Big Things Poppin’

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As the Spec reported earlier , Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, controversial for his views on the United States, Israel, the holocaust, and nuclear weapons, among other things, will be speaking at Columbia on Monday, September 24th, as part of the World Leaders Forum. Apparently, half his time will be spent answering audience questions. UPDATE: Register here. UPDATE II: It’s full.

In anticipation of the controversy, Columbian President Lee Bollinger is also planning to answer audience questions, from a select group of students invited to meet with him at 1:30 pm tomorrow. These “representatives of the student body” will hear him explain his decision to include Ahmadinejad, with a special non-corporate use of Lerner 555 as a meeting place.

The e-mail sent to the students by Bollinger’s chief of staff, Susan Glancy, follows the jump – DHI

Dear Student Leaders,

On Monday, September 24, the President of the Islamic Republic of  Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is scheduled to appear as a speaker on campus.  The event is sponsored by the School of International and Public  Affairs, which has been in contact with the Iranian Mission to the U.N. The  event will be part of the annual World Leaders Forum, the University-wide  initiative intended to further Columbia’s longstanding tradition of

serving as a major forum for robust debate, especially on global issues.

In order to have such a University-wide forum, we have insisted that a number of conditions be met, first and foremost that President Ahmadinejad agree to divide his time evenly between delivering remarks and responding to audience questions.  President Bollinger also  wanted to be sure that President Ahmedinijad and his staff understood that

he himself will introduce the event with a series of sharp challenges to President Ahmadinejad on numerous issues. Today it was confirmed  that President Ahmedinijad’s staff agreed to these conditions.

President Bollinger would now like to turn to you since undoubtedly many students will have concerns with the appearance of President Ahmedinijad on campus. In anticipation of these concerns, President Bollinger  would like to meet with you as representatives of the student body to  discuss the complexities of this event.  Please join him in Lerner Hall,

room 555 tomorrow afternoon, September 20, at 1:30 p.m.

Please RSVP by responding to this e-mail.  Should you not be able to attend and wish to send a representative of your student group,  please contact me by 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning with the name of the individual you would like to attend in your place.





  1. lisa anderson

    victory is mine!

  2. hmmm  

    I bet "you" = lionPAC et. al.

    I'm glad ahmedinijad is speaking though. last year's outcry was embarassing.

  3. prezbo wtf?  

    Sure, go ahead and invite someone who refuses to believe in the Holocaust and Israel to a campus with a large Jewish population. I'm sure we'll *love* to hear what this man has to say.

    Is Bollinger crazy?!?

  4. why  

    WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY? not only do we have to deal with the media circus, but now every bwog thread for the next several days is getting hijacked by this. is students hearing him really worth that?

  5. there  

    also happens to be a lot of people who aren't jews...

  6. ...  

    so prezbo takes the lead against the british boycott of israeli academics, and then goes and invites ahmadinejad to campus? the president of a UN member nation who has openly called for the destruction of israel, another UN member nation?

    come on, prezbo.

    • DHI  

      Not saying anything about his decision, but his reasoning is perfectly consistent since it's based on free speech and not on the Israeli cause.

      • ...  

        I understand that this is based on free speech, but Ahmadinejad speaking is intrinsically linked to the Israeli cause.

        Ahmadinejad has openly called for the destruction of Israel AND for harm to be inflicted on America. Iran is developing nuclear weapons with blatant disregard for the UN. Iran is also a MAJOR terrorist supporter around the world.

        The man is a threat to Israel, the US AND the world. Free speech is tricky, but I'm hesitant to give him a legitimate platform to speak.

        • DHI  

          My point is that Bollinger never committed to the Israeli cause itself when he opposed the boycott, but instead committed to the same principle that would defend the Ahmadinejad speech with, so that's not a contradiction. It seemed like you might have been implying a contradiction, but that doesn't mean you can't argue against the decision on other grounds.

        • Oh Come On  

          US + Israel =/= THE WORLD!!!!!!!!11111(one)!!!!(?)!!!!

