Wednesday, September 26, 2007

parsing Ahmadinejad

The chattering classes are having great fun mocking Iran's titular president for his avowal at Columbia University: 'We don’t have homosexuals like in your country'. But of course he was being nothing less than accurate, especially considering that he was speaking in New York City. You can bet your bippy that Teheran doesn't have homesexuals like those I've seen walking the streets of Manhattan, if only because they'd immediately be snatched up and sent out for flogging or summary execution.

Of course it's always possible that Ahmadinejad was making a small error in English usage. This would hardly be surprising, since English isn't his first language, and since many Americans make the same mistake. Like is a preposition; as is a conjunction. So he may have been saying, as you do in your country, though even then the same interpretation could apply. Iran doesn't have a homosexual population in the same way the United States does--again, if only because it's a capital offense.

My own feeling was that Ahmadinejad came off better than did Columbia's president Lee Bollinger, who first invited the nutter to speak, then took advantage of the podium to insult him.

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