Saturday, March 06, 2004

You forgot your turtle-neck!

Hi! I'm a horse's ass!
—Robert Harvey
I did say that France had been unlucky recently in the quality of people publicly associated with it. Here's yet more proof.

Surely, Yale professor Farid Laroussi's essay, "Why I became an American," was a painful moment for Le Monde's readers. Into the breach comes Stony Brook professor of Comparative "Studies" Robert Harvey, with his essay, "Why I became French" :
When Farid Laroussi brandished his "Why I became American" (Le Monde, 10 December 2003), without ever really explaining why he had become American, but rather to spit on the country where he obtained the degrees that have allowed him to take a position at an important private American university, I was outraged.
And this, from a man who is supposed to teach comparison!!? Pity the poor students at SUNY Stony Brook who have this doddering idiot inflicted on them. I found that Laroussi's incisive and deft language resisted translation, as is often the case with good writers. An immediate comparison reveals that Harvey is decidedly out of his depth (and if anyone fails to address his stated subject!... note that Harvey spends much of his essay, explaining not why he became French but rather his frustration with the conventional misuse of the word "American" to refer to US nationals).

Let's recall what Laroussi said about migrating to the US:
I chose the United States. It is moving to learn that you are offered a second chance without having to prove your hands are clean [i.e. “white”]. Neither my name, nor my professed religion or ethic origins have been an obstacle in this. The police leave me alone because here one is not subject to spot identity checks. My friends never feel it necessary to share a good Arab joke with me. ... I was already an American the minute one of my ancestors left his village on the edge of the Sahara, leaving behind him a world without possibilities.

Today, while there may always be things to be criticized, they are less decisive, less cutting, than suffering the judgment of more than five million of my former compatriots who, during the last presidential elections, told me by voting for the far-right candidate that they would never want me around.
How did Harvey miss that? The foul stench coming form his direction indicates that the "outrage" he felt was in seeing criticism of France, the object of his devotion and the instrument of his thick-witted vanity. Of those who saw Laroussi's essay, the ones more nearly approaching literacy understood that his French/Arab origins make his criticism of France all the more stinging. Harvey, who describes himself as a "privileged" white Christian and "international academic" (not a playboy), sees only an Arab doing what he thinks Arabs aren't supposed to do: criticize France and praise the United States. Pressed to respond, Harvey stumbles all over himself and, in their eagerness to print an American in praise of France, Le Monde's editors overlooked Harvey's embarrassing stupidity.

"Agreeing with Laroussi on many points," writes Harvey, "I prefer here to offer a few thoughts on my recent decision to 'become French.'" This, Harvey tells us, is because he wants "to continue participating in the public life of the two countries where I still principally practice my profession." (Which is comparing things, in case you've forgotten.)

Yet, having said this, Harvey doesn't feel he's achieved his appointed task (i.e. explaining why he's now French). He continues and reveals, perhaps unwittingly, the real reason:
At bottom, I don't believe a given individual is of a determined nationality from birth.
Which is as much to say that for many long years of anguish, Harvey could only be French when his head hit the pillow.
It remains that isolationism, protectionism, obese arrogance and the irascible theocratic reaction of the United States have become atavistic. In this country, which is nevertheless my own, the power does what it wishes. No discussion with it is possible. In my view, the US model is at once inexorable and intolerable.

....Ah! An American who hates himself: this is the peak of "anti-Americanism." Let's be clear: I am a US citizen; I have a great many reservations about the domestic and foreign policy of the United States; I don't much like the US mentality.
So, it's clear to those of us who might have thought that Harvey was a dork on Long Island who couldn't get tenure: he is in fact a post-national citizen of the world, one of the enlightened, the great and the good, dusting off American provincialism like so much dandruff. Let's just hope that he renews the prescription on his wire-frames in time for that Lars Von Trier retrospective...

...and that one day he reads this post after googling his own name

Religious Minorities

"Fire damaged a mosque and destroyed a Muslim prayer hall before dawn Friday in southeastern France, and police suspected arson in both."

--via The Guardian

Chirac has expressed "his sympathy and solidarity with all French Muslims and assures them that the government is determined to find and punish the perpetrators of these acts." In addition, "[t]he Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France also 'strongly condemned' the attacks, expressing solidarity with the Muslim community."


