Noam Chomsky has insisted that nobody can alienate the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He criticised the military coup which ousted Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi in July, accusing its supporters of making a major mistake.
The American professor of linguistics was speaking at a seminar organised by the Egyptian Students Association in New York when he made his comments. He said that a military regime cannot build a state and pointed out that it is inaccurate to refer to “Egyptians” as if everyone in Egypt is thinking the same way; they’re not, and it is misleading to suggest otherwise, he claimed. Professor Chomsky urged the army leaders to avoid using the term “the people” to give credibility to the action that they took in July.
He acknowledged that a large crowd took to the streets on June 30th to protest against the Muslim Brotherhood, but what happened thereafter was definitely a military coup. He told the audience that he feels that the people of Egypt have been divided by the belief that the military leadership is committed to defending them against the Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood’s political decisions could be criticised, said Chomsky, but one cannot ignore the movement because “it is part of the people”. That’s yet another reason, he added, for the coup leaders not to claim that they are acting on behalf of “the people” of Egypt.
“It would be wrong for the supporters of the coup to believe that the generals will build a secular, democratic state,” Chomsky insisted. “They will act as army officers usually act and seek to control the system and economy while crushing their opponents and human rights.” Those who welcome the coup will turn out to be its victims, he warned his secular, liberal and leftist friends.
The 85 year old is a renowned linguist, philosopher, political activist and sociologist. He is known for his opposition to US foreign policy as well as for his criticism of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.