Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Columbia hosts Ahmadinejad

Comment posted to the NYTimes forum:

Louis Brandeis put it well (as usual): Freedom of speech includes freedom for the thought we hate.

We make Ahmadinejad look good back home every time we revile him here. On his own, he looks lousy at home -- like a tinpot bigot and the marionette of the mullahs. The urban and educated classes of Iran detest him. But every time America attacks him, he becomes a little stronger back home, can ignore the economic implications of his policies a bit longer. (The same is true of OUR tinpot bigot president: when did overseas Muslim opinion of him ever hurt him with the American electorate?)

Let the man talk. Who's he going to convert? I'm proud my alma mater gave him a podium. And delighted with the recent Times article about just how powerless he really is back home: very clear, very accurate.

Iran is a nation state, almost the oldest one on the planet. They may detest their government, but they'll fight for it if it's attacked. They used to be our best friends in the region and they would be again if we offered them half a carrot. For 2500 years (read the Books of Daniel and Esther) they were the world's best friends to the Jews and they might be that again too. But not if they're pushed into a corner and threatened with bombs.

1 comment:

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

Personally, I enjoyed the sound of honest, unaffected laughter in response to his remark that there were no homosexuals in Iran.

No amount of sincere discussion, pointed satire, or political harangue seemed to me as weighty as that full-throated horse laugh on the part of Columbia students.

I rather thought that one moment was worth the price of the whole visit...