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<nettime> LRB > Klein > Let Them Drown

< http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n11/naomi-klein/let-them-drown >

Let Them Drown

The Violence of Othering in a Warming World

Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein looks at climate change through the ideas of Edward

Edward Said was no tree-hugger. Descended from traders, artisans
and professionals, he once described himself as 'an extreme case
of an urban Palestinian whose relationship to the land is
basically metaphorical'. In After the Last Sky, his meditation on
the photographs of Jean Mohr, he explored the most intimate
aspects of Palestinian lives, from hospitality to sports to home
decor. The tiniest detail -- the placing of a picture frame, the
defiant posture of a child -- provoked a torrent of insight from
Said. Yet when confronted with images of Palestinian farmers --
tending their flocks, working the fields -- the specificity
suddenly evaporated. Which crops were being cultivated? What was
the state of the soil? The availability of water? Nothing was
forthcoming. 'I continue to perceive a population of poor,
suffering, occasionally colourful peasants, unchanging and
collective,' Said confessed. This perception was 'mythic', he
acknowledged -- yet it remained.

If farming was another world for Said, those who devoted their
lives to matters like air and water pollution appear to have
inhabited another planet. Speaking to his colleague Rob Nixon, he
once described environmentalism as 'the indulgence of spoiled
tree-huggers who lack a proper cause'. But the environmental
challenges of the Middle East are impossible to ignore for anyone
immersed, as Said was, in its geopolitics. This is a region
intensely vulnerable to heat and water stress, to sea-level rise
and to desertification. A recent paper in Nature Climate Change
predicts that, unless we radically lower emissions and lower them
fast, large parts of the Middle East will likely 'experience
temperature levels that are intolerable to humans' by the end of
this century. And that's about as blunt as climate scientists get.
Yet environmental issues in the region still tend to be treated as
afterthoughts, or luxury causes. The reason is not ignorance, or
indifference. It's just bandwidth. Climate change is a grave
threat but the most frightening impacts are in the medium term.
And in the short term, there are always far more pressing threats
to contend with: military occupation, air assault, systemic
discrimination, embargo. Nothing can compete with that -- nor
should it attempt to try.

There are other reasons why environmentalism might have looked
like a bourgeois playground to Said. The Israeli state has long
coated its nation-building project in a green veneer -- it was a
key part of the Zionist 'back to the land' pioneer ethos. And in
this context trees, specifically, have been among the most potent
weapons of land grabbing and occupation. It's not only the
countless olive and pistachio trees that have been uprooted to
make way for settlements and Israeli-only roads. It's also the
sprawling pine and eucalyptus forests that have been planted over
those orchards, as well as over Palestinian villages, most
notoriously by the Jewish National Fund, which, under its slogan
'Turning the Desert Green', boasts of having planted 250 million
trees in Israel since 1901, many of them non-native to the region.
In publicity materials, the JNF bills itself as just another green
NGO, concerned with forest and water management, parks and
recreation. It also happens to be the largest private landowner in
the state of Israel, and despite a number of complicated legal
challenges, it still refuses to lease or sell land to non-Jews.

I grew up in a Jewish community where every occasion -- births and
deaths, Mother's Day, bar mitzvahs -- was marked with the proud
purchase of a JNF tree in the person's honour. It wasn't until
adulthood that I began to understand that those feel-good faraway
conifers, certificates for which papered the walls of my Montreal
elementary school, were not benign -- not just something to plant
and later hug. In fact these trees are among the most glaring
symbols of Israel's system of official discrimination -- the one
that must be dismantled if peaceful co-existence is to become

The JNF is an extreme and recent example of what some call 'green
colonialism'. But the phenomenon is hardly new, nor is it unique
to Israel. There is a long and painful history in the Americas of
beautiful pieces of wilderness being turned into conservation
parks -- and then that designation being used to prevent
Indigenous people from accessing their ancestral territories to
hunt and fish, or simply to live. It has happened again and again.
A contemporary version of this phenomenon is the carbon offset.
Indigenous people from Brazil to Uganda are finding that some of
the most aggressive land grabbing is being done by conservation
organisations. A forest is suddenly rebranded a carbon offset and
is put off-limits to its traditional inhabitants. As a result, the
carbon offset market has created a whole new class of 'green'
human rights abuses, with farmers and Indigenous people being
physically attacked by park rangers or private security when they
try to access these lands. Said's comment about tree-huggers
should be seen in this context.

