Ahmadinejad Meets with Activists

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A diverse group of human rights activists met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to commemorate the International Day of Peace. Ahmadinejad, in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, has been vilified this week by protesters for his inflammatory stance on issues such as denying the Jewish Holocaust, Israel’s right to exist, and gay Iranians. Despite this, he hosted a meeting with human rights activists from the United States and Iran. The purpose of the meeting was to “provide progressive activists and peace loving groups in the United States an opportunity to hear firsthand Iran’s view of the international situation.”
The president of Iran called the meeting because he was “interested in hearing about the struggles for peace and social justice being carried out by American activists,”  and that it was his “fervent hope that hosting this meeting with American progressives will help further the cause of peace by promoting communication, understanding and mutual respect between our people’s.” For two hours he listened to more than a dozen activists before making his own statements on the topic of peace and justice.
Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney said if the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were observed by every member state of the United Nations, “we could truly celebrate a world in peace.” She quoted former president, John F. Kennedy who cited the topic of world peace as the most important topic on earth. McKinney recalled the lives and violent deaths of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Bobby Kennedy who all in their own ways called fro peace and justice. “The major lesson we must learn and never forget is that those who want to wage war abroad are also willing to wage it at home,” McKinney said. “Undaunted, we must organize a peace lobby grounded in love, truth, respect, and dignity. We must reach across humanity, setting aside what others have successfully used in the past to divide us. Do I believe it can be done? Absolutely. But we cannot allow ourselves to be tricked into believing that the ones who got us into war are going to be the ones who are going to lead us out of it. If we fail to act now, who will?”
Ramsey Clark, former United States Attorney general under president Lyndon Baines Johnson, graphically recalled his experiences observing the violent uprisings during the 1970’s which led to the fall of the Shah of Iran.
Brenda Stokely said, “We have neocolonialism, both inside the borders of this country.  The indigenous people, those who have survived their genocide as well as Chicanos and many who are Puerto Rican, Asians and African-Americans are looking at the belly of the beast here. We need to correct the image that we never fought back. We need to correct the image that we are criminals.” Stokely looked directly at Ahmedinejad and said, “Just like they try to criminalize your country, your leadership and your people, they have systematically criminalized the people that are going to be the ones who are going to be able to organize for justice in this country. We are talking about the right to live and live decently.”
Stokley’s solution: “We have to find ways to do the proper kind of education to get across the real picture of people around the world who are being oppressed and have aggression heaped upon their lands and their people. We need to show where the commonality is. We have people like the tea baggers and other folks who are talking about their rights are being taken away. They are not educated enough to know whose rights are being taken away when you send our young brothers and sisters overseas to fight and kill other people of color. Justice only comes from the broadest, strongest most militant and powerful movement, and today it must be international. I want to thank you for having the courage and wisdom to call this meeting.”
Carla Anson, a member of Iowans for Diplomacy with Iran, identified herself as an American Iranian. She presented to Ahmedinejad a book written by her husband Dr. Ismael Hossein-zadeh, entitled “The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism”, which she said has been translated into Farsi.
Ramona Africa of the MOVE organization said she understands “the role the news media plays in demonizing people and painting a picture that this U.S. Government wants people to see and think about other countries. They have done the same thing to the MOVE organization. ”
Iran, according to Ahmadinejad, has several thousand years of history. It has seen its share of recent violence and war during the fall of the Shah of Iran and the Iraq/Iran war. President Ahmadinejad told the audience, “The only element that will lead to a viable peace is justice. Peace can never come as a result of war.” To obtain justice, Ahmadinejad said there are three elements: 1) Belief in God and all his goodness; 2) in order to strive for justice, one must be just himself; and 3) justice requires consistent struggle and effort. Ahmadinejad admitted Iran’s “challenges are numerous.” His request: “Never lose hope, because there is a God.”

A diverse group of human rights activists met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to commemorate the International Day of Peace. Ahmadinejad, in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, has been vilified this week by protestors for his inflammatory stance on issues such as denying the Jewish Holocaust, Israel’s right to exist, and gay Iranians. Despite this, he hosted a meeting with human rights activists from the United States and Iran. The purpose of the meeting was to “provide progressive activists and peace loving groups in the United States an opportunity to hear firsthand Iran’s view of the international situation.” The president of Iran called the meeting because he was “interested in hearing about the struggles for peace and social justice being carried out by American activists,”  and that it was his “fervent hope that hosting this meeting with American progressives will help further the cause of peace by promoting communication, understanding and mutual respect between our people’s.” For two hours he listened to more than a dozen activists before making his own statements on the topic of peace and justice.Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney said if the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were observed by every member state of the United Nations, “we could truly celebrate a world in peace.” She quoted former president, John F. Kennedy who cited the topic of world peace as the most important topic on earth. McKinney recalled the lives and violent deaths of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Bobby Kennedy who all in their own ways called fro peace and justice. “The major lesson we must learn and never forget is that those who want to wage war abroad are also willing to wage it at home,” McKinney said. “Undaunted, we must organize a peace lobby grounded in love, truth, respect, and dignity. We must reach across humanity, setting aside what others have successfully used in the past to divide us. Do I believe it can be done? Absolutely. But we cannot allow ourselves to be tricked into believing that the ones who got us into war are going to be the ones who are going to lead us out of it. If we fail to act now, who will?”Ramsey Clark, former United States Attorney general under president Lyndon Baines Johnson, graphically recalled his experiences observing the violent uprisings during the 1970’s which led to the fall of the Shah of Iran.Brenda Stokely said, “We have neocolonialism, both inside the borders of this country.  The indigenous people, those who have survived their genocide as well as Chicanos and many who are Puerto Rican, Asians and African-Americans are looking at the belly of the beast here. We need to correct the image that we never fought back. We need to correct the image that we are criminals.” Stokely looked directly at Ahmedinejad and said, “Just like they try to criminalize your country, your leadership and your people, they have systematically criminalized the people that are going to be the ones who are going to be able to organize for justice in this country. We are talking about the right to live and live decently.” Stokley’s solution: “We have to find ways to do the proper kind of education to get across the real picture of people around the world who are being oppressed and have aggression heaped upon their lands and their people. We need to show where the commonality is. We have people like the tea baggers and other folks who are talking about their rights are being taken away. They are not educated enough to know whose rights are being taken away when you send our young brothers and sisters overseas to fight and kill other people of color. Justice only comes from the broadest, strongest most militant and powerful movement, and today it must be international. I want to thank you for having the courage and wisdom to call this meeting.” Carla Anson, a member of Iowans for Diplomacy with Iran, identified herself as an American Iranian. She presented to Ahmedinejad a book written by her husband Dr. Ismael Hossein-zadeh, entitled “The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism”, which she said has been translated into Farsi. Ramona Africa of the MOVE organization said she understands “the role the news media plays in demonizing people and painting a picture that this U.S. Government wants people to see and think about other countries. They have done the same thing to the MOVE organization. ”Iran, according to Ahmadinejad, has several thousand years of history. It has seen its share of recent violence and war during the fall of the Shah of Iran and the Iraq/Iran war. President Ahmadinejad told the audience, “The only element that will lead to a viable peace is justice. Peace can never come as a result of war.” To obtain justice, Ahmadinejad said there are three elements: 1) Belief in God and all his goodness; 2) in order to strive for justice, one must be just himself; and 3) justice requires consistent struggle and effort. Ahmadinejad admitted Iran’s “challenges are numerous.” His request: “Never lose hope, because there is a God.”

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