Saturday, September 29, 2007

Oakeshott on the Philosophy of History (Care of Leslie Marsh)

BBC audio: Oakeshott on the Philosophy of History

The University Programme: Arts – Philosophy of History

by Michael J. Oakeshott

originally broadcast by the BBC 13.1.48 (13 minutes)


There will always be some subjects of study which, in spite of their interest and importance, do not appear in the normal undergraduate curriculum of a university. Sometimes this is merely a matter of convention and tradition, and differs from one university to another and from one country to another. But often, it is because the subject is thought to be inherently unsuitable for undergraduate study. And so far as the universities of Great Britain are concerned, this is certainly true of the philosophy of history. I doubt if this subject is to be found in the undergraduate curriculum, either in history or philosophy, in any British university. This, however, doesn't mean that the subject is not studied in British universities; it means only, that it is not normally prescribed for undergraduate study. And I think there are two reasons for believing it to be a sound tradition, which reserves this, and certain other subjects, for postgraduate inquiry. The philosophy of history, in any of the forms in which it has appeared in European thought, pre-eminently called for a long and varied preparation, if it is to be pursued profitably. And further, the form which it now commonly takes, is a study whose achievements are still so small and so tentative, that for some time to come, it will lack the body and relative stability which would make it an appropriate part of an undergraduate education.

Since Voltaire in the 18th Century invented the name, 'philosophy of history', it has, in general, stood for three different studies, each of which is pursued by scholars today although it is not now customary to speak of them all as the philosophy of history. Two indeed, have almost ceased to be called by that name and have left the third in undisputed possession of the title. Nevertheless, even the briefest review of the place of the philosophy of history in British universities, must recognize the three different studies which for many years, shared the name.

The first of these, is the study of the course of past events in an attempt to detect some general principle or principles, which would make the whole thing hang together. Formerly, such a principle was found in the idea of God as the source of all that happens. But the disappearance of providence from the vocabulary of the historian, has opened the gate to a new field of speculation and research: many different principles and different kinds of principle have been suggested to take its place. Some writers, have thought of these principles, as laws of historical change, not unlike the laws which scientists have observed in operation in the natural world. While others, have considered them rather, as general, abstract ideas, appearing in different forms, at different periods of world history, and giving a general meaning to the whole course of events. Hegel, for example, found the unifying thread of history in the idea of freedom. This enterprise, of discovering a pattern or plan in the course of world events, has already inspired many great works of scholarship and imagination, and it is safe to say, will in the future, inspire many more. But it is an exacting pursuit and perhaps not once in a generation will a contribution of first-rate importance be made to it. And it's easy to see that it is better to call this study, simply history, rather than the philosophy of history, because the works it inspires differ from other historical works only in the largeness of their scale. Consequently, it doesn't surprise us that the latest of these attempts is called by its author, Professor Arnold Toynbee, a study of history. And so far as English scholarship is concerned, this is the one great work of our time in this field. It would, then, be absurd to expect the qualities required for such a study to be widely spread in the universities of any country. But most British universities offer some opportunity for work of this kind.

The second pursuit, which has gone by the name of the philosophy of history, is the study of an altogether different sort. It is concerned, not primarily with the course of events itself, but with the problems and methods of historical research, with what may be called methodology. This study was first set on foot by French scholars in the seventeenth century and, by now, has great achievements to its credit. In the schools of history in most British universities professors will be found interested in this subject, and it is a subject to which English scholars, have made great contributions. But, on the whole, it must be admitted that it has been developed more systematically on the Continent, in France and in Germany, then in England, where its vitality has usually depended upon an outstanding personality, rather than upon a continuous tradition of inquiry and teaching. The Institute of Historical Research in London is perhaps the nearest thing we have to a centre for this kind of study. But it is a study, which with a clearer perception of its real nature, has now ceased to be thought of as the philosophy of history, and has been recognised as a specialized study of historical method, or, as it is now sometimes called, historiography.

The third enterprise, the study which still retains its hold on the name 'philosophy of history', differs radically from both the other two. For it, history, doesn't stand for the course of events, but for a certain sort of inquiry, a certain sort of knowledge. And for it also, what is interesting, is not the methodology of the inquiry, but the validity of its results. The problem it sets out to elucidate are the nature and presuppositions of this inquiry called history. And the aim of the study, is to reach some conclusions about the nature of historical truth and the validity of historical knowledge. Now you can see at once, that anybody who embarks upon this enterprise, requires to have at his disposal, as part of the materials of his study, a considerable body of historical writing. If a man is to discuss the validity of a certain form of inquiry, he needs to be supplied with some examples of it. And since it is only in the last hundred and fifty years or so that historians have gone about their business in a critical manner, its understandable, that the philosophical study of historical knowledge has had to wait until comparatively recent years for the inspiration, and opportunity to make a beginning. Hence the relative smallness of its achievement compared, for example, the achievement of a similar study of the nature and validity of scientific knowledge. Indeed, much of the character of this philosophy of history, has, so far, been determined by the unavoidable lateness of its appearance. For example, at the time when philosophers were beginning to consider the nature of historical inquiry, the prestige of scientific inquiry was already enormous. And it seemed clear that the most satisfactory way of demonstrating the validity of historical knowledge was by showing it to be only a form of scientific knowledge, different perhaps in subject matter, but identical in object and method. This was a mistake. But it was sometime before the present more profitable inquiry into the differences between scientific and historical knowledge was begun. However, it's now long since this kind of philosophy of history has found its place in the world of scholarship and has begun to explore its appropriate field of inquiry. Naturally, this kind of philosophy of history will flourish only where the study of history and the study of philosophy go on side by side. For, although it is no part of the function of this philosophy of history to give directions to the historian about how he shall think and write, the relations between the two is reciprocal. The philosopher in this inquiry uses the work of historians as at least part of his material. And the historian, in his inquiry, may perhaps benefit from the philosophical criticism of his some more general ideas – ideas such as cause and effect growth and decay, development, change, progress, success and failure. These conditions, history and philosophy studied side by side, exist and have long existed in every British university. But though the potentiality of the study of the philosophy of history is nowhere absent in England it has, not unnaturally, been most fully realized in the university where the study of philosophy and the study of history have long been traditionally allied, that is, in Oxford. Nevertheless it required also some external stimulus to turn the minds of English scholars in this direction, a stimulus which came first from Germany, and later from Italy. But, it may be said, that since about 1870, this kind of philosophy of history is a study, to which English scholars have made a notable contribution and that Oxford scholars have played a leading part in it beginning with FH Bradley. In no subject does English scholarship run easily in the harness of a school of thought. Great investigators are apt to reveal their greatness more in the impetus than in the precise direction they give to a study. And if they found a school, it's more likely to be a school of inquiry than a school of thought. This is certainly true of the philosophy of history. It has felt the impress of strong characters such as the late Professor RG Collingwood, but neither he nor anyone else has confined English thought in this subject to a particular direction or established the pre-eminence of a particular doctrine. Indeed, this is a study in which at the present time in England there is a strong tradition and a growing opportunity of inquiry with little or nothing to restrict the direction in which it may run.

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Couple of Blogs from Burma

Wish I read Burmese, but the pictures speak for themselves

It would be nice to think that this retrograde regime's days are numbered but I doubt it.


Now this is not something you see everyday -- which is precisely what the awful regime of Burma is trying to stop, you seeing, there dealing with the Monks -- Monks dedicated to peace engaged in fomenting civil reform with often bloody results. As is, the BBC has just noted that Burma's Internet has been cut off. Burma and North Korea now share this amongst many other worse kleptocratic regime commonplaces. Is it becoming a more or less inclusive club these days?

Dem Bones, Dem Bones (History dies hard)

The Romanovs awaiting execution in Ekateringburg in the Urals

The BBC reports that the remnants of Alexei and Maria may have finally been found. In rather unrelated news, The Toronto Star seems all a flutter with news of remains found at the Don Jail.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Pope's Speech at Auschwitz; Bennedict asks Where God was? I don't know. Where, however, was the Church?




Auschwitz-Birkenau, 28 May 2006

To speak in this place of horror, in this place where unprecedented mass crimes were committed against God and man, is almost impossible - and it is particularly difficult and troubling for a Christian, for a Pope from Germany. In a place like this, words fail; in the end, there can only be a dread silence - a silence which is itself a heartfelt cry to God: Why, Lord, did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this? In silence, then, we bow our heads before the endless line of those who suffered and were put to death here; yet our silence becomes in turn a plea for forgiveness and reconciliation, a plea to the living God never to let this happen again.

Twenty-seven years ago, on 7 June 1979, Pope John Paul II stood in this place. He said: “I come here today as a pilgrim. As you know, I have been here many times. So many times! And many times I have gone down to Maximilian Kolbe’s death cell, paused before the wall of death, and walked amid the ruins of the Birkenau ovens. It was impossible for me not to come here as Pope.” Pope John Paul came here as a son of that people which, along with the Jewish people, suffered most in this place and, in general, throughout the war. “Six million Poles lost their lives during the Second World War: a fifth of the nation”, he reminded us. Here too he solemnly called for respect for human rights and the rights of nations, as his predecessors John XXIII and Paul VI had done before him, and added: “The one who speaks these words is ... the son of a nation which in its history has suffered greatly from others. He says this, not to accuse, but to remember. He speaks in the name of all those nations whose rights are being violated and disregarded ...”.