And there is more. In the last year of Said's life, Israel's
so-called 'separation barrier' was going up, seizing huge swathes
of the West Bank, cutting Palestinian workers off from their jobs,
farmers from their fields, patients from hospitals -- and brutally
dividing families. There was no shortage of reasons to oppose the
wall on human rights grounds. Yet at the time, some of the loudest
dissenting voices among Israeli Jews were not focused on any of
that. Yehudit Naot, Israel's then environment minister, was more
worried about a report informing her that 'The separation fence
... is harmful to the landscape, the flora and fauna, the
ecological corridors and the drainage of the creeks.' 'I certainly
don't want to stop or delay the building of the fence,' she said,
but 'I am disturbed by the environmental damage involved.' As the
Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti later observed, Naot's
'ministry and the National Parks Protection Authority mounted
diligent rescue efforts to save an affected reserve of irises by
moving it to an alternative reserve. They've also created tiny
passages [through the wall] for animals.'

Perhaps this puts the cynicism about the green movement in
context. People do tend to get cynical when their lives are
treated as less important than flowers and reptiles. And yet there
is so much of Said's intellectual legacy that both illuminates and
clarifies the underlying causes of the global ecological crisis,
so much that points to ways we might respond that are far more
inclusive than current campaign models: ways that don't ask
suffering people to shelve their concerns about war, poverty and
systemic racism and first 'save the world' -- but instead
demonstrate how all these crises are interconnected, and how the
solutions could be too. In short, Said may have had no time for
tree-huggers, but tree-huggers must urgently make time for Said --
and for a great many other anti-imperialist, postcolonial thinkers
-- because without that knowledge, there is no way to understand
how we ended up in this dangerous place, or to grasp the
transformations required to get us out. So what follows are some
thoughts -- by no means complete -- about what we can learn from
reading Said in a warming world.


He was and remains among our most achingly eloquent theorists of
exile and homesickness -- but Said's homesickness, he always made
clear, was for a home that had been so radically altered that it
no longer really existed. His position was complex: he fiercely
defended the right to return, but never claimed that home was
fixed. What mattered was the principle of respect for all human
rights equally and the need for restorative justice to inform our
actions and policies. This perspective is deeply relevant in our
time of eroding coastlines, of nations disappearing beneath rising
seas, of the coral reefs that sustain entire cultures being
bleached white, of a balmy Arctic. This is because the state of
longing for a radically altered homeland -- a home that may not
even exist any longer -- is something that is being rapidly, and
tragically, globalised. In March, two major peer-reviewed studies
warned that sea-level rise could happen significantly faster than
previously believed. One of the authors of the first study was
James Hansen -- perhaps the most respected climate scientist in
the world. He warned that, on our current emissions trajectory, we
face the 'loss of all coastal cities, most of the world's large
cities and all their history' -- and not in thousands of years
from now but as soon as this century. If we don't demand radical
change we are headed for a whole world of people searching for a
home that no longer exists.

Said helps us imagine what that might look like as well. He helped
to popularise the Arabic word sumud ('to stay put, to hold on'):
that steadfast refusal to leave one's land despite the most
desperate eviction attempts and even when surrounded by continuous
danger. It's a word most associated with places like Hebron and
Gaza, but it could be applied equally today to residents of
coastal Louisiana who have raised their homes up on stilts so that
they don't have to evacuate, or to Pacific Islanders whose slogan
is 'We are not drowning. We are fighting.' In countries like the
Marshall Islands and Fiji and Tuvalu, they know that so much
sea-level rise is inevitable that their countries likely have no
future. But they refuse just to concern themselves with the
logistics of relocation, and wouldn't even if there were safer
countries willing to open their borders -- a very big if, since
climate refugees aren't currently recognised under international
law. Instead they are actively resisting: blockading Australian
coal ships with traditional outrigger canoes, disrupting
international climate negotiations with their inconvenient
presence, demanding far more aggressive climate action. If there
is anything worth celebrating in the Paris Agreement signed in
April -- and sadly, there isn't enough -- it has come about
because of this kind of principled action: climate sumud.

