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Poetry and Politics - Voices From the Past

By       Message Siv O'Neall       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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Playwright and poet Harold Pinter, in his Nobel prize acceptance speech on 7 December 2005, at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm, made an unforgettable speech, fiercely condemning the Bush/Blair attack on Iraq and, in general, U.S. arrogance and lawlessness, saying "The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law" . [1]

In his speech, Pinter quotes a poem by Pablo Neruda, the Chilean leftist poet who was the Chilean consul in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War. Colombian novelist Gabriel Garc├a Ma'rquez once called him "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language."

"...from every socket of Spain
Spain emerges
and from every dead child a rifle with eyes,
and from every crime bullets are born
which will one day find
the bull's eye of your hearts."

From ' I'm Explaining a Few Things '
by Pablo Neruda (1936)'

The occasion for reminding the world of Pinter's words (and of Pablo Neruda) at that time has never been more relevant.

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The U.S., acting as the right arm of the Corporate Empire, has never been more blatantly contemptuous of international law and human decency. Moral concepts just do not exist any more. The Empire is senselessly destroying one country after the other, devoid of any feeling of the value of human lives. For what? To achieve global dominance, a pipe dream which is going to turn into ashes one day very soon when it becomes clear that no such thing is or has ever been possible. Adolf Hitler had his megalomania. The U.S. Empire has its equally frightening faith in its own invincibility. But the columns and walls are tottering.

One day soon the whole house of cards is going to collapse and we will see the dregs of cruelty and megalomania in the harsh light of day, without the embellishment of Newspeak. 'Pax Americana' will finally show up as the eternal war that it was always meant to be. 'American superiority' will finally be seen for what it is, a slogan designed to fool the people into a state of semi-conscious opium limbo. 'Ignorance is Strength', the slogan from George Orwell's 1984, fits perfectly into the secret plans for corrupting the U.S. citizens, and then the entire world, into a mode of thinking where no questions are asked and no violence is considered excessive. As long as it is perpetrated on second -class humans, that is: everybody but U.S. citizens. 'Homeland security' is the catch phrase. All heads bow in devout unison when the term is uttered. The gospel says that the homeland must be spared from terrorists, Muslims and any darker-skinned and certainly more or less criminal individuals.

The Psychopaths who are trembling in their chateaux, in their gated communities far away from the lowly plebs and, in the greatest contempt for the needs of the common people, are still perfectly unaware of the tremendous earth quake that will be occurring the day the people have had enough. The psychopaths are scared. Of course they sense the danger of driving the knife into the bodies so deeply that the victim is barely breathing. If they do not sense it, they will be even more surprised the day the lid comes off the boiling pot of anger, frustration and suffering. Shock waves are sent out from the layers inside the earth. The gates and the reinforced walls are going to be swept away by the tsunami that is on its way.

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The psychopaths are incredulous, but under the veneer they are scared to death. They are busy accumulating all there is to be accumulated, no matter what. They are the strong ones, they are power itself. How can they be the targets for the rebels that will soon be tearing everything down? They are in their fortified towers with caves full of silver and gold. Sure, nothing can reach and disturb their complacent existence far away from 'the dregs of society'.

But noone sums up the situation of U.S. Corporate power, that takes as a given its own invincibility and its right to invade, plunder and kill, better than Harold Pinter himself in his Nobel prize acceptance speech. Destroying harmless nations while making its own citizens and the world believe that they are fighting for freedom and democracy, civil rights, justice and equality is simply the rule of this ruthless game. In their carefully constructed self love and unquestioned superiority, U.S. citizens sink into a blissful ersatz nirvana.

It is so convenient not to see through the brittle fa├žade the Corporate Empire is putting up. It could be swept away with a sobering act of resistance. But the rebels have not emerged from their caves. Yet. The day will soon come . The revenge by the masses will be a powerful tornado that will sweep away all the lies and do away with the slave/master relationship we are now being crushed under. Yes, there will be a new dawn.

Quote from Harold Pinter's speech:

"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. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.

"Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn't know it.

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"It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. 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 for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

"I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It's a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, 'the American people', as in the sentence, 'I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.'

"It's a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words 'the American people' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.

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Siv O'Neall was born and raised in Sweden where she graduated from Lund University. She has lived in Paris, France and New Rochelle, N.Y. and traveled extensively throughout the U.S, Europe, and other continents, including several trips to (more...)

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