Traduction approximative en français
There is a golden opportunity for France if it could only bring its large population of Muslim origin into the mainstream, providing an example for the Arab world which is, incidentally, partial to French products and culture. A dignified franco-arab salesforce could have great influence. But economic prosperity at home and abroad is not enough; withdrawal of the Israelis to the 1967 borders and of Americans from bases in Arabia would not stop suicide bombers. The rabble-rousers must be discredited and rendered passé while charismatic and benevolent (but not victim-breeding) leaders must emerge. This will happen some day with or without French officialdom in the equation.
Supping with the devil, USA authorities have acceded in exasperation to groups such as the Black Muslims who reform delinquents but also express anti-Jewish and anti-white rhetoric; in Afghanistan the Taliban put down tribal conflicts; in the Near East Hamas performs charitable works (thanks to funds from oil-rich states) but will settle for nothing less than the annihilation of Israel and the establishment of a sharia state. A ray of hope is that humanist personalities ultimately emerge from these movements and lead their people to a bright future.
Alternative means of civic influence come from the arabophone broadcasts on satellite TV - viz the satellite dishes sprouting from walls of the immigrant slums around Paris. North Africans watch French and Arabic channels (such as Al Jazira) along with CNN (English and now Arabic) and other anglophone channels such as the BBC. These latter two report on empowering programs which can inspire at-risk populations and incidentally counteract propaganda of the terrorists.
As with the revelations by Robert Paxton on the true nature of Vichy, it seems that introspection must come from the outside. Nevertheless, a "commission sur le racisme et le négationnisme" under the direction of the sainted Henry Rousso will study these two demons which are rife at the University of Lyon, hopefully shedding some light on the reality of the situation and providing some guidelines. The philosophe, politologue et historien des idées Pierre-André Taguieff has performed a service by describing how judéophobie has infected anti-globalization and neo-Christian humanitarian circles.
The political reality shown by the election victory of J-M Le Pen means that his electors must be taken seriously and their concerns be taken into consideration. They shouldn't be rejected as lost to the cause of racial integration, since a resolution is possible without recourse to the worst of the FN program.
France's salvation is perhaps best assured on the individual level by the ethologist and psychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik. He promotes the principle of résilience, introducing this word to the French vocabulary but apparently not yet to French schools. It is the ability to pull oneself up finding a healthy adjustment after a traumatic experience (such as the Holocaust or an abusive childhood). The key to success is the existence of a person who takes a personal interest in the afflicted and helps him/her discover self-esteem, confidence and a positive role in society. Read this !
Whether liberated through resilience or still programmed by conformity, the individual seeks to integrate into some kind of society which offers role models — for better or for worse. Our job is to find ways to render those persons of negative influence out of fashion, and what better way to do this than to "chercher la femme" ! Organized bands of punks start as adolescents when attracting meufs is a strong motivation, and French girls face strong pressure to submit themselves. A favorite fantasy of charme films, foremost Buñuel's "Belle de jour", is to take a young woman of high class and turn her into a slut. Girls hide their femininity (with Muslim veils, jogging suits, etc.) to avoid harassment. It is difficult in this milieu to attain and maintain self-esteem, and she who considers herself a nothing adopts the tag "Cosette" (petite chose). Here is another great opportunity for France to distinguish itself.
After warning about those who use social problems as an excuse for their own agendas, it's only right that we propose better ways to improve the human condition. How can we act appropriately without being co-opted by those who infiltrate and take over worthy causes or being identified with inept governmental policies and leaders (Bush and Sharon) who thumb their noses at public opinion ?
Like children with dysfunctional parents, we must shake off the infantilisation in which we've been cast and assume responsibility. The nazism must be countered by a spirit of dignity, justice, reconciliation and openness in a way that doesn't make the other party feel so inferior that he can't rise above his folly, nor so permissive as to embolden him by our perceived weakness. Nice words which serve as checklist.
France is noted for its social programs gone kaput, so for us it's a question of recruiting in a network of trusted acquaintances and building organizational structures that withstand the weak points in human nature - somewhat like the Résistance networks of the Occupation.
On a local level, initiatives are usually controlled by the municipality and staffed by its hangers-on. A private group might better make direct contact with ethnic organizations and individuals who seek social and economic competences rather than just a certificate.
To find work in the private sector one must now learn the work ethic, to take pride in doing an honest day's work, to be presentable for meeting clients and contributing to the general job climate.
Educators must learn not to despair of what seem to be hardened youth, partly by concentrating on the more promising among them as role models. Pedagogically the first learning experience must be successful and promote confidence. Following Cyrulnik's principle of resilience, mentors should be available to inspire youth individually, giving them recognition and a healthy social role. To sacrifice oneself in a reign of terror should be shown to be futile and unheroic, given that an alternative movement is on march.
For those who can contribute to enforcement projects large and small, technology offers many opportunities to make this vocation more humaine. Other citizens can inform themselves and pressure governments to adopt these measures. Whether police or military operations, there is need for sensors to detect intruders and keep track of friend and foe in firefights as well as avoid hurting non-combatants and causing friendly fire accidents.
Surveillance is seen in France as a violation of human rights, but it can actually allow a maximum of freedom within the needs of security while avoiding what is a permanent risk in France, that of a totalitarian reaction, as is threatened in the latest election. Those who have a suspect profile but who wish to show their benignity might be happy to accept monitoring of their person.
