September 25, 2007
Well, surprise, surprise, surprise, as Gomer Pyle would say. Iranians are offended by our treatment of their leader, as any citizen of any country would be in similar circumstances. Iranian television broadcast the clash between Columbia University
dunce head President Lee Bollinger and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday. In an area of the world where hospitality towards one’s guests is considered vitally important, the outrage was almost universal. Iranians termed Ahmadinejad’s treatment “shameful,” with some indicating that Bollinger’s bad behavior strengthened their view of the U.S. as a bully. The “Ugly American” is alive and well, only this time we didn’t bother traveling to foreign countries to insult people.
While state-run radio in Iran commented: “The surprising point of the last night meeting is the behavior of the university president,” which they termed “full of insult,” numerous Iranian university chancellors busied themselves by writing to Bollinger, describing his statements as “deeply shameful.” They asked Bollinger to respond to 10 interesting questions, including “Why did the U.S. support the bloodthirsty dictator Saddam Hussein during the 1980-88 Iraqi-imposed war on Iran?” and “Why has the U.S. military failed to find al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden even with all its advanced equipment?” Pajamadeen would also like an answer to the latter question.
According to a CTV article, at least one Iranian felt the way we did, while listening to Bollinger’s attack. “I don’t know why he [Ahmadinejad] stayed there and did not leave the meeting. Their attitude was an insult to the nature of the meeting,” said a Tehran nurse, Mahmoud Rouhi. Grocery store customer Rasoul Qaresi commented: “The meeting and their approach showed that Americans, even in a cultural position, are cowboys and nothing more.”
Happy now, Mr. Bollinger? Hope your personal adrenaline rush at public expense was worth it. Yep, that’s the way to foster peace with a country with whom we haven’t had diplomatic relations since 1979; insult your guests, violate their cultural mores and watch the fur fly!
Learn more about Lee Bollinger’s remarks.
Photo credit: AP / Vahid Salemi
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