Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ten Questions for Bully-inger

Leave it to the US "free media" and "free speech" advocates to make Mahmoud Ahmadinejad look like a sympathetic figure.

First Ahmadinejad submitted to a hostile and belligerent 60 Minutes interview, during which CBS "journalist" Scott Pelley merely repeated the Bush administrations accusations about Iran, often rudely interrupting Ahmadinejad when he attempted to answer his questions.

And then there was Columbia President Lee Bollinger's demeaning and inappropriate introduction to Ahmadinejad, an invited guest on their campus. Bollinger's speech, "My Questions for President Ahmadinejad," deserves to be carefully dissected and analyzed, and this blog is not the forum in which I would like to do so.

In response to Bollinger's ten questions for Ahmadinejad, eight Tehran-based academics addressed a letter to the president of Columbia entitled "Ten Questions for Bollinger from the Directors of Universities and Research Centers in Tehran."

The full text of the letter can be found in Persian here, but the questions themselves, available in translation from IRNA, are as follows (I've edited their translation a bit for the sake of clarity):

1. Why did the US media put so much pressure on you to cancel President Ahmadinejad's lecture at Columbia University? Why did the US TV networks broadcast programs for several days against the Iranian president and did not allow him to respond to the allegations? Does this not run counter to the freedom of expression?

2. Why did the US come to the help of the Iranian dictator (deposed Shah) in 1953 and launched a military coup against then prime minister Mohammad Mossadeq?

3. Why did the US back the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to invade Iran in 1980 and supplied him with the chemical weapons to attack both the Iraqi people and Iranian soldiers?

4. Why doesn't the US administration recognize the democratically elected government of Palestine in Gaza and why does it put them under pressure? Why does it oppose the Iranian proposal to hold referendum in Palestine to end the 60-year old problem?

5. Why has the US Army and its advanced technologies not been able to capture Ben Laden? How do you respond to the longstanding family friendship of President George W. Bush and Ben Laden and the oil deals with Bush? How to you interpret Bush's sabotage of the process of inquiry of September 11?

6. Why does the US administration support the terrorist Mujahideen Khalq Organization (MKO) despite that fact that they have officially and openly accepted responsibility for carrying out terrorist operations in civilian areas in Iran since 1981 and for killing the people of Iran and Iraq? Why doesn't the US government allow the current Iraqi government to close down the MKOs current terrorist camps in Iraq?

7. Was there an international consensus when the US invaded Iraq in 2003? What was the real purpose in occupying Iraq, an occupation that has killed several thousand Iraqis? Where are the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) for which the US unleashed the war?

8. Why are the Middle East's most intensely undemocratic governments and monarchy regimes the US's closest friends?

9. Why did the US administration vote against the resolution of the IAEA general conference calling for making the Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction, a resolution which all countries in the Middle East with the exception of Israel support?

10. Why is the US administration dissatisfied with Iran-IAEA agreement to resolve the outstanding issues about Iranian nuclear program?

Ok, so they cheated, and most of their "10 questions" had multiple parts, so it was more like "30 questions." Nonetheless, every single one of them raises important issues which deserve serious answers.

So how about it, President Bollinger?