The zenith of Sri Lanka Iran relationship is to be reached sometime in late- April when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives in Sri Lanka on an official visit at the invitation of our President Mahinda Rajapakse. Several articles and letters have appeared in the internet and in newspapers of Muslims countries expressing the view that ordinary Muslim people wish that they had a president or prime minister like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for their country so that their own countries will gain self-respect, dignity and prosperity like Iran.
While people in third world and oppressed countries love and adore president Ahmadinejad other governments in the western countries hate and deride him. Since president Ahmadinejad’s election on 24 June 2005 he and his country Iran, have been subjected to an intensifying campaign of cruel demonisation. Some critics even, refer to him as Hilter! While the US administration calls Iran a rogue state and one of the states of the "axis of evil" and a state that supports terrorism.
President Ahmadinejad is unfazed by these remarks and since he was elected into power on June 24 2005, Iran has built up its influence in Lebanon and Iraq and made its intention to become the dominant power in the Middle-East. He has also accelerated work on Iran’s civilian nuclear programme. His manners behaviour and deeds have endeared him to the poor and oppressed people from Latin America to Indonesia. In fact overnight he has become a celebrity!
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a very modest and humble, simplicity is a hall mark of his character. The masses of Iranian people love him. He is a genuine fruit of Imam Khomeini’s Islamic revolution with impeccable revolutionary credentials. What distinguishes Ahmadinejad is his life style, his down to earth demeanour; his record of selflessness from the tumult of the war front to the turmoil of the traffic in Tehran.
He has a track record of rendering service to the people by functioning as Governor of Maku, Khoy, advisor to the Governor General of Kordistan province, advisor for cultural affairs to the Minister of Culture and Higher Education, Governor General of Ardabil province and finally as Mayor of Tehran. He had earliar served as a member in the volunteer forces (Basij) in different parts and divisions of the battle fronts particularly in the War Engineering Division until the end of the war in 1988.
In his two years as mayor of Tehran, he transformed the city. Immense landscaping work was done throughout the sprawling metropolis, so that it now resembles a huge park. The traffic gridlock has been eliminated with a careful calibrated policy that regulates flow into the city. Even in dusty south Tehran, where the poor reside, there were massive tree plantation programmes. Parks have sprung up everywhere and potholes have been repaired. As mayor, he did not shy away from donning the orange uniform of a sweeper and joining the city crews in cleaning work.
He continues to drive an old Peykan car instead of going around in a Mercedes, as has become the habit of some officials in Iran. His door was always open to the poor, while he shunned the rich, who are adept at wheeling, dealing and manipulating high officials for personal gain. As president no subsidized fancy lunch for him! He brings his lunch which his wife cooks for him and is more than satisfied eating his home cooked food. Of late he has revolutionized the holding of cabinet meetings. President Ahmadinejad with his cabinet tours especially deprived provinces to study their problems at close range and find effective solutions.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was born in 1956 in the village of Aradan in the city of Garmsar 90 Kilometers east of Tehran. He is a qualified engineer holding a Ph.D on transportation engineering and planning from the Science and Technology University of Tehran Iran. He was the fourth to be born into a poor family. His father was a hard-bitter toiler blacksmith, a very pions man who regularly attended religious programmes. President Ahmadinejad is married and has three children, two sons and a daughter.
What has amazed the modern world is that there is a living example of a well defined politician in the capacity of a president of one of the world’s foremost countries which is strategically, economically and politically important with regard to its oil and defence, who has not changed his life style but chosen to live in the same old house that he owns, use the same old car, wear simple clothes and conducts himself with utter humility. Any minister could walk in and out of his office without any permission. When it becomes imperative that he has to stay at a hotel he makes special request not to have a bed in the room as he prefers to sleep on a simple mattress with a blanket. When he has to officially travel he travels economy class.
The Iranian people are overjoyed with the conduct and performance of president Ahmadinejad, whenever he appears in public crowds throng to see and greet him. His appearance at this crucial time in Iranian politics has in no small measure stopped the divisive trends that were gaining ground.
His words are in consonance with what the Iranian revolution has stood for and stands for.
Sri Lankan politicians would do well to emulate the life-style of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Today due to their grabbing greedy nature, the masses hate the politicians in Sri Lanka. They cannot deliver and the country is going from bad to worse. Apart from development, economic progress increasing GDP or providing employment they have not been able to solve the simple garbage problem and Sri Lanka stinks with garbage strewn all over and corruption at epidemic levels. The only thing Sri Lankan politicians are adept at is breaking promises continuously telling lies and indulging in scandalous extravagance and waste in the midst of rampaging poverty.