Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I read that Lebanese political scientist, Elie Harik has died. He was professor of political science at Indiana University. He wrote a good book in Arabic on the Lebanese political elite (published in 1972, I believe). I have one story about him. Back in 1982 (around October), I was sitting with my MA's thesis adviser at American University of Beirut, Rashid Khalidi. After we discussed my draft, he asked me to join him at the faculty dining area at AUB. I went with him, and there was a group of professors. Harik was visiting Lebanon and he was there. As soon as Rashid and I sat, Harik bluntly asked Rashid why there were still resistance attacks on Israeli occupation forces in Lebanon. At the time, Palestinians in Lebanon were quite vulnerable, and it was quite rude that he would ask Rashid that question in front of others as if Rashid was personally responsible for the resistance. Back then, many Lebanese like Harik did not even think that the Lebanese themselves would mount resistance to Israeli occupation of their country. I had asked Rashid that day about his situation--as a Palestinian in Lebanon, and he told me that Elie Salem (who was then foreign minister) was helpful to Palestinian professors at AUB. I can't not believe that somebody French would wonder why there was French resistance to Nazi occupation. The question, I thought, was not why there was resistance, but why there would not be.