Hannah Arendt: Attention, une banalité peut en cacher une autre ! (Was Arendt fooled by her desire for uinversalist approval ?)

6 mai, 2013
http://www.la-croix.com/var/bayard/storage/images/lacroix/culture/cinema/au-coeur-du-film-hannah-arendt-le-proces-eichmann-2013-04-24-952230/33403936-1-fre-FR/Au-coeur-du-film-Hannah-Arendt-le-proces-Eichmann_article_popin.jpghttp://www.librairie-sciencespo.fr/ecommerce/media/catalog/product/6/a/6a49a6b39041ba4a2b7e1e2bb04a23b6.jpghttp://www.filmsfix.com/images/affiches/hannah-arendt-2.jpgThe trial has shown that under the stress of a national crisis, ordinary men, even able and extraordinary me, can delude themselves into the commission of crimes and atrocities so vast and so heinous as to stagger the imagination. How easily that can happen! There are those in our country today, too, who speak of the protection of the country. Of  survival. The answer to that is: survival as what? A country isn’t a rock. And it isn’t an extension of one’s self.  It’s what it stands for, when standing for something is the most difficult! Before the people of the world – let it now be noted in our decision here that this is what  we stand for:  justice, truth… and the value of a single human being! Judgment at Nuremberg
L’oppression mentale totalitaire est faite de piqûres de moustiques et non de grands coups sur la tête. (…) Quel fut le moyen de propagande le plus puissant de l’hitlérisme? Etaient-ce les discours isolés de Hitler et de Goebbels, leurs déclarations à tel ou tel sujet, leurs propos haineux sur le judaïsme, sur le bolchevisme? Non, incontestablement, car beaucoup de choses demeuraient incomprises par la masse ou l’ennuyaient, du fait de leur éternelle répétition.[...] Non, l’effet le plus puissant ne fut pas produit par des discours isolés, ni par des articles ou des tracts, ni par des affiches ou des drapeaux, il ne fut obtenu par rien de ce qu’on était forcé d’enregistrer par la pensée ou la perception. Le nazisme s’insinua dans la chair et le sang du grand nombre à travers des expressions isolées, des tournures, des formes syntaxiques qui s’imposaient à des millions d’exemplaires et qui furent adoptées de façon mécanique et inconsciente. Victor Klemperer (LTI, la langue du IIIe Reich)
Dans sa dernière signification, l’émancipation juive consiste à émanciper l’humanité du judaïsme. Marx
Déposséder un peuple de l’homme qu’il célèbre comme le plus grand de ses fils est une tâche sans agrément et qu’on n’accomplit pas d’un cœur léger, surtout quand on appartient soi-même à ce peuple.  Freud
Dans ce dernier ouvrage, le fondateur de la psychanalyse examine les origines du monothéisme en Égypte au moment de la révolution religieuse et esthétique du pharaon Akhenaton et expose une théorie nouvelle sur les origines de Moïse et de la religion juive. Note de l’Editeur (Gallimard, 1948)
Beate Zschäpe n’a jamais été présente, ni lors des crimes (contre huit commerçants turcs, un Grec et une policière), ni lors des braquages de banque, ni lors des deux attentats commis à Cologne. Pourtant, les chefs d’inculpation à son encontre sont sans ambiguïté : participation à dix meurtres, à des tentatives de meurtre (les victimes des attentats de Cologne), appartenance à une organisation terroriste, participation à quinze vols à main armée, attentats à l’explosif, incendie criminel. Pour les enquêteurs, son rôle était déterminant. C’est elle qui donnait une apparence de normalité, faisant les courses, gérant le budget, discutant avec les voisines, allant prendre un café au restaurant grec du coin… Selon le groupe de recherche Femmes et extrême droite, sur les cent vingt-neuf personnes avec qui la NSU aurait eu des contacts durant sa clandestinité, 20 % sont des femmes. On croit souvent que celles-ci jouent un rôle mineur dans la mouvance, mais c’est l’inverse, estiment ces chercheurs : "Sans l’engagement de jeunes filles et de femmes, les droites extrêmes ne fonctionneraient ni sur le plan pratique ni sur le plan idéologique." Pour les enquêteurs, Beate Zschäpe était "le centre émotionnel" du groupe, sur lequel elle exerçait une "influence déterminante". Le Monde
L’attitude d’Eichmann lui-même était différente. Tout d’abord, l’inculpation pour meurtre était fausse : « je n’avais rien à voir avec l’assassinat des Juifs. Je n’ai jamais tué un Juif ni d’ailleurs un non-Juif – je n’ai même jamais tué aucun être humain. Je n’ai jamais ordonné qu’on tue un Juif ou un non-Juif [...]". La défense ne prêta pas la moindre attention à la théorie personnelle d’Eichmann, mais l’accusation perdit, en vain, beaucoup de temps à vouloir prouver qu’Eichmann avait, au moins une fois, tué de ses propres mains. [...] Il se souvenait parfaitement qu’il n’aurait eu mauvaise conscience que s’il n’avait pas exécuté les ordres – ordres d’expédier à la mort des millions d’hommes, de femmes et d’enfants, avec un grand zèle et le soin le plus méticuleux. [...] Une demi-douzaine de psychiatres avaient certifié qu’il était « normal » [...]. Eichmann n’était pas fou au sens psychologique du terme et encore moins au sens juridique. Malgré tous les efforts de l’accusation, tout le monde pouvait voir que cet homme n’était pas « un monstre » ; mais il était vraiment difficile de ne pas présumer que c’était un clown. [...] Eichmann n’est qu’un figurant sans envergure [...], un tâcheron besogneux de la solution finale. Lui « personnellement » n’avait jamais rien eu contre les Juifs, au contraire, il avait de « nombreuses raisons personnelles » de ne pas les haïr. [...] Hélas, personne ne le crut. Et les juges ne le crurent pas parce qu’ils étaient trop bons [...] pour admettre qu’une personne moyenne, « normale » ni faible d’esprit, ni endoctrinée, ni cynique puisse être absolument incapable de distinguer le bien du mal. [...] Il ne fait aucun doute que, sans la coopération des victimes, il eût été difficile que quelques milliers de personnes, dont la plupart travaillaient, de plus, dans des bureaux, puissent liquider des centaines de milliers d’autres personnes. [...] Pour un Juif, le rôle que jouèrent les dirigeants juifs dans la destruction de leur propre peuple est, sans aucun doute, le plus sombre chapitre de leur histoire. [...] Si le peuple juif avait vraiment été non organisé et dépourvu de direction, le chaos aurait régné [...] mais le nombre total de victimes n’aurait pas atteint quatre et demi à six millions. Hannah Arendt (Eichmann à Jérusalem, rapport sur la banalité du mal, 1966)
Il est dans la nature même du totalitarisme, et peut-être de la bureaucratie, de transformer les hommes en fonctionnaires, en "rouages" administratifs, et ainsi de les déshumaniser. (…) Eichmann n’est ni un Iago, ni un Macbeth ; et il ne lui serait jamais venu à l’esprit, comme à Richard III de faire le mal par principe. (Pour autant) Eichmann n’est pas stupide. C’est la pure absence de pensée-ce qui n’est pas du tout la même chose- qui lui a permis de devenir un des plus grands criminels de son époque …Que l’on puisse être à ce point éloigné de la réalité, à ce point privé de pensée ; que cela puisse faire plus de mal que tous les instincts destructeurs réunis qui sont peut-être inhérents à l’homme. Voilà une des leçons que l’on pouvait tirer du procès de Jérusalem. Hannah Arendt (Post-scriptum à Eichmann à Jérusalem)
Encore un peu et les Juifs se sont persécutés et exterminés eux-mêmes en la présence fortuite de quelques nazis. Golo Mann (historien et philosophe allemand, Die Zeit, 24 janvier 1964)
Je n’éprouve guère de sympathie pour ce ton qu’exprime bien le mot anglais flippancy (désinvolture) que vous employez si souvent tout au long de votre livre. Il est inconvénient au-delà de toute mesure pour traiter d’un tel sujet. Gershom Scholem (historien et philosophe juif), MB, Tel Aviv, 16 août 1963.
Mme Arendt ne dit pas expressis verbis que les Juifs furent plus coupables qu’Eichmann mais, comme elle tient à diminuer la responsabilité de ce dernier et à mettre en lumière celle des Juifs, elle donne parfois cette impression. La grande érudition qu’elle manifeste et l’objectivité supérieure à laquelle elle prétend rendent difficile d’éviter cette impression, dont il est plus difficile encore de prendre son parti. Hugh Trevor-Roper (historien anglais, Sunday Times, 13 octobre 1963)
À en juger par le nombre de malentendus qu’elle a provoqués, l’expression ["Banalité du Mal"] n’était pas très heureuse ; mais l’idée d’Arendt est importante. Tzvetan Todorov (philosophe et historien français, Face à l’extrême, Paris, 1991)
[Les thèses d’Hannah Arendt] comportent des généralisations illégitimes, des contre- vérités, des contradictions internes [...].Hannah Arendt décrit minutieusement et dans son contexte historique et administratif la vie d’Eichmann — ce qui permet au lecteur d’entrer avec lui dans l’engrenage de la loi nazie » et donc de « comprendre » cet engrenage. Mais ce n’est qu’en termes généraux et synthétiques qu’elle parle de la « collaboration juive a sans jamais restituer les événements historiques, le climat de confusion, de panique et de terreur où elle se situe. Il aurait donc été souhaitable que Hannah Arendt ne réservât pas au seul Eichmann ses dons de pénétration psychologique, mais qu’elle en fit également bénéficier les responsables, juifs, dont elle juge les actes de l’extérieur seulement L’idée que la loi nazie était sentie par tous comme une justification morale suffisante en elle-même est démentie par ce fait que Hannah Arendt rapporte : au-delà d’un certain palier d’exécution, les ordres criminels devaient être codés ou signifiés au moyen de métaphores. C’est donc qu’il fallait ménager, non pas la « sensibilité » des subordonnés, comme Hannah Arendt voudrait le faire croire, mais bel et bien leur conscience morale. Il est donc faux qu’on ne puisse établir la responsabilité mo- rale d’Eichmann, puisqu’il participait aux réunions – où les décisions étaient prises en clair, pour être ensuite transmises en code. La vérité, c’est qu’Eichmann a préféré sa carrière ou son confort à toute autre considération. Il en allait de même des gardiens des camps d’extermination : ils avaient la possibilité d’être mutés dans des unités régulières. Les collaborateurs » juifs n’avaient pas cette possibilité. Ils ne pouvaient choisir- qu’entre l’obéissance, leur assassinat ou le suicide. Certains se sont suicidés. L’existence de polices juives, la mise en place de « Judenräte » par les nazis sont des faits. L’allégation selon laquelle sans l’action de leurs dirigeants un plus grand nombre de Juifs aurait pu avoir la vie sauve est dépourvue de tout fondement sérieux. Elle fait partie de ces hypothèses invérifiables et malveillantes qui, dans les pages de Hannah Arendt, sont présentées comme des faits historiques. Est-ce sur l’ordre de leurs dirigeants qu’en France, par exemple, les Juifs allaient faire la queue dans les commissariats pour se « déclarer » et fournir ainsi leur adresse à ceux qui les déporteraient ? Il est proprement scandaleux d’enfermer dans la même réprobation morale ceux qui, par tradition ou par principe, ne veulent pas se défendre — même si leur attitude est catastrophique pour leur entourage — et ceux qui ont fait du meurtre un principe. L’éducation reçue par un grand nombre de juifs et de dirigeants des communautés avait fait d’eux des êtres désarmés devant la violence et, en cela, comparables à des enfants. [...] On dira peut-être que dissimuler le fait que des Juifs ont été contraints d’exécuter les ordres des nazis ou que certains ont collaboré, est une attitude puérile. Mais qui dit le contraire ? Ce qui est aberrant, c’est de mettre l’accent sur cette collaboration. A-t-on fait autant de tumulte autour des harkis ? Parle-t-on des soldats du général Ky ? Ou de l’immense majorité des Français qui — par le simple fait de vivre sous l’occupation sans se révolter de façon très notable — ont pendant quatre ans contribué à l’effort de guerre nazi ? Cela dit, il était évident que notre monde égaré pendant quelques années chercherait un peu partout des coupables. Il était non moins évident qu’il en trouverait enfin a que ce serait, bien entendu, les Juifs. Cest, sans aucun doute, le plus sombre chapitre de leur histoire. [...] Si le peuple juif avait vraiment été non organisé et dépourvu de direction, le chaos aurait régné [...] mais le nombre total de victimes n’aurait pas atteint quatre et demi à six millions. CATHERINE BAKES, assistante à la Faculté des Lettres ; MICHEL BORWICZ ; ALDC DERCZANSKY, chargé de conférences à l’École nationale des langues orientales ; PIERRE HESPEL (ancien déporté); GERARD ISRAEL, directeur des « Nouveaux Cahiers ; VLADIMIR JANKELEVITCH, professeur à la Sorbonne ; JACQUES MA- DAULE ; MADELEINE BARTHELEMY MADAULE ; ROBERT MISRAHI, assistant à la Faculté des Lettres ; RICHARD MARIENSTRAS, maître-assistant « à la Faculté des Lettres; OLIVIER REVAULT- D’ALLONNES, maître-assistant à la Faculté des Lettres ("Hannah Arendt est-elle nazie ?", Le Nouvel Observateur, 26 octobre 1966)
[...] Le procès Eichmann marque un véritable tournant dans l’émergence de la mémoire du Génocide, en France, en Allemagne, aux États-Unis comme en Israël [...]. Pour la première fois, un procès se fixe comme objectif explicite de donner une leçon d’his- toire. Pour la première fois apparaît le thème de la pédagogie et de la transmission [...]. Le procès Eichmann marque aussi l’avènement du témoin. En effet, à la différence du procès de Nuremberg où l’accusation s’était fondée principalement sur des docu- ments, le procureur israélien, Gideon Hausner, décide de construire la scénographie du procès sur la déposition des témoins. Le procès Eichmann a libéré la parole des témoins. Il a créé une demande sociale en témoignages, comme le feront en France d’autres procès ultérieurs, ceux de Klaus Barbie, Paul Touvier et Maurice Papon. Avec le procès Eichmann, le survivant des camps et ghettos acquiert son identité de survivant parce que la société la lui reconnaît. Annette Wieviorka, "La mémoire de la Shoah", La Mémoire, entre histoire et politique, Les Cahiers français, La Documentation française, juillet-août 2001)
L’implication du procès : « [...] le procès créait des ondes de choc. Israël s’était imposé, avec la loi créant Yad Vashem1 et le procès Eichmann, comme le centre de la mémoire du génocide. [...] Les choses changent lentement à la fin des années 1970. Le centre de la mémoire se déplace insensiblement d’Israël vers les États-Unis, en s’américanisant et en s’universalisant. Les États-Unis sont désormais un pays où les chaires d’ « Holocaust studies » et les mémoriaux se comptent par centaines, qui centralisent toutes les sortes d’archives, un pays qui produit avec l’Allemagne les recherches historiques les plus importantes, un pays aussi dans lequel l’Holocauste a été intégré à la culture et à l’Ethos national. Annette Wieviorka ("Le procès qui fait entrer la Shoah dans l’histoire », L’Histoire, n°362, mars 2011)
Le procès Eichmann est également un évènement exceptionnel par l’attitude de l’accusé lui-même. D’abord, Eichmann a été bien plus qu’un simple fonctionnaire zélé. Il a mené une carrière rapide et exercé des responsabilités importantes au sein du dispositif génocidaire. Il a été un homme de terrain et non un simple bureaucrate. Quant à son engagement dans le nazisme, il a été total. Ensuite, Eichmann présente la particularité d’être l’un des nazis de haut rang qui s’est le plus exprimé après- guerre, laissant des milliers de pages de mémoire d’entretiens, de notes avant le procès, et presque autant durant sa captivité. Enfin – et c’est un exemple atypique parmi les nazis déférés devant un tribunal – Eichmann, a activement, presque frénétiquement participé à son propre procès, répondant volontairement aux questions de la cour, discutant les documents présentés à charge, prenant des notes lors des dépositions de témoins. Henry Rousso (Juger Eichmann, Jérusalem 1961, Catalogue de l’exposition « Mémorial de la Shoah », avril-septembre 2011)
Le film est construit autour de la polémique créée par l’enquête d’Hannah Arendt sur le procès Eichmann. Dès la parution de ses premiers articles dans le New Yorker, le scandale éclate. La thèse nouvelle de la philosophe sur la banalité du mal apparaît sous un jour grandement contrariant pour l’opinion commune, et pour la cour de justice de Jérusalem qui voulait juger en Eichmann plus qu’un homme, le symbole de la responsabilité nazie dans le génocide juif. Or, Hannah Arendt ramène la question à des proportions à la fois moindres et plus inquiétantes : en effet, sans cacher l’horreur absolue de l’organisation administrative du génocide, Arendt montre que le régime totalitaire est parvenu à anesthésier les consciences, à altérer la faculté de jugement de chacun, et que ses idées se sont infiltrées un peu partout : cela concerne au premier chef Adolf Eichmann, présenté comme un fonctionnaire zélé incapable de penser par lui-même, et non comme le monstre décrit par l’accusation. Cela concerne dans une moindre mesure les Conseils juifs (Judenräte) qui ont eu l’aveuglement de « coopérer » avec le régime nazi en établissant des recensements et en organisant la vie des futurs déportés. Hannah Arendt s’appuyait alors sur le texte de Raul Hillberg, La Destruction des Juifs d’Europe, pour soutenir ce propos, qui a été depuis relativisé par les historiens (la résistance juive a été soulignée, et il a été montré que l’absence d’organisation juive, comme par exemple en Russie, s’accompagnait de pertes humaines aussi lourdes qu’ailleurs). Céline Deleurme-Poulmane (dossier Zéro de conduite)
A lawyer of my publisher at the time asked me to draw up a list of items she had lifted. I found about eighty, but he also said that I would have to prove that she could not have obtained the information anywhere else. That proof I could not supply, except in such instances as an error of spelling that she had copied. Raul Hilberg
Certainly Arendt’s ideas about Eichmann and his "banality" were kindling for a fire. But it was the material she drew from 
Hilberg on the Jewish councils–less than twenty of the nearly 300 pages of her book–that ignited the furor. The implication of her account was that whereas Nazis like Eichmann were merely banal bureaucrats, Jews had experienced a moral collapse during the war by failing to resist totalitarianism. (…) Michael Marrus, who has written critically about Arendt’s and Hilberg’s accounts of the Judenräte, says that while many Jewish historians have erred "too much on the side of heroism and resistance," Hilberg "was way off on the other side of the spectrum. His views about the Jews are sometimes almost caricatural." (…)  Hilberg and Arendt may have clung to these heretical positions because their exodus from Europe left them with similarly tortured perspectives on the Jews they had left behind. Both writers were steeped in German-Jewish culture, which had long disdained the less cultured Jews in Eastern Europe. Complicating matters was that it was Eastern Jews who had been overwhelmingly slaughtered. Arendt’s criticism of the Israeli prosecution in Eichmann’s trial was spiced by her distaste for what she saw as the Israeli muddle of Middle Eastern and Eastern European Jews. Her most famous relationship was with Heidegger, the philosopher and Nazi Party member, and her husband, Blücher, was a German gentile. In a similar pattern, Hilberg endlessly criticized Jewish scholars while heaping praise on German scholars who were studying the same material. More personally and concretely, though, the works of Hilberg and Arendt were colored by their experiences as young secular Jews influenced by Zionism. Arendt’s Zionist work–before and immediately after the war–is well-known. Hilberg’s Zionist background, on the other hand, has generally gone unrecognized. In his autobiography, he says little about his engagement with the Jewish community in Vienna. But his best friend from his youth, Eric Marder, recalls that both boys had gone to a Zionist school in Vienna, which taught them the need for Jews to build a home of their own and to defend themselves. The lessons stuck, says Marder, who left Vienna shortly after Hilberg’s family. Marder also ended up in Brooklyn, and he recalls that when he and Hilberg were in high school, they would walk home and talk about what was happening in Europe. "We both felt that politically the Jewish community in Europe had behaved badly. Instead of fighting the Nazis, they had surrendered to them." At the time that Hilberg and Marder were having those conversations, Arendt was expressing similar disappointment about the apparent unwillingness of the Jews to stand up for themselves. During the war, Arendt wrote a series of articles for Jewish newspapers in the United States calling for Jews to form an army to fight back. In time, though, her writing reflected a growing, almost shamefaced recognition that the Jews would go down meekly. In 1944, in the article "From Army to Brigade," she spoke of the "unbearable humiliation of the Jewish people, who felt that the whole world had damned them to the degrading role of victimhood." Later on, both thinkers wanted to be seen as clear-eyed observers, unsullied by any attachment to the material they were studyingNathaniel Popper
Adolf Eichmann was, of course, in no way a banal bureaucrat: He just portrayed himself as one while on trial for his life. Eichmann was a vicious and loathsome Jew-hater and -hunter who, among other things, personally intervened after the war was effectively lost, to insist on and ensure the mass murder of the last intact Jewish group in Europe, those of Hungary. So the phrase was wrong in its origin, as applied to Eichmann, and wrong in almost all subsequent cases when applied generally. Wrong and self-contradictory, linguistically, philosophically, and metaphorically. Either one knows what one is doing is evil or one does not. If one knows and does it anyway, one is evil, not some special subcategory of evil. If one doesn’t know, one is ignorant, and not evil. But genuine ignorance is rare when evil is going on. Arendt should have stuck with her original formulation for the Nazi crimes, "radical evil." Not an easy concept to define, but, you might say, you know it when you see it. Certainly one with more validity than banality. (Wasserstein dryly notes that "her epigones have tried valiantly to reconcile the two positions, she herself recognized the inconsistency"—between radical and banal evil—"but never satisfactorily resolved the fundamental self-contradiction."). Ron Rosenbaum
If Eichmann was simply following orders, and his conduct was certifiably normal within the context of Nazi Germany, her own defense of Heidegger can reflect the way a social thinker such as herself might be conditioned by circumstances and advantage to curry favor in the midst of the most vile forms of evil. Having as a Jew escaped from Germany in 1933, Arendt remained for the rest of her life loyal to the whole philosophic tradition that had helped lead to Hitlerism. Paul Roazen
The debate about Heidegger reminded me of a conversation I had with philosopher Berel Lang on "the evolution of evil," an exchange I wrote about in Explaining Hitler. We discussed whether Hitler represented a new depth of evil and what the next step down into the abyss might be. Were there degrees of evil—that led to Hitler? And would Hitler lead to degrees of evil beyond his own? I had suggested Holocaust denial was such a next step, in the sense that it added insult to injury, but Lang disagreed, arguing that Heidegger’s postwar silence on Nazism exemplified the next step in the evolution of evil. After the war, this purportedly great and comprehensive philosopher never published anything that addressed the fact of the Holocaust that his party perpetrated. It just didn’t impinge on his worldview. He had time to write polemics against mechanized agriculture but not industrialized murder. Lang thought Heidegger’s indifference was a whole new kind of evil. (He even wrote a book called Heidegger’s Silence.) Which brings us back to Arendt again. As the extent of Heidegger’s enthusiastic embrace of Nazism becomes more apparent, and as it becomes ever clearer that the allegiance was not merely opportunistic and careerist but derived from a philosophical affinity with his Fuhrer’s effusions, it becomes impossible not to reexamine certain questions. Such as: How much did Arendt know about the depth of Heidegger’s allegiance? Did Heidegger lie to her? Did she believe him the way she believed Eichmann? Did she assume his complicity with the genocidaires was something careerist and banal? Or worse, did she know? And did she disingenuously (or self-deceptively) construct her false banal Eichmann from her false banal Heidegger? (…) Wasserstein believes she internalized anti-Semitic literature; I would perhaps modify this to say she internalized the purported universalism of Germanic high culture with its disdain for parochialism. A parochialism she identified with, in her own case, her Jewishness, something she felt ashamed of on intellectual grounds, so primitive, this tribal allegiance in the presence of intellects who supposedly transcended tribalism (or at least all tribes except the Teutonic). One can still hear this Arendtian shame about ethnicity these days. So parochial! One can hear the echo of Arendt’s fear of being judged as "merely Jewish" in some, not all, of those Jews so eager to dissociate themselves from the parochial concerns of other Jews for Israel. The desire for universalist approval makes them so disdainful of any "ethnic" fellow feeling. After all, to such unfettered spirits, it’s so banal. Ron Rosenbaum
J’ai filmé le témoignage de Benjamin Murmelstein à Rome en 1975, pendant toute une semaine. Adjoint du grand rabbin d’Autriche, c’est lui qui fut contraint de négocier avec Eichmann après l’annexion de l’Autriche. Il le vit pratiquement chaque jour pendant trois ans et eut de lui la connaissance la plus profonde qu’on puisse imaginer. Plus tard, il devint le troisième président du Conseil juif de Theresienstadt, en Tchécoslovaquie, que Eichmann appelait un « ghetto modèle », c’est-à-dire destiné à être montré. Pour mille raisons, je n’ai pas inclus son témoignage dans «Shoah ». C’était un film en soi et l’intégrer à « Shoah » aurait rallongé le film de deux ou trois heures. Le témoignage de Murmelstein, capital, est aveuglant d’intelligence et de clarté: Eichmann n’était pas du tout le falot bureaucrate dont Arendt a brossé le portrait en même temps qu’elle inventait le concept de banalité du mal, qui n’était au fond que la banalité de ses propres conclusions. Dès la fin 39, c’est Eichmann qui organise la première déportation de Juifs. Tout au long de ses rencontres avec Murmelstein, Eichmann apparaît comme un antijuif fanatique aboyant des ordres inexécutables qu’il multipliait à dessein. Les anecdotes à ce sujet sont nombreuses, odieuses, et irrécusables. Tout cela sera montré dans le film, et définitivement établi. (…) Le procès d’Eichmann a été un procès bâclé. Les historiens avaient encore très peu travaillé. On confondait les lieux, on bousculait les témoins, qui avaient vécu des expériences limite et étaient incapables de parler. Le procureur Gideon Hausner partageait l’ignorance générale. A la demande de Ben Gourion qui souhaitait en faire un acte fondateur pour Israël, Hausner a ouvert le procès par un immense discours moralisateur, insupportable. Cette ouverture a déplu à Arendt. A juste titre. Mais elle-même ne savait rien. C’était une juive allemande exilée qui ignorait tout de la réalité de ces choses et de ces gens. (…) Hilberg a beaucoup évolué sur cette question, vous savez. Nous avons eu de longues discussions à ce sujet. Je l’ai rencontré en 1975 à New York, pendant un colloque d’historiens sur l’Holocauste. Contrairement aux autres, il n’était pas gai, exubérant, le travail sur ces questions le concernait intimement. Il avait la voix métallique, ironique, il m’a tout de suite plu, nous sommes devenus amis. C’est à lui que j’ai demandé de faire revivre dans « Shoah » la mémoire de Tcherniakov, le président du conseil juif de Varsovie qui, lui, a choisi de se suicider, le 23 juillet 1942, quand il a vu que les déportations vers Treblinka commençaient et qu’il ne pouvait rien y faire. Hilberg, dans « Shoah » incarne littéralement Tcherniakov. Beaucoup d’autres se sont également suicidés. Vingt-quatre membres du même Conseil juif se sont parfois donné la mort la même nuit. Pourquoi Arendt n’insiste pas plutôt là-dessus? La première chose face à une catastrophe pareille, c’est l’humilité. Moi je suis resté des mois sans comprendre, quand j’ai commencé « Shoah », sans même être capable de dire quel allait être mon sujet. Jusqu’au moment où j’ai su ce que je devais faire. Claude Lanzmann

Attention: une banalité peut en cacher une autre !

A l’heure où s’ouvre à Münich le procès d’une "nazie ordinaire"

Et où, avec la sortie en France de son film ("Hannah Arendt"), la réalisatrice Margarethe von Trotta comme Claude Lanzmann avant la sortie du sien à Cannes, nous font revivre un autre procès d’un "nazi ordinaire" …

A savoir, il y a 52 ans, celui du directeur du bureau des affaires juives de l’office central de sécurité du Reich et organisateur des déportations vers Auschwitz Adolf Eichmann …

Comment ne pas voir derrière la thèse, soutenue sur la base des travaux d’un Raul Hilberg revenu largement plus tard sur ses positions par la philosophe allemande Hannah Arendt, de "la banalité du mal" et de la participation des  conseils juifs mis en place par les nazis qui coopérèrent avec leurs bourreaux …

La possibilité, comme le rappelle Ron Rosenbaum, que dans sa quête de reconnaissance par la haute culture allemande incarnée par son amour de jeunesse Heidegger, Arendt elle-même ait pu à son tour, à l’instar ajouterions-nous d’un autre juif célèbre ayant lui aussi avant elle renié en partie ses racines (notamment en égyptisant son Moïse), être contaminée par la pensée même qui avait conduit au génocide de son propre peuple ?

Lanzmann critique l’idée de banalité du mal d’Hannah Arendt

Aude Lancelin

Directrice adjointe de la rédaction de Marianne, responsable du service culture et idées

Marianne

13 Novembre 2011

Aussi controversée qu’adulée, la philosophe Hannah Arendt revient au centre des polémiques avec « Ecrits juifs », recueil contenant cinq cents pages d’inédits. Cet événement, ajouté à l’entretien exclusif que nous a accordé ici Claude Lanzmann, permet de jeter un regard neuf sur l’auteur d’Eichmann à Jérusalem.

Son ami le philosophe Karl Jaspers lui avait un jour écrit : « Arrivera le moment que tu ne connaîtras pas : celui où les Juifs t’érigeront en Israël, comme à Spinoza, un monument, et te revendiqueront fièrement comme une des leurs ».

Ce moment-là n’est toujours pas arrivé pour Hannah Arendt, trente-six ans après sa mort. Arrivera-t-il un jour ? Les éditions Fayard permettent en tout cas d’ouvrir aujourd’hui à nouveaux frais cet épineux dossier. Ces « Ecrits juifs » ne contiennent pas l’intégralité des textes d’Arendt sur le judaïsme, l’antisémitisme et le sionisme écrits trente années durant. Un rayonnage entier n’y suffirait pas, tant celle qui put se voir accuser de désinvolture à l’égard de son peuple, passa en réalité une immense partie de sa vie de penseur à travailler sur ces thèmes.

Parmi les textes inédits aujourd’hui publiés : un essai majeur inachevé, « l’Antisémitisme », aussi fondamental sur le sujet que la première partie des « Origines du totalitarisme », ou encore les extraits d’un ouvrage de 1944, « The Jew as Pariah » (« Le Juif comme paria »), qui n’avait jusqu’ici été édité qu’aux Etats-Unis. Bien d’autres textes aussi, comme celui de 1941 où Arendt appelle à la constitution d’une armée juive, formée de volontaires de tous les pays, ou celui qui célèbre avec émotion la résistance du ghetto de Varsovie, et aussi des pièces importantes sur la controverse mondiale qui suivit la parution d’ « Eichmann à Jerusalem ».

« Hannah Arendt est-elle nazie ? »

Au total, ce ne sont pas moins de 500 pages d’inédits auxquels ce volume permet d’accéder. Ils aideront à corriger, peut-être même à adoucir, le regard porté sur une intellectuelle encore souvent vouée aux gémonies dans la communauté juive. Il faudra d’ailleurs attendre l’an 2000 pour que le premier livre d’Arendt soit traduit en Israël : « Eichmann à Jérusalem » justement, celui-là qui avait mis le feu aux poudres en 1964.

Avant cette date, l’idée d’accuser Arendt de « haine de soi » eut simplement semblé burlesque. Toute sa vie Arendt affirmera en effet avoir parlé politiquement au nom des juifs. Et à l’exception du journaliste dreyfusard Bernard Lazare, personne avant elle n’avait fait preuve d’une compréhension aussi profonde de l’antisémitisme spécifique aux temps modernes, personne n’avait fourni de thèses aussi convaincantes sur cette arme politique de destruction massive.

Après la parution d’ « Eichmann » toutefois, l’ère du soupçon commence. Une excommunication d’un genre nouveau la frappe. Deux ans plus tard, lorsque le livre paraît en France, une pétition d’intellectuels, notamment signée par Vladimir Jankélévitch et Robert Misrahi, feint de s’interroger dans les colonnes du Nouvel Observateur : « Hannah Arendt est-elle nazie ? ».

Eichmann plus jusqu’auboutiste d’Himmler ?

A l’origine d’une des plus violentes polémiques de la fin du siècle : un concept tout d’abord. Celui de « banalité du mal », sur lequel elle aura toute sa vie à s’expliquer. Banalité n’a pourtant jamais voulu dire innocence. En maniant ce concept au sujet du criminel SS Adolf Eichmann, concept emprunté à son premier mari Heinrich Blücher ou à l’écrivain Joseph Conrad selon les versions, c’est une vision finalement confortable du sadisme nazi qu’Arendt entend en fait réfuter.

Le désir d’y voir une espèce d’hyperbole démoniaque qui le tient au fond radicalement à distance. Plus dérangeante, la vision d’Arendt fait de la monstruosité une option humaine à chaque instant du temps actualisable. Aucune complaisance à l’égard d’Eichmann dans cette affaire, constamment présenté dans le livre d’Arendt comme une créature certes subordonnée, mais aussi comme un salaud intégral, encore plus jusqu’auboutiste qu’Himmler, et qui fit « de son mieux, jusqu’au bout, pour rendre réellement définitive la Solution finale ».

Restent que les révélations aujourd’hui faites par Claude Lanzmann au sujet du vrai Eichmann, de l’Eichmann historique (voir ci-dessous) mettent sérieusement à mal la thèse d’Arendt, aussi subtile soit-elle. Reste un autre aspect encore de la polémique, sur lequel il faut bien sûr revenir. Il concerne l’insistance d’Hannah Arendt sur le rôle joué par les « Conseils juifs », les Judenräte, dans la machine d’extermination nazie.

Un « ton sans cœur, souvent presque ricaneur et malveillant »

Pour Arendt, jamais cette dernière n’aurait pu déporter et tuer à une telle échelle si certains responsables des différentes communautés juives n’avaient aussi étroitement collaboré avec les assassins. On sait que la philosophe reporter se réclamait sur ce point de « La Destruction des juifs d’Europe » de Raul Hilberg, paru en 1961 dans l’indifférence générale et entretemps devenu l’une des études de référence sur le génocide opéré par le IIIème Reich.

On n’en reste pas moins troublé par le forçage indéniable qu’Arendt fait subir à certains faits, comme le cas du grand rabbin de Berlin Leo Baeck, présenté outrancièrement comme un véritable « Fürher juif ». On n’en reste pas moins étonné par sa vision finalement si peu compatissante des possibilités de rébellion qui s’offraient à ces gens. Rompant avec elle à cette occasion, Gershom Scholem, l’auteur des « Grands courants de la mystique juive », lui reprochera à ce sujet d’avoir inexplicablement usé d’un « ton sans cœur, souvent presque ricaneur et malveillant (sneering and malicious) ».

Un ton que l’on a depuis lors pris l’habitude d’associer à l’auteur des « Origines du totalitarisme », avec une injustice que ces « Ecrits juifs » permettent cette fois nettement de réparer. Orgueilleuse autant qu’on voudra, inutilement rigide dans sa façon de vouloir fixer sans faiblesse le soleil noir nazi, il est tout à fait faux en revanche de prétendre qu’Hannah refusait toute communauté de destin avec ses frères.

« Acosmique »

Ayant perdu la foi très tôt comme elle le confia un jour au rabbin de Königsberg, Arendt ne saurait certes avoir le même vécu juif que Scholem. Certains textes ici publiés, « Le Juif comme paria. Une tradition cachée » ou « Stefan Zweig : les juifs dans le monde d’hier » (1943), montrent bien dans quel univers moral et intellectuel celle-ci évolue.

Arendt ne prend conscience de sa judéité dans son enfance que par les insultes antisémites de ses camarades – l’expérience même décrite par Sartre dans son fameux essai de 1946. Ayant perdu l’héritage hébraïque de ses ancêtres sans avoir pour autant gagné une citoyenneté ferme, le sol de la politique européenne étant partout en train de s’effondrer, son destin est à l’unisson de celui de toute une intelligentsia juive à la veille de la catastrophe.

« Acosmique » écrit-elle, privée de monde autre que celui, idéal, de la haute culture, incertaine sur son identité alors même que celle-ci est devenue un chef d’inculpation, Arendt n’en demeure pas moins convaincue que « lorsqu’on est attaquée en qualité de Juif, c’est en tant que Juif que l’on doit se défendre ».

On finirait presque par l’oublier, mais l’idéal sioniste mobilisera en effet la jeune femme au plus haut point. Hostile à « l’assimilation », qui à ses yeux est incapable de résoudre le problème de l’altérité et de supprimer l’équation « l’étranger intérieur c’est l’ennemi », logique qui mène au camp, Arendt est même convaincue que le sionisme est « la seule réponse que les Juifs aient jamais trouvé à l’antisémitisme et la seule idéologie qui ait tenu strictement compte d’une hostilité qui allait les placer au cœur des événements mondiaux. »

C’est du reste la mission que lui confia Kurt Blumenfeld, le président de « L’Union sioniste d’Allemagne », qui provoquera l’arrestation d’Arendt en 1933, entraînant son départ précipité pour la France, qu’elle réussira à quitter en 1941 pour gagner « l’heureuse Amérique ». On sait moins quel fut l’enthousiasme d’Arendt durant les années de guerre à l’idée de voir naître un « foyer national », seul à même de protéger à l’avenir les Juifs car pour elle, quiconque n’appartient pas de plein droit à un corps politique se voit exposé à l’atomisation, à la biologisation et finalement à la mort.

Du Juif paria à l’Etat paria

Reste que son enthousiasme sera de courte durée, et cela non plus ne lui est pas toujours pardonné. Ainsi que de nombreux textes en témoignent ici, rapidement la philosophe se montre en effet très critique à l’égard de la tournure prise par cette expérience territoriale sur laquelle elle avait fondé tant d’espoirs.

Avec sa rectitude habituelle, Arendt exprime sa crainte de voir l’Etat-nation juif faire le choix de la coopération avec les puissances impérialistes plutôt qu’avec ses voisins, et se voir ainsi réduit à une Sparte moderne, à une tribu de guerriers « environnés par une population arabe entièrement hostile, enfermés entre des frontières constamment menacées, occupés à leur autodéfense physique au point d’y perdre tous leurs autres intérêts. »

L’idée que l’antisémitisme des années 30 puisse muter en antisionisme une fois l’Etat d’Israël fondé, effleure Arendt avant même la fin de la guerre. L’idée qu’au « Juif paria » au sein de son propre Etat puisse dramatiquement succéder un « Etat Paria » à l’échelle du monde entier la hante littéralement. Faute de pouvoir infléchir le cours de l’Histoire, faute de croire qu’un sionisme « antinationaliste » et « antichauvin » puisse réellement voir le jour, Arendt fait le choix de se désinvestir totalement.

Dès octobre 1944, sa rupture avec l’Etat intensément rêvé est bel et bien consommée. Dans une lettre à son amie la journaliste Mary McCarthy, postérieure à la controverse sur Eichmann, Arendt écrit : « Je sais bien que toute catastrophe en Israël m’affecterait plus profondément que toute autre chose. » Si l’on a parfois pu reprocher à Arendt son apparente insensibilité, nul ne l’a jamais suspectée de dissimuler ses vrais sentiments.

« Ecrits juifs » par Hannah Arendt, Fayard, 752 p., 28 euros. A signaler aussi la réédition d’« Hannah Arendt », biographie de référence par Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Pluriel.

Bio express

Née en 1906 à Hanovre, Hannah Arendt, philosophe et théoricienne de la politique, est notamment l’auteur de : « les Origines du totalitarisme » (1951), « La condition de l’homme moderne » (1958) et « La crise de la culture » (1961). Juive allemande naturalisée américaine, elle meurt en 1975, dix ans après la polémique mondiale déclenchée par « Eichmann à Jérusalem ».

La faute d’Arendt

Le prochain film de Claude Lanzmann, qui sera tourné en 2012, portera précisément sur Benjamin Murmelstein, un de ces présidents des «Conseils juifs » sur le rôle desquels Hannah Arendt insistait dans Eichmann à Jérusalem, n’hésitant pas à les accabler et à leur imputer une part du crime. En exclusivité pour « Marianne », l’auteur de « Shoah » livre un témoignage totalement inédit, de nature à ébranler décisivement le regard porté sur l’Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann, responsable sous le IIIème Reich des « affaires juives et de l’évacuation », jugé et condamné à la pendaison en mai 1962 à Jérusalem.

Marianne : A vos yeux, Hannah Arendt se trompe totalement quant à la personnalité et aux responsabilités écrasantes d’Eichmann…

Claude Lanzmann: Absolument et c’est une des raisons pour lesquelles j’entreprends de réaliser ce film. J’ai filmé le témoignage de Benjamin Murmelstein à Rome en 1975, pendant toute une semaine. Adjoint du grand rabbin d’Autriche, c’est lui qui fut contraint de négocier avec Eichmann après l’annexion de l’Autriche. Il le vit pratiquement chaque jour pendant trois ans et eut de lui la connaissance la plus profonde qu’on puisse imaginer. Plus tard, il devint le troisième président du Conseil juif de Theresienstadt, en Tchécoslovaquie, que Eichmann appelait un « ghetto modèle », c’est-à-dire destiné à être montré. Pour mille raisons, je n’ai pas inclus son témoignage dans «Shoah ». C’était un film en soi et l’intégrer à « Shoah » aurait rallongé le film de deux ou trois heures. Le témoignage de Murmelstein, capital, est aveuglant d’intelligence et de clarté: Eichmann n’était pas du tout le falot bureaucrate dont Arendt a brossé le portrait en même temps qu’elle inventait le concept de banalité du mal, qui n’était au fond que la banalité de ses propres conclusions. Dès la fin 39, c’est Eichmann qui organise la première déportation de Juifs. Tout au long de ses rencontres avec Murmelstein, Eichmann apparaît comme un antijuif fanatique aboyant des ordres inexécutables qu’il multipliait à dessein. Les anecdotes à ce sujet sont nombreuses, odieuses, et irrécusables. Tout cela sera montré dans le film, et définitivement établi.

Qu’est-ce qui a pu à ce point induire Arendt en erreur ?

Le procès d’Eichmann a été un procès bâclé. Les historiens avaient encore très peu travaillé. On confondait les lieux, on bousculait les témoins, qui avaient vécu des expériences limite et étaient incapables de parler. Le procureur Gideon Hausner partageait l’ignorance générale. A la demande de Ben Gourion qui souhaitait en faire un acte fondateur pour Israël, Hausner a ouvert le procès par un immense discours moralisateur, insupportable. Cette ouverture a déplu à Arendt. A juste titre. Mais elle-même ne savait rien. C’était une juive allemande exilée qui ignorait tout de la réalité de ces choses et de ces gens.

Iriez-vous jusqu’à dire que l’insistance d’Arendt sur le rôle des « Conseils juifs» est suspecte ? Elle s’est toujours défendue sur ce point en invoquant les travaux de Raul Hilberg …

Hilberg a beaucoup évolué sur cette question, vous savez. Nous avons eu de longues discussions à ce sujet. Je l’ai rencontré en 1975 à New York, pendant un colloque d’historiens sur l’Holocauste. Contrairement aux autres, il n’était pas gai, exubérant, le travail sur ces questions le concernait intimement. Il avait la voix métallique, ironique, il m’a tout de suite plu, nous sommes devenus amis. C’est à lui que j’ai demandé de faire revivre dans « Shoah » la mémoire de Tcherniakov, le président du conseil juif de Varsovie qui, lui, a choisi de se suicider, le 23 juillet 1942, quand il a vu que les déportations vers Treblinka commençaient et qu’il ne pouvait rien y faire. Hilberg, dans « Shoah » incarne littéralement Tcherniakov. Beaucoup d’autres se sont également suicidés. Vingt-quatre membres du même Conseil juif se sont parfois donné la mort la même nuit. Pourquoi Arendt n’insiste pas plutôt là-dessus? La première chose face à une catastrophe pareille, c’est l’humilité. Moi je suis resté des mois sans comprendre, quand j’ai commencé « Shoah », sans même être capable de dire quel allait être mon sujet. Jusqu’au moment où j’ai su ce que je devais faire.

Propos recueillis par Aude Lancelin

Voir aussi:

The Evil of Banality

Troubling new revelations about Arendt and Heidegger.

Ron Rosenbaum

Slate

Oct. 30, 2009

Will we ever be able to think of Hannah Arendt in the same way again? Two new and damning critiques, one of Arendt and one of her longtime Nazi-sycophant lover, the philosopher Martin Heidegger, were published within 10 days of each other last month. The pieces cast further doubt on the overinflated, underexamined reputations of both figures and shed new light on their intellectually toxic relationship.

My hope is that these revelations will encourage a further discrediting of the most overused, misused, abused pseudo-intellectual phrase in our language: the banality of evil. The banality of the banality of evil, the fatuousness of it, has long been fathomless, but perhaps now it will be consigned to the realm of the deceitful and disingenuous as well.

The first of the two new reports—and the one most overlooked here in America, perhaps because it’s not online—appeared in the sober pages of London’s Times Literary Supplement on Oct. 9. It was titled "Blame the Victim—Hannah Arendt Among the Nazis: the Historian and Her Sources." Arendt—the German-born refugee intellectual, author of the influential The Origins of Totalitarianism and the controversial Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil—has come under fire before for "blaming the victim" in her Eichmann trial book, but the author of the TLS piece, the distinguished British scholar Bernard Wasserstein, breaks new ground here with material I found shocking.

In a long, carefully documented essay, Wasserstein (who’s now at the University of Chicago), cites Arendt’s scandalous use of quotes from anti-Semitic and Nazi "authorities" on Jews in her Totalitarianism book.

Wasserstein concludes that her use of these sources was "more than a methodological error: it was symptomatic of a perverse world-view contaminated by over-exposure to the discourse of collective contempt and stigmatization that formed the object of her study"—that object being anti-Semitism. In other words, he contends, Arendt internalized the values of the anti-Semitic literature she read in her study of anti-Semitism, at least to a certain extent. Wasserstein’s conjecture will reignite the debate over Arendt’s contemptuous remarks on certain Jews who were victims of Hitler in her Eichmann book and in her letters.

Could these revelations help banish the robotic reiteration of the phrase the banality of evil as an explanation for everything bad that human beings do? Arendt may not have intended that the phrase be used this way, but one of its pernicious effects has been to make it seem as though the search for an explanation of the mystery of evil done by "ordinary men" is over. As though by naming it somehow explains it and even solves the problem. It’s a phrase that sounds meaningful and lets us off the hook, allows us to avoid facing the difficult question.

It was the banality phrase—and the purported profundity of it in the popular mind—that elevated Arendt above the ranks of her fellow exile intellectuals in America and made her a proto-Sontag figure, a cerebral star of sorts and a revered icon in cultural-studies departments throughout America. It was the phrase that launched a thousand theses.

To my mind, the use of the phrase banality of evil is an almost infallible sign of shallow thinkers attempting to seem intellectually sophisticated. Come on, people: It’s a bankrupt phrase, a subprime phrase, a Dr. Phil-level phrase masquerading as a profound contrarianism. Oooh, so daring! Evil comes not only in the form of mustache-twirling Snidely Whiplash types, but in the form of paper pushers who followed evil orders. And when applied—as she originally did to Adolf Eichmann, Hitler’s eager executioner, responsible for the logistics of the Final Solution—the phrase was utterly fraudulent.

Adolf Eichmann was, of course, in no way a banal bureaucrat: He just portrayed himself as one while on trial for his life. Eichmann was a vicious and loathsome Jew-hater and -hunter who, among other things, personally intervened after the war was effectively lost, to insist on and ensure the mass murder of the last intact Jewish group in Europe, those of Hungary. So the phrase was wrong in its origin, as applied to Eichmann, and wrong in almost all subsequent cases when applied generally. Wrong and self-contradictory, linguistically, philosophically, and metaphorically. Either one knows what one is doing is evil or one does not. If one knows and does it anyway, one is evil, not some special subcategory of evil. If one doesn’t know, one is ignorant, and not evil. But genuine ignorance is rare when evil is going on.

Arendt should have stuck with her original formulation for the Nazi crimes, "radical evil." Not an easy concept to define, but, you might say, you know it when you see it. Certainly one with more validity than banality. (Wasserstein dryly notes that "her epigones have tried valiantly to reconcile the two positions, she herself recognized the inconsistency"—between radical and banal evil—"but never satisfactorily resolved the fundamental self-contradiction.") But Arendt fled from radical evil into banality in more ways than one.

Where the Wasserstein article breaks new ground is in his citation of some of the anti-Semitic sources Arendt used for what is considered her major work, The Origins of Totalitarianism. Of course, Arendt has been called hostile to Jews, particularly those who lack the Germanic acculturation she was so proud of.

But The Origins of Totalitarianism has not, until now, come under fire on these grounds. And I must say that even though it’s a book massively bloated by irrelevant show-your-work history, it serves as ballast for an important theoretical insight: that the similarities among police-state surveillance regimes are more important than the differences, that the similarities can be summed up by a single word—totalitarianism—that applies to dictatorships of the left and right, of any ideology and by extension any theocratic regime or movement.

It’s a concept that has great relevance right now because there are still those who don’t understand how theocratic police states can be called "fascist." Duh! It’s because they’re totalitarian. Whatever religion they profess, what they share with past fascist regimes is greater—in terms of denial of human rights—than what separates them. Just as political regimes adopt religious-type totalist worship of the state or the leader to enforce their oppression, religious or theocratic regimes adopt political oppression to enforce their orthodoxies.

But Wasserstein (who ironically delivered his conclusions originally at "the Hannah Arendt Lecture" at Holland’s Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen in December 2008—probably not what they expected) has found some problems in her historical analysis of anti-Semitism.

He introduces his findings with a curt nod to the Arendt defenders: "In The New York Review of Books in 2007 Jeremy Waldron reproved the historian Walter Laqueur for having speculated that Arendt ‘had read too much anti-Semitic literature for her own good.’ " Waldron, Wasserstein observed, "considered the conjecture ‘offensive.’ "

"Actually," Wasserstein continues, "it merits serious consideration, as emerges if we examine the use of sources in her work. Consider, for example, Arendt’s discussion, in the second section of Origins, of the role of Jews in the gold and diamond rushes in South Africa at the turn of the twentieth century. She relies here on the account by the British economist J.A. Hobson in which he referred to Jewish financiers ‘leaving their economic fangs in the carcasses of their prey. They fastened on the Rand … as they are prepared to fasten upon any other spot on the globe’—part of a passage that Arendt quotes with explicit and unironic approval, commending it as ‘very reliable in observation and very honest in analysis.’ "

"Fangs"? You say this sounds like pure Hitlerite rhetoric that could have been lifted from Mein Kampf? Well, yes, it does, doesn’t it?

And then there’s this: "One of her authorities on South African Jews," Wasserstein reports, is an article by Ernst Schultze, "a longstanding Nazi propagandist, that appeared in … a German publication founded and directed by the prominent Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg."

And then "in a new preface [to The Origins of Totalitarianism] written in 1967, Arendt commends the work of the leading Nazi historian Walter Frank … whose ‘contributions,’ " Wasserstein quotes Arendt, " ‘can still be consulted with profit.’ "

Wasserstein wonders about her motives here: "Was she bending over backwards not to be totally dismissive of ideological opponents who despised her on categorical (i.e. racial) grounds?" he asks.

"But there must have been more to it than that," he answers, "because modern Jewish history was the only subject where she repeatedly relied on Nazi historians as external authorities, that is, other than as evidence of what the Nazis themselves thought or did. Moreover she internalized much of what the Nazi historians had to say about Jews, from the ‘parasitism’ of Jewish high finance to the ‘internationalism’ of [Walther] Rathenau [the Weimar German minister assassinated by anti-Semites.]"

Of course, there have always been Jewish critiques of Jews. But Arendt’s "aversion clearly ran much deeper" than has been supposed, Wasserstein asserts. He concludes his piece by wondering, "Why?"

I believe the new Heidegger revelations may shed some light on that question. It’s always been controversial to discuss Arendt’s lifelong romantic infatuation with the Nazi-sympathizing professor and how it might have shaped her intellectual positions. Arendt’s defenders dismiss these as "tabloid" concerns, irrelevant to the purported transcendental purity of her thought.

But leaving Heidegger out of the equation is becoming ever more difficult. Not only did Arendt have an affair with him when she was an 18-year-old student about half his age, before Hitler took over, but despite his public exaltation of the Fuhrer, despite his firing Jews once he became rector of Freiburg University. We now know that she later resumed some kind of warm relationship with the brownshirt philosopher (yes, it turns out he often wore one to his lectures). Arendt helped usher Heidegger back into the intellectual version of polite society, indeed assisted in preventing his ostracism as a Hitlerite, at least by those who considered his notoriously opaque use of philosophical language to offer something of value beneath it—apart from further opacity.

The new Heidegger material offers further evidence of his slavish devotion to the Fuhrer, not merely in his public speeches but also in his desire to find a philosophical grounding for Hitlerism in the elevated realms of his thought.

Consider this quotation from a delightfully acerbic review essay by Carlin Romano in the Oct. 18 Chronicle of Higher Education,which discusses new revelations about Heidegger’s shameless adoption of Nazism.

Next month Yale University Press will issue an English-language translation of Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism Into Philosophy, by Emmanuel Faye, an associate professor at the University of Paris at Nanterre. It’s the latest, most comprehensive archival assault on the ostensibly magisterial thinker who informed Freiburg students in his infamous 1933 rectoral address of Nazism’s "inner truth and greatness," declaring that "the Führer, and he alone, is the present and future of German reality, and its law."

Faye, whose book stirred France’s red and blue Heidegger départements into direct battle a few years back, follows in the investigative footsteps of Chilean-Jewish philosopher Victor Farias (Heidegger et le Nazisme, 1987), historian Hugo Ott (Martin Heidegger: Unterwegs zu Zeiner Biographie, 1988) and others. Aim? To expose the oafish metaphysician’s vulgar, often vicious 1930s attempt to become Hitler’s chief academic tribune, and his post-World War II contortions to escape proper judgment for his sins. "We now know," reports Faye, "that [Heidegger's] attempt at self-justification of 1945 is nothing but a string of falsehoods."

Romano’s Chronicle piece generated an often-furious comments thread, a spectacle of postmodernists in temper tantrum mode.

I can understand the splenetic attacks on Romano for not taking Heidegger seriously, although the angry Heideggerian academics never explained exactly why we should.

In general, I’m in favor of separating the man (or woman) from the work, but it was Heidegger himself, his defenders don’t seem to recognize, who claimed Nazism for his own. He didn’t make the separation between man and philosophy that they conveniently claim to excuse his personal racism.

The debate about Heidegger reminded me of a conversation I had with philosopher Berel Lang on "the evolution of evil," an exchange I wrote about in Explaining Hitler. We discussed whether Hitler represented a new depth of evil and what the next step down into the abyss might be. Were there degrees of evil—that led to Hitler? And would Hitler lead to degrees of evil beyond his own? I had suggested Holocaust denial was such a next step, in the sense that it added insult to injury, but Lang disagreed, arguing that Heidegger’s postwar silence on Nazism exemplified the next step in the evolution of evil. After the war, this purportedly great and comprehensive philosopher never published anything that addressed the fact of the Holocaust that his party perpetrated. It just didn’t impinge on his worldview. He had time to write polemics against mechanized agriculture but not industrialized murder. Lang thought Heidegger’s indifference was a whole new kind of evil. (He even wrote a book called Heidegger’s Silence.)

Which brings us back to Arendt again. As the extent of Heidegger’s enthusiastic embrace of Nazism becomes more apparent, and as it becomes ever clearer that the allegiance was not merely opportunistic and careerist but derived from a philosophical affinity with his Fuhrer’s effusions, it becomes impossible not to reexamine certain questions. Such as: How much did Arendt know about the depth of Heidegger’s allegiance? Did Heidegger lie to her? Did she believe him the way she believed Eichmann? Did she assume his complicity with the genocidaires was something careerist and banal? Or worse, did she know? And did she disingenuously (or self-deceptively) construct her false banal Eichmann from her false banal Heidegger?

Writer Paul Roazen once speculated on this question:

If Eichmann was simply following orders, and his conduct was certifiably normal within the context of Nazi Germany, her own defense of Heidegger can reflect the way a social thinker such as herself might be conditioned by circumstances and advantage to curry favor in the midst of the most vile forms of evil. Having as a Jew escaped from Germany in 1933, Arendt remained for the rest of her life loyal to the whole philosophic tradition that had helped lead to Hitlerism. …

It may forever remain a mystery, even more so now. Wasserstein believes she internalized anti-Semitic literature; I would perhaps modify this to say she internalized the purported universalism of Germanic high culture with its disdain for parochialism. A parochialism she identified with, in her own case, her Jewishness, something she felt ashamed of on intellectual grounds, so primitive, this tribal allegiance in the presence of intellects who supposedly transcended tribalism (or at least all tribes except the Teutonic).

One can still hear this Arendtian shame about ethnicity these days. So parochial! One can hear the echo of Arendt’s fear of being judged as "merely Jewish" in some, not all, of those Jews so eager to dissociate themselves from the parochial concerns of other Jews for Israel. The desire for universalist approval makes them so disdainful of any "ethnic" fellow feeling. After all, to such unfettered spirits, it’s so banal.

Voir également:

A Conscious Pariah

Raul Hilberg, the first historian to document the banality of Nazi evil, nursed a lifelong grudge against the woman who borrowed from and popularized his work, Hannah Arendt.

Nathaniel Popper

The Nation

April 19, 2010

Raul Hilberg was known for cultivating enemies. During faculty meetings at the University of Vermont, where he was a professor of political science from 1956 to 1991, the renowned historian of the Holocaust would unfailingly denounce the consensus position, whether it concerned faculty appointments or vacation policy. "He was an intensely stubborn and contrary person," one of his old colleagues told me. In The Politics of Memory, an autobiography published in 1996, Hilberg dedicated a chapter to attacking fellow historians whose work he considered derivative or misguided. Among those admonished was Lucy Dawidowicz, a popular Holocaust scholar and author of the emotional bestseller The War Against the Jews (1975); Dawidowicz provided "vaguely consoling words" that "could easily be clutched by all those who did not wish to look deeper," Hilberg complained.

But no one who wrote about the Holocaust nettled Hilberg more than Hannah Arendt. Hilberg’s anger toward the German refugee and New York intellectual erupted with the publication of Eichmann in Jerusalem, in which Arendt told the tale of Adolf Eichmann, the man responsible for implementing the Final Solution, against the backdrop of his trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. (Eichmann was captured by Mossad agents in Argentina in May 1960. His trial in Jerusalem began in April 1961, and he was executed in May 1962.) Arendt’s study was serialized in five installments in The New Yorker in the spring of 1963 and then quickly published in book form in May of that year by Viking Press with its now infamous subtitle, "A Report on the Banality of Evil." The work has attained a mythic status. Penguin publishes it in two inexpensive paperback editions–one a "Penguin Classics" and the other a "Great Ideas" version that, with its matte blue-and-white cover, is attractively designed for display next to cash registers as an impulse buy.

Hilberg died in 2007, and among the private papers he left to the University of Vermont library is a box stuffed with materials about his scholarly antagonists. Folders filled with Arendt clippings occupy half of the tightly jammed container. There is also a brown accordion folder holding two crisp copies of each of the five issues of The New Yorker in which Arendt’s study of Eichmann was serialized. Hilberg was obsessed with Arendt’s dispatches because two years before their appearance, with the Eichmann trial under way, he had published his own magnum opus, The Destruction of the European Jews, a multivolume work that is still widely considered in scholarly circles to be the first great history of the Holocaust and the cornerstone of Holocaust studies. "No other book will ever be, by my hand, annotated to such a degree," Claude Lanzmann remarked in 1993, eight years after the release of his epic film Shoah. "A beacon of a book, a breakwater of a book, a ship of history anchored in time and in a sense beyond time, undying, unforgettable, to which nothing in the course of ordinary historical production can be compared." (Hilberg is the only historian to appear in Shoah, which documents victims’ and perpetrators’ direct experiences of the Holocaust.)

As Hilberg read Arendt’s articles about Eichmann, he noticed a number of striking similarities to his own research. He tallied them on an accounting spreadsheet stored in the accordion folder with the New Yorker issues. At the bottom of the spreadsheet he divided the instances into "cert." and "prob." and penciled hash marks next to each category. Among the flagged passages is Arendt’s account of the plight of Bernard Lichtenberg, a Catholic priest in Berlin who was condemned to a concentration camp after speaking out against the deportation of the Jews. Hilberg noted the page on which Arendt’s version appeared and next to it wrote, in red ink, "verbatim."

Hilberg had discovered Lichtenberg’s story in Nazi foreign office files, and he recounted it in his book in what were, for him, unusually emotional terms: "Dompropst Bernard Lichtenberg of St. Hedwig’s Cathedral in Berlin, dared to pray openly for the Jews, including those who were baptized and those who were unbaptized." Arendt told Lichtenberg’s tale in the third New Yorker installment as a parenthetical aside in the story of a deported minister: "A similar fate befell the Catholic Dompropst Bernard Lichtenberg, of St. Hedwig’s Cathedral, in Berlin." Lichtenberg, Arendt wrote, "had dared to pray publicly for all Jews, baptized or not." In his book Hilberg footnoted the document from which he drew the anecdote; in The New Yorker Arendt gave no indication of her source–one of many similar instances.

