February 16, 2003

Lunch with Pinter The FT

Lunch with Pinter

The FT sits down with Pinter--who is very obsessed with American bombs (part of his Hyde Park rally poem too):

"I remember a woman called Eve-Ann Prentice wrote a very powerful book, called One Woman's War about Kosovo. She happened to be in a village when the Americans dropped bombs on the marketplace. They said it was a mistake. It wasn't. There was a woman sitting there, with her five-year-old daughter, eating sandwiches. And the next thing was that the woman looked up and her daughter's head was in the gutter. Pfhook! The point I am striving to make is that the reality of that girl's head in the gutter doesn't come into the reckoning. The only deaths that were not an abstraction to the Americans were the deaths in New York - because they were American deaths. You see death when it's you; but not when it's them."

Typical Pinter, of course. But what rankles is that he makes no attempt to differentiate between U.S. war aims in Kosovo (stopping a genocidal leader from ethnically cleansing hundreds of thousands of Muslim Kosovars out of Yugoslavia) versus Osama bin Laden's purposeful massacre of as many Americans as possible in NYC on 9/11. Why can't Pinter even mention, in passing, this elemental difference? On the one hand, a predominately Christian nation goes to war to protect a Muslim minority. On the other, an Islamic fanatic tries to kill as many "infidels" as possible. But these are surely just nettlesome little details that we shouldn't get bogged down with, right?

There is more rapacious anti-Americanism that is not balanced by any empirical analysis during lunch with the FT. The mention of the marketplace bomb (likely meant to confuse readers and conjure images of the Bosnian Serb gunners over Sarajevo) that was allegedly purposefully dropped by the U.S. military? Pinter breezily states the bombing was done on purpose. How does Pinter know it wasn't a mistake? He hasn't a clue. But so it goes with soi disant intellectuals in Europe. Piss on the Yanks--it makes good copy and gets you more dinner party invites. After all, it can't be the quality of his poetry (below a January 2003 selection):

God Bless America

Here they go again,
The Yanks in their armoured parade
Chanting their ballads of joy
As they gallop across the big world
Praising America's God.

The gutters are clogged with the dead
The ones who couldn't join in
The others refusing to sing
The ones who are losing their voice
The ones who've forgotten the tune.

The riders have whips which cut.
Your head rolls onto the sand
Your head is a pool in the dirt
Your head is a stain in the dust
Your eyes have gone out and your nose
Sniffs only the pong of the dead
And all the dead air is alive
With the smell of America's God.

Posted by Gregory at February 16, 2003 01:35 PM
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