Another strategy meets the danger of supplying arms to one side in a conflict while avoiding the proliferation of arms. This is by designing them to be limited in location and time - a fine exercise for the imagination !
more in Le Terrorisme nous invite à un nouveau paradigme
To understand how nazism can afflict a modern Western people, whether French, German or Serb, it helps to look at its hermeneutic, its manner of interpreting events. These have all had a past as dominant power, losing it and not being able to accept secondary status. For lack of a healthy attitude for coping and regaining past glory, another people is designated and combatted as scape-goat for their ills.
This other people, today the Americans, is labeled as hegemonist, money-grubbing, arrogant, without conscience, trying to impose its barbaric values on the dulce France, is partisan of a legal system hostile to French republican law (thus its ex-pats not meriting protection thereof). Of course this all-purpose bigotry can come back to target the Jews in a future Vichy.
The French philosopher enjoys a special role
in the national psyche and should thus answer for his acts.
Recently passed away is the très à la mode Pierre Bourdieu, who turned victimhood (dominant et dominé) into a school of sociology and gained the worship of a presensitized body of students. Our deeper study (to come) will show how this mindset steers the Parisian elite into a dead-end. In the meantime we give some guidelines for those who want to dig deeper.
France is, interestingly, close to German philosophic tradition and not the Anglo-Saxon. Cartesianism has come to refer to a corruption of Descartes' philosophy and in fact reflects Hitler's Nietzschean mindset, the triumph of instinct over reason. One starts with the desired conclusion and an article of faith and then constructs a tortuous logic between the two, ignoring the empirical reality-checks of the Anglo-Saxon world. It is said that the Germans' penchant for regimentation made them vulnerable to nazism - is it likewise with French conformity?
The sociologist Bourdieu rekindles the old Marxist class struggle, which has survived in French intellectual circles long after its fall from fashion elsewhere. Bourdieu used this excuse to put down incisive critics, such as the (lucid) editors of the weekly Nouvel Observateur, refusing to debate with these bourgeois lackeys. Bourdieu bashes the media, especially television, for being inept at presenting important issues. He himself avoided TV appearances and when he did it was a flop. He was given free rein on the FM band's France Culture and used it for long rambling discourses that on close analysis contained little of profundity (in spite of his past reputation for rigorous studies). He turned his nose up on the Internet whose hyperlink properties could have been ideal for presenting his scatterbrain ideas - as well as promote the presence of French culture on this powerful new medium. Such attitudes presage the suppression of free speech were his disciples to gain absolute power, and it validates and encourages extremists throughout the world.
Bourdieu coined the term "symbolic violence" to describe the fact that, for example, kids of modest background don't do as well in school as those of a better one. This concept of violence gets extended by militants to cover anything from employment to uniform fast-food and is used to justify physical violence. Youth learn to see violence as the only response to their feeling of victimhood.
All in all, Bourdieu dwells on negative qualities, real or imagined, of social institutions and promotes the cult of scape-goat rather than explore human potential and ways to reconcile adversaries. While France founders in its own detritus, those of another world forge on with constructive enterprises.
The subordination of respect for law to higher goals was evident in the destruction of a McDonald's restaurant by the agrarian militant José Bové and his friends. They called it démontage (disassembly) though they left it in no condition for reassembly. The term was accepted docilely by much of the French press, like the acceptance of terms (eg. relocation and evacuation) for what was done to the Jews. It must be said that Bové accepts that he serve a three-month jail term since it is the law, though he thinks the decision unjust. His friends think such actions should be essentially decriminalized, reminding some of us of Kristallnacht in 1938, when German police stood by while goons destroyed Jewish businesses. Again, this demonizing of McDo is propaganda gone wild: the franchises are in fact French-owned, 95% of the ingredients are of French or European origin and conform to high standards in safety and nutrition. In this climate a McDonald's in Brittany was bombed (April 2000) killing one female employee.
An interesting aside: in the 1970s the German psychologist Wolfgang Huber convinced some of his patients that capitalism was the cause of their depression, and in 1975 they followed through with a murderous occupation of the German embassy in Stockholm. The Sartre connection
French reactions to the attacks of September 11th, 2001 give an idea of the aptitude of Frenchmen for empathy and thus resistance to nazi sentiments.
The September 20th, 2001 broadcast of
Arrêt sur image, a public channel program on the media, showed the reaction
of, among others, school children on that day. These bambins
reflect the attitudes they pick up from adults who are more circumspect
in their reply to surveys. The common response was that of indifference
to the fate of the Americans, even that it was deserved.
French news reports spoke often of Americans being in a state of psychosis when taking measures to avoid contamination by anthrax, whereas when French did this it was reported as "without falling into psychosis" (sans tomber dans la psychose). This might be explained as an attempt to justify taking distance (emotionally and strategically) from the Americans by branding them as irrationally compulsive.
The newspaper Le Monde of September 11th contained factual reporting with an editorial by its director J-M Colombani "We are all Americans" followed later with a book posing this as a question. Both Le Monde and Libération later looked deeper into the event, portraying the deeply human response of Americans (the latter wrote of the "I care mail" on the Internet).
The reaction of intellectuals showed the usual fantasy, even estheticism. Jean Baudrillard, sociologist and philosopher, signals 9-11 as the inevitable fall of the US empire, at least that barbaric entity which exists in his own imagination. It is like Marx's wishful prediction for capitalism, that it would collapse by its own contradictions. Others denied supporting terrorism but thought we should be more concerned with the thousands of children dying each day in the third world. The German musique concrète composer Karlheinz Stockhausen called the assault and collapse of the World Trade Center towers "a great work of art".
The Guignols, (prime-time satirical puppet show that is influential on youth) was fortunately pre-empted on September 11th, but it came on the next evening with the title Allah 1 Jesus 0. This promotes the idea that it's a matter of a conflict between Islam and Christianity.