Gaza: La lutte en cours à Gaza et dans toute la Palestine est la nôtre (In today’s upside-down world, it is remarkable when a world leader simply tells the truth and turns out not to be a hypocrite, a political coward, or an appeaser)

22 juillet, 2014
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A Palestinian paramedic touches the hand of a dead girl in the overflowing morgue of Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Sunday (NYT)

Israeli troops fired toward the Gaza Strip from their position near the border on Saturday. Israeli strikes killed 20 people in Gaza (NYT)

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Dans Chadjaiya, quartier de la ville de Gaza frontalier d’Israël, le 20 juillet (Le Monde)

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Un manifestant, dimanche, durant les émeutes à Sarcelles (Métronews)

J’ai une prémonition qui ne me quittera pas: ce qui adviendra d’Israël sera notre sort à tous. Si Israël devait périr, l’holocauste fondrait sur nous. Eric Hoffer
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)
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)
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)
Qui se cache dans les mosquées ? Le Hamas. Qui met ses arsenaux sous des hôpitaux ? Le Hamas. Qui met des centres de commandement dans des résidences ou à proximité de jardins d’enfants ? Le Hamas. Le Hamas utilise les habitants de Gaza comme boucliers humains et provoque un désastre pour les civils de Gaza ; donc, pour toute attaque contre des civils de Gaza, ce que nous regrettons, le Hamas et ses partenaires sont seuls responsables. Benjamin Nétanyahou
Les attaques aveugles à la roquette à partir de Gaza vers Israël constituent des actes terroristes que rien ne justifie. Il est évident que le Hamas utilise délibérément des boucliers humains pour intensifier la terreur dans la région. L’absence d’une condamnation de ces actes répréhensibles par la communauté internationale encouragerait ces terroristes à poursuivre ces actions consternantes. Le Canada demande à ses alliés et partenaires de reconnaître que ces actes terroristes sont inacceptables et que la solidarité avec Israël est le meilleur moyen de mettre fin au conflit. L’appui du Canada envers Israël est sans équivoque. Nous appuyons son droit de se défendre, par lui‑même, contre ces attaques terroristes, et nous exhortons le Hamas à cesser immédiatement ses attaques aveugles à l’endroit d’innocents civils israéliens. Le Canada réitère son appel au gouvernement palestinien à désarmer le Hamas et d’autres groupes terroristes palestiniens qui opèrent à partir de Gaza, dont le Jihad islamique palestinien, mandaté par l’Iran. Stephen Harper (premier ministre canadien, 13.07.14)
It’s the moral equivalence which is so devastating. When Egypt this week proposed its ceasefire in Gaza, a BBC presenter asked whether both sides would now conclude that there was no point carrying on with the war. From the start, restraint has been urged on both sides — as if more than 1,100 rocket attacks on Israel in three weeks had the same weight as trying to stop this onslaught once and for all. Israel has been bombing Gaza solely to stop Hamas and its associates from trying to kill Israeli citizens. But for many in the West, the driving necessity is not to stop Hamas but to stop Israel. Moral equivalence morphs instantly into moral bankruptcy. People have looked at the casualty count — around 200 Palestinians killed at the time of writing, while only a handful of Israelis have been injured or killed — and decided that this proves Israel is a monstrous aggressor. No concern at all for the Israelis who have only a few seconds to rush to a shelter when the sirens start to wail, car drivers flinging themselves to the ground at the side of the road. No concern for the elderly or disabled Israelis who can’t get to a shelter, the hospital patients left helpless while the rockets slam into the ground nearby. Just imagine if the Scots, for example, had for years been firing at England volleys of rockets that were now putting 40-50 million people within range. Unimaginable? Of course it is. No country would tolerate it. But that’s the equivalent situation in which tiny Israel has found itself. Yet it is simultaneously having to fight another war: against a West determined to demonise it with accusations of deliberate atrocities, lack of restraint or an attempt to conquer more land. To these people, whatever Israel does to defend itself is bad. Killing Gazans is bad, warning them to flee so they won’t be killed is bad, the Iron Dome missile defence system is bad because, while Palestinians are being killed, Israelis are not. Ah yes, that’s the real outrage, isn’t it? Not enough dead Jews. How dare they defend themselves so effectively! And so the West does Hamas’s dirty work for it. Hamas cannot defeat Israel militarily. Its strategy is not just to kill Israelis and demoralise the population, but also to de-legitimise Israel so that the West, too, will work for its destruction. Hamas’s rockets have failed in the first two objectives — but the third is a runaway success. In its hundreds of tunnels, Hamas has built an underground infrastructure of industrialised terror the length of Gaza. As a Fatah spokesman blurted out, it has situated its arsenal among civilians, underneath schools and hospitals and mosques, for the infernal purpose of using its population as human shields and human sacrifices. It has urged Gazans to make themselves the target of Israeli air strikes. It has ordered them to ignore the Israeli warnings to evacuate, which are delivered by leaflet, phone, text and warning shots. Doesn’t the Israel-atrocity brigade ever pause to wonder why Hamas has provided no air-raid shelters for its people, while Israel has constructed a national shelter system? Gazan civilians are dying in order to maximise their numbers killed in the war, so that Hamas can incite against Israel in both the Muslim world and the West. And it openly games the PR system. Hamas social media guidelines instruct Gazans not to post pictures of missiles launched from ‘residential areas’ and always to add the term ‘innocent citizen’ to any casualty’s name. So the figures it issues for civilian as opposed to terrorist casualties, re-circulated by the UN, are worthless. Israel is waging this war in accordance with international law, which states that when houses are used for military purposes they may become legitimate military targets. But as Ibrahim Kreisheh, the Palestinian delegate to the UN Human Rights Council, admitted in a remarkable TV interview, while Israel’s killing of civilians is considered in law merely a mistake, Hamas is committing war crimes by deliberately targeting Israeli civilians. Indeed, given its use of Gazan human shields, it is guilty of war crimes twice over. All civilian casualties, however, are deeply to be regretted and to be avoided wherever possible. And so Gaza presents Israel with a hideous dilemma. Either it inescapably kills a lot of civilians as a by-product of destroying the infrastructure of mass murder, or it leaves that infrastructure at least partly in place to spare the civilians. Until now, it has chosen the latter. It is also allowing food and fuel into Gaza; its offer of blood supplies was turned down by the Palestinian Authority. When a Hamas rocket downed a power line supplying electricity to 70,000 Gazans, workers from the Israel Electric Company braved Hamas rocket fire to restore power to Gaza — enabling it to fire more rockets at Israel. Yet it is Israel which is said to be ‘out of control’, guilty of indiscriminate slaughter and even — as ludicrous as it is obscene — ‘genocide’. Those who demonise Israel in this way should realise just what they are supporting. Palestinian society, both through Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah (whose military wing has also been firing rockets from Gaza), brainwashes its children that glory lies in killing Jews. It routinely pumps out Judeophobic incitement straight from the Nazi playbook.(…) Every western supporter of the Palestinian war against Israel is also tacitly supporting such anti-Jewish derangement. This psychotic bigotry is the true driver of that war, as well as the Islamist war against the West. Yet astoundingly it is never, ever mentioned. The intractable problem of Gaza has been exacerbated by the meddling incomprehension of a western world that just doesn’t grasp how Islamist fanatics play by entirely different rules. The West insists on moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinians, as if the century-old conflict between the Arabs and the Jews were simply a squabble over the equitable division of land. It is not. It is a war to destroy the Jewish national homeland by people driven into frenzy by forces immune to reason. Melanie Philips
Conformément à la pratique de l’ONU, les incidents impliquant des munitions non explosées qui pourraient mettre en danger les bénéficiaires et le personnel sont transmises aux autorités locales. Après la découverte des missiles, nous avons pris toutes les mesures nécessaires pour faire disparaître ces objets de nos écoles et préserver ainsi nos locaux. Christopher Gunness (directeur de l’UNRWA à Gaza)
A Gaza, les combats urbains tournent au carnage. Titre du Monde
Something important is missing from the New York Times’s coverage of the war in Gaza: photographs of terrorist attacks on Israel, and pictures of Hamas fighters, tunnels, weaponry, and use of human shields. It appears the Times is silently but happily complying with a Hamas demand that the only pictures from Gaza are of civilians and never of fighters. The most influential news organization in the world is thus manufacturing an utterly false portrait of the battle—precisely the portrait that Hamas finds most helpful: embattled, victimized Gaza civilians under attack by a cruel Israeli military. A review of the Times’s photography in Gaza reveals a stark contrast in how the two sides are portrayed. Nearly every picture from Israel depicts tanks, soldiers, or attack helicopters. And every picture of Gaza depicts either bloodied civilians, destroyed buildings, overflowing hospitals, or other images of civilian anguish. It is as one-sided and misleading a depiction of the Gaza battle as one can imagine. (…) Maybe all of this is an illustration of just how biased against Israel the Times has become—so biased that Times photographers and editors are simply blind to any image that doesn’t conform to their view of the war. Or maybe, in the interest of the safety and access of their journalists, the Times is complying with Hamas instructions. As reported by MEMRI, Hamas published media guidelines instructing Gazans to always refer to the dead as "innocent civilians" and to never post pictures of terrorists on social media. Hamas is currently preventing foreign journalists from leaving the Strip, in effect holding them hostage. These journalists must be terrified—and they also must know that the best way to ensure their safety is to never run afoul of the terrorists in whose hands their fates lie. It would appear that Hamas’s media instructions have been heard loud and clear at the New York Times, and the response is obedience. But the Times also isn’t bothering to inform its readers that the images they’re seeing of Gaza are only the ones Hamas wants them to see. It’s time for the Times to tell its readers exactly why they are being presented with such a distorted picture of this war. Noah Pollak (Weekly standard)
La lutte en cours à Gaza et dans toute la Palestine est la nôtre : il s’agit de mettre en échec un projet colonial qui allie une idéologie raciste à une technologie meurtrière dont le but est de nous neutraliser. Incapables d’arrêter les roquettes de la résistance palestinienne, les sionistes massacrent les familles et bombardent aveuglément maisons, dispensaires, mosquées. Cette bataille ne sera pas finie tant que le siège de Gaza est maintenu et que les sionistes emprisonnent et torturent les nôtres. Cette guerre ne sera gagnée que quand nous serons tous unis, pour notre dignité… et la libération de la Palestine. La lutte armée en Palestine se prolonge ici par notre mobilisation, dans la rue, et en intensifiant, partout, la campagne pour le boycott et les sanctions contre l’Etat sioniste. GUPS (Union général des étudiants de Palestine – France)
Samedi 19 juillet, pendant qu’Israël, face à la résistance déterminée des combattants palestiniens, décidait de réduire en poussière le quartier de Shajaiya à Gaza, faisant plus de 100 mort-e-s et 60000 déplacé-e-s en moins de 24 heures, notre premier ministre, Manuel Valls, était occupé. Il était occupé à empêcher la solidarité avec le peuple palestinien de s’exprimer. Il était occupé à attaquer les personnes et organisations solidaires de la Palestine et de sa résistance. Pour cela, la méthode a été simple: utiliser une manipulation de la Ligue de Défense Juive, une organisation sioniste violente et raciste, pour interdire la manifestation de soutien à Gaza prévue à Paris et se servir ensuite des affrontements causés par cette interdiction pour charger puis interpeler. Le résultat, ce sont plusieurs heures d’affrontements avec la police à Barbès, des nuages de gaz lacrymogènes dans tout le Nord de Paris, 44 arrestations et 19 personnes toujours en garde à vue en ce moment. Il faut dire clairement que tout ceci a été voulu et préparé par le gouvernement. L’interdiction officielle de la manifestation moins de 48 heures avant son déroulement, les forces de l’ordre lâchées dans un quartier populaire en plein samedi après-midi, les menaces voilées du gouvernement, tout a été mis en place pour nous faire réagir et pour permettre au gouvernement de justifier sa répression. Le lendemain, le gouvernement signe son forfait en accusant les manifestant-e-s d’un “antisémitisme” imaginaire censé justifier ce déploiement de force. C’est un piège politique et policier qui a été tendu aux personnes qui ont exprimé leur solidarité avec le peuple palestinien à Paris ce samedi 19 juillet. Ses conséquences dramatiques ont été cyniquement utilisées dans l’agenda étatique, notamment par Manuel Valls, lors de la commémoration de la rafle du Vel’ d’Hiv le lendemain. GUPS (Union générale des étudiants de Palestine – France)
Dans toute la France, ce sont aujourd’hui des milliers de manifestant-e-s qui sont descendus dans la rue pour exiger l’arrêt de l’intervention militaire de l’État d’Israël dans la bande de Gaza, pour crier leur révolte face au plus de 300 morts palestiniens depuis le début de cette intervention. En interdisant dans plusieurs villes et notamment à Paris, les manifestations de solidarité avec la Palestine, Hollande et le gouvernement Valls ont enclenché une épreuve de force qu’ils ont finalement perdue. Depuis l’Afrique où il organise l’aventure militaire de l’impérialisme français, Hollande avait joué les gros bras « ceux qui veulent à tout prix manifester en prendront la responsabilité ». C’est ce qu’ont fait aujourd’hui des milliers de manifestant-e-s qui sont descendus dans la rue pour exiger l’arrêt de l’intervention militaire de l’État d’Israël dans la bande de Gaza, pour crier leur révolte face au plus de 300 morts palestiniens depuis le début de cette intervention. Et pour faire respecter le droit démocratique à exprimer collectivement la solidarité. En particulier à Paris, plusieurs milliers de manifestants, malgré l’impressionnant quadrillage policier, ont défié l’interdiction du gouvernement. C’est un succès au vu des multiples menaces de la préfecture et du gouvernement. En fin de manifestation, des échauffourées ont eu lieu entre des manifestants et les forces de l’ordre. Comment aurait-il pu en être autrement au vu de dispositif policier et de la volonté du gouvernement de museler toute opposition à son soutien à la guerre menée par l’Etat d’Israël. Le NPA condamne les violences policières qui se sont déroulées ce soir à Barbès et affirme que le succès de cette journée ne restera pas sans lendemain. Dès mercredi, une nouvelle manifestation aura lieu à l’appel du collectif national pour une paix juste et durable. La lutte pour les droits du peuple palestinien continue. Le NPA appelle l’ensemble des forces de gauche et démocratiques, syndicales, associatives et politiques, à exprimer leur refus de la répression et leur solidarité active avec la lutte du peuple palestinien. NPA
“I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets in the face of a goodwill effort to offer a ceasefire,” Secretary of State John Kerry declared on July 15. Actually, there are a number of things that Secretary Kerry could be doing beyond issuing statements expressing dismay. The Obama Administration could take meaningful actions to show Hamas that there is a political price to be paid for its terrorism against Israel. Let’s start with the money. The United States gives $500-million each year (more than $10-billion since 1994) to the Palestinian Authority regime. Even after the PA earlier this year created a new unity government with Hamas – long designated by Washington to be a terrorist organization – the Obama Administration kept writing the checks. How does the Administration justify maintaining a half billion dollars annual subsidy to a PA-Hamas coalition? By pretending that Hamas, the coalition partner, actually has nothing to do with the coalition. The individual functionaries in the government are not Hamas members but “technocrats,” the Administration insists. That’s the favorite new word of U.S. Mideast policymakers. Their theory – as absurd as this may sound – is that if someone is appointed by Hamas, but does not actually carry a laminated Hamas membership card in his wallet, then he’s just a “technocrat,” not a Hamas appointee. Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn
By pressing for “restraint” and a “truce,” Obama and Kerry are, in effect, trying to save Hamas from being crippled or destroyed by Israel. Is that their idea of “having Israel’s back” ? Now contrast the Obama-Kerry line that with the words of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week: “The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification.” “It is evident that Hamas is deliberately using human shields to further terror in the region.” “Failure by the international community to condemn these reprehensible actions would encourage these terrorists to continue their appalling actions.” “Canada calls on its allies and partners to recognize that these terrorist acts are unacceptable and that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict.” There was really nothing controversial in Harper’s words. They were simple statements of fact. But in today’s upside-down world, it is remarkable when a world leader simply tells the truth about Israel and the Palestinians. It’s almost as if we are surprised when a world leader turns out not to be a hypocrite, a political coward, or an appeaser. We’re so used to the international community’s outrageous double standards, that it becomes remarkable when a national leader acts like a mensch. Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn

A l’heure où, suivant à la lettre le droit international, la seule véritable démocratie du Moyen-orient se voit accusée de disproportion pour avoir réussi à protéger efficacement ses civils …

Où, à l’instar de ses voisins égyptiens, une barrière de sécurité ayant permis d’arrêter l’essentiel des attentats terroristes se voit qualifier de "mur de la honte" …

Où, en violation systématique du droit international, un mouvement terroriste armé de missiles toujours plus puissants qu’il envoie jour après jour sur les populations civiles israéliennes utilise sa population comme boucliers humains en installant son armement et ses postes de commandements dans ou sous ses hôpitaux, écoles, terrains de jeux ou habitations …

Où une agence des Nations Unies qui découvre un stock de roquettes dans l’une de ses écoles la rend gentiment à ses propriétaires pour l’usage que l’on sait …

Où une communauté internationale continue à financer une organisation terroriste qui utilise l’essentiel de ses ressources pour amasser par milliers roquettes et missiles toujours plus sophistiqués pouvant transporter des charges lourdes d’explosifs sur la totalité du territoire israélien mais aussi des drones armés et pour construire, avec les milliers de tonnes de ciment qu’elle importe non des abris pour sa population mais des tunnels pour semer la terreur chez ses voisins …

Où, à l’instar de ses homologues du monde dit civilisé et à coup de photos exclusivement de femmes et d’enfants palestiniens couplées à celles de chars, hélicoptères et soldats israéliens, le premier quotidien américain joue les attachées de presse du Hamas

Où, derrière ses appels officiels à la paix,  le chef d’une OLP dont la charte n’a toujours pas abrogé sa volonté de rejeter Israël à la mer envoie non seulement ses félicitations au Gazeur-en-chef de Damas mais multiplie les déclarations de soutien au moment où son frère jumeau de Gaza fait pleuvoir les roquettes sur la population israélienne  …

Où, après avoir abandonné à leur sort les populations iraniennes, syriennes, irakiennes et bientôt afghanes et derrière un discours de soutien officiel,  le prétendu chef du Monde libre et Exécuteur-en-chef comme ledit Monde libre lui-même ne trouvent rien de mieux à faire que d’appeler Israël à la retenue

Comment ne pas se réjouir, en ce monde sens dessus dessous et avec ces nouvelles drôles de guerres, de la remarquable franchise du premier ministre canadien appelant un chat un chat …

Dénonçant comme actes terroristes tant les attaques aveugles à la roquette à partir de Gaza vers Israël constituent des actes terroristes que l’utilisation délibérée de boucliers humains par le Hamas et rappelant que "la solidarité avec Israël est la meilleure façon d’arrêter le conflit" ?

Mais comment aussi ne pas voir, plus près de chez nous et au-delà de la naïveté voire du cynisme de nos belles âmes, tout le mérite des organisateurs des manifestations semant le pillage et la destruction dans nos rues …

Qui, comme l’Union générale des étudiants de Palestine en France, n’hésitent pas à rappeler explicitement que "la lutte en cours à Gaza et dans toute la Palestine est la nôtre" …

Et qu’à l’instar des mouvements terroristes qu’ils soutiennent,  l’objectif est rien de moins que la "libération de la Palestine" ?

Sixth Lesson of the Gaza War: Obama Should Learn From Canada
Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn
The Algemeiner
July 17, 2014

Israel long ago learned that you can tell who your real friends are when the chips are down. The Gaza war is proving that again.
During the 2012 election campaign, when polls showed that President Barack Obama might lose a significant portion of the Jewish vote in key electoral states, he declared that he “will always have Israel’s back.”

But this past week, as hundreds of Hamas rockets rained down upon the Jewish State, and Israel really needed an ally to have its back, President Obama called Prime Minister Netanyahu to demand that Israel show “restraint.”

That was followed the next day by a phone call from Secretary of State John Kerry to Netanyahu, warning against “escalating tensions” and pressing Israel to let him “mediate a truce.”

The last thing Israel needs is a “truce” with Hamas. The Israelis have had two of those already. A “truce” means Hamas gets several more years to build up its supply of rockets, in preparation for the next round.

And with every new round, Hamas has new rockets that can reach even further and cause even more devastation.
By pressing for “restraint” and a “truce,” Obama and Kerry are, in effect, trying to save Hamas from being crippled or destroyed by Israel. Is that their idea of “having Israel’s back” ?

Now contrast the Obama-Kerry line that with the words of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week:

“The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification.”
“It is evident that Hamas is deliberately using human shields to further terror in the region.”
“Failure by the international community to condemn these reprehensible actions would encourage these terrorists to continue their appalling actions.”
“Canada calls on its allies and partners to recognize that these terrorist acts are unacceptable and that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict.”

There was really nothing controversial in Harper’s words. They were simple statements of fact. But in today’s upside-down world, it is remarkable when a world leader simply tells the truth about Israel and the Palestinians.

It’s almost as if we are surprised when a world leader turns out not to be a hypocrite, a political coward, or an appeaser. We’re so used to the international community’s outrageous double standards, that it becomes remarkable when a national leader acts like a mensch.
The sixth lesson from the Gaza war: Israel has a true friend in Ottawa. The White House could learn a thing or two from Stephen Harper about what it really means to have someone’s back.

Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn are members of the board of the Religious Zionists of America.

Voir aussi:

Fifth Lesson of the Gaza War: Trust Obama’s Actions, Not His Words
Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn
The Algemeiner
July 16, 2014

“I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets in the face of a goodwill effort to offer a ceasefire,” Secretary of State John Kerry declared on July 15.

Actually, there are a number of things that Secretary Kerry could be doing beyond issuing statements expressing dismay. The Obama Administration could take meaningful actions to show Hamas that there is a political price to be paid for its terrorism against Israel.

Let’s start with the money.

The United States gives $500-million each year (more than $10-billion since 1994) to the Palestinian Authority regime. Even after the PA earlier this year created a new unity government with Hamas – long designated by Washington to be a terrorist organization – the Obama Administration kept writing the checks.

How does the Administration justify maintaining a half billion dollars annual subsidy to a PA-Hamas coalition? By pretending that Hamas, the coalition partner, actually has nothing to do with the coalition. The individual functionaries in the government are not Hamas members but “technocrats,” the Administration insists. That’s the favorite new word of U.S. Mideast policymakers. Their theory – as absurd as this may sound – is that if someone is appointed by Hamas, but does not actually carry a laminated Hamas membership card in his wallet, then he’s just a “technocrat,” not a Hamas appointee.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki took this absurdity to a new level in her daily press briefing on July 7, by converting “technocrat” from a noun to a proper noun. She twice referred to the PA-Hamas regime as “the Technocratic Government,” as if that is its official name.

So here’s our first action item for Secretary Kerry: admit that Hamas is part of the PA-Hamas government, and stop giving it American taxpayer dollars.

What else could the Obama Administration do, aside from professing outrage at Hamas? Plenty.

1. Obama could insist that Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas carry out a real crackdown on the Hamas terror cells that operate in PA-controlled territories. The New York Times reported on March 23 that Israeli troops entered the Jenin refugee camp in pursuit of terrorists because although Jenin is under the “full control” of the Palestinian Authority, “the Palestinian [security forces] did not generally operate in refugee camps.” Yet those camps are the worst incubators of Hamas terrorist activity.

2. Secretary Kerry could also be calling America’s allies to demand that they make their financial aid to Gaza conditional on Hamas ceasing its terrorism.

3. The Obama Administration could stop pressuring Israel to remove security checkpoints in the Judea-Samaria (West Bank) territories – checkpoints that help capture Hamas terrorists.

4. The Administration could stop pushing Israel to ease up on its blockade of Gaza, a blockade that has prevented weapons and dual-use materials from reaching the Hamas regime.

5. The Administration could offer a reward for information leading to the Hamas terrorists who kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teenagers, one of whom was an American citizen. For some inexplicable reason, the Rewards for Justice website, http://www.rewardsforjustice.net, still makes no mention of the kidnap-murder of 16 year-old Naftali Fraenkel. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California) have introduced bipartisan legislation requiring such a reward. It shouldn’t take Congress to force the Obama Administration to take such a simple and obvious step.

Strongly-worded condemnations of Hamas make for good sound bites, but unless backed by real action, they’re meaningless.

The fifth lesson from the Gaza war: It’s time for the Obama Administration’s actions against Hamas to speak louder than its words.

Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn are members of the board of the Religious Zionists of America

Voir encore:

Third Lesson of the Gaza War: Abbas Sides With Hamas
Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn
The Algemeiner
July 14, 2014

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is anchored in the premise that the mainstream Palestinian leadership has truly given up its old terrorist ways. Yasser Arafat and his Fatah movement – the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization – put down their guns and “recognized” Israel. The bad guys became the good guys, and the only bad guys are left are a small minority of Hamas extremists.

The Gaza war provides an opportunity to test that theory. Hamas kidnaps and murders Israeli teenagers, and fires hundreds of rockets into Israel. How has Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, responded?

If Abbas and his Fatah movement are truly moderate and against terrorism, then they should side with Israel against the terrorists. If Abbas and Fatah are indeed the good guys, then they should be opposed to the bad guys.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t turned out that way.

On the very first day of the war, Fatah’s official Facebook page, called “Fatah – The Main Page” posted what it called “A message to the Israeli government and the Israeli people.” Here’s what Abbas’ Fatah had to say to Israelis as hundreds of rockets were being fired at them from Gaza: “Death will reach you from the south to the north. Flee our country and you won’t die. The KN-103 rocket is on its way toward you.”

And that was just the beginning.

On July 9, a cartoon on the Fatah Facebook page, titled “Israel Fires Rockets at Gaza,” showed an Israeli bomb, adorned with a huge swastika, about to strike a Palestinian child. (It’s worth recalling that the then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, among others, has said that comparing Israel to the Nazis is anti-Semitic.)

Perhaps the most telling item of all on Fatah’s Facebook page is a dramatic full-color illustration of three heavily-armed Palestinians – one from Hamas, one from Islamic Jihad, and one from Fatah, standing together. The text reads: “Brothers in Arms: One God, one homeland, one enemy, one goal!” If anyone doubts whose side Fatah is on, this makes it crystal clear.

A video segment on Fatah’s Facebook page shows a masked Fatah member standing amidst a huge arsenal of rockets, declaring: “Praise Allah, our jihad fighters have managed to develop these rockets so they will reach the Zionist depth, Allah willing, to a distance of 45 kilometers inside the occupied Palestinian territories…With these rocket we will liberate our Jerusalem. With these rockets we will crush the Zionist enemy…”

And it’s not just words. On July 7, Fatah’s Facebook page announced that Fatah’s military unit, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, “targeted the enemy’s bases and settlements with 35 rockets.” (All translations are courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch.)

When the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians were signed in 1993, the U.S. State Department removed Fatah from its list of terrorist groups. Removing it was not just a statement of how the U.S. views Fatah; it also made it legally possible for the U.S. to start sending $500 million to the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, of which Fatah is the largest faction. Now that Fatah has openly boasted that it is carrying out rocket terrorism against Israel, it’s time to put Fatah back on the U.S. list of terrorist groups.

Fatah and Hamas both belong on that list because, in the end, they are birds of a feather. Certainly there have been moments of tension between the two movements. But those clashes reflected either internal disputes unrelated to Israel, or differences in tactics regarding Israel – not differences in their overall goals.

The third lesson from the Gaza war: The “moderate” Palestinian leadership has shown its true colors. It sides with the terrorists, not with Israel.

Moshe Phillips and Benyamin Korn are members of the board of the Religious Zionists of America.

Voir également:

All The News Hamas Sees Fit to Print

Noah Pollak

The Weekly Standard

July 20, 2014

Something important is missing from the New York Times‘s coverage of the war in Gaza: photographs of terrorist attacks on Israel, and pictures of Hamas fighters, tunnels, weaponry, and use of human shields.

It appears the Times is silently but happily complying with a Hamas demand that the only pictures from Gaza are of civilians and never of fighters. The most influential news organization in the world is thus manufacturing an utterly false portrait of the battle—precisely the portrait that Hamas finds most helpful: embattled, victimized Gaza civilians under attack by a cruel Israeli military.

A review of the Times‘s photography in Gaza reveals a stark contrast in how the two sides are portrayed. Nearly every picture from Israel depicts tanks, soldiers, or attack helicopters. And every picture of Gaza depicts either bloodied civilians, destroyed buildings, overflowing hospitals, or other images of civilian anguish. It is as one-sided and misleading a depiction of the Gaza battle as one can imagine.

Today’s Times photo essay contains seven images: three of Gaza civilians in distress; one of a smoke plume rising over Gaza; and three of the IDF, including tanks and attack helicopters. The message is simple and clear: the IDF is attacking Gaza and harming Palestinian civilians. There are no images of Israelis under rocket attack, no images of grieving Israeli families and damaged Israeli buildings, no images of Hamas fighters or rocket attacks on Israel, no images of the RPG’s and machine guns recovered from attempted Hamas tunnel infiltrations into Israel.

Another report yesterday was accompanied by a single image: that of a dead child in a Gaza hospital.

A second report yesterday, ostensibly about Hamas tunnel attacks on Israel, bizarrely contained not a single picture related to those attacks. The three pictures it contained presented the same one-sided narrative of Israelis as attackers, Palestinians as victims. One picture showed an IDF artillery gun firing into Gaza; a second showed Palestinian mourners at a funeral; a third showed Palestinians waiting in line for food rations.

Indeed, a check of the Twitter feed of the Times’s photographer in Gaza shows not a single image that portrays Hamas in a negative light. It’s nothing but civilian victims of the IDF.

Likewise, the Twitter feed of Anne Barnard, the Beirut bureau chief for the Times currently "reporting" from Gaza, is almost entirely devoted to one thing: anecdotes, pictures, and stories about civilian casualties. Perusing her feed, one would think there are simply no terrorists in Gaza who started this war, who are perpetuating it, who are intentionally attacking Israel from neighborhoods and apartment buildings and thereby guaranteeing the very civilian casualties Barnard appears so heartbroken over.

Maybe all of this is an illustration of just how biased against Israel the Times has become—so biased that Times photographers and editors are simply blind to any image that doesn’t conform to their view of the war.

Or maybe, in the interest of the safety and access of their journalists, the Times is complying with Hamas instructions. As reported by MEMRI, Hamas published media guidelines instructing Gazans to always refer to the dead as "innocent civilians" and to never post pictures of terrorists on social media. Hamas is currently preventing foreign journalists from leaving the Strip, in effect holding them hostage. These journalists must be terrified—and they also must know that the best way to ensure their safety is to never run afoul of the terrorists in whose hands their fates lie.

It would appear that Hamas’s media instructions have been heard loud and clear at the New York Times, and the response is obedience. But the Times also isn’t bothering to inform its readers that the images they’re seeing of Gaza are only the ones Hamas wants them to see. It’s time for the Times to tell its readers exactly why they are being presented with such a distorted picture of this war.

Voir encore:

Israel abandoned
The anti-Semitic West almost seems to want Israelis to suffer
Melanie Phillips
19 July 2014

It’s the moral equivalence which is so devastating. When Egypt this week proposed its ceasefire in Gaza, a BBC presenter asked whether both sides would now conclude that there was no point carrying on with the war. From the start, restraint has been urged on both sides — as if more than 1,100 rocket attacks on Israel in three weeks had the same weight as trying to stop this onslaught once and for all.

Israel has been bombing Gaza solely to stop Hamas and its associates from trying to kill Israeli citizens. But for many in the West, the driving necessity is not to stop Hamas but to stop Israel.

Moral equivalence morphs instantly into moral bankruptcy. People have looked at the casualty count — around 200 Palestinians killed at the time of writing, while only a handful of Israelis have been injured or killed — and decided that this proves Israel is a monstrous aggressor.

No concern at all for the Israelis who have only a few seconds to rush to a shelter when the sirens start to wail, car drivers flinging themselves to the ground at the side of the road. No concern for the elderly or dis-abled Israelis who can’t get to a shelter, the hospital patients left helpless while the rockets slam into the ground nearby.

Just imagine if the Scots, for example, had for years been firing at England volleys of rockets that were now putting 40-50 million people within range. Unimaginable? Of course it is. No country would tolerate it. But that’s the equivalent situation in which tiny Israel has found itself. Yet it is simultaneously having to fight another war: against a West determined to demonise it with accusations of deliberate atrocities, lack of restraint or an attempt to conquer more land.

To these people, whatever Israel does to defend itself is bad. Killing Gazans is bad, warning them to flee so they won’t be killed is bad, the Iron Dome missile defence system is bad because, while Palestinians are being killed, Israelis are not. Ah yes, that’s the real outrage, isn’t it? Not enough dead Jews. How dare they defend themselves so effectively!

And so the West does Hamas’s dirty work for it. Hamas cannot defeat Israel militarily. Its strategy is not just to kill Israelis and demoralise the population, but also to de-legitimise Israel so that the West, too, will work for its destruction. Hamas’s rockets have failed in the first two objectives — but the third is a runaway success.

In its hundreds of tunnels, Hamas has built an underground infrastructure of industrialised terror the length of Gaza. As a Fatah spokesman blurted out, it has situated its arsenal among civilians, underneath schools and hospitals and mosques, for the infernal purpose of using its population as human shields and human sacrifices.

It has urged Gazans to make themselves the target of Israeli air strikes. It has ordered them to ignore the Israeli warnings to evacuate, which are delivered by leaflet, phone, text and warning shots.

Doesn’t the Israel-atrocity brigade ever pause to wonder why Hamas has provided no air-raid shelters for its people, while Israel has constructed a national shelter system? Gazan civilians are dying in order to maximise their numbers killed in the war, so that Hamas can incite against Israel in both the Muslim world and the West.

And it openly games the PR system. Hamas social media guidelines instruct Gazans not to post pictures of missiles launched from ‘residential areas’ and always to add the term ‘innocent citizen’ to any casualty’s name. So the figures it issues for civilian as opposed to terrorist casualties, re-circulated by the UN, are worthless.

Israel is waging this war in accordance with international law, which states that when houses are used for military purposes they may become legitimate military targets. But as Ibrahim Kreisheh, the Palestinian delegate to the UN Human Rights Council, admitted in a remarkable TV interview, while Israel’s killing of civilians is considered in law merely a mistake, Hamas is committing war crimes by deliberately targeting Israeli civilians. Indeed, given its use of Gazan human shields, it is guilty of war crimes twice over.

All civilian casualties, however, are deeply to be regretted and to be avoided wherever possible. And so Gaza presents Israel with a hideous dilemma. Either it inescapably kills a lot of civilians as a by-product of destroying the infrastructure of mass murder, or it leaves that infrastructure at least partly in place to spare the civilians. Until now, it has chosen the latter.
Tensions Remain High At Israeli Gaza BorderTensions remain high at the Israeli Gaza border Photo: Getty

It is also allowing food and fuel into Gaza; its offer of blood supplies was turned down by the Palestinian Authority. When a Hamas rocket downed a power line supplying electricity to 70,000 Gazans, workers from the Israel Electric Company braved Hamas rocket fire to restore power to Gaza — en-abling it to fire more rockets at Israel.

Yet it is Israel which is said to be ‘out of control’, guilty of indiscriminate slaughter and even — as ludicrous as it is obscene — ‘genocide’.

Those who demonise Israel in this way should realise just what they are supporting. Palestinian society, both through Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah (whose military wing has also been firing rockets from Gaza), brainwashes its children that glory lies in killing Jews. It routinely pumps out Judeophobic incitement straight from the Nazi playbook.

A few days ago, Yahya Rabah, a member of the Fatah Leadership Committee in Gaza, recycled the medieval blood libel when he wrote in Al-Hayat al-Jadida that the Jews offer sacrifices during Passover ‘made from the blood of our children’.

Every western supporter of the Palestinian war against Israel is also tacitly supporting such anti-Jewish derangement. This psychotic bigotry is the true driver of that war, as well as the Islamist war against the West. Yet astoundingly it is never, ever mentioned. The intractable problem of Gaza has been exacerbated by the meddling incomprehension of a western world that just doesn’t grasp how Islamist fanatics play by entirely different rules.

The West insists on moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinians, as if the century-old conflict between the Arabs and the Jews were simply a squabble over the equitable division of land. It is not. It is a war to destroy the Jewish national homeland by people driven into frenzy by forces immune to reason.

Israeli parents are now steeling themselves for the nightmare of their sons in the Israel Defence Force being deployed in a Gazan land war to stop the rockets. Some of those boys will be killed. But it will be the Palestinian casualties, the Hamas war crime, which will be used once again to blame the Jews for their own destruction.

Melanie Phillips is a columnist for the Times.

Voir de même:

Décryptage des mensonges de Michèle Sibony, l’invitée extrémiste anti-sioniste sur LCI
JSSnews
21 juillet 2014

Michele Sibony ment, Michèle Sibony ment, Michèle Sibony est… bon, elle n’est pas allemande, mais côté propagande, elle a du aller à bonne école !

Mme Sibony est vice-présidente de l’UJFP, l’Union « Juive » Française pour la Paix. En réalité, ils n’ont de juif que le nom et ne mettent en avant leur ascendance juive que pour l’utiliser comme paratonnerre et être les « bons juifs » des anti-sionistes ; une vraie bonne caution morale pour dire « ben non, vous voyez bien qu’on n’est pas antisémites! ».
On a en connu déjà dans l’histoire juive, que ce soit Nicolas Donin au moyen-âge et autres Pablo Christiani (tous deux juifs convertis au christianisme), donc rien de nouveau sous le soleil.
Comme le dit très justement Laurent Sagalovitsch, l’antisémitisme est une drogue tellement dure, que le monde n’ayant pu s’en passer, lui a trouvé un substitut, comme la méthadone avec l’héroïne: l’antisionisme.
Prétendant avoir une quelconque compétence en la matière, elle a donné un entretien à LCI.

C’est le droit de LCI de lui donner la parole.
Michèle Sibony y a raconté des éléments factuellement faux.
C’est son droit de mentir.
C’est notre obligation de les corriger.
Il faut rappeler que la grande majorité des Français ne connaissent rien au conflit. En discutant avec un certain nombre d’entre eux, beaucoup pensait que la bande de Gaza était encore remplie de colons. Sibony le sait, et elle en joue.
Mensonge 1 à 0mn50 : Elle met en rapport la situation à Gaza et la colonisation.
Faux. Il n’y a plus un seul israélien à Gaza, civil ou militaire depuis 2005.
Mensonge 2 à 1mn13: En répondant à la question de la journaliste sur les roquettes, elle répond que Gaza est l’un des territoires les plus densément peuplé du monde.
Faux. Une simple calculatrice est 3 mn sur Google suffisent à contredire ce mensonge qui est répété depuis des années.
La densité de population à Gaza est de 5046 hab./km2… on va comparer avec d’autres territoires.
Singapour? 7126 hab./km2
Hong Kong? 6544 hab./km2
Bordeaux? 4800 hab./km2
Lyon? 10 000 hab./km2
Paris? 21 000 hab./km2
Rien à rajouter.
Mensonge 3 à 1mn20: Elle affirme que le blocus est « déclaré illégal par toute la communauté internationale »
Faux. Le Rapport Palmer de l’ONU en 2010 suite à une demande sur la validité du blocus naval dans l’affaire du Mavi Marmara a déclaré que le blocus était légal.
Sibony invente de toutes pièces une illégalité du blocus.
De plus, le blocus n’est pas simplement israélien, mais israélo-egyptien, la « responsabilité » égyptienne n’est pas mentionnée par Sibony, alors même que les Gazaouis s’en plaignent.
Ainsi, en moins de 30 secondes, elle nous a déjà pondu 3 mensonges que chacun peut démonter rapidement.
Mensonge 4 à 1mn38: Elle affirme qu’un arrêté de la Cour International de Justice déclare le mur illégal.
Il n’y a eu aucun arrêté, mais en réalité une réponse à une question, c’est à dire un avis consultatif, et non pas un jugement, qui sera suivi d’un vote de l’assemblée générale de l’ONU et non pas du conseil de sécurité, ce qui signifie en droit international qu’il n’est pas contraignant.
Mensonge 5 à 2mn 30: Elle veut nous faire la chronologie des évènements, entre l’échec des négociations, et le gouvernement d’unité palestinien… sauf qu’elle ne semble pas au courant, mais le gouvernement n’était pas un gouvernement Fatah/Hamas, mais un gouvernement technique soutenu par les deux partis.
Mensonge 6 à 3mn: Elle reproche à Israël de ne pas vouloir reconnaitre l’union palestinienne, en omettant de préciser que la raison en est simple: le Hamas continue de prôner la destruction d’Israël et l’extermination de tous les Juifs (article 7 de sa charte).
Mensonge 7 à 3 mn10: Elle affirme que le Hamas n’aurait rien à voir avec l’enlèvement et que tout ça n’était qu’un prétexte du gouvernement israélien. Sauf qu’au moment de l’enlèvement, les personnes identifiées sont bel et bien rattachées au Hamas. Le seul élément que l’on ignore est de savoir si le Hamas l’a bel et bien commandité.
Sibony détourne la réalité et les faits et ne sélectionne que ceux qui l’arrange.
Mensonge 8 à 4mn: Elle affirme que ce serait Israël qui imposerait son calendrier pour la trêve, hors c’est l’Egypte qui a proposé le cessez-le-feu qu’Israël a accepté sans condition préalable. Le cessez-le-feu était la solution en urgence pour pouvoir arrêter les violences immédiatement. Sibony se cale sur les positions du Hamas, qui a préféré poursuivre la guerre et ses morts que d’avoir un cessez-le-feu, quitte à négocier par la suite son prolongement.
Mensonge 9 à 4mn40: Elle affirme que la synagogue de la Roquette accueillait un rassemblement de soutien à Israël, que des Juifs soutiennent Israël, seul état juif, n’est pas étonnant, mais surtout ce rassemblement était en fait une prière pour la paix en Israël et non pas pour la guerre. Pour la chronologie des évènements, les vidéos, et les témoignages, nous y revenons sur Rootsisrael et y répondront plus profondément.
Ce que Sibony omet également de préciser, c’est qu’en se focalisant sur la synagogue de la Roquette, ça lui permet de ne pas parler des autres synagogues visées et des propos antisémites qui ont été entendus et enregistrés.
Pour le reste, nous avons le droit à sa propagande.
On a tout à fait le droit, si on le souhaite, de soutenir les Palestiniens, ceux de Gaza, de vouloir la paix pour eux, et leur bien-être, mais quel intérêt à mentir pour appuyer sa démonstration?
L’UJFP qui prétend représenter d’autres juifs, représente 300 personnes (juives?), et ce n’est pas en mentant qu’elle en recrutera plus… Heureusement.

Par Israel Tavor – Pour RootsIsrael -
JSSNews

La presse égyptienne soutient Israël contre le Hamas
F24
July 20, 2014

Dans la presse égyptienne, le pilonnage de la bande de Gaza ne fait vibrer ni le sentiment anti-israélien, très fort en Égypte, ni la traditionnelle solidarité arabe. Ces derniers jours, c’est plutôt par leur condamnation virulente du Hamas, voire de l’ensemble des Palestiniens, que les médias égyptiens se sont illustrés.

Adel Nehaman, un éditorialiste du journal égyptien "El-Watan", affirme ainsi sans détour : "Désolé, habitants de Gaza, je ne compatirai pas avec vous tant que vous ne vous serez pas débarrassés du Hamas". Une journaliste du quotidien gouvernemental "Al-Ahram", Azza Sami, n’hésite pas de son côté à féliciter sur Twitter le Premier ministre israélien pour l’offensive sur Gaza : "Merci Netanyahou, et que Dieu nous donne plus d’hommes comme vous pour détruire le Hamas !" Tandis que le présentateur vedette de la chaîne El-Faraeen, Tawfik Okasha, un partisan affiché du pouvoir militaire égyptien et l’un des plus violents détracteurs des Frères musulmans, a attaqué en direct l’ensemble de la population de l’enclave palestinienne : "Les Gazaouis ne sont pas des hommes, s’ils étaient des hommes ils se révolteraient contre le Hamas !" Une chaîne de télévision israélienne n’a pas hésité à diffuser la séquence, interprétée comme une preuve du soutien de l’Égypte à l’opération israélienne dan la bande de Gaza.

Cette hostilité envers le Hamas et les Palestiniens est une conséquence de la vie politique égyptienne où l’affrontement entre islamistes et pouvoir militaire occupe tout l’espace politique. Les journalistes, qui ont soutenu le coup de force de l’armée contre le président islamiste Mohamed Morsi en juillet 2013, ne voient dans le Hamas rien d’autre que la branche palestinienne des Frères Musulmans, aujourd’hui interdits en Égypte. Depuis, une grande partie des médias égyptiens appelle à "liquider" les Frères musulmans et applaudissent l’offensive israélienne censée désarmer le mouvement islamiste.

Le Hamas jugé responsable de la guerre larvée dans le Sinaï

Les journalistes qui encouragent Tsahal invoquent aussi les violences en cours dans le Sinaï, la péninsule frontalière de Gaza et d’Israël. Depuis un an, des groupes islamistes armés attaquent presque quotidiennement la police et l’armée égyptiennes dans cette région déshéritée, longtemps négligée par le gouvernement central.

Le pouvoir actuel affirme que les Frères musulmans et le Hamas sont derrière ces troubles, même si d’autres groupes, dont les djihadistes de Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis ou de Ajnad Masr, revendiquent régulièrement les attaques en question. Pour les médias égyptiens qui ont adopté la ligne politique du pouvoir militaire du maréchal Sissi, la neutralisation du Hamas mettrait fin, selon eux, à la guerre larvée en cours dans le Sinaï.

Cependant, cette presse va beaucoup plus loin. Au-delà du Hamas, ce sont les Palestiniens qui sont dans son collimateur. Elle multiplie les critiques vis-à-vis des "habitants de Gaza", incapables, selon eux, de se révolter contre les islamistes du Hamas comme les Égyptiens l’ont fait en manifestant contre Mohamed Morsi le 30 juin 2013. Une généralisation qui choque Tarek Saad Eddin, rédacteur en chef adjoint du magazine égyptien "El-Moussawer". "Ces journalistes font partie de médias qui reçoivent leurs ordres du pouvoir. Ils affirment que le Hamas est responsable du meurtre des manifestants de la place Tahrir pendant le soulèvement de janvier 2011, et de la libération des leaders islamistes qui étaient en prison à cette époque… Mais en critiquant tous les Gazaouis, ils se trompent complètement de cible", commente-t-il pour le site en langue arabe de France 24.

Une méfiance généralisée à l’encontre des Palestiniens

Ce type de campagne médiatique dirigée contre une communauté n’est pas inédite en Égypte. Les Syriens ont été la cible du même genre d’attaques à l’été 2013, après le renversement de Mohamed Morsi par l’armée. Une partie des médias égyptiens, dont le présentateur Tawfik Okasha, avait accusé les réfugiés syriens en Égypte d’être des alliés des Frères musulmans. Cette campagne médiatique avait débouché sur des attaques physiques contre des Syriens dans les rues du Caire.

Tous les Égyptiens ne sont pourtant pas aussi hostiles au Hamas et aux Palestiniens. Des manifestations de soutien à Gaza ont également eu lieu ces derniers jours au Caire et à Alexandrie. Elles n’ont toutefois rassemblé que quelques milliers de personnes. Des jeunes activistes égyptiens, pour la plupart proches de mouvements de gauche, ont organisé un convoi de solidarité avec Gaza : 400 d’entre eux se sont rendus jusqu’au poste-frontière de Rafah, entre l’Égypte et Gaza, où l’armée égyptienne les a stoppés et renvoyés vers Le Caire.

Mais hormis ces militants, les Égyptiens semblent globalement peu sensibles au sort des Gazaouis. La méfiance générale envers les Palestiniens, que le régime de Moubarak a entretenue pendant des années en accusant les "terroristes du Hamas" de vouloir déstabiliser l’Égypte, est aujourd’hui réactivée par les médias qui soutiennent le nouveau pouvoir.

Adaptation d’un article de Boualem Rhoubachi

Voir par ailleurs:

Face aux crimes sionistes et à la complicité de l’Etat français : résistance !

* Face aux crimes sionistes et à la complicité de l’Etat français : résistance !

Vous aussi signez l’appel et envoyez vos dons pour soutenir la mobilisation

Nous étions 30 000 à Paris dimanche 13 juillet en soutien à la résistance palestinienne et contre la complicité du gouvernement français avec les criminels sionistes. Pour contrer notre mobilisation populaire, les lobbys sionistes ont inventé une attaque contre une synagogue et mobilisé leurs réseaux, de la LDJ au sommet de l’Etat, en passant par le CRIF et les médias dominants, afin de disqualifier notre lutte contre le colonialisme.

Ils souhaitent nous interdire d’exprimer notre soutien à la lutte héroïque du peuple palestinien. Ils souhaitent nous interdire de clamer fièrement notre opposition au sionisme. Nous répondons : résistance !

Face à un système raciste et islamophobe, une gauche et une droite françaises qui n’ont pas rompu avec les vieux réflexes coloniaux, alors que l’oppression s’abat sur les nôtres, arabes, musulmans, noirs, habitants des quartiers populaires, un droit et un devoir s’imposent à nous : nous opposer aux dirigeants corrompus et hypocrites qui soutiennent Israël.

La lutte en cours à Gaza et dans toute la Palestine est la nôtre : il s’agit de mettre en échec un projet colonial qui allie une idéologie raciste à une technologie meurtrière dont le but est de nous neutraliser. Incapables d’arrêter les roquettes de la résistance palestinienne, les sionistes massacrent les familles et bombardent aveuglément maisons, dispensaires, mosquées.

Cette bataille ne sera pas finie tant que le siège de Gaza est maintenu et que les sionistes emprisonnent et torturent les nôtres. Cette guerre ne sera gagnée que quand nous serons tous unis, pour notre dignité… et la libération de la Palestine.

La lutte armée en Palestine se prolonge ici par notre mobilisation, dans la rue, et en intensifiant, partout, la campagne pour le boycott et les sanctions contre l’Etat sioniste. Prenons nos responsabilités, organisons-nous de façon autonome, rallions tous les soutiens sincères à notre juste cause !

Halte à l’agression contre Gaza – Halte au blocus
Soutien total et inconditionnel à la résistance palestinienne sous toutes ses formes
Liberté pour tous les prisonniers palestiniens
Soutien à la campagne BDS – Boycott, Désinvestissement, Sanctions contre Israël
Halte à la complicité des dirigeants français et européens

Premiers signataires :

Union Générale des Etudiants de Palestine-GUPS Paris; Mouvement des Jeunes Palestiniens-PYM France; Associations de Palestiniens en Ile-de-France; Fatah France; Génération Palestine; PIR; Uni-T; IJAN; Ameddias; La Courneuve-Palestine; Actions Terres du Monde; Abna Philistine; Comité Action Palestine; ISM-France; Europalestine; Collectif des musulmans de France; GAB; Campagne Abrogation des Lois Islamophobes (A.L.I); Association des Marocains en France; Mouvement Echaâb (Tunisie); Ailes-femmes du Maroc; Al Massar; collectif BARAKA; AMDH-Paris/IDF; Ettakatol (FDTL); Américains contre la guerre (AAW); Respaix Conscience Musulmane; L’Action Antifasciste Aube Champagne-Ardenne; Bouge qui Bouge (77); H2B (77); L’Association la Colombe et L’Olivier; Amatullah (Bagnolet); Ziri (Bagnolet); collectif HAMEB; ARAC NOISIEL; Cuba Si France; Le front populaire de Tunisie; Federation des Associations des Marocains en France; AFAPREDESA; Etudiants Musulmans de France; Culture&Solidarité; UniEs-vers-elles;

pour signatures orgas : gupsparis@gups-france.org

Voir enfin:

Une seule réponse, la résistance

Communiqué de Génération Palestine

Samedi 19 juillet, pendant qu’Israël, face à la résistance déterminée des combattants palestiniens, décidait de réduire en poussière le quartier de Shajaiya à Gaza, faisant plus de 100 mort-e-s et 60000 déplacé-e-s en moins de 24 heures, notre premier ministre, Manuel Valls, était occupé.

Il était occupé à empêcher la solidarité avec le peuple palestinien de s’exprimer. Il était occupé à attaquer les personnes et organisations solidaires de la Palestine et de sa résistance. Pour cela, la méthode a été simple: utiliser une manipulation de la Ligue de Défense Juive, une organisation sioniste violente et raciste, pour interdire la manifestation de soutien à Gaza prévue à Paris et se servir ensuite des affrontements causés par cette interdiction pour charger puis interpeller. Le résultat, ce sont plusieurs heures d’affrontements avec la police à Barbès, des nuages de gaz lacrymogènes dans tout le Nord de Paris, 44 arrestations et 19 personnes toujours en garde à vue en ce moment.

Il faut dire clairement que tout ceci a été voulu et préparé par le gouvernement. L’interdiction officielle de la manifestation moins de 48 heures avant son déroulement, les forces de l’ordre lâchées dans un quartier populaire en plein samedi après-midi, les menaces voilées du gouvernement, tout a été mis en place pour nous faire réagir et pour permettre au gouvernement de justifier sa répression. Le lendemain, le gouvernement signe son forfait en accusant les manifestant-e-s d’un “antisémitisme” imaginaire censé justifier ce déploiement de force. C’est un piège politique et policier qui a été tendu aux personnes qui ont exprimé leur solidarité avec le peuple palestinien à Paris ce samedi 19 juillet. Ses conséquences dramatiques ont été cyniquement utilisées dans l’agenda étatique, notamment par Manuel Valls, lors de la commémoration de la rafle du Vel’ d’Hiv le lendemain.

Comme par hasard, les autres villes de France où les manifestations n’ont été ni bloquées et ni attaquées, ont vu se dérouler des manifestations massives, sans aucun des fameux “troubles à l’ordre public” tant redoutés par le gouvernement.

En protégeant la LDJ et en s’en prenant à nous, le gouvernement a fait un choix clair. Un choix clair et cohérent avec son soutien au colonialisme israélien et avec son premier ministre déclarant son “amour pour Israël”. Un choix ni parisien, ni ponctuel : comme face à la campagne BDS, la réponse des gouvernements successifs a été la criminalisaiton et la répression. Dans la rue comme dans les tribunaux, c’est le soutien à la résistance palestinienne qui est attaqué dès qu’il prend de l’ampleur. Nous en prenons acte et savons à quoi nous attendre de leur part.

Il en faudra plus pour nous faire renoncer. En ce moment même, les Palestinien -ne-s résistent à l’occupation, à la colonisation et à l’apartheid dans toute la Palestine: à Gaza, à Ramallah, à Haïfa, à Naplouse, à Hébron, à Jérusalem … Ils résistent par les armes, par les pierres, par les études, par leur détermination à rester toujours et encore sur leurs terres, à refuser de céder. Malgré la complicité de notre gouvernement, et contre cette complicité, nous sommes à leur côté dans la résistance.

Les palestinien-ne-s ont le droit de résister face à un état colonial qui souhaite s’approprier toujours plus de leurs terres, de leurs ressources et de leurs vies. Nous avons le droit de manifester notre solidarité avec cette résistance dans toute la France. Nous réclamons donc la libération des personnes emprisonnées lors de la manifestation du 19 à Paris, et soutenons les revendications palestiniennes, notamment l’arrêt total de l’offensive israélienne, la fin du siège de Gaza qui dure depuis maintenant 7 ans et la libération des prisonniers capturés à nouveau par Israël après leur libération l’année dernière.

Nous appelons à une nouvelle manifestation le 23 juillet à 18h30, Denfert Rochereau (Paris) ainsi que le samedi 26 juillet, place de la République (Paris) à 15h.

Liberté pour les interpellé-e-s du 19 juillet

Soutien à la résistance palestinienne sous toutes ses formes

Boycott, Désinvestissements et Sanctions contre l’Etat israélien


Incidents de la synagogue de la Roquette: Attention, un piège peut en cacher un autre (Was supposed attack of Parisian synagogue no more than a turf war between Jewish and Muslim youth groups ?)

19 juillet, 2014
http://www.marianne.net/fredericploquin/photo/art/default/984092-1166609.jpg?v=1405337750http://scd.rfi.fr/sites/filesrfi/dynimagecache/0/0/3500/1977/1024/578/sites/images.rfi.fr/files/aef_image/2014-07-16T195530Z_1424722331_GM1EA7H0AO701_RTRMADP_3_FRANCE-PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL_0.JPGhttp://jssnews.com/content/assets/2014/07/Screen-Shot-2014-07-15-at-10.51.32-AM.pnghttp://www.cercledesvolontaires.fr/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/manifestation-palestine-19-juillet-2014.jpghttp://www.truthrevolt.org/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/field/image/articles/hamas_rockets.jpg?itok=qnRDYJV1Synagogue blocked up by pro-Hamas demonstrators (Rue de la roquette, Paris, Jul. 13, 2014)Pro-Hamas barricade  (Rue Popincourt, Paris, Jul. 13 2014)
La vérité est la première victime de la guerre. Eschyle
Cet ensemble d’éléments n’est pas un entassement circonstanciel de comportements et de discours. J’y trouve une rationalité qui est celle de l’idéologie qui domine aujourd’hui dans les pays démocratiques : le postmodernisme. Sa cible essentielle est, au recto, l’Etat-nation démocratique, l’identité nationale, la souveraineté du sujet collectif, avec pour verso la célébration de tout ce qui est extérieur à l’Occident et à la démocratie. C’est une utopie de la « démocratie » qui est l’ennemie du régime démocratique. Dans le monde illusoire que cette idéologie construit, la « communauté internationale », le « Tribunal international » doivent se substituer aux Etats. Et, d’ailleurs, il n’y aurait plus d’Etats mais des individus, des « citoyens du monde », de sorte qu’il n’y aurait plus de « guerres » mais des « différends », plus d’armées mais à la rigueur des « polices », plus de responsabilité mais des co-responsabilités, plus de coupable mais une culpabilité partagée, il n’y a plus de réalité mais des récits sur la réalité, etc. Les droits de l’homme, ou leur usage instrumentalisé, l’emportent alors sur les droits du citoyen, le pouvoir judiciaire s’impose au pouvoir politique, la loi n’est plus l’œuvre du peuple mais l’invention des juges, etc. C’est cette même idéologie qui, dans le monde et notamment en Europe, ouvre grandes les portes à l’islamisme. Shlomo Trigano
Les conflits au Moyen-Orient ont des répercussions de plus en plus importantes en France depuis le début des années 1980. L’attentat contre la synagogue de la rue Copernic a eu lieu en octobre 1980, il y a bientôt 34 ans… Ensuite il y a eu l’attentat contre le restaurant Goldenberg en août 1982, c’est-à-dire au moment où la guerre du Liban faisait rage. La nouveauté depuis les années 1990-2000 c’est que ce sont les Français d’origine maghrébine qui cherchent à en découdre et non plus des commandos envoyés par un acteur extérieur (OLP, Iran etc.). La raison principale est que la haine d’Israël et des Juifs est devenue un composant majeur de l’identité des Français d’origine arabe et africaine, c’est le ciment de la «beuritude». La haine d’Israël et des Juifs est devenue un composant majeur de l’identité des Français d’origine arabe et africaine, c’est le ciment de la «beuritude». Il s’agit sans doute d’une haine des Juifs et d’Israël et non pas d’une prise de position politique. C’est tout à fait légitime et parfois justifié de critiquer la politique israélienne mais la comparaison avec les autres conflits dans la région ne laisse pas de place au doute. Si il s’agissait là d’une véritable identification avec les victimes des bombardements de Gaza, alors on pourrait s’étonner que la crise syrienne avec ses 160 000 victimes n’ait pas déchainé une telle mobilisation et de telles passions! Je crois que ces manifestations trahissent un besoin profond de se définir comme adversaire d’Israël et des Juifs. (…) Le débat est ouvert et devrait le rester aussi longtemps qu’on échange des arguments rationnels. Or hurler «Israël assassin» et dénoncer un «génocide» à Gaza ne tombent pas dans cette catégorie. (…) Le communautarisme monte en France parce que trop de Français pensent que la décolonisation n’est pas terminée et que la France leur est redevable. Trop de musulmans vivent dans un sentiment d’humiliation séculaire et le rêve d’une vengeance qui restaurera leur honneur. L’Islam radical, qui n’a pas grand-chose avoir avec les enseignements et la vie de Mohamed, ainsi que la haine d’Israël, des Juifs et, plus largement de l’Occident et des «croisés» en sont les expressions. De ce point de vue, la logique qui a guidé le choix des victimes de Mohamad Merah est plein d’enseignements: des militaires français «bourreaux» des «frères» et ensuite des enfants juifs, l’incarnation du mal. Il y a une suite dans ces idées folles et la haine des Juifs n’est que la partie émergée de l’iceberg. (…) Malheureusement les forces en présence sont plus puissantes que nos élites politiques. Le monde entier est entré dans une phase «multi», portée par les échanges de plus en plus nombreux – voyage, internet -, l’homogénéité croissante de notre planète – partout les mêmes modes, les mêmes produits, les mêmes films, les mêmes magasins -, le rythme très rapide du changement et la précarisation galopante. Au milieu de ce tourbillon les valeurs républicaines traditionnelles ne font plus le poids surtout que l’Etat ne suit pas derrière avec les récompenses: croissance, emploi, sécurité, perspectives d’avenir. Notre civilisation est en crise et le modèle français n’y échappe pas. Dans ce contexte, quand l’avenir est plus une menace qu’une promesse, les appartenances jadis secondaires – religion, ethnie, communauté d’origine – remplissent le vide. Gil Mihaely
Dans toute la France, ce sont aujourd’hui des milliers de manifestant-e-s qui sont descendus dans la rue pour exiger l’arrêt de l’intervention militaire de l’État d’Israël dans la bande de Gaza, pour crier leur révolte face au plus de 300 morts palestiniens depuis le début de cette intervention. En interdisant dans plusieurs villes et notamment à Paris, les manifestations de solidarité avec la Palestine, Hollande et le gouvernement Valls ont enclenché une épreuve de force qu’ils ont finalement perdue. Depuis l’Afrique où il organise l’aventure militaire de l’impérialisme français, Hollande avait joué les gros bras « ceux qui veulent à tout prix manifester en prendront la responsabilité ». C’est ce qu’ont fait aujourd’hui des milliers de manifestant-e-s qui sont descendus dans la rue pour exiger l’arrêt de l’intervention militaire de l’État d’Israël dans la bande de Gaza, pour crier leur révolte face au plus de 300 morts palestiniens depuis le début de cette intervention. Et pour faire respecter le droit démocratique à exprimer collectivement la solidarité. En particulier à Paris, plusieurs milliers de manifestants, malgré l’impressionnant quadrillage policier, ont défié l’interdiction du gouvernement. C’est un succès au vu des multiples menaces de la préfecture et du gouvernement. En fin de manifestation, des échauffourées ont eu lieu entre des manifestants et les forces de l’ordre. Comment aurait-il pu en être autrement au vu de dispositif policier et de la volonté du gouvernement de museler toute opposition à son soutien à la guerre menée par l’Etat d’Israël. Le NPA condamne les violences policières qui se sont déroulées ce soir à Barbès et affirme que le succès de cette journée ne restera pas sans lendemain. Dès mercredi, une nouvelle manifestation aura lieu à l’appel du collectif national pour une paix juste et durable. La lutte pour les droits du peuple palestinien continue. Le NPA appelle l’ensemble des forces de gauche et démocratiques, syndicales, associatives et politiques, à exprimer leur refus de la répression et leur solidarité active avec la lutte du peuple palestinien. NPA
On va vous trancher la gorge. On a provoqué la LDJ, mais ils ont pas de couilles. Ils sont planqués derrière la police, la Ligue des Danseuses Juives … On est venu jusque devant leur synagogue. Ils sont cachés derrière la police, ces bâtards ! Alors, on est venu vous chercher, la LDJ. … On est là, on vous attend, nous. Les chiens ! Chiens de sionistes ! Il sont là, les Algériens, les Tunisiens, les Marocains ! Ils sont là, bandes de bâtards ! Allez, venez ! Commentaire d’une vidéo (tournée lors de la manifestation devant la synagogue d’Asnières, 13.07.14)
C’était un peu la Kristallnacht et on a échappé de peu à un véritable pogrom. Roger Cukierman (président du Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France, Crif)
Jamais un tel événement ne s’était produit en France depuis le Moyen-Age. Arno Klarsfeld (ancien avocat des Fils et filles des déportés juifs de France)
Ces comparaisons historiques me semblent malvenues pour apprécier la situation. Les pogroms ou la Nuit de cristal, ce sont des mouvements de violence tolérés voire encouragés par les pouvoirs en place. En France, les autorités publiques réagissent, et absolument rien n’indique qu’une majorité de la population valide cela. L’émotion est très forte, mais elle n’est pas uniquement liée à ce qui s’est passé dimanche, elle est le produit de ces dernières années, avec les actes de Mohamed Merah et Mehdi Nemmouche, l’affaire Dieudonné, la manifestation Jour de colère (où des +Mort aux Juifs!+ ont été lancés, ndlr)… Il y a le sentiment, dans une partie de la communauté juive, qu’une lame de fond antisémite s’est installée. Samuel Ghiles-Meilhac (sociologue)
On constate une montée des actes antisémites le plus souvent en lien avec l’aggravation du conflit israélo-palestinien. Un «antisémitisme de contact», actif là où les deux communautés (juive et musulmane) sont présentes, et s’en prenant à ce qui est visible dans l’espace public: synagogues, mezouzahs sur les portes, hommes portant la kippa… On a le sentiment que, pour les rares cas où les agresseurs sont identifiés, les actes sont non seulement imputables à l’extrême-droite mais à des jeunes issus de l’immigration et qui se font une identité de substitution en s’identifiant aux victimes palestiniennes. Nonna Mayer (politologue)
Quand bien même il ne se serait rien passé rue de la Roquette, je considère qu’à partir du moment où, dans les rues de Paris, des manifestants brandissent le drapeau noir de l’Etat islamique au Levant ou des mini-roquettes, même en carton-pâte, il y a quelque chose qui ne colle pas. Jean-Yves Camus (directeur de l’observatoire des radicalités politiques, présent sur place)
Ils sont environ 7 000 à défiler dans les rues de Paris, ce dimanche 13 juillet, entre Barbès et la Bastille, pour dire leur solidarité avec les Palestiniens. Le parcours a été négocié par les responsables du NPA (Nouveau parti anticapitaliste), l’organisation héritière de la Ligue communiste révolutionnaire. Pourquoi avoir exigé un parcours qui s’achève à proximité du quartier du Marais, connu pour abriter plusieurs lieux de culte juif ? Le fait est que les responsables de la Préfecture de police l’ont validé. Parmi les manifestants, de nombreuses femmes, souvent voilées, mais surtout des jeunes venus de la banlieue francilienne. Les premiers slogans ciblent Israël, mais aussi la "complicité française". Très vite, les « Allah Akbar » (Dieu est grand) dominent, donnant une tonalité fortement religieuse au cortège. La préfecture de police ne s’attendait pas à une telle mobilisation, mais ses responsables ont vu large au niveau du maintien de l’ordre, puisque cinq "forces mobiles", gendarmes et CRS confondues, ont été mobilisées. C’est à priori suffisant pour sécuriser tous les lieux juifs le long du parcours. Aucune dégradation, aucun incident n’est signalé en marge du cortège, jusqu’à l’arrivée à proximité de la Bastille. Un premier mouvement de foule est observé à la hauteur de la rue des Tournelles, qui abrite une synagogue. Les gendarmes bloquent la voie et parviennent sans difficulté à refouler les assaillants vers le boulevard Beaumarchais. Place de la Bastille, la dispersion commence, accélérée par une ondée, lorsque des jeunes décident de s’en prendre aux forces de l’ordre. De petites grappes s’engouffrent vers les rues adjacentes. Se donnent-ils le mot ? Ils sont entre 200 et 300 à marcher en direction de la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette… où se tient un rassemblement pour la paix en Israël, en présence du grand rabbin. Les organisateurs affirment avoir alerté le commissariat de police, mais l’information n’est apparemment pas remontée jusqu’à la Préfecture de police. Détail important : s’ils avaient su, les responsables du maintien de l’ordre auraient forcément barré l’accès à la rue. Les choses se compliquent très vite, car les manifestants ne sont pas les seuls à vouloir en découdre. Une petite centaine de membres de la LDJ (ligue de défense juive) sont positionnés devant la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette, casques de moto sur la tête et outils (armes blanches) à portée de main. Loin de rester passive, la petite troupe monte au contact des manifestants, comme ils l’ont déjà fait lors d’une manifestation pro-palestinienne organisée Place Saint-Michel quelques jours auparavant. On frôle la bagarre générale, mais la police parvient à s’interposer. Les assaillants refluent vers le boulevard, tandis que les militants juifs reviennent vers la synagogue. Frédéric Ploquin (Marianne)
Le président de la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette est très clair, depuis le début, son objectif a été "de remettre les choses dans leur contexte et dans leur mesure". Et ce qui suit est éloquent. "Pas un seul projectile lancé sur la synagogue". "A aucun moment, nous n’avons été physiquement en danger", précise-t-il. Alors d’où vient cette rumeur ? Serge Benhaïm pense à une "confusion" entre les événements survenus près d’une synagogue à Aulnay-sous-Bois, et ceux de la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette. iTELE
Pour lui [Erwan Simon], "il n’y a pas d’attaque de synagogue,  jamais". L’affrontement entre bandes n’a jamais visé le lieu de culte et estime qu’il résulte d’une réponse "à des provocations racistes d’un groupuscule d’extrême-droite et nationaliste". iTELE
Hier, en fin de manifestation, nous nous sommes postés sur la place de la Bastille côté rue de la Roquette en prévision d’une attaque de la Ligue de défense juive suite aux mises en garde de la police. Après l’agression ayant ciblé un rassemblement de soutien à la Palestine mercredi dernier à Saint-Michel, la milice sioniste avait promis, via ses réseaux sociaux de ‘s’en prendre à toutes les manifestations pro-palestiniennes’. Nous étions une vingtaine, tous identifiés et membres du service d’ordre. Suite à la fermeture du métro Bastille, plusieurs manifestants ont décidé de s’orienter vers le métro Voltaire. Nous leur avons conseillé de prendre plutôt la direction de Ledru-Rollin mais certains ne nous ont pas écoutés. À peine arrivés au milieu de la rue de la Roquette, ces personnes (essentiellement des familles), identifiées par leurs keffiehs et drapeaux, se sont faites accueillir par des insultes et des projectiles provenant du rassemblement sioniste derrière deux lignes de CRS. Deux personnes sont revenues nous prévenir. Nous avons donc décidé d’aller ramener ceux qui stagnaient encore à proximité de la synagogue de la Roquette afin d’éviter tout débordement. Nous y sommes allés discrètement pour éviter que les centaines de jeunes, déjà échaudés par les précédentes provocations ne nous suivent. Ce qui serait devenu incontrôlable. Arrivés à une cinquantaine de mètres du rassemblement, une femme, la quarantaine, nous traite de ‘sales pro palos’, hurle ‘Israël vaincra’, s’empare d’une chaise d’une terrasse de café et la jette sur notre ami T. Elle s’enfuit ensuite en courant vers le rassemblement de la LDJ et passe, sans difficultés, les deux lignes de CRS. Nous ne répondons pas à la provocation et continuons à avancer. Nous nous retrouvons alors sous une pluie de projectiles (tessons de bouteille, bouts de bois, casques etc.). Surexcitée, la cinquantaine de militants de la LDJ ‘mime’ de forcer le barrage de police en agitant des drapeaux israéliens. Une première altercation a lieu. La police les laisse faire. En revanche, les CRS nous matraquent et nous gazent. Un autre groupe de CRS arrive en provenance de la place. Encerclés par la police nous n’avons d’autre alternative que de prendre les rues adjacentes qui débouchent à nouveau vers le lieu des échauffourées. Les CRS continuent de tirer des gaz. Abdelkrim Branine (journaliste, Beur FM)
Sabrina précise qu’à l’approche de la place de la Bastille ("à quelques centaines de mètres"), des gérants de la manifestation commençaient à informer que "ça commençait à un petit peu dégénérer", les organisateurs "suppliant" les manifestants de "ne pas répondre aux provocations". A l’arrivée place de la Bastille, elle décrit une bande de jeunes brandissant des drapeaux israéliens et un slogan, que l’on entend également dans cette vidéo Youtube, "Palestine, on t’encule!". Sabrina précise à nouveau qu’à ce moment, les organisateurs redoublent d’efforts pour demander aux manifestants "de ne pas faire attention", de ne pas "calculer" ces provocations. Elle cite certaines phrases de ces organisateurs : "ils veulent nous provoquer, ils attendent que ça dégénère, on ne leur donnera pas ce plaisir, ne faites pas attention à eux". Sabrina décrie une scène un peu chaotique, "ça courait dans tous les sens, des chaises, des tables, des bouts de bois, des femmes avec leurs enfants en train de leur couvrir la tête". Venue pour "défendre une cause, le peuple palestinien", Sabrina Benalia regrette de s’être vue taxée de "participante à une manifestation antisémite". C’est le sentiment qu’elle décrit avoir ressenti dans le traitement médiatique qu’elle a constaté le soir-même, en rentrant chez elle. (…) Sabrina dresse un constat amer des échauffourées du côté des manifestants pro-palestiniens. "Des jeunes qui ont cédé à la tentation de répondre à une provocation, c’est dommage, on a passé 3h30 de manifestation, et malheureusement on en vient à parler de 10 à 15 minutes où ça a dégénéré". Elle ne cache pas s’être dit "qu’encore une fois, on va dire que c’est les Arabes, c’est les musulmans". Elle avoue avoir "traité de cons ceux qui répondaient à la provocation", que ça allait "être une évidence", "toujours le même disque". Sabrina, comme Erwan et le président de la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette Serge Benhaïm, dénonce la rumeur, la synagogue n’a pas été "assiégée", pour elle, "c’est un piège". ITELE

Attention: un piège peut en cacher un autre !