          Unless the danger to the world you're referring to is Nuclear Weapons, in which case, Russia and the former Soviet Satellite Republics are the most dangerous things to THE WORLD!!!!!!!!11111(one)!!!!(?)!!!!

  7. thank you


    Unfortunately I expect the Q&A session to devolve into angry spluttering of "Why do you deny the Holocaust?!?" and "Why do you want Israel wiped off the map?!?"

    oh well.

  8. will  

    JTS storm the stage?

    • the question is  

      will anyone? If the answer's no, it means the collective "we" seem sto think that some bigot in Arizona with a pair of binoculars is a bigger problem than the president of a country of 50 million denying the Holocaust and providing over $100 million to Hezbollah. In what moral universe is that the case? Care to explain, David Judd?

  9. yes #4

    it is important. because everything he says comes to us filtered through the media. now its irl.

    • please  

      there's plenty of spots on the internet to find him unfiltered, regardless of whether you agree with him or not. besides, it'll just be filtered by the various groups on campus shouting him down or shouting the shouters down.

  10. crucial question

    More importantly, bwog:

    Where is he speaking and how do I get in???

  11. DHI  

    Clarification: Not the constitutional freedom of speech, but the idea of open debate and discourse in academia.

  12. I am interested  

    Contrary to popular Columbia opinion, Iran politics is a lot more than just denying the holocaust. Some of Iran's stances actually *gasp* have nothing to do with Israel!

    Anyway, I am more interested in this now that France is no longer a passive supporter of Iran's desire for nuclear weapons.

  13. Ano  

    14 is dead on. He is not just a disgusting human being in regard to Israel. He has despicable beliefs about gays, women, freedom of speech in general, and western society. Scarier still is that he backs up his beliefs with actions.

    • well  

      "He has despicable beliefs about gays, women, freedom of speech in general, and western society. Scarier still is that he backs up his beliefs with actions."

      Like republicans?

      • an Iranian  

        "He has despicable beliefs about gays, women, freedom of speech in general, and western society. Scarier still is that he backs up his beliefs with actions.

        Like republicans?"

        Let us compare.


        Bush--Don't let them marry or adopt.

        Ahmadinejad--Whip them publicly (99 lashes), and then hang them publicly as well.


        Bush--doesn't like Roe v. Wade much. Banned Partial Birth Abortion. Not fond of the Morning After Pill. Supports "the family".

        Ahmadinejad--Abortions only ok in the case of an imminent threat to the mother's life. Women who are forced into prostitution are punished; rape victims are punished, rather than their rapists.

        Freedom of Speech:

        Bush--will wiretap the hell out of you. Probably doesn't like too much sexuality on television. "Enemy combatants" don't get any rights, but you can still shout pretty much whatever you like on the street.

        Ahmadinejad--Criticize the government, and you will be thrown in jail without any access to a lawyer, without having to be charged with any crime. You can be publicly beaten in the street for openly criticizing the Islamic Republic.

        Western Society:

        Bush--"we rule".

        Ahmadinejad--"They are infidels."

        ...Any questions?

    • Good call  

      You're completely right.

      I am surprised this is going down, considering the outrage last year, but it appears that Columbia has done this more quietly this time. While I am also hesitant to give him a legitimate platform to spew dumb ideas, I'm an Iranian and I'd love to ask the man some biting question (I've got too many to list, but I'll think of something). So those of you who want to see him, register, and those of you who think it's wrong of him to be here, DEFINITELY register and ask him a question he can't dodge.

      #44, I hope that Bollinger asks him some tough questions. I think PR-wise, that'd be the right thing for him to do.

      I am not concerned that those opposed to Ahmadinejad will do anything embarassing. Last year Jewish student groups opposed to his visit posted flyers and wrote articles. That's perfectly reasonable, and the right way to go about voicing dissent. The wackos on this campus who would protest violently in the first place are more likely to LOVE Ahmadinejad for "standing up to the west"--nevermind that Ahmadinejad is an example of an extreme right-winger.

      See you all monday.

