Poetic Justice for Ahmadinejad

July 18, 2008 at 4:32 pm | Posted in Security | Leave a comment

On the very day that Iran’s President Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University, I happened to be reading poetry to thirty Holocaust survivors in Atlanta. Throughout the presentation, I felt uneasy; I felt as if I should be exposing the radical leader who not only denies the Holocaust, but calls for a new genocide in “wiping Israel off the map.”

But in actuality, the situation in Iran has already exposed him as a cruel and ineffective leader. The Iranians are tired of his empty promises “in the name of God,” although only a miracle could now save the failed Islamic Revolution. More than 20 % of the nation is unemployed, the educated are leaving the country resulting in a substantial brain drain, and despite its massive oil reserves, Iran is heavily dependent on imported fuel. It continues to scrape by because of the current high crude oil prices, but Ahmadinejad knows that this is only a weak patch for a bleeding economy.

The Iranian President is desperate, and has every reason to be: his beloved Islamic Revolution is almost thirty years old, but it has failed the Iranian people. Ahmadinejad is selling the nuclear illusion to his citizens to distract them from his and Khomeini’s monumental failure.

Scoffing at the 9/11 tragedy and denying the Holocaust are both dangerous and shocking behavior from a potential nuclear power, but these declarations say something even more disturbing about Ahmadinejad. He sees the world through the eyes of a street fighter, continuously spewing threats from the losing side of his global gang fight in the attempt to save face. After all, Ahmadinejad was among the mob that stormed the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979, a protected symbol of dialogue between nations- the dialogue that he was allegedly seeking at Columbia just last week.

This brutal mentality makes a nuclear Iran even more dangerous. We have no assurance that Ahmadinejad would not pass the bomb to one of his many proxy terrorist groups in Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza to be detonated in London, Paris, New York or Tel Aviv. In fact, I believe he would, for dictators never know when to stop, and in their desperation they don’t hesitate to take others down with them.

Despite the looming nuclear threat, I found a bit of poetic justice by the end of my poetry reading. Reading Hebrew poetry to a group of Holocaust survivors could possibly be the greatest act of defiance against the world’s most visible dictator. It was as if we were saying “we are still here, and we will be reading our poetry long after the champions of hate like you are gone.”

And so there we were: almost thirty Holocaust survivors and an Israeli diplomat gathered together during the same moments that Ahmadinejad was preaching hate and violence. Thirty survivors- one for each year of the failed Iranian revolution- all with shared hope that Ahmadinejad will continue to fail in bringing upon us his nuclear nightmare.

Article appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on October 4th, 2007; in the Daily Alert on October 23rd, 2007; in the Deep South Jewish Voice on November 1st, 2007; in the Birmingham News on November 4th, 2007; in the Asheville Citizen Times on November 9th, 2007; and in the Durham-Chapel Hill Federation Menorah on November 20th, 2007


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