Letters to the Editor

Rude behavior

September 27, 2007


To the editor:

I am embarrassed for Columbia University because of the rude behavior of its president concerning his remarks about Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, as quoted in Tuesday's Journal-World.

I agree with the quoted professor of Iranian studies that Bollinger's introduction was "very harsh" considering that Ahmadinejad occupies this position of authority in Iran and he was invited by the university to share his views and receive questions and comments from the audience.

How many of us would invite someone into our homes and then say derogatory remarks about them publicly? Bollinger's remarks about Iran's president being "brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated" are a reflection of his own arrogance and lack of hospitality.

On the other hand, I do not deny that Bollinger had the right to question a guest about their beliefs and apparent actions reflecting those beliefs since that was the stated purpose of the forum.

Carl Burkhead,



allateup 10 years, 9 months ago

yes, exactly what is Mr. Burkheads point?

OnlyTheOne 10 years, 8 months ago

Americans complained to high heaven when Ahmadinejad and Chavez made derogatory comments about our President but it's okay for us to do the same to their leaders. Sorry, but if you invite a man to speak to your organization you have the right to ask VERY strong questions but to insult him during the introduction is just plain rude. He is, after all, whether you like him or not the leader of Iran a Sovereign state and one of these days Americans may come to the realization that other peoples deserve to be treated as we wish to be!

a_flock_of_jayhawks 10 years, 8 months ago

OK, since you guys missed the point, it is that the swipes that were delivered do not advance the dialogue between America and other countries. And, on the world strategic stage, when the verbal discourse becomes bitter and dysfunctional between adversaries, they often turn to displays of military might. I don't like what Ahmadinejad is saying or doing anymore than the next person, but I don't feel trading barbs or refusing to engage them appropriately and in a dignified manner reflect highly on America.

benjaminlox 10 years, 8 months ago

Does anyone know when the Douglas County Fair is coming to town?

bearded_gnome 10 years, 8 months ago

shouldn't have invited this intensely evil man to speak.

the fair??????

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 8 months ago

I understand Carl's point. He is outraged about the treatment of Ahm. Are you joking, Carl? This guy deserves NO respect and does NOT deserve to be treated with common courtesy,. Had the students all reached into their shorts and thrown fcs at Ahm. like monkeys in the zoo will do to onlookers, that's ok too. Think about who you're defending or feeling sorry for, Carl. There's no advancing any dialogue with this guy. You think that just because he's head of a state that he deserves to be respected....wrong, wrong and wrong. He's scum. You're embarassed for Columbia...pulllleeeeaaaazzze. The treatment at Columbia was fair and justified and I found it quite amusing.

Nick Yoho 10 years, 8 months ago

Right_blinker you're priceless. Talk about out of touch with reality.I'm so far left,I go around the circle to stand on your right side,and those you listed mean NOTHING to me. George who?Daily Kos,founder is a CIA operative,move on is not really very left,just anti-war.Get a grip.The media MAY have leaned a bit left in 1970,but the right has built a huge echo chamber since then.Their is no left leaning media bias,all "news"stories are filtered through the corporate lap dog editors,and framed sideways.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 8 months ago

OnlyTheOne (Anonymous) says: He is, after all, whether you like him or not the leader of Iran a Sovereign state and one of these days Americans may come to the realization that other peoples deserve to be treated as we wish to be!

Well, Carl, you did find one misguided person who agrees with your argument. Is this "turn the other cheek" or "treat others as you wish to be treated" malarky. Doesn't work like that OTO, not in reality. Scum floats to the top to be skimmed off. He is leading his country to doom. Anyone who feels sorry for the way littlebadsuitguy was treated needs to be reincarnated as a gay person in Iran. Iran, You'llrun, We'llallrun.

Ceallach 10 years, 8 months ago

Oh, please. Idi Amin was also a head of state. Ahm. has not earned respect as a head of state or even as a human being. Get a grip, CB. The man is a waste of skin, and to defend him, or whine "I am embarrassed" about his treatment, is unacceptable.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 8 months ago

In some countries, Bollinger might be buried up to his waist and then stoned to death.

ImpactWinter 10 years, 8 months ago

I think you guys oughta see that if our president got that reception abroad (and I'll bet he does get some chilly rooms in the mideast) we'd be parking carrier battlegroups off of the coast of (Insert Country Here); I'm no fan of Iran, or Ahmedinejad; But if I had invited the guy to come speak at my university I'm certainly not going to start railing on him about his policies before the man has even spoken a word; that kind of behavior has no place in academics, or public relations.

seriously people, that kind of crap can start wars!

