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Update: Students dismiss controversy over Chomsky speech

Posted by Ralph Ranalli April 11, 2007 02:38 PM

NEWTON

Students who attended left wing author and linguist Noam Chomsky's speech at Newton South High School this morning dismissed the controversy and hype over the event, calling it overblown.

The students said that Chomsky spoke for about an hour, mostly about US involvement in Iraq, but made no wildly radical statements. Chomsky called the Iraq war "illegal," the students said, and said there was a disconnect between American public opinion about the war and government policy. He also said that there were few real differences between the way Democrats and Republicans are approaching the war and that a small segment of wealthy elites is responsible for much of US policy, the students said.

Most of the students said that inviting Chomsky was a worthwhile exercise.

"We often say that we embrace difference of skin color and religion, but we donít often extend that to difference of opinion," said Michala Krug, a 16-year-old sophomore who called herself a Chomsky fan. "A school that is going to emphasize the importance of embracing difference is going to have to emphasize and respect different opinions. Itís often underestimated how much high school students notice and observe and care about the state of the world."

Abby Kaplan, a 17-year-old junior, said that while she found Chomsky's talk interesting, he didn't say anything that made her change her opinions.

"I donít think it was dangerous," she said. "I think it was good for us to hear different viewpoints."

-- Ralph Ranalli

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