Harold Pinter, R.I.P.
In my life, I have not been a devote of theater, but only because I haven't been able to afford the indulgence. Movies are another matter, and I remember Harold Pinter for his screen adoptations of
In 2005 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Pinter's Lecture, accepting the Prize was memorable for his attack on Bush's foreign policy. I single out these three paragraphs:
..... Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America's favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as 'low intensity conflict'. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued - or beaten to death - the same thing - and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed. This was a commonplace in US foreign policy in the years to which I refer.I remember him especially for being an early critic of the unprovoked invasion of Iraq - weeks before it occurred - in the speech he gave in the Lobby of Parliament at the House of Commons on January 21st 2003:
..... The United States no longer bothers about low intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious. It puts its cards on the table without fear or favour. 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 on a lead, the pathetic and supine Great Britain.
..... 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.
One of the more nauseating images of the year 2002 is that of our Prime Minister kneeling in the church on Christmas Day praying for peace on earth and good will towards all men while simultaneously preparing to assist in the murder of thousands of totally innocent people in Iraq.Which continues.
I've been taken to task recently by the American Ambassador to Britain for calling the US Administration a bloodthirsty wild animal. All I can say is: take a look at Donald Rumsfeld's face and the case is made.
I believe that not only is this contemplated act criminal, malevolent and barbaric, it also contains within itself a palpable joy in destruction.
Power, as has often been remarked, is the great aphrodisiac, and so, it would seem, is the death of others.
The Americans have the ostensible support of the 'international community' through various sure-fire modes of intimidation: bullying, bribery, blackmail and bullshit.
The 'international community' becomes a degraded entity bludgeoned into the service of a brutal military force out of control.
The most despicable position is that of course of this country which pretends to stand shoulder to shoulder with its great ally while in fact being more of a whipped dog than anyone else. We are demeaned, undermined and dishonoured by our government's contemptible subservience to the United States.
The planned war can only bring about the collapse of what remains of the Iraqi infrastructure, widespread death, mutilation and disease, an estimated one million refugees and escalation of violence throughout the world, but it will still masquerade as a 'moral crusade', a 'just war', a war waged by 'freedom loving democracies', to bring 'democracy' to Iraq.
The stink of the hypocrisy is suffocating.
This is in reality a simple tale of invasion of sovereign territory, military occupation and control of oil.
We have a clear obligation, which is to resist.