October 13, 2005


Harold Pinter, playwright, is awarded Nobel Prize (Sarah Lyall, OCTOBER 13, 2005, The New York Times)

He is vehemently opposed to the war in Iraq, to the British government under Prime Minister Tony Blair, and to what he sees as bullying American imperialism around the world. A recent poem, "The Special Relationship," refers to the alliance between the U.S. and Britain but concerns itself with bombs exploding, limbs being blown off and atrocities committed at places like Abu Ghraib.

If Pinter's poems are often cries of pain against war and state-sponsored destruction, he also gives impassioned speeches and writes polemics against what he once called "the nightmare of American hysteria, ignorance, arrogance, stupidity and belligerence."

"We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery and degradation to the Iraqi people and call it 'bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East,"' he said last March, accepting the Wilfred Owen Award for his antiwar poetry. "But, as we all know, we have not been welcomed with the predicted flowers. What we have unleashed is a ferocious and unremitting resistance, mayhem and chaos."

The Nobel committee occasionally presents awards with a political edge, and this is the second prize in a week that has gone to an opponent of the Iraq war. Last Friday, the peace prize was awarded to the International Atomic Energy Agency and its head, Mohamed ElBaradei, who in the weeks before the U.S. invasion disputed the American contention that Saddam Hussein was harboring nuclear weapons.

Pinter said he did not know if his politics had any bearing on the committee's decision.

Why not just stop pussy-footing around and give the thing to Saddam? He's an author too.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 13, 2005 8:17 PM

Shocking that they didn't mention his prominent membership on the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic. Even the New York Times might blanch at that.

Posted by: John Thacker at October 13, 2005 9:01 PM

If they are going to give the prize to Saddam they had best do so quickly.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 13, 2005 9:11 PM

Saddam gets next year's Peace Prize, unless Cindy Sheehan stages a 2006 comeback.

Posted by: John at October 13, 2005 9:53 PM

My favorite Pinter anecdote:

"Harold Pinter famously wrote a two-line poem on the death of Len Hutton and sent it to his friends:

I saw Hutton in his prime.
Another time, another time.

Some weeks later Pinter asked his fellow writer and friend, Simon Gray, what he thought of the ode and got a delightful leg glance in reply: “Er, sorry Harold, I haven’t quite finished it yet.”


Posted by: carter at October 13, 2005 11:21 PM

From Sienkiewicz to Pinter. Quite tragic for the Nobel...

Posted by: b at October 14, 2005 12:53 AM

The Pinter of our discontent.

Posted by: obc at October 14, 2005 1:06 AM



Posted by: oj at October 14, 2005 8:18 AM

The Nobel Prize, sort of like one of those Health Department postings. "Warning. Contaminated Area."

Posted by: Mikey at October 14, 2005 9:19 AM

John, Saddam has a party to go to before then--one that involves a necktie.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 14, 2005 11:40 AM