Pope John Paul II came here as a son of the Polish people. I come here today as a son of the German people. For this very reason, I can and must echo his words: I could not fail to come here. I had to come. It is a duty before the truth and the just due of all who suffered here, a duty before God, for me to come here as the successor of Pope John Paul II and as a son of the German people - a son of that people over which a ring of criminals rose to power by false promises of future greatness and the recovery of the nation’s honour, prominence and prosperity, but also through terror and intimidation, with the result that our people was used and abused as an instrument of their thirst for destruction and power. Yes, I could not fail to come here. On 7 June 1979 I came as the Archbishop of Munich-Freising, along with many other Bishops who accompanied the Pope, listened to his words and joined in his prayer. In 1980 I came back to this dreadful place with a delegation of German Bishops, appalled by its evil, yet grateful for the fact that above its dark clouds the star of reconciliation had emerged. This is the same reason why I have come here today: to implore the grace of reconciliation - first of all from God, who alone can open and purify our hearts, from the men and women who suffered here, and finally the grace of reconciliation for all those who, at this hour of our history, are suffering in new ways from the power of hatred and the violence which hatred spawns.

How many questions arise in this place! Constantly the question comes up: Where was God in those days? Why was he silent? How could he permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil? The words of Psalm 44 come to mind, Israel’s lament for its woes: “You have broken us in the haunt of jackals, and covered us with deep darkness ... because of you we are being killed all day long, and accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not cast us off forever! Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression? For we sink down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground. Rise up, come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!” (Ps 44:19, 22-26). This cry of anguish, which Israel raised to God in its suffering, at moments of deep distress, is also the cry for help raised by all those who in every age - yesterday, today and tomorrow - suffer for the love of God, for the love of truth and goodness. How many they are, even in our own day!

We cannot peer into God’s mysterious plan - we see only piecemeal, and we would be wrong to set ourselves up as judges of God and history. Then we would not be defending man, but only contributing to his downfall. No - when all is said and done, we must continue to cry out humbly yet insistently to God: Rouse yourself! Do not forget mankind, your creature! And our cry to God must also be a cry that pierces our very heart, a cry that awakens within us God’s hidden presence - so that his power, the power he has planted in our hearts, will not be buried or choked within us by the mire of selfishness, pusillanimity, indifference or opportunism. Let us cry out to God, with all our hearts, at the present hour, when new misfortunes befall us, when all the forces of darkness seem to issue anew from human hearts: whether it is the abuse of God’s name as a means of justifying senseless violence against innocent persons, or the cynicism which refuses to acknowledge God and ridicules faith in him. Let us cry out to God, that he may draw men and women to conversion and help them to see that violence does not bring peace, but only generates more violence - a morass of devastation in which everyone is ultimately the loser. The God in whom we believe is a God of reason - a reason, to be sure, which is not a kind of cold mathematics of the universe, but is one with love and with goodness. We make our prayer to God and we appeal to humanity, that this reason, the logic of love and the recognition of the power of reconciliation and peace, may prevail over the threats arising from irrationalism or from a spurious and godless reason.

The place where we are standing is a place of memory, it is the place of the Shoah. The past is never simply the past. It always has something to say to us; it tells us the paths to take and the paths not to take. Like John Paul II, I have walked alongside the inscriptions in various languages erected in memory of those who died here: inscriptions in Belarusian, Czech, German, French, Greek, Hebrew, Croatian, Italian, Yiddish, Hungarian, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Romani, Romanian, Slovak, Serbian, Ukrainian, Judaeo-Spanish and English. All these inscriptions speak of human grief, they give us a glimpse of the cynicism of that regime which treated men and women as material objects, and failed to see them as persons embodying the image of God. Some inscriptions are pointed reminders. There is one in Hebrew. The rulers of the Third Reich wanted to crush the entire Jewish people, to cancel it from the register of the peoples of the earth. Thus the words of the Psalm: “We are being killed, accounted as sheep for the slaughter” were fulfilled in a terrifying way. Deep down, those vicious criminals, by wiping out this people, wanted to kill the God who called Abraham, who spoke on Sinai and laid down principles to serve as a guide for mankind, principles that are eternally valid. If this people, by its very existence, was a witness to the God who spoke to humanity and took us to himself, then that God finally had to die and power had to belong to man alone - to those men, who thought that by force they had made themselves masters of the world. By destroying Israel, by the Shoah, they ultimately wanted to tear up the taproot of the Christian faith and to replace it with a faith of their own invention: faith in the rule of man, the rule of the powerful.

Then there is the inscription in Polish. First and foremost they wanted to eliminate the cultural elite, thus erasing the Polish people as an autonomous historical subject and reducing it, to the extent that it continued to exist, to slavery. Another inscription offering a pointed reminder is the one written in the language of the Sinti and Roma people. Here too, the plan was to wipe out a whole people which lives by migrating among other peoples. They were seen as part of the refuse of world history, in an ideology which valued only the empirically useful; everything else, according to this view, was to be written off as lebensunwertes Leben - life unworthy of being lived. There is also the inscription in Russian, which commemorates the tremendous loss of life endured by the Russian soldiers who combated the Nazi reign of terror; but this inscription also reminds us that their mission had a tragic twofold effect: they set the peoples free from one dictatorship, but the same peoples were thereby subjected to a new one, that of Stalin and the Communist system.

The other inscriptions, written in Europe’s many languages, also speak to us of the sufferings of men and women from the whole continent. They would stir our hearts profoundly if we remembered the victims not merely in general, but rather saw the faces of the individual persons who ended up here in this abyss of terror. I felt a deep urge to pause in a particular way before the inscription in German. It evokes the face of Edith Stein, Theresia Benedicta a Cruce: a woman, Jewish and German, who disappeared along with her sister into the black night of the Nazi-German concentration camp; as a Christian and a Jew, she accepted death with her people and for them. The Germans who had been brought to Auschwitz-Birkenau and met their death here were considered as Abschaum der Nation - the refuse of the nation. Today we gratefully hail them as witnesses to the truth and goodness which even among our people were not eclipsed. We are grateful to them, because they did not submit to the power of evil, and now they stand before us like lights shining in a dark night. With profound respect and gratitude, then, let us bow our heads before all those who, like the three young men in Babylon facing death in the fiery furnace, could respond: “Only our God can deliver us. But even if he does not, be it known to you, O King, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up” (cf. Dan 3:17ff.).

Yes, behind these inscriptions is hidden the fate of countless human beings. They jar our memory, they touch our hearts. They have no desire to instil hatred in us: instead, they show us the terrifying effect of hatred. Their desire is to help our reason to see evil as evil and to reject it; their desire is to enkindle in us the courage to do good and to resist evil. They want to make us feel the sentiments expressed in the words that Sophocles placed on the lips of Antigone, as she contemplated the horror all around her: my nature is not to join in hate but to join in love.

By God’s grace, together with the purification of memory demanded by this place of horror, a number of initiatives have sprung up with the aim of imposing a limit upon evil and confirming goodness. Just now I was able to bless the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer. In the immediate neighbourhood the Carmelite nuns carry on their life of hiddenness, knowing that they are united in a special way to the mystery of Christ’s Cross and reminding us of the faith of Christians, which declares that God himself descended into the hell of suffering and suffers with us. In Oświęcim is the Centre of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and the International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust. There is also the International House for Meetings of Young people. Near one of the old Prayer Houses is the Jewish Centre. Finally the Academy for Human Rights is presently being established. So there is hope that this place of horror will gradually become a place for constructive thinking, and that remembrance will foster resistance to evil and the triumph of love.

At Auschwitz-Birkenau humanity walked through a “valley of darkness”. And so, here in this place, I would like to end with a prayer of trust - with one of the Psalms of Israel which is also a prayer of Christians: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff - they comfort me ... I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long” (Ps 23:1-4, 6).

From the Horse’s Mouth; How This Book Caused a Controversy I Fail to Understand

Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust

by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen

Excerpted from his book: Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust

For what developments would a comprehensive explanation of the Holocaust have to account? For the extermination of the Jews to occur, four principal things were necessary:

1. The Nazis - that is, the leadership, specifically Hitler - had to decide to undertake the extermination.
2. They had to gain control over the Jews, namely over the territory in which they resided.
3. They had to organize the extermination and devote to it sufficient resources.
4. They had to induce a large number of people to carry out the killings.

The vast literature on Nazism and the Holocaust treats in great depth the first three elements, as well as others, such as the origins and character of Hitler's genocidal beliefs, and the Nazis' ascendancy to power. Yet, as I have already indicated, it has treated the last element, the focus of this book, perfunctorily and mainly by assumption. It is therefore important to discuss here some analytical and interpretive issues that are central to studying the perpetrators.

