Al-Akhbar English: Maha Zaraket: What is the title of your [commencement] speech [at the American University of Beirut]?
Noam Chomsky: I do not remember if it has a title, but it is going to be some comments on legitimacy of borders and states and possibilities of eroding them.
MZ: Do you think the Middle East is going through a rewrite of Sykes-Picot agreement?
NC: I think the Sykes-Picot agreement is falling apart, which is an interesting phenomenon. That is a century. But, the Sykes-Picot agreement was just an imperial imposition that has no legitimacy; there is no reason for any of these borders – except the interests of the imperial powers.
It is the same all over the world. it is hard to find a single border that has any justification, including the US-Mexico border and the US-Canada border. You look around the world, just about every conflict that is going on results from the imposition of imperial borders that have nothing to do with the population.
I think as far as Sykes-Picot is concerned, it is beginning to erode. Whatever happens in Syria – it’s hard to imagine – but if anything survives, parts of Syria will be separated. The Kurdish areas are almost autonomous now and they are beginning to link up with the almost-autonomous parts of Northern Iraq Kurdish areas, and may spill over to some extent to southeastern Turkey. What will happen in the rest of the country is hard to say.
MZ: Do you think the new borders will be made by the local population? Or new imperialisms?
NC: I wish that were true, but that is not how the world works. Maybe someday, but not yet, not today.
MZ: What do you think of the Hezbollah intervention in Syria?
NC: They are in a very difficult position. If the rebels win in Syria, they become very exposed. That may mean their demise. There is reason behind it, I am not sure this is the right one, you could argue about it, but it is understandable.
MZ: Are you going to meet Nasrallah this time?
NC: No, I do not know if it is possible. But it is deeply in mind. It is difficult.
MZ: If you meet him again, what would you tell him?
NC: I would like to meet him, but just to find out more about their thinking and their plans. They are not coming to me for advice. You know.
MZ: You called for support of the Turkish protesters. How do you see the uprising in Turkey?
NC: I think the [Taksim demonstrators] are doing a great thing. I think it is extremely important. Of global importance. The initial reaction of the Erdogan regime was pretty similar to Mubarak and Assad: harsh brutal response to a legitimate set of demands. [Continue reading…]