This Must Be Said
Allan Massie, writing in the London Daily Telegraph on 26 April, makes a valid point. To understand history, it is necessary to appreciate the context in which events occurred and the pressures influencing people’s behaviour. I am, therefore, content to suspend judgement on Gunter Grass’s teenage Nazi past. What I find unforgiveable are his current distorted and frankly antisemitic views, as expressed in his recent poem “What Must Be Said”. In it he declares that Israel is the major obstacle to world peace and is planning a first nuclear strike against Iran “to extinguish the Iranian people.” But this is surely viewing the world through a totally warped lens. Is it not Iran that is alarming the world by continuing to develop its nuclear capability? Was it Israel that threatened to wipe Iran off the map, or the other way around? Surely it is Iran that is providing military and financial support to Assad in Syria, Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Perhaps it is Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s continual denial of the Holocaust that pleases Gunter Grass. Whatever his reasoning, he proclaims the aggressor the victim, and castigates the victim of threats of annihilation as an aggressor.. No amount of empathy with Gunter Grass’s past can justify this biased view of today’s world.