Lynching at Columbia


Daniel M Pourkesali
by Daniel M Pourkesali

History often serves as a buffer to distance us from some acts or events we would rather forget. As Americans, we have historically held an affinity for public hangings. Lynching, or the act of illegal execution of an accused by an angry mob, is definitely one of those proverbial skeletons in our closet. The practice reached its peak in the early to the mid 20th century with more than three-quarters of the victims being black or people of color whom we were afraid of mostly because of the way they looked. A fear we can identify with more than ever in this modern era of the so called “war on terror”.

Apparent from the crowd of cheering onlookers who turned out in droves to execute the verbal equivalent of such hideous practice on the Iranian president, not much has changed in the last few decades. Just as the perpetrators of those acts could live with, participate in, and defend such atrocities, and reinterpret them so they would not see themselves as less than civilized, the modern executioner who carried out this hanging, hid behind an academic façade and his title as University president.

Back then, people who carried out such despicable acts knew perfectly well what they were doing yet thought of themselves as normal human beings with no guilt or ethical qualms about their actions which in their view were not an outburst of crazed men or uncontrolled barbarians but the triumph of a belief system that defined one people superior to the other. And for the ordinary men and women who comprised those mobs, that was the highest level of idealism.

What is even more disturbing is that the perpetrators of those crimes were people not so different from ourselves -- teachers, doctors, lawyers, policemen, students, family men and women who came to believe that eliminating people they deemed dangerous was nothing less than pest control; (remember the cartoon depicting Iranians as cockroaches in The Columbus Dispatch?) a way of combating an epidemic that if not checked would be detrimental to the health and security of the community.

We’d like to think of ourselves as a nation of civilized people incapable of repeating such evils of the past, but as the Columbia spectacle clearly showed, while the style has changed, we as a people have unfortunately remained the same.


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more from Daniel M Pourkesali

Those who try to label

by Deh paa-een (not verified) on

Those who try to label others, discredit and insult them because they disagree with their opinions are as bad as any and all extremists of all kinds. Or, they are trying to bully, silence and intimidate people who they disagree with. The issue isn't the kind and nature of opinions, and nor does it have anything to do with if one agrees or disagrees with any certain opinion. This is a general comment (the principal) and not in defense or against anyone or any opinion.


Bollinger the hyporicte

by aw (not verified) on

See how Bollinger sucks up to Parvez Musaharf, that great democratic leader, lover of human rights, and a poster child of human tolerance. NOT!
President Musharraf is a leader of global importance and his contribution to Pakistan’s economic turnaround and the international fight against terror remain remarkable - it is rare that we have a leader of his stature at campus,” said Lee C Bollinger, the President of Columbia University.
Bollinger is a hypocrite, pandering to special interest groups who have a vested interest in destroying Iran.


Another coward opens his filthy mouth...

by Q on

why am I not surprized, "Abgousht"? Mullah's got you so scared that you don't even have the balls to show your real face? And you're going to defeat them? How truly pathetic.




Qumars Blouchian aka Qoskesh works for the mullahs

by Abgousht on

This SoB must be rounded up and deported. He is security threat to the USA.


What are you talking about?

by Q on

I don't work for, not that it's any of your business. Who do you work for?


People in this thread use multiple fake names, it's obvious and cowardly. The same phraseology and insults shows up everywhere from the same foul-mouthed "names". You would have to be a moron not ot notice it.


This is anonymous 2

by Anonymous3 (not verified) on

Q: Do you work for the or not.

I don't know who offended you. I have not used any foul language to address anyone since I'm disgusted by the rude language used here by some of our men/boy. But I guess boys will be boys.

However, I'm glad that someone did offend you because it serves you right for being a pro-mullah.


Anonymous2: Hahahaah

by Q on

You are so stupid.

Thanks for acknowledging that you use multiple names!


Q: Do you work for

by Anonymous2 (not verified) on

Q: Do you work for


hm... you want to do what to my behind?

by Q on

Dear (whoever closet homosexual that writes under 4 different names and insults me 3 comments down),


You have lost it. Your words make no sense and your anger and authoritarian tendencies are made clear for everyone. Must be nice to insult real Iranians behind your fake name and fake existence. What a coward you must be in real life. Sure, go ahead and let your foul mouth loose on, anonymously, if it gives your pathetic life a little bit more meaning. 


Mr. Pourkesali, Interesting

by K (not verified) on

Mr. Pourkesali,

Interesting that you should use the public execution metaphor...

For all your talk here about this metaphorical killing at Columbia U., you are surprisingly silent (both here and in your other writings) about the *actual* executions committed by Iran's government.

A few protesters, a few harsh (yet truthful) words to Ahmadinejad, and you're in an uproar.

And yet, 30 years of human rights violations, and not a peep from you in any of your writings.

Where is your outrage about that, Mr. Pourkesali? Where is your metaphor-laden blog entry about the Iranian government's brutality?

