Canadian group at the UN leads walkout as Ahmadinejad speaks. Did they make the right decision?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Here's an article on the event from yesterday where Canada boycotted a speech by Ahmadinejad at the UN. Did Canada make the right decision? The answer is yes and no, mostly yes but a bit of no. The bit of no comes from a bit of fine tuning that should have been applied to the reason for the walkout, and I'll get to that in a second.

First: Ahmadinejad at the UN. He enjoys using appearances like this as a soapbox, and his claim about his own previous speech there has made him the brunt of jokes before. In 2005 he made a speech at the UN and later stated that everyone froze as he talked, followed by a halo of light (hale noor, حاله نور) behind him, which set off a huge swath of parody that you can see in this video and others.

Ahmadinejad loves the attention, and he also loves to talk about Israel and Palestine. That's where the Canadian delegation could have improved their reasons for the walkout, because these were the reasons given:

1) Statements on Israel, the Jewish people and the Holocaust
2) Crackdown on legitimate dissent
3) The fiasco surrounding the presidential election
4) The continued imprisonment of Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari

Reason #1 is the only one that doesn't really need to be there, and can be condemned separately. When protesting a character like Ahmadinejad the focus needs to be placed on his lack of legitimacy as much as possible, and all of the four reasons except #1 do this. And as mentioned above, this is a subject Ahmadinejad loves to talk about, because it's a subject that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the elections. So Canada gets about 75% for its walkout yesterday.


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