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Cambodian Refugee Sophal Ear vs. Noam Chomsky

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“Noam Chomsky, Professor, MIT” vs. “Sophal Ear, Professor, Naval Postgraduate School”

“Chomsky uses official KR statements and propaganda as ‘credible documentation’ while dismissing the eyewitness accounts of people fleeing abominable conditions and further states ‘Washington is the torture and political murder capital of the world.'”Nate Thayer – Western journalist specializing in Cambodian affairs. Known for his 1997 interview of Pol Pot.

Noam Chomsky:“(Magazines) concluded that executions have numbered at most in the thousands; that these were localized in areas of limited Khmer Rouge influence and unusual peasant discontent, where brutal revenge killings were aggravated by the threat of starvation resulting from the American destruction and killing.”

(Note:  Chomsky cites magazines, including “a letter to the editor” in The Economist. This quote comes from a 1977 essay in The Nation Distortions at Fourth Hand.’)

Sophal Ear: “I am merely a former Cambodian refugee, for whom English is my fourth language. Yet it does not take much effort to find precisely what Chomsky wrote in 1979 (After the Cataclysm) and to let it speak for itself.”

Noam Chomsky:  “In the first place, is it proper to attribute deaths from malnutrition and disease to Cambodian authorities?”

Sophal Ear:  “While my family worked and died in rice fields, Chomsky sharpened his theories and amended his arguments while seated in his armchair in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I believe that he would probably have me blame the Americans and their bombs for causing everything around the Khmer Rouge to go wrong.”

Noam Chomsky:  “If a serious study… is someday undertaken, it may well be discovered… that the Khmer Rouge programmes elicited a positive response.”

Sophal Ear:  “Since Cambodia, he has expanded his game to North Korea and Bosnia. I must hand it to him – more than three decades after wagging his finger at refugees like myself in ‘Distortions at Fourth Hand‘ (The Nation, 6 June 1977), and later in After the Cataclysm (South End Press, 1979) he continues to quote selectively and to obfuscate.”

(Note: quoting, by nature, is selective. Chomsky, in his 1988 book The Culture of Terrorism, self-obfuscates as he attributes chief responsibility for killings to the Khmer Rouge.)

Noam Chomsky: “Personally I’m very much opposed to Hamas’ policies in almost every respect. However, we should recognize that the policies of Hamas are more forthcoming and more conducive to a peaceful settlement than those of the United States or Israel. So to repeat: the policies, in my view, are unacceptable, but preferable to the policies of the United States and Israel.”

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, 2006: “We will never recognize the usurper Zionist government and will continue our jihad-like movement until the liberation of Jerusalem.” And 2013:  “The gun is our only response to [the] Zionist regime. In time we have come to understand that we can obtain our goals only through fighting and armed resistance and no compromise should be made with the enemy.”

Sophal Ear:  “Indeed, perhaps someday Chomsky will acknowledge his ‘honest errors’ in his memoirs, speaking of the burdens of academia and the tragic irony of history. His victims, the peasants of Indochina, will write no memoirs and will be forgotten. They will be joined by his North Korean and Bosnian victims…For decades, Chomsky has vilified his critics as only a world class linguist can. However, for me and the surviving members of my family, questions about life under the Khmer Rouge are not intellectual parlour games.”

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Written by Caleb Powell

March 9, 2014 at 5:38 pm

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