HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

October 1, 2007
Harvard Square Observer

American Hospitality

Ernest Cassara


As a retired academic, it pains me to call another academic an ass!  But, what can one make of the remarks of Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia University?  His institution invited the president of Iran to speak, and Bollinger insulted Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his introductory remarks.  Well, maybe coward would be a more appropriate term.  He and Columbia had been criticized for the invitation and Bollinger wanted to weasel out of the situation by calling the featured speaker a tyrant, among other things.  Had Ahmadinejad not been dependent on a translator, he may have reacted more harshly.  (Had he been an American, I can just picture him punching Bollinger in the nose!)  However, he did remark that he would not be deterred by insults.

Ahmadinejad had already been insulted by the New York City police, who refused him permission to visit Ground Zero, where he wished to lay a wreath in tribute to the Americans who had died in the destruction of the twin towers.  (I was not aware that the NYPD had its own State Department!)

Iran - ancient Persia - has plenty of reasons to be angry at the U. S. A.  Our government interfered in its affairs, after all, overthrowing the elected prime minister and supporting the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.  His brutal policies led to his overthrow in 1979.

But, returning to the present day.  It would be amusing, were it not so stupid, that the Bush administration complains that Iran is interfering in the affairs of Iraq, its next door neighbor.  The U.S., on blatantly false pretenses, invaded Iran’s neighbor and it is supposed to look kindly on the action.  It is like saying that the U.S. should not show interest should its neighbors, Canada and Mexico, suffer from like action.

One other point.  Ahmadinejad responded to a question by saying that there are no homosexuals in Iran.  Well, naturally, he is not correct.  They are there but in the closet.  It was no long ago when this was the case in the U.S.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell,” you will recall allowed gays to serve in the military.  Not along ago.  Bill Clinton’s administration, was it?  So, Americans should not act so superior!


Please note that Ye Olde Observer will be AMTRAKing to the American heartland in a couple of days, for a visit of a week or more, so do not be surprised should I not appear in the usual spot on the HSC!


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