There were protests in Paris yesterday in front of Togo's embassy by Togolese immigrants and their supporters against French policy towards the African country. An advertisement for the protests described them as:

"--against the French President Jacques Chirac's support of the despotic regime of Gnassingbé Eyadéma.

--for the immediate and unconditional departure of Gnassingbé Eyadéma from power and from Togo.

For 40 years, the tyrannical regime of Gnassingbé Eyadéma has violated human rights in Togo and committed countless crimes against humanity.

Gnassingbé Eyadéma has twice lost presidential elections--one in 1998 and again in 2003--but he stays in power thanks to France's support, the military, violence, and lies."

This excellent paper by Joshua Walker, a student at the London School of Economics, notes that, although the European Union suspended aid from the European Development Fund to Togo under the Lomé IV convention in 1992, France has pursued a contradictory policy, continuing its civilian and military ties to the Togo regime, which has been accused by Human Rights Watch of torture, extrajudicial killings, and the persecution of journalists (note that when HRW made these allegations, the Togo regime hired a French lawyer, Jacques Vergès, to defend it. Vergès' other clients have included Klaus Barbie and Carlos the Jackal). "Eyadéma’s close relationship with Jacques Chirac and the French right-wing in general is fairly well documented...Chirac publicly declared in 1992 that he had almost daily telephone conversations with Eyadéma, and Charles Pasqua, another prominent figure of the French right-wing, is alleged to have met often with Eyadéma while in Togo or Paris. Eyadéma even made financial contributions to the French right-wing in the 1993 legislative elections." While the UK and Germany have opposed resuming a normalization of ties with the Togo regime absent any evidence of human rights improvement, France has pushed in the opposite direction and may threaten retributive actions against EU members that do not cooperate with its pro-Eyadéma policy (perhaps not incidentally, Togo has the world's largest phosphate reserves and France is Togo's largest trading partner). Not surpisingly, Belgium--that bastion of human rights--is following France's lead, and France is increasingly pushing the EU towards increasing its support for Eyadéma. The paper also notes: "France’s unwillingness to sanction francophone African dictators stems from a fear that the success of US-supported democratic opposition movements in francophone African countries would diminish French influence...A potential further reason for France’s support of Togo is that Eyadéma plays an international role within Africa in promoting French interests. This makes him indispensable to the French, while his knowledge of French African secrets is said to afford him a degree of power over them. When the French Socialist Party’s Pierre Guidoni denounced the havoc wreaked on Togolese civilians by the security forces in January 1993, the Togolese Foreign Minister, Ouattara Natchaba, replied that his party had compromising files on François Mitterrand."

Concludes the paper: "It is possible that France is attempting to coerce the EU into adopting a more lenient policy towards Togo in order to continue to reap benefits from Eyadéma’s rule."

Walker also provides some further details on French involvement in the assassination of Togo's first democratically elected president, Sylvanus Olympio: "While the circumstances surrounding the assassination remain unclear, a young Eyadéma, then a recently discharged sergeant from the French army, has been implicated in the affair. Some accounts say he pulled the trigger, killing Olympio. Others allege that a French military operative, under directions from the French government, led the group that killed him, and that France then forced Eyadéma to cover-up for it by announcing that he had pulled the trigger in a Paris Match article published after the assassination. France was uneasy about Sylvanus Olympio, because he had been an executive with a large anglophone company in neighbouring Ghana, and was not perceived as being sufficiently attuned to French interests."

Friday, March 05, 2004

Response to Terrorism

For those not yet completely sick of Iraq war interrogations, you may want to read this. It's a recent Blair speech in which he provides further details on his "doctrine of international community." Choice quotes:

"[T]he notion of intervening on humanitarian grounds had been gaining currency. I set this out, following the Kosovo war, in a speech in Chicago in 1999, where I called for a doctrine of international community, where in certain clear circumstances, we do intervene, even though we are not directly threatened. I said this was not just to correct injustice, but also because in an increasingly inter-dependent world, our self-interest was allied to the interests of others; and seldom did conflict in one region of the world not contaminate another...So, for me, before September 11th, I was already reaching for a different philosophy in international relations from a traditional one that has held sway since the treaty of Westphalia in 1648; namely that a country's internal affairs are for it and you don't interfere unless it threatens you, or breaches a treaty, or triggers an obligation of alliance."

