Wednesday, September 08, 2004

"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.

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