Defying Dictators – why Lee Bollinger was right

Daniel 2:18    He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 

A lot has been made of yesterday’s visit by the President of Iran to Columbia University in New York. I watched the live debate yesterday because it was an historical moment. Right from the beginning, Ahmadinejad was put on the hot seat by the university’s President Lee Bollinger. Instead of courteously introducing the Iranian president to the audience, Bollinger interrogated the guest speaker and castigated him for the many human rights abuses that are taking place in Iran. In my humble opinion, it was a courageous and probably career-busting move to make.


The media, however, have condemned Bollinger for his discourtesy and undiplomatic confrontation of Ahmadinejad. A leader of any nation should be accorded respect because he or she represents their nation. Any insult against the president is taken to be an insult against the Iranian people. And sadly, into today’s divided world, any insult to an Islamic leader is considered an insult against the Moslem faith.


However, no matter what the diplomatic repercussions are, I believe that Lee Bollinger was right to do what he did. Ahmadinejad is a tyrant whose political regime terrorizes his people. A recent article in Time magazine, written by a female Iranian journalist, expresses some of the major concerns that free-thinking intellectual Iranians face in their country. People are imprisoned for expressing political views; women are killed for being raped; and young teenage boys are hung for being homosexuals. Much of what goes on in Iran is reported by Amnesty International. Ahmadinejad is a callous despot who only cares about power, not people.


When Daniel and his companions faced the possibility of execution, they turned to God for deliverance. They lived under a tyrannical king, whose anger at his advisers caused him to send forth an order to kill all of the wise men, clever teachers, and mathematical scholars in his nation. And that’s usually how tyranny manifests itself – by killing the educated people, in order to rule by fear and ignorance. In modern times, the names of Hitler, Stalin, and Phol Pot have been synonymous with such vicious cruelty. Perhaps Ahmadinejad name will also be entered into that Hall of Shame one day.

 Prayer:                        Lord Jesus, You alone know the hearts and minds of all people, so You know all of the atrocities that the president of Iran may have committed. If he is such a monster, then allow free people to castigate him for what he really is. Remind us that we have all promised never to let the Holocausts of the past happen again. Keep us from being bystanders and help us to confront evil wherever it exists. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.  

About Stushie

I'm originally from Scotland and have been a Presbyterian pastor for over thirty years. I live in Knoxville, TN. I enjoy art as a means of therapy, but also as a creative way to strengthen my spiritual connection to God.
This entry was posted in Ahmadinejad, Christianity, Church and State, devotions, dictators, diplomacy, faith, free speech, Iran, Lee Bollinger, Middle East peace, politics, Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Defying Dictators – why Lee Bollinger was right

  1. compulsivecynic says:

    The better way would be to not call him at all. How can you call someone as a guest and then dress them down. That just seems ridiculous.

  2. stushie says:

    Perhaps being ridiculous is better than being callous. Perhaps being rude is much better than being a tyrant. Ahmadinejad deserved all of the criticism.

  3. compulsivecynic says:

    Perhaps taking care of matters at home rather than dressing down someone else would be time better spent. By matters at home I mean Bush and Cheney and Patriot act, Warrantless wiretapping, Secret prison cells, legalising torture etc. Bush is just as bad.

  4. stushie says:

    I am not aware of women being stoned to death in this country, nor of teenage homosexuals being executed. Rise above the partisan politics and see this Iranian tyrrany for what it really is.

  5. compulsivecynic says:

    I am not a victim of partisan politics at all and sorry if I came across as such. But I find it hypocritical that no one protests against their own government for killing half a million Iraqis, making 2 million internally displaced, 3 million leaving their own country and not doing anything about the death in Darfur, but jumps on the moral high ground when this President is here. Surely the number killed in Iran is not greater than in Saudi Arabia. More and more people are falling in this trap of listening to the media propaganda and towing the government line. Since the media says Iran is bad, they must be the worst. I have never seen anyone protest or speak out against the Saudi Arabian regime. They are by far the worst regime in the Middle East. But the government and the media doesn’t speak about it, coz they are their friends, while Iran is an enemy. I believe, others, and not me, are falling for this partisan politics stuff.

    Make no mistake, I think the guy is seriously a douche bag, but that still doesn’t give anyone a right to invite him as a guest and then dress them down. My last comment.

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