Tuesday, September 25, 2007

On Ahmadinejad's visit to CU: Watch your back!

Eastern and Neo-western notions of hospitality are eons apart. In the East (and my East here includes Africa, the Middle East and Asia), a visitor is respected and honoured. In many Eastern cultures, this "guest worship" is such that some hosts give up their beds for the visitor, empty out their pantry to produce a feast and generally treat an invited guest like a mini King. In the Neo-western society, things are to say the least, a bit different.

This is the background of the "this is so wrong" feeling at the pit of my stomach after reading an account of Ahmadinejad's visit in this article on Yahoo dotcom. I can't believe how Ahmadinejad was introduced according to the article:
where the school's head introduced the visitor by calling him a "petty and cruel dictator."

There are so many things that I feel are so wrong about the way he was treated, when he came at the invitation of the University authorities. Let me state here that I do NOT like this man at ALL, or support any of the ridiculous policies of his homeland. All his anti-western stance and drama is a ruse to distract Iranians from his failure in the area of the economy, and if recent reports are to be believed, I think that some people in Iran are beginning to wake up from the deep hypnotic sleep they have been put in. I can't believe that anyone would question the Holocaust, even though I can understand Arab sentiments, that maybe responding by giving the Israel "Palestinian land" was not the best solution (as a Christian, I say here "it was written"). I do grudgingly think he is brave for standing up to the world community on the issue of nuclear weapons? even while shuddering at the thought of this madman and his extremist regime getting a hold of WMD. What gives the west the right to decide who can or cannot have weapons(weren't these same self righteous people Osama's sponsors while the going was good?).

After that disclaimer, which makes me sure that you are clear that I do not support Ahmadinejad at all, let me say that I think it was not a very wise decision to invite Ahmadinejad to Columbia University in the first place. Yeah, Bollinger, Columbia University's president has scored some cheap points by asking the tough questions. But, I am pretty sure that he will have deepened Arab anger at America by this act. I can assure you that Ahmadinejad was expecting to be treated with the same public courtesy that he would give an invited guest in his own country. Note: the keywords here are PUBLIC and INVITED. I understand and respect the freedom of speech and the right to information, but isn't this taking that a bit too far?

This is another display of a lack of what is popularly called intercultural competence in my opinion. A westerner would probably have known what to expect, I am convinced that Ahmadinejad did not. And that made his public ridicule all the more dangerous. America, thanks to Bollinger, you need to watch your back even more.


Chxta said...

...and some of them would have the nerve to claim that they are civilized...

Nyemoni said...

... the school's head introduced the visitor by calling him a "petty and cruel dictator."

Is this for real? my eyes are poppin for rel...thanks for stopping by my blog and the birthday wishes!

hajia said...

You said my mind about Ahmedinejad who incidentally is not Arab but Persian. Americans take the rest of the world for granted and the only way this can change is when a new world power emerges that is stronger than the USA. I pray for this to happen soon. And I see this happening in China and then India. A bi-polar or tri-polar world could be a better place for us all ...

Marin said...

Thanks for your comments, I have been on the move for a while. Personally, I think that many westerners are egoistic in thinking and therefore assume that the world rotates around them. SO the concept of hurting other people's feelings is sometimes foreign to them.
I discussed this issue with an american last weekend, and when I explained how I saw the issue, he ultimately changed his mind and agreed that it is not really nice to insult ones visitor.

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