First and foremost, our press in the USA has given that man every reason to believe that he would be greeted with open arms in a bastion of American liberalism. When Columbia University invited him to speak, he must have been over-the-moon at the prospect of carte-blanche to proselytize on American soil. Of COURSE he would have loved the opportunity to gloat over Ground Zero, but more importantly, he was met with a very real demonstration of how hostile and irrational Americans are since he was refused that opportunity, and therefore may enjoy a rally in his domestic popularity. After all, weren't there Iranians killed on 9-11? Anyhoo...
My hat is off to Columbia University president Lee Bollinger, who may have committed the ultimate in social/professional suicide: for those ivory-tower types eat their own. Actually, I hope his full-frontal assault on old doo-dad is a harbinger of a changing of the tide, but we shall see. I can only imagine how Graydon Carter's blood boiled at the accusatory nature of Bollinger's questions, and that GC put Vanity Fair staffers to work digging for dirt immediately so that he could cram a hatchet piece on Bollinger in the soonest possible issue of that America-hating rag. Again, congratulations to Bollinger on his cojones latón.
Confronted about the execution of homosexuals in Iran, Ahmadinejihad said:
“In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country.”
With the audience laughing derisively, he continued: “In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who’s told you that we have this.” msnbc.com
Nice. Um, well, maybe they don't have homosexuals because they execute them at every possible opportunity. One of the more outrageous (if that's possible) stories of the recent torment and execution of homosexuals in Iran described two 16 year old boys caught in the act who were incarcerated and tortured for 14 months prior to execution. Generously, Iranian officials give homosexuals the choice of how they will be executed: being hanged, stoned, halved by a sword, or dropped from the highest perch.
Here's what I wonder: in a culture which treats women as chattel and teaches men to disdain women as filthy creatures, how is it surprising that some young men would be repulsed by the idea of sexual congress with a female? Let's be honest - Persia is one of the more ancient civilizations on earth, and anyone who is halfway honest will admit that homosexuality - for better or for worse - has been around at least as long as prostitution. To think that such a garden of enlightenment would have functioned outside that trend truly tests the bounds of credulity.
We may not be perfect, but at least in Western society, a person who is not a traditional heterosexual can live an open life with the comfort of knowing every morning they wake up that they won't be executed by the government that day for their private predilections. Even then, life is not a free ride in the West for gay folk, but at least they have a life with which to fail or succeed the same as everyone else. Despite the "law" of any state, what happens between consenting adults here is not the government's business. Full-stop.
Ironically, in the West, we don't execute some people who should be put down like rabid dogs. We have this thing about fair trials and second and third-chances and whatnot. Come to that, we also don't gather in arenas to watch the execution of human beings for sport, which is so irretrievably barbaric as to addle the wits.
Part of what makes the USA so effing rocking is that as long as you are not infringing someone else's rights, you may behave in private as pleases you most. If you want to participate in some goony, hopped-up weirdness that involves dancing with snakes and blowing smoke on apples, well-- hot-diggity!-- you've come to the right place. The same Constitution that guarantees my liberties does so for all other folks, and although we may disagree on a lot of things, we mostly get through our lives pursuing our individual dreams and we generally respect one another. We have a system in which we can rely on clean drinking water, and our children are not forced to enjoy the dividends of cholera-laced water supplies and the constant threat of malaria and dysentery, evil hot-sauces notwithstanding. The truth of it is that people like the Iranian president and his ilk (and worse) would only find ultimate satisfaction in demeaning civilization throughout the rest of the world, and reducing the common luxuries of the clean, healthy environment we enjoy to the level of third-world standards. He'd be delighted for us all to subsist in mud huts with flies crawling on our eyeballs and daily threatened by the world-wide plague of tuberculosis.
Anyway, about the gayness thing - I think it's really ironic that Ahmadinejihad and his cohorts rail so publicly against homosexuality, because they sure seem like a pack of cocksuckers to me. (Not to impugn cocksuckers in general, you understand. I'm just saying...)
I will wrap this up with Bollinger's words - I can't say this any better:
"I am only a professor who is also a university president, and today I feel the weight of all the civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for," Bollinger told Ahmadinejad. "I only wish I could do better."