Idées chrétiennes devenues folles: Après le mariage,… le génocide pour tous ! (Australian aborigenes: why there were no stolen generations)

6 février, 2013
Depuis que l’ordre religieux est ébranlé – comme le christianisme le fut sous la Réforme – les vices ne sont pas seuls à se trouver libérés. Certes les vices sont libérés et ils errent à l’aventure et ils font des ravages. Mais les vertus aussi sont libérées et elles errent, plus farouches encore, et elles font des ravages plus terribles encore. Le monde moderne est envahi des veilles vertus chrétiennes devenues folles. Les vertus sont devenues folles pour avoir été isolées les unes des autres, contraintes à errer chacune en sa solitude.  G.K. Chesterton
Je crois que le moment décisif en Occident est l’invention de l’hôpital. Les primitifs s’occupent de leurs propres morts. Ce qu’il y a de caractéristique dans l’hôpital c’est bien le fait de s’occuper de tout le monde. C’est l’hôtel-Dieu donc c’est la charité. Et c’est visiblement une invention du Moyen-Age.  René Girard
Notre monde est de plus en plus imprégné par cette vérité évangélique de l’innocence des victimes. L’attention qu’on porte aux victimes a commencé au Moyen Age, avec l’invention de l’hôpital. L’Hôtel-Dieu, comme on disait, accueillait toutes les victimes, indépendamment de leur origine. Les sociétés primitives n’étaient pas inhumaines, mais elles n’avaient d’attention que pour leurs membres. Le monde moderne a inventé la « victime inconnue », comme on dirait aujourd’hui le "soldat inconnu". Le christianisme peut maintenant continuer à s’étendre même sans la loi, car ses grandes percées intellectuelles et morales, notre souci des victimes et notre attention à ne pas nous fabriquer de boucs émissaires, ont fait de nous des chrétiens qui s’ignorent. René Girard
Ecoutez-les: ils disent eux-mêmes qu’ils sont devenus des étrangers dans leur propre pays. Si les pouvoirs publics veulent vraiment les aider, tout est à repenser. Savez-vous pourquoi les toilettes de leurs maisons sont bouchées? Parce qu’ils utilisent des pierres pour se torcher, comme avant dans le désert. Il faudrait des toilettes sèches, et autre chose que ces préfabriqués dessinés pour un couple et deux enfants occidentaux et totalement inadaptés à un mode de vie clanique! Marj (infirmière)
C’est difficile d’accepter l’aide des Blancs. Mais la situation ne pouvait pas durer ainsi. Les filles vendaient leur corps contre de l’essence à sniffer. Et, maintenant que le flot d’alcool s’est ralenti, il y a moins de femmes battues. Mavis Malbunka
Il est temps de sortir du statut de victime pour embrasser une culture de responsabilité. (…)  Ce dont souffrent aujourd’hui les Aborigènes, c’est de leur dépendance envers l’Etat providence, qui fait d’eux des assistés. Nous devons rejoindre l’économie de marché. Et, pour cela, le gouvernement doit s’engager, dans le long terme, sur l’éducation, la formation, l’accès à la propriété privée. Noel Pearson (chef aborigène)
Ancien stockman – le cow-boy australien – il parle avec nostalgie de sa jeunesse, du temps où les clans vivaient autour des fermes qui trouvaient, contre des vivres et un peu d’argent, à employer tout le monde. C’était avant que les syndicats n’imposent un salaire minimum qui a conduit les fermiers blancs à se débarrasser des Aborigènes, main-d’oeuvre devenue trop chère, réduite dès lors à tendre la sébile à l’Etat providence. (…) Le seul défaut de cette intervention, c’est qu’elle aurait dû se produire plus tôt": chargée par le gouvernement de superviser l’opération, Sue Gordon ne cache pas son agacement face aux "sempiternelles critiques". Parce qu’elle connaît bien le dossier des violences sexuelles dans les communautés, cette magistrate pour mineurs d’Australie-Occidentale sait qu’il y avait urgence. Aborigène élevée chez les Blancs, elle a été une "enfant volée". Arrachée à l’âge de 4 ans à sa famille, elle n’a revu sa mère et sa s?ur que trente ans plus tard. Victime de cette politique d’assimilation forcée, elle en mesure toutes les facettes: "Petite, je n’ai pas connu de fêtes de famille, mais ça m’a donné une chance de réussir. Ce n’est pas à moi qu’il faudrait demander pardon, mais à ma mère. Et c’est trop tard." Sue Gordon regarde vers l’avant: "Les Aborigènes ne pourraient plus vivre à part dans un Etat séparé, comme certains font mine d’y croire. Notre seule issue, c’est celle de l’intégration. Et cela passe par un effort sur l’éducation, afin de rattraper notre retard. L’Express
Australia deserves this place in the academic literature because our past policies towards Aboriginal children were comparable to those of Nazi Germany. “It did not involve killing, but its ultimate objective was the same as Hitler’s was for the Jews; namely, that at the end of the process the target group would have disappeared from the face of the earth. Hence it is impossible to con­clude otherwise than that Australia in the 1930s was possessed of an administrative culture that in reality practised geno­cide. Paul Bartrop (Deakin University)
In its first ten years from 1999 to 2009, the quarterly Journal of Genocide Research published twelve major articles of this kind about Australia. This was more than three times as many as the journal car­ried in the same period on the regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia. In Volume 10, Issue 4, 2008, no fewer than three of the seven articles were on Australia: one on the Stolen Generations and two on colo­nial history. Indicting Australia for genocide has become an aca­demic obsession.
Settler-colonies like ‘Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, the United States, and Canada’ led the way in setting out to achieve what the Nazis also set out to achieve, the displacement of indigenous populations and their replacement by incoming peoples held to be racially superior. Ann Curthoys and John Docker (Australian National University)
It is disturbing for an Australian to discover that debates about genocide often do not move very far beyond the classic area of study—Europe under the Nazis—before someone mentions the antipodes. Genocide is a crime, in other words, for which Australia is listed among the usual suspects. Alan Atkinson (University of New England)
I can understand why they took me, Mum and dad were terrible when they were on the grog—in fact we were dead scared. Former inmate of the Cootamundra Aborigi­nal Girls’ Home (1994)
I asked Mum about that, and I did some reading (…) It was mustering time at the station and, of course, all the young girls were on the rails watching musterers catch and brand calves, cheering them on and all that. So that’s her interpretation of running wild. (…) They were watched and chaperoned all the time. If they wanted sex with a white man, they’d have to sneak off somewhere. (…) At Jigalong, they have laws and they are given husbands when the time is right. They wouldn’t have let the girls have sex with the white men working around the fence.He’s distorting history again to serve his purpose. He needs some publicity. Doris Pilkington
You can never criticise or attack Aborigines or their culture because it would incite racism against Indigenous people … I now see how this view simply perpetuates the idea that Indigenous people are helpless victims, with no personal responsibility for their actions. I also feel absolutely disgusted with those who hold the view that ideology must come before the plight of children. Anonymous correspondent
One of the sustained fantasies about traditional Aboriginal society is that, until colonisation, life for Aboriginal people was peaceful and idyllic. The idea that violence – sanctioned and illicit – was the norm has been cast by the defenders of the myth as a racist misrepresentation of a noble society. I believe those who have attacked those of us who want to deal with the direct and indirect factors contributing to the abuse of children, suffer from a form of ‘Stockholm syndrome’. Psychologists use this term to refer to an emotional bond that develops between hostages and captors. It is a familiar problem for victims of abuse: wives who still love their husbands despite domestic violence; victims of incest still attached to their molesters; prison inmates who turn on each other rather than their guards. The critics of the intervention have become dependent – from a distance – on perpetuating the lot of those who are suffering the most. (…) Solidarity for its own sake takes pre-eminence, and does not permit a clear-cut rejection of wrong doing. This line of analysis informs the outrage at the Australian Defence Force (ADF) being used in the intervention. It must have been easy for John Howard’s spin-doctors to predict that the pro-symbolic Aboriginal activists and their supporters would interpret the use of the army as another ‘invasion’. Few understand the long history of Indigenous involvement with the ADF. It remains one of their largest employers, and has a long history of working closely with remote communities, in areas of operation larger than many countries.
My own research and investigation alerted me to three additional contributing factors driving some communities into the inner circles of hell: illicit drugs, other addictive substances and pornography – all imported into Aboriginal communities since the 1970s. Along with the ‘rivers of grog’ and the debilitating alienation that results from permanent unemployment, they have helped cripple many in the Aboriginal population, and ‘very high rates’ of cannabis use contribute to the epidemic of suicide. Illicit drugs had a similar impact on black American communities following the civil rights movement. There, the pandemic of illegal drugs brought drug wars, communities bristling with arms, high death tolls and the disintegration of community life, although zero tolerance policies stalled these trends in some places. The impact of illicit drugs and substances on Aboriginal communities over the last thirty years cannot be under-estimated. Along with the flood of pornography, their contribution to the present disaster demands more than the present intervention can deliver. Gambling also demands urgent attention. In most remote communities, men and women huddle in circles, throwing their money into the ‘pot’, to be lost or won on a single card. Almost all of a community’s income can disappear overnight. It is these practices – violent anti-social behaviour, excessive and harmful use of drugs, alcohol and other substances, use of pornography (especially in the presence of minors), gambling, and the resultant neglect of family life and children – that Pearson is targeting with his campaign for personal responsibility. (…) It is not just the historical and continuing exclusion from the economy, or lack of intergenerational capital, or vicious governments, but the practices of Aboriginal people themselves that transform mere poverty into a living hell. Australia is enjoying an economic boom driven by the rocketing demand for raw materials, but Aboriginal people – who live in areas from which many of these minerals are extracted – are spiralling into permanent poverty and marginalisation.
It seems almost axiomatic to most Australians that Aborigines should be marginalised: poor, sick, and forever on the verge of extinction. At the heart of this idea is a belief in the inevitability of our incapability – the acceptance of our ‘descent into hell’. This is part of the cultural and political wrong-headedness that dominates thinking about the role of Aboriginal property rights and economic behaviour in the transition from settler colonialism to modernity. In this mindset, the potential of an economically empowered, free-thinking, free-speaking Aborigine has been set to one side because it is more interesting to play with the warm, cuddly cultural Aborigine – the one who is so demoralised that the only available role is as a passive player. The dominance of the ‘reconciliation and justice’ rhetoric in the Australian discourse on Aboriginal issues is a part of this. The first Australians are simply seeking relief from poverty and economic exclusion. Yet, in the last three decades, rational thinking and sound theory (such as development economics) to address the needs of Indigenous societies have been side-tracked into the intellectual dead-end of the ‘culture wars’. This has had very little to do with Aboriginal people, but everything to do with white settlers positioning themselves around the central problem of their country: can a settler nation be honourable? Can history be recruited to the cause of Australian nationalism without reaching agreement with its first peoples? Paradoxically, even while Aboriginal misery dominates the national media frenzy – the perpetual Aboriginal reality show – the first peoples exist as virtual beings without power or efficacy in the national zeitgeist. Political characters played by ‘Aboriginal leaders’ pull the levers that draw settler Australians to them in a co-dependent relationship. The rhetoric of reconciliation is a powerful drawcard – like the bearded woman at the old sideshow. It is a seductive, pornographic idea, designed for punters accustomed to viewing Aborigines as freaks. It almost allows ‘the native’ some agency and a future. I say ‘almost’ because, in the end, ‘the native’ is not allowed out of the show, forever condemned to perform to attract crowds. The debate that has surrounded the Emergency Intervention has been instructive. It has exposed this co-dependency. It has also revealed a more disturbing, less well-understood fault-line in the Aboriginal world. The co-dependents in the relationship seek to speak for the abused, the suffering, the ill, the dying and those desperately in need who have been left alone to descend into a living hell while those far removed conduct a discourse on rights and culture. The bodies that have piled up over the last thirty years have become irrelevant, except where they serve the purposes of the ‘culture war’. But in the meantime, the bodies of real people continue to pile up, human lives broken on the wheel of suffering. How much longer will this abuse of Aboriginal people be tolerated?  Marcia Langton
The 2002 film, Rabbit-Proof Fence, directed by Phil Noyce, is advertised as “a true story”. It is anything but. The film tells at least ten major untruths. (…) The three girls Molly, Gracie and Daisy were not taken by surprise and removed by force from Jigalong. The violent removal scene in the film is entirely fictional. The girls’ mothers knew beforehand they were to go with Constable Riggs and, without any protest, they reluctantly acquiesced in the removal. The girls left Jigalong on horseback, not locked in a motor car. (…) The Western Australian Chief Protector, A.O. Neville, did not remove the girls as part of some government plan to “breed out the colour”. Molly, aged 14, and Gracie, aged 11, were removed because they were having sex with the white fence workers who stopped at the Jigalong depot overnight. Fifteen years earlier, Molly’s mother had done the same with a young English fence inspector, who soon moved on. At the time, in all Australian states, under-age white girls were removed for the same reason. 3. Daisy, aged 8, was removed because she was betrothed to marry a full-blood Aboriginal man old enough to be her grandfather. In traditional Aboriginal society, girls this age could be married. They had sexual relations immediately. Daisy could be removed from Jigalong under the 1905 Aboriginal Act because she was a half-caste girl. Had she been a full-blood Aborigine she could not have been legally removed and would have had to go through with the marriage. The lay missionary Mary Bennett told the Moseley Royal Commission in 1934 that if full-blood girls who married at this age conceived, the babies always died either before or during childbirth, and the child mother often died with them. (…) The Moore River Settlement was not an institution solely for children, as the film depicts. It was a welfare settlement for Aborigines of all ages. Most of its children went there with their parents. When the three girls arrived in 1931, unaccompanied children were in a minority, comprising only 64 of the 400 inhabitants. Between 1915 and 1940, an average of only ten unaccompanied children a year were sent to Moore River. In 1931, Molly, Gracie and Daisy were three of only four children in the whole state sent there, out of an Aboriginal population of 29,000. Keith Windschuttle
Not only is the charge of genocide unwarranted, but so is the term “Stolen Generations”. Aboriginal children were never removed from their families in order to put an end to Aboriginality or, indeed, to serve any improper government policy or program. The small numbers of Aboriginal child removals in the twentieth century were almost all based on traditional grounds of child welfare. Most children affected had been orphaned, abandoned, des­titute, neglected or subject to various forms of domestic violence, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. Historians have given Western Australia a particularly loathsome reputation, but when you examine the records you find the majority of children placed in state Aborigi­nal settlements were from destitute families and they went there with their parents. In New South Wales, some children became part of an apprenticeship indenture program to help Abo­riginal youth qualify for the workforce. A significant number of other children were vol­untarily placed in institutions by Aboriginal parents to give them an education and a better chance in life. (…) None of the policies that allowed the removal of Aboriginal children were unique to them. They were removed for the same reason as white children in similar circumstances. Even the program to place Aboriginal children in apprenticeships was a replica of measures that had already been applied to white children in welfare institutions in New South Wales for several decades, and to poor English children for several centuries before that. (…) In some states officials treated Aboriginal people who lived on reserves, government stations, and on state-funded missions, depots and settlements as though they were the equivalent of white inmates of welfare institutions. I have no desire in this book to defend these last measures since they effec­tively treated Aborigines as second-class citizens. However, the criti­cal question in the debate over the Stolen Generations is not whether all Aboriginal policy was free of discrimination. Rather, it is about why some Aboriginal children were removed from their parents. The answer was the same for black children as it was for white. They were subject to the standard child welfare policies of their time. This is not to say the laws were all the same for black and white children. In some states they were quite different. Nonetheless, the intentions behind the laws that allowed the state to remove children, whether black or white, were the same.(…) full-blood children were rarely, and in many places never, removed from their parents. By the early decades of the twentieth century, most Aborigines in the southern half of the Australian continent were people of part descent, but in the north­ern half, full-descent populations predominated. In the Kimberley district and the Northern Territory, half-castes constituted a small minority of indigenous people. From Federation to the Second World War, the policies of the Queensland, West Australian and Commonwealth govern­ments were to preserve full-blood Aborigi­nal com­munities inviolate. By the 1920s and 1930s, when it became clear the full-blood population was not dying out as previously thought, but was actually increasing in some places, these govern­ments estab­lished reserves of millions of acres and passed laws forbidding Europeans and Asians from entering Aboriginal commu­nities, employing or remov­ing full-blood Aborigi­nes without permission, having sexual relations with them, or pro­viding them with alcohol or opium. Overwhelmingly, in the north of the continent, the Aboriginal children subject to removal policies came from the minority of half-castes and those of lesser descent. They were removed for both traditional welfare reasons and to help them gain some education and training for the workforce. In the local idiom, the latter was known as “giv­ing them a chance”. The only full-blood children taken into care were those chronically ill, dangerously malnourished or severely disabled, but this was uncommon. Less urgent cases of child abuse and neglect among full-bloods were ignored and simply regarded as Aboriginal business.
This is yet another reason why the charge of genocide is untenable. The United Nations Convention on Genocide, Article 2, defines acts of genocide as those “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”. Half-castes and those of lesser descent did not constitute any such group. Their identity varied enormously. Some saw themselves and were treated by others as Aborigines, but there were many who did not. In some communities, full-blood people accepted half-castes; in others they were not regarded as true Aborigines at all; in some cases, half-caste babies born to tribal women were routinely put to death. (…) many half-caste people (…) did not identify as members of a distinct racial commu­nity, and indeed, were more concerned to emulate white people and live like other Australians. To say there were no Stolen Generations is not to argue there were no forcible removals of Aboriginal children from their fami­lies. There were many forcible removals in the period under discus­sion, just as there are today. The children of parents who neglected them, who let them go hungry, who abused them with violence, who prostituted them, who let them run wild with no supervision, or who drank themselves into an alcoholic stupor while leaving the chil­dren to their own devices, all faced forcible removals—often by the police and occasionally under scenes of great duress. Academic historians and Aboriginal activists, however, have redefined all these legitimate removals as rac­ist and genocidal. Only by this means have they been able to mount the semblance of a case. A detailed study of the surviving individual case records in New South Wales in Chapter Two reveals an array of reasons for removal far too broad to fit into any single-minded bureaucratic program. Some Aboriginal children do have genuine grounds for griev­ance, but they are not alone. In the rough justice of child welfare policy, white children could be treated harshly too, especially if their mothers were unmarried. Until as recently as the 1970s, such children, white or black, were frequently removed on grounds that we would not approve today. Before governments began paying pensions to unmarried mothers in the 1970s, children could be deemed neglected because they lacked a father, and thus a means of support. Until then, unmarried white teenage girls who fell pregnant were strongly pressured by both church and state to give up their babies, who were often taken from them at birth and adopted out to other families. But in these cases the child’s fate was determined not by its colour but by its illegitimacy. There was a common presumption throughout Australia that unmarried teenage mothers, black or white, could not and should not be left to bring up the children they bore.
Some people removed as children remember their former family life as a time when they were happy and well cared for. They recall their removal as an event of great trauma. There is no reason to doubt they are telling the truth. Some of their testimony is inher­ently convincing. They could not possibly have invented the kind of trauma they described. There were others, however, who remembered trauma from another source—their own homes (…) The statistics of child removals (…) reveal that those most commonly affected in New South Wales were not the very young but those at workforce entry age, which in rural districts in the first half of the twentieth century was normally thirteen, fourteen and fif­teen years. This was because of the influence of the state’s apprentice indenture scheme. In Western Australia and the Northern Territory the age of the few separations correlated with primary school age. This was because many part-Aboriginal children in these regions were sent by their parents to board at government and religious hostels and institutions that sent them to school. Whatever their circumstances, it was rare for babies and infants to be removed. In one archive of 800 children removed between 1907 and 1932 in New South Wales, only seven were babies aged twelve months or less and only eighteen were aged between twelve months and two years. Some governments had poli­cies that strictly forbade removing Aboriginal babies unless they were orphans or urgently needed hospitalisation for disease or malnutrition.
The case records show that a clear majority of children removed in New South Wales returned either to their families or to Aboriginal communities. In fact, welfare authorities gave the older ones assistance such as money for the rail fare home, and usually accompanied the younger ones on the train. In other states, especially Western Austra­lia, gov­ernment institutions like the notorious Moore River Settle­ment and religious missions across northern Australia admitted the majority of child inmates with their parents. Institutions for indigent Aborigines of all ages have been widely but wrongly characterised by historians, television producers and film-makers as homes exclu­sively for children, when they never were. Rather than acting for racist reasons, government officers and religious missionaries wanted to rescue children from welfare camps and shanty settlements riddled with alcoholism, domestic violence and sexual abuse. Evidence throughout this book shows public servants, doctors, police and missionaries appalled to find Aboriginal girls between five and eight years of age suffering from sexual abuse and venereal disease. They were dismayed to sometimes find girls of nine and ten years old hired out as prostitutes by their own parents. That was why the great majority of children removed by authorities were female. The fringe camps where this occurred were early twentieth-century versions of today’s notorious remote communi­ties of central and northern Australia. Indeed, there is a direct line of descent from one to the other—the culture of these camps has been reproducing itself across rural Australia for more than 100 years. Government officials had a duty to rescue children from such settings, as much then as they do now. From the perspective of child welfare officials, the major problem was that state treasuries would not give the rele­vant departments and boards sufficient funds to accommodate all the neglected and abused children who should have been removed. Keith Windschuttle
In Western Australia and the Northern Territory, the two greatest villains in this story were A.O.Neville and Cecil ‘Mick’ Cook. Both publicly endorsed a program to "breed out the colour" with the ultimate aim of biologically absorbing the Aboriginal people into the white population. This was an obnoxious policy that well deserved Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of Neville as a fastidious, obsessive bureaucrat in the film Rabbit-Proof Fence. However, it was also a policy that had only a minor focus on children. It was primarily concerned with controlling Aboriginal marriage and cohabitation patterns in order to foster the rapid assimilation of part-Aborigines. To define the policy as part of the Stolen Generations thesis is a mistake. In any case, it was almost a complete failure. In the ’30s, marriages arranged by these administrators totalled less than 10 a year. Neville proved as inept at rounding up children as he did at match-making. The Moseley royal commission recorded in 1935 that over three years, the one government settlement in the state’s south at Moore River took in only 64 unattended children. This was out of a total Aboriginal population in the state of 19,000. It was less than 1 per cent of all Aboriginal children in the state. Neville dealt with handfuls of children, not generations. The only successful program from this era was the NSW Aboriginal apprenticeship system, which operated from the 1880s to the 1940s. It provided real jobs and skills and gave young Aborigines a way out of the alcohol-soaked, handout-dominated camps and reserves of their parents. Indeed, it is a policy that could well be revived today to rescue children from the sexual assault and substance abuse prevalent in the remote communities. Keith Windschuttle
The United Nations convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide (and I quote from Article 2) as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. Such as; Killing members of the group Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group (Nations, 1948)  (…) Yehuda Bauer, a leading authority on the Holocaust, argues that the definition in the Genocide Convention contains a fundamental flaw. This flaw she says “Is the failure to distinguish between policies which aim at cultural suppression and those which seek to achieve their ends through physical destruction” This to me means that the intention if whether or not a group means to wipe out another groups matters. If the intention is to force another group to assimilate to their culture, (i.e Colonizaion) That this should be thought separately and not just under the one label being Genocide. (Markus 2001, p2) Professor Andrew Markus of Monash University agrees with Bauer, that the current definition of genocide is too broad and policies of assimilation are being labeled as genocide which he thinks is incorrect. He defines genocide as; “The attempt to bring about the disappearance of an ethnic or racial group by deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its partial physical destruction and including selective mass killing.” Under this definition Should Australia be labeled as genocide? Historian Keith Windschuttle in his book The Fabrication of Aboriginal History writes that Australia should not be guilty of Genocide, but perhaps the lesser crime of Ethnocide which Markus defines as; “The attempt to bring about the disappearance of an ethnic or racial group by suppression of its culture, language, and religion, but stopping short of physical destruction.” I’m not too sure that Australia’s colonial history fits entirely into Markus’s definition of Ethnocide. We often think of the Aborigines as one ethnic group, but in fact they are made up of various ethnic groups, who have had vastly different experiences. For sure some of the crimes against some Indigenous groups could be argued to be Ethnocide and not Genocide, but perhaps not all of them. In his 2001 article “Genocide in Australia”, he compares the experience Indigenous Australians endured from the British, and the experience the Jewish peoples had with the Nazis during the second world War. He concludes that the Jewish people endured not only genocide but the more extreme crime of “Holocaust” which he writes is “The attempt to bring about the disappearance of an ethnic or racial group by deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its total physical destruction and including killing all members of the group.” (Markus 2001, p5) I’m sure many people would agree that what happened to the Jew’s in World War Two was different to what happened to Aboriginal Australians from the British. If this is true then is it right that the term Genocide be given to both accounts? the governments official position on this issue is that what happened to the Indigenous populations during Australia’s colonization was not and should not be called genocide, but was in fact a by-product of colonialism from a time where the western world was ignorant to the cultural ideologies of indigenous peoples. In December 1992 Paul Keating was the first Prime Minister to publically admit the terrible crimes of Australia’s past. He said: “It begins, I think, with that act of recognition. Recognition that it was we who did the dispossessing. We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life. We brought the diseases. The alcohol. We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practiced discrimination and exclusion” (Polya, 2008) This message was not humbly accepted by all Australians. Keith Windschuttle refers to the colonization as a hard step towards “progress. He was actually opposed to the Apology Kevin Rudd gave back in 2008. He says “The apology confirmed Aboriginal people’s core identity as victims of injustice, rather than potential beneficiaries like everyone else of the prosperous, liberal, democratic, egalitarian society. Which was established here since 1788.” (Windschuttle, 2010) Funny he should call it an egalitarian society established in 1788. I’m not sure that it was for Indigenous Australians, or the majority of women for that matter. Windschuttle thinks that the apology confirms aborigines as victims and perhaps they are! I would argue that the apology is an important step forward in allowing the victims of injustices to move forward. Professor Colin Tatz is an Australian scholar who is well known for his writings on Genocide studies. His thinks the Australian governments avoidance of the word Genocide is ridiculous. He says, “They talk about pacifying, killing, cleansing, excluding, exterminating, starving, poisoning, shooting, beheading, sterilizing, exiling, removing – but, avoid the term genocide. Are they ignorant of genocide theory and practice? Or simply reluctant to taint “the land of the fair go” with so heinous and disgracing a label?" If our history fits UN’s definition of genocide, then why don’t we call it as it is? The he biggest killer of Indigenous Australians was the introduction of many diseases from the arriving convicts and settlers. Diseases such as smallpox, typhoid, tuberculosis, whooping cough, influenza, pneumonia, measles and venereal disease seriously depleted Aboriginal numbers on the continent. The numbers of deaths purely from disease is unknown. However the combination of disease, loss of land and direct violence are estimated to have reduced the Aboriginal population by around 90% between the years 1788 and 1900. What is contested on this issue, is whether or not these Disease’s were deliberately exposed to the Aboriginals‘ as an act of extermination. Colin Tatz wrote: “it is likely that infection of the Aborigines was a deliberate exterminating act as no one has yet refuted this hypothesis.” Keith Windschuttle disputes this argument. He wonders if the soldiers and settlers even understand enough about “Germ Theory” to know how to spread diseases? And Wouldn’t it have spread purely by making contact with them? A point that has been widely documented is that during the early decades of colonial history, Australian governments had said that they looked forward to a date when Australia would one day be racially pure, home only to the White race. (We all know the time in German history where this sort of racist dogma was also used) When disease struck the Aborigines, it was thought that they would all eventually die-out. Governments did not actively facilitate this by performing mass killings, but little money and effort was used for aboriginal peoples needs. So, can disease be considered a form of genocide?? Well it depends.. some scholars like Markus say the “killings must be deliberate to be considered as genocide”. So it depends on whether or not the disease was introduced deliberately. Others like Matthew Storey argue that “genocide does not require malice”. I think this is a good point because although the Nazi’s performed terrible crimes, they didn’t think that they were evil people or that what they were doing was evil. They thought they were doing good and believed they had a sacred duty to the world to get rid of the Jews. Lucas Marie

Enlèvements d’enfants à leurs familles avec leur accord pour cause d’abus sexuels ou de mariages prénubiaux présentés comme enlèvements forcés, pretendu plan d’éradication de la race aborigène, lieu d’accueil présenté abusivement comme camp pour enfants seuls exclusivement …

Après le mariage,… le génocide pour tous !

En ces temps étranges où, à l’instar des calendriers d’antan, chaque jour a son lot de saints martyrs …

En cette journée où, hasard du calendrier, coïncident les trois fêtes des Samis scandinaves, du Waitangi néozélandais et du Bob Marley jamaïcain …

Et après la Nakba palestinenne et bien sûr le soi-disant génocide amérindien …

Comment ne pas repenser à cette sorte de psycho-drame qu’avait rejoué la société australienne il y a six ans quand l’Etat était intervenu pour mettre un terme à toutes sortes d’abus notamment contre les enfants aborigènes du Territoire du Nord ?

Et, suite au célèbre roman de Doris Pilkington de 1996 adapté au cinéma en 2002 sur les prétendues "générations volées" de la génération de ses parents, au débat régulièrement ravivé en Australie par médias ou films interposés sur le prétendu génocide aborigène?

Mais aussi à ce si singulier souci de la victime qui fait toute la grandeur de cette société occidentale judéo-chrétienne …

Comme sa vulnérabilité à toutes sortes de dérives et chantages plus ou moins intéressés ?

Aborigènes

L’état d’urgence

De notre envoyé spécial, Jean-Michel Demetz

L’Express

23/11/2007

Alcool, drogue, violence… Face aux maux qui accablent les premiers habitants de l’Australie, le gouvernement fédéral a décidé d’intervenir dans le Territoire du Nord et de rompre avec l’assistanat. Mais comment s’adapter à la modernité sans se perdre?

Tel le serpent luisant des mythes aborigènes, le ruban d’asphalte rompt l’immense monotonie de la terre rouge du désert. De la route, seuls quelques chameaux retournés à l’état sauvage animent cette étendue désolée, parsemée de buissons et d’acacias, que trouble quelquefois un willy willy, cette mini-tornade de sable, source de tant de contes mystérieux. Dans ce c?ur géographique du continent austral vivent les populations les plus marginalisées du pays. A deux heures de voiture d’Alice Springs, Hermannsburg, une ancienne mission fondée pour arracher au nomadisme les premiers habitants du désert, somnole, loin du monde. A l’embranchement où commence la piste, un large panneau enjoint aux résidents de ne pas battre leur femme. Et, dès l’entrée du bourg, des canettes de bière jonchent le sol.

Une population marginalisée

455 000 Aborigènes, soit 2,5% de la population australienne totale et présents dans tous les Etats. Mais, dans le Territoire du Nord (où ils sont 52 000), ils représentent 30% de la population et détiennent 49% des terres.

60% ont moins de 25 ans. Leur espérance de vie est inférieure de dix-sept ans à la moyenne nationale.

Leur état sanitaire est mauvais.

1 prisonnier sur 5 est aborigène.

Le revenu par foyer: 60% de celui d’un non-Aborigène (en moyenne).

4% des Aborigènes ont un diplôme universitaire (21% des Australiens).

Aucun Aborigène ne siège au Parlement fédéral.

En septembre dernier, le Premier ministre australien, John Howard, est venu à Hermannsburg. Il a expliqué pourquoi le gouvernement fédéral avait instauré, trois mois plus tôt, des mesures d’urgence dans les communautés aborigènes du Territoire du Nord ravagées par l’alcoolisme et l’anomie. Il a raconté comment des commissions d’enquête avaient mis au jour l’ampleur des violences, y compris sexuelles, à l’encontre des femmes et des enfants – bébés inclus. Il a justifié le plan d’action conçu à Canberra pour les townships de cette lointaine province largement désertique, vaste comme trois fois la France: prohibition de l’alcool et de la pornographie, retenue à la source d’une partie des allocations sociales – seule ressource de la plupart des Aborigènes du désert – afin de prendre directement en charge les frais de cantine des enfants, délaissés par des parents devenus dépendants de la drogue ou du jeu, pénalités en cas d’absentéisme scolaire, examens de santé systématiques pour les mineurs, renforts de police. Il a rassuré aussi en affirmant que l’armée avait été mobilisée dans cette opération juste pour des raisons logistiques – certains peuplements sont distants de centaines de kilomètres du commissariat le plus proche. "Car, quand on a entendu que les militaires allaient intervenir, ce fut la panique, raconte Gus Williams, un grand-père bombardé, grâce à ses talents passés de chanteur de folk, à la tête du conseil local de Hermannsburg. Le bruit s’était répandu que les soldats venaient nous arracher nos enfants." Un cauchemar récurrent, qui remonte à la politique, mise en place du début du xxe siècle aux années 1960, qui consistait, en vue de favoriser l’assimilation des Aborigènes, à enlever à leurs familles des milliers de gamins noirs afin de les placer dans des foyers blancs ou des orphelinats. Pour beaucoup, le souvenir de ces "enfants volés" reste une blessure ouverte.

Mavis Malbunka: "C’est difficile d’accepter l’aide des Blancs, mais la situation ne pouvait pas durer ainsi."

"Le Premier ministre ne nous a pas promis l’arc-en-ciel, concède le vieux Gus. Mais il m’a écouté quand je lui ai dit que nous aurions besoin d’un centre d’accueil où les femmes battues pourraient trouver refuge quand le grog [terme local pour désigner l'alcool, la bière avalée par packs entiers] rend les hommes fous." De fait, le plan d’urgence ne semble pas, pour l’heure, avoir changé grand-chose à Hermannsburg. Une travailleuse sociale confirme que les adolescents continuent de boire à la fête organisée pour eux le vendredi soir. Et que nombre d’enfants sniffent encore l’essence, quand bien même les services sociaux fournissent un encadrement extra-scolaire généreux – ce jour-là, des footballeurs sont venus de la ville pour échanger des balles avec les gamins. Au dispensaire, Marj l’infirmière, une solide Néo-Zélandaise, aux prises avec une recrudescence de maladies sexuellement transmissibles et des cas de femmes battues, ne s’en étonne guère: "Ecoutez-les: ils disent eux-mêmes qu’ils sont devenus des étrangers dans leur propre pays. Si les pouvoirs publics veulent vraiment les aider, tout est à repenser. Savez-vous pourquoi les toilettes de leurs maisons sont bouchées? Parce qu’ils utilisent des pierres pour se torcher, comme avant dans le désert. Il faudrait des toilettes sèches, et autre chose que ces préfabriqués dessinés pour un couple et deux enfants occidentaux et totalement inadaptés à un mode de vie clanique!"

Repenser de fond en comble la question aborigène, c’est l’ambition justement affichée par le Premier ministre, résolu à rompre avec quatre décennies d’assistanat. Longtemps, à des milliers de kilomètres du désert, sur la côte, dans les banlieues ourlées de plages de sable fin où se presse l’Australie multiculturelle, tout occupée, le week-end, à suivre le match de cricket et à organiser le barbecue familial, nul ne se souciait de ces concitoyens-là. La plupart des Australiens n’ont jamais vraiment approché d’Aborigènes. Certes, le grand public s’enthousiasme pour les exploits de la championne olympique Cathy Freeman, les jeunes cadres jouent à spéculer sur les ?uvres des peintres aborigènes exposées dans les galeries de Melbourne ou de Sydney, et les adolescents élisent la chanteuse Casey Donovan comme l’Australian Idol de l’année. Mais de là à se mobiliser pour l’amélioration de la condition des premiers habitants du continent…

Herman Malbunka: "A l’époque des Vieux, nous ne connaissions pas tous ces problèmes."

C’est pourquoi l’initiative gouvernementale, lancée en juin, en a surpris plus d’un. Après onze années aux affaires marquées par une relative indifférence, le Premier ministre, John Howard, a en effet défendu l’ingérence du pouvoir fédéral dans les affaires du Territoire du Nord avec des accents dignes d’un acte de contrition. Ne rien faire face à la "tragique détérioration des normes sociales" serait inexcusable: "Nous avons notre Katrina, ici et maintenant", a-t-il déclaré, se référant aux violences commises à La Nouvelle-Orléans frappée par l’ouragan et à l’impuissance des pouvoirs publics à y faire face. Plus encore, ce solide conservateur, qui, malgré toutes les pressions, a toujours refusé de présenter des "excuses" aux Aborigènes pour les torts passés, a solennellement promis, en même temps qu’il appelait ses concitoyens aux urnes le 24 novembre, un référendum en 2008 ou 2009 pour inclure dans le préambule de la Constitution la reconnaissance d’un "statut spécial" comme première nation. Il a rendu hommage à l’apport de la culture indigène au génie australien. Un double geste de "réconciliation" immédiatement salué par l’opposition travailliste.

Dans les communautés du désert, l’interventionnisme musclé du pouvoir fédéral est diversement apprécié. A Ipolera, quelques familles se sont installées autour d’un point d’eau. Mavis et Herman Malbunka surveillent un de leurs petits-enfants juché sur un poulain. "C’est difficile d’accepter l’aide des Blancs, soupire-t-elle. Mais la situation ne pouvait pas durer ainsi. Les filles vendaient leur corps contre de l’essence à sniffer. Et, maintenant que le flot d’alcool s’est ralenti, il y a moins de femmes battues." Lui acquiesce: "A l’époque des Vieux, nous ne connaissions pas tous ces problèmes…" Ancien stockman – le cow-boy australien – il parle avec nostalgie de sa jeunesse, du temps où les clans vivaient autour des fermes qui trouvaient, contre des vivres et un peu d’argent, à employer tout le monde. C’était avant que les syndicats n’imposent un salaire minimum qui a conduit les fermiers blancs à se débarrasser des Aborigènes, main-d’?uvre devenue trop chère, réduite dès lors à tendre la sébile à l’Etat providence. Herman espère déjà la seconde phase promise par les autorités: "Plus d’éducation, plus de formation, c’est indispensable pour nos jeunes qui veulent aller à la ville." Certes, sa femme, Mavis, est fière de montrer comment elle sélectionne, dans les différentes espèces d’eucalyptus alentour, ici des feuilles, là des racines pour se soigner, là encore des vers blancs, gourmandise qui croque sous la dent. Mais elle aussi sait bien que l’avenir de sa descendance se jouera ailleurs.

Les premiers Australiens

60 000-40 000 ans avant Jésus-Christ Arrivée probable des premiers habitants de l’Australie.

1788 Début de la colonisation britannique.

1962 Les Aborigènes obtiennent le droit de vote.

1967 Par référendum, les Aborigènes deviennent des citoyens désormais recensés.

1971 La justice récuse la notion de droit foncier indigène: l’Australie d’avant la colonisation était terra nullius.

1992 La justice, par l’arrêt Mabo, reconnaît les droits de propriété préexistant à la colonisation.

1998 Le Native Title Amendment Bill limite la revendication foncière aborigène.

A Alice Springs, le ton est autrement critique. Directeur du Central Land Council, l’organisme représentatif des propriétaires coutumiers de la région, David Ross blâme "une intervention précipitée et sans vision à long terme", même s’il reconnaît que les mesures sur l’alcool et l’annonce de renforts de policiers sont bien accueillies. En ville, des activistes préparent une manifestation contre les dispositions en vigueur, sous la bannière: "Halte au génocide!" "Rendez-vous compte, s’étrangle Jackie Baxter, militante de l’association Générations volées: parce que je vis dans un towncamp [une banlieue d'Alice Springs bâtie voilà trente ans pour loger les nomades attirés par la ville], je n’ai pas le droit d’ouvrir une bouteille de vin avec mon barbecue dans mon jardin. Ce n’est pas de la discrimination raciale, ça?" Eileen Hoosan, elle, ne comprend pas pourquoi la retraite de son mari, qui a servi dans l’armée, est désormais soumise à des prélèvements automatiques pour payer le loyer ou la nourriture. "L’argent promis [1,2 milliard de dollars australiens] ira nourrir les bureaucrates", s’insurge la militante Bard Shaw. Directrice de la radio indigène Caama, Jennifer Howard fustige "l’absence de concertation et de consultation préalables, qui auraient dû précéder l’adoption des mesures d’urgence". "Normal, opine Owen Cole, patron d’Imparja TV, la télévision indigène. Le gouvernement n’a qu’un but: regrouper progressivement les communautés isolées dont l’entretien lui coûte cher. C’est injuste." Objecte-t-on que l’exode rural touche aussi l’Australie des petites villes de fermiers blancs que la réponse fuse, automatique: "Mais c’est nier notre rapport spécial à cette terre…"

Sue Gordon: "Notre seule issue, c’est l’intégration."

Le discours est rodé. Il mêle culpabilité de l’homme blanc, revendication d’un traité, droit à la souveraineté, restitution de l’ensemble des terres… C’est la même antienne que symbolise, à Canberra, face au Parlement, la "tente de l’ambassade", une baraque où, depuis 1972, Isabel E. Coe entretient la mystique du "feu sacré, conscience de nos ancêtres, qui guide notre peuple" et où elle vitupère "Howard le dégueulasse, qui a tué tant d’Aborigènes" (sic).

"Le seul défaut de cette intervention, c’est qu’elle aurait dû se produire plus tôt": chargée par le gouvernement de superviser l’opération, Sue Gordon ne cache pas son agacement face aux "sempiternelles critiques". Parce qu’elle connaît bien le dossier des violences sexuelles dans les communautés, cette magistrate pour mineurs d’Australie-Occidentale sait qu’il y avait urgence. Aborigène élevée chez les Blancs, elle a été une "enfant volée". Arrachée à l’âge de 4 ans à sa famille, elle n’a revu sa mère et sa s?ur que trente ans plus tard. Victime de cette politique d’assimilation forcée, elle en mesure toutes les facettes: "Petite, je n’ai pas connu de fêtes de famille, mais ça m’a donné une chance de réussir. Ce n’est pas à moi qu’il faudrait demander pardon, mais à ma mère. Et c’est trop tard." Sue Gordon regarde vers l’avant: "Les Aborigènes ne pourraient plus vivre à part dans un Etat séparé, comme certains font mine d’y croire. Notre seule issue, c’est celle de l’intégration. Et cela passe par un effort sur l’éducation, afin de rattraper notre retard."

Noel Pearson: "L’Etat providence a fait des Aborigènes des assistés. Nous devons rejoindre l’économie de marché."

Comment s’adapter à la modernité sans se perdre? La réponse apportée par Noel Pearson, un chef aborigène du cap York, à la pointe nord-est de l’île-continent, a influencé le Premier ministre. "Il est temps de sortir du statut de victime pour embrasser une culture de responsabilité, prône ce jeune et brillant universitaire, détesté par nombre d’activistes indigènes. Ce dont souffrent aujourd’hui les Aborigènes, c’est de leur dépendance envers l’Etat providence, qui fait d’eux des assistés. Nous devons rejoindre l’économie de marché. Et, pour cela, le gouvernement doit s’engager, dans le long terme, sur l’éducation, la formation, l’accès à la propriété privée."

Qu’il soit conservateur ou travailliste, le nouveau cabinet sorti des urnes du 24 novembre saura-t-il entendre cette recommandation? La bureaucratie de Canberra est-elle capable d’imaginer une politique sur mesure? A l’heure où l’Australie, emportée par la croissance de l’économie chinoise, connaît un boom sans précédent, il lui reste à prouver qu’elle est capable de réserver l’investissement minimal afin d’assurer l’avenir de ses premiers habitants.

Voir aussi:

The Ten Big Fictions of Rabbit-Proof Fence

Keith Windschuttle

May 2010

The 2002 film, Rabbit-Proof Fence, directed by Phil Noyce, is advertised as “a true story”. It is anything but. The film tells at least ten major untruths.

1. The three girls Molly, Gracie and Daisy were not taken by surprise and removed by force from Jigalong. The violent removal scene in the film is entirely fictional. The girls’ mothers knew beforehand they were to go with Constable Riggs and, without any protest, they reluctantly acquiesced in the removal. The girls left Jigalong on horseback, not locked in a motor car.

2. The Western Australian Chief Protector, A.O. Neville, did not remove the girls as part of some government plan to “breed out the colour”. Molly, aged 14, and Gracie, aged 11, were removed because they were having sex with the white fence workers who stopped at the Jigalong depot overnight. Fifteen years earlier, Molly’s mother had done the same with a young English fence inspector, who soon moved on. At the time, in all Australian states, under-age white girls were removed for the same reason.

3. Daisy, aged 8, was removed because she was betrothed to marry a full-blood Aboriginal man old enough to be her grandfather. In traditional Aboriginal society, girls this age could be married. They had sexual relations immediately. Daisy could be removed from Jigalong under the 1905 Aboriginal Act because she was a half-caste girl. Had she been a full-blood Aborigine she could not have been legally removed and would have had to go through with the marriage. The lay missionary Mary Bennett told the Moseley Royal Commission in 1934 that if full-blood girls who married at this age conceived, the babies always died either before or during childbirth, and the child mother often died with them.

4. The speech in the film to a Perth ladies charity society by actor Kenneth Branagh, playing A.O. Neville, was never made by the real Neville. The words did not come from a transcript found in any historical archive but were created for the film by screenwriter Christine Olsen.

5. When the girls were removed in 1931, Neville did not have control over the marriages of all the Aborigines in the state. The Western Australian government never gave him either the legal authority or the funding to manage Aboriginal people’s affairs in the way the film alleges.

6. The Moore River Settlement was not an institution solely for children, as the film depicts. It was a welfare settlement for Aborigines of all ages. Most of its children went there with their parents. When the three girls arrived in 1931, unaccompanied children were in a minority, comprising only 64 of the 400 inhabitants. Between 1915 and 1940, an average of only ten unaccompanied children a year were sent to Moore River. In 1931, Molly, Gracie and Daisy were three of only four children in the whole state sent there, out of an Aboriginal population of 29,000.

7. The Moore River Settlement was not, as the film portrays it, a prison. Most Aboriginal people went there voluntarily and temporarily to gain access to welfare. Between 1930 and 1934 Moore River admitted 1067 people, but over the same period 1030 people voluntarily left.

8. On their great trek home, the girls were not pursued by a sympathetic black tracker.

9. They did not receive any help along the way from a sexually-exploited Aboriginal domestic servant.

10. They did not cross the north-western desert unassisted, nearly perishing in the process. The girls were eventually brought home to Jigalong by a white cattle station contractor, riding on his camels.

The filmmakers did very little original research themselves. Instead, their main source the book written by Molly’s daughter, Doris Pilkington, called Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence (1996), which they adapted with creative licence. If history teachers insist on discussing this topic, they will find the book a much more reliable resource than the film. Indeed, Pilkington did a good job of research and most of what she says is backed by evidence. Her only serious mistake was to believe that the Moore River Settlement was an institution exclusively for children. Her book does not contain a number of the film’s anachronisms about Neville’s ad­ministration and, unlike the film, does not invent scenes for dramatic effect.

All the above information about the three girls is discussed in more detail and with complete references to sources in the Preface to The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, Volume Three, The Stolen Generations. Chapter Eight contains a detailed account of the number of admissions, policies and conditions at the Moore River Settlement.

In December 2009, the film’s director Phil Noyce and screenwriter Christine Olsen responded in the press to my criticisms of their work. Noyce said I was “either extremely lazy or just plain dishonest” in my examination of the evidence (Sydney Morning Herald, 15 December 2009, p 4). To establish their case, Noyce and Olsen produced a letter by the Superintendent of the Jigalong depot, A.J. Keeling, written on July 10, 1930. Although Keeling had earlier argued for the removal of the three half-caste girls because they “were not getting a fair chance as the blacks consider the half-castes inferior to them”, in this letter he reconsidered his position. “They lean very much towards the black and on second thought I don’t suppose there would be much gained in removing them.” But the letter does not prove anything. When he received Keeling’s letter in July, Neville did not act on it. He did not take a decision to remove the girls until five months later. The real catalyst was a letter he received from a different source. On 9 December 1930, Mrs Chellow of Murra Munda Station near Jigalong wrote to him about Molly and Gracie’s behavior. “I think you should see about them as they are running wild with the whites”. It was only after receiving this letter that Neville put in motion the procedures that would eventually see the girls sent to Moore River in July 1931.

At the time, ladies like Mrs Chellow could not frankly discuss sex­ual matters in an official letter, but there is no doubting the message she wanted to convey. “Running wild”, when applied to girls, was a contemporary euphemism for promiscuity; “running wild with the whites” meant Molly and Gracie were having sex with the whites. Doris Pilkington disputes this. She responded to my interpretation by saying her mother told her “running wild” simply meant that the girls were watching musterers catch and brand calves, “cheering them on and all that”. (The Australian, 15 December 2009, p 7) It is understandable that Mrs Pilkington would want to defend her mother’s reputation but women of Mrs Chellow’s generation (like my own mother and her friends, who commonly used the term to describe promiscuous teenage girls) knew well what it meant. The phrase came from the title song of the 1923 American musical review “Runnin’ Wild” by Arthur Gibbs, Joseph Grey and Leo Wood. Anyone in doubt about its contemporary meaning should check out the movie Some Like it Hot where Marilyn Monroe sings a very raunchy version.

Voir également:

Australia

Why There Were No Stolen Generations (Part One)

Keith Windschuttle

Quadrant

Most Australians would be taken aback to find that whenever academics in the field of genocide studies discuss history’s worst exam­ples, their own country is soon mentioned. The March 2001 edition of the London-based Journal of Genocide Research indi­cated the com­pany Australia now keeps. That edition carried six arti­cles, in the following order:

“The German Police and Genocide in Belorussia 1941–1944. Part 1: Police Deployment and Nazi Genocidal Directives”, by Eric Haberer

“Comparative Policy and Differential Practice in the Treatment of Minorities in Wartime: The United States Archival Evidence on the Armenians and Greeks in the Ottoman Empire”, by Rouben Paul Adalian

“Final Solutions, Crimes Against Mankind: On the Genesis and Criticism of the Concept of Genocide”, by Uwe Makino

“The Holocaust, the Aborigines, and the Bureaucracy of Destruction: An Australian Dimension of Genocide”, by Paul R. Bartrop

“Did Ben-Gurion Reverse his Position on Bombing Auschwitz?”, by Rich­ard H. Levy

“Kalmykia, Victim of Stalinist Genocide: From Oblivion to Reassertion”, by François Grin

According to Paul Bartrop of Deakin University, Australia deserves this place in the academic literature because our past policies towards Aboriginal children were comparable to those of Nazi Germany. “It did not involve killing,” he admitted, “but its ultimate objective was the same as Hitler’s was for the Jews; namely, that at the end of the process the target group would have disappeared from the face of the earth.” Hence he declared with confidence: “It is impossible to con­clude otherwise than that Australia in the 1930s was possessed of an administrative culture that in reality practised geno­cide.” In its first ten years from 1999 to 2009, the quarterly Journal of Genocide Research published twelve major articles of this kind about Australia. This was more than three times as many as the journal car­ried in the same period on the regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia. In Volume 10, Issue 4, 2008, no fewer than three of the seven articles were on Australia: one on the Stolen Generations and two on colo­nial history. Indicting Australia for genocide has become an aca­demic obsession.

Australia’s Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission made this charge notorious when in April 1997 it published Bringing Them Home, the report of its National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families. The report accused Australia of breaching the United Nations convention on genocide. For its historical analysis, the Commission relied heavily upon the work of a small number of university-based histori­ans. Since then, the number of academics and academic programs in this field has grown exponentially to cash in on the demand created. Today, very few countries, and certainly no others of our size, devote the quantity of university resources that we now do to geno­cide studies. The field is concerned not only with the Stolen Genera­tions but the so-called invasion of Australia and the genocide alleg­edly inherent in establishing British settlement here.

The underlying agenda of this academic pursuit is not simply the study of genocide, let alone its analysis or prevention. Its aim is political, to argue that our own society and those like it, that is, Britain and the United States, are every bit as bad as Nazi Germany. In the 2001 edi­tion of the academic journal Aboriginal History, editors Ann Curthoys and John Docker of the Australian National University wrote:

Settler-colonies like ‘Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, the United States, and Canada’ led the way in setting out to achieve what the Nazis also set out to achieve, the displacement of indigenous populations and their replacement by incoming peoples held to be racially superior.

International academic book publishers know there is a market for such material. For their anthology Genocide and the Modern Age, edi­tors Isidor Wallimann and Michael Dobkowski commissioned a chapter exclusively on Australia. The only other countries singled out to this extent were Turkey, which got a chapter for its 1915–17 massacres of the Armenians, and, of course, Germany, which generated several chapters on the Holocaust. In the ten-volume series Studies on War and Genocide, edited by Omer Bartov of Brown Uni­versity, seven of the books commissioned were on Nazi Germany, two were general volumes about genocide in various places, but Aus­tralia was the only other country given a volume of its own, Genocide and Settler Society, published in 2004 and edited by Dirk Moses of the University of Sydney. Observing this publishing trend, University of New England historian Alan Atkinson commented:

It is disturbing for an Australian to discover that debates about genocide often do not move very far beyond the classic area of study—Europe under the Nazis—before someone mentions the antipodes. Genocide is a crime, in other words, for which Australia is listed among the usual suspects.

More recently, the focus on Australia has only intensified. In Blood and Soil, a world history of genocide published in 2007, the Austra­lian expatriate historian Ben Kiernan of Yale University devoted more attention to the alleged genocidal activities of Australia than to any other nation or region. His book had 61 pages about Australia, compared to the Armenian massacres (21 pages), the Nazi Holocaust (39 pages), the Japanese atrocities in East Asia (31 pages), the Soviet Terror (26 pages), China under Mao (27 pages), and the genocides of Cambodia and Rwanda (32 pages). Four of Kiernan’s maps depicted scenes in Australia, the same number as Nazi Germany, Stalinist Rus­sia and Maoist China put together. In 2008, Paul Bartrop repeated his earlier accusation. As co-author of the two-volume work The Dictionary of Genocide, he wrote the entry “Australia, Genocide in”. He again applied the term genocide to the Stolen Generations, saying its use in that context “could be sustained relatively easily”.

In March 2009, one of Australia’s best-known historians and essay­ists, Inga Clendinnen, reviewed the book Guilt About the Past, a col­lection of lectures by German novelist Bernhard Schlink. The lec­tures discussed how the modern German nation, now two generations dis­tant from the Second World War, should approach the question of guilt for the Holocaust. Clendinnen was disappointed with the book, and wrote, almost as an aside: “I had hoped the lecture titled Forgive­ness and Rec­onciliation would speak to our situa­tion in this country.” In other words, literary reviews and intellec­tual discussion in this country now toss off the comparison between Australia and Nazi Germany as if it were so familiar one can now speak about it in shorthand—“our situation in this country”—as though any possible debate is over.

The argument of The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, Volume Three, The Stolen Generations 1881–2008 is that Australia does not deserve this reputation. While the case against genocide for the Stolen Genera­tions has already produced several effective critics, most notably anthropologists Ron Brunton and Kenneth Maddock, journalists Paddy McGuinness, Paul Sheehan and Andrew Bolt, and two former Ministers for Aboriginal Affairs, John Herron and Peter Howson, a full defence of the charge has yet to be mounted. This book is longer, more detailed, and much less reader-friendly than it ought to be to gain a wide readership. But to address the full range of arguments made by the prosecution there was no alternative but to proceed comprehensively and forensically. That could only be accomplished properly by a complete re-examination of the foun­dation on which the case was originally made: its claim to be histori­cally true.

My conclusion is that not only is the charge of genocide unwarranted, but so is the term “Stolen Generations”. Aboriginal children were never removed from their families in order to put an end to Aboriginality or, indeed, to serve any improper government policy or program. The small numbers of Aboriginal child removals in the twentieth century were almost all based on traditional grounds of child welfare. Most children affected had been orphaned, abandoned, des­titute, neglected or subject to various forms of domestic violence, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. Historians have given Western Australia a particularly loathsome reputation, but when you examine the records you find the majority of children placed in state Aborigi­nal settlements were from destitute families and they went there with their parents. In New South Wales, some children became part of an apprenticeship indenture program to help Abo­riginal youth qualify for the workforce. A significant number of other children were vol­untarily placed in institutions by Aboriginal parents to give them an education and a better chance in life.

Moreover, there is no fall-back position for those who want to argue that, even if the removals might not have quite amounted to genocide, they were still done for racist reasons. In Chapter Three, I demonstrate in an analysis of welfare policy for white children that none of the policies that allowed the removal of Aboriginal children were unique to them. They were removed for the same reason as white children in similar circumstances. Even the program to place Aboriginal children in apprenticeships was a replica of measures that had already been applied to white children in welfare institutions in New South Wales for several decades, and to poor English children for several centuries before that.

Chapters Three and Eight also discuss several pieces of legislative discrimination against Aboriginal people and their children that derived from the system of Aboriginal protectionism in the first half of the twentieth century. In some states officials treated Aboriginal people who lived on reserves, government stations, and on state-funded missions, depots and settlements as though they were the equivalent of white inmates of welfare institutions. I have no desire in this book to defend these last measures since they effec­tively treated Aborigines as second-class citizens. However, the criti­cal question in the debate over the Stolen Generations is not whether all Aboriginal policy was free of discrimination. Rather, it is about why some Aboriginal children were removed from their parents. The answer was the same for black children as it was for white. They were subject to the standard child welfare policies of their time. This is not to say the laws were all the same for black and white children. In some states they were quite different. Nonetheless, the intentions behind the laws that allowed the state to remove children, whether black or white, were the same.

One critical point that has always been avoided by the historians of the Stolen Generations is that full-blood children were rarely, and in many places never, removed from their parents. By the early decades of the twentieth century, most Aborigines in the southern half of the Australian continent were people of part descent, but in the north­ern half, full-descent populations predominated. In the Kimberley district and the Northern Territory, half-castes constituted a small minority of indigenous people. From Federation to the Second World War, the policies of the Queensland, West Australian and Commonwealth govern­ments were to preserve full-blood Aborigi­nal com­munities inviolate. By the 1920s and 1930s, when it became clear the full-blood population was not dying out as previously thought, but was actually increasing in some places, these govern­ments estab­lished reserves of millions of acres and passed laws forbidding Europeans and Asians from entering Aboriginal commu­nities, employing or remov­ing full-blood Aborigi­nes without permission, having sexual relations with them, or pro­viding them with alcohol or opium.

Overwhelmingly, in the north of the continent, the Aboriginal children subject to removal policies came from the minority of half-castes and those of lesser descent. They were removed for both traditional welfare reasons and to help them gain some education and training for the workforce. In the local idiom, the latter was known as “giv­ing them a chance”. The only full-blood children taken into care were those chronically ill, dangerously malnourished or severely disabled, but this was uncommon. Less urgent cases of child abuse and neglect among full-bloods were ignored and simply regarded as Aboriginal business.

This is yet another reason why the charge of genocide is untenable. The United Nations Convention on Genocide, Article 2, defines acts of genocide as those “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”. Half-castes and those of lesser descent did not constitute any such group. Their identity varied enormously. Some saw themselves and were treated by others as Aborigines, but there were many who did not. In some communities, full-blood people accepted half-castes; in others they were not regarded as true Aborigines at all; in some cases, half-caste babies born to tribal women were routinely put to death. Chapters Seven and Ten discuss evidence about many half-caste people who did not identify as members of a distinct racial commu­nity, and indeed, were more concerned to emulate white people and live like other Australians.

To say there were no Stolen Generations is not to argue there were no forcible removals of Aboriginal children from their fami­lies. There were many forcible removals in the period under discus­sion, just as there are today. The children of parents who neglected them, who let them go hungry, who abused them with violence, who prostituted them, who let them run wild with no supervision, or who drank themselves into an alcoholic stupor while leaving the chil­dren to their own devices, all faced forcible removals—often by the police and occasionally under scenes of great duress. Academic historians and Aboriginal activists, however, have redefined all these legitimate removals as rac­ist and genocidal. Only by this means have they been able to mount the semblance of a case. A detailed study of the surviving individual case records in New South Wales in Chapter Two reveals an array of reasons for removal far too broad to fit into any single-minded bureaucratic program.

Some Aboriginal children do have genuine grounds for griev­ance, but they are not alone. In the rough justice of child welfare policy, white children could be treated harshly too, especially if their mothers were unmarried. Until as recently as the 1970s, such children, white or black, were frequently removed on grounds that we would not approve today. Before governments began paying pensions to unmarried mothers in the 1970s, children could be deemed neglected because they lacked a father, and thus a means of support. Until then, unmarried white teenage girls who fell pregnant were strongly pressured by both church and state to give up their babies, who were often taken from them at birth and adopted out to other families. But in these cases the child’s fate was determined not by its colour but by its illegitimacy. There was a common presumption throughout Australia that unmarried teenage mothers, black or white, could not and should not be left to bring up the children they bore.

Some people removed as children remember their former family life as a time when they were happy and well cared for. They recall their removal as an event of great trauma. There is no reason to doubt they are telling the truth. Some of their testimony is inher­ently convincing. They could not possibly have invented the kind of trauma they described. There were others, however, who remembered trauma from another source—their own homes: “I can understand why they took me,” one former inmate of the Cootamundra Aborigi­nal Girls’ Home told an interviewer in 1994. “Mum and dad were terrible when they were on the grog—in fact we were dead scared.”

The problem with the Stolen Generations thesis is that child­hood recollections constitute the only credible evidence its adherents have provided to make their case. But no amount of child­hood anecdotes can establish the argument’s central thesis that the intentions of the authorities were both criminal and racist. That accusation was embedded in both the words of the term. The adjec­tive stolen said the removals were deliberately intended to achieve an illegal result. The noun generations said this objective was tar­geted at a particular line of people across successive age cohorts. The childhood memories of individuals are not enough to establish that governments had such intent or such perseverance. Indeed, memories of childhood trauma are consistent with forcible removals for the same welfare reasons as white children.

The case for the Stolen Generations needed a convincing account of government policies towards Aboriginal children. However, this book’s examination of the primary source evidence reveals there is a void at the very core of the case. There was no unequivocal statement by anyone in genuine authority that child removal was intended to end Aboriginality. The only support for that proposi­tion has come from creative interpretations of selected statements taken out of con­text by politically motivated historians. Moreover, the lack of gov­ernment words on the subject was matched by the lack of govern­ment action. The handful of places allocated for the care of Aborigi­nal children, the tiny budgets that supported the gov­ernment boards and departments, and the archival records that show how small a frac­tion of the Aboriginal population they affected, all render the thesis completely implausible.

Another of the central claims of the academic historians who created this story was that children were taken by authorities as young as possible so they would never inherit Aboriginal culture. “The younger the child the better,” according to Henry Reynolds, “before habits were formed, attachments, language learnt, traditions absorbed.” In the SBS Television series First Australians, scriptwriters Beck Cole and Louis Nowra confidently declared: “Between 1910 and 1970 an estimated 50,000 Aboriginal children were removed from their families. Most were aged under five.” None of those who make this assertion have ever backed it with proper evidence, such as a breakdown of the ages of the children sent to vari­ous institutions. This is not surprising. For the available evidence shows the opposite was true.

The statistics of child removals in this book reveal that those most commonly affected in New South Wales were not the very young but those at workforce entry age, which in rural districts in the first half of the twentieth century was normally thirteen, fourteen and fif­teen years. This was because of the influence of the state’s apprentice indenture scheme. In Western Australia and the Northern Territory the age of the few separations correlated with primary school age. This was because many part-Aboriginal children in these regions were sent by their parents to board at government and religious hostels and institutions that sent them to school.

Whatever their circumstances, it was rare for babies and infants to be removed. In one archive of 800 children removed between 1907 and 1932 in New South Wales, only seven were babies aged twelve months or less and only eighteen were aged between twelve months and two years. Some governments had poli­cies that strictly forbade removing Aboriginal babies unless they were orphans or urgently needed hospitalisation for disease or malnutrition.

Another deception is the assertion by historians that most children were removed permanently, that they were never meant to see their parents again. “The break from family, kin and community must be decisive and permanent,” Henry Reynolds has written. “If young people could return to their families the effort had been wasted.” Chap­ter Two provides good evidence that this was untrue. The case records show that a clear majority of children removed in New South Wales returned either to their families or to Aboriginal communities. In fact, welfare authorities gave the older ones assistance such as money for the rail fare home, and usually accompanied the younger ones on the train. In other states, especially Western Austra­lia, gov­ernment institutions like the notorious Moore River Settle­ment and religious missions across northern Australia admitted the majority of child inmates with their parents. Institutions for indigent Aborigines of all ages have been widely but wrongly characterised by historians, television producers and film-makers as homes exclu­sively for children, when they never were.

Rather than acting for racist reasons, government officers and religious missionaries wanted to rescue children from welfare camps and shanty settlements riddled with alcoholism, domestic violence and sexual abuse. Evidence throughout this book shows public servants, doctors, police and missionaries appalled to find Aboriginal girls between five and eight years of age suffering from sexual abuse and venereal disease. They were dismayed to sometimes find girls of nine and ten years old hired out as prostitutes by their own parents. That was why the great majority of children removed by authorities were female. The fringe camps where this occurred were early twentieth-century versions of today’s notorious remote communi­ties of central and northern Australia. Indeed, there is a direct line of descent from one to the other—the culture of these camps has been reproducing itself across rural Australia for more than 100 years. Government officials had a duty to rescue children from such settings, as much then as they do now. From the perspective of child welfare officials, the major problem was that state treasuries would not give the rele­vant departments and boards sufficient funds to accommodate all the neglected and abused children who should have been removed.

The Fate of the Stolen Generations Thesis in the Courts

The uncomfortable truth for us all is that the parliaments of the nation, individually and collectively, enacted statutes and delegated authority under those statutes that made the forced removal of children on racial grounds fully lawful.

—Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples, House of Representatives, February 13, 2008

[I]ntegration of part Aboriginal children was not based on race; it was based on a sense of responsibility —perhaps misguided and paternalistic—for those children who had been deserted by their white fathers and who were living in tribal conditions with their Aboriginal mothers. Care for those children was perceived to be best offered by affording them the opportunity of acquiring a western education so that they might then more easily be integrated into western society.

—Justice Maurice O’Loughlin, judgment in Cubillo and Gunner v. Commonwealth, Federal Court of Australia, August 2000, para 162

If the Stolen Generations story were true, its members should have had many victories in the courts, now that the tide of opinion is firmly on their side. The charges involved serious breaches of the law—false imprisonment, misfeasance of public office, breach of duty of care, and breach of fiduciary and statutory duties—and human rights lawyers and Aboriginal legal aid services have been lining up for years to take their cases. Yet only one claimant has ever been successful before a court: Bruce Trevorrow, who in 2007 was awarded $525,000 by the South Australian Supreme Court. Given the huge size of the potential client base, and the fact that Aboriginal people and their lawyers have had a grievance about the issue for more than twenty-five years, the lack of legal success is tell­ing. On its own, it is enough to seriously question whether there really were any Stolen Genera­tions.

In his apology in the House of Representatives in February 2008, Kevin Rudd avoided any use of the term genocide but he did accuse the parliaments of the nation of enacting racist statutes. That accusation, however, was untrue, as either Rudd or his speechwrit­ers would have known were they familiar with either of the two major test cases on the Stolen Generations. The best-known of those cases, Cubillo and Gunner v. Commonwealth, was decided by Justice Maurice O’Loughlin in the Federal Court in August 2000. Counsel for the applicants, Ms M. Richards, had submitted that the Northern Terri­tory in the 1940s and 1950s had a policy called “the removal policy” and “the half-caste policy”. She said that, because it targeted only half-caste children, it was based on race rather than welfare. It was pursued “without regard for the welfare of individual children or their indi­vidual circumstances”. In his judgment, Justice O’Loughlin said:

I cannot accept that submission; it failed to recognize those decisions of the High Court to which reference has already been made that classified the legislation as beneficial and protectionist; it failed to recognize that there was then, as there is now, an acceptance of the need for special legislation and special consideration for Aboriginal people. Finally, there was absolutely no causative link connecting ‘race’ to a failure to have regard for the welfare of children. The existence of one does not preclude the existence of the other.

What the judge meant by “those decisions of the High Court to which reference has already been made”, were several verdicts, the most recent of which had been Kruger v. Commonwealth; Bray v. Commonwealth. That was a judgment made by the full bench of the High Court in July 1997 but which today is largely unknown outside legal circles. Yet it was the major case that considered whether the removal of Aboriginal children amounted to genocide. Although handed down only two months after the Bringing Them Home report accused the nation of that very crime, most news media and virtually all members of the political commentariat ignored it. Since then, they have pretended it never existed. I discuss its findings in more detail in Chapter Ten, but let me observe here that five of the six judges commented specifically on the question of genocide. Counsel for the plaintiffs argued that the Northern Territory’s Aboriginal Ordinance of 1918, which permitted the Chief Protector and Director of Native Affairs to remove and detain all Aboriginal people in the Territory, including children, thereby breached the United Nations Convention on Genocide. All five judges rejected the claim. Justice Daryl Dawson said:

there is nothing in the 1918 Ordinance, even if the acts authorized by it otherwise fell within the definition of genocide, which authorizes acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part any Aboriginal group. On the contrary, as has already been observed, the powers conferred by the 1918 Ordinance were required to be exercised in the best interests of the Aboriginals concerned or of the Aboriginal population generally. The acts authorized do not, therefore, fall within the definition of genocide contained in the Genocide Convention.

Justice Michael McHugh concurred:

The 1918 Ordinance did not authorize genocide. Article II of the Genocide Convention relevantly defines genocide to mean certain acts ‘committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such’. The acts include ‘imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group’ and ‘forcibly transferring children of the group to another group’. There is, however, nothing in the 1918 Ordinance that could possibly justify a construction of its provisions that would authorize the doing of acts ‘with intent to destroy, in whole or in part’ the Aboriginal race.

In short, when they tested specific policies before the Federal Court, and when they argued the general intentions of the parliaments and legislators before the High Court, the historians and political activists who invented the notion of the Stolen Generations proved incapable of substantiating their case. As far as Australia’s highest courts are concerned, the central hypothesis of the Stolen Generations is legally extinct.

The only legal cases with any potential credibility would be those made by individuals such as Bruce Trevorrow, who was unlawfully removed from his family and suffered badly as a result. But as Chapter Twelve demonstrates, the Trevorrow case did not confirm the Stolen Generations thesis. Instead, it provided yet more evidence to disprove it.

How Many Children Were Removed?

Even though one forced removal would be regarded today as one too many, the numbers in the Administrator’s report, if accurate, do not support an argument that there was a large scale policy of forced removals occurring in this period.

—Justice Maurice O’Loughlin, judgment in Cubillo and Gunner v. Commonwealth, Federal Court of Australia, August 2000, on the paucity of child removals in the Northern Territory in the 1940s and 1950s

In the Prime Minister’s apology, he said the total number of children wrongly removed between 1910 and 1970 was “up to 50,000”. He said this meant between 10 and 30 per cent of Aboriginal children had been “forcibly” taken from their parents. The Bringing Them Home report claimed that between one in ten and one in three Aboriginal children were “forcibly removed”. In reality, these claims were unwarranted guesses. Indeed, the Human Rights Commission seriously misrepresented some of the principal research it used to reach the higher figure. As an example of the rate of removal, it reported the findings of one study made in Bourke:

Dr Max Kamien surveyed 320 adults in Bourke in the 1970s. One in every three reported having been separated from their families in childhood for five or more years.

That was not the study’s rate for the separation of children “from their families”. What Kamien actually found was this:

Between the ages of 5 and 14 years 34 per cent of the 320 adult males and females interviewed had experienced the absence of one parent for more than five years. Absence of both parents for the same time period was recorded in 5 per cent of males and 7 per cent of females.

Moreover, the great majority of the “absences” recorded by Kamien were not forcible removals. Most occurred simply because the fathers were away from home, working on rural properties. Of children separated from both parents, Kamien found the most common reason was not to lose their culture but to go to hospital. In four of the other six studies it cited, Bringing Them Home seriously misreported the results. Of the remaining two studies, one was unpublished and no one else can find any record of the other. Chapter Thirteen examines the charade of research interpretations on which the Human Rights Commission made its “confident findings”.

My own estimate of the total number of Aboriginal children taken into care in the period from 1880 to 1970 is provided in Chapter Thirteen. The total is 8250. “Taken into care” means Aboriginal children separated from parents and placed in government, church and charitable institutions, plus the very small numbers placed into foster care and adopted by white families. The figure represented 5.2 per cent of the Aboriginal population at the 1976 census of 160,000.

This total is not offered as a counter-estimate of the number of the Stolen Generations. The argument of this book is that there were no Stolen Generations. The figure is an overall estimate made from the surviving records of children separated from their families for substantial periods under the broadest range of conditions, both volun­tary and involuntary, and for all kinds of reasons, both positive (educa­tion and hospitalisation) and negative (neglect, destitution, sexual abuse, and the death of parents). The total and the proportion are much lower figures than are usually claimed but they demonstrate another theme of this book. Rather than governments being over-zealous, the reality was the opposite. Everyone who worked in Aboriginal child welfare complained that the states and territories did not do nearly enough, especially in the period from Federation to the Second World War. There were always many more Aboriginal children badly in need of welfare, education and health services than governments were willing to fund.

The most offensive numerical assertion in this debate, that the removal of children was on a scale large enough to be genocidal, is not just wrong but embarrassingly wrong. In the first half of the twentieth century, when university historians and Bringing Them Home assured us governments were doing their best to eliminate the Aboriginal race, its population grew substantially. In the period nominated by the Human Rights Commission as the worst affected, 1910 to 1970, the Aboriginal population of Australia grew by 68 per cent from 83,588 to 139,456. Growth was particularly strong in those regions where governments were purportedly determined to absorb half-caste and other part-Aboriginal people into the white population. In New South Wales, the Aboriginal population grew by 65 per cent from 1915 to 1940. In Western Australia, the supposedly “doomed race” of full-descent people in the north of the state did not decline at all, while in the southern half of the state, where part-Aboriginal people predominated, their numbers were up no less than 120 per cent between 1900 and 1935. In both cases, their populations grew at a faster rate than that of white people. Chapters Two and Seven have the details. If the Stolen Generations thesis is true then the Australian Aborigines are the only people in world history to have suffered genocide in the midst of a boom in their population.

