This time Pluto Press has really outdone itself. In our first issue, we looked at an earlier release entitled Beyond September 11th: An Anthology of Dissent. The title, at that time, was one of a very small number daring to probe into the nature of the illness that had produced not only the humanitarian tragedy still unfolding in Afghanistan, but the attacks of 9/11 themselves. Chock full of highly readable articles from journalists, educators, activists and thinkers, it showed dissent as a patriotic, humanitarian option rather than simply a politically incorrect faux pas; an anomaly of fringe politics.
Given the nature of the theme, it covered a wide range of views and issues. With the release of Tell Me Lies, we find not only the long overdue sentiment that free thought and speech are not so much rights as they are obligations to be upheld, but a scalpel of dissent which has been honed razor sharp because of the specific target the anthology tackles.
Many of the writers from the first collection appear again, but this time with a unity of focus and theme that tells us one extremely unpleasant truth. We are being, and have consistently been, lied to in order to protect and further the interests of a select few at the expense of hundreds of thousands of civilian lives on the other side of the world. To read Tell Me Lies is to forever shelve the term collateral damage alongside other perhaps once meaningful phrases turned oxymoronic.
While many people from all sides of the political spectrum may entertain the thought that lies are the stuff that politics is made of, Pluto Press takes it up a notch and convincingly argues that lying is the least of the evils besetting us. The lies are part of a media arsenal fully intent on brainwashing two nations once known for their ability to question and call to account their elected leadership. And goes on to show how successful and complete the lobotomy of conscience has been.
In the wake of 9/11 it was still considered extreme to compare Orwell’s bleak vision to current events or to use the words empire or imperialism without a histrionic smirk. Now with titles like Imperial Hubris making waves and many other books of a similar ilk finally starting to fill the bookstalls, it might easily be forgotten that Pluto Press helped pave the way when it came to calling a spade and spade.
As we plod further into the dizzying nightmare known as the War on Terror, it is good to finally be told that a brutally honest appraisal of 9/11 and all it unleashed should be done – not, as some would have us believe with bleeding hearts and empty minds – but with a steady unswerving gaze at the corruption at the heart of the matter. I hope Pluto Press remains on the vanguard of those reminding us to look back. Not just to look back, but to look back in angerat a fast dwindling legacy of freedom and human rights.