Sunday, May 14, 2006

Way to Go Chomsky

Noam? I mean na3am? Arguably the most quoted living intellectual figure in the world today gets deftly swayed by God's personal party leader and spokesman Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah? It looks like the Sayyed's inspired rhetoric overwhelmed Chomsky's linguistic erudition. Or did Nasrallah just stun him with his divine bearded allure? Either way, it matters not. Noam may very well be one of the most influential thinkers of our time, but let's face it, Sayyed Hassan is Sayyed Hassan, and the great Noam Chomsky, as it turns out, is only human. And a seriously gullible one at that.


Blogger Ramzi said...

"Allo bta3rfo? Allo eh,
Allo m3eshro? Allo la2,
Allo laken ma bta3rfo..."

2:37 AM  
Blogger Jamal said...

i missed it, did he pump his fist and scream "Labbaik ya Nasrullah"?

5:18 AM  
Blogger jij said...

Chomsky's position is very honorable and very brave. Nothing gullible about it. He sees the Hizballah weapon thing as part of the American attempt to eliminate all opposition to its plans for the region. Sorry Fouad, but we have to disagree on this one. Long live the great Chomsky. I wish more Lebanese had as much sense as him ;)

8:35 AM  
Blogger JoseyWales said...

Enough about Chomsky, jij.

We are an insignificant country, recently visited by an insignificant fart.

We have serious problems, and Chomsky is nowhere near the answer (to anything).

I wish more Lebanese had as much sense as him

And I wish Lebanese/Arab intellectuals would start reading serious thinkers, not radical-chic (but passe) idiots.

9:04 AM  
Blogger jij said...

Joseywales, what can I say. "insignificant fart" and "radical-chic (but passe) idiot"; such robust arguments. Try harder please. Any Western intellectual who opposes the American invasion of Irak, Israel's treatment of Palestinians, the Western interference in Lebanon, neo-liberal globalization, etc etc is fine by my book. Chomsky is certainly one of them. But that's just me.
But do give me the names of your "serious thinkers". Perhaps then all shall be revealed.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Fouad said...

jij, I have nothing against Chomsky per se, but coming out with a statement as barefaced and lopsided as supporting Hizballah's stance and weapon-bearing policy is ludicrous. The situation in Lebanon is much too complex and precarious even, for such irresponsible declarations to be loosely made. It's also clear (to me) that either Chomsky has absolutely no understanding of the Lebanese political dynamic, or that he couldn't care less about it, his main concern being to challenge the current US agenda for the middle east.

11:01 AM  
Blogger jij said...

Ya Fouad I wonder if you would have had the same reaction if he had said that they should hand their weapons over. And besides, his statement was not that one-sided. He just said that from the point of Hezbollah, retaining the weapons is a valid claim. Let me tell you where I stand: Everybody in Lebanon makes me sick. Both camps induce nausea in my being. The question is which causes more disgust in my being. The answer is clear for me (a person who leans towards the left): There is nothing (NOTHING) redeeming about the Hariri-Joumblat-Jaajaa camps. They represent everything I despise: Ultra-capitalism, feudalism, corruption, intellectual bankruptcy, sectarianism, racism… They stand for nothing progressive. AND they are aligned to the United States (honoring John Bolton, for gods sake). Now, am I not disgusted by Hizballah? Sure I am. They’re a fundamentalist religious party. They are regressive people. But at least they stand up for something I as a secular/leftist person can relate to. They are opposed to the Israeli-American project for the Middle East. But that’s just me, again. Those are my own ideas. In a nutshell, nothing redeeming about one camp, some redeeming stuff about the other. This should tell you why the communist party is standing with them. It’s just the natural position among the two.
Now, Fouad, why don’t you tell me, where do you stand? ;)

11:42 AM  
Blogger the perpetual refugee said...

Why is it usually that people who live outside a zone are normally the most outspoken?

I remember watching the Doha Debates on BBC and it focused on Islam. It had a panel of Muslims from the U.S., Britain, Kuwait, and a couple more Arab/Muslim countries. It was the U.S. and British Muslims (one American convert, the other a Pakistani born in London) that were ultra-extremist anti-Western fundamentalists while the other Arab Muslims were moderate voices of tolerance. Very strange.

I wonder if Jij would still feel the same if Jij lives under Hizbullah's rules.

11:58 AM  
Blogger jij said...

So now I'm an ultra-extremist anti-Western fundamentalist? Please. I've lived in Lebanon all my life, and I'm as outspoken inside Lebanon as I am outside Lebanon. I've made it perfectly clear I am no supporter of Hizballah, but if you wish to label me as such, go ahead. It seems there are only two possible positions in this world.

12:04 PM  
Blogger JoseyWales said...


Posted brief arguments elsewhere, getting tired.

You hailed Chomsky cuz he agrees with your views on the US. So do millions of others from Peshawar to MIT, literate and less literate, is that a reason to hail them too?

