I have no idea what to think about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad because the only lens I see him through is American media. I’m sure I’d never join a fan club of his but the way he was received at Columbia University got me thinking.
If George Bush gave a speech at Tehran University and the President of the university made a speech about him like Columbia President Bollinger did about Ahmadinejad the other day, many Americans and most of the American media would go ape shit and cry fowl.
Bollinger said: “Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator,” adding, “You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated.”
Would Lee Bollinger have said that to George Bush? He certainly exhibits the same signs. I would love to see and hear an educated world leader say something similar to Bush or introduce him by telling the truth about him.
I’m no fan of Hugo Chavez’s either but when he called George Bush “the devil,” some Americans got up in arms but I felt like for once someone with a microphone was at least standing up to Bush and calling him out for having no clothes. Okay, Chaves and Ahmadinejad may not be the best folks to be doing this but the rest of the world seems to be as chicken as our Democratic Congress.
We like to think of ourselves as the bastion of free speech and free ideas and I initially applauded Columbia for asking Ahmadinejad to speak but my word, what Bollinger did was not a demonstration of a civilized society, it’s a demonstration of just how far we’ve sunk during the Bush years.
We’ll never know what would happen if Bush spoke in Tehran because Bush won’t speak anywhere there will be protesters, even in the United States. He complains about the way gays are treated in Iran but won an election here using fear of gay marriage.
Long before this incident I felt like Ahmadinejad was exactly like Bush: an extremist President who does not represent his people.
Given that we know that Bush doesn’t represent a majority of Americans why is it that we insist that this guy represent Iranians? That seems to me to be a Bush/Neo-con invention to rationalize an invasion of Iran.
The fact that Americans are weighing in the way they are on this issue (many supporting Bollinger for verbally abusing Ahmadinejad) demonstrates our continued double standard about our place in the world and given our current “regime” I’d say we have no leg to stand on.
Should Iranians have nuclear power? Who the hell are we to decide that? We’re the only country on earth to ever drop a nuclear bomb (twice), have more nuclear weapons than the rest of the world combined, and have recently invaded and destabilized a country for no good reason. And, we’re being run by a nut case president who, more than any other looks like he’s just itching to drop a bomb. I’d say Ahmadinejad has it right: if we want him to dump his nuclear program then we ought to be dumping ours too.