution - including guaranteed representation in Parliament. This isn't to say they've always been or always are treated wonderfully, but Iran really isn't the evil empire it's portrayed as."
Treatment of Christians as a specific group isn't exactly top of my list of issues with Iran. The "crime" of apostasy being punishable by death alone puts it pretty near the top of my list of evil countries.
posted by edd at 1:25 PM on December 25, 2008


What's "shit eating grin" in Persian?

"Khandeye Tamaskhoramiz" is something like "insulting smile".
posted by gman at 1:28 PM on December 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ah, I love a nice Christmas message about the coming of the apocalypse in which all those who do not follow the Abrahamic faiths will be judged and damned.

Theocratic rhetoric is like candy for politicians - it's often hard to separate the nutjobs from the assholes.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 1:31 PM on December 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


pyramid termite: Oh, I'm quite aware all is not sweetness and light in the Islamic Republic, but still, Ahmadinejad wouldn't be killing Jesus if he wandered into Tehran.

The United States only declared the execution of under-18s (age at which the crime was committed) unconstitutional in 2005, and not long before that allowed the execution of the mentally ill/impaired.

Iran certainly has its issues, no doubt about it. Ahmadinejad's hardline position constitutes part of the problem, he's not terribly popular amongst many Iranians. Nonetheless, portraying him as a great force of Evil is about as useful as when others say the same about Pres. Bush.
posted by knapah at 1:36 PM on December 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


But...but Bush is a great force of Evil.
posted by RussHy at 1:41 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Great. Next time the police catch a murderer I'll tell them it's not terribly useful to prosecute him as there's still a bunch of burglars on the loose.
posted by edd at 1:43 PM on December 25, 2008


Well, yes, obviously, but it's the backhanded reference to that in a Christmas message that's the dick move. He's a cheeky one.
posted by Artw at 1:44 PM on December 25, 2008


I am waiting for a Baha'i leader to drop in and slam Ahmadinejad with a "My prophet came after your prophet' slam.
posted by srboisvert at 1:44 PM on December 25, 2008


The United States only declared the execution of under-18s (age at which the crime was committed) unconstitutional in 2005, and not long before that allowed the execution of the mentally ill/impaired.

for murder, not belonging to the wrong church or sleeping with the wrong sex - nice try, but that's a false equivalence, even if one can make a case why executing the under 18 for murder is not right

Nonetheless, portraying him as a great force of Evil is about as useful as when others say the same about Pres. Bush.

i told the truth - the iranian government kills people for religious reasons and seeing as christ tended to stir up things that way, they'd kill him, too - i think his message is hypocritical and self-serving
posted by pyramid termite at 1:47 PM on December 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Iran: A Long and Painful Story of Jailed Bloggers

Nobel laureate urges Iran to release "Blogfather"
posted by homunculus at 1:49 PM on December 25, 2008


Iran Shuts Down Rights Center: Police Close Offices of Group Led by Nobel Peace Laureate Hours Before Commemoration
posted by homunculus at 1:51 PM on December 25, 2008


edd: That makes very little sense.

I'm not sure if you're saying Ahmadinejad is the murderer and Bush & Co. are the burglars... or....

Anyway, what I'm saying is that calling someone EVIL makes them automatically beyond negotiation. These people are "evil" and therefore we can not deal with them, they are barbarians! We, the civilised, cannot deal with these people. They must be destroyed.

Alternatively, if we move on from a less emotional standpoint then it's fairly likely that a mutually satisfactory position can be achieved. It's why I think the US should send diplomats to negotiate with Iran and not hold out a meeting with a US representative as a prize in itself. Dialogue is the only realistic way to move forward.

There is hope for Iran to move in a more progressive direction, but calling it and its President "Evil" won't help that and will in fact only help the conservative elites maintain their hold on power.

I can't be arsed anymore anyway, I have better things to do on Christmas day than do some mitigating defence of a man I dislike.
posted by knapah at 1:58 PM on December 25, 2008


Iran Shuts Down Rights Center: Police Close Offices of Group Led by Nobel Peace Laureate Hours Before Commemoration

U.S. Shuts Down Rights. Center to follow.
posted by gman at 1:58 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I'm not sure if you're saying Ahmadinejad is the murderer and Bush & Co. are the burglars... or...."
Yeah, it's not a perfect analogy - none ever are. I'm saying I'm not going to allow one group's evil to be justified by some other set of lesser evils.

