Saturday, September 11, 2004

What Have We Learned from September 11?

Following the murderous attacks on 911, it became fashionable, and not only outside the United States, to hear smug voices wonder whether Americans had learned their lessons and whether they would be wise enough to apply those lessons in the future.

Basically, the (self-serving) point seemed to be, that Americans should understand that they display(ed) the following traits: Americans are simple-minded, stupid, unsophisticated, reactionary, egoistical, greedy, arrogant, imperialistic, war-mongering, treacherous, and they are the reason for most of the world's problems of the past 60 years. So, did Americans learn anything? Let's see… If Americans learned any lessons, let's see what they learned…

Read what Americans really learned from September 11

September 11 (V)

A Rumanian's Ode to a United America is a reprint of the famous editorial written by Cornel Nistorescu less than two weeks after the 9/11 disaster, an ode which was subsequently disseminated all over the globe…


September 11 (IV)

Andrew Sullivan:
I am reminded of a great American poem written by Herman Melville after the death of Abraham Lincoln, the second founder of the country:

There is sobbing of the strong,
And a pall upon the land;
But the People in their weeping
Bare the iron hand;
Beware the People weeping
When they bare the iron hand.

America at War: America wakes up to a world of fear
The Sunday Times of London, September 16, 2001
copyright © 2001 Andrew Sullivan

And the French are now negotiating with the enemy Et à présent les franchouilles négocient avec l'ennemi
Libération PropagandaStaffel calls 9-11 America's obsession.
Libé PropagandaStaffel parle de l'obsession du 11-9-2001.

O. Henry on Polls

In view of the importance that is often given to polls when (and only when!) those polled voice dissatisfaction with Washington, US foreign policy, and America's leadership — notably in Thomas Crampton's International Herald Tribune article — it is perhaps not unnecessary to remember that September 11 also marks the birthday of O. Henry, the US short-story writer (William Sydney Porter, 1862-1910) who wrote that
A straw vote only shows which way the hot air blows.
What is funny (for want of a better word) to note in the poll, is that among the 35 countries in which a majority of the 34,330 people showed "an unusually low level of support for U.S. foreign policy", Iraq did not seem to be present… How odd…

September 11 (III)

Question: What do you call Europeans who do not sneer at Uncle Sam?

Answer (among others): Europeans who lived through the horror of September 11.

Katrin Bennhold has an article in the International Herald Tribune in which she listens to a Frenchman, a German, and a Briton who "shared America's most traumatic moment"".

…Bruno Dellinger, 43 … moved to New York in 1997. In his study in downtown Manhattan, a small American flag adorns the bookshelf…

Born in Lyon, Dellinger is a child of France. But three years ago, when he fled his office on the 47th floor of the World Trade Center and saw the sky turn black as the towers collapsed behind him, almost suffocating from debris and fear, he also became a child of Sept. 11.

"It felt like war," Dellinger, a writer and entrepreneur, recalls with emotion. "And what a lot of Europeans don't understand is that this country is still at war."

Liane Lohde, a German policy analyst, heard the first plane hit on Sept. 11 as she crossed the Williamsburg Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan on her way to work. She learned later that several of her company's clients had died in the attack. She says she remembers how alienated and misunderstood she felt during telephone conversations with family and friends in Europe in the days after.

"I remember how some of the first few phone calls really shocked me — and them," she said, sitting in a small restaurant in London, where she has lived since April 2002. "All they saw," Lohde said, "was the danger of the superpower overreacting, whereas I definitely felt that this could not go unanswered."

She herself was surprised by the force of her reaction, said Lohde, 29, who considers herself left of the political center in Europe.

In New York, Janice Brooks sympathizes. An Englishwoman, she transferred with her company from London to New York in August 2001, two weeks before the attacks. Brooks survived Sept. 11 against all odds. An executive assistant at Euro Brokers, an American brokerage firm, she was on the 75th floor of the World Trade Center on her way to her office on the 84th floor when the second plane hit the building, demolishing floors 76 to 84. Sixty-one of her colleagues died that day.

Today, Brooks, 44, in contrast to broader public opinion in her home country, is an unabashed supporter of Britain's embattled prime minister, Tony Blair, because he has stood by America over the past three years.

"I feel very proud of my little island to have stood by America when it counted," she said from New York in a telephone interview. "A stand needed to be made."

…What sets them apart from their friends and families in Europe to this day, it became clear in long conversations, is not just sharp memories of the smell of kerosene and the endless dust that blew through the city for months, but their intense everyday bonding with Americans. Brooks describes herself as an "honorary American." To all three — even Lohde, who plans to move to Washington shortly — the United States is home as much as France, Germany or Britain.

Like many on the European side of the Atlantic, Lohde feels unease with an American stance she perceives to be too unilateral and reliant on military might. But she also says Europeans have failed to understand just how fundamentally Sept. 11 altered American psychology. …

Dellinger says he can relate to both: America's military view of the world and Europe's soft-power approach of working with diplomacy, aid and economic incentives. In his opinion the current rift goes beyond Iraq. "Ultimately it's about how safe you feel as a nation and how you view threats," he said. "Europeans feel safe; Europe is at peace. America in many ways is not."

