Chomsky chomps

By Dale Miller

Student apathy suffered a blow as an over capacity crowd packed MFH 162 like so many sheep.

The Trimedia presentation of John Junkerman’s Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky in our Times, commanded a huge turnout–most uncommon to the U of C. The film–a documentary of Chomsky’s post 9–11 speeches and interviews–left some students wanting more.

"The film was kind of a sleeper as far as Chomsky goes–no new material," said one student. "The real fun wasn’t until Keeley stepped up at the end, and caused a ruckus."

Hosted by Dr. Stephan Randall, Dean of Social Sciences, the panel consisted of Dr. David Swann, Dr. Arthur Clark, and Dr. James Keeley. Given free rein over topics and speech length, all panelists presented diverse points of view.

Clark–a professor in the Faculty of Medicine–supported Chomsky’s thoughts on the use of common sense and reason, in relation to responsible citizenship.

Swann–a peace activist–gave a humanitarian view from the Iraqi perspective. Iraqis, he said, viewed any potential U.S. liberation of Iraq as a furtherance of American oppression.

Keeley–head of the International Relations Department–gave a lengthy lecture on the technical and legal aspects of the UN’s weapons inspections in Iraq, specifically the treatment of dual purpose "equipment, plants and materials."

"If you have a vat to make cattle feed, you have a vat to make biological weapons," he said.

Keeley’s speech was cut short by a vocal audience member, claiming that Keeley was impeding his right to express his opinion.

"Evidently–to this audience member–opinion does not require information to back it up," said one embarrassed student. "The manner in which this protest was made was disgraceful."

Keeley concluded his portion of the discussion by explaining that the point of his speech was not to undermine questions, but to show the need to get clarity on the facts before any action or protest can take place.

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