Daniel W. Drezner

Nicholas De Genova speaks!!

The Filibuster links to this Chronicle of Higher Education interview with Nicholas De Genova, his first public comments since his letter to the editor of Columbia’s student newspaper. Read the whole interview to get the entire context. I found the entire exchange hysterical — it basically consists of the interviewer asking reasoned questions, De Genova ...

The Filibuster links to this Chronicle of Higher Education interview with Nicholas De Genova, his first public comments since his letter to the editor of Columbia’s student newspaper. Read the whole interview to get the entire context. I found the entire exchange hysterical — it basically consists of the interviewer asking reasoned questions, De Genova popping off an irrelevant or incoherent answer, and the interviewer having to gently re-ask the question. Two examples:

Q. Your comment about wishing for ‘a million Mogadishus’ has attracted the most attention. I read your letter in the ‘Columbia Daily Spectator,’ which gave some more context, but I have to confess I don’t see how the context changes the meaning of that statement. A. I was referring to what Mogadishu symbolizes politically. The U.S. invasion of Somalia was humiliated in an excruciating way by the Somali people. And Mogadishu was the premier symbol of that. What I was really emphasizing in the larger context of my comments was the question of Vietnam and that historical lesson. … What I was intent to emphasize was that the importance of Vietnam is that it was a defeat for the U.S. war machine and a victory for the cause of human self-determination. Q. I’m a little hazy on the rhetorical connection between Mogadishu and Vietnam. A. The analogy between Mogadishu and Vietnam is that they were defeats for U.S. imperialism and U.S. military action against people in poor countries that had none of the sophisticated technology or weaponry that the U.S. was able to mobilize against them. The analogy between Mogadishu and Iraq is simply that there was an invasion of Somalia and there was an invasion of Iraq. Q. Just so we’re clear: Do you welcome or wish for the deaths of American soldiers? A. No, precisely not.

Then there’s this closing exchange:

Q. If you had it to do over again, would you make the same remarks? A. There is a lesson here for all of us, far and wide, beyond my immediate circle of colleagues and this particular university. There is a message for all people who affirm the importance of free speech and the freedom of thought and expression. … Q. I guess my question is, would you have attempted to be clearer? A. Had I known that there was a devious yellow journalist from a tabloid newspaper among the audience, I certainly would have selected my words somewhat more carefully. But I would not have changed the message. Unfortunately, that message has been largely lost on people who were not at the event.

Karl Marx once said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce. It’s safe to say that Nicholas De Genova is the living embodiment of that cliché. P.S. I must give some props to the Filibuster here. I knew about this story from an independent source and expected to be the first in the Blogosphere to comment/link to it. Because they are actually up at 2 AM, they beat me to it. A tip of the cap and a place on the blogroll to them.

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