Thursday, December 08, 2005

pinter's acceptance speech

The Guardian has rather fawningly reproduced Harold Pinter's ripe, over the top but marvellously entertaining Nobel Prize Acceptance speech from last night, and it's well worth a read. As you might imagine, it's beautifully written, self-contradictory and contains some bloody awful poetry (from Pinter, and some beautiful words from Pablo Naruda). Apparently it was screened on More4 so I'll have to try and track down a copy, I'm sure it'll be doing the rounds on the internet before long.

The real treat, apart from a rare insight into his writing methods, is Pinter on truth, his masterful juxtapositions: "Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period", he says. We may also know about US foreign policy in the Phillipines, Grenada, Nicaragua and Iraq, and yet at the same time, "It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest." Elsewhere, "Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries", and yet he asks, "Did they take place?" On Iraq he emits the same thrusting, unequivocal language as George Galloway, which is rhetorically off-putting and yet unarguably true.

"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'.

How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? 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. But Bush has been clever. He has not ratified the International Criminal Court of Justice. Therefore if any American soldier or for that matter politician finds himself in the dock Bush has warned that he will send in the marines. But Tony Blair has ratified the Court and is therefore available for prosecution. We can let the Court have his address if they're interested. It is Number 10, Downing Street, London."


Ben said...

You guys fuckin rocked last night, btw, really enjoyed it. CD is great too.

Tim Rutherford-Johnson said...

Jonathan - you can see the video at

Apparently their bandwidth's getting hammered, so it might be worth waiting a day or two.