But this only scratches of the surface of what we can learn from
reading Said in a warming world. He was, of course, a giant in the
study of 'othering' -- what is described in Orientalism as
'disregarding, essentialising, denuding the humanity of another
culture, people or geographical region'. And once the other has
been firmly established, the ground is softened for any
transgression: violent expulsion, land theft, occupation,
invasion. Because the whole point of othering is that the other
doesn't have the same rights, the same humanity, as those making
the distinction. What does this have to do with climate change?
Perhaps everything.

We have dangerously warmed our world already, and our governments
still refuse to take the actions necessary to halt the trend.
There was a time when many had the right to claim ignorance. But
for the past three decades, since the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change was created and climate negotiations began, this
refusal to lower emissions has been accompanied with full
awareness of the dangers. And this kind of recklessness would have
been functionally impossible without institutional racism, even if
only latent. It would have been impossible without Orientalism,
without all the potent tools on offer that allow the powerful to
discount the lives of the less powerful. These tools -- of ranking
the relative value of humans -- are what allow the writing off of
entire nations and ancient cultures. And they are what allowed for
the digging up of all that carbon to begin with.


Fossil fuels aren't the sole driver of climate change -- there is
industrial agriculture, and deforestation -- but they are the
biggest. And the thing about fossil fuels is that they are so
inherently dirty and toxic that they require sacrificial people
and places: people whose lungs and bodies can be sacrificed to
work in the coal mines, people whose lands and water can be
sacrificed to open-pit mining and oil spills. As recently as the
1970s, scientists advising the US government openly referred to
certain parts of the country being designated 'national sacrifice
areas'. Think of the mountains of Appalachia, blasted off for coal
mining -- because so-called 'mountain top removal' coal mining is
cheaper than digging holes underground. There must be theories of
othering to justify sacrificing an entire geography -- theories
about the people who lived there being so poor and backward that
their lives and culture don't deserve protection. After all, if
you are a 'hillbilly', who cares about your hills? Turning all
that coal into electricity required another layer of othering too:
this time for the urban neighbourhoods next door to the power
plants and refineries. In North America, these are overwhelmingly
communities of colour, black and Latino, forced to carry the toxic
burden of our collective addiction to fossil fuels, with markedly
higher rates of respiratory illnesses and cancers. It was in
fights against this kind of 'environmental racism' that the
climate justice movement was born.

Fossil fuel sacrifice zones dot the globe. Take the Niger Delta,
poisoned with an Exxon Valdez-worth of spilled oil every year, a
process Ken Saro-Wiwa, before he was murdered by his government,
called 'ecological genocide'. The executions of community leaders,
he said, were 'all for Shell'. In my country, Canada, the decision
to dig up the Alberta tar sands -- a particularly heavy form of
oil -- has required the shredding of treaties with First Nations,
treaties signed with the British Crown that guaranteed Indigenous
peoples the right to continue to hunt, fish and live traditionally
on their ancestral lands. It required it because these rights are
meaningless when the land is desecrated, when the rivers are
polluted and the moose and fish are riddled with tumours. And it
gets worse: Fort McMurray -- the town at the centre of the tar
sands boom, where many of the workers live and where much of the
money is spent -- is currently in an infernal blaze. It's that hot
and that dry. And this has something to do with what is being
mined there.

Even without such dramatic events, this kind of resource
extraction is a form of violence, because it does so much damage
to the land and water that it brings about the end of a way of
life, a death of cultures that are inseparable from the land.
Severing Indigenous people's connection to their culture used to
be state policy in Canada -- imposed through the forcible removal
of Indigenous children from their families to boarding schools
where their language and cultural practices were banned, and where
physical and sexual abuse were rampant. A recent truth and
reconciliation report called it 'cultural genocide'. The trauma
associated with these layers of forced separation -- from land,
from culture, from family -- is directly linked to the epidemic of
despair ravaging so many First Nations communities today. On a
single Saturday night in April, in the community of Attawapiskat
-- population 2000 -- 11 people tried to take their own lives.
Meanwhile, DeBeers runs a diamond mine on the community's
traditional territory; like all extractive projects, it had
promised hope and opportunity. 'Why don't the people just leave?',
the politicians and pundits ask. But many do. And that departure
is linked, in part, to the thousands of Indigenous women in Canada
who have been murdered or gone missing, often in big cities. Press
reports rarely make the connection between violence against women
and violence against the land -- often to extract fossil fuels --
but it exists. Every new government comes to power promising a new
era of respect for Indigenous rights. They don't deliver, because
Indigenous rights, as defined by the United Nations Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous People, include the right to refuse
extractive projects -- even when those projects fuel national
economic growth. And that's a problem because growth is our
religion, our way of life. So even Canada's hunky and charming new
prime minister is bound and determined to build new tar sands
pipelines, against the express wishes of Indigenous communities
who don't want to risk their water, or participate in the further
destabilising of the climate.