Education versus Institutionalisation

There is another good reason why it was not the policy of governments to remove Aboriginal children from their parents: they wanted the children to go to school. Governments pursued this objective with far more action and money than they ever gave to child removal. In the 1880s all Australian colonial governments instituted compulsory education for children of school age. All parents, of whatever racial or ethnic background, were required to enrol their children. In New South Wales, the Department of Public Instruction constructed schoolhouses and employed schoolteachers on all the twenty-one Aboriginal stations set up between 1893 and 1917. It also provided schools and teachers on any of the 115 Aboriginal reserves that had enough children of school age to justify it. On those reserves where there were not enough children for a dedicated school, the Aborigines Protection Board insisted they must go to the local public school. In the early years, it tried to coerce Aboriginal parents into sending their children to school by withholding rations if they refused. In its later years, it tried a more conciliatory approach by giving all Abo­riginal children a hot midday meal at school.

In the early twentieth century, it was true that much provision for Aboriginal schooling was substandard. Many Aboriginal children received a lower-level curriculum than whites. In some parts of New South Wales and Western Australia, protests by white parents about Aboriginal standards of hygiene and disease (including, as I demonstrate in Chapter Four, cases of venereal disease among Aboriginal primary school children) meant some public schools refused to enrol them. Nonetheless, the number of places governments provided for Aboriginal children who lived with their parents and went to school, compared to the number of places governments funded at welfare institutions for those removed from parents, is telling. In New South Wales in the 1920s and 1930s, there were only three welfare institutions designated for Aboriginal children. One at Bomaderry housed twenty-five infants to ten-year-olds, the second at Cootamundra accommodated fifty girls aged up to thirteen years, and the third at Kinchela housed fifty boys aged up to thirteen years. At the same time, some 2800 Aboriginal children in New South Wales lived with their parents and attended public schools. That is, there were twenty-two times as many places for Aboriginal children at public schools than at welfare institutions.

In the Northern Territory in the 1950s, virtually none of the approximately 8000 full-blood Aboriginal children either attended school or were housed in a welfare institution. For part-Aboriginal children the government pursued a policy of integration and assimila­tion. But even here, there were between two and three times as many part-Aboriginal children living with their families and attending schools than housed in welfare institutions. In 1959, for instance, there were 815 part-Aboriginal children at Northern Territory schools and 315 part-Aboriginal children in institutions. Of the latter, many were sent by their parents to be boarders while they went to school. Chapter Ten discusses the role played by the Retta Dixon Home in Darwin and St Mary’s Hostel in Alice Springs.

On the grounds of school policy alone, no one can argue that the government was conducting a systematic program to destroy Aboriginality by stealing children from their families. The existence of this disparity disproves the core allegation of the Stolen Generations thesis.

Why There Were No Stolen Generations (Part Two)

Keith Windschuttle

The Origins of the Myth

The empirical underpinnings of Bringing Them Home derived largely from the work of white academic historians. The Human Rights Commission did no serious research of its own into the primary historical sources. Co-authors Ronald Wilson and Mick Dodson also declined to hear any evidence that might have contradicted their preferred interpretation. They did not call witnesses from the many still-living public officials responsible for child removal to hear or test their reasons for their policies and practices. The Commission’s only original contribution was to solicit the testimony of 535 Abo­riginal people who had been removed from their parents and who spoke about their own experiences. While many of these stories were completely believable in what they said about what happened and how they felt, it is nonetheless true that when these witnesses were children they were not in a position to comprehend the question at the centre of the accusation of genocide, the motives of government policy-makers.

Moreover, some of these informants made claims that should never have been published. In Bringing Them Home, the anonymous “Jenni­fer” claimed one child at the Cootamundra Girls Home was beaten to death by the staff, who then secretly disposed of the body. As Chapter Five argues, this assertion deserves no credibility whatsoever and, indeed, was a malicious defamation of the matron at the time, Miss Emmeline Rutter. History books have reproduced other tall tales from allegedly stolen children that could not possibly be true. One gave a vivid first-hand account of 500 children supposedly rounded up in 1938. The alleged aim was to remove all the half-caste children in the Kimberley district to the West Australian government’s Moola Bulla station. However, as shown in Chapter Eight, the entire population of half-caste people in the Kimberley at the time, adults and children, amounted to just 500 and the station’s records of the full-blood and half-caste children it accommodated and fed at Moola Bulla that year numbered only sixty-one; most of them had been sent by their parents to go to the station’s school.

Some of the most celebrated books by Aboriginal authors about supposedly stolen children also provide serious grounds for contention, especially the works of Margaret Tucker and Sally Morgan. These and other stories told by well-known Aborigines Lowitja O’Donoghue and Charles Perkins are discussed in Chapter Six. I also discuss there the influence of the Communist Party of Australia, which few people realise played a key role in making some Aboriginal authors famous.

The idea that the removal policies had a racist component and were aimed at ending Aboriginality did not originate in Aboriginal testimony. Indeed, until the term “stolen generations” first appeared in 1981, there had been no popular tradition among Aboriginal people that employed either the term or the concept. In the 1910s and 1920s, parents on some state-funded Aboriginal stations in New South Wales and South Australia did disagree with the government finding employment for their teenage children as four-year indentured apprentices. But these complaints were not about the removal of babies or young children. Moreover, these parents knew their children would be gone for a fixed term and then return.

The person who initiated the idea that the government wanted to destroy Aboriginality was a then unknown white postgraduate history student, Peter Read. He alone was granted the vision denied to all who came before him. In the course of just one day, he wrote a twenty-page pamphlet to make his case. His original title was “The Lost Generations” but his wife advised him to substitute the more attention-getting adjective, stolen.

Read’s publication, The Stolen Generations, was published in 1981 and was noticed within social policy and legal circles, but not much else. The critical turning point in the attitudes of Aboriginal people did not come until two years later. Read’s colleague in the Link-Up social work organisation, Coral Edwards, addressed a meeting of the National Aboriginal Consultative Council to ask for funding for their new service. To the forty, mostly middle-aged Aboriginal community leaders, who until then had been ignorant of any racist separation policy, Edwards’s speech came as a bombshell. Mothers had not voluntarily given their children away, she said. Rather, “the govern­ments never intended that the children should ever return”.

It is not difficult to understand the immediate appeal of such an explanation to many Aboriginal families, especially to those who had grown up on welfare communities and segregated housing estates with high rates of crime, alcoholism, domestic violence and child abuse. This new version of events was deeply comforting. The myriad problems in their own lives no longer derived from the failings of their families or the bad choices they made themselves. Mothers had not given their children away, fathers had not left their children destitute or deserted their families or been so consumed by alcohol they left them vulnerable to sexual predators. Siblings and cousins had not abandoned their communities because they thought their way of life hopeless. Instead of reproaching themselves, Aborigi­nes could suddenly identify as morally innocent victims of a terrible injustice. Their problems could all be blamed on faceless white bureaucrats driven by racism. Read’s interpretation has since come to be believed by most Aboriginal people in Australia.

That does not make the story true. Indeed, as an historical interpretation of government policy in the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, it was poorly founded from the outset. Its creator once boasted he had read “all the thousands of childcare records of the NSW Aborigines Protection Board”. However, Read could not have done anything like the investigation he claimed. His research for The Stolen Generations was so shoddy he was completely ignorant of the existence of one government and mission-run institution in New South Wales that housed Aboriginal children for nineteen years, and he attributed to another institution a fifteen-year history that bore little relationship to what it actually did. Chapter Five provides the details. He drew selectively on the individual case files of removed children to bolster his case, but misrepresented the total picture. He provided false information about the age of children concerned and the proportion of them who never returned to their families and communities. He selected from government minutes and reports a small number of apparently incriminating quotations, took them out of context, and gave them a meaning their originators never intended. What little support for his thesis he could find he exaggerated out of all proportion. He claimed the Ward Registers of the New South Wales Aborigines Protection Board openly revealed the real motives of those in charge:

The racial intention was obvious enough for all prepared to see, and some managers cut a long story short when they came to that part of the committal notice ‘Reason for Board taking control of the child’. They simply wrote ‘for being Aboriginal’.”

My examination of the 800 files in the same archive found only one official ever wrote a phrase like that. His actual words were “Being an Aboriginal”.

In the early twentieth century, according to Read, the Australian authorities began to realise the Aborigines were not “dying out” as once thought. Instead, the number of half-castes and others of part descent were increasing. So instead of being rid of the Aboriginal race by natural causes, governments decided they had to do the job themselves. “In the long term, Aborigines were not wanted — anywhere,” Read wrote. “Their extinction, it seemed, would not occur naturally after all, but would have to be arranged.” One of Read’s academic colleagues, the historian Heather Goodall, said the New South Wales government tried to do this by deliberately reducing the Aboriginal birth rate. This was, she claimed, the publicly declared reason the Aborigines Protection Board introduced its policy of youth apprenticeships:

The Board stated quite openly in its reports and minutes that it intended to reduce the birthrate of the Aboriginal population by taking adolescent girls away from their communities. Then it intended that the young people taken in this way would never be allowed to return to their homes or to any other Aboriginal community. The ‘apprenticeship’ policy was aimed quite explicitly at reducing the numbers of identifying Aboriginal people in the State.

Goodall did not give any specific source for her claim. Instead, she referred readers of her book Invasion to Embassy to the Aborigines Protection Board’s annual reports for the period 1906 to 1923. I read the board’s reports not only for the years she suggested but also for its entire eighty-five years of existence, looking for any comment about its intention to reduce the Aboriginal birth rate. I could not find anything of the kind. Instead, the board explained its apprenticeship policy in 1924 in the following terms:

[The Board’s] object is to save the children from certain moral degradation on the reserves and camps, and to give them a chance to reach maturity, after which they are given every facility to return either on holiday or permanently, according to their wish, to their own districts, where they are expected to take up suitable employment. Here they have an opportunity of meeting people of their own colour, and in many instances they marry and settle down in homes of their own.

The board also defined its policy in very similar terms in its minutes of June 1919 and its annual report of 1925–26. Chapter Three quotes them in full and examines the board’s real objectives. In short, the board saw a period of apprenticeship as the key to gaining employment, and the best way for Aboriginal youth to get off welfare and live independent lives in the modern world. It wanted to put an end not to the Aboriginal race but to Aboriginal dependency.

The Human Rights Commission used Read, Goodall and other academic historians as its major sources of information on government policy, thereby replicating their omissions, mistakes and falsehoods. Bringing Them Home reproduced a passage from Pat Jacobs’s biography of A.O. Neville, which quoted the West Australian Chief Protector apparently announcing that in the “best interests” of Aboriginal children he intended to remove as many as possible from their parents: “I say emphatically there are scores of children in the bush camps who should be taken away from whoever is looking after them and placed in a settlement …” This quotation, however, was a truncated version of what Neville actually said. His full sentence was:

I say emphatically there are scores of children in the bush camps who should be taken away from whoever is looking after them and placed in a settlement, but on account of lack of accommodation, and lack of means and additional settlements, I am unable to exercise the power which the Act definitely gives me in this respect.

In other words, instead of a declaration of intent to remove scores of such children, Neville’s full statement was actually an explanation why he could not remove them. As Chapter Eight shows in detail, he never had the funds to remove more than a handful each year. The same was true of the Chief Protectors in other states. None of them ever had enough money to remove all the genuine child welfare cases within their domain, let alone attempt as immense a task as eliminating the Aboriginal race.

That did not mean, however, that Aboriginal institutions were as impoverished as historians have painted them. Though conceding that they were not as terrible as the mass extermination camps of Nazi Ger­many, historian Anna Haebich nonetheless claimed: “Aboriginal people in Australia’s refugee camps and gulags faced for a far longer period the daily reality of starvation, disease, chronic ill health and often early death.” It is true that the Moore River Settlement in Western Australia was a vermin-infested dump, and some of the remote missions in the tropical north ran short of food supplies in the wet season and during periods of prolonged drought, but they were not typical. The best Aboriginal stations had superior buildings and more amenities than many white working-class people in the outer suburbs and country towns at the same time. Some institutions for Aboriginal chil­dren had swimming pools, gymnasiums, tennis courts, film projectors, radios, record players, pianos and telephones decades before many white people. Chapter Five contains details. In the midst of the 1930s Great Depression, the New South Wales Aborigines Protection Board used unemployment relief funds to provide its La Perouse Reserve with new buildings designed by the Government Architect, to plant it with trees and shrubs from the Sydney Botanic Gardens, and to connect every home with fresh water and sewerage. The State Government Tourist Bureau thought so highly of the refurbished La Perouse it listed it with Bondi Beach among Sydney’s recommended visiting spots for overseas tourists. In the 1950s, the Church of England’s St Mary’s Hostel for Aboriginal children at Alice Springs, located in a former wartime recreation centre for servicewomen, was another model of its kind that attracted busloads of tourists.

The Best-Concealed Conspiracy in Australian History

On top of the awkward fact that the Aboriginal population grew strongly throughout the period it was supposedly subject to genocide, there is another oddity about the Stolen Generations. Why did this not become a public issue before Peter Read emerged on the scene in 1981? If, as the Human Rights Commission claimed, its origins went back to 1910, why didn’t earlier Aboriginal activists make a fuss? At the high point of Aboriginal radicalism in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the attempt to put an end to Aboriginality by removing children never received a mention in any major agenda of Aboriginal political grievances.

During the lead-up to the successful 1967 constitutional referendum to give the Commonwealth powers in Aboriginal affairs, not one of the political activists campaigning for reform mentioned stolen children as an issue to be rectified. In 1970, neither the ten-point Policy Manifesto of the National Tribal Council, nor the Platform and Program of the Black Panthers of Australia, nor the 1972 Five-Point Policy of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy at Parliament House, Canberra, or any other political manifesto of the time, mentioned stolen children, let alone the genocide that Aborigines had purport­edly been suffering for the previous sixty years. Aboriginal activists of that era proved very adept at gaining attention from the news media and very capable of articulating their case. Black Panthers spokesmen included Gary Foley, later a university lecturer, Paul Coe, subse­quently a barrister, and Dennis Walker, son of one of Australia’s leading literary figures. They and their colleagues were politically astute enough to mount the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on the lawns of Parliament House—an inspired piece of political symbolism—yet could not recognise the genocide and child stealing taking place right beneath their noses.

A greater mystery is that some of the best-known of an earlier generation of Aboriginal activists had been in an even better position to see what was going on. In the 1940s and 1950s, William Ferguson, Walter Page and Pearl Gibbs actually served as directors of the Aborigines Welfare Board of New South Wales, one of the very organisations then committing the purported genocide. Yet they never realised what was happening. Of all people, they were the ones who should have identified it first. How could they possibly have missed it? If the Stolen Generations story was true, then at that very time, right across Australia, in all states and territories, scores of white welfare officials, backed by parliamentarians and senior public ser­vants, were forcibly removing Aboriginal children to put an end to Aboriginality. How did these hundreds of white people, for a period of more than sixty years, maintain the discipline needed to keep the whole thing so quiet that Aboriginal activists like Ferguson, Page and Gibbs were oblivious to its existence? Why did no one leak the truth? A conspiracy on this scale must have been the best-kept secret in Australian history. On these grounds alone, the inherent implausibil­ity of Read’s thesis should always have been self-evident.

“The Criminals Who Enacted the Programs”

In presenting a more realistic version of this story, part of my task includes reassessing the reputations of those who worked in the field in those years. We need to know whether the white people who determined Aboriginal policies in the past, and those who provided direct-contact services to Aborigines—welfare workers, missionaries and other members of religious orders, police officers, nurses and matrons in children’s institutions, the managers of Aboriginal reserves and stations—deserve the status they now have. Historians today treat them as little better than the officers and guards at Belsen and Treblinka. They do this even though the historical record reveals that some of the most influential of them emerged from humanitarian organisations, religious societies and political movements that had long worked in support of indigenous peoples. As Chapter Seven demonstrates, although historians have misrepresented the roles of the Chief Protectors A.O. Neville in Western Australia and Cecil Cook in the Northern Territory, their careers as administrators nonetheless leave little to admire. But it is a very different story with most of those employed in the front line caring for Aboriginal children. The determination of some historians to destroy the reputations of the latter people is contemptible.

Free from any risk of defamation suits from their now dead subjects, and speaking from the comfort of tenured university positions with six-figure salaries, academics such as Peter Read, Anna Haebich and Raimond Gaita have written of “the criminals who enacted the programs” and applied labels such as “sinister”, “hated”, “monstrous” and “psychopathic” to people like Emmeline Rutter, Ella Hiscocks, Sister Kate Clutterbuck, Sister Eileen Heath, Amelia Shankelton and Father Percy Smith who spent much of their adult lives under the same roofs and conditions as the orphaned, abandoned and unloved children they worked to save. Similarly, Colin Tatz, a professor of genocide studies, defamed the famous Aboriginal tenor, the late Harold Blair, by associating him with a scheme that ostensibly offered Aboriginal children Christmas holidays by the sea, but whose pur­ported secret agenda was to adopt them into white families.

The Human Rights Commission’s inquiry treated such people unjustly. As I show in several places in this book, the Commission’s public hearings declined to call as witnesses public officials and welfare workers who could have contradicted its predetermined conclusions. The Commission only sought evidence that confirmed its prejudices. It only wanted to hear from those claiming to be stolen children and never gave their “captors” the chance to answer the charges. Yet when some of the latter who were still living came before properly constituted court hearings, they easily disproved the accusations. This was particularly true in the Northern Territory, as Chapter Ten demonstrates in its discussion of the failed test case of Lorna Cubillo and Peter Gunner.

Some prominent Aboriginal people engaged in child welfare have been quietly airbrushed from history because their activities contradict the Stolen Generations thesis. One of them was Aunty Molly Mallett, a member of the Cape Barren Islander community descended from the Tasmanian Aborigines. As Chapter Eleven discusses, Mallett moved to Launceston where she provided government-approved foster care for orphaned and neglected Cape Barren Islander children. From the 1950s to the 1970s, she fostered so many she “lost count”. Even though she had far more experience than anyone else in the plight of these half-caste children, the Human Rights Commission’s inquiry never called her as a witness. Bringing Them Home declined to even mention her role, preferring its readers to believe the children were all placed with white families and in white institutions.

Many of the politicians who decided Aboriginal policy in the period of so-called genocide were anything but faceless. By far the greater number of them owed their allegiance to the “progressive” or Left side of politics. One thing the university historians who established this story kept largely to themselves was that most of the legislation they condemned was passed by Labor governments. In New South Wales, the 1915 Aborigines Protection Amending Act, which allowed the Aborigines Protection Board to remove children without recourse to a hearing before a magistrate, was the work of the first Labor government in the state, headed by James McGowen and W.A. Holman. The Act’s 1943 amendment, which allowed Aboriginal children to be fostered out to non-indigenous families, was intro­duced by the Labor government of William McKell, one of his party’s favourite sons who later became governor-general. In Western Australia, A.O. Neville was appointed Chief Protector in 1915 by the state’s first Labor government headed by John Scaddan. The 1936 Act that purportedly entrenched Neville’s proposals for “breeding out the colour” was the product of the Labor governments of Phillip Collier and John Willcock.

In contrast, when a proposal for “breeding out the colour” was put to the conservative government of Joseph Lyons in 1933, it wanted nothing to do with it. As noted in the preface, this proposal has been wrongly linked to the question of child removal when, in reality, it was wholly confined to controlling the marriage of adult Aborigines of part descent. As Chapter Seven records, the Lyons government treated it with disdain. In August 1934, the responsible minister, J.A. Perkins, told the parliament:

It can be stated definitely, that it is and always has been, contrary to policy to force half-caste women to marry anyone. The half-caste must be a perfectly free agent in the matter.

Not one of the historians of the Stolen Generations has ever quoted this statement. It disproved yet more of their claims about the genocidal objectives of Commonwealth government policies in the 1930s.

Some prominent radical political activists of earlier eras were com­plicit in policies and activities that historians and the Human Rights Commission now characterise as racist and genocidal. For instance, in the 1967 constitutional referendum, one of the leading campaigners for the “Yes” vote was Faith Bandler, then a familiar figure in radical and Communist Party circles. In January 2009, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd awarded Bandler Australia’s highest civilian honour, the Companion of the Order of Australia, for her work on behalf of racial minorities. It is not widely known today but in 1959 Bandler adopted an abandoned two-year-old Aboriginal boy into her non-indigenous family. She raised him until he was twelve. At the time, none of her Aboriginal political colleagues thought she was doing anything wrong. To accuse Bandler of committing a racial crime for this act, let alone being a party to genocide, would be absurd and offensive. We should offer the same presumption of innocence until proven guilty to everyone else who acted from similar motives, whatever their political background or racial origin.

When their track records are examined more closely, many of those white people engaged in Aboriginal affairs a century ago become unexpectedly familiar. They were the religious and political evangelicals of their time, determined to do good works for others in order to give meaning and substance to their own lives. They bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the white lawyers, academics, social workers, journalists and political activists who do the same today. In short, accusers and accused are the same kind of people. The big difference is that those charged with crimes against humanity actually did something tangible to improve Aboriginal lives. Their accusers have offered only bogus history, feigned compassion, and empty symbolic gestures.

Today we inhabit a censorious age in which the present generation presumes it alone has wisdom and virtue. We pride ourselves on our moral and intellectual superiority to all the generations before us. We assume the right to condemn the past for not sharing our currently fashionable moral postures. Nonetheless, all those in the past respon­sible for Aboriginal policy and child welfare still deserve a proper hearing, with their names and reasons fully disclosed so we can judge the decisions they took in the light of the prevailing attitudes and oppor­tunities of the time, as well as what we know about their characters through the full record of their public lives.

Ultimately, however, it is the reputation of the nation that is at issue. Thanks to the determination of academic historians and state education curriculum boards, Australian schoolchildren have by now largely succumbed to the prevailing version of this story. Many have learnt to despise their own country for this episode and to be ashamed of the Australian past. Australians abroad are saddled with a reputa­tion for racism comparable to white South Africans in the era of apartheid. Aboriginal people themselves are taught the arrival of the Europeans brought so much violence and heartbreak they should never allow themselves to be fully reconciled to Australian society.

The philosopher Raimond Gaita has claimed that, if the Bringing Them Home report is accurate, the case for genocide is over-determined. My book argues that the only thing over-determined is the case against genocide. Not one of the major contentions made by the Human Rights Commission, or the bevy of academic historians upon whom it relied, stands up to scrutiny. Bringing Them Home is probably the most unreliable and deceptive public document ever produced in this country. Unfortunately, it has also been one of the most influen­tial. It claimed to have uncovered a whole class of victims, children forcibly removed from loving parents whose lives were thereby ruined. In reality, the greater victims have been those generations of Aboriginal children who, thanks to the report’s subsequent influence on social workers, child welfare officials and children’s court magis­trates, have since been left too long in violent, destitute and sexually abusive families for fear of creating a “new” Stolen Generation. An historical fiction has created a real-life social catastrophe, whose appalling consequences are now verified by government and judicial inquiries, time after time.

Black and White Perspectives on the Apology

“For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry. To the mothers and fathers, the brothers and sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.” Here was the word, used twice in two quick sentences by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, that everyone in those ranked, packed galleries had come to hear. There was, quite audi­bly, the exhalation of breath. That same release—the hope of an expul­sion, really, of a national burden—could be felt across the country, in public gatherings before giant screens in places such as Melbourne’s Feder­ation Square and Sydney’s Martin Place, to clubs and parks in small towns and school classrooms everywhere.

—Tony Wright, Age, Melbourne, February 14, 2008

For all the reasons given in this book, I believe the parliamentary apology by Prime Minister Rudd in February 2008 was indulgent and unwise. In the short term, of course, the massive and favourable media coverage made it a public relations success for him and his govern­ment. It satisfied the millions of suburban voters who have always had goodwill towards Aboriginal people, who wanted racial reconciliation and an end to bad feeling over this issue. But in describing Aboriginal child welfare policies of the past as the “great stain” on the nation’s soul, Rudd not only defamed a great many people from his own side of politics, but did no favour to Aborigines either. He added further fuel to the politics of permanent grievance on which the hard men of Aboriginal activism have long thrived. The apology confirmed Aboriginal people’s core identity as victims of injustice rather than potential beneficiaries, like everyone else, of the prosperous, liberal, democratic, egalitarian society estab­lished here since 1788.

It is clear, however, that my views on the topic are very much in the minority, and are likely to remain so for some time. The above account from Tony Wright in the Age captured quite accurately the popular response. Throughout the country, there was a collective sigh of relief from the majority of white people at the discharge of what had felt like a national burden.

A small minority of whites, however, were anything but relieved. Among the members of Australia’s intellectual culture, the failure of Rudd to use the term genocide or to offer any reparations remained burning issues. The philosopher Raimond Gaita insisted that aca­demics, journalists and lawyers would not drop their demands:

Even if Kevin Rudd believes (as clearly he doesn’t) that some of the Stolen Generations were victims of genocide, it would have been foolish for him to have said so on the day when he offered them a prime ministerial apology. It would have been unnecessarily offensive to many Australians who would understandably have been hurt as much as they would have been scandalised …

It is, however, inconceivable that Abo­rigines and their fellow Australians will stop thinking for long about which concepts are necessary to describe their past truthfully. Discussion of genocide will then be unavoidable. It would be a “moral, intellectual and political disaster” if academics and others were to censor themselves because minds slam shut or to refuse to discuss outside academe whether the Aborigines were the victims of genocide.

Even though this book disputes all Gaita’s other interpretations of this topic, what he says here is true. The charge of genocide does hurt and does scandalise most Australians. And all those white academics, journalists and lawyers who have supported the accusation are determined to persist with it, no matter what.

Aboriginal political leaders initially greeted the apology with high emotion. The visitors’ gallery of Parliament House was packed with Aboriginal identities, who gave the Prime Minister a standing ovation. Many, including Lowitja O’Donoghue, wept throughout his speech.

After the moment had passed, however, it is doubtful that the apology changed any Aboriginal minds at all. Later that morning, O’Donoghue and Aboriginal spokesman Patrick Dodson gave interviews to journalists, calling for a more material response. According to the Age:

Mr Dodson described the apology and Mr Rudd’s speech as a watershed. ‘The sincerity that he brought to that has moved many hearts of indigenous people across this country,’ he said. But he added: ‘Any group of people who have been treated badly under laws made legitimately by the Crown deserve to pursue compensation judicially, legally or politically and they deserve our support.’

Ms O’Donoghue, while declaring herself ‘very proud’ of Mr Rudd for keeping his promise to apologise, also took issue with the government over its refusal to compensate people taken from their families. And she warned that extra money to tackle indigenous disadvantage in areas such as health and education should not be a substitute for compensation.

Other Aboriginal activists treated the event with cynicism. Gary Foley, one of the radical identities of the 1970s and now a historian and lecturer in indigenous studies at Victoria University, was interviewed by the Melbourne Historical Journal:

“How do you think the apology should be taught at universities?"

“I think it should be taught in Political Science classes as an example of the duplicity and deceit of politicians. And it should be taught in psychology classes in terms of how a nation appeases itself of its guilt. And it should be taught in drama school as a classic example of Australian political comedy. And it should be taught in driving school as a magnificent example of defensive driving and evasive tactics and manoeuvres. It should also be taught in kindergartens as a fairy tale.”

Meanwhile, out on the streets where Aboriginal people congregated, some young men had little time for irony. The Northern Territory News reported:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s national apology to the stolen generation has sparked a spate of racial violence in Darwin. Five people had to be admitted to hospital after one brawl. The Caucasian men were attacked by a group of 10 Aboriginal men, who demanded that their victims ‘say sorry’. A 28-year-old Territory woman watched helplessly as her friend was king-hit and kicked to the ground outside a Darwin 24-hour eatery on Sunday morning. She said three men ran at them from across the road, when they looked at the group yelling at two women. ‘They just started king-hitting him. They got him on the ground and then two others came over and started kicking him,’ she said. ‘They kept screaming that we were not sorry at all.’

This is an edited extract from the introduction to The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, Volume Three, The Stolen Generations 1881–2008, Macleay Press, $59.95, 656 pages, published in December 2009.

Voir enfin:

Trapped in the Aboriginal reality show

Re-imagining Australia

Marcia Langton

Griffith REVIEW

Jean Baudrillard generated international controversy when he described in his essay ‘War Porn’ the way images from Abu Graib prison in Iraq and other ‘consensual and televisual’ violence were used in the aftermath to September 11, 2001. Strong words – perversity, vileness – sparked in his brief, acute analysis: ‘The worst is that it all becomes a parody of violence, a parody of the war itself, pornography becoming the ultimate form of the abjection of war which is unable to be simply war, to be simply about killing, and instead turns itself into a grotesque infantile reality-show, in a desperate simulacrum of power. These scenes are the illustration of a power, without aim, without purpose, without a plausible enemy, and in total impunity. It is only capable of inflicting gratuitous humiliation.’

This made me think about the everyday suffering of Aboriginal children and women, the men who assault and abuse them, and the use of this suffering as a kind of visual and intellectual pornography in Australian media and public debates. The very public debate about child abuse is like Baudrillard’s ‘war porn’. It has parodied the horrible suffering of Aboriginal people. The crisis in Aboriginal society is now a public spectacle, played out in a vast ‘reality show’ through the media, parliaments, public service and the Aboriginal world. This obscene and pornographic spectacle shifts attention away from everyday lived crisis that many Aboriginal people endure – or do not, dying as they do at excessive rates.

This spectacle is not a new phenomenon in Australian public life, but the debate about ‘Indigenous affairs’ has reached a new crescendo, fuelled by the accelerated and uncensored exposé of the extent of Aboriginal child abuse. Shocking accounts of brutal sexual assault and murder – including those by Children’s Court Magistrate Sue Gordon in Western Australia, Alice Springs Crown Prosecutor Nanette Rogers, and journalists Nicolas Rothwell, Tony Koch and Suzanne Smith – have become almost routine. The 2007 Northern Territory inquiry and report, Little Children are Sacred, by Rex Wild QC and Pat Anderson, was the tipping point.

More than a century of policy experimentation with Aboriginal people climaxed when the Howard Commonwealth government sent a special police taskforce, troops and emergency medical staff into the Northern Territory. On August 7, 2007 it passed more than five hundred pages of legislation – special measures that subvert the authority of the Northern Territory in the most extraordinary federal takeover in Australia’s history.

In some critical respects, the outcome of this renewed debate is what many have been recommending for decades: protective interventions to prevent the abuse, rape and assault of Aboriginal women and children, and decisive action against the perpetrators. The federal legislation and emergency taskforce were a slap in the face for the Northern Territory Government, then led by Chief Minister Clare Martin. It was a bracing ‘vote of no confidence’ in her government’s capacity to deal with the crisis, and the responsibilities for which Territory governments had received generous Commonwealth funding for decades.

Indeed, the redistribution of these funds to the privileged white electorates that kept Martin’s government in power became evident when data from a special project by the Council of Australian Governments at Wadeye revealed how Northern Territory governments have failed to use Commonwealth funds for their intended purposes: ‘far less is spent on [Aboriginal Territorians] per head than is spent on the average Territorian.’ The education deficit was acute – for every dollar spent on each Territory school child, 47 cents were spent on each Aboriginal child at Wadeye. ‘To those most in need the least is provided,’ the study concluded.

Although the Northern Territory Government receives special funding to improve the lot of its disadvantaged population, it was the Commonwealth rather than the Territory Government which became the villain in the public debate about the Emergency Intervention. There is a cynical view afoot that the intervention was a political ploy – to grab land, support mining companies and kick black heads, dressed up as concern for children. Conspiracy theories abounded; most were ridiculous.

Those who did not see the intervention coming were deluding themselves. It was the inevitable outcome of the many failures of policy and the flawed federal-state division of responsibilities for Aboriginal Australians. It was a product of the failure of Northern Territory governments for a quarter of a century to adequately invest the funds they received to eliminate the disadvantages of their citizens in education, health and basic services. It was made worse by general incompetence in Darwin: the public service, non-government sector (including some Aboriginal organisations) and the dead hand of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) all presided over increasingly horrible conditions in Aboriginal communities.

The combined effect of the righteous media campaign for action and the Emergency Intervention has been a metaphorical dagger, sunk deep into the heart of the powerful, wrong-headed Aboriginal male ideology that has prevailed in Indigenous affairs policies and practices for decades. My hope is that, as the evidence mounts of the need for a radical new approach, the shibboleths of the old Left – who need perpetual victims for their analysis to work – will also be dismantled.

IN 2006 AND 2007, Howard government ministers and advisers made several decisions. They would no longer stomach a policy regime whose many failings resulted in endemic poverty, alienation and disadvantage, and sickening levels of abuse of Aboriginal women and children. They rolled out a policy revolution. With the dis-establishment of ATSIC and the removal of elected commissioners whose public reputations were in tatters following allegations of rape, corruption and incompetence, a new order swept in.

The appointment of professionals and business people to an advisory National Indigenous Council led by Dr Sue Gordon put new emphasis on ‘practical outcomes’. At the top of the list was intervention in the epidemic of child abuse. Gordon was appointed to head the intervention taskforce, an initiative that has fundamentally altered the balance of federal-state relations in Indigenous affairs. This, whatever one may think of its shortcomings, may be the greatest opportunity we have had to overcome the systemic levels of disadvantage among Aboriginal Australians.

The events of these two years have been remarkable. Extraordinary characters have been drawn into a circle of hell, complete with political chicanery, a Dante-esque dance of old enemies once divided by gender and politics, and disingenuous public performances by a voyeuristic audience. The former prime minister, John Howard, and his Indigenous affairs minister, Mal Brough, played a key role; however, much more interesting were the actions of several of the divas involved in delivering long-awaited attention to Aboriginal children in remote communities: Nanette Rogers, Sue Gordon, Clare Martin and Marion Scrymgour. Watching events unfold has been alternately exhilarating and distressing.

Rogers had been the Crown Prosecutor in Alice Springs for over twelve years, committed to social justice issues since her days as a young solicitor in Redfern. In 2006, her patience with the criminal justice system in the Northern Territory, and its capacity to deal with child victims of violence and rape and abuse, snapped. Her comments on May 15, 2006 were reported globally – BBC News led with the story: ‘Abuse rife at Aboriginal camps … horrific levels of sexual abuse in remote Aboriginal communities, including the rape of a baby.’

Rogers was no stranger to these issues. In 1993 she described the failure of the system to deal with these victims in an account not substantially different from that which shocked the world when, thirteen years later, she denounced the system that allowed rapists and murderers to escape punishment and continue their violent activities. As a young solicitor with the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Service, she and veteran campaigner Jane Lloyd presented a paper at an Institute of Criminology conference on rape. They set out the plain facts, which were already widely known and acknowledged: ‘About one-third of the Aboriginal female population in the Northern Territory is being gravely assaulted (including sexually assaulted) in a year.’

Reading that paper again after so many years, it struck me that most of the factors contributing to the astonishing rates of rape and violence against women and children – ‘rivers of grog’, easy access to pornography, a lackadaisical approach in the court system with a callous disregard for victims – informed the current intervention.

The notes supporting Rogers’ nomination as a Northern Territory finalist for 2006 Australian of the Year observed, ‘The accumulated effect of defending men who abuse women and children weighed her down and Nanette became a prosecutor and coordinator of a Victims’ Support Unit. In doing research for her doctoral thesis, she identified the emphasis placed on customary law in placing the offender in the best light, at the expense of the voice of the victim. She found that violence against women and children had become entrenched in many communities and that many crimes go unreported, the victims too afraid to speak out. Nanette took the difficult decision to release her findings to the public so as to raise awareness of this crucial social and legal issue.’

The aspects of the crisis Rogers brought to public attention are undeniable and yet they are denied repeatedly by some Aboriginal men and women who ignore these issues in favour of pursuing theoretical definitions of rights. Like their supporters in groups such as Women for Wik, few have ever lived in the desperate remote area communities they seek to represent and seem to be oblivious to their actual conditions.

THE ROLE PLAYED BY the media must be acknowledged. A few journalists raised public consciousness about the state of affairs in distant Aboriginal communities. The media blitz following Rogers’ heartfelt speech in 2006 was a blow to self-satisfied participants on both sides of the debate: the romantic defenders of Aboriginal ‘self-determination’ and the uncivil deniers of the right of Aboriginal people to coexist with settler society. Nicholas Rothwell summed up the reality that many had ignored, dismissed or denied: ‘Domestic violence and sexual assaults against women and children define the boundaries of human experience in many of the larger and more troubled bush communities – and these dreadful plagues are constantly reported, yet no action ensues.’

In June 2006, ABC journalist Suzanne Smith began reporting the evidence that the Aboriginal community at Mutitjulu, near Uluru, was being terrorised by a ‘predatory paedophile’ who traded petrol for sex with young girls and ‘other men in the community, many with convictions for violent crime, made it difficult for people to expose the sexual violence, the drug trade and the petrol trafficking’. Rogers’ colleague Jane Lloyd was working with the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yangkutjatjara Women’s Council and added, ‘They also target children who do not have strong family, who come from dysfunctional families. So these men are not going to be challenged by the fathers, by the uncles of these children’. Mantatjara Wilson, an Aboriginal elder, explained, ‘We live in a war zone, a big war. We are living in Australia but it is just like the war in East Timor. We suffer rapes, kidnaps, murders, arson, the torching of houses’.

When, on May 15, 2006, Tony Jones introduced Rogers to a national audience, he twice warned the viewers of Lateline that her accounts of violence were extremely graphic and might (should) offend viewers. ‘Why do you think there’s been such a long silence about this particular issue in central Australia?’ he asked. Rogers replied with a triple volley: ‘I think there are a number of reasons for that. The first is that violence is entrenched in a lot of aspects of Aboriginal society here. Secondly, Aboriginal people choose not to take responsibility for their own actions. Thirdly, Aboriginal society is very punitive, so that if a report is made or a statement is made implicating an offender then that potential witness is subject to harassment, intimidation and sometimes physical assault if the offender gets into trouble because of that report or police statement.’

At this point, Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Mal Brough was still hesitant. He had told the ABC, ‘Australians may not be ready to hear about children being raped.’ Jones asked Rogers whether she disagreed. ‘Yes, I do. I feel very strongly that everybody needs to know about it.’

She detailed the traumas and horrors and focused on several cases: a four-year-old girl drowned while being raped by a teenager who had been sniffing petrol; two very young children – including a seven-month-old baby – sexually assaulted by adult men, while their mothers were elsewhere drinking alcohol. Both children needed surgery for their injuries. Another baby was stabbed twice by a man attempting to kill her mother. In yet another case, a teenager witnessed his grandfather being stabbed repeatedly in the throat. ‘These kids see violence as an everyday part of their life and many of them become violent themselves.’ Rogers said young men were given status in the community and not held accountable for their actions, and that she had ceased being a public defender because she was ‘sick of acting for violent Aboriginal men’.

Miranda Devine, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, asked, ‘Why did Tony Jones feel the need to ask Rogers, "Are you worried that the information itself may be abused by tabloids and racists even, shock jocks – the sort of people who will take information like this and exploit it?" Are there really people so morally confused that they see opposition to the rape of babies as a "shock jock" phenomenon?’

The question Devine should have asked was, ‘Are there really Aboriginal people so morally confused that they see the rape of babies as normal and not warranting any intervention?’

I am sad to report that the answer to that question is ‘yes’. There are such people, and it is them – rather than snivelling racists or the ‘shock jocks’ who exploit Aboriginal misery for fame – who undermine attempts to prevent the rape of Aboriginal children and other crimes against our most vulnerable citizens.

After these reports a chorus of denialists jumped in to defend ‘Aboriginal culture’, accusing ABC journalists of racism. Brian Johnstone – for many years press secretary to the late Bob Collins, a former Northern Territory senator – was a prominent and vociferous critic. As a journalist with the National Indigenous Times, Johnstone characterised Smith’s report as ‘99 per cent fact free’. He trivialised Rogers’ evidence and Smith’s courageous reporting in a rancorous attack on their integrity, evidence and motives and provided various justifications for the violence they identified and sought to prevent. He suggested the ABC had vilified Aboriginal culture with racist and unsubstantiated reports by ‘journalists who cannot be bothered looking beyond the sensation and mistake a "conspiracy of silence" for a journalistic conspiracy of disinterest’.

Only a man who has never tried to console a rape victim, or her mother, or tried to take a victim to a police station, could utter such nonsense. Johnstone’s tirade followed public reports of the paedophile preying on children at Mutitjulu which six people from the community described. Later, Smith interviewed Mantatjara Wilson and Rex Wild:

Wilson: I know that man sells petrol to children. This huge problem wasn’t started by the children. The problem was started by the people who sell petrol to get children started on petrol sniffing and then induce them to have sex for it.

Wild: We refer to that person, I don’t think by name, but we refer to the Mutitjulu episode, and we do give particular reference to the source of the original idea that there should be an inquiry.

Smith: He says a senior man was preying on under-age girls.

Wild: All we’re saying is an offender is a perpetrator and a child abuser.

Smith: And he says Muntajara Wilson who he describes as an elder from Mutitjulu had the right to speak and was brave to come forward, along with other whistleblowers.

Wild: They should be proud they’re making statements and out there doing something. Of course they should be proud of that.

SEVERAL MONTHS AFTER the first reports of child abuse on Lateline, Clare Martin finally joined the fray. On August 8, 2006, she appointed a Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse, co-chaired by Patricia Anderson and Rex Wild, to find better ways to protect Aboriginal children from sexual abuse. What occurred between May and August that year exposed Martin’s rapidly deteriorating relationship with her Aboriginal constituents.

Martin finally settled in Darwin in 1990 after two short periods there as an ABC journalist. She was from a Sydney Catholic family, educated at convents on Sydney’s North Shore and at the University of Sydney. In 1990 she unsuccessfully contested the seat of Casuarina in Darwin’s northern suburbs, where the largely white population had determined the outcome of Territory elections for decades. The Country-Liberal Party was always ready to use ‘race’ issues to ensure it held on to power. In 1995, Martin won the blue-ribbon Country-Liberal seat of Fannie Bay, named for the city’s wealthiest suburb, home to the Casino, Mindil Beach markets, Darwin Turf Club, the Sailing Club and East Point Recreation Reserve.

Martin became Labor leader in 1998 and led the party when it won government for the first time in Territory history on August 18, 2001, with a one-seat majority – of Aboriginal candidate Matthew Bonson. Other Aboriginal candidates also elected for the first time – Marion Scrymgour and Elliot McAdam – joined John Ah Kit in the imposing Territory parliament. But it soon became clear the Martin government would be much like the one it displaced. Labor ‘true believers’ who manned polling booths and kept the flame burning heard whispers that ‘this one is for the northern suburbs’, with no concessions on Aboriginal issues. So it proved to be.

More than six years later, on Sunday, November 25, 2007, counting in marginal electorates added more seats to the crushing tally won by the Australian Labor Party in the federal election the day before. Warren Snowden won an increased majority in his seat of Lingiari, a vast electorate covering much of the Territory. The next day, he and Martin were reported demanding that the Emergency Intervention stop, the Aboriginal work-for the dole scheme be reinstated, restrictions on alcohol sales lifted, and the permit restrictions which had isolated Aboriginal communities from the economy and Australian society, be reinstated. Their call fell on deaf ears, although Snowdon was soon appointed Minister for Defence Science and Personnel.

Later on the day these comments appeared, Martin and her deputy Sid Stirling resigned. Paul Henderson and Marion Scrymgour became the new leaders of the hybrid political formation the Northern Territory has become since it was granted self-government in 1978. Scrymgour became the most senior Aboriginal parliamentarian in Australia – Deputy Chief Minister of a territory in which more than a quarter of the population is Aboriginal.

This was followed quickly by a spill of the chairman’s position at the powerful Northern Land Council. Wali Wunungmurra, a cousin of the East Arnhem leader and former Australian of the Year Galarrwuy Yunupingu, became its chairman. The next day, Norman Fry resigned after eleven years as CEO of the Council. These rapid responses were local earthquakes and signalled the end of a vain, symbolic response to a crisis that demanded practical action.

It is a public secret up north that Martin opposed Yunupingu and all he represents. Her avoidance of the unavoidable responsibility as chief minister to understand Aboriginal society and its customary laws, including those relating to polygyny (marriage arrangements in which an older man has a number of wives) contributed to the loss of confidence in her leadership.

In Arnhem Land, her opposition to Aboriginal customary law is seen as a false conflation of child abuse with customary laws relating to marriage, although the relationship between traditional patterns of conflict may not be irrelevant. The conservative side of politics was no more comfortable with customary law, but after the scale of the crisis became undeniable, it responded with action and money. The conservatives at least understood the relationship between passivity, alcohol, substance abuse, and declining social norms. Their exasperated solution to send in the army, stop alcohol abuse, quarantine welfare to ensure the money was spent on food and close down the work-for-the-dole scheme, the Community Development Employment Program, did not convince Marion Scrygmour, but she agreed something had to be done.

At the time of writing in early December 2007, it remains to be seen whether newly elected Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will honour his apparently heartfelt commitment to the intervention. In the week before the general election, he retreated from his earlier commitment to hold a referendum on Aboriginal rights. The danger now is that old-left thinking will again prevail. I believe that those opposed to the intervention are morally and politically wrong. I fear they represent the small, comfortable white clique in the Territory whose cars bear stickers declaring ‘I fish and I drink and I vote’ and the ‘big men’ in Aboriginal communities who harvest votes for their Labor mates.

I’ve seen the bodies of battered children as well. I’ve looked in the eyes of some of these children and seen the plea for help. We can’t fail children any more.

– Charlie King, Family and Community Services advisory consultant, Lateline, June 18, 2007

BECAUSE OF THE CONFUSED media noise from the Aboriginal commentariat, I am often asked whether the reported crisis is ‘real’. It is, and it has been a crisis for decades in some areas, as many reports have shown and the current inquiry investigating the spate of child suicides at Fitzroy Crossing reminds us.

What I have learnt from trying to answer this question comes not from the question itself, but from those who ask: Turkish taxi drivers, Aussie lawyers, overseas visitors, and other decent family people with a genuine concern for children in an age of global sexual abuse of the most vulnerable. They may have no direct experience of Indigenous affairs and its nasty politics, but they read the newspapers. Those convinced that nefarious intentions drove the intervention often know something about Indigenous affairs – but not much, just enough to adopt a fashionable cynicism and purported horror about the abuse of human rights. The taxi drivers, lawyers and tourists ask first about the fate of the Aboriginal children living in remote communities and then why this situation was allowed to develop.

Until Alison Anderson, another Labor member of the Territory government, elected in 2005, spoke out in late October 2007 in an interview with The Australian, those living in the seventy-three communities affected by the legislation had been silenced by the Aboriginal commentators and their supporters who do not live in poverty and the accompanying crisis of violence, drug and alcohol abuse. Those with long experience in these communities write to me with pleas like this from a woman in Central Australia:

One interesting fact is that in the whole of the remote area out from Alice Springs there is only one Family and Community Services worker. There are positions but they are not filled. Also since there has been no doctor or policeman at Mutitjulu since last year, and Wingellina has had no nurse for ages etc. We would like to contribute to a discussion on the current developments. From my experience I would suggest that anyone who holds a job on a remote community should submit to a criminal record check and also have a check to see what they got up to on their last Aboriginal community. There is a history of people going from community to community criss-crossing the borders and mucking up (fraud, obstructionist behaviour, and general incompetence). They can do this because the turnover out bush and in town means there is no community ‘memory’. Youth suicide is on the increase, childhood and youth obesity is pretty bad. The diet is terrible.

The Australian public cannot understand the scathing criticism of the intervention by the red, black and yellow warriors. This is understandable. The first instinct of an ordinary person is concern about children whose awful situation is now constantly reported. Many members of the Australian public are horrified about their situation. They cannot understand why there is so little concern about the almost unbelievable levels of neglect and abuse of children. The better informed doctors and lawyers who have worked in these communities say, ‘The intervention is not perfect but it is more important to engage in order to improve outcomes than to waste the first nationally agreed, bipartisan opportunity to ensure adequate levels of medical care and policy attention to other critical areas.’ Another correspondent wrote to me:

During the Howard era there was at least an understandable argument made by some along the lines that to highlight the outrages occurring in Territory Aboriginal communities and elsewhere would only encourage political opportunism by the Howard Government … but what justification can there possibly be to override the imperative of acting immediately, whilst ever the vulnerable remain exposed to present danger? … what reason could any sensible person now have [after the Howard government lost the election] to attack the core elements of the intervention intended to safeguard the weak and the vulnerable? There is clearly an attempt being made to engage with Territory Indigenous communities [to] increase community involvement in and control of the measures … Yet from all accounts the (mainly white) naysayers appear more emboldened than ever to continue the fight against the intervention in its entirety. Who are these people, and what do they think they are fighting for?

Another correspondent wrote to me about her conversion from the viewpoint that ‘you can never criticise or attack Aborigines or their culture because it would incite racism against Indigenous people … I now see how this view simply perpetuates the idea that Indigenous people are helpless victims, with no personal responsibility for their actions. I also feel absolutely disgusted with those who hold the view that ideology must come before the plight of children’.

The level of ignorance of the extent of the crisis contributes to the public cynicism questioned by my correspondent. One of the sustained fantasies about traditional Aboriginal society is that, until colonisation, life for Aboriginal people was peaceful and idyllic. The idea that violence – sanctioned and illicit – was the norm has been cast by the defenders of the myth as a racist misrepresentation of a noble society.

I believe those who have attacked those of us who want to deal with the direct and indirect factors contributing to the abuse of children, suffer from a form of ‘Stockholm syndrome’. Psychologists use this term to refer to an emotional bond that develops between hostages and captors. It is a familiar problem for victims of abuse: wives who still love their husbands despite domestic violence; victims of incest still attached to their molesters; prison inmates who turn on each other rather than their guards.

The critics of the intervention have become dependent – from a distance – on perpetuating the lot of those who are suffering the most. A related emotional response is the ‘small kindness perception’ – the search for hope by people trapped in extremely abusive situations. The reconciliation rhetoric offers hope of ‘kindness’ to Aboriginal people trapped in nightmarish conditions from which escape seems unlikely.

There is something else to understand about their rage. Many of the strongest critics of the intervention have a sense of identity and dignity based on being in an oppressed ‘racial’ collective. As Aboriginal people, they feel they share the suffering of other Aboriginal people. I cannot quibble with this basic ontological characteristic of being a member of an oppressed group. The problem arises when there is a presumption of shared experience and willingness to overlook the moral, ethical or even rational view of particular behaviours. Solidarity for its own sake takes pre-eminence, and does not permit a clear-cut rejection of wrong doing.

This line of analysis informs the outrage at the Australian Defence Force (ADF) being used in the intervention. It must have been easy for John Howard’s spin-doctors to predict that the pro-symbolic Aboriginal activists and their supporters would interpret the use of the army as another ‘invasion’. Few understand the long history of Indigenous involvement with the ADF. It remains one of their largest employers, and has a long history of working closely with remote communities, in areas of operation larger than many countries.

It was not coincidental that Sue Gordon, the leader of the intervention in many respects, served in the army for many years. Knowledge of ADF experience in Aboriginal communities makes a more benign interpretation possible: rather than being a typical Howard ‘wedge’, it could be that the army was recruited because of its administrative, organisational and logistical competence and experience.

I am not arguing that the use of the army is a tactic I support or would adopt. It is not sustainable in the long term. But this short-term tactic may be the ‘wake-up call’ that leads to sustainable strategies, few of which have been seen in remote Australia and even fewer ever adequately funded. My observations are merely analytical, to help understand the political responses to the intervention and the hysterical opposition to it.

They want to the absolutely wake up to themselves and have a good long think where they’re going and what they’re doing with Aboriginal people. Nothing is going to be left once all the elders go. What Aboriginal culture is going to be left alive?

– Dawn Bradbrook, resident of Mutitjulu, wife of a senior traditional owner, Lateline, June 21, 2006

WITH THE EXCEPTION of experienced native title and land rights practitioners, and a small number of anthropologists, Aboriginal customary law is not well understood. There is little real understanding of how the violent abuse by Aboriginal men of women and children has reached such stomach-churning ferocity and regularity. The use of customary law as a defence by legal counsel representing Aboriginal rapists and murders is the truly offensive insult to Aboriginal culture and people.

Aboriginal society is sliding into a terminal state of under-development. While the crisis intensifies, the rhetoric is generally symbolic. There has been heated discussion about ‘practical’ versus ‘symbolic’ reconciliation – some argue for one but not the other, some claim we can have both. Others, including my friend and colleague Noel Pearson, director of the Cape York Institute for Leadership and Policy, understand that this is a false dichotomy, and that there is a ‘radical centre’ in which both practical and symbolic aspects of the problem of Aboriginal under-development and its history are implicated.

There are those who cling to ideas of reconciliation and still hope that recognition of Aboriginal culture will save them, their own kin are dying too young as a result of illness, alcohol and drug-fuelled violence and suicide. On the other side, neo-conservatives steal Pearson’s ideas and impose punitive measures on entire populations trapped in alcohol and substance dependency, deprive them of economic capability and subject them to a miserable, violence-ridden existence on the margins.

While Patrick Dodson and others cling to ideas of reconciliation and plead for recognition of the culture they hold dear the rhetoric remains much as it was twenty years ago, with a focus on ‘unfinished business’, ‘cultural identity’ and ‘honest talk’ and this soft, essentially meaningless tirade of euphemisms and metaphors is pitted against the hard politics of community life.

I was present at the first meeting at the Gumatj settlement at Dhaniya in Arnhem Land when the former Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough and his adviser, Russell Patterson came to discuss Galarrwuy Yunupingu’s objections to the legislation and the intervention. On the verandah of his house on the shores of the bright blue sea of Port Bradshaw, Yunupingu and Brough talked as Pearson and I listened. Yunupingu spoke about his never-ending responsibilities to care for family members who failed to make the shift from dependency to self– sufficiency. He did not discuss money in his dealings with the men from Canberra. At the next meeting, secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Peter Shergold visited Gunyangara as well. No strings were attached and there was no coercion, as the red, black and yellow warriors alleged, assuming that this man could be manipulated. Yunupingu himself had worked out the clever solution to the land problem which he set out in a Memorandum of Understanding. But as he has said in later interviews, he wanted services for his community on an equal basis to the rest of Australia and was thinking about his obligation to people who knock on his door night after night asking for food for their hungry children.

At the time of Dodson’s criticism of this agreement in a speech at the Brunswick Town Hall on October 12, he did not know that Yunupingu had also proposed a referendum to recognise Indigenous rights in the Constitution. Pearson, who had convinced Howard of the need for a referendum on Aboriginal rights, sought to warn Dodson, before his speech that there was much more at stake than had been reported.

A fortnight after Dodson’s address, Yunupingu confronted opponents of the intervention in a lecture at the University of Melbourne Law School on October 26. He appealed for realpolitik. He does not regard reconciliation as a process, but considers it will come about as a result of argument, negotiation and agreement, when both parties meet as equals, neither asking special favours of the other: ‘Reconciliation does not come about because we agree to sit down and talk. Reconciliation only comes about when we have talked and reached an understanding. It is at the end of that process, when we shake hands and go off into our day-to-day lives. That is when we are reconciled; reconciliation does not come just from turning up to a meeting place.’

Yunupingu explained his decision to sign the memorandum to resolve his opposition to the five year lease imposed over the Gunyangara township by the legislation. His solution was a simple, elegant one that overcame the potential human rights abuse of the compulsory acquisition provisions in the new statute: the Gumatj Association, a corporation of traditional owners, would issue the lease. Three months earlier, Dodson had argued in The Age:

A more effective proposal [than the intervention] would be to transfer community settlements to the Northern Territory Government under a ninety-nine-year lease arrangement. This transfer would enable the delivery of a wide range of citizenship services to Indigenous communities while providing a development approach for housing investment. It would also seek to offer a long-term vision for a partnership with Indigenous communities where they would be given an increased role and responsibility over their lives and futures. In such a possibility, and in such a vision, sexual abuse, violence and dysfunction within Indigenous communities where they would be given an increased role and responsibility over their lives and futures …

After two weeks of intense negotiations, Yunupingu achieved all of this and kept control of his land. At the same time, he was successful in setting the Howard government on an unexpected course towards constitutional reform and economic empowerment, which is unlikely to be repeated.

IT MIGHT APPEAR that the divide between Aboriginal people in the northern and remote areas and those in the big southern cities has never been starker. This is true to an extent. Ad hominem attacks were rare when we tackled amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act in 1987, the Native Title Act in 1993, and again in 1997. When they did erupt, they came from Aboriginal people with well-known personal agendas. We dismissed them as self-serving, their rhetoric aimed to please an ineffectual crowd of followers.

This time, the harsh, personal attacks have some intellectual content, and however shallow, cannot be ignored. The disinformation, lies, slander and defamation revolve around several assumptions: that John Howard ‘wedged’ us and we were naïve victims of electoral politics; that financial or other inducements were offered to benefit us personally; that we were coerced into adopting the positions that we have publicly expressed. None of these is true. They are easy to disprove. But the court of public opinion is a kangaroo court, not one amenable to facts.

The day after Yunupingu’s Melbourne address, Joel Gibson reported breathlessly in the Sydney Morning Herald that the prime minister had driven a wedge between prominent Aboriginal activists over the intervention. There are, as some journalists are delighted to report, two camps on these matters, one concerned with symbolic outcomes and the other with the practical. In reality, the two camps are divided by historical issues: those who have lived through the many tragedies and their aftermath in remote Australia committed to preventing the destruction of their societies in a haze of alcohol and drug abuse; and those with cosmopolitan urban experience who have allowed libertarian leanings, and deep political disappointment, to confuse their logic. Whether the motives of the latter group were a general suspicion of John Howard, hatred of his government’s record or motivated by a genuine concern for the fate of the children is difficult to determine from the public record.

There are critics with a genuine concern about the extent and implementation of the intervention and the achievement of its stated outcomes, including prominent residents of remote communities, but their response has been to support the intervention and advocate measures to ensure its sustainability. To understand the false dichotomy in which ‘reconciliation’ politics were pitted against the steps needed for Aboriginal economic development, it is helpful to examine a few ideas that may turn the tide of misery.

A sustained critique, analysis and body of evidence have been launched at this alcohol and drug-fuelled disaster over the past decade by Noel Pearson. The virility of the opposition to the solutions developed by the Cape York Institute is testament to the self-deluding ideology to which Pearson’s opponents cling. They ignore the unassailable facts in hundreds of impoverished Aboriginal communities across remote Australia: radically shortened lives; the highest national rates of unemployment; widespread violence, endemic alcohol and substance abuse; the lowest national levels of education; and lifelong morbidity for hapless citizens suffering from heart disease, nutrition and lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes.

In Griffith REVIEW 16: Unintended Consequences Pearson set out the main contributors to the ‘descent into hell’ of Aboriginal society four decades after the 1967 referendum recognised our citizenship: removal of Aboriginal stock workers to the fringes of towns; increasing dependence of welfare and an unfettered right to alcohol. He showed how policy changes to remove economic discrimination, improve access to social welfare and ensure that Indigenous Australians had equal rights had damaging consequences.

I came to the same conclusions almost two decades ago. My own research and investigation alerted me to three additional contributing factors driving some communities into the inner circles of hell: illicit drugs, other addictive substances and pornography – all imported into Aboriginal communities since the 1970s. Along with the ‘rivers of grog’ and the debilitating alienation that results from permanent unemployment, they have helped cripple many in the Aboriginal population, and ‘very high rates’ of cannabis use contribute to the epidemic of suicide.

Illicit drugs had a similar impact on black American communities following the civil rights movement. There, the pandemic of illegal drugs brought drug wars, communities bristling with arms, high death tolls and the disintegration of community life, although zero tolerance policies stalled these trends in some places.

The impact of illicit drugs and substances on Aboriginal communities over the last thirty years cannot be under-estimated. Along with the flood of pornography, their contribution to the present disaster demands more than the present intervention can deliver. Gambling also demands urgent attention. In most remote communities, men and women huddle in circles, throwing their money into the ‘pot’, to be lost or won on a single card. Almost all of a community’s income can disappear overnight.

It is these practices – violent anti-social behaviour, excessive and harmful use of drugs, alcohol and other substances, use of pornography (especially in the presence of minors), gambling, and the resultant neglect of family life and children – that Pearson is targeting with his campaign for personal responsibility. Former Health Minister Tony Abbott was right when he said, ‘There is much evidence that the extremes of Indigenous ill-health result from social conditions that no amount of improvement in health services can ever really deal with … Nanette Rogers’ account of the routine sexual abuse of children and horrific violence against women was, as she said, "beyond most people’s comprehension". Aboriginal people’s incapacity to address these issues was, she speculated, the result of constantly being overtaken by new tragedy: "It might be the suicide, it might be the fatal car accident, it might be the death of the twenty-year-old from heart disease, because of diet, failure to thrive, lots of grog, petrol or whatever. All of those tragedies … overtake a community," she said. "So yes, it was a dreadful thing that the six-year-old was anally penetrated and killed but then something new takes its place within a very short time."‘

To expect that people who reel from one traumatic event to another can enjoy the much-lauded Aboriginal ‘rights to self-determination’ while their own community and the larger society repeatedly fail them is an indulgent fantasy. It is also an indulgent fantasy to require ‘consultation’ before intervening to prevent crimes being committed.

It is not just the historical and continuing exclusion from the economy, or lack of intergenerational capital, or vicious governments, but the practices of Aboriginal people themselves that transform mere poverty into a living hell. Australia is enjoying an economic boom driven by the rocketing demand for raw materials, but Aboriginal people – who live in areas from which many of these minerals are extracted – are spiralling into permanent poverty and marginalisation.

WHILE WRITING THIS ESSAY, I appealed to the newly-elected Rudd government to continue the Emergency Intervention and maintain the strategies most likely to stop the horrors that plague Aboriginal communities. In response I was pilloried by Aboriginal people who responded with letters to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald with sentimental, blame-shifting nonsense. These were later posted on the webpage of Women for Wik, a group of high profile women supporting ‘Aboriginal rights’ who seem, despite extraordinary levels of education and achievement in public life, to be misinformed and misled about the nature of the crisis.

Then on December 10, 2007 another heart-breaking tragedy was reported by Tony Koch: the rape of a ten-year-old Wik girl in Aurukun by three adult and six juvenile Wik males which was treated by the Queensland criminal justice system as barely a cause for concern. District Court judge Sarah Bradley expressed utter contempt for the girl and basic norms of humanity when she imposed twelve-month probation orders, and failed to record a conviction against any of the nine who had pleaded guilty. After all that has been said about the far too many cases like this that end up before the courts, and many, many more that are never reported, it was almost more than I could bear to read Bradley’s sickening statements that this child ‘probably agreed’ to have sex with them.

As is so typical in such cases, several of the nine are from the ruling families of Aurukun where anti-social behaviour, which varies from day to day only in its intensity and detrimental outcomes, is called ‘riots’. If the dysfunctional behaviour was merely riots, rather than murder, rape, incest, assault, suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, gambling, then there would be no justification for the recommendations over the years to end welfare payments without conditions and government funding without positive outcomes. It would be a fair bet that each of the adults who pleaded guilty to raping this child was receiving a government payment, leading to the conclusion that dysfunctional Aboriginal behaviour is financially supported by government funding.

It is justifiable to conclude that an apartheid regime has been created wherever Aboriginal communities are quarantined by remoteness, welfare dependence, a racist criminal justice system and government officials who entrench this expensive social pathology with dysfunctional policies. The most disgusting of these is judicial leniency in sentencing Aboriginal murderers and rapists. This rewards serial rapists and murderers. Instead of jail sentences that would apply to anyone else, they are freed often after a laughable lecture, or sent to a prison where living conditions are often better than in the communities they come from. They are released into the same communities where their crimes were committed and recidivism takes on a special meaning: the younger sisters or cousins of their original victims are the next in line to be raped.

I have two questions for the Women for Wik (and the cowardly men who hide behind their skirts): what suggestions do you have that could prevent incidents like this that took place in the heart of Wik country? And, will you now cease using the name of the once proud Wik people, who now endure a vicious, violent and miserable existence thanks to the failed sentimental policies you advocate?

IT SEEMS ALMOST axiomatic to most Australians that Aborigines should be marginalised: poor, sick, and forever on the verge of extinction. At the heart of this idea is a belief in the inevitability of our incapability – the acceptance of our ‘descent into hell’. This is part of the cultural and political wrong-headedness that dominates thinking about the role of Aboriginal property rights and economic behaviour in the transition from settler colonialism to modernity.

In this mindset, the potential of an economically empowered, free-thinking, free-speaking Aborigine has been set to one side because it is more interesting to play with the warm, cuddly cultural Aborigine – the one who is so demoralised that the only available role is as a passive player. The dominance of the ‘reconciliation and justice’ rhetoric in the Australian discourse on Aboriginal issues is a part of this.

The first Australians are simply seeking relief from poverty and economic exclusion. Yet, in the last three decades, rational thinking and sound theory (such as development economics) to address the needs of Indigenous societies have been side-tracked into the intellectual dead-end of the ‘culture wars’. This has had very little to do with Aboriginal people, but everything to do with white settlers positioning themselves around the central problem of their country: can a settler nation be honourable? Can history be recruited to the cause of Australian nationalism without reaching agreement with its first peoples?

Paradoxically, even while Aboriginal misery dominates the national media frenzy – the perpetual Aboriginal reality show – the first peoples exist as virtual beings without power or efficacy in the national zeitgeist. Political characters played by ‘Aboriginal leaders’ pull the levers that draw settler Australians to them in a co-dependent relationship. The rhetoric of reconciliation is a powerful drawcard – like the bearded woman at the old sideshow. It is a seductive, pornographic idea, designed for punters accustomed to viewing Aborigines as freaks. It almost allows ‘the native’ some agency and a future. I say ‘almost’ because, in the end, ‘the native’ is not allowed out of the show, forever condemned to perform to attract crowds. The debate that has surrounded the Emergency Intervention has been instructive. It has exposed this co-dependency. It has also revealed a more disturbing, less well-understood fault-line in the Aboriginal world. The co-dependents in the relationship seek to speak for the abused, the suffering, the ill, the dying and those desperately in need who have been left alone to descend into a living hell while those far removed conduct a discourse on rights and culture.

The bodies that have piled up over the last thirty years have become irrelevant, except where they serve the purposes of the ‘culture war’. But in the meantime, the bodies of real people continue to pile up, human lives broken on the wheel of suffering. How much longer will this abuse of Aboriginal people be tolerated? ♦

Voir de plus:

Don’t let facts spoil the day

Keith Windschuttle

The Australian

February 09, 2008

IF the Rudd Government apologises to the Stolen Generations it should not stop at mere words.

It should pay a substantial sum in compensation. This was the central recommendation of the Human Rights Commission’s Bringing Them Home report in 1997.

The charge that justified this, the report said, was genocide. This allegedly took place from the 1910s until the late ’60s right across Australia. In some parts of the commonwealth it was still going on in the ’80s.

None of the politicians who plan to apologise next Wednesday can avoid the term genocide. It is embedded in the very meaning of the phrase "Stolen Generations".

Bringing Them Home found indigenous children were forcibly removed from their homes so they could be raised separately from and ignorant of their culture and people.

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The ultimate purpose, it claimed, was to endthe existence of the Aborigines as a distinct people.

Bringing Them Home claimed "not one indigenous family has escaped the effects of forcible removal". Hence it recommended that virtually every person in Australia who claimed to be an Aborigine was entitled to a substantial cash handout. The Bruce Trevorrow case in South Australia provided a benchmark for what that sum should be, a minimum of $500,000.

The Aboriginal population today numbers almost 500,000, living in about 100,000 families. Those who are serious about an apology should back it with a lump sum payment of $500,000 to each family, a total of $50 billion. Only an amount on this scale can legitimately compensate for such a crime and satisfy the grievances of activists such as Lowitja O’Donohue and Michael Mansell.

The parliament cannot take those bits of Bringing Them Home it finds congenial and ignore the rest. The report’s logic is impeccable. If children really were systematically removed to end the existence of Aborigines asa distinct people, then the crime was definitely genocide. As Raymond Gaita has argued, quite accurately, if Bringing Them Home is a true account, the crime of genocide is "over-determined".

There is no doubt that the majority of Aboriginal people today believe the Stolen Generations story is true. If parliament agrees with them, but fails to offer compensation, it will reduce next week’s apology to a politically expedient piece of insincerity that yet again humiliates Aborigines by showing we do not take their most deeply-felt grievances seriously. It is also worth observing that by apologising, the Rudd Government will go a long way towards demolishing one of the Labor Party’s strongest calls on loyalty: its sense that it alone offers a historical progression towards "the light on the hill". One thing the university historians who first established this story kept largely to themselves was that the major pieces of relevant legislation were all passed by Labor governments.

In NSW, the 1915 Aborigines Protection Amending Act, which allowed the Aborigines Protection Board to remove children without recourse to a hearing before a magistrate, was the work of the first Labor government in the state headed by James McGowen and W.A.Holman. The Act’s 1943 amendment, which allowed Aboriginal children to be fostered out to non-indigenous families, was introduced by the Labor government of William McKell, one of his party’s favourite sons who later served as governor-general.

In Western Australia, the 1936 Act that historians claim allowed A.O.Neville to implement his policy of "breeding out the colour" was the product of the Labor governments of Phillip Collier and John C.Willcock. By apologising, Kevin Rudd and his colleagues will be effectively trashing the reputations of their party’s predecessors.

The problem with the Bringing Them Home report is not its logic, but its facts. As regards NSW, the story of the Stolen Generations was largely formed in 1981 by the historian Peter Read, then of the Australian National University (now at the University of Sydney). Read’s work had an enormous influence on Aboriginal communities by saying institutionalised children had not been failed by alcoholic parents who neglected to provide them with food and shelter.

It was all the work of the white man, of faceless white bureaucrats who wanted to eliminate the Aborigines.

Bringing Them Home did no original research of its own in NSW. Instead, it relied upon Read’s writings. It quoted verbatim his claim that the files on individual children removed by the Aborigines Protection Board confirmed his case: "Some managers cut a long story short when they came to that part of the committal notice ‘Reason for board taking control of the child’. They simply wrote ‘for being Aboriginal’."

If it’s pretended this was commonplace, however, it is a serious misrepresentation. In a debate with Read last year at the History Teachers Association’s annual conference, I asked him how many files bore those words. He confessed to the audience there were only two. When I investigated the same batch of 800 files in the NSW archives, I found there was only one. Its words were "Being an Aboriginal". There were two others with the single word "Aboriginal".

I also found that, although popular songs and the Bringing Them Home report gave the distinct impression that most children were removed when they were babies or toddlers, there were hardly any in this category. The archive files on which Read relied show that between 1907 and 1932, the NSW authorities removed only seven babies aged less than 12 months, and another 18 aged less than two years. Fewer than one-third of the children removed in this period were aged less than 12 years. Almost all were welfare cases, orphans, neglected children (some severely malnourished), and children who were abandoned, deserted and homeless.

The other two-thirds were teenagers, 13 to 17 years old. The reason they were removed was to send them off to be employed as apprentices. In reality, the NSW Labor governments were not stealing children but offering youths the opportunity to get on-the-job training, just like their white peers in the same age groups.

Read knew these Aboriginal youths were being apprenticed, though he never admitted they constituted the great majority of those removed. He claimed the authorities regarded them as stupid and consigned them to degrading jobs: the boys to agricultural work and the girls to domestic service. But at the time, this is where most white Australians were also employed. These were the two biggest single employment categories for men and women. The government was not asking Aborigines to take occupations any more onerous or demeaning than those of hundreds of thousands of their white countrymen.

Moreover, these teenagers were not removed permanently, as the charge of genocide infers. The majority of them returned home to their families when they turned 18 and their apprenticeship was complete. The archival records show this clearly, and Read found the same when in the ’80s he recorded a little-publicised oral history of the Wiradjuri people.

Yet in 2002 he could still claim publicly: "Welfare officers, removing children solely because they were Aboriginal, intended and arranged that they should lose their Aboriginality and that they never return home."

There is another very good reason why it was not the policy of the government to remove Aboriginal children from their parents: it wanted them to go to school. It pursued this objective with both action and money.

The NSW Department of Public Instruction constructed schoolhouses and employed schoolteachers on all the 21 Aboriginal stations set up between 1893 and 1917. It also provided schools and teachers on any of the 115 Aboriginal reserves that had enough children of school-going age to justify it.

On those reserves where there were not enough children to warrant a dedicated school, the Aborigines Protection Board insisted they must go to the local public school. In the early years, it tried to coerce Aboriginal parents into sending their children to school by withholding rations if they failed to do this. In its later years, it organised for all Aboriginal children to have a hot midday meal at school.

In contrast, in the ’20s and ’30s, there were only three welfare institutions in NSW designated for Aboriginal children. One at Bomaderry housed 25 infants to 10-year-olds, the second at Cootamundra accommodated 50 girls aged up to 13 years, and the third at Kinchela housed 50 boys aged up to 13 years.

At about the same time, about 2800 Aboriginal children in NSW lived at home with their parents and attended public schools.

The 125 places at the welfare institutions represented a mere 4.5 per cent of all the places provided for Aborigines at public schools. On these grounds alone, no one can argue that the government was conducting a systematic program to destroy Aboriginality by stealing children from their families. A similar ratio of schools to welfare institutions operated in most other states, where the same conclusion deserves to be drawn.

In Western Australia and the Northern Territory, the two greatest villains in this story were A.O.Neville and Cecil ‘Mick’ Cook. Both publicly endorsed a program to "breed out the colour" with the ultimate aim of biologically absorbing the Aboriginal people into the white population.

This was an obnoxious policy that well deserved Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of Neville as a fastidious, obsessive bureaucrat in the film Rabbit-Proof Fence.

However, it was also a policy that had only a minor focus on children. It was primarily concerned with controlling Aboriginal marriage and cohabitation patterns in order to foster the rapid assimilation of part-Aborigines. To define the policy as part of the Stolen Generations thesis is a mistake. In any case, it was almost a complete failure.

In the ’30s, marriages arranged by these administrators totalled less than 10 a year. Neville proved as inept at rounding up children as he did at match-making. The Moseley royal commission recorded in 1935 that over three years, the one government settlement in the state’s south at Moore River took in only 64 unattended children. This was out of a total Aboriginal population in the state of 19,000. It was less than 1 per cent of all Aboriginal children in the state. Neville dealt with handfuls of children, not generations.

The only successful program from this era was the NSW Aboriginal apprenticeship system, which operated from the 1880s to the 1940s. It provided real jobs and skills and gave young Aborigines a way out of the alcohol-soaked, handout-dominated camps and reserves of their parents. Indeed, it is a policy that could well be revived today to rescue children from the sexual assault and substance abuse prevalent in the remote communities.

