Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ya Imam Ali (AS)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

President Ahmadinejad's address at the United Nations

"Yo lo felicité a nombre del pueblo venezolano, ante una nueva agresión del imperio estadounidense”, Presidente Chávez, conversó vía telefónica con su par iraní Mahmud Ahmadineyad, y expresó su solidaridad con el mandatario persa ante las agresiones sufridas en Nueva York."

"The precious existence of women as the manifestation of divine beauty and as the peak of kindness, affection and purity has been the target of heavy exploitation in recent decades by the holders of power and owners of media and wealth. In some societies, this beloved human has been reduced to a mere instrument of publicity... "

Click here to view the address (English translation)

Click here to read the address (official English translation, pdf)

Watch also the President's press conference at the UN.

Monday, September 24, 2007

President Ahmadinejad's address at the Imperial "ivy league" Colombia University

In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful...

The president recites verses from the holy Koran in Arabic.

"Oh, God, hasten the arrival of Imam al-Mahdi and grant him good health and victory and make us his followers and those to attest to his rightfulness."

Distinguished Dean, dear professors and students, ladies and gentlemen, at the outset I would like to extend my
greetings to all of you. I am grateful to the almighty God for providing me with the opportunity to be in an academic environment, those seeking truth and striving for the promotion of science and knowledge.

At the outset I want to complain a bit from the person who read this political statement against me. In Iran tradition requires that when we demand a person to invite to be a speaker we actually respect our students and the professors by allowing them to make their own judgment and we don't think it's necessary before this speech is even given to come in with a series of claims and to attempt in a so-called manner to provide vaccination of some sort to our students and our faculty.

I think the text read by the dear gentleman here, more than addressing me, was an insult to information and the knowledge of the audience here. In a university environment we must allow people to speak their mind, to allow everyone to talk so that the truth is eventually revealed by all.

Certainly he took more than all the time I was allocated to speak, and that's fine with me. We'll just leave that to add up with the claims of respect for freedom and the freedom of speech that's given to us in this country.

Many parts of his speech, there were many insults and claims that were incorrect, regretfully.

Of course, I think that he was affected by the press, the media, and the political, sort of, mainstream line that you read here that goes against the very grain of the need for peace and stability in the world around us.
Nonetheless, I should not begin by being affected by this unfriendly treatment. I will tell you what I have to say, and then the questions he can raise and I'll be happy to provide answers. But as for one of the issues that he did raise, I most certainly would need to elaborate further so that we, for ourselves, can see how things fundamentally work.

It was my decision in this valuable forum and meeting to speak with you about the importance of knowledge, of information, of education. Academics and religious scholars are shining torches who shed light in order to remove darkness. And the ambiguities around us in guiding humanity out of ignorance and perplexity.
The key to the understanding of the realities around us rests in the hands of the researchers, those who seek to discover areas that are hidden, the unknown sciences, the windows of realities that they can open is done only through efforts of the scholars and the learned people in this world.

With every effort there is a window that is opened, and one reality is discovered. Whenever the high stature of science and wisdom is preserved and the dignity of scholars and researchers are respected, humans have taken great strides toward their material and spiritual promotion.

In contrast, whenever learned people and knowledge have been neglected, humans have become stranded in the darkness of ignorance and negligence.

If it were not for human instinct, which tends toward continual discovery of truth, humans would have always remained stranded in ignorance and no way would not have discovered how to improve the life that we are given.
The nature of man is, in fact, a gift granted by the Almighty to all. The Almighty led mankind into this world and granted him wisdom and knowledge as his prime gift enabling him to know his God.

In the story of Adam, a conversation occurs between the Almighty and his angels. The angels call human beings an ambitious and merciless creature and protested against his creation.

But the Almighty responded, quote, "I have knowledge of what you are ignorant of," unquote. Then the Almighty told Adam the truth. And on the order of the Almighty, Adam revealed it to the angels.

The angels could not understand the truth as revealed by the human being. The Almighty said to them, quote, " Did not I say that I am aware of what is hidden in heaven and in the universe?" unquote. In this way the angels prostrated themselves before Adam.

In the mission of all divine prophets, the first sermons were of the words of God, and those words -- piety, faith and wisdom -- have been spread to all mankind.

... Regarding the holy prophet Moses, may peace be upon him, God says, quote, "And he was taught wisdom, the divine book, the Old Testament and the New Testament. He is the prophet appointed for the sake of the children of Israel, and I rightfully brought a sign from the Almighty, holy Koran,"

The first words, which were revealed to the holy prophet of Islam, call the prophet to read, quote, "Read, read in the name of your God, who supersedes everything," unquote, the Almighty, quote again, "who taught the human being with the pen," unquote. Quote, "The Almighty taught human beings what they were ignorant of," unquote.
You see, in the first verses revealed to the holy prophet of Islam, words of reading, teaching and the pen are mentioned. These verses in fact introduced the Almighty as the teacher of human beings, the teacher who taught humans what they were ignorant of.

In another part of the Koran, on the mission of the holy prophet of Islam, it is mentioned that the Almighty appointed someone from amongst the common people as their prophet in order to, quote, "read for them the divine verses," unquote, and quote again, "and purify them from ideological and ethical contamination" unquote, and quote again, "to teach them the divine book and wisdom," unquote.