…Raised in the Old World, where after 60 years of peace taxpayers choose to fund welfare over weaponry, Dellinger said that as a European, he had been humbled when he moved to the United States to realize the amount average American families pay for their country's defense bill every year. "Let's just remember that Europe still relies on America for its security," he said.

…For Dellinger, the United States is about idealism, an idealism the French sometimes sneer at as empty or superficial. In the weeks after Sept. 11, he says, he saw that idealism at work. People grieved together, but they immediately went on to rebuild their businesses and their lives with an energy he can't imagine fellow Europeans at home ever would; it made him buy the little flag now resting on his bookshelf.

For Lohde, who is leaving London to move to Washington next month, America is a place of diversity — diversity of culture, opportunity and views. She gets upset when her European friends fail to see how many Americans have a profoundly mid-Atlantic point of view, one she holds herself.

And for Brooks, who has stayed on in New York and just renewed her work permit for another two years, it is, above all, camaraderie and personal freedom — "the belief that you can do anything" — that keep her in New York.

Brooks says she wishes she didn't have to choose between Europe and the States: "I want to make my own country and take the best of both worlds."

Thinking of the Iraqis, who, rather overwhelmingly, support the decision to topple Saddam Hussein: isn't it strange how the people who are the most directly concerned by America's (or Bush's) "crimes", or the most directly involved in the tragedies involving Uncle Sam, are always the least inclined to criticize the United States?

Friday, September 10, 2004

The 10 Dumbest Quotes of the 2004 Election

You can vote on your favorite. (I hesitated between nºs 5 and 1, before choosing the former, but in all honesty, 10 and 2 are pretty good (bad), too…)

Kuralt on Everyday Americans

Today is the birthday of Charles Kuralt, the US television news reporter, producer, and writer (1934-1997) who said:
The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.
We always take credit for the good and attribute the bad to fortune.

September 11 (II)

Since the 911 commemorations can hardly pass without America-bashers' smug references to another September 11 anniversary (the coup against Salvador Allende in 1973), a few facts should not be left unsaid.

• More than a few Chilean voices do not share the romanticists' longings for Salvador Allende and his party, They include the Santiago resident admitting that the latter "put the interests of the party before the interests of the people". In conversations that the New York Times conducted with a vast number of Chileans, it emerged again and again that they implicitly blamed the party’s radicalism for Chile’s hyperinflation, shortages, and economic collapse in 1972 and 1973, conceding that a crucial reason for the coup was the Socialists' encouragement of peasant land invasions and worker takeovers of factories, going as far as calling on military units to mutiny.

Before you protest that the Chileans interviewed must have been neofascist Pinochet-lovers, it should be noted that the interviews that Clifford Krauss conducted for the New York Times were made exclusively with members of Allende's Partido Socialista (the Santiago resident quoted above being none other than Ricardo Lagos, Allende's direct heir as party head and president of Chile). (Full story here.)

• Bearing that in mind, if you get tired of hearing of simple generalizations of the coup d'état of 1973 (demonic Pinochet versus angelic Allende), here is Val Dorta's lengthy and straightforward article on what took place in Chile before, during, and after the Allende years (1970-1973). An excerpt:

The Allende myth may be good for keeping the socialist faith alive, but it evidently contradicts the historical facts.

While Augusto Pinochet’s brutal post-coup repression and terrorism cannot be justified, it is essential to explain what led him and the Chilean armed forces to the fateful coup d’état, outside of the fantasy that had him bursting onto the democratic Chilean political scene on September 11, 1973 with readymade CIA orders to stop a beautiful, pacific and liberating socialist dream. For I have no doubts that if the Chilean Marxist experiment had ended … as the totalitarian society it pointed to, it would have lasted much longer and would have brought Chileans much more suffering than Pinochet’s ugly but temporary dictatorship.

There occurred many important episodes leading to the coup, but I have chosen those that most clearly present the myth in all its falseness. To support the post I have selected four diverse books, one by a right-wing author (Moss), another by a trio of Marxists (Roxborough) and two by recognized scholars (Sigmund and Alexander); all of them knew Chile well and had first-hand experience of the Allende period.

• George Erbe has an item on the same subject, along with a lengthy excerpt of Mark Falcoff's March 4, 2000, article "Who Killed Latin Democracy?"

• En français, voici l'article de Ase sur le même sujet, une histoire détaillée de la période 1970-1973 au Chili ; celui de François-René Rideau, qui invite "les flammes" ; et le mien, intitulé Ce que les romantiques ignorent sur leurs martyrs.

• If you need some ammo to counter people asking "Do you know what other event occurred on September 11?" as they look down their noses at you, check out the final section of Americans Anonymous, the subhead entitled "Watching for the 'Fool-Proof' Cards".

