Saturday, August 28, 2004

"As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live."

If they are to reflect on anything, French intellectuals and leaders might want to ponder the thoughts of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German poet, dramatist, novelist, and scientist (1749-1832) who said
Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one.
How can you come to know yourself? Never by thinking, always by doing. Try to do your duty, and you'll know right away what you amount to.

Friday, August 27, 2004

It's a quagmire C'est un bourbier
Quagmire for the French candidate. Quagmire for France. Thanks to Holly.
Le candidat franchouille est dans un bourbier. La France est dans un bourbier aussi. Merci à Holly.

Nothing to do with those no-income madrassas ringing France's cities Rien à voir avec les madrassas pompes aux allocs qui encerclent les villes fwançaises
Doubling of anti-Semitic attacks in France. Reasons unclear.
Depuis un an le nombre d'attaques antisémites en France a doublé. Les causes restent non élucidées.
UPDATE: Allah comments.
DERNIERES INFOS: Allah en parle.

Shitting in their pants because of the suburban scum A force de chier dans leurs frocs devant leurs talibanlieusards
Hit 'Stop'. Take the Mullah on the right and replace him with a Nazi soldier. Hit 'Replay'.
Appuyez sur 'Arrêter'. Remplacez le Mullah à droite par un soldat Nazi. Appuyer sur 'Rebobiner'.

American soldier: That's wild! You really look like Khomeiny! Mad Mullah: That's wild! You really look like an invader!

No comment No comment

What Does the Liberation of Paris Celebrate?

According to a Le Monde poll, in which 6,900 website visitors participated, almost 45% think that the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Paris should be an occasion to celebrate the end of the Vichy régime and the return of democracy; over 32% think it should be an occasion to celebrate the fight of the French resistance against the Germans; and less than 17% think it should be an occasion to celebrate America's assistance to France.

Globophobes: dumbest leftists in the world Globophobes: la gôche la plus bête du monde
The small-time thugs at ATTAC are starting to feed on each other. Probably tastes better than the bio crap that José Bové©®™ slings at 'em. The time comes when these shitheels have to go back to their desks. Just a bunch of techno-yuppies forever unfulfilled by their dog's life at the PR firm.
Les petites frappes chez ATTAC commencent à se bouffer entre eux. Peut-être bien que ça a meilleur goût que la merdouille bio fourguée par José Bové©®™. Arrive le temps où ces étrons rentrent tous derrière leurs bureaux. Ils ne savent que jouer aux têknos-bobos éternellement insatisfaits de leurs vies de bourriques dans leurs boîtes de com'.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Does America's Electoral-Vote System Reflect a Lack of Democracy, Something That Is Better Provided For By European-Type Popular Voting?

This October, French periodicals will again be ringing with protests that America is a "false democracy" and with clamors to the effect that the only wise course would be to scrap America's outdated electoral-vote system in the presidential election in favor of a popular-vote system.

In that case, a newspaper would do well to publish a translation of George Will's Newsweek article. But… don't bet on it.

(Thanks to the Ashbrook Center)

(Read also Paul Greenberg's point of view
[Merci à Gregory Schreiber])

Is Bush the Better Peace-With-Europe Candidate?

An American author residing in Europe, John Zvesper is an Adjunct Fellow of the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs. Here is an editorial of his:
…the extent to which this anybody-but-Bush syndrome thrives in Europe should not be exaggerated. It is not universal, and Bush can count more statesmen than Tony Blair as friends and allies in Europe. Nor should the older, more generic, less Bush-specific anti-American sentiments of Europeans—though these are strong and durable—be seen as unqualified and unchanging. Just as there are pessimistic, “European”-minded people in America, there are optimistic, “American”-minded people in Europe. Half of the twenty-five governments in the enlarged European Union have been part of the Coalition for Iraqi Freedom. President Chirac of France, who has recently been the source of many anti-American initiatives, is being stalked in his own party by an ambitious young rival for the presidency, Nicolas Sarkozy, who in interviews has been accused of having a soft spot for America. Chirac has also been losing ground in EU politics, where he has failed to get his candidates into high office, and where the French notion of constructing Europe as a "counterweight" or "adversary" to America is rejected as "stupid" by the incoming EU President (the Prime Minister of Portugal, José Manuel Barroso, who has lived and worked in the United States).

It is true that a Kerry victory might help get certain European governments—notably France and Germany—out of the hole they have dug themselves into by leading opposition to American policies in Iraq. (They were not, as they often claim, just offering advice to a friend; they were arrogantly insisting that their friend take that advice.) This helps explain the extent to which these countries are hoping that Bush will lose. But this could work the other way around, too: the re-election of Bush, by reaffirming America’s commitment to the policies it has adopted since September 2001, and thus its will to win the war with Islamofascism, could help change the policies and the personnel of these European governments. The Kerry alternative, indulging Europeans’ anti-Americanism by focusing on some of America’s many faults and mistakes, would be neither an effective nor a healthy way to encourage European-American unity.

…European commentators have recognized that such divisions between America and Europe will probably persist whoever wins the presidential election. More than five months ago, The Economist commented that "Mr Kerry might explain American views more tactfully than Mr Bush. He might even do it in French. But transatlantic tensions would endure." Americans should become more aware of this fact, and should not assume that electing Kerry would be a very effective way of easing tensions with Europe. Moreover, as we have seen, if they want to persuade more Europeans and their governments to support American foreign policy—insofar as such persuasion is possible—they should ask themselves whether a re-elected President Bush might be better placed to do that than a new President Kerry.

And Then There's the One About…

The White House began airing their TV commercials to reelect the president, and the John Kerry campaign is condemning his use of 9/11 in the ads. He said it is unconscionable to use the tragic memory of a war in order to get elected… unless of course, it's the Vietnam War.

—Jay Leno

Start reading the 10 best John Kerry Jokes
Start reading the 100 best George W Bush jokes

Il était d'humeur palestinienne

Comme Zizi Empeste, il va péter les plombs.

Dhimmified Dhimmifiés
After siding with Nazis, the French are now siding with Saddam Hussein. The Saddamite French say the Saddam must not receive the death penalty. Today, Libération PropagandaStaffel takes sides with Iran, the 'New American Target'.
Suite à leur soutien aux Nazis, les franchouilles se mettent du côté du Saddam Hussein. Les fwançais saddamites déclare qu'il ne faut pas condamner Saddam à la peine capitale. Aujourd'hui, Libé PropagandaStaffel s'aligne du côté de l'Iran, la 'Nouvelle Cible Américaine'.