My dear friends, all the words and messages of the divine prophets from Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, to David and Solomon and Moses, to Jesus and Mohammad delivered humans from ignorance, negligence, superstitions, unethical behavior, and corrupted ways of thinking, with respect to knowledge, on the path to knowledge, light and rightful ethics.

In our culture, the word science has been defined as illumination.

In fact, the science means brightness and the real science is a science which rescues the human being from ignorance, to his own benefit. In one of the widely accepted definitions of science, it is stated that it is the light which sheds to the hearts of those who have been selected by the almighty.

Therefore, according to this definition, science is a divine gift and the heart is where it resides. If we accept that science means illumination, then its scope supersedes the experimental sciences and it includes every hidden and disclosed reality.

One of the main harms inflicted against science is to limit it to experimental and physical sciences. This harm occurs even though it extends far beyond this scope. Realities of the world are not limited to physical realities and the materials, just a shadow of supreme reality. And physical creation is just one of the stories of the creation of the world.

Human being is just an example of the creation that is a combination of a material and the spirit. And another important point is the relationship of science and purity of spirit, life, behavior and ethics of the human being. In the teachings of the divine prophets, one reality shall always be attached to science; the reality of purity of spirit and good behavior. Knowledge and wisdom is pure and clear reality.

It is -- science is a light. It is a discovery of reality. And only a pure scholar and researcher, free from wrong ideologies, superstitions , selfishness and material trappings can discover -- discover the reality.
My dear friends and scholars, distinguished participants, science and wisdom can also be misused, a misuse caused by selfishness, corruption, material desires and material interests, as well as individual and group interests.

Material desires place humans against the realities of the world.

Corrupted and dependent human beings resist acceptance of reality. And even if they do accept it, they do not obey it.

There are many scholars who are aware of the realities but do not accept them. Their selfishness does not allow them to accept those realities.

Do those who, in the course of human history, wage wars, not understand the reality that lives, properties, dignity, territories, and the rights of all human beings should be respected, or did they understand it but neither have faith in nor abide by it?

My dear friends, as long as the human heart is not free from hatred, envy, and selfishness, it does not abide by the truth, by the illumination of science and science itself.

Science is the light, and scientists must be pure and pious. If humanity achieves the highest level of physical and spiritual knowledge but its scholars and scientists are not pure, then this knowledge cannot serve the interests of humanity, and several events can ensue.

First, the wrongdoers reveal only a part of the reality, which is to their own benefit, and conceal the rest. As we have witnessed with respect to the scholars of the divine religions in the past, too, unfortunately, today, we see that certain researchers and scientists are still hiding the truth from the people.

Second, science, scientists, and scholars are misused for personal, group, or party interests. So, in today's world, bullying powers are misusing many scholars and scientists in different fields with the purpose of stripping nations of their wealth.

... And they use all opportunities only for their own benefit. For example, they deceive people by using scientific methods and tools. They, in fact, wish to justify their own wrongdoings, though. By creating nonexistent enemies, for example, and an insecure atmosphere, they try to control all in the name of combating insecurity and terrorism.

They even violate individual and social freedoms in their own nations under that pretext. They do not respect the privacy of their own people. They tap telephone calls and try to control their people.

They create an insecure psychological atmosphere in order to justify their warmongering acts in different parts of the world.

As another example, by using precise scientific methods and planning, they begin their onslaught on the domestic cultures of nations, the cultures which are the result of thousands of years of interaction, creativity and artistic activities.

They try to eliminate these cultures in order to separate the people from their identity and cut their bonds with their own history and values. They prepare the ground for stripping people from their spiritual and material wealth by instilling in them feelings of intimidation, desire for imitation and (inaudible) submission to oppressive powers and disability.

Making nuclear, chemical and biological bombs and weapons of mass destruction is yet another result of the misuse of science and research by the big powers. Without cooperation of certain scientists and scholars, we would not have witnessed production of different nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Are these weapons to protect global security?

What can a perpetual nuclear umbrella threat achieve for the sake of humanity? If nuclear war wages between nuclear powers, what human catastrophe will take place?

Today we can see the nuclear effects in even new generations of Nagasaki and Hiroshima residents, which might be witnessed in even the next generations to come.

Presently, the effects of the depleted uranium used in weapons since the beginning of the war in Iraq can be examined and investigated accordingly.

These catastrophes take place only when scientists and scholars are misused by oppressors.

Another point of sorrow: Some big powers create a monopoly over science and prevent other nations in achieving scientific development as well.

This, too, is one of the surprises of our time. Some big powers do not want to see the progress of other societies and nations. They turn to thousands of reasons, make allegations, place economic sanctions to prevent other nations from developing and advancing, all resulting from their distance from human values and the teachings of the divine prophets.

Regretfully, they have not been trained to serve mankind.

Dear academics, dear faculty and scholars, students, I believe that the biggest God-given gift to man is science and knowledge. Man's search for knowledge and the truth through science is what it guarantees to do in getting close to God.

