“[Liberal] ideas, to a large extent nurtured in the hothouse of Western consciousness and then innocently exported as a sign of goodwill … might originally be intended only as public relations move.
“But over time such ideas gave rise to the dreams of the oppressed and victimised - and when the unexpected historical moment finally arrived, burst into flame.
“Ideas may be disseminated with conservative intent, but if they later become appropriated on behalf of the struggles of oppressed peoples, such ideas are reborn - and serve as the underpinnings of a new emancipatory politics.
“Nothing better illustrates this … than the idea of ‘self-determination.”
- Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
See the full text of his comment (Feb 14, 2011) for Al-Jazeera here