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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

September 26, 2007


Pissed Off in Persia

The Iranians are upset. They're upset that their President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was treated like any other person on the planet who denies human rights to half (if not more) of his people would be treated by an American University and their students. The Iranian people, or at least the presidents of seven Iranian universities, all employees of the state, have issued a letter to Columbia's President, Lee Bollinger's stating his "insult, in a scholarly atmosphere, to the president of a country with ... a recorded history of 7,000 years of civilization and culture is deeply shameful."

The letter went on to say that "You can be assured that Iranians are very polite and hospitable toward their guests."

I remember some of their "guests" between 1979 and Ronald Reagan's inauguration day of January 20, 1981. I remember the picture of someone who looks strikingly like a young Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then an Iranian student, holding the arm of an American with a blindfold covering his eyes (like he didn't know where he was). I remember 52 men living in fear when their nation's embassy was routed and taken over by the "civilized" students of a "7,000 year old" land.

Well, I guess one man's "civilized" is another man's 444-day hostage crisis.

And then after the end of the hostage crisis, which coincided so conveniently with an incumbent US President (Jimmy Carter) losing to his Republican challenger (Ronald Reagan), I remember the Iran-Contra scandal. Surely this is also a part of Iran's great 7,000 year culture as well.

For all of the protests outside of Columbia University in anticipation of the Iranian political leader's, no one tried to kill him; no one tried to throw garbage on him; and the New York City police guarantees his safety every time he enters, as Jesse Jackson put it, "Hymietown". One wonders what guarantees Iran could offer an American president if he (or she) were to be invited to speak at Tehran U.

And what about the civilized way the Iranians treat their women? Well, there are two of them in the Iranian government, according to President Ahmadinejad. That ought to make up for the oppression, mistreatment and second-citizenry offered up to the rest of the women there, dont'cha think?

And since Iran's state television didn't air the event live, only an edited-for-Iranian-TV version was shown to the Iranian people.

"Our president appeared as a gentleman. He remained polite against those who could not remain polite,"
-Ahmad Masoudi, an Iranian citizen who watched the "edited" version of the event on a Farsi TV Channel

To quote Kenneth Mars, who portrayed the lay's author (and assumed former nazi), Franz Liebkind, "You know, not many people know this, but the Furor was a terrific dancer!" I bet President Ahmadinejad could cut a rug, too.

And much in the way that Q&A's are conducted in Iran, the seven University Presidents sent ten questions to Bollinger of their own. Sounds like an Iranian press conference to me. Come to think of it, it sounds like a Bush press conference as well.

And of course, let's not forget to make sure the seven got to blame the Jews: President Bollinger was "full of insult, which was mostly Zionists' propaganda against Iran." This must be Iran's way of beginning a peace process.

Let's face it, other than having a full male audience full of praise for Iran; its policies; its hatred of Israel and Jews in general; and a generous portion of butt-kissing as a preamble before each and every state-prepared question to Ahmadinejad, nothing would have been as the Iranians would have wanted it to be. Had these same questions been asked of, and answers (REAL answers) been insisted upon by REAL Iranian students (or even WOMEN!), one has to wonder how many of them would have been arrested and never heard from again at the exit door.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to Bill O'Reilly's racism, Victoria Brownworth writes:

The stuff about O'Reilly is so beyond the pale that it's difficult to imagine an appropriate comment. Except that as usual, I loved your graphic and it's good you took the bs-meister to task.

On another note; only Bush and Ahmadinejad could unite me, Rhian and Robert Scardapane in the same place!

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-Noah Greenberg