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November 04, 2007

Lee Bollinger Grateful And Excited About Pakistani Martial Law

As we know, Columbia University president Lee Bollinger is a man of deep principle and commitment to human rights. That's why, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia recently, Bollinger excoriated him as exhibiting "all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator."

So with Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf suspending the constitution and arresting 1500 political opponents, John Caruso points out it's a good time to remember the same courageous stand Bollinger took when Musharraf visited Columbia in 2005.

What's particularly impressive is that--while Ahmadinejad is an Official Enemy of the United States, and Musharraf is an Official Friend--it made no difference to Bollinger. He was just as stern with Musharraf, if not more so!

For instance:

Rarely do we have an opportunity such as this to greet a figure of such central and global importance. It is with great gratitude and excitement that I welcome President Musharraf and his wife, Sehbah Musharraf, to Columbia University...

We at Columbia are eager to listen. As a community of scholars and as students and faculty who come from everywhere in the world, we take a great scholarly and personal interest in what the President has to say. The development in Pakistan over the past several years, from its economic growth to its fight against extremism and terrorism, are vital issues for all of us...

It is rare that we have a leader of his stature at campus.

Is it too soon to say Lee Bollinger is a moral figure equivalent to Gandhi, Sakharov and Mandela all rolled into one? I don't think it is!

Posted at November 4, 2007 09:30 AM | TrackBack

Jonathan, the difference is that Musharraf isn't now secretly developing nuclear technology for Pakistan!

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at November 4, 2007 11:59 AM

Not so fast, Jon and John!

Ahmadinejad was elected with 62% of the vote.

Musharraf was elected last October with 98.812% of the vote. That's almost twice Mahmoud's number.

I guess you guys didn't think about that, did you?

That means his legitimacy as president is twice as high as Ahmadinejad's. His stature is twice as high. And we are twice as eager to listen to him.

Now, when Bollinger says: "It is rare we have a leader of his stature at campus" he is obviously contrasting Musharraf's greatness against his own lilliputian worth as a leader.

So there you have it: political acumen and humility. I'd say Gandhi, Mandela, and Sakharov are Lee and Bollinger rolled into one.

Anyway, at the end of the day, the stature of a University president is as good as his hair cut.
And you've got to admire the patented Bollinger "plate of spaghetti with bechamel sauce" look!

Like here:

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at November 4, 2007 12:44 PM

And Jon, may I just add my excitement to yours. I'm just so excited, I could just pee myself. What an honor just to be living in such exciting times.

Haven't seen the news yet today; wonder what the WH spin on this will be.

Posted by: catherine at November 4, 2007 01:22 PM

Rolled into one--but with a chewy or a crunchy center?
It matters, you know.

Posted by: sparky at November 4, 2007 02:07 PM


Actually only two people voted in that election: one for Saddam; the other against him.

The dissenter counted only as 0.01% because that's how much of his body was recovered from the shredder.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at November 4, 2007 04:28 PM

Well, I dunno if 98.812% is twice 62% - maybe it is in algorithms? - but I'm pretty sure it is twice whatever percentage Shrub got in '00 or '04.

This makes me not at all less likely to listen to the pResident. Multiplying by zero still yields zero. Or maybe twice that.

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at November 4, 2007 04:49 PM

The kicker is that Lee - may I call you Lee, thanks - undoubtedly thinks both of his speeches were well received and that he is doing a good job as president of ol' Columbia.

Posted by: catherine at November 4, 2007 05:22 PM

Aren't University presidents just supposed to be figureheads that parrot whatever's in vogue to be said anyway?

Posted by: En Ming Hee at November 4, 2007 07:55 PM

don't forget: he;s also as deep a thinker as thoreau, as outspoken as Dr King, and our knight in shining intellectual armour.

they'd have to invent a nobel prize in awesomeness to do justice to his, well, awesomeness

Posted by: almostinfamous at November 4, 2007 09:41 PM

I always thought university presidency was supposed to be a sinecure for retired politicians and economists.

Posted by: StO at November 4, 2007 10:04 PM

Aaron: When I multiply 62 by 2, I get 98.812.
I think what happens is that I bring 62 over once, then I bring it over twice but by then I am very tired (62 is a big number), and so I drop a few units along the way. Sorry about that.

John: So that makes Jon the sole culprit. What's new?

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at November 5, 2007 12:29 AM

So Saddam got 99 percent of the vote? Hardly a mandate. Ngo Dinh Diem got more than 100% of the vote back in his day in South Vietnam. That puts him up there with the mayors of some American cities.

Posted by: Duncan at November 6, 2007 11:45 PM