But science has to combine with the purity of the spirit and of the purity of man's spirit so that scholars can unveil the truth and then use that truth for advancing humanity's cause.

These scholars would be not only people who would guide humanity, but also guide humanity towards a better future.

And it is necessary that big powers should not allow mankind to engage in monopolistic activities and to prevent other nations from achieving that science. Science is a divine gift by God to everyone, and therefore, it must remain pure.

God is aware of all reality. All researchers and scholars are loved by God. So I hope there will be a day where these scholars and scientists will rule the world and God himself will arrive with Moses and Christ and Mohammed to rule the world and to take us toward justice.

I'd like to thank you now but refer to two points made in the introduction given about me, and then I will be open for any questions.

Last year -- I would say two years ago -- I raised two questions.

You know that my main job is a university instructor.

Right now, as president of Iran, I still continue teaching graduate and Ph.D.-level courses on a weekly basis. My students are working with me in scientific fields. I believe that I am an academic, myself. So I speak with you from an academic point of view, and I raised two questions.

But, instead of a response, I got a wave of insults and allegations against me. And regretfully, they came mostly from groups who claimed most to believe in the freedom of speech and the freedom of information. You know quite well that Palestine is an old wound, as old as 60 years. For 60 years, these people are displaced. For 60 years, these people are being killed. For 60 years, on a daily basis, there's conflict and terror. For 60 years, innocent women and children are destroyed and killed by helicopters and airplanes that break the house over their heads. For 60 years, children and kindergartens, in schools, in high schools, are in prison being tortured. For 60 years, security in the Middle East has been endangered. For 60 years, the slogan of expansionism from the Nile to the Euphrates is being chanted by certain groups in that part of the world.

And as an academic, I asked two questions; the same two questions that I will ask here again. And you judge, for yourselves, whether the response to these questions should be the insults, the allegations, and all the words and the negative propaganda or should we really try and face these two questions and respond to them? Like you, like any academic, I, too, will keep -- not yet become silent until I get the answer. So I'm awaiting logical answers instead of insults.

My first question was if -- given that the Holocaust is a present reality of our time, a history that occurred, why is there not sufficient research that can approach the topic from different perspectives?

Our friend referred to 1930 as the point of departure for this development. However, I believe the Holocaust from what we've read happened during World War II, after 1930, in the 1940s. So, you know, we have to really be able to trace the event.

My question was simple: There are researchers who want to approach the topic from a different perspective. Why are they put into prison? Right now, there are a number of European academics who have been sent to prison because they attempted to write about the Holocaust or research it from a different perspective, questioning certain aspects of it.

My question is: Why isn't it open to all forms of research? I have been told that there's been enough research on the topic. And I ask, well, when it comes to topics such as freedom, topics such as democracy, concepts and norms such as God, religion, physics even, or chemistry, there's been a lot of research, but we still continue more research on those topics. We encourage it.

But, then, why don't we encourage more research on a historical event that has become the root, the cause of many heavy catastrophes in the region in this time and age?

Why shouldn't there be more research about the root causes? That was my first question.

And my second question, well, given this historical event, if it is a reality, we need to still question whether the Palestinian people should be paying for it or not. After all, it happened in Europe. The Palestinian people had no role to play in it. So why is it that the Palestinian people are paying the price of an event they had nothing to do with?

The Palestinian people didn't commit any crime. They had no role to play in World War II. They were living with the Jewish communities and the Christian communities in peace at the time. They didn't have any problems.
And today, too, Jews, Christians and Muslims live in brotherhood all over the world in many parts of the world.

They don't have any serious problems.

But why is it that the Palestinians should pay a price, innocent Palestinians, for 5 million people to remain displaced or refugees abroad for 60 years. Is this not a crime? Is asking about these crimes a crime by itself?
Why should an academic myself face insults when asking questions like this? Is this what you call freedom and upholding the freedom of thought?

And as for the second topic, Iran's nuclear issue, I know there is time limits, but I need time. I mean, a lot of time was taken from me.

We are a country, we are a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency. For over 33 years we are a member state of the agency.

The bylaw of the agency explicitly states that all member states have the right to the peaceful nuclear fuel technology. This is an explicit statement made in the bylaw, and the bylaw says that there is no pretext or excuse, even the inspections carried by the IAEA itself that can prevent member states' right to have that right.
Of course, the IAEA is responsible to carry out inspections. We are one of the countries that's carried out the most amount of level of cooperation with the IAEA. They have had hours and weeks and days of inspections in our country, and over and over again the agency's reports indicate that Iran's activities are peaceful, that they have not detected a deviation, and that Iran -- they have received positive cooperation from Iran.

But regretfully, two or three monopolistic powers, selfish powers want to force their word on the Iranian people and deny them their right.

They tell us you don't let them -- they won't let them inspect. Why not? Of course we do. How come is it, anyway, that you have that right and we can't have it? We want to have the right to peaceful nuclear energy. They tell us, don't make it yourself, we'll give it to you.

Well, in the past, I tell you, we had contracts with the U.S. government, with the British government, the French government, the German government, and the Canadian government on nuclear development for peaceful purposes. But unilaterally, each and every one of them canceled their contracts with us, as a result of which the Iranian people had to pay a heavy cost in billions of dollars.

