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Yeah, no propaganda value from the Columbia appearance
Posted by: mcq on Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Like Pandora's box, once opened, it can never be closed:
Seven chancellors and presidents of Iranian universities and research centers, in a letter addressed to their counterpart in the US Colombia University, denounced Lee Bollinger's insulting words against the Iranian nation and president and invited him to provide responses for 10 questions of the Iranian academicians and intellectuals.
How wonderful. Thanks Columbia. Thanks Bollinger. You willingly provide a forum, get cold feet, cave to the pressure (but not enough to outright cancel the event) and insult your guest. And now the focus is on the insults and the propaganda value for Iran is incalculable.
Your comments, filled with hate and disgust, may well have been influenced by extreme pressure from the media, but it is regrettable that media policy-makers can determine the stance a university president adopts in his speech.
Neutralize that.

And go read the 10 questions asked of Bollinger from Iranian academics which will now be beamed around the world.

Anyone? Can you actually see Bollinger defending the US if he were to attempt to answer them? Heh ...

Yup, well done Columbia.

Well done.
 
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Now now, McQ -this is all in the interest of Free Speech and the Free Flow of Ideas. Why, just think of how upset we would be if President Bush were to have been treated the same way in an Iranian University.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
lol
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
I’m not sure what exactly your complaint is, McQ - other than the original one that you feel Ahmadinejad shouldn’t have been invited in the first place. Why shouldn’t Bollinger have these questions posed to him? Is there some sort of expectation that if he answers them, the average person on the Iranian street will think he speaks for all Americans? Is it that you don’t think the average Iranian recognizes propaganda when they see it? Or the average American doesn’t?

Academics asking other academics about politics - maybe it’s just me, but that strikes me as something fairly low on the outrage scale.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
You have to admire the way the Iranian letter twists the knife at the end: "You can be assured that Iranians are very polite and hospitable toward their guests."
 
Written By: sammler
URL: http://stonecity.blogspot.com
Exactly, McQ was right in his original summation that the invitation should not have been made. It lowers the whole exchange to an equivalence between Iranian and US society. For all their America hating BS, do any of the liberals here think that such an equivalence is even close?
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Is it that you don’t think the average Iranian recognizes propaganda when they see it?
Yeah, McQ. What gave you the idea that propaganda is ever effective? The fact that governments keep pumping it out? Hah, just a buncha misguided fools.

Hell, just look at one of your favorite targets, Mr. Chavez. What good has propaganda ever done him?

/

Did I miss the memo declaring that the idea that propaganda is ever effective is ridiculous? I only ask because I sure am seeing this contention that the Iranian’s will easily see through Shorty’s tricks presented as something that is so obvious as to not even need explanation in a lot of threads about Ahmadinejad’s Columbia appearence.
 
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
Did I miss the memo declaring that the idea that propaganda is ever effective is ridiculous?

It is most effective when the people don’t realize that it’s propaganda and they think it is just information. But I am under the impression that Iranians are well aware of the fact that it is propaganda, so it’s not like they’ll shift allegiances based on what the Iranian academics say about Bollinger. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe now they’ll hate us.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Well, Bollinger did ambush him.
There was way too much Jerry Springer style there.

If they were going to invite him to speak, and were going to take a hard-line with it tell him in advance they were going to ask some tough questions, but don’t ambush him and pretend it’s all good because it’s "part of free speech".

They should invite Dr Erb to answer, he can answer all those questions, and they’ll even like the answers.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
It is most effective when the people don’t realize that it’s propaganda and they think it is just information. But I am under the impression that Iranians are well aware of the fact that it is propaganda, so it’s not like they’ll shift allegiances based on what the Iranian academics say about Bollinger. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe now they’ll hate us.
I’d consider it effective propaganda, given that the 10 questions look like typical leftist fare.

Any interested Persion (or Arab) with network access could validate those questions by visiting Democratic Undergound or Daily Kos or anyplace else in the fever swamps of the left.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Ahmadinejad set us up. He set us all up - Columbia University, the USA, the left, the right, all of us. Why - for increased influence in the arab/muslim world. How? Hospitality or the lack of it at Columbia. Let me ’splain:
For Arabs, hospitality lies at the heart of who they are. How well one treats his guests is a direct measurement of what kind of a person she or he is. Hospitality is among the most highly admired of virtues. Indeed, families judge themselves and each other according to the amount of generosity they bestow upon their guests when they entertain. (Source: Suite101.com)
The only thing that has more power than hospitality among arabs is Allah, Muhammed and the Qur’an.