In Eichmann in Jerusalem Arendt was a little more forthcoming about her debt to Hilberg. The book includes a note on sources in which she describes The Destruction of the European Jews as "the most exhaustive and the most soundly documented account of the Third Reich’s Jewish policies." There are five quotes in the book followed by a discreet "(Hilberg)," including a few she had not sourced to him in the New Yorker series. Still, many facts reported by Hilberg that appeared without attribution in Arendt’s magazine pieces remained uncredited to him in Eichmann.

Hilberg stopped documenting Arendt’s borrowings on his spreadsheet after he read the third installment, but "verbatim" was not his last word about the series. Years later, in a letter also found among his papers, he explained to one of Arendt’s biographers, Elzbieta Ettinger, that he had "noticed what she had done as soon as I read the installments in the New Yorker." He continued, "A lawyer of my publisher at the time asked me to draw up a list of items she had lifted. I found about eighty, but he also said that I would have to prove that she could not have obtained the information anywhere else. That proof I could not supply, except in such instances as an error of spelling that she had copied." In The Politics of Memory, Hilberg dedicated a few pages to Arendt and obliquely mentioned that others had commented on her mostly invisible reliance on his research; he also averred that her work "consisted only of unoriginal essays on anti-Semitism, imperialism, and general topics associated with totalitarianism." Despite his derision, Hilberg declined to publicly air his grievances. As a result, the scale of Arendt’s debt to him has remained largely unknown.

Hilberg’s indignation, as well as his decision to hold his fire, testify to the complex psychology of a Jewish man whose life had been threatened by the rise of Nazi terror but who managed to escape Europe and the Holocaust and lived thereafter with the resulting burden of guilt and luck. Arendt took a similar path out of Europe and carried much of the same emotional shrapnel. Hilberg and Arendt never met, in part because of his lingering bitterness toward her, but the strands of his research that she wove into her writing are only the most telling instances of the profound ways in which the two thinkers’ lives and ideas were intertwined. Both studied the problem of political evil in the twentieth century–Hilberg its social machinery in Nazi Germany, Arendt its origins in political systems like totalitarianism–and wrestled with the dilemma of the Jew in the twentieth century. Perhaps most important, at the core of their books about the Holocaust is a deep disappointment over the lack of Jewish resistance to the Nazis. After the war, both Hilberg and Arendt fashioned themselves as defiantly strong Jews, in contrast with their vision of the weak Jews they had left behind, and yet both remained fascinated by the story of those who were killed.

Raul Hilberg was born in Vienna in 1926, the only child of a cold, stolid mother and a quiet, proud father, whom Hilberg pitied and revered. In his youth Raul was a loner who took up solitary pursuits like geography, music and train spotting. His parents occasionally attended synagogue, but Hilberg was repelled by the irrationality of religion: "Already I was contrary-minded, turning away from religion, which at first became irrelevant to me and then an allergy," he recalled in his autobiography.

After Hitler marched into Vienna during the Anschluss, the Hilbergs were forced out of their apartment at gunpoint. Hilberg’s father’s spirit was broken after he was jailed; he told his son, "Hitler will put us to the wall." The family set off on a mad dash out of Europe, which ended a year later when they settled in Brooklyn after stopovers in France and Cuba. In 1944 Hilberg enlisted in the Army and ended up serving in a unit that swept through Germany as it was liberated; at one point Hilberg was in the Nazi headquarters in Munich and stumbled across portions of Hitler’s private library. Even before he was stationed in Europe, Hilberg had followed the scattered reports telling of the incipient genocide; in 1942 he made contact with an organization that asked him to call Stephen Wise, a leading rabbi in New York City. "What are you going to do about the complete annihilation of European Jewry?" Hilberg asked. Wise, Hilberg later remembered, hung up.

After the war, as a student first at Brooklyn College and then at Columbia, Hilberg was quickly drawn to the academic study of the fate he had escaped in Europe but that many of his relatives had not. "Briefly I weighed the possibility of writing a dissertation about an aspect of war crimes, and then I woke up," he explained in his autobiography. "It was the evidence that I wanted. My subject would be the destruction of the European Jews." He was soon spending long hours in a torpedo factory in Virginia that had been transformed into a repository for countless boxes of captured Nazi archives. Hilberg’s decision to study this material was not considered a professionally prudent one at the time, which may seem odd in the current era of Holocaust movies and proliferating Holocaust studies departments. But in the late 1940s and ’50s, the genocide of the Jews was a subject ignored in academic circles. History books of the era focused on the cult of Hitler and the Nazi terror but generally did not identify the slaughter of the Jews as a central part of the story of World War II. In the United States, the first college-level course dedicated to the subject of the Holocaust was taught in 1974–by Raul Hilberg. More than twenty years earlier, when Franz Neumann, Hilberg’s adviser at Columbia, learned of his dissertation topic, he quipped, "It’s your funeral."

Hilberg’s study opens with a bold statement: "Lest one be misled by the word ‘Jews’ in the title, let it be pointed out that this is not a book about the Jews. It is a book about the people who destroyed the Jews." Hilberg toiled for nearly a decade in the archives of the Nuremberg trials and other collections of recovered German documents. During his last lecture, which he delivered in Vermont just a few months before his death, he recalled the void that engulfed him at the outset of his research. "I was transported into a world for which I was totally unprepared," he explained in his dry, austere manner. "I would read a document, but I would not understand what it meant. The context had to be built record by record."

In Hilberg’s telling, the murder of the Jews was not a product simply of Hitler’s anti-Semitic rage (as Dawidowicz would later argue), nor was it preordained the moment the Nazi Party coalesced or even by the terror of Kristallnacht. "The destruction of the Jews was an administrative process, and the annihilation of Jewry required the implementation of systematic administrative measures in successive steps." Hilberg presented a staggering picture of the bureaucratic machinery of extermination, which developed slowly over time and inundated every sector of German society–not just the Einsatzgruppen and the SS but also the finance ministry, foreign office and railways; everyone knew what was happening, and everyone cooperated.

Hilberg defended his dissertation in 1955 and submitted it to prominent publishing houses. It was roundly rejected until 1961, when a young press in Chicago, Quadrangle Books, decided to publish the work, printing it in double columns on cheap paper. From there, the massive tome began quietly and slowly to win over admirers. In a glowing review in Commentary, the British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper wrote that Hilberg’s book was "not yet another chronicle of horrors. It is a careful, analytic, three-dimensional study of a social and political experience unique in history: an experience which no one could believe possible till it happened and whose real significance still bewilders us." Michael Marrus, the foremost historiographer of the Holocaust, says that it is now generally agreed that before Hilberg "there was not a subject. No panoramic, European-wide sense of what had happened. That’s what Hilberg provided."

In Vermont, Hilberg embraced the role of the lordly European intellectual: he was a distant and often haughty scholar who favored somber, elegant suits and gave few indications of his personal entanglement with his research. On campus, he was revered for his courses and books (altogether he wrote and edited seven volumes concerning the Holocaust). I was told by Richard Sugarman, a philosophy professor at the University of Vermont who grew close to Hilberg, that "The phrase ‘spellbinding lecturer’ doesn’t do justice to him. Was it a little intimidating talking to him? Sure. He was not a recycled soul–he was an original."

Beyond the mountains of Vermont, however, Hilberg’s achievements were generally unknown outside the scholarly community. The Destruction of the European Jews is scarcely mentioned in Peter Novick’s acclaimed The Holocaust in American Life (1999), which chronicles the rise of Holocaust consciousness. For Novick it was not Hilberg but the Eichmann trial and Arendt’s reporting on it that "effectively broke fifteen years of near silence." After the trial, Novick writes, "there emerged in American culture a distinct thing called ‘the Holocaust’–an event in its own right, not simply a subdivision of general Nazi barbarism."

Hannah Arendt was born twenty years before Raul Hilberg, in 1906, the only child of a middle-class European Jewish family. She grew up mostly in Königsberg, and Judaism was not an integral part of her daily life; religious observance was minimal, and anti-Semitic incidents were only an occasional irritant. According to Elisabeth Young-Bruehl’s sensitive biography, Hannah Arendt: For the Love of the World, Arendt was a moody young woman, particularly after her father died in 1913. She was drawn to books early on, and Goethe was the touchstone of her education. This led her eventually to the universities in Marburg and Heidelberg, where she studied philosophy with Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger.

Arendt is now popularly thought of as a nondenominational political theorist. But during the Nazi rise to power, she dedicated herself to Zionist relief organizations trying to help Jews flee Europe. Like Hilberg, an arrest awakened her to the severity of the Nazi regime: in 1933 she was apprehended for collecting documents for a Zionist organization. Also like Hilberg, Arendt directed her fear and anger at the quiescence of those around her. In 1936, when she attended the founding conference of the World Jewish Congress in Geneva, she wrote to her future husband, Heinrich Blücher, that "the Polish Jews will stop our mouths just as the German Jews did three years ago. And in the end we’ll all go to hell." She worked with relief groups while planning her own escape from Germany; she reached New York City in 1941 and was soon writing for a number of Jewish publications. In an essay published in the New York German-Jewish newspaper Aufbau, she urged, "We can do battle against antisemitism only if we battle Hitler with weapons in our hands."

After the war, Arendt’s activism waned as she grew intellectually fascinated with how the Nazis had managed to carry out the Final Solution. An early indication of her interest was a review she wrote for Commentary in 1952 of Léon Poliakov’s Bréviaire de la Haine: Le IIIe Reich et les Juifs (Breviary of Hate: The Third Reich and the Jews), which is generally recognized as one of two minor volumes on the Holocaust published before Hilberg’s landmark work. Arendt concluded the piece by underscoring the paucity of writing on the subject: "Research into Nazism, therefore, so frequently minimized today as ‘mere’ history, is indispensable for our understanding of the problems of the present and the immediate future." For Arendt, covering the Eichmann trial was the perfect opportunity to explore those problems by delving into the psyche of the perpetrators, who intrigued her much more than the victims. As Arendt later told Samuel Grafton, a journalist commissioned by Look in the fall of 1963 to write an article about her account of Eichmann’s trial and the controversy it sparked, "I wanted to see one of the chief culprits with my own eyes as he appeared in the flesh. When, many years ago, I described the totalitarian system and analyzed the totalitarian mentality [in her study of Nazism and Stalinism, The Origins of Totalitarianism], it was always a ‘type,’ rather than individuals."

Arendt spent weeks in Jerusalem observing the trial, and she left convinced that Eichmann was not a figure of great evil but rather an oddly cheerful, pathetic man whose desire for personal advancement meshed tightly with the gears of the totalitarian machine. In The New Yorker, she was critical of the Israeli prosecution and faulted the lead prosecutor for wanting "to try the most abnormal monster the world had ever seen." Unlike the prosecutor, Arendt saw Eichmann not as a monster but a bureaucrat. "The trouble with Eichmann," she said, "was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal."

It is often forgotten that Arendt folded Eichmann’s story into a more general account of the Holocaust–the table of contents of Eichmann in Jerusalem resembles a timeline of the event–and that this broader context introduced innumerable readers to the idea of the Holocaust. Arendt does not appear to have done research in archives with German documents, and given how little had been written on the subject she had few options when she looked for published sources of background material. There was, of course, one source that contained it all: The Destruction of the European Jews.

Arendt’s papers show that she had a complicated relationship with Hilberg’s work even before she began writing about Eichmann. When she returned to New York from Jerusalem, in August 1961, there was a letter from Quadrangle Books offering a special discount on The Destruction of the European Jews. In the copy of the letter in Arendt’s files, Quadrangle’s president, Melvin Brisk, promised that Hilberg’s book would provide a very different picture of Eichmann than the Israeli prosecution had in Jerusalem. "Hilberg shows that Eichmann was a bureaucrat worrying about a thousand details rather than a master planner." Brisk explained, "We make this offer (good only until September 30th) because the Eichmann trial–which is still under way as I write this letter–makes the book doubly important in explaining what happened and why." Arendt replied on August 7, enclosing a check for $14.95.

Brisk’s sales pitch was not Arendt’s first exposure to Hilberg’s book. Two years earlier, Arendt had been asked by Princeton University Press to review the manuscript of The Destruction of the European Jews; she advised Princeton not to publish it. In a letter in her archives dated April 1959, which Hilberg himself discovered, Princeton editor Gordon Hubel thanked Arendt for her "invaluable assistance" and tried to assuage any guilt she might have felt about her decision: "after we had rejected this manuscript," Hubel confided, "we learned from Hilberg that he has $10,000 in financial backing toward the publication of this study, so I do not feel that our declining was in any way fatal to its eventual publication." (In the end, a $15,000 donation financed the book’s publication by Quadrangle.)

Arendt’s evaluation of Hilberg’s manuscript is not among her papers. A plausible explanation of why she advised against its publication appears in a 1963 letter she wrote to the German publisher of Eichmann in Jerusalem. In it, she says that Hilberg "worked for 15 years only with the sources and if he had not written a very terrible first chapter, in which he did not understand much about German history, the book would be, so to speak, perfect. No one will be able to write about the topic without using it." Arendt reiterated the point the following year in a letter to Karl Jaspers, offering that Hilberg’s book "is really excellent, but only because it is a simple report." In his first chapter, Hilberg provides a brief timeline of anti-Semitism in Europe that begins with the Roman Empire under Constantine and ends with the Holocaust. Hilberg’s long view of history clashed with Arendt’s strong belief that the Holocaust was something entirely new–a product of modern society and the totalitarian system.

But while Arendt belittled some of its conclusions, she clearly recognized what a gold mine the book contained. Her reliance on Hilberg was apparent to Hugh Trevor-Roper, who reviewed Eichmann in Jerusalem in the Sunday Times two years after reviewing The Destruction of the European Jews in Commentary. Trevor-Roper postulated that, except for the trial, Hilberg’s "masterly study" was Arendt’s main source. "She acknowledges her debt," Trevor-Roper wrote, "but the full extent of that debt can be appreciated only by those who have read both. Again and again the arguments, the very phrases, are unconsciously repeated." Trevor-Roper’s review was largely forgotten, as was his conclusion that "indeed, behind the whole of Miss Arendt’s book stands the overshadowing bulk of Mr. Hilberg’s."

Despite her opinion that Hilberg’s study was a "simple report," Arendt does acknowledge its quotidian perfection at one point in her book–though, tellingly, in a parenthetical–when describing the arduous task faced by Eichmann’s Israeli prosecutors. "The prosecution, it must be admitted, was in a most difficult position in finding its way through this labyrinth of parallel institutions, which it had to do each time it wanted to pin some specific responsibility on Eichmann," she explained, before discreetly adding: "(If the trial were to take place today, this task would be much easier, since Raul Hilberg in his The Destruction of the European Jews has succeeded in presenting the first clear description of this incredibly complicated machinery of destruction.)"

Like The Destruction of the European Jews, Eichmann in Jerusalem is mostly about the perpetrators. When Arendt does focus on the Jews, her concern is not isolated episodes of heroic resistance or the immense scale of human suffering but rather the Judenräte, the Jewish councils in Nazi-controlled Europe. It was an important matter to investigate. The councils were Jewish municipal administrations that provided basic services to ghettoized Jews and enforced Nazi orders and regulations, including compiling names of Jews for deportation. For Arendt the councils were a big moral question mark. She describes them as frequently willing and self-serving collaborators in helping the Nazis execute the Final Solution. In lines that have been repeated countless times since, she writes, "To a Jew this role of the Jewish leaders in the destruction of their own people is undoubtedly the darkest chapter of the whole dark story." The cooperation of Jewish leaders, she continues, "had been known about before, but it has now been exposed for the first time in all its pathetic and sordid detail by Raul Hilberg."

After this broad acknowledgment, Arendt peppers her account of the Judenräte with mostly unattributed quotations from German documents quoted in Hilberg’s book. Her most infamous act of blind borrowing is her provocative, offhand reference to "Dr. Leo Baeck, Chief Rabbi of Berlin, who in the eyes of both Jews and Gentiles was the ‘Jewish Führer.'" Jacob Robinson, who was an assistant to the chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, wrote a book attacking Arendt’s portrayal of Eichmann in which he zeroed in on the Baeck statement and identified its likely source. Robinson hypothesized that the source "is probably Hilberg, who was careful to note that the expression ‘Jewish Führer’ applied to Baeck was a casual remark by Eichmann’s assistant, Dieter Wisliceny; it was left to Miss Arendt to ascribe the use of the epithet to ‘Jews and Gentiles’ in general."

Certainly Arendt’s ideas about Eichmann and his "banality" were kindling for a fire. But it was the material she drew from 
Hilberg on the Jewish councils–less than twenty of the nearly 300 pages of her book–that ignited the furor. The implication of her account was that whereas Nazis like Eichmann were merely banal bureaucrats, Jews had experienced a moral collapse during the war by failing to resist totalitarianism. The Anti-Defamation League distributed a letter urging local offices to denounce her, the World Jewish Congress released a pamphlet about the book and multiple Jewish organizations hired researchers to find errors in it. Nearly every Jewish publication in America ran articles attacking her views. Arendt’s old friend Gershom Scholem broke with her and wrote a public letter in which he questioned her portrayal of the Jews: "In your treatment of the problem of how the Jews reacted to these extreme circumstances–to which neither of us was exposed–I detect, often enough, in place of balanced judgment, a kind of demagogic will-to-overstatement." Scholem could have been describing Hilberg’s account of the Jewish councils–which is not surprising, given that Hilberg was Arendt’s source. In fact, Hilberg’s fastidiousness regarding the Baeck incident was an exception: he was generally indifferent, sometimes archly so, to the dilemmas faced by Jews in the ghettos. At one point he concludes that "Jews tried to avert disaster: by judicious compliance with orders, and sometimes by anticipatory compliance with orders not yet issued," such as the forced labor program that the Jewish council in the Warsaw ghetto had set up. Where Arendt surpassed Hilberg was in the words of moral opprobrium she flung at several Jewish leaders.

As the negative reviews of Eichmann in Jerusalem poured in, Arendt wrote to Mary McCarthy: "One can say that the mob–intellectual or otherwise–has been successfully mobilized." Arendt alleged in another letter, to a reader, that she was an innocent bystander who had been made a scapegoat. But she also recognized that the cause of the furor was her use of Hilberg’s Judenräte material. "That I am now in the center of this campaign is almost an accident. Ever since the publication of Hilberg’s book, those organizations have been worrying about what to do," she wrote in response to a particularly vicious review of her work by Lionel Abel in the Summer 1963 issue of Partisan Review.

Arendt was not happy. She felt her ideas were being trampled by the uproar over Eichmann in Jerusalem. She was not without justification. Samuel Grafton noted in the draft of his Look article that "according to Viking Press, the book has sold only about 10,000 copies, an extremely small number for a work about which so much has been said. Many who are discussing it have not read it; in a sense the controversy has floated loose from the book, and become a phenomenon in its own right." As Grafton’s son, the historian Anthony Grafton, explains in his essay "Arendt and Eichmann at the Dinner Table," Look ended up killing his father’s article because as the contretemps heated up, Arendt grew irritable and stopped cooperating.

Hilberg was not happy either. After toiling for thirteen years on his book, he was being eclipsed by someone who had worked for little more than two years on hers. "Who was I, after all?" Hilberg asked bitterly in his autobiography. "She, the thinker, and I, the laborer who wrote only a simple report, albeit one which was indispensable once she had exploited it." The situation was made clear in a letter that Siegfried Moses, the head of the Council of Jews from Germany, wrote to Arendt that spring. "I came to New York with the draft of a statement which was to be published by the Council of Jews from Germany. It was to attack the presentation given in Hilberg’s book." But, Moses added, "Now, the defense of the council must oppose primarily your articles." In his autobiography, Hilberg was emphatic in pointing out the differences between his and Arendt’s arguments. He noted that whereas Arendt’s analysis of Jewish leadership was restricted to the Judenräte, in The Destruction of the European Jews he had written that the Jews had a centuries-old tradition of saving themselves by complying with violent, anti-Semitic rulers–a precedent that collided with the unprecedented brutality of the Nazis.

But just as Arendt did not give Hilberg the full credit he was due, Hilberg did not properly acknowledge her insights. In writing about Eichmann, she had proposed a bold new way of describing how ordinary Germans had been drawn into the machinery of destruction–a discussion that Hilberg had avoided. On a more immediate level, Arendt, despite having taken liberties with some of Hilberg’s facts, had nevertheless acted as a popular interpreter of his research–providing visibility for a book that could easily have fallen down an academic mine shaft. In the process, this kick-started the rise of the study of the Holocaust.

There is no better testament to the cross-pollination of their ideas than the career of Christopher Browning, author of Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland and one of the world’s most respected Holocaust scholars. Browning became interested in the Holocaust in the late ’60s when he was an activist against the Vietnam War. Like so many students at the time, he turned to Eichmann in Jerusalem in the hopes of understanding how governments are drawn into planning death and destruction. After noticing Arendt’s few references to Hilberg, Browning bought a copy of The Destruction of the European Jews. He read it during a long convalescence from mononucleosis, and it changed his life. "Some people have religious conversion experiences," Browning said at a memorial service for Hilberg; "upon reading Hilberg I had a life-changing academic conversion experience." Browning had been working toward a master’s in French history but then decided to write a dissertation on an aspect of Hilberg’s research. "Hilberg became visible to me by virtue of Arendt," Browning told me. "For most people it was an entirely negative connection–but for me, it turned out to be entirely positive."

Another kink in the story is that the claim on which Hilberg and Arendt had staked so much–Jewish compliance during the war–is considered, even by their admirers, to be the blind spot of their oeuvres. Young-Bruehl writes in her biography that Arendt’s knowledge of the Holocaust-era ghettos "was not always extensive enough to support her generalizations." Amos Elon, in the introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of Eichmann in Jerusalem, says Arendt "was inexcusably flippant." Hilberg, of course, was a meticulous researcher, yet the passages about the Jewish councils in The Destruction of the European Jews have a very different feel from the rest of the book. Whereas the book is generally heavily footnoted, these pages have long runs of clean or lightly footnoted discursive prose. Had Hilberg strayed from the facts? Michael Marrus, who has written critically about Arendt’s and Hilberg’s accounts of the Judenräte, says that while many Jewish historians have erred "too much on the side of heroism and resistance," Hilberg "was way off on the other side of the spectrum. His views about the Jews are sometimes almost caricatural." Browning agrees, and adds that Hilberg had an ornery attachment to these passages: "That’s the one chapter he would never change. He had a stubborn streak."

Hilberg and Arendt may have clung to these heretical positions because their exodus from Europe left them with similarly tortured perspectives on the Jews they had left behind. Both writers were steeped in German-Jewish culture, which had long disdained the less cultured Jews in Eastern Europe. Complicating matters was that it was Eastern Jews who had been overwhelmingly slaughtered. Arendt’s criticism of the Israeli prosecution in Eichmann’s trial was spiced by her distaste for what she saw as the Israeli muddle of Middle Eastern and Eastern European Jews. Her most famous relationship was with Heidegger, the philosopher and Nazi Party member, and her husband, Blücher, was a German gentile. In a similar pattern, Hilberg endlessly criticized Jewish scholars while heaping praise on German scholars who were studying the same material.

More personally and concretely, though, the works of Hilberg and Arendt were colored by their experiences as young secular Jews influenced by Zionism. Arendt’s Zionist work–before and immediately after the war–is well-known. Hilberg’s Zionist background, on the other hand, has generally gone unrecognized. In his autobiography, he says little about his engagement with the Jewish community in Vienna. But his best friend from his youth, Eric Marder, recalls that both boys had gone to a Zionist school in Vienna, which taught them the need for Jews to build a home of their own and to defend themselves. The lessons stuck, says Marder, who left Vienna shortly after Hilberg’s family. Marder also ended up in Brooklyn, and he recalls that when he and Hilberg were in high school, they would walk home and talk about what was happening in Europe. "We both felt that politically the Jewish community in Europe had behaved badly. Instead of fighting the Nazis, they had surrendered to them."

At the time that Hilberg and Marder were having those conversations, Arendt was expressing similar disappointment about the apparent unwillingness of the Jews to stand up for themselves. During the war, Arendt wrote a series of articles for Jewish newspapers in the United States calling for Jews to form an army to fight back. In time, though, her writing reflected a growing, almost shamefaced recognition that the Jews would go down meekly. In 1944, in the article "From Army to Brigade," she spoke of the "unbearable humiliation of the Jewish people, who felt that the whole world had damned them to the degrading role of victimhood."

Later on, both thinkers wanted to be seen as clear-eyed observers, unsullied by any attachment to the material they were studying–hence Hilberg’s stance as a disinterested scholar. "He wasn’t going to let somebody else define him–as a victim or a persecuted Jew," Browning told me. "He just didn’t want to go there." After the publication of Eichmann in Jerusalem, Gershom Scholem wrote to Arendt that she showed "little trace" of "Ahabath Israel: ‘Love of the Jewish people.'" She eagerly accepted his assessment: "I do not ‘love’ the Jews, nor do I ‘believe’ in them; I merely belong to them as a matter of course, beyond dispute or argument." She had criticized Hilberg’s work by labeling it a "simple report," but when she was attacked for being a self-hating Jew she used the label as a shield. "My position is that I wrote a report and that I am not in politics, either Jewish or otherwise," she explained to Mary McCarthy in September 1963. "In other words my point would be that what the whole furor is about are facts and neither theories nor ideas." She argued that she did not view the Jews any differently from any of the other people of Europe.

But it is hard not to see the youthful anger of both Hilberg and Arendt–the expression of an inchoate Zionist zeal–occasionally ruffling their more sober later writing. Scholem perceptively pointed to something very personal in Arendt’s work. In his letter, he told her, "Your book speaks only of the weakness of the Jewish stance in the world. I am ready enough to admit that weakness; but you put such emphasis upon it that, in my view, your account ceases to be objective and acquires overtones of malice." With Hilberg, such overtones are evident when he describes innocent Jewish families going to their death: "During ghetto-clearing operations many Jewish families were unable to fight, unable to petition, unable to flee, and also unable to move to the concentration point to get it over with. They waited for the raiding parties in their homes, frozen and helpless." The writing in the works of both thinkers rings with an almost visceral desire to distance themselves from the weak Jews that they imagined they had left behind, and from whom they had hoped for so much more during the war. Young-Bruehl says that in her life as well as her thinking, Arendt "took the position that I am not a victim here–I am a resistant." But the outwardly sober and unemotional Hilberg was occasionally agitated by a resistant nerve. Yehuda Bauer, the eminent Israeli Holocaust scholar, recalls a moment when he was giving a lecture with Hilberg before a college class in Boston during the ’70s. Bauer spoke about Jewish resistance to the Nazis; Hilberg began his rejoinder on a characteristically dry note before suddenly losing his temper. "He yelled at those students and he said, ‘How many of you have guns in your home?'" Bauer remembers. "I said to him, ‘You think there will be Nazis in Boston?’ But he wasn’t talking to the students–he was talking to the Jews in Europe. For a moment he forgot himself."

Discouraged by the response to Eichmann in Jerusalem, Arendt mostly stopped writing about Jewish issues. But she did not refrain from criticizing the Jewish world, particularly when it came to the justice of the State of Israel, which she had lost faith in, and American Jews’ stalwart defense of it. This political quarrel, though, obscured Arendt’s complicated understanding of her Jewish identity. It’s worth remembering that her first book was not a political treatise but a sympathetic biography of Rahel Varnhagen, the secular German-Jewish salon hostess who died believing that the great shame of her life, being born a Jew, was also her greatest gift. Similarly, Arendt never stopped feeling connected to her own Jewish heritage, but always on her own terms. Young-Bruehl tells of Arendt’s later years, when "everyone was very interested to observe that she put a great deal of energy into attending Seder with her friends–and the marking of Jewish holidays–in a way that she hadn’t really before."

Professionally, Hilberg followed a different path after writing his great work. He maintained a single-minded commitment to The Destruction of the European Jews, advising translators on new editions right up to his death. He also worked more broadly on spreading a historical understanding of the Holocaust. He was an integral member of the council that oversaw the creation of the US Holocaust Memorial and Museum in Washington, and in letters to fellow council members he regularly warned against allowing the museum to become a community memorial for Jews, one dedicated to the image of the Jewish victim, instead of being a museum that would shed light on the entirety of the Holocaust.

Hilberg, like Arendt, remained largely estranged from collective Jewish life. He continued to live in Vermont, far from Jewish havens like New York City, and was twice married to non-Jews. He avoided synagogue and relished taking positions that antagonized many Jews. For instance, he rallied to the defense of Norman Finkelstein, who was lambasted for his book The Holocaust Industry, which argued that American Jewish institutions have exploited the memory of the Holocaust, turning it into shmaltz for financial and political gain. Peter Novick called Finkelstein’s work "a charge into darkness that sheds no light." Hilberg not only praised Finkelstein’s "analytical abilities" but also noted his strength in defying the establishment. In letters and interviews, Hilberg attacked both the community of Holocaust scholars in the United States and the Jewish organizations that had sprung up to memorialize the Holocaust. What he had warned the Holocaust Memorial council against had come to pass. After drawing such a stark picture of the Jewish collapse in The Destruction of the European Jews, Hilberg was horrified that many American Jews would willingly and eagerly link themselves with the history of victimhood. "Where is our dignity?" he asked an editor at Knopf in 1988.

At the lecture he delivered a few months before he died, a question was put to Hilberg: "Why do you not feel part of your community?" Without missing a beat, he responded, in an even voice, "I don’t feel part of anything. I don’t feel part of the university I’ve been a part of for decades. I don’t feel part of Burlington, where I’ve spent all my years since 1956. I think some of us are just destined to be alone." But Hilberg’s sense of being a man apart concealed the intense tug of war he had with his past. In his later years Hilberg returned to the subject of the Judenräte when he decided to edit the meticulous diaries of Adam Czerniakow, the head of the Jewish council in the Warsaw ghetto. Hilberg’s work on the volume is distinguished by a nuanced sympathy for the impossible situation in which the Jews had found themselves, but most of all for Czerniakow’s strong, silent decision to kill himself in the end rather than betray his principles.

Hilberg’s second wife, Gwendolyn Montgomery, who was born an Episcopalian, converted to Judaism in 1992, twelve years into their marriage. She did so for reasons of her own, without Hilberg’s prodding. She admits to having been surprised when Hilberg began quietly attending synagogue with her soon after her conversion. Hilberg’s friends, too, were surprised to learn that his postmortem arrangements included a request for a memorial service at the Burlington synagogue.

Hilberg had not become religious in any traditional sense. Like Arendt, his relationship with Judaism was very much on his terms. The legacy of Jewish victimhood galled him as much as it did Arendt, but it didn’t stifle his respect for the Jewish conscience. Here it was his turn to borrow from Arendt. Shortly before the end of the war, Arendt wrote an intriguing set of essays about the notion of "the Jew as pariah," in which she identified Sholom Aleichem, Franz Kafka and Henrich Heine as heirs to the greatest Jewish tradition. "It is the tradition of a minority of Jews who have not wanted to become upstarts, who preferred the status of ‘conscious pariah,'" she claimed. "All vaunted Jewish qualities–the ‘Jewish heart,’ humanity, humor, disinterested intelligence–are pariah qualities." In 1965, two years after the appearance of Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hilberg published a little-noticed essay in Midstream magazine in which he described the conditions that had motivated Germans to perpetrate the Holocaust. He then expressed his admiration for the pariahs of his people. "Jews are iconoclasts. They will not worship idols," he wrote. "The Jews are the conscience of the world. They are the father figures, stern, critical, and forbidding." He returned to the subject in his last lecture, in which he explained that despite his expressions of derision, his commitment had been "to my people, whether they want it or not, or like it. You know, I could have written my dissertation on multipartite treaties. I could have been a big shot. No, I wrote the dissertation that everyone without exception who was an adult told me not to write."

This was not a description of the many Jews Hilberg was constantly criticizing but rather an idealized description of the community of Jews he imagined being part of, and people close to him understood as much. In his final months, as he was dying of lung cancer, one of the few people Hilberg wanted to see was Richard Sugarman. Many years earlier, Sugarman, who is an Orthodox Jew, had been walking around campus with a rabbi distributing Passover matzo. Sugarman remembers how the rabbi respectfully left Hilberg alone. "It seems to me that Professor Hilberg has his own avodah," Sugarman recalls the rabbi saying, "his own way of service."

Hannah Arendt » de Margarethe von Trotta

Bernard Marx

Regards

5 mai 2013

« Hannah Arendt » de Margarethe von Trotta

Le dernier film de Margarethe von Trotta, qui est sorti en France le 24 avril, sous le titre « Hannah Arendt » devait s’appeler « La controverse ». C’était un titre réducteur mais significatif. L’ambition de la cinéaste allemande est de montrer tout ensemble la vie et la pensée d’Hannah Arendt. Initialement, elle envisageait de la suivre depuis ses 18 ans, lorsqu’elle commence à suivre les cours des philosophes Husserl, Jaspers et Heidegger et lorsque celui-ci devient son amant, jusqu’à sa mort en 1975. Mais, à trop embrasser, la cinéaste disait ne rien saisir. Le scénario s’est focalisé sur quatre années, de 1960 à 1963, autour du procès d’Adolf Eichmann, du texte qu’Hannah Arendt en tire (« Eichmann à Jérusalem ») et de la violente polémique qu’elle suscite.

On connait l’histoire : Adolf Eichmann qui avait dirigé le bureau des affaires juives de l’office central de sécurité du Reich et organisé les déportations vers Auschwitz avait réussi à fuir en Argentine avec l’aide de la Croix Rouge et de dignitaires du Vatican. En mai 1960 il est capturé par des agents du Mossad et transporté à Jérusalem. Accusé de crimes contre le peuple juif et de crimes contre l’humanité, Il est jugé par un tribunal israélien. Le procès dure 8 mois d’avril à décembre 2011. Condamné à mort Eichmann est pendu le 28 mars 1962.

Femme, juive, allemande, apatride 18 années durant à partir de 1933, de nationalité américaine depuis 1951, penseuse inclassable, Hannah Arendt est en 1960 une professeure de théorie politique réputée. Son travail sur le totalitarisme entrepris de 1945 à 1949 et publié en 1951 aux Etats Unis a une importance considérable, bien que méconnu en France à l’époque, notamment à gauche, car elle compare l’Allemagne d’Hitler et l’URSS de Staline et affirme le caractère totalitaire des deux systèmes.

Elle propose au New Yorker de suivre le procès. « Une obligation qu’elle doit à son passé », « une cure a posteriori ». Son compte rendu parait en 5 articles en 1963 puis dans le livre « Eichmann in Jerusalem » publié peu après. La représentation qu’Hannah Arendt donne d’Eichmann (non pas un monstre, mais un homme au contraire très médiocre, rouage de la machine totalitaire), la thèse de « la banalité du mal » et l’affirmation d’une participation de responsables des communautés juives d’Europe à l’accomplissement du génocide provoquent des réactions d’une rare violence, y compris parmi certains de ses amis.

Filmer la pensée en action

Filmer l’intelligence en action, la pensée en train de produire est une gageure. Margarethe Von Trotta la relève. Son film d’un style très classique est passionnant. Tout n’est pas réussi. Des scènes dans les rues de Jérusalem manquent de vie. Les retours en arrière qui mettent en scène la relation d’Hannah Arendt avec Martin Heidegger n’ont pas de consistance. Mais Barbara Sukowa est remarquable. Margarethe von Trotta et elle font vivre devant nous Hannah Arendt, une femme indépendante, « addicte » à la cigarette, qui pense sans garde-fou et à contre-courant, qui aime son mari Heinrich Blücher et ses ami(e)s et se nourrit de ses échanges avec eux ; une femme qui élabore sa pensée allongée sur un sofa, en voyant Eichmann à Jérusalem, en travaillant d’arrache-pied sur les minutes du procès, qui a le goût de la contradiction et le courage de défendre son travail envers et contre tout ; une femme dont « le stradivarius est l’allemand » et « l’anglais est seulement un second violon », comme le montre tout au long du film un respect remarquable des langues utilisées par les uns avec les autres. La cinéaste choisit de recourir à des images d’archives pour tout ce qui concerne le déroulement du procès. Ni Eichmann ni les témoins ne sont joués. Elle ne recrée la salle d’audience que pour un seul plan. Pour la suite du procès, Hannah restera en salle de presse, assistant aux audiences via un téléviseur. Ces images d’archives sont d’une force terrible. Ainsi pouvons-nous ressentir à bonne distance le choc vécu par Hannah Arendt de voir Eichmann tel qu’il était dans sa cage de verre, plutôt « clown » que « monstre ».

A la fin du film Hannah Arendt s’explique devant un amphithéâtre comble. Cela dure plusieurs minutes. Cela ressemble au plaidoyer final d’un film de procès. La facture est parfois lourde entre les plans qui opposent la masse des étudiants ouverts et reconnaissants à ce que dit Hannah Arendt et les membres du conseil de l’université de Chicago figés dans leur rejet. Mais le texte du discours et l’interprétation de Barbara Sukowa rendent la scène limpide et mémorable.

Comprendre

Aujourd’hui 50 ans après la parution de « Eichmann à Jérusalem, essai sur la banalité du mal », la polémique n’est pas éteinte. Claude Lanzmann achève un film sur Benjamin Murmelstein, le dernier Président du Conseil Juif du ghetto de Theresienstadt, seul "doyen des Juifs" à n’avoir pas été tué durant la guerre. Il sera présenté dans quelques semaines à Cannes en 2013. Il y a un an et demi, en novembre 2011, dans une interview à Marianne, il expliquait le sens de ce projet, et s’en prenait à Hannah Arendt : « Eichmann n’était pas du tout le falot bureaucrate dont Arendt a brossé le portrait en même temps qu’elle inventait le concept de banalité du mal, qui n’était au fond que la banalité de ses propres conclusions… A la demande de Ben Gourion qui souhaitait en faire un acte fondateur pour Israël, Hausner a ouvert le procès par un immense discours moralisateur, insupportable. Cette ouverture a déplu à Arendt. A juste titre. Mais elle-même ne savait rien. C’était une juive allemande exilée qui ignorait tout de la réalité de ces choses et de ces gens… Le président du conseil juif de Varsovie a choisi de se suicider, le 23 juillet 1942, quand il a vu que les déportations vers Treblinka commençaient et qu’il ne pouvait rien y faire… Beaucoup d’autres se sont également suicidés. Vingt-quatre membres du même Conseil juif se sont parfois donné la mort la même nuit. Pourquoi Arendt n’insiste pas plutôt là-dessus ? La première chose face à une catastrophe pareille, c’est l’humilité ». A l’occasion de la sortie du film de Margarethe von Trotta, ces critiques sont reprises quoique formulées de façon moins virulentes, notamment par l’historienne Annette Wieviorka interviewée par la revue « L’Histoire ». Elle conteste également la teneur du film de Margarethe von Trotta : « Hannah Arendt n’est restée à Jérusalem que trois semaines, alors que le procès a duré plusieurs mois…Rien n’atteste qu’elle prit des notes lors du procès… Elle n’a que très peu vu parler l’homme dans la cage de verre… Elle n’est plus à Jérusalem, lorsqu’est évoqué l’épisode de la déportation des juifs hongrois. Le premier témoin est, le 24 mai, Pinhas Freudiger, qui était à la tête de la communauté juive orthodoxe de Budapest. Alors qu’il décrit le passage dans la ville d’un convoi de déportés, un homme se dresse dans la salle et hurle : « Vous nous avez administré des calmants. Vous avez aidé les Allemands. Ma famille a été anéantie. Pas la vôtre ! » Les caméras de Leo Hurwitz saisissent l’expulsion du perturbateur. Margarethe von Trotta intègre cet incident dans son film. Hannah Arendt ne l’a pas vu… »

Bref le travail d’Hannah Arendt, si non la personne qu’elle a été, continue d’être un objet de scandale. Et il porte, en effet, un débat crucial : comprendre ce qui s’est passé. On le doit aux millions de victimes de l’holocauste, comme on le doit aux survivants et aux vivants d’aujourd’hui et de demain. Le récit de l’Holocauste comme celui d’un crime perpétré par des tueurs fous et mauvais et comme un évènement de la seule histoire juive ne le permet pas. Comme l’a écrit le sociologue Zygmunt Bauman, avec un tel récit, « le message de l’holocauste sur la façon dont nous vivons, sur la qualité des institutions auxquelles nous faisons confiance, sur la validité des critères dont nous nous servons pour mesurer la décence de notre conduite et celle des schémas d’interaction que nous acceptons et considérons comme normaux- ce message est réduit au silence, il n’est jamais écouté et transmis » (Modernité et Holocauste. 1989. La fabrique éditions). Hannah Arendt n’a pas à elle seule dit tout ce qui permet de comprendre. Mais elle a dit quelque chose d’essentiel : « Eichmann n’est ni un Iago, ni un Macbeth ; et il ne lui serait jamais venu à l’esprit, comme à Richard III de faire le mal par principe ». Pour autant, « Eichmann n’est pas stupide. C’est la pure absence de pensée-ce qui n’est pas du tout la même chose- qui lui a permis de devenir un des plus grands criminels de son époque …Que l’on puisse être à ce point éloigné de la réalité, à ce point privé de pensée ; que cela puisse faire plus de mal que tous les instincts destructeurs réunis qui sont peut-être inhérents à l’homme. Voilà une des leçons que l’on pouvait tirer du procès de Jérusalem » (Post-scriptum à Eichmann à Jérusalem).

Voir également:

Cinéma – Hannah Arendt, de Margarethe von Trotta

Jérôme SEGAL

Nonfiction

23 avril 2013

Le film biographique – ou "biopic" selon l’anglicisme qui semble s’imposer aujourd’hui – est un genre cinématographique en vogue. Après le Lincoln étonnement peu controversé de Steven Spielberg et le Camille Claudel 1915 de Bruno Dumont (sorti le 13 mars), il y eut encore, dans un tout autre genre, 11.6. de Philippe Godeau, sur une convoyeur braqueur (le 3 avril), et la cuvée 2013 se poursuit avec le film Hannah Arendt, de Margarethe von Trotta. Le biopic est une fiction dont l’enjeu est de coller au plus près de la vie d’un personnage historique. Or, dès lors que ce personnage est une philosophe dont seuls les écrits permettent de saisir l’importance, la réalisation d’un film sur ce personnage pose une véritable question de méthode : il s’agit, ni plus ni moins, de traduire des idées en sons et en images tout en captivant le spectateur pendant près de deux heures.

La réalisatrice septuagénaire, qui avait fait forte impression dès ses débuts en adaptant avec Volker Schlöndorff le roman d’Heinrich Böll, L’Honneur perdu de Katharina Blum, a a effectué un choix déterminant : se concentrer sur la période du début des années 1960, lorsque la philosophe est exilée à New York et se retrouve confrontée au procès Eichmann. Le film débute avec l’arrestation d’Eichmann en mai 1960 et se termine quatre ans plus tard, après la sortie d’un des ouvrages essentiels d’Arendt (et de la philosophie politique du XXe siècle), Eichmann à Jérusalem : rapport sur la banalité du mal (1963). Dans un entretien au quotidien Der Standard, la réalisatrice a expliqué qu’elle comptait au départ relater toute la vie d’Hannah Arendt mais qu’elle s’est rapidement rendu compte que "cela aurait empêché de montrer sa pensée et ses pensées, ce qu’il y a en fait de fascinant chez Arendt". Cette idée se retrouve dans le titre original du film (en allemand), Hannah Arendt – sa pensée changea le monde.

Si ses travaux sur les Origines du totalitarisme (1951) lui avaient déjà servi de viatique dans le monde intellectuel, c’est bien en couvrant le procès Eichmann qu’Hannah Arendt se fait connaître du grand public. Elle propose alors de considérer le criminel nazi Eichmann, non comme un "monstre" déséquilibré et sadique, motivé par la haine, mais plutôt comme un simple bureaucrate carriériste, scrupuleux et soumis à l’autorité – dont la participation à l’extermination des Juifs d’Europe s’expliquerait essentiellement par le fait qu’il était dénué du degré minimal de conscience autonome qui lui aurait permis de s’y soustraire. La réalisatrice a fait le choix d’utiliser les célèbres séquences d’archives du procès et s’en explique : "Je voulais qu’en tant que spectateur on parvienne au même résultat qu’Arendt. Cela ne marche que si l’on considère la vraie personne d’Eichmann, on voit alors la médiocrité de cet homme mais aussi que ce n’était pas un démon". Dans ses articles, la philosophe évoque la "banalité du mal" et s’interroge ouvertement sur le rôle des Judenräte, ces organisations juives, créées à la demande des nazis, destinées à faciliter la "gestion" puis l’extermination des populations juives. On comprend aisément combien les articles d’Arendt ont pu choquer… et demeurent aujourd’hui encore controversés. Elle fut accusée à l’époque d’être "une juive se haïssant elle-même" (self-hating Jew) et cette accusation résonne encore dans d’autres débats (Stéphane Hessel en fut par exemple victime, même si en l’occurrence c’est son père qui était juif).

La plupart des spectateurs découvriront dans le film une Hannah Arendt très vive, douée pour les réparties, et qui, en raison de sa dépendance à la cigarette, suit les débats sur les écrans de la salle de presse afin de pouvoir fumer et taper en même temps à la machine. Cette mise en scène, avec la philosophe à l’extérieur de la salle d’audience, permet à la réalisatrice d’utiliser à loisir les films d’archives sur l’écran de la salle de presse. Admirablement campé par Barbara Sukowa qui avait déjà interprété le rôle-titre du film Rosa Luxemburg (1986), de la même réalisatrice, le personnage d’Hannah Arendt nous donne aussi un aperçu de ses pensées intimes. Allongée sur un sofa en cherchant les formulations qui conviendront le mieux pour décrire le "spécialiste" ou "le criminel moderne" (pour reprendre les termes du titre du film documentaire réalisé par Eyal Sivan et Rony Brauman en 1999), on revit avec elle des scènes du passé, notamment – les connaisseurs les attendront – celles concernant sa relation ambiguë, avant-guerre, avec son mentor, le philosophe Martin Heidegger (qui se compromettra ensuite avec le nazisme).

Contrairement à d’autres films biographiques (comme Le cas Wilhelm Reich, d’Antonin Svoboda, avec Klaus Maria Brandauer, sorti en début d’année dans les pays germanophones), le film de von Trotta respecte scrupuleusement les langues parlées par les figures historiques qu’il met en scène : Hannah parle allemand avec son mari Heinrich Blücher (un autodidacte qu’elle avait épousé lors de son exil en France, en 1940), ou encore avec le philosophe Hans Jonas (qui fait partie des intellectuels allemands installés à New York) ou encore avec Kurt Blumenfeld, son ami et contact essentiel, sur place à Jérusalem, pendant le procès Eichmann. Par contre, lorsqu’elle donne cours à la New School ou lorsqu’elle s’entretient avec la rédaction du New Yorker qui lui confie le reportage, on l’entend parler anglais avec un accent allemand parfait.

Il s’agit donc bien d’un film à ne pas rater, pour lequel la version originale s’impose, mais aussi d’un véritable manifeste pour l’apport des intellectuels d’envergure dans la couverture de procès dont les enjeux éthiques et philosophiques s’avèrent décisifs pour la civilisation contemporaine.

Voir également:

Hannah Arendt

Antoine de Baecque

L’Histoire

25/04/2013

Le nouveau film de Margarethe von Trotta est dans les salles depuis le 24 avril. Rencontre avec cette cinéaste allemande, qui dresse avec finesse le portrait de l’intellectuelle Hannah Arendt.

L’Histoire : Pourquoi avoir choisi ce moment de la vie d’Hannah Arendt, l’écriture d’Eichmann à Jérusalem et l’affaire qui a entouré la publication du texte dans le New Yorker ?

Margarethe von Trotta : Avec ma coauteur, Pam Katz, nous avons commencé à travailler sur ce projet en 2002, et, pendant longtemps, le scénario a évolué. Au début, le film commençait quand Hannah Arendt avait 18 ans et suivait le séminaire de Martin Heidegger ; il finissait avec sa mort en 1975. Mais nous avons compris que le film n’allait cesser de faire des sauts de puce d’un événement à l’autre, d’un pays à l’autre. Or je voulais raconter tout ensemble la vie et la pensée de la philosophe : comment montrer ce qu’Hannah Arendt a dans la tête ? Nous avons décidé, après deux ans de travail, de nous focaliser sur ces quatre années, de 1960 à 1963, autour du procès d’Adolf Eichmann et du texte qu’elle en tire, Eichmann à Jérusalem.

L’H. : Avez-vous travaillé sur archives ?

M. v T. : Il était important pour moi de montrer les vraies images du procès, filmées par Leo Hurwitz. Quand j’ai vu ensuite le film d’Eyal Sivan et Rony Brauman Un spécialiste (1999), cela m’a confirmée dans mon intention : ces images sont d’une force inouïe. Nous avons travaillé à Yad Vashem, à Jérusalem, et nous avons eu accès à tout. Nous avons également rencontré les proches d’Arendt : Lotte Köhler, sa secrétaire dans le film (en réalité son exécutrice littéraire), disparue en 2010 ; Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, qui a été son étudiante et a écrit la biographie de référence, également disparue ; enfin son dernier assistant, Jerome Kohn, qui s’occupe aujourd’hui de la publication de ses textes. Ils ont tous été extrêmement coopératifs. On pouvait tout leur demander : des éléments très quotidiens, qui sont importants dans un film où l’intimité du personnage prime, la couleur d’un rouge à lèvres, la matière de ses robes, la teinte de ses habits, mais également des archives rares ou des références précises.

L’H. : Jamais un acteur ne joue Eichmann…

M. v T. : Tout passe par les images qu’Hannah Arendt visionne en salle de presse, par son visage devant ces images. Dans mes recherches, j’ai vu des photos de cette salle, située juste en dessous du tribunal, et j’ai décidé d’y tourner cette partie du film. J’ai simplement reproduit les conditions de l’époque, des images en noir et blanc du procès diffusées en direct sur écran pour les journalistes. Si un acteur avait joué Eichmann, on n’aurait vu qu’une performance, ceci aurait constitué un contresens. Sa langue est essentielle, de même que son visage sur les archives : pas un mot, pas une phrase qui ne soit à lui, c’est une langue et un visage purement administratifs…

L’H. : Quel rapport entreteniez-vous avant de travailler sur ce film avec Hannah Arendt, son oeuvre et sa personnalité ?

M. v T. : Pour ma génération, qui a grandi dans l’engagement d’extrême gauche des années 1960-1970 en Allemagne, Arendt n’était pas la référence première. Nous préférions les spartakistes ou Rosa Luxemburg, à laquelle j’ai consacré un film en 1986. Arendt pouvait même être un peu gênante par sa pensée sur le totalitarisme et sa manière d’y mêler fascisme et communisme. Ce n’est qu’après la chute du Mur, en 1989, que j’ai commencé à la lire vraiment.

Cependant je me sentais en solidarité d’une autre façon avec Arendt, une solidarité d’apatride. Mes grands-parents ont fui la Russie en 1917, pour s’installer à Riga. Quand ils sont arrivés à Berlin, ils n’étaient plus russes, mais pas allemands non plus. Ma mère avait un passeport pour apatride, le Fremdenpass. De plus, j’ai vécu de nombreuses années de ma vie à l’étranger : je sais comment on se sent quand on ne parle pas sa langue. Comme le dit Hannah Arendt : « Je suis la jeune femme de l’étranger »…

Mais, au fond, je n’ai vraiment compris Arendt qu’en me jetant dans la lecture de ses textes. Au début, elle me paraissait arrogante. Puis j’ai compris un trait essentiel chez elle, qui m’a bouleversée, son génie de l’amitié. Je reconstitue cela avec beaucoup de soin dans le film, à travers ce groupe d’ami(e)s qui, à New York, pouvait l’entourer.

L’H. : La violence de la polémique, au moment de la publication d’Eichmann à Jérusalem, étonne encore.

M. v T. : Cette polémique a laissé des traces. Claude Lanzmann, par exemple, exècre toujours Arendt pour ce qu’elle a écrit dans ce texte. Dans le film, j’ai voulu laisser parler tout le monde, les plus haineux, les amis juifs qui ne comprennent pas, ceux qui essayent de comprendre, et ceux qui restent du côté d’Arendt. Il était surtout important de restituer l’émotion et les débats qui ont entouré la publication du texte. Le premier titre du film était d’ailleurs The Controversy.

L’H. : Comment Barbara Sukowa est-elle entrée dans ce rôle ?

M. v T. : Barbara a plongé, comme nous, dans les archives. Elle a beaucoup écouté les conférences d’Hannah Arendt. De plus, elle vit à New York depuis vingt ans, et, trois mois avant le tournage, elle s’est mise à parler à sa famille et à ses proches avec l’accent allemand si caractéristique d’Hannah Arendt. Enfin, et surtout, c’est une actrice extrêmement curieuse, méticuleuse, intelligente : elle était capable d’incarner aussi bien une femme qu’une pensée.

(Propos recueillis par Antoine de Baecque).

Pour en savoir plus :

Hannah Arendt : la controverse à l’écran, par Annette Wieviorka, ibid., p. 8.

Voir enfin:

Hannah Arendt: entretien avec la réalisatrice Margarethe von Trotta

HANNAH ARENDT – Le nouveau film de Margarethe von Trotta est dans les salles depuis le 24 avril. Rencontre avec cette cinéaste allemande, qui dresse avec finesse le portrait de l’intellectuelle Hannah Arendt.

Pourquoi avoir choisi ce moment de la vie d’Hannah Arendt, l’écriture d’Eichmann à Jérusalem et l’affaire qui a entouré la publication du texte dans le New Yorker?

Avec ma coauteur, Pam Katz, nous avons commencé à travailler sur ce projet en 2002, et, pendant longtemps, le scénario a évolué. Au début, le film commençait quand Hannah Arendt avait 18 ans et suivait le séminaire de Martin Heidegger ; il finissait avec sa mort en 1975. Mais nous avons compris que le film n’allait cesser de faire des sauts de puce d’un événement à l’autre, d’un pays à l’autre. Or je voulais raconter tout ensemble la vie et la pensée de la philosophe : comment montrer ce qu’Hannah Arendt a dans la tête ? Nous avons décidé, après deux ans de travail, de nous focaliser sur ces quatre années, de 1960 à 1963, autour du procès d’Adolf Eichmann et du texte qu’elle en tire, Eichmann à Jérusalem.

Avez-vous travaillé sur archives?

Il était important pour moi de montrer les vraies images du procès, filmées par Leo Hurwitz. Quand j’ai vu ensuite le film d’Eyal Sivan et Rony Brauman Un spécialiste (1999), cela m’a confirmée dans mon intention : ces images sont d’une force inouïe. Nous avons travaillé à Yad Vashem, à Jérusalem, et nous avons eu accès à tout. Nous avons également rencontré les proches d’Arendt: Lotte Köhler, sa secrétaire dans le film (en réalité son exécutrice littéraire), disparue en 2010 ; Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, qui a été son étudiante et a écrit la biographie de référence, également disparue ; enfin son dernier assistant, Jerome Kohn, qui s’occupe aujourd’hui de la publication de ses textes. Ils ont tous été extrêmement coopératifs. On pouvait tout leur demander : des éléments très quotidiens, qui sont importants dans un film où l’intimité du personnage prime, la couleur d’un rouge à lèvres, la matière de ses robes, la teinte de ses habits, mais également des archives rares ou des références précises.

Jamais un acteur ne joue Eichmann…

Tout passe par les images qu’Hannah Arendt visionne en salle de presse, par son visage devant ces images. Dans mes recherches, j’ai vu des photos de cette salle, située juste en dessous du tribunal, et j’ai décidé d’y tourner cette partie du film. J’ai simplement reproduit les conditions de l’époque, des images en noir et blanc du procès diffusées en direct sur écran pour les journalistes. Si un acteur avait joué Eichmann, on n’aurait vu qu’une performance, ceci aurait constitué un contresens. Sa langue est essentielle, de même que son visage sur les archives : pas un mot, pas une phrase qui ne soit à lui, c’est une langue et un visage purement administratifs…

Voir par ailleurs:

An Ethical Question: Does a Nazi Deserve a Place Among Philosophers?

Patricia Cohen

The New York Times

November 9, 2009

For decades the German philosopher Martin Heidegger has been the subject of passionate debate. His critique of Western thought and technology has penetrated deeply into architecture, psychology and literary theory and inspired some of the most influential intellectual movements of the 20th century. Yet he was also a fervent Nazi.

Now a soon-to-be published book in English has revived the long-running debate about whether the man can be separated from his philosophy. Drawing on new evidence, the author, Emmanuel Faye, argues fascist and racist ideas are so woven into the fabric of Heidegger’s theories that they no longer deserve to be called philosophy. As a result Mr. Faye declares, Heidegger’s works and the many fields built on them need to be re-examined lest they spread sinister ideas as dangerous to modern thought as “the Nazi movement was to the physical existence of the exterminated peoples.”

First published in France in 2005, the book, “Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism Into Philosophy,” calls on philosophy professors to treat Heidegger’s writings like hate speech. Libraries, too, should stop classifying Heidegger’s collected works (which have been sanitized and abridged by his family) as philosophy and instead include them under the history of Nazism. These measures would function as a warning label, like a skull-and-crossbones on a bottle of poison, to prevent the careless spread of his most odious ideas, which Mr. Faye lists as the exaltation of the state over the individual, the impossibility of morality, anti-humanism and racial purity.

The book is the most radical attack yet on Heidegger (1889-1976) and would upend the philosophical field’s treatment of his work in the United States, and even more so in France, where Heidegger has frequently been required reading for an advanced degree. Mr. Faye, an associate professor at the University of Paris, Nanterre, not only wants to drum Heidegger from the ranks of philosophers, he wants to challenge his colleagues to rethink the very purpose of philosophy and its relationship to ethics.

At the same time scholars in disciplines as far flung as poetry and psychoanalysis would be obliged to reconsider their use of Heidegger’s ideas. Although Mr. Faye talks about the close connection between Heidegger and current right-wing extremist politics, left-wing intellectuals have more frequently been inspired by his ideas. Existentialism and postmodernism as well as attendant attacks on colonialism, atomic weapons, ecological ruin and universal notions of morality are all based on his critique of the Western cultural tradition and reason.

Richard Wolin, the author of several books on Heidegger and a close reader of the Faye book, said he is not convinced Heidegger’s thought is as thoroughly tainted by Nazism as Mr. Faye argues. Nonetheless he recognizes how far Heidegger’s ideas have spilled into the larger culture.

“I’m not by any means dismissing any of these fields because of Heidegger’s influence,” he wrote in an e-mail message referring to postmodernism’s influence across the academy. “I’m merely saying that we should know more about the ideological residues and connotations of a thinker like Heidegger before we accept his discourse ready-made or naïvely.”

Although the English text published by Yale University Press won’t be out in the United States for a few weeks, it is already making waves, as signaled by an essay in The Chronicle Review, the opinion and ideas journal of The Chronicle of Higher Education. In an essay titled “Heil Heidegger!” Carlin Romano, a critic for The Review, called Heidegger a “Black Forest babbler” and fraud who was “overrated in his prime” and “bizarrely venerated by acolytes even now.”

Few people have read the book, but the article has generated more than 150 online comments from vehement advocates and detractors, more than any other piece The Review has printed this year, said Liz McMillen, the editor. Others joined the fray.

Ron Rosenbaum, the author of “Explaining Hitler,” even extended the argument to the German Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt, a former student and lover of Heidegger’s. Citing a recent essay by the historian Bernard Wasserstein, Mr. Rosenbaum wrote in Slate.com that Arendt’s thinking about the Holocaust and her famous formulation, “the banality of evil,” were contaminated by Heidegger and other anti-Semitic writings.

Commentators heatedly rejected the notion that significant ideas could not be distilled from vile ones. Writing for The New Republic’s Web site, tnr.com, Damon Linker declared it was “absurd” to “implicate Heidegger’s entire philosophical corpus.”

He and others echoed the views of the influential American philosopher Richard Rorty, who once wrote in The New York Times, “You cannot read most of the important philosophers of recent times without taking Heidegger’s thought into account.” Mr. Rorty added, however, that “the smell of smoke from the crematories” will “linger on their pages.”

In Mr. Faye’s eyes Heidegger’s philosophy cannot be separated from his politics in the way, say, T.S. Eliot’s poetic skills or D. W. Griffith’s cinematic technique might be appraised independently of his own beliefs. While he doesn’t dispute Heidegger’s place in the intellectual pantheon, Mr. Faye reviews his unpublished lectures and concludes his philosophy was based on the same ideas as National Socialism.

Without understanding the soil in which Heidegger’s philosophy is rooted, Mr. Faye argues, people may not realize that his ideas can grow in troubling directions. Heidegger’s dictum to be authentic and free oneself from conventional restraints, for example, can lead to a rejection of morality. The denunciation of reason and soulless modernism can devolve into crude anti-intellectualism and the glorification of “blood and soil.”

Passions about Heidegger have simmered for years. He joined the Nazi party in 1933 when he became rector of Freiburg University and oversaw the dismissal of all Jewish professors. After the war Heidegger was banned by a de-Nazification tribunal from teaching. In the 1950s Arendt re-established ties with him and labored to revive his reputation.

Heidegger was a critic of modern technological society and of the Western philosophical tradition that gave rise to it. He argued that we must overcome this tradition and rethink the very nature of human existence or being.

His prose is so dense that some scholars have said it could be interpreted to mean anything, while others have dismissed it altogether as gibberish. He is nonetheless widely considered to be one of the century’s greatest and most influential thinkers.

Theologians have used his critique of reason to explain the leap of faith; architects have been inspired by his rejection of conventional rules to introduce a buffet of new styles, materials and shapes to building design. His criticism of mechanistic technology has attracted environmentalists and planners.

A verbal brawl over Heidegger’s theories should not be surprising, though. After all, the classic American position on how liberal societies should treat dangerous ideas is worth more discussion.

