Random Drivel from your Average Tosser

...with your host, Binty McShae - whether you like it or not!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Vote Pinter X

You may not have noticed but last Wednesday night the Nobel Prize Ceremonies were held in Oslo and Stockholm. Unlike the Oscars or the MTV awards the Nobels fail to attract a large television audience... presumably because outstanding scientists, doctors, writers and peace-makers don't look like Angelina Jolie or Justin Timberlake.

Anyhow, on the night the prize for literature was awarded to Harold Pinter, despite some anticipatory objections (see here). I for one would murmur a hooray regardless as I have always liked Pinter's work but it was not the prize that was talk of the night but his acceptance speech - in short, fucking-a! And rather than try to match his verbosity here I am instead going to publish an excerpt of the speech. If you want to read or watch the full thing - and I recommend you do - it's here. But for now I'll skip the drama references and go straight to a section highlighting Pinter's take on US policy over the last 50 years...

"...the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.
As every single person here knows, the justification for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein possessed a highly dangerous body of weapons of mass destruction, some of which could be fired in 45 minutes, bringing about appalling devastation. We were assured that was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq had a relationship with Al Quaeda and shared responsibility for the atrocity in New York of September 11th 2001. We were assured that this was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq threatened the security of the world. We were assured it was true. It was not true.

The truth is something entirely different. The truth is to do with how the United States understands its role in the world and how it chooses to embody it."

...and later...

"The United States supported the brutal Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua for over 40 years. The Nicaraguan people, led by the Sandinistas, overthrew this regime in 1979, a breathtaking popular revolution.

The Sandinistas weren't perfect. They possessed their fair share of arrogance and their political philosophy contained a number of contradictory elements. But they were intelligent, rational and civilised. They set out to establish a stable, decent, pluralistic society. The death penalty was abolished. Hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken peasants were brought back from the dead. Over 100,000 families were given title to land. Two thousand schools were built. A quite remarkable literacy campaign reduced illiteracy in the country to less than one seventh. Free education was established and a free health service. Infant mortality was reduced by a third. Polio was eradicated.

The United States denounced these achievements as Marxist/Leninist subversion. In the view of the US government, a dangerous example was being set. If Nicaragua was allowed to establish basic norms of social and economic justice, if it was allowed to raise the standards of health care and education and achieve social unity and national self respect, neighbouring countries would ask the same questions and do the same things. There was of course at the time fierce resistance to the status quo in El Salvador."

The whole piece is quite long, but worth the read / listen. Do yourself a favour and check it out...
Cheers m'dears!


At Friday, December 09, 2005 4:25:00 pm, Blogger Brewski said...

'The dignity of man' indeed. Fair play Binty.

At Friday, December 09, 2005 7:35:00 pm, Blogger Dr Maroon said...

I have written a paper on this.


Good old Harry. I must say I do like the bugger.

At Saturday, December 10, 2005 11:59:00 pm, Blogger justbreathe28 said...

that was a great speech.what a pity i suppose that the only reason he could express himself so freely was because the ceremony wasn't televised.i particularly liked the bit where he "wrote" a speech for bush.

At Sunday, December 11, 2005 6:23:00 am, Blogger LindyK said...

I thought it was a rather well done speech as well, and I was glad to see him win the Nobel. Finally someone with a decent body of work and a brain in his head... (somewhere in my archives I posted a piece on his win, too.)


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