If Rudd led a real Labor Government, he would be more concerned about emulating the down-to-earth policies devised by his party’s predecessors among the old cream of the working class than pandering to the misinterpretations of the recent academic historians who created this issue.

Keith Windschuttle’s The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, Volume Two will be published later this year.

Voir enfin:

Genocide in Australia?

Lucas Marie

Thinking out loud

In the 2001 edition of the academic journal Aboriginal History, editors Ann Curthoys and John Docker wrote:

“Settler-colonies in ‘Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, the United States, and Canada’ led the way in setting out to achieve what the Nazis also set out to achieve…

the displacement of indigenous populations and their replacement by incoming peoples held to be racially superior.”

The question which I will try to discuss is:

“Should we classify the events of what happened to the indigenous Australian population, from the colonization of Australia, as Genocide?”

The definition of genocide over the past 67 years has adapted and changed and therefore the definition is often contested amongst academics. When a country or state is accused of genocide it’s no light accusation and various opinions are voiced to dispute the interpretation and details of the events. Perhaps this may be because of the many contrasting definitions, or maybe as genocide is such a strong and negative label no country would lightly accept it.

To be categorized with other groups such as: Hitlers Germany, Pol Pots Cambodia and the Hutu’s Rwanda is seen as a terrible blight on ones country, and not many proud Australians would like to see us in this group.

So then, what can we say is or is not genocide?

The United Nations convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide (and I quote from Article 2) as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. Such as;

Killing members of the group

Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group

Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part

Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group

Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

(Nations, 1948)

Now anyone with some historical knowledge of the colonization of Australia might have had some alarm bells going off when hearing some of these points. I did. However Yehuda Bauer, a leading authority on the Holocaust, argues that the definition in the Genocide Convention contains a fundamental flaw. This flaw she says

“Is the failure to distinguish between policies which aim at cultural suppression and those which seek to achieve their ends through physical destruction”

This to me means that the intention if whether or not a group means to wipe out another groups matters. If the intention is to force another group to assimilate to their culture, (i.e Colonizaion) That this should be thought separately and not just under the one label being Genocide. (Markus 2001, p2)

Professor Andrew Markus of Monash University agrees with Bauer, that the current definition of genocide is too broad and policies of assimilation are being labeled as genocide which he thinks is incorrect. He defines genocide as;

“The attempt to bring about the disappearance of an ethnic or racial group by deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its partial physical destruction and including selective mass killing.”

Under this definition Should Australia be labeled as genocide? Historian Keith Windschuttle in his book The Fabrication of Aboriginal History writes that Australia should not be guilty of Genocide, but perhaps the lesser crime of Ethnocide which Markus defines as;

“The attempt to bring about the disappearance of an ethnic or racial group by suppression of its culture, language, and religion, but stopping short of physical destruction.”

I’m not too sure that Australia’s colonial history fits entirely into Markus’s definition of Ethnocide. We often think of the Aborigines as one ethnic group, but in fact they are made up of various ethnic groups, who have had vastly different experiences. For sure some of the crimes against some Indigenous groups could be argued to be Ethnocide and not Genocide, but perhaps not all of them.

In his 2001 article “Genocide in Australia”, he compares the experience Indigenous Australians endured from the British, and the experience the Jewish peoples had with the Nazis during the second world War. He concludes that the Jewish people endured not only genocide but the more extreme crime of “Holocaust” which he writes is

“The attempt to bring about the disappearance of an ethnic or racial group by deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its total physical destruction and including killing all members of the group.” (Markus 2001, p5)

I’m sure many people would agree that what happened to the Jew’s in World War Two was different to what happened to Aboriginal Australians from the British. If this is true then is it right that the term Genocide be given to both accounts?

the governments official position on this issue is that what happened to the Indigenous populations during Australia’s colonization was not and should not be called genocide, but was in fact a by-product of colonialism from a time where the western world was ignorant to the cultural ideologies of indigenous peoples.

In December 1992 Paul Keating was the first Prime Minister to publically admit the terrible crimes of Australia’s past. He said:

“It begins, I think, with that act of recognition. Recognition that it was we who did the dispossessing. We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life. We brought the diseases. The alcohol. We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practiced discrimination and exclusion” (Polya, 2008)

This message was not humbly accepted by all Australians. Keith Windschuttle refers to the colonization as a hard step towards “progress. He was actually opposed to the Apology Kevin Rudd gave back in 2008. He says

“The apology confirmed Aboriginal people’s core identity as victims of injustice, rather than potential beneficiaries like everyone else of the prosperous, liberal, democratic, egalitarian society. Which was established here since 1788.” (Windschuttle, 2010)

Funny he should call it an egalitarian society established in 1788. I’m not sure that it was for Indigenous Australians, or the majority of women for that matter. Windschuttle thinks that the apology confirms aborigines as victims and perhaps they are! I would argue that the apology is an important step forward in allowing the victims of injustices to move forward.

Professor Colin Tatz is an Australian scholar who is well known for his writings on Genocide studies. His thinks the Australian governments avoidance of the word Genocide is ridiculous. He says,

“They talk about pacifying, killing, cleansing, excluding, exterminating, starving, poisoning, shooting, beheading, sterilizing, exiling, removing – but, avoid the term genocide. Are they ignorant of genocide theory and practice? Or simply reluctant to taint “the land of the fair go” with so heinous and disgracing a label?” (Tatz, 1999)

If our history fits UN’s definition of genocide, then why don’t we call it as it is?

The he biggest killer of Indigenous Australians was the introduction of many diseases from the arriving convicts and settlers. Diseases such as smallpox, typhoid, tuberculosis, whooping cough, influenza, pneumonia, measles and venereal disease seriously depleted Aboriginal numbers on the continent. The numbers of deaths purely from disease is unknown. However the combination of disease, loss of land and direct violence are estimated to have reduced the Aboriginal population by around 90% between the years 1788 and 1900.

What is contested on this issue, is whether or not these Disease’s were deliberately exposed to the Aboriginals‘ as an act of extermination. Colin Tatz wrote:

“it is likely that infection of the Aborigines was a deliberate exterminating act as no one has yet refuted this hypothesis.” (Tatz, 1999)

Keith Windschuttle disputes this argument. He wonders if the soldiers and settlers even understand enough about “Germ Theory” to know how to spread diseases? And Wouldn’t it have spread purely by making contact with them? A point that has been widely documented is that during the early decades of colonial history, Australian governments had said that they looked forward to a date when Australia would one day be racially pure, home only to the White race. (We all know the time in German history where this sort of racist dogma was also used)

When disease struck the Aborigines, it was thought that they would all eventually die-out. Governments did not actively facilitate this by performing mass killings, but little money and effort was used for aboriginal peoples needs. So, can disease be considered a form of genocide?? Well it depends.. some scholars like Markus say the “killings must be deliberate to be considered as genocide”. So it depends on whether or not the disease was introduced deliberately. Others like Matthew Storey argue that “genocide does not require malice”. I think this is a good point because although the Nazi’s performed terrible crimes, they didn’t think that they were evil people or that what they were doing was evil. They thought they were doing good and believed they had a sacred duty to the world to get rid of the Jews.

For those of you who don’t know what the Stolen generation means here a quick summary. During the early 1900’s there was lots of racial discrimination against aboriginals. Not that I’m saying there isn’t any today as there still is. Though it was much worse during this time, and not only did they not care much about them, but people thought that aboriginals were eventually going to die out from disease. In 1909 an Act called “the Aborigines Protection Act” gave the government the right to take Aboriginal children from their families. In 1915, an amendment to the Act gave the government more power and allowed them to remove any child without parental consent and without a court order.

(The Stolen Generations, 2010)

It’s not known precisely how many Aboriginal children were taken away between 1909 and 1969. And because of poor record keeping many Indigenous people could never find their original family members. Their origins, and their history has in a sense been stolen from them. Hence the term “Stolen Generation”. Almost every Aboriginal family has been affected in some way by the policies of child removal. It’s said that taking children from their families was one of the most devastating practices of Australia’s colonization and it’s had profound repercussions for many Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. (The Stolen Generations, 2010) In 1909, C. F. Gale, the Chief Protector in Western Australia, wrote;

“He would not hesitate for one moment to separate any half-caste from its Aboriginal mother, no matter how frantic her momentary grief might be at the time. They soon forget their offspring”

And in 1905 W.E Roth , the Chief Protector of Aboriginals in Queensland said;

“In his view if left to themselves, the half-caste girls became prostitutes and the boys cattle thieves“

(Jones, 2002)

This is the sort of racist rhetoric said by government officials during this time and as I’ve said before their ignorance has negatively affected future generations. They came up with many reasons for why they did this, and much of it is contested, most of the reasons involved the protection of children who they said were being abused by their Aboriginal families.

So, The Stolen Generation as genocide?? Well under the United Nation’s definition it seems everything we know about the Stolen Generation fits there definition of genocide. Then why isn’t it called genocide?

Keith Windschuttle says the “so called story” of the Stolen generations of Aboriginal children, is a myth which was invented by left-wing academics. His conclusion is that the charge of genocide is unwarranted and so is the term stolen generations. He writes:

“Aboriginal children were never removed from their families in order to put an end to Aboriginality or, indeed, to serve any improper government policy or program. The small numbers of Aboriginal child removals in the twentieth century were almost all based on traditional grounds of child welfare” (Corr, 2002)

He argues that Aboriginal Mothers voluntarily gave their children to the government so that they could have an education which would give them a better chance at life. He does agree that the laws back then were different for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, however he says that the policies to remove children from their parents were the same for black and white families. That if a child experienced violence, sexual abuse, was abandoned, etc then they were removed and this wasn’t based on the families race.

His other reason for the accusation of Genocide being unwarranted is that the United Nations Convention on Genocide, Article 2, defines acts of genocide as those “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”. And half-castes (people of mixed race) did not constitute any such group. He says in some places half-castes were treated as Aboriginals and in others they weren’t and that because of this, the accusation of genocide is not consistent and therefore not valid. (Corr, 2002)

I’m not too sure about Windschuttle conclusion, although it’s well known that they did target children of mixed descent, it was believed that these Aboriginal children could be assimilated more easily into white society because of their mixed race. I think that if this can’t be classified as genocide, then it at least warrants the crime of Ethnocide which I defined earlier.

Was genocide committed in Australia? The answer rests largely on the definition used. Even though this isn’t included in the UN’s definition, maybe one of the reasons why what happened to the Indigenous peoples has not been widely acknowledged is because it did not occur in one place at one time. But rather over many years in many different locations across Australia. This is quite unlike many other famous examples of genocide.

I have argued that the labels of ‘ethnocide’ and ‘genocide’ could be given to certain events in the history, however do you think that path is worth going down? Some scholars would say absolutely not, Others say yes and are desperately trying to have it recognized as Genocide. What do you think?

References

“The Stolen Generations.” (2010), http://www.racismnoway.com.au/teaching-resources/factsheets/52.html.

Anonymous. “Australia’s Stolen Generations.” (2006), http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/politics/stolen-generations.html.

Corr, Robert. “Australia’s Genocidal Past.” Keith Windschuttle, denialism and the truth of the whole (2002), http://www.redrag.net/uploads/genocide.pdf.

Hinton, Alexander Laban. Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide. London: University of California Press, 2002.

Image. Colin Tatz: playthegame.org, 2005.

Jones, Adrian. “Debates on ‘Genocide’ in Australian History.” (2002), http://hyperhistory.org/images/assets/pdf/genpdf.pdf.

Markus, Andrew. “Genocide in Australia.” Aboriginal History 25 (2001): 57-69.

Nations, United. “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” (1948), http://www.hrweb.org/legal/genocide.html.

Polya, Dr Gideon. “Australian Aboriginal Genocide Continues Despite Historic Apology.” (2008), http://www.countercurrents.org/polya190208.htm.

Tatz, Colin. “Genocide in Australia.” Genocide Research 1, no. 3 (1999): 315-52.

Wikipedia. “Definitions of Genocide.” Wikipedia.org, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_genocide.

Windschuttle, Keith. “Why There Were No Stolen Generations.” (2010), http://www.quadrant.org.au/magazine/issue/2010/1-2/why-there-were-no-stolen-generations

Voir par ailleurs:

Walkabout

un film de Nicolas Roeg

Critique de film

L’histoire

Deux enfants occidentaux assistent au suicide de leur père et sont ainsi abandonnés dans le bush australien. Survivant tant bien que mal dans le désert hostile, ils rencontrent un jeune aborigène en plein « walkabout », cette errance initiatique rituelle.

Analyse et critique

Pour sa première réalisation en solitaire (1), Nicolas Roeg, déjà notoirement réputé dans le milieu du cinéma britannique comme monteur, caméraman ou surtout directeur de la photographie, se rendit en Australie pour y adapter (avec le dramaturge Edward Bond, auteur d’un traitement d’une quinzaine de pages) le roman The Children, écrit sous le pseudonyme de James Vance Marshall par Donald G. Payne. Si la grande ligne directrice de l’intrigue de ce roman de littérature jeunesse est conservée par Roeg et Bond (deux enfants perdus dans le bush rencontrent un adolescent aborigène en plein « walkabout »), l’esprit en est lui substantiellement modifié. En effet, comme son titre original l’indique, le roman de Marshall s’attarde avant tout sur le parcours initiatique des deux enfants, livrés à eux-même suite à un accident d’avion, et qui apprennent grâce à leur impromptu guide à découvrir les dangers et les trésors de la nature pour y survivre. L’essentiel du film est manifestement ailleurs, et comme souvent, les intentions se révèlent dans les différences voulues par les adaptateurs : alors que la société « occidentale » est totalement absente du roman, elle encercle le film de Nicolas Roeg par un prologue et un épilogue signifiants. ; de plus, les enfants ne se retrouvent pas seuls dans le désert par « accident », mais s’y trouvent abandonnés par le suicide de leur père ; enfin, alors que les relations avec l’enfant aborigène sont dans le roman essentiellement axées sur l’initiation et la découverte de la nature, le film y ajoute de manière appuyée une dimension « découverte de soi », érotisation des corps et perte de l’innocence comprises. Pour résumer, et avant donc d’entrer dans le détail, il est donc évident que loin du « gentil » périple initiatique imaginé par Marshall, le film de Roeg dresse un dur portrait de la société des hommes, qui détruit et corrompt ses enfants comme ceux qui lui sont étrangers.

Victime durant le 19ème siècle d’une colonisation britannique bien moins pacifique que ce que l’histoire avait dans un premier temps affirmé, le peuple aborigène avait pendant plus d’un siècle subi la main-mise des colons sur ses terres et sur ses enfants. En 1869, une loi fut en effet érigée pour autoriser la saisie d’enfants métisses à des fins d’assimilation complète, la pratique de la langue aborigène leur étant notamment interdite. L’espèce aborigène était considérée par les colons blancs comme étant à éradiquer, et jusqu’en 1928 (et le massacre de Coniston), les expéditions de « représailles » contre ses représentants n’étaient pas rares. Ce n’est qu’au milieu des années 60 que des mouvements sociaux se dressèrent pour défendre les droits des aborigènes, et face à une mobilisation populaire massive, ils furent enfin recensés comme citoyens australiens suite à un référendum de 1967. Simultanément, grâce notamment aux travaux de l’anthropologue William Stanner venant rompre ce « Grand Silence » visant à délibérément les omettre de la mémoire collective australienne, la politique d’ « enlèvement » des enfants aborigènes à leurs familles prend fin en 1970. Lorsque Nicolas Roeg entame son projet, la question de la place des aborigènes dans la société australienne est donc particulièrement d’actualité. Par ailleurs, son film occupe une place importante dans l’histoire du cinéma australien par la manière dont il traite le personnage même de l’aborigène : jusqu’alors, la place qui lui était réservée était limitée à celle du pisteur primitif ou à l’indigène menaçant… et était d’ailleurs la plupart du temps interprété par des comédiens blancs au visage peint. Le fait d’accorder une place aussi essentielle à un protagoniste aborigène (incarné par un comédien lui-même natif) et de consacrer une bonne partie de l’intrigue (ainsi que le titre du film) à un aspect aussi important de leur culture était donc assez révolutionnaire. A ce sujet, laissons l’écrivain-ethnologue Bruce Chatwin nous résumer le principe du Walkabout tel qu’il le décrit dans son indispensable Chant des pistes : « Je ne me souviens pas du moment où j’ai entendu l’expression Walkabout pour la première fois. Mais il m’était resté l’image de ces noirs « civilisés » qui, un jour, travaillaient heureux dans une station d’élevage et qui, le lendemain, sans un signe d’avertissement et sans bonne raison, prenaient leurs cliques et leurs claques et disparaissaient dans la nature. Ils abandonnaient leurs vêtements de travail et partaient ; pendant des semaines, des mois voire des années ; ils traversaient à pied la moitié du continent, parfois uniquement dans le but de rencontrer un homme, puis ils revenaient comme si rien ne s’était passé. »

Pour l’observateur étranger, le walkabout semble, à première vue, une errance mystique liée à une insaisissable culture étrangère. Mais Chatwin entreprend de se le faire expliquer le principe des « itinéraires chantés », ces labyrinthes de sentiers sillonnant le monde. « Les mythes aborigènes de la création parlent d’êtres totémiques légendaires qui avaient parcouru tout le continent au Temps du Rêve. Et c’est en chantant le nom de tout ce qu’ils avaient croisé en chemin — oiseaux, animaux, plantes, rochers, trous d’eau — qu’ils avaient fait venir le monde à l’existence… (…) En théorie, du moins, la totalité de l’Australie pouvait être lue comme une partition musicale. Il n’y avait pratiquement pas un rocher, pas une rivière dans le pays qui ne pouvait être ou n’avait pas été chantée. (…) En amenant le monde à l’existence par le chant, les ancêtres avaient été des poètes dans le sens grec du mot poiêsis, la « création ». Aucun abori¬gène ne pouvait concevoir que le monde créé pût être imparfait. Sa vie religieuse tendait vers un but unique : conserver la terre comme elle était et comme elle devait être. Celui qui partait pour un walkabout accomplissait un voyage rituel. Il mar¬chait dans les pas de son ancêtre. Il chantait les strophes de l’ancêtre sans changer un mot ni une note — et ainsi recréait la création. »

Ce réseau de lignes invisibles faisait également office pour les aborigènes de voies de communication. « Ce que les Blancs avaient l’habitude d’appeler le walkabout, le « voyage à travers le pays » était, en pratique, une sorte de bourse-télégraphe de brousse, qui permettait de faire circuler des messages entre des gens qui ne se voyaient jamais et qui pouvaient mutuellement ignorer leur existence. »

Cette composante culturelle et mystique du voyage des deux enfants, qui dans son illustration flottante permet à Nicolas Roeg de mettre en place un certain nombre de figures qui deviendront récurrentes de son style atypique, n’est cependant pas ce qui semble intéresser le plus le cinéaste, et le moins que l’on puisse dire est que Walkabout, s’il a le mérite de poser un regard sur le peuple aborigène, n’est à son égard ni indulgent ni optimiste. Dans sa description des aborigènes (et personnage principal exclu), le film se concentre ainsi surtout sur deux des travers les plus notoires dans lesquels sont tombés les aborigènes au contact du monde occidental, à savoir l’alcoolisme et le commerce folklorique, avec ces objets manufacturés « genuinely australian ». Walkabout n’est donc pas un film pro-aborigène, et on peut même douter qu’il soit « pro » quoi que ce soit, car là n’est pas son propos : le regard est froid, et oscille entre une forme implacable de darwinisme (l’inadaptation du mode de vie aborigène les voue à la disparition) et une lucidité guère plus complaisante avec la société contemporaine.

Sur le premier point, Roeg ose d’audacieux montages parallèles sur les gestes du chasseur aborigène (en particulier, lors du découpage d’une proie, avec un boucher blanc en action), comme pour montrer la similitude des comportements humains, mais aussi et en conséquence, la désuétude du mode opératoire de l’aborigène. D’ailleurs, vers la fin du film, le chasseur silencieux, traquant sa proie à sa façon patiente et ritualisée, sera interrompu par une jeep de chasseurs blancs venant abattre froidement du gibier à distance avec un fusil à lunettes. L’aborigène, perclus d’incompréhension et de désabusement, ira s’allonger symboliquement au milieu des ossements de ces bêtes abandonnées, avant d’aller mourir lui-même…

Concernant le choc des cultures, lorsque les enfants rencontrent l’aborigène, on croit un instant que la spontanéité et le besoin feront naître entre eux un dialogue plus fort que les mots. Mais si le petit garçon balbutie quelques termes d’aborigène avec fierté, la différence fondamentale qui existe entre eux ne s’effacera jamais, les cloisons demeureront à jamais (un fameux plan en plongée dans la maison abandonnée illustre ceci à merveille, la chorégraphie des mouvements montrant le garçon noir et la fille blanche se croiser sans arriver à jamais se trouver dans la même pièce). Lors de leur première reprise de contact avec le monde occidental, les enfants seront repoussés par un habitant méfiant, qui ne leur ouvrira pas la porte, qui n’écoutera pas leur histoire et qui finira par les chasser, quand bien même son langage est pourtant le même. L’incommunicabilité est inhérente à l’homme, quel qu’il soit, et les cloisons qui nous séparent ne font au fil de nos vies que se renforcer.

Symboliquement, le film s’ouvre donc (et d’ailleurs se clôt aussi) sur un mur, ou plutôt sur un dédale de murs. Les hommes y courent, se croisent sans se voir, se marchent presque dessus… Quand ils lèvent les yeux, leur horizon est bouché par le béton ; quand ils tendent la main, c’est pour toucher des barrières. De l’autre côté du mur, il y a la virginité aride de la nature, dont le fragile silence peut à tout instant être dévoré par l’intrusion humaine : c’est après avoir éteint sa bruyante radio que le père tirera sur sa fille – laquelle radio demeurera longtemps dans le désert le seul lien des enfants avec leur ancien monde – et le petit garçon n’aura ensuite de cesse d’occuper le vide sonore par des chansons ou des histoires. L’homme peut ainsi presque se voir comme un parasite, dévorant l’espace autour de lui, l’asservissant pour y abandonner ses sinistres vestiges (outre ce paysage sublime griffé par un immonde lotissement entraperçu au détour d’un plan, le film est hanté par les sinistres squelettes de voitures, d’usines ou de maisons abandonnées). Il y a de l’amertume sociale dans ce constat, indubitablement. Mais là où le film de Nicolas Roeg devient carrément cruel, c’est qu’il a laissé entrevoir à ses protagonistes un bout de paradis, pour ensuite l’en priver. L’allégorie de la perte de l’innocence liée au passage à l’âge adulte a pris de multiples formes dans l’histoire du cinéma, mais celle-ci possède une force d’autant plus poignante qu’il s’agit d’entrevoir la beauté, l’innocence ou la volupté dans sa forme la plus pure, pour ensuite redescendre froidement dans un monde laid, cynique et matériel. Si l’épilogue – qui alterne le regard évasif de l’enfant devenue femme (et donc à jamais perdue, en quelque sorte), ces murs désormais infranchissables et ce retour en arrière mental vers l’idéal, le tout sur un poème de A. E. Housman évoquant « le pays du bonheur perdu » – est l’irrémédiable point final du film, la séquence-clé en est évidemment le bain nu de la jeune femme dans cette vasque paradisiaque (2), cet instant évanescent où le monde s’offre dans ce qu’il a de meilleur pour mieux ensuite s’enfuir à jamais. Mentionnons également ces mystérieuses phrases, « en français dans le texte », qui encerclent le film : au mystérieux « Faites vos jeux, messieurs dames, s’il vous plaît » ouvrant la première séquence post-générique répond un « Rien ne va plus » en panneau de fin. Evidemment, le film se délecte de l’équivoque sémantique de cette dernière tournure. S’agit-il d’évoquer la société humaine comme un incertain jeu de roulette ? S’agit-il de dire que le monde ne tourne plus rond ? S’agit-il de prétendre qu’il est trop tard pour revenir en arrière ? Ou s’agit-il d’attendre que la boule s’arrête enfin, pour enfin constater le résultat de nos mises aveugles ? On se gardera bien ici d’apporter une réponse formelle à cette énigme.

Autre point majeur de divergence avec le roman de James Vance Marshal, Walkabout insiste également sur le langage des corps et sur la tension érotique qui naît entre la jeune femme et l’aborigène. C’est lors de bousculades très enfantines que Roeg s’attarde pour la première fois sur des points de l’anatomie des protagonistes dont ils semblent alors prendre conscience, par contraste avec la nudité « naturelle » des familles aborigènes montées en parallèle. Par quelques gros plans, Roeg montre la beauté des corps, la sueur sur la peau du jeune noir ou les courbes naissantes de la fille, et la venue de la nuit fait germer une lubricité non encore canalisée dans leurs esprits ; les branches elles-mêmes en viennent à évoquer la rondeur d’un fessier ou le galbe d’une hanche… Plus tard, c’est presque dans un état de transe que le garçon se livrera à une parade nuptiale mortelle pour sa belle effarouchée. Là encore, Nicolas Roeg se confrontait à un important tabou social dans l’idée même d’une sexualité « inter-raciale », d’autant plus qu’il s’agissait, au-delà de primes pulsions adolescentes, de la reconstitution symbolique d’une cellule familiale « originelle » (la mère blanche / le père noir / l’enfant blond). La scène du bain de Jenny Agutter évoquée plus tôt, suit par ailleurs une séquence quasiment indépendante du reste du film montrant une équipe de scientifiques vaguement œuvrer dans le désert, les hommes n’étant concentrés que sur les cuisses ou le décolleté de leur collègue féminine, là encore probablement pour mettre en parallèle les comportements « primitifs » qui animent aussi bien les occidentaux civilisés que les aborigènes adolescents.

Cela a déjà été rapidement évoqué plus tôt, mais en sus de ce érotisme latent, Walkabout est également parcouru par une réelle tension macabre. Dans le roman, la Mort revêtait une dimension éminemment mystique ressentie seulement par le jeune aborigène, qui en venait presque à mourir par auto-persuasion. Dans le film, baigné dans une atmosphère sonore assez lugubre (entre l’instrument traditionnel aborigène, le didgeridoo, et une partition à la limite du psychédélisme de John Barry), la Mort se voit concrétisée par ces deux suicides « inexpliqués » venant encadrer le parcours des enfants. Entre les deux, ceux-ci évoluent dans un cadre assez oppressant quoiqu’à ciel ouvert, la nature n’étant jamais montré comme un havre de paix, mais bien comme un monde menaçant, de violence et de morbidité, où le soleil est un brasier dévorant, où des reptiles rampants s’entre-dévorent et où la minéralité crée d’insurmontables enceintes. La respiration du film est d’ailleurs donnée par des transitions tenant du formulaire de zoologie, qui confèrent à l’œuvre une étrange et insaisissable pulsation. Car évidemment, par l’étroitesse de son dispositif dramatique, Walkabout est un film qui tient tout entier à la force de son montage et de sa mise en scène. Le premier n’est pas dénué d’audace, et alternant d’impertinents montages parallèles avec des transitions inventives (ces pages qui se tournent pour avancer dans l’histoire du petit garçon) vient donner au film son rythme singulier. La seconde, témoignant du passé de photographe de Nicolas Roeg, propose un travail insolite sur la texture, sur les couleurs, sur les cadrages ou sur la lumière, et loin du simple livre d’images (certains plans étant au demeurant assez sublimes), renforce l’étrangeté d’un film à nul autre pareil.

Plus que jamais, Walkabout demeure une œuvre assez unique, porteuse d’un regard singulier et toujours énigmatique (David Gulpilil lui-même a avoué ne pas posséder toutes les clés de son personnage). Plus qu’une simple randonnée donc, une expérience envoûtante sur des routes peu empruntées, entre anthropologie et mysticisme, qui, si elle peut laisser sur le bord de ses chemins de traverse, ne risque pas de laisser son spectateur indifférent.

(1) Performance avait été réalisé en 1968 en collaboration avec le peintre Donald Cammell.

(2) Pour l’actrice Jenny Agutter, adolescente vedette dans son pays à l’époque du tournage, cette scène fut également une sorte de passerelle vers des rôles plus… adultes ; face à son inhibition, Roeg réunit une équipe de tournage la plus réduite possible, invitant ensuite tout le plateau à aller à son tour se baigner nu…


Génocide rwandais: Attention, un déni peut en cacher un autre! (Will France ever come clean about its part in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide ?)

3 février, 2013

On nous dit qu’au Rwanda, la France aurait commis une “faute politique”. C’est trop ou trop peu. De quelle faute s’agit-il? Il faut l’expliquer! Aurions-nous, par exemple, pris systématiquement le parti d’un camp contre l’autre, des Hutus contre les Tutsis? C’est une contre-vérité. Pendant la période où j’ai conduit la diplomatie française (d’avril 1993 à mai 1995), nous avons fait tous les efforts possibles pour aider à la réconciliation des Rwandais. (…) l’opération Turquoise (…) a parfaitement accompli la mission qui lui avait été assignée, dans les conditions de temps et de lieu prévues. La présence de l’armée française a permis de sauver des dizaines de milliers de vie et d’arrêter le flux de plusieurs millions de personnes qui fuyaient vers le Zaïre voisin (devenu République Démocratique du Congo). Son intervention est à l’honneur de la France. Dès lors, de quelle faute nous parle-t-on? (…) La diplomatie française ne devrait pas s’écarter de la voie de la vérité et de la dignité. Alain Juppé (27.04.08)
Je ne comprends plus (…) de voir les autorités israéliennes, apparemment soutenues par l’immense majorité de leurs citoyens, se fourvoyer à ce point. Où donc l’attaque sauvage qu’elles mènent contre Gaza peut-elle les mener? Il y a d’abord la morale. Les écoles de l’ONU ou les convois humanitaires constituent-ils des objectifs militaires? Et que répondre aux responsables du Comité International de la Croix-Rouge (CICR) quand ils déclarent: “L’armée israélienne n’a pas respecté ses obligations requises par le droit international humanitaire. Le retard dans l’autorisation d’accès aux services de secours est intolérable.” Les images qui nous montrent des enfants blessés, des enfants morts ne sont pas des montages médiatiques! (…) L’isolement dans lequel Israël risque de s’enfermer est suicidaire. Le conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies vient d’adopter à l’unanimité, à l’exception des Etats-Unis qui n’ont pas voté contre mais se sont abstenus, la résolution 1860 qui demande un cessez le feu immédiat. Ce devrait être le signal, pour le gouvernement israélien, que maintenant, c’est assez. Alain Juppé
Les Israéliens se sont surarmés et en faisant cela, ils font la même faute que les Américains, celle de ne pas avoir compris les leçons de la deuxième guerre mondiale, car il n’y a jamais rien de bon à attendre d’une guerre. Et la force peut détruire, elle ne peut jamais rien construire, surtout pas la paix. Le fait d’être ivre de puissance et d’être seul à l’avoir, si vous n’êtes pas très cultivé, enfant d’une longue histoire et grande pratique, vous allez toujours croire que vous pouvez imposer votre vision. Israël vit encore cette illusion, les Israéliens sont probablement dans la période où ils sont en train de comprendre leurs limites. C’était Sharon le premier général qui s’est retiré de la bande de Gaza car il ne pouvait plus la tenir. Nous défendons absolument le droit à l’existence d’Israël et à sa sécurité, mais nous ne défendons pas son droit à se conduire en puissance occupante, cynique et brutale … Michel Rocard (Al Ahram, 2006)
C’est une stratégie de communication à l’américaine qui a été choisise. l’armée s’applique à tout contrôler. il fallait éviter un décompte macabre des morts djihadistes, comme ce fut ler cas à Gaza au moment de l’opéraion osraéelienne. Conseiller de l’Elysée (en privé, "Mali: une communication blindée", Le Canard enchainé, 30.01.13)
Il faut ouvrir les ventres de ces Tutsis que vous tuez pour qu’ils coulent et que les satellites ne les voient pas. Soldats français au Rwanda lors du génocide (cité par Andrew Wallis)
Nous livrons des munitions aux FAR en passant par Goma. Mais bien sûr nous le démentirons si vous me citez dans la presse. Philippe Jehanne (correspondant de la DGSE, à l’historien Gérard Prunier, en plein génocide rwandais, le 19 mai 1994)
On avait ordre de ne pas bouger, de ne rien faire, surtout pas bouger, rien faire. (…) Les gens nous parlaient d’une vallée, Bisesero, où il y aurait des Tutsis armés jusqu’aux dents. Un jour, on a désobéi (…) aux ordres de notre propre chef (…) le commandant Marin Gillier. Il nous avait interdit d’aller là-bas.» En allant à Bisesero, «on a découvert le pot aux roses : c’est une vallée où 10 000 victimes avaient été tuées. Il en restait 800 dans un état lamentable. Là on s’est rendu compte que c’était pas du tout les Tutsis qui tuaient les Hutus, c’étaient les Hutus qui tuaient les Tutsis, qui les massacraient carrément , tous les jours. Adjudant Thierry Prungnaud (ancien gendarme du GIGN, France Culture, le 22 avril 2005)
Monsieur,… la situation dans mon pays devient de plus en plus critique… Vu l’évolution actuelle du conflit, je vous confirme mon accord pour recruter, pour le gouvernement rwandais, 1000 hommes devant combattre aux côtés des Forces Armées Rwandaises. Augustin Bizimana (ministre de la Défense rwandais, lettre "au Capitaine Paul Barril", 27 avril 1994)
L’implication française est beaucoup plus terrible encore puisqu’elle a été un soutien logistique à l’armée d’Habyarimana. Il semble que même après le début du génocide, l’armée française – ou au moins une partie parce que ce n’est pas sûr que cela ait été décidé en haut lieu – ait continué à fournir des armes aux tueurs. (…) L’armée française a également installé la "zone turquoise". C’était une décision politique prise dans les bureaux de François Mitterrand. Cette zone a été instaurée dans la région ouest du pays pour permettre pendant deux mois, mi-juin jusqu’à mi-août, à la communauté hutue de s’échapper et donc de protéger en son sein – toute la communauté n’était pas meurtrière – des génocidaires qui s’y cachaient. Jean Hatzfeld

Combien de temps la France pourra-t-elle encore nier la réalité de son soutien aux génocidaires rwandais il y a bientôt 20 ans?

Contrat d’assistance daté, demande signée du ministre de la Défense rwandais de centaines de mercenaires (1000), factures d’hommes, d’armes et de munitions (cartouches, obus, mortiers, grenades… pour plus de 3 millions de dollars), faux certificats de décès, fausse boîte noire, faux missiles, faux témoins, juge aux ordres

Alors qu’aux Etats-Unis, le plus rapide prix Nobel de la paix de l’histoire qui a éliminé plus de terroristes en quatre ans que n’en a incarcéré la prison toujours ouverte de Guantanamo et laissé mourir le premier ambassadeur américain en 33 ans nous sort, après sa larme du massacre de Newton et avec l’étrange indulgence de sa classe médiatique, une photo de sa prétendue longue pratique du tir aux pigeons

Pendant que, devant les menaces vides du Leader-de-derrière de Washington, Israël est bien obligé de prendre les choses en main face aux tentatives de transport d’armes de la Syrie vers le Hezbollah …

Et que, poussé par la nécessité et certes le manque de lucidité de ses prédécesseurs en Libye, un nouveau gouvernement socialiste toujours incapable de transporter ou renseigner ses troupes et qui n’a toujours pas pris la mesure de la catastrophe qui se prépare sur son propre territoire joue pour une énième fois les sauveurs de l’Afrique …

Lui aussi avec la bénédiction peu regardante d’une claque médiatique si prompte d’habitude  à dénoncer les bavures des autres, en profite, entre deux hochets au Marais et demain à Barbès, pour se refaire une santé sondagière …

Qui (merci yms), après bientôt deux décennies d’enfumage dont notamment la fausse attribution aux Toutsis de l’attentat contre l’avion du président rwandais ayant servi de déclencheur au génocide, aura le courage de reprendre les informations accablantes que vient de sortir tant Libération que Le Parisien suite aux nouvelles perquisitions au domicile de l’ancien patron du GIGN et maitre ès coups tordus de la Mitterrandie depuis recyclé dans le conseil aux financiers du jihad ?

Exclusif.

Rwanda : des pièces accablantes pour la France

Des documents saisis chez le capitaine Paul Barril apportent de nouvelles preuves sur le rôle de la France dans le génocide tutsi, en1994,auRwanda.

Le Parisien

Elisabeth Fleury (avec N.J.)

24.01.2013

C’est une lettre de quelques lignes, tapée à la machine. Signée par Augustin Bizimana, le ministre de la Défense rwandais, elle est adressée « au Capitaine Paul Barril ». « Monsieur,… la situation dans mon pays devient de plus en plus critique… Vu l’évolution actuelle du conflit, je vous confirme mon accord pour recruter, pour le gouvernement rwandais, 1000 hommes devant combattre aux côtés des Forces Armées Rwandaises.

» La missive insiste sur « l’urgence » de la requête. Elle est datée du 27 avril 1994.

A cette date, le génocide rwandais a commencé depuis trois semaines. Depuis que, le 6 avril, l’avion du président Juvénal Habyarimana a été abattu. Les Hutus, accusant les Tutsis du Front patriotique rwandais (FPR) d’avoir commis l’attentat, lancent un effroyable génocide. Hommes, femmes, vieillards, enfants : en quatre mois, essentiellement à coups de machette, ils massacrent 800000 Tutsis (évaluation de l’ONU).

3M$ de factures d’armes, de munitions et d’hommes

Quatre ans après l’attentat contre le président rwandais, une enquête est ouverte en France pour déterminer qui a abattu l’aéronef. Très rapidement, en dépit des très nombreuses contradictions et insuffisances de ses investigations, le juge Bruguière accuse le FPR.

Mais, depuis que son successeur Marc Trévidic a repris le dossier, les cartes ont été entièrement rebattues. Le rôle des autorités françaises dans le génocide apparaît particulièrement ambigu. A ce titre, la lettre au capitaine Barril, récemment versée au dossier et dont nous nous sommes procuré la copie, est saisissante.

Lorsqu’il est sollicité par le ministre de la Défense rwandais, le capitaine Barril n’est pas n’importe qui. « Paul Barril, à cette époque, c’est la France, résume une source judiciaire. Faire appel à lui, c’est faire appel à la France. » Ancien patron du GIGN, cela fait déjà plusieurs années que, avec sa société Secrets, Barril travaille dans l’ombre, à la demande de François de Grossouvre (un conseiller de Mitterrand), pour le gouvernement rwandais. Officiellement, Barril est d’abord chargé d’« une mission d’infiltration » au service du gouvernement rwandais, avant d’être sollicité par la veuve Habyarimana pour enquêter sur les auteurs de l’attentat. Officieusement, son rôle est nettement plus discutable.

L’été dernier, à la demande du juge Trévidic, une série de perquisitions menées chez Barril et auprès de son entourage ont permis de mettre la main sur des documents accablants. Outre la demande de 1000 mercenaires, les enquêteurs ont récupéré des factures d’armes, de munitions et d’hommes, liées à « un contrat d’assistance » passé entre Barril et le gouvernement rwandais et daté du 28 mai 1994. Cartouches, obus, mortiers, grenades… le montant global dépasse les 3 M$. Le 20 décembre dernier, le juge Trévidic interroge le capitaine Barril sur ces documents. Le contrat d’assistance? « Cela n’a jamais existé », prétend l’intéressé. Les factures? « Cela ne s’est jamais fait. » Paul Barril, qui se présente désormais comme conseiller auprès des autorités qatariennes, a une expression pour résumer tout cela : « C’est de la mayonnaise africaine. » Une mayonnaise de près d’un million de morts.

Voir aussi:

Rwanda : trois fantômes et un mystère

Enquête Le faux certificat de décès d’un gendarme français mort en avril 1994 à Kigali après l’attentat contre l’avion du président Habyarimana renforce les doutes sur le rôle de Paris.

Maria Malagardis

Libération

9 janvier 2013

En enquêtant sur l’attentat contre l’avion du président rwandais Juvénal Habyarimana, le juge parisien Marc Trévidic a peut-être ressuscité trois fantômes : ceux de trois Français, décédés dans des circonstances étranges, peu après cet attentat mystérieux. Alain Didot, gendarme, sa femme Gilda, et René Maier, lui aussi gendarme, sont retrouvés morts dans la villa des deux premiers à Kigali, les 12 et 13 avril 1994. Leurs corps sont rapatriés en France, via Bangui en Centrafrique.

Or, Libération est en mesure d’affirmer que le certificat de décès d’au moins une de ses trois victimes françaises est un faux. Pour quelle raison rédiger un faux en écriture ? A l’issue d’une audition qui s’est révélée capitale, le juge l’aurait découvert presque par hasard. Dans un compte rendu, reprenant l’essentiel du procès-verbal et que Libération a pu consulter à Kigali, le juge Trévidic aurait jugé ces faits «gravissimes» et de nature à réorienter sa propre enquête sur l’attentat, en s’interrogeant sur l’attitude de Paris lors de ce moment clé de l’histoire du pays, basculant aussitôt après l’attentat dans un génocide.

Le faux certificat porte la signature du docteur Michel Thomas qui, à cette époque, était effectivement basé à Bangui, devenue la plaque tournante des évacuations du Rwanda en avril 1994. Entendu fin mai par le juge parisien, l’ancien médecin militaire a été catégorique : il n’a jamais établi ce document qui évoque non pas René, mais «Jean» Maier. Bien plus, il aurait relevé plusieurs anomalies. Il ne disposait pas du tampon officiel qui figure sur le certificat et établissait toujours ses actes de façon manuscrite (contrairement au faux présenté, tapé à la machine ou à l’ordinateur). Le médecin aurait également émis des doutes sur la conclusion générale de ce curieux certificat qui évoque un décès «accidentel», causé par des «balles d’arme à feu», sans détailler ou localiser le nombre d’impacts.

«Chagrin». L’audition du docteur Thomas jette ainsi un trouble singulier sur le rôle joué par la France au moment de l’attentat. Car il est évident qu’un faux certificat de «genre de mort» concernant un militaire français n’a pu être établi sans l’aval de certains responsables à Paris. Or, ce curieux maquillage s’est accompagné à l’époque d’une volonté de faire taire les familles des victimes. Gaëtan Lana, le frère de Gilda Didot, s’en souvient encore : «Quelque temps après l’enterrement, un haut gradé est venu trouver mes parents et leur a fait signer un papier dans lequel ils s’engageaient à ne jamais entamer d’enquête sur la mort de ma sœur. A l’époque, mes parents étaient dévastés par le chagrin, ils ont signé.» Une injonction au silence qui rappelle la situation vécue par les familles françaises de l’équipage de l’avion du président Habyarimana. Me Laurent Curt, avocat de la veuve du pilote, a raconté comment sa cliente avait été «encouragée à ne pas porter plainte» au lendemain de l’attentat. Il faudra donc attendre quatre ans, en 1998, pour qu’une instruction soit ouverte, très opportunément au moment où se constitue la mission d’information parlementaire sur le rôle de la France au Rwanda. Pourquoi une telle chape de plomb ? Qu’est-ce que Paris veut cacher dans ce drame ? Et en quoi Didot et Maier peuvent-ils être concernés ou impliqués dans la tragédie rwandaise ?

Arrivé au Rwanda en 1992, l’adjudant-chef Alain Didot était conseiller technique chargé des transmissions radio : il formait l’armée rwandaise et assurait la maintenance des différents réseaux radio, de l’ambassade de France, en passant par la mission de coopération française, jusqu’à l’armée rwandaise. Il avait installé à son domicile tout un équipement qui lui permettait de suivre un large éventail de conversations. Aurait-il surpris des discussions qu’il n’aurait pas dû entendre ? Notamment entre le 6 avril, jour de l’attentat, et le 8, date de son décès supposé ? Ce n’est qu’une hypothèse. René Maier, lui, débarque au Rwanda en septembre 1993. Apparemment, il est envoyé comme conseiller technique de police judiciaire. Mais il semble s’être beaucoup occupé de transmission radio. C’est ce que laisse entendre le supérieur des deux hommes, le colonel Bernard Cussac, alors chef de la mission de coopération militaire, qui désignera Didot et Maier, comme «des transmetteurs» devant la mission d’information parlementaire.

C’est aussi ce que soutient le capitaine Zacharie Maboyi, rencontré à Kigali il y a un mois : en 1994, cet officier était incorporé aux Forces armées rwandaises et suivait des cours de transmissions radio. Il connaissait bien Didot et Maier, et affirme que les deux hommes étaient tous deux chargés des transmissions. D’après Maboyi, ils étaient également en contact régulier avec l’état-major rwandais, et même avec le colonel Theoneste Bagosora, un officier à la retraite qui sera par la suite considéré comme «le cerveau du génocide».

Que savaient-ils ? Que soupçonnaient-ils lorsque l’avion du Président est abattu, le 6 avril au soir ? Didot et sa femme sont alors chez eux, non loin de l’Assemblée nationale, le CND, où sont cantonnés les rebelles du Front patriotique rwandais (FPR) depuis la signature des accords de paix en 1993. Comme les rebelles sont immédiatement accusés d’être responsables de l’attentat par la radio officielle, le quartier est rapidement sous tension. Officiellement, René Maier quitte vite son domicile, situé dans un camp de gendarmerie tout proche, pour rejoindre les Didot et assurer «la veille radio». Mais en réalité, personne n’a certifié avoir vu Maier chez les Didot. A partir de là, tout est flou. Longtemps a prévalu la thèse d’une «bavure» du FPR, qui aurait tué les Didot et Maier en les prenant pour des espions. Mais, dans ce cas, pourquoi Paris aurait-il empêché l’enquête ? Pourquoi aurait-on établi de faux certificats de décès ? La France n’était pas l’alliée du FPR, bien au contraire. Deux jours après l’attentat, la zone est encore sous le contrôle des Forces régulières rwandaise. Tôt le matin ce 8 avril, Alain Didot appelle les parents de sa femme. «Ils ont trouvé sa voix bizarre, tendue. Et derrière lui, mes parents ont clairement entendu une voix d’homme qui répétait : "raccroche, raccroche"», se souvient Gaëtan Lana, le frère de Gilda. Didot est donc vivant le 8 au matin. Pourtant, les trois premiers certificats de décès, dont le faux concernant Maier, sont datés du 6 avril, donc du jour de l’attentat. Gaëtan Lana se souvient que, quelques mois plus tard, ses parents ont soudain reçu un nouvel «acte de décès», annoté de manière manuscrite par le procureur de Nantes, qui mentionnait un changement de date. En réalité, pendant plusieurs années, des responsables français vont, eux aussi, donner des dates différentes, entretenant cette étrange confusion. Officiellement, le décès des trois Français n’est signalé que le 10 avril, lorsque les Casques bleus belges de la Mission de l’ONU pour l’assistance au Rwanda, la Minuar, sont sollicités pour aller récupérer les corps.

«Gêne française». C’est le major belge Jean Théry, un médecin militaire, qui est chargé de l’opération. Dans des conditions difficiles, car la villa des Didot se situe alors sur la ligne de front entre FPR et armée rwandaise. Il devra se rendre à trois reprises au domicile des Didot, entre le 11 et le 13 avril, avant de trouver les corps sommairement enterrés. A chaque fois, il y retourne «sur l’insistance des Français». «On m’a suggéré de regarder aussi dans le jardin», se rappelle-t-il. Il y trouvera effectivement les corps. Mais qui est ce «on» si perspicace ? «Je ne me souviens plus, ça fait près de vingt ans ! Peut-être ce colonel français avec qui nous étions en contact ?» suggère Théry. Après tant d’années, il garde surtout l’impression vague d’une «gêne française» sur «cette drôle d’affaire, pas très claire».

Une impression partagée par les familles des trois victimes. Hier, Gaëtan Lana a retrouvé pour Libération le premier certificat de décès de sa sœur : également signé par le docteur Michel Thomas. Un faux de plus ? Ce document-là n’a pas été présenté au médecin par le juge. Dans un dossier qui, depuis l’ouverture de l’instruction en 1998, a vu se multiplier les usages de faux – fausse boîte noire, faux missiles, faux témoins -, ces certificats de décès ne sont peut-être qu’une manipulation de plus. Mais aussi certainement un nouvel indice qui pointe vers Paris pour comprendre ce qui s’est passé dans le ciel du Rwanda, ce 6 avril 1994, vers 20 h 30. A la veille d’un génocide.

Voir également:

Rwanda, le rapport qui met fin à des années de flou

Tanguy Berthemet

10/01/2012

Selon la justice française, des extrémistes hutus ont abattu l’avion présidentiel en 1994.

Le rapport des experts de plusieurs centaines de pages sur les circonstances de l’attentat contre l’avion du président rwandais Juvénal Habyarimana lève le voile sur un mystère vieux de dix-sept ans. Le récit, commandé par les juges français Marc Trévédic et Nathalie Poux et dévoilé mardi aux parties civiles, conclut que l’appareil a été abattu par deux missiles tirés depuis la colline de Kanombé, où se trouvait un camp militaire. «Cela met fin à des années de manipulations et de mensonges», s’est félicité Me Bernard Maingain, l’un des avocats de l’un des proches de l’actuel chef d’État rwandais, Paul Kagame, mis en examen.

Le camp de Kanombé étant alors un site aux mains de la garde présidentielle, cela désigne presque à coup sûr les extrémistes hutus comme les responsables de l’attentat. L’établissement des responsabilités est d’autant plus important que la mort du président rwandais le 6 avril 1994 fut le point de départ du génocide rwandais. En moins de cent jours, plus de 800.000 Tutsis et opposants hutus furent massacrés. Par une extrapolation, les mystérieux auteurs de l’attentat ont fini par endosser le rôle de premiers responsables des tueries.

Depuis ce 6 avril, deux théories s’étaient toujours affrontées autour de ce crime jamais revendiqué. Selon la première, les assassins seraient issus des rangs hutus et le crime le point de départ d’un complot plus vaste visant à mener un coup d’État et à résoudre dans le sang le «problème tutsi». La seconde faisait des hommes du Front patriotique rwandais (FPR), les rebelles majoritairement tutsis en guerre ouverte depuis quatre ans contre le régime d’Habyarimana, les responsables de l’attentat. C’est cette hypothèse qu’avait retenue le juge Jean-Louis Bruguière lors d’une première enquête très controversée diligentée par la justice française en 2006. Il avait ensuite émis six mandats d’arrêt contre des hauts cadres du FPR d’alors, le parti au pouvoir au Rwanda depuis 1994. Cette décision avait provoqué la rupture des relations diplomatiques entre Paris et Kigali. Des relations péniblement rétablies il y a deux ans.

Recours à la science

Le nouveau rapport du collège de spécialistes, voulu par les successeurs du juge Bruguière, prend totalement le contre-pied de cette idée et permet de voir plus clair dans un dossier hautement sensible qui brouille l’image de la France depuis près de deux décennies dans toute l’Afrique. Jusqu’à présent, les certitudes concernant cette attaque étaient rares. Tout juste pouvait-on affirmer que le Falcon 50, prêté par la France et piloté par un équipage français, était en approche de Kigali, la capitale rwandaise, peu après 20h30 quand il fut touché par un projectile avant de s’écraser dans le jardin du palais présidentiel.

Les magistrats, en raison du temps écoulé, ont choisi d’avoir recours à la science pour étayer leur conviction. Les experts réunis par Marc Trévidic, notamment des spécialistes en balistique, en crash aériens ainsi que des géomètres et un acousticien, ont enquêté pendant une semaine au Rwanda en 2010. Selon eux, les missiles tirés seraient des Sa-16, de fabrication russe qui ont touché l’appareil sous l’aile gauche, non loin des réservoirs. L’impact a mis immédiatement le feu au Falcon. Les techniciens en balistique qui ont étudié les trajectoires possibles ont écarté toutes les possibilités sauf deux, toutes depuis le camp de Kanombé. L’acousticien a lui aussi eu un rôle prépondérant. Il a étudié l’entourage et la diffusion des sons sur le site pour affiner deux témoignages. Le premier est celui, bien connu, du Dr Massimo Parush, un médecin militaire belge qui dit avoir entendu ce soir-là un bruit de souffle et vu une traînée orange. Le second provient d’un militaire français, le colonel de Saint-Quentin. Cet officier, qui logeait lui-même dans le camp de Kanombé, a toujours dit avoir clairement entendu les départs des tirs. Or, selon l’expert, la ferme de Massaka, l’autre site évoqué pour organiser l’attentat est trop loin pour que le son ait été aussi clair aux oreilles du colonel.

Les autorités rwandaises n’ont pas caché mardi leur satisfaction. «Les résultats présentés aujourd’hui constituent la confirmation de la position tenue de longue date par le Rwanda sur les circonstances qui entourent les événements du mois d’avril 1994», s’est félicitée la ministre rwandaise des Affaires étrangères, Louise Mushikiwabo.

Voir encore:

Rwanda, le déni français

Ce soir sur France 2 | Une vingtaine de responsables présumés du génocide de 1994 vivraient dans l’Hexagone en toute impunité. Malgré les plaintes, la justice reste sourde. Un documentaire implacable, “Génocide du Rwanda, des tueurs parmi nous ?”, est diffusé ce mardi soir 28 juin sur France 2.

Sophie Rostain

Télérama n° 3206

Le 25/06/2011

Parrain de la drogue, roi de la cambriole, génocidaires… ils ont tous un point commun : avoir été – ou être encore – parmi les criminels les plus recherchés de leur époque. C’est ainsi que Pablo Escobar, Albert Spaggiari, Ratko Mladic ont eu, lors de précédents numéros, les honneurs de La grande traque, sur France 2. La série produite par Tony Comiti a été rattrapée par l’actualité. Programmé une première fois le 31 mai 2011, le volet sur les génocidaires rwandais toujours en liberté, diffusé mardi 28 juin, avait été remplacé par le documentaire consacré à Mladic, arrêté le 26 mai pour être jugé par le Tribunal pénal international pour l’ex-Yougoslavie.

Pour bâtir son enquête, le journaliste Manolo d’Arthuys s’appuie sur le travail d’Alain Gauthier qui, depuis 2001, anime, avec sa femme, ­Dafroza, dont la famille fut ­décimée, le Collectif des parties civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR). Il se souvient de son arrivée à Kigali, en novembre 2009, du choc ressenti : « Quand on parcourt ce pays, tout petit, du nord au sud, on marche partout sur des corps. Il reste de nombreux charniers qui n’ont pas été mis au jour. Le génocide est omniprésent. » Partout des stèles, des mémoriaux avec des ossuaires… pour ne pas oublier ces trois mois de 1994 qui virent l’éradication de huit cent mille Tutsi et le massacre des Hutu opposants au régime de Habyarimana. Une extermination ethnique préparée de longue date par l’entourage extrémiste hutu du président.

Dix-sept ans plus tard, nombre de tueurs ont été condamnés par les tribunaux rwandais, par le Tribunal pénal international pour le Rwanda (TPIR), installé à Arusha (Tanzanie), et par les tribunaux belges qui n’ont pas hésité à poursuivre les géno­cidaires réfugiés sur leur territoire. Mais le travail de la justice n’est pas fini. Le 23 mai 2011, le TPIR a commencé les auditions préalables à l’éventuel procès de Félicien Kabuga, l’argentier des Hutu, qui vivrait au Kenya. Comme lui, d’autres organisateurs du génocide vivent libres en Afrique ou en Europe.

Plaintes déposées

Le CPCR a porté plainte contre une vingtaine de responsables présumés exilés en France. L’enquête de Manolo d’Arthuys se concentre sur ces derniers : Agathe Habyarimana, veuve de l’ancien président, le Dr Charles Twagira, aujourd’hui médecin au CHU de Rouen, et l’ex-colonel Marcel Bivugabagabo, reconverti dans la sécurité privée. Les plaintes ont été déposées, mais la justice française n’a jusqu’à présent pas donné suite. Non que les témoignages manquent, comme le rappelle le film, construit en partie autour de la parole des victimes ou de leurs familles. Florence était la voisine des Habyarimana et l’amie d’Agathe : « Le dimanche, on allait à la messe, elle était très croyante mais aussi très machiavélique », raconte dans La grande traque celle qui n’a pas oublié l’arrivée, le 6 avril 1994, des gardes présidentiels, les coups de machette, ni les corps jetés aux cochons.

Et pour la première fois, face à la caméra, la veuve du président Habyarimana – qui a déposé un référé pour interdire la diffusion du documentaire mais a été déboutée de sa demande – répond à ces accusations, persistant dans sa version : cloîtrée dans sa maison, elle n’a rien vu, rien entendu, et a quitté le Rwanda le 9 avril 1994 pour la France où l’attendaient un bouquet de fleurs et l’équivalent de 30 000 euros, cadeaux du gouvernement français. « Les autres maillons de la machine hutu que j’ai rencontrés étaient dans le même déni, commente Manolo d’Arthuys. Comme si on leur avait fourni des éléments de langage pour le cas où ils devraient répondre aux questions des journalistes… » Nieront-ils avec le même cynisme le jour où la justice française se décidera enfin à ouvrir leur dossier ?

Dernier volet de La grande traque

Ce cinquième volet de La grand traque est le dernier de cette série. Initialement conçu comme un magazine d’investigation, puis diffusé tardivement comme une série documentaire, le programme n’a guère rassemblé plus de 7 % de téléspectateurs. « C’est dommage qu’on ait du mal à donner toutes ses chances au journalisme d’investigation à la française. Nous avons un vrai savoir-faire, analyse Tony Comiti. Les chaînes préfèrent des documentaires autour des “vraies gens”, moins longs à réaliser. » Génocide du Rwanda, des tueurs parmi nous ? a demandé environ six mois de travail.

Voir de même:

Paul Barril, au cœur des secrets d’Etat

Nicolas Jacquard (avec E.F.)

Le Parisien

24.01.2013

Paul Barril, c’est Christian Prouteau qui en parle le mieux. « C’est un vrai soldat, passé du côté obscur par manque d’encadrement », explique son ancien chef au GIGN. Major de sa promotion de gendarmerie en 1975, le capitaine Barril a été mis en disponibilité en 1984. Depuis, l’obscurité est son terrain de prédilection.

Dès 1989, on le retrouve au Rwanda. Officiellement, Barril conseille le président Habyarimana et réorganise les forces de sécurité. Officieusement, il est surtout un proche de la veuve du président et de son entourage, qui compte de nombreuses têtes pensantes du génocide de 1994. Fort des "contacts" qu’il se fait dans chacun des deux camps, Paul Barril affirme savoir, dès juin 1994, qui sont les auteurs de l’assassinat du président rwandais. Au journal de 20 heures, il dit détenir la boîte noire de l’avion du président, touché par un missile dont il aurait retrouvé « les tubes. » Dix-neuf ans plus tard, devant le juge Marc Trévidic chargé d’enquêter sur les causes de l’attentat, il ne se souvient plus, dit que tout était faux et qu’il a raconté ça "pour faire bouger la machine judiciaire."

Mêlé aux plus retentissants scandales des années Mitterrand

L’homme est au cœur de multiples secrets d’Etat. Les turpitudes du pouvoir semblent le galvaniser. Il a la confiance des plus grands. Alors qu’il commande le GIGN avec Christian Prouteau, c’est à ces deux hommes que François Mitterrand demande de créer la cellule antiterroriste de l’Elysée. De l’affaire des écoutes de l’Elysée à celle des Irlandais de Vincennes, Barril se retrouve mêlé aux plus retentissants scandales des années Mitterrand. Fort de ses contacts, de ses protections et des réseaux qu’il a tissés au sein de la Françafrique, il finit par fonder la société de sécurité Secrets, mêlée à des affaires de ventes d’armes ou d’espionnage.

Ce grand-père de 67 ans est parvenu à conserver un casier judiciaire vierge. En 2008, Barril a été mis en examen pour « association de malfaiteur en vue de commission d’extorsion, corruption et assassinat » dans le dossier du Cercle Concorde. Un procès se tiendra au printemps, mais son avocate prévient : Barril, qui vit désormais en Angleterre, « souffre d’une grave maladie et ne pourra être présent au mieux qu’une journée ».

Voir par ailleurs:

The Independent révèle une bavure française au Mali

“Révélations : comment un raid français a tué 12 civils maliens,” titre en une The Independent. Selon le quotidien britannique, un hélicoptère d’assaut français a bombardé la ville de Konna, dans la région de Mopti au centre du pays, tuant douze civils et en blessant quinze. Parmi les victimes figuraient trois enfants âgés de moins de 11 ans.

La bavure aurait eu lieu "il y a deux semaines" au moment où les forces françaises essayaient de chasser les islamistes qui avaient pris la ville. Les faits n’ont été rapportés que ce week-end, après la reprise de la ville par les troupes françaises et maliennes. Depuis, la ville de Konna est accessible à la presse.

C’est lors de cet assaut que le pilote d’hélicoptère français Damien Boiteux aurait également été tué. A ce jour, c’est le seul soldat français mort dans l’opération Serval.

Voir enfin:

Revealed: how French raid killed 12 Malian villagers

Witnesses describe the moment civilians fell victim to a helicopter attack

Kim Sengupta, Daniel Howden, John Lichfield

The Independent

Monday, 28 January 2013

A father has described the moment a French attack helicopter bombed his town in Mali, killing his wife and at least three children from another family. Amadou Jallo, 57, lost his wife Aminata in the attack on Konna in which 12 civilians died and 15 more were injured.

But the couple’s one-year-old son, Saida, miraculously survived the assault despite the fact he was being carried on his mother’s back when the helicopter struck. “I thank Allah that my son is alive. It is amazing, a miracle, that he was not hurt,” he said.

The deaths – which included those of three children aged under 11 – occurred two weeks ago as French forces tried to drive out Islamists who had taken the town from government forces, but are only now being reported after Malian troops allowed reporters into Konna at the weekend.

One French helicopter pilot also died in the assault, to date the only confirmed French casualty of the war. French and Malian forces were closing in on the ancient town of Timbuktu tonight after advancing deep into the territory held by Islamist rebels. Earlier, there were ecstatic scenes in Gao as government troops entered the largest town in northern Mali for the first time in nine months.

The three allied Islamist rebel groups which conquered the north of the country last year offered only sporadic resistance. The rebels appear to have scattered into the desert to avoid relentless French air attacks and – France suspects – to launch a long guerrilla war.

French special forces were reported to have already arrived at the airfield in Timbuktu tonight to prepare for a larger airborne invasion today. The bulk of the Islamist fighters were said to have left the town.

A resident of the nearby town of Niafunke, just to the south, said that the jihadists had fled to caves in the surrounding hills. A local shepherd said that he had seen 40 vehicles hidden in the caves.

The capture of Gao on Saturday followed the same pattern as the liberation of other towns in recent days with French special forces, transported by air, doing the shooting before Malian and other French troops moved in behind them. The French forces had come under fire from “several terrorist elements” that were later “destroyed”, the French military said.

Lindsey Hilsum of Channel 4 News reported on her blog extraordinary scenes of joy when French and Malian forces entered Gao. “They rallied around us as we sped through the streets throwing Malian flags around our necks. Grabbing our hands shouting ‘Thank you’,” she wrote.

“For nine long months the people of Gao have not been allowed to sing, dance, shout or smoke. The women have not been allowed outside unveiled, let alone to ride motorbikes.”

“Now they were doing everything as loudly and chaotically as possible.”

A force from Chad and Niger is expected to cross the Nigerien border today help to garrison the Gao region. This will be the first front-line deployment by the pan-African force up to 7,500 strong which is expected eventually to take over most of the ground fighting from the French.

Despite efforts in recent days to talk up the achievements of “coalition forces”, a French army spokesman confirmed today that their troops had led all combat efforts since France intervened two weeks ago last Friday. “In the field it’s clear that it’s more efficient to send French troops with heavy equipment,” he said

French warplanes struck targets today in Kidal – the last of the three major towns held by Islamists in northern Mali. Among the reported targets was the home of Iyad Ag Ghaly – the leader of Ansar Dine, one of the trio of Islamist groups that has controlled northern Mali for the last nine months. Tensions between Paris and Washington over the French intervention appeared to have been resolved over the weekend.

After dropping its demand for payment by France for use of its transport planes, the Pentagon agreed to use of three KC-135 aerial refuelling planes based in Spain to help French fighter-bombers to attack targets in northern Mali from airfields in France.

Voir enfin:

Why France Can’t Fight

The WSJ

January 28, 2013

The French armed forces field some of the world’s most sophisticated fighter jets, nuclear submarines, attack helicopters and armored vehicles. The country spent $52 billion last year on defense, which puts it in the world’s top league in total military spending. That’s more than twice what such robust middle powers as South Korea, Turkey and Israel spend.

Yet in its commendable efforts to fight terrorists in Mali, Paris is all but begging for logistical and military support and has come up short on everything from refuelling to surveillance to heavy transport. Independently deploying a brigade-sized force to a country a mere five hours flight-time away is proving a bridge too far. How did that happen?

The question is worth asking because it tells us something about the nature of current European militaries—and perhaps the future of the U.S. military, too.

Consider personnel costs. In the U.S., military planners fret that the Pentagon spends $107 billion of its roughly $600 billion budget on salaries, another $53 billion or so on health care, and another $50 billion on retirement costs. In France, the Defense Ministry spends an astounding 50% of its total budget on personnel costs.

Some of that is the result of moving to an all-volunteer force, as France did in 1996, which has made the military smaller but more professional. But the bulk of the problem is that the Defense Ministry spends €7.6 billion ($10.2 billion) on retirees—roughly 20% of its budget, euros that are effectively taken away from war-fighting needs.

The result is an increasingly hollow military. On paper France has 230,000 men and women in uniform, but only 30,000 are estimated to be deployable on six months notice.

France does spend money on modern weaponry: Since 2009, one of the few pieces of equipment that saw an upward revision in planned inventory through 2014 is Dassault’s twin-engine Rafale fighter jet, of which France already has more than 70, with plans for nearly 160 more.

But militaries need the not-so-sexy stuff, too, and here Paris has been shortchanging its soldiers for years. French infantrymen must now deploy with barely half the number of logistical transport vehicles the military had planned four years ago. French diplomats spent the first week of the Malian intervention haggling with the U.S., Canada and Britain for American-made C-17s to transport soldiers and gear to Mali.

France has no C-17s, though for nearly a decade it has had an order in for 50 A400-M cargo planes. The A400-M (aka the Airbus "Atlas") is a joint project of several European governments, whose inability to pay for it has delayed the program repeatedly. The A400-M can handle only about half the payload of a C-17.

France is also still hunting for more air-refueling tankers to back up its small fleet of aging KC-135s, which are the only way its Rafales can carry out attacks throughout northern Mali. The U.S. has now agreed to help on that one. Again, Paris has an order in for 14 new Airbus 330s to replace its tankers, but this purchase was postponed in 2010.

Refueling capacity is one of the many areas covered in France’s 2010 "Defense and Cooperation Treaty" with the U.K., through which the allies were meant to make up the growing holes in each other’s military capabilities should the need arise. But now that the need is there in Africa, British defense officials say they have no tankers to spare. Theirs are either busy in Afghanistan or on standby in case they need to get to the Falklands.

Given the Obama Administration’s unfortunate unwillingness to provide more than minimal help in Mali, policy makers across Europe must now reconsider their future defense-to-GDP ratios with some urgency. Meantime, France needs help to secure the Sahel from Islamist insurgents. Paris’s misguided spending priorities have compromised its ability to win on its own in Mali, but neither France nor its allies can afford to see it lose.


Iran: Le passé est encore là … (The past is still here – it’s just not very evenly distributed)

29 janvier, 2013
Vous n’y entendez rien; vous ne réfléchissez pas qu’il est dans votre intérêt qu’un seul homme meure pour le peuple, et que la nation entière ne périsse pas.. Caïphe (Jean 11: 49-50)
Le voleur et la voleuse, à tous deux coupez la main, en punition de ce qu’ils se sont acquis, et comme châtiment de la part d’Allah. Allah est Puissant et Sage.  Coran (5:38)
Si la Bible parait plus violente que les mythes, c’est parce qu’elle rend explicite la violence que les mythes dissimulent. René Girard
Ce qui est inquiétant au sujet de cette vidéo, c’est l’apparente normalité de l’événement. Des milliers de personnes regardent comme s’il s’agissait d’un match de football. Les gens crient et applaudissent. Mais ce qui est le plus choquant, c’est la participation des enfants à ce "spectacle" barbare. Hawramy
L’ambassadeur du régime iranien en Espagne n’a pas hésité à comparer l’amputation des mains des victimes à "un chirurgien amputant un membre pour empêcher la gangrène de se propager". Il a soutenu que la peine de mort était nécessaire "pour préserver la santé de société dans son ensemble" (…) "Nos lois établissent que nous amputons un voleur de la main. (…) Certaines lois sont nécessaires pour préserver la santé de la société, sinon elle serait en danger." The Guardian
Aucun témoin indépendant n’a pu rapporter la façon dont s’est déroulée cette amputation. Les quatre photos de la scène ont été diffusées par une agence officielle, puis reprises sur les réseaux sociaux. Point étonnant : le visage du voleur présumé ne porte aucun signe de souffrance, mais l’homme pourrait avoir été drogué. (…) "Ce qui est étonnant cette fois-ci, c’est que non seulement c’était une amputation publique mais qu’en plus les photos de la scène ont été diffusées par les agences officielles, dévoilant au passage une machine dont nous n’avions jusque-là pas d’images. Nous avons remarqué récemment que les autorités faisaient de plus en plus de publicité autour des châtiments corporels publics. A chaque fois que des élections approchent, le nombre de châtiments corporels publics augmente. Or la présidentielle approche [prévue en juin]. Cette stratégie vise selon moi à contrôler la population par la peur afin d’éviter tout mouvement de protestation." France 24
La République islamique est une oligarchie militaro-religieuse, c’est la terminologie du mot République qui exige un décorum républicain. La fonction présidentielle n’a aucune autre utilité en Iran. Elle continue cependant à entretenir des malentendus. Les élections imitent les manifestations similaires dans les véritables démocraties. En quelque sorte, la tenue d’élections importe d’avantage aux mollahs iraniens que leurs résultats. Le but est d’attirer les Iraniens jusqu’aux urnes et de montrer les images de cette participation dans les médias occidentaux. Iran-Resist

Dans la série "le passé est encore là: il est juste très inégalement réparti" …

Et pendant que, si prompts d’habitude à dénoncer les bavures israéliennes ou américaines, les médias français semblent moins presssés de révéler celles de leur propre pays …

La démocratie potemkine rédécouvre, approche des présidentielles oblige, les bonnes vieilles vertus du bouc émissaire …

Et relance, au moins dans ses vidéos tout en gardant ses fers antijuifs au feu du côté du Hezbollah avant la chute annoncée de son allié syrien, la machine sacrificielle pour la regénération de tout un peuple …

Ou du moins du régime censé le représenter …

L’Iran dévoile une machine pour amputer les voleurs

Team Observers

France 24

25/01/2013

Une agence de presse officielle iranienne a publié jeudi les photos de l’amputation en public d’un voleur dans la ville de Chiraz dans le sud-ouest du pays. On y voit un homme se faire couper les doigts à l’aide d’une machine ressemblant à une scie rotative.

ATTENTION CES IMAGES SONT CHOQUANTES

Nous avons contacté de nombreux observateurs en Iran. Certains avaient entendu parler de cette machine, mais beaucoup n’ont découvert son existence qu’à l’occasion de cette mise en scène morbide qui se serait déroulée le 24 janvier. L’homme à qui l’on coupe les doigts a, selon l’agence ISNA, été reconnu coupable de vol, de recel et d’adultère par le tribunal pénal de la ville. Il est accusé d’être à la tête d’une association de malfaiteurs et faisait l’objet de 47 plaintes. En plus de l’amputation des doigts de la main, il a été condamné à trois ans de prison et 99 coups de fouets.

Aucun témoin indépendant n’a pu rapporter la façon dont s’est déroulée cette amputation. Les quatre photos de la scène ont été diffusées par une agence officielle, puis reprises sur les réseaux sociaux. Point étonnant : le visage du voleur présumé ne porte aucun signe de souffrance, mais l’homme pourrait avoir été drogué.

"Publier ces photos, c’est une façon de contrôler la population par la peur à l’approche de l’élection présidentielle"

Contacté par FRANCE24, le porte-parole de l’organisation Iran Human Rights, Mahmoud Amiry-Moghaddam, basé en Norvège, explique : "Ce qui est étonnant cette fois-ci, c’est que non seulement c’était une amputation publique mais qu’en plus les photos de la scène ont été diffusées par les agences officielles, dévoilant au passage une machine dont nous n’avions jusque-là pas d’images. Nous avons remarqué récemment que les autorités faisaient de plus en plus de publicité autour des châtiments corporels publics. A chaque fois que des élections approchent, le nombre de châtiments corporels publics augmente. Or la présidentielle approche [prévue en juin]. Cette stratégie vise selon moi à contrôler la population par la peur afin d’éviter tout mouvement de protestation."

Après l’amputation, Ali Alghasi, le procureur de Shiraz, a expliqué que les peines concernant les criminels seraient de plus en plus sévères, sans préciser pourquoi.

Le 20 janvier, deux voleurs ont été pendus en public à Téhéran. Ils avaient été identifiés grâce à une vidéo de surveillance sur laquelle ils rackettaient à l’aide d’un couteau un homme dans les rues de la capitale. Une décision de justice jugée d’une extrême sévérité puisque les jeunes hommes avaient volé l’équivalent d’une vingtaine d’euros.

L’amputation, la lapidation à mort ou encore la flagellation sont légales d’après le code pénale islamique iranien.

URL source: http://observers.france24.com/fr/content/20130125-iran-devoile-machine-amputer-voleurs-chiraz-charia-doigt

Liens:

[1] http://fars.isna.ir/Default.aspx?NSID=5&SSLID=46&NID=23776

[2] http://iranhr.net/spip.php?article2695

[3] http://www.rue89.com/2013/01/24/iran-un-crime-sur-youtube-une-execution-en-public-238972

[4] http://www.iranfocus.com/fr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7998:connaitre-le-systeme-legal-iranien&catid=4:femmes&Itemid=29

[5] http://observers.france24.com/fr/content/20130125-iran-devoile-machine-amputer-voleurs-chiraz-charia-doigt

[6] http://observers.france24.com/fr/content/v1-129

[7] http://observers.france24.com/fr/content/p2-25

[8] http://observers.france24.com/fr/content/iran1-1

[9] http://observers.france24.com/fr/users/team_observers

Voir aussi:

Iran/Barbarie: la machine des mollahs pour amputer les voleurs

Iran Focus

26 Janvier 2013

Iran Focus: Dans un acte de barbarie, la justice régime iranienne a ordonné et appliqué l’amputation d’un homme de 29 ans des doigts d’une main, en public le 24 janvier à Chiraz.

