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April 20, 2009
Posted: 1356 GMT

Filed under: CNN •I-Desk Poll


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Dan   April 20th, 2009 4:11 pm ET

I am petty the Iranian people for poor human rights lead by their government. All the country money is going for weapons rather then helping the common people.
Dan
England

Jackow   April 20th, 2009 4:12 pm ET

As much as I can see and hear from and about the president of iran I think it is obvious, that he is firmly screaming out for the EU and U.S.A to invade into Iran!
let us hope that they will hear this scream in time...

Mary   April 20th, 2009 4:13 pm ET

The Iranian President should never have been invited to speak at a conference on Racism. This was an incredibly inflammatory move by the UN. It would have been best if all delegates to the conference walked out of his speech.

dags   April 20th, 2009 4:13 pm ET

he is the representation of everything that represents racism and evil kin the world whyn in the world would anyone want to share a platform with him,bravo to all those who worked out on this mordern day hitler.

A.KARTHIGAYAN   April 20th, 2009 4:16 pm ET

there is a lot other leader who is from the multinational ethnics such as India, malaysia, singapore can be invited since they have more sucessful in dealing with this rasicm issue.

Adrian Vocke   April 20th, 2009 4:19 pm ET

I don't think it was the right move, to give Pres. Ahmadinejad the stage and opportunity to speak at a conference that treads a social problem as important as racism, after all we've heard in the past. It was to obvious that he would continue to rage against Israel.

Richard   April 20th, 2009 4:27 pm ET

Hello, as a British Citizen of African origin, I have fought against racism in Britain. I have also observed through various media outlet including CNN, that racism is very much alive within the state of Isreal. Racism against Arab Isrealis, against Palestinians, you cannot deny that white or light-skinned Isrealis of European origin are the priviledge ones in Isreali society. Equally, there is clearly racial division USA, and that racism is worldwide, so although I absolutely disagree with the Iranian President on his dangerous views on the holocaust, I feel that the move to boycott or walk out of the conference on racism is childish, because all the delegates from the those countries should put their own house in order. Racism can only be eradicated by talking not by boycott or walking out.

Johan   April 20th, 2009 4:39 pm ET

Although i seldom agree with the Iranian president, i still think it was right to let him speak since Iran is a member of the UN. I dont agree with the Western countries that stayed away from this anti-racism conference. Because they stayed away people like mister Ahmadinejad were able to change an anti-racism conference into an anti-Israel conference.
I dont agree with a lot of things Israel does, neiter do i agree with all the things mister Ahmadinejad does and says.
But an anti-racism conference should focus on racism, not on politics.

Because Western leaders didnt go to this conference, the only issue they are talking about now is Israel. The fact that Israel would be the main issue was the reason that they stayed away and exactly by staying away from this conference they created what they tried to avoid in the first place.

Democratic countries should talk, negotiate in stead of running away when they dont agree with something. If they would have been at the conference they would have had the opportunity to talk about the real subject, which is racism!

Dan I.   April 20th, 2009 4:50 pm ET

For the organizers of this event to invite Pres. Ahmadinejad to speak on racism, it means there is a conspiracy around the corner. From my own point of view, Pres. Ahmadinejad was invited to this event so as to be able to get his message live and direct to the terrorists. He was allowed to encourage terrorism. U.S., Europe and Israel should be very carefull.

Tim   April 20th, 2009 5:02 pm ET

I do believe that he should have the opportunity to speak. It's just a pity that he didn't use this platform to make a great speech, present new views or suggest ways to move forward with the international community. Everyone already knows his point of view, so why sound like a broken down record and keep repeating it. In my mind this just shows how much of a poor *leader* he actually is.

Kathryn   April 20th, 2009 5:06 pm ET

Considering Ahmadinejad's prior record regarding anti-Semitic remarks, it was irresponsible for the UN to allow, let alone invite him to speak at a racism conference. Highly ironic is the UN's indulgence of the Iranian President's belief in global Zionist financial conspiracy, while altogether banning any criticism of Islam at the same event. With every passing resolution, the UN makes clearer its heavy bias and ultimate irrelevance.

bl8ant   April 20th, 2009 5:07 pm ET

How is it possible to have an anti racist forum Without discussing Israel and it's acts of racist genocide against the Palestinians