Fossil fuels require sacrifice zones: they always have. And you
can't have a system built on sacrificial places and sacrificial
people unless intellectual theories that justify their sacrifice
exist and persist: from Manifest Destiny to Terra Nullius to
Orientalism, from backward hillbillies to backward Indians. We
often hear climate change blamed on 'human nature', on the
inherent greed and short-sightedness of our species. Or we are
told we have altered the earth so much and on such a planetary
scale that we are now living in the Anthropocene -- the age of
humans. These ways of explaining our current circumstances have a
very specific, if unspoken meaning: that humans are a single type,
that human nature can be essentialised to the traits that created
this crisis. In this way, the systems that certain humans created,
and other humans powerfully resisted, are completely let off the
hook. Capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy -- those sorts of
system. Diagnoses like this erase the very existence of human
systems that organised life differently: systems that insist that
humans must think seven generations in the future; must be not
only good citizens but also good ancestors; must take no more than
they need and give back to the land in order to protect and
augment the cycles of regeneration. These systems existed and
still exist, but they are erased every time we say that the
climate crisis is a crisis of 'human nature' and that we are
living in the 'age of man'. And they come under very real attack
when megaprojects are built, like the Gualcarque hydroelectric
dams in Honduras, a project which, among other things, took the
life of the land defender Berta Cáceres, who was assassinated in


Some people insist that it doesn't have to be this bad. We can
clean up resource extraction, we don't need to do it the way it's
been done in Honduras and the Niger Delta and the Alberta tar
sands. Except that we are running out of cheap and easy ways to
get at fossil fuels, which is why we have seen the rise of
fracking and tar sands extraction in the first place. This, in
turn, is starting to challenge the original Faustian pact of the
industrial age: that the heaviest risks would be outsourced,
offloaded, onto the other -- the periphery abroad and inside our
own nations. It's something that is becoming less and less
possible. Fracking is threatening some of the most picturesque
parts of Britain as the sacrifice zone expands, swallowing up all
kinds of places that imagined themselves safe. So this isn't just
about gasping at how ugly the tar sands are. It's about
acknowledging that there is no clean, safe, non-toxic way to run
an economy powered by fossil fuels. There never was.

There is an avalanche of evidence that there is no peaceful way
either. The trouble is structural. Fossil fuels, unlike renewable
forms of energy such as wind and solar, are not widely distributed
but highly concentrated in very specific locations, and those
locations have a bad habit of being in other people's countries.
Particularly that most potent and precious of fossil fuels: oil.
This is why the project of Orientalism, of othering Arab and
Muslim people, has been the silent partner of our oil dependence
from the start -- and inextricable, therefore, from the blowback
that is climate change. If nations and peoples are regarded as
other -- exotic, primitive, bloodthirsty, as Said documented in
the 1970s -- it is far easier to wage wars and stage coups when
they get the crazy idea that they should control their own oil in
their own interests. In 1953 it was the British-US collaboration
to overthrow the democratically elected government of Muhammad
Mossadegh after he nationalised the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now
BP). In 2003, exactly fifty years later, it was another UK-US
co-production -- the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. The
reverberations from each intervention continue to jolt our world,
as do the reverberations from the successful burning of all that
oil. The Middle East is now squeezed in the pincer of violence
caused by fossil fuels, on the one hand, and the impact of burning
those fossil fuels on the other.

