“There Are No Homosexuals in Iran”

“There Are No Homosexuals in Iran”
Vol: 72 Issue: 25 Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was hoping to make friends among the liberal faculty and students of Columbia University when he accepted their invitation to speak there.

I would have bet he flubbed it when, in response to the question, “why does your country execute homosexuals,” Ahmadinejad told the assembled Columbia faculty and students, “We don’t have homosexuals in Iran.”

Columbia is supposed to be one of the most prestigious Ivy-league schools in the country. To get in, you can’t just be rich — you also have to be smart.

So, when Ahmadinejad answered the question, ‘why do you execute homosexuals?’ by saying “we don’t have any homosexuals” what do you think that means?

Does it mean, “We used to have homosexuals but we executed them all”? Or does it mean, “They are so afraid of being executed that they are all in hiding.”?

Or does it mean that homosexuality is not part of Persian culture?

Clearly, he couldn’t have meant Option Three. While the Persians might not have invented homosexuality themselves, who do you think taught it to the Greeks as a social skill?

The leaves two remaining explanations for the answer. Iran killed them all, or they are so terrified of being killed they’ve gone underground.

So, when Ahmadinejad told Columbia’s best and brightest that, ‘there are no homosexuals in Iran!’ — he could not have chosen a more malevolent answer, saying, in essence, that they were either all dead or in hiding.

I expected the audience, among the most liberal and pro-gay in the country, to do what they would have done had a US military officer said something similar about gays in the military, to stand up and walk out in protest.

Instead, they laughed. They LAUGHED. I listened carefully for a ‘boo’ or for some sign that somebody out there ‘got it’ but evidently, nobody did. Or they didn’t want to offend Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by being impolite.

I am trying to imagine a situation in which an American official from either party could get away with saying something similar, but I just can’t get there from here. Evidently, liberals are a forgiving lot.

Who knew?


Ahmadinejad’s appearance at Columbia made him an instant hero to the Left. The New York Times said admiringly, “President of Iran is Defiant to His Critics.”

New York’s Newsday characterized his diatribe this way; “Iranian Prez Comes out Swinging.” TIME Magazine wanted to tell its readers “Why Ahmadinejad Loves New York.”

Ahmadinejad said, to a round of applause from his audience, that the “freest women in the world are the women of Iran.” In Iran, women cannot get a passport without permission from their father or husband. A women’s court testimony is worth half a man’s.

Men can easily divorce their wives, but the bar is set much higher when it is the woman who instigates divorce proceedings. In Iran, a girl reaches marriageable adulthood at age nine.

None of this seemed to bother the liberals in the audience, who at times gave Mahmoud Ahmadinejad standing ovations for some of his comments.

Ahmadinejad bragged about freedom of the press and of Iranian access to the internet, claiming that Iran has a vibrant opposition press.

Iran has banned more than 100 publications in the past decade. Foreign press is strictly controlled.

Iran has blocked more than ten million internet sites, and in 2006, began focusing on sites dealing with women’s rights.

Ahmadinejad’s speech was filled with references to Islam, and with calls for his audience to convert to Islam. Neither the press nor the audience seemed to mind. George Bush once referred to Jesus Christ by Name during his campaign. (Bush was so savaged by the Left in the press that he never did it again.)

When pressed about Iran smuggling weapons into Iraq to fight the United States, Ahmadinejad first denied that it happened, then followed it up with “Are you saying that a few missiles are going to be a problem?”

Not a single followup question addressed his apparent admission that Iranian missiles are being using against US forces in Iraq. (Nobody else even mentioned ‘missiles’)

Nobody booed when Ahamdinejad sidestepped the question about whether or not he meant it when he called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

When he was asked for a ‘yes or no answer’ he complained that he wasn’t being given the chance to speak — which earned him another standing ovation from the audience, and earned the audience another diatribe — and nobody seemed to care that he never answered the question.

In all, Ahmadinejad’s visit was a propaganda coup of immeasurable importance to his regime. Back home in Iran, those who may had begun to chafe under their repressive mullocracy will be treated to endless loops of Ahmadinejad being cheered by students of a prestigious American university.

In Iran, where 70% of the population is under thirty, a student endorsement carries more weight than a UN endorsement of their government. (If the freest student body in the world doesn’t think things are so bad in Iran, then maybe it isn’t as bad as they thought it was.)

Iran’s state-controlled propaganda machine will use the Columbia lecture to highlight America s divisions, to bolster Ahmadinejad s international legitimacy and standing, to reiterate that it is Ahmadinejad and his puppet masters who raise Iran s prestige and position, and to underscore to the Iranian people that the regime is in charge.

If Iran’s dissidents had any hope of regime change, those hopes grew that much dimmer with every standing ovation Columbia’s students gave their leader.

During the darkest days of WWII, US President Franklin D Roosevelt told the nation, “As a nation, we may take pride in the fact we are soft-hearted. But we cannot afford to be soft-headed.”

We can afford it even less now than we could then.

This entry was posted in Briefings by Pete Garcia. Bookmark the permalink.

About Pete Garcia

Christian, father, husband, veteran, pilot, and sinner saved by grace. I am a firm believer in, and follower of Jesus Christ. I am Pre-Trib, Dispensational, and Non-Denominational (but I lean Southern Baptist).

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