Owing to the neglect of the perpetrators in the study of the Holocaust, it is no surprise that the existing interpretations of them have been generally produced in a near empirical vacuum. Until recently, virtually no research has been done on the perpetrators, save on the leaders of the Nazi regime. In the last few years, some publications have appeared that treat one group or another, yet the state of our knowledge about the perpetrators remains deficient. We know little about many of the institutions of killing, little about many aspects of the perpetration of the genocide, and still less about the perpetrators themselves. As a consequence, popular and scholarly myths and misconceptions about the perpetrators abound, including the following. It is commonly believed that the Germans slaughtered Jews by and large in the gas chambers, and that without gas chambers, modern means of transportation, and efficient bureaucracies, the Germans would have been unable to kill millions of Jews. The belief persists that somehow only technology made horror on this scale possible. "Assembly-line killing" is one of the stock phrases in discussions of the event. It is generally believed that gas chambers, because of their efficiency (which is itself greatly overstated), were a necessary instrument for the genocidal slaughter, and that the Germans chose to construct the gas chambers in the first place because they needed more efficient means of killing the Jews. It has been generally believed by scholars (at least until very recently) and non-scholars alike that the perpetrators were primarily, overwhelmingly SS men, the most devoted and brutal Nazis. It has been an unquestioned truism (again until recently) that had a German refused to kill Jews, then he himself would have been killed, sent to a concentration camp, or severely punished. All of these views, views that fundamentally shape people's understanding of the Holocaust, have been held unquestioningly as though they were self-evident truths. They have been virtual articles of faith (derived from sources other than historical inquiry), have substituted for knowledge, and have distorted the way in which this period is understood.

The absence of attention devoted to the perpetrators is surprising for a host of reasons, only one of which is the existence of a now over-ten-year-long debate about the genesis of the initiation of the Holocaust, which has come to be called by the misnomer the "intentionalist-functionalist" debate. For better or worse, this debate has become the organizing debate for much of the scholarship on the Holocaust. Although it has improved our understanding of the exact chronology of the Germans' persecution and mass murder of the Jews, it has also, because of the terms in which it has been cast, confused the analysis of the causes of the Germans' policies (this is taken up in Chapter 4), and it has done next to nothing to increase our knowledge of the perpetrators. Of those who defined this debate and made its central early contributions, only one saw fit to ask the question, Why, once the killing began (however it did), did those receiving the orders to kill do so? It appears that for one reason or another, all the participants in the debate assumed that executing such orders was unproblematic for the actors, and unproblematic for historians and social scientists. The limited character of our knowledge, and therefore our understanding, of this period is highlighted by the simple fact that (however the category of "perpetrator" is defined) the number of people who were perpetrators is unknown. No good estimate, virtually no estimate of any kind, exists of the number of people who knowingly contributed to the genocidal killing in some intimate way. Scholars who discuss them, inexplicably, neither attempt such an estimate nor point out that this, a topic of such
great significance, is an important gap in our knowledge. If ten thousand Germans were perpetrators, then the perpetration of the Holocaust, perhaps the Holocaust itself, is a phenomenon of one kind, perhaps the deed of a select, unrepresentative group. If five hundred thousand or one million Germans were perpetrators, then it is a phenomenon of another kind, perhaps best conceived as a German national project. Depending on the number and identity of the Germans who contributed to the genocidal slaughter, different sorts of questions, inquiries, and bodies of theory might be appropriate or necessary in order to explain it.

This dearth of knowledge, not only about the perpetrators but also about the functioning of their host institutions has not stopped some interpreters from making assertions about them - although the most striking fact remains how few even bother to address the subject, let alone take it up at length. Still, from the literature a number of conjectured explanations can be distilled, even if they are not always clearly specified or elaborated upon in a sustained manner. (In fact, strands of different explanations are frequently intermingled without great coherence.) Some of them have been proposed to explain the actions of the German people generally and, by extension, they would apply to the perpetrators as well. Rather than laying out what each interpreter has posited about the perpetrators, an analytical account is provided here of the major arguments, with references to leading exemplars of each one. The most important of them can be classified into five categories:

One explanation argues for external compulsion: the perpetrators were coerced. They were left, by the threat of punishment, with no choice but to follow orders. After all,
they were part of military or police-like institutions, institutions with a strict chain of command, demanding subordinate compliance to orders, which should have punished insubordination severely, perhaps with death. Put a gun to anyone's head, so goes the thinking, and he will shoot others to save himself.

A second explanation conceives of the perpetrators as having been blind followers of orders. A number of proposals have been made for the source or sources of this alleged propensity to obey: Hitler's charisma (the perpetrators were, so to speak, caught in his spell), a general human tendency to obey authority, a peculiarly German reverence for and propensity to obey authority, or a totalitarian society's blunting of the individual's moral sense and its conditioning of him or her to accept all tasks as necessary. So a common proposition exists, namely that people obey authority, with a variety of accounts of why this is so. Obviously, the notion that authority, particularly state authority, tends to elicit obedience merits consideration.

A third explanation holds the perpetrators to have been subject to tremendous social psychological pressure, placed upon each one by his
comrades and/or by the expectations that accompany the institutional roles that individuals occupy. It is, so goes the argument, extremely difficult for individuals to resist pressures to conform, pressures which can lead individuals to participate in
acts which they on their own would not do, indeed would abhor. And a variety of psychological mechanisms are available for such people to rationalize their actions.

A fourth explanation sees the perpetrators as having been petty bureaucrats, or soulless technocrats, who pursued their self-interest or their technocratic goals and tasks with callous disregard for the victims. It can hold for administrators in Berlin as well as for concentration camp personnel. They all had careers to make, and because of the psychological propensity among those who are but cogs in a machine to attribute responsibility to others for overall policy, they could callously pursue their own careers or their own institutional or material interests. The deadening effects of institutions upon the sense of individual responsibility, on the one hand, and the frequent willingness of people to put their interests before those of others, on the other, need hardly be belabored.

A fifth explanation asserts that because tasks were so fragmented, the perpetrators could not understand what the real nature of their actions was; they could not comprehend that their small assignments were actually part of a global extermination program. To the extent that they could, this line of thinking continues, the fragmentation of tasks allowed them to deny the importance of their own contributions and to displace responsibility for them onto others. When engaged in unpleasant or morally dubious tasks, it is well known that people have a tendency to shift blame to others.

The explanations can be reconceptualized in terms of their accounts of the actors' capacity for volition: The first explanation (namely coercion) says that the killers could not say "no." The second explanation (obedience) and the third (situational pressure) maintain that Germans were psychologically incapable of saying "no." The fourth explanation (self-interest) contends that Germans had sufficient personal incentives to kill in order not to want to say "no." The fifth explanation (bureaucratic myopia) claims that it never even occurred to the perpetrators that they were engaged in an activity that might make them responsible for saying "no."

Each of these conventional explanations may sound plausible, and some of them obviously contain some truth, so what is wrong with them? While each suffers from particular defects, which are treated at length in Chapter 15, they share a number of dubious common assumptions and features worth mentioning here.

The conventional explanations assume a neutral or condemnatory attitude on the part of the perpetrators towards their actions. They therefore premise their interpretations on the assumption that it must be shown how people can be brought to commit acts to which they would not inwardly assent, acts which they would not agree are necessary or just. They either ignore, deny, or radically minimize the importance of Nazi and perhaps the perpetrators' ideology, moral values, and conception of the victims, for engendering the perpetrators' willingness to kill. Some of these conventional explanations also caricature the perpetrators, and Germans in general. The explanations treat them as if they had been people lacking a moral sense, lacking the ability to make decisions and take stances. They do not conceive of the actors as human agents, as people with wills, but as beings moved solely by external forces or by transhistorical and invariant psychological propensities, such as the slavish following of narrow "self-interest." The conventional explanations suffer from two other major conceptual failings. They do not sufficiently recognize the extraordinary nature of the deed: the mass killing of people. They assume and imply that inducing people to kill human beings is fundamentally no different from getting them to do any other unwanted or distasteful task. Also, none of the conventional explanations deems the identity of the victims to have mattered. The conventional explanations imply that the perpetrators would have treated any other group of intended victims in exactly the same way. That the victims were Jews - according to the logic of these explanations - is irrelevant.

I maintain that any explanation that fails to acknowledge the actors' capacity to know and to judge, namely to understand and to have views about the significance and the morality of their actions, that fails to hold the actors' beliefs and values as central, that fails to emphasize the autonomous motivating force of Nazi ideology, particularly its central component of antisemitism, cannot possibly succeed in telling us much about why the perpetrators acted as they did. Any explanation that ignores either the particular nature of the perpetrators' actions - the systematic, large-scale killing and brutalizing of people - or the identity of the victims is inadequate for a host of reasons. All explanations that adopt these positions, as do the conventional explanations, suffer a mirrored, double failure of recognition of the human aspect of the Holocaust: the humanity of the perpetrators, namely their capacity to judge and to choose to act inhumanely, and the humanity of the victims, that what the perpetrators did, they did to these people with their specific identities, and not to animals or things.

My explanation - which is new to the scholarly literature on the perpetrators - is that the perpetrators, "ordinary Germans," were animated by antisemitism by a particular
type of antisemitism that led them to conclude that the Jews ought to die. The perpetrators' beliefs, their particular brand of antisemitism, though obviously not the sole source, was, I maintain, a most significant and indispensable source of the perpetrators' actions and must be at the center of any explanation of them. Simply put, the perpetrators, having consulted their own convictions and morality and having judged the mass annihilation of Jews to be right, did not want to say "no."

Copyright © 1996 by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen All Rights Reserved

How things were really quite nice at AUSCHWITZ, provided you were not an inmate.

On the same day Hoecker and SS women were snapped enjoying blueberries, records show 150 prisoners arrived at Auschwitz. The SS selected 33 for work and gassed the rest.

Photo essay of Nazi frolicis to be found on the BBC here:

The BBC signs off the story with:

Holocaust survivors say they hope the album, while offensive, will remind viewers that the perpetrators of genocide are ordinary people, and act as a warning for future generations.