In his latest book, The Conflict Shoreline, the Israeli architect
Eyal Weizman has a groundbreaking take on how these forces are
intersecting.[/-] The main way we've understood the border of the
desert in the Middle East and North Africa, he explains, is the
so-called 'aridity line', areas where there is on average 200
millimetres of rainfall a year, which has been considered the
minimum for growing cereal crops on a large scale without
irrigation. These meteorological boundaries aren't fixed: they
have fluctuated for various reasons, whether it was Israel's
attempts to 'green the desert' pushing them in one direction or
cyclical drought expanding the desert in the other. And now, with
climate change, intensifying drought can have all kinds of impacts
along this line. Weizman points out that the Syrian border city of
Daraa falls directly on the aridity line. Daraa is where Syria's
deepest drought on record brought huge numbers of displaced
farmers in the years leading up to the outbreak of Syria's civil
war, and it's where the Syrian uprising broke out in 2011. Drought
wasn't the only factor in bringing tensions to a head. But the
fact that 1.5 million people were internally displaced in Syria as
a result of the drought clearly played a role. The connection
between water and heat stress and conflict is a recurring,
intensifying pattern all along the aridity line: all along it you
see places marked by drought, water scarcity, scorching
temperatures and military conflict -- from Libya to Palestine, to
some of the bloodiest battlefields in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But Weizman also discovered what he calls an 'astounding
coincidence'. When you map the targets of Western drone strikes
onto the region, you see that 'many of these attacks -- from South
Waziristan through northern Yemen, Somalia, Mali, Iraq, Gaza and
Libya -- are directly on or close to the 200 mm aridity line.' The
red dots on the map above represent some of the areas where
strikes have been concentrated. To me this is the most striking
attempt yet to visualise the brutal landscape of the climate
crisis. All this was foreshadowed a decade ago in a US military
report. 'The Middle East,' it observed, 'has always been
associated with two natural resources, oil (because of its
abundance) and water (because of its scarcity).' True enough. And
now certain patterns have become quite clear: first, Western
fighter jets followed that abundance of oil; now, Western drones
are closely shadowing the lack of water, as drought exacerbates


Just as bombs follow oil, and drones follow drought, so boats
follow both: boats filled with refugees fleeing homes on the
aridity line ravaged by war and drought. And the same capacity for
dehumanising the other that justified the bombs and drones is now
being trained on these migrants, casting their need for security
as a threat to ours, their desperate flight as some sort of
invading army. Tactics refined on the West Bank and in other
occupation zones are now making their way to North America and
Europe. In selling his wall on the border with Mexico, Donald
Trump likes to say: 'Ask Israel, the wall works.' Camps are
bulldozed in Calais, thousands of people drown in the
Mediterranean, and the Australian government detains survivors of
wars and despotic regimes in camps on the remote islands of Nauru
and Manus. Conditions are so desperate on Nauru that last month an
Iranian migrant died after setting himself on fire to try to draw
the world's attention. Another migrant -- a 21-year-old woman from
Somalia -- set herself on fire a few days later. Malcolm Turnbull,
the prime minister, warns that Australians 'cannot be misty-eyed
about this' and 'have to be very clear and determined in our
national purpose'. It's worth bearing Nauru in mind the next time
a columnist in a Murdoch paper declares, as Katie Hopkins did last
year, that it's time for Britain 'to get Australian. Bring on the
gunships, force migrants back to their shores and burn the boats.'
In another bit of symbolism Nauru is one of the Pacific Islands
very vulnerable to sea-level rise. Its residents, after seeing
their homes turned into prisons for others, will very possibly
have to migrate themselves. Tomorrow's climate refugees have been
recruited into service as today's prison guards.

We need to understand that what is happening on Nauru, and what is
happening to it, are expressions of the same logic. A culture that
places so little value on black and brown lives that it is willing
to let human beings disappear beneath the waves, or set themselves
on fire in detention centres, will also be willing to let the
countries where black and brown people live disappear beneath the
waves, or desiccate in the arid heat. When that happens, theories
of human hierarchy -- that we must take care of our own first --
will be marshalled to rationalise these monstrous decisions. We
are making this rationalisation already, if only implicitly.
Although climate change will ultimately be an existential threat
to all of humanity, in the short term we know that it does
discriminate, hitting the poor first and worst, whether they are
abandoned on the rooftops of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina
or whether they are among the 36 million who according to the UN
are facing hunger due to drought in Southern and East Africa.


This is an emergency, a present emergency, not a future one, but
we aren't acting like it. The Paris Agreement commits to keeping
warming below 2¡c. It's a target that is beyond reckless. When it
was unveiled in Copenhagen in 2009, the African delegates called
it 'a death sentence'. The slogan of several low-lying island
nations is '1.5 to stay alive'. At the last minute, a clause was
added to the Paris Agreement that says countries will pursue
'efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5¡c'. Not only is
this non-binding but it is a lie: we are making no such efforts.
The governments that made this promise are now pushing for more
fracking and more tar sands development -- which are utterly
incompatible with 2¡c, let alone 1.5¡c. This is happening because
the wealthiest people in the wealthiest countries in the world
think they are going to be OK, that someone else is going to eat
the biggest risks, that even when climate change turns up on their
doorstep, they will be taken care of.

