‘Bollinger’s comments were radically different from other introductions he has given in the course of the World Leaders Forum, an annual cluster of talks hosted by Columbia, where visiting heads of state are invited to address students on campus.
I remember attending a similar lecture two years ago, in the fall of 2005, in my first semester as a SIPA student. It was a talk by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, a leader closer to my home country. As one of many Indian students at the event, I burned with questions I was dying to pose about democracy, women’s rights and peace with India.
Then, as yesterday, we arrived more than an hour in advance. On each of our seats was a pamphlet with a brief history of the leader. I was astonished to find that, according to his biography, Musharraf “assumed the office of chief executive of Pakistan in October 1999.” There was no mention of the coup through which Musharraf seized power. Not once did Bollinger refer to the military man, who had overthrown the elected government and then refused to hold elections as promised, as a dictator–a word he seemed to have no problem using to describe Ahmadinejad. The question of how Musharraf “assumed office” was delicately avoided, a diplomatic skill that has clearly been forgotten in these two intervening years. No one seemed curious to know how Musharraf’s rhetoric about democracy fit in with his continued reign as a dictator–at least, no one with access to a mike. ‘
I suppose Modblog agrees with Bollinger who was quoted on Musharraf’s website as saying,
“President Musharraf is a leader of global importance and his contribution to Pakistan’s economic turnaround and the international fight against terror remain remarkable – it is rare that we have a leader of his stature at campus,” said Lee C Bollinger, the President of Columbia University.
How does denouncing the hypocrisy of someone who denounces Ahmedajad but not Musharraf equate with ‘defence of the Iranian regime’? Is this whats called third campism? I can assure you its not a sentiment which would find support amongst Pakistani socialists currently facing a massive clampdown along side all other civil society organisations in the country.
Why? Do you not think its remarkably inconsistant to give unstinting, revolting grovelling praise to one dictator but fall over oneself to express ones morally sensitive disgust at the other? When one just happens to be a friend of the US and the other is not? Its laughable, but whats more laughable is that this grotesque charade of hidious opportunism and absence of moral backbone should be applauded on a site which claims to be left wing. Surely a new low for shiraz socialist, rapidly transmuting into Harry’s Place despite volties denials. Bollingers performance was a hidious joke.