March 25, 2011
By Hicham Yezza
Last week, Professor Noam Chomsky was back in the UK for a series of lectures and interviews. Having delivered an initial talk at the house of commons on Tuesday, he followed it up the day after by delivering the 2011 Rickman Godlee Lecture 2011 at University College London, titled “Contours of global order: Domination, stability, security in a changing world”.
We at Ceasefire were very fortunate to get an opportunity to catch up with professor Chomsky on Thursday before his scheduled trip to Wales, where he was due to deliver a further two, massively over-subscribed talks. He is now continuing his tour across mainland Europe: France, Belgium, Holland, to name a few. This (almost) literally incredible schedule would be exhausting for the sprightliest of 28 year olds, and yet, here he is, three times that age, unwilling to slow down, quite the opposite in fact.
A few days ago, Jeremy Paxman, in a BBC interview, asked Chomsky “Why, at 82, haven’t you mellowed”, and Chomsky’s reply, which began “Because I look at the world…”, ought to make any of us take notice. The world we live in, Chomsky points out, is simply too full of injustice, of victims wronged and truths buried, for any serious person to sink into comfort and lethargy.
With the dramatic events that have been unfolding across the Arab world, with the devastating effects of public sector cuts starting to be felt across huge swathes of the population here and beyond, it seems more apt than ever to reflect on how we are entering into an age of upheaval and dramatic turning of the tables.
The questions we covered with him ranged from the fairly abstract (the relevance of Gramsci) to the very urgent (Libya) but throughout, his tone, focused and urgent, conveyed his still undiminished desire to change the world for the better.
Hicham Yezza is editor-in-chief of Ceasefire.
A full transcript will be made available soon on this site. For our previous interviews with Professor Chomsky please click here.