A l’heure où, entre l’implantation délibérée de ses attaques comme de ses armes au milieu de sa population et le bidonnage non moins délibéré des images comme des chiffres, le bilan des victimes civiles de la nouvelle guerre des roquettes déclenchée par le Hamas ne peut que s’alourdir …

Et qu’avec la montée inexorable du décalage victimes palestiniennes-victimes israéliennes et l’incursion terrestre israélienne à Gaza même, la quasi-totalité des médias et de l’opinion mondiale n’a à nouveau pas de mots assez durs pour dénoncer le seul Etat juif …

Comment, avec le beau travail de la chaine en continu iTELE et contrairement aux outrances verbales de certains (allant jusqu’à parler, oubliant les risques inhérents aux propos précipités,  de "tentative de pogrom"), ne pas voir dans les incidents de la synagogue de la Roquette qui avaient tant ému l’opinion mondiale et notamment juive …

Autre chose qu’une contre-baston face à d’autres bastons et provocations entre groupes rivaux de jeunes musulmans et de jeunes juifs …

Dont la manifestation pro-palestinienne qui les avait précédés n’aurait alors été que le prétexte ?

Mais comment en même temps ne pas s’étonner, quelques semaines de surcroit après l’horrible forfait d’une bande de supporters du Beitar en Israël même,  de l’apparente naïveté de responsables communautaires juifs voire de forces publiques se laissant piéger par l’offre de "protection" de groupes de jeunes juifs à la réputation aussi sulfureuse que la Ligue de Défense Juive ?

Ou, le Parti anticapilatliste en tête,  de certains organisateurs, manifestants et observateurs qualifiant de bon enfant et ne voyant aucun problème à appeler à nouveau, même illégalement,  à la tenue d’une manifestation sur la voie publique …

Incluant, sans parler de l’évidente victimisation de la vérité (les roquettes et missiles partent et visent bien des zones résidentielles), mini-roquettes en carton mâché, drapeaux noirs des égorgeurs de Syrie et d’Irak, quenelles ou cris de "Allah akbar !" voire de "Mort aux juifs !" ?

Incidents rue de la Roquette: Serge Benhaim dément toute attaque de la synagogue

​Ceci est le second témoignage que nous avons recueilli, celui du président de la Synagogue Don Isaac Abravanel, située Rue de la Roquette, là où ont eu lieu les affrontements entre la Ligue de Défense Juive et les manifestants pro-palestiniens, en marge de la manifestation en soutien à la Palestine dimanche 13 juillet dernier, à Paris. Encore une fois, nous avons fait le choix de vous livrer cet entretien sans aucun montage et aucune coupure, vous entendrez donc les questions de notre journaliste Julien Nény ainsi que les réponses de Serge Benhaïm dans leur intégralité.

La synagogue, théâtre d’un rassemblement "pour la paix en Israël"

Serge Benhaïm confirme avoir décidé de faire une "prière pour la paix en Israël", en convoquant les fidèles par différents moyens, notamment celui de la page Facebook de la synagogue. Il indique qu’à chaque fois qu’une manifestation est organisée, les forces de polices sont prévenus, une pratique habituelle afin d’assurer la sécurité du lieu de culte et des fidèles qui s’y rendent.

"Aucun problème" pour maintenir cette manifestation, selon les forces de l’ordre

Lorsque le président de la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette a averti les forces de l’ordre (le commissariat local) de la tenue de cette "prière pour la paix", la police l’a informé en retour de la tenue du rassemblement pro-Palestine ce même jour avec pour terminus la place de la Bastille. Serge Benhaïm nous confie que les forces de l’ordre lui ont dit qu’il n’y avait "aucun problème", que c’était "hyper couvert, hyper sécurisé", la raison pour laquelle le président de la synagogue a pris la décision de ne pas annuler le rassemblement prévu à la synagogue Don Abravanel à 17h30 ce dimanche 13 juillet.

Les forces de l’ordre là pour "contrer les manifestants"

Serge Benhaïm contextualise l’intervention des forces de l’ordre, 4 policiers côté Bastille, 2 policiers postés devant la porte de la synagogue. Des policiers qui auraient ensuite demandé du renfort selon ses dires. Resté devant la synagogue, il indique avoir constaté que les grenades lacrymogènes lancées par les forces de l’ordre ont "stoppé l’élan des premiers manifestants" et que cela a "sécurisé le bas de la rue de la Roquette" (côté Bastille, ndlr).

Quel a été le rôle de la Ligue de Défense Juive dans le déroulement des échauffourées?

Le président de la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette précise que les fidèles sont toujours restés à l’intérieur du lieu de culte. En revanche, à l’extérieur, il estime à une quarantaine le nombre de jeunes présents, venue "au cas où il y aurait un problème". Il décrit leur répartition de la façon suivante : 10 personnes de la SCPJ et une trentaine d’individus appartenant à la Ligue de Défense Juive. Selon lui, ces derniers n’ont "jamais bougé de la synagogue et n’étaient pas en contact avec les manifestants". Il estime les mouvements de la LDJ à une "oscillation de 150 mètres sur la gauche à 150 mètres sur la droite" de la synagogue. Enfin, il assure "qu’à aucun moment", les jeunes de la LDJ "n’ont été à la recherche du contact ni vers la Bastille, ni vers Voltaire".

La LDJ "briefée par les forces de l’ordre" sur place

Serge Benhaïm assure qu’il "n’a pas de contacts avec la LDJ", même s’il reconnait que le groupuscule a "une renommée un peu sulfureuse". Il affirme s’être adressé aux forces de l’ordre pour leur demander de s’adresser à eux (la LDJ, ndlr). Il indique que les forces de l’ordre ont parlé avec la Ligue de Défense Juive en ces termes : "les gars, je veux pas de problèmes, vous restez ici". Il estime d’ailleurs que ce contact entre les forces de l’ordre et la LDJ qui a permis de s’assurer que la LDJ reste "toujours derrière le cordon de police quand il y en a eu un". Le président de la synagogue, "témoin de première ligne" selon ses termes, précise que lorsque les forces de l’ordre se sont déployées, "la Ligue de Défense Juive est passée derrière le rideau des forces de l’ordre". Selon lui, il n’y a "pas eu de provocation" de la part de la LDJ. Il confirme néanmoins qu’il y a bien eu un "face-à-face ouvert entre les jeunes de la manifestation pro-Palestine et les gars de la LDJ" mais cet affrontement a été "une surprise". Sur l’utilisation d’armes par la LDJ, le président de la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette confirme également que la LDJ a "cassé des chaises et des tables, pour aller livrer ce face-à-face" qu’il ne "cautionne pas".

La LDJ a-t-elle été la première à provoquer les manifestants pro-palestiniens?

A cette question, Serge Benhaïm s’inscrit en faux. Selon lui, "pas de contact visuel entre le devant de la synagogue et la place de la Bastille". Il estime que cette version des faits est "erronée" et qu’il n’y a pas eu d’appel aspirant de la LDJ pour faire venir les manifestants pro-palestiniens vers la rue de la Roquette.

La Ligue de Défense Juive doit-elle être dissoute?

Serge Benhaïm estime que si les gens de la Ligue de Défense Juive sont des "électrons libres et incontrôlés", comme n’importe quel mouvement, il faut "absolument" décider de sa dissolution. Selon ses termes, "ce n’est pas parce qu’ils sont juifs qu’ils ont l’autorisation d’être incontrôlables, ou incontrôlés". Plus tard dans l’interview, il revient sur les tweets de provocation postés sur Twitter par certains utilisateurs affiliés à la Ligue de Défense Juive. Encore une fois, "il ne cautionne pas" et estime qu’il "n’autorisera personne à venir mettre en danger une communauté venue prier, même si c’est la LDJ, même si ce sont des juifs, même s’il devait prendre des positions très frontales avec eux". Sur l’implication de la LDJ dans l’allumage de la mèche de ces affrontements, le président de la synagogue s’essaye à une métaphore qui montre la complexité de la situation : "je sais qu’une bombe peut exploser avec un détonateur qui pèse 13 grammes. Est-ce que ce sont les 13 grammes qui font exploser la bombe, ou est-ce le fait d’avoir une bombe ?". Il déplore enfin "des tonnes de provocations entre juifs et musulmans, tous les jours, toutes les minutes sur Internet".

La synagogue rue de la Roquette a-t-elle vraiment été "assiégée"?

Le président de la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette est très clair, depuis le début, son objectif a été "de remettre les choses dans leur contexte et dans leur mesure". Et ce qui suit est éloquent. "Pas un seul projectile lancé sur la synagogue". "A aucun moment, nous n’avons été physiquement en danger", précise-t-il. Alors d’où vient cette rumeur ? Serge Benhaïm pense à une "confusion" entre les événements survenus près d’une synagogue à Aulnay-sous-Bois, et ceux de la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette.

"S’appliquer à faire baisser la mousse de l’ébullition"

En conclusion de son entretien, Serge Benhaïm, en réaction aux propos de Roger Cukierman sur notre antenne, estime qu’il "faut voir le demi-verre plein". "Grâce à Dieu, il n’y a pas eu de dégâts graves, pas de dégâts humains, à part des blessés légers". A l’évocation d’un "pogrom", le président de la synagogue estime qu’on pourrait "faire grossir cet événement à la catastrophe", mais qu’il faudrait "surtout s’appliquer à faire baisser la mousse de l’ébullition et revenir aux relations qui étaient celles d’avant", avec la communauté musulmane.

Voir aussi:

Incidents rue de la Roquette: "ça a été un piège"

Dernier de nos témoignages, celui de Sabrina Benalia, 22 ans. Elle a participé à la manifestation du dimanche 13 juillet dernier, avec son mari et sa petite sœur. Elle revient pour nous sur le déroulé de cette manifestation et les incidents survenus rue de la Roquette dont elle a été témoin. Là encore, nous avons décidé de ne pas monter cette interview et de vous la livrer de façon brute, dans la longueur.

Une ambiance "sereine", une "cohésion" au sein de la manifestation pro-Palestine

Sabrina Benalia revient pour nous sur la raison de sa participation à cette manifestation, défendre "la cause palestinienne", manifester contre ce qu’elle "n’appelle pas forcément une guerre", mais plutôt un "génocide". Coutumière des manifestations selon ses dires, Sabrina indique que cette fois-ci, elle a ressenti une "cohésion" et souligne la présence d’une association, l’UFJP, qui selon elle, matérialise le plus cette cohésion. Selon d’autres participants à la manifestation cités par Sabrina, la présence de l’UFJP représente "la paix", défendue dans cette manifestation.

Que s’est-il passé à l’approche de la place de la Bastille ?

Sabrina précise qu’à l’approche de la place de la Bastille ("à quelques centaines de mètres"), des gérants de la manifestation commençaient à informer que "ça commençait à un petit peu dégénérer", les organisateurs "suppliant" les manifestants de "ne pas répondre aux provocations". A l’arrivée place de la Bastille, elle décrit une bande de jeunes brandissant des drapeaux israéliens et un slogan, que l’on entend également dans cette vidéo Youtube, "Palestine, on t’encule!". Sabrina précise à nouveau qu’à ce moment, les organisateurs redoublent d’efforts pour demander aux manifestants "de ne pas faire attention", de ne pas "calculer" ces provocations. Elle cite certaines phrases de ces organisateurs : "ils veulent nous provoquer, ils attendent que ça dégénère, on ne leur donnera pas ce plaisir, ne faites pas attention à eux".

Rue de la Roquette : "ça a été un piège"

Sabrina décrie une scène un peu chaotique, "ça courait dans tous les sens, des chaises, des tables, des bouts de bois, des femmes avec leurs enfants en train de leur couvrir la tête". Venue pour "défendre une cause, le peuple palestinien", Sabrina Benalia regrette de s’être vue taxée de "participante à une manifestation antisémite". C’est le sentiment qu’elle décrit avoir ressenti dans le traitement médiatique qu’elle a constaté le soir-même, en rentrant chez elle.

Les manifestants pro-palestiniens ont "répondu à la provocation"

Sabrina évalue à "4 ou 5 les manifestants pro-palestiniens" présents dans les échauffourées, rejoints par plusieurs autres manifestants qui ont "répondu à la provocation" des membres de la Ligue de Défense Juive, qu’elle estime à "plusieurs dizaines". Elle décrit avoir entendu des insultes à plusieurs reprises, "Palestine, on t’encule!". Du côté du cortège, elle admet avoir entendu un seul slogan pouvant s’apparenter à cela, "Israël assassin". Elle indique ne jamais avoir entendu "mort aux juifs", lors de sa présence dans cette manifestation et en tant que témoin des échauffourées en fin de soirée. Elle "ne pense pas qu’on puisse se permettre de dire "mort aux juifs", alors que même l’UFJP était présente" dans le cortège de la manifestation pro-Palestine de dimanche dernier.

"On voit clairement des policiers défendre les pro-israéliens"

A l’évocation des éléments déclencheurs des échauffourées rue de la Roquette, Sabrina raconte : "sur ma droite, un barrage de policiers et derrière la LDJ avec le drapeau israélien", aux cris de "Palestine, on t’encule!". "A aucun moment", la police ne va leur demander de cesser ou les arrêter, selon elle.

Elle évoque également cette vidéo publiée depuis quelques jours sur différentes plateformes, où l’on voit "un jeune de la LDJ faire tomber une barre de fer et un policier de la BAC la ramasser et lui redonner". Des "images enregistrées" qui ne mentent pas pour Sabrina, "on aurait dit des amis", "on voit clairement des policiers s’attaquer aux pro-palestiniens et défendre les pro-israéliens".

"Encore une fois, on va dire que c’est les Arabes, les musulmans"

Sabrina dresse un constat amer des échauffourées du côté des manifestants pro-palestiniens. "Des jeunes qui ont cédé à la tentation de répondre à une provocation, c’est dommage, on a passé 3h30 de manifestation, et malheureusement on en vient à parler de 10 à 15 minutes où ça a dégénéré".

Elle ne cache pas s’être dit "qu’encore une fois, on va dire que c’est les Arabes, c’est les musulmans". Elle avoue avoir "traité de cons ceux qui répondaient à la provocation", que ça allait "être une évidence", "toujours le même disque".

"Pourquoi s’en prendre encore une fois à des gens qui n’ont rien fait ?"

Sabrina, comme Erwan et le président de la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette Serge Benhaïm, dénonce la rumeur, la synagogue n’a pas été "assiégée", pour elle, "c’est un piège". Elle défend son point de vue en ces termes : "pourquoi s’en prendre encore une fois à des gens qui n’ont rien fait ? On vient défendre justement des innocents en Palestine, on va pas venir s’attaquer à des innocents en France".

Manifestation de samedi à Paris: "je souhaite du fond du cœur que ça ne dégénère pas"

A la question de sa présence à la manifestation de samedi à Paris, qui a été – à l’heure où nous écrivons ces lignes – interdite par la préfecture de police de Paris, Sabrina est formelle : "bien sûr, je serai présente avec ma famille, j’espère et je souhaite du fond du cœur que ça ne dégénère pas". Elle pointe une nouvelle fois les "menaces" de la LDJ sur sa page Facebook et estime qu’il "faut arrêter d’accuser les personnes qui sont là pour demander la paix pour le peuple palestinien".

A noter que nous avons contacté la Ligue de Défense Juive suite aux différentes mises en cause présentes dans ce témoignage, elle n’a pas souhaité nous répondre.

Voir également:

Incidents rue de la Roquette: la police est "responsable"

En relation avec notre enquête au sujet des incidents rue de la Roquette, la rédaction d’i>TELE s’est mobilisée afin d’aller à la rencontre de différents protagonistes qui ont participé à la manifestation pro-Palestine du dimanche 13 juillet dernier, ou de témoins des affrontements qui ont eu lieu rue de la Roquette, aux abords de la synagogue Don Isaac Abravanel. Premier de nos témoignages, celui d’Erwan Simon, qui fait partie du groupe de personne qui ont géré l’organisation de la manifestation qui a réuni 30.000 personnes pour soutenir la population de Gaza, de Barbès à la place de la Bastille.

"Mort aux Arabes, Israël vaincra"

Erwan, placé en tête de cortège, raconte l’arrivée au terme de la manifestation, place de la Bastille, il décrit sur la droite – comme Sabrina – un cortège de policiers derrière lequel se réfugient des individus "casqués", criant "mort aux Arabes, Israël vaincra". Il fait appel à son expérience des manifestations pro-Palestine depuis des années pour affirmer que "ça ressemble très fortement à la Ligue de Défense Juive", sur "ce type d’action" et "ce type de racisme".

La police est "responsable", elle a "laissé passer des gens" rue de la roquette

Erwan Simon "était au courant" de l’appel à manifester de la LDJ rue de la Roquette. Il confirme que le service d’ordre de la manifestation pro-Palestine a "demandé à ne pas aller là-bas" (rue de la Roquette, ndlr).

En tant qu’organisateur de la manifestation, il se défend: "vous dites clairement à la police, c’est fini (la manifestation, ndlr) il est 17h30, à ce moment-là, il est de la responsabilité de la police" de maintenir l’ordre. Une question lourde de sens lorsqu’on a regardé la vidéo des altercations : "pourquoi la police n’intervient pas, alors qu’il y a des centaines de policiers partout autour de Bastille ?"

Le discours de la paix de la LDJ "ne marche pas"

Erwan "n’accepte pas" cette "bagarre entre supporters, en train de se battre comme si on était là-bas". Il estime se battre avec "la justice, le droit". Il comprend néanmoins "que des gens soient en colère", la LDJ "depuis plus de 10 ans agresse, tape, brûle des lieux, casse des bras", il recense à ce sujet une "vingtaine d’événements" qui mettent en cause les agissements du groupuscule.

Pour lui, « le discours de paix » de la LDJ « ne marche pas », même s’il convient que la colère des manifestants pro-palestiniens qui ont été à l’affrontement ne doit pas « s’exprimer de cette façon ».

Des manifestants pro-palestiniens aux cris de "mort aux juifs" ?

Erwan est formel, il n’a "rien entendu de tel". En revanche, il a entendu à plusieurs reprises les slogans "mort aux Arabes". Il estime que les manifestants pro-palestiniens qui ont été à l’affrontement avec la LDJ étaient proches d’une centaine de personnes ("80 à 100") mais rappelle qu’il y avait "des centaines de familles dans la rue qui tentaient de rejoindre le métro".

La synagogue a-t-elle été "assiégée" ?

Erwan pointe une nouvelle fois le rôle de la LDJ dans cette information "totalement erronée" selon lui. La synagogue est "prise par la Ligue de Défense Juive" qui "empêche les gens de sortir, qui leur fait peur". Pour lui, "il n’y a pas d’attaque de synagogue, jamais". L’affrontement entre bandes n’a jamais visé le lieu de culte et estime qu’il résulte d’une réponse "à des provocations racistes d’un groupuscule d’extrême-droite et nationaliste".

"Quelles ont été les consignes du ministère de l’Intérieur ?"

Cette question résonne dans la bouche d’Erwan Simon, "derrière la LDJ, des rangs de policiers", "des gens ont eu des propos racistes et n’ont pas été arrêtés". Pourquoi le gouvernement français "ne donne pas d’instructions claires pour empêcher tous les racismes" ?

Pour Erwan, "il n’y a pas de forces de l’ordre pro-Israël" comme l’estime Sabrina que nous avons également interrogée, les forces de l’ordre "font le travail qu’on leur demande". Une question subsiste : "quelles ont été les consignes reçues de la part du ministère de l’Intérieur ?"

Interdiction de la manifestation de samedi à Paris : "on marche sur la tête"

Avant de parler de troubles à l’ordre public, "ce serait bien de les faire arrêter en faisant interdire la Ligue de Défense Juive", selon Erwan. Pour l’un des organisateurs de la manifestation pro-Palestine de dimanche dernier, "on marche sur la tête". "On a le droit d’aller manifester dans la rue, les forces de l’ordre doivent assurer la protection des gens qui manifestent, c’est la question du droit, notre droit à manifester, l’un des principes de base".

A noter que nous avons contacté la Ligue de Défense Juive suite aux différentes mises en cause présentes dans ce témoignage, elle n’a pas souhaité nous répondre.

Voir encore:

Affrontements rue de la Roquette : la vérité est toujours la première victime d’un conflit

iTELE
16-07-2014

LE PLUS. Le 13 juillet dernier, à Paris, des heurts ont éclaté entre militants pro-israéliens et pro-palestiniens, en marge d’une manifestation de soutien au peuple de Palestine. Des violences que les médias se sont empressées de dramatiser, estime le journaliste et écrivain Jacques-Marie Bourget. Il s’étonne du traitement médiatique de ces événements, et appelle les médias à plus de retenue.

Édité par Sébastien Billard

Capture d’écran d’une vidéo des affrontements entre pro-israéliens et pro-palestiniens, rue de la Roquette à Paris, le 13 juillet 2014.

Quand un journal aussi sérieux que le quotidien britannique "The Independent" titre "Conflit Israël-Gaza : Des synagogues attaquées quand une manifestation pro-palestinienne à Paris tourne à la violence", c’est qu’il y a danger. Danger pour deux vertus qui n’en sont qu’une : la vérité et l’exercice des libertés.

Sur cette seule base, celle d’un texte publié dans un journal qui fait autorité, tous les confrères du monde peuvent "sourcer" sans conteste leurs papiers sur ce sujet. Et faire naître dans l’esprit de leurs lecteurs des images de barbares antisémites commettant en France les attaques les plus graves.

La machine à mensonges en marche

Comment ce fait-il que "The Independent", véritable institution du journalisme international, publie une information si capitale qu’elle laisse à penser qu’être juif en France serait vivre entre "la valise et le cercueil" ? C’est simple, comme beaucoup de médias, le quotidien anglais a été victime de la rapidité lapidaire d’internet.

Faut-il rappeler la piteuse histoire de Timisoara en Roumanie, à l’heure de la chute de Ceausescu où, en chœur, la presse a rapporté des "massacres" alors que les victimes étaient mortes d’accident ou de maladie…

Comme un boomerang, sur leurs téléphones portables, les envoyés spéciaux recevaient de leurs rédacteurs en chef le buzz internet : "La ‘toile’ est remplie d’infos sur ce massacre. Qu’est-ce que tu attends pour nous envoyer ton papier ?" La machine à mensonges était en marche.

À propos des "hordes à l’assaut de deux synagogues parisiennes", la fumée des lacrymogènes n’était pas encore au ciel que des sites larguaient leurs bombes d’oxygène sur le feu.

Presqu’au hasard, prenons Slate :

"Des centaines de types hurlant ‘Allahou Akbar’ en chargeant contre des policiers. Une synagogue assiégée. Des menaces et des insultes antisémites lancées à des passants terrorisés."

Ou encore Des Infos.com :

"Alors que des hordes antisémites attaquent des synagogues à Paris ou en Île-de-France sous couvert d’une prétendue solidarité avec les Palestiniens…"

Dreuze Info n’est pas le plus en retrait et publie en instantané des textes aujourd’hui introuvables sur le site :

"Alerte info : attaque violente de deux synagogues à Paris – des Juifs retenus en otage."

Alarme qui sera bientôt suivi d’un constat à propos du rôle joué par la Ligue de défense juive (LDJ) :

"La LDJ, tant critiquée par la gauche juive, en protégeant la synagogue a sauvé de nombreuses vies."

Une dramatisation excessive des faits

À lire cela à Hong Kong ou Miami, Paris et la rue de la Roquette, où se trouve une des synagogues "attaquées", sont en guerre. Cette information immédiate, qui tourne le dos à la vérité froide et apaisée, a le pire pour objectif : une dramatisation qui finira par marquer l’histoire, peut importe la réalité.

Selon cette "information/slogan", reprise par des milliers de tweets et SMS qui rajoutent au passage leur couche de fantasmes, c’est en France que se joue la vengeance de Gaza. Pourtant, comme toujours, la vérité est la première victime de ce conflit. Elle dépasse la fiction mais par le bas, décrivant des faits qui n’ont jamais existé.

Laissons la parole à Frédéric Ploquin, inconnu pour une quelconque passion pour la cause palestinienne, il est journaliste à "Marianne", un hebdomadaire qui n’est pas "La France Juive" de Drumont. Ploquin rapporte :

"Place de la Bastille, la dispersion commence, accélérée par une ondée, lorsque des jeunes décident de s’en prendre aux forces de l’ordre. De petites grappes s’engouffrent vers les rues adjacentes. Se donnent-ils le mot ? Ils sont entre 200 et 300 à marcher en direction de la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette… où se tient un rassemblement pour la paix en Israël, en présence du grand rabbin.

Les organisateurs affirment avoir alerté le commissariat de police, mais l’information n’est apparemment pas remontée jusqu’à la Préfecture de police. Détail important : s’ils avaient su, les responsables du maintien de l’ordre auraient forcément barré l’accès à la rue.

Les choses se compliquent très vite, car les manifestants ne sont pas les seuls à vouloir en découdre. Une petite centaine de membres de la LDJ (Ligue de défense juive) sont positionnés devant la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette, casques de moto sur la tête et outils (armes blanches) à portée de main.

Loin de rester passive, la petite troupe monte au contact des manifestants, comme ils l’ont déjà fait lors d’une manifestation pro-palestinienne organisée Place Saint-Michel quelques jours auparavant. On frôle la bagarre générale, mais la police parvient à s’interposer. Les assaillants refluent vers le boulevard, tandis que les militants juifs reviennent vers la synagogue."

Passons au compte rendu publié sur son site par RTL :

"Selon la préfecture de police, ces heurts étaient dus à de petits groupes de jeunes gens qui ont été ‘facilement contenus’. Il y a eu six interpellations. Un certain nombre de manifestants pro-palestiniens ont toutefois tenté de se rendre vers des synagogues voisines, rue de la Roquette et rue des Tournelles, a-t-on dit à l’AFP de source policière. Des CRS sont intervenus pour les repousser et mettre fin à un "début d’échauffourée" avec des membres de la communauté juive devant la synagogue de la Roquette, ce qui a permis d’éviter toute intrusion dans les lieux de culte, a-t-on ajouté."

Une réalité plus complexe que celle qui a été rapportée

Cet appel à "contre" manifester lancé par la LDJ, celui évoqué par Frédéric Ploquin, ne fait aucun doute, on le trouve sur Twitter et, le 9 juillet, lors d’une manifestation pro-palestinienne à Saint Michel, la faible troupe présente a bien été attaquée par la LDJ.

Dans l’affaire de la rue de la Roquette, il faut se demander pourquoi les "forces de l’ordre" n’ont pas été plus préventives en barrant la rue de la Roquette afin d’éviter les affrontements ?

Rapporté par Abdelkrim Branine, pilier de Beur FM et journaliste connu pour sa rigueur, voici le témoignage d’un membre du service d’ordre de la manif "pro Palestine" :

"Hier, en fin de manifestation, nous nous sommes postés sur la place de la Bastille côté rue de la Roquette en prévision d’une attaque de la Ligue de défense juive suite aux mises en garde de la police. Après l’agression ayant ciblé un rassemblement de soutien à la Palestine mercredi dernier à Saint-Michel, la milice sioniste avait promis, via ses réseaux sociaux de ‘s’en prendre à toutes les manifestations pro-palestiniennes’. Nous étions une vingtaine, tous identifiés et membres du service d’ordre.

Suite à la fermeture du métro Bastille, plusieurs manifestants ont décidé de s’orienter vers le métro Voltaire. Nous leur avons conseillé de prendre plutôt la direction de Ledru-Rollin mais certains ne nous ont pas écoutés. À peine arrivés au milieu de la rue de la Roquette, ces personnes (essentiellement des familles), identifiées par leurs keffiehs et drapeaux, se sont faites accueillir par des insultes et des projectiles provenant du rassemblement sioniste derrière deux lignes de CRS.

Deux personnes sont revenues nous prévenir. Nous avons donc décidé d’aller ramener ceux qui stagnaient encore à proximité de la synagogue de la Roquette afin d’éviter tout débordement. Nous y sommes allés discrètement pour éviter que les centaines de jeunes, déjà échaudés par les précédentes provocations ne nous suivent. Ce qui serait devenu incontrôlable.

Arrivés à une cinquantaine de mètres du rassemblement, une femme, la quarantaine, nous traite de ‘sales pro palos’, hurle ‘Israël vaincra’, s’empare d’une chaise d’une terrasse de café et la jette sur notre ami T. Elle s’enfuit ensuite en courant vers le rassemblement de la LDJ et passe, sans difficultés, les deux lignes de CRS. Nous ne répondons pas à la provocation et continuons à avancer. Nous nous retrouvons alors sous une pluie de projectiles (tessons de bouteille, bouts de bois, casques etc.).

Surexcitée, la cinquantaine de militants de la LDJ ‘mime’ de forcer le barrage de police en agitant des drapeaux israéliens. Une première altercation a lieu. La police les laisse faire. En revanche, les CRS nous matraquent et nous gazent. Un autre groupe de CRS arrive en provenance de la place. Encerclés par la police nous n’avons d’autre alternative que de prendre les rues adjacentes qui débouchent à nouveau vers le lieu des échauffourées. Les CRS continuent de tirer des gaz."

Poursuivons avec un autre point de vue, qui n’est pas forcément faussé au seul prétexte qu’il est donné par un témoin lié au site Saphirnews.com ayant appelé au soutien des palestiniens de Gaza :

"Le traquenard est bien ficelé : ceux de la LDJ  finissent par se réfugier dans la synagogue, faisant ainsi croire que ces ‘hordes de jeunes’, qui n’étaient pour la plupart pas au courant qu’ils se laissaient amener vers le lieu de culte, sont venus s’en prendre aux ‘juifs’. C’est sur les réseaux sociaux que les mensonges de la LDJ prennent forme. Sous forme de tweets alarmistes, elle déclare que ’60 juifs à mains nues’ ont fait face à ’300 casseurs armés’, dans un autre post, ‘de haches, de couteaux, de lacrymos, de battes de baseball criant ‘Mort aux juifs’."

Pour finir, voilà ce qu’a vu et vécu Michèle Sibony, membre de l’Union juive française pour la paix :

"Alors je vais vous dire ce que j’ai vu, moi, pauvre juive infidèle (mais il n’y a de Dieu que Dieu) dans cette manif : sur le boulevard Beaumarchais, à peu près à la hauteur de Chemin vert, quatre ou cinq types de la Ligue de défense juive montés sur un banc, complètement entourés et protégés par deux rangs serrés de CRS qui jetaient projectiles et insultes sur la foule, et les services d’ordre, et les responsables calmant les manifestants : ne vous énervez pas ne répondez pas aux provocations, c’est ce qu’ils attendent… et bien sûr lors de la dispersion il y a eu des courses et des bagarres à l’entrée de la rue de la Roquette… comme prévu si j’ose dire. Et surtout j’ai aussi entendu la foule des manifestants crier depuis Barbès jusqu’à la Bastille : ‘médias français montrez la vérité’, ‘le peuple français veut la vérité. Et j’étais fière aujourd’hui de ce peuple là, de mon peuple."

Hélas, le gouvernement choisit la voie liberticide

Moralité, vieille loi de presse perdue de vue : avant que l’encre ne coule et que les titres annoncés sur les écrans et leurs "bandes passantes" provoquent leurs déchirures, il serait mieux d’écouter et de réfléchir. De s’informer.

Aujourd’hui, alors que de multiples vidéos viennent conforter la version donnée par les différentes témoins que nous venons de citer, ni Hollande ni Valls n’en tiennent compte. Veulent-ils dire que les hommes et femmes qui s’indignent du sort fait à la Palestine sont des menteurs ? Certes, parfois, il ne sont pas "français de souche", voire musulmans…

Hollande et Valls ont préféré prendre le sombre chemin, la voie liberticide désignée par Estrosi, le "motodidacte" maire de Nice. Des manifestations pro-palestiniennes pourront être interdites en cas de "risques avérés". C’est comme une deuxième mort.

Voir enfin:

Frédéric Ploquin

Marianne

14 Juillet 2014

Plusieurs manifestations pro-palestiennes ont eu lieu dimanche 13 juillet en France. A Paris, deux synagogues ont été prises pour cible. Voici les faits.

NICOLAS MESSYASZ/SIPA
NICOLAS MESSYASZ/SIPA

Ils sont environ 7 000 à défiler dans les rues de Paris, ce dimanche 13 juillet, entre Barbès et la Bastille, pour dire leur solidarité avec les Palestiniens. Le parcours a été négocié par les responsables du NPA (Nouveau parti anticapitaliste), l’organisation héritière de la Ligue communiste révolutionnaire. Pourquoi avoir exigé un parcours qui s’achève à proximité du quartier du Marais, connu pour abriter plusieurs lieux de culte juif ? Le fait est que les responsables de la Préfecture de police l’ont validé.

Parmi les manifestants, de nombreuses femmes, souvent voilées, mais surtout des jeunes venus de la banlieue francilienne. Les premiers slogans ciblent Israël, mais aussi la "complicité française". Très vite, les « Allah Akbar » (Dieu est grand) dominent, donnant une tonalité fortement religieuse au cortège.
La préfecture de police ne s’attendait pas à une telle mobilisation, mais ses responsables ont vu large au niveau du maintien de l’ordre, puisque cinq "forces mobiles", gendarmes et CRS confondues, ont été mobilisées. C’est à priori suffisant pour sécuriser tous les lieux juifs le long du parcours.

Aucune dégradation, aucun incident n’est signalé en marge du cortège, jusqu’à l’arrivée à proximité de la Bastille. Un premier mouvement de foule est observé à la hauteur de la rue des Tournelles, qui abrite une synagogue. Les gendarmes bloquent la voie et parviennent sans difficulté à refouler les assaillants vers le boulevard Beaumarchais.

Place de la Bastille, la dispersion commence, accélérée par une ondée, lorsque des jeunes décident de s’en prendre aux forces de l’ordre. De petites grappes s’engouffrent vers les rues adjacentes. Se donnent-ils le mot ? Ils sont entre 200 et 300 à marcher en direction de la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette… où se tient un rassemblement pour la paix en Israël, en présence du grand rabbin. Les organisateurs affirment avoir alerté le commissariat de police, mais l’information n’est apparemment pas remontée jusqu’à la Préfecture de police. Détail important : s’ils avaient su, les responsables du maintien de l’ordre auraient forcément barré l’accès à la rue.

Les choses se compliquent très vite, car les manifestants ne sont pas les seuls à vouloir en découdre. Une petite centaine de membres de la LDJ (ligue de défense juive) sont positionnés devant la synagogue de la rue de la Roquette, casques de moto sur la tête et outils (armes blanches) à portée de main. Loin de rester passive, la petite troupe monte au contact des manifestants, comme ils l’ont déjà fait lors d’une manifestation pro-palestinienne organisée Place Saint-Michel quelques jours auparavant. On frôle la bagarre générale, mais la police parvient à s’interposer. Les assaillants refluent vers le boulevard, tandis que les militants juifs reviennent vers la synagogue.

Durant le week-end, des manifestations similaires ont été organisées dans plusieurs grandes villes. Selon la police, ils étaient 2 300 à Lille, 1 200 à Marseille et autour de 400 à  Bordeaux. Aucun incident n’a été signalé.

Voir aussi:

Antisémitisme: la France confrontée à une hausse des actes, pas des opinions
Libération/AFP
19 juillet 2014

Les incidents près de synagogues parisiennes sont-ils le signe d’une montée de l’antisémitisme en France? Des experts répondent avec prudence, relevant que si une hausse des actes antisémites est observée, ce n’est pas le cas des opinions.

Plusieurs personnalités de la première communauté juive d’Europe ont exprimé leur émotion après un week-end agité: échauffourées rue de la Roquette à Paris, jet de cocktail Molotov contre une synagogue à Aulnay-sous-Bois, insultes devant une autre à Asnières…

«C’était un peu la Kristallnacht (la Nuit de cristal de 1938 en Allemagne, NDLR) et on a échappé de peu à un véritable pogrom», a estimé le président du Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France (Crif), Roger Cukierman. «Jamais un tel événement ne s’était produit en France depuis le Moyen-Age», a écrit Arno Klarsfeld, ancien avocat des Fils et filles des déportés juifs de France, évoquant les «centaines d’individus» ayant «tenté de prendre d’assaut» la synagogue de la Roquette.

«Ces comparaisons historiques me semblent malvenues pour apprécier la situation», tempère le sociologue Samuel Ghiles-Meilhac auprès de l’AFP. «Les pogroms ou la Nuit de cristal, ce sont des mouvements de violence tolérés voire encouragés par les pouvoirs en place. En France, les autorités publiques réagissent, et absolument rien n’indique qu’une majorité de la population valide cela.»

«L’émotion est très forte, mais elle n’est pas uniquement liée à ce qui s’est passé dimanche, elle est le produit de ces dernières années, avec les actes de Mohamed Merah et Mehdi Nemmouche, l’affaire Dieudonné, la manifestation Jour de colère (où des +Mort aux Juifs!+ ont été lancés, ndlr)… Il y a le sentiment, dans une partie de la communauté juive, qu’une lame de fond antisémite s’est installée», ajoute le chercheur.

Directeur de l’observatoire des radicalités politiques, Jean-Yves Camus a assisté aux heurts près de la Bastille. «Quand bien même il ne se serait rien passé rue de la Roquette, je considère qu’à partir du moment où, dans les rues de Paris, des manifestants brandissent le drapeau noir de l’Etat islamique au Levant ou des mini-roquettes, même en carton-pâte, il y a quelque chose qui ne colle pas.»

Selon le politologue, lors de l’opération de l’armée israélienne Plomb durci en 2009, «des manifestations avaient déjà dérapé», attirant «beaucoup plus de monde».

«La mobilisation régresse en ampleur. Les radicaux sont d’autant plus visibles que, dans la manifestation, le rapport numérique est en leur faveur», note le chercheur.

- «Antisémitisme de contact» -

Les actes antisémites se maintiennent à un niveau élevé depuis 2000 et la seconde Intifada: le Service de protection de la communauté juive (SPCJ), qui en avait relevé 423 en 2013 selon les plaintes comptabilisées par le ministère de l’Intérieur, a noté une nouvelle hausse au premier trimestre 2014, avec 169 actions violentes et menaces recensées, soit 44% de plus que sur la même période de l’an dernier.

Selon le SCPJ, organisation communautaire qui travaille en lien avec les pouvoirs publics, les Juifs sont victimes de 40% des violences physiques racistes en France, alors qu’ils représentent moins de 1% de sa population.

«On constate une montée des actes antisémites le plus souvent en lien avec l’aggravation du conflit israélo-palestinien», commente la politologue Nonna Mayer. Un «antisémitisme de contact», actif là où les deux communautés (juive et musulmane) sont présentes, et s’en prenant à ce qui est visible dans l’espace public: synagogues, mezouzahs sur les portes, hommes portant la kippa…

Que sait-on des auteurs? «On a le sentiment que, pour les rares cas où les agresseurs sont identifiés, les actes sont non seulement imputables à l’extrême-droite mais à des jeunes issus de l’immigration et qui se font une identité de substitution en s’identifiant aux victimes palestiniennes», répond Nonna Mayer, qui invite cependant à ne pas «disserter doctement sur l’antisémitisme chez les jeunes issus de l’immigration» à partir de cas «extrêmement minoritaires».

Ne pas confondre actes et opinions: l’examen de ces dernières montre qu’«il n’y a absolument pas de progression de l’antisémitisme, plutôt la persistance de deux stéréotypes traditionnels, le pouvoir des Juifs et leur rapport à l’argent», constate la sociologue.

«Tous nos sondages montrent que c’est la minorité juive qui est de loin la mieux acceptée, qui a la meilleure image», poursuit-elle. A la différence des populations arabo-musulmanes et roms qui, selon le dernier rapport sur le racisme de la Commission nationale consultativedes droits de l’homme (CCNDH), «sont les cibles privilégiées» de l’actuelle «recrudescence de l’intolérance».

«Les Juifs ne sont victimes d’aucune discrimination sociale en France, ils sont parfaitement intégrés. Et en même temps, comme minorité, ils sont la cible d’une fixation haineuse», tente de résumer Samuel Ghiles-Meilhac, devant une «conjonction de phénomènes dont on n’a pas les cadres d’analyse».

AFP

Voir de même:

Pascal Boniface : «Critiquer la politique d’Israël, ce n’est pas être antisémite»
Alexandre Devecchio
Le Figaro
18/07/2014

FIGAROVOX/GRAND ENTRETIEN- Alors que la préfecture de police de Paris a interdit une manifestation pro-palestienne prévue ce samedi, Pascal Boniface, auteur de la France malade du conflit israélo-palestinien, a accordé un grand entretien à FigaroVox.

Pascal Boniface est directeur de l’IRIS, auteur de Géopolitique du sport. Son dernier livre, La France malade du conflit israélo-palestinien, vient de paraître.

FigaroVox: Après les incidents violents qui ont émaillé les manifestations pro-israélienne dimanche 13 juillet, la préfecture de police a engagé une procédure informelle pour interdire une manifestation de soutien à Gaza prévue samedi. La société Française devient-elle la victime collatérale du conflit du Proche-Orient?

Pascal BONIFACE: La société française ne devient pas la victime collatérale du conflit du Proche-Orient, elle l’est depuis longtemps. La reprise des violences entre Israéliens et Palestiniens a provoqué une poussée de fièvre en France, mais que la France soit malade du conflit israélo-palestinien, n’est hélas pas une nouveauté. Aucun conflit extérieur ne suscite de telles passions, de mises en cause si importantes des individus qui prennent des positions qui déplaisent. Des amis de longue date, qui ne partageant pas le même point de vue sur le conflit et ses conséquences en France, peuvent se brouiller. On ne voit ça pour aucun autre conflit.

Quel est votre point de vue sur l’interdiction des manifestations? Celle-ci ne risque-t-elle pas d’être contre-productive?

Si le but est de ne pas opposer les communautés, interdire les manifestations produit l’effet inverse. Ceux qui veulent manifester peuvent avoir le sentiment que le gouvernement répond aux désirs des institutions communautaires juives. Par ailleurs, il y a une atteinte au droit de manifester. Où placer les limites? Faudra-t-il par la suite interdire les nombreuses et variées manifestations de soutien à Israël? Faudra-t-il interdire les articles critiques sur l’action du gouvernement israélien parce qu’ils seraient censés contribuer à alimenter l’antisémitisme? Le risque est de radicaliser une partie de ceux qui se sentent solidaires des Palestiniens.

La société française ne devient pas la victime collatérale du conflit du Proche-Orient, elle l’est depuis longtemps.

Selon vous, la confusion entre antisémitisme, antisionisme et critique du gouvernement israélien contribue à l’importation de ce conflit en France. Quelle différence faites-vous entre ces différentes notions?

Cette confusion est entretenue par les institutions communautaires et certains intellectuels juifs. L’antisémitisme c’est la haine des juifs, l’antisionisme c’est l’opposition à l’existence de l’État d’Israël. Mais cela n’a rien à voir avec la critique de l’action du gouvernement israélien ou alors des O.N.G. israéliennes, des personnalités comme Abraham Burg, des journalistes comme Gideon Lévy sont antisémites. Lorsque l’on critique la politique de Poutine on n’est pas accusé de faire du racisme anti-russes. Brandir l’accusation infamante d’antisémitisme dès que l’on émet une critique à l’égard du gouvernement israélien a pour fonction de protéger ce dernier. L’immense majorité de ceux qui se déclarent solidaires des Palestiniens combattent l’antisémitisme et toutes les formes de racisme, et se prononcent pour la solution des deux États, donc en faveur de l’existence d’Israël.

Vous-même en taxant le HCI d’islamophobie pour ses prises de positions, notamment contre le port du foulard islamique à l’université, n’opérez-vous pas une confusion dangereuse entre critique légitime du communautarisme et racisme antimusulman?

Lorsque l’été dernier le HCI a proposé d’interdire le port du foulard dans les universités, j’ai en effet estimé qu’il préconisait une mesure visant exclusivement les musulmans (on ne parlait pas des signes religieux en général) qui pouvait rallumer une guerre au moment où une majorité s’accordait pour dire qu’il fallait en rester à la loi de 2004 qui ne concerne pas l’enseignement supérieur.

L’immense majorité de ceux qui se déclarent solidaires des Palestiniens combattent l’antisémitisme et le racisme, et se prononcent pour la solution des deux États donc en faveur de l’existence d’Israël

Selon vous, de nombreux Français non-juifs, en particuliers les musulmans, ont le sentiment qu’il y a un «deux poids, deux mesures» dans la lutte contre le racisme et que les actes antisémites font l’objet d’un traitement médiatique plus conséquent que les autres actes racistes. Le risque de votre démarche n’est-il pas de verser dans la concurrence victimaire et de nourrir le ressentiment d’une certaine jeunesse de banlieue à l’égard des Juifs et de la France plus généralement?

Réclamer la fin du «deux poids, deux mesures» dans la lutte contre l’antisémitisme et le racisme anti-musulmans, qu’il s’agisse des médias ou des responsables politiques ne revient pas à nourrir le ressentiment d’une certaine jeunesse de banlieue, mais au contraire à le combattre. Dénoncer une injustice ou une inégalité de traitement est justement la meilleure façon de combattre la concurrence victimaire. Si chacun est placé sur un pied d’égalité, si tous les enfants de la République sont traités de la même façon il n’y a plus de concurrence victimaire et moins d’espace politique pour le ressentiment.

Avez-vous des exemples précis de «deux poids, deux mesures» …

De nombreuses agressions ont eu lieu contre des femmes voilées, qui n’ont pas suscité la mobilisation,qui aurait eu lieu si des hommes portant la kippa avaient été agressés. Il est vrai que présenter, comme le font certains journalistes, le port du voile comme faisant partie d’un complot pour mettre à genoux la République, a contribué à créer un climat malsain…

Quelques lignes dans Libération du 22 Février 2011, on apprend que la voiture et la moto de Dounia Bouzar, anthropologue spécialiste de l’islam, ont été vandalisées. On pouvait lire sur l’un des véhicules «non aux minarets». Un texte était également glissé: «Pour que Colombey les deux églises ne devienne pas Colombey les deux mosquées. Viendra le moment où les islamo-collabos devront rendre des comptes.» Imaginons que la même mésaventure soit arrivée à BHL ou Finkielkraut, cela aurait fait la Une de tous les journaux et toute la classe politique aurait manifesté sa solidarité.

Selon vous, il faut évoquer tous les racismes. Quel est votre point de vue sur le racisme anti-blanc?

Il peut y avoir des arabes ou des noirs qui soient racistes à l’égard de ceux qui sont différents d’eux. Il peut donc y avoir des blancs victimes de racisme. Mais il n’y a pas un racisme anti-blanc puissant, structuré, s’appuyant sur de nombreux textes, se développant sur les réseaux sociaux, relayé par la presse, soutenu par des déclarations d’hommes politiques, etc. Les blancs en France ne font pas l’objet de discriminations.

Vous avez eu beaucoup de difficultés pour faire éditer votre livre. Certains sujets restent-ils tabous en France? Pourquoi?

Nombreux sont ceux qui ont payé un prix fort pour avoir osé critiquer le gouvernement israélien.

Le conflit israélo-palestinien déclenchant les passions, beaucoup de gens veulent se tenir à l’abri à partir du moment où la critiques politiques du gouvernement israélien est très rapidement assimilée à de l’antisémitisme. Beaucoup de gens ne veulent pas prendre le risque d’être étiquetés de façon si infamante.

La presse française est pourtant loin d’être complaisante à l’égard du gouvernement israelien …

Je ne connais pas d’autres sujets qui paraissent aussi risqués pour les responsables politiques et les médias. Je ne connais pas de cas où des responsables politiques , des journalistes, des universitaires, qui se seraient signalés par un engagement profond, voire inconditionnel, à l’égard d’Israël, en aurait subi des sanctions personnelles ou professionnelles. Nombreux sont ceux qui ont payé un prix fort pour avoir osé critiquer le gouvernement israélien. Il est d’ailleurs assez paradoxal qu’en France, il soit moins risqué pour quiconque de critiquer les autorités nationales que celle d’un pays étranger, en l’occurrence Israël. Je connais beaucoup de personnes qui disent être entièrement d’accord avec mes analyses mais ne veulent pas le déclarer publiquement de peur de représailles. Je pense qu’à terme cette stratégie est très dangereuse même si elle peut s’avérer favorable à court terme à la protection du gouvernement israélien.

Voir par ailleurs:

L’incendie du centre juif était une banale vengeance
La destruction d’un centre social juif à Paris il y a dix jours n’était pas un acte antisémite. Un suspect, ancien gardien du local, de confession juive, était toujours en garde à vue hier soir. Il aurait saccagé les lieux par dépit après son éviction

Christophe Dubois et Geoffroy Tomasovitch

le Parisien

31.08.2004
L’AFFAIRE avait soulevé l’indignation de l’ensemble de la classe politique et des instances religieuses, de Paris à Tel-Aviv. Elle avait relancé le débat sur la montée de l’antisémitisme en France… Finalement, la destruction d’un centre social juif, cible d’un incendie volontaire la nuit du 21 au 22 août derniers dans le XIe arrondissement de Paris, aurait pour origine une banale vengeance personnelle.
C’est désormais la piste privilégiée avec, au coeur de l’enquête, un ancien employé du centre dont les responsables avaient la ferme intention de se séparer.

Des indices matériels

Hier, Raphaël B., un juif séfarade de 52 ans, s’est présenté spontanément à la brigade criminelle à Paris. Natif de Casablanca au Maroc, ce gardien occasionnel du local de la rue Popincourt se savait recherché par la police judiciaire. La brigade criminelle avait resserré ses investigations « à partir de l’enquête de voisinage, des analyses des faits et des témoignages des individus qui fréquentent le centre». Depuis vendredi dernier, une fiche de recherche avait été établie à son nom. Ce sont finalement des membres du centre social qui l’ont convaincu de se présenter au quai des Orfèvres. Raphaël B., qui venait de perdre son appartement, entretenait des relations ombrageuses avec les gestionnaires du centre. Au point que ces derniers avaient décidé de se séparer de lui. Le quinquagénaire, présenté comme un « peu simplet » et « plus ou moins sans domicile fixe », n’aurait pas supporté cette idée, assouvissant sa vengeance en s’attaquant au local de la rue Popincourt souillé par des inscriptions antisémites puis dévasté par le feu.

Selon une source policière, le suspect, « pas causant du tout », n’a pas reconnu l’incendie lors de ses premières heures de garde à vue. Cependant, des indices matériels semblent le désigner. Les policiers ont retrouvé à son domicile, un logement mis à sa disposition par le centre, les clés de la porte de service. Elle avait été retrouvée ouverte par les sapeurs-pompiers à leur arrivée, contrairement à la porte principale. Seules quatre ou cinq personnes possédaient ce trousseau. Toujours chez Raphaël B., les enquêteurs ont mis la main sur deux feutres, un rouge et un noir, qui pourraient correspondre à ceux qui ont servi à maculer le mur du centre social de croix gammées dessinées à l’envers et d’inscriptions antisémites truffées de fautes d’orthographe. Des analyses scientifiques devraient permettre de confirmer formellement ce point.Un « contexte tendu »

Selon nos informations, l’homme a fini par admettre du bout des lèvres être l’auteur de ces inscriptions. Enfin, les policiers disposent d’un autre élément à charge : ils ont localisé l’endroit où le suspect aurait acheté le liquide – de l’essence automobile – utilisé pour allumer le feu.

Le tournant pris par l’enquête semble définitivement contredire la thèse d’un acte antisémite, avancée publiquement par certains, haut et fort et un peu hâtivement. « Les collègues de la Crim n’en ont que plus de mérite. Il n’est pas facile de travailler dans un contexte aussi tendu», relève un policier parisien.

Plusieurs affaires récentes se sont ainsi « dégonflées » après avoir été présentées comme des actes antisémites. Tout le monde se rappelle l’indignation générale soulevée en juillet dernier par le récit de Marie Leblanc, cette jeune femme qui se disait victime d’une sauvage agression dans le RER D. La mythomane avait rapidement avoué aux policiers avoir tout inventé. Quelques jours plus tôt, l’agression à coups de couteau d’un lycéen juif à Epinay (Seine-Saint-Denis) avait provoqué des réactions d’une pareille ampleur. Or, l’auteur, un déséquilibré, ne s’en prenait qu’à ceux ayant le malheur de croiser son chemin…

« Tout cela ne doit pas jeter de discrédit sur la lutte contre l’antisémitisme », a mis en garde hier l’Union des étudiants juifs de France. Car le phénomène est bien réel et en hausse : le ministère de la Justice a déjà recensé 298 actes antisémites depuis début 2004.

Voir encore:

Incendie du centre juif: l’employé inculpé

la Libre Belgique

03 septembre 2004

DIX JOURS APRÈS L’INCENDIE DU CENTRE SOCIAL JUIF DE LA RUE POPINCOURT dans le XIe arrondissement de Paris, Raphaël Benmoha, un homme de confession juive âgé de 52 ans, a été mis en examen mercredi soir par un juge d’instruction parisien et écroué pour avoir mis le feu à l’immeuble. Raphaël Benmoha, qui a nié les faits tout au long des 48 heures de garde à vue à la brigade criminelle, est désormais poursuivi pour «destruction de biens appartenant à autrui par l’effet d’un incendie de nature à créer un danger pour des personnes», a-t-on indiqué de sources judiciaires. Les expertises ont conforté les policiers dans leurs certitudes quant à la culpabilité du suspect. Ce dernier se serait notamment inspiré d’un épisode de la série télévisée de France 2, «PJ», tourné l’an dernier au centre de la rue Popincourt. Cet épisode, qui n’a pas été diffusé dans un contexte tendu à la demande de la communauté juive, montre un feu dans le centre social juif provoqué par un employé licencié.


Immigration: Qui sont les racistes ? (Who are the bigots ? While the Obama Administration simply chooses not to enforce existing laws and Silicon Valley and Wall Street pity the poor immigrants)

13 juillet, 2014
http://www.truthrevolt.org/sites/default/files/images/Ramirez%202(1).jpg
http://www.truthrevolt.org/sites/default/files/images/mckee.jpg
Ce ne sont pas les différences qui provoquent les conflits mais leur effacement. René Girard
En présence de la diversité, nous nous replions sur nous-mêmes. Nous agissons comme des tortues. L’effet de la diversité est pire que ce qui avait été imaginé. Et ce n’est pas seulement que nous ne faisons plus confiance à ceux qui ne sont pas comme nous. Dans les communautés diverses, nous ne faisons plus confiance à ceux qui nous ressemblent. Robert Putnam
Les Israéliens ne savent pas que le peuple palestinien a progressé dans ses recherches sur la mort. Il a développé une industrie de la mort qu’affectionnent toutes nos femmes, tous nos enfants, tous nos vieillards et tous nos combattants. Ainsi, nous avons formé un bouclier humain grâce aux femmes et aux enfants pour dire à l’ennemi sioniste que nous tenons à la mort autant qu’il tient à la vie. Fathi Hammad (responsable du Hamas, mars 2008)
Cela prouve le caractère de notre noble peuple, combattant du djihad, qui défend ses droits et ses demeures le torse nu, avec son sang. La politique d’un peuple qui affronte les avions israéliens la poitrine nue, pour protéger ses habitations, s’est révélée efficace contre l’occupation. Cette politique reflète la nature de notre peuple brave et courageux. Nous, au Hamas, appelons notre peuple à adopter cette politique, pour protéger les maisons palestiniennes. Sami Abu Zuhri (porte-parole du Hamas)
Depuis le début de l’opération, au moins 35 bâtiments résidentiels auraient été visés et détruits, entraînant dans la majorité des pertes civiles enregistrées jusqu’à présent, y compris une attaque le 8 Juillet à Khan Younis qui a tué sept civils, dont trois enfants, et blessé 25 autres. Dans la plupart des cas, avant les attaques, les habitants ont été avertis de quitter, que ce soit via des appels téléphoniques de l’armée d’Israël ou par des tirs de missiles d’avertissement. Rapport ONU (09.07.14)
Mais pourquoi n’appelle-t-on pas ce mur, qui sépare les Gazaouites de leurs frères égyptiens "mur de la honte" ou "de l’apartheid"? Liliane Messika (Primo-Europe)
Dieu, source de tensions, précisément au-dessus de ce mur, surplombé par la coupole du Dome, un lieu saint islamique contrôlé par la police israélienne. Cette Esplanade des mosquées interdite de fait à des milliers de musulmans exclus de la ville par cet autre mur érigé par Israël à l’est des remparts.  (…) Le dernier-né des murs de Jérusalem travesti en toile géante par des artistes de rue, rêvant de faire tomber cette muraille un jour prochain peut-être … Patrick Fandio
The idea that Palestinians use their children as human shields is racist and reprehensible. And the idea that the Israelis are somehow spewing this and we’re to believe it is also racist. … I somehow do not believe, though, that people are going to listen to somebody who says stay inside while your house is being bombed. People don’t want to die, Jake. And the fact that the Israelis continue to drop bombs on them doesn’t make them want to die any more. It’s simply a fact that what the Israelis are doing is they’re dropping bombs of a magnitude that we have never seen before on a captive civilian child population. Diana Buttu (human rights attorney and a former legal adviser to the PLO)
Washington va bientôt cesser d’expulser de jeunes immigrés sans papiers Cette annonce prochaine de Barack Obama pourrait renforcer sa popularité auprès de l’électorat Hispanique à cinq mois de la présidentielle.Les Etats-Unis vont cesser d’expulser de jeunes immigrés sans papiers sur la base de critères précis. Une décision favorable aux Hispaniques à l’approche de l’élection présidentielle de novembre. Cette annonce s’appliquera aux mineurs qui sont arrivés dans le pays avant l’âge de 16 ans, sont actuellement âgés de moins de trente ans, scolarisés ou ayant obtenu leur baccalauréat et n’ayant aucun antécédent judiciaire, ont expliqué vendredi 15 juin des responsables américains, avant une annonce en ce sens du président Barack Obama. Cette mesure, qui devrait susciter l’opposition vigoureuse des Républicains, peut permettre au président-candidat de renforcer sa popularité auprès des jeunes et des Hispaniques, dont le soutien peut s’avérer crucial dans certains Etats-clés. Le Nouvel Observateur (15.06.12)
Most Americans believe that our country has a clear and present interest in enacting immigration legislation that is both humane to immigrants living here and a contribution to the well-being of our citizens. Reaching these goals is possible. Our present policy, however, fails badly on both counts. We believe it borders on insanity to train intelligent and motivated people in our universities — often subsidizing their education — and then to deport them when they graduate. Many of these people, of course, want to return to their home country — and that’s fine. But for those who wish to stay and work in computer science or technology, fields badly in need of their services, let’s roll out the welcome mat. A “talented graduate” reform was included in a bill that the Senate approved last year by a 68-to-32 vote. It would remove the worldwide cap on the number of visas that could be awarded to legal immigrants who had earned a graduate degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States, provided they had an offer of employment. The bill also included a sensible plan that would have allowed illegal residents to obtain citizenship, though only after they had earned the right to do so. Americans are a forgiving and generous people, and who among us is not happy that their forebears — whatever their motivation or means of entry — made it to our soil? For the future, the United States should take all steps to ensure that every prospective immigrant follows all rules and that people breaking these rules, including any facilitators, are severely punished. No one wants a replay of the present mess. We also believe that America’s self-interest should be reflected in our immigration policy. For example, the EB-5 “immigrant investor program,” created by Congress in 1990, was intended to allow a limited number of foreigners with financial resources or unique abilities to move to our country, bringing with them substantial and enduring purchasing power. Reports of fraud have surfaced with this program, and we believe it should be reformed to prevent abuse but also expanded to become more effective. People willing to invest in America and create jobs deserve the opportunity to do so. Their citizenship could be provisional — dependent, for example, on their making investments of a certain size in new businesses or homes. Expanded investments of that kind would help us jolt the demand side of our economy. These immigrants would impose minimal social costs on the United States, compared with the resources they would contribute. New citizens like these would make hefty deposits in our economy, not withdrawals. Whatever the precise provisions of a law, it’s time for the House to draft and pass a bill that reflects both our country’s humanity and its self-interest. Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates
Illegal and illiberal immigration exists and will continue to expand because too many special interests are invested in it. It is one of those rare anomalies — the farm bill is another — that crosses political party lines and instead unites disparate elites through their diverse but shared self-interests: live-and-let-live profits for some and raw political power for others. For corporate employers, millions of poor foreign nationals ensure cheap labor, with the state picking up the eventual social costs. For Democratic politicos, illegal immigration translates into continued expansion of favorable political demography in the American Southwest. For ethnic activists, huge annual influxes of unassimilated minorities subvert the odious melting pot and mean continuance of their own self-appointed guardianship of salad-bowl multiculturalism. Meanwhile, the upper middle classes in coastal cocoons enjoy the aristocratic privileges of having plenty of cheap household help, while having enough wealth not to worry about the social costs of illegal immigration in terms of higher taxes or the problems in public education, law enforcement, and entitlements. No wonder our elites wink and nod at the supposed realities in the current immigration bill, while selling fantasies to the majority of skeptical Americans. Victor Davis Hanson
Who are the bigots — the rude and unruly protestors who scream and swarm drop-off points and angrily block immigration authority buses to prevent the release of children into their communities, or the shrill counter-protestors who chant back “Viva La Raza” (“Long Live the Race”)? For that matter, how does the racialist term “La Raza” survive as an acceptable title of a national lobby group in this politically correct age of anger at the Washington Redskins football brand? How can American immigration authorities simply send immigrant kids all over the United States and drop them into communities without firm guarantees of waiting sponsors or family? If private charities did that, would the operators be jailed? Would American parents be arrested for putting their unescorted kids on buses headed out of state? Liberal elites talk down to the cash-strapped middle class about their illiberal anger over the current immigration crisis. But most sermonizers are hypocritical. Take Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of the House. She lectures about the need for near-instant amnesty for thousands streaming across the border. But Pelosi is a multimillionaire, and thus rich enough not to worry about the increased costs and higher taxes needed to offer instant social services to the new arrivals. Progressives and ethnic activists see in open borders extralegal ways to gain future constituents dependent on an ever-growing government, with instilled grudges against any who might not welcome their flouting of U.S. laws. How moral is that? Likewise, the CEOs of Silicon Valley and Wall Street who want cheap labor from south of the border assume that their own offspring’s private academies will not be affected by thousands of undocumented immigrants, that their own neighborhoods will remain non-integrated, and that their own medical services and specialists’ waiting rooms will not be made available to the poor arrivals. … What a strange, selfish, and callous alliance of rich corporate grandees, cynical left-wing politicians, and ethnic chauvinists who have conspired to erode U.S. law for their own narrow interests, all the while smearing those who object as xenophobes, racists, and nativists. Victor Davis Hanson

Attention: un  raciste peut en cacher un autre !

Manifestants qui empêchent l’application de la loi contre les clandestins, gouvernements qui n’appliquent pas ladite loi, parents qui abandonnent leurs enfants aux griffes des passeurs dès leur plus jeune âge, responsables politiques milliardaires prônant l’amnistie, politiciens et militants associatifs lorgnant sur de futurs électeurs, capitalistes de Silicon Valley et de Wall Street à la recherche de main d’oeuvre bon marché …

A l’heure où, après le Pape et nos médias et pendant que pleuvent les roquettes sur ses villes et que le Hamas vante l’efficacité de sa chair à canon, il est de bon ton de condamner comme raciste toute mesure de l’Etat d’Israël pour se défendre de ceux qui appellent à son annihilation …

Et où, poussés par de véritables mafias de trafiquants humains toujours plus innovants et encouragés par les paroles lénifiantes de dirigeants toujours plus irresponsables (dont notamment une annonce d’amnistie partielle pour les jeunes immigrés irréguliers par le président Obama à cinq mois comme par hasard de sa réélection) …

C’est à présent par centaines à la fois que les nouveaux damnés de la terre s’échouent sur nos côtes ou s’attaquent à nos murs de la honte (pardon: "barrières de sécurité") …

Petite remise des pendules à l’heure avec l’historien militaire américain Victor Davis Hanson …

Qui, rappelant les intérêts politiques ou économiques bien compris de ceux qui n’ont jamais de mots assez durs pour stigmatiser l’intolérance des masses, montre que les racistes ne sont pas toujours ceux que l’on croit …

The Moral Crisis on Our Southern Border
A perfect storm of special interests have hijacked U.S. immigration law
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online
July 10, 2014

No one knows just how many tens of thousands of Central American nationals — most of them desperate, unescorted children and teens — are streaming across America’s southern border. Yet this phenomenon offers us a proverbial teachable moment about the paradoxes and hypocrisies of Latin American immigration to the U.S.

For all the pop romance in Latin America associated with Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba, few Latinos prefer to immigrate to such communist utopias or to socialist spin-offs like Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, or Peru.

Instead, hundreds of thousands of poor people continue to risk danger to enter democratic, free-market America, which they have often been taught back home is the source of their misery. They either believe that America’s supposedly inadequate social safety net is far better than the one back home, or that its purportedly cruel free market gives them more opportunities than anywhere in Latin America — or both.

