April 24, 2006
Translation of Speech by President Ahmadinejad of Iran
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
Dear Scholars and Thinkers; Honorable Speakers and Members of Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Peace and God’s mercy and blessings be upon you,
On behalf of our beloved people and the government of the Islamic Republic, I would like to welcome you and express my own thanks and appreciation for your attendance. I hope your blessed and fruitful presence at this conference will help ease the inconvenience of your journey from countries far and near.
Fortunately, this conference coincides with the anniversary of the birth of Islam’s glorious Prophet, which is an auspicious concurrence.
The Prophet of Islam is the messenger of compassion, mercy, justice and human dignity. He is the focus of the unity of all believers in God and all Muslims, and the harbinger of peace and harmony on the basis of justice and faith in God. Our beloved prophet desired the welfare of all humanity, was the pinnacle of human perfection, and the inheritor of all divine prophets. I offer my felicitations on the occasion of the anniversary of this auspicious birth to the honourable participants, to all Muslims and to all humanity.
Excellencies, Dear sisters and brothers;
The question of Palestine has been a tribulation for the people of the region and the Islamic community for the past sixty years. The suffering inflicted by the Zionist occupiers upon the people of the region, Muslims and especially the Palestinian people, is a gnawing torment that cannot easily be redressed, and I would like to give a brief account of it here:
The existence of the [Zionist] regime is tantamount to the permanent imposition of an unbridled threat, so that none of the Islamic nations and countries of the region can feel secure from its threat. The closer these countries and nations are to the epicenter of this threat, the more insecure they feel. The people of Palestine exist within the context of such a threat. For that reason, they have not spent even a single day with peace of mind and tranquility for at least the past sixty years. Three generations of the children of Palestine have lived and are presently living under these circumstances. The peoples of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the entire Middle East are essentially in a similar situation.
Waste of the Immense Resources of the Region and the Islamic Community
As a result of the presence of the usurper Zionist regime, an enormous portion of the wealth and assets of the Islamic countries and the region are spent on maintaining defensive strength, and at times on actual defense. In addition, an important part of the human resources, which are the most fundamental assets of any nation, have been expended for the same purpose.
Insult to the Dignity of the Faithful and Believers
The existence of such a threat has tainted the dignity of the Islamic community, the believers, and the faithful. In accordance with the noble verse [from the Qur’an], “God has never opened a path for unbelievers to dominate believers,” the domination of such a regime over the portion of Muslims and believers that reside in the occupied territories and the region is contrary to the will of the Almighty.
By its unending murders and massacres, destruction of homes and farms, desecration of sacred shrines, mosques and churches, unrelenting invasion of residential and non-residential places, planned and announced assassinations, [the Zionist regime] tramples not only on the dignity of Palestinians, but also on the dignity of all Muslims and freedom-loving people of the world.
How long can this situation last and be tolerated? When Imam Ali, Commander of the Faithful [599-661 AD], heard that invading enemies had forcibly removed an anklet from the feet of a Jewish woman in one of the frontier cities under his rule, he said: "One should not blame a man who dies from grief over such an outrage.”
Today, they show no mercy even to children, and target them with their bullets. Palestinian men and women are abducted and tortured in their fearsome prisons. People are shot dead on the streets, at markets, and in schools. Do such scenes befit the dignity and pride of Islam and humanity?
Sowing disunity in the Islamic world and among the nations of the region
Sowing disunity among the nations and governments of the region is the foundation of the continued existence of this usurper regime. By their insidious interference and by creating an atmosphere of mistrust and resentment, they divide the countries and governments of the region, so that in this atmosphere and by setting up certain covert relationships, they make possible the imposition of costly military and economic pacts, along with the disgraceful political burdens of the dominant system on the nations and governments of the region. The Zionist regime is the focus of accord for the bullying countries and the adversaries of the Islamic community, and an adversary of Muslims. Enemies and ill-wishers, by strengthening and supporting such a threat, put effective pressure on the Islamic community and the countries and nations of the region, and, despite their deep and numerous differences, they converge and are united at this single point.
In fact, all of the dominant powers impose their power on Muslims through the regime that occupies Jerusalem; and that regime, as their agent, has assumed the responsibility to terrorize, threaten, sow disunity, and sabotage the political, economic and cultural relations between the countries of the region with each other and with other countries of the world.
Preventing the Progress and Advancement of the Islamic Countries
The bullying powers use various excuses to prevent the transfer of science, technology and progress to the nations of the region, and regard [our advancement] as a threat to the corrupt Zionist regime. They do not allow the countries of the region to tread on the path to progress and advancement. They even oppose indigenous technologies in the Islamic countries, and interpret any scientific advancement as a threat to the security of the regime that occupies Jerusalem.
