Thursday, April 05, 2007

BYU on Al-Jazeera

Recently at BYU there has been quite a stir about the upcoming visit of Dick Cheney to speak at commencement. A group of faculty members, including a sociology professor who was auditing my Arabic 101 class, wrote an official letter of complaint to the administration of BYU, which then got forwarded up to Salt Lake.

Concerns of inviting Dick Cheney, mired in perjury scandals with Scooter Libby, Valerie Plume and the rest of the CIA, and possibly the Alberto Gonzales mess, in addition to faking information about Iraqi connections to 9/11, etc...

It's made quite a divide here, with students and faculty concerned about the implications of inviting such a speaker, the implications for the Church allowing and supporting him, etc. The First Presidency even made an official statement focusing on the neutrality of the situation, emphasizing that the invitation is not a political move.

Yesterday, a group of 200 BYU students staged a protest in front of the JFSB. They stood around holding signs while a rival protest group of College Republicans formed next to them. It was all really calm. I passed by them all day, going to class and work and stuff, and they didn't do much.

However, the aftermath of that little protest has been kind of cool. An article was put on CNN's webpage last night. NPR did a spot on it too. The coolest thing, though, is that it also got on the front page of Al-Jazeera. A quiet little protest of 200 people got front page attention!

Although the reasons are lame, BYU got its 15 minutes of fame in the Arab world. However, reading the comments left by various readers, it seems that no one cares about BYU - they all complain about Bush and Cheney getting mad at Nancy Pelosi for going to Syria and stuff like that. Oh well.

At least we got mentioned!