  14. Ano  

    And a message to knee-jerk liberals that will inevitably crawl over this comment thread: YOU ARE CRAZY to defend this man. Do some research. Stop trying to take any stance that goes counter to the right just for the sake of talking. This man is despicable on just about every liberal issue that I'm sure you would be concerned about. Look into it before you start AIPAC and Bush bashing.

  15. if we really wanted  

    If we really wanted this to be an educational experience, a 'know-thy-enemy' type event, we'd invite Iranian dissidents, expelled students, jailed academics, to speak and tell us what really goes on inside the Hell that is the Islamic Republic's Iran. This event will not teach us a thing, nor will we engage in any meaningful academic discourse with a man who knows well how to spin and deflect. This is Bollinger grandstanding his crusade for free speech, nothing more. Shame on him.

  16. NO!!!!  

    NO!!! not like republicans. Republicans do not stone gay people. Republicans do not barr women from public gatherings. Stop being dumb. Just so dumb and so ignorant. Refer to #21 for the rest of this idea.

  17. The only thing worse  

    than having a crazy nut in control of nuclear weapons is when you make that nut even more pissed off.

    How do you think this guy feels when we constantly belittle his politics, ignore what he has to say, and hang the threat of all-out war over his head? Why not let the guy talk it out, and maybe he'll realize he's not so pissed off anymore.

    Think about it: What made your little brother keep poking you in the side when you were in the back seat on long car rides? Because he knew it pissed you off. Because he saw it in the way you responded. Maybe if we treated this Arab nut with the respect all of us American nuts get on a daily basis, he'd be a little less enflamed.

    And to all you pro-Israel, let's-not-let-him-talk-ers: I'm Jewish too, but get off your high horses. Plenty of people hate Israel. That's just a fact. I doubt the plan is for him to rant against Israel at this forum, so let's hear what he has to say rather than just ignore him stfu and let the nut talk.

    • you're worse.  

      Are you kidding me? You think if we lay off Ahmadinejad he'll suddenly not want to wipe Israel off the map, or give his own people even minimal human rights? You're a real smart guy, glad college is teaching you a thing or two about the real world. He's a spin doctor, nothing more. Have you seen his interviews with Mike Wallace, Anderson Cooper, etc.? It's all bullshit, because he's got a message, and nothing will change that. You're foolish if you think he's got anything meaningful to say.

      • yeah  

        I saw his interview with Mike Wallace, and Wallace disgraced himself as an interviewer.

        Have you ever stopped to get past the rhetoric for a half second? How is attacking Israel rational when it means MAD in a best case scenario.

        Or do you just presume that Iran is an irrational state actor?

    • interesting  

      just don't call him an arab though. that might piss him off...

    • so  

      I was an only child...I think we should use military force to make America an only child and eliminate the little brother Iran. Fair point?

  18. Follow up  

    Upon further reflection, I don't trust the person with their finger currently on the button in this country, so I would feel comfortable saying the US is a danger to THE WORLD!!!!!!!!11111(one)!!!!(?)!!!! We've elected certifiably crazy people in the past (Nixon), and all it takes is one more with a nihilistic bent to end the world. Hell, I consider myself sane, and I'd be tempted to destroy the pieces of scum called humanity.

  19. hi friends!  

    I'm not very political person, but I must admit I'm an enormous fan of Ahmadinejad...he brings a lot of personality and flavor to the rather stale world of international politics. I just wanted to know, does anyone here at this school feel the same way I do?

  20. Sprinkles

    This isn't ''robust debate.'' It's not intellectual, it's a PR job. It's a stunt which will only make Columbia look bad - which the school kind of deserves for courting this ridiculousness.

  21. and furthermore

    WHY OH WHY are we legitimating this man by letting him speak? Why are we stroking his ego? He gets off on making Jews furious, by making Americans angry. Why are we giving him another opportunity to spout his crap? Because it puts Columbia in the news?

    • if you let him speak  

      you gain perspective.

      and the other opinions that you use to form better decisions.

      and, it's exciting to expose others to the freedom of speech afforded in the U.S.

      what if he comes away from our school with a different opinion on the way the students think in the U.S.?