My point, is that you (and others elsewhere) keep saying he is an impressive intellectual and thinker etc

We are not talking linguistics here, and the burden of proof is on you.

On serious thinking: What is Chomsky's main new insight/contribution to politics and/or economics?

On morals: I cannot respect a man who sided with the Khmer Rouge, Mao, and now Bashar and Ahmadinejad, whatever the convoluted argumentation.

12:26 PM  
Blogger the perpetual refugee said...

I didn't call you an ultra-extremist. I did however ponder how extremist movements gather supporters from outside their geography. I've met Egyptians that just love Hizbullah. When I asked them how they would feel if al ukhwan al Muslimeen in Egypt decided they needed to form their own militia to protect the Sinai from the evil Zionists, they'd freak out. It just seems strange that it's ok if it's over there and not here. That's my only point.

12:28 PM  
Blogger jij said...

Joseywales, the burden of proof is hardly on me. I think Chomsky is important because he is a very well established figure with progressive ideas. He is famous within the system, his voice is influencial and it reaches millions; that is important. I don't have the luxury to be picky. Progressive people (anywhere) are rare these days, in Lebanon more than anywhere else. I'm still waiting for your list of serious intellectuals, by the way.

12:35 PM  
Blogger jij said...

Yes perpetual refugee but I was wondergin how that would apply to me? The implications of your post were pretty obvious.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Fouad said...

Walaw ya jij. Don't you know where I stand? should I spell it out for you? Yes of course I'd like to see Hizballah disarmed, not because I support the US foreign policy agendas (which I vociferously don't), but because, not too long ago, Nasrallah himself voiced it on national television and at the top of his lungs (something to this effect) "we will snatch the souls and the heads of those who try to snatch our weapons from us [...] Lebanon the land, the cause, the country, the..the.., a little more and it'll be Lebanon the God..". These are the words of the man with some redeeming qualities. This is what he stands for. He does not even BELIEVE in Lebanon, or the lebanese identity. There is NOTHING about this man that is redeeming. Anybody who puts in question our lebanese heritage and identity is a fallen angel. The Hariri-Jumblat-Jaajaa camp is no better, but their vice carries a different face. And don't get me started on that power-thirsty loony tune character Michel Aoun. At any rate, where I stand jij is where the absolute interest of my country requires me to stand. To me Lebanon comes first, as do those who serve its cause and put it ahead of their own petty personal, or secular global agendas.

1:05 PM  
Blogger jij said...

Fouad I think the complete quote is "we will snatch the souls and the heads of those who try to snatch our weapons from us by force". I remember that Annahar "forgot" to insert the "by force" part in thier article. I beleive that's the statment you're talking about. It makes it completely different. Anyway, great, let Hizballah disarm, but I would want to see it disarm following a national concessus. Let the Lebanese agree, then they'll be forced to disarm. Ba3den you (and me) might not like what he believes in, but you don't have the right to say he doesen't believe in Lebanon. There's no one Lebanon unfortunately. You have yours, others have theirs. You have to deal with it.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Fouad said...

Yes of course jij, I forget. There's the Lebanon that answers to Syria and Iran. I'll try and deal with that.

1:30 PM  
Blogger jij said...

See Fouad? It didn't take much ;) This kind of discourse won't take you anywhere. They'll just say that the other Lebanon answers to even worse people. Show me someone who is answering to no one, and I'll follow him. Go ahead, I'm waiting ;)

1:32 PM  
Blogger Fouad said...

And your discourse will, jij? maybe, what do I know. But in answer to your question, my "fill the dumpsters" post, a wide cleaning sweep, and let the country be taken over by a republic of bloggers ;)

1:47 PM  
Blogger jij said...

Fouad, I'm just giving you my honest opinion. I am not providing solutions, just an opinion. I am a biased person, I'm an old-fashioned anti-colonialist, trying to fit somewhere in the Lebanese scene (and failing). I'm just saying, some are algined to Iran/Syria, some are aligned to USA/Saudi Arabia/God knows who else. They're both aligned, so what's your beef with the Iran/Syria people? Now if we go down your clwaning path, I think out of the 4 million, about 3.6 to 3.8 million have to be "cleaned". It takes a strong stomach and some nerves. Once we start we have to finish the job. Are you up to it? I'm not ;)

1:55 PM  
Blogger JoseyWales said...

OK juj, so Chomsly is "progressive", in other words a leftist. Wow I am very impressed, let's all genuflect.

You want a list: Mises, Hayek, Popper, Berlin, Milton Friedman, Allan Bloom, William James, JS Mill, Tocqueville, Quine, Tarski,.....

Still waiting for your great Chomsky insight into economics/politics.

2:03 PM  
Blogger jij said...

