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Let him speak

Let him speak


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Too many people, from frustrated talk show hosts to the chattering cable class, fulminated about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's brief sojourn to the U.N. and New York. The popular view was that Ahmadinejad's visit should be short and silent. We would be cheating ourselves to edit his thoughts. The more we let someone like Ahmadinejad speak, the easier to decipher whether he has his head screwed on right. There is a distorted and disturbing view that we legitimize Ahmadinejad by letting him take advantage of our First Amendment. But the opposite happened. I have never been to Iran; but when he claimed there were no homosexuals in Iran, his Columbia University audience laughed. The absurdity of the statement was swept away by roaring laughter. He didn't have the gall to repeat the claim that the Holocaust never happened. But he made news we may have missed. He said the Holocaust was a European problem, not the fault of the Palestinians. That is a distinction that will win him favor back home and throughout the Arab world. I do concur that Big Apple police should not have provided security for the Iranian visit Ground Zero. His sincerity was too clever by half. The best way to challenge a view is through debate, not allowing it to fester behind a dark veil.

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Tom Callan

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