Anton   April 20th, 2009 5:08 pm ET

All views should be respected. This is what freedom of speech is all about. You can't shut up people if they are saying thing that you might no like. Aren't you supposed to support multiple views?
It shouldn't be like if some one points out to something bad about (say Iran, Russia, China, ...) then they are honored, and if someone pointes out something bad in countries like
USA (the most racist country in the world, considering how many times they repeat that they elected a black president (btw 99% of the blacks voted for him), lol),
Israel (that began its government by a terrorist attack on the king David's hotel, and still continues to kill citizens of Palastine)
then you are a bad boy, and should be shut up.
Thats called hypocrisy, Give the world an example by listening to what your critics say

Swissnuck   April 20th, 2009 5:16 pm ET

The presence of M. Ahmadinejad, I believe was a good initiative because not inviting him would be ignoring the existence of such despotic leaders in the world. However it was useless to have aloud him to take the floor because his views are known. The event should allows for multi-lateral discussions on the theme of racism and try to work out existing differences. Ahmadinejad should have been given a tour of Auschwitz before coming to Switzerland in order to see for himself what millions of human beings have gone through. One should not forget that racism has no colour.

mohamad   April 20th, 2009 5:21 pm ET

i want to say the people who left the anti-racism conference during ahmadinijad speech , one of his improvement signs...

because those countries governor has been threaten by israel since halocost lie story ,

even USA. and Eu. , non of them know about democrsy ,
you always lieing to people around the world ,,,

how many milyones enasence people died under the israel and USA bobardment in afganistan, lebenan,iraq,iran,india,pakistan,kashmir, africa,phalestin ,etc.just since last few years?????

...and u never talk on time ,just a few minutes after iran president's speech,u make a big story !!!

its mean in ur culture all those death people did not humans ,but israeli basters killers are human !!!
and they have right to leave with nuclear bomb and other master instraction wepon !!!!!!!???
this is the meaning of those who did against ahmdinijad demo and run away frm conference and your human right .....!!!?? becaus they can,t afford the reality

Adin   April 20th, 2009 5:47 pm ET

Shame on United States, Canada, Australia and other countries for boycoting UN conference. If it was any other country than Israel that was being criticised, no one would boycot it. This only shows how the majority of western countries has double standards. Even though I don't agree with president of Iran and his policy and some of his statement about the holocaust, I support what he said about palestinians being terrorised by the israelis. And why did the EU countries left the conference.... i just can't understand that. If the african, asian and south american nations could stay and listen to what Iran's president has to say so could they.
It's so sad... that was a United Nations conference, but what we saw today were NOT the nations who are UNITED. shame.....

husein   April 20th, 2009 6:17 pm ET

1.Inviting such a intolerant person, making the conference a battle of wraths peoples so this event intensified racism and rage.
2.at different meetings Ahmadinejad has showed he doesn't want to accept international rules like nation's right to have country and live in peace. He mostly attacks US and Israel.considering a such a record i think it wasn't logic to invite him.

Tony Burson   April 20th, 2009 7:12 pm ET

The conference is open to all UN members so everyone must have known he would show up and should have been obvious that he was going to say something interesting.

moez ali   April 20th, 2009 7:13 pm ET

the problem is not having the iranian president doing a speach today or not. Everybody is avoiding going thru the real problem which is
" all the modern and occidental countries who are preaching freedom and democracy and are as per their consituton against and any sign of racism standing all together to protect the only apartheid state still standing.
It is a shame that all these modern countrues are standing against the human rights and for a military regim that had no mercy for killing without mercu kids and womena dn who's actual politics is clearely racist and apartheid.
for how long these states will cover the israeli crimes because at the end they become as well killers

Adeiza   April 20th, 2009 7:15 pm ET

I think he should be allowed to speak, that one does not agree with what he has to say does not give anyone the right to stop him from saying what he feel. What is the essence of a free society if someone is not allowed to speak because his opinion is contrary to yours.
Adeiza
Lagos Nigeria

may   April 20th, 2009 7:16 pm ET

The world expected- and Ahmadinejad delivered. Since the element of surprise no longer exists with this man- I beleive it was right to boycott the conference- or at least to walk out during Dr. evils hate speech.

He is wasting everybodys time, money and energy as he only has ONE agenda- and that is to spread propaganda and point fingers at Israel, USA and the west. Not very constructive. True dialog comes when we first point the finger on our selves instead of at others and admit to our own wrong-doings. I find it very hard to believe the iranian president can do that.

So no- best if he had stayed at home.

Farrukh   April 20th, 2009 7:18 pm ET

The iranian president has the right to express his views just as the danish newspapers had the right to publish the cartoons depicting the prophet. Freedom of expression is a double edged sword.