Why do we need the fuel from you? You've not even given us spare aircraft parts that we need for civilian aircraft for 28 years under the name of embargo and sanctions because we're against, for example, human rights or freedom? Under that pretext, you deny us that technology? We want to have the right to self-determination toward our future. We want to be independent. Don't interfere in us.

If you don't give us spare parts for civilian aircraft, what is the expectation that you'd give us fuel for nuclear development for peaceful purposes?

For 30 years, we've faced these problems for over $5 billion to the Germans and then to the Russians, but we haven't gotten anything.

And the words have not been completed.

It is our right. We want our right. And we don't want anything beyond the law, nothing less than international law.

We are a peaceful, loving nation. We love all nations.

At the end of President Ahmadinejad's speech, he responded to questions posed by some students.

MODERATOR: Mr. President, your statements here today and in the past have provoked many questions which I would like to pose to you on behalf of the students and faculty who have submitted them to me.

Let me begin with the question to which you just alluded.

The first question is: Do you or your government seek the destruction of the state of Israel as a Jewish state?

AHMADINEJAD: We love all nations. We are friends with the Jewish people. There are many Jews in Iran, leaving peacefully, with security.

You must understand that in our constitution and our laws and in the parliamentary elections for every 150,000 people, we get one representative in the parliament. For the Jewish community, for one- fifth of this number, they still get one independent representative in the parliament.

So our proposal to the Palestinian plight is a humanitarian and democratic proposal. What we say is that to solve this 60-year problem, we must allow the Palestinian people to decide about its future for itself.

This is compatible with the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations and the fundamental principles enshrined in it. We must allow Jewish Palestinians, Muslim Palestinians and Christian Palestinians to determine their own fate themselves through a free referendum.

Whatever they choose as a nation, everybody should accept and respect. Nobody should interfere in the affairs of the Palestinian nation. Nobody should sow the seeds of discord. Nobody should spend tens of billions of dollars equipping and arming one group there.

We say allow the Palestinian nation to decide its own future, to have the right to self-determination for itself. This is what we are saying as the Iranian nation.

MODERATOR: Mr. President, I think many members of our audience would like to hear a clearer answer to that question. The question is:

Do you or your government seek the destruction of the state of Israel as a Jewish state? And I think you could answer that question with a single word, either yes or no.

AHMADINEJAD: You asked the question, and then you want the answer the way you want to hear it. Well, this isn't really a free flow of information.

I'm just telling you what my position is. I'm asking you: Is the Palestinian issue not an international issue of prominence or not? Please tell me, yes or no? There's the plight of a people.

MODERATOR: The answer to your question is yes.

AHMADINEJAD: Well, thank you for your cooperation . We recognize there's a problem there that's been going on for 60 years. Everybody provides a solution. And our solution is a free referendum.
Let this referendum happen, and then you'll see what the results are.

Let the people of Palestine freely choose what they want for their future. And then what you want in your mind to happen there will happen and will be realized.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) second question, which was posed by President Bollinger earlier and comes from a number of other students:

Why is your government providing aid to terrorists? Will you stop doing so and permit international monitoring to certify that you have stopped?

AHMADINEJAD: Well, I want to pose a question here to you. If someone comes and explodes bombs around you, threatens your president, members of the administration, kills the members of the Senate or Congress, how would you treat them?

Would you reward them, or would you name them a terrorist group? Well, it's clear. You would call them a terrorist.

My dear friends, the Iranian nation is a victim of terrorism. For --26 years ago, where I worked, close to where I worked, in a terrorist operation, the elected president of the Iranian nation and the elected prime minister of Iran lost their lives in a bomb explosion. They turned into ashes.

A month later, in another terrorist operation, 72 members of our parliament and highest-ranking officials, including four ministers and eight deputy ministers' bodies were shattered into pieces as a result of terrorist attacks.

Within six months, over 4,000 Iranians lost their lives, assassinated by terrorist groups. All this carried out by the hand of one single terrorist group. Regretfully, that same terrorist group now, today, in your country, is being -- operating under the support of the U.S. administration, working freely, distributing declarations freely, and their camps in Iraq are supported by the U.S. government.

They're secured by the U.S. government. Our nation has been harmed by terrorist activities. We were the first nation that objected to terrorism and the first to uphold the need to fight terrorism.

We need to address the root causes of terrorism and eradicate those root causes. We live in the Middle East.

For us, it's quite clear which powers, sort of, incite terrorists, support them, fund them. We know that. Our nation, the Iranian nation, through history has always extended a hand of friendship to other nations. We're a cultured nation. We don't need to resort to terrorism. We've been victims of terrorism, ourselves. And it's regrettable that people who argue they're fighting terrorism, instead of supporting the Iranian people and nation, instead of fighting the terrorists that are attacking them, they're supporting the terrorists and then turn the fingers to us. This is most regrettable.

QUESTION: Mr. President, a further set of questions challenged your view of the Holocaust. Since the evidence that this occurred in Europe in the 1940s, as a result of the actions of the German Nazi government, since that -- those facts -- are well documented, why are you calling for additional research? There seems to be no purpose in doing so, other than to question whether the Holocaust actually occurred as a historical fact. Can you explain why you believe more research is needed into the facts of what are what are incontrovertible?

