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5/27/2017 NoamChomskyforRefugeeCrisis

Noam Chomsky for Refugee Crisis

Noam Chomsky

DiEM25, May 5, 2016

In some countries, there is a real refugee crisis. In Lebanon, for example, where perhaps one
quarter of the population consists of refugees from Syria, over and above a flood of refugees from
Palestine and Iraq. Other poor and striferidden countries of the region have also absorbed huge
numbers of refugees, among them Jordan, and Syria before its descent to collective suicide. The
countries that are enduring a refugee crisis had no responsibility for creating it. Generating
refugees is largely a responsibility of the rich and powerful, who now groan under the burden of a
trickle of miserable victims whom they can easily accommodate.

The USUK invasion of Iraq alone displaced some 4 million people, of whom almost half fled to
neighboring countries. And Iraqis continue to flee from a country that is one of the most miserable
on earth after a decade of murderous sanctions followed by the sledgehammer blows of the rich
and powerful that devastated the ruined country and also ignited a sectarian conflict that is now
tearing the country and the region to shreds.

There is no need to review the European role in Africa, the source of more refugees, now passing
through the funnel created by the FrenchBritishUS bombing of Libya, which virtually destroyed
the country and left it in the hands of warring militias. Or to review the US record in Central
America, leaving horror chambers from which people are fleeing in terror and misery, joined now
by Mexican victims of the trade pact which, predictably, destroyed Mexican agriculture, unable to
compete with highly subsidized US agribusiness conglomerates.

The reaction of the rich and powerful United States is to pressure Mexico to keep US victims far
from its own borders, and to drive them back mercilessly if they manage to evade the controls.
The reaction of the rich and powerful European Union is to bribe and pressure Turkey to keep
pathetic survivors from its borders and to herd those who escape into brutal camps.

Among citizens, there are honorable exceptions. But the reaction of the states is a moral
disgrace, even putting aside their considerable responsibility for the circumstances that have
compelled people to flee for their lives.

The shame is not new. Let us keep just to the United States, the most privileged and powerful
country in the world, with incomparable advantages. Throughout most of its history it welcomed
European refugees, to settle the lands taken by violence from the assassinated nations that dwelt
in them. That changed with the Immigration Act of 1924, aimed at excluding particularly Italians
and Jews. There is no need to dwell on their fate. Even after the war, survivors still confined to 1/2
5/27/2017 NoamChomskyforRefugeeCrisis

concentration camps were barred entry. Today, Roma are being expelled from France to horrible
conditions in Eastern Europe, descendants of Holocaust victims, if anyone cares.

The shame is deep and persistent. The time has surely come to put it to an end and to try to
attain some decent level of civilization.