This doesn't quite seem like Daniel Goldhagen's 'Ordinary Germans' thesis.

A Novel Phish. Buy the software so they won't take money out of your bank which you don't have an account at.

Good day dear clients,
We are sorry to inform that the fraudulents with the accounts of our bank have recently increased. That is why our bank changes the security system, which will provide maximum security to our clients if the accounts are used by frauds. You will receive a special program to your e-mail this week, as well as the instruction how to use it. With its help you will have an opportunity to make payments. Without this program no one will be able to transfer money from your account. If you lose the program, you will have to pay $4,99 and we will send you the copy of it.
To confirm the registration of this anti-fraud program visit this web-site and complete the necessary forms:
[URL Deleted]
Citizens Bank Online Billing Services Team

While I have not clicked on the deleted link, I have no doubt that it will also ask you for your regular banking details...

© 2007 Citizens Bank Online, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Borat was Right, Uzbekis (one with 10 digits to his bank account at least) are A-holes

From the Inquirer:

Downed blogger Murray vows to continue Usmanov attacks
Ex-ambassador defiant in libel row
By Chris Williams → More by this author
Published Tuesday 25th September 2007 15:46 GMT
Jobsite - find your next IT job quickly & easily

Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray has vowed to carry on making allegations against billionaire Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov, despite attempts to silence him and his supporters.

Murray told The Reg: "If the man believes he was libelled then he should take me to court."
Click here to find out more!

Murray's blog was deleted by its host on Friday after threats from Usmanov's UK legal team. It's expected to reappear in the early hours of tomorrow on an overseas server, and will repeat the charges that drew heavy fire from specialist libel firm Schillings.

The ex-diplomat says he has contacted Schillings to ask for clarification of which specific aspect of his allegations they contest, but has not received a response. "They say my book [Murder in Samarkand] is 'grossly libellous and defamatory', yet it has been widely available for a year and has sold 25,000 copies, without their actually taking any legal action," he added.

Murray's criticism of Usmanov stems from his rise in Uzbekistan following the collapse of communism to become one of Russia's richest men. He denies the accusations. His profile in the UK has skyrocketed since he followed Chelsea chairman and fellow oligarch Roman Abramovich into football investment.

Murray's blog entry about Usmanov, made September 2, were picked up by many political and Arsenal websites which later also received complaints from Schillings. It became the third-highest hit on Google for the search "usmanov", but was quickly removed from Murray's site after the first legal letter.

Tim Ireland, who runs the political site, which was downed along with Murray's site, has slammed Fasthosts' action, and denied the claim that they refused to comply with takedown requests after he repeated Murray's allegations.

Fasthosts says it acted according to standard industy practice and has declined to answer Reg questions.

Ireland said Fasthosts has so far failed to provide copies of two of the three complaints made by Schillings. "We don't have any of the correspondence despite multiple requests," he said.

The third complaint was made weeks after the September 2 post was removed. The takedown meant the Google robot instead indexed another piece Murray had penned in October 2005 that included the name.

On contact from Fasthosts, site administrator Clive Summerfield suspended the site and wrote back to Fasthosts to suggest that it, Schillings, Ireland and Murray liase on what was acceptable. Fasthosts responded by pulling the plug on his two dedicated servers on Friday.

Bloggerheads and were part of a small stable of sites run by Summerfield. This connection explains the deletion of Tory mayoral hopeful Boris Johnson's site, despite it having no involvement in the Usmanov affair. The action also downed the website of the London Bach Society and an independent record label.

The new hosting has been arranged separately from the rest of Summerfield's sites - Murray believes that Usmanov's lawyers are trying to make him back down by attacking others.

We asked Murray if he intends to stay on Usmanov's back. He replied: "There is room on Usmanov's back for an awful lot of people. You could get even more on his stomach, and possibly lose some under the overlap of his chins."

We think that's a "yes". ®

A Beautiful Photo of a Tragedy Currently Unfolding in Burma (not Myamar!)

I Think This is Legit; No New Life in Peanut Butter Shows Charles Darwin to be a Nutter

The thesis of the video below is that 'the so-called theory of evolution' must be wrong because we never find new life in peanut butter. (First of all, speak for yourselves, but due to a harrowing childhood incident I never touch the stuff.) But if there is any funny business going on in our jar of Skippy, it is old life that has come from without. And, wouldn't you know, the whole food industry depends on this. I think, anyway, that's the point. Anyone else have an idea?

So Buzz’s Strike is Over

Just imagine the numbers of trees chopped and coal burned covering this story and for what? It's not even a pyrrhic victory or even an own-goal. It's simply a whole lot of nothing that it occurs to me that I am even participating in.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What's is in the transposition of a couple of letters?

Quite a lot it would seem.

One also ought not to get these two confused. and

I should ass, I owe JPK, and JM, for finding these mirror worlds.

Must Watching, the Dean of Columbia Law School Introducing Mr. Dinner Jacket

I am not saying that George Bush is up for a Nobel prize in economics, or even that he would qualify for the under 12 Outside the Beltway Mensa team, but it is impossible to imagine Bush having the opportunity to address the University of Tehran's Law School (if there is such a thing, I am sure Sharia is somewhere in the title).

Monday, September 24, 2007

So that’s all right then.



1:50 P.M. EDT, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2007



(Note: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments are through interpreter.)

MR. BOLLINGER: I would like to begin by thanking Dean John Coatsworth and Professor Richard Bulliet for their work in organizing this event and for their commitment to the School of International and Public Affairs and its role -- (interrupted by cheers, applause) -- and for its role in training future leaders in world affairs. If today proves anything, it will be that there is an enormous amount of work ahead of us. This is just one of many events on Iran that will run throughout the academic year, all to help us better understand this critical and complex nation in today's geopolitics.

Before speaking directly to the current president of Iran, I have a few critically important points to emphasize. First, in 2003 the World Leaders Forum has advanced Columbia's long-standing tradition of serving as a major forum for robust debate, especially on global issues. It should never be thought that merely to listen to ideas we deplore in any way implies our endorsement of those ideas or our weakness of our resolve to resist those ideas or our naivety about the very real dangers inherent in such ideas. It is a critical premise of freedom of speech that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open our public forum to their voices; to hold otherwise would make vigorous debate impossible.

Second, to those who believe that this event should never have happened, that it is inappropriate for the university to conduct such an event, I want to say that I understand your perspective and respect it as reasonable. The scope of free speech in academic freedom should itself always be open to further debate. As one of the more famous quotations about free speech goes, it is an experiment as all life is an experiment. I want to say, however, as forcefully as I can that this is the right thing to do, and indeed it is required by the existing norms of free speech, the American university and Columbia itself.

Third, to those among us who experience hurt and pain as a result of this day, I say on behalf of all of us that we are sorry and wish to do what we can to alleviate it.

Fourth, to be clear on another matter, this event has nothing whatsoever to do with any rights of the speaker, but only with our rights to listen and speak. We do it for ourselves. We do it in the great tradition of openness that has defined this nation for many decades now. We need to understand the world we live in, neither neglecting its glories nor shrinking from its threats and dangers. It is inconsistent with the idea that one should know thine enemy -- I'm sorry -- it is consistent with the idea that one should know thine enemies, to have the intellectual and emotional courage to confront the mind of evil, and to prepare ourselves to act with the right temperament. In the moment, the arguments for free speech will never seem to match the power of the arguments against, but what we must remember is that this is precisely because free speech asks us to exercise extraordinary self-restraint against the very natural but often counterproductive impulses that lead us to retreat from engagement with ideas we dislike and fear. In this lies the genius of the American idea of free speech.

Lastly, in universities we have a deep and almost single-minded commitment to pursue the truth. We do not have access to the levers of power, we cannot make war or peace, we can only make minds, and to do this, we must have the most fulsome freedom of inquiry.

Let me now turn to Mr. Ahmadinejad.

First, on the brutal crackdown on scholars, journalists and human rights advocates. Over the past two weeks, your government has released Dr. Haleh Esfandiari and Parnaz Azima and just two days ago, Kian Tajbakhsh, a graduate of Columbia with a PhD in Urban Planning. While our community is relieved to learn of his release on bail, Dr. Tajbakhsh remains in Tehran under house arrest, and he still does not know whether he will be charged with a crime or allowed to leave the country.

Let me say this for the record, I call on the president today to ensure that Kian will be free to travel out of Iran as he wishes. (Applause.) Let me also report today that we are extending an offer to Kian to join our faculty as a visiting professor in Urban Planning here at his alma mater in our Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and we hope he will be able to join us next semester. (Applause.)

The arrest and imprisonment of these Iranian Americans for no good reason is not only unjustified, it runs completely counter to the very values that allow today's speaker to even appear on this campus, but at least they are alive.

According to Amnesty International, 210 people have been executing In Iran so far this year, 21 of them on the morning of September 5th alone. This annual total includes at two children, further proof, as Human Rights Watch puts it, that Iran leads the world in executing minors.

There is more. Iran hanged up 30 people this past July and August during a widely reported suppression of efforts to establish a more democratic society. Many of these executions were carried out in public view, a violation of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party. These executions and others have coincided with a wider crackdown on student activists and academics accused of trying to foment a so-called "soft revolution." This has included jailing and forced retirement of scholars. As Dr. Esfandiari said in a broadcast interview since her release, she was held in solitary confinement for 105 days because the government believes that the United States is planning a velvet revolution in Iran.

