Re: [OPE-L] Nobel Lecture - Literature 2005

From: Paul Bullock (paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK)
Date: Fri Dec 09 2005 - 18:23:06 EST


Doesn't the NY Review of Books publish these sort of things?
Seems quite amazing.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: <glevy@PRATT.EDU>
To: <OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2005 3:38 PM
Subject: [OPE-L] Nobel Lecture - Literature 2005


> Paul B:  Here's the lecture you directed our attention to.  I heard
> about it (like Galloway's speech earlier this year) on the Net, not
> in the mass media.  Anything too critical of US foreign policy or G.W.
> Bush does not seem to make much of a splash here in the mainstream
> (bourgeois) media.  All of the journalists here remember what happened
> to Dan Rather.
>
> In solidarity, Jerry
>
> ===================================================================
>
> Nobel Lecture - Literature 2005
>
>  THE NOBEL FOUNDATION 2005
>
>             Harold Pinter - Nobel Lecture
>             Art, Truth & Politics
>
>
>             In 1958 I wrote the following:
>
>             'There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what
> is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing
> is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true
> and false.'
>
>             I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still
> apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a
> writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen
> I must ask: What is true? What is false?
>
>             Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it but
> the search for it is compulsive. The search is clearly what
> drives the endeavour. The search is your task. More often than
> not you stumble upon the truth in the dark, colliding with it
> or just glimpsing an image or a shape which seems to
> correspond to the truth, often without realising that you have
> done so. But the real truth is that there never is any such
> thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are
> many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each
> other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each
> other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have
> the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your
> fingers and is lost.
>
>             I have often been asked how my plays come about. I cannot say.
> Nor can I ever sum up my plays, except to say that this is
> what happened. That is what they said. That is what they did.
>
>             Most of the plays are engendered by a line, a word or an
> image. The given word is often shortly followed by the image.
> I shall give two examples of two lines which came right out of
> the blue into my head, followed by an image, followed by me.
>
>             The plays are The Homecoming and Old Times. The first line of
> The Homecoming is 'What have you done with the scissors?' The
> first line of Old Times is 'Dark.'
>
>             In each case I had no further information.
>
>             In the first case someone was obviously looking for a pair of
> scissors and was demanding their whereabouts of someone else
> he suspected had probably stolen them. But I somehow knew that
> the person addressed didn't give a damn about the scissors or
> about the questioner either, for that matter.
>
>             'Dark' I took to be a description of someone's hair, the hair
> of a woman, and was the answer to a question. In each case I
> found myself compelled to pursue the matter. This happened
> visually, a very slow fade, through shadow into light.
>
>             I always start a play by calling the characters A, B and C.
>
>             In the play that became The Homecoming I saw a man enter a
> stark room and ask his question of a younger man sitting on an
> ugly sofa reading a racing paper. I somehow suspected that A
> was a father and that B was his son, but I had no proof. This
> was however confirmed a short time later when B (later to
> become Lenny) says to A (later to become Max), 'Dad, do you
> mind if I change the subject? I want to ask you something. The
> dinner we had before, what was the name of it? What do you
> call it? Why don't you buy a dog? You're a dog cook. Honest.
> You think you're cooking for a lot of dogs.' So since B calls
> A 'Dad' it seemed to me reasonable to assume that they were
> father and son. A was also clearly the cook and his cooking
> did not seem to be held in high regard. Did this mean that
> there was no mother? I didn't know. But, as I told myself at
> the time, our beginnings never know our ends.
>
>             'Dark.' A large window. Evening sky. A man, A (later to become
> Deeley), and a woman, B (later to become Kate), sitting with
> drinks. 'Fat or thin?' the man asks. Who are they talking
> about? But I then see, standing at the window, a woman, C
> (later to become Anna), in another condition of light, her
> back to them, her hair dark.
>
>             It's a strange moment, the moment of creating characters who
> up to that moment have had no existence. What follows is
> fitful, uncertain, even hallucinatory, although sometimes it
> can be an unstoppable avalanche. The author's position is an
> odd one. In a sense he is not welcomed by the characters. The
> characters resist him, they are not easy to live with, they
> are impossible to define. You certainly can't dictate to them.