That is precisely what Mr. Faye says he wants. In his view teaching Heidegger’s ideas without disclosing his deep Nazi sympathies is like showing a child a brilliant fireworks display without warning that an ignited rocket can also blow up in someone’s face.

Voir encore:


Attentats de Boston: La surveillance pour tous ! (Why should Muslims and leftists be less deserving of surveillance than right-wing extremist groups ?)

21 avril, 2013
http://tundratabloids.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/fbi-interviewed-dead-olderbrother-tsarnaev-could-have-deported-him-20.4.2013.pngL’erreur est toujours de raisonner dans les catégories de la « différence », alors que la racine de tous les conflits, c’est plutôt la « concurrence », la rivalité mimétique entre des êtres, des pays, des cultures. La concurrence, c’est-à-dire le désir d’imiter l’autre pour obtenir la même chose que lui, au besoin par la violence. Sans doute le terrorisme est-il lié à un monde « différent » du nôtre, mais ce qui suscite le terrorisme n’est pas dans cette « différence » qui l’éloigne le plus de nous et nous le rend inconcevable. Il est au contraire dans un désir exacerbé de convergence et de ressemblance. (…) Ce qui se vit aujourd’hui est une forme de rivalité mimétique à l’échelle planétaire. (…) Ce sentiment n’est pas vrai des masses, mais des dirigeants. Sur le plan de la fortune personnelle, on sait qu’un homme comme Ben Laden n’a rien à envier à personne. Et combien de chefs de parti ou de faction sont dans cette situation intermédiaire, identique à la sienne. Regardez un Mirabeau au début de la Révolution française : il a un pied dans un camp et un pied dans l’autre, et il n’en vit que de manière plus aiguë son ressentiment. Aux Etats-Unis, des immigrés s’intègrent avec facilité, alors que d’autres, même si leur réussite est éclatante, vivent aussi dans un déchirement et un ressentiment permanents. Parce qu’ils sont ramenés à leur enfance, à des frustrations et des humiliations héritées du passé. Cette dimension est essentielle, en particulier chez des musulmans qui ont des traditions de fierté et un style de rapports individuels encore proche de la féodalité. (…) Cette concurrence mimétique, quand elle est malheureuse, ressort toujours, à un moment donné, sous une forme violente. A cet égard, c’est l’islam qui fournit aujourd’hui le ciment qu’on trouvait autrefois dans le marxisme. René Girard
The Tsarnaev brothers pulled off their terrorist attack with great skill but made a fatal mistake in letting their faces and bodies be seen at a heavily photographed international sporting event. This meant that multiple images of them were available for a massive law enforcement squad to comb over and, after three days, identify them by name and appearance. This rapid identification was not unprecedented – the London police had done likewise in the July 2005 suicide bombings but because none of the four perpetrators survived that attack, that was more a theoretical achievement than a practical one. To the best of my knowledge, the Tsarnaevs were the first terrorists to be tracked down via still and video pictures. (…) But how to avoid doing so? Hoodies leave the face exposed. Ski masks arouse suspicion in temperate weather, as do Halloween masks all but one night a year, and stocking masks at any time. Obviously, they should have put on Islamic full body covers that show only the eyes (niqabs) or nothing at all (burqas). These garments have multiple and unique virtues, totally hiding the wearers identity; being legitimate attire in any weather and in any place; permitting the discreet transport of weapons; giving off the helpfully false impression of being worn by women, which both reduces suspicion and misleads witnesses; usefully creating a social barrier; maximizing personal prerogatives; and being ideologically appropriate, sending an unmistakable Islamist signal. (…) One must expect future non-suicide bombers to turn to niqabs or burqas. (As many terrorists and criminals repeatedly have done so.). But why wait for them to engage in more murders? Why close the barn door only after the horse has run away? Far smarter would be to ban the niqab and burqa in public places now, before tragedy occurs. Daniel Pipes
L’attaque de Bourgas était une attaque sur le sol européen contre un Etat membre de l’Union européenne. Nous espérons que les Européens vont tirer les conclusions qui s’imposent. Les conclusions annoncées par la Bulgarie aujourd’hui sont claires: le Hezbollah était directement responsable de cette atrocité. Il n’y a qu’un seul Hezbollah, c’est une organisation unique avec un commandement unique. C’est une nouvelle confirmation de ce que nous savions déjà: que le Hezbollah et son parrain l’Iran orchestrent une campagne terroriste à travers les pays et les continents. Benjamin Netanyahou
Il y a des informations concernant des financements et une appartenance au Hezbollah de deux personnes, dont l’auteur de l’attentat. (Ces personnes) possédaient des passeports de l’Australie et du Canada" et "vivaient sur le territoire libanais depuis 2006 et 2010. Tsvetan Tsvetanov (ministre bulgare de l’Intérieur)
Tamerlan Tsarnaev a été entendu en 2011 par la police américaine après l’avertissement d’un pays étranger, a confirmé vendredi le FBI, qui pourrait ainsi être placé dans l’embarras. Les autorités du pays en question, qui n’a pas été précisé, le soupçonnaient d’être «un adepte de l’islam radical» sur le point de quitter les Etats-Unis pour rejoindre un mouvement armé, a précisé le FBI vendredi soir. L’audition de Tamerlan Tsarnaev et de sa famille n’a pas permis «de découvrir une quelconque activité terroriste», pas plus que les recherches concernant leurs déplacements, leurs activités sur internet ou leur entourage, ajoute l’agence. 20 minutes
A l’été 1996, le monde avait les yeux rivés sur Atlanta pour les Jeux olympiques. Sous la protection et les auspices du régime de Washington, des millions de personnes étaient venues pour célébrer les idéaux du monde socialiste. Les multinationales ont dépensé des milliards de dollars et Washington avait mis en place une armée de sécurité pour protéger le meilleur de ces jeux. (…) L’objectif de l’attaque du 27 juillet était de confondre, de mettre en colère et dans l’embarras le gouvernement de Washington aux yeux du monde pour son abominable autorisation de l’avortement à la demande. Le plan était de forcer l’annulation des Jeux, ou au moins de créer un état d’insécurité, pour vider les rues autour des lieux et ainsi rendre inutiles les vastes sommes d’argent investies. Le plan sur lequel je me suis finalement rabattu était d’utiliser cinq explosifs chronométrés low-tech à placer un à la fois et en des jours successifs tout au long du calendrier olympique, chacun précédé d’un avertissement de quarante à cinquante minutes sur le 911. Les lieu et heure de la détonation devaient être donnés, et l’intention était de ce fait de faire évacuer chacune des zones visées, laissant seuls exposés au risque potentiel de blessure les forces de l’ordre en uniforme et armées. « Les attaques devaient commencer dès le début des Jeux olympiques, mais en raison d’un manque de planification, cela a été reporté d’une semaine. J’avais espéré sincèrement atteindre ces objectifs sans nuire à des civils innocents. Eric Randolph
Aux Etats-Unis, les musulmans sont plus résistants, mais pas à l’abri du message radical. Malgré les perspectives économiques, la puissante force d’attraction des racines religieuses des individus et de l’identité peut parfois prendre le dessus sur la nature assimilatrice de la société américaine, faite de réussite professionnelle, stabilité financière et confort matériel. Mitchell Silber et Arvin Bhatt
Certains utiliseront cette menace comme un argument contre l’immigration, mais cela serait punir tout le monde pour les péchés de quelques uns. La menace radicale intérieure est vraiment un argument à la vigilance, notamment au sein de communautés enclines à produire des terroristes. Autrement dit, surveiller les groupes d’étudiants étrangers aux États-Unis, certaines communautés d’immigrants qui ont produit des jihadistes et, oui, même les mosquées et d’autres lieux musulmans. L’important est d’être assez familier avec ces communautés, pour connaître et être suffisamment en confance avec leurs dirigeants de sorte que ces hommes et ces femmes alertent les forces de l’ordre lorsque que l’un de leurs membres semble s’être radicalisé. Cela offense certains défenseurs des libertés civiles et l’Associated Press qui s’en sont pris à la police de New York pour la pratique dans une série d’histoires en 2011. Dans le sillage de Boston, cela semble particulièrement peu judicieux. Les policiers de New York disent qu’ils ont poursuivi leur surveillance, en vertu de garanties juridiques appropriées, et nous espérons qu’ils continueront. Le gouvernement américain surveille des groupes extrémistes de droite, parce que nous savons qu’ils sont dangereux. La police ne devrait pas s’abstenir de faire la même chose pour les groupes musulmans ou immigrés simplement parce que cela serait jugé moins politiquement correct. Comme le montrent les événements de la semaine à Boston, ne pas le faire serait bien trop coûteux. Le Wall Street Journal

Attention: un scandale peut en cacher un autre !

Responsable de l’attentat des Jeux d’Atlanta accusé d’attaque indiscriminée de civils alors qu’en alertant la police 45 minutes auparavant il avait tout fait pour l’éviter, groupe suprémaciste texan faussement soupçonné d’avoir tué un juge et son épouse, organisation terroriste libanaise et ses commanditaires iraniens contraints de déployer leurs actions jusqu’en Bulgarie devant le refus indu de l’Europe de toute reconnaissance digne de ce nom …

Alors qu’au lendemain de la mort et de la capture des Mérah américains responsables de la dernière tuerie islamiste en date …

Une opinion et des médias obsédés par les groupes extrémistes de droite continuent comme si de rien n’était leur refus de voir l’évidence …

Pendant qu’après la Maison Blanche, Hollywood se décide enfin à reconnaitre leur dû aux Weathermen et les parlementaires français comme néo-zélandais l’avancée incommensurable du mariage pour tous

Comment ne pas voir avec le WSJ…

Sous prétexte de correction politique et face aux efforts toujours plus méritants des musulmans et de leurs soutiens d’extrême-gauche se tuant littéralement à prouver leur bonne volonté meurtrière

La scandaleuse injustice d’une surveillance policière réservée aux seuls groupes extémistes de droite ?

The Brothers Tsarnaev

Mohsin Hamid

The WSJ

April 20, 2013

The terrorist suspects next door.

Events in Boston were moving so quickly on Friday that it’s impossible to draw too many conclusions. But the emergence of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the chief terror suspects who paralyzed a great American city deserves at least some reflection.

One consoling thought is the admirable behavior of the citizens of greater Boston and its law enforcers. The point may seem banal, but it’s no small matter that the public largely heeded the government’s orders to stay off the streets and take the day off so police could track down the younger brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar, who was captured Friday night after a day-long manhunt.

Bostonians have endured enormous disruption this week, but the city has shown a remarkable civility and calm throughout it all. Many lives were saved because of the rapid triage work by volunteers at the bomb scene. Bloomberg News reports that one of the marathon bombing’s victims also helped the FBI identify a suspect after he awoke from surgery at the hospital. The suspect had dropped a bag at Jeff Bauman’s feet and looked him in the eye minutes before it exploded. Mr. Bauman lost both legs below the knee but got his man.

As for the brothers, we will learn more about their motives, their training and whether they acted alone or as part of a network. What we have already learned is that they are immigrants from Chechnya, of the Muslim faith, and that 26-year old Tamerlan was uncomfortable in American society despite having lived here for about a decade.

The Associated Press reported that he was quoted in a Boston University student magazine in 2010 as saying, "I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them." Mother Jones reported that a video attributed to a Tamerlan Tsarnaev extolled an extremist religious prophecy associated with al Qaeda. None of this is definitive but it might be illustrative.

If such alienation turned to jihad, it would not be the first time. The radicalization of young Muslims in the West, in particular children of the well-off, is by now a familiar story. The London bombers of 2005 were middle-class Pakistani immigrants from Birmingham. Faisal Shahzad, the failed Times Square bomber, was a naturalized citizen from Pakistan.

After the London bombings, many Americans took comfort in the belief that immigrants to the U.S. are better assimilated than they are in Europe. But that may be more conceit than fact, at least in regard to some young men. "My Son the Fanatic" is a novella by Hanif Kureishi that speaks to the difficulties of acculturation of second-generation Muslims. The recent Pulitzer Prize- winning play, "Disgraced," covers related ground.

Mitchell Silber and Arvin Bhatt explained how this can evolve into a threat in an instructive paper for the New York Police Department in 2007,

"Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat." The intelligence analysts looked at several cases here and abroad and described the process by which otherwise "unremarkable" men leading regular lives become jihadists.

"Muslims in the U.S. are more resistant, but not immune to the radical message," they wrote. "Despite the economic opportunities in the United States, the powerful gravitational pull of individuals’ religious roots and identity sometimes supersedes the assimilating nature of American society which includes pursuit of a professional career, financial stability and material comforts." The Tsarnaev brothers may be an example.

Some will use this threat as an argument against immigration, but that would punish everyone for the sins of a few. The "homegrown" radical threat is really an argument for vigilance, especially within communities prone to producing terrorists.

This means surveilling foreign student groups in the U.S., certain immigrant communities that have produced jihadists, and, yes, even mosques and other Muslim venues. The key is to be familiar enough with these communities, to know and be trusted enough by their leaders, so those man and women will alert law enforcers when someone appears to have become radicalized.

This offends some civil libertarians, and the Associated Press excoriated the NYPD for the practice in a series of stories in 2011. In the wake of Boston, this looks notably misguided. New York’s police say they’ve kept at it, under appropriate legal safeguards, and we hope they will continue.

The U.S. government watches right-wing extremist groups because we know they are dangerous. The police shouldn’t refrain from doing the same to Muslim or immigrant groups merely because that is deemed less politically correct. As the week’s events in Boston show, the costs of doing otherwise are too high.

Voir aussi:

Tamerlan Tsarnaev a été entendu en 2011 par le FBI

20 minutes

20/04/2013

ETATS-UNIS – Le FBI l’a confirmé. Il pourrait ainsi être placé dans l’embarras…

Tamerlan Tsarnaev a été entendu en 2011 par la police américaine après l’avertissement d’un pays étranger, a confirmé vendredi le FBI, qui pourrait ainsi être placé dans l’embarras. Les autorités du pays en question, qui n’a pas été précisé, le soupçonnaient d’être «un adepte de l’islam radical» sur le point de quitter les Etats-Unis pour rejoindre un mouvement armé, a précisé le FBI vendredi soir. L’audition de Tamerlan Tsarnaev et de sa famille n’a pas permis «de découvrir une quelconque activité terroriste», pas plus que les recherches concernant leurs déplacements, leurs activités sur internet ou leur entourage, ajoute l’agence.

«Un coup monté», selon la mère des deux suspects

Interrogée par le service en langue anglaise de la chaîne de télévision Russia Today, la mère des deux suspects a pour sa part affirmé que son fils aîné était surveillé par le FBI depuis au moins trois ans et que la police fédérale américaine était parfaitement au courant de ses activités. «Il était contrôlé par le FBI depuis quelque chose comme trois à cinq ans», a dit Zoubeidat Tsarnaeva, employant en anglais le faux-ami du mot russe signifiant «surveiller». «Ils savaient ce que mon fils était en train de faire, ils savaient quels sites il consultait sur internet» a-t-elle ajouté.

D’après Russia Today, qui l’a interrogée au téléphone, Zoubeidat Tsarnaeva se trouvait à Makhachkala, la ville du Daguestan où elle réside. Comme Anzor, leur père interrogé vendredi par les médias, Zoubeidat Tsarnaeva pense que ses enfants ont été manipulés. «C’est vraiment, vraiment difficile à entendre. Et en tant que mère, tout ce que je peux dire, c’est que je suis vraiment convaincue, je suis sûre à 100% qu’il s’agit d’un coup monté» a-t-elle dit. On ignore donc d’où provenait l’avertissement mentionné par le FBI mais Tamerlan Tsarnaev aurait effectué un voyage en Russie l’année dernière.

«Très perturbant de savoir qu’il était sur les écrans radar du FBI»

Les deux suspects, originaires de Tchétchénie, sont nés au Kirghizistan et vivaient depuis une dizaine d’années aux Etats-Unis, où rien ne pouvait laisser croire qu’il s’agissait d’extrémistes. Le cadet a la nationalité américaine Rien n’indiquait jusqu’ici que les frères Tsarnaev étaient connus des services de police.

«C’est une information nouvelle pour moi et c’est très perturbant de savoir qu’il était sur les écrans radar du FBI» a réagi Michael McCaul, député républicain du Texas et président de la commission Sécurité de la Chambre des représentants. Les services de sécurité américains avaient auparavant indiqué ne disposer d’aucune information permettant d’établir un lien entre les frères Tsarnaev et un mouvement islamiste tel qu’Al Qaïda.

Voir également:

Procureurs assassinés au Texas : un ex-juge et sa femme incriminés

France info

18 Avril 2013

Deux procureurs ont été tués dans l’Etat du Texas, en janvier puis fin mars dernier. Après avoir soupçonné un groupe de défense de la suprémacie de la race blanche, l’enquête a connu un rebondissement ces derniers jours. Un ancien juge de paix et sa femme ont été mis en accusation.

L’affaire avait suscité beaucoup d’émoi au Texas le mois dernier. Non seulement le procureur du comté de Kaufman, près de Dallas et sa femme avaient été retrouvés morts chez eux. Mais en plus, il ne s’agissait pas du premier crime. Un autre procureur travaillant dans le même bureau avait été assassiné deux mois plus tôt.

De quoi envisager aussitôt un lien entre les deux affaires. Les enquêteurs avaient même poussé le raisonnement jusqu’à relier ces deux meurtres, à un troisième, celui du directeur d’une prison dans le Colorado le 19 mars. Dans leur ligne de mire : un groupe de "suprémacistes", la Fraternité aryenne.

De la fausse piste aux arrestations

Mais la piste s’est avérée fausse. Car les recherches ont éloigné les enquêteurs de cette piste d’extrême droite, pour les conduire à un email anonyme annonçant d’autres attaques, et à un ancien juge de paix, renvoyé pour avoir été confondu dans une affaire de vol. Tout est alors allé très vite.

L’ancien magistrat a été arrêté samedi, et accusé de "menace à caractère terroriste", pour avoir rédigé cet email. Quand à sa femme, elle a "avoué son implication dans la planification et la mise à exécution des meurtres par balle", indique son mandat d’arrestation. Mise en accusation mercredi, elle a néanmoins affirmé que c’est son mari qui avait appuyé sur la gâchette.

Voir encore:

Deux procureurs assassinés au Texas, les "suprémacistes" suspectés

France info

1 Avril 2013

Un procureur a été retrouvé mort samedi dans le comté de Kaufman, près de Dallas au Texas. Deux mois après le meurtre de son adjoint et deux semaines après celui d’un directeur de prison. Coïncidences ? Les autorités locales en doutent et soupçonnent un groupe de défenseurs de la race blanche.

Le FBI, les Texas Rangers et d’autres services judiciaires participent à l’enquête sur le meurtre du procureur et sa femme © Reuters – Shannon Stapleton

Il y a deux mois, le procureur de Kaufman Mike McLelland, ancien GI’s de l’opération Tempête du désert en Irak jouait les fier-à-bras, promettant une traque sans fin à la "racaille" qui venait d’assassiner son adjoint, Franck Hasse. Il ne quittait jamais son arme, "même pour promener son chien", disait-il, se décrivant comme "un soldat". Pourtant, il a été retrouvé mort samedi, chez lui, à quelques kilomètres de Dallas, avec son épouse, le corps criblé de balles. Selon les témoignages, le couple aurait été abattu par un ou deux hommes, visages masqués.

"Une attaque ciblée", affirme la police qui refuse de tirer des conclusions trop hâtives, mais estime tout de même que deux meurtres de procureurs à deux mois d’intervalle, dans une ville de 106.000 habitants, c’est un peu trop pour n’être qu’une coïncidence.

Sur les traces de la Fraternité aryenne

Dans le viseur des autorités, la Fraternité aryenne, prônant la défense de la suprématie blanche. Un premier lien avait été établi après le meurtre de Franck Hasse, meurtre perpétré le 19 janvier, jour où le département de la Justice avait annoncé par communiqué l’ouverture d’une enquête par le bureau du procureur de Kaufman contre ce groupe d’extrême droite pour une affaire de racket.

Mais l’affaire ne s’arrêterait pas là. Car le FBI s’est déjà intéressé aux liens entre le meurtre de Franck Hasse et celui du directeur d’une prison du Colorado le 19 mars. Le suspect principal de ce dernier assassinat, mort dans une course-poursuite avec la police deux jours plus tard, faisait précisément partie de la Fraternité aryenne et portait des tatouages de croix gammées.

>>> Si vous avez du mal à suivre, le New York Times a tenté de remonter le temps pour illustrer les possibles connections entre ces différentes affaires.

La branche texane de la Fraternité aryenne est présentée comme un gang responsable de meurtres, d’incendies criminels, d’agressions et autres crimes. Il est décrit comme "enclin à la violence et aux menaces violentes pour maintenir une discipline interne ainsi qu’à des représailles contre les personnes soupçonnées de collaborer avec les forces de l’ordre". La Fraternité aryenne ("Aryan brotherhood") fait partie de la mouvance suprémaciste, qui comme son nom l’indique, revendique la suprématie de la race blanche. Des groupuscules surveillés de près par la SLPC aux États-Unis.

Voir encore:

Hezbollah : les révélations des enquêteurs bulgares

Alexandre Lévy

Le Figaro

07/02/2013

Le Figaro a recueilli des confidences sur le rapport top secret de la Commission nationale de sécurité bulgare qui a conclu à la responsabilité du Hezbollah dans l’attentat de Burgas contre un bus israélien en 2012.

Jacque Filipe Martin, Ralph William Rico et Brian Jameson. Deux jeunes Canadiens et un Australien sur les bords de la mer Noire à l’été 2012. Des touristes en goguette? Non, pour les autorités bulgares, ces trois hommes sont les responsables de l’attentat anti-israélien du 18 juillet 2012 qui a fait six morts et une trentaine de blessés à l’aéroport de Burgas, à l’est du pays.

Le premier y a laissé sa peau, déchiqueté par la charge explosive de plus de 3 kg qu’il transportait dans son sac à dos; ses deux complices sont repartis, via un autre pays européen, vers le Liban dont ils sont tous originaires. Des binationaux, le «cauchemar» des services de sécurité.

«Toutes les pistes mènent à Beyrouth»

«Toutes les pistes mènent à Beyrouth», résume un responsable policier au lendemain de la session extraordinaire du Conseil de sécurité, le 5 février, à l’issue duquel Sofia a officiellement mis en cause le Hezbollah dans cet acte sans précédent sur le sol bulgare. «Il y a des informations concernant des financements et une appartenance au Hezbollah de deux personnes», a affirmé le ministre de l’Intérieur Tsvetan Tsvetanov, après six heures de débats à huis clos pendant lesquels les membres du Conseil ont pris connaissance du rapport préliminaire établi par les services de sécurité bulgares et leurs partenaires occidentaux sur cette affaire – un texte classé «secret-défense».

Grâce aux confidences de certains des membres du Conseil, on peut néanmoins établir les éléments qui ont permis cette mise en cause tant attendue par Washington et Tel-Aviv qui se sont empressés de remettre la pression sur l’Union européenne pour qu’elle reconnaisse le Hezbollah comme «organisation terroriste».

Les terroristes voulaient faire un maximum de victimes

Les transferts d’argent en provenance du Liban tout d’abord. Ils avaient pour destinataire le porteur du passeport australien du trio, que les enquêteurs considèrent comme l’artificier du groupe. Les faux permis de conduire américains retrouvés en Bulgarie étaient tous fabriqués dans le même atelier libanais – un lieu «connu» des services de renseignement occidentaux.

Les enquêteurs bulgares disposeraient également d’une photo sur laquelle figureraient des proches parents de l’un des présumés terroristes aux côtés de membres du Hezbollah. Enfin, les policiers ont également établi avec exactitude le timing des déplacements du trio. Ils sont arrivés par avion en Bulgarie munis de leurs véritables passeports, après avoir transité par trois autres pays européens. Mais leur point de départ était Beyrouth, où, selon, le patron de l’antigang de Sofia, Stanimir Florov, les deux survivants se trouvent aujourd’hui.

Autre conclusion importante: l’explosion sur le parking de l’aéroport de Burgas, présentée comme un attentat suicide au début, est aujourd’hui considérée comme «accidentelle». «Les terroristes voulaient faire exploser la bombe à distance dans le bus en mouvement, faisant ainsi le maximum de victimes tout en effaçant leurs traces. Mais soit le porteur de la bombe a fait une mauvaise manipulation, soit il s’est fait avoir par ses coéquipiers», affirme une source policière.

Ayant reconstitué le parcours des trois hommes en Bulgarie, les enquêteurs sont également persuadés qu’ils n’avaient pas un comportement de fanatiques islamiques mais plutôt de «James Bond en herbe». Et ils n’ont boudé les plaisirs de la vie. «Ils ont fréquenté des hôtels de charme et des restaurants fins, souvent joliment accompagnés», disent-ils.

Ottawa a confirmé que l’un de ses ressortissants est bien impliqué dans cet attentat, précisant qu’il a quitté le sol canadien à l’âge de 12 ans. Les autorités australiennes sont également à la recherche de «Brian», alors que le gouvernement libanais s’est engagé à «coopérer» avec les enquêteurs bulgares. La véritable identité du troisième terroriste, mort dans l’attentat, reste en revanche un mystère. «Force est de constater que les organisateurs de cet attentat ont trouvé un homme que personne ne pleure, ni ne regrette», conclut un policier occidental spécialisé dans la lutte antiterroriste.

Voir enfin:

The Homegrown Terrorist Threat to the US Homeland (ARI)

Lorenzo Vidino

ARI 171/2009

18/12/2009

Theme: Radicalisation into violence affects some small segments of the American Muslim population and recent events show that a threat from homegrown terrorism of jihadist inspiration does exist in the US.

Summary: The wave of arrests and thwarted plots recently seen in the US has severely undermined the long-held assumption that American Muslims, unlike their European counterparts, are virtually immune to radicalisation. In reality, as argued in this ARI, evidence also existed before the autumn of 2009, highlighting how radicalisation affected some small segments of the American Muslim population exactly like it affects some fringe pockets of the Muslim population of each European country. After putting forth this argument, this paper analyses the five concurring reasons traditionally used to explain the divergence between the levels of radicalisation in Europe and the US: better economic conditions, lack of urban ghettoes, lower presence of recruiting networks, different demographics and a more inclusive sense of citizenship. While all these characteristics still hold true, they no longer represent a guarantee, as other factors such as perception of discrimination and frustration at US foreign policies could lead to radicalisation. Finally, the paper looks at the post-9/11 evolution of the homegrown terrorist threat to the US homeland and examines possible future scenarios.[1]

Analysis: The American authorities and public have been shocked by the tragic events of 5 November 2009, when Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly opened fire against fellow soldiers inside the Fort Hood military base, killing 13 people and wounding 30 others. The shooting triggered a heated debate over Major Hasan’s motives. Earlier analyses focused on personal and psychological factors, such as his alleged distress towards his forthcoming deployment to Iraq and the abuses he had reportedly suffered from other soldiers. As the days went by, more and more evidence surfaced pointing to Major Hasan’s radical Islamist sympathies. Colleagues and acquaintances described many instances in which the Virginia-born Army psychiatrist had expressed extremely negative feelings towards the US and praised acts of violence against it. Reports also indicated that the FBI had investigated Major Hasan’s e-mail conversations with Anwar al Awlaqi, a US-born Yemeni-based cleric known for his fiery rhetoric and links to two of the 9/11 hijackers.

Authorities have so far been reluctant to officially label the Fort Hood shooting an act of terrorism and, at the time of writing, various investigations are exploring all angles of this tragic event. While it might be premature, if ever possible, to identify the full spectrum of motives behind Major Hasan’s actions, it is fair to say that radical Islamist ideology had an influence on his worldview. In any case, the Fort Hood shooting comes at the tail end of two months that have challenged many of the assumptions on terrorism and radicalisation in the US that have shaped the debate for more than a decade. Since September 2009, in fact, a staggering series of arrests has taken place on US soil:

On 20 September, FBI agents arrested two Afghan immigrants in Colorado and one in New York.[2] According to the authorities, one of the men, Najibullah Zazi, had trained in an al-Qaeda training camp in Pakistan and, once back in the US, had purchased large quantities of chemical substances in various beauty supply stores. Zazi allegedly intended to mix the substances and detonate them against targets throughout the New York metropolitan area. The authorities described Zazi’s plot as the most serious threat against the US homeland uncovered since 9/11.[3]

On 24 September, a 19-year-old Jordanian immigrant was arrested for having parked what he believed to be a car bomb in the car park of a 60-story skyscraper in downtown Dallas, Texas.4 Before driving the car to the site, Hosam Hamer Husein Smadi had made a video which he believed would have been sent to Osama bin Laden.[5]

On the same day but in an unrelated plot, Michael C. Finton, a 29-year-old American-born convert to Islam, parked a car that he also believed laden with explosives outside a federal courthouse in Springfield, Illinois.[6] In both the Finton and the Smadi cases, federal agents had approached the two men after unearthing information about their desire to commit acts of violence, led them to believe they were affiliated to al-Qaeda and supplied them with explosives that the men wrongly believed to be active.

On 21 October, the authorities indicted two Boston-area natives, Tarek Mehanna and Ahmad Abousamra, with various conspiracy charges.[7] According to the indictment, the men, who had been extremely active in online jihadist forums, had been trying to join various al-Qaeda affiliates since 2001 and had also planned attacks inside the US (reportedly targeting a local shopping mall and various US government officials).

On 27 October, the authorities arrested two long-time Chicago residents of Pakistani descent and charged them with conspiracy to provide material support and/or to commit terrorist acts against overseas targets.[8] According to the charges the two men had been in close contact with senior leaders of Pakistani jihadist groups Lashkar e Taiba and Harakat ul Jihad Islami and one of them, Daood Gilani, had travelled to Denmark to conduct surveillance of the facilities of the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten for a possible attack against it. On 7 December the authorities charged Gilani also with conducting surveillance of various targets in Mumbai in the two years preceding the deadly November 2008 attack on the Indian city. According to the indictment, upon accepting the task Gilani changed his name to David Headley and travelled at least five times to Mumbai, confident that his new name and American passport would not attract the attention of the Indian authorities. After each trip he travelled to Pakistan, where he shared the pictures, videotapes and notes he had taken with senior Lashkar e Taiba operatives.[9]

On 28 October, the federal authorities in Detroit proceeded to arrest 11 members of Ummah, a group of mostly African-American converts to Islam, on charges that ranged from mail fraud to illegal possession and sale of firearms. Most suspects were arrested without opposing resistance, but Luqman Ameen Abdullah (alias Christopher Thomas), the group’s leader, fired at agents and was subsequently killed. While the case cannot be considered a full-fledged terrorism investigation, it nevertheless involves a US-based radical Islamist network. Ummah, in fact, is a group that, according to authorities, ‘seeks to establish a separate Sharia-law governed state within the United States’ and whose members have been involved in violent acts in the past.[10]

Finally, in early December, the Pakistani authorities arrested five American Muslims in the city of Sargodha. The five, all US citizens in their late teens and early 20s who had gone missing from their northern Virginia homes a few days earlier, had reportedly been in touch via the Internet with senior militants of various al-Qaeda-affiliated organisations and allegedly intended to train with local outfits to fight against US forces.[11]

All these plots are very diverse in their origin, degree of sophistication and characteristics of the individuals involved. Yet they all contribute to paint the picture of the complex and rapidly changing reality of terrorism of Islamist inspiration in the US. Moreover, they smash or, at least, severely undermine an assumption that has been widely held by policymakers and analysts over the last 15 years. The common wisdom, in fact, has traditionally been that American Muslims, unlike their European counterparts, were virtually immune to radicalisation. Europeans, argued this narrative, have been unable to integrate their immigrant Muslim population and radicalisation is the inevitable by-product of the discrimination and socio-economic disparity suffered by European Muslims. America, on the other hand, is more open to its immigrants and has been able to integrate its Muslims, making them impervious to radicalisation.

The wave of arrests of the last months of 2009 has contributed to shedding light on a reality that is significantly more nuanced, showing that radicalisation affects some small segments of the American Muslim population exactly like it affects some fringe pockets of the Muslim population of each European country. Evidence supporting this view has been available for a long time, as the cases of American Muslims joining radical Islamist groups date back to the 1970s.[12] According to data collected by the NYU Center on Law and Security, for example, more than 500 individuals have been convicted by the American authorities for terrorism-related charges since 9/11.[13] Most of them are US citizens or long-time US residents who underwent radicalisation inside the US. While making a numerically accurate comparison is not easy, it is fair to say that the number of American Muslims involved in violent activities is either equal or only slightly lower than that of any European country with a comparable Muslim population.

Yet, despite this evidence, for a long time the American authorities and commentators seemed unable to acknowledge the existence of radicalisation among small segments of the American Muslim population. In the FBI’s parlance, for example, until 2005, the term ‘homegrown terrorism’ was still reserved for domestic organisations such as anti-government militias, white supremacists and eco-terrorist groups such as the Earth Liberation Front. Such groups were termed ‘homegrown’ to distinguish them from jihadist terrorist networks, even though some of the latter possessed some of the very same characteristics (membership born and raised in the US and a focus on US targets). Since the cause of the jihadists was perceived to be foreign, the US government did not label them as ‘homegrown’, despite the typically homegrown characteristics of many of them.

The July 2005 attacks in London led the US authorities to look at the homegrown issue with renewed attention. As an increasing number of cells that clearly possessed homegrown characteristics were uncovered throughout the country, the authorities began to re-assess the definition of homegrown. By 2006 top FBI and DHS officials began to openly speak of homegrown terrorism of jihadist inspiration inside the US, even describing it as a threat ‘as dangerous as groups like al-Qaeda, if not more so’.[14] As a consequence of this reassessment, the US authorities began to ask themselves if the emergence of relatively large numbers of radicalised second-generation Muslims that had been observed in Europe could also take place in the US. This fear led to an increased attention on the dynamics and causes of radicalisation among Muslims in both Europe and North America.

Comparing Radicalisation in Europe and America

Five concurring reasons have traditionally been used to explain the divergence between the levels of radicalisation in Europe and the US. The first one is related to the significantly better economic conditions of American Muslims. While European Muslims generally languish at the bottom of most rankings that measure economic integration, American Muslims fare significantly better, and the average American Muslim household’s income is equal to, if not higher, than the average American’s.[15] As the many cases of militants who came from privileged backgrounds have proved, economic integration is not always an antidote to radicalisation, but it is undeniable that radical ideas find a fertile environment among unemployed and disenfranchised youth. A direct consequence of economic integration is the lack of Muslim ghettoes in the US. Areas of large European cities with a high concentration of poor Muslim immigrants have been ideological sanctuaries where radicals could freely spread their message and where radical Islam has become a sort of counterculture. The American Muslim community’s economic conditions have prevented the formation of such enclaves in the US.

Geographic dispersion, immigration patterns and tougher immigration policies have also prevented the formation of extensive recruiting and propaganda networks as those that have sprung up in Europe. While places such as Brooklyn’s al-Farooq mosque or Tucson’s Islamic Center saw extensive jihadist activities in the 1990s, they pale in comparison to recruiting headquarters such as London’s Finsbury Park, Hamburg’s al-Quds mosque or Milan’s Islamic Cultural Institute. Moreover, the fact that large segments of the American Muslim population belong to ethnicities that have traditionally espoused moderate interpretations of Islam has been cited as another reason for America’s lower levels of radicalism. In fact, Muslims from the Iranian and Indian American communities, which account for vast segments of America’s Muslim population, have traditionally embraced moderate forms of Islam and have been, to varying degrees, almost impervious to radicalisation.

Finally, commentators have often pointed out that America is a country built on immigration, traditionally accepting immigrants of all races and religions as citizens. European countries, on the other hand, have been unable to develop a sense of citizenship not linked to century-long identifying factors such as ethnicity and religious affiliation. In a nutshell, it is easy to become American, while it is very difficult for immigrants, particularly if they are not white and Christian, to be accepted as full-fledged Germans, Frenchmen or Spaniards. This sense of exclusion is traditionally cited as one of the factors driving some European Muslims to radicalisation, while the more inclusive nature of American society would prevent American Muslims from undergoing the same process.

While all these characteristics still hold true, they no longer represent a guarantee. Factors such as perception of discrimination and frustration at US foreign policies could lead to radicalisation, irrespective of favourable economic conditions. Experts and community leaders have repeatedly warned about the growing alienation of American Muslims, particularly among those of the second generation. These frustrations could produce what Steven Simon refers to as ‘a rejectionist generation’, which could embrace radical interpretations of Islam.[16] The same conclusion has been reached by a widely publicised report released by the New York Police Department Intelligence Division in 2007. ‘Despite the economic opportunities in the United States’, reads the report, ‘the powerful gravitational pull of individuals’ religious roots and identity sometimes supersedes the assimilating nature of American society which includes pursuit of a professional career, financial stability and material comforts’.[17]

Future Scenarios

The terrorist threat to the US homeland has evolved significantly over the last eight years. Until mid-2003 virtually all of the terrorist conspiracies intended to strike against American soil had been planned, albeit with varying degrees of involvement, by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and al-Qaeda’s central leadership. The arrest of KSM and many of his top lieutenants, al-Qaeda’s loss of the Afghan sanctuary and the significant improvement in homeland security measures triggered a shift that began to materialise in late 2003. With the exception of the 2006 Transatlantic Plot, a plot hatched by UK-based militants apparently directed by al-Qaeda members in Pakistan to detonate liquid explosives on board several US-bound flights, every single attack against the American homeland thwarted by US authorities since then appears to have been conceived by individuals acting independently from al-Qaeda’s leadership.[19]

The individuals involved in these plots have been an odd mix of low-ranking al-Qaeda affiliates and jihad enthusiasts who had never had any contact with al-Qaeda or other established organisations. And most of them have been characterised by the absolute operational independence of the planners. The result of this shift from leader-led to homegrown has been a remarkable decrease in the sophistication of the operations planned, as most of the plotters were amateurish if not embarrassingly clumsy, lacking the basic tradecraft and capabilities to operate undetected or mount any sort of sophisticated attack.

While this was true until a few months ago, there are indications that things are changing. Recent investigations have shown that a small yet increasing number of American Muslims have been travelling to Pakistan to acquire operational skills and establish contacts with various jihadist outfits. One well known case is that of Bryant Neal Vinas, a 26 year-old Long Island native who was captured in Pakistan and brought back to the US in November 2008.[20] Vinas, who had allegedly participated in a rocket attack against a US military base in Afghanistan, decided to cooperate with American interrogators and has since provided ‘an intelligence gold mine’.[21] Thanks to Vinas’ information the authorities have been able to identify and arrest several American and European militants who had also trained with al-Qaeda and affiliated groups in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region.

While this ‘Pakistan connection’ is not new to the European authorities, it is a disturbing new development for their American counterparts. To be sure, Americans had trained with various Afghanistan/Pakistan-based jihadist outfits before and after 9/11. In 2003, for example, the US authorities dismantled the so-called ‘paintball jihad’ network in northern Virginia.[22] The network was formed by a dozen young men from the Washington suburbs who had travelled to Pakistan immediately after 9/11, where they trained with Lashkar-e-Taiba. But what seemed to be isolated cases are increasingly becoming the norm. Moreover, in the case of Vinas and at least two of the cases from the fall of 2009 (the Najibullah Zazi/New York plot and the Chicago/Denmark plot) authorities have noticed with apprehension that American militants returning from Pakistan were significantly better trained and organised than the homegrown jihadists who had been operating in the US over the last few years. The ‘Pakistan connection’, that operational link to organised outfits in the Afghanistan/Pakistan area that makes amateurish homegrown networks graduate into more professional terrorist clusters, has been crucial in the development of jihadist networks in Europe over the last five years and it now appears to have become a significant factor also in the US.

Given these dynamics, one of the scenarios that the US authorities take into particular consideration is the case of a homegrown cluster that, thanks to the directions and skills obtained from al-Qaeda or various al-Qaeda-affiliated networks in Afghanistan/Pakistan, manages to reach sufficient operational sophistication to carry out a significant attack against the American homeland.[23] And if traditionally authorities estimated that al-Qaeda’s leadership intended to strike inside the US only with a mass-casualty attack that would at least rival the actions of 9/11, lately this assessment has been revised.[24] Recent cases have shown that not only independent clusters but also American networks operating in cooperation with Afghanistan/Pakistan-based groups are focusing on less grandiose plans, considering that even a less ambitious attack –on the scale of the 2004 Madrid or 2005 London bombings– would be a success.

If Afghanistan/Pakistan is a major source of concerns, the authorities have also been monitoring the possible impact of the Somali conflict on American domestic security. Over the last few years, in fact, a few dozen young American Muslims have travelled to Somalia to fight and train alongside al-Shabaab, the local Islamist militia battling the Somali government and African Union troops. Most of them have been ethnic Somalis, sons of the large Somali diaspora community present in Minneapolis, Seattle and other American cities. One of them, 27-year-old Minneapolis college student Shirwa Ahmed, reportedly blew himself up in a suicide bombing in northern Somalia in October 2008.[25] Another four Minneapolis residents have been reported killed in the African country since then. A few non-ethnic Somali Americans have also reportedly joined al-Shabaab. While the New Jersey native of Egyptian descent Amir Mohamed Meshal and Massachusetts-born convert Daniel Maldonado have been arrested after leaving Somalia, Alabama native Omar Hammami is still very much active inside the country, starring in several English language al-Shabaab propaganda videos under the nom de guerre Abu Mansour al Amriki.

While there are no indications that al-Shabaab is planning an attack within the US, its increased focus on global issues and public support for al-Qaeda make the hypothesis not that far-fetched. Moreover, while many of the foreign fighters joining al-Shabaab, whether from the US, Europe or other regions, are Somalis driven by some sort of nationalist sentiment, others are aspiring jihadists whose interest in the African country is mostly tactical and temporary. It is safe to assume that many of them, given the opportunity, would use the skills acquired in Somalia against other targets. Questioned by American interrogators after his arrest, in fact, Daniel Maldonado described his experience in the African country with these words: ‘I would be fighting the Somali militia, and that turned into fighting the Ethiopians, and if Americans came, I would fight them too’.[26] The fact that Maldonado was in close contact with the individuals arrested in Boston in October 2009 provides additional evidence as to why the ‘Somalia connection’ is considered a serious threat.

Conclusion: Since 9/11 the American counterterrorism posture has been extraordinarily aggressive, both domestically and globally. Extensive overseas military and intelligence gathering actions, the introduction of enhanced investigative powers, a significantly improved inter-agency coordination and, in general, a constant high level of vigilance have allowed the authorities to keep the country safe from terrorist attacks. While some civil libertarians might have a point in questioning some of the tools used to do so, the achievement is nevertheless remarkable. At the same time, though, the US seems to be lacking a long-term strategy to confront the threat of radicalisation on the domestic front. The authorities have in fact been unable to conceive a policy that would pre-emptively tackle the issue of radicalisation, preventing young American Muslims from embracing extremist ideas in the first place.

Various intelligence and law enforcement agencies have reached out to the academic community to better understand the social, political and psychological causes of radicalisation. But the limited understanding of the issue, coupled with the overlap of jurisdiction between often competing federal, state and local authorities, has prevented the implementation of a systematic, nationwide programme to combat radicalisation. Solutions are, to be sure, hard to find. Europeans, who experienced the problem of radicalisation of segments of their own Muslim communities well before the US, are still struggling with the same issue and are only now attempting to put in place coherent anti-radicalisation programmes, the success of which must still be verified. Equally challenging have been the efforts, on both sides of the Atlantic, to find reliable and representative organisations within various Muslim communities to be employed as partners in anti-radicalisation activities. Clearly, more attention and analysis should be devoted to the issue. But the awareness that homegrown terrorism of jihadist inspiration does exist in the US is a necessary starting point. The events of the fall of 2009 provided, if needed, additional evidence to suggest so.

Lorenzo Vidino

Fellow at the Initiative on Religion in International Affairs, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a Peace Scholar at the US Institute of Peace

[1] It goes without saying that various forms of homegrown terrorism have long threatened the US, some of them well before those of jihadist inspiration. Right-wing militias, radical environmentalist groups and, to a lesser degree, some fringe left-wing and anarchist groups are very much active inside the country and have occasionally carried out violent acts over the last few years. Yet it is undeniable that, in terms of magnitude, frequency and sophistication, homegrown terrorism of jihadist inspiration currently represents the most immediate threat against the US and is therefore the subject of this analysis.

[2]http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel09/zazi_092009.htm.

[3] Kevin Johnson, ‘Alleged terror threat seen as “most serious” since 9/11 attacks’, USA Today, 25/IX/2009.

[4]http://dallas.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel09/dl092409.htm.

[5] Jon Nielsen, ‘FBI says Dallas terror plot suspect made video to send to Osama bin Laden’, Dallas Morning News, 5/X/ 2009.

[6] http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/ilc/press/2009/09September/24Finton.html.

[7] http://boston.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel09/bs102109a.htm.

[8] http://www.justice.gov/usao/iln/pr/chicago/2009/pr1027_01.pdf.

[9] http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2009/December/09-nsd-1304.html.

[10] http://detroit.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel09/de102809.htm.

[11] Waqar Gilani & Jane Perlez, ‘5 US Men Arrested Said to Plan Jihad Training’, New York Times, 11/XII/2009.

[12] For an overview, see Lorenzo Vidino, ‘Homegrown Jihadist Terrorism in the United States: A New and Occasional Phenomenon?’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, vol. 32, 1/I/2009, p. 1-17.

[13] http://www.lawandsecurity.org/publications/TTRCHighlightsSept25th.pdf.

[14] Remarks of FBI Director Robert Muller, City Club of Cleveland, 23/VI/2006.

[15] Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream, Pew Research Center, 22/V/2007, p. 24-5.

[16] Steven Simon, Statement before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 12/IX/2006.

[17] Report by Mitchell D. Silber and Arvin Bhatt, New York Police Department Intelligence Division, Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat, August 2007, p. 8.

[18] Bruce Hoffman, ‘The Use of the Internet by Islamic Extremists’, Testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, 4/V/2006.

[19] Vidino, ‘Homegrown Jihadist Terrorism in the United States’.

[20] US v. Bryant Neal Vinas, Superseding Indictment, US District Court, Eastern District of New York, 08-823 (NGG) (S-1), 28/I/2009.

[21] ‘Man Was “Gold Mine” of Terror Intel’, Associated Press, 31/VII/2009.

[22] Terrorism in the United States, 2002-2005, unclassified report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,http://www.fbi.gov/publications/terror/terrorism2002_2005.htm.

[23] Interview with various FBI officials, September/October 2009, Boston and Washington DC.

[24] David Johnston & Eric Schmitt, ‘Smaller-Scale Terrorism Plots Pose New and Worrisome Threats, Officials Say’, New York Times, 31/X/2009.

[25] http://minneapolis.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel09/mp112309.htm.

[26] Affidavit of FBI Special Agent Jeremiah A. George in US v. Daniel Joseph Maldonado, US District Court, Southern District of Texas, H-07-125M, 13/II/2007.


Désinformation: L’autre négationnisme caché des massacres musulmans en Inde (Was There an Islamic "genocide" of Hindus?)

12 mars, 2013
The Mohammedan Conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precarious thing, whose delicate complex of order and liberty, culture and peace may at any time be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within. The Hindus had allowed their strength to be wasted in internal division and war; they had adopted religions like Buddhism and Jainism, which unnerved them for the tasks of life; they had failed to organize their forces for the protection of their frontiers and their capitals, their wealth and their freedom, from the hordes of Scythians, Huns, Afghans and Turks hovering about India’s boundaries and waiting for national weakness to let them in. For four hundred years (600-1000 A.D.) India invited conquest; and at last it came. Will Durant (The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage, 1935)
La conquête musulmane en Inde fut probablement la plus sanglante que l’humanité ait jamais vue. C’est une histoire décourageante, car sa morale évidente c’est que la civilisation est une chose bien précieuse, dont l’ordre complexe et la liberté peuvent être à tout moment piétinés par des barbares qui envahissent du dehors et se multiplient au dedans. Will Durant
Pendant près de CINQ mois, les musulmans s’employèrent à tout détruire, les temples, les palais, les magnifiques résidences. Les scènes de massacre et d’horreur dépassèrent, disent les témoins, tout ce que l’esprit peut imaginer. Et il ne resta de la plus belle et la plus prospère cité de l’Inde que quelques ruines fumantes. Will Durant (description du sac par Husain Nizam Shah de la ville de Vijaynagar en 1565, capitale du dernier grand empire Hindou)
The levies it had to pay were so crushing that one catastrophic harvest was enough to unleash famines and epidemics capable of killing a million people at a time. Appalling poverty was the constant counterpart of the conquerors’ opulence. Braudel
Growth of Muslim Population in Medieval India (1000-1800) is a book by K. S. Lal published in 1973. The book assesses the demographics of India between 1000 CE and 1500 CE. On the basis of the available historical evidence, K.S. Lal concluded that the population of India in 1000 was about 200 million and in 1500 was about 170 million. He says, however, that "any study of the population of the pre-census times can be based only on estimates, and estimates by their very nature tend to be tentative." Lal estimates that about 60 to 80 million people died in India between 1000 and 1525 as a result of the Islamic invasion of India. He concluded that about 2 million people died during Mahmud of Ghazni’s invasions of India alone. Wikipedia
The author is known for his detailed studies of the Khalji dynasty and of the fifteenth-century Delhi Sultanate. He is well versed in the sources of medieval North Indian history. In the present study he has assembled almost all the conceivably relevant data and for this reason it will remain of value as a compendium of references. Yet the unknown variables are so great and the quality of the data yielded by our sources so poor that almost any detailed general estimates of population based upon them must appear wilful, if not fantastic. Simon Digby
The number of victims of this persecution surpasses that of the Nazi crimes. … The Islamic reports on the massacres of Hindus, destruction of Hindu temples, the abduction of Hindu women and forced conversions, invariably express great glee and pride. … In my study of the Ayodhya controversy, I noticed that the frequent attempts to conceal or deny inconvenient evidence were an integral part of a larger effort to rewrite India’s history and to whitewash Islam. It struck me that this effort to deny the unpleasant facts of Islam’s destructive role in Indian history is similar to the attempts by some European writers to deny the Nazi holocaust. European negationists applaud Hitler’s reign and deny its horrors. Indian negationists eulogize Islamic rule and deny its millionfold murders and the catastrophe it wrought in Indian cultural, political and religious life. Koenraad Elst
A partir du moment où les musulmans arrivèrent dans l’Inde, l’histoire de l’Inde n’a plus grand intérêt car elle devient une longue et monotone série de meurtres, de massacres, de spoliations, de destructions, toujours au nom de la foi, du dieu unique, dont ils se croient les agents. Alain Daniélou
Un autre de ces féroces conquérants s’appelait Babour, illustre pour ses massacres inutiles. Babour ne cachait pas que son but final était la destruction, ou bien l’esclavage total de la race hindoue. C’est justement Babour qui détruisit le temple d’Ayodhya au 16è siècle et fit construire une mosquée à sa place. 400 ans plus tard, une poignée de militants hindous rasèrent la mosquée d’Ayodhya; la communauté musulmane en fut tellement outrée qu’il s’ensuivit des terribles émeutes inter-religieuses, particulièrement à Bombay, qui firent près de 2000 morts. Aujourd’hui, Ayodhya est devenu un symbole en Inde: les musulmans exigent sa reconstruction, oubliant qu’ils ont détruit en Inde des millions de temples et qu’aujourd’hui encore les Pakistanais et les Bangladeshis s’attaquent encore lors de pogroms (tel celui que Taslima Nasreen décrit dans son livre "la honte") aux derniers temples hindous. Quant aux nationalistes hindous, ils insistent pour y reconstruire le temple dédié à Rama, un de leurs dieux les plus chéris. Autre empereur sanglant, Shah Jahan, célèbre pour avoir fait construire une des sept merveilles du monde, le fabuleux Taj Mahal; mais l’homme en lui-même était un monstre: il fit crever les yeux de son frère Shahryar, dépêcha dans l’autre monde tous ses rivaux potentiels, fit mettre à mort deux de ses fils et fit couper en petits morceaux le prince afghan Lodi. C’est cependant un autre de ses fils, Aurangzeb, qui fut le plus cruel des empereurs moghols. Lorsque les célèbres Mahrattes de Shivaji, le dernier nationaliste hindou, s’élevèrent contre lui, Aurangzeb réussit à faire prisonnier Shambuji, le fils de Shivaji, ainsi que son ministre Kavi-Kalash. Il les fit torturer scientifiquement pendant trois semaines; puis on les coupa en petits morceaux, jusqu’à ce qu’ils meurent le 11 mars 1689; toute l’Inde en pleura. François Gautier

Après le tabou sur la traite arabe,… l’omerta sur les massacres musulmans en Inde !

Suite à la récente mise en pièces médiatique d’une Véronique Genest singulièrement peu préparée face à des contradicteurs bardés eux de leurs certitudes et de leurs fiches …

Et à sa tentative notamment d’évoquer, au-delà de l’évident biais anti-israélien de la plupart de nos médias, les massacres massifs qui ont marqué la conquête musulmane de l’Inde …

Retour, au-delà de l’apparente difficulté à fixer des chiffres (les dizaines de millions évoquées sont de l’aveu lui-même de l’historien indien Lai une estimation par définition difficilement vérifiable et les termes de génocide et holocauste employés par Elst et Gautier probablement excessifs) et avec les quelques passionnés ou courageux qui restent …

Sur l’étrange omerta générale qui semble affecter la question …

Y compris et d’ailleurs d’abord en Inde même où, comme nous avons pu nous-même brièvement le vérifier lors d’une récente visite des certes magnifiques restes laissés entre la capitale et le Rajahstan par cette sanglante conquête, prospère pourtant le plus tranquille des anti-britannicismes ..

L’Islam en Inde

François Gautier

"L’impact de l’islam en Inde" fut cataclysmique écrit l’indianiste français Louis Frederick dans son ouvrage ‘L’Islam de l’Inde’. La destruction de toutes les statues, dont les Bouddhas géants de Bamiyan, ordonnée par les Taliban, vient nous rappeler que treize siècles après la naissance du Prophète, ses injonctions sont encore prises au pied de la lettre.

En l’an 570 naissait le prophète Mahomet et à partir de 632, les invasions arabes commencèrent à pénétrer en Inde. Il ne s’agit pas ici de faire une critique de l’islam, qui a laissé un merveilleux héritage dans le sous-continent indien. Car l’Islam ne tue pas l’âme d’un pays, il assimile sa culture, comme il l’a fait ici. L’architecture moghole, par exemple, préserva en Inde la parfaite symétrie linéaire du dessin musulman, en lui donnant une plus grande humanité; la musique vocale quawali, qui a charmé des générations d’Indiens et qui commence à se faire connaître dans le monde occidental grâce à feu Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, emprunta à la tradition hindoustanie; le concept du zéro fut inventé par les Indiens, mais les Arabes s’en emparèrent pour en faire un système mathématique. Enfin et surtout, le soufisme est né de la fusion de l’Islam avec l’Advaita, une des branches de l’hindouisme, et représente encore aujourd’hui l’aspect le plus mystique, le plus tolérant du monde islamique.

Pourtant, l’islam écrasa l’hindouisme impitoyablement, car les hindous se prosternent devant des images et des dieux de pierre et cela en fait les pires ennemis de l’Islam. Et le Prophète n’a-t-il pas dit: " tu n’adoreras pas des idoles de pierre "? C’est pourquoi, les Arabes, lorsqu’ils envahirent l’Inde, ne se sentirent jamais coupables de tuer tant d’Hindous. Au contraire, c’était une obligation, un devoir sacré: Jihad fi Sabilillah, " la guerre sainte pour la plus grande gloire d’Allah ". Disons le tout de suite: les massacres perpétrés par les Arabes en Inde sont sans parallèle dans l’histoire mondiale. Plus encore que l’holocauste des Juifs par les Nazis, ou le massacre des Arméniens par les Turcs, plus considérables même que la tuerie des Incas et des Aztèques aux mains des Espagnols. On ne dira jamais assez l’incroyable mal qui fut fait à la culture indienne, à sa population, à sa civilisation et à son environnement pendant dix siècles d’invasions successives. " A partir du moment où les musulmans arrivèrent dans l’Inde, l’histoire de l’Inde n’a plus grand intérêt, écrit l’historien français Alain Daniélou, car elle devient une longue et monotone série de meurtres, de massacres, de spoliations, de destructions, toujours au nom de la foi, du dieu unique, dont ils se croient les agents". Chaque nouvel envahisseur bâtissait littéralement sa montagne de crânes Hindous. Ainsi la conquête de l’Afghanistan en l’an 1000 fut suivie par l’annihilation de l’ENTIERE population hindoue de cette région, qu’on appelle toujours d’ailleurs " Hindu Kush ", le massacre des Hindous. Les Sultans Bahmani, qui gouvernaient en Inde centrale, s’étaient fixé un quota de 100.000 Hindous par an et semblent s’y être tenus. Mais en 1399, le célèbre Teimur fit mieux, il tua 100.000 hindous en UNE SEULE JOURNEE, un record. L’historien américain Will Durant estime quant à lui " que la conquête musulmane en Inde fut probablement la plus sanglante que l’humanité ait jamais vue. C’est une histoire décourageante, car sa morale évidente c’est que la civilisation est une chose bien précieuse, dont l’ordre complexe et la liberté peuvent être à tout moment piétinés par des barbares qui envahissent du dehors et se multiplient au dedans ". (Notre héritage oriental. New York 1972, p.459). Mais les massacres musulmans les plus sanglants furent perpétrés après le 14ème siècle, aux mains des Moghols. Durant cite le sac par Husain Nizam Shah de la magnifique ville de Vijaynagar en 1565, capitale du dernier grand empire Hindou " qui était comme une île de raffinement, de chevalerie et de beauté au milieu d’une Inde brisée et sanglante ". Ce fut une horreur apocalyptique: " Pendant près de CINQ mois, les musulmans s’employèrent à tout détruire, les temples, les palais, les magnifiques résidences. Les scènes de massacre et d’horreur dépassèrent, disent les témoins, tout ce que l’esprit peut imaginer. Et il ne resta de la plus belle et la plus prospère cité de l’Inde que quelques ruines fumantes ".

Un autre de ces féroces conquérants s’appelait Babour, illustre pour ses massacres inutiles. Babour ne cachait pas que son but final était la destruction, ou bien l’esclavage total de la race hindoue. C’est justement Babour qui détruisit le temple d’Ayodhya au 16è siècle et fit construire une mosquée à sa place. 400 ans plus tard, une poignée de militants hindous rasèrent la mosquée d’Ayodhya; la communauté musulmane en fut tellement outrée qu’il s’ensuivit des terribles émeutes inter-religieuses, particulièrement à Bombay, qui firent près de 2000 morts. Aujourd’hui, Ayodhya est devenu un symbole en Inde: les musulmans exigent sa reconstruction, oubliant qu’ils ont détruit en Inde des millions de temples et qu’aujourd’hui encore les Pakistanais et les Bangladeshis s’attaquent encore lors de pogroms (tel celui que Taslima Nasreen décrit dans son livre "la honte") aux derniers temples hindous. Quant aux nationalistes hindous, ils insistent pour y reconstruire le temple dédié à Rama, un de leurs dieux les plus chéris.

Autre empereur sanglant, Shah Jahan, célèbre pour avoir fait construire une des sept merveilles du monde, le fabuleux Taj Mahal; mais l’homme en lui-même était un monstre: il fit crever les yeux de son frère Shahryar, dépêcha dans l’autre monde tous ses rivaux potentiels, fit mettre à mort deux de ses fils et fit couper en petits morceaux le prince afghan Lodi. C’est cependant un autre de ses fils, Aurangzeb, qui fut le plus cruel des empereurs moghols. Lorsque les célèbres Mahrattes de Shivaji, le dernier nationaliste hindou, s’élevèrent contre lui, Aurangzeb réussit à faire prisonnier Shambuji, le fils de Shivaji, ainsi que son ministre Kavi-Kalash. Il les fit torturer scientifiquement pendant trois semaines; puis on les coupa en petits morceaux, jusqu’à ce qu’ils meurent le 11 mars 1689; toute l’Inde en pleura.

A la fin de son règne, les coffres de l’état étaient vides, la merveilleuse culture indienne, ses arts, sa musique, avaient été bannis et les Hindous, une fois de plus étaient hantés par une terrible persécution. Mais les malheurs des Hindous n’étaient pas terminés. L’Iranien Nadir Shah attaqua Delhi en 1739 et pendant une semaine entière, ses soldats massacrèrent tous les habitants, hommes, femmes et enfants, saccagèrent tout et rasèrent totalement la campagne environnante, afin que les éventuels survivants n’aient rien à manger. Nadir Shah repartit en Iran avec 10.000 chevaux, des trésors d’art inestimables, dont le fameux diamant Kohinoor et le trône du Paon utilisé plus tard par le Shah d’Iran, ainsi que 150 millions de roupies en or, une fortune pour l’époque. Du coup, la dynastie moghole en devint si affaiblie, que l’Inde fut mûre pour les colonisateurs européens.

Chapitre 7

La négation des atrocités musulmanes en Inde

Il y eut naturellement des intermèdes, sous de « bons » Califes mais le fanatisme destructeur reprit toujours finalement le dessus.