In this very room, last year we learned something about velvet revolutions from Vaclav Havel, and we will likely hear the same from our World Leaders Forum speaker this evening, President Michelle Bachelet of Chile. Both of their extraordinary stories remind us that there are not enough prisons to prevent an entire society that wants its freedom from achieving it.

We at this university have not been shy to protest the challenge -- and challenge the failures of our own government to live by our values, and we won't be shy about criticizing yours. Let's then be clear at the beginning. Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator. And so I ask you -- (applause) -- and so I ask you, why have women, members of the Baha'i faith, homosexuals and so many of our academic colleagues become targets of persecution in your country? Why, in a letter last week to the secretary-general of the U.N., did Akbar Ganji, Iran's leading political dissident, and over 300 public intellectuals, writers and Noble Laureates express such grave concern that your inflamed dispute with the West is distracting the world's attention from the intolerable conditions in your regime within Iran, in particular the use of the press law to ban writers for criticizing the ruling system? Why are you so afraid of Iranian citizens expressing their opinions for change?

In our country, you are interviewed by our press and asked to speak here today. And while my colleagues at the law school -- Michael Dorf, one of my colleagues, spoke to Radio Free Europe, viewers in Iran a short while ago on the tenants of freedom of speech in this country -- I propose further that you let me lead a delegation of students and faculty from Columbia to address your universities about free speech with the same freedom we afford you today. (Applause.)

Secondly, the denial of the Holocaust. In a December 2005 state television broadcast, you described the Holocaust as "a fabricated legend." One year later, you held a two-day conference of Holocaust deniers. For the illiterate and ignorant, this is dangerous propaganda.

When you have come to a place like this, this makes you, quite simply, ridiculous. You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated. You should know -- (applause) -- please -- you should know that Columbia is the world center of Jewish studies -- us a world center, and now in partnership with the -- Institute of Holocaust Studies.

Since the 1930s, we provided an intellectual home for countless Holocaust refugees and survivors and their children and grandchildren. The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in human history. Because of this, and for many other reasons, your absurd comments about the debate over the Holocaust both defy historical truth and make all of us who continue to fear humanity's capacity for evil shudder at this closure of memory, which is always virtue's first line of defense. Will you cease this outrage?

The destruction of Israel. Twelve days ago you said that the state of Israel cannot continue its life. This echoed a number of inflammatory statements you have delivered in the past two years, including in October 2005, when you said that Israel "should be wiped off the map", quote-unquote. Columbia has over 800 alumni currently living in Israel. As an institution, we have deep ties with our colleagues there. I have personally spoken -- personally, I have spoken out in most forceful terms against proposals to boycott Israeli scholars (in/and ?) universities, saying that such boycotts might as well include Columbia. (Applause.)

More than 400 -- more than 400 -- more than 400 college and university presidents in this country have joined in that statement.

My question then is, do you plan on wiping us off the map too? (Applause.)

Funding terrorism: According to reports of the Council on Foreign Relations, it's well-documented that Iran is a state sponsor of terror that funds such violent groups as Lebanese Hezbollah, which Iran helped organize in the 1980s, Palestinian Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. While your predecessor government was instrumental in providing the U.S. with intelligence and base support in the 2001 campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan, your government is now undermining American troops in Iraq by funding, arming and providing safe transit to insurgent leaders like Muqtada al-Sadr and his forces. There are a number of reports that you also link your government with Syria's efforts to destabilize the fledgling Lebanese government through violence and political assassination.

My question is this: Why do you support well-documented terrorist organizations that continue to strike at peace and democracy in the Middle East, destroying lives and the civil society of the region?

The proxy war against the United States troops in Iraq -- in a briefing before the National Press Club earlier this month, General David Petraeus reported that arms supplies from Iran, including 240- millimeter rockets and explosively formed projectiles, are contributing to, quote, "a sophistication of attacks that would by no means be possible without Iranian support." A number of Columbia graduates and current students are among the brave members of our military who are serving or have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They, like other Americans with sons, daughters, fathers, husbands and wives serving in combat, rightly see your government as the enemy.

Can you tell them and us why Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq by arming Shi'a militia targeting and killing U.S. troops?

And finally Iran's nuclear program and international sanctions: This week, the United Nations Security Council is contemplating expanding sanctions for a third time, because of your government's refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment program. You continue to defy this world body by claiming a right to develop a peaceful nuclear power, but this hardly withstands scrutiny when you continue to issue military threats to neighbors. Last week, French President Sarkozy made clear his lost patience with your stall tactics, and even Russia and China have shown concern.

Why does your country continue to refuse to adhere to international standards for nuclear weapons verification, in defiance of agreements that you have made with the U.N. nuclear agency? And why have you chosen to make the people of your country vulnerable to the effects of international economic sanctions, and threaten to engulf the world in nuclear annihilation? (Applause.)

Let me close with a comment. Frankly -- I close with this comment frankly and in all candor, Mr. President. I doubt that you will have the intellectual courage to answer these questions. But your avoiding them will in itself be meaningful to us. I do expect you to exhibit the fanatical mindset that characterizes so much of what you say and do. Fortunately I am told by experts on your country that this only further undermines your position in Iran, with all the many good-hearted, intelligent citizens there.

A year ago, I am reliably told, your preposterous and belligerent statements in this country, as at one of the meetings at the Council on Foreign Relations, so embarrassed sensible Iranian citizens that this led to your party's defeat in the December mayoral elections. May this do that and more. (Applause.)

I am only a professor, who is also a university president.

And today I feel all the weight of the modern civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for. I only wish I could do better. Thank you. (Cheers, extended applause.)

MR. COATSWORTH: Thank you, Lee.

Our principal speaker today is His Excellency the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mr. President. (Applause.)

INTERPRETER: The president is reciting verses from the Holy Koran in Arabic. (Not translated.)

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Oh, God, hasten the arrival of Imam al- Mahdi and grant him good health and victory, and make us his followers and those who attest to his (rightfulness ?).

Distinguished Dean, dear professors and students, ladies and gentlemen. At the outset, I would like to extend my greetings to all of you. I am grateful to the Almighty God for providing me with the opportunity to be in an academic environment, those seeking truth and striving for the promotion of science and knowledge.

At the outset, I want to complain a bit on the person who read this political statement against me. In Iran, tradition requires that when we demand a person to invite us as a -- to be a speaker, we actually respect our students and the professors by allowing them to make their own judgment, and we don't think it's necessary before the speech is even given to come in -- (applause) -- with a series of claims and to attempt in a so-called manner to provide vaccination of some sort to our students and our faculty.

I think the text read by the (dear ?) gentleman here, more than addressing me, was an insult to information and the knowledge of the audience here, present here. In a university environment, we must allow people to speak their mind, to allow everyone to talk so that the truth is eventually revealed by all. Most certainly he took more than all the time I was allocated to speak. And that's fine with me. We'll just leave that to add up with the claims of respect for freedom and the freedom of speech that is given to us in this country.

In many parts of his speech, there were many insults and claims that were incorrect, regretfully. Of course, I think that he was affected by the press, the media and the political sort of mainstream line that you read here, that goes against the very grain of the need for peace and stability in the world around us.

Nonetheless, I should not begin by being affected by this unfriendly treatment.

I will tell you what I have to say, and then the questions he can raise and I'll be happy to provide answers. But for one of the issues that he did raise, I most certainly would need to elaborate further so that we for ourselves can see how things fundamentally work.

It was my decision in this valuable forum and meeting to speak with you about the importance of knowledge, of information, of education. Academics and religious scholars are shining torches who shed light in order to remove darkness and the ambiguities around us in guiding humanity out of ignorance and perplexity. The key to the understanding of the realities around us rests in the hands of the researchers, those who seek to undiscover (sic) areas that are hidden, the unknown sciences. The windows of realities that they can open is done only through efforts of the scholars and the learned people in this world. With every effort, there is a window that is opened and one reality is discovered.

Whenever the high stature of science and wisdom is preserved and the dignity of scholars and researchers are respected, humans have taken great strides towards their material and spiritual promotion. In contrast, whenever learned people and knowledge have been neglected, humans have become stranded in the darkness of ignorance and negligence. If it were not for human instinct, which tends towards continual discovery of the truth, humans would have always remained stranded in ignorance and no way would have discovered how to improve the lives that we are given. The nature of man is, in fact, a gift granted by the Almighty to all. The Almighty led mankind into this world and granted him wisdom and knowledge as his (kind ?) gift, enabling him to know his God.

In the story of Adam, a conversation occurs between the Almighty and his angels. The angels called human beings an ambitious and merciless creature and protested against his creation, but the Almighty responded, quote, "I have knowledge of what you are ignorant of," unquote. Then the Almighty told Adam the truth, and on the order of the Almighty, Adam revealed it to the angels.

The angels could not understand the truth as revealed by the human beings.

The Almighty said to them, quote, "Did not I say that I am aware of what is hidden in heaven and in the universe?" unquote. In this way, the angels prostrated themselves before Adam.

