The Meaning of Guts

ALeqM5hF-rIXHn_KRKIqZ7qGjfOyXXDsIQWho says that a math geek cannot become a super hero? Mahmoud Vahidnia is a math student at Tehran’s Sharif Technical University where he recently won the gold medal at the country’s National Math Olympics (yes, geeks have an Olympics of their own). Vahidnia, however, has become a political icon in Iran after he publicly chastised the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei over the brutal crackdown of protesters.

At first, Vahidnia was blocked by organizers from speaking and then one of the organizers tried repeatedly to cut him off. However, to the surprise of many, Khamenei allowed him to speak in a televised encounter. The government is now using the incident to show that freedom thrives in the Islamic republic, which is being described as “The revolutionary leader’s fatherly response to critical youth.”

The exchange lasted 20-minutes and Khamenei appeared taken aback at first. The criticism followed Khamenei denouncing the questioning of the presidential results as the “biggest crime” since he personally found Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be the winner.

Mahmoud then raised his hand and launched into a criticism of the crackdown with such memorable statements as “I don’t know why in this country it’s not allowed to make any kind of criticism of you . . . In the past three to five years that I have been reading newspapers, I have seen no criticism of you, not even by the Assembly of Experts, whose duty is to criticize and supervise the performance of the leader.”

Khamenei insisted, “We welcome criticism. We never said not to criticize us. … There’s plenty of criticism that I receive.”

Indeed, the jails are filled with such critics.

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7 thoughts on “The Meaning of Guts”

  1. I’ve nothing to add, other than one of the most deserved “good on you”s I’ve ever given.

  2. Mespo,
    Great quote. This “nerd” has some serious Mojo to stand up to the real power in Iran. I am not so sure that his bravery will not cost him dearly at some point soon. Kudos.

  3. “It is curious – curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.”

    –Mark Twain

    Moral courage coupled with physical courage is the rarest of all. Bravo.

  4. No critics. Is that a surprise where the Bush have oil holdings? Come now, is that a surprise where hostages were held until after Reagen was sworn into office? I do think that he did not have a clue. This was the beginning of the US Puppet government. Do you really think that GeoI was asleep when he was in office. Not any CIA operative that I have known.

    I am pleased that the Khamenei allowed this person to speak. Now how will the shill games be played out? I do not think that Mahmoud Vahidnia will be prosecuted or even harmed knowingly by this Khamenei. But he will be silenced one way, some day and it maybe the way that Ken Lay died. Never a trace, so no one to disgrace. The pin prick in the neck can lay you to rest.

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