It takes courage to do what Lee Bollinger did today!
I have not watched Ahmadinejad's speech. I do not care much for what he said. At this moment,what I take comfort from, is that America has not succumbed to Zionism/Neoconservativism. And that there ARE individuals who stand up to defend the foundations of their own civilization: freedom of speech and opinion in the case of a Western Civilization!
I will be back with more on this!
a few hours later, after hearing the cruel treatment Bollinger gave his guest speaker:
Well well, Lee Bollinger is a hero, but he is a very rude one! What kind of a civilization invites someone to give a speech and then starts name-calling? I guess a "heroic" American one!!! I sympathize with Bollinger though, he has to appease the fundamentalist Americans (AKA zionists and neoconservatives) but I doubt the most fundamentalist of Iranians would be calling (even) an invited "enemy" names! Certain cultures do not have proper manners! And I am planning to not waste time and sleep over this charade!
Ridwan correctly criticizes my post for its over-simplicity. In his blog he writes:
Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia University’s president, spoke before Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today, and he made a mockery out of the valued principles of academic freedom and free speech.
Bollinger decided it was more important to defend his reputation and ward off patriot critics who would cast him as soft on terrorism.
In these terms, Bollinger is neither an academic nor a patriot of the Bush position on Iran. Instead, he is a selfish man who chose the shallowest of all positions to guard his reputation and his job.
There is nothing academic and principled in this position.
Rather, there is the usual buffoonery that typifies the gross and ugly American stereotype.
Brother Tim is also calling to task the American hypocrisy on the freedom of speech.
He first tackles those who protested Ahmadinejad's presence in Colombia:
Our dim-witted politicians and block-headed pundits have really shown their hypocritical colors. Freedom of Speech is only to be enjoyed by holders of American passports. The hypocrisy of the matter literally short-circuits my brain.He then characterizes Bollinger:
While our arrogance says that we have the best form of government, with guaranteed rights and liberties; and that others, mainly in the Middle-East, should emulate us. Those in power seek to deny his right to free speech.
Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia University, is at the top of my list. It was he who extended the invitation to Ahmadinejad to speak at the University. Then, after feeling the pressure from politicians and pundits, went into a lengthy, incoherent rant under the facade of an introduction. I was embarrassed for him. I think his lowest point was when he called Ahmadinejad petty and cruel. No, Mr. Bollinger, it was you, sir, who was petty and cruel. For you to belittle and insult him, after he accepted the invitation that YOU offered him, shows your crass and philistine character. When he responded to you, he took the moral high-ground, and didn't respond with the ad hominem attacks that YOU used on him. To me, you looked and sounded like a two-year old, trying to blame the dog for eating the cookies, while the crumbs were still on your lips.Please do read Brother Tim's passionate post: Some may call it propaganda, but Ahmadinejad has extended the 'olive branch' many times, only to have his hand slapped. He was grateful to the U.S. for taking out his two main enemies, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. He offered Iranian help, in both Afghanistan AND Iraq; and his offers were snubbed by the Bush Administration. Maybe if we had taken him up on his offer, we wouldn't be in the quagmire we're in right now. He has been fighting al Qaeda (the Wahhabis) for years, we could have made use of his help.
Newt Gingrich, that slobbering dolt, said he should not be allowed to speak in America because he is a "pathological liar". By that standard, that would mean Bush and Cheney should not be allowed to speak in America (talk about heaven on earth).
I like to add one more thing: WHO SAYS AHMADINEJAD IS A TERRORIST AND A CRUEL DICTATOR???!
Iran has seen cruel dictators, this little guy is NOT one of them.
How can a man be called terrorist based on MISTRANSLATION of his statement about the illegitimacy of ZIONISM?!