In the mission of all divine prophets, the first sermons were of the words of God, and those words "piety," "faith" and "wisdom" have been spread to all mankind. Guiding the holy prophet Moses -- may peace be upon him -- God says, quote, "And he was taught wisdom, the divine book, the Old Testament and the New Testament. He is the prophet appointed for the sake of the children of Israel, and I rightfully brought a sign from the Almighty. Holy Koran -- (inaudible word) -- sura," unquote.

The first words which were revealed to the holy prophet of Islam call the prophet to read, quote, "Read, read in the name of your God, who supersedes everything," unquote. The Almighty, quote again, "who taught the human being with the pen," unquote; quote, "the Almighty taught human beings what they were ignorant of," unquote.

You see in the first verses revealed to the holy prophet of Islam words of reading, teaching and the pen are mentioned. These verses in fact introduce the Almighty as the teacher of human beings, the teacher who taught humans what they were ignorant of. And another part of the -- (inaudible word) -- on the mission on the holy prophet of Islam -- it is mentioned that the Almighty appointed someone from amongst the common people as their prophet in order to, quote, "Read for them the divine verses," unquote; and, quote again, "and purify them from ideological and ethical contaminations," unquote; and, quote again, "to teach them the divine book and wisdom," unquote.

My dear friends, all the words and messages of the divine prophets, from Abraham and Isaac and Jacob to David and Soliman and Moses to Jesus and Mohammed, delivered humans from ignorance, negligence, superstitions, unethical behavior and corrupted ways of thinking with respect to knowledge and a path to knowledge, light and rightful ethics.

In our culture, the word "science" has been defined as "illumination." In fact, the "science" means "brightness" and the real science is a science which rescues the human being from ignorance to his own benefit. In one of the widely accepted definitions of science, it is stated that it is the light which sheds to the hearts of those who have been selected by the Almighty; therefore, according to this definition, science is a divine gift, and the heart is where it resides.

If we accept that "science" means "illumination," then its scope supersedes the experimental sciences, and it includes every hidden and disclosed reality. One of the main harms inflicted against science is to limit it to experimental and physical sciences; this harm occurs even though it extends far beyond this scope.

Realities of the world are not limited to physical realities. And the material is just a shadow of supreme realities, and physical creation is just one of the stories of the creation of the world. Human being is just an example of the creation that is a combination of the material and the spirit.

And another important point is the relationship of science and purity of spirit, life, behavior and ethics of the human being. In the teachings of the divine prophet, one reality shall always be attached to science. The reality of purity of spirit and good behavior, knowledge and wisdom is pure and clear reality. It is -- science is a light. It is a discovery of reality, and only a pure scholar and researcher, free from wrong ideologies, superstitions, selfishness and material trappings, can discover the reality.

My dear friends and scholars, distinguished participants, science and wisdom can also be misused, a misuse caused by selfishness, corruption, material desires and material interests, as well as individual and group interests. Material desires place humans against the realities of the world. Corrupted independent human beings resist acceptance of reality and even if they do accept it, they do not obey it.

There are many scholars who are aware of the realities but do not accept them. Their selfishness does not allow them to accept those realities. Did those who in the course of human history wage wars not understand the reality that lives, properties, dignity, territories and the rights of all human beings should be respected? Or did they understand it but neither have faith in nor abide by it?

My dear friends, as long as the human heart is not free from hatred, envy and selfishness, it does not abide by the truth, by the illumination of science and science itself. Science is the light and scientists must be pure and pious. If humanity achieves the highest level of physical and spiritual knowledge, but its scholars and scientists are not pure, then this knowledge cannot serve the interest of humanity, and several events can ensue.

First, the wrongdoers reveal only a part of the reality which is to their own benefit and conceal the rest, as we have witnessed with respect to the scholars of the divine religions in the past too. Unfortunately today we see that certain researchers and scientists are still hiding the truth from the people.

Second, scientists and scholars are misused for personal, group or party interests. So in today's world, ruling powers are misusing many scholars and scientists in different fields, with the purpose of stripping nations of their wealth.

And they use all opportunities only for their own benefit.

For example, they deceive people by using scientific methods and tools. They, in fact, wish to justify their own wrongdoings, though, by creating nonexistent enemies, for example, and have insecure atmosphere. They try to control all in the name of combatting insecurity and terrorism. They even violate individual and social freedoms in their own nations under that pretext. They do not respect the privacy of their own people. They tap telephone calls and try to control their people. They create an insecure psychological atmosphere in order to justify their warmongering acts in different parts of the world.

As another example, by using precise scientific methods and planning, they begin their onslaught on the domestic cultures of nations, the cultures which are the result of thousands of years of interaction, creativity and artistic activities. They try to eliminate these cultures in order to separate the people from their identity and cut their bonds with their own history and values. They prepare the ground for stripping people from their spiritual and material wealth by instilling in them feelings of intimidation, desire for imitation and mere consumption, submission to oppressive powers, and disability.

Making nuclear, chemical and biological bombs and weapons of mass destruction is yet another result of the misuse of science and research by the big powers. Without cooperation of certain scientists and scholars, we would not have witnessed production of different nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Are these weapons to protect global security? What can a perpetual nuclear umbrella threat achieve for the sake of humanity? If nuclear war wages between nuclear powers, what human catastrophe will take place? Today we can see the nuclear effects in even new generations of Nagasaki and Hiroshima residents which might be witness in even the next generations to come. Presently, effects of the depleted uranium used in weapons since the beginning of the war in Iraq can be examined and investigated accordingly. These catastrophes take place only when scientists and scholars are misused by oppressors.

Another point of sorrow, some big powers create a monopoly over science and prevent other nations in achieving scientific development as well.

This, too, is one of the surprises of our time. Some big powers do not want to see the progress of other societies and nations. They turn to thousands of reasons, make allegations, place economic sanctions to prevent other nations from developing and advancing, all resulting from their distance from human values, moral values and the teachings of the divine prophet. Regretfully, they have not been trained to serve mankind.

Dear academics, dear faculty and scholars, students, I believe that the biggest God-given gift to man is science and knowledge. Man's search for knowledge and the truth through science is what it guarantees to do in getting close to God, but science has to combine with the purity of the spirit and of the purity of man's spirit so that scholars can unveil the truth and then use that truth for advancing humanity's cause.

These scholars would be not only people who would guide humanity, but also guide humanity towards the future, better future. And it is necessary that big powers should not allow mankind to engage in monopolistic activities and to prevent other nations from achieving that science. Science is a divine gift by God to everyone, and therefore it must remain pure. God is aware of all reality. All researchers and scholars are loved by God.

So I hope there will be a day where these scholars and scientists will rule the world and God himself will arrive with Moses and Christ and Mohammed to rule the world and to take us towards justice.

I'd like to thank you now, but refer to two points made in the introduction given about me, and then I will be open for any questions.

Last year, I would say two years ago, I raised two questions. You know that my main job is a university instructor. Right now as president of Iran I still continue teaching graduate and Ph.D.-level courses on a weekly basis. My students are working with me in scientific fields. I believe that I am an academic myself, so I speak with you from an academic point of view.

And I raised two questions. But instead of a response, I got a wave of insults and allegations against me, and regretfully, they came mostly from groups who claimed most to believe in the freedom of speech and the freedom of information. You know quite well that Palestine is an old wound, as old as 60 years.

For 60 years, these people are displaced; for 60 years, these people are being killed; for 60 years, on a daily basis, there's conflict and terror; for 60 years, innocent women and children are destroyed and killed by helicopters and airplanes that break the house over their heads; for 60 years, children in kindergartens in schools, in high schools are in prison being tortured; for 60 years, security in the Middle East has been in danger; for 60 years, the slogan of expansionism from the Nile to the Euphrates has been chanted by certain groups in that part of the world.

And as an academic, I ask two questions, the same two questions that I will ask here again. And you judge for yourselves whether the response to these questions should be the insults, the allegations and all the words and the negative propaganda, or should we really try and face these two questions and respond to them? Like you, like any academic, I, too, will keep -- not get -- become silent until I get the answers, so I am awaiting logical answers instead of insults.

My first question was, if, given that the Holocaust is a present reality of our time, a history that occurred, why is there not sufficient research that can approach the topic from different perspectives? Our friends refer to 1930 as the point of the departure for this development; however, I believe the Holocaust, from what we read, happened during World War II after 1930 in the 1940s. So, you know, we have to really be able to trace the event.

My question was simple. There are researchers who want to push the topic from a different perspective. Why are they put into prison? Right now there are a number of European academics who have been sent to prison because they attempted to write about the Holocaust, so researchers from a different perspective, questioning certain aspects of it -- my question is, why isn't it open to all forms of research? I have been told that there's been enough research on the topic. And I ask, well, when it comes to topics such as freedom, topics such as democracy, concepts and norms such as God, religion, physics even or chemistry, there's been a lot of research, but we still continue more research on those topics. We encourage it. But then why don't we encourage more research on a historical event that has become the root, the cause of many heavy catastrophes in the region in this time and age? Why shouldn't there be more research about the root causes? That was my first question.

And my second question -- well, given this historical event, if it is a reality, we need to still question whether the Palestinian people should be paying for it or not. After all, it happened in Europe. The Palestinian people had no role to play in it. So why is it that the Palestinian people are paying the price of an event they had nothing to do with?

The Palestinian people didn't commit any crime. They had no role to play in World War II. They were living with the Jewish communities and the Christian communities in peace at the time. They didn't have any problems. And today, too, Jews, Christians and Muslims live in brotherhood all over the world, in many parts of the world. They don't have any serious problems.

