This is a letter to the editor of the Spectator by a grad on Bollinger's treatment of Ahmnadinejad. The author is obviously no fan of Ahmadinejad but his remarks about Bollinger seem spot on. Yet many commentators in the media do not even seem to recognise how inappropriate and totally insulting Bollinger's remarks were.
Bollinger proved himself to be a total buffoon and an embarassment to
all. I'm a conservative Republican, so I'd be just as happy Ahmadinejad
met the same fate as Saddam Hussein, but I also think guests should be
treated with respect and decorum once invited. Only a cad invites a man
to speak and then attacks him, saying he's the face of evil, etc.
Bollinger was clearly responding to media criticism by trying to be a
macho Tough Guy, which he's not, and he ended up with his foot in his
Meanwhile I'm embarassed for my school and for our guest. Ahmenidejad
was right in declaring, "In Iran, we don’t think it’s necessary
the speech is even given, to come in with a series of claims."
might not respect the man or respect his views, but he ought to respect
the fact that Ahmadinejad is a world leader and official guest. And
there's the matter of the black backdrop for the presentation, where
usually "Columbia University - World Leaders Forum" would be written
prominently behind the speaker.
If Bollinger is going to invite a foreign dignitary to campus to speak,
Bollinger owes it to the guest that he be treated courteously and
hospitably. If Bollinger can't show proper diplomatic tact, then the
guest shouldn't be invited. Shame on Columbia, shame on Bollinger.