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The shitstorm

I hear helicopters overhead; Claremont is strangely peaceful.

Here is an accurate transcript of what went down yesterday.


My inaccurate snippets of quotes are as follows:

2:28 pm. (Discussing the Holocaust, freedom, and democracy "as an academic")

"Why don't we encourage more research on a historical event (the Holocaust) that has been the cause of many heavy catastrophes in this day and age?"

2:32 pm. Yeah, you knock that podium, Mahmoud.

"One minute, one minute, one more minute." (Clapping ensues)

2:34 pm. (Discussing Iran) "We want to be independent, don't interfere with us."

"We haven't gotten anything."

"We love all nations."

(Clapping and booing)

2:35 pm. (Coatsworth asks questions posed by students and faculty)

"One by one, please."

"We love all nations; we are friends with the Jewish people. There are many Jews in Iran living peacefully with security... our proposal to the Palestinian plight is a humanitarian and democratic proposal."

2:37 pm. (Q: Does Iran seek the destruction of Israel?)

Coatsworth: "I think you can answer that question with a 'yes' or 'no'... the answer to this question is 'yes'."

2:39 pm. "My dear friends, the Iranian nation is a victim of terrorism."

"We were the first nation to reject terrorism and the first to see the need to fight terrorism."

"We need to address the root causes of terrorism and eradicate those causes."

2:42 pm. (Responding to why the Holocaust calls for more research)

"I'm an academic and you are as well. Can you argue that researching a phenomenon is forever done? Can we close the books for good on a historical event? There are different perspectives that come to life after research is done. Why should we stop research at all? You shouldn't ask me why I'm asking questions; you should ask me why I think that is questionable."

2:45 pm. "There's been more research on physics than there has on the Holocaust."

2:46 pm. "The Iranian people are free."

2:48 pm. (Coatsworth poses a question about executing homosexuals; Ahmadinejad strays towards drug trafficking and corruption of Iran)

"Doesn't your country have capital punishment too?"

"In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like we do in your country."


"In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who told you we have it. Maybe you think that being a woman is a crime. It's not a crime to be a woman. Women are the best creatures created by God. They represent the kindness that God instills. Women are respected in Iran."

2:51 pm. (Q: What were you hoping to achieve by speaking here today and what would you have said if you were at the Sept. 11 site?)

"I was invited here... In Iran, when you invite a guest, you respect them."

"Last year, I wanted to go to the site of the Sept. 11 tragedy... to show my respect, to show my tragedy."

"I wanted to speak with the President... (Sept. 11) It led to a lot of other events. If the root causes of Sept. 11 are examined properly... Why did it happen? What caused it? What were the conditions that led to it? Who truly was involved? Who was really involved? Let's put it all together... to fix the crisis in Afghanistan and Iraq combined."

2:55 pm. (Regarding Iran's nuclear plan)

"There is no indication that Iran has deviated from the peaceful program."

"If you have generated the fifth generation of atomic bombs and tested them already, what right do you have to question other nations' nuclear energy?"

2:57 pm. (Regarding Iran's preparation to discuss with the U.S.)

"From the start we announced that we are ready to negotiate with all countries."

"We are ready to have friendly relations and talks with all nations... the Iranian nation is a cultured nation. It is a civilized nation. It wants talks and negotiations... We don't need to plant bombs or guns... we question the way the world is being run and managed today... we have solutions based on humane values... with the U.S. gov't too, we will negotiate."

(Cheers echo and spread to Claremont; helicopters whir overhead)

3:02 pm.

"Will you allow me to thank the audience a moment?"

(Ahmadinejad invites Columbia's students and faculty to Iranian universities; clapping ensues)

"In the end, I'd like to thank Columbia University. I have heard that many politicians in the U.S. are trained in Columbia University... I extend my deepest gratitude to the faculty members and students here."

"To establish peace and a future filled with friendship and brotherhood. Best of luck to all of you."

(Coatsworth reiterates Columbia's deep commitment to "expression and debate")


I'll respond to this after a shower and a meal.


  1. skyxie said...

    I should've just watched from my computer rather than South lawn. Now I think I have a really bad sunburn. =(  


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