Selon l’agence ISNA, l’homme a été reconnu coupable de vol, de recel et d’adultère par le tribunal pénal de la ville. Dans son jugement, le système judiciaire de la province de Fars, l’a condamné, en plus de l’amputation de la main, à trois ans de prison et 99 coups de fouets.

Les quatre photos de la scène ont été diffusées par l’agence iranienne, puis reprises sur les réseaux sociaux.

Ali Alghassi, le procureur de Chiraz, a qualifié l’amputation des doigts d’ « avertissement sérieux » pour tous ceux qui « causent de l’insécurité ». « Le judiciaire a mis à l’ordre du jour la fermeté et l’intolérance », a-t-il menacé.

Les amputations et les exécutions de jeunes accusés de vol se déroulent alors que pas un jour ne se passe en Iran sans que des révélations fassent lumière sur des milliards de dollars de détournements et de vol par les diverses bandes au pouvoir, sans que jamais les autorités du régime ne subissent de tels châtiments.

Les mollahs ont de plus en plus recours à des châtiments barbares en public pour renforcer le climat de terreur dans l’espoir de contenir la révolte qui gronde.

Contacté par FRANCE24, le porte-parole de l’organisation Iran Human Rights, Mahmoud Amiry-Moghaddam, basé en Norvège, explique : « Ce qui est étonnant cette fois-ci, c’est que non seulement c’était une amputation publique mais qu’en plus les photos de la scène ont été diffusées par les agences officielles, dévoilant au passage une machine dont nous n’avions jusque-là pas d’images. Nous avons remarqué récemment que les autorités faisaient de plus en plus de publicité autour des châtiments corporels publics. A chaque fois que des élections approchent, le nombre de châtiments corporels publics augmente. Or la présidentielle approche [prévue en juin]. Cette stratégie vise selon moi à contrôler la population par la peur afin d’éviter tout mouvement de protestation. »

L’ensemble des lois pénales actuelles du régime, intitulé le code pénal islamique et contenant 729 articles, est entièrement basé sur des châtiments corporels comme la peine de mort, torture et la flagellation. Outre des châtiments inhumains comme la lapidation, la crucifixion, faire chuter la victime du haut d’un rocher, amputations… dans plus de 100 cas la peine de mort et dans environ 50 cas des coups de fouet ont été prévus.

Voir encore:

L’ambassadeur des mollahs plaide en faveur de l’amputation et de la pendaison en Iran

CNRI

10 Février 2008

Administrateur Droits humains

CNRI – Lors d’une conférence de presse à l’ambassade du régime iranien à Madrid le 7 février, Seyed Davoud Salehi, l’ambassadeur des mollahs en Espagne, a plaidé en faveur du châtiment inhumain de l’amputation et de la pendaison, ont rapporté les médias espagnols. Il a critiqué les informations portant sur le bilan effroyable des violations des droits de l’homme en Iran et a appelé les organisations de contrôle à respecter ces châtiments inhumains comme "des traditions locales".

L’ambassadeur du régime iranien en Espagne n’a pas hésité à comparer l’amputation des mains des victimes à "un chirurgien amputant un membre pour empêcher la gangrène de se propager". Il a soutenu que la peine de mort était nécessaire "pour préserver la santé de société dans son ensemble". Salehi a dit que le pouvoir judiciaire de l’Iran avait décidé de moins mener les exécutions et les lapidations en public pour empêcher la diffusion de ces images dans le monde.

"Nos lois établissent que nous amputons un voleur de la main. Ce n’est pas accepté en occident, mais les coutumes locale doivent être respectées", a-t-il dit.

Jusqu’ici cette année selon les médias officiels, plus de 30 exécutions ont eu lieu, principalement en janvier, en plus de 3 peines de lapidation pour deux femmes et un homme, la condamnation à mort d’un homme pour avoir bu de l’alcool, 5 amputations de mains et de pieds, 2 condamnations à être jetés dans un précipice et la condamnation à mort de neuf très jeunes détenus, en majorité de moins de 18 ans.

Voir par ailleurs:

The Independent

28 janvier 2013

The Independent révèle une bavure française au Mali

“Révélations : comment un raid français a tué 12 civils maliens,” titre en une The Independent. Selon le quotidien britannique, un hélicoptère d’assaut français a bombardé la ville de Konna, dans la région de Mopti au centre du pays, tuant douze civils et en blessant quinze. Parmi les victimes figuraient trois enfants âgés de moins de 11 ans.

La bavure aurait eu lieu "il y a deux semaines" au moment où les forces françaises essayaient de chasser les islamistes qui avaient pris la ville. Les faits n’ont été rapportés que ce week-end, après la reprise de la ville par les troupes françaises et maliennes. Depuis, la ville de Konna est accessible à la presse.

C’est lors de cet assaut que le pilote d’hélicoptère français Damien Boiteux aurait également été tué. A ce jour, c’est la seul soldat français mort dans l’opération Serval.

Voir enfin:

Revealed: how French raid killed 12 Malian villagers

Witnesses describe the moment civilians fell victim to a helicopter attack

Kim Sengupta, Daniel Howden, John Lichfield

The Independent

28 January 2013

A father has described the moment a French attack helicopter bombed his town in Mali, killing his wife and at least three children from another family. Amadou Jallo, 57, lost his wife Aminata in the attack on Konna in which 12 civilians died and 15 more were injured.

But the couple’s one-year-old son, Saida, miraculously survived the assault despite the fact he was being carried on his mother’s back when the helicopter struck. “I thank Allah that my son is alive. It is amazing, a miracle, that he was not hurt,” he said.

The deaths – which included those of three children aged under 11 – occurred two weeks ago as French forces tried to drive out Islamists who had taken the town from government forces, but are only now being reported after Malian troops allowed reporters into Konna at the weekend.

One French helicopter pilot also died in the assault, to date the only confirmed French casualty of the war. French and Malian forces were closing in on the ancient town of Timbuktu tonight after advancing deep into the territory held by Islamist rebels. Earlier, there were ecstatic scenes in Gao as government troops entered the largest town in northern Mali for the first time in nine months.

The three allied Islamist rebel groups which conquered the north of the country last year offered only sporadic resistance. The rebels appear to have scattered into the desert to avoid relentless French air attacks and – France suspects – to launch a long guerrilla war.

French special forces were reported to have already arrived at the airfield in Timbuktu tonight to prepare for a larger airborne invasion today. The bulk of the Islamist fighters were said to have left the town.

A resident of the nearby town of Niafunke, just to the south, said that the jihadists had fled to caves in the surrounding hills. A local shepherd said that he had seen 40 vehicles hidden in the caves.

The capture of Gao on Saturday followed the same pattern as the liberation of other towns in recent days with French special forces, transported by air, doing the shooting before Malian and other French troops moved in behind them. The French forces had come under fire from “several terrorist elements” that were later “destroyed”, the French military said.

Lindsey Hilsum of Channel 4 News reported on her blog extraordinary scenes of joy when French and Malian forces entered Gao. “They rallied around us as we sped through the streets throwing Malian flags around our necks. Grabbing our hands shouting ‘Thank you’,” she wrote.

“For nine long months the people of Gao have not been allowed to sing, dance, shout or smoke. The women have not been allowed outside unveiled, let alone to ride motorbikes.”

“Now they were doing everything as loudly and chaotically as possible.”

A force from Chad and Niger is expected to cross the Nigerien border today help to garrison the Gao region. This will be the first front-line deployment by the pan-African force up to 7,500 strong which is expected eventually to take over most of the ground fighting from the French.

Despite efforts in recent days to talk up the achievements of “coalition forces”, a French army spokesman confirmed today that their troops had led all combat efforts since France intervened two weeks ago last Friday. “In the field it’s clear that it’s more efficient to send French troops with heavy equipment,” he said

French warplanes struck targets today in Kidal – the last of the three major towns held by Islamists in northern Mali. Among the reported targets was the home of Iyad Ag Ghaly – the leader of Ansar Dine, one of the trio of Islamist groups that has controlled northern Mali for the last nine months. Tensions between Paris and Washington over the French intervention appeared to have been resolved over the weekend.

After dropping its demand for payment by France for use of its transport planes, the Pentagon agreed to use of three KC-135 aerial refuelling planes based in Spain to help French fighter-bombers to attack targets in northern Mali from airfields in France.


Obama II: Obama lance la Bible et la Constitution en playback (One nation under socialism: US and France’s new administrations reveal their true collectivist colors)

26 janvier, 2013

C’est à la sueur de ton visage que tu mangeras du pain, jusqu’à ce que tu retournes dans la terre, d’où tu as été pris; car tu es poussière, et tu retourneras dans la poussière. Genèse 3: 19
 Ne jugez point, afin que vous ne soyez point jugés. Car on vous jugera du jugement dont vous jugez, et l’on vous mesurera avec la mesure dont vous mesurez. Jésus (Matthieu 7: 1-2)
Malheur au monde à cause des scandales! Car il est nécessaire qu’il arrive des scandales; mais malheur à l’homme par qui le scandale arrive! Jésus (Matthieu 18: 7)
Les jugements de l’Éternel sont vrais, ils sont tous justes. Psaumes 19: 9
Nous espérons du fond du cœur, nous prions avec ferveur, que ce terrible fléau de la guerre s’achève rapidement. Si, cependant, Dieu veut qu’il se poursuive jusqu’à ce que sombrent les richesses accumulées par 250 ans de labeur non partagé de l’esclave ainsi que jusqu’à ce que chaque goutte de sang jaillie sous le fouet soit payée par une autre versée par l’épée, comme il a été dit il y a trois mille ans, il nous faudra reconnaître que “les décisions du Seigneur sont justes et vraiment équitables. Lincoln (Deuxième discours d’investiture, le 4 mars 1865)
N’avez-vous pas lu que le créateur, au commencement, fit l’homme et la femme et qu’il dit: C’est pourquoi l’homme quittera son père et sa mère, et s’attachera à sa femme, et les deux deviendront une seule chair? Ainsi ils ne sont plus deux, mais ils sont une seule chair. Que l’homme donc ne sépare pas ce que Dieu a joint. Pourquoi donc, lui dirent-ils, Moïse a-t-il prescrit de donner à la femme une lettre de divorce et de la répudier? (…) C’est à cause de la dureté de votre coeur que Moïse vous a permis de répudier vos femmes; au commencement, il n’en était pas ainsi. Jésus (Matthieu 19: 4-8)
I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage. Obama (2008)
I think in the end it does have to be a broad us. It has to be democracy with a small ‘d.’ Obama (1995)
Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of [our founding] words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed. And for more than two hundred years, we have. Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together. (…) We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. (…) "It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Obama
We pray for your blessing because without it, we will see only what the eye can see. But with the blessing of your blessing we will see that we are created in your image, whether brown, black or white, male or female, first generation or immigrant American, or daughter of the American Revolution, gay or straight, rich or poor. Rev. Luis Leon
Lincoln was the product of a short and shallow formal education, and he had never fully identified with a Christian denomination or doctrinal tradition. And yet in this case, as in so many others, (…) Lincoln’s legacy, far more than any other president, has, over time, become inextricably bound up with the words and themes of the Bible. He has been endowed repeatedly with biblical features—sometimes cast as Moses, on other occasions as Father Abraham, and yet again as a fiery prophet or martyred savior. An aura of prophetic authority has accrued to his own words, heightened by his skillful use of literary devices that are also characteristic of biblical texts. The Poor Hand’s homilies, like the man himself, now belong to the ages. Lincoln contributed to this biblical aura through his adamant advocacy of what he referred to in his address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield in 1838 as an American "political religion." (…) In death, Lincoln became an icon of this American political faith—the only faith, it would seem, for which he could give his own last measure of devotion. Lincoln’s Collected Works are, in fact, peppered with biblical references, including several dozen direct quotations. These are taken, for the most part, from Hebrew Bible narratives, the Psalms, Wisdom texts, and the Gospels. The Bible was the common coin of literate nineteenth-century Americans, and Lincoln made good use of its currency. Earl Schwartz
In this short passage Lincoln strings together four direct biblical quotations. Nevertheless, each quote enters the address honed and shaped by many years of conceptual and rhetorical development. Gen. 3:19 now carries for Lincoln the accumulated implications of twenty years of reflection, as indicated by his retention of an inferred "their" prior to "bread," a condensed version of his earlier antithesis of "their bread" over against the "sweat of other men’s faces," and the addition of the tortuous image of oppressors "wringing" their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, rather than simply eating it, as he had expressed it earlier. Lincoln’s juxtaposition of Gen. 3:19 to Matt. 7:1 ("Let us judge not …") reiterates his previous condemnation of slavery as the theft of another’s "self," as well as his claim that he was obliged not to "judge" the motives of those who would lend their support to such a crime. Here, as in the "Response" to the Baptist missionaries, the counsel that one must withhold judgment appears ironic, though his convincing reference to "charity for all" in the peroration indicates a tempering of his earlier sarcasm. However, having counseled forbearance, Lincoln immediately goes on to declare that it was not to be expected that restraining the urge to judge would save the nation from undergoing judgment. Instead, in a passage punctuated by repeated references to justice ("just," "judge," "judged," "judgments") he joins his "materialist" reading of Gen. 3:19 to a corresponding vision of an immanent Divine judgment which was "true and righteous altogether," purging the nation, measure for measure, of slavery’s "wealth" and "lash." The ravages of war had extracted a terrible price from those "by whom the offence cometh," be they collaborators or bystanders, but the debate was over, and the conclusion, as he had long insisted, was "self evident." The Almighty had had His own wrenching purposes. Those purposes having been accomplished, the time for rending was now speedily passing away, and a time for mending had begun. Earl Schwartz
The bitter election wars to achieve and maintain a 51–53 percent majority (the noble 99 percent versus the selfish 1 percent, the greens versus the polluters, the young and hip versus the stodgy and uncool, the wisely unarmed versus the redneck assault-weapon owners, women versus the sexists, gays versus the bigots, Latinos versus the nativists, blacks versus the “get over it” spiteful and resentful, the noble public sector versus the “you didn’t build that” profiteers, Colin Powell/Chuck Hagel/reasonable Republicans versus neanderthal House tea-party zealots), in Nixonian fashion have left a lot of bitter divisions that lie just beneath the surface of a thinning veneer. Victor Davis Hanson
Mr. Obama is arguing counter to the Founding Fathers that the pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of equality of results, not the equality of opportunity, and that he will do what he can to use government to make everybody more equal in terms of their income and life work. (…) this was no opportunity speech. This was a redistributionist, income-leveling speech. And it completely missed the point of the Founding Fathers some 237 years ago. They were talking about the equality of opportunity, not results. Theirs was a declaration of freedom, not government power or authority. In fact, the Declaration of Independence was written expressly to begin a revolution against the autocratic monarchs of England, who used their government authority to tax, regulate, and oppress the colonists without any representation or voting rights, thus denying them the unalienable rights of liberty. So while Obama was on the one hand preaching “fidelity to our founding principles,” on the other he was saying that preserving our individual freedom ultimately requires collective action. Collective action? The Founders were talking about individual liberty and rights. Not the power of a collectivist government. The “collective” is a socialist idea, not a free-market capitalist thought. (…) Obama’s mistaken opinions regarding the Declaration of Independence, and his total lack of understanding of the thinking behind the Declaration, is more troubling than any of the liberal programmatic proposals he set forth. Fundamentally, you have to wonder if the president really understands the American idea, and the American historical experience, beginning with the great wisdom of the Founders. Collectivism also means “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” During his second-term inaugural speech, Obama actually said, “We do not believe in this country that freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few.” Were Steve Jobs and Bill Gates lucky? Was Henry Ford lucky? Was Thomas Edison just lucky? How about they used their God-given talents of creativity, imagination, and ingenuity, coupled with hard work, to create commercial ventures that financially empowered millions upon millions of people who were then able to live a better and more comfortable life? That’s what the Founders had in mind. Freedom. It was bad enough that the president had nothing to say about economic growth, or excess federal spending, deficits, and debt. Nor did he show any interest in reforming the large entitlement programs that may bankrupt America. He did discuss the energy market. But rather than let market forces determine the most efficient and clean energy sources to power our economy, he insisted on more doomed green-energy projects subsidized by the taxpayer (like Solyndra). (…) Equality of opportunity is the American ideal. Equality of results and income-leveling is foreign to the American ideal. Larry Kudlow
Whether Beyoncé was lip-syncing to the band or the band were lip-syncing to Beyoncé is like one of those red pill/ blue pill choices from The Matrix. Was President Obama lip-syncing to the Founders, rooting his inaugural address in the earliest expressions of American identity? (“The patriots of 1776 . . . gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.”) Or maybe the Founders were lip-syncing to him as he appropriated the vision of the first generation of Americans and yoked it (“preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action”) to a statist pitch they would have found utterly repugnant. The whole event had the air of a simulacrum: It looked like a presidential inauguration, but the sound was tinny and not quite in sync. Obama mouthed along to a canned vocal track: “We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.” That’s great! It’s always reassuring to know the head of state is going to take issue with all those people wedded to the “belief” that America needs either to shove every granny off the cliff or stake its newborns out on the tundra for the wolves to finish off. When it comes to facing the music, Obama is peerless at making a song and dance about tunes nobody’s whistling without ever once warbling the real big numbers (16 trillion). But, like Beyoncé, he’s totally cool and has a cute butt. Mark Steyn
Le gouvernement s’est engagé à s’appuyer sur la jeunesse pour changer les mentalités, notamment par le biais d’une éducation au respect de la diversité des orientations sexuelles. Vincent Peillon (Lettre aux recteurs, Ministre de l’Education, 04.01.13)
C’est au socialisme qu’il va revenir d’incarner la révolution religieuse dont l’humanité a besoin. (…) C’est bien une nouvelle naissance, une transusbtantiation qui opère dans l’école et par l’école, cette nouvelle Église, avec son nouveau clergé, sa nouvelle liturgie, ses nouvelles tables de la Loi. Vincent Peillon
La morale laïque c’est comprendre ce qui est juste, distinguer le bien du mal, c’est aussi des devoirs autant que des droits, des vertus, et surtout des valeurs. Je souhaite pour l’école française un enseignement qui inculquerait aux élèves des notions de morale universelle, fondée sur les idées d’humanité et de raison. La république porte une exigence de raison et de justice. La capacité de raisonner, de critiquer, de douter, tout cela doit s’apprendre à l’école. Le redressement de la France doit être un redressement matériel mais aussi intellectuel et moral. (…) Il faut assumer que l’école exerce un pouvoir spirituel dans la société. (…) Si la république ne dit pas quelle est sa vision de ce que sont les vertus et les vices, le bien et le mal, le juste et l’injuste, d’autres le font à sa place. Aujourd’hui dans les cours d’école et les classes, on se traite "sales feujs", "sales bougnoules"… Tout ce qui est de l’ordre du racisme, de l’antisémitisme, de l’injure, de la grossièreté à l’égard des professeurs et des autres élèves, ne peut pas être toléré à l’école. La sanction fait partie de l’éducation. Mais il faut aussi qu’il y ait une cohérence entre la responsabilité des adultes à l’extérieur de l’école et ce que l’on demande aux maîtres et aux professeurs de faire. L’attitude des plus hautes autorités de l’État est, de ce point de vue, tout à fait déterminante. L’ancien président de la République lui-même, en désignant toujours des ennemis, en s’exprimant avec violence ou grossièreté, en expliquant qu’enseigner La Princesse de Clèves était sans intérêt, que l’instituteur ne pourra jamais remplacer le curé, sapait l’autorité des professeurs et s’attaquait aux valeurs qui sont les nôtres. (…) Nous avons besoin d’un réarmement moral. C’est pourquoi nous devons tous soutenir nos professeurs. (…) Pour donner la liberté du choix, il faut être capable d’arracher l’élève à tous les déterminismes, familial, ethnique, social, intellectuel, pour après faire un choix. Je ne crois pas du tout à un ordre moral figé. (…) La bataille que doit mener l’école est aussi une bataille des valeurs. Nous allons la mener. Vincent Peillon
Derrière le personnage apparemment lisse, voire ennuyeux, se cache un terrible idéologue, quelqu’un de très dangereux, un Robespierre en herbe, un sans-culotte du XXIème siècle, un disciple en droite lignée des grands bienfaiteurs de l’Église que sont Jean Jaurès ou Ferdinand Buisson, qui sont ses deux papas. Vincent Peillon, c’est un docteur en philosophie – et il n’y a rien de plus dangereux qu’un philosophe qui fait de la politique, un visionnaire pour qui « la révolution française n’est pas terminée », parce que cette Révolution est « un événement religieux», une « nouvelle genèse » un « nouveau commencement du monde », une « nouvelle espérance » qu’il faut porter à son terme, à savoir : « la transformation socialiste et progressiste de la société toute entière ». En fait, Peillon n’est ni un homme politique, ni un simple philosophe. C’est un prophète, un Pape laïque, un grand-prêtre du socialisme, plus religieux que le Souverain Pontife lui-même. Alors, il est responsable aujourd’hui de l’éducation nationale. Ce n’est évidemment pas par hasard. L’éducation a un rôle capital dans son système idéologique, car l’école est « un instrument de l’action politique, républicaine et socialiste. ». Plus encore, l’école est un instrument de la religion laïque dont il se fait le prophète : C’est au socialisme qu’il va revenir d’incarner la révolution religieuse dont l’humanité a besoin. Et évidemment, l’école sera le temple de cette nouvelle religion : C’est bien une nouvelle naissance, une transusbtantiation qui opère dans l’école et par l’école, cette nouvelle Église, avec son nouveau clergé, sa nouvelle liturgie, ses nouvelles tables de la Loi.  On comprend alors dans le détail les grands thèmes qu’il impose à l’éducation nationale. La scolarisation précoce des enfants De moins de trois ans s’il vous plaît ! (annoncée le 10 septembre par Jean-Marc Ayrault) dans le but, selon lui, de « lutter contre la délinquance » (sic), mais qui correspond en fait en tout point à l’idée peillonienne de coupure totale de l’enfant d’avec autre chose que la République socialiste : (je cite son interview au JDD) « Il faut être capable d’arracher l’élève à tous les déterminismes, familial, ethnique, social, intellectuel… » [3]. Pour ce faire, Peillon se fonde sur une pédagogie bien à lui : il y a un « "infini flottant" dans l’âme de l’enfant », et l’éducation « se fixe pour tâche de lui donner une forme » [4]. Je vous laisse imaginer quelle forme il faut lui donner, à cet enfant nu et dépouillé face au dogme étatique. La morale laïque Alors une fois encore ne soyons pas dupes : évidemment que ce qui manque le plus à nos enfants, c’est de la morale. Mais ceux qui applaudissent cette idée doivent être vigilants. Car le but de la morale laïque, c’est de former des futurs électeurs socialistes avec la théorie du Genre, l’enseignement des « grands homosexuels de l’histoire », la lutte contre les discriminations et l’imposition d’une morale non pas seulement laïque, a-religieuse, voire anti-religieuse. La morale laïque correspond en tous points à la ligne Buisson de la laïcité que Peillon s’est tracée – en référence à Ferdinand Buisson, l’acteur de premier plan de l’expulsion des congrégations religieuses, auquel Peillon a consacré un ouvrage en 2005. Cette ligne buisson de la laïcité, c’est « de forger une religion qui soit non seulement plus religieuse que le catholicisme dominant, mais qui ait davantage de force, de séduction, de persuasion et d’adhésion, que lui. » Aussi, si « la République socialiste perdure dans la mort de Dieu », elle perdure également dans la mort de son incarnation terrestre, l’Église… (…) Peillon commence à s’attaquer aux retraites des enseignants du privé (déjà dévalorisée de quasiment 30% par rapport à celles du public), puis à produire une circulaire (en fait une bulle pontificale) qui enjoint les recteurs « à rester vigilant envers l’enseignement catholique » parce que ce dernier s’était prononcé contre le mariage homosexuel. « Rester vigilant envers l’enseignement catholique » veut dire, dans son système, qu’aucune idée ne peut se transmettre en dehors des cadres dogmatiques de la République socialiste. Vous comprenez pourquoi il n’y a aucune contradiction dans leur esprit lorsque Peillon interdit à l’école privée de parler du mariage gay alors que Belkacem en fait l’apologie au collège. Nous sommes clairement dans une dialectique marxiste, que la contradiction n’effraie aucunement. Le moment passé (à savoir les traditions, l’histoire de France, les valeurs chrétiennes) doit être annulé par le moment à venir : le monde poli, libre, joyeusement socialiste, délivré enfin du joug de la méchante Église catholique et de ses principes désuets. Grâce à ce genre d’idéologues au pouvoir, nos enfants en sauront bientôt davantage sur la contraception, le mariage homosexuel, l’homophobie, le trans-genre et le cannabis, que sur l’histoire de France ou les règles de conjugaison. Le catéchisme socialiste doit se réciter dans toutes les écoles, par la bouche de tous les fonctionnaires-prêcheurs, et les enfants doivent apprendre cette vérité tombée du ciel sans broncher… Finalement, la plus grande honnêteté pour Monseigneur Peillon et son clergé serait de se l’appliquer à eux-mêmes, la laïcité, avant que ce pays ne sombre dans une théocratie socialiste… Vivien Hoch
Dans sa lettre du 4 janvier adressée aux recteurs, Vincent Peillon affirme sa volonté de révolutionner la société en se servant de l’école : « le gouvernement s’est engagé à s’appuyer sur la jeunesse pour changer les mentalités, notamment par le biais d’une éducation au respect de la diversité des orientations sexuelles », affirme-t-il en début de lettre. On remarque les termes : « s’appuyer sur la jeunesse » pour « changer les mentalités ». Qui ? Le gouvernement. En réalité, c’est donc lui qui choisit les orientations politiques et morales qui doivent prévaloir dans la société. Ce n’est plus la famille, l’école et la société adulte qui éduquent la jeunesse. Contrairement à la Déclaration universelle des Droits de l’Homme de 1948, c’est donc désormais l’État en France qui se pose en seul détenteur de la vérité. On assiste à une dérive théocratique de l’État républicain actuel. Et cette jeunesse, qui, par définition, ne possède pas encore les repères lui permettant de poser des choix par elle-même, il la mobilise dans le sens qu’il juge bon, selon le schéma de la révolution culturelle. La position de Vincent Peillon est vraiment choquante. Lorsqu’il s’appuie sur la jeunesse comme moteur révolutionnaire, renouant avec l’esprit de 1968, le gouvernement sort à l’évidence de son rôle : il instrumentalise la jeunesse à des fins politiques, pour changer les représentations sexuelles et morales dominantes. Ce faisant, il change les règles du jeu au sein de l’École publique en abandonnant ostensiblement l’exigence de neutralité. L’État sort également de son devoir de neutralité et de respect des droits éducatifs familiaux et de l’intimité des enfants lorsque le ministre demande aux recteurs de renforcer les campagnes d’information sur la ligne azur. Ainsi, contrairement à ce qui est affiché, il ne s’agit plus de lutter contre des stigmatisations homophobes en tant que telles, il s’agit bien plutôt d’inciter activement les jeunes en recherche d’identité (comme le sont par construction tous les adolescents) à explorer pour eux-mêmes la voie de l’homosexualité ou de la transsexualité. De même, lorsque le ministre encourage les recteurs à faire intervenir davantage les associations de lutte contre l’homophobie, il encourage en pratique l’ingérence dans l’enceinte de l’école d’associations partisanes engagées dans la banalisation et la promotion des orientations sexuelles minoritaires, si l’on se réfère à la liste des associations agréées par l’Éducation nationale pour intervenir sur ces thématiques dans les établissements. Il favorise donc des prises de paroles unilatérales auprès des jeunes, sur un sujet qui n’a pas encore été tranché par le législateur. (…) Durant la période soviétique, comme durant d’autres périodes totalitaires, il était habituel de se servir des enfants pour démasquer et sanctionner les opinions dissidentes des parents. C’était l’époque de la délation par ses propres enfants. Revenir à de telles pratiques inhumaines et profondément immorales serait une grave régression de l’État de droit. Non content enfin de mettre au pas les écoles publiques, le gouvernement entend aussi museler les écoles privées en bafouant clairement leur caractère propre. Il est évident que les écoles dont le projet éducatif et l’identité sont fondés sur la foi seront opposées à la légalisation du mariage homosexuel. Leur demander d’être neutres sur ce sujet n’a aucun sens, si ce n’est celui de leur faire renier purement et simplement leur vocation spécifique. Anne Coffinier

Après la première invocation inaugurale certifiée sans Dieu, le premier playback de la Bible et de la Constitution !

Alors qu’au lendemain du deuxième discours d’investiture, entre un pasteur remplaçant pro-gay et un poète latino et militant homosexuel, du Passeur en chef de nominations en force, nos belles âmes et nos beaux esprits s’extasient devant les talents oratoires de leur nouveau Kennedy noir  …

Comment ne pas voir, à l’instar du playback finalement révélé de la chanteuse noire Beyoncé, l’autrement plus inquiétant playback de la Bible et de la Constitution …

Où,  derrière les flonflons oratoires (les alliterations faciles des "Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall" assimilant la lutte des femmes et des noirs à celle des homosexuels) et contre toute la tradition américaine, l’on nous ressert en fait la pire des dérives étatiques et collectivistes ?

Et comment ne pas voir, au nom de la désormais sacro-sainte défense de l’égalitarisme incarnée désormais par le "respect de la diversité des orientations sexuelles",  la même  dérive théocratique et la régression proprement soviétique

Où,  contre la Déclaration universelle des Droits de l’Homme et en s’appuyant au sein de l’Ecole même sur les nouvelles générations, un Etat prétendument républicain s’arroge le droit de rien de moins que "changer les mentalités" ?

Le débat sur le mariage homosexuel à l’école : une bien curieuse conception de la neutralité

Vincent Peillon a adressé une lettre aux recteurs le 4 janvier dernier dans laquelle il affirme sa volonté de révolutionner la société en se servant de l’école. "S’appuyer sur la jeunesse" pour "changer les mentalités". Qui ? Le gouvernement.

Dans sa lettre du 4 janvier adressée aux recteurs, Vincent Peillon affirme sa volonté de révolutionner la société en se servant de l’école : "le gouvernement s’est engagé à s’appuyer sur la jeunesse pour changer les mentalités, notamment par le biais d’une éducation au respect de la diversité des orientations sexuelles", affirme-t-il en début de lettre. On remarque les termes : "s’appuyer sur la jeunesse" pour "changer les mentalités". Qui ? Le gouvernement.

Anne Coffinier

Les Echos

11/01/2013

En réalité, c’est donc lui qui choisit les orientations politiques et morales qui doivent prévaloir dans la société. Ce n’est plus la famille, l’école et la société adulte qui éduquent la jeunesse. Contrairement à la Déclaration universelle des Droits de l’Homme de 1948, c’est donc désormais l’État en France qui se pose en seul détenteur de la vérité. On assiste à une dérive théocratique de l’État républicain actuel. Et cette jeunesse, qui, par définition, ne possède pas encore les repères lui permettant de poser des choix par elle-même, il la mobilise dans le sens qu’il juge bon, selon le schéma de la révolution culturelle.

La position de Vincent Peillon est vraiment choquante. Lorsqu’il s’appuie sur la jeunesse comme moteur révolutionnaire, renouant avec l’esprit de 1968, le gouvernement sort à l’évidence de son rôle : il instrumentalise la jeunesse à des fins politiques, pour changer les représentations sexuelles et morales dominantes. Ce faisant, il change les règles du jeu au sein de l’École publique en abandonnant ostensiblement l’exigence de neutralité.

L’État sort également de son devoir de neutralité et de respect des droits éducatifs familiaux et de l’intimité des enfants lorsque le ministre demande aux recteurs de renforcer les campagnes d’information sur la ligne azur. Ainsi, contrairement à ce qui est affiché, il ne s’agit plus de lutter contre des stigmatisations homophobes en tant que telles, il s’agit bien plutôt d’inciter activement les jeunes en recherche d’identité (comme le sont par construction tous les adolescents) à explorer pour eux-mêmes la voie de l’homosexualité ou de la transsexualité.

De même, lorsque le ministre encourage les recteurs à faire intervenir davantage les associations de lutte contre l’homophobie, il encourage en pratique l’ingérence dans l’enceinte de l’école d’associations partisanes engagées dans la banalisation et la promotion des orientations sexuelles minoritaires, si l’on se réfère à la liste des associations agréées par l’Éducation nationale pour intervenir sur ces thématiques dans les établissements. Il favorise donc des prises de paroles unilatérales auprès des jeunes, sur un sujet qui n’a pas encore été tranché par le législateur.

Tout cela relève-t-il vraiment du rôle de l’État ? Est-ce davantage le rôle de l’école ? Est-ce judicieux si l’on veut que les familles aient une relation confiante et paisible envers l’institution scolaire ? Si l’État se donne pour mission de promouvoir l’homosexualité, il prend la grave responsabilité de discriminer frontalement les familles attachées au modèle familial qui est celui que vit la grande majorité des Français, et de heurter les convictions de tous ceux, juifs, chrétiens, musulmans et bien d’autres, qui jugent que ce modèle est la seule référence conforme à la réalité naturelle et par là au bien de l’enfant.

Une telle politique de l’État alimentera infailliblement le communautarisme déjà à l’œuvre dans la société. Si l’État n’est pas neutre, s’il se sert de son pouvoir pour promouvoir au sein des services publics des options philosophiques, morales, sexuelles, religieuses particulières et nettement minoritaires, il conduira mécaniquement un nombre croissant de familles à déserter les services publics. Lorsque l’État refuse la neutralité, il prend la responsabilité d’alimenter une balkanisation politique, religieuse et morale de la société lourde de conséquences.

L’école, publique comme privée, doit se recentrer sur sa mission propre et se garder de vouloir traiter à chaud les sujets polémiques. En histoire comme dans les autres domaines de la connaissance, l’école ne doit pas se précipiter dans l’ultraactualité, au risque de manquer de rigueur, de recul critique, de discernement. Il ne convient pas davantage que l’école conduise les jeunes – inconsciemment ou pas – à se prononcer publiquement sur leurs choix et opinions personnelles sur des sujets touchant aux convictions intimes (religion, politique, sexualité, etc.).

Ces prises de position n’ont pas de fonction éducative ; elles peuvent en revanche conduire les jeunes à révéler les opinions familiales, s’exposer eux-mêmes au jugement de leurs camarades ou de leurs professeurs, au mépris de leur droit à l’intimité et de leur liberté d’opinion, de conscience et de religion. À quoi bon voter dans l’isoloir si l’école trouve le moyen par le biais de vos enfants de connaître vos opinions politiques ?

Durant la période soviétique, comme durant d’autres périodes totalitaires, il était habituel de se servir des enfants pour démasquer et sanctionner les opinions dissidentes des parents. C’était l’époque de la délation par ses propres enfants. Revenir à de telles pratiques inhumaines et profondément immorales serait une grave régression de l’État de droit.

Non content enfin de mettre au pas les écoles publiques, le gouvernement entend aussi museler les écoles privées en bafouant clairement leur caractère propre. Il est évident que les écoles dont le projet éducatif et l’identité sont fondés sur la foi seront opposées à la légalisation du mariage homosexuel. Leur demander d’être neutres sur ce sujet n’a aucun sens, si ce n’est celui de leur faire renier purement et simplement leur vocation spécifique.

"Le caractère propre de ses établissements ne saurait leur permettre de déroger au strict respect de tous les individus et de leurs convictions", affirme le ministre. La formulation dialectique est habile, car qui peut s’opposer au respect des individus et de leurs convictions ? Mais elle est doublement défectueuse. Philosophiquement, car elle passe par pertes et profits la différence fondamentale qui existe entre la critique d’une position politique ou morale et celle d’une personne. On respecte les personnes, on débat librement des idées. S’il fallait respecter toutes les opinions sans discuter, cela voudrait dire qu’il serait interdit d’étudier le fond des problèmes.

Mais bien entendu, la réalité est autre : il s’agit de réprimer les vues différentes de l’idéologie officielle. S’il est interdit de penser et de débattre sur un sujet comme le supposé mariage de deux personnes d’un même sexe, cela veut dire que pour ne pas se faire traiter d’homophobe on est contraint de fait d’accepter le mariage homosexuel. Que reste-t-il alors de la liberté de penser ?

Politiquement en outre la formulation est défectueuse. Les établissements catholiques respectent les convictions de leurs élèves, mais sont catholiques, c’est leur raison d’être, protégée par toutes les déclarations et instruments juridiques relatifs aux Droits de l’Homme.

En revanche l’Éducation nationale, du moins telle que la voient nos dirigeants, impose sous couvert d’égalité et de lutte contre les discriminations la promotion active de l’homosexualité, présentée comme un des rares comportements humains échappant par nature à tout débat. Où est la neutralité du service public d’Éducation ? Où est le respect des convictions de citoyens ?

Voir aussi:

Le socialisme est une religion pour Vincent Peillon

Derrière le personnage apparemment lisse, voire ennuyeux, se cache un terrible idéologue, un Pape laïque, un grand-prêtre du socialisme.

Vivien Hoch

Contrepoints

14/01/2013

On critique souvent les politiques sur le fait qu’ils n’ont pas de vraies convictions. Avec Peillon, c’est tout l’inverse. Il faut rester très vigilant et très sérieux devant ce genre d’idéologue. Le grand adversaire de Peillon, c’est le réel.

Nul ne doit être dupe, ni se tromper sur le personnage. La dernière étude du CERU, le laboratoire d’idée sur la jeunesse et l’éducation, que j’ai rédigée, propose une exégèse de la philosophie de Vincent Peillon (disponible sur Amazon et Priceminister). Autant dire que je me suis collé à la lecture de son œuvre complète, et que le résultat se situe bien au-delà de toutes mes inquiétudes.

Derrière le personnage apparemment lisse, voire ennuyeux, se cache un terrible idéologue, quelqu’un de très dangereux, un Robespierre en herbe, un sans-culotte du XXIème siècle, un disciple en droite lignée des grands bienfaiteurs de l’Église que sont Jean Jaurès ou Ferdinand Buisson, qui sont ses deux papas.

Vincent Peillon, c’est un docteur en philosophie – et il n’y a rien de plus dangereux qu’un philosophe qui fait de la politique, un visionnaire pour qui « la révolution française n’est pas terminée », parce que cette Révolution est « un événement religieux», une « nouvelle genèse » un « nouveau commencement du monde », une « nouvelle espérance » qu’il faut porter à son terme, à savoir : « la transformation socialiste et progressiste de la société toute entière ».

En fait, Peillon n’est ni un homme politique, ni un simple philosophe. C’est un prophète, un Pape laïque, un grand-prêtre du socialisme, plus religieux que le Souverain Pontife lui-même.

Alors, il est responsable aujourd’hui de l’éducation nationale. Ce n’est évidemment pas par hasard. L’éducation a un rôle capital dans son système idéologique, car l’école est « un instrument de l’action politique, républicaine et socialiste. ». Plus encore, l’école est un instrument de la religion laïque dont il se fait le prophète :

C’est au socialisme qu’il va revenir d’incarner la révolution religieuse dont l’humanité a besoin. [1]

Et évidemment, l’école sera le temple de cette nouvelle religion :

C’est bien une nouvelle naissance, une transusbtantiation qui opère dans l’école et par l’école, cette nouvelle Église, avec son nouveau clergé, sa nouvelle liturgie, ses nouvelles tables de la Loi. [2]

On comprend alors dans le détail les grands thèmes qu’il impose à l’éducation nationale.

La scolarisation précoce des enfants

De moins de trois ans s’il vous plaît ! (annoncée le 10 septembre par Jean-Marc Ayrault) dans le but, selon lui, de « lutter contre la délinquance » (sic), mais qui correspond en fait en tout point à l’idée peillonienne de coupure totale de l’enfant d’avec autre chose que la République socialiste : (je cite son interview au JDD) « Il faut être capable d’arracher l’élève à tous les déterminismes, familial, ethnique, social, intellectuel… » [3].

Pour ce faire, Peillon se fonde sur une pédagogie bien à lui : il y a un « "infini flottant" dans l’âme de l’enfant », et l’éducation « se fixe pour tâche de lui donner une forme » [4]. Je vous laisse imaginer quelle forme il faut lui donner, à cet enfant nu et dépouillé face au dogme étatique.

La morale laïque

Alors une fois encore ne soyons pas dupes : évidemment que ce qui manque le plus à nos enfants, c’est de la morale. Mais ceux qui applaudissent cette idée doivent être vigilants. Car le but de la morale laïque, c’est de former des futurs électeurs socialistes avec la théorie du Genre, l’enseignement des « grands homosexuels de l’histoire », la lutte contre les discriminations et l’imposition d’une morale non pas seulement laïque, a-religieuse, voire anti-religieuse.

La morale laïque correspond en tous points à la ligne Buisson de la laïcité que Peillon s’est tracée – en référence à Ferdinand Buisson, l’acteur de premier plan de l’expulsion des congrégations religieuses, auquel Peillon a consacré un ouvrage en 2005. Cette ligne buisson de la laïcité, c’est « de forger une religion qui soit non seulement plus religieuse que le catholicisme dominant, mais qui ait davantage de force, de séduction, de persuasion et d’adhésion, que lui. » Aussi, si « la République socialiste perdure dans la mort de Dieu », elle perdure également dans la mort de son incarnation terrestre, l’Église…

On a déjà un exemple de ce que produit la morale laïque. Elle est déjà bien pratiquée par ce gouvernement, et on voit ce que ça donne : de l’inénarrable Cécile Duflot qui veut « réquisitionner les églises » au message outrageant et discriminant de Michèle Delaunay : « Aujourd’hui les catholiques condamneraient la Sainte Famille : un mari qui n’était pas le père, une mère vierge »… On le voit : la cathophobie est quasiment érigée en dogme d’État.

La fronde contre l’enseignement catholique trouve elle aussi son sens

Peillon commence à s’attaquer aux retraites des enseignants du privé (déjà dévalorisée de quasiment 30% par rapport à celles du public), puis à produire une circulaire (en fait une bulle pontificale) qui enjoint les recteurs « à rester vigilant envers l’enseignement catholique » parce que ce dernier s’était prononcé contre le mariage homosexuel. « Rester vigilant envers l’enseignement catholique » veut dire, dans son système, qu’aucune idée ne peut se transmettre en dehors des cadres dogmatiques de la République socialiste.

Vous comprenez pourquoi il n’y a aucune contradiction dans leur esprit lorsque Peillon interdit à l’école privée de parler du mariage gay alors que Belkacem en fait l’apologie au collège. Nous sommes clairement dans une dialectique marxiste, que la contradiction n’effraie aucunement. Le moment passé (à savoir les traditions, l’histoire de France, les valeurs chrétiennes) doit être annulé par le moment à venir : le monde poli, libre, joyeusement socialiste, délivré enfin du joug de la méchante Église catholique et de ses principes désuets.

Grâce à ce genre d’idéologues au pouvoir, nos enfants en sauront bientôt davantage sur la contraception, le mariage homosexuel, l’homophobie, le trans-genre et le cannabis, que sur l’histoire de France ou les règles de conjugaison. Le catéchisme socialiste doit se réciter dans toutes les écoles, par la bouche de tous les fonctionnaires-prêcheurs, et les enfants doivent apprendre cette vérité tombée du ciel sans broncher…

Finalement, la plus grande honnêteté pour Monseigneur Peillon et son clergé serait de se l’appliquer à eux-mêmes, la laïcité, avant que ce pays ne sombre dans une théocratie socialiste…

Sur le web. Ce billet a fait l’objet d’une chronique sur Radio Courtoisie le 10 janvier.

Notes :

Vincent Peillon, La révolution française n’est pas terminée, Seuil, Paris, 2008, p. 195. ↩

La révolution française n’est pas terminée, op. cit., p. 18. ↩

Entretien au Journal du Dimanche, 2 septembre 2012. ↩

La révolution française n’est pas terminée, op. cit., p. 194 ↩

Voir également:

Peillon : "Je veux qu’on enseigne la morale laïque"

INTERVIEW – À la veille de la rentrée scolaire, le ministre de l’Education, Vincent Peillon, annonce la mise en place de cours de "morale laïque" dès la rentrée 2013.

Vincent Peillon

Adeline Fleury

Le Journal du Dimanche

01 septembre 2012

Lundi plus de 800.000 professeurs font leur rentrée, mardi ce sera le tour de 12 millions d’élèves. Pour Vincent Peillon, il s’agit de la "première rentrée du changement". Le ministre de l’Éducation nationale, malgré les 13.000 suppressions de poste, réaffirme que l’éducation est bien la priorité du quinquennat. Une concertation sur les thèmes cruciaux comme les rythmes scolaires se tient jusqu’à la fin septembre, elle doit déboucher sur un rapport qui servira de base à l’élaboration d’une loi d’orientation à l’automne. Pour le ministre, cette "refondation de l’école républicaine" doit s’accompagner d’un retour sur les valeurs. Il souhaite instituer des cours de "morale laïque" dès la rentrée 2013. Explications.

Qu’entendez-vous par "morale laïque"?

La morale laïque c’est comprendre ce qui est juste, distinguer le bien du mal, c’est aussi des devoirs autant que des droits, des vertus, et surtout des valeurs. Je souhaite pour l’école française un enseignement qui inculquerait aux élèves des notions de morale universelle, fondée sur les idées d’humanité et de raison. La république porte une exigence de raison et de justice. La capacité de raisonner, de critiquer, de douter, tout cela doit s’apprendre à l’école. Le redressement de la France doit être un redressement matériel mais aussi intellectuel et moral.

Quelles sont ces valeurs communes?

Lorsque le président de la République dit devant le monument de Jules Ferry faire de l’école la priorité, il dit à la société qu’un certain nombre de valeurs sont plus importantes que d’autres : la connaissance, le dévouement, la solidarité, plutôt que les valeurs de l’argent, de la concurrence, de l’égoïsme… Nous devons également porter et défendre l’égalité des garçons et des filles. Une société et une école qui n’enseignent pas ces valeurs s’effondrent. Il faut assumer que l’école exerce un pouvoir spirituel dans la société.

Il faut enseigner la laïcité?

La laïcité comme fait juridique, philosophique et historique n’est pas suffisamment étudiée. Certains pensent que la laïcité est contre les religions ; certains au contraire que c’est simplement la tolérance ; d’autres que c’est uniquement des règles de coexistence. Or, la laïcité ce n’est pas simplement cela. Il existe aussi une "laïcité intérieure", c’est-à-dire un rapport à soi qui est un art de l’interrogation et de la liberté. La laïcité consiste à faire un effort pour raisonner, considérer que tout ne se vaut pas, qu’un raisonnement ce n’est pas une opinion. Le jugement cela s’apprend.

«La sanction fait partie de l’éducation»

Qui serait chargé d’enseigner cette morale laïque?

Je vais nommer une mission de réflexion qui devra préciser la nature de cet enseignement. Je pose trois objectifs : qu’il y ait une cohérence depuis le primaire jusqu’à la terminale ; que cet enseignement soit évalué ; qu’il trouve un véritable espace. Je souhaite que dans la formation des enseignants, dans les écoles supérieures de l’éducation et du professorat que nous mettrons en place à la rentrée 2013, les questions de morale laïque soient enseignées à tous les professeurs.

Y a-t-il une "morale de gauche" et une "morale de droite "?

Je ne le crois pas. Je pense, comme Jules Ferry, qu’il y a une morale commune, qu’elle s’impose à la diversité des confessions religieuses, qu’elle ne doit blesser aucune conscience, aucun engagement privé, ni d’ordre religieux, ni d’ordre politique. Prenez les textes du Conseil national de la Résistance : cela va des communistes à de Gaulle. Ce sont des textes qui portent une conception de la solidarité sociale, de l’universalisme et nous avons besoin d’enseigner à nos élèves ce formidable patrimoine. Je veux faire de la morale laïque un enseignement moderne qui s’inscrit dans l’école du IIIe millénaire.

Il existe déjà des cours d’instruction civique, en quoi votre morale serait différente?

Je n’ai pas dit instruction civique mais bien morale laïque. C’est plus large, cela comporte une construction du citoyen avec certes une connaissance des règles de la société, de droit, du fonctionnement de la démocratie, mais aussi toutes les questions que l’on se pose sur le sens de l’existence humaine, sur le rapport à soi, aux autres, à ce qui fait une vie heureuse ou une vie bonne. Si ces questions ne sont pas posées, réfléchies, enseignées à l’école, elles le sont ailleurs par les marchands et par les intégristes de toutes sortes. Si la république ne dit pas quelle est sa vision de ce que sont les vertus et les vices, le bien et le mal, le juste et l’injuste, d’autres le font à sa place. Aujourd’hui dans les cours d’école et les classes, on se traite "sales feujs", "sales bougnoules"… Tout ce qui est de l’ordre du racisme, de l’antisémitisme, de l’injure, de la grossièreté à l’égard des professeurs et des autres élèves, ne peut pas être toléré à l’école. La sanction fait partie de l’éducation. Mais il faut aussi qu’il y ait une cohérence entre la responsabilité des adultes à l’extérieur de l’école et ce que l’on demande aux maîtres et aux professeurs de faire. L’attitude des plus hautes autorités de l’État est, de ce point de vue, tout à fait déterminante. L’ancien président de la République lui-même, en désignant toujours des ennemis, en s’exprimant avec violence ou grossièreté, en expliquant qu’enseigner La Princesse de Clèves était sans intérêt, que l’instituteur ne pourra jamais remplacer le curé, sapait l’autorité des professeurs et s’attaquait aux valeurs qui sont les nôtres.

Vous parlez là d’exemplarité?

Oui. Le professeur doit bien sûr dans ses comportements incarner lui-même les valeurs que nous voulons enseigner. Si on pense que la question de la dignité humaine est fondamentale, il doit être à l’égard de chaque élève dans une relation de respect. Il ne s’agit pas d’autoritarisme, mais d’une autorité qui se fonde sur des qualités morales et intellectuelles. Si la société conteste son autorité, le moque ou même l’injurie, alors il n’y a pas de raison pour que l’élève le respecte. Nous avons besoin d’un réarmement moral. C’est pourquoi nous devons tous soutenir nos professeurs.

Cela implique également que l’élève se lève quand le professeur entre dans la classe?

Ce n’est pas le sujet. Il ne faut pas confondre morale laïque et ordre moral. C’est tout le contraire. Le but de la morale laïque est de permettre à chaque élève de s’émanciper, car le point de départ de la laïcité c’est le respect absolu de la liberté de conscience. Pour donner la liberté du choix, il faut être capable d’arracher l’élève à tous les déterminismes, familial, ethnique, social, intellectuel, pour après faire un choix. Je ne crois pas du tout à un ordre moral figé. Je crois qu’il faut des règles, je crois en la politesse par exemple.

«La bataille que doit mener l’école est aussi une bataille des valeurs»

Dans votre école, les élèves salueront le drapeau tricolore tous les matins?

Non. Mais il faut enseigner aux enfants la différence entre être patriote et nationaliste. Nous devons aimer notre patrie, mais notre patrie porte des valeurs universelles. Ce qui a fait la France, c’est la déclaration des droits de l’homme. Elle dit que nous partageons tous une même humanité. Le professeur doit reconnaître en chaque enfant, sans distinction d’origine, cette humanité et l’instituer.

Doit-on enseigner La Marseillaise à l’école?

Apprendre notre hymne national me semble une chose évidente, les symboles comptent, mais il ne faudra pas croire que l’apprentissage mécanique d’un hymne est suffisant dans cette éducation à la morale laïque.

La morale n’en finit pas de faire son retour. Vous ne craignez pas que votre morale laïque reste au degré zéro sur les bancs de l’école?

C’est l’objectif inverse que je poursuis. Si les créneaux horaires réservés à l’instruction civique et morale sont souvent utilisés par les enseignants pour rattraper le retard sur d’autres points du programme, c’est parce que la matière n’est pas ou peu évaluée ; si la matière enseignée ne porte pas le même nom au primaire, au collège, au secondaire, elle n’est pas cohérente et prise au sérieux ; si les professeurs ne sont pas formés pour l’enseigner, cela ne sert à rien. C’est à tout cela que je veux remédier. La bataille que doit mener l’école est aussi une bataille des valeurs. Nous allons la mener.

Voir encore:

Richard Blanco, latino et gay, poète officiel de l’investiture d’Obama

Sophiane Meddour

L’Express

21/01/2013

"Conçu à Cuba, né en Espagne et élevé aux Etats-Unis" tel se décrit le poète latino-américain Richard Blanco, choisi par Barack Obama pour réciter un poème lors de son investiture ce lundi 21 janvier.

Richard Blanco est le poète choisi par la Maison Blanche pour réciter un poème lors de la cérémonie d’investiture de Barack Obama ce lundi 21 janvier 2013. À l’image du 44e président américain, ce jeune poète de 44 ans dévoile une tout autre face des États-Unis, éloignée des stéréotypes wasp (anglo-saxons protestants blancs).

Richard Blanco, fils d’exilés cubains, né en Espagne, est ouvertement gay. Ses parents ont fui la révolution de Fidel Castro. Il a grandi et fait ses études à Miami, aux États-Unis, et il y est devenu ingénieur. Il a peu à peu délaissé ce premier métier pour l’écriture poétique et l’enseignement. Son recueil de poème intitulé City of a Hundred Fires a notamment reçu le prix de poésie Agnes Lynch.

Aujourd’hui, Il est en passe de sortir de l’anonymat ou, à tout le moins, de l’ombre dans laquelle la poésie l’a installé et de briller l’espace de quelques instants lors de la cérémonie qui se tiendra sur les marches du Capitole.

Une tradition qui remonte à … 1961

Le poète cubain doit lire un poème composé spécialement pour l’occasion. Cette oeuvre originale sera directement inspirée de sa propre existence. Addie Whisenant, porte-parole auprès du comité d’investiture, dit de ses poèmes qu’ils sont des plus personnels et qu’ils définissent avec la plus grande justesse l’identité américaine.

Cette tradition du "poète inaugural" remonte au 20 janvier 1961, lors de l’investiture du Président John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Le poète Robert Frost avait alors récité le poème The Gift Outright. Aujourd’hui, Richard Blanco devient le 5e et plus jeune poète à perpétuer cette tradition. Il succède à Elizabeth Alexander qui avait récité Praise Song for the Day pour la 1ère cérémonie d’investiture de Barack Obama en 2009, tandis que Bill Clinton avait choisi la poétesse afro-américaine Maya Angelou pour sa première investiture en 1993 et le poète Miller Williams pour la seconde en 1997. Il s’agit donc, à l’heure actuelle, d’une tradition purement démocrate.

One today

Dans One Today, le poème lu lors de l’investiture, Blanco décrit une journée aux Etats-Unis, du lever du soleil à son coucher. Il évoque ses origines modestes: "on our way [...] to ring-up groceries as my mother did for twenty years, so I could write this poem." ("En chemin pour assumer notre travail de caissière comme ma mère, pendant 20 ans, pour que je puisse écrire ce poème aujourd’hui"). Rend hommage aux enfants disparus lors de la tuerie de Newtown : "the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain the empty desks of twenty children marked absent today, and forever." ("Le choix impossible des mots qui n’expliqueront pas les tables vides des vingt enfants qui ne répondront plus présents à l’appel de leur nom."). Evoque le célèbre I have a dream prononcé par Martin Luther King. One today est traversé de paysages, de couleurs et de senteurs, thèmes propres à la poésie du latino-américain. Le mot "one" revient continuellement pour évoquer un pays uni: "one sun rose on us today", "one ground", "one sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes tired from work" (Un seul soleil qui s’est levé ce matin", "Un seul sol", "Un seul ciel, vers lequel nous levons le regard, fatigués par le travail".

Voir de plus:

The Obama Simulacrum

Mark Steyn

The National Review

January 25, 2013

If I’m following this correctly, according to one spokesperson for the Marine Corps Band, at Monday’s inauguration Beyoncé lip-synced to the national anthem but the band accompanied her live. However, according to a second spokesperson, it was the band who were pretending to play to a pre-recorded tape while Beyoncé sang along live. So one or other of them were faking it. Or maybe both were. Or neither. I’d ask Chuck Schumer, the master of ceremonies, who was standing right behind her, but he spent the entire performance staring at her butt. If it was her butt, that is. It might just have been the bulge of the Radio Shack cassette player she was miming to. In an America with an ever more tenuous grip on reality, there’s so little to be sure of.

Whether Beyoncé was lip-syncing to the band or the band were lip-syncing to Beyoncé is like one of those red pill/ blue pill choices from The Matrix. Was President Obama lip-syncing to the Founders, rooting his inaugural address in the earliest expressions of American identity? (“The patriots of 1776 . . . gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.”) Or maybe the Founders were lip-syncing to him as he appropriated the vision of the first generation of Americans and yoked it (“preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action”) to a statist pitch they would have found utterly repugnant.

The whole event had the air of a simulacrum: It looked like a presidential inauguration, but the sound was tinny and not quite in sync. Obama mouthed along to a canned vocal track: “We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.” That’s great! It’s always reassuring to know the head of state is going to take issue with all those people wedded to the “belief” that America needs either to shove every granny off the cliff or stake its newborns out on the tundra for the wolves to finish off. When it comes to facing the music, Obama is peerless at making a song and dance about tunes nobody’s whistling without ever once warbling the real big numbers (16 trillion). But, like Beyoncé, he’s totally cool and has a cute butt.

A couple of days later, it fell to the 45th president-in-waiting to encapsulate the ethos of the age in one deft sound bite: What difference does it make? Hillary Clinton’s instantly famous riposte at the Benghazi hearings is such a perfect distillation that it surely deserves to be the national motto of the United States. They should put it on Paul Krugman’s trillion-dollar coin, and in the presidential oath:

“Do you solemnly swear to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States?”

“Sure. What difference, at this point, does it make?”

Well, it’s the difference between cool and reality — and, as Hillary’s confident reply appeared to suggest, and the delirious media reception of it confirmed, reality comes a poor second in the Obama era. The presumption of conservatives has always been that one day cold, dull reality would pierce the klieg-light sheen of Obama’s glamour. Indeed, that was the premise of Mitt Romney’s reductive presidential campaign. But, just as Beyoncé will always be way cooler than some no-name operatic soprano or a male voice choir, so Obama will always be cooler than a bunch of squaresville yawneroos boring on about jobs and debt and entitlement reform. Hillary’s cocksure sneer to Senator Johnson of Wisconsin made it explicit. At a basic level, the “difference” is the difference between truth and falsity, but the subtext took it a stage further: No matter what actually happened that night in Benghazi, you poor sad loser Republicans will never succeed in imposing that reality and its consequences on this administration.

And so a congressional hearing — one of the famous “checks and balances” of the American system — is reduced to just another piece of Beltway theater. “The form was still the same, but the animating health and vigor were fled,” as Gibbon wrote in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. But he’s totally uncool, too. So Hillary lip-synced far more than Beyoncé, and was adored for it. “As I have said many times, I take responsibility,” she said. In Washington, the bold declarative oft-stated acceptance of responsibility is the classic substitute for responsibility: rhetorically “taking responsibility,” preferably “many times,” absolves one from the need to take actual responsibility even once.

In the very same self-serving testimony, the secretary of state denied that she’d ever seen the late Ambassador Stevens’s cables about the deteriorating security situation in Libya on the grounds that “1.43 million cables come to my office”– and she can’t be expected to see all of them, or any. She is as out of it as President Jefferson, who complained to his secretary of state James Madison, “We have not heard from our ambassador in Spain for two years. If we have not heard from him this year, let us write him a letter.” Today, things are even worse. Hillary has apparently not heard from any of our 1.43 million ambassadors for four years. When a foreign head of state receives the credentials of the senior emissary of the United States, he might carelessly assume that the chap surely has a line of communication back to the government he represents. For six centuries or so, this has been the minimal requirement for functioning inter-state relations. But Secretary Clinton has just testified that, in the government of the most powerful nation on earth, there is no reliable means by which a serving ambassador can report to the cabinet minister responsible for foreign policy. And nobody cares: What difference does it make?

Nor was the late Christopher Stevens any old ambassador, but rather Secretary Clinton’s close personal friend “Chris.” It was all “Chris” this, “Chris” that when Secretary Clinton and President Obama delivered their maudlin eulogies over the flag-draped coffin of their “friend.” Gosh, you’d think if they were on such intimate terms, “Chris” might have had Hillary’s e-mail address, but apparently not. He was just one of 1.43 million close personal friends cabling the State Department every hour of the day.

Four Americans are dead, but not a single person involved in the attack and the murders has been held to account. Hey, what difference does it make? Lip-syncing the national anthem beats singing it. Peddling a fictitious narrative over the coffin of your “friend” is more real than being an incompetent boss to your most vulnerable employees. And mouthing warmed-over clichés about vowing to “bring to justice” those responsible is way easier than actually bringing anyone to justice.

And so it goes:

Another six trillion in debt? What difference does it make?

An economic-stimulus bill that stimulates nothing remotely connected with the economy? What difference does it make?

The Arab Spring? Aw, whose heart isn’t stirred by those exhilarating scenes of joyful students celebrating in Tahrir Square? And who cares after the cameras depart that Egypt’s in the hands of a Jew-hating 9-11 truther whose goons burn churches and sexually assault uncovered women?

Obama is the ultimate reality show, and real reality can’t compete. Stalin famously scoffed, “How many divisions has the Pope?” Secretary Clinton was more audacious: How many divisions has reality? Not enough.

— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon.

Voir également:

Obama’s Declaration of Collectivism

The president completely misunderstands the intent of the Founders.

Larry Kudlow

The National Review

January 25, 2013

One of the least remarked upon aspects of President Obama’s inaugural speech was his attempt to co-opt the Founding Fathers’ Declaration of Independence to bolster his liberal-left agenda.

Sure, the president quoted one of the most important sentences in world history: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

So far, so good. But he later connected the Declaration with his own liberal agenda: “ . . . that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedom ultimately requires collective action.” (My italics, not his.)

He fleshed this out with his trademark class-warfare, income-leveling rationalizations. Such as: “The shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.” He also talked about “Our wives, mothers, and daughters that earn a living equal to their effort.” He followed that up with, “The wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship.”

Here’s what I take away from all this: Mr. Obama is arguing counter to the Founding Fathers that the pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of equality of results, not the equality of opportunity, and that he will do what he can to use government to make everybody more equal in terms of their income and life work.

That is exactly wrong. We should be rewarding success. We should be promoting entrepreneurship. We should be encouraging individual effort and opportunity.

But this was no opportunity speech. This was a redistributionist, income-leveling speech. And it completely missed the point of the Founding Fathers some 237 years ago.

They were talking about the equality of opportunity, not results. Theirs was a declaration of freedom, not government power or authority.

In fact, the Declaration of Independence was written expressly to begin a revolution against the autocratic monarchs of England, who used their government authority to tax, regulate, and oppress the colonists without any representation or voting rights, thus denying them the unalienable rights of liberty.

So while Obama was on the one hand preaching “fidelity to our founding principles,” on the other he was saying that preserving our individual freedom ultimately requires collective action.

Collective action? The Founders were talking about individual liberty and rights. Not the power of a collectivist government.

The “collective” is a socialist idea, not a free-market capitalist thought. And the story of the last quarter of the 20th century was of the absolute breakdown and end of the collectivist model. Collectivism was thrown into the dustbin of history by the weight of its own failure.

To me, Obama’s mistaken opinions regarding the Declaration of Independence, and his total lack of understanding of the thinking behind the Declaration, is more troubling than any of the liberal programmatic proposals he set forth. Fundamentally, you have to wonder if the president really understands the American idea, and the American historical experience, beginning with the great wisdom of the Founders.

Collectivism also means “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” During his second-term inaugural speech, Obama actually said, “We do not believe in this country that freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few.” Were Steve Jobs and Bill Gates lucky? Was Henry Ford lucky? Was Thomas Edison just lucky?

How about they used their God-given talents of creativity, imagination, and ingenuity, coupled with hard work, to create commercial ventures that financially empowered millions upon millions of people who were then able to live a better and more comfortable life?

That’s what the Founders had in mind. Freedom.

It was bad enough that the president had nothing to say about economic growth, or excess federal spending, deficits, and debt. Nor did he show any interest in reforming the large entitlement programs that may bankrupt America. He did discuss the energy market. But rather than let market forces determine the most efficient and clean energy sources to power our economy, he insisted on more doomed green-energy projects subsidized by the taxpayer (like Solyndra).

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell likened Obama’s speech to a declaration of the end of the era of small government. “One thing is clear from the president’s speech,” he said. “The era of liberalism is back.” I agree.

But again I say it’s Obama’s misunderstanding of the Founders’ intent that is the most troubling. Equality of opportunity is the American ideal. Equality of results and income-leveling is foreign to the American ideal.

As conservatives and Republicans regroup, and as they seek to achieve a better America, I hope they keep the opportunity principle uppermost in their minds.

– Larry Kudlow, NRO’s economics editor, is host of CNBC’s The Kudlow Report and author of the daily web log, Kudlow’s Money Politic$.

The Meaning of the Inaugural Address

Victor Davis Hanson

January 22, 2013

Prune away the usual soaring rhetoric and purple passages, and there were no serious outlines in today’s speech to restore the economy or deal with the fiscal implosion on the horizon — or even hints to be fleshed out in the State of the Union to come.

Instead, the president believes that record near-zero interest rates will allow him to borrow $10–12 trillion dollars over his eight-year tenure, and that the dangers of running up such a resulting gargantuan $20 trillion aggregate debt are well worth the risks.

He apparently believes that, in a postindustrial world, government, or government-owned industries from now on will have to create the majority of jobs, and that such jobs should largely go to those whom he sees as having been traditionally shortchanged.

In addition, in just four years, record numbers are now on food stamps, unemployment, and disability, and exempt from federal income taxes, and those percentages will only grow in the next term. Part of the remaking of America is the forging of a new constituency who feel that government employment and entitlements are a birth right and that those who in Washington ensure it deserve unquestioned political fealty.

By the same token, the astronomical borrowing will endlessly accelerate pressures to raise taxes on the “rich,” whether through income-tax rates, or the elimination of deductions, or both. The “pay their fair share” and “you didn’t build that” rhetoric will only sharpen, as the public is prepped to expect that “fat cats” can pay an aggregate 60—70 percent of their income in local, payroll, state, Obamacare, and federal income taxes. The only mystery is whether these unsustainable debts are designed primarily to redistribute income through forced higher taxes, or to marry the livelihoods of loyal millions to big government, or so that we can create a sort of centralized EU that actually works.

There are three dangers to the new unbound Obamism. One, he assumes the private sector has nowhere to go, and thus that, although it always will bitch about higher taxes, serial class warfare rhetoric, Obamacare, and more regulations, at some point its captains have to get back to work, make those hefty profits and so pay what they owe us in new higher taxes. I am not sure that will happen; instead, the present high unemployment, low growth, and crushing debt may be the new European-like stagflating norm.

Two, even if inflation and interest rates don’t rise, we have not seen yet the bitter wars to come over gun control and the actual implementation of the details of Obamacare, or blanket amnesty, and they may resemble the tea-party fights of 2010.

Three, the bitter election wars to achieve and maintain a 51–53 percent majority (the noble 99 percent versus the selfish 1 percent, the greens versus the polluters, the young and hip versus the stodgy and uncool, the wisely unarmed versus the redneck assault-weapon owners, women versus the sexists, gays versus the bigots, Latinos versus the nativists, blacks versus the “get over it” spiteful and resentful, the noble public sector versus the “you didn’t build that” profiteers, Colin Powell/Chuck Hagel/reasonable Republicans versus neanderthal House tea-party zealots), in Nixonian fashion have left a lot of bitter divisions that lie just beneath the surface of a thinning veneer.

Voir de même:

The Two Most Powerful Allusions in Obama’s Speech Today

James Fallows

The Atlantic

On reading it through after hearing it, this is another carefully crafted speech. More so, I would say, than Obama’s first inaugural address. But these two parts got my attention the instant I heard them:

1) Lash and sword. This inaugural address, like nearly all previous ones, began with an emphasis on the importance of democratic transfer-of-power. For instance, the first words of JFK’s address in 1961 were, "We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom." But Obama introduced the familiar theme with this twist:

Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of [our founding] words with the realities of our time. [Note: this preceding sentence is the one-sentence summary of the speech as a whole.] For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

And for more than two hundred years, we have.

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

I like the precise logical concision of contrasting "self-evident" with "self-executing" truths. But "blood drawn by the lash" is an impressive and confident touch. It was of course an allusion to a closing passage in what is generally considered history’s only great second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln’s in 1865 (right):

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

Half-slave, half-free was an allusion to another of Lincoln’s most famous addresses, his "House Divided" speech from his campaign for the Senate in 1858. (And Lincoln’s phrase "house divided" was his own allusion to the Book of Mark.)

2) Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall. I thought the allusion in this passage was eloquent on many levels:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

The rhetorical and argumentative purpose of the speech as a whole was to connect what Obama considers the right next steps for America — doing more things "together," making sure that everyone has an equal chance, tying each generation’s interests to its predecessors’ and its successors’ — with the precepts and ideals of the founders, rather than having them be seen as excesses of the modern welfare state.

As in the one-sentence summary at the start of the speech, Obama wants to claim not just Lincoln but also Jefferson, Madison, Adams, George Washington, and the rest as guiding spirits for his kind of progressivism. In this passage he works toward that end by numbering among "our forebears" — those honored ancestors who fought to perfect our concepts of liberty and of union — the likes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Martin Luther King and other veterans of Selma including still-living Rep. John Lewis, and the protestors 44 years ago at the Stonewall.

I call the passage above an allusion rather than a dog-whistle because a dog-whistle is meant not to be recognized or understood by anyone other than its intended audience. Obama certainly knew that parts of his audience would respond more immediately and passionately to the names Seneca Falls, Selma, and [especially] Stonewall than other parts, but his meaning is accessible to anyone. As is his reference, while speaking barely a two miles from the Lincoln Memorial, to what "a King" said on "this great Mall."

I have no illusion, delusion, allusion, or even dog-whistle conception that this speech will change the partisan power-balance affecting passage of anything Obama mentioned, from climate legislation to reforming immigration law. But as politics it was a departure for him, and as rhetorical craftsmanship once again it deserves careful study.

Voir également:

President Obama’s Haunting Anti-Liberty Inaugural Speech

Robert Wenzel

January 22, 2013

I have now read President Obama’s second inaugural speech for the third time. The speech haunts me. In very clever language the speech lays out a plan for a more centralized government, for more interference by the government in the affairs of individuals. The speech is about government as the solution to society’s ills.

The President does this, though, while early on in his speech hailing the Constitution, which attempted to put a limit on government. He then quotes from the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

He then proceeds in the remainder of his speech to rip apart the Declaration’s call for Liberty.

But even before his mention of the Constitution and the quoting from the Declaration, in the very first paragraph, after greetings to the "Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens," the speech is haunting. In the first paragraph that begins the President’s message, he speaks of that arrogant notion American exceptionalism:

What makes us exceptional, what makes us American, is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago[...]

Few realize it, but the concept of American exceptionalism came about as a result of a battle between two communist factions. Wikipedia explains the history well:

In June 1927 Jay Lovestone, a leader of the Communist Party in America and soon to be named General Secretary, described America’s economic and social uniqueness. He noted the increasing strength of American capitalism, and the country’s "tremendous reserve power"; a strength and power which he said prevented Communist revolution. In 1929, the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, disagreeing that America was so resistant to revolution, called Lovestone’s ideas "the heresy of American exceptionalism"—the first time that the specific term "American exceptionalism" was used.

The term has been advanced most recently by the neocons, not surprising since their roots can be traced back to the Trotskyite movement.

Thus, at the very start of Obama’s speech, one has to wonder if Obama understands the communist roots of his chosen notion of an "exceptional" America. If he does, then, indeed, he is sending us a very chilling message.

In paragraph 4 of his speech, he said to the nation:

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time.

This is a very clever sentence. "A never-ending journey," he says to "bridge" the words of the Declaration to "reality." But is it really "a never-ending journey"? He attempts to answer this by saying:

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free.

This is true. Half-slave and half-free is not liberty for all. But, if there are no slaves anymore, what could Obama possibly mean when he talks of a "never-ending journey"? Wouldn’t the words in the Declaration meet reality when all men are free? The President apparently thinks not. In a twisted view of the Declaration, he sees less free, more government interference, as part of his "never-ending journey."

He went on to say:

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.

What is this talk of "we"? Railroads, highways, schools and colleges all started out in the private sector. It was only through crony deals with special interests with private agendas that the government was brought into the picture. If the president means crony elitists in cahoots with government, as the "we," then he is correct. If he is somehow attempting to link the "we" of government interference, with the Declaration of Independence and citizens of America, he is a con-man.

And then he completely exposes his anti-liberty views:

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Ah yes, free markets with rules, that is, liberty with chains.

And he moves on with a great attack on private charity:

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

Americans are not uncaring. The president insults Americans when he states that government by gun must force Americans to be charitable. It is another deceptive myth that the president likes to repeat often, Further, the "misfortune" that the president speaks of is not misfortune in the way private individuals think of it. It is the president as part on the Entitlement-Crony Complex in operation. It’s about buying votes and splitting up lucre.

And after heaping all this government interventionist stuff on us, he takes a break to throw smoke in our eyes and claim he is not talking about central planning:

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.

But, he quickly returns to his real theme, more government planning:

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action

Oh yeah, so much for the Declaration of Independence. "Times change."

The central planner goes on:

No single person can train all the math and science teachers, we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.

What a bizarre first phrase: "No single person can train all the math and science teachers." Who anywhere, ever , said that a single person will have to train all the math and science teachers?

He goes on in that paragraph to state that somehow this must be done as "one nation." He means by "one nation," the government. And he does so without telling us why math and science teachers, road builders. networks and research labs, wouldn’t emerge under liberty, in free markets, without the interference of government.

And, while he is all about calling for central planning, he slips in a bit of class warfare:

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.