AHMADINEJAD: Thank you very much for your question. I am an academic, and you are as well. Can you argue that researching a phenomenon is finished, forever done? Can we close the books for good on a historical event?
There are different perspectives that come to light after every research is done. Why should we stop research at all? Why should we stop the progress of science and knowledge?

You shouldn't ask me why I'm asking questions. You should ask yourselves why you think that that's questionable? Why do you want to stop the progress of science and research?

Do you ever take what's known as absolute in physics? We had principles in mathematics that were granted to be absolute in mathematics for over 800 years. But new science has gotten rid of those absolutisms, come forward other different logics of looking at mathematics and sort of turned the way we look at it as a science altogether after 800 years.

So, we must allow researchers, scholars, they investigate into everything, every phenomenon -- God, universe, human beings, history and civilization. Why should we stop that?

I am not saying that it didn't happen at all. This is not that judgment that I am passing here. I said, in my second question, granted this happened, what does it have to do with the Palestinian people?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Strange Fruit

Jena: White School Board Member: "Nooses Were Hung from a Schoolyard Tree "In a Joking Manner""

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Liberal-Leftist Islamophobia watch

A few recent examples:

An article by Michael Dickenson (who apparently lives in Turkey) published by Counterpunch on 9/11/07 extensively quotes OBL's recent video, and then concludes with the following:

Bin Laden ends his address by suggesting that Americans choose Islam as the 'alternative 'upright methodology' he mentioned, but I can hardly imagine the average citizen of America bowing down five times a day in the local mosque to pray in the direction of Mecca, stoning adulterers, and cutting off the hands of shoplifters.

Like the neo-cons Islamophobes, Dickenson pairs Islam with some of the worst stereotypes - and like the US media, he pairs the Islamic prayer with violence, further he insuniates that the "average citizen" could not possibly be a Muslim. Obviously he has no sense of American history, and the role that Islam has played in the past few decades in the lives of so many African-Americans (presumably not average enough American citizens for Dickenson, nor for White supremacists).

Another article (also in Counterpunch) by the same author helps further clarify his disdain:

There are at least five visible minarets (although more are obscured by apartment blocks), but the people passing below in the street the students in their school uniforms, youths in jeans and T shirts with gelled hair, hippie types, young couples strolling hand in hand, girls in slacks and tight jumpers with bare midriffs, sunglasses, dyed hair and make-up, walk past those in headscarves and long coats, even the occasional woman covered from head to toe in black, only her eyes visible, keeping her distance behind the bearded skull-capped husband, amber prayer beads twisting in his hand. A mélange of society, mixing together seemingly without pain.

And yet...

Only last year at the end of a three month course teaching at one of the many private English schools in Istanbul, as I congratulated the students on their progress, wishing them luck, one headscarfed woman refused to take my proffered handshake.

"I can't touch a man with my naked flesh," she explained. "It's against Islam."

Outraged, I turned to another headscarfed girl I'd already pressed palms with.

Yoginder Sikand who usually writes fairly insightful articles also could not escape this focus on women's clothing - about his recent visit to Iran, he writes:

I had expected to be greeted with swarms of somber-looking burkha clad women and grave-faced men sporting bushy beards—for that is what the media effectively reduces Iran to—

and a little further down the letter:

Some, obviously seeking to circumvent the law altogether, had streaked their hair golden and let it provocatively fall well below their scarves onto their faces. Others wore such tight fitting coats that they miserably (and probably deliberately) failed to perform their supposed function of concealing the outline of the body. Not a few sat at tables in the lobby heavily powdered and their eyebrows neatly plucked, puffing away at slender cigarettes along with their male companions. Sombre pictures of Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khameini and pious quotations from the Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali slung on the walls of the opulently decorated lobby
made for a surreal contrast.

I have discussed similar obsessions by Nir Rosen, and Juan Cole in a previous blog entry:

Nir Rosen:

In the wake of Israel’s 33-day war with Hizballah, the 24-year-old Islamic movement has become the most popular political party in the Middle East. Here’s why that shouldn’t worry us.”

So, why should the Islamic movement not worry “us?” Rosen gives several reasons, but what is with this “scantily clad” nonsense?:

“There were youths in trendy attire, girls in tight jeans with hair exposed and who had turned their Hizballah T-shirts into stylish form-fitting fashion statements. "

Juan Cole:

They are leveling the towns of the south altogether. They are hitting people who are not Muslim fascists.

(And how does he “prove” that those being bombed are not “Muslim fascists” - well, you see, the women are scantily clad: The pictures he has posted on that entry says it all! -ed)

It is the kind of place where they play the pop music of Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram in the nightclubs.

Meanwhile, the reactionary fraud As'ad Abu Khalil (pretending to be a leftist) had this to say on the first day of Ramadan:

Since I don't observe any religion, I will make sure to make people hungry throughout the day in the hope of breaking their fast prematurely. Enjoy.

As one of the comments said:

As'ad, you can't pretend to care for people Palestinians or Lebanese , those who bear the brunt of the Zionist (or Lebanese army) agression, or even Pakistanis, while denigrating the thing they hold dearest to their hearts.

