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Noam Chomsky
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Sunday 8 January 2012
“Palestinians are prototypical unpeople, as we see regularly.”

Recognizing the ‘Unpeople’

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On June 15, three months after the NATO bombing of Libya began, the African Union presented to the U.N. Security Council the African position on the attack – in reality, bombing by their traditional imperial aggressors: France and Britain, joined by the U.S., which initially coordinated the assault, and marginally some other nations.

It should be recalled that there were two interventions. The first, under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, adopted on March 17, called for a no-fly zone, a cease-fire and measures to protect civilians. After a few moments, that intervention was cast aside as the imperial triumvirate joined the rebel army, serving as its air force.

At the outset of the bombing, the A.U. called for efforts at diplomacy and negotiations to try to head off a likely humanitarian catastrophe in Libya. Within the month, the A.U. was joined by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and others, including the major regional NATO power Turkey.

In fact, the triumvirate was quite isolated in its attacks – undertaken to eliminate the mercurial tyrant whom they had supported when it was advantageous. The hope was for a regime likelier to be amenable to Western demands for control over Libya’s rich resources and, perhaps, to offer an African base for the U.S. Africa command AFRICOM, so far confined to Stuttgart.

No one can know whether the relatively peaceful efforts called for in U.N. Resolution 1973, and backed by most of the world, might have succeeded in averting the terrible loss of life and the destruction that followed in Libya.

On June 15, the A.U. informed the Security Council that “ignoring the A.U. for three months and going on with the bombings of the sacred land of Africa has been high-handed, arrogant and provocative.” The A.U. went on to present a plan for negotiations and policing within Libya by A.U. forces, along with other measures of reconciliation – to no avail.

The A.U. call to the Security Council also laid out the background for their concerns: “Sovereignty has been a tool of emancipation of the peoples of Africa who are beginning to chart transformational paths for most of the African countries after centuries of predation by the slave trade, colonialism and neocolonialism. Careless assaults on the sovereignty of African countries are, therefore, tantamount to inflicting fresh wounds on the destiny of the African peoples.”

The African appeal can be found in the Indian journal Frontline, but was mostly unheard in the West. That comes as no surprise: Africans are “unpeople,” to adapt George Orwell’s term for those unfit to enter history.

On March 12, the Arab League gained the status of people by supporting U.N. Resolution 1973. But approval soon faded when the League withheld support for the subsequent Western bombardment of Libya.

And on April 10, the Arab League reverted to unpeople by calling on the U.N. also to impose a no-fly zone over Gaza and to lift the Israeli siege, virtually ignored.

That too makes good sense. Palestinians are prototypical unpeople, as we see regularly. Consider the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs, which opened with two articles on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

One, written by Israeli officials Yosef Kuperwasser and Shalom Lipner, blamed the continuing conflict on the Palestinians for refusing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state (keeping to the diplomatic norm: States are recognized, but not privileged sectors within them).

The second, by American scholar Ronald R. Krebs, attributes the problem to the Israeli occupation; the article is subtitled: “How the Occupation Is Destroying the Nation.” Which nation? Israel, of course, harmed by having its boot on the necks of unpeople.

Another illustration: In October, headlines trumpeted the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who had been captured by Hamas. The article in The New York Times Magazine was devoted to his family’s suffering. Shalit was freed in exchange for hundreds of unpeople, about whom we learned little, apart from sober debate as to whether their release might harm Israel.

We also learned nothing about the hundreds of other detainees held in Israeli prisons for long periods without charge.

Among the unmentioned prisoners are the brothers Osama and Mustafa Abu Muamar, civilians kidnapped by Israel forces that raided Gaza City on June 24, 2006 – the day before Shalit was captured. The brothers were then “disappeared” into Israel’s prison system.

Whatever one thinks of capturing a soldier from an attacking army, kidnapping civilians is plainly a far more serious crime – unless, of course, they are mere unpeople.

To be sure, these crimes do not compare with many others, among them the mounting attacks on Israel’s Bedouin citizens, who live in southern Israel’s Negev.

They are again being expelled under a new program designed to destroy dozens of Bedouin villages to which they had been driven earlier. For benign reasons, of course. The Israeli cabinet explained that 10 Jewish settlements would be founded there “to attract a new population to the Negev” – that is, to replace unpeople with legitimate people. Who could object to that?

