Veteran Australian journalist John Pilger gave a talk at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on Sunday 9th August.
His talk was called ‘Power and Propaganda’ and was well attended with a near full house of 650 at the Assembly Rooms, one of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s biggest venues.
As the Festival Fringe guide put it, “Journalist, film-maker and author, John Pilger is one of only two to win British journalism’s highest award twice. For his documentary films, he has won an Emmy and a BAFTA.
His epic Cambodia Year Zero is ranked by the BFI as one of the ten most important documentaries of the 20th century.
“John Pilger unearths, with steely attention to facts, the filthy truth and tells it as it is” – Harold Pinter.
“Pilger’s work has truly been a beacon of light in dark times” – Noam Chomsky.
John reminded the audience that the day of his talk Sunday August 9th 2015 was the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki.
He is currently making another film, this time a documentary about the coming conflict between the USA and China.
Pilger has just returned from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean near the Equator where the Americans conducted atomic tests every day for 12 years leaving the islands badly contaminated and barely habitable.
During his speech he opined that the recent massacre of the 38 Western tourists in Tunisia by Seifeddine Rezgui who were mostly British was directly linked to the Western attack on Libya in 2011 which was so enthusiastically backed by British PM David Cameron.
Continuing with the theme of Western culpability he pointed out that the rise of first Al Qaeda and now ISIL in Iraq came about as a direct result of the American led invasion of Iraq in 2003. He had travelled through Iraq before the war of 2003 and that while Saddam Hussein was undoubtedly a brutal dictator the country at least had a decent standard of living while now it is ruins.
Turning to matters closer to home he compared Scotland’s current recession with that of Greece and how the Greek people had been betrayed. Greece and Scotland are two countries with relatively small populations – Scotland around 5 million and Greece a little under 11 million. The Greek people had voted in the anti-austerity party Syriza and then in a referendum rejected the austerity package proposed by the EU. Yet austerity was forced upon them and says Pilger, “This is a betrayal.”