The philosopher highlights American hypocrisy in his defense of writing for the outlet
Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek has defended publishing his writings on RT, pointing out in an op-ed published in Germany’s Berliner Zeitung on Sunday that stories and opinions that are overlooked or even prohibited on the pages of the Western press can find safe harbor in the Moscow-based outlet.
“Am I ashamed to have published my texts in Russia Today? No, absolutely not!” Zizek wrote.
While the philosopher professed “full support of Ukraine,” he insisted that this stance did not contradict his previous writings for RT at all, calling it “part of the same fight” in the same manner that “fighting anti-Semitism and fighting what Israel is doing to the Palestinians in the West Bank” are not mutually exclusive.
As the range of allowed opinions in Western media narrowed, he said he had no choice but to turn to RT to publish his own views, citing “weaknesses of liberal democracy, Israel’s policy of apartheid in the West Bank, [and] the aberrations of political correctness” as examples of topics considered off-limits in the Western press.
The philosopher specifically highlighted the saga of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, whose case, he has repeatedly argued, highlights the extraordinary hypocrisy of the US and UK governments, who style themselves as defenders of democracy and the free press while fighting to lock up a man whose only “crime” was to publish leaked documents that revealed wartime atrocities committed by those governments.
While the entirety of the Western media was fixated on the war in Ukraine, Assange was being drawn ever closer to extradition to the US, where he is charged with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act and will almost certainly die in prison, Zizek pointed out. New developments in the case have been all but ignored in the US and European press.
“How can [Washington] demand Assange’s extradition to the US when Assange is not a US citizen, was not involved in espionage against the US and all he did was, without a doubt publicize war crimes committed by the US?” he asked rhetorically, pointing out that Assange faces 175 years in prison “for merely exposing US crimes beyond reproach.”
Commenting on calls for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be tried for alleged war crimes in Ukraine, Zizek argued for former president George W. Bush, as well as his defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, if he were still alive, to be similarly tried for the invasion of Iraq under manufactured pretenses. The West and Russia must be interrogated with “the same critical questions,” he said. “How can the US demand this while not recognizing the jurisdiction of the Hague tribunal over its own citizens?”
Neither ‘side’ should be considered immune from criticism, Zizek argued. “If we are forced to choose between Ukraine and Assange, we are doomed. Then we have sold our soul to the devil.”