Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pinter breathes fire

When I first heard that Pinter has won the 2005 nobel prize for litterature, I thought they were talking about Luigi Pintor, an Italian writer who had died earlier this year. Pintor, a rebel, was ousted from the Italian communist party and established his own newspaper and magazine, il Manifesto. He wrote simple, small books, that are a real delight to read with their profound insight into human psyche.

I vaguely knew about Harold Pinter, the British playright. I had not seen or read any of his plays, but I had seen him on the "HardTalk" on the BBC in December 2004, when he had said that both Bush and Blair should be tried for their war crimes. This interview and the episode of HardTalk can still be seen through internet.

His acceptance speech for the Nobel prize is equally hard hitting. He feels that while there has been a lot of debate and discussions on effects of Soviet empire and communist rule, similar debate has not touched on American activities of "eliminating people-friendly democracies by declaring them communists and killing innocents till such countries have despots friendly towards multinationals and American products and at that point, they are called democracies". He gave some examples of Latin America, before talking about Iraq. This speech can also be read on internet.

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I am sure that Pinter is a wonderful writer and does deserve his nobel prize. Yet, I also feel that Nobel prize committee is biased towards writings in European languages. Otherwise, I can't imagine, how writers of the stature of Mahashweti Devi can be ignored?

Yet the painful truth is that the writers in "local" languages spoken by millions of persons are ignored, till someone can translate them in more "mainstream" languages and then they can be "discovered". Till then they do not exist.

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