Just Nathan

A musical offering, in parts
January 25, 2003
Chomsky Beat

Noam Chomsky was interviewed by Francine Stock on BBC4 (one of the new digital stations). He talked about his optimism in the face of British and American aggression towards Iraq. He made the (obvious) comparison between the emperor and the pirate - the emperor being a pirate with a large fleet of ships. More interestingly, he placed the USA and UK in the mould of terrorists who are using the opportunity presented by 9/11 "to renew and intensify their violent actions.... an opportunity to clamp down further... on the civil liberties of their own citizens".

I'm terrified of the world around me.

Frightened sick and shaking that the bigots rule.

Because the world isn't "fair" and "rational"

And I'm powerless to light a candle strong enough to penetrate the murky gloom

"And darkness was upon the face of the deep"

Only Mahler saves me. I'm transported beyond the world to a place beyond care, suffering and where the music is intricate and disconnected from meaning - "there is no music on earth to compare with ours".

Back to my coffee.

Posted by nathan at January 25, 2003 09:33 PM


Well I might have known...

This is what you get for listening to people like Chomsky! Why not go the whole hog and read Gore Vidal?!!

I urge you to read Henry Kissinger's book: "Does America Need a Foreign Policy".

He may not be the nicest person in the world. But he has thought through some extremely complex issues and come up with some intriguing answers to the world's problems. Chomsky may not like them. And to be fair, I listen to Chomsky and I would love to believe him. Wouldn't it be lovely to believe that you could talk to a guy like Saddam? Sitting here in Oxford, its hard to accept that there are some very unreasonable people around.

But I speak as one who refused to believe that the World Trade Center had been crashed into on purpose. Right until I watched the second tower fall. And even then I couldn't really believe it.

People like Bush and Powell and Blair are taking actions that may seem abominable, unthinkable to people like you and I.

But then, you and I aren't paid to make sure that something like 9/11 or worse doesn't happen again.

I don't know if they're right, Nathan. But I DO believe that THEY truly believe that it is the only way to keep the 'free world' safe.

All that conspiracy theory stuff about pirates, civil liberties and and grabbing oil...I don't buy it.


Posted by: Pita at January 27, 2003 05:15 PM

It's very fair to say that Chomsky's views are not thoroughly thought through or balanced. This is because he isn't a free-thinker. One can predict his stand on any issue based upon his record, and political beliefs. He was bound to cast America and Britain in the role of the aggressor. But (unusually for a TV inteview) he was eloquent and not acerbic on this occasion, and he proposed alternate solutions, not acceptance of the Iraqi regime.

Nevertheless, in a world where there is such a distance between the expressed will of our leaders and that of the people they lead, and our inability as individuals to make a difference, people like Chomsky are necessary sirens, warning us of the consequences of our servility towards our warmongering masters.

Power corrupts.

As for Vidal and Kissinger, I'm happy to read them too.

Posted by: Nathan at January 28, 2003 07:22 AM

I forgot to mention, Pita, that the title of my rant was hardly a coded way of indicating my general approach to Chomsky.

Remember the 80's?

Posted by: Nathan at January 28, 2003 07:28 AM

I'll give you that last point. As to why our leaders seem to keen to tread where the majority dare not: I entertain only two possibilities:
1. That those who say democracies are doomed (at the very least to suffer horrendous attacks) are right: eventually we'll just get too soft to fight or to recognise a real threat until it is to late for far too many people.

2. The leaders know things that they aren't sharing with us. You can explain Bush (just about) by the rules of family vendetta (which is how most of the non-English-speaking world seems to understand his actions!). You can explain Rumsfeld by dumb-assedness. But two men whose views are persuading me at this point are Powell and Blair. Powell knows better than most the consequences of war. And Blair was until recently a paid-up member of the lily-livered left, and his wife persists in all manner of flakery. So what has got him so worked up?

I wish I had time to really understand this.

Surely the real problem with democracy is that the majority of us are too busy to pay real attention to what the leaders are doing?

(and yes, I remember little Jimmy Somerville)

Posted by: Pita at January 28, 2003 11:17 AM

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