Mexico strictly enforces some of the harshest immigration laws in the world that either summarily deport or jail most who dare to cross Mexican borders illegally, much less attempt to work inside Mexico or become politically active. If America were to emulate Mexico’s immigration policies, millions of Mexican nationals living in the U.S. immediately would be sent home.

How, then, are tens of thousands of Central American children crossing with impunity hundreds of miles of Mexican territory, often sitting atop Mexican trains? Does Mexico believe that the massive influxes will serve to render U.S. immigration law meaningless, and thereby completely shred an already porous border? Is Mexico simply ensuring that the surge of poorer Central Americans doesn’t dare stop in Mexico on its way north?

The media talks of a moral crisis on the border. It is certainly that, but not entirely in the way we are told. What sort of callous parents simply send their children as pawns northward without escort, in selfish hopes of soon winning for themselves either remittances or eventual passage to the U.S? What sort of government allows its vulnerable youth to pack up and leave, without taking any responsibility for such mass flight?

Here in the U.S., how can our government simply choose not to enforce existing laws? In reaction, could U.S. citizens emulate Washington’s ethics and decide not to pay their taxes, or to disregard traffic laws, or to build homes without permits? Who in the pen-and-phone era of Obama gets to decide which law to follow and which to ignore?

Who are the bigots — the rude and unruly protestors who scream and swarm drop-off points and angrily block immigration authority buses to prevent the release of children into their communities, or the shrill counter-protestors who chant back “Viva La Raza” (“Long Live the Race”)? For that matter, how does the racialist term “La Raza” survive as an acceptable title of a national lobby group in this politically correct age of anger at the Washington Redskins football brand?

How can American immigration authorities simply send immigrant kids all over the United States and drop them into communities without firm guarantees of waiting sponsors or family? If private charities did that, would the operators be jailed? Would American parents be arrested for putting their unescorted kids on buses headed out of state?

Liberal elites talk down to the cash-strapped middle class about their illiberal anger over the current immigration crisis. But most sermonizers are hypocritical. Take Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of the House. She lectures about the need for near-instant amnesty for thousands streaming across the border. But Pelosi is a multimillionaire, and thus rich enough not to worry about the increased costs and higher taxes needed to offer instant social services to the new arrivals.

Progressives and ethnic activists see in open borders extralegal ways to gain future constituents dependent on an ever-growing government, with instilled grudges against any who might not welcome their flouting of U.S. laws. How moral is that?

Likewise, the CEOs of Silicon Valley and Wall Street who want cheap labor from south of the border assume that their own offspring’s private academies will not be affected by thousands of undocumented immigrants, that their own neighborhoods will remain non-integrated, and that their own medical services and specialists’ waiting rooms will not be made available to the poor arrivals.

Have immigration-reform advocates such as Mark Zuckerberg or Michael Bloomberg offered one of their mansions as a temporary shelter for needy Central American immigrants? Couldn’t Yale or Stanford welcome homeless immigrants into their now under-occupied summertime dorms? Why aren’t elite academies such as Sidwell Friends or the Menlo School offering their gymnasia as places of refuge for tens of thousands of school-age Central Americans?

What a strange, selfish, and callous alliance of rich corporate grandees, cynical left-wing politicians, and ethnic chauvinists who have conspired to erode U.S. law for their own narrow interests, all the while smearing those who object as xenophobes, racists, and nativists.

Voir aussi:

Break the Immigration Impasse
Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates on Immigration Reform

By SHELDON G. ADELSON, WARREN E. BUFFETT and BILL GATES

The NYT

JULY 10, 2014

AMERICAN citizens are paying 535 people to take care of the legislative needs of the country. We are getting shortchanged. Here’s an example: On June 10, an incumbent congressman in Virginia lost a primary election in which his opponent garnered only 36,105 votes. Immediately, many Washington legislators threw up their hands and declared that this one event would produce paralysis in the United States Congress for at least five months. In particular, they are telling us that immigration reform — long overdue — is now hopeless.

Americans deserve better than this.

The three of us vary in our politics and would differ also in our preferences about the details of an immigration reform bill. But we could without doubt come together to draft a bill acceptable to each of us. We hope that fact holds a lesson: You don’t have to agree on everything in order to cooperate on matters about which you are reasonably close to agreement. It’s time that this brand of thinking finds its way to Washington.

Most Americans believe that our country has a clear and present interest in enacting immigration legislation that is both humane to immigrants living here and a contribution to the well-being of our citizens. Reaching these goals is possible. Our present policy, however, fails badly on both counts.

We believe it borders on insanity to train intelligent and motivated people in our universities — often subsidizing their education — and then to deport them when they graduate. Many of these people, of course, want to return to their home country — and that’s fine. But for those who wish to stay and work in computer science or technology, fields badly in need of their services, let’s roll out the welcome mat.

A “talented graduate” reform was included in a bill that the Senate approved last year by a 68-to-32 vote. It would remove the worldwide cap on the number of visas that could be awarded to legal immigrants who had earned a graduate degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States, provided they had an offer of employment. The bill also included a sensible plan that would have allowed illegal residents to obtain citizenship, though only after they had earned the right to do so.

Americans are a forgiving and generous people, and who among us is not happy that their forebears — whatever their motivation or means of entry — made it to our soil?

For the future, the United States should take all steps to ensure that every prospective immigrant follows all rules and that people breaking these rules, including any facilitators, are severely punished. No one wants a replay of the present mess.

We also believe that America’s self-interest should be reflected in our immigration policy. For example, the EB-5 “immigrant investor program,” created by Congress in 1990, was intended to allow a limited number of foreigners with financial resources or unique abilities to move to our country, bringing with them substantial and enduring purchasing power. Reports of fraud have surfaced with this program, and we believe it should be reformed to prevent abuse but also expanded to become more effective. People willing to invest in America and create jobs deserve the opportunity to do so.

Their citizenship could be provisional — dependent, for example, on their making investments of a certain size in new businesses or homes. Expanded investments of that kind would help us jolt the demand side of our economy. These immigrants would impose minimal social costs on the United States, compared with the resources they would contribute. New citizens like these would make hefty deposits in our economy, not withdrawals.

Whatever the precise provisions of a law, it’s time for the House to draft and pass a bill that reflects both our country’s humanity and its self-interest. Differences with the Senate should be hammered out by members of a conference committee, committed to a deal.

A Congress that does nothing about these problems is extending an irrational policy by default; that is, if lawmakers don’t act to change it, it stays the way it is, irrational. The current stalemate — in which greater pride is attached to thwarting the opposition than to advancing the nation’s interests — is depressing to most Americans and virtually all of its business managers. The impasse certainly depresses the three of us.

Signs of a more productive attitude in Washington — which passage of a well-designed immigration bill would provide — might well lift spirits and thereby stimulate the economy. It’s time for 535 of America’s citizens to remember what they owe to the 318 million who employ them.

How did such immoral special interests hijack U.S. immigration law and arbitrarily decide for 300 million Americans who earns entry into America, under what conditions, and from where?

Voir également:

Washington va bientôt cesser d’expulser de jeunes immigrés sans papiers
Cette annonce prochaine de Barack Obama pourrait renforcer sa popularité auprès de l’électorat Hispanique à cinq mois de la présidentielle.
Le Nouvel Observateur avec AFP
15-06-2012

Les Etats-Unis vont cesser d’expulser de jeunes immigrés sans papiers sur la base de critères précis. Une décision favorable aux Hispaniques à l’approche de l’élection présidentielle de novembre.

Cette annonce s’appliquera aux mineurs qui sont arrivés dans le pays avant l’âge de 16 ans, sont actuellement âgés de moins de trente ans, scolarisés ou ayant obtenu leur baccalauréat et n’ayant aucun antécédent judiciaire, ont expliqué vendredi 15 juin des responsables américains, avant une annonce en ce sens du président Barack Obama.

Cette mesure, qui devrait susciter l’opposition vigoureuse des Républicains, peut permettre au président-candidat de renforcer sa popularité auprès des jeunes et des Hispaniques, dont le soutien peut s’avérer crucial dans certains Etats-clés.
"Nos lois en matière d’immigration doivent être appliquées de façon ferme et judicieuse", a déclaré la secrétaire à la Sécurité intérieure, Janet Napolitano, chargée des questions d’immigration

"Mais elles ne sont pas conçues pour être appliquées aveuglément, sans tenir compte des circonstances individuelles de chaque cas", a-t-elle poursuivi. "Elles ne sont pas non plus conçues pour perdre des jeunes gens productifs et les renvoyer vers des pays où ils n’ont peut-être pas vécu ou dont ils ne parlent pas la langue".

Cette décision consacre les objectifs d’un projet de loi — baptisé DREAM Act — soutenu par la Maison Blanche et qui permettrait, s’il était voté, aux jeunes immigrés arrivés avec leurs parents de devenir des résidents permanents du pays.

Ce projet de loi, auquel le candidat républicain Mitt Romney et les conservateurs s’opposent, n’a pas obtenu l’aval du Congrès.

Voir encore:

Migration
The mobile masses
The costs and benefits of mass immigration
The Economist
Sep 28th 2013

Exodus: How Migration is Changing Our World. By Paul Collier. Oxford University Press USA; 309 pages; $27.95. Allen Lane; £20. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk

PAUL COLLIER is one of the world’s most thoughtful economists. His books consistently illuminate and provoke. “Exodus” is no exception. Most polemics about migration argue either that it is good or bad. They address the wrong question, says Mr Collier. The right one is: how much more migration would be beneficial, and to whom?

He examines this question from three perspectives: the migrants themselves, the countries they leave and the countries to which they move.

Migration makes migrants better off. If it did not, they would go home. Those who move from poor countries to rich ones quickly start earning rich-country wages, which may be ten times more than they could have earned back home. “Their productivity rockets upwards,” says Mr Collier, because they are “escaping from countries with dysfunctional social models”.

This is a crucial insight. Bar a few oil sheikhdoms, rich countries are rich because they are well organised, and poor countries are poor because they are not. A factory worker in Nigeria produces less than he would in New Zealand because the society around him is dysfunctional: the power keeps failing, spare parts do not arrive on time and managers are busy battling bribe-hungry bureaucrats. When a rich country lets in immigrants, it is extending to them the benefits of good governance and the rule of law.

What of the countries that receive immigrants? Mr Collier argues that they have benefited from past immigration, but will probably suffer if it continues unchecked.

So far, immigrants have typically filled niches in the labour market that complement rather than displace the native-born. For most citizens of rich countries, immigration has meant slightly higher wages, as fresh brains with new ideas make local firms more productive. It may have dragged down wages for the least-skilled, but only by a tiny amount.

However, says Mr Collier, continued mass immigration threatens the cultural cohesion of rich countries. Some diversity adds spice: think of Thai restaurants or Congolese music. But a large unabsorbed diaspora may cling to the cultural norms that made its country of origin dysfunctional, and spread them to the host country. Furthermore, when a society becomes too heterogeneous, its people may be unwilling to pay for a generous welfare state, he says. Support for redistribution dwindles if taxpayers think the beneficiaries will be people unlike themselves.

Finally, Mr Collier looks at the effect of emigration on poor countries. Up to a point, it makes them better off. Emigrants send good ideas and hard currency home. The prospect of emigration prompts locals to study hard and learn useful skills; many then stay behind and enrich the domestic talent pool instead. But if too many educated people leave, poor countries are worse off. Big emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil benefit from emigration, but the smallest and poorest nations do not: Haiti, for example, has lost 85% of its educated people.

Mr Collier’s most arresting argument is that past waves of migration have created the conditions under which migration will henceforth accelerate. Emigration is less daunting if you can move to a neighbourhood where lots of your compatriots have already settled. There, you can speak your native language, eat familiar food and ask your cousins to help you find a job. Because many Western countries allow recent immigrants to sponsor visas for their relatives, Mr Collier frets that large, unassimilated diasporas will keep growing. And as they grow, they will become harder to assimilate.

Mr Collier is plainly not a bigot and his arguments should be taken seriously. Nonetheless, he is far too gloomy. He lives in Britain, which is nearly 90% white and has seen substantial immigration only relatively recently. His worries are mostly about the harm that immigration might do, rather than any it has already done. Indeed, the evidence he marshals suggests that so far it has been hugely beneficial.

It is possible that Britain will prove unable to cope with greater diversity in the future, but one cannot help noticing that the most diverse part of the country—London, which is less than 50% white British—is also by far the richest. It is also rather livelier than the lily-white counties that surround it.

America’s population consists almost entirely of immigrants and their descendants, yet it is rich, dynamic, peaceful and united by abundant national pride. Every past wave of newcomers has assimilated; why should the next one be different? The recent history of Canada, Australia and New Zealand also suggests that large-scale immigration is compatible with prosperity and social cohesion.

Mr Collier is right that there is a tension between mass immigration and the welfare state. A rich country that invited all and sundry to live off the dole would not stay rich for long. Immigrants assimilate better in America than in most European countries in part because welfare is less generous there. In parts of Europe it is possible for able-bodied newcomers to subsist on handouts, which infuriates the native-born. In America, by and large, immigrants have to work, so they do. Through work, they swiftly integrate into society.

Mr Collier approves of the European-style welfare state, so his policy prescriptions are aimed largely at preventing immigration from undermining it. He would peg the number of immigrants to how well previous arrivals have integrated. He would welcome quite a lot of skilled migrants and students (a good idea) but curb family reunions (which sounds harsh). He would allow in asylum-seekers from war zones but send them back when peace returns to their homelands. (This, he explains, would help their homelands rebuild themselves.) As for illegal immigrants, he would offer them the chance to register as guest workers who pay taxes but receive no social benefits.

Insisting that immigrants work is sound policy, but the tone of “Exodus” is problematic. Mr Collier finds endless objections to a policy—more or less unlimited immigration—that no country has adopted. In the process, he exaggerates the possible risks of mobility and underplays its proven benefits.

Voir encore:

Obama administration to stop deporting some young illegal immigrants
Tom Cohen
CNN
June 16, 2012

In an election-year policy change, the Obama administration said Friday it will stop deporting young illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children if they meet certain requirements.

The shift on the politically volatile issue of immigration policy prompted immediate praise from Latino leaders who have criticized Congress and the White House for inaction, while Republicans reacted with outrage, saying the move amounts to amnesty — a negative buzz word among conservatives — and usurps congressional authority.

Those who might benefit from the change expressed joy and relief, with celebratory demonstrations forming outside the White House and elsewhere.

Pedro Ramirez, a student who has campaigned for such a move, said he was "definitely speechless," then added: "It’s great news."

In a Rose Garden address Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama said the changes caused by his executive order will make immigration policy "more fair, more efficient and more just."

"This is not amnesty. This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix," Obama said to take on conservative criticism of the step. "This is a temporary stopgap measure."

Noting children of illegal immigrants "study in our schools, play in our neighborhoods, befriend our kids, pledge allegiance to our flag," Obama said, "it makes no sense to expel talented young people who are, for all intents and purposes, Americans."

When a reporter interrupted Obama with a hostile question, the president admonished him and declared that the policy change is "the right thing to do."

Under the new policy, people younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military can get a two-year deferral from deportation, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.

It also will allow those meeting the requirements to apply for work permits, Napolitano said, adding that participants must be in the United States now and be able to prove they have been living in the country continuously for at least five years.

The change is part of a department effort to target resources at illegal immigrants who pose a greater threat, such as criminals and those trying to enter the country now, Napolitano said, adding it was "well within the framework of existing laws."

The move addresses a major concern of the Hispanic community and mimics some of the provisions of a Democratic proposal called the DREAM Act that has failed to win enough Republican support to gain congressional approval.

Obama has been criticized by Hispanic-American leaders for an overall increase in deportations of illegal aliens in recent years. Last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed 396,906 illegal immigrants, the largest number in the agency’s history.

Friday’s policy change is expected to potentially affect 800,000 people, an administration official told CNN on background.

Both Obama and Napolitano called for Congress to pass the DREAM Act, which would put into law similar steps for children of illegal immigrants to continue living and working in the country.

"I’ve been dealing with immigration enforcement for 20 years and the plain fact of the matter is that the law that we’re working under doesn’t match the economic needs of the country today and the law enforcement needs of the country today," Napolitano told CNN. "But as someone who is charged with enforcing the immigration system, we’re setting good, strong, sensible priorities, and again these young people really are not the individuals that the immigration removal process was designed to focus upon."

Republicans who have blocked Democratic efforts on immigration reform immediately condemned the move, with some calling it an improper maneuver to skirt congressional opposition.

Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a leading GOP foe of Democratic proposals for immigration reform, threatened to file a lawsuit asking the courts to stop Obama "from implementing his unconstitutional and unlawful policy."

In a Twitter post, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called the decision "a classic Barack Obama move of choosing politics over leadership," while House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, called the change a "decision to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants."

"Many illegal immigrants will falsely claim they came here as children and the federal government has no way to check whether their claims are true," Smith said in a statement. "And once these illegal immigrants are granted deferred action, they can then apply for a work permit, which the administration routinely grants 90% of the time."

Others complained the move will flood an already poor job market for young Americans with illegal immigrants.

However, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who sponsored the DREAM Act, welcomed the announcement that he said "will give these young immigrants their chance to come out of the shadows and be part of the only country they’ve ever called home."

He rejected the GOP argument that Obama’s move was all about politics, noting "there will be those who vote against him because of this decision, too. That’s what leadership is about."

Durbin also noted that Obama repeatedly called for Congress to pass immigration reform legislation, including the DREAM Act. Now that it is clear no progress would occur this Congress, the president acted, Durbin said.

Obama has used executive orders more frequently in recent months to launch initiatives he advocates that have been stymied by the deep partisan divide in Congress. A White House campaign of such steps involving economic programs was labeled "We Can’t Wait."

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who has been working on an alternative version of the DREAM Act, criticized Obama for taking a piecemeal approach Friday. He said in a statement that "by once again ignoring the Constitution and going around Congress, this short-term policy will make it harder to find a balanced and responsible long-term one."

Rubio is considered a possible running mate for certain GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who rejected the DREAM Act in the heat of the Republican primary campaign but has since expressed willingness to consider whatever Rubio proposes.

Later Friday, Romney told reporters that the issue needs more substantive action than an executive order, which can be replaced by a subsequent president.

He said he agrees with Rubio’s statement that Obama’s move makes finding a long-term solution more difficult. As president, Romney said, he would seek to provide "certainty and clarity for people who come into this country through no fault of their own by virtue of the actions of their parents."

Hispanics make up the fastest-growing immigrant population in the country, and the Latino vote is considered a crucial bloc for the November presidential election.

A spokeswoman for a major Latino group, the National Council of La Raza, hailed the administration’s move.

"In light of the congressional inaction on immigration reform, this is the right step for the administration to take at this time," said NCLR spokeswoman Laura Vazquez.

Immigration lawyers also called the change a major step in the right direction. However, one immigration expert warned that the new policy does not guarantee the result sought by participants.

"I worry that the announcement will be implemented more stingily than the administration would like," said Stephen Yale-Loehr, who teaches immigration law at Cornell Law School.

Meanwhile, some evangelical Christian leaders who recently met at the White House to discuss immigration issues also endorsed Friday’s move, along with the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops and some Jewish groups.

For Jose Luis Zelaya, who came to the United States illegally from Honduras at age 14 to find his mother, also an illegal immigrant, the new policy means that "maybe I will be able to work without being afraid that someone may deport me."

"There is no fear anymore," he said.

Voir par ailleurs:

A vastly changed Middle East

Caroline B. Glick

The Jerusalem Post

11/21/2013

When America returns, it will likely find a changed regional landscape; nations are disintegrating, only to reintegrate in new groupings.

A week and a half ago, Syria’s Kurds announced they are setting up an autonomous region in northeastern Syria.

The announcement came after the Kurds wrested control over a chain of towns from al-Qaida in the ever metastasizing Syrian civil war.

The Kurds’ announcement enraged their nominal Sunni allies – including the al-Qaida forces they have been combating – in the opposition to the Assad regime. It also rendered irrelevant US efforts to reach a peace deal between the Syrian regime and the rebel forces at a peace conference in Geneva.

But more important than what the Kurds’ action means for the viability of the Obama administration’s Syria policy, it shows just how radically the strategic landscape has changed and continues to change, not just in Syria but throughout the Arab world.

The revolutionary groundswell that has beset the Arab world for the past three years has brought dynamism and uncertainty to a region that has known mainly stasis and status quo for the past 500 years. For 400 years, the Middle East was ruled by the Ottoman Turks. Anticipating the breakup of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, the British and the French quickly carved up the Ottoman possessions, dividing them between themselves. What emerged from their actions were the national borders of the Arab states – and Israel – that have remained largely intact since 1922.

As Yoel Guzansky and Erez Striem from the Institute for National Security Studies wrote in a paper published this week, while the borders of Arab states remain largely unchanged, the old borders no longer reflect the reality on the ground.

“As a result of the regional upheavals, tribal, sectarian, and ethnic identities have become more pronounced than ever, which may well lead to a change in the borders drawn by the colonial powers a century ago that have since been preserved by Arab autocrats.”

Guzansky and Striem explained, “The iron-fisted Arab rulers were an artificial glue of sorts, holding together different, sometimes hostile sects in an attempt to form a single nation state.

Now, the de facto changes in the Middle East map could cause far-reaching geopolitical shifts affecting alliance formations and even the global energy market.”

The writers specifically discussed the breakdown of national governments and the consequent growing irrelevance of national borders in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.

And while it is true that the dissolution of central government authority is most acute in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, in every Arab state national authorities are under siege, stressed, or engaged in countering direct threats to their rule. Although central authorities retain control in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Bahrain, they all contend with unprecedented challenges. As a consequence, today it is impossible to take for granted that the regime’s interests in any Arab state will necessarily direct the actions of the residents of that state, or that a regime now in power will remain in power tomorrow.

Guzansky and Striem note that the current state of flux presents Israel with both challenges and opportunities. As they put it, “The disintegration of states represents at least a temporary deterioration in Israel’s strategic situation because it is attended by instability liable to trickle over into neighboring states…. But the changes also mean dissolution of the regular armies that posed a threat in the past and present opportunities for Israel to build relations with different minorities with the potential to seize the reins of government in the future.”

Take the Kurds for example. The empowerment of the Kurds in Syria – as in Iraq – presents a strategic opportunity for Israel. Israel has cultivated and maintained an alliance with the Kurds throughout the region for the past 45 years.

Although Kurdish politics are fraught with internal clashes and power struggles, on balance, the empowerment of the Kurds at the expense of the central governments in Damascus and Baghdad is a major gain for Israel.

And the Kurds are not the only group whose altered status since the onset of the revolutionary instability in the Arab world presents Israel with new opportunities. Among the disparate factions in the disintegrating Arab lands from North Africa to the Persian Gulf are dozens of groups that will be thrilled to receive Israeli assistance and, in return, be willing to cooperate with Israel on a whole range of issues.

To be sure, these new allies are not likely to share Israeli values. And many may be no more than the foreign affairs equivalent of a one-night stand. But Israel also is not obliged to commit itself to any party for the long haul. Transactional alliances are valuable because they are based on shared interests, and they last for as long as the actors perceive those interests as shared ones.

Over the past week, we have seen a similar transformation occurring on a regional and indeed global level, as the full significance of the Obama administration’s withdrawal of US power from the region becomes better understood.

When word got out two weeks ago about the US decision to accept and attempt to push through a deal with Iran that would strip the international sanctions regime of meaning in return for cosmetic Iranian concessions that will not significantly impact Iran’s completion of its nuclear weapons program, attempts were made by some Israeli and many American policy-makers to make light of the significance of President Barack Obama’s moves.

But on Sunday night, Channel 10 reported that far from an opportunistic bid to capitalize on a newfound moderation in Tehran, the draft agreement was the result of months-long secret negotiations between Obama’s consigliere Valerie Jarrett and Iranian negotiators.

According to the report, which was denied by the White House, Jarrett, Obama’s Iranian-born consigliere, conducted secret talks with Iranian negotiators for the past several months. The draft agreement that betrayed US allies throughout the Arab world, and shattered Israeli and French confidence in the US’s willingness to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, was presented to negotiators in Geneva as a fait accompli. Israel and Saudi Arabia, like other US regional allies were left in the dark about its contents. As we saw, it was only after the French and the British divulged the details of the deal to Israel and Saudi Arabia that the Israelis, Saudis and French formed an ad hoc alliance to scuttle the deal at the last moment.

The revelation of Jarrett’s long-standing secret talks with the Iranians showed that the Obama administration’s decision to cut a deal with the mullahs was a well-thought-out, long-term policy to use appeasement of the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism as a means to enable the US to withdraw from the Middle East. The fact that the deal in question would also pave the way for Iran to become a nuclear power, and so imperil American national security, was clearly less of a concern for Obama and his team than realizing their goal of withdrawing the US from the Middle East.

Just as ethnic, regional and religious factions wasted no time filling the vacuum created in the Arab world by the disintegration of central governments, so the states of the region and the larger global community wasted no time finding new allies to replace the United States.

Voicing this new understanding, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday that it is time for Israel to seek out new allies.

In his words, “The ties with the US are deteriorating.

They have problems in North Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Egypt, China, and their own financial and immigration troubles. Thus I ask – what is our place in the international arena? Israel must seek more allies with common interests.”

In seeking to block Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Israel has no lack of allies. America’s withdrawal has caused a regional realignment in which Israel and France are replacing the US as the protectors of the Sunni Arab states of the Persian Gulf.

France has ample reason to act. Iran has attacked French targets repeatedly over the past 34 years. France built Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor while Saddam was at war with Iran.

France has 10 million Muslim citizens who attend mosques financed by Saudi Arabia.

Moreover, France has strong commercial interests in the Persian Gulf. There is no doubt that France will be directly harmed if Iran becomes a nuclear power.

Although Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s meeting Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin did not bring about a realignment of Russian interests with the Franco- Sunni-Israeli anti-Iran consortium, the very fact that Netanyahu went to Moscow sent a clear message to the world community that in its dealings with outside powers, Israel no longer feels itself constrained by its alliance with the US.

And that was really the main purpose of the visit. Netanyahu didn’t care that Putin rejected his position on Iran. Israel didn’t need Russia to block Jarrett’s deal. Iran is no longer interested in even feigning interest in a nuclear deal. It was able to neutralize US power in the region, and cast the US’s regional allies into strategic disarray just by convincing Obama and Jarrett that a deal was in the offing. This is why Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei again threatened to annihilate Israel this week. He doesn’t think he needs to sugar coat his intentions any longer.

It is not that the US has become a nonentity in the region overnight, and despite Obama’s ill-will toward Israel, under his leadership the US has not become a wholly negative actor. The successful Israeli-US test of the David’s Sling short-range ballistic missile interceptor on Wednesday was a clear indication of the prevailing importance of Israel’s ties with the US. So, too, the delivery this week of the first of four US fast missile boats to the Egyptian navy, which will improve Egypt’s ability to secure maritime traffic in the Suez Canal, showed that the US remains a key player in the region. Congress’s unwillingness to bow to Obama’s will and weaken sanctions on Iran similarly is a positive portent for a post-Obama American return to the region.

But when America returns, it will likely find a vastly changed regional landscape. Nations are disintegrating, only to reintegrate in new groupings.

Monolithic regimes are giving way to domestic fissures and generational changes. As for America’s allies, some will welcome its return.

Others will scowl and turn away. All will have managed to survive, and even thrive in the absence of a guiding hand from Washington, and all will consequently need America less.

This changed landscape will in turn require the US to do some long, hard thinking about where its interests lie, and to develop new strategies for advancing them.

So perhaps in the fullness of time, we may all end up better off for this break in US strategic rationality.


Crime d’honneur/Elif Shafak : A ceux qui entendent et à ceux qui voient (Turkish writer takes on honor killings)

21 juin, 2014
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Mal nommer les choses, c’est ajouter au malheur du monde. Camus

Le passé est encore là – simplement, il est inégalement réparti. D’après  William Gibson
Aussi loin qu’il se souvienne, il s’est toujours perçu comme le prince de la maison et sa mère comme celle qui, de façon contestable, le mettait en valeur, était sa protectrice inquiète. J. M. Coetzee (Scènes de la vie d’un jeune garçon)
Quand j’avais sept ans, nous vivions dans une maison de verre. Un de nos voisins, un tailleur de talent, battait souvent sa femme. Le soir, on écoutait les pleurs, les cris, les insultes. Le matin, on vaquait à nos occupations habituelles. Tout le voisinage prétendait n’avoir rien entendu, n’avoir rien vu. Ce roman est dédié à ceux qui entendent et à ceux qui voient. Elif Shafak (Crime d’honneur, exergue)
Ma mère est morte deux fois. Je me suis promis de ne pas permettre qu’on oublie son histoire, mais je n’ai jamais trouvé le temps, la volonté ou le courage de la coucher par écrit. Jusqu’à récemment, je veux dire. (…) Il fallait pourtant que je raconte cette histoire, ne serait-ce qu’à une personne. Il fallait que je l’envoie dans un coin de l’univers où elle pourrait flotter librement, loin de nous. Je la devais à maman, cette liberté. (…) C’est ainsi que, dans le pays où naquirent Destinée-Rose et Assez-Belle, « honneur » était plus qu’un mot. C’était aussi un nom. On pouvait le donner à un enfant, à condition que ce soit un garçon. Les hommes avaient de l’honneur – les vieillards, ceux dans la force de l’âge, même les écoliers, si jeunes que, si on leur appuyait sur le nez, il en sortirait du lait. Les femmes n’avaient pas d’honneur. Elles étaient marquées par la honte. Comme tout le monde le savait, « Honte » était un bien mauvais nom à porter. (…) Son silence le déroutait. Et si elle n’était pas vierge ? Comment pourrait-il vivre avec cette interrogation le reste de sa vie ? Que penserait son frère Tariq quand il apprendrait qu’il s’était trouvé une femme souillée – la réplique exacte de leur mère ? (…) Ce serait une des nombreuses ironies de la vie de Pembe, que ce qu’elle détestait le plus dans la bouche de sa mère, elle allait le répéter à sa fille Esma, mot pour mot, des années plus tard, en Angleterre. Elif Shafak (Crime d’honneur, extrait)
Pourquoi Iskander Tobrak, seize ans, fils aîné et chef d’une famille mi-turque mi-kurde depuis le départ de son père, Adem, a-t-il, en 1978, poignardé à mort sa mère, Pembe ? C’est la question toujours aussi douloureuse que se pose, quatorze ans après les faits et alors qu’elle part chercher Iskander à sa sortie de prison, Esma, sa soeur. Pour tenter d’y répondre, elle doit remonter à leurs propres origines, dans un petit village des bords de l’Euphrate. Pembe et Jamila, son identique jumelle, y sont nées en 1945. Selon leur père, quel que soit le malheur infligé à l’une, elles étaient vouées à souffrir ensemble, et donc deux fois plus… Venu d’Istanbul, le jeune Adem Tobrak s’éprit follement de Jamila, mais celle-ci ayant été, quelques mois plus tôt, enlevée, et sa virginité étant, de ce fait, contestée, il ne put l’épouser et se rabattit sur Pembe. Cette dernière accepta et suivit son mari à Istanbul puis en Grande-Bretagne où, malgré la naissance de trois enfants, la vie du couple ne tarda pas à partir à vau-l’eau… Un roman superbe et bouleversant. L’Actualité littéraire
It’s usually the father, brother or first male cousin who is charged with the actual shooting or stabbing, (but not) the mother who lures the girl home. The religion has failed to address this as a problem and failed to seriously work to abolish it as un-Islamic. Phyllis Chesler
I think that as women we’re strong enough now to not only acknowledge our racism, our class bias and our homophobia but our sexism. The coming generation, and second-wave feminists as well, can acknowledge that women, like men, are aggressive and, like men, are as close to the apes as the angels. Our lived realities have never conformed to the feminist view that women are morally superior to men, are compassionate, nurturing, maternal and also very valiant under siege. This is a myth. (…) Women don’t have to be better than anyone else to deserve human rights. Our failure to look at our own sexism lost us a few inches in our ability to change history in our lifetime. The first thing we do is acknowledge what the truth is, and then we have to not have double standards. We have to try not to use gossip to get rid of a rival, we have to try not to slander the next woman because we’re jealous that she’s pretty or that she got a scholarship. I think we have to learn some of the rules of engagement that men are good at. Women coerce dreadful conformity from each other. I would like us to embrace diversity. Then we could have a more viable, serious feminist movement. (…) Because the stereotypes of women have been so used to justify our subordination and since it was a heady moment in history to suddenly come together with other women in quantum numbers around issues of women’s freedom and human rights, it took a while before each of us in turn started looking at how we treated each other. The unacknowledged aggression and cruelty and sexism among women in general — and that includes feminists — is what drove many an early activist out of what was a real movement. (…) I think it gets worse when it’s women only. Men are happy in a middle-distance ground toward all others. They don’t take anything too personally, and they don’t have to get right into your face, into your business, into your life. Women need to do that. Women, the minute they meet another woman, it’s: she’s going to be my fairy godmother, my best friend, the mother I never had. And when that’s not the case we say, "well, she’s the evil stepmother." (…) I do have a chapter that says if you have a situation that is male-dominated with a few token women, women will not like each other, they will be particularly vicious in how they compete and keep other women down and out. We can’t say how women as a group would behave if overnight they had all the positions that men now have. (…) It helps to understand that in these non-Western countries where you have mothers-in-law dousing daughters-in-law with kerosene for their dowries and we say "how shocking," we have a version here. You have here mothers who think their daughters have to be thin, their daughters have to be pretty and their daughters need to have plastic surgery and their daughters have to focus mainly on the outward appearance and not on inner strength or inner self. It’s not genital mutilation but it’s ultimately a concern with outward appearance for the sake of marriageability.(…) I’m thinking back to the civil rights era and the faces of white mothers who did not want little black children to integrate schools. What should we say about those women who joined the Ku Klux Klan or the Nazi party? You have a lot of women groaning under the yoke of oppression. Nevertheless, there are women who warm the beds and are the partners of men who create orphans. Women are best at collaborating with men who run the world because then we can buy pretty trinkets and have safe homes and nests for ourselves.(…) Women are silenced not because men beat up on us but because we don’t want to be shunned by our little cliques. That applies to all age groups. That’s one of the reasons that women are so conformist and so indirect: we end up sabotaging her rather than risking the loss of her intimate companionship. Women stealing each other’s lovers and spouses and jobs is pandemic. Phyllis Chesler
Les crimes d’honneur sont des actes de violence, le plus souvent des meurtres, commis par les membres masculins d’une famille à l’encontre de ses membres féminins, lorsqu’ils sont perçus comme cause de déshonneur pour la famille tout entière. Une femme peut être la cible d’individus au sein de sa propre famille pour des motifs divers, comprenant : le refus de participer à un mariage arrangé, le refus des faveurs sexuelles, la tentative de divorce — que ce soit dans le cadre de la violence conjugale exercée par son mari ou dans un contexte avéré d’adultère. La simple interprétation selon laquelle son comportement a « déshonoré » sa famille est suffisante pour enclencher une représaille. Human Rights Watch
En général, en Occident, le crime d’honneur varie en fonction de la géographie. Peu coutumier de nos jours dans les régions du Nord, il devient plus intense en descendant vers le Sud (sociétés méditerranéennes et/ou musulmanes, etc..) où les codes d’honneur propres à telle ou telle société traditionnelle ont conservé plus d’importance. C’est ainsi que la vengeance par la justice privée, plus connue sous le nom de vendetta fait partie de la culture de certains groupes ethniques qui se situent dans les Balkans (notamment les régions peuplées d’albanophones), en Turquie (Anatolie, Kurdistan, etc..), le sud de l’Italie et les îles de la Méditerranée (Corse, Sardaigne, Sicile, Crète). Avec l’immigration musulmane (notamment pakistanaise, turque/kurde et arabe), les crimes d’honneur sont réapparus en Europe. En Italie, en 2006, Hina Saleem (it), une jeune pakistanaise de 21 ans, est assassinée à Sarezzo (Lombardie) par ses parents et des membres de sa famille qui n’acceptaient pas sa relation avec un Italien et sa vie jugée "trop occidentale"10. Hina s’était également opposée à un mariage arrangé. Toujours en Italie, en 2009, Sanaa Dafani, une jeune marocaine de 18 ans résidant avec sa famille à Pordenone (N.-E.), est égorgée par son père qui lui reprochait d’être "trop occidentale" et d’avoir une relation avec un Italien11. Il sera condamné définitivement à 30 ans de prison en 201212. En 2010 à Modène (Italie), un pakistanais, aidé de son fils, "punit" à coups de barre d’acier et de pierre son épouse et sa fille qui refusaient un mariage arrangé. La mère succombera à ses blessures13. En Allemagne, en 2005, Hatun Sürücü, une jeune Allemande d’origine turque, est tuée à Berlin par son frère pour « s’être comportée comme une Allemande »14. En Belgique, en 2007, Sadia Sheikh, une pakistanaise de 20 ans, est assassinée à Charleroi (Région wallonne) par des membres de sa famille pour avoir refusé un mariage arrangé15. Aux Pays-Bas, la police estime que treize meurtres ont été commis en 2009 au nom de l’honneur16. En Grande-Bretagne, l’association IKWRO (Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation)) a recensé 2823 agressions (séquestrations, coups, brûlures, homicides) commises en 2010 contre des femmes sous prétexte de "venger l’honneur d’une famille". Wikipedia
Les crimes d’honneur ne sont pas réservés aux provinces reculées du Pakistan, de la Turquie ou de l’Inde. En Europe occidentale aussi, des jeunes femmes sont torturées et tuées par des membres de leur famille à cause de leurs fréquentations, de leur façon de s’habiller ou de leur refus de se soumettre à un mariage forcé. En clair, parce que leur attitude laisse planer un doute sur leur virginité. C’est le constat de la fondation suisse Surgir, spécialisée dans la lutte contre les violences faites aux femmes. Très prudent dans sa volonté de ne "stigmatiser" aucune communauté, le rapport publié par Surgir établit un lien direct entre ces assassinats et l’immigration, tout en soulignant que, "majoritairement pratiqué au sein des communautés musulmanes, le crime d’honneur l’est aussi par les communautés sikhs, hindoues et chrétiennes". Entre 15 000 et 20 000 femmes sont tuées chaque année dans le monde, selon les estimations des organisations non gouvernementales, par un cousin, un frère ou un père craignant l’opprobre de la communauté. "Plus qu’un permis de tuer, c’est un devoir de tuer", écrit Surgir, qui note que "le déshonneur [d'une fille] est une menace d’exclusion sociale pour toute la famille élargie". Dans le cas de communautés immigrées, la crainte de l’assimilation peut renforcer ce besoin de protéger le groupe, alors que le mariage mixte et l’émancipation des jeunes générations sont perçus comme des menaces. Aucune statistique précise n’existe sur le sujet et la loi du silence est de mise dans les familles. Les chiffres avancés par la fondation reposent sur des estimations policières, quand celles-ci distinguent violences domestiques et violences liées à l’honneur, et sur l’étude de coupures de presse. Aux Pays-Bas, la police estime que treize meurtres ont été commis en 2009 au nom de l’honneur ; au Royaume-Uni, une douzaine de cas sont recensés chaque année ; en Allemagne, soixante-douze jeunes filles ont été tuées en dix ans ; en France, depuis 1993, une dizaine de cas ont été évoqués dans les médias, en grande majorité dans les communautés indiennes, pakistanaises, sri-lankaises, kurdes et turques. (…) La fondation Surgir appelle les autres Etats européens à prendre des mesures – le code pénal italien prévoit notamment une réduction de la peine pour les crimes commis sur fond de "traditions culturelles" – tout en soulignant qu’un durcissement des législations entraîne systématiquement une hausse des suicides maquillés et pousse les familles à désigner un meurtrier mineur qui sera moins sévèrement jugé. Le Monde

Attention: un crime peut en cacher un autre !

Alors qu’après la prestigieuse Oxford Union (assimilée à un vulgaire bureau des étudiants) l’an dernier

Et sous couvert de la neutralité du titre anglais et le refus de toute identification nationale de l’auteure ou de ses personnages …

(réduisant à de simples sorties-cinéma les rencontres, nécessairement clandestines dans les cinémas les plus excentrés du Londres des années 70 et d’ailleurs payées au prix fort du matricide, d"une héroïne kurde abandonnée par son mari et d’un restaurateur multiculturel d’origine grecque) …

C’est la tragique héroïne d’un roman anglo-turc que la cuvée du bac d’anglais 2014 assassine à nouveau …

Pendant qu’avec le retour des djihadistes en Irak suite au départ précipité du Munichois en chef de la Maison Blanche, les belles âmes qui avaient hurlé contre Bush et regretté Saddam nous ressortent leurs arguments les plus éculés contre la démocratisation d’une des régions les plus arriérées de la planète …

Comment ne pas voir cet étrange aveuglement, politiquement correct oblige, d’une Europe et d’un Occident d’ordinaire si prompts à dénoncer les moindres manquements aux droits de ces nouveaux damnés de la terre que sont devenus les immigrés …

Sur ces crimes dits d’honneur qui, avec l’afflux d’immigrants et comme le rappelait il y a quelques années Le Monde, ne sont plus  "réservés aux provinces reculées du Pakistan, de la Turquie ou de l’Inde" …

Et qui, devant le durcissement des législations, se voient même maquillés en suicides ou attribués à des meurtriers mineurs susceptibles d’être jugés moins sévèrement ?

Et comment ne pas saluer, par contraste, la véritable plongée que nous offre  la romancière turque fille d’un philosophe et d’une diplomate Elif Shafak dans ce passé encore "là mais inégalement réparti" …

Ce monde qui nous était devenu inconnu …

Où, via l’éducation qu’elles prodiguent à leurs fils et filles, les victimes elles-mêmes font partie de la reproduction de leur propre victimisation …

Et qui, avec l’immigration et à l’instar de certaines maladies que l’on croyait disparues, fait pourtant son retour en force chez nous ?

Q & A With Elif Shafak

Penguin Q & A with Elif Safak, author of Honour

What is your new book about?

Honour is about a family, mother-son relationship and how we, knowingly or unknowingly, hurt the people we love most. This is the story of a half-Turkish, half-Kurdish family in London in the late 1970s.

What or who inspired it?

Life.

What was the biggest challenge, writing it?

The central character, Iskender, is a young man obsessed with the notion of honour to the extent that he becomes a murderer. It was a challenge for me to put myself in his shoes, to build empathy for this extremely macho character, but it was important. Without understanding boys/men like Iskender we cannot discuss, let alone solve, honour killings.

What did you want to achieve with your book?

I wanted to tell a story, that has always been my primary aim, whatever the subject. I love giving a voice to characters who are kept in the margins, left unheard in life.

What do you hope for your book?

I hope it will connect readers from different backgrounds and lifestyles, I hope it will speak to their hearts and transcend cultural ghettoes.

Are there any parts of it that have special personal significance to you?

My novels are not autobiographical. In other words, my starting point is not myself. I find writing about myself rather boring. What I am more interested in is being other people, discovering other world and universes.

Do you have a favourite character or one you really enjoyed writing?

I don’t have a favourite character, as I feel and love each and every character along the way, even the side characters, even the ones who look troubled. However I must say Yunus, the family’s younger son has a special place in my heart. Imagining him, being him, was an inspiring journey.

What do you see as the major themes in your book?

Love and freedom. There cannot be love without freedom. And there is no honour in murder.

What made you set it in London?

My novel travels to different cities and locations, like all of my novels do. There are scenes in a Kurdish village, Istanbul, but London has been central. I love this city. I love the multicultural blending here, which is different than anywhere else. But I also wanted to say if honour-related attacks are happening even here, and they are, then that means they can happen anywhere.

Did the title come instantly to you or did you labour over it?

The title had a journey of its own. In Turkey the novel is called Iskender, which means Alexander. However I could not name it Alexander in English as people would have thought it was a novel about Alexander the Great. So instead of focusing on a character I focused on the theme and chose Honour. It is being translated into many languages and as it travels from one country to another book jackets change. In Italy they also changed the name because the word Honour in Italian recalls the mafia, and the novel has nothing to do with the mafia. So my Italian publisher Rizzoli and I chose another title: The House of Four Winds, which is the name of the Kurdish village in the novel.

To whom have you dedicated the book and why?

This book is dedicated to people who see, people who hear, people who care. And why I did that? Well the answer is in this little story I wrote at the opening page…

Who do you think will enjoy your book?

I don’t have a specific audience. Very different people read my work and I cherish that. I sincerely hope people who love stories and the art of storytelling will enjoy it, that’s what matters.

Do you have a special spot for writing at home? (If so, describe it)

I don’t have writing rituals or specific places for that. I write at home but I also write in crowded cafes, restaurants, trains stations, airports, always on the move.

Do you like silence or music playing while you’re writing?

I don’t like silence at all. I cannot write in silence. There has to be the sounds of life, music, the sounds coming from the street, rain cars and all of that. Istanbul is a very noisy city. I am used to writing in chaos and noise.

When did you start writing?

At the age of eight, but that’s not because I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t even know there was such a possibility. I fell in love with words and stories. I was a lonely kid and on my own most of the time. Books were my best friends, they were the gates unto other worlds, and they still are.

Did you always want to become an author?

The desire to become an author came to me later, when I was 17 or 18, and it was crystallised in my early twenties. So first there was the love of writing, the love of stories and only much later the desire to become an author. I have a writer inside me and an author inside me. They are different personalities. Most of the time they get along but sometimes they quarrel and disagree.

Tell us a bit about your childhood?

I was raised by a single mother, an independent minded, feminist divorcee. That was a bit unusual in 1970s Turkey. I was also raised by my Grandma for a while and she was a very different woman, she was a healer and an oral storyteller. To this day I love combining the two worlds, the two women.

If you’ve had other jobs outside of writing, what were they?

I contribute regularly to a major newspaper in Turkey, I write twice a week and I also write op-ed pieces for papers around the world. I am a political scientist by training, I teach creative writing too.

Describe yourself in three words?

Storyteller, nomad, freethinker.

What star sign are you and are you typical of it?

I am a Scorpio and like many Scorpio’s I am inward-looking and love to sabotage myself.

What three things do you dislike?

Hate speech, xenophobia, gender discrimination.

What three things do you like?

Connections, creativity, compassion.

Have you a family, partner or are you single?

I am a mother of two and a terrible wife in addition to being a writer.

Voir aussi:

Honour by Elif Shafak – review
A fierce tale of tradition in Muslim culture
Maureen Freely
The Guardian
20 April 2012

Elif Shafak begins her new novel with a dedication containing a dark and portentous anecdote: when she was seven years old, she lived next door to a tailor who was in the habit of beating his wife. "In the evenings, we listened to the shouts, the cries, the swearing. In the morning, we went on with our lives as usual. The entire neighbourhood pretended not to have heard, not to have seen."

Honour
by Elif Shafak

Tell us what you think: Star-rate and review this book

Having dedicated her book to "those who hear, those who see", Shafak hands over to Esma Toprak, a London-bred Turkish Kurd, as she prepares to set off for Shrewsbury Prison to collect her brother, who has just served a 14-year term for murder. It is implied, but not confirmed, that his victim was their mother. Esma admits to having thought often about killing her brother in revenge. And yet she plans to welcome him back into the house she now shares with her husband and two daughters.

This is the cloud that hangs over the next 300-odd pages, as Esma offers up fragments of family history, beginning with her mother’s birth in a village near the Euphrates. She describes a world where women as well as men enforce an honour code that results in the social death of men who fail to act like men, and the actual death of several female relatives. When her family migrates to Istanbul, and then to London in the early 1970s, they take that code with them, but as they grow accustomed to life in the west it becomes less a system of social regulation than a compulsion they can neither control nor understand.

Adem, the father, falls in love with an exotic dancer. Disgraced, he drifts away. Iskender, the eldest son, is left unprotected and is brutally bullied before forming his own gang and doing much worse to others. His views on masculinity are further sharpened by the neighbourhood’s fledgling radicals and he has one rule for his English girlfriend and another for Pembe, his mother. Tradition dictates that he is now the head of the household, and even though she does not like him controlling her, she nevertheless defers to him, going out of her way to convey her approval for her "sultan".

Running in parallel with this all-too-familiar tragedy is another story. Even in that village near the Euphrates, where mothers grieve at the birth of each new daughter, women wield considerable social powers, although they are inclined to express them through dreams, premonitions, and potions. They also impart a gentler Islamic tradition of mercy and compassion, encouraging an imaginative engagement with both tradition and the modern world. Pembe longs to travel, and she has her wish. Her twin sister Jamila stays behind to become the region’s fabled Virgin Midwife, travelling fearlessly through territories controlled by bandits, trusting her fate to God’s hands. When a dream signals that her twin is in danger, Jamila has no trouble finding the people who can get her to London without proper documentation. The two younger Toprak children show a similar independence of thought as they struggle to resolve the contradictions that have brought their family down.

Shafak is an extremely popular novelist in Turkey, particularly loved by young, educated and newly independent women who appreciate her fusion of feminism and Sufism, her disarmingly quirky characters and the artful twists and turns of her epic romances. Born in Strasbourg to a diplomat mother, educated in Europe, the United States and Turkey, she writes some books in her native Turkish and others (like this one) in English. In everything she writes, she sets out to dissolve what she regards as false narratives. In this one, it’s the story of the "honour killing" as we know it from those shock headlines. The book calls to mind The Color Purple in the fierceness of its engagement with male violence and its determination to see its characters to a better place. But Shafak is closer to Isabel Allende in spirit, confidence and charm. Her portrayal of Muslim cultures, both traditional and globalising, is as hopeful as it is politically sophisticated. This alone should gain her the world audience she has long deserved.

• Maureen Freely’s Enlightenment is published by Marion Boyars.

Voir également:

Les crimes d’honneur, une réalité européenne
Benoît Vitkine
Le Monde
15.11.2011

Les crimes d’honneur ne sont pas réservés aux provinces reculées du Pakistan, de la Turquie ou de l’Inde. En Europe occidentale aussi, des jeunes femmes sont torturées et tuées par des membres de leur famille à cause de leurs fréquentations, de leur façon de s’habiller ou de leur refus de se soumettre à un mariage forcé. En clair, parce que leur attitude laisse planer un doute sur leur virginité.

C’est le constat de la fondation suisse Surgir, spécialisée dans la lutte contre les violences faites aux femmes. Très prudent dans sa volonté de ne "stigmatiser" aucune communauté, le rapport publié par Surgir établit un lien direct entre ces assassinats et l’immigration, tout en soulignant que, "majoritairement pratiqué au sein des communautés musulmanes, le crime d’honneur l’est aussi par les communautés sikhs, hindoues et chrétiennes".

Entre 15 000 et 20 000 femmes sont tuées chaque année dans le monde, selon les estimations des organisations non gouvernementales, par un cousin, un frère ou un père craignant l’opprobre de la communauté. "Plus qu’un permis de tuer, c’est un devoir de tuer", écrit Surgir, qui note que "le déshonneur [d'une fille] est une menace d’exclusion sociale pour toute la famille élargie". Dans le cas de communautés immigrées, la crainte de l’assimilation peut renforcer ce besoin de protéger le groupe, alors que le mariage mixte et l’émancipation des jeunes générations sont perçus comme des menaces.

Aucune statistique précise n’existe sur le sujet et la loi du silence est de mise dans les familles. Les chiffres avancés par la fondation reposent sur des estimations policières, quand celles-ci distinguent violences domestiques et violences liées à l’honneur, et sur l’étude de coupures de presse. Aux Pays-Bas, la police estime que treize meurtres ont été commis en 2009 au nom de l’honneur ; au Royaume-Uni, une douzaine de cas sont recensés chaque année ; en Allemagne, soixante-douze jeunes filles ont été tuées en dix ans ; en France, depuis 1993, une dizaine de cas ont été évoqués dans les médias, en grande majorité dans les communautés indiennes, pakistanaises, sri-lankaises, kurdes et turques.

"PRÉTENDU" HONNEUR

Le rapport évoque plusieurs cas enregistrés chaque année en Suède, en Suisse ou en Italie. En octobre 2010, par exemple, à Modène, une Pakistanaise de 20 ans et sa mère de 46 ans se sont opposées au mariage arrangé prévu pour la jeune femme : le père et le fils ont tué la mère à coups de barre de fer et blessé grièvement la jeune fille.

Le Parlement européen et le Conseil de l’Europe ont avancé pour la première fois en 2003 des recommandations d’ordre général. Mais seuls les Pays-Bas et le Royaume-Uni ont adopté un dispositif complet, alliant prévention auprès des associations d’immigrés, protection des témoins, formation des policiers et création d’unités spéciales. Dans les textes britanniques, le mot "honneur" est, à la demande explicite du gouvernement, précédé de la mention "so called" ("prétendu").

La fondation Surgir appelle les autres Etats européens à prendre des mesures – le code pénal italien prévoit notamment une réduction de la peine pour les crimes commis sur fond de "traditions culturelles" – tout en soulignant qu’un durcissement des législations entraîne systématiquement une hausse des suicides maquillés et pousse les familles à désigner un meurtrier mineur qui sera moins sévèrement jugé.

Voir encore:

Les «crimes d’honneur» augmentent au Royaume-Uni
Chloé Woitier
Le Figaro
03/12/2011

Banaz Mahmod, 20 ans, a été violée, torturée, étranglée puis brûlée sur ordre de son père et de son oncle en 2006 car elle fréquentait un garçon. Son meurtre avait choqué le Royaume-Uni.

Une association a recensé près de 3000 victimes de «crimes d’honneur» dans le pays en 2010. Les plaintes déposées à la police ont doublé en un an dans certaines zones, dont Londres.

Battues, séquestrées, mutilées, aspergées à l’acide ou tuées pour avoir porté atteinte à l’honneur de leur famille. Cette réalité a été vécue en 2010 par près de 3000 jeunes femmes résidant en Grande-Bretagne, selon une étude parue par l’Organisation pour le droit des femmes iraniennes et kurdes (Ikwro). Dans la seule capitale de Londres, ces «crimes d’honneur» ont doublé en un an, avec près de 500 cas.

Les données, collectées pour la première fois dans le pays, ont été obtenues par l’association grâce au Freedom of Information Act, une loi promulguée en 2000 par le gouvernement de Tony Blair qui permet à tout citoyen d’avoir accès à un très grand nombre de documents administratifs. Ikwro a ainsi envoyé une demande à l’ensemble des forces de police afin de connaître le nombre de violences qui ont été perpétrées l’an passé au nom de «l’honneur».

Le total, estimé à 2823 incidents, peut selon l’association être augmenté d’au moins 500 cas, 13 unités de police sur 52 n’ayant pas répondu à la demande. Dans certaines zones, les cas recensés ont doublé en un an. Ikwro estime également que ces chiffres sont sous-estimés, de nombreuses victimes n’osant pas porter plainte par peur de représailles.
«Un problème sérieux qui touche des milliers de personnes»

Pour l’association, la très grande majorité des femmes victimes de ces violences proviennent de familles originaires du sous-continent indien, d’Europe de l’Est et du Moyen-Orient. «Elles résistent de plus en plus aux atteintes à leur liberté, comme un mariage forcé décidé par leur famille. De fait, elles sont plus exposées aux violences», explique au Guardian Fionnuala Ni Mhurchu, responsable de la campagne d’Ikwro. «Ces chiffres sont importants car ils prouvent qu’il ne s’agit pas d’un phénomène isolé. C’est au contraire un problème sérieux qui touche des milliers de personnes chaque année, dont un certain nombre subit de très importantes violences avant de porter plainte.»

Ces femmes subissent le courroux de leur famille parce qu’elles ont un petit ami, ont refusé un mariage arrangé, ont été violées, ou parlent simplement à des hommes. D’autres sont victimes de violences car elles sont homosexuelles, se maquillent, ou s’habillent à l’occidentale. «Les coupables de ces crimes sont considérés comme des héros dans leur communauté parce qu’ils ont défendu l’honneur de leur famille et la réputation de la communauté»,a expliqué la directrice de l’Ikwro, Dina Nammi, sur la BBC.

L’association, forte de ces données, réclame que les autorités britanniques se donnent les moyens de lutter contre les «crimes d’honneur». Un porte-parole du ministère britannique de l’Intérieur a assuré que le gouvernement était «déterminé à mettre fin» à ces pratiques. Le Royaume-Uni est en effet avec les Pays-Bas le seul pays d’Europe à avoir élaboré une politique complète en la matière selon un rapport de la fondation suisse Surgir. La police britannique s’est ainsi dotée d’unités spéciales, tandis que tous les policiers du pays sont formés depuis 2009 à reconnaître les signes de violence liées à l’honneur. Des sites d’informations destinées aux jeunes filles ont également été mis en ligne pour inciter les victimes à porter plainte contre leur famille. Il n’existe pas de politique similaire en France.

Voir de même:

Meurtre de Banaz Mahmod en Grande-Bretagne : de nouvelles révélations ajoutent à l’horreur de ce "crime d’honneur"
Daily Mail
4 septembre 2007

De nouveaux détails concernant l’affaire Banaz Mahmod viennent d’être révélés sur les dernières heures de la jeune femme kurde assassinée par sa famille pour être tombée amoureuse du mauvais garçon. Ces détails ajoutent encore un peu plus dans le pathétique d’une affaire qui émeut toute l’Angleterre. Banaz Mahmod, 20 ans, a été violée et frappée à coups de pieds pendant deux heures avant d’être étranglée par une cordelette. Mohamad Hama, âgé de 30 ans avait été reconnu coupable du meurtre. Il avait été recruté par le père de Banaz (52 ans), et par Ari, le frère de celui-ci (51 ans), eux aussi reconnus coupables du meurtre. Les détails terrifiants du meurtre sont parvenus au public après que Hama ait été secrètement enregistré en train de parler à un de ses compagnons de cellule. Il a admis avoir "frappé" et "baisé" Banaz, qui a été soumise à des actes sexuels dégradant. Dans cet enregistrement, on peut entendre Hama et son ami rire de bon coeur pendant qu’il décrit comme il l’a tuée chez elle à Mitcham, dans le sud de Londres, avec Ari Mahmod pour "superviseur" des opérations. Les meurtriers, puisque deux autres suspects se sont enfuis en Irak, pensaient que Banaz serait seule chez elle. Hama déclare : "Ari (l’oncle) avait dit qu’il n’y avait personne d’autre. Mais il y avait quelqu’un d’autre : sa soeur (Biza). Le bâtard nous avait menti". Au sujet du meurtre, il déclare "Je jure sur Allah que ça a pris plus de deux heures. Son âme et sa vie ne voulaient pas partir. Selon le meurtrier, Banaz avait été garottée pendant cinq minutes, mais il a fallu encore une demi-heure avant qu’elle ne meure. "Le cordon était fin et l’âme ne voulait pas partir comme ça. Nous ne pouvions pas l’enlever, ça a pris en tout et pour tout cinq minutes pour l’étrangler. Je l’ai frappé à coups de pieds sur le cou pour faire sortir son âme. Elle était complètement à poil, sans rien sur elle" Le corps de Banaz a été mis dans une valise et enterrée dans un jardin à Birmingham, où on l’a retrouvée trois mois plus tard.

Voir par ailleurs:

‘Honor killings’ in USA raise concerns
Oren Dorell
USA TODAY
11/30/2009

Muslim immigrant men have been accused of six "honor killings" in the United States in the past two years, prompting concerns that the Muslim community and police need to do more to stop such crimes.

"There is broad support and acceptance of this idea in Islam, and we’re going to see it more and more in the United States," says Robert Spencer, who has trained FBI and military authorities on Islam and founded Jihad Watch, which monitors radical Islam.

Honor killings are generally defined as murders of women by relatives who claim the victim brought shame to the family. Thousands of such killings have occurred in Muslim countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Palestinian territories, according to the World Health Organization.

Some clerics and even lawmakers in these countries have said families have the right to commit honor killings as a way of maintaining values, according to an analysis by Yotam Feldner in the journal Middle East Quarterly.

In the USA, police allege the latest "honor killing" was that of Noor Almaleki, 20, who died Nov. 2 after she and her boyfriend’s mother were run over in a Peoria, Ariz., parking lot. Prosecutors charged Almaleki’s father, Faleh Almaleki, with murder, saying the Iraqi immigrant was upset that his daughter rejected a husband she married in Iraq and moved in with an American.

"By his own admission, this was an intentional act, and the reason was that his daughter had brought shame on him and his family," says Maricopa County prosecutor Stephanie Low, according to The Arizona Republic.

Many Muslim leaders in the USA say that Islam does not promote honor killings and that the practice stems from sexism and tribal behavior that predates the religion.

"You’re always going to get problems with chauvinism and suppressing vulnerable populations and gender discrimination," says Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Not all agree. Zuhdi Jasser says some Muslim communities have failed to spell out how Islam deals with issues that can lead to violence.

"How should young adult women be treated who want to assimilate more than their parents want them to assimilate?" asks Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, which advocates a separation of mosque and state. "How does an imam treat a woman who comes in and says she wants a divorce … or how to deal with your daughter that got pregnant, and she’s in high school?"

Phyllis Chesler, who wrote about honor killings in her book Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, says police need to focus on the crimes’ co-conspirators if they wish to reverse the trend. Before 2008, there were six honor killings in the USA in the previous 18 years, according to her research.

"It’s usually the father, brother or first male cousin who is charged with the actual shooting or stabbing, (but not) the mother who lures the girl home," Chesler says. "The religion has failed to address this as a problem and failed to seriously work to abolish it as un-Islamic."

Jasser says his community needs to address how to treat young women who want to assimilate. "Until we have women’s liberation … we’re going to see these things increase."

Voir encore:

Q&A; Women Are Nurturing? How About Cruel, Especially to One Another
The New York Times
August 24, 2002

Phyllis Chesler is a feminist psychotherapist, author of several books about women and the founder of the Association for Women in Psychology. In her latest book, "Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman" (Thunder’s Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2002) she explores the often cruel relationships between women. Felicia R. Lee spoke with her.

There have been several books in the past year about how women and girls treat one another badly. Why is this topic receiving so much attention now?

I began working on this 20 years ago so I think I anticipated the curve. Had I published it sooner I would not have been able to back it up with the extraordinary research that has only begun to gather steam in the last 10 to 15 years.

The media are now willing, for whatever reason, to pay attention to the subject. I think that as women we’re strong enough now to not only acknowledge our racism, our class bias and our homophobia but our sexism. The coming generation, and second-wave feminists as well, can acknowledge that women, like men, are aggressive and, like men, are as close to the apes as the angels. Our lived realities have never conformed to the feminist view that women are morally superior to men, are compassionate, nurturing, maternal and also very valiant under siege. This is a myth.

You are known as a radical feminist who has written extensively about how the courts and the medical system mistreat women. Are you afraid that this book will be used against women?

Women don’t have to be better than anyone else to deserve human rights. Our failure to look at our own sexism lost us a few inches in our ability to change history in our lifetime. The first thing we do is acknowledge what the truth is, and then we have to not have double standards. We have to try not to use gossip to get rid of a rival, we have to try not to slander the next woman because we’re jealous that she’s pretty or that she got a scholarship. I think we have to learn some of the rules of engagement that men are good at.

Women coerce dreadful conformity from each other. I would like us to embrace diversity. Then we could have a more viable, serious feminist movement.

Why did so many feminists make the mistake of believing in what you call the myth of female superiority?

Because the stereotypes of women have been so used to justify our subordination and since it was a heady moment in history to suddenly come together with other women in quantum numbers around issues of women’s freedom and human rights, it took a while before each of us in turn started looking at how we treated each other. The unacknowledged aggression and cruelty and sexism among women in general — and that includes feminists — is what drove many an early activist out of what was a real movement.

Isn’t there conflict and psychological warfare in any social justice movement or workplace?

I think it gets worse when it’s women only. Men are happy in a middle-distance ground toward all others. They don’t take anything too personally, and they don’t have to get right into your face, into your business, into your life. Women need to do that. Women, the minute they meet another woman, it’s: she’s going to be my fairy godmother, my best friend, the mother I never had. And when that’s not the case we say, "well, she’s the evil stepmother."

We don’t serve ourselves so well with our depth-charged levels of capacity for intimacy because then we can only be close to a small group. We can’t command a nation-state.

Isn’t that just an extension of arguments that have created glass-ceilings in workplaces?

No. I think the conclusion is not that women should be kept barefoot and pregnant and at home because they have no executive capacity. The conclusion is that there is something about the workplace that is deadly to all living things and men adapt more.

I do have a chapter that says if you have a situation that is male-dominated with a few token women, women will not like each other, they will be particularly vicious in how they compete and keep other women down and out. We can’t say how women as a group would behave if overnight they had all the positions that men now have.

The cruelty you document ranges from mothers-in-law burning their daughters-in-law because of dowry disagreements to women stealing each other’s boyfriends. Can it all really be lumped together?

It helps to understand that in these non-Western countries where you have mothers-in-law dousing daughters-in-law with kerosene for their dowries and we say "how shocking," we have a version here. You have here mothers who think their daughters have to be thin, their daughters have to be pretty and their daughters need to have plastic surgery and their daughters have to focus mainly on the outward appearance and not on inner strength or inner self. It’s not genital mutilation but it’s ultimately a concern with outward appearance for the sake of marriageability.

Although you note that women don’t have as much power as men, you view them as equally culpable for many of society’s ills.

I’m thinking back to the civil rights era and the faces of white mothers who did not want little black children to integrate schools. What should we say about those women who joined the Ku Klux Klan or the Nazi party? You have a lot of women groaning under the yoke of oppression. Nevertheless, there are women who warm the beds and are the partners of men who create orphans. Women are best at collaborating with men who run the world because then we can buy pretty trinkets and have safe homes and nests for ourselves.

You say that women are the ones who police and monitor one another and silence dissent.

Women are silenced not because men beat up on us but because we don’t want to be shunned by our little cliques. That applies to all age groups. That’s one of the reasons that women are so conformist and so indirect: we end up sabotaging her rather than risking the loss of her intimate companionship. Women stealing each other’s lovers and spouses and jobs is pandemic.

Voir aussi:

Banaz: An ‘honour’ killing
November 3, 2012 "Honour" based violence (HBV), Blog 1

Artist and activist Deeyah explains the motivation behind her documentary film Banaz: A love story which features IKWRO. A shortened version of this documentary was shown on ITV on 31st October.

Deeyah writes:

I grew up in a community where honour is a form of social currency which is a source of concern from the moment we are born. ‘Honour’ can be the most sought after, protected and prized asset that defines the status and reputation of a family within their community. This burden weighs most heavily upon women’s behaviour. This collective sense of honour and shame has for centuries confined our movement, freedom of choice and restricted our autonomy. You cannot be who you are, you cannot express your needs, hopes and opinions as an individual if they are in conflict with the greater good and reputation of the family, the community, the collective. If you grow up in a community defined by these patriarchal concepts of honour and social structures these are the parameters you are expected to live by. This is true for my own life and experiences.

Autonomy, is not acceptable and can be punished by a variety of consequences from abuse, threats, intimidation, exclusion by the group, violence of which the most extreme manifestation is taking someone’s life; murdering someone in the name of ‘honour’. This is something that has interested me through much of my life especially because of my own experiences of meeting resistance and opposition for my expression and life choices which at the time strayed from the acceptable moral norms afforded to women of my background and I understand what it is like when people want to silence your voice. I have addressed these honour concepts in various forms through the years but I have always wanted to do more, especially about the most extreme form of guarding this “honour” known as honour killings. The medium I felt would allow me the room to explore this topic most in-depth is the documentary film format.

This is why I set out, almost 4 years ago, to make a documentary film about honour killings. My intent was to shed light on this topic and to learn about through reviewing an extensive list of cases across Europe that could help us to understand the extent of this issue and its existence within the European and American diaspora. The purpose of this project being to create a film that would serve primarily to educate and inform, and to help us understand the issue better and to consider what can be done to prevent or reduce these crimes. As I started researching and delving further into various cases, I came across the story of Banaz Mahmod. I realized that this case would best illustrate the constructs of honour, the lack of understanding around this topic in the Western world, and the severe need to do more across social, political and community lines. As a result, Banaz’ story has become the anchor for the topic in the film and shows the lessons needed to be learned from her tragic death.

Banaz Mahmod’s life was marked by betrayal. As a child she underwent FGM at the hands of her grandmother. At age 17 she was married off to a man she had met only once in order to strengthen family alliances. In her marriage she was abused, beaten, raped and forced to endure isolation. At age 19, she left her husband and returned to her family home hoping for safety and security, only to be betrayed again: first by the British authorities who didn’t take her pleas for help seriously when she suspected she was in danger, then by her family, who took her disobedience as an unforgivable act. At age 20 she disappeared and was never heard from again until she was discovered buried under a patio, wedged in a fetal position inside a muddy suitcase— a victim of so-called ‘Honour’ Killing.

After her death, Banaz found another family in the unlikeliest of places: the Metropolitan Police. It took Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode and her team five years to find and prosecute the perpetrators of this brutal crime, which included her father, uncle and a male cousin. This case spanned two continents and resulted in the only extradition from Iraq by Britain in modern history. In death, Banaz found a family willing to do whatever it took to protect her memory.

