Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ahmadinejad's Souvenir

Call me silly but I expected Barbra Streisand herself to open for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on stage at Columbia. Unfortunately, Ahmadinejad's opening act, Columbia's president Lee Bollinger, was less gracious toward his guest than Babs might have been.

The lack of manners on display by Mr. Bollinger in his opening remarks was startling not only to his guest speaker but to me. Not only has he performed a service for the Iranian propaganda machine but he's made Americans look like uncivil, graceless buffoons. Look, I'm no fan of Islamofascist thugs; however, I didn't see fit to invite one to speak, did I? Mr. Bollinger might as well have invited Conservatives to the school again and armed the audience with pies for the reception.

Mr. Bollinger is receiving some kudos today for delivering a scathing introduction that some felt was Ahmadinejad's due. I will NOT applaud Bollinger's idiocy. Apparently, he only realized his massive mistake early enough to write a nasty intro... pardon me, folks, but that's just bad manners. Any decent, civilized human being would simply have canceled the speaking engagement and totally withdrawn Ahmadinejad's rambling moment in the American spotlight. Instead, the damage is done.

Jacob Laksin at FrontPage Magazine summed it up nicely in his article "A Maniac in Morning Side Heights:"
... "Alas, the damage has been done. Simply by appearing at Columbia, Ahmadinejad could claim the unearned legitimacy imparted by the esteemed location. As one might expect, Iran’s government-owned media were quick to pounce on the propaganda coup. In its account of the speech, Iran’s official news agency gleefully recorded the “standing ovation of the audience” and its “repeated” applause for the president. They needn’t have bothered. Why waste energy singing the president’s praises when a modern university, in the heart of the Great Satan no less, is happy to provide free publicity?" ...
Lee Bollinger ought to do us all a favor and pay attention to the clips from Ahmadinejad's appearance at Columbia that are used on Iranian television. (The internet is a wonderful place to find such things, you know.) I sincerely hope that he will study and learn from them that no "petty dictator" would pass up the chance for some great propaganda to take home as a souvenir of his visit to America.

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