Monday, August 28, 2006

Noam Chomsky: You ask the questions: Interesting chat where Chomsky gives concise answers to various questions from around the globe. Predictably, a couple of doofus ask about Faurisson and Pol Pot.

"Do you regret mocking the accounts of refugees fleeing Pol Pot's Cambodia? LIJIA FREEMAN, NEW YORK

"CHOMSKY: The closest approximation to this ludicrous charge is that Edward Herman and I cited the best-informed sources then available on Cambodia, State Department intelligence and Fran├žois Ponchaud, who made the familiar point that testimony of refugees must be treated with caution. I certainly do not regret that. The record of deceit on this topic is huge. It has all been refuted, point by point, many times. This is one illustration of an interesting feature of intellectual culture. Periodically, there are atrocities that we can blame on official enemies - what Herman calls "nefarious atrocities", unlike those for which we share responsibility and can therefore easily mitigate or terminate. The latter are regularly downplayed or suppressed. The nefarious atrocities regularly elicit religious fervour, dramatic posturing, baseless claims to inflate them as much as possible - and fury if anyone does not blindly join the parade, but seeks to determine the truth, cites the most reputable authorities, and exposes the innumerable fabrications. The common reaction to such treachery is an impressive torrent of deceit. There is an instructive record, quite well documented in many cases. The reasons are not hard to explain. The topic should be pursued systematically, but that is unlikely, obviously."

The idea that Chomsky supports Pol Pot, or Mao or Stalin is transparently ludicrous, but a massive effort has gone on for decades now to attempt to pin this charge on him. Its a minor tragedy therefore that people have been misled and dont realise that Chomsky is a friend of the people.

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