Note: all of the above weblog hyperlinks (except
for my own, natch) were first mentioned on MiF
(Merci to W for digging them out again)

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Were the WMD "Lies" that the French Love to Mock Bush About Actually the Result of a Sinister French Trap?

You've heard the ridicule that (in hindsight) has been heaped on George W Bush and Tony Blair concerning their claims of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

You've heard the disgust, and the outrage, with America and its allies because of WMD as the, or as a, main reason for going to war in Iraq.

And if you live in France, you've heard the mocking, the horselaughter, and the spitting revulsion twice as loudly as anywhere else.

What, now, if it turned out that not only had the White House and 10 Downing Street not lied, but they had been deliberately misled into believing the reality of the WMD was undeniable, and that by none other than those whose laughter has been the loudest and whose outrage has been expressed in the most bitter way?

What if it turned out that the citizens of France — who have been lauding their leaders for opposing Bush and who have been priding themselves on their superior wisdom as well as their immunity to manipulation (notably their inability to be taken in by a greedy oil fiend like Dubya) — had actually been fooled by their own leaders precisely into believing just that?

What if, when it comes to greed for oil, the members of the peace camp turn out to be far worse than W, Dick Cheney, or any of the usual suspects…

That might make for the surprizing final twist of a good Frederick Forsyth thriller, but according to the Sunday Telegraph's Bruce Johnston and Kim Willsher, it just happens to be true…

(I suppose I could write a lot here about France's outrage over "lies" and how they are the world's specialists in detecting them. But for the moment, just remember this: the French are the friends of the Americans, oh oui, they are their allies…)

A row has broken out between France and Italy over whose intelligence service is to blame for the Niger uranium controversy, which led to Britain and America claiming wrongly that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy material for nuclear bombs.

Italian diplomats say that France was behind forged documents which at first appeared to prove that Iraq was seeking "yellow-cake" uranium in Niger — evidence used by Britain and America to promote the case for last year's Gulf war.

They say that France's intelligence services used an Italian-born middle-man to circulate a mixture of genuine and bogus documents to "trap" the two leading proponents of war with Saddam into making unsupportable claims.

…"Their aim [that of the French] was to make the allies look ridiculous in order to undermine their case for war."

According to an account given to The Sunday Telegraph, France was driven by "a cold desire to protect their privileged, dominant trading relationship with Saddam, which in the case of war would have been at risk".

The allegation, which has infuriated French officials, follows reports last month that "Giacomo" [the go-between] claimed to have been unwittingly used by Sismi, Italy's foreign intelligence service, to circulate the false documents.

The papers found their way to the CIA and to MI6, and in September 2002 Tony Blair accused Saddam of seeking "significant quantities" of uranium from an undisclosed African country — in fact, Niger. President George W Bush made a similar claim in his State of the Union address to Congress four months later, using information passed to him by MI6.

The International Atomic Energy Agency expressed doubts over the documents' authenticity, however, and in March 2003 declared them false.

The suggestion that Italy, driven by its government's support for America, had forged the documents to help to justify the war in Iraq, has caused a furore and has now led to the revelation of new information about "Giacomo".

The Sunday Telegraph has been told that the man has a criminal record for extortion and fraud, but draws a monthly salary of €4,000 (£2,715) from the DGSE — the French equivalent of MI6 [and the CIA] — for which he is said to have worked for the past five years.

He had an expense account and received bonuses in return for carrying out orders allegedly given him by the head of the French services' operations in Belgium. …

"Giacomo" was allegedly first engaged by the French secret service to investigate genuine fears of illicit trafficking in uranium from Niger. He collected a dossier of documents — some real, some forged by a diplomat — by offering large sums of money to Niger officials.

American intelligence officials were further misled over Saddam's supposed attempt to buy uranium when France — which effectively controls mining in Niger — told Washington that it had reason to believe that Iraq was trying to do so. "Only later did Paris inform Washington that its belief had been based on the same documents that had tricked the Americans and the British," an Italian diplomat said.

"This was la grande trappola [the big trap]. The Americans were now convinced by the French that Saddam really was trying to buy uranium. They thought the French must be right, since not even a gram of uranium in Niger could be shifted without their knowledge."

British officials still say that the claim about Iraqi uranium purchases rested on a second source, not just the now-discredited documents. Intelligence officials from some other Western countries now believe, however, that the second source was also France — part of a "sinister trap" for Mr Blair.

French intelligence was asked by The Sunday Telegraph for a public comment on the allegations against it, but has yet to give one.

(Thanks to Barcapundit)

September 11 (I)

Chuck Simmins is doing his part to keep the memories of No Ordinary Day alive, "not to cause pain, but as a memorial to the victims. We must not forget, and it is our obligation to ensure that this can never happen again. We are in a war in which there can be only one victor"…

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

French reaction to attacks by baby killers Comment les fwançais réagissent devant des tueurs d'enfants
Blame it on the victims. Much like their German partners in the now melting down Zeropean core, the French lump Putin with Bush and put the blame on both of them.
C'est aux victimes de porter le chapeau. Tout comme les schleus, partenaires des fwançais dans le noyau de la Zéropa actuellement en cours de désintégration, les franchouilles mettent Poutin dans le même sac que Bush et font endosser la responsabilité à tous les deux.

