Monday, September 24, 2007

Scattered Thoughts on Ahmadinejad

1. The clip of Ahmadinejad denying that there are homosexuals in Iran and the audience's reaction is still making me crack up every time I see it.

2. It wasn't nice or pretty, but Lee Bollinger did the right thing in basically humiliating Ahmadinejad with his introduction and questions.

3. Having said that, I still think Columbia erred in having the man speak at the university. My reasoning: people will believe the most ridiculous things when they are repeated often enough on television. That may sound cynical, but I think the billions of dollars spent on advertising back me up on this. Everyone knew that Ahmadinejad's appearance would draw international coverage, and that his performance would later be watched by millions on television. In effect, Columbia University's decision gave the man yet another opportunity to repeat his lies and idiocy in front of a prime-time audience.

4. Ahmadinejad is probably not all that interested in what Columbia University students think of him. His real intended audience: Arab masses and disgruntled elites (not the Iranian people). His message: Iran is the true protector of Arab and Muslim interests - whether it be in the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, or Iraq. His implicit target: the autocratic, US-supported regimes in the Middle East.

8 comments:

Aardvark EF-111B said...

*Najad is too pure to realize what homosexualism is ??!?

*I still can't imagine what Najad expected to have in C.U., applause??!?

*The media machine again proved its might!!, regardless any political correctiveness parameters

*Believe me, he hardly find audience....!!!

Anonymous said...

Hazbani contemplating.
Just looked at the world corruption list in el Nahar. Funny how intuition work, it is also the peferred migration list of practically every body in the world, even of many people who can not read or write, properly any how.
Some body should have asked this question in Columbia. If both the USA and Iran will declare a mutual free immigration week [one state to the other ] only one way, no double citizenship, of let us say 5000 people, first come first served. How long will be the line in the USA how long will will the line be in Iran ?
One can give very long and learned reasons to the obvious result and still, with Bush, Capitalism ect, the response is clear. True, Sweden and Canada may be better [but very cold ] but they can be what they are much because of the military might of the USA, not only but to a large extend. Many Swedes and the Canadians will hate the idea and will talk about international law and the UN but even these work as they do not only but still much because of the the might of the USA. Serbia?

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with you at all, Amos. I was embarrassed by Bollinger's "introduction." See Renate Bridenthal's letter-to-the-editor in the NYT the very next day -- which she elaborated in a personal letter to Bollinger as well. (Renate is a holocaust survivor and a distinguished historian (Brooklyn College) of Nazi German -- and an alumna of Columbia: so she has "standing" on many counts.)

I felt sorry for Bollinger at first, thinking that the poor guy was faced with Columbia's losing millions because some schnook had the stupid idea of providing a publicity platform for Ahmedinejad and invited him; I assumed that Bollinger, already smarting under the slings and arrows of the NY Sun, was trying to retrieve things. But then, to find that he (or some authoritative Columbia committee, including such worthies as Gary Sick) apparently invited him? It turns the whole thing into a tasteless publicity stunt, a way for "Columbia" to demonstrate how much it doesn't like Hitler, and -- by the way -- Ahmedinejad. Pfui!

And for the U.S. to deny Ahmedinejad the "right" to visit ground zero (and perhaps lay a wreath) was similarly tasteless. Such a visit would have been a sign that Iran can feel sympathy for the victims of terrorism, even when the victims belong to the "enemy" US : and we don't want that?

DIsgusting all around. Result? Cheap mutual back-patting among those who orchestrated this chorus of indignation, and help for Ahmedinejad's plummeting poll numbers in Iran.

Pfui!
Peggy

Amos said...

I think Ahmadinejad should not have been invited in the first place. But if one goes so far as to invite him, Bollinger's way of dealing with Ahmadinejad seemed entirely correct to me. I found Bridenthal's letter rather weak. The principle of freedom of speech certainly gives people the right to condemn someone in the strongest terms. Bollinger made a harsh but appropriate political intervention. I am not sure about your reference to Columbia wanting to show that it doesn't like Hitler.

Given the Islamic Republic's history of backing terrorist groups - including the Hizbullah cell that bombed a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires - I can understand very well why many Americans might not want him to appear at ground zero.

As for your final conclusion that the whole spectacle will lead to an increase in Ahmadinejad's approval ratings in Iran - I would be surprised by this. The man was publicly humiliated and laughed at by American college students. I don't see how this would help him.

Venkat Ramanan said...

Hi!
I completely agree with the first 3 points.... but, I would like to disagree with the 4th point... Iranians in general hate Arabs and why would Ahmadinejad want to protect Arab interests? His speech pro-palestine is to spread Iranian power in the ME and probably eat some of the Arabs' share too!!

A good post in general!

Cheers
Venkat

Zach said...

Amos,
I like your thoughts.
I'm not adequately informed on the strategic, political implications of Ahmadinajad's speech, so I avoid questions like "does this strengthen his position?"
The best thing that came out of the event was Ahmadinajad's self-skewering comment on homosexuality. It forced many of the more radical students at Columbia to re-evaluate their support of a man many of them praise.

DeWayne said...

Columbia Pres-Bollinger was at once a master academician, politician, and one able to turn tables on master deceivers.
What this great man enabled was that Pres-Ahmadinejad was covertly given opportunity to dispell the many lies and slanders brought against Ahmadinejad and his nation.
Today essentially all of the damnable false-charges made against this President and his nation, essentially (all) have been thoroughly debunked and proven the lies they are.
So here is to a man that Columbia Univ may well be proud, one that makes fools of fools, and brings light to the entire world.

DeWayne said...

Can you believe anyone saying Iran Pres-Ahmadinejad hates Arabs, the very man that puts his entire reputation on line to help Arab peoples in Palestine and elsewhere like Lebanon, that for 60 years have endures Apartheid suffering.
The one weakness of the deceiver, is basing slander upon conditions (easily) disproved with evidence anyone will find almost instantly in researching for truth.