Today is a sad day in the history of academia. Today is the day that the mass murdering tyrant, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will be speaking at Columbia University. To protest this, I decided to write a letter to the president of the university, as well as the provost. I doubt this will do anything, but at least I was able to let out my frustration SOMEWHERE. Please send emails to Provost Brinkley at firstname.lastname@example.org and to President Bollinger at email@example.com to protest this abomination.
I am writing this email to express my extreme disappointment at the decision to invite Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia's campus. Ahmadinejad is a mad who has denied the Holocaust and even led a Holocaust denial conference. He speaks of wiping Israel off the map and funds terrorism around the world, including Hizballah, whose leader, Hassan Nasrallah, famously said "If all the Jews around the world would gather in Israel, that would save us the trouble of going after them worldwide." Sadly, these are not just idle words, as the Iranian-backed Hizballah was behind the 1994 bombing of a synagogue in Argentina. More than simply being an antisemite, Ahmadinejad famously calls America "the Great Satan," and just yesterday in Iran held a massive anti-American rally, with giant signs saying "Death to America." Again, these are not merely idle words, as Iran funds and trains the Mahdi army and Revolutionary Guard, who attack US forces in Iraq. Moreover, Ahmadinejad has publicly been seeking nuclear weapons to follow through with all his threats.
The evil of Ahmadinejad thus established, I have to question what could possibly be gained by having him speak on campus. What possible legitimate reason does such a man have to seek to wipe a nation off the map which has not been aggressive towards Iran? What possible legitimate reason is there for Holocaust denial? What possible legitimate reason is there for funding a terror organization, Hizballah, whose goal is an Islamic fundamentalist state in Lebanon, and the destruction of worldwide Jewry? And as there is no possible justification for these actions (other than a desire for power and destruction), then how could Columbia invite such an evil man to speak on campus, thus legitimitizing Holocaust denial? What will Columbia's representative ask Ahmadinejad? "Why do you deny the Holocaust?" And what will he possibly say that could suffice a sufficient answer? "Why do you wish Israel's destruction and say Death to America?" What could Ahmadinejad answer that will be anything except legitimizing these concepts?
Merely inviting such an odious personality to campus implies that Ahmedinejad's evil is not evil, but rather is part of the post-modern morally relative world. After all, "Who are we to judge what is evil and what is not evil?" Merely inviting Ahmadinejad to campus implies there is no objective reality. It invites the thinking that maybe the Holocaust did not exist; perhaps there should be a 'debate' on this subject. (Of course, Ahmadinejad refuses to actually meet any survivors, nor tour Auschwitz.)
Finally, inviting a leader on campus who is so repressive against his own people, and regularly jails dissidents in his own country, flies in the face of the supposed atmosphere of "freedom of speech" that Columbia purportedly believes in. If Columbia really seeks to engage and legitimize all sides of the political spectrum, including tyrants and mass murderers, then at least Columbia should require that these tyrants and mass murderers do not jail and torture dissident voices within their own nation. Inviting Ahmedinejad to speak spits in the faces of the thousands of political prisoners within Iran, and the unknown numbers who were killed for the "crime" of being gay, a feminist, a modernist, or even raped. For a campus that claims to believe in freedom of speech, feminism, and civil rights, I do not see it putting its money where its mouth is.
If this administration had any respect for the thousands of victims, worldwide, of Iran's regime, they would immediately retract the invitation to Ahmadinejad to speak. If it fails to do so, it has abdicated its role as a model of higher learning.