(A. Daniélou)

Grâce à l’abbé Pierre, à Roger Garaudy et à bien d’autres encore, nous savons aujourd’hui que le révisionnisme, quand il s’applique à l’Histoire, c’est la négation des grands génocides commis par l’homme contre l’homme. Le plus connu des cas, c’est bien sûr l’extermination des 6 millions de juifs par les nazis, au nom d’une monstrueuse idéologie aryenne, telle que la concevait Hitler. Mais on pourrait également citer le massacre des 1,5 millions d’Arméniens par les Turcs, du million de Tibétains aux mains des Chinois, ou des 3 millions de Russes par Staline. Tous ces massacres sont des faits historiques qui ont été niés par ceux qui les ont perpétrés. Mais nier n’est pas un mot suffisamment fort. Ils ont fait l’objet d’une campagne de désinformation systématique, qui employa mille et un trucs – habiles ou grossiers, demi-vérités ou moitié de mensonge – et introduisant une telle confusion, que personne ne sait plus où est la vérité. Quelquefois ce sont les chiffres qui sont niés ou passés aux oubliettes de l’histoire. Ainsi, même si nos livres d’histoire gardent un silence discret sur ses conséquences humaines, la conquête espagnole du continent sud-américain fut sans aucun doute l’une des plus sanglantes de l’Histoire. Certains historiens ont estimé que sur les 90 millions d’âmes que comptait le continent sud-américain en 1492, 30 millions seulement survécurent aux Espagnols, terribles chiffres en vérité.

Mais saviez-vous que la conquête des musulmans en Inde fut plus terrifiante encore ? Car si dans le reste du monde, que ce soit en Asie, en Afrique ou même en Yougoslavie, des populations entières choisirent de se convertir à l’islam plutôt que de subir la mort, les hindous, excepté une minorité appartenant aux castes les plus défavorisées, refusèrent d’embrasser l’islam – et les massacres furent horrifiants. Des villes entières furent brûlées et leurs populations passées au fil de l’épée. Chaque campagne successive fit des dizaines de milliers de victimes et des millions de femmes et d’enfants furent emmenés en esclavage. Chaque nouvel envahisseur bâtissait littéralement sa montagne de crânes hindous. Ainsi la conquête de l’Afghanistan en l’an 1000 fut suivie par l’annihilation de l’ENTIÈRE population hindoue de cette région, qu’on appelle toujours d’ailleurs « Hindu Kush », le massacre des hindous. Les Sultans Bahmani, qui gouvernaient en Inde centrale, s’étaient fixé un quota de 100 000 hindous par an et semblent s’y être tenus. Mais en 1399, le célèbre Timur fit mieux, il tua 100 000 hindous en UNE SEULE JOURNÉE, un record. Le Professeur K.S. Lal dans son livre La Croissance de la Population musulmane en Inde estime qu’entre les seules années 1000 à 1525, 80 millions d’hindous furent tués, (sans parler des famines et autres calamités naturelles engendrées par la guerre), « sans doute le plus grand holocauste de l’histoire de l’humanité », affirme-t-il.

Mais aujourd’hui ce terrible épisode de l’histoire de l’Inde a été occulté : c’est à peine si les nombreuses Histoires de l’Inde, que nous utilisons comme référence, telle celle de Jacques Dupuis, y font allusion. Par exemple, après avoir pourtant réitéré, sans doute parce que cela fait partie de l’histoire officielle, que « Timur, lorsqu’il s’empara de Delhi, fit mettre à mort de sang-froid 100 000 prisonniers – la population de Delhi fut massacrée pendant plusieurs jours et les têtes des victimes s’entassaient en énormes pyramides », Dupuis postule trois lignes plus bas : « Il y eut bien des conversions forcées, surtout au début : un certain nombre d’hindous embrassèrent l’islam pour échapper à la mort. Mais lorsque le pouvoir des sultans musulmans fut établi en Inde, l’attrait des avantages sociaux fut plus efficace que la contrainte. En effet l’égalitarisme musulman efface toute distinction officielle entre les conquérants et les hindous convertis : celui qui s’est converti à l’islam devient en principe, l’égal des vainqueurs. » [1] Nous reviendrons sur ce mot égalitarisme, qui a été si souvent utilisé par les révisionnistes marxistes pour nier le massacre des hindous.

Cependant quelques historiens se sont élevés contre ce négationnisme flagrant. Parmi eux, l’historien et sociologue belge Koenraad Elst, qui dans un livre remarquable, Negationism in India, traite de la négation des atrocités musulmanes en Inde. Cette négation des atrocités musulmanes, argue Elst, a gommé tout un chapitre capital de l’histoire indienne, le faisant disparaître non seulement des manuels d’histoire, mais aussi de la mémoire des Indiens. Car contrairement aux juifs, par exemple, qui ont constamment essayé depuis l’holocauste de garder vivante la mémoire de leurs six millions de martyrs, l’intelligentsia marxiste indienne a sciemment choisi de passer sous silence le génocide des hindous par les musulmans. Il n’est pas question de vengeance : « Les juifs d’aujourd’hui veulent-ils se venger de l’Allemagne contemporaine ? écrit-il. Non, le souvenir d’un holocauste sert uniquement à apprendre aux générations suivantes à ne pas répéter les erreurs d’hier ; c’est sa seule raison d’être. Voilà pourquoi les commémorations sont toujours importantes, que ce soit celles de l’holocauste juif ou l’anniversaire de la fin de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, qui vit tant d’horreurs. » [2] Mais malheureusement, la persécution des hindous continue aujourd’hui dans le sous-continent : les 250 000 hindous qui vivaient encore dans la vallée du Cachemire jusqu’à il y a quelques années (ils étaient 1 million au début du siècle et 3 millions en 1825), ont fui la terre de leurs ancêtres, après une campagne de terrorisme organisée par les séparatistes musulmans. Et en Afghanistan, les moudjahidins, lorsqu’ils prirent le pouvoir après le départ des Soviétiques, chassèrent les 50 000 hindous qui étaient là depuis plusieurs générations. On ne vous parle pas des minorités hindoues oppressées dans les pays musulmans d’Asie du Sud, que ce soit au Bangladesh ou au Pakistan, où pogroms et destructions de temples, sont encore monnaie courante, comme Taslima Nasreen le raconte dans son livre Lajja (La Honte). Une mémoire collective ne devrait jamais être occultée, même si c’est dans le but de ne pas froisser une minorité ethnique ou religieuse.

Mais c’est justement ce qui s’est passé en Inde, où ce sont les hindous eux-mêmes qui ont constamment nié le génocide musulman. L’écrivain communiste M.N. Roy n’a-t-il pas écrit : « L’islam a rempli en Inde une mission d’égalitarisme et qu’en cela il fut bien accueilli par les castes défavorisées. » Et il continue : « C’était une question de lutte des classes tout à fait justifiée entre des forces progressives (les musulmans) et les forces féodales (les hindous de haute caste). »

Jawharlal Nehru, le père de l’Inde moderne, semble lui aussi d’accord avec son compatriote : « L’architecture fascinait Mahmud Ghazni [célèbre pour avoir rasé des milliers de temples, en particulier ceux de la ville de Mathura, chère aux hindous parce qu'ils considèrent que c'est le lieu de naissance de Krishna] et il était très impressionné par la ville de Mathura, où il y avait des milliers d’édifices à la gloire de dieu. Mahmud n’était pas un homme religieux ; il était musulman, mais c’était secondaire, car avant tout c’était un soldat et un brillant guerrier.» Quel étonnant éloge d’un homme qui s’était fait un devoir de terroriser et d’humilier l’entière population hindoue ! Nehru et Mr. Roy sont les porte-paroles de cette négation par des hindous du génocide perpétré par les musulmans – négation qui est en fait d’inspiration marxiste. Car, à partir des années 20, toute une génération d’intellectuels indiens se tourne vers l’Union Soviétique. Nehru, grand admirateur de l’idéologie socialiste, à partir de laquelle il façonnera l’Inde indépendante, suit aveuglement la politique soviétique, y compris celle qui fait des juifs des méchants et des arabes les opprimés (l’Inde n’aura pas de relations avec Israël pendant 47 ans, mais par contre, elle s’entendra cordialement avec Saddam Hussain). C’est ainsi que bien avant l’indépendance, trois générations d’historiens, de sociologues et d’intellectuels indiens marxistes s’appliqueront à persuader leurs compatriotes (et le reste du monde) qu’il n’y a jamais eu de génocide des hindous par les musulmans. Ils leur apprendront également à haïr le système des castes et à ridiculiser tout ce qui est hindou, même si l’hindouisme avait fait la grandeur de l’Inde. Et c’est le parti du Congrès de Nehru qui devint le porte-parole officiel de cette cause-là. Écoutez ce qu’en dit Daniélou : « Le Congrès attaquait partout les hindous en cherchant à les ridiculiser, en exagérant énormément les histoires d’intouchabilité, de culte des vaches, etc.» La Mecque intellectuelle du marxisme nehruvien en Inde se situe à New Delhi, au sein de la prestigieuse Jawaharlal Nehru University. C’est là que les intellectuels indiens façonnèrent le mythe musulman, celui des méchants brahmanes et des bons intouchables, en s’attardant sur le génie bienveillant des Moghols. Ainsi, dans le célèbre livre Communalism and the writing of Indian history, Romila Thapar, Harbans Mukhia et Bipan Chandra, professeurs à la JNU, nient le génocide, en le remplaçant par un conflit de classes : « Les musulmans libérèrent les castes défavorisées en leur donnant accès à l’islam ». La redoutable Romila Thapar, une sommité intellectuelle en Inde, a publié par ailleurs chez Penguin, en collaboration avec l’historien britannique Percival Spear, une Histoire de l’Inde où elle écrit : « La supposée intolérance d’Aurangzeb n’est rien d’autre qu’une légende hostile basée sur quelques actes épars, comme l’érection d’une mosquée sur un temple à Bénarès. »

Quels sont les faits ? Aurangzeb (1658-1707), ne construisit pas seulement une énorme mosquée sur le Kashi Vishvanath, le plus vénérable temple de Bénarès, la ville sainte hindoue, temple qu’il avait auparavant fait raser, il ordonna la destruction de TOUS les temples en Inde, dont celui de Krishna à Mathura, un des plus sacrés du pays, le temple de Somnath au Gujarat qui fut rebâti après avoir été déjà détruit par d’autres arabes, celui de Vishnu qui fut remplacé par la mosquée d’Alamgir qui surplombe Bénares, ou le temple Treka-ka-Thakur à Ayodhya, et fit construire des mosquées à leur place. Le nombre de temples détruits par Aurangzeb se compte non pas en centaines mais en milliers. D’ailleurs, Aurangzeb était fier de ses actes. Aussi les faisait-il noter dans les chroniques officielles de sa cour : « Aurangzeb ordonna à tous les gouverneurs de province de détruire tous les temples et toutes les écoles des païens et de mettre radicalement fin à tous les enseignements et les pratiques païennes. » Ou encore : « Hasan Ali Khan, gouverneur de Jodhpur (au Rajasthan), fit savoir à Aurangzeb que 172 temples furent détruits dans son district… Sa Majesté se rendit le lendemain à Chittor et 63 temples furent rasés… Abu Darab sommé de détruire le temples à idoles d’Amber, informa l’empereur qu’il avait déjà rasé 66 d’entre eux dans son district…»

Aurangzeb ne se contenta pas de détruire des temples, il fit aussi éliminer les païens : « Ahmed Khan fit savoir à Sa Majesté que 2 000 hindous furent exécutés parce qu’ils continuaient leurs abominations religieuses. » Le gourou sikh Tegh Bahadur fut décapité parce qu’il protestait contre les conversions forcées d’Aurangzeb. Et même le propre frère de l’empereur, Dara Shikoh, fut exécuté pour s’être intéressé à la religion hindoue. Comme on peut le constater, l’image d’un Aurangzeb bienveillant propagée par Romila Thapar et Percival Spear, est totalement fausse. Malheureusement, même la respectable Encyclopedia Britannica ne mentionne aucune persécution des hindous dans son chapitre sur la période moghole, excepté : « Firuz Shah Tuglak [qui] essaya sans grand succès de convertir ses sujets et les persécuta quelquefois » ! ! !

Mais les païens étaient trop nombreux pour qu’on puisse les exterminer tous et la religion hindoue était si bien ancrée dans le cœur des Indiens qu’elle ne fut jamais conquise. Elle se retira tout simplement dans le secret des maisons, dans le cœur de ses fidèles et fut préservée par l’admirable volonté des brahmanes. Réalisant ainsi qu’ils ne seraient jamais capables de conquérir cette religion extraordinaire, les empereurs musulmans décidèrent de permettre aux impies de devenir zimmis, citoyens de deuxième classe, soumis à 20 conditions, chacune plus humiliante l’une que l’autre, dont le lourd impôt, dit de tolérance : jizya. « C’est à cause de cette loi hanifite, écrit Elst, que la plupart des chefs musulmans en Inde se considérèrent désormais exempts du devoir de génocide envers les hindous. » La dernière djihad contre les hindous fut menée à la fin du 18ème siècle par Tippu Sultan, canonisé plus tard par l’histoire pour avoir combattu les Anglais au côté des Français, mais qui en réalité était fanatiquement anti-hindou. Dès le début du 19ème siècle, à la suite de la mutinerie de 1857 contre les Anglais, à laquelle les musulmans prirent part afin de reprendre le pouvoir en Inde, les musulmans indiens sombrèrent généralement dans l’apathie et l’analphabétisme, de par le refus de leurs mollahs à les encourager à l’éducation britannique (alors qu’une minorité intellectuelle hindoue s’y attela) et leur nostalgie du passé « glorieux ». Mais le négationnisme avait déjà pris racine en Inde.

Ainsi, Aligarh, une des universités les plus importantes en Inde, réservée en majorité aux musulmans (qui exigèrent des Anglais la ségrégation de l’éducation, afin de préserver la pureté de leur religion), vit la naissance de plusieurs mouvements islamiques militants. De surcroît, c’est là que fermenta au début des années 30 l’idée d’un état séparé pour les musulmans après le départ des Britanniques, idée qui engendra la création du Pakistan. C’est également là que fut élaborée la tentative de certains historiens musulmans, tel Mohamed Habib, de réécrire l’histoire de l’Inde, en particulier la période qui traite des invasions musulmanes. En 1920, Habib commença à rédiger son magnum opus, dont la structure repose sur quatre grandes théories : 1) Les chroniques et biographies écrites par les musulmans eux-mêmes relatant les massacres des hindous ou la mise en esclavage de leurs femmes et enfants et la destruction de leurs temples, « étaient le plus souvent des exagérations de poètes de cour ». 2) Il y eut bien « quelques » atrocités, mais qu’elles furent commises par des Turcs, « ces sauvages venus des steppes ». 3) La destruction des temples hindous eut lieu « parce qu’ils regorgeaient d’or et d’argent et que tout naturellement les armées musulmanes les pillèrent ». 4) Il n’y eut pas de conversions forcées d’hindous à l’islam, « mais la population, d’elle-même, décida de choisir la charia contre la loi hindoue (Smriti), car ils étaient tous opprimés par les brahmanes… »

Malheureusement pour Habib et son école, les envahisseurs musulmans ont minutieusement documenté le massacre des hindous, car ils étaient constamment persuadés qu’ils faisaient leur devoir. Mahmud Ghazni (997-1030) par exemple, n’était pas un barbare des steppes, bien qu’il fut Turc ; c’était un patron des arts et de la littérature, qui récitait des vers du Coran tous les soirs après avoir tué sa quote-part d’infidèles et rasé les temples des païens. Firuz Shah Tughlak (1351-1388) mentionné plus haut, était également connu pour sa grande piété : « Le jour du grand festival hindou, je me suis rendu là-bas moi-même et j’ai ordonné l’exécution non seulement des prêtres, mais aussi de tous les pratiquants de cette abomination… J’ai détruit leurs temples et construit des mosquées à leur place ». Finalement, comme le remarque Elst : « Les fanatiques musulmans n’étaient que les exécutants fidèles des commandements coraniques. »

Autre exemple de négationnisme flagrant plus près de chez nous : L’Histoire de l’Inde Moderne, que nous avons déjà mentionnée. Après avoir souscrit à l’habituelle théorie des « mythiques Aryens », accusé Shiva, deuxième divinité de la trinité hindoue, « d’incarner des forces obscures », et bien sûr, usé du mot « fanatiques » pour décrire les hindous qui rasèrent la mosquée d’Ayodhya, les auteurs s’empressent de faire l’éloge des Moghols et de passer sous silence tous leurs crimes.

Dans le chapitre consacré par exemple à Vijayanagar, qui fut le dernier grand empire hindou des Indes, un des plus beaux, celui qui symbolisait une renaissance hindoue après 9 siècles de conquête musulmane, on ne peut s’empêcher de percevoir l’inimitié de l’auteur (7 historiens ont co-écrit cette histoire) pour l’hindouisme. On accuse d’abord les deux jeunes princes fondateurs de Vijayanagar, qui furent convertis de force à l’islam, d’avoir « renié l’islam » aussitôt remis en liberté ; puis on souligne « l’ambition des brahmanes » qui se servirent de ces princes renégats pour reconquérir leur pouvoir perdu aux mains des Arabes. [3] On mentionne ensuite « l’insatiable exigence du pouvoir central (hindou, bien sûr), à l’égard de ceux qui lui étaient soumis », [4] en oubliant de mentionner qu’à Vijayanagar les hindous connaissaient enfin la liberté du culte, qu’on ne les tuait pas, qu’on ne rasait pas leurs temples, qu’on ne violait pas leurs femmes, qu’on n’envoyait pas leurs enfants en esclavage. On qualifie par ailleurs Vijayanagar de « royaume guerrier », [5] comme si les hindous avaient le privilège du militantisme et qu’il leur fallait baisser les bras devant l’ennemi musulman, le belliciste sans pitié par excellence… Et tout cela finalement pour passer en exactement sept mots sur l’horrible sac de Vijayanagar : « Pillages et massacres durèrent trois jours entiers », ajoutant, pour bien montrer la magnanimité des Moghols : « Les sultans laissèrent à chacun ses prises, joyaux, esclaves, tissus précieux, ne gardant que les éléphants chargés de trésor. » [6] Que de pages et de pages qui sous-entendent l’esprit fanatique des hindous, la cupidité des brahmanes et le pouvoir absolu des maharajas (en l’occurrence le merveilleux Krishna Deva Raya), et si peu sur un des massacres les plus terribles, les plus inutiles, les plus monstrueux de l’histoire de l’Inde. Voilà bien du du négationnisme !

Mais les auteurs de L’Histoire de l’Inde Moderne ne se contentent pas de dénigrer les hindous, ils glorifient aussi les musulmans, en particulier les Moghols (ce livre aurait dû d’ailleurs prendre le titre de l’un de ses chapitres : « La Splendeur moghole »). Babur par exemple, ce monstre qui tua des centaines de milliers d’hindous et rasa des milliers de temples, devient un doux héros aux mains de l’auteur : « Babur avoue franchement dans ses mémoires ne pas aimer l’Inde… Il préfère s’isoler dans les jardins qu’il y construit, avec leur dessin géométrique et leurs canaux en croix, qui évoquent les fleuves du paradis. » (Mon dieu, cet homme est un immense poète qui a la sensibilité à fleur de peau !). D’ailleurs : « Il traduisit en vers un manuel de droit musulman et un traité de morale soufi. » [7] (Voilà un saint qu’il faut canoniser tout de suite pour avoir failli débarrasser le monde de la menace fanatique hindoue !)

Plus loin, l’auteur de ce chapitre, plus que pernicieux, parce qu’il s’adresse à des gens qui sont en général totalement ignorants de l’Inde, se dévoile encore un peu plus lorsqu’il en arrive à Aurangzeb, lequel a la réputation – même aux yeux des musulmans indiens – d’avoir été le plus sanguinaire et le plus pervers des Moghols. « Aurangzeb a concentré sur sa personne la haine des hindous militants qui lui attribuent des destructions systématiques de temples et des conversions forcées massives… cette image manichéenne doit être sérieusement corrigée.» [8] Malheureusement, comme nous l’avons vu, Aurangzeb était si fier de ses actes qu’il les avait fait dûment archiver et qu’ils sont parvenus jusqu’à nous. D’ailleurs, l’auteur est bien forcé de reconnaître quelques lignes plus bas qu’il « fit détruire des temples récents. » Qu’entend-il par « récents » : 1000 ou 2000 ans ? Mais il s’empresse d’ajouter : « L’intransigeance d’Aurangzeb n’était qu’apparente, car il appréciait la littérature mystique persane et fréquentait de nombreux soufis…» [9] Par contre Shivaji, ce prince de la bravoure, héros des hindous, lui qui seul dans un océan de terreur osa s’élever contre les Moghols, ne trouve pas grâce à ses yeux ; « Il s’illustre par son sens de la provocation. »[10] (Ce n’est pas bien de provoquer les pauvres Moghols, ô Shivaji !) « Il put mettre en déroute par traîtrise l’armée de Bijapur. » (Ce qui prouve qu’il ne faut jamais faire confiance à un hindou). D’ailleurs, « Il fait aussi une fausse soumission à Aurangzeb. » (Oh, le traître !) En plus bien sûr, c’est un païen, un idolâtre : « Il ressuscite la vieille cérémonie hindoue du sacre et se pose comme le protecteur des vaches, des brahmanes et des dieux. »[11] (Notez la triple association pernicieuse : vaches, brahmanes et dieux)… On pourrait multiplier les exemples, mais ces quelques passages suffiront à donner un exemple de ce négationnisme flagrant.

Redisons-le une énième fois : les atrocités musulmanes en Inde ne doivent pas être niées, ceci afin que les erreurs d’hier ne soient pas répétées aujourd’hui. Car pensez-vous que l’islam contemporain accepte plus qu’il ne le faisait naguère de coexister avec l’hindouisme ? « Vous pouvez vivre en bonne entente avec une religion dont le principe est la tolérance. Mais comment est-il possible de vivre en paix avec une religion dont le principe est : « je ne vous tolérerai pas ? » [12] se demande Sri Aurobindo. Et c’est vrai : l’hindou a toujours été prêt à tolérer ; il est ouvert aux nouvelles idées, qu’elles soient religieuses, sociales, ou économiques ; et il a une merveilleuse aptitude à l’assimilation – mais toujours à condition que la vérité centrale de l’hindouisme, du dharma, soit respectée.

En septembre 1909, Sri Aurobindo écrivait également : « Toute action qui pourrait soulever une objection chez un certain nombre de musulmans est maintenant passible d’interdiction… sous prétexte qu’elle risque de perturber l’ordre public, et on commence à se demander si l’on n’en viendra pas un jour à interdire le culte dans les temples hindous en invocant ce motif si valable. » [13] Citation ô combien prophétique, car Sri Aurobindo ne pouvait pas savoir que l’Inde serait par exemple la première à interdire le livre de Rushdie (le gouvernement du Congrès ne s’était même pas donné la peine de le lire, mais l’a fait bannir sous le conseil de quelques intellectuels musulmans), éveillant par là même l’attention de l’Iran et provoquant la fatwa de Khomeiny. Sri Aurobindo ne pouvait pas non plus deviner qu’il arrive souvent aujourd’hui en Inde qu’on interdise les processions hindoues, « pour ne pas blesser la sensibilité de la communauté musulmane » ! Étrange coutume pour un pays à majorité hindoue ! C’est comme si le gouvernement français bannissait les processions de la Fête-Dieu, afin de ne pas froisser sa communauté maghrébine.

Sri Aurobindo n’est pas le seul à s’élever contre l’intolérance musulmane, David Frawley postule lui aussi : « La cruelle histoire de l’invasion musulmane de l’Inde, qui fut suivie d’un énorme génocide et de la prise en esclavage de millions d’hindous n’est pas très connue dans le monde, particulièrement en Occident, où l’histoire de l’Inde n’est pas jugée très importante. Certains préféreraient qu’elle n’existât pas du tout ou que l’échelle des atrocités fût insignifiante, ou même que les intentions des musulmans ne fussent pas de convertir, mais uniquement de conquête militaire. D’autres arguent que cet épisode appartenant au passé, nous devrions l’oublier afin de préserver l’harmonie laïcisante de l’Inde. » [14]

La djihad appartient-elle au passé ?

La djihad est-elle terminée aujourd’hui ? « Pas du tout, affirme l’écrivain indien Suhas Majumdar dans son livre : Djihad, la doctrine islamique de la guerre permanente. Ce qu’il faut comprendre c’est qu’aujourd’hui encore le commun des musulmans prend toujours littéralement le message du Coran, bien qu’il ait été composé il y a 1 400 ans selon les termes et les coutumes de son époque et n’a pas été adapté aux exigences du monde moderne. » Et il est vrai que grâce aux pétrodollars des pays du Golfe, l’islam a étendu ses tentacules aux quatre coins du monde, même si aujourd’hui il camoufle ses intentions de domination. Le concept islamique de dar-ul-islam, c’est-à-dire « la maison de l’islam » sur toute la terre et de daar-ul-hard « la guerre de l’islam », justifie tous les moyens. Au Pakistan par exemple, les madrasis (écoles islamiques) sponsorisées par l’Arabie Saoudite ont engendré le mouvement du Taliban qui revendique l’application de la charia sous sa forme la plus stricte : interdiction de travail aux femmes, amputations, décapitations et surtout djihad contre l’Infidèle. Et ce fondamentalisme islamique dur tel que l’incarne le Taliban commence aussi à se répandre en Asie : en Ouzbekistan et au Tadjikistan par exemple, qui ont du mal à contrôler leurs fondamentalistes. La Russie pourrait devenir cernée par le fondamentalisme musulman hostile de la Tchéchénie, du Tadjikistan et du Sin-kiang chinois, qui commence à s’agiter. On aurait alors une ceinture panislamique qui irait de la Turquie à la Chine – et l’Inde totalement isolée, deviendrait le seul rempart en Asie – avec la Russie – contre une prise de pouvoir totale du fondamentalisme musulman. Une autre forme de djihad moderne, dans laquelle les musulmans sont passés maîtres, ce sont les émeutes. Le verset « Partez légèrement armé, préparez des embuscades et tentez avec votre vie de préserver le chemin d’Allah. » (Coran 9/41), est justement très ambigu, car il semble se référer non seulement à la guerre, mais aussi à la guérilla et aux émeutes. Généralement ce sont les Imams lors des prières du vendredi soir qui en appellent à la djihad civile, que ce soit à Srinagar, à Sarajevo ou à Jérusalem. Ainsi tous les historiens s’accordent à reconnaître que ce sont des mollahs indiens qui déclenchèrent les émeutes des Moplah en 1921, dont la plupart des victimes furent hindoues, même si le mouvement était censé être anti-britannique. C’est sans doute la première fois que les musulmans se posèrent en victimes, à tel point que le Mahatma Gandhi, pourtant hindou, s’en apitoya : « Les musulmans se battent pour ce qu’ils considèrent leur religion. » Quelquefois ce sont les civils eux-mêmes qui en appellent à la guerre sainte : la grande tuerie de Calcutta en 1946, qui précéda la partition, fit suite à la déclaration publique de Mohammed Usman, le maire de Calcutta : « C’est durant ce mois sacré du Ramadan que la guerre ouverte entre les musulmans et les kafirs (infidèles) prit son essor. C’est durant ce mois que nous pénétrâmes victorieux à la Mecque et avons annihilé l’idolâtrie. Par la volonté d’Allah, la Ligue musulmane (indienne) a choisi ce même mois pour commencer la djihad qui doit mener à la création du Pakistan. » Il est également vrai qu’après l’indépendance, toutes les grandes émeutes inter-religieuses et les pogroms anti-hindous dont ceux d’Aligarh, ou bien les fameuses émeutes de Bombay en 1992 qui suivirent la destruction de la mosquée d’Ayodhya, ont été déclenchés par les musulmans. La police le sait, la presse indienne le sait, la classe politique le sait. Mais personne n’ose prononcer tout haut le mot musulman ; les journaux se contentent d’écrire : « Une communauté en a agressé une autre. » L’Inde est déjà aux prises avec une nouvelle djihad contemporaine qui prend plusieurs formes : à l’intérieur la guerre de « libération » du Cachemire d’abord, l’anti-nationalisme des musulmans indiens, les émeutes ; et à l’extérieur, l’hostilité des voisins islamistes, le Pakistan, le Bangladesh, l’Afghanistan et un peu plus loin, les pays du Golfe fondamentalement hostiles à l’hindouisme et qui rêvent tous secrètement de perpétuer le dessein des grands Moghols : dar-ul-islam.

Et l’Occident alors ? Nos intellectuels divisent l’islam en deux clans : l’un libéral, l’autre fondamentaliste, ce qui pourrait se révéler une grossière erreur : « Le refus de l’Occident à reconnaître la vraie nature de la renaissance islamique actuelle constitue un échec intellectuel colossal, écrit Majumdar, car l’islam continue de jurer par les injonctions du Coran. » L’intellitgensia européenne en général, et française en particulier – n’est-ce pas, Mr. Bernard-Henri Lévy ? – qui a soutenu la Bosnie, a-t-elle compris qu’elle laissait peut-être un cancer ravager l’Europe ? Que demain, ceux qui ont été défendus – souvent à raison – vont néanmoins réaffirmer le militantisme de leur foi islamique. Et Bernard-Henry Lévy et ses pairs se sont-ils donnés la peine de creuser un peu plus dans l’affrontement entre Serbes et Bosniaques ? De remonter dans le temps, de prendre en considération le pro-occidentalisme de la race serbe et le fascisme inquiétant des Bosniaques ? Et que savent-ils du karma de ces deux ethnies, les poussant à agir ainsi ? La photo publiée par les journaux du monde entier d’un musulman qui frappe devant la mosquée de Sarajevo, au moment des prières du samedi soir, un jeune disciple du mouvement Hare Krishna, est significative et devrait faire réfléchir toute l’Europe. Car même ses habitants ont reconnu que durant tout le siège de Sarajevo, les membres de la secte avaient fait merveille pour leur remonter le moral. Mais voilà, la paix revenue, les concessions obtenues, l’islam montre à nouveau son vrai visage : djihad fi Sabillaj, la guerre sainte contre les idolâtres, en l’occurence des ferengis (blancs) influencés (plus ou moins bien) par un mouvement hindou.

Et il en va de même du soutien occidental aux indépendantistes de Tchéchénie, ou du Cachemire. On isole la Russie et l’Inde, qui seules peuvent encore s’élever en Asie contre une tentative d’hégémonie islamiste. (La presse occidentale joue là un rôle néfaste, car elle crée de toutes pièces le mythe sympathique de ces moujahedins tchéchènes ou cachemiris – c’est du sensationnalisme bon marché). Le plus dangereux, c’est la tiédeur du soutien occidental envers Israël qui depuis un demi-siècle livre une bataille de vie ou de mort contre les Arabes. Et telles l’Inde et la Russie, Israël est le rempart du monde civilisé contre le pan-islamisme au Moyen Orient.

Ce n’est pas parce que le christianisme et l’islam sont les deux religions monothéistes par excellence de notre planète, qu’il faut conclure une alliance douteuse entre les deux credo, comme celle que nous percevons en Bosnie. Car c’est un jeu dangereux que l’Occident ne peut que perdre : n’oublions donc pas ce qui s’est passé en Turquie, où la chrétienté, qui y connut un tel essor, a pratiquement disparu aujourd’hui dans l’indifférence générale. La sanctification de l’islam par les missionnaires et les chrétiens, tel l’Anglais Muir, dont la traduction du Coran fait référence, est également pernicieuse, car elle fait oublier que la djihad n’est en fait qu’une forme déguisée de meurtres, de rapines et de viols sanctionnés par le Coran. Et finalement, il faut oser le dire tout haut : les musulmans de par le monde sont passés maîtres dans l’art de la propagande et d’utiliser l’éternel complexe de culpabilité de l’Occident, les relents marxistes pro-arabes de l’intelligentsia européenne et la voracité sans fin des journalistes, pour qui une poignée de Palestiniens dans un no man’s land, est plus médiatique que les 300 000 hindous chassés du Cachemire par la djihad contemporaine. Mais c’est ainsi que la perversion humaine donne à la politique l’art des apparences.

Et finalement, pourra-t-on jamais connaître un islam qui s’épanouisse sans djihad ? « Malheureusement, allègue Majumdar, l’islam, tel qu’il est exprimé dans le Coran est impraticable aujourd’hui, comme par exemple l’obligation d’avoir des concubines ou des esclaves, prérogative de tout musulman. La vérité c’est que le Coran est souvent périmé, car les ulémas ne permettent pas aujourd’hui la modification d’un seul verset du Coran – et ceci est le plus grand obstacle au renouveau de l’islam. » [15] Mais tout de même : le Coran ne mentionne-t-il pas les réticences de certains des premiers disciples de l’islam, qui préféraient être des pèlerins plutôt que des guerriers, contre les excès de la djihad ? Et dans le soufisme, le vrai, qui a pratiquement disparu aujourd’hui car il a été pourchassé par les sunnites partout dans le monde, le sens de la vraie djihad, c’est la guerre contre soi-même, son ego, ses faiblesses, sa petitesse. Un tel islam sans djihad exigerait donc une réécriture totale du Coran – et qui en aurait le courage ? Car malheureusement, le tort fait par Mahmud, Babur, ou Aurangzeb, se perpétue aujourd’hui. Les graines qu’ils ont plantées, lorsqu’ils ont converti de force la petite centaine de milliers d’hindous, ont mûri. Et les cent millions de musulmans indiens d’aujourd’hui, se sont souvent aliénés de leurs frères hindous et ont quelquefois adopté le cri militant des musulmans : dar-ul-islam, la maison de l’islam en Inde. Ces graines ont également donné naissance à un arbre empoisonné appelé Pakistan, dont le spectre nucléaire après trois guerres conventionnelles hante le sous-continent. Et en Inde, le Cachemire et les attentats à la bombe qui se multiplient, de Bombay à New Delhi, nous rappellent que le grand rêve moghol d’une Inde assujettie à la grandeur d’Allah trouve encore un écho aujourd’hui.

Notes :

[1] Dupuis Jacques, Histoire de l’Inde (Éditions Kailash, Civilisations et sociétés, 1996), page 202.

[2] Elst Koenraad, Negationnisme in India (Voice Of India, Delhi, 1993).

[3] Histoire de l’Inde moderne, sous la direction de Claude Markovits (Fayard 1989), page 54

[4] Ibid., page 56

[5] Ibid., page 57

[6] Ibid., page 60

[7] Ibid., page 87

[8] Ibid., page 126

[9] Ibid., page 132

[10] Ibid., page 127

[11] Ibid., page 128

[12] Sri Aurobindo, L’Inde et la Renaissance de la Terre (Institut de Recherches Évolutives, Paris, 1998), page 184

[13] Ibid., page 63

[14] Frawley David, Arise Arjuna (Voice of India, Delhi, 1994), page 26

[15] Majumdar Suhas, Djihad (Voice of India, Delhi, 1994)

Voir aussi:

L’irruption de l’islam et le « Moyen Âge » indien

Clio

Comme l’indique Jacques Dupuis dans son Histoire de l’Inde publiée en 1963, « la notion d’un Moyen Âge indien succédant à l’Antiquité n’est qu’un décalque superficiel de la chronologie de l’histoire occidentale ; sous cette synchronisation, il ne faut point chercher à voir des analogies profondes entre l’évolution de l’Occident et celle de l’Inde. On distinguera cependant, au cours des siècles suivant la mort de Harsha, les caractères d’une époque assez différente de l’Antiquité, à la fois par les transformations de la civilisation indienne et par la coexistence de celle-ci avec un élément musulman importé. »

712 : La conquête du Sindh est marquée par de nombreux pillages et massacres mais les musulmans, peu nombreux, laissent aux hindous vaincus la liberté de pratiquer leur religion contre le paiement du traditionnel jizya imposé partout aux infidèles. Au IXe siècle, le Sindh se détachera du califat abbasside de Bagdad et poursuivra, sous l’autorité de dynasties locales une existence politique indépendante.

725-753 : Le roi Lalitaditya règne sur le Cachemire, qui s’étend alors des plaines du Pendjab aux montagnes du Ladakh et comprend tous les pays de l’Indus. La région de Srinagar est alors le centre de gravité de cet ensemble.

756 : Les Pratihara, d’origine radjpoute – une population installée au nord-ouest et affirmant une forte tradition guerrière – font renaître Kanauj comme centre politique s’imposant à la majeure partie du bassin gangétique.

VIIIe -XIIe siècle : La dynastie pala s’impose au Bengale. Elle protège le bouddhisme, dont l’université de Nalanda demeure l’un des foyers les plus actifs, mais ce royaume sera balayé par les musulmans à la fin du XIIe siècle. C’est cette dynastie qui a gagné l’Assam à l’hindouisme.

IXe-XIIe siècles : En Inde du Sud, le royaume tamoul de Chola apparaît comme une puissance maritime dynamique, qui prend temporairement le contrôle de Ceylan au XIe siècle. L’ascension du royaume chola, qui commence avec la prise de Tanjore (dans le bassin de la Kaviri) vers 850 le conduit à son apogée sous les règnes de Rajahrajah (985-1014) et de Rajendra Ier (1014-1044) puisqu’en 1022 les armées du Chola poussent jusqu’au Gange. Dès 897, le roi de Chola Aditya Ier avait envahi le pays de Kanchipuram et détruit la puissance des Pallava qui dominaient l’Inde du Sud depuis le Ve siècle. Rajendra fut le fondateur de la thalassocratie tamoule. Déjà installés à Ceylan ceux-ci s’attaquent au puissant royaume de Sri Vijaya qui regroupait la péninsule malaise, Sumatra, Java et les îles voisines. À l’issue de cette campagne navale, les Tamouls dominent l’océan Indien des Maldives jusqu’à Sumatra et envoient des ambassades en Chine. Durant cette période, c’est dans le Dekkan que se développe la culture hindoue la plus vivante dans la mesure où les régions méridionales du pays demeurent longtemps hors de portée des conquérants musulmans.

XIe siècle : Reprise de la poussée musulmane, trois siècles après la conquête du Sindh demeuré une marche lointaine du califat de Bagdad. La conquête de l’Inde par les musulmans, qui s’étend sur une longue période et se caractérise surtout, initialement, par des raids de pillage dévastateurs ne sera pas le fait des Arabes ou des Persans mais celui des Turcs et des Afghans, populations barbares issues des steppes de Haute Asie ou des montagnes de la périphérie occidentale de l’Himalaya ; ce fait lui donnera un caractère de brutalité particulièrement catastrophique, pour le plus grand malheur des pays de vieille civilisation qui s’étaient constitués au fil du temps dans le nord du subcontinent indien. L’extrême division politique de l’Inde septentrionale à cette époque a favorisé les entreprises des envahisseurs qui tiraient de leur extrême mobilité une supériorité militaire incontestable sur les lourdes armées de fantassins, même appuyées par des éléphants, des royaumes hindous. L’éloignement des zones d’invasion et de razzia constituait en fait la meilleure garantie de sécurité et ce furent tout naturellement les royaumes les plus méridionaux du Dekkan qui souffrirent le moins des campagnes de conquête et des raids de pillage musulmans.

997 : Premier raid contre l’Inde de Mahmoud de Ghazni qui va multiplier les expéditions de pillage tout au long de son règne qui dure jusqu’en 1030. Il détruit Kanauj, pille et rase les sanctuaires hindous et accomplit de grands massacres. Son empire, dont la capitale se trouvait dans l’actuel Afghanistan, s’étendait des rives orientales de la Caspienne au Pendjab mais l’Inde était davantage pour lui une terre de razzia capable de fournir de riches butins qu’une véritable conquête régulièrement administrée.

1175 : C’est un Afghan, Mohammed de Ghur, qui renoue avec la politique de razzias inaugurée par Mahmoud de Ghazni au siècle précédent. Il se heurte cependant à une forte résistance du Gudjerat et de l’aristocratie radjpoute conduite par Prithi Raj, qui demeure comme une figure emblématique de la résistance « nationale » face aux envahisseurs.

1192 : Mohammed remporte la victoire de Tarain. La cavalerie afghane s’impose et Prithi Raj est tué.

1194 : Les musulmans envahissent la plaine gangétique, pillent Kanauj et Bénarès et s’avancent jusqu’au Bengale. Les destructions sont alors immenses et toute une partie de l’héritage de la grande culture de l’Inde antique est anéantie. Les vainqueurs s’en prennent spécialement au clergé bouddhiste dont les moines sont systématiquement mis à mort.

1206 : À sa mort, Mohammed de Ghur a constitué un « empire » s’étendant de l’Afghanistan au Bengale mais cet ensemble né d’une conquête brutale et destructrice n’aura qu’une existence éphémère et se disloquera rapidement, la dynastie ne conservant finalement qu’une petite principauté afghane.

1210-1235 : Règne d’Iltutmish, un Turc Ilbari, qui va établir le sultanat de Delhi, le premier véritable État musulman de l’Inde. Énergique, ce chef musulman – qui était un ancien esclave – rassemble les territoires allant du Sindh et du Pendjab jusqu’au Bengale et fait reconnaître son autorité par le calife de Bagdad. Il fait de Delhi sa capitale et fait construire le Qutb Minâr, le fameux minaret haut de 72 m qui apparaît comme le premier grand monument réalisé en Inde par l’architecture musulmane.

1221 : Les hordes mongoles de Gengis Khan atteignent le cours de l’Indus mais ne poussent pas au-delà.

1206-1290 : Règnes des descendants d’Iltutmish qui maintiennent difficilement cet empire né de la conquête et imposé par la force à l’Inde du Nord.

1290-1320 : Les Khalji, d’origine afghane, se substituent aux Turcs Ilbari. Jala ud Din Firuz, le premier souverain de la dynastie (1290-1296), est traîtreusement assassiné par son neveu Ala ud Din qui règne de 1296 à 1316. Criminel sans scrupule, celui-ci impose son autorité avec une cruauté sans limites et finance par pillage les conquêtes qu’il réalise. Il entame son règne en faisant massacrer tous les membres de la famille de son oncle et tous ceux qui les ont servis, femmes et enfants compris.

1297 : Ala ud Din parvient à arrêter une imposante armée mongole qui menaçait de nouveau Delhi.

1301 : Après un an de résistance, la forteresse radjpoute de Ranthambhor est prise par les musulmans, qui s’emparent également de Chitor deux ans plus tard. C’est là que les défenseurs hindous, avant de chercher la mort dans un combat sans espoir, font brûler vives leurs femmes et leurs sœurs pour leur épargner la souillure et l’esclavage.

1305 : Ala ud Din conquiert le Malwa, ce qui place toute l’Inde du Nord sous son autorité.

1307 : Les musulmans entreprennent à partir de cette date une série d’expéditions contre le Dekkan où aucun royaume ne paraît encore en mesure de leur résister durablement. Ils soumettent ainsi le pays mahratte et le pays telugu et poussent jusqu’au royaume pandya, le principal État tamoul de l’extrémité méridionale du pays. C’est à cette occasion que Madurai est mise à sac en 1311.

1320 : Le fils qui avait hérité du pouvoir d’Ala ud Din est assassiné et cette disparition marque la fin de l’éphémère dynastie des Khalji. Elle a été marquée par une expansion conduite de manière impitoyable mais ne pouvait établir aucune œuvre durable car, comme ce fut souvent le cas dans l’histoire musulmane de l’Inde – avec une notable exception pour ce qui concerne le cas de l’Empire moghol – ces épisodes de conquête correspondirent toujours presque automatiquement à des moments de ruine et de dévastation pour la majeure partie du pays, mis en coupe réglée par ses vainqueurs.

1320 : Un chef d’origine turque, Ghazi Malik Tughluk, est porté au pouvoir par l’armée et ouvre une dynastie qui durera jusqu’en 1412. Il restaure l’État et concentre ses efforts sur le sultanat de Delhi et non sur des conquêtes toujours plus lointaines et plus aléatoires mais ne règne que cinq ans.

1324 : Un prince hindou, Harisimha, conquiert le Népal et, à partir de ce moment, la civilisation de ce royaume apparaît comme une synthèse de l’héritage bouddhiste et de la tradition hindouiste.

1325-1351 : Règne de Mohammed bin Tughluk. C’est sous le règne de ce nouveau conquérant que le sultanat de Delhi atteint sa plus grande extension, depuis l’Himalaya du Garhwal jusqu’aux rives de la Kaviri, au cœur du pays tamoul. Cette expansion n’est pas proportionnée au niveau de l’organisation administrative. Le poids de l’impôt est vite insupportable. Le transfert temporaire de la capitale de Delhi à Daulatabad – au cœur du Dekkan, mille kilomètres plus au sud – est un échec complet, tout comme une réforme monétaire trop précipitée. L’ambition d’aller conquérir le Khrorassan, voire l’Irak, ne peut être réalisée mais engloutit des sommes astronomiques. Trop étendu, « l’empire » est rapidement affaibli par la multiplication des révoltes alors que, à partir de 1336, l’empire du Vijayanagar s’organise au sud comme môle inébranlable de la résistance hindoue à l’islam.

1336 : Fondation, en pays telugu et en réaction contre l’expansionnisme du sultanat de Delhi, de Vijayanagar, la « Cité de la Victoire », sur la rive méridionale de la Tungabhadra. Les maîtres de Delhi sont rapidement contraints d’abandonner le Dekkan mais c’est au royaume musulman de Bahmani que celui de Vijayanagar va surtout s’opposer pendant près de trois siècles.

1347 : Le royaume musulman de Bahmani s’affirme au nord-ouest du Dekkan face au sultanat de Delhi mais il sera morcelé finalement entre cinq principautés rivales entre 1484 et 1518. Ultérieurement, les royaumes de Bijapur et de Golconde témoigneront, au cœur du Dekkan, de la persistance de la présence musulmane dans ces régions méridionales.

1336-1485 : La dynastie fondatrice des Sangama règne sur le Vijayanagar. Le souverain le plus brillant est Deva Raya II (1422-1446). Sous son règne, l’empire s’étend depuis l’Orissa jusqu’à la côte de Malabar, d’une rive à l’autre du Dekkan. Au-delà de la péninsule, Ceylan et les régions littorales de la Birmanie (royaume de Pégou) lui paient un tribut.

1398-1399 : Tamerlan vient attaquer le sultanat de Delhi, prend la ville, la met à sac et fait un grand massacre de sa population. Laissant derrière lui de sinistres pyramides de têtes, il repart vers l’Asie centrale en emmenant avec lui des milliers d’esclaves. Le sultanat de Delhi ne se remettra jamais de cette catastrophe et ne sera plus que l’ombre de lui-même sous les dynasties des Sayyides et des Lodi, jusqu’en 1526, date de sa disparition finale.

1420-1470 : Règne au Cachemire du sultan Zain ul Abidin. Il fait figure d’exception car ce souverain musulman manifeste une grande tolérance vis-à-vis des hindous, recrute les brahmanes dans son administration et dispense les infidèles du paiement du jizya. Surnommé « l’Akbar du Cachemire » par référence au futur grand souverain moghol, il établit là un brillant foyer de civilisation.

1486 : Nasarimha accède au pouvoir dans le Vijayanagar à un moment où cet empire connaît un relatif déclin en raison de la qualité insuffisante de ses princes, alors que la lutte contre les musulmans est un défi permanent et impose de maintenir sans faiblesse l’unité du Dekkan hindou.

1491-1503 : Règne de Narasa Nayaka, un usurpateur qui fonde une nouvelle dynastie mais assure la continuité de l’État de Vijayanagar. Son fils, Krishnadeva Raya, règne de 1509 à 1529. Contre les musulmans, il s’allie aux Portugais qui arrachent alors Goa au sultan de Bijapur. Administrateur et guerrier, protecteur des lettres et des arts, il apparaît comme l’un des grands souverains de l’histoire indienne. Le morcellement du royaume musulman de Bahmani à partir de 1518 et le déclin irréversible du sultanat de Delhi font du Vijayanagar la grande puissance indienne du moment.

1543-1565 : Le règne de Rama Raya poursuit dans le même sens mais le désastre de Talikota qui, face aux Moghols, coûte la vie au souverain scelle le sort du grand empire hindou du Dekkan après qu’il a, pendant plus de deux siècles, fait barrage à la poussée musulmane vers le sud. Centré sur le plateau de Mysore, contraint de concentrer l’essentiel de ses forces dans la défense de la frontière du nord établie sur le cours de la Tungabhadra, le royaume de Vijayanagar ne peut être en même temps, à l’inverse du Chola qui l’avait précédé dans le sud du Dekkan, un empire de la mer. Située sur la frontière, sa capitale, forte d’un demi-million d’habitants au début du XVIe siècle, bénéficiait d’équipements considérables pour l’époque, qui ont fait l’admiration des voyageurs italiens ou portugais. L’armée rassemblée alors est sans doute la plus nombreuse du monde et, pour la première fois depuis plusieurs siècles, l’Inde oppose une résistance longtemps victorieuse à l’envahisseur musulman. À l’inverse, le Vijayanagar abandonne la mer aux Arabes, même si les Chinois font une apparition prolongée dans l’océan Indien pendant le premier quart du XVe siècle. Il faudra attendre les Portugais, leur technique nautique supérieure et la puissance de feu de leur artillerie, pour que l’océan soit repris aux musulmans pour le plus grand profit du royaume hindou, allié naturel des conquérants lusitaniens. Le principal mérite du Vijayanagar demeure surtout d’avoir offert un refuge à la civilisation hindoue traditionnelle, qui a pu survivre intacte dans l’Inde du Sud alors que, sauf exception, elle était constamment menacée – quand ses monuments et ses œuvres n’étaient pas purement et simplement anéantis – en Inde du Nord sous domination musulmane.

Voir également:

Was There an Islamic "Genocide" of Hindus?

Dr. Koenraad Elst

"The Partition Holocaust": the term is frequently used in Hindu pamphlets concerning Islam and the birth of its modern political embodiment in the Subcontinent, the state of Pakistan. Is such language warranted, or is it a ridicule-inviting exaggeration?

To give an idea of the context of this question, we must note that the term "genocide" is used very loosely these days. One of the charges by a Spanish judge against Chilean ex-dictator Pinochet, so as to get him extradited from Great Britain in autumn 1998, was "genocide". This was his way of making Pinochet internationally accountable for having killed a few Spanish citizens: alleging a crime serious enough to overrule normal constraints based on diplomatic immunity and national sovereignty. Yet, whatever Pinochet’s crimes, it is simply ridiculous to charge that he ever intended to exterminate the Spanish nation. In the current competition for victim status, all kinds of interest groups are blatantly overbidding in order to get their piece of the entitlement to attention and solidarity.

The Nazi Holocaust killed the majority of European Jewry (an estimated 5.1 million according to Raul Hilberg, 5.27 million according to the Munich-based Institut für Zeitgeschichte) and about 30% of the Jewish people worldwide. How many victim groups can say as much? The Partition pogroms killed hardly 0.3% of the Hindus, and though it annihilated the Hindu presence in all the provinces of Pakistan except for parts of Sindh and East Bengal, it did so mostly by putting the Hindus to flight (at least seven million) rather than by killing them (probably half a million). Likewise, the ethnic cleansing of a quarter million Hindus from Kashmir in 1990 followed the strategy of "killing one to expel a hundred", which is not the same thing as killing them all; in practice, about 1,500 were killed. Partition featured some local massacres of genocidal type, with the Sikhs as the most wanted victims, but in relative as well as absolute figures, this does not match the Holocaust.

Among genocides, the Holocaust was a very special case (e.g. the attempt to carry it out in secrecy is unique), and it serves no good purpose to blur that specificity by extending the term to all genocides in general. The term "Holocaust", though first used in a genocidal sense to describe the Armenian genocide of 1915, is now in effect synonymous with the specifically Jewish experience at the hands of the Nazis in 1941-45. But does even the more general term "genocide" apply to what Hinduism suffered at the hands of Islam?

Complete genocide

"Genocide" means the intentional attempt to destroy an ethnic community, or by extension any community constituted by bonds of kinship, of common religion or ideology, of common socio-economic position, or of common race. The pure form is the complete extermination of every man, woman and child of the group. Examples include the complete extermination of the native Tasmanians and many Amerindian nations from Patagonia to Canada by European settlers in the 16th-19th century. The most notorious attempt was the Nazi "final solution of the Jewish question" in 1941-45. In April-May 1994, Hutu militias in Rwanda went about slaughtering the Tutsi minority, killing ca. 800,000, in anticipation of the conquest of their country by a Uganda-based Tutsi army. Though improvised and executed with primitive weapons, the Rwandan genocide made more victims per day than the Holocaust.

Hindus suffered such attempted extermination in East Bengal in 1971, when the Pakistani Army killed 1 to 3 million people, with Hindus as their most wanted target. This fact is strictly ignored in most writing about Hindu-Muslim relations, in spite (or rather because) of its serious implication that even the lowest estimate of the Hindu death toll in 1971 makes Hindus by far the most numerous victims of Hindu-Muslim violence in the post-colonial period. It is significant that no serious count or religion-wise breakdown of the death toll has been attempted: the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi ruling classes all agree that this would feed Hindu grievances against Muslims.

Nandan Vyas ("Hindu Genocide in East Pakistan", Young India, January 1995) has argued convincingly that the number of Hindu victims in the 1971 genocide was approximately 2.4 million, or about 80%. In comparing the population figures for 1961 and 1971, and taking the observed natural growth rhythm into account, Vyas finds that the Hindu population has remained stable at 9.5 million when it should have increased to nearly 13 million (13.23 million if the same growth rhythm were assumed for Hindus as for Muslims). Of the missing 3.5 million people (if not more), 1.1 million can be explained: it is the number of Hindu refugees settled in India prior to the genocide. The Hindu refugees at the time of the genocide, about 8 million, all went back after the ordeal, partly because the Indian government forced them to it, partly because the new state of Bangladesh was conceived as a secular state; the trickle of Hindu refugees into India only resumed in 1974, when the first steps towards islamization of the polity were taken. This leaves 2.4 million missing Hindus to be explained. Taking into account a number of Hindu children born to refugees in India rather than in Bangladesh, and a possible settlement of 1971 refugees in India, it is fair to estimate the disappeared Hindus at about 2 million.

While India-watchers wax indignant about communal riots in India killing up to 20,000 people since 1948, allegedly in a proportion of three Muslims to one Hindu, the best-kept secret of the post-Independence Hindu-Muslim conflict is that in the subcontinent as a whole, the overwhelming majority of the victims have been Hindus. Even apart from the 1971 genocide, "ordinary" pogroms in East Pakistan in 1950 alone killed more Hindus than the total number of riot victims in India since 1948.

Selective genocide

A second, less extreme type of genocide consists in killing a sufficient number who form the backbone of the group’s collective identity, and assimilating the leaderless masses into the dominant community. This has been the Chinese policy in Tibet, killing over a million Tibetans while assimilating the survivors into Chinese culture by flooding their country with Chinese settlers. It was also Stalin’s policy in eastern Poland and the Baltic states after they fell into his hands under the 1939 Hitler-Stalin Pact, exemplified by the massacre of thousands of Polish army officers in Katyn. Stalin’s policies combining murder of the elites, deportation of entire ethnic groups and ruthless oppression of the survivors was prefigured in antiquity by the Assyrians, whose deportation of the ten northern (now "lost") tribes of Israel is attested in the Bible.

During the Islamic conquests in India, it was a typical policy to single out the Brahmins for slaughter, after the Hindu warrior class had been bled on the battlefield. Even the Portuguese in Malabar and Goa followed this policy in the 16th century, as can be deduced from Hindu-Portuguese treaty clauses prohibiting the Portuguese from killing Brahmins.

In antiquity, such partial genocide typically targeted the men for slaughter and the women and children for slavery or concubinage. Thus, in 416 BCE, the Athenians were angered at the Melians’ reluctance to join the war against Sparta, and to set an example for other client states, Athens had Melos repopulated with Athenian colonists after killing its men and enslaving its women. Another example would be the slaughter of the Jews of Medina by Mohammed in 626 CE: after expelling two Jewish tribes, the third one, the Banu Quraiza, were exterminated: all the ca. 700 men were beheaded, while the women and children were sold into slavery, with the Prophet keeping the most beautiful woman as his concubine (she refused to marry him).

Hindus too experienced this treatment at the hands of Islamic conquerors, e.g. when Mohammed bin Qasim conquered the lower Indus basin in 712 CE. Thus, in Multan, according to the Chach-Nama, "six thousand warriors were put to death, and all their relations and dependents were taken as slaves". This is why Rajput women committed mass suicide to save their honour in the face of the imminent entry of victorious Muslim armies, e.g. 8,000 women immolated themselves during Akbar’s capture of Chittorgarh in 1568 (where this most enlightened ruler also killed 30,000 non-combatants). During the Partition pogroms and the East Bengali genocide, mass rape of Hindu women after the slaughter of their fathers and husbands was a frequent event.

At this point, however, we should not overlook a puzzling episode in Hindu legend which describes a similar behaviour by a Hindu conqueror: Parashurama, deified as the 6th incarnation of Vishnu, killed all the adult male Kshatriyas for several generations, until only women were left, and then had Brahmins father a new generation upon them. Just a story, or reference to a historic genocide?

Genocide in the Bible

For full-blooded genocide, however, the book to consult is the Bible, which describes cases of both partial and complete genocide. The first modest attempt was the killing by Jacob’s sons of all the males in the Canaanite tribe of Shekhem, the fianc� of their own sister Dina. The motive was pride of pedigree: having immigrated from the civilizational centre of Ur in Mesopotamia, Abraham’s tribe refused all intermarriage with the native people of Canaan (thus, Rebecca favoured Jacob over Esau because Jacob married his nieces while Esau married local women).

Full-scale genocide was ordered by God, and executed by his faithful, during the conquest of Canaan by Moses and Joshua. In the defeated cities outside the Promised Land, they had to kill all the men but keep the women as slaves or concubines. Inside the Promised Land, by contrast, the conquerors were ordered to kill every single man, woman and child. All the Canaanites and Amalekites were killed. Here, the stated reason was that God wanted to prevent the coexistence of His people with Pagans, which would result in religious syncretism and the restoration of polytheism.

As we only have a literary record of this genocide, liberal theologians uncomfortable with a genocidal God have argued that this Canaanite genocide was only fiction. To be sure, genocide fiction exists, e.g. the Biblical story that the Egyptians had all newborn male Israelites killed is inconsistent with all other data in the Biblical narrative itself (as well as unattested in the numerous and detailed Egyptian inscriptions), and apparently only served to underpin the story of Moses’ arrival in the Pharaoh’s court in a basket on the river, a story modelled on the then-popular life story of Sargon of Akkad. Yet, the narrative of the conquest of Canaan is full of military detail uncommon in fiction; unlike other parts of the Bible, it is almost without any miracles, factual through and through.

And even if we suppose that the story is fictional, what would it say about the editors that they attributed genocidal intentions and injunctions to their God? If He was non-genocidal and good in reality, why turn him into a genocidal and prima facie evil Being? On balance, it is slightly more comforting to accept that the Bible editors described a genocide because they wanted to be truthful and relate real events. After all, the great and outstanding thing about the Bible narrative is its realism, its refusal to idealize its heroes. We get to see Jacob deceiving Isaac and Esau, then Laban deceiving Jacob; David’s heroism and ingenuity in battle, but also his treachery in making Bathseba his own, and later his descent into senility; Salomon’s palace intrigues in the war of succession along with his pearls of wisdom. Against that background, it would be inconsistent to censor the Canaanite genocide as merely a fictional interpolation.

Indirect genocide

A third type of genocide consists in preventing procreation among a targeted population. Till recently, it was US policy to promote sterilization among Native American women, even applying it secretly during postnatal care or other operations. The Tibetans too have been subjected to this treatment. In the Muslim world, male slaves were often castrated, which partly explains why Iraq has no Black population even though it once had hundreds of thousands of Black slaves. The practice also existed in India on a smaller scale, though the much-maligned Moghul emperor Aurangzeb tried to put an end to it, mainly because eunuchs brought endless corruption in the court. The hijra community is a left-over of this Islamic institution (in ancient India, harems were tended by old men or naturally napunsak/impotent men, tested by having to spend the night with a prostitute without showing signs of virile excitement).

A fourth type of genocide is when mass killing takes place unintentionally, as collateral damage of foolish policies, e.g. Chairman Mao’s Great Leap Forward inducing the greatest man-made mass starvation killing 20 million or more, or the British war requisitions causing the Bengal famine of 1943 killing some 3 million; or as collateral damage of other forms of oppression. Unlike the deliberate genocide of Native Americans in parts of the USA or Argentina, the death of millions of Natives in Central America after the first Spanish conquests was at least partly the unintended side-effect of the hardships of forced labour and the contact with new diseases brought by the Europeans. In contrast with Nazi and Soviet work camps, where forced labour had the dual purpose of economic profit and a slow but sure death of the inmates, there is no evidence that the Spanish wanted their Native labourers to die. After all, their replacement with African slaves required a large extra investment.

The Atlantic slave trade itself caused mass death among the transported slaves, just as in the already long-standing Arab slave trade, but it is obvious that purely for the sake of profit, the slave-traders preferred as many slaves as possible to arrive at the slave markets alive. Likewise, the Christian c.q. Islamic contempt for Pagans made them rather careless with the lives of Native Americans, Africans or Hindus, so that millions of them were killed, and yet this was not deliberate genocide. Of course they wanted to annihilate Pagan religions like Hinduism, but in principle, the missionary religions wished to convert the unbelievers, and preferred not to kill them unless this was necessary for establishing the power of the True Faith.

That is why the mass killing of Hindus by Muslims rarely took place in peacetime, but typically in the fervour immediately following military victories, e.g. the fall of the metropolis of Vijayanagar in 1565 was "celebrated" with a general massacre and arson. Once Muslim power was established, Muslim rulers sought to exploit and humiliate rather than kill the Hindus, and discourage rebellion by making some sort of compromise. Not that peacetime was all that peaceful, for as Fernand Braudel wrote in A History of Civilizations (Penguin 1988/1963, p.232-236), Islamic rule in India as a "colonial experiment" was "extremely violent", and "the Muslims could not rule the country except by systematic terror. Cruelty was the norm — burnings, summary executions, crucifixions or impalements, inventive tortures. Hindu temples were destroyed to make way for mosques. On occasion there were forced conversions. If ever there were an uprising, it was instantly and savagely repressed: houses were burned, the countryside was laid waste, men were slaughtered and women were taken as slaves."

