Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the U.N. General Assembly at the annual meeting of world leaders (held in New York City) on September 21, 2011.
His address was of the usual tone – highly critical of the U.S. and soft on issues pertaining to his own country.
Ahmadinejad has a difficult time inspiring people when he speaks, especially in the U.S., and mass walkouts of the U.N. General Assembly have become routine.
Ahmadinejad, in his criticism of the U.S., spoke of poverty and the uneven distribution of wealth that presently characterizes the bulk of our nation’s woes, and he spoke of the history of the U.S. as it pertains to the slave trade and our refusal as leader of the free world to pay restitution to the affected nation’s and their people.
He also spoke of 9/11, the growing U.S. military occupation of other nations, and the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
As a result (and as tradition would have it), the U.S. diplomats, along with diplomats from other nations, walked out of the assembly.
Now most people would agree that because of the negative, incendiary and particularly unproductive rhetoric that Ahmadinejad delivers during his speeches that the walkouts are justified because the Iranian president does not deserve an audience.
Unfortunately this reasoning held by the delegates in reference to this latest walkout is potentially less productive than Ahmadinejad’s speeches.
Walkouts do not improve conditions. People around the world are applauding this latest walkout, not realizing that what they are actually applauding is “failure”- our failure to consign ourselves as human beings to sit with one another and work together to resolve even the smallest of issues.
And we, the United States of America, set the stage for the mass walkout. Now we have to confront a bigger question…why did we feel it was necessary to walkout on Ahmadinejad’s speech?
The obvious reason for the walkout might be that we (our delegates) did not like what Ahmadinejad was saying, but the gesture of walking out unfortunately creates a bigger problem for us because some of what the Iranian president spoke was truth.
Ahmadinejad did his homework and chose to reveal his findings before the entire General Assembly. Most of what he revealed was speculation and opinion, but his facts were clear when he spoke of the dark period of slavery in America that built our nation.
He was also clear on his facts and statistics as they pertained to U.S. poverty and the uneven distribution of wealth in our nation.
Walking out of an assembly in lieu of listening to information that you disagree with is one thing…but walking out of an assembly when the truth is being spoken is a completely separate issue.
Did we really not want to listen to the rhetoric? Were the accusations the Iranian leader made during his speech offensive? Or…did we walk out of the General Assembly because we could not handle listening to the truth? Did Ahmadinejad address issues during his speech about our nation that we are unwilling to face?
Today, Iran has its own issues to deal with, and it may have been more prudent of President Ahmadinejad to address some of the strategies he is using to improve some of the negative social conditions that exist in his nation. Instead, he chose to be critical of the U.S. and ignore discussing the international sanctions currently imposed on his country.
Despite all of this, neither the U.S. walkout nor the timing of it is justifiable.
The truth is the truth no matter who speaks it, and the truths that we have to face as Americans have nothing to do with Ahmadinejad…and have everything to do with us.
The United States of America is the richest country on the face of the planet – yet the rate of unemployment in our nation is beyond embarrassing. Our economy seems to always be on the brink of total collapse; our military is indiscriminately dispersed all across the globe; and our politicians (who rarely see eye to eye) are consistently claiming that there is a fix for everything – but are often times resolving nothing.
In result, we continue to deal with the same issues that have plagued our existence as Americans since the founding of this nation, and the walkout during the U.N. General Assembly by U.S. delegates unfortunately represents one of the many examples of the reason why we are unable to resolve any of our common issues, or reach any of our mutual goals.
So for us as Americans to be happy about our delegates at the U.N. leading a mass walkout of the General Assembly (during President Ahmadinejad’s speech) almost indirectly represents our acceptance of our inability to confront and resolve our own issues here at home.