Bush: Just blast away, that's what I would have done. Putin: That's what you did.

"A Vicious Anti-French Diatribe"

They have said it!

They have said it!
They have said it!

"A vicious anti-French diatribe"

Read it again.

"A vicious anti-French diatribe"

And again!

"A vicious anti-French diatribe"

They have said it!

It's official!

"une virulente diatribe antifrançaise". And "un article très critique à l'encontre de la France". …"Un article très critique à l'encontre de la France et de son président Jacques Chirac".

Anti-French? Anti-French!!! An article critical of France? Now that's rich! Think about it. How often have we heard Europeans tell their "American friends" how much they truly like America and Americans, it is only their leaders and the latters' policies they don't like? It is only Bush they are against. How often have you heard that?!

Well, I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's all a scam, it's all self-serving double standards, even if on an unconscious level (meaning self-delusion might be the best term). If, in foreign affairs, you don't agree with Paris, you're being anti-French, and that whether you are a Frenchman or a foreigner. It's that simple!

It is quite possible that it is unconscious for most people — it is perhaps even probable — but it is there all the same. Double standards. Self-delusion. Of the vilest type. Self-serving and ugliness towards foreigners. (Why, foreigners in general? Because it is not only America that is concerned. All Washington's allies turn out to be poodles, cowards, traitors, idiots, and a*s-kissers, while, conversely, all France's allies turn out to be reasonable, spiritual, tolerant, visionary — just like the French.)

Do you realize how many times I have vied with Frenchmen and -women, parrying attacks, ducking, taking a hammering in threats and mockery, only to, (if I hadn't given in) at the end, be confronted with a "Well, your position is anti-French"? Or with a "What are you doing in France if you think that way?"And this from your leftists of the most progressive and forward-looking kind.

It's all a scam, folks!

It's all a scam…

The theory that avant-garde Europeans are not patriotic is a lie. The fact that those reasonable people are above such matters is a lie.

Or, if you prefer, self-delusion…

You can call it patriotism, or nationalism, or whatever you want, it all amounts to saying "the group of people that I/we belong to is much more advanced than anybody else; criticize one of us, and you attack us all"…

And — of course — this is not limited to France. See Thomas's article on Davids Medienkritik about the Germans:

Bad, Bad Republicans

America experienced an impressive first day of the Republican convention: Two outstanding, stirring speeches by John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, emotional remarks of an Iraqi woman and three relatives of victims of September 11. Even analysts close to the Democrats praised the presentation of the “Grand Old Party.”

But – once again, who finds fault with everything? Spiegel Online, of course. First off, [Spiegel journalist] Marc Pitzke once again delivers a convolution of irrelevant anecdotes (9/11 wine), subjective opinions and “New York Times” reports to bring his message across: The Republicans have shamelessly exploited 9/11. It doesn’t matter, that he himself points to the fact that the relatives of the victims mentioned neither the name Bush nor the name Kerry nor did they make a recommendation for whom to vote. It doesn’t matter, that he himself writes that the speeches of the relatives were “honest” and “moving.” No, when Marc Pitzke thinks it (and the NYT, known for their absolute neutrality, found it out before the convention in a poll), then the Republicans are indeed abusing 9/11.

…Especially treacherous, however, is the attempt to grab Spiegel Online readers by appealing to their national pride – that Giuliani, how dare he! Boos for Germany - How Giuliani is Whipping Up Support for Bush with the 1972 Olympic Attacks

What we unfortunately don’t read: Giuliani equally criticized the Italian government of the time for the “Achille Lauro” incident, the Nobel Prize committee for its award to Arafat, and he accused earlier US governments of not having acted consequently enough against terrorism. He even remarked that “we,” therefore including himself, did not see clearly enough until 9/11 how dangerous this enemy was.

Instead of making an attack “against Germany” as Spiegel Online wants to make it out, Giuliani simply gave various examples illustrating that terrorists were acted against with too little consequence. Yes, in so doing, he accused, above all, the Europeans of having a lax position. No, provoking “boos against Germany” was not his main objective. (If you evaluate it that way, then there were also “boos against Italy,” which today has troops in Iraq.)

Finally, it is especially conspicuous that, here once again, double standards rule. Spiegel editors lay much value on this point in their answers to letters to the editor: Whoever criticizes Bush (and the average Spiegel reader in any case) is of course still far from being anti-American. Whoever points out that he thinks that the Brandt government acted incorrectly during a single situation (the 1972 Olympic terrorist attack) during its term, for him it is about boos against Germany.

When challenged on his opinions on this website, a ¡No Pasarán! reader replied that his reason for adding comments is "because I am French and I love my country".

Nothing wrong with that, of course, except, the whole basis of the anti-American (supposedly the anti-Bush) tirade is that the simplistic Americans are short-sighted patriots, while the high-minded Europeans are far above that retarded way of viewing things.

