Ahmadinejad’s freedom of speech must have limits



Ahmadinejad’s Italian adventure has begun with two missed opportunities: talking to Berlusconi and to the Pope. Fine. It means that our political and religious authorities don’t want to mix with a dictator. It’s a good starting point.


“Ahma”, though, started his speech delivered at the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome by stating that the Italians and Iranians share some common features. They’re both similar in the way they welcome foreigners. What does that mean: That when he wants to meet up with someone from its entourage they refuse to talk to him? Well informed people from the Iranian Diaspora know that the regime in Teheran is anything but united.


There were two sit-ins yesterday in the Italian capital protesting against Ahmadinejad and FAO, who had invited him at the conference. One took place in Piazza di Spagna around two p.m., and the other at the Campidoglio in the evening. All and all, I’d say that more or less 700 hundred people attended these events.


These numbers can be misinterpreted: there may only be 700 hundred people in all of Rome who know about what is currently going on in Teheran. Not many, right? You would expect at least numbers in the thousands. On the other hand, it is true that the conference was on Tuesday; people are very busy and Rome is not exactly a good place for meetings, given the traffic, the bad public transportation system, etc.


It also true as the Italian daily newspaper “Il Riformista” pointed out – the principal subject involved in the organization of the sit-ins is not that mainstream: it could be another good reason for the poor turnout of these protests against Ahmadinejad.


That said, all media sources – in a rare displace of conformity – report a victory against the dictator and the Islamic Republic of Iran. There is, of course, not one single article in favor of Teheran’s regime.


They all report that Ahmadinejad has been welcomed very badly by the Italian authorities and the Italian people. I heard that a dictator like him is not going to be popular here. I also heard that Italy has shown the world how to deal with a tyrant such as Ahma.


Unfortunately, the facts are far different than these words. The Iranian President has been, in fact, invited (along with Mugabe, to tell the truth) at an international conference organized by the Food and Agricultural Organization in order to speak about hunger in the world. That is outrageous.


Ahmadinejad has been interviewed by some journalists while sitting on a king like armchair of the seventeenth century. That scene was aired all over Italy. Someone asked him, “Don’t you think that speaking about the destruction of Israel might end up putting Iran against the international community?” The Tyrant said: “No, I don’t think so…because Zionism is one the worst things ever happened to Europe”. Then, the same person asked him about the nuclear proliferation. Once again Ahmadinejad had a prompt answer to give: He said that “the United States is the most violent of all the States in the world, and therefore, cannot judge what the others are doing.”


It seems to me that someone here in Italy, not only gave this man the opportunity to participate in an international conference, but also gave him a (very comfortable) place to sit – a place from which he addressed our nation about his perverted ideas.


I think this is not a victory. I think this is not a bad welcome. We should keep our eyes wide open and, instead of allowing such people to talk in front of an audience, send them back to where they belong.

You hang gay people, execute women because they commit adultery (can’t we just erase this word from the dictionary?), you kill eighteen year-old-guys, prevent your people from expressing their opinions, Mr. Ahmadinejad? Alright, then, you shouldn’t be allowed to set foot in Europe. This would be a “bad welcome”, as well as a good approach towards dealing with him.


Ok, we all know Voltaire and what he said about the freedom of speech. But my freedom ends when yours begins, right? Therefore, it seems to me that threatening to wipe off a country off the map constitutes a valid justification for threatening Ahmadinejad’s freedom of speech.

Andrea Loquenzi Holzer


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Andrea Loquenzi Holzer

The truth will set you free

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