Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The President of AUB speaks: he now wants freedom of expression for students

Fadlo Khuri, the new president of AUB, didn't wait long before proving that he would not be a good president of AUB. Not only in reversing previous appointments at the school, and not only in the succumbing to American political pressures from US politicians (he in fact admitted that he received phone calls from two US senators protesting the appointment of Steven Salaita--imagine the uproar of a president of a US university were to receive phone calls of protest from US senators regarding an academic appointment) but he has now offered a pearl of wisdom of what happened at AUB yesterday.  Some supporters of right-wing fascist militia, Lebanese Forces, wanted to celebrate the ill-cited Bashir Gemayyel. Naturally, that brought in intense protests from inside and outside the campus, largely from the secular SSNP.  And armed goons of Nadim Gemayel (son of Bashir) showed up on campus and beat up a student.  And this is what Fadlo wrote in his letter to the campus today: "AUB supports the freedom of expression of all students, and commits to provide an atmosphere that encourages and celebrates diverse political and cultural perspective".  You want to give me the "Freedom of expression" thing now? Are you serious? When you continue to deprive the students of AUB from the rights to political expression? When the student government at AUB is weaker than it was back in 1970? When students are deprived of basic political rights? Also, Mr. Fadlo: in the US, no one is allowed to celebrate Usama Bin Laden or other terrorists on US college campuses.  No one in the US is allowed to celebrate the terrorists of ISIS.  Do you understand? The freedom of expression here is limited and curtailed in those instances, just as Germany does not allow celebration of Hitler on German college campuses. Bashir Gemayel is the local Hitler and Bin Laden combined for many Lebanese. Do you get it now?