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Friday, September 10, 2010

A New Waste Land: Timeship Earth at Nillennium by Michael Horovitz

A New Waste Land: Timeship Earth at Nillennium
By Michael Horovitz
Genre: Poetry, Art, Politics
ISBN: 978-0-902689-18-3;
Publisher: New Departures
Distributed by Central Books, London

Reviewed by Tony Benn (Time Out London)


In this book Michael Horovitz has deployed all his many talents to produce a passionate, poetic and immensely powerful polemic against Tony Blair's New Labour Administration for the policies he pursued as Prime Minister and in particular his wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, his threats to Iran and his consistent and deliberate deception of the British public and Parliament to justify his actions.

For those who have been advocating a War Crimes Tribunal to arraign him and President Bush this poetic charge sheet could be used by any lawyer as a brief to guide him in preparing his case, and since no such trial has ever taken place A New Waste Land will remain on the record as a reminder for all those around the world who do not wish these crimes ever to be forgotten.

Michael was disappointed that the hopes raised in 1997 were so quickly dashed and even those, who like myself, never expected as much as he did, find it hard to believe that it went as badly wrong as it did.

His style is brilliant using historical quotations, pictures, cartoons and poetry laid out in a way that elevates it to the level of art to make his point and it is effective in a way that no speech could do.

Thoroughly researched, with footnotes to justify his assertions, he tackles a wide range of subjects, ranging from atomic weapons to privatisation as a deliberate instrument to diminish the role of the electorate and transfer the power back to the powerful economic forces which, today, dominate the political process so comprehensively.

Reminded of Hiroshima, we see the decision to renew Trident in its proper historical context as a conscious decision to maintain weapons of even greater power that could – if ever used – inflict death and destruction on millions of innocent people.

Palestine's unanswered pleas for peace and justice feature strongly, and we are reminded of the wicked practice of unspeakable torture that we have come to accept, as well as the rendition process, which makes it easier to transport the victims to countries where it can be done in secret, leaving the perpetrators to deny their own responsibility.

A New Waste Land is published on the 250th birthday of William Blake and, wherever his spirit now rests, Blake will be proud to read such a clear re-statement of the principles which he enunciated and which have – as this book will have – a permanent place in the libraries of the world and in the minds of those who read it.

But horrific as the picture Horovitz paints may be, we must never allow it to drive us into pessimism about the future, for hope is the fuel of progressive movements and fear is a prison into which we confine ourselves.

Knowing Michael's indomitable spirit I am sure that he too retains the hope we shall need if a peaceful and just world is to be built – as it must be.
Tony Benn (Time Out, London)


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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor. As a courtesy to the author, please tweet and retweet this post using this little green retweet widget :

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