The Iraqi Economy is stabilizing. Merchant: 'One kilo of tomatoes, some olive oil, some parsely ... That makes 3.50 hostages.'

Hack writer Ecrivain donbi
Another hysterical rich bitch on the rag. Interview picked up by Les Inrockuptibles this week.
Encore une hystérique, pleine aux as, qui a ses règles. Cette interview est reprise cette semaine dans Les Inrockuptibles.

Tariq's favorite drink is a Bloody Mary on the rocks La chanson préférée de Tariq est 'Si j'avais un marteau'
Tariq Ramadam will not be able to teach 'Stoning Women 101' at Notre Dame.
Tariq Ramadam ne va pas enseigner le cours 'Lapidation des femmes (4 UV)' à l'Université de Notre Dame.

US Plutonium to France... Maybe

Noting concerns that terrorists may attempt to influence the U.S. November elections through an attack, Democratic lawmakers this month have raised questions concerning the security of a planned shipment of more than 100 kilograms of plutonium to France.

The Energy Department is expected next month to ship 140 kilograms of plutonium to France to be converted into mixed-oxide fuel for use in testing at a U.S. nuclear power plant for possible future energy generation. The project is intended to help advance a U.S.-Russian nonproliferation program to eliminate a combined total of almost 70 tons of plutonium.

Antinuclear activists such as Greenpeace have long opposed the shipment, arguing that such transports could be vulnerable to terrorist attacks. To demonstrate, Greenpeace activists last year were able to stop and chain themselves to a truck carrying a plutonium shipment as it traveled from a site in northern France to a facility in the south. French activists have also posted online information on the time and location of three plutonium shipments that occurred over the last two weeks, Tom Clements of Greenpeace International said today.

In an Aug. 12 letter to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham released Wednesday, Rep. Jim Turner, D-Texas, requested information on the department's efforts to ensure that the security of the plutonium shipment would be equal to that given to shipments of nuclear material conducted within the United States. Turner also requested information on how much control the United States would relinquish over the plutonium once it leaves the country, who would assume liability in the event of an accident and whether the recent elevation of the U.S. terrorist threat level influenced security preparations for the shipment.

"The consequences of the theft of this plutonium - - enough for over 20 nuclear weapons - - would be catastrophic," wrote Turner, the top Democrat on the House Select Committee on Homeland Security.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

60 Years Ago Today

BBC Paris Correspondent Alan Little:
[...] the Paris uprising did not begin in earnest until the people of Paris could hear the guns of the approaching Americans in the west.

By the time the people took to the barricades, the approach of the Allies made liberation a near certainty.

What mattered was who should liberate.

There is not much doubt that Paris would have been liberated within days even if there had been no popular uprising.

But France needed a redeeming event to restore French pride, to wipe away the stain of 1940: the surrender, and the years of collaboration that followed.

The founding myth of Gaullist France was that France redeemed itself by liberating itself.

So the version of events that France celebrates this week is one in which the role of the Allies is almost invisible.


But just because the uprising was later mythologised, it does not mean the uprising was a myth.

In those 10 days, 1,600 died.

All over the city there are little stone plaques recording the places where resistance fighters fell in the 10-day uprising of August 1944.

Their courage was not myth.

Whatever their motivation, their example restored French pride and helped a humiliated people draw a line under the horrors of the occupation - and move forward.

The Man Who Would Be King

Today is the birthday of the gentleman who said
More than anything else, I'd like to be an old man with a good face, like Hitchcock or Picasso.

The Victory of the French People

In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Paris, Le Monde has a special 8-page insert on Paris the Insurgent, the main article of which is called The Victory of the People and of the Tanks ("the people", as in "the people of France" or "the French people", not as in "person" in the plural).

In those eight pages, replete with photographs, there is not a single picture of an American (or a British) soldier (although one can spot American or British flags in a picture or two)…

In the article The Men of August 25, there is not a single non-French allied leader mentioned (the four main "actors" being Charles de Gaulle, Philippe Leclerc, Rol-Tanguy, and Germany's Dietrich von Choltitz)

Of nine titles proposed in the suggested reading section, only two books concern the Allies as main characters, and one of those is in effect a book about the story of Robert Capa's D-Day pictures.

Not until the eighth and final page do we see articles concerning the United States, and they are ambivalent at best. The first concerns the common interests and the ambiguous relations between Paris and Washington, the second is an interview of historian Denis Peschanski, a research director at the CNRS, concerning the fact that "the way it was carried out, the liberation of Paris was not in the plans of General Eisenhower". Charles de Gaulle managed to change that, Dieu merci!

Are you experienced? C'est du vécu
What's going down in the Paris suburbs and what is it like for a French Jew to live and work there? Michaël Sebban's excellent book 'Lehaïm' provides a peek.
Qu'est-ce qui se passe en banlieue parisienne et cela fait quoi d'être juif et d'y vivre et travailler? 'Lehaïm', l'excellent livre de Michaël Sebban, lève le voile pour nous donner un aperçu.

French rap Rap fwançais
Up and coming rappers 'Bagdad Squad' now featured at the FNAC (French mass market WalMart type store for books, CDs, and DVDs). And they look the part, too. Send them to Sadr City. Mother Green will know what to do with them.
Des rappers franchouilles qui font leur percée sous le nom de 'Bagdad Squad' actuellement mis en vedette à la FNAC. En plus, ils ont la (sale) tête de l'emploi. Qu'ils aillent à Sadr City. Les US Marines sauront quoi faire avec eux.

Come to think of it, I prefer the expression 'Freedom Fries' Du coup, je préfère l'expression 'Freedom Fries'
Here is some pseudo-intellectual drivel about how young French are being locked up in a 'linguistic ghetto'. I can only assume that because young French are too stupid to speak French correctly, taxpayers will soon be required to fork over additional funds in a futile effort to reverse the trend. The article doesn't mention that the French spoken in the suburbs is increasingly tainted by racist, Islamist overtones. 'Feuj' (roughly translated in English by the word 'kike') is also used to mean 'stupid' or 'worthless'. Young French are calling 'kike' anything outmoded or defective. 'I'm in a Palestinian mood' is now being used to mean 'I'm really angry and I'm going to explode.'. This expression was recently picked up in a song by Booba.)
Voici des âneries de pseudo-intellos au sujet des chères têtes blondes franchouilles qui sont, paraît-il, renfermés dans un ghetto linguistique. Nous pouvons donc partir du principe que, parce que ces jeunes fwançais sont incap' de causer correctement leur langue, les contribuables seront rackettés en vue de financer un effort, bien futile, d'inverser cette tendance néfaste. L'article passe sous silence que la langue française parlée en banlieue est de plus en plus frelatée de relents racistes et islamistes. Le mot 'Feuj', en plus de son emploi en tant qu'insulte pérojative à l'égard des juifs, est utilisé à la place de 'stupide' et 'sans valeur' ('Eh mec, ta caisse est feuj.'). Depuis peu l'expression 'Je suis d'humeur palestinienne.' est employé pour dénoter un degré d'énervement nettement supérieur à 'vénère'. (style 'Je suis furax et je vais tout faire péter.' Récemment repris dans une chanson de Booba.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

From the Wires: Busy Day

Surgeons Call Off Strike

Remeber? Thousands of surgeons had been threating to on strike by leaving for the UK to protest high insurance rates and low pay. The AFP now reports:
Some 2,000 French private practice surgeons who had threatened to go into "exile" next week in Britain in protest at low pay and soaring insurance rates on Tuesday called off their strike.