Yoshie on her blog Critical Montages has some good related entries worth checking out:

Iran, Islam, and Modernism/Post-Modernism

Those who are the most implacably opposed to the Islamic Republic tend to be modernists who consciously or unconsciously think of the mythical West as the telos of humanity. The silliest section among them, such as the Worker-Communist Party of Iran, go so far as to say that the Iranians must change their alphabet from Farsi to Latin, adopt the English language as a "prevalent language of education and administration," and change Iran's calendar to the Western one, as if such changes had anything to do with liberation:

In another entry What do Socialists want?

Yoshie quotes Tariq Ali:

For socialists the task is clear: the Muslim communities must be defended against being made scapegoats, against repression, against the very widespread representation that terrorism is proper to Islam. All that must be energetically fought. But at the same time we must not close our eyes to the social conservatism which reigns in these communities, nor hide it. We have to try to win this people to our own ideas.

It is interesting to note that for Tariq Ali the task is not about self-determination, but rather, ultimately about "winning people to our own ideas" i.e. as I see it, playing the hearts and minds game - and not accepting a Muslim communitys' right to define our own traditions, goals, and modes of resistance.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

the tank

Masoumeh Sadat Mousavi / Iran

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Ahmadinejhad speech to Non-Aligned Movement

“The diverse cultures of the world nations resemble the different flowers of a large flower garden. In other words, flowers may have different colors and scents; all of them are beautiful and loveable as the gift of creation in the great flower garden of human society. Unfortunately, there are some major powers, which intend to dominate other nations. And in pursuit of this objective, these powers have employed all their propaganda and political clout in order to fight the world indigenous cultures, to destroy the foundations of other nations' customs and traditions as well as the particular features, which distinguish these nations from one another.

“This is because these powers consider other nations' particular features as an obstacle to their covetous interests and acts of plundering. In our opinion, cultural diversity is one of the beautiful aspects of human society, which paves the way for positive interaction between nations. When different indigenous cultures are allowed to reach the zenith of perfection, they will create a prosperous society and a virtuous lifestyle for all human beings.

On September 3, 2007, the Iranian President Ahmadinejhad addressed the foreign ministers of the members of the Non-Aligned Movement:

"In the name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate. God's peace and salutation be upon Our Lord and Prophet, Muhammad, and to his infallible household. O God! We beseech you to hasten the advent of your regent. And please grant him good health and assistance. God! Make us the best of his companions to testify before him.

“Mr. Chairman, honorable audience, ladies and gentlemen! I would like to welcome you all and wish you success. Ladies and gentlemen! The creator of existence granted distinguished features to His noblest creature, human being. One of the features, which distinguish mankind, is the diversity and the vastness of human rights. The immense diversity of mankind's rights and not limiting these to a few material rights, give mankind a lofty status. Mankind's prominence, therefore, is as vast the extent of the rights to which human beings are entitled.

“The extent of these rights was established on the day of creation and shall continue until the Day of Judgment; and mankind's materialist life is only a part of these rights. Mankind's eternity is understood by realizing the eternity of his life, his prominence and the vastness of the whole of existence. One of the most important rights of mankind is the prospect of improving his life and securing prosperity throughout his life.

“This right will be realized when mankind appreciates the importance of his entire existence and special place in this arena. Therefore, those who limit mankind's right to benefit from the immense possibilities of existence, in effect curtail his rights to the same degree. If we accept the fact that mankind is eternal, we must accept that mankind has the right to be flourishing for ever.

“The next important of right of human beings is that they should be able to enjoy their material and spiritual rights simultaneously. Mankind's rights are not confined to food, shelter and other material needs. What distinguishes mankind is his entitlement to enjoy certain elevated rights, which other creatures cannot appreciate. The next characteristic, which distinguishes human beings from other creatures, is their right to freedom and the right to elevate themselves.

“The grossest tyranny of materialistic atheism against humanity in the last century was that it offered a limited definition of mankind's particular features, expectations and the dimensions of human existence. Honorable audience, ladies and gentlemen! Mankind was cruelly denied of another right. And that was the right to connect to the eternal divine power, which is the boundless source of mercy.

“In addition to being in touch with nature and with other human beings, mankind's instinctive desire is to be in touch with the creator. The creator of all existence is, better than anyone else, aware of mankind's capacity, capability and interests. He is therefore worthier than anyone else to be mankind's Lord and Providence. Divine guidance is an opportunity for mankind. And the biggest tyranny is to deny mankind of its right to have a worthy link with the eternal power of Almighty God. It was Almighty God, who granted mankind two internal and external sources to guide him.

“That is, Almighty God granted human beings the wisdom and divine revelation. We can, therefore, see that mankind was wronged by two groups of individuals. The first group were those, who denied mankind of the right to benefit from his wisdom properly; and as a result human beings were burdened with reactionary ideas and were stopped from exercising their inquisitive minds. And the second group were those, who deprived human beings of the guidance offered by the divine revelation of God's prophets. In effect, both groups prevented human beings from the benefit of Almighty God's instructions, to direct them in their deeds.

