Benazir’s assassination may exacerbate unrest in Sindh by Noam Chomsky

Dandelion Salad

by Noam Chomsky
February 02 2008

Noam Chomsky, a professor of Linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is a well-known writer, thinker and political activist. In this interview that he gave to Business Recorder’s and Aaj TV’s Fahad Faruqui Professor Chomsky analyses Pakistan’s political scenario, its foreign policy and relationships – over the years – with the West.

He also talks about Democracy and its abuse worldwide. He comes up with some solutions with a view to making this world a better place. The following are the excerpts:

Q: One of the characteristics of a failed state that you highlight in your book -Failed States – is America’s increasing failure to protect its own citizens in relation to war-on-terror. Can you draw a parallel with how Pakistan has participated in this global push and has suffered the consequences in the form of increasing numbers of suicide bombings?

A: I’m afraid to say Pakistan is the paradigm example of a failed state and has been for a long time. It has had military rule, violence and oppression. Since the 1980’s, it has undergone an extremely dangerous form of radical Islamisation, which has undermined a good part of the society, under the Zia-ul-Haq tyranny.

Now it is in danger of collapsing, there is a rebellion in Balochistan, the FATA territories are out of control and always have been – and it is getting worse. It is possible that the Bhutto assassination might increase the severe unrest in Sindh, where there has been plenty of oppression, and this may lead to another secessionist movement.

The are recent polls of Pakistan, good polls, which show that the Pakistani population is in favour of Democracy, possibly with an Islamic flavour, but not this one of oppression, but those hopes are not even near being realised in the existing political and social system.

Q: Don’t you feel that democratic regimes can at times be authoritarian?

A: That is when they do not function. If you have formal democratic structure, but they do not function, yes, it can be authoritarian, it can be totalitarian! The old Soviet Union also called itself a democracy.

Q: Can a Democracy with an Islamic flavour be acceptable to the world – especially its Western Allies?

A: It doesn’t matter if it’s acceptable to the Western countries, what matters is what is acceptable to Pakistanis. The Western countries would like to rule the world, but they have no authority to do that. I think they have a lot of problems with their own democracies, for example, take Iraq again, I said that the voice of Iraqis is missing in these reviews, but I could add that the voice of Americans is also missing.

What Americans want doesn’t matter, the large number of Americans agree with Iraqis that US forces should withdraw from Iraq. Americans are not as civilised as the Iraqis are in recognising that the US aggression is to blame for the atrocities.

The US citizens don’t accept the professed American ideals to the extent that the Iraqis do, but that is result of propaganda, deception and so on, but their voice matters. This is not the only example in which US policy is radically divorced from the public opinion.


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