He does not explain that the growing wealth of a few, while others search for low-paying jobs, is because of government regulations that protect those who already have wealth (especially those with crony wealth who have ties to the government) and make it difficult, if not impossible, for others to compete against crony wealth.

The president goes on:

We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher.

Who is this "we" that the president is again talking about? It is, of course, the great central planning mechanism the government. Note also the call to "reform our tax code." This is really a call for tax hikes. Tax code reform always ends up being about higher taxes through the closing of "loopholes." What we need is lower taxes, not tax reform.

He then once more insults Americans, who are quite capable of providing charity on their own:

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.

All central planning all the time, from the "needy" to healthcare. And what does he mean reduce the cost of health care? What could that possibly mean other than in the president’s mind cutting back on some payments on various drugs and services.

The president then said:

The commitments we make to each other: through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

But there are takers. The takers are the government operatives. They take from us and redistribute the wealth, and those on the receiving end are, indeed, softened up, not strengthened. It is creating a dependent society. A society dependent on government for basic services.

The president also made this ominous comment about international affairs.

We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom.

Here we are back to paragraph one and American "exceptionalism," and the neocon view that the US should be the only superpower, the Empire, if you will. Haven’t we learned enough blowback lessons, so that it should be clear the US should stay out of other countries affairs? And if we are so gung ho about democracy, shouldn’t we stand by Iran and its democratic government? Instead of, say, the monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Is it really about democracy? It appears not. It is more smoke. It is about the US Empire, its behind the scenes cronies desiring global control.

Then, of course, while Obama hints at more violence abroad from the Empire, he obviously believes that there is nothing that those that live in the heart of the Empire should fear. He wants our guns:

Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

And there you have it, from start to finish, with a bit of smoke thrown into the air, to confuse at just the right moment, the president’s speech was about moving away from the Declaration of Independence and closer to more government control, more power to the state.

In the end, Obama’s speech is about this, government controlled Americans with very armed government around every corner.

Voir encore:

Barack Obama inauguration speech: a greatest hits of rhetorical tricks

The president gave a smash-hits selection of oratorical devices, from emphatic anaphora to substantial syntheton

Sam Leith

The Guardian

21 January 2013

Barack Obama gives his second-term inauguration address in Washington, DC. His speech was rich in rhetorical devices. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Barack Obama’s second inaugural, as far as rhetoric goes, was the equivalent of a greatest hits album knocked out in time for Christmas. All his favourite oratorical devices were on display, and all at once, as if someone had knocked a candle into the firework box.

At a sentence-by-sentence level, it was filled with a device to which Obama is practically addicted: syntheton. That is, never say one thing when you can inflate the sentence with two: "effort and determination", "passion and dedication", "security and dignity", "hazards and misfortune", "initiative and enterprise", "fascism or communism", "muskets and militia" and so, unceasingly, on.

At the larger level of organisation we were seeing some other old favourites – in particular anaphora, where a phrase is repeated at the beginning of successive sentences. This speech was an anaphoric relay race: "Together, we" gave way to "We, the people", which temporarily ceded the track to "Our journey is not complete until", before "You and I, as citizens" staggered to the tape with the baton.

Also on show was his nifty way of shifting timescale, zipping between the grand sweep of history and the individual moment. "It will be up to those who stand here in four years, and 40 years, and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall." That climax – the rising series of terms, given extra force with epistrophe (repeating "years") – is saved from bombast by bringing it down to a moment in history. "Spare" is a lovely touch.

As far as the ethos appeal goes – that is, the way an orator positions himself with the audience – Obama stuck to what he does best: aligning himself with the founding fathers and with Martin Luther King. The former was, well, pro forma, and given that the inauguration coincided with King’s birthday, the latter perhaps irresistible.

The former was accomplished by what may have been his number one soundbite: that none-too-subtle repetition of the phrase that opens the US constitution: "We, the people." He added his own tricolon to that of the Declaration of Independence when he declared it "our generation’s task to make these words, these rights, these values – of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – real". He ghosted liberty’s "your tired, your poor, your huddled masses" when he invoked "the poor, the sick, the marginalised". Tick, tick, tick.

As far as King goes, Obama’s allusion to hearing "a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth" is all but a quotation – semi-blasphemous wordplay and all – from some of his own 2008 speeches ("We heard a King’s call to let justice roll down like water"; "a King who took us to the mountaintop"). If Cornel West, a distinguished professor of African-American studies and what you might call a critical friend, now thinks Obama is milking it a bit, watch out.

His hissingly alliterative line about "Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall […] all those men and women, sung and unsung" (also, be it noted, instances of tricolon, polysyndeton and antithesis) is another near-on self-quotation. Obama loves placenames that alliterate (he once managed to get "Boston" and "Beijing", "Arctic" and "Atlantic" and "Kansas" and "Kenya" into a single sentence).

One slight surprise is that this speech made quite so free with the high style, given that attacks on the windiness of his oratory have been consistent and effective. Yes, it was slick, in places moving, and politically flinty. But I found it hard to agree with Larry Sabato, of the University of Virginia, who thought it stronger and "better written" than the one four years ago. That first inaugural was downbeat to a purpose, managing expectations and reaching across the floor after a triumphal election night speech.

Here, he didn’t seem sure whether to be grim and determined (note the frowny brow for the first half) or messianic, and so did both slightly half-heartedly. Sometimes, too, he crossed the line from the poetic into the merely cliched: a people variously "seared" and "tempered"; "snow-capped peaks"; "that precious light of freedom"? Come on, Barry, one wants to say. You’re phoning it in.

• Sam Leith is the author of You Talkin’ To Me? Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama (Profile)

Voir enfin:

"A poor hand to quote Scripture": Lincoln and Genesis 3:19

Earl Schwartz

Volume 23, Issue 2, Summer 2002

"My friend has said to me that I am a poor hand to quote Scripture. I will try it again, however." Poor hand or not, Lincoln was persistent. The 1858 Senate campaign was in full swing and the Democratic candidate, Stephen A. Douglas, had recently charged that quoting Scripture did not suit his Republican adversary. Lincoln’s response to his "friend’s" claim, as he told an audience in mid-July, was to "try it again," concluding his address with a vigorous defense of human equality, cast as a homily on the verse "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48). [1]

It was easy enough for Douglas to impugn Lincoln’s grasp of Scripture. Lincoln was the product of a short and shallow formal education, and he had never fully identified with a Christian denomination or doctrinal tradition. [2] And yet in this case, as in so many others, Douglas was mistaken. Lincoln’s legacy, far more than any other president, has, over time, become inextricably bound up with the words and themes of the Bible.[3] He has been endowed repeatedly with biblical features—sometimes cast as Moses, on other occasions as Father Abraham, and yet again as a fiery prophet or martyred savior. An aura of prophetic authority has accrued to his own words,[4] heightened by his skillful use of literary devices that are also characteristic of biblical texts.[5] The Poor Hand’s homilies, like the man himself, now belong to the ages.

Lincoln contributed to this biblical aura through his adamant advocacy of what he referred to in his address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield in 1838 as an American "political religion."[6] In remarks at Independence Hall in February 1861, he adopted a distinctly biblical metaphor to characterize his commitment to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, announcing, "‘May my right hand lose its cunning and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth’ [Psalms 137:5–6] if ever I prove false to those teachings"—an oath that had originally referred to an abiding attachment to vanquished Jerusalem. Ten days earlier in Indianapolis, he made a similar transposition, declaring, "When the people rise in masses in behalf of the Union and the liberties of their country, truly may it be said, ‘The gates of Hell shall not prevail against them'" (Matt. 16:18).[7] In death, Lincoln became an icon of this American political faith—the only faith, it would seem, for which he could give his own last measure of devotion.

Lincoln’s Collected Works are, in fact, peppered with biblical references, including several dozen direct quotations. These are taken, for the most part, from Hebrew Bible narratives, the Psalms, Wisdom texts, and the Gospels. [8] The Bible was the common coin of literate nineteenth-century Americans, and Lincoln made good use of its currency.

On occasion Lincoln would cite a biblical text strictly for the sake of its imagery. The best-known example of his use of a biblical text for this limited purpose are his references to "a house divided" (Matt. 12:22–28, Mark 3:22–26, Luke 11:14–20). Lincoln consistently employed the metaphor of "a house divided" in literary settings wholly disassociated from its biblical context. [9] Herndon maintained that this was intentional. "I want to use some universally known figure [of speech]," Herndon recalled Lincoln telling him, "expressed in simple language as universally well-known, that may strike home to the minds of men in order to raise them up to the peril of the times." [10]

In the case of the "house divided" references, literary and anecdotal evidence coincide to demonstrate that Lincoln’s primary interest was in decontextualized use of the text’s imagery rather than exegetical exploration of its content. Historians may speculate concerning his subconscious affinity for this and other decontextualized citations, [11] but it is clear that his conscious intention in such cases was to employ a passage’s imagery without reference to its original significance.

However, many of Lincoln’s biblical citations are exegetical. These latter references not only evidence the rhetorical skill with which he appropriated biblical imagery, but also shed light on his understanding of the passages cited. Foremost among these exegetical references, in terms of frequency as well as significance of occasion, are his citations of Gen. 3:19, which, according to the King James Version he used, reads, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread."

The Collected Works include four direct references to Gen. 3:19. First, in the so-called "Fragments of a Tariff Discussion," which Page [End Page 39] Lincoln recalled having written in late 1847; next, in a response to a resolution of support he had received from a delegation of Baptist missionaries, written in May 1864; third, in a short autobiographical anecdote he arranged to have published in December 1864; and finally, in his Second Inaugural Address, delivered in March 1865. In addition, he appears to allude to the verse on several occasions in speaking about labor, as in his observation that the "old general rule" was that educated people "managed to eat their bread, leaving the toil of producing it to the uneducated,"[12] and his insistence that every human being has the right "to put into his mouth the bread that his own hands have earned. …"[13] As will become clear, what all of these references have in common is their association with what historian Gabor Boritt has contended was Lincoln’s most fundamental, far-reaching and enduring political principal: the right of workers to claim and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Lincoln’s reading of Gen. 3:19 is a preeminent example of his skill in political homiletics, a skill rooted in his ability to draw radically new insights from ostensibly familiar sources. His idiosyncratic application of the verse demonstrates his ability to give memorable expression to his perspective on an issue through rhetorical coordination of both the form and content of a citation. In addition, careful examination of his references to the text, which extend from the beginning of his term in Congress through the Second Inaugural Address, can help to clarify the development of his thinking on the role of labor in human society, and, in turn, the origins and depth of his opposition to slavery.

The References

Gabor Boritt makes a convincing argument for the importance of practical economic concerns to Lincoln’s political and moral outlook, with the rights of workers situated at the center of these concerns. Boritt concludes that, "Above all, there remained in Lincoln, unchanged, that firm, moral-materialistic core. … Surely, Lincoln was also a highly moral, indeed spiritual, being. Yet this characteristic was thoroughly intermingled with his materialism and while cleansing it, also strengthened it." [14] This intermingling of the moral and material, born along by images of "sweat," "face," and Page [End Page 40] "bread," is nowhere more clearly illustrated than in his references to Gen. 3:19.

Reference 1: From "Fragments of a Tariff Discussion" (December 1, 1847?)

In the early days of the world, the Almighty said to the first of our race ‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread’ [Gen. 3:19]; and since then, if we except the light and the air of heaven, no good thing has been, or can be enjoyed by us, without having first cost labour. And, in [as] much as most good things are produced by labour, it follows that [all] such things of right belong to those whose labour has produced them. But it has so happened in all ages of the world, that some have laboured, and others have, without labour, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong, and should not continue. To [secure] to each labourer the whole product of his labour, or as nearly as possible, is a most worthy object of any good government.[15]

Commenting on that passage, along with related references and allusions by Lincoln to Gen. 3:19 in connection with the rights and aspirations of workers, Boritt contends that "Whatever ideal he held to, whatever stood for America in his eyes, in the most basic sense was embodied for him in this faith." Boritt concludes that this was, to use Lincoln’s own expression, the "central idea" of his political outlook throughout his public life.[16]

Boritt’s contention notwithstanding, one could easily pass over Lincoln’s reference to Gen. 3:19 in the "Fragments of a Tariff Discussion" as unexceptional. In form and language, it closely resembles a passage from Francis Wayland’s Elements of Political Economy:

"Labor has been made necessary to our happiness. No valuable object of desire can be produced without it … the Universal law of our existence, is, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou return to the ground." [17]

Wayland, a Unitarian minister and President of Brown University, published Elements of Political Economy in 1837. It quickly became the most popular book on economics in the country. Herndon recalled that Lincoln had a special liking for Wayland’s work. [18] Page [End Page 41]

Lincoln begins the "Fragment" by reiterating Wayland’s commonplace identification of Gen. 3:19 with the inevitability of labor. Wayland’s contention that, given this inevitability, workers should have the opportunity to prosper from their efforts may also have influenced the composition of the "Fragment." But if Wayland is to be credited with the initial coupling of Gen. 3:19 with economic issues in Lincoln’s rhetoric, the implications Lincoln drew from the verse differed markedly from those Wayland endorsed.[19] Lincoln’s inference that it is a wholly appropriate and "worthy" object of good government to assist workers in securing the "whole product" of their labor suggests a personal connection to working people and comfort with political activism on their behalf that went far beyond Wayland’s tepid affirmation of workers rights. It is clear from numerous remarks Lincoln made throughout his career that he believed labor to be the source of all productive value, or, as Wayland put it, that capital was "pre-exerted labor."[20] However, in opposition to Wayland, Lincoln went on to concur, he said, with a "certain class of reasoners," that "labor is prior to, and independent of, capital; that, in fact, capital is the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed—that labor can exist without capital, but that capital could never have existed without labor. Hence they hold that labor is the superior—greatly the superior—of capital."[21] Wayland’s adamant insistence on an even-handed "equality" between capital and labor finds no echo here.

Though Wayland’s comment would appear to anticipate the "Fragment," the differences in how the two men understood the salient implications of Gen. 3:19 far outweigh the similarities. There is, in fact, no record of a commentator having read Gen. 3:19 as an unambiguous affirmation of the rights of workers to enjoy the fruits of their labor before Lincoln’s "Fragment." In future references Lincoln would continue to ignore the conventional interpretation of the verse as a curse brought upon humanity by Adam’s disobedience, Page [End Page 42] in favor of his own novel and daring inferences concerning the primacy of labor and the rights of workers.

Lincoln, of course, was not alone among mid-nineteenth-century thinkers in his preoccupation with the rights of workers. His "central idea" connected him to a far-flung chorus of observers, ranging from Marx to Mill, who would also lash out against "the same tyrannical principle": "You work and toil and earn bread, and I’ll eat it."[22] However, the manner in which Lincoln gave voice to his convictions about rights purchased by the sweat of a worker’s brow, amidst the unparalleled circumstances that converged upon him, was distinctly his own. Informed by his understanding of the priority of labor over capital, Lincoln’s reading of Gen. 3:19 as a statement about labor and its just rewards takes on revolutionary implications. He arrived at these implications by transforming a verse that was (and still is) commonly interpreted as a description of the human condition into a moral imperative.

In Lincoln’s hands, Gen. 3:19 serves as a stepping-off point for his conclusion that the fruits of labor rightfully belong to those who do the work, and that it is a public concern of the highest order that these rights be secured. In the earliest of his "sweat of thy face" texts, these two points are laid out in the form of commentary. In the remaining three cases, Lincoln progressively clarifies the connection between verse and commentary through underlining, paraphrase, and hypothetical antithesis. These devices will serve to direct the reader’s attention away from the theme of inevitable toil and toward a consideration of the moral significance of the possessive pronouns, actual and inferred, that Lincoln viewed as the verse’s pivotal terms.

Reference 2: From a "response to the preamble and resolutions of the American Baptist Home Missionary Society" (May 30, 1864)

To read in the Bible, as the word of God himself, that ‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread’ [Gen. 3:19] and to preach therefrom, that ‘In the sweat of other mans faces shalt thou eat bread,’ to my mind can scarcely be reconciled with honest sincerity. When brought to my final reckoning, may I have to answer for robbing no man of his goods [I Sam. 12:3]; yet more tolerable even this, than for robbing one of himself, and all that was his. When, a year or two ago, those professedly holy men of the South, met in the semblance of prayer and devotion, Page [End Page 43] and, in the name of Him who said ‘As ye would all men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them’ [Matt. 7:12], appealed to the christian world to aid them in doing to a whole race of men, as they would have no man do unto themselves, to my thinking, they contemned and insulted God and His church, far more than did Satan when he tempted the Saviour with the Kingdoms of the earth. The devils attempt was no more false, and far less hypocritical. But let me forbear, remembering it is also written, ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged’ [Matt. 7:1] [23]

Lincoln’s "Response to … the American Baptist Home Mission Society" was composed in the midst of the 1864 presidential campaign, a period of deep political and military uncertainty. Nearly twenty years had passed since the composition of the "Fragment on Labor," including three years of war, but Lincoln’s application of Gen. 3:19 remained essentially the same, though it was made more explicit by his underlining of "thy" and "other mans faces," and his use of the antithetical "In the sweat of other mans faces shalt thou eat bread," in counterpoint to the biblical quotation. In doing so, Lincoln reaffirms his general critique of the theft of the fruits of labor, and he unflinchingly extends it to the specific issue of slavery.

The manner in which Lincoln links the themes of workers’ rights and slavery in his "Response" to the Baptist missionaries suggests that he derived his position on the specific issue of slavery from his general perspective on the rights of workers. It is the unreasonableness of slavery that commands Lincoln’s attention here, and this unreasonableness allows no play for the paternalism or racism that in other contexts sometimes adhered to his remarks. Whatever patronizing biases Lincoln may have harbored are subordinated to a line of reasoning about the rights of workers that he found incontrovertible. It is not necessary to reconfigure Lincoln as completely free of such biases to appreciate his commitment to abolition, if we understand that in Lincoln’s case it was his revulsion at the exploitation of workers rather than anti-racism that was the initial catalyst for his opposition to slavery.

When it came to defending the rights of workers, Lincoln had little difficulty finding common ground with slaves. Two months earlier, in a letter to the New York Workingmen’s Democratic Page [End Page 44] Republican Association, he had told his correspondents that "… the existing rebellion, means more, and tends to more, than the perpetuation of African Slavery … it is, in fact, a war upon the rights of all working people." [24] In an early political address he went so far as to announce that in his impoverished youth he too "used to be a slave," and that "we were all slaves one time or another," but that he had seized the proffered opportunity to shake loose the bonds of economic subordination. Twenty years later he confirmed the persistence of this facet of his self-image when he concluded the autobiographical sketch circulated during the 1860 presidential campaign with the oblique comment that aside from his height, weight, and coloring, there were "no other marks or brands recollected"—an expression commonly used in the South in identifying runaway slaves.[25]

Lincoln’s application of Gen. 3:19 to the issue of slavery was a natural extension of his previously stated position that all workers have the right to enjoy the fruits of their own labor. However, this application is only possible on the basis of his atypical understanding of the verse, in which emphasis is placed on the sweat of thy brow purchasing thou the right to eat thy bread. In his "Response" to the Baptist missionaries, Lincoln refers to the verse as he moves from a general concern for worker’s rights to the specific case of slavery. He argues his case in the strongest of terms, characterizing slavery as a stealing of another’s "self," more worthy of contempt than the theft of another’s "goods," or even Satan’s attempt to seduce Jesus in the wilderness. The introduction of the latter motif carries with it a furious condemnation of the hypocrisy Lincoln ascribed to those who would attempt to reconcile the enslavement of others with Christian faith. This condemnation, in varying degrees of harshness, also accompanies his two subsequent uses of Gen. 3:19.[26]

Reference 3: "The President’s Last, Shortest, and Best Speech," (published in the Washington Daily Chronicle, December [6?], 1864)

On Thursday of last week two ladies from Tennessee came before the President asking the release of their husbands held as prisoners of war at Johnson’s Island. They were put off till Page [End Page 45] Friday, when they came again; and were again put off till Saturday. At each of the interviews one of the ladies urged that her husband was a religious man. On Saturday the President ordered the release of the prisoners, and then said to this lady ‘You say that your husband is a religious man; tell him when you meet him, that I say I am not much of a judge of religion, but that, in my opinion, the religion that sets men to rebel and fight against their government, because, as they think, that government does not sufficiently help some men to eat their bread on the sweat of other men’s faces [Gen. 3:19], is not the sort of religion upon which people can get to heaven.’ [27]

Lincoln passed this anecdote on to Noah Brooks, a reporter with whom he had close ties, with the request that it be published "right away." It appeared in the Washington Daily Chronicle, along with the headline Lincoln had composed for it, on December 7, 1864. The humorously self-deprecating headline is significant. Though this is neither his last nor best speech, its reference to Gen. 3:19 in connection with the injustice and cruelty of unrequited slave labor, prospered or tolerated by the nominally "religious," establishes the anecdote, along with the response to the Baptist missionaries, as a precursor to the climactic Second Inaugural Address. However, in this new setting, Lincoln sharpens his earlier renderings of the verse by his interpolation of the word "their" prior to "bread." Lincoln had been working from this inference all along, but in this case, as well as in the Second Inaugural Address, he makes explicit his sense of the verse as a declaration of the right of workers to enjoy the fruit of their labors, and the wrong done workers when "some men … eat their bread on the sweat of other men’s faces." It is also significant that Lincoln speaks here in terms of those who are disappointed with their government’s unwillingness to assist them in this theft. This reference to government as a potential "fence" for the stealing of labor’s just rewards flows directly from Lincoln’s long held conviction, already stated in the 1847 fragment, that it was "a most worthy object of any good government" to help secure for each laborer "the whole product of his labor, or as nearly as possible."

Reference 4: "Second Inaugural Address" (March 4, 1865)

It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces [Gen. 3:19]; but let us judge not that we be not judged [Matt. 7:1]. … The Almighty has His own purposes. ‘Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!’ [Matt. 18:7]. … Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether’ [Psalms 19:10][28]

In this short passage Lincoln strings together four direct biblical quotations.[29] Nevertheless, each quote enters the address honed and shaped by many years of conceptual and rhetorical development. Gen. 3:19 now carries for Lincoln the accumulated implications of twenty years of reflection, as indicated by his retention of an inferred "their" prior to "bread," a condensed version of his earlier antithesis of "their bread" over against the "sweat of other men’s faces," and the addition of the tortuous image of oppressors "wringing" their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, rather than simply eating it, as he had expressed it earlier.

Lincoln’s juxtaposition of Gen. 3:19 to Matt. 7:1 ("Let us judge not …") reiterates his previous condemnation of slavery as the theft of another’s "self," as well as his claim that he was obliged not to "judge" the motives of those who would lend their support to such a crime. Here, as in the "Response" to the Baptist missionaries, the counsel that one must withhold judgment appears ironic, though his convincing reference to "charity for all" in the peroration indicates a tempering of his earlier sarcasm. However, having counseled forbearance, Lincoln immediately goes on to declare that it was not to be expected that restraining the urge to judge would save the nation from undergoing judgment. Instead, in a passage punctuated by repeated references to justice ("just," "judge," "judged," "judgments") he joins his "materialist" reading of Gen. 3:19 to a corresponding vision of an immanent Divine judgment which was "true and righteous altogether," purging the nation, Page [End Page 47] measure for measure, of slavery’s "wealth" and "lash." The ravages of war had extracted a terrible price from those "by whom the offence cometh," be they collaborators or bystanders, but the debate was over, and the conclusion, as he had long insisted, was "self evident." The Almighty had had His own wrenching purposes. Those purposes having been accomplished, the time for rending was now speedily passing away, and a time for mending had begun. [30]

It is not surprising that Lincoln would return on several occasions over the course of his political career to Gen. 3:19. Its images of "sweat, "brow," and "bread," contrary to Douglas’s friendly concern, fit well with his rhetorical style. James M. McPherson points out that Lincoln’s facility with metaphor, as well as the particular types of metaphor he tended to employ, reflected his formative experiences in rural Indiana and Illinois. His skill with concrete imagery was nurtured through conversation with neighbors, and was therefore, as he later noted, well suited for political talk with his constituencies. [31] In addition, the verse’s imagery was neatly bound up with the themes of labor and, for Lincoln, justice, both of which were central to his political outlook.

But Lincoln’s ability to shape and apply the implications he drew from the metaphorical possibilities in Gen. 3:19 ran far deeper than nostalgia or stylistic considerations alone. Even an appreciation of the passage’s capacity to rhetorically integrate themes that were central to Lincoln’s political outlook, and to do so with great economy, does not adequately explain his persistent affinity for the verse. When purely rhetorical motives for repeated references to the verse are exhausted, there remains a personal dimension to its Page [End Page 48] prominence. For Lincoln, Gen. 3:19 was not only a verbal metaphor, it was also a life metaphor. His reading of the verse is wholly congruent with his own experience and character. It was not only an expression of what he thought, but of who he was. Though historians have done much to correct the popular romantic image of the young, pastoral Lincoln, it is clear that an overlay of middle-class gentility acquired in his later years could not completely obscure his own personal knowledge and appreciation of physical labor. Francis B. Carpenter, in his memoir Six Months at the White House with Abraham Lincoln, recounted a remarkable demonstration of this aspect of Lincoln’s personality as part of his description of a visit to Grant’s headquarters at City Point, Virginia, in late March 1865. According to Carpenter, Lincoln was enthused by the warm reception he received from the soldiers, and he spent several hours with patients at the army hospital. As he concluded this marathon of handshaking, a surgeon commented that his arm must be terribly sore from the workout. Lincoln smiled and replied that he had "strong muscles," and picking up a heavy ax, proceeded to vigorously chop wood for a few minutes. He then held out the ax horizontally, keeping it absolutely still—a feat that none of the soldiers present could duplicate. [32]

Lincoln’s pride in his continued physical strength is indicative of a "poor hand" well acquainted with labor. In his letter to the New York Workingmen’s Democratic Republican Association, he maintained that "The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds." [33] A lifetime of social advancement could not sever this bond. One can safely assume that if Lincoln’s hand did not quiver as he held out the ax, there was, nevertheless, the gleam of sweat on his brow.

Notes

Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 9 vols. (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953–1955), 2: 501 (hereafter cited as Collected Works). Quote is from the King James Version. return to text

Richard Current, The Lincoln Nobody Knows (New York: Hill & Wang, 1958), chap. 3, for a review of the literature on Lincoln’s religious life, including the contention that he formally embraced Christianity in his later years.return to text

Elton Trueblood concluded that it was "partly in response to the pioneer culture in which he was steeped, [that] Abraham Lincoln’s religion was centered far more in the Bible than in the Church," and cites William J. Wolf’s comment that for Lincoln, "… the Bible rather than the Church remained the highroad to the knowledge of God." See Trueblood, Abraham Lincoln, Theologian of American Anguish, (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), 55, and Allen C. Guelzo, introduction to Abraham Lincoln, Redeemer President (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1999).return to text

In reference to Lincoln’s "Letter to Mrs. Bixby," Carl Sandburg commented, "Here was a piece of the American Bible." See Roy P. Basler, Abraham Lincoln, His Speeches and Writings, Universal Library Edition (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1962), 35.return to text

See Charles B. Strozier, Lincoln’s Quest for Union: Public and Private Meanings, (New York: Basic Books, 1982), 225–27, and Basler, Speeches and Writings, 34–49.return to text

"‘The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions': Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838," Collected Works, 1: 108–15.return to text

Trueblood, 55–56. Matt. 16:18 is also the closing words of Lincoln’s "Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum," Collected Works, 1: 115.return to text

Lincoln was clearly well read in Bible. Though it is an exceptional case, William J. Wolf counted no less than thirty-four biblical references in Lincoln’s manuscript of his 1858 Address to the Bloomington Young Men’s Association on "Discoveries and Inventions." See William J. Wolf, Lincoln’s Religion, (Philadelphia: Pilgrim Press, 1970), 132.return to text

In its biblical context Jesus employs the image of "a house divided" to deflect the charge that his ability to exorcise demons came from Satan. Surely, he retorts, Satan would not divide his own house between exorcists and exorcised. Lincoln used the image in an 1843 pamphlet calling for unity among Whigs, and then again, more memorably, during the 1858 Senate campaign, in reference to the divisive effects of slavery. return to text

William H. Herndon and Jesse W. Weik, Life of Lincoln, ed. Paul M. Angle, (Cleveland: World Publishing, 1930), 325; David Donald has suggested that Lincoln took the metaphor from Aesop’s fable "The Lion and the Four Bulls." Herndon’s reference to Lincoln’s stated motive for using the metaphor is ambiguous enough to allow for this possibility, but absent additional evidence in support of Donald’s contention, a biblical derivation would appear to be more likely. See Donald, Lincoln Reconsidered (New York: Vintage Books, 2001), 68. return to text

See Strozier’s Lincoln’s Quest for Union for an example of this type of analysis of the House Divided motif.return to text

Collected Works, 3: 479. return to text

Ibid., 2: 520.return to text

Gabor Boritt, Abraham Lincoln and the Economics of the American Dream, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1978), 240.return to text

Collected Works, 1: 411–12. return to text

Boritt, Lincoln and Economics, 278. return to text

Ibid., 123.return to text

Ibid.return to text

For a summary of Wayland’s economic views see Joseph Dorfman, The Economic Mind in American Civilization (New York: Viking Press, 1946), 758–67. Though it is possible that Lincoln’s rendering of the verse was sparked by a pamphlet, sermon, or conversation, I can find no evidence of such a source. Though written a century before Lincoln’s birth, Matthew Henry’s exegetical comment that "we are bound to work, not as creatures only, but as criminals; it is part of our sentence …" succinctly conveys the typical reading of the verse among both Christians and Jews of all denominations in Lincoln’s day as well.return to text

Ibid.return to text

Collected Works, 3: 478. return to text

Ibid., 315.return to text

Collected Works, 7: 368. return to text

Ibid., 259.return to text

Guelzo, Redeemer President, 121. return to text

See also LaWanda Cox, Black Freedom and Lincoln (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985), 24–26, concerning Lincoln’s views on race, his personal relationships with African Americans, and his commitment to emancipation.return to text

Collected Works, 8: 154–55. return to text

Collected Works, 8: 332–33. return to text

The use of the terms "widow" and "orphan" in the closing paragraph of the Address also appear to be influenced by biblical usage, e.g., Exod. 22:22,24, Isa. 1:17. return to text

During the war years, Lincoln frequently referred to Providential "purpose," "will," and "justice." One could see these references to the unsparing judgment of a Sovereign Will as a late personification of his earlier belief in the "doctrine of necessity." Ann Douglas, discussing the Calvinist underpinnings of Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, connects Captain Vere’s unwillingness to spare Budd from condemnation with Lincoln’s reference to Luke 1:17 in the Address. She concludes that in Budd’s story "history, presented in its uncompromised detail, merges, no matter how inscrutably and partially, ambiguously, with providence." The same might be said of Lincoln’s observations concerning the Almighty’s "purposes." See Douglas, The Feminization of American Culture (New York: Avon, 1977), 391–95. On the "doctrine of necessity" see Current, Lincoln Nobody Knows, chap. 3.return to text

James M. McPherson, "How Lincoln Won the War With Metaphors," in Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution (New York: Oxford, 1990), 93–112, and see the discussion of Lincoln’s use of metaphors in Strozier, Quest for Union, 177–81.return to text

See David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), 575. return to text

Collected Works, 7: 259.


Fin du monde/183e: L’astronomie nous a appris que l’univers n’était pas éternel (In the 20th century, the fear of man replaced the fear of God)

20 décembre, 2012
Plusieurs faux prophètes s’élèveront, et ils séduiront beaucoup de gens. Jésus (Matthieu 24: 11)
C’est un très gros canular, mais l’on peut dire la même chose de toutes les prédictions qui ont précédé – 182 depuis la chute de l’Empire romain selon mon décompte. La dernière en date était celle de 2008, quand deux astrophysiciens avaient prédit que la mise en route du méga accélérateur de particules du Centre européen de physique nucléaire, à Genève, entraînerait un énorme trou noir qui avalerait la Terre. (…)  Il y en a un tas d’autres qui suivent. A vrai dire, on a autant de prédictions de fin du monde devant nous que derrière. (…) La fin du monde existe depuis le commencement du monde. C’est une permanence historique. Dans une perspective biblique, elle est même un mythe fondateur de l’humanité, puisque nous serions tous des rescapés du Déluge, c’est-à-dire d’une fin du monde. La fin du monde est étroitement liée aux religions monothéistes, qui ont une conception linéaire du temps, et non pas cyclique, comme c’est le cas des Mayas par exemple (qui soit dit en passant n’ont jamais prophétisé la fin du monde). L’Antiquité ne craignait pas non plus l’apocalypse, puisque les dieux du Panthéon grec faisaient partie du monde. Ils ont été engendrés par lui et non l’inverse. Pour les religions monothéistes, il y a la Genèse et le Jugement dernier. Dieu a créé le monde, Dieu le détruira. La peur de la fin du monde, c’est la peur du châtiment divin. (…) Au XXe siècle, la peur de l’homme se substitue à la peur de Dieu. Avec les deux guerres mondiales et l’apparition de la bombe atomique, l’homme a pris conscience du fait qu’il pouvait lui-même provoquer sa perte. La destruction de la planète est de l’ordre du possible. C’est le syndrome Hiroshima. La guerre froide a poussé à son paroxysme la peur de l’apocalypse nucléaire. (…)  Avec la chute de l’URSS (…) On est passé à une peur de la nature, du dérèglement climatique, amplifiée par la télévision qui nous inonde d’images apocalyptiques. Le tsunami de 2004, le séisme à Haïti, le cyclone Sandy, le séisme au Sichuan… On a l’impression que le monde est en catastrophe perpétuelle. En réalité, il n’y a pas plus de catastrophes qu’avant. Le tremblement de terre de Tangshan, en Chine, en 1976, ou l’éruption du Krakatoa, près de Sumatra, en 1883, ont été par exemple des catastrophes majeures, que l’on a relativement oubliées. (et) l’astronomie nous a appris que l’univers n’était pas éternel. Le soleil a une fin. Une supernova peut nous exploser sur le coin de la figure la semaine prochaine. Bref, le cosmos est un milieu hostile. La fin du monde s’est d’ailleurs déjà produite, il y a 65 millions d’années, quand un astéroïde tombé au Mexique (déjà !) a provoqué la disparition de plus de 70% des espèces, dont les dinosaures. (…) Si l’on parle de la disparition de la Terre, au plus tard dans cinq milliards d’années, quand elle se retrouvera dans le brasier solaire et ne sera plus qu’une boule de lave. Si l’on parle de la disparition de l’humanité, bien avant. Dans un milliard d’années, il fera dans les 100°C sur Terre. Luc Mary

A la veille d’une énième fin du monde annoncée (183e depuis la chute de l’empire romain) …

Retour, avec Luc Mary, sur la longue histoire d’un mythe vieux comme le monde …

Mais dont la possibilité divine ne date en fait que de la perspective linéaire introduite par la Bible, les autres traditions étant cycliques …

Avant, au siècle dernier, sa redécouverte cette fois astronomique (entre la disparition des dinosaures il y a 70 millions d’années et le Big crunch final dans 5 milliards d’années) ou purement humaine (avec la bombe atomique et nos capacités toujours plus grandes de perturbation de la planète) comme nous le rappelle chaque jour un peu plus clairement la science moderne et les unes de nos journaux …

"La fin du monde s’est déjà produite"

17 décembre 2012

Cordelia Bonal

Le 21 décembre 2012 ne sera jamais que la 183e fin du monde depuis la chute de l’Empire romain, a calculé Luc Mary. Historien des sciences, il est l’auteur du Mythe de la fin du monde, de l’Antiquité à 2012 (ed. Trajectoire, 2009).

Le 21 décembre, gadget médiatique ou vraie peur ?

Jamais une prédiction de fin du monde n’avait été aussi médiatisée. Le 21 décembre est d’ores et déjà une date dont on se souviendra. L’important est moins que la fin du monde survienne vraiment que le fait que certains y croient, qu’on en parle. Dans le cas présent, ce phénomène a été largement amplifié par Internet, bien sûr, mais aussi par les producteurs du film 2012. C’est un très gros canular, mais l’on peut dire la même chose de toutes les prédictions qui ont précédé – 182 depuis la chute de l’Empire romain selon mon décompte. La dernière en date était celle de 2008, quand deux astrophysiciens avaient prédit que la mise en route du méga accélérateur de particules du Centre européen de physique nucléaire, à Genève, entraînerait un énorme trou noir qui avalerait la Terre.

Et la prochaine ?

Le 10 avril 2014. Celle-là, c’est une prédiction des adeptes de la Kabbale, qui assurent que ce jour-là ce sera la revanche du diable. Il y en a un tas d’autres qui suivent. A vrai dire, on a autant de prédictions de fin du monde devant nous que derrière.

L’homme a-t-il toujours craint la fin du monde ?

La fin du monde existe depuis le commencement du monde. C’est une permanence historique. Dans une perspective biblique, elle est même un mythe fondateur de l’humanité, puisque nous serions tous des rescapés du Déluge, c’est-à-dire d’une fin du monde. La fin du monde est étroitement liée aux religions monothéistes, qui ont une conception linéaire du temps, et non pas cyclique, comme c’est le cas des Mayas par exemple (qui soit dit en passant n’ont jamais prophétisé la fin du monde). L’Antiquité ne craignait pas non plus l’apocalypse, puisque les dieux du Panthéon grec faisaient partie du monde. Ils ont été engendrés par lui et non l’inverse. Pour les religions monothéistes, il y a la Genèse et le Jugement dernier. Dieu a créé le monde, Dieu le détruira. La peur de la fin du monde, c’est la peur du châtiment divin.

N’est-ce pas l’espoir, aussi, d’un monde nouveau ? La fin d’un monde plutôt que la fin du monde ?

Oui, la fin du monde a deux faces. Elle est toujours d’un côté appréhendée comme un châtiment et de l’autre attendue comme une récompense, c’est toute son ambivalence. Le jugement dernier est un préambule à la résurrection des morts. Il y a donc l’idée du peuple élu. L’idée aussi de l’avènement d’un monde meilleur, plus juste, débarrassé de ses impuretés, de la luxure. C’était très présent notamment au moment des croisades. Au XIIe siècle, Joachim de Flore, un moine cistercien, prédit ainsi la fin du monde pour 1260. Inutile de dire que ça ne s’est pas produit. Dans les trois grandes religions monothéistes, il est question d’un âge d’or de l’humanité après le jugement dernier.

Y a-t-il dans l’histoire des pics de peurs de la fin du monde ?

Les périodes de crise sont bien sûr propices au prophétisme apocalyptique : famines, peste noire… Cela dit, tous les siècles sont égaux en matière eschatologique, tous ont eu leur lot de prédictions. Mais les XVIe et XXe siècles sont champions. Pour le XVIe siècle, cela s’explique par la crise de l’Eglise, doublée d’un mouvement de revendications sociales. Cela a alimenté l’aspiration à un monde créé sur d’autres bases. Pour les courants millénaristes allemands de cette époque, la révélation (apokalupsis signifie «la mise à nu, le dévoilement») rimait avec révolution. Le nouveau monde serait un monde juste, sans nobles ni nantis. La fin du monde se nourrit aussi d’utopies.

Au XXe siècle, la peur de l’homme se substitue à la peur de Dieu. Avec les deux guerres mondiales et l’apparition de la bombe atomique, l’homme a pris conscience du fait qu’il pouvait lui-même provoquer sa perte. La destruction de la planète est de l’ordre du possible. C’est le syndrome Hiroshima. La guerre froide a poussé à son paroxysme la peur de l’apocalypse nucléaire. Cela se retrouve dans les films de science-fiction des années 70. Mad Max, la Planète des Singes… Tous mettent en scène un monde postatomique.

Avec la chute de l’URSS, cette peur est retombée – il y a bien toujours la menace iranienne mais elle n’est pas de même nature. On est passé à une peur de la nature, du dérèglement climatique, amplifiée par la télévision qui nous inonde d’images apocalyptiques. Le tsunami de 2004, le séisme à Haïti, le cyclone Sandy, le séisme au Sichuan… On a l’impression que le monde est en catastrophe perpétuelle. En réalité, il n’y a pas plus de catastrophes qu’avant. Le tremblement de terre de Tangshan, en Chine, en 1976, ou l’éruption du Krakatoa, près de Sumatra, en 1883, ont été par exemple des catastrophes majeures, que l’on a relativement oubliées.

A girl plays at the Tangshan Earthquake Memorial in Tangshan, Hebei province, some 180 km (112 miles) east of Beijing, July 21, 2006. The Tangshan earthquake on July 28, 1976 struck in the dead of night and within seconds levelled the city of 1 million and killed more than 240,000. Thirty years on, the rebuilt coal mining centre bustles with traffic and commerce, but residents say memories of the earthquake still profoundly affect the city and its people. Photo taken July 21, 2006. REUTERS/Claro Cortes Le mémorial du tremblement de terre du 28 juillet 1976 à Tangshan, en Chine. (Photo Claro Cortes. Reuters)

Y a-t-il des constantes dans les scénarios de fin du monde ?

Oui, grosso modo l’apocalypse vient toujours du ciel ou des entrailles de la Terre. Tremblements de terre, éruptions volcanique, raz-de-marée, bolides divers qui foncent sur la Terre… Le 21 décembre, la planète Nibiru est ainsi censée nous tomber dessus. Je note qu’à l’heure qu’il est, on devrait déjà la voir puisqu’elle est censée faire cinq fois la Terre. Tout cela renvoie à la peur de l’inconnu, de l’invisible, de ce qu’on ne contrôle pas.

Ces croyances n’ont-elles pas reflué avec le développement de la science et le déclin des religions ?

Pas du tout, c’est même le contraire. D’abord parce que force est de constater que l’éducation scientifique n’est pas un acquis pour tout le monde, en tout cas pas pour nombre de prophètes de mauvais augure. Ensuite parce que l’astronomie nous a appris que l’univers n’était pas éternel. Le soleil a une fin. Une supernova peut nous exploser sur le coin de la figure la semaine prochaine. Bref, le cosmos est un milieu hostile. La fin du monde s’est d’ailleurs déjà produite, il y a 65 millions d’années, quand un astéroïde tombé au Mexique (déjà !) a provoqué la disparition de plus de 70% des espèces, dont les dinosaures.

L’humanité a-t-elle besoin de se faire peur ?

Oui, parce que dramatiser l’avenir est une façon de l’exorciser. Plutôt que d’imaginer le futur, on préfère le détruire.

La vraie fin du monde, c’est pour quand ?

Si l’on parle de la disparition de la Terre, au plus tard dans cinq milliards d’années, quand elle se retrouvera dans le brasier solaire et ne sera plus qu’une boule de lave. Si l’on parle de la disparition de l’humanité, bien avant. Dans un milliard d’années, il fera dans les 100°C sur Terre. Mais, d’ici là, l’homme aura peut-être trouvé le moyen de s’exiler ailleurs dans l’espace et nos lointains descendants auront peut-être oublié l’existence même de la Terre…


Crimes de guerre: Le monde va-t-il se rétrécir pour Obama le criminel de guerre ? (Will Obama’s world shrink too after assassinations revelations?)

18 décembre, 2012
Les tortionnaires peuvent courir, mais ils ne peuvent pas se cacher. Et peu importe qui ils sont ou aussi puissants soient-ils, ils seront montrés du doigt et à jamais poursuivis. En février 2011, l’ancien président américain George W Bush a annulé un voyage en Suisse, où les victimes présumées de torture avaient l’intention de déposer une plainte pénale à son encontre. Une enquête mettant en cause des responsables américains dans la torture est en cours en Espagne. Tout à coup et contre toute attente, Bush et des membres clés de son administration trouvent le monde un endroit beaucoup plus petit et hostile. Human Rights International (février 2011)
Les drones américains ont liquidé plus de monde que le nombre total des détenus de Guantanamo. Pouvons nous être certains qu’il n’y avait parmi eux aucun cas d’erreurs sur la personne ou de morts innocentes ? Les prisonniers de Guantanamo avaient au moins une chance d’établir leur identité, d’être examinés par un Comité de surveillance et, dans la plupart des cas, d’être relâchés. Ceux qui restent à Guantanamo ont été contrôlés et, finalement, devront faire face à une forme quelconque de procédure judiciaire. Ceux qui ont été tués par des frappes de drones, quels qu’ils aient été, ont disparu. Un point c’est tout. Kurt Volker
Qu’est donc devenu cet artisan de paix récompensé par un prix Nobel, ce président favorable au désarmement nucléaire, cet homme qui s’était excusé aux yeux du monde des agissements honteux de ces Etats-Unis qui infligeaient des interrogatoires musclés à ces mêmes personnes qu’il n’hésite pas aujourd’hui à liquider ? Il ne s’agit pas de condamner les attaques de drones. Sur le principe, elles sont complètement justifiées. Il n’y a aucune pitié à avoir à l’égard de terroristes qui s’habillent en civils, se cachent parmi les civils et n’hésitent pas à entraîner la mort de civils. Non, le plus répugnant, c’est sans doute cette amnésie morale qui frappe tous ceux dont la délicate sensibilité était mise à mal par les méthodes de Bush et qui aujourd’hui se montrent des plus compréhensifs à l’égard de la campagne d’assassinats téléguidés d’Obama. Charles Krauthammer
I’m betting that Dick Cheney will love the new movie “Zero Dark Thirty.” Who could have predicted that? Hollywood, after all, is supposed to be a West Coast annex of the Democratic National Committee, and the makers of this gripping thriller, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, were expected to repay the Obama administration for its indulgence of them with a tribute to the current president’s wisdom and grit. But the movie of the year is also the political conundrum of the year, a far, far cry from the rousing piece of pro-Obama propaganda that some conservatives feared it would be. “Zero Dark Thirty,” which opens in theaters on Dec. 19 and presents itself as a quasi-journalistic account of what really happened, gives primary credit for the killing of Bin Laden to neither the Bush nor the Obama administrations but to one obsessive C.I.A. analyst whose work spans both presidencies. And it presents the kind of torture that Cheney advocated — but that President Obama ended — as something of an information-extracting necessity, repellent but fruitful. Even as David Edelstein, the film critic for New York magazine, named “Zero Dark Thirty” the best movie of 2012 in a recent article, he digressed to say that it “borders on the politically and morally reprehensible,” because it “makes a case for the efficacy of torture.” The NYT
She was a real-life heroine of the CIA hunt for Osama bin Laden, a headstrong young operative whose work tracking the al-Qaeda leader serves as the dramatic core of a Hollywood film set to premiere next week. Her CIA career has followed a more problematic script, however, since bin Laden was killed. The operative, who remains undercover, was passed over for a promotion that many in the CIA thought would be impossible to withhold from someone who played such a key role in one of the most successful operations in agency history. The WP

Attention: un crime de guerre peut en cacher un autre !

Bombardements aériens, raids nocturnes, assassinats ciblés, attaques de drones en Afghanistan, camp de Guantanamo toujours ouvert …

Barack Obama va-t-il devoir renoncer à voyager dans tous les pays ayant signé la Convention des Nations unies contre les crimes de guerre ?

Alors que s’apprête à sortir aux Etats-Unis le nouveau film de Kathryn Bigelow sur la traque et l’élimination de Ben Laden ("Zero Dark Thirty") confirmant des informations précédentes sur l’apport décisif de la torture contre des agents d’Al-Qaïda pour la localisation du cerveau du 11/9 …

Et que nos médias continuent leur campagne de désinformation contre un ancien président Bush livré à la vindicte planétaire

Alors que chaque jour qui passe le plus rapide prix Nobel de la paix de l’histoire qui avait tant dénoncé les mesures antiterroristes de son prédécesseur et s’était engagé à fermer Guantnamo, n’a non seulement fait ni l’un ni l’autre mais a, via les assassiants ciblés, radicalement réglé le problème de la détention préventive et de la torture en faisant plus de victimes que le nombre total de prisonniers de Guantanamo

Comment ne pas voir l’étrange deux poids deux mesures de médias qui, du temps de l’Administration précédente, n’avait jamais eu de mots assez durs pour dénoncer "Bush le tortionnaire"?

Torture : le film sur la mort de Ben Laden fait déjà polémique

François Krug

Rue89

13/12/2012

« Zero Dark Thirty », récit de la traque et de la mort d’Oussama Ben Laden, ne sort que la semaine prochaine aux Etats-Unis, mais il a déjà rouvert le débat sur les méthodes utilisées par la CIA. En cause : des scènes laissant penser que Ben Laden a été localisé et tué grâce à la torture d’agents d’Al-Qaïda.

La réalisatrice, Kathryn Bigelow, est connue pour son sens du réalisme. En 2009, elle avait déjà exploré les suites du 11-Septembre dans « Démineurs », qui suivait, comme le titre l’indique, une équipe de démineurs américains en Irak. Ce film avait triomphé aux Oscars avec six récompenses.

Dans « Zero Dark Thirty », qui sortira en France le 23 janvier, elle raconte donc la longue traque d’Oussama Ben Laden. Le film est fondé sur de nombreux témoignages et documents : une fiction d’apparence journalistique.

Les scènes de torture d’agents d’Al-Qaïda n’occupent qu’une petite partie du film, mais ce sont elles qui ont retenu l’attention des médias américains. Ces scènes-là relèvent-elles de la réalité ou de la fiction ?

Dans les jours qui avaient suivi la mort de Ben Laden, des défenseurs républicains de la torture affirmaient déjà que la torture avait prouvé son utilité : sans elle, la cachette du leader d’Al-Qaïda n’aurait jamais été découverte. Le problème, c’est qu’aujourd’hui encore, rien ne permettrait de le prouver.

« Un test de Rorschach national »

La torture n’a pas été « une composante centrale » dans l’opération, assure par exemple au New York Times la sénatrice démocrate Dianne Feinstein, présidente de la commission du renseignement au Sénat. La commission vient pourtant de boucler un rapport de… 6 000 pages sur les interrogatoires de la CIA.

Les militants anti-torture sont eux aussi dubitatifs. Le film peut faire croire à « un rapport de cause à effet » entre la torture et la mise hors d’état de nuire de Ben Laden, regrette dans le même article du New York Times un des dirigeants de l’American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Le quotidien résume :

« “Zero Dark Thirty” [...] est devenu un test de Rorschach national sur la question polémique de la torture. »

La version officielle, elle, ne fournit toujours que peu de détails. Après près de dix ans de recherches, les Etats-Unis auraient localisé Ben Laden après avoir identifié et pisté son messager. Comment ont-ils fait ? Secret défense.

La fin de « Zero Dark Thirty » devrait en revanche mettre tous les Américains d’accord (attention, spoiler). Le 1er mai 2011, en pleine nuit, un commando de Navy Seals, un corps d’élite de la marine, fait irruption dans la maison où se cachait Ben Laden à Abbottabad (Pakistan).

Quarante minutes plus tard, le leader d’Al-Qaïda était mort, et Barack Obama pouvait célébrer cette victoire à la télévision. En espérant peut-être que le douloureux débat sur la torture allait enfin être clos.

Voir aussi:

Ben Laden retrouvé grâce à la torture ? Les pro-Bush jubilent

Pierre Haski

Rue89

04/05/2011

Quel rôle l’usage de la torture a-t-il joué dans la localisation d’Oussama Ben Laden, conduisant à l’élimination de l’ennemi public numéro un des Etats-Unis ? Selon le New York Times, l’un des prisonniers d’Al Qaeda aux mains des Américains a été soumis 183 fois au supplice du « waterboarding », la torture par la noyade, afin de lui faire avouer l’identité du « courrier » qui a finalement permis l’opération de dimanche.

Le débat est relancé aux Etats-Unis, et jette une ombre polémique sur le succès du président Obama. Il est lancé notamment par John Yoo, un homme qui fait partie des « treize tortionnaires », accusés d’avoir décidé ou couvert l’usage de la torture – le mot n’est évidemment jamais prononcé – au temps de l’administration Bush.

Vice-Attorney General adjoint de 2001 à 2003, Yoo a rédigé les premiers mémorandums établissant les règles de la torture, et déterminant les pouvoirs illimités du Président en temps de guerre. Il a aussi rédigé les textes garantissant l’impunité pour les auteurs de ces actes.

« La politique de l’administration Bush confortée »

Sur le site conservateur National Review, John Yoo souligne que l’essentiel du crédit pour l’élimination de Ben Laden va à Obama, mais il ajoute :

« Cela conforte aussi la politique de l’administration Bush sur le terrorisme, et montre que le succès vient de la poursuite de cette politique, pas de leur rejet (comme Obama a tenté de le faire depuis deux ans). »

John Yoo est évidemment dans une démarche d’autojustification d’une politique qui a été décriée par les opposants à la guerre d’Irak, mais aussi par Barack Obama lui-même avant d’être Président. Même démarche de Peter King, élu républicain de New-York et président de la commission sur la sécurité intérieure à la Chambre des représentants.

Les détracteurs de l’administration Bush estimaient que l’Amérique perdait son âme dans la torture, et dénigraient également l’efficacité de cette méthode d’extorsion d’aveux, à Guantanamo ou dans les prisons secrètes de la CIA à l’étranger. Le cas de la guerre française d’Algérie était régulièrement cité en contre-exemple de l’inutilité de la torture des prisonniers.

Le retour du « waterboarding », dégât collatéral du succès Obama

Dans l’enquête qui a conduit à l’opération pakistanaise et à la mort annoncée dimanche soir de Ben Laden, le recours à ces méthode n’a semble-t-il pas été refusé par la nouvelle administration, malgré ses états d’âme passés.

Khalil Cheiikh Mohammed, un des chefs militaires d’Al Qaeda arrêté en 2003, a ainsi été soumis 183 fois au « waterboarding », technique dite de la « noyade », qui fait suffoquer le suspect sous l’eau pour l’amener à des aveux.

Cette « technique coercitive », selon l’euphémisme en vigueur à l’époque de Bush, avait été reconnue par ce dernier dans ses Mémoires, publiés l’an dernier, bien après son départ de la Maison Blanche, mais l’ancien Président avait nié qu’il s’agissait de « torture ». Comme l’écrivait alors sur Rue89 Jean-François Lisée :

« On ne peut lui reprocher d’esquiver sa responsabilité. Dans son livre autobiographique, “ Decision Points ”, l’ex-président George W. Bush admet – non, se vante – d’avoir autorisé la pratique dite de la noyade simulée dans les interrogatoires de membres présumés d’Al Qaeda par la CIA. »

Barack Obama, pour sa part, avait promis en janvier 2009 que les Etats-Unis ne pratiqueraient plus la torture.

Selon le New York Times, malgré l’intensité de ces pressions, Khalil Cheikh Mohammed n’aurait rien lâché, conduisant ses interrogateurs sur de fausses pistes. D’autres sources affirment au contraire que ses renseignements ont joué un rôle crucial.

Un autre chef militaire d’Al Qaeda soumis aux mêmes traitements dans cette affaire est Abu Faraj al-Libi, capturé en 2005. C’est en fait l’accumulation de renseignements qui a conduit les services américains sur la piste du « courrier » qui a mené, à son tour, à la résidence de Ben Laden au Pakistan.

La polémique sur la torture n’est pour l’instant qu’un dégât collatéral du succès de Barack Obama qui a réussi là où George W. Bush avait échoué. Mais il est clair qu’au-delà de l’euphorie qui a gagné une partie importante des Américains, et du booster de moral qu’a représenté la disparition de « l’homme du 11-Septembre “, la question des ‘moyens’ reste posée.

Le camp de Guantanamo toujours ouvert

Barack Obama avait promis de fermer le camp d’internement de Guantanamo, situé à Cuba et soumis à des législations particulières. Il a échoué, et, comme l’ont rappelé les documents rendus publics il y a quelques jours à peine par WikiLeaks, des dizaines de prisonniers y sont toujours gardés sans procès depuis des années, soumis à des traitements que l’actuel Président critiquait avant son élection.

Cette question ne menace pas de ternir le succès d’Obama au sein de l’opinion américaine qui estime, majoritairement, que la fin justifie les moyens, et cette fin-là – la mort de Ben Laden –, justifiait tout.

Parmi les minoritaires, la militante des droits de l’Homme Kathy Kelly qui, sur le Huffington Post cité par Lexpress.fr, rejette cette autosatisfaction des conservateurs :

‘Les bombardements aériens, raids nocturnes, assassinats et attaques de drones en Afghanistan des dix ans passés ont-ils été bénéfiques au peuple américain ? Ces bains de sang ont-ils aidé à retrouver Oussama Ben Laden ? Avons-nous mis fin au terrorisme ou au contraire avons-nous créé plus d’animosité contre nous ?’

Et de citer Matt Daloisio, responsable de la campagne ‘Témoins contre la torture’ :

‘Plus de 6 000 soldats tués ; des milliards de dollars gaspillés, la mort de centaines de milliers de civils [...] et nous sommes supposés célébrer le meurtre d’une personne ? Non, je ne suis pas enthousiaste ; je suis profondément triste.’

Mais c’est surtout à l’extérieur des Etats-Unis, dans le monde arabo-musulman, que la question des moyens peut handicaper l’explication de texte américaine, après tous les efforts de diplomatie de Barack Obama, après son élection, pour ‘vendre’ une rupture avec l’ère Bush.

Voir encore:

Bin Laden, Torture and Hollywood

Frank Bruni

The New York Times

December 8, 2012

I’m betting that Dick Cheney will love the new movie “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Who could have predicted that? Hollywood, after all, is supposed to be a West Coast annex of the Democratic National Committee, and the makers of this gripping thriller, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, were expected to repay the Obama administration for its indulgence of them with a tribute to the current president’s wisdom and grit.

But the movie of the year is also the political conundrum of the year, a far, far cry from the rousing piece of pro-Obama propaganda that some conservatives feared it would be. “Zero Dark Thirty,” which opens in theaters on Dec. 19 and presents itself as a quasi-journalistic account of what really happened, gives primary credit for the killing of Bin Laden to neither the Bush nor the Obama administrations but to one obsessive C.I.A. analyst whose work spans both presidencies. And it presents the kind of torture that Cheney advocated — but that President Obama ended — as something of an information-extracting necessity, repellent but fruitful.

Even as David Edelstein, the film critic for New York magazine, named “Zero Dark Thirty” the best movie of 2012 in a recent article, he digressed to say that it “borders on the politically and morally reprehensible,” because it “makes a case for the efficacy of torture.”

Edelstein isn’t the only critic in a morally complicated swoon over “Zero Dark Thirty.” Last week the New York Film Critics Circle awarded it the best movie of the year. So did the National Board of Review. Surprises atop surprises: not only does “Zero Dark Thirty” decline to toe a conventionally liberal line, but it is being embraced by many cultural arbiters who are probably at some level horrified by the conclusions it seems to reach.

Will they wrestle honestly with that, as Edelstein did? Or will they elect unsullied rapture for “Zero Dark Thirty” and either ignore or come up with a selective interpretation of its policy implications? That will be one of the fascinating wrinkles of the imminent debate about a movie that demands close examination.

With ample reason, we often dismiss what comes out of the commercially minded dream factory of Hollywood as simplistic, candied, trivial. Yet “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Lincoln,” another of the year-end movies at the center of the unfolding Oscar race, are dedicated to the ethical ambiguities and messy compromises of governing — to the muck and stink that sometimes go into the effort of keeping this mighty country of ours intact and safe.

“Lincoln” looks at that through the prism of our 16th president and the legislative art and chicanery by which he and his allies passed the 13th Amendment, ending slavery. “Zero Dark Thirty” uses the war on terror as its lens and raises big, complicated questions about whether one brand of evil excuses another and the preservation of freedom hinges on targeted applications of savagery. From Hollywood during the holiday season, we’re getting not just “The Hobbit” and the inevitable Tom Cruise vehicle. We’re getting a civics lesson.

“Zero Dark Thirty” takes its title from a military term for half past midnight, which is when Navy SEALs raided Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. It’s the work of the director Kathryn Bigelow and the screenwriter Mark Boal, who previously collaborated on “The Hurt Locker.” As they researched their new movie, they got considerable cooperation from the C.I.A. and the Defense Department, provoking complaints from some conservatives, who smelled an Obama hagiography in the making.

They smelled wrong. Obama isn’t a character in the movie but, rather, a part of the backdrop to a narrative about the bloody drama and bloodless tedium of intelligence gathering over the course of nearly 10 years between 9/11 and the killing of Bin Laden. It’s about finding a needle in a uniquely messy and menacing haystack. “Enhanced interrogation techniques” like waterboarding are presented as crucial to that search, and it’s hard not to focus on them, because the first extended sequence in the movie shows a detainee being strung up by his wrists, sexually humiliated, deprived of sleep, made to feel as if he’s drowning and shoved into a box smaller than a coffin.

The explicit detail with which all of this is depicted could, I suppose, be read as the moviemakers’ indictment of it, and to some extent “Zero Dark Thirty” will function as a Rorschach test, different viewers seeing in it what they want to see. But the torture sequence immediately follows a bone-chilling, audio-only prologue of the voices of terrified Americans trapped in the towering inferno of the World Trade Center. It’s set up as payback.

And by the movie’s account, it produces information vital to the pursuit of the world’s most wanted man. No waterboarding, no Bin Laden: that’s what “Zero Dark Thirty” appears to suggest. And the intelligence agents involved in torture seem not so much relieved as challenged by Obama’s edict that it stop. Their quest for leads just got that much more difficult.

That’s hardly a universally accepted version of events. “Some of the F.B.I. agents and C.I.A. officers involved in this program at the really gritty, firsthand level were the ones who blew the whistle on it, because they were really horrified,” said Jane Mayer, the author of the best-selling book “The Dark Side,” which is widely considered the definitive account of the interrogation program.

“Zero Dark Thirty” doesn’t convey that, nor does it reflect many experts’ belief that torture is unnecessary, yielding as much bad information as good. “The military, the F.B.I., the C.I.A. itself — along with G.O.P. hawks like McCain, who was himself tortured — say there’s no justification, no need and no excuse,” Mayer said.

And for the drone attacks that have been a favored tactic of the Obama administration, leading to the assassinations of people never tried or convicted? Is there ample justification for that? The end of “enhanced interrogation” wasn’t the end of methods seemingly outside the usual precepts of American law, and as “Zero Dark Thirty” reminds us, Obama ordered the raid that led to Bin Laden’s death without any guarantee that Bin Laden would be there and that the bullet-riddled bodies in that Pakistan compound would be his and his associates’.

In the name of our democracy, we have long done and we continue to do some ruthless cost-benefit analyses and some very ugly things, to which we should never turn a blind eye. Whatever “Zero Dark Thirty” gets wrong, it gets that much right.

Voir enfin:

In ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ she’s the hero; in real life, CIA agent’s career is more complicated

Greg Miller

The Washington Post

December 10, 2012

She was a real-life heroine of the CIA hunt for Osama bin Laden, a headstrong young operative whose work tracking the al-Qaeda leader serves as the dramatic core of a Hollywood film set to premiere next week.

Her CIA career has followed a more problematic script, however, since bin Laden was killed.

The operative, who remains undercover, was passed over for a promotion that many in the CIA thought would be impossible to withhold from someone who played such a key role in one of the most successful operations in agency history.

She has sparred with CIA colleagues over credit for the bin Laden mission. After being given a prestigious award for her work, she sent an e-mail to dozens of other recipients saying they didn’t deserve to share her accolades, current and former officials said.

The woman has also come under scrutiny for her contacts with filmmakers and others about the bin Laden mission, part of a broader internal inquiry into the agency’s cooperation on the new movie and other projects, former officials said.

Her defenders say the operative has been treated unfairly, and even her critics acknowledge that her contributions to the bin Laden hunt were crucial. But the developments have cast a cloud over a career that is about to be bathed in the sort of cinematic glow ordinarily reserved for fictional Hollywood spies.

The female officer, who is in her 30s, is the model for the main character in “Zero Dark Thirty,”a film that chronicles the decade-long hunt for the al-Qaeda chief and that critics are describing as an Academy Award front-runner even before its Dec. 19 release.

The character Maya, which is not the CIA operative’s real name, is portrayed as a gifted operative who spent years pursuing her conviction that al-Qaeda’s courier network would lead to bin Laden, a conviction that proved correct.

At one point in the film, after a female colleague is killed in an attack on a CIA compound in Afghanistan, Maya describes her purpose in near-messianic terms: “I believe I was spared so I could finish the job.”

Colleagues said the on-screen depiction captures the woman’s dedication and combative temperament.

“She’s not Miss Congeniality, but that’s not going to find Osama bin Laden,” said a former CIA associate, who added that the attention from filmmakers sent waves of envy through the agency’s ranks.

“The agency is a funny place, very insular,” the former official said. “It’s like middle-schoolers with clearances.”

The woman is not allowed to talk to journalists, and the CIA declined to answer questions about her, except to stress that the bin Laden mission involved an extensive team. “Over the course of a decade, hundreds of analysts, operators and many others played key roles in the hunt,” said agency spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood.

Friction over mission, movie

The internal frictions are an unseemly aspect of the ongoing fallout from a mission that is otherwise regarded as one of the signal successes in CIA history.

The movie has been a source of controversy since it was revealed that the filmmakers — including director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal — were given extensive access to officials at the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA.


Citations: Rendre à Mary ce qui est à Mary (Did John Lennon ever know he was ripping off his quote from Mary Worth ?)

16 décembre, 2012
next page mary worth, color.
Le christianisme disparaitra. Il s’évaporera, rétrécira. Je n’ai pas à discuter là-dessus. J’ai raison, il sera prouvé que j’ai raison. Nous sommes plus populaires que Jésus désormais. Je ne sais pas ce qui disparaitra en premier, le rock’n’roll ou la chrétienté. John Lennon (The Evening Standard, 1966)
Christ, tu sais que ce n’est pas facile! Tu sais comme ça peut être dur ! Vu comment ça se passe, ils vont finir par me crucifier ! John Lennon (The ballad of John and Yoko, 1969)
Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans. (La vie, c’est ce qui nous arrive pendant qu’on est en train de faire d’autre plans) Allen Saunders (Reader’s digest, 1957)
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)"; similar expressions were used by others prior to Lennon’s use of this line, and have been attributed to Betty Talmadge, Thomas La Mance, Margarate Millar, William Gaddis, and Lily Tomlin, but the earliest known published occurrence was the 1957 attribution of "Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans." to Allen Saunders in Reader’s Digest, according to The Quote Verifier : Who Said What, Where, and When (2006) by Ralph Keyes. Wikipedia
I can’t even read it, let alone write it. (…) Laboring over the continuity, I chanced upon a happy idea one day. Instead of treacly melodrama, why not do stories of the sort that were used in popular magazines for women? No current story strip dealt with romance and psychological drama instead of action. … To test the idea of a story with which women readers could better identify, I wrote a sequence in which a passenger plane made a forced landing in a meadow. Conveniently, [Apple] Mary Worth lived nearby. One of the passengers to whom kindly Mary gave shelter was Leona Stockpool, the daughter, naturally, of a Wall Street stockbroker. The father hires Mary to help him cope with the headstrong Leona. (…) Soon after our team took over, we changed the name of the strip to Mary Worth’s Family. Later, it took on its present title, Mary Worth. In her new role, the old street merchant [Apple Mary] obviously was not usable. So Ken Ernst gave her a beauty treatment, some weight loss and a more appropriate wardrobe…. We put her applecart in storage, where it will remain, even in the event of another economic slump. Our Mary has more timely things to do than peddle pippins. Allen Saunders
I [always] thought Apple Mary was some standard-issue Depression bag lady who subsequently came into a little money and improved herself. Turns out she was a woman of refinement and breeding the whole time, a once-wealthy individual who had been cheated out of her properties and reduced to apple-selling to keep together body and soul. Apparently, at least early on, her efforts to restore herself to her accustomed station in life provided much of the heart-tugging drama of the thing. You live, you learn. Jay Maeder
She’s always been a force of compassion and wisdom, someone you can rely on. She does show human traits, like jealousy, self-doubt, fear and remorse. But she always handles herself with dignity. (…)  it’s easy to poke fun at a character who promotes ideals like compassion. This isn’t a very idealistic world, and some people gravitate toward characters that are sarcastic or bitter. Karen Moy
Who reads Mary Worth? The Simpsons

Attention: une citation peut en cacher une autre !

Qui sait (et probablement pas John Lennon lui-même lorsqu’il la reprit dans l’une de ses chansons) que l’une des plus célèbres et profondes citations du"working class hero" autoproclamé qui se prenait pour le Christ avant de se faire "crucifier" par le premier fan venu (lecteur un peu trop assidu lui-même du "Catcher in the rye") …

Venait en fait du père du genre, méprisé parmi les méprisés, de la "bande dessinée soap opera"?

Un certain Allen Saunders qui, victime lui aussi de la crise, se vit contraint de reprendre la bande dessinée "Apple Mary", qui tirait son surnom de l’emploi de vendeuse de pommes que l’héroïne et véritable chroniqueuse du coeur ambulante s’était vue contrainte de prendre par la Grande Dépression.

Et eut l’idée de remplacer le "mélodrame sirupeux" par des histoires tirées des magazines féminins, donnant naissance ainsi, sous le nom de "Mary Worth’s family" puis de "Mary Worth" (repris aujourd’hui par Karen Moy) …

A ce qui reste, près de 80 ans plus tard et dans quelque 350 quotidiens, à la fois la plus moquée et la plus appréciée des bandes dessinées américaines ?

One Good Apple Proves a Barrel’s Worth

R.C. Harvey
Jan 30, 2012

One of the commonly accepted tatters of cartooning lore is that Mary Worth began syndicated life as Apple Mary. At first blush, this seems an unlikely evolution. Mary Worth is a fashionably-attired little old gray-haired lady who is forever becoming involved in the romances of young men and women she meets as she rambles on through life. Apple Mary is a somewhat raggedy little old gray-haired lady who sells apples from a cart on a Chicago street corner during the early days of the Depression in the 1930s. She fusses around in other people’s lives, too, but is mostly absorbed with mere survival for her grandson Denny, who is crippled, and a cantankerous middle-aged hanger-on named Bill Biff.

The version of history that inspires this diatribe claims that Martha Orr, a niece of Chicago Tribune editorial cartoonist Carey Orr, started the comic strip that has always been dubbed the first soap opera strip. But she didn’t start it as a soaper; and it isn’t the first anyhow. Orr’s strip is the aforementioned Apple Mary, and it was launched in October 1934 and owed its being, doubtless, to a 1933 Frank Capra movie, Lady for a Day, which also starred a little old gray-haired lady who eked out a living during those hard times by selling apples from a cart she wheeled down the streets, broad and narrow. In her spare time, she helped everyone who stumbled into her path.

Orr had been born and raised, the third of six children, in Hillyard, Washington, where her father was a broker in lumber. Her uncle, recognizing her talent, brought her to Chicago and paid her way through the Art Institute. Soon thereafter, the Depression descended upon the nation, and Orr, after a decent interval, launched the apple-cart lady.

Martha Orr was not the first woman to draw a syndicated comic strip, but Apple Mary may have been the first comic strip with an all-girl orchestra. It was written and inked by Orr, pencilled by Dale Conner, and lettered by Ruth Belew, a retired ballet dancer. Orr eventually married a man named Hassel, and in 1939, she decided to give up the strip to devote her energies full-time to raising her family. Conner took over the drawing chores, and the syndicate recruited a new writer for the strip, a columnist on Ohio’s Toledo News-Bee named Allen Saunders, who, in his off-hours, was writing Big Chief Wahoo (eventually re-titled Steve Roper), and Saunders turned the strip into Mary Worth. In the fall of 1942, Conner left and Ken Ernst came on board to do the drawing, which he continued to do until he died in August 1985.

That’s the way the history books have it, but when Martha Orr died at the age of 92 on July 27, 2001, she unintentionally launched a minor ripple of controversy in the backwater of investigative comics research. In preparing Orr’s obituary, the Chicago Tribune reporter who wrote it had the presence of mind to phone King Features, the syndicate currently distributing the strip, where he talked to an unnamed official who denied, oddly, that the two strips were at all related. Mary Worth, so this personage claimed, was a replacement strip that was offered to client newspapers when Mrs. Hassel retired in 1939. This bland denial immediately got comics scholars’ wattles into an uproar: Apple Mary not Mary Worth? Who sez?

Well, we don’t know who said. Rick Hepp, the Tribune reporter, was somewhat puzzled by the syndicate assertion: he took pains to point out in his Orr obit that “several sources, including The Encyclopedia of American Comics” by Ron Goulart, record that Orr’s strip was Mary Worth’s precursor. Later, in the tiny flurry that resulted from the King Features’ claim, the truth, in all its various guises, emerged. And it is with the object of nailing that truth firmly to the wall for all to see that I take up the issue, again, here.

Allen Saunders never had any doubts about the matter: the two Marys are the same person. And he, if anyone, should know. His autobiography was published serially in Nemo magazine several years ago, and in No. 9 of that periodical, Saunders rehearses the details of his inheriting Apple Mary. When the syndicate (then Publishers, which distributed Big Chief Wahoo) asked Saunders to take on the writing task, he was nonplussed. “I can’t even read it,” Saunders responded, “let alone write it.” But since the Toledo News-Bee had recently sunk, taking Saunders’ writing berth with it, he had no regular newspaper gig anymore, so he agreed to take on the scripting.

“Laboring over the continuity,” he wrote, “I chanced upon a happy idea one day. Instead of treacly melodrama, why not do stories of the sort that were used in popular magazines for women? No current story strip dealt with romance and psychological drama instead of action. … To test the idea of a story with which women readers could better identify, I wrote a sequence in which a passenger plane made a forced landing in a meadow. Conveniently, [Apple] Mary Worth lived nearby. One of the passengers to whom kindly Mary gave shelter was Leona Stockpool, the daughter, naturally, of a Wall Street stockbroker.” The father hires Mary to help him cope with the headstrong Leona.

After some weeks of this sort of thing, the syndicate urged Saunders to keep on with it, and Leona marries a candidate for governor named John Blackston, which permitted Saunders to dabble in politics. The rest, as they say, is history (whether the unnamed King official likes it or not). But here’s the crucial passage from Saunders’ autobiography:

Soon after our team took over, we changed the name of the strip to Mary Worth’s Family. Later, it took on its present title, Mary Worth. In her new role, the old street merchant [Apple Mary] obviously was not usable. So Ken Ernst gave her a beauty treatment, some weight loss and a more appropriate wardrobe…. We put her applecart in storage, where it will remain, even in the event of another economic slump. Our Mary has more timely things to do than peddle pippins.