"After long negotiations with the health minister, the leaders of Surgeons of France welcome the willingness and determination of Philippe Douste-Blazy to save the surgical profession in France," the group said in a statement.
Nazis Here... Nazis There...

Reuters reports:
French police arrested a Romanian man on Tuesday as he scrawled a swastika and a Star of David on the wall of an Interior Ministry building while shouting "Long Live Germany", a police spokesman said.

Paris police were not sure whether the man, who was caught defacing the building in broad daylight, was a racist or a deranged person inspired by a recent series of desecrations at Jewish, Muslim and Christian cemeteries, the spokesman said.

France's series of anti-religious attacks, which included the firebombing of a Jewish soup kitchen in Paris on Sunday, continued on Tuesday with the damaging of about 40 graves at a Catholic cemetery near the central town of Saint Etienne.
Meanwhile, in the Germany, unknown persons are busy trying to catch up on the latest fashion craze but not doing too well: according to the Belga news agency, 50 tombs in Jewish cemetery in Bochum, western Germany, were found desecrated by unknown persons who had put Nazi stickers on them. Stickers? How will they ever undo the damage?

Israeli FM Sylvain Shalom is in Paris and he reportedly says he feels "encouraged" by remarks made by French authorities on the subject of anti-Semitism but he wants results.

According to France 3, roughly 200 people gathered in front of the Jewish soup kitchen on rue Perpignan this evening to protest anti-Semitism. Representatives of the Jewish community, elected officials and officials from the French Union of Sephardic Jews, which ran the soup kitchen. Rabbi Claude Zaffran, who leads a nearby synagogue, castigated investigating magistrates, shouting, "How long shall you judge with iniquity and how long shall you take the side of the unbelievers?" The mayor of the 11th arrondissement called on others to "attack the real causes" of anti-Semitism and "restore the rule of law." The crowd observed a minute of silence and then dispersed in silence.

The judges, however, decided to hit back. According to Reuters, the two main magistrate's unions issued statements rebutting claims that they have been lax in the prosecution of anti-Semitism.

Paris Liberates Itself

We cannot forget all the women and all the men who sacrificed their lives for freedom. Our freedom.
To no one's surprise, the French communist party's daily newspaper fronts an article on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Paris, in which the words "American", British", and "allied" (or their derivatives) are not mentioned once. L'Humanité's director in person, Patrick Le Hyaric, steps up to pen the piece singing the praises of the women and the men "who sacrificed their lives for freedom. Our freedom."
Sixty years ago, a major page in the history of France was being written. The people of Paris liberated France's capital.
Follows an account of the capital's liberation as a product of communist-style street demonstrations (including the CGT railroad workers' "great heroic strike" of August 10 which "paralyze[d] the enemy forces"). It gets better yet. It turns out that that era's resistants were the forerunners to today's anti-globalization protestors!
The liberation of Paris gave an extraordinary inspiration to the hope for a world of peace, justice, and solidarity. …

The lessons are topical. Indeed, what triumphed were the noble ideals of the Republic, liberty, fraternity, democracy. A certain view of the free human being, refusing to submit, an actor of popular sovereignty.

(Note: Does Patrick Le Hyaric have any idea as to what "popular sovereignty" stands for in the context of 1850s politics in America? Never mind.)

The list of what triumphed over the Nazis in August 1944 goes on and on until we learn that it includes "the creation of public sectors, of social security, of the statutes of the civil service, the relaunching of public education". The writer links this to the current state of French hospitals and the privatization of government sectors, and he manages to rant against the European constitution.

"Dominating powers", war-mongering "dark forces", and "barbarity" are also mentioned, not in the context of the Germans or the Nazis, however, but of modern-day free trade "ultracapitalists".

And again, nowhere a mention of America, Britain, or the United Nations (as the allies were then called), or of Roosevelt, Churchill, Eisenhower, or Montgomery.

We cannot forget all the women and all the men who sacrificed their lives for freedom. Our freedom.

Non, it's not only the communists

What will the French say when the time comes to go to Tehran? Que diront les franchouilles quand l'heure arrivera d'aller à Tehran?
Renault CEO in Tehran for joint venture with Khodro. Kill faster. Total war. France is the Limp biscuit for hardcore ayatollahs.
Le PDG de Renault à Tehran au nom du projet conjoint avec Khodro. Tuer plus vite. Guerre totale. La France est L'ami mou des mollahs durs.

Instead, how about we just avoid liberating Zeropa? Et si on évitait plutôt de libérer la Zéropa?
In today's Le Monde Al-Jazeera on the Seine.
Aujourd'hui dans Le Monde Al-Jazira sur Seine.

German soldier: 'Can you avoid sending us to Gitmo?'

