Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Better to be Thought a Fool..."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University yesterday.

When he was asked about Amnesty International’s reports that homosexuals were executed in Iran, Ahmadinejad dismissed the allegation. “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country…I don’t know who’s told you that we have this,” he said.

The crowd reacted with a mixture of laughter and boos.

What about Ahmadinejad’s history of denying that the Holocaust ever happened?

University President Lee Bollinger read a scathing statement.

“In a December 2005 state television broadcast, you described the Holocaust as a fabricated legend,” he said. “One year later, you held a two-day conference of Holocaust deniers…When you come to a place like this, it makes you simply ridiculous. The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in human history.”

"There's nothing known as absolute," Ahmadinejad replied. The president of Iran said more research is needed.

There is quite a debate in this country over whether or not Columbia University should have allowed Ahmadinejad on its campus. After watching his performance, I must say, I think it was a good thing.

There is a saying that has been around for more than a century. Some say it originated with Abraham Lincoln, while others claim Ralph Waldo Emerson or Mark Twain said it. Regardless of authorship, it is applicable: “It is better to be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

I don’t think Ahmadinejad is a fool, but many of his detractors think he is. Yesterday he supplied them with plenty of ammunition.

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