This text was a difficult if not an extremely painful read. Man's inhumanity to man expressed in this book truly goes beyond the pale. We have entered an Orwellian stage in our history, where world dominance is justified as paving the way for democracy, maintaining our `freedom' through combating `terror', where the true victims are the innocent, the silent oppressed, euphemised as `collateral damage'.
John Pilger has been chronicling crimes against humanity for over 35 years, his first most ground breaking story being the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, which was given the green light by President Ford and Henry Kissinger, and supplied weapons by the British. Thousands of innocents were slaughtered, including two Australian television news crews as they were attempting to report this illegal action to the world and paid the ultimate price. The oppression in East Timor continues today. In Freedom Next Time, Pilger examines five examples of crimes against humanity and the effects of economic globalization, where the elites are getting richer and the poor slowly vanishing from the radar screens, categorized as "non-persons".
In chapter 1, Stealing a Nation, Pilger describes the unlawful deportation of an entire people, the island of Diego Garcia, part of the Chagos archipelago, which constitutes the Saloman Islands and Edgemont Island, situated exactly between Africa and Asia. A secret deal between the British and American governments, the British sold Diego Garcia to the Americans to make way for a military base. Over two thousand Chagossian's were deported to Mauritius, dropped off with barely the cloths on their backs, currently living in abject poverty without compensation from the British government despite being British citizens. What is startling is the massive cover-up by the government and the silence of most journalists over three decades, allowing (them) to get away with it.
In chapter 2, The Last Taboo, chronicles the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Pilger devotes a lot of space to this subject, giving a well-rounded assessment of the `conflict', revealing terrorism on both sides of the equation. One point that should be stressed is that Israel is the leading country in denying and transgressing against numerous UN resolutions. One resolution being the right of the Palestinians to return to their homelands. Between 1948 and 2000, Israel has defied the UN and the International community 135 times, never seen before in UN history.
The effect of economic globalism in India is examined showing the widening gap between rich and poor that continues at an alarming rate.
Pilger also analysis South Africa since the end of Apartheid; having been banned from entering the country for thirty years, returns to discover that economically not much has changed, and those that committed unspeakable atrocities, have essentially gotten away with it. Again, a few are benefiting economically while the majority remain in poverty, dieing like flies from starvation and disease.
The last chapter, Liberating Afghanistan, is an appalling situation of lies, death and destruction. To say the least, Afghanistan is a convoluted mess. According to Pilger, the Afghanis' felt safer under the Taliban regime than the numerous warlords that are currently creating havoc across the country. The unreported innocent deaths from American bombing (10,000) are a terrible travesty beyond words. However, the true purpose of the "forgotten war", which has been reported by many others, including Bob Woodward of the Washington Post and author Gore Vidal, is the `oil and gas junta' as the oil lobby in Washington is now called, building a pipeline through to the oil and gas rich Caspian sea. This was the true purpose and the prize has been won. This is an example of incestuous collusion between corporations and government. Who is part of this deal? - a consortium of Enron, Amoco, British Petroleum, Chevron, Exxon and Mobil. Dick Cheney, former Chairman of Halliburton, James Baker, former secretary of State under Bush senior and Condoleezza Rice, once vice-president of Chevron Oil. Does anyone smell a rat?
This a hard book to read as man's inhumanity to man, the appalling lies and silence from the mainstream media, and the amount of innocent deaths around the globe for the betterment of the few, is hard to take. Pilger has never held back with the truth, despite numerous death threats over his career, banned from countries and standing up to those that perpetrate these crimes against humanity.
As a reader of Pilger for some years now, this is his best book to date.