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Tuesday, 25 December, 2001, 10:25 GMT
Arthur Miller fears for civil rights
Veteran playwright expresses his fears following the 11 September attacks
Raised in New York, Miller now speaks of his fears
US playwright Arthur Miller has said he is concerned about the US Government's emergency measures introduced after the 11 September attacks.

The legislation states that non-Americans accused of helping the country's terrorist enemies can be tried outside the normal courts by military tribunal.

It's pretty difficult to prove terrorism

Arthur Miller
In an exclusive interview with The World Today programme on BBC World Service, broadcast on Christmas Day, Miller said he feared for the civil rights.

The US Government could be seen as "taking advantage" of the situation and increasing its power over the individual, he said.

"It's pretty difficult to prove terrorism," he added.

"That's the nature of the beast and that's the temptation, not to prove it but simply judge it, and there are a number of people who are more than a little bit alarmed by this development."


In September Miller spoke out against the attacks, describing them as part of a "war against humanity".

He told The World Today on Christmas Day: "The confrontation of a mass dying is a traumatic experience even for the dullest mind and I think people were drawn together, but I question whether this is a long-term effect."

You can't ask people to act like saints in the face of a catastrophe of that dimension

Arthur Miller
Miller, 85, is widely considered the foremost American dramatist of the past 50 years.

His work, which includes influential plays such as Death of a Salesman and All My Sons, is characterised by his outspoken nature and he is credited with the ability to give a voice to the conscience of the 20th Century.

In 1953, at the height of the Cold War, Miller wrote one of his most famous works, The Crucible.

It was written in response to Senator McCarthy and the House of Un-American Activities Committee's crusade against supposed Communist sympathisers.

In 1956 Miller himself appeared before the Committee.

When asked if he now thought that there was a danger of returning to such a level of intolerance in the US, Miller responded: "I don't see that quite happening."

"There was bound to have been some reaction. You can't ask people to act like saints in the face of a catastrophe of that dimension, but I don't see it quite as hysteria, I don't see that."

See also:

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