Gilligan’s Ahmadinejad’s astounding claim that there are no homosexuals in Iran, Davi Bernstein at Contentions argues that, rather than bury their heads at the mortal threat the mullahs pose to Iranian homosexuals, the gay community should recognize that the Bush Doctrine offers the only real prospect of protecting gays from genocide.
Columbia University created a firestorm over the weekend with its invitation to Iranian President
Gilligan Ahmadinejad to speak before an audience of students and faculty which he did yesterday. Bloggers and editorialists expressed their outrage, while others felt strongly that respect for academic freedom and freedom of speech required extending those rights even to someone who would deny them.
I’ll admit that I’ve been of two minds on this. On the one hand, as an American and a believer in Enlightenment, I believe the rights of free speech are universal, and that discourse is good because it exposes bad ideas to the bright light of truth and reason. And a part of me thinks that denying even a tyrant a place to speak shows that we’re afraid of what he has to say.
On the other hand….
There are many reasons to say that President Ahmadinejad is beyond the pale. Consider:
- He is the figurehead and spokesman for a theocratic, millenarian fascist regime that is antithetical to every value we hold dear. Democracy in Iran is no more than a thin cloth draped an ugly dictatorship.
- This same regime is killing our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan in an attempt to impose this same theocratic fascism elsewhere. Since taking our embassy personnel hostage in 1979, an act in which Mr. Ahmadinejad may have participated, it is clear that Iran has considered itself at war with the US.
- Ahmadinejad heads a regime regularly executes gays for being homosexual and stones women to death for adultery. The human rights record of Iran is miserable.
- Since the Iranian revolution in 1979, Iran has been the chief state sponsor of terrorism worldwide. Ahmadinejad is the representative of a regime that uses terrorism as state policy.
- Ahmadinejad denies the reality of the Holocaust and has stated he yearns for the destruction of Israel. He leads a state that is seeking nuclear weapons.
- He is a religious fanatic who believes it is his role to help create the chaotic conditions in the world that will lead to the return of the Mahdi, leading to worldwide Islamic rule.
Having thought about it, it’s my opinion that Columbia screwed up by issuing this invitation. It’s not as if Mr. Ahmadinejad would would be denied a forum for his drivel: he spoke before the UN General Assembly and the National Press Club, and, as president, his words are regularly reported by the global press. There was no need for Columbia to lend their prestige and legitimacy to this thug, and Columbia shamed itself in the process. Even though Columbia President Bollinger tried to make up for it by hitting Ahmadinejad with tough questions, the idea that he should be treated with any respect and courtesy at all is indecent. But it appears decency is a debatable proposition at Columbia, since the dean who originally invited the Iranian president said he would have extended Hitler the same invitation:
As for Hitler, [Dean Coatsworth] said, prior to the invasion of Poland in 1939, âif Hitler were in the United States and wanted a platform from which to speak, he would have plenty of platforms to speak in the United States. If he were willing to engage in a debate and discussion, and be challenged by Columbia students and faculty, we would certainly invite him.â
So, after Kristallnacht, racial laws, the opening of Dachau, the suspension of democracy via the enabling laws, it would be OK for Hitler to speak at Columbia as long as he hadn’t actually invaded anyone.
Amazing. I can see why they’d have no problem with Ahmadinejad.
Still, perhaps some good has come of this fiasco. It gave Ahmadinejad the chance to open his mouth and show what a fool he is:
In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who has told you that we have it.
Of course they don’t. Or, they won’t after they get done hanging them all.
Maybe speaking at Columbia and other forums will open people’s eyes to what a menace he and the Iran he leads are. Then again, there were plenty of useful idiots in the 1930s who didn’t get it, and it seems there still are.
LINKS: More at Pajamas Media (here too), Michelle Malkin, and Blue Crab Boulevard. Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch thinks Columbia made a terrible mistake, while Rich Lowry reminds us of Iran’s role in the real world, beyond Columbia’s ivory tower.