Manny   April 20th, 2009 7:19 pm ET

Democracy is about freedom of speech. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has the right to express his views. The west want global Unity but can confortably boycott the UN conference.

Why now should other countries attend any other conference hosted by the west? Why should other countries be willing to participate in any other event hosted by the west

Shame on those who preach "GLOBAL UNITY" but can't set a good example for others to follow. Gone are those days, when the west feel they can dictate to others.

Yonis   April 20th, 2009 7:24 pm ET

To call Israel a racist regime is an under-statement. Consult your conscience and explain what can it be to destroy peoples houses, bombard them with F 16, use targeted assassinations against their leaders, surround them with a concrete wall. If this is not racism can anyone explain to us what is the meaning of racism?

Abdullahi Edward   April 20th, 2009 7:28 pm ET

As an American who followed the Apartheid system of South Africa since the end of 1962 when I first became acquainted with it at a conference sponsored by the Collegiate Council of the United Nations at the University of Maryland, I can honestly say that the racism practiced by Israelis against the Palestinians is far worse. I can recall no time that the racist regime of South Africa bombed the black population either in Soweto or anywhere else. In fact the shooting of innocent protesting high school students in the mid 70's, caused such an uproar when the rest of the world learned of the realities of the inhumane conditions that the black population of South Africa lived under, that I saw the impossible happen when Nelson Mandela was eventually freed from Robbin Island and went on to be elected president of the country that had shackled him and his people for decades. I also find it totally abhorrent that the Israelis can get away with what they are doing in Palestine without the total and un-mitigated revulsion of the rest of the world. The fact that President Ahmadinejad speaks the truth now will eventually become self evident. In sha Allah. In the meantime, let the hypocrites boycott and walk out, they will one day have to face the truth. As Malcolm X said, they have succeeded in making the victim to be the criminal and the criminal to be the victim, but, as Martin Luther King Jr said. We shall overcome!!

Eddison   April 20th, 2009 7:29 pm ET

That most people do not agree with Ahmedinejad's comments is not a subject of dispute. What I chose to dispute is the way and manner world leaders have chose to treat this cancerous growth in the commitee of Nation.
1. He reserves the right to air his views in whatever forum/organisation in which his country is member.
2. Not inviting him/violatiing the protocols of the UN is equally wrong. He reserves the right to speak first as the only Head of State leading a delegation. Rather than bark and bite about this, the only way to aev avoided this is have as many Head of states attend as much as possible, rather than put Ban in such an awkward situation. Lets give him options.
2. The western nations seem to take the easiest way out – walking away from the problem.
3. President Obama at several forum has made it clear that his nation is willing to seat down and talk with anyone. Then why did the US Boycott the conference? Or is their no racism in the US? What better message can overshadow the rhetorics of ahmedinajad than the practical demonstration and representation of HOPE and CHANGE – The presence of the prophet of Change- Obama?
4. Invading Iran will only further alienate the Iranian people and by proxy, the Arab world.
5.

Mian Abbas Gul   April 20th, 2009 7:29 pm ET

I would like to begin by saying that it was wrong of countries to boycott the conference in Geneva.
It was not a conference called by Ahmedinijad but by the UN. There act of boycotting directly disrespects the UN and shows their lack of tolerance.
Secondly , Putting Israel and Zionism apart, whatever the Iranian President said makes a lot of sense especially the VETO rights few countries enjoy.
Thirdly, I would like to point out a few issues which can associated with bias, discrimination and racism. These issues relate to Israel, these are general issues and should not be ignored and brushed aside on the pretext that a Muslim has put them forward.

* Jews in Germany, Poland , Austria and the rest of Europe suffered by the hands of Hitler and his Nazi regime and a lot of them were forced to become refugees. Once the war was over and Hitler and his regime was crushed was it not more appropriate for the Jews to go back to where they were removed from. They surely must have had a lot of businesses, land and property and had obviously been living there for a long time before the war. Why was there a need to create a new country for Jews by forcing out Muslims and the idea for it being that the bible declares it. While on the other hand the same parties involved nowadays proclaim to epitomize secularism.
* The Jews have the right to come and settle in Israel in as many numbers as possible and on the other hand there is rejection of the right of return for the Palestinian refugees.
* The statement by the Israeli minister ,that Israel is the only safe haven for Jews is totally an exaggeration. Surely Jews are secure in other parts of the world especially the West.
* Why is there a tendency in the western media to portray Ahmedinijad as some kind of evil dictator. He is an elected leader of a country with normal human beings and that country is also a part of the UN. The Iranian president talk about matters other than Israel which make sense but almost always the only highlights the media presents are the negative ones and sensational.
* Why is it a Taboo in the western Politics and media to discuss Israel and Palestine in the light of true underlying facts. Why has the damage sustained by the UN last December never become a big deal. It is a BIG deal. Why on earth is Israel as important as it is. Its just another country among many and Jews are just as normal and equal as Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Muslims , Atheists, Agnostics Etc.

