ISLAMABAD, November 5
(Internews): Noam Chomsky, one of America's most
prominent dissidents, well-known for his long career of protest against
US foreign policy - from the Vietnam War in the 1960s to the bombing of
Yugoslavia in 1999 - is arriving in Pakistan to share his views about
the contemporary situation.
A renowned professor of linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, with more than 30 political books to his credit, Chomsky
will express his views on "Terrorism and problems that beset the
contemporary world," in a keenly awaited lecture on November 26 at
The lecture has been organised by Dawn newspaper in collaboration with
the Eqbal Ahmed Foundation.
Prof Chomsky, many think, is to the present generation what Ibn Rushd,
Galileo, Descartes, Isaac Newton, and Bertrand Russell were to those of
Born in Philadelphia, Chomsky received his PhD from the University of
Pennsylvania. He joined the faculty at MIT in 1955.
Through a long series of books and articles beginning in 1957, he has
dissected such issues as US interventionism in the developing world, the
political economy of human rights and the propaganda role of the
Much interest has been built in the literary circles of Pakistan about
Chomsky's visit. For many an intellectual anarchist, Chomsky is regarded
as a strong proponent of individual freedoms who thinks it makes sense
to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and
domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them.
Unless a justification for them can be given, Chomsky feels they are
illegitimate, and should be dismantled to increase the scope of human
Such views, which made Chomsky controversial for the brokers of status
quo during the past fifty years, have been expounded in many books and
articles, including On Power and Ideology (1987) and World Orders, Old
and New (1994).
To get an idea what the man stands for, Chomsky's views on Sept 11
terrorist attacks are revealing enough how intellectual honesty is
maintained in analysing contemporary situations by sailing against
public opinion engineered by the powerful state structures.
What many saw in terms of the wide powers given to FBI and CIA in the
aftermath of the terrorist attack was an attack on the "Statute of
Liberty" by US administration as predicted by Chomsky.
The organisers have pulled a miracle in arranging the lecture in
Pakistan, as the professor is booked for two solid years to deliver
lectures. And, the lectures are not delivered to elite intellectuals
only but they are mostly listened to by a popular audience.
Despite worldwide acclaim of his intellect, interestingly enough Chomsky
has been left out in a way by the US media, a fact that the professor
Explaining the reason for this, Chomsky himself says: "Why should they
offer space to somebody who's trying to undermine their power, and to
expose what they do?"
The lecture in Islamabad is expected to bring forth an interesting view
of terrorism by Chomsky and how the war against terrorism will be
successful in the contemporary situation. Listening to recipient of the
1998 Japanese Kyoto Prize would be an eye-opener for many. -Internews