The Left quiet about Ahmadinejad?

Parts of the Left was oddly silent after Ahmadinejad’s speech. That gays are viciously persecuted in Iran is a given. Yet some Lefties who defend gay rights here seemed mute about the obvious homophobia in his speech (as well as on his apparent Holocaust revisionism)

This is probably because they see Iran as standing against US imperialism, and thus worthy of support. Yet when the Ayatollahs took power, the Left were among the first people they imprisoned and killed.

Just because someone opposes George Bush does not automatically make them a friend – or even an ally. The foe of my foe is not necessarily a friend. Lefties who defend gay rights here should defend them in Iran too. Solidarity need not and should not be unquestioning.


  1. I did a video on Ahmadinejad’s visit I posted at The Blue Voice. I don’t know what Holocaust Revisionism you’re talking about. From everything I’ve read he understands the Holocaust occurred; his question is simply, Why are the Palestinians paying the price for a crime committed by Europeans?

    As a Lefty, like you, I think it’s important that we don’t jump on the “Kill Iran” bandwagon. I think it’s more important that we highlight the lies being told about Ahmadinejad and Iran because it is the lies that are being used to ready the public for a war against Iran.

    Bashing Ahmadinejad, in my opinion, is only playing into the Bush regime’s hands. They want a war with Iran.


  2. From CNN.

    “They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred and place this above God, religions and the prophets,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech [in 2005] to thousands of people in the Iranian city of Zahedan, according to a report on Wednesday from Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

    “The West has given more significance to the myth of the genocide of the Jews, even more significant than God, religion, and the prophets,” he said. “(It) deals very severely with those who deny this myth but does not do anything to those who deny God, religion, and the prophet.

    Choosing allies based on whether or not they oppose Bush is letting Bush set your agenda, IMHO.

    I completely oppose the US invading Iran, but don’t see why it follows that the Iranian government must then be totally supported.

  3. Der Spiegel interviewed Admadinejad about a year or two ago and he asked them specifically why the Germans were admitting to a non-existant Holocaust. The Spiegel reporter told him bluntly that he didn’t know what he was talking about, and Admadinejad was startled.

    He’s a small, ignorant man at the right place and the right time. NOt unlike our own president.

  4. “The Left quiet about Ahmadinejad?”

    Are you serious, Bob? Correct me if you think I’m in any way incorrect in my assessment., but hasn’t the US administration of George Bush been aggressively talking up an invasion of Iran for some time? Is this something that Polizeros wants to fall in behind in any way? In any way?

    No one can “totally support” the resistance in Iraq or “totally support” the resistance in Afghanistan or “totally support” the resistance in Palestine…but that doesn’t mean that you are duty bound to fuel Bush’s warmongering machine by softening up the anti war opposition. Afterall, this “left” you refer to is not , I hope, a bunch of liberals.

    That’s the difference. I always thought that between what makes up the left and what makes up the liberals: the left takes side. Liberals procrastinate. And in the situation of Iran versus the might of the US killing machine the side taking is, I’d hope, self evident.

    Last time I looked Iran hadn’t invaded anyone. Last time I looked the US was dead set keen to invade Iran. And to do that this same US was whipping up as much Islamophobia it could muster to facilitate that and its other concurrent invasions.

    The same problem occurred during the Iran/Iraq war of the eighties. When the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein dutifully did the US’s bidding in trying to destroy the Iranian revolution. This was a massive slaughter towards which some side taking was warranted I’d think. There was even a dedicated section of the Iranian left — the Mujahedeen — who sought to invade with Saddam’s troops.

    That was indeed ‘side taking’…but how smart was it,despite that lefts’ justified abhorrence of the Tehran regime. But hey! weren’t the Mujahedeen being as you’d prefer them to be in way of a thoughtful left?

    Then on we go to the 1982 British incursion against the Argentinian occupation of the Falklands. No one in a purple fit could have offered “total support” to the Argentinian dictatorship — but who side should we “of the left” have been on?

    History is like that big time.It’s never neat. And you never have the easy option of selecting the degree to which you’d prefer to offer ‘support’.

    Let’s go way way back to the French Revolution and angst over the Thermidor and maybe replay the same sort of thing you’re writing here in regard to Ahmadinejad and instead allude to Napoleon Bonaparte. We could then ask the question: why is the Left quiet about Napoleon? Or Robespierre?

