To be honest, I was surprised when I found out that the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would speak at Columbia university. Media broadly reported the event as a case of freedom of speech in the US. The event itself was very meaningful one. However, I found some scenes of the event are pretty ridiculous and disgusting from a slightly different point of view from the opinion of majority. Here is what I found after reading New York Times and watching news coverages.
(1)Columbia president's introduction: Columbia president, Mr. Lee C. Bollinger said, " Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator," adding "You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated."
-> I have never heard such a rude introduction ever. I would like to ask why Columbia invited him. In order to listen his uneducated speech? It sounds like insult on Mr. Ahmadinejad and also on the audience. The audience gathered to listen a dumb evil to speak, didn't they? He may know about freedom of speech, but do not know of the right attitude of discussion. Once you invite someone, please welcome him/her and listen first. You invite someone to discussion to listen from him/her, not to humiliate, don't you? In the yesterday event, there was no listening or tolerance and so not productive.
(2) The event's moderator's treatment of the Iranian president: Dean John H. Coatsworth was the moderator. He pushed the president to answer questions directly; saying, "I think you can answer that question with a simple yes or no." And the president didn't answer directly.
-> Did the president come to a court? Was he at a defendant seat? I wonder whether Mr. Coatsworth can treat Mr. Bush like that when he asks questions like," whether you will withdraw from Iraq or not," If he can, let's send him to Mr. Bush to get clear cut answer. If I could see arrogance of American, am I the only one who could. I felt Mr. Coatsworth and Mr. Bollinger maltreated the president like that because " we are American, and you a president from one ignorant country." Oh, well, have you thought about why there exists anti-American mood in the world?
(1) Crowd shouted "USA" and waved American flag
->For what? Did they want to threat the Iranian president?
(2) Police's ban of the President's visit on ground zero: According to diplomatic protocol, foreign diplomats visiting UN are guaranteed for their free travel in a 25-mile radius zone around Columbus circle. In his speech, the president presented his intention to visit the site and show his respects to the victims.
->I think there was no reason to ban him to visit ground zero. In the opposite, it could deliver a threatening message to extreme terrorists in the world; Iran does not support terrorism. Many assert that Iran supported Al Qaeda in 9/11. But there is less evidence of the support than the evidence that Iraq had WMD. Iran is a Shia country while Al Qaeda is extreme Suni organization. There was bloody history between two faith. Does Iran support Iraqi insurgence? Yes, it does. Indeed, Iran supports Shia muslim in Iraq in order to establish favorable government in Iraq. Isn't it natural government action? Of course, it is against the interest of the US in the middle east. In particular, the interest of oil provision. Iraq was the unfortunate soft target of the US. Now, Iran seems to become another target which is, however, not so soft.
(3) Ran-off of the president Blooinger: After the event an Iranina woman approached him and complained about his harsh language. He responded "These are very important things that have to be said," and then the ran off.
->Excuse me, what was important? We all knew that Mr. Ahmadinejad is a notorious dictator. He might want to say, "It was very important to accuse him in front of him, in order to entertain our financial supporters and to secure our funding."
(4) President Bush's comment as usual
->He said he had no problem with the event, although he might not invite the Iranian president. He added "he's the head of a state sponsor of terror (so, I want to shot him in the head in the US soil)."
Although it was very significant event in academia and US politics, Columbia's handling of the event was very disappointing. They just wanted to propagate that America has the freedom of speech, and to show that they humiliates America's enemy badly. They might have had to consider their financial supporters by doing so. Pretty disgusting and ridiculous.