No one ever expects to get any closer to the horse’s mouth than this. Apple Mary is Mary Worth. And when I phoned the late Jay Kennedy, then King’s editor-in-chief, he was as dumbfounded by the obit’s claim to the contrary as I and all the rest of us dusty-shouldered delvers into comics history had been. Every history he’s ever read, he said, has Mary Worth morphing out of Apple Mary. So somebody in the King shop just goofed. It happens. And now that everything is sorted out satisfactorily, all is forgiven.

Still, a few doubters lingered at the fringes of this archival expedition. And then, happily, we got inside the horse’s mouth, right there amongst the molars and bicuspidors. At the New York Daily News, Jay Maeder, writer of Annie in her last days, was rummaging in his personal stash of old comic strip clippings and found some Apple Marys from 1935 and sent me copies, which are on display in this vicinity. From these strips, dated February, it is clear beyond quibble that Apple Mary is Mary Worth—and was from the very beginning. These February strips, appearing within four months of the strip’s debut, set the conditions of Mary Worth’s apple-peddling occupation before us. Maeder wrote me: “I [always] thought Apple Mary was some standard-issue Depression bag lady who subsequently came into a little money and improved herself. Turns out she was a woman of refinement and breeding the whole time, a once-wealthy individual who had been cheated out of her properties and reduced to apple-selling to keep together body and soul. Apparently, at least early on, her efforts to restore herself to her accustomed station in life provided much of the heart-tugging drama of the thing. You live, you learn.”

As have we all.

You may have noticed that the “team” Saunders refers to when they changed the strip’s name the first time evidently didn’t include Dale Conner. In the history of the feature, it did; but in Saunders recollection, she wasn’t there. Probably he knew that she didn’t want to be there.

Everyone seemed happy with Saunders’ transformation of Apple Mary into Mary Worth—with the restoration of the protagonist to her former station in life, that is—except Conner, who was then drawing the strip with a liquid line that sharply defined the milieu and the characters. She didn’t like Saunders’ changes to the strip. Writing to Milton Caniff, she said: “I’m so heart-sick over what Apple Mary has turned out to be. Working on it has become a chore. There’s no action to draw, only dull and childish conversation, and the plot is so inane that I gag as I try to make something of it. I dread seeing the proofs each week for my feeling shows in them.”

Conner preferred adventure stories—like Caniff’s Terry and the Pirates. By 1942 she was married and had endured Saunders’ scripts enough: her husband, Herb Ulrey, teamed with her to write a new strip that she drew, Hugh Striver, a epic about a high school athlete. It lasted until February 1945 whereupon the team concocted an airplane strip, Ayer Lane, which lasted only a little longer than their other effort.

Meanwhile, back for another Saunders’ Worth, we can report that the strip is still lunging along. It is so often published adjacent to Judge Parker and Rex Morgan on the funnies page that I am tempted to think the three come as a matched set. I half expect to open the paper someday and find Mary leaning over the windowsill panel border of her strip to give Rex or the Judge down below the benefit of her advice.

Mary, by the way, never married during the run of the strip. She came close once, though. In 1949 she meets a charming old coot named Drum Greenwood, who has piled up a fortune with his successful bubble-gum business. When he promises to endow in her name a slum clearance project, she agrees to the nuptials. But on her way to the church, the taxi gets in an accident, and Mary suffers amnesia. She is still, apparently, under its influence because she has never married old Greenwood.

Her grandson Denny, on the other hand, advanced in life. He lost his crutches along the way and earned himself a respected slot in a Neiman-Marcus sort of establishment, where he eventually married the fashion designer named September Smith. Lovely name.

Oh—when I said Mary Worth wasn’t, actually, the first soap opera, I was thinking of an earlier strip that oozed heartthrob and psychic agony: Sidney Smith’s The Gumps, which began its sudsy strain in the early 1920s. The strip started February 12, 1917, but it didn’t get genuinely soapy until four years later when Andy Gump’s rich Uncle Bim almost falls into the matrimonial clutches of the avaricious Widow Zander. But that’s another story for another day.

Voir aussi:

The Next Page: Every little thing she does

Barry Alfonso

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

March 4, 2007

Mary Worth seems to have always been with us. Generations have followed her activities ("adventures" seems too strong a word) in the pages of U.S. newspapers. She’s dispensed advice to her friends and neighbors since FDR was in the White House, remaining in the same 60-ish age range as wars and recessions have come and gone outside the confines of her two-panels-a-day world. Somehow, she’s survived the Darwinian laws of American entertainment that usually kill off the old, lame and slow. Lately, I’ve been wondering why.

The Post-Gazette readers’ poll conducted last fall helped crystallize my thinking about "Mary Worth." It seems that her strip came in dead last in popularity — an achievement of sorts, considering how innocuous most comic strips are. As I’ve subsequently learned, other newspapers have discovered how Mary polarizes their readerships.

Last year, for instance, the Akron Beacon Journal received a flurry of angry letters after they dropped the strip. It’s clear that, despite her sweetness, the lady has both advocates and enemies. (About 350 papers carry the strip at present, incidentally.) Ever since I was a youngster, "Mary Worth" has been the butt of jokes. Forty years ago, Carol Burnett used to do skits on her TV program about "Mary Worthless"; more recently, "The Simpsons" has invoked her name as a symbol of stodginess. This sort of mockery only proves that she is a symbol — or more properly, an archetype.

The slightly doughy but innately elegant Mary embodies a civility that is fading out of real life. Moreover, the very pace of the strip conveys something profound: that time is a variable concept, regulated by perception. In this sense, the comic strip "Mary Worth" is more interactive and transformative than the most cutting-edge IT entertainment. Stories take months or entire seasons to unfold; a single afternoon inside Mary’s condo complex can translate to a week’s worth of strips. The reader must slow down — almost on a metabolic level — to get in sync with the proceedings.

Even by comic strip standards, "Mary Worth" moves at a leisurely pace — by comparison, the likes of "Rex Morgan, M.D." hit the eyeballs with the velocity of a Jerry Bruckheimer action film. Like a Kabuki play, Mary Worth’s stories unfold rather formally, marked by ritualized speech and poses.

The strip’s characters are almost always shown from the waist up, contributing to the still-life portrait look of each panel. Plots advance by a sort of peristaltic motion toward crisis points — the strip is, after all, a soap opera. Emotional gales buffet the pale walls of the Charterstone Condominium Complex and swirl around Mary, sometimes nearly engulfing her. Last fall, the drama level picked up a bit — a confrontation with a Captain Kangaroo-lookalike stalker named Aldo Kelrast led to his death in a drunken driving accident.

But it’s hard to imagine many people reading the strip for excitement. The effects of following "Mary Worth" are more subtle, more cumulative, like those of a time-released pill or a blow to the head that takes days to register.

As the decades have passed, Mary Worth has truly become sui generis. There is nothing else in American entertainment quite like it. In this era of quick spurts of hype and flash, when an "interactive Web-based serial" like "lonelygirl15" can become the Flavor of the Nanosecond, Mary Worth stands apart as a true exotic. More than anything, it impresses by just continuing to continue.

Change doesn’t come easily to this hermetically sealed world — when it does, it’s definitely noticed. Joe Giella recalls what happened when he started drawing the strip in 1991: "My editor said, ‘Take out some of the lines in Mary Worth’s face.’ So I streamlined her. A lot of fans got upset — the L.A. Times ran a headline asking, ‘Who gave Mary Worth a face-tuck?’ I thought it was the end of my job." Giella restored some of Mary’s wrinkles and weathered the firestorm.

"It was hard for me to get used to doing this strip," he continues. "I’d been drawing super-heroes for a long time, and I don’t think anyone has thrown a punch in Mary Worth in 30 years. I said, ‘There’s nothing going on here.’ But now I’m into it."

Giella follows a template that was largely established some 70 years ago. That’s the secret of the strip’s longevity, he feels: "It’s consistent — Mary doesn’t change. She’s just a good-hearted, helpful person. People are just used to seeing the strip and they stay loyal to it."

It might surprise some to know that the recent stories in "Mary Worth" are fast-paced compared with those featured in past strips. John Saunders, son of the strip’s co-creator, would sometimes take up to 18 months to resolve a plot. After his death in 2004, Karen Moy took over the writing duties and began to pick up the tempo — about three stories are now completed each year, she says.

With Moy at the helm, "Mary Worth" has gingerly ventured into new territory. Traditionally, the focus of the strip has been on Mary’s friends, not Worth herself. Lately, though, her shadowy inner world has been explored — besides fending off a stalker, she’s dealt with feelings of resentments toward a new neighbor (nonagenarian psychic Ella Byrd) and proven her long-simmering affection for widowed doctor Jeff Corey by standing by him during a life-threatening illness at a clinic in Vietnam. Moy promises further plot twists and unexpected revelations in the future.

Whatever spice is added to the stories, the essential "Mary Worth" formula will continue to be adhered to. In my opinion, the plots are almost beside the point — the strip is read because of who Mary is, not for what she does. Moy doubtlessly speaks for longtime readers when she describes Mary’s appeal as a person: "She’s always been a force of compassion and wisdom, someone you can rely on. She does show human traits, like jealousy, self-doubt, fear and remorse. But she always handles herself with dignity."

There’s a glow to Moy’s words that suggests she’s describing a saint, not a matronly condo-dweller. As is often true of revered personages, Mary has attracted loyalists who remain devoted over a lifetime. "It’s like a cult," says Giella. "They watch everything I do — I get over 12-15 letters a month and they aren’t always complimentary."

Conversely, Mary’s saint-like qualities are what make her a punch line: "Maybe it’s because it’s easy to poke fun at a character who promotes ideals like compassion," says Moy. "This isn’t a very idealistic world, and some people gravitate toward characters that are sarcastic or bitter."

I suspect that Mary’s selflessly giving nature is directly related to the pacing of her strip. In her world, there is time for long pauses between thoughts and actions, to carefully consider the needs of others before offering the right words of advice or solace. There is time to linger at your front door if a neighbor is in trouble — who cares if the conversation drags on for a week or two?

ll this goes against the grain of our age, of course. But I would suggest that reading "Mary Worth" can be a wake-up call as well as an act of daily meditation. We dismiss her at our peril.

Just as the glacial ice of the polar regions is melting under the effects of human-induced global warming, so the glacial pace of "Mary Worth" may be doomed in today’s overheated entertainment climate. And, as the great ice shelves are assets we cannot afford to lose, so the anachronistic tempo and quaint sense of decency in "Mary Worth" are something not lightly thrown away.

Here’s at least one reader who wishes Mary to remain right where she is, a little window into a lost world of torpid motion and gentle spirits.

"In every situation, I always try to do the kindest thing possible"

– Mary Worth

Like an angel, she exists on a higher plane, hovering on the edges of private thought and collective memory. She is a Presence in mass American culture, more enduring than typical three-dimensional celebrities and more familiar than most of our presidents. Millions have encountered her repeatedly and many would recognize her on sight. Some think she’s ridiculous; quite a few others consider her a comforter, a friend.

Barry Alfonso is a journalist and author living in Swissvale. (louminatti@earthlink.net)The Next Page is different every week.


Diplomatie: C’est avec les beaux sentiments qu’on fait de la mauvaise diplomatie (If you treat him like a statesman, he’ll be one)

12 décembre, 2012
C’est avec les beaux sentiments qu’on fait de la mauvaise littérature. André Gide
Dans l’expression ‘gouvernement islamique’, pourquoi jeter d’emblée la suspicion sur l’adjectif ‘islamique’ ? Le mot ‘gouvernement’ suffit, à lui seul, à éveiller la vigilance. Foucault (dec. 1978)
Khomeini est une sorte de figure à la Gandhi. William Sullivan (ambassadeur américain à Téhéran)
Khomeini (…) n’est pas un ‘mujahid fou", mais un homme d’une intégrité et d’une honnêteté impeccables. James Bill (conseiller de Carter, Newsweek, February 12, 1979)
Supposer que l’Ayatollah Khomeiny est un dissimulateur est presque iconcevable. Son style politique est d’exprimer son point de vue réel d’une manière provocante  et sans concession. Peu importe les conséquences. Il a peu d’incitations pour devenir brusquement sournois pour flatter l’opinion publique américaine. Ainsi, le dépeindre comme fanatique, réactionnaire et porteur de préjugés bruts apparait heureusement et certainement faux. Aussi, ce qui est encourageant, c’est que son entourage de proches conseillers est uniformément composé d’individus modérés et progressistes. (…) En dépit de ces turbulences, beaucoup d’Iraniens non religieux parlent de cette période comme l’heure de gloire de l’Islam. Après avoir créé un nouveau modèle de révolution populaire fondée, pour l’essentiel, sur les tactiques nonviolentes, l’Iran pourrait bien finalement nous fournir le modèle de gouvernance humaine dont ont désespérément besoin  les pays du tiers-monde. Richard Falk (universitaire de Princeton et conseiller de Carter, « Trusting Khomeini », NYT, February 16, 1979)
Nombre des déclarations [de l'Iran] sont certes répréhensibles, mais elles ne constituent pas une incitation au génocide. Personne ne les a mises en oeuvre. Kenneth Roth (président de Human Rights Watch)
L’ex-otage britannique au Liban, Terry Waite, a effectué une visite à Beyrouth la semaine dernière, 25 ans après son enlèvement par le Jihad islamique, un groupe pro-iranien proche du Hezbollah, rapportait dimanche un journaliste du Sunday Telegraph qui l’a accompagné durant son voyage. (…) Au cours de sa visite, M. Waite, 73 ans, s’est réuni lundi dernier avec le responsable des relations internationales au sein du Hezbollah, Ammar Moussawi, pour des "discussions de réconciliation". La réunion a duré près de deux heures. Il a affirmé au journal britannique avoir demandé au parti islamiste libanais d’aider les réfugiés chrétiens syriens qui ont fui les violences dans leur pays. Terry Waite est un ancien émissaire du chef de l’Église anglicane de l’époque, Robert Runcie. Il a été enlevé au Liban en 1987 alors qu’il tentait de négocier la libération de quatre otages occidentaux. Accusé d’être un espion, il a été détenu par le Jihad islamique pendant 1 760 jours avant d’être libéré en 1991. (…) Au cours de sa réunion avec M. Moussawi, le Britannique s’est montré très critique vis-à-vis des soulèvements en cours dans le monde arabe, dénonçant l’islamisation des révolutions. "Le Printemps arabe s’est transformé en un pouvoir d’oppression et non de liberté", a-t-il dit au responsable du Hezbollah qui l’a en retour qualifié de "grand homme". L’Orient du jour
Lors de la crise des missiles de Cuba, les États-Unis n’ont pas été confrontés à Cuba, mais à l’Union Soviétique. Israël n’a pas été confronté à Gaza, mais à l’Iran. Michael B. Oren (ambassadeur israélien aux États-Unis et historien militaire)
Même pour les normes de l’Afrique des années 1990, le RUF avait mis la barre très haut pour la brutalité. Ses soldats étaient principalement des enfants enlevés à leurs parents, nourris à la cocaïne et aux amphétamines. Son financement provenait des diamants du sang. Il s’était fait une véritable réputation pour l’amputations des membres de ses victimes. Ses campagnes militaires portaient des noms comme "tout doit disparaitre". En janvier 1999, six mois avant le témoignage de Mme Rice du Sénat, le RUF fit le siège de la capitale, Freetown. "Le RUF a incendié des maisons avec leurs occupants toujours à l’intérieur, découpé à la machette les membres ou arraché les yeux au couteau de ses victimes, violé les enfants et abattu de nombreuses personnes dans la rue, » a écrit Ryan Lizza dans The New Republic. "En trois semaines, le RUF tué quelques 6 000 personnes, principalement des civils." Que faire avec un tel groupe? L’Administration Clinton a eu une idée. Amorcer un processus de paix. Il n’a pas semblé  faire problème que Sankoh était manifestement irrécupérable et probablement psychotique. Ni qu’il avait violé les accords antérieurs pour mettre fin à la guerre. « Si vous traitez Sankoh comme un homme d’État, il le deviendra", telle était la théorie opératoire au Département d’Etat, selon un membre du personnel du Congrès cité par M. Lizza. Au lieu de traiter Sankoh comme une partie du problème, sinon le problème lui-même, le Département allait le traiter comme faisant partie de la solution. Un représentant du RUF fut donc invité à Washington pour des entretiens. Jesse Jackson fut nommé au poste d’envoyé spécial du président Clinton. (…) Un mois plus tard, les voeux de Mme Ricefurent exaucés avec la signature de l’Accord de paix de Lomé. C’était un incroyable Il s’agissait d’un document. Au nom de la réconciliation, les combattants du RUF furent amnistiés. Sankoh devint vice-président de la Sierra Leone. Pour adoucir l’affaire, il était également chargé de la commission chargée de surveiller le commerce des diamants du pays. Tout cela fut imposé au Président Kabbah. En septembre 1999, Mme Rice salua les efforts de"pratiques" du pasteur Jackson, de l’ambassadeur américain Joe Melrose "et de beaucoup d’autres" pour avoir contribué à la signature de l’accord de Lomé. Pendant des mois par la suite, Mme Rice célèbra les accords à chaque occasion. le pasteur Jackson, dit-elle, avait « joué un rôle particulièrement important, » comme l’avait fait Howard Jeter, son adjoint au Département. Lors d’une séance de questions-réponses avec des journalistes africains le 16 février 2000, elle défendit la participation de Sankoh au gouvernement, notant que "il y a plusieurs cas où des accords de paix dans le monde ont envisagé la conversion de mouvements rebelles en partis politiques". Qui plus est, les États-Unis étaient même prêts à donner un coup de main à Sankoh, pourvu qu’il se tienne bien. "Parmi les institutions de gouvernement que nous sommes prêts à aider," dit-elle, "il y a bien sûr la Commission des ressources quel dirige M. Sankoh." Bien entendu. Trois mois plus tard, le RUF prenait 500 casques bleus des Nations Unies en otage et menaçait à nouveau Freetown. L’Accord de Lomé était devenu lettre morte. Bret Stephens
La croissance économique qui a suivi la révolution était agitée et insoutenable, note Gaidar, reprenant un thème de son ouvrage précédent, "L’effondrement d’un Empire". Dans "Russie: une vision à long terme," il se tourne rapidement vers les mois qui ont suivi l’effondrement soviétique, citant les notes de service catastrophiques sur la famine imminente et la désintégration sociale qui s’entassaient sur son bureau en novembre 1991. Il réfute plusieurs idées sur ce qui s’est passé à cette époque, y compris l’affirmation fausse que la réforme économique avait provoqué la crise – i.e., que la stabilisation monétaire, la privatisation et la libéralisation des prix avaient entraîné une chute catastrophique de production. Une telle revendication, pour Gaidar, vient du fait de regarder le problème du mauvaise côté. L’argent soviétique n’était pas de l’argent réel, tout comme la production soviétique n’était pas de la vraie production. L’économie avait créé des produits et services dont personne ne voulait, par l’intermédiaire de processus qui détruisaient la valeur au lieu de le créer. L’arrêt des fausses incitations à produire ne pouvait que provoquerque l’effondrement de la production enregistrée. La réforme était nécessaire parce que les dirigeants soviétiques avaient hérité d’une crise qui menaçait l’existence même du pays. Gaidar conclut en évaluant les dirigeants actuels de la Russie. "Il n’est pas difficile d’être populaire et avoir un soutien politique", écrit-il, "lorsque vous disposez de dix années de croissance du revenu réel à 10 pour cent par an". Mais cette époque est révolue. Le régime doit maintenant choisir entre répression ("tentant mais suicidaire") et ce qu’il appelle "la libéralisation réglementée". En particulier, il soutient que la Russie doit rétablir la liberté d’expression, ouvrir son processus de prise de décision, instituer un système judiciaire indépendant et mener une "guerre contre la corruption". Taiwan, l’Espagne et le Chili sont pour lui des exemples à suivre. Edward Lucas
Reuel Marc Gerecht, de la Fondation pour la défense des démocraties et Brian Katulis du Center for American Progress soutenaient "Plutôt des islamistes élus que des dictateurs » (…) Katulis a accusé les dictatures d’encourager « les sortes d’idéologies » qui ont conduit au 9/11 et Gerecht a insisté que ce sont les juntes militaires, pas les islamistes, qui sont généralement « le véritable danger. … Le seul moyen d’obtenir un ordre plus libéral au Moyen-Orient, c’est par l’intermédiaire des électeurs croyants" qui portent les islamistes au pouvoir. Katulis a soutenu que les islamistes élus changent et deviennent moins idéologiques et plus pragmatiques ; que pris dans la mélée de la politique au jour le jour ils évoluent pour se concentrer sur les « besoins fondamentaux », tels que la sécurité et l’emploi.(…) En seulement trois mois, Morsi a montré qu’il aspire à des pouvoirs dictatoriaux supérieurs à ceux de Moubarak et que son règne laisse présager une encore plus grande calamité pour l’Égypte que Moubarak. Il a parfaitement justifié notre point de vue à Jasser et à moi qu’il vaut mieux des dictateurs que des islamistes élus. Comme je l’ai indiqué au cours du débat, les Occidentaux doivent fermer avec détermination la porte aux dictateurs idéologiques comme les islamistes tout en faisant pression sur les dictateurs avides pour qu’ils fassent place à la société civile. Telle est la la seule porte de sortie de ce faux choix entre deux formes de tyrannie. Daniel Pipes

A l’heure où, avec les missiles de Gaza, la révolution iranienne vient pour la énième fois de confirmer tout le potentiel qu’avait laissé escomter il y a plus de 40 ans son lancement franco-américain sur les fronts baptismaux  …

Et où, de l’ONU à l’ex-otage du Hezbollah Terry Waite, la même bien-pensance occidentale est repartie pour un tour avec l’adoubement d’organisations qui continuent à appeler à l’annihilation d’un de leurs voisins …

Comment ne pas être attendri avec l’islamologue Daniel Pipes commentant la nouvelle expérience en cours et en direct de l’Egypte

Par la confondante et indéfectible constance avec laquelle les belles âmes qui nous gouvernent …

Continuent à ignorer pour la diplomatie la leçon de Gide sur la littérature ?

Better Dictators than Elected Islamists

Daniel Pipes

The Washington Times

December 11, 2012

Washington Times title: "Islamists are worse than dictators"

Who is worse, President Mohamed Morsi, the elected Islamist seeking to apply Islamic law in Egypt, or President Husni Mubarak, the former dictator ousted for trying to start a dynasty? More broadly will a liberal, democratic order more likely emerge under Islamist ideologues who prevail through the ballot box or from greedy dictators with no particular agenda beyond their own survival and power?

Morsi’s recent actions provide an answer, establishing that Islamists are yet worse than dictators.

This issue came up in an interesting debate for Intelligence Squared U.S. in early October when Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress argued "Better elected Islamists than dictators," while Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and I argued the counter-argument. Well, no one really argued "for" anyone. The other team did not endorse Islamists, we certainly did not celebrate dictators. The issue, rather, was which sort of ruler is the lesser of two evils, and can be cudgeled to democracy.

Katulis blamed dictatorships for fostering "the sorts of ideologies" that led to 9/11 and Gerecht insisted that military juntas, not Islamists, generally are "the real danger. … The only way you’re going to get a more liberal order in the Middle East is through people of faith" who vote Islamists into office. Katulis argued that elected Islamists change and morph, becoming less ideological and more practical; they evolve in response to the rough and tumble of politics to focus on "basic needs" such as security and jobs.

President Mohamed Morsi meeting with Australia’s Prime Minister Julie Gillard in Sept. 2012.

In Iraq, Gerecht professed to find that "a tidal wave of people who were once hard core Islamists who … have become pretty profound democrats, if not liberals." As for Egypt, he noted approvingly but inaccurately that "The Muslim Brotherhood is having serious internal debates because they haven’t figured out how to handle [their success]. That’s what we want. We want them to fight it out."

Jasser and I replied to this catalogue of inaccuracies (military juntas led to 9/11?) and wishful thinking (true believers will compromise on their goals? a tidal wave of Iraqi Islamists became liberals?) by stating first that ideologues are "dictators on steroids" who don’t moderate upon reaching power but dig themselves in, building foundations to remain indefinitely in office. Second, ideologues neglect the very issues that our opponents stressed – security and jobs – in favor of implementing Islamic laws. Greedy dictators, in contrast, short on ideology and vision, do not have a vision of society and so can be convinced to move toward economic development, personal freedoms, an open political process, and rule of law (for example, South Korea).

Lo and behold, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have followed exactly our script. Since taking power in August, Morsi (1) sidelined the military, then focused on entrenching and expanding their supremacy, most notably by issuing a series of orders on Nov. 22 that arrogated autocratic powers to him and spreading Zionist conspiracy theories about his opponents. He then (2) rammed through an Islamist-oriented constitution on Nov. 30 and called a snap referendum on it Dec. 15. Consumed with these two tasks, he virtually ignored the myriad issues afflicting Egypt, especially the looming economic crisis and the lack of funds to pay for imported food.

Morsi’s power grab stimulated anti-Islamist Egyptians to join forces as the "National Salvation Front" and confront Islamists in the most violent street clashes in six decades, forcing him partially to retreat from his Nov.22 orders. Ironically, after deftly sidelining the military in August, Morsi’s overreach created circumstances that returned ultimate authority to the generals, who can intervene for or against him. By choosing Islamist sympathizers as top officers and offering the military enhanced privileges in the proposed constitution, he has in all likelihood won their support. Martial law appears likely next.

In just three months, Morsi has shown that he aspires to dictatorial powers greater than Mubarak’s and that his rule portends to be an even greater calamity for Egypt than was Mubarak’s. He has neatly vindicated Jasser’s and my point: better dictators than elected Islamists. As I noted in the debate, Westerners should slam the door hard on ideological dictators like Islamists while pressuring greedy dictators to allow civil society. That offers the only exit from the false choice of two forms of tyranny.

Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum.

Voir aussi:

The Other Susan Rice File

How to embrace psychotic murderers and alienate a continent.

Bret Stephens

The WSJ

December 11, 2012

The trouble with a newspaper column lies in the word limit. Last week, I wrote about some of Susan Rice’s diplomatic misadventures in Africa during her years in the Clinton administration: Rwanda, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo. But there wasn’t enough space to get to them all.

And Sierra Leone deserves a column of its own.

On June 8, 1999, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ms. Rice, then the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, delivered testimony on a range of issues, and little Sierra Leone was high on the list. An elected civilian government led by a former British barrister named Ahmad Kabbah had been under siege for years by a rebel group known as the Revolutionary United Front, led by a Libyan-trained guerrilla named Foday Sankoh. Events were coming to a head.

Even by the standards of Africa in the 1990s, the RUF set a high bar for brutality. Its soldiers were mostly children, abducted from their parents, fed on a diet of cocaine and speed. Its funding came from blood diamonds. It was internationally famous for chopping off the limbs of its victims. Its military campaigns bore such names as "Operation No Living Thing."

In January 1999, six months before Ms. Rice’s Senate testimony, the RUF laid siege to the capital city of Freetown. "The RUF burned down houses with their occupants still inside, hacked off limbs, gouged out eyes with knives, raped children, and gunned down scores of people in the street," wrote Ryan Lizza in the New Republic. "In three weeks, the RUF killed some 6,000 people, mostly civilians."

What to do with a group like this? The Clinton administration had an idea. Initiate a peace process.

It didn’t seem to matter that Sankoh was demonstrably evil and probably psychotic. It didn’t seem to matter, either, that he had violated previous agreements to end the war. "If you treat Sankoh like a statesman, he’ll be one," was the operative theory at the State Department, according to one congressional staffer cited by Mr. Lizza. Instead of treating Sankoh as part of the problem, if not the problem itself, State would treat him as part of the solution. An RUF representative was invited to Washington for talks. Jesse Jackson was appointed to the position of President Clinton’s special envoy.

It would be tempting to blame Rev. Jackson for the debacle that would soon follow. But as Ms. Rice was keen to insist in her Senate testimony that June, it was the Africa hands at the State Department who were doing most of the heavy lifting.

"It’s been through active U.S. diplomacy behind the scenes," she explained. "It hasn’t gotten a great deal of press coverage, that we and others saw the rebels and the government of Sierra Leone come to the negotiating table just a couple of weeks ago, in the context of a negotiated cease-fire, in which the United States played an important role."

A month later, Ms. Rice got her wish with the signing of the Lomé Peace Accord. It was an extraordinary document. In the name of reconciliation, RUF fighters were given amnesty. Sankoh was made Sierra Leone’s vice president. To sweeten the deal, he was also put in charge of the commission overseeing the country’s diamond trade. All this was foisted on President Kabbah.

In September 1999, Ms. Rice praised the "hands-on efforts" of Rev. Jackson, U.S. Ambassador Joe Melrose "and many others" for helping bring about the Lomé agreement.

For months thereafter, Ms. Rice cheered the accords at every opportunity. Rev. Jackson, she said, had "played a particularly valuable role," as had Howard Jeter, her deputy at State. In a Feb. 16, 2000, Q&A session with African journalists, she defended Sankoh’s participation in the government, noting that "there are many instances where peace agreements around the world have contemplated rebel movements converting themselves into political parties."

What was more, the U.S. was even prepared to lend Sankoh a helping hand, provided he behaved himself. "Among the institutions of government that we are prepared to assist," she said, "is of course the Commission on Resources which Mr. Sankoh heads."

Of course.

Three months later, the RUF took 500 U.N. peacekeepers as hostages and was again threatening Freetown. Lomé had become a dead letter. The State Department sought to send Rev. Jackson again to the region, but he was so detested that his trip had to be canceled. The U.N.’s Kofi Annan begged for Britain’s help. Tony Blair obliged him.

"Over a number of weeks," Mr. Blair recalls in his memoirs, British troops "did indeed sort out the RUF. . . . The RUF leader Foday Sankoh was arrested, and during the following months there was a buildup of the international presence, a collapse of the rebels and over time a program of comprehensive disarmament. . . . The country’s democracy was saved."

Today Mr. Blair is a national hero in Sierra Leone. As for Ms. Rice and the administration she represented, history will deliver its own verdict.

Voir également:

Dancing Around Genocide

David Feith

The WSJ

December 5, 2012

Is promoting genocide a human-rights violation? You might think that’s an easy question. But it isn’t at Human Rights Watch, where a bitter debate is raging over how to describe Iran’s calls for the destruction of Israel. The infighting reveals a peculiar standard regarding dictatorships and human rights and especially the Jewish state.

Human Rights Watch is the George Soros-funded operation that has outsize influence in governments, newsrooms and classrooms world-wide. Some at the nonprofit want to denounce Iran’s regime for inciting genocide. "Sitting still while Iran claims a ‘justification to kill all Jews and annihilate Israel’ . . . is a position unworthy of our great organization," Sid Sheinberg, the group’s vice chairman, wrote to colleagues in a recent email.

But Executive Director Kenneth Roth, who runs the nonprofit, strenuously disagrees.

Asked in 2010 about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statement that Israel "must be wiped off the map," Mr. Roth suggested that the Iranian president has been misunderstood. "There was a real question as to whether he actually said that," Mr. Roth told The New Republic, because the Persian language lacks an idiom for wiping off the map. Then again, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s own English-language website translated his words that way, and the main alternative translation— "eliminated from the pages of history"—is no more benign. Nor is Mr. Ahmadinejad an outlier in the regime. Iran’s top military officer declared earlier this year that "the Iranian nation is standing for its cause that is the full annihilation of Israel."

Mr. Roth’s main claim is legalistic: Iran’s rhetoric doesn’t qualify as "incitement"—which is illegal under the United Nations Genocide Convention of 1948—but amounts merely to "advocacy," which is legal.

"The theory" to which Human Rights Watch subscribes, he has written in internal emails, "is that in the case of advocacy, however hateful, there is time to dissuade—to rebut speech with speech— whereas in the case of incitement, the action being urged is so imminently connected to the speech in question that there is no time to dissuade. Incitement must be suppressed because it is tantamount to action."

Mr. Roth added in another email: "Many of [Iran's] statements are certainly reprehensible, but they are not incitement to genocide. No one has acted on them."

Really? What about the officials, soldiers and scientists behind Iran’s nuclear program? Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was a senior nuclear scientist until his death in a car explosion this year. His widow afterward boasted: "Mostafa’s ultimate goal was the annihilation of Israel."

Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror group founded by the Tehran regime, is also unabashed about its motivations. Then there’s Hamas, the Tehran-backed Palestinian terror group whose founding charter declares that "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."

If building nuclear weapons and deploying Hezbollah and Hamas aren’t "action" in Mr. Roth’s view, what is? "Incitement to genocide did occur in Rwanda," he has written to colleagues. "Radio Milles Collines identified the locations of Tutsis and directed organized gangs to hunt them down, which they promptly did, in real time."

So if genocidal talk isn’t causing genocidal action in "real time," Human Rights Watch must sit on its hands. That approach seems to miss the purpose of both the Genocide Convention—to stop genocide before it happens, not simply litigate it afterward—and of human-rights activism generally.

For decades Human Rights Watch has done brave reporting behind the Iron Curtain, in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, communist China and other dark corners. Yet its silence on Iran’s genocidal rhetoric fits a pattern toward Israel.

Mr. Roth, when asked to comment for this article, said that a Human Rights Watch committee may review Iran’s rhetoric, but in his view Tehran isn’t inciting genocide and claims to the contrary are "part of an effort to beat the war drums against Iran." In other words, Tehran will continue to call for Israel’s obliteration—and Human Rights Watch will continue to sit back and watch.

Mr. Feith is an assistant editorial features editor at the Journal

Voir de plus:

Democracy Promotion or Islamist Promotion?
Bruce Thornton
Frontpage Magazine

December 12, 2012

The hope that democracy would bloom in Egypt following our collusion in removing Hosni Mubarak looks more and more delusional every day. Even our foreign policy wishful thinkers are no longer peddling the canard that the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is “secular” and “moderate,” thus proving that Muslims devoted to the global expansion of Islam and illiberal Sharia law can be liberal democrats friendly to our interests. But despite being mugged by the Islamist reality, too many democracy promoters in the West still refuse to acknowledge that the Iranian Revolution, not the American Revolution, is the likely model for the so-called “Arab Spring.”

The latest moves by president Mohammed Morsi to aggrandize Muslim Brotherhood power in Egypt would not surprise anyone even casually familiar with that organization’s aims and ideology. But even those presumably in the know still cling to the Western narrative predicated on Western assumptions. For example, New York Times Cairo bureau chief David Kirkpatrick recently said, “The Brotherhood, they’re politicians. They are not violent by nature, and they have over the last couple of decades evolved more and more into a moderate — conservative but religious, but moderate — regular old political force.” It takes just such a massive failure of imagination to ignore the illiberal and Islamist implications of Morsi’s recent autocratic behavior, which is consistent with nearly 90 years of Muslim Brotherhood jihadist goals like “the Koran is our law” and “death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” Is that not an aim “violent by nature”? What other global “regular old political force” endorses such illiberal aspirations? Like many Westerners, Kirkpatrick confuses pragmatism for moderation.

And don’t be fooled by the fact that Morsi’s November 22 decree insulating his actions from judicial review has been partially rescinded. The decree already has served its purpose. The Islamist-dominated assembly has finished writing the new constitution that enshrines Sharia law, and a referendum on it will be held on Saturday. Ominously, Morsi has deployed the army as “security,” giving it the right to arrest civilians. As the Wall Street Journal reports, “If voters pass the constitution on Saturday, it could give Islamists a nearly free hand to redraft the architecture of Egypt’s nascent democracy.” Andrew McCarthy last week quoted Morsi adviser Khairat al-Shater to give us a hint at what purpose that new constitutional structure would serve: “to subjugate people to God on earth” and “to organize our life and the lives of the people on the basis of Islam,” which is “our main and overall mission as Muslim Brothers.” As for Kirkpatrick’s old-fashioned pol Morsi, Freedom Center Shillman Fellow Raymond Ibrahim recently reported that a Muslim Brotherhood official said on Egyptian television that “Supreme Guide” Muhammed Badie “rules Morsi.” If true, this means an Egyptian government hostile to Israel and supportive of the terrorist gang Hamas, which like Badie explicitly endorses genocide, and committed to the “Grand Jihad” of subverting Western civilization from within.

But what about the protesters in Tahrir Square? Don’t they represent a significant liberal opposition to an Iran-like state arising in Egypt? We will know after Saturday, when a postponement of the referendum, or a result rejecting the constitution, will demonstrate that the thousands protesting in Cairo we see on the news represent the preferences of 83 million Egyptians we don’t see. But as Andrew Bostom reports, research by Vote Compass Egypt suggests that 70% of Egyptians will vote for a constitution that legalizes religious intolerance and ignores fundamental human rights, an outcome consistent with several years of polling in Egypt that consistently has found widespread support for Sharia law. Perhaps that’s why the liberals are trying to postpone the vote and are calling for a boycott. They understand that “democracy” understood only as popular sovereignty will lead to illiberal and tyrannical results. If you don’t believe them, listen to influential cleric Sheik Yasser Borhami, who said of the new constitution, “This constitution has more complete restraints on rights than ever existed before in any Egyptian constitution. This will not be a democracy that can allow what God forbids, or forbid what God allows.”

Meanwhile, another venue of revolution against a brutal dictator, Syria, also looks more and more likely to result in chaos favorable not to liberal democracy, but to the Muslim Brotherhood and the more explicitly jihadist gangs fighting against Assad. According to the New York Times, the al-Qaeda franchise Al-Nusra Front “has become one of the uprising’s most effective fighting forces” since “its fighters, a small minority of the rebels, have the boldness and skill to storm fortified positions and lead other battalions to capture military bases and oil fields. As their successes mount, they gather more weapons and attract more fighters.” Other Islamist groups were recently seen in a video leading a sing-along extolling terrorism, the destruction of the World Trade Center, and the Taliban. More frightening still, another video has surfaced that — assuming it’s authentic — shows the Free Syrian Army killing rabbits with some sort of poison gas.

But don’t worry, the new “opposition alliance” endorsed by France and the US is lead by Moaz al–Khatib. As J.E. Dyer reports, Khatib is “a Muslim Brotherhood member with a history of anti-Semitic, anti-Western statements, who has castigated as ‘revisionists’ fellow Muslims (like Alawites) whose beliefs differ on the margins, and who believes that the bombing of Israelis is ‘evidence of God’s justice.’” Yet despite all the signs that, as Frontpage’s Daniel Greenfield wrote recently, “Syria is coming down to a race between the Iranian allied Syrian government, the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda,” according to the London Sunday Times, “The United States is launching a covert operation to send weapons to Syrian rebels for the first time,” including “mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles.” Some of the weapons come from “the stockpiles of Muammar Gaddafi” and “include SA-7 missiles, which can be used to shoot down aircraft.” It’s looking more and more like a reprise of the debacle in Libya, where US military power was used to arm and empower jihadist gangs like the one that assassinated 4 Americans in Benghazi.

So this is what ten years of democracy promotion in the Middle East have brought us: illiberal states increasingly dominated by unstable mixtures of jihadist terrorists and more tactically savvy Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood who both share the goal of creating some version of Iran’s Islamic government. In short, we will have colluded in creating states hostile to our interests and security, and those of our closest ally in the region, Israel. Such are the fruits of foreign policy wishful thinking.

 

Voir enfin:

Shock Therapy’s Unsung Hero

Edward Lucas

The WSJ

December 11, 2012

The causes of modern economic growth are one great mystery, the sources of Russia’s plight another. Only someone with the intellectual ambition of Yegor Gaidar would try to penetrate both mysteries in a single volume.

Gaidar was for two decades one of the most important intellectual forces in Russia. As deputy prime minister he launched the country’s sprint to a market economy in November 1991, amid the ruins of the Soviet system. Personally austere and intellectually rigorous, he despised the corruption and cronyism that took root in Russia in the 1990s. But he was still more disillusioned by the authoritarian course plotted by Vladimir Putin after he became president in 2000. Gaidar died in 2009, at age 53.

"Russia: A Long View" synthesizes this remarkable man’s thinking about economics, history and politics. It ranges from the puzzles of slowing GDP per capita in the agrarian societies of the Neolithic Age to the quirks of alcohol consumption in 19th-century Germany. It is an uncompromising tombstone of a book, first published in Russia in 2005 but only posthumously in English, in an exemplary translation by Antonina W. Bouis.

Despite its Russo-centric title, Anders Åslund, the Swedish economist, describes "Russia: A Long View," in the book’s foreword, as one of the best single-volume economic histories of the world ever written.

It opens with a survey of Marxist analysis of economic growth. Gaidar has some sympathy for Karl Marx himself, who in Gaidar’s view saw the weaknesses in his own theories more clearly than his followers did. But he blasts the Marxist simplicities that surrounded much Soviet-era thinking about economic development—in particular the Marxian assumption that economies conform to "the iron laws of history." Far from obeying iron laws, Gaidar says, modern economies find themselves subject to "an incomplete, continuing process of dynamic transformations without precedent in world history."

Having established his theoretical framework, Gaidar turns to the root causes of Russia’s backwardness. He places special emphasis on the eclipse of the self-governing medieval republic of Novgorod in northern Russia, a polity akin, he says, to Italy’s then-thriving city-states.

When Novgorod was subjugated by Moscow in the 15th century, becoming part of Russia’s vast feudal apparatus, Russia became separated "culturally, religiously, politically and ideologically from the center of innovation that Western Europe was rapidly becoming." Whereas elements of a "taxpayers’ based democracy" were becoming entrenched in Europe, Russia’s system was of the "Eastern despotic type," based on maximizing the resources that the state could extract from the peasant population.

In the years before the Russian Revolution, Gaidar argues, the country was beginning to shed the burden of its past, with urbanization and fast economic growth narrowing the gap with Europe. But communist economics brought a sharply different course, marked by the state ownership of property, the bureaucratic allocation of resources, forced industrialization, militarism and ruthless political repression.

The economic growth that followed the revolution was fitful and unsustainable, Gaidar notes, recapitulating a theme of his earlier book, "Collapse of an Empire." In "Russia: A Long View," he turns quickly to the months after the Soviet collapse, citing the graphic memorandums about impending famine and social breakdown that piled up on his desk in November 1991. He rebuts several ideas about what happened at that time, including the bogus claim that economic reform caused the crisis—i.e., that price liberalization, monetary stabilization and privatization resulted in a catastrophic fall in output.

Such a claim, Gaidar says, comes from viewing the problem the wrong way round. Soviet money wasn’t real money, just as Soviet output wasn’t real production. The economy created goods and services that nobody wanted via processes that destroyed value rather than creating it. Ending phony incentives to produce was bound to send recorded output crashing down. Reform was necessary because the Soviet leadership had bequeathed a crisis that threatened the country’s very existence.

Gaidar concludes by assessing Russia’s current leadership. "It is not hard to be popular and have political support," he writes, "when you have ten years of growth of real income at 10 percent a year." But that era is over. The regime must now choose between repression ("tempting but suicidal") and what he calls "regulated liberalization."

In particular, he argues that Russia needs to restore freedom of speech, open up its process of decision- making, institute an independent judiciary and wage a "war on corruption." Taiwan, Spain and Chile, he says, offer examples of how to do it. It would be a task worthy of Gaidar’s own talents, if only he were around to offer them.

Mr. Lucas is the author of "Deception," a new book on Russian espionage, and "The New Cold War: Putin’s Russia and the Threat to the West."

Voir enfin:


Palestine/ONU: Ils ont enlevé l’étoile du drapeau jordanien et d’un seul coup nous étions palestiniens (It’s the continuation of war on zionism by other means, stupid !)

5 décembre, 2012

Toutes personnes qui, nées en pays étranger, descendant, en quelque degré que ce soit, d’un Français ou d’une Française expatriés pour cause de religion, sont déclarés naturels français et jouiront des droits attachés à cette qualité s’ils reviennent en France, y fixent leur domicile, et prêtent le serment civique. (…) Les religionnaires fugitifs et autres dont les biens ont été confisqués pour cause de religion, et leurs héritiers sont appelés à recueillir (…) les biens qui se trouvent actuellement dans les mains des fermiers préposés à leur régie. Loi du 15 décembre 1790
Les descendants des familles proscrites, lors de la révocation de l’Edit de Nantes, continueront à bénéficier des dispositions de la loi du 15 décembre 1790, mais à la condition d’un décret spécial pour chaque demandeur. Ce décret ne produira d’effet que pour l’avenir. Loi du 26 juin 1889
Voulons et entendons que l’Edit du feu Roi de glorieuse mémoire, notre très honoré seigneur et père, du 23 avril 1615, soit exécuté dans nos îles, ce faisant, ordonnons à tous nos officiers de chasser hors de nos îles tous les juifs qui y ont établi leur résidence, auxquels, comme aux ennemis déclarés du nom chrétien, nous commandons d’en sortir dans trois mois, à compter du jour de la publication des présentes, à peine de confiscation de corps et de biens. Code noir (article 1, mars 1685)
Une Allemagne de l’Ouest tronquée après la seconde guerre mondiale a absorbé et réhabilité pas moins de 9,7 millions de personnes déplacées. La petite Autriche a reçu 178 000 réfugiés hongrois à la suite de la Révolution hongroise de 1956. L’Italie a recueilli 585 000 Italiens déplacés issus des territoire cédés à la Yougoslavie et de diverses régions d’Afrique. La France a donné l’asile permanent à 1,4 millions de réfugiés (y compris des musulmans algériens) déplacés par l’émergence de nouveaux États souverains en Afrique du Nord et en Indochine. Les Pays-Bas, petits et bondés, ont accueilli et intégré 230 000 réfugiés d’Indonésie. La Turquie a réinstallé 150 000 Turcs expulsés par le régime communiste de Bulgarie. Julius Stone (Self-determination and the Palestinian Arabs", in I. Howe and C. Gershman eds., Israel, the Arabs and the Middle East, 1972)
Ce qui m’étonne le plus, c’est qu’après 50 ans le droit au retour soit toujours un problème entretenu par le grand nombre de Palestiniens encore dans les camps de réfugiés. Pourquoi sont-ils toujours là après 50 ans ? Sur le plan personnel, ma famille et moi, avec des millions d’autres, ont perdu leurs terres et leurs biens à la suite de la partition de l’Inde en 1947. Nous étions réfugiés. Les gouvernements Indiens et pakistanais ont fourni peu d’aide, mais surtout les réfugiés eux-mêmes, après un certain temps, se sont recréés une nouvelle vie. Il n’y a pas de camps de réfugiés sur aucun des deux côtés de la frontière indo-pakistanaise remplis de millions de gens faisant valoir leur droit au retour. Deepak Lal ("In Praise of Empires, Globalization and Order", 2004)
Les conversions massives à l’époque grecque et romaine enlèvent au judaïsme toute signification ethnologique, et coupent tout lien physique (mais non pas spirituel) avec la Palestine […] La plupart des Juifs de Gaule ou d’Italie, sont le produit de ces conversions. Quant aux Juifs du bassin du Danube, ou du Sud de la Russie, ils descendent sans doute des Khazars. Ces régions contiennent de nombreuses populations juives qui probablement n’ont rien à voir, du point de vue ethnologique, avec les Juifs d’origine. Ernest Renan (« Le Judaïsme comme race et religion », 1883)
La grande majorité des fellahs ne tirent pas leur origine des envahisseurs arabes, mais d’avant cela, des fellahs juifs qui étaient la majorité constitutive du pays. Yitzhak Ben Zvi (second président de l’Etat d’Israël, 1929)
Pourquoi le soir du 4 juin 1967 j’étais Jordanien et le lendemain matin j’étais Palestinien ? (…) Nous n’étions pas trop gênés par le royaume jordanien. L’enseignement de la destruction de l’Israël était une partie intégrale du programme d’études. Nous nous sommes considérés "Jordaniens" jusqu’à ce que les Juifs soient revenus à Jérusalem. Alors soudainement nous étions des "Palestiniens"… ils ont enlevé l’étoile du drapeau jordanien et d’un coup nous avons eu un "drapeau palestinien". (…) Le fait est que les "Palestiniens" sont des immigrés des nations environnantes ! Mon grand-père avait l’habitude de nous dire que son village était vide avant que son père ne s’y installe. Walid Shoebat, ancien terroriste islamiste de l’OLP, repenti et devenu sioniste chrétien)
Il n’y a aucune différence entre les Jordaniens, les “Palestiniens”, les Syriens et les Libanais. Nous faisons tous partie de la même nation. C’est seulement pour des raisons politiques que nous soulignons soigneusement notre identité “palestinienne”. L’existence d’une identité “palestinienne” distincte sert seulement un objectif tactique. La création d’un état “palestinien” est un nouvel outil dans la bataille continue contre Israël et pour l’unité arabe. Zuheir Muhsin (chef des Opérations militaires de l’OLP et membre du Conseil exécutif de l’OLP, Trouw, le 3 mars 1977)
Le peuple “palestinien” n’existe pas. La création d’un État “palestinien” est seulement un moyen de continuer notre lutte contre l’État d’Israël pour l’unité arabe. En réalité aujourd’hui il n’y a aucune différence entre les Jordaniens, les “Palestiniens”, les Syriens et les Libanais. Seulement, pour des raisons politiques et tactiques, nous parlons aujourd’hui de l’existence des “Palestiniens” pour des intérêts arabes exigeant la création d’un peuple “palestinien” pour nous opposer au sionisme. Zuheir Muhsin (interview au Pakistan, 2006?)
L’objectif du peuple palestinien est la réalisation de ses droits nationaux inaliénables dans son État indépendant de Palestine, avec Jérusalem-Est comme capitale, sur tout le territoire de la Cisjordanie, y compris Jérusalem-Est, et la bande de Gaza, occupée par Israël pendant la guerre de juin 1967, en conformité avec les résolutions de la légitimité internationale ainsi que la réalisation d’une solution juste et convenue à la question des réfugiés palestiniens conformément à la résolution 194, tel que stipulé dans l’Initiative de paix arabe, qui a présenté la vision consensuelle arabe pour résoudre le cœur du conflit israélo-arabe et de parvenir à une paix juste et globale. Mahmoud Abbas (ONU, 29.11.12)
Israël est un paradoxe intéressant: c’est une création artificielle récente et en même temps l’aboutissement d’une longue histoire, celle d’une communauté qui s’est pensée en exil. La langue illustre cette double dimension: on a repris une langue ancienne, uniquement consacrée à l’étude pendant deux mille ans, pour en faire une langue vernaculaire. Pour moi, comme pour mes collègues spécialistes d’autres domaines d’ailleurs, les nations sont toutes des constructions modernes. Ce n’est pas pour autant qu’elles doivent disparaître mais c’est pourtant cela qu’on sous-entend souvent avec Israël. Jacques Ehrenfreund
The myth of the 1966 Palestinian Convent that the "Palestinian people" was unjustly displaced by the Jewish invasion of Palestine in 1917 is widely disseminated and unquestioningly and dogmatically espoused in "studies" from the United Nations Secretariat. However, it is necessary to recall, not only the Kingdom of David and the succession of Jewish polities in Palestine down to Roman conquest and dispersion at the turn of the present era, but also that the Jews continued to live in Palestine even after that conquest, and were in 1914 a well-knit population there. Hundreds of thousands of other Jews, driven from the Palestine homeland by successive waves of Roman, Arab, and other conquerors, continued to live on for centuries throughout the Middle East, often under great hardship and oppression. And, of course, millions of others were compelled to move to other parts of the world where too often, as in pogrom-ridden Russia and Poland, they live in conditions of tyrannous and humiliating subjection and under daily threat to their lives… That the provision for a Jewish national home in Palestine was an application of the principle of self determination is manifest from the earliest seminal beginning of the principle. The Enquiry Commission, established by President Wilson in order to draft a map of the world based on the Fourteen Points, affirmed the right of the Jewish people that “Palestine should become a Jewish State” clearly on this ground. Palestine, the Commission said, was “the cradle and home of their vital race”, the basis of the Jewish spiritual contribution, and the Jews were the only people whose only home was in Palestine. It would be difficult to provide a more succinct statement of the essence of the self determination principle. (…) In fact the name Palestine had not for centuries (perhaps millennia) before 1917 referred to a defined political, demographic, cultural, or territorial entity. In the immediately preceding centuries it was a part of the Ottoman Empire designated as Southern Syria and governed from Damascus. In 1917, its northern part, from Safed almost to Jerusalem, was part of the Vilayet of Beirut and the whole of it was claimed to be part of Syria. The Arabs living there were not regarded by themselves or others as “Palestinians” or in any major respect as different from their brethren in Syria and Lebanon. This “Syrian” rather than “Palestinian” identification of Arabs living in Palestine underlay the request of the General Syrian Congress on July 2, 1919, that there should be no separation of the southern part of Lebanon, from Syrian country. A main argument thus made by Arabs in post-World War I negotiations was not that “Palestinians” would resent the loss of Palestinian identity by the establishment of the Jewish national home in Palestine, but rather that they would resent severance of their connection with their fellow Syrians… In the light of these facts, the notion that the Arabs living in Palestine regarded themselves in 1917, at the time when Woodrow Wilson’s seminal self-determination principle emerged, as a Palestinian Arab people in the sense required by the self-determination principle (or, as I may sometimes here call it, “the liberation of peoples principle” or “liberation principle”) is thus a figment of unhistorical imagination. To respect the historical facts is, therefore, not to impugn the liberation principle; it merely points out that the principle must be applied at the appropriate time to the facts of group life as they truly exist. These historical facts continue to reverberate today in Arab state circles. President Assad of Syria in 1974 stated that Palestine is a basic part of Southern Syria (New York Times, March 9 1974). On this on November 17, 1978, Yasser Arafat commented that Palestine is southern Syria and Syria is northern Palestine (Voice of Palestine, November 18, 1978 … (…) The distribution between Arabs and Jews after World War I was certainly implemented in succeeding decades as far as Arab entitlements were concerned. Arabs claims to sovereignty received extensive fulfillment in the creation of more than twenty sovereign states following World War I, not only in the Middle East but in Africa as well. Altogether this historical process included the following features: First, despite all the extraneous Great Power maneuverings, Jewish and Arab claims in the vast area of the former Ottoman Empire came to the forum of liberation together, and not (as is usually implied) by way of Jewish encroachment on an already vested and exclusive Arab domain. Second, the territorial allocation made to the Arabs, as now seen in about a dozen sovereignties in the Middle East (not to speak of many Arab sovereignties elsewhere) was more than a hundred times greater in area, and hundreds of times richer in resources than the Palestine designated in 1917 for the Jewish national home. Third, by successive steps thereafter, this already tiny allocation to Jewish claims was further encroached upon. Thus, already in 1922, a major part of it (namely 35,468 out of 46,339 square miles, including the more sparsely populated regions) was cut away to establish the kingdom of Transjordan (now known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan). With so preponderant an Arab allocation capable, as events since 1973 now show, of threatening the economic existence of most of the rest of the world, it seemed reasonable to expect Arab acquiescence in the minute allotment to the Jews of Israel as their only national home. The extraordinary campaign against the State Of Israel in the General Assembly since the oil weapon was drawn from its scabbard in 1973 involves subversion both of basic international law principles, and of rights and obligations vested in states under them. It has also entailed rather grotesque reversals of the United Nations own position of the preceding quarter-century, as part of a wide and illicit rewriting of history. Considered in the context above sketched, this campaign is a kind of pilot operation in a remarkable venture in the detournement de pouvoir an assault with covert as well as overt elements, on the international legal order. It would follow that what is at stake are not only the range of state interests that lie within the lawful concern of the organs of the United Nations, but all interests of states that the General Assembly can by the ipse dixit of automatic majorities reach out to control, truncate or destroy. Julius Stone

Attention: une invention peut en cacher une autre !

Où l’on (re)découvre comment par un beau matin de juin 1967 et au prix d’une étoile en moins sur leur drapeau, une partie des Jordaniens se sont brusquement réveillés "palestiniens" …

Au lendemain d’un énième épisode de réécriture de l’histoire par le Machin

Avec le honteux soutien du Pays autoproclamé des droits de l’homme

Et alors que le Monde dit civilisé ne trouve pas de mots assez durs pour dénoncer l’annonce de la reprise de constructions israéliennes autour de Jérusalem …

Pendant qu’à Gaza comme à Ramallah, on appelle à une "troisième Intifada contre l’ennemi sioniste" ou "la prochaine fois bombarder Haïfa"

Petite remise des pendules à l’heure, sans parler de ceux qui ont probablement des racines juives, sur l’invention du peuple palestinien

Le mythe "palestinien"

JSS News
27 mai 2011

Le mois de septembre approchant à grands pas, l’article que vous allez lire, rédigé par « Durandal » le 10 avril 2006 pour le défunt blog « enpleindanslmille.blogspot.com », m’a semblé suffisamment complet et documenté pour ne pas prendre le risque de le voir disparaitre définitivement. Il est une réponse cinglante et parfaitement argumentée à la propagande éhontée qui est devenu la nouvelle histoire de notre monde à la 1984. Bonne lecture, et shabbat shalom à tous. – Gally

Les fausses « racines anciennes »

Les supporteurs de la « cause palestinienne » scandent à tour de bras que les Arabes « palestiniens » vivent depuis « des milliers d’années » en « Palestine ».

Des Arabes côtoient des Juifs dans cette région depuis des milliers d’années, ceci est vrai. Toutefois, ils n’ont jamais vécu en Terre d’Israël elle-même, ils étaient établis au sud et à l’est. Les Arabes en question sont les Nabatéens, une ancienne nation de chameliers-marchands.

Ces Arabes sont originaires de l’Arabie du Nord. Ils émigrèrent vers le territoire d’Édom (l’actuel désert du Néguev) 350 ans notre ère. Leur métropole fut Pétra, l’ancienne capitale des Édomites située à égale distance entre la Mer Morte et le Golfe d’Aqaba.

Peu à peu le Néguev fut connu sous le nom de Nabatène. Grâce à leurs caravanes allant d’un oasis à l’autre, ses habitants étendirent rapidement leur influence économique dans le Sinaï, l’est de la Jordanie actuelle, le sud de la Syrie actuelle et le nord-ouest de l’Arabie.

Voici une carte de la civilisation nabatéenne (prenez en compte que la partie en rouge ne correspond pas nécessairement à la région habitée par les Nabatéens, mais plutôt au centre de leurs activités commerciales).

La prochaine carte représente les routes commerciales terrestres des Nabatéens. Bien que leurs caravanes traversaient fréquemment la Terre d’Israël, celle-ci était habitée par les Juifs et les Samaritains.

Au cours de la guerre des Juifs contre les Helléniques en 166-142 av. J.-C., Juifs et Nabatéens furent alliés.

Le royaume nabatéen pris fin en l’an 106 lorsque la Nabatène est conquise par les Romains qui en font une province de leur empire.

Pendant les 2e, 3e et 4e siècles, les Nabatéens se convertirent au christianisme.

Au cours de leur histoire, les Nabatéens ne remplacèrent jamais les Juifs en tant qu’habitants de la Terre d’Israël, mais ils coexistèrent à côté d’eux sur un territoire distinct. Voici d’autres cartes de la province romaine d’Arabie :

Comme visible sur les cartes, les Nabatéens ne s’établirent pas à l’ouest du Jourdain. Ils s’installèrent toutefois à l’est du Jourdain et de la Mer Morte. Les Juifs attaquèrent les Nabatéens vivant en Pérée et en Moab en 90 av. J.-C. et en convertirent (de force) beaucoup au Judaïsme. En 32-31 av. J.-C., les Juifs attaquèrent encore les Nabatéens, cette fois en Décapole et en Ammon.

Les Arabes « palestiniens » ne sont donc pas des habitants millénaires de la « Palestine ».

La conquête arabo-musulmane

Les Arabes, dans le contexte des conquêtes islamiques, s’emparèrent de la Terre d’Israël en 638, la spoliant de leurs habitants Juifs et chrétiens.

Beaucoup de sources (dont plusieurs arabes) confirment le fait que la Terre d’Israël était encore judéo-chrétienne par la population et la culture malgré la diaspora juive et la domination islamique :

- L’historien James Parker a écrit : « Pendant le premier siècle après la conquête arabe [640-740], le Calife et les gouverneurs de la Syrie et de la Terre [Sainte] ont régné entièrement sur des sujets chrétiens et juifs. Mis à part des Bédouins lors des premiers jours [du règne arabe], les seuls Arabes à l’ouest du Jourdain étaient les garnisons. »
– En 985 l’auteur arabe Muqaddasi s’est plaint qu’« à Jérusalem la grande majorité de la population est juive », et dit que « la mosquée est vide des adorateurs… ».

Quoique les Arabes aient régné sur la Terre d’Israël de 638 à 1099, ils ne sont jamais devenus la majorité de la population. La plupart des habitants étaient des chrétiens (assyriens et arméniens) et des Juifs.

Tout le monde conviendra que les Arabes ne prospérèrent pas plus pendant la période des croisades allant de 1099 à 1289.

L’ère ottomane

La seconde période de règne islamique est la seule qui reste aux Musulmans qui veulent affirmer qu’une grande nation arabo-musulmane existait en Terre Sainte avant que les Juifs viennent recréer leur État.

Voyons voir si les Juifs s’emparèrent d’une « contrée bien établie, peuplée et verdoyante » en retournant en Terre d’Israël comme les Arabes l’affirment de nos jours. Tous les récits de voyage et rapports sur la Terre d’Israël de cette époque attestent au contraire d’une région vide de l’Empire ottoman. Voici ce que plusieurs personnes ayant voyagé dans cette région on constaté :

- Ibn Khaldun, un des historiens arabes les plus crédibles, a écrit en 1377 : « La souveraineté juive sur cette terre s’est prolongée sur 1 400 ans… C’est les Juifs qui ont implanté la culture et les coutumes en s’y étant installé de manière permanente ». Après 519 ans (non consécutifs) de domination musulmane sur la Terre d’Israël, Ibn Khaldun a certifié que la culture et les traditions juives étaient encore dominantes.

- Edouard Webbe en 1590 : « Il n’y a rien à Jérusalem mis à part des vieux murs ».

- Henry Maundrell en 1697 : Nazareth, « un village minuscule et sans importance », Jéricho, « une bourgade minable et sale », Acre, « une désolation ».

- L’archéologue britannique Thomas Shaw en 1738 : la Terre Sainte « VIDE, désolée et manquant de tout, qui manque d’habitants ».

- Le comte François Volney en 1785 : « Nous avons du mal à reconnaître Jérusalem, on y compte environ 12 000 habitants. Le pays est désolé et ruiné. »

- Commentaires par des Chrétiens dans les années 1800 : « Les Arabes ne peuvent pas être considérés comme autre chose que des résidents temporaires. Ils ont placés leurs tentes dans un pays ruiné. Ils n’ont rien créé en Terre Sainte. Puisqu’ils sont des étrangers sur cette terre, ils ne sont jamais devenus ses maîtres. »

- Alphonse de Lamartine en 1832 : Mis à part à Jérusalem, il ne rencontra pas âme qui vive et que la Terre d’Israël était « le tombeau de tout un peuple [les Hébreux] ».

- William Thackeray en 1844 : « La région est abandonnée. Nous n’avons vu aucun animal se déplacer parmi les pierres. »

- Alexandre Keith en 1844 : « La Terre Sainte est arrivée à l’état de désolation total décrit par les prophètes. »

- Le consul britannique en Terre d’Israël, James Pinn en 1857 : « Le pays est presque inhabité, il a grand besoin d’habitants. »

- Le cartographe britannique Arthur Penrhyn Stanley en 1862 : « Ni signes de vie ni habitations en Judée, sur des distances entières. »

- Mark Twain en 1867 : « Pas un seul village dans la Vallée de Jezréel, rien sur 30 miles dans les 2 sens. 2 ou 3 petits groupes de tentes bédouines, mais pas une seule habitation permanente. On peut voyager pendant 10 miles sans rencontrer 10 êtres humains. Déserts sans âme qui vive, collines VIDES, ruine mélancolique de Capharnaüm, stupide village de Tibériade, enterré sous six palmiers. Nous arrivâmes à Tabor sans rencontrer âme qui vive tout au long du chemin. Nazareth est désolée, Jéricho est en ruine, Bethléem et Béthanie, dans leur pauvreté et leur humiliation, ces endroits n’abritent pas une créature vivante. Un pays désolé, dont la terre serait peut-être assez riche si elle n’était abandonnée aux mauvaises herbes. Une étendue silencieuse, triste. À peine y a-t-il un arbre ou un arbuste, çà et là. Même les oliviers et les cactus, ces fidèles amis d’un sol sans valeur, ont quasiment déserté le pays. »

– Le consul américain à Jérusalem en 1880 rapporte que la région continuait son déclin : « La population et la richesse de la « Palestine » n’a pas augmenté pendant les 40 dernières années. »

- B. W. Johnson en 1892 : « Dans la partie de la plaine entre le mont Carmel et Jaffa on voit à peine quelques villages ou autres formes de vie humaine. Caesarea est maintenant entièrement abandonné. La désolation est partout autour de nous. »

- Compte-rendu de la commission royale Britannique de 1913 : « La région est sous-peuplée et est restée économiquement stagnante jusqu’à l’arrivée des premiers pionniers sionistes dans vers la fin des années 1880, qui sont venus pour reconstruire la terre juive. La route qui va de Gaza vers le nord n’est qu’une piste estivale tout juste bonne pour les chameaux et les charrettes. On ne voit ni bosquet d’orangers, ni verger, ni vigne, jusqu’à ce que l’on arrive en vue du village de Yavné. Les maisons sont des torchis. Il n’existe pas d’écoles. La partie orientale en direction de la mer est quasiment désertique. Les villages, dans cette région, sont rares et chichement peuplés. Beaucoup de villages sont désertés par leurs habitants. »

- Dawood Barakat, éditeur du journal égyptien Al-Ahram en 1914 : « Les Sionistes sont nécessaires pour le pays : l’argent qu’ils apporteront, leur connaissances, leur intelligence et l’industrialisation qui les caractérise contribueront sans aucun doute à la régénération du pays. »

Voilà pour le pays verdoyant et habité « envahi » par les Juifs. Fait historique : sous la domination turque, la terre était à l’abandon et dépeuplée. La terre s’est peuplée à la fois de Juifs et d’Arabes car les Juifs sont revenus et ont commencé à la réhabiliter.

Une seule ville arabe fut construite en Terre d’Israël : Ramleh. Toutes les autres sont des villes juives rebaptisées par eux. L’historien suisse Félix Bovet notait en 1858 : « C’est parce que les Arabes ne sont pas des autochtones qu’ils n’y construisent rien. »

Le mandat britannique

Après la Grande Guerre, les Britanniques héritèrent de ce morceau de l’Empire ottoman défait. Beaucoup de citations de l’époque attestent que le pays était désolé et qu’il n’existait pas d’entité dite « palestinienne ».

- Hussein Al-Qibla, gardien des lieux saints en Arabie Saoudite en 1918 : « Les ressources du pays et le sol vierge seront développés par les immigrés juifs. [...] Nous avons vu les Juifs des pays étrangers venir en « Palestine » de Russie, d’Allemagne, d’Autriche, d’Espagne, d’Amérique. [...] Ils ont su que le pays était pour ses fils d’origine, [...] une patrie sacrée et aimée. Le retour de ces exilés à leur patrie s’avérera matériellement et religieusement [être] une expérimentation pour leurs frères [autres Juifs]. »

- Lewis French, le directeur britannique du développement de la « Palestine » en 1931 : « Nous l’avons trouvée [la "Palestine"] habitée par des Fellahs [agriculteurs arabes] qui vivent dans des taudis de boue et souffrent sévèrement de la malaria très répandue. De grands secteurs étaient non cultivés. [...] Il n’y avait presque aucune sécurité publique, Les fellahs sont sans cesse soumis au pillage de leurs voisins nomades, les bédouins. »

Voici une carte des divisions administratives de la région sous domination ottomane. La mention de « Palestine » n’apparait nulle-part. La Terre d’Israël est divisée en trois secteurs, la Syrie à l’est, Beyrouth au nord-ouest et Jérusalem au sud-ouest.

Le représentant arabe en « Palestine » déclara en 1919 : « Nous considérons la « Palestine » comme faisant partie de la Syrie. »

Le dirigeant arabe en Terre d’Israël Awni Bey Abdul Haadi déclara en 1937 : « Il n’y a pas de pays tel que la « Palestine ». « Palestine » est un terme que les Sionistes ont inventé. Il n’y a pas de « Palestine » dans la Bible. Notre pays a fait partie de la Syrie pendant des siècles. « Palestine » nous est aliène, c’est les Sionistes qui l’ont introduits. »

Le professeur Philip Hitti, historien arabe, déclara en 1946 « Il n’y a pas de chose telle que la « Palestine » dans l’histoire, absolument pas. »

Le représentant du Haut Comité arabe aux Nations Unies déclara en 1947 : « La « Palestine » fait partie de la province de Syrie. Les Arabes vivant en Palestine ne sont pas indépendants dans le sens qu’ils ne constituaient pas une entité distincte. »

Le représentant de l’Arabie Saoudite aux Nations Unies déclara en 1956 : « C’est une connaissance générale que la « Palestine » n’est rien d’autre que la Syrie du sud. »

Le roi Hussein de Jordanie répéta plus d’une fois : « Il n’y a aucune distinction entre la Jordanie est la « Palestine ». »

Hafez Assad (ex-Président syrien) déclara : « Il n’y a pas de peuple « palestinien », il n’y a pas d’entité « palestienne ». »

Ahmed Shuqeiri (ex-président de l’OLP) déclara : « La « Palestine » ne fut jamais rien d’autre que la Syrie du sud. »

À cette époque, les Arabes (ainsi que tout le monde) n’ont jamais soulevé la question d’un État « palestinien » car les Arabes eux-mêmes n’exigeaient pas d’État pour un peuple qui n’existait PAS !

La « Palestine » n’a jamais constitué un pays et le concept même de « Palestine » n’existait pas dans l’Empire ottoman !

Le mot même de « Palestine » (ou mot équivalent désignant cette région) n’était quasiment pas utilisé chez les Turcs et les Arabes. Il n’y avait ni État ni peuple « palestinien ». Les Arabes vivant en Terre d’Israël se considéraient comme Syriens ou Égyptiens.

Une pseudo-nation créée le lendemain de la Guerre des Six jours

« Pourquoi le soir du 4 juin 1967 j’étais Jordanien et le lendemain matin j’étais Palestinien ? »

« Nous ne nous sommes pas en particulier occupés du règne jordanien. L’enseignement de la destruction de l’Israel était une partie intégrale du programme d’études. Nous nous sommes considérés « Jordaniens » jusqu’à ce que les Juifs soient revenus à Jérusalem. Alors soudainement nous étions des « Palestiniens »… ils ont enlevé l’étoile du drapeau jordanien et d’un coup nous avons eu un « drapeau palestinien ». »

« Le fait est que les « Palestiniens » sont des immigrés des nations environnantes ! Mon grand-père avait l’habitude de nous dire que son village était vide avant que son père ne s’y installe. »

Walid Shoebat, ancien terroriste islamiste de l’OLP, repenti et devenu sioniste chrétien

Zahir Muhsin, un ancien membre du comité exécutif de l’OLP et l’ancien commandant militaire de la même organisation, déclara en mars 1977 au journal néerlandais Trouw :

« Il n’y a aucune différence entre les Jordaniens, les « Palestiniens », les Syriens et les Libanais. Nous faisons tous  partie de la même nation. C’est seulement pour des raisons politiques que nous soulignons soigneusement notre identité « palestinienne ». L’existence d’une identité « palestinienne » distincte sert seulement un objectif tactique. La création d’un état « palestinien » est un nouvel outil dans la bataille continue contre l’Israël. »

Et encore en s’adressant à un hebdomadaire pakistanais en 2006 :

« Le peuple « palestinien » n’existe pas. La création d’un État « palestinien » est seulement un moyen de continuer notre lutte contre l’État d’Israël pour l’unité arabe. En réalité aujourd’hui il n’y a aucune différence entre les Jordaniens, les « Palestiniens », les Syriens et les Libanais. Seulement, pour des raisons politiques et tactiques, nous parlons aujourd’hui de l’existence des « Palestiniens » pour des intérêts arabes exigeant la création d’un peuple « palestinien » pour nous opposer au sionisme. »

Vérité historique : le peuple « palestinien » et le pays « Palestine » n’existaient pas avant que les Arabes les inventent de toutes pièces pour éventuellement ANÉANTIR Israël.

Cette affirmation peut sembler radicale, mais je vous conseille de lire l’article suivant :

Palestinians – « Peoplehood » Based on a Big Lie [Myths and Facts]

Voici quelques passages sélectionnés :

« There is no age-old Palestinian people. Most so-called Palestinians are relative newcomers to the Land of Israel.

Like a mantra, Arabs repeatedly claim that the Palestinians are a native people. The concept of a ‘Stateless Palestinian people’ is not based on fact. It is a fabrication.

Palestinian Arabs cast themselves as a native people in « Palestine » – like the Aborigines in Australia or Native Americans in America. They portray the Jews as European imperialists and colonizers. This is simply untrue.

Aerial photographs taken by German aviators during World War I show an underdeveloped country composed mainly of primitive hamlets. Ashdod, for instance, was a cluster of mud dwellings, Haifa a fishing village. In 1934 alone, 30 000 Syrian Arabs from the Hauran moved across the northern frontier into Mandate Palestine, attracted by work in and around the newly built British port and the construction of other infrastructure projects. They even dubbed Haifa Um el-Amal (« the city of work »).

The fallacy of Arab claims that most Palestinians were indigenous to Palestine – not newcomers – is also bolstered by a 1909 vintage photograph of Nablus, today an Arab city on the West Bank with over 121 000 residents. Based on the number of buildings in the photo taken from the base of Mount Gerizim, the population in 1909 – Muslim Arabs and Jewish Samaritans – could not have been greater than 2 000 residents.

Family names of many Palestinians attest to their non-Palestinian origins. Just as Jews bear names like Berliner, Warsaw and Toledano, modern phone books in the Territories are filled with families named Elmisri (Egyptian), Chalabi (Syrian), Mugrabi (North Africa). Even George Habash – the arch-terrorist and head of Black September – bears a name with origins in Abyssinia or Ethiopia, Habash in both Arabic and Hebrew.

