Monday, December 21, 2020

AUB: To have WHAT more abundantly?

La lil 10% la lil imperyaliye
(Artwork by Tarek Chemaly from the series Abou Fouad)

Well, the AUB motto is (and it is etched in marble on its main gate): "So that they may have life, and have it more abundantly"... The title of this post comes from an article in the sadly now dead Campus Newspaper when there was an open clash between the students and the Internal Security Forces (circa 1994) at the AUB grounds due to tuition hike. Yesterday the same scenario happened it seems. This time the clash was with the riot police.

Like everything, there was the students' version (inflammatory in tone), the AUB version (completely antagonistic and exonerating to the University), the armed forces version (no official statement), and the truth. Do note that 800 AUB employees were sacked not long ago, although some of the said employees did go back voluntarily after the August 4 explosion to help with the massive scale of the hurt people (without pay mind you).

This being Lebanon one cannot isolate problems, the devaluation of the currency, while some bits of the economy still work on the 1515 Liras peg while others are dealing with the banks' 3900 and others with the black market rate of more than 8000 makes it a total Capernaum. That the economy is not just teetering at the edge of the abyss but rather being in the total abyss makes any decision - even if financial survival depended on it - very politically tricky, and no doubt, want it or not AUB is politically connected on all levels (see here and here).

To be clear though, although AUB is my Alma Mater, I am - apart from giving the occasional lecture there based on kind invitations - very far removed from the atmosphere. But what is certainly true is that - with MEA only accepting fresh Dollars for their tickets - the point of no return has been reached in Lebanon. 

Interestingly one of the most famous protest slogans "la lil 10% la lil imperyaliye" comes from the famous semester long the AUB students held in 1974. No for the 10% no for imperialism....