Unlike the US, we are told that there is little or no flag-waving in Britain, France, Germany, and other continental countries…

Okay. What if patriotism (or nationalism) consisted not only of flag-waving and national-anthem singing, but of going around saying things such as "We are eternally (and inherently) more lucid, more intelligent, more reasonable, more humanistic, more tolerant, more generous, and wiser than everybody else. ...And especially our enemies (those real enemies of humanity, the Americans)."

Those enemies whose patriotism, as the Le Monde reviewer wrote, was a far graver problem than that (if patriotism is the correct word in that case) of the Serbs who produced the killing fields in Bosnia and Kosovo and the Somali warlords who added immensely to their countrymen's suffering (!)...

(All this, you understand, from people crowing that "We are far too sophisticated to have enemies of any kind"…)

If saying "we French (or English) were wiser than the Americans in such-or-such an instance, or in that-or-that particular event or regarding a given kind of policy (foreign or other)", it might be true, but if it were said all the time, day in and day out, in that form, or in more subtle forms, by citizens, media, and leaders alike, might one not be tempted to say that it is a form on patriotism (or nationalism or whatever you choose to call it) too?

It might seem more a more unconscious form, but it seems to me that (because of that?) it is more dangerous, and insidious, than flag-waving of the American type.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Tidal Wave of Support for France's Arab Policy, Except from…

The French do not take Fox News seriously. It is all base propaganda. Fox Television, moreover, is a perfect example of the prejudice present in all American media, which blindly follows George W Bush in whatever he does and believes everything his administration says.

Don't worry, thought. There are TV stations and news offices the French do take seriously.

…Like Al-Jazeera.

Take Tewfik Hakem's Le Monde article:

Although Al-Jazeera's journalists avoid carefully to guess the kidnappers' identity, they do not hesitate to interview Arabs, who, in front of Al-Jazeera's cameras, wonder who profits from the crime [of kidnapping two Frenchmen]. "Had one wanted to break the resistance in Iraq and in the Arab world, one would not have acted differently", says one female militant. "In whose interest is it to force France to cut its ties with Iraq?" asks another.

What Al-Jazeera, which is more careful now, is subtly suggesting, other Arab media are clamoring aloud without the slightest proof. Like the columnist from Algeria's El-Watan daily, who writes: "Nobody will be surprized if one day it is leared that this so-called — Iraqi Islamic — army is in reality a collection of individuals acting for the CIA or Mossad. The American agency must be rejoicing in the difficulties which the French government is encountering."

"Without the slightest proof", indeed. If someone is to say that Americans are treacherous (or simple-minded or reactionary or stupid or simplistic), who is a lucid European to say the opposite? If someone includes evil Americans in their unsubstatiated rumors, who is anybody to try and check out the source? If someone brings up the CIA bogeyman, who is anybody to point tout at least two valid sources with solid evidence for what they claim are necessary for publication?

Certainly not Le Monde, aka the "organ of official opinion and of the ruling class".

Slip in that four-word phrase ("Without the slightest proof") and then devote two entire paragraphs to the matter. And if possible, make the rumor grow.

Cécile Hennion ends an article concerning Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's assault on Latifiya with a quote from a sheikh by the name of Hicham Najim Al-Hassan Al-Douleïmi:

…the armed intervention at Latifiya has put a stop to the negotiations and cut off the contacts. I can't say whether the Americans did that on purpose […] but it has created a climate of generalized panic, at the moment when the kidnappers were trying to obtain security guarantees.
Oh! The Americans created the climate of generalized panic! Okay. I see. (Of course, he says that he can't say whether the treacherous Americans did it on purpose, but we know what that is supposed to mean…) If only those simple-minded Americans would keep their busy noses out of everybody's affairs, the peace-loving negotiators would obtain goodwill from everybody and bring about a solution which would please everyone. What a shame…

Oh, and of course, the new Iraqi government and America's military have nothing better to do than to base their military strategy on a desire to prevent two French hostages from being freed!

(Who is it — is it really the Americans?— who are always being depicted as paranoiacs? Imagine this scene:
Sergeant: Okay, get your gear together, send an email to your loved ones, and say a prayer. We're heading into battle…
G.I.: What's the cause this time, Sarge?
Sergeant: To prevent the Islamic Army in Iraq from releasing Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot…
Gung-ho GI: Alright, let's roll!… Whoop!
Oh, I forgot how my irony is out of place: Americans are obviously too stupid to realize to what extent they are being manipulated by their evil overlords…)

But otherwise, Mouna Naïm writes, the French authorities "have been — pleasantly — surprised" (one should almost use the word "overwhelmed") by the tidal wave of sympathy that encompasses the entire Arab world. It is all the more remarkable, we learn, because it includes all parties, "paying more or less strong supported homage to Paris's policies in that part of the world". "The movement of sympathy for France is all the more remarkable in that it includes Islamist groups and persons", purrs Mouna Naïm, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah group's television station, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, and Palestine's Hamas and Islamic Jihad factions.