Trans-Zeropa Kristallnacht Express
Le Monde Al-Jazira sur Seine, Libération PropagandaStaffel, and the wingnuts that read them. Overheard yesterday in a trendy eatery in central Paris patronized by a certain fringe of the national bolchevik-yuppie-green-lefty bunch slightly 'Eichmann-brown shirt' around the edges. Two wingnuts discuss the pages 12 (full page on the Jewish Center arson attack) and 13 (a quarter page about immgrants without residence permits, meaning illegal aliens, meaning illegal is the key word) in yesterday's Libération. Wingnut no. 1 (manager of the eatery): 'You see this, full page here, quarter of a page here?' Wingnut no. 2 ('underground' music producer): 'Not surprising, if you got money you get the full page, if you don't you can drop dead. Those people are getting on my nerves with their problems.' This in a country where Jews are insulted on prime time TV, and where comedians who call them 'slavetraders who have gone into banking' are acquitted on charges of racism. Both wingnuts were white, French, under-35, and well-off. They have already been overheard participating in discussions about: getting George Bush hanged (pretty standard stuff here in Paris), how George Bush's electorate (roughly half of American voters) is a menace for the planet (but wait, I thought they only hated George Bush and not the American people), and how the Al-Qaeda menace just doesn't exist (they believe that Thierry Meyssan is on to something). The eatery in question is a stone's throw from the rue des Rosiers (Orthodox Jewish area) and the Marais (neighborhood brown shirt lobbies). No effort whatsoever is made to be discreet with regard to their views because they are not saying anything shocking. Their views are normal. This is Paris and they are mainstream. It's 1938. Only well-off leftist politically correct thinkers are capable of spewing such horrors.
Le Monde Al-Jazira sur Seine, Libé PropagandaStaffel, et les tarés qui les lisent. Entendu hier dans un établissement huppé en Paris centre fréquenté par une faune nabo-bobo-verdâtre-gôcho un rien 'Eichmann-chemise brune' sur les bords. Deux tarés commentent les pages 12 (pleine page sur l'incendie criminel au centre juif) et 13 (quart de page au sujet de sans papiers, c'est à dire des gens en situation irrégulière et donc, situation illégale) de l'édition de Libé d'hier. Taré no. 1 (gérant de l'établissement): 'T'as vu ça, pleine page ici, et un quart de page là?' Taré no. 2 (producteur de musique 'underground'): 'Normal, comme ils ont de la thune ils ont la pleine page, les autres n'ont qu'à crever. Ces gens-là commencent à nous pomper l'air avec leurs histoires.' Ceci se passe dans un pays où les juifs sont insultés à la télévision aux heures de grande écoute et où un comique qui les accuse d'être 'des négriers reconvertis dans la banque' est relaxé d'accusations de racisme. Les deux tarés étaient blancs, franchouilles de souche, ont moins de 35 ans d'âge, et gagnent bien leurs vies. Ils ont déjà participé à des discussions où il était question de: faire pendre George Bush (propos désormais éculés sur les terraces de café à Paris), comment l'électorat de George Bush (environ la moité de la population américaine) constitue une menace pour la planète (mais attendez, je croyais qu'ils ne détestaient que George Bush et non le peuple américain), et comment la menace Al-Qaeda est pure affabulation (ils croient dur comme fer que Thierry Meyssan tient le bon bout). L'établissement en question est à deux pas de la rue des Rosiers (quarter juif orthodoxe) et le Marais (milices communautaires chemises brunes). Aucun effort n'est fait pour être discret au cours de la discussion car ils ne disent rien de choquant. Leur point de vue suit la norme. On est à Paris et c'est eux le grand public. On est en plein 1938. Il n'y a que les gôchistes bien pensants et friqués pour débiter de telles horreurs.

Take a number and wait Prend un numéro et attend

Jack Lang Breaks 'Wind'

Hak Mao referred yesterday to a column by the indefatigable Nick Cohen in the Observer on the legacy of Enoch Powell's race-baiting in British politics. He has some pretty stern words for the Lib Dems:
They pose as saints while fighting campaigns which are as dirty as anything Labour or the Tories can manage — often dirtier. They shift their shape depending on which constituency they're contesting. Are they right or left? Pro-privatisation or anti? For the overthrow of Saddam Hussein if the weapons inspectors had been given more time, or against?

Answers to these questions have more to do with geography than ideology. For the duration of a campaign, the Liberal Democrats are whatever a contested constituency wants them to be.
I have long scoured the French press for an equally consistent critic of parliamentary politics. There isn't a French Nick Cohen, let alone a French Daniel Ellsberg or French Woodward and Bernstein. So there will be no one to write about it when what Cohen describes occurs in France.

For so long as the media publicizes attacks on synagogues, the Socialist Party, seeking to profit from the government's perceived weaknesses, will be whatever they think the electorate want them to be. Following the attack on the Jewish soup kitchen of rue Popincourt, the Socialist party's former education minister Jack Lang, who once said the Bush admin was "possessed of totalitarianism" (and Saddam?), is now seeking to humiliate the government. To-day, he told France-Inter that "enough is enough" and "enough pretty speeches, enough crocodile tears, enough wordy declarations. Time to act!"

This is the party of Pascal Boniface, the PS advisor who was fired for announcing that "France's Jewish community could end up the loser in the medium term" if it refused to damn Israel and that the PS should criticize Israel to court the Muslim vote. Though denouncing Boniface's words, this same party bounced euro MP François Zimeray, an outspoken partisan of Israel, from their list for the European elections last June.

Salt of the earth.

Now they want action, it seems. Though Mr. Lang doesn't do us the favor of telling us what specifically he finds unsatisfactory about the government's response. This reversal of opinion is all the more apparent given that the conventional wisdom in much of what has for some time passed for left-wing thinking in France holds that anti-Semitism in France is an annoyance or an embarrassment while anti-Arab racism is the only real problem. In his 2002 pamphlet, La Nouvelle judéphobie, political scientist Pierre-André Taguieff wrote:
It is simply false to maintain that historically "anti-Arab" or "anti-immigrant racism" has replaced anti-Semitism, the latter having largely faded away.

It is no less false to hold likewise that there has been a displacement from anti-Semitism's modes of denigration, segregation and discrimination onto "anti-Arab racism." That this false vision should be so widely held does not make it true.

The sociological and historical truth is quite other: there has been no succession but rather a coexistence between anti-Maghreban xenophobia — targeting certain categories of immigrants and their children, grand-children, etc. — and judeophobia as an attitude (negative prejudices and stereotypes), ideology (conspiracy theories, etc.) and behavior (violent acts, etc.). Neither of these two forms of heterophobia can be made to come before the other (according to a scale of "seriousness") without bias. From a universalist perspective, which I share and which is indistinguishable from the republican aim in politics, what has to be done is to combat the one and the other, the one as much as the other.
But such a clear declaration of political ideals is not to be found among any of contemporary France's political parties. If any were to commit to such plain language then betraying it later would be considerably more difficult.

This is not simply because the PS currently finds itself in flux or is unable to agree on social policy matters. Gone are the days of missions, manifestoes and party-lines that had to be toed. Political language now seeks to be suitably vague so as to paper over contradictions and permit hypocrisy. The Socialist parties of Britain and France aren't really socialist anymore and, as Cohen says, those parties further to the "left" have suffered a "manic skid to the far right [that] makes the slipperiness of the Liberal Democrats and the willingness of Labour to betray its principles appear modest changes of position in comparison."