Palestinian nationality is an entity defined by its opposition to Zionism, and not its national aspirations. This point is admirably illustrated in the following historic incident :

« In 1926, Lord Plumer was appointed as the second High Commissioner of Palestine. The Arabs within the Mandate were infuriated when Plumer stood up for the Zionists’ national anthem Hatikva during ceremonies held in his honor when Plumer first visited Tel Aviv. When a delegation of Palestinian Arabs protested Plumer’s ‘Zionist bias’, the High Commissioner asked the Arabs if he remained seated when their national anthem was played, ‘wouldn’t you regard my behavior as most unmannerly ?’ Met by silence, Plumer asked : ‘By the way, have you got a national anthem ?’ When the delegation replied with chagrin that they did not, he snapped back, ‘I think you had better get one as soon as possible’. » But it took the Palestinians more than 60 years to heed Plumer’s advice, adopting Anthem of the Intifada two decades after Israel took over the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 – at the beginning of the 1987 Intifada. »

Six décennies après la déclaration d’indépendance d’Israël, nous pourrions nous attendre à ce que les Arabes arrêtent de jouer les victimes qui se font dérober leurs terres, mais non, le mythe perdure. On nous rappelle sans cesse dans les médias que les « colons » israéliens « occupent » la Judée-Samarie, qu’ils volent la propriété des « Palestiniens » et qu’ils y construisent incessamment des nouvelles « colonies ».

En fait, de 1950 à 1967, plus de 250 colonies arabes ont été fondés en Judée-Samarie et de 1967 à 2002, 261 autres colonies furent fondées par les Arabes (incluant Jérusalem et Gaza). Durand cette seconde période, seulement 144 « colonies » juives ont été fondées (incluant Jérusalem et Gaza).

À ce jour, les Arabes continuent toujours à faire immigrer des milliers de colons en Israël. En 1998, Yasser Arafat déclare « Dans 5 ans, nous aurons 6 millions d’Arabes vivant en « Cisjordanie » et à Jérusalem. Nous pouvons importer des Arabes. » Le gouvernement israélien avoue avoir permis à 240 000 (mais le nombre réel est probablement beaucoup plus élevé) « travailleurs » arabes d’entrer dans les territoires depuis 1993, ces « travailleurs » sont restés dans les territoires et sont devenus des colons.

Gaza ne comptait pas plus de 80 000 habitants « indigènes » en 1951. Comment est-il possible qu’en seulement 54 ans la population ait augmenté de 80 000 à plus de 1 300 000 habitants ? Ces Arabes de Gaza sont-ils capables de procréer d’une manière surnaturelle ? L’immigration massive est la SEULE explication plausible pour une augmentation démographique si forte. L’occupation arabe entre 1948 et 1967 était une occasion avantageuse pour les chefs arabes. Ils favorisèrent l’immigration massive de prétendus « Palestiniens » en Judée-Samarie/Gaza. Les immigrés venaient de chaque pays arabe, principalement l’Égypte, la Syrie, le Liban, l’Irak et la Jordanie.

Il est impossible de connaître le nombre de colons arabes ayant immigrés en Judée-Samarie/Gaza depuis 1952, mais une chose reste certaine : la majorité ÉCRASANTE des « Palestiniens » n’ont aucun héritage en « Palestine » avant la guerre d’indépendance d’Israël (et le reste ont, pour la grande majorité d’entre eux, aucune racine dans la région avant 1917, et la faible minorité restante n’en a aucune avant le 19e siècle).

La « Palestine » n’est qu’une région géographique ; elle n’est ni un peuple, ni une nation, on ne peut donc en faire un État.

Mis en ligne par Gally – JSSNews

> Sources

The True Identity of the So-called Palestinians [Im Nin'alu]
Occupation and Settlement : The Myth and Reality [Front Page Magazine]
Sionisme et vérité : Plaidoyer pour l’État juif [Objectif Information]
Politically Motivated Mythology of « Palestine » [Ertz Yisroel]
Ancient Nabatean Empire

Voir aussi:

SIONISME ET VÉRITÉ: PLAIDOYER POUR L’ETAT JUIF

14/06/2009

Je remets en ligne un texte mettant les points sur les i concernant Israël et la Palestine. Merci à Karlomann.

Le monde doit se sortir des mensonges arabes sur Israël.

Emmanuel Navon, professeur de relations internationales à l’Université de Tel-Aviv, directeur d’un cabinet de conseil

Document paru dans la revue Outre-Terre N°9- "Israël en Israël" – novembre 2004- Revue française de géopolitique.

Lors de la venue du président israélien en France en février 2004, le porte-parole de l’Elysée publia un communiqué pour confirmer l’attachement de la France à la légitimité de l’Etat d’Israël[1]. Quatre mois plus tard, Michel Rocard déclarait lors d’un discours prononcé à la Bibliothèque d’Alexandrie : « L’origine du problème palestinien est la promesse donnée par les Anglais aux Juifs de fonder un Etat-nation . Ce fut une erreur historique »[2].

Ces deux déclarations prouvent que la légitimité même de l’Etat d’Israël ne va pas de soi pour les dirigeants français. Quelle eût été la réaction de la France si le porte-parole de la présidence israélienne avait publié un communiqué confirmant l’attachement d’Israël à la « légitimité » de la République française ? Et comment la France aurait-elle réagi si un ancien Premier ministre israélien avait situé l’origine des guerres franco-allemandes dans l’établissement de l’Etat-nation français ?

Pourquoi Israël est-il le seul Etat-nation dont la légitimité continue d’être mise en cause ?

Après tout, il existe aujourd’hui dans le monde des Etats à la fois récents, artificiels et instables dont la seule « contribution » à l’humanité consiste dans une série interminable de guerres et de massacres ethniques. Mais personne ne s’interroge sur la légitimité du Soudan, de la République démocratique du Congo ou du Rwanda. Ce qui ne signifie bien entendu pas que ces Etats soient illégitimes ou qu’il faille démanteler tous les Etats militairement violents, historiquement incohérents et culturellement muets. Mais on constate simplement que les Etats ratés, les Etats voyous et les Etats fantoches, eux, ne font pas l’objet d’une remise en question. Au contraire, la communauté internationale a récemment élu le Soudan à la commission des droits de l’homme des Nations unies, alors même que le gouvernement de Khartoum est en train de perpétrer un génocide à l’encontre des chrétiens soudanais. De même que la Syrie qui soutient le terrorisme chiite et occupe le Liban depuis trente ans est actuellement membre du Conseil de sécurité…

De l’autre côté, vous avez le plus ancien peuple du monde, un peuple persécuté, humilié et massacré pendant deux mille ans d’exil, auquel son pays sert d’unique refuge ; un peuple sans égal par son apport culturel à l’histoire de l’humanité ; le seul Etat fondé sur une tradition de plus de trois mille ans ; le seul pays où des réfugiés faibles et démunis ont fait fleurir le désert, fondé une démocratie dans une région totalitaire, gagné toutes les guerres provoquées par des coalitions de six pays arabes, développé des industries, des technologies et une recherche scientifique améliorant chaque jour la vie de millions d’individus dans le monde ; le seul Etat garant d’une culture, d’une religion et d’un message qui sont au fondement de la civilisation occidentale et de la foi partagée par deux milliards d’être humains; le seul Etat au monde à avoir renoncé à des gains territoriaux acquis dans des guerres d’autodéfense au nom de la paix avec ses voisins.

Cet Etat, c’est l’Etat d’Israël, mais lui, et il est seul dans ce cas, doit en permanence justifier de son existence.

Nationalisme et démocratie : il n’y a pas d’exception sioniste

Les Juifs eux-mêmes critiquent le sionisme, qui est le nationalisme juif. Certains courants du judaïsme ultra-orthodoxe s’opposent pour des raisons théologiques à l‘existence d’un Etat juif, mais cette position ne se cantonne pas aux mouvements ultra-orthodoxes. De nombreux intellectuels juifs estiment que le nationalisme juif est incompatible avec l’éthique juive : le peuple juif, tel est l’argument, ne peut pas être la « lumière des nations » et disposer à la fois de pouvoir, car le pouvoir corrompt. L’absence d’un Etat et d’une armée seraient l’ultime garant de la spiritualité et de la moralité juives. L’une des figures de proue de cet antisionisme juif est George Steiner, professeur de littérature comparée aux universités d’Oxford et de Cambridge et penseur de renommée internationale. Ni Juif honteux, ni « Juif antisémite », Steiner est fier de son identité juive, mais il considère que le peuple juif ne peut avoir pour rôle de témoigner de la moralité et de la justice universelles qu’en situation d’exil et d’éloignement du pouvoir. Le sionisme, en conférant aux Juifs du pouvoir, aurait liquidé ce statut de pureté morale et le destin historiquement assigné au peuple juif. Comme beaucoup d’autres intellectuels, Steiner abhorre le nationalisme, mais son opposition au sionisme ne découle pas d’un refus général du nationalisme. Que le nationalisme soit une maladie incurable de tous les peuples ou pas, le peuple juif est le seul peuple qui ne puisse se permettre d’y succomber. Steiner n’est bien entendu pas le seul penseur juif à décrier l’idée d’un pouvoir juif temporel. Dès le début du XXe siècle, les philosophes juifs allemands Hermann Cohen et Franz Rosenzweig avaient développé des théories hégéliennes du « destin » du peuple juif avant la Shoah. Ils pensaient sincèrement que cette même Allemagne qui allait décimer un tiers du peuple juif incarnait le sommet de la culture et qu’elle était, pour les Juifs, la Terre promise. Or, nous ne vivons pas dans un monde idéal, mais dans le monde où six millions de Juifs ont été massacrés : au cœur coeur de l’Europe et en plein cœur coeur du vingtième siècle. La question qui se pose aux Juifs est alors de savoir s’ils préfèrent être parfaitement moraux et morts ou imparfaitement moraux et vivants. Une recherche du délicat équilibre entre idéal et réalité qui est d’ailleurs au centre de la pensée juive : le rôle de l’homme est d’améliorer le monde, pas de s’en détacher. La halakha, la loi juive, vise à introduire un élément de sainteté et de moralité dans le monde réel.

On affirme dans certains milieux intellectuels israéliens que Theodor Herzl, le père fondateur, ne voulait pas d’un Etat juif, mais qu’il préconisait un Etat des Juifs. C’est pourquoi son ouvrage majeur se serait intitulé en allemand Der Judenstaat, l’ « Etat des Juifs ». Or, les traductions anglaise et française de 1896 portent les titres explicites The Jewish State et L’Etat juif, un choix qui n’avait rien de fortuit puisque l’auteur connaissait les deux langues[3]. Par ailleurs, Herzl utilisait dans ses écrits de façon interchangeable les préfixes Juden- (« des Juifs ») et jüdisch (« juif »). Mais que voulait en réalité Herzl au-delà de la sémantique : un Etat à caractère juif ou un Etat neutre où les Juifs seraient majoritaires ?

Herzl était un Juif assimilé qui revint progressivement à ses origines après l’affaire Dreyfus. Sa correspondance et ses mémoires révèlent son attachement au judaïsme : « Dieu n’aurait pas préservé notre peuple aussi longtemps si nous n’avions pas une destin dans l’histoire de l’humanité »[4].

Ce qui ne signifie pas qu’il prônait une théocratie : « Nous saurons confiner les [rabbins] dans les temples, de même que nous saurons confiner les soldats dans les casernes », note-t-il dans l’Etat juif. Parce que ce qui unit les Juifs, ce qui les caractérise en tant que nation, de même que les Allemands ont la langue et les Suisses un territoire, c’est leur foi : « Nous nous reconnaissons comme nation à travers notre foi »[5] ; « notre foi est la seule chose qui nous ait préservés ». C’est pourquoi la tradition juive est « sacrée »[6]. Et donc : « Les rabbins seront les piliers de mon organisation, et je les honorerai. Ils élèveront, instruiront et éclaireront le peuple »[7]. Où encore au troisième congrès sioniste de Bâle : les Juifs pauvres de Russie seront « les meilleurs sionistes, parce qu’il n’ont pas oublié nos traditions et parce que leurs sentiments religieux sont profondément ancrés »[8] .

Herzl ne voulait donc en aucun cas dissocier l’Etat juif du judaïsme. La Déclaration d’indépendance de l’Etat d’Israël qu’il a contribué à fonder fait référence à la Bible et proclame que l’Etat réalisera la prophétie biblique du rassemblement des exilés. Le symbole de l’Etat d’Israël est le Chandelier du Temple de Jérusalem ; les fêtes nationales sont les fêtes juives ; l’hébreu la langue du pays ; il y a sur le drapeau national et les avions de l’armée de l’air l’étoile de David ; l’hymne national chante le « peuple libre sur notre terre ».

Certains prétendent qu’un Etat ne peut être à la fois juif et démocratique. C’est faux. Un Etat peut être démocratique sans qu’il y ait complète neutralité quant à son identité culturelle, ethnique et religieuse. L’Etat juif est le seul Etat du Moyen-Orient où des députés arabes siègent dans un parlement démocratiquement élu et où des juges arabes siègent dans des tribunaux (dont la Cour suprême ) indépendants du pouvoir exécutif. Israël promeut, comme beaucoup d’autres Etats, une identité nationale spécifique sans qu’il y ait pour autant discrimination entre ses citoyens, Juifs ou Arabes. Le fait que les Arabes israéliens ne se reconnaissent pas dans le drapeau et l’hymne du pays ne les empêche pas d’être des citoyens à part entière et de participer pleinement à la vie politique de leur pays. Qu’ils soient relativement désavantagés, idéologiquement et culturellement, handicapés par rapport à la majorité juive renvoie exactement au statut des minorités dans tous les autres Etats-nation démocratiques.

L’un des fondements de l’État juif est la Loi du retour. D’aucuns la qualifient de discriminatoire et raciste parce qu’elle confère aux seuls Juifs le droit automatique d’immigrer en Israël et de devenir citoyens israéliens. Mais il n’y a là nulle discrimination : la loi israélienne accorde automatiquement la citoyenneté à tout enfant né en Israël de parents israéliens, que ceux-ci soient juifs, arabes, druzes ou bédouins. Par ailleurs, tout non-Juif peut faire une demande d’immigration et de naturalisation. Israël a comme chaque pays souverain le droit d’accepter ou de rejeter pareille demande. Il n’y a aucun pays qui accorde automatiquement le doit d’immigration et de citoyenneté à quiconque le demande.

Le principe de rapatriement dans un Etat-nation est reconnu par le droit international. La résolution des Nations unies qui approuvait en 1947 l’établissement d’un Etat juif était destinée entre autres à permettre aux Juifs de contrôler l’immigration dans leur propre pays. Israël n’est par le seul Etat qui entretienne des relations privilégiées avec une importante diaspora et disposant d’une « loi du retour ». Pas moins de neuf pays européens : l’Autriche, la Belgique, la Grèce, la Hongrie, l’Italie, la Roumanie, la Russie, la Slovaquie et la Slovénie ont des lois qui octroient un statut privilégié aux membres de leur groupe ethnique vivant en dehors du pays avec une nationalité étrangère. Par exemple le droit grec attribue des droits privilégiés aux « Grecs ethniques » ( article 108 de la constitution ) ; la Grèce est également à l’origine d’une initiative visant à offrir la citoyenneté grecque aux quelque 300 000 Albanais d’origine grecque vivant en Albanie. La Russie a voté une « loi du retour » en 1999 : tout russe de souche devient automatiquement citoyen russe lors de l’immigration en Russie.

Le Conseil de l’Europe a adopté les recommandations de la « commission de Venise » (à propos du statut des hongrois d’outre-frontières) : les relations normées et préférentielles entre pays d’origine et diaspora sont compatibles avec le droit international tant qu’elles ne portent pas atteinte à la souveraineté des pays hôtes. Autrement dit, l’Europe elle-même a récemment légitimé les principes d’appartenance nationale et ethnique.

Les Etats-nation démocratiques – et Israël parmi eux – favorisent donc les intérêts de leur majorité sans pour autant nier les droits de leur(s) minorité(s). Quiconque appelle au démantèlement de l’Etat juif parce que les Arabes y sont en position de relatif désavantage handicap se doit, au nom de la logique, de l’honnêteté et du bon sens, d’exiger celui de tous les Etats-nation où vivent des minorités et le remplacement de celles-ci par des fédérations bi- ou multinationales, voire par des Etats strictement indifférents à cet égard, tant au plan idéologique qu’au plan culturel.

Ceux d’entre les Européens qui affirment que le concept d’Etat juif est dépassé, mais appliquent le même raisonnement à leur propre pays, sont au moins logiques. Pour eux, c’est le concept même d’Etat-nation qui est périmé et qui doit faire place à celui de fédération européenne post- et supranationale. L’Europe aurait déjà atteint cette phase postnationale où la nation, tout comme l’Etat-nation, appartient déjà à l’histoire. Ce qui n’est à l’évidence pas l’opinion des Basques, des Catalans, des Corses, des Ecossais, des Wallons et des Flamands.

D’autres préfèrent s’inscrire dans la contradiction. C’est le cas député arabe à la Knesset Azmi Bishara lequel suit les « théories critiques » du modèle national d’un Benedict Anderson : la nation ne serait pas une « donnée naturelle » [9]. Et-ce à dire que tous les nationalismes seraient artificiels et illégitimes ? : « Non, l’idéologie et l’identité nationale font partie intégrante de la modernisation sociale. Je suis moi-même un nationaliste arabe »[10]. La critique ne vaut donc que pour le nationalisme juif ; tous les nationalismes sont égaux, mais certains le sont plus que d’autres.

Les fondements de l’Etat juif

Contrairement aux Anglais en Amérique ou aux Français en Algérie, les Juifs ne furent pas des colons. Ils n’avaient pas de métropole, vivaient comme des étrangers minoritaires dans tous les pays du monde, ne représentaient les intérêts d’aucune puissance coloniale, n’avaient jamais été souverains qu’en terre d’Israël et n’avaient jamais cessé de considérer cette terre comme la leur. Les puissances coloniales, par ailleurs, étaient opposées au projet sioniste et si les Britanniques publièrent la Déclaration Balfour en 1917, ce fut pour trahir leurs engagements dès 1922.

La vraie question est de savoir si l’émergence d’une nouvelle idéologie ou d’une nation nouvelle justifie la fondation d’un Etat lorque l’Etat à venir porte atteinte aux droits d’une autre nation. L’opinion la plus répandue à cet égard est à l’évidence que oui : personne n’irait remettre en cause l’existence des Etats-Unis parce que leurs fondateurs ont expulsé ou tué les Indiens autochtones. Et quant à la nouveauté des Etats, il n’est pas de pays qui ne soutienne aujourd’hui l’établissement d’un Etat palestinien alors que le concept même de peuple palestinien est récent. D’autant que le penseur et célèbre historien de l’orientalisme palestinien, Edward Saïd, le reconnaît lui-même : « Le nationalisme palestinien est fondé sur l’expulsion des Israéliens »[11].

Pourquoi donc remettre en question la légitimité du seul Etat juif ? La réponse la plus courante est que les Juifs ne peuvent se permettre de faire un « comeback » historique sur le dos des Arabes. Veulent-ils un Etat ? Qu’ils aillent s’installer sur un lopin de terre australien ou canadien , cela nous épargnera un conflit sans issue au Moyen-Orient. Il est compréhensible, tel est l’argument, que les Juifs, après la Shoah, aient besoin d’un pied-à-terre quelque part dans le monde, mais ils doivent aussi comprendre qu’on ne peut réclamer la propriété d’un bien abandonné depuis si longtemps et occupé entre-temps par de nouveaux locataires. Quitte à tolérer ce « fossile », comme le suggérait « plaisamment » l’historien Toynbee, que ce soit dans un musée d’histoire naturelle !

Une argumentation curieusement avancée par ceux qui se font en même temps les avocats zélés de « droit au retour » des Palestiniens et veulent que quiconque a été expulsé de sa maison doit pouvoir rentrer chez lui, quelle qu’ait été la durée de l’exil. Un raisonnement qui tiendrait donc pour les Palestiniens, mais pas pour les Juifs. Sans compter que ceux qui déclarent les Juifs étrangers en Terre Sainte ne les considèrent pas non plus comme de « vrais Français » ou de « vrais Russes ». Or, si les Juifs sont étrangers aussi bien en « Palestine » qu’en diaspora, on se demande où ils seront chez eux !

Certains français illustres comprirent que le retour des Juifs sur leur terre n’était que justice. Jean Racine « Réjouis-toi, Sion, et sors de la poussière. Quitte les vêtements de ta captivité. Et reprends ta splendeur première. Les chemins de Sion à la fin sont ouverts. Rompez vos fers, Tribus captives ; Troupes fugitives, Repassez les monts et les mers : Rassemblez-vous des bouts de l’univers » (Esther, Acte III, scène IX).

Jean-Jacques Rousseau « Je ne croirai jamais avoir bien entendu les raisons des Juifs, qu’ils n’aient un Etat libre, des écoles, des universités, où il puissent parler et disputer sans risque. Alors seulement nous pourrons savoir ce qu’il ont à dire » (La Profession de Foi du vicaire savoyard).

Napoléon Bonaparte en 1799 à quarante kilomètres de Jérusalem : « Réveillez-vous Israélites ! L’heure est venue de réaliser votre indépendance politique comme nation parmi les nations ! ».

Ces grands Français connaissaient leur histoire d’Israël. Ils savaient que le nom « Palestine » vient de Philistins, un peuple de la mer Egée qui s’était installé au douzième siècle avant l’ère chrétienne sur la côte orientale de la Méditerranée. Lorsque les Romains écrasèrent la révolte des Juifs au deuxième siècle de l’ère chrétienne, ils tentèrent d’effacer toute mémoire juive en rebaptisant justement la Judée Palestina, du nom de leurs ennemis. D’où le mot arabe Filastin..

Or, les Hébreux avaient conquis la terre de Canaan qu’ils rebaptisèrent Eretz Israel mille trois cents ans avant l’ère chrétienne. Ils y vécurent en confédération tribale jusqu’à l’unification sous la première royauté de Saül. David, établit la capitale d’Israël à Jérusalem mille ans avant l’ère chrétienne. Son successeur, Salomon, fils de David, construisit le Temple de Jérusalem ; il laissa un royaume centralisé et fermement établi.

Après la mort de Salomon, le pays était divisé entre le royaume du Nord (Israël) et celui du Sud (Judée). Le royaume d’Israël fut détruit par les Assyriens en l’an 722 et celui de Judée par les Babyloniens en 587 avant l’ère chrétienne. Un demi-siècle plus tard, le roi de Perse Cyrus permit aux Juifs de revenir en Israël et d’y rebâtir le temple de Jérusalem. Alexandre le Grand repoussa les Perses et conquit la Judée en 332 av. J.C. Les Juifs se révoltèrent en 167 contre la dynastie hellénistique et ils rétablirent un Etat autonome en 142. Rome conquit la Judée en 63 av. J.C. et y instaura un régime juif vassal. Le royaume d’Hérode était directement soumis à Rome et les Juifs se soulevèrent en l’an 66 de notre ère. La « Guerre des Juifs » relatée par Flavius Josèphe s’acheva avec la destruction du Second Temple par les Romains en 70. Bar Kokhba organisa une seconde révolte en 132 et celle-ci fut écrasée par les Romains en 135. Après la division de l’Empire romain deux siècles plus tard, Byzance règna sur les Juifs soumis jusqu’à l’invasion arabe de 634-640. Les croisés s’emparèrent de la Terre Sainte en 1099 pour la « libérer » des musulmans , mais le royaume franc s’effondra avec la victoire des Mamelouks en 1291.Les Ottomans prirent la région en 1517 et la dominèrent jusqu’à l’installation des Britanniques en 1917. Les Britanniques quittèrent eux-mêmes la Palestine en 1947 et les Juifs y établirent leur Etat la même année.

De tous les peuples qui se sont succédés en Judée depuis la destruction du Second Temple par les Romains, seuls les Juifs sont encore là. Après la conquête de Canaan, ils ont souvent été privés de leur indépendance, mais leur présence n’a jamais été effacée et ils ne se sont jamais départis d’un attachement viscéral, évoqués plusieurs fois par jour dans les prières, à ce pays. Même au lendemain de la révolte de Bar Kokhba et de la répression violente qui suivit, les Juifs continuèrent de constituer une majorité dans leur pays et ils y jouissaient encore d’une certaine autonomie. A preuve que lorsque l’empereur Caracalla décida en 212 d’octroyer la citoyenneté romaine à ceux de ses sujets qui avaient un pays, les Juifs l’obtinrent. Pas de doute à Rome, à l’époque, que la Palestine était le pays des Juifs. C’est à l’époque des Romains, puis de Byzance, que furent composés en Judée la Mishna et le Talmud de Jérusalem. Les Juifs ne cessèrent d’ailleurs pas de combattre pour leur indépendance puisqu’une force juive de Judée fut constituée en 614 pour lutter aux côtés des Perses contre les Byzantins[12].

C’est l’invasion arabe qui déracina vraiment les Juifs. Contrairement à leurs prédécesseurs, les Arabes pratiquèrent une politique de colonisation intensive, de confiscation des terres et de démolition des maisons. C’est ce nettoyage ethnique qui fit des Juifs, pour la première fois dans l’Histoire, une minorité en Judée. L’idée reçue, de nos jours, est que les Juifs ont chassé les Arabes de leur terre. Mais historiquement et chronologiquement, ce sont les Arabes qui les chassèrent. Ces derniers devinrent majoritaires au septième siècle, et ce jusqu’au processus de reconquête par les premiers au dix-neuvième siècle. La Reconquista de l’Espagne par les chrétiens mit huit cents ans à se produire. En quoi la reconquête de la Judée par les Juifs, parce qu’elle a pris quatre siècles de plus, aurait moins de légitimité ? Ce serait par ailleurs donner raison à Ben Laden qui attribue l’Espagne aux Arabes. Non que le droit civil de certains pays, entre autres le droit juif, ne reconnaisse pas l’idée de propriété par défaut. Le voleur peut devenir propriétaire du bien volé si la victime a perdu tout espoir de retrouver son bien. Or, les Juifs, précisément, ne cessèrent jamais d’espérer retourner dans leur pays. C’est pourquoi ils refusèrent au demeurant un Etat en Argentine, en Ouganda, au Birobidjan et en Mandchourie.

Cependant, en dépit des efforts déployés par les Romains, puis par les Arabes et les croisés, les Juifs se maintinrent en Judée/Palestine. Leurs principales communautés du premier au dix-neuvième siècle furent : Safed, Tibériade, Hébron, Gaza, Rafah, Ashkelon, Césarée, Jaffa, Acre et Jéricho. Parmi les habitants juifs de Jéricho au septième siècle, il y avait les rescapés des massacres perpétrés par Mahomet contre les tribus juives d’Arabie. Au onzième siècle, les croisés massacrèrent des milliers de gens et de nombreux Juifs de France, d’Angleterre, plus tard d’Espagne, de Lituanie, du Portugal, de Sicile, de Sardaigne, de Rhodes et de Naples s’installèrent en Judée. Dès le douzième siècle, la population juive allait croissant. Au moment de la conquête ottomane, à peu près 10 000 Juifs vivaient à Safed, le communauté de cette ville comptant 15 000 âmes et une académie rabbinique au seizième siècle[13]. D’importantes communautés vivaient à la même époque à Jérusalem, à Hébron et à Acre. Quand on procéda au premier recensement à Jérusalem à l’époque des Ottomans en 1858, il s’avéra que les Juifs y constituaient la majeure partie de la population, les musulmans en représentant moins du quart. Bien avant la première vague d’immigration (aliyah) des Juifs européens en 1882, Jérusalem, Safed et Tibériade étaient des villes (ou plutôt des villages) à majorité juive.

Durant l’occupation ottomane, la vie des Juifs en Judée était intolérable. William Tanner Young, consul britannique à Jérusalem, rapporte le 25 mai 1839 au Foreign Office qu’ils étaient massacrés à Hébron, battus, expropriés à Jérusalem et interdits de prière dans les Lieux saints. Si leurs coreligionnaires d’Europe, du Yémen, d’Irak, de Turquie et d’Afrique du Nord les rejoignirent à la fin du dix-neuvième siècle, c’est que les conditions de vie en diaspora étaient plus terribles encore et parce que ces mêmes Juifs n’avaient jamais perdu l’espoir de revenir dans leur pays.

Les Arabes affirment de nos jours que les Juifs s’emparèrent d’une contrée bien établie, peuplée et verdoyante. Tous les récits de voyage et rapports sur la Palestine du XVIIe au XIXe siècle attestent au contraire d’une région vide de l’Empire ottoman. Henry Maundrell en 1697 : Nazareth, « un village minuscule et sans importance » ; Jéricho, « une bourgade minable et sale » ; Acre, « une désolation »[14]. L’archéologue britannique Thomas Shaw en 1738 : la Terre Sainte «vide, désolée et manquant de tout »[15]. Le comte Volney en 1785 : Nous avons du mal à reconnaître Jérusalem…on y compte environ douze mille habitants »[16]. Alphonse de Lamartine qui visita la région en 1832 écrit dans le Voyage en Orient (1835) qu’à part Jérusalem, il ne rencontra pas âme qui vive et que la Palestine était « le tombeau de tout un peuple ». Ou encore Alexandre Keith en 1844 : « A l’époque de Volney, la Terre Sainte n’en était pas encore arrivée à l’état de désolation totale décrit par les prophètes »[17]. Et puis le consul britannique en Palestine ottomane, James Pinn en 1857 dans un rapport à Londres : « Le pays est à peu près inhabité »[18]. Le compte rendu le plus célèbre de l’état des lieux de la Palestine ottomane à la fin du XIXe siècle et à la veille de la première aliyah est le journal de Mark Twain, témoin oculaire en 1867 :

« Pas un seul village [dans la Vallée de Jezréel] –rien sur trente miles dans les deux sens. Deux ou trois petits groupes de tentes bédouines, mais pas une seule habitation permanente. On peut voyager pendant dix miles sans rencontrer dix êtres humains (…) Déserts sans âme qui vive, collines vides (…) ruine mélancolique de Capharnaüm, stupide village de Tibériade, enterré sous six palmiers (…). Nous arrivâmes à Tabor sans encombre et sans rencontrer âme qui vive tout au long du chemin. Nazareth est désolée (…) Jéricho est en ruine, comme inchangée depuis le miracle de Josué il y a plus de trois mille ans; Bethléem et Béthanie, dans leur pauvreté et leur humiliation, n’ont plus rien pour rappeler qu’elles furent honorées par la présence du Sauveur, ces endroits où les bergers chantaient « paix sur terre, grâce à l’homme » n’abritent pas une créature vivante (…) Bethesda et Horzine ont disparu et les déserts autour d’elles où des milliers d’hommes écoutèrent la voix du Sauveur et mangèrent le pain miraculeux, elles se sont endormies dans une solitude qui n’est plus habitée que par des oiseaux de proie et des renards qui rôdent[19]."

On peut également citer le cartographe britannique Arthur Penrhyn Stanley : « ni signes de vie ni habitations en Judée, sur des distances entières » dans une oeuvre parue en 1862[20].

Voilà pour le pays verdoyant « envahi » par les Juifs en 1882. Au moment où passe Mark Twain, la population de la Palestine ottomane est de quelque 400 000 âmes – Juifs et Arabes confondus. La première vague d’immigration, en 1882, entraîna celle des Arabes de l’Empire ottoman qu’attiraient les perspectives d’emploi fournies par l’infrastructure juive en Palestine. Un fait attesté et durable : « L’immigration arabe en Palestine, depuis 1921, est nettement plus nombreuse que l’immigration juive », déclare par exemple le Président Roosevelt en 1939[21]. C’est que la « communauté juive palestinienne » a lancé une économie dynamique. En 1947, le salaire d’un ouvrier arabe de Jaffa multiplie par deux celui de son collègue de Naplouse. De 1922 à 1947, la population arabe croît dans les villes et régions où les Juifs sont majoritaires : de 290% à Haïfa, de 158% à Jaffa et de 131% à Jérusalem – pour une croissance de 50% en moyenne dans les régions où les Juifs ne sont pas installés[22]. Selon l’historien Ernst Frankenstein, au moins 25% des Arabes qui vivaient en Palestine en 1882 étaient des nouveaux venus ou les descendants des Egyptiens ayant conquis la région en 1831[23].

A la date où les Britanniques reçoivent de la Société des Nations en 1920 un mandat sur l’ensemble du territoire correspondant aujourd’hui à ceux d’Israël, de l’Autorité palestinienne et de la Jordanie, 900 000 personnes s’y trouvaient (dont 600 000 en Palestine occidentale, à l’ouest du Jourdain). Dès le début du XVIIIe siècle, les villages, en particulier le port de Jaffa, étaient peuplés non seulement de Juifs et d’Arabes, mais de Turcs, de Grecs, d’Arméniens, de Bosniaques, de Druzes, de Kurdes, de Perses, d’Egyptiens, de Templiers allemands…Les Arabes étaient pour l’essentiel nomades et ne constituaient qu’un groupe ethnique parmi d’autres. A l’époque de la partition par les Nations unies en 1947, les Juifs étaient majoritaires à l’Ouest : 538 000 contre 397 000 Arabes.

La Palestine n’a jamais constitué un pays et le concept même de Palestine n’existait pas dans l’Empire ottoman. Comme l’explique Bernard Lewis, le spécialiste du Proche-Orient : « Depuis la destruction de l’Etat juif dans l’Antiquité et jusqu’au Mandat britannique, le territoire connu sous le nom de « Palestine » n’avait pas de frontières…Cette région englobait des subdivisions administratives changeantes »[24]. La Syrie fut en 1887 divisée en deux vilayets : Beyrouth et Damas, et les sandjaks d’Acre et Naplouse rattachés à Beyrouth, celui de Jérusalem étant indépendant. Point de Palestine, donc, dans l’Empire ottoman, que ce soit au plan physique, administratif ou linguistique. Le mot même de Palestine n’était pas usité chez les Turcs et les Arabes. Ce furent les Britanniques qui « ressuscitèrent » la Palestina romaine. Il n’y avait ni Etat ni peuple palestinien. Comme le reconnut d’ailleurs le rapport Peel de 1937, qui n’était pourtant en rien favorable aux Juifs : « Durant les douze siècles qui se sont écoulés depuis l’invasion arabe, la pays a quasiment disparu de la scène historique (…) Il est resté en dehors de l’Histoire tant sur le plan économique que politique. Même sur le plan culturel et scientifique, sa contribution à la civilisation est nulle.»[25]. C’est, comme le notait déjà en 1858 l’historien suisse Félix Bovet, parce que les Arabes ne sont pas des autochtones, qu’ils n’y construisent rien[26]. Une seule ville arabe fut construite en terre d’Israël: Ramleh. Toutes les autres sont des villes juives rebaptisées par eux. La résolution du premier congrès islamo-chrétien de janvier-février 1919 à Jérusalem réuni afin de désigner les représentants locaux pour la Conférence de la paix est révélatrice: « Nous considérons la Palestine comme faisant partie de la Syrie arabe dont elle ne fut jamais séparée. Nous sommes liés à la Syrie par des liens nationaux, religieux, linguistiques, naturels, économiques et géographiques »[27]. Le dirigeant arabe palestinien Awni Abdul Haadi déclarait quant à lui déclarant à la Commission Peel en 1937 : « Il n’y a pas de Palestine. C’est un terme inventé par les sionistes. Notre pays a fait partie pendant des siècles de la Syrie »[28].

Les Arabes connaissaient ces faits et tous ne considéraient pas le retour des Juifs, contrairement à une opinion aujourd’hui répandue, comme une « invasion ». Personne n’allait à l’époque de la Conférence de la paix soulever la question d’un Etat palestinien, car les Arabes eux-mêmes n’exigaient pas d’Etat pour un peuple qui n’existait pas. L’émir Faysal, leader de la délégation arabe à Versailles, voulait un royaume arabe incluant la Syrie, le Liban, la Transjordanie, la Palestine, voire même l’Irak. Mieux : il existe toute une série de déclarations, évidemment conjoncturelles, de celui-ci allant dans le sens des sionistes. Par exemple l’accord officiel de coopération passé le 3 janvier 1919 avec Haïm Weizmann : les sionistes appuieraient l’émir dans son effort de construction nationale ; ce dernier, en revanche, encouragerait « les mesures adéquates » pour une « immigration massive des Juifs vers la Palestine ». Ou encore la lettre de Faysal datant de mars 1919 au juriste Felix Frankfurter : « Notre délégation d’ici à Paris est parfaitement au courant de la proposition soumise hier par l’organisation sioniste à la Conférence de la Paix et nous la considérons comme modérée et convenable. Nous ferons de notre mieux, en ce qui nous concerne, pour l’aider à réussir. Nous souhaiterons la plus cordiale bienvenue aux Juifs chez eux…Il (le docteur Weizmann) a été un grand soutien de notre cause et j’espère que les Arabes pourront bientôt être en mesure de rendre aux Juifs une partie de leur bonté ».

De fait, ce n’est pas avec le partage de l’ONU, approuvé par l’Assemblée générale en novembre 1947, que la communauté internationale reconnut aux Juifs le droit de disposer d’eux-mêmes dans leur patrie historique, c’est à la conférence de San Remo, en avril 1920, puisque la Puissance mandataire, la Grande-Bretagne, avait désormais pour mission explicite d’œuvrer d’oeuvrer à l’établissement en Palestine d’un foyer national juif. Les Juifs obtenaient leur droit à l’autodétermination à la sueur de leur front et après avoir asséché les marais, planté des arbres et construit des routes, des hôpitaux, et des écoles.

En juin 1922, le Livre blanc de Churchill séparait officiellement la Transjordanie de la Palestine et l’excluait du territoire ouvert à l’immigration juive. Les Arabes dont beaucoup s’étaient battus, contrairement à la Légion juive (unités britanniques ), du côté turc, se voyaient donc attribuer 80% de la Palestine originelle.

Quant aux Arabes de Palestine occidentale qui souhaitaient le rattachement à la Syrie, ils n’admirent jamais l’établissement d’un quelconque Etat juif.

D’où la vague de violences des années 20. Les Britanniques tentèrent d’apaiser la colère arabe en faisant désigner Hadj Amin al-Husseini comme mufti de Jérusalem à la mi-mai 1921. Cette erreur fut fatale : le personnage fit du rejet de l’autodétermination juive un devoir religieux et de l’assassinat de Juifs un acte légitime et louable. Avant al-Husseini, le partage de la Palestine occidentale entre un Etat juif et un Etat arabe était encore envisageable. Après lui, elle devint impossible. Ses incitations au meurtre trouveront une application extrême dans le massacre de Hébron en 1929 : soixante Juifs assassinés par les Arabes le 23 août sur encouragement et instructions, alors que la communauté sépharade vivait là depuis des générations ; c’était la première fois que la ville se vida de ses Juifs. 133 personnes massacrées dans une tuerie qui s’était étendue en particulier à Safed. Le mufti accusa d’ailleurs ses victimes d’avoir provoqué ces meurtres pour s’attirer la sympathie des Britanniques. Ceux-ci, au lieu de combattre le terrorisme racial, accédèrent néanmoins à la demande d’al-Husseini et baissèrent le quota de l’immigration juive en Palestine fin 1936. Un scénario qui allait faire ses preuves par la suite.

Hadj Amin al-Husseini rejeta vigoureusement les propositions de partition de la Commissioin Peel, en juillet 1937, qui recommandait d’accorder seulement un cinquième du territoire aux Juifs. Le rejet d’al-Husseini enterra le plan de partage et donc la création d’un refuge pour les Juifs alors même qu’Hitler était au pouvoir en Allemagne depuis quatre ans.

Peu après l’accession d’Hitler au pouvoir, le mufti avait écrit au consul d’Allemagne à Jérusalem : « Les musulmans de Palestine et d’ailleurs accueillent favorablement le nouveau régime en Allemagne et ils espèrent que le système fasciste et antidémocratique s’étendra aux autres pays »[29]. Il avait organisé des « scouts nazis » sur le modèle des Hitlerjungen. La swastika était devenu un symbole populaire parmi les Palestiniens, tout comme la chanson : « Plus de Monsieur, plus de Mister ! Au ciel Allah et sur terre Hitler ! ». Le terrorisme arabe, soutenu par l’Allemagne, s’en prenait systématiquement aux civils juifs, dans les hôpitaux, les théâtres, les magasins et les maisons. Al-Husseini, qui rencontra Hitler en 1941, a coopéré avec le régime nazi : il promit de fomenter une nouvelle révolte panarabe en échange de l’indépendance après la guerre et de l’abrogation du foyer national juif ; il suggéra par exemple l’envoi des enfants juifs de Hongrie en Pologne[30]. Le mufti visita Auschwitz et relate dans ses mémoires : « Notre condition sine qua non à une coopération avec l’Allemagne était d’obtenir une liberté d’action totale pour éliminer tout Juif de Palestine et du monde arabe. Je demandai à Hitler un engagement explicite nous permettant de résoudre le problème juif suivant nos aspirations nationales et raciales, et conformément aux méthodes scientifiques modernes des Allemands. Sa réponse fut : ils sont à vous ! »[31]. C’est al-Husseini qui forgea les expressions « Itbah al Yahud » (Tuez les Juifs) et « Nashrab dam al Yahud » (Nous boirons le sang des Juifs).

Son étroite collaboration avec les nazis le grandit encore dans le monde arabe : l’Egypte lui accorda un statut de réfugié politique et le conseil national palestinien l’élut à sa tête en 1948. Il continue de figurer comme grand personnage des Arabes palestiniens et Arafat ne cesse de faire référence à lui en tant que « héros » (interview à al-Quds du 2 août 2002).

Après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, les peuples ayant soutenu les Nazis furent punis pour leurs crimes: par exemple, les Sudètes furent expulsés de Tchécoslovaquie par les Alliés et envoyés en Allemagne. Les Arabes de Palestine, en revanche, eurent droit à un meilleur traitement. En dépit de leur combat commun avec les Nazis, l’ONU leur reconnu le droit à un État avec le Plan de partage de 1947, en plus de l’État établi sur 80% de la Palestine mandataire par la Grande-Bretagne en 1922. Après la Shoah, dans laquelle six millions de Juifs périrent, le droit des Juifs à un État allait de soi. Pas seulement pour les Juifs d’Europe rescapés des camps, mais également pour les Juifs des pays arabes qui étaient traités comme citoyens de deuxième classe (dhimmis) dans les régimes d’apartheid arabes.

On entend souvent dire que les victimes de la Shoah avaient droit à un État, mais que c’était aux Allemands de payer une réparation territoriale et pas aux Arabes palestiniens. Cet argument est spécieux pour deux raisons. D’abord, comme je l’ai montré plus haut, la Palestine n’était pas plus arabe que juive, le droit des Arabes à un État fut reconnu par le plan de partition (qu’ils rejetèrent), et il n’y eut jamais d’État arabe palestinien. Le dernier État souverain fut l’État juif détruit par les Romains en 70. Deuxièmement, dire que les Arabes palestiniens n’ont rien à voir avec la Shoah est complètement faux: leur dirigeant Al-Husseini fut un criminel de guerre nazi, les Arabes palestiniens soutinrent l’Allemagne nazie, et ils portent une responsabilité écrasante dans le génocide du peuple juif.

Les Arabes rejetèrent en 1947, tout comme dix ans auparavant, le plan de partage de l’ONU et se lancèrent dans une guerre d’extermination contre les Juifs. Ce conflit déclenchant une vague de réfugiés juifs et arabes. 850 000 Juifs furent expulsés du monde arabe et 700 000 Arabes s’enfuirent de Palestine en attendant la victoire, comme les y appelaient les pays frères. Certes, la Haganah encouragea dans certains cas le départ de la population ennemie, mais ce sont les hostilités provoquées par les Arabes qui furent la cause principale du processus[32].

Après leur défaite en 1949, les Arabes auraient pu établir un Etat en Cisjordanie et à Gaza, mais tel n’était pas leur but. Ils voulaient liquider l’Etat juif souverain : d’où les guerres déclenchées par eux en 1967 et en 1973. Après la Guerre des Six Jours, Israël accepta la Résolution 242 du Conseil de Sécurité et les pays arabes la rejetèrent sans appel (Conférence de Khartoum). Comme le dit très justement l’ancien ministre des Affaires étrangères Abba Eban, la guerre des Six Jours fut le premier conflit de l’Histoire où ce fut le vainqueur qui demanda la paix et les vaincus qui exigèrent une capitulation sans conditions.

Anouar al-Sadate, qui eut le courage de franchir le pas et d’accepter la Résolution 242 se vit d’ailleurs restituer tout le Sinaï, soit 90% des territoires dont les Israéliens s’étaient emparés en 1967.

Arafat, l’héritier d’al-Husseini, refuse, lui, de s’engager sur cette voie. La « reconnaissance » d’Israël à Genève en décembre 1988 et la ratification de l’accord d’Oslo par le biais d’une lettre, datée du 9 septembre 1993, ne sont chez le chef de l’OLP que stratagèmes. Abou Iyad, son bras droit, déclare dès le 11 février 1989 au journal koweïtien al-Watan qu’il n’y a pas eu reconnaissance à Genève. ? Le 13 septembre 1993, jour de la signature de l’accord d’Oslo, Arafat lui-même signifie à la télévision jordanienne que l’objectif reste d’exécuter le plan par étapes adopté par l’OLP en 1974, c’est-à-dire d’accepter un compromis provisoire pour détruire par la suite Israël. 10 mai 1994 : c’est toujours Arafat qui explique à Johannesburg qu’Oslo n’est qu’une version moderne de la convention d’al-Hudaybiya, conclue entre Mahomet et ses ennemis en 628, soit un stratagème en situation de faiblesse pour mieux se défaire ensuite de l’ennemi.

La guerre d’Arafat est une guerre injustifiée. Son but n’est pas de libérer un peuple, mais d’en détruire un autre. Médias et manuels scolaires de l’Autorité palestinienne promeuvent la mort comme valeur suprême et rejettent le droit des Juifs à un Etat. Exemple de sermon de Muhammad Ibrahim Madi diffusé sur la chaîne de télévision de l’Autorité palestinienne le 3 août 2001 :

« J’ai été ravi lorsqu’un enfant m’a dit : ‘Ô Cheikh, j’ai quatorze ans. Dans quatre ans je me ferai exploser parmi les ennemis d’Allah, je me ferai exploser parmi les Juifs.’ Je lui ai dit : ‘Ô, jeune enfant, puisse Allah te faire mériter la Shahâda [« martyr »] et me faire mériter la Shahâda (…) Toutes les armes doivent être tournées contre les Juifs, nation maudite dans le Coran, qu’Allah décrit comme des singes et des porcs, des adorateurs de veaux et d’idoles. Rien ne les arrêtera sinon la couleur du sang de leur sale nation, sinon notre volonté de nous faire exploser en leur sein. Puisse Allah faire en sorte que les Musulmans règnent sur les Juifs. Nous les ferons exploser à Hadera, à Tel-Aviv, à Netaniya, jusqu’à ce qu’à ce qu’Allah nous rende maîtres de ces ordures (…) Nous entrerons dans Jérusalem en conquérants, ainsi qu’à Jaffa, Haïfa et Ashkelon (…) Bénis soient ceux qui éduquent leurs fils dans la voie du Jihad et de la Shahâda ! [33].

Ce n’est pas un hasard si le nombre des attentats perpétrés par l’OLP et le Hamas a triplé après la signature d’Oslo II en septembre 1995 (retrait israélien de 98% de la population palestinienne et établissement d’un gouvernement palestinien sous la houlette de l’OLP). Les attentats-suicide ont commencé après le retrait israélien des territoires et le début de la propagande d’Arafat qui se situe dans la lignée directe de celle d’al-Huseini. La présence militaire israélienne dans les territoires contestés est la conséquence, pas la cause, du terrorisme palestinien. Ce terrorisme débuta dès les années 1920 sous l’impulsion d’al-Husseini bien avant l’existence même de l’Etat d’Israël.

La plus longue occupation de l’Histoire fut l’occupation de l’Inde par la Grande-Bretagne. Il n’y eut pas un seul attentat-suicide contre les Anglais durant toute cette période. L’occupation la plus cruelle et la plus injustifiée aujourd’hui est l’occupation du Tibet par la Chine. Les Tibétains ne se font pas exploser parmi les Chinois innocents et ne tirent pas à bout portant sur leurs enfants. Quant à la pauvreté, si elle est l’autre cause du terrorisme palestinien, comment se fait-il que des pays comme Haïti ou le Bangladesh ne soient pas des centres mondiaux du terrorisme ?

C’est précisément à l’apogée du processus d’Oslo qu’Arafat exposa sa stratégie à des diplomates arabes dans un hôtel de Stockholm le 30 janvier 1996 : « L’idée est d’éliminer l’Etat d’Israël et d’établir un Etat purement palestinien…Par une guerre psychologique et l’explosion populaire nous allons rendre la vie aux Juifs impossible. Dans cinq ans, nous aurons de six à sept millions d’Arabes en Cisjordanie et à Jérusalem et les Juifs ne voudront pas vivre parmi les Arabes… »[34].

Conclusion

Le but du sionisme était de faire des Juifs un peuple libre sur sa terre et de permettre à leur génie créateur et à leur culture se s’épanouir pleinement. Ce but a été atteint.

Mais le sionisme avait un autre but, lequel n’a pas été atteint. Herzl, qui mourut il y a exactement cent ans, conclut son livre l’État juif en termes suivants : « Je crois qu’une génération extraordinaire de Juifs va émerger. Les Maccabées se lèveront à nouveau. Je le répète : les Juifs qui veulent un État l’auront. Nous vivrons comme hommes libres sur notre propre terre, et mourrons en paix dans nos maisons. Le monde sera libéré par notre liberté, enrichi par notre richesse, grandi par notre grandeur. Et tout ce que nous essaierons d’accomplir pour notre propre bien aura des répercussions bénéfiques pour le reste de l’humanité. » Les Juifs qui le veulent peuvent vivre libres sur leur propre terre. Mais si certains meurent en paix dans leurs maisons, d’autres meurent dans leurs maisons assassinés de sang froid, ou meurent déchiquetés dans la rue. Et, bien que la haute-technologie israélienne enrichisse d’autres peuples et pays, le monde n’est pas libéré par notre liberté et n’est pas agrandi par notre grandeur.

L’État d’Israël est accusé d’être un État criminel, d’être le principal violateur des droits de l’homme dans le monde, d’être l’incarnation du nazisme, et d’être l’ultime obstacle à la paix au Proche Orient. Aux Nations-Unies et dans les universités américaines et européennes, Israël est plus condamné ou boycotté qu’aucun autre pays. Ses dirigeants sont menacés d’être poursuivis en justice pour crimes de guerre.

Il est effectivement lâche et absurde d’accuser d’antisémite toute critique d’Israël. Mais il est malhonnête et hypocrite d’appliquer deux poids-deux mesures à la critique d’Israël et des autres pays. Les Israéliens critiquent leur pays à longueur de journée et sans pitié. Mais il y a une différence entre critiquer et diaboliser. Entre dire que Sharon a tort sur telle ou telle décision et le comparer à Hitler. Entre dire que la présence militaire israélienne au-delà des lignes de cessez-le-feu de 1949 est illégale, et dire que l’existence même de l’État d’Israël est illégitime. Entre dire que le conflit israélo-arabe doit être résolu et dire qu’Israël est la cause de tous les maux. Entre dire que la politique des éliminations ciblées des leaders terroristes est contre-productive, et dire qu’elle est responsable de l’antisémitisme en France. Il est hypocrite de manifester son soutien pour les Arabes palestiniens sans jamais mentionner les Tibétains ou les Kurdes dont les droits nationaux sont autrement plus authentiques et anciens et qui, eux, ne jouent pas au football avec la tête décapitée de leurs victimes. Il est hypocrite d’accuser Israël de crimes de guerre lorsque son armée prend des mesures défensives ou punitives pour protéger sa population civile, et de fermer les yeux, les oreilles et la bouche sur le génocide du Soudan. Il est hypocrite de hurler d’indignation sur l’ « occupation israélienne » et de ne dire mot sur l’occupation du Liban par la Syrie, de Chypre par la Turquie, ou du Tibet par la Chine. Il est hypocrite de venir servir de bouclier humain pour Arafat lorsque Tsahal cherche à mettre la main sur ses protégés, et de ne jamais venir servir de bouclier humain devant les cafés et les cinémas israéliens pour empêcher l’entrée de bombes humaines.

Comme l’écrit Alan Dershowitz, immédiatement après qu’Arafat ait rejeté toutes les offres de paix de Camp David sans faire de contre-proposition, et après qu’il ait répondu à la paix par la guerre, l’opinion publique internationale était majoritairement derrière Israël. Dès l’instant où Arafat envoya des femmes et des enfants se faire filmer devant les tanks israéliens, l’opinion internationale tourna à nouveau (en particulier après la manipulation de « l’Affaire Al-Dura » diffusée par France 2). Mais cette même opinion internationale ne se contenta pas de tomber dans le piège d’Arafat. Elle devint littéralement folle. En essayant de comprendre les causes de ce retournement irrationnel et extrême, Dershowitz conclut que « Israël est l’État juif et le « Juif » parmi les États du monde. »[35] Ce ne sont plus « les Juifs » qui sont la cause de tous les maux et les vrais responsables de leurs propres malheurs, mais « Israël » et « Sharon. » Ce ne sont plus « les Juifs » qui contrôlent la finance mondiale, mais « Sharon et son entourage » qui contrôlent Bush et les néo-conservateurs.

Grâce à l’État juif, les Juifs ne sont plus à la merci des nations. Mais l’État juif n’a pas mis fin à la haine des nations envers les Juifs, au contraire. L’idée que les Juifs puissent être forts et se défendre fait horreur à ceux qui se sont habitués à les humilier pendant des siècles. Le sionisme ne peut pas et ne pourra pas mettre fin à la haine des Juifs, parce que cette haine n’a rien a voir avec les Juifs eux-mêmes mais avec idées qu’ils représentent depuis leur apparition sur la scène de l’Histoire.

Comme l’annonce le Prophète Isaïe, un jour viendra où tous les hommes seront frères, et l’agneau couchera près du loup (une plaisanterie israélienne ajoute que mieux vaudra être le loup que l’agneau). Mais nous en sommes loin. Et pour que cette prophétie se réalise, il faut que les Juifs soient libres et souverains. D’où la nécessité de l’État juif, tant pour les Juifs que pour l’humanité.

—————————————————

[1] Le Monde, 16 février 2004.

[2] http://www.proche-orient.info, 22 juin 2004.

[3] Cf. Yoram Hazony, « Did Herzl Want a ‘Jewish State ‘ ? », Azure, 9 ,printemps 2000, p-44-45 : Herzl utilisait souvent le substantif Juden pour l’adjectif juif ; par exemple Judenkongress pour congrès juif ; l’usage des deux tournures est chez lui, comme d’ailleurs en allemand indifférent.

[4] Briefe und Tagebücher, Vol. 2, p. 128-129.

[5] The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl, Raphael Patai, trad. Harry Zohn, New York, Herzl Press,1960, p. 56.

[6] Diaries, Ibid., p.72.

[7] Ibid. , p. 104.

[8] 15 août 1899.

[9] Cf. Azmi Bishara, « Entre nationalité et nation » (hébreu), Teoria ubikoret 6, 1995, p.41.

[10] Ha’aretz (supplément du week-end), 29 mai 1998, pp.24, 27.

[11] Atlantic Unbound, 22 septembre 1999, http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/interviews/ba990922.htm

[12] Cf. Samuel Katz, Battleground : Fact and Fantasy in Palestine, New York, Bantam, 1973, p.88.

[13] Palestine Royal Commission Report Presented by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to Parliament by Command of his Majesty, July 1937, Cmd. 5479, p.11-12.

[14] The Journey of Henry Maundrell from Aleppo to Jerusalem, 1697, Londres, Henry Bohn, 1848, pp. 428, 450, 477.

[15] Cf. Thomas Shaw, Travels, or Observations Relating to Several Parts of Barbary and the Levant (1694-1751), Londres, 1754.

[16] Cf. Constantin Volney, Travels Through Syria and Egypt in the Years 1783,1784, 1785, Londres, Peter Noster & Row, 1788, Vol. 2, p.36.

[17] Cf. Alexandre Keith, The Land of Israel, Edimbourg, William Whyte, 1844, p.465.

[18] Lettre à Harel McLardon, 15 septembre 1857, British Foreign Office, doc. 78/1294, n°36.

[19] Cf. Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad , or, The new Pilgrim’s progress, New York, Oxford University Press, 1996, pp. 349, 366, 375, 441-442.

[20] Cf. Arthur Penrhyn Stanley , Sinai and Palestine, in connection with their history, Londres, John Murray, 1881, p.118.

[21] Cf. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, communiqué au secrétaire d’Etat, 17 mai 1939, in Foreign Relations of the United States : Diplomatic Papers , Washington DC, United States Government Press Office, 1955, Vol. 4, p. 457.

[22] Cf. Arieh Avneri, Haityashvut Hayehudit Vetaanat Hanishol, Tel-Aviv, Hakibbutz Hameuhad, 1980, p.221.

[23] cf. Ernst Frankenstein, Justice for my People, Londres, Nicholson & Watson, 1943, p.127.

[24] Cf. Bernard Lewis, « The Palestinians and the PLO : A Historical Approach », Commentary, janvier 1975. Et du même auteur, « Palestine : On the History and Geography of a Name », in Bernard Lewis, Islam in History, Chicago, Open Court, 1993, p. 153-165.

[25] Palestine Royal Commission Report, op.cit., ch. 1, p.6.

[26] Cf. Félix Bovet, Egypt, Palestine and Phoenicia : A Visit to Sacred Lands, Londres, 1882, p.384-385.

[27] Cf. Yehoshua Porath, The Palestine-Arab National Movement, 1929-1939 : From Riots to Rebellion, Londres, Frank Cass, 1977, Vol. 2, p. 81-82.

[28] Cité par Alan Dershowitz, The Case for Israel, Wiley, 2003, p.7.

[29] Cf. Benny Morris, Victimes Histoire revisitée du conflit arabo-sioniste, Editions Complexe, 2003, p. 143 = Righteous Victims A history of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1999.

[30]Ibid., p.186.

[31] Cf. Sarah Honig, « Friendish Hypocrisy II : The Man from Klopstock St. », Jerusalem Post, 6 avril 2001.

[32] Cf. Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949, Cambridge University Press, 1988.

[33] http://www.pmw.org.il

[34] Cf. Ephraim Karsh, Arafat’s War, New York, Grove Press, 2003, p. 57-58.

[35] The Case for Israel, p. 11.

Voir également:

 "L’histoire des Juifs est un miroir tendu à l’histoire européenne"

Sarah Scholl

Pour le professeur Jacques Ehrenfreund, l’histoire est un élément essentiel de la définition de l’identité juive.

DR

01 décembre 2012

INTERVIEW • Le professeur Jacques Ehrenfreund analyse le rapport entre judaïsme et histoire et montre comment se déploie dans ce cadre les notions de «peuple» ou de «nation».

Il est rare qu’un débat sur la question israélo-palestinienne fasse abstraction de la question historique et il n’y a pas une découverte archéologique en Terre sainte qui échappe à la publicité. Que se joue-t-il dans la relation entre les Juifs et leur histoire? Entre l’histoire des Juifs et celle du reste du monde?

Constituée en domaine d’étude depuis le début du XIXe siècle, l’histoire juive a aujourd’hui pleinement sa place dans les universités. Jeudi dernier, une journée d’étude était organisée à l’université de Lausanne sur la question: comment écrit-on l’histoire des Juifs? Coorganisateur de l’événement, le professeur Jacques Ehrenfreund n’hésite pas à aborder les questions de front. Il est soucieux d’éviter les anachronismes et les simplifications. Engagé à Lausanne depuis 2005, il est spécialiste du XIXe siècle et s’intéresse à la construction des groupes et des identités sociales, en lien aux héritages religieux. Interview.

L’histoire des Juifs est-elle une discipline à part?

Jacques Ehrenfreund: Non, elle fait bien sûr pleinement partie de l’histoire générale ou de l’histoire des religions. Elle s’occupe d’un groupe humain spécifique, qui se définit comme un peuple soumis à un ensemble de textes, Bible et Talmud. Tout tient ensemble: on ne peut parler du livre sans parler des gens, et inversement.

Que répondez-vous à ceux qui disent que les Juifs ne constituent pas un peuple mais une religion?

C’est pourtant très clair, les Juifs, historiquement, forment un peuple, mais attention, pas un peuple au sens moderne du terme. Avant le XIXe siècle, on ne peut pas parler de peuple souverain et les Juifs ne se pensent pas comme tel mais comme un peuple soumis à Dieu. Plus précisément, on peut les décrire comme un groupe de gens dispersés qui se sentent solidaires les uns des autres et soumis à la même loi [celle des textes sacrés], une forme de communauté politique ancienne. A cela s’ajoute l’idée, portée par les textes, d’être en exil. Cette situation, avant le mouvement sioniste, est interprétée exclusivement dans le registre de la pensée religieuse.

L’identité juive se construit-elle par l’histoire?

Au plus profond de sa tradition, le judaïsme est fondé sur un rapport singulier à l’histoire. Celle-ci est d’abord considérée comme providentielle, finaliste, dépendante du plan divin. Au point de départ, il y a une alliance avec la divinité: un engagement à respecter, des règles auxquelles se soumettre. L’ensemble a une vocation universelle: rendre témoignage de l’unicité de Dieu. Ce qui arrive, l’histoire, est perçu comme une preuve du respect ou du non-respect de l’engagement de ce peuple envers son Dieu.

La modernité transforme cela en faisant émerger une autre conception de l’histoire, interprétable rationnellement. Ce cheminement est parallèle dans le christianisme, sauf que les chrétiens, tout en reprenant un grand nombre d’éléments du judaïsme, ont abandonné l’aspect proprement politique ou collectif, l’idée de peuple.

Que se passe-t-il alors?

En fait, dans le judaïsme, la question de l’identité ne se pose pas vraiment avant la modernité: est Juif celui qui de filiation juive se soumet à la loi. A partir du XVIIe siècle et des grands questionnements philosophiques, de Spinoza par exemple, puis avec les Lumières, on se demande ce que cela signifie d’être Juif et on va avoir recours à l’histoire pour y répondre. Au XIXe siècle, les Juifs trouvent dans l’histoire un référent commun et une force pour se construire un avenir, dans le sionisme notamment mais pas seulement. L’histoire racontée est alors une histoire que l’on peut décrire comme lacrymale et héroïque, histoire des persécutions et des résistances, qui se décline dans des sommes érudites comme dans des manuels pédagogiques distribués aux enfants. Une histoire singulièrement longue d’ailleurs, de plusieurs millénaires, au-delà des ruptures colossales qui la marquent.

Quelle est la place de l’histoire des Juifs dans l’histoire européenne en général?

C’est une question difficile. Il est indispensable de faire une place à l’histoire des Juifs dans les différents contextes européens. Cette histoire est celle d’une petite minorité mais elle révèle des choses sur les sociétés dans lesquelles elle prend place. Il s’agit en effet d’une minorité singulière, qui ramène à une origine commune. Ce serait dommage de se priver de ce prisme-là.

Un exemple?

L’histoire des Juifs est comme un miroir tendu à l’histoire européenne en général. Elle permet par exemple d’éclairer la question des rapports entre politique et religieux. La place faite aux Juifs dit aussi quelque chose de l’invention des Etats nations au XIXe siècle. En Allemagne, l’intégration des Juifs passait principalement par la culture, la langue. En France, par contre, l’intégration se faisait par le politique, par l’Etat. On voit ainsi apparaître des compréhensions différentes de ce qu’est la nation.

Qu’en est-il de l’histoire de l’antisémitisme?

L’histoire de l’antisémitisme ne relève pas vraiment de l’histoire des Juifs. Plus exactement, il ne faut en aucun cas résumer l’histoire des Juifs à celle de l’hostilité exercée contre eux, même si on est en présence d’un phénomène considérable et qui n’a pas disparu. La polémique entre christianisme et judaïsme par exemple n’est pas réglée et elle n’est peut-être par réglable. La fonction de l’historien est justement de cerner ces questions, de les saisir, mais en aucun cas de les cacher ou de les euphémiser.

Quel est l’apport des recherches sur la Shoah?

La Shoah est devenue ces dernières années un sujet d’extrême spécialisation, presque un domaine en soi. Maintenant que les connaissances ont été accumulées, je crois qu’on peut faire le mouvement inverse et replacer cette histoire dans l’histoire européenne: recoller les morceaux des différentes histoires, celles des victimes, des bourreaux. La Shoah a bien sûr constitué une rupture civilisationnelle, mais elle ne résume pas pour autant l’entier de l’histoire des Juifs.

Israël est au cœur de nombre de controverses entre historiens, comment abordez-vous cette question?

Israël est un paradoxe intéressant: c’est une création artificielle récente et en même temps l’aboutissement d’une longue histoire, celle d’une communauté qui s’est pensée en exil. La langue illustre cette double dimension: on a repris une langue ancienne, uniquement consacrée à l’étude pendant deux mille ans, pour en faire une langue vernaculaire.

J’ai la volonté de dépasser cette dichotomie. Pour moi, comme pour mes collègues spécialistes d’autres domaines d’ailleurs, les nations sont toutes des constructions modernes. Ce n’est pas pour autant qu’elles doivent disparaître mais c’est pourtant cela qu’on sous-entend souvent avec Israël. Pour autant, il ne s’agit pas non plus d’une nation organique. Ses frontières par exemple doivent être le fruit de négociations.

Voir encore:

L’imposture Mahmoud Abbas

Guy Millière

La Mena…

Voici quelques jours à peine, Israël recevait une pluie meurtrière de roquettes et de missiles lancés depuis Gaza. Qu’ils n’aient pas fait davantage de morts et de destructions relève des capacités de défense d’Israël et non de la volonté de ses ennemis. L’Etat hébreu a répliqué comme il le fallait, en détruisant les caches d’armes dont disposaient les tireurs.

Israël s’est, bien sûr, attiré la réprobation du reste du monde, et les diplomates européens et américains se sont rendus à Jérusalem et au Caire afin que cessent les hostilités.

Le Hamas a bénéficié d’un armistice dont il sort conforté, puisque, désormais, des négociations sont menées avec lui et qu’il a obtenu des aménagements quant aux contrôles stricts exercés par Israël sur Gaza.

Mohammed Morsi, qui a joué les entremetteurs entre diplomates occidentaux et dirigeants du Hamas, est lui aussi sorti renforcé de la situation. Il s’est, depuis, arrogé les pleins pouvoirs en Egypte, et les émeutes qui en ont résulté ne recevront aucun soutien des Occidentaux, cela va de soi.

Mahmoud Abbas et l’Autorité Palestinienne ont été décrits comme affaiblis, ici ou là. Et il est exact qu’ils incarnent une version de la lutte contre l’existence d’Israël qui n’a pas semblé prédominante ces derniers temps.

Mais il ne faut pas en rester aux apparences : on peut compter sur le président de l’AP pour jouer sa propre partition.

Et il faudrait se décider à en finir avec le discours ressassé à l’envi, selon lequel Abbas et l’Autorité Palestinienne seraient les gentils « modérés » avec lesquels il serait possible de s’entendre, alors que le Hamas incarnerait le méchant « radical ».

Le Hamas est une organisation djihadiste, islamiste, terroriste, génocidaire, prônant la destruction d’Israël et l’anéantissement du peuple juif, c’est entendu. Mais Mahmoud Abbas et l’Autorité Palestinienne valent-ils mieux ?

Ils ne sont pas djihadistes et islamistes, tout au moins pas officiellement.

Ils n’ont rien contre le terrorisme et n’ont cessé de le pratiquer jusqu’à ce que, grâce à la barrière de sécurité, que les gauchistes européens détestent tant puisqu’elle les empêche de jouir du spectacle quotidien d’enfants juifs assassinés, les attentats suicides deviennent quasiment impossibles.

Ils sont génocidaires et usent simplement d’une stratégie différente : celle de la diabolisation d’Israël. Ils utilisent pour cela tous les moyens de propagande dont ils peuvent se doter et recourent à tous les relais dont ils peuvent disposer. Et ils rencontrent, grâce à cette stratégie et ces relais, un succès certain.

La plus récente étape de ce succès a été l’obtention, jeudi 29 novembre dernier, à l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies, du statut d’Etat observateur, statut depuis lequel ils peuvent espérer obtenir davantage.

Ils ont reçu l’assentiment des deux tiers des pays de la planète, dont celui de la plupart des Etats européens, y compris de la France, qui s’est placée en chef de file.

Ils peuvent s’appuyer sur une horde imbécile de journalistes pratiquant docilement l’aveuglement volontaire, mais aussi sur un ramassis d’intellectuels « antisionistes » ou adeptes hypocrites d’un « processus de paix », qui, au fil des ans, s’est soldé par une guerre redoublée contre Israël.

Ils n’ont, faut-il le rappeler, jamais reconnu l’existence d’Israël en tant qu’Etat du peuple juif et n’ont jamais renoncé au « droit au retour » de « réfugiés » partis cinq cent mille il a soixante-cinq ans et qui veulent revenir cinq millions, ce qui signifierait la fin d’Israël.

Ils n’ont jamais abandonné ce qu’ils appellent la « résistance » et la « lutte armée ». Et nombre de rues de Ramallah portent le nom de « martyrs ».

Ils ne sont pas djihadistes et islamistes, certes. Mais ils sont aussi laïques que je suis bonne sœur et comptent dans leurs rangs une organisation appelée, précisément, la Brigade des martyrs d’al Aqsa.

Leurs media, presse écrite, radio, télévision, ne cessent d’appeler à la haine antijuive et au meurtre.

Les discours de Mahmoud Abbas, comme ceux des autres dirigeants de l’Autorité Palestinienne, sont porteurs d’une falsification de l’histoire selon laquelle le « peuple palestinien », qui n’a existé et n’a été cité nulle part avant la fin des années 1960, aurait été chassé de sa terre lors de la renaissance d’Israël. Ils emploient, pour désigner la naissance d’Israël, le mot naqba, calqué délibérément sur le mot Shoah, aux fins d’établir un répugnant parallélisme entre le sort des Juifs à Auschwitz et le sort du « peuple palestinien ».

Ni Mahmoud Abbas ni l’Autorité Palestinienne ne veulent d’un Etat à côté d’Israël. Lorsqu’ils disent paix en anglais, ils emploient un autre mot en arabe, le plus souvent houdna, qui ne signifie pas paix, mais désigne une trêve avant que le combat ne reprenne.

Sur les cartes géographiques de l’Autorité Palestinienne, Israël n’existe pas, sur son emblème non plus.

Ce que veulent Mahmoud Abbas et l’Autorité Palestinienne n’est même pas, sans doute, un Etat à la place d’Israël. Ils mènent leur entreprise de démolition et entendent continuer sur cette voie. Ils sont grassement rémunérés et subventionnés pour cela.

Ils sont même reçus avec les honneurs à Paris, à Washington et ailleurs, ce qui n’est pas le cas, pour le moment, des dirigeants du Hamas.

Il existe entre eux et les dirigeants du Hamas une vieille hostilité. Mais il existe aussi une forme de complémentarité. Le Hamas a joué le rôle du méchant « radical », et on l’a apaisé ces derniers jours. Mahmoud Abbas et l’Autorité Palestinienne sont affublés du rôle de gentils « modérés », et on vient de les apaiser aussi. Mais ils ne sont ni gentils ni modérés.

Mahmoud Abbas et l’Autorité Palestinienne servent, à ceux qui sont emplis de la haine des Juifs et d’Israël, à se doter d’un artifice qu’ils s’efforcent de décrire comme présentable.

Mais Mahmoud Abbas et l’Autorité palestinienne s’avèrent, en réalité, loin d’être pas présentables. Ils sont aussi ignobles et aussi hideux que les dirigeants du Hamas.

Ils ont entretenu des relations conflictuelles avec le groupuscule terroriste, mais si l’islam radical continue à s’étendre au Proche-Orient, et il est très vraisemblable qu’il en soit ainsi, je ne serais pas surpris si les deux entités venaient à se rapprocher.

Voir enfin:

INTERNATIONAL LAW AND THE ARAB-ISRAEL CONFLICT

Extracts from "Israel and Palestine – Assault on the Law of Nations"

by Julius Stone

EDITOR: Ian Lacey BA LL.B.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABOUT THE NOVEMBER 2001 EDITION– 3

PROFESSOR JULIUS STONE (1907 – 1985)— 4

1. SOVEREIGNTY IN THE ADMINISTERED TERRITORIES———– 5

The Self-Defence Principle 5

The Status of Competing Claims to Title 6

2. THE LEGAL STATUS OF JERUSALEM 7

The Effect of the Partition Plan– 7

The "Corpus Separatum " Concept …………………………………………………………………………….8

Acquisition of Sovereignty ………………………………………………………………………………………..9

3. THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS AND THE LEGALITY OF THE SETTLEMENTS——— 9

Impairment of Racial Integrity of the Native Population of the Occupied Territory—– 10

Inhuman treatment of its own population—- 11

4.GENERAL PRINCIPLES——— 11

An Arab View- 11

A Jewish View- 11

The Doctrine of Self-determination 12

The Equity Principle—– 13

CONCLUSION——— 14

A SHORT CHRONOLOGY OF THE ADMINISTERED TERRITORIES——— 15

MAPS—- 18

The British Mandate 19

The UN partition Plan, 1947——— 20

The Armistice Agreement 1949— 21

Cease Fire Lines 1967——— 22

Israel and Members of the Arab League- 23

INDEX— 24

ABOUT THE NOVEMBER 2001 EDITION

The legality of Israel’s presence in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza has been the subject of heated argument since 1967. Some regard these areas as illegally occupied, others as disputed territories and there is an obvious need for clarity if the subject is to be discussed rationally in terms of facts rather than assumptions.

In searching for authoritative information on the subject, I came across a booklet entitled "International Law and the Arab Israel Conflict" by Australian lawyer, Ian Lacey, in which he brilliantly analyses a work by one of the twentieth century’s leading authorities on the Law of Nations, the late Professor Julius Stone,

Professor Stone’s book, "Israel and Palestine", which appeared in 1980 provides a detailed analysis of the central principles of international law relating to the Arab-Israel conflict and Mr. Lacey’s analysis provides a brief and very readable outline of the main points with extracts from the original work.

