Monday, October 5, 2009

Stuff I'm really glad I found out

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is Jewish. Or at least his family name is.

Somebody blew up a photo of him holding up his identity card during the recent post-electoral riots and found out from it his previous name, which his family changed when they moved to Teheran in the 1950s. The name was "Sabourjian — a Jewish name meaning cloth weaver....The Sabourjians traditionally hail from Aradan, Mr Ahmadinejad's birthplace, and the name derives from "weaver of the Sabour", the name for the Jewish Tallit shawl in Persia. The name is even on the list of reserved names for Iranian Jews compiled by Iran's Ministry of the Interior."

This is like finding out Texas outsider George W. Bush is really a legacy Yalie from an old and influential New England family. Oh, wait.

Madeleine Albright found out while she was Secretary of State that her parents were Jewish. She was raised a catholic and converted at marriage to Episcopalianism. Three of her grandparents died in the Holocaust, but she didn't know about it until late in life. Her parents were afraid of it happening again.

I guess you do what you feel you need to do to keep people from shipping you off to the camps.

UPDATE: The Guardian convincingly says it's not so. Too bad.

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