Three of the greatest sentences George Orwell ever wrote contain a lesson for polymorphous parties like the PS: "If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. "

Monday, August 23, 2004

For Banal Skyscrapers: Off With Their Heads!

Alan Riding in London:
… architects, along with urban planners and developers, have a unique responsibility. If you don't like a movie, you can walk out; if you don't like a song, you can change radio stations; if you dislike a painting, you can even turn it to the wall. But alone among artists, architects can impose their aesthetics on the public at large. And the public rarely has a say.

True, there are structures like the Eiffel Tower that at first seemed shocking and in time became icons. But even in Paris, a city that happily escaped wartime bombing and chaotic postwar rebuilding, the 1970s permitted construction of the 56-floor Tour Montparnasse, a banal monstrosity that towers over the Left Bank and has been detested since the day it was planned. And from the 1990s, Dominique Perrault's new French National Library is hardly more loved. …

Many countries routinely shield historic buildings from the scourge of philistine developers by listing them as part of their national heritage. But in Britain, where three grades of protection of buildings already exist, a fourth — more radical — category has now been proposed: Grade X to be attributed to buildings ... that deserve to be torn down. …

"I have been speaking out against landmarkism," [George Ferguson] said from Nîmes while admiring the Carré d'Art, a contemporary art museum designed by Norman Foster and situated beside a Roman monument. "I think we are being seduced by architectural photographs and architecture magazines. I believe in making places. Urban design and master planning, including scale, are more important than architecture. That's why I am studying places."

… to the old refrain that architects cannot bury their mistakes, Ferguson's Grade X rating offers an alternative. The Financial Times, for one, finds it appealing. "Down With Eyesores," it declared in an editorial endorsing the idea. And it added: "This will strike a chord wherever brutalist buildings erected in the last 50 years have ruined the character of great cities."

French journalists will soon wake-up with the 'Mother of all hangovers' Les journalistes franchouilles vont bientôt se réveiller avec 'la mère de toutes les gueules de bois'
Talking about a parallel universe. The French press Pravda is living in one right now. Too bad, France's hometown favorite is a liar.
Au sujet des dimensions parallèles, parlons-en. La presse Pravda franchouille y habite à présent. Dommage que le candidat préféré des franchouilles n'est qu'un menteur.

Intifada Sarcelles style Intifada franchouille style 9-cube
Bomb belts can't be far behind. In a communiqué published on an Islamist web site, an unknown group claimed responsibilty for the arson. "A group of young Mujahideens (combattants) (...) set fire to the Jewish temple in Paris at 4 AM, states the communiqué signed Jamaat Ansar Al-Jihad al-Islamiya ("Islamic Holy War support group") The group states that the arson in a "response to racist acts (committed by) French Jews against Islam and the profanaton of Muslim cemeteries by Jews". Expect the French authorities to pin this on skinheads inspired by American web sites (because they love Americans but hate George Bush, dontcha see?).
Les ceintures d'explosifs sont pour bientôt. Un groupe inconnu a revendiqué cet incendie criminel, dans un communiqué diffusé sur un site internet islamiste "Un groupe de jeunes moudjahidine (combattants) (...) ont mis le feu au temple juif à Paris à 4 heures, heure de Paris", dit le communiqué signé de Jamaat Ansar Al-Jihad al-Islamiya ("groupe des partisans de la guerre sainte islamique"). L'attaque est "en réponse aux actes racistes (commis par des) juifs en France contre l'islam et les musulmans et la profanation de cimetières musulmans par des juifs", indique le groupe. Attendez-vous à ce que les autorités franchouilles fassent porter le chapeau à des extrémistes skinheads sous influence de sites web amérloques (car les franchouilles adorent les américains mais ils détestent George Bush, c'est pourtant clair, non?).

Masters on a Man's Soul and Life

Today is the birthday of Edgar Lee Masters, the US poet and biographer (1869-1950) who asked
How shall the soul of a man be larger than the life he has lived?

Schwarzkopf and the Iraqi Intifada

Below, Erik points out that to-day is Gen. Schwarzkopf's birthday. As I have learned more about the suffering of the Iraqi people, the subject has taken on an increasingly powerful hold on my imagination. Erik's post reminds me that Gen. Schwarzkopf played a key role in the way one of the worst of Iraq's many tragedies unfolded in 1991.

Schwarzkopf not surprisingly opposed the liberation of Iraq, along with Bush 1's former NSA, Brent Scowcroft. But the reasons for this may be more than a mere matter of opinion. As Ken Pollack wrote in The Threatening Storm (p. 48):
... at the cease-fire talks after Desert-Storm was halted, the Iraqis asked for permission to fly their helicopters to move personnel and supplies around, and General Norman Schwarzkopf, the commander of the U.S. forces — acting without any instructions but trying to show magnanimity — permitted Iraq to use all of its helicopters, including armed gunships. As should have been expected, the Iraqis began using their gunships to attack the rebels, and the United States could have prohibited the Iraqis from doing so.
Before transcripts of these negotiations were made public, Schwarzkopf claimed the Iraqis had deceived him but the following exchange came to light in 1992 when the transcripts were at last made public. The WaPo's Laurie Mylroie frames the discussion between Schwarzkopf and an Iraqi delegation led by Gen. Sultan Hashim Ahmed this way:
The crucial exchange began when Ahmad told Schwarzkopf, "Helicopter flights sometimes are needed to carry some of the officials, government officials or any members.... needed to be transported from one place to another because the roads and bridges are out."

Schwarzkopf then told Ahmad how to mark helicopters to avoid being shot at.

Ahmad: This has nothing to do with the front line. This is inside Iraq.

Schwarzkopf: As long as it is not over the part we are in, that is absolutely no problem. So we will let the helicopters, and that is a very important point, and I want to make sure that's recorded, that military helicopters can fly over Iraq. Not fighters, not bombers.

Ahmad: So you mean even the helicopters. . . armed in the Iraqi skies can fly. But not the fighters? Because the helicopters are the same. they transfer somebody....

Schwarzkopf: Yeah. I will instruct our Air Force not to shoot at any helicopters that are flying over the territory of Iraq where we are not located. If they must fly over the area we are located in, I prefer that they not be gunships, armed helos, and I would prefer that they have an orange tag on the side--as an extra safety measure.

Ahmad: Not to have any confusion, these will not come to this territory.

Schwarzkopf: Good
In his new preface to the 1998 printing of Republic of Fear, Kanan Makiya called (p. xxi) the helicopter gunships "that ultimate terror weapon." And whenever you hear others lament that the Iraqis themselves weren't the ones to depose Saddam, remind them of what those helicopter gunships were used to do in early 1991.

