Noam Chomsky

This is the interview i talked about in my previous post, it’s interesting, remember that he’s almost 90.

From Wikipedia.

Avram Noam Chomsky, born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist. Sometimes described as “the father of modern linguistics,” Chomsky is also one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. He is the author of over 100 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media. Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism. He holds a joint appointment as Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and laureate professor at the University of Arizona..

Born to middle-class Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants in Philadelphia, Chomsky developed an early interest in anarchism from alternative bookstores in New York City. At the age of 16 he began studies at the University of Pennsylvania, taking courses in linguistics, mathematics, and philosophy. From 1951 to 1955 he was appointed to Harvard University’s Society of Fellows, where he developed the theory of transformational grammar for which he was awarded his doctorate in 1955. That year he began teaching at MIT, in 1957 emerging as a significant figure in the field of linguistics for his landmark work Syntactic Structures, which remodeled the scientific study of language, while from 1958 to 1959 he was a National Science Foundation fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study. He is credited as the creator or co-creator of the universal grammar theory, the generative grammar theory, the Chomsky hierarchy, and the minimalist program. Chomsky also played a pivotal role in the decline of behaviorism, being particularly critical of the work of B. F. Skinner.

An outspoken opponent of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, which he saw as an act of American imperialism, in 1967 Chomsky attracted widespread public attention for his anti-war essay “The Responsibility of Intellectuals”. Associated with the New Left, he was arrested multiple times for his activism and placed on President Richard Nixon’s Enemies List. While expanding his work in linguistics over subsequent decades, he also became involved in the Linguistics Wars. In collaboration with Edward S. Herman, Chomsky later co-wrote an analysis articulating the propaganda model of media criticism, and worked to expose the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. Additionally, his defense of unconditional freedom of speech – including for Holocaust deniers – generated significant controversy in the Faurisson affair of the early 1980s. Following his retirement from active teaching, he has continued his vocal political activism, including opposing the War on Terror and supporting the Occupy movement.

One of the most cited scholars in history, Chomsky has influenced a broad array of academic fields. He is widely recognized as a paradigm shifter who helped spark a major revolution in the human sciences, contributing to the development of a new cognitivistic framework for the study of language and the mind. In addition to his continued scholarly research, he remains a leading critic of U.S. foreign policy, neoliberalism and contemporary state capitalism, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and mainstream news media. His ideas have proved highly significant within the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movements, but have also drawn criticism, with some accusing Chomsky of anti-Americanism.

Day 657, I think.

Day 657-1

As long as I remember, around Reagan’s appearance in Spitting Image, I found American politics way more interesting than our own. In the Netherlands there is also happening a lot but on the world stage the impact is like a mosquito bite compared to America’s elephant foot on a to.  Reagan became president when I was around 8 and we only had two Dutch speaking TV-channel, every week they had Spitting Image on and my young mind was confronted with those crazy characters. My mother made us also aware at that young age that if those crazy characters, American and the Soviet Union started shooting atomic bombs at each other and us that we would go to the biggest city, so we would die instantly instead of slowly, heavy stuff for a 10 yer old boy.