Although Blair notes that he did not consider Iraq to be a threat before 9/11, he notes that 9/11 changed his risk calculus:

"From September 11th on, I could see the threat plainly. Here were terrorists prepared to bring about Armageddon. Here were states whose leadership cared for no-one but themselves; were often cruel and tyrannical towards their own people; and who saw WMD as a means of defending themselves against any attempt external or internal to remove them and who, in their chaotic and corrupt state, were in any event porous and irresponsible with neither the will nor capability to prevent terrorists who also hated the West, from exploiting their chaos and corruption."

Blair also calls for UN reform:

"It means reforming the United Nations so its Security Council represents 21st century reality; and giving the UN the capability to act effectively as well as debate. It means getting the UN to understand that faced with the threats we have, we should do all we can to spread the values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law, religious tolerance and justice for the oppressed, however painful for some nations that may be; but that at the same time, we wage war relentlessly on those who would exploit racial and religious division to bring catastrophe to the world."

Regardless of whether one agrees with Blair's statements, they make clear that those who claimed that Blair merely followed Bush into war in Iraq are wrong. Blair is capable of articulating a coherent, logical and long-held rationale for his actions that extends well beyond the US administration's declarations.

North Africa

The Bush administration continues to make incursions into francophone Africa. You'll recall that Powell visited Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco at the end of last year. This week, the US and Morocco agreed on a free trade pact that will lower trade tariffs between the two countries.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

¡socialismo sí!

Hola camaradas!

We have made some changes to the appearance of our blog. In bolshevik terms, of course, this is a matter of indifference. Yet we feel that, for our readers, nothing is too good.

We are none of us the best at Web design so if you encounter any problems viewing this blog, please avail yourselves of the comments function or email us through our respective blogs to let us know about these problems.

¡Vivan los héroes de las Brigadas Internacionales!

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Alexandre Adler

Adler used to write for Courrier International and recently published an essay on Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in Le Figaro that detailed how certain elements of the Saudi and Pakistani leadership have more fully begun to divorce themselves from Islamist extremism. Adler published a book back in 2002 entitled, J'ai vu finir le monde ancien, an extract of which is available here. It consists of inaccurate generalizations infused with French prejudice such as:

"Clinton was involved in the defederalization of the United States, an entirely negative phenomenon that was begun under Reagan. Although Clinton was a leftist concerned about social justice, he belonged to an anti-federalist movement that swept America by storm from the 1980's onward. Clinton did not have a real foreign policy because he did not like the central government."

One can see the French love of centralized government combined with a myopic vision of the American political landscape. It is hard to believe that someone might seriously claim that Clinton and Reagan had similar visions of the federal government.

On the other hand, Adler has some interesting cultural insights. One involves the use of the word "crusade." Adler points out that this word has different connotations depending upon which side of the Atlantic one finds oneself. While Europeans often view the term in its religious sense, it has a broader definition for Americans. Adler cites the use of the phrase "Crusade Against Poverty" by communists and socialists (who are not generally religious fundamentalists) during the 1930's EPIC movement in California. He also points out that Bush's home state of Texas has 60 mosques in Houston alone.

Bullet holes in the cemetery walls...

We, of ¡No Pasarán!, are duty-bound to remember.

The Passion

Mel Gibson's film has finally found a distributor in France: the Tunisian businessman Tariq Bin Ammar.

Railway Bombers

The NY Times does a pretty good job of summarizing a blackmail attempt by a seemingly secular group calling itself AZF against the French government. La Croix notes that this isn't the first time that individuals have attempted to blackmail the French government with threats of bomb attacks. In 1984, a group calling itself "M5" was responsible for bombings in Lyon, Grenoble and Nancy and demanded more than 4 million euros from the French government before its members were caught.

