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Y2Kev
The Last Guardian is Dead. Sorry.
(09-21-2007, 03:10 AM)
Y2Kev's Avatar
http://columbiaspectator.com/?q=node/26790

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accepted an offer to speak next week at Columbia’s World Leaders Forum, the University announced Wednesday.

The appearance of Ahmadinejad—widely criticized for espousing anti-Semitic views and condemned for apparent human rights abuses—will mark the head of state’s first-ever public engagement at a U.S. university and seems certain to fuel heated protest on and beyond Columbia’s campus.

University President Lee Bollinger announced the decision to invite the leader in a statement Wednesday evening.

“It should never be thought that merely to listen to ideas we deplore in any way implies our endorsement of those ideas, or the weakness of our resolve to resist those ideas, or our naiveté about the very real dangers inherent in such ideas,” Bollinger said. “It is a critical premise of freedom of speech that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open the public forum to their voices. To hold otherwise would make vigorous debate impossible.”

According to John Coatsworth, interim dean of the School of International and Public Affairs, Ahmadinejad expressed interest in speaking at Columbia in the past month to history Professor Richard Bulliet, communicating through Iran’s United Nations ambassador. When Ahmadinejad agreed to the conditions of speaking at the World Leaders Forum, such as answering spectators’ questions, the engagement was confirmed.

“Opportunities to hear, challenge, and learn from controversial speakers of different views are central to the education and training of students for citizenship in a shrinking and still dangerous world,” Coatsworth said in a statement.

The event, set to take place at 1:30 p.m. Monday in Roone Arledge Auditorium, will consist of a speech by Ahmadinejad as well as a question-and-answer session moderated by Coatsworth. A University spokesman said online registration for the 600-person event was capped within 90 minutes of opening Wednesday night.

The event will involve tight protection measures, including metal detectors, extensive security personnel, and a ban against any bags, purses, or signs. It will be the only event of the World Leaders’ Forum occurring in Lerner Hall.

The invitation recalled a similar proffer one year ago, when Lisa Anderson, then dean of SIPA, invited Ahmadinejad to speak on campus during the 2006 World Leaders Forum.
After learning of Anderson’s invitation, Bollinger chose not to lend it full University sponsorship. The next day, citing security and free speech concerns, Anderson rescinded the invitation—but not before tipping off a firestorm of criticism.

The similarity of the two invitations—and the deafening public response—were enough to confuse one major news service. Thursday afternoon, Bloomberg News reported that Columbia's offer to Ahmadinejad had been rescinded, mistaking a Sept. 2006 statement by Bollinger as having come from this year. The service later issued a correction.
The timing of Wednesday’s announcement coincided with the release of Iranian-American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh, one of four American citizens imprisoned in Iran more than eight months ago. According to Coatsworth, Bollinger had urged Iranian leaders to release Tajbakhsh, who earned a Ph.D at Columbia in 1993, over the summer, though it was not immediately clear whether the announcement of Ahmadinejad’s appearance was related.

“I don’t know whether the timing of this release is connected to President Ahmadinejad’s decision to speak at Columbia University,” Coatsworth said. “I can say that the timing is fortuitous and the coincidence of the two events is happy news."

Ahmadinejad’s appearance will likely spark intense protest from numerous religious, ethnic, and political groups, due to his stated desire to “wipe Israel off the map,” his denial of the Holocaust, his frequent anti-American comments, and Iran’s Uranium-enrichment program, which Iran maintains is for civilian energy use.

At least five student groups said last night that they planned to protest the event. Several student leaders received invitations Wednesday to speak with Bollinger about the event.
In a statement signed by the heads of at least thirteen campus groups, student leaders acknowledged the importance of hearing a diverse range of views but expressed concern that University officials kept them in the dark until yesterday’s announcement.

“In a university setting, no view is too disreputable to be excluded—the goal of a university is to hear and present a wide array of opinions so that they may be challenged and debated in the spirit of free speech and the pursuit of knowledge,” the statement read.