Banaz’s life and murder is just one among thousands of stories around the world where families chose to obey their community and peer pressure instead of honouring their duty to love and protect their children. Through Banaz’s story, which covers many of the classic patterns of Honour Crimes and oppression, we explore the broader topic of honour killings that is becoming particularly prevalent within diaspora communities in Europe and the US. 3000 honour crimes were reported in the UK alone in 2010. Despite these staggering figures being considered the “tip of the iceberg”, many young women, like Banaz, are let down by officials in the West because of their lack of understanding and training in identifying the signs of an honour crime as well as for fear of upsetting cultural sensitivities—and at times from a sense of a general apathy surrounding violence against minority community women. Honour Killings are an ongoing genocide where the murders of women and girls are considered ‘justified’ for the protection of a a family’s reputation. Although , for Banaz, justice did eventually prevail, she was still found dead in a suitcase.

Caroline’s extraordinary dedication shows that effective action can be taken, and that a new benchmark for detection can be set.

During the process of making this film, there were two points that stood out as particular needs that I could concretely do something about. The first, was to create a place where people interested in the subject and in need of information about honour violence could go to find out more. The second, was to create a place where the victims, whose families intended to erase them from the world, could be remembered. So I created The Honour-Based Violence Awareness Network (HBVA) and the Memini Memorial initiatives in collaboration with volunteers and experts from around the world.

During the process of making the film I found that after exhaustively searching the web for information on the subject, my need for research and data was unfulfilled. I continued interviewing experts in the field, ranging from policy makers to NGOs, activists, police officers and legal professionals and realised that they also shared my frustration at the lack of accessible and comprehensive information about Honour Based Violence. During these interviews, I quickly became aware that Honour Based Violence is little understood in the West–with alarming consequences. We know that Honour Based Violence is far more widespread than current figures indicate because it is under-reported, under-researched and under-documented; and therefore, easily misunderstood, overlooked and mis-recognised. I found this absolutely unacceptable. As a result I developed the Honour Based Violence Awareness Network (HBVA).

In collaboration with international experts, HBVA is an international digital resource centre working to advance understanding and awareness of Honour Killings and Honour Based Violence through research, training and information for professionals; teachers, health workers, social services, police, politicians, and others who may encounter individuals at risk. HBVA builds and promotes a network of experts, activists, and NGOs from around the world, establishing international partnerships to facilitate greater collaboration and education. HBVA draws on the expertise of its international partners, collaborators and experts from Pakistan, Iraq, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, India, Norway, Denmark, Bangladesh, Jordan, Palestine, France. Some of the esteemed HBVA experts are Unni Wikan, Asma Jahangir, Yakin Erturk, Rana Husseini, Serap Cileli, Ayse Onal, Yanar Mohammad, Dr. Shahrzad Mojab, Aruna Papp, Hina Jilani, Dr. Tahira S. Khan, Sara Hossain. WWW.HBV-AWARENESS.COM

Additionally, born as a result of this film project, is WWW.MEMINI.CO. Memini is an online remembrance initiative set up to ensure that the stories of victims of honour killings are told, defying the intent of those who wanted to erase them. Our personal and community silence allows these violent expressions of honour to survive and is what makes these murders possible in the first place. Memini is a small and humble step towards ending that silence.

Although the story of Banaz is filled with so much darkness, Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode shows us what can be achieved if we just simply care. Caroline went above and beyond the call of duty, going to the ends of the earth to find justice for Banaz–not just to fulfill her obligation as a police officer, but from feeling duty bound and seeing Banaz with a mother’s eyes and feeling with a mother’s heart.. I am grateful to have found Caroline and Banaz through this journey. For me, Caroline’s dedication and integrity, her compassion and her professionalism, represents the highest expression of truly honourable behaviour. The core lesson I have learned is that there is hope, but more has to be done – and I am committed to doing what I can, however small the action. I believe one thing we can do is to remember the victims. I believe if their own blood relatives discarded, betrayed, exterminated and forgot them, then we should adopt these girls as our own children, our own sisters, our own mothers and as fellow human beings. We will mourn, we will remember, we will honour their memory and we will not forget!

If we worry about offending communities by criticising honour killings, then we are complicit in the perpetuation of violence and abuse, in the restriction of women’s lives. Our silence provides the soil for this oppression and violence to thrive. It is not racist to protest against honour killings. We have a duty to stand up for individual human rights for all people, not for just men and not just for groups. We shall not sacrifice the lives of ethnic minority women for the sake of so-called political correctness.

I’d rather hurt feelings than see women die because of our fear, apathy and silence. We need to stand in solidarity. In order to create change we need to care. We need authorities, decision makers and politicians to provide the same protections and robust actions for women of ethnic minority communities affected by honour based violence and oppression as they would for any other crimes in any other part of society. It is not acceptable to shy away from abuses happening against women in some communities for fears of being labelled racist or insensitive– the very notion of turning a blind eye or walking on egg shells and avoiding to protect basic human rights of some women because they are of a certain ethnic background is not only fatal, but represents true racism.

We cannot continue to allow this slaughter of women in the name of culture, in the name of religion, in the name of tradition and in the name of political correctness. If we allow this to continue, we are betraying not only Banaz but thousands of other women and girls in her situation. Surely we should do all we can to protect all individuals in our societies regardless of skin colour, cultural heritage or gender, without fear?

We must challenge these paradigms in every way we can. Centuries old mindsets, entrenched gender roles and power relations will take time to change, but we can make a real and immediate difference in challenging the lack of awareness, the lack of political will, the lack of sufficient training and understanding when it comes to front line people who can help individuals at risk. This includes police, doctors, nurses, school teachers, social services and so on. At the very least the ignorance of authorities and lack of their understanding and training in European countries should not be a contributing factor in the continuing abuse of thousands of women (and men). We can not allow it to be the reason why these young people continue to suffer in silence because they fear they won’t be understood and won’t get the help they need.

Banaz is among the people who dared to ask for help; the majority of young people at risk of the various forms of honour based violence may not come forward at all.

All of the honour killings I researched are horrifying, heartbreaking and devastating, and no one case felt any less sad and tragic than any other. The reason I ended up choosing the story of Banaz was not because of the horror but because of the love. Banaz’s story was different in my eyes from most other stories because there was love in spite of the hatred she faced in her life, after death there were people who loved her and cared about her, one of whom was the most unexpected person I could have imagined, a police officer, of all people, DCI Caroline Goode. The other was Banaz’s sister Bekhal, who sacrificed her own safety and peace of mind for the sake of her love for her sister and her need to honour her memory through achieving justice. I have the greatest respect for Bekhal, her courage and determination defines true honour for me.

I was most saddened, from the very beginning of this project, to see how absent Banaz was from her own story. Normally a biographical film will feature family members, friends, and other people who knew the person sharing their love, their memories and thoughts about the person who has died, showing home videos and photographs and the other mementoes of loving relationships. In this film that was just not the case at all. The only person in the film speaking about Banaz and who had known Banaz when she was alive was her sister. Everyone else in the film came to know Banaz after she had passed away. We even put out calls in local newspapers and reached out through facebook and other social media to find anyone who would have known her and would be willing to share their memories of her, but no one came forward. This hurt my heart until I came across the footage of Banaz herself, showing us the suffocating reality of her life. Watching this tape for the first time was one of the most painful experiences of my life. I had spent three and a half years working on this documentary, learning everything I could about this young women’s life — and her death, and we were in the final editing process, and then suddenly here she was present on this tape. No one else would come forward to speak about her, but here she was herself in the final momemts of the process of making this film. It was a harrowing experience to finally be able to hear and see her tell her own story.

I found it excruciatingly sad to see her and at the same time I felt so glad and privileged to finally get a chance to see her and hear her. No one listened to her in her life, so the least we can do is listen to her now.

As a society we have let down Banaz, and as her community we have let her down, so the least we can now paying her the respect to listen to her and to learn from her experiences, and to honour Banaz we through addressing this issue with complete honesty and courage.

I deeply regret the fact that it took her death for people to start the process of learning more about this problem, although measures have been taken to improve the understanding around this, in my personal opinion, reflected in the research I have done, there is a very long way to go before we can adequately understand, protect and support women at risk. We don’t need empty slogans or lip service; we need real effective action on this issue. Living in Western societies, we need our lives as “brown” women to matter as much as any white British, Norwegian, French, German, Swedish, American, European or any other woman and fellow human being.

It feels surreal but deeply satisfying to finally stand at the point of completion. It has been a very long, hard and emotionally difficult process. It is my first film ever, and I feel proud to have had the opportunity to work on a project like this, and honoured to get to tell the story of such remarkable women such as Banaz, Bekhal and Caroline.

One of the things that has been very moving about this project is that, every single person who has been involved with the film has done so out of love for Banaz and for this project, and I have a deep feeling of gratitude for everyone who took part..Even though I did not have the budget to make a film like this, the time and commitment of my team made it possible — not only have people worked for significantly reduced rates, but often they have also worked for free. For example, the master musician Dr. Subramaniam contributed a soundtrack for the film because he believed in the project and wanted to contribute even though I was unable to pay him his usual fees. The entire process of this film has been like this and I have nothing but gratitude for the hard work, care and passion of everyone involved.

The tragic story of Banaz Mahmod: she fell in love at 19, so her family killed her
Fiona Barton
Daily Mail
12 June 2007

As one of five daughters in a strictly-traditional Kurdish family, Banaz Mahmod’s future was ordained whether she liked it or not.

She was kept away from Western influences, entered an arranged marriage at the age of 16 with a member of her clan and was expected to fulfil the role of subservient wife and mother.

But Banaz, a bright, pretty 19-year-old, fell in love with another man.

And for that, she was murdered by her father, uncle and a group of family friends. The very people who should have protected her from harm plotted her killing, garrotted her with a bootlace, stuffed her body in a suitcase and buried her under a freezer.

Banaz’s crime was to "dishonour" her father, Mahmod Mahmod, an asylum seeker from Iraqi Kurdistan, by leaving her abusive marriage and choosing her own boyfriend – a man from a different Kurdish clan.

Her punishment was discussed at a family "council of war" attended by her father, uncle Ari and other members of the clan. In the living room of a suburban semi in Mitcham, South London, it was decided that this young woman’s life was to be snuffed out so that her family would not be shamed in the eyes of the community.

Banaz was only ten when she came to Britain with her father, who had served in the Iraqi army, her mother Behya, brother Bahman and sisters Beza, Bekhal, Payman and Giaband.

The family, who came from the mountainous and rural Mirawaldy area, close to the Iranian border, were escaping Saddam Hussein’s regime and were granted asylum.

But Banaz’s move to a western country changed nothing about the life she was made to lead.

She had met her husband-tobe only three times before her wedding day, once on her father’s allotment. He was ill-educated and old-fashioned but her family described him as ‘the David Beckham of husbands’.

The teenage bride, who was taken to live in the West Midlands, was to tell local police in September 2005 that she had been raped at least six times and routinely beaten by her husband.

In one assault, she claimed, one of her teeth was almost knocked out because she called him by his first name in public.

To leave the arranged marriage would have brought dishonour on the Mahmod family and Banaz’s parents apparently preferred their child to suffer abuse rather than be shamed.

But after two years of marriage, she insisted on returning home to seek sanctuary. It was there, at a family party in the late summer of 2005, that she met Rahmat Sulemani.

For the first time in her blighted existence, Banaz fell in love. She was besotted with Rahmat, 28, calling him ‘my prince’ and sending endless loving text messages. Her father and uncle Ari were furious; the young woman was not yet formally divorced by her husband and her boyfriend was neither from their clan nor religious. More importantly, perhaps, he had not been chosen by her family.

Mahmod became enraged when his daughter refused to give up her boyfriend and talked of being in love.

The threat to family honour was immense and made worse by the fact that Banaz’s elder sister, Bekhal, had already brought "shame" on the family by moving out of the house at the age of 15, to escape her father’s violence.

Bekhal’s defiance meant that Mahmod lost status in the community because he was seen to

have failed to control his women and his younger brother Ari, a wealthy entrepreneur who ran a money transfer business, took over as head of the family.

It was he who telephoned Banaz on December 1, 2005 to tell her to end the affair with Rahmat or face the consequences.

The following day, Ari called a council of war to plan her murder and the disposal of her body. She was secretly warned by her mother that the lives of her and her boyfriend were in danger, and she went to Mitcham Police Station to report the death threat. But she was so terrified of her family’s reaction that she asked police to take no action and refused to move to a refuge.

The next day, an officer called at the family home but Banaz would not let him in.

She believed that her mother would protect her from harm but as an insurance against her disappearance, went back to the police station a week later to make a full statement, naming the men she believed would kill her.

One of the men was Mohamad Hama, who has admitted murder and two of the others named fled back to Iraq after the killing. On New Year’s Eve 2005, she was lured to her grandmother’s house in nearby Wimbledon for a meeting with her father and uncle to sort out her divorce.

When her father appeared wearing surgical gloves, ready to kill her, she ran out barefoot, broke a window to get into a neighbour’s house and then ran to a nearby cafe, covered in blood from cuts to her hands and screaming: "They’re trying to kill me".

The officers who attended the scene and accompanied Banaz to hospital did not believe her story.

However, the distressed and injured victim was able to give her own testimony about the attack to the jury in a short video recorded on Rahmat’s mobile phone at St George’s Hospital, Tooting.

The terrified lovers pretended they had parted but they continued to meet in secret. Tragically, they were spotted together in Brixton on January 21 and the Mahmods were informed.

Mohamad Hama and three other men tried to kidnap Rahmat and, when his friends intervened, told him he would be killed later.

When he phoned to warn Banaz, she went to the police and said she would co- operate in bringing charges against her family and other members of the community.

The policewoman who saw Banaz tried to persuade her to go into a hostel or safe house but she thought she would be safe at home because her mother was there.

On January 24, Banaz was left on her own at the family house and her assassins, Hama and two associates, were alerted.

The full details of what happened to her are still not known but two of the suspects, Omar Hussein and Mohammed Ali, who fled back to Iraq after the killing, are said to have boasted that Banaz was raped before she was strangled, "to show her disrespect".

There followed a "massively challenging" investigation into her disappearance by detectives, fearing the worst. The family’s appalling crime was finally exposed when, three months after she went missing, Banaz’s remains were found, with the bootlace still around her neck.

The discovery of her body provoked no emotion in her father and uncle. Even at her funeral, the only tears were from Banaz’s brother.

"She had a small life," a detective on the case said. "There is no headstone on her grave, nothing there to mark her existence."

Yesterday, her devastated boyfriend, who has been given a new identity by the Home Office under the witness protection programme, said: "Banaz was my first love. She meant the world to me."

The dead girl’s older sister, Bekhal, urged other women in the same position as her and her sister to seek help before it is too late.

Even today she continues to fear for her life, lives at a secret address and never goes out without wearing a long black veil that covers her entire body and face apart from her eyes.

She strongly rejected the suggestion that Banaz had brought "shame" on her Kurdish family by falling in love with a man they did not approve of, saying her sister simply wanted to live her own life.

"There’s a lot of evil people out there. They might be your own blood, they might be a stranger to you, but they are evil.

"They come over here, thinking they can still carry on the same life and make people carry on how they want them to live life."

Asked what was in her father’s mind on the day that Banaz died, Bekhal replied: "All I can say is devilishness. How can somebody think that kind of thing and actually do it to your own flesh and blood? It’s disgusting."

Bekhal says she is scared whenever she sees somebody from the same background as her.

"I watch my back 24/7."

Voir de plus:

‘They’re following me’: chilling words of girl who was ‘honour killing’ victim
The murder of Banaz Mahmod by her family in 2006 shocked the country. A documentary now tells her story
Tracy McVeigh
The Observer
22 September 2012

On police videotape, a 19-year-old girl named those she believed had intended to kill her. They would try again, she said. "People are following me, still they are following me. At any time, if anything happens to me, it’s them," she told the officers calmly. "Now I have given my statement," she asked an officer, "what can you do for me?"

The answer was very little. Banaz Mahmod went back to her family in Mitcham, south London. Three months later she disappeared. It was several months before her raped and strangled body was found and four years before all those responsible for killing her were tracked down and jailed. Her father and uncle planned her death because the teenager had first walked out of a violent and sexually abusive arranged marriage, and later had fallen in love with someone else.

Now a documentary is to be premiered at the Raindance film festival, which opens this week, that includes for the first time some of the recordings made both by Banaz herself in the runup to her murder and the videotapes of some of the five visits she made to police to report the danger she felt herself to be in and name, before the event, her murderers. She told how her husband was "very strict. Like it was 50 years ago."

"When he raped me it was like I was his shoe that he could wear whenever he wanted to. I didn’t know if this was normal in my culture, or here. I was 17." Her family were furious when she finally left him.

The so-called honour killing of Banaz, who was murdered on 24 January 2006, shocked not only the country but also the police team, who faced a daunting task in bringing her killers to justice. They faced an investigation within an Iraqi Kurdish community, many of whom believed Banaz had deserved her fate for bringing shame on her father – a former soldier who fled Saddam Hussein and had sought asylum in the UK with his wife and five daughters. Mahmod Mahmod and his brother, Ari, were jailed for life for their part in the murder in 2007, but two other men involved fled to Iraq and were extradited back before being jailed for life in 2010.

Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode, who won a Queen’s Award for her dedicated efforts in getting justice for Banaz, said she found the case harrowing. In most cases police get justice after a murder for the family. "In this case the family had no interest whatsoever in the investigation. It was an absolute outrage that this girl was missing and nobody cared."

The film also shows the continuing effects of the killing, with both Banaz’s boyfriend and her sister, Bekhal, still living in hiding and in fear. Bekhal has put her own life at risk by her decision to give evidence against her family in court. She now "watches her back 24/7".

Remembering her sister, she tells the film-makers: "She was a very calm and quiet person. She loved to see people happy and didn’t like arguments, she didn’t like people raising their voices, she hated it. She just wanted a happy life, she just wanted a family."

The film, Banaz: A Love Story, was made by the former pop star and now music producer and film-maker Deeyah. Norwegian-born, but of Punjabi and Pashtun heritage, Deeyah has herself been subject to honour-related abuse and her singing career was marred by endless death threats that, in part, led to her giving up touring. The story of Banaz, who died because she just wanted to be an ordinary British teenager, she said, struck an immediate chord with her.

"Despite the horror, what emerges is a story of love," said Deeyah. "What has upset me greatly from the very beginning of this project is how absent Banaz was from her own story. Whenever you see a film about someone who has passed you will always have family, friends, people who knew the person, sharing their love, their memories and thoughts about the person who has died; they have home videos, photos. That was just not the case here at all. The only person speaking for Banaz who had known her alive was her sister. Other than that, everyone else in the film came to know Banaz after she had died."

A search for other witnesses to her life proved fruitless. "We tried to find anyone who would have known her, no one came forward," said Deeyah. "Then I came across the videotape with Banaz herself, telling us what her suffocating reality was like. Watching this tape for the first time was among the most difficult things I have ever experienced. I had spent three-and-a-half years working on this film, learning everything I could about this young woman’s life and her death, we were in the final editing process and suddenly here she was, when no one else would come forward to speak about her.

"I found it excruciatingly sad to see her and at the same time I felt so glad to finally get a chance to see her and hear her. No one listened to her in her life. As a society we let down Banaz, as her community we let her down. I am sorry she had to die for people to start learning more about this problem, although measures have been taken to improve the understanding around this.

"There is a very long way to go before we can adequately understand, protect and support women at risk. We don’t need empty slogans or lip service, we need real concise action on this issue. Living in western societies, we need our lives as ‘brown’ women to matter as much as any fellow human being."

Voir enfin:

Crime d’honneur -Elif Shafak
Patrice
Cultura
le 28/04/2013

Roman sensible et émouvant d’une auteure turque adulée dans son pays, Crime d’honneur tisse les relations complexes d’une famille écartelée entre sa culture traditionnelle et le désir d’émancipation né du passage à l’occident.
Un village près de l’Euphrate, dans un monde patriarcal où l’honneur des hommes est la valeur suprême. Là, une femme qui implore Allah pour la naissance d’un fils après avoir mis au monde six filles voit sa requête ignorée. Ce seront deux filles de plus : Pembe et Jamila, jumelles aux caractères aussi dissemblables que leurs destins. L’une se marie avec le Turc Adem et part vivre avec lui à Londres, dans un pays hostile et providentiel. L’autre se retire dans une cabane isolée et devient la sage-femme vierge. C’est Pembe, la voyageuse, qui réalisera le rêve maternel en accouchant en Angleterre d’un fils : Iskender, aîné de la fratrie, sultan, petit dieu. Mais les amours contrariés pèsent de tout leur poids dans les malheurs à venir. Car amoureux de Jamila, Adem a dû se résoudre à épouser Pembe qu’il n’aimera jamais et quittera. Le champ est libre pour mettre l’honneur à l’épreuve, car chacun sait chez les kurdes que les femmes ne peuvent apporter que la honte. Et qu’en l’absence du mari, c’est sur le fils, aussi jeune soit-il, que pèse la responsabilité de défendre, par tous les moyens, l’honneur du clan.

EXTRAIT

ESMA Londres, septembre 1992

Ma mère est morte deux fois. Je me suis promis de ne pas permettre qu’on oublie son histoire, mais je n’ai jamais trouvé le temps, la volonté ou le courage de la coucher par écrit. Jusqu’à récemment, je veux dire. Je ne crois pas être en mesure de devenir un véritable écrivain, et ça n’a plus d’importance. J’ai atteint un âge qui me met davantage en paix avec mes limites et mes échecs. Il fallait pourtant que je raconte cette histoire, ne serait-ce qu’à une personne. Il fallait que je l’envoie dans un coin de l’univers où elle pourrait flotter librement, loin de nous. Je la devais à maman, cette liberté. Et il fallait que je termine cette année. Avant qu’il soit libéré de prison.
Dans quelques heures, je retirerai du feu le halva au sésame, je le mettrai à refroidir près de l’évier et j’embrasserai mon époux, feignant de ne pas remarquer l’inquiétude dans ses yeux. Je quitterai alors la maison avec mes jumelles – sept ans, nées à quatre minutes d’intervalle – pour les conduire à une fête d’anniversaire. Elles se disputeront en chemin et, pour une fois, je ne les gronderai pas. Elles se demanderont s’il y aura un clown, à la fête, ou mieux : un magicien.
– Comme Harry Houdini, suggérerai-je.
– Harry Wou-quoi ?
– Woudini, elle a dit, idiote !
– C’est qui, maman ?
Ça me fera mal. Une douleur de piqûre d’abeille. Pas grand-chose en surface, mais une brûlure tenace à l’intérieur. Je me rendrai compte, comme à tant d’occasions, qu’elles ne connaissent rien de l’histoire de la famille, parce que je leur en ai raconté si peu. Un jour, quand elles seront prêtes. Quand je serai prête.
Après avoir déposé les petites, je bavarderai un moment avec les autres mères. Je rappellerai à l’hôtesse qu’une de mes filles est allergique aux noix et que, comme il est difficile de distinguer les jumelles, il vaut mieux les garder à l’œil toutes les deux, et s’assurer que ni l’une ni l’autre n’ingère d’aliments contenant des noix, y compris le gâteau d’anniversaire. C’est un peu injuste pour mon autre fille, mais entre jumelles ça arrive parfois – l’injustice, je veux dire.
Je retournerai alors à ma voiture, une Austin Montego que mon mari et moi conduisons à tour de rôle. La route de Londres à Shrewsbury prend trois heures et demie. Il est possible que je doive faire le plein d’essence juste avant Birmingham. J’écouterai la radio. Ça m’aidera à chasser les fantômes, la musique.
Bien des fois, j’ai envisagé de le tuer. J’ai élaboré des plans complexes mettant en action un pistolet, du poison, voire un couteau à cran d’arrêt – une justice poétique, en quelque sorte. J’ai même pensé lui pardonner, tout à fait, en toute sincérité. En fin de compte, je n’ai rien accompli.
*
En arrivant à Shrewsbury, je laisserai la voiture devant la gare et je parcourrai à pied en cinq minutes la distance me séparant du sinistre bâtiment de la prison. Je ferai les cent pas sur le trottoir ou je m’adosserai au mur, face au portail, pour attendre qu’il sorte. Je ne sais pas combien de temps ça prendra. Je ne sais pas non plus comment il réagira en me voyant. Je ne l’ai pas revu depuis plus d’un an. Au début, je lui rendais visite régulièrement mais, alors qu’approchait le jour de sa libération, j’ai cessé de venir.
À un moment, le lourd battant s’ouvrira et il sortira. Il lèvera le regard vers le ciel couvert, lui qui a perdu l’habitude d’une aussi vaste étendue au-dessus de lui, en quatorze années d’incarcération. Je l’imagine plissant les yeux pour se protéger de la lumière du jour, comme une créature de la nuit. Pendant ce temps, je ne bougerai pas, je compterai jusqu’à dix, ou cent, ou trois mille. On ne s’embrassera pas. On ne se serrera pas la main. Un hochement de tête et un salut murmuré de nos voix fluettes et étranglées. Arrivé à la gare, il sautera dans la voiture. Je serai surprise de constater qu’il est toujours musclé. C’est encore un jeune homme, après tout.
S’il veut une cigarette, je ne m’y opposerai pas, bien que j’en déteste l’odeur et que je ne laisse mon mari fumer ni dans la voiture ni à la maison. Je roulerai à travers la campagne anglaise, entre des prairies paisibles et des champs cultivés. Il m’interrogera sur mes filles. Je lui dirai qu’elles sont en bonne santé, qu’elles grandissent vite. Il sourira comme s’il avait la moindre idée de ce que c’est d’être parent. Je ne lui poserai aucune question en retour.
J’aurai apporté une cassette pour la route. « Les plus grands succès d’ABBA » – toutes les chansons que ma mère aimait fredonner en cousant, en faisant la cuisine ou le ménage : Take a Chance on Me, Mamma Mia !, Dancing Queen, The Name of the Game… Parce qu’elle nous regardera, j’en suis certaine. Les mères ne montent pas au paradis, quand elles meurent. Elles obtiennent la permission de Dieu de rester un peu plus longtemps dans les parages pour veiller sur leurs enfants, quoi qu’il se soit passé entre eux au cours de leurs brèves vies mortelles.
De retour à Londres, on gagnera Barnsbury Square et je chercherai une place de stationnement en grognant. Il se mettra à pleuvoir – des petites gouttes cristallines – et je réussirai à me garer. Je me demande s’il me dira en riant que j’ai la conduite typique des femmes au volant. Il l’aurait fait, jadis.
On se dirigera ensemble vers la maison, dans la rue silencieuse et lumineuse devant et derrière nous. Pendant un court instant, je comparerai ce qui nous entoure à notre maison de Hackney, celle de Lavender Grove, et je n’en reviendrai pas de trouver tout si différent, désormais – combien le temps a progressé, alors même que nous ne progressions pas !
Une fois à l’intérieur, on retirera nos chaussures et on enfilera des pantoufles, une paire de charentaises anthracite pour lui, empruntée à mon mari, et pour moi des mules bordeaux à pompon. Son visage se crispera en les voyant. Pour l’apaiser, je lui dirai qu’elles sont un cadeau de mes filles. Il se détendra en comprenant que ce ne sont pas les siennes à elle, que la ressemblance n’est que pure coïncidence.
Depuis la porte, il me regardera faire du thé, que je lui servirai sans lait mais avec beaucoup de sucre, à condition que la prison n’ait pas changé ses habitudes. Puis je sortirai le halva au sésame. On s’assoira tous les deux près de la fenêtre, nos tasses et nos assiettes à la main, comme des étrangers polis observant la pluie sur les jonquilles du jardin. Il me complimentera sur mes talents de cuisinière et me confiera que le halva au sésame lui a manqué, tout en refusant d’en reprendre. Je lui dirai que je respecte la recette de maman à la lettre, mais que jamais il n’est aussi bon que le sien. Ça le fera taire. On se regardera dans les yeux, dans un silence lourd. Puis il s’excusera, prétextera de la fatigue pour demander à aller se reposer, si c’est possible. Je le conduirai à sa chambre et je refermerai lentement la porte.
Je le laisserai là. Dans une pièce de ma maison. Ni loin ni trop près. Je le confinerai entre ces quatre murs, entre la haine et l’amour, sentiments que je ne peux m’empêcher d’éprouver, piégés dans une boîte au fond de mon cœur.
C’est mon frère.
Lui, un meurtrier.

EXTRAIT BAC :

Together they focused on the film.

Pembe watched The Kid with wide-open eyes, the look of surprise on her countenance deepening with each scene. When Chaplin found an abandoned baby in a rubbish bin, and raised him like his own son, she smiled with appreciation. When the child flung stones at the neighbours’ windows so that the tramp–disguised as a glazier–could fix them and earn some money, she chuckled. When social services took the boy away, her eyes welled up with tears.

And, finally, as father and son were reunited, her face lit up with contentment, and a trace of something that Elias took to be melancholy. So absorbed did she seem in the film that he felt a twinge of resentment. What a funny thing it was to be jealous of Charlie Chaplin. Elias observed her as she unpinned her hair, and then pinned it back. He caught a whiff of jasmine and rose, a heady, charming mixture. Only minutes before the film came to an end, he found the nerve to reach out for her fingers, feeling like a teenager on his first date. To his relief, she didn’t move her hand away. They sat still–two sculptures carved out of the dark, both scared of making a move that would disrupt the tenderness of the moment.

When the lights came back on, it took them a few seconds to grow accustomed to real life. Quickly, he took out a notepad and wrote down the name of another cinema in another part of the town. “Next week, same day, same time, will you come?”
“Yes”, she faltered. Before he’d found a chance to say anything else, Pembe leaped to her feet and headed towards the exit, running away from him and everything that had taken place between them, or would have taken place, had they been different people.

She held in her palm the name of the place they were to meet next time, grasping it tightly, as if it were the key to a magic world, a key she would use right now were it in her power to decide. And so it began. They started to meet every Friday at the same time, and occasionally on other afternoons. They frequented the Phoenix more than any other place, but they also met at several other cinemas, all far-away from their home, all unpopular.
[. . .]
In time he found out more things about her, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that he would complete only long after she had gone.
[..]
Slowly he was beginning to make sense of the situation. This unfathomable, almost enigmatic attraction that he felt for her, a woman so alien to the life he had led, was like a childhood memory coming back.

Elif Shafak, Honour, 2012

Voir par ailleurs:

Bac 2013: shocking confusion à l’épreuve d’anglais
Marie Caroline Missir
L’Express
20/06/2013

Les concepteurs du sujet d’anglais LV1 se seraient risqués à comparer le prestigieux ‘"Oxford Union" avec une vulgaire association étudiante…

Lorsque le journaliste anglais Peter Gumbel a découvert le sujet d’anglais première langue du bac 2013, son sang n’a fait qu’un tour. Les concepteurs du sujet auraient confondu "Oxford Union", prestigieux cercle de discussion et de débats bien connu Outre-manche, avec l"‘Oxford’s Student Union", l’équivalent du bureau des élèves. Shocking!

Le texte sur lequel devaient en effet plancher les lycéens est tiré d’une oeuvre de Jeffrey Archer, First Among Equal. Le récit en question met en scène un jeune homme très ambitieux, et qui pourrait, selon sa mère, aspirer à présider le prestigieux "Oxford Union". A partir de la lecture de ce texte, les élèves sont alors invités à disserter en imaginant le discours de campagne de Simon, le héros de Archer, pour devenir président "of the University’s Student Union", soit l’association des étudiants d’Oxford…rien à voir avec l’Oxford Union, évoquée dans le texte du sujet! "Cette confusion, absolument incroyable pour un examen tel que le bac exigerait que l’épreuve soit annulée!", estime-t-il.

Pour l’Inspection générale d’anglais, il n’y a aucune erreur dans ce sujet. "Dans le texte de compréhension, il est en effet fait référence à la prestigieuse société de réflexion et de débats Oxford Union. Il est vraisemblable que relativement peu de candidats la connaissent. L’un des sujets d’expression proposés au choix du candidat envisage une autre situation: le personnage du texte décide d’être candidat à la présidence de the University’s Student Union. Pour éviter toute confusion, Oxford n’est pas mentionné. Les candidats sont invités à tenir compte de ce qu’ils connaissent du personnage pour l’imaginer dans une situation différente du texte", justifie l’inspection. Much Ado about nothing donc, comme dirait Sheakespeare.

Peter Gumbel est l’auteur de "Elite Academy, La France malade de ses grandes écoles", Denoël, 2013.

COMPLEMENT:

Honor’ Killings: A New Kind of American Tragedy
A new kind of American tragedy is taking place in a Brooklyn Federal Courthouse.
Dr. Phyllis Chesler
Breitbart
30 Jun 2014

Both the defendant, standing trial for conspiracy to commit murder abroad in Pakistan, and the main witness against him, his daughter Amina, wept when they first saw each other. Amina’s extended family stared at her with hostility. As she testified, Amina paused, hesitated, and sobbed. She and her father had been very close until he decided that she had become too “Americanized.”

This Pakistani-American father of five, a widower, worked seven days a week driving a cab in order to support his children; this included sending his daughter, Amina, to Brooklyn College.

This is a successful American immigrant story—and yet, it is also a unique and unprecedented story as well, one which demands that Western law prevail over murderously misogynistic tribal honor codes.

At some point, Mohammad Ajmal Choudry sent Amina to Pakistan so that she might re-connect with her “roots”—but he had her held hostage there for three years. During that time, Amina, an American citizen, was forced into an arranged marriage, ostensibly to her first cousin, who probably expected this marriage to lead to his American citizenship. Such arranged marriages, and arranged specifically for this purpose, are routine. They are also factors in a number of high profile honor killing cases in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

For example, the Texas born and raised Said sisters, Aminah and Sarah, refused to marry Egyptian men as their Egyptian cab-driver father Yasir wanted them to do and he killed them for it. Canadian-Indian, Jaswinder Kaur, refused to marry the man her mother had chosen for her and instead married someone she loved. Her widowed mother and maternal uncle had her killed in India. They have been fighting extradition from Canada for more than a decade.

Amina, who grew up in New York from the time she was nine years old, did not want to be held hostage to this marriage. Indeed, Amina had found a man whom she loved and wished to marry.

Plucky Americanized Amina fled the arranged marriage within a month. With the help of a relative, the U.S. State Department, and ultimately, the Department of Homeland Security, Amina left Pakistan and went into hiding in the United States.

She had to. Her father had threatened to kill her if she did not return to her husband, give up her boyfriend, or return to her father. Mohammad may have pledged Amina’s hand without her knowledge, long, long ago.

A female relative’s sexual and reproductive activities are assets that belong to her father’s family, her tribe, her religion. They are not seen as individual rights.

Acting as if one is “free” to choose whom to marry and whom not to marry means that a woman has become too Westernized, or, in Amina’s case, too “Americanized.” This is a capital crime.

From Mohammad’s point of view, his beloved daughter had betrayed and dishonored him. She had “un-manned” him before his family. The desire to marry whom you want or to leave a violent marriage are viewed as filthy and selfish desires. Many Muslims in the Arab and Muslim world; Hindus and Muslims in India; and Muslims and, to a lesser extent, Sikhs in the West share this view and accordingly, perpetrate “honor killings.”

I do not like this phrase. An honor killing is dishonorable and it is also murder, plain and simple. It is a form of human sacrifice. It is also femicide–although sometimes boys and men are also murdered. I would like to call them “horror” murders.

American federal statutes have allowed prosecutors to charge and convict American citizens and residents while they are in the United States for having committed crimes abroad. This includes conspiracy to commit murder, incite terrorism, launder money, engage in racketeering, etc.

What did Mohammad Choudry do? According to the Indictment filed in United States District Court/the Eastern District of New York on September 20, 2013, Choudry “knowingly and intentionally conspired” to commit one or more murders. He contacted and wired money to at least four conspirators in Pakistan, including some relatives. Since Amina would not come out of hiding, their job was to murder the father and sister of Amina’s boyfriend. And they did just that. An eyewitness “observed Choudry’s brother standing over the victims, holding a gun and desecrating the bodies.”

The murders were committed in Pakistan “between January 2013 and February 2013.” Mohammad Ajmal Choudry was arrested in New York on February 25, 2013. The trial began last week, in June, 2014. Amina testified that her father vowed to kill her and every member of her new lover’s family if she did not do the right thing.

The price of love or of freedom for Amina—and for other women in her position–is very high. She will have no family of origin. If she ever weakens and tries to seek them out, she risks being killed by one of her siblings, uncles, or cousins. After all, Amina entrapped her father on the phone by allowing him to death threaten her and others.

I have published three studies about honor killing and am at work on a fourth such study. I have also written countless articles about this subject and submitted affidavits in cases where girls and women have fled honor killing families and are seeking political asylum.

I am beginning to think that, like female genital mutilation, honor murder is so entrenched a custom that, in addition to prevention and prosecution,  (at least in the West), what may be required is this: People may need to be taught courage, the art of resisting tribal barbarism. Families need to learn to go against tradition, withstand ostracism and mockery, withstand being cut off by their families and villages—for the sake of their daughters.

One fear that a “dishonored” family has is that they will not be able to marry off their other daughters or sons. Perhaps educating a pool of potential marriage mates into understanding that murder is not “honorable;” that daughters’ lives are valuable, that such horror murders are not religiously sanctioned (if indeed, that is the case), and that enacting tribal honor codes are high crimes in the West.

The Choudry trial continues today in Brooklyn. Stay tuned for breaking news.


Hagiographie: On ne peut comprendre la gauche si on ne comprend pas qu’elle est une religion (God is great and Chavez is his new prophet)

31 mars, 2014
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You cannot understand the Left if you do not understand that leftism is a religion. Dennis Prager
On Cesar Chavez Day, we celebrate one of America’s greatest champions for social justice. Raised into the life of a migrant farm worker, he toiled alongside men, women, and children who performed daily, backbreaking labor for meager pay and in deplorable conditions. They were exposed to dangerous pesticides and denied the most basic protections, including minimum wages, health care, and access to drinking water. Cesar Chavez devoted his life to correcting these injustices, to reminding us that every job has dignity, every life has value, and everyone — no matter who you are, what you look like, or where you come from — should have the chance to get ahead. After returning from naval service during World War II, Cesar Chavez fought for freedom in American agricultural fields. Alongside Dolores Huerta, he founded the United Farm Workers, and through decades of tireless organizing, even in the face of intractable opposition, he grew a movement to advance "La Causa" across the country. In 1966, he led a march that began in Delano, California, with a handful of activists and ended in Sacramento with a crowd 10,000 strong. A grape boycott eventually drew 17 million supporters nationwide, forcing growers to accept some of the first farm worker contracts in history. A generation of organizers rose to carry that legacy forward. The values Cesar Chavez lived by guide us still. As we push to fix a broken immigration system, protect the right to unionize, advance social justice for young men of color, and build ladders of opportunity for every American to climb, we recall his resilience through setbacks, his refusal to scale back his dreams. When we organize against income inequality and fight to raise the minimum wage — because no one who works full time should have to live in poverty — we draw strength from his vision and example. Throughout his lifelong struggle, Cesar Chavez never forgot who he was fighting for. "What [the growers] don’t know," he said, "is that it’s not bananas or grapes or lettuce. It’s people." Today, let us honor Cesar Chavez and those who marched with him by meeting our obligations to one another. I encourage Americans to make this a national day of service and education by speaking out, organizing, and participating in service projects to improve lives in their communities. Let us remember that when we lift each other up, when we speak with one voice, we have the power to build a better world. NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 31, 2014, as Cesar Chavez Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate service, community, and education programs to honor Cesar Chavez’s enduring legacy. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth. Barack Obama
His face is on a U.S. postage stamp. Countless statues, murals, libraries, schools, parks and streets are named after him — he even has his own national monument. He was on the cover of Time magazine in 1969. A naval ship was named after him. The man even has his own Google Doodle and Apple ad. Yet his footprint in American history is widely unknown and that’s exactly the reason why actor-turned-director Diego Luna decided to produce a movie about his life. CNN
Sorel, for whom religion was important, drew a comparison between the Christian and the socialist revolutionary. The Christian’s life is transformed because he accepts the myth that Christ will one day return and usher in the end of time; the revolutionary socialist’s life is transformed because he accepts the myth that one day socialism will triumph, and justice for all will prevail. What mattered for Sorel, in both cases, is not the scientific truth or falsity of the myth believed in, but what believing in the myth does to the lives of those who have accepted it, and who refuse to be daunted by the repeated failure of their apocalyptic expectations. How many times have Christians in the last two thousand years been convinced that the Second Coming was at hand, only to be bitterly disappointed — yet none of these disappointments was ever enough to keep them from holding on to their great myth. So, too, Sorel argued, the myth of socialism will continue to have power, despite the various failures of socialist experiments, so long as there are revolutionaries who are unwilling to relinquish their great myth. That is why he rejected scientific socialism — if it was merely science, it lacked the power of a religion to change individual’s lives. Thus for Sorel there was “an…analogy between religion and the revolutionary Socialism which aims at the apprenticeship, preparation, and even the reconstruction of the individual — a gigantic task. Lee Harris

En cette Journée César Chavez tout récemment proclamée par Notre Grand Timonier Obama …

Lancée, comme il se doit, par ses images saintes made in Hollywood

Bienvenue au dernier saint de nos amis de la gauche américaine !

The Left’s Misplaced Concern
The Left craves power not money, and that makes it much more frightening.
Dennis Prager
National review on line
May 22, 2012

You cannot understand the Left if you do not understand that leftism is a religion. It is not God-based (some left-wing Christians’ and Jews’ claims notwithstanding), but otherwise it has every characteristic of a religion. The most blatant of those characteristics is dogma. People who believe in leftism have as many dogmas as the most fundamentalist Christian.

One of them is material equality as the preeminent moral goal. Another is the villainy of corporations. The bigger the corporation, the greater the villainy. Thus, instead of the devil, the Left has Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, Big Oil, the “military-industrial complex,” and the like. Meanwhile, Big Labor, Big Trial Lawyers, and — of course — Big Government are left-wing angels.

And why is that? Why, to be specific, does the Left fear big corporations but not big government?

The answer is dogma — a belief system that transcends reason. No rational person can deny that big governments have caused almost all the great evils of the last century, arguably the bloodiest in history. Who killed the 20 to 30 million Soviet citizens in the Gulag Archipelago — big government or big business? Hint: There were no private businesses in the Soviet Union. Who deliberately caused 75 million Chinese to starve to death — big government or big business? Hint: See previous hint. Did Coca-Cola kill 5 million Ukrainians? Did Big Oil slaughter a quarter of the Cambodian population? Would there have been a Holocaust without the huge Nazi state?

Whatever bad things big corporations have done is dwarfed by the monstrous crimes — the mass enslavement of people, the deprivation of the most basic human rights, not to mention the mass murder and torture and genocide — committed by big governments.

How can anyone who thinks rationally believe that big corporations rather than big governments pose the greatest threat to humanity? The answer is that it takes a mind distorted by leftist dogma. If there is another explanation, I do not know what it is.

Religious Christians and Jews also have some irrational beliefs, but their irrationality is overwhelmingly confined to theological matters; and these theological irrationalities have no deleterious impact on religious Jews’ and Christians’ ability to see the world rationally and morally. Few religious Jews or Christians believe that big corporations are in any way analogous to big government in terms of evil done. And the few who do are leftists.

That the Left demonizes Big Pharma, for instance, is an example of this dogmatism. America’s pharmaceutical companies have saved millions of lives, including millions of leftists’ lives. And I do not doubt that in order to increase profits they have not always played by the rules. But to demonize big pharmaceutical companies while lionizing big government, big labor unions, and big tort-law firms is to stand morality on its head.

There is yet another reason to fear big government far more than big corporations. ExxonMobil has no police force, no IRS, no ability to arrest you, no ability to shut you up, and certainly no ability to kill you. ExxonMobil can’t knock on your door in the middle of the night and legally take you away. Apple Computer cannot take your money away without your consent, and it runs no prisons. The government does all of these things.

Of course, the Left will respond that government also does good and that corporations and capitalists are, by their very nature, “greedy.”

To which the rational response is that, of course, government also does good. But so do the vast majority of corporations, private citizens, church groups, and myriad voluntary associations. On the other hand, only big government can do anything approaching the monstrous evils of the last century.

As for greed: Between hunger for money and hunger for power, the latter is incomparably more frightening. It is noteworthy that none of the twentieth century’s monsters — Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao — were preoccupied with material gain. They loved power much more than money.

And that is why the Left is much more frightening than the Right. It craves power.

— Dennis Prager, a nationally syndicated columnist and radio talk-show host, is author of Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. He may be contacted through his website, dennisprager.com.

Voir aussi:

The iconic UFW

Another myth. I opened my Easter Sunday Google browser and did not find a Christian icon on the page, but instead a (badly done) romantic rendition of a youthful Cesar Chavez, apparently our age’s version of a politically correct divinity.

Yet I wondered whether the midlevel Googilites who post these politically hip images knew all that much about Chavez. I grant in this age that they saw no reason to emphasize Christianity on its most holy day. But there is, after all, Miriam Pawel’s 2010 biography of Chavez still readily accessible[10], and a new essay about him in The Atlantic[11] — both written by sympathetic authors who nonetheless are not quite the usual garden-variety hagiographers. To suggest something other than sainthood is heresy in these parts, as I have discovered since the publication of Mexifornia a decade ago.

I grew up in the cauldron of farm-labor disputes. Small farms like ours largely escaped the violence, because there were five of us kids to do the work in summer and after school, and our friends welcomed the chance to buck boxes or help out propping trees or thinning plums. Hired help was rare and a matter of a few days of hiring 20 or so locals for the fall raisin harvest. But the epic table grape fights were not far away in Parlier, Reedley, and down the 99 in Delano. I offer a few impressions, some of them politically incorrect.

First, give Chavez his due. Farmworkers today are more akin to supposedly non-skilled (actually there is a skill required to pruning and picking) labor elsewhere, with roughly the same protective regulations as the food worker or landscaper. That was not true in 1965. Conservatives will argue that the market corrected the abuse (e.g., competition for ever scarcer workers) and ensured overtime, accessible toilets, and the end to hand-held hoes; liberals will credit Chavez — or fear of Chavez.

But that said, Chavez was not quite the icon we see in the grainy videos walking the vineyards withRobert Kennedy[12]. Perhaps confrontation was inevitable, but the labor organizing around here was hardly non-violent. Secondary boycotts were illegal, but that did not stop picketers from yelling and cursing as you exited the local Safeway with a bag of Emperor grapes. There were the constant union fights with bigger family growers (the 500 acre and above sort), as often demonstrators rushed into fields to mix it up with so-called scabs. Teamsters fought the UAW. The latter often worked with the immigration service to hunt down and deport illegals. The former bused in toughs to crack heads. After-hours UFW vandalism, as in the slashed tire and chain-sawed tree mode, was common.

The politics were explicable by one common theme: Cesar Chavez disliked small farmers and labor contractors[13], and preferred agribusiness and the idea of a huge union. Otherwise, there were simply too many incongruities in an agrarian checkerboard landscape for him to handle — as if the UAW would have had to deal with an auto industry scattered among thousands of small family-owned factories.

For Chavez, the ideal was a vast, simple us/them, 24/7 fight, albeit beneath an angelic veneer of Catholic suffering. In contrast, small farmers were not rich and hardly cut-out caricatures of grasping exploitation. Too many were unapologetic Armenians, Japanese (cf. the Nisei Farmers League), Portuguese, and Mexican-Americans to guarantee the necessary white/brown binary. Many had their own histories of racism, from the Armenian genocide to the Japanese internment, and had no white guilt of the Kennedy sort. I cannot imagine a tougher adversary than a Japanese, Armenian, or Punjabi farmer, perched on his own tractor or irrigating his 60 acres — entirely self-created, entirely unapologetic about his achievement, entirely committed to the idea that no one is going to threaten his existence.

The local labor contractors were not villains, but mostly residents who employed their relatives and knew well the 40-acre and 100-acre farmers they served. When there were slow times on the farm, I picked peaches for two summers for a Selma labor contractor, whose kids I went to school with. He was hardly a sellout. The crusty, hard-bitten small farmers (“don’t bruise that fruit,” “you missed three peaches up there on that limb,” “you stopped before it was quite noon”) who monitored personally the orchards we picked looked no different from the men on ladders.

In contrast, Chavez preferred the south and west Central Valley of huge corporate agribusiness. Rich and powerful, these great captains had the ability by fiat to institute labor agreements across hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland. Chavez’s organizing forte was at home in a Tulare, Delano, Shafter, Mendota or Tranquility, not a Reedley, Kingsburg or Selma. In those days, the former were mostly pyramidal societies of a few corporate kingpins with an underclass of agricultural laborers, the latter were mixed societies in which Mexican-Americans were already ascendant and starting to join the broader middle class of Armenians, Japanese, and Punjabis.

Chavez was to be a Walter Reuther or George Meany, a make-or-breaker who sat across from a land baron, cut a deal for his vast following, and then assumed national stature as he doled out union patronage and quid-pro-quo political endorsements. In that vision, as a 1950s labor magnate Chavez largely failed — but not because agribusiness did not cave in to him. Indeed, it saw the UFW and Chavez as the simple cost of doing business, a tolerable write-off necessary to making all the bad press, vandalism, and violence go away.

Instead, the UFW imploded by its own insider and familial favoritism, corruption, and, to be frank, lunatic paranoia. The millions of dollars Chavez deducted for pension funds often vanished. Legions of relatives (for a vestigial experience of the inner sanctum, I suggest a visit to the national shrine southeast of Bakersfield) staffed the union administration. There were daily rumors of financial malfeasance, mostly in the sense of farmworkers belatedly discovering that their union deductions did not lead to promised healthcare or pensions.

Most hagiographies ignore Chavez’s eerie alliance with the unhinged Synanon bunch. In these parts, they had opened a foothill retreat of some sort above Woodlake, not far from here. (I visited the ramshackle Badger enclave once with my mother [I suppose as her informal "security,"], who was invited as a superior court judge to be introduced to their new anti-drug program in their hopes that county officials might save millions of dollars by sentencing supposedly non-violent heroin addicts to Synanon recovery treatments. Needless to say, she smiled, met the creepy “group,” looked around the place, and we left rather quickly, and that was that.)

I don’t think that the Google headliners remember that Charles Dederich[14] (of rattlesnake-in-the-mailbox and “Don’t mess with us. You can get killed, dead” fame) was a sort of model for Chavez, who tried to introduce the wacko-bird Synanon Game to his own UFW hierarchy. No matter, deification of Chavez is now de rigeur; the young generation who idolizes him has almost no knowledge of the man, his life, or his beliefs. It is enough that Bobby Kennedy used to fly into these parts, walk for a few well-filmed hours, and fly out.

When I went to UC Santa Cruz in September of 1971, I remember as a fool picking a box of Thompson seedless grapes from our farm to take along, and soon being met by a dorm delegation of rich kids from Pacific Palisades and Palos Verdes (a favorite magnet area for Santa Cruz in those days) who ordered me not to eat my own grapes on my own campus in my own room. Soon I had about four good friends who not only enjoyed them, but enjoyed eating them in front of those who did not (to the extent I remember these student moralists, and can collate old faces with names in the annual alumni news, most are now high-ups and executives in the entertainment industry). Victor Davis Hanson

Voir encore:

The study of history demands nuanced thinking

Miriam Pawel

Austin American-Statesman
7-17-09

[Pawel is the author of the forthcoming book 'The Union of Their Dreams — Power, Hope and Struggle in Cesar Chavez's Farm Worker Movement.']

Cesar Chavez was not a saint. He was, at times, a stubborn authoritarian bully, a fanatical control freak, a wily fighter who manufactured enemies and scapegoats, a mystical vegetarian who healed with his hands, and a union president who wanted his members to value sacrifice above higher wages.

He was also a brilliant, inspirational leader who changed thousands of lives as he built the first successful union for farmworkers, a consummate strategist singularly committed to his vision of helping the poor — a vision that even those close to him sometimes misunderstood.

That one man embodies such complexity and contradictions should be a key lesson underlying any history curriculum: Students should learn to think in shades of gray, to see heroes as real people, and to reject the dogma of black and white.

That sort of nuanced thinking appears largely absent from the debate over whether Cesar Chavez should be taught in Texas schools. Two of the six reviewers appointed to assess Texas’ social studies curriculum recently deemed Chavez an inappropriate role model whose contributions and stature have been overstated. Their critiques suggested he should be excised, not glorified. Their opponents pounced on the comments in an ongoing ideological and political dispute that clearly is far more sweeping than Chavez’s proper place in the classroom.

But the debate over Chavez and how his story is taught exemplifies the dangers of oversimplification and the absence of critical thinking.

His supporters are at fault as well as his detractors. For years, they have mythologized Chavez and fiercely fended off efforts to portray him in less than purely heroic terms. The hagiography only detracts from his very real, remarkable accomplishments. In an era when Mexican Americans were regarded as good for nothing more than the most back-breaking labor, Chavez mobilized public support and forced agribusiness to recognize the rights of farmworkers. His movement brought farmworkers dignity and self-respect, as well as better wages and working conditions. In California, he pushed through what remains today the most pro-labor law in the country, the only one granting farmworkers the right to organize and petition for union elections.

Chavez’s legacy can be seen in the work of a generation of activists and community organizers who joined the farmworker crusade during the 1960s and ’70s, a movement that transformed their lives. They, in turn, have gone on to effect change across the country, most recently playing key roles in the Obama presidential campaign.

The decline of the union Chavez founded and the ultimate failure of the United Farm Workers to achieve lasting change in the fields of California — much less expand into a national union — is part of the Chavez legacy, too. Chavez himself played a role in that precipitous decline, and students of history should not follow his example and blame the failures solely on outside forces and scapegoats.

Chavez, an avid reader of history, preserved an extraordinary record of his own movement: For years, he ordered that all documents, tapes and pictures be sent to the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University in Detroit, the nation’s preeminent labor archive. Chavez told people he wanted the history of his movement to be saved and studied — warts and all.

Those lessons should be taught in classrooms everywhere. – See more at: http://hnn.us/article/107517#sthash.NSesFPOF.dpuf

Voir encore:

Amid Chants of ‘¡Huelga!,’ an Embodiment of Hope
Hero Worship Abounds in ‘Cesar Chavez’

A. O. Scott

The NYT

MARCH 27, 2014

“Cesar Chavez,” directed by Diego Luna, is a well-cast, well-intentioned movie that falls into the trap that often awaits film biographies of brave and widely admired individuals. The movie is so intent on reminding viewers of its subject’s heroism that it struggles to make him an interesting, three-dimensional person, and it tells his story as a series of dramatic bullet points, punctuated by black-and-white footage, some real, some simulated, of historical events.

In spite of these shortcomings, Mr. Luna’s reconstruction of the emergence of the United Farm Workers organization in the 1960s unfolds with unusual urgency and timeliness. After a rushed beginning — in which we see Chavez (Michael Peña) arguing in a Los Angeles office and moving his family to Delano, a central California town, before we fully grasp his motives — we settle in for a long, sometimes violent struggle between the workers and the growers. Attempted strikes are met with intimidation and brutality, from the local sheriff and hired goons, and Chavez and his allies (notably Dolores Huerta, played by Rosario Dawson) come up with new tactics, including a public fast, a march from Delano to Sacramento and a consumer boycott of grapes.

As is customary in movies like this, we see the toll that the hero’s commitment takes on his family life. His wife, Helen (America Ferrera), is a steadfast ally, but there is tension between Chavez and his oldest son, Fernando (the only one of the couple’s eight children with more than an incidental presence on screen). Fernando (Eli Vargas) endures racist bullying at school and suffers from his father’s frequent absences. Their scenes together are more functional than heartfelt, fulfilling the requirement of allowing the audience a glimpse at the private life of a public figure.

We also venture into the household of one of Chavez’s main antagonists, a landowner named Bogdonovich, played with sly, dry understatement by John Malkovich. He is determined to break the incipient union, and the fight between the two men and their organizations becomes a national political issue. Senator Robert F. Kennedy (Jack Holmes) takes the side of the workers, while the interests of the growers are publicly defended by Ronald Reagan, shown in an archival video clip describing the grape boycott as immoral, and Richard Nixon. Parts of “Cesar Chavez” are as rousing as an old folk song, with chants of “¡Huelga!” and “¡Sí, se puede!” ringing through the theater. Although it ends, as such works usually do, on a note of triumph, the film, whose screenplay is by Keir Pearson and Timothy J. Sexton, does not present history as a closed book. Movies about men and women who fought for social change — “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” is a recent example — treat them less as the radicals they were than as embodiments of hope, reconciliation and consensus.

Though Cesar Chavez, who died in 1993, has been honored and celebrated, the problems he addressed have hardly faded away. The rights of immigrants and the wages and working conditions of those who pick, process and transport food are still live and contentious political issues.

And if you read between the lines of Mr. Luna’s earnest, clumsy film, you find not just a history lesson but an argument. The success of the farm workers depended on the strength of labor unions, both in the United States and overseas, and the existence of political parties able to draw on that power. What the film struggles to depict, committed as it is to the conventions of hagiography, is the long and complex work of organizing people to defend their own interests. You are invited to admire what Cesar Chavez did, but it may be more vital to understand how he did it.

“Cesar Chavez” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). Strong language and scenes of bloody class struggle.

Voir encore:

The Madness of Cesar Chavez
A new biography of the icon shows that saints should be judged guilty until proved innocent.
Caitlin Flanagan
The Atlantic
Jun 13 2011,

Once a year, in the San Joaquin Valley in Central California, something spectacular happens. It lasts only a couple of weeks, and it’s hard to catch, because the timing depends on so many variables. But if you’re patient, and if you check the weather reports from Fresno and Tulare counties obsessively during the late winter and early spring, and if you are also willing, on very little notice, to drop everything and make the unglamorous drive up (or down) to that part of the state, you will see something unforgettable. During a couple of otherworldly weeks, the tens of thousands of fruit trees planted there burst into blossom, and your eye can see nothing, on either side of those rutted farm roads, but clouds of pink and white and yellow. Harvest time is months away, the brutal summer heat is still unimaginable, and in those cool, deserted orchards, you find only the buzzing of bees, the perfumed air, and the endless canopy of color.

I have spent the past year thinking a lot about the San Joaquin Valley, because I have been trying to come to terms with the life and legacy of Cesar Chavez, whose United Farm Workers movement—born in a hard little valley town called Delano—played a large role in my California childhood. I spent the year trying, with increasing frustration, to square my vision of him, and of his movement, with one writer’s thorough and unflinching reassessment of them. Beginning five years ago, with a series of shocking articles in the Los Angeles Times, and culminating now in one of the most important recent books on California history, Miriam Pawel has undertaken a thankless task: telling a complicated and in many ways shattering truth. That her book has been so quietly received is not owing to a waning interest in the remarkable man at its center. Streets and schools and libraries are still being named for Chavez in California; his long-ago rallying cry of “Sí, se puede” remains so evocative of ideas about justice and the collective power of the downtrodden that Barack Obama adopted it for his presidential campaign. No, the silence greeting the first book to come to terms with Chavez’s legacy arises from the human tendency to be stubborn and romantic and (if the case requires it) willfully ignorant in defending the heroes we’ve chosen for ourselves. That silence also attests to the way Chavez touched those of us who had any involvement with him, because the full legacy has to include his singular and almost mystical way of eliciting not just fealty but a kind of awe. Something cultlike always clung to the Chavez operation, and so while I was pained to learn in Pawel’s book of Chavez’s enthrallment with an actual cult—with all the attendant paranoia and madness—that development makes sense.

In the face of Pawel’s book, I felt compelled to visit the places where Chavez lived and worked, although it’s hard to tempt anyone to join you on a road trip to somewhere as bereft of tourist attractions as the San Joaquin Valley. But one night in late February, I got a break: someone who’d just driven down from Fresno told me that the trees were almost in bloom, and that was all I needed. I took my 13-year-old son, Conor, out of school for a couple of days so we could drive up the 99 and have a look. I was thinking of some things I wanted to show him, and some I wanted to see for myself. It would be “experiential learning”; it would be a sentimental journey. At times it would be a covert operation.

One Saturday night, when I was 9 or 10 years old, my parents left the dishes in the sink and dashed out the driveway for their weekend treat: movie night. But not half an hour later—just enough time for the round trip from our house in the Berkeley Hills to the United Artists theater down on Shattuck—they were right back home again, my mother hanging up her coat with a sigh, and my father slamming himself angrily into a chair in front of The Bob Newhart Show.

What happened?

“Strike,” he said bitterly.

One of the absolute rules of our household, so essential to our identity that it was never even explained in words, was that a picket line didn’t mean “maybe.” A picket line meant “closed.” This rule wasn’t a point of honor or a means of forging solidarity with the common man, someone my father hoped to encounter only in literature. It came from a way of understanding the world, from the fierce belief that the world was divided between workers and owners. The latter group was always, always trying to exploit the former, which—however improbably, given my professor father’s position in life—was who we were.

In the history of human enterprise, there can have been no more benevolent employer than the University of California in the 1960s and ’70s, yet to hear my father and his English-department pals talk about the place, you would have thought they were working at the Triangle shirtwaist factory. Not buying a movie ticket if the ushers were striking meant that if the shit really came down, and the regents tried to make full professors teach Middlemarch seminars over summer vacation, the ushers would be there for you. As a child, I burned brightly with the justice of these concepts, and while other children were watching Speed Racer or learning Chinese jump rope, I spent a lot of my free time working for the United Farm Workers.

Everything about the UFW and its struggle was right-sized for a girl: it involved fruits and vegetables, it concerned the most elementary concepts of right and wrong, it was something you could do with your mom, and most of your organizing could be conducted just outside the grocery store, which meant you could always duck inside for a Tootsie Pop. The cement apron outside a grocery store, where one is often accosted—in a manner both winsome and bullying—by teams of Brownies pressing their cookies on you, was once my barricade and my bully pulpit.

Of course, it had all started with Mom. Somewhere along the way, she had met Cesar Chavez, or at least attended a rally where he had spoken, and that was it. Like almost everyone else who ever encountered him, she was spellbound. “This wonderful, wonderful man,” she would call him, and off we went to collect clothes for the farmworkers’ children, and to sell red-and-black UFW buttons and collect signatures. It was our thing: we loved each other, we loved doing little projects, we had oceans of free time (has anyone in the history of the world had more free time than mid-century housewives and their children?), and we were both constitutionally suited to causes that required grudge-holding and troublemaking and making things better for people in need. Most of all, though, we loved Cesar.

In those heady, early days of the United Farm Workers, in the time of the great five-year grape strike that started in 1965, no reporter, not even the most ironic among them, failed to remark upon, if not come under, Chavez’s sway. “The Messianic quality about him,” observed John Gregory Dunne in his brilliant 1967 book, Delano, “is suggested by his voice, which is mesmerizing—soft, perfectly modulated, pleasantly accented.” Peter Matthiessen’s book-length profile of Chavez, which consumed two issues of The New Yorker in the summer of 1969, reported: “He is the least boastful man I have ever met.” Yet within this self-conscious and mannered presentation of inarticulate deference was an ability to shape both a romantic vision and a strategic plan. Never since then has so great a gift been used for so small a cause. In six months, he took a distinctly regional movement and blasted it into national, and then international, fame.

The ranchers underestimated Chavez,” a stunned local observer of the historic Delano grape strike told Dunne; “they thought he was just another dumb Mex.” Such a sentiment fueled opinions of Chavez, not just among the valley’s grape growers—hardworking men, none of them rich by any means—but among many of his most powerful admirers, although they spoke in very different terms. Chavez’s followers—among them mainline Protestants, socially conscious Jews, Berkeley kids, white radicals who were increasingly rootless as the civil-rights movement transformed into the black-power movement—saw him as a profoundly good man. But they also understood him as a kind of idiot savant, a noble peasant who had risen from the agony of stoop labor and was mysteriously instilled with the principles and tactics of union organizing. In fact he’d been a passionate and tireless student of labor relations for a decade before founding the UFW, handpicked to organize Mexican Americans for the Community Service Organization, a local outfit under the auspices of no less a personage than Saul Alinsky, who knew Chavez well and would advise him during the grape strike. From Alinsky, and from Fred Ross, the CSO founder, Chavez learned the essential tactic of organizing: the person-by-person, block-by-block building of a coalition, no matter how long it took, sitting with one worker at a time, hour after hour, until the tide of solidarity is so high, no employer can defeat it.

Chavez, like all the great ’60s figures, was a man of immense personal style. For a hundred reasons—some cynical, some not—he and Robert Kennedy were drawn to each other. The Kennedy name had immense appeal to the workers Chavez was trying to cultivate; countless Mexican households displayed photographs of JFK, whose assassination they understood as a Catholic martyrdom rather than an act of political gun violence. In turn, Chavez’s cause offered Robert Kennedy a chance to stand with oppressed workers in a way that would not immediately inflame his family’s core constituency, among them working-class Irish Americans who felt no enchantment with the civil-rights causes that RFK increasingly embraced. The Hispanic situation was different. At the time of the grape strike, Mexican American immigration was not on anyone’s political radar. The overwhelming majority of California’s population was white, and the idea that Mexican workers would compete for anyone’s good job was unheard-of. The San Joaquin Valley farms—and the worker exploitation they had historically engendered—were associated more closely with the mistreatment of white Okies during the Great Depression than with the plight of any immigrant population.

Kennedy—his mind, like Chavez’s, always on the political promise of a great photograph—flew up to Delano in March 1968, when Chavez broke his 25-day fast, which he had undertaken not as a hunger strike, but as penance for some incidents of UFW violence. In a Mass held outside the union gas station where Chavez had fasted, the two were photographed, sitting next to Chavez’s wife and his mantilla-wearing mother, taking Communion together (“Senator, this is probably the most ridiculous request I ever made in my life,” said a desperate cameraman who’d missed the shot; “but would you mind giving him a piece of bread?”). Three months later, RFK was shot in Los Angeles, and a second hagiographic photograph was taken of the leader with a Mexican American. A young busboy named Juan Romero cradled the dying senator in his arms, his white kitchen jacket and dark, pleading eyes lending the picture an urgency at once tragic and political: The Third of May recast in a hotel kitchen. The United Farm Workers began to seem like Kennedy’s great unfinished business. The family firm might have preferred that grieving for Bobby take the form of reconsidering Teddy’s political possibilities, but in fact much of it was channeled, instead, into boycotting grapes.

That historic grape boycott eventually ended with a rousing success: three-year union contracts binding the Delano growers and the farmworkers. After that, the movement drifted out of my life and consciousness, as it did—I now realize—for millions of other people. I remember clearly the night my mother remarked (in a guarded way) to my father that the union had now switched its boycott from grapes to … lettuce. “Lettuce?” he squawked, and then burst out in mean laughter. I got the joke. What was Chavez going to do now, boycott each of California’s agricultural products, one at a time for five years each? We’d be way into the 21st century by the time they got around to zucchini. And besides, things were changing—in the world, in Berkeley, and (in particular, I thought) at the Flanagans’. Things that had appeared revolutionary and appealing in the ’60s were becoming weird or ugly in the ’70s. People began turning inward. My father, stalwart Vietnam War protester and tear-gasee, turned his concern to writing an endless historical novel about 18th-century Ireland. My mother stopped worrying so much about the liberation of other people and cut herself into the deal: she left her card table outside the Berkeley Co-op and went back to work. I too found other pursuits. Sitting in my room with the cat and listening over and over to Carly Simon’s No Secrets album—while staring with Talmudic concentration at its braless cover picture—was at least as absorbing as shaking the Huelga can and fretting about Mexican children’s vaccination schedules had once been. Everyone sort of moved on.

I didn’t really give any thought to the UFW again until the night of my mother’s death. At the end of that terrible day, when my sister and I returned from the hospital to our parents’ house, we looked through the papers on my mother’s kitchen desk, and there among the envelopes from the many, many charities she supported (she sent each an immediate albeit very small check) was one bearing a logo I hadn’t seen in years: the familiar black-and-red Huelga eagle. I smiled and took it home with me. I wrote a letter to the UFW, telling about my mom and enclosing a check, and suddenly I was back.

Re-upping with the 21st-century United Farm Workers was fantastic. The scope of my efforts was so much larger than before (they encouraged me to e-blast their regular updates to everyone in my address book, which of course I did) and the work so, so much less arduous—no sitting around in parking lots haranguing people about grapes. I never got off my keister. Plus, every time a new UFW e-mail arrived—the logo blinking, in a very new-millennium way, “Donate now!”—and I saw the pictures of farmworkers doing stoop labor in the fields, and the stirring photographs of Cesar Chavez, I felt close to my lost mother and connected to her: here I am, Mom, still doing our bit for the union.

And then one morning a few years later, I stepped out onto the front porch in my bathrobe, picked up the Los Angeles Times, and saw a headline: “Farmworkers Reap Little as Union Strays From Its Roots.” It was the first article in a four-part series by a Times reporter named Miriam Pawel, and from the opening paragraph, I was horrified.

I learned that while the UFW brand still carried a lot of weight in people’s minds—enough to have built a pension plan of $100 million in assets but with only a few thousand retirees who qualified—the union had very few contracts with California growers, the organization was rife with Chavez nepotism, and the many UFW-funded business ventures even included an apartment complex in California built with non-union labor. I took this news personally. I felt ashamed that I had forwarded so many e-mails to so many friends, all in the service, somehow, of keeping my mother’s memory and good works alive, and all to the ultimate benefit—as it turned out—not of the workers in the fields (whose lives were in some ways worse than they had been in the ’60s), but rather of a large, shadowy, and now morally questionable organization. But at least, I told myself, none of this has in any way impugned Cesar himself: he’d been dead more than a decade before the series was published. His own legacy was unblighted.