Though all these small acts of terror added up to a death toll of genocidal proportions, no organized genocide of the Holocaust type took place. One constraint on Muslim zeal for Holy War was the endemic inter-Muslim warfare and intrigue (no history of a royal house was bloodier than that of the Delhi Sultanate 1206-1525), another the prevalence of the Hanifite school of Islamic law in India. This is the only one among the four law schools in Sunni Islam which allows Pagans to subsist as zimmis, dis-empowered third-class citizens paying a special tax for the favour of being tolerated; the other three schools of jurisprudence ruled that Pagans, as opposed to Christians and Jews, had to be given a choice between Islam and death.

Staggering numbers also died as collateral damage of the deliberate impoverishment by Sultans like Alauddin Khilji and Jahangir. As Braudel put it: "The levies it had to pay were so crushing that one catastrophic harvest was enough to unleash famines and epidemics capable of killing a million people at a time. Appalling poverty was the constant counterpart of the conquerors’ opulence."

Genocide by any other name

In some cases, terminological purists object to mass murder being described as "genocide", viz. when it targets groups defined by other criteria than ethnicity. Stalin’s "genocide" through organized famine in Ukraine killed some 7 million people (lowest estimate is 4 million) in 1931-33, the largest-ever deliberate mass murder in peacetime, but its victims were targeted because of their economic and political positions, not because of their nationhood. Though it makes no difference to the victims, this was not strictly genocide or "nation murder", but "class murder". Likewise, the killing of perhaps two million Cambodians by the Khmer Rouge was not an attempt to destroy the Cambodian nation; it was rather an attempt to "purify" the nation of its bourgeois class.

The killing of large groups of ideological dissenters is a constant in the history of the monotheistic faiths, of which Marxism has been termed a modern offshoot, starting with the killing of some polytheistic priests by Pharaoh Akhenaton and, shortly after, the treacherous killing of 3,000 worshippers of the Golden Calf by Moses (they had been encouraged to come out in the open by Moses’ brother Aaron, not unlike Chairman Mao’s "hundred flowers" campaign which encouraged dissenters to speak freely, all the better to eliminate them later). Mass killing accompanied the christianization of Saxony by Charlemagne (ca. 800 CE) and of East Prussia by the Teutonic Knights (13th century). In 1209-29, French Catholics massacred the heretical Cathars. Wars between Muslims and Christians, and between Catholics and Protestants, killed millions both in deliberate massacres and as collateral damage, e.g. seven million Germans in 1618-48. Though the Turkish government which ordered the killing of a million Armenians in 1915 was motivated by a mixture of purely military, secular-nationalistic and Islamic considerations, the fervour with which the local Turks and Kurds participated in the slaughter was clearly due to their Islamic conditioning of hatred against non-Muslims.

This ideological killing could be distinguished from genocide in the strict sense, because ethnicity was not the reason for the slaughter. While this caution may complicate matters for the Ukrainians or Cambodians, it does not apply to the case of Hinduism: like the Jews, the Hindus have historically been both a religion and a nation (or at least, casteists might argue, a conglomerate of nations). Attempts to kill all Hindus of a given region may legitimately be termed genocide.

For its sheer magnitude in scope and death toll, coupled with its occasional (though not continuous) intention to exterminate entire Hindu communities, the Islamic campaign against Hinduism, which was never fully called off since the first naval invasion in 636 CE, can without exaggeration be termed genocide. To quote Will Durant’s famous line: "The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex of order and freedom, culture and peace, can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within." (Story of Civilization, vol.1, Our Oriental Heritage, New York 1972, p.459)

Hinduism’s losses

There is no official estimate of the total death toll of Hindus at the hands of Islam. A first glance at important testimonies by Muslim chroniclers suggests that, over 13 centuries and a territory as vast as the Subcontinent, Muslim Holy Warriors easily killed more Hindus than the 6 million of the Holocaust. Ferishtha lists several occasions when the Bahmani sultans in central India (1347-1528) killed a hundred thousand Hindus, which they set as a minimum goal whenever they felt like "punishing" the Hindus; and they were only a third-rank provincial dynasty. The biggest slaughters took place during the raids of Mahmud Ghaznavi (ca. 1000 CE); during the actual conquest of North India by Mohammed Ghori and his lieutenants (1192 ff.); and under the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526). The Moghuls (1526-1857), even Babar and Aurangzeb, were fairly restrained tyrants by comparison. Prof. K.S. Lal once estimated that the Indian population declined by 50 million under the Sultanate, but that would be hard to substantiate; research into the magnitude of the damage Islam did to India is yet to start in right earnest.

Note that attempts are made to deny this history. In Indian schoolbooks and the media, an idyllic picture of Hindu-Muslim harmony in the pre-British period is propagated in outright contradiction with the testimony of the primary sources. Like Holocaust denial, this propaganda can be called negationism. The really daring negationists don’t just deny the crimes against Hindus, they invert the picture and blame the Hindus themselves. Thus, it is routinely alleged that Hindus persecuted and destroyed Buddhism; in reality, Buddhist monasteries and universities flourished under Hindu rule, but their thousands of monks were killed by Ghori and his lieutenants.

Apart from actual killing, millions of Hindus disappeared by way of enslavement. After every conquest by a Muslim invader, slave markets in Bagdad and Samarkand were flooded with Hindus. Slaves were likely to die of hardship, e.g. the mountain range Hindu Koh, "Indian mountain", was renamed Hindu Kush, "Hindu-killer", when one cold night in the reign of Timur Lenk (1398-99), a hundred thousand Hindu slaves died there while on transport to Central Asia. Though Timur conquered Delhi from another Muslim ruler, he recorded in his journal that he made sure his pillaging soldiers spared the Muslim quarter, while in the Hindu areas, they took "twenty slaves each". Hindu slaves were converted to Islam, and when their descendants gained their freedom, they swelled the numbers of the Muslim community. It is a cruel twist of history that the Muslims who forced Partition on India were partly the progeny of Hindus enslaved by Islam.

Karma

The Hindu notion of Karma has come under fire from Christian and secularist polemicists as part of the current backlash against New Age thinking. Allegedly, the doctrine of Karma implies that the victims of the Holocaust and other massacres had deserved their fate. A naive understanding of Karma, divorced from its Hindu context, could indeed lead to such ideas. Worse, it could be said that the Jews as a nation had incurred genocidal karma by the genocide which their ancestors committed on the Canaanites. Likewise, it could be argued that the Native Americans had it coming: recent research (by Walter Neves from Brazil as well as by US scientists) has shown that in ca. 8000 BC, the Mongoloid Native American populations replaced an earlier American population closely resembling the Australian Aborigines — the first American genocide?

More generally, if Karma explains suffering and "apparent" injustice as a profound form of justice, a way of reaping the karmic rewards of one’s own actions, are we not perversely justifying every injustice? These questions should not be taken lightly. However, the Hindu understanding of reincarnation militates against the doctrine of genocidal "group karma" outlined above. An individual can incarnate in any community, even in other species, and need not be reborn among his own progeny. If Canaanites killed by the Israelites have indeed reincarnated, some may have been Nazi camp guards and others Jewish Holocaust victims. There is no reason to assume that the members of today’s victim group are the reincarnated souls of the bullies of yesteryear, returning to suffer their due punishment. That is the difference between karma and genetics: karma is taken along by the individual soul, not passed on in the family line.

More fundamentally, we should outgrow this childish (and in this case, downright embarrassing) view of karma as a matter of reward and punishment. Does the killer of a million people return a million times as a murder victim to suffer the full measure of his deserved punishment? Rather, karma is a law of conservation: you are reborn with the basic pattern of desires and conditionings which characterized you when you died last time around. The concrete experiences and actions which shaped that pattern, however, are history: they only survive insofar as they have shaped your psychic karma pattern, not as a precise account of merits and demerits to be paid off by corresponding amounts of suffering and pleasure.

One lesson to be learned from genocide history pertains to Karma, the law of cause and effect, in a more down-to-earth sense: suffering genocide is the karmic reward of weakness. That is one conclusion which the Jews have drawn from their genocide experience: they created a modern and militarily strong state. Even more importantly, they helped foster an awareness of the history of their persecution among their former persecutors, the Christians, which makes it unlikely that Christians will target them again. In this respect, the Hindus have so far failed completely. With numerous Holocaust memorials already functioning, one more memorial is being built in Berlin by the heirs of the perpetrators of the Holocaust; but there is not even one memorial to the Hindu genocide, because even the victim community doesn’t bother, let alone the perpetrators.

This different treatment of the past has implications for the future. Thus, Israel’s nuclear programme is accepted as a matter of course, justified by the country’s genuine security concerns; but when India, which has equally legitimate security concerns, conducted nuclear tests, it provoked American sanctions. If the world ignores Hindu security concerns, one of the reasons is that Hindus have never bothered to tell the world how many Hindus have been killed already.

Healing

What should Hindus say to Muslims when they consider the record of Islam in Hindu lands? It is first of all very important not to allot guilt wrongly. Notions of collective or hereditary guilt should be avoided. Today’s Muslims cannot help it that other Muslims did certain things in 712 or 1565 or 1971. One thing they can do, however, is to critically reread their scripture to discern the doctrinal factors of Muslim violence against Hindus and Hinduism. Of course, even without scriptural injunction, people get violent and wage wars; if Mahmud Ghaznavi hadn’t come, some of the people he killed would have died in other, non-religious conflicts. But the basic Quranic doctrine of hatred against the unbelievers has also encouraged many good-natured and pious people to take up the sword against Hindus and other Pagans, not because they couldn’t control their aggressive instincts, but because they had been told that killing unbelievers was a meritorious act. Good people have perpetrated evil because religious authorities had depicted it as good.

This is material for a no-nonsense dialogue between Hindus and Muslims. But before Hindus address Muslims about this, it is imperative that they inform themselves about this painful history. Apart from unreflected grievances, Hindus have so far not developed a serious critique of Islam’s doctrine and historical record. Often practising very sentimental, un-philosophical varieties of their own religion, most Hindus have very sketchy and distorted images of rival religions. Thus, they say that Mohammed was an Avatar of Vishnu, and then think that they have cleverly solved the Hindu-Muslim conflict by flattering the Prophet (in fact, it is an insult to basic Muslim beliefs, which reject divine incarnation, apart from indirectly associating the Prophet with Vishnu’s incarnation as a pig). Instead of the silly sop stories which pass as conducive to secularism, Hindus should acquaint themselves with real history and real religious doctrines.

Another thing which we should not forget is that Islam is ultimately rooted in human nature. We need not believe the Muslim claim that the Quran is of divine origin; but then it is not of diabolical origin either, it is a human document. The Quran is in all respects the product of a 7th-century Arab businessman vaguely acquainted with Judeo-Christian notions of monotheism and prophetism, and the good and evil elements in it are very human. Even its negative elements appealed to human instincts, e.g. when Mohammed promised a share in the booty of the caravans he robbed, numerous Arab Pagans took the bait and joined him. The undesirable elements in Islamic doctrine stem from human nature, and can in essence be found elsewhere as well. Keeping that in mind, it should be possible to make a fair evaluation of Islam’s career in India on the basis of factual history.

Voir encore:

Negationism and the Muslim Conquests

François Gautier

It is important to stop a moment and have a look at what the Belgian scholar Koenraad Elst, has called "negationism in India". In his foreword to the book of the same title, Koenraad explains that negationism, which means in this context "the denial of historical crimes against humanity", is not a new phenomenon. In modern history, the massacre by the Turks of 1,5 millions Armenians, or that of the 6 million Jews by the Nazis, the several millions of Russians by Stalin, or again the 1 million Tibetans by the Chinese communists, are historical facts which have all been denied by their perpetrators… But deny is not the exact word. They have been NEGATED in a thousand ways: gross, clever, outrageous, subtle, so that in the end, the minds of people are so confused and muddled, that nobody knows anymore where the truth is. Sometimes, it is the numbers that are negated or passed under silence: the Spanish conquest of South America has been one of the bloodiest and most ruthless episodes in history. Elst estimates that out of the population of native Continental South America of 1492, which stood at 90 million, only 32 million survived; terrible figures indeed but who talks about them today ? "But what of the conquest of India by Muslims", asks Elst? In other parts of Asia and Europe, the conquered nations quickly opted for conversion to Islam rather than death. But in India, because of the staunch resistance of the 4000 year old Hindu faith, the Muslim conquests were for the Hindus a pure struggle between life and death. Entire cities were burnt down and their populations massacred. Each successive campaign brought hundreds of thousands of victims and similar numbers were deported as slaves. Every new invader made often literally his hill of Hindu skulls. Thus the conquest of Afghanistan in the year 1000, was followed by the annihilation of the entire Hindu population there; indeed, the region is still called Hindu Kush, ‘Hindu slaughter’. The Bahmani sultans in central India, made it a rule to kill 100.000 Hindus a year. In 1399, Teimur killed 100.000 Hindus IN A SINGLE DAY, and many more on other occasions. Koenraad Elst quotes Professor K.S. Lal’s "Growth of Muslim population in India", who writes that according to his calculations, the Hindu population decreased by 8O MILLION between the year 1000 and 1525. INDEED PROBABLY THE BIGGEST HOLOCAUST IN THE WHOLE WORLD HISTORY. (Negat.34)

But the "pagans" were far too numerous to kill them all; and Hinduism too well entrenched in her people’s soul, never really gave up, but quietly retreated in the hearts of the pious and was preserved by the Brahmins’ amazing oral powers. Thus, realising that they would never be able to annihilate the entire Indian population and that they could not convert all the people, the Muslims rulers, particularly under the Hanifite law, allowed the pagans to become "zimmis" (protected ones) under 20 humiliating conditions, with the heavy "jizya", the toleration tax, collected from them. "It is because of Hanifite law, writes Mr Elst, that many Muslim rulers in India considered themselves exempted from the duty to continue the genocide of Hindus". The last "jihad" against the Hindus was waged by the much glorified Tipu Sultan, at the end of the 18th century. Thereafter, particularly following the crushing of the 1857 rebellion by the British, Indian Muslims fell into a state of depression and increasing backwardness, due to their mollah’s refusal of British education (whereas the elite Hindus gradually went for it) and their nostalgia for the "glorious past"‘. It is only much later, when the British started drawing them into the political mainstream, so as to divide India, that they started regaining some predominance.

Negationism means that this whole aspect of Indian history has been totally erased, not only from history books, but also from the memory, from the consciousness of Indian people. Whereas the Jews have constantly tried, since the Nazi genocide, to keep alive the remembrance of their six million martyrs, the Indian leadership, political and intellectual, has made a wilful and conscious attempt to deny the genocide perpetrated by the Muslims. No one is crying for vengeance. Do the Jews of today want to retaliate upon contemporary Germany? NO. It is only a matter of making sure that history does not repeat its mistakes, as alas it is able to do today: witness the persecution of Hindus in Kashmir, whose 250.000 Pandits have fled their 5000 year old homeland; or the 50.000 Hindus chased from Afghanistan; or the oppression of Hindus in Bangladesh and Pakistan. And most of all, to remember, is to BE ABLE TO LOOK AT TODAY WITH THE WISDOM OF YESTERDAY. No collective memory should be erased for appeasing a particular community.

Yet, what has happened in India, at the hand of Hindus themselves, is a constant denial and even a perversion of the genocide committed by Muslims in India. Hasn’t the "radical humanist" M.N. Roy, written "that Islam has fulfilled a historic mission of equality and abolition of discrimination in India, and that for this, Islam has been welcomed in India by the lower castes". "If AT ALL any violence occurred, he goes on to say, it was a matter of justified class struggle by the progressive forces against the reactionary forces, meaning the feudal Hindu upper classes.." Want to listen to another such quote? This one deals with Mahmud Ghaznavi, the destroyer of thousands of Hindu temples, who according to his chronicler Utbi, sang the praise of the Mathura temple complex, sacred above all to all Hindus… and promptly proceeded to raze it to the ground: "Building interested Mahmud and he was much impressed by the city of Mathura, where there are today a thousand edifices as firm as the faith of the faithful. Mahmud was not a religious man. He was a Mahomedan, but that was just by the way. He was in the first place a soldier and a brilliant soldier"… Amazing eulogy indeed of the man who was proud of desecrating hundreds of temples and made it a duty to terrorise and humiliate pagans. And guess from whom is that quote? From Jawaharlal Nehru himself, the first Prime Minister of India and one of the architects of independence!

M.N. Roy, and Nehru in a lesser degree, represent the foremost current of negationism in India, which is Marxist inspired. For strangely, it was the Russian communists who decided to cultivate the Arabs after the First World War, in the hope that they constituted a fertile ground for future indoctrination. One should also never forget that Communism has affected whole generations of ardent youth, who saw in Marxism a new ideology in a world corrupted by capitalism and class exploitation. Nothing wrong in that; but as far as indoctrination goes, the youth of the West, particularly of the early sixties and seventies, were all groomed in sympathising with the good Arabs and the bad Jews. And similarly in India, two or three young generations since the early twenties, were tutored on negating Muslim genocide on the Hindus. In "Communalism and the writing of Indian history", Romila Thapar, Harbans Mukhia and Bipan Chandra, professors at the JNU in New Delhi, the Mecca of secularism and negationism in India, denied the Muslim genocide by replacing it instead with a conflict of classes. The redoubtable Romila Thapar in her "Penguin History of India", co-authored with Percival Spear, writes: "Aurangzeb’s supposed intolerance, is little more than a hostile legend based on isolated acts such as the erection of a mosque on a temple site in Benares". How can one be so dishonest, or so blind? But it shows how negationism is perpetuated in India.

What are the facts? Aurangzeb (1658-1707) did not just build an isolated mosque on a destroyed temple, he ordered ALL temples destroyed, among them the Kashi Vishvanath, one of the most sacred places of Hinduism and had mosques built on a number of cleared temples sites. All other Hindu sacred places within his reach equally suffered destruction, with mosques built on them. A few examples: Krishna’s birth temple in Mathura, the rebuilt Somnath temple on the coast of Gujurat, the Vishnu temple replaced with the Alamgir mosque now overlooking Benares and the Treta-ka-Thakur temple in Ayodhya. (Neg 60). The number of temples destroyed by Aurangzeb is counted in 4, if not 5 figures; according to his own official court chronicles: "Aurangzeb ordered all provincial governors to destroy all schools and temples of the Pagans and to make a complete end to all pagan teachings and practices". The chronicle sums up the destructions like this: "Hasan Ali Khan came and said that 172 temples in the area had been destroyed… His majesty went to Chittor and 63 temples were destroyed..Abu Tarab, appointed to destroy the idol-temples of Amber, reported that 66 temples had been razed to the ground".. Aurangzeb did not stop at destroying temples, their users were also wiped-out; even his own brother, Dara Shikoh, was executed for taking an interest in Hindu religion and the Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded because he objected to Aurangzeb’s forced conversions. As we can see Romila Thapar and Percival Spear’s statement of a benevolent Aurangzeb is a flagrant attempt at negationism. Even the respectable Encyclopedia Brittannica in its entry on India, does not mention in its chapter on the Sultanate period any persecutions of Hindus by Muslims, except "that Firuz Shah Tughlaq made largely unsuccessful attempts at converting his Hindu subjects and sometime persecuted them". The British, for their own selfish purpose, were of course greatly responsible for whitewashing the Muslims, whom they needed to counterbalance the influence of the Hindus and the Congress. It is sad that Jawarlhal Nehru and the Congress perpetuated that brand of negationism. But that is another story.

The happiest in this matter must be the Muslims themselves. What fools these Hindus are, they must be telling themselves: We killed them by the millions, we wrested a whole nation out of them, we engineer riots against them, and they still defend us!… But don’t the Hindus know that many orthodox Indian Muslims still cling to the Deoband school, which says that India was once "Dar-ul-Islam", the house of Islam, and should return to that status. Maulana Abul Kala Azad, several times Congress President, and Education Minister in free India, was a spokesman for this school. The Aligarh school on the contrary, led by Mohammed Iqbal, propounded the creation of Pakistan. What particularly interests us in the Aligarh school is the attempt by Muslim historians, such as Mohamed Habiib, to rewrite the Chapter of Muslim invasions in India. In 1920, Habib started writing his magnum opus, which he based on four theories: 1) that the records (written by the Muslims themselves) of slaughters of Hindus, the enslaving of their women and children and razing of temples were "mere exaggerations by court poets and zealous chroniclers to please their rulers". 2) That they were indeed atrocities, but mainly committed by Turks, the savage riders from the Steppe. 3) That the destruction of the temples took place because Hindus stored their gold and jewels inside them and therefore Muslim armies plundered these. 4) That the conversion of millions of Hindus to Islam was not forced, "but what happened was there was a shift of opinion in the population, who on its own free will chose the Shariat against the Hindu law (smriti), as they were all oppressed by the bad Brahmins"…!!! (Negationism p.42)

Unfortunately for Habib and his school, the Muslims invaders did record with glee their genocide on Hindus, because they felt all along that they were doing their duty; that killing, plundering, enslaving and razing temples was the work of God, Mohammed. Indeed, whether it was Mahmud of Ghazni (997-1030), who was no barbarian, although a Turk, and patronised art and literature, would recite a verse of the Koran every night after having razed temples and killed his quota of unbelievers; or Firuz Shah Tughlak (1351-1388) who personally confirms that the destruction of Pagan temples was done out of piety and writes: "on the day of a Hindu festival, I went there myself, ordered the executions of all the leaders AND PRACTITIONERS of his abomination; I destroyed their idols temples and built mosques in their places". Finally, as Elst points out, "Muslim fanatics were merely faithful executors of Quranic injunctions. It is not the Muslims who are guilty but Islam". (Negationism in India, p. 44)

But ultimately, it is a miracle that Hinduism survived the onslaught of Muslim savagery; it shows how deep was her faith, how profound her karma, how deeply ingrained her soul in the hearts of her faithfuls. We do not want to point a finger at Muslim atrocities, yet they should not be denied and their mistakes should not be repeated today. But the real question is: Can Islam ever accept Hinduism? We shall turn towards the Sage, the yogi, who fought for India’s independence, accepting the Gita’s message of karma of violence when necessary, yet had a broad vision that softened his words: "You can live with a religion whose principle is toleration. But how is it possible to live peacefully with a religion whose principle is "I will not tolerate you? How are you going to have unity with these people?…The Hindu is ready to tolerate; he is open to new ideas and his culture and has got a wonderful capacity for assimilation, but always provided India’s central truth is recognised.. (Sri Aurobindo India’s Rebirth 161,173) Or behold this, written on September 1909: "Every action for instance which may be objectionable to a number of Mahomedans, is now liable to be forbidden because it is likely to lead to a breach of peace. And one is dimly beginning to wonder whether worship in Hindu temples may be forbidden on that valid ground (India’s Rebirth p. 55). How prophetic! Sri Aurobindo could not have foreseen that so many Muslim countries would ban Rushdie’s book and that Hindu processions would often be forbidden in cities, for fear of offending the Muslims. Sri Aurobindo felt that sooner or later Hindus would have to assert again the greatness of Hinduism.

And here we must say a word about monotheism, for it is the key to the understanding of Islam. Christians and Muslims have always harped on the fact that their religions sprang-up as a reaction against the pagan polytheist creeds, which adored many Gods. " There is only one real God they said (ours), all the rest are just worthless idols ". This " monotheism versus polytheism business " has fuelled since then the deep, fanatic, violent and murderous zeal of Islam against polytheist religions, particularly against Hinduism, which is the most comprehensive, most widely practiced of all them. It even cemented an alliance of sorts between the two great monotheist religions of the world, Christianity and Islam, witness the Britishers’ attitude in India, who favoured Indian Muslims and Sikhs against the Hindus; or the King of Morocco who, even though he is one of the most moderate Muslim leaders in the world, recently said in an interview: " we have no fight with Christianity, our battle is against the Infidel who adores many gods ". But the truth is that Hinduism is without any doubt the most monotheist religion in the World, for it recognises divine unity in multiplicity. It does not say: " there is only one God, which is Mohammed. If you do not believe in Him I will kill you ". It says instead: " Yes Mohammed is a manifestation of God, but so is Christ, or Buddha, or Krishna, or Confucius ". This philosophy, this way of seeing, which the Christians and Muslims call " impious ", is actually the foundation for a true monotheist understanding of the world. It is because of this " If you do not recognize Allah (or Christ), I will kill you ", that tens of millions of Hindus were slaughtered by Arabs and other millions of South Americans annihilated by the Christians. And ultimately the question is: Are the Muslims of today ready to accept Hinduism ? Unfortunately no. For Muslims all over the world, Hinduism is still the Infidel religion " par excellence ". This what their religion tell them, at every moment, at every verse, at the beginning of each prayer : " Only Allah is great ". And their mollahs still enjoin them to go on fight " jihad " to deliver the world of the infidels. And if the armies of Babar are not there any longer; and if it is not done any more to kill a 100.000 Hindus in a day, there is still the possibility of planting a few bombs in Bombay, of fuelling separatisms in the hated land and eventually to drop a nuclear device, which will settle the problem once and for all. As to the Indian Muslim, he might relate to his Hindu brother, for whatever he says, he remains an Indian, nay a Indu; but his religion will make sure that he does not forget that his duty is to hate the Infidel. This is the crux of the problem today and the riddle if Islam has to solved, if it wants to survive in the long run.

We will never be able to assess the immense physical harm done to India by the Muslim invasions. Even more difficult is to estimate the moral and the spiritual damage done to Hindu India. But once again, the question is not of vengeance, or of reawakening old ghosts, but of not repeating the same mistakes. Unfortunately, the harm done by the Muslims conquest is not over. The seeds planted by the Moghols, by Babar, Mahmud, or Aurangzeb, have matured: the 125 million Indian Muslims of today have forgotten that they were once peaceful, loving Hindus, forcibly converted to a religion they hated. And they sometimes take-up as theirs a cry of fanaticism which is totally alien to their culture. Indeed, as Sri Aurobindo once said: "More than 90% of the Indian Muslims are descendants of converted Hindus and belong as much to the Indian nation as the Hindu themselves"…(Rebirth of India, p.237) The embryo of secession planted by the Mahomedans, has also matured into a poisonous tree which has been called Pakistan and comes back to haunt India through three wars and the shadow of a nuclear conflict embracing South Asia. And in India, Kashmir and Ayodhya are reminders that the Moghol cry for the house of Islam in India is not yet over.

Voir encore:

Where’s India’s holocaust museum?

Francois Gautier

Rediff India abroad

October 21, 2003

The massacre of 6 million Jews by Hitler and the persecution Jews suffered all over the world in the last 15 centuries has been meticulously recorded by the Jews after 1945 and has been enshrined not only in history books, but also in Holocaust museums, the most famous one being in Washington, DC.

It has not been done with a spirit of revenge — look at Israel and Germany today — they are on the best of terms; yet, facts are facts and contemporary Germany had to come to terms with its terrible actions during World War II.

Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists have also suffered a terrible holocaust, probably without parallel in human history. Take the Hindu Kush for instance, probably one of the biggest genocides of Hindus. There is practically no serious research ever done about it and no mention in history books. Yet the name Hindu Kush appears many times in the writings of Muslim chroniclers in 1333 AD

Ibn Battutah, the medieval Berber traveller, said the name meant ‘Hindu Killer,’ a meaning still given by Afghan mountain dwellers. Unlike the Jewish holocaust, the exact toll of the Hindu genocide suggested by the name Hindu Kush is not available. ‘However,’ writes Hindu Kush specialist Srinandan Vyas, ‘the number is easily likely to be in millions.’

A few known historical figures can be used to justify this estimate. The Encyclopaedia Britannica recalls that in December 1398 AD, Taimurlane ordered the execution of at least 50,000 captives before the battle for Delhi; likewise, the number of captives butchered by Taimurlane’s army was about 100,000.

The Britannica again mentions that Mughal emperor Akbar ordered the massacre of about 30,000 captured Rajput Hindus on February 24, 1568 AD, after the battle for Chitod, a number confirmed by Abul Fazl, Akbar’s court historian. Afghan historian Khondamir notes that during one of the many repeated invasions on the city of Herat in western Afghanistan, which used to be part of the Hindu Shahiya kingdoms ‘1,500,000 residents perished.’ ‘Thus,’ writes Vyas, ‘it is evident that the mountain range was named as Hindu Kush as a reminder to the future Hindu generations of the slaughter and slavery of Hindus during the Moslem conquests.’

Or take the recent plight of the Kashmiri Pandits. Over 400,000 Kashmiri Pandits have been forced to flee their homeland. Many Pandit men, women and children have been brutally murdered. About 70,000 still languish in makeshift refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi. Scores of temples in Kashmir have been desecrated, destroyed, looted, more than 900 educational institutions have been attacked by terrorists. Properties of Pandits have been vandalised, businesses destroyed or taken over, even hospitals have not been spared.

Did you know that this huge human tragedy is taking place in Free India?

Burning books, looting culture is a very important part of the plan as we have seen during early Muslim invasions, where Buddhist centres of learning were ruthlessly burnt and razed to the ground.

Kashmir was also the crucible of knowledge, spirituality, a hallowed centre of learning and the cradle of Shivaism. It was known as Sharda Peeth, the abode of learning. Kashmiri Pandits excelled in philosophy, aesthetics, poetics, sculpture, architecture, mathematics, astronomy and astrology. Sanskrit was studied, propagated and spoken by women and men. Scholars like Kalhan, Jonraj, Srivar, Abhinavgupta, Somanand, Utpaldev, Somdev and Kshemendra created an intellectual centre of unrivalled repute.

Fundamentalism and terrorism have been ruthless in their assault on Sharda Peeth, zealous in ravaging its heritage, and consistent only in bloodthirsty intolerance. The destruction of Hindu places of worship, forced conversions of Pandits and death and ignominy to those who resisted, were accompanied by a savage assault on literary activity. This process has been going on since centuries.

As a correspondent covering India for more than 20 years, I have witnessed the terrible damage terrorism in Kashmir has inflicted upon people’s lives, their families, their culture, the very fabric of society, not only of the Kashmiri Pandits, but also Muslims in the valley, who after all, are victims too of Pakistan’s bloody designs. Hence, with two journalist friends, we started a Foundation: FACT — Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism.

The first task of FACT has been to mount an exhibition on terrorism, focussing on the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits, so that the people of India, who do not suffer directly from terrorism understand, what it does to others. This exhibition, which opened at the Habitat Centre, New Delhi, on July 18, was a great success. More than 25,000 people visited the exhibition till its closing day, on July 23. Among them were Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission Justice A S Anand, Rajya Sabha MP Dr Karan Singh, Union Minister Murli Manohar Joshi… It was covered by most English and Hindi national newspapers and reported on the television channels.

Our aim is manifold: we would like to take the present exhibition all around India and all over the world, particularly the United States, where most symposiums on Kashmir, including some organized by the US State Department, are peopled mostly by Pakistanis, Muslims and US-based Indians who are anti-Hindu.

We would also like to start another exhibition on forced Christian conversions in the Northeast. Ultimately, we would like to build a Hindu/ Sikh/Buddhist Indian Holocaust Museum based in New Delhi, or in Bangalore. It will record not only the genocide of Hindus Sikhs and Buddhists at the hands of Muslim invaders, but also the terrible persecution of the Portuguese (hardly mentioned in Indian history books) and British — nobody knows for instance that 20 million Indians died of famine between 1815 and 1920, because the English broke the agricultural backbone of India to get raw materials like cotton, jute etc.

We need your support for this Indian Holocaust Museum.

Voir de plus:

L’INDE, UNE AUTRE VICTIME DE L’ISLAM

Serge Trifkovic

Adapté de : « Le Sabre du Prophète : Un guide de l’Islam politiquement incorrect »,

Serge Trifkovic*.

Traduction de l’article « Islam’s Other Victims : India »

paru dans « Front Page Magazine.com » du 18 novembre 2002

[...] Avant les invasions musulmanes, l’Inde jouissait d’une des civilisations les plus élaborées dans le monde. L’Hindustan du 10ème siècle égalait ses contemporains de l’Est et de l’Ouest dans les domaines de la philosophie, des mathématiques et des sciences naturelles. Les mathématiciens indiens avaient découvert le zéro, sans oublier l’algèbre et d’autres théories, qui furent transmises plus tard au monde musulman auquel on en attribua faussement le mérite. L’Inde médiévale, avant l’invasion musulmane, était une culture richement imaginative, une des cinq ou six civilisations les plus avancées de tous les temps. Ses sculptures étaient vigoureuses et sensuelles, son architecture richement ornée et envoûtante. Et tout ceci était une réalisation purement autochtone et non, comme c’est le cas de nombre des plus fameux hauts-lieux de la culture musulmane, des reliquats de civilisations pré-islamistes dont les musulmans s’étaient rendus maîtres.

Les envahisseurs musulmans commencèrent leurs incursions au début du 8ème siècle, sous le règne de Hajjaj, le gouverneur de l’actuel Irak. [...] En 712, sous le commandement de Mohammed Kasim, les auteurs des raids démolirent les temples, brisèrent les sculptures, pillèrent les palais, tuèrent un nombre incalculable d’hommes – le massacre des habitants de Debal se prolongea pendant trois jours – et emmenèrent les femmes et les enfants en esclavage, certains réservés aux pratiques sexuelles. Après la vague de violence initiale, Kasim tenta toutefois de rétablir la loi et l’ordre sur ces terres nouvellement conquises, et à cette fin, il autorisa même un certain degré de tolérance religieuse. Mais quand Hajjaj, son maître, entendit parler de ces usages pleins d’humanité, il objecta : « Il apparaît dans votre lettre que l’ensemble des règles que vous avez promulguées pour le confort et le bien-être de vos hommes est en parfait accord avec la loi religieuse. Mais la manière d’accorder le pardon prescrite par la loi est différente de celle que vous avez adoptée, puisque vous accordez votre pardon à chacun, riche ou pauvre, sans faire aucune distinction entre ami et ennemi. Le Grand Dieu dit dans le Coran [47.4] : “O Vrais Croyants, quand vous rencontrez des incroyants, coupez-leur la tête.” Ce commandement du Grand Dieu est un commandement supérieur et doit être respecté et suivi. Vous ne devez pas être trop indulgent et montrer de la pitié, ceci pourrait anéantir la portée de l’acte. Désormais, n’accordez de pardon à aucun ennemi et n’en épargnez aucun, car si vous le faites, tous vous considéreront comme un homme à l’âme faible. »

Dans une communication ultérieure, Hajjaj répéta que tout homme valide devait être tué, et que les fils et filles en bas âge devaient être emprisonnés et retenus en otages. Kasim obéit, et en arrivant à la ville de Brahminabad, il massacra entre 6 000 et 16 000 hommes.

La portée de ces événements ne se limite pas seulement à l’horreur qu’inspire le nombre de personnes massacrées, mais étend sa signification au fait que les auteurs de ces massacres n’étaient pas les soudards d’une armée désobéissant aux enseignements éthiques de leur religion, comme l’étaient les croisés européens en Terre Sainte, mais bien qu’ils faisaient exactement ce que leur religion enseignait. (On peut noter que le Christianisme a évolué et ne prêche plus les croisades, ce qui n’est pas le cas de l’Islam. Il est abondamment prouvé que la jihad a été prêché depuis les centres officiels de l’Islam et non pas seulement par des groupes marginaux d’extrémistes fanatiques.)

Les exploits de Kasim le précurseur se poursuivirent au début du 11ème siècle, quand Mahmoud de Ghazni « traversa l’Inde comme une tornade, détruisant, pillant et massacrant », appliquant avec zèle l’injonction coranique qui demande la mort des idolâtres qu’il avait juré de châtier chaque jour de sa vie.

Au cours des dix-sept vagues successives de cette invasion, du propre aveu de l’érudit Alberuni que Mahmoud avait emmené en Inde, « Mahmoud ruina complètement la prospérité du pays, et accomplit de merveilleux exploits, dignes de figurer dans la mémoire du peuple, telle une ancienne légende, réduisant les hindous en atomes de poussière éparpillés dans toutes les directions. Les restes dispersés [de cette population] nourrirent de ce fait, une aversion invétérée à l’encontre des musulmans. »

Doit-on s’en étonner ? À ce jour, les citoyens de Bombay, New Delhi, Calcutta et Bangalore vivent dans la crainte du Pakistan, pays politiquement instable et détenteur de l’arme nucléaire, qui contrairement à l’Inde (mais comme tout pays musulman), n’a pas réussi à maintenir la démocratie depuis l’indépendance.

Mathura, la ville sainte du dieu Krishna, fut la victime suivante :

« Au milieu de la ville se trouvait un temple plus grand et plus finement ouvragé que tout le reste, impossible à décrire par un texte ou une peinture. » Le sultan Mahmoud pensait qu’il avait fallu plus de 200 ans pour le construire. Les idoles, parmi lesquelles « cinq statues d’or rouge de cinq mètres de haut » avaient les yeux sertis de pierres précieuses inestimables. « Le sultan donna l’ordre de brûler tous les temples par le naphte et le feu, et de les raser jusqu’au niveau du sol. »

Conséquences de cette invasion, dans les antiques cités de Vanarasi (Bénarès), Mathura, Ujjain, Maheswar, Jwalamukhi et Dwaraka, pas un seul temple intact ou complet ne subsistait. C’est comme une armée qui marcherait sur Paris, Rome, Florence et Oxford et qui annihilerait tous ces trésors architecturaux. Il s’agit d’un acte qui dépasse le nihilisme ; un négativisme absolu, une haine de la culture et de la civilisation.

Dans son livre « Histoire de la Civilisation », le célèbre historien Will Durant s’affligeait des conséquences de ce qu’il nommait « probablement l’épisode le plus sanglant de l’Histoire ». Il considérait cette invasion comme « une histoire décourageante, puisque l’évidente morale qui s’en dégage nous assène que la civilisation est un bien précieux, dont la liberté et l’ordonnancement délicat et complexe peuvent à tout moment être balayés par des barbares déferlant de l’extérieur et se multipliant de l’intérieur ».

Les envahisseurs musulmans « détruisirent et brûlèrent tout ce qu’ils rencontrèrent de beau dans l’Hindustan », affichant le ressentiment de guerriers sous-développés, intimidés par la confrontation avec « une culture plus raffinée », comme le souligne un commentateur indien. « Les sultans musulmans construisirent des mosquées sur l’emplacement des temples détruits, et de nombreux hindous furent vendus comme esclaves. Ils étaient des kafirs, des païens par excellence. À la différence des chrétiens et des juifs, ils n’étaient pas des peuples "du Livre", et ils furent les victimes toutes désignées – les pacifiques bouddhistes également mais dans une moindre mesure – de l’injonction de Mahomet contre les païens : "Tuez ceux qui rejoignent d’autres dieux que Dieu, où que vous puissiez les découvrir." (Non pas que le fait d’être "du Livre" ait beaucoup aidé les juifs et les chrétiens contre d’autres agressions musulmanes, mais ceci est une autre histoire.)

Depuis cette époque, les abords montagneux du Nord-Ouest de l’Inde se nomment Hindu Kush, « le massacre des hindous » en souvenir du temps où les esclaves hindous du sous-continent mouraient dans les rudes montagnes d’Afghanistan sur le chemin de la déportation vers les cours musulmanes d’Asie centrale. La boucherie de Somnath, sur le site d’un temple hindou célèbre, où 50 000 hindous furent tués sur l’ordre de Mahmoud, a donné le ton pour des siècles.

Les paisibles bouddhistes furent les victimes suivantes à être désignées pour les massacres de masse en 1193, quand Mohammed Khilji incendia également leur célèbre bibliothèque. À la fin du 12ème siècle, après la conquête musulmane de leur bastion du Bihar, ils perdirent toute présence significative en Inde. Les survivants se retirèrent au Népal ou au Tibet ou s’échappèrent vers le Sud du sous-continent. Les restes de leur culture s’éparpillèrent dans des contrées aussi lointaines que le Turkestan. À la merci des conquérants musulmans et de leurs héritiers, ces témoignages furent systématiquement anéantis, comme le furent, de nos jours encore, les quatre statues géantes des Bouddhas d’Afghanistan en mars 2001.

Le fait qu’une disposition à la culture et une sensibilité développée puissent aller de pair avec la bigoterie et la cruauté trouva son illustration avec Firuz Shah, qui gouverna le Nord de l’Inde à partir de 1351. Ce chef musulman tyrannique, bien qu’éduqué, surprit un jour une célébration hindoue dans un village, et ordonna que toutes les personnes présentes soient exécutées. Il raconta fièrement qu’après avoir perpétré le massacre, il détruisit les temples et fit ériger des mosquées à leur place.

L’empereur Moghol Akbar a laissé le souvenir d’un monarque tolérant, du moins selon les standards musulmans en Inde : au cours de son long règne (1542-1605), on ne peut porter à son actif qu’un seul massacre, quand, le 24 février 1568, il ordonna la mise à mort de près de 30 000 prisonniers rajpoutes après la bataille de Chitod. Mais si Akbar accepta les autres religions et toléra la célébration publique de leurs cultes, s’il abolit l’impôt sur les non-musulmans, son intérêt pour les croyances différentes ne reflétait pas un quelconque esprit de tolérance musulman. Bien au contraire, cette attitude indiquait une propension à la libre-pensée dans le domaine religieux qui l’amena finalement à une apostasie complète. Ses plus hautes actions consistèrent en une déclaration formelle de son infaillibilité en matière religieuse, sa promulgation d’un nouveau credo et son adoption des fêtes et pratiques hindoues et zoroastriennes. C’est un modèle dans l’histoire musulmane que l’on ressasse encore et toujours, y compris à l’heure actuelle : pour peu que l’on découvre un musulman raisonnable, éclairé et tolérant, un examen plus minutieux laisse apparaître qu’il s’agit de quelqu’un qui a commencé par être musulman, et qui progressivement s’est éloigné de l’orthodoxie de cette foi. En d’autres termes : les meilleurs musulmans sont souvent les moins musulmans (un théorème qui ne semble pas s’appliquer aux autres religions.)

Les choses reprirent un cours normal avec Shah Jahan (1593-1666), un petit-fils d’Akbar le Grand et le cinquième empereur Moghol. La plupart des occidentaux se souviennent de lui comme le commanditaire du Taj Mahal, mais n’ont aucune idée de la cruauté de ce roi qui engagea quarante-huit campagnes militaires contre les non-musulmans en moins de trente ans. Sur le modèle de ses coreligionnaires ottomans, à l’occasion de son couronnement, il tua tous les membres mâles de sa famille sauf un qui réussit à s’enfuir en Perse. Shah Jahan avait 5 000 concubines dans son harem, ce qui ne l’empêchait pas d’entretenir des rapports incestueux avec deux de ses filles, Chamani et Jahanara. Au cours de son règne, rien qu’à Bénarès, 76 temples hindous furent détruits, ainsi que des églises chrétiennes à Agra et Lahore. À la fin du siège de Hugh (une enclave portugaise près de Calcutta) qui dura trois mois, dix mille habitants furent « déchiquetés par la poudre, étouffés par noyade ou brûlés. » Quatre mille captifs furent emmenés à Agra où on leur offrit de choisir entre l’Islam ou la mort. La plupart refusèrent de se convertir et furent tués, à l’exception des jeunes femmes qui rejoignirent des harems.

Ces massacres perpétrés par les musulmans en Inde n’ont pas de parallèle dans l’histoire. En valeur absolue, ils sont plus importants que l’holocauste des juifs, la Terreur soviétique, les massacres japonais sur les Chinois pendant la seconde guerre mondiale, les dévastations de Mao contre la paysannerie chinoise, le génocide des Arméniens par les Turcs, ou que tout autre de ces fameux crimes contre l’humanité du 20ème siècle. Hélas, ils restent pratiquement ignorés à l’extérieur de l’Inde.

Plusieurs raisons expliquent ce fait. À l’époque où ils dirigeaient l’Inde, les Britanniques, fidèles à leur politique du « diviser pour régner », blanchirent les archives musulmanes pour que les membres de cette communauté puissent contrebalancer politiquement le poids de leurs administrés hindous plus nombreux. Dans la période de la lutte pour l’indépendance, Gandhi et Nehru minimisèrent l’étendue historique des atrocités afin de présenter la façade d’une unité hindou-musulmane contre les Britanniques. (Bien entendu, cette façade s’évanouit immédiatement après l’indépendance, et plusieurs millions de personnes furent tuées dans les violences religieuses qui accompagnèrent la partition de l’Inde britannique et la création du Pakistan.) Après l’indépendance, les écrivains indiens marxistes, aveuglés par leur idéologie, supprimèrent la vérité des registres musulmans, parce qu’elle ne correspondait pas à la théorie marxiste de l’histoire. Aujourd’hui, l’équivalent indien de la mode du « politiquement correct » passe sous silence les crimes des musulmans qui sont devenus une « minorité opprimée » dans une Inde majoritairement hindoue. Enfin, les intellectuels de gauche du pays ne cessent de blâmer l’Inde et haïssent leur propre civilisation hindoue, de la même manière que leurs congénères de Berkeley condamnent sans relâche les États-Unis et l’Occident.

À la différence de l’Allemagne qui a présenté des excuses à ses victimes juives et de l’Europe de l’Est, contrairement au Japon qui a au moins su se tenir depuis la seconde guerre mondiale, et même comparé aux États-Unis qui sont allés jusqu’au paroxysme de la culpabilisation pour les actes commis à l’encontre d’un nombre bien plus réduit d’Amérindiens, les agresseurs musulmans de l’Inde et leurs successeurs n’ont même jamais cessé leurs tentatives pour finir le travail qu’ils avaient commencé. À ce jour, les militants islamistes considèrent encore l’Inde comme « une affaire non réglée », et le problème est inscrit tout en haut de l’agenda de certains pays musulmans enrichis par leur pétrole, comme l’Arabie Saoudite, qui dépensent des millions chaque année pour tenter de convertir les hindous à l’Islam.

Une petite satisfaction nous est laissée : ils trouvent que cela avance plutôt lentement.

Robert Locke

(* Serge Trifkovic a obtenu son Doctorat de Philosophie à l’Université de Southampton en Angleterre, et a poursuivi ses recherches à l’Institut Hoover de Stanford. Ses antécédents journalistiques comprennent : « BBC World Service », « Voice of America », « CNN International », « MSNBC », « U.S. News and World Report », « The Washington Times », « The Philadelphia Inquirer », « The Times of London », et le « Cleveland Plain Dealer ». Il est rédacteur en chef du service étranger et chroniqueur à : « A Magazine of American Culture ». Cet article a été adapté par Robert Locke pour« Front Page Magazine ».)

Voir enfin:

Hindi Kouch: le génocide de 80 millions d’indiens par l’islam n’est pas un mythe

Jean-Patrick Grumberg

Dreuz

12 mars 2013

Les Sultans Bahmani, qui gouvernaient en Inde centrale, s’étaient fixé de massacrer 100 000 hindous par an et semblent s’y être tenus, explique François Gautier, ancien correspondant en Inde du Figaro et de Marianne, dans « Un autre regard sur l’Inde », édition du Tricorne – Genève 2000 (1).

100 000 hindous massacrés en une seule journée

Mais en 1399, le célèbre Timur fit mieux, il tua 100 000 hindous en UNE SEULE JOURNÉE !

80 millions d’hindous tués entre 1000 et 1525

Le Professeur Kishori Saran Lal dans son livre « La Croissance de la Population musulmane en Inde » estime qu’entre les seules années 1000 à 1525, 80 millions d’hindous furent tués, (sans parler des famines et autres calamités naturelles engendrées par la guerre), « sans doute le plus grand holocauste de l’histoire de l’humanité », affirme-t-il.

Et les propos du professeur Lal, dont la position de Directeur des recherches historiques du Conseil de l’Inde (ICHR) et membre du Comité du Conseil national de l’éducation et de la recherche de l’Inde (NCERT) attestent de sa respectabilité, sont confirmés par de nombreux historiens, tels Alain Daniélou, Will Durant, Sitaram Goel, ou Konraad Elst.

Des villes entières furent brûlées et leurs populations passées au fil de l’épée. Chaque campagne successive fit des dizaines de milliers de victimes et des millions de femmes et d’enfants furent emmenés en esclavage. Chaque nouvel envahisseur bâtissait littéralement sa montagne de crânes hindous.

Ainsi la conquête de l’Afghanistan en l’an 1000 fut suivie par l’annihilation de l’ENTIÈRE population hindoue de cette région, qu’on appelle toujours d’ailleurs « Hindu Kush », le massacre des hindous.

Mais aujourd’hui ce terrible épisode de l’histoire de l’Inde a été occulté : c’est à peine si les nombreuses Histoires de l’Inde, que nous utilisons comme référence, telle celle de Jacques Dupuis (agrégé d’histoire et diplômé de hindi de l’Ecole des langues orientales – 1912-1997), y font allusion.

L’historien et sociologue belge Koenraad Elst (Negationism in India), traite de la négation des atrocités musulmanes en Inde. « Cette négation des atrocités musulmanes, argue Elst, a gommé tout un chapitre capital de l’histoire indienne, le faisant disparaître non seulement des manuels d’histoire, mais aussi de la mémoire des Indiens. »

Qui étaient les révisionnistes ?

Des indiens marxistes, des communistes … à commencer par Nehru lui-même, qui, « pour dénigrer l’identité hindoue de la nation indienne, s’est appliqué à gommer l’horreur des invasions musulmanes en Inde », explique Konraad Elst.

« Ce sont les hindous eux-mêmes qui ont constamment nié le génocide musulman, » confirme Gautier.

Il ajoute : « sous l’impulsion de Nehru, trois générations d’historiens et d’intellectuels indiens marxistes s’efforceront de persuader leurs compatriotes (et le reste du monde) qu’il n’y a jamais eu de génocide musulman sur la personne des Hindous ».

Nehru, rappelle Elst, « premier leader de l’Inde indépendante, était un grand admirateur de l’URSS. C’est lui d’ailleurs qui initia l’étatisation de l’Inde sur le modèle soviétique ». Admirateur de la Russie aux 100 millions de morts, presque un aveu…

Ainsi le négationnisme en Inde, qui est d’inspiration marxiste, s’est appliqué à gommer des livres d’histoire écrits après l’indépendance indienne de 1947, toute l’horreur des invasions musulmanes et à dénigrer l’identité hindoue de l’Inde, en s’attaquant aux partis politiques, tel le Jana Sangh, (l’ancêtre du Bharata Janata Party), qui au début des années 20 s’efforcèrent de contrebalancer l’influence grandissante de la Ligue Musulmane qui commençait déjà à réclamer la création d’un état séparé pour les musulmans indiens.

Ainsi l’écrivain révolutionnaire et activiste communiste Manabendra Nath Roy dit M.N. Roy : « L’islam a rempli en Inde une mission d’égalitarisme et qu’en cela il fut bien accueilli par les castes défavorisées. » Et il continue : « C’était une question de lutte des classes tout à fait justifiée entre des forces progressives (les musulmans) et les forces féodales (les hindous de haute caste). »

Du négationnisme au biais islamisant de l’indianisme français

L’historien français Alain Daniélou, qui avait vécu l’Inde du dedans, résidant pendant vingt ans à Bénarès, où il apprit le sanskrit et la musique indienne, se plaignait souvent du « biais islamisant de l’indianisme français ».

L’historien belge Konraad Elst renchérit :

« L’indianisme français du XXème siècle semble s’être fortement inspiré de ce négationnisme-là, témoin « L’’Histoire de l’Inde Moderne », paru en 1994 chez Fayard et qui fait référence aujourd’hui chez nous. Dans le chapitre « La splendeur moghole », Marc Gaborieau, Directeur du Centre d’Études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud, parle en termes élogieux de l’empereur Aurangzeb, lequel avait la réputation – même aux yeux des musulmans indiens – d’avoir été le plus sanguinaire et le plus pervers des Moghols : « Aurangzeb a concentré sur sa personne la haine des Hindous militants qui lui attribuent des destructions systématiques de temples et des conversions forcées massives… cette image manichéenne doit être sérieusement corrigée ».

« Malheureusement, continue Konraad Elst, Aurangzeb était si fier de ses actes, qu’il les avait fait dûment archiver et qu’ils sont parvenus jusqu’à nous ». M. Elst rappelle donc qu’Aurangzeb (1658-1707), ne construisit pas seulement une énorme mosquée sur le plus vénérable temple de Bénares, la ville sainte hindoue, temple qu’il avait auparavant fait raser, il ordonna les destruction de TOUS les temples en Inde, dont le Kashi Vishvanath, un des plus sacrés du pays, celui de Krishna à Mathura, le temple de Somanath au Gujurat, ou le temple Treka-ka-Thakur à Ayodhya, et fit construire des mosquées à leur place. Le nombre de temples détruits par Aurangzeb se compte non pas en centaines mais en milliers. Aurangzeb ne se contenta pas de détruire des temples, il fit aussi éliminer les païens : « Ahmed Khan fit savoir à sa Majesté que 2 000 Hindous furent exécutés parce qu’ils continuaient leurs abominations religieuses », rapporte une chronique de l’époque. Le gourou sikh Tegh Bahadur fut décapité parce qu’il protestait contre les conversions forcées d’Aurangzeb. Et même le propre frère de l’empereur, Dara Shikoh, fut exécuté pour s’être intéressé à la religion hindoue. »

l’Hindouisme a fait montre d’une remarquable tolérance

La réalité, c’est que « tout au long de son histoire, l’Hindouisme a fait montre d’une remarquable tolérance, permettant aux Chrétiens de Syrie, aux marchands arabes, aux Parsis de Zoroastre, aux Juifs de Jérusalem, persécutés chez eux, de s’établir en Inde et d’y pratiquer leur religion en toute liberté » écrit Daniélou.

Peut-on en dire autant des musulmans ?

« On ne dira jamais assez l’horreur que furent les invasions arabes en Inde. Les ignorer parce qu’elles appartiennent au “passé” est ridicule, car elles se répercutent encore dans les événements politiques d’aujourd’hui », appuie Konraad Elst dans son livre « Le négationnisme en Inde » (Voice of India, New Delhi) (3).

Ici encore la réécriture de l’histoire accomplit un travail soigneux au bénéfice d’une idéologie criminelle et totalitaire. Des similitudes ne seront pas difficiles à trouver, les complices non plus – ce sont toujours les mêmes.

L’indianisme français continue à défendre un faux théorème

Et de nombreux observateurs estiment aujourd’hui « que l’Indianisme français doit se remettre en question, car ses bases reposent sur des données archéologiques et linguistiques qui datent du XIXème siècle » soutient Gautier. Le magazine indien « India Today », que l’on ne peut accuser de « nationalisme », vient par exemple de publier un grand dossier racontant comment des récentes découvertes archéologiques et linguistiques prouvent – entre autre – qu’il n’y a jamais eu d’invasion aryenne en Inde. Or, l’indianisme français continue à défendre ce théorème, comme c’est le cas à Pondichéry, par exemple.

Le journaliste français ajoute : « malheureusement, se plaint un chercheur indien qui a été associé à l’EFEO, les Français semblent mépriser l’hindouisme en tant que religion ».

Ce sera ma conclusion, François Gautier cite un autre chercheur : « Voilà une arrogance bien française que de tenter d’appliquer à l’Inde des paramètres qui ne sont valables qu’en France, en l’occurrence la séparation de l’Église et l’État », s’offusque un chercheur indien. Il faudrait donc que l’indianisme français de Pondichéry remette aussi de l’ordre dans sa maison : l’École Française d’Extrême Orient et l’Institut français collaborent rarement ensemble ; et l’EFEO s’est scindée en deux pour cause d’incompatibilité de ses chercheurs.

(1) http://books.google.com/books

(2) Jacques Dupuis, Histoire de l’Inde (Éditions Kailash, Civilisations et sociétés, 1996), page 202

(3) http://www.observatoiredesreligions.fr


"Bus de l’aparheid": Pour d’obscures raisons, les Arabes se font exploser dans les bus et les Israéliens trouvent ça très gênant (How are you supposed to cohabit with people theologically, politically and culturally committed to your destruction ?)

11 mars, 2013
Toutes choses égales par ailleurs, Chavez, c’est de Gaulle plus Léon Blum. De Gaulle parce qu’il a changé fondamentalement les institutions et puis Léon Blum, c’est-à-dire le Front populaire, parce qu’il lutte contre les injustices. Moi je dis, et ça pourra m’être reproché, (…) que le monde gagnerait à avoir beaucoup de dictateurs comme Hugo Chavez puisqu’on prétend que c’est un dictateur. Il a pendant ces quatorze ans respecté les droits de l’homme. Victorin Lunel (ministre de l’Outre-Mer, envoyé de la France à l’enterrement de Chavez)
La libération de la Palestine a pour but de “purifier” le pays de toute présence sioniste. (…) Le partage de la Palestine en 1947 et la création de l’État d’Israël sont des événements nuls et non avenus. (…) La Charte ne peut être amendée que par une majorité des deux tiers de tous les membres du Conseil national de l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine réunis en session extraordinaire convoquée à cet effet. Charte de l’OLP (articles 15, 19 et 33, 1964)
Les enfants de la nation du Hezbollah au Liban sont en confrontation avec [leurs ennemis] afin d’atteindre les objectifs suivants : un retrait israélien définitif du Liban comme premier pas vers la destruction totale d’Israël et la libération de la Sainte Jérusalem de la souillure de l’occupation … Charte du Hezbollah (1985)
Israël existe et continuera à exister jusqu’à ce que l’islam l’abroge comme il a abrogé ce qui l’a précédé. Hasan al-Bannâ (préambule de la charte du Hamas, 1988)
Le Mouvement de la Résistance Islamique est un mouvement palestinien spécifique qui fait allégeance à Allah et à sa voie, l’islam. Il lutte pour hisser la bannière de l’islam sur chaque pouce de la Palestine. Charte du Hamas (Article six, 1988)
If, and as long as between the Jordan and the sea, there is only one political entity, named Israel, it will end up being either non-Jewish or non-democratic…If the Palestinians vote in elections, it is a binational state, and if they don’t, it is an apartheid state. Ehud Barak (security conference, 2010)
"Separate but equal?" Yediot Ahranot
On the bus to Israeli apartheid. Haaretz
The separate bus lines for Palestinians that went into operation on Monday recall racial segregation in the United States and are bringing Israel closer to apartheid. Aeyal Gross (Haaretz)
Many people don’t class the Israeli situation as apartheid because for a long time, Israel refrained from the characteristics of petty apartheid, like separate roads, cafés and buses. This bus situation is a step in the direction of petty apartheid because people are being segregated in their daily activities. Ofra Yeshua-Lyth
For some strange reason, Arabs blow themselves up in buses and Israelis find that very unnerving. Yisrael Maida
The mayor told the government that people are afraid on the buses because of security problems and fights with Palestinians and he needs separate lines.  If you take a bus at five in the afternoon the bus is full of Arabs and there is no place to sit. And people are afraid someone will blow it up. Chen Keddem (spokeswoman for Eli Shaviro, the mayor of the West Bank settlement of Ariel)
Obviously, everyone will start screaming ‘apartheid’ and ‘racism’ now. This really doesn’t feel right, and maybe [the ministry] should find a different solution, but the situation right now is impossible. One driver (Ynet news service)
Driving a bus full of only Palestinians might turn out to be tricky. It could be unnerving and it might also create other problems. It could be a scary thing. Driver
There are two reasons for the move. First, there’s the obvious security issue: there is a dreadful history of Palestinian suicide bombing on Israeli buses. Israelis are understandably afraid, especially in the context of mass incitement by the Palestinian Authority, and would rather Palestinians took their trips to Israel on their own buses. (Are you absolutely sure you wouldn’t feel the same way?) The second reason, which explains why Israel has made its move now, is that due to more generous arrangements for the Palestinians, Israel is now granting more work permits. More workers, more buses. More Palestinian workers, more buses for Palestinians.  The Commentator
The situation in the past few months in which Israeli citizens have been compelled to ride on bullet-proof buses under IDF instruction and find buses full of people from the Arab population, is absurd, not to mention the security risk involved. On the other hand, the Arab population is compelled to pay a fortune for unlicensed drivers to pick them up straight from the crossing. The current solution is good for all. It allows Arabs to ride cheaper and regulated buses. Herzl Ben-Ari (Karnei Shomron Regional Council Chairman)
Maintaining tight security in one of the top terror targets in the world will inevitably bump up repeatedly – and unpleasantly – against issues of human rights.  Jake Wallis Simons
Critics note that the impetus behind the new lines wasn’t to ease the burden of Palestinian commuters, but rather a response to appeals by Jewish settler leaders who didn’t want to share buses with Palestinians. That point is accepted by the spokeswoman for Eli Shaviro, the mayor of the West Bank settlement of Ariel, who pushed for the lines, Ben Hur, the chairman of the Afakim Bus Co., which runs the lines, and the Transportation Ministry. Many settler leaders have long pushed for such a move, and the decision comes as their sway within Likud is on the rise. (…) A Palestinian placed a bomb on a Tel Aviv municipal bus last year that wounded 21. Between the late 1990s through the mid 2000s, Palestinian suicide bombers waged scores of attacks against Israeli targets, many of them public buses. Those attacks have since subsided. Palestinians and Israelis living side-by-side in the West Bank are governed by a dual system riven with inequalities that rarely make headlines in Israel. Parallel legal systems govern the lives of both peoples. Israelis charged with a crime in the West Bank are channeled into Israel’s criminal justice system, where the rights and legal protections are on par with any Western democracy. Palestinians are subjected to military courts, established after Israel won the West Bank from Jordan during the Arab-Israeli war in 1967. Many of the protections enshrined in Israel’s legal code don’t exist in the military courts, where military appellate court judges draw on Jordanian law, British-era laws and Israeli military decrees dating back to 1967. Israel says the dual systems are necessary to battle Palestinian terror networks. The WSJ
The term "apartheid state," as applied to Israel, gained traction largely as a result of former US President Jimmy Carter’s 2006 book "Israel: Peace Not Apartheid." The term "apartheid" refers to the conditions that formerly existed in South Africa where a 20% white minority controlled the 80% black majority through a brutally oppressive regime, which included segregationist laws and police who routinely brutalized and killed them with impunity. Blacks could not vote own property or businesses under apartheid. Those who have used the same term to describe Israel have fundamentally misapplied its meaning, failing to take into account circumstances so incongruent to comparative realities on the ground it renders the user of said term illiterate, seriously prejudiced, or both. Indeed, how come virtually every group of people have at least one country they call home, but if the Jews want one they are deemed "racist?" Another under publicized fact is that the Arabs who live in Israel are quite content living under Israeli law. They vote, own property and businesses, and face no segregation. In fact, life in Israel is so appealing that on a couple of occasions when the Palestinian Authority publically threatened to annex east Jerusalem, the Israeli office of immigration was flooded by Arabs applying for citizenship in Israel, because they did not want to live under Arab rule. (…) In South Africa, the apartheid system was an outgrowth from the British Commonwealth. Its intent was to ensure whites remained in control. In Israel’s case its birth was approved by a 72% majority vote of the United Nations. The Arabs had already received almost 90% of the land originally set aside by the British as a national homeland for the Jewish people. Yet in spite of being overwhelming beneficiaries of what was to be Jewish land, the Arabs refused to accept a tiny partition for a Jewish state. They attacked Israel 24 hours after it declared statehood. Since then, the Arabs have made Israel’s destruction a cornerstone of their existence. Groups such as the PLO, Hamas, Fatah and Hezbollah have been birthed, each with charters requiring the destruction of Israel and the eradication of Zionism. Terror attacks have been perpetrated against Israeli civilians since it became a state. Between 1948 and 1999, some 2,000 Israelis had been killed by terrorists, which amounts to an average of 43 killings annually. In 2000, construction of Israel’s security barrier began. This is also when the second "Intifada" started. The year 2000 also saw a spike in the average of civilians killed from 43 to 288 per year, until 2003, when the first phase of the barrier was completed. That’s an increase of over 600% annually. Apparently Israel’s critics conveniently ignored this when making “apartheid wall” accusations. Today, with approximately 70% of the security barrier complete, the number of terror attacks has been dramatically reduced. In spite of the reduction in killings, Arab leaders continue to laud murderers as heroes, naming streets and public squares after them. When officials like Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas are publically honoring murderers, is it any wonder Israel has to take proactive measures to protect its civilians by constructing a security barrier? By attempting to ensure its survival as the only home of the Jewish people against Arabs who are theologically, politically and culturally committed to its destruction, Israel is labeled an "apartheid state." Dan Calic

Comment est-on censé cohabiter avec des gens "théologiquement, politiquement et culturellement engagés à la destruction" de son Etat ?

