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The AUB: from Arab nationalism to Ralph Lauren

May 10th, 2009 · 3 Comments · Lebanon

A brilliantly written article on the demise of student politics at the American University of Beirut.

The photo is mine. This is AUB Main Gate. And yes, that is a Hummer parked outside. You know, the same vehicles that the American army use in their occupation of Iraq.


The AUB then…

“The first ever Arab nationalist organisation was founded at the AUB in 1918, and the underground movement subsequently created by one of its advisers, Constaine Zurayk, influenced a new generation of intellectuals, who went on to play prominent roles after graduation in their individual countries’ nationalist struggles.”

And now…

“Ralph Lauren-clad undergraduates swarm the spot where Leila Khaled, a Palestinian commando notorious for successfully hijacking a TWA plane, once gave an address, one cannot but wonder, are the AUB’s days as the intellectual crucible of Arab politics behind it?”

You can read the whole of University Challenge here.


3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 abu kareem // May 10, 2009 at 5.37 am

    My niece, who grew up mostly in Europe, spent a year in AUB in 2004 and was turned off by the superficiality of much of the student body. She noted the large number of students, men and women, walking around campus with a bandaid across the bridge of their nose indicative of a recent nose job… Can’t have an Arab nose if you are driving a Hummer!!!

  • 2 Qifa Nabki // May 10, 2009 at 12.30 pm


    I can’t help but wonder if the article isn’t missing the point. Why would the AUB continue to be a theatre of 1970’s-style Arab nationalist politics when Arab nationalism is pratically dead?

    Look around the region. With the exception of Syria, who is really championing an Arab nationalist cause?

  • 3 Jonathan // May 10, 2009 at 2.08 pm

    Taking after the American University in Dubai:

    “Car show outside, fashion show inside”

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