Me declaring the Iranian government evil makes no statement about how I choose to deal with them. Merely that I must make some effort to stop them from being evil, either by changing their opinion or by removing them from power. And it says nothing about the method I choose by which I (and, collectively, others) should attempt to remove them from power.

"I can't be arsed anymore anyway, I have better things to do on Christmas day than do some mitigating defence of a man I dislike."
Stop trying to defend the indefensible. Any day of the year.
posted by edd at 2:04 PM on December 25, 2008


The "crime" of apostasy being punishable by death alone puts it pretty near the top of my list of evil countries.

Agreed. This is the sort of news that sends a much louder Christmas message than Ahmadinejad's televised trolling. If we're going to approach Iran's government formally with the new administration- and the US's disengaged foreign policy in the last eight years can be described only as a failure - we nonetheless shouldn't have any illusions about what we're dealing with.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:15 PM on December 25, 2008


Merely that I must make some effort to stop them from being evil

By being snottty to people on messageboards?
posted by Artw at 2:20 PM on December 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


what a jerk
posted by Stephen Elliott at 2:20 PM on December 25, 2008


Also, Christians have rights guaranteed under the Iranian constitution - including guaranteed representation in Parliament. This isn't to say they've always been or always are treated wonderfully, but Iran really isn't the evil empire it's portrayed as.

Unless you're a homosexual or a thirteen year old rape victim- that needs to die to pay for her promiscuity. A political opponent, an outspoken journalist, a follower of a different faith, a woman wanting equality. The list goes on.

No it's not the evil empire, to be an empire, a country must have- well an empire.
posted by mattoxic at 2:26 PM on December 25, 2008


Artw: Yeah. If someone basically calls me out as wanting other people "destroyed" when that's not what I want at all, then I'll be snotty back.
posted by edd at 2:29 PM on December 25, 2008


I;m sure your wit and brilliant insight is making the world a better place as we speak.
posted by Artw at 2:30 PM on December 25, 2008


I love all the talk of the United States of America and the execution of under-18s, when really, what we ought to be discussing is the USA's stance on the execution of under-21s, since that is the age at which one gains full legal responsibility within those borders.
posted by Dysk at 2:35 PM on December 25, 2008


I love all the talk of the United States of America and the execution of under-18s, when really, what we ought to be discussing is the USA's stance on the execution of under-21s, since that is the age at which one gains full legal responsibility within those borders.

The United States is executing its own under-21 citizens within the borders of Afghanistan and Iraq as well.
posted by gman at 2:39 PM on December 25, 2008


"I;m sure your wit and brilliant insight is making the world a better place as we speak."
Apologies if I've not been totally clear. I choose to try to make the changes I've referred to above by supporting certain charitable organisations and similar actions, which aren't as significant as I might like my actions to be, but those are what I do. I'm a bit acerbic on a messageboard when someone implies I want another human being dead, when that is the complete opposite of the truth, not when I want to see a government out of power.
posted by edd at 2:41 PM on December 25, 2008


Ass has ended. Go in peace.
posted by punkfloyd at 2:50 PM on December 25, 2008


gman: Eh? Is the US carrying out trials and executions of US citizens within Afghanistan and Iraq? Or is this some oblique critique of the current imperialistic jaunts in the near east?
posted by Dysk at 2:52 PM on December 25, 2008


I'll give you a hint. There's no trials involved...
posted by gman at 2:58 PM on December 25, 2008


Friendly fire in warfare? Help me out here, I'm not following at all...
posted by Dysk at 3:09 PM on December 25, 2008


I think he was trying to top "Iran is bad" as the most boring possible insight.
posted by Artw at 3:14 PM on December 25, 2008


Did I manage?
posted by gman at 3:20 PM on December 25, 2008


Too close to call.
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on December 25, 2008


'Bad' is far too relative to be classed as an insight...
posted by Dysk at 3:25 PM on December 25, 2008


He got a little jab in by referring to Jesus as "the son of Mary" (twice). As in NOT the son of god.
posted by Devils Slide at 3:26 PM on December 25, 2008


America Loses Another Bit of Leverage with Iran
posted by homunculus at 3:29 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


If Christ were on Earth today and wandered into america he would be tasered and held at an undisclosed location and interrogated in an enhanced manor using water and boards and electrical wires attached to his testicles. He may even be forced to take part in some sort of nude human pyramid while pictures were taken.
posted by Sailormom at 3:36 PM on December 25, 2008 [4 favorites]


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: rehabilitating Members Only since 1983
posted by netbros at 3:41 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


If this had come from anyone else - Garrison Keillor, for example - this would probably get a polite smile and a "Well, wasn't that lovely?". I mean, he manages to talk about the Second Coming without talking about giant lakes of fire and the suffering of the damned; he just talks about "the fulfilment of this divine promise and the arrival of that joyful, shining and wonderful age". He reaches out across (three) faiths, and openly speculates that Jesus would be pacifist and pro-democratic.

