Traduction approximative en français
|The word nazi denotes here a mentality close to
that of the German movement. The word fascist is not appropriate,
having become a simple insult devoid of meaning. This latter was
invented for an Italian
movement that had a certain dignity in spite of its thugs -
Mussolini himself sneered that his fascism had no need for anti-Semitism.
The fascists of Austria likewise dismissed Hitler's Nazis.
What distinguishes these nazis ? Characteristics that concern us here are: hate-mindedness, cowardly aggression, affinity to conspiracy theories, seeing themselves as victim and justified in committing violence against a vulnerable scapegoat. Truth is, like for the marxists, what is convenient. Ideologically they are not really right-wing since adherents tend to expound socialism but with an ultra-nationalist, xenophobic slant, thus "national-socialism".
"Nazi" capitalized refers here to members of the NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei = National-socialist German Workers' Party) while "nazi" uncapitalized refers to persons of this mentality.
French use the term nazillon = little nazi.
These words are pertinent to the crises that plague France : youth violence, economic and cultural lag, identity crisis, an arbitrary judicial system, terrorism and now a resurgence of anti-Semitism (judéophobie). France prides itself as the cradle of human rights, but a look at recent history shows that there's something really wrong here. Analyzing this is also useful for understanding and resolving the dilemma which holds back the Arab world.
A country where 1/3 of those polled wished victory for Saddam Hussein over the US coalition is a breeding ground for terrorists and their helpers.
|A bit of history
The bleeder and victimhood
Surveys of teachers & webmasters
French reactions to 9-11
A bit of history (lacking in the French mémoire collective )
First and foremost, there is the behavior during the Vichy years of leading jurists (judges, academics and lawyers) who played a key role in the persecution of Jews. In 1940 this elite of the post-Dreyfus educational system vowed loyalty to legal measures that blatantly violated human-rights and implemented them obsessively - with no real compulsion from the German occupiers (see Vichy law). This corps judiciaire has never admitted fault nor much less undertaken introspection. The denazification process will never be complete until this happens.
The intellectuals who stayed in Paris, otherwise so well informed, were deaf to news of the extermination of Jews which was revealed on the BBC starting in July of 1942. André Malraux was the great anti-fascist of the prewar years, but he took a moral holiday until 1944 when it was clear the tide had turned. Jean-Paul Sartre came with Simone de Bouvoir to see him about some kind of resistance, but they gave up on the idea when he advised them that it was futile to do anything before an Allied invasion. Sartre wrote a play Les Mouches that he later claimed to be an act of resistance but which aroused nobody (he became the great anti-fascist after the war with the USA as target). Picasso turned down a request from Jean Cocteau to do something for his old pal Max Jacob. Think what you will of these intellos (French pupils are spared these embarrassing details), their docile presence in German-occupied France gave legitimacy to the occupiers and tricked Jews into believing that they'd get the same protection as in Italy (see Zuccotti).
Regional newspapers never used the freedom they had to plead for better conditions for the Jews in the nearby camps of non-occupied France, they only complained of the inflation caused by their trying to buy the basic necessities of life. Local priests should have known about these unnecessarily harsh conditions (causing the death of around 3000 detainees), and when a few bishops finally had a pastoral letter read in the churches of their dioceses, the extensive mail-snooping of the regime revealed little retention and interest on the part of their parishioners.
Meanwhile, across the Channel, De Gaulle was plotting to foil what he thought to be the imperialist designs of the USA and Britain, obvious to him since that is just what he'd be doing given the chance ! He expressed the hope that the Vichy guys push the Americans back into the sea during the Operation Torch landings in North Africa (see Billotte, in French). He also dreamed of, no kidding, an alliance with (Nazi?) Germany in a war against les anglosaxons (see documentary series, in French). Imagine what this top graduate of St Cyr would have become had he not been part of the previous government !
Offsetting this litany is the admirable behavior of the descendants of the Huguenots in the Cevennes mountains and in particular the village of Chambon-sur-Lignon, who took in and protected Jews without hesitation, no thought of reward in this world or the next or agonizing over ethics.
In 1940, it was only some 40,000 out of the forty million French (and largely foreign-born) who were sufficiently outraged and ready to act in La Résistance. The number grew to 200,000 in the last days of the Occupation. Teachers were well represented percentage-wise, but obviously most remained inactive.
