Z Nightly Commentaries
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Recent Z Nightly Commentaries
May 29, 2009
The theft of public money by members of parliament, including government ministers, has given Britons a rare glimpse inside the tent of power and privilege. It is rare because not one political reporter or commentator, those who fill tombstones of column inches and dominate broadcast journalism, revealed a shred of this scandal. It was left to a public relations man to sell the "leak". Why?
Pilger: Sri Lanka
May 14, 2009
In the early 1960s, it was the Irish of Derry who would phone late at night, speaking in a single breath, spilling out stories of discrimination and injustice. Who listened to their truth until the violence began? Bengalis from what was then East Pakistan did much the same. Their urgent whispers described terrible state crimes that the news ignored, and they implored us reporters to "let the world know". Palestinians speaking above the din of crowded rooms in Bethlehem and Beirut asked no more. For me, the most tenacious distant voices have been the Tamils of Sri Lanka, to whom we ought to have listened a very long time ago.
Pilger: Obama's 100 Days
Apr 29, 2009
The BBC's American television soap Mad Men offers a rare glimpse of the power of corporate advertising. The promotion of smoking half a century ago by the "smart" people of Madison Avenue, who knew the truth, led to countless deaths. Advertising and its twin, public relations, became a way of deceiving dreamt up by those who had read Freud and applied mass psychology to anything from cigarettes to politics. Just as Marlboro Man was virility itself, so politicians could be branded, packaged and sold.
Apr 16, 2009
My parents grew up in the mining town of Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. The main street had hitching posts and was as wide as a paddock, and the general store was shaded by a vast awning of corrugated iron and offered liquorice and slippers side by side. The mines were among the most dangerous in the world, with almost vertical shafts, and were worked according to nationality: a pit for the Scots, one for the Welsh, another for Australian-born. There was a brass band and a pipe band, a WEA (Workers'Educational Association), a School of Arts and an annual eisteddfod run by my grandfather, a German seafarer. And there was wine.
Peters: Women Who...
Apr 06, 2009
At a public bath in Morocco, I watched a young adolescent bathe her grandmother. She picked up each limb, moved her breasts this way and that, and shifted her belly about to reach every crevice. She stood over her, squatted next to her, and sat alongside her as she put a fair amount of muscle into scrubbing her grandmother clean. The black soap made from olive oil oozed from the coarse cloth she used to slough off the dead skin and dirt. The grandmother lolled on the tiled floor in a reverie.
Pilger: Epic Crimes
Apr 02, 2009
These are extraordinary times. With the United States and Britain on the verge of bankruptcy and committing to an endless colonial war, pressure is building for their crimes to be prosecuted at a tribunal similar to that which tried the Nazis at Nuremberg. This defined rapacious invasion as "the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole". International law would be mere farce, said the chief US chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson, "if, in future, we do not apply its principles to ourselves".
Pilger: War Comes Home
Mar 06, 2009
Freedom is being lost in Britain. The land of Magna Carta is now the land of secret gagging orders, secret trials and imprisonment. The government will soon know about every phone call, every email, every text message. Police can willfully shoot to death an innocent man, lie and expect to get away with it. Whole communities now fear the state. The foreign secretary routinely covers up allegations of torture; the justice secretary routinely prevents the release of critical cabinet minutes taken when Iraq was illegally invaded. The litany is cursory; there is much more.
Pilger: Cambodia's Accused
Feb 24, 2009
At my hotel in Phnom Penh, the women and children sat on one side of the room, palais-style, the men on the other. It was a disco night and a lot of fun; then suddenly people walked to the windows and wept. The DJ had played a song by the much-loved Khmer singer, Sin Sisamouth, who had been forced to dig his own grave and to sing the Khmer Rouge anthem before he was beaten to death. I experienced many such reminders in the years following Pol Pot's fall.
Feb 20, 2009
When I returned from the war in Vietnam, I wrote a film script as an antidote to the myth that the war had been an ill-fated noble cause. The producer David Puttnam took the draft to Hollywood and offered it to the major studios, whose responses were favourable - well, almost. Each issued a report card in which the final category, "politics", included comments such as: "This is real, but are the American people ready for it? Maybe they'll never be."