JoseyWales my dear friend, one more time, Chomsky is an intellectual (leftist yes) of great repute, who issued a statement I value immensely. He is a consistent critic of imperialism. He doesn’t need to establish a new line of political theory for me to respect him. I respect what he stands for, and I value his stances. I think he'll be devastated by the fact that you don't value him, but I'm sure he'll manage to find a modicum of peace in his old age nonetheless.
Now, for your list, I am only familiar with some of these people, and I seriously doubt they've all written about the Middle East and/or American foreign policy. Or is it a list of pioneers in western thought in general? Are you just dropping names or are they all relevant? In any case, I hear Paul Wolfowitz was hugely inspired by Allan Bloom. That Allan Bloom must really be a "serious" thinker then. Is that the kind of political thinker you go for? Neo-conservative catalysts?
Tell you what. How about you select your favorite article or essay by your favorite writer about the Middle East/ American foreign policy, and I promise I'll read it and tell you what I think? But you can do it tomorrow, I know you're tired ;)

2:48 PM  
Blogger hillz said...

wow wow...
shabeib raw2o shway!
for me, i'm getting sick of this 2-only-available-parties. if i'm not with those, i would be by default with the others? what the hell? am i just a NUMBER in demonstrations??
about hizballah, i wonder if resistance wasn't a "shi3a" thing, would we have reach such a stinky situation?? (maybe we have to ask syrians who used to shoot or capture leftist resistance men when returning back from their operations)
on the other hand, syrian-times-rules don't apply anymore..unfortunately, people's "representatives" must all agree either to go further in resistance or to stop otherwise resistance won't succeed to fight on two borders.
PS: i didn't vote in last elections.
last but not least, american extremism leads to islamic extremism in the region...

3:05 PM  
Blogger Ramzi said...

"Chomsky and Nasralla sitting in a tree,
K I S S I N G..."

No but seriously, did you hear the one where Chomsky and Nasralla walk into a bar?
No wait, that's not right either.

3:27 PM  
Blogger JoseyWales said...


You're just dropping names. If they agree with you, they are "respected and bright". And if not, they must be Wolfie 's friends which is bad enough for you.

I guess you epitomize today's Arab intellectuals: US-Bush= bad, everything else = good.

Chomsky criticizes imperialism, that's really fresh. Where was he when the Soviets were roaming the earth? Where is he on Syrian imperialism in Lebanon?

He's a real "progressive" on human rihgts? Look up Khmer Rouge, Castro, Iranian Mullahs and Saddam....

The people I cited you earlier are read today and very relevant 50 years or more after they wrote.

If US imperialism is Chomsky's tune, it's as irrelevant today as it was when Lenin and Rosa Lux were boring us with it, before Chomsky was even born.

Finally the ultimate test, success versus failure:

Chomsky's ideas are pretty much the same as those embraced by mainstream Arab thinkers of the past few decades, in and out of government. We know the results. Keep the tradition alive, dear "progressive", keep it up.

6:31 PM  
Blogger jij said...

I will try my best to keep it up, dear Clint ;) I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion. Right/Left is better than Christian/Muslim I guess. I'll keep my Chomsky, you have fun with your Bloom (ahem), or whatever you're currently enlightening yourself with. But please do send me the link to that article whenever you want. I am genuinely interested. I don’t give up on people easily ;)

7:12 PM  
Blogger hashem said...

gullible? insignificant fart?
Are we talking about the same Chomsky I, and the whole world, know?
Only because he said something we don't like?
I'm so surprised.

8:33 PM  
Blogger JoseyWales said...

jij and hashem,

Sorry jij, I give you 20 names you pick on Bloom. No links, go do your own research.

Chomsky, is great oooh aaah, the "same" Chomsky? Yeah the "same". Stop repeating his name without any validation.

He's great according to you becuase he said US is wrong blah blah. Michael Moore and the Dixie Chicks said the same thing, should I be reading their works?

I repeat: quote one Chomsky original idea/sentence to show us why we need to listen.

5:58 AM  
Blogger FZ said...

here's Chomsky, from an essay in 1967 on the Vietnam War in the London Review of Books:

"Intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their causes and motives and often hidden intentions. In the Western world, at least, they have the power that comes from political liberty, from access to information and freedom of expression. For a privileged minority, Western democracy provides the leisure, the facilities, and the training to seek the truth lying hidden behind the veil of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class interest, through which the events of current history are presented to us."

Chomsky visited Sabra and Shatila too, but where are the pictures and mention of that? It would be a great photo-op for re-education of a public blinded to history.

6:40 AM  
Blogger FZ said...

for accuracy's sake... actually it was the New York Review of Books. :)

6:42 AM  
Blogger jij said...

joseywales I am done with you. "Go do your research", you're quite hilarious. Have a nice day.

8:46 AM  
Blogger hashem said...

I was talking to Fouad as you are not worth talking to. Go learn how to talk to people.

10:12 PM  

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