The strange breed of unpeople can be found everywhere, including the U.S.: in the prisons that are an international scandal, the food kitchens, the decaying slums.

But examples are misleading. The world’s population as a whole teeters on the edge of a black hole.

We have daily reminders, even from very small incidents – for instance, last month, when Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives barred a virtually costless reorganization to investigate the causes of the weather extremes of 2011 and to provide better forecasts.

Republicans feared that it might be an opening wedge for “propaganda” on global warming, a nonproblem according to the catechism recited by the candidates for the nomination of what years ago used to be an authentic political party.

Poor sad species.

(Noam Chomsky's most recent book is ``9-11: Was There an Alternative?'' Chomsky is emeritus professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.)

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ABOUT Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and pressor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Techonology. Chomsky is well known in the academic and scientific communities as one of the fathers of modern linguistics, and a major figure of analytic philosophy. Chomsky is the author of more than 150 books and has received worldwide attention for his views.

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Professor Chomsky writes,

Professor Chomsky writes, "The strange breed of unpeople can be found everywhere, including the U.S.: in the prisons that are an international scandal, the food kitchens, the decaying slums."

That is surely an understatement.

The "I-it" consciousness would seem almost to DEFINE the American social-political landscape, and by no means only the venues of the poor. Yet even among the poor far more could be said. New York City alone may contain as many as 100,000 homeless people, not all of whom eat in food kitchens, and untold thousands of whom (some activists estimate 50,000) sleep without a roof over them. The gutters, parks, subways, bus and train stations, and even subterranean tunnels are strewn with their forgotten, decaying bodies. The habit of depersonalizing, moreover, the core of any war society, shows up again, and perhaps most vividly, in the gruesome treatment of animals. Factory farms, slaughterhouses, laboratories, rodeos, circuses, puppy mills, kill shelters, etc., all across the country, wreak with the gratuitous violence generally accompanying such a habit. The widespread prejudice against city pigeons, who are routinely murdered here en masse, also discloses a comportment of depersonalization. The nearly ubiquitous addictions to sex, drugs, alcohol, commercialization, invasive photography, unnaturally loud noise, and so forth, would all seem offshoots of the same interior denial.

"The "I-it" consciousness

"The "I-it" consciousness would seem almost to DEFINE the American social-political landscape, and by no means only the venues of the poor. Yet even among the poor far more could be said. New York City alone may contain as many as 100,000 homeless people, not all of whom eat in food kitchens, and untold thousands of whom (some activists estimate 50,000) sleep without a roof over them. The gutters, parks, subways, bus and train stations, and even subterranean tunnels are strewn with their forgotten, decaying bodies. The habit of depersonalizing, moreover, the core of any war society, shows up again, and perhaps most vividly, in the gruesome treatment of animals. Factory farms, slaughterhouses, laboratories, rodeos, circuses, puppy mills, kill shelters, etc., all across the country, wreak with the gratuitous violence generally accompanying such a habit. The widespread prejudice against city pigeons, who are routinely murdered here en masse, also discloses a comportment of depersonalization. The nearly ubiquitous addictions to sex, drugs, alcohol, commercialization, invasive photography, unnaturally loud noise, and so forth, would all seem offshoots of the same interior denial."

that is right, this is in fact the daily landscape in the Third World countries whose the natural and mineral resources have been plundered by the western imperialist countries. But what it is anormal and something going beyond the human imagination in the western capitalist countries, the misery and the poverty display within societies teening with huge wealth and immense riches owning by only 1%.

Professor Chomsky writes, "The strange breed of unpeople can be found everywhere, including the U.S.:"

The correct statment would have been " the strange breed of unpeople can be found naturally everywhere but especially and not including in US.

