Saturday, December 27, 2008

Being Mahmoud Ahamdinejad

Mahmoud Ahamdinejad delivered an "alternative" Christmas message on British TV yesterday where he praised the prophets of all faiths, including Jesus, for a message of peace. Some might say that such a message is indeed the antithesis of peace where there are accusations that Iranians who convert to Christianity are persecuted.

If one listened to the message with non-prejudiced ears, perhaps such is impossible when considering past rhetoric, one might find grains of truth upon which to find commonality. (What a great historical and cultural society Iran once was! Have religious factions hijacked a great country?) The message caused some backlash across the pond.

President Ahamdinejad has been labeled a tyrant. He has been criticized and labeled "evil" by many for his efforts to secure nuclear weapons and his rhetoric on Israel. (Would such rhetoric have been heard during the Cold War between Russia and the US in public and private?) Listening to his speech before the United Nations this year, I was not incredibly alarmed by President Ahamdinejad's words.

In fact, I must admit to being somewhat impressed with some of what was said. (Perhaps with all the hype and the absence of American officials during the speech I was expecting so much worse.) I must also admit to not being a foreign policy expert. My impression came simply from what appeared to be a message of peace and a rational humanistic belief in justice. (Maybe there was a bit too much emphasis on God as if his voice represented such to the exclusion of others. Dunno.) I had not heard President Ahamdinejad speak before then.

President Ahamdinejad has said that his rhetoric is in opposition to unjust policies. I am sure that he will see what happened today in Gaza as unjust. Today Israel responded to Hamas rockets and mortars with air strikes in Gaza killing some 364 Palestinians and wounding nearly 1,000. I am not a foreign policy expert but if a group is armed with fighter jets and weapons from the West and the others are fighting with rockets and mortars, would not others in the region seek to make the war even through both weapons and rhetoric? We can probably expect The People's Mujahideen and Hezbollah to react with support of Hamas.

"Hit every Zionist house in Israel" was Hamas' reply. Again, I am not a foreign expert, but maybe one need not be to understand basic human reactions. If Israel had not the military support of the West, would the fight be fair? Would suicide bombs lessen? If the West would withdrawal military support for Israel would the tension in the Middle East ease? Would tyranny and terrorism lessen?

Am I being terribly naive? Speak to me.


Bob said...

No Judith, you are not naive. I believe you are a voice of reason in an angry world. Last night I watched the Bill Moyer's Journal on PBS, and was encouraged to see that there are reasonable people throughout the world working to make it a better place. I'm sure you must get Bill Moyer on your local PBS station, and I highly recommend you watch this program (it airs several more times on our station).

There is hope for positive change and universal healing. Keep up the good work.

Bob Foster

judith ellis said...

Thank you so much for that, Bob. I have been pretty upset today about what happened both in Gaza and on the Pakistani and Indian border, not to mention what happened in India some weeks back. My fearless brother, Haywood, leaves for India next month. Peace be with him.

There must be more voices of reason among those who write and enforce policy. These must not be deterred by past fears in order for there to peace, an effect that will pervade the whole region and effect our relations with those countries therein. Injustice is punishing indeed.

Thanks also for the heads up on the Bill Moyers program. I try to catch these when possible. I am often successful. I will look for this one for sure.

Thanks again, Bob, for your words. They matter.

judith ellis said...

Bob - I just watched "Beyond our Differences" and it was indeed a wonderful program. "Love your neighbor as yourself" seems like a universal religious principle. If we could only do this, what a more wonderful world this would be!

I have been crying intermittingly for two days and I feel much better. While never losing faith and hope in humankind, my heart is somehow a little lighter now. Thank you for recommending this program.

God is love.

John O'Leary said...

Judith, I'm still trying to keep up with your prodigious productivity, as usual. :-)

In a Disney World view of good & evil everyone wants to put the Iranian prez in the evil column. Fair enough IF we put some of our own leaders in that same wide column. Should folks trust him at his word? No more than they should trust most heads of state. In the meantime we have to work with what we've got. Most people who rise to power in the world - especially in the Mideast - aren't Mother Theresas. (And we can't forget that the Iranian prez isn't the guy in charge in Iran anyway.)

judith ellis said...

So true, John. Thank you for that.

judith ellis said...

Regarding my prodigous productivity, you do just fine :-)

John O'Leary said...

Thanks, Judith, but breakthrough productivity for me is 2 posts in one month. I think you've done 2 posts in one minute.

judith ellis said...

That's funny, John!

Motasim said...

Judith this reminds me of roger waters' lyrics of a song " germans kill the jews and jews kill the arabs and arabs kill the hostages and that is the news".

This conflict has been going on for 60 years. Still we don't have a solution. A whole nation is displaced and hostage. Someone should try a systems thinking approach and solve this problem. And most of world problems will be solved. That would be a new beginning. I don't know why the powers that be are so trigger happy.