Yesterday – The President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed an audience of academics at the Columbia University in uptown New York City. You can read the complete transcript of the visit to Columbia University here:
Prior to introducing the Iranian president, President of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger in his speech said:
“Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator.”
“You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated. … ”
For someone like Lee Bollinger, a president of a prestigious Ivy League institution, someone who claims to be an intellectual and “professor” thinks that the President of Iran is REALLY the supreme power in Iran. That is quite narrow-minded and ignorant. Ahmadinejad cannot even appoint his own cabinet members.
Bollinger’s personal attacks were petty, rude and seemed “astonishingly uneducated” when it comes to knowledge of Iran – it is a shame that Columbia University has such a “leader” who truly lacks in the qualities that make a leader. He did a great disservice to Columbia University with his attacks and insults on the Iranian president. By inviting him to speak at Columbia as a guest speaker, then publicly attacking his guest and humiliating him to amuse the audience. In Iran, as in most other nations and even, I’ve heard, in some of the more civilized parts of the United States, it is customary to honor a guest with common courtesy if that is all one can muster.
You can disagree with a man’s political thoughts and process, even his religion, and his opinions but gain understanding through knowledge. And perhaps, someday, with that understanding help to bring about peaceful change to a chaotic world.
If the United States is truly to be world leader, it has to put aside its sense of righteousness and its arrogance in its own ways and learn cultural differences.
Instead of hurling insults, lies and threats which are followed by “shock and awe” bombing campaigns against countries that pose no threat to us – we should try to understand cultural similarities; build on those similarities and perhaps one day our differences will truly seem minute and petty and certainly nothing worth going to war over.
We cannot lead by bullying, criticizing and refusing to embrace anything other than our own. If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.
As Mahatma Gandhi said:
“It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your “enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.”