Is there such a thing as humanitarian intervention? It’s a question public intellectual and activist Noam Chomsky pondered during a September lecture that packed the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance’s MainStage. Humanitarian intervention, Chomsky argued, has become inherently political, rarely carried out without ulterior motives. In the past, he said, the argument was that it “was necessary to carry out the interventions so that the world would be safe.” Yet by 1990, “the pretext was gone.”
Chomsky led off a series of lectures in the fall that were part of the Class of ’71 Public Affairs Forum, which explores humanitarian issues and action. Other featured speakers were Anat Biletzki, a well-known Israeli peace activist; Mike Wilson, a Native American humanrights activist; and Fiona Terry, noted for her work with Doctors Without Borders and the International Committee of the Red Cross.