Mr. Lacey has expressed appreciation for the advice and assistance of David D. Knoll B.Com., LLB, LLM. in preparing his booklet. Mr. Knoll is the author of "The Impact of Security Concerns upon International Economic Law"

Ian Lacey is a practising lawyer and a former student of Professor Stone. He has given evidence before the Sub-Committee on the Middle East of the Australian Parliamentary Joint committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence. He is the author of "Zionism – A short Historical Introduction" and co-editor of a study guide on the Arab Israel conflict.

As Mr. Lacey’s booklet is out of print I wrote to him, asking for permission to distribute and to quote freely from it with acknowledgement. He has kindly agreed and I express my sincerest appreciation to him

I am grateful to Mr. Lacey, Patricia Carmel, Judy Hajag and Saville Kaufman for their assistance in producing this edition.

Maurice Ostroff

PROFESSOR JULIUS STONE (1907 – 1985)

The late Professor Julius Stone was recognised as one of the twentieth century’s leading authorities on the Law of Nations. His short work “Israel and Palestine”, which appeared in 1980, represents a detailed analysis of the central principles of international law governing the issues raised by the Arab-Israel conflict. This summary is intended to provide a short outline of the main points in the form of extracts from the original work. One of the rare scholars to gain outstanding recognition in more than one field, Professor Stone was one of the world’s best-known authorities in both Jurisprudence and International Law. His publications his activities and the many honours conferred on him are eloquent evidence of his high standing in these two fields.

Professor Stone was born in 1907 in Leeds, Yorkshire. He taught at Leeds Harvard, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy: he was a visiting professor of Colombia, Berkeley, Stanford and other universities in the United States, as well as the Indian School of International Affairs at Delhi, at Jerusalem and the Hague Academy of International Law. In 1963-64 he was a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

From 1942 until 1972 he was the Challis Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence at the University of Sydney. From 1972 until his death in 1985 Professor Stone held concurrently with his appointment as visiting Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales the position of Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at the Hastings College of Law, University of California. In 1956 he received the award of the American Society of International Law, and in 1962 he was made an honour life member of the society. In 1964 the Royal Society of Arts named him as a recipient of the Swiney Prize for Jurisprudence. In 1965 he received the World Research Award of the Washington Conference on the World Peace Through Law, the first award ever made.

His 26 major works include the authoritative texts "Legal Controls of International Conflict", "Aggression and World Order”, "The International Court and World Crisis"and "The Province and Function of Law".

1. SOVEREIGNTY IN THE ADMINISTERED TERRITORIES

The principle ex iniuria non oritur ius operates in international law to the effect that no legal claim to territory can rise out of an illegal aggression. Professor Stone examines the application of this rule to the competing claims of Israel and Jordan in the administered territories. In his conclusion, he draws upon the writings of Professor Stephen Schwebel, now an eminent judge of the International Court of Justice

The Self-Defence Principle

The basic precept of international law concerning the rights of a state victim of aggression, which has lawfully occupied the attacking state’s territory in the course of self-defence, is clear. And it is still international law after the Charter, which gave to the UN General Assembly no power to amend this law. This precept is that a lawful occupant such as Israel is entitled to remain in control of the territory involved pending negotiation of a treaty of peace.

Both Resolution 242 (1967) and Resolution 338 (1973), adopted by the Security Council after respective wars of those years, expressed this requirement for settlement by negotiations between the parties, the latter in those words. Conversely both the Security Council and the General Assembly in 1967 resisted heavy Soviet and Arab pressures demanding automatic Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1997 frontiers. Through the decade 1966-67, Egypt and her Arab allies compounded the illegality of their continued hostilities by proclaiming the slogan “No recognition! No Peace! No negotiation!” thus blocking the regular process of international law for post-war pacification and settlement…

Israel’s territorial rights after 1967 are best seen by contrasting them with Jordan’s lack of such rights in Jerusalem and the West Bank after the Arab invasion of Palestine in 1948. The presence of Jordan in Jerusalem and elsewhere in cis-Jordan[1] from 1948 to 1967 was only by virtue of her illegal entry in 1948. Under the international law principle ex iniuria non oritur ius she acquired no legal title there. Egypt itself denied Jordanian Sovereignty; and Egypt never tried to claim Gaza as Egyptian territory

By contrast, Israel’s presence in all these areas pending negotiation of new borders is entirely lawful, since Israel entered them lawfully in self-defence. International law forbids acquisition by unlawful force, but not where, as in the case of Israel’s self-defence in 1967, the entry on the territory was lawful. It does not so forbid it, in particular, when the force is used to stop an aggressor, for the effect of such prohibition would be to guarantee to all potential aggressors that, even if their aggression failed, all territory lost in the attempt would be automatically returned to them. Such a rule would be absurd to the point of lunacy. There is no such rule….

International law, therefore, gives a triple underpinning to Israel’s claim that she is under no obligation to hand back automatically the West Bank and Gaza to Jordan or anyone else. In the first place, these lands never legally belonged to Jordan. Second, even if they had, Israel’s own present control is lawful, and she is entitled to negotiate the extent and the terms of her withdrawal. Third, international law would not in such circumstances require the automatic handing back of territory even to an aggressor who was the former sovereign. It requires the extent and conditions of the handing back to be negotiated between the parties.

The Status of Competing Claims to Title

Because the Jordanian entry onto the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1948 was an unlawful invasion and an aggression, the principle ex iniuria non oritur ius beclouded even Jordan’s limited status of belligerent occupant. Her purported annexation was invalid on that account, as well as because it violated the freezing provisions of the Armistice Agreement. Conversely Israel’s standing in East Jerusalem after her lawful entry in the course of self-defence certainly displaced Jordan’s unlawful possession.

Once this position is reached, and it is remembered that neither Jordan nor any other state is a sovereign reversioner entitled to re-enter the West Bank, the legal standing of Israel takes on new aspects. She becomes then a state in lawful control of territory in respect of which no other state can show better (or, indeed, any) legal title. The general principles of international law applicable to such a situation, moreover, are well-established. The International Court of Justice, when called upon to adjudicate in territorial disputes, for instance in the Minquires and Echrehos case between the United Kingdom and France, proceeded “to appraise the relative strength of the opposing claims to sovereignty”. Since title to territory is thus based on a claim not of absolute but only of relative validity, the result seems decisive in East Jerusalem. No other state having a legal claim even equal to that of Israel under the unconditional cease-fire agreement of 1967 and the rule of uti possidetis, [2] this relative superiority of title would seem to assimilate Israel’s possession under international law to an absolute title, valid erga omnes…

The most succinct statement of this position is in Professor Stephen Schwebel’s “What Weight to Conquest?” published in 1970, before he entered U.S. government service. He points out that the answer to that question in terms of international law, after the Charter’s prohibitions of the use of force, makes necessary a vital distinction “between aggressive conquest and defensive conquest, between the taking of territory legally held and the taking of territory illegally held”:

”Those distinctions may be summarized as follows:

a) A state acting in lawful exercise of its right of self-defence may seize and occupy foreign territory as long as such seizure and occupation are necessary to its self-defence.

b) As a condition of its withdrawal from such territory, that state may require the institution of security measures reasonably designed to ensure that that territory shall not again be used to mount a threat or use force against it of such a nature as to justify exercise of self-defence.

c) Where the prior holder of the territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title.”

2. THE LEGAL STATUS OF JERUSALEM

The Partition Plan of 1947 envisaged an international Jerusalem, separated from both Israel and the then proposed Palestinian State. After the 1948 war, East Jerusalem (which includes the holy places of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the old city) came into Jordanian hands; and Jordan claimed sovereignty. In 1967, after Jordan launched an attack on West Jerusalem, the whole of Jerusalem came under Israeli rule; and Israel claims sovereignty over a united Jerusalem. Professor Stone examines the legal principles which apply, and considers the analysis of Professor Elihu Lauterpacht, the distinguished editor of the authoritative “Oppenheim’s International Law”.

The Effect of the Partition Plan

Elihu Lauterpacht concludes, correctly that the 1947 partition resolution had no legislative character to vest territorial rights in either Jews or Arabs. Any binding force of it would have had to arise from the principle pacta sunt servanda, that is, from the agreement of the parties concerned to the proposed plan. Such an agreement, however, was frustrated ab initio by the Arab rejection, a rejection underlined by armed invasion of Palestine by the forces of Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia, timed for the British withdrawal on May 14, 1948, and aimed at destroying Israel and at ending even the merely hortatory value of the plan…

The State of Israel is thus not legally derived from the partition plan, but rests (as do most other states in the world) on assertion of independence by its people and government, on the vindication of that independence by arms against assault by other states, and on the establishment of orderly government within territory under its stable control. At most, as Israel’s Declaration of Independence expressed it, the General Assembly resolution was a recognition of the natural and historic right of the Jewish people in Palestine. The immediate recognition of Israel by the United States and other states was in no way predicated on its creation by the partition resolution, nor was its admission in 1949 to membership in the United Nations…

As a mere resolution of the General Assembly, Resolution 181(11) lacked binding force ab initio. It would have acquired the force under the principle pacta sunt servanda if the parties at variance had accepted it. While the state of Israel did for her part express willingness to accept it, the other states concerned both rejected it and took up arms unlawfully against it. The Partition Resolution thus never became operative either in law or in fact, either as to the proposed Jerusalem corpus separatum or other territorial dispositions in Palestine.

The "Corpus Separatum " Concept

We venture to agree with the results of the careful examination of the corpus separatum proposal by E. Lauterpacht in his monograph “Jerusalem and the Holy Places”.

”(1) During the critical period of the changeover of power in Palestine from British to Israeli and Arab hands, the UN did nothing effectively to implement the idea of the internationalization of Jerusalem.

(2) In the five years 1948-1952 inclusive, the UN sought to develop the concept as a theoretical exercise in the face of a gradual realization that it was acceptable neither to Israel nor to Jordan and could never be enforced. Eventually the idea was allowed quietly to drop.

(3) In the meantime, both Israel and Jordan demonstrated that each was capable of ensuring the security of the Holy Places and maintaining access to and free worship at them-with the exception, on the part of Jordan, that the Jews were not allowed access to Jewish Holy places in the area of Jordanian control.

(4) The UN by its concern with the idea of territorial internationalization, as demonstrated from 1952 to the present date (1968) effectively acquiesced in the demise of the concept. The event of 1967 and 1968 have not led to its revival.

(5) Nonetheless there began to emerge, as long ago as 1950, the idea of functional internationalization of the Holy Places in contradistinction to the territorial internationalization of Jerusalem. This means that there should be an element of international government of the City, but only a measure of international interest in and concern with the Holy Places. This idea has been propounded by Israel and has been said to be acceptable to her. Jordan has not subscribed to it.”

Even if no notion of a corpus separatum had ever floated on the international seas, serious questions about the legal status of Jerusalem would have arisen after the 1967 War. Did it have the status of territory that came under belligerent occupation in the course of active hostilities, for which international law prescribes a detailed regime of powers granted to the occupying power or withheld it from in the interest of the ousted reversionary sovereign? Or was this status qualified in Israel’s favour by virtue of the fact that the ousted power, in this case, Jordan, itself had occupied the city in the course of an unlawful aggression and therefore could not, under principle of ex iniuria non oritur ius, be regarded as an ousted reversioner? Or was Jerusalem, as we will see that a distinguished authority thought at the time, in the legal status of res nullius modo juridico? That is, was it a territory to which by reason of the copies of international instruments, and their lacunae, together with the above vice in the Jordanian title, no other state than Israel could have sovereign title? The consequence of this could be to make the legal status of Jerusalem that of subjection to Israel sovereignty.

Acquisition of Sovereignty

This analysis, based on the sovereignty vacuum, affords a common legal frame for the legal positions of both West and East Jerusalem after both the 1948-49 and the 1967 wars. In 1967, Israel’s entry into Jerusalem was by way lawful self-defence, confirmed in the Security Council and General Assembly by the defeat of Soviet and Arab-sponsored resolutions demanding her withdrawal..

Lauterpacht has offered a cogent legal analysis leading to the conclusion that sovereignty over Jerusalem has already vested in Israel. His view is that when the partition proposals were immediately rejected and aborted by Arab armed aggression, those proposals could not, both because of their inherent nature and because of the terms in which they were framed, operate as an effective legal redisposition of the sovereign title. They might (he thinks) have been transformed by agreement of the parties concerned into a consensual root of title, but this never happened. And he points out that the idea that some kind of title remained in the United Nations is quite at odds, both with the absence of any evidence of vesting, and with complete United Nations silence on this aspect of the matter from 1950 to 1967?…

In these circumstances, that writer is led to the view that there was, following the British withdrawal and the abortion of the partition proposals, a lapse or vacancy or vacuum of sovereignty. In this situation of sovereignty vacuum, he thinks, sovereignty could be forthwith acquired by any state that was in a position to assert effective and stable control without resort to unlawful means. On the merely political and commonsense level, there is also ground for greater tolerance towards Israel’s position, not only because of the historic centrality of Jerusalem to Judaism for 3,000 years, but also because in modern times Jews have always exceeded Arabs in Jerusalem. In 1844 there were 7,000 Jews to 5,000 Moslems; in 1910, 47,000 Jews to 9,800 Moslems; in 1931, 51,222 Jews to 19,894 Moslems in 1948, 100,000 Jews to 40,00 Moslems; in 1967 200,000 Jews to 54,902 Moslems.

3. THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS AND THE LEGALITY OF THE SETTLEMENTS

It is often claimed that settlement by Jews in the administered territories, and the expulsion of individuals from those territories by Court order, is in breach of the Geneva Conventions. Professor Stone was the author of the treatise “Legal Controls of International Conflict”, which included an extensive commentary on the Geneva Conventions. Here he discusses their applicability in the administered territories.

Perhaps the central current criticism against the government of Israel in relation to its administration of the territories occupied after the 1967 War concerns its alleged infractions of the final paragraph (6) of Article 49, of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of August 12, 1949. The preceding paragraphs deal with deportation or transfer of a population out of the occupied territory. The final paragraph (6) reads as follows. "The occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into territory it occupies."

It has been shown that there are solid grounds in international law for denying any sovereign title to Jordan in the West Bank, and therefore any rights as reversioner state under the law of belligerent occupation… Not only does Jordan lack any legal title to the territories concerned, but the Convention itself does not by its terms apply to these territories. For, under Article 2, the Convention applies “to cases of…occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, by another such Party. Insofar as the West Bank at present held by Israel does not belong to any other State, the Convention would not seem to apply to it at all. This is a technical, though rather decisive, legal point.

It is also important to observe, however, that even if that point is set aside, the claim that Article 49 of the convention forbids the settlement of Jews in the West Bank is difficult to sustain.

It is clear that in the drafting history, Article 49 as a whole was directed against the heinous practice of the Nazi regime during the Nazi occupation of Europe in World War II, of forcibly transporting populations of which it wished to rid itself, into or out of occupied territories for the purpose of liquidating them with minimum disturbance of its metropolitan territory, or to provide slave labour or for other inhumane purposes. The genocidal objectives, of which Article 49 was concerned to prevent future repetitions against other peoples, were in part conceived by the Nazi authorities as a means of ridding their Nazi occupant’s metropolitan territory of Jews – of making it, in Nazi terms, judenrein. Such practices were, of course, prominent among the offenses tried by war crimes tribunals after World War II.

If and insofar, therefore, as Israel’s position in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is merely that of an occupying power, Article 49 would forbid deportation or transfer of its own population onto the West Bank whenever this action has consequence of serving as a means of either

(1) impairment of the economic situation or racial integrity of the native population of the occupied territory; or

(2) inhuman treatment of its own population

Impairment of Racial Integrity of the Native Population of the Occupied Territory

The prominence of the question of legality of Jewish settlements on the West Bank reflects the tension of the peace process, rather than the magnitude of any demographic movement. Despite vociferous political warfare pronouncements on both sides, it seems clear, therefore, that no serious dilution (much less extinction) of the separate racial existence of the native population has either taken place or is in prospect. Nor do well-known facts of dramatic improvement in the economic situation of the inhabitants since 1967 permit any suggestion that the situation has been worsened or impaired..

Inhuman treatment of its own population

On that issue, the terms of Article 49(6) however they are interpreted, are submitted to be totally irrelevant. To render them relevant, we would have to say that the effect of Article 49(6) is to impose an obligation on the state of Israel to ensure (by force if necessary) that these areas, despite their millennial association with Jewish life, shall be forever judenrein. Irony would thus be pushed to the absurdity of claiming that Article 49(6) designed to prevent repetition of Nazi-type genocidal policies of rendering Nazi metropolitan territories judenrein, has now come to mean that Judea and Samaria the West Bank must be made judenrein and must be so maintained, if necessary by the use of force by the government of Israel against its own inhabitants.

4.GENERAL PRINCIPLES

Professor Stone considers that the Arab view of the State of Israel as "a deformed entity occupying Arab territory" and Jewish claims based on historical and religious connection. He notes that both claims are based on the principle of "self-determination", and he examines both the validity of the principle and its applicability to the conflict. He also considers the competing claims on the basis of the "equity" of the settlement which followed the First World War.

An Arab View

A letter dated February 20, 1980 to the secretary-General, transmitted for UN circulation to the General Assembly and the Security Council in connection with item 26 of A/35/11000-S/13816 (Situation in the Middle East) declared a propos of inclusion in the Charter of a principle of non-use of force:

"The principle of non-use of force shall apply to the relations of the Arab Nation and Arab States with the nations and countries neighbouring the Arab Homeland. Naturally, as you know, the Zionist entity is not included, because the Zionist entity is not considered a State, but a deformed entity occupying an Arab territory. It is not covered by these principles."

A Jewish View

The myth of the 1966 Palestinian Convent that the "Palestinian people" was unjustly displaced by the Jewish invasion of Palestine in 1917 is widely disseminated and unquestioningly and dogmatically espoused in "studies" from the United Nations Secretariat. However, it is necessary to recall, not only the Kingdom of David and the succession of Jewish polities in Palestine down to Roman conquest and dispersion at the turn of the present era, but also that the Jews continued to live in Palestine even after that conquest, and were in 1914 a well-knit population there. Hundreds of thousands of other Jews, driven from the Palestine homeland by successive waves of Roman, Arab, and other conquerors, continued to live on for centuries throughout the Middle East, often under great hardship and oppression. And, of course, millions of others were compelled to move to other parts of the world where too often, as in pogrom-ridden Russia and Poland, they live in conditions of tyrannous and humiliating subjection and under daily threat to their lives…

That the provision for a Jewish national home in Palestine was an application of the principle of self determination is manifest from the earliest seminal beginning of the principle. The Enquiry Commission, established by President Wilson in order to draft a map of the world based on the Fourteen Points, affirmed the right of the Jewish people that “Palestine should become a Jewish State” clearly on this ground. Palestine, the Commission said, was “the cradle and home of their vital race”, the basis of the Jewish spiritual contribution, and the Jews were the only people whose only home was in Palestine. It would be difficult to provide a more succinct statement of the essence of the self determination principle.

The Doctrine of Self-determination

Whether the doctrine is already a doctrine of international law stricto sensu, or (as many international lawyers would still say) a precept of politics, or policy, or of justice, to be considered where appropriate, it is clear that its application is predicated on certain findings of fact. One of these is the finding that at the relevant time the claimant group constitutes a people of nation with a common endowment of distinctive language or ethnic origin or history and tradition, and the like, distinctive from others among whom it lives, associated with particular territory, and lacking an independent territorial home in which it may live according to its lights…

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leaders have frankly disavowed distinct Palestinian identity. On March 3, 1977, for example, the head of the PLO Military Operations Department, Zuhair Muhsin, told the Netherlands paper Trouw that there are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese.

"We are one people. Only for political reasons do we carefully underline our Palestinian identity. For it is of national interest for the Arabs to encourage the existence of the Palestinians against Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestine identity is there only for tactical reasons. The establishment of a Palestinian State is a new expedient to continue the fight against Zionism and for Arab unity…"

In fact the name Palestine had not for centuries (perhaps millennia) before 1917 referred to a defined political, demographic, cultural, or territorial entity. In the immediately preceding centuries it was a part of the Ottoman Empire designated as Southern Syria and governed from Damascus. In 1917, its northern part, from Safed almost to Jerusalem, was part of the Vilayet of Beirut and the whole of it was claimed to be part of Syria. The Arabs living there were not regarded by themselves or others as “Palestinians” or in any major respect as different from their brethren in Syria and Lebanon. This “Syrian” rather than “Palestinian” identification of Arabs living in Palestine underlay the request of the General Syrian Congress on July 2, 1919, that there should be no separation of the southern part of Lebanon, from Syrian country. A main argument thus made by Arabs in post-World War I negotiations was not that “Palestinians” would resent the loss of Palestinian identity by the establishment of the Jewish national home in Palestine, but rather that they would resent severance of their connection with their fellow Syrians…

In the light of these facts, the notion that the Arabs living in Palestine regarded themselves in 1917, at the time when Woodrow Wilson’s seminal self-determination principle emerged, as a Palestinian Arab people in the sense required by the self-determination principle (or, as I may sometimes here call it, “the liberation of peoples principle” or “liberation principle”) is thus a figment of unhistorical imagination. To respect the historical facts is, therefore, not to impugn the liberation principle; it merely points out that the principle must be applied at the appropriate time to the facts of group life as they truly exist. These historical facts continue to reverberate today in Arab state circles. President Assad of Syria in 1974 stated that Palestine is a basic part of Southern Syria (New York Times, March 9 1974). On this on November 17, 1978, Yasser Arafat commented that Palestine is southern Syria and Syria is northern Palestine (Voice of Palestine, November 18, 1978 …

The problem of competing self-determination becomes, indeed, even more difficult, whether for purposes of determining aggression or for other purposes, where the competing claims and accompanying military activities, punctuated by actual wars, armistices, and cease-fire agreements, have been made over protracted historical periods. The test of priority of resort to armed force in Article 2 of the 1974 Definition presupposes a fixed point of time from which priority is to calculated. Does one fix the aggression in the Cyprus crisis of 1974 from the action of the Greek officers who led the coup d’etat, or the Turkish response by invasion, even assuming that the 1974 crisis can be severed from earlier struggles? Is the critical date of the Middle East crisis 1973 or 1967, or the first Arab states attack on Israel in 1948, or is it at the Balfour Declaration in 1917, or at the Arab invasions and conquest of the seventh century AD, or even perhaps at the initial Israelite conquest of the thirteenth century BC? The priority question, as well as the self-determination question, are difficult enough. They become quite baffling when, in the course of such a long span of time, a later developing claim of self-determination like that of the Palestinian people in the 1960s, arises, and claims to override retrospectively the sovereign statehood of another nation, here the Jewish people, already attained by right of self-determination.

The Equity Principle

The distribution between Arabs and Jews after World War I was certainly implemented in succeeding decades as far as Arab entitlements were concerned. Arabs claims to sovereignty received extensive fulfillment in the creation of more than twenty sovereign states following World War I, not only in the Middle East but in Africa as well. Altogether this historical process included the following features:

First, despite all the extraneous Great Power maneuverings, Jewish and Arab claims in the vast area of the former Ottoman Empire came to the forum of liberation together, and not (as is usually implied) by way of Jewish encroachment on an already vested and exclusive Arab domain.

Second, the territorial allocation made to the Arabs, as now seen in about a dozen sovereignties in the Middle East (not to speak of many Arab sovereignties elsewhere) was more than a hundred times greater in area, and hundreds of times richer in resources than the Palestine designated in 1917 for the Jewish national home.

Third, by successive steps thereafter, this already tiny allocation to Jewish claims was further encroached upon. Thus, already in 1922, a major part of it (namely 35,468 out of 46,339 square miles, including the more sparsely populated regions) was cut away to establish the kingdom of Transjordan (now known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan).

With so preponderant an Arab allocation capable, as events since 1973 now show, of threatening the economic existence of most of the rest of the world, it seemed reasonable to expect Arab acquiescence in the minute allotment to the Jews of Israel as their only national home.

CONCLUSION

The extraordinary campaign against the State Of Israel in the General Assembly since the oil weapon was drawn from its scabbard in 1973 involves subversion both of basic international law principles, and of rights and obligations vested in states under them. It has also entailed rather grotesque reversals of the United Nations own position of the preceding quarter-century, as part of a wide and illicit rewriting of history. Considered in the context above sketched, this campaign is a kind of pilot operation in a remarkable venture in the detournement de pouvoir an assault with covert as well as overt elements, on the international legal order. It would follow that what is at stake are not only the range of state interests that lie within the lawful concern of the organs of the United Nations, but all interests of states that the General Assembly can by the ipse dixit of automatic majorities reach out to control, truncate or destroy.

A SHORT CHRONOLOGY OF THE ADMINISTERED TERRITORIES

1900 BCE – 135 CE The mountainous region known as Judea and Samaria (called the “West Bank” after 1950) is the centre of Jewish life for 2000 years. Gaza, on the other hand, is a Philistine city during the period of the Jewish kingdoms. After 200 years of intermittent warfare against the Romans, culminating in the defeat of the massive Jewish revolt of 135CE, the Jewish population is largely dispersed as slaves and refugees. However, a substantial Jewish population always remains.

638 – 1099 The Arabs capture Jerusalem in 638 and Palestine ceases to be part of the Byzantine Empire. Under the Arab Caliphate from 638 to 1099, the population adopts Arabic language and culture, and many are converted from Christianity to Islam.

1517 Palestine becomes part of the Turkish Empire in 1517, after its conquest by Suleiman the Magnificent. By the twentieth century the population is reduced to about 650,000.

1882 Organised Jewish settlement in Turkish Palestine begins, following the Russian pogroms and increasing European anti-Semitism.

1914-1918 Turkey is allied with Germany in the First World War and the Turkish Empire is distributed in the subsequent settlement.

1920 By the Treaty of San Remo, it is agreed that the League of Nations will give a Mandate to Britain over Palestine on the basis of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, under which Palestine is to be the “Jewish National Home”. The original mandated area of Palestine includes the territory now comprising Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights.

1947 – 1948 In the UN Partition Resolution of 1947, Judea and Samaria and Gaza are to be included in the proposed Arab State. The Arab State is to be in economic union with a Jewish State, with an internationalised Jerusalem. However the Arabs refuse to accept the resolution or to set up a provisional government of the proposed Arab Palestine. When Israel accepts the resolution and proclaims its independence in 1948, the forces of the Arab League invade.

1949 – 1950 After cease fire lines are established in 1949, The Kingdom of Transjordan purports to annex the “West Bank”, and changes its name to “Jordan”. The annexation is recognised only by Britain and Pakistan, but not be any Arab Government, or by the UN. Gaza comes under Egyptian control, but it is not annexed by Egypt, and its inhabitants are Stateless.

1967 Jordan places its forces under joint command with Syria and Egypt, with the declared aim of annihilating Israel. After Israeli warnings are conveyed to Jordan through UN representatives, Jordan attacks West Jerusalem. In the ensuing war Israel takes possession of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights and Sinai.

After the war, Israel offers to negotiate “territory for peace”. However in August 1967, the Arab League conference at Khartoum declares “No peace, no negotiation, no recognition, no compromise.”

In November 1967, Resolution 242 of the Security Council calls for Israel’s right to “live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries” and for Israeli withdrawal “from territories occupied in the recent conflict”.

1977 – 1982 Egypt recognises Israel in 1977 and Sadat visits Jerusalem. In 1979 the Camp David Accords provide for Israeli withdrawal from Sinai, and negotiations with Jordan to establish a self-governing authority in West Bank and Gaza. Israel offers Gaza to Egypt, but Egypt refuses. In 1982 Egypt and Israel sign a formal Peace Treaty, and Sinai is returned to Egypt.

1989 Shamir-Rabin Peace Initiative proposes elections in the administered territories, to be followed by self-government as envisaged by the Camp David Accords, and subsequent negotiation of a peace settlement.

1993 The Oslo Accords create a “Palestinian Interim Self-Governing Authority” with initial jurisdiction in Gaza and Jericho, to be extended by a phased re-deployment of Israeli forces from populated centers in the Territories. The Accords contemplate the eventual negotiation of a “final status agreement.”

1995 Oslo II agreement creates Areas A, B and C in the Territories, with Palestinian, shared and Israeli control respectively. The Palestinian Authority now has jurisdiction over more than 95% of the Palestinian population of the Territories. 1998 The Wye Memorandum contemplates further step-by-step withdrawals from the territorial area, in parallel with steps for security co-operation by the PA.

July 2000 Camp David II final status talks fail when the PA rejects offer of over 90% of the Territories and compensatory transfer of land from within Israel. Israel rejects PA demands for sovereignty over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and a right for all Arab refugees and their descendants to return to Israel.

September 2000 The “El Aqsa Intifada” begins with violent rioting and with calls for “an end to the occupation”, followed by random shootings, mortar attacks and suicide bombings. Cease-fire agreements are not implemented.

GLOSSARY

Ab Initio. From the beginning.

Corpus Separatum. An area excluded from a sovereign state. (lit. “a separated body.”)

Detournement de pouvoir. “Embezzlement” of power.

Erga Omnes. Against all.

Ex iniuria non oritur ius. A legal right cannot be created by an illegal wrong. (Lit. “Out of an injury arises no right”.)

Ipse dixit. Affecting rights by mere declaration. (Lit. “He says so himself”.)

Judenrein Empty of Jews. (Lit. “Jew-clean”.)

Lacunae. Gaps.

Pacta sunt servanda. “Treaties must be honoured” the first principle of international law.

Res Nullius Modo Juridico Territory under no recognised legal jurisdiction (Lit. “A nullity at law.”)

Stricto sensu. Strictly speaking.

Uti possidetis. Legal title arising from possession, where there is no competing title. (Lit. “By possessory use”)

Ian Lacey

MAPS

The British Mandate

The UN partition Plan, 1947

The Armistice Agreement 1949

Cease Fire Lines 1967

Israel and Members of the Arab League

INDEX

Arabs.. 7, 10, 13, 14, 16, 26

Arafat, Yasser….. 14, 26

Balfour Declaration 14, 16, 26

Corpus Separatum…….. 8, 9

Egypt 5, 7, 16, 26

Equity Principle. 2, 14, 26

Gaza 3, 5, 16, 26

General Assembly 5, 8, 9, 12, 15, 26

Geneva Convention….. 10, 26

Geneva Convention (Fourth) 10, 11, 14

Holy Places 8, 9, 26

International Court of Justice 5, 6, 26

International Law 3, 4, 7, 26

internationalization. 8, 9, 26

Jerusalem 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 16, 26

Jewish Presence in Palestine 12

Jews 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 18, 26

Jordan 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 26

Lauterpacht, Professor Elihu 7, 8, 9, 26

Moslems.. 10, 26

Occupied territory 10, 11

Palestine Liberation Organization… 13, 26

Palestine, some background………. 13

Palestinian identity 13, 26

Palestinians 7, 12, 13, 17, 26

Partition Plan 2, 7, 8, 16, 26

PLO… 13, 26

Population of Jerusalem, (historical)………. 10

Resolution 242. 5, 17, 26

Resolution 338……. 5, 26

Schwebel, Prof. Stephen 5, 6, 26

Security Council 5, 9, 12, 17, 26

Syria… 7, 13, 17, 26

Transjordan 15, 16, 26

United Nations. 2, 5, 8, 9, 12, 15, 16, 21, 26

West Bank. 5, 6, 10, 11, 16, 26

Wilson, President 12, 13, 26

World War I 11, 14, 26

World War II….. 11, 26

[1] "On this side of " the Jordan (Latin). As in Cis-Alpine Gaul

[2] [Ed. note: Under the rule of uti possidetis, where there is no valid competing claim to title, then lawful possession gives absolute title.]


Conflit israélo-palestinien: Qui délivrera les conversos palestiniens de leurs religion et chefs mortifères? (Looking at the Middle East’s best-kept secret: the Jewish origin of many of its Palestinian residents)

2 décembre, 2012
http://img.timeinc.net/time/photoessays/2011/top10_family_feuds/cain_abel.jpghttp://www.journeywithjesus.net/Essays/BirthOfEsauAndJacob_sm.jpgQu’on ne se fie à aucun de ses frères; car tout frère cherche à tromper… Jérémie 9: 4
Les ennemis de Juda et de Benjamin apprirent que les fils de la captivité bâtissaient un temple à l’Éternel, le Dieu d’Israël. Ils vinrent auprès de Zorobabel et des chefs de familles, et leur dirent: Nous bâtirons avec vous; car, comme vous, nous invoquons votre Dieu, et nous lui offrons des sacrifices depuis le temps d’Ésar Haddon, roi d’Assyrie, qui nous a fait monter ici. Mais Zorobabel, Josué, et les autres chefs des familles d’Israël, leur répondirent: Ce n’est pas à vous et à nous de bâtir la maison de notre Dieu; nous la bâtirons nous seuls à l’Éternel, le Dieu d’Israël, comme nous l’a ordonné le roi Cyrus, roi de Perse. Alors les gens du pays découragèrent le peuple de Juda; ils l’intimidèrent pour l’empêcher de bâtir, et ils gagnèrent à prix d’argent des conseillers pour faire échouer son entreprise. Il en fut ainsi pendant toute la vie de Cyrus, roi de Perse, et jusqu’au règne de Darius, roi de Perse. Sous le règne d’Assuérus, au commencement de son règne, ils écrivirent une accusation contre les habitants de Juda et de Jérusalem. Et du temps d’Artaxerxès, Bischlam, Mithredath, Thabeel, et le reste de leurs collègues, écrivirent à Artaxerxès, roi de Perse. Esdras 4: 1-15
Nous avons tendance à penser naïvement les rapports fraternels comme une affectueuse complicité. Mais les exemples mythologiques, littéraires et historiques dessinent une autre réalité et donnent d’innombrables exemples de conflits violents. Nous citions Caïn et Abel ou Jacob et Esaü mais il y a aussi Romus et Romulus, Etéocle et Polynice, Richard Cœur de lion et Jean sans terre.…  Même quand ils ne sont pas des jumeaux, les frères ont de nombreux attributs en commun qui les confondent : ils ont le même père, la même mère, le même sexe, la même position relative dans la société. Cette proximité et cette parenté les rendent ennemis, concurrents. René Girard
Il est vrai que le mouvement national arabe n’a aucun contenu positif. Les dirigeants du mouvement sont tout à fait indifférents au bien-être de la population et à la fourniture de leurs besoins essentiels. Ils n’aident pas  le fellah ; au contraire, les dirigeants sucent son sang et l’exploitent la prise de conscience populaire pour en tirer un avantage. Mais nous faisons une erreur si nous mesurons les arabes [palestiniens] et leur mouvement à l’aune de nos normes. Chaque peuple est digne de son mouvement national. La caractéristique évidente d’un mouvement politique, c’est qu’il sait mobiliser les masses. Il n’y a aucun doute que nous sommes confrontés à un mouvement politique, et nous ne devrions pas sous-estimer ce potentiel. (…) Un mouvement national mobilise les masses, et c’est la chose principale. Les Arabes [palestiniens] n’est pas un parti de renouveau et sa valeur morale est douteuse. Mais dans un sens politique, c’est un mouvement national. David Ben Gourion (premier Premier ministre israélien)
La paix véritable, globale et durable viendra le jour où les voisins d’Israël reconnaîtront que le peuple juif se trouve sur cette terre de droit, et non de facto. (…) Tout lie Israël à cette région: la géographie, l’histoire, la culture mais aussi la religion et la langue. La religion juive est la référence théologique première et le fondement même de l’islam et de la chrétienté orientale. L’hébreu et l’arabe sont aussi proches que le sont en Europe deux langues d’origine latine. L’apport de la civilisation hébraïque sur les peuples de cette région est indéniable. Prétendre que ce pays est occidental équivaut à délégitimer son existence; le salut d’Israël ne peut venir de son déracinement. Le Moyen-Orient est le seul « club » régional auquel l’Etat hébreu est susceptible d’adhérer. Soutenir cette adhésion revient à se rapprocher des éléments les plus modérés parmi son voisinage arabe, et en premier lieu: des minorités. Rejeter cette option, c’est s’isoler et disparaître. Israël n’a pas le choix. Masri Feki
La grande majorité des fellahs ne tirent pas leur origine des envahisseurs arabes, mais d’avant cela, des fellahs juifs qui étaient la majorité constitutive du pays. Yitzhak Ben Zvi (second président de l’Etat d’Israël, 1929)
La grande majorité et les principales structures de la Falahin musulmane dans l’Ouest Eretz Israël nous présentent un brin racial et une unité d’ensemble ethnique, et il n’y a aucun doute que beaucoup de sang juif coule dans leurs veines, le sang de ces agriculteurs Juifs, "profanes",  qui pris dans la folie de l’époque ont choisi d’abandonner leur foi afin de rester sur leurs terres. David Ben Gourion et Ytzhak Ben Zvi
Une très vaste étude anthropologique, diverses études génétiques, une recherche démographique historique et une enquête historique et géographique (…) renforcent une œuvre antérieure de David Ben-Gurion (le premier premier ministre d’Israël) et d’autres, dans leurs conclusions très surprenantes : une vaste majorité de Palestiniens (80-90 %) sont les descendants du peuple d’Israël qui sont restés dans le pays après la destruction du Second Temple juif. Les ancêtres de la plupart des Palestiniens ont été contraints de convertir à l’Islam. L’Engagement
Oui, ils sont tous d’ascendance juive. Et comme ils n’avaient pas le choix, ils se sont convertis à l’Islam. Vous savez, cela date de plusieurs siècles; ce n’est pas récent, c’est rien de nouveau. Par exemple, nous n’allumerions pas de feu le jour du Sabbat. Ma mere et ma grand-mère, je me rappelle, quand j’étais enfant. Elles avaient un bain spécial (mikveh). Bédouin
Cela semple très certainement surréaliste, parce qu’extrêmement révolutionnaire de dire aux gens que leurs pires ennemis sont actuellement leurs frères. Donc, il n’y a pas le choix. Ce travail surréaliste doit être fait tout comme le sionisme qui paraissait à ses débuts surréaliste. Tsvi Misinai
Il devient clair qu’une part significative des Arabes en Israel sont actuellement descendants des juifs qui ont été forcés de se convertir a l’Islam au fil des siècles. Il y a des études qui indiquent que 85% de ce groupe sont d’origines juives. Certains prétendent que ce pourcentage est moins élevé. Rabbin Dov Stein (Secrétaire du nouveau Sanhédrin)
Quand un Empire conquiert un pays, il exile l’élite et laisse les classes populaires et c’est ce qui est arrivé après la destruction du Premier comme du Second Temple. Ben Gurion disait avec le zèle qu’on lui connait: beaucoup de sang juif coule dans les veines de ces fermiers. Ils aimaient tant Israel qu’ils ont abandonné leur religion mais seulement parce qu’il leur fallut choisir entre la religion et la terre et ils firent le choix de la terre. Elon Jarden (bibliste israélien)
Nous avons constaté que bien que les Juifs ont été dispersés partout dans le monde pendant deux mille ans, ils ont maintenu toujours continuité génétique au cours des âges. Et une autre chose qui nous a surpris aussi était la proximité élevée des arabes vivant dans les terres — les Palestiniens. (…) Le même chromosome peut apparaître dans les Juifs ashkénazes et les Palestiniens." (…) Il est clair que nous sommes tous de la même famille, mais malheureusement, les familles ont aussi leurs conflits; ce n’est pas rare que des frères et soeurs se battent entre eux. Professeur Ariella Oppenheim (Université hébraïque)

Qui délivrera les conversos palestiniens de leurs religion et chefs mortifères?

Au lendemain de l’infâme mascarade que l’on sait …

Le jour anniversaire même de l’acte de naissance d’Israël ..

Sous les auspices du Machin qui nous avait déjà valu la résolution dite "le sionisme est un racisme" de 1975 …

Et orchestrée, après la pantalonnade de l’autopsie d’Arafat (ressortie comme par magie du chapeau par celle qui l’avait refusée il y a huit ans), par le maitre-négationiste Mahmoud Abbas …

Avec,  à la suite comme d’habitude du Pays autoproclamé des droits de l’homme, l’abjecte "assistance" de tous les idiots utiles de la planète  …

Qui, pour ceux qui ont des yeux pour voir et des oreilles pour entendre, a eu au moins le mérite de confirmer, après celle de la barbarie de leurs chefs, l’évidence de l’insatiable rivalité identitaire qui motive les musulmans en général et les Palestiniens en particulier …

Comment ne pas être frappé, à la vue de ce reportage de l’association israélienne The Engagement, par cet apparemment incroyable bégaiement de l’histoire ?

Où, à l’instar du schisme du Ve siècle avant JC entre les 10 tribus du nord dites d’Israël et les deux tribus du sud dites de Juda suite à leurs exils respectifs (qui donnera notamment la longue inimitié entre Samaritains et Judéens, avec temples rivaux et à l’occasion conversions forcées, s’il vous plait!), on tombe sur le secret probablement le mieux gardé du Monde dit "arabe"

A savoir l’origine probablement largement juive, avant leur islamisation forcée (à l’instar d’ailleurs  des autres minorités, notamment chrétiennes, de la région), de la plupart des populations dites aujourd’hui palestiniennes ?

Ce qui, comme toutes les familles du monde le savent (mais comme semblent l’oublier les mieux intentionnées de nos belles âmes y compris du côté de The Engagement), n’excluent hélas pas mais rendent souvent au contraire encore plus insolubles, les querelles de frères ennemis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOolCRSf74I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZypN3TQwtSc

TRADUCTION FRANCAISE DE LA VIDEO (par Trucplus):

[''Mon père, qu'il repose en paix, était a l'hopital à la fin de ses derniers jours. Il m'a dit :'' Je veux te dire un secret mais ne le dis a personne. Je suis juif. C'est un secret uniquement entre toi et moi.''

Comment as-tu su que tu étais juif? J'ai su que j'étais juif par mon le grand-père de mon grand-père. On a parlait de cela a la maison tout le temps, en secret.

Mon père faisait cela et il nous appris à faire cela: quand quelqu'un était malade ou avait des problèmes nous devions attacher la tefilin.

Il y a beaucoup de Palestiniens qui sont au courant de leurs origines juives, mais peu sont prêts à le révéler. L'idée répandue est qu'apres la destruction du second temple et la defaite de Bar Kochva, la terre des juifs s'etait vidée des juifs.

Quand un Empire prend le dessus sur un pays, il exile l'élite et laisse les classes populaires et c'est ce qui est arrivé après la destruction du Premier comme du Second temple.

A la recherche des 10 tribus disparues en Inde et en Afghanistan, nous avons oublié de regarder dans notre propre cour. Il devient clair qu'une part significative des Arabes en Israel sont actuellement descendants des juifs qui ont été forcés de se convertir a l'Islam au fil des siècles. Il y a des études qui indiquent que 85% de ce groupe sont d'origines juives. Certains pretendent que ce pourcentage est moins élevé.

Dans un livre publie par David Ben Gurion et Yitzhak Ben Zvi au debut du 20eme siècle, ils écrivent: si nous regardons l'origine des fellahs, il n'y a aucun doute que beaucoup de sang juif coule dans leurs veines.

Quand un Empire conquiert un pays, il exile l'élite et laisse les classes populaires et c'est ce qui est arrivé après la destruction du Premier comme du Second Temple. Ben Gurion disait avec le zèle qu'on lui connait: beaucoup de sang juif coule dans les veines de ces fermiers. Ils aimaient tant Israel qu'ils ont abandonné leur religion mais seulement parce qu'il leur fallut choisir entre la religion et la terre et ils firent le choix de la terre.

Dans la region du sud du Mont Hebron, a peu pres la moitié des Palestiniens sont au courant de leurs origines juives. Dans le passé, ils en parlaient même ouvertement.

Tsvi Misinai, un pionnier de l'industrie High-Tech en Israel, insvestit beaucoup d'argent et de temps dans ce qu'il voit comme la mission de sa vie: diffuser l'idée que les Palestiniens sont des juifs.

''Bonjour, comment allez vous? Ainsi, vous saurez qui passe par la puisque vous les controlez.''

''-Salut! Il y a quelqu'un qui parle hébreu?

-Oui.

-Nous voulons vous donner ceci à lire comme cela vous saurez qui vous êtes en grande partie.

-Qui vous êtes? Le mouvement de la paix?

-Oui. La paix, vivre ensemble, comme une seule nation.

-C'est le même pays, n'est ce pas?

-Oui.

-Pourtant, ici vous passez à un poste de controle.

-Nous sommes ici pour arrêter cela. Nous sommes la pour arrêter cela. Je vous dis, ca n'aide pas ca. Nous vivrons et nous verrons. ''

Dans sa recherche obstinee de la moindre petite information, Tsvi Misinai va dans la plupart des endroits isoles du territoire sous autorites palestiniennes. Il s'est debrouille pour trouver les racines juives parmi les bedouins. La tribu Sawarka etait dispersee entre le desert Sinai et les prairies du Moab.

''-Il y a combien de personnes dans cette tribu?

-Beaucoup. 3 000, 4 000 et plus.

-Et ils sont tous juifs?

-Oui, ils sont tous d'ascendance juive. Et comme ils n'avaient pas le choix, ils se sont convertis a l'Islam. Vous savez, cela date de plusieurs siecles; ce n'est pas recent, c'est rien de nouveau. Par exemple, nous n'allumerions pas de feu le jour du Sabbah. Ma mere et ma grand-mere, je me rappelle, quand j'etais enfant. Elles avaient un bain special (mikveh).''

''-N'est-ce pas surrealiste toute cette mission que vous avez entamee?

-Cela semple tres certainement surréaliste, parce qu'extrement revolutionnaire de dire aux gens que leurs pires ennemis sont actuellement leurs freres. Donc, il n'y a pas le choix. Ce travail surréaliste doit etre fait tout comme le sionisme qui paraissait à ses débuts surréalistes.''

Ca aurait été surréaliste, si ça n'était pas si près de la réalité. Aux labroratoires de l'ecole de medecine Hadassah, une etude genetique internationale a été conduite par le Professeur Ariella Oppenheim de la faculte juive/hebraique. Avec des resultats surprenants. Nous avons trouve que, bien que les juifs aient ete disperses dans le monde entier pendant 2000 ans, ils ont toujours réussi à maintenir une continuite genetique à travers le temps. Une autre chose, qui nous a aussi surpris, est la forte proximite avec les Arabes des territoires palestiniens. L'etude, avec la participation du Professeur Marian Fiereman et le Docteur Dvora Filon prouve que les Palestiniens aussi bien que les juifs viennent des kurdes de Babylone, terre du patriarche Abraham (alayhi salam). Et, ce qui est quelque peu surprenant, c'est qu'il semble que les juifs ashkenazes sont génétiquement plus proches des Palestiniens que les juifs du Moyen-Orient.

''C'est vrai. C'est vrai. Je veux dire les mêmes chromosomes peuvent apparaitre aussi bien chez les Ashkinazes que chez les Palestiniens.''

Et comme si cela n'etait pas suffisant, on a trouve qu'il y a des Palestiniens qui portent les gènes des Cohens (les pretres).

''-Ce qui est intéressant est que ce chromosome que nous voyons ici au milieu, est appelé '' chromosome cohanique''. Mais comme nous le voyons ici, nous avons trouve que les Arabes portent également ce chromosome.

-Cela signifie que certains Palestiniens sont en fait des Cohens.

-Genetiquement.''

A l'est d'Hebron, dans un village sans nom de bedoins, il y a une femme agee de la tribu de Sawarka qui se souvient toujours de coutumes de nature juive.

''-Hee, mon ami, vous n'etes pas autorise a filmer. Cela est interdit. ''

''-Nous sommes la lumiere de DIEU. IL nous a crees. IL nous maintient. IL nous aime et IL nous protege.''

Comme cela est approprie au peuple elu, ils se souviennent des lumieres des bougies le jour du Sabbah, une coutume similaire au Challah et pour ce jour, la tribu Sawarka pratique la circoncision apres le septieme jour, contrairement a la coutume musulmane.

''-Apres une semaine?

-Oui, apres une semaine. Chaque garcon est circonci. Et ce jour la, nous avons une celebration. Et c'est ce que nous faisons. Nous nous rejouissons.

-Et vous avez une coutume apres la mort de quelqu'un...''

Ils peuvent aussi nous parler de la ceremonie de Khalitza.

''-Le frere du defaut a la priorite.

-Et si elle ne veut pas l'epouser?

-C'est ca!

-Mais en principe il a la priorite.

-Elle ne peut avoir quelqu'un d'autre mais le frere du defunt.

-Allumez-vous des bougies sur les tombes?

-On les allune uniquement les jeudis et les vendredis.''

''-Est-ce que le cimetiere est loin d'ici?

-Quoi?

-Le cimetiere.

-Bonjour. Que recherchez-vous dans le cimetiere, monsieur?

-Nous voulons regarder.

-D'ou venez-vous mes freres?

-Etes-vous familier avec les bougies que les gens d'ici allument sur les tombes?

-A la tombe Bayan, oui. Ils mettent une bougie dessus et l'allument.

-Merci.

-Au revoir.''

Il ressemble a un juif. Oui, les sawarka ressemblent a des juifs. Je veux dire vraiment un juif. Il ressemble a mon pere.

Sur le territoire de la tribu Ta'ramra, il y a un ancien cimetiere musulman. Les juifs qui ont ete forces a se convertir sont aussi enterres ici. Certaines tombes ont une petite niche noire ce qui temoigne de la coutume juive d'allumer les bougies pour l'ame des defunts. Elles pouvaient etre mises a travers cette petite ouverture. Donc, la tombe est un des exemples.

Vous savez, par exemple, jusqu'a il y a 200 ans, apparemment, le village de Sachnin etait un village juif, il avait une synagogue active et ensuite, le village a subi un processus d'islamisation sous la pression des dirigeants turcs et il est maintenant considere comme un village arabe meme si les villageois savent qu'ils sont descendants des juifs.

Au sud d'Hebron, dans la ville de Yata, il a des palestiniens qui veulent retourner au judaisme. Environ la moitie des habitants de Yata sont du clan Makhamra, ce qui signifie ''vignoble''. Le vin est absolument interdit en Islam.

Il y a des clans importants a Yata qui se sont convertis a l'Islam assez tard. Donc, beaucoup de coutumes ont ete preservees, beaucoup de connaissances ont ete preservees, beaucoup d'objets de l'artisanat juif ont ete preserves et il y a aussi beaucoup d'histoires.

''-Plus tard, ils vont brouiller les images. Laisse moi prendre une photo de l'etoile de David dehors. J'ai deja pris une photo de l'etoile de David sur mon portable parce que c'est dur d'y avoir acces

-Donc, t'as quoi sur ton telephone?

-Il y a des images de choses que faisaient avant les anciens. C'est une etoile de David mais ils l'ont cachee avec d'autres sortes de formes dont tu peux plus dire ce qu'ils sont''.

90% de la ville est d'origine juive. Nous parlons d'environ 60 000-70 000 habitants. Toute la ville le sait que les Makhamara sont originellement des juifs.

Dasn la maison, il y a un mezuzah cache sous les etageres. Et la tefilin est cachee parmi les chaussettes dans la commode.

Ceci est la protection de la maison. Chacun le transmet a un autre. C'est ainsi que je prie et chacun garde le secret chaque. C'est tres dur de garder ces coutumes et ces ceremonies.

''-Est-ce que ton petit garcon saura qu'il est juif?

-Il saura eventuellement.''

Miro est vu comme un colon extraordinaire dans les yeux de ses voisins palestiniens. Il parle arabe. Il aime et accepte tout le monde.

''-Shimon est ne dans le village de Kuzeiba et ils sont ses desccendants.

-Zaid, Mohammed, Abd al Aziz, Awad, Muhammed, Sliman, Kawazba. Je connais 8 generations de ma famille. ''

Miro voit les villageois de Kuzeiba comme les descendants de Bar Kochva.

''-Bar Kochva est un nom qu'on lui a donne plus tard mais son vrai nom est Ben Kuzeiba, Ibn Kuziba. Oui, oui, Ibn Kuziba.

-Kawaziba.

-Kawaziba.

-Ou es-tu ne?

-A Se'Ir.

-Sais-tu d'ou vient ton grand-pere?

-Mon grand-pere etait un Kawazba. C'est un juif qui s'est converti a l'Islam.

-Avez-vous entendu cela?''

''-Pourriez-vous dire que les Arabes (Palestiniens) sont plus juifs que les Falasha (juifs ethiopiens)?

-Ca pourrait etre le cas, genetiquement. En terme de mentalite egalement. Avez-vous approche le rabbinat pour vous convertir au judaisme?

-non, je ne veux pas me convertir. Je suis deja juif. Pourquoi comment puis-je me convertir? Jene peux me convertir. Je peux devenir un juif religieux.''

''Il est clair que nous sommes tous de la meme famille, mais malheureusement, les familles ont aussi leurs conflits; ce n'est pas rare que des freres et soeurs se battent entre eux. Donc, je ne pense pas que ce soit cela qui ramenera la Redemption malheureusement. J'aurais voulu que cela puisse ramaner la Redemption.''

Dans un pays ou les nouveaux deviennent vieux tres rapidement et ou les violents incidents suivent un autre d'un pas rapide, il est seulement naturel que les gens deviennent indifferents. Ca importe a qui que Mahmoud soit d'ascendance juive?

''-Combien d'argent avez-vous investi dans ce loisir?

-A peu pres la moitie d'un million de shekels, je dirais.''

Mais Tsvi Misinai est determiné à ne pas abandonner. Appelez Don Quichotte et il continuera encore et encore parce que quelqu'un doit faire ce travail surréaliste, parce que le sionisme aussi était surréaliste au début.

''-Avec la volonte de DIEU, vous y arriverez.

-Merci. Avec la volonte de DIEU'']

Voir aussi:

Are the Palestinians Also Jews?

Nathan Jones

The Christ in prophecy journal

July 9, 2009

"My father, may he rest in peace, was in the hospital during his last days. He said to me, ‘I want to tell you a secret, but don’t tell anyone. I’m Jewish. It’s a secret, just between you and me.'" – Palestinian Man

"My father was a Kawazba. He was a Jew that converted to Islam." – Second Palestinian Man

What is a Palestinian?

A Palestinian, as the book Isralestine (HighWay, 2008, p.89) by Bill Salus describes, is "the ethnic label tossed about loosely in modern times to identify three primary predominately Arab groups of people: the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians of the West Bank, and the Palestinian Refugees… Their genealogies can be traced back to the Edomites [descendents of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob], Egyptians, Assyrians, Philistines, Sidonians, Ammonites, Moabites, Yemenites, Saudi Arabians, Moroccans, Christians from Greece, Muslim Sherkas from Russia, and Muslims from Bosnia." Palestinians are therefore a melting pot of people groups, politically viewed as Syrian by nationality and generally hailed as Arab in origin.

But, could the Palestinians also be Jewish in origin? The iReport for CNN report by Nissim Mossek titled "Palestinians of a Jewish Origin" contends that many Palestinians are indeed Jews.

Search For Jewish Origins

Though few Palestinians are willing to expose themselves so as not to be seen as the enemy, some have come public and identified their Jewish origins. It has led many Israelis, like Rabbi Dov Stein, Secretary of the New Sanhedrin, to conclude, "It becomes clear that a significant part of the Arabs in the land of Israel are actually descendents of Jews who were forced to convert to Islam over the centuries. There are studies that 85% of this group is of Jewish origin. Some claim the percentage is less."

The historically accepted assumption is that after the destruction of the Second Temple and the Bar Kochva (Kokhba) Rebellion the land of Israel was emptied of all the Jews. As Elon Jarden, a Holy Land scholar, explains, this was not entirely the case. "When an empire takes over a country, it exiles the elite and leaves the lower classes. And that’s what happened after the destruction of both the First Temple and the Second Temple." These lower class Jews, Jardon contends, remained in the land renamed by the Romans "Palestine," and like the Northern ten tribes of Israel who fled to such places as Afghanistan and India, integrated into the people groups of the region.

Over time, the Jews who remained in Palestine ceased to be practicing Jews as the Turks forced Jewish village after Jewish village to become Muslim. Some Jewish traditions remained, according to iReport, though hidden within the families.

Genetic research has also affirmed that many of the Palestinians today have Jewish origins. At the Hadassah Medical School laboratories, an international genetic research study was conducted headed by Professor Ariella Oppenheim from the Hebrew University. She states, "We found that although the Jews have been scattered all over the world for 2,000 years, they still maintained genetic continuity throughout the ages. And another thing that also surprised us was the high proximity to the Arabs living in the land — the Palestinians."

Even the Ashkenazi (European) Jews have been found to be genetically closer to the Palestinians than Middle-Eastern Jews, Professor Oppenheim has found. "It’s true. It’s true. The same chromosome can appear in both Ashkenazi Jews and Palestinians." Some Palestinians even have what’s called the "Cohanic Chromosome," meaning that they are descendents of the priestly line of Aaron, the brother of Moses.

Responding to the Discovery

In response to this revelation, Israeli Jews like Tsvi Misinai, a pioneer of hi-tech industry in Israel, has made it his life’s mission to spread the word that the Palestinians are of Jewish origin. He wishes to build a bridge of peace between the two now divergent peoples in hopes that they’ll live together as one nation.

As modern-day Israel welcomes Jews making aliya from all over the world as foretold in Bible prophecy (Isa. 11:11-12), today’s Jews are far less hostile towards those intermarried with the Gentile races than it was during Jesus’ time, like with the Samaritans. But, should the Palestinian Jews come forward and their claim to Jewish roots be accepted, would Israel welcome their once hostile neighbors with open arms? Would Israel grant citizenship to Palestinians who can prove their claim of being Jews? And, should they become citizens, will the Palestinian Jews fight for or against Israel when that nation subdues its hostile neighbor countries as Psalm 83 indicates and Ezekiel 38-39 requires for Israel’s peace and safety?

The answers to these questions will not be long in coming.

iReport Mini-documentary (13:36)

Voir encore:

THE ENGAGEMENT

In the 20th Century western culture (Judeo-Christian) – represented by Jews who had been refugees for close to two thousand years and returned to their homeland, and Middle Eastern culture (Arab-Muslim) that had ruled the Middle East for an extended period – represented by Palestinians, came face-to-face. This was a very deep and intensive encounter between the two cultures, which unfortunately has taken a very violent path that today presents serious perils to humanity as a whole. Most of the energies of those involved emotionally or practically in the conflict, are invested in hostile clashes, mutual recriminations, self protection and self justifications.

After about 70 years of violence in the course of the Israeli-Palestinian national conflict (1920-1991), a conflict that sits at the heart of the problems facing the Middle East, the two sides have experienced about 20 years of negotiations, parallel to ongoing violence. The only thing that this extended period of negotiations has achieved is an intensification of the violence and the suffering of both sides. In light of this reality, all those who believe in continuing with the direction set forth by negotiations – a Two-State Solution, must answer the question – How many additional casualties, what higher level of suffering and how many new refugees are necessary, in order to understand that this path should be abandoned? On the other hand, those who are objecting to the above solution need to suggest an alternative that will provide the sides with a better future.

The only way to arrive at a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a solution that will make it possible to channel all the energy and resources invested today in the conflict and re-direct them towards rehabilitation, development and prosperity, is to get high enough above the conflicting narratives, to view the conflict in a better perspective that is afforded by examining the long-term history of the Holy Land. Only from this perspective can one see the real roots of the conflict. Only on the basis of the genuine roots of conflict, can one build a creative, just and lasting peace in the Holy Land. Moreover, from such a better-informed perspective, it is possible to create common ground for a Jewish-Christian-Moslem Culture that can move humankind forward towards unprecedented prosperity.

The Alternative solution – The Engagement:

As the idea of a bi-national state, that is suggested as the alternative for the two-state solution, proved itself as problematic in other places, the remaining solution is a very surprising one that initially may appear as a fantasy – the engagement of the parties to the conflict to a single nation. This amazing idea, that is presumably very naive and chance-less, is supported by a series of studies about the identity of the Palestinians as detailed further on.

The sharp deterioration that the Palestinian leadership brought upon the Palestinian public, including the situation of many of its most dedicated people, combined with the high level of corruption that is attributed to this leadership and with the phenomena of the Arab spring, all contrasted by the background of Israel being a regional island of freedom, prosperity and stability, prepare the ground for the Palestinian public to the realization of the proposed solution. However, these are insufficient enabler for the proposed solution, definitely for the Jewish side.

Here is where the said series of studies get into the picture. A very large anthropological study, various genetic studies, a demographic-historical research and a historical-geographical one were published in the 21st century and are detailed in the book "Brother shall not Lift Sword Against Brother" as well as in brief in The Engagement booklet. All these studies reinforce an earlier work of David Ben-Gurion (the first prime minister of Israel) and others, in their very surprising finding:

a solid majority of the Palestinians (80%-90%) are descendants of People of Israel who remained in the country following the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple. The ancestors of most of the Palestinians were forced to convert, mainly to Islam.

When it becomes clear that the parties to the conflict are really blood-brothers, that usually are not aware of this situation, it makes self-evident that the continuation of the conflict is a hopeless stupidity and is an outrageous unjust, that the only reason for its existence is the ignorance about the real identity of the Palestinians. All the above lead to one clear conclusion:

To break the deadlock in the Holy Land, a just and lasting solution is required – by the return of the majority of the Palestinians to the people of Israel – an extremely challenging process of an engagement of peace between the Palestinians and the Jews west of the Jordan River. This process will form a one state for one people – The People of Israel, without forcing any religious conversion (as detailed in The Engagement Pamphlet which is referred to later on).

The above will not, however, complete the required change in the Middle East. The stormy present in the Arab world, even after it will settle down to some extent, is incapable of solving the problems existing there. These problems are much deeper than a change of regime or a change of a ruler, which may even worsen the situation. The important use of Facebook will not guaranty, by itself alone, that the contemporary Arab world will desert its negative contribution to humanity on the path to terror, destruction, violence and threat to world freedom, done in the pretense of the will to renew the glory of the Muslim Caliphate. The use of Facebook will not enable, by itself, the Arab world to bring a positive contribution to humanity, like the Muslim Caliphate brought in the period of its glory following its beginning, a contribution that shined above the rest of humanity. The removal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict form the regional and world agenda, followed by shutting down the flames of hatred against Israel, will enable the united people of Israel to resume its historical role as a light to the nations, and collaborate with the rest of the nations of the region in moving the Middle East to the future they aspire to. In particular, in the current situation created in Iran as a result of the sanctions, its leadership will look for any respectable ladder it may use, to get down from the high tree of nuclear weapon they climbed upon. A respectable and just solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on a concept used in Iran, where a Muslim must not be Arab, can provide the Iranian leadership, the required excuse.

Voir enfin:

History disproves myth that founding Zionists were naive

Judea Pearl

JewishJournal.com

May 15, 2008

We are often told, mostly by anti-Israel propagandists, that the early Zionists’ attitude toward the indigenous Arab population in Palestine was laden with ignorance, naivete, denial, contempt, abuse and outright oppression. Afif Safieh, the PLO representative to the United States, tells audiences on campus after campus: "[Palestinians] have suffered three successive denials — a denial of their mere physical existence, a denial of their national rights and, the most morally disturbing, a denied recognition of their pain and suffering."

The slogans "Land without a people to a people without land" and "Palestinians? Who?" continue to be quoted today by enemies of coexistence as a proof of those alleged denials and of Zionism’s ingrained and irredeemable disrespect for Arabs, both as people and as a nation.

This is sheer nonsense.

On Israel’s 60th birthday, it is time we set the record straight: The Zionist movement may have erred in many ways, but contempt, naivete and denial were not among its errors.

I’m looking at my "History of Zionism" bookshelf, and I find it loaded with books and pamphlets, apparently unavailable in English, which record a history of understanding, respect and persistent attempts at reaching mutual recognition with the Arabs of Palestine since the beginning of the 20th century.

Here are a few shiny gems from this dusty bookshelf:

Ben-Gurion and Our Arab Brethren

During World War I, David Ben-Gurion, who would become the first prime minister of Israel, spent three years in New York, from 1915 to 1918, having been exiled from Palestine "for conspiring against Ottoman rule."

He spent most of this time organizing (with Y. Ben Zvi) the He-Halutz youth movement, but, as he was also an ardent scholar and historian, he also found time to conduct research at the public library and published an interesting treatise "on the origin of the Falahin," in the summer of 1917, a few months before the Balfour Declaration.

In this treatise, Ben-Gurion advances an elaborate cultural-demographic theory that the Falahin (the Arab peasants in Eretz Israel), are none others than our lost brethren — descendants of Jews who remained in Eretz Israel after the Roman expulsion and were forcibly converted to Islam after the Muslim conquest (638 AD). In Ben-Gurion’s words:

The greater majority and main structures of the Muslim Falahin in Western Erez Israel present to us one racial strand and a whole ethnic unit, and there is no doubt that much Jewish blood flows in their veins — the blood of those Jewish farmers, "lay persons," who chose in the travesty of times to abandon their faith in order to remain on their land.

To the best of my knowledge, Ben-Gurion’s theory was proven wrong. DNA analysis shows indigenous Palestinians to be the likely descendants of Arab tribesmen that migrated north from the Arabian (now Saudi) Peninsula in the wake of the conquering Muslim armies. Ben-Gurion’s theory, nevertheless, shows a genuine attempt to hypothesize an ancestral kinship with the Arab population in order to bridge cultural and religious gaps, and thus prepare an atmosphere of trust.

If this is not respect, what is?

If this is not an outreach, nothing is.

Ben-Gurion and Palestinian Rights

In 1918, Israel Zangwill, author of the influential novel "Children of the Ghetto" (1892) and an on-off Zionist, wrote an article suggesting that the Arabs should be persuaded to "trek" (i.e., to be "transferred") from Palestine. Ben-Gurion was quick to react and distance the Zionist movement from any such notion. In an article published that year in the Yiddish newspaper Yiddishe Kemper (titled "The Rights of the Jews and Others in Eretz Israel") Ben-Gurion ridicules Zangwill and makes his position unequivocal:

Eretz Israel is not an empty country … west of Jordan alone houses three quarter of a million people. On no account must we injure the rights of the inhabitants. Only "Ghetto Dreamers" like Zangwill can imagine that Eretz Israel will be given to the Jews with the added right of dispossessing the current inhabitants of the country. This is not the mission of Zionism. Had Zionism to aspire to inherit the place of these inhabitants — it would be nothing but a dangerous utopia and an empty, damaging and reactionary dream….

"Not to take from others — but to build the ruins. No rights on our past — but on our future. Not the preservation of historic inheritance — but the creation of new national assets — this is the core claim and right of the Hebrew nation in its country.

(Reprinted in "Anachnu U’Shcheneinu," 1931, p. 31.)

Our next gem belongs to Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952), the first president of Israel and the man who played a key role in influencing the British government to issue the Balfour Declaration on Nov. 2, 1917. In 1918, Weizmann was sent to Palestine by the British government to advise on the future development of the country. There, he met Arab and Armenian representatives and delivered the following speech in the house of the High Commissioner in Jerusalem:

With heartfelt admiration and great interest, we are viewing today the current war of liberation conducted by the ancient Arabic nation.

We see how the scattered Arab forces are being united under the good will of Western governments and other peace-loving nations, and how, from the mist of war there emerge new and immense political possibilities. We see again the formation of a strong and united Arab political body, freshly renovated and aiming to renovate the great tradition of Arab science and literature that are so close to our heart.

This kinship found its glorious expression particularly in the Spanish period of the Hebrew-Arabic development, when our greatest authors wrote and thought in the Arabic language, as well as in Hebrew.

(Translated from Weizmann’s book "Dvarim," vol. 1 Tel Aviv, 1936, p. 99.)

And, as if contemplating postmodern complaints that Zionism, while promising Palestinians human and civil rights, denied them national rights, Weizmann wastes no time dispelling this allegation and writes:

If indeed there is among the Arabs a national movement, we must relate to it with the utmost seriousness…. The Arabs are concerned about two issues:

1. The Jews will soon come in their millions and conquer the country and chase out the Arabs… Responsible Zionists never said and never wished such things.

2. There is no place in Eretz Israel for a large number of inhabitants. This is total ignorance. It is enough to notice what is happening now in Tunis, Tangier and California to realize that there is a vast space here for a great work of many Jews, without touching even one Arab.

(Haaretz, Dec. 15, 1919, Reprinted in Dvarim, vol 1 1936, p. 129.)

Ben-Gurion and Palestinian Self-Determination

In November, 1930, about a year after the Arab riots that led to the Hebron massacre, Ben-Gurion delivered a keynote lecture entitled "The Foreign Policy of the Hebrew Nation" at the First Congress of Hebrew Workers. In this lecture, later published in Ben-Gurion’s first book, "We and Our Neighbors" ("Anachnu U’Shcheneinu, Tel Aviv, 1931. p. 257), he makes statements that would have toppled Rabin’s government ten times over.

There is in the world a principle called "the right for self-determination." We have always and everywhere been its worshipers and champions. We have defended that right for every nation, every part of a nation, and every collective of people.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the Arab people in Eretz Israel have this right. And this right is not limited by or conditional upon the result of its influence on us and our interests. We ought not to diminish the Arabs’ freedom for self-determination for fear that it would present difficulties to our own mission.

The entire moral core encapsulated in the Zionist idea is the notion that a nation — every nation — is its own purpose and not a tool for the purposes of other nations. And in the same way that we want the Jewish people to be master of its own affairs, capable of determining its historical destiny without being dependent on the will — even good will — of other nations, so too we must seek for the Arabs.

Naivete? Denial? Disrespect? Hardly.

I don’t believe Ben-Gurion would be prepared to make such bold statements today, given what we know about Hamas’ charter and rocket terror. I am sure, however, that the Middle East would look substantially different today had one Arab leader, any time in the past 75 years, had the courage to reciprocate Ben-Gurion’s offer with as generous a recognition of Jewish self-determination.

Jabotinsky and the Sobering Days Before the Holocaust

The next pearl belongs to Zev Jabotinsky, Ben-Gurion’s main rival, and by far the most militant Zionist leader of that time.

Jabotinsky garnered a reputation as an advocate of a tough, "iron-wall" approach toward the Arabs. Yet even he expressed respect for Arab nationalism, and explained, even identified with, Arabs’ fears of reciprocating Ben-Gurion’s offer.

I chose to translate several excerpts from this article because they dispel not only the myth of Zionist denial and naivete, but also the myth of Arabs’ fear of dispossession by Jewish immigrants. Here is what Jabotinsky says in his book "A Hebrew State" ("Medina Ivrit," Tel Aviv, 1937, pps. 71-79), published a few months after the break-out of the Arab Riots of 1936-1939 (which one UCLA historian glorifies as "The Great Arab Revolt").

There is no point talking about the possibility that the Arabs in Eretz Israel would consent to the Zionist plan while we are a minority here. I express it with such confidence not because I enjoy disappointing decent people but, simply, to save them disappointments: All these decent people, except those blind from birth, have understood already that this is something that is utterly illogical — to obtain the Arabs’ consent and goodwill to turn Eretz Israel from an Arabic country to a country with Jewish minority.

Every indigenous people, regardless of whether it is primitive or advanced, views its country as a national home and aspires to be and remain its sole and eternal landlord; it does not voluntarily agree to accommodate, not only new landlords, but even new partners or new participants. And our most misleading argument would be to rely on the fact that our agricultural settlements bring them economical advantages. Though this is an undisputed truth, there is no nation in the world that sold its national aspirations for bread and butter

(pps. 73-74)

So much for Zionists’ naivete, denial and disrespect. Now to the core of the Arab objection to the Zionist plan.

Many of us still think in full honesty that a terrible misunderstanding has occurred, that the Arabs did not understand us, and that this is the reason why they oppose us; but if only we could explain to them how benevolent our intentions, they would stretch their hands back to us. This is a mistake that has been proven so again and again. I will bring one such incident.

Several years ago, when the late N. Sokolov visited Eretz Israel, and he was one of the most moderate and diplomatic Zionists at that time, he delivered an elaborate speech on this misunderstanding. He explained clearly how mistaken Arabs are in thinking that we wish to steal their property or dispossess them or oppress them.

"We do not even want to have a Jewish government, we want merely a government representing the League of Nations." Sokolov’s speech received an immediate response in the main editorial of the Arab newspaper, Carmel, the content of which I convey here from memory:

"The Zionists" — so wrote the Arab editor — "are tormenting their nerves unnecessarily."

There is no misunderstanding here whatsoever.

The Arabs never doubted that the potential absorption capacity of Eretz Israel is enormous and, therefore, that it is possible to settle here enough Jews without dispossessing or constraining even a single Arab. It is obvious that "this is all" the Zionists want. But it is also obvious that this is precisely what the Arabs do not want; for, then, the Jews will turn into a majority and, from the nature of things, a Jewish government will be established, and the fate of the Arab minority will depend on Jewish good will; Jews know perfectly well what minority existence is like.

There is no misunderstanding here whatsoever.

The Arab’s argument is rather compelling, but Jabotinsky confronts them with an equally compelling moral dilemma:

Whoever thinks that our arguments [for Jewish immigration] are immoral, I would beg him to address the following question: If this [Jewish immigration] is immoral, what should the Jewish people do?…. Our planet is no longer blessed with uninhabited islands. Take any oasis in any desert, it is already taken by the native who inhabits that place from time immemorial and rejects the coming of new settlers that will become a majority, or just come in great numbers.

In short — if there is a homeless nation in the world, its very yearning for a homeland is immoral.

The homeless must forever remain homeless; all the land in the universe has already been dividedâ??that’s it. These are the conclusions of ‘morality’…. This sort of morality has a place among cannibals, not in the civilized world. The land belongs not to those who have too much land, but to those who have none. If we appropriate one parcel of land from the owners of mega-estates and give it to an exiled nation — it is a just deed.

In this historical week of Israel’s 60th birthday, it is most fitting that we remind ourselves of the principles of reciprocity and mutual respect on which the state of Israel was founded.

May those principles light our path today, and may Israel’s adversaries be blessed with a faint semblance of these principles.

Judea Pearl is a professor at UCLA and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation (www.danielpearl.org) named after his son. He and his wife, Ruth, are editors of "I am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl" (Jewish Light, 2004), winner of the National Jewish Book Award. This week, Pearl is debating the Israel-Arab issue with Palestinian-born George Bisharat, on LA Times Dustup.

Judea Pearl is the 2008 winner of Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computers and Cognitive Science, a special award of Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute


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