Après les freedom rides de Meat Shearim …

Et le passage catastrophique d’une comédienne suppléante d’un candidat à un poste de représentant des Français de l’étranger de toute évidence non préparée dans une émission de divertissement de France 2 …

Pendant que nos ministres socialistes se pâment sur les mérites du premier dictateur venu …

Et qu’en Israël même sans parler des retraités du FBI israélien qui se sentent obligés de jouer aux "juifs utiles", les dirigeants palestiniens peaufinent leur "nouvelle stratégie de "résistance populaire" qui évite de recourir aux attentats et aux armes à feu pour se concentrer sur des manifestations coordonnées contre la présence israélienne dans les Territoires" ….

Retour sur le dernier épisode de la campagne de diffamation contre Israël …

Suite aux accusations d’apartheid de journaux et groupes de défense des droits civiques israéliens contre, suite à la hausse des travailleurs de Cisjordanie autorisés à travailler en Israël et la pression des implantations israéliennes, l’instauration par le Ministère israélien de nouveaux bus pour les travailleurs palestiniens …

Où, comme précédemment pour la barrière de sécurité qui a presque totalement réduit les attentats dont le nombre de victimes au moment de sa construction en 2000 étaient montés à 288 par an, nombre de nos belles âmes oublient les conditions très particulières de cohabitation avec une population dont les dirigeants sont, comme le rappelle l’éditorialiste israélien Dan Calic, "théologiquement, politiquement et culturellement engagés à la destruction" de votre Etat …

Apartheid? Think again

Op-ed: Why is Israel considered racist for seeking to protect itself against hostile, murderous Arabs?

Dan Calic

04.03.13

The term "apartheid state," as applied to Israel, gained traction largely as a result of former US President Jimmy Carter’s 2006 book "Israel: Peace Not Apartheid." The term "apartheid" refers to the conditions that formerly existed in South Africa where a 20% white minority controlled the 80% black majority through a brutally oppressive regime, which included segregationist laws and police who routinely brutalized and killed them with impunity. Blacks could not vote own property or businesses under apartheid.

Those who have used the same term to describe Israel have fundamentally misapplied its meaning, failing to take into account circumstances so incongruent to comparative realities on the ground it renders the user of said term illiterate, seriously prejudiced, or both.

Indeed, how come virtually every group of people have at least one country they call home, but if the Jews want one they are deemed "racist?"

Another under publicized fact is that the Arabs who live in Israel are quite content living under Israeli law. They vote, own property and businesses, and face no segregation. In fact, life in Israel is so appealing that on a couple of occasions when the Palestinian Authority publically threatened to annex east Jerusalem, the Israeli office of immigration was flooded by Arabs applying for citizenship in Israel, because they did not want to live under Arab rule.

By contrast, South Africa’s blacks certainly weren’t lining up at government offices desperate to remain subjugated under apartheid.

In South Africa, the apartheid system was an outgrowth from the British Commonwealth. Its intent was to ensure whites remained in control. In Israel’s case its birth was approved by a 72% majority vote of the United Nations. The Arabs had already received almost 90% of the land originally set aside by the British as a national homeland for the Jewish people.

Yet in spite of being overwhelming beneficiaries of what was to be Jewish land, the Arabs refused to accept a tiny partition for a Jewish state. They attacked Israel 24 hours after it declared statehood.

Killers honored

Since then, the Arabs have made Israel’s destruction a cornerstone of their existence. Groups such as the PLO, Hamas, Fatah and Hezbollah have been birthed, each with charters requiring the destruction of Israel and the eradication of Zionism.

Terror attacks have been perpetrated against Israeli civilians since it became a state. Between 1948 and 1999, some 2,000 Israelis had been killed by terrorists, which amounts to an average of 43 killings annually. In 2000, construction of Israel’s security barrier began. This is also when the second "Intifada" started.

The year 2000 also saw a spike in the average of civilians killed from 43 to 288 per year, until 2003, when the first phase of the barrier was completed. That’s an increase of over 600% annually. Apparently Israel’s critics conveniently ignored this when making “apartheid wall” accusations.

Today, with approximately 70% of the security barrier complete, the number of terror attacks has been dramatically reduced.

In spite of the reduction in killings, Arab leaders continue to laud murderers as heroes, naming streets and public squares after them. When officials like Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas are publically honoring murderers, is it any wonder Israel has to take proactive measures to protect its civilians by constructing a security barrier?

By attempting to ensure its survival as the only home of the Jewish people against Arabs who are theologically, politically and culturally committed to its destruction, Israel is labeled an "apartheid state." Yet it seems those who invoke such labels deserve a label of their own: Anti-Semites.

Voir aussi:

Slandering the Jewish state

Op-ed: Instead of criticizing ‘Israeli apartheid,’ rights group should focus on Syria, Saudi Arabia

Gerald M. Steinberg

Ynetnews

03.12.12

Over the past few weeks "Israeli apartheid week" events have occurred at a number of campuses throughout North America and Europe. This year’s timing is especially unfortunate: while this political warfare, accompanied by BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaign is happening, the Syrian regime is massacring its own people.

In light of this, it is especially sad that people who call themselves human rights activists waste their time and energy attacking Israel. It is clear that the campaign explicitly targets the existence of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. In the words of Professor Irwin Cotler, former Canadian attorney general, "Let there be no mistake about it: to indict Israel as an Apartheid State is prologue and justification for the dismantling of the Jewish State, for the criminalization of its supporters, and for the consequential silencing of their speech."

BDS Campaign

This campaign immorally exploits the suffering of the real victims of apartheid and racism, and transforms a complex political dispute between the Palestinians and Israel into a racial conflict. The comparison was categorically rejected and denounced by Judge Richard Goldstone in The New York Times. Goldstone, who is a former justice of the South African Constitutional Court, wrote that, "In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute…"

Goldstone added that "while ‘apartheid’ can have broader meaning, its use is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa. It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations."

Many others who had experienced the real apartheid expressed similar views. Benjamin Pogrund, who was a journalist in South Africa, wrote, "Use of the apartheid label is at best ignorant and naive and at worst cynical and manipulative."

Infinite hypocrisy

This cynicism is especially prominent now that Assad’s regime is mercilessly massacring its own people. During the past month, hundreds of people were murdered just in the city of Homs. But in Syria, where an Alawite minority has been oppressing the Sunni majority for decades, the regime – like other dictatorships – was immune to criticism until the outbreak of brutal violence in the recent months, especially from groups claiming to promote human rights.

Does a state in which a small minority violently oppresses the majority not deserve a week (in Israel’s case, actually a month) of attention focused on its crimes? And what about Saudi Arabia, which bans members of other religions from entering parts of the country, and where women are not allowed to drive or leave their house without a family member accompanying them? Where is “Saudi discrimination week”? And we haven’t even mentioned the situation of Christians in Israel’s neighbors, in Gaza and in the West bank. The examples are infinite, as is the hypocrisy.

In the face of these blatant double standards, the power of the "apartheid" campaign is derived from resources that are available in both political and financial forms. Politically, as noted, this divisive agenda is supported by the Arab and Islamic blocs in the United Nations and associated institutions, with active support from Russia and China. They firmly reject any attempt to condemn real human rights violations, and use anti-Israel campaigns to divert criticism.

Financially, the availability of significant European government funding allows ostensible human rights organizations to actively promote the "apartheid" libel. At the same time, these organizations are embarrassingly silent when faced with human rights violations in the Muslim-Arab world in general and in Syria specifically. At most, they issue belated and half-hearted condemnations.

Finally, the crude exploitation of the "apartheid" libel and the accompanying BDS campaigns are the antithesis of the mutual acceptance required for peace, and serve the purposes of murderous dictatorships. As Judge Goldstone wrote, "The mutual recognition and protection of the human dignity of all people is indispensable to bringing an end to hatred and anger. The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony."

Gerald M. Steinberg is the founder and president of NGO Monitor and professor of political science at Bar Ilan University

Voir également:

Palestinian-only buses: Israeli apartheid?

 Jake Wallis Simons

March 4th, 2013

Israel has been accused of encouraging racial segregation after a new Palestinian-only bus service was launched

The balance between security and civil liberties is a delicate one in Israel. A few years ago I was travelling there with a few friends from Britain. One of us happened to be of African Islamic heritage. The security personnel at Ben Gurion airport gave him an especially hard time, questioning him at length in private and searching his luggage forensically. It was unsettling for him, and awkward – to say the least – for the rest of us. Was this racism? Or the necessary evil of prudent security measures? I take no pleasure in suggesting that it was the latter. Actually, the friend in question feels the same way.

This is the episode that springs to mind when I learn that Israel has launched Palestinian-only buses on Highway Five between the West Bank and Tel Aviv. The Transport Ministry explained that the new bus service was intended to "improve public transport services for Palestinian workers entering Israel", replacing unofficial buses that were demanding "exorbitant prices". They also said that Palestinian workers would not be prevented from travelling on regular public transport, either in Israel or on the West Bank.

Palestinian rights groups, however, were concerned that this was a fig-leaf for what would become wholesale discrimination at checkpoints, with Israeli police taking matters into their own hands and forcing Palestinians to use the new buses exclusively.

Defenders of the plan offer a rationale that is largely security-based. As Yisrael Maidad, a prominent figure on the Israeli Right, sardonically put it, "since we ride buses with Arabs every day in Israel, it’s not a racist thing but for some strange reason, Arabs blow themselves up in buses and Israelis find that very unnerving."

The language is inflammatory, but the statement is not without its kernel of truth. Maintaining tight security in one of the top terror targets in the world will inevitably bump up repeatedly – and unpleasantly – against issues of human rights. The question, as with my experience at Ben Gurion airport, is where one draws the line. In Israel, this matter is debated frequently and officially by moral philosophers and religious figures, particularly when it comes to military operations. They get it wrong sometimes, and spectacularly so. But often, on a day-to-day basis, they get it right.

Nevertheless, it has to be noted that the timing is strange. Apart from the blast on the bus in Tel Aviv during the last Gaza offensive, there hadn’t been a suicide attack on Israel’s bus network for six and a half years, which is a striking figure given that 29,000 Palestinians commute to Israel daily. This suggests that although the new bus service is being used by some groups to highlight security concerns, its real purpose is far more practical. Having said that, the current plans are merely one step away from enforced segregation; this may very well cause more problems than it solves, and may set a troubling precedent.

But as the fur flies in the media and the blogosphere, it seems to me that one point has not been made clearly enough. It has become a cliché to criticise Israel for being an apartheid state. Given the fact that the introduction of a segregated bus route provokes such a domestic and international furore, does this epithet withstand scrutiny? Many, such as Aeyal Gross in Ha’aretz, are arguing vociferously that the current issue demonstrates that we are "on the bus to Israeli apartheid". Which suggests that we aren’t there yet.

Voir encore:

Split Israel Bus Lines Spur Segregation Debate

New Transport for Palestinian Workers From West Bank Brings Touchy Issue of Inequality Between Two Peoples to Forefront

Charles Levinson

Wall Street journal

March 4, 2013

TEL AVIV—New bus lines for Palestinians, created at the urging of Jewish settler leaders in the West Bank, have sparked a debate over segregation in Israel and refocused attention on the inequalities that govern Palestinians and Israelis in the territory.

The two new lines began operating on Monday, ferrying Palestinian day laborers commuting between the West Bank and blue-collar jobs in Tel Aviv. Previously, those Palestinians commuted via a series of private minibuses—whose fares are far higher than on the new public bus lines—or on public bus lines serving primarily Jewish settlers in the northern West Bank.

The new bus lines have created a controversy in Israel, rare in a country whose conflict-hardened citizens appear to have grown weary of headlines dealing with the daily grind of Israel’s management of the West Bank amid a low-intensity conflict with the Palestinians.

"Separate but equal?" asked Israel’s centrist daily Yediot Ahranot newspaper on Monday. "On the bus to Israeli apartheid," read an editorial headline in the left-of-center Haaretz paper.

Both Jewish Israelis and Palestinians can still ride on both the new and the old lines, said Israel’s Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz, a conservative stalwart within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party. That means they are not legally segregated, he says.

"Adding new bus lines servicing Palestinian areas is not segregation," a Katz spokesman said. "Anyone can ride on any bus. There are now just more buses."

Indeed, several Palestinian laborers returning on the new bus line from Tel Aviv to the West Bank on Monday said the new lines appeared to be an improvement that will ease their arduous daily commute, at least a little.

But critics note that the impetus behind the new lines wasn’t to ease the burden of Palestinian commuters, but rather a response to appeals by Jewish settler leaders who didn’t want to share buses with Palestinians. That point is accepted by the spokeswoman for Eli Shaviro, the mayor of the West Bank settlement of Ariel, who pushed for the lines, Ben Hur, the chairman of the Afakim Bus Co., which runs the lines, and the Transportation Ministry.

Many settler leaders have long pushed for such a move, and the decision comes as their sway within Likud is on the rise.

"The mayor told the government that people are afraid on the buses because of security problems and fights with Palestinians and he needs separate lines," said Shaviro spokeswoman Chen Keddem.

The roughly 50,000 Palestinians who have permits to work in Israel have been carefully screened and vetted by Israeli security services.

Ms. Keddem said that verbal squabbles—but not physical ones—do take place on mixed Palestinian-Israeli buses, but mostly over competition for seats. Ms. Keddem said she wasn’t aware of any more serious security incidents.

"If you take a bus at five in the afternoon the bus is full of Arabs and there is no place to sit," she said. "And people are afraid someone will blow it up."

A Palestinian placed a bomb on a Tel Aviv municipal bus last year that wounded 21. Between the late 1990s through the mid 2000s, Palestinian suicide bombers waged scores of attacks against Israeli targets, many of them public buses. Those attacks have since subsided.

Palestinians and Israelis living side-by-side in the West Bank are governed by a dual system riven with inequalities that rarely make headlines in Israel.

Parallel legal systems govern the lives of both peoples. Israelis charged with a crime in the West Bank are channeled into Israel’s criminal justice system, where the rights and legal protections are on par with any Western democracy. Palestinians are subjected to military courts, established after Israel won the West Bank from Jordan during the Arab-Israeli war in 1967.

Many of the protections enshrined in Israel’s legal code don’t exist in the military courts, where military appellate court judges draw on Jordanian law, British-era laws and Israeli military decrees dating back to 1967. Israel says the dual systems are necessary to battle Palestinian terror networks.

"Buses are a symbol of segregation," said Hagit Ofran, of Peace Now, an Israeli pro-peace group. "That may be the reason we get so much interest about it. Segregation is all over the occupation, but when it comes to buses it looks very bad."

Anything that hints at segregation, with its historical connection to South African apartheid and the American civil-rights movement, is a particularly explosive issue in a country that takes pride in being a Western-style democracy.

But the issue has increasingly sneaked into the public debate. The country’s Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, was perhaps the first senior Israeli leader to publicly warn that Israel’s policies in the West Bank risked leading Israel toward being "an apartheid state."

"If, and as long as between the Jordan and the sea, there is only one political entity, named Israel, it will end up being either non-Jewish or non-democratic…If the Palestinians vote in elections, it is a binational state, and if they don’t, it is an apartheid state," Mr. Barak said at a security conference in 2010.

All six living ex-directors of Israel’s internal Shin Bet security service, the lead agency in fighting Palestinian terror, recently participated in the Oscar-nominated documentary The Gatekeepers, to warn against Israel’s continued presence in the West Bank.

Voir de plus:

Separate but equal bus lines?

Ynetnews

03.04.13

Palestinian workers travelling between West Bank, Israel to use separate public transportation after settlers complain of potential security risks. Leftists call these ‘apartheid lines’, Transportation Minister Katz says ‘Palestinians entering Israel will be able to ride on all public transportation lines’

Reuters, Itamar Fleishman

Tension, delays and chaos ensue on the first day segregated, Palestinian-Israeli bus lines are operated in the West Bank.

On Monday morning, a riot broke out at the exit point of the Eyal crossing, adjacent to Qalqilya after numerous Palestinian laborers could not get to work within the Green Line. They protested the fact that as of now, they must arrive at the crossing from far-off places in the West Bank since the new bus lines are their only means of entering central Israel.

In response, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said that "Palestinians entering Israel will be able to ride on all public transportation lines, including all those already existing in the West Bank."

In addition, according to a Transport Ministry announcement, Katz instructed that all new Afikim bus company lines will be reinforced immediately according to demand. "In light of the great overflow on the few lines operated this morning, the ministry will asses the possibility that lines will leave from additional West Bank points, making it easier for the travelers."

Israel launched two Palestinians-only bus lines in the West Bank on Monday, a step an Israeli rights group described as racist and which the Transport Ministry called an improvement in service.

The ministry opened the lines, to be used by Palestinian laborers travelling between the West Bank and Israel, after settlers complained that Palestinians on mixed buses were a security risk.

The separate Palestinian bus line initiative aroused a wave of reactions from both sides of the Israeli political spectrum. Leftists called upon the Transport Ministry to cancel what they call "Apartheid lines."

Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On turned to Katz and demanded that he "immediately cancel the segregated lines in the West Bank. Separate bus lines for Palestinians prove that occupation and democracy cannot coexist," she said.

According to Gal On, the decision to separate between Jews and Arabs stems from settler pressure and not from the desire to improve upon services for the Palestinians. "Separation on buses based on ethnicity was customary in the past in racist regimes around the world and is unacceptable in a democratic country."

Peace Now activists also protested the operation of these lines and said, "the decision to (operate) separate bus lines in the territories is shocking and turns racism into the norm. A Palestinian Rosa Parks is needed to insist upon sitting on Jewish bus lines, (someone) who won’t surrender to discrimination."

Conversely, Karnei Shomron Regional Council Chairman Herzl Ben-Ari, one of the leading pressure-putters on the Transport Ministry for finding a solution to the overload and the tension on the regular West Bank bus lines commented as well.

Ben-Ari said that "the situation in the past few months in which Israeli citizens have been compelled to ride on bullet-proof buses under IDF instruction and find buses full of people from the Arab population, is absurd, not to mention the security risk involved. On the other hand, the Arab population is compelled to pay a fortune for unlicensed drivers to pick them up straight from the crossing. The current solution is good for all. It allows Arabs to ride cheaper and regulated buses."

"Creating separate bus lines for Israeli Jews and Palestinians is a revolting plan," Jessica Montell, director of the B’Tselem rights group, said on Army Radio. "This is simply racism. Such a plan cannot be justified with claims of security needs or overcrowding."

עומס בעלייה לאוטובוס. הבוקר במעבר אייל (צילום: גור דותן)

Overload on Palestinians-only buses (Photo: Gur Dotan)

Ibrahim, from the West Bank village of Bidya said, "it is impossible for to make it all the way here. I need to leave an hour and a half earlier because I live far from the Eyal crossing, and if I miss the bus – my whole workday is gone."

Fauzi, who lives in the village of Zaita, adjacent to the West Bank city of Ariel, requested to arrive to work in Israel and was also delayed at the Eyal crossing. He expressed his frustration regarding the situation and said "this chaos is unclear to me. I need to drive an hour and a half just to get to the bus, and now it is not clear if there are even enough buses."

Additional laborers who arrived at the crossing, verbally confronted Transport Ministry and Afikim bus company representatives, who were guarded by police officers who arrived at the scene to maintain order.

"The Ministry of Transport has not issued any instruction or prohibition that prevents Palestinian workers from travelling on public transport in Israel nor in Judea and Samaria," it said, referring to the West Bank.

"Furthermore, the Ministry of Transport is not authorized to prevent any passenger from using public transport services."

Rights groups, however, voiced concern that Israeli police at checkpoints in the West Bank would remove Palestinian passengers from regular bus lines and order them to use the new ones.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said all Palestinians returning to the West Bank would be searched for stolen property, describing this as a routine Israeli precaution.

He said he did not know whether and how this might affect Palestinian travel on regular buses.

Voir de plus:

Penser qu’il s’agit de ségrégation est d’une incongruité absolue

Gilles-William Goldnadel

Avocat franco-israélien, essayiste et militant associatif

Newsring

07 mars 2013

D’après ce que je sais, il ne s’agit pas du tout de ségrégation, c’est un service de transport qui a été mis en place, à des prix particuliers, pour les Arabes de Cisjordanie. Pour autant, si un Arabe de Cisjordanie veut prendre un bus israélien ou avec des Juifs, il ne va pas être rejeté. Donc, de ce point de vue-là, le parallèle avec l’apartheid sud-africain de la grande époque ou bien avec la ségrégation dans le Sud des Etats-Unis est particulièrement injuste et injustifié. C’est une facilité qui a été faite pour améliorer le sort des Palestiniens et on est en train de transformer ça, de manière totalement abusive, en un outil de ségrégation, ce qui est faux.

Qu’il y ait un climat de peur parce que des Palestiniens se sont fait sauter dans des bus, je peux parfaitement le comprendre. De la même manière qu’il est très compréhensible qu’un Palestinien qui n’a rien à se reprocher n’aime pas se voir regarder de travers. C’est la situation qui veut cela mais nous sommes ici à des années lumières du principe juridique d’une ségrégation entre telle ou telle ethnie. Justement, les choses étant ce qu’elles sont dans ce bas monde, on a sans doute en raison de cela voulu faciliter la vie des Arabes, et de manière assez perverse, ça se retourne contre l’autorité qui veut améliorer la situation. Je pressens qu’en raison de cette polémique on finisse par revenir sur cette décision et les premiers perdants seront, une fois de plus, les Arabes de Palestine.

Concernant les deux bus incendiés, il y a des gens qui ont envie de jeter de l’huile sur le feu et, comme la polémique a l’air de prendre, ils appuient là où ça fait mal. Mais ça ne valide en rien l’hypothèse de la ségrégation. Pour bien connaître Israël et les israéliens, je sais qu’il ne leur serait jamais venu à l’idée de faire un bus qui serait strictement autorisé pour telle ethnie et strictement prohibé pour une autre. C’est une incongruité absolue quand on connaît le système israélien et, d’ailleurs, ce serait contraire à la loi.

On a voulu mettre en place un service qui était objectivement pour faciliter la vie des Arabes donc des esprits chagrins ont considéré que, puisqu’il s’agissait de bus pour des Arabes, cela voulait dire que l’on séparait les Juifs des Arabes Dès lors, la polémique s’est enflammée.

Nous ne sommes pas dans une situation actuelle où les Arabes viennent se faire sauter dans les bus. Heureusement, cela fait des années que ce n’est pas arrivé. Donc le fantasme en question ou la peur, même compréhensible, ne sont pas prégnants. A l’époque où les bus explosaient sans cesse, je comprends très bien qu’un israélien qui voyait un Arabe rentrer dans un bus avec un grand anorak se demandait ce qu’il y avait dessous. Mais quel rapport avec la ségrégation? C’est simplement la crainte et le soupçon qui prévalent évidemment dans ce type de situation. Les choses étaient-elles bien différentes après l’explosion du métro de Saint Michel en 1995?

Voir aussi:

Israël: deux bus destinés aux travailleurs palestiniens incendiés

L’Express

05/03/2013

Deux bus destinés aux travailleurs palestiniens se rendant en Israël ont été incendiés dans le nord du pays. La mise en place de ces lignes lundi avait provoqué la colère des Palestiniens et des défenseurs des droits de l’homme.

ISRAEL – Le lancement des lignes reliant le passage d’Eyal, près de Qalqiliya, à Tel-Aviv fait suite à des protestations de colons mécontents de devoir partager les transports avec les Palestiniens.

Les véhicules n’auront roulé que quelques heures. Deux bus, utilisés sur les nouvelles lignes destinées aux travailleurs palestiniens se rendant en Israël, ont "apparemment été incendiés" dans le nord du pays, dans la nuit de lundi à mardi.

"Nous explorons toutes les pistes", a indiqué la porte-parole de la police, Louba Samri. Celle-ci précise qu’une enquête sur le sinistre, dans le village arabe israélien de Kfar Qassem, a été ouverte et qu’aucun suspect n’a été arrêté.

Des sources policières citées par la radio militaire estiment que les véhicules ont été incendiés en signe de protestation: Israël a lancé lundi un service de bus destiné aux travailleurs palestiniens, s’attirant des accusations de "ségrégation" dans les transports, de la part d’organisations de défense des droits de l’homme.

"Une mesure raciste"

"C’est une politique de ségrégation raciste qu’appliquent tous les gouvernements israéliens consécutifs", a déclaré mardi le vice-ministre palestinien du Travail Assef Saïd. Le secrétaire général du Syndicat des travailleurs palestiniens a de son côté dénoncé "une mesure raciste" dans une déclaration à la radio officielle Voix de la Palestine, soulignant que "les bus utilisés par les travailleurs sont souvent visés par les colons et les extrémistes israéliens".

Le lancement des lignes reliant le passage d’Eyal, près de Qalqiliya, dans le nord de la Cisjordanie, à l’agglomération de Tel-Aviv fait suite à des protestations de colons mécontents de devoir partager les transports avec les Palestiniens, invoquant des risques d’attentat. Jusqu’à présent, les travailleurs palestiniens empruntant ce passage se rendaient jusqu’à un arrêt de bus proche d’une colonie juive, où ils embarquaient avec les passagers israéliens, ou utilisaient des transporteurs clandestins.

"Les nouvelles lignes de bus ne sont pas deux lignes séparées pour les Palestiniens mais plutôt deux lignes dédiées, destinées à améliorer les services de transports offerts aux travailleurs palestiniens qui entrent en Israël par le passage d’Eyal", s’est défendu Israël Katz, le ministre israélien des Transports.

Le maire d’une colonie a demandé l’aide de l’armée

Celui-ci a affirmé que ces nouvelles lignes visaient à "remplacer les opérateurs pirates qui transportent les travailleurs à des prix exorbitants", et a indiqué s’assurer que "les Palestiniens entrant en Israël puissent circuler à bord de tous les transports publics, y compris les lignes opérant en Judée-Samarie [Cisjordanie]".

Le maire de la colonie d’Ariel, dans le nord de la Cisjordanie, Ron Nachman, décédé depuis, avait indiqué en novembre sur sa page Facebook avoir demandé à l’armée, à la police et au ministère des Transports, d'"empêcher les Palestiniens de monter dans des bus desservant Ariel". Il avait assuré que ses interlocuteurs "travaillaient à une solution".

En 2011, des activistes palestiniens ont été arrêtés pour être montés dans des bus israéliens en Cisjordanie, en signe de protestation contre la ségrégation.

Avec AFP

Voir enfin:

Israël craint le début d’une nouvelle intifada

Adrien Jaulmes

Le Figaro

24/02/2013

La mort d’un jeune Palestinien dans une prison israélienne intervient dans un climat déjà très détérioré.

De notre correspondant à Jérusalem

La mort d’un détenu palestinien dans une prison israélienne a fait encore monter la tension en Cisjordanie ce week-end, où les incidents entre Palestiniens et soldats israéliens se sont récemment multipliés au point de faire craindre à Israël le début d’une nouvelle intifada.

Arafat Jaradat, un Palestinien âgé de 30 ans, est mort samedi après-midi dans la prison israélienne de Meggido, officiellement d’un arrêt cardiaque.

Résidant d’un village proche de Hébron, Jaradat avait été arrêté lundi près de la colonie de Kiryat Arba pour avoir jeté des pierres contre des soldats et des civils israéliens. Ayant reconnu les faits, il avait été incarcéré à la prison de Meggido en attendant d’être jugé. Selon les autorités israéliennes, il souffrait de traumatismes dus à des blessures anciennes et, après son examen par un médecin, son interrogatoire avait été suspendu. Cette version des faits n’a pas convaincu la famille de Jaradat, qui a affirmé qu’il était en parfaite santé. Les autorités palestiniennes ont demandé l’ouverture d’une enquête. Le ministre palestinien des Prisonniers, Issa, Qaraqaë, a affirmé dimanche soir lors d’une conférence de presse que l’autopsie du détenu avait révélé «des fractures sur tout le corps et sur le crâne» de la victime, ce qui, selon lui «prouve qu’Israël l’a assassiné».

Des milliers de détenus en grève de la faim

Plusieurs milliers de détenus Palestiniens ont annoncé qu’ils suivraient une journée de grève de la faim en solidarité avec Jaradat. Cette mort survient dans un climat déjà particulièrement tendu. Depuis plusieurs jours, les manifestations se multiplient en Cisjordanie pour réclamer la libération de quatre détenus palestiniens en grève de la faim intermittente depuis plusieurs mois.

Deux de ces détenus, Samir Issaoui et Iman Sharouna, font partie du millier de prisonniers palestiniens libérés en échange du soldat Gilad Shalit. Ils ont été de nouveau arrêtés pour avoir repris leurs activités clandestines. Les deux autres, Jafar Ezzedine et Tariq Kaadan, membre du Djihad islamique, ont été arrêtés ces derniers mois pour avoir fomenté des attentats en Cisjordanie.

Les manifestations de soutien à ces quatre détenus se sont multipliées. Vendredi, la police israélienne est intervenue devant la prison d’Ofer, à côté de Ramallah, et dans la Vieille Ville de Jérusalem pour disperser des manifestants palestiniens. La mort de Jaradat a donné le signal d’autres manifestations en Cisjordanie.

Pour ajouter à la détérioration du climat, trois Palestiniens ont été blessés par balles près de la colonie de Shilo, dans le nord de la Cisjordanie. Les colons sont soupçonnés d’avoir ouvert le feu.

Les incidents se sont multipliés en Cisjordanie depuis la fin de l’opération «Pilier de défense» lancée par Israël en novembre 2012 contre le Hamas à Gaza. À plusieurs reprises, ces derniers mois, l’armée israélienne a mis en garde contre la possibilité d’une troisième intifada. Les Israéliens accusent l’Autorité palestinienne de fomenter ces troubles, selon la nouvelle stratégie de «résistance populaire», qui évite de recourir aux attentats et aux armes à feu pour se concentrer sur des manifestations coordonnées contre la présence israélienne dans les Territoires.


Esclavage: Les Noirs aussi ! (Black people practiced slavery and fought to defend their right to it)

8 mars, 2013
Nicolas Augustin Metoyer of Louisiana owned 13 slaves in 1830. He and his 12 family members collectively owned 215 slaves. Henry Louis Gates
The free colored population of Louisiana … own slaves, and they are dearly attached to their native land … and they are ready to shed their blood for her defense. They have no sympathy for abolitionism; no love for the North, but they have plenty for Louisiana … They will fight for her in 1861 as they fought [to defend New Orleans from the British] in 1814-1815."  
A free black in Trimble County, Kentucky, " … sold his own son and daughter South, one for $1,000, the other for $1,200." … A Maryland father sold his slave children in order to purchase his wife. A Columbus, Georgia, black woman — Dilsey Pope — owned her husband. "He offended her in some way and she sold him … " Fanny Canady of Louisville, Kentucky, owned her husband Jim — a drunken cobbler — whom she threatened to "sell down the river." At New Bern, North Carolina, a free black wife and son purchased their slave husband-father. When the newly bought father criticized his son, the son sold him to a slave trader. The son boasted afterward that "the old man had gone to the corn fields about New Orleans where they might learn him some manners."
Some of them were promised their freedom if they fought. Others went out of loyalty for their masters, and stayed with them in times of trouble. (…) Black men did fight on both sides," he continued. There’s been a whole lot of credible work done about the side of the Union, but they have not given any scholarly research to the Confederate side. James Eaton (Florida A&M University)
Historians have estimated the total number of black men who served in the Confederate Army either as laborers or soldiers range anywhere from 60,000 to 90,000. Over 13,000 of these, "saw the elephant" also known as meeting the enemy in combat. These Black Confederates included both slave and free. James Davis

Après les Africains et les Indiens

Retour sur les propriétaires d’esclaves noirs américains !

Qui, non contents d’acheter et de vendre des esclaves noirs pouvaient à l’occasion, si l’on en croit Henry Louis Gates, vendre les membres de leur propre famille !

Et, grande première dans l’histoire de l’intégration des noirs dans l’armée en Amérique, étaient prêts à s’engager dans l’armée sudiste pour en défendre le droit  …

Did Black People Own Slaves?

Henry Louis Gates Jr.

The Root

March 4, 2013

100 Amazing Facts About the Negro: Yes — but why they did and how many they owned will surprise you.

Editor’s note: For those who are wondering about the retro title of this black history series, please take a moment to learn about historian Joel A. Rogers, author of the 1934 book 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro With Complete Proof, to whom these "amazing facts" are an homage.

(The Root) — 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro No. 21: Did black people own slaves? If so, why?

One of the most vexing questions in African-American history is whether free African Americans themselves owned slaves. The short answer to this question, as you might suspect, is yes, of course; some free black people in this country bought and sold other black people, and did so at least since 1654, continuing to do so right through the Civil War. For me, the really fascinating questions about black slave-owning are how many black "masters" were involved, how many slaves did they own and why did they own slaves?

The answers to these questions are complex, and historians have been arguing for some time over whether free blacks purchased family members as slaves in order to protect them — motivated, on the one hand, by benevolence and philanthropy, as historian Carter G. Woodson put it, or whether, on the other hand, they purchased other black people "as an act of exploitation," primarily to exploit their free labor for profit, just as white slave owners did. The evidence shows that, unfortunately, both things are true. The great African-American historian, John Hope Franklin, states this clearly: "The majority of Negro owners of slaves had some personal interest in their property." But, he admits, "There were instances, however, in which free Negroes had a real economic interest in the institution of slavery and held slaves in order to improve their economic status."

In a fascinating essay reviewing this controversy, R. Halliburton shows that free black people have owned slaves "in each of the thirteen original states and later in every state that countenanced slavery," at least since Anthony Johnson and his wife Mary went to court in Virginia in 1654 to obtain the services of their indentured servant, a black man, John Castor, for life.

And for a time, free black people could even "own" the services of white indentured servants in Virginia as well. Free blacks owned slaves in Boston by 1724 and in Connecticut by 1783; by 1790, 48 black people in Maryland owned 143 slaves. One particularly notorious black Maryland farmer named Nat Butler "regularly purchased and sold Negroes for the Southern trade," Halliburton wrote.

Perhaps the most insidious or desperate attempt to defend the right of black people to own slaves was the statement made on the eve of the Civil War by a group of free people of color in New Orleans, offering their services to the Confederacy, in part because they were fearful for their own enslavement: "The free colored population [native] of Louisiana … own slaves, and they are dearly attached to their native land … and they are ready to shed their blood for her defense. They have no sympathy for abolitionism; no love for the North, but they have plenty for Louisiana … They will fight for her in 1861 as they fought [to defend New Orleans from the British] in 1814-1815."

These guys were, to put it bluntly, opportunists par excellence: As Noah Andre Trudeau and James G. Hollandsworth Jr. explain, once the war broke out, some of these same black men formed 14 companies of a militia composed of 440 men and were organized by the governor in May 1861 into "the Native Guards, Louisiana," swearing to fight to defend the Confederacy. Although given no combat role, the Guards — reaching a peak of 1,000 volunteers — became the first Civil War unit to appoint black officers.

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When New Orleans fell in late April 1862 to the Union, about 10 percent of these men, not missing a beat, now formed the Native Guard/Corps d’Afrique to defend the Union. Joel A. Rogers noted this phenomenon in his 100 Amazing Facts: "The Negro slave-holders, like the white ones, fought to keep their chattels in the Civil War." Rogers also notes that some black men, including those in New Orleans at the outbreak of the War, "fought to perpetuate slavery."

How Many Slaves Did Blacks Own?

So what do the actual numbers of black slave owners and their slaves tell us? In 1830, the year most carefully studied by Carter G. Woodson, about 13.7 percent (319,599) of the black population was free. Of these, 3,776 free Negroes owned 12,907 slaves, out of a total of 2,009,043 slaves owned in the entire United States, so the numbers of slaves owned by black people over all was quite small by comparison with the number owned by white people. In his essay, " ‘The Known World’ of Free Black Slaveholders," Thomas J. Pressly, using Woodson’s statistics, calculated that 54 (or about 1 percent) of these black slave owners in 1830 owned between 20 and 84 slaves; 172 (about 4 percent) owned between 10 to 19 slaves; and 3,550 (about 94 percent) each owned between 1 and 9 slaves. Crucially, 42 percent owned just one slave.

Pressly also shows that the percentage of free black slave owners as the total number of free black heads of families was quite high in several states, namely 43 percent in South Carolina, 40 percent in Louisiana, 26 percent in Mississippi, 25 percent in Alabama and 20 percent in Georgia. So why did these free black people own these slaves?

It is reasonable to assume that the 42 percent of the free black slave owners who owned just one slave probably owned a family member to protect that person, as did many of the other black slave owners who owned only slightly larger numbers of slaves. As Woodson put it in 1924’s Free Negro Owners of Slaves in the United States in 1830, "The census records show that the majority of the Negro owners of slaves were such from the point of view of philanthropy. In many instances the husband purchased the wife or vice versa … Slaves of Negroes were in some cases the children of a free father who had purchased his wife. If he did not thereafter emancipate the mother, as so many such husbands failed to do, his own children were born his slaves and were thus reported to the numerators."

Moreover, Woodson explains, "Benevolent Negroes often purchased slaves to make their lot easier by granting them their freedom for a nominal sum, or by permitting them to work it out on liberal terms." In other words, these black slave-owners, the clear majority, cleverly used the system of slavery to protect their loved ones. That’s the good news.

But not all did, and that is the bad news. Halliburton concludes, after examining the evidence, that "it would be a serious mistake to automatically assume that free blacks owned their spouse or children only for benevolent purposes." Woodson himself notes that a "small number of slaves, however, does not always signify benevolence on the part of the owner." And John Hope Franklin notes that in North Carolina, "Without doubt, there were those who possessed slaves for the purpose of advancing their [own] well-being … these Negro slaveholders were more interested in making their farms or carpenter-shops ‘pay’ than they were in treating their slaves humanely." For these black slaveholders, he concludes, "there was some effort to conform to the pattern established by the dominant slaveholding group within the State in the effort to elevate themselves to a position of respect and privilege." In other words, most black slave owners probably owned family members to protect them, but far too many turned to slavery to exploit the labor of other black people for profit.

Who Were These Black Slave Owners?

If we were compiling a "Rogues Gallery of Black History," the following free black slaveholders would be in it:

John Carruthers Stanly — born a slave in Craven County, N.C., the son of an Igbo mother and her master, John Wright Stanly — became an extraordinarily successful barber and speculator in real estate in New Bern. As Loren Schweninger points out in Black Property Owners in the South, 1790-1915, by the early 1820s, Stanly owned three plantations and 163 slaves, and even hired three white overseers to manage his property! He fathered six children with a slave woman named Kitty, and he eventually freed them. Stanly lost his estate when a loan for $14,962 he had co-signed with his white half brother, John, came due. After his brother’s stroke, the loan was Stanly’s sole responsibility, and he was unable to pay it.

William Ellison’s fascinating story is told by Michael Johnson and James L. Roark in their book, Black Masters: A Free Family of Color in the Old South. At his death on the eve of the Civil War, Ellison was wealthier than nine out of 10 white people in South Carolina. He was born in 1790 as a slave on a plantation in the Fairfield District of the state, far up country from Charleston. In 1816, at the age of 26, he bought his own freedom, and soon bought his wife and their child. In 1822, he opened his own cotton gin, and soon became quite wealthy. By his death in 1860, he owned 900 acres of land and 63 slaves. Not one of his slaves was allowed to purchase his or her own freedom.

Louisiana, as we have seen, was its own bizarre world of color, class, caste and slavery. By 1830, in Louisiana, several black people there owned a large number of slaves, including the following: In Pointe Coupee Parish alone, Sophie Delhonde owned 38 slaves; Lefroix Decuire owned 59 slaves; Antoine Decuire owned 70 slaves; Leandre Severin owned 60 slaves; and Victor Duperon owned 10. In St. John the Baptist Parish, Victoire Deslondes owned 52 slaves; in Plaquemine Brule, Martin Donatto owned 75 slaves; in Bayou Teche, Jean B. Muillion owned 52 slaves; Martin Lenormand in St. Martin Parish owned 44 slaves; Verret Polen in West Baton Rouge Parish owned 69 slaves; Francis Jerod in Washita Parish owned 33 slaves; and Cecee McCarty in the Upper Suburbs of New Orleans owned 32 slaves. Incredibly, the 13 members of the Metoyer family in Natchitoches Parish — including Nicolas Augustin Metoyer, pictured — collectively owned 215 slaves.

Antoine Dubuclet and his wife Claire Pollard owned more than 70 slaves in Iberville Parish when they married. According to Thomas Clarkin, by 1864, in the midst of the Civil War, they owned 100 slaves, worth $94,700. During Reconstruction, he became the state’s first black treasurer, serving between 1868 and 1878.

Andrew Durnford was a sugar planter and a physician who owned the St. Rosalie plantation, 33 miles south of New Orleans. In the late 1820s, David O. Whitten tells us, he paid $7,000 for seven male slaves, five females and two children. He traveled all the way to Virginia in the 1830s and purchased 24 more. Eventually, he would own 77 slaves. When a fellow Creole slave owner liberated 85 of his slaves and shipped them off to Liberia, Durnford commented that he couldn’t do that, because "self interest is too strongly rooted in the bosom of all that breathes the American atmosphere."

It would be a mistake to think that large black slaveholders were only men. In 1830, in Louisiana, the aforementioned Madame Antoine Dublucet owned 44 slaves, and Madame Ciprien Ricard owned 35 slaves, Louise Divivier owned 17 slaves, Genevieve Rigobert owned 16 slaves and Rose Lanoix and Caroline Miller both owned 13 slaves, while over in Georgia, Betsey Perry owned 25 slaves. According to Johnson and Roark, the wealthiest black person in Charleston, S.C., in 1860 was Maria Weston, who owned 14 slaves and property valued at more than $40,000, at a time when the average white man earned about $100 a year. (The city’s largest black slaveholders, though, were Justus Angel and Mistress L. Horry, both of whom owned 84 slaves.)

In Savannah, Ga., between 1823 and 1828, according to Betty Wood’s Gender, Race, and Rank in a Revolutionary Age, Hannah Leion owned nine slaves, while the largest slaveholder in 1860 was Ciprien Ricard, who had a sugarcane plantation in Louisiana and owned 152 slaves with her son, Pierre — many more that the 35 she owned in 1830. According to economic historian Stanley Engerman, "In Charleston, South Carolina about 42 percent of free blacks owned slaves in 1850, and about 64 percent of these slaveholders were women." Greed, in other words, was gender-blind.

Why They Owned Slaves

These men and women, from William Stanly to Madame Ciprien Ricard, were among the largest free Negro slaveholders, and their motivations were neither benevolent nor philanthropic. One would be hard-pressed to account for their ownership of such large numbers of slaves except as avaricious, rapacious, acquisitive and predatory.

But lest we romanticize all of those small black slave owners who ostensibly purchased family members only for humanitarian reasons, even in these cases the evidence can be problematic. Halliburton, citing examples from an essay in the North American Review by Calvin Wilson in 1905, presents some hair-raising challenges to the idea that black people who owned their own family members always treated them well:

A free black in Trimble County, Kentucky, " … sold his own son and daughter South, one for $1,000, the other for $1,200." … A Maryland father sold his slave children in order to purchase his wife. A Columbus, Georgia, black woman — Dilsey Pope — owned her husband. "He offended her in some way and she sold him … " Fanny Canady of Louisville, Kentucky, owned her husband Jim — a drunken cobbler — whom she threatened to "sell down the river." At New Bern, North Carolina, a free black wife and son purchased their slave husband-father. When the newly bought father criticized his son, the son sold him to a slave trader. The son boasted afterward that "the old man had gone to the corn fields about New Orleans where they might learn him some manners."

Carter Woodson, too, tells us that some of the husbands who purchased their spouses "were not anxious to liberate their wives immediately. They considered it advisable to put them on probation for a few years, and if they did not find them satisfactory they would sell their wives as other slave holders disposed of Negroes." He then relates the example of a black man, a shoemaker in Charleston, S.C., who purchased his wife for $700. But "on finding her hard to please, he sold her a few months thereafter for $750, gaining $50 by the transaction."

Most of us will find the news that some black people bought and sold other black people for profit quite distressing, as well we should. But given the long history of class divisions in the black community, which Martin R. Delany as early as the 1850s described as "a nation within a nation," and given the role of African elites in the long history of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, perhaps we should not be surprised that we can find examples throughout black history of just about every sort of human behavior, from the most noble to the most heinous, that we find in any other people’s history.

The good news, scholars agree, is that by 1860 the number of free blacks owning slaves had markedly decreased from 1830. In fact, Loren Schweninger concludes that by the eve of the Civil War, "the phenomenon of free blacks owning slaves had nearly disappeared" in the Upper South, even if it had not in places such as Louisiana in the Lower South. Nevertheless, it is a very sad aspect of African-American history that slavery sometimes could be a colorblind affair, and that the evil business of owning another human being could manifest itself in both males and females, and in black as well as white.

As always, you can find more "Amazing Facts About the Negro" on The Root, and check back each week as we count to 100.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University. He is also the editor-in-chief of The Root. Follow him on Twitter.

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100 Amazing Facts

100 Amazing Facts About the Negro

African American slave owners

African Americans who owned slaves

Carter G. Woodson

John Carruthers Stanly

Louisiana slave history

black slave holders

black slave owners

black slaveowners

free black slave owners

john hope franklin

Culture

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Voir aussi:

Was The Confederacy the first Rainbow Coalition?

Yesterday was the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. Our Trailer Park correspondent Slow Pokey has penned a few lines for us.

THE CIVIL WAR – A Trailer Park Perspective

James “Slow Pokey” Ritter

Ramparts 360

April 12, 2011

April 12 1861, 150 years ago Fort Sumter was fired upon. There is still much misconception about the causes of our civil war and most of all about what society was like back then. So many have no idea how many blacks in the south were free men or that so many, including slaves, were business men and skilled craftsmen, journeymen of every trade and valuable members of the community. Yet the slavery issue is all we ever seem to hear about.

Here I wish to make the case that the southern Confederacy was in fact the first Rainbow Coalition. It drew upon it citizenry which consisted of every race, creed, color and religion and they fought against what could be considered a oppressive, indeed racist Federal government.

If you ever get a chance here’s a book with the truth and you can read a few pages here – Black Southerners in Gray: Essays on Afro-Americans in Confederate Armies

And here is a a study I think you will find informative: Minorities in the Confederate Army

Now I’m not going to say there were not some racial attitudes in the time period. I am going to say it wasn’t as portrayed by the PROGRESSIVES; I am going to say you won’t learn this information in the schools that are run by the PROGRESSIVES. Further, I am going to say as a boy in the early 60s if I showed disrespect for one of the black adult men or women – or any adult man or woman – in our neighborhood my daddy would have beat my butt right in the middle of the street in front of everyone. And every kid on the street regardless of skin color would have gotten the same from his daddy had he shown disrespect for any adult.

All that changed in the 60s and I don’t know why. Today the black community is a shadow of what it was just 40 years ago. There are unwed mothers, rampant drug use, high school drop outs and you would be hard pressed to find a journeyman of any trade. Many black Americans complain there are too many young black men in jail, as if they don’t know why. And it’s got nothing to do with racism.

The civil war is part of our history now and I for one would like there to be a better understanding of it amongst the Black and Hispanic population so maybe they to could feel the pride in the part their ancestors played in this greatest of national struggles.

I can recommend more links the reader might find informative:

http://www.plpow.com/POW_Blacks.htm

Diversity in the Confederate Armed Forces


Salem/320e:Tous les 50 ans le mal doit être chassé (From Salem to McMartin)

3 mars, 2013
Salem witch trialsJe suis innocent et il n’y a point en moi d’iniquité. Job (33: 9)
Je suis innocente et Dieu révelera mon innocence. Rebecca Nurse
Lorsque tu seras entré dans le pays que l’Éternel, ton Dieu, te donne, tu n’apprendras point à imiter les abominations de ces nations-là. Qu’on ne trouve chez toi personne qui fasse passer son fils ou sa fille par le feu, personne qui exerce le métier de devin, d’astrologue, d’augure, de magicien, d’enchanteur, personne qui consulte ceux qui évoquent les esprits ou disent la bonne aventure, personne qui interroge les morts. Car quiconque fait ces choses est en abomination à l’Éternel; et c’est à cause de ces abominations que l’Éternel, ton Dieu, va chasser ces nations devant toi. Tu seras entièrement à l’Éternel, ton Dieu. Deuteronome 18: 9-12
Tu ne laisseras point vivre la magicienne. Exode 22: 18
Si un homme ou une femme ont en eux l’esprit d’un mort ou un esprit de divination, ils seront punis de mort; on les lapidera: leur sang retombera sur eux. Levitique 20: 27
On apprend aux enfants qu’on a cessé de chasser les sorcières parce que la science s’est imposée aux hommes. Alors que c’est le contraire: la science s’est imposée aux hommes parce que, pour des raisons morales, religieuses, on a cessé de chasser les sorcières. René Girard
Il y avait vraiment des gens qui s’agitaient devant des courts-bouillons de grenouilles et de scorpions, mais nous savons que leurs manigances n’empêcheraient pas les avions de voler (…) C’est bien pourquoi, même lorsqu’elles étaient condamnées, même lorsqu’elles étaient techniquement coupables, les sorcières étaient des boucs émissaires. René Girard
C’est un moment génial de l’histoire de France. Toute la communauté issue de l’immigration adhère complètement à la position de la France. Tout d’un coup, il y a une espèce de ferment. Profitons de cet espace de francitude nouvelle. Jean-Louis Borloo (ministre délégué à la Ville, avril 2003)
Aujourd’hui, ma principale indignation concerne la Palestine, la bande de Gaza, la Cisjordanie. (…)  Pas mal… Il faut être israélien pour qualifier de terroriste la non-violence. Stéphane Hessel
En réalité, le mot qui s’applique – qui devrait s’appliquer – est celui de crime de guerre et même de crime contre l’humanité. (..)  Pour ma part, ayant été à Gaza, ayant vu les camps de réfugiés avec des milliers d’enfants, la façon dont ils sont bombardés m’apparaît comme un véritable crime contre l’humanité. Stéphane Hessel (à propos de l’offensive israélienne dans la bande de Gaza, 5 janvier 2009)
Au cours des trois dernières années, à l’invitation de mes amis israéliens, qui font partie d’une minorité courageuse, nous y sommes allés, ma femme et moi, par trois fois. Nous avons constaté que la Cisjordanie est complètement ingérable parce qu’elle est occupée, colonisée. Les routes ne sont pas autorisées pour les Palestiniens. Ces derniers sont traités avec un mépris épouvantable par Israël. Quant à la bande de Gaza, elle a été enfermée dans ce que l’on peut appeler une « prison à ciel ouvert ». L’opération « Plomb durci », de décembre 2008 à janvier 2009, a été une succession de crimes de guerre et de crimes contre l’humanité. La manière dont l’armée israélienne s’est comportée est absolument scandaleuse. Nous étions à Gaza en même temps que l’équipe dirigée par le juge Goldstone, et je peux témoigner que tout ce que relève le rapport Goldstone est exact. (…) Le gouvernement d’Israël bénéficie en effet d’une impunité scandaleuse, alors que depuis des années il bafoue le droit international et rejette les résolutions de l’ONU, ne respecte pas la Convention de Genève.  (…) Dès la fin de la guerre, je me suis retrouvé à New York comme fonctionnaire à l’ONU. J’ai assisté simultanément à deux événements importants : la rédaction de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme et la création de l’État d’Israël. Pour quelqu’un comme moi, né de père juif et qui sortait des camps de concentration, cette création était de l’ordre du merveilleux. Je n’étais pas conscient du fait que cet État ne pouvait exister qu’en chassant un nombre considérable de Palestiniens de leurs terres. (…) Pendant vingt ans, j’ai continué à considérer favorablement le développement d’Israël : j’étais admiratif des kibboutz et des moshav. Tout a changé en 1967 avec la guerre des Six Jours. Cette guerre, gagnée par Israël pratiquement en une matinée, a donné aux gouvernants de l’époque ce que j’appelle une hubris, un sentiment de supériorité extraordinaire, qui les a amenés à ne plus tenir compte du droit international. C’est à partir de 1967 que je me suis engagé dans le camp de ceux qui voulaient un retrait des forces israéliennes la création d’un État palestinien. Stéphane Hessel (Jeune Afrique, 17.05.10)
Le décès de Stéphane Hessel a provoqué une vive émotion, à la hauteur du respect que l’homme suscitait. Au delà, nous souhaitons que le sens du combat de Stéphane Hessel perdure et soit reconnu. Le parcours de Stéphane Hessel fait en effet de lui un grand Républicain, bien au delà des clivages partisans. Son engagement dans la Résistance, son courage jamais démenti, sa droiture dans le service de la France, sa défense de la démocratie, son acharnement à promouvoir les valeurs des droits de l’Homme, son souci constant des plus démunis, donnent au mot de citoyenneté tout son sens. Notre identité nationale se forge aussi à partir des luttes concrètes telles que celles que Stéphane Hessel a mené tout au long de son existence. Ni l’âge, ni les difficultés de la vie ne l’ont détourné de sa bataille permanente pour élever la dignité de l’humain au dessus de toutes les contingences. Le message de Stéphane Hessel, cet appel à l’indignation, ce refus de toutes les formes d’injustices doit désormais faire partie de notre héritage commun. Nous demandons donc au Président de la République que Stéphane Hessel entre au Panthéon, pour que la République rende à ses combats l’hommage qui leur est dû. Nous souhaitons ardemment que la pédagogie civique et la mémoire collective témoignent de l’importance de l’esprit de résistance. Parce qu’avec Stéphane Hessel, c’est une vie consacrée à l’intérêt général et au service d’une certaine idée de la France qu’il s’agit d’honorer. Pétition L’Indignation doit rentrer au Panthéon
Il n’est pas question pour moi d’ajouter mon encre aux critiques de l’œuvre et des idées de Stéphane Hessel. (…) Si je m’exprime aujourd’hui, c’est pour dire ce qu’ils n’ont pas dit et qui est cause, chez moi, d’une profonde inquiétude. Cela s’articule sur un constat principal : ce n’est pas Hessel et son discours qui sont préoccupants mais ceux qui l’encensent et ceux qui le propagent. Le problème ne se situe pas tant dans l’essai de 32 pages Indignez-vous !, paru en 2011, mais dans la couverture dramatique de Libération, présentant le portrait du vieillard défunt, accentué de ces deux mots : "Un juste". Je cite cette une, mais je pourrais mentionner la totalité de la presse tricolore, tombant en extase devant ce "grand homme" qu’elle avait d’ailleurs découvert sur le tard. Des pétitions poussent maintenant comme des champignons, exigeant que la dépouille d’Hessel soit inhumée au Panthéon. Les politiciens unanimes saluent le grand résistant et le défenseur des droits de l’homme qui les a quittés à l’âge avancé de 95 ans. Les seuls bémols que l’on entend se résument aux murmures de certains tribuns de l’opposition, sur le thème "je n’étais peut-être pas d’accord avec tout ce qu’il disait". Mais la seule critique devant ce requiem national vient des Juifs. Et c’est précisément cela qui me préoccupe. Stéphane Juffa
Engagement. Semaine difficile, la France a perdu Stéphane Hessel. Alors, je suppose que tout le monde voit Stéphane Hessel, le père castor du lieu commun engagé?! Stéphane Hessel, un mec tellement engagé que lorsqu’il est né, il portait déjà un nom qui évoquait les poilus. Indignez-vous! Indignez-vous! qu’il disait! C’est vrai, la paix, c’est mieux que la guerre. Le bien est supérieur au mal. Le capitalisme, c’est caca… Oops, zut, crotte, flûte, il est l’heure de changer mes couches! Ah le grand âge, ce coma éthylique sans alcool… En tout cas, c’est un triste destin, franchement: révélé à 92 ans, mort à 95, 3 ans de célébrité! Dans son malheur, une chance: trop âgé pour faire splach. Je dis ça, son bouquin, son fascicule, j’ai adoré! A-t-on jamais rendu un si bel hommage à du Helvetica police 24? Pour une fois que la littérature s’engage aussi sincèrement contre la presbytie, pourquoi bouder notre plaisir! Alors, de toutes façons, c’était un résistant, hein? C’est un gage d’inattaquabilité en France.Pour pouvoir dire n’importe quoi en France, c’est simple, entre 40 et 45, soit tu as fait le mariole dans le maquis, soit tu as planqué des juifs dans ta cave, tu vois. Une fois que tu as fait ça, même si après tu te mets à raconter que la terre est plate, tout le monde va te trouver génial! Gaspard Proust
Nous sommes une société qui, tous les cinquante ans ou presque, est prise d’une sorte de paroxysme de vertu – une orgie d’auto-purification à travers laquelle le mal d’une forme ou d’une autre doit être chassé. De la chasse aux sorcières de Salem aux chasses aux communistes de l’ère McCarthy à la violente fixation actuelle sur la maltraitance des enfants, on retrouve le même fil conducteur d’hystérie morale. Après la période du maccarthisme, les gens demandaient : mais comment cela a-t-il pu arriver ? Comment la présomption d’innocence a-t-elle pu être abandonnée aussi systématiquement ? Comment de grandes et puissantes institutions ont-elles pu accepté que des enquêteurs du Congrès aient fait si peu de cas des libertés civiles – tout cela au nom d’une guerre contre les communistes ? Comment était-il possible de croire que des subversifs se cachaient derrière chaque porte de bibliothèque, dans chaque station de radio, que chaque acteur de troisième zone qui avait appartenu à la mauvaise organisation politique constituait une menace pour la sécurité de la nation ? Dans quelques décennies peut-être les gens ne manqueront pas de se poser les mêmes questions sur notre époque actuelle; une époque où les accusations de sévices les plus improbables trouvent des oreilles bienveillantes; une époque où il suffit d’être accusé par des sources anonymes pour être jeté en pâture à la justice; une époque où la chasse à ceux qui maltraitent les enfants est devenu une pathologie nationale. Dorothy Rabinowitz

Attention: un espace de francitude nouvelle peut en cacher d’autres !

A l’heure où, au lendemain de la mort d’un antisémite notoire (pardon: antisioniste!), le Pays autoproclamé des Droits de l’homme se refait une santé d’unanimisme

Qui, même si les "santo subito" ont remplacé les "morts aux juifs", n’est pas sans rappeler à sa façon un autre épisode de "francitude nouvelle" où la démagogie incarnée d’un certain Jacques Chirac avait elle aussi rempli les rues il y a exactement 10 ans  …

Comment ne pas repenser, avec ce billet écrit mais non encore mis en ligne suite à ma visite de Salem en décembre dernier, à ces crises qui secouent périodiquement, comme si elles avaient besoin de se purger de leur trop-plein de tensions, nos sociétés?