Or so it seemed, until my editor sent me a copy of The Union of Their Dreams, Pawel’s exhaustively researched, by turns sympathetic and deeply shocking, investigation of Chavez and his movement, and in particular of eight of the people who worked most closely with him. Through her in-depth interviews with these figures—among them a prominent attorney who led the UFW legal department, a minister who was one of Chavez’s closest advisers, and a young farmworker who had dedicated his life to the cause—Pawel describes the reality of the movement, not just during the well-studied and victorious period that made it famous, but during its long, painful transformation to what it is today. Her story of one man and his movement is a story of how the ’60s became the ’70s.

To understand Chavez, you have to understand that he was grafting together two life philosophies that were, at best, an idiosyncratic pairing. One was grounded in union-organizing techniques that go back to the Wobblies; the other emanated directly from the mystical Roman Catholicism that flourishes in Mexico and Central America and that Chavez ardently followed. He didn’t conduct “hunger strikes”; he fasted penitentially. He didn’t lead “protest marches”; he organized peregrinations in which his followers—some crawling on their knees—arrayed themselves behind the crucifix and effigies of the Virgin of Guadalupe. His desire was not to lift workers into the middle class, but to bind them to one another in the decency of sacrificial poverty. He envisioned the little patch of dirt in Delano—the “Forty Acres” that the UFW had acquired in 1966 and that is now a National Historic Landmark—as a place where workers could build shrines, pray, and rest in the shade of the saplings they had tended together while singing. Like most ’60s radicals—of whatever stripe—he vastly overestimated the appeal of hard times and simple living; he was not the only Californian of the time to promote the idea of a Poor People’s Union, but as everyone from the Symbionese Liberation Army to the Black Panthers would discover, nobody actually wants to be poor. With this Christ-like and infinitely suffering approach to some worldly matters, Chavez also practiced the take-no-prisoners, balls-out tactics of a Chicago organizer. One of his strategies during the lettuce strike was causing deportations: he would alert the immigration authorities to the presence of undocumented (and therefore scab) workers and get them sent back to Mexico. As the ’70s wore on, all of this—the fevered Catholicism and the brutal union tactics—coalesced into a gospel with fewer and fewer believers. He moved his central command from the Forty Acres, where he was in constant contact with workers and their families—and thus with the realities and needs of their lives—and took up residence in a weird new headquarters.

Located in the remote foothills of the Tehachapi Mountains, the compound Chavez would call La Paz centered on a moldering and abandoned tuberculosis hospital and its equally ravaged outbuildings. In the best tradition of charismatic leaders left alone with their handpicked top command, he became unhinged. This little-known turn of events provides the compelling final third of Pawel’s book. She describes how Chavez, the master spellbinder, himself fell under the spell of a sinister cult leader, Charles Dederich, the founder of Synanon, which began as a tough-love drug-treatment program and became—in Pawel’s gentle locution—“an alternative lifestyle community.” Chavez visited Dederich’s compound in the Sierras (where women routinely had their heads shaved as a sign of obedience) and was impressed. Pawel writes:

Chavez envied Synanon’s efficient operation. The cars all ran, the campus was immaculate, the organization never struggled for money.

He was also taken with a Synanon practice called “The Game,” in which people were put in the center of a small arena and accused of disloyalty and incompetence while a crowd watched their humiliation. Chavez brought the Game back to La Paz and began to use it on his followers, among them some of the UFW’s most dedicated volunteers. In a vast purge, he exiled or fired many of them, leaving wounds that remain tender to this day. He began to hold the actual farmworkers in contempt: “Every time we look at them,” he said during a tape-recorded meeting at La Paz, “they want more money. Like pigs, you know. Here we’re slaving, and we’re starving and the goddamn workers don’t give a shit about anything.”

Chavez seemed to have gone around the bend. He decided to start a new religious order. He flew to Manila during martial law in 1977 and was officially hosted by Ferdinand Marcos, whose regime he praised, to the horror and loud indignation of human-rights advocates around the world.

By the time of Chavez’s death, the powerful tide of union contracts for California farmworkers, which the grape strike had seemed to augur, had slowed to the merest trickle. As a young man, Chavez had set out to secure decent wages and working conditions for California’s migrant workers; anyone taking a car trip through the “Salad Bowl of the World” can see that for the most part, these workers have neither.

For decades, Chavez has been almost an abstraction, a collection of gestures and images (the halting speech, the plaid shirt, the eagerness to perform penance for the smallest transgressions) suggesting more an icon than a human being. Here in California, Chavez has reached civic sainthood. Indeed, you can trace a good many of the giants among the state’s shifting pantheon by looking at the history of one of my former elementary schools. When Berkeley became the first city in the United States to integrate its school system without a court order, my white friends and I were bused to an institution in the heart of the black ghetto called Columbus School. In the fullness of time, its name was changed to Rosa Parks School; the irony of busing white kids to a school named for Rosa Parks never seemed fully unintentional to me. Now this school has a strong YouTube presence for the videos of its Cesar Chavez Day play, an annual event in which bilingual first-graders dressed as Mexican farmworkers carry Sí, Se Puede signs and sing “De Colores.” The implication is that just as Columbus and Parks made their mark on America, so did Chavez make his lasting mark on California.

In fact, no one could be more irrelevant to the California of today, and particularly to its poor, Hispanic immigrant population, than Chavez. He linked improvement of workers’ lives to a limitation on the bottomless labor pool, but today, low-wage, marginalized, and exploited workers from Mexico and Central America number not in the tens of thousands, as in the ’60s, but in the millions. Globalization is the epitome of capitalism, and nowhere is it more alive than in California. When I was a child in the ’60s, professional-class families did not have a variety of Hispanic workers—maids, nannies, gardeners—toiling in and around their households. Most faculty wives in Berkeley had a once-a-week “cleaning lady,” but those women were blacks, not Latinas. A few of the posher families had gardeners, but those men were Japanese, and they were employed for their expertise in cultivating California plants, not for their willingness to “mow, blow, and go.”

Growing up here when I did meant believing your state was the most blessed place in the world. We were certain—both those who lived in the Republican, Beach Boys paradises of Southern California and those who lived in the liberal enclaves of Berkeley and Santa Monica—that our state would always be able to take care of its citizens. The working class would be transformed (by dint of the aerospace industry and the sunny climate) into the most comfortable middle class in the world, with backyard swimming pools and self-starting barbecue grills for everyone. The poor would be taken care of, too, whether that meant boycotting grapes, or opening libraries until every rough neighborhood had books (and Reading Lady volunteers) for everyone.

But all of that is gone now.

The state is broken, bankrupt, mean. The schools are a misery, and the once-famous parks are so crowded on weekends that you might as well not go, unless you arrive at first light to stake your claim. The vision of civic improvement has given way to self-service and consumer indulgence. Where the mighty Berkeley Co-op once stood on Shattuck and Cedar—where I once rattled the can for Chavez, as shoppers (each one a part owner) went in to buy no-frills, honestly purveyed, and often unappealing food—is now a specialty market of the Whole Foods variety, with an endless olive bar and a hundred cheeses.

When I took my boy up the state to visit Cesar’s old haunts, we drove into the Tehachapi Mountains to see the compound at La Paz, now home to the controversial National Farm Workers Service Center, which sits on a war chest of millions of dollars. The place was largely deserted and very spooky. In Delano, the famous Forty Acres, site of the cooperative gas station and of Chavez’s 25-day fast, was bleak and unvisited. We found a crust of old snow on Chavez’s grave in Keene, and a cold wind in Delano. We spent the night in Fresno, and my hopes even for the Blossom Trail were low. But we followed the 99 down to Fowler, tacked east toward Sanger, and then, without warning, there we were.

“Stop the car,” Conor said, and although I am usually loath to walk a farmer’s land without permission, we had to step out into that cloud of pale color. We found ourselves in an Arthur Rackham illustration: the boughs bending over our heads were heavy with white blossoms, the ground was covered in moss that was in places deep green and in others brown, like worn velvet. I kept turning back to make sure the car was still in sight, but then I gave up my last hesitation and we pushed deeper and deeper into the orchard, until all we could see were the trees. At 65 degrees, the air felt chilly enough for a couple of Californians to keep their sweaters on. In harvest season, the temperature will climb to over 100 degrees many days, and the rubbed velvet of the spring will have given way to a choking dust. Almost none of the workers breathing it will have a union contract, few will be here legally, and the deals they strike with growers will hinge on only one factor: how many other desperate people need work. California agriculture has always had a dark side. But—whether you’re eating a ripe piece of fruit in your kitchen or standing in a fairy-tale field of blossoms on a cool spring morning—forgetting about all of that is so blessedly easy. Chavez shunned nothing more fervently than the easy way; and nothing makes me feel further away from the passions and certainty of my youth than my eagerness, now, to take it.
Caitlin Flanagan’s book Girl Land will be published in January 2012.

Voir enfin:

Why the ‘Cesar Chavez’ biopic matters now
Cindy Y. Rodriguez
CNN
March 28, 2014

New York (CNN) — Cesar Chavez is something of a national icon.

His face is on a U.S. postage stamp. Countless statues, murals, libraries, schools, parks and streets are named after him — he even has his own national monument. He was on the cover of Time magazine in 1969. A naval ship was named after him. The man even has his own Google Doodle and Apple ad.

Yet his footprint in American history is widely unknown and that’s exactly the reason why actor-turned-director Diego Luna decided to produce a movie about his life.

"I was really surprised that there wasn’t already a film out about Chavez’s life, so that’s why I spent the past four years making this and hope the country will join me in celebrating his life and work," Diego Luna said during Tuesday’s screening of "Cesar Chavez: An American Hero" in New York. The movie opens nationwide on Friday.

After seeing farm workers harvesting the country’s food unable to afford feeding their own families — let alone the deplorable working conditions they faced — Chavez decided to act.

He and Dolores Huerta co-founded what’s now known as the United Farm Workers. They became the first to successfully organize farm workers while being completely committed to nonviolence.

Without Chavez, California’s farm workers wouldn’t have fair wages, lunch breaks and access to toilets or clean water in the fields. Not to mention public awareness about the dangers of pesticides to farm workers and helping outlaw the short-handled hoe. Despite widespread knowledge of its dangers, this tool damaged farm workers’ backs.

His civil rights activism has been compared to that of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.

Difficult conditions in America’s fields

But as the film successfully highlights Chavez’s accomplishments, viewers will also be confronted with an uncomfortable truth about who picks their food and under what conditions.

Unfortunately, Chavez’s successes don’t cross state lines.

States such as New York, where farm workers face long hours without any overtime pay or a day of rest, are of concern for human rights activist Kerry Kennedy, president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

The Kennedys have been supporters of the UFW since Sen. Robert Kennedy broke bread with Chavez during the last day of his fast against violence in 1968.

"New York is 37 years behind California. Farm workers here can be fired if they tried collective bargaining," Kennedy said after the "Cesar Chavez" screening. "We need a Cesar Chavez."

California is still the only state where farm workers have the right to organize.

Kennedy is urging the passing of the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, which would give farm workers the right to one day of rest each week, time-and-a-half pay for work past an eight-hour day, as well as unemployment, workers’ compensation and disability insurance.

It’s not just New York. Farm workers across the country face hardship. In Michigan’s blueberry fields, there’s a great deal of child labor, Rodriguez said.

"Because they’re paid by piece-rate, it puts a lot of stress on all family members to chip in. Plus, families work under one Social Security number because about 80% of the farm worker population is undocumented," Rodriguez added.

That’s why the UFW and major grower associations worked closely with the Senate’s immigration reform bill to include special provisions that would give farm workers legal status if they continued to work in agriculture.

"Farm workers shouldn’t struggle so much to feed their own families, and we can be part of that change," Luna said.

A national holiday in honor Chavez?

To help facilitate that change, Luna and the film’s cast — Michael Peña as Chavez, America Ferrera as his wife, Helen, and Rosario Dawson as labor leader Dolores Huerta — have been trekking all over the country promoting the film and a petition to make Chavez’s birthday on March 31 a national holiday.

"We aren’t pushing Cesar Chavez Day just to give people a day off. It’s to give people a ‘day on’ because we have a responsibility to provide service to our communities," United Farm Workers president Arturo Rodriguez told CNN.

In 2008, President Barack Obama showed his support for the national holiday and even borrowed the United Farm Workers famous chant "Si Se Puede!’ — coined by Dolores Huerta — during his first presidential campaign.

Obama endorsed it again in 2012, when he created a national monument to honor Chavez, but the resolution still has to be passed by Congress to be recognized as a national holiday.

Right now, Cesar Chavez Day is recognized only in California, Texas and Colorado.
Political activist Dolores Huerta Political activist Dolores Huerta

Huerta, 83, is still going strong in her activism and has also helped promote the film. She said she wishes the film could have included more history, but she knows it’s impossible.

"There were so many important lessons in the film. All the sacrifices Cesar and his wife, Helen, had to make and the obstacles we had to face against the police and judges. We even had people that were killed in the movement but we were still able to organize," Huerta said.

Actor Tony Plana, who attending the New York screening, knew the late Chavez and credited him with the launch of his acting career. Plana, known for his role as the father on ABC’s "Ugly Betty" TV series, said his first acting gig was in the UFW’s theatrical troupe educating and helping raising farm workers’ awareness about their work conditions.

"I’ve waited more than 35 years for this film to be made, and I can’t tell you how honored I am to finally see it happen," Plana told CNN.

It’s not that there wasn’t interest in making the biopic before: Hollywood studios and directors have approached the Chavez family in the past, but the family kept turning them down, mainly for two reasons.

"Well, first Cesar didn’t want to spend the time making the film because there was so much work to do, and he was hesitant on being singled out because there were so many others that contributed to the UFW’s success," said Rodriguez.

It wasn’t until Luna came around and asked the Chavez family how they felt the movie should be made that the green light was given. But when it came time to getting the funding to produce the film, Hollywood was not willing.

"Hopefully this film will send a message to Hollywood that our [Latino] stories need to be portrayed in cinema," Luna added.

"Latinos go to the movies more than anyone else, but we’re the least represented on screen. It doesn’t make any sense," Dawson told CNN.

In 2012, Hispanics represented 18% of the movie-going population but accounted for 25% of all movies seen, according to Nielsen National Research Group.

"I hope young people use the power of social media to help spread the word about social change," Dawson said.

"There is power in being a consumer and boycotting. If we want more as a community, we need to speak up."


Roumanie: Attention, un refus de sourire peu en cacher un autre ! (Looking back at a time when child abuse was legal, even celebrated)

26 février, 2014
https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTeyEYIHHnQ71iZF7QCYolP8318m2w_jf_s0RmJJKMQSlQaw3UnJQhttps://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/t1/p526x296/1505677_4011098172898_26535197_n.jpghttps://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/t1/p280x280/1662283_4011066892116_2146793531_n.jpg
http://img.timeinc.net/time/magazine/archive/covers/1984/1101840521_400.jpghttp://cdn.thedailybeast.com/content/dailybeast/articles/2013/12/09/ukraine-protesters-smash-lenin-s-statue-in-kiev/jcr:content/image.crop.800.500.jpg/1386585933380.cached.jpghttps://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/t1/s526x296/1959218_4008407105623_2113883908_n.jpgUn des grands problèmes de la Russie – et plus encore de la Chine – est que, contrairement aux camps de concentration hitlériens, les leurs n’ont jamais été libérés et qu’il n’y a eu aucun tribunal de Nuremberg pour juger les crimes commis. Thérèse Delpech
Ne donne-t-on pas des médailles aussi bien aux dieux du stade qu’aux soldats tombés au front? L’Express
Je crois que c’est deux nouvelles qu’on peut appeler bonnes et mauvaises. La bonne nouvelle, c’est que je serai à Times Square. La mauvaise, c’est que je n’ai aucun vêtement sur moi. Je pense qu’elle va mourir. Nadia Comaneci (sur la réaction probable de sa mère encore au pays à l’annonce de son contrat publicitaire avec un fabricant de sous-vêtements américain, 1992)
Je viens d’un pays où il est très difficile de trouver des sous-vêtements et maintenant je viens ici et vous choisissez quel genre de sous-vêtements vous voulez porter : c’est pas bon, c’est du coton, c’est du lycra. Et je pense que je vais faire venir ma mère pour Noël. Et la première fois qu’elle va venir ici à New York, je vais la mettre dans une limousine – elle n’a jamais vu une limousine de sa vie – et je vais arrêter la voiture ici à Times Square : je pense qu’elle va mourir complètement. Nadia Comaneci
Il y a une chose qui intriguait le public: Comaneci ne souriait jamais, ne flirtait jamais avec la foule comme Korbut le faisait toujours. Il y avait des applaudissements fervents pour son brio, mais aucune histoire d’amour. "C’est pas sa nature de sourire", avait dit un juge roumaine, et Karolyi avait ajouté, "C’est son caractère grave". Sports Illustrated
Comaneci’s large brown eyes, hidden under long bangs, are solemn, perhaps too solemn for a 14-year-old. She answered questions crisply, without elaboration. Has she ever been afraid? "Never." Has she ever cried? "Never." What was the happiest moment in her life? "When I won the European Championship." What is the secret of her success? "I am so good because I work very hard for it." What is her favorite event? "The uneven bars. I can put in more difficulties. It is more challenging." How did she rate her performance in the American Cup? "It was a preparatory step toward the Olympics." Does she enjoy being famous? "It is all right, but I don’t want to get too excited about it." After a crash course in English, she was interviewed for ABC’s Wide World of Sports. How are you, Nadia? "Yes, I’m fine." Are you looking forward to the Olympics? "I want for myself gold medal." How many? "Five." Does it bother you to be constantly compared to Olga Korbut? "I’m not Olga Korbut. I’m Nadia Comaneci." Some say that Comaneci is not human enough, that she is a machine, that she has no emotions. But when she is not the center of attention and feels unwatched, she looks human, all right. She can grin like a child. She can get excited. Her favorite place in the U.S. is Disneyland. And she collects dolls. She has 60 of them, all in national costumes, lined up neatly on a shelf in her room at home. Four years ago, when Korbut started the little girls on this path, the Secretary General of the International Gymnastics Federation, Max Bangerter, branded her style "dangerous acrobatics which could lead to pelvic fractures." The IGF at one point even considered having Korbut’s routine banned in an effort to halt the revolution she had so clearly begun. Obviously, it was less than successful. But how much danger does Karolyi feel Comaneci is in, really? "Ah," he says, "but Comaneci never falls." Sports Illustrated
What I found was a story about legal, even celebrated, child abuse. In the dark troughs along the road to the Olympics lay the bodies of the girls who stumbled on the way, broken by the work, pressure and humiliation. I found a girl who felt such shame at not making the Olympic team that she slit her wrists. A father who handed custody of his daughter over to her coach so she could keep skating. A coach who fed his gymnasts so little that federation officials had to smuggle food into their hotel rooms. A mother who hid her child’s chicken pox with makeup so she could compete. Coaches who motivated their athletes by calling them imbeciles, idiots, pigs and cows. (…) Whether we see any changes instituted to protect these young athletes hinges on our willingness to sacrifice a few medals for the sake of their health and well-being. (…) "I’m not suggesting that all elite gymnasts and figure skaters emerge from their sports unhealthy and poorly adjusted. Joan Ryan
The book’s strongest moments come from the sport of gymnastics, where judges reward the work of sleek, supple girls able to perform the hardest maneuvers and give poorer marks to those who have slipped toward womanhood and must rely on grace and form. Countless hours of intensive training, combined with dangerous eating patterns, lower the percentage of body fat to such extreme levels that natural maturation cannot take place. The risks include stunted growth, broken bones and premature osteoporosis, according to Ryan. The physiological effects are only one part of this problem. The psychological effects of growing up as a gymnast can lead to eating disorders, such as the anorexia that eventually killed former gymnast Christy Heinrich. Amy Jackson, pushed by a parent, was training heavily at 6. By the time she was a high school senior, she had tried to commit suicide. The sections on figure skating pale in comparison to the reporting on gymnastics, but Ryan makes it clear that the impact on girls is similarly grim: Once the skaters mature, gaining the hips and breasts that make them aerodynamically inferior to the younger skaters, their careers are effectively shot. Ryan has suggestions for cleaning up the mess in gymnastics and figure skating: The minimum-age requirements should be raised. There should be mandatory licensing of coaches and careful scrutiny by the usually feckless national governing bodies. And athletes should be required to remain in regular schools at least until they are 16. The Chicago Tribune
In January, Romanian gymnastics coach Florin Gheorghe was sentenced to eight years in prison by a Bucharest court for having beaten an 11-year-old athlete so severely during a 1993 practice session she died two days later of a broken neck. Gheorghe’s attorney admitted his client slapped the young woman but said such physical abuse was common practice in Romanian gymnastics. "This kind of punishment is a heritage from Bela Karolyi," the attorney said, referring to the martinet coach who drove Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton to Olympic gold medals. Karolyi has denied the charge. – Aurelia Okino, a native Romanian whose daughter, Betty, trained with Karolyi a decade after his defection to the U.S., said in a 1992 interview she had become scared to answer the phone in her Elmhurst home. Aurelia Okino worried it would be Betty, then 17, calling from Karolyi’s gym in Houston with news of another injury, There had been serious elbow, back and knee injuries before Okino made the 1992 Olympic team and helped the U.S. women win a bronze medal in the team event. "Gymnastics is a brutal sport," Betty Okino said matter-of-factly. Asked why she had let her daughter go that far, Okino said, "How do you deny a child her dream?"- In 1985, a few days before her enormously talented daughter, Tiffany, would win her only U.S. figure skating title, Marjorie Chin accepted the offer of a ride back to her Kansas City hotel from a reporter she had first met 20 minutes before. Tiffany, then 17, took a back seat to Marjorie in the reporter’s car. For 30 minutes, Mrs. Chin delivered relentless criticism of her daughter’s performance in practice that day. "If you keep it up, you’re not going to be the star of the ice show, you’re going to be just part of the supporting cast," Mrs. Chin said, over and over. – Several times in the last few years, officials of the U.S. Figure Skating Association have spoken to a prominent ice dancer about her eating habits. The ice dancer, 32 years old, still looks like a wraith. One of those stories came from a wire service. The other three are personal recollections–mine, not Ryan’s. Her book, subtitled "the making and breaking of elite gymnasts and figure skaters" (Doubleday, 243 pp., $22.95), has much more frightening tales to tell. Ryan recounts in compelling detail the stories of Julissa Gomez and Christy Henrich, gymnasts whose pursuit of glory proved fatal; of figure skater Amy Grossman, whose mother said, "Skating was God"; of coaches like Karolyi and one of his disciples, Rick Newman, whose ideas of motivating adolescent girls include demeaning them at a time when their egos are most fragile; and of parents who hide their irresponsibility behind the notion of "trying to get the best for my child." Such is the sordid underbelly of the Olympics’ two most glamorous sports. Only in the last three years has the nation begun to have a vague awareness of this life under the sequins and leotards. Ryan began to get a clear view of these problems while doing research for a newspaper story before the 1992 Olympics. That led her to write this book, in which the villains are both coaches and parents. She lets Karolyi skewer himself with his own words. She shows how parents lose sight of the fundamental notion of protecting their children from harm, so blinded are they by possible fame and fortune. The cause of such intemperate adult behavior is partly the peculiar competitive demands to jump higher and twirl faster, particularly in gymnastics, that favor girls with tiny bodies over young women developing hips and breasts. That puts them in a race against puberty, creating a window of opportunity so narrow it leads to foolhardiness. Neither figure skating nor gymnastics is without athletes whose experiences are positive, a point that needed more attention in Ryan’s book than the disclaimer, "I’m not suggesting that all elite gymnasts and figure skaters emerge from their sports unhealthy and poorly adjusted." A better balance might have been struck if the author had given voice to the likes of Olympic champions Retton and Kristi Yamaguchi. Ryan’s basic premise about child abuse still is thoroughly supported by interviews, anecdotes and factual evidence. "Little Girls in Pretty Boxes" should be a manifesto for change in the rules of these two sports, so that women with adult bodies still can compete. It should be a wakeup call to parents who have abdicated their responsibility for their childrens’ well-being. Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up hooked on sports that don’t let them grow up . Philip Hersch
La réalité de sa Russie … est à l’opposé des idéaux olympiques et des droits de l’Homme les plus élémentaires. Il n’est pas possible d’ignorer le côté obscur de son régime – la répression qui broie les âmes, les nouvelles lois cruelles contre le blasphème et l’homosexualité, ou encore le système juridique corrompu qui permet de condamner des dissidents politiques à de longues peines sur la foi de fausses accusations. The New York Times
Les Jeux Olympiques, créés dans le but de rapprocher les pays autour du sport, semble avoir eu l’effet inverse sur les relations américano-russes. L’animosité grandissante entre les deux anciens protagonistes de la Guerre froide était visible lors de l’ouverture des Jeux, lors de laquelle une ex-patineuse artistique qui avait tweeté une photo à connotation raciste du président Obama a été choisie pour l’allumage symbolique de la vasque olympique. Cela s’est produit au lendemain de la fuite via YouTube de l’enregistrement d’un appel téléphonique entre l’ambassadeur américain à Kiev et Victoria Nuland, une responsable du Département d’État, dans lequel on entend cette dernière prononcer les mots « Fuck the European Union ». L’administration Obama avait immédiatement accusé Moscou d’avoir intercepté et fuité l’appel, ce que les Russes n’ont qu’à peine démenti. [ ... ] Alors qu’il entame sa 15ème année au pouvoir, le président Vladimir Poutine avait espéré que ces Jeux, les premiers sur le sol russe depuis les Jeux olympiques de Moscou en 1980 que les Etats-Unis avaient boycotté, mettrait en valeur la « nouvelle Russie » émergeant des cendres de l’Union soviétique. Au lieu de cela, les États-Unis et leurs alliés occidentaux ont systématiquement dépeint la Russie sous les traits d’une autocratie corrompue. [ ... ] Membre Démocrate de la commission du renseignement de la Chambre des Représentants, Dutch Ruppersberger a déclaré à CNN jeudi qu’il craignait que « l’ego » de Poutine mettrait en danger les athlètes et les visiteurs. Pour sa part, le Département d’Etat a conseillé aux membres de l’équipe olympique des États-Unis de ne pas porter leurs tenues officielles aux couleurs de « Team USA » en dehors des sites olympiques officiels, pour leur propre sécurité. Les tensions entre les deux pays ont été les plus fortes sur la question des droits des homosexuels. [ ... ] Mais ce n’est pas tout ce qui les divise. Le donneur d’alerte de la NSA Edward Snowden se trouve encore en Russie, qui lui a accordé l’asile temporaire l’an dernier. Sa présence à Moscou est une source d’embarras persistant pour l’administration Obama, et les responsables du renseignement américain ont ouvertement exprimé leurs inquiétudes quant à la possibilité qu’il soit désormais sous l’influence de leurs homologues russes. [ ... ] Les deux pays s’affrontent également sur comment gérer le programme nucléaire de l’Iran et sur ​​ce qu’il faut faire par rapport à la Syrie, cette dernière étant un proche allié de la Russie. La crise en Ukraine, où les manifestants cherchent à évincer le président pro-russe Viktor Ianoukovitch, ne fait qu’ajouter aux tensions. The Hill
How does a nation become self-governing when so much of "self" is so rotten? Run-of-the-mill analyses that Ukraine is a "young democracy" with corrupt elites, an ethnic divide and a bullying neighbor don’t suffice. Ukraine is what it is because Ukrainians are what they are. The former doesn’t change until the latter does. (…) that’s what people said about Ukraine during the so-called Orange Revolution in 2004, or about Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution in 2005, or about the Arab Spring in 2011. The revolution will be televised—and then it will be squandered. (…) The homo Sovieticus Ukrainians should fear the most may not be Vladimir Putin after all. Bret Stephens
Avec la même vigueur que ses compatriotes, cependant, le cinéaste filme un pays où les passe-droits pèsent aussi lourd que la terreur politique, jadis. Nul, en effet, ne résiste aux prébendes de Cornelia, pas même le flic présenté comme un modèle incorruptible : il résiste, il résiste, mais il cède comme tous les autres… Télérama
Quand tu prends le train en Roumanie, personne n’achète son ticket au guichet. Tu montes, tu t’assois et tu donnes la moitié de ce que tu aurais dû payer au contrôleur. Rasvan (28 ans)
A la fin des années 1970, le corps enfantin fait fantasmer. Brooke Shields, 13 ans prostituée dans La Petite de Louis Malle et en une de magazine, nue et outrageusement maquillée; Jodie Foster elle aussi pute sous la caméra de Martin Scorsese dans Taxi Driver nous rappellent qu’une certaine forme de pédophilie artistique était alors acceptable. Le traitement médiatique de Nadia Comaneci à cette époque fait écho à cette «mode». Cette fascination pour les corps androgynes et pourtant dénudés est-elle un signe du passé ou cette marchandisation de l’enfance est-elle encore de mise? C’est très troublant le passage que j’ai écrit sur les petites filles de l’Ouest et celles de l’Est. Ces petites filles chargées de maquillage un peu comme des petites esclaves et elle, Nadia, qui arrive le visage pâle, un peu comme une guerrière. J’adore cette image, j’adore le fait qu’elle était entre fille et garçon, elle échappe à son genre pendant un moment. Le titre par exemple, c’est la première phrase que j’ai écrite. Les journalistes occidentaux à Montréal lui demandaient de sourire mais elle ne souriait pas parce que c’est difficile et qu’elle n’avait pas que cela à faire. Sa réponse était «je sais sourire mais une fois que j’ai accompli ma mission». Il y a eu beaucoup de commentaires sur son visage triste, sobre. Pour moi, elle leur a fait un pied de nez, du genre je ne suis pas une petite poupée. (…) Ça a longtemps fait partie de mon adolescence. Quand je suis arrivée en France, ayant été élevée dans un autre système, j’ai été très brutalisée par la consommation. Ce n’est pas une pose, ça m’a pris de front. J’avais 13 ans et je n’avais jamais vu quelqu’un dormir dehors. Ça m’a bouleversée. Pendant des années, quand je disais aux gens qu’il y avait des trucs bien en Roumanie, c’était un discours impossible à entendre. Soit je passais pour une débile, soit on me disait que je ne savais pas de quoi je parlais. Evidemment le système était dévoyé, et la Roumanie n’était pas un système communiste, le communisme n’y a jamais été réellement appliqué. C’est comme quand on parle de la surveillance. Ça me fait mourir de rire. Les gens me disent, il y avait la Securitate en Roumanie. Oui c’est vrai. Mais c’était des baltringues. Des gens qui en suivaient d’autres. Ici votre pass navigo vous localise partout. On a votre nom, votre date de naissance, c’est une atteinte à votre liberté. Pareil pour les caméras vidéo, mais c’est accepté. On pense que ça va être plus pratique! Le succès du capitalisme, c’est d’arriver à faire accepter des choses qui dans le communisme étaient considérées comme horribles. Le capitalisme est nettement mieux marketé. (…) J’étais en France à ce moment-là et comme tous les Roumains, bouche bée. Plus que ça: j’étais sidérée. Parce que pour moi ça ne pouvait pas changer, c’était éternel. J’ai été élevée sous le portrait de Ceausescu. Mais cette sensation de malaise incroyable parce qu’on ne voit pas ses juges. Ça ne commence pas bien un procès où on ne voit pas les juges. Le truc que les gens qui l’arrêtent ratent, c’est qu’ils ont l’air d’un couple de petits vieux. Ils sont pathétiques. Ils ne font pas peur. On a pitié. Lui tremblote, elle a l’air usé, avec son fichu. Ils sont fatigués. Force de l’image mais qui est ratée selon moi. A cette période, il y a eu beaucoup de morts en Roumanie, le contraire de la révolution de velours. Les gens ne savaient plus qui était qui et se tirait dessus. Il n’y a eu aucun procès des sécuristes. Inclure des passages sur la Roumanie dans le roman, ça ne s’est pas décidé tout de suite, ça a pris plusieurs mois. J’étais en Roumanie à ce moment-là. Quand je voyais mes amis là-bas, ce qu’ils me racontaient me semblait tellement contredire ma documentation que je l’ai mis en scène. Moi j’étais armée avec tous mes bouquins et je rencontre des gens de moins de 30 ans qui n’ont pas vraiment vécu cette époque et qui en ont une nostalgie incroyable. On a toujours la nostalgie de son enfance, mais surtout ils en bavent tellement aujourd’hui. Ils me disent «moi mes parents ils partaient en vacances, ils allaient au resto, nous on doit payer nos études et on n’a pas les moyens, on peut pas sortir de toutes façons parce qu’on n’a pas d’argent». Il y a un énorme H&M au centre de Bucarest, j’ai l’impression qu’il est tout le temps vide. Lola Lafon

Attention: un refus de sourire peu en cacher un autre  !

Au lendemain de la chute, payée au prix fort mais pas gagnée d’avance étant donné la corruption généralisée, de la maison Ianoukovitch et de la découverte populaire de son Neverland qui 25 ans après les époux Ceausescu avait un étrange air de déjà vu …

Et de Jeux olympiques dignes des plus beaux jours de la Guerre froide …

Comme avec le roman que vient de sortir Lola Lafon sur la gymnaste prodige roumaine Nadia Comaneci, passée d’un seul coup de Héros du Travail Socialiste à femme-sandwich d’une marque de sous-vêtements américaine  …

Et un excellent dossier du site Slate.fr sur l’ancienne terre des ogres Ceausescu …

Comment ne pas repenser à toute une époque aujourd’hui largement oubliée où, a l’instar des Brooke Shields et autres Jodie Foster dans le cinéma, le corps de nos enfants était non seulement légal mais célébré ?

Mais aussi ne pas voir au-delà de l’image d’épinal que nous pouvons en avoir de travailleurs bon marché et de voleurs de poules voire de châteaux de buveurs de sang  …

La frustration d’une population écartelée entre d’un côté les nécessaires perfusions du FMI et une corruption, comme le rappelle un film roumain sorti en France le mois dernier, effectivement aussi endémique que phénoménale d’où une perte démographique de 13% depuis la fin du communisme (soit quelque 3 millions pour une population à l’origine de 23 millions à destination principalement de l’Italie, de l’Allemagne et de l’Espagne) …

Et de l’autre les craintes de voir leur sol et sous-sol pollués et bradés à des intérêts étrangers par des dirigeants tous aussi véreux les uns que les autres suite à la découverte du plus grand gisement d’or et d’argent d’Europe (300 tonnes et 1.600 tonnes respectivement pour une dizaine de milliards d’euros en jeu) et du troisième gisement européen de gaz de schiste après la Pologne et la France (quelque 1.444 milliards de mètres cubes) ?

Autrement dit, le dépit tout particulier mais probablement pas si rare en ces contrées autrefois martyrisées par le communisme (dont d’ailleurs comme en Chine on attend toujours les procès de Nuremberg) et pas vraiment gâtées par leurs successeurs …

De se retrouver avec ce que les Roumains appellent eux-mêmes un "pauvre pays riche" ?

Lola Lafon sur Nadia Comaneci, la Roumanie, le capitalisme et les corps: l’entretien tablette

Dans «La Petite communiste qui ne souriait jamais», la romancière raconte l’histoire de la gymnaste Nadia Comaneci, mais surtout à travers elle aborde les questions du genre, du corps féminin, de l’Europe de la guerre froide .

Ursula Michel

Slate.fr

04/02/2014

A l’occasion de la sortie de son nouveau roman, Lola Lafon s’est prêtée à l’exercice de l’entretien tablette de Slate.fr, où les questions sont remplacées par des vidéos, des images, des photos ou encore des dessins. Une autre manière d’aborder l’univers de l’artiste.

A vec ce quatrième roman, La Petite communiste qui ne souriait jamais, Lola Lafon exhume de nos mémoires Nadia Comaneci, la jeune gymnaste roumaine qui a affolé les compteurs, les journalistes et le public aux Jeux olympiques de Montréal en 1976. Ce «perfect 10», note que personne n’avait jusque-là acquise, la gamine s’en empare et fait découvrir par la même à l’Occident ce petit pays inconnu derrière le rideau de fer. Produit d’un système totalitaire, Comaneci fascine mais l’histoire la rattrape et la chute du mur de Berlin scellera son destin de star déchue.

De Bucarest à Miami, des années 1970 à cet hiver 1989, Lola Lafon revisite le mythe, sonde les fantasmes que ce corps androgyne a provoqués et interroge le manichéisme est/ouest qui a façonné la conception du monde du siècle dernier.

Pendant une poignée de secondes, le monde a retenu son souffle en cet été 1976. La minuscule Roumaine a fait vaciller les championnes russes, elle a transfiguré les possibles de la gymnastique et a donné à la Roumanie une notoriété internationale. Mais comment décide-t-on d’en faire un personnage de roman?

Je ne sais pas quand est arrivée l’idée du personnage de Nadia mais ça faisait un moment que ça traînait dans ma tête. Au bout de quelques mois de documentation, j’ai réalisé que ce n’était pas un roman sur le sport mais que ça réunissait toutes mes thématique: le genre et le mouvement, le corps féminin dans l’espace au sens large, l’espace qu’on s’autorise et celui qui est autorisé, le bloc de l’est et de l’ouest.

Dans le roman précédent [Nous sommes les oiseaux de la tempête qui s’annonce], il y avait déjà beaucoup de choses sur la danse, le corps et le mouvement. Après, des difficultés et d’obstacles sont apparus: six mois de documentation en trois langues qui ont fini par m’ensevelir. Il a fallu arrêter d’ingurgiter.

J’ai alors commencé à écrire une première moitié, mais ça n’allait pas. Il fallait épouser le corps de Nadia, être avec elle, acérée. Pas développer des millions de phrases, avec des adjectifs. Je cherchais la langue, cette fluidité, le passage d’un geste à l’autre comme d’une phrase à l’autre. J’ai coupé dans le texte comme jamais avant.

Et puis j’ai vécu en Roumanie, donc il y avait ma subjectivité assumée. Je voulais faire revivre l’Europe. C’est une métaphore énorme, mais les dix centimètres de la poutre, je les ai ressentis tout du long en évoquant le thème politique. Je me suis dit qu’il fallait rendre compte de Ceausescu et de ses décrets (j’en ai d’ailleurs découverts beaucoup après, j’étais trop jeune à l’époque). Sur le corps des femmes et l’avortement, c’était terrible. On voit aujourd’hui que Ceausescu n’a pas l’apanage de ce genre de décisions… Je voulais rendre compte sans nostalgie ni apologie de cette époque, et ne pas oublier qu’on a idolâtré cette gamine et elle était le pur produit d’un système communiste.

J’ai écrit plusieurs mois sans la voix de la narratrice. C’est mon premier roman à la 3e personne. Et à un moment donné, cet échange épistolaire entre elle et Nadia s’est imposé. Je me suis demandé si c’était juste un retour vers une habitude d’écriture mais en fait non, c’était nécessaire pour lui redonner la parole, pour qu’elle ne reste pas qu’un corps, un corps extraordinaire soit, mais sinon j’étais du côté de ceux qui la regardaient et je voulais lui redonner le pouvoir sur le texte, même fictivement.

A aucun moment, je n’ai envisagé de contacter Nadia. Ce roman est une rêverie, pas une biographie. Je me suis arrêtée en 1990 dans le roman parce qu’après, c’est le réel, c’est sa vie qui lui appartient. J’essaie de rendre compte de la fin d’une époque, d’un parcours qui s’arrête avec le mur qui s’écroule.

A la fin des années 1970, le corps enfantin fait fantasmer. Brooke Shields, 13 ans prostituée dans La Petite de Louis Malle et en une de magazine, nue et outrageusement maquillée; Jodie Foster elle aussi pute sous la caméra de Martin Scorsese dans Taxi Driver nous rappellent qu’une certaine forme de pédophilie artistique était alors acceptable. Le traitement médiatique de Nadia Comaneci à cette époque fait écho à cette «mode». Cette fascination pour les corps androgynes et pourtant dénudés est-elle un signe du passé ou cette marchandisation de l’enfance est-elle encore de mise?

C’est très troublant le passage que j’ai écrit sur les petites filles de l’Ouest et celles de l’Est. Ces petites filles chargées de maquillage un peu comme des petites esclaves et elle, Nadia, qui arrive le visage pâle, un peu comme une guerrière. J’adore cette image, j’adore le fait qu’elle était entre fille et garçon, elle échappe à son genre pendant un moment.

Le titre par exemple, c’est la première phrase que j’ai écrite. Les journalistes occidentaux à Montréal lui demandaient de sourire mais elle ne souriait pas parce que c’est difficile et qu’elle n’avait pas que cela à faire. Sa réponse était «je sais sourire mais une fois que j’ai accompli ma mission». Il y a eu beaucoup de commentaires sur son visage triste, sobre. Pour moi, elle leur a fait un pied de nez, du genre je ne suis pas une petite poupée. Aujourd’hui, avec les mini-miss, les mannequins de 15 ans, la représentation est plus subtile, mais d’une telle agressivité envers les femmes. Les filles de 15 ans sont photoshopées et celles de 30 ans s’en veulent de ne pas leur ressembler. C’est presque un complot contre les femmes.

Si les questions de genre sont au cœur de l’écriture de Lola Lafon, la dimension féministe tient une place tout aussi importante. Comment celle qui attaque les représentations machistes et le commerce du corps dans son travail romanesque se situe-t-elle face au nouveau féminisme incarné par les Femen?

Je n’aime pas l’idée des féministes qui s’entre-déchirent. Mais je trouve bizarre d’adopter un langage qui plaise tant aux hommes pour dénoncer les injustices faites aux femmes. Et puis adopter un langage de pub… je me demande ce qu’il en reste. Finalement, ces interventions ne sont pas si dérangeantes. Les religieux sont choqués, mais on s’en fout. Je crois que la leader, Inna Shevchenko avait dit «les anciennes féministes ce sont des femmes qui lisaient des livres». Mais un livre, c’est parfois beaucoup plus dérangeant qu’une photo. Les Femen, c’est du pop féminisme. C’est digérable. Si grâce à elles d’autres femmes ailleurs se sont libérées, s’il y a eu des prises de conscience, tant mieux. Tous les moyens sont bons finalement.

Son premier roman Une fièvre impossible à négocier arborait le symbole anarchiste. Au-delà d’une pose, cette implication politique irrigue ses autres romans, comme c’est encore le cas dans La petite communiste qui ne souriait jamais où la narratrice, capitaliste de culture (comme on peut l’être pour une religion), dialogue avec Nadia Comaneci, symbole d’un certain communisme. Un discours comparatif entre Est et Ouest, capitalisme et communisme qui fait voler en éclat les idées reçues et la bien-pensance occidentale. Un roman anarchiste peut-être, iconoclaste sans aucun doute.

Ça a longtemps fait partie de mon adolescence. Quand je suis arrivée en France, ayant été élevée dans un autre système, j’ai été très brutalisée par la consommation. Ce n’est pas une pose, ça m’a pris de front. J’avais 13 ans et je n’avais jamais vu quelqu’un dormir dehors. Ça m’a bouleversée.

Pendant des années, quand je disais aux gens qu’il y avait des trucs bien en Roumanie, c’était un discours impossible à entendre. Soit je passais pour une débile, soit on me disait que je ne savais pas de quoi je parlais. Evidemment le système était dévoyé, et la Roumanie n’était pas un système communiste, le communisme n’y a jamais été réellement appliqué. C’est comme quand on parle de la surveillance. Ça me fait mourir de rire. Les gens me disent, il y avait la Securitate en Roumanie. Oui c’est vrai. Mais c’était des baltringues. Des gens qui en suivaient d’autres.

Ici votre pass navigo vous localise partout. On a votre nom, votre date de naissance, c’est une atteinte à votre liberté. Pareil pour les caméras vidéo, mais c’est accepté. On pense que ça va être plus pratique! Le succès du capitalisme, c’est d’arriver à faire accepter des choses qui dans le communisme étaient considérées comme horribles. Le capitalisme est nettement mieux marketé.

Ayant passé une grande partie de son enfance en Roumanie sous le régime Ceausescu, Lola Lafon est fortement critique à l’égard de ce système mort en 1989. Quelques jours avant Noël, une révolution balaie le pouvoir en place, un simulacre de procès est organisé et le couple dirigeant est exécuté. Ces images, d’une violence inouïe, ont tourné en boucle sur les écrans du monde entier à l’époque. L’occasion de les commenter avec la romancière était trop belle.

J’étais en France à ce moment-là et comme tous les Roumains, bouche bée. Plus que ça: j’étais sidérée. Parce que pour moi ça ne pouvait pas changer, c’était éternel. J’ai été élevée sous le portrait de Ceausescu. Mais cette sensation de malaise incroyable parce qu’on ne voit pas ses juges. Ça ne commence pas bien un procès où on ne voit pas les juges. Le truc que les gens qui l’arrêtent ratent, c’est qu’ils ont l’air d’un couple de petits vieux. Ils sont pathétiques. Ils ne font pas peur. On a pitié. Lui tremblote, elle a l’air usé, avec son fichu. Ils sont fatigués. Force de l’image mais qui est ratée selon moi. A cette période, il y a eu beaucoup de morts en Roumanie, le contraire de la révolution de velours. Les gens ne savaient plus qui était qui et se tirait dessus. Il n’y a eu aucun procès des sécuristes.

Inclure des passages sur la Roumanie dans le roman, ça ne s’est pas décidé tout de suite, ça a pris plusieurs mois. J’étais en Roumanie à ce moment-là. Quand je voyais mes amis là-bas, ce qu’ils me racontaient me semblait tellement contredire ma documentation que je l’ai mis en scène. Moi j’étais armée avec tous mes bouquins et je rencontre des gens de moins de 30 ans qui n’ont pas vraiment vécu cette époque et qui en ont une nostalgie incroyable. On a toujours la nostalgie de son enfance, mais surtout ils en bavent tellement aujourd’hui. Ils me disent «moi mes parents ils partaient en vacances, ils allaient au resto, nous on doit payer nos études et on n’a pas les moyens, on peut pas sortir de toutes façons parce qu’on n’a pas d’argent». Il y a un énorme H&M au centre de Bucarest, j’ai l’impression qu’il est tout le temps vide. Ces propos venaient contredire la narratrice, c’est vraiment la mise en scène du processus d’écriture. La confrontation entre la documentation et le réel. Et la voix de Nadia, c’est un peu la mienne. Je lui prends la main.

En plus de son activité romanesque, Lola Lafon s’adonne aussi à la chanson, avec deux albums à son actif. Loin de la culture rock qu’on pouvait imaginer, son admiration se porte sur une chanteuse à texte dont elle a eu l’occasion de reprendre un titre marquant: Göttingen de Barbara.

Je reviens toujours à elle. C’est une rebelle, une iconoclaste. J’ai découvert son œuvre très tard. Ma grande sœur l’écoutait, mais c’est un journaliste qui a titillé ma curiosité bien après. Je m’y suis alors plongée. Elle incarne le genre de femme qui me subjugue. Elle est intemporelle et d’une indépendance incroyable. Jean Corti m’a invité sur scène à interpréter ce titre, Göttingen. Je le chantais à un moment où des enfants sans papiers étaient arrêtés dans des écoles. J’étais totalement bouleversée.

A l’heure où les romans finissent souvent sur grand écran, Lola Lafon ne fait pas exception à la règle. La réalisatrice de Sur la planche, Leïla Kilani, travaillerait à l’adaptation de son précédent ouvrage Nous sommes les oiseaux de la tempête qui s’annonce. Info ou intox?

J’adore ce film, extraordinaire de poésie de brutalité et de rigueur. On s’est rencontrées avec Leïla Kilani et on a travaillé sur un découpage de Nous sommes les oiseaux de la tempête qui s’annonce. Puis, je me suis lancée dans l’écriture de La Petite communiste qui ne souriait jamais, elle dans son nouveau film donc le projet en suspens pour l’instant. Mais je pense que ça se fera. Mais c’est mieux que je reste à distance. Le roman ne m’appartient plus. Quand on vit deux ans avec un livre, il faut savoir s’en détacher à un moment. Et je suis tellement une control freak que sur un tournage, les gens craqueraient.

Propos recueillis par Ursula Michel

• La Petite communiste qui ne souriait jamais de Lola Lafon, Actes Sud.

Voir aussi:

Savez-vous pourquoi la Roumanie n’entrera pas dans Schengen? A cause de la corruption

Malgré des condamnations médiatisées et des progrès indéniables en matière d’indépendance de la justice, la corruption reste solidement ancrée en Roumanie. Et les rapports de Bruxelles n’y changent rien.

Marianne Rigaux

25/02/2014

D’après le rapport publié le 3 février par la Commission européenne, un Roumain sur 4 a été confronté à un pot-de-vin dans l’année écoulée. Une économie parallèle qui représenterait 31% du PIB national. Alarmant, mais pas nouveau.

En Roumanie, il y a la haute corruption, celle qui implique des représentants politiques et des magistrats, parfois condamnés. Et puis, celle, tenace, quotidienne, qui relève presque du mode de vie.

Pour Valentin, 30 ans, pas besoin de lui suggérer deux fois.

«Un policier qui te trouve saoul au volant commence par annoncer le prix de l’amende, 700 lei par exemple (155 euros). Tu protestes pour la forme. Tu es sûr qu’il va proposer de ”payer la moitié maintenant”. C’est le signe qu’il faut lui glisser un billet de 100 lei (22 euros).»

Un billet contre des draps propres

Idem pour obtenir une autorisation ou pour éviter un contrôle des normes. «Le pot-de-vin est la règle partout, on a laissé les Roumains aller top loin», déplore Valentin. Lui qui a travaillé pendant deux ans dans les marchés publics l’affirme:

«Ils sont tous biaisés.»

Quel que soit le sujet abordé avec un interlocuteur roumain, la conclusion sera toujours la même:

«Le problème de ce pays, c’est la corruption.»

Elle touche tous les secteurs: justice, politique, économie, médias, santé.

Un expatrié relativise.

«Les pots-de-vin pour accélérer un dossier administratif reculent à Bucarest, mais c’est vrai qu’ils restent de rigueur en milieu hospitalier.»

Lui-même n’a pas hésité lors d’une hospitalisation. Pour être bien traité, passer avant les autres ou avoir des draps propres, glissez votre bakchich dans la blouse.

L’habitude est si tenace que les personnes donnent parfois avant même qu’on ne leur demande. Rasvan, 28 ans, explique.

«Quand tu prends le train en Roumanie, personne n’achète son ticket au guichet. Tu montes, tu t’assois et tu donnes la moitié de ce que tu aurais dû payer au contrôleur.»

Le contrôle annuel de Bruxelles

Toute l’économie marche ainsi. C’est là l’héritage d’un demi-siècle de communisme bouleversé depuis les années 1990 par un capitalisme débridé, dans un Etat permissif, dont la tête est elle-même touchée. En Roumanie, la corruption part d’en haut et infuse toute la société.

«En 2007, les Roumains pensaient que la haute corruption allait baisser, mais le gouvernement n’écoute pas Bruxelles», constate Valentin. Lorsque la Roumanie a rejoint l’UE il y a 7 ans, Bruxelles a imposé un Mécanisme de coopération et de vérification (MCV) pour contrôler les efforts du pays en matière de réformes judiciaires et de lutte contre la corruption. Une première dans l’histoire de l’Union.

A chaque contrôle annuel, la Roumanie reçoit généralement un «peut mieux faire». Le dernier rapport MCV rendu en janvier attribuait à Bucarest un bon point pour les récentes condamnations de dirigeants hauts placés, mais pointait aussi une tentative inquiétante.

Tranquille, le Parlement se vote une «super-immunité»

Ainsi, en décembre le Parlement roumain a voté une «super-immunité» afin que les députés, les sénateurs, le président de la République, mais aussi des professions libérales ne puissent plus être poursuivis pour des crimes comme la corruption ou les abus de pouvoir commis dans l’exercice de leurs fonctions.

Autrement dit, une amnistie, sans que Bruxelles ne puisse intervenir. Pratique, mais aussi ironique, quand 28 membres du Parlement –dont certains qui ont voté cette immunité– sont actuellement jugés ou en train de purger des peines de prison pour corruption. Cristina Guseth, présidente de l’ONG de défense de l’Etat de droit Freedom House Roumanie parle de «mardi noir de la démocratie roumaine».

Un mois plus tard, l’amendement a été retoqué par la Cour constitutionnelle roumaine, mais la tentative a été consignée dans l’évaluation de la Commission européenne. L’avertissement n’a pourtant pas empêché début février l’entrée en vigueur d’un nouveau code pénal très controversé, plutôt conciliant avec les auteurs de corruption. Là encore, la Commission européenne ne peut contraindre Bucarest à revoir ses ajustements.

La seule vraie punition, c’est Schengen. Faute de véritables progrès dans la lutte contre la corruption, l’adhésion de la Roumanie à l’espace de libre circulation est sans cesse reportée depuis plusieurs années. Avec la tendance des douaniers à se faire graisser la patte, impossible de confier la gestion des frontières extérieures à la Roumanie.

Un «M. anti-corruption» détesté

Présentée ainsi, la Roumanie ne semble guère avoir évolué depuis 1989. Malgré tout, Horia Georgescu reste optimiste. Ce juriste de 36 ans dirige l’Agence nationale pour l’intégrité (ANI) qui a la lourde tâche de faire respecter l’intégrité des élus et des hauts fonctionnaires publics roumains.

«Les hommes politiques me détestent, me menacent parfois, mais je ne me laisse pas intimider. La société civile fait confiance à l’agence.»

Son équipe de 35 «inspecteurs de l’intégrité» vérifie actuellement la situation de plus de 2.700 élus et fonctionnaires publics.

Créée en 2008 à la demande de Bruxelles, l’ANI est régulièrement citée en exemple d’efficacité. Ses investigations ont permis de faire tomber 10 ministres, 65 parlementaires et 700 élus locaux pour conflits d’intérêts, incompatibilités ou avoirs non justifiés. Ce qui est à la fois rassurant et inquiétant. La justice roumaine fonctionne, mais la tâche semble immense.

«On fait ce qu’on peut. On espère que la Roumanie va devenir un modèle pour d’autres pays qui s’inspireraient de nos méthodes. Parce que c’est facile de dire ”chez nous, il n’y a pas de corruption” si on n’a pas les outils pour enquêter sur cette corruption.»

Alors, quand la Commission européenne a révélé que la corruption touchait l’ensemble des pays européens, Horia Georgescu s’est senti tout de même un peu rassuré.

«Maintenant, on attend que Bruxelles mette en place des outils pour les membres de l’UE, mais la lutte contre la corruption est d’abord une question de confiance dans les institutions nationales.»

4 ans ferme pour l’ancien Premier ministre

Une autre institution affiche de beaux tableaux de chasse en la matière: la Direction nationale anticorruption (DNA). Depuis 2002, ce parquet financier a fait traduire en justice plus de 5.000 personnes pour corruption moyenne et haute, dont 2.000 condamnées définitivement. Ses experts sont régulièrement invités dans les pays voisins pour présenter l’efficacité du «modèle roumain».

Parmi les personnalités condamnées à de la prison ferme figurent un ancien Premier ministre (4 ans), un patron du club de foot (3 ans), deux anciens ministres de l’Agriculture (3 ans), une ancienne ministre des Sports (5 ans) et de nombreux parlementaires.

La condamnation à quatre ans ferme d’Adrian Nastase est celle qui a le plus intéressé les médias. Premier ministre de 2000 à 2004, négociateur de l’adhésion de la Roumanie à l’Otan et à l’UE, il a plongé pour avoir détourné plus de 1,5 million d’euros pour sa campagne électorale.

D’après Livia Sapaclan, porte parole de la DNA, «le nombre de condamnés définitifs pour corruption de haut niveau (soit plus de 10.000 euros reçus en pots-de-vin) est passé de 155 en 2006 à plus de 1.000 en 2013». Des chiffres encore une fois aussi satisfaisants qu’alarmants sur l’état de corruption du pays.

Réveiller le citoyen

Les jeunes Roumains rencontrés restent mitigés devant ces chiffres. «Les résultats de la DNA, c’est juste des exemples sur-médiatisés. Pour un ancien ministre attrapé, combien font des trucs plus graves sans être condamnés?», s’interroge Valentin.

Andrei et Romana, deux jeunes journalistes d’investigation pour Rise Project, préfèrent en rire.

«Au moins, on ne manque pas de travail! La plupart des médias roumains enquêtent, mais aucun ne le fait avec notre sérieux.»

Rise project a vu le jour en 2011. Il compte aujourd’hui 10 journalistes bénévoles et quelques jolies révélations à son actif, mais Romana veut rester modeste.

«Tu ne sais jamais si untel est condamné parce que tu as écrit un article sur ses conflits d’intérêt ou s’il l’aurait été quoi qu’il en soit.»

Le rapport de la Commission européenne sur la corruption? «Du blabla lointain», juge Andrei. Pour eux, la lutte contre la corruption ne part pas de Bruxelles, mais du citoyen, celui qu’il faut réveiller. Dommage que peu de médias roumains aient cette même envie. Peut-être sont-ils corrompus eux aussi…

Voir également:

Les Roumains en ont assez de se faire voler

Contrairement aux idées reçues, la Roumanie est riche. Mais elle se fait piller. Et si les Roumains ont remporté une victoire contre un projet de mine d’or potentiellement nocif pour l’environnement, la mobilisation continue contre l’exploration des gaz de schiste.

Marianne Rigaux

Slate

01/10/2013

Dimanche 6 octobre, des milliers de Roumains sont descendus dans les rues de Bucarest pour protester contre le gouvernement de centre gauche accusé de favoriser un projet canadien de mine d’or contesté par les scientifiques.

Contrairement aux idées reçues, la Roumanie n’est pas dépourvue de richesses. Mais ce n’est pas elle qui en profite le plus. A l’ouest, il y a l’or convoité par des Canadiens. A l’est, les gaz de schiste promis aux Américains. Et au milieu, les manifestations des Roumains.

En autorisant des compagnies étrangères à exploiter son sous-sol dans l’espoir d’en tirer des bénéfices, le gouvernement a fait exploser la colère des citoyens. Il doit aujourd’hui faire machine à arrière.

Prenons les habitants de Rosia Montana par exemple. S’ils creusaient sous leurs maisons, ils seraient les plus riches de Roumanie. Sous ce village de Transylvanie se trouve le plus grand gisement d’or (300 tonnes) et d’argent (1.600 tonnes) d’Europe. Que tente d’extraire et d’exploiter depuis 1995 une société canadienne, Gabriel Resources.

Le projet prévoit désormais une exploitation intensive à ciel ouvert pendant seize ans, le recours à de grandes quantités de cyanure pour séparer l’or de la boue. Une pratique controversée, interdite dans certains pays d’Europe. Pendant des années, le dossier a connu peu d’avancées concrètes. Sollicité en 2011 pour donner son feu vert, le ministère roumain de l’Environnement n’a même jamais donné de réponse, tandis que la mobilisation contre le projet restait assez locale.

Qui n’en profiterait pas?

Mais voilà: Bucarest a besoin d’argent pour remplir ses caisses vidées par la crise. Car la Roumanie vit depuis trois ans sous perfusion du FMI. Les retombées économiques attendues pour ce pays en crise ont poussé le Premier ministre Victor Ponta –contre ce projet il y a encore quelques mois lorsqu’il était dans l’opposition– à mettre cet été le dossier sur le haut de la pile. Le gouvernement a déposé un projet de loi déclarant la mine «d’utilité publique et d’intérêt exceptionnel». Ce statut autoriserait la compagnie minière à exproprier les villageois qui refusent de quitter le site, au nom de l’Etat roumain.

Des mesures exceptionnelles à la hauteur de l’enjeu? La valeur de Rosia Montana a augmenté au même rythme que le cours de l’or: 10.000 euros le kilo en 2005, plus de 31.000 euros aujourd’hui. Le gisement est aujourd’hui estimé à 10 milliards d’euros.

«Quel pays disposant d’une telle richesse ne chercherait pas de solutions pour en profiter?», avait lancé le président roumain Traian Basescu en 2011, alors que le cours de l’or atteignait un pic historique. Victor Ponta devenu Premier ministre tient à peu près le même discours:

«En tant que député, je ne peux être que contre, mais en tant que Premier ministre, je ne peux être que pour, car je me dois d’attirer de nouveaux investissements en Roumanie.»

Problème: l’Etat roumain est minoritaire au sein de Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC), la compagnie chargée de l’exploitation du filon. Les profits iront surtout à la société canadienne Gabriel Resources, actionnaire à hauteur de 75%.

Le site d’investigation roumain Rise Project a publié le 31 août le contrat liant l’Etat roumain à RMGC. Il était resté secret pendant toutes ces années, malgré la promesse récurrente du Premier ministre de le publier. Selon ce document, RMGC, qui possède les droits d’exploitation, versera une redevance de 6% sur la production à l’Etat roumain. Pour les manifestants, le gouvernement a tout simplement vendu le pays.

Dans le village de Rosia Montana, les réactions sont mitigées. Il y a ceux qui résistent encore, comme Ani et Andrei, jeune couple d’altermondialistes, qui refusent toujours de vendre leur auberge aux Canadiens.

Et ceux qui se sont résignés: avec 75% de chômage dans la région, «toutes les personnes sensées sont pour la mine», confie Catalin, accoudé au bar. Il faut dire que le lobbying de RMGC ne leur laisse guère le choix.

Dans la cantine du village, financée par RMGC, le porte-parole des Canadiens Catalin Hosu promet que «la mine créera 3.600 emplois directs et indirects durant les 16 années d’exploitation». La compagnie emploie déjà 500 habitants, dont 22 qui se sont enfermés dans une galerie minière à l’annonce du coup de frein au projet.

En décembre, la population locale avait approuvé par référendum la réouverture de la mine à 78%. La consultation, boycottée par les opposants, avait été annulée, faute de participation suffisante. Au fil des années, la majorité des 2.000 habitants a vendu sa maison et fuit.

12.000 tonnes de cyanure par an

«Le prix à payer pour créer quelques emplois est trop élevé», juge Sorin Jurca, l’un des irréductibles opposants. Employé par la mine d’Etat jusqu’à sa fermeture en 2006, il a créé la fondation culturelle Rosia Montana pour défendre le patrimoine menacé.

«Le prix à payer», c’est 900 familles expropriées, 4 montagnes décapitées, 7 églises rasées, 7 cimetières déplacés, des galeries romaines classées au patrimoine national endommagées et surtout 250 millions de tonnes de déchets cyanurés stockés dans un bassin retenu par un barrage, en amont de Rosia Montana.

C’est ce danger environnemental qui a lancé la mobilisation à Bucarest. «Nous ne voulons pas de cyanure, nous ne voulons pas de dictature», ont scandé quotidiennement, pendant les 10 premiers jours de septembre, les manifestants, à Bucarest et dans les grandes villes du pays, mais aussi à Paris, Londres et Bruxelles. Les anti ne sont pas inquiets sans raison: en 2000, à Baia Mare (nord-ouest de la Roumanie), la rupture d’un barrage similaire a déversé 100.000 tonnes de cyanure dans le Danube, tuant 100 tonnes de poissons et empoisonnant l’eau de 2,5 millions de Hongrois.

Depuis, l’Union européenne a durci sa législation sur le cyanure. Environ 1.000 tonnes de cyanure sont utilisées chaque année dans les mines d’or d’Europe, notamment en Suède. En Roumanie, Gold corporation prévoit d’en utiliser 12 fois plus.

Devant la pression populaire, le Premier ministre fait machine arrière à la mi-septembre, retire son soutien au projet de loi et assure qu’il sera rejeté par le Parlement. Bien que le projet ne soit pas définitivement enterré, c’est une victoire pour les opposants.

Et une double défaite pour Victor Ponta qui, à force de changer d’avis, a perdu la confiance de la population. Et sa crédibilité auprès de Gabriel Resources. L’investisseur canadien menace de poursuivre l’Etat roumain «pour violations multiples des traités internationaux d’investissement» si le projet est définitivement abandonné. La presse parle de 4 milliards de dollars (3 milliards d’euros) de dommages et intérêts.

Le soir du 9 septembre, jour du recul du gouvernement roumain, l’action de Gabriel Resources a perdu la moitié de sa valeur à la Bourse de Toronto. Une dépréciation peu du goût des actionnaires, parmi lesquels des fonds spéculatifs, comme celui de John Paulson, qui s’est enrichi en spéculant sur la faillite de la Grèce.

Si les opposants au projet ont accueilli favorablement le recul du gouvernement roumain, ils ont bien l’intention de poursuivre leur mobilisation jusqu’au rejet du projet de loi par le Parlement et promis de revenir touts les jours, jusqu’à ce que le cyanure soit interdit dans l’industrie minière en Roumanie et le site de Rosia Montana classé au patrimoine de l’Unesco.

Les manifestants anti-mine d’or font aussi le lien avec les anti-gaz de schiste. A Bârlad, nord-est du pays, les protestations se multiplient depuis que le Premier ministre a autorisé cet été la compagnie américaine Chevron à explorer les gaz de schiste de la région.

D’après l’Agence américaine d’information sur l’énergie (EIA), le sous-sol roumain renfermerait quelque 1.444 milliards de mètres cubes de gaz de schiste, le troisième gisement européen après la Pologne et la France.

Si le gisement se confirme, Chevron prévoit une extraction par fracturation hydraulique à l’horizon 2017-2018. Une technique controversée, placée par la France sous moratoire, car elle polluerait les nappes phréatiques, fragiliserait les sols, voire favoriserait les tremblements de terre.

Mais en contrepartie de la fracturation de son sol, la région de Bârlad se voit promettre des dizaines de millions de dollars d’investissement dans les infrastructures locales, ainsi que dans le développement de la zone.

Rosia Montana, Bârlad: même combat

Pendant sa campagne électorale, le Premier ministre disait pourtant refuser qu’une entreprise étrangère explore le gaz de schiste roumain. C’était là encore avant d’être nommé et de faire volte-face en ouvrant la porte aux investissements étrangers en ces termes:

«Je veux que nous soyons un pays qui comprenne où sont ses intérêts.»

Comme à Rosia Montana, le profit que pourraient tirer les habitants de Bârlad, une ville désindustrialisée et appauvrie de 60.000 habitants, reste inconnu, car le contrat entre l’Etat et Chevron demeure secret. Et comme à Rosia Montana, le mécontentement dépasse largement les milieux écologistes.

Les Roumains se dressent aussi contre la manière de gouverner, la corruption, les entorses à la démocratie. Ils veulent défendre l’environnement, mais surtout empêcher leur pays de brader son sous-sol. Un réveil démocratique inédit en Roumanie depuis 1989.

Voir également:

L’invasion de Roms n’aura pas lieu

Pas plus de Roumains et de Bulgares, d’ailleurs, au 1er janvier 2014 comme le font craindre certains. Pourquoi? Ceux qui auraient pu venir sont déjà là et ils ne sont pas très nombreux.

Marianne Rigaux

Slate

26/09/2013

Deux échéances font revenir en force les Roms dans les médias: l’accès libre au marché du travail à partir du 1er janvier 2014 et les élections municipales de mars, avec leur lot de surenchère verbale. Au 1er janvier prochain, Roumains et Bulgares pourront librement travailler en France. Depuis leur entrée dans l’UE en 2007, ils sont libres de circuler et de s’installer où ils le veulent, mais ne peuvent pas exercer n’importe quel métier.

Pour l’instant, ils doivent obtenir une autorisation de travail délivrée par une préfecture française, ce qui peut prendre plusieurs mois, même avec une solide promesse d’embauche. L’employeur doit aussi prouver qu’il n’a pas trouvé de candidat français pour le poste, sauf pour une liste de 291 métiers pour lesquels le pays manque de main d’œuvre. Jusqu’en octobre 2012, cette liste ne contenait encore que 150 métiers dits «sous tension».

Avant même la fin de ces mesures transitoires, certains pays comme les Pays-Bas, l’Allemagne, la France et le Royaume-Uni pointent le risque d’une «invasion» de ressortissants roumains et bulgares. Et parmi eux, de nombreux Roms.

Spéculations et fantasmes

Au Royaume-Uni, le leader de l’United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Nigel Farage l’affirme: «Nous allons ouvrir nos portes à 29 millions de Bulgares et Roumains pauvres. Il est temps de reprendre le contrôle de nos frontières». «Ils ont peur que les travailleurs roumains dérèglent leur marché du travail avec nos salaires plus faibles», constate Ilie Serbanescu, économiste et ancien ministre roumain.

Une étude de l’Observatoire des migrations de l’université d’Oxford relativise pourtant ces fantasmes. Après avoir analysé le «raz-de-marée» migratoire suscité par l’élargissement de l’UE en 2004, les auteurs concluent que les ressortissants des nouveaux pays membres ne représentent qu’un tiers de l’immigration totale au Royaume-Uni.

En France, c’est le Front National qui agite le chiffon rouge. «Je vous annonce que dans le courant de l’année 2014, il viendra à Nice 50.000 Roms au moins puisqu’à partir du 1er janvier, les 12 millions de Roms qui sont situés en Roumanie, en Bulgarie et en Hongrie auront la possibilité de s’établir dans tous les pays d’Europe», a lancé Jean-Marie Le Pen cet été.

Il y a entre 15.000 et 20.000 Roms en France, originaires de Roumanie et de Bulgarie pour la plupart, mais aussi de Macédoine, du Kosovo, de Slovaquie… Un chiffre stable depuis des années. De tous ses voisins, la France est le pays qui compte le moins de Roms: ils sont 750.000 en Espagne et 150.000 en Italie.

