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The speech is starting, and it’s like a movie: Coatsworth asked everyone to turn off their cell phones and to stay seated, lest the Secret Service get all up on their asses.
1:50: Bwog has been chased out of Hamilton. Unbelievably, people are still in class. Inside, someone threw a pen.
1:57: Prezbo is talking: “Why are you so afraid of Iranian citizens expressing their opinions, for change?” Proposes that he go talk to the universities in Iran, to huge applause.
Prezbo called Mahmoud a cruel and petty dictator, plus ridiculous and uneducated. Ouch.
Now he’s asking why Mahmoud is fighting a proxy war in Iraq, and goes on with a litany of complaints. The audience’s heart swells with pride.
2:03: PrezBo finishes. Oh god–Mahmoud is up.
2:08: Ahmedinejad starts with thanks to God, and then complains about the conditions of the invitation.
“I am grateful to God for allowing me to be in an academic environment…At the outset, I want to complain a little but.”
“In Iran…We don’t think it’s necessary before the speech is even given, to come in with a series of claims.”
“He certainly took more than the allocated time to speak, and that’s fine with me.”
“In many parts of the speech, there were many insults, and claims that were incorrect, regretfully.”
2:10: Now he’s going on about Angels and the Almighty. Bwog is confused.
2:12: From a guy on the lawn: “Either he’s stoned or the translator is.”
Fittingly, the translator is a woman.
2:15: He’s spent the last 5 minutes talking about how great science is.
“Science means rightness. Real science is the science that rescues humans from ignorance. It is the light that sheds on the hearts of those that have been selected by the Almighty.”
2:18: Hi City Room!
Uh oh, now he’s warning that scientists need to be pure, or else bad shit will happen. The Lawn has turned into a sea of confused faces.
2:25: Moving on to WMD.
“Making weapons of mass destruction is yet another misuse of science. Without the cooperation of certain scientists, we would not have witnessed the production of chemical and biological weapons…If nuclear war wages, what human catastrophe will take place?”
“These catastrophes take place only when scholars and scientists are misused.”
Some rich countries want to keep the other nuclear powers down, he says.
2:27: Wow, first applause when he starts to talk about Palestine other than when he came out originally. And by the way, he considers himself an academic. He teaches classes, he says, at a graduate level.
“You know quite well that Palestine is an old wound. For 60 years, these people are displaced.”
Oh shit, now we’re on to the Holocaust.
“Why is there not sufficient research that can approach the event from different perspectives?” Says that people have been put into jail for trying to research it in different ways. “Why isn’t it open to all forms of research?”
“Given this historical event is a reality…why is it that the Palestinian people are praying the price for an event they had nothing to do with?”
2:32: Mahmoud decries injustice in how Iran can’t develop nuclear weapons. Look, we’ve obeyed the IAEA! “Two or three selfish powers want to deny the Iranian people their right.”
2:35: “We are a peace-loving nation. We love all nations.” OK, he’s down.
2:37: A question: do you want the destruction of the state of Israel? Yes or no.
Mahmoud COMPLETELY ignores the question.
“Is the Palestinian issue not an issue of international concern? Please tell me, yes or no?” is his sassy reply. Then, “Our solution is a free referendum…let the people of Palestine choose what they want in the future.”
2:39: Hi Gawker!
Welll….we don’t, you do! “We were the first nation to object to terrorism, and the first to uphold the need to fight terrorism….We need to address the root causes of terrorism.
It’s quite clear which powers incite terrorism, fund them.”
“We don’t need to resort to terrorism, we’ve been victims of terrorism.”
Bwog is beginning to wonder why this man ever seemed so threatening. Mostly he’s just sort of bumbling and self-righteous.
On capital punishment: “Don’t you have capital punishment in the US?”
2:48: On women:
“Women in Iran enjoy the highest level of freedom.”
“Our nation has the highest level of participation in elections. 80-90% turn out for elections, over half of whom are women. So how can you say that they are not free?”
2:50: What about homosexuals?
“In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country.”
That’s it. That’s really all he said. Some people booed and hissed.
And then he continued… “Women are the best creatures created by God. In Iran, every family that is given a girl is ten times happier than having a son.”
And they’re even lucky! “They are exempt from the legal responsibility of men.”
2:52: Then he called New Yorkers self absorbed for not letting him come “show respect” at Ground Zero. He references the Iran-Iraq war in the 80’s a couple of times; he keeps doing this throughout the speech although crowd members look like they don’t know what he’s talking about…
2:57: Bwog was really excited when Ahmadinejad said he was going to tell a joke! “I think the politicians who are after atomic bombs are politically backward, retarded.” The Iranian delegation chuckled amongst themselves; it seems things are certainly lost in translation. Also, “We don’t believe in nuclear weapons, period.”
3:02: “Come and speak with our university students. You are officially invited.” Also, “I announced that I am ready to engage with Mr. Bush…it shows we want to talk.” He makes an earnest face and raises his hands; faces in the crowd are skeptical.
Bwog is nearly out of battery and needs to pee. The exit music, as people pour off South Lawn, is Jack Johnson’s “Better together.”