  22. and finally

    I kind of want to take back the 50 bucks I just pledged to the alumni fund or whatever they were phoning me about a few days ago.

  23. The Dink  

    Go read Mill. It's not that big a deal giving people a platform to speak, no matter who they are or what they think, if we can engage them with intelligence and reasoned responses instead of emotions, canned party agendas, and run-on sentences.

    ps, I'm Jewish...which doesn't matter one bit.

  24. so now  

    registration is closed...

  25. asdf  

    forget his views for a second. he's like america's enemy, right? so isn't it weird to have him come speak? you wouldn't have invited hitler to come give a talk in 1944. mmmm awkward?

  26. .....  

    CHUT UP! All of you CHUUUUT UP!!!!

  27. no,  

    not in 1944, we were at war with him. But in 1934? He's still an enemy, but that's why we need to talk. Insert Moshe Dayan quote here.

  28. The Dink  

    That was Disco, not Flop! I tracked you bitch!

    • DHI  

      I meant to be tracked, fool. If I didn't want to be tracked, I'd do this. But I had to comment for Mr. Alexander "Sackflop" Sackeim since it 's what he would have said if he were alive today.

  29. nsm  

    whether we like it or not, ahmadinejad is a critical figure in today's world. to hear how he views the world (no matter how abhorrent that lens may be) is a very unique and important opportunity for us all.

    i am keeping my fingers crossed for three things:

    1) i hope bollinger presses him with tough questions
    2) i hope there is an opportunity for the audience to interact with the speaker
    3) most of all, i hope that the students demonstrate restraint and intellect...we can't afford another minuteman humiliation on a national stage

  30. umm  

    prezbo is going to question him sharply about his country's policies...half the session is q+a...what more do you want?

    We're not fawning all over him or endorsing his policies; he's presenting and being questioned in a public forum.

  31. No,  

    if the answer is no, it just means that a small group of the people who care mostly about immigration are riled and dumb enough to storm a stage and make a fool of themselves, while the people who care mostly about Iran's position in the world are able to show basic respect and self restraint and address problems and fear with intelligence and reason.

  32. one more thing

    It appears that PrezBo does plan on grilling Ahmadinejad:

    "I also wanted to be sure the Iranians understood that I would myself introduce the event with a series of sharp challenges to the President on issues including:

    ·the Iranian President’s denial of the Holocaust;

    ·his public call for the destruction of the state of Israel;

    ·his reported support for international terrorism that targets innocent civilians and American troops;

    ·Iran's pursuit of nuclear ambitions in opposition to international sanction;

    ·his government's widely documented suppression of civil society and particularly of women's rights; and

    ·his government's imprisoning of journalists and scholars, including one of Columbia’s own alumni,
    Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh."

    I think this is going to go over pretty well as long as PrezBo does not feed him softballs.

  33. The Answer:  

    I have the solution to this problem!!!

    If you don't the idea of hearing Ahmedinajad speak, dear Jews & flag-humpers, please don't attend! That's right, just fuck off! Let those with a genuine interest in international politics hear what he has to say! yay!

    • I don't like  

      your idea, either. There is nothing wrong with Jews, and there is nothing wrong with people who don't virulently hate America ("flag-humpers"). You'd be a "flag-humper", too, if you had ever visited Iran (like I have).

      Students have a right to oppose his visit, but those who are opposing it are doing it in a rational, proper manner. They are not bringing stupid banners and rushing the stage. They'll write articles, complain on bwog, complain to PrezBo, post some flyers. That's how it ought to be. I fucking hate Ahmadinejad and that's why I am going to go see him get grilled.

  34. Thank you Columbia  

    for allowing us to have the opportunity to listen to the leader of one of the most important countries in the world with regards to international politics and security (or the lack there of). As a MEALAC major I am extremely interested in hearing how he will explain his undemocratic views under the questioning of President Bollinger. As he has already stated, this is not going to be a pro Iran propaganda speech but rather a chance for us to learn more about how to challenge and respond to the challenges faced in Iran and the Middle East, the most important region in the world when it comes to sustainable international development and peace.