But why is it that the Palestinians should pay a price, innocent Palestinians? For 5 million people to remain displaced or refugees of war for 60 years are -- is this not a crime? Is asking about these crimes a crime by itself? Why should an academic, myself, face insults when asking questions like this? Is this what you call freedom and upholding the freedom of thought?

And as for the second topic, Iran's nuclear issue -- I know there's time limits, but I need time. I mean, a lot of time was taken from me.

We are a country. We are a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency. For over 33 years we were a member state of the agency. The bylaw of the agency explicitly states that all member states have the right to the peaceful nuclear fuel technology. This is an explicit statement made in the bylaw. And the bylaw says that there is no pretext or excuse, even the inspections carried by the IAEA itself -- that can prevent member states' right to have that right.

Of course, the IAEA is responsible to carry out inspections. We are one of the countries that's carried out the most amount of -- level of cooperation with the IAEA. They've had hours and weeks and days of inspections in our country. And over and over again, the agency's reports indicate that Iran's activities are peaceful, that they have not detected a deviation, and that Iran has -- they've received positive cooperation from Iran. But regretfully, two or three monopolistic powers, selfish powers, want to force their word on the Iranian people and deny them their right. They keep saying -- one minute. (Laughter, applause.)

They tell us you don't let them -- they won't let them inspect. Why not? Of course we do. How come is it anyway that you have that right and we can't have it? We want to have the right to peaceful nuclear energy. They tell us, "Don't make it yourself. We'll give it to you."

Well, in the past, I tell you, we had contracts with the U.S. government, with the British government, the French government, the German government and the Canadian government on nuclear development for peaceful purposes. But unilaterally, each and every one of them canceled their contracts with us, as a result of which the Iranian people had to pay the heavy cost in billions of dollars.

Why do we need the fuel from you? You've not even given us spare aircraft parts that we need for civilian aircraft for 28 years, under the name of the embargo and sanctions, because we are against, for example, human rights or freedom? Under that pretext you deny us that technology?

We want to have the right to self-determination towards our future. We want to be independent. Don't interfere in us. If you don't give us spare parts for civilian aircraft, what is the expectation that you'd give us fuel for nuclear development for peaceful purposes?

For 30 years we've faced these problems; for over $5 billion to the Germans and then to the Russians, but we haven't gotten anything, and the worst have not been completed. It is our right, we want our right, and we don't want anything beyond the law, nothing less than what international law. We are a peaceful-loving nation. We love all nations. (Applause, cheers, booing.)

MR. COATSWORTH: Mr. President, your statements here today and in the past have provoked many questions which I would like to pose to you on behalf of the students and faculty who have submitted them to me.

Let me begin with the question to which you just --

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: (In English.) It is one by one, one by one.

MR. COATSWORTH: One by one, it is, yes. (Applause.)

The first question is: Do you or your government seek the destruction of the state of Israel as a Jewish state?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: We love all nations. We are friends with the Jewish people. There are many Jews in Iran living peacefully with security. You must understand that in our constitution, in our laws, in the parliamentary elections, for every 150,000 people we get one representative in the parliament. For the Jewish community, one-fifth of this number they still get one independent representative in the parliament. So our proposal to the Palestinian plight is a humanitarian and democratic proposal.

What we say is that to solve the 60-year problem we must allow the Palestinian people to decide about its future for itself. This is compatible with the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations and the fundamental principles enshrined in it. We must allow Jewish Palestinians, Muslim Palestinians and Christian Palestinians to determine their own fate themselves through a free referendum. Whatever they choose as a nation everybody should accept and respect. Nobody should interfere in the affairs of the Palestinian nation. Nobody should sow the seeds of discord. Nobody should spend tens of billions of dollars equipping and arming one group there.

We say allow the Palestinian nation to decide its own future, to have the right to self-determination for itself. This is what we are saying as the Iranian nation. (Applause.)

MR. COATSWORTH: Mr. President, I think many members of our audience would be -- would like to hear a clearer answer to that question, that is -- (interrupted by cheers, applause).

The question is: Do you or your government seek the destruction of the state of Israel as a Jewish state? And I think you could answer that question with a single word, either yes or no. (Cheers, applause.)

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: And then you want the answer the way you want to hear it. Well, this isn't really a free flow of information. I'm just telling you where I -- what my position is. (Applause.)

I'm asking you, is the Palestinian issue not an international issue of prominence or not? Please tell me, yes or no. (Laughter, applause.)

There's a plight of a people.

MR. COATSWORTH: The answer to your question is yes. (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Well, thank you for your cooperation.

It is -- we recognize there is a problem there that's been going on for 60 years. Everybody provides a solution, and our solution is a free referendum. Let this referendum happen, and then you'll see what the results are. Let the people of Palestine freely choose what they want for their future. And then what you want in your mind to happen, it will happen and will be realized. (Applause.)

MR. COATSWORTH: Which was posed by President Bollinger earlier and comes from a number of other students. Why is your government providing aid to terrorists? Will you stop doing so and permit international monitoring to certify that you have stopped?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Well, I want to pose a question here to you. If someone comes and explodes bombs around you, threatens your president, members of the administration, kills the members of the Senate or Congress, how would you treat them? Would you award them or would you name them a terrorist group? Well, it's clear. You would call them a terrorist.

My dear friends, the Iranian nation is a victim of terrorism. For -- 26 years ago, where I work, close to where I work, in a terrorist operation, the elected president of the Iranian nation and the elected prime minister of Iran lost their lives in a bomb explosion. They turned into ashes.

A month later, in another terrorist operation, 72 members of our parliament and highest ranking officials, including four ministers and eight deputy ministers, bodies were shattered into pieces as a result of terrorist attacks. Within six months, over 4,000 Iranians lost their lives, assassinated by terrorist groups, all this carried out by the hand of one single terrorist group. Regretfully that same terrorist group, now, today, in your country, is being -- operating under the support of the U.S. administration, working freely, distributing declarations freely. And their camps in Iraq are supported by the U.S. government. They're secured by the U.S. government.

Our nation has been harmed by terrorist activities. We were the first nation that objected to terrorism and the first to uphold the need to fight terrorism. (Applause.)

MR. COATSWORTH: A number of questioners, sorry, a number of people have asked.

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: We need to address the root causes of terrorism and eradicate those root causes.

We live in the Middle East. For us, it's quite clear which powers sort of incite terrorists, support them, fund them. We know that. Our nation, the Iranian nation, through history has always extended a hand of friendship to other nations. We're a cultured nation. We don't need to resort to terrorism.

We've been victims of terrorism ourselves, and it's regrettable that people who argue they're fighting terrorism, instead of supporting the Iranian people and nation, instead of fighting the terrorists that are attacking them, they're supporting the terrorists and then turn the fingers to us. This is most regrettable.

MR. COATSWORTH: A further set of questions challenge your view of the Holocaust. Since the evidence that this occurred in Europe in the 1940s as a result of the actions of the German Nazi government, since that -- those facts are well-documented, why are you calling for additional research? There seems to be no purpose in doing so, other than to question whether the Holocaust actually occurred as an historical fact. Can you explain why you believe more research is needed into the facts of what are -- what is incontrovertible?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Thank you very much for your question. I am an academic, and you are as well. Can you argue that researching a phenomenon is finished forever, done? Can we close the books for good on a historical event? There are different perspectives that come to light after every research is done. Why should we stop research at all? Why should we stop the progress of science and knowledge? You shouldn't ask me why I'm asking questions. You should ask yourselves why you think that it's questionable.

Why do you want to stop the progress of science and research? Do you ever take what's known as absolute in physics? We had principles in mathematics that were granted to be absolute in mathematics for over 800 years, but new science has gotten rid of those absolutism, gotten -- forward other different logics of looking at mathematics, and sort of turned the way we look at it as a science altogether after 800 years. So we must allow researchers, scholars to investigate into everything, every phenomenon -- God, universe, human beings, history, and civilization. Why should we stop that?

I'm not saying that it didn't happen at all. This is not (the ?) judgment that I'm passing here. I said in my second question, granted this happened, what does it have to do with the Palestinian people? This is a serious question. They're two dimension. In the first question, I --

MR. COATSWORTH: Let me just -- let me pursue this a bit further. It is difficult to have a scientific discussion if there isn't at least some basis -- some empirical basis, some agreement about what the facts are. So, calling for research into the facts when the facts are so well-established represents for many a challenging of the facts themselves and a denial that something terrible occurred in Europe in those years. (Applause.)

Let me move on to -- (pause).

Mr. President, another student asks, Iranian women are now denied basic human rights, and your government has imposed draconian punishments, including execution on Iranian citizens who are homosexuals. Why are you doing those things?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Those in Iran are genuine true freedoms. The Iranian people are free. Women in Iran enjoy the highest levels of freedoms. We have two deputy vice -- well, two vice presidents that are female at the highest levels of speciality; specialized (roles ?) in our parliament and our government and our universities, they are present in our biotechnological fields and our technological fields. There are hundreds of women scientists that are active in the political realm as well.

It's not -- it's wrong for some governments, when they disagree with another government, to sort of -- try to spread lies that distort the full truth. Our nation is free. It has the highest level of participation in elections. In Iran, 80 percent -- 90 percent of the people turn out for votes during the elections, half of which -- over half of which are women, so how can we say that women are not free? Is that the entire truth?