“Honorable audience! It is an absolute right of human beings to seek perfection and to strive along the path of rightness. Mankind's creation is based on the best structure and foundation. The creator of existence has made mankind as the noblest of His creations. He has given mankind the ability to conquer the earth and the heavens. And He created everything else on earth for the benefit of mankind. Among all other creatures of the world, God has given mankind the opportunity to become His heir on earth.

“For the same reason, God has created human begins with equal rights, free and based on their instinctive desire to follow monotheism. Almighty God says that no human being is superior to another because of his race, language, color or ethnic origin. He says that human begins are equal with one another, the same as the teeth of a comb. Therefore, no human begins has the right to enslave others. No human being has the right to serve his own interests by violating the rights of other human beings.

“This is the main important foundation of human rights. Good behavior and decent deeds are the only criteria, which distinguish human beings from one another. For the same reason, mankind has the right to consider the most pious human being as the most superior one. Human rights will be perfected when the perfect and reforming human being takes charge of managing human beings. And human rights will be perfected when pious and worthy human beings assume the task of managing mankind. In view of this perspective, rule by the pious individuals is not just their right, but also a duty to serve all in human society.

“In view of this perspective, no human beings are superior to others because of their language, nationality, culture or ethnic origin. And the existing differences, which we can see, are just some guidelines to enable human beings to identify one another and to establish a link with one another. The only criterion, which distinguishes one human being from another, is the virtue of humanitarian behavior.

“Thanks to the virtue of humanitarian behavior, human beings will not be hostile to one another. On the contrary, such a virtue will make a human being friendly, fraternal and benevolent towards other human begins. And such a human being will not seek to serve his own interests at the expense of others. When decent behavior is made the foundation of interactions among human beings, its outcome will be justice.

“Justice is an absolute right, which must become the basis of establishing relations between world nations and governments. When human beings from every ethnic origin and cultural background are united around the common humanitarian spirit of monotheism and justice, they manifest a huge crowd based on alliance, whose outcome will be inquisitiveness, abundance and diversity with harmony, cooperation and acceleration towards a sacred goal, which will be in the interest of all human beings.

“Human beings share a common divine spirit. And the instructions offered by divine prophets provide a clear and accepted foundation for resolving the disputes among human beings. Mankind is free and enjoys freedom of choice. And God would not alter the destiny of any society, unless the members of that society were to desire a change. The foundation of freedom lies in liberating ourselves from slavery and in rejecting the decision to follow any power but God. Mankind's innate generosity does not depend on his ethnic origin, race or native language. And all human beings are bestowed with the virtue of generosity.

“The ability to acquire generosity does not depend on one's race, ethnic origin or particular culture. That is, all human beings would be able to acquire the virtue of generosity, is they were to establish a link with the Almighty Creator and if they were to behave impeccably. The indigenous culture of world nations is generally rooted in divine beliefs. And if we were to study each culture carefully, we would realize that they are based on monotheism, compassion, fraternity, justice, love and the desire for perfection.

“The diverse cultures of the world nations resemble the different flowers of a large flower garden. In other words, flowers may have different colors and scents; all of them are beautiful and loveable as the gift of creation in the great flower garden of human society. Unfortunately, there are some major powers, which intend to dominate other nations. And in pursuit of this objective, these powers have employed all their propaganda and political clout in order to fight the world indigenous cultures, to destroy the foundations of other nations' customs and traditions as well as the particular features, which distinguish these nations from one another.

“This is because these powers consider other nations' particular features as an obstacle to their covetous interests and acts of plundering. In our opinion, cultural diversity is one of the beautiful aspects of human society, which paves the way for positive interaction between nations. When different indigenous cultures are allowed to reach the zenith of perfection, they will create a prosperous society and a virtuous lifestyle for all human beings.

“Honorable audience! If cultural diversity is not based on the common foundation of divine spirit, its outcome will be authoritarianism, unilateralism, seeking self-interest at the expense of others, covetous demands and arrogance. When monotheism is ignored and one, who only considers his own personal interests, calls on others to obey him, without a doubt, human rights will be the main victim.

“When justice is ignored and discrimination and injustice becomes common practice for some arrogant powers, and some openly believe that some people are better than others only because they possess hardware and more weapons and think they have the right to deny others of their rights, then the end of human rights has come.

“Unilateral strategies, economic, political and cultural domination have created an unfortunate and unpleasant situation in the world. In many parts of the world human rights and freedoms are still breached and threatened by bullies. Millions of people are still deprived of food, health, clothes, housing and suitable education. The economic powers are still using their economic capabilities to dominate others.

“Whilst poverty, hunger and illiteracy are overshadowing a large part of the world, the wealth of some nations is still used to acquire weapons which are used merely to destroy mankind. Military deployments still either kill or make many people homeless. The depressing story of the Palestinian people has been going on for 60 years. The occupying Zionist regime took shape after the killing of thousands of people, the homelessness of millions of the indigenous people, and the destruction of hundreds of thousands of hectares of farmlands, cities and villages. It has continued to survive in this shape.

