This interview was originally broadcast September 15, 2017
Why does the Western mainstream incessantly demonize Putin and Russia? Guy Mettan’s Creating Russophobia offers a detailed and convincing answer. Mettan begins by listing the many incidents and issues that have been wildly misreported (with massive anti-Russia spin at best, outright lies at worst) in the West. Having established the existence of such strong prejudice against Russia, he argues that the roots of this unfortunate attitude go back roughly 1,000 years. Like Islamophobia, Russophobia is an age-old Western prejudice with a religious basis: It goes all the way back to the Great Schism between the Eastern and Western Christianity. And like Islamophobia, Russophobia seems to stem from a certain narrow-mindedness, fanaticism, refusal to see the Other’s point of view, and desire for absolute domination that lurks in the dark heart of that imaginary construct we call “the West.”
Today, Mettan argues, the modern histories of French, German, and British Russophobias have converged in, and been subsumed by, an American-dominated Russophobia whose hallmark is a kind of Orwellian “cognitive manipulation” based on linguistic subterfuge. This US-led demonization of Russia via newspeak, Mettan says, uses “readymade language elements” such as those laid out in the notorious “Israel Project 2009. Global Language Dictionary,” a hasbara manual for Zionist propagandists.
Is there any hope for peaceful coexistence with Russia, given the Russophobic forces currently in command? Perhaps…if we make an all-out effort to amplify the voices of sanity. Guy Mattan’s is one of the most important of those voices.
KEVIN BARRETT INTERVIEWS GUY METTAN 9/15/17 (COMPLETE, LIGHTLY EDITED TRANSCRIPT)
Kevin Barrett: Hey, how are you doing?
Guy Mettan: I'm fine, thanks.
Kevin Barrett: All right. Good to have you. Your book Creating Russophobia is really brilliant and extremely timely. It's a little bit mind boggling that somebody who comes out of the center of mainstream Swiss journalism and institutions has managed to tell this much truth about a topic that is so taboo. What got you started on this?
Guy Mettan: I have followed Russian affairs and the gap between Eastern Europe, Russia and the European Union for a long time, about 20 years, as a journalist. And for 25 years I have had special ties with Russia because I received the Russian nationality from President Yeltsin. My wife and I adopted a young girl, our daughter Oksana. Since she became our daughter we could get the Russian passport. And since then I have had a special focus on Russia. I visit the country, I have many friends, and so on. And I am always surprised by the huge gap between the Russian reality, how Russians live, and what is shown by the Western media, the way the Western media speak about Russia. Because it is very negative...When the second revolution took place in Maidan in Kiev in 2014, I thought "these prejudices are so great, so deep, so important, I have to do something." And so I started to write this book.
Kevin Barrett: That's very interesting. I can relate to your situation because I was probably made more sensitive to Islamophobia due to having married my wife, who is Moroccan and Muslim. And so in a sense, I sort of have a dual nationality with the Muslim Ummah. And so since 9/11, with this pervasive Islamophobia, I think I've noticed it more than other people might have, and I can understand how your connection with Russia would also help you see things from this other perspective that's being systematically neglected. So the Western media are obviously not very enthusiastic about publishing information of the kind that you're offering in this book. And I know your book came out in French originally, and it took a while to come out in English. Did you have a hard time finding a publisher?
Guy Mettan: Oh, yes. We tried many times. We took the first edition in France and tried to to get an English publisher or an American publisher as soon as possible. For six months it was quite difficult. But suddenly by chance two publishers (became) interested. We found Clarity Press in Atlanta...
Kevin Barrett: It publishes very high quality stuff.
Guy Mettan: So thanks to Diana Collier, the director of the publishing house Clarity Press, we could publish it in English. And I must say, for me, it was quite an experience. Because the way you write a book is very different in the United States. In America, you are very attached—and I think it's a good thing—to all the details, to check every fact, to check every date and so on. So it was a long, hard job to take everything and to answer all the 300 questions Mrs Collier had before publishing the book. But now I think it is quite good. It improved a lot.
Kevin Barrett: I haven't read it in French, but the English version is terrific. It's very detailed and as far as I can tell, fully accurate and really comprehensive.
So then the question arises: How is the mainstream going to deal with this? It's hard to imagine the New York Times Book Review doing justice to your book or even mentioning it. But I'm sure that since you've inhabited the mainstream journalistic world you've seen how people in the mainstream react to the kind of information you're presenting.
Guy Mettan: Yeah. The reaction was very clear. In France, it was silence. In Switzerland I am a very well-known personality. I have been a journalist for a long time. I was the chief editor of one of the biggest newspapers in Switzerland and I am still director of the Swiss Press Club. So it was impossible for my colleagues to ignore the book. But in France nobody from the mainstream papers like Le Monde, Libération or the other big important papers accepted the book to review or critique even very critically; it was impossible to get reviews in mainstream papers. So the book was quite successful, but only due to the buzz. The readers made the buzz in France and in other countries. The reception was much better in the Russian edition, and we can understand easily why. So in Russia, no problem for great reviews in magazines or newspapers; in Serbia, too. But in in European countries like Italy and Sweden, where the book was published, it was quite difficult to get reviewed because mainstream newspapers tried to ignore it.
Kevin Barrett: It reminds me a bit of the situation regarding The New Pearl Harbor, which was the first book on 9/11 by Dr. David Ray Griffin. It was studiously ignored, and Dr. Griffin is still studiously ignored by the mainstream media. Now he has more than a dozen books out. So it was the buzz and the word of mouth that sold well into six figures worth of books. Like your book, his work is very thorough, well documented, and provides a very important perspective on current event that's totally taboo in the mainstream.
So I'm glad to hear that your book has done well. I hope it will do well here in English. And I keep seeing connections between Russophobia and Islamophobia. Both incite the rising militarism driving Western policy today. And a parallel that you brought out in this book that I hadn't really thought about before was that Russophobia, like Islamophobia, seems to go back to more than a thousand years of religious controversy. With Islam, it's obvious that Christianity and Islam have had their disputes throughout the centuries. But with Eastern and Western Christianity, this is not something that is really attended to very much. The mainstream will tell us that with Islam, the religion is the problem. But it doesn't tell us about Orthodox Christianity or Eastern Christianity being the problem. But your book makes a good case that today's prejudices go back to this religious divide.