GREETING TO THE CONFERENCE: NOAM CHOMSKY

Here’s the transcript for those interested, of a video of Chomsky, presented at the indigenous congress in Oaxaca, and alluded to in my write-up –some inaccuracies in my translation are cleared up –nothing too serious, but still, here it is.
Chomsky gave an hour-long interview at that time, so we may be lucky enough to get it in its entirety, this is only a small part.

GREETING TO THE CONFERENCE:  NOAM CHOMSKY

October 4, 2007 at MIT

I’m sorry that I can’t join you in person for this very important occasion, but I’d like at least to say a few words to express my admiration for what you all are doing in your professional work in indigenous education and also for your support for the teachers, the courageous teachers in Oaxaca who are fighting a struggle of enormous significance, not just there but part of a worldwide struggle which is particularly dramatic now all over Latin America, which has become, in my opinion, the most exciting part of the world for the first time in its modern history. 

After half a millennium, the countries of Latin America are beginning to move toward a significant level of integration instead of being separated from one another and dominated by imperial powers.  Integration is a prerequisite for independence and self-determination.  And they are also beginning to move seriously toward overcoming what has been the real curse of Latin America, apart from outside domination, the curse of the huge gap, unprecedented in the world, between a tiny elite of enormous wealth and a huge mass of deeply impoverished people.  It’s a gap that also has a racial and ethnic correlate to it, as you all know.  And there are steps towards trying to overcome that curse. 

Particularly dramatic has been the role of indigenous people, the most repressed and marginalized part of the population for centuries even in countries where they are the majority.  But they are finally organizing, demanding their rights, and making remarkable achievements, from the highlands of Bolivia to Chiapas and other places.  That’s a very dramatic and important development.  It’s reversing 500 years of miserable and ugly history, revitalizing the languages, the cultures, technical resources, developing forms of social organization that come out of their own traditions but are adapted to the modern world.  These are tremendously exciting developments and people like you are right at the center of it. 

This conference is at the core of the development and revitalization and defense and protection of indigenous rights, and with it, the rights of everyone.  And I would take for granted that the people in the world who have any concern for justice and freedom would be very pleased to join me in offering the warmest hopes and expectations for the success of the endeavors that you are involved in.

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