Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Evidence of things not seen

The Iranian President - the man who puts the ‘mad’ into ‘Ahmadinejad’ - has taken his sub-Galloway stand-up routine on a US tour.

Replying to charges of Holocaust denial, he opined:

If - given that the Holocaust is a present reality of our time, a history that occurred, why is there not sufficient research that can approach the topic from different perspectives?

Can you argue that researching a phenomenon is finished, forever done? Can we close the books for good on a historical event?
There are different perspectives that come to light after every research is done. Why should we stop research at all? Why should we stop the progress of science and knowledge?

And on the question of gay rights in Iran, he explained:

In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country. We don't have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have it.

Now, wait just one cotton-picking minute! Come on, Mahmoud, you’re a free-thinking, academically minded man. You keep telling us that there’s always the need for more research into non-existent phenomena.

So… look closer! Study harder! You could set up a brand spanking new Tehran Institute of Queer Studies to investigate this vexed issue. Or maybe just take out a personal ad?

(Perhaps they’re all secretly working on the nuclear weapons programme that Definitely Doesn’t Exist Either...)

3 comments:

Matt M said...

Holocaust and Homosexual Denial - you certainly get your money's worth when you book him for a speaker.

Of course, it could be that he thinks that all humans are essentially bisexual and that "Gay" and "Straight" are simply outmoded terms imposed on individuals by society. Free love and all that.

You never know.

Chris said...

I don't want to depress you (or remind you of this if y'all already knew) but

"Moreover, we would like to strongly caution media and campus organizations against the use of such words as "gay", "lesbian", or "homosexual" to describe people in Iran who engage in same-sex practices and feel same-sex desire. The construction of sexual orientation as a social and political identity and all of the vocabulary therein is a Western cultural idiom. As such, scholars of sexuality in the Middle East generally use the terms "same-sex practices" and "same-sex desire" in recognition of the inadequacy of Western terminology."

via

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/09/the-queer-lef-1.html

So it seems that the Columbia Queer Alliance says gay and straight are outmoded terms imposed by individuals on society. No need for a Tehran Institute of Queer Studies, we can do it for them.

Noga said...

Charlie Rose interviewed him yesterday. One of the commenters on that programme, presumably an Iranian ex-patriate, likened Ahmadinejad's rise to power in Iran to that of Jerzy Kosinski's protagonist in "Being There". I thought it was an inspired analogy, on two accounts: First, his denial of Iranian gayness and second, on the media frenzy that he got in NY:

"Dennis Watson:

Ah, tell me, Mr. Gardner... have you ever had sex with a man?

Chance the Gardener:

No... I don't think so.

Dennis Watson:

We could go upstairs right now.

Chance the Gardener:

Is there a TV upstairs? I like to watch.

Dennis Watson:

You like to uh, watch?

Chance the Gardener: Yes.

Dennis Watson: You wait right
here. I'll go get Warren!

___________

Morton Hull:

Do you realize that more people will be watching you tonight, than all those who have seen theater plays in the last forty years?

Chance the Gardener: Why?
_____________

You can watch CR's conversation (excruciaring tedium) and the comments (Rococo left alert!) here:

http://www.charlierose.com/shows/2007/09/24/1/a-conversation-with-mahmoud-ahmadinejad