I know these are my personal opinions and may not be shared by anyone else but they are opinions none the less . It would very encouraging and satisfying if some light is shed upon them. Maybe positive criticism can help me conclude any opinion wisely in the future.

Abdullahi Edward   April 20th, 2009 7:32 pm ET

As an American who followed the Apartheid system of South Africa since the end of 1962 when I first became acquainted with it at a conference sponsored by the Collegiate Council of the United Nations at the University of Maryland, I can honestly say that the racism practiced by Israelis against the Palestinians is far worse. I can recall no time that the racist regime of South Africa bombed the black population either in Soweto or anywhere else. In fact the shooting of innocent protesting high school students in the mid 70's, caused such an uproar when the rest of the world learned of the realities of the inhumane conditions that the black population of South Africa lived under, that I saw the impossible happen when Nelson Mandela was eventually freed from Robbin Island and went on to be elected president of the country that had shackled him and his people for decades. I also find it totally abhorrent that the Israelis can get away with what they are doing in Palestine without the total and un-mitigated revulsion of the rest of the world. The fact that President Ahmadinejad speaks the truth now will eventually become self evident. In sha Allah. In the meantime, let the hypocrites boycott and walk out, they will one day have to face the truth. As Malcolm X said, they have succeeded in making the victim to be the criminal and the criminal to be the victim, but, as Martin Luther King Jr said. We shall overcome

Abdullah   April 20th, 2009 7:46 pm ET

1- Should M. Ahmadinejad have been invited to the anti-rasicim united nation conference? Yes he should have because the last time i checked Iran wAS A MEMBER OF THE UNITED NATIONS.
2- It was an anti rascisim conference he should have not brought up politics but in any case every speach has to be heard in a respectful way and then they can argue and comment as long as they want.
3- why did only those countries leave the confernce ? I think because those countries all realised that they were wrong and the israilis should have not ever eneterd palestine and RAID it and take it for them selfves. The only reason those countries left because they are scared from the isreailis because israeil practicually owns the united states and all the other countries that left.
4-You say he was racisit to the Israeilis. Then try living as a muslim or arab. All you hear is arabs steal money and all muslims are terrorists and all we do is make bombs and kill people well to be honoust thats all bull shit. All terrorist's are muslims not the other way around and when you actually are a musim ou will relise there actually not muslim there just idiots who hate there lifes and scinse there life sucks they wanna kill people for no reason and blame it on islam.
5-You want proof that alot off people are racisist to islam i was on a blog a few months ago and a guy told me why are you on the computer shouldnt you be making boms or killing people.. and im only a 13 year old boy . If thats not rasiscim then pleas tell me what rasisim is :S >?

pedro   April 20th, 2009 8:04 pm ET

it is not important WHO is saying something, it is important WHAT he is saying!
if Israeli government is not racist then why 1.5 million Palestinians are jailed in a big prison camp named Gaza?
if Israeli government is not racist then why millions of Arabs have no right to live in their own country?
if Israeli government is not racist then what is the exact meaning of racism?
i think they walked out of the conference just because they didn't have any answer for the true questions. that is so sad

Carl Zaisser   April 20th, 2009 8:06 pm ET

It was a tactical political mistake, perhaps, perhaps, for the Iranian president to speak as he did since he has already been demonized by the White House and the Western media, as is Chavez, and as was Saddam and Castro, etc. However, upon examination of his words, it is clear why there is so much outrage. He is speaking in an accurate historical context of what has happened to Palestine and Palestinians, as even Israeli historian Ilan Pappe (and many other Israeli writers) have made clear in their writings about the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Zionism. And since people in the West don't know that history, and don't want to investigate that history, the Iranian president's comments seem absurd. In fact, until the West wakes up to what Israel has done to Palestinians as it has stolen their land since 1967, there will never be any possibility of real peace in the entire Middle East.