L’immigration a déjà eu lieu

Pour la politologue roumaine Irène Costelian, il n’y aura pas de raz-de-marée à l’horizon. «Les Roumains [Roms ou non] sont déjà partis depuis longtemps», affirme-t-elle. Il n’y aura pas de nouveau rush comme il y en a eu en 2004 à la suppression des visas ou en 2007 à l’entrée dans l’Union européenne». Ni comme en 1990, après la chute du dictateur Ceausescu.

D’après le recensement réalisé en 2011, la Roumanie a perdu 13% de sa population depuis la fin du communisme, passant de 23,21 millions en 1990 à 20,12 millions d’habitants en 2011. En cause, une forte émigration, principalement vers l’Italie, l’Allemagne et l’Espagne, et dans une moindre mesure vers la France, où le nombre de ressortissants roumains est estimé à 200.000 personnes.

Et puis partir n’a plus la cote, selon Edith Lhomel, analyste à la documentation française. «En 2011 et 2012, les revenus envoyés au pays par les Roumains expatriés ont baissé. On commence à se rendre compte qu’immigrer dans un pays d’Europe occidentale en crise n’est pas si rentable».

«Le pauvre fait peur»

Reste que les spéculations font douter, à quelques mois des élections municipales en France. Le trio Rom/immigration/insécurité refait surface dans les discours politiques et les médias. «Il ne faut vraiment pas craindre la Roumanie», écrivait le Premier ministre roumain Victor Ponta dans une tribune publiée dans le Times en février.

Oui mais voilà, «le pauvre fait peur», reconnaît Irène Costelian, elle-même née en Roumanie. «Le Roumain traîne l’image du travailleur pauvre qui va casser les prix». Un thème de campagne idéal pour le Front National, mais aussi pour la droite.

Depuis quelques semaines, les Roms et les amalgames sont partout: articles, petites phrases, carte pour localiser les camps, Une racoleuse. Ils ne sont que 20.000, soit la population du Puy-en-Velay, mais ils arrivent à éclipser les 3,2 millions de chômeurs.

Voir de même:

 Mère et Fils

Pierre Murat

Télérama

15/01/2014

Drame réalisé en 2013 par Calin Peter Netzer

Avec Luminita Gheorghiu , Bogdan Dumitrache , Natasa Raab …

Mère et Fils – Bande Annonce – VOST

SYNOPSIS

A 60 ans, Cornelia fait partie de la haute bourgeoisie de Bucarest. Son argent lui permet de connaître tous les puissants et la bonne société de la capitale roumaine. Tout irait pour le mieux si seulement ses relations avec son fils étaient moins tendues. Alors que médecins, musiciens, avocats se pressent à son anniversaire, il a refusé de venir. Lorsque celui-ci tue un enfant dans un accident de voiture, elle utilise son carnet d’adresse et consacre sa fortune pour lui éviter la prison. Un bon moyen, pense-t-elle, pour regagner l’amour de son fils. Or, elle a beau se démener, son fils refuse de se laisser amadouer…

LA CRITIQUE LORS DE LA SORTIE EN SALLE DU 15/01/2014

Plus il la repousse, plus Cornelia intervient dans la vie de son fils quadragénaire. Lorsqu’il tue un gamin au volant de sa voiture, elle fait jouer toutes ses relations pour lui éviter le pire… Depuis quelque temps, le cinéma roumain est au top : sujets brûlants, mises en scène jouant avec brio sur la durée. On se souvient de La Mort de Dante Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu), il y a quelques années, d’Un mois en Thaïlande (Paul Negoescu), l’an dernier, et, bien sûr, de 4 Mois, 3 semaines, 2 jours (Cristian Mungiu), Palme d’or à Cannes en 2007. Couronné à Berlin l’année dernière, Mère et fils n’a pas la même intensité. Durant la première heure, le réalisateur semble se gargariser de la virtuosité de sa caméra. Et le personnage du fils est beaucoup trop faible : brutal, borné, sans envergure ni démesure. On ne comprend pas sa rancoeur. Sa (fausse ?) rédemption indiffère.

Avec la même vigueur que ses compatriotes, cependant, le cinéaste filme un pays où les passe-droits pèsent aussi lourd que la terreur politique, jadis. Nul, en effet, ne résiste aux prébendes de Cornelia, pas même le flic présenté comme un modèle incorruptible : il résiste, il résiste, mais il cède comme tous les autres… Et Luminita Gheorghiu (déjà remarquable dans La Mort de Dante Lazarescu) fait de son personnage une sorte de monstre shakespearien, ne pouvant s’empêcher de distiller le poison dont son fils se sert pour la détruire.

Voir par ailleurs:

Book review.

Spotlight Casts Cruel Shadows For Girls

Reviewed by Bob Ford, Knight-Ridder Newspapers.

The Chicago tribune

August 28, 1995

Little Girls in Pretty Boxes:

The Making and Breaking of Elite Gymnasts and Figure Skaters

By Joan Ryan

Doubleday, 243 pages, $22.95

The lights come on, the audience is hushed and the athletes spin, flip and pirouette before us, china dolls performing their routines with grace and joy.

The little girls who form the core of our national gymnastics and figure-skating teams are the stuff of gossamer dreams as they compete against the world for Olympic medals and patriotic glory.

But for every girl who makes it into the brightest spotlight, there are hundreds left in the shadows of the sport, used and discarded. It is the other side of the American dream and one that has long needed a closer look.

As part of a series of newspaper articles on female athletes, Joan Ryan, a San Francisco journalist, began this investigation of the price exacted in the quest for youthful success. The series grew into "Little Girls in Pretty Boxes," which is as vital and troubling a work as the sports world has seen in a long time.

"What I found," writes Ryan, "was a story about legal, even celebrated, child abuse. In the dark troughs along the road to the Olympics lay the bodies of the girls who stumbled on the way, broken by the work, pressure and humiliation.

"I found a girl who felt such shame at not making the Olympic team that she slit her wrists. A skater who underwent plastic surgery when a judge said her nose was distracting. A father who handed custody of his daughter over to her coach so she could keep skating. A coach who fed his gymnasts so little that federation officials had to smuggle food into their hotel rooms. A mother who hid her child’s chicken pox with makeup so she could compete. Coaches who motivated their athletes by calling them imbeciles, idiots, pigs and cows."

Ryan lets the facts clearly indicate the damage that can be done to young girls by overbearing parents, obsessive coaches and the elusive dream of stardom.

The book’s strongest moments come from the sport of gymnastics, where judges reward the work of sleek, supple girls able to perform the hardest maneuvers and give poorer marks to those who have slipped toward womanhood and must rely on grace and form. Countless hours of intensive training, combined with dangerous eating patterns, lowers the percentage of body fat to such extreme levels that natural maturation cannot take place.

The psychological effects of growing up as a gymnast can lead to eating disorders, such as the anorexia that eventually killed former gymnast Christy Heinrich, and mental illness.

Ryan goes hard after Bela Karolyi, the former Romanian national team coach whose star rose in 1976 with the success of his student, Nadia Comaneci. The methods of Karolyi, now a coach in this country, include verbal abuse, Ryan asserts, and she also alleges that the gymnasts starve themselves to stay in his good graces. Karolyi does his job of producing winners well, however, and Ryan points out that until society changes its priorities for athletes, the situation will not change.

The sections on figure skating are cobbled in artfully by Ryan, but the material pales in comparison to the reporting on gymnastics. She carefully documents the pressure and the politics involved in skating and observes, once again, that judges are usually unwilling to grade a graceful woman as highly as a triple-jumper. Once the skaters mature, gaining the hips and breasts that make them aerodynamically inferior to the younger skaters, their careers are effectively shot. Getting to the top of the pack is a race against time, and the corners cut to get there can scar the athletes forever.

Ryan suggests changes involving gymnastics and figure skating: The minimum-age requirements should be raised. There should be mandatory licensing of coaches and careful scrutiny by the national governing bodies. And athletes should be required to remain in regular schools at least until they are 16.

Few sports books can truly be called important. This book, beautifully written and painstakingly researched, is one of those few.

Voir enfin:

Abuse Amid Glamor In Name Of Sports

 Philip Hersh, Tribune Olympic Sports Writer

The Chicago tribune

June 01, 1995

120

Joan Ryan comes right to the point in the introductory chapter of her book, "Little Girls in Pretty Boxes," which hits this stores this month.

Ryan, a San Francisco Chronicle columnist, undertook the book to learn about the effects of subjecting young girls to the training demands of figure skating and gymnastics, especially the latter.

"What I found," Ryan writes, "was a story about legal, even celebrated, child abuse."

The following anecdotes should illustrate why Ryan came to such a conclusion:

- In January, Romanian gymnastics coach Florin Gheorghe was sentenced to eight years in prison by a Bucharest court for having beaten an 11-year-old athlete so severely during a 1993 practice session she died two days later of a broken neck.

Gheorghe’s attorney admitted his client slapped the young woman but said such physical abuse was common practice in Romanian gymnastics.

"This kind of punishment is a heritage from Bela Karolyi," the attorney said, referring to the martinet coach who drove Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton to Olympic gold medals. Karolyi has denied the charge.

- Aurelia Okino, a native Romanian whose daughter, Betty, trained with Karolyi a decade after his defection to the U.S., said in a 1992 interview she had become scared to answer the phone in her Elmhurst home.

Aurelia Okino worried it would be Betty, then 17, calling from Karolyi’s gym in Houston with news of another injury, There had been serious elbow, back and knee injuries before Okino made the 1992 Olympic team and helped the U.S. women win a bronze medal in the team event.

"Gymnastics is a brutal sport," Betty Okino said matter-of-factly.

Asked why she had let her daughter go that far, Okino said, "How do you deny a child her dream?"

- In 1985, a few days before her enormously talented daughter, Tiffany, would win her only U.S. figure skating title, Marjorie Chin accepted the offer of a ride back to her Kansas City hotel from a reporter she had first met 20 minutes before. Tiffany, then 17, took a back seat to Marjorie in the reporter’s car.

For 30 minutes, Mrs. Chin delivered relentless criticism of her daughter’s performance in practice that day. "If you keep it up, you’re not going to be the star of the ice show, you’re going to be just part of the supporting cast," Mrs. Chin said, over and over.

- Several times in the last few years, officials of the U.S. Figure Skating Association have spoken to a prominent ice dancer about her eating habits. The ice dancer, 32 years old, still looks like a wraith. One of those stories came from a wire service. The other three are personal recollections–mine, not Ryan’s.

Her book, subtitled "the making and breaking of elite gymnasts and figure skaters" (Doubleday, 243 pp., $22.95), has much more frightening tales to tell.

Ryan recounts in compelling detail the stories of Julissa Gomez and Christy Henrich, gymnasts whose pursuit of glory proved fatal; of figure skater Amy Grossman, whose mother said, "Skating was God"; of coaches like Karolyi and one of his disciples, Rick Newman, whose ideas of motivating adolescent girls include demeaning them at a time when their egos are most fragile; and of parents who hide their irresponsibility behind the notion of "trying to get the best for my child."

Such is the sordid underbelly of the Olympics’ two most glamorous sports.

Only in the last three years has the nation begun to have a vague awareness of this life under the sequins and leotards. Ryan began to get a clear view of these problems while doing research for a newspaper story before the 1992 Olympics.

That led her to write this book, in which the villains are both coaches and parents. She lets Karolyi skewer himself with his own words. She shows how parents lose sight of the fundamental notion of protecting their children from harm, so blinded are they by possible fame and fortune.

The cause of such intemperate adult behavior is partly the peculiar competitive demands to jump higher and twirl faster, particularly in gymnastics, that favor girls with tiny bodies over young women developing hips and breasts. That puts them in a race against puberty, creating a window of opportunity so narrow it leads to foolhardiness.

Neither figure skating nor gymnastics is without athletes whose experiences are positive, a point that needed more attention in Ryan’s book than the disclaimer, "I’m not suggesting that all elite gymnasts and figure skaters emerge from their sports unhealthy and poorly adjusted." A better balance might have been struck if the author had given voice to the likes of Olympic champions Retton and Kristi Yamaguchi.

Ryan’s basic premise about child abuse still is thoroughly supported by interviews, anecdotes and factual evidence.

"Little Girls in Pretty Boxes" should be a manifesto for change in the rules of these two sports, so that women with adult bodies still can compete. It should be a wakeup call to parents who have abdicated their responsibility for their childrens’ well-being. Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up hooked on sports that don’t let them grow up.


Polémique Dieudonné: Après le mariage, la victimisation pour tous ! (Streisand effect: How demonization keeps France’s defrocked multiculturalist poster child alive)

5 janvier, 2014
Manifestation de soutien à Dieudonné le 28 décembre 2013.http://commentisfreewatch.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/next.jpeg?w=450&h=337http://img.over-blog-kiwi.com/0/20/39/77/201312/ob_4cb4fd5b214abe66efb2a1bde6351932_pi30-jpg.jpeghttp://img.over-blog-kiwi.com/0/20/39/77/201312/ob_e75f461b6fd55538c3e699cc1f6c5738_soralberlin-jpg.jpeghttp://img.over-blog-kiwi.com/0/20/39/77/201312/ob_5f121e_1475866-446627335441323-1693066782-n-jpg.jpeghttp://www.gabrielglewis.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/strangelove.jpgPresque aucun des fidèles ne se retenait de s’esclaffer, et ils avaient l’air d’une bande d’anthropophages chez qui une blessure faite à un blanc a réveillé le goût du sang. Car l’instinct d’imitation et l’absence de courage gouvernent les sociétés comme les foules. Et tout le monde rit de quelqu’un dont on voit se moquer, quitte à le vénérer dix ans plus tard dans un cercle où il est admiré. C’est de la même façon que le peuple chasse ou acclame les rois. Marcel Proust
Il ne faut pas dissimuler que les institutions démocratiques développent à un très haut niveau le sentiment de l’envie dans le coeur humain. Ce n’est point tant parce qu’elle offrent à chacun les moyens de s’égaler aux autres, mais parce que ces moyens défaillent sans cesse à ceux qui les emploient. Les institutions démocratiques réveillent et flattent la passion de l’égalité sans pouvoir jamais la satisfaire entièrement. Cette égalité complète s’échappe tous les jours des mains du peuples au moment où il croit la saisir, et fuit, comme dit Pascal, d’une fuite éternelle; le peuple s’échauffe à la recherche de ce bien d’autant plus précieux qu’il est assez proche pour être connu et assez loin pour ne pas être goûté. Tout ce qui le dépasse par quelque endroit lui paraît un obstacle à ses désirs, et il n’y a pas de supériorité si légitime dont la vue ne fatigue sas yeux. Tocqueville
Il y a en effet une passion mâle et légitime pour l’égalité qui excite les hommes à vouloir être tous forts et estimés. Cette passion tend à élever les petits au rang des grands ; mais il se rencontre aussi dans le cœur humain un goût dépravé pour l’égalité, qui porte les faibles à vouloir attirer les forts à leur niveau, et qui réduit les hommes à préférer l’égalité dans la servitude à l’inégalité dans la liberté. Tocqueville
Depuis que l’ordre religieux est ébranlé – comme le christianisme le fut sous la Réforme – les vices ne sont pas seuls à se trouver libérés. Certes les vices sont libérés et ils errent à l’aventure et ils font des ravages. Mais les vertus aussi sont libérées et elles errent, plus farouches encore, et elles font des ravages plus terribles encore. Le monde moderne est envahi des veilles vertus chrétiennes devenues folles. Les vertus sont devenues folles pour avoir été isolées les unes des autres, contraintes à errer chacune en sa solitude. Chesterton
L’antisémitisme est le socialisme des imbéciles. Ferdinand Kronawetter ? (attribué à August Bebel)
Imaginons deux enfants dans une pièce pleine de jouets identiques. Le premier prend un jouet, mais il ne semble pas fort intéressé par l’objet. Le second l’observe et essaie d’arracher le jouet à son petit camarade. Celui-là n’était pas fort captivé par la babiole, mais – soudain – parce que l’autre est intéressé cela change et il ne veut plus le lâcher. Des larmes, des frustrations et de la violence s’ensuivent. Dans un laps de temps très court un objet pour lequel aucun des deux n’avait un intérêt particulier est devenu l’enjeu d’une rivalité obstinée. René Girard
C’était une cité fortement convoitée par les ennemis de la foi et c’est pourquoi, par une sorte de syndrome mimétique, elle devint chère également au cœur des Musulmans. Emmanuel Sivan
Il faut se souvenir que le nazisme s’est lui-même présenté comme une lutte contre la violence: c’est en se posant en victime du traité de Versailles que Hitler a gagné son pouvoir. Et le communisme lui aussi s’est présenté comme une défense des victimes. Désormais, c’est donc seulement au nom de la lutte contre la violence qu’on peut commettre la violence. René Girard
L’effet Streisand est un phénomène médiatique au cours duquel la volonté d’empêcher la divulgation d’informations que l’on aimerait garder secrètes – qu’il s’agisse de simples rumeurs ou de faits vérifiés – déclenche le résultat inverse. Par ses efforts, la victime encourage malgré elle l’exposition d’une publication qu’elle souhaitait voir ignorée. Il s’agit donc à proprement parler d’un "effet pervers". Wikipedia
Que veut, en fait, Dieudonné ? Il veut un ‘Holocauste’ pour les Arabes et pour les noirs aussi. (…) La noble idée de "la guerre contre le racisme" se transforme graduellement en une idéologie hideusement mensongère. Et cet antiracisme sera, pour le XXIe siècle, ce qu’a été le communisme pour le XXe. Alain Finkielkraut
Nous sommes entrés dans un mouvement qui est de l’ordre du religieux. Entrés dans la mécanique du sacrilège : la victime, dans nos sociétés, est entourée de l’aura du sacré. Du coup, l’écriture de l’histoire, la recherche universitaire, se retrouvent soumises à l’appréciation du législateur et du juge comme, autrefois, à celle de la Sorbonne ecclésiastique. Françoise Chandernagor
La lisibilité de la filiation, qui est dans l’intérêt de l’enfant, est sacrifiée au profit du bon vouloir des adultes et la loi finit par mentir sur l’origine de la vieConférence des évêques
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, suite à des manifestations anti-guerre d’Irak marquées par nombre de cris d’"A mort les juifs!", avril 2003)
Je n’ai pas le droit à la prison, c’est évidemment une très très grande déception, parce que je m’y étais préparé, ça faisait partie de ma campagne promotionnelle. Dieudonné
While this gesture has been part of French culture for many years, it was not until recently that I learned of the very negative concerns associated with it. When l was photographed making that gesture three years ago, I thought it was part of a comedy act and did not know that it could be in any way offensive or harmful. Since I have been made aware of the seriousness of this gesture, I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or harm relating to my actions. Hopefully this incident will serve to educate others that we need to be more aware that things that may seem innocuous can actually have a history of hate and hurt. Tony Parker
La quenelle est avant tout un code identitaire, qui a acquis une vraie popularité chez les jeunes. Difficile de dire que tous aient conscience de la portée de ce geste». .. une mouvance transversale, antisystème et complotiste, dont l’antisémitisme reste la colonne vertébrale. Leur vision du monde est celle d’un ordre mondial dominé par l’axe Washington-Tel-Aviv. Derrière les discours fustigeant l’Otan et la finance internationale, tout en soutenant Bachar al-Assad et Hugo Chávez, il y a la conviction qu’au fond, ce sont les Juifs qui tirent les ficelles. Jean-Yves Camus (spécialiste de l’extrême droite)
A présent que ce geste s’est répandu dans toutes les cours de récréation, des milliers de personnes qui faisaient ce geste par amusement et qui ne pensaient pas du tout aux juifs (et oui, Mesdames, Messieurs du Crif, les juifs et la shoah n’occupent pas les pensées de tout le monde, tout le temps….), il est certain que toutes ces personnes pourront se dire « c’est à cause des juifs et d’Israël (bref des sionistes) que l’on ne peut plus rigoler, ils nous cassent les pieds » (et je reste poli…). On sait déjà que la source originelle de l’antisémitisme vient du fait que le judaïsme a instauré pour l’humanité des principes de vie et de morale avec les dix commandements, et que ne plus obéir totalement à son désir, mais avoir des contraintes morales est nécessairement une atteinte à sa liberté (on n’est plus libre de tuer qui on veut, de voler ce qui nous plait, et l’on ne se sent plus aussi bien lorsque l’on pratique l’adultère….). Le désastre, c’est qu’aujourd’hui, pour les centaines de milliers de fans de Dieudonné, il y a un onzième commandement : on ne va plus pouvoir rigoler et faire de bonnes blagues à cause des juifs, des sionistes et d’Israël. Raison de plus pour résister à ce nouveau « diktat moral des juifs » en continuant à faire ce geste…. Cette mise en exergue d’un geste qui n’était qu’un trait de vulgarité, a réveillé un immense caractère antisémite dans des milliers de cerveaux français, et bientôt européens…. Stéphane Haddad
Il se marre. Il se bidonne, il s’éclate, Dieudonné ! La polémique sur la possible interdiction de son show a refait le plein de carburant pour sa petite machine à haine, et à cash. Le ministre de l’Intérieur va demander aux préfets d’invoquer un risque de «trouble à l’ordre public ».« Trouble à l’ordre public » ? C’est presque la Légion d’honneur qui lui est ainsi décernée. Dieudonné se nourrit du «trouble» et conchie l’ «ordre public », qui n’est, pour lui, que l’ordre sioniste, l’ordre des Juifs, l’ordre du « système ». Ses fans s’enflamment : si Dieudonné est ainsi menacé, c’est bien qu’il dérange ! Et qu’il vise juste ! Car le public qui se presse pour assister à son spectacle a évolué, au fil des années, suivant docilement la trajectoire de l’« artiste». Ce n’est plus l’humoriste que l’on va voir pour rigoler un bon coup. C’est le provocateur. C’est l’«antisystème ». A chaque dérapage antisémite, l’assistance est parcourue par le délicieux frisson de l’interdit.  (…) Il faut une solide dose d’aveuglement, ou plutôt de mauvaise foi, pour ne pas traduire correctement le mot « système ». Si le monde va comme il va, c’est parce que les Juifs le font tourner. Il ne s’agit pas seulement d ‘ une vulgaire déclaration raciste. C’est une lecture de l’Histoire : la lecture des nazis. D’ailleurs, la filiation est assumée, avec cette fameuse «quenelle». Ce geste est celui du Docteur Folamour, dans le film du même nom. Incapable de réfréner le salut nazi que fait compulsivement son bras droit, le héros est obligé de le bloquer avec la main gauche. Le gag de Kubrick a fait florès. Mille fois répété, bien avant que Dieudonné s’en saisisse, sa signification est parfaitement claire : je suis nazi, mais je ne dois pas l’exprimer. Il suffit pour s’en convaincre de recenser les lieux choisis par les fans qui se font photographier en pleine quenelle et adressent le cliché au site Internet de Dieudonné : le mémorial de la Shoah à Berlin, la voie ferrée menant à Auschwitz, l’école de Toulouse où Merah a tué des enfants juifs… Rien d’antisémite dans ces choix! Ceux qui font mine de s’interroger sur la portée du geste se foutent du monde. (…) Tiens ? Où est-elle passée, Christiane Taubira, en pleine tourmente Dieudonné ? Quelles instructions a-t-elle données aux parquets généraux ? Il y a de quoi rire, en effet, quand on sait qu’aucune des condamnations déjà prononcées n’a été exécutée . Le Canard enchainé
Cela ne concerne pas toute la France, sinon Jean-Jacques Goldman et Patrick Bruel y seraient des marginaux, tout comme Gad Elmaleh ou Patrick Timsit, mais cela concerne néanmoins une part inquiétante de la population française : il existe en ce pays une nébuleuse fétide où se mêle une extrême droite porteuse de relents pétainistes, catholiques intégristes, nationalistes myopes, anti-israéliens et anti-américains, une extrême-gauche qui ne se distingue de l’extrême droite que parce qu’elle est favorable à l’islamisation du monde et à l’immigration sans contrôles, et, précisément, des courants islamiques eux-mêmes anti-israéliens et anti-américains. L’extrême droite camoufle son antisémitisme sous le manteau de l’ « antisionisme », qui est celui sous lequel s’abritent aussi extrême gauche et courants islamiques. Dieudonné trouve un public dans les divers composants de cette nébuleuse. Il suscite aussi chez des spectateurs de passage une accoutumance à certains parfums. Ces parfums sont ceux de la décomposition. On n’arrêtera pas la décomposition en interdisant des spectacles. Mais si des vagues de révolte contre ce que signifient ces spectacles se lèvent, ce seront des vagues salubres. Et elles ont mon soutien. On n’arrêtera pas le recours à certains gestes en interdisant ceux-ci. Mais faire un geste qui se trouve fait et photographié à Auschwitz, devant des synagogues, devant l’école juive de Toulouse où Merah a assassiné des enfants juifs, devant des photos d’Anne Frank, et j’en passe, c’est faire un geste lourd de sens et lourd de son poids de cadavres, et se voir traité comme un être infâme pour avoir fait ce geste est pleinement légitime. C’est se faire complice, par l’esprit, d’un crime contre l’humanité passé et de crimes contre l’humanité présents : ceux qui frappent des Israéliens et peuvent les frapper. Et que face à ce geste se lèvent aussi des vagues de révolte est sain et légitime. Je crains, hélas, que Dieudonné soit l’un des signes annonciateurs de ce qui vient. Guy Millière
Dans une vidéo postée sur YouTube le 20 août et vue 385 000 fois, Dieudonné, écharpe du Hamas au cou, se délecte de la popularité exponentielle du geste, feignant d’être dépassé par son succès. «Je ne pensais pas que le mouvement de la quenelle irait aussi loin. Aujourd’hui, cet acte subversif ne m’appartient plus, il appartient à la révolution.» S’ensuit un montage photo de «quenelles glissées» par des jeunes, des vieux, des pompiers, des syndicalistes. On retrouve le geste sur des photos de classe et de mariage. D’autres, prises devant des synagogues en France ou à l’étranger et jusqu’au mémorial de la Shoah à Berlin, ne cachent pas leur sous-texte antisémite. Climax de la vidéo, des policiers et militaires en tenue. Hilare, Dieudonné se met à «rêver d’un coup d’Etat au secours du peuple, comme en Egypte». Avec la condamnation du ministère de la Défense, la polémique dépasse désormais le cercle des initiés. Et ce débat amène certains, à l’instar du journaliste Jean-Laurent Cassely, à s’inquiéter d’une éventuelle «dieudonisation des esprits». Libération
La quenelle est, si on ose dire, le bras armé de l’idéologie de Dieudonné. Tout à la fois running gag, symbole politique et bras d’honneur dirigé contre ceux «d’en haut», «glisser une quenelle» consiste à placer sa main ouverte sur son bras opposé, à allonger se dernier pour faire un signe dont la signification est explicite. La référence au salut hitlérien est évidemment volontaire. On a vu d’ailleurs apparaître ces «quenelles» dans le cadre de la campagne du Parti antisioniste, dont il fut l’éphémère tête de liste en Ile de France aux européennes de 2009, sur une affiche électorale dont l’ambiguïté n’était pas vraiment de mise… La quenelle se décline en plusieurs tailles, à jauger en fonction du succès de l’action: petite quenelle, quenelle de 12, quenelle de 40, de 175, quenelle épaulée, etc. Plus la quenelle est longue, plus, bien entendu, le bras d’honneur est profond et procure satisfaction à son auteur. Un registre paillard qui rappelle un peu le slogan de Coluche lors de la présidentielle de 1981, pour laquelle il décidera finalement de se retirer: «Tous ensemble, pour leur foutre au cul». La cible n’est évidemment plus la même. Quant à l’ananas, décliné tout au long de la soirée sous de multiples formes (ananas frais au buffet, fresque géante devant la salle, tee-shirts souvenir, déguisements, etc.), il est omniprésent pour rappeler la cause de la condamnation de l’intéressé pour provocation à la haine: la chanson Shoananas, qu’il reprend en cœur avec son public lors de chaque spectacle, sur l’air de la chanson Chaud Cacao d’Annie Cordy. Le troisième signe de ralliement important qui, avec la quenelle et l’ananas, forme la trinité de la terminologie officielle, c’est l’expression «Au-dessus, c’est le soleil». Traduction: on s’attaque à la chose la plus haute, la plus sacrée possible (la Shoah, mais cela peut aussi s’appliquer à Bernard-Henri Levy ou à Mahmoud Ahmadinejad). Cette phrase peut-être prononcée, imprimée sur tee-shirt, ou encore simplement mimée (il suffit pour cela de tenir son doigt en l’air comme pointé vers le soleil, en mimant avec la bouche une sorte de bisou pour en faire une caricature de rabin). Quant à la quenelle à proprement parler, elle se décline en signes, en tee-shirts, en logos détournés. Elle est devenue une unité de langage. La voici parodiant le logo de Facebook, "réseau social sioniste". Jean-Laurent Cassely
Malheureusement, toutes ces manœuvres sont non seulement inutiles, mais également contre-productives. Et cela, qu’elles soient légales ou illégales, menées par des individus ou des institutions : la répression ne fonctionne pas lorsqu’elle lutte contre des idées. La répression d’idées "dissidentes" par les pouvoirs publics ou les médias nationaux a un effet pervers : elle leur offre un véritable "diplôme de non-respectabilité". Cela tient de la logique circulaire : si ces idées sont combattues avec autant d’acharnement par des "représentants du système" (journalistes, commentateurs, intellectuels médiatiques) ou par les pouvoirs publics, c’est qu’elles dérangent. Encore récemment, le Front national utilisait cet effet, s’appuyant sur sa "diabolisation" afin de prouver qu’il constituait un parti d’opposition de premier ordre. Dieudonné l’expliqua lui-même à la suite de sa dernière condamnation : "Je n’ai pas le droit à la prison, c’est évidemment une très très grande déception, parce que je m’y étais préparé, ça faisait partie de ma campagne promotionnelle". Aujourd’hui, la censure produit l’effet totalement inverse de son objectif premier ; il s’agit de l’une des applications de l’Effet Streisand. Cet effet s’ajoute à celui de la "validation" des idées comme anti-systèmes par les "représentants du système" eux-mêmes. Cette censure confine à l’absurde lorsqu’elle concerne la publication d’œuvres tombées dans le domaine public, comme c’est le cas de celles de Léon Bloy ou d’Edouard Drumont, éditées par Kontre Kulture. À ce premier anachronisme qui consiste à vouloir empêcher la diffusion de textes politiques en France au XXIe siècle, s’ajoute un problème technique et moral : pourquoi empêcher une maison d’édition de publier des textes que n’importe quel internaute peut dénicher gratuitement ? À l’heure de la diffusion numérique massive, même des textes hors-domaine public, donc piratés, s’obtiennent sans difficulté sur internet. Par chance, nous vivons dans une démocratie. Les seules violences exercées contre des porte-paroles d’idéologies jugées inacceptables le sont par des individus n’ayant aucun lien avec les pouvoirs publics. Malgré tout, cette approche fait partie du prisme répressif, du front luttant contre les idées d’Alain Soral et Dieudonné M’bala M’bala. Et comme les approches légales de la répression, il est important de souligner qu’elles sont parfaitement inutiles. La violence, qu’elle soit légalement ou illégalement exercée, affaiblit difficilement les idées. Au contraire : celles-ci se nourrissent des réactions qu’elles engendrent, et se renforcent grâce aux actes engagés contre leurs porte-paroles. Ainsi, les agressions d’Alain Soral et Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, les menaces qu’ils reçoivent et la pression exercée sur les "quenelleurs" sont prises comme des raisons supplémentaires de poursuivre leur combat. La radicalisation d’Alain Soral, par exemple, est postérieure à son agression en 2004, lors d’une dédicace, durant laquelle l’essayiste fut blessé au même titre que ses lecteurs. Que l’on juge nauséabonde ou honorable une idéologie, celle-ci obéit à la même loi : ses défenseurs trouvent dans la répression une raison supplémentaire de tenir tête à leurs adversaires. Les démocrates et les défenseurs de l’ordre républicain devraient se rappeler qu’il y a bien plus d’utilité et de noblesse à défendre l’expression libre d’idées avec lesquelles nous ne sommes pas d’accord. L’Histoire devrait également leur rappeler que le marteau du juge, la matraque du policier ou la barre de fer du militant violent n’ont jamais réussi à arrêter des idées, nauséabondes ou non. Face aux idées, il ne peut y avoir que des idées. La condamnation systématique et aveugle, la haine comme moteur de l’action politique et la mystification de l’adversaire ne sont que des pratiques inefficaces et désuètes. Au mieux, elles troublent le jeu démocratique ; au pire, elles renforcent ceux qu’elles comptaient combattre. Arnaud Lavalade
Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala was born in a Paris suburb nearly 48 years ago. His mother was white, from Brittany, his father was African, from Cameroun.  This should make him a poster child for the “multiculturalism” the ideologically dominant left claims to promote.  And during the first part of his career, teaming up with his Jewish friend, Elie Simoun, he was just that: campaigning against racism, focusing his criticism on the National Front and even running for office against an NF candidate in the dormitory town of Dreux, some sixty miles West of Paris, where he lives. Like the best humorists, Dieudonné always targeted current events, with a warmth and dignity unusual in the profession. His career flourished, he played in movies, was a guest on television, branched out on his own.  A great observer, he excels at relatively subtle imitations of various personality types and ethnic groups from Africans to Chinese. Ten years ago, on December 1, 2003, as guest on a TV show appropriately called “You Can’t Please Everybody”, dedicated to current events, Dieudonné came on stage roughly disguised as “a convert to Zionist extremism” advising others to get ahead by “joining the American-Israeli Axis of Good”. This was in the first year of the US assault on Iraq, which France’s refusal to join had led Washington to rechristen what it calls “French fries” (Belgian, actually) as “Freedom fries”.  A relatively mild attack on George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” seemed totally in the mood of the times. The sketch ended with a brief salute, “Isra-heil”.  This was far from being vintage Dieudonné, but nevertheless, the popular humorist was at the time enthusiastically embraced by other performers while the studio audience gave him a standing ovation. Then the protests started coming in, especially concerning the final gesture seen as likening Israel to Nazi Germany. (…) Thus began a decade of escalation.  LICRA began a long series of lawsuits against him (“incitement to racial hatred”), at first losing, but keeping up the pressure.  Instead of backing down, Dieudonné went farther in his criticism of “Zionism” after each attack.  Meanwhile, Dieudonné was gradually excluded from television appearances and treated as a pariah by mainstream media.  It is only the recent internet profusion of images showing young people making the quenelle sign that has moved the establishment to conclude that a direct attack would be more effective than trying to ignore him. To begin to understand the meaning of the Dieudonné affair, it is necessary to grasp the ideological context.  For reasons too complex to review here, the French left – the left that once was primarily concerned with the welfare of the working class, with social equality, opposition to aggressive war, freedom of speech – has virtually collapsed.  The right has won the decisive economic battle, with the triumph of policies favoring monetary stability and the interests of international investment capital (“neo-liberalism”).  As a consolation prize, the left enjoys a certain ideological dominance, based on anti-racism, anti-nationalism and devotion to the European Union – even to the hypothetical “social Europe” that daily recedes into the cemetery of lost dreams. In fact, this ideology fits perfectly with a globalization geared to the requirements of international finance capital. In the absence of any serious socio-economic left, France has sunk into a sort of “Identity Politics”, which both praises multiculturalism and reacts vehemently against “communitarianism”, that is, the assertion of any unwelcome ethnic particularisms. (…) France has adopted laws to “punish anti-Semitism”.  The result is the opposite.  Such measures simply tend to confirm the old notion that “the Jews run the country” and contribute to growing anti-Semitism.  When French youth see a Franco-Israeli attempt to outlaw a simple gesture, when the Jewish community moves to ban their favorite humorist, anti-Semitism can only grow even more rapidly. Diana Johnstone

Après le mariage,… la victimisation pour tous !

Alors qu’attirés par le goût du sang de la polémique qui enfle et contre toutes les hyprocrites dénégations ("anti-système", on vous dit !) de leurs initiateurs, nos nouveaux tenants du socialisme des imbéciles bouffeurs de rabbins disent chaque jour un peu plus la pathétique vérité de leur geste

Et que d’autres qui avec leurs confrères bouffeurs de curé se sont faits un véritable de fonds de commerce de la caricature la plus débile en sont à dénoncer le jusqu’alors silence assourdissant d’une ministre de la Justice à qui l’on doit déjà deux lois vériticides (historique et biologique) …

Pendant qu ‘outre-manche ou atlantique et sans la moindre loi mémorielle, on ne semble pas trop plaisanter avec ces choses …

Comment ne pas voir après les lois liberticides sur les génocides juif et arménien ou l’actuelle mode des génocides et autres mariages pour tous

Et les tentatives, jusqu’ici heureusement infructueuses, du totalitarisme islamique de faire condamner les caricatures de leur propre prêcheur de haine

L’énième épisode d’un syndrome mimétique et de la concurrence des victimes qui est ici en train de se rejouer dans ce cimetière rempli d’idées chrétiennes devenues folles qu’est devenu notre monde moderne ?

Mais aussi, au-delà des indéniables risques de banalisation (Enderlin-Dieudonné, même combat!) l’immense cadeau que l’on est en train de faire en prétendant le priver de son imprescriptible droit à la bêtise la plus crasse …

A l’humoriste de seconde zone qui, réduit à jouer les victimes (jusqu’à sa propre insolvabilité pendant que Madame dépose la marque de l’objet du délit!) et à multiplier les provocations à l’instar de son pathétique mentor front-nationaliste, avait largement lui aussi dépassé sa date de péremption ?

La "quenelle" de Dieudonné : face aux idées, la répression et la violence sont inutiles

Arnaud Lavalade

Chargé d’études

Le Nouvel Observateur

29-12-2013

Manuel Valls n’a pas de mots assez durs pour définir l’essayiste Alain Soral et l’humoriste Dieudonné M’bala M’bala. Les considérant comme des ennemis de la République, dégoûté par leur "idéologie nauséabonde", il prône désormais l’interdiction des spectacles de Dieudonné.

Du débat public à la répression de la parole

Cette politique répressive est censée faire face à la "dieudonnisation des esprits", et s’inscrit plus globalement dans le cadre de la lutte contre des idées jugées inacceptables. Cette lutte a pu prendre différentes formes, allant de l’agression physique aux interdictions de spectacles par des élus locaux, en passant par de multiples condamnations publiques ou judiciaires.

Entre autres condamnations récentes, la maison d’édition Kontre Kulture, diffusant les œuvres des deux militants, s’est vue forcée de censurer plusieurs de ses ouvrages. En parallèle, Dieudonné M’bala M’bala a été condamné en appel pour sa chanson "Shoah Nanas" à 28.000 euros d’amende.

La répression systématique étendue aux "quenelleurs"

Cette répression s’étend également à tous ceux affichant, de près ou de loin, des affinités pour le duo polémique. Entre autres : les "quenelleurs", pratiquant le geste de la quenelle, considéré par certains comme une sorte de bras d’honneur, par d’autres comme un salut nazi ou un signe simplement antisémite.

Les actions "anti-quenelles" reprennent un schéma comparable : ennuis professionnels, condamnations publiques, procès, voire des actes illégaux accomplis par des activistes, tels que des piratages informatiques ou violences physiques. En sus, on attend de toute célébrité ayant déjà réalisé une quenelle qu’elle s’explique publiquement sur son geste.

Malheureusement, toutes ces manœuvres sont non seulement inutiles, mais également contre-productives. Et cela, qu’elles soient légales ou illégales, menées par des individus ou des institutions : la répression ne fonctionne pas lorsqu’elle lutte contre des idées.

La répression décerne le titre "d’ennemi du système"

La répression d’idées "dissidentes" par les pouvoirs publics ou les médias nationaux a un effet pervers : elle leur offre un véritable "diplôme de non-respectabilité".

Cela tient de la logique circulaire : si ces idées sont combattues avec autant d’acharnement par des "représentants du système" (journalistes, commentateurs, intellectuels médiatiques) ou par les pouvoirs publics, c’est qu’elles dérangent. Encore récemment, le Front national utilisait cet effet, s’appuyant sur sa "diabolisation" afin de prouver qu’il constituait un parti d’opposition de premier ordre.

Dieudonné l’expliqua lui-même à la suite de sa dernière condamnation : "Je n’ai pas le droit à la prison, c’est évidemment une très très grande déception, parce que je m’y étais préparé, ça faisait partie de ma campagne promotionnelle".

La censure, un outil désuet

Aujourd’hui, la censure produit l’effet totalement inverse de son objectif premier ; il s’agit de l’une des applications de l’Effet Streisand. Cet effet s’ajoute à celui de la "validation" des idées comme anti-systèmes par les "représentants du système" eux-mêmes.

Cette censure confine à l’absurde lorsqu’elle concerne la publication d’œuvres tombées dans le domaine public, comme c’est le cas de celles de Léon Bloy ou d’Edouard Drumont, éditées par Kontre Kulture.

À ce premier anachronisme qui consiste à vouloir empêcher la diffusion de textes politiques en France au XXIe siècle, s’ajoute un problème technique et moral : pourquoi empêcher une maison d’édition de publier des textes que n’importe quel internaute peut dénicher gratuitement ?

À l’heure de la diffusion numérique massive, même des textes hors-domaine public, donc piratés, s’obtiennent sans difficulté sur internet.

Une violence inutile

Par chance, nous vivons dans une démocratie. Les seules violences exercées contre des porte-paroles d’idéologies jugées inacceptables le sont par des individus n’ayant aucun lien avec les pouvoirs publics. Malgré tout, cette approche fait partie du prisme répressif, du front luttant contre les idées d’Alain Soral et Dieudonné M’bala M’bala. Et comme les approches légales de la répression, il est important de souligner qu’elles sont parfaitement inutiles.

La violence, qu’elle soit légalement ou illégalement exercée, affaiblit difficilement les idées. Au contraire : celles-ci se nourrissent des réactions qu’elles engendrent, et se renforcent grâce aux actes engagés contre leurs porte-paroles.

Ainsi, les agressions d’Alain Soral et Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, les menaces qu’ils reçoivent et la pression exercée sur les "quenelleurs" sont prises comme des raisons supplémentaires de poursuivre leur combat. La radicalisation d’Alain Soral, par exemple, est postérieure à son agression en 2004, lors d’une dédicace, durant laquelle l’essayiste fut blessé au même titre que ses lecteurs.

Une répression contre-productive

Que l’on juge nauséabonde ou honorable une idéologie, celle-ci obéit à la même loi : ses défenseurs trouvent dans la répression une raison supplémentaire de tenir tête à leurs adversaires.

Les démocrates et les défenseurs de l’ordre républicain devraient se rappeler qu’il y a bien plus d’utilité et de noblesse à défendre l’expression libre d’idées avec lesquelles nous ne sommes pas d’accord. L’Histoire devrait également leur rappeler que le marteau du juge, la matraque du policier ou la barre de fer du militant violent n’ont jamais réussi à arrêter des idées, nauséabondes ou non.

Face aux idées, il ne peut y avoir que des idées. La condamnation systématique et aveugle, la haine comme moteur de l’action politique et la mystification de l’adversaire ne sont que des pratiques inefficaces et désuètes. Au mieux, elles troublent le jeu démocratique ; au pire, elles renforcent ceux qu’elles comptaient combattre.

Voir aussi:

Ca part en quenelle

Louis-Marie Horeau

Le Canard enchainé

31 décembre 2013

Il se marre. Il se bidonne, il s’éclate, Dieudonné ! La polémique sur la possible interdiction de son show a refait le plein de carburant pour sa petite machine à haine, et à cash. Le ministre de l’Intérieur va demander aux préfets d’invoquer un risque de «trouble à l’ordre public ».

« Trouble à l’ordre public » ?

C’est presque la Légion d’honneur qui lui est ainsi décernée. Dieudonné se nourrit du «trouble» et conchie l’ «ordre public », qui n’est, pour lui, que l’ordre sioniste, l’ordre des Juifs, l’ordre du « système ».

Ses fans s’enflamment : si Dieudonné est ainsi menacé, c’est bien qu’il dérange ! Et qu’il vise juste ! Car le public qui se presse pour assister à son spectacle a évolué, au fil des années, suivant docilement la trajectoire de l’« artiste». Ce n’est plus l’humoriste que l’on va voir pour rigoler un bon coup. C’est le provocateur. C’est l’«antisystème ».

A chaque dérapage antisémite, l’assistance est parcourue par le délicieux frisson de l’interdit. Le sommet est atteint quand Dieudonné se lâche et reprend dans un sketche les termes d’une plainte déposée par son avocat. « La sodomie ne pouvant être réalisée sur des restes calcinés de corps humains sortis des fours crématoires nazis, et pire encore après qu’ils aient été transformés en savon…» Applaudissements.

Il faut une solide dose d’aveuglement, ou plutôt de mauvaise foi, pour ne pas traduire correctement le mot « système ». Si le monde va comme il va, c’est parce que les Juifs le font tourner. Il ne s’agit pas seulement d ‘ une vulgaire déclaration raciste. C’est une lecture de l’Histoire : la lecture des nazis.

D’ailleurs, la filiation est assumée, avec cette fameuse «quenelle». Ce geste est celui du Docteur Folamour, dans le film du même nom. Incapable de réfréner le salut nazi que fait compulsivement son bras droit, le héros est obligé de le bloquer avec la main gauche. Le gag de Kubrick a fait florès. Mille fois répété, bien avant que Dieudonné s’en saisisse, sa signification est parfaitement claire : je suis nazi, mais je ne dois pas l’exprimer. Il suffit pour s’en convaincre de recenser les lieux choisis par les fans qui se font photographier en pleine quenelle et adressent le cliché au site Internet de Dieudonné : le mémorial de la Shoah à Berlin, la voie ferrée menant à Auschwitz, l’école de Toulouse où Merah a tué des enfants juifs… Rien d’antisémite dans ces choix! Ceux qui font mine de s’interroger sur la portée du geste se foutent du monde. Et ils font rigoler Dieudonné.

Ce ne sont pas quelques arrêtés d’interdiction qui vont l’empêcher de se marrer. Toutes les tentatives dans ce sens se sont heurtées au droit et ont été annulées par les tribunaux administratifs . Le régime de la censure préalable n’a plus le droit de cité en France, et c’est heureux . En revanche, la justice a son mot à dire. Et elle le dit : plusieurs condamnations ont déjà été prononcées, d’autres sont à venir. Et Dieudonné rigole toujours. Il rigole parce que les poursuites sont engagées par des particuliers ou des associations. Les procureurs de la République roupillent. La Chancellerie regarde ailleurs, la ministre de la Justice se tait.

Tiens ? Où est-elle passée, Christiane Taubira, en pleine tourmente Dieudonné ? Quelles instructions a-t-elle données aux parquets généraux ? Il y a de quoi rire, en effet, quand on sait qu’aucune des condamnations déjà prononcées n’a été exécutée . Dieudonné se marre, et il y a de quoi. Le ministre de l’Intérieur se fâche, et il a raison, mais il est impuissant. La ministre qui pourrait agir est aux abonnés absents . Une idée de sketch pour le prochain spectacle ?

Voir également:

Dieudonné et sa "quenelle" : lettre à mes amis (encore) fans de l’humoriste

Thomas Carre-Pierrat

Le Nouvel observateur

28-12-2013

Vous êtes encore quelques-uns, dans mon entourage, à vouloir rigoler des blagues de Dieudonné. Pendant longtemps, il fut l’un de nos comiques préférés, pour ne pas dire le premier. Il était assurément l’humoriste le plus doué de sa génération ; un comédien génial et un auteur d’exception.

Comme vous, je suis encore capable de réciter certains de ses sketchs par cœur. Mais voilà, cela fait un moment que "Dieudo", comme vous l’appelez encore, ne me fait plus marrer. En fait, j’ai décroché le jour où j’ai compris qu’il se moquait ouvertement de nous.

Dieudonné a basculé dans la mouvance d’extrême droite

Malheureusement, Dieudonné n’est plus un provocateur, un type subversif qui utilisent l’humour pour taper où cela fait mal. Il est devenu un homme politique qui se sert de ses spectacles pour diffuser des idées qui nous ulcèrent par ailleurs.

Dans un souci de cohérence, j’ai dû arrêter de le soutenir car je ne pouvais plus cautionner un mec qui traîne dans la nébuleuse de l’extrême droite et fréquente des hauts responsables du Front national, ce parti contre lequel nous avons si souvent usé nos souliers.

Essayez de répondre franchement et de manière convaincante aux questions suivantes : comment peut-on apprécier un type qui était venu consoler Jean-Marie Le Pen après sa défaite à la présidentielle en 2007 ? A-t-on envie de s’asseoir sur les bancs de son théâtre qui a servi de salle de formation pour des militants du Front National ? Est-il vraiment drôle et subversif de choisir Jean-Marie Le Pen pour être le parrain de sa fille ? Auriez-vous envie comme Dieudonné, d’aller boire des coups avec Serge Ayoub, l’un des leaders des skinheads français, après la mort du militant antifasciste Clément Méric ?

La vérité est tristement factuelle. Dieudonné est aujourd’hui un militant d’extrême droite. Cela ne signifie pas que vous l’êtes également. Mais, lorsque vous regardez ses spectacles, un certain nombre de vos voisins viennent précisément pour cette raison.

Car eux, ont bien compris que Dieudonné ne blaguait pas sur les juifs comme il est capable de le faire avec les musulmans, les catholiques ou les bouddhistes. Ils savent que Dieudonné est passé, au fil du temps, d’antisioniste à antisémite. Il fait partie de ces gens qui croient réellement en l’existence d’un lobby juif dont nous serions les frêles marionnettes.

Un humoriste qui vous coupe l’appétit

Le seul trait de génie dont on peut encore créditer Dieudonné, est précisément de s’appuyer sur cette ambiguïté entre l’humoriste et le politique pour faire passer un message purement et banalement antisémite. En cela, et pour le paraphraser, Dieudonné est la branche comique de l’extrême droite.

Je préfère le répéter une nouvelle fois ; cela ne signifie pas, chers amis, que vous seriez également d’extrême droite, de la même manière que bien des "quenelles" n’ont aucun soubassement antisémite.

Mais, en participant à cela, vous cautionnez son combat nauséabond et vous faites prospérer la boutique de Dieudonné et de ses nouveaux camarades.

Comment peut-on critiquer, à juste titre, les hommes politiques qui stigmatisent les étrangers, les musulmans ou les Roms pour chasser sur les terres du FN et continuer d’applaudir un mec qui mange déjà à la table des Le Pen ? Personnellement, cela me coupe définitivement l’appétit.

Le "système" n’est pas l’ennemi de Dieudonné mais son gagne-pain

En réalité, Dieudonné vous a fait cocu avec l’extrême-droite et vous continuez à fermer les yeux parce que vous aimez son image de rebelle, pourfendeur du "système". Désolé de vous décevoir là-aussi, mais Dieudonné n’est qu’un rebelle de supermarché, un provocateur de bac à sable.

Franchement, peut-on se présenter comme un adversaire du "système" et se faire prendre en photo avec des Yannick Noah, Tony Parker ou Mamadou Sakho, c’est-à-dire des millionnaires, purs produits du système et dont la conscience politique est comparable à l’érudition de Nabilla.

Si vous souhaitez éveiller vos consciences, ou lutter contre l’ordre établi, je vous recommande plutôt de lire des livres de Noam Chomsky ou Naomi Klein. Leurs œuvres sont moins drôles, mais légèrement plus pertinentes et argumentés que les saillies inutiles de Dieudonné.

Le "système" n’est pas l’ennemi de Dieudonné mais son gagne-pain. Dans la plus pure tradition de l’extrême droite, il joue sur les peurs et les indignations de son public en lui livrant un bouc-émissaire éternel, le prétendu lobby juif. En plus d’avoir perdu son sens de l’humour, Dieudonné est un piètre penseur sans idée et dont l’idéologie ne procède que d’un délire paranoïaque.

Il faut tourner définitivement la page

L’humoriste Dieudonné est malheureusement mort et il faut être capable d’en faire son deuil. Comme tous les grands, il est irremplaçable. Sa pathétique réincarnation qui s’agite au Théâtre de la Main d’or est épouvantable. Malgré les légères ressemblances, il est vain de vouloir le défendre. Il n’y a plus rien à faire si ce n’est tourner définitivement la page.

Plus que d’éventuelles interdictions des pouvoirs publics ou de sanctions judiciaires qui le maintiendraient confortablement dans sa position de victime, Dieudonné doit être condamné par son public.

Chers amis, en cette fin d’année, prenez une bonne résolution : cessez de rire aux sketches de ce personnage car, à chacun de vos applaudissements, derrière la scène, c’est l’extrême droite qui se frotte les mains.

Voir également:

Les «quenelles» de Dieudonné laissent un sale goût

Guillaume Gendron

Libération

12 septembre 2013

RÉCIT

Le salut inventé par l’humoriste condamné pour antisémitisme a essaimé sur le Web. Des sanctions contre deux soldats qui ont reproduit le geste vont être prises.

Main ouverte près de l’épaule, bras opposé tendu vers le bas, paume ouverte et doigts joints, les deux militaires posent devant une synagogue, rue de Montevidéo, dans le XVIe arrondissement de Paris. Tout sourire, les deux chasseurs alpins en mission Vigipirate dans la capitale reproduisent le geste dit de la «quenelle», dont la paternité est revendiquée par l’humoriste controversé Dieudonné, poursuivi et condamné à plusieurs reprises pour des propos antisémites. La photo, qui circule depuis quelques semaines sur les réseaux sociaux après sa publication sur un site «antisioniste», a provoqué l’ire de Jean-Yves Le Drian, le ministre de la Défense, qui a réclamé mardi des sanctions à l’encontre des deux militaires. «Ils ont porté atteinte à l’uniforme et aux valeurs de l’armée de terre», a fait savoir, hier, Pierre Bayle, porte-parole du ministère de la Défense, qui a envoyé un «rappel au règlement à l’ensemble des personnels».

Totem. Depuis la diffusion du cliché par le magazine le Point en début de semaine, plusieurs autres photos de soldats «glissant des quenelles», selon l’expression consacrée par Dieudonné, avaient fait surface. Une source militaire parle même «d’un phénomène de mode», invisible aux yeux du grand public mais loin de se limiter aux rangs de l’armée. Bras d’honneur «bien profond dans le cul du système» pour ses ouailles ou ersatz de salut nazi à peine déguisé pour ses détracteurs, la «quenelle» de Dieudonné est à la fois un signe de ralliement et un message subliminal. Comme les ananas, autre totem des dieudonâtres faisant référence à la chanson Shoahnanas (un détournement antisémite de la chanson Cho Ka Ka O d’Annie Cordy pour laquelle il a été condamné fin 2012), la quenelle est d’autant plus réussie quand elle passe inaperçue aux yeux des profanes et des principales cibles de la vindicte dieudonesque. Soit les «sionistes», les médias et «le système».

Code. D’année en année, parallèlement à l’ostracisation plus ou moins orchestrée de l’humoriste enchaînant les dérapages, la quenelle s’est répandue sur la fachosphère. Quitte à être reprise par des milliers d’anonymes et des personnalités qui n’en mesurent pas totalement la symbolique, à l’image d’un Tony Parker immortalisé en compagnie de Dieudonné dans les coulisses du théâtre de la Main d’or ou du footballeur montpellierain Mathieu Deplagne après avoir marqué un but. «La quenelle est avant tout un code identitaire, qui a acquis une vraie popularité chez les jeunes. Difficile de dire que tous aient conscience de la portée de ce geste», estime Jean-Yves Camus, spécialiste de l’extrême droite. Le politologue définit cependant le groupe hétéroclite de fans de Dieudonné comme «une mouvance transversale, antisystème et complotiste, dont l’antisémitisme reste la colonne vertébrale. Leur vision du monde est celle d’un ordre mondial dominé par l’axe Washington-Tel-Aviv. Derrière les discours fustigeant l’Otan et la finance internationale, tout en soutenant Bachar al-Assad et Hugo Chávez, il y a la conviction qu’au fond, ce sont les Juifs qui tirent les ficelles.»

Les origines du geste sont floues, sans cesse réinventées par son géniteur. En revanche, son usage systématique lors des apparitions publiques de Dieudonné date de la «liste antisioniste», qu’il a présentée en Ile-de-France lors des européennes de 2009, au côté d’Alain Soral, ex-plume de Jean-Marie Le Pen, devenu gourou idéologique de l’humoriste. A l’époque, Dieudonné se réjouissait à «l’idée de glisser [sa] petite quenelle dans le fond du fion du sionisme», comme il l’avait déclaré à Libération. Aujourd’hui, la quenelle se veut «révolutionnaire».

Dans une vidéo postée sur YouTube le 20 août et vue 385 000 fois, Dieudonné, écharpe du Hamas au cou, se délecte de la popularité exponentielle du geste, feignant d’être dépassé par son succès. «Je ne pensais pas que le mouvement de la quenelle irait aussi loin. Aujourd’hui, cet acte subversif ne m’appartient plus, il appartient à la révolution.» S’ensuit un montage photo de «quenelles glissées» par des jeunes, des vieux, des pompiers, des syndicalistes. On retrouve le geste sur des photos de classe et de mariage. D’autres, prises devant des synagogues en France ou à l’étranger et jusqu’au mémorial de la Shoah à Berlin, ne cachent pas leur sous-texte antisémite. Climax de la vidéo, des policiers et militaires en tenue. Hilare, Dieudonné se met à «rêver d’un coup d’Etat au secours du peuple, comme en Egypte». Avec la condamnation du ministère de la Défense, la polémique dépasse désormais le cercle des initiés. Et ce débat amène certains, à l’instar du journaliste Jean-Laurent Cassely, à s’inquiéter d’une éventuelle «dieudonisation des esprits».

Voir encore:

La dieudonnisation des esprits, une (grosse) quenelle qui vient d’en bas

Jean-Laurent Cassely

Slate

27/06/2013

Un reportage de juin 2013. Le soir de la fête de la musique, Dieudonné tenait son grand meeting annuel, «Le Bal des Quenelles», entre festival d’humour et université d’été politique. Grâce à un ensemble de signes cryptés, il a formé en dix ans une petite contre-culture autour de lui: vous l’avez vu récemment dans Top Chef, Secret Story ou encore Pékin Express… Sans même le savoir.

Manuel Valls, le ministre de l’Intérieur, souhaite faire interdire les spectacles de Dieudonné. Dans une interview au Parisien, Manuel Valls rappelle que «Dieudonné a été condamné à plusieurs reprises pour diffamation, injures et provocation à la haine raciale». «C’est donc un récidiviste et j’entends agir avec la plus grande fermeté, dans le cadre de la loi» déclare-t-il. Nous republions à cette occasion le reportage de Jean-Laurent Cassely à l’un des spectacles de Dieudonné.

***

Un automobiliste roulant le 21 juin dans les environs de Saint-Lubin-de-la-Haye, à la limite de l’Ile-de-France et de la région Centre, serait tombé ce soir-là sur de petits panneaux indiquant la simple mention «quenelles» en bord de route, près d’un élevage bovin.

Il aurait peut-être cru qu’il s’agissait d’une vente directe de cette spécialité, mais aurait tiqué en se souvenant que c’est plutôt vers Lyon qu’on apprécie ce plat. Quelques virages plus loin, l’automobiliste aurait alors croisé, entassés dans une petite voiture, des jeunes brandissant des ananas depuis les fenêtres, ce qui leur procurait manifestement une très grande excitation.

Songeur, notre automobiliste imaginaire aurait alors continué sa route, s’interrogeant sur les mœurs curieuses de cette partie calme et isolée du pays. Sans se douter une seconde qu’à quelques kilomètres de là, la «Dieudosphère» tenait son grand rassemblement annuel.

C’est à cela qu’on reconnaît que Dieudonné a construit, patiemment et avec obstination, une petite contre-société, qui dispose désormais de signes de reconnaissance et de communication très sûrs, car totalement ésotériques pour le profane, mais très visibles même dans les médias les plus grand public.

Ananas, soleil, quenelle: une grammaire de la dieudosphère

La quenelle est, si on ose dire, le bras armé de l’idéologie de Dieudonné. Tout à la fois running gag, symbole politique et bras d’honneur dirigé contre ceux «d’en haut», «glisser une quenelle» consiste à placer sa main ouverte sur son bras opposé, à allonger se dernier pour faire un signe dont la signification est explicite. La référence au salut hitlérien est évidemment volontaire.

On a vu d’ailleurs apparaître ces «quenelles» dans le cadre de la campagne du Parti antisioniste, dont il fut l’éphémère tête de liste en Ile de France aux européennes de 2009, sur une affiche électorale dont l’ambiguïté n’était pas vraiment de mise…

La quenelle se décline en plusieurs tailles, à jauger en fonction du succès de l’action: petite quenelle, quenelle de 12, quenelle de 40, de 175, quenelle épaulée, etc. Plus la quenelle est longue, plus, bien entendu, le bras d’honneur est profond et procure satisfaction à son auteur. Un registre paillard qui rappelle un peu le slogan de Coluche lors de la présidentielle de 1981, pour laquelle il décidera finalement de se retirer: «Tous ensemble, pour leur foutre au cul». La cible n’est évidemment plus la même.

Quant à l’ananas, décliné tout au long de la soirée sous de multiples formes (ananas frais au buffet, fresque géante devant la salle, tee-shirts souvenir, déguisements, etc.), il est omniprésent pour rappeler la cause de la condamnation de l’intéressé pour provocation à la haine: la chanson Shoananas, qu’il reprend en cœur avec son public lors de chaque spectacle, sur l’air de la chanson Chaud Cacao d’Annie Cordy (Dieudonné a fait appel du jugement).

Depuis cette condamnation, la chanson Shoananas est le clou du spectacle Foxtrot, qui a tourné dans toute la France ces derniers mois. A chaque fois, Dieudonné fait mine de ne plus pouvoir la faire chanter à son public, sous peine de poursuites judiciaires… Et, bien sûr, finit par l’interpréter, pour le plus grand plaisir de la salle qui chante en choeur avec lui.

A l’entrée du Bal des quenelles, une fresque géante d’ananas donne le ton…

Le troisième signe de ralliement important qui, avec la quenelle et l’ananas, forme la trinité de la terminologie officielle, c’est l’expression «Au-dessus, c’est le soleil». Traduction: on s’attaque à la chose la plus haute, la plus sacrée possible (la Shoah, mais cela peut aussi s’appliquer à Bernard-Henri Levy ou à Mahmoud Ahmadinejad).

Cette phrase peut-être prononcée, imprimée sur tee-shirt, ou encore simplement mimée (il suffit pour cela de tenir son doigt en l’air comme pointé vers le soleil, en mimant avec la bouche une sorte de bisou pour en faire une caricature de rabin).

Un gif animé qui capture la gestuelle caractéristique du «Soleil». Mémorisez-là, c’est utile pour la suite de l’article

Quant à la quenelle à proprement parler, elle se décline en signes, en tee-shirts, en logos détournés. Elle est devenue une unité de langage. La voici parodiant le logo de Facebook, «réseau social sioniste».

Source: Dieudosphère

A l’entrée du Bal des quenelles, qui se déroule chaque année dans le vaste hangar où l’artiste tourne ses films, les fans venus de loin immortalisent ce moment en se faisant prendre en photo entre deux humains déguisés en ananas, mimant la fameuse quenelle. Un peu comme à Disneyland, quand Mickey ou Pluto viennent prendre la pose avec vos enfants…

Deux des trois signes codés de la dieudosphère: l’ananas et la quenelle, ici au Bal des quenelles 2013

Prendre la pose en mimant une quenelle est devenu un rituel chez les admirateurs de Dieudonné. Pour ce dernier, les quenelles sont un instrument politique: en demandant à ses fans de lui envoyer les photos et en les postant sur le mur de son compte Facebook officiel, il veut montrer à quel point il est soutenu par la base.

Ici à Strasbourg, la quenelle géante à laquelle le public est invité à participer en fin de spectacle se présente comme la défense de la liberté d’expression, et un bras d’honneur aux maires qui tentent de faire interdire le spectacle pour trouble à l’ordre public

Un public jeune et mélangé

Les gens sont venus nombreux: en couple, entre amis, la plupart se sont retrouvés à la gare voisine d’Houdan, d’où l’équipe de Dieudonné indiquait la route pour se rendre sur place, l’information n’étant pas disponible sur les billets sans doute pour éviter de voir la fête troublée par des opposants. De sympathiques jeunes gens m’ont amené en voiture jusqu’à la salle. D’ailleurs presque tous les participants sont jeunes.

Derrière moi, dans la queue pour accéder au buffet, deux très jeunes musulmans discutent du «Prophète», de ce qu’il autorise et ce qu’il interdit en matière d’alimentation, de culture, etc. Certains jeunes issus de l’immigration qui vivent leur revival religieux peuvent être naturellement séduits par les combats politiques de Dieudonné autour de la question palestinienne (ne me demandez pas de quantifier cette affirmation, évidemment nous n’en savons rien).

La recherche d’une vérité alternative basée sur un relativisme généralisé —le monde selon Dieudonné— a fini par séduire des populations hétéroclites. Tout un petit peuple de rastas blancs, qu’on imaginerait plutôt dans un festival reggae ou une free party. Une frange de l’extrême gauche altermondialiste, qu’on reconnaîtra facilement au port du tee-shirt à l’effigie d’Hugo Chavez ou au total look joueur de diabolo à Rennes. On supposera que cette jeunesse est plutôt arrivée là par le biais de la critique radicale des médias, de l’oligarchie et du «nouvel ordre mondial» que par le prisme du conflit israélo-palestinien, encore que les deux logiques aient tendance à s’entrecroiser.

Des partisans de Bachar el-Assad brandissant des drapeaux syriens et des portraits à l’effigie du dictateur sont d’ailleurs venus recevoir leur «Quenelle d’or» (catégorie «pour l’ensemble de son œuvre»), la petite statuette inspirée des César que Dieudonné distribue lors de ce bal annuel à ses soutiens ou à ceux qui partagent ses combats. Selon le site révisionniste Entre la plume et l’enclume, la quenelle sera d’ailleurs remise en mains propres au président syrien.

Quelques authentiques militants d’extrême droite, qui regrettent l’absence du négationniste Faurisson, sont aussi présents mais ne semblent pas représenter la majorité du public… En revanche on retrouve dans ces soirées les animateurs du réseau qui sont désormais des relais artistiques sur internet de la pensée «antisioniste», selon l’expression consacrée: le Jamel Comedy Club de Dieudonné. Car en un peu plus d’une décennie, Dieudonné a fait école.

Très présents sur Internet, ils publient des BD, des pamphlets ou des vidéos, comme les dessinateurs Zéon et Joe Lecorbeau —un «glisseur de quenelles» qui réalise des détournements dieudonniens de BD célèbres comme Astérix ou Tintin— ou sont actifs dans l’écriture et l’idéologie, comme Salim Laïbi (alias «Le libre penseur») et Alain Soral bien sûr —dit «Maître quenellier», distinction qu’il est le seul à partager avec Dieudonné.

La première partie était assurée par le comique Jo Damas, et par le régisseur des spectacles de Dieudonné, l’acteur Jacky Sigaux, célèbre pour son rôle du juif déporté dans les précédents spectacles du comédien, et qui est monté sur scène dans le personnage de «Samuel» pour se lancer dans une lamentation musicale intitulée «Je suis juif». Personnage copieusement hué par la salle.

Dieudonnisation médiatique ou l’entrisme de la quenelle

Mais ce «Dieudonnisme», que vous croyiez ne plus avoir aperçu dans les médias depuis un sketch chez Marc-Olivier Fogiel devant Jamel Debbouze en 2003, a su faire grimper son influence à la télévision, par des moyens souvent détournés et grâce à ses petites quenelles:

Le 23 janvier 2013, le footballeur de Montpellier Mathieu Deplagne marque son premier but en pro face au FC Sochaux. Pour son petit geste de parade, le footballeur mime alors une «quenelle». Le lendemain, il fait la une de Midi Libre.

Il est venu, le 21 juin, récupérer sa Quenelle d’Or, «catégorie sportive», des mains de Dieudonné.

Les sportifs sont, à l’image de Tony Parker, nombreux à effectuer ces clins d’oeil à l’humoriste.

Ci-dessous, Didier Dinart et Nikola Karabatic de l’équipe de France de hand.

Source: Facebook Dieudonné officiel

… Et oui, Yannick Noah aussi

Dans les émissions de téléréalité aussi, Dieudonné fait des apparitions fréquentes grâce à l’astuce de ses fans.

Sur TF1, dans l’émission Bienvenue chez nous du 20 juin, un jeune homme est apparu portant un tee-shirt «Au-dessus c’est le soleil».

Réaction de joie immédiate sur la page Facebook de Dieudonné:

«En direct sur TF1 ça glisse de la quenelle !!»

Et réactions enchantées du public:

Un peu plus tôt dans le mois, c’est cette fois l’équipe de la saison 2013 de Pékin Express (M6) qui pose en faisant une quenelle. Et il n’est pas inintéressant de reprendre la description que fait un blog pro-Dieudonné des participants, en tout point conforme au type de population que l’on trouvait au Bal des quenelles, c’est-à-dire des profils de classes moyennes et populaires.

«Denis (28 ans, comptable) & Julie (30 ans, chargée de communication), deux corses/ Linda & Salim (Un couple. Ils ont tout deux 33 ans et sont techniciens)/ Fabien (26 ans, barman et mannequin) & Tarik (51 ans, chanteur) : Père et fils.»

Le 5 mars 2013, c’était un candidat de Top Chef, l’émission culinaire star de M6, qui faisait une référence à Dieudonné en citant la phrase «Au-dessus, c’est le soleil». Mais est-ce vraiment une référence volontaire? Difficile à dire (à 2’56 dans la vidéo).