The Rank and File Union

The Rank and File Union members as UN-PEOPLE

OPEN LETTER to Richard L. Trumpka, President, AFL-CIO: Union dues used to support Gov Walker

Letter sent to Richard L Trumpka:
Richard L Trumpka,
And yet another request for information from rank and file union members who are paying your salary and benefits.
Despite our repeated requests for a response to a serious issue concerning rank and file union members, you and your office have refused to respond.
Please provide the readers of tellfred.com with an explanation of the following:

Gooch McGowan, Local 139, Operating Engineers union boss and 20 year politician, supported Scott Walker for WI governor, and continues to support Gov Walker despite Walker's signing and support of union-busting legislation. Boss McGowan has dragged anti-Walker rank and file members into HIS very vocal and continued public support of Gov Walker.
Local 139 (all of Wisconsin), International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) pays from local 139 members' union dues, to the AFL-CIO, a union dues affiliation fee. Local 139 union boss Gooch McGowan supported Scott Walker for WI Gov and continues to support now Gov Walker with union dues money i.e. campaign contributions and paid union staff support. Both the national and Wisconsin AFL-CIO are actively fighting Gov Walker.
1. Mr. Trumpka, why are my union dues being used to both support AND attack Gov Walker?
2. What actions are you or your directed staff taking to address this schizophrenic use of the rank and files union dues?

UNION 1% v. 99%:
You might not be shocked to know how the 1% union "leaderships" behave eerily similar to their corporate brothers and sisters. During a 5 year period, the IUOE Gen Pres, Vince Giblin brought home $2.8 MILLION as reported to the Labor Dept. 1 million of that was from his job as Chairman of the Board of Blue Cross Blue Shield, Horizon.

Rubbish! Spoken as a

Rubbish! Spoken as a disgruntled Zionist in disguise.mob

Noam Chomsky is a mere and

Noam Chomsky is a mere and pure product of Washington's establishment and the academic conformism in USA and in Europe. Without any doubt, when the name of a writer, a philosopher, an econmist, a scholar emerges in the public space and we hear it in the mass media mainstream ouytlets, we must to be sure that the idea and the ideology of those "opinion leaders" are that of the capitalist dominant ideology.

we have to remember that Chomsky's position during the imperialist invasion of a souvereign and independent state, member of the UN, was amongst those who supported NATO invasion and the war against Libya. Moreover, THERE WERE not only Chomsky who aplaused and hailed NATO invasion but all what we call the left in USA and in Europe. In other words, Chomsky and the american and european left are essentially imperialist and colonialist left and it is not necessary to look back at the contemporary history since more than one century.

Chomsky like the american and european left have nothing but the rethoric and Chomsky as a linguist knows very well how we can handle with the words and the concept and to say the same and its contrary. Chomsky and the american and european left have nothing but a clichés and stereotypîcal discourse with the same word repeated it all day, democrassy.

let'us quote chomsky in this post. The author says " the triumvirate was quite isolated in its attacks – undertaken to eliminate the mercurial tyrant whom they had supported when it was advantageous."

Kadaffi was supposed to be a"mercurial tyrant", what a joke ! Let'us reminder that The libyan Tyrant have built a welfare state recognized one month before the imperialist invasion by the United Nation for developement as a model with free education, free health care, several social advantageous for the libyan people. While in the same time, the american people are now struggling to get some Medicare and some social covert for the poor. In the country of the "mercurial tyrant' there were no poverty no homeless while in the so called the "big democracy of the world" there are more than 80 millions americans living under the level of poverty if we refer to the millenium criterion.

the African Organization and the African Heads of state are nothing but the stooges and the poodle of their western masters in Washington, in Paris, in London. the BRICS countries are nothing but the western colonies where the western and imperialist multinationals exploit and oppress as they want the indigenious people and the workers. Chomsky and his likes didn't talk at all about these exploited and oppressed workers. Instead, Chomsky and his likes repeat mechanically what they have heard and listened in the capiatlist mass media and what are dissiminited by the political propaganda tools controlled by the capitalist governments in USA and in Europe.

I commend NationOfChange for

I commend NationOfChange for hailing truth as your "simple and powerful weapon." I wish many websites would adopt the same motto. I also thought that respect for the truth would preclude publishing selective narratives while conveniently leaving aside others which are at least as relevant.

But indulging in selective pickings has always been Noam Chomsky's trademark, to his everlasting shame.

Chomsky blasts the foreign military intervention in Libya but he avoids mentioning the far more gruesome hecatomb which spread in Egypt and Syria with thousands of civilian deaths, and with no intervention of the "traditional imperial aggressors."