    Lets prove that we're smart enough to realize that the way to fight people like him is not through ignoring them but rather through engaging in dialogue as a starting off point. I definitely hope that the students who were lucky enough to be able to register for this event are students who are interested in challenging his ideas in a constructive way.

    Please, no Minuteman repeat.

  35. Fucking A  

    Fucking SIPA. Iran's President is a world leader in the areas of reactionary government, homophobia, autocracy, suppression of free speech, suppression of a free press, suppression of academic freedom, capital punishment, theocratic rule, and denial of women's rights.

    I believe in freedom of speech, but Ahmadinejad does not need a platform at Columbia in order to speak freely. SIPA is about to drag our reputation through the mud.

    We deserve better than Ahmadinejad.

  36. what about  

    if we made Ahmadinejad look like a fool?

    An article I wanted you all to read regarding Ahmadinejad and his campus crackdown in Tehran:

    This is pretty terrifying. Questions about this would be a good departure from what will be the standard questions on Monday Re: Israel, Holocaust, Gays, etc.

  37. taylor hawkins  

    this show sold out faster than the foo fighters at irving plaza. and i got shut out of both today. what an awful 12 hours.

    [yeah columbia, thanks for a blast email or something telling us about the event. way to go.]

  38. nate mendel  

    also, who thinks this inspirational speech gets shitcanned over the weekend once the red alumni-to-prezbo phone rings off the hook tomorrow?

  39. That would be  

    the worst thing Columbia could do right now.. If they cancelled, it would undermine the intergrity of the university, especially since that is what happened last year. Columbia should be strong and allow anyone to speak on this campus in the interest of freedom of speech.

  40. drudge  

    Did the Drudge Report link shut down the Columbia Spec site?

  41. to #55

    I respectfully ask...

    Are you on crack?

  42. Student Leader (??)

    The student leaders who were invited to the pre-event discussion should be given admission to the event itself... I am glad that I was invited to the discussion, but would like to be able to see the event itself too.

  43. fair and balanced  

    Someone made a pretty good observation up top: the bigger disgrace would be if there WASN'T a repeat of the Minutemen fiasco. Those people who didn't think last year's event deserved "free speech" cannot justify ignoring this one.

  44. wow

    I'm ashamed of some of you.

    I am however proud of Columbia so far.

    For those of you so virulently opposed to this, and those who are wondering why, consider this: the way to confront an ideological opponent is to discredit and humiliate them, expose them for what they are. And there is no institution better placed to do that than the Academy. We have set the terms of the debate. If we get shown up by Ahmedinijad, then it's our own fault.

    What are you so afraid of? Do you feel threatened by him? Don't you have faith in your own convictions and ideology and your intelligence and skills to outmaneuver him? Let him evade the really hard questions, and look like a fool. Don't keep throwing the same emotional questions at him, because you play into his hands.

    History gives us precedent. The Kitchen Debate, for example.

    That's on principle.

    As for the fact's, what's there to say? As has already been mentioned, shouting him down as an irrational anti-semite is so short-sighted that it's truly embarassing.

  45. to quote  

    Oliver Wendell Holmes from Prezbo's class' reading:

    “But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade of ideas—-that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out…we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country.”

  46. Can someone

    PLEASE explain to me how to pronounce this dude's name. seriously. How can I bitch and moan about him being here when all I can do is mumble something that sounds like his name and look scandalized. Thanks.

  47. interesting comment

    on spec article:

    "Now look here, you drudge-report readers.

    Nobody, and I mean nobody, on this campus, likes this guy. And FYI, we have invited numerous voraciously pro-American speakers to this campus. I consider myself an American and a patriot. I believe Ahmadinejad is an abhorrent person, with abhorrent policies.

    The way to beat this guy is not to let him say "see, the West is corrupt death to Israel etc" like he always does. It's to make him defend his policies,and discover that they are in fact indefensible. We're not "letting him speak." We're subjecting him to an incredibly tough Q&A where his moronic hate-filled drivel will be exposed for what it is. This is not some namby-pamby Mike Wallace interview. This is the real deal. And his ideology will be revealed in full, on a local stage, as the truly pathetic gasps of a murderous man struggling to stay in power amidst gas riots in Tehran.