In the second paragraph, however, Mouna Naïm downgrades the term to a "quasi-tidal wave", since there are two "exceptions": the silence of the Gulf's oil monarchies (except for Qatar and Saudi Arabia) and the declaration of the prime minister of… Iraq…

Oh, right! In their conquest of Arab hearts vis-à-vis the Iraqi crisis, the French just happened to forget about those members of the Arab/Muslim family who are primairly concerned about the American presence in Iraq: the people of Iraq. Who, in their overwhelming majority, have said they felt little more than disgust towards the peace camp's viewpoints and actions during the Iraq war, not to mention towards the "support" of their Arab brethren…

But not to worry: taking its cues from the French foreign ministry, the independent newspaper knows how to deal with that, using all the vocabulary in its arsenal to show what a base man Iyad Allawi (or any ally of the Americans) is…

Dipping into into the resentment that he visibly is feeling [of course, Allawi lacks lucidité and is incapable of reasoning] because of France's refusal to take part in the war against Iraq [I thought it was the war against Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist thugs], Iyad Allawi had not a kind word to say about the fate of the two journalists.
And how much sympathy did France and the French show towards Nick Berg and the others whose heads were separated from their bodies? Mouna Naïm goes on to quote from Allawi's interview, but instead of ending with a simple "he said" of journalistic tradition, she writes "he said with a total lack of consideration, if only for the gravity of the moment." Of course, until Frenchmen were touched by the events in Iraq, the situation was not grave enough to warrant consideration in one's speeches. (And it turns out Allawi says exactly the same thing…)

I seem to remember articles and editorials in Le Monde, as well as talks with Frenchmen, in which there was not much consideration for, say, the victims of 911.

As far as Iyad Allawi is concerned, perhaps he does not enjoy being called a CIA stooge, which he may think shows a lack of consideration, but of course, that is something entirely different, n'est-ce pas?

Anyway, here is an editorial he had printed in his daily called Baghdad and entitled Chirac Did You Not Hear Our Cries for Help? (Don't be surprized if the independent newspaper entitled the article devoted to the editorial More Anti-French Diatribes from Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.)

The kidnapping of the French journalists […] is one of the results of Chirac's objections in aiding the [Iraqi] government to reestablish inland security and of Chirac's "No's" everytime a proposition of international aid was presented in the Security Council.

[Mr Chirac] wants to show the Iraqis that they have lost the advantages of the former régime […] Jacques Chirac, who wants to present himself as an honorable man, bears part of the responsability in the kidnapping of his two fellow citizens because he opposed all the international resolutions whose object was to bring Iraqis security.

Here, Mouna Naïm quickly intervenes. That's not true, she seems to be saying. France voted for resolutions 1546 (June 2004) and 1511 (October 2003), although, of course, it threatened to use its veto — it didn't actually do it, see — on the Spring 2003 resolution authorizing war against Saddam Hussein — sorry, against Iraq (her actual words are "authorizing the war in Iraq").

Well, now. Isn't that nice? The French journalists, who do not see it fit to counter voices (Arab or other) that it was actually CIA operatives who kidnapped the two Frenchmen, sees fit to set the the reader straight where France is concerned. How nice of the independent newspaper.

Here is a second editorial of the Baghdad daily's:

…the French government praised itself on being far removed from the suffering of the Iraqi people and on having refused to participate in the toppling of the former régime of Saddam Hussein, its main ally for its interests in Iraq.

…This attitude gave the impression that France was bestowing its blessing on all that was happening in Iraq, whether it be the car bombs, the kidnappings, or the slowing of the reconstruction campaign.

…During the terrorist attacks that his Iraq's people and infrastructures, nobody heard the calls from France for these crimes to stop until the terrorists took on its citizens. Now, its emissaries are all over the place […] asking the different Iraqi parties to intervene in the freeing of its two countrymen.

The following day, we are told that a meeting between Chirac and Iraq's president Ghazi Al-Yaour has been postponed. The title of the Le Monde article seems put the fault on Iraq's prime minister (remember, the guy who "dips into the resentment that he is visibly feeling"?): The diatribes of Iyad Allawi have contributed to the postponement of the Iraqi president's visit to France.

But Mouna Naïm knows whom she is working for. She speaks of the "anger" of the French authorities who qualify his words as "inadmissable". Compare the image of collective — and justified— anger with the image of a single guy who, rather irrationally, "dips into the resentment that he is visibly feeling" — All we need now is the CIA stooge imagery (don't worry, it's right around the corner).