But as for the executions, I'd like to raise two questions. If someone comes and establishes a network for illicit drug trafficking that affects the (use ?) in Iran, Turkey, Europe, the United States by introducing these illicit drugs and destroys them, would you ever reward them? People who lead the lives -- cause the deterioration of the lives of hundreds of millions of youth around the world, including in Iran, can we have any sympathy to them? Don't you have capital punishment in the United States? You do, too. (Applause.)

In Iran, too, there's capital punishment for illicit drug traffickers, for people who violate the rights of people.

If somebody takes up a gun, goes into a house, kills a group of people there, and then tries to take ransom, how would you confront them in Iran with -- in the United States? Would you reward them? Can a physician allow microbes, symbolically speaking, to spread across a nation? We have laws. People who violate the public rights of the people by using guns, killing people, creating insecurity, sell drugs, distribute drugs at a high level are sentenced to execution in Iran, and some of these punishments -- very few are carried in the public eye, before the public eye. It's a law based on democratic principles. You use injections and microbes to kill these people, and they are executed or they're hung, but the end result is killing.

MR. COATSWORTH: (Off mike) -- and drug smugglers. The question was about sexual preference and women. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country. (Laughter.) We don't have that in our country. (Booing.) In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have it. (Laughter.)

But as for women, 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, the beauty that God instills in them. Women are respected in Iran. In Iran, every family who's given a girl is given -- in every Iranian family who has a girl, they're 10 times happier than having a son. Women are respected more than men are. They are exempt from many responsibilities. Many of the legal responsibilities rest on the shoulders of men in our society because of the respect culturally given to women, to the future mothers. In Iranian culture, men and sons and girls constantly kiss the hands of their mothers as a sign of respect, a respect for women, and we are proud of this culture.

MR. COATSWORTH: (Off mike) -- one is, what did you hope to accomplish by speaking at Columbia today?

And the second is, what would you have said if you were permitted to visit the site of the September 11th tragedy?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Well, here I'm your guest. I've been invited by Columbia, an official invitation given for me to come here, but I do want to say something here.

In Iran, when you invite a guest you respect them. This is our tradition required by our culture, and I know that American people have that culture as well.

Last year, I wanted to go to the site of the September 11th tragedy to show respect to the victims of the tragedy, show my sympathy with their families, but our plans got overextended. We were involved in negotiations and meetings `till midnight, and they said it would be very difficult to go visit the site at that late hour of the night. So I told my friends then that we need to plan this for the following year, so that I can go and visit the site and to show my respects. Regretfully, some groups had very strong reactions, very bad reactions. It's bad for someone -- to prevent someone to show sympathy to the families of the victims of the September 11 event -- tragic event.

This is a respect from my side. Somebody told me this is an insult. I said: What are you saying? This is my way of showing my respect. Why would you think that? Thinking like that, how do you expect to manage the world and world affairs? Don't you think that a lot of problems in the world come from the way you look at issues because of this kind of way of thinking, because of this sort of pessimistic approach towards a lot of people because of certain level of selfishness, self-absorption that needs to be put aside so that we can show respect to everyone, to allow an environment for friendship to grow, to allow all nations to talk with one another and move towards peace?

I wanted to speak with the press. There is 11 September -- September 11 tragic event was a huge event. It led to a lot of many other events afterwards. After 9/11, Afghanistan was occupied and then Iraq was occupied, and for six years in our region there is insecurity, terror and fear. If the root causes of 9/11 are examined properly -- why it happened, what caused it, what were the conditions that led to it, who truly was involved, who was really involved -- and put it all together to understand how to prevent the crisis in Iraq, fix the problem in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

MR. COATSWORTH: A number of questions have asked about your nuclear program. Why is your government seeking to acquire enriched uranium suitable for nuclear weapons? Will you stop doing so?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: Our nuclear program, first and foremost, operates within the framework of law, and second, under the inspections of the IAEA, and thirdly, they are completely peaceful. The technology we have is for enrichment below the level of 5 percent level, and any level below 5 percent is solely for providing fuel to power plants. Repeated reports by the IAEA explicitly say that there is no indication that Iran has deviated from the peaceful path of its nuclear program. We're all well aware that Iran's nuclear issue is a political issue; it's not a legal issue.

The International Atomic Energy Organization -- Agency has verified that our activities are for peaceful purposes. But there are two or three powers that think that they have the right to monopolize all science and knowledge. And they expect the Iranian people, the Iranian nation, to turn to others to get fuel, to get science, to get knowledge that's indigenous to itself -- to humble itself. And then they would of course refrain from giving it to us too.

So we're quite clear on what we need. If you have created the fifth generation of atomic bombs and are testing them already, what position are you in to question the peaceful purposes of other people who want nuclear power? (Applause.) We do not believe in nuclear weapons, period. It goes against the whole grain of humanity.

So let me just tell a joke here. I think the politicians who are after atomic bombs or are testing them, making them -- politically they are backward, retarded. (Applause.)

MR. COATSWORTH: I know your time is short and that you need to move on.

Is Iran prepared to open broad discussions with the government of the United States? What would Iran hope to achieve in such discussions? How do you see, in the future, a resolution of the points of conflict between the government of the United States and the government of Iran?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: From the start, we announced that we are ready to negotiate with all countries. Since 28 years ago, when our revolution succeeded and we established -- we took freedom and democracy that was held at bay by a pro-Western dictatorship, we announced our readiness that besides two countries, we are ready to have friendly relations and talks with all countries of the world. One of those two was the apartheid regime of South Africa, which has been eliminated, and the second is the Zionist regime. For everybody else around the world, we announced that we want to have friendly, brotherly ties.

The Iranian nation is a cultured nation. It is a civilized nature. It seeks, it wants, new talks and negotiations. It's for it. We believe that in negotiations and talks, everything can be resolved very easily. We don't need threats; we don't need to point bombs or guns; we don't need to get into conflict if we talk. We have a clear logical about that.

We question the way the world is being run and managed today. We believe that it will not lead to viable peace and security for the world, the way it's run today. We have solutions based on humane values and for relations among states. With the U.S. government, too, we will negotiate. We don't have any issues about that, under fair, just circumstances with mutual respect on both sides.

You saw that in order to help the security of Iraq, we had three rounds of talks with the United States. And last year, before coming to New York, I announced that I am ready, in the United Nations, to engage in a debate with Mr. Bush, the president of the United States, about critical international issues. So that shows that we want to talk, having a debate before the world public -- before all the audience, so that truth is revealed, so that misunderstandings and misperceptions are removed, so that we can find a clear path for brotherly and friendly relations. I think that if the U.S. administration -- if the U.S. government puts aside some of its old behaviors, it can actually be a good friend for the Iranian people, for the Iranian nation.

For 28 years they've consistently threatened us, insulted us, prevented our scientific development, every day under one pretext or another. You all know Saddam the dictator was supported by the government of the United States and some Europeans countries in attacking Iran. And in -- he carried out an eight-year war, a criminal war. Over 200,000 Iranians were -- lost their lives. Over 600,000 Iranians were hurt as a result of a war. He used chemical weapons; thousands of Iranians were victims of chemical weapons that he used against us. Today, Mr. Nobal Vinh (ph), who is a reporter, an official reporter, international reporter, who was covering U.N. reports in U.N. for many years, he is one of the victims of the chemical weapons used by Iraq against us.

And since then, we've been under different propaganda sort of embargoes, economic sanctions, political sanctions. Why? Because we got rid of a dictator? Because we wanted the freedom and democracy that we got for ourselves? But we can't always tell. We think that if the U.S. government recognizes the rights of the Iranian people, respects all nations, and extends a hand of friendship with all Iranians, they too will see that Iranians will be one of its best friends.

Will you allow me to thank the audience a moment?

I -- well, there are many things that I would have liked to cover, but I don't want to take your time any further. I was asked, would I allow the faculty and Columbia students here to come to Iran? From this platform, I invite Columbia faculty members and students to come and visit Iran, to speak with our university students. You are officially invited. (Applause).

University faculty and the students that the university decides are the student association's chosen select are welcome to come. You're welcome to visit any university that you choose inside Iran. We'll provide you with a list of the universities. There are over 400 universities in our country, and you can choose whichever you want to go and visit.

We'll give you the true platform. You can -- we'll respect you 100 percent. We will have our students sit there and listen to you, speak with you, hear what you have to say.

Right now in our universities on a daily basis, there are hundreds of meetings like this. They hear, they talk, they ask questions, they welcome it.

In the end, I'd like to thank Columbia University. I had heard that many politicians in the United States are trained in Columbia University, and there are many people here who believe in the freedom of speech, in clear, frank conversations; I do like to extend my gratitude to the managers here in the United States -- at Columbia University -- I apologize -- the people who so well-organized this meeting today. I'd like to extend my deepest gratitude to the faculty members and the dear students here. I ask Almighty God to assist all of us to move hand in hand to establish peace and future filled with friendship and justice and brotherhood. Best of luck to all of you. (Applause.)

MR. BOLLINGER: I'm sorry that President Ahmadinejad's schedule makes it necessary for him to leave before he's been able to answer many of the questions that we have or even answer some of the ones that we posed to him. (Laughter, applause.) But I think we can all be pleased that his appearance here demonstrates Columbia's deep commitment to free expression and debate. I want to thank you all for coming to participate. (Applause.)

Thank you.