Chomsky – again

Chomsky has published a further rebuttal to the Guardian interview of two weeks ago. Now that he has seen the paper copy, he is horrified that the photographs used to illustrate it included 1) a picture of himself with John Pilger, 2) a picture of himself with Fidel Castro, and 3) a picture showing him, according to the Guardian, “in Laos en route to Hanoi to give a speech to the North Vietnamese.” Chomsky feels that this depicts him as “worshipping commie-rats and such terrible figures as John Pilger”.

Someone should take him aside and explain gently that the vast majority of Guardian readers think that US policy on Cuba is completely wrong, and that the US policy on the Vietnam War was also completely wrong, and that therefore to most Guardian readers the fact that Chomsky was once seen with Castro and on another occasion “in Laos en route to Hanoi to give a speech to the North Vietnamese” would actually be rather to his credit! (It’s also a bit difficult to see why he objects to the second caption as an “invention”, given that from his own account he actually was in Laos en route to Hanoi to speak – OK, more than one speech – to the North Vietnamese.)

And it’s even more difficult to understand why he feels tarnished by being linked with Pilger; they clearly have much in common. Pilger has written for the Guardian in the past, though he seems to have fallen out with them over a review of his latest book, and was interviewed in an article about food in war zones in last weekend’s Observer. (The verb “pilgerize” was an invention of the British right, not the Guardian.)

Chomsky does gain considerable credit from me for mentioning a Bosnian camp survivor’s “justified outrage that I or anyone could take the positions invented in the Guardian article”. However that doesn’t seem at all consistent with his attack on a publisher who refused to publish Diana Johnstone’s appalling book. I’m just saying, that’s all.

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