Jennifer Loewenstein Archive


 

Bravo to Harold Pinter. -J
 
"The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law," Pinter said in a pre-recorded lecture broadcast by the Swedish Academy.
 
 
Iraq war was 'blatant state terrorism': Nobel laureate Pinter
 
Wed Dec 7, 2:03 PM ET
 
 
In a fierce critic ahead of the Nobel awards ceremony, literature laureate Harold Pinter branded the war on Iraq "an act of blatant state terrorism" and demanded the prosecutions of US President George W. Bush and Britain's Tony Blair.
 
"The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law," Pinter said in a pre-recorded lecture broadcast by the Swedish Academy.
 
The Academy, which awards the Nobel Literature Prize, aired the interview, recorded Sunday in London, because Pinter is too sick to travel to Sweden for the lecture or pick up the award in person at Saturday's ceremony.
 
"How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal?" Pinter asked.
 
"One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice," he added.
 
The 75-year-old British playwright was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in December 2002.
 
In the recording made in London, he is flanked by a bright blue background knee, looking in better shape than in many recent media photographs.
 
He used nearly all of his lecture of almost an hour to criticise the United States.
 
"The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War.
 
"I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile," he said.
 
"The crimes of the United States 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 of universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis."
 
Pinter's criticism of Washington is nothing new.
 
Although he won the 2005 Nobel Prize for his plays, which according to the Nobel jury uncover "the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms," he has recently focused on political activism.
 
In his lecture, he emphasized the difference between the separate worlds of literature and political life.
 
In literature "a thing is not necessarily either true or false. It can be both true and false," he said, adding however that "as a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false."
 
Politicians are not interested "in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power", according to Pinter.
 
"The justification for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein possessed a highly dangerous body of weapons of mass destruction ... 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 11, 2001 ... It was not true," he said.
 
Pinter, born the son of a Jewish dressmaker in Hackney, east London, began as an actor and made his playwriting debut in 1957, with "The Room".
 
That play was followed by one of his masterpieces "The Birthday Party" and his conclusive breakthrough came with "The Caretaker" in 1959, followed by "The Homecoming" in 1964.
 
The playwright's publisher, Stephen Page, will accept the 10 million kronor (1.1 million euros, 1.3 million dollars) prize money, a diploma and a medal on Pinter's behalf at the ceremony.
 
 
 
Jennifer Loewenstein