by Nathan Harden | NationalReview.com | September 16, 2011
I meant to write “Columbia University” as the title of this post, but I got confused . . .
Here is the latest on the ongoing love triangle between Columbia students, faculty, and Ahmad-the-terrible.
First of all, not everyone at Columbia wants to do the dictator dance. The editor-in-chief of the Columbia Current has published an op-ed decrying the reported plans that some students are going to attend a dinner with the Iranian leader.
Anyone accepting CIRCA’s invitation to sit down for an intimate dinner with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad next week should take a look at a photo taken at a public square in Iran and distributed by the Associated Press on July 23, 2005. The image depicts two blindfolded boys, around 16 years of age, with nooses being affixed to their necks moments before they were publicly hanged by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime because they were accused of “raping boys,” or, as we call it, being gay. I recall this photo not because it shocks, though it does, or because it will tell you anything new about the man who approved those hangings—it won’t. I bring it up because the moral burden of our Columbia education and human dignity requires us to examine whether it is right for us to sit down to dinner with a man who facilitates, even encourages, such executions…
What will this dinner accomplish? Nothing, except a sating of the human urge to be in the presence of greatness, no matter how unbridled or pernicious. Hearts will beat faster as those involved witness the man—who, with the lift of a finger, can perpetrate a brutal crackdown on his own people as he did in 2009—sitting a few feet away, in flesh and blood, eating the same food they are. It fits that a representative from CIRCA told the Spectator that those involved are “thrilled to have this opportunity.”
Secondly, a group called Shurat HaDin, an Israeli law center, has threatened to sue the university over the alleged Ahmad-ization of its campus:
Hosting Ahmadinejad at a banquet is not merely morally repulsive: it is illegal and will expose Columbia University and its officers to both criminal prosecution and civil liability to American citizens and others victimized by Iranian-sponsored terrorism.Iran is officially designated under U.S. law as a state-sponsor of terrorism, as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and . . .
Well, you get the point.
Meanwhile, the university has issued a statement denying that it is hosting an event on campus for Ahmadinejad, or a meeting between university president Lee Bollinger and the Iranian president, and saying media reports to the contrary have “no basis in fact.”
The point of distinction here seems to be this: The group that is reportedly organizing this event is a student-run organization called the Columbia International Relations Council and Association (CIRCA).
So, no: Columbia University is not officially hosting the political dissent-crushing, Holocaust-denying Ahmadinejad on campus this year. That’s probably because doing so would be too repetitive. Remember? He delivered a speech there in 2007.
Listen to Ahmadinejad declare his “love” for Jews in this video clip from his appearance at Columbia in ’07.
Listen to the applause from all his supporters in the Columbia University audience. This is the kind of absurd scene you get when you seek to “engage” leaders of hostile regimes in friendly civilian debate.
The university seeks to distance itself from this year’s student dinner with Ahmadinejad, but they feted him as the guest of honor at a campus-wide event only a few years ago. Unless, that is, the university’s public relations office wants to try to deny that the event recorded above ever took place.
Look on the bright side: At least this year students will get to enjoy a free dinner while they listen to Ahmadinejad ramble about his supposed affection for all of mankind.
But I’ve got one question: Will the food taste good going down while they think about the Iranian political dissidents that were killed in Iran in 2009, or when he tells students that the holocaust is only “a myth?”