I have always pondered why some books receive the attention of the media while others are totally ignored despite their topicality.
Having now been an active publisher since 1976, I’m still baffled to know the basis whereby consistency is abandoned by the Establishment at will, due to a variety of factors – some political, others to avoid the wrath of powerful lobbyists who somehow ‘rule the roast’.
In the mid 1970s, and until very recently, if a controversial book was published an outcry would follow. It was normally expressed in the media which had the effect of bringing the subject to the fore, no matter how detrimental the reaction happened to generate.
In that period Quartet was hounded by the press for daring to show the Palestinian side of the Arab-Israeli conflict. We were simply motivated by our desire to redress the balance. At that time, the Israeli point of view was predominate and had political clout as well as hordes of sympathisers from all walks of life, whereas the Palestinians were discarded and not considered worthy of any special attention. But at least the outcry catapulted their plight, perhaps not meaning to, and gave the subject a media prominence that in a way achieved our objective.
But now a much more powerful and sinister weapon has emerged. If a book by consensus is to be banished by those who object to its publication, a wall of silence follows. No mention of its existence is ever pronounced and no reviews undertaken so as to kill it stone dead…and, believe it or not, it does. The bookshops, as a result, refuse to take the book for what they maintain is its lack of publicity, and no matter what effort the publisher exerts, its destiny is invariably the dreaded pulping machine.
How do we combat the suppression to express one’s views as a contribution to a civilised debate – the core of any enlightened democracy. Or does the power of the few, who control every aspect of our lives by sheer financial monopoly of a system, make democracy more of a cover-up rather than the sacred cow some allude to? The old school tie has never ceased to prevail. We are still a divided society where class is paramount and where the practice of favouritism is high on the agenda of those who govern us.
Will we ever change? I doubt it. As food for thought, however, it is perhaps the best I can expect from this short diatribe triggered off by a rebellious nature that’s trying to cause a flutter or two, even as a life’s journey is reaching its ebbing years.