Peter Handke’s Nobel prize dishonours the victims of genocide
So, the highest award in literature is going to a writer who denies the lifestyles of concentration camps that it turned into my accursed honour to locate in Bosnia in 1992, who lauded Slobodan Milošević, mastermind of the storm of violence of which they have been element, and contests the bloodbath at Srebrenica in 1995.
Peter Handke is an apologist for genocide inside living reminiscence, on the heart of Europe. He says one issue, whilst earth throughout the Balkans offers up its mass graves. Whilst Handke proffers his views, the bones are facts.
Does this rely? Literature have to exist impartial of politics; the Nobel prize can be presented no matter morals or ideology. But that’s now not what the prize sets out to be or do. It is offered, consistent with the will of Alfred Nobel, for extremely good paintings “en idealisk riktning” – in a super route or path of an excellent.
The prize does have ethical, as well as literary, pretensions: Seamus Heaney received it in 1995 for paintings of “lyrical beauty and ethical depth”. Ezra Pound changed into the various finest poets of the past century, but by no means gained the prize, probable due to his fascism and hideous antisemitism.
Handke turned into no longer just expressing his opinion in his ebook A adventure to the Rivers: Justice for Serbia and his homily at Milošević’s funeral – he went out of his manner to provide credence to mass homicide and, on this context, as importantly, to lies. He offered to testify for Milošević on the Hague; had he accomplished so, we would have met – on opposite facets. The component approximately our reporting in Bosnia is that, as any other arguable Nobel laureate (for peace, in 1973) Henry Kissinger said: “It has the delivered distinctive feature of being actual.”
Reality is endangered nowadays. Unfaithful “facts” are without problems synthetic and spread. Politicians blur and manipulate the distinction among reality and lies. Handke’s equation of Srebrenica with lesser outrages with the aid of the Bosnian military is like Donald Trump blaming “all facets” for Charlottesville and locating “very quality humans” a number of the neo-Nazis. In truth, the current political zeitgeist of refusal to live with “the alternative” can be visible to have roots inside the put up-Yugoslav carnage.
There’s something bizarre about Bosnia: why doesn’t it rely to a public determine’s life that they advocated or denied the slaughter? Harold Pinter won the Nobel in 2005 having joined the “unfastened Milošević” marketing campaign. I’m wondering whether or not those human beings, like Handke, recall their searing effect on survivors and bereaved. After I requested Dr Idriz Merdžanić, who attempted to generally tend to tortured guys and violated ladies in Trnopolje camp about the deniers, he said: “It’s difficult sufficient to find phrases to explain the camps and what happened to us, however I haven’t any words to describe what those human beings do.”
Every body concerned with keeping some narrative in accordance with what came about in Bosnia can best react to this award with sour exhaustion, a sense that those efforts were in useless.
For what it’s really worth, my expertise of journalism is which you walk a instantly line and file what’s proper. This turns out to be not particularly moneymaking and tougher than it ought to be. Literature operates to different requirements – because it must – but this outrage from the ivory tower proceeds from obfuscation to rewriting records. They gained, we lost; lies received, fact lost.
So what’s the factor? Why hassle? Against Handke, I’ll pitch the writer whose region at the podium in Stockholm in 1957 he stains: Albert Camus.
Camus’s mind-blowing acceptance speech turned into about how the duty of a creator is to do extra than write, but additionally testify to reality. Ten years in advance, Camus published his masterpiece la peste, whose hero, Dr Rieux, adheres to a complicated notion of useless endeavour: one fights to shop the existence of an infected infant although it is doomed – fight the plague, due to the fact that’s the proper thing to do.
Although, in this price-free gift, to quote Handke’s predecessor of 2016, Bob Dylan: “At instances I think there are not any words/ however those to say what’s authentic./ And there aren’t any truths outside the Gates of Eden.”