[Marxism] Guardian: Iranian president to deliver Channel 4's alternative Christmas message

Darren Cogavin darrencogavin at gmail.com
Wed Dec 24 05:17:53 MST 2008

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Channel 4 has opted to end the year on a controversial note by
inviting the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to give the
broadcaster's alternative Christmas message tomorrow.

But the channel has shied away from scheduling the president's address
against the Queen's Christmas speech at 3pm. It has broken with a
15-year tradition of airing its alternative Christmas message at the
same time as the Queen by scheduling Ahmadinejad's message at 7.15pm.

Channel 4 has said that the Muslim president, who has a hostile
relationship with many western countries, will deliver a spiritual
address that will feature a message of seasonal goodwill.

It will be preceded by a short introduction designed to place his
speech in context, the broadcaster added.

Ahmadinejad will argue that the world is in its current predicament
because people have lost spiritual faith.

He will also make thinly veiled criticisms of western powers in a
reference to the "tyrannical policies of prevailing global economic
and political systems".

"If Christ was on earth today undoubtedly he would stand with the
people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist
powers," he will say. "If Christ was on earth today undoubtedly he
would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose
warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over.

"If Christ was on earth today undoubtedly he would fight against the
tyrannical policies of prevailing global economic and political
systems, as he did in his lifetime," he will say. "The solution to
today's problems can be found in a return to the call of the divine

The Channel 4 head of news and current affairs, Dorothy Byrne, argued
that the selection of such controversial figure was in line with the
broadcaster's policy of providing an "alternative world view" and
reflected the extensive coverage it has given to Iran in recent times.

"As the leader of one of the most powerful states in the Middle East,
President Ahmadinejad's views are enormously influential," she said.
"As we approach a critical time in international relations, we are
offering our viewers an insight into an alternative world view.

"Channel 4 has devoted more airtime to examining Iran than any other
broadcaster and this message continues a long tradition of offering a
different perspective on the world around us."

However, when the president makes his address on Christmas night he
will speak to a nation more likely to be tuned in to TV shows such as
Strictly Come Dancing and Coronation Street.

Since it launched in 1993, Channel 4's alternative Christmas message
has been delivered by a varied selection of presenters including an
injured veteran from the war in Afghanistan, Quentin Crisp, the
Reverend Jesse Jackson, Doreen and Neville Lawrence, Genelle Guzman, a
9/11 survivor and The Simpsons.

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