A recent writer to the London Evening Standard asked who could replace ‘Pinter Politics’ now that the great playwright had died. Pinter, whose Nobel Speech hammered nail after nail into the Establishment, made clear that those interested in power are not interested in truth but in the maintenance of power, needing people to be in ignorance of the ‘vast tapestry of lies upon which we feed’. It could be argued that Alberto Portugheis, with his new book, Dear Ahed… the Game of War and a Path to Peace is there to fill that political void.
At the basis of Portugheis’ vision is tolerance – tolerance of all people throughout the world – both sides of the Gaza strip, all sides of the warring tribes of Africa and anywhere else where conflict is rife. He stresses that every human being, no matter where he or she lives, no matter of what race, creed or religion, each man, woman and child has a right to a world free from war. As a Buddhist, tolerance and compassion are fundamental to his thinking, but he stresses that there is no solution to conflict while we continue to accept a militarised world. The way forward, he writes, is to understand that those in power have a vested interest in conflict. He emphasises that we must understand the way language is used to separate societies and countries, to control and antagonize people, demonstrating how experts in ‘mind control’ help politicians organise chaos, violence and war as they create techniques to arouse epidemic fear in the population before offering protection from what they have themselves created.
The book, which highlights that none of the established Human Rights are really practiced, contains essays on Power, Religion, the so called ‘War on Terror’, on Politicians, Journalists and emotive subjects like Peace Memorials and whether or not we should celebrate Remembrance. There are essays on Children and the Education they receive in the hope that they will become patriots and fight for their country. Interspersed between the chapters are moving letters to Ahed, a Palestinian now domicile in New York, with whom Portugheis has carried out a long internet conversation.
In his Preface to the book, John Leech (Author of Asymmetries of Conflict, War Without Death) writes, ‘The whole book is a testament of love. It speaks of the wounds Portugheis has suffered by taking all the world’s anguish and misery into his enormously receptive heart. The map of suffering created and ‘contrived’ by giant adversaries is also the chart of his own calvary among millions of afflicted people. It is not necessary to agree with every word of his homilies to understand and be pierced by his chilling message’.
This is a book which needs to be read by all of those interested in the pursuit of peace in our troubled world. Published by Opus books, available via Amazon and good book shops.
Norma Procter U.K.