Public Speaking Participation Iran-Style
Pubic speaking Iranian-style is truly a participatory event. We’ve noted before how the speeches of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can invoke a fiery outburst or trigger a mass exodus from his audience. And, once in New York, his United Nations speech, in Farsi, was incorrectly translated for several minutes. Quite Farcical.
But this week it’s his great rival, the Speaker of Parliament, Ali Larijani whose speech was curtailed after elements of his audience decided to join in.
Speaker Larijani was speaking in Qom, marking the 34th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Ostensibly a solid, serious and all-embracing sort of occasion.
And so it proved to be. Speaker Larijani was well into his speech when he was rudely interrupted, Iranian style, by supporters of the President. At first the interruptions to his speech comprised slogans and jeers.
But after a while these same supporters of the President took to throwing clay prayer tablets and their shoes. We’ve become used to speakers having shoes hurled at them since President Bush suffered that ignominy during one of his Middle East speeches. But everyone seems to enjoy doing it, so it can’t be that bad.
On this occasion, in Qom, Speaker Larijani was eventually escorted away from the podium as the President’s supporters tried to reach him. And that was it…speech over.
There’s clearly bad blood between the President and the Speaker. And with the President constitutionally barred from contesting the Presidential elections in June the President’s supporters must see the Speaker as a shoe-in for the job. Hence their unrest.
I suspect that Speaker Larijani’s speeches are going to suffer more interruptions in the coming months. Let’s hope it stays relatively peaceful.