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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Chomsky and friend - slippery customers

In the spat over Emma Brockes’ Guardian interview with Noam Chomsky, the latest development is a contribution from Diana Johnstone, whose book about the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia Chomsky was so keen to see published.

Another slippery customer.

She doesn’t quite manage to deny that she minimized the severity of the Srebrenica massacre, nor does she quite manage to admit that is really does stand out as the worst atrocity of the whole conflict. What she does do is claim that there was a campaign to drum up support for a NATO intervention in which a key premise was that the situation was like the Holocaust.

To which I say, cobblers. I don’t recall anyone worth taking notice of saying anything of the kind, and from the fact that she is totally unspecific as to who is supposed to have made this claim, I deduce that she doesn’t either.

What certainly was said was that the Bosnian Muslims were the victims of an unprovoked and brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing - a term first used in this context, I believe. And Ms Johnstone’s take on that? She insinuates that it is a ‘Manichaean’ view of the conflict, but delicately avoids asserting that it was actually wrong. Plenty of Muslims read the Guardian these days, don't they?

A very slippery customer indeed.

On Chomsky himself, and the Guardian’s apology and suppression of the 'offending' interview, see (of course) Oliver Kamm.

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