> To a certain extent you play a never-ending game with them,
> cat and mouse, blind man's buff, hide and seek. But finally
> you find that you have people of flesh and blood on your
> hands, people with will and an individual sensibility of their
> own, made out of component parts you are unable to change,
> manipulate or distort.
>
>             So language in art remains a highly ambiguous transaction, a
> quicksand, a trampoline, a frozen pool which might give way
> under you, the author, at any time.
>
>             But as I have said, the search for the truth can never stop.
> It cannot be adjourned, it cannot be postponed. It has to be
> faced, right there, on the spot.
>
>             Political theatre presents an entirely different set of
> problems. Sermonising has to be avoided at all cost.
> Objectivity is essential. The characters must be allowed to
> breathe their own air. The author cannot confine and constrict
> them to satisfy his own taste or disposition or prejudice. He
> must be prepared to approach them from a variety of angles,
> from a full and uninhibited range of perspectives, take them
> by surprise, perhaps, occasionally, but nevertheless give them
> the freedom to go which way they will. This does not always
> work. And political satire, of course, adheres to none of
> these precepts, in fact does precisely the opposite, which is
> its proper function.
>
>             In my play The Birthday Party I think I allow a whole range of
> options to operate in a dense forest of possibility before
> finally focussing on an act of subjugation.
>
>             Mountain Language pretends to no such range of operation. It
> remains brutal, short and ugly. But the soldiers in the play
> do get some fun out of it. One sometimes forgets that
> torturers become easily bored. They need a bit of a laugh to
> keep their spirits up. This has been confirmed of course by
> the events at Abu Ghraib in Baghdad. Mountain Language lasts
> only 20 minutes, but it could go on for hour after hour, on
> and on and on, the same pattern repeated over and over again,
> on and on, hour after hour.
>
>             Ashes to Ashes, on the other hand, seems to me to be taking
> place under water. A drowning woman, her hand reaching up
> through the waves, dropping down out of sight, reaching for
> others, but finding nobody there, either above or under the
> water, finding only shadows, reflections, floating; the woman
> a lost figure in a drowning landscape, a woman unable to
> escape the doom that seemed to belong only to others.
>
>             But as they died, she must die too.
>
>             Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture
> into any of this territory since the majority of politicians,
> on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth
> but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain
> that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance,
> that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of
> their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast
> tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.
>
>             As every single person here knows, the justification for the
> invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein possessed a highly
> dangerous body of weapons of mass destruction, some of which
> could be fired in 45 minutes, bringing about appalling
> devastation. We were assured that was true. 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 11th 2001. We were assured that this was true. It
> was not true. We were told that Iraq threatened the security
> of the world. We were assured it was true. It was not true.
>
>             The truth is something entirely different. The truth is to do
> with how the United States understands its role in the world
> and how it chooses to embody it.
>
>             But before I come back to the present I would like to look at
> the recent past, by which I mean United States foreign policy
> since the end of the Second World War. I believe it is
> obligatory upon us to subject this period to at least some
> kind of even limited scrutiny, which is all that time will
> allow here.
>
>             Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and
> throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period: the
> systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless
> suppression of independent thought. All this has been fully
> documented and verified.
>
>             But my contention here is that the US crimes in the same
> period have only been superficially recorded, let alone
> documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as
> crimes at all. I believe this must be addressed and that the
> truth has considerable bearing on where the world stands now.
> Although constrained, to a certain extent, by the existence of
> the Soviet Union, the United States' actions throughout the
> world made it clear that it had concluded it had carte blanche
> to do what it liked.
>
>             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.
>
>             The tragedy of Nicaragua was a highly significant case. I
> choose to offer it here as a potent example of America's view
> of its role in the world, both then and now.
>
>             I was present at a meeting at the US embassy in London in the
> late 1980s.
