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Listening to an Enemy

Listening to an Enemy


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I have struggled this week with understanding my own mind regarding Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speaking in this country, both at Columbia University and at the United Nations. I watched the interview on 60 Minutes Sunday night with my parents from my brother's home in Pennsylvania. I, like the rest of the country, felt frustrated by his refusal to answer a direct question.

Then when I read what he said at Columbia, I felt a growing sense of frustration. I thought, "What? He denies there are homosexuals in his country! He refuses to acknowledge statements he's made about Israel and the Holocaust? He's a total nut job!"

Then I realized that that is the point precisely. In speaking, he reveals himself to the world. He is a total nut job. He loses all credibility for any argument he makes, any "fact" he alleges, when he opens his mouth. We should not prevent his speaking. He helps us every time he does because he shows the lack of merit in his opinions.

This is the beauty of free speech. Free speech encourages all speech, and in the speaking and the listening, the truth emerges for all to see.

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Amanda Dickson

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