Down Memory Lane
on Jan 03 2017

Congratulations to the Class of 1966


At the Marine Corps University outside Washington, D.C. where I taught and directed graduate national security seminars, there was a saying that goes like this:  “Pain is Temporary – Change is for Ever.”  The gist of this saying is that pain is often forgotten while happy times and memories live forever.  This is how I recall the years that I spent at Brummana High School (BHS) between 1960 and 1966.  

I, like other classmates, was happy but struggling with adolescence and identity both positive and negative—a necessary step of growing up and facing the unknown.  BHS was more a community than a school.  We drew inspiration from one another and from our esteemed teachers, principals and staff, setting in motion bonds that proved to be strong and resilient against great odds.  Our love for one another nourished our souls during years of separation and self-imposed exile after graduation in 1966. 

Lebanon’s tragic civil war scattered us like autumn leaves but at the same time, strengthened our resolve to rise above sectarianism, confessionalism, and hate, and strengthened our will to counter these evils.  My class of 1966 was all in the same trench together but it was not war that we fought and continue to fight today; it is rather the quest to remain faithful to our joint beliefs in coexistence, tolerance, and interfaith dialogue—traits that were instilled in us and internalized as a result of Quakerism. This is why this 50th anniversary of our graduation is a special one for me.   It means we have now reached a plateau which so many others before us have traversed.  It also means that we must reflect on life itself like never before and renew our commitment and faith in one another because of life’s twists and turns.  

As we all face the inevitable future, we must continue to hope that the values that we gained during our BHS years will not perish but will be sustained by the new generation of BHS scholars and learned men and women.  I am at this moment reminded of a great classical Athenian statesman who, when addressing his fellow citizens, wanted nothing more than to remind them of the virtues of their ancestors as their country was facing adversity and misfortune: “ if we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition. The freedom which we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life.”

Down Memory Lane

There were many happy times at BHS.  I recall looking forward to the fancy dress parties and the occasional school-sponsored dances.  Holding a girl in my arms and dancing romantically “slow” was heavenly.  One activity I and others always looked forward to were the sporting events including the annual BHS Field Day (lots of delicious cakes made from scratch from Mrs. Baz’s kitchen) and competing with other schools in basketball, football, volleyball, and track and field.  This was BHS’s hour of glory as we all joined in singing the school song.  Mr. Albert was key in my realizing the balance between mind and body.  Thanks to him, I am still running and exercising today and never shy away from physical or mental competition or challenges.
Our very favourite school competitor and one that partly influenced my decision to come to America besides American movies (weekend American movies on school ground were really cool even though the technology was so primitive that the movies came in separate reels that had to be changed which meant annoying interruptions especially during romantic interludes) was the American Community School (ACS).   Here is where we all got our first taste of real American culture, cheerleading, and spirit.  The American students at ACS fascinated us.  They even had a machine that dispensed coca cola bottles and American candy bars and snacks.  Wow!      

I will never forget how cold our dorm rooms were in winter because there was no central heating in them to the best of my recollection.  We used to smuggle electric heaters into the dorm rooms, warm our beds with rubber hot water bottles, and wear two or three layers of underwear, especially at night.  To the best of my recollection, my dorm roommates in junior year were Ahmad Barbir (my primary partner in crime), Tariq Ba’Jour, Maher Beydoun, Ghassan Sallah, and Nakhleh Bou Nakhleh, each with a single narrow bed and each with a different if not unique personality.  All crammed in one room!  Imagine.  But the most memorable time I had during my BHS years were the various private group scrumptious lunch and dinner parties that I and others helped organize off campus in different towns and cities throughout Lebanon.  Our Lebanon must have been the most beautiful place on earth—a paradise, and BHS was and still is undoubtedly part of that unforgettably special place.       


Kamal. A. Beyoghlow ‘66, PhD

Dr. Beyoghlow retired recently from U.S. Government service after 31 years of service.   His last government assignment was with the U.S. Department of State where he was its Principal Representative to the President Periodic Review Board for closing the Naval Detention Facility at Guantanamo, Cuba.  He is a former State Department official and taught at many U.S. war colleges and civilian universities, including UC Berkeley (his alma mater), Stanford, and Princeton.  He is currently Professor of International Security at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University and Outstanding Professor of Government at American University, in Washington, D.C.  He is the recipient of numerous civilian fellowships, grants, and U.S. government awards and high-level commendations.  He is an international consultant and advisor on security issues worldwide.          



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