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Just Who's Afraid of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Commentary on speech by the President of Iran to the UN General Assembly (Part #1)

Address and commentary
Organized attempts to tear down the institution of family and to reduce the status of women
Widespread violations of human rights, terrorism and occupation
Aggressions against indigenous cultures and national values
Poverty, illiteracy, health deprivation and gap between the poor and the rich
5. Ignoring noble values and promotion of deception and lies.
Violations of rules of international law and disrespect of commitments
Escalation of threats and arms race
8. Inefficacy of international mechanism to prevail over these challenges and to bring durable peace and security.
Sustainable way to the betterment of mankind

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Address and commentary

In the Name of God, the Almighty

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

Mr. Chairman, Honorable Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased and grateful to the Almighty to have the opportunity once again to attend this important universal forum.

Comment: Whilst any such preface might be cause for reservations in the primarily secular mode of discourse within the international community, it is striking to compare it with the fairly similar appeals made by the faith-based leadership of the Coalition of the Willing and most notably by American politicians. Indeed, just as in Islamic cultures, those in America consider it increasingly appropriate to make such references when interacting with their supporters. However it is relevant to note that the language used to that end in Islamic cultures has far more poetic resonances than the simple binary form that is common in the West. It is also characteristic that the American version is primarily of the form "God Bless America" in contrast with the more generic Islamic phrasing.

What is striking under the circumstances, with the immediate threat of a nuclear strike, is the formal recognition in a UN arena of a universal transcendental context -- presumably in some measure common to faith-based cultures, whether potential attacker or probable victim thereof.

Given that the clashing Abrahamic cultures hold so profoundly to their respective understandings of this transcendental reality, how is it that immeasurably greater resources are devoted by each to the design and use of weaponry in defence of their particular understanding -- in comparison with the paucity of resources devoted to clarifying the mystery of why the mysterious nature of that reality should be so variously understood, notably by others?

How different is the nature and origin of the misunderstanding that has violently separated over centuries: Sunni from Shiite, Catholic from Protestant, Orthodox from non-Orthodox Jews -- as compared to that separating Islam from Christianity, and either from Judaism, also over centuries? References to an omniscient Almighty must surely hold these violence-engendering differences, in the Name of God, to arise from limitations of human misunderstanding, especially amongst the Abrahamic religions -- the "People of the Book" -- living as they do in expectation of an integrative fulfillment of divine prophecy.

It is appropriate to compare the unique invocation of the prophesied Imam Al-Mahdi, in a formal international arena, with analogous expectations associated with prophecies in the other Abrahamic religions, the Messiah of Judaism and the Messiah of Christianity. It would be a grave mistake to fail to recognize the determining influence of such expectations on governmental policies, notably on the leadership of the Coalition of the Willing in invading Iraq. It is however curious that believers in such prophecies should find no other basis for dialogue than the use of weapons, and especially nuclear weapons.

In the present tumultuous world and predominance of loud outcries, threats and tensions, and in the time:

  • when the big powers are unable to solve the present problems, (an unquestionable fact)
  • when mistrust in regional and international arenas is on the rise, (an unquestionable fact)
  • when psychological security of societies is being targeted by an onslaught of political and propaganda designs, (an assertion which many would consider reasonable, however "propaganda" is to be understood)
  • and disappointment prevails over efficacy of policies and actions of the international organizations in establishing of durable peace and security, (an unquestionable fact, despite efforts to focus the media on "positive" achievements and vigorously to deny the accumulation over many years of evidence to the contrary)
  • and the protection of human rights is being weakened, (an unquestionable fact)

I plan to touch upon and explain the roots and ways out of these predicaments and some of the principal challenges facing our world.

Comment: Such a preamble surely sets a context which justifies attention to what follows, if only in that respect is due to a culture that may well be deliberately destroyed beyond recovery by nuclear attack -- recently described in the case of a neighbouring country as a threat of being "bombed back to the Stone Age".

Can the significant absence of representatives of the USA and Israel during the speech, as highlighted by the media, be considered other than evidence that the case had been prejudged? Do advocates for the prosecution -- demanding immediate execution -- leave the courtroom when those for the defence make their final case? Or is it that directly publicizing the plea worldwide to "we the peoples", through media such as CNN, makes physical presence at the UN "court" unnecessary? What behaviour in such a final court of appeal is to be considered a mark of uncivilization and backsliding to barbarism? Does this reflect the very same logic whereby a civilized democracy indulges in secret tribunals uncluttered by substantiated appeals from the defendants?

I will also speak to you about:

  • the need for amending the present situation,
  • prospects for brighter and more hopeful future,
  • and about the reappearance of the sublime and beauty, kindness and dignity, justice and blossoming of all divine human talents and dominance of love of God and realization of the promise of God as stated by of all divine prophets and righteous men.

Comment: Again this points to the possibility of the kind of future to which most would aspire.

I will then put to your judgment the nuclear issue of Iran as a reality and testing ground for measurement of honesty, efficacy, steadfastness and victories. In the closing part of my address, I will offer my proposals.

Comment: This issue, with the immediate threat of nuclear attack, provides a degree of immediate urgency greater than most other issues currently the subject of debate and procrastination within the international community. The unforeseen consequences and possible multiplier effects of such an attack are dimensions of which historians are well aware -- World War I, as triggered by a simple targeted assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, is a classic example. More technically these have been recognized under various names (from the "butterfly effect" to the "Black Swan" effect)

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As you are all aware we are presently facing important, numerous and diverse challenges that I will refer to some of them.e are presently facing important, numerous and diverse challenges that I will refer to some of them.

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