Archive for the ‘Colonialism’ Category
From Le Monde,
Les onze hommes sont qualifiés de “soldats apostats”, et leur bourreau, le visage couvert d’une cagoule noire, affirme dans cet enregistrement qu’ils ont été condamnés par un tribunal islamique de la province de Daïr Az Zour, dans l’est de la Syrie. Les “condamnés”, agenouillés et les yeux bandés, sont exécutés d’une balle à l’arrière du crâne. A chaque détonation, des islamistes brandissant des drapeaux noirs crient “Allah est grand.
The rebels from the Front Al-Nosra, linked to Al-Qaeda, have executed 11 Syrians accused of taking part in massacres committed by Bachar Al-Assad’s forces – according to a video put on line Thursday the 16th of May.
The 11 men are called “apostate soldiers”, and their butchers, their faces covered with a black hood, claim, in the video-recording, that they have been condemned by an Islamic Tribunal in the province of Daïr Az Zour in the Eastern Syria. The “condemned”, kneeling and blindfolded, are executed with a bullet in the back of the head. At each shot the Islamists wave black flags and shout, “Allah is Great.”
A further report in English,
Another video from Syria has emerged on YouTube showing jihadists of the rebel al-Nusra Front executing 11 men accused of playing a role in massacres by President Bashar al-Assad.
Earlier this week, footage posted online by a group loyal to the Assad regime showed a man, knife in hand, slicing parts of a dead soldier’s torso before turning to the camera and putting the heart in his mouth.
Like many, every day we have less and less sympathy for the Syrian Islamists.
Indeed with anybody engaged in killing.
Le Sermon sur la chute de Rome. Jérôme Ferrari. Actes Sud. 2001.
Le Sermon won the 2012 French ‘Booker’, the Prix Goncourt. The author, Jérôme Ferrari, is a lycée philosophy teacher. Born In Paris but installed in Corsica he spread popular debates in the cafés philosophies in Bastia. He has translated from Corsican and written on Schopenhaur. He has also taught philosophy in a secondary school in Algeria. Ferrai’s previous novel, Où j’ai laissé Mon âme (2010), touched on French torture in Algeria during the war of national liberation.
The title of the novel evokes Saint Augustine’s Sermon on the Fall of Rome. The sack of the City by Alaric and the Goths in 410 was the occasion for Augustine’s greatest attempt to offer a Christian explanation for this event, to defend his faith against the charge that it had contributed to Rome’s defeat. The Sermon heads its seven sections with epigraphs from this, the City of God and ends by imagining the Saint’s final preaching. They evoke the God’s eternal kingdom and the promise of Salvation in the face of the destruction of the works of humankind. His message? All empires are mortal.
So far, so much philosophy. But far from being overwhelmed by serious intent Le Sermon is a novel, of interlinked, and gracefully recounted, stories. A Corsican bar is the pivot of a tale that begins with its own “malédiction divine sur l’Égypte”.
These curses come in succession. Bored with the repetitive hunting clientele, and thieving staff, the owner, Marie-Angèle, decides to let out the bistro. A succession of owners follows. In events that will have an echo with anybody familiar with pubs and bars across Europe, the new lease-holders try to relaunch the business. One re-opens as El Commandate bar with a Che Guevara neon-sign. After a blaze of techno-music and partying, he leaves – debts unpaid. Another, Bernard Gratas, is abandoned by wife and family and left to drink himself into the gutter.
Matthieu and Libero, childhood friends from the village, graduates in philosophy at Paris, take over. They set up with a new batch of staff – young attractive women –and generously employ Gratas to do the washing up. They offer a limited and affordable range of ‘terroir’ fare. It succeeds. This, Matheiu wistfully thinks, is a world dreamt of by Leibniz, a universe ruled by God’s good will, “le meilleur des mondes possibles”.
And, for a while, it is.
The Sermon local details, the tourist ‘season’, Corsican chasseurs, a memorable castration of a young boar-pig, an economy dominated the tourist season, and the fraught, and intimate, tie with France. But there is little of what would expect about the Island’s mafias, or, reference to the inability of younger characters to understand the lingua corsa, or to the movement for independence.
The history of Mathieu’s grandfather, Marcel Antonneti, interwoven in the chapters, revovles around 20th century French wars and the Empire. It is of a constantly darker hue. From the Second World War, life as an administrator in French Africa, reigning over “insectes, de Nègres, de plantes sauvages et de fauves” (wild beasts) and death, back to Corsica and the collapse of the French Empire Marcels’ life is a “vide” (void). The other characters, like Aurélie, Matheiu’s sister, have their own set backs to contemplate.
Matheiu and Libro’s dream of a, more limited, empire of happiness, ends too. The conclusion of Le Sermon, announced early on as ““une nuit de pillage et de sang” (pillage and blood), indicates that there is no “demiurge” around to forgive the sins of the world.
Yet the impression these events leave does not washed way the lightness, the “sinuosity (as French reviewers have called it) of Ferrari’s prose, nor the happiness it, briefly, conveys. There is something of the Julian Barnes (much admired in France) in the novel, a graceful way of dealing with serious things. It is to be hoped that Le Sermon will find an English speaking audience as soon as possible.