En 2010, c’est une équipe de candidats de l’émission Secret Story qui, interrogée lors d’un des appartés face caméra pour commenter les derniers épisodes, affirme avoir glissé une grosse quenelle à ses concurrents. Benjamin Castaldi lui-même reprend la formulation sur le plateau.

Sur Internet, les forums proches de l’humoriste exultent devant l’ironie de la situation. La principale chaîne du système vient de rendre un hommage appuyé bien qu’involontaire à l’humoriste le plus boycotté de France. Qui plus est, Secret Story est produit par Endemol, la société d’Arthur, ennemi juré de Dieudonné. L’archive a été rapidement supprimée, mais elle est encore visionnable sur le site russe Rutube.

Le niveau de conscience politique des multiples candidats de téléréalité qui citent du Dieudonné est difficile à évaluer, bien entendu (leur niveau de conscience tout court, peut-être, aussi). Mais le phénomène est bien réel.

Est-ce vraiment surprenant? Le dernier spectacle de Dieudonné, Foxtrot, a fait le plein des Zenith de France, réunissant 2 à 4.000 spectateurs par ville. Posté le 18 juin sur YouTube, ce dernier avait, le 23, été visionné près de 300.000 fois (vidéo aujourd’hui retirée). Quant au grand raout annuel des troupes, le Bal des quenelles, l’édition 2013 a écoulé toutes ses places, et il est raisonnable d’estimer l’affluence à un petit millier de personnes.

L’activité protéiforme de Dieudonné et sa capacité à se placer simultanément sur plusieurs tableaux constitue un phénomène assez nouveau. Il se passe bien quelque chose, mais on ne sait pas encore vraiment quoi.

Voir de plus:

Quenelle de Dieudonné : la stupidité des élites juives

Stephane Haddad

Riposte laïque

31 décembre 2013

La Quenelle de Dieudonné a pris des proportions considérables et comme son inventeur antisémite, le proclame fièrement, « ça ne lui appartient plus, ça appartient à l’Histoire ».

Il convient de rappeler que ce geste est apparu il y a au moins 5 ans. Dieudonné a mis ce geste à toutes les sauces, en visant les politiques, les administrations, le gouvernement, les américains, les juifs, etc. Personne ne l’avait remarqué pour autre chose que sa façon de faire rire son public, de la même manière que chaque humoriste a ses marottes et ses postures pour être identifié et se démarquer.

Pour l’immense majorité des personnes, dont je suis, il pouvait être considéré comme un geste provocateur, vulgaire ou drôle selon l’humeur et l’humour de chacun, mais pas comme le salut nazi inversé. La meilleure preuve en est que, pendant des années, ce geste ne soulevait pas l’indignation qu’il provoque aujourd’hui, et n’avait pas gagné une popularité d’une telle ampleur.

Il a fallu qu’un esprit peu éclairé de la communauté, décide que c’était là le symbole du salut Nazi inversé pour lui donner à présent cette unique signification et que le phénomène prenne des proportions considérables et irrattrapables….

Il fallait qu’un esprit en mal de reconnaissance, qui se croyait plus intelligent que les autres, « shoatise » le geste, pour se faire remarquer ( ?), ou pour déclarer vouloir lutter contre Dieudonné alors qu’il y a bien d’autres moyens et raison de le combattre et de le critiquer (une des meilleures étant probablement d’aller sur son terrain, et de le moquer, en le caricaturant en grouillot lèche babouche de l’Iran et des islamistes ce que personne ne fait…).

Même si il est possible que Dieudonné ait eu cette idée dès la création de cette posture, elle ne faisait pas les ravages actuelles qu’elle provoque avant qu’elle soit requalifiée de la sorte. De surcroit, Dieudonné « surfant sur la vague du succès » a, à présent, légèrement modifié le geste en baissant un peu le niveau de la main, pour effectivement le rapprocher du salut nazi inversé.

En décrétant ce geste comme le symbole du mal absolu, cette personne a de façon évidente offert sa plus belle victoire à Dieudonné, un peu comme lorsque l’on ouvre un programme indésirable dans un ordinateur, et qu’un virus contamine tout le réseau. C’est un désastre.

Il y a de surcroit un effet pervers beaucoup plus redoutable qui a été réveillé.

A présent que ce geste s’est répandu dans toutes les cours de récréation, des milliers de personnes qui faisaient ce geste par amusement et qui ne pensaient pas du tout aux juifs (et oui, Mesdames, Messieurs du Crif, les juifs et la shoah n’occupent pas les pensées de tout le monde, tout le temps….), il est certain que toutes ces personnes pourront se dire « c’est à cause des juifs et d’Israël (bref des sionistes) que l’on ne peut plus rigoler, ils nous cassent les pieds » (et je reste poli…).

On sait déjà que la source originelle de l’antisémitisme vient du fait que le judaïsme a instauré pour l’humanité des principes de vie et de morale avec les dix commandements, et que ne plus obéir totalement à son désir, mais avoir des contraintes morales est nécessairement une atteinte à sa liberté (on n’est plus libre de tuer qui on veut, de voler ce qui nous plait, et l’on ne se sent plus aussi bien lorsque l’on pratique l’adultère….).

Le désastre, c’est qu’aujourd’hui, pour les centaines de milliers de fans de Dieudonné, il y a un onzième commandement : on ne va plus pouvoir rigoler et faire de bonnes blagues à cause des juifs, des sionistes et d’Israël. Raison de plus pour résister à ce nouveau « diktat moral des juifs » en continuant à faire ce geste…. Cette mise en exergue d’un geste qui n’était qu’un trait de vulgarité, a réveillé un immense caractère antisémite dans des milliers de cerveaux français, et bientôt européens….

La Quenelle de Dieudonné, ou quand ceux qui se considèrent comme « l’élite » de la communauté juive devraient apprendre à tourner sept fois leur langue dans la bouche avant de parler.

Voir par ailleurs:

Dieudonné est un signe annonciateur de ce qui vient

Guy Millière

Dreuz

02 jan 201

Dois-je l’écrire ? Je ne suis pas socialiste. J’ai eu l’occasion de critiquer de nombreuses fois ce gouvernement, et Manuel Valls. Mais quand Manuel Valls prend une position digne, je dis que Manuel Valls prend une position digne, je le dis. Et, en l’occurrence, je dis que Manuel Valls prend une position digne dans l’affaire Dieudonné.

J’ajoute que ceux qui invoquent la liberté de parole ou les principes inhérents au Premier amendement à la Constitution des Etats-Unis se trompent : il ne s’agit plus, en l’occurrence, de liberté de parole, mais d’incitations à la haine, et, sans doute, d’incitations au meurtre, voire d’incitation au génocide. C’est en tout cas dans cette catégorie que tombent les propos tenus par le principal intéressé concernant Patrick Cohen et les chambres à gaz. La liberté de parole ne couvre pas les incitations au meurtre, voire les incitations au génocide, qui peuvent faire l’objet de procédures judiciaires aux Etats-Unis, à juste titre à mes yeux. Dire « je suis raciste » est une chose (qui rentre dans la même catégorie que dire : je suis un salaud) : dire « ce serait bien de tuer les Noirs » est tout à fait une autre chose.

Je précise que ceux qui parlent de « spectacle » se trompent aussi : il ne s’agit plus de spectacle lorsque les propos qu’on tient sont emplis de connivences permettant aux racistes, aux antisémites, aux négationnistes, à ceux qui souhaitent la destruction génocidaire d’Israël de s’exciter ensemble et d’entendre de surcroît les incitations susdites.

Je souligne que les propos des dirigeants du Front National sur le sujet suffisent à montrer que décidément, le Front National continue à entretenir un rapport aux Juifs, au judaïsme et à Israël couvert de moisissures.

Je souligne aussi que les propos tenus de façon récurrente dur un site tel que Boulevard Voltaire montrent la dérive de ce site vers des positions qui sont celles d’une extrême droite qui ne me semble pas très fréquentable.

Publier des propos anti-israéliens comme il en traîne dans des publications déjà nombreuses n’a rien d’original. Faire de la publicité pour des livres radicalement anti-israéliens (tels « Le livre noir de l’occupation israélienne ») dans un contexte où des textes excusent ou édulcorent l’antisémitisme n’a rien de courageux.

Dans une société comme la société américaine, Dieudonné serait considéré comme si abject qu’il aurait déjà disparu de l’horizon, et se produirait devant des salles quasiment vides. Malgré Obama, les Etats-Unis restent un pays très imperméable à l’antisémitisme, et c’est ce qui en fait un pays qui reste plus sain que la France. On trouve aux Etats-Unis de la propagande « pro-palestinienne », sur les campus universitaires surtout, mais ceux qui disséminent cette propagande veillent soigneusement à éviter ce qui pourrait permettre de les accoler à des propagateurs de haine antisémite.

En France, l’abjection qu’incarne désormais Dieudonné remplit les salles, crée des réseaux, use de signes de ralliement prolongeant les connivences inhérentes aux spectacles. Les commentaires publiés après divers articles de presse montrent que l’antisémitisme remonte des égouts et traine désormais dans de nombreux caniveaux.

Parce qu’il prend position, avec courage, Meyer Habib, qui mène remarquablement un travail de vigilance contre l’antisémitisme et l’ « antisionisme », se voit incité à aller vivre en Israël.

Cela ne concerne pas toute la France, sinon Jean-Jacques Goldman et Patrick Bruel y seraient des marginaux, tout comme Gad Elmaleh ou Patrick Timsit, mais cela concerne néanmoins une part inquiétante de la population française : il existe en ce pays une nébuleuse fétide où se mêle une extrême droite porteuse de relents pétainistes, catholiques intégristes, nationalistes myopes, anti-israéliens et anti-américains, une extrême-gauche qui ne se distingue de l’extrême droite que parce qu’elle est favorable à l’islamisation du monde et à l’immigration sans contrôles, et, précisément, des courants islamiques eux-mêmes anti-israéliens et anti-américains. L’extrême droite camoufle son antisémitisme sous le manteau de l’ « antisionisme », qui est celui sous lequel s’abritent aussi extrême gauche et courants islamiques. Dieudonné trouve un public dans les divers composants de cette nébuleuse. Il suscite aussi chez des spectateurs de passage une accoutumance à certains parfums. Ces parfums sont ceux de la décomposition.

On n’arrêtera pas la décomposition en interdisant des spectacles. Mais si des vagues de révolte contre ce que signifient ces spectacles se lèvent, ce seront des vagues salubres. Et elles ont mon soutien.

On n’arrêtera pas le recours à certains gestes en interdisant ceux-ci. Mais faire un geste qui se trouve fait et photographié à Auschwitz, devant des synagogues, devant l’école juive de Toulouse où Merah a assassiné des enfants juifs, devant des photos d’Anne Frank, et j’en passe, c’est faire un geste lourd de sens et lourd de son poids de cadavres, et se voir traité comme un être infâme pour avoir fait ce geste est pleinement légitime. C’est se faire complice, par l’esprit, d’un crime contre l’humanité passé et de crimes contre l’humanité présents : ceux qui frappent des Israéliens et peuvent les frapper. Et que face à ce geste se lèvent aussi des vagues de révolte est sain et légitime.

Je crains, hélas, que Dieudonné soit l’un des signes annonciateurs de ce qui vient.

Je crains que des tendances plus denses et plus profondes soient à l’oeuvre en France.

Je crains que les amis de Manuel Valls, qui oeuvrent au sein du parti socialiste ne servent ces tendances, sans toujours savoir ce qu’ils font.

Je crains que les amis de Patrick Cohen qui oeuvrent au sein de la nomenklatura médiatique ne servent eux aussi ces tendances, sans eux-mêmes toujours savoir ce qu’ils font.

Je crains que nous ne soyons dans une époque très malsaine, et que cela ne s’arrange pas.

Des Français quittent la France chaque année, comme on quitte un navire qui glisse vers le naufrage : c’est un fait.

Des Juifs quittent la France chaque année parce qu’ils sentent ce qui passe dans l’air du temps : c’est un fait encore.

Je comprends ces départs.

Voir enfin:

The Move to Muzzle Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala

The Bête Noire of the French Establishment

Diana Johnstone

Counterpunch

Paris

French mainstream media and politicians are starting off the New Year with a shared resolution for 2014: permanently muzzle a Franco-African comedian who is getting to be too popular among young people.

In between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, no less than the President of the Republic, François Hollande, while visiting Saudi Arabia on (very big) business, said his government must find a way to ban performances by the comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, as called for by French Interior Minister, Manuel Valls.

The leader of the conservative opposition party, UMP, Jean-François Copé, immediately chimed in with his “total support” for silencing the unmanageable entertainer.

In the unanimous media chorus, the weekly Nouvel Observateur editorialized that Dieudonné is “already dead”, washed up, finished. Editors publicly disputed whether it was a better tactic to try to jail him for “incitement to racial hatred”, close his shows on grounds of a potential “threat to public order”, or put pressure on municipalities by threatening cultural subsidies with cuts if they allow him to perform.

The goal of national police boss Manuel Valls is clear, but the powers that be are groping for the method.

The dismissive cliché heard repeatedly is that “nobody laughs at Dieudonné any more”.

In reality, the opposite is true. And that is the problem. On his recent tour of French cities, videos show large, packed theaters roaring with laughter at their favorite humorist. He has popularized a simple gesture, which he calls the “quenelle”. It is being imitated by young people all over France. It simply and obviously means, we are fed up.

To invent a pretext for destroying Dieudonné, the leading Jewish organizations CRIF (Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France, the French AIPAC) and LICRA (Ligue internationale contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme, which enjoys special privileges under French law) have come up with a fantasy to brand Dieudonné and his followers as “Nazis”. The quenelle is all too obviously a vulgar gesture roughly meaning “up yours”, with one hand placed at the top of the other arm pointing down to signify “how far up” this is to be.

But for the CRIF and LICRA, the quenelle is “a Nazi salute in reverse”. (You can never be too “vigilant” when looking for the hidden Hitler.)

As someone has remarked, a “Nazi salute in reverse” might as well be considered anti-Nazi. If indeed it had anything to do with Heil Hitler. Which it clearly does not.

But world media are taking up this claim, at least pointing out that “some consider the quenelle to be a Nazi salute in reverse”. Never mind that those who use it have no doubt about what it means: F— the system!

But to what extent are the CRIF and LICRA “the system”?

France needs all the laughter it can get

French industry is vanishing, with factory shutdowns week after week. Taxes on low income citizens are going up, to save the banks and the euro. Disillusion with the European Union is growing. EU rules exclude any serious effort to improve the French economy. Meanwhile, politicians on the left and the right continue their empty speeches, full of clichés about “human rights” – largely as an excuse to go to war in the Middle East or rant against China and Russia. The approval rating of President Hollande has sunk to 15%. However people vote, they get the same policies, made in EU.

Why then are the ruling politicians focusing their wrath on “the most talented humorist of his generation” (as his colleagues acknowledge, even when denouncing him)?

The short answer is probably that Dieudonné’s surging popularity among young people illustrates a growing generation gap. Dieudonné has turned laughter against the entire political establishment. This has led to a torrent of abuse and vows to shut down his shows, ruin him financially and even put him in jail. The abuse also provides a setting for physical attacks against him. A few days ago, his assistant Jacky Sigaux was physically attacked in broad daylight by several masked men in front of the city hall of the 19th arrondissement – just opposite the Buttes Chaumont Park. He has lodged a complaint.

But how much protection is to be expected from a government whose Interior Minister, Manuel Valls – in charge of police – has vowed to seek ways to silence Dieudonné?

The story is significant but is almost certain to be badly reported outside France – just as it is badly reported inside France, the source of almost all foreign reports. In translation, a bit of garbling and falsehoods add to the confusion.

Why Do They Hate Him?

Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala was born in a Paris suburb nearly 48 years ago. His mother was white, from Brittany, his father was African, from Cameroun. This should make him a poster child for the “multiculturalism” the ideologically dominant left claims to promote. And during the first part of his career, teaming up with his Jewish friend, Elie Simoun, he was just that: campaigning against racism, focusing his criticism on the National Front and even running for office against an NF candidate in the dormitory town of Dreux, some sixty miles West of Paris, where he lives. Like the best humorists, Dieudonné always targeted current events, with a warmth and dignity unusual in the profession. His career flourished, he played in movies, was a guest on television, branched out on his own. A great observer, he excels at relatively subtle imitations of various personality types and ethnic groups from Africans to Chinese.

Ten years ago, on December 1, 2003, as guest on a TV show appropriately called “You Can’t Please Everybody”, dedicated to current events, Dieudonné came on stage roughly disguised as “a convert to Zionist extremism” advising others to get ahead by “joining the American-Israeli Axis of Good”. This was in the first year of the US assault on Iraq, which France’s refusal to join had led Washington to rechristen what it calls “French fries” (Belgian, actually) as “Freedom fries”. A relatively mild attack on George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” seemed totally in the mood of the times. The sketch ended with a brief salute, “Isra-heil”. This was far from being vintage Dieudonné, but nevertheless, the popular humorist was at the time enthusiastically embraced by other performers while the studio audience gave him a standing ovation.

Then the protests started coming in, especially concerning the final gesture seen as likening Israel to Nazi Germany.

“Anti-Semitism!” was the cry, although the target was Israel (and the United States as allies in the Middle East). Calls multiplied to ban his shows, to sue him, to destroy his career. Dieudonné attempted to justify his sketch as not targeting Jews as such, but, unlike others before him, would not apologize for an offense he did not believe he had committed. Why no protests from Africans he had made fun of? Or Muslims? Or Chinese? Why should a single community react with such fury?

Thus began a decade of escalation. LICRA began a long series of lawsuits against him (“incitement to racial hatred”), at first losing, but keeping up the pressure. Instead of backing down, Dieudonné went farther in his criticism of “Zionism” after each attack. Meanwhile, Dieudonné was gradually excluded from television appearances and treated as a pariah by mainstream media. It is only the recent internet profusion of images showing young people making the quenelle sign that has moved the establishment to conclude that a direct attack would be more effective than trying to ignore him.

The Ideological Background

To begin to understand the meaning of the Dieudonné affair, it is necessary to grasp the ideological context. For reasons too complex to review here, the French left – the left that once was primarily concerned with the welfare of the working class, with social equality, opposition to aggressive war, freedom of speech – has virtually collapsed. The right has won the decisive economic battle, with the triumph of policies favoring monetary stability and the interests of international investment capital (“neo-liberalism”). As a consolation prize, the left enjoys a certain ideological dominance, based on anti-racism, anti-nationalism and devotion to the European Union – even to the hypothetical “social Europe” that daily recedes into the cemetery of lost dreams. In fact, this ideology fits perfectly with a globalization geared to the requirements of international finance capital.

In the absence of any serious socio-economic left, France has sunk into a sort of “Identity Politics”, which both praises multiculturalism and reacts vehemently against “communitarianism”, that is, the assertion of any unwelcome ethnic particularisms. But some ethnic particularisms are less welcome than others. The Muslim veil was first banned in schools, and demands to ban it in adult society grow. The naqib and burka, while rare, have been legally banned. Disputes erupt over Halal foods in cafeterias, prayers in the street, while cartoons regularly lampoon Islam. Whatever one may think of this, the fight against communitarianism can be seen by some as directed against one particular community. Meanwhile, French leaders have been leading the cry for wars in Muslim countries from Libya to Syria, while insisting on devotion to Israel.

Meanwhile, another community is the object of constant solicitude. In the last twenty years, while religious faith and political commitment have declined drastically, the Holocaust, called the Shoah in France, has gradually become a sort of State Religion. Schools commemorate the Shoah annually, it increasingly dominates historical consciousness, which in other areas is declining along with many humanistic studies. In particular, of all the events in France’s long history, the only one protected by law is the Shoah. The so-called Gayssot Law bans any questioning of the history of the Shoah, an altogether unprecedented interference with freedom of speech. Moreover, certain organizations, such as LICRA, have been granted the privilege of suing individuals on the basis of “incitement to racial hatred” (very broadly and unevenly interpreted) with the possibility of collecting damages on behalf of the “injured community”. In practice, these laws are used primarily to prosecute alleged “anti-Semitism” or “negationism” concerning the Shoah. Even though they frequently are thrown out of court, such lawsuits constitute harassment and intimidation. France is the rare country where the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against Israeli settlement practices can also be attacked as “incitement to racial hatred”.

The violence-prone Jewish Defense League, outlawed in the United States and even in Israel, is known for smashing books shops or beating up isolated, even elderly, individuals. When identified, flight to Israel is a good way out. The victims of the JDL fail to inspire anything close to the massive public indignation aroused when a Jewish person falls victim to wanton violence. Meanwhile, politicians flock to the annual dinner of the CRIF with the same zeal that in the United States they flock to the dinner of AIPAC – not so much for campaign funds as to demonstrate their correct sentiments.

France has the largest Jewish population in Western Europe, which actually largely escaped the deportation during German occupation that expelled Jewish immigrants to concentration camps. In addition to an old, established Jewish population, there are many newcomers from North Africa. All this adds up to a very dynamic, successful population, numerous in the more visible and popular professions (journalism, show business, as well as science and medicine, among others).

Of all French parties, the Socialist Party (especially via the Israeli Labor Party of Shimon Peres in the Socialist International) has the closest historic ties with Israel. In the 1950s, when France was fighting against the Algerian national liberation movement, the French government (via Peres) contributed to the Israeli project of building nuclear weapons. Today it is not the Labor Party that rules Israel, but the far right. Hollande’s recent cozy trip to Benjamin Netanyahu showed that the rightward drift of policy in Israel has done nothing to strain relations – which seem closer than ever.

Yet this Jewish community is very small compared to the large number of Arab immigrants from North Africa or black immigrants from France’s former colonies in Africa. Several years ago, a leading Socialist Party intellectual, Pascal Boniface, cautiously warned party leaders that their heavy bias in favor of the Jewish community could eventually cause electoral problems. This statement in a political assessment document caused an uproar which nearly cost him his career.

But the fact remains: it is not hard for French people of Arab or African background to feel that the “communitarianism” that really has clout is the Jewish community.

The Political Uses of the Holocaust

Norman Finkelstein showed some time ago that the Holocaust can be exploited for less than noble purposes: such as extorting funds from Swiss banks. However, in France the situation is very different. No doubt, constant reminders of the Shoah serve as a sort of protection for Israel from the hostility aroused by its treatment of the Palestinians. But the religion of the Holocaust has another, deeper political impact with no direct relation to the fate of the Jews.

More than anything else, Auschwitz has been interpreted as the symbol of what nationalism leads to. Reference to Auschwitz has served to give a bad conscience to Europe, and notably to the French, considering that their relatively small role in the matter was the result of military defeat and occupation by Nazi Germany. Bernard-Henri Lévy, the writer whose influence has grown to grotesque proportions in recent years (he led President Sarkozy into war against Libya), began his career as ideologue by claiming that “fascism” is the genuine “French ideology”. Guilt, guilt, guilt. By placing Auschwitz as the most significant event of recent history, various writers and speakers justify by default the growing power of the European Union as necessary replacement for Europe’s inherently “bad” nations. Never again Auschwitz! Dissolve the nation-states into a technical bureaucracy, free of the emotional influence of citizens who might vote incorrectly. Do you feel French? Or German? You should feel guilty about it – because of Auschwitz.

Europeans are less and less enthusiastic about the EU as it ruins their economies and robs them of all democratic power over the economy. They can vote for gay marriage, but not for the slightest Keynesian measure, much less socialism. Nevertheless, guilt about the past is supposed to keep them loyal to the European dream.

Dieudonné’s fans, judging from photographs, appear to be predominantly young men, fewer women, mostly between the ages of twenty and thirty. They were born two full generations after the end of World War II. They have spent their lives hearing about the Shoah. Over 300 Paris schools bear a plaque commemorating the tragic fate of Jewish children deported to Nazi concentration camps. What can be the effect of all this? For many who were born long after these terrible events, it seems that everyone is supposed to feel guilty – if not for what they didn’t do, for what they supposedly might do if they had a chance.

When Dieudonné transformed an old semi-racist “tropical” song, Chaud Cacao, into Shoah Ananas, the tune is taken up en masse by Dieudonné fans. I venture to think that they are not making fun of the real Shoah, but rather of the constant reminders of events that are supposed to make them feel guilty, insignificant and powerless. Much of this generation is sick of hearing about the period 1933-1945, while their own future is dim.

Nobody Knows When to Stop

Last Sunday, a famous football player of Afro-Belgian origin, Nicolas Anelka, who plays in the UK, made a quenelle sign after scoring a goal – in solidarity with this friend Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala. With this simple and basically insignificant gesture, the uproar soared to new heights.

In the French parliament, Meyer Habib represents “overseas French” – some 4,000 Israelis of French origin. On Monday he twittered: “Anelka’s quenelle is intolerable! I will introduce a bill to punish this new Nazi salute practiced by anti-Semites.”

France has adopted laws to “punish anti-Semitism”. The result is the opposite. Such measures simply tend to confirm the old notion that “the Jews run the country” and contribute to growing anti-Semitism. When French youth see a Franco-Israeli attempt to outlaw a simple gesture, when the Jewish community moves to ban their favorite humorist, anti-Semitism can only grow even more rapidly.

Yet in this escalation, the relationship of forces is very uneven. A humorist has words as his weapons, and fans who may disperse when the going gets rough. On the other side is the dominant ideology, and the power of the State.

In this sort of clash, civic peace depends on the wisdom of those with most power to show restraint. If they fail to do so, this can be a game with no winners.


Diversité: L’enfer, c’est les autres, mais j’ai besoin des oeufs ! (Hell is other people, but I need the eggs ! – How diversity is eating away at trust)

1 décembre, 2013
http://consumertraveler.com/wp-content/uploads/In-God-.jpghttp://edge.liveleak.com/80281E/ll_a_s/2013/Oct/23/LiveLeak-dot-com-f83_1382554898-USHasSpent37TrillionOnWelfareOverPast5Yearsprev.jpg?d5e8cc8eccfb6039332f41f6249e92b06c91b4db65f5e99818badf93454dddd05891&ec_rate=230Mais, quand le Fils de l’homme viendra, trouvera-t-il la foi sur la terre? Jésus (Luc 18: 8)
Ne croyez pas que je sois venu apporter la paix sur la terre; je ne suis pas venu apporter la paix, mais l’épée. Car je suis venu mettre la division entre l’homme et son père, entre la fille et sa mère, entre la belle-fille et sa belle-mère; et l’homme aura pour ennemis les gens de sa maison. Jésus (Matthieu 10: 34-36)
Je pensais à cette vieille blague, vous savez, ce-ce-ce type va chez un psychiatre et dit : « Doc, euh, mon frère est fou. Il se prend pour un poulet. » Et, euh, le docteur dit : « Et bien, pourquoi ne le faites-vous pas enfermer ? » Et le type dit : « J’aimerais bien, mais j’ai besoin des œufs. » Et bien, je crois que c’est ce que je ressens au sujet des relations. Vous savez, elles sont totalement irrationnelles et folles et absurdes et… mais, euh, je crois qu’on continue parce que, euh, la plupart d’entre nous ont besoin des œufs…  Woody Allen
Nous venons de terminer le cinquième exercice depuis que le président Obama a pris ses fonctions. Durant ces cinq années, le gouvernement fédéral a dépensé un total de 3,7  mille milliard de dollars pour environ 80 programmes sous condition de ressources différents contre la pauvreté et de protection sociale. La caractéristique commune des programmes d’aide sous condition de ressources est qu’ils sont gradués par apport au revenu d’une personne et que, contrairement aux programmes tels que la sécurité sociale ou l’assurance-maladie, ils sont un avantage gratuit sans aucune contribution du bénéficiaire. La somme énorme dépensée pourl’assistance sous condition de ressources est près de cinq fois supérieure au montant combiné consacré à la NASA et à l’éducation et à tous les projets de transport de compétence fédérale au cours de cette époque. (3,7 mille milliards de dollars n’est pas encore la totalité du montant dépensé pour le soutien fédéral de la pauvreté, les États membres contribuant pour plus de 200 milliards de dollars chaque année à ce lien fédéral, principalement sous forme de soins de santé gratuits à faible revenu.) Parce que le budget de l’aide sociale est tellement fragmenté — les coupons alimentaires ne sont qu’un des 15 programmes fédéraux qui fournissent une aide alimentaire, cela rend le contrôle efficace presque impossible, tout en masquant l’étendue tant aux contribuables qu’aux législateurs. Par exemple, il est plus facile pour les législateurs opposés aux réformes de s’opposer à des économies de coupons alimentaires en occultant le fait qu’un ménage qui reçoit des coupons alimentaires a souvent simultanément  droit à une myriade de programmes d’aide fédéraux y compris l’assistance de trésorerie, les logements subventionnés, les soins médicaux gratuits, la garde d’enfants gratuite et l’assistance énergétique à la maison. Commission sénatoriale du Budget
"Il est temps que l’Amérique comprenne que beaucoup des plus grandes disparités de la nation, de l’éducation à la pauvreté et à l’espérance de vie sont de plus en plus liées à la position de classe économique, » a déclaré William Julius Wilson, professeur de Harvard spécialiste des questions raciales et de la pauvreté. Il note par ailleurs que, malgré la persistance des difficultés économiques, les minorités sont plus optimistes quant à l’avenir après l’élection d’Obama, ce qui n’est pas les blancs qui se débattait. « Il y a la possibilité réelle que l’aliénation blanche va augmenter si des mesures ne sont pas prises pour mettre en évidence et lutter contre l’inégalité sur un large front, » a dit Ted Wilson. Parfois appelé "les pauvres invisibles" par les démographes, les blancs à faible revenu sont généralement dispersés dans les banlieues, mais aussi les petites villes rurales, où plus de 60% des pauvres sont blancs. Concentrés dans les Appalaches à l’est, ils sont également nombreux dans le Midwest industriel et  à travers le cœur de l’Amérique, du Missouri, de l’Arkansas et de l’Oklahoma jusqu’aux grandes plaines. Plus de 19 millions de blancs sont tombésen dessous du seuil de pauvreté de 23 021 $ pour une famille de quatre, représentant plus de 41 % de la nation démunis, près du double le nombre de pauvres noirs. CS monitor
"L’enfer c’est les autres" a été toujours mal compris. On a cru que je voulais dire par là que nos rapports avec les autres étaient toujours empoisonnés, que c’était toujours des rapports infernaux. Or, c’est tout autre chose que je veux dire. Je veux dire que si les rapports avec autrui sont tordus, viciés, alors l’autre ne peut être que l’enfer. Pourquoi ? Parce que les autres sont, au fond, ce qu’il y a de plus important en nous-mêmes, pour notre propre connaissance de nous-mêmes. Quand nous pensons sur nous, quand nous essayons de nous connaître, au fond nous usons des connaissances que les autres ont déjà sur nous, nous nous jugeons avec les moyens que les autres ont, nous ont donné, de nous juger. Quoi que je dise sur moi, toujours le jugement d’autrui entre dedans. Quoi que je sente de moi, le jugement d’autrui entre dedans. Ce qui veut dire que, si mes rapports sont mauvais, je me mets dans la totale dépendance d’autrui et alors, en effet, je suis en enfer. Et il existe une quantité de gens dans le monde qui sont en enfer parce qu’ils dépendent trop du jugement d’autrui. Mais cela ne veut nullement dire qu’on ne puisse avoir d’autres rapports avec les autres, ça marque simplement l’importance capitale de tous les autres pour chacun de nous. Sartre
Chacun se croit seul en enfer et c’est cela l’enfer. René Girard
De toutes les menaces qui pèsent sur nous, la plus redoutable, nous le savons, la seule réelle, c’est nous-mêmes. René Girard
Ce ne sont pas les différences qui provoquent les conflits mais leur effacement. René Girard
Aucun nombre de bombes atomiques ne pourra endiguer le raz de marée constitué par les millions d’êtres humains qui partiront un jour de la partie méridionale et pauvre du monde, pour faire irruption dans les espaces relativement ouverts du riche hémisphère septentrional, en quête de survie. Boumediene (mars 1974)
Un jour, des millions d’hommes quitteront le sud pour aller dans le nord. Et ils n’iront pas là-bas en tant qu’amis. Parce qu’ils iront là-bas pour le conquérir. Et ils le conquerront avec leurs fils. Le ventre de nos femmes nous donnera la victoire. Houari Boumediene (ONU, 10.04.74)
Nous avons 50 millions de musulmans en Europe. Il y a des signes qui attestent qu’Allah nous accordera une grande victoire en Europe, sans épée, sans conquête. Les 50 millions de musulmans d’Europe feront de cette dernière un continent musulman. Allah mobilise la Turquie, nation musulmane, et va permettre son entrée dans l’Union Européenne. Il y aura alors 100 millions de musulmans en Europe. L’Albanie est dans l’Union européenne, c’est un pays musulman. La Bosnie est dans l’Union européenne, c’est un pays musulman. 50% de ses citoyens sont musulmans. L’Europe est dans une fâcheuse posture. Et il en est de même de l’Amérique. Elles [les nations occidentales] devraient accepter de devenir musulmanes avec le temps ou bien de déclarer la guerre aux musulmans. Kadhafi (10.04.06) 
Et si Raspail, avec "Le Camp des Saints", n’était ni un prophète ni un romancier visionnaire, mais simplement un implacable historien de notre futur? Jean Cau
Le 17 février 2001, un cargo vétuste s’échouait volontairement sur les rochers côtiers, non loin de Saint-Raphaël. À son bord, un millier d’immigrants kurdes, dont près de la moitié étaient des enfants. « Cette pointe rocheuse faisait partie de mon paysage. Certes, ils n’étaient pas un million, ainsi que je les avais imaginés, à bord d’une armada hors d’âge, mais ils n’en avaient pas moins débarqué chez moi, en plein décor du Camp des saints, pour y jouer l’acte I. Le rapport radio de l’hélicoptère de la gendarmerie diffusé par l’AFP semble extrait, mot pour mot, des trois premiers paragraphes du livre. La presse souligna la coïncidence, laquelle apparut, à certains, et à moi, comme ne relevant pas du seul hasard. Jean Raspail
Qu’est-ce que Big Other ? C’est le produit de la mauvaise conscience occidentale soigneusement entretenue, avec piqûres de rappel à la repentance pour nos fautes et nos crimes supposés –  et de l’humanisme de l’altérité, cette sacralisation de l’Autre, particulièrement quand il s’oppose à notre culture et à nos traditions. Perversion de la charité chrétienne, Big Other a le monopole du Vrai et du Bien et ne tolère pas de voix discordante. Jean Raspail
Ce qui m’a frappé, c’est le contraste entre les opinions exprimées à titre privé et celles tenues publiquement. Double langage et double conscience… À mes yeux, il n’y a pire lâcheté que celle devant la faiblesse, que la peur d’opposer la légitimité de la force à l’illégitimité de la violence. Jean Raspail
La véritable cible du roman, ce ne sont pas les hordes d’immigrants sauvages du tiers-monde, mais les élites, politiques, religieuses, médiatiques, intellectuelles, du pays qui, par lâcheté devant la faiblesse, trahissent leurs racines, leurs traditions et les valeurs de leur civilisation. En fourriers d’une apocalypse dont ils seront les premières victimes. Chantre des causes dé sespérées et des peuples en voie de disparition, comme son œuvre ultérieure en témoigne, Jean Raspail a, dans ce grand livre d’anticipation, incité non pas à la haine et à la discrimination, mais à la lucidité et au courage. Dans deux générations, on saura si la réalité avait imité la fiction. Bruno de Cessole
Délinquants itinérants issus des gens du voyage ou «petites mains» pilotées à distance par des mafias des pays de l’Est, ces bandes de cambrioleurs ignorant les frontières n’hésitent plus à couvrir des centaines de kilomètres lors de raids nocturnes pour repérer puis investir des demeures isolées. En quelques années, les «voleurs dans la loi» géorgiens sont devenus les «aristocrates» de la discipline. Organisés de façon quasi militaire et placés sous la férule de lieutenants, ces «Rappetout» venus du froid écument avec méthode les territoires les plus «giboyeux» du pays, notamment dans le Grand Ouest, les régions Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur ou encore Languedoc-Roussillon. Selon une estimation récente, la valeur marchande de leur colossal butin frise les 200.000 euros par semaine. Continuant à se propager dans les grandes villes, le fléau gangrène à une vitesse étourdissante les campagnes et les petites agglomérations: entre 2007 et 2012, le nombre de villas et résidences «visitées» en zone gendarmerie a bondi de 65 %. Soit 35.361 faits constatés de plus en cinq ans. En plein cœur du département de la Marne, où les cambriolages ont flambé de 47 % en un an, des clans albanais retranchés près de Tirana ont dépêché des «soldats» pour piller des maisons de campagne situées dans des villages jusque-là préservés tels que Livry-Louvercy, aux Petites-Loges ou encore à Gueux. Le Figaro
Le tout virtuel ne marche pas. Si les solutions pour travailler à distance existent, rien ne remplace le contact humain nécessaire au bon fonctionnement d’une entreprise. A la longue, communiquer uniquement par mail ou par téléphone devient pénible. Gauthier Toulemonde
En présence de la diversité, nous nous replions sur nous-mêmes. Nous agissons comme des tortues. L’effet de la diversité est pire que ce qui avait été imaginé. Et ce n’est pas seulement que nous ne faisons plus confiance à ceux qui ne sont pas comme nous. Dans les communautés diverses, nous ne faisons plus confiance à ceux qui nous ressemblent. Robert Putnam
Page appelle ça le "paradoxe de diversité." Il pense que les effets à la fois positifs et négatifs de la diversité peuvent coexister dans les communautés, mais qu’il doit y avoir une limite." Si l’investissement civique tombe trop bas, il est facile d’imaginer que les effets positifs de la diversité puissent tout aussi bien commencer à s’affaiblir. Michael Jonas
Americans don’t trust each other anymore. We’re not talking about the loss of faith in big institutions such as the government, the church or Wall Street, which fluctuates with events. For four decades, a gut-level ingredient of democracy — trust in the other fellow — has been quietly draining away. These days, only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted. Half felt that way in 1972, when the General Social Survey first asked the question. Forty years later, a record high of nearly two-thirds say “you can’t be too careful” in dealing with people. (…) Does it matter that Americans are suspicious of one another? Yes, say worried political and social scientists. What’s known as “social trust” brings good things. A society where it’s easier to compromise or make a deal. Where people are willing to work with those who are different from them for the common good. Where trust appears to promote economic growth. Distrust, on the other hand, seems to encourage corruption. At the least, it diverts energy to counting change, drawing up 100-page legal contracts and building gated communities. Even the rancor and gridlock in politics might stem from the effects of an increasingly distrustful citizenry, said April K. Clark, a Purdue University political scientist and public opinion researcher. “It’s like the rules of the game,” Clark said. “When trust is low, the way we react and behave with each other becomes less civil.” (…) There’s no single explanation for Americans’ loss of trust. The best-known analysis comes from “Bowling Alone” author Robert Putnam’s nearly two decades of studying the United States’ declining “social capital,” including trust. Putnam says Americans have abandoned their bowling leagues and Elks lodges to stay home and watch TV. Less socializing and fewer community meetings make people less trustful than the “long civic generation” that came of age during the Depression and World War II. Connie Cass

A l’heure où même les plus démagogiques de nos dirigeants atteignent des sommets d’impopularité …

Et où, attirés par le grand festin de l’Etat-tout-Providence, les réfugiés économiques du Tiers-Monde comme les nouveaux barbares de l’est déferlent par vagues entières sur nos côtes et nos villes …

Pendant que, par manque de contact humain, un chef d’entreprise français, pourtant armé des dernières technologies numériques et d’un sacré sens de l’auto-promotion, se voit contraint après 40 jours à peine de mettre un terme à son expérience de Robinson virtuel …

Comment ne pas voir avec les résultats d’une grande enquête américaine sur les modes de vie …

Que contre les prédictions les plus naïves ou les plus roublardes de nos hérauts de la diversité …

Mais conformément aux prévisions des plus lucides de nos sociologues ou, accessoirement, de nos propres Evangiles …

Ce n’est pas nécessairement, derrière les spectaculaires et indéniables prodiges de nos nouvelles technologies, à plus de paix et d’harmonie que va aboutir le formidable rassemblement de population – proprement inouï dans l’Histoire de l’humanité – que nous connaissons actuellement …

Mais bien, très probablement, à des niveaux de conflit dont nous n’avons pas encore idée ?

In God we trust, maybe, but not each other

Connie Cass

WASHINGTON (AP) — You can take our word for it. Americans don’t trust each other anymore.

We’re not talking about the loss of faith in big institutions such as the government, the church or Wall Street, which fluctuates with events. For four decades, a gut-level ingredient of democracy — trust in the other fellow — has been quietly draining away.

These days, only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted. Half felt that way in 1972, when the General Social Survey first asked the question.

Forty years later, a record high of nearly two-thirds say “you can’t be too careful” in dealing with people.

An AP-GfK poll conducted last month found that Americans are suspicious of each other in everyday encounters. Less than one-third expressed a lot of trust in clerks who swipe their credit cards, drivers on the road, or people they meet when traveling.

“I’m leery of everybody,” said Bart Murawski, 27, of Albany, N.Y. “Caution is always a factor.”

Does it matter that Americans are suspicious of one another? Yes, say worried political and social scientists.

What’s known as “social trust” brings good things.

A society where it’s easier to compromise or make a deal. Where people are willing to work with those who are different from them for the common good. Where trust appears to promote economic growth.

Distrust, on the other hand, seems to encourage corruption. At the least, it diverts energy to counting change, drawing up 100-page legal contracts and building gated communities.

Even the rancor and gridlock in politics might stem from the effects of an increasingly distrustful citizenry, said April K. Clark, a Purdue University political scientist and public opinion researcher.

“It’s like the rules of the game,” Clark said. “When trust is low, the way we react and behave with each other becomes less civil.”

There’s no easy fix.

In fact, some studies suggest it’s too late for most Americans alive today to become more trusting. That research says the basis for a person’s lifetime trust levels is set by his or her mid-twenties and unlikely to change, other than in some unifying crucible such as a world war.

People do get a little more trusting as they age. But beginning with the baby boomers, each generation has started off adulthood less trusting than those who came before them.

The best hope for creating a more trusting nation may be figuring out how to inspire today’s youth, perhaps united by their high-tech gadgets, to trust the way previous generations did in simpler times.

There are still trusters around to set an example.

Pennsylvania farmer Dennis Hess is one. He runs an unattended farm stand on the honor system.

Customers pick out their produce, tally their bills and drop the money into a slot, making change from an unlocked cashbox. Both regulars and tourists en route to nearby Lititz, Pa., stop for asparagus in spring, corn in summer and, as the weather turns cold, long-neck pumpkins for Thanksgiving pies.

“When people from New York or New Jersey come up,” said Hess, 60, “they are amazed that this kind of thing is done anymore.”

Hess has updated the old ways with technology. He added a video camera a few years back, to help catch people who drive off without paying or raid the cashbox. But he says there isn’t enough theft to undermine his trust in human nature.

“I’ll say 99 and a half percent of the people are honest,” said Hess, who’s operated the produce stand for two decades.

There’s no single explanation for Americans’ loss of trust.

The best-known analysis comes from “Bowling Alone” author Robert Putnam’s nearly two decades of studying the United States’ declining “social capital,” including trust.

Putnam says Americans have abandoned their bowling leagues and Elks lodges to stay home and watch TV. Less socializing and fewer community meetings make people less trustful than the “long civic generation” that came of age during the Depression and World War II.

University of Maryland Professor Eric Uslaner, who studies politics and trust, puts the blame elsewhere: economic inequality.

Trust has declined as the gap between the nation’s rich and poor gapes ever wider, Uslaner says, and more and more Americans feel shut out. They’ve lost their sense of a shared fate. Tellingly, trust rises with wealth.

“People who believe the world is a good place and it’s going to get better and you can help make it better, they will be trusting,” Uslaner said. “If you believe it’s dark and driven by outside forces you can’t control, you will be a mistruster.”

African-Americans consistently have expressed far less faith in “most people” than the white majority does. Racism, discrimination and a high rate of poverty destroy trust.

Nearly 8 in 10 African-Americans, in the 2012 survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago with principal funding from the National Science Foundation, felt that “you can’t be too careful.” That figure has held remarkably steady across the 25 GSS surveys since 1972.

The decline in the nation’s overall trust quotient was driven by changing attitudes among whites.

It’s possible that people today are indeed less deserving of trust than Americans in the past, perhaps because of a decline in moral values.

“I think people are acting more on their greed,” said Murawski, a computer specialist who says he has witnessed scams and rip-offs. “Everybody wants a comfortable lifestyle, but what are you going to do for it? Where do you draw the line?”

Ethical behavior such as lying and cheating are difficult to document over the decades. It’s worth noting that the early, most trusting years of the GSS poll coincided with Watergate and the Vietnam War. Trust dropped off in the more stable 1980s.

Crime rates fell in the 1990s and 2000s, and still Americans grew less trusting. Many social scientists blame 24-hour news coverage of distant violence for skewing people’s perceptions of crime.

Can anything bring trust back?

Uslaner and Clark don’t see much hope anytime soon.

Thomas Sander, executive director of the Saguaro Seminar launched by Putnam, believes the trust deficit is “eminently fixable” if Americans strive to rebuild community and civic life, perhaps by harnessing technology.

After all, the Internet can widen the circle of acquaintances who might help you find a job. Email makes it easier for clubs to plan face-to-face meetings. Googling someone turns up information that used to come via the community grapevine.

But hackers and viruses and hateful posts eat away at trust. And sitting home watching YouTube means less time out meeting others.

“A lot of it depends on whether we can find ways to get people using technology to connect and be more civically involved,” Sander said.

“The fate of Americans’ trust,” he said, “is in our own hands.”

___

Associated Press Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.

___

Online:

AP-GfK Poll: http://www.ap-gfkpoll.com

General Social Survey: http://www3.norc.org/GSS+Website

Voir aussi:

L’exil du patron Robinson sur une île déserte touche à sa fin

Isabelle de Foucaud

le Figaro

18/11/2013

Gauthier Toulemonde est parti 40 jours sur une île de l’archipel indonésien pour démontrer que le télétravail n’est plus une utopie avec les technologies de communication.

Gauthier Toulemonde, qui a décidé de passer 40 jours sur une île au large de l’Indonésie pour tester des conditions «extrêmes» de télétravail, a pu gérer son entreprise sans encombre. Il sera de retour en France d’ici à la fin de la semaine.

Gauthier Toulemonde prépare ses valises avec le sentiment du devoir accompli. Il doit quitter mardi son île déserte de l’archipel indonésien, longue de 700 mètres, large de 500 et située à cinq heures de bateau du village le plus proche, sur laquelle il vient de passer 40 jours dans des conditions extrêmes. «J’appréhende le retour à la vie moderne après cette longue période de solitude. Je ne sais plus ce que c’est de prendre le métro ou d’être coincé dans les embouteillages», confie-t-il au figaro.fr par téléphone satellitaire ce lundi, à la veille de son départ.

A 54 ans, l’entrepreneur de Saint-André-lez-Lille (Nord), qui a partagé son expérience sur un blog, ne voulait pas seulement réaliser un «rêve d’enfant» en montant cette expédition à la Robinson Crusoé. Certes, il a passé ce séjour dans l’isolement total, mais ultra connecté. Un ordinateur, une tablette numérique et deux téléphones satellitaires alimentés par des panneaux solaires étaient du voyage. «Mon but était de démontrer que je pouvais continuer à gérer mon entreprise à distance, grâce aux nouvelles technologies», explique Gauthier Toulemonde , propriétaire de la société Timbropresse qui publie le mensuel Timbres magazine, et par ailleurs rédacteur en chef de L’Activité immobilière.

Un pari réussi. «Nous avons bouclé, avec mon équipe à distance, chaque magazine dans les délais et avec les mêmes contenus et paginations que d’habitude», se réjouit-il, en assurant avoir assumé sans encombre l’ensemble de ses responsabilités. Choix des sujets, attribution aux journalistes et pigistes, réalisation d’interviews et lancement des pages en production … «Les communications étaient réduites a minima et je privilégiais les échanges par mail plutôt que par téléphone satellitaire, ces appels étant beaucoup plus coûteux.» Le patron Robinson est parti avec un budget de «moins de 10.000 euros», sans sponsor, et s’est fixé comme limite stricte 20 euros de frais Internet par jour.

Les limites du «tout virtuel»

Autre complication: le décalage horaire de six heures (en plus) qui a considérablement rallongé les journées de Gauthier Toulemonde afin qu’il puisse «croiser» un minimum sa dizaine de salariés en France. «Lorsque je prenais du retard sur la rédaction d’un article, en revanche, ce décalage devenait un sérieux avantage pour moi en me donnant un peu plus de temps.»

Si les solutions pour travailler à distance existent et fonctionnent, rien ne remplace le contact humain nécessaire au bon fonctionnement d’une entreprise

Des délais souvent bienvenus alors que ce chef d’entreprise – parti quand même avec des rations de survie de pâtes et de riz – devait en plus assurer sa subsistance en pêchant, chassant ou cueillant des végétaux dès 5 heures du matin. Le tout dans un environnement dominé par des rats, serpents et varans. «Ma plus grande crainte était de perdre ma connexion», confie cependant l’aventurier. Parti en pleine saison des pluies, il a subi des intempéries qui l’ont parfois fait vivre pendant quelques jours sur ses réserves d’énergie.

Ces frayeurs ont-elles refroidi l’enthousiasme de l’entrepreneur pour le télétravail? «Le tout virtuel ne marche pas. Si les solutions pour travailler à distance existent, rien ne remplace le contact humain nécessaire au bon fonctionnement d’une entreprise», conclut Gauthier Toulemonde, en confiant au passage qu’«à la longue, communiquer uniquement par mail ou par téléphone devient pénible».

Voir encore:

Real-life Robinson Crusoe who decided to run his Paris business from a remote Indonesian island goes home after being put off by the snakes, spiders and sky-high phone bills

Gauthier Toulemonde, 54, moved to a 700×500-metre island for 40 days

He scavenged for vegetables and fish, and ‘detoxed from modern life’

Only companion was a ‘rented’ dog that scared off wildlife for him

Says lack of human contact and fear of losing web signal was unbearable

Mia De Graaf

The Daily Mail

 30 November 2013

A French businessman who realised his childhood dream to relocate to a desert island has been driven home by wild Indonesian creatures and unaffordable phone bills.

Gauthier Toulemonde, 54, had been getting increasingly frustrated with his stagnant life commuting from Lille to Paris every day to his office job as a publicist.

Last Christmas, the sorry sight of distinctly un-merry Parisians lugging presents through the station compelled him to finally take a leap.

Deserted: Gauthier Toulemonde, 54, relocated his work as a publicist to one of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands

Deserted: Gauthier Toulemonde, 54, relocated his work as a publicist to one of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands

Moving to one of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands like Robinson Crusoe moved to Trinidad, Mr Toulemonde ‘detoxed from modern life’ by scavenging for food, being in touch with nature, and having little to no contact with other human beings.

His only companion was Gecko, a dog borrowed from a Chinese woman, to scare off the wildlife.

He told The Guardian he wanted to be the first ‘Web Robinson’ to persuade French people to abandon the tiring, demoralising commute and work remotely.

He added: ‘I found myself in Gare Saint Lazare in Paris just before Christmas watching the continuous stream of people passing by.

Idyllic: He was bound by Indonesian law to keep the exact location of the 700×500-metre island a secret

Idyllic: He was bound by Indonesian law to keep the exact location of the 700×500-metre island a secret

‘Web Robinson’: Toulemonde filmed his experiment testing if it was possible to work this far from the office

‘Web Robinson’: Toulemonde filmed his experiment testing if it was possible to work this far from the office

‘They had this sad look on their faces, even though they were carrying Christmas presents. It had long seemed to me absurd this travelling back and forth to offices.

‘My idea of going away had been growing for a while, but it was on that day, I decided to leave.’

It took him six months – and numerous run-ins with the Indonesian government – to find the perfect uninhabited island for a six-week trial run. Although he managed to persuade officials to let him go, he was ordered by law not to reveal the exact location of the hideaway, that is just 700-by-500 metres.

Finally, in October he set off – with just a tent, four solar panels, a phone, a laptop, rice and pasta for supplies.

Guard dog: Gecko, a dog he borrowed from a Chinese woman, helped scare off the wildlife

Guard dog: Gecko, a dog he borrowed from a Chinese woman, helped scare off the wildlife

Isolated: Toulemonde was banned from revealing the exact location of the uninhabited island

Isolated: Toulemonde was banned from stating the exact location of the uninhabited island in the Indian Ocean

Every day he woke at 5am and went to bed at midnight.

He would scavenge for vegetables on the island and fish in the sea before simply reclining to ‘detox from modern life’.

‘Those days, for me it was like being in quarantine,’ he told Le Figaro.

‘I used the time as a detox from modern life.’

He told Paris Match: ‘What gave me most joy was living – stripped bare – in the closest possible contact with nature. Every day was magical.’

However, it was not stress-free: his company had to publish two editions of Stamps Magazine.

Snakes: Toulemonde was surrounded by Indonesia’s wildlife ranging from small snakes to giant pythons

Snakes: Toulemonde was surrounded by Indonesia’s wildlife ranging from small snakes to giant pythons

Rats: He said living on the island with pests such as rats for any more than 40 days would be too much to handle

Rats: He said living on the island with pests such as rats for any more than 40 days would be too much to handle

Diary: He wrote a blog and made videos tracking his progress. He admitted he won’t go out again

Diary: He wrote a blog and made videos tracking his progress. He admitted he won’t go out again

He allowed himself 20 euros a day for internet to email his employees – and abandoned extortionate phone calls early on.

But after completing his trial, Mr Toulemonde has conceded that he cannot do it forever.

Although he claims the ‘telecommuting’ experiment was a success, he told French broadcasters My TF1 News that the snakes and rats were intolerable – and fear of losing Internet connection was even worse.

The biggest challenge was lack of human contact.

He said: ‘Telecommuting really works but doing everything virtually has its limits. Working from distance might be doable, but nothing can replace human contact.’

Voir par ailleurs:

Exclusive: Signs of declining economic security

Hope Yen

Jul. 28, 2013

ECONOMIC INSECURITY

Chart shows cumulative economic insecurity by age; 2c x 4 inches; 96.3 mm x 101 mm;

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration’s emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality.

Hardship is particularly on the rise among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families’ economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy "poor."

"I think it’s going to get worse," said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend, but it doesn’t generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks.

"If you do try to go apply for a job, they’re not hiring people, and they’re not paying that much to even go to work," she said. Children, she said, have "nothing better to do than to get on drugs."

While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in government data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.

The gauge defines "economic insecurity" as experiencing unemployment at some point in their working lives, or a year or more of reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line. Measured across all races, the risk of economic insecurity rises to 79 percent.

"It’s time that America comes to understand that many of the nation’s biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position," said William Julius Wilson, a Harvard professor who specializes in race and poverty.

He noted that despite continuing economic difficulties, minorities have more optimism about the future after Obama’s election, while struggling whites do not.

"There is the real possibility that white alienation will increase if steps are not taken to highlight and address inequality on a broad front," Wilson said.

___

Sometimes termed "the invisible poor" by demographers, lower-income whites are generally dispersed in suburbs as well as small rural towns, where more than 60 percent of the poor are white. Concentrated in Appalachia in the East, they are also numerous in the industrial Midwest and spread across America’s heartland, from Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma up through the Great Plains.

More than 19 million whites fall below the poverty line of $23,021 for a family of four, accounting for more than 41 percent of the nation’s destitute, nearly double the number of poor blacks.

Still, while census figures provide an official measure of poverty, they’re only a temporary snapshot. The numbers don’t capture the makeup of those who cycle in and out of poverty at different points in their lives. They may be suburbanites, for example, or the working poor or the laid off.

In 2011 that snapshot showed 12.6 percent of adults in their prime working-age years of 25-60 lived in poverty. But measured in terms of a person’s lifetime risk, a much higher number — 4 in 10 adults — falls into poverty for at least a year of their lives.

The risks of poverty also have been increasing in recent decades, particularly among people ages 35-55, coinciding with widening income inequality. For instance, people ages 35-45 had a 17 percent risk of encountering poverty during the 1969-1989 time period; that risk increased to 23 percent during the 1989-2009 period. For those ages 45-55, the risk of poverty jumped from 11.8 percent to 17.7 percent.

By race, nonwhites still have a higher risk of being economically insecure, at 90 percent. But compared with the official poverty rate, some of the biggest jumps under the newer measure are among whites, with more than 76 percent enduring periods of joblessness, life on welfare or near-poverty.

By 2030, based on the current trend of widening income inequality, close to 85 percent of all working-age adults in the U.S. will experience bouts of economic insecurity.

"Poverty is no longer an issue of ‘them’, it’s an issue of ‘us’," says Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis who calculated the numbers. "Only when poverty is thought of as a mainstream event, rather than a fringe experience that just affects blacks and Hispanics, can we really begin to build broader support for programs that lift people in need."

Rank’s analysis is supplemented with figures provided by Tom Hirschl, a professor at Cornell University; John Iceland, a sociology professor at Penn State University; the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute; the Census Bureau; and the Population Reference Bureau.

Among the findings:

—For the first time since 1975, the number of white single-mother households who were living in poverty with children surpassed or equaled black ones in the past decade, spurred by job losses and faster rates of out-of-wedlock births among whites. White single-mother families in poverty stood at nearly 1.5 million in 2011, comparable to the number for blacks. Hispanic single-mother families in poverty trailed at 1.2 million.

—The share of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods — those with poverty rates of 30 percent or more — has increased to 1 in 10, putting them at higher risk of teen pregnancy or dropping out of school. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 17 percent of the child population in such neighborhoods, up from 13 percent in 2000, even though the overall proportion of white children in the U.S. has been declining.

The share of black children in high-poverty neighborhoods dropped sharply, from 43 percent to 37 percent, while the share of Latino children ticked higher, from 38 to 39 percent.

___

Going back to the 1980s, never have whites been so pessimistic about their futures, according to the General Social Survey, which is conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. Just 45 percent say their family will have a good chance of improving their economic position based on the way things are in America.

The divide is especially evident among those whites who self-identify as working class: 49 percent say they think their children will do better than them, compared with 67 percent of non-whites who consider themselves working class.

In November, Obama won the votes of just 36 percent of those noncollege whites, the worst performance of any Democratic nominee among that group since 1984.

Some Democratic analysts have urged renewed efforts to bring working-class whites into the political fold, calling them a potential "decisive swing voter group" if minority and youth turnout level off in future elections.

"They don’t trust big government, but it doesn’t mean they want no government," says Republican pollster Ed Goeas, who agrees that working-class whites will remain an important electoral group. "They feel that politicians are giving attention to other people and not them."

___

AP Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta, News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius and AP writer Debra McCown in Buchanan County, Va., contributed to this report.

Voir aussi:

Report: U.S. Spent $3.7 Trillion on Welfare Over Last 5 Years

Dutch King: Say Goodbye to Welfare State

AMSTERDAM September 17, 2013 (AP)

Toby Sterling Associated Press

King Willem-Alexander delivered a message to the Dutch people from the government Tuesday in a nationally televised address: the welfare state of the 20th century is gone.

In its place a "participation society" is emerging, in which people must take responsibility for their own future and create their own social and financial safety nets, with less help from the national government.

The king traveled past waving fans in an ornate horse-drawn carriage to the 13th-century Hall of Knights in The Hague for the monarch’s traditional annual address on the day the government presents its budget for the coming year. It was Willem-Alexander’s first appearance on the national stage since former Queen Beatrix abdicated in April and he ascended to the throne.

"The shift to a ‘participation society’ is especially visible in social security and long-term care," the king said, reading out to lawmakers a speech written for him by Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government.

"The classic welfare state of the second half of the 20th century in these areas in particular brought forth arrangements that are unsustainable in their current form."

Rutte may be hoping that the pomp and ceremony surrounding the king and his popular wife, Queen Maxima, will provide a diversion from the gloomy reality of a budget full of unpopular new spending cuts he revealed later in the day.

A series of recent polls have shown that confidence in Rutte’s government is at record low levels, and that most Dutch people — along with labor unions, employers’ associations and many economists — believe the Cabinet’s austerity policies are at least partially to blame as the Dutch economy has worsened even as recoveries are underway in neighboring Germany, France and Britain.

After several consecutive years of government spending cuts, the Dutch economy is expected to have shrunk by more than 1 percent in 2013, and the agency is forecasting growth of just 0.5 percent next year.

"The necessary reforms take time and demand perseverance," the king said. But they will "lay the basis for creating jobs and restoring confidence."

Willem-Alexander said that nowadays, people expect and "want to make their own choices, to arrange their own lives, and take care of each other."

The ‘participation society’ has been on its way for some time: benefits such as unemployment compensation and subsidies on health care have been regularly pruned for the past decade. The retirement age has been raised to 67.

The king said Tuesday some costs for the care of the elderly, for youth services, and for job retraining after layoffs will now be pushed back to the local level, in order to make them better tailored to local circumstances.

The monarchy was not immune to cost-cutting and Willem-Alexander’s salary will be cut from around 825,000 euros ($1.1 million) this year to 817,000 euros in 2014. Maintaining the Royal House — castles, parades and all — costs the government around 40 million euros annually.

A review of the government’s budget by the country’s independent analysis agency showed that the deficit will widen in 2014 to 3.3 percent of GDP despite the new spending cuts intended to reduce it.

Eurozone rules specify that countries must keep their deficit below 3 percent, and Rutte has been among the most prominent of European leaders, along with Germany’s Angela Merkel, in insisting that Southern European countries attempt to meet that target.

Among other measures, the government announced 2,300 new military job cuts. That follows a 2011 decision to cut 12,000 jobs — one out of every six defense employees — between 2012 and 2015.

However, the government said Tuesday it has decided once and for all not to abandon the U.S.-led "Joint Strike Fighter" program to develop new military aircraft. The program has suffered cost overruns and created divisions within Rutte’s governing coalition.

A debate over the budget later this week will be crucial for the future of the coalition, as it does not command a majority in the upper house, and it must seek help from opposition parties to have the budget approved.

Challenged as to whether his Cabinet may be facing a crisis, Rutte insisted in an interview with national broadcaster NOS on Tuesday that he ultimately will find support for the budget.

"At crucial moments, the opposition is willing to do its share," he said.

Geert Wilders, whose far right Freedom Party currently tops popularity polls, called Rutte’s budget the equivalent of "kicking the country while it’s down."

——–

History suggests that era of entitlements is nearly over

Michael Barone

The Examiner

January 11, 2013

It’s often good fun and sometimes revealing to divide American history into distinct periods of uniform length. In working on my forthcoming book on American migrations, internal and immigrant, it occurred to me that you could do this using the American-sounding interval of 76 years, just a few years more than the biblical lifespan of three score and ten.

It was 76 years from Washington’s First Inaugural in 1789 to Lincoln’s Second Inaugural in 1865. It was 76 years from the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse in 1865 to the attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Going backward, it was 76 years from the First Inaugural in 1789 to the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, which settled one of the British-French colonial wars. And going 76 years back from Utrecht takes you to 1637, when the Virginia and Massachusetts Bay colonies were just getting organized.

As for our times, we are now 71 years away from Pearl Harbor. The current 76-year interval ends in December 2017.

Each of these 76-year periods can be depicted as a distinct unit. In the Colonial years up to 1713, very small numbers of colonists established separate cultures that have persisted to our times.

The story is brilliantly told in David Hackett Fischer’s "Albion’s Seed." For a more downbeat version, read the recent "The Barbarous Years" by the nonagenarian Bernard Bailyn.

From 1713 to 1789, the Colonies were peopled by much larger numbers of motley and often involuntary settlers — slaves, indentured servants, the unruly Scots-Irish on the Appalachian frontier.

For how this society became dissatisfied with the Colonial status quo, read Bailyn’s "The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution."

From 1789 to 1865, Americans sought their manifest destiny by expanding across the continent. They made great technological advances but were faced with the irreconcilable issue of slavery in the territories.

For dueling accounts of the period, read the pro-Andrew Jackson Democrat Sean Wilentz’s "The Rise of American Democracy" and the pro-Henry Clay Whig Daniel Walker Howe’s "What Hath God Wrought." Both are sparklingly written and full of offbeat insights and brilliant apercus.

The 1865-to-1941 period saw a vast efflorescence of market capitalism, European immigration and rising standards of living. For descriptions of how economic change reshaped the nation and its government, read Morton Keller’s "Affairs of State" and "Regulating a New Society."

The 70-plus years since 1941 have seen a vast increase in the welfare safety net and governance by cooperation among big units — big government, big business, big labor — that began in the New Deal and gained steam in and after World War II. I immodestly offer my own "Our Country: The Shaping of America from Roosevelt to Reagan."

The original arrangements in each 76-year period became unworkable and unraveled toward its end. Eighteenth-century Americans rejected the Colonial status quo and launched a revolution, then established a constitutional republic.

Nineteenth-century Americans went to war over expansion of slavery. Early-20th-century Americans grappled with the collapse of the private-sector economy in the Depression of the 1930s.

We are seeing something like this again today. The welfare state arrangements that once seemed solid are on the path to unsustainability.

Entitlement programs — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid — are threatening to gobble up the whole government and much of the private sector, as well.

Lifetime employment by one big company represented by one big union is a thing of the past. People who counted on corporate or public-sector pensions are seeing them default.

Looking back, we are as far away in time today from victory in World War II in 1945 as Americans were at the time of the Dred Scott decision from the First Inaugural.

We are as far away in time today from passage of the Social Security in 1935 as Americans then were from the launching of post-Civil War Reconstruction.

Nevertheless our current president and most politicians of his party seem determined to continue the current welfare state arrangements — historian Walter Russell Mead calls this the blue-state model — into the indefinite future.

Some leaders of the other party are advancing ideas for adapting a system that worked reasonably well in an industrial age dominated by seemingly eternal big units into something that can prove workable in an information age experiencing continual change and upheaval wrought by innovations in the market economy.

The current 76-year period is nearing its end. What will come next?

Michael Barone,The Examiner’s senior political analyst, can be contacted at mbarone@washingtonexaminer.com

———-

America’s Fourth Revolution: The Coming Collapse of the Entitlement Society-and How We Will Survive It

James Piereson

The United States has been shaped by three far-reaching political revolutions: Jefferson’s “revolution of 1800,” the Civil War, and the New Deal. Each of these upheavals concluded with lasting institutional and cultural adjustments that set the stage for new phases of political and economic development. Are we on the verge of a new upheaval, a “fourth revolution” that will reshape U.S. politics for decades to come? There are signs to suggest that we are.

America’s Fourth Revolution describes the political upheaval that will overtake the United States over the next decade as a consequence of economic stagnation, the growth of government, and the exhaustion of post-war arrangements that formerly underpinned American prosperity and power. The inter-connected challenges of public debt, the retirement of the "baby boom" generation, and slow economic growth have reached a point where they can no longer be addressed by incremental adjustments in taxes and spending, but will require profound changes in the role of government in American life. At the same time, the widening gulf between the two political parties and the entrenched power of interest groups will make it difficult to negotiate the changes needed to renew the system.

America’s Fourth Revolution places this impending upheaval in historical context by reminding readers that Americans have faced and overcome similar challenges in the past and that they seem to resolve their deepest problems in relatively brief but intense periods of political conflict. In contrast to other books which claim that the United States is in decline, America’s Fourth Revolution argues that Americans will struggle over the next decade to form a governing coalition that will guide the nation on a path of renewed dynamism and prosperity.

Voir enfin:

L’enfer c’est les autres

1964 et 1970

L’existentialisme athée

par Jean-Paul Sartre

Extrait du CD « Huis clos » et de « L’Existentialisme est un humanisme »

* * *

L’enfer, c’est les autres [1]

Quand on écrit une pièce, il y a toujours des causes occasionnelles et des soucis profonds. La cause occasionnelle c’est que, au moment où j’ai écrit Huis clos, vers 1943 et début 44, j’avais trois amis et je voulais qu’ils jouent une pièce, une pièce de moi, sans avantager aucun d’eux. C’est-à-dire, je voulais qu’ils restent ensemble tout le temps sur la scène. Parce que je me disais que s’il y en a un qui s’en va, il pensera que les autres ont un meilleur rôle au moment où il s’en va. Je voulais donc les garder ensemble. Et je me suis dit, comment peut-on mettre ensemble trois personnes sans jamais en faire sortir l’une d’elles et les garder sur la scène jusqu’au bout, comme pour l’éternité. C’est là que m’est venue l’idée de les mettre en enfer et de les faire chacun le bourreau des deux autres. Telle est la cause occasionnelle. Par la suite, d’ailleurs, je dois dire, ces trois amis n’ont pas joué la pièce, et comme vous le savez, c’est Michel Vitold, Tania Balachova et Gaby Sylvia qui l’ont jouée.

