Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Karim Elsahy at One Arab World has a revealing interview with Chomsky, where he declares (please bear in mind this may well have been transcribed by someone whose first language isn't necessarily English):
Chomsky: Take the Unites States, now take that the American democracy doesn’t functions very well, but it certainly has the formal structure of a democracy. Its probably one of the most religious fanatic countries in the world. I mean how many people in Egypt think that humans were created 6000 years ago in their present form.

Elsahy: We have (mummified) proof that they weren’t actually.

Chomsky: What percentage of the people in Egypt, or in any country would believe that? It is about 50% in the United States. I mean the level of religious fundamentalism in the United States is beyond any country I know. And it has been for a long time, it goes back to the colonists; after all, this place we are sitting in has been conquered by religious extremists from England. The King waiving the holy book, claiming to be the children of Israel, exterminating the Malachite’s, and then as they spread across the continent a lot of it was Scotch-Irish and other religious fundamentalist. There have been repeated events in the United States called great awakenings and big religious revivals, which have enormous influence actually the most recent was in the 1950’s, that far back, and that’s when the “Under God” was put into the Pledge of Allegiance and “In god we trust” and we are having one right now. In Egypt for example, is there a problem about teaching evolution in schools?

Elsahy: I don’t believe it is actually taught in government schools.

Chomsky: I am surprised to hear that. There are democratic tendencies that come from all over the place.
So surprised that he immediately changed the subject because his line of argument turned out to be a dead-end and couldn't be used to bash America further, no?

And this quote is priceless:
I don’t see any inherent reason why the Muslim Brotherhood couldn’t be part of the majority part of the democratic culture. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. But that for Egypt to work out.
Unbelievable. Perhaps Uncle Chom can tell us all about how keen on democracy the Muslim Brotherhood's associate Yusuf Al Qaradawi is? Somehow, each of the following can be accommodated within Uncle Chom's vision of democracy:
  • Executing homosexuals to keep society pure

  • Killing apostates – those who have rejected Islam

  • Terrorism and suicide bombing of innocent civilians

  • Mutilating women’s genitals

  • Forcing women to wear the hijab

  • Domestic violence against women
(taken from Peter Tatchell's dossier, courtesy of Harry's Place)
If you've already watched all of your paint dry, read the whole thing. However, like absinthe, an excess of Chomsky can rot the brain from the inside out. But at least absinthe is fun while you're doing it.


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