Unfortunately, this is Ahmadinejad speaking, and has - like many other political figures - decided to co-opt Jesus to back up his own political positions. This always baffles me. Jesus was about as apolitical as it gets. This was a prophet who saw this world as a temporary state to be overcome in preparation for the afterlife. He had no political ambitions or positions. But Ahmadinejad's take makes Jesus sound like he'd be - surprise! - just like Ahmadinejad.

I wish guys like him, Bush, Mugabe or whomever would pick a different divinity to invoke, one that more accurately matched their own inclinations. Just once, it'd be nice to hear one of these guys say, "And like an insulted Zeus, I fully intended to smash with great impunity, all who oppose me. I may even change into a bull and try to get lucky."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:59 PM on December 25, 2008 [6 favorites]


Looks like a damn beatnik.
posted by Iron Rat at 4:24 PM on December 25, 2008


Sorry this is long, but I thought it would be interesting to delete (what I thought were) the annoying parts of Ahmadinejad's message, and leave behind (what I saw as) the inclusive, positive parts. I've made only deletions (though I may have changed the meaning just a bit). Here's a message that would have amazed and warmed me on this Christmas day:

Upon the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, the Messenger of mercy, I would like to congratulate people.

The Almighty created every human being with the ability to make every effort to live a good life in this world.

On this difficult and challenging journey of man from dust to the divine, He did not leave humanity to its own devices. He chose from those He created the most excellent as His Prophets to guide humanity.

Jesus is the standard-bearer of justice, of love for our fellow human beings, of the fight against tyranny, discrimination and injustice. Now as human society faces a myriad of problems and a succession of complex crises, the root causes can be found in humanity's indifference towards the teachings of the Prophets, especially those of Jesus Christ.

If Christ were on Earth today, undoubtedly He would stand with the people. If Christ were on Earth today, undoubtedly He would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity the world over.

Today, the general will of nations is calling for fundamental change. This is now taking place. Demands for change, demands for transformation, demands for a return to human values are fast becoming the foremost demands of the nations of the world. The response to these demands must be real and true. The prerequisite to this change is a change in goals, intentions and directions.

Fortunately, today, as crises and despair multiply, a wave of hope is gathering momentum. Hope for a brighter future and hope for the establishment of justice, hope for real peace, hope for finding virtuous rulers who love the people and want to serve them.

We will lead the world to love, brotherhood and justice. The responsibility of all is to prepare the way for that joyful, shining and wonderful age. I hope that the collective will of nations will unite in the not too distant future.

Once again, I congratulate one and all on the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. I pray for the New Year to be a year of happiness, prosperity, peace and brotherhood for humanity. I wish you every success and happiness.

I bow to the will of the admins/public opinion if they think this is too long for a comment and should be deleted.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:28 PM on December 25, 2008


I wonder if Ahmadinejad would appreciate a tie for Christmas.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:35 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Christ, what an asshole. BTW, is hoder still in prison?
posted by Optamystic at 4:35 PM on December 25, 2008


There is a whole contingent of people, not just in the States, but world wide who are ready to boo as soon as Ahmedinejad's mouth stops moving, and I know full well that there are many valid reasons to dislike this man.

That said, I felt it was a very pleasant, non-inflammatory speech, and have a hard time seeing how anyone could attack it with anything other than an ad hominem.
posted by paisley henosis at 4:43 PM on December 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


I wonder if Ahmadinejad would appreciate a tie for Christmas.

I'm just going to raise a glass of Christmas brandy to him.
posted by Artw at 4:58 PM on December 25, 2008


Well said, paisley henois. I agree ... not much in the speech to attack. Nothing new to say about the speaker. Actually, I just wish we heard more speeches like this one from anyone.

And ... I guess it would be too much to ask for *anyone* to make an additional statement about the holiday conditions in the horrifically bombarded, occupied, and starved Gaza? Oh yeah, anything said about that would be *anti-Semitic*.

la dee dah ... merry christmas, christians.



