An Inclusive Litany


Dario Fo, winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature, in an e-mail newsletter:
The great speculators wallow in an economy that every year kills tens of millions of people with poverty so what is 20,000 dead in New York? Regardless of who carried out the massacre, this violence is the legitimate daughter of the culture of violence, hunger and inhumane exploitation.
Naguib Mahfouz, winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature, in an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly:
Of course we grieved for the thousands of innocent civilians whose lives were destroyed on 11 September. But the so-called war on terrorism is just as despicable a crime.... While the group that carried out the September 11 attack showed utter disregard for any law or standard or decency, now we find a major world power doing the same.... Bombing innocent civilians... is simply an exercise of military power and America has this in abundance, allowing it to contribute to the factors causing terrorism rather than attacking its roots.

Günter Grass, winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature, described the Bush administration's rhetoric in the war on terrorism as "Conjuring the spirit of November 9, 1938," the date of Kristallnacht, the start of Nazis' large-scale persecution of Jews that preceded the Holocaust.

Finally, Rigoberta Menchu, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, on

I exhort the international community not to fall in a logic of war, seeking retribution for old and new controversies among nations and justifying actions against groups and sectors that have not found a pluralist disposition for the recognition and respect of their individual expressions in the existing institutional frameworks.

[Ed.: Menchu's prize was not revoked even after she was found to have fabricated much of the biographical information with which it was justified.]

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