What sincere believer [sic] in atheism — and nonetheless indulgent to the reality of religion — has not suffered psychologically during the weekend of the endless agony of John Paul II and its outrageous overmediatisation?writes Michel Bellin to Le Monde. Like the pundits, (one of whom mentions "nausea", "paralysed … spirits", and this mediatic "opium of the people" which "ends up stupefying just about everybody"), the readers of Le Monde have started reacting (negatively) to all all the "hooplah" surrounding the death of the Pope. Bellin goes on to say
As if the planet had stopped turning for a number of days, as if absolutely nothing else occurred beside this tsunami of tears and holy water.It is not that I must necessarily begrudge this viewpoint. Taken by itself, I wouldn't think twice about it. The only thing is, I recognize it, I have seen it before.
I will just point out what type of European is speaking with so much irony and malice: These are the same ugly voices as those who, following 9/11, wrote in to complain that the pages and the airwaves were devoting too much time on the victims in Manhattan and the Pentagon, and to point their fingers at the victims' alleged sins (or those of their countrymen or of their country's leaders).
This is Europe's humanism. This is Europe's tolerance. This is Europe's solidarity with victims. This is Europe's understanding of others and their suffering.
If other people's grief does not contribute to an increase in Europe's popularity and an improved self-image, then it is no grief at all…