The most important news this week is breaking not at the UN, but on the streets of Rangoon, where Burmese monks have been braving armed security forces to protest years of brutal, military rule — Richard Fernandez of Pajamas Media has a roundup here.
If the UN were a healthy institution, some of those monks would be speaking to us this week from the General Assembly stage.
Instead, courtesy of his hosts, the UN General Assembly, we have had Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmedinejad traipsing around New York, in what has been for the past few days the 24/7 Ahmadinejad Top Hits Propaganda Parade. He has had time to speak at the National Press Club, Columbia University, the UN General Assembly, attend a reception, hold a UN press conference, appear on the Charlie Rose show, and of course taped a curtain-raiser with CBS’s 60 Minutes from Tehran which aired Sunday as he was arriving in New York.
He has told us that there are no homosexuals in Iran (note: where the authorities execute them), that Iran is a free country (note: free from freedom) and with complete disregard for two UN resolutions meant to stop the Iranian bomb program he informed the UN unilaterally, from its own stage, that he considers the nuclear bomb issue now closed, and Iran’s nuclear interests strictly a technical matter for El Baradei’s IAEA (note: which has covered for this bomb program for years). He has effectively repeated his call to wipe Israel off the map, implied there was no holocaust, and told us to abjure Satan, like he does. In exchange for this, the grateful UN General Assembly gave him extra time on stage.
He is now off to Caracas, to chum around in our backyard with his pal, decorated hero of the Iranian regime, aspiring-president-for-life of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.
What Ahmadinejad did not make time to do was answer a question at his press conference from the wife of an Israeli soldier, Ehud Goldwasser, one of two Israeli soldiers kidnapped in July, 2006 from inside Israel by the Iranian-backed terrorist group, Hezbollah.
This was the “dialogue” that took place with Iran’s regime in New York this week, a propaganda package par excellence for Ahmadinejad to send back home to Iran and the rest of the Middle East. It was a betrayal of decency, sanity, morality, and everything the U.S. stands for and the UN was supposed to. Most of all, it was a betrayal of democratic dissidents in Iran — beaten, tortured, imprisoned, murdered, silenced — by the regime personified this week by the grinning man in the zip-up jacket. If it leaves you feeling sick, outraged, and ready to revive that highly relevant phrase, “regime change,” that’s a healthy response.