All we have from you on that front seems to be silence.


Danny: It's so shameful that

by Anonymous1 (not verified) on

Danny: It's so shameful that you don't use your talent and writing skills in a more ethical way. Ok, America is bad and there are millions of Americans who are disgusted by "US imperialism" and they write about it on their blog. They destroy, ridicule, mock, demean, insult Bush and America even American troops in their media. They care about America and its welfare and its interest. And I might add they do a much better job than you.

Why can't you do the same about the corrupt Islamic Republic?? NOt a peep from you? Why?


Danny boy...

by Parthian on

You are the biggest degenerate hyphenated Iranian I have come across on the net. Daniel, oghdeyee, because those with lots of inferior complex issues would change their name to an American name, what the fuck are you talking about? Lynching? Hanging? Are you fucking kiddine me. You dare use those terms to describe what happened to Anatarinejad(your hero) when these very same people are actually doing those things to Iranian people. I have yet to see you degenerate condemn those atrocities on the part of IR, yet you are so quick to come out and condemn what can only be described as a deservable tongue lashing. You are such an thug, and sub human to compare what happened to antari to the kind of things blacks and others in the U.S have gone through. Truly, how much do you get paid to be so degenerate and unethical? How much money does it take to buy a political prostitute like you? your life is truly worthless...


lets send these comments to the stupid Bolli and let him have it

by hh (not verified) on

send your letter to the stupid president of columbia regardless of your political view. this is not the way to behave in academics.


Thank You Pourkesali

by Q on

Lynching is the correct way to describe it, in a country with a long tradition of lynching.


If anyone thinks this is about speaking "truth to power" to a "dictator", you should go back and read the red-carpet royal treatment that Columbia University provided Iran's real dictator: Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.



More for the Farm Boy from Alabama

by YO (not verified) on

Also, I thought you needed to be able to count and do simple math to post comment here. Now how the hell did you manage?!!! Honestly, did you cheat and get help?!



To the hick from the sticks Alabama

by YO (not verified) on

Don't forget:

Your version of RED WHITE AND BLUE:


Two can play this game, candy ass!


Israel has your country

by Triple edge Cock (not verified) on

Dick head, don't be so sad, I am sure that our president didn't mean to be mean to your kind. I am sure they are gays in Iran, so don't take it too seriously. I think it is great that you are coming out of the closet. You are mad at the wrong group of people. We didn't take your country hostage. Your map is not U shit of A anymore, it's little Israel. Go suck your BUSH's dick so you feel more calm.


Oil and Women! Two things America is going to take from Iran..

by Double-edged Dick (not verified) on

Akhmadinejad, the president of Iran stated that there are no homosexuals in Iran! He is right. The Iranian homosexuals are in Boston and San Fransisco, the two most liberal cities in America.

One of them happens to be this "Straight konee from Boston." Sorry for my broken Fartsi! I learned it when I was in Iran in 1978.

What America wants from Iran are two things: its Oil and its women. We will pump Iranian oil to drive our cars and pump Iranian women to drive our natural God's given desires

God Bless America


Iranians need a kick in the ass..

by Double-edged Dick (not verified) on

I am a blue-blooded American from southern Alabama.
I know there are a few good Iranians out there and most of them have already become Americanized and assimilated well into the American culture.

But for the rest of the folks from Iran, they are useless and frankly consuming too much oxygen and polluting the earth by exhaling too much Co2.

For the sake of the world to live in peace and tranquility, America should make a one flat parking lot out of the Islamic Republic centers of power then take over the oil fields and build a permanent base in Iran until the entire society assimilate to the American way of life.

God Bless Bush and America


Lackeys out in Full Force

by Laughing (not verified) on

Wow,IRI lackeys are out in full force...interesting.

Did you people get a memo for your employers to produce and perform???


We're on to your IRI!!!

by Anti-idiots (not verified) on

The Islamic Republic is not a sovereign nation, period. It's a client state of China, Russia, and the EU moftkhors. It's a puppet of serveral nations instead of only one during the Shah's time.

It's governance doesn't represent and reinforce the true will of the people, who are the true source of all sovereignty, and the only legitimating base for any state.

In a country where the government cannot, yet, publicly account for the serial killings of the most prominent intellectuals and writers; in a country where thousands of political prisoners have vanished without any culpability (massacring dissidents); in a country where the government manifestly lacks any accountability for its methods and means when it comes to providing for its people (except when it comes to pursuing, terrorizing and killing dissidents); in a resourceful country that almost half of the population lives in poverty, in a country where the future generation of Iranians are going to be left destitude because of massive corruption and thievary of its ruling class, the government that has thus thoroughly proven its incompetence in governance has no right to demand respect. It has not earned it.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech before the United Nations General Assembly this week is all part of a sophisticated propaganda campaign to counter American and European pressure for stronger Security Council sanctions against Iran and to build support in the General Assembly for Iran’s campaign to win a Security Council seat of its own.

