May 09, 2006

Chomsky in Beirut

I had planned on attending the lecture of Naom Chomsky at AUB on Tuesday. But it seems there were quite a few people that had the same thing in mind, because when I arrived at the AUB Assembly Hall, where he was speaking, the square in front of it was packed, the stairs leading up to the auditorium were full, and nobody was moving. I settled for a spot in front of a screen outside (nothing visible since it was broad daylight), and a set of speakers, but couldn’t hear anything either, so I gave up after a while.
I’ll try again on Wednesday, when he does a lecture on linguistics.

For those not familiar with Chomsky; his name appeared and reappeared and appeared again in just about any university Masters course I have ever followed. He’s been in the public eye since the early sixties. He’s well-known for his research on linguistics (how children aquire languages), but he’s also quite a famous American philosopher, and one of the most influential left-wing critics of American foreign policy. The reason why his talk was attended so well (I think) is not because we are a breed of educators and linguistics here in Lebanon. What makes the man interesting is that he is an American who is basically anti-American policies, and a Jew who is anti-Israeli policies. People like that are greatly loved here. And for a good reason, I might add. His talks are quite famous.
Norman Finkelstein was here about two years ago, (another ‘self-hater according to Jews), he wrote about the Holocaust Industry, and his talk was equally well attended.

I would have loved to see Chomsky, because he is been linked to the educational field since the 60’s (with flowers in your hair). Maybe tomorrow.

Walking back through the AUB campus brings back an atmosphere of the 60’s, American Universities and California. Mind you, I did not consiously live through the 60’s (too young), and never went to an American university (did spend time in California though) but I think that the atmosphere of those times must have been similar. At least this is how I perceive the 60’s. A little Mediterranean, warm mild weather, late afternoon – early evening, young people hanging around with friends, playing, having fun, all in the name of learning and changing the world. I wouldn't mind Eddie attending AUB, but that will not be any time soon.
I made some pictures while walking through the campus. They've got some amazing trees there.

Life is good in Beirut.

1 comment:

Theo said...

Life is good in Beirut, yes...
IF you have the money...
A friend of mine wants to study so badly in AUB, but as he is paying everything himself, with only a job in Virgin Megastore, he can forget it.
He's in Lebanese University. He's fine, nice clothes, an appartement, but no AUB.
AUB is for the prime, and should not be compared to 'Beirut', as a whole...
But you know that!