“This regime destroys the people's homes, kills children, announces its plans to assassinate Palestinian leaders beforehand and locks thousands of Palestinians in prisons. The occupiers of Palestine are trying to destroy the cultural heritage of the Palestinian people by surrounding and closing their borders, and destroying their vital infrastructures, holy sites, academic, cultural and historic centers.

“It's shameful that such a inhuman regime enjoys the political, economic and military support of some powerful countries and the endeavors of other world countries to stop these crimes and to put these crimes on trial are futile due to their Veto power. Political exploitation of the Veto right to support the violators of human rights is one of the most explicit instances of inequality and discrimination. The arrogant powers who claim to support human rights are openly disrespecting the vote and will of the Palestinian people and are trying to overthrow the government which has risen from the determination of the Palestinian people by imposing sanctions and political and economic pressure.

“Dear friends and colleagues. Take a look at the situation in Iraq. They deployed military forces there under the pretence to overthrow the dictatorship of Saddam, who they themselves supported for many years against the independent Iranian nation, and to discover weapons of mass destruction. However, the truth was that they wanted to secure their long-term interests and to dominate energy resources.

“They occupied a large country which is a member of the United Nations and has a 7000-year civilization. Now Saddam has gone and no weapons have been found. However, the occupiers are still there and are adamant to stay there. Now, Saddam has gone and no weapons have been found, but the occupiers are still there and they insist on staying.

“They have made the insecurity, which they themselves have caused, the pretext for their continued presence. Throughout the period of occupation, more than 160,000 people have been killed, more than 600,000 injured and millions made homeless and the precious cultural heritage of Iraq has been subjected to pillaging.

“The occupiers even oppose the constitution and the government that has arisen from the votes of the Iraqi people. Acting like bullies, they are attacking the Iraqi people's rights, lives and honor, and they impudently call for the changing of an independent government. In order to fill the pockets of their companies, they do not forego any killing or crime.

“They have imposed hundreds of thousands of troops and a whole variety of military hardware on the Iraqi people, and they shamelessly make allegations against others. Friends, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, these very same people, establish secret prisons. They abduct their opponents at the airports of different countries and torture them in secret prisons. They control the telephones of their own citizens and they auction off the dignity of their own people for the profit of their companies.

“But, at the same time and most regrettably, the UN's human rights instruments are abused by bullying powers to target independent countries. Disregarding extensive and institutionalized violations of human rights in many parts of the world, whilst, at the same time, exploiting human rights to exert political pressure on a group of countries is a sign of the prevalence of double standards which has inflicted much, irreparable damage on the ideal of human rights.

“Friends, you have seen some of these powers' conduct on the Iranian nuclear issue. Iran is an official member of the atomic energy organization and has signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and has abided by it so far. Nevertheless, some exclusivist and bullying powers, with highhandedness and by inflicting severe political pressure on the IAEA, have used all their propaganda and diplomatic capabilities to deprive the Iranian nation of its self-evident rights in contravention of the clear provisions of the IAEA's charter.

“And, to this end, they have not foregone political threats, economic sanctions and even military threats. They have gone so far as to sacrifice the Security Council's entire prestige for their political objectives and illegitimate demands. They have openly insulted the peace- and justice-loving Iranian nation, which has a lofty culture and a brilliant civilization and which loves world peace and security. And they have acted in ways that are ugly and beneath human dignity.

“They have dragged this issue, in violation of regulations that they themselves have written, to the Security Council, and, in contravention of all legal norms, they have issued resolutions against the Iranian nation. And, through economic sanctions, they have tried to prevent it from using its legal right.

“Throughout this time, the Iranian nation, with patience, unity and fellowship, has tried, on the one hand, to warn them against their illegal moves and to prevent them from behaving in this incorrect way. And, on the other hand, by standing firm and being in constant contact with friends and independent countries, it tried to change the circumstances.

“I have to declare openly that, today, thanks be to God's grace and the firm stance of the leader and the great Iranian nation, and the solidarity of friends, as far as we're concerned, the nuclear file is closed. And the majority have accepted the Iranian nation's rights. And the one or two remaining countries have no option but to accept this truth. The process of dealing with this in the IAEA is the legal and correct way which is to everyone's advantage.

“In this distinguished gathering, I want, first, to express my gratitude for the unstinting support of the Non-Aligned Movement countries, especially at the meeting of foreign ministers in Kuala Lumpur and, then, the summit in Cuba, and the honorable Malaysian prime minister and the esteemed Cuban president and all our friends, and for the support of members at the Board of Governors.

“And I declare that the Iranian nation, contrary to the exclusivist powers, considers the fuel cycle to be at the service of peace and its own welfare and that of all nations. And it is ready, on the basis of the regulations of the IAEA and under its supervision, to put its achievements at the disposal of other IAEA members in the form of training programmers. And, as friendly advice to those who have behaved in this ugly way towards the Iranian nation, let me say: Take care not to repeat this incorrect behavior with the other IAEA member countries.

“They should allow all nations to have equal rights in an atmosphere of friendship and the rule of law. They should know that they are no longer able to prevent the realization of nations' rights. My good friends, ladies and gentlemen, the emergence of the Non-Aligned group of countries at a time when the world had been divided between two poles of power, was a message of hope to independence-loving nations.”