How many people actually read Ahmadinejad’s speech?

durbanIt has long been understood that Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination in Sarajevo was not the cause of the First World War.  Rather, it was merely the excuse that already bellicose powers needed to spark the powder keg of Europe and let slip the dogs of war.

Fast forward almost 100 years and we have a very similar parallel today at the UN’s conference on anti-racism.  The white, western world was already frothing at the mouth over the entire existence of the anti-racism conference, all it needed was a excuse and Ahmadinejad unsurprisingly was tapped to provide exactly that.

Why the white, wealthy, European world would be unwilling to talk openly about issues with which they’ve long had a checkered past is obvious.  The U.S. has long bristled at even the suggestion that the victims of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade are owed reparations.  The far-right Italian government is currently in the process of rounding up and “tagging” Gypsies once again and thus obviously does not want to participate in the Durban discussions on Gypsies.  The Canadian, Australian, American and New Zealand governments were the only governments in the entire world to reject the UN declaration on the rights of Aboriginal and Indigenous peoples and thus did not want to be a part of Durban’s discussions on Aboriginal peoples.  And the Israel government doesn’t want to talk about a whole host of issues on which it has long been in violation of UN declarations and Geneva Convention rights (notably the injunctions against acquiring land through military conquest, the right of refugees to return to their homes, nuclear weapons, the slaughter of refugees and engaging in illegal warfare).

So, in this context, the West was poised to find any excuse to discredit the UN’s attempts to eradicate racism and they believe they found it with Ahmadinejad’s speech.  Indeed, if the public didn’t read or listen to Ahmadinejad’s speech, there wouldn’t be a problem — the anti-UN propaganda would probably have worked.  But, as Shakespeare’s Hamlet famously noted, “ay, there’s the rub”.  The rub is that the UN and several academic and news agencies have published the text of the speech in its entirety.

Oops.

There were certainly problems with the speech.  For instance, the Iranian President seems to think that religion has been (and will be) a major source of anti-racism rather than the single greatest cause of racism.  The Arab Slave Trade, the Pope’s crucial role in the extermination of North American Indians, and the current religiously-supported illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza all work to disprove Ahmadinejad’s argument.  But, that said, aside from some glaring non sequiturs here and there, there was relatively little wrong with the speech — something the lemmings who didn’t read it wouldn’t be able to know.

Read it and think for yourself.

Just to put things into perspective, the following is a wordmap of Ahmadinejad’s speech constructed by a redditor.

39700385

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23 Responses to “How many people actually read Ahmadinejad’s speech?”


  1. 1 Alison 23 April, 2009 at 6:13 am

    The Star, April 21 : “The Iranian president called for the eradication of Israel…”

    The Star, April 22 : “Correction: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not call for the eradication of Israel. Nor did he brand Israel as illegitimate.”

  2. 2 Robert McClelland 23 April, 2009 at 7:52 am

    The media narrative was written long before the conference even took place.

  3. 3 Alison 25 April, 2009 at 3:03 am

    Pillay blasts disinformation around U.N. race meeting

    U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay denounced Friday what she called a “widespread and highly organized campaign of disinformation” surrounding a U.N. conference on race.

    “I feel that it’s one or two sources, since the same language was carried by very many media. But here I found that maybe some orchestration was involved in the NGOs (non-governmental organizations) who participated,” she said.

  4. 4 Endless Nameless 9 April, 2010 at 5:50 am

    If not said before: I love this blog, specially the graphs and plots. You have a lot of courage (and work) in doing (or showing) this.

    About the speech, one subject related to this is how media usually portrait or translate pronunciations or speeches from middle Eastern countries. Fortunately the speech of Ahmadinejad was well translated. Usually it seems that they translate in a way to sound dumb or childish, with simple words and phrases. I have my doubts if sometimes this is on purpose or not.

    I am proud that my government is still talking and have good relations with Iran, because, to me, to label a person or a country as almost a demon is not the best way to create a better world, or even to defend your country.

    Your second graph is really powerful and I think it sums up all this UN conference.

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