Next comes the Baghdad daily's "vicious anti-French diatribe" and its "overwhelming of President Chirac with accusations". These accusations are unfounded, states Mouna ïm without further ado (again quoting the UN resolutions). Whether "France was bestowing its blessing on all that was happening in Iraq", such as the Abu Ghraib pictures, she does not touch upon. Instead, she prepares a broadside against Illawi:

A former member of the Ba'ath party — which has since been dissolved — who became a dissident in the 1970s, Mr Allawi, who is a Shi'ite, has been, since the mid-1990s, the "filly" of the CIA and the State Department, who put him in competition with Ahmad Chalabi, the Pentagon's "protégé". …
Translation: there is nothing at all democratic in Allawi's appointment, who is just as bad as all the other Ba'ath party members. (By all means, refrain from indicating what kind of position IA had in the Ba'ath party, and whether it involved murdering dissidents or being in charge of a local town's electrical grid.)
It is in the light of this strange American-Ba'athist chemistry that one must read his declarations and comments. It's probably also because of this chemistry that he has never had any affinities with France, which knows this without having made a casus belli about it. …
Allawi, like the treacherous Americans he is allied to, cannot be expected to reason rationally or to speak truthfully. The French, however, are ready to stoically accept this.
Contrary to Mr Allawi, with whom he has tense relations, according to some Iraqis, President Ghazi Al-Yaouar, whose functions are essentially honorary, is a moderate Sunni, accepted by the Kurds and the Shi'ites, and more conscious than his prmie minister of the political and social reality of his country.
In other words, the moderate and rational president is much more lucide than the irrational prime minister. Just like the French.
It cannot be excluded, according to the same Iraqis, that the anti-French diatribe was aimed at torpedoing Mr Al-Yaouar's visit to Paris and to protest against what the prime minister considered French leaning towards the Sunnites.
You know what this is called, right? A complete whitewash of French foreign policy and of the human beings who stand behind it.

Interestingly, none of the articles on the spat between Paris and Baghdad are among the website readers' 10 top choices (who by far prefer such fare as Multinational Companies On Their Piles of Gold).

Of course, if beyond one single Iraqi voice, Le Monde had found more locals who voiced disapproval with this statement of Allawi's, or with the Bagdad editorials, it might, it just might be, a bit more convincing. Then again, the Al-Jazeera interviews on the CIA connections might have been more convincing, had they been made with a large swath of Iraqis…

Far From (the) Objective:
Perpignan's PhotoJournalism Festival

Perpignan's photojournalism festival has been in Le Monde all week long. There was, of course, the article on the reaction of the Visa pour l'image team to the kidnapping of the two French reporters.

There was Michel Guerrin's article on a photographer who, like so many others in Perpignan, understands that all the injustices in this world are due to American-style capitalism (an article which also explains how and why French photographers are far superior to their American counterparts — like French reporters, French leaders, French intellectuals, French citizens, etc…)

There is the American photographer who rails against America under Bush-43, calling "the ugly nation" fear-inspiring, full of hate and ignorance, and fascist. Even Le Monde can not pretend Chris Morris's photo display is somewhat objective, Michel Guerrin calling it "not an exhibit, [but] a blistering attack against Bush". (That does not prevent the independent newspaper from quoting Morris's entire blistering attack (something it does for noone else); from, as an aside, criticizing Time (!) as "not one of your most progressive periodicals"; and from ending with a piece of praise: "Chris Morris has managed to keep his distance".)

The wording on Visa's own website, incidentally, is far less strong in English than it is in French, where it is clear that "democracy" is in quotation marks because the concept of America as democracy should only be ridiculed.

The New Republic: one Nation under God
For years, Chris Morris has been following George W. Bush for Time Magazine. In his work, he shows us all the detail, the spectators, what happens on the sidelines.
It is a different way of looking at politics, which can appear quite alarming, even when we are talking about the "biggest democracy in the world".
There is also an article about the festival's homage to Cartier-Bresson, another about the recently-deceased Carl Mydans, and Guerrin's interview with Raymond Depardon.

Finally, there is an interview with the festival's founder, Jean-François Leroy: to Guerrin's questioning his pro-Palestinian image and his invitation to José Bové to hold a speech (well, Guerrin is not exactly questioning Leroy's viewpoints, rather he's helpfully prompting Leroy to refute the charges with some high-falutin' speechifying), Leroy crows that "the photographers' festival" has a particular "commitment" and "a militant image". The interview ends with Jean-François Leroy stating his pride of having "a reputation as a leftist":

Yes, I am of the left, and I am proud of it.
You know what that means: Bush-bashing, castigating of the "false democracy", along with belittling of all the crimes committed in the name of the left while all the world's problems are blamed on the greed and the lack of vision of the criminal capitalist class.

Elia Kazan on Witches and Other Figments of the Imagination

Regarding the charade of terrorists being only a figment of the imagination or being easily amenable at the negotiation table if only a bit of understanding, brainpower, and patience were shown them, today is the birthday of Elia Kazan, the director who said the following, in the wake of criticism regarding his decision to testify before the HUAC commission regarding the McCarthyite "witch hunt" (Kazan went on to film On the Waterfront, of course).