We have all heard "Cleanliness is next to godliness" and how that is implied in our culture. Well, Hospitality inspires that kind of attitude and more in the arab world.

How could this set us up? In the logic of the middle east, if he was accepted with open arms from the CU folks then he is a hero to the middle eastern world. If he was rebuffed by the CU folks, then the CU folks are reviled as violating one of the more important aspects of arab life - hospitality.

The important fact of all of this is his visit to Cu had nothing to do with the West. It had everything to do with his standing in the Muslim world.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Yes, very well done. Now he can have a dialogue with the Iranian universities that will be public, for the world to see. We can parade our openness to discussion and willingness to deal with ideas we dislike and disagree with through rational argumentation and evidence. It will become clear in such a dialogue what differentiates us from Iran.

I hope this pans out, because getting issues out in the open and debated is a lot better than simply defining others as bad, having them define you as bad, and then operating through political bias. The morality, ethics, and logic (or lack thereof) of the positions put forth by each will shine through, and that is far stronger than political rhetoric.

In an open discourse, closed societies lose and their spokespeople usually make fools of themselves. Open societies should welcome such offers, because it can only benefit them, and only show the hypocracy of closed, intolerant systems.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The morality, ethics, and logic (or lack thereof) of the positions put forth by each will shine through, and that is far stronger than political rhetoric.
Yep, because the questions being asked aren’t political rhetoric.
And of course the answers will be fully disseminated in the closed society of Iran.
Did you know, we had Potemkin villages set up in the US when Khruschev first visited?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I actually quite like the questions posed. Particularly because they are posted on the net. This allows a well-written and documented response to the questions at hand. For example: The US media put pressure on public figures to explain themselves. TV reports were going to carry news of the Columbia speech simply because a man who has declared that he will research nuclear weapons and that he does not want the US to exist was given a podium. Notice that the TV reports did not hand the writing of the news reports over to Mr Bollinger any more than they did to Mr Ahmadinejad, and that they have, in fact, run quotes from Ahmadinejad’s speech. This is actually known as freedom of the press. Neither United States government nor the campus government (and not even the Iranian government) may dictate to the American press what or how they publish factual information in the public domain, though they may give information to the press. Freedom of speech is what Mr Ahmadinejad enjoyed here. He could verbally respond to Mr Bollinger as he did without reprisal. Freedom of speech protects one from the government, it does not accord every person with an opinion the microphone and unlimited time on the world stage any more than it confers upon every sculptor unlimited quantities of marble or every musician a concert hall.
 
Written By: Nony Mouse
URL: http://
And of course the answers will be fully disseminated in the closed society of Iran.
Word will get out. After all, Tehran is a party city, with lots of drugs, sex and alcohol — it just has to be kept quiet. It’s not like the religious clerics have an iron grip on the city or control all the information people receive. The days when you could close everything off like in the old East bloc are over...except perhaps for North Korea, or impoverished third world states.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Isn’t Iran an impoverished third world state?

But seriously, in the old media days, I think this whole affair would have played more into Iran’s hands. Now with the internet and blogs, people in Iran can easily get dissenting views to the "state coverage." Yes, they still get some propaganda value out of it, but I suspect that value is more in Europe, where anti-American elements will eat this stuff up rather than in Iran.

But on the other hand, the Iranian blogs will cover this as well as the Farsi satellite stations overseas.

"After all, Tehran is a party city, with lots of drugs, sex and alcohol — it just has to be kept quiet.It’s not like the religious clerics have an iron grip on the city"

Then why does it need to be kept quiet (or in reality, underground?) Also, in country run by Ayatollahs, maybe even a little sex, drugs, and rock and roll looks like a lot to the outside observer. Chico it ain’t, dude.


 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
After all, Tehran is a party city, with lots of drugs, sex and alcohol
Just make sure you’re wearing the right clothing on the bus, eh?
And look out for the cranes in the public square while your partying dude, the knots on the ropes used to eliminate the phenomenon of homosexuality might work loose in the wind and cause a scene.