Haiti Update

France's aid to Haiti remains, as of yet, limited. The Quai d'Orsay claims responsibility for sending 7 Red Cross ambulances financed by the European Commission to Haiti as well as medical supplies from Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, and France that were sent to NGO's such as Médecins du Monde and Médecins sans frontières. France's military personnel in Haiti are still limiting their actions to protecting French nationals. In response to a barrage of questions about France's other efforts in Haiti, the Quai d'Orsay merely replied that UN Resolution 1529 has been passed and that the ball is in the UN court now.

It's interesting to watch how France, despite initially taking the lead in calling for Aristide's removal, is now embedding all actions in other organizations. While some might say that this modus operandi demonstrates a multilateral streak, it is also a clever way of avoiding personal responsibility for any negative consequences.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Get To Work

Tonight, you've a chance to save a woman's life merely by wiggling your fingers about on a keyboard. An Iranian friend in Paris emails to say that he has received word that the execution of Ms. Mandana Nik-khou Monfared, 25, called "imminent" Amnesty on February 3, is now truly drawing near.

The word comes from among Iranian exiles in contact with Amnesty, who are asking concerned individuals to write to the Iranian authorities, asking for clemency. They say the Supreme Court has upheld her death sentence for the murder of her fiancé — barring a pardon, this can only be commuted if the victim's kin waive their right to retribution and accept blood money.

Amnesty also reports that last year, Mandana retracted the confession she reportedly gave police while in custody and insisted she was innocent, stating that it was her husband (whom she planned to leave for Masoud Khazi, the victim) who committed the crime. This January, Mandana's nine year-old son wrote an open letter to Ayatollah Shahrudi, head of Iran's judiciary, saying "We do not have a father and only have our mother. We ask you to let her come home to us... Our mother is innocent."

Only the French-language "urgent action" alert gives the addresses of those persons to whom pleas for Mandana's life should be addressed. They are

Judicial Authority:
His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Telegrams: Head of Judiciary, Ministry of Justice, Tehran, Iran
Fax: +98 21 879 6671 (send messages, "care of Director of International Affairs, Judiciary")
Term of address: Your Excellency
Spritual Guide of the Islamic Republic of Iran:
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Telegrams: Leader of the Islamic Republic, Tehran, Iran
(In the subject field, write "To the attention of His Excellency, Ayatollah al Udhma Khamenei, Qom")
Term of Address: Your Excellency,
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
His Excellency Hojjatoleslam val Moslemin Sayed Mohammad Khatami
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
(please resend the message if it bounces)
Term of Address: Your Excellency
Send copies to:
Mr Mohammad Hassan Zia'i-Far
Secretary, Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 13165-137
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: +98 21 204 0541

and to the Iranian diplomatic representatives in your country.

For more information, please also see this matter, which may also require immediate action, though Amnesty's French language alert writes "after 23 February 2004, please check with your section about whether intervention is still necessary. Thank you."

They say each letter genuinely helps. Please write.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Sudden Convert to Regime Change

A Le Monde editorial states that the overthrow of Aristide demonstrates the international community’s “willingness to favor a healthy political process in Haiti, after the corrupt, autocratic and incompetent power of Aristide who was, however, democratically elected.” Le Monde also refers to the intervention as a “ ‘model’ of coordinated action.”

Le Monde’s praise of an internationally sponsored coup d’état as part of a “healthy political process” is surprising and inconsistent. The paper’s editorial board has, in the past, criticized the U.S. government’s efforts to sideline Arafat (efforts that, unlike France’s actions in Haiti, have never gone as far as calling for armed intervention) largely because, however miserable a leader Arafat may be, he is a democratically elected one. Why the change of heart with respect to Haiti’s democratically elected leader? Is Aristide any more “corrupt, autocratic and incompetent” than Arafat? Moreover, Le Monde and the Quai d’Orsay were calling for Iraqi elections soon after American soldiers entered Baghdad. Where are comparable calls for a Haitian election in the near future? Under the Haitian constitution (assuming that such a thing as a sovereign country’s constitution matters), elections must be held within 45 to 90 days of a president’s resignation.

One can only wonder at Le Monde’s sudden embrace of regime change.


In recent weeks, France has been particularly unlucky: some ugly characters have come to the fore to greet the public and hey have not made the greatest of ambassadors.