The news of the Iranian president’s arrival on campus came in a busy news week both for Ahmadinejad and Columbia. Less than two days ago, controversial Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist said that he had been invited to return to Columbia, 11 months after his speech in Roone Arledge Auditorium was halted by protestors storming the stage. That offer was put in limbo following the withdrawal of sponsorship by the Columbia Political Union.

Early yesterday, Ahmadinejad caused a stir when authorities confirmed that he requested an opportunity to visit Ground Zero one month ago. The New York Police Department, Secret Service, and Port Authority officials denied the request, saying that it was not possible because of construction. The NYPD also denied it based on security reasons.
And yesterday, Iranian officials issued statements saying they had drawn up plans to bomb Israel in the “unlikely event” of an attack on Iran. While Israel’s foreign minister expressed alarm at the news, the U.S dismissed them as “not constructive,” according to BBC News.

Read the full text of Bollinger's statement.
Read Bollinger's statement from 2006.

Read a statement from student groups on Ahmadinejad's visit.
More details will be posted on columbiaspectator.com as they become available.

Quite a shitstorm going on here. Student groups are pretty opposed to the entire event, and the Jewish community has kicked it into high gear.

But I don't know what to feel. I feel like stopping him from talking would be a violation of the sort of disputatious learning the school says it is built around. Does allowing him to speak on campus mean the school is giving him a platform?

I'd say overall the reaction is pretty negative, though I'm kind of interested in going. Tickets to see him speak sold out in less than five minutes.
Groder Mullet
Member
(09-21-2007, 03:15 AM)
Yeah, the guy is a giant douche but having him speak on campus isn't a bad thing. Hopefully it spurns more interest in current events.
Allen
Member
(09-21-2007, 03:18 AM)
Wow!

Y2Kev, are you a Columbia student? If so, do you think you could keep a close eye on this and RSVP me a ticket?
darkiguana
Member
(09-21-2007, 03:18 AM)
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So now Columbia is inviting holocaust deniers to speak on campus. Nice....
Y2Kev
The Last Guardian is Dead. Sorry.
(09-21-2007, 03:20 AM)
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Originally Posted by Allen

Wow!

Y2Kev, are you a Columbia student? If so, do you think you could keep a close eye on this and RSVP me a ticket?

I'm a sophomore, yeah, but tickets are extremely extremely hard to come by...they're all gone. I want to get in as press, but I won't be covering the article so it will be kind of unfair.
mre
Golden Domers are chickenshit!!
(09-21-2007, 03:22 AM)
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Originally Posted by Allen

Wow!

Y2Kev, are you a Columbia student? If so, do you think you could keep a close eye on this and RSVP me a ticket?

Tickets sold out already in five minutes.
castle007
Banned
(09-21-2007, 03:22 AM)
I hope someone gets tasered
Y2Kev
The Last Guardian is Dead. Sorry.
(09-21-2007, 03:22 AM)
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Originally Posted by castle007

I hope someone gets tasered

based on last year's jim gilchrist speech, there's going to be like a full on riot

like people on fire
sangreal
Member
(09-21-2007, 03:23 AM)
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Good.

Dissenting speech is a good thing, and trying to snub him only validates his anti-American stance

What is the danger in considering the possibility that the Holocaust was exaggerated? I think its far more dangerous to accept everything we were told as fact

(for the record, my grandparents are concentration camp survivors)
whytemyke
Honorary Canadian.
(09-21-2007, 03:37 AM)
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Originally Posted by sangreal

Good.

Dissenting speech is a good thing, and trying to snub him only validates his anti-American stance

What is the danger in considering the possibility that the Holocaust was exaggerated? I think its far more dangerous to accept everything we were told as fact

(for the record, my grandparents are concentration camp survivors)

OH ARE THEY?!




anyways, yeah. let the guy speak. it's not often you get to see a world leader give a speech at your own university. So we disagree with him-- does anyone think that he's not acting in what he believes is the best way for Iranians? It's kind of arrogant to expect everyone in the world to at least listen to us and then turn around and not offer them the same opportunity. I'm not expecting anything constructive to come from the speech but that's no reason to stop it.
Y2Kev
The Last Guardian is Dead. Sorry.
(09-21-2007, 03:43 AM)
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Originally Posted by whytemyke

OH ARE THEY?!




anyways, yeah. let the guy speak. it's not often you get to see a world leader give a speech at your own university. So we disagree with him-- does anyone think that he's not acting in what he believes is the best way for Iranians? It's kind of arrogant to expect everyone in the world to at least listen to us and then turn around and not offer them the same opportunity. I'm not expecting anything constructive to come from the speech but that's no reason to stop it.

