Sunday, September 23, 2007

Columbia is No Gem
by: Schvach Yid

When I was a lad ‘growing up’ (hah!) in New York, Columbia University in the City of New York (its formal name) was the place. It was a bit of a phenomenon. I wanted to attend this űber-university as an undergraduate – no luck. Years later, my sister was awarded a Ph.D. from this same institution. Two of the older kids – brothers - at our bungalow colony in the Catskills would both become fencing heroes (or so we kids thought - their mother was so proud) at Columbia (the older brother would be provided sponsorship by, but denied membership in, one of New York’s prestigious private sports clubs in the early 1970’s – the brothers were Jewish, of course). While in college (CCNY – just 1 mile uptown from Columbia) I used to visit the Morningside Heights campus of Columbia just to stroll around and imbibe its academic scene. It’s a beautiful campus. (Columbia, by the way, takes it etymology as a synonym for America from the name of Christopher Columbus).

Then, years later, Professor Edward Said, who had first joined Columbia’s faculty in the 1960’s (and who passed away in 2003), made his mark on the world of Middle East (ie Israel-Arab) politics (see Daniel Pipes at, and Columbia University was no longer so rosy.

My sister had a friend, an Iranian lady, who used to say of the then Shah of Iran, ‘that guy’, with effervescent vocal venom. Now, Iran is about to land on that beautiful Morningside Heights campus, and bucolic is about to become bulimic.

Who needs this effrontery? One commentator from the University said something about the pursuit of intellectual dialogue. Malcolm X at Oxford University I could understand (not that I agree with Malcolm X), but not this.

The last time I remember hearing ‘intellectual pursuit’ mentioned as justification was during a TV interview concerning America’s development and use of the ‘atomic bombs’ used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the close of the Second World War in the Pacific. The Manhattan Project staff, it was sad, wanted to know if the development of such a bomb was possible, ‘out of intellectual curiosity’ (or similar words). The project’s scientific leader, J. Robert Oppenheimer, however, eventually stated that the use of such a device was ‘implicit’ in its development (Columbia University, by the way, played a role in the Manhattan Project).

Now we have more intellectual curiosity. I’m not anti-intellectual – I’m no Nazi – however, I do have a tendency of drawing the line. There are limits.

It’s my unqualified opinion, offered as one of the slated-for-death targets of Columbia University’s invited guest from Iran, that its head of state, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has no business being provided with a platform, anywhere in the free world, from which he may espouse his hatred and calls for annihilation. As far as I’m concerned, he does not have that right, and Columbia University in the City of New York should know better.


therapydoc said...

In Chicago we don't understand how Columbia, considered a fine educational institution (one of the best?) entertains so many anti-semites, offers them the prestige, the forum.

Someone explain it to me.

Schvach said...

Regrettably, I lack the ability to
to provide the requested explanation.

Tamar Yonah said...

Ahmadinejad should not have spoken at Columbia. He should have spoken to a lawyer, cause the piece of you know what should have been arrested as soon as he stepped foot off the plane in the USA. (immunity or not) The CIA should have shot him with truth serum, made him talk about what his atomic program is and is not, got all the info from him, and REALLY given him 'free speech'. heh heh He is the arch terrorist, who funds the killing of U.S. soldiers. He IS terrorism today. Good piece, but you could have been much stronger, Schvach. (grin) Let your wrath show through!

Schvach said...

Thanks for your comment, and thanks for reading my blog. I think we all know that 'guy's' intentions - I doubt there's a need for interrogations, and I agree that he is the arch terrorist. The point is, he has to be dealt with in no uncertain terms; he's more than just dangerous.