To the Editor:
Many law students may still be unaware that the Harvard Kennedy School of Government hosted Mohammad Khatami, the former President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, to speak on the subject of “Ethics of Tolerance in the Age of Violence.” On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C, the Kennedy School, rather than hosting one of the many heroes of that day or the conflicts that followed it, chose instead to invite Mr. Khatami, the former leader of a country that exports terrorism in a prodigious amount.
Mr. Khatami is a moderate in the way only a member of the Iranian regime could be. During his administration, Mr. Khatami supervised the clandestine development of weapons of mass destructions, supported suicide bombers who have killed countless innocents, and provided the weapons that Hezbollah used against Israeli towns and villages in the recent Lebanese war. Mr. Khatami has contributed greatly to our current age of violence, and he is not qualified to hold forth on the topic of tolerance.
The Kennedy School is of course well within its prerogative to invite anyone it sees fit to speak at that institution. As is typical of liberal academia, however, the School of Government, in a seemingly unending effort to discern shades of gray, appears to have forgotten that some things remain black and white. If we are truly engaged in a Third World War, its beginning was not with the attacks that occurred five years ago, but rather in the winter and spring of 1979 when Islamic radicals took control of Iran.
For the past 25 years, those radicals and their government have continuously created and exported the hatred and xenophobia that fuels our enemies. The Kennedy School should not now give comfort to that regime, and we in the Harvard Law School Republicans condemn the decision to bring Mr. Khatami to this campus.
Brett TalleyPresident of Harvard Law Republicans