The chancellors of seven Iranian universities issued a letter to Bollinger saying his “insult, in a scholarly atmosphere, to the president of a country with ... a recorded history of 7,000 years of civilization and culture is deeply shameful.”
They invited Bollinger to Iran, adding, “You can be assured that Iranians are very polite and hospitable toward their guests.”
"There is blood upon their hands"
Ernest Hemingway explained the problem many years ago. The first thing politicians do to hide their mismanagement, he said, is inflate the currency; the second thing they do is go to war.
Our currency has been inflated and we are at war. The demonization of the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which you saw take place in New York City and on American television, is just the first step in preparing the country for a third war.
The president of Columbia, Lee Bollinger, disgraced himself. Instead of introducing his invited guest speaker, he launched a tirade of abuse and insults. Obviously, he was in hot water with some of Columbia's big donors for inviting Ahmadinejad and chose that petty, shabby way of trying to ingratiate himself to the school's angry sugar daddies. All Bollinger succeeded in doing was making Ahmadinejad look good in comparison with him.
Whether you agree with Iran's president or not, he's the wrong guy to try to demonize. He is not a dictator. He is an elected president.
The claims that Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust and has called for the destruction of Israel are false. He has called for regime change, which is something American politicians do every time they find a country whose policies they disagree with. Regime change is a change of government, not genocide. As for the Holocaust, he said it raised two questions: Why put people in prison who question details of the official version, which is what several European countries do. Why should the Palestinians be made to pay for it? Both are good questions.
How American politicians can call Iran a dangerous country and claim that it poses a threat to the US is a mystery. On second thought, it is not a mystery. It just tells you that the politicians think you and I are so stupid that we will fall for the exact same parade of lies and exaggerations that was used to justify the war against Iraq.
Think for yourself. Iran has no nuclear weapons, and its military is designed for defense. It has no offensive capability - no air force, no navy to speak of. Israel, on the other hand, is usually ranked as the fifth most powerful military state on the planet. It has more than 200 nuclear weapons and a superb air force.
Iran has said it has no desire to attack Israel or any other country. It has said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and that it has no desire for a nuclear weapon. The head cleric has issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons. And there is not one shred of evidence that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon.
Just remember the lies told to you before Iraq: that Saddam Hussein was pursuing a nuclear weapon; that he had enormous stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. The only thing he really had was oil. That's why we went to war, and that's why the administration wants to go to war with Iran.
I've heard some politicians say that Ahmadinejad has "blood on his hands." Well, our $40 billion worth of intelligence cannot even determine if he was involved in the taking of the American embassy back in 1979. As for blood, American politicians have far more Iranian blood on their hands. We overthrew Iran's democratic government and installed the Shah and his secret police. We sided with and assisted Saddam Hussein when he invaded Iran. Tens of thousands of Iranians are dead because of America's foreign policy.
We truly have a corrupt and incompetent government in Washington.
By Charley Reese, antiwar.com
Bollinger's pride and prejudice
Throwing all international protocol to the wind, the President of Columbia University has not only damaged the image of his colleagues but has also humiliated US intellectual elite and disgraced his nation.
The recent outrageous insulting remarks hurled at the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by Lee Bollinger at the very onset of his speech not only displayed an exaggerated overbearing pride but bore feelings of prejudice against him and the Iranian nation.
“In Columbia University, Ahmadinejad was a 'victim', and even hard-liners praised the President's calm demeanor during the event, saying Bollinger was spouting a 'Zionist' line," AP reported.
What Bollinger failed to foresee was that his 'act of hubris', would fatally boomerang. Pride comes before a fall!
Bollinger needs to be reminded that civility, which is characterized by restraint, esteem, and kindness, controls civil interaction in official settings-it, is civil interaction at its most formal!
You don't invite a foreign dignitary to grace your campus and then insult him publicly, because an invitee never imagines or foresees that he/she will be ridiculed, humiliated or attacked by their host before a huge gathering of people.
Iranian hospitality emphasizes guests, including foreigners, no matter whom, or of what rank or status, should be treated courteously.
The hospitality extended to foreigners reveals the rich and intensely warm and unique traits of the people and friendliness and generosity remains a highly visible trait of Iranian etiquette.
Moreover, in Iran, as in most other world nations and including some of the more civilized parts of the US, it is customary to honor a guest with common courtesy, the least that is expected of a person.
No wonder world - nations, media-men and scholars have reacted strongly to Bollinger's attitude and many found his remarks starkly discourteous.
Displaying respect shows good international relations, and etiquette as the code of such display is needed by anyone dealing with diplomacy.
This well-established international modus operandi has made it easier for nations and people to live and work together. Besides various governments, institutions and organizations honor with formality and attention to detail all-important professional encounters, down to the smallest aspect.
How discreditable! The US, probably like no other world country, which prides in laying emphasis on the freedom of speech as well as of the press to safeguard their so-called democracy, has proven to be a sham!
The demeaning of a foreign dignitary by the President of such a reputed university speaks volumes of how much power their media wields over the society as well as on the intellectuals who are believed to possess the right to freedom of expression. Alas! It is contrary to what the country claims.
As for Bollinger, his deficiency of knowledge of Iran's domestic affairs, it's social and cultural traditions, demonstrates his ignorance of even basic moral laws and civility, let alone his understanding of 'the history of illegal US interventions against Iran' ever since diplomatic ties were severed between the two sides thirty years ago, IRNA quoted the United Iranian Students Association (UISA) as saying.
But hats off to Ahmadinejad for maintaining an unperturbed attitude which won the people's sympathy, while his 'speech spoiled Bollinger's vicious plans', the Los Angeles paper wrote.
Ahmadinejad managed to get his message across the audience despite the signals he got to end the speech. His request for 'one more minute' only showed his zeal and determination to finish what he wanted to convey - a true portrait of Iran.
Back at home Ahmadinejad was applauded. He got what he wanted - glory and honor for the nation!
By Florence Joseph