Interested in human rights? Interested in finding out about what some "democratic" governments can do and get away with doing when people just don't know? Well then stop what you are doing, go to your library or book shop and get this book.
In 'Freedom Next Time', Pilger details five harrowing accounts of appalling, shameful and disgraceful human right abuses: Diego Garcia, Palestine, South Africa, Afghanistan and India.
The abuses are systematic and on a grand scale. They reflect problems of governance and the pernicious consequence of mass ignorance which facilitates either bad action or inaction. He chronicles each account by first explaining the particulars of the background of the problem and then presenting the details of his own very thorough investigations.
The chapters in the book correspond to different documentaries Pilger has done which are also available now on his various DVDs (which are also excellent). The difference is that the book goes into more detail.
It's not just a book of facts, there's an underlying socio-political point in 'Freedom Next Time': democratic governments can be complicit in human right abuses if something suits their geo-political needs and people are disinterested about what happens in other parts of the world - usually quite far away from their own doorstep.
The only criticism I'd have is that I thought his in South Africa chapter. I thought his account of Mandela veered slightly from balanced objectivity. Yes, there may have been some non - ideal things that someone widely regarded as a human rights hero had to do, while in political office, but isn't that always the sad reality? Tough decisions may have to be made. There may be times when there may only be a lesser of two evils, and isn't only naive idealism preventing us from accepting that?
But the book's positives far outweigh pedantic negatives. For example - sticking with South Africa - Pilger details the shocking abuses of workers in the South African mines. This was something that I myself, only found out about after a trip to South Africa when the miners were currently on strike, because the working conditions were so unsafe and so many of them were dieing while producing gold which let's face it was mainly for Western Jewelry. It was melancholic reality that stuck in my head and I was irritated why most Western media and people - who let's face it end up buying Jewelry coming from mines like these - were just blissfully unaware of it.
There's a shocking sad reality to life. When people don't know, either because of ignorance or apathy, they won't be able to care. When they don't care, democratic governments won't do anything. It's essential that we engage ourselves in these issues. Yes, unfortunately ignorance is bliss but as the journalist Molly Ivins once said ignorance can also be "root of evil".
Thankfully we have elucidating, enlightening and conscientious focused people like Pilger to help us wake up from time to time.
Having read 'Hidden Agendas', I was expecting the same level of open, honest, investigative journalism that exposes the plight of the weak and oppressed people of the world; a topic purposely never discussed in a heavily controlled/censored media. I could not have been more satisfied with this book meeting all my expectations and enlightening me about other issues I was not aware of. It is certainly one of those "can't put down" books, if only to stop to have some respite from the deeply saddening experiences that people recount and are still enduring, or the anger one feels at the complete indifference by people that have direct control over the situation.
I particularly like the fact that there are interviews with people from "both sides", and this further justifies the conclusions that are being made, without having to actually explicitly make them for you. It demonstrates the cruelty politicians, governments, corporations are prepared to inflict on masses of innocent people. The book champions the human spirit, and details how people are still prepared to fight even when the odds are greatly stacked against them.
The chapters can be read independently, and covers the Chagos Islands, Palestine, the growth of capitalism in India and Afghanistan.
The general conclusion one draws from each of these chapters is the underlying horror of imperialism, racism, greed, genocide that is inflicted by a few on the many.
We live in a world where the truth is a very rare commodity, and this book certainly manages to redress the balance.
This book gets to the very heart of the way injustice is perpetrated in the world. In the best traditions of investigative journalism, Pilger examines in depth a number of ongoing situations in the world involving exploitation and injustice. The first of these relates to the plight group of islanders evicted from their Chagos island home using blatant deceit and brute force and given so little compensation that they were consigned to a life of penury in Mauritius. Why? So the British could give their American allies an island paradise as a new military base. The fact that most of us have never even heard of the Chagos islanders demonstrates the complicity of the world media in selectively reporting the news we often naively assume to have at least a modicum of impartiality.
The true shock of the book comes with the following chapters, however, where we are systematically shown the perspectives of those who have suffered most in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Afghanistan and since the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa. Did you think the average black South African has more opportunities to get ahead since the end of apartheid? or that the average Afghan woman is much better off since the ousting of the Taliban? I did - but completely erroneously as it turns out.
Pilger combines a concise summary of the facts with vivid snapshots of the situation on the ground in each location. He gives us excerpts from interviews with the victims that allow the reader to get a very personal perspective and juxtaposes these with excerpts from interviews with those responsible for the decisions that brought about the suffering. The combination is powerful and enlightening.
If I were to criticize the book it would be to say firstly that the chapter in India does not have the depth of the other chapters and adds little to the book. Secondly, Pilger very occasionally commits the same sin of telling only part of the truth that he accuses other journalists of. For example, he relates that the US has intervened 72 times in the affairs of other nations, including the overthrow of democratically elected social democracies such as in Guatemala, Brazil, Iran and Chile. I doubt that some of those governments would really have qualified as having been democratically elected by the standards that Pilger himself would apply to democracy. To be fair, this is a rare occurrence in the book and does not in any way detract from the substance of what Pilger has to say.
Freedom next time is an excellent read. Thought provoking and puts new light on the crimes of the west on developing countries. John Pilger narrates a harrowing tale of betrayal and deceit with well-sourced interviews on both sides of a myriad of important injustices that currently plague our world. He starts with the little known plight of the Chaogisans: a people who were evicted from their Island at the same time as the Falklands war. This was because the British government `sold' it for a discount on a Nuclear Trident submarine and the 2500 people forgotten and ignored. The US consequently turned the Island paradise into one of their largest overseas bases from which they would later launch air attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pilger then discusses the increasing stratification of society in India, reveals the true results of the end of apartheid in South Africa. He gains access to many influential parties involved in the current genocide of Palestine by Israel and exposes the barbarism of Governments, the complicity of the media in suppressing the true nature of how the Palestinians are being treated.
