Monday, October 01, 2007

More About Bollinger

As much as I'm loath to connect to anything by Jamie "True Grit" Kirchick, it's OK here because he's largely quoting someone else:
Lee Bollinger clearly considers himself to be a hero. It was so evident in his preening, faux-heroic speech on Monday, in which the Columbia University president valiantly told a Holocaust-denying, homosexual-murdering, genocide-inciting dictator "You exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator." What courage.

Several days ago, I received the following message from Helen Suzman, the legendary South African parliamentarian who spent 36 years in office opposing apartheid, often as the only voice of reason in that body.

As a once-proud recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Columbia University, I am disgusted that its President Lee Bollinger should have provided a platform for Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who has more than once pronounced that Israel should be "wiped off the face of the earth". Does President Bollinger not know the difference between hate speech, which incites violence, and freedom of speech?

Helen Suzman
Lee Bollinger self-importantly thinks that he store down evil in the face on Monday. Helen Suzman actually made a career confronting it. A favorite anecdote concerns the hundreds of parliamentary questions she would submit every session, designed to expose the apartheid regime's abuse of human rights. A government minister shouted at her: "You put these questions just to embarrass South Africa overseas." To which she replied: "It is not my questions that embarrass South Africa. It is your answers."

Lee Bollinger has embarrassed his university, certainly in the eyes of liberals abroad like Mrs. Suzman,"once-proud" to have received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the institution. Most recipients of honorary degrees from Ivy League universities would be hesitant to renounce such an accolade. But Mrs. Suzman is the recipient of 27 such honorary degrees from institutions like Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, and many others. She can well afford it.
Even though Kirchick is a jackass, he's on target here.

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