Some people are saying it just gives him legitimacy, which he shouldn't have.

I personally don't know why he would need Columbia to become "legitimate," and frankly I'd like to hear him speak in person. Because that'd be pretty interesting.

I just can't believe that the groups that rallied to remove ROTC from campus because of their DADT and recruitment policies would object to this guy because he said some really stupid stuff.
HomShaBom
Banned
(09-21-2007, 03:50 AM)
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You've GOT to get a t-shirt that says "Don't tase me bro" and go to the event, make sure to be on camera, do it, do it for gaf.
Macam
Member
(09-21-2007, 04:12 AM)
While I don't want to blur the distinction between a head of state and some controversial pundits trying to hawk books and gain traction on lecture circuits by stirring up controversy (i.e. Coulter, etc etc) , I will say that in the proper environment and context, there's nothing wrong with him being allowed to speak in the forum. I just hope the questions that are posed to him are fairly intelligent and of the not kneejerk variety, even if his answers will likely be somewhat predictable.
PhlegmMaster
Banned
(09-21-2007, 04:30 AM)
That's very cool, wish I could be there.
I mean, I hate the guy, I hate his policies, and I hate his beliefs, but that's no reason not to hear what he has to say. It is a freedom of speech issue, yes, but it's more than that. It's about being able to put one's emotions aside for a moment in order to dispassionately listen to what the enemy has to say, which is something that anyone with an interest in the truth should be willing to do. The people (and especially students) protesting against this are pathetic.
WickedAngel
Banned
(09-21-2007, 04:33 AM)

Originally Posted by Macam

While I don't want to blur the distinction between a head of state and some controversial pundits trying to hawk books and gain traction on lecture circuits by stirring up controversy (i.e. Coulter, etc etc) , I will say that in the proper environment and context, there's nothing wrong with him being allowed to speak in the forum. I just hope the questions that are posed to him are fairly intelligent and of the not kneejerk variety, even if his answers will likely be somewhat predictable.

Question 1:

Why do you hate Jesus?

Question 2:

Why do you hate Jesus and Americans.

Question 3:

...could you explain why you hate Jesus again?
Allen
Member
(09-21-2007, 04:36 AM)
I’ll be getting in. Just booked a ticket on the China-town bus. I’ll post after the lecture on the 24th if this does indeed happen.
APF
Member
(09-21-2007, 04:43 AM)
So... invite holocaust deniers who toy with the idea of a nuclear holocaust for political points, but disinvite ROTC from campus for the stated reason that we don't like a Clinton-era policy but are only getting around to it now silly us.

Who exactly is the "dissenter" again?
thefit
kids poo a lot
(09-21-2007, 04:44 AM)
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I don't see this any different than someone form our government visiting another country and giving a speech there. Our foreign policies and other world views aren't exactly shared by the entire earth but we still get invited to attend and speak elsewhere. Let the guy speak.
Phoenix
Member
(09-21-2007, 04:47 AM)
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Letting this guy in and letting him speak is something that I personally think makes sense. Regardless of his views, if people want to see him/meet him/ask him questions and the like - that's a good thing. One should NEVER be quick to stiffle speech, even if its speech you don't want to hear.

I applaud Columbia for doing it.
Y2Kev
The Last Guardian is Dead. Sorry.
(09-21-2007, 04:48 AM)
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Originally Posted by Allen

I’ll be getting in. Just booked a ticket on the China-town bus. I’ll post after the lecture on the 24th if this does indeed happen.

Do you go here, Allen? how'd you get tickets? I'd kill for tickets.
APF
Member
(09-21-2007, 04:53 AM)
But when are they gonna let *me* speak? Don't be so quick to stifle my free speech Columbia--I only dictate to a handful of government-owned news outlets, you know.
Allen
Member
(09-21-2007, 04:55 AM)

Originally Posted by Y2Kev

Do you go here, Allen? how'd you get tickets? I'd kill for tickets.