Behind the Iranian president's lies to Americans is a man positioning himself for power in the Middle East.

American view is that the Islamic Republic is irredeemably expansionist, revolutionary in ideology and ambition, and that it will take any concession as a victory. This view says that none of the United States, Israel, Europe, or non-compliant Muslim states in the region will be safe from Iranian proxy terrorism or nuclear coercion unless and until the government of Iran changes not only its personnel, but its very character.

Ahmadinejad's agenda, though, differs from that of the traditional autocrat. His goal is not merely to hold power in Iran through sheer force, or even through a standard 20th-century personality cult:

His goal is to undermine the American and Western democracy rhetoric that poses an ideological threat to the Iranian regime.

Last winter, when he invited a host of dubious Holocaust-deniers to discuss the Holocaust in Tehran, he claimed that it was in order to provide shelter for the West's "dissidents" -- that is, for Western thinkers "who cannot express their views freely in Europe about the Holocaust."
This week, he declared that his visit to New York would help the American people, who have "suffered in diverse ways and have been deprived of access to accurate information." Thus the speech at Columbia: Here he is, the allegedly undemocratic Ahmadinejad, taking questions from students! At an American university! Look who's the real democrat now!

This sort of game is both irritating and dangerous, particularly when it is being played by a man whose regime locks up academics for the " crime" of organizing academic conferences and regularly arrests the Iranian equivalent of the students who listened to him speak yesterday. Iran is experiencing an unprecedented wave of political executions and death sentences -- more than 300 since January, according to the Boroumand Foundation -- and there is renewed pressure on the media.

In that atmosphere, it was deeply naive to imagine that the Iranian president would enter into a "vigorous debate" with students who were deploying their "powers of dialogue and reason," as Columbia University President Lee Bollinger stated before the event, or that he would answer the appropriately aggressive questions Bollinger put to him -- which of course he didn't. (To a question about persecution of gays, Ahmadinejad responded: "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country.") All things being equal, Columbia would have done better to ignore him, instead of feeding the media circus that serves his purposes. It's not as if he is deprived of a platform in this country: Only last week, he ducked and dodged his way through a long interview on "60 Minutes," and his pronouncements regularly appear in media of all kinds.
Nevertheless, it would have been wrong, once he'd been invited, to ban Ahmadinejad from speaking: To do so would have granted him far more significance than he deserves and played right into his I'm-the-real-democrat-here rhetoric.

Instead, the university should have demanded genuine reciprocity. If the president and dean of Columbia truly believed in an open exchange of ideas, they should have presented a debate between Ahmadinejad and an Iranian dissident or human rights activist -- someone from his own culture who could argue with him in his own language -- instead of allowing him to be filmed on a podium with important-looking Americans. Perhaps Columbia could even have insisted on an appropriate exchange: Ahmadinejad speaks in New York; Columbia sends a leading Western atheist -- Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens or, better still, Ayaan Hirsi Ali -- to Qom, the Shiite holy city, to debate the mullahs on their own ground.

I realize that isn't likely. But neither is it likely that this past week's free-speech-vs.-nasty-dictator debate, complete with sputtering New York politicians and puffed-up university professors, achieved much either. On the contrary, it focused attention in the wrong place.
Instead of debating freedom of speech in Iran, here we are once again talking about freedom of speech in America, a subject we know a lot more about. Which is exactly what Ahmadinejad wanted.
"The United States pays too much attention to Ahmadinejad," said a political scientist who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. "He is not that consequential."

That is not to say that Ahmadinejad is insignificant. He controls the mechanics of civil government, much the way a prime minister does in a state like Egypt, where the real power rests with the president. He manages the budget and has put like-minded people in positions around the country, from provincial governors to prosecutors. His base of support is the Basiji militia and elements of the Revolutionary Guards.

But Ahmadinejad has not shown the same political acumen at home as he has in riling the West. Two of his ministers have quit, criticizing his stewardship. The head of the central bank resigned. The chief judge criticized him for his management of the government. His promise to root out corruption and redistribute the nation's oil wealth has run up against entrenched interests.

Even a small bloc of members of Parliament that were once aligned with him have largely given up, dissolving a small caucus they had formed in his support, officials said.

Rather than focusing so much attention on the president, the West needs to learn that in Iran, what matters is ideology - Islamic revolutionary ideology, according to politicians and political analysts here. Nearly 30 years after the shah fell in a popular rebellion, Iran's supreme leader also holds the title of "Guardian of the Revolution." Ahmadinejad's power stems not from his office per se, but from the refusal of his patron, Khamenei, and some hard-line leaders to move beyond Iran's revolutionary identity, which makes full relations with the West impossible.





Islamic lynchig specialist

by Fred (not verified) on

As the Islamic Republic lobby you know your lynching. Your bosses do so much of it in Iran that you are all experts at it .