April 08, 2003

Arundhati Roy Middlebrow novelist Arundhati

Arundhati Roy

Middlebrow novelist Arundhati Roy penned this screed right after 9/11--and is back with another opinion piece in the pages of the Guardian. She employs a moronic adolescent tone throughout much of the op-ed. Sample:

"So here's Iraq - rogue state, grave threat to world peace, paid-up member of the Axis of Evil. Here's Iraq, invaded, bombed, besieged, bullied, its sovereignty shat upon, its children killed by cancers, its people blown up on the streets. And here's all of us watching. CNN-BBC, BBC-CNN late into the night. Here's all of us, enduring the horror of the war, enduring the horror of the propaganda and enduring the slaughter of language as we know and understand it. Freedom now means mass murder (or, in the US, fried potatoes). When someone says "humanitarian aid" we automatically go looking for induced starvation. "Embedded" I have to admit, is a great find. It's what it sounds like. And what about "arsenal of tactics?" Nice!"

Another snippet: "And now this talk of bringing the UN back into the picture. But that old UN girl - it turns out that she just ain't what she was cracked up to be. She's been demoted (although she retains her high salary). Now she's the world's janitor. She's the Philippino cleaning lady, the Indian jamadarni, the postal bride from Thailand, the Mexican household help, the Jamaican au pair. She's employed to clean other peoples' shit. She's used and abused at will."

Oh, and this: "And now we have the siege of Basra. About a million and a half people, 40 per cent of them children. Without clean water, and with very little food. We're still waiting for the legendary Shia "uprising", for the happy hordes to stream out of the city and rain roses and hosannahs on the "liberating" army. Where are the hordes? Don't they know that television productions work to tight schedules? (It may well be that if Saddam's regime falls there will be dancing on the streets of Basra. But then, if the Bush regime were to fall, there would be dancing on the streets the world over.)

Surely Ms. Roy didn't see recent media coverage of local inhabitants of Basra visiting the old Baath parties' mukhabarat (secret police) headquarters in that city. They showed the hooks from which they were dangled and brutally tortured. They were, be sure, very pleased that such a brutish regime was no longer stoking terror there. Their clear feeling, contra Roy's grotesquely exagerrated diatribe, was not that mass murderers had arrived in Iraq. Rather, there was real relief that a regime that frequently resorted to mass murder had been unseated.

We likely wouldn't have had to hear all this claptrap if five judges hadn't helped provide Roy with celebrity (or, at least, Notting Hill starlet) status post-dispensation of the Booker Prize. But, alas, here we are.

UPDATE: Le Monde, predictably, dutifully translated this piece and ran it for the benefit of any Francophones who might have missed the English language version.

Posted by Gregory at April 8, 2003 08:09 PM
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