ImpactWinter 10 years, 8 months ago

I mean hell, I think our president is pretty much the worst thing to happen to American society...ever! but I'm still not going to be an @$$hat to him if I met him. The man leads a country and deserves a certain level of respect, even if you loathe everything he's done in office.

imastinker 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm not sure how many people actually watched the whole thing, but I did.

I thought the introduction was out of place and rude - for an academic setting. He should not have inserted his own questions and opinions before allowing him to speak. He should instead have focused on his terrible record and stuck to facts without going so long. Everything he said was correct, but it was out of place to do this.

Ahmadinejad just chilled me to the bone with the intelligence and cunning ability he showed that night. Allowing him to talk and spread misinformation to the American Public who may side with the likes of Nancy Pelosi was a big mistake. He should have been excluded and given a cold shoulder.

That said, most intelligent people will realize that it is all fabrication and that he was dodging answers the whole time.

nettieb 10 years, 8 months ago

Let me preface what I'm about to say with a very firm "I think the man is evil and should probably die in a horrible, painful way".

To invite him to a debate is one thing. To invite him to participate in a lecture and a Q&A is another thing. But to invite him under those terms, with the sole purpose of turning it into a rant of personal opinion about his policies and practices as the president of his country takes a special kind of arrogance.

Whether any of us agree with Bollinger or not, he was set up to be chastized. It was wrong.

But again, I do agree with him and think someone should whack the guy.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 10 years, 8 months ago

pa writes: "As for this excrement:..."

Wow! You're way out there PA. No surprise YOU missed the point. Have you ever even been out of KS, much less the US? You attempted to put words in my mouth. That's not what I said. Since you bother to quote me, maybe you should re-read what I said and think for a second.

Diplomacy on the world stage is vastly different (or should be) than just making demands of other countries. Soon, this guy will not be the person that we end up dealing with in Iran. Yet, if we slap hard enough and long enough, the sentiment will remain. Way to poison the water for generations to come.

It sounds like you have no idea what "tact" is. When you are really good at it, you can step on someone's toes and make them think that they just got a shoeshine.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 10 years, 8 months ago

Regardless of how reprehensible his actions are, it pays us to put things into proper perspective. Anyone remember the shah of Iran? Who supported him? How did he treat his own people? How was he overthrown? Is it a surprise that those who overthrew him and his regime are just a little upset with a country that supported it? What have we done since then to make amends and try to improve the relationship? In their view, we have the blood of their citizens on our hands. How do we come off as lecturing them on human rights abuses when the abuses of the Shah are still in their recent memory?

ontheotherhand 10 years, 8 months ago

If KU can invite Ann Coulter to speak, and the world can tune into Rush Limbaugh and Pat Roberts, then why can't Columbia invite Ahmadinejad? Listening to far-fetched ideas from crazy people keeps us updated on just how wacky the world is becoming.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 8 months ago

snap_pop_no_crackle (Anonymous) says: In some countries, Bollinger might be buried up to his waist and then stoned to death.

Bollinger prudently turned down the Iranian Universities invitation to give a speech there. Two-way ticket not necessary.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 10 years, 8 months ago

P A says: "I would support the same type of introduction for the Shah, P. W. Botha, Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, etc. That you would not is sickening."

Your response indicates that you don't even realize that WE - the USA - supported the Shah. What's sickening is the fact that you can't even seem to envision the proper venue or the correct things to say. I would suggest that you get a better understanding of the situation before you voice your outrage (missplaced, I might add).

We should all be thankful that you are not a part of our diplomatic corps...or are you? Seems that we have been having some difficulty on that front for the past 7 years.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 10 years, 8 months ago

RT says: "Maybe Bollinger can get a spot on "The View" ::.maybe demonstrate how to use a gravity chair."

LOL. Or, if Stephen Colbert needs a vacation, maybe Bollinger could sit in.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 8 months ago

Assassinating people because they are gay or another religion is more rude. I know the conservatives don't believe in religous freedom and they all hate gays. Except the difference in religions, you would all be right at home in Iran. They even like nukes, and don't want to get rid of them.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 10 years, 8 months ago

P A, you make my point(s) in so many ways. Thank you. I'll just sit back now and watch you set yourself ablaze.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 10 years, 8 months ago

BTW, P A, while you were playing legos, I was sitting offshore in that region of our world assigned to a US warship as a part of our tactical forces.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 10 years, 8 months ago

"That must have been frustrating."