Mais il y avait à ce moment-là des soucis plus généraux et j’ai voulu exprimer autre chose dans la pièce que, simplement, ce que l’occasion me donnait. J’ai voulu dire « l’enfer c’est les autres ». Mais « l’enfer c’est les autres » a été toujours mal compris. On a cru que je voulais dire par là que nos rapports avec les autres étaient toujours empoisonnés, que c’était toujours des rapports infernaux. Or, c’est tout autre chose que je veux dire. Je veux dire que si les rapports avec autrui sont tordus, viciés, alors l’autre ne peut être que l’enfer. Pourquoi ? Parce que les autres sont, au fond, ce qu’il y a de plus important en nous-mêmes, pour notre propre connaissance de nous-mêmes. Quand nous pensons sur nous, quand nous essayons de nous connaître, au fond nous usons des connaissances que les autres ont déjà sur nous, nous nous jugeons avec les moyens que les autres ont, nous ont donné, de nous juger. Quoi que je dise sur moi, toujours le jugement d’autrui entre dedans. Quoi que je sente de moi, le jugement d’autrui entre dedans. Ce qui veut dire que, si mes rapports sont mauvais, je me mets dans la totale dépendance d’autrui et alors, en effet, je suis en enfer. Et il existe une quantité de gens dans le monde qui sont en enfer parce qu’ils dépendent trop du jugement d’autrui. Mais cela ne veut nullement dire qu’on ne puisse avoir d’autres rapports avec les autres, ça marque simplement l’importance capitale de tous les autres pour chacun de nous.

Deuxième chose que je voudrais dire, c’est que ces gens ne sont pas semblables à nous. Les trois personnes que vous entendrez dans Huis clos ne nous ressemblent pas en ceci que nous sommes tous vivants et qu’ils sont morts. Bien entendu, ici, « morts » symbolise quelque chose. Ce que j’ai voulu indiquer, c’est précisément que beaucoup de gens sont encroûtés dans une série d’habitudes, de coutumes, qu’ils ont sur eux des jugements dont ils souffrent mais qu’ils ne cherchent même pas à changer. Et que ces gens-là sont comme morts, en ce sens qu’ils ne peuvent pas briser le cadre de leurs soucis, de leurs préoccupations et de leurs coutumes et qu’ils restent ainsi victimes souvent des jugements que l’on a portés sur eux.

À partir de là, il est bien évident qu’ils sont lâches ou méchants. Par exemple, s’ils ont commencé à être lâches, rien ne vient changer le fait qu’ils étaient lâches. C’est pour cela qu’ils sont morts, c’est pour cela, c’est une manière de dire que c’est une « mort vivante » que d’être entouré par le souci perpétuel de jugements et d’actions que l’on ne veut pas changer.

De sorte que, en vérité, comme nous sommes vivants, j’ai voulu montrer, par l’absurde, l’importance, chez nous, de la liberté, c’est-à-dire l’importance de changer les actes par d’autres actes. Quel que soit le cercle d’enfer dans lequel nous vivons, je pense que nous sommes libres de le briser. Et si les gens ne le brisent pas, c’est encore librement qu’ils y restent. De sorte qu’ils se mettent librement en enfer.

Vous voyez donc que « rapport avec les autres », « encroûtement » et « liberté », liberté comme l’autre face à peine suggérée, ce sont les trois thèmes de la pièce.

Je voudrais qu’on se le rappelle quand vous entendrez dire… « L’enfer c’est les autres ».

Je tiens à ajouter, en terminant, qu’il m’est arrivé en 1944, à la première représentation, un très rare bonheur, très rare pour les auteurs dramatiques : c’est que les personnages ont été incarnés de telle manière par les trois acteurs, et aussi par Chauffard, le valet d’enfer, qui l’a toujours jouée depuis, que je ne puis plus me représenter mes propres imaginations autrement que sous les traits de Michel Vitold, Gaby Sylvia, de Tania Balachova et de Chauffard. Depuis, la pièce a été rejouée par d’autres acteurs, et je tiens en particulier à dire que j’ai vu Christiane Lenier, quand elle l’a jouée, et que j’ai admiré quelle excellente Inès elle a été.

L’existence précède l’essence [2]

Est-ce qu’au fond, ce qui fait peur, dans la doctrine que je vais essayer de vous exposer, ce n’est pas le fait qu’elle laisse une possibilité de choix à l’homme ? Pour le savoir, il faut que nous revoyions la question sur un plan strictement philosophique.

Qu’est-ce qu’on appelle existentialisme ? La plupart des gens qui utilisent ce mot seraient bien embarrassés pour le justifier, puisque aujourd’hui [1945], que c’est devenu une mode, on déclare volontiers qu’un musicien ou qu’un peintre est existentialiste. Un échotier de Clartés signe l’Existentialiste ; et au fond le mot a pris aujourd’hui une telle largeur et une telle extension qu’il ne signifie plus rien du tout. Il semble que, faute de doctrine d’avant-garde analogue au surréalisme, les gens avides de scandale et de mouvement s’adressent à cette philosophie, qui ne peut d’ailleurs rien leur apporter dans ce domaine ; en réalité c’est la doctrine la moins scandaleuse, la plus austère ; elle est strictement destinée aux techniciens et aux philosophes. Pourtant, elle peut se définir facilement. Ce qui rend les choses compliquées, c’est qu’il y a deux espèces d’existentialistes : les premiers, qui sont chrétiens, et parmi lesquels je rangerai Jaspers et Gabriel Marcel, de confession catholique ; et, d’autre part, les existentialistes athées parmi lesquels il faut ranger Heidegger, et aussi les existentialistes français et moi-même. Ce qu’ils ont en commun, c’est simplement le fait qu’ils estiment que l’existence précède l’essence, ou, si vous voulez, qu’il faut partir de la subjectivité. Que faut-il au juste entendre par là ? Lorsqu’on considère un objet fabriqué, comme par exemple un livre ou un coupe-papier, cet objet a été fabriqué par un artisan qui s’est inspiré d’un concept ; il s’est référé au concept de coupe-papier, et également à une technique de production préalable qui fait partie du concept, et qui est au fond une recette. Ainsi, le coupe-papier est à la fois un objet qui se produit d’une certaine manière et qui, d’autre part, a une utilité définie, et on ne peut pas supposer un homme qui produirait un coupe-papier sans savoir à quoi l’objet va servir. Nous dirons donc que, pour le coupe-papier, l’essence — c’est-à-dire l’ensemble des recettes et des qualités qui permettent de le produire et de le définir — précède l’existence ; et ainsi la présence, en face de moi, de tel coupe-papier ou de tel livre est déterminée. Nous avons donc là une vision technique du monde, dans laquelle on peut dire que la production précède l’existence.

Lorsque nous concevons un Dieu créateur, ce Dieu est assimilé la plupart du temps à un artisan supérieur ; et quelle que soit la doctrine que nous considérions, qu’il s’agisse d’une doctrine comme celle de Descartes ou de la doctrine de Leibniz, nous admettons toujours que la volonté suit plus ou moins l’entendement, ou tout au moins l’accompagne, et que Dieu, lorsqu’il crée, sait précisément ce qu’il crée. Ainsi, le concept d’homme, dans l’esprit de Dieu, est assimilable au concept de coupe-papier dans l’esprit de l’industriel ; et Dieu produit l’homme suivant des techniques et une conception, exactement comme l’artisan fabrique un coupe-papier suivant une définition et une technique. Ainsi l’homme individuel réalise un certain concept qui est dans l’entendement divin. Au XVIIIe siècle, dans l’athéisme des philosophes, la notion de Dieu est supprimée, mais non pas pour autant l’idée que l’essence précède l’existence. Cette idée, nous la retrouvons un peu partout : nous la retrouvons chez Diderot, chez Voltaire, et même chez Kant. L’homme est possesseur d’une nature humaine ; cette nature humaine, qui est le concept humain, se retrouve chez tous les hommes, ce qui signifie que chaque homme est un exemple particulier d’un concept universel, l’homme ; chez Kant, il résulte de cette universalité que l’homme des bois, l’homme de la nature, comme le bourgeois sont astreints à la même définition et possèdent les mêmes qualités de base. Ainsi, là encore, l’essence d’homme précède cette existence historique que nous rencontrons dans la nature.

L’existentialisme athée, que je représente, est plus cohérent. Il déclare que si Dieu n’existe pas, il y a au moins un être chez qui l’existence précède l’essence, un être qui existe avant de pouvoir être défini par aucun concept et que cet être c’est l’homme ou, comme dit Heidegger, la réalité humaine. Qu’est-ce que signifie ici que l’existence précède l’essence ? Cela signifie que l’homme existe d’abord, se rencontre, surgit dans le monde, et qu’il se définit après.

L’homme, tel que le conçoit l’existentialiste, s’il n’est pas définissable, c’est qu’il n’est d’abord rien. Il ne sera qu’ensuite, et il sera tel qu’il se sera fait. Ainsi, il n’y a pas de nature humaine, puisqu’il n’y a pas de Dieu pour la concevoir. L’homme est seulement, non seulement tel qu’il se conçoit, mais tel qu’il se veut, et comme il se conçoit après l’existence, comme il se veut après cet élan vers l’existence ; l’homme n’est rien d’autre que ce qu’il se fait. Tel est le premier principe de l’existentialisme.

C’est aussi ce qu’on appelle la subjectivité, et que l’on nous reproche sous ce nom même. Mais que voulons-nous dire par là, sinon que l’homme a une plus grande dignité que la pierre ou que la table ? Car nous voulons dire que l’homme existe d’abord, c’est-à-dire que l’homme est d’abord ce qui se jette vers un avenir, et ce qui est conscient de se projeter dans l’avenir. L’homme est d’abord un projet qui se vit subjectivement, au lieu d’être une mousse, une pourriture ou un chou-fleur ; rien n’existe préalablement à ce projet ; rien n’est au ciel intelligible, et l’homme sera d’abord ce qu’il aura projeté d’être. Non pas ce qu’il voudra être. Car ce que nous entendons ordinairement par vouloir, c’est une décision consciente, et qui est pour la plupart d’entre nous postérieure à ce qu’il s’est fait lui-même. Je peux vouloir adhérer à un parti, écrire un livre, me marier, tout cela n’est qu’une manifestation d’un choix plus originel, plus spontané que ce qu’on appelle volonté. Mais si vraiment l’existence précède l’essence, l’homme est responsable de ce qu’il est. Ainsi, la première démarche de l’existentialisme est de mettre tout homme en possession de ce qu’il est et de faire reposer sur lui la responsabilité totale de son existence.

Ma volonté engage l’humanité entière [3]

Ainsi, notre responsabilité est beaucoup plus grande que nous ne pourrions le supposer, car elle engage l’humanité entière. Si je suis ouvrier, et si je choisis d’adhérer à un syndicat chrétien plutôt que d’être communiste, si, par cette adhésion, je veux indiquer que la résignation est au fond la solution qui convient à l’homme, que le royaume de l’homme n’est pas sur la terre, je n’engage pas seulement mon cas : je veux être résigné pour tous, par conséquent ma démarche a engagé l’humanité tout entière. Et si je veux, fait plus individuel, me marier, avoir des enfants, même si ce mariage dépend uniquement de ma situation, ou de ma passion, ou de mon désir, par là j’engage non seulement moi-même, mais l’humanité tout entière sur la voie de la monogamie. Ainsi je suis responsable pour moi-même et pour tous, et je crée une certaine image de l’homme que je choisis ; en me choisissant, je choisis l’homme.

L’angoisse et la mauvaise foi [4]

Ceci nous permet de comprendre ce que recouvrent des mots un peu grandiloquents comme angoisse, délaissement, désespoir. Comme vous allez voir, c’est extrêmement simple. D’abord, qu’entend-on par angoisse ? L’existentialiste déclare volontiers que l’homme est angoisse. Cela signifie ceci : l’homme qui s’engage et qui se rend compte qu’il est non seulement celui qu’il choisit d’être, mais encore un législateur choisissant en même temps que soi l’humanité entière, ne saurait échapper au sentiment de sa totale et profonde responsabilité. Certes, beaucoup de gens ne sont pas anxieux ; mais nous prétendons qu’ils se masquent leur angoisse, qu’ils la fuient ; certainement, beaucoup de gens croient en agissant n’engager qu’eux-mêmes, et lorsqu’on leur dit : « mais si tout le monde faisait comme ça ? » ils haussent les épaules et répondent : « tout le monde ne fait pas comme ça. » Mais en vérité, on doit toujours se demander : qu’arriverait-il si tout le monde en faisait autant ? Et on n’échappe à cette pensée inquiétante que par une sorte de mauvaise foi. Celui qui ment et qui s’excuse en déclarant : tout le monde ne fait pas comme ça, est quelqu’un qui est mal à l’aise avec sa conscience, car le fait de mentir implique une valeur universelle attribuée au mensonge. Même lorsqu’elle se masque l’angoisse apparaît. C’est cette angoisse que Kierkegaard appelait l’angoisse d’Abraham.

Vous connaissez l’histoire : Un ange a ordonné à Abraham de sacrifier son fils : tout va bien si c’est vraiment un ange qui est venu et qui a dit : tu es Abraham, tu sacrifieras ton fils. Mais chacun peut se demander, d’abord, est-ce que c’est bien un ange, et est-ce que je suis bien Abraham ? Qu’est-ce qui me le prouve ? Il y avait une folle qui avait des hallucinations : on lui parlait par téléphone et on lui donnait des ordres. Le médecin lui demanda : « Mais qui est-ce qui vous parle ? » Elle répondit : « Il dit que c’est Dieu. » Et qu’est-ce qui lui prouvait, en effet, que c’était Dieu ? Si un ange vient à moi, qu’est-ce qui prouve que c’est un ange ? Et si j’entends des voix, qu’est-ce qui prouve qu’elles viennent du ciel et non de l’enfer, ou d’un subconscient, ou d’un état pathologique ? Qui prouve qu’elles s’adressent à moi ? Qui prouve que je suis bien désigné pour imposer ma conception de l’homme et mon choix à l’humanité ? Je ne trouverai jamais aucune preuve, aucun signe pour m’en convaincre. Si une voix s’adresse à moi, c’est toujours moi qui déciderai que cette voix est la voix de l’ange ; si je considère que tel acte est bon, c’est moi qui choisirai de dire que cet acte est bon plutôt que mauvais. Rien ne me désigne pour être Abraham, et pourtant je suis obligé à chaque instant de faire des actes exemplaires. Tout se passe comme si, pour tout homme, toute l’humanité avait les yeux fixés sur ce qu’il fait et se réglait sur ce qu’il fait. Et chaque homme doit se dire : suis-je bien celui qui a le droit d’agir de telle sorte que l’humanité se règle sur mes actes ? Et s’il ne se dit pas cela, c’est qu’il se masque l’angoisse. Il ne s’agit pas là d’une angoisse qui conduirait au quiétisme, à l’inaction. Il s’agit d’une angoisse simple, que tous ceux qui ont eu des responsabilités connaissent. Lorsque, par exemple, un chef militaire prend la responsabilité d’une attaque et envoie un certain nombre d’hommes à la mort, il choisit de le faire, et au fond il choisit seul. Sans doute il y a des ordres qui viennent d’en haut, mais ils sont trop larges et une interprétation s’impose, qui vient de lui, et de cette interprétation dépend la vie de dix ou quatorze ou vingt hommes. Il ne peut pas ne pas avoir, dans la décision qu’il prend, une certaine angoisse.

Tous les chefs connaissent cette angoisse. Cela ne les empêche pas d’agir, au contraire, c’est la condition même de leur action ; car cela suppose qu’ils envisagent une pluralité de possibilités, et lorsqu’ils en choisissent une, ils se rendent compte qu’elle n’a de valeur que parce qu’elle est choisie. Et cette sorte d’angoisse, qui est celle que décrit l’existentialisme, nous verrons qu’elle s’explique en outre par une responsabilité directe vis-à-vis des autres hommes qu’elle engage. Elle n’est pas un rideau qui nous séparerait de l’action, mais elle fait partie de l’action même.

L’homme est condamné à être libre [5]

Et lorsqu’on parle de délaissement, expression chère à Heidegger, nous voulons dire seulement que Dieu n’existe pas, et qu’il faut en tirer jusqu’au bout les conséquences. L’existentialiste est très opposé à un certain type de morale laïque qui voudrait supprimer Dieu avec le moins de frais possible.

Lorsque, vers 1880, des professeurs français essayèrent de constituer une morale laïque, ils dirent à peu près ceci : Dieu est une hypothèse inutile et coûteuse, nous la supprimons, mais il est nécessaire cependant, pour qu’il y ait une morale, une société, un monde policé, que certaines valeurs soient prises au sérieux et considérées comme existant a priori ; il faut qu’il soit obligatoire a priori d’être honnête, de ne pas mentir, de ne pas battre sa femme, de faire des enfants, etc., etc.. Nous allons donc faire un petit travail qui permettra de montrer que ces valeurs existent tout de même, inscrites dans un ciel intelligible, bien que, par ailleurs, Dieu n’existe pas. Autrement dit, et c’est, je crois, la tendance de tout ce qu’on appelle en France le radicalisme, rien ne sera changé si Dieu n’existe pas ; nous retrouverons les mêmes normes d’honnêteté, de progrès, d’humanisme, et nous aurons fait de Dieu une hypothèse périmée qui mourra tranquillement et d’elle-même.

L’existentialiste, au contraire, pense qu’il est très gênant que Dieu n’existe pas, car avec lui disparaît toute possibilité de trouver des valeurs dans un ciel intelligible ; il ne peut plus y avoir de bien a priori, puisqu’il n’y a pas de conscience infinie et parfaite pour le penser ; il n’est écrit nulle part que le bien existe, qu’il faut être honnête, qu’il ne faut pas mentir, puisque précisément nous sommes sur un plan où il y a seulement des hommes. Dostoïevsky avait écrit : « Si Dieu n’existait pas, tout serait permis. » C’est là le point de départ de l’existentialisme. En effet, tout est permis si Dieu n’existe pas, et par conséquent l’homme est délaissé, parce qu’il ne trouve ni en lui, ni hors de lui une possibilité de s’accrocher. Il ne trouve d’abord pas d’excuses. Si, en effet, l’existence précède l’essence, on ne pourra jamais expliquer par référence à une nature humaine donnée et figée ; autrement dit, il n’y a pas de déterminisme, l’homme est libre, l’homme est liberté. Si, d’autre part, Dieu n’existe pas, nous ne trouvons pas en face de nous des valeurs ou des ordres qui légitimeront notre conduite. Ainsi, nous n’avons ni derrière nous, ni devant nous, dans le domaine lumineux des valeurs, des justifications ou des excuses. Nous sommes seuls, sans excuses. C’est ce que j’exprimerai en disant que l’homme est condamné à être libre. Condamné, parce qu’il ne s’est pas créé lui-même, et par ailleurs cependant libre, parce qu’une fois jeté dans le monde, il est responsable de tout ce qu’il fait.

L’existentialiste ne croit pas à la puissance de la passion. Il ne pensera jamais qu’une belle passion est un torrent dévastateur qui conduit fatalement l’homme à certains actes, et qui, par conséquent, est une excuse. Il pense que l’homme est responsable de sa passion. L’existentialiste ne pensera pas non plus que l’homme peut trouver un secours dans un signe donné, sur terre, qui l’orientera ; car il pense que l’homme déchiffre lui-même le signe comme il lui plaît. Il pense donc que l’homme, sans aucun appui et sans aucun secours, est condamné à chaque instant à inventer l’homme.

Le désespoir [6]

Quant au désespoir, cette expression a un sens extrêmement simple. Elle veut dire que nous nous bornerons à compter sur ce qui dépend de notre volonté, ou sur l’ensemble des probabilités qui rendent notre action possible.

Quand on veut quelque chose, il y a toujours des éléments probables. Je puis compter sur la venue d’un ami. Cet ami vient en chemin de fer ou en tramway ; cela suppose que le chemin de fer arrivera à l’heure dite, ou que le tramway ne déraillera pas. Je reste dans le domaine des possibilités ; mais il ne s’agit de compter sur les possibles que dans la mesure stricte où notre action comporte l’ensemble de ces possibles. À partir du moment où les possibilités que je considère ne sont pas rigoureusement engagées par mon action, je dois m’en désintéresser, parce qu’aucun Dieu, aucun dessein ne peut adapter le monde et ses possibles à ma volonté. Au fond, quand Descartes disait : « Se vaincre plutôt soi-même que le monde », il voulait dire la même chose : agir sans espoir.

[1] Extrait audio et texte de Jean-Paul Sartre, Huis clos, Groupe Frémeaux Colombini SAS © 2010 (La Librairie Sonore en accord avec Moshé Naïm Emen © 1964 et Gallimard © 2004, ancien exploitant).

[2] Jean-Paul Sartre, L’Existentialisme est un humanisme, Éditions Nagel © 1970, pages 15 à 24.

Extrait audio de Luc Ferry, Mythologie, Frémeaux & Associés © 2010, CD2-[8], L’invention de la liberté, 0:07 à 3:34.

[3] Ibid. pages 26 et 27.

[4] Ibid. pages 27 à 33.

[5] Ibid. pages 33 à 38.

[6] Ibid. pages 49 à 51.

Philo5…

… à quelle source choisissez-vous d’alimenter votre esprit?


Miss America/92e: Attention: un racisme peut en cacher un autre ! (No Kansas guns and religion, please, we’re New Yorkers: Has Miss America betrayed the American dream ?)

2 octobre, 2013
http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/1-margaret-gorman-1921-granger.jpghttp://www.historybyzim.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Miss-America-1921-Margaret-Gorman.jpghttp://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/my-favorite-brunette-dorothy-lamour-everett.jpghttp://jcdurbant.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/a69ce-bessmyersoncollage.gif?w=450&h=409http://31.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m9acqcRGQF1qjkeqso1_400.jpghttp://www.vfa.us/MISS%20AMERICA%2009%2007%20196803.jpghttp://img.timeinc.net/time/photoessays/2009/10_beauty/beauty_williams.jpghttp://www.alleewillis.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Vanessa-Williams-cornflakes-box_2350.jpgVanessaWilliamshttp://covers.openlibrary.org/w/id/169318-M.jpghttp://www.orangejuiceblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Miss-America-2014-dancing.jpg
 
http://media.philly.com/images/526*395/theresa_vail_Miss_Kansas_600.jpghttp://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/About/General/2013/9/19/1379575928829/Obabiyi-Aishah-Ajibola-010.jpghttp://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2012/06/2012-sdt-asian-americans-0232.pnghttp://familyinequality.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pew-asian-income.jpg?w=450&h=691http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2012/06/2012-sdt-asian-americans-0261.pngCar on donnera à celui qui a; mais à celui qui n’a pas on ôtera même ce qu’il a. Jésus (Marc 4: 25)
Je rêve que mes quatre petits enfants vivront un jour dans un pays où on ne les jugera pas à la couleur de leur peau mais à la nature de leur caractère. Martin Luther King
Vous allez dans certaines petites villes de Pennsylvanie où, comme dans beaucoup de petites villes du Middle West, les emplois ont disparu depuis maintenant 25 ans et n’ont été remplacés par rien d’autre (…) Et il n’est pas surprenant qu’ils deviennent pleins d’amertume, qu’ils s’accrochent aux armes à feu ou à la religion, ou à leur antipathie pour ceux qui ne sont pas comme eux, ou encore à un sentiment d’hostilité envers les immigrants. Barack Obama
Nous qui vivons dans les régions côtières des villes bleues, nous lisons plus de livres et nous allons plus souvent au théâtre que ceux qui vivent au fin fond du pays. Nous sommes à la fois plus sophistiqués et plus cosmopolites – parlez-nous de nos voyages scolaires en Chine et en Provence ou, par exemple, de notre intérêt pour le bouddhisme. Mais par pitié, ne nous demandez pas à quoi ressemble la vie dans l’Amérique rouge. Nous n’en savons rien. Nous ne savons pas qui sont Tim LaHaye et Jerry B. Jenkins. […] Nous ne savons pas ce que peut bien dire James Dobson dans son émission de radio écoutée par des millions d’auditeurs. Nous ne savons rien de Reba et Travis. […] Nous sommes très peu nombreux à savoir ce qu’il se passe à Branson dans le Missouri, même si cette ville reçoit quelque sept millions de touristes par an; pas plus que nous ne pouvons nommer ne serait-ce que cinq pilotes de stock-car. […] Nous ne savons pas tirer au fusil ni même en nettoyer un, ni reconnaître le grade d’un officier rien qu’à son insigne. Quant à savoir à quoi ressemble une graine de soja poussée dans un champ… David Brooks
Mon Dieu,donnez-moi la sérénité d’accepter les choses que je ne puis changer, le courage de changer les choses que je peux, dt la sagesse d’en connaître la différence. Prière de la sérénité (tatouage de Miss Kansas)
Il y a autant de racismes qu’il y a de groupes qui ont besoin de se justifier d’exister comme ils existent, ce qui constitue la fonction invariante des racismes. Il me semble très important de porter l’analyse sur les formes du racisme qui sont sans doute les plus subtiles, les plus méconnaissables, donc les plus rarement dénoncées, peut-être parce que les dénonciateurs ordinaires du racisme possèdent certaines des propriétés qui inclinent à cette forme de racisme. Je pense au racisme de l’intelligence. (…) Ce racisme est propre à une classe dominante dont la reproduction dépend, pour une part, de la transmission du capital culturel, capital hérité qui a pour propriété d’être un capital incorporé, donc apparemment naturel, inné. Le racisme de l’intelligence est ce par quoi les dominants visent à produire une "théodicée de leur propre privilège", comme dit Weber, c’est-à-dire une justification de l’ordre social qu’ils dominent. (…) Tout racisme est un essentialisme et le racisme de l’intelligence est la forme de sociodicée caractéristique d’une classe dominante dont le pouvoir repose en partie sur la possession de titres qui, comme les titres scolaires, sont censés être des garanties d’intelligence et qui ont pris la place, dans beaucoup de sociétés, et pour l’accès même aux positions de pouvoir économique, des titres anciens comme les titres de propriété et les titres de noblesse. Pierre Bourdieu
Dieu merci, le temps de la domination des barbies blondes peroxydées est révolu … Time
Quand on est miss America, on doit être américaine. Tweet
C’est l’élection de Miss Etats-Unis, pas Miss Inde. Tweet
Super, ils ont choisi une musulmane comme Miss America. Obama doit être heureux. Peut-être qu’il a voté. Tweet
Les juges de Miss America ne le diront jamais, mais Miss Kansas a perdu parce qu’elle représente réellement les valeurs américaines. Todd Starnes (Fox news)
Une fille au teint foncé comme Nina ne serait jamais devenue Miss Inde. Au moins, elle est devenue Miss America. Varun Agarwal
À cette miss New York aux allures pas assez "américaines" (encore faudrait-il définir ce qu’est un vrai américain parmi ce peuple originaire d’Afrique, d’Europe, ou encore d’Asie), ils préféraient miss Kansas : une femme blanche, sergent de l’armée américaine, arborant un insigne militaire de toute beauté tatoué sur l’épaule. Céline Husson-Alaya
Nous avons délibérément choisi de tenir cet événement juste avant la finale des Miss Monde afin de montrer qu’une alternative existe pour les musulmanes. Créatrice du concours Miss Muslimah
Margaret Gorman represents the type of womanhood America needs, strong, red-blooded, able to shoulder the responsibilities of homemaking and motherhood. It is in her type that the hope of the country rests. The NYT (1921)
There she is, Miss America There she is, your ideal The dreams of a million girls Who are more than pretty May come true in Atlantic City Oh she may turn out to be The queen of femininity There she is, Miss America There she is, your ideal With so many beauties She’ll take the town by storm With her all-American face and form And there she is Walking on air she is Fairest of the fair she is Miss America. Jingle de Miss America
Thank God I have lived long enough that this nation has been able to select the beautiful young woman of color to be Miss America. Shirley Chisholm (Congresswoman)
Beauty contests are ways that if you live in a poor neighborhood, you can imagine getting ahead because it is a way up. It is a way to scholarships, to attention, and it’s one of the few things that you see out there as a popular symbol. When I was living in a kind of factory working neighborhood of Toledo, the K-Part television Miss TV contest, something like that, was advertised. And I decided I would try to enter the contest even though I was underage. I think I was 16 and the limit was, was 18. So I lied about my age. It wasn’t a terrible experience. It was a surrealistic experience. You had to put on your bathing suit and walk and stand on a beer keg. I did three or four different kinds of dances. Spanish and Russian and heaven knows what. I thought I would get money for college. And it seemed glamorous. It seemed to me in high school like a way out of a not too great life in a pretty poor neighborhood. Gloria Steinem
In spite of cringe-worth flaws of the pageant [like the bikini-in-heels (aka "swimsuit") competition], Nina Davuluri, the new Miss America, probably represents some of the best qualities and aspirations of "modern" America. Here’s why: America was built on a dream of hard work by people from all over the world. She and her family certainly fit that ideal. Her father is a physician and she aspires to be one as well. (…) Thanks to the life her parents built (from scratch), and her own hard work-ethic, she graduated from the University of Michigan debt-free. She’s a great example of working through failure and difficulty, and getting back up again. This shows in her struggle against bulimia. For fifteen years she studied classical Indian dance, refining a nuanced art form. She was gutsy enough to showcase a fusion of classical and Bollywood dance in her talent act (…) Her platform: "Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency" couldn’t be more timely. (…) When headlines all over the world proclaim Nina Davuluri as Miss America, this stops anti-Americans in their tracks. They see that the USA can live up to its values, as the land of the free, home of the brave. It’s where dreams for a better life come true. It’s where diverse people are welcomed. It’s full of beauty and sparkles and anything is possible. Homa Sabet Tavangar
Half of employed Asian Americans (50%) are in management, professional and related occupations, a higher share than the roughly 40% for employed Americans overall. Many of these occupations require advanced degrees. (…) These high levels of educational attainment are a factor in the occupational profile of Asian Americans, especially their concentration in the fields of science and engineering. Among adults, 14% of Asian Americans hold these types of jobs, compared with 5% of the U.S. population overall. The share among Indians is 28%. Another facet of the Asian-American occupational profile is the high share of immigrants from Asian countries who are in the U.S. under the H1-B visa program. These visas were authorized under the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1990 to increase the inflow of highly skilled “guest workers” from abroad. Asian countries are now the source of about three-quarters of such temporary visas. In 2011, India alone accounted for 72,438 of the 129,134 H1-B visas granted, or 56% (…) Among Indian Americans ages 25 and older, seven-in-ten (70%) have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree; this is higher than the Asian-American share (49%) and much higher than the national share (28%). Median annual personal earnings for Indian-American full-time, year-round workers are $65,000, significantly higher than for all Asian Americans ($48,000) as well as for all U.S. adults ($40,000). Among households, the median annual income for Indians is $88,000, much higher than for all Asians ($66,000) and all U.S. households ($49,800). (…) The share of adult Indian Americans who live in poverty is 9%, lower than the shares of all Asian Americans (12%) and of the U.S. population overall (13%). (…) Compared with other U.S. Asian groups, Indian Americans are the most likely to identify with the Democratic Party; 65% are Democrats or lean to the Democrats, 18% are Republican or lean to the Republicans. Pew (2012)
Les Indiens-américains sont en effet une nouvelle "minorité modèle". Ce terme remonte aux années 1960 quand les Americains d’origine asiatique – les Chinois, Japonais et Coréens – étaient connus pour leurs hautes qualifications et hauts revenus. Les ressortissants d’Asie du nord-est continuent d’exceller aux États-Unis, mais parmi les groupes minoritaires, les Indiens sont clairement le dernier et meilleur "modèle". En 2007, le revenu médian des ménages dirigés par un Indien-américain était d’environ 83 000 $, comparativement à 61 000 $ pour les ressortissants d’Asie du nord-est et 55 000 $ pour les Blancs. Environ 69 % des Indiens-américains de 25 ans et plus sont au moins détenteurs d’une licence, ce qui éclipse les taux de 51 % et 30 % atteints respectivement par les Asiatiques en général et les Blancs. Les Indiens-américains sont également moins susceptibles d’être pauvres ou en prison par rapport aux Blancs. Alors pourquoi les Indiens-Américains s’en sortent-ils si bien ? Une réponse naturelle est l’autosélection. Quelqu’un qui est prêt à s’arracher à ses racines et à traverser la moitié du monde aura tendance à être plus ambitieux et travailleur que la moyenne. Mais les gens veulent venir aux États-Unis pour de nombreuses raisons dont certaines – comme par exemple le rapprochement familial – ont peu à voir avec l’ardeur au travail. En fin de compte, la politique d’immigration décide quels types de qualités nos immigrants possèdent. En vertu de notre politique d’immigration actuelle, une majorité d’immigrants légaux aux États-Unis obtiennent la carte verte (résidence permanente) car ils ont des liens familiaux avec des citoyens américains, mais un petit nombre (15 % en 2007) sont choisis spécifiquement pour leur valeur sur le marché du travail. La proportion d’immigrants indiens qui ont reçu une carte verte liée à l’emploi est l’une des plus élevées de toutes les nationalités. Par conséquent, c’est principalement l’élite instruite indienne et ses proches qui vient aux États-Unis. Forbes

Miss America a-elle trahi le Rêve américain ?

Alors qu’en cette saison finissante de l’été et de ses habituels concours de beauté

Où tous voiles dehors la troisième Miss Muslimah nous bassine de ses versets d’un livre prétendument "incréé" à qui l’on doit sur son seul continent d’origine une énième boucherie au Kénya et les destructions à présent quasi-hebdomadaires d’églises chrétiennes …

La première Miss Monde philippine, dont le concours sous la pression des islamistes avait dû être déplacé à Bali, est non seulement née aux Etats-Unis de père américain mais déjà actrice confirmée …

Comment ne pas voir, avec l’élection récente de la première Miss America d’origine indienne qui triomphe avec un numéro digne de Bollywood mais dont le teint foncé n’aurait probablement jamais permis l’élection en Inde même, la trahison précisément du Rêve américain qu’elle était censée servir ?

Et ne pas comprendre du coup les réactions dites "racistes" qui ont accompagné, derrière cette lutte entre l’urbanité d’une Miss New York,  fille de gynécologue et future médecin elle-même, et la ruralité d’une Miss Kansas, blonde diane chasseresse aux rangers et tatouages religieux et militaire, l’apparent couronnement du produit de la plus grande concentration de privilèges ?

Où la géniale mais bassement commerciale trouvaille (probable reprise des fêtes médiévales du premier mai) du fameux Barnum des femmes à barbe et des cirques du même nom pour allonger la saison touristique des plages américaines et servir accessoirement de marche-pied pour Hollywood (Dorothy Lamour, Miss Louisiana 1931), la mode ou la publicité (jusqu’à 100 000 dollars annuels pour Miss 1926, soit plus que le champion de baseball Babe Ruth ou le président des Etats-Unis !) à la première jeune Américaine venue …

Qui sous la pression des ligues de vertu religieuses puis féministes et entre la première lauréate juive (et future candidate au Sénat au lendemain du génocide de 1945), la première Noire (1984) ou la première handicapée (2005), avait progressivement abandonné les manteaux de fourrure et bijoux des débuts pour devenir le premier fournisseur de bourses d’étude pour filles au monde (quelque 45 millions annuels pour 12 000 jeunes filles dont un total de 340 000 dollars pour l’élection finale et 50 000 pour la gagnante) …

Finit en fait entre le désormais sacrosaint impératif de diversité, la multiplication des épreuves toujours plus "intelligentes" (comme par ailleurs, sans compter les dérives de la chirurgie esthétique et des concours pour enfants, d’autres concours tels Miss Monde, Miss Univers, Miss International ou Miss Terre !) et cet adoubemment d’une nouvelle "minorité modèle" qui ajoute à présent l’ultime luxe de la beauté aux plus hauts taux de diplômés et revenus des Etats-Unis …

Par remplacer (ne nous avait-on pas déjà fait le coup en 2008 avec l’élection qui avait viré au concours de beauté politiquement correct du premier président américain de couleur ?) un racisme (ethnique) par un autre (social) ?

Has Miss America betrayed the American dream?

JC Durbant

October 2, 2013

What is more American than Miss America and its idea that any well-deserving American girl will make it to the top ? But with the recent controversial election of Miss America 2014, has America’s oldest beauty pageant really kept its promise of unlimited personal progress ?

To be sure, over its 92 years of existence, America’s favorite beauty contest has had its share of criticism: immorality, commercialism, dehumanization, over-sexualization, even racism. Yet over the years it has always seemed to adapt with the times, introducing ever more advances such as a talent competition, scholarships, evening gowns or allowing non-white participants. Thus, 1945 saw the election of the first Jewish American girl and 1983 the crowning of the first of many non-white contestants, including this year’s first Indian-American. And even if it did start as a marketing device to make Labor Day tourists prolong their stay at the Atlantic beaches, it did provide an opportunity for ordinary young women such as Hollywood superstar Dorothy Lamour to realize their American dream in the form of advertising or movie contracts. In fact, it even helped its first Jewish winner to enter politics and run for the Senate in 1980. Or provided initial exposure to one of today’s most powerful and influential women in America and in the world, namely talk show host Oprah Winfrey. And over the years it has distributed millions and millions of dollars in scholarship money to the point where it is now the world’s largest provider of scholarships to women.

So how to explain the controversy which this year’s election has just generated ? After all, Miss America’s first Indian-American winner has got all the talent, brains and beauty that one can expect from the woman that is supposed to represent the best of America’s womanhood for a year ? Shall it be assigned to the usual cause of racism that America’s slowly-dwindling white majority has been known for in the past ? Or could it be that Miss America is just the victim of its own success? After raising, one after another, its standards over the years as a response to the criticisms of which it was the object, America’s oldest beauty pageant now finds itself electing the best America can offer. An India-American gynecologist’s daughter with the brightest education record and plans to be a physician herself, Nina Davuluri is the perfect example of a new model minority that is already the best educated and best-off of all the ethnic groups in the country -whites included. Hence perhaps the not-to-unexpected resentment of some in a white majority that in these days of recession is fast losing ground.

But is this not in fact one of the inherent contradictions of the American dream itself – and the source of America’s persistent and even increasing inequalities – in which only the best are supposed to win and where therefore you end up rewarding the least needy in the end ?

Voir aussi:

La nouvelle Miss America est d’origine indienne (donc arabe, musulmane et fanatique d’Al-Qaïda)

Céline Husson-Alaya

Femmes, féminins, féminismes

La plus belle femme des États-Unis est d’origine indienne. Rien de bien étonnant en soi en Amérique, terre d’immigration et de métissage par excellence. Nina Davuluri, grande brune à la peau mate née dans l’État de New York il y a 24 ans, a été élue Miss America 2014 le 15 septembre au soir.

Mais cette élection a visiblement courroucé certains conservateurs. Non pas pour le côté suranné d’un concours de beauté féminine tout à fait discutable au XXIème siècle, mais parce que certains estiment que la belle Nina n’est pas assez américaine. Pire, elle serait arabe (passons sur le fait que toutes les personnes mates de peau ne sont pas nécessairement arabes, et que les Indiens le sont encore moins). Double tare, elle serait musulmane (comme Barack Obama en fait, c’est une conspiration). Provocation ultime : lors de "l’épreuve des talents", elle a interprété un mélange de danse traditionnelle indienne et de mouvements de films de Bollywood. N’en jetez plus.

La nouvelle miss a été lynchée de tweets racistes sur le site de micro-blogging. "Quand on est miss America, on doit être Américaine", "Quand est-ce qu’une femme blanche sera élue Miss America ? Jamais ?", "Ils ont choisi une musulmane pour devenir Miss America. Obama a dû être content. Peut-être qu’il faisait partie du jury". "Comment une étrangère peut gagner ? C’est une Arabe !". Sans compter une réflexion de toute beauté : "#MissAmerica hmmm quoi ? Avons-nous oublié le 11 septembre ? " et le splendide : "C’est plutôt miss Terroriste #MissAmerica".

Comme on dit, la bave de crapaud n’atteint pas la blanche colombe, qui déclarait après son couronnement : "Je suis si heureuse que cette institution prenne en compte la diversité". "Nous sommes en train d’écrire l’histoire ici, en tant qu’Asiatiques américaines", alors que la communauté asio-américaine compte 18,2 millions de personnes aux États-Unis (5,7% de la population). Balayant la polémique, la reine de beauté affirmait lors de sa première conférence de presse : "Je dois m’élever au-dessus de ça". "Je me suis toujours considérée en premier lieu et avant tout comme une Américaine", elle qui racontait avoir dû combattre les préjugés sur sa culture durant cette année d’élection (certains étaient convaincus que ses parents allaient organiser un mariage arrangée pour elle).

À cette miss New York aux allures pas assez "américaines" (encore faudrait-il définir ce qu’est un vrai américain parmi ce peuple originaire d’Afrique, d’Europe, ou encore d’Asie), ils préféraient miss Kansas : une femme blanche, sergent de l’armée américaine, arborant un insigne militaire de toute beauté tatoué sur l’épaule.

Ni musulmane, ni Indienne, et encore moins arabe, (et quand bien même) Nina Davuluri est une étudiante diplômée de l’Université du Michigan qui souhaite devenir médecin, comme son père, gynécologue obstétricien, et souhaite utiliser l’argent de sa victoire, non pas pour financer Al-Qaïda, mais pour payer l’université. Et réaliser son rêve américain.

Ce n’est pas la première fois qu’une miss America est la cible d’attaques racistes. En 2010, Rima Fakih, une jeune femme d’origine libanaise, était la cible des mêmes relents haineux. Car d’origine libanaise, donc arabe, donc musulmane et donc sans doute terroriste, elle était accusée de militer pour le Hezbollah.

Voir également:

Non, Miss America n’est pas une terroriste !

L’attribution de la couronne de Miss America à Nina Davuluri, une Américaine originaire de l’Etat de l’Andhra Pradesh, a déchaîné une véritable hystérie raciste en ligne. Des nombreux utilisateurs de Twitter ont vu en elle une terroriste arabe. Une histoire à vite oublier, estime le quotidien.

Neeti Sarkar

The Hindu

19 Septembre 2013

Quand Nina Davuluri est devenue la première Américaine d’origine indienne à remporter le titre de Miss America [le 16 septembre], tweets malveillants et autres commentaires racistes se sont multipliés sur les réseaux sociaux.

Aujourd’hui, avec la révolution des télécommunications, n’importe qui peut dire n’importe quoi sur le web. La démocratie Internet est une hydre. Les commentaires [racistes] sur Nina y voisinent avec ceux, peut-être plus nombreux encore, qui prennent sa défense. Bina Hanchinamani Ellefsen, une avocate de Seattle, se dit "mal à l’aise face aux commentaires racistes au sujet d’une Miss America d’origine indienne. Nous ne sommes pas moins américains parce que nos ancêtres étaient indiens et non pas européens."

Quant à Nimisha Gandhi, gestionnaire dans le monde de la mode, elle "déplore qu’un pays par ailleurs si avancé soit si arriéré dans sa mentalité. Et sur les réseaux, dès qu’il s’agit de dénigrer quelqu’un à cause de sa couleur de peau ou de sa religion, les commentaires pleuvent. Je suis désolé pour cette belle fille intelligente et forte qui a été traitée de tous les noms. D’un autre côté, je suis contente qu’un jury américain ne se soit pas laissé influencer par les différences raciales."

"On est choqué de lire tant de commentaires racistes sur Twitter, s’indigne la journaliste et blogueuse Divya Sehgal. Et c’est effrayant de s’apercevoir que les Américains d’origine asiatique ne sont toujours pas reconnus comme des Américains. Cela dit, je pense que c’est le fait d’une petite minorité. Si vous faites défiler l’article de Buzzfeed [site qui a mis en ligne les commentaires postés sur Twitter], vous verrez combien d’Américains sont choqués par ces propos racistes. Donc, si le racisme est déplorable, j’ose espérer qu’il n’est qu’une goutte d’eau dans un immense océan non raciste."

"Nina ne serait jamais devenue Miss Inde"

Tandis que la plupart des Indiens sont attristés par ce qui s’est passé aux Etats-Unis, l’entrepreneur et auteur Varun Agarwal a reçu 600 commentaires favorables sous son message [posté sur Facebook]. "Une fille au teint foncé comme Nina ne serait jamais devenue Miss Inde, écrivait-il. Au moins, elle est devenue Miss America."

Selon la psychologue Jamuna Tripathi, "nous vivons malheureusement dans un monde qui perpétue les stéréotypes. La société rend complexés les gens à la peau foncée. L’aspect positif, c’est que Nina est restée très digne face à l’adversité. Sa confiance en elle et sa maturité sont vraiment la marque d’une gagnante."

Tout en rappelant qu’il serait temps de prendre de la hauteur, l’ancienne Miss Inde et Miss Terre 2010, Nicole Faria, affirme : "Chacun a le droit d’avoir ses opinions et, dans les concours de beauté, tout le monde peut avoir un point de vue différent ; la beauté est dans l’œil de celui qui regarde. Ce qui est bien, c’est que le résultat est définitif, et, même si certains peuvent voir les choses autrement, le verdict est tombé. Nina a remporté la couronne. En tant qu’Indienne, ça fait chaud au cœur. Rappelons-nous que la beauté et la bonté ont triomphé, et ne laissons rien ternir de cette victoire si méritée."

Voir aussi:

Attaques racistes

"Miss America est une terroriste"

Clémentine Rebillat

Paris Match

16 septembre 2013

Nina Davuluri, la nouvelle Miss America, a été élue dimanche soir. A peine a-t-elle eu le temps de savourer sa victoire que la jeune femme d’origine indienne a été la cible d’insultes racistes.

Quelques minutes après son sacre, Nina Davuluri déclarait: «Je suis tellement contente que cette organisation laisse une large place à la diversité». La nouvelle Miss America 2014 n’avait pas encore conscience du flot d’insultes dont elle allait être la victime. La jeune femme de 24 ans d’origine indienne qui a remporté dimanche soir à Atlantic City le prestigieux concours de Miss est au coeur d’une polémique. Malgré sa grâce, ses talents de danseuse et ses brillantes études -elle souhaite devenir médecin et compte utiliser l’argent de son couronnement pour payer l’université- Nina ne fait pas l’unanimité. Loin de là.

Miss America

Au moment où son nom a été annoncé par le présentateur, la sublime brune à la beauté exotique a déclenché un flot d’insultes racistes sur les réseaux sociaux. «Si tu es Miss America, tu dois être Américaine», a lancé un internaute. «Super, ils ont choisi une musulmane comme Miss America. Obama doit être heureux. Peut-être qu’il a voté», a écrit un autre. «Miss New York est une Indienne… Avec tout votre respect, c’est l’Amérique», «Et une Arabe devient Miss Amérique. Classique», «#Miss Amérique. Avons-nous oublié le 11-Septembre?», «Miss America est une terroriste», «C’est Miss America ou Miss Al Qaïda?» ont posté d’autres téléspectateurs…

"La domination des Barbie blondes peroxydées est révolue"

Pour beaucoup d’internautes, ce n’est pas Nina qui aurait dû gagner mais Miss Kansas, une sculpturale blonde tatouée, militaire, parachutiste, boxeuse et championne de tir à l’arc. Theresa Vail n’hésite jamais à poser en treillis ou arme à la main. Une image de l’Amérique conservatrice que les détracteurs de Nina auraient voulu gagnante. «Les juges de Miss America ne le diront jamais, mais Miss Kansas a perdu parce qu’elle représente réellement les valeurs américaines», a réagi sur Twitter l’animateur de la Fox, Todd Starnes.

Pourtant, Nina Davuluri, qui, plus jeune, s’est battue contre des troubles alimentaires, a elle aussi une histoire forte. Farouchement opposée à la chirurgie esthétique -un fait rare dans les élections de miss aux Etats-Unis- son père est un éminent médecin, un métier qu’elle veut exercer, d’après CNN. Le «Time» de son côté se félicite que le «temps de la domination des Barbie blondes peroxydées est révolu». Si beaucoup d’internautes se sont déchainés contre la gagnante, d’autres n’ont pas hésité à prendre sa défense, critiquant «l’ignorance» des auteurs.

Malgré la polémique, Nina Davuluri est bien décidée à profiter de son sacre et ne compte pas se laisser abattre par les insultes. En conférence de presse, elle a déclaré qu’elle «devait passer au-dessus de tout ça». «Je me suis toujours vue avant tout comme une Américaine», a-t-elle ajouté. Pour son premier déplacement en tant que Miss America, cette passionnée de Bollywood devrait se rendre dans le New Jersey, sur les lieux de l’ouragan Sandy.

Voir encore:

Les «Miss musulmanes» répliquent à «Miss Monde»

Chloé Woitier, AFP, AP, Reuters Agences

Le Figaro

18/09/2013

Ce concours de beauté où la piété et l’engagement comptent autant que la beauté aura lieu en Indonésie quelques jours avant la grande finale de Miss Monde, qui se déroule cette année dans le même pays.

Alors que, sur l’île de Bali, les Miss de tous les continents sont en pleine préparation de l’élection de Miss Monde, un concours de beauté d’un autre genre s’apprête à avoir lieu à près de 1000 kilomètres de là. La capitale de l’Indonésie, Jakarta, accueille en effet ce mercredi la finale de World Muslimah 2013, ou Miss musulmane du Monde.

Si World Muslimah reste avant tout un concours de beauté – la taille et le poids des 20 finalistes sont listés sur le site officiel du concours -, la sélection des jeunes femmes s’est faite sur des critères religieux. Pour participer, il est en effet obligatoire de porter le voile islamique, et de savoir lire parfaitement les versets du Coran. Les photos jointes au dossier de candidature doivent se faire «dans une tenue conforme aux standards musulmans», qui ne «laisse pas voir les courbes du corps», «empêche de deviner la peau et les cheveux», et dont le voile «est suffisamment long pour couvrir les oreilles, le cou et la poitrine». «Vos poses doivent être élégantes, nous recherchons avant tout la modestie», souligne le site officiel.

Dans les coulisses du concours

«Porter le voile n’empêche pas de réussir sa carrière»

Les candidates, âgées de 18 à 27 ans, doivent également expliquer dans leur dossier de candidature pourquoi elles ont choisi de mettre le voile. Mais la dévotion ne fait pas tout. Les jeunes femmes doivent également justifier d’une activité professionnelle, associative, artistique ou sportive qui met en avant leurs talents et leurs qualités morales. «Ce que je recherche, c’est une personnalité forte, quelqu’un qui aide sa communauté et prouve que la beauté n’est pas que corporelle», explique l’une des juges du concours.

Les candidates de World Muslimah, sélectionnées sur Internet, ont également dû préparer une vidéo pour se présenter. La jeune femme actuellement la plus populaire – 889 votes sur le site officiel – est originaire de Bali. Âgée de 21 ans, Febrian Nur Vianti explique dans sa vidéo être passionnée de mode et s’exercer à créer ses chaussures pour lancer à terme sa propre entreprise. On la voit également réciter longuement des versets du Coran, et «espérer que sa candidature prouvera aux jeunes musulmanes que porter le voile n’empêche pas de réussir sa carrière».

Miss Monde, «un concours de prostituées»

Les 20 finalistes, originaires d’Indonésie, d’Iran, de Malaisie, du Nigeria, de Bangladesh et du Brunei, se sont fait offrir un voyage à Jakarta pour préparer la finale et ont effectué un stage spirituel de trois jours. La grande gagnante pourra partir tous frais payés à La Mecque pour réaliser son pélerinage, tandis que ses dauphines participeront à des «voyages éducatifs» en Inde, Turquie, et au Brunei.

La grande finale de World Muslimah aura lieu quelques jours avant celle de Miss Monde, qui est sous le feu des critiques des islamistes d’Indonésie. Ces derniers ont dénoncé un «concours de prostituées» et obtenu que la finale soit déplacée de Jakarta à Bali, île à majorité hindouiste. Les organisateurs de World Muslimah ne sont pas associés à ces critiques. «Nous avons délibérément choisi de tenir cet événement juste avant la finale des Miss Monde afin de montrer qu’une alternative existe pour les musulmanes», affirme la créatrice du concours, qui avait été licenciée de la télévision indonésienne en 2006 pour avoir refusé de retirer son voile à l’antenne. «Nous préférons montrer à nos filles qu’elles ont le choix entre Miss Monde et Miss musulmanes».

Voir également:

5 Reasons the First Indian-American Crowned Miss America Represents Best Aspirations for Modern America

Homa Sabet Tavangar

Huffington Post

09/16/2013

I didn’t watch Miss America, but now I wish I had. Monday morning I woke up to a fascinating news feed about backlash on the winner, Miss New York, an Indian-American, and a first. But just as her mascara-punctuated tears began to flow as the tiara graced her perfect coif, the haters on Twitter reared their narrow-minded heads. Here’s an example of the media coverage, from CNN.com, with the headline:

Miss America Crowns 1st Winner of Indian Descent; racist tweets flow

The Tweets included this racist one from Todd Starnes, host of Fox News and Commentary: "The liberal Miss America judges won’t say this – but Miss Kansas lost because she actually represented American values. #missamerica"

Many, many Tweets protested her being "Arab" (really?!), Muslim (she’s Hindu) and not American (she was born in Syracuse, NY and has lived in Oklahoma and Michigan as well).

In spite of cringe-worth flaws of the pageant [like the bikini-in-heels (aka "swimsuit") competition], Nina Davuluri, the new Miss America, probably represents some of the best qualities and aspirations of "modern" America. Here’s why:

America was built on a dream of hard work by people from all over the world. She and her family certainly fit that ideal. Her father is a physician and she aspires to be one as well.

The Founding Fathers were slave owners and came from Europe. Obviously, to be true to the ideals they enshrined, we don’t need to continue to live and look like them.

Thanks to the life her parents built (from scratch), and her own hard work-ethic, she graduated from the University of Michigan debt-free.

She’s a great example of working through failure and difficulty, and getting back up again. This shows in her struggle against bulimia. For fifteen years she studied classical Indian dance, refining a nuanced art form. She was gutsy enough to showcase a fusion of classical and Bollywood dance in her talent act (this made me want to try it!). Here’s a clip:

Her platform: "Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency" couldn’t be more timely. She chose this in part since she had to dispel so many misconceptions about her culture through the year, such as whether her parents will arrange a marriage for her. With the national spotlight, these prejudices are obviously rampant and growing, but it also offers an opening for a meaningful conversation: What is "cultural competency" and why does it matter? What are the values you hold dear as an American? Does she represent them? Does her brown skin and non-European heritage stand in the way of appreciating her accomplishment?

When headlines all over the world proclaim Nina Davuluri as Miss America, this stops anti-Americans in their tracks. They see that the USA can live up to its values, as the land of the free, home of the brave. It’s where dreams for a better life come true. It’s where diverse people are welcomed. It’s full of beauty and sparkles and anything is possible. Millions of dollars in weapons couldn’t convince youth in Iraq or Afghanistan or Egypt of this fact, but Nina’s smile just might.

Voir encore:

Will the Next Miss America Wear Combat Boots?

Susan Kraus

Huffington Post

09/03/2013

There is a Miss America contestant this year whose platform is "Empowering Women: Overcoming Stereotypes and Breaking Barriers."

2013-09-02-_51K65811.jpg

Her name is Theresa Marie Vail, Miss Kansas, and she’ll be breaking a few barriers herself.

Theresa is in the military. She enlisted in the Army National Guard, raised her right hand and took the oath to "support and defend" just three weeks after her 17th birthday. She completed basic training the summer between her junior and senior years of high school, and AIT (Advanced Individual Training) as a mechanic between high school and college. She was the only woman in her class, and graduated #1. After three years she transferred to a medical detachment and went to dental tech school where she also graduated at the top of her class.

She’s not the first contestant to be in the military. There’s been one: Miss Utah 2007, Jill Stephens, a medic in the Utah National Guard. They have similarities: commitment to service, dedication to country, and almost no experience as a contestant.

Theresa entered her first pageant just nine months ago.

"I never thought about it until a mentor, in my unit, explained how the recognition could help with what I want to do as a role model," Theresa explained in a recent interview.

As a child she was teased and bullied, and was shy and insecure as a result. But she overcame obstacles, relied on her religious faith, and worked very hard to become the leader she is today.

Theresa is a young woman who excels. Now 22, she’s a Kansas State University senior with a double major in Chemistry and Chinese (with a 3.8 GPA in Chinese) – the first because she wants to be a dentist and the second because it’s a challenge. Theresa loves a challenge. Tell her she can’t do something and then stand back and watch her go.

She’s an expert marksman on the M 16. She’s an expert bow hunter. She skydives. She boxes. She’s working on a private pilot license. She started motorcycle racing but stopped after a crash in which she broke all the fingers her right hand (hard to be a good dentist without flexible fingers.)

With pageant festivities back this year in Atlantic City (where Miss America began in 1921), the "Show Us Your Shoes Parade" will return to the famed boardwalk. The September 14th parade will be televised live for the first time ever (and will be lead-in to the pageant itself on the 15th). This is where contestants flash extravagantly decorated, often state-themed, girly-girly high heels to laughing crowds yelling "Show us your shoes."

Only Theresa will be in uniform, wearing combat boots instead of four-inch heels.

When it comes to the bathing suit competition, Theresa will be breaking another barrier: she’ll be the first contestant ever with visible tattoos. No itty-bitty rose hidden under a bikini top for this girl. She has the insignia for the U.S. Army Dental Corps on her left shoulder. The Serenity Prayer ("God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference") flows down her right side.

"It’s my personal mission statement," Theresa said.

Of course, Theresa is also – if one can use this description for someone trained to shoot to kill – drop-dead gorgeous.

When asked about what she is most proud of, she grinned.

"I just got promoted. I made sergeant," she said. "And I re-enlisted for six years."

So, if things get wild in Atlantic City in a few weeks, this would be another Miss America first: Here she comes, Miss America … Miss Kansas… Sgt. Theresa Marie Vail.

Voir de même:

Combat boots, tattoos, and a Miss Kansas pageant sash

Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, at a Miss America event in Atlantic City. Vail, an Army National Guard sergeant, is an expert marksman, used to race motorcycles, and likes to skydive and bow-hunt for deer.

Jacqueline L. Urgo

Inquirer

September 13, 2013

ATLANTIC CITY – Hey, Kansas, your beauty queen wears combat boots!

And has big tattoos, too.

As an active member of the military, Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail – ahem, Army National Guard Sgt. Vail – may just have a slightly different take on world peace than the typical Miss America pageant contestant.

She’s also drop-dead gorgeous – literally. The slender blonde is an expert marksman who apparently knows her way around an M-16. She raced motorcycles as a teen until she broke her fingers. She is fluent in Chinese (she has a 3.8 GPA at Kansas State University) and likes to skydive and bow-hunt for deer. She’s working on a hunting series in production for the Outdoor Channel. (She will be the host.)

While her Miss America profile head shot has her looking like a supermodel, decked out in a hot-pink outfit, fluffed hair, and dangle earrings, other promo websites feature photos of her in full camouflage garb sporting a hunting rifle, bow and arrow, even posing with her prey (a deer, a fox).

But Vail is among only a handful of Miss America Pageant contestants to have military credentials. She is a dental technician with a National Guard medical unit based out of Kansas. Five pageant women since 1992 have been active-duty military, and Miss Utah 2007, Jill Stevens, was the first to work in a combat zone.

Also, Vail, 22, competing this week in the 2014 Miss America Pageant, is the first contestant ever to sport visible tattoos. Sure, other contestants have had tattoos – tiny, hidden ones, according to pageant officials.

But Vail’s big bold tat, of the Serenity Prayer, flanks her entire right midriff. She also sports the insignia of the Army Dental Corps on her left shoulder. The university senior aspires to be an Army dentist.

"No one expects a soldier to be a beauty queen. . . . Right now, everyone thinks of Miss America as this girl on a pedestal, and I want her to come down from that. She is just a normal girl," Vail said in a recent interview with a newspaper in Kansas.

So there it was, the big tattoo, when she competed Tuesday night in the swimsuit portion of the three-night preliminary competition. She didn’t win, wearing a bright-red bikini and the tattoo, done in scrolly vintage lettering.

But she apparently scored one for the atypical beauty queen crowd.

With no beauty contest experience, Vail entered her first pageant just nine months ago and became Miss Leavenworth County before winning Miss Kansas in June. Her pageant platform is "Empowering Women: Overcoming Stereotypes and Breaking Barriers."

It’s a subject Vail – who says she was bullied and teased through school – holds dear, hoping to inspire other young women to be whatever they choose.

Even for Saturday’s much-anticipated "Show Us Your Shoes" Parade – an all-out glittery spectacle where the contestants get to show off their flashy side – Vail is opting to wear her camouflage Army uniform and combat boots instead of the de rigueur five-inch heels and evening gowns being worn by most of the other women.

The next night, the Miss America Pageant will be televised live beginning at 9 on ABC.

"I think Miss Kansas’ participation in the pageant," said Sharon Pearce, president of the Miss America Organization, "shows us the diverse women that are involved in the competition."

Miss Kansas

Name: Theresa Vail.

Hometown: Manhattan, Kan.

Age: 22.

Education: Leavenworth High, Kansas State University.

Platform issue: Empowering women, overcoming stereotypes, and breaking barriers.

Scholastic ambition: To obtain a doctor of dental surgery degree.

Talent: Vocal.

Scholastic honors: Georganne Howler Chemistry Scholarship recipient; distinguished honor graduate of Army School of Ordnance; distinguished honor graduate of Army School of Health Science.

Career ambition: To become a prosthodontist for the Army.

About Face: Military Service and Miss America

Anu Bhagwati

Makers

September 19, 2013

I fully admit it—I’m steeped in judgment about beauty pageants as an industry, and I still wrestle with assumptions about the women and girls who participate in them. Almost all I can stomach on the topic is Miss Congeniality, in which Sandra Bullock plays a gung-ho FBI agent who goes undercover as Miss New Jersey at a national pageant and is forced to endure all of the industry’s sexist humiliations to pass as “gorgeous”—mandatory starvation, bikini waxing, high heels and all. Her resistance to the industry and her tough-guy attitude make the subject matter not only palatable but also even therapeutic.

Before you judge, let me share the negative impact the so-called “beauty industry” has had on me and almost every girl and woman I know—hours upon hours, spent week after week, for years on end, obsession with self-hatred, guilt or shame for how we look, what we do or do not eat, and how we must dress, speak and act in order to earn our family’s and society’s acceptance, and power and influence in the world. Miss America plays a role in shaping these powerfully defeating narratives in the lives of women and girls across the nation.

However, by the look of it, the face of national pageantry, if not the substance, is changing in apparently new and exciting ways. Plenty of attention has been a paid to the winner, Nina Davuluri, but I’m just as interested in Sergeant Theresa Vail, otherwise known as Miss Kansas, who made media waves as the first contestant ever to bare her tattoos. It’s not the first time a military woman has entered the pageant –Sergeant Jill Stevens, a combat medic, competed in 2008—and it certainly won’t be the last. But the media obsession with the “Serenity Prayer” tattooed around Vail’s midriff is less about women expressing themselves in authentic and edgy ways than it is about varying the same old theme on objectifying women’s bodies.

I don’t blame or resent Sgt. Vail for participating—I actually admire her talent and drive. And I don’t hold her even remotely responsible for either reforming the beauty pageant industry or for representing all military women everywhere. But I disagree with her that being Miss America and being a soldier are “one and the same”—you are not likely to get shot wearing the Miss America crown, and the average service member sacrifices a hell of a lot of comfort and privilege, unlike a crowned beauty queen.

Most of all, I am disappointed and indignant that the most national attention service women got this month (during a time of war, no less) was when the National Guardsman bared her skin in a red bikini and platform heels on prime time television. And that is entirely the fault of a sexist industry and the narrow-minded society that gives rise to it. Because to feature the sacrifices of women, women who have literally fought and died for this country, women who have accomplished great feats of leadership while in uniform might too provocatively subvert the gender status quo as we know it.

I’m reminded of a high profile event I reluctantly attended at New York City’s Fashion Week a couple years ago called, “Fatigues to Fabulous.” It was organized by several groups to, presumably, help women veterans and supported by several high profile fashion designers. The implication (and an actual suggestion) that what women veterans needed most when returning from war was to look “beautiful” still makes my stomach turn. If lipstick, stiletto heels and a $5000 dress could heal posttraumatic stress, they would definitely be onto something.

I discussed Sgt. Vail’s participation in the pageant with my fellow staff members at SWAN, women who have worn the uniform, deployed overseas and commanded troops. There was a palpable sense among us that we know what it’s like to be judged by our looks, to have our bodies scrutinized, to have to command mostly male troops within a climate of harassment and discrimination. At the end of the day, baring tattoos as a form of self-expression doesn’t erase the fact that Vail had to wear a bikini to express herself or that in the eyes of national media, a woman warrior is defined more by her looks when she’s undressed than by what she can do in uniform.

Voir par ailleurs:

Miss America

PBS

Film Description

On September 17, 1983, a long-legged 20-year-old sashayed across the stage at Convention Hall in Atlantic City. As the orchestra started to play, her powerful voice launched into "Happy Days are Here Again." Millions of Americans sat transfixed in front of their televisions. It was no surprise when the slender, hazel-eyed brunette was back on stage later in the evening among the pageant finalists. But what happened next made history. As the emcee announced: "And our new Miss America is… Vanessa Williams," the young woman’s mother leaned forward on her couch at home and in hushed tones, whispered "finally, finally."

Williams was the first African American woman to be crowned Miss America. Black leaders claimed her victory as a milestone in American racial history. Some compared the achievement to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. A black Miss America meant so much in 1983 because over the decades of its existence the Miss America Pageant had come to mean so much.

Miss America tracks the contest from its inception in 1921 as an exuberant local seaside pageant to its heyday as one of the most popular and anticipated events in the country’s cultural calendar. Among the many stories it uncovers are those of Williams and her predecessor, Bess Meyerson, who was crowned the first Jewish Miss America in 1945, the same year the Allies won World War II. It paints a vivid picture of the changing ambitions of the contestants and it describes how the pageant became the target of the first national protest by the women’s rights movement.

As the film unfolds, it becomes clear Miss America isn’t just the country’s oldest beauty contest. It is a powerful cultural institution that over the course of the century has come to reveal much about a changing nation — the increasing power of the image, the rise in commercialism, the complexity of sexual politics, the important role of big business and the emotional resonance of small towns. It is, we learn, about winners and losers, getting ahead, being included and being left out.

Beyond the symbolism lies a human story — at once moving, inspiring, infuriating, funny and poignant. Using intimate interviews with former contestants, archival footage and photographs, the film reveals why some women took part in the fledgling event and why others briefly shut it down. It describes how the pageant became a battleground for the country’s most conservative and progressive elements and a barometer for the changing position of women in society. It reveals how for women in the 1920s the pageant was an avenue to movie stardom and for women in the 1950s it paved the way to academic success.

Miss America intercuts period film with contemporary footage of the 1999 and 2000 pageants that captures the glamour and excitement of the event, both on stage and in the wings. The documentary reinforces the pageant’s continuing hold on the imagination of the American public.

Origins of the Beauty Pageant

PBS

Contests to determine "who is the fairest of them all" have been around at least since ancient Greece and the Judgment of Paris. According to legend, a poor mortal goatherd, Alexandros (Paris), was called upon to settle a dispute among the goddesses. Who was the most beautiful: Hera (Juno), Aprhodite (Venus), or Athena (Minerva)? All three goddesses offered bribes: according to the writer Apollodorus, "Hera said that if she were preferred to all women, she would give him the kingdom over all men; and Athena promised victory in war, and Aphrodite the hand of Helen." When Paris selected Aphrodite in exchange for getting Helen of Troy, the most beautiful mortal of the time, he inadvertently started the Trojan War.

While ancient Greeks memorialized in myth the complicated relationship between beauty and competition, there is no historical evidence that they actually held contests for women. A "contest of physique" called the euandria was held yearly at an Athenian festival — but the contest was for men. European festivals dating to the medieval era provide the most direct lineage for beauty pageants. For example, English May Day celebrations always involved the selection of queens.

In the United States, the May Day tradition of selecting women to serve as symbols of bounty and community ideals continued, as young beautiful women participated in public celebrations. When George Washington rode from Mount Vernon to New York City in 1789 to assume the presidency, groups of young women dressed in white lined his route, placing palm branches before his carriage. General Lafayette’s triumphant tour of the United States in 1826 also was greeted by similar delegations of young women.

The first truly modern beauty contest, involving the display of women’s faces and figures before judges, can be traced to one of America’s greatest showmen, Phineas T. Barnum (of circus fame). In the 1850s, the ever-resourceful Barnum owned a "dime museum" in New York City that catered to the growing audience for commercial entertainment. Some of Barnum’s most popular attractions were "national contests" where dogs, chickens, flowers, and even children were displayed and judged for paying audiences. While 61,000 people swarmed to his baby show in 1855, a similar event the year before to select and exhibit "the handsomest ladies" in America proved a disappointment. The prize — a dowry (if the winner was single) or a diamond tiara (if the winner was married) — was not enough to lure respectable girls and women of the Victorian era to publicly display themselves.

Barnum developed a brilliant alternate plan for a beauty contest that would accept entries in the form of photographic likenesses. These photographs would be displayed in his museum and the public would vote for them. The final ten entrants would receive specially commissioned oil portraits of themselves. These portraits would be reproduced in a "fine arts" book to be published in France, entitled the World’s Book of Female Beauty. Barnum sold off his museum before the photographs arrived, but in employing modern technology and in combining lowbrow entertainment with the appeal of highbrow culture, Barnum pioneered a new model of commercial entertainment.

In the decades to come, the picture photo contest was widely imitated and became a respectable way for girls and women to have their beauty judged. Civic leaders across the country, seeking to boost citizen morale, incorporate newcomers, and attract new settlers and businesses to their communities, held newspaper contests to choose women that represented the "spirit" of their locales. One of the most popular of these contests occurred in 1905, when promoters of the St. Louis Exposition contacted city newspapers across the country to select a representative young woman from their city to compete for a beauty title at the Exposition. There was intense competition and, according to one report, forty thousand photo entries.

By the early decades of the twentieth century, attitudes had begun to change about beauty