Fordham Students Join in Protests Against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Students Take Action to Oppose Ahmadinejad’s Address to United Nations


Ahmadinejad’s address to the U.N. was delayed by Qaddafi’s 90 minute speech. (Don Wright /MCT)

Published: October 8, 2009

On Sept. 23, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, spoke before the U.N. General Assembly. In response, many protesters—among them students from Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC)—came to reinvigorate disputes of Ahmadinejad’s legitimacy as president.

The questioning of Ahmadinejad’s legitimacy has been at the forefront of international news since the June 12 presidential elections. During the month of Ramadan the protests visibly ceased; however, on the last day of Ramadan, protesters resumed their efforts. On Sept. 19, as Ahmadinejad spoke before a body of followers in the capital of Tehran, outside rallies  ensued.

Ahmadinejad was scheduled to speak between 5 and 5:30 p.m. with an allotted time of 15 minutes.

On the morning of Sept. 23, Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi breeched his allotted time of 15 minutes and spoke for 90 minutes. As a result, Ahmadinejad’s own speech was delayed until 7:30 PM.

When he finally spoke, Ahmadinejad said that colonialism and capitalism are dying. He commented on the oppression of Middle Eastern peoples like the Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghanis and called attention to ecological destruction.

Ahmadinejad advised his U.N. peers, “A government may last with blasphemy but never with oppression.” He explicitly affirmed the legitimacy of his presidency.

“Our nation has gone through a glorious and full democratic election” and the Islamic Republic of Iran is “one of the most democratic …governments in the world,” he said.

Sia Tsolas, FCLC ’12, a Greek international student, said, “With hell breaking loose over the summer, I came to be really affected by what the news was showing.”

In accordance with a decree by a megaphone-wielding demonstrator, dozens of protesters donned masks over their faces—portraits of a young Iranian woman named Neda who was killed while demonstrating against the election of Ahmadinejad.

Behind the gates in front of 1st Ave. and on 47th St., demonstrators repeatedly chanted, “Never again Neda and Sohrab!” Tsolas explained the meaning of the chant. “Well, recently we’ve learned of more and more Iranian youths who’ve disappeared because of protesting,” she said. “[Sohrab] was another one of them, 18 years old too.”

DJ Ryan, FCRH ’13, said, “I was amazed at what I saw on television about the protests.” As a result of watching footage of the Green protests in Iran, Ryan said that he observed that the “movement was one of change” and that “it means something.”