When they're wrong things get even uglier. We had a vivid glimpse
into that future when the floodwaters rose in England last
December and January, inundating 16,000 homes. These communities
weren't only dealing with the wettest December on record. They
were also coping with the fact that the government has waged a
relentless attack on the public agencies, and the local councils,
that are on the front lines of flood defence. So understandably,
there were many who wanted to change the subject away from that
failure. Why, they asked, is Britain spending so much money on
refugees and foreign aid when it should be taking care of its own?
'Never mind foreign aid,' we read in the Daily Mail. 'What about
national aid?' 'Why,' a Telegraph editorial demanded, 'should
British taxpayers continue to pay for flood defences abroad when
the money is needed here?' I don't know -- maybe because Britain
invented the coal-burning steam engine and has been burning fossil
fuels on an industrial scale longer than any nation on Earth? But
I digress. The point is that this could have been a moment to
understand that we are all affected by climate change, and must
take action together and in solidarity with one another. It
wasn't, because climate change isn't just about things getting
hotter and wetter: under our current economic and political model,
it's about things getting meaner and uglier.

The most important lesson to take from all this is that there is
no way to confront the climate crisis as a technocratic problem,
in isolation. It must be seen in the context of austerity and
privatisation, of colonialism and militarism, and of the various
systems of othering needed to sustain them all. The connections
and intersections between them are glaring, and yet so often
resistance to them is highly compartmentalised. The anti-austerity
people rarely talk about climate change, the climate change people
rarely talk about war or occupation. We rarely make the connection
between the guns that take black lives on the streets of US cities
and in police custody and the much larger forces that annihilate
so many black lives on arid land and in precarious boats around
the world.

Overcoming these disconnections -- strengthening the threads tying
together our various issues and movements -- is, I would argue,
the most pressing task of anyone concerned with social and
economic justice. It is the only way to build a counterpower
sufficiently robust to win against the forces protecting the
highly profitable but increasingly untenable status quo. Climate
change acts as an accelerant to many of our social ills --
inequality, wars, racism -- but it can also be an accelerant for
the opposite, for the forces working for economic and social
justice and against militarism. Indeed the climate crisis -- by
presenting our species with an existential threat and putting us
on a firm and unyielding science-based deadline -- might just be
the catalyst we need to knit together a great many powerful
movements, bound together by a belief in the inherent worth and
value of all people and united by a rejection of the sacrifice
zone mentality, whether it applies to peoples or places. We face
so many overlapping and intersecting crises that we can't afford
to fix them one at a time. We need integrated solutions, solutions
that radically bring down emissions, while creating huge numbers
of good, unionised jobs and delivering meaningful justice to those
who have been most abused and excluded under the current
extractive economy.

Said died the year Iraq was invaded, living to see its libraries
and museums looted, its oil ministry faithfully guarded. Amid
these outrages, he found hope in the global anti-war movement, as
well as in new forms of grassroots communication opened up by
technology; he noted 'the existence of alternative communities
across the globe, informed by alternative news sources, and keenly
aware of the environmental, human rights and libertarian impulses
that bind us together in this tiny planet'. His vision even had a
place for tree-huggers. I was reminded of those words recently
while I was reading up on England's floods. Amid all the
scapegoating and finger-pointing, I came across a post by a man
called Liam Cox. He was upset by the way some in the media were
using the disaster to rev up anti-foreigner sentiment, and he said

     I live in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, one of the worst affected
     areas hit by the floods. It's shit, everything has gotten really
     wet. However ... I'm alive. I'm safe. My family are safe. We don't
     live in fear. I'm free. There aren't bullets flying about. There
     aren't bombs going off. I'm not being forced to flee my home and
     I'm not being shunned by the richest country in the world or
     criticised by its residents.

     All you morons vomiting your xenophobia ... about how money should
     only be spent 'on our own' need to look at yourselves closely in
     the mirror. I request you ask yourselves a very important question
     ... Am I a decent and honourable human being? Because home isn't
     just the UK, home is everywhere on this planet.

I think that makes for a very fine last word.

      Naomi Klein delivered this year's Edward Said lecture in London
      on 5 May.

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