In addition to Mr. IsraHeil, or Dieudonné, there was our friend Franck "boum!" Moulet. On Thursday, Libération told us (misspelling "Rikers" yet again) that Franck lives with his younger sister, has barely any belongings and earns his living doing odd jobs (packaging, pizza, handing out flyers and two years in a university library in Marseilles). He also "cries easily and sometimes his tears have nothing to do with America and prison. But he doesn't want the help of a psychiatrist. His family regrets this."

Worst of all, however, was the reemergence of Pascal Boniface, who published an unusually stupid essay in last Saturday's Le Monde. In responding to an earlier essay by Francis Fukuyama — who had argued that France's Arab minority has an influence over French public policy — Boniface demonstrates why audacity is sometimes a minor virtue, writing:
It is amusing to see an American criticize a country on the pretext that its foreign policy is supposedly influenced by the electoral weight of certain communities. Isn't this one of the characteristics of American foreign policy?
The fact that Boniface is insinuating that Jews control the United States isn't the only cause for upset. Close readers will notice that he is once again stepping on the very same land-mine that forced his resignation from the Socialist Party in 2003. In an internal memo on campaign strategy to Socialist leader François Hollande (which was later leaked to the press), Boniface wrote:
I am struck by the number of young beurs [i.e. Arabs] and French Muslims of all ages who claim to be on the left but who, due to the situation in the Middle East, say they won't vote for Jospin in the presidential election. An attitude toward the Middle East question that is perceived as unfair and, of course, one they think is yet again at the expense of the Arabs, demonstrates to them that Arab/Muslim community is not considered, if not rejected by the Socialist family. The situation in the Middle East and the timidity of the Socialists in condemning Israeli oppression encourages the alienation of Muslims in France, for which no one, Jew, Muslim or Pagan, can be happy. It is doubtless better to lose an election than one's soul. But, by putting the Israeli government and the Palestinians on equal footing, we're risking the loss of both. Is support for Sharon worth losing 2002?
When this memo is mentioned publically, Boniface makes oblique efforts to deny he ever wrote it but his opponents simply trot out the direct citation above. In August of 2001, Boniface also published an essay in the pages of Le Monde entitled "Letter to an Israeli friend" that read, in part, "By permitting too much of the Israeli government's impunity, France's Jewish community could end up the loser in the medium term. The Arab and/or Muslim community is surely less well organized but it seeks to be a counterweight and will fast outweigh the Jewish one in numbers, if this isn't already the case."

For having essentially told French Jews that they'd better sever ties with Israel or risk alienation, Boniface came in for a bit of a drubbing. Then Israeli ambassador to France, Elie Barnavi shot back with his own essay:
I can't tell what revolted me more about the "Letter to an Israeli friend" (Le Monde, 4 August, 2001), by Pascal Boniface. The insincerity of the title, which infuriatingly reminded me a pamphlet once published by Ibrahim Souss [former PLO Paris representative and author of the pamphlet Letter to a Jewish friend] ? The saccharine and unctuous tone which fails to disguise an implacable hostility? The gulf between the tonality of this text and the brutal one he committed for internal consumption by his party? The content, rich in ideological insinuations but politically vacuous? It was all of the above, probably.
Boniface demurred for 22 days before responding and when he did, the essence of his reply was that he found "unacceptable such intellectual terrorism that consisted in accusing any person of anti-Semitism that dares criticize the Israeli government, an accusation which ought, incidentally, to apply also to Israeli pacifists and to those French Jews who share this point of view."

The title of this response, "Are we allowed to criticize Israel?" lent itself to a book that Boniface published in April of last year (ranked 4,526 on Amazon, even now). Yet soon after this, things got too hot for Boniface and he was made to walk the plank, after a "friendly" luncheon on July 18, 2002. An article appearing that day in Libération (available for free here) revealed that in a note to François Hollande (ya think M. Hollande is simply turning these notes over to the press?...) Boniface wrote that "communitarianism has returned in force to the Socialist Party" (note that it was good old Tariq Ramadan who sparked so much controversy by accusing France's Jewish philosophers of "communautarisme"...) and that certain "friends of Israel" were to blame for his demise, particularly former Finance minister Dominique Strauss-Khan, "When I'm being violently attacked by the Jewish far right, seeing DSK throw me to the wolves among a hostile crowd [...] and call me a 'wretch' is troubling," wrote Boniface. It was deputy mayor of Paris and friend to Lionel Jospin Pierre Schapira who was among the first to point out that "it's rather outrageous of him to criticize communitarianism when he's the one who brought out the idea with his note to Hollande."


