Ahmadinejad at Columbia

28 09 2007

Iran Press Poll: Do you agree with the way Columbia University treated President Ahmadinejad?

(here’s the way they treated him, in case you haven’t heard.)

Iran Press Service is an organization that exists primarily to disseminate information that the Iranian government won’t allow in the country – it is essentially anti-Iranian government – so it’s telling that 41.4 percent of the people who have taken the poll disagree with Ahmadinejad’s treatment at Columbia.*

Here’s how I feel about it: Whether you like him or not, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the President of Iran. Being so disrespectful of him

A. wastes a valuable opportunity for dialogue, and
B. is just unconscionably disrespectful of Iranians. He is, for better or worse, representing Iran, and treating him like some kind of wayward teenager displays a very ugly kind of American arrogance.

supplements:
200 Lawmakers Hail President’s Speech

From Iran Daily, a government newspaper (you’ll be able to tell it’s a government newspaper when you read the article).
Americans Made Ahmadinejad a Victim, Strengthen Him At Home
Editorial from Iran Press Service. Quote from the article: “I’m ashamed of myself to feel that because of the insults he ushered to Ahmadinejad, I share the humiliations made to him, a man whom I don’t like at all.”

note
I know I’ve pretty much only talked about Iran and Palestine in the past few days, and am running the risk of being labeled an anti-Semite, so I feel it’s necessary to clarify: of course Ahmadinejad’s claim that the Holocaust never happened is ridiculous, and I’m a huge fan of Semites. It’s fair to say I’m anti-Zionist, but so are a lot of Jews.

*The number has gone down since I took the poll – at noon on September 29, the number of people who disapprove of his treatment is down to 39.4%





Muscle Power vs. Brain Power

19 09 2007

Iran: Muscle Power vs. Brain Power: an opinion piece published in Asharq Alawsat on the 8th of September.

Apparently Ahmadinejad is starting a new program to Islamify (read: Khomeini-fy) Iranian universities – specifically Tehran University – by enforcing a Khomeini-approved curriculum, and replacing academics with Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members. He’s calling it “The Second Islamic Cultural Revolution.”

The columnist compares it to the first Islamic Cultural Revolution, which he says failed in its attempt to squash political opposition by filling universities with staff and students in or sympathetic to the IRGC.

No Iranian author, academic or scientist of note would be prepared to participate in the so-called “Islamic Cultural Revolution.” Efforts to find somebody to prepare a cursus on Khomeini’s supposed “philosophy” have provoked only derision among intellectuals approached to assume the task. After months of efforts to prepare a special course on Ahmadnejad’s denial of the Holocaust, the committee charged with the task has produced nothing but a slim pamphlet that consists almost entirely of translations from Western “negationist” writers.