According to unnamed Israeli defence officials, cabinet ministers have approved a broad invasion of Gaza. They said the operation was likely to begin with air strikes against rocket-launchers and continue with a land invasion.
http://news.scotsman.com/world/Israel-39poised-for-largescale-assault.4823837.jp
posted by Surfurrus at 5:07 PM on December 25, 2008


Paisley, is "actions speak louder than words" an ad hominem?
posted by the bricabrac man at 5:13 PM on December 25, 2008


BTW, is hoder still in prison?

It looks that way (hoder is mentioned last).
posted by homunculus at 5:28 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet of Allah, just not "The Messiah".
Actually, Muslims do believe Jesus was "the Messiah" ("al Masih", "the Anointed", which is the same meaning as the cognate "Messiah"). They also believe that he's going to return to earth on or near Judgement Day and kick the ass of the Antichrist ("al Masih ad Dijjal", "the False Messiah").

What they don't believe (with respect to Jesus which strongly differentiates them from Christians) is that he's a god.
posted by Flunkie at 5:42 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wish guys like him, Bush, Mugabe or whomever would pick a different divinity to invoke, one that more accurately matched their own inclinations. Just once, it'd be nice to hear one of these guys say, "And like an insulted Zeus, I fully intended to smash with great impunity, all who oppose me.
Frankly, that seems to me to be an accurate depiction of the Christian god, albeit not entirely so of the nicey-nice ("Jesus") portion of his split personality. The Old Testament is chock full of Yahweh going bonkers to avenge whatever his perceived affront of the day is.
posted by Flunkie at 5:49 PM on December 25, 2008


Frankly, that seems to me to be an accurate depiction of the Christian god, albeit not entirely so of the nicey-nice ("Jesus") portion of his split personality. The Old Testament is chock full of Yahweh going bonkers to avenge whatever his perceived affront of the day is.

Which is why I was talking about politicians talking about Jesus, and what Jesus would do, as a not-so-subtle attempt at imbuing their own actions with a holy glow. If Bush likened himself to Yahweh it would make a lot more sense.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:52 PM on December 25, 2008


Fair enough, but of course it's a fundamental tenet of mainline Christianity that Jesus and Yahweh are the same being.
posted by Flunkie at 6:00 PM on December 25, 2008


Fair enough, but of course it's a fundamental tenet of mainline Christianity that Jesus and Yahweh are the same being.

Are we really going to sully Karl Rove's birthday like this?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:04 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am an optimist. I prefer to think of it as Rickey Henderson's birthday.
posted by Flunkie at 6:05 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


For the record edd, I wasn't saying that you personally are wanting anyone destroyed, I was just emphasising that the primary use of declaring someone evil is to put them beyond constructive engagement.

As for, "trying to defend the indefensible"... catch yourself on. I'm not defending the appalling treatment of the Bahai community or of homosexuals or of political dissidents, in fact I thoroughly condemn them. However, I don't think Ahmadinejad is Evil. I think he represents an extreme variety of a theopolitical position with which I do not agree, but I also disagree with the use of weapons of mass destruction; supporting dictatorships; shooting protestors; detention without trial; torture; and so on, ad nauseam.

Countries are often shit. Western countries are no more innocent in this regard than the countries we see fit to condemn. Never mind Christianity, I could point to a passage in the Bible which suggests stoning to death those who worship other gods, it's in the Old Testament, but it's all the word of God, right? Yes, many Muslims in the Middle East consider apostasy a capital crime, but what percentage of Muslims who grew up in the United States or in a european country believe that too? Context matters, and beliefs can evolve.

Personally, I think that if we desire to see change in the various autocracies around the world then we should abandon the discourse of good and evil. Democratic ideals have always been about dialogue, and from my perspective, when we label someone or some nation as evil then we have effectively abandoned dialogue and constructive engagement. Alright, it might be semantics, but is the man actually evil? or is he just approaching some of these issues from a perspective which probably all of us agree is wrong.
posted by knapah at 6:10 PM on December 25, 2008


Flunkie: Yes, thanks, you're right, but I was referring mainly to the Christianised form of Messiah which has become imbued with the concept of divinity etc.
posted by knapah at 6:15 PM on December 25, 2008


Normally I would also say that Ahmadinejad isn't really evil, just an amoral and cynically opportunistic theocrat. But I think someone who can blithely deny that homosexuality exists in Iran while his administration publicly murders people for homosexual behavior has entered a whole new realm of creature where there be monsters. Perhaps there is no negotiating with a person like that.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:59 PM on December 25, 2008


I wonder if Ahmadinejad would appreciate a tie for Christmas.