The sadistic behavior cannot be excused as an anomaly of the Vichy regime, given the postwar behavior of French administrators and military in Madagascar, Vietnam, Algeria, and elsewhere. The genocide in Rwanda in 1994 had approval from high places in Paris and was abetted by French military advisors playing a key role on the ground. The PM Balladur remarked that it was a just war against the anglophone protestants, Rwanda being part of France's sphere of influence.
Patrick de Saint-Exupéry published in March 2004
L'Inavouable, la France au Rwanda based on his articles in Le Figaro 12-15 January 1998.
William Pfaff of the International Herald Tribune reported on 980122 that "No other national newspaper, television chain or magazine has taken up the reports, or challenged them. There has been no editorial comment. There have been no manifestos by French intellectuals, ..."|
With the publication of this book in 2004, the daily Libération did the right thing with a special issue of 2004.04.07 on La France complice ?". A few TV emissions (Riposte, ...) have touched on the French role, but the usual explanation in the press is that France only helped the Hutus defend themselves against an attack from Uganda. French officials still stonewall.
To this day, French police and judiciary routinely continue the practices of Vichy against even the most law-abiding. Evidence is discarded or fabricated. Murder is tolerated and thus encouraged. The recent reforms were supposed to favor convictions based on objective evidence, but these officers, so crucial to social peace and as an example to youth, still use methods on the limit of civilized behavior to extract false confessions.
Serbia has given proof that horror on the level of Nazi Germany is still possible in a modern European state, conducted by a traditionally close ally and emulator of the French, its intellectuals leading the incitement against the other ethnic groups. Like the Nazis, its leaders promoted a belligerent form of victimhood, called inat, as justification for its atrocities (in French with English-language links).
The Holocaust, the French, and the Jews by Susan Zuccotti
It is not, as conventional wisdom tells us, that these nazillons are only of the extreme-right, incorrigible depraved evil-doers or beurs (North African, synonymous with social problems who serve as bugbears in the elections) - judéophobie is long-entrenched in polite society, foremost among diplomats and other elites of the beaux quartiers.
The right-left distinction blurs as far-lefters get involved with Arab extremists. The editors of Le Monde Diplomatique and the militant José Bové are overly generous and sycophantic to Palestinian intransigence and strangely insensitive to the survival of Israel. Bové even suggested that Israel's secret service Mossad is responsable for the anti-Semitic acts in France.
A strange lot is France's Iraq Lobby , composed of the national-socialist former defense minister, J-P Chevénement, Chirac's campaign spokesperson Roselyne Bachelot and the far-right's Jean-Marie Le Pen. They call for the end of the (already well-violated) trade embargo against Saddam Hussein for the phony reason that it causes starvation of Iraqi children, but it appears the reason is more political (USA bashing) and commercial (arms trade). (see RealVideo) Documents have revealed that these persons and high French officials have received allocations of oil which they could trade for cash.
The bleeder and victimhood
There is the syndrome of the bleeder (bleeding-heart), someone who seeks to gain control over les misérables but who then turns away efforts to end their misery and dependence on him. It is really the story of a self-sacrificing but ultimately self-centered and cruel personality. The principle of resilience is anathema to him.
A good read (in French) Victime des autres et bourreau de soi-même by Guy Corneau
In March of 2002 Richard Durn, a militant of the left (Greens and the French chapter of the League of Human Rights), opened fire and killed eight city councilpersons (four from the PCF and one Green) in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre. This should be a warning that these organizations fail to rechannel the aggressiveness of those in their ranks who have this common personality disorder.
Again, to acknowledge healthy altruism where it exists, there is the shining example of the French Doctors and its co-founder Bernard Kouchner.
There is much posturing in France against anything resembling anti-Semitism, such as the sale through Yahoo of Nazi memorabilia. No discussion of the possibility that a teacher could use such devices to convey a strong message to his/her students about what strutting around with these symbols can do to a person. This kind of militancy risks fortifying the cry wolf syndrome along with indifference.
Negationism, which denies or minimizes the Holocaust (Shoah), has its roots in France. Well-educated academics manage to deny what is obvious to the rest of us. A recent incident which reveals the hold of this mechanism on the French psyche concerns a book alleging that the 9-11 terrorist attacks were a vast plot by the rogues who control US policy. The hoax was lapped up by a credulous and preconditioned French public - but some redemption came from the two leftist dailies: Le Monde and Libération. The latter even compared this kind of thinking to that of the negationists.
