I’ve been following with a certain detached interest the Holocaust (or, rather, anti-Holocaust) convention that Ahmadinejad has convened in Iran. Certainly, I recognize the virulent anti-Semitism that drives it. Along with other people who are well-informed humanists, I view with repugnance the fact that Reuters, casually disregarding David Duke’s white supremacist background, helpfully identifies him as an “US academic” (so dignified, so erudite). I’m also disgusted, but unsurprised, that the MSM treats the despicable Neturei Karta sect as if these were just any other Jews, rather than a small bunch of cranks who are trotted out wherever someone wants to slaughter Israeli Jews en masse.
Really, though, I think we’re giving this little Iranian effort altogether too much attention. For Ahmadinejad, it falls into the category of “no press is bad press.” Every story about this farce increases his reputation in the Muslim world. More significantly, every story in the MSM makes it sounds as if this “conference” is absolutely something, rather than the nothing it really is. I mean, in terms of adding to world knowledge, this convention will be just as useful as if a group of kindergartners grandly announced that they are going to have a convention to examine the effects of cow emissions on global warming. Nobody in their right mind would expect that type of gathering to result in a contribution to human knowledge. Here, the cow emissions are coming from the Iranian convention, and the resultant hot air should be ignored big time.
As it is, though, one very big piece of news did emerge from Iran, and that is the bravery exhibited by Iranian students:
Iranian students have disrupted a speech by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a prestigious Tehran university, setting fire to his picture and heckling him.
“Some students chanted radical slogans and inflamed the atmosphere of the meeting” at the Amir Kabir University, said the semi-official Fars news agency on Monday, which is close to Ahmadinejad.
“A small number of students shouted ‘death to the dictator’ and smashed cameras of state television but they were confronted by a bigger group of students in the hall chanting: ‘We support Ahmadinejad’,” it said.
It was the latest in a series of student demonstrations in recent days, the first time in least two years that such protests have taken place on this scale at Iranian universities.
Ahmadinejad responded by describing those students chanting the slogans as an “oppressive” minority.
“A small number of people who claim there is oppression are creating oppression and do not let the majority hear (my) words,” he said.
According to the student news agency ISNA, Ahmadinejad responded to the students’ chants of “students can die but they do not accept degradation” by lashing out at the United States.
A group of Amir Kabir’s top students had earlier expressed objections to the government’s economic and political agenda as well as “confrontation with student activists and ridding universities of independent lecturers”.
“Bankrupting the country’s industry, inflation, distribution of poverty, defacement of the country’s international image and playing with the nation’s fate in diplomatic issues,” were among the points brought up in a statement.
“University is alive and criticises the government,” it added, according to ISNA.
The incident came after hundreds of Iranian students protested at Amir Kabir on Sunday to denounce a crackdown on a reformist-led university association, according to the ISNA news agency.
Between 2,000 and 3,000 students also demonstrated at Tehran University on Wednesday to mark students’ day, chanting slogans such as “for freedom and against despotism”, ISNA reported at the time.
Can you imagine the courage it takes to stand up and speak against the government in a repressive regime that routinely punishes anti-Government speech with torture and death? Also, it’s worth remembering that Iran’s last government “overhaul” started with student unrest. Something is happening here that’s much bigger than the bread and circus stuff at this Holocaust conference charade. As always, though, the press is going for the easy stories, and this crack in the Iranian facade is being buried in the back of the international pages.