 Comme ce dernier grand épisode d’hystérie collective (19 mises à mort et quelque 200 emprisonnés mais surtout un impact démultiplié par sa reprise par la littérature et le théâtre ou le cinéma) qui, avec les mêmes ingrédients d’une société en crise, présence d’idéologues et d’élément étranger, marquera, dans un petit village de Nouvelle Angleterre il y a 320 ans et dix ans après l’Angleterre, la fin des chasses aux sorcières aux Etats-Unis …

Ou, beaucoup plus récemment après les grandes "peurs rouges" des années 20 et 50 provoquées par les campagnes de subversion soviétiques, les accusations de maltraitances supposées d’enfants qui, des Etats-Unis et du Canada (ou de l’Australie) et de la Grande-Bretagne à la Belgique, à la France ou à l’Italie, se sont répandues comme une trainée de poudre dans les années 80-90 ?

The Daycare Abuse Trials of the 1980s and the Salem Witchcraft Trials: Some Parallels

1. Both the Daycare Abuse Trials (McMartin, Michaels, and others) and the Salem Witchcraft Trials placed heavy reliance on the testimony of children. In both sets of trials, people urged others to "believe the children." In practice, that generally meant, "believe the children when they are making remotely plausible accusations, but ignore the inconsistencies in their stories."

2. In both sets of trials, accusations multiplied over time. At first just a few persons faced accusations, but as the hysteria spread, so did the accusations. Often, the new targets of accusations were those who expressed skepticism about charges or who came to the defense of an accused person.

3. Both sets of trials had their origins in behaviors or statements of children–behaviors or statements that could have been given an innocent interpretation, but instead were interpreted in the most omenous or threatening way possible.

4. In both sets of trials, "experts" found meaning in unlikely places. In Salem, for example, the presence of a mole on the body of an accused person was seem as evidence that the "familiar" had an entry (or sucking) point on the accused. In the daycare cases, for example, the drawing of hands on stick figures was seen as evidence that the child who drew the figure had been molested. In another example, a child’s dislike of tuna fish was seen as evidence that the child had been exposed to vaginal smells.

5. In both sets of trials, the investigation itself was the source of many of the problems. Investigators in both instances employed leading questions, and effectively put the burden of proving innocence on the accused. In Salem, accused persons were asked to explain how their presence could trigger such bizarre reactions in the allegedly afflicted. In the daycare cases, the accused were confronted by the suggestion that the children would not be talking about penises and the like if they hadn’t been molested–when in fact their frequent use of such anatomic terms resulted from the investigation of the alleged crime.

6. In both sets of trials, the extent of the injustices was increased by the unwillingness–or fear–of enough persons to step forward and say, "This is crazy!" People in both instances feared that by doing so they might either face accusations themselves or hurt their standing in their communities–be it the church community in Salem or the journalism community in the daycare cases.

We are a society that, every fifty years or so, is afflicted by some paroxysm of virtue–an orgy of self-cleansing through which evil of one kind or another is cast out. From the witch-hunts of Salem to the communist hunts of the McCarthy era to the current shrill fixation on child abuse, there runs a common thread of moral hysteria. After the McCarthy era, people would ask: But how could it have happened? How could the presumption of innocence have been abandoned wholesale? How did large and powerful institutions acquiesce as congressional investigators ran roughshod over civil liberties–all in the name of a war on communists? How was it possible to believe that subversives lurked behind every library door, in every radio station, that every two-bit actor who had belonged to the wrong political organization posed a threat to the nation’s security?

Years from now people doubtless will ask the same questions about our present era–a time when the most improbable charges of abuse find believers; when it is enough only to be accused by anonymous sources to be hauled off by investigators; a time when the hunt for child abusers has become a national pathology.

–Dorothy Rabinowitz, From the Mouths of Babes to a Jail Cell,

HARPER’S MAGAZINE (May 1990).

Voir aussi:

The Witchcraft Trials in Salem: A Commentary

Douglas Linder

O Christian Martyr Who for Truth could die

When all about thee Owned the hideous lie!

The world, redeemed from superstition’s sway,

Is breathing freer for thy sake today.

–Words written by John Greenleaf Whittier and inscribed on a monument marking the grave of Rebecca Nurse, one of the condemned "witches" of Salem.

From June through September of 1692, nineteen men and women, all having been convicted of witchcraft, were carted to Gallows Hill, a barren slope near Salem Village, for hanging. Another man of over eighty years was pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to submit to a trial on witchcraft charges. Hundreds of others faced accusations of witchcraft. Dozens languished in jail for months without trials. Then, almost as soon as it had begun, the hysteria that swept through Puritan Massachusetts ended.

Why did this travesty of justice occur? Why did it occur in Salem? Nothing about this tragedy was inevitable. Only an unfortunate combination of an ongoing frontier war, economic conditions, congregational strife, teenage boredom, and personal jealousies can account for the spiraling accusations, trials, and executions that occurred in the spring and summer of 1692.

In 1688, John Putnam, one of the most influential elders of Salem Village, invited Samuel Parris, formerly a marginally successful planter and merchant in Barbados, to preach in the Village church. A year later, after negotiations over salary, inflation adjustments, and free firewood, Parris accepted the job as Village minister. He moved to Salem Village with his wife Elizabeth, his six-year-old daughter Betty, niece Abagail Williams, and his Indian slave Tituba, acquired by Parris in Barbados.

The Salem that became the new home of Parris was in the midst of change: a mercantile elite was beginning to develop, prominent people were becoming less willing to assume positions as town leaders, two clans (the Putnams and the Porters) were competing for control of the village and its pulpit, and a debate was raging over how independent Salem Village, tied more to the interior agricultural regions, should be from Salem, a center of sea trade.

Sometime during February of the exceptionally cold winter of 1692, young Betty Parris became strangely ill. She dashed about, dove under furniture, contorted in pain, and complained of fever. The cause of her symptoms may have been some combination of stress, asthma, guilt, boredom, child abuse, epilepsy, and delusional psychosis. The symptoms also could have been caused, as Linda Caporael argued in a 1976 article in Science magazine, by a disease called "convulsive ergotism" brought on by injesting rye–eaten as a cereal and as a common ingredient of bread–infected with ergot. (Ergot is caused by a fungus which invades developing kernels of rye grain, especially under warm and damp conditions such as existed at the time of the previous rye harvest in Salem. Convulsive ergotism causes violent fits, a crawling sensation on the skin, vomiting, choking, and–most interestingly–hallucinations. The hallucinogenic drug LSD is a dervivative of ergot.) Many of the symptoms or convulsive ergotism seem to match those attributed to Betty Parris, but there is no way of knowing with any certainty if she in fact suffered from the disease–and the theory would not explain the afflictions suffered by others in Salem later in the year.

At the time, however, there was another theory to explain the girls’ symptoms. Cotton Mather had recently published a popular book, "Memorable Providences," describing the suspected witchcraft of an Irish washerwoman in Boston, and Betty’s behavior in some ways mirrored that of the afflicted person described in Mather’s widely read and discussed book. It was easy to believe in 1692 in Salem, with an Indian war raging less than seventy miles away (and many refugees from the war in the area) that the devil was close at hand. Sudden and violent death occupied minds.

Talk of witchcraft increased when other playmates of Betty, including eleven-year-old Ann Putnam, seventeen-year-old Mercy Lewis, and Mary Walcott, began to exhibit similar unusual behavior. When his own nostrums failed to effect a cure, William Griggs, a doctor called to examine the girls, suggested that the girls’ problems might have a supernatural origin. The widespread belief that witches targeted children made the doctor’s diagnosis seem increasing likely.

A neighbor, Mary Sibley, proposed a form of counter magic. She told Tituba to bake a rye cake with the urine of the afflicted victim and feed the cake to a dog. ( Dogs were believed to be used by witches as agents to carry out their devilish commands.) By this time, suspicion had already begun to focus on Tituba, who had been known to tell the girls tales of omens, voodoo, and witchcraft from her native folklore. Her participation in the urine cake episode made her an even more obvious scapegoat for the inexplicable.

Meanwhile, the number of girls afflicted continued to grow, rising to seven with the addition of Ann Putnam, Elizabeth Hubbard, Susannah Sheldon, and Mary Warren. According to historian Peter Hoffer, the girls "turned themselves from a circle of friends into a gang of juvenile delinquents." ( Many people of the period complained that young people lacked the piety and sense of purpose of the founders’ generation.) The girls contorted into grotesque poses, fell down into frozen postures, and complained of biting and pinching sensations. In a village where everyone believed that the devil was real, close at hand, and acted in the real world, the suspected affliction of the girls became an obsession.

Sometime after February 25, when Tituba baked the witch cake, and February 29, when arrest warrants were issued against Tituba and two other women, Betty Parris and Abigail Williams named their afflictors and the witchhunt began. The consistency of the two girls’ accusations suggests strongly that the girls worked out their stories together. Soon Ann Putnam and Mercy Lewis were also reporting seeing "witches flying through the winter mist." The prominent Putnam family supported the girls’ accusations, putting considerable impetus behind the prosecutions.

The first three to be accused of witchcraft were Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborn. Tituba was an obvious choice (LINK TO TITUBA’S EXAMINATION). Good was a beggar and social misfit who lived wherever someone would house her (LINK TO GOOD’S EXAMINATION) (LINK TO GOOD’S TRIAL), and Osborn was old, quarrelsome, and had not attended church for over a year. The Putnams brought their complaint against the three women to county magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne, who scheduled examinations for the suspected witches for March 1, 1692 in Ingersoll’s tavern. When hundreds showed up, the examinations were moved to the meeting house. At the examinations, the girls described attacks by the specters of the three women, and fell into their by then perfected pattern of contortions when in the presence of one of the suspects. Other villagers came forward to offer stories of cheese and butter mysteriously gone bad or animals born with deformities after visits by one of the suspects.The magistrates, in the common practice of the time, asked the same questions of each suspect over and over: Were they witches? Had they seen Satan? How, if they are were not witches, did they explain the contortions seemingly caused by their presence? The style and form of the questions indicates that the magistrates thought the women guilty.

The matter might have ended with admonishments were it not for Tituba. After first adamantly denying any guilt, afraid perhaps of being made a scapegoat, Tituba claimed that she was approached by a tall man from Boston–obviously Satan–who sometimes appeared as a dog or a hog and who asked her to sign in his book and to do his work. Yes, Tituba declared, she was a witch, and moreover she and four other witches, including Good and Osborn, had flown through the air on their poles. She had tried to run to Reverend Parris for counsel, she said, but the devil had blocked her path. Tituba’s confession succeeded in transforming her from a possible scapegoat to a central figure in the expanding prosecutions. Her confession also served to silence most skeptics, and Parris and other local ministers began witch hunting with zeal.

Soon, according to their own reports, the spectral forms of other women began attacking the afflicted girls. Martha Corey, Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Cloyce, and Mary Easty (LINK TO EASTY’S EXAMINATION) (LINK TO EASTY’S PETITION FOR MERCY) were accused of witchcraft. During a March 20 church service, Ann Putnam suddenly shouted, "Look where Goodwife Cloyce sits on the beam suckling her yellow bird between her fingers!" Soon Ann’s mother, Ann Putnam, Sr., would join the accusers. Dorcas Good, four-year-old daughter of Sarah Good, became the first child to be accused of witchcraft when three of the girls complained that they were bitten by the specter of Dorcas. (The four-year-old was arrested, kept in jail for eight months, watched her mother get carried off to the gallows, and would "cry her heart out, and go insane.") The girls accusations and their ever more polished performances, including the new act of being struck dumb, played to large and believing audiences.

Stuck in jail with the damning testimony of the afflicted girls widely accepted, suspects began to see confession as a way to avoid the gallows. Deliverance Hobbs became the second witch to confess, admitting to pinching three of the girls at the Devil’s command and flying on a pole to attend a witches’ Sabbath in an open field. Jails approached capacity and the colony "teetered on the brink of chaos" when Governor Phips returned from England. Fast action, he decided, was required.

Phips created a new court, the "court of oyer and terminer," to hear the witchcraft cases. Five judges, including three close friends of Cotton Mather, were appointed to the court. Chief Justice, and most influential member of the court, was a gung-ho witch hunter named William Stoughton. Mather urged Stoughton and the other judges to credit confessions and admit "spectral evidence" (testimony by afflicted persons that they had been visited by a suspect’s specter). Ministers were looked to for guidance by the judges, who were generally without legal training, on matters pertaining to witchcraft. Mather’s advice was heeded. the judges also decided to allow the so-called "touching test" (defendants were asked to touch afflicted persons to see if their touch, as was generally assumed of the touch of witches, would stop their contortions) and examination of the bodies of accused for evidence of "witches’ marks" (moles or the like upon which a witch’s familiar might suck) (SCENE DEPICTING EXAMINATION FOR MARKS). Evidence that would be excluded from modern courtrooms– hearsay, gossip, stories, unsupported assertions, surmises– was also generally admitted. Many protections that modern defendants take for granted were lacking in Salem: accused witches had no legal counsel, could not have witnesses testify under oath on their behalf, and had no formal avenues of appeal. Defendants could, however, speak for themselves, produce evidence, and cross-examine their accusers. The degree to which defendants in Salem were able to take advantage of their modest protections varied considerably, depending on their own acuteness and their influence in the community.

The first accused witch to be brought to trial was Bridget Bishop. Almost sixty years old, owner of a tavern where patrons could drink cider ale and play shuffleboard (even on the Sabbath), critical of her neighbors, and reluctant to pay her her bills, Bishop was a likely candidate for an accusation of witchcraft (LINK TO EXAMINATION OF BISHOP). The fact that Thomas Newton, special prosecutor, selected Bishop for his first prosecution suggests that he believed the stronger case could be made against her than any of the other suspect witches. At Bishop’s trial on June 2, 1692, a field hand testified that he saw Bishop’s image stealing eggs and then saw her transform herself into a cat. Deliverance Hobbs, by then probably insane, and Mary Warren, both confessed witches, testified that Bishop was one of them. A villager named Samuel Grey told the court that Bishop visited his bed at night and tormented him. A jury of matrons assigned to examine Bishop’s body reported that they found an "excrescence of flesh." Several of the afflicted girls testified that Bishop’s specter afflicted them. Numerous other villagers described why they thought Bishop was responsible for various bits of bad luck that had befallen them. There was even testimony that while being transported under guard past the Salem meeting house, she looked at the building and caused a part of it to fall to the ground. Bishop’s jury returned a verdict of guilty . One of the judges, Nathaniel Saltonstall, aghast at the conduct of the trial, resigned from the court. Chief Justice Stoughton signed Bishop’s death warrant, and on June 10, 1692, Bishop was carted to Gallows Hill and hanged (LINK TO IMAGE OF BISHOP’S HANGING).

As the summer of 1692 warmed, the pace of trials picked up. Not all defendants were as disreputable as Bridget Bishop. Rebecca Nurse was a pious, respected woman whose specter, according to Ann Putnam, Jr. and Abagail Williams, attacked them in mid March of 1692 (LINK TO EXAMINATION OF NURSE). Ann Putnam, Sr. added her complaint that Nurse demanded that she sign the Devil’s book, then pinched her. Nurse was one of three Towne sisters , all identified as witches, who were members of a Topsfield family that had a long-standing quarrel with the Putnam family. Apart from the evidence of Putnam family members, the major piece of evidence against Nurse appeared to be testimony indicating that soon after Nurse lectured Benjamin Houlton for allowing his pig to root in her garden, Houlton died. The Nurse jury returned a verdict of not guilty, much to the displeasure of Chief Justice Stoughton, who told the jury to go back and consider again a statement of Nurse’s that might be considered an admission of guilt (but more likely an indication of confusion about the question, as Nurse was old and nearly deaf). The jury reconvened, this time coming back with a verdict of guilty(LINK TO NURSE TRIAL). On July 19, 1692, Nurse rode with four other convicted witches to Gallows Hill.

Persons who scoffed at accusations of witchcraft risked becoming targets of accusations themselves. One man who was openly critical of the trials paid for his skepticism with his life. John Proctor, a central figure in Arthur Miller’s fictionalized account of the Salem witchhunt, The Crucible, was an opinionated tavern owner who openly denounced the witchhunt. Testifying against Proctor were Ann Putnam, Abagail Williams, Indian John (a slave of Samuel Parris who worked in a competing tavern), and eighteen-year-old Elizabeth Booth, who testified that ghosts had come to her and accused Proctor of serial murder. Proctor fought back, accusing confessed witches of lying, complaining of torture, and demanding that his trial be moved to Boston. The efforts proved futile. Proctor was hanged. His wife Elizabeth, who was also convicted of witchcraft, was spared execution because of her pregnancy (reprieved "for the belly").

No execution caused more unease in Salem than that of the village’s ex-minister, George Burroughs. Burroughs, who was living in Maine in 1692, was identified by several of his accusers as the ringleader of the witches. Ann Putnam claimed that Burroughs bewitched soldiers during a failed military campaign against Wabanakis in 1688-89, the first of a string of military disasters that could be blamed on an Indian-Devil alliance. In her interesting book, In the Devil’s Snare, historian Mary Beth Norton argues that the large number of accusations against Burroughs, and his linkage to the frontier war, is the key to understanding the Salem trials. Norton contends that the enthusiasm of the Salem court in prosecuting the witchcraft cases owed in no small measure to the judges’ desire to shift the "blame for their own inadequate defense of the frontier." Many of the judges, Norton points out, played lead roles in a war effort that had been markedly unsuccessful.

Among the thirty accusers of Burroughs was nineteen-year-old Mercy Lewis, a refugee of the frontier wars. Lewis, the most imaginative and forceful of the young accusers, offered unusually vivid testimony against Burroughs. Lewis told the court that Burroughs flew her to the top of a mountain and, pointing toward the surrounding land, promised her all the kingdoms if only she would sign in his book (a story very similar to that found in Matthew 4:8). Lewis said, "I would not writ if he had throwed me down on one hundred pitchforks." At an execution, a defendant in the Puritan colonies was expected to confess, and thus to save his soul. When Burroughs on Gallows Hill continued to insist on his innocence and then recited the Lord’s Prayer perfectly (something witches were thought incapable of doing), the crowd reportedly was "greatly moved." The agitation of the crowd caused Cotton Mather to intervene and remind the crowd that Burroughs had had his day in court and lost.

One victim of the Salem witchhunt was not hanged, but rather pressed under heavy stones until his death. Such was the fate of octogenarian Giles Corey who, after spending five months in chains in a Salem jail with his also accused wife, had nothing but contempt for the proceedings. Seeing the futility of a trial and hoping that by avoiding a conviction his farm, that would otherwise go the state, might go to his two sons-in-law, Corey refused to stand for trial. The penalty for such a refusal was peine et fort, or pressing. Three days after Corey’s death, on September 22, 1692, eight more convicted witches, including Giles’ wife Martha, were hanged. They were the last victims of the witchhunt.

By early autumn of 1692, Salem’s lust for blood was ebbing. Doubts were developing as to how so many respectable people could be guilty. Reverend John Hale said, " It cannot be imagined that in a place of so much knowledge, so many in so small compass of land should abominably leap into the Devil’s lap at once." The educated elite of the colony began efforts to end the witch-hunting hysteria that had enveloped Salem. Increase Mather, the father of Cotton, published what has been called "America’s first tract on evidence," a work entitled Cases of Conscience, which argued that it "were better that ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person should be condemned." Increase Mather urged the court to exclude spectral evidence. Samuel Willard, a highly regarded Boston minister, circulated Some Miscellany Observations, which suggested that the Devil might create the specter of an innocent person. Mather’s and Willard’s works were given to Governor Phips. The writings most likely influenced the decision of Phips to order the court to exclude spectral evidence and touching tests and to require proof of guilt by clear and convincing evidence. With spectral evidence not admitted, twenty-eight of the last thirty-three witchcraft trials ended in acquittals. The three convicted witches were later pardoned. In May of 1693, Phips released from prison all remaining accused or convicted witches.

By the time the witchhunt ended, nineteen convicted witches were executed (LINK TO LIST OF DEAD), at least four accused witches had died in prison, and one man, Giles Corey, had been pressed to death. About one to two hundred other persons were arrested and imprisoned on witchcraft charges. Two dogs were executed as suspected accomplices of witches.

Scholars have noted potentially telling differences between the accused and the accusers in Salem. Most of the accused lived to the south of, and were generally better off financially, than most of the accusers. In a number of cases, accusing families stood to gain property from the convictions of accused witches. Also, the accused and the accusers generally took opposite sides in a congregational schism that had split the Salem community before the outbreak of hysteria. While many of the accused witches supported former minister George Burroughs, the families that included the accusers had–for the most part–played leading roles in forcing Burroughs to leave Salem. The conclusion that many scholars draw from these patterns is that property disputes and congregational feuds played a major role in determining who lived, and who died, in 1692.

A period of atonement began in the colony following the release of the surviving accused witches. Samuel Sewall, one of the judges, issued a public confession of guilt and an apology. Several jurors came forward to say that they were "sadly deluded and mistaken" in their judgments. Reverend Samuel Parris conceded errors of judgment, but mostly shifted blame to others. Parris was replaced as minister of Salem village by Thomas Green, who devoted his career to putting his torn congregation back together. Governor Phips blamed the entire affair on William Stoughton. Stoughton, clearly more to blame than anyone for the tragic episode, refused to apologize or explain himself. He criticized Phips for interfering just when he was about to "clear the land" of witches. Stoughton became the next governor of Massachusetts.

The witches disappeared, but witchhunting in America did not. Each generation must learn the lessons of history or risk repeating its mistakes. Salem should warn us to think hard about how to best safeguard and improve our system of justice.

Voir également:

FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES TO A JAIL CELL

Child abuse and the abuse of justice: A case study

Dorothy Rabinowitz

Dorothy Rabinowitz writes frequently on social and pohtical issues. She lives in New York City.

Harper’s Magazine

May 1990

On August 2, 1988, Margaret Kelly Michaels, then twenty-six years old, was sentenced by a New Jersey judge to forty-seven years in prison. It was as harsh a sentence as any judge in this country is likely to mete out for a crime involving neither drugs nor murder, but it was not nearly harsh enough for most of those assembled in the courtroom that day at the Essex County Court House in Newark. She faced, according to those moved to carefully calculate such things (and there were many on hand), an imprisonment of no fewer than 730 years. Three months earlier, Michaels had been convicted on 115 (of an alleged 131) counts of sexual abuse against twenty children, ranging in age from three to five. Each of the children had been in her charge at the Wee Care Day Nursery, an exclusive preschool in the suburban community of Maplewood, New Jersey, about twenty miles from New York City; each of the crimes was said to have been committed during regular school hours at the nursery, essentially a few rented rooms in the basement and on the second and third floors of the town’s large Episcopal church; each day during the seven months she worked as a teacher’s aide and then as a teacher at Wee Care, from September 1984 to April 1985, Kelly Michaels, according to the prosecutors, raped and assaulted them with knives, forks, a wooden spoon, and Lego blocks. The prosecution maintained that she had been able to do all this unnoticed by her fellow teachers, by school administrators, by parents and other visitors to the school, and unnoticed as well by anyone working for the church or attending services at the church that is to say, unnoticed for nearly 150 school days by any adult. Unnoticed, and on a daily basis, Michaels had also, according to the prosecutors, licked peanut butter off the children’s genitals, played the piano in the nude, and made them drink her urine and eat a "cake" of her feces. For 150 school days, not a single child ever said so much as a single word about any of these crimes because-again according to the prosecution-Kelly Michaels had forced them to keep at least 115 terrible secrets.

Although monstrous in its allegations, the case against Kelly Michaels was as much a work of the prosecution’s feverish imagination as a construction of the law. A substantial body of evidence suggests that Kelly Michaels was convicted of crimes she did not commit. Her story deserves telling in some detail because the circumstances that resulted in her arrest, trial, and imprisonment bespeak a condition of national hysteria not unlike the hysteria that seized the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the seventeenth century during the excitements of the Salem witch trials. If Kelly Michaels was unjustly convicted, it is because we live in an age of trial by accusation.

Our society, at the moment, is quick to condemn anybody and everybody charged, on the flimsiest of evidence, with the crimes of abusing or molesting children. In the interest of a higher virtue (i. e., protecting the search was not only the story of a young woman on only the children), a credulous public and a sensational whom I believe to have been falsely accused and testimony of ist press stand willing to cast aside whatever civil liberties or constitutional rights obstruct the judgment of heaven.

At the time of Kelly Michaels’s conviction, I was working for WWOR-TV, New Jersey’s largest television station. I reported and wrote commentaries about the media for the station’s evening news program, and because the Michaels case was one of the biggest local stories, I had followed it for months. From the beginning, I found something strange about the state’s case-something incomprehensible in the many counts of abuse, in the large number of children allegedly victimized, in the highly improbable circumstances in which Kelly Michaels was said to have accomplished the molestation of half the children in the school. I found no less strange the reactions of my colleagues to my casually voiced doubts to the effect that the case against Kelly Michaels was as rotten as last week’s fish. Youngish journalists who prided themselves on their skepticism – types who automatically sniffed with suspicion at any and every pronouncement by the government official – were outraged by the merest suggestion that the state’s charges against Kelly Michaels lacked credibility. In late July 1988, just before Michaels’s 5,000 sentence was to be handed down, I told one of the station’s news managers that I planned to do a commentary on the media coverage of the trial. The Village Voice  had published a lengthy story on the case by rely on only the testimony of small children; journalist Debbie Nathan that raised critical and this testimony invariably comes to involve questions about the press coverage. The story provided, I thought, the perfect opportunity to raise certain, by now deeply nagging, questions of my own about this case.

Forget it," the news managers informed me. ents, prosecutors, and jurors must-in a phrase This meant, in translation: This news organizawhispered frequently at such trials and even aftion is not prepared to air doubts about the trial fixed to posters and buttons-believe the chilof one of the most despised defendants ever condren. As proof of the prevailing doctrine, Essex victed in a New Jersey court-a child molester. County Assistant Prosecutor Glenn Goldberg,

Shortly after Kelly Michaels’s sentencing, I who tried the state’s case against Kelly Michaels

People everywhere in the country have believed tales as fantastic as any story ever told by the Brothers Grimm

By and large, this commandment has been obeyed. People everywhere in the country have believed. Believed almost anything and everything told to them by witnesses under the age of six. Believed tales as fantastic as any fairy story ever told by the Brothers Grimm. In Sequim, Washington, investigators listened attentively as children in a local preschool charged that they had been taken by a teacher to graveyards and forced to witness animal sacrifices. In Chicago, children told sympathetic authorities of how they were made to eat a boiled baby. A Memphis preschool teacher, Frances Ballard, was acquitted of terrorizing children into watching her put a bomb in a hamster and exploding it, and of fifteen other charges no less fantastic; but, in a trial to rival those of the Salem witches, she was convicted of kissing the genitals of a four-year-old boy.

The most sensational case of child abuse reached its denouement on January 18 of this year, when a jury in Los Angeles acquitted Ray Buckey and his mother, Peggy McMartin Buckey, on fifty-two counts-this after deliberating for nine weeks over evidence presented in the course of thirty-three months at a trial that cost the taxpayers of California an estimated $15 million. Buckey, a teacher at the Virginia McMartin Preschool (founded by his graI,ldmother) in Manhattan Beach, a well-to-do seaside city that is a part of greater Los Angeles, was said by the children to have stuck silverware in their anuses, taken them on visits to cemeteries, and killed a horse with a baseball bat. The parent who first came forth after believing her son, a woman named Judy Johnson, died in 1986 of an alcohol-related illness; not long after her initial charge against Buckey of child sodomy, she made a similar allegation against the prosecution of Kelly Michaels took place in the midst of a national hysteria about the crimes of child abuse that, by the spring of 1985, had become as virulent and as contagious as the Asian flu. Kelly Michaels left the Wee Care Day Nursery on April 26, 1985, in order to accept a better-paying job in the nearby town of East Orange, New Jersey. Four days later, on April 30, one of her fonner students, a four-year-old boy whom I will call Terry Weldon, • inadvertently set in motion her transfonnation into an object of revulsion. His mother had taken him to his pediatrician for a checkup, and a nurse began to take his temperature by putting a thennometer in his rectum. Terry played quietly for a halfminute or so and then said, "That’s what my teacher does to me at nap time at school." When the nurse asked him what he meant, he answered, "Her takes my temperature." His nap-time monitor was Kelly Michaels.

Kelly Michaels had not come to Maplewood from Pittsburgh, where she was raised, to teach preschoolers. Nor, for that matter, had she come east to settle in Maplewood. She loved the theater and wanted to be an actress. She was pretty in a traditional, American-girl sort of way, with a dimply smile and eyes, as even her childhood photos show, that knew how to meet a camera lens. She was voted "best actress" of her high school, St. Benedict’s Academy, and went on to major in theater at Seton Hill, a Catholic women’s college near Pittsburgh. In the summer of 1984, then just a few credits shy of her B.A., she took up the offer of a college friend who had invited her to share an efficiency apartment in a poor, mostly black neighborhood in East Orange. For the time being, East Orange was as close as she could get to Manhattan’s theaters and drama schools.

Up to this point, she had lived with her parents, John and Marilyn Michaels, and her four sisters and brothers in a pleasant, woodsy, middle-class section of Pittsburgh called White Oak Heights. Her early life had been, from all evidence, a happy one as the eldest child of a close-knit family. They were a talkative, bookish lot, given to heated debate on art and polities, whieh might explain Kelly Michaels’s rather extraordinary command of the language-a faintly formal, old-fashioned eloquence that made her seem, at times, the child of another era.

When I met Kelly Michaels for the first time, in the dark visitors’ cubicle at the women’s prison in Clinton, New Jersey, two months after her sentencing, she still retained some of the wholesome look I had seen in her school photographs. Her shock at the accusations brought against her were still as fresh in her mind as at the moment when she was first questioned in 1985. Her gift for language allowed her to express not only rage at her accusers but also an intellectual scorn for the absurdity of their charges. On several subsequent occasions when I spoke to her, she never failed to voice her amazement that a jury had believed the charges. "To watch these witnesses, these prosecutors with their details-and none of it had ever happened," she once told me. "Yet, all these people were coming up to the stand to give descriptions of what never happened."

After arriving in East Orange, Michaels began looking for work. She answered a number of want ads, including one for a teacher’s aide. She had never worked in the child-care field, but the director of the nursery was impressed with her. She was subsequently hired by Wee Care (the pay was about four dollars an hour) and began work there in September. Her mother, Marilyn, told me last year, when I visited her in White Oak Heights, that she had teased Kelly when she called to say she had begun working at a preschool. Be careful, she told her daughter, look at what is happening in Los Angeles to those teachers in the McMartin case.

Within a month at Wee Care, Kelly Michaels was promoted to teacher. She had impressed her supervisors and appeared to be popular with the three-year-olds whose class she took charge of and with the other children whom she supervised during nap time. Following days that she stayed home sick, children would run to greet her-a fact the prosecution would not deny but rather pointed to as evidence that Michaels "was an actress" and that "child abusers are very clever people." Michaels liked the children and their parents too, but the salary proved impossible to live on. When she went home for Christmas, her parents told me, she said she planned to leave Wee Care and return to Pittsburgh. John Michaels, to his bitter regret, urged her to be responsible and finish out the year. Kelly Michaels returned to Wee Care but did not finish out the year; she left two months before the school was to close for the summer in order to take the job in East Orange.

Ten days after Terry Weldon’s checkup, Essex County Investigator Richard Mastrangelo and Maplewood Detective Sergeant John

Noonan knocked on the door of the apartment Kelly Michaels shared with her friend Cynthia. Terry Weldon’s mother, upon arriving home after his examination, had fixed her son lunch and then phoned the doctor to talk about the temperature-taking incident. The doctor advised her to call the state child-protective agency, the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS). Her call was referred to the agency’s Institutional Abuse Unit, which contacted the Child Abuse Unit of the Essex County prosecutor’s office, which agreed to initiate an investigation. We have now in this country a vastly increased number of child-protection agencies and experts. This is largely a result of the passage in 1979 of the Federal Child Abuse Act, which dramatically increased funds available to states and localities for such agencies and experts. Funds begat staffs, which grew, as did their zeal.

On May 2, Terry’s mother-the wife of a Maplewood police officer and the daughter of a prominent Essex County judge-brought him to the Essex County prosecutor’s office in Newark, where he was questioned by the head of the office’s Child Abuse Unit, Assistant Prosecutor Sara Sencer, now Sara McArdle. She happened to live in Maplewood.

McArdle questioned Terry, handing to him during the interview what is called, by childabuse experts, an "anatomically correct" dollthat is, a rag doll that has an anus and genitalia. On the basis of what the child does with-and to-such a doll, investigators like McArdle say they can conclude whether and what type of abuse is likely to have occurred. Under questioning by McArdle, according to a prosecutor’s report, Terry Weldon stuck his finger in the doll’s rectum.

Terry also told McArdle that two other boys had had their temperature taken. Both were questioned. The boys seemed to know nothing about temperature-taking, but one of them, according to McArdle, said Michaels had touched his penis. Then a fourth allegation was made: The Weldons had notified Wee Care director Arlene Spector of their son Terry’s story, and

We have now in this country a vastly increased number of child,protection agencies and experts. Funds begat staffs, which grew, as did their zeal

The child, abuse experts convince parents that the number of abuses and abusers is virtually limitless, beyond their imagination

Spector, in tum, had notified the members of the school board. Under repeated questioning from his father, a board member-with the father telling him "he was his best friend and that he could tell him anything" {this from the prosecutor’s office report)-another boy said that Michaels had touched his penis’With a spoon. A decision was made to bring Kelly Michaels in for questioning.

The two investigators who arrived at Kelly Michaels’s apartment on the morning of May 6 found only one bed in the apartment, and this, Michaels later said, at once attracted their attention. She said they exchanged sly and significant glances. She was told she was not under arrest and did not need a lawyer but that she was under investigation and would she please come to the prosecutor’s office for questioning. Once there, she waived her Miranda rights and spent several hours insisting that the allegations were unfounded and that she was innocent. About temperature-taking, she explained that teachers took it by placing plastic strips on the children’s· foreheads. She was urged to take a lie-detector test and did; she passed. Two and a half years later, at Michaels’s trial, the county prosecutors prevented the results of this polygraph from being admitted into evidence, basing their objection on a state law stipulating that any person submitting to a police lie-detector test must first sign an agreement authorizing future use of the results. Michaels, who had never before been brought into a police station, knew nothing of this requirement; nor did the detectives questioning her see fit to mention it.

She was driven home, and, shaken though she was at the end of this day, she remembers reaching the conclusion that it must all have been some kind of bizarre misunderstanding. In one sense it was: The jury eventually rejected the charge that she had taken Terry Weldon’s temperature rectally-the very charge that provoked the entire investigation: anal penetration of the boy. But, as is invariably true in these cases, the first accusation was followed by more accusations-many more.

No one examining the scores of such child sexual-abuse cases can fail to be struck by the way in which, in almost every instance, an initial accusation leads to others and still othersand on and on, until the charges number in the hundreds. At one point during the McMartin case, the police announced they had thirty-six suspects and had uncovered as many as 1,200 alleged victims of sexual abuse. An investigation begun in Jordan, Minnesota, at about the same time that Judy Johnson first made her allegations about Ray Buckey, followed a similar-if even stranger-pattern.

There, a case was opened after a woman named Christine Brown alleged that her daugh. ter had been sexually abused by James Rud, a trash collector and a neighbor in the trailer park where she and her daughter lived. Other children in the trailer park were questioned, and some acknowledged that they, too, had been victimized-by Christine Brown. She was charged soon after with eighteen COunts of criminal sexual activity. A mother of five with little money, Brown approached her older sister and brother-in-law, Helen and Tom Brown (the shared surname is coincidental), for help, and they agreed to mortgage their house to post Christine’s bail. Two months later, the prosecutor in the case, Kathleen Morris, had Tom and Helen arrested for child abuse, and they spent five days in jail. Several dozen local residents met at City Hall to protest the arrests, among them an automobile painter named Bob Bentz, his wife, Lois, and a local policeman, Greg Myers. Not long after, all three were arrested on charges of child abuse, along with Myers’s wife and a married couple who had driven the Browns home from jail.

In nearly all such cases, the allegations and the numbers of suspects begin to mount only after the entry of investigators and of representatives of child-abuse agencies. It is these experts who convince parents and children alike that the number of abuses and abusers is virtually limitless-beyond their imagination.

On May IS, 1985, nine days after Kelly Mi· chaels had been brought in for questioning, Wee Care convened a meeting of parents. The school had sent out a letter on May 8, infonning the parents that a former employee of the school was being investigated "regarding serious allega. tions made by a child," and while this prompted a flurry of phone calls by parentse to the school, no other allegations against Michaels emerged. The prosecutor’s office was set to wrap up its case-based on the allegations made by Terry Weldon and the two boys who alleged Michaels touched their penis-and present it to a grand jury. But the Wee Care board thought it best that the parents be infonned about abuse by an expert, in this instance, Peg Foster, a social worker who codirected a Sexual Assault Unit at a Newark hospital.

On the evening of May 15, Foster told the as· sembled parents a number of things they had never heard before. She told them that sexual abuse is not unusual. She told them that, although she could point to no hard evidencebecause no such evidence exists-she believed that one in three children in the United States has had an "inappropriate sexual experience" by the time he or she reaches the age of eighteen. She encouraged the parents to take their child to their pediatricians to check for physical injury. She told them to go home and begin checking their sons and daughters carefully for genital soreness-and also for nightmares, biting, spitting, bed-wetting, masturbation, or for what might be construed in any way as sexual behavior, or, for that matter, for any sort of noticeable changes in behavior. She did not tell them, of course, that the "symptoms" are for many children a normal part of development.

On May 22, the state’s Division of Youth and Family Services-the ager.c:y that Terry Weldon’s mother had first contacted-initiated its own investigation. The agency had allowed the county prosecutor’s office to have the first chance at the case, but by law its staff was required to undertake its own inquiry. That afternoon, a DYFS social worker named Lou Fonolleras made his first of many visits to Wee Care and conducted his first of many interviews with the school’s children. It was Fonolleras, a roundish man of thirty-four with a B.A. in psychology, who played the crucial role in building the case against Kelly Michaels.

Something of the state of mind that Fonolleras brought to his work is perhaps revealed in his official report of his first day at Wee Care. Describing the large, stone-faced church’s many nooks and crannies, he noted that these would make ideal hiding places for child molesters. In his report, he described the school as a "pedophile’s paradise." But no child he interviewed that first day told him that he or she had been abused by Kelly Michaels, or by anyone else. Two days after Fonolleras’s visit to Wee Care, the county prosecutor’s office brought its case to the grand jury, and the grand jury, agreeing that the state had a case, handed up an indictment. On June 12, Kelly Michaels was arrested and charged with six counts of abuse; she pleaded innocent to all charges. She was taken to the county jail, where she was confined in protective custody.

Fonolleras continued to suspect that there was more to the Wee Care case than six counts of abuse. When I met with him more than two years later, he explained that despite the denials of abuse voiced by the children he had talked with that day in May, he had glimpsed clues in "the children’s body language," and that "you can’t go by what they say"-though, of course, he himself eventually did just that. On June 6, he returned to Wee Care at the behest of a parent who, following instructions, had noticed her son behaVing strangely. During the course of this interview, Fonolleras has said, he learned of the "pile-up" game. The "pile-up" is said to have worked this way: During nap time in a basement classroom, Kelly Michaels would march her students upstairs to a third-floor choir room, place kitchen utensils on the floor, and make the children strip and, once naked, roll around together.

In the days that followed, Fonolleras conducted interviews with other Wee Care children, bringing to these meetings not only crayons and paper but knives and forks and spoons. Remarkably, he made no tape recordings of these interviews, nor did he keep his written records. At the Michaels trial, he told the court that he had destroyed all the notes he took at these initial meetings because, at the time, he saw no reason to save them. He was not at this time gathering evidence for a criminal prosecution-although, as it turned out, there would have been no prosecution, beyond the six initial charges, had not Fonolleras, moved by what he heard in these unrecorded interviews, raised the specter of widespread child abuse. During my conversation with him, he explained that the only way to understand his technique of eliciting testimony about child abuse was to know what the children had told him in the very first interviews-the records of which, of course, he had thrown away.

Sometime in mid-June, Fonolleras called the county prosecutor’s office with the suggestion that it might want to look further into the Wee Care case. The prosecutor’s office and the DYFS agreed to launch a joint investigation and also brought in Peg Foster, who had earlier instructed the Wee Care parents on what she believed to be the symptoms of child abuse. For two months-during july and August of 1985-this investigative team talked with the Wee Care staff and with parents, and also recorded interviews with the children. These interviews, it is important to understand, are not like those that might take place between two adults. Listening to tapes of the interviews, one might be struck by how little the children actually confided on their own and also by the wholly fantastical natureofsomuch ofwhattheydid say. Mostofthe children were confused, had nothing to say, or flatly denied that anything had happened to them. It was also clear that what a child actually said during the questioning often carried little weight with the investigators. If a child persisted in denying that anything had been done to him or her, Fonolleras or another investigator would typically write: "At this time Hugh denied victimization. It should be noted [that] during the interview, Hugh was victimizing an anatomically correct doll."

As a rule, the children were given knives and forks and then asked to show-on an anatomically correct doll-where Kelly had hurt them. On the tapes that I heard, a child’s first response more often than not was to poke the doll in the eye or the neck or a knee. Invariably, the Iisten-

Listening to tapes of the interviews with the allegedly abused children, one might be struck by how little they actUlllly confided on their own

As the investigations progressed, it became amply clear that some of the parents took as true every word of the stories of abuse

er then hears the voice of Fonolleras, urging, "Where else? Uh-huh, where else?" After a succession of "where else?" responses, rhe child winds up poking at a penis, or a vagina, or an anus. Here, the "where elses" stop. Later, Fonolleras’s official report typically would note how a child "described" the penetration of her vagina or his anus.

Fonolleras was quick to praise those who confinned his suspicions: "Boy,’ you’re doing so good." But he was stern with those who responded with firm orlfrequent noes. Here is Fonolleras

with one tiny recalcitrant: "If you don’t help me, I’m going to tell your friends that you not only don’t want to help me but you won’t help them."

What follows is part of a transcript of an interview with Luke, age four, conducted by Fonolleras and Essex County Investigator Richard Mastrangelo.

FONOLLERAS: A lot of other kids have helped us

since we saw you last.

LUKE: I don’t have to. No!

FONOLLERAS: Did we tell you Kelly is in jail?

LUKE: Yes, my mother already told me.

FONOLLERAS [indicating Mastrangelo): Did I tell

you this is the guy who arrested her, put her in

there? Don’t you want to ask us any questions?

LUKE: No!

Fonolleras at this point handed Luke an anatomically correct doll, then proceeded with his questioning.

FONOLLERAS: What color did Kelly have down there? Brown like her head? Did she have hair under her arm?

LUKE: My daddy do.

At this point, Luke began to shriek, and there are indications that he was kicking Fonolleras. Fonolleras offered him a piece of cake anu asked him if he would like to see Investigator Mastrangelo’s badge. Mastrangelo then said to Luke, "So your penis was bleeding?" Luke laughed.

FONOLLERAS [taking a new tack): Did Kelly play

"Jingle Bells" with clothes on?

LUKE [screaming now): No, I saw her penis! I peed on her!

FONOLLERAS: You peed on her?

LUKE: No, she peed on me!

At this time Luke told Fonolleras that he wanted to stop. But Fonolleras urged him to continue. He asked more questions about Luke’s penis, about whether he put it in Kelly’s mouth.

FONOLLERAS: Whose mouth did you have to put

your penis in?

LUKE: Nobody.

FONOLLERAS: Did anybody kiss your penis?

LUKE: No. I want to go home.

FONOLLERAS: Did she put this fork in your bottom?

Yes or no.

LUKE: I forgot.

FONOLLERAS: Did she do anything else to Your bottom? LUKE: That’s all she did.

There followed a series of "I forgot" and "I don’t know" responses. Finally, tiredly, Luke said, "Okay, okay, I’ll try to remember." He then said-in an obviously playful, makebelieve tone-"She put that in my heinie."

FONOLLERAS: The fork!

LUKE [shrieking]: Yes!

There were more questions, and more noes, from Luke. Fonolleras then said, in a disap, pointed tone, "I thought you were going to help me." The session ends with Luke shouting, "It’s all lies!"

If the parents of the Wee Care children har, bored any doubts about these interviews and the resulting abuse charges, they kept those’doubts to themselves. One Wee Care parent, grateful for the kindness Kelly Michaels had shown his child, did write to express his faith in her inno, cence. Still, the months of group meetings with investigators and other parents eroded his faith. At the trial, this father took the stand as a vocal witness for the prosecution.

As the investigations progressed, it became amply clear that some of the parents took as true every word of the stories of abuse they began hearing from their children. One mother ex, plained (to a grand jury) how her four-and,a, half-year-old son had told her that Kelly had stuck a spoon and a pencil in his ear, that her aide, Brenda Sopchak, had given him a "truth drink," that Kelly had begged the aide not to call the police, that she had told the little boys she would cut them in pieces and throw them away so the mothers couldn’t find them again.

Asked if she thought her son might have been fantasizing, the mother, a school board member, answered, "No." He was, she further explained, "merely recounting what had hap, pened during the day."

If Kelly Michaels’s fellow teachers harbored doubts about her guilt, they, too-with one no, table exception-kept these doubts largely to themselves. There were children, it appears, who had told investigators that other teachers had been present when they were being molest’ ed by Kelly. Some of the children named every teacher in the school. This would explain the clear eagerness to please in the answers some teachers gave during their grand jury testimony. Before being questioned herself, Kelly Mi, chaels’s classroom aide, Brenda Sopchak, was played a tape of a child accusing her. She now began to remember things: Michaels’s suspiciously even temper, how she seemed to be in a daydreamlike state at times, and the like. An’ other teacher testified that Kelly wore no under’ pants under her jeans. Only Wee Care’s headteacher, Diane Costa, remained unwaveringly sought to stir outrage-and, of course, to consupportive of Kelly Michaels, whom she devince the jurors that they should simply believe scribed as a "model teacher." But Costa herself the children. was indicted on the charge of failing to report They needed some sort of facsimile evidence, child abuse, which meant that she could not and in the summer of 1985, months before the testify at Michaels’s trial without placing herself 235-count indictment against Michaels was under the threat of prosecution. The indicthanded up, they began instructing Wee Care ment effectively silenced the one authoritative parents in the preparation of charts and diaries voice capable of undermining the state’s case. detailing the "symptoms" of abuse-the bedAfterclosing for the summer, Wee Care did wetting, nightmares, changes in behavior, and not reopen in September 1985. Only the memso on-that they had first learned of at the bers of the investigative team returned from meeting at Wee Care in mid-May of that year. time to time to the classrooms. Assessing their During my interviews at the prosecutor’s office months of research, these investigators claimed in the winter of 1988, I saw huge stacks of these that Kelly Michaels had, in her seven months charts. One of the more noteworthy symptoms at the school, sexually abused the entire Wee of abuse listed on the charts was "child won’t eat Care student body, fifty-one children. Two peanut butter." The children’s lack of appetite more grand juries were convened, and in December, Kelly Michaels was indicted on 235 counts of abuse against thirty-one children.

1he trial of Kelly Michaels began on June 22, 1987. (One of the \1 retur

Wee Care families had moved out of

ng. She,f

Maplewood, and others had chosen 1’1 COI1\’1

not to expose their children to the gfOUn

rigors of a jury trial; as a result, the charges against Kelly Michaels now

numbered 163.) Because the Michaels family had run out of money,

Kelly Michaels was defended by a

team of "pool attorneys" appointed

by New Jersey’s Office of the Public her app Defender. Pool attorneys are not , will be salaried employees of the state but article free-lancers permitted to pick and noW, choose among available cases. Mchaels’s case went unassigned for many of these lawyers were relucornieel tant to take on a case that looked as though it would drag on for months, t.o~..r. t\l\tI re61"•

or to defend a woman accused of d the 1’1,000 ,In

sexually assaulting, among others,

the grandson of a prominent local judge. (The for peanut butter, the prosecutors contended,

judge, as it turned out, was the first witness was proof of the charge made by the children

called by the prosecution.) that Michaels had spread peanut butter on their

Harvey Meltzer and Robert Clark, the degenitals and then licked it off. Sometimes it was fense attorneys eventually assigned to the case, peanut butter alone, but sometimes-as the tesbelieved their client to be innocent. They timony evolved in ever more elaborate detailhoped to base their defense on logistics and it was peanut butter and jelly. common sense-on the contention that no one I met that winter as well with a number of could have abused children sexually in every Wee Care parents who were eager to tell me all comer of the school without anybody else findthe significant changes they had noticed in ing out about it. their children, in particular their suddenly sexThe

prosecutors, for their part, knew their ualized behavior. Each time I was told a new dehopes lay in the emotional nature of the case. tail-how a child grabbed his father’s genitals Lacking material evidence, the prosecutors or talked about kissing penises-I inquired

Lacking material evidence, the prosecutors sought to stir outrage-and, of course, to convince the jurors that they should simply believe the children

No matter what else might be going on at home, the parents held that their children’s problems stemmed from abuse

when this kind of behavior or talk had begun. Invariably I was told, "Just after disclosure." That is, not after Kelly Michaels is said to have begun sexually molesting the children, in the fall of 1984, but after the parents were told, in the spring of 1985, to look for portents and signs.

One mother told me, "My daughter was all over my husband. She had turned into a little five-year-old whore!"

I asked her when this behavior had begun.

"After disclosure."

Disclosure, like so many other quasilegalisms that support the accusations of child abuse, became a household word among the Wee Care parents. It never occurred to the mother in question or to any of the other mothers with whom I spoke that the hypersexuality of their children might have to do not with Kelly Michaels but with the exhaustive questioning, and lurid disclosures, to which they were subjected by investigators and by their parents. (There were parents, I learned, who kept separate charts listing suspicious behavior they began to remember having occurred prior to disclosure. But not one of these parents had found the behavior unusual enough at the time to consult a pediatrician or ask a Wee Care teacher about it.)

The charts were useful not only to the prosecution. They also provided some parents with a way of explaining all types of problems they had with their children. That their children had been molested at school now served to explain everything. As one parent said, "Everything my husband and I had passed off as just some phase our child was going through, we could look back on and say, ‘Now, now we could understand why."’ Other parents cited the molestation as the cause of their marital breakup. No matter what else might be going on at home, parents held that their children’s problems stemmed from abuse at Wee Care.

In court, the charts aided the parents in their testimony and perhaps aided Judge William Harth in his decision to allow such testimony. In a similar case, a higher state court in New Jersey subsequently ruled as inadmisSible-as

hearsay-the testimony of parents on the subject of what their children told them. Michaels’s lawyer Harvey Meltzer requested a mistrial based on this ruling, which was handed down after the prosecution had presented its case. The judge refused to grant the mistrial. Instead, he instructed the jury to disregard some twenty charges based on hearsay; but he did not give the instruction until much later, just prior to the jury’s deliberation. Thus, the jurors had been allowed to listen for months to hearsay that at the last moment they were told to erase from their minds.

In Judge Harth’s courtroom, the parent-plaintiffs were treated with unstinting consideration for their every concern, particularly the concern for anonymity. The guarantee of anonymity, of course, encourages the multiplication of charges and accusations. To the privacy of the parents and children Judge Harth accorded something akin to sacred status, while the name of the accused-like that of the accused and

their families at similar tribunals across the nation-was emblazoned in headlines, irremediably tarnished.

To protect the Wee Care families’ anonymity, the judge strictly curtailed the amount of investigation into their backgrounds he would allow defense attorneys. To protect that anonymity, the judge sealed the trial transcript. Nor were the children required to testify in open court. They testified in the judge’s chambers, and their testimony was shown to the jury on closed-circuit TV-a not uncommon arrangement at such child-abuse trials. Judge Harth also refused to allow the defense psychologists to

examine the children, as the prosecution doctors had been able to do. These children (who had, in fact, been analyzed and counseled for some twO years prior to the trial) would, the judge said, be too traumatized to answer questions by a second set of psychologists. The defense argued in vain that its psychologists must have a chance to determine whether the children were, in fact, traumatized, but the judge held firm. It was a decision that violated the most fundamental principle of due process-the principle that both sides must be heard in a courtroom. Notevenacardinalprincipleofthejustice system was a match, apparently, for the revered status accorded alleged victims of child abuse.

At the trial the children’s testimony, given after two and a half years of preparation and training, was rich in detail, a startling difference from the earlier denials and bewilderment recorded during the investigative phase. One witness was Luke, who had shouted "It’s all lies!" at Fonolleras’s questions. Mindful of this taped outburst, prosecutor Sara McArdle asked Luke whether he hadn’t meant he was hoping it was all lies. This time he didn’t disappoint his interrogator: Yes, the child answered, he had been hoping it was all lies.

Still, even now there were child witnesses who continued to change stories, midtestimony, or to deny that anything had happened. One child told the court that Kelly forced him to push a sword into her rectum. A lengthy and earnest colloquy then took place, between the attorneys and the judge, as to whether the child was saying sword or saw. After he had pushed the sword, or saw, into his teacher’s rectum, the boy told the court, she told him to take it out.

"What did Kelly say when you took the sword out?" the child was then asked.

"She said, ‘Thank you."’

Brad Greene told the court that Kelly threatened to tum him into a mouse-that, in fact, she had turned him into a mouse for a little while during a plane trip to visit his grandmother. Child witness Celine Mauer said that she had been "tractored" by Kelly; that is, been abused, with other children, inside a tractor. Indeed, the prosecutors went to some trouble to substantiate this claim-bringing a representative of the Maplewood street maintenance department to confirm that a tractor had been parked in the vicinity of the school.

Who would have believed any of this? Surely no reasonable adult, no jury. Yet it was offered as evidence. Thanks to the current zeal to prosecute child abusers, strange new rules have come to obtain at these trials according to which the witnesses need not be credible all the time. These rules did not obtain at the McMartin trial, at which jurors rejected the children’s stories, but it did obtain at the trial of Kelly Michaels. Prosecutor Glenn Goldberg advised the jury at the outset that it was not necessary to believe everything the children said. Where child abuse is concerned, the prosecutor told them, "there is no physical evidence. Is the jury going to be able to understand this?"

In effect, the prosecutor asked the jurors if they could bring themselves to forget certain values with which they had been imbued as citizens of a democracy, values such as the importance of evidence in a criminal trial, and if they could suspend their belief in the Constitution in the interest of protecting children. As the verdict proved, they could.

Perhaps the most important witness for the prosecution was not a child or a parent but Bronx psychologist Eileen Treacy. An article in New York magazine later revealed that the curriculum vitae of this particular child-abuse "expert" exaggerated her credentials. The article also cited a ruling by a New Jersey judge, Mark Epstein, in a similar child-abuse case. That ruling declared, "The most damning witness [against the prosecution] was Eileen Treacy…. Ms. Treacy’s questioning gently but surely led [the child) where Ms. Treacy wanted to take him." The judge was convinced, he said, that Treacy would have been able to elicit the same accusations from children who had not been abused.

If a child said emphatically that nothing had happened, the denial, Treacy explained, was the very proof that the abuse had taken place. In this expert’s view, all friendship or affection shown by teacher to child signified an effort to seduce. At the Michaels trial, Treacy testified that the Wee Care students were "the most traumatized group of children" she had ever seen. She explained the trauma by referring to the theories of Suzanne Sgroi, a pediatrician and the discoverer of the Child Sex Abuse Syndrome. According to Dr. Sgroi, the syndrome develops in a number of phases. There is the "engagement phase," during which time the abuser seduces the child into the activity. This is followed by the "secrecy phase," the "suppression phase," and so on; and Treacy explained each of them to the jury. "Proof of the suppression stage," she said, "is the succession of no, no, no answers." When one child, during testimony, expressed concern for Michaels, this demonstrated "that she [the child) had a relationship with Kelly, and that fits into the engagement phase."

Treacy, it should be said, did not limit herself to interpretations based on the theories of Dr. Sgroi. In one of the abuse diaries, a parent had noted that her child no longer liked tuna fish.

Not even the principle of due process was a match, apparently, for the revered status accorded alleged victims of child abuse

song that Kelly Michaels had copied into her roll book. The lyrics included the lines "Your lover who just walked out the door / Has taken all his blankets from the floor." The prosecutor who has an undergraduate major in psychology: told the jury that the song was very significant•that it was an extremely important clue to Kelly Michaels’s secret life as a sexual criminal. The Wee Care children, he told the jury, "slept on blankets and mats.")

With no character witnesses called-no old classmates, friends, neighbors, or teachers to color in, with stories and comments, the outline of a normal life-the jurors saw only the KellJl Michaels of the Wee Care case, the abuser of children so luridly portrayed in the testimony.

For the jurors who doubted that one woman .’ could commit so many awful crimes, Assistant Prosecutor Sara McArdle reminded them in her summation that Adolf Hitler, "one man," had persecuted not a "little school" but the "entire world"-"Jews, Gypsies, Czechs, and blacks." Blacks, of course, were not among Hitler’s victims, but many of the jurors were black.

Bearing in mind, perhaps, that prosecutorial excess is one of the grounds relevant to an appeal, prosecutor McArdle later vehemently denied any intentional parallel between the defendant and Adolf Hitler. She went on to say that she could not imagine that anyone could read anything untoward into this simple historical analogy. Thus, the prosecution, which had vested so much faith in a lack of appetite for peanut butter, and which divined damning I proofs of guilt in Bob Dylan lyrics in a roll book, j now disdained as fanciful any notion that a comparison to Hitler might be something other than a neutral reference.

It took the jury thirteen days to reach its verdict that Michaels was guilty of 115 counts of abuse. Meltzer requested that the court consider granting his client bail pending appeal. The judge turned down the request: Michaels, he said, was a danger to the community. He said, "1 just cannot forget the children."

But a three-member appellate panel agreed that, because of the legal questions the trial raised, Kelly Michaels should be granted bail pending appeal. Among the questions the judges doubtless had in mind was the defendant’s constitutional right to face her accusers-denied in this trial, as in many of the other trials involVing children’s hearsay testimony.

News that Kelly Michaels might get bail raised storms of protest from the Wee Care parents. The prosecutors appealed. Local politicians, declaring themselves outraged, joined them. The parents marched and picketed. One mother, weeping, told reporters that when she had informed her child that Kelly had been con-

The psychologist had in effect told the jury that they must suspend all rational belief if they were to understand the abuse the children had suffered

This, Treacy pointed out to the jurors, was significant. "It’s well known," she said, "that the smell of tuna fish is similar to the odor ofvaginal excretions." In the winter of 1988, when I visited Treacy in her office in the Bronx, I remarked on the many children’s drawings on the walls. She told me that if I looked closely at the drawings, I would "see how obvious hands are in all their pictures." The predominance of hands, she explained, was a strong sign that the children who drew these pictures had been molested.

To encounter Treacy’s Kafkaesque testimony is to understand how a jury managed to find the accused in this case guilty, however improbable the evidence. The abuse expert, a psychologist, had in effect told the jury that they must suspend all rational belief if they were to understand the abuse the children had suffered. It was a world in which no meant yes, black meant white. Yet, the jury was told, they must believe its premises, believe the children, or else be counted guilty of betraying these young victims.

The principal witness for the defense was Dr. Ralph Underwager, an avowed opponent of the child-abuse investigators’ techniques, their reliance on dolls and children’s draWings, and their insistence on finding child abuse whether or not any took place. At the Michaels trial, Dr. Underwager said, "The child is interrogated and desperately is trying to figure out what are the roles, what’s wanted of me by this powerful adult before me? The child says no, Kelly’s clothes were on, when the interrogators want the response ‘Her clothes were off.’ And what happens? The interviewer doesn’t stop, doesn’t believe the child, repeats the question. It just tells the child: What you told me before isn’t enough. It isn’t right. It’s not what I want … " His testimony said, in effect, that nothing had happened to the Wee Care children except the visits of the investigators. The Wee Care parents I talked to vehemently agreed that, of everybody on the defense side, the person they hated the most was Dr. Underwager.

Defense attorneys Clark and Meltzer made the decision early not to present character witnesses to testify on Kelly Michaels’s behalf. Such a witness may be asked anything under cross-examination, and what the attorneys feared most was the discovery that Michaels had been involved in two brief homosexual love affairs. Kelly Michaels refers to the liaisons as nothing more than youthful experiments, but the defense lawyers reasoned that the prosecution would seek to make a damaging connection between her sexual history and the criminal acts with which she was charged.

(Prosecutor Goldberg sought to nourish this view by close textual analysis of a Bob Dylan

victed, the child had said, "Now I’m safe." "What do I tell her now? Now, my daughter’s

not safe!" The state’s highest court, in

short order, vacated the bail decision.

In the days immediately following the end of the McMartin trial and the acquittal of Ray Buckey and his mother, the Los Angeles Times published an analysis of the press coverage of the case. The headline above the first installment in the series could as easily have been affixed to analyses of the Michaels trial: WHERE WAS SKEPTICISM IN MEDIA! PACK JOURNALISM AND HYSTERIA MARKED … COVERAGE…. FEW JOURNALISTS STOPPED TO QUESTION THE BELIEVABILITY OF THE PROSECUTION’S CHARGES.

During the trial, stories began leaking from the prosecutor’s office suggesting that Kelly Michaels had herself been sexually abused by her parents. The stories were widely circulated among reporters covering the case. One of them, a television reporter, told me of stories she had heard that Kelly Michaels’s mother had molested her and sent her nude photographs of herself; and of how Kelly Michaels’s fatherwho, the story went, also molested his daughter-had called Wee Care every day to make sure that she was initiating the children in the practices of pederasty.