English Language Wikipedia on Jérôme Ferrari here.
Is Jean-Luc Mélenchon going to way of the French ‘patriotic’ left of yesteryear?
His response to the Socialist-led Government cuts in military spending certainly indicates a drift in that direction.
This is what the leader of the Front de gauche writes on his Blog.
Austérité et atlantisme sont les maîtres mots du livre blanc de la Défense remis ce jour au président de la République. Ce sont deux dangers mortels pour la souveraineté et l’indépendance de la France.
Austerity and Atlanticism are the hallmarks of the Defence White Paper presented today to the President and of the Republic. These are two mortal dangers for the sovereignty and independence of France.
Ce livre blanc est une nouvelle preuve de l’hypocrisie des solfériniens et de l’incohérence du gouvernement.François Hollande annonce qu’il ne touchera pas à la dissuasion nucléaire mais il a accepté d’inscrire la France dans le projet atlantiste de bouclier anti-missile en Europe.
This white paper is, yet again, proof of the hypocrisy and inconsistency of the government. President Hollande has announced that he will not touch nuclear deterrence but has agreed to include France in the Atlanticist project of ‘ a ‘shield’ of missiles in Europe.
François Hollande annonce des moyens préservés pour le budget militaire mais le livre blanc prévoit des dizaines de milliers de suppressions d’emplois et la vente d’actions de l’Etat dans les industries de Défense.
Holland’s announcement means that the military budget is maintained, but the White Paper envisages tens of thousands of job cuts and the sale of state-shares in the defence industries.
Ce livre blanc marque un nouvel étiolement de la puissance militaire de la France. Il prépare les grandes phrases selon lesquelles ”on ne peut rien faire sans les autres”. Air trop connu !
This paper heralds that the military power of France will again be sapped. It claims that we cannot act alone….a phrase with all too obvious implications.
Mélenchon then digs explicitly from the midden of nationalism.
Le renoncement à l’indépendance et à la souveraineté est toujours présenté comme une fatalité indépendante de notre volonté.
Presented as inevitable, and wished for, we are being led to abandon our independence and sovereignty.
Je refuse cette liquidation de l’argument militaire de la France. Loin de l’atlantisme et de l’austérité, la France doit construire une défense souveraine et altermondialiste.
I reject this way of abolishing the argument in favour of France’s military. In place of Atlanticism and austerity, France must build a sovereign and ‘other’ (or ‘anti’) globalisation defence force.
One can translate ”une défense souveraine et altermondialiste” in different ways.
But clearly any kind of ‘other’ or ‘alternative’ form of defence, that rejects cutting the military budget, to that offered by ‘globalisation’ is a highly contentious concept.
Not to say utterly confused.
How can we have a military power based on global justice?
And what exactly is this ‘sovereignty’ ’ Mélenchon is talking about?
In recent issues of Le Monde Diplomatique Régis Debray has argued (La France doit quitter l’OTAN March 2013) for France to leave (again) NATO.
He has been answered by Hubert Védrine – the former Socialist Foreign Minster (L’OTAN, terrain d’influence pour la France. April 2013)
Both of their arguments on the assumption that ‘sovereignty - France’s - is a central value of the left.
Mélenchon seems to think that ‘Atlanticist’ policies - that is aligning France to the US – are intrinsically bad things.
Indeed it is well-known that he considers the USA a very bad thing.
That’s as may be.
But is ‘France’ a ‘good thing’?
Is the French military something the left should defend to make it even better?
“sombre dans le non-sens voire le ridicule. “
Here we fall into nonsense, not to say the ridiculous.
Caroline Fourest: Attacked by Far-Right and ‘Anti-Imperialists’.
There were many virulent anti-gay marriage demonstrations in France over the weekend.
On Saturday at Nantes, Caroline Fourest, was at a meeting to debate Islam and secularism. (Caroline Fourest était venue débattre d’islam et de laïcité).
The journalist, who is herself gay, was violently taken aside by those against the law enabling “marriage for all”. (Report here)
As she arrived at Nantes by train over 100 screaming demonstrations from the extreme-right were waiting for Caroline.
That was only the beginning.
They followed her to the meeting venue.
They disputed the meeting, shouting, and throwing stink bombs and tear gas.
Returning to Paris at Montparnasse the anti-gay marriage far right were waiting for her at the station.
It appears that these thugs were part of the ‘Printemps français’ alliance of Christian extremists and the neo-fascist right and racists.
Caroline was attacked in September last year at the annual Fête d’Huma by the Indigènes de la République and the Indivisibles. They prevented her from talking about her latest book against the Front National
They claim she is ‘Islamophobic’ and had no right to speak.
Caroline then, has been shouted down by Islamists, so-called ‘anti-imperialists’ and now, the extreme right has taken upon itself the task of stalking her.
Is it a coincidence that she is a gay women feminist?
Perhaps the Printemps français and the Indigènes de la République could get together and organise a united attack against Caroline Fourest.
Her report: Les homophobes sont allés trop loin à Nantes