Posted by: Tony Carson | 25 September, 2007

The Ahmadinejad ambush a sorry spectacle

The spectacle of Columbia students protesting Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speech at the university was repulsive, but less so than listening to the school’s President Lee Bollinger cover his ass by lecturing Ahmadinejad for his perceived sins.

If the guy is so bad, do what the Bush Administration does, hate-speak him, freeze him out, demonize him.

What a sorry sight this fiasco was. To the reasonable mind in the west, the New York school came off looking like a southern baptist college; to the conservative Middle East hate-mongers the protests and lectures could never be aggressive enough; to edification the thing never had a chance;  to decorum the event was a travesty.

If this is the best intellectual engagement the US can do, we should be glad the Bush Administration has long ago suspended diplomacy.

The US simply has a pathological inability to listen to any other side of an issue but its own. The whole country has a “you’re either with us or against us” mentality.

Think of how the Persians and Arabs were reacting to the ambush. And this in the land of free speech?

Americans need to grow up and start listening to other views, no matter how offensive they may find them. Had there been an honest attempt to engage the Iranian president, Ahmadinejad may have actually told them something. Instead, they got what they wanted: the ridiculous, on all sides of the mic.

Shame.

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