Ahmadinejad Christmas Gift Choose Your Own Adventure

You have decided to give President Ahmadinejad a Christmas Gift

Can President Ahmadinejad use his Christmas gift to kill Zionists?

If "Yes" turn to page 7
If "No" turn to page 19


Page 7

Congratulations! You have greatly pleased President Ahmadinejad please accept your honorary commission in the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution and signed copy of Ernst Zundel's latest book.

Page 19

You have died. Please return to the beginning.

posted by MikeMc at 7:28 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fucking Channel 4. This is like some parody of bien pensant London liberal media wankery. Ooh, we've invited a gay-lynching, Holocaust-denying former political officer of child soldier suicide squads, so outre and think how it'll piss the Yanks off! Get David Irving in next year why don't you, you utterly apolitical twats
posted by Abiezer at 8:04 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


~ Paisley, is "actions speak louder than words" an ad hominem?

I know what you mean, and I am no Ahmedinejad apologist.

All I'm saying, is that if that was copied verbatim, with the by-line and photo removed, and posted as a "Muslim prayer for peace on Christmas," no one would have anything bad to say about it, because the speech itself was very nice.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:40 PM on December 25, 2008


News report:
The irony of Britain's channel 4 giving Ahmadinejad the pulpit in the name of free speech is that as he was speaking, Iranian authorities raided and closed down the BBC's Tehran offices and, separately, in the spirit of goodwill to man, ordered Christmas trees banned from Iranian kindergartens.
posted by Class Goat at 8:42 PM on December 25, 2008


More on the BBC Tehran office suspension. Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Hossein Safar Harandi said their activities were "illegal", saying that some of the reporters were actually British spies, but emphasised that none of those arrested are UK citizens.

I haven't found any other confirmation on this story about Christmas trees being banned in Iranian kindergartens though.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:57 PM on December 25, 2008


If Christ were on Earth today
and wandered into Iran, you'd kill him
-- pyramid termite
Why do you think they would do that? Are you saying that Jesus was gay? Or are you saying that the Iranians would kill someone for claiming to be Jesus?
Unfortunately, this is Ahmadinejad speaking, and has - like many other political figures - decided to co-opt Jesus to back up his own political positions. This always baffles me. Jesus was about as apolitical as it gets. This was a prophet who saw this world as a temporary state to be overcome in preparation for the afterlife. He had no political ambitions or positions. But Ahmadinejad's take makes Jesus sound like he'd be - surprise! - just like Ahmadinejad.
Oh come on. He obviously opposed divorce, for one thing. He supported giving to the poor.
Are we really going to sully Karl Rove's birthday like this?


Interestingly, Karl Rove is an Atheist.
The irony of Britain's channel 4 giving Ahmadinejad the pulpit in the name of free speech is that as he was speaking, Iranian authorities raided and closed down the BBC's Tehran offices and, separately, in the spirit of goodwill to man, ordered Christmas trees banned from Iranian kindergartens.
Is there a reliable source for that?
posted by delmoi at 9:07 PM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Indeed. I would like to see a source, since it doesn't even seem like the BBC [i]itself[/i] has info on it.
posted by ymgve at 9:11 PM on December 25, 2008


The source for the BBC Tehran office suspension is the Iranian Mehr news agency, according to this article. Every other news result about BBC and Iran talks about the journalists who've been arrested under suspicion of espionage. And I'd still love to know where Rubin gets this story about Christmas trees being illegal.

Interestingly, Karl Rove is an Atheist.

According to other people who've said he's confided in them of his atheism. Publicly, he says he's an Episcopalian. If Rove identifies himself as such, I'm inclined to believe the first-hand account, although I don't at all think he's above pretending to be Christian to suit his purposes.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:18 PM on December 25, 2008


Some of you would no doubt have shown the same appeasing reaction if Hitler had been invited to give an alternative speech in 1938
posted by A189Nut at 3:27 AM on December 26, 2008


I'd show the same appeasing reaction if, say, Olmert had been invited to give an alternative speech.
posted by gman at 4:19 AM on December 26, 2008


Some of you would no doubt have shown the same appeasing reaction if Hitler had been invited to give an alternative speech in 1938

Most certainly, and what would be wrong with that? Mein Kampf was widely available in the soon-to-be Allied countries in the 1930s, which basically amounts to allowing Hitler free speech. My grandfather once showed me the old copy that he had bought as a university student, two years before he went to war against the author's army. Do you think it should have been censored from him, and that he should have been obliged to fight in a war without being permitted to know what he was fighting against?