Such stories were not broadcast or printed. Still, they had enormous impact on the press, for they meshed nicely with current dogmaand the press is nothing if not up on the latest dogma-which holds that children who are molested become molesters themselves. The rumors that Ke\ly Michaels had been sexually abused by her parents thus counted heavily in persuading many reporters that she was guilty. In tum, these reporters, subtly and sometimes not so subtly, conveyed their belief to their readers and viewers.

Of course, the newspapers and the TV stations no longer concern themselves with Kelly Michaels, who will not come up before a parole board for twelve more years. When she does come up for parole, the Wee Care parents have vowed they will be there to see that it is denied. Her attorney is moving ahead with an appeal. In the meantime, Kelly Michaels sits in her sma\l cell at the women’s prison in Clinton, New Jersey, where the Wee Care parents are determined to keep her.

The Wee Care Day Nursery closed down in the aftermath of the investigation; the former Wee Care students, it would appear, thereafter went to another sort of school: one in which they were instructed, by child-agency investigators and by prosecutors, in the details of the sex crimes supposedly committed against them. Perhaps the worst thing about the long investigation and trial is that-however unfounded the charges-the child witnesses grow up having internalized the belief that they have been the victims of hideous sexual abuse. No one who saw them wi\l soon forget the frenzied faces of thirteen-and fourteen-year-old former McMartin pupils in the hours following the verdict. These adolescents had spent their last six years -fully half their lives-instructed in the faith that they had been subjected, at ages four and five, to unspeakable sexual horrors; this belief they had come to hold as the defining truth of their lives and identities. It is not surprising that these children should have wept and raved when the verdict was handed down denying all that they believed in.

Believe the children is the battle cry of the child-abuse militants, who hold as an article of faith that a pederast lurks behind every door and blackboard. But child after child repeatedly said that Kelly Michaels had done nothingand they had not been believed. The prosecutors had brought experts to court to testify that children denying abuse should not be believed. Believe the children apparently means-to those raising the rallying cry-believe the children only if they say they have been molested. "To believe a child’s no is simplistic," prosecutor McArdle had told the jury.

The scores of investigations and trials of alleged child molesters, undertaken in the name of a good-protecting children-have irreparably shattered lives and reputations. It is not an unfamiliar pattern in our history. We are a society that, every fifty years or so, is afflicted by some paroxysm of virtue-an orgy of selfcleansing through which evil of one kind or another is cast out. From the witch-hunts of Salem to the communist hunts of the McCarthy era to the current shrill fixation on child abuse, there runs a common thread of moral hysteria. After the McCarthy era, people would ask: But how could it have happened? How could the presumption of innocence have been abandoned wholesale? How did large and powerful institutions acquiesce as congressional investigators ran roughshod over civil liberties-all in the name of the war on communists? How was it possible to believe that subversives lurked behind every library door, in every radio station, that every two-bit actor who had ever belonged to the wrong political organization posed a threat to the nation’s security?

Years from now people doubtless will ask the same questions about our present era-a time when the most improbable charges of abuse find believers; when it is enough only to be accused by anonymous sources to be hauled off to the investigators; a time when the hunt for child abusers has become a national pathology. _

However unfounded the charges, the child witnesses grow up believing they have been the victims of abuse

Voir encore:

The Ritual Sex Abuse Hoax

Debbie Nathan

The Village Voice

January 12, 1990

After the First McMartin Trial

The eight kids sitting in Geraldo Rivera’s New York studio after the first McMartin trial ended could have stepped out of a candy bar commercial on Saturday morning TV. They gleamed with the healthy tans, shopping-mall clothes, and moussed sun-bleached hair of the southern California suburbs; their parents looked equally affluent. But these families were far from cheerful. “We were molested,” a strapping blond teenager told the audience solemnly, “and that’s an honest-to-God fact.” When some of the children – most of them by now adolescents – described suffering flashbacks and night terrors, their mothers quietly dabbed at tears. Other parents seemed angry and driven. “The parents and children standing up here will not stop,” said Marymae Cioffi, who since the beginning of the case had been organizing to convince the public and the courts that bizarre sex abuse claims at places like the McMartin preschool should be believed.

As Cioffi spoke, her lips twitched in spasms of anger. The children sat politely. But when a relative of the defendants noted that the investigation had never produced any evidence against them, the eyes of a small, until then subdued 14-year-old boy suddenly turned to slits; his teeth bared and his lips trembled, just like Cioffi’s. For even though the jury had completely exonerated Peggy McMartin Buckey while acquitting her son Ray on most counts and deadlocking on the rest, Geraldo’s guests insisted their former teachers really were sadistic sex criminals.

Gerald reminded the audience that defendants are innocent until proven guilty. But he also asked whether the acquittals spelled doom for child abuse prosecutions, and titled the program “The McMartin Outrage: What Went Wrong?” Finally, when he patted the children’s shoulders and remarked on their “sincere pain,” it was clear this show was adding to the pressures that would lead to the current retrial of Ray Buckey on eight counts involving three girls.

What Geraldo neglected to mention was that none of these children had ever taken the stand: since McMartin first hit the media in 1984, his guests’ accusations had been so consistently bizarre and illogical that their testimony would only have damaged the case. There was 18-year-old Chris Collins, whose father belongs to a McMartin parents’ group that believes the teachers are part of an intergenerational Satanic conspiracy. Collins, who insists that he was molested attending McMartin in the mid-‘70s, remembers a room below the school office and “major, major sacrifices” connected with the “Satanic Church.” The problem with his claim is that when Collins was at McMartin, Ray Buckey was in high school and, according to his mother, maintained a perfect attendance record – meaning he was never at the preschool when Collins was. Then there was round-faced, 10-year-old Elizabeth Cioffi. According to her father, she has talked about being molested under the school in tunnels lined with flashing lights and pictures of the devil.

Irrationality pervaded the McMartin case from the beginning. The first allegation came from a woman alter diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. After Judy Johnson noticed one day in 1983 that her two-year-old son’s bottom was red, she told police he said something about a man named Ray at his nursery school. In the next few weeks, Johnson accused 25-year-old Buckey of donning a mask and sodomizing her child while sticking his head in a toilet; of wearing a cape while taping the boy’s mouth, hands, and eyes; and of sticking an air tube in his rectum. She also said Ray made the child ride naked on a horse and molested him while dressed as a cop, fireman, clown, and Santa Claus. Later, she claimed that the McMartin teachers, including Ray’s 57-year-old mother, Peggy, jabbed a scissors into the boy’s eyes and staples in his ears, nipples, and tongue; that Ray put her son’s finger into a goat’s anus; and that Peggy killed a baby and made the boy drink the blood. She also told the D.A.’s office than an AWOL marine and three models in a health club had raped her son, and that the family dog was sodomized as well.

Within a few months, Peggy, Ray, his 28-year-old sister, his 77-year-old wheelchair bound grandmother, and three other women teachers would be jailed and charged with hundreds of counts of sex abuse. During the investigation, some parents would claim that hundreds of Los Angeles-area children were brutally molested in several day-care centers, over a 20-year period, by a conspiracy of Satanic child pornographers. Children would talk about playing the “Naked Movie Star” game, about being photographed nude, about sexual assault in hot-air balloons, on faraway farms, on the shoulders of busy highways, in cemeteries, in tunnels under the school yard.

The McMartin School was painstakingly probed for tunnels. None were found. Neither was child pornography, nor witnesses from the traffic-filled freeways, nor any other evidence. Doctors’ findings of physical abuse were later debunked by medical researchers. Child protection experts have since criticized the prosecution’s social workers for using leading, suggestive interviewing methods that resembled brainwashing. Judy Johnson was hospitalized for psychosis in early 1985 (she later died of an alcoholism-related liver disease.) An assistant D.A., who quit the case and then helped the defense told the press over three years ago that the woman had been mentally ill when she made her first charges – information the McMartin jurors were never allowed to hear.

But none of these revelations seemed to dampen the prosecutors’, the media’s, or the public’s need to believe horrible things had happened at McMartin. For the first two years, the press slavishly trumpeted every illogical accusation, so that when charges against five women defendants were dropped in 1986 – after the Los Angeles D.A. called the evidence “incredibly weak” – polls showed that most people still thought that abuse had occurred at the pre-school. During the subsequent, almost three-year trial, neither the Los Angeles Times nor the rest of the metropolitan media bothered to critically dissect the case.

Finally the verdicts were announced, but the facts that they were overwhelmingly not guilty didn’t seem to matter much either. In each of the 13 hung decisions, from 7 to 11 jurors decided in Buckey’s favor, but this was glossed over by the press. So were the comments of jurors like Darryl Hutchins: he said that during deliberations he decided that Ray Buckey had molested the first child, but that he would have voted differently had the judge allowed testimony about the mother’s mental illness – or the defense’s contention that while the McMartin defendants were in jail, the little boy was molested by his father.

Refiling counts that most of the jury has rejected is almost unheard of. Immediately after the verdicts, however, McMartin parents began a media campaign to push the D.A. to prosecute Ray Buckey a second time/ Again, the press dealt uncritically with the pressure. On tabloids like Geraldo and Oprah, support for a retrial was overt; “responsible” media like The New York Times were more subtle, suggesting, for example, that the jurors in the first trial were “stymied” by “the malleable memories of children and the distorting effects of questioning, particularly when a child has been traumatized.” Hardly anyone acknowledged that most of the jurors had concluded the children had likely not been abused, except possibly by their own relatives and certainly by the investigation itself.

Clearly, the public had come to believe that something as monstrous –sounding, yet as patently absurd, as McMartin was eminently imaginable. So imaginable in fact that a rash of similar cases surfaced across the country. A month after the McMartin investigation started, a Jordan, Minnesota, garbage collector accused of molesting three girls told authorities several local families were in a child sex ring. The charges against the middle-aged couples met widespread disbelief. But as neighbors stepped forward to support the accused, they, too, were arrested – the children had named them as perpetrators. Stories of ritual and slaughter emerged after the children were removed to foster care and many were interviewed more than 30 times apiece. The murder tales were later deemed fabrications, and some children admitted they lied to get relentless interviewers to leave them in peace. A husband and wife were acquitted, charges against 21 others were dropped, and the garbage collector confessed to inventing the charges in hopes of getting a lighter sentence.

In Chicago, a child told her mother that a day-care janitor had tickled her vagina. During repeated interviews, some 300 other children accused 40 teachers of abusing them during Satanic rituals, complete with baby killing. No physical evidence was produced; the janitor was tried anyway and acquitted. Several other cases surfaced, and by 1985, McMartin parents with media connections were collaborating with ABC’s “20/20” on shows claiming that “Satanic” crime and day-care abuse were epidemic. Other journalists ran with the story, disregarding the lack of evidence. Meanwhile, prosecutors, police, and social workers were attending nationwide conferences to “network” with “experts” on Satanic kiddie-porn conspiracies and learn how to root them out of nursery schools. There was a wave of cases that year, among them one in El Paso, Texas, where two women teachers were accused. Investigators were in touch with McMartin child interviewers and with Satanic Conspiracy theorist ken Wooden, who helped produce the “20/20” series. The preschoolers never testified; instead, parents described their children’s “outcries” since the investigation had started, and behavioral changes like masturbating, urinating on walls, and assuming “sexual” postures. The teachers were convicted.

In these and some thirty others covered by the Memphis Tennessee Commercial Appeal in 1 1988 series, journalists noted striking similarities in what child protection officials dubbed “ritual abuse” cases. Investigations usually began because of vague medical symptoms or after an upper-middle-class child did something that adults thought inappropriately sexual. Then, even though most sexual abuse occurs within the family, investigators immediately directed their inquiries outside the home. Sometimes they even suspected community sex rings, but most often they focused on elite childcare centers. The first allegation sometimes seemed plausible. But in remarkable departures from forensics, police, social workers, doctors, and therapists badgered children to name more victims and perpetrators, ignoring answers that contradicted a ritual abuse scenario. As a result, many men were charged; but women were too, and this was especially shocking, since females have not been thought of as child molesters, much less sex torturers.

From 1984 to 1989, some 100 people nationwide were charged with ritual sex abuse; of those, 50 or so were tried and about half convicted, with no evidence except testimony from children, parents, “experts” expounding on how the children acted traumatized, and doctors talking about tiny white lines on anuses or bumps on hymens – “signs of abuse” that later research would show on nonabused children. By 1986, in many states, hastily reformed criminal statutes made it unnecessary for children to come into court; parents could act as hearsay witnesses, or kids could testify on closed-circuit TV, giving juries the automatic impression that defendants had done something to frighten the child. And once a person stood accused, the community often decided that something must have happened. Any remaining skeptics were blasted for “condoning child abuse” and some were accused themselves.

As the cases snowballed, many parents were skeptical, but therapists told doubters that unless they believed the allegations, their children would be further traumatized. Anxious, guilt-ridden parents formed organizations with names like Believe the Children, the group begun by the McMartin parents. Besides offering psychological support, these groups helped prosecutors put together cases, did media promotion, and lobbied for laws allowing children to testify outside the courtroom.

Despite the support they received from adults, instead of getting calmer as time passed, many of the children showed increasingly traumatized behavior, such as flashbacks. Their tales of abuse followed a pattern; at first they said they were merely fondled; later in the investigation, they mentioned rape, sodomy, and pornography; then they progressed to increasingly bizarre scenarios. Across the country, the molesters were described as black men, mulattos, deformed people, or clowns; the abuse took place in churches; adults wore masks and costumes; they urinated and defecated on children; they burned, stabbed, cooked, or drowned babies; they sacrificed animals; they molested children in funeral homes and buried Barbie dolls. Extensive investigations have failed to turn up material evidence to support any of those claims.

In a 1987 case in Holland, the authorities decided there were no culprits at all. A four-year-old boy in the town of Oude Pekkela returned home from a play area with a bloody anus. In the next few months, some 100 children told authorities that German pornographers dressed as clowns had kidnapped, molested, and tortured them in Satanic rituals, and as time passed they acted more and more traumatized. But after a massive investigation, officials concluded that the four-year-old had poked himself with twigs while playing with another preschooler; that no German pornographers – or any other molesters – had ever existed. And in suburban Philadelphia, where an investigation began last year into claims that a teacher and her 68-year old aide ritually assaulted three girls with excrement, the Bucks County D.A. dismissed the allegations as hysteria. Still, an unquestioning belief in ritual sex abuse in the U.S., Canada, and other post-industrial countries remains the rule. Here, not only religious fundamentalists and the unschooled, but large numbers of literate, secular people seem ready to accept the idea that scores of people in crowded daycare centers could engage hundreds of children in vicious – not to say extremely messy – assaults, and yet leave neither a scintilla of physical evidence nor an adult material witness. What’s going on?

In a sense, nothing new. Moral panics – the Salem witch trials and McCarthyism, for example – have often run rampant through cultures in flux, and “ritual abuse” is today’s mythic expression of deep-seated worries over sweeping changes in the family. Since the 1970s, the number of working women have risen, and so have the divorce rates and female-headed households. Children are being socialized less by family authority and more by the media and its consumerist focus on the erotic, yet AIDS has imbued eros with a new danger. All these changes spell anxiety. For conservatives, they are literally sinful, and since moral traditionalists hate public day-care, a right-wing impulse to demonize childcare workers is not surprising. But many feminists and progressives have bought into the hysteria, too: ritual abuse panic has become an outlet for women’s rage at sexual violence and harassment. While this anger could hardly be more justified, it has increasingly been articulated through an anti-sexual current in the feminist movement, a current that jibes with the views of conservatives who loathe pornography – and who also fear women, their need for day-care, their independence, and their sexuality.

Until recently, generations of silence and denial shrouded the problem of child sexual abuse, especially incest. Academic literature had long described it as a one-in-a-million event, and when women and girls told therapists and child protection authorities they had been molested, their stories were usually dismissed as nasty figments of the female psyche. But by the mid-70s, as feminists were fighting this society’s tendency to belittle and disbelieve women’s rape reports, theoreticians like Florence Rush began eloquently arguing that children – especially girls – had the same problem when they tried to talk about being sexually abused. Meanwhile, several studies reported that one out of every hundred women remembered having sex with fathers and stepfathers – and that did not even include experiences with other family members like uncles. By 1980, thanks largely to feminist efforts to create and publicize reporting systems, the government tallied almost 43,000 cases of sex abuse annually, up from a few thousand only a few years earlier. Most perpetrators were fathers and other male relatives and most of the victims were girls.

Feminists who analyzed incest defined it as inherently victimizing the daughter; they said her extreme dependence on her family and the men in it meant she could not give meaningful consent to sex. But then they made a dubious leap: they began applying their perspective on incest to non-relatives. Judith Herman, in her 1982 book, Father-Daughter Incest, wrote that any sexual relationship between an adult and a child, even if the child is a teenager, “must necessarily take on some of the coercive characteristics of rape.” Florence Rush compared children choosing adult sex partners to chickens meeting up with hungry foxes.

Actually, studies show that the realities of transgenerational sex outside the family, where individual adults wield a good deal less power over children, are more ambiguous. Most male pedophilia consists of caressing and fondling. For most children, these experiences appear to be at best confusing, at worst traumatic. But others seem to willingly participate, and some adults recall that while still legally minors they accepted, even welcomed sex with grownups. (Many gay men, for example, say they instigated these encounters, and some suggest that such relationships offer the boys the only real possibility for healthy acculturation into homosexuality.) Nonetheless, the prevailing feminist view of child sexual abuse broadened its meaning to include, without distinctions, any contact between someone below the age of consent with someone older – even if that meant ignoring how the younger partner remembered the incident.

In the early 1980w, feminist sociologist Diana Russell asked women to remember any unwanted sexual contact before age 18, including with boyfriends of the same age – “sexual contact meaning anything from anal intercourse to glimpsing a flasher to an unwelcome hug.” She also asked women to recall “incest,” defined as sexual contact between relatives (even distant ones) more than five years apart in age. By Russell’s standards, tongue kissing between a 13-year=old and her cousin’s 19-year-old husband would be considered incestuous and therefore exploitative, even if the woman remembered enjoying it. Using her extravagantly broad definitions, she found that one in five women were “incest victims” and more than half suffered child sexual abuse. Because the media quoted this and similar studies without explaining how diverse the reported experiences were, it suddenly seemed to the public that little kids were in imminent danger of being raped.

But even before feminist anti-sex abuse efforts had begun, a national fear was growing that terrible, previously unheard of perversities were endangering children. It began with rumors of Halloween sadists. In 1970, The New York Times reported that the “plump red apple that Junior gets from a kindly old woman down the block … may have a razor blade hidden inside. By 1972, many kids were not allowed to trick-or-treat; three years later Newsweek warned that several children were dead and hundreds more injured by viciously doctored Halloween candy. A few years later, kiddie porn was the new threat. In 1977, NBC reported that “as many as two million American youngsters are involved in the fast-growing, multi-million dollar child pornography business…” and “police say the number of boy prostitutes may be as high as half a million” (some 10 percent of all male adolescents in the entire country.)

Then, in the early 1980s, following the New York City disappearance of Etan Patz, the kidnapping and slaying of Adam Walsh, and the murders of 28 Atlanta schoolchildren, the missing children’s movement emerged. Crusaders began describing a stranger abduction problem of astonishing proportion: U.S. Representative Paul Simon offered House members a “conservative estimate … 50,000 children abducted by strangers annually,” and a leading child-search organization said 5000 of these children were murdered each year.

Research by journalists and sociologists has debunked all these claims. In the entire U.S., only one child has ever been killed by Halloween candy – and the poison was put there by his own father. Only 18 injuries were reported nationwide during the 25 years before 1984, the most serious one a wound requiring some stitches. Some of these were hoaxes or fabrications by attention-seeking kids. As for kiddie-porn, it’s estimated that even before 1978, when all production and commercial distribution of such material was banned under federal law, only about 5000 and 7000 were involved worldwide. Since then the commercial market in America, miniscule to begin with, has been virtually wiped out.

Research into claims about mass kidnappings likewise deflates the hype: a recently released Justice Department study finds that almost all missing children are teenage runaways and throwaways. The typical kidnapping is committed by a divorced parent who has lost custody. As for stranger-abductions, the Washington D.C.-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children currently lists about 240 children missing in the entire country. Still, much of the American public is convinced that molesters, sadists, kidnappers, and pornographers are major threats to our kids.

This fear has been reinforced by yet another strand of irrationality – the rise of paranoia about Satanism. Religious belief in child-torturing conspiracies of devil worshippers – whether Christian, Jewish, or Satanist – has flowered and withered since the early days of the Church. Lately, the belief has resurged in the U.S. and gained widespread acceptance via tabloid media like Geraldo. Things have gotten so far out of hand that last year a Texas school district told students they could no longer wear T-shirts with peace symbols, since self-styled experts on Satanism say the design represents the devil. Another popular belief, that Satanists kidnap blonde virgins for sacrifice, cropped up nationwide in 1997 and 1998, and spawned a wave of what sociologist Jeffrey Victor calls “rumor panics”: townspeople from Montana to Maine banned library books, armed themselves into vigilante squads, and raided purported “covens” that often turned out to be nothing more than teen punk-rocker hangouts.

The latest Satan scare has its roots in 1970s fundamentalism. In The Late Great Planet Earth and Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth, both of which sold millions of copies, Christian TV celebrity Hal Lindsey decries the corrupting influence of the “New Age” ‘60s, yearningly prophesies the end of the world and Armageddon, and warns of the sinister power of rock music, witches and devil worshippers. Meanwhile, many white teenagers shocked their elders by reading popular works about Satanism, scrawling “666”-style graffiti, and listening to the music Cardinal O’Connor, in his recent “exorcism” sermon, called pornography in sound.

During the late ‘70s, “urban legends,” or modern folk rumors, about devil worshippers spread across the U.S. One tale had it that Ray Kroc, former owner of McDonald’s, had tithed his hamburger profits to the church of Satan in exchange for prosperous Big Mac sales. Another was that Procter & Gamble’s century-old moon-and-stars logo was a secret Satanic symbol. (The rumor got so out-of-control that the company had to change the logo in 1985.)

Another evolution in the popular zeitgeist was signaled by the 1980 release of Michelle Remembers, coauthored by Lawrence Pazder, a Catholic psychiatrist from Vancouver, and his wife and former patient, Michelle Smith. The book recounts how Smith, in treatment for depression, underwent months of hypnosis and “remembered” being imprisoned at age five by her mother and a group of Satanists. She said she was locked up, buried with snakes, smeared with human waste, raped with candles and crucifixes, and finally forced to destroy an infant. Smith’s therapy consisted of more hypnosis, prayers to the Virgin Mary, and exorcism.

There is no confirmation that anything Smith “remembers” occurred. Psychiatric anthropologist Sherrill Mulhern, who has reviewed tapes of sessions similar to Pazder’s and Smith’s, says patients retain an unshakable belief in whatever a therapist suggests under hypnosis. Smith’s “memories,” Mulhern says, were probably constructed piecemeal, with Pazder introducing the Satanic motifs. Still, Michelle Remembers became a “non-fiction” bestseller, and the authors appeared on national Christian talk shows. Another self-styled cult survivor had her story published in a tabloid, and by 1983 the FBI was getting calls from women around the country, claiming they too had escaped devil-worshipping cults. Their stories hardly varied: the cults were part of a generations-old, international conspiracy including prominent people, and practiced rites like the ones in Michelle Remembers; they also kidnapped and sacrificed children, which explained the country’s thousands of missing kids.

According to Kenneth Lanning of the FBI, at first the agency took the stories seriously. Perhaps there were a few isolated cults, maybe they could have killed some children. Authorities nationwide began digging up reported burial sites, but found nothing, and Lanning’s doubts increased as “survivor” reports mushroomed (the FBI now gets a call a day). “If the cults were real,” he says, “they would constitute the greatest conspiracy in history.”

Who, then are these “survivors” and what’s their connection to ritual abuse accusations? Sherrill Mulhern, who has spent years studying traditional cults and modern groups like Jonestown, began researching the “survivors” and their therapists about five years ago. She soon realized that she was looking not at a real cult, but at people linked by a delusionary belief in one.

Many “survivors,” Mulhern says, are former teen runaways who lived on the streets and took up prostitution – behavior typical of incest victims. Many have abused drugs that produce paranoid delusions; many have been treated for schizophrenia and for borderline personality, which is characterized by compulsive lying. More recently, many have been diagnosed by therapists as suffering from multiple personality disorder. And virtually all had fundamentalist Christian parents or alter converted. While being “born again,” they were often hypnotized by fellow “survivors” of by self-styled Christian spiritual therapists.

The public knows about multiple personality from The Three Faces of Eve and Sybil. This diagnosis – which was called double consciousness in the 19th century and later fell out of favor – has been officially resurrected during the past 15 years by the American psychiatric profession. A century ago, Freud’s term for multiple personality was hysteria, and he first treated hysterical women during the 1880s. When hypnotizing deeply religious Catholic patients, Freud was struck by how many told trance tales of being raped by black-robed Satan worshippers, stories identical to those told by women during earlier witch trials. He speculated that these stories were actually sadomasochistic fantasies overlying memories of real childhood incest but articulated in the language of religion.

A century later, therapists started hearing the same tales again. This time around, they weren’t’ so willing to call them fictions. The new, unqualified belief that all women’’ and girls’ rape and incest stories were true reflected the reemergence of that strain in feminist thinking that condemned all sexual impulses as merely forms of male domination. In this view, men were inherently predatory, obsessed with penetration and violence – or, as Andrea Dworkin put it, “the stuff of murder, not love.” Women, on the other hand, wanted gentle, not-necessarily-even-genital-sex. By analogy, children were just as pure.

Feminists like Diana Russell, Florence Rush, and Dworkin denied that sadomasochistic acts or thoughts could be erotic for women. Russell viewed them as inventions of the patriarch and reflections of women’s powerlessness; Rush, in her groundbreaking work on sex abuse, The Best Kept Secret, disapprovingly connected the “uncensored erotic imagination” with “the total freedom of the sadist.” Besides being theoreticians, these women were also activists in Women Against Pornography, which was lending the right’s anti-porn crusade a modern “progressive” aura by arguing, despite the lack of evidence, that representations of women being wounded or sexually dominated by men cause sexual violence. At the same time, many therapists who considered themselves feminists adopted the belief that when patients bring up fantasies, dreams, or memories of coerced or brutal sex, they can never be products of the erotic imagination; they must really have happened – and anyone who says otherwise is an apologist for patriarchal violence.

This was the complaint lodged against Freud. During his early career, when female hysterics told him they had been seduced during childhood by their fathers and other adults, Freud believed them; he concluded that such violations were common and led to neurosis. Later, he decided many of the stories were untrue. Freud undoubtedly ended up underestimating the prevalence of abuse, though he never dismissed all his patients’ seduction stories. To explain the others as fantasies, he developed the theory of the Oedipus complex.

In recognizing children as intensely sexual beings, the theory was revolutionary. But its assumption that all women envy men their penises helped reinforce sexual stereotypes and encouraged therapists to mindlessly dismiss women’s memories of childhood molestation. Not surprisingly, then, Freud’s theories of sexuality were later just as simplistically attacked by feminists eager to conflate sexuality with male violence. Their criticisms were most forcefully articulated in 1984, with the publication of Jeffrey Masson’s The Assault on Truth: Freud’s Suppression of the Seduction Theory.

And even as Masson institutionalized Freud-bashing, women and children were telling therapists and police rococo tales about sadomasochistic, diabolical assaults. How could these bizarre stories be true? But then, hadn’t we learned that sex abuse was much more common than previously thought?

The stage was set for McMartin hysteria.

In 1983, as part of his upcoming, hotly contested reelection campaign, the Los Angeles district attorney commissioned a survey asking voters to name their biggest crime concerns. He was surprised to learn that their main worry wasn’t drugs or drunken driving – it was child abuse. At about the same time the pollsters were at work, a mentally ill mother was telling Los Angeles County authorities Story-of-O tales about the McMartin preschool. Following her first accusations, police sent 200 letters to parents, listing specific questions to ask their children about whether and how Ray Buckey molested them. Virtually all the children denied being abused. Nevertheless, at the suggestion of the prosecution, panicked families made appointments at the Children’s Institute International (CII), a Los Angeles abuse therapy clinic.

There, social workers plied the children with puppets, suggested ritual abuse scenarios, coaxed recalcitrant kids to “pretend,” and said that if they didn’t tell the “yucky secret” it meant they were stupid. This interviewing method followed from Los Angeles psychiatrist Roland Summit’s “child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome,” a theory about incest. Summit argues that if there is evidence of sex abuse and a child denies it, this is only further proof that it happened and a therapist should use any means necessary to help the child talk. When this technique was applied to criminal investigation, there wasn’t supposed to be any problem with false allegations. Research has since suggested that as many as one in twelve sex abuse reports are fabricated, that in divorce custody disputes, the rate may be as high as one in two, and that a disturbingly common source of false allegations is mentally ill mothers who injure their children, even genitally, to get attention. But in 1984, few were thinking about such issues – conventional wisdom was that since children are innocent beings, they never lie about sexual abuse. If they later recant, that means they are under family pressure to protect the father – and their turnabout is further proof of the crime.

So no matter how much coercion was used to get an accusation and no matter if a child later retracted it, once Summit’s incest theory was applied, a charge of abuse became irrefutable. Child protection workers ignored the fact that this logic had little to do with day-care. After all, why would children staunchly deny abuse to protect an adult who wasn’t part of the family? And if they’d been so brutally attacked at school, why wouldn’t they tell their parents?

Therapists and investigators came up with all sorts of rationales. One was that the teachers threatened them by slaughtering animals and warning that the same thing would happen to their parents if they told. Kids who revealed nothing were said to have split off unbearable memories and developed amnesia. Following this line of thinking, it’s not surprising that some investigators and psychologists used hypnotic suggestion to get children to “remember” abuse; more typical was endless interrogation, much of it done by parents.

In imposing such techniques, adults no doubt injected their own motifs into allegations. Indeed, there is evidence that the details in ritual abuse charges come more from grown-ups than children. Lawrence Pazder, coauthor of Michelle Remembers, told the San Francisco Examiner he acted as a consultant to Los Angeles police investigating McMartin and to parents nationwide; McMartin parent Jackie McGaulley has confided she met with him during the early days of the investigation. Around the same time, ken Wooden, the Satanic conspiracy theorist, mailed information to 3,500 prosecutors describing what to look for in ritual abuse cases. Women claiming to be survivors contacted McMartin investigators and parents; some even joined parents at nationwide child protection conferences to speak about ritual abuse. Meanwhile, prominent psychiatrists like Bennett Braun began appearing at symposia on multiple personality, telling colleagues that a fourth of the women with this diagnosis are escapees from cults organized like the “Communist cell structure.” Soon, other therapists would be carrying guns for protection against devil worshippers. And soon, more and more prosecutors would make front-page news by leveling charges of unspeakably sadistic rape, sodomy and terrorism against people whose only previous experience with the law was in traffic court.

Yet Satanism as a motive in ritual abuse cases didn’t always wash: Though prosecutors tried to keep it quiet, if the public or jury found out that the accusations included the belief that the defendants danced around in covens, cases tended to become laughingstocks and collapse. (Indeed, the phrase ritual abuse was coined by child-protection people worried that Satanic abuse would evoke public disbelief.) So prosecution-minded child-protection activists tried to develop sensible-sounding explanations for why ordinary people would suddenly get the urge to stick swords up toddlers.

To do this, common sense had to be reformed. Nobody, not even the most jaded of cops, had ever heard of people with no relationship to enragé politics or cults and with no mental health problems practicing intricate sexual tortures against little children in nursery schools. The situation was akin to the dilemma faced by inquisitors during the witch trials, when one of the biggest issues was how to physically identify a consort of Satan. The accused would be stripped and a search would ensue for “devil’s privy marks”: warts, scars, and skin tags, especially on the genitals. Such blemishes were said to prove the bearer had a compact with the devil. Three hundred years later, bodily flaws wouldn’t do. Now what was needed was a new psychology.

Serious research was no help. Most male molesters and pedophiles who commit non-violent offenses score normally on psychological tests, but one would expect a Rorschach to ferret out someone remarkable about a person who rubs feces on toddlers and barbecues babies. Nevertheless, batteries of exams given to ritual abuse defendants turned up virtually nothing unusual. This was especially remarkable when it came to women, since the few female child molesters mentioned in earlier medical literature had invariably been diagnosed as mentally retarded or psychotic.

But in the 1980s, rapidly increasing reports of incest included several cases with female perpetrators. Recent studies suggest that these women are unusually emotionally disturbed, abuse drugs, and were themselves incest victims. When molesting their children, they do it nonviolently, by fondling them during diaper changes, for example; and they often feel ashamed and turn themselves in. others report helping their husbands molest their daughters. These women seem to share many traits with battered wives, and after escaping abusive marriages, some have willingly confessed their former complicity.

As soon as female incest offender studies were published in the mid-1980s, prosecutors of ritual cases rushed to pound the accused into the profiles. In most cases, it takes a huge stretch of the imagination to link ritual abuse defendants with incest offenders. Accused groups have usually contained more women than men, and that doesn’t fit the battered or dominated wife profiles. And virtually all the defendants have insisted they are innocent even after generous plea bargaining.

Nevertheless, zealous child protection authorities keep trying to suggest “profiles,” even if it means fictionalizing defendants’ lives. In several cases, with no supporting evidence, officials have told journalists that the accused were “abused as children.” In others, prosecutors have intimated that benign activities, often having something to do with sex, reflect psychopathology. In one case, a middle-aged married woman had an affair (with a man) while she was working at a preschool; one week, when she was considering leaving her husband, she signed the daily attendance sheet with her maiden name. At trial, the prosecutor displayed the signatures and implied the woman was mentally ill.

Another profile gained popularity after the 1985 Meese Commission hearing where critics of adult pornography were joined by spokespeople for the kiddie porn, missing children, and ritual abuse panics. Appearing with a chart supposedly describing confessed and convicted male sex abusers, the FBI’s Lanning advised cops to check whether a suspect seemed Regressed (“low self-esteem”); Inadequate (“social misfit”); Morally Indiscriminate (“a user and abuser of people”); Sexually Indiscriminate (“try sexual – willing to try anything”). Though this typology is about as scientific as a horoscope, Lanning, a vocal Satanic-conspiracy-theory skeptic, has cautioned his chart wasn’t developed for women or ritual abuse defendants – which hasn’t kept prosecutors from using it.

Even so, the search for a more convincing profile goes on. In response to true believers’ urgings, the federal government followed Meese Commission recommendations and funded studies that accept, a priori, the validity of ritual abuse charges. In 1985, the University of California at Los Angeles got $405,000 to monitor into adulthood the “coping” skills of children allegedly molested in local preschools, though authorities later dismissed virtually all their stories as unbelievable.

One researcher for this study is sociologist David Finkelhor, a self-styled sexual progressive and longtime colleague of feminist Diana Russell. Finklehor got a grant to profile day-care sex crimes. Again, most of the cases he researched had so many investigative and evidentiary flaws that they never made it to trial. Except for idle speculations, Finklehor found nothing remarkable in ritual defendants’ histories or personalities. But instead of asking if this meant the charges were false, he implied that since the accused are normal, being normal is part of the typology of the ritual offender. With this sleight of hand, the study, titled Nursery Crimes, immediately became a bible for child protection fanatics eager to supply incredulous communities and journalists with a “scientific” rationale for their paranoia.

The updating of ritual abuse hysteria with pop psychology is vividly illustrated in New Jersey’s Margaret Kelly Michaels case – the northeast’s version of McMartin. Michaels, a teacher at a suburban Newark day-care center, was accused in 1985 of assaulting preschoolers sexually with peanut butter, swords, bloodied tampons, urine, feces, and terroristic threats. She was said to have committed these crimes against dozens of children daily, for seven months, in a crowded facility, without any adults seeing her and without leaving any physical evidence.

After investigators made all the mistakes that characterized McMartin, they still had no evidence that Michaels was in a cult. So they searched for psychopathology. Again, nothing strange in Michaels’ background. They pressed on anyway. To fit her into the incest offender profile, prosecutors played up unfounded rumors that her father fondled her during jailhouse visits. At a preliminary hearing, they brought in the FBI’s Lanning to “instruct” the judge that women don’t have to be psychotic to molest children. Both in court and off the record, the prosecutors plugged Michaels into anything that passed for a profile, even those developed for men. They suggested she was “dissociated” – i.e., a multiple personality – because she did dance exercises at the day-care center while looking “spacey.” They implied she was a pedophile – a term never before applied to women – because she took photographs at the playground. And the fact that Michaels adamantly insisted she was innocent was supposed to mean she was “morally indiscriminate.” As proof of her cunning, prosecutors told the jury that during one psychological evaluation, Michaels drew a person with one foot turned inward; but another time she drew it pointed out!

With such nonsense offered – and largely accepted – as “motive,” it was unavoidable that Michaels would be demonized for any sexual behavior not conforming to the strictest traditional standards. At her women’s college, for example, she had experimented with lesbianism. The prosecution insinuated that Michaels’ homosexual experiences and the fact that she had not slept with a man until age 25, were proof of “confusion” that would cause her to torture children. Michaels was ultimately convicted on 115 counts of abuse. The case against her, permeated as it was by the testimony of social workers and psychologists, exchanged open talk of Satanic conspiracies for a secular, feminist-sounding idiom that nevertheless couches a profound hostility towards women and a loathing for any erotic impulse.

Even children’s play with each other is becoming suspect. Abuse-finders now worry that preschoolers who play sexually with their peers may be “perpetrators” or pedophiles-in-the-making. CII, the Los Angeles clinic known for its abominable McMartin interviews, is now treating “offenders” as young as four years old if they have so much as “verbally cajoled” a younger child into sex play that CII deems not “normal.” While researchers say most of the “offenders” were themselves sexually abused, the clinic’s history of eliciting false allegations makes any such claims suspect. More telling is the CII therapists’ disapproval that some of their little girl patients said they acted sexually not out of “love and caring,” but simply “to feel good.”

While such rhetoric may still be patently laughable, repressing older kids is another story. Teenagers are increasingly victimized by laws denying them access to birth control, confidential abortions, or a sense that sex is anything more than a deadly disease. The trend is now justified via the rhetoric of “child protection”; in Arizona, after a law passed mandating teachers and counselors to report sex abuse victims, officials in the state’s largest school district gathered the names of sexually active students and handed them over to the cops.

Meanwhile, in divorce disputes and especially on the day-care front, hysteria continues unabated. Across the country, more and more losers in custody battles are accusing spouses of being Satanic cult sex abusers. And since 1989, the town of Edenton, North Carolina, has been disrupted by charges that five women and two men associated with an elite preschool molested, raped, and filmed sex acts with 70 young children and infants. Earlier in the investigation, officials said they had photographic evidence of the crimes, and the D.A. claims the children have made most of their allegations to therapists. But the only ‘evidence” to emerge is one Polaroid photo, found in a woman defendant’s home, of her having sex with her fiancé (an adult); at least one therapist is giving Satanism and ritual abuse seminars around the state, and some parents of the alleged victims are active in Believe the Children.

The North Carolina kids’ stories have unerringly followed the ritual abuse plot, progressing lately to tales of witnessing babies slaughtered. Perhaps not coincidentally, their most bizarre allegations began surfacing this past fall, around the time that 27 million viewers watched Do You Know the Muffin Man?, a BCS move that rehashed details from several ritual abuse cases, but included the wholly fictional climax of parents discovering day-care teachers worshipping the devil amidst piles of kiddie porn. Or maybe the North Carolina woman, accompanied by her Jewish therapist, claimed to be a survivor of childhood cult ritual abuse and added that Jewish families had been sacrificing babies since the 1700s.

A few months later, during the taping of the Geraldo post-trial show, the McMartin children and their parents sat under bright lights and gave their names. Back at a Los Angeles studio hookup, a girls sat in a darkened area, anonymous. She told how when she was five she used to spend after-school hours with Ray Buckey helping him clean up classrooms, yet he never molested her. She recalled going to CII during the investigation, and how the therapists kept suggesting the details of ritual sex games before they even started up the tape recorder. Then they turned it on, all the while telling her things she’d never heard of, and insisting she repeat them.

She wouldn’t, and now six years later, a boy sitting in the bright lights – one whose parents parade him on national TV and make speeches about Satanist sex abuse networks in Episcopal churches – glared at her silhouette and insisted she was really molested. The girl sat in the shadows, afraid to show her face or give her name. She and her family fear harassment – not for proclaiming she was raped, but for insisting she wasn’t.

As for the children who sat in the light, their parents have invested years believing in demonic conspiracies and underground nursery tunnels. (until recently, the parents were still digging. They came up with Indian artifacts.) They have spoken unremittingly of such things, to the world and to their sons and daughters. They have told their children, over and over again, that they were abused, then rewarded them for acting traumatized. They have put them in therapy with adult fanatics who have done the same, and enrolled them as guinea pigs in the “research” projects of zealots.

The McMartin kids, and hundreds of others in ritual abuse spin-offs across the country, have spent years trapped in clans now extended to include psychologists, social workers and prosecutors –– clans whose identity derives from a tent-revival belief in their children’s imagined victimization. Right wing devil-mongers may find the subculture to their liking, but the rest of us ought to recognize the harm it is wreaking, not only on civil liberties and the falsely accused, but also on day-care, on women’s rights, and especially on children. Because the kids involved in this hysteria have indeed suffered, but not at the hands of their teachers. And the abuse perpetrated against them by the child-protection movement gone mad are every bit as awful as the tyranny of incest.

Voir enfin:

C’est la béatification médiatique d’Hessel qui pose problème

Analyse

01 mars 2013

Stéphane Juffa

MetullahNews Agency

Il n’est pas question pour moi d’ajouter mon encre aux critiques de l’œuvre et des idées de Stéphane Hessel. A l’image du Dr. Richard Prasquier, devant les caméras d’I-télé, plusieurs intellectuels ont parfaitement décortiqué le message de feu le vieil indigné.

Revenir sur leurs arguments presque toujours pertinents réduirait inutilement la puissance de leurs analyses, et ils ne méritent pas cette injustice.

Si je m’exprime aujourd’hui, c’est pour dire ce qu’ils n’ont pas dit et qui est cause, chez moi, d’une profonde inquiétude. Cela s’articule sur un constat principal : ce n’est pas Hessel et son discours qui sont préoccupants mais ceux qui l’encensent et ceux qui le propagent.

Le problème ne se situe pas tant dans l’essai de 32 pages Indignez-vous !, paru en 2011, mais dans la couverture dramatique de Libération, présentant le portrait du vieillard défunt, accentué de ces deux mots : "Un juste".

Je cite cette une, mais je pourrais mentionner la totalité de la presse tricolore, tombant en extase devant ce "grand homme" qu’elle avait d’ailleurs découvert sur le tard. Des pétitions poussent maintenant comme des champignons, exigeant que la dépouille d’Hessel soit inhumée au Panthéon.

Les politiciens unanimes saluent le grand résistant et le défenseur des droits de l’homme qui les a quittés à l’âge avancé de 95 ans. Les seuls bémols que l’on entend se résument aux murmures de certains tribuns de l’opposition, sur le thème "je n’étais peut-être pas d’accord avec tout ce qu’il disait".

Mais la seule critique devant ce requiem national vient des Juifs. Et c’est précisément cela qui me préoccupe.

Car, lorsqu’il était sorti, j’avais lu Indignez-vous ! en une vingtaine de minutes. Cet opus imposait une conclusion qui me paraissait alors évidente : il est court.

Il avait été produit par un auteur alignant les réflexions embryonnaires, les thèses sans défenses et les argumentaires, qu’un analyste au courant de la réalité pouvait exploser sans excès de sudation.

Pour ne rien cacher, la focalisation d’Hessel sur la centralité universelle du différend israélo-palestinien m’avait instinctivement fait penser à l’écriture d’un homme déstabilisé ou blessé. Ce, tant la réduction des problèmes du monde à la Bande de Gaza est objectivement indéfendable pendant qu’on s’étripe en Syrie, et tant sa critique de l’Etat hébreu est outrageusement… disproportionnée.

Bis repetita de l’indigné sur la fable de Gaza, "prison à ciel ouvert" ; le vieil homme était de ceux qui ignorent que la porte de cette geôle ouvre sur quatorze kilomètres de frontière commune avec l’Egypte islamiste des Frères Musulmans, eux-mêmes les créateurs et les mentors idéologiques du Hamas qui gouverne Gaza.

Or c’est un lieu commun de considérer qu’une prison dont la porte n’est pas fermée n’est pas une prison. Ou que si le Hamas connaît des problèmes avec Moubarak et Morsi, cela ne regarde pas Israël.

Bien qu’il ait passé sa vie à faire oublier que son père était juif, j’avais l’impression, à le lire, que l’auteur était encore en train de se débattre avec son ascendance ; un peu à la manière d’un autre résistant israélite avec lequel nous avons eu maille à partir, Edgar Morin/Nahum, qui aboutit à la conclusion que les Juifs prennent – ce ne peut être qu’atavique – du plaisir à maltraiter leurs voisins.

Mais consacrer plus de la moitié de trente-deux pages d’indignation universelle à Israël, c’était trop. Trop, en tout cas pour une personne intellectuellement équilibrée.

Reste que si ce fascicule est faible et qu’il manque même d’originalité quant aux idées qu’il expose, il se place dans l’air du temps. Il est, en effet, de nos jours, difficile de demander aux djeunes de se concentrer sur plus de 32 pages. Encore faut-il, de plus, qu’elles soient dénuées de toute complexité, ce qui cadre sans aucun doute avec le livre en question.

Stéphane Hessel se positionnait dans la droite ligne des néo-existentialistes genre Marius Schattner, commandant une vision manichéenne du Moyen-Orient et du monde, scandée avec de fortes inflexions fanoniennes concernant les axiomes oppresseur-oppressé, occupant-occupé, ainsi que les gentils barbares exploités, qui, afin de retrouver leur dignité, doivent impérativement massacrer leurs ennemis de la façon la plus sauvage possible.

Las de ces considérations ! Les propos et les fantômes de l’indigné de service furent ce qu’ils furent et personne n’est obligé ni d’aimer Israël, ni de professer une approche équilibrée des conflits. D’ailleurs, et, pour ne pas l’imiter, il faut le lui concéder, il ne prônait pas la disparition d’Israël mais la solution dite des deux Etats, ce qui ne coïncide pas forcément, d’un point de vue logique, avec le reste de ses propositions.

Et c’est à partir de là qu’Hessel se retrouve en position de hors-jeu ; quand, pour aller jusqu’au bout de sa haine de l’Etat hébreu, Hessel prend la liberté de normaliser le nazisme en affirmant que "l’occupation allemande (de la France) était, si on la compare par exemple avec l’occupation actuelle de la Palestine par les Israéliens, une occupation relativement inoffensive".

A quoi Hessel trouvait naturel d’ajouter : "(…) abstraction faite d’éléments d’exception comme les incarcérations, les internements et les exécutions, ainsi que le vol d’œuvres d’art. Tout cela était terrible. Mais il s’agissait d’une politique d’occupation qui voulait agir positivement (…)".

Au Panthéon, dites-vous ?

Parce que cette "occupation positive" a tout de même coûté la vie, entre 39 et 45, à la bagatelle de 567 600 Français, soit à 1.35% de la population hexagonale de l’époque. Ce, tandis que toutes les guerres entre Israéliens et Arabes, depuis avant même la création de l’Etat hébreu, à partir de 1945, civils et combattants des deux bords confondus, n’ont pas tué plus de 60 000 êtres humains. Et que l’ "occupation" israélienne ne fait de victimes que fort occasionnellement.

Mais comment, pour rester dans les chiffres, Hessel peut-il parler de la sorte d’un conflit mondial ayant anéanti entre 60 et 70 millions d’individus ? Et comparer favorablement les dégâts du nazisme à la politique de l’Etat démocratique d’Israël ?

Des intellectuels décents ont également abondamment commenté ces affirmations déraisonnables et haineuses de l’indigné, nul besoin, dans ces conditions, d’analyser cette dérive. J’ai commencé ce papier en disant que ce n’est pas Hessel qui cause souci mais la réaction de ceux qui l’écoutent.

Car, en situation régulière, un homme se permettant d’émettre de semblables non-sens serait mis au banc de la société en général, et, particulièrement, de celle de l’intelligentsia et de la politique. Lors, ce n’est pas le cas, et nous de nous poser la question de savoir comment un être sans relief particulier, capable d’élucubrations historiques afin d’attiser la détestation d’un peuple, normalisant l’inénarrable monstruosité hitlérienne, dont l’extermination industrielle de six millions d’Israélites, devient-il, à sa mort, le juste d’une nation.

Nous en tirons un double enseignement. D’abord, il est à nouveau possible, dans la France du début de ce XXIème siècle, de stigmatiser Israël et les Juifs sans avoir besoin d’étayer ses propos. Fustiger l’Etat hébreu en le comparant, par exemple, défavorablement au IIIème Reich ne suffit plus à relativiser le jugement des journalistes, des intellos et des hommes politiques bleu-blanc-rouge sur l’auteur d’une telle comparaison.

Nous sommes revenus aux périodes brunes de la République, à l’Occupation précisément, et, antérieurement à la période de l’Affaire Dreyfus, quand on pouvait être un grand homme tout en abhorrant les Israélites ; ou pire, être considéré comme un juste – j’ai aussi lu qu’Hessel avait été un sage – précisément parce qu’on les exècre.

Il n’est plus nécessaire, aujourd’hui en France, de respecter l’honneur de la nation d’Israël pour déclencher la pamoison. On l’avait déjà remarqué en considérant le commentaire oiseux que l’émission du service public "Un Œil sur la planète" a récemment consacrée à Israël, de même que la démission des garde-fous de ladite République et de tous les syndicats de journalistes unanimes, qui hurlent, au nom de la liberté d’expression, haro sur le baudet israélien, à la place d’exclure les charlatans racistes de l’info de leur sein.

On a aussi patiemment observé le fonctionnement de la presse francilienne à l’occasion de la Controverse de Nétzarim, celui de la justice tricolore, et celui de l’exécutif, n’ayant pas hésité à mélanger leurs efforts afin de protéger de la disgrâce la grossière imposture anti-israélienne de Charles Enderlin et de France 2.

Et si je rappelle ces trois occurrences, dans l’ordre chronologique, l’Affaire Dura, un Œil sur la planète et l’hommage exagéré d’un pays à Hessel, négationniste par occultation du génocide nazi, c’est parce qu’en ces trois occasions, toutes les élites du pays France ont pris position, tandis que les Juifs français et leur bon droit se sont retrouvés terriblement seuls et isolés dans l’autre camp.

Et s’il n’est pas concevable d’attendre d’un Juif qu’il accepte la normalisation de l’Occupation nazie ni la comparaison de l’hitlérisme avec Israël, il reste à observer que les goys franchissent ces pas avec enthousiasme et bonne conscience.

A la nuance près que pendant l’Affaire Dreyfus, la condamnation d’un Juif innocent – c’est toujours la même chanson qui passe en boucle, semble se faire oublier, puis revient, plus féroce qu’auparavant – tous les Dreyfusards n’étaient pas israélites, alors que de nos jours, on compte les anti-Hessel non juifs sur les doigts de ses deux mains.

Ce qui arrive aujourd’hui, et qui va, derrière l’indigné disparu, rechercher ses valeurs dans la résistance, ne le fait pas par hasard. Car le temps de l’Occupation constitue l’une des nombreuses pages de leur histoire que les Français ne sont pas parvenus à analyser puis à tourner. Car pour pouvoir tourner une page, il faut d’abord être capable de l’expurger de ses toxines. Sinon elle se rouvre toute seule et quand elle le décide.

Or les Français ont laissé derrière eux tant de pages ouvertes s’accumulant dans leur inconscient collectif, qu’elles aboutissent à des comportements publics qui demeurent imperméables à la compréhension des étrangers.

En écrivant ce qu’il a écrit sur la douceur de la vie sous les Boches, en imputant artificiellement à la nation juive une cruauté supérieure à la leur, en faisant, de la sorte, d’Israël le repère symbolique du mal absolu, on réalise une sorte d’exorcisme nauséabond et terriblement dangereux, rétroactif, du droit qu’auraient pu avoir les grands-parents de détester les Juifs sans avoir de raison à présenter. Et pourquoi pas, celui de ne pas être braves et de les livrer aux Allemands ou de copuler avec eux.

Et cette France intellectuelle, démocrate chrétienne tout en se voyant à gauche, et surtout adaptable à l’envi, briguant le privilège de donner des leçons sans jamais en recevoir, qui supporte mal d’avoir sans cesse à se justifier du traitement de ses Juifs sous l’Occupation, applaudit des deux mains le témoignage indigne d’un Israélite affirmant que l’ère nazie n’était pas si terrible que cela, et que ce qu’Israël inflige aux Arabes est largement pire.

(…)


De Rome à Pyongyang: Attention, un triomphe peut en cacher un autre (From Rome to Paris, London to St Petersburg, New York to Dehli and Pyongyang, the stones will cry out Titus’s infamous crime)

24 février, 2013
http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~ncureton/pictures/RomanHoliday/images/P1010095.jpgS’ils se taisent, les pierres crieront! Jésus (Luc 19 : 40)
La pierre qu’ont rejetée ceux qui bâtissaient est devenue la principale de l’angle. Psaumes 118: 22
Mardochée ordonna à tous les juifs de célébrer tous les ans le quatorzième et le quinzième jour du douzième mois, en commémoration de ce qu’en ces jours, les Juifs ont eu raison de leurs ennemis ; que les jours de douleur se sont changés en jours de fête, et il recommanda d’en faire des jours de joie et de festin. Les juifs firent des illuminations, des  fêtes joyeuses, des réjouissances et des festins… et s’envoyèrent réciproquement des présents…, et firent des dons aux pauvres. Car Haman, fils d’Hamdatha, de la race d’Agag, persécuteur de tous les juifs, avait eu le projet de les exterminer tous, et il avait jeté des pour c’est-à-dire des sorts  pour connaître le jour qui lui serait le plus favorable pour les anéantir…, c’est pour cela que ces jours de fêtes s’appellent Pourim. Esther 9:20-26
D’après tout le contenu de cette lettre, d’après ce qu’ils avaient eux-mêmes vu et ce qui leur était arrivé, les Juifs prirent pour eux, pour leur postérité, et pour tous ceux qui s’attacheraient à eux, la résolution et l’engagement irrévocables de célébrer chaque année ces deux jours, selon le mode prescrit et au temps fixé. Ces jours devaient être rappelés et célébrés de génération en génération, dans chaque famille, dans chaque province et dans chaque ville; et ces jours de Purim ne devaient jamais être abolis au milieu des Juifs, ni le souvenir s’en effacer parmi leurs descendants. Esther 9: 27-28
[Nous te sommes aussi reconnaissants] pour les miracles, la rédemption, les haut-faits, les actes salvateurs, les merveilles, les consolations et les batailles que Tu as faits pour nos pères en ces jours [et] en ce temps, au temps de Mardochée et Esther dans Suse la capitale, lorsque Haman le mauvais s’est élevé contre eux, qu’il a demandé de détruire, tuer et perdre tous les Juifs, jeunes, vieux, femmes et enfants en un jour, le treizième jour du douzième mois qui est le mois d’adar, et de piller leurs biens. Toi, dans Ta grande miséricorde, Tu as anéanti son conseil, corrompu ses pensées et Tu lui as renvoyé son salaire à la figure. On l’a pendu avec ses fils à l’arbre. Bénédiction spécifique de Pourim
Il n’y a pas de preuve tangible qu’il y ait la moindre trace ou le moindre vestige juif que ce soit dans la vieille ville de Jérusalem ou dans le voisinage immédiat. Communiqué du ministère palestinien de l’Information (10 décembre 1997)
Le mur d’Al-Buraq [Mur des Lamentations] et sa place sont une propriété religieuse musulmane…[Il fait] partie de la mosquée Al Aqsa. Les Juifs n’ont aucun lien avec cet endroit. Mufti de Jérusalem (nommé par Yasser Arafat, Al Ayyam [journal de l'Autorité palestinienne], 22 novembre 1997)
Le mur d’Al-Buraq est une propriété musulmane et fait partie de la mosquée Al Aqsa. Hassan Tahboob (Ministre des Affaires religieuses de Yasser Arafat, dans interview accordée à l’agence de presse, IMRA, le 22 novembre 1997)
Ce n’est pas du tout le mur des Lamentations, mais un sanctuaire musulman. Yasser Arafat (Maariv, 11 octobre 1996)
Tous les événements liés au roi Saul, au roi David et au roi Rehoboam se sont déroulés au Yémen, et aucun vestige hébreu n’a été trouvé en Israël pour la bonne et simple raison qu’ils n’y ont jamais vécu. Jarid al-Kidwa (historien arabe, au cours d’un programme éducatif de l’OLP, juin 1997, cité dans Haaretz le 6 juillet 1997)
Jérusalem n’est pas une ville juive, en dépit du mythe biblique qui a été semé dans certains esprits…Il n’y a pas d’évidence tangible de l’existence juive d’un soi-disant « Temple du mont Era »…on doute de l’emplacement du mont du Temple…il se peut qu’il ait été situé à Jéricho ou ailleurs. Walid Awad (directeur des publications pour l’étranger du ministère de l’Information de l’OLP, interviewé par l’agence de presse IMRA, le 25 décembre 1996)
Abraham n’était pas juif, pas plus que c’était un Hébreu, mais il était tout simplement irakien. Les Juifs n’ont aucun droit de prétendre disposer d’une synagogue dans la tombe des patriarches à Hébron, lieu où est inhumé Abraham. Le bâtiment tout entier devrait être une mosquée. Yasser Arafat (Jerusalem Report, 26 décembre 1996)
[La Shoa] est un mensonge des Sionistes concernant de soi-disant massacres perpétrés contre les Juifs. Al Hayat Al Jadeeda ( journal de l’Autorité palestinienne, 3 septembre 1997)
[Notre but est] d’éliminer l’Etat d’Israël et d’établir un Etat qui soit entièrement palestinien. Yasser Arafat (session privée avec des diplomates arabes en Europe, 30 janvier 1996)
La lutte contre l’ennemi sioniste n’est pas une question de frontières, mais touche à l’existence même de l’entité sioniste. Bassam-abou-Sharif (porte-parole de l’OLP, Kuwait News Agency – Agence de presse koweïtienne, 31 mai 1996)

Attention, un triomphe peut en cacher un autre !

En cette fête des Sorts (Pourim) où nos amis juifs fêtent leur délivrance d’une énième tentative de génocide …

Au moment même où la mémoire et l’existence d’Israël sont à nouveau menacées par le régime terroriste qui sert actuellement de gouvernement aux descendants des mêmes Perses …

Et où tant le Carter noir de la Maison Blanche que le Sauveur de l’Afrique à l’Elysée n’ont d’yeux assez doux pour les nouveaux génocidaires et de mots assez durs pour les descendants de Mardochée et d’Esther qui tentent aujuourd’hui à leur tour d’en éviter la répétition  …

Pendant que nos médias mercenaires prennent un malin plaisir à dénoncer chez les victimes régulièrement désignées à la vindicte publique par le Machin leur "complexe d’Auschwitz" et leur "mentalité du ghetto"…

Quel incroyable retour du refoulé que ces vieilles pierres originellement assemblées pour célèbrer le triomphe des pilleurs du Temple de Jérusalem …

Et qui via leurs multiples imitations à travers les siècles et la planète

Continuent, près de 2000 ans plus tard et  justement sans le savoir, à crier l’ineffaçable premier forfait du général romain Titus et de son père Vespasien

Mais aussi la réalité, aujourd’hui à nouveau niée, tant de l’ancienneté de sa présence continue que de l’existence de son Temple à Jérusalem et en Israël …

Et surtout l’invraisemblable résilience de ce petit peuple comme de ses textes fondateurs

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Arc_de_titus_frontal.jpgLe sénat et le peuple romain au divin Titus Vespasien, Auguste, fils du divin Vespasien.

Titus, Rome, c. 81

Monument, remarquable en termes de religion et d’art,
avait été affaibli par l’âge:
Pie le septième, le souverain pontife,
par de nouveaux travaux sur le modèle de l’exemple antique
l’a commandé, renforcé et préservé.

• L’année de son saint règne le 24 e •

Pius VI, Rome, 1821

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/Entry_of_Napoleon_III_into_Paris_by_Theodore_Jung.jpegValmy Jemmapes Fleurus Montenotte Lodi Castiglione

Arcole Rivoli Les Pyramides Aboukir Alkmaer Zurich

Heliopolis Marengo Hohenliden Ulm Austerlizt Iéna

Friedland Sierra Essling Wagram Moscowa Lutzen

Bleutzen Dresde Hanau Montmirail Montereau Lagny

Napoléon, Paris, 1806

http://wpcontent.answcdn.com/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9a/Gapon_u_Narvskoy_zastavy1.jpg/250px-Gapon_u_Narvskoy_zastavy1.jpgAlexander I, Saint-Petersbourg, 1814

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Wellingtonarch2008.jpgGeorge III, Londres, 1825

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1b/Washington_Square_by_Matthew_Bisanz.JPG/391px-Washington_Square_by_Matthew_Bisanz.JPGLet us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God.— Washington

William Rhinelander Stewart, New York, 1892

http://jcdurbant.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/19582bnew2bdelhi2bindia2bindia2bgate2brajasthan2bcamel2bcorps2brehearsal2bwire2bphoto.jpg?w=450&h=347"To the dead of the Indian armies who fell honoured in France and Flanders Mesopotamia and Persia East Africa Gallipoli and elsewhere in the near and the far-east and in sacred memory also of those whose names are recorded and who fell in India or the north-west frontier and during the Third Afghan war."

George VI, Dehli, 1931

http://www.comtourist.com/images/large/north-korea-04/pyongyang-arch-of-triumph-01.jpgKim Il Sung, Pyongyang, 1982


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