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imperialism & war | legacies

Ransmayr Attacks Bush's Permission for Barbarism

Ransmayr spoke of the strategically fomented panic that seizes all democratic societies of our day, making the abolition of civil riths, offensive war and mass murder seem inevitable as preventive self-defense measures.

Awarded the Heinrich Boll prize in Koln, the author Christoph Ransmayr sharply criticized the policy of George W Bush

By Ruth Schneeberger

[This article published in: suddeutsche.de, December 12, 2007 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,  http://www.sueddeutsche.de/kultur/artikel/72/147724/print.html.]

In early December 2007 in Koln, the Heinrich Boll prize with 20,000 euro was awarded to the Austrian writer Christoph Ransmayr. In a word of thanks, the distinguished author sharply criticized US president George Bush. Embedded in a speech on Heinrich Boll and his favorite island Ireland, he decried current US policy.

Ransmayr spoke of the "strategically fomented panic" that "seizes all democratic societies in our day, making the abolition of civil rights, offensive war and mass murder seem inevitable as preventive self-defense measures."

One could ask whether the deaths of nearly 3000 persons in the debris of two New York skyscrapers could justify the breach of international law and whether the destruction of cities, the abandonment of the Geneva Convention as sloppy sentimentality and reintroduction of torture methods of the Spanish Inquisition could be permitted as protection of democracy and human rights.


"Whoever issued the permission for barbarism overran big cities suspected of terror with carpet bombing. Civilians killed in Iraq are counted as collateral damage."

Furthermore we could ask whether a man who became a multi-millionaire through an obsessive oil business should not be handed over to the International Tribunal in the Haag for war crimes after being repeatedly elected president of the United States of America under grotesque circumstances. Bush is still proud of more than 130 death sentences that he issued as governor of the model humanist state of Texas and now as Mr. President makes absolute use of the latest sweeping methods of securing peace."

On the other hand, "only a resident of the White House familiar with crude oil could effectively deactivate the world-threatening weapons of mass destruction possibly manufactured in oil-producing countries even before their completion."

"Why are chemical and bio-chemical weapons of mass destruction and nuclear clubs more dangerous in the hands of an Islamic, Russian-orthodox or Hindu society than in fundamentalist Christian hands of a power leading the so-called free world? This power advised by national socialist profiteers of spoils used these weapons as the first and only state power of history against whole cities, not only against particular skyscrapers. Can the wars of our days and all days after us and all the casualties be sanctioned as helping restore the peace?"

The author has written "The Last World," "Confessions of a Tourist," "Ladies and Gentlemen under Water" and "Sparkling Shipwreck" published by the Fischer publishing house.

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