Allowing free speech to someone doesn't amount to endorsing their point of view. Neither is there any obligation to avoid "giving legitimacy" to certain (racist, anti-semitic, anti-democratic etc) worldviews by denying them a forum. It is the responsibility of the free citizen to think critically and reject toxic political viewpoints, not the responsibility of society to shield his ears from them.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:43 AM on December 26, 2008 [9 favorites]


As the president of a state with its own array of media Ahmadinejad is hardly one of the world's excluded voices. Don't be daft.
Channel 4 is positioned as an "alternative" channel in the UK. They could have given a platform to any number of genuinely unheard voices from at home or abroad to set up in opposition to the address by our own head of state; instead they chose to perpetrate this puerile stunt which as it turns out was almost entirely content-free in the mealy-mouthed way of politicians anyway.
posted by Abiezer at 7:14 AM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Some of you would no doubt have shown the same appeasing reaction if Hitler had been invited to give an alternative speech in 1938

That's a great analogy unless we account for the existence of nuclear arms or for the fact that Iran's military wouldn't last in an all-out war against current Great Powers as opposed to 6 years and the combined power of Russia, the UK, the US and France in Nazi Germany's case. Furthermore, it seems Iran spends roughly the same as Greece for its military (and far less per capita). Ahmadinejad is an asshole but godwinning the thread doesn't bring anything to the table.
posted by ersatz at 9:25 AM on December 26, 2008


instead they chose to perpetrate this puerile stunt which as it turns out was almost entirely content-free in the mealy-mouthed way of politicians anyway.

Well, the rarrgh-rarrgh-hate-hate-hate reaction is certainly instructive.
posted by Artw at 9:48 AM on December 26, 2008


But that's it Artw - it smacks entirely of a bunch of TV execs sitting round and coming up with a coke-addled wheeze to boost the ratings and get a rise, and if that means giving a platform to a git like Ahmadinejad so be it. Utterly bankrupt and not even any use in dialing down the chances of war - something like Rageh Omaar's Inside Iran for the Beeb actually let us hear the kind of Iranian voices that we rarely get the chance to. This was softball unopposed airtime for a politician who even by the standards of Iranian politics is a notorious conservative hardliner with his political base in the Basiji.
posted by Abiezer at 10:05 AM on December 26, 2008


...and an offically sanctioned-by-the-west hate figure and president of the country most likely to be bombed next time the US needs to cheer itself up a bit, which I suspect is a lot more to do with the goverement reaction than how bad Iran is.
posted by Artw at 10:11 AM on December 26, 2008


Which is yet another reason why they might think on a bit at Channel 4 before stuntism for ratings like this, as that would have been entirely predictable to anyone with half a brain as well. Open goal presented to the right-wingers and war-mongers at home too. Trebles all round at the media bar.
posted by Abiezer at 10:16 AM on December 26, 2008


Which, seeing as the guy hasn't actually said anything (asides from a dig at the west so weak anyone here could probably make it) , is what makes it instructive.
posted by Artw at 10:19 AM on December 26, 2008


If Fidel Castro is alive next year they should get him on. Hugo Chavez is shaping up nicely as well. Kim Jung Il is of course off the list now, since he has the bomb and no one actually gives a shit what happens inside North Korea anyway.
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on December 26, 2008


I don't see how; that was all entirely predictable. I'm depressed that this is what passes for politics at our once-vaunted alternative channel.
posted by Abiezer at 10:24 AM on December 26, 2008


Making politicians honk and bark like hungry seals when you wave teh right fish in front of them certainly is more of a demonstration than a experiment, that's true.
posted by Artw at 10:38 AM on December 26, 2008


Is there any propaganda against Iran?
posted by Flex1970 at 11:22 AM on December 26, 2008


Allowing free speech to someone doesn't amount to endorsing their point of view. Neither is there any obligation to avoid "giving legitimacy" to certain (racist, anti-semitic, anti-democratic etc) worldviews by denying them a forum. It is the responsibility of the free citizen to think critically and reject toxic political viewpoints, not the responsibility of society to shield his ears from them.

This. I really wish I could favourite this more than once. Then write it on a big stick, beat half the current british government into insensibility (not that far from their default position, to be honest) and have them rescind half of the new laws they've introduced since 1997.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 2:00 PM on December 26, 2008


The double-hype of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Both the president of Iran and his critics share an interest in exaggerating his importance
posted by Artw at 3:09 PM on December 27, 2008


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