Chomsky laments the fate of various "unpeoples" but his indignation surely does not extend to the Jewish people, who are considered less than an "unpeople" by those Palestinian Arabs who staunchly refuse to accept the rights of the Jewish people in their own, internationally recognized, land.

Am I surprised? Not at all. This is vintage Chomsky, dwelling in his dark far-left cave where light never shines.

In so many features of our

In so many features of our Middle East policies crafted by the Pentagon and State Department and carried out by whichever decorative object happens to be in the White House, we have 'unpeopled' the Arabs/Muslims for over 1oo years. Our policies toward these 'unpeople' have put us in the current stage of speaking out of both sides of our mouth. We are 'with the people' while for 1oo years we have created, maintained and nourished the dictators who have pummeled those 'unpeople'. The late spiritual leader of Hizbollah Syed MH Fadlullah said many years ago that the US Middle East policy is always about their interests, not our interests, their security, not our security, their future, not our future.

God has put the love and

God has put the love and compassion and kindness in the hearts of all living humans that can get us through this hell we have created for ourselves. For some it is a deep journey to reach, for others it shines on their surface. Sadly for some it has died within them. But Love can resurrect Love. And only Love can resurrect Love. Love in the broadest context of its experience is the only way to a better world from here.

This says it all. I cannot

This says it all. I cannot improve on the writer's conclusions. It is a sad day indeed that people of this stripe can aspire to the highest office in the land and indeed have actual hope of achieving that status. When I contemplate these so-called candidates the word "clown" comes to mind most frequently but with the caveat that some of them at least are dangerous clowns, not funny ones.

After watching this morning's

After watching this morning's debate on MSNBC between the GOP hopefuls for the nomination to run against President Obama the stark truths about what is written in this article are even more apparent than they had been only a few hours ago. Here you have a stage full of white men of privilege seeking to occupy the most powerful position, arguably, in the world - and they can't even agree that all people should have the same rights as everyone else. If the concept of equality is such a difficult thing to articulate in this day and age you shouldn't be getting anywhere near a microphone, let alone the ballot to run for political office. If you are not willing to say that everyone should have the same rights and privileges, guaranteed UNDER THE LAW - including the right to marry, adopt, and everything associated with those things - regardless of their sexual orientation, race, or religion - then you have disqualified yourself from serving "the people" of the Republic. Never has it stated that people are parsed - save for the despicable reference to black people being a fraction of what white people were - but that was dealt with, quite rightly, with the abolishment of slavery and the Equal Protection Clause - a clause that confers equal rights to everyone in the nation.

The idea that there are "unpeople" is abhorrent in a nation whose founding documents led to revolutions in other nations, whose founding ideas and ideals led to the birth of democracies across the ocean. It is abhorrent to think that, in a land where titles are banned, a caste system has arisen in which there is now a whole group of "untouchables", a group that is, essentially, downwardly mobile - totally unable to access the distant shadows of the American Dream as it fades from view.

That, more than anything, will cause an increase in discontent, an increase in unrest, and an increase in all of the negative elements that a "good" society cringes at the thought of, including crime, civil unrest, and even the possibility of domestic terrorism (think of Timothy McVeigh and his compatriots). By constantly pandering to the richest elements in society - the 1% - while allowing th 99% to grow poorer and poorer the government is playing a dangerous game that, ultimately, it will lose for the simple reason that - in a war of attrition - the 99 have more to give, even though the 1% have more to protect ... desperate acts beget desperate measures (no, I don't espouse violence - I abhor it - in all of its forms ... I'm merely citing precedents from our past).

That's why it's so important to reject the right-wing rhetoric that is being spewed by Mitt Romney, Mitt Gingrich, Mitt Santorum, Mitt Perry and Mitt Paul - they're all saying the same thing, except for Paul, who seems to harp on variations of "audit the fed" - oh, and Huntsman, - who could be a voice of reason, though he seems more genuinely hurt at having been attacked for - gasp - having served as Ambassador to China ... for Obama (he was expecting, perhaps, applause?). The Mitts are off ... and the glove does not fit. The message lacks content, clarity and character. All they can say is that Obama has failed - if he hadn't released his birth certificate they'd be calling him an unperson to - unAmerican. It is, in a word, unreal.

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