Suffering from the ‘foot in mouth’ disease, President Ahmadinejad has done it again, this time in front of some of the most intelligent young people. He was greeted with laughter and cries of disbelief, and rightly so, when he told students and staff at Columbia University: “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals. In Iran we don’t have this phenomenon. I don’t know who has told you we have it.”
Since the Islamic revolution in Iran, there have been strenuous but not always successful efforts to bury this past. Of all the Muslim countries, Iran at the moment is probably the most active in persecuting gay people. This probably has less to do with religion than local political and cultural factors. Rumour has it that House of Raza Shah Pahlavi was overwhelmingly gay. His Prime minister was a homosexual man and even Shah was bi-sexual. (For complete story, see http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/brian_whitaker/2007/09/no_homosexuality_he re.html)
I have been to Iran and traveled all over the country by road (a total of 16 major cities). The number of metro sexual men in most Iranian cities is far higher than, let’s say, either Manchester or San Francisco (cities famous for their sizeable gay population). If the law of averages is to be applied and half of those hyper metro sexual men are gay, then that’s a huge number. The Arab and Persian literature is filled with homo erotic themes for centuries; calling it un natural or western is not only stupid but ignorant as well.
It also leads one to wonder if this historic prevalence of homosexuality and homoeroticism in the Middle East responsible for historic exclusion of women from full participation in society, or vice versa? He is taking the leaf out of Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels ( German politician and Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda under Adolf Hitler) who said that if you lie convincingly and repeatedly, you eventually believe it and it goes away.