To the People

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Brief Thoughts on Ahmadinejad

This Ahmadinejad issue at Columbia is a tough one...

If Columbia was completely private, I'd have no problem with Ahmadinejad being invited to speak there. However, Columbia appears to be 1/4 funded by the government, so this necessarily throws politics into it. But let's set this aside for the sake of discussion.

I guess my issue is that I just don't see any educational benefit coming out of a speech by Ahmadinejad. First of all, he's a politician, which makes him ideologically dubious anyway (at least in my humble opinion). But primarily, he's a dictator. So besides being able to ask him questions about his wacky but well known comments from the past - questions which he will most likely dodge anyway - I don't get what anyone is expecting from this speech.

So there are really only two reasons I can think of for Columbia inviting Ahmadinejad.
1) They want a chance to challenge him on his comments (which, like I said, I suspect he'll sidestep)
2) Publicity

If it's just publicity the school is after... well, they're certainly getting it.

But if it's the latter, then this is one of these cases where I seriously hope to be wrong about my predictions.

Let's hope something besides hype comes of this speech...

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