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Blind to the Power of a Threat

September 25th, 2007

Via Think Progress:

In his speech at Columbia University today, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was asked about the treatment of gays in Iran. Ahmadinejad responded, “In Iran, we dont have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who’s told you we have it.” …

“Some international gay rights groups believe that more than 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979,” notes 365gay.com.

Perhaps Ahmadinejad meant, “we dont have homosexuals anymore.

But in truth, the fact brought up by 365gay.com demonstrates why people in Iran might think that gays do not exist there: quite simply, they know they would face certain death.

This is not a new concept to me; while in college in the early 90’s, I took a course in Human Sexuality (a very popular elective course) in which one of the instructors related a story with a similar theme. Apparently, in a lesson some time before, the teacher had told the class that homosexuals exist in every country, in every society. After the class, a student from a Middle-eastern country came up to her and rather vehemently denied that statement where his country was involved. “There are no gays in my country!” the student declared.

The teacher asked, “If a gay person was found in your country, what would happen?”

“We would kill him,” reported the student matter-of-factly.

Apparently, even after explanations, the student still did not understand how it was possible for gays to be in his country and he could not be aware of it.

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  1. September 26th, 2007 at 20:14 | #1

    Ahmadinejad’s responses at Columbia were uniformly non-responsive. He’d make a good American politician.

  2. ykw
    September 27th, 2007 at 02:34 | #2

    I think it is fine for someone who we don’t agree with to visit the country, give a talk, and respond to questions.

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