This is an excellent companion to Naoim Kleins, `Shock Doctrine' which goes into more detail into the involvement of the IMF, world bank, corporations and military industrial complex in many of the same issues that Pilger discusses from the human contact and investigative journalism he has undertaken.
Many of the interviews from this book can be seen in a series of BBC documentaries available by searching google video.
Having read other John Pilger books, including "Hidden Agendas" and "The New Rulers of the World", Pilger continues to excel in "Freedom Next Time" exposing what is really going on the world and telling you what the mainstream news won't. If you have never read any of Mr Pilgers books then this a good one to start with. The chapters about Palestine, Diego Garcia, Afghanistan and South Africa are very well researched and in depth raising awareness of the plight of ordinary people affected by the tragic events in these countries while his interviews with politicians very revealing, exposing there lies and hypocrisy. The chapter on India though is far too short, feeling as though it was put in as an afterthought. Overall though a good read. .
I cannot recommend this book more. It is an insightful, thought provoking and an incredibly moving account of the harsh realities of unrestricted Western power. For those of you who question the 'Looney Left' for their radical views I implore you to read this book. It is written with compassion and enthusiasm for the cause of those people who have no voice and no power to reject brutal colonisation (Israel on Palestinians) or heartless forced ejection (Diego Garcia).
I challenge anybody who has a conscience to read this and not feel moved to try and do something to help those who have no rights, no future and no life.
John Pilger's previous books include one called 'Heroes'. I believe Pilger himself can call himself one now.
WHAT a BOOK !!! and what an honour for it to grace my 1000th review.I live in Mauritius and I regularly see these Chagos Islanders protesting in front of the British Embassy that is near my car park. These guys have been robbed big time. Can u imagine being displaced from your homeland on some flimsy excuse that it is going to be used for US and UK military excuses. Pilger goes for the jugular and draws blood as from Page 1 itself. I would wholly recommend watching his documentary about Diego Garcia which is a very subtle accompaniment to the book. Over two thousand Chagossian's were deported to Mauritius, dropped off with barely the cloths on their backs, currently living in abject poverty without compensation from the British government despite being British citizens. What is startling is the massive cover-up by the government and the silence of most journalists over three decades, allowing (them) to get away with it.
In chapter 2, The Last Taboo, chronicles the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Pilger devotes a lot of space to this subject, giving a well-rounded assessment of the `conflict', revealing terrorism on both sides of the equation. One point that should be stressed is that Israel is the leading country in denying and transgressing against numerous UN resolutions. One resolution being the right of the Palestinians to return to their homelands. Between 1948 and 2000, Israel has defied the UN and the International community 135 times, never seen before in UN history.
The effect of economic globalism in India is examined showing the widening gap between rich and poor that continues at an alarming rate.
Pilger also analysis South Africa since the end of Apartheid; having been banned from entering the country for thirty years, returns to discover that economically not much has changed, and those that committed unspeakable atrocities, have essentially gotten away with it. Again, a few are benefiting economically while the majority remain in poverty, dieing like flies from starvation and disease.
The last chapter, Liberating Afghanistan, is an appalling situation of lies, death and destruction. To say the least, Afghanistan is a convoluted mess. According to Pilger, the Afghanis' felt safer under the Taliban regime than the numerous warlords that are currently creating havoc across the country. The unreported innocent deaths from American bombing (10,000) are a terrible travesty beyond words. However, the true purpose of the "forgotten war", which has been reported by many others, including Bob Woodward of the Washington Post and author Gore Vidal, is the `oil and gas junta' as the oil lobby in Washington is now called, building a pipeline through to the oil and gas rich Caspian sea. This was the true purpose and the prize has been won. This is an example of incestuous collusion between corporations and government. Who is part of this deal? - a consortium of Enron, Amoco, British Petroleum, Chevron, Exxon and Mobil. Dick Cheney, former Chairman of Halliburton, James Baker, former secretary of State under Bush senior and Condoleezza Rice, once vice-president of Chevron Oil. Does anyone smell a rat?
This a hard book to read as man's inhumanity to man, the appalling lies and silence from the mainstream media, and the amount of innocent deaths around the globe for the betterment of the few, is hard to take. Pilger has never held back with the truth, despite numerous death threats over his career, banned from countries and standing up to those that perpetrate these crimes against humanity.
In his book Freedom Next Time, reputed journalist John Pilger uncovers the real reasons behind British and American interest in Palestine, India, South Africa and Afghanistan. Backed up with hard facts, interviews and eyewitness accounts, Pilger has exposed that: under the guise of freeing these people from the `terrorism of their oppressors', our leaders have planted a new political order, obtaining power over assets and plunging millions of people further into poverty and suffering.
Within the pages of this powerful book, the goal of global domination by the United States, aided by British Imperialistic groundwork, is revealed. We are shown how our rulers instigate internal wars, manipulate facts and censor our news to justify our army invasions as they replace one form of terror for another.
This book is not a comfortable read and nor should it be. Pilger shows us that fascism never went away, the `Orwellian state' is reported to already be here and corporate corruption aids the United States of America in its dream of worldwide dominance.
Page after page urges our sleeping nation to wake up before it is too late, to take a look behind the scenes and see who really controls our news, our governments, and where our taxes are going. Revelation after revelation is poured out as we realize that lifestyles in the west are only sustainable because millions of hidden people are suffering.
The latest edition of this book was printed in 2007 and has been published by Black Swan. The recommended price is £8.99. In my opinion this book is worth the money as it offers you over 20 years of research into the economics and politics of these invisible communities. If you want to know the truth, this book is packed with it.