No, but I study policy at university. My ex-girlfriend works for Columbia and was able to secure me and a colleague a place.

This will be my first lecture at the first World Leaders Forum.
Last edited by Allen; 09-21-2007 at 05:00 AM.
MrToughPants
Brian Burke punched my mom
(09-21-2007, 04:57 AM)
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Originally Posted by APF

But when are they gonna let *me* speak? Don't be so quick to stifle my free speech Columbia--I only dictate to a handful of government-owned news outlets, you know.

APF
Hello, I'm a terrorist.
To report me, call:
(301) 688-6524
Phoenix
Member
(09-21-2007, 05:02 AM)
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Originally Posted by APF

But when are they gonna let *me* speak? Don't be so quick to stifle my free speech Columbia--I only dictate to a handful of government-owned news outlets, you know.


I'm sure if you went on campus and started addressing the student body, they wouldn't care :)
APF
Member
(09-21-2007, 05:04 AM)

Originally Posted by Phoenix

I'm sure if you went on campus and started addressing the student body, they wouldn't care :)

They would if I was wearing an ROTC uniform :(
Phoenix
Member
(09-21-2007, 05:07 AM)
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Originally Posted by APF

They would if I was wearing an ROTC uniform :(

Actually the courts have ruled that they are prohibited from preventing military or ROTC recruiting or addressing if the school accepts any government funding - which pretty much rules out all of them.
Y2Kev
The Last Guardian is Dead. Sorry.
(09-21-2007, 05:07 AM)
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Originally Posted by Allen

No, but I study policy at university. My ex-girlfriend works for Columbia and was able to secure me and a colleague a place.

This will be my first lecture at the first World Leaders Forum.

holy crap get me tickets!! lol
APF
Member
(09-21-2007, 05:17 AM)

Originally Posted by Phoenix

Actually the courts have ruled that they are prohibited from preventing military or ROTC recruiting or addressing if the school accepts any government funding - which pretty much rules out all of them.

Nonetheless, they would "care," and do not appear to like some dissenting voices on their campus. I also think I make a valid point in dismissing the charges that this is a "free speech" issue that has to do with letting someone "get their message out" regardless of their politics. This is a head of state; he literally dictates to government-run media outlets through which he gets his message out. A better argument would be, we're providing a forum in which he will be directly challenged, but note that few people are arguing from that perspective.
Particle Physicist
between a quark and a baryon
(09-21-2007, 05:22 AM)

Originally Posted by Allen

No, but I study policy at university. My ex-girlfriend works for Columbia and was able to secure me and a colleague a place.

This will be my first lecture at the first World Leaders Forum.


wow. keep us updated. if i was in the area, i would definitely go. i think it could be very interesting..
Allen
Member
(09-21-2007, 05:24 AM)

Originally Posted by APF

Nonetheless, they would "care," and do not appear to like some dissenting voices on their campus. I also think I make a valid point in dismissing the charges that this is a "free speech" issue that has to do with letting someone "get their message out" regardless of their politics. This is a head of state; he literally dictates to government-run media outlets through which he gets his message out. A better argument would be, we're providing a forum in which he will be directly challenged, but note that few people are arguing from that perspective.

I doubt Columbia is bringing one of the most notable figures from this decade to their forum for the sole reason of free speech. This is a figure no American has ready access to, therefore its a unique experience for scholars to broaden their horizons. If Columbia was interested in bringing people who shared their ideology, what new knowledge would we gain?
schuelma
Wastes hours checking old Famitsu software data, but that's why we love him.
(09-21-2007, 05:25 AM)
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Originally Posted by Y2Kev

I'm a sophomore, yeah, but tickets are extremely extremely hard to come by...they're all gone. I want to get in as press, but I won't be covering the article so it will be kind of unfair.