    Ahmadinejad is backed into a corner here. He has made a fatal error. Rather than badmouth this university, I hope you hate-filled folks will instead submit calm, reasoned questions to poke holes in his ideology.

    He's gonna get skewered, and America will come out the stronger for it.

    and its ah-mah-DIH-nee-zhahd

  48. comparable?  

    I think the event has been well planned and executed by the University. The minutemen situation is not comparable. Gilchrist was invited to spew his racist trash at the invitation of the Columbia fascists. Ahmadinejad will be placed in a fitting, critical, academic context. Also, speaking at Columbia will make little difference in terms of Ahmadinejad's legitimacy, whereas for a white-supremecist fringe group attempting to recast itself into the mainstream of American politics, the podium at an Ivy League university could have been quite powerful. While the parallels are interesting, I don't think Gilchrist and Ahmadinejad are comparable.

    • a big hearty

      cup of F@$# You. Yeah. All republicans are fascists and wanting to enforce the laws is racist. And with El-Haj up for tenure, a strong crazy set of folks like you and the fact that Ahmadinejad has made overtly pro genocidal and racist statements your little screed is absurd when you try to couch Ahmadinejad's possible effect as irrelevant--he obviously has a lot of backers (lets not even mention de genova, rock throwing incidents and other things).

      Then again, thats the beauty of his upcoming event and of free speech at a place like columbia. It lets everyone speak so we can identify utter morons like yourself.

      Enjoy your SDS meeting.

  49. shut out  

    Does anyone know if there will be live video feed of this to watch on-line?

  50. mellow

    i wouldn't be surprised if c-span tries picking up a live feed. otherwise, yeah, it'll definitely be shown online (assuming the stream works).

  51. 50 USD  

    for my ahmadinejad ticket.

  52. Hmm

    I registered but I'm not sure if I can go. Does anyone know if it's possible to ask them to change the registration to someone elses' name?(I'm not trying to make money off this like the poster above, but since there's no wait list, if I can't switch it it to someone else I'll feel like an ass if I can't go and the spot is wasted)

  53. Anonymous

    Alright, I know I'm a bit out of the loop these days, not being on campus and all, but I wanted to throw in my two cents.

    Being the president of a nation, Ahmadinejad already has a pretty damn legitimate platform from which to speak, regardless of how much we might disagree with, belittle, or hate what he says. Offering him a chance to speak at Columbia is not lending him any legitimacy he doesn't already have; rather, it is offering you as students the opportunity to get it straight from the horse's mouth, AND -- if all goes as planned -- to engage him in intellectual debate. I am truly envious that I will not be able to take advantage of this opportunity. I hope those of you who can go will be able to understand better what goes on behind his rhetoric and inside his head.

  54. livenation

    There were no tickets available that matched your request

    There are several things you can try:
    Change the quantity of tickets you are requesting.
    If you selected a specific seat section, try switching to "Best Available".
    If you are unable to find tickets, be sure to check back often. As the date of the event nears, often times a limited number of tickets may be released.
    If you entered a promotional code, check that the code is valid for the ticket price and criteria you selected.



  55. What happened  

    to the comment saying that the "israel wiped off the map" quote is a mistranslation from farsi?

  56. never mind  

    sorry, it was in the other thread. Is every bwog thread gonna be about this guy for the next week?

  57. yes  

    there will be a live video feed.

  58. Sprinkles

    Let's invite the Timecube guy while we're at it.

    I predict Ahmadinejad's speech will be boring soundbites and nothing we haven't already heard. Bollinger will probably ask easy questions...he doesn't need to court any more controversy with this one.

  59. ticketless

    I'm so upset that there are no tickets left. They should've made it available to more CU students!


    GIVE US TICKETS. What the hell? I can't even get in to see this? Open it up to CU students!!!1

    • i have tickets  

      tickets. i've got tickets. 2 down low with after-speech party passes in the prezbo suite. close enough to touch the dictator and guaranteed to be on television. $800/pair to see the hitler of the 21st century in the flesh. only public appearance of 2007.