Feb 06, 2009
Growing up in an Antipodean society proud of its rich variety of expletives, I never heard the word bollocks. It was only on arrival in England that I understood its majesterial power. All classes used it. Judges grunted it; an editor of the Daily Mirror used it as noun, adjective and verb. Certainly, the resonance of a double vowel saw off its closest American contender. It had authority.
Pilger: Freedom Medals
Jan 23, 2009
On 13 January, George W. Bush presented "presidential freedom medals", said to be America's highest recognition of devotion to freedom and peace. Among the recipients were Tony Blair, the epic liar who, with Bush, bears responsibility for the physical, social and cultural destruction of an entire nation; John Howard, the former prime minister of Australia and minor American vassal who led the most openly racist government in his country's modern era; and Alvaro Uribe, the president of Colombia, whose government, according the latest study of that murderous state, is "responsible for than 90 per cent of all cases of torture".
Parenti: Capitalism's Apocalypse
Jan 19, 2009
After the overthrow of communist governments in Eastern Europe, capitalism was paraded as the indomitable system that brings prosperity and democracy, the system that would prevail unto the end of history.
Pilger: Holocaust Denied
Jan 09, 2009
The lying silence of those who know...
Prashad: India's Road
Dec 27, 2008
On Thursday, November 27, in the middle of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Imran Babar, one of the terrorists, called India TV from Nariman House. He used a cellphone that belonged to Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, the co-director of the Chabad-Lubavitch Center. The following day, Babar and his associates killed Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka. The phone call he made was not long. Babar opened with a comment that made little sense to most people: "You call [Israel's] army staff to visit Kashmir. Who are they to come to J &K [Jammu and Kashmir]? This is a matter between us and Hindus, the Hindu government. Why does Israel come here?"
Pilger: Groundhog Day
Dec 13, 2008
One of the cleverest films I have seen is Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray plays a TV weatherman who finds himself stuck in time. At first he deludes himself that the same day and the same people and the same circumstances offer new opportunities. Finally, his naivety and false hope desert him and he realises the truth of his predicament and escapes. Is this a parable for the age of Obama?
Pilger: Kafka's Rival
Dec 02, 2008
Today (December 1), a surreal event will take place in the centre of London. The Foreign Office is holding an open day "to highlight the importance of Human Rights in our work as part of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights". There will be various "stalls" and "panel discussions" and Foreign Secretary David Miliband will present a human rights prize. Is this a spoof? No. The Foreign Office wants to raise our "human rights awareness". Kafka and Heller have many counterfeits.
Nov 28, 2008
Barack Obama is on record as advocating a military escalation in Afghanistan. Before sinking any deeper into that quagmire, we might do well to learn something about recent Afghani history and the role played by the United States.
Pilger: Unpeople Of Entire
Nov 27, 2008
I went to the Houses of Parliament on 22 October to join a disconsolate group of shivering people who had arrived from a faraway tropical place and were being prevented from entering the Public Gallery to hear their fate. This was not headline news; the BBC reporter seemed almost embarrassed. Crimes of such magnitude are not news when they are ours, and neither is injustice or corruption at the apex of British power.
Pilger: Obama Hype
Nov 13, 2008
My first visit to Texas was in 1968, on the fifth anniversary of the assassination of president John F Kennedy in Dallas. I drove south, following the line of telegraph poles to the small town of Midlothian, where I met Penn Jones Jr, editor of the Midlothian Mirror. Except for his drawl and fine boots, everything about Penn was the antithesis of the Texas stereotype. Having exposed the racists of the John Birch Society, his printing press had been repeatedly firebombed. Week after week, he painstakingly assembled evidence that all but demolished the official version of Kennedy's murder.
Nov 07, 2008
Writing for Time Magazine on November 5th, Joe Klein called Barack Obama's victory a sign that our country is a "younger, more optimistic, less cynical" place. "It is a country that retains its ability to startle the world -- and in a good way, with our freedom." The Boston Globe editorialized that the new president will usher in "a decisively different direction" for the United States.