The first act of rebellion came from an Iraqi tank driver on February 28, 1991. A column of Iraqi tanks had fled Kuwait after being expelled by coalition forces and rolled into Sa'ad square in Basra. A tank commander stood atop his tank which he'd stopped in front of a giant mural of Saddam in the middle of the square. He said:
What has befallen us of defeat, shame and humiliation, Saddam, is the result of your follies, your miscalculations, and your irresponsible actions! [Makiya, xix]
The commander aimed the cannon of his tank at the mural and shot away Saddam's face.

This instantly inspired rebellion among the demoralized soldiers present. Within days, it had spread to Diwaniya, Nasiriyah, Hilla, Samawah, Kerbala, Najaf and Amarah. Iran jumped at the occasion to destabilize its old enemy and sent the Tawwabin Division (Iraqi POWs who'd stayed in Iran following the '80-'88 war) and the now-famous Badr Corps. Still reeling form the Anfal genocide Kurdistan soon joined the insurrection — they informed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that had been planning to revolt from the moment Saddam invaded Kuwait — and by March 19, they had regained control of most of Kurdistan.

At the height of the Intifada, 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces had wrenched themselves from Baghdad's control. More than even the most dire moments with the war with Iran, it would be the most serious threat to Saddam's reign until March of 2003.

Indeed, as a way of destabilizing Baghdad, the US had encouraged this rebellion. On February 15, 1991 president Bush urged the Iraqi people and military "take matters into their own hands and force Saddam Hussein the dictator to step aside." A leaflet dropped by the coalition read "O you soldier and civilian, young man and old, O you women and men, let's fill the streets and bring down Saddam Hussein and his aides."

Needless to say, cynical Western powers hadn't actually expected it to work. Had Saddam fallen to a coup, the Sunni minority rule could have continued and Iraq would have remained a counterweight to Iran. Had the Shia/Kurdish rebellion succeeded, some feared Iraq would break apart and the sphere of Shia political influence would stretch from Iran through Iraq to Lebanon, transforming Hizballah into an altogether more powerful organization.

On June 26 of 1997, ABC news ran a special report entitled "Unfinished Business In Iraq: the CIA and Saddam Hussein." In it, Scowcroft tells Peter Jennings that he "frankly wished the rebellion hadn't happened" and that "we clearly would have preferred a coup."

When Saddam responded to the uprising, Western public opinion eventually forced the coalition to come to the aid of the Kurds. Yet even this came second to cold-hearted geopolitical considerations. WaPo's senior foreign correspondent Jonathan Randall wrote in his book After Such Knowledge, What Forgiveness? – my encounters with Kurdistan (p. 102-3) that an anonymous Bush administration official explained that "Frankly, we wanted to wait for the civil war to be over so that our involvement would not be seen as a decision to help the rebels, but as a decision to provide humanitarian aid."

The helicopters Schwarzkopf allowed to crisscross Iraq immediately went to work, murderously suppressing the rebellion while coalition forces sat idly by, just a few cable's lengths away in the Gulf. Soon it came time not just for the intifada's repression but for its punishment. Five elite divisions of the Republican Guard remained intact and they were sicked on the defenseless. The Hammurabi armored and al-Faw infantry divisions set out for Basra, where the rebellion had begun. In charge was Saddam's cousin, 'Ali-Hassan al-Majid ("Chemical Ali"), famous for orchestration of the Anfal genocide only three years earlier. Iraqi forces carried flags that bore the inscription, "No more Shia after today." Pollack describes (p. 50) what ensued:
The Republican Guards were ordered to act with a savagery that many observers claimed was more appalling than even the Anfal campaign against the Kurds. The Guards maimed and slaughtered thousands of people, and 'Ali Hassan insisted that the piles of bodies and severed limbs be left unburied throughout al-Basrah and its surrounding villages. On one occasion, 'Ali-Hassan demanded that residents of the city turn out in Sa'd Square to show their support for the regime, but when he arrived he pulled out an AK-47 and he and his bodyguards began firing into the crowd, mowing down scores of innocent men, women and children. He executed some captured rebels by running over them with tanks, while others were drawn and quartered by trucks.

With al-Basrah brutally subdued, the Hammurabi spearheaded a drive north along the Shatt al-Arab to clear the key roads up into central Iraq. As they moved north, the Hammurabi not only killed large numbers of rebels but razed any village that offered any resistance, massacring the inhabitants and burning their crops for good measure. On March 15, the Hammurabi captured the key town of al-Qurnah, where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers unite to form the Shatt. There the regime's forces split, with the Hammurabi and several other units pushing north along the Tigris, clearing pockets of rebellion and retaking the city of al-Amarah, while the Guard's al-Faw Infantry Division and other units branched off along the Euphrates to join up with other loyal formations that had been reasserting the regime's control over central Iraq.
Meanwhile Hussein Kamel, who would later become the famous, stroke-addled defector who returned to Iraq only to be executed by Chemical Ali, led the al-Nida Armored the Army's Fourth Infantry Divisions as well as parts of the Special Republican Guard to crush the revolt in Kerbala and Najaf, slaughtering hundreds, perhaps thousands, in the tombs of the martyrs Adnan, 'Ali and Hussein and shooting holes into the mosques themselves.

Also during this time, the Hammurabi continued to Kurdistan, taking Kirkuk and Sulaimaniyah. All told, this assault killed an estimated 20,000 Kurds, many of whom were civilians. In the south, estimates for the number of Shia killed range from 30,000 to 50,000.

During this time, readers will recall that there was a lot of self-congratulatory talk of having liberated Kuwait. A ticker-tape parade took place on Manhattan's 5th avenue in honor of US armed forces. While unspeakable cruelty unfoled north of the border, Schwarzkopf himself posed for TV cameras as he collected sand from a Kuwaiti beach as a souvenir from the liberated country.

Clearly, Schwarzkopf's helicopters weren't the only instruments of Saddam's bloody repression of the Intifada. However, they did kill a great many people and the fact that Schwarzkopf (who, remember, was acting entirely of his own accord) granted Saddam the freedom to use them signaled a very real US willingness to look the other way as the predictable and horrific occurred. For that reason, I view Schwarzkopf's opposition to ending Saddam's rule (and the sage advice he offers below) in a somewhat jaded light.

