Harold Pinter(1), british playwright, director and actor, received the 2005 Nobel Prize in literature. The Nobel Prize is somewhat unique in respect to the time it awards its laureats Instead of the ususal short acceptance-speeches that we know form e.g. the Oscars, at the Nobel-Prize the laureats are required to hold a lecture on a subject related to the topic of their prize.(2)
Harold Pinter took this singular opportunity to adress a world audience with a topic that obviously was very dear to him: The dignity of man.
To adhere to the Nobel-Committee’s guidelines concerning the lecture, he speaks about his work first, explains how his plays emerge in his mind – then leads over to the political powerstructures that govern our lives and the lies that ensure their survival. He sums up the atrocities from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo Bay, from Kabul to Baghdad in the recent past. He gives a chilling anecdote about a meeting with Raymond Seitz (US delegate to Nicaragua)(3) in which the stone cold attitude of Seitz’ (as extension of the US political apparatus) towards humanitarian topics foreshadows the widespread terror that the continuation of US foreign policy since then has caused.
This speech is in my opinion the finest example of accomplished oratory that i have come across. Pinter is concise, his elocution is mesmerizing and his appeal inescapeable. Even if you don’t agree politically you should watch this for its literary and oratory value.