Everyone’s got something to say
Written by Bwog Staff
The listservs have been hopping with tonight with breathless announcements and statements of varying degrees of pomposity. Here are some bullet points, with complete statements either linked or pasted after the jump (and a few more photos from today’s mini-protest).
- The Muslim Student Association empathizes and keeps it brief
- Lucha drags up Minutemen and takes it long
- PRO-Israel PROgressives hopes for peace, bunnies, and flowers, now and forever
- LionPAC fights for Western Values
- Columbia Queer Alliance says Western cultural idioms are bogus
- Pike, which is reportedly holding an Americana-themed party all tomorrow and tomorrow night, wins the concision award (thanks Spec!)
- Professor Anne Prescott is our new favorite faculty member.
Meanwhile, there will be debriefings up the wazoo tomorrow night. The Dems (who are saying this during their 15 minutes in the sun today) are holding one at 9:30 pm in Hamilton 306. The Republicans (who are asking their members to bring their American flags to the rally) will debrief upstairs at 9:00 pm in Hamilton 507. And CCSC wants you to talk about your feelings in the Broadway Sky Lounge from 10:00 to midnight. Mama Michelle is bringing chips and cookies.
Aaaannnd Chas Carey and Josh Lipsky will be on Fox’s Big Story at 5:00.
Having also experienced direct attacks upon our community and faith beliefs post 9/11, the MSA empathizes with the student groups who are offended and outraged by the presence of the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on Columbia’s campus. As an organization, we will continue to strengthen our relationship with as many of Columbia’s religious, cultural, and political organizations so that Islam can be fairly represented on this campus and so that the MSA can maintain its role as a vital organization for Columbia student life.
Lucha believes that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presence at Columbia University is a chance to engage in conversation with one of the world’s most important political leaders. As the occupation of Iraq continues to destroy lives, generals and politicians blame the escalating violence on Iranian interference. As in Iraq, we fear that the American people will be misled into an unjust war with Iran. We see Ahmadinejad’s presence as a crucial opportunity to open dialogue, leading to diplomacy with Iran instead of invasion.
Lucha is concerned with the hypocrisy much of the media and Columbia Administration has displayed in discussing Ahmadinejad’s invitation to speak at Columbia. A self serving description of “freedom of speech” was used to condemn the non-violent protesters who unfurled banners onstage while Jim Gilchrist of the Minutemen Project was speaking on October 4th, 2006. The same ideologues who denounced Columbia when Minutemen supporters shut down their own event by attacking the student protesters, now criticize Columbia for opening a dialogue with one of the most important world leaders and for attempting to promote an exchange of ideas and diplomacy at a time when war with Iran seems ever more imminent. The Columbia Administration has shown incredible inconsistency. They have successfully created an environment in which Ahmadinejad’s positions will be forcefully critiqued, while the University did nothing to acknowledge how deeply offensive and threatening Gilchrist’s views and actions are to Latinos and people of color. We appreciate the University’s efforts in bringing Ahmadinejad to Columbia amid
considerable controversy and providing a forum for his views to be challenged, but feel it necessary to highlight their inconsistency.
We believe that Jim Gilchrist and Ahmadinejad are incomparable. For the Minutemen Project, speaking at Columbia represented a chance to bring tactics and ideology pioneered by the Ku Klux Klan into mainstream American politics. The consequences of Ahmadinejad speaking on the other hand, are entirely different. We believe it necessary to prevent an invasion of Iran, and Ahmadinejad speaking can only lead to further understanding and dialogue. We stand with the people of Iran in their struggle against anti-Semitism, patriarchy, sexism, homophobia, but we fear that these issues have been exploited by those who wish to promote a Zionist and imperialist American invasion of Iran.
Within our group, there are varying opinions on whether Columbia University should have extended an invitation to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Given he will be on campus tomorrow afternoon, we support the efforts of student groups who voice their opposition to Ahmadinejad’s opinions. As well as being appalled by Ahmadinejad’s statements concerning Israel, PRO-Israel PROgressives is also deeply opposed to Ahmadinejad’s support of international terrorism, his denial of the Holocaust, his suppression of political dissidence, and his oppression of minority groups.
Although we clearly disagree with the repugnant views of Ahmadinejad, we hope his presence will begin a constructive conversation on campus, one that is in stark contrast to his own views. We hope future discussions on the Middle East are respectful and inclusive, reflective of a progressive vision, and focused on peace.
LionPAC, in an e-mail to its members
Tomorrow has almost arrived. Whatever happens, it is history in the making. We can talk all we want about the horrific situation in Iran in our classes and in our dorms, but now we have the opportunity to do something and be seen and heard by the world. To not show up tomorrow would be much more than a missed opportunity and more than a conspicuous absence. This is a showdown between all the Western values we base our lives upon, and a man who actively works to dismantle those values.
COLUMBIA QUEER ALLIANCE
“These are the views of the Columbia Queer Alliance executive board and those members present at the meeting in which this matter was discussed. CQA is not the collective voice of the queer community; we do not claim to be expressing the views and opinions of all queer-identified individuals affiliated with Columbia University. However, as student leaders of a progressive activist organization, it is our responsibility to be a part of this discussion.”
“We condemn the human rights violations perpetrated by the Iranian government under the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. We admonish the policies that make same-sex practices punishable by torture and death, as well as those that restrict the freedoms and self-determination of women.”
“We stand in solidarity with our peers in Iran, but we do not presume to speak for them. We cannot possibly claim to understand the multiple and diverse experiences of living with same-sex desires in Iran. Our cultural values and experiences are distinct, but the stakes are one and the same: the essential human right to express our desires freely.”
“Moreover, we would like to strongly caution media and campus organizations against the use of such words as “gay”, “lesbian”, or “homosexual” to describe people in Iran who engage in same-sex practices and feel same-sex desire. The construction of sexual orientation as a social and political identity and all of the vocabulary therein is a Western cultural idiom. As such, scholars of sexuality in the Middle East generally use the terms “same-sex practices” and “same-sex desire” in recognition of the inadequacy of Western terminology.”
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: anne prescott <[email protected]>
Date: Sep 23, 2007 11:17 PM
To: anne prescott <[email protected] > Hi, class. I’m going to head to Columbia early, or as soon as I can
get properly caffeinated. This is just to say do your best to come
but also follow your conscience. Remember, I was here in 1968 and can
go with the flow, although I’m not sure that flower power, as we then
called it, would mean much to the president of Iran. So do whatever
you think you would like to be able to look back on some years hence.
I will go over Love’s L’s Lost. Anne Prescott.