Rebel with a pause

“How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal?"


Rebel with a pause
by Peyvand Khorsandi

News of playwright Harold Pinter’s death arrived in primetime, Christmas – a religious date, in Britain, for watching telly. You couldn’t escape the news and the news couldn’t escape reporting on Pinter’s final years and his opposition to the war in Iraq, as well as his monumental literary achievements. His stance on the war demanded to be featured in the briefest of TV obituaries.

Of course, in the BBC News bulletin I caught, there was no mention of the fact that, in accepting his Nobel prize for literature in 2005, he had called for Tony Blair to be prosecuted for war crimes. That would have been too much given the mince pies, turkey, pigs in blanket and booze viewers will have been digesting – going after Blair would, after all, mean hauling key government figures into the dock, too, such as justice minister Jack Straw or even prime minister Gordon Brown and we need him to steer us out of the economic downturn.

Pinter’s death pushed Her Majesty into being the news programme’s second item. In her speech, she had wasted no time in reminding us that troops in Santa hats are still risking their lives for us in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In his video address to the Nobel prize people three years ago he said: “The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law.

“The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading – as a last resort – all other justifications having failed to justify themselves – as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.

“We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it ‘bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East’.

“How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice.”

While tributes have poured in for Pinter, the ultimate tribute to him will not be paid as the unrepentant duo remains outside the grasp of justice.

In 2003 I went to a Stop the War Coalition meeting in London where I heard the great man speak. In the middle of his speech he was heckled – it was a friendly heckle, in support of what Mr Pinter had been saying but clearly an unwelcome interruption. Mr Pinter responded with a pondering silence before resuming his sentence. “It’s a Pinter pause!” I nearly shouted. Perhaps that’s all his passing is.


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I saw him interviewed on

by Visitor (not verified) on

I saw him interviewed on Charly Rose. What a brilliant mind!


Hello! Support the actions

by Visitor (not verified) on

Support the actions Izraelya.Pust Palestinians learn to live and work peacefully.

Darius Kadivar

Pathetic Last Photo for a Great and rather Handsom Man

by Darius Kadivar on

I didn't quite understand why Pinter showed himself in this frail looking and ridiculous pose with the bandage on his head and that silly hat.

It was quite a silly shot for a man who was quite good looking. It made him look like some kind of excentric bum out of a Buster Keaton or Harold Lloyd Movie singing the My Fair lady Score : With a Little Bit of Luck ...




It depends on the passport

by Alborzi (not verified) on

Its a very interesting situation, we had mind boggling crimes committed in Iraq when they killed children but they got off, and we also hear the Palestinians in Gaza have killed 1 Israeli, obviously they do not have the right passport and they are paying dearly.


The Moment

by Anonymous54 (not verified) on

Lock Box

If you don't
The material
Into your body
You may risk
finding the spirit
Your body
From the
Back door
And then with no amount
Of praying
You won't be able
To have it
Back to yourself
In the safe lock box

Abol H. Danesh
Copyright ©2008 Abol H. Danesh



میز عبد العزیم خان قریب (not verified)

I noticed in couple of articles, you are too fascinated with the queen of England! No Iranian should ever call her "her majesty". Majesty for what? For making you and your family and the rest of us go to exile in foreign lands, when she and her nation illegally and forcefully is ruling our country? Each time you bring her into your articles you destroy the authenticity of the subject matter whatever it might be.

I rather call any Iranian women even the prostitutes on the streets of Tehran "her majesty" than the one in England who betrayed not only your Shah, but is supporting those savages that keep you away from your native land.

Best Wishes for another year in exile,
Miz Abdol Azim Khaneh Gharib



by Ajam (not verified) on

I saw him interviewed on Charly Rose. What a brilliant mind!


Pinter was a jew and a critic of Israel's crimes against

by Observer (not verified) on

Palestinians. Pinter, was an outspoken critic of Israel, quoted as saying that “Israel’s injustice to the Palestinians is an outrage” and “the central factor in world unrest”. He championed Israeli whistle blower Mordechai Vanunu who revealed Israel's building of nuclear bomb. He signed a boycott of Israeli products and tourism.

But he also was a great playwrite and thinker. His play called "The Caretaker" is a master piece. Thanks for posting.



by Kurush (not verified) on

If Harold was alive in mid 19th century, he would have railled vehemently agaisnt Palmerstone's Opium Wars against China, a similar colonial war for the loot which such wars promise and do bring about. The relationship of the Western litterati and their ruling masters is indeed sad: like Rousseau's of another age, and Shelley's, it is the voice of the powerless agaisnt the arrogance of their rulers. Shelly's rage is as remarkable: "Men of England, wherefore plough for the lords who lay ye low?...Wherefore Bees of England forge many a weapon, chain, and scourge, that these stingless drones may spoil?.." Yet Shelley took the matter one step further and asked for their overthrow which England is yet to heed: "An old, mad, despised, and dying King/princes, the dregs of their dull race...are graves from which a glorious Phantom may burst, to illumine our tempestous day." The vision of Shelley and Pinter, and Rousseau's as well, will not be realized,nor 'bees of England' will listen to their wise, but like fascists of Germany these 'dregs of their dull race' will finally bring utter ruin and destruction to England and the West.


Yes, the famous pause...

by Princess on

Thanks for the reminder. May he rest in peace!