Do you see how they treat our nation that, relying on the creativity of its own scientists, has been able to achieve access to nuclear technology? Whereas today, nuclear technology is one of the primary foundations for progress and serving the people; and in the not too distant future, nations lacking this technology will have no choice but to resort to it in order to provide their energy needs, as well as to use nuclear technology in scientific, technical, and manufacturing fields.
Affronts against Sanctities and Destruction of Cultural Heritage
The desecration of the al-Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem] and the demographic and physical alterations in Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque that are revered by all believers and the followers of all monotheistic religions are the consequences of the Zionist occupation, which has devastated this monotheistic institution, and has ruined this precious heritage of humanity.
The Exile of the Innocent Palestinians
Today, the exile of millions of Palestinians from their fatherland is a pain and brutality whose dimensions are indescribable.
Excellencies; distinguished parliamentarians; dear sisters and brothers;
What I briefly referred to are some of the consequences of the continuation of such an artificial regime. The question is: What is the philosophy behind the establishment and imposition of such a regime by certain Western powers?
Some Western powers believe that during the Second World War they killed a large number of Jewish people, and that they founded the occupying regime in order to atone for such a tragedy.
With reverence towards all ethnicities, nations, and followers of divine religions, our question is this: If such a tragedy is true, why should it be atoned for in Islamic countries, at the expense of the people of this region, through the occupation of Palestinian lands and the unending repression of Palestinian people, the exile of millions of Palestinians, the destruction of their cities, villages, and farms, and with fire, bullets, and force?
Is the tragedy of the establishment of such a regime less of a tragedy than the Holocaust that you have claimed? If there are serious doubts regarding the Holocaust, there is no doubt regarding the Palestinian tragedy and Holocaust.
The Holocaust in Palestine has persisted for more than sixty years.
Excellencies, dear sisters and brothers;
The bitter truth is that, for the last several decades, a widespread network of Zionists, aiming at domination and mastery, has enlisted the services of the bullying and powerful governments, and certain weaker governments in the West have succumbed to the Zionists.
Today, it is not only the Palestinians and the Islamic world that are affected by the threat of Zionism, but also a huge part of the economic and political interests of the people in the West are hostage to the Zionists.
I regret to affirm that the governments under the influence of the Zionists in some European countries, for the sake of consolidating the pillars of their power, are prepared to make the financial, industrial and agricultural resources and key posts of their countries available to them, and to sacrifice the freedom, dignity and honour of their citizens under the feet of the Zionists. There is much to say regarding this matter that, God willing, I will share with all nations, and especially the people of Europe, in due course.
The question of Palestine is not solely a question for the Islamic world, but rather today’s issue for humanity. The tragedy of the occupation in Palestine and daily atrocities have harmed the dignity and honour of humanity.
Can a high-minded person condone what is happening in the occupied territories? So many Palestinians have passed away yearning for return to their homes, and so many Palestinian children live with the dream of returning to Palestine, and hope to return to the homes of their fathers.
What is the remedy, and what is the solution?
Excellencies; dear sisters and brothers;
Peace and harmony can only be based on belief in God, protection of human dignity, and justice.
Oppression and aggression are not compatible with belief in God, human dignity and justice. The Zionist regime is a clear example of oppression, and its fundamental nature represents an actual and permanent threat. Its establishment was for this very purpose, namely to put in place a permanent threat in the region. Therefore, its continued existence is a continuation of threat and oppression, and would not exist without threat and aggression, and is not inherently able to survive in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Such a regime, even if it remains established in one square meter of the land of Palestine, will continue to be a threat.
Take a good look at the bullying powers of the world. When it comes to supporting the Zionist regime, they recognize no red line and boundaries for justice, human rights and human dignity. The usurper Zionist regime is the point of convergence of all of the corruption and injustices of the corrupt and bullying powers.
Only a popular democratic government can resolve the problem of Palestine and the people of the region. The right to govern belongs to all the people of Palestine, and it is they who must decide their form of government and elect their own officials. For this purpose, there must be an opportunity for all people of Palestinian heritage, whether Muslims, Christians, or Jews, residing within Palestine or in exile in other countries, to participate in a free referendum to decide their form of government and their leaders. In other words, the only wise and rational path that is compatible with the recognized international norms is to hold a referendum with the participation of all people of Palestinian heritage.
The supporters of the Zionist regime are silent in the face of this powerful logic.
I tell them that regardless of what they desire or do not desire, the Zionist regime is falling apart.
The young tree of resistance in Palestine is blooming, and the blossoms of faith and desire for freedom are bearing fruit. The Zionist regime is a decaying and crumbling tree that will break up with a storm. Today even the immigrants inhabiting occupied Palestine, especially the African and Asian immigrants, live in misery and poverty, and discontent.