Surveys of teachers & webmasters
No doubt teachers play the most important role in steering children toward one ideology or another, given that parents are often indifferent, themselves indoctrinated and/or stuck in a pathogenic personality . Remember that there is a continuum from generation to generation, no sudden break. What are the teachers doing to break the cycle of bigotry ? Are they not themselves susceptible to one kind of intolerance which, passed on to their students, can too easily switch over to anti-Semitism ? Are they unwittingly paving the way to a new Vichy ?
Webmasters of socially-conscious Websites represent a great opportunity to convey civic values to coming generations, especially since their boss if any will often leave the choice of content or its effective presentation to this technically adept person. Are they of a mind to fulfill this role ?
Several incidences on the Internet lists of these two groups caused Wiesenbach (RW) to wonder where they stand on vital issues, whether they might contribute to solutions, whether they could be relied upon in a catastrophic situation - or whether they are just part of the problem.
A recent (January 2002) survey of French youth 15-24 was optimistic in that 87% are said to be shocked by acts of anti-Semitism and 52% say that there is not enough talk about the Holocaust. Does this reflect a deep-seated conviction or is it just verbal conformity? On the other hand, 20% think that Jews are too influential in the media, politics and the economy and 50% see nothing wrong with allowing negationist publications. This is reported in a White Paper (Google translation) where the authors say that "it is in France, in our schools, where anti-Semitism has been allowed to germinate".
An opportunity to probe
the attitude of teachers and webmasters came as the result of a message
posted to a group of webmasters in December of 2001. The author,
doctorate in law admitted to the bar of Paris and webmaster of a site devoted
to social law (which his wife practices), claimed (from watching a sensationalist
TV documentary) that in the 1980s the USA cynically promoted drug traffic
in Afghanistan with contempt for the welfare of Europeans, that if &
when US troops were killed in Afghanistan, he would not "deplore" it.
He added a caveat, that he would modify this attitude if someone could
disprove the claim. Of course none of these social activists did
so, nor did any of them point out that the Americans were (again) fighting
and dying for the benefit of these ungrateful French. The author
later admitted privately to RW that he learned of the falsity of this claim
(perhaps from the references supplied by RW), but he didn't see fit to
send a retraction to the list. (See French reactions to 9-11)
RW's first reply
RW's reply to reactions
RW then submitted a message to the H-Francais list for Clionautes, 1,300 teachers of history and geography. In it he repeated this message but indicated that it was from a student and asked the list members how to handle it. The only replies expanded on the idea of American guilt or cast mild doubt on the specific charge. RW did a follow-up revealing the true quality of the author and noting that no one among these guardians of human values seemed to detect that there might be something wrong with assigning collective guilt (for a false allegation) and then wishing death upon descendants of the supposed evil-doers. No one saw a parallel with the blood libel against the Jews.
Another occasion for appraising the civic orientation of these Clionautes came with a debate over Roberto Benigni's dark comedy "Life is Beautiful" ("La vie est belle"). List members condemned it as a travesty of history and proposed as appropriate for their students (including pre-adolescents) the 9½ hour documentary "Shoah" by Claude Lanzmann (which is now distributed to schools in an abridged version on DVD). This is a litany of atrocities committed by Germans and Poles (nothing about the French) with the depressing testimony of victims and tricked scenes which promote hatred against the indicted nations.
RW again sent a message which suggested that those who are not committed philo-Semites might be put off and actually turn against the victims, and that the goal of preventing further holocausts might be better served by conveying the human side of the victims (which Benigni's film does so well while being true to history). The only reply was a mocking put-down, which apparently satisfied the more attentive of the 1,300 list members (who had been quite active on the topic before and after RW's message). This raises the question of their commitment to democratic debate and their handling of disturbing ideas on the part of students.
It must be said that one list member remarked later on how Anglo-Saxon schools put a face on the actors of history and another told how a French historian reacted against showing the unprocessed horror of Alain Resnais' "Night and Fog" ("Nuit et brouillard") to primary schoolers. Another said that students walked out one by one from a screening of Lanzmann. The moderatrice of an educational program on TV spoke of the "pornographie des cadavres". But there was no follow-through on these ideas.