The Middle East. No, I'm not talking about Iowa, where the spuds are plentiful and people are depressed all year long (I smell a connection). No, rather I'm talking about those crazy, fun-loving people on the other side of the globe who seem so intent on killing one another and even us – baseball-loving Americans. For those of you who pay any attention to the goings-on of the world at large, you may have noticed a little comment made by Iran this past week. Not sure what it is I'm talking about? Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (try saying that ten times fast with a mouthful of marshmallows), declared this week Israel must be "wiped off the map."
Now many people were a bit distraught at the comments initially, and some still are. The beef is that a member of the U.N. shouldn't be saying such things about another member. Of course, amid heavy criticism, Iranian authorities have come forward and said they do not intend to take military action and they long for peaceful relations with Israel. I'm not an expert on foreign relations, but is calling for a Naziesque eradication of the Jewish state and its people some kind of jumpstart to being best friends? Maybe those crazy Iranians are comedians at heart and the joke is flying over the heads of the rest of the world. Iranian jokesters will get you every time. I'm sure those nuclear weapons are just for some kind of big practical joke.
The comments not only highlight the ineptitude of Iranian leadership, but also the widespread racism and hatred that characterizes many Arab nations. Too many of these nations see the Qumran as some sort of warrant for the murder and terrorization of Israel and its people. The Palestinians are the best example of this. For years the nation fought for the Gaza Strip, shedding too much blood and losing too much life. Then, in an unexpected move, Israel concedes the land to the Palestinians forcing its own citizens out of the area. Now you have the Gaza Strip, Palestine, are you happy? No? Why not? Oh, you want Israel to die and be wiped off the face of the Earth. Weird, so does Iran. How about you all go blow yourselves up in the name of Allah?
Israel comprises a fraction of "Arab land" and still Arabs are irate over their existence as a state. They have been since 1948 when Israel once again became a nation in the geo-political sense of the word. They won this independence fairly too. It's no different than our own independence from Britain in 1776. The Israelis declared their independence and then promptly kicked the living snot out of the Arab nations that attacked them in the aftermath, increasing their land by around 50 percent. Apparently, 60 years later, many of these same Arab nations still have hurt feelings. Note that my intention is not to lump all Arabs together here, surely they don't all share the sentiments of Mahmoud.
The recent attacks along the Palestinian-Israeli border and the oafish comments by an Iranian state that probably isn't as smart as the spuds that grow in our middle-east should be cause for concern for not only Americans, but the world community. This rhetoric of racism and hatred should sound familiar to WWII veterans as it was employed by Hitler and the Nazis. Iran should be held accountable for their actions and the U.N. should castigate them in one form or another. It is my hope Iran and members of other Arab nations tone down their rhetoric and the hatred of the Jewish people. War is the last thing any American wants right now, and it's certainly the last thing any Arab nation wants, whether they know it or not.
Tyler Wittman is a senior speech communication major. His column runs every Tuesday in the Collegian.