Iranian President Ahmadinejad's contention during a speech at Columbia University
that here are no homosexuals in Iran brought some heavy criticisms of the Iranian
leader. Taking questions from Columbia faculty and students who attended his
address recently, Mr. Ahmadinejad answered a query about the treatment of gays
in Iran by saying: "We don't have homosexuals like in your country. We don't have
that in our country. We don't have this phenomenon; I don't know who's told you
we have it."
Perhaps the reasons there are not homosexuals in Iran is because the President
orders them executed! Imagine what it is like to live under a repressive regime such
as Iran. The ignorance and bigotry exhibited by state leaders and indeed ministers
such as our own Minister of Health recently, sends shivers through the entire global
community. After all, Human Rights are not just about how straight or gay someone is.
Diversity must be accepted if we are to go forward as humans who seek to develop
This reminds me of the time a group of women activists in Sri Lanka were asked
about the situation in Sri Lanka for Lesbians and the reply was "we have no lesbians
in Sri Lanka!” Surely, one may ask, are people this ignorant? Or is it that the
proverbial ‘head in the sand’ syndrome just takes over. Somehow, its hard to
believe that people can be that narrow minded and closed. Alas! This phenomenon
just keeps growing rather than diminishing.