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Professor Defends 'Mogadishus' Comment

In an article titled "The Most Hated Professor in America,"

Columbia University professor Nicholas De Genova says he has been under

continual siege since his "million Mogadishus" comment last month but asserts

that an attack on him is an attack on the anti-war movement.

Interviewed in this week's Chronicle of Higher Education, De Genova also

lashes out at Newsday, which first reported his remarks. De Genova, an

associate professor of anthropology and Latino studies, said "attacks against

me are ... attacks against the entire anti-war movement."

Asked about his statement that he would like to see "a million Mogadishus"

- referring to the 1993 incident in which 18 U.S. soldiers were killed in an

ambush in Somalia - he said he was calling for "a defeat for the U.S. war

machine and a victory for the cause of human self-determination."

For the first time, he said he would have used a different phrase if he had

known a reporter was in the audience of hundreds at Columbia's Low Library.

"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," he said.

Two weeks ago, 104 Republican members of Congress sent a letter to Columbia

President Lee C. Bollinger calling for the dismissal of the untenured De

Genova. Bollinger has said that while he was "shocked" by the comments, he

could not take any action against a professor for exercising the right to speak

his mind.

Some organizers of the March 26 "teach-in" at which De Genova made his

comments have criticized him strongly.

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