Watching Mahdi

Mary Katharine Ham

9/24/2007 2:08:40 PM - Mary Katharine Ham
Columbia President Bollinger lowered the boom on Ahmadinejad before he started his speech. He called his views poorly educated and questioned his "intellectual courage," noting his tendency to evade questions. He asked about repression in Iran, nuke questions, and called out Iran for supporting the killing of American soldiers in Iraq.

Bollinger got some hearty applause, which improves my estimation of Columbia's student body somewhat.

Madhi was offended, calling the treatment "unfriendly." He went after Bollinger for attacking a speaker before he has even spoken. I'm pretty sure he got applause for that, so my estimation of Columbia's student body fell again at that point.   

Update: Matt confirms the applause line. Ugh. Are Ivy League college students really that dumb?

Mahdi is droning and lame, as men often are when they're accustomed to audiences that are legally required to listen to them. There's a lot about "ignorance."

Here's Mahdi addressing the National Press Club earlier today.

Michelle Malkin is taking pics in NYC at the anti-Mahdi protest.

Live stream of the speech, here, but I don't recommend it. Painfully lame. An argument in itself against Columbia's case that inviting dictators to speak is somehow "enlightening."

I do love it that we always give dictators--already so protective of their ultra-masculine, powerful images-- translation in the form of pleasant feminine voices.

Update: This borrrring, inane rhetoric worked on someone! The dupes at Daily Kos:
I try to keep an open mind about everything. And I have to say that I think our government and the MSM have really spun us on Iran and this guy.

He spoke a lot about his spiritual view and hope for the world. He also dispelled many of the questions that the NPC asked him about various 'events' that we've heard about happening over there. Ahmadinejad did not flinch and answered many questions with a question that clearly made the correspondents on the NPC panel uncomfortable.

He also answered the question about 'not believing in the holocaust' and explained his thoughts. I did not get that he poohed poohed it but rather questioned the outcome regarding that the Palestinians have paid the big price as opposed to the Germans etc.

He is definitely against Israel for many of the same reasons so many of us here are against BUSH in regards to acting Fascist etc.

I apologize for not being able to recall verbatim the exchange but I highly recommend that if you can find the video on it is worth a look and listen.

I highly suggest that he was far more honest with his opinions and information than most of the dribble and lies we have been fed by the government and the MSM for quite some time.

I challenge us to listen with an open mind and see if you hear what I heard.

He ain't such a bad man.

Update: Mahdi: If your Holocaust is so real, why aren't we "encouraging research on the root causes of it?" Calls himself an academic who's just "asking questions" about the Holocaust.

Update: If this were the Oscars, Mahdi would have been musicked off the stage just now. Apparently they gave him a warning on his time and he whined that Bollinger had taken some of his time, so no fair.

Update: Dean gives Bollinger's speech an A. A Sister Souljah moment for academia:

I can’t pretend to understand Lee Bollinger.  I’m not sure why he invited Mahmoud Ahmadenijad to disgrace his campus, and whether the invitation was a ruse to get the diminutive dinner jacket on the same stage so the Dean could blast the Mahdi with the Mahdi’s list of horribles.  Regardless of how stupid inviting Ahmadenijad to the Columbia was in the first place, let’s give Bollinger credit for standing face-to-face with evil and calling it out.

If you didn’t see Billinger’s speech, you have no idea what I’m talking about.  Suffice to say, Bollinger used the occasion to deliver a Sister Souljah moment on behalf of academia.  His attack on the Mahdi was withering, something so harsh that it could have sprung from the modem of a conservative blogger.  Bollinger’s speech today, for what it’s worth, gets an A .  The Mahdi, clearly with hurt feelings, labeled the speech a “wave of insults.”

Update: Hugh says Columbia got punked.

LGF reports that the Kos Kidz were "embarrassed" by Bollinger's moment of moral clarity.


Q: Do you or your government want to wipe out Israel?

Mahdi:  "We love all nations...Allow the Palestinian nation to decide its own future...this is what we are saying." (decent applause on that)

Q: I said, do you want the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. Yes or no?

Mahdi: You asked a question and you want the answer the way you want to hear it. I'm just telling you what my position is. (no applause for his follow-up answer, ultimately, although there was a smattering of Palestinian solidarity applause)

Q: Why is your government giving aid to terrorists? Will you stop doing it?

Mahdi: I want to pose a question to you. If someone comes and explodes bombs around you, threatens you, would you award them or call them a terrorist group? You would call them terrorists. The Iranian nation is a victim of terrorism. Camps in Iraq are secured by the U.S. government. We were the first nation to We need to address the root causes of terrorism. For us, it's clear which powers incite terrorists, incite the,. The Iranian nation has always extended a hand of friendship to other's regrettable that people who say they're fighting terrorism, are actually supporting terrorists and pointing a finger at us.

Q: Why is more research needed into the Holocaust?

I'm an academic and you are as well. Can we close the books for good on an historic event? Why should we stop research at all? Why do you want to stop the progress of research? New science and research will inevitably reveal that 6 million Jews totally didn't perish during WWII (okay, that sentence is paraphrased, but that's the gist).

Q: What about repression and executions of gays in Iran?

Mahdi: Iranian freedoms are real freedoms. Our nation is free. Ninety percent of the people turn out for votes many of which are women, so how can we say women are not free?

As for executions, don't you have capital punishment in the United States? There's capital punishment for illicit drug traffickers. We have laws. Very few executions happen in public.

Q: The question was about women and sexual preference.

Mahdi: "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country. In Iran, we don't have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have it."(Raucous laughter from the crowd, followed by booing.)

Q: What would you do at Ground Zero? What do you plan to accomplish with this visit?

This is my way of showing respect and sympathy. Unfortunately, a lot of groups had negative reactions. I wanted to speak with the press. 9/11 was a huge event; after that Afghanistan was occupied; Iraq was occupied. If the root causes of 9/11 are examined properly-- What were the conditions that led to it? Who truly was involved?

Q: Nuke program.

Mahdi: Operates within the framework of the law. We work with IAEA. You guys are hoarding all the technology and asking that we humble ourselves. We do not believe in nuclear weapons, period. It goes against the whole grain of humanity.

Mahdi: Closes by encouraging dialog via a debate with Bush and invites Columbia students to Iran.
Update: Video of Bollinger's bruising opening.

And, video of Mahdi's line about there being no gays in Iran. The laughter must have irked him like nobody's business.