Oh, I know, we have places with dress codes too! and in some states, gay couples aren’t allowed to be married!
Yep, see, exactly the same oppressions here.
You just have to be open minded and be able to see things in a certain relative way.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I think the lecture of Columbia university chair was unmannerly and shamefully.
- he named Ahmadinejad as a dictator. my question is why the Iran old king (Shah) that fall with the Iranian will and have a lot of prisons in Iran was the friend of USA, but Dr. Ahmadinejad that selected in a democratic election and is very popular in Iran is a dictator?
- Some people that execution in Iran were some big smugglers and some that kidnap women and daughters and abuse them and people request the police execution them. The question is why in Afghanistan the plant of poppy increased 5 time more after the USA army occupation?
- USA Army occupied Iraq. question is why more than 500000 Iraqi people must be killed? How many racemose bombs and 2500 kilograms bombs fell over the Iraqi houses? Aren’t the Iraqi peoples angry from the USA? Why USA couldn’t present any degree and document from interference of Iran in Iraq? Do USA say reality?
1- Why did the US media put you under so much pressure to prevent Mr. Ahmadinejad from delivering his speech at Columbia University? And why have American TV networks been broadcasting hours of news reports insulting our president while refusing to allow him the opportunity to respond? Is this not against the principle of freedom of speech?

2- Why, in 1953, did the US administration overthrow the Iran’s national government under Dr Mohammad Mosaddegh and go on to support the Shah’s dictatorship?

3- Why did the US support the blood-thirsty dictator Saddam Hussein during the 1980-88 Iraqi-imposed war on Iran, considering his reckless use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers defending their land and even against his own people?

4- Why is the US putting pressure on the government elected by the majority of Palestinians in Gaza instead of officially recognizing it? And why does it oppose Iran ’s proposal to resolve the 60-year-old Palestinian issue through a general referendum?

5- Why has the US military failed to find Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden even with all its advanced equipment? How do you justify the old friendship between the Bush and Bin Laden families and their cooperation on oil deals? How can you justify the Bush administration’s efforts to disrupt investigations concerning the September 11 attacks?

6- Why does the US administration support the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) despite the fact that the group has officially and openly accepted the responsibility for numerous deadly bombings and massacres in Iran and Iraq? Why does the US refuse to allow Iran ’s current government to act against the MKO’s main base in Iraq?

7- Was the US invasion of Iraq based on international consensus and did international institutions support it? What was the real purpose behind the invasion which has claimed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives? Where are the weapons of mass destruction that the US claimed were being stockpiled in Iraq?

8- Why do America’s closest allies in the Middle East come from extremely undemocratic governments with absolutist monarchical regimes?

9- Why did the US oppose the plan for a Middle East free of unconventional weapons in the recent session of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors despite the fact the move won the support of all members other than Israel?

10- Why is the US displeased with Iran’s agreement with the IAEA and why does it openly oppose any progress in talks between Iran and the agency to resolve the nuclear issue under international law?
 
Written By: Omid
URL: http://
Omid asks some questions which illustrate how differently honest, intelligent people coming at this from a different perspective can see things. Iran is now more democratic than it was under the Shah, who we supported with massive amounts of aid. We do support Saudi Arabia, whose religious rules and religious police are as strict and often stricter than those in Iran. We did support Saddam in the eighties, and do support terror groups operating against the Iranian government.

The answer to the questions he posed is more general: it’s really about power politics. The US wants to retain a hegemonic role in the Mideast, and sees Iran as a threat, given that Iran is the natural regional power due to size, terrain and location. Iran getting a nuclear weapon would upset that balance of power and give Iran relatively more power in the region. The US fears this also would create conditions where both China and Russia can more easily exercise influence both in the Mideast and South East Asia.

It’s not really about human rights, democracy, if there are gays in Iran, or dictatorships. If it was, there would be outrage over the President holding hands with King Abdullah, or US support for Egypt. It’s about oil, the geopolitical balance of power, and the kind of political rivalries that we can see quite often throughout history. Otherwise, there is no way to explain American double standards.

Because while it may be a small trivial point in our memory of history, the fact we supported a boycott against Iranian oil that weakened Mossadeq’s government in the early fifties, strengthened the Communists (who would ultimately join in Mossadeq’s coalition) and then aided a coup that overthrew that democratic regime in place of a dictatorship is very well known in Iran. It was about oil then as well, and the desire to have a pro-American ally in the emerging Cold War. One wonders how things might have been different if the US and Great Britain had worked with Mossadeq rather than undermine the Iranian economy to the point of instability by 1953.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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