A chance to speak

By Venkat Maruthamuthu

Regarding your editorial on “The commotion at Columbia University,” I wish to point out that a great opportunity to minimize prejudice and straighten facts was maimed, if not undone, by the president of Columbia’s introduction of Ahmadinejad.

It may well be true that Iran does not enjoy as good a democratic form of government as here and that his views on the Holocaust are incorrect and abhorrent to many. But effectively calling him a “petty and cruel dictator,” as Bollinger did, immediately sets the tone for a ‘dialogue’ that is defensive and hence unproductive.

Had it been any other ‘dictator,’ you may realize that the event would have not even proceeded to take place following that. The Iranian president may in actuality just be acting like he is interested in dialogue, but the forum was an ideal place to make him admit, if not realize, that wiping any country off the map is not a route to peace.

Instead, calling his views “ridiculous” even as he was introduced on stage brought to fore what’s wrong with American government’s approach toward Iran: You cannot have dialogue on one hand and a threat to bomb on the other.

Venkat Maruthamuthu,

Graduate student