    Or go back to the American Revolution and denigrate George Washington for being a slave owner. To paraphrase: “Just because someone opposes the British Empire does not automatically make them a friend – or even an ally. The foe of my foe is not necessarily a friend. Lefties who oppose slavery should oppose slavery in the American Colonies too. Solidarity need not and should not be unquestioning.”

    FYI –Here is some background to Ahmadinejad’s visit from a left POV:
    Lost in Translation: Ahmadinejad and the Media
    Iranian University Chancellors Ask Bollinger 10 Questions
    Transcript of Ahmadinejad’s U.N. Speech, September 19, 2006
    Behind themedia frenzy over Ahmadinejad

  5. How is criticizing some of Ahmadinejad views in any way being supportive of Bush? Or not being opposed to invasion of Iran by the US?

  6. I am well aware that extremism in Iran has a cause, and that that cause can be laid squarely at our doorstep. Nevertheless, just because I object to one extremist leader (ours) doesn’t mean I have to support another (theirs), just because he happens to oppose ours. Bin Laden opposes Bush, too, but few Americans of any stripe would suggest we support him. For that matter, so do the generals in Burma.

    The problem with extremism is that it’s opportunistic. And it’s black and white, us vs. them, right or wrong, polarized thinking. And it’s bullsh*t. In this case (as is so often the case with extremism) they’re both wrong. The answer is not to pick an adversarial extremist, but to fight extremism itself with facts, logic, and compassion– three things extremists tend to lack.

  7. Daniel Rivera-Franqui

    I would have to agree with Bob. It my POV, I totally and absolutely oppose any action against Iran and I really do not believe all the hype and fearmongering that the George W. Bullshit administration has been comin’ up with.

    BUT I do oppose absolutely Iran’s persecution of gays and Holocaust denial (which doesn’t mean I support using the Holocaust as an excuse to claim immunity from criticism) and just because of his rhetoric against the Bush administration doesn’t mean I wouldn’t criticize him for his actions. Plain and simple.

    If both the Bush administration and myself criticize Ahmadinejad for his Holocaust denial or for wishing to wipe Israel off the map, doesn’t mean I am any less committed to opposing the Iraq war, the build up towards invading Iran or any of this administration’s mistakes.

    To put it in my perspective, if Ahmadinejad called for Puerto Rico to be wiped off the map, I would MOST certainly criticize him.

  8. Uh.. what planet are you on that you’re NOT hearing “the left” criticize Ahmadinejad? Almost every news or commentary podcast, blog, radio and tv show I regularly ingest has played clips and ridiculed him for his lies about womens rights and his comments on homosexuals. HRC has posted stories about it, as have several other “lefty” organizations, condemning both Iran’s stance on homosexuality and the comments made in the speech directly.

    If by “left” you mean Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton, then sure… You’re never going to hear it from them, because they’re not left. They’re centrists at best, and both are racing to the right as fast as they can to try to pick up swing votes next year. The only reason either will mention it is if they’re directly asked about it (which would require someone in the media get the stones to ask it and probably lose their job over it), or if Bush starts bombing Iran, at which point it will be “fair game” to talk about their policies.

    As for “supporting Bush”, no, criticizing Iran doesn’t mean you think we should start a war with them. I criticize the US government regularly, it doesn’t mean I’m ready to take up arms and start an insurrection. (Closer every day though…) Sadly, with the reactionaries in the media and in the white house these days, the meaning of anything said is easily twisted to make it look support for a war. Which is probably just another reason “smart left politicos” are not talking about it. The less they say, the less Hanity and the rest can froth at the mouth and say, “See, even the left thinks we should bomb Iran.” Dumb, I know, but that’s reality in the media these days, where every issue has exactly two sides, and you’re either with one or against the other. (As if it were totally impossible for there to be an issue with say 3 or 4 “sides”.)

    I personally though it was great to hear the reaction of the audience when he said those crazy things. Did you hear or see the clip? The audience laughed, all at once, with a full hearty belly laugh. They found it so ridiculous a statement that they though he was making a joke, and laughed at him. That alone was enough to let me know how far this country has come, since just 40 years ago that statement would have not gotten the same reaction.

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