>
>             The United States Congress was about to decide whether to give
> more money to the Contras in their campaign against the state
> of Nicaragua. I was a member of a delegation speaking on
> behalf of Nicaragua but the most important member of this
> delegation was a Father John Metcalf. The leader of the US
> body was Raymond Seitz (then number two to the ambassador,
> later ambassador himself). Father Metcalf said: 'Sir, I am in
> charge of a parish in the north of Nicaragua. My parishioners
> built a school, a health centre, a cultural centre. We have
> lived in peace. A few months ago a Contra force attacked the
> parish. They destroyed everything: the school, the health
> centre, the cultural centre. They raped nurses and teachers,
> slaughtered doctors, in the most brutal manner. They behaved
> like savages. Please demand that the US government withdraw
> its support from this shocking terrorist activity.'
>
>             Raymond Seitz had a very good reputation as a rational,
> responsible and highly sophisticated man. He was greatly
> respected in diplomatic circles. He listened, paused and then
> spoke with some gravity. 'Father,' he said, 'let me tell you
> something. In war, innocent people always suffer.' There was a
> frozen silence. We stared at him. He did not flinch.
>
>             Innocent people, indeed, always suffer.
>
>             Finally somebody said: 'But in this case "innocent people"
> were the victims of a gruesome atrocity subsidised by your
> government, one among many. If Congress allows the Contras
> more money further atrocities of this kind will take place. Is
> this not the case? Is your government not therefore guilty of
> supporting acts of murder and destruction upon the citizens of
> a sovereign state?'
>
>             Seitz was imperturbable. 'I don't agree that the facts as
> presented support your assertions,' he said.
>
>             As we were leaving the Embassy a US aide told me that he
> enjoyed my plays. I did not reply.
>
>             I should remind you that at the time President Reagan made the
> following statement: 'The Contras are the moral equivalent of
> our Founding Fathers.'
>
>             The United States supported the brutal Somoza dictatorship in
> Nicaragua for over 40 years. The Nicaraguan people, led by the
> Sandinistas, overthrew this regime in 1979, a breathtaking
> popular revolution.
>
>             The Sandinistas weren't perfect. They possessed their fair
> share of arrogance and their political philosophy contained a
> number of contradictory elements. But they were intelligent,
> rational and civilised. They set out to establish a stable,
> decent, pluralistic society. The death penalty was abolished.
> Hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken peasants were
> brought back from the dead. Over 100,000 families were given
> title to land. Two thousand schools were built. A quite
> remarkable literacy campaign reduced illiteracy in the country
> to less than one seventh. Free education was established and a
> free health service. Infant mortality was reduced by a third.
> Polio was eradicated.
>
>             The United States denounced these achievements as
> Marxist/Leninist subversion. In the view of the US government,
> a dangerous example was being set. If Nicaragua was allowed to
> establish basic norms of social and economic justice, if it
> was allowed to raise the standards of health care and
> education and achieve social unity and national self respect,
> neighbouring countries would ask the same questions and do the
> same things. There was of course at the time fierce resistance
> to the status quo in El Salvador.
>
>             I spoke earlier about 'a tapestry of lies' which surrounds us.
> President Reagan commonly described Nicaragua as a
> 'totalitarian dungeon'. This was taken generally by the media,
> and certainly by the British government, as accurate and fair
> comment. But there was in fact no record of death squads under
> the Sandinista government. There was no record of torture.
> There was no record of systematic or official military
> brutality. No priests were ever murdered in Nicaragua. There
> were in fact three priests in the government, two Jesuits and
> a Maryknoll missionary. The totalitarian dungeons were
> actually next door, in El Salvador and Guatemala. The United
> States had brought down the democratically elected government
> of Guatemala in 1954 and it is estimated that over 200,000
> people had been victims of successive military dictatorships.
>
>             Six of the most distinguished Jesuits in the world were
> viciously murdered at the Central American University in San
> Salvador in 1989 by a battalion of the Alcatl regiment trained
> at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA. That extremely brave man
> Archbishop Romero was assassinated while saying mass. It is
> estimated that 75,000 people died. Why were they killed? They
> were killed because they believed a better life was possible
> and should be achieved. That belief immediately qualified them
> as communists. They died because they dared to question the
> status quo, the endless plateau of poverty, disease,
> degradation and oppression, which had been their birthright.
