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[casi] FWD: Harold Pinter's speech at Turin University

"The planned war against Iraq is in fact a plan for
premeditated murder of thousands of civilians..."

It's an angry speech - perhaps too angry for some. It
can even be faulted on some points. But some of you must
be angry too at the suffocating hypocricy.


-------Start Fwd-------
Honorary Doctorate Speech - Turin University

by Harold Pinter (27th November 2002)

I am deeply honoured to receive this degree from such a
great university.

Earlier this year I had a major operation for cancer. The
operation and its after-effects were something of a
nightmare. I felt I was a man unable to swim bobbing about
under water in a deep dark endless ocean. But I did not
drown and I am very glad to be alive. However, I found
that to emerge from a personal nightmare was to enter an
infinitely more pervasive public nightmare - the nightmare
of American hysteria, ignorance, arrogance, stupidity and
belligerence; the most powerful nation the world has ever
known effectively waging war against the rest of the
world. "If you are not with us you are against us"
President Bush has said. He has also said "We will not
allow the world's worst weapons to remain in the hands of
the world's worst leaders". Quite right. Look in the
mirror chum. That's you.

The US is at this moment developing advanced systems of
"weapons of mass destruction" and it prepared to use them
where it sees fit. It has more of them than the rest of
the world put together. It has walked away from
international agreements on biological and chemical
weapons, refusing to allow inspection of its own
factories. The hypocrisy behind its public declarations
and its own actions is almost a joke.

The United States believes that the three thousand deaths
in New York are the only deaths that count, the only
deaths that matter. They are American deaths. Other deaths
are unreal, abstract, of no consequence. The three
thousand deaths in Afghanistan are never referred to.

The hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children dead through
US and British sanctions which have deprived them of
essential medicines are never referred to.

The effect of depleted uranium, used by America in the
Gulf War, is never referred to. Radiation levels in Iraq
are appallingly high. Babies are born with no brain, no
eyes, no genitals. Where they do have ears, mouths or
rectums, all that issues from these orifices is blood. The
two hundred thousand deaths in East Timor in 1975 brought
about by the Indonesian government but inspired and
supported by the United States are never referred to.

The half a million deaths in Guatemala, Chile, El
Salvador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Argentina and Haiti, in
actions supported and subsidised by the United States are
never referred to.

The millions of deaths in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are
no longer referred to.

The desperate plight of the Palestinian people, the
central factor in world unrest, is hardly referred to.

But what a misjudgement of the present and what a
misreading of history this is.

People do not forget. They do not forget the death of
their fellows, they do not forget torture and mutilation,
they do not forget injustice, they do not forget
oppression, they do not forget the terrorism of mighty
powers. They not only don't forget. They strike back.

The atrocity in New York was predictable and inevitable.
It was an act of retaliation against constant and
systematic manifestations of state terrorism on the part
of the United States over many years, in all parts of the

In Britain the public is now being warned to be "vigilant"
in preparation for potential terrorist acts. The language
is in itself preposterous. How will - or can - public
vigilance be embodied? Wearing a scarf over your mouth to
keep out poison gas? However, terrorist attacks are quite
likely, the inevitable result of our Prime Minister's
contemptible and shameful subservience to the United
States. Apparently a terrorist poison gas attack on the
London Underground system was recently prevented. But such
an act may indeed take place. Thousands of school children
travel on the London Underground every day. If there is a
poison gas attack from which they die, the responsibility
will rest entirely on the shoulders of our Prime Minister.
Needless to say, the Prime Minister does not travel on the
underground himself.

The planned war against Iraq is in fact a plan for
premeditated murder of thousands of civilians in order,
apparently, to rescue them from their dictator.

The United States and Britain are pursuing a course which
can lead only to an escalation of violence throughout the
world and finally to catastrophe.

It is obvious, however, that the United States is bursting
at the seams to attack Iraq. I believe that it will do
this - not just to take control of Iraqi oil - but because
the US administration is now a bloodthirsty wild animal.
Bombs are its only vocabulary. Many Americans, we know,
are horrified by the posture of their government but seem
to be helpless.

Unless Europe finds the solidarity, intelligence, courage
and will to challenge and resist US power Europe itself
will deserve Alexander Herzen's definition (as quoted in
the Guardian newspaper in London recently) "We are not the
doctors. We are the disease".

Harold Pinter (27 Nov 2002) - Harold Pinter

comments to
revised 11 December 2002

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