Friday, 28 September 2007

An Iranian in New York

Not Sting's orginal, or even Shinehead's ragga adaptation - A Jamaican in New York - this time we have a real snake in the city, as one US congressman described this guy.

It's been a busy week for me and my scribbling hand, hence the lack of updates here. A couple of things have caught my eye in the news in the last couple of days, though, that I wanted to allude to, or comment on, or rip the piss out of, or whatever it is I do.

First up is an old favourite of mine, the guy into whose mouth the CIA put "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah" in Wikipedia. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in the US this week and, needless to say, his visit didn't pass by surreptitiously.

Speaking in front of Ivy league students at New York's Columbia University Ahmadinejad began well enough, asserting that Israel persecutes Palestinians. No arguments from me there.

It was only later he came out with a line that had his audience howling with laughter. After being asked about why Iran had recently executed two gay men, Ahmadinejad said: "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country. In Iran we do not have this phenomenon,I do not know who has told you we have it."

This really is laughable. It also reminds me of some copy I was editing at work this week which said that one of the negative effects of tourism was that it "increases social vices such as prostitution, crime rate, lesbian and gay practices." Neither of these two will win any diversity awards in the near future!

Apparently lots of people thought it was a bad idea to have the Iranian president speak at Columbia. I personally don't see the problem. It's a free country - insn't it? - and this guy seems to be capable of shooting himself in the foot every time he opens his mouth, if you'll spare the almost mixed metaphor.

Case in point is what he went on to say after his gay denial (not to be confused with his holocaust denial, of course).

He tried to crack a joke, but I think it was a case of you had to be there. Either that or his interpreter was the one taking the piss.

"Let me tell a joke here," Ahmadinejad said. "I think the politicians who are after atomic bombs, or testing them, making them, politically they are backward, retarded."

Thinking about it, maybe the "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah" reference in Wikipedia wasn't too far wide of the mark.

Full story on Reuters

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