Chomsky’s Razor

Noam Chomsky’s in the Guardian today. He employs his trademark political and epistemological principle: “Anything that in the realms of possibility could be attributable to the insidious and omnipresent forces of Western imperialism is attributable to the insidious and omnipresent forces of Western imperialism.” For example:

Meanwhile Washington may be seeking to destabilise Iran from within. The ethnic mix in Iran is complex; much of the population isn’t Persian. There are secessionist tendencies and it is likely that Washington is trying to stir them up – in Khuzestan on the Gulf, for example, where Iran’s oil is concentrated, a region that is largely Arab, not Persian.

But flippancy aside, he could have a point with this:

In the west, any wild statement by President Ahmadinejad is circulated in headlines, dubiously translated. But Ahmadinejad has no control over foreign policy, which is in the hands of his superior, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The US media tend to ignore Khamenei’s statements, especially if they are conciliatory. It’s widely reported when Ahmadinejad says Israel shouldn’t exist – but there is silence when Khamenei says that Iran supports the Arab League position on Israel-Palestine, calling for normalisation of relations with Israel if it accepts the international consensus of a two-state settlement.

More to the point, Ahmadinejad has said that Israel “must be wiped off the map.” A statement that might include the sentiment that it “shouldn’t exist,” but means something manifestly different. And Al-Jazeera are hardly an arm of the Western propaganda machine. But either way, the western media could indeed be overlooking Khamenei’s more moderate (if you can call them that – he still firmly supports Hezbollah) views in favour of Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic nonsense.


2 Responses to “Chomsky’s Razor”

  1. 1 handsaway August 14, 2010 at 1:30 am

    As you could see by doing a little research on the web, on wikipedia for instance, Ahmadinejad’s quotation is false. He said the following sentence :
    “Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad.”
    in wich he speaks about the regime controlling Jerusalem. Many scholars, including professors in american universities, translated the sentence as follows:
    “The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time”.
    Don’t you think the mistranslated quotation is just part of a propaganda aiming at preparing a sequel to wars on Irak and Afghanistan?

  2. 2 Ed August 14, 2010 at 10:56 am


    Don’t you think the mistranslated quotation is just part of a propaganda aiming at preparing a sequel to wars on Irak and Afghanistan?

    So you really do think Al-Jazeera are intentionally mistranslating statements to provide propaganda for further wars. That’s really weird. Anyway, I’ll have to go with Ahmadinejad’s own official website, which translates him as having said the following:

    “O dear Imam (Khomeini)! You said the Zionist Regime that is a usurper and illegitimate regime and a cancerous tumor should be wiped off the map. I should say that your illuminating remark and cause is going to come true today. The Zionist Regime has lost its existence philosophy… the Zionist regime faces a complete deadend and under God’s grace your wish will soon be materialized and the corrupt element will be wiped off the map,” said President Ahmadinejad. Addressing a ceremony on the 19th departure anniversary of the late Imam Khomeini, President Ahmadinejad said the Palestinian nation has distinguished its path and is proceeding rightly in the way.

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