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MARTHA SEZ: The lull after the Christmas rush

January 10, 2011
I just love Christmas vacation, this little lull between one year and the next. Why is it that when I am finally able to relax, something always comes along to disturb me?

Christmas, after advancing inexorably as a mighty army on the march, noisily consuming everything in its path, has bloated up to an obscene, inconceivable size and then burst, leaving behind only silence, blowing snow and little lights in the winter gloom. Suddenly, everything is so peaceful!

Or was.

I have been spending much of my time lying on the sofa reading, eating cookies, drinking hot chocolate and wondering why I have gained weight — how is this possible? — and whether I should do something about it. Not that I have bloated up to an obscene, inconceivable size yet, but still. I suppose I’ll make another New Year’s resolution to go on a diet. How unoriginal.

I have also been watching television and visiting the Worldwide Web, which is where the trouble began. The mass media is the source of some information that threatens to spoil my peace of mind.

It has come to my attention that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is actually not an Iranian native at all — nor is he a Muslim!

I know. It’s freaky, right?

Not that Ahmadinejad will admit to it, but he was actually born in Detroit.

What! Detroit, Michigan? you ask, stupefied. I don’t blame you. When I first read this news bulletin on my computer screen — a friend had forwarded the e-mail to me from a reliable source — I practically choked on my eggnog. But, yes. What other Detroit is there? Ahmadinejad’s earliest years were spent in Dearborn, under a different name.

As if the name Ahmadinejad wasn’t hard enough to remember! I heard Joy Behar refer to him as Mahmoud Ahmadinnerjacket one time on the Larry King Show. His father’s name, however, was originally Ahmad Sabourjian. He changed his name to Ahmadinejad when the family moved to Tehran. Mahmoud was then four years old.

According to Wikipedia (don’t think I just took all of this from an e-mail without conducting some research of my own), Mahmoud was “the fourth of seven children. His father was an ironworker, grocer, barber, blacksmith, and religious Shi’a who taught the Qur’an.”

My guess is that Ahmad, clearly a jack of all trades, with a growing number of mouths to feed, found work in Detroit’s then-thriving auto industry.

Mahmoud — although admittedly you wouldn’t know it by looking at him now — was a bright child and a quick study, who loved listening to the lively gospel singing emanating from a large inner city church

near his home. At a young age he converted to Christianity, becoming a Southern Baptist. This religious faith would be his mainstay, his saving grace — and, paradoxically, his dirty little secret.

Yes, Ahmadinejad is a Baptist, and an American citizen, and yet the career he has chosen in life prevents him from admitting to either. As head of a theocratic Islamic government, he must practice Islam and renounce his American birthright, in order to stay in power.

A Persian woman I know told me that this is what has disillusioned her about Ahmadinejad, a man she once respected.

“It is not that he is a Southern Baptist that I object to,” she explained. “While I myself am a devout Muslim, his religion is his own choice, and I do not begrudge him his faith. What I do not excuse is his lying about it!”

“It is true,” her daughter chimed in. “By a similar token, he could not choose the land of his birth. Why does he not simply admit he was born at St. Joe’s Hospital, which is actually in Pontiac, Michigan, instead of engaging in this dishonest coverup and subterfuge?”

But, I asked them, how can he be a Southern Baptist when he professes to be Muslim and publicly practices Islam every day of his life? How can you be a closet Christian?  I’m just saying.

And if he was born in Detroit, wouldn’t people know? I mean, I’m sure they are all about the paperwork in Tehran.

My Persian friends just shake their heads at my naivete. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a Southern Baptist, born in Detroit — or possibly Pontiac — and that’s all there is to it. After all, it’s all over the Internet. Go on-line and look it up yourself if you don’t believe me.

Happy New Year!



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