It is because the policy of regime change in Iraq represented such a clear-cut departure from the cold-war and its misuse of the third-world that left-wing persons such as myself were able to support it. As the delightful Hak Mao wrote back in July, "I would be perfectly happy to see any number of former heads of state, ministers, and functionaries in the dock. Do not assume that those socialists who supported the deposition of the Hussein crime family are swaying giddily in the glare of GWB's goofy grin."

Americans Are a Treacherous People, Not to Be Trusted…

When an airplane passenger collapses, the apparent victim of a heart attack, and an American passenger comes forward, offering to help because she's a doctor (she says), what's a French flight attendant to do?

I Stand By My Story…

A couple of readers have pointed out that one exhibit in Perpignan will be including photos from the killing fields of Iraq. They make it sound like there will be just as many photos on this as on Abu Ghraib and like they will be similarly treated. So was I wrong to write that the Visa pour l'image photojournalism festival will not be showing photos of Saddam Hussein's crimes?

Technically, perhaps, it would seem that way at first. But after examining the evidence…

…I stand by my story.

And how!

Let me explain why.

Ever so often we get comments from irate readers, challenging our contention that what drives government policy in France amounts, at last partly, to (rabid?) anti-Americanism, and that the French are actually quite reasonable and willing to be self-critical. This they accompany by specific examples. Meanwhile, all sorts of people and the French media will claim that they are objective and that the lucid people they are do give all the viewpoints.

Indeed, in Le Monde, you will on occasion find columns and letters to the editor castigating France's Iraq policy while praising Bush's, or articles with content that supports the case for war against Saddam Hussein.

However, I call these token articles and token letters to the editor (here an example from Germany). As I have written elsewhere, they appear far and few between, and I have given my opinion that a ballpark figure of how often they would appear would be less than 5% of the time (and print space).

Their main purpose is not to get an intellectual discussion of any sort going, but to serve as a piece of evidence for the powers-that-be (both to others and to themselves) that they (the latter) have been fair, that they are reasonable, and that they are objective. Following that, they will not weigh the evidence or hold a meaningful discussion, but return to the usual Bush-bashing, the traditional America-mocking, and the typical expression of disgust over the latest capitalist outrage.

If you will bear with me while I briefly discuss two examples, I will get back to the issue at hand. The two examples happen to be extremely meaningful.

In the first, Rémy Ourdan introduces his Le Monde article, entitled France's position remains highly criticized by the Iraqis, with these words: "It is almost impossible, except among unseated Ba'athist officials, to find anybody who supports Paris's position in the crisis. France's policy remains highly criticized by Iraqis. Contrary to what Europeans often think, the fact of being opposed to the American occupation in no way heightens the popularity of Europe or one or another country in Iraq"…

The second example is Mouna Naïm's Le Monde article entitled The Issue of Iraq's Weaponry Is Not Clear-Cut: In the review Politique Étrangère, five experts keep the debate on the existence of WMD alive.

As I have written elsewhere, the first article basically undermines, undoes, and shatters the whole peace camp logic in favor of continued peace and dialog with Saddam Hussein (at least with regards to this position favoring — and being favored by — Iraqis); while the second undermines, undoes, and shatters the entire controversy that has been damaging George W Bush and Tony Blair with regards to their alleged lies when they mentioned the dictator's weapons of mass destruction as a reason for launching the attack on the Iraq.

However, in the first case, the article's content was mentioned just that one time — and then it was back to speaking of the humanists' great protection against the scourge of war, the growing insecurity, and Iraqis' resentment against the Yanks; and in the second, the article was hidden in a media review on one of the back pages — and then it was back to carping about the lies of the Bush camp.

So Ted Welch is right: I find this an injustice worthy of fighting against, bravely or otherwise.

Now, back to Perpignan. Just as I consider those rare pro-US articles and letters to be tokens, which are not taken into account for any other reason than to heap praise upon oneself (as objective, wise, tolerant, etc etc, etc), I consider the (few) photos in the exhibit to be tokens that serve as a smokescreen to hide Europe's anti-Americanism.

As it happens, the evidence bears me out.

Were the photos of killing fields to be as numerous and to be displayed as prominently as those of the Abu Ghraib snapshots, I would have been forced to recant. Had both groups of pictures been displayed with (hardly) any comments — just like they were on ¡No Pasarán! — I would have been forced to recant. (And to apologize.) And I would have done so.

But check the evidence:

First of all, look at the URL page of the "official festive announcement": When I first came upon it, I was moved by all those pictures of Saddam's victims, especially that stomach-churning (black and white) picture of the man cut in two at the waist — until I saw it was a picture of a Hollywood prop! Then the cell picture of the bizarre Asian-looking "Iraqis" at the top of the page made sense; it was for a story on "the alarming mental health crisis" from China to Pakistan. Even the Muslim woman behind a (prison?) fence has nothing to do with Iraq. As it happens, both the text and the photo of the killing field are in the least important place, at the bottom of the page (the text at the bottom of the first column, the photo at that of the second column).

This ties in with the expression the festival's director uses for the Abu Ghraib snapshots. The "most important pictures of the year" (as Ray D points out) concerns not the graves of hundreds of thousands killed by a dictator (some for as little as laughing about a joke of Saddam Hussein), but a couple of dozen prisoners (maybe many more, I'm willing to grant you that) forced to pose for sophomoric pictures.

Third, and more importantly, read the text of the website (followed by its logical translation):

  • 'Why Mister, why?' (the pleas of an innocent before the treacherous war-mongering Yanks)
  • the year America occupied Iraq (Gratuitiously, and without any reason whatsoever, Americans submitted the entire Iraqi population to a humiliating and unnecessary occupation, there having been nothing in the country beforehand to merit anything other than national satisfaction and general contentment)
  • The situation in Iraq following the declaration of 'mission accomplished' represented a culture clash of rare proportions (Washington was/Americans are dumb and short-sighted, certainly not as world-wise as (say) the French)
  • Geert van Kesteren was witness to what went wrong (A world-wise European hits it on the nail)
  • He saw clouds of sadness coming from the mass graves created by the Saddam regime (as Ray D points out, "The focus is not on Saddam's regime or its atrocities. They simply say in one line that the Saddam regime "created" the graves… (gee I wonder how that happened). It is really more about describing sadness since the "arrogant occupying" power came to town.")
  • …and Shi'ites enjoying their awakening freedom (for God's sake, do not even think of writing who got them that freedom in the first place [see more about US troops two lines down])
  • He saw the occupying force of an arrogant world power (just like all lucid, world-wise beings [mainly Europeans] do)
  • Embedded with US troops, he witnessed disgraceful raids on Iraqi citizens (nothing about US troops awakening the Iraqis' freedom here and nothing about the disgraceful raids of a dictator's police forces forcing themselves into houses to remove Iraqis to the jails and torture chambers [the real ones] of Saddam Hussein [more on this below])
  • Citizens had hoped for a better, non-violent, future, but their hopes were dashed (Like all the wise, inherently peace-loving members of our world community, every single Iraqi wanted/wants only cooperation and understanding and love and peace and freedom, but, as usual, those dastardly violent beings, the treacherous American war-lover party, blew out that flame of hope)
  • In a clear photojournalistic way… (with the inherent wisdom and lucidity of European humanitarians…)
  • Geert van Kesteren outlines why it will take a long time before the Iraqi people can enjoy a semblance of peace (a humanistic European clearly knows where to place the blame of Iraq's sorry state, i.e., on the American presence, natch)
In other words, the "most important pictures of the year" exhibit is here to heap criticism on Americans, and what some readers suggest is an exhibit on Saddam's mass graves — but which is really called the Geert van Kesteren / Focus / Cosmos exhibit and which will evidently include far more pictures castigating U.S. troops — will also heap criticism on Americans.

