Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Modern-day Walk to Canossa


An academic delegation of Columbia University professors and deans of faculties plans to visit Tehran to officially apologize to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. The delegation plans to express regret for the insulting remarks Columbia University President Lee Bollinger directed at Ahmadinejad on September 24 in his introductory speech, the Mehr News Agency correspondent in New York reported.

Since the incident, the deans and professors from the faculties of history, anthropology,
Middle Eastern studies, philosophy, and Islamic studies have criticized Bollinger’s behavior toward Ahmadinejad.

A member of the delegation, who requested anonymity, said the main goal of the visit is to meet the Iranian president and officially apologize to him.

“The delegation has also prepared its itinerary,” he noted.

He went on to say that the delegation also plans to visit Iranian universities in various cities and to hold talks with professors and students, and may even sign memoranda of understanding with some universities. He also said the delegation is interested in visiting seminaries and the shrine city of Qom.

However, Bollinger has warned the delegation that their trip to Iran should be a private visit and should not be undertaken as an official visit endorsed by the university.
Bollinger has so far refused to meet the Mehr News Agency correspondent to explain his disrespectful behavior toward Ahmadinejad when introducing him to the students and professors at Columbia.

H/T: Say Anything

I strongly urge the penitents to assume the whole nine yards of self-humiliation, following in the footsteps of Henry:

He wore a hair-shirt... and allegedly walked barefoot. Many of his entourage also supposedly removed their shoes. In these conditions he crossed the Alps, a long and harsh journey in late January. ... ... When Henry reached Canossa, the Pope ordered that he be refused entry. .. Henry waited by the gate for three full days. During this time, he allegedly wore only his penitent hair-shirt and fasted. ... he knelt before Pope Gregory and begged his forgiveness. Gregory absolved Henry and invited him back into the Church. That evening, Gregory, Henry, and Mathilda shared communion ...

However, let it not be forgotten that these penitents have done nothing wrong. It was the Jew who sinned against the holy Ahmadinejad. All they need is ingratiate themselves and say something benevolent about the need to get at the truth of the Holocaust. For an Islamic version of self-humiliation, they can take their cue from this Iranian MP. But why resort to mediation when a wet kiss might accomplish a quicker absolution?


Update: Columbia eschews any knowledge of such an initiative.

Columbia University said today that it had no knowledge of any planned visit by its professors or deans to Iran...

Except maybe this:

Dr. Bulliet had received a travel grant from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs to visit Iran “for personal research purposes.” Dr. Bulliet was traveling in Michigan and could not be reached to confirm the faculty member’s account.


Victoria de Grazia, a Columbia historian who signed a letter last November expressing concerns about Mr. Bollinger’s regard for academic freedom, said she had not heard of any plans for a visit to Iran. “I have heard nothing about the trip,” she wrote in an e-mail message, adding of Mr. Bulliet, “If he doesn’t know about it, I would say it’s a metropolitan legend.”

Something smells of fishiness in this story... The dramatis personae all have axes to grind.


At 12:20 PM EST, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

There is a piece here:


that relates to a WP article on the subject. I read it and was quite pissed off by its general tone and some details, but for the life of me cannot google it up now.

At 4:50 PM EST, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

I think this may be it:


I'll read it later and see what to make of it.



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