What do you think of Bollinger? Just curious as he was President at my school (Michigan) for half my time then bolted for NYC.
Y2Kev
The Last Guardian is Dead. Sorry.
(09-21-2007, 05:29 AM)
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Originally Posted by schuelma

What do you think of Bollinger? Just curious as he was President at my school (Michigan) for half my time then bolted for NYC.

I don't really know enough about him to make any kind of decision. I met him once in person and it was for about ten seconds. He teaches a class on tolerance here. I might take it.

He seems like a very smart man. I don't object to his politics, though sometimes I wish he'd be more stern with his community. The Gilchrist incident last year needed immediate condemnation and serious penalty.

He seems kind of weak-kneed.

He was at homecoming last year though. That's cool.
schuelma
Wastes hours checking old Famitsu software data, but that's why we love him.
(09-21-2007, 05:32 AM)
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Originally Posted by Y2Kev

I don't really know enough about him to make any kind of decision. I met him once in person and it was for about ten seconds. He teaches a class on tolerance here. I might take it.

He seems like a very smart man. I don't object to his politics, though sometimes I wish he'd be more stern with his community. The Gilchrist incident last year needed immediate condemnation and serious penalty.

He seems kind of weak-kneed.

He was at homecoming last year though. That's cool.


Yeah kind of my impressions as well. The man certainly is a genius and is known as free speech scholar, so its certainly not surprising that he's doing this.
siamesedreamer
Banned
(09-21-2007, 05:37 AM)
Will Obama be there?

Perhaps they can play footsie.
Y2Kev
The Last Guardian is Dead. Sorry.
(09-21-2007, 05:47 AM)
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obama's like disowned us
Cheebs
(09-21-2007, 05:48 AM)

Originally Posted by siamesedreamer

Will Obama be there?

Perhaps they can play footsie.

Holy shit you are a brave man for saying that sir. :lol
Big-E
Member
(09-21-2007, 06:07 AM)
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Hopefully we get some comedy out of this.
Greenpanda
Banned
(09-21-2007, 06:08 AM)


if ya know what I'm saying.
Y2Kev
The Last Guardian is Dead. Sorry.
(09-21-2007, 06:10 AM)
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Originally Posted by Big-E

Hopefully we get some comedy out of this.

It's a seriously closed off event.

They have banned all bags of any sort, you have to go through security, metal detectors, etc.

Though someone screaming at him or rushing the stage would probably get them in serious shit.
Primordial
Member
(09-21-2007, 06:15 AM)
From what I heard Bollinger is going to bring up all the controversial stuff Ahmadinejad said in recent years and ask him to address them. It might be like an interview similar to the way Bollinger conducted when Orhan Pamuk gave a talk last year.

Also the speech will be videotaped and most likely put on Columbia website.
FightyF
Banned
(09-21-2007, 06:43 AM)

Originally Posted by APF

Nonetheless, they would "care," and do not appear to like some dissenting voices on their campus. I also think I make a valid point in dismissing the charges that this is a "free speech" issue that has to do with letting someone "get their message out" regardless of their politics. This is a head of state; he literally dictates to government-run media outlets through which he gets his message out. A better argument would be, we're providing a forum in which he will be directly challenged, but note that few people are arguing from that perspective.

But for Westerners, his opinions come through a Western filter.

For example...in the article itself, it labelled him "anti-Semetic". What exactly makes him anti-semetic?
APF
Member
(09-21-2007, 06:44 AM)

Originally Posted by Allen

I doubt Columbia is bringing one of the most notable figures from this decade to their forum for the sole reason of free speech. This is a figure no American has ready access to, therefore its a unique experience for scholars to broaden their horizons. If Columbia was interested in bringing people who shared their ideology, what new knowledge would we gain?

Ahmadinejad isn't "notable" for his ideas or his ideology though; he's notable for being an also-ran gadfly who tries to gain political capital in his own country (and with hand-wringing left-liberal student-types) by repeating trite criticisms of US foreign policy and teasingly suggesting his country's pursuit of nuclear weapons may be in part to enable genocide. As I said, if people were arguing that this is an opportunity for him to be directly challenged, that would be a better argument. It would certainly be a better argument than suggesting Columbia students have no access to know anything "notable" his country is doing (there are no newspapers on campus?), or anything he has said (no one on campus has criticism of US foreign policy in the ME, or towards Israel?). And again, this is not someone who does not himself have a soapbox from which to speak. He is in no way disenfranchised in that way, therefore the argument that this is the only opportunity to be exposed to his ideas (many of which are either cribbed from far-left anti-US screeds or far-right anti-Jewish screeds) falls flat.