>
>             The United States finally brought down the Sandinista
> government. It took some years and considerable resistance but
> relentless economic persecution and 30,000 dead finally
> undermined the spirit of the Nicaraguan people. They were
> exhausted and poverty stricken once again. The casinos moved
> back into the country. Free health and free education were
> over. Big business returned with a vengeance. 'Democracy' had
> prevailed.
>
>             But this 'policy' was by no means restricted to Central
> America. It was conducted throughout the world. It was
> never-ending. And it is as if it never happened.
>
>             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.
>
>             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.
>
>             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.
>
>             What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have
> any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very
> rarely employed these days - conscience? A conscience to do
> not only with our own acts but to do with our shared
> responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead? Look
> at Guantanamo Bay. Hundreds of people detained without charge
> for over three years, with no legal representation or due
> process, technically detained forever. This totally
> illegitimate structure is maintained in defiance of the Geneva
> Convention. It is not only tolerated but hardly thought about
> by what's called the 'international community'. This criminal
> outrage is being committed by a country, which declares itself
> to be 'the leader of the free world'. Do we think about the
> inhabitants of Guantanamo Bay? What does the media say about
> them? They pop up occasionally - a small item on page six.
> They have been consigned to a no man's land from which indeed
> they may never return. At present many are on hunger strike,
> being force-fed, including British residents. No niceties in
> these force-feeding procedures. No sedative or anaesthetic.
> Just a tube stuck up your nose and into your throat. You vomit
> blood. This is torture. What has the British Foreign Secretary
> said about this? Nothing. What has the British Prime Minister
> said about this? Nothing. Why not? Because the United States
> has said: to criticise our conduct in Guantanamo Bay
> constitutes an unfriendly act. You're either with us or
> against us. So Blair shuts up.
>
>             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.
>
>             Death in this context is irrelevant. Both Bush and Blair place
> death well away on the back burner. At least 100,000 Iraqis
> were killed by American bombs and missiles before the Iraq
> insurgency began. These people are of no moment. Their deaths
> don't exist. They are blank. They are not even recorded as
> being dead. 'We don't do body counts,' said the American
> general Tommy Franks.
>
>             Early in the invasion there was a photograph published on the
> front page of British newspapers of Tony Blair kissing the
> cheek of a little Iraqi boy. 'A grateful child,' said the
> caption. A few days later there was a story and photograph, on
> an inside page, of another four-year-old boy with no arms. His
> family had been blown up by a missile. He was the only
> survivor. 'When do I get my arms back?' he asked. The story
> was dropped. Well, Tony Blair wasn't holding him in his arms,
> nor the body of any other mutilated child, nor the body of any
> bloody corpse. Blood is dirty. It dirties your shirt and tie
> when you're making a sincere speech on television.
>
>             The 2,000 American dead are an embarrassment. They are
> transported to their graves in the dark. Funerals are
> unobtrusive, out of harm's way. The mutilated rot in their
> beds, some for the rest of their lives. So the dead and the
> mutilated both rot, in different kinds of graves.
>
>             Here is an extract from a poem by Pablo Neruda, 'I'm
> Explaining a Few Things':
>
>               And one morning all that was burning,
>               one morning the bonfires
>               leapt out of the earth
>               devouring human beings
>               and from then on fire,
>               gunpowder from then on,
>               and from then on blood.
>               Bandits with planes and Moors,
>               bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,
>               bandits with black friars spattering blessings
>               came through the sky to kill children
>               and the blood of children ran through the streets
>               without fuss, like children's blood.
>
>               Jackals that the jackals would despise
>               stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
>               vipers that the vipers would abominate.
>
>               Face to face with you I have seen the blood
>               of Spain tower like a tide
>               to drown you in one wave
>               of pride and knives.
>
>               Treacherous
>               generals:
>               see my dead house,
>               look at broken Spain:
>               from every house burning metal flows
>               instead of flowers
>               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.
>
>               And you will ask: why doesn't his poetry
>               speak of dreams and leaves
>               and the great volcanoes of his native land.
>
>               Come and see the blood in the streets.
>               Come and see
>               the blood in the streets.
>               Come and see the blood
>               in the streets!*
>
>             Let me make it quite clear that in quoting from Neruda's poem
> I am in no way comparing Republican Spain to Saddam Hussein's
> Iraq. I quote Neruda because nowhere in contemporary poetry
> have I read such a powerful visceral description of the
> bombing of civilians.
