Lawrence Cannon led the Canadian delegation out of the hall as Ahmadinejad took to the podium to spray his venom. Before the Iranian president was finished dividing the world into Dar-al-Islam and Dar-al-Harb (which, honest to God, was his opening theme), several other countries' delegations had followed Canada's lead. By the time Ahmadinejad was finished his blow-hard vitriol against Israel (and against the Jews), the hall appeared much emptier than when he started.
CTV reports the story here. But do read the comments.
I'm amazed at how many of those offering comments just don't seem to get it. --
Some commenters dismiss the Canadian action as "lame", clearly not realizing that the Canadian delegation was the first among many to walk out, and clearly sounded the early tone that may have helped set the larger protest in motion. Canada's Prime Minister did, after all, make it clear early in the day that the delegation would be boycotting the speech.
A few other commenters dismiss Harper's call to boycott as childish -- at least one even throwing in the epithet "neo-con" for good measure. A bit predictable, don't you think? Yawn.
Several more commenters, clearly intoxicated with the sweet pheromones of Obama worship, chastise the Canadians for not taking to heart all the 'one-world-working-together' messaging from the U.S. president's speech earlier in the day. (Note: an early 1970s Coke commercial is not a foundation for a foreign policy.) It's a really nice sentiment, an idealistic call to action -- but with one caveat: the real world still takes place in ... well ... the real world.
While some others just think that "walking out" doesn't solve anything, and more concrete action has to be taken. I'm actually somewhat sympathetic to this argument in a broader sense, but let's keep it in perspective. This event took place in a diplomatic forum, with its own conventions, rules of protocol and symbolism.
So let's be clear. In the symbolic universe of diplomacy, walking out on a country's president during a speech at the United Nations is considered a severe rebuke. The severest, in fact. It trumps pounding your shoe on the table, shaking your fist in the air, or holding your nose.
Indeed, walking out is the diplomatic equivalent of saying: "Go to hell. Go directly to hell. Do not pass wind. Do not collect 200 sheckles."
I, for one, support the snubbing of this malevolent, despotic, anti-Semitic, sabre rattler. It was heartening to see so many other countries' delegations join in with our own.
*Update* HotAir has listed the eleven countries that followed the Canadian lead and walked their delegates out. They are "Argentina, Australia, Britain, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand … and the United States."