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Michelle Haimoff

Michelle Haimoff

Posted: November 27, 2008 01:55 PM

Deepak Chopra on Mumbai: Too Controversial for CNN?


A CNN journalist interviewed Deepak Chopra last night about his take on the Mumbai attacks and how to prevent similar attacks in the future, but it looked like producers cut Chopra off when he started to get too controversial.

Chopra: What we have seen in Mumbai has been brewing for a long time, and the war on terrorism and the attack on Iraq compounded the situation. What we call "collateral damage" and going after the wrong people actually turns moderates into extremists, and that inflammation then gets organized and appears as this disaster in Bombay. Now the worst thing that could happen is there's a backlash on the Muslims from the fundamental Hindus in India, which then will perpetuate the problem. Inflammation will create more inflammation.

CNN: Let me jump in on that because you're presuming something very important, which is that it's Muslims who have carried out these attacks and, in some cases, with Washington in their sights.

Chopra: Ultimately the message is always toward Washington because it's also the perception that Washington, in their way, directly or indirectly funds both sides of the war on terror. They fund our side, then our petrol dollars going to Saudi Arabia through Pakistan and ultimately these terrorist groups, which are very organized. You know Jonathan, it takes a lot of money to do this. It takes a lot of organization to do this. Where's the money coming from, you know? The money is coming from the vested interests. I'm not talking about conspiracy theories, but what happens is, our policies, our foreign policies, actually perpetuate this problem. Because, you know, 25% of the world's population is Muslim and they're the fastest growing segment of the population of the world. The more we alienate the Muslim population, the more the moderates are likely to become extremists.

CNN: I hope you're - you've - (CNN edits out the rest and inserts him concluding the interview saying "Indian physician and philosopher Deepak Chopra.")

I don't know why CNN wrapped the Chopra interview so hastily, but perhaps it was because the network had a Chevrolet ad to run. Chevrolet. Which is a manufacturer of automobiles. Which are propelled by gasoline. Which comes from oil rich countries like Saudi Arabia. Which fund Islamic fundamentalists. Which do things like attack hotels in India.

As Thomas L. Friedman has been saying for years, "the price of oil and the pace of freedom are inversely correlated." When oil prices are high, anti-democratic regimes become richer and more powerful, terrorists get funding and the world is unsafe. When oil prices are low, the "petroauthoritarian regimes [have] to open themselves to foreign investment and educate and empower their people more in order to earn income." When there is no demand for oil at all, there is simply no money with which to fund terrorists.

I hope that CNN producers didn't edit the end of the Chopra interview in deference to their car company advertisers. Chopra touched on similar topics with Larry King earlier in the day, so perhaps cutting the interview off was just a formatting decision. I'm going to pretend that it's that. Because if I thought that a news network in a democratic country was censoring the connection between oil dependence and terrorism for fear of upsetting advertisers I wouldn't be able to sleep at night.

Here's the video: