Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Mighty Pen

British Playwright Harold Pinter has won the Nobel Prize for literature for 2005. I was not really aware (or interested) in this fact until I stumbled across part of his acceptance speech, which can be found in full at the first link. To say he is a little anti-war and anti-American would put it mildly. A snippet of his highly interesting writing:
The crimes of the US have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

I put to you that the US is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It's a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, "the American people", as in the sentence, "I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people."

It's a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words "the American people" provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.

The US no longer bothers about low-intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious. It quite simply doesn't give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant. It also has its own bleating little lamb tagging behind it, the pathetic and supine Britain.


Look at Guantanamo Bay. ... This criminal outrage is being committed by a country that declares itself to be the leader of the free world. ... At present many are on hunger strike, being force-fed. No niceties in these force-feeding procedures. No sedative or anaesthetic. Just a tube stuck up your nose and into your throat. You vomit blood. This is torture.

The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading ?? as a last resort, all other justifications having failed to justify themselves ?? as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.

We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it "bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East".
Strong words indeed and with added benefit of being spoken from a such a notable platform as the Nobel Organisaiton.

North Korean Human Rights

Blogger nomad, Andy Jackson, has been updating events from the Seoul Summit on North Korean human rights. By all accounts this was a pretty big event. The BBC has also reported on the event. I had a friend staying at the Shilla during the week for an unrelated conference and told her to go in and take any propagandada they might be handing out but said it was packed. I don't think she got any stuff for me.

And just a quick boast that I am leaving winter behind and heading south to wonderfully sunny Australia in less than a week to spend Christmas at home!

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui