Ahmadinejad, Warrior of Controversial Statements, and His Relationship with the Western Media

Ahmadinejad, Warrior of Controversial Statements, and His Relationship with the Western MediaGlobal Politician
Ghazal Omid

As the world watches, Iran attracts media attention not only for its nuclear power progress but also for the shocking statements by Mr. Ahmadinejad, its newly elected president. His utterances are more like bad jokes by a standup comic than what is expected from an elected official of a cultured country such as Iran. As an intellectual Iranian Muslim woman, I feel deeply shamed by his outrageous comments about Israel, particularly “the holocaust never happened” comment. But, this doesn’t mean I am shocked by his behavior.

Nothing he says will surpass what his mentor, Ayatollah Khomani, said about himself when he told his followers, before he overthrew the Shah, that, as a sign of God’s favor, his image would appear on the moon. Another time, he declared that Prophet Mohammad did not finish his prophecy and he, Khomani, had come to finish it. That is why, when his followers mention his name, they say “peace upon him” three times but only once for the Prophet. The world, apparently, did not hear or has forgotten those comments. Now, his “student”, as Ahmadinejad called himself when he visited Khomani’s shrine, has created controversy and a feeling of disbelief that anyone as high up as he would make such idiotic remarks about horrible crimes against innocent people and show no empathy for the victims.

I wonder if his comments about the holocaust would have been different had the victims been Muslims instead of Jews. How would he have felt about the insult? As a Muslim woman, I know that God created us equally and demands that we all respect each other because, in the end, what matters is only who, not how, we worship.

The fact is; millions of people around the world don’t recognize how shocking his statement is. He is simply professing what he was taught for decades. It is a very common belief in the Middle East that Israelis jacked up the number of Jews killed during the Second World War in order to receive money and support from the UN and US. They contend that the Holocaust pictures were staged for the camera and a few thousand casualties were exaggerated to millions.

Although untrue, the accusation, unfortunately, comes from the President of Iran, a country currently acquiring nuclear power. We should scratch our heads hard and ask ourselves if Iran truly wants atomic power for peaceful purposes!

Nevertheless, his statements serve two purposes. First, if Iran becomes a nuclear power it will have no fear or regrets for using it. He shows that the current government of Iran feels no sorrow or remorse, bears no responsibility toward any nation’s laws and has no regard or respect for the victims, regardless of their religious beliefs. His own nation, for example, has recently witnessed the hanging of gay teens, and stoning of brutally raped women.

Secondly, he is using his position to play the free world media. Since his election, Ahmadinejad has been on CNN more than Mr. John Kerry, a 2004 candidate for the USA presidency. Mr. Ahmadinejad is not as dumb as he acts. He is using controversial issues to be on top of his game and the media plays right into his hands. It is the oldest strategy of people craving power; do or say anything to get attention. The Iranian president uses his position to generate free publicity. In a very non-conventional way, he is telling the world, “Watch out, there is a new Sheriff in town.” 
Ghazal Omid is an author of Living in Hell, human rights and women’s rights advocate, and an expert on Iran and Shiah Islam.