Iranian President,Mahmoud Ahmadineajd’s speech at Columbia University in New York and university president Lee C. Bollinger’s criticism and tough words during his introduction remarks on Monday 24 September have become a hot topic in media throughout the world. Several Iranian and American bloggers have reacted to the incident. NikAhang Kosar,a leading cartoonist and blogger, has published several cartoons on this subject.
Dave Burdick and a few other students at Columbia University launched a blog named “Ahmadinejad at Columbia” to aggregate coverage of the event. The blog has published several photos of protesters demonstrating against Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia.
“No Homosexuals in Iran”
In the Ahmadinejad at Columbia blog we read:
some students believed that by visiting Columbia, the Holocaust denier only gained airtime, and not additional supporters of his questionable views. According to a biomedicine student, Ahmadinejad would have “come out clean” and “been able to manipulate, kind of, the general liberal views of a lot of the people on campus” had he avoided his denial of homosexuals in Iran and of the Holocaust. Others focused on the Iranian leader's ability to answer evasively. “He squirted a lot of the questions, but he did what every politician does so I don’t have less or more respect [for him] than I would for Bush or Cheney,” said Mehmet Bozatli, a twenty-nine-year-old student from Turkey. As revealed during today’s forum, the president of Iran believes that there are no gay people in his country. “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country,” he said, eliciting both laughter and gasps from the audience.
Iranian Truth says that Ahmadinejad apparently hasn’t watched the CBC special entitled Inside Iran’s Secret Gay World.
No Freedom of Speech for us
Karim Orghandehpour, blogger and journalist, says [Fa] that the government media has launched a propaganda campaign about the opportunity given to Ahmadinejad to speak at one of the most famous universities of the world, and they defend his right to freedom of speech. The blogger asks why some Iranian academics aren't accorded similar rights in Iran. He also asks why some organisations are deprived of the right to publish newspapers.
View from Iran writes
he promised yesterday to invite professors and students at Columbia to Iran to say whatever they want to say. Why doesn't he make that same offer to Iranian professors and students? Hearing him talking about lack of democracy and human rights in the west is just another way of avoiding the realities in Iran. Mr. President, Iranians are dying for basic human rights and for basic democracy.
Winners and Losers
Ataloha Mahejerani, a former reformist minister, criticized [Fa] Lee Bollinger's remarks about Ahmadinejad and says that he was surprised to hear that Columbia’s President call Iranian president a cruel and petty dictator. Calling Bolliger's words insults, the former minister adds that God wanted this speech to provide a new opportunity for Iran, and that the losers were Israel and Columbia’s president.
Contrary to Mohajerani, Jomhour says [Fa] that it is the Iranian people who are the main losers at the hands of Ahmadnejad’s politics. The blogger asks Mohajerani how many of Americans he thinks believe Ahmadinejad’s claims, adding that the Iranian people feel his lies at a visceral level. Jomhour says that when Mohajerani talks about women’s rights, we should remember the jail sentences imposed upon women activists, and when he mentions academic values, we should remember the students being tortured in Iran.
“USA can become a friend”
Harfeh Hesab says [Fa] that the most important point is Ahmadinejad's message to USA is this: America can become a good friend of Iran.” The blogger adds that the “Iranian President was asked if Iran is ready to negotiate with USA and what are expectations. He answered we think USA can become a good friend of Iran.” Harfeh Hesab writes that it was the most positive message that the Islamic Republic has sent to USA so far.
A religious student in Madresyeh Ma wrote [Fa] an open letter to Ahmadinejad and criticized his speech at Columbia. The blogger tells the Iranian president that he may think he was successful at Columbia, but that ihs presence provided an opportunity for Columbia's University president to insult him, which is an insult to all Iranians. He accuses Ahmadinejad of placing his political agenda above respect for his nation. The blogger adds that, contrary to Ahmadinejad's speech, there is no distinction between the USA's government and its people.