I read in a recent editorial (“Dictators Welcome,” The Hoya, Jan. 16, 2009, A2) the following: “On Jan. 21, in a video conference hosted by the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, the Georgetown University Lecture Fund and the Georgetown International Relations Club, controversial Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi will address the Georgetown community. Al-Qaddafi will speak via satellite about the state of affairs between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

The piece continued: “In our view . the decision to invite al-Qaddafi should be applauded. The event will exemplify Georgetown’s commitment to international studies. Without a doubt, there is special value in hosting one of the most polarizing figures in world politics of late – even if the views he expresses are controversial or even offensive.” I assure you, however, that al-Qaddafi’s views are never offensive.

I believe that your view deserves applause because, as you argued, “Different perspectives promote a sort of intellectual growth impossible to attain in the classroom.” As Professor Hudson wrote in response to the criticism, “[Al-Qaddafi] has spoken in similar video conference format at Columbia, Oxford and Cambridge – why shouldn’t Georgetown students also have the opportunity if it is possible?”

In hosting al-Qaddafi, you will have the opportunity to listen to the most exemplary and genuine vision in our modern world. Moreover, it is most compatible with the values of American society, which holds high the values and relations of a human society that does not discriminate between “ethnic groups” or religions.

Particularly at this time, when these values are being revived with President Obama’s restoration of the American dream, this videoconference is fitting. Our world, as a result of the great technological boom in transportation and communications, has become a “small village” in which all peoples and nations must coexist and cohabitate cooperatively; this confirms that America has now become qualified to lead this stage of the history of the world. The upcoming event is a step in this direction.

Dr. Ibrahim Legwell

Legwell, Ali & Partners

Jan. 20, 2009

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