[Marxism] A tale of two Nobel Prize winners

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jul 24 09:21:22 MDT 2006


Friday, July 21, 2006
A Tale of Two Nobel Prize Winners
Recently on Ready Steady Book I came across a link to an essay (apparently 
written in 2002) by the distinguished Hungarian writer Imre Kertész, who 
won the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature.

In it he bitterly attacks Jose Saramago, the distinguished Portuguese 
writer and 1998 winner of the Nobel Prize for literature.

What divides them is not literature but politics and history; in a word, 
Israel.

Kertész is a passionate supporter of Israel, and as a Holocaust survivor 
and former inmate of Auschwitz he was appalled by Saramago’s bitter 
criticisms of human rights violations committed by the Israeli army in the 
occupied territories in early 2002:

I saw the Portugese writer Saramago on TV, how he bent over a sheet of 
paper, compared Israel’s line against the Palestinians with Auschwitz—proof 
that the author did not have the slightest idea of the scandalous 
irrelevance of his comparison. Even worse, he did not know that the concept 
represented by the term Auschwitz has long had a fixed meaning in Europe’s 
cultural consensus and can be used indisputably in a populist way and for 
populist purposes.

What exactly did Saramago say? According to one report:

On a visit to Israel, Jose Saramago declared to Portuguese radio station 
Antenna 1, that “It must be said that in Palestine, there is a crime which 
we can stop. We may compare it with what happened at Auschwitz”.

He added that only by visiting the territory and seeing first-hand the 
repressive policy adopted by Israeli soldiers against Palestinian 
civilians, could the injustice of the situation be understood. He reported 
that he had seen an ambulance carrying a pregnant Palestinian woman stopped 
at the border. She was refused entry and the baby was delivered in the 
vehicle. Others have not been so lucky.

In one incident, in October 2001, a pregnant Palestinian woman was left 
dying in the street near a checkpoint which had refused her entry, with the 
Israeli soldiers standing around laughing and jeering at one less terrorist 
being born.

full: http://ellissharp.blogspot.com/

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