I tell the governments supporting the Zionist regime:
Open the doors to the prison of occupied Palestine, and allow the immigrants to return to their original homes, and summon the usurpers of the land of Palestine as well. Of course, if you still consider yourself indebted to them, then find a proper place for them in your own territories; otherwise, call upon them to return to their countries of origin to live like their forefathers.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Today we are all accountable in facing the question of Palestine. The enemies of humanity are struggling to preserve this nest of intrigue. They are using the resources and wealth of their own people to keep such a regime in power, at the expense of the poverty and destitution of their own nations.
With the grace of the Almighty, today the nations of the world, especially the Muslim nations, are awake and are the greatest bulwark of the people of Palestine in the struggle against the Zionist usurpers.
Islamic governments can solve the problem of Palestine by their unity and solidarity.
The parliaments of countries can play an important role in awakening and forging unity among nations by placing the question of Palestine in their permanent agenda.
The question of Palestine is the present and lasting concern of not only Muslims, but the entire humanity.
Palestine is the point of convergence and differentiation of right and wrong. The freedom of Palestine is the present aspiration of humanity. We must believe that good will prevail and evil will depart. We must believe that Palestine will soon be free.
A regime based on injustice and threats cannot survive. Today all the necessary conditions for the freedom of Palestine are on hand and available. Vigilance, unity and resistance are the keys to victory.
The destiny of the region will be decided in the land of Jerusalem, and it will be a great honour to share in the victory of Palestine.
I pray to the Almighty for the honour and strength of the Islamic community and the victory of the Palestinian people.
Once again I offer my congratulations on the auspicious birth of our dear Prophet, and thank the organizers of this conference.
I thank all the dear guests and brothers and sisters for their attendance, and hope the results of this conference will be a long step forward in realizing the noble Palestinian cause.
A great speech, even though 'those who watch' what is said in the blogoshpere may not agree.
I for one though, do not buy into the Iran has weapons business. If every country is entitled to produce nuclear energy, then that should mean EVERY country has that right.
And lets face it, despite concerns over the safety of nuclear as a power (energy not political) source, it is at least as safe as coal or oil, is cleaner and cheaper.
Just because you say it is, it's true? I don't speak Farsi, so how do I know that's actually the translation?
Not that I'm trying to be a jackass, but it would be nice to get a source, a reference, to who and/or what organization did it. (I'm a stickler for citing sources). Did you translate it?
Anyways, I think it's sad and aggregious that his point about about why the islamic world has to pay the price for Europe's crime against the Jews has never been mentioned, and that is was misleadingly represented as Holocaust denial.
A very common theme throughout US imperialistic history is the belief that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." This philosophy has led to US support of countless dictators, terrorists, and genocidal maniacs throughout the bloody 230 years of US history. I can't help but think that this is at least in part the motivation behind you're apologies for Ahmadinejad. George Bush is my enemy, and Ahmadinejad is his enemy, but that doesn't necessarily mean that we should support Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad is a fundamentalist, who doesn't believe that Israel has a right to exist. He denies that the holocost took place. Despite your more favorable translation, those facts are unchanged from the media distortions.
Bush and right-wing Israelis are fundamentalists who don't believe in the Palastinian's right to exist. They continue to deny the holocost that is currently taking place in Palastine.
It seems to me that they are all the same. I oppose all of them for the same reasons.
As to nuclear energy, despite all the concerns we may have about its safety and so on, I am beginning to think that any government that does not already have the technology for nuclear energy and is not pursuing it either, is not a responsible government. Petroleum resources are running out. Perhaps in less than twenty years from now, there will be two radically different groups of countries. One group will have access to nuclear energy and will be able to supply the energy needs of its population. Another group won't have it, and will thereby be condemned to permanent and ever-deepening destitution.
What defines a politician are the (class) interests that he/she represents, not his/her ‘beliefs.’ On that basis, Ahmadinejad is far more progressive than the previous president, Mohammad Khatami, even though the latter was supposed to be ultra-reformist, and Ahmadinejad is supposed to be ultra-conservative. The words ‘reformist’ and ‘conservative’ have no meaning in and of themselves. Instead, what we, as progressives, should be asking is: ‘reforming towards what?’ and ‘conserving what?’. Ahmadinejad’s project is to conserve and revive what the Iranian Revolution was originally about. Whether he prays five times a day or ten times a day is beside the point, unless his religiosity or ‘fundamentalism’ represents a politico-economic class interest. Ahmadinejad’s religiosity does not represent a class interest; Bush’s religiosity, on the other hand, does represent an identification with the religious Right, which is specifically opposed to social progress. Hence there is no parallel of any kind between Bush and Ahmadinejad, no matter what word games we play, and what words we substitute for other words. In the same way, the word 'Iran' cannot be substituted for the word 'Israel' in his speech; Iran, from a geopolitical point of view, is the anti-Israel. Israel has been imperialism’s opening wedge in the Middle East. Iran represents the exact opposite. In the same way, you can’t substitute ‘terrorism’ for ‘Zionism’ in a sentence. Why? Because Zionism is one of the primary reasons why terrorism exists. They are on separate ontological planes. Or, again, the reason the US has supported the forces of reaction and repression for over a hundred years is not that those forces are enemies to its enemies, and thereby its friends. Rather, the reason is that the forces of reaction represent the exact same interests that US imperialism has upheld. On the other hand, Ahmadinejad's oppositon to Israel and the US are rooted in his opposition to imperialism.
