September 9, 2006
By Tarek Fatah
When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asked for "wiping Israel off the map of this world," we recoiled with horror at his lunacy. Was he out of his mind?
The Iranian president's remarks were rightly slammed across the world. Barring Islamic radicals, most Muslim and non-Muslim commentators and columnists in Canada condemned them as war-mongering and hate propaganda.
However, last week we were shocked to read an equally bizarre comment on Iran. This time the proposal was not to nuke Israel, but to nuke Iran, and it came from one of Canada's most politically incorrect -- and hence refreshing -- media personalities, Michael Coren.
We have known Michael as a person who has demonstrated deep empathy with the people of Palestine. He has written some columns highly critical of our community's leadership, but has also bravely defended us in this newspaper. However, his call to "nuke Iran" was way out of line, scary and deeply inflamatory. We felt it was a knee-jerk comment better suited for sports bar banter than the editorial pages.
There is no question that the Iranian regime, by its actions, poses a dilemma for the West as well as its neighbours. However, comments like those from Michael Coren feed into the frenzy being whipped up by the Tehran regime.
We noted with dismay that Coren's argument abandons the idea of negotiations and diplomacy as an option to resolve differences between Iran and the West.
A nuclear assault on Iran would result in massive loss of civilian life -- a reality which Coren chooses not to acknowledge. His view is premised on the notion that a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran will prevent "universal destruction."
This is a grossly misguided view. A pre-emptive nuclear strike would spark hostilities throughout the region, leading to the armageddon so many religious fundamentalists pray for.
We feel Michael has mocked the memory of those innocent people killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is nothing surgical about a nuclear attack, against any country. Dreadful mass destruction would be the result.
This sort of jingoism is not welcomed in any peace-loving corner, let alone in a country like Canada. The arguments embedded in his piece further the goals of warmongers and do nothing to advance the case of peace.
The war on terror has failed. The recipe offered by George Bush and Tony Blair as a panacea against Muslim extremism has in fact had the opposite effect. The illegal, immoral and unjust invasion of Iraq has permitted Iran to extend its control over Southern Iraq. The Taliban are back at full battle strength, killing Canadian soldiers. Muslim extremists are now running provinces in Pakistan and are coalition partners in Bangladesh. It is time to reassess the follies of the warmongers rather than inflame the situation by asking for the nuking of Iran.
We hope this was just a lapse in judgment by Michael. We would hope he would recognize that all Canadians, Muslim and non-Muslim, are wary of introducing jingoism into the Canadian poltical discourse, something more fitting for U.S. talk radio. We expected better from him.
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