  61. Anonymous

    Columbia sure is an open minded advocate of free speech. The minute men are SHOUTED DOWN, ATTACKED and NOT ALLOWED to speak. but a holocaust denier who wants a repeat is invited with open arms. Y'all sure know how to interp that First Amenm't up there in that big ol' city of y'ors, sur 'nuf.

  62. Geo

    This man, Ahmanutjob is killing our brave women and men in Iraq. The weapons and soldiers his goverment is sending to Iraq makes him our enemy without doubt. Giving this terrorist a forum is unbelievable. Columbia should be ashamed of itself.

  63. Billie M. Spaight

    Letting this rabid anti-Semite speak is an abomination. He is a Holocaust denier and it is a deadly insult to the 11 million people who died in Hitler's death camps and the 22 million who died in WWII. This is not free speech--this is just plain insulting.

  64. Billie M. Spaight

    P.S. I'm a socialist so it's not like all liberals want this guy to speak. I don't. He has enough places to be heard and doesn't need to bug our students with his lunacy. Free speech doesn't mean the right to hate speech and that is what this man is into. Somebody commented that Ahmadinejad is REALLY CONSERVATIVE. I would say more like totally backward. I'm no conservative but I wouldn't even insult them by putting them in a box with him.

    Expressing negative views on Israel is one thing. That is a current issue in the Middle East and as a world leader he will say what he thinks. I don't agree but he is entitled to his say on that. But denying a central event in human history (the Holocaust) is something else. He had David Duke--a known Nazi--at his so-called conference showing that he is a pure anti-Semite.

    Also, special thanks to the Iranians who wrote on this blog. I always make a distinction between leaders and the people of any nation. Bush does not represent me and I don't think Ahmadinejad represents most Iranians. I also don't think Ohlmert represents most Israelis.

    We have been trying to get our Congress to stop the war in Iraq and they just don't get it (because the lobbies pay them not to get it).

    Freedom for women, gays, Jews, and other marginalized people is vital and Ahmadinejad does not support any of this. He is not a peace-loving person. I know many peace loving people who have strong objections to some of the excesses of Israel. Some people I know do not agree with Israel's existence.

    My view is that if we can have Islamic countries and countries with official Christian churches, there is nothing wrong with having a Jewish state too. I would like to see the Arab nations donate land to the Palestinians so they can also have a homeland. Israel is too small to give up more land. I feel sorry that the Palestinians are caught between the age-old problems between the Arab nations and the Jewish nation.

    But let's make no mistake about this--if leaders like Ahmadinejad really cared so much about the Palestinians, wouldn't these leaders offer to donate land to them? I think they are using the Palestians as pawns to fight the Jews.

    Isreal has a lot to answer for but not as much as countries that tell women how to act and dress and that kill gays and don't let ANYBODY have any say--even their own Arab people.

    I'll be protesting on Monday. Political correctness be damned. What about the political correctness of not insulting people affected by the Holocaust? What about NYC being a place with lots of Jewish people? We are sick of anti-Semitism.

    Why not invite other, unheard Iranian speakers? There are women in Iran fighting for human rights. There are others who want to liberalize things there. These people don't get heard a lot. I would like to see these people get a platform--they need it more than Ahmadinejad. Why not introduce Columbia U students to the good things in Iranian culture so they can appreciate it more? I would like to learn more about Arab culture but the negative people seem to get all the attention and that is not good. Columbia should seek to provide balance for that problem.

  65. Kevin Shook

    The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.
    --Dante Alighier

  66. Kevin Shook

    To an Iranian. Your are really stupid. Your moral equivalence excercise proves it. I'm a gay man and would rather live in George Bush's America any day of the week than in Iran. I may not be able to marry the man I love, but I won't be hanging from a crane in a public square for doing so.

  67. !@!@!@

    is it just me or is that he talks way tooo much and every time he talks he makes himself look way worse then it already is and makes me want to pock him in the eye with a burning hot needle!.... if anyone gets that close to him pls do it!!

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