Edit: right, so there you have it; holocaust denial does not make you anti-semitic.
Last edited by APF; 09-21-2007 at 06:51 AM.
Tamanon
Professional Bastard
(09-21-2007, 06:47 AM)
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Originally Posted by FightyF

But for Westerners, his opinions come through a Western filter.

For example...in the article itself, it labelled him "anti-Semetic". What exactly makes him anti-semetic?

I might be reading too much into it, but all this talk of wiping Israel from the map from him seems to come off that way:P
Futureman
Member
(09-21-2007, 06:48 AM)
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Originally Posted by Primordial

From what I heard Bollinger is going to bring up all the controversial stuff Ahmadinejad said in recent years and ask him to address them

That's what they did on 60 Minutes, and he pretty much just changed the subject and never directly answered any of the hard questions. He's speaking through an interpreter so it's kind of a weird conversation in the first place.
FightyF
Banned
(09-21-2007, 07:04 AM)

Originally Posted by Tamanon

I might be reading too much into it, but all this talk of wiping Israel from the map from him seems to come off that way:P

When did he ever say that?

Think about this, you've brought up a perfect example.

In Persian he said literally, "[T]his regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history" (translated by MEMRI). He was referring to the Israeli government, which we all know is a govt with Zionist ideals.

Yet, Western news sources have changed the context in two ways. First they've changed the reference to the government to the reference of a nation. Secondly, they've somehow took "pages of history" to mean a "map".

I know this because I look at multiple sources of information.

You on the other hand, didn't know this because your information is filtered (in this case, clearly incorrectly) and you don't know half the story. BTW, I'm not blaming you...it's not your fault, but this is what's happening.

Which goes to show that having him come over and speak unfiltered, is a real good thing.

Especially when this guy is set up as the Boogedyman, it's important to have dialogue before any military action is taken.

Ahmedinejad is, IMO, the wrong kind of guy you want leading Iran. But much in the same way that Bush is the wrong kind of guy you want to lead the US. I think he's crazy...in the same way Bush in crazy. But I think people have this paradigm that he's absolute evil and hates Jews (he's gone on record to say that he is not "anti-Jew" and respects Jews, and at the same time says he dislikes Zionism and Zionists) and wants to start WW3, when that is clearly not the case.

Originally Posted by APF

...teasingly suggesting his country's pursuit of nuclear weapons may be in part to enable genocide.

:lol :lol :lol

This is another reason why he should speak, because crazies like APF will be forced to read up on the issue and not hold to the "information" they hear on NeoCon talk radio.
Tamanon
Professional Bastard
(09-21-2007, 07:08 AM)
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OK, Western Media lies, their media doesn't, got it. I don't care either way.
chaostrophy
Member
(09-21-2007, 07:50 AM)
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I'm honestly surprised he trusts America enough to come here. I wouldn't, if I was in his position.
PhoenixDark
(09-21-2007, 07:53 AM)
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Dude is a Holocaust denier, advocates the destruction of a nation, supports terrorism in Iraq which leads to dead US soldiers...

And he can speak while the ROTC can't? Ok
Macam
Member
(09-21-2007, 08:08 AM)

Originally Posted by chaostrophy

I'm honestly surprised he trusts America enough to come here. I wouldn't, if I was in his position.

IIRC, he's been here before (the U.N. being headquartered in New York), so it wouldn't be his first time in the country. Hell, even Chavez, paranoid as he is about being assassinated has come here.
FightyF
Banned
(09-21-2007, 09:30 AM)

Originally Posted by Tamanon

OK, Western Media lies, their media doesn't, got it. I don't care either way.

I never made a comment about their media.

I was just asking you to look at the facts. And apparently you aren't interested in them anyways.

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