NEW YORK – A Columbia University professor told thousands of students and faculty that he would like to see “a million Mogadishus” — referring to the 1993 ambush in Somalia that killed 18 Americans and inspired the movie “Black Hawk Down.”
The professor, Nicholas De Genova, also called for the defeat of U.S. forces in Iraq (news – web sites) and said, “The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military.” And he asserted that Americans who call themselves “patriots” are white supremacists.
De Genova’s hopes for the defeat of the United States were cheered by the crowd of 3,000 at the Wednesday night anti-war teach-in, Newsday reported. But his mention of the Somali ambush — “I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus” — was largely met with silence.
A call Friday to De Genova, 35, an anthropology teacher, was answered with a recording that said his voice mailbox was full.
The university said in a statement that De Genova “was speaking as an individual at a teach-in. He was exercising his right to free speech. His statement does not in any way represent the views of Columbia University.”
History professor Eric Foner, who helped organize the teach-in and spoke after De Genova, said Friday, “I disagreed strongly and I said so. If I had known what he was going to say I would have been reluctant to have him speak.”
He said De Genova was a last-minute invitee, was just one of about 25 speakers and “did not represent the general tone of the event, which was highly educational.”