May 18, 2007

We're Different from those who are in Unaccountable Power

"Internationally-renowned investigative reporter and filmmaker John Pilger talks about the limitless occupation in Palestine, the war in Iraq, the current pathetic state of mainstream journalism, and his new book Freedom Next Time."

That's how Flashpoints Radio casts its May 17, 2007 interview of Pilger. Pilger's clarity of thought, founded on adherence to basic principles and sound logic, accounts for his concise and compelling explanation of current affairs. The following is the first in a two-part series of partial transcripts from the interview.

The interview began with the current situation in Gaza. Pilger understands that context is critical in any discussion. On Gaza he begins,
You have to understand, Gaza is a prison. On one side is the sea. On another side is Egypt, through which there is a boarder, but generally it's closed. And, on the other side, is Israel, which locks people in.

There are more than a million people living there... [he describes the malnourished children and lack of economy]... it's an enforced ghetto. And it's enforced by the United States. When I say the United States, yes Israel does it, but really, all of the wars conducted by Israel, and the impositions of Israel in the Middle East are American-backed, and they're done, as just described, with American aircraft, who happen to be flown by Israelis.

That's very important to understand that, in the reporting, I've just watched a television report here, in which it described the most horrific bombing, as even using that euphemism "air strikes," how anodyne that sounds, and four Hamas militants were killed. How do they know? And militants about what? Militants about running the Country? Hamas was voted in to run the Country, in democratic elections, and that sorely upset the United States, and they decided to stop it.

And the tragic civil war, of a kind, that has erupted in Gaza is entirely caused by outside forces, about people not being allowed to democratically run their own country, choose their own people.

If I sound somewhat strong about this it's because I've been to Gaza and I've seen the conditions there, and it's just unreal to come away from a place like that, and to really know what's causing this, horror, and then to be, sort of, transported into our safe and comfortable world.

Gaza is the metaphor, a very live and bleeding metaphor, for the whole Middle East, and probably for the whole world in terms of the imposition of great power on powerless people.

Dennis Bernstein asked about Pilger's two films and said, "We hear language like, 'a road map'"... "It's a cynical discussion to talk about a map." Pilger replied,

Yes, it's a cynical discussion... and it's a farcical discussion, and it requires the kind of contortion of intellect and morality that most people aren't capable of. In my opinion I think most people live their lives in a straight forward manner. Power does not. We're different. We're different from those who are in unaccountable power. And that's true now in the United States, it's true to a great degree here in Britain, and in other so-called democracies, the word itself has fallen into disrepute.

Yes I made two films. I made the first one, Palestine is Still the Issue I believe in 1975 I think. I made the second one, Palestine is Still the Issue in 2002. And the reason I kept the title was because it was still the issue. Fundamentally over those years, nothing had changed, fundamentally nothing had changed. The Palestinian people were subjected to the world's longest military occupation, were an indigenous people in their own homeland, denied the right of living peacefully in their own homeland. Denied the right to even live peacefully along side those who came later, that is the Israelis. Those who want to believe the Biblical story of three thousand years ago, go ahead, ah [chuckle] ah there are plenty of myths in the world, but we're dealing with lives now.

Israelis and Palestinians could be living together today in peace were it not for the power ambitions of the United States, combining with the more extreme power ambitions of Zionist Israel. I don't say that with a light heart, it's just true. Any any journalist who's been going backwards and forward to that part of the world for so many years, as I have, who denies that truth, because they're worried they're going to be attacked by Zionists and get a blizzard of e-mails, and the usual stuff, then they should stand up to that, because that's the truth.

And until Palestine, until the people of Palestine are given justice, which will automatically give security to the people of Israel, then the rest of the Middle East will remain in a sort of perpetual torment, ah and indeed, much of the world.

Bernstein turned the discussion to Iraq, bridging it with the common theme of the mainstream media coverage [See Part 2].


Flashpoints Radio, WPFA, May 17, 2007.

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