Osaro   April 20th, 2009 8:06 pm ET

As long as Iran is a member state of U.N the organizer of the conference, and the fact that same invitation was extended to other member states presidents to the confrence, then, in my view it was right for the U.N to invite the president of Iran to such gathering but on fortunately, Ahmadinejad screwed up the opportunity with his harsh, incendiary and anti-semeticism speech which itself is racism.

Osaro
Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Itai   April 20th, 2009 8:11 pm ET

He is a leader of a country
he got elected in his country
he was going to swizerland, a democratic country which provides the right of free speach

he told the world what he thinks

and israel italy germany was also invited as the USA

but they were not there !!!

they were at home boycotting the event

they all had the possibility to explain their view
they all had the chance to tell him that he is wrong

Jane   April 20th, 2009 8:13 pm ET

What's the use of having the Anti-Racism forum when those EU countries' delegates suddenly withdrew and refused to listen to what other people has to say using such a childlike reaction like that? Problems would never been solved if ones would just walk away, and refused to face with troubles that way. I can't believe they did that =| Speechless....

Kathryn   April 20th, 2009 8:38 pm ET

For those who support Ahmadinejad's right to freedom of speech, remember that there is an enormous difference in being able to criticize and voice opinion, and engage in hate speech. Of course Israel should not be exempt from criticism simply because it is inhabited by Jews; indeed Israel (like many countries, Iran not the least of which) is guilty of human rights violations and irresponsible behavior. But is another thing entirely to talk about a "global Zionist financial conspiracy" and to suggest that the West's support of Israel is due to some sinister and secret Jewish control of foreign governments. This is a charge that has been leveled at the Jewish people since the Middle Ages, and always without any empirical evidence.

The man denies the Holocaust. How can you then think that any criticism of Israel comes from anything but a place of blind hatred?

Criticize Israel – like many countries, there is much to be criticized. But at least have it come from a rational thinker. Why should I be allowed to say that Black/Mexican/Gay/Old people are bad/lazy/covertly planning a coup at a UN conference on racism, of all things, by invoking freedom of speech? Ahmadinejad gets plenty of airtime voicing his anti-Semitic opinions. Why make a farce out of the UN by allowing him to do it there? It's absurd.

Afshin   April 20th, 2009 9:31 pm ET

That was a good question that you put on the poll today.I said no to that.
But, how about this question: Was it a suitable and appropriate response from EU deligations to walk out the meeting?

If the other members such as United State, Canada (My future country) and even Israel took a part in that occasion, Iranian officials boycotted this event and so there was no such chaos as we watched today.
Many thanks,
Afshin.
Tehran-Iran

Jon   April 20th, 2009 9:34 pm ET

@Kathryn

And I assume you watched the full speech? Please remind me of his anti-semitic opinions at the conference. Or are the friends of Israel once again intentionally and conveniently distorting the debate by equating anti-Zionism with anti-semitism?

As to the farce, how about the walk out and the boycott by western democracies which preach freedom of speech and a new willingness to listen.

Swissnuck   April 20th, 2009 10:04 pm ET

I have one simple comment: Regardless whether Israel is racist or not. How would one go about moving a population of over 7mio people, where approximately 5.5mio of which are Israeli Jews, in order to accommodate the Palestinian people and give them there own state. Let's be realistic, it's impossible. Therefore Israelis and Palestinians have no choice but to coexist. Building walls or launching rockets will only bring death and hate, this forum should have been taken as an opportunity to discuss among ALL leaders a solution that would bring peace to the region through dialogue rather than point fingers, walking out, and distort historical events. It's time for today's leaders to grow up and confront today's realities.

Bill S   April 20th, 2009 11:13 pm ET

Every time he opens his mouth,he proves what a fool he is.I hope he doesn't speak for all of Iran.

max   April 22nd, 2009 7:46 pm ET

Of course it was right for the U.N. to invite any and all member countries of the United Nations to the conference on racism. You should not even be asking the question. And the fact that you are only proves your own bias.

What you should be asking instead (for people to vote on) is whether or not it was a shameful display of hypocrisy and propaganda for those European "leaders" to walk out while he was speaking.

The United States and Europe may not like to hear it or they may not be able to take it on board politically given the fact that they have sold out their morals to Israeli lobbies but Ahmadinajad is right when he says that Israel is guilty of racism and of war crimes.

No amount of walking out or of stonewalling or of denying or dissembling for another 50 years (of Israeli propaganda) is going to be able to make the truth into a lie and a lie into the truth.

And the only way forward for the Palestinian Israeli situation to find a solution is to first start telling the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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