There was that kind of fear in the beginning of the eighties and my mother was no communist, but she was also no fan of Reagan, who according to most leftists started bumping his chest and provoking the Soviet Union after the relative peaceful 70s. Luckily the Soviet Union imploded under its own weight and failure, so America could unload their frustrations somewhere else and disturb central America instead of kids in Holland. After Reagan you had Bush the first who I don’t remember besides the war with Iraq over Kuwait, I guess he left no impression and maybe that’s for the best and why he only stayed for one turn. Then there was flashy boy Clinton who also accomplished nothing beside showing what Americans are good in and that his hypocrisy.  But for the rest I don’t know, for Europeans these so-called democrats are like what we call the right wing. The economy was booming but there was no improvement of (economic) justice. But when Bush the second stole the presidency I started paying attention. I remember Bush as a comedic figure and a puppet that, in mine opinion, should be locked up for mass murder together with his cronies. For me, America was becoming this big fat general that for some reason thinks it can bully the world. Imagine if Russia or Germany had military basis all over the world like America has, it’s crazy. I don’t mind America as a big power but with a little bit more intelligence please. Well, after comedic Bush and the decapitation of the economy we got Obama. Obama seems to me a genuine decent guy that was somewhat naïve in thinking he could do anything good in a country that still has one foot in the wild west. Because of his stalemate with congress his presidency was pretty disappointing to me. The thing that sticks in my memory is the killing with remote controlled drones, something a decent person would see as the first step in desensitizing warfare*. After Obama I thought that Clinton the second would win, and America would go on standing still like it is doing since the seventies. Bernie Sanders was off course in my eyes a good guy that was more genuine than all the other suits you see shuffling around in American politics, but I have my doubt if America is willing to change… And off course they won’t, they elected Trump. I don’t want to offend my American Family and friends any more, but I really start to doubt the general level of basic education in that country, it’s like you need lots of money to get a somewhat decent education over there. Americans are proud, like children of their new drawing, of their country and like to say that they live in the “land of the free”, or in other words: I don’t give a fuck about others. Bush might be a war criminal, but he could make fun of himself and that quality shows that he knows that we are all stupid and ignorant and trying. The Trump as president has nothing genuine or humble about him and that is the greatest crime you could do as a human being.

No one on earth has a user manual for living on planet earth. We are all figuring it out, and it’s ok if you think what that button does but that doesn’t say you know what that button does.

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. Confucius

Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. George Bernard Shaw

The greatest enemy of progress is the illusion of knowledge. John Young

*After Vietnam, the people back home complained about the more than 50 000 deaths and that let to the first gulf war where mush more was accomplished with less cost. The problem is that the millions of Vietnamese that died will never be an argument for not going to war. Look at the second gulf war where there were also relative view casualties on the American side but several hundred thousand casualties among Iraqi civilians. If you have drones that fight for you, and you have only the cost of bullets that stops you from going to war, the chance is that there will be more wars.

Day 656, Fresku – omgekeerde wereld

Day 656-1

I translated a Dutch song, for some reason I wanted to share it today. Like the stairs in this picture, the conflict described in this song is also seemingly going nowhere.

Fresku – Omgekeerde wereld (upside down world)

I hear you say, you are a citizen of the world
Why are you closing your eyes now?
Just won “Best Artist” Frisse
Better keep your eyes closed now.
What would I be worth as a famous rapper?
Even though I just do not offer any resistance?
How can people call this a war?
Gaza does not even have an army man.

How can a man take the life of a child?
How can I continue to entertain you in the meantime?
Imagine that you live in those regions.
What would you do if you wanted to live?
If we, the West, do not offer the Palestinians an army,
tell me this, how should Hamas choose for peace now?
Politics is dirty, I see how many lie
no principles, is this a war or genocide?
War or genocide, would this be the choices?
Would this be the choices, would this be my choice?

Looking forward? Dear brother, I feel helpless.
Oh dear sister, forgive me that I chickened out.
I am buried in my own fears.
Fears that you dream to ever have.
The oppressor makes your home a cage.
Which he then throws flat with his rockets.

I saw a father crying for his baby.
And his baby was not even a year.
Is that how warfare is going today?
Bombing? innocent people live there.

The British took land and lives from the Indians
Now these people call themselves Americans
Now they support Israel to do this too?
in 2012? Obama should be ashamed of himself.

Now there are deaths from both sides.
Countries watch how bodies fall.
Misled by all the lies, we become more confused.
Most of them barely understand how it is and chose to close their eyes,
because they are going crazy, as Palestinians succumb to the stress.
and are now willing to kill because of lack of hope
and to die for, with the hope to create new hope again
Open the hell and pay them back with a bunch of rockets
in the name of God. Kill people in the name of God
until hatred makes me what I hate and I break your state.