>
>             I have said earlier that the United States is now totally
> frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case.
> Its official declared policy is now defined as 'full spectrum
> dominance'. That is not my term, it is theirs. 'Full spectrum
> dominance' means control of land, sea, air and space and all
> attendant resources.
>
>             The United States now occupies 702 military installations
> throughout the world in 132 countries, with the honourable
> exception of Sweden, of course. We don't quite know how they
> got there but they are there all right.
>
>             The United States possesses 8,000 active and operational
> nuclear warheads. Two thousand are on hair trigger alert,
> ready to be launched with 15 minutes warning. It is developing
> new systems of nuclear force, known as bunker busters. The
> British, ever cooperative, are intending to replace their own
> nuclear missile, Trident. Who, I wonder, are they aiming at?
> Osama bin Laden? You? Me? Joe Dokes? China? Paris? Who knows?
> What we do know is that this infantile insanity - the
> possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons - is at the
> heart of present American political philosophy. We must remind
> ourselves that the United States is on a permanent military
> footing and shows no sign of relaxing it.
>
>             Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United
> States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by
> their government's actions, but as things stand they are not a
> coherent political force - yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty
> and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States
> is unlikely to diminish.
>
>             I know that President Bush has many extremely competent speech
> writers but I would like to volunteer for the job myself. I
> propose the following short address which he can make on
> television to the nation. I see him grave, hair carefully
> combed, serious, winning, sincere, often beguiling, sometimes
> employing a wry smile, curiously attractive, a man's man.
>
>             'God is good. God is great. God is good. My God is good. Bin
> Laden's God is bad. His is a bad God. Saddam's God was bad,
> except he didn't have one. He was a barbarian. We are not
> barbarians. We don't chop people's heads off. We believe in
> freedom. So does God. I am not a barbarian. I am the
> democratically elected leader of a freedom-loving democracy.
> We are a compassionate society. We give compassionate
> electrocution and compassionate lethal injection. We are a
> great nation. I am not a dictator. He is. I am not a
> barbarian. He is. And he is. They all are. I possess moral
> authority. You see this fist? This is my moral authority. And
> don't you forget it.'
>
>             A writer's life is a highly vulnerable, almost naked activity.
> We don't have to weep about that. The writer makes his choice
> and is stuck with it. But it is true to say that you are open
> to all the winds, some of them icy indeed. You are out on your
> own, out on a limb. You find no shelter, no protection -
> unless you lie - in which case of course you have constructed
> your own protection and, it could be argued, become a
> politician.
>
>             I have referred to death quite a few times this evening. I
> shall now quote a poem of my own called 'Death'.
>
>               Where was the dead body found?
>               Who found the dead body?
>               Was the dead body dead when found?
>               How was the dead body found?
>
>               Who was the dead body?
>
>               Who was the father or daughter or brother
>               Or uncle or sister or mother or son
>               Of the dead and abandoned body?
>
>               Was the body dead when abandoned?
>               Was the body abandoned?
>               By whom had it been abandoned?
>
>               Was the dead body naked or dressed for a journey?
>
>               What made you declare the dead body dead?
>               Did you declare the dead body dead?
>               How well did you know the dead body?
>               How did you know the dead body was dead?
>
>               Did you wash the dead body
>               Did you close both its eyes
>               Did you bury the body
>               Did you leave it abandoned
>               Did you kiss the dead body
>
>             When we look into a mirror we think the image that confronts
> us is accurate. But move a millimetre and the image changes.
> We are actually looking at a never-ending range of
> reflections. But sometimes a writer has to smash the mirror -
> for it is on the other side of that mirror that the truth
> stares at us.
>
>             I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist,
> unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as
> citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our
> societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all.
> It is in fact mandatory.
>
>             If such a determination is not embodied in our political
> vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to
> us - the dignity of man.
>
>
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>             * Extract from "I'm Explaining a Few Things" translated by
> Nathaniel Tarn, from Pablo Neruda: Selected Poems, published
> by Jonathan Cape, London 1970. Used by permission of The
> Random House Group Limited.
>
>


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