Although France and the US seem to be on the same page with respect to Haiti, there are, in fact, significant differences in the two countries' approaches towards the former French colony. Without explicit UN approval, US military forces have intervened in Haiti to stem the rising tide of chaos. In particular, 50 US marines escorted Aristide to exile and Bush has just ordered the deployment of marines in order to secure key facilities. In contrast, France--although it called for the resignation of Aristide--will not send any soldiers (other than those used to protect French nationals in Haiti) until the Security Council passes a UN resolution. One wonders what would have happened if the US had followed France's approach and had refused to intervene militarily in Haiti without explicit Security Council approval. Would Aristide have been able to make it out of the country alive? Would Aristide have even surrendered? While the world waited for a Security Council resolution, how much more blood would have been spilled in Haiti? The formalism of the French approach contrasts markedly with a more flexible and realistic American approach.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Hi there, Clowns

Despite how things may appear, there are, in fact, three of us working on this blog. It's just that I've been busy. Sorry to have so been derelict in my duties, folks.

Here's an update on the Dieudonné matter. At W's request, I'm posting a translation of an open letter to Dieudonné that appeared in Libération last Monday. It's written by Elie Semoun who was once Dieudo's sidekick. (Oh... and he's Jewish.)

Letter to Dieudonné, caught up in controversy
Hi there, clown

Monday 23 February 2004

Hi there, clown, it's the Jew "converted to show-biz" writing to you... I'm just writing to say that I like you a lot and it hurts to see you like this. Not because you're a so-called victim, censored by a lobby of slave-owning ancestors, because you've got no more work, no more audience and no more money (that, I can't believe). But because you are no longer the one I used to know and with whom I laughed more than I ever had with anyone else.

Back then, I didn't even know you were bi-racial and I'd forgotten that I was Jewish. And that's of no more importance than if I were Belgian or Breton.

You and me, we didn't give a damn for the whole world, least of all ourselves. People loved that. Among the anti-racists, we were the best. I continue to carry the torch for our humor, even if sometimes I play the nightingale for the young ladies!

This world still scares me as much as it used to and we both dislike the same things. We both laugh at the same idiots. My characters are often yours and vice-versa. I think humor is the best way to talk about what's real in life.

But that's why I feel like I've been betrayed. You're not the same Dieudo. You've had funnier days... you seem to want to remake "Cohen et Bokassa" but you've either forgotten the script or the second character.

I can see you jumping around like a bad minstrel in a two-penny circus, applauded by people who are out of view, lit only by the foot lamps. I see some pretty dodgy guys... some have yarmulkes or keffiyehs. I see one who brought his daughter. He's got one eye and he's rubbing his hands together.

I don't want to get involved in the politics. You're worse at that than I am but talent doesn't excuse everything and some little words start a fire that nobody — except for a few mad men, but not you, I hope — would want to see go out.

I hope that I'll see you again doing what you know how to do best.

I'm writing from the island of Réunion, an exemplary land of miscegenation. That's why it's called Réunion, anyhow, and they all seem to get on well. Makes you wonder, right?

Alright, man. Take care.

ELIE SEMOUN is a comedian.

Note that, though Dieudonné was banned from the Olympia theater, Amazon is offering a DVD of Elie Semoun's performances there. What Semoun told Le Parisien was far less conciliatory than what he's written above. Semoun apparently said:
Before he turned into a fraud, [Dieudonné] made me laugh. When we were a duo, we laughed about everything, the Jews, the blacks the Arabs, but we did it with finesse and smarts. To-day, he's reaping the consequences of his attitude. [...] I don't know if he's aware of what he's provoking but I do know that if today, some people can be unabashedly anti-Semitic, he's contributing to that. Dieudonné exists only through provocation! Right now, he's drawing the whole world into it: he's talking about a plot against him, playing the martyr, but I guarantee you that in fact he is very happy. This whole business has put his name in the papers and serves his own interests.