Chomsky: “First we rob and then destroy them, and then when they ask for a little bit of help, we kick them in the face.”

Chomsky on Haiti, Cuba, the G7 and democracy.

Blogs, Ceasefire Bites, Politics - Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 15:38 - 0 Comments

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There’s an excellent new interview with Noam Chomsky over at Counterpunch on Haiti.

The background to Haiti’s recent suffering was suppressed, pretty effectively, in the press coverage on the recent devastating earthquake. Aristide’s demand for reparations from France, for example – surely a sizeable issue, whatever you think of it – was only mentioned as far as I know by Seumas Milne and Naomi Klein in the Guardian op-ed section, as well as on Democracy Now! (from the US) and the excellent MediaLens. There didn’t seem to be a trace of it anywhere else – not even in Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe on BBC4, which is usually fairly critical. If you watched 24 hours of BBC and Sky news coverage on Haiti you’d have come away with a slew of vague tropes: “dark history”, “violence”, “dictators”, etc. Anything that might have implicated ‘us’ was distinctly excised.

Back to the interview. Chomsky doesn’t think the US response, criticised for being too reliant on militarisation, was part of a long-term strategic US plan: the US just “tends to react to anything at first with military force. That’s what it’s good at.” Elsewhere there’s some very interesting stuff on Cuba’s internationalism (particularly to do with Angola), and a troubling warning about the aid effort:

The lessons are, unfortunately, that a small weak country that is facing an extremely hostile and very violent superpower will not make much progress unless there’s a strong solidarity movement within the superpower that will restrain its actions. With more support within the United States, I think the Haitian efforts could have succeeded.And that applies right now. Take the aid that’s coming in. There is aid coming in-we have to show we’re nice people and so on. But the aid ought to be going to Haitian popular organizations. Not to contractors, not to NGOs-to Haitian popular organizations, and they’re the ones that should be deciding what to do with it. Well you know, that’s not the agenda of G7. They don’t want popular organizations; they don’t like popular movements; they don’t like democracy for that matter. What they want is for the rich and powerful to run things. Well, if there was a strong solidarity movement in the United States and the world, it could change that.

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