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Chomsky: Sri Lanka, a Rwanda-like major atrocity the West didn’t care

[TamilNet, Friday, 24 July 2009 15:22 One Comment]

Prof Noam Chomsky Prof Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus of linguistics at MIT, said Thursday during a United Nations forum on Responsibility to Protect (R2P), that what happened in Sri Lanka was a major Rwanda-like atrocity, in a different scale, where the West didn’t care. "There was plenty of early warning. This [conflict] has been going on for years and decades. Plenty of things could have been done [to prevent it]. But there was not enough interest." Chomsky was responding to a question that referred to Jan Egeland, former head of UN’s Humanitarian Affairs’ earlier statement that R2P was a failure in Sri Lanka, where Inner City Press (ICP) noted that nearly 20,000 Tamil civilians were killed.

On ICP Matthew Lee’s reference to the UN’s doctrine of R2P which was signed by 191 states in 2005 and question if there was a consensus in UN about this doctrine, Chomsky described the power interests at play at the UN, and how Western Governments’ policies of structural adjustments in other countries are tearing those societies apart.

Lee also noted that Robert Evans, former head of the International Crisis Group (ICG) had earlier said that UN had responded to Sri Lanka in the R2P sense.
Chomsky took issue with the optimistic characterization by Evan’s of the activities of the UN with regards to R2P.
R2P is generally noted as Kofi Annan’s greatest achievement in "humanitarian intervention," to bring governments and leaders massacring their own people to account.

AUDIO: UN discussion on R2P with Chomsky, Evans
Noam Chomsky, is known as one of the fathers of modern linguistics, a libertarian socialist intellectual, and is also described as a "hero of Homeric proportions," belonging solidly in the pantheon of US’s finest minds.

[Full Coverage]

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One Comment »

  • Kamal David said:

    I wonder how many time the good Prof has been to Sri Lanaka. All these bloody pundits with an agenda has some stupid thing to say on everything. That’s why their qualification’s usually abbr. as PhD! If you are running out of grant money, please find a regular job and try not to screw every tom, dick and harry for a quick buck! Not sure when that photo was taken, by the looks of it, he might not really need a lot of funding.