With the news of the wish of Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit the site of the World Trade Center, and the refusal by local government, on the basis that it is a “sacred” site, too holy to be visited by the likes of one such as he, is the latest expression of silliness masquerading as politics.
It is the politics of emotion and imagery posing as reason.
First of all, since when does the NYPD engage in international diplomacy?
Secondly, what will Ahmadinejad’s mere presence do to the Manhattan site? Desecrate it?
Lastly, the Trade Center is a national site: it is an historic site – but how can it be a religious site?
People (and not just Americans!) from a wealth of faiths and beliefs died at that site on Sept. 11, 2001.
The Islamic Republic of Iran had nothing to do with Sept. 11th – and neither did Ahmadinejad.
Some have said that his anti-Israeli comments should've disqualified him from the visit, but he’s not trying to visit Yad Vashem (the holocaust memorial in Israel).
This is the politics of pettiness; the politics of illusion, certainly; but it’s also more – for powerful forces in the U.S. government want to push the nation into a new war –one with Iran.
To be sure, Ahmadinejad’s raps haven't helped, but it’s dangerous and misleading to assume that a foreign president, under a different system, has the powers and prerogatives of an American president.
Under the Iranian system, Ahmadinejad represents the executive, but he is not Commander-in-Chief.
Since the time of the Islamic Revolution, real power is held by a religious figure, known as the Supreme Leader, or collectively, the Majles-e-Khabrgran Rahbari, or the Assembly of Experts for the Leadership.
Ahmadinajad couldn't declare war on the U.S. if he wanted to; and he doesn't want to.
Iran is in a power position today not because of anything it’s done – but because of everything the U.S. has done to destabilize and wreck Iraq.
Iraq and Iran fought a vicious, bloody war, called ‘The War of the Cities’, which cost nearly a million lives on both sides. When the U.S. crushed their hated enemy, Saddam Hussein, Iranians, albeit briefly, danced in the streets.
If the Iraq War has taught us anything, it’s that diplomacy is preferable to war; for what is diplomacy, but talking?
Those who want Ahmadinejad barred from the Trade Center are most likely those who cheered when the U.S. began its long night of occupation over Iraq.
They prefer war against symbols, rather than war against real people, who think, who hear, and who speak.