Israel, you took everything away from me.
My food, shelter, my sons just shot down
Sorry that I chose to talk like that
Words that I do not support
but I can not choose, to choose nothing, while people die
Or do you prefer that I make jokes in the meantime?

I do not want to entertain you.
Speak to you as a father
If I close my eyes to this,
consider me as a perpetrator
Of course we are hoping that things will get better
and we want peace there, everyone is against hatred
Easy talking for us, we are not at risk

meanwhile, Palestine is turning into a reservation.
They want peace but do not believe in it
and I understand that, I also value my home and family
To call civilians terrorists so you can pick them up
to then put Israeli in their homes

Believe that you count inspiration is a means
Believe that you count inspiration is a means
Believe that you count inspiration is a means
For all my people in the opposite world.

Where many parents have to bury their children
to callout their names and call for mercy for far too long
where small children are the product of hatred and anger
praying that the perpetrators pay and seek revenge with stone
however sacred your land may be, children are more holy
I am a terrorist? you are trying to hurt my child
can it still be more hypocritical? Take a good look at how I live
my population is shrinking by the day, yours is still growing

I do not want to say stupid things
but I can not live longer and bottle this up

My mind must predominate
because if I want to resist, than it is better to do something
for people with fewer rights, rather than resist me
against the perpetrators then conferm your prejudice

So you can say: “Fresku you are an angry Muslim.”
and I distract, no, I avoid that useless collision.
I prefer to turn this pain into compassion
I come into action, lovingly and chose my role tactically
all fighters, keep up hope and love, is my advice
and if that hatred can comes to you, do not go in reaction

But make a step-by-step plan
unite and make a step-by-step plan
I also doubt but hope that it is possible
be a leader for your supporters
But victims have no patience
because they always call for help

And the people who can help them have no idea
they say: “Why should I help, hell will also breaks out here.
Where two fight, two are to blame. ”
But if two dogs fight for one bone
then the third dog goes with it
Assad kills his own people and we focus on Palestine
Is there someone who now sympathizes with Syria?
And I do not want to ask anyone to have a side
but no one can lose their children and land

No one. And that is why I am on the side of love.
Because love is the only thing that destroys hatred and fear.
Destroyed. And love transcends religion.
And you can not transcend anything without love in your vision
Love transcends religion.
You can not transcend anything without love in your vision.

But make a step-by-step plan
unite and make a step-by-step plan

I also doubt but hope that it is possible

being a leader for your supporters is my train of thought

The Vietnam war

I am watching a documentary about the Vietnam war. It is a recently made by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick and more than 16 hours long. It is very well made with lots of interviews with veterans from both sides and anti war activist. This little part I show here is something that spoke to me because of the conflict you can have inside. There are no write or wrong answers if war is a fact and you have to choose.

The vietnam war

Day 633, Midnight darkness.

Day 633-1

The sun is always low on the horizon when you live close to the polar circle. For a while I lived in a place called Gratangen, 50 km above Narvik. There we lived a couple hundred kilometers above the polar circle and therefore the sun would disappear during a big part of the winter. You would see some light shining over the edge of the world, but you would not feel any sunshine for a couple of months. Gratangen lies in a small fjord with mountains all around, somewhere in January we would see the first sunlight hitting the top of the mountains and slowly working its way down during the next weeks. It is strange if you never have lived in a place like that, the excitement when you see the sun for the first time again. We new when that was about to happen, when the sunlight finely hit the first houses on the sloop of the mountain, that was during work most of the time, but the first weekend we would drive to Narvik and on the way over we would see the sun. I really loved those dark winter days, many people ask about it: is it not depressive, how long are the winters? I never had problems with it, the summers where mush harder for me. In the summer I could still see the sun around midnight from my Living room, no darkness for many months, no waiting for the light to come back.

I made this little video on 30 June 2008 not so far from Narvik, Norway I like the winters but seeing the midnight sun is also special.

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