In one of his recent interviews, Prof. Chomsky criticized severely the US intellectuals of their total ignorance of the problems in the Middle East. Equally ignorant are they of China, though many of them readily claim themselves to be “experts on the subject matter”. The cause of such ignorance, I believe, is their inherent academic blindness, non-intellectualness, unwillingness to learn, and arrogance.
Let me start explaining my viewpoint with a most simple and obvious example:
The State of Israel was founded in 1948, and in the same year, both the USSR and US recognized it. Mao Zedong, until his death in 1976, refused to recognize the State of Israel, and firmly supported the Palestinians to regain their homeland. It was long after Mao’s death, in 1991 or 1992, presumably under the pressure of the US, that China established diplomatic tie with Israel.
A variety of comment can be made on this single fact. I shall only mention one of them: Mao Zedong had a true and profound knowledge about Chinaits tradition, its way of thinking, its society and its people. Often, if not always, when he adopted a policy, such as the one on the issue of Israel, it was in consistency with the politico-ethic tradition of China, hence it gained a solid support from the society that he governed.
One day a western scholar came to me and praised to my face: you Chinese (western scholars always deal with me as “a Chinese”, and never “a human just like themselves”) should be proud, that never in China’s long history there was a religious war. And it took me 20 yearsprecisely in year 2001 to fully understand what he meant.
What I have understood is this: China through its history and up to this day handles religious and racial issues, as well as human dreams (such as Chomsky’s anarchism), persistently and consistently in its politico-ethic way. The Chinese have long since been convinced that all the religious and racial problems (which have perplexed mankind so profoundly) stem from a contradiction of politico-ethics. The politico-ethics that the Chinese have chosen for themselves is summarized as “Universal Humanity”, which they believe can be carried out only by the means of politics.
This explains why Chomsky’s anarchism has not and will not prevail in China (some in that country certainly have cherished such a dream):
Prof. Chomsky certainly would agree that this is a world ruled by Law of the Jungle. The weak have no way to survive unless they claim their rights in the name of State. One cannot choose to be born or not to be born. But as soon as he is born to the world, he will have to face five fundamental problems for survival: 1.peaceful surroundings to grow up; 2.acquirement of education; 3.acquirement of incomes(a job); 4.acquirement of medical treatment when being sick; 5.financial guarantee for old age. Again I presume, Prof. Chomsky would agree that all these should first and foremost be provided by the means of State.
What should be discussed is highlighted, simple and clear: what is the contradiction of politico-ethics between the West and the Arab World? (On 9th October I saw a PBS program on terrorism, in which an Arab intellectual was interviewed and had remarkably brought up this issue. Unfortunately, because of the stupidity of the interviewer, he was not given a chance to rightfully explain it.) What is this war in Afghanistan all about?
It is about if our sons and daughters should continue living in a world ruled by Law of the Jungle, in compliance with which, “the weak are preys of the strong”. It is about if people in the West should become so much or so little civilized that they recognize Humanity, Justice, Reason and Peace.
Ghandi was once asked what he thought about the western civilization. He answered that he felt it might not be a bad idea. What, then, should be the earmark of civilizationHumanity, Justice, Reason and Peace, or Law of the Jungle?
So it is a war to teach westerners to behave like humans, or all of us may die of nuclear or chemical or biological weapons on the same day!
Isn’t it true, that there is a dispute about whether there is sufficient proof that bin Laden was the perpetrator of the atrocities in New York and Washington? Isn’t it true, that according to the mass media in the West, bin Laden up to this day is still “a suspect”, and not “the perpetrator”? Isn’t it true, that the Arabs generally find the excuse for launching the war in Afghanistan is unacceptable? If we are civilized, in the least sense, so we should all agree, there must be a judge, an authority to settle the dispute. “I just jump over and break your neck, because I am more muscular than you are”, is Law of the Jungle, performed daily by animals.
Oh, Man is so wonderful being capable of reasoning and creating! Oh, Man is so miserable perpetually abiding by Law of the Jungle! And MAN IS MISERABLE to allow a total destructive war to be enforced to determine whether he should be civilized or annihilated!
The severe problems in the Middle East are indeed political, and not religious. And in the center of all the problems in the region lie the century-old Palestinian problem, the embargo imposed upon Iraq which has caused about a million Iraqis lost their lives, and the deployment of the US troops in Saudi Arabia. The brutal military occupation of Palestine has caused a colossal amount of people lost their lives, albeit the Jews had been offered a piece of land in Uganda to settle down.
All such conflicts certainly point at a deadlocked contradiction of politico-ethics. The characteristics of Islam may have intensified the issues, but the roots to the conflicts, or the fire that is now burning rampantly in the region is definitely political.
All sorts of rumor are currently carrying on in the world: the menace of China’s nuclear weapons to the troops in Afghanistan; China is sending troops to Afghanistan to support the Taliban; bin Laden is hiding somewhere in China, and so on and so forth. Of all the messages that I have heard, I believe only one: China holds, that the war in Afghanistan should end soon.
The Chinese standpoint is certainly shared by some deputies in the Russian Duma.
The way to ban the Law of the Jungle, I think, should be a formation of its political counter force. Therefore I sincerely wish that Russia and China would stand together to pursue peace in the Middle East and in Afghanistan.
Mrs. Wang was born in 1951 in China. She studied languages and literature at the University of Beijing and, later, the University of Copenhagen. Upon graduation, She worked as a freelance translator and secretary in Denmark and Beijing. She is now a Danish citizen who resides in the US.