As the story of the rescue of the Chilean Miners unfolded I realised that behind my hope that it would be successfully resolved lay an ever deepening dread – that the BBC would somehow find a convoluted way of placing the blame on Augusto Pinochet, one of the key figures in the BBCs pantheon of evil.
Watching Friday’s Newsnight my fears were vindicated when a breathless Wark interviewed Ariel Dorfman, an American/Chilean writer who proceeded to wax lyrical on the darkness of the mine being symbolic of the dark days of the Pinochet regime and the return to the surface as Chile coming to terms with its political past. Naturally there were clips of the Presidential palace being attacked by Pinochet’s soldiers during the coup against the extreme left wing and KGB funded President Allende in 1973 – though, of course, no mention of the protests and strikes against Allende’s policies during 1973 or the Chilean Supreme Court’s declaration of illegality of many actions of Allende’s government and it’s paramilitary formations. No mention either of the fact that Dorfman was an adviser to Allende.
Although the effusive Matt Frei and sundry other BBC hacks filled the airwaves for three days with a veritable Chile Fest two important pieces of information were either underplayed or scarcely mentioned…….the Christian/Catholic piety of the miners and their families and the fact that President Pinera, who impressed all with his handling of the whole crisis and his conduct during the rescue, was the first elected Conservative Chilean president for over fifty years….
As Private Eye would say…shome mishtake here surely….
Dorfman is one of the group of 88 professors who, in the wake of the Lacrosse players scandal, signed a controversial letter thanking protesters for “making a collective noise” on “what happened to this young woman” – assumed to be rapeThe letter, which was later published as a full-page ad in local newspapers and reprinted across the country, has been widely criticized as a prejudgment; later it was determined that no sexual assault had occurred. The charges against the players were eventually dismissed and the District Attorney who prosecuted the case, Michael Nifong, was disbarred and jailed.