[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Ahmadinejad at Columbia
lubna at mweb.co.za
Sat Sep 22 13:05:20 BST 2007
Ahmedinejad asked the US government whether he could visit ground zero, the
site of the 9/11 attacks in New York and was turned down. In an interview he
said that he had wanted to pay his respects to the dead. Now I have issues
with some of his rhetoric...but I think its diplomatically unacceptable to
deny a President the chance to pay his respects at the site of such a major
incident. If the US administration was a bit sharper (sigh...well thats
asking for the impossible), this would have been an ideal opportunity to
build closer ties between the 2 countries...but clearly thats not what they
want...Iran had nothing to do with 9/11...and even if they are not liked for
wanting to upgrade their civilian nuclear programme, thats no reason for
other countries to be discourteous to a gesture of humanity from their
Speaking of being discourteous....Bush in a press conference this week said
..."Mandela is dead"...read more at
http://thinkprogress.org/2007/09/20/bush-mandela/ . Somebody save us from
this freak !
----- Original Message -----
From: "Patrick Bond" <pbond at mail.ngo.za>
To: "debate: SA discussion list " <debate at lists.kabissa.org>
Sent: Saturday, September 22, 2007 7:44 AM
Subject: [DEBATE] : (Fwd) Ahmadinejad at Columbia
(From former UWC activist Aaron Amaral - booted from SA in the middle of
giving an undergrad class lecture a few years ago.)
Open Letter to Progressive Opponents of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
from the Columbia Coalition Against the War
As Columbia only very recently announced, Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad will be speaking in Roone Arledge auditorium this Monday.
A number of students and student organizations have already announced
plans for a protest rally the same day. We are not among them. We do
not endorse Ahmadinejad or his views, many of which are inexcusable.
However, as opponents of a US military strike against Iran, we have
serious concerns with the content of some of the hostility that has
been expressed to his presence, and specifically with the planned
We fear the demonization of Ahmadinejad, because we think this
demonization contributes to the likelihood of war. In the current
climate, with many on the political right in the U.S. and Israel
pushing for air strikes, a campaign against Ahmadinejad is dangerous,
regardless of the intentions of most involved. A call to action,
unless it prominently rules out war, implies military action.
A rally where each speaker denounces Ahmadinejad's reactionary
policies and just a few call explicitly for military action will still
be perceived, on campus and around the U.S., as pro-war. The
right-wing media, from Fox News to the New York tabloids, has already
jumped on the event, and will spin it to favor their cause.
Conservative organizations with no affiliation to Columbia's campus,
such as the David Project, have already signed on to the rally on
Facebook, and are likely to distribute hundreds of warmongering flyers
and picket signs. The rally will seem to be a sea of pro-war
demonstrators - and the more people who attend it and the more
organizations that endorse it, the more powerful this disastrous
message will be.
A U.S. attack on Iran, which is not an inevitability but is a real
possibility, would have consequences just as terrible as the invasion
of Iraq. Thousands would die in initial air strikes, and more in the
resulting backlash and regional conflagration. The work of Iranian
campaigners for free speech, women's rights, and lesbian and gay
liberation, and against racism and anti-semitism, would be set back
immeasurably. As Iranian Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi has pointed out,
"Human rights are not established by throwing cluster bombs on people.
You cannot introduce democracy to a country by using tanks."
There are other means for engagement with Iran than war, and other
means for disagreement with Ahmadinejad than the planned protest. We
call on those who do not support a war with Iran to be wary of the
vilification of Ahmadinejad, to avoid Monday's rally, and to express
vocally their opposition to military intervention.
ccaw_organizing at googlegroups.com
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