This, we must suppose, is what the French call "ouvrir le débat" (an oft-used phrase meaning "a serious debate must be opened"), with supposedly all viewpoints considered…

So, this exhibit I consider the same as the token letters and articles: a smokescreen.

Once one's conscience has been cleared, thanks to having let someone "with a narrow viewpoint" speak (briefly) his mind, then one can get back to the real dangers in everyday life — castigating and blaming America.

And needless to say, I won't even start going into the fact that the country's media have been talking exclusively about the Abu Ghraib snapshots (but then, there's hardly anything unusual abut that, is there now?).

So there you have it: I find this an injustice worthy of fighting against, bravely or otherwise.

Before I close, I would like to remind you again of the first token article we discussed at the opening of this post. The journalist made an amazing proposition: he actually asked those who are first and foremost concerned by the fall of Saddam Hussein and the presence of foreign soldiers in their country — i.e., the Iraqis themselves — how they felt about the war and its aftermath.

Now I would like you to ask you to take another look at the photo of the father bestowing a final kiss on the dried skull of his son. (It should not escape notice that the place this skeleton was dug up at was the burial grounds of… Abu Ghraib.)

Which pictures do you think Ghirayer Ali would deem "the most important photos of the year", Monsieur Leroy? Those showing some of hundreds of thousands of murdered Iraqi civilians dug up from the Iraqi sands, including his son at Abu Ghraib, or the snapshots documenting US troops humiliating prisoners (a good portion of which were those who murdered their countrymen in the first place)?

Before I'm accused of catering to base emotionalism, I will take back the question, and ask a more general one: which of the two groups of pictures do you think your average Iraqi would deem "the most important photos of the year", Monsieur Leroy?

You don't know it, Monsieur Leroy, but the answer (or I should say: because the answer) lies in the Rémy Ourdan article that most readers have already forgotten.

An Iraqi living in Germany adds the following on David's Medienkritik:

I often find people asking me: Was Saddam that evil ? -No, he was as evil that fantasy can't imagine. Well, this question is out of the frame because everyone knows this who just took a glimpse of Saddam's Iraq.

I can count some books about Modern Iraq which aren't translated into German because all translators are busy with Michael Moore new books and the audience doesn't want it.

Maybe the covering up of the US Press is not systemtatic or so, but until the trial of Saddam there will be no final view on Saddam's Iraq. The German Press is busy with covering up the "resistance" which is by all odds just a minority of the Iraqi people, while the majority was victim of the practices of torture and so on.

I've got a relative in Baghdad telling me that every five minutes you see in Iraq an amputed man who lost his limbs either by war or torture or by other causes. I told him they are rarely seen on T.V. here. So the press ignores that masses of disabled persons for searching al-Jazeera-like masked, coward men with a Ak-47 telling what the audience likes to hear.

Maybe the German Press took the glasses filtering all colours of the World except Blue, White and Red, so they can watch out for Americans !

Samir adds that one of the writers, who claimed that the Geert van Kesteren exhibit shows that Europeans are exceedingly fair and objective, ignored the hyperlinks he had recommended a few days earlier. (Semir finds this unjust, and so do I.)

The Iraqi Holocaust is a clearing house for information on atrocities under the Iraqi dictator and the Ba'ath party.

Iraq Center is the documental center for human rights in Iraq. Besides truly horrifying photos, it shows drawings of the forms of torture used by Saddam's thugs, a quite different form of treatment than that given at Abu Ghraib. Samir issues a warning: the pictures are horrible!

You can see more pictures if you replace the last number "1", for first picture, with "2", "3", etc, e.g.

There are 15 pictures of torture methods available. Most of them are unknown to the German public.

And no wonder. The German media — and the French media — see no need to make anything (beyond a few token texts or photo displays) of viewpoints and pictures that undermine the peace camp's position or that supports Bush's decision to go to war.

So Ted Welch is right: I find this an injustice worthy of fighting against, bravely or otherwise.

I stand by my story.

UPDATE: The best way to find out, I figured, was to go see with my own eyes. So I filled 'er up, got behind the wheel, and drove to Perpignan. There I walked around the city, visiting the various places set up to welcome the best news photos of the year. To make a long story short, my worst suspicions — and what I wrote in this column — were confirmed

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Schwarzkopf on Character and… an Old Acquaintance

Today is the 70th birthday of Norman Schwarzkopf, the U.S. army general who said:
Do what is right, not what you think the high headquarters wants or what you think will make you look good.

Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.

It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.

And concerning the man who called himself the modern-day Saladdin:
As far as Saddam Hussein being a great military strategist, he is neither a strategist, nor is he schooled in the operational arts, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general, nor is he a soldier. Other than that, he's a great military man. I want you to know that.

Jailhouse rock Le Rock du Bagne

Jewish Social Center in Paris Destroyed by Arson

The AFP reports:
AFP | 22.08.04 | 08h37

An arson destroyed a Jewish social center in the 11th arrondissement of Paris in the night of Saturday to Sunday, without causing injury or death, according to the Paris mayor's office. The site, about 100 square meters, located on the ground floor of 5 rue Popincourt, was set alight toward 4 AM and anti-Semitic slurs were written on it in marker, also according to the mayor's office. The fire was rapidly contained and the building was not evacuated, according to police. The Paris proescutors office has assigned investigators to the case. The mayor of Pairs, Betrand Delanoë, who is to arrive at the scene toward 9 am, released a statement expressing his "consternation and horror," adding that "the Nazi and anti-Semitic writings defiling the center are revolting."