I stand with Ahmadinejad

by Beacon Staff • October 4, 2006

Addressing the great host of nations, he spoke candidly about the world's "commonalities" as well as of the many issues that now divide it.

With boldness in speech and tone, he delivered one of the finest critiques of the global crises by which we are currently confronted.,On Sept. 19, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran went before the United Nations in New York City.

Addressing the great host of nations, he spoke candidly about the world's "commonalities" as well as of the many issues that now divide it.

With boldness in speech and tone, he delivered one of the finest critiques of the global crises by which we are currently confronted.

Issuing bristling condemnations of imperialism, injustice, Western hegemony and nuclear arms proliferation, he simultaneously presented his vision for a new order. It was one grounded in commitment to spiritual brotherhood and international equality.

These sentiments reflect the general state of thinking in Iran, as well as in many other places where people have rejected America as a model of political progress and cultural success.

Ahmadinejad's attack on the West begins not with the US's involvement in Iraq or Afghanistan, but with conflicts that lay deep in the 20th century.

In an interview with NBC's Brian Williams, Ahmadinejad noted that the two most devastating wars of the last one hundred years have come not from Islamic peoples but rather from the secular societies of Europe and the Americas.

While President Bush and his followers attempt to construct a historical narrative wherein the West is a potent source of peace and liberalism, President Ahmadinejad points out that those very nations are responsible for the slaughter at the Somme and Ypres and the wholesale annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Are we to trust the well-being of the next century to these destroyers?

In conjunction with this analysis, Ahmadinejad called out the fundamental hypocrisy of America's reactionary attitude towards the spread of nuclear technology. Being the only state to ever use nuclear weapons, twice and against civilian populations, the United States has no moral high ground.

Ahmadinejad went on to reiterate Iran's long-standing philosophy that weapons of mass destruction are abhorrent under the shariah, or Islamic law. He told the world to consider the fact that even while Saddam Hussein used chemical and biological devices against Iran in the late 1980s, Iran refused to respond in suit, despite their capabilities to do so.

Who among us can truly claim that the US would have exercised such restraint in a similar situation?

It is true that Iran is not yet a Western-style democracy-it lacks the virtues of the West's liberalism and the drawbacks of its chaos.

Nonetheless, Iran is "of, for, and by" the people. Just as communists conceptualized workers' democracy during the Leninist and Maoist experiments, so the Iranians have crafted their own form of Muslim democracy.

Gone are certain characteristics that typify our moneyed, bourgeois system, but social consensus and popular opinion still hold sway.

It should be noted that Iranian authorities themselves must better honor standards of human decency as articulated by the great prophets of other Abrahamic creeds.

From Holocaust denial as a state line to institutionalized oppression of homosexuals, women and leftists, Tehran has much moral territory to cross before it can speak without hesitation of social justice.

Ahmadinejad should remember that the Jewish and Muslim people share a common father; they are branches of the same human tree.

Ahmadinejad often speaks of the unifying power of faith, but we need only to look at our own president to see the flaws in this mindset. Christian fundamentalist George W. Bush continues his divisive policies of diplomatic strong-arming. In the face of loosening hegemony, he and other American politicians are wildly seeking to reassert traditional global power structures.

But, as Ahmadinejad told Williams, the time for empire is through. In painful contrast to America's agenda of endless war, state terrorism, neo-colonial economics and social malaise, Iran's leader called for a global community of shared resources and goals.

Sixty years ago, in the dawn-lit year of 1946, with half the world in ashes and earth still raw from the digging of some sixty five million graves, America convened the first sitting of the United Nations bearing a message of national self-determination and international friendship.

Today, in the wake of another series of Western-born conflicts, Iran occupies a similar position.

When Ahmadinejad went to the General Assembly on Sunday, he was recognized by the developing world and those countries not aligned with the American axis as a man to be respected-not out of fear-but out of admiration for his promises of a better tomorrow.