M.I.A. — whose comments come alongside the arrival of her new album, Mata, today, Oct. 14 — reportedly tied her vaccine skepticism to issues like big pharma and America’s for-profit healthcare system, while also roping in other problems like the ever-growing cost of living. She described these as areas of “vital basic human need” that are “exploited for monetary gain.”
As to how she came to her own conclusions about the Covid vaccine, M.I.A. claimed, “I know three people who have died from taking the vaccine, and I know three people who have died from Covid. This is in my life, in my experience. If anyone is going to deny that experience and gaslight me, saying: ‘No, that’s not your experience,’ then what is the point of anything?”
M.I.A. then proceeded to express concern about the kind of information available about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine, even though there’s been plenty of readily available info showing that getting the vaccine almost certainly won’t kill you, and will probably keep you from dying of Covid-19. Nevertheless, she persisted.
“What is the existence that you are trying to protect by giving me a vaccine if I can’t even have an experience and process that information in my own brain and come to some sort of conclusion? And live within a society where I have to make choices every day?”
On top of vaccines, M.I.A. expressed her displeasure on an array of other topics, from identity politics and efforts to defund the police to her embrace of Christianity to — you guessed it — cancel culture. Of the latter, she said, “I think everyone should be having open conversations — we don’t all have to, like, build effigies of people and burn them in the street for saying something, going after them like Guy Fawkes, because of fear of being seen as the other,” she said.
M.I.A. also spoke more about Alex Jones, tying the Sandy Hook slander verdict back to an issue she’s been raising awareness of throughout her career: The Tamil genocide during the Sri Lankan civil war.
“Today, you’ve got some white guy [Jones] who apparently lied and made some families feel terrible, who now has to pay $1bn because he denied someone’s real experience, real loss, and real emotional trauma,” M.I.A. said. She also stressed that Sandy Hook parents having to put up with Jones’ lies was “terrible,” but claimed similar falsehoods have been spread, in far more mainstream outlets, about the number of Tamil people killed during the final phase of the war in 2009 (estimates place the number between 40,000 and 70,000, though an exact death toll is uncertain).
“If we’re going to have a scapegoat in society where somebody’s going to pay for [lying about atrocities], then I would like to bring the same sort of court case against every western publication that said only 40,000 Tamils were killed in the last days of the war,” she said.