Hate Speech

It’s been clear for quite some time that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the hardliner who last June won the presidential elections in Iran on promises of turning the economy around, has failed miserably. Iran’s economy has taken a turn from the bad to the catastrophic.

Given his failures, Ahmadinejad has turned to a centuries-old tradition: When all else fails, blame the Jews. Indeed, today, he’s taken his hateful, anti-Jewish tirade to a whole new level, by questioning that the Holocaust ever happened. He’s clearly looking for confrontation, in hopes of shifting attention away from domestic problems and strengthening his right-wing base. Given the neo-cons in power here, he just might get his wish.

On a related note, author Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran) suggests a good recipe for people like Ahmadinejad: Read a book! The best-selling academic is hoping to start a global book club, one in which people from all over the world can read the same books:

“If our new president in Iran could come to understand that people in Israel have the same thoughts and emotions as he,” Nafisi says, “he would not be saying let’s wipe them off the map (…) That is the one thing I have always dreamt of, to create this republic of imagination.”

For more on Nafisi’s plans, read the full Globe & Mail article. (Globe link from the Lit Saloon.)

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