Thursday, August 30, 2012

The beard of understanding

Tom Friedman --

Excuse me, President Morsi, but there is only one reason the Iranian regime wants to hold the meeting in Tehran and have heads of state like you attend, and that is to signal to Iran’s people that the world approves of their country’s clerical leadership and therefore they should never, ever, ever again think about launching a democracy movement — the exact same kind of democracy movement that brought you, Mr. Morsi, to power in Egypt.

President Morsi, having ignored Tom Friedman and gone to Tehran to speak directly to the Assad-backing Ayatollahs --

"We should all express our full support to the struggle of those who are demanding freedom and justice in Syria and translate our sympathies into a clear political vision that supports peaceful transfer (of power) to a democratic system," Morsi said in his opening statement. Morsi slammed Assad's rule, saying that the world had a "moral duty" to stand with the Syrian people in their struggle "against an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy." He said having a democratic system in Syria "reflects the desire of the Syrian people for freedom, justice and equality and at the same time protects Syria from entering into a civil war or being divided by sectarian clashes."

The easy thing would have been to stay away and earn favourable headlines in the American media. Instead he showed up and told it like it was.

Update: According to this Al-Arabiya story (easily run through Google Translate), Iranian state television provided a doctored translation of Morsi's speech, replacing Syria references with Bahrain, changing the name of Arab Spring to Islamic Awakening, and taking out references to various Caliphs (a theological issue).