Ahmadinejad wants to present a new way of looking at certain issues. According to the media distortions we know as “news,” Ahmadinejad keeps saying “the Holocaust this” and “the Holocaust that.” The West’s presuppositions and imperialism’s interests prevent us from even realizing what subject Ahmadinejad is talking about. He doesn’t deny the Holocaust. His language of doubt is a way of shaking the West out of its slumber, and making it admit that the Holocaust is the West’s problem, not the Middle East’s. Therefore, the State of Israel, which the West founded in the name of the Holocaust, but in fact in order to keep the Middle East in a permanent state of instability, is an illegitimate political entity. That’s what Ahmadinejad means when he talks about wiping it off the map. Note that he talks about wiping it off the map. He is not talking about some kind of military attack. Instead, he is expressing the political ideal of a future secular, non-racist, entity that will come into being at the geographical location currently occupied by Israel on the map, and will be a home to Jews, Palestinians, and others.
Ahmadinejad's religion is very relevant, in that Iran is a theocracy, and so religion dictates law. They are of course not as opposed to social progress as western media would like you to believe, but that opposition still exists.
On his comments regarding the holocaust:
"Some Western powers believe that during the Second World War they killed a large number of Jewish people"
"If such a tragedy is true, why should it be atoned for in Islamic countries"
"Is the tragedy of the establishment of such a regime less of a tragedy than the Holocaust that you have claimed?" [I added the emphasis, of course].
By making those statements, he is implying that it is debatable wheter or not the holocaust took place, but that is not his central point.
His central point seems to be that only people of "Palestinian heritage" should be able to take part in a government where Israel now exists. In order for that to happen, the vast majority of Israeli citizens would have to be either forced from their homes or be forced to live under occupation by a government that they have no say in. Does that sound familiar?
I would be supportive of such a state without the "Palestinian Heritage" requirement, however, it seems too late for that. Both sides hate each other so much, I doubt they could peacefully coexist. It is a very difficult situation that would not be so difficult if there were not many mistakes and deliberately malicious acts committed in the past. I personally think that the best solution would be for Israel to withdraw to it's pre-1967 borders, and for the US to limit it's support of Israel only to that which is necessary for defense rather than dominance, but that would be in conflict with the US's imperialistic ambitions.
As to social progress, Iran, in 1979, by means of nothing less than a full-scale social revolution, removed itself from more than a quarter of a century of US domination, exactly so that it could have some social progress. The model for that progress has been an indigenous one, as models for social progress in the Third World cannot, by definition, be imported from the imperialist countries. As one commenter on this blog (Vincent Valdmanis) put it in his comment on another post:
"In pre-Revolutionary Iran, under the secular, pro-Western Shah, literacy rates among women were abysmal. The Iranian Revolution changed all that with the establishment of a far-reaching system of free higher education. The gender segregation of the educational system especially benefitted women in conservative regions [of the country]. No longer concerned about the possibility of co-ed classes, conservative families permitted their daughters to attend university for the first time. A whole generation of women became enfranchised. Now literacy rates among Iranian women are over 90 percent and there are more women in Iran's universities than men. The Revolution's position on gender segregation also led to a demand for a large female professional workforce; women in Iran hold many positions in traditionally male-dominated fields such as medicine, law and government. This transformative development was an intentional consequence of the Revolution. But it gets overlooked in the West by conservatives who can't stand the Revolution's goals of social justice and by liberals who can't understand the Revolution's dress codes."
A solution to the Palestine/Israel problem exists. What stands in the way is not the hatred between the two sides. Today's hatred, as we have seen again and again in politics, can transform itself very quickly into tomorrow's friendship. What stands in the way of peace in the Middle East is US imperialism, plain and simple. The US government and the corporate-owned mass media in the US have been the best friends that radical Zionism could have asked for. It is a known fact that criticism of Israeli policies is much stronger within Israel itself than in the US. If Israel were to be left alone by the US government and the US Zionist lobby, a truly democratic multi-racial multi-ethnic society could be established there within a few years. That is the only possible solution, and it is the solution that President Ahmadinejad has in mind. But, as you say, it is also an impossible solution, because it is in conflict with US imperialistic ambitions.
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