Tuesday, September 25, 2007

An Open Letter to the President of Columbia

Dear President Bollinger,

I am writing to you today about your introduction of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Let me begin by telling you that I am Jewish and my maternal grandparents survived the Holocaust. I believe that your introduction of President Ahmadinejad was irresponsible. First and foremost my grandparents taught me to be respectful of others and your speech failed to express that towards your guest.

My grandparents also taught me to speak out against injustice, but it is imperative to be accurate. You described Mr. Ahmadinejad as a “petty and cruel dictator.” Mr. Ahmadinejad became president through democratic elections, can only serve two four-year terms, and has less power than Ayatollah Khamenei. Thus Mr. Ahmadinejad is not a dictator and describing him as such shifts the discussion away from his policies.

More importantly, the list of grievances and insults you cast at Mr. Ahmadinejad made it very easy for him to answer. You charged him with out-of-context criticisms that are unchallenged in the United States, but not necessarily reality. You should have criticized him for holding a Holocaust deniers conference, not for his opinion on the matter which is in his control. You should have questioned his statement about wiping Israel off the map by inquiring how that can be done when Israel isn’t on any Iranian maps.

Above all of this, your speech gave Mr. Ahmadinejad a level of power that he cannot achieve without Western criticism. He runs a country with little military clout in the world. Iran does not have nuclear weapons while Israel and the United States do have them. Iran poses little threat to Israel. Mr. Ahmadinejad knows this and makes his idle statements for domestic political reasons. People like you play into the perception of power that makes Mr. Ahmadinejad relevant on a global stage. I am asking you to be more careful in the future. Thank you for you time.

The HarazQuack Times

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