It was an experience I will never forget, both good times and bad. I got to meet and work with some fantastic people, some of whom never made it home alive.

tolawdjk 10 years, 8 months ago

The swipes that were delivered should have no bearing on the advancement of dialog between the US and Iran. Columbia univeristy is a part of the US State Dept. The opinions expressed by its faculty and staff have no bearing on world politics. If a nation wants to start a war because some university president says that nation's president is a poopy pants, that nation was going to start a war anyway.

Seriously, Carl, you are placing too much perceived power into the hands of academia.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 8 months ago

And what makes matters worse, there is a nudity ban on Mount Everest.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 10 years, 8 months ago

DotsLines says: "What on earth are you defending?"

The LTE writer's dim view of the rude behavior. It serves no good purpose for us to invite him, then just give him more ammunition by saying the things they did before the speech. Now, he gets to tell his own people, "See, I told you they were the Great Satan. Look at the way they treat people." This is despite the fact that he was sinking his own ship through the non-answers, etc. He does a pretty good job of making himself look ridiculous on his own and this was an opportunity for him to continue to do so while we take the high road. Instead, we just helped him make his case.

The way you have reduced the Iranian situation leaves out quite a bit that is important to the matter. To say that the "only reason..." doesn't account for a number of issues and the history behind the relationship. If only it were as easy as you describe. Remember, when you abandon diplomacy, bullets may come into play at any time. I feel it is safe to say that I have a better than average understanding of the region, not solely because I served our country there.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 10 years, 8 months ago

DotsLines says: "You say you know the region and I have no reason to doubt you. So let me ask - I'm not saying a little diplomacy on their part wouldn't be a good thing, or that some of their problems aren't the result of their own intransigence, but do you think the state of Israel would even still exist if it had been left solely to diplomacy?"

No. Our military and IDF (of course) has been involved in many ways.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 10 years, 8 months ago

The guy supports terrorists, and is a terrorist himself. He lies through his teeth about everything. He should not have been invited in the first place, but he was. Given that he accepted the invitation, he should expect to be treated for what he is. A lying, dangerous terrorist who is supplying arms to the terrorists in Iraq who are using them to kill our soldiers. You are nutz, he should have been shot. Thank you, Lynn

L0j1k 10 years, 8 months ago

What happened to Set Em Up Jacks? Anybody wise on why they disappeared?

blingazzizi 10 years, 8 months ago

I find it interesting that the same kind of name calling that is being discussed by us is also being used by us. I read a column just the other day about this very same phenomenon in politics and I paraphrase, the problem with this is that one can now never express any understanding for the other side because one has now labelled it as ignorant and backwards.

I understand both points of view but I am of the belief that the only way I currently have any understanding of this man and his agenda is through the words of a third party. On any emotionally charged issue I have grown far too cynical through the recent years to trust the words of people I don't know and as such an open forum for the president of Iran to attempt to give credibility to his actions would have been interesting. Then all this discussion on whether or not he was treated fairly wouldn't be the story and I would be reading about what he said and what he has done instead.

Of course I don't know S&!t

Curtiss 10 years, 8 months ago

Geez, right_thinker, you keep going on like all the above, and you're going to have to drop the "thinker" part. Not only that, but your blissful ignorance of recent history disqualifies you from participation, I'm afraid. You comment on the news like you know what's going on, yet you still have the naivete to ask:

"Bush got less electoral votes than Gore and still was made president?"

Have you forgotten already? Yes! Where were you? The audit of the 2000 Florida votes showed Gore won by thousands of votes, meaning yes, he did win the electoral vote too, along with the popular vote. However, Bush was appointed by his dad's pals who really, really wanted to invade Iraq, and got the job anyway.

Man, it was in all the papers. Weren't you paying any attention?

Haven't we explained this to you before?

camper 10 years, 8 months ago

I can't figure out Ahmedinejad. I "slightly" respect his initiative to come here and speak and "reason" as he is often quoted, but I cannot reconcile his terrible misconceptions on the Holocaust, which is DOCUMENTED. His argument is pitiful. Almost like someone tryin to disprove that the sun came up at 7 because he knows you slept til noon. I respect the University for allowing him to speak. I also respect the tough dialouge displayed by the official. Anything less would be false encouragement.

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