John Pilger is one of the world's pre-eminent investigative journalists and documentary film-makers. His best-selling books of reportage, which include Heroes and Hidden Voices, have in the words of Noam Chomsky 'been a beacon of light in often dark times'.
In Freedom Next Time he looks at five countries, in each of which a long struggle for freedom has taken place; in each the people, having shed blood and dreams, are still waiting. In Afghanistan, Iraq and South Africa there has been the promise of hope, and even an 'official' freedom, but the reality of these divided societies is that they are still waiting for real freedom. In Palestine, the cycle of violence continues with no resolution in sight. And the island of Diego Garcia, in the Indian Ocean, is a microcosm of the ruthlessness of great powers. The island was sold by the British to the American military in the 1960s. The indigenous population, descended from slaves, were forcibly removed to the slums of Port Louis in Mauritius. They have continued to fight for the return of their homeland ever since - three years ago the High Court granted them the right of return, but this has subsequently been blocked. The island remains the US's third biggest military base; a base from which they are able to launch attacks against the Middle East.
Once again John Pilger gives a voice to the people living through these momentous times and, in gripping detail, shows us the lives behind the headlines.
Well-known journalist and filmmaker Pilger remains faithful to his decades-long quest to penetrate the citadel of political power and show that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes. Reminding readers that "if power was truly invincible, it would not fear the people so much as to expend vast resources trying to distract and deceive them," he surveys five countries where freedom has been deferred. In his first example, Pilger conducts a searing probe into the widely unrecognized fate of the Chagos islanders, who in 1971 were brutally expelled from their homeland through secretive and illegal actions by successive British administrations to make way for a massive American military base at Diego Garcia. Then he examines Israel, which he calls "the undisputed world champion violator of international law" and its brutal grip on the West Bank and Gaza. He also looks at India, a country in which, he argues, the "modern imperial cult of neo-liberalism" has led to increases in poverty. In South Africa, he shows, poverty is rife and whites still own most of the good land, and in Afghanistan, land mines, "gender apartheid" and despotism still reign supreme, despite the American-led "liberation." This highly informed, thoughtful and passionate work is as important a thread in the world's growing tapestry of political counternarratives as those of Dee Brown or Howard Zinn.