Barr, Matt

Matt Barr
1 January 2014Blog

As condemnations of Haiti's minimum wage increase are ringing out the long and disturbing history of external interference leading to a race down to the bottom needs to be remembered.

Apart from being Haitian Independence day whereby former slaves successfully removed the cruel grasp of colonial slavery 210 years ago in 1804, today is also supposed to see a much needed increase in the minimum wage in Haiti but has sparked controversy.

Protests have broken out in Haiti demanding a greater increase than has been proposed whilst a somewhat inevitable a race down to the bottom backlash from industry and the international community has argued against even the modest…

1 January 2014Blog

On January 1, 1804 Haiti became an independent nation free from colonial slavery but this important history is often missing from the prevalent narrative that blames Haiti for its current plight.

Having broken free of the shackles of French colonial slavery, 210 years ago today Haiti become an independent country and in doing so became the first, and only, country to be born out of a successful slave revolt.

Despite its huge historically significance, the scope of the human ideals upon which Haiti gained its independence from a brutal colonial ruler is often lost in the modern narrative about…

10 October 2013Blog

UN sued in Manhattan court over its role in the 2010 outbreak of cholera in Haiti that has claimed the lives of over 8000 people and infected over 650,000.

In a New York court yesterday a compensation claim against the UN was brought on behalf of the victims of the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti, the origins of which have been traced back to the organisation. More than 8,000 people have been killed with over 650,000 becoming ill as a result of the on-going outbreak of a disease that was previously only rarely experienced in Haiti despite numerous…

10 August 2013Blog

New scientific evidence “overwhelmingly” links UN troops to a cholera epidemic in Haiti that has killed 8000 people and yet the organisation refuses to accept liability, adding further to the on-going controversy of the UN troop presence in the country.

According to new report released by researchers at Yale University the United Nations inadvertently caused a deadly cholera outbreak in Haiti in October 2010 and has a legal and moral obligation to remedy this harm. This on-going cholera epidemic has killed more than 8,000 people and infected more than 650,000 in Haiti, a country still struggling with the aftereffects of the 2010 earthquake. Crucially, this conclusion directly contradicts recent statements by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki…

18 March 2013Blog

REPORT FROM IRAQ: Non-violent protests by the people of Halabja at the 25th anniversary commemorations of the town's gassing help highlight the political misuse of the massacre.

Saturday was the 25th anniversary of the March 16, 1988 gassing of the town of Halabja, which is north-east of Baghdad and whose backdrop is the mountains that make up part of the Iran-Iraq border. This attack killed upwards of 5000 civilians, mostly women and children, injuring thousands more as Iraqi planes dropped chemical bombs on the town.

Having previously visited the town in April 2009 I returned to Halabja on…

15 March 2013Blog

REPORT FROM IRAQ: Cross-border Turkish bombings continue to claim civilian lives and disrupt livelihoods in northern Iraq.

Back in November I wrote a blog piece for Peace News about what was essentially a media blackout on cross-border attacks by the Turkish military into the northern regions of Iraq. These Turkish attacks into Iraq have a long and deadly history, taking and disrupted many lives and have historically, in the main, been largely under-reported or simply unreported. It is in part…

12 January 2013Blog

Three years on from 2010's earthquake and still little is written about how the social causes of the disaster relate to Haiti's history of external exploitation.

Today is the third anniversary of the earthquake that struck just outside of Port-au-Prince, the densely populated capital of Haiti.(1) The UN estimated that in the wake of this earthquake more than 220,000 people died and over 300,000 people were injured, fracturing families which directly affected 750,000 children…

1 January 2013Blog

Although widely unknown and uncelebrated Haiti's history actually “played an inordinately important role in the articulation of a version of human rights” that promotes universality.

Whilst today is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation it is also the anniversary of another historic event, although one that is little known by comparison, that actually saw the end to slavery, Haitian independence.

It is widely accepted that the signing of the Emancipation…

26 November 2012Blog

On-going cross-border military actions in northern Iraq are killing civilians and being underreported.

Omission is a key part of the propaganda model proposed by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in their classic text on the subject and it can also be used to ascertain bias within the media. Whilst recent media attention has rightly been focusing on military actions in the Middle East in relation to both Syria and to Israel there has been a virtual blackout on reporting when it comes to this month’s military incursions by Turkey into the predominately Kurdish areas of northern Iraq.