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About John Berger

John Berger was an English art critic, novelist, painter, poet and author. His novel G. won the 1972 Booker Prize. His seminal essay on art criticism Ways of Seeing, was written as an accompaniment to his 1972 BBC TV series of the same name.

Articles by John Berger

This week’s front page editor

Clare Sambrook

Clare Sambrook, investigative journalist, co-edits Shine a Light.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

‘Clarity is more important than money’

After winning the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1972, John Berger spoke out against the award’s historic roots in Caribbean exploitation: “This is why I have to turn this prize against itself.”

Rostia Kunovsky: Fenêtres Lettres

On an incognito yet convivial art which animates even when there is no promise of survival 

Let Vietnam live!

"The simple issue around which all the history of the rest of the century will concentrate: are we in the privileged quarter of the world, going to continue to exploit the other three quarters?"

John Berger in England for Oxford Vietnam Week (Jan. 25 – 31, 1967).


"Impossible now to think of train travel without a kind of tenderness - as if that is what love is: arrival after arrival". A conversation between the writers Anne Michaels and John Berger, in dialogue with a photographic journey through southern Bohemia, evokes the intimate meanings and shared belongings that unfold to the rhythm and the heartbeat of the world the railways made.

The Time We Live

What might we hope for from life? Watching the London riots from afar John Berger finds a small passport that lets him visualise what is missing from a looter's expectations

John Berger: a life in Gaza

We are now spectators of the latest - and perhaps penultimate - chapter of the 60 year old conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people. About the complexities of this tragic conflict billions of words have been pronounced, defending one side or the other.

Today, in face of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, the essential calculation, which was always covertly there, behind this conflict, has been blatantly revealed. The death of one Israeli victim justifies the killing of a hundred Palestinians. One Israeli life is worth a hundred Palestinian lives.

This is what the Israeli State and the world media more or less - with marginal questioning - mindlessly repeat. And this claim, which has accompanied and justified the longest Occupation of foreign territories in 20th C. European history, is viscerally racist. That the Jewish people should accept this, that the world should concur, that the Palestinians should submit to it - is one of history's ironic jokes. There's no laughter anywhere. We can, however, refute it, more and more vocally.

Let's do so.

John Berger

Wall and Bulldozer

A pitiless market is met by an anomic politics. John Berger dissects the official language of crisis in France.

Undefeated despair

John Berger and his family went to organise painting and drawing workshops for children in Ramallah in November 2005. Here are his reflections.

That have not been asked: ten dispatches about endurance in face of walls

“The worst cruelties of life are its killing injustices.” John Berger on poverty, desire, storytelling, and the future’s gift to the present.
The wind got up in
the night and took our plans away.
(Chinese proverb)


Susan Sontag, born in 1933, died in New York on 28 December 2004.

The decisive moment: John Berger interviewed

The importance of the United States election on 2 November is so great that all considerations except one – defeating Bush - need to be set aside, John Berger tells openDemocracy editor Anthony Barnett.

Michael Moore, artist and patriot

A sloppy, cynical piece of propaganda? No, says John Berger: Michael Moore’s documentary film “Fahrenheit 9/11” is a historical landmark inspired by hope – and its maker is a true artist deeply committed to his country.

To the mountain

Iraq, the Republic of Fear under Saddam, is now ruled by a Coalition of Fear. The distinguished writer John Berger said on the eve of war that lies prepare the way for missiles. Now he sees revealed in the desperate chaos of Baghdad the blindness of a force whose pitiless weaponry and limitless ambition offer no insight into the truths of its conquest.

“If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.” George W. Bush

Baghdad has fallen. The city has been taken by the troops who were bringing it freedom.

Shame, not individual guilt

It is 12 January 2003 and US president Bush has rallied his troops for what he calls “The first war of the 21st century”. What is your view of this crisis, where, briefly, do you stand? This is the question we are putting to people around the world, especially those with their own public reputation and following. Our aim, to help create a truly global debate all can identify with.
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