Witches do not exist, but Stalin's infiltration plans, his spies, and his propaganda vere very much real…

Time to backpeddle C'est l'heure de faire marche arrière
French journalists wake up to a nightmare. Despite the numerous times the French press Pravda has decreed that Bush is 'finished', it's still a race. Their bewildered listeners-readers-viewers try to make sense of it all after months of lies.
Les journalistes franchouilles se réveillent en plein cauchemare. L'élection présidentielle américaine est toujours très serrée malgré les nombreuses proclamations de la presse Pravda fwançaise pour décréter que Bush est 'fini'. Leurs auditeurs-lecteurs-téléspectateurs essaient d'y comprendre quelque chose suite à des mois de mensonges.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Hiding behind their shitty little venacular Ils se cachent derrière leur patois de merde
Their own language and literature deteriorated by a terminal illness, the new French literary season has established the practice of making money off of the victims of 9-11 as an annual event (only a country with such a deep long lasting friendship for the United States could do such a thing doncha see?!?). After Beigbeder's 'Windows on the World' in which 9-11 victims have an orgy in the burning collapsing Twin Towers, Yann Moix's 'Partouz' draws an analogy between Western swingers' club members and Arab kamikazes (Why? Moix says it's because they all like to get off, duh!). Yann Moix refers to the 11th of September 2001 as 11 Septembre ™ and to Mohammed Atta as his brother. Thierry Ardisson, host of 'Tout le Monde en Parle' broadcast on French State TV, had a good laugh while discussing this latest masterwork of the French literary establishment. Ardisson's latest kick is to turn off the simultaneous translation when American guests are present so his sidekick Laurent Baffie can lay into them with some particularly vulgar French jokes that they cannot understand. Ah, the French and their legendary courage! Americans, you are hated here. Americans, the French are laughing at you.
Leur propre langue et littérature rongées par une longue maladie, la rentrée littéraire franchouille a déjà établi comme fête annuelle la pompe à fric sur le dos des victimes du 11-9-2001 (chose possible uniquement dans un pays qui entretient une si profonde amitié avec les Etats-unis, vous ne pigez donc pas?!?). Suite à 'Windows on the World' de Beigbeder dans lequel les victimes du 11-9-2001 partousent à l'intérieur des tours qui s'écroulent en flammes, 'Partouz' de Yann Moix fait l'analogie entre les clients des boîtes de partouse et les kamikazes zarabes (Pourquoi? Moix dit c'est parce qu'ils aiment tous s'envoyer en l'air, ducon!). Yann Moix estampille le 11-9-2001 de sa marque de fabrique 11 Septembre ™ et considère que Mohammed Atta est son frère. Thierry Ardisson, présentateur de 'Tout le Monde en Parle' émission diffusée sur la télé de l'Etat franchouille, a bien rigolé en discutant de ce dernier chef d'oeuvre de l'établissement littéraire fwançais. Le dernier kiffe d'Ardisson est d'éteindre la traduction simultanée quand il y a des invités américains pour que son faire-valoir Laurent Baffie puisse les descendre avec des blagues d'une vulgarité singulière qu'ils ne sont pas à même de comprendre. Eh bé, ces franchouilles et leur bravoure légendaire! Les américains, vous êtes détestés ici. Les américains, les franchouilles se foutent de vos tronches.
'I have no opinion about the new French literary season. Every September, French writers rehash the same old question: how to talk about nothingness?', Maurice G. Dantec.
'Je ne pense rien de la rentrée littéraire francaise, vieille question philosophique que nos écrivains réactualisent d'ailleurs à chaque mois de septembre : comment parler du Néant ?', Maurice G. Dantec.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

This latest Jew joke ain't Kosher La dernière histoire juive n'est pas très catholique
French kids complain about another trippy psy-op from the Mossad.
Chères têtes blondes franchouilles rouspètent suite à un nouveau coup foireux du Mossad.

Bog blast them Que Gogre les emporte
The French shit all over Bush for his religious beliefs every chance they get (never mentionning that religion was just as present in the Carter and Clinton administrations) but when the Interior Minister of their secular state runs off to pray at the Paris Mosque in order to appease true religious extremists they shut their pie holes.
Les franchouilles ne loupent jamais une opportunité de chier abondamment sur Bush et ses croyances religieuses (ça les arrange d'oublier que la religion était tout aussi présente lors des administrations Carter et Clinton) mais ils ferment leurs claquemerdes quand le Ministre de l'Intérieur de leur Etat laïc court pour aller faire ses salamaleks à la Mosquée de Paris afin de tenter de calmer les pulsions des vrais extrémistes religieux.

I propose that we start the day with a prayer for my re-election.

The Same Passion for Journalism and…

Le Monde has an article on Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, in which Stéphane Foucart and Bénédicte Mathieu explain how those intrepid writers shared "the same passion for journalism and the Arab world". The "recognized specialists on the Middle East" traveled and lived (!) through the entire Middle East, making friends, learning the language (Arabic), cultivating sources and contacts in (just about) every important country of the region (Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Palestine), writing for serious periodicals (Le Monde Diplomatique, Arabies, etc…), and generally "discovering new facets of Arab communities". Which probably goes far to explain why so many VIPs have gone out of their way to exhort their kidnappers to free them…