24 September 2007

To Engage Or Not To Engage...

Ahmadinejad waving from the steps of his plane"Would Columbia [University in New York] ever invite a white supremacist, or an evolutionary creationist, or an advocate of the murder of abortion doctors to speak on campus, counting on the power of dialogue to counter offensive and even odious ideas? Clearly it wouldn't."

The IHT argues that it would have been better for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to have been given permission to lay a wreath at Ground Zero to the victims of 9/11† than to be invited to speak at Columbia:

"It would have opened him up to certain questions. Maybe somebody at Columbia will ask them anyway. For example: If you're sorry about the victims of 9/11, what about the victims of the Holocaust, which you deny took place? And, When are you going to lay a wreath to the victims of violence by Hamas and Hezbollah, whom you bankroll, train and arm?"
What do you think?

Apparently this may yet happen anyway, as the visit is still on the leader's itinerary.


Anonymous said...

Check out Britain and America where Joe Loconte accuses the university of hypocrisy (having previously banned the the U.S. military’s recruiting program, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, on the basis of discrimination against sexual orientation) and argues "The other problem with the school’s hosting of Ahmadinejad is its hopelessly blinkered view of free speech. Like most liberal and secular institutions, it assumes that democratic rights can be exercised without any real sense of civic responsibilities... The civil libertarians at Columbia and elsewhere have forgotten the moral foundations of free speech in a free society. In his Letter Concerning Toleration, John Locke pushed the envelope for the rights of speech and conscience in 17th century Europe. He assailed church and state authorities who would “forbid the preaching or professing of any speculative opinions.” But Locke never divorced a person’s natural rights from his moral obligations to God and to his neighbor. He strongly opposed speech that showed contempt for the human rights of others and the civic peace of the commonwealth. Those who would “establish dominion over others” or seize their goods, he said, “have no right to be tolerated by the magistrate.”"