PORTLAND — An audience of 1,000 people packed the Westbrook Performing Arts Center as Noam Chomsky, who’s known as the father of modern linguistics, discussed the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East.

In his 75-minute address Monday night, Chomsky said that while people of the Middle East demand the right to good education, health and employment, Americans, battered by an economic system that eludes most people’s grasp, seem to be resigned to a future without such rights.

Chomsky told the audience that there’s a growing gap between public will and public policy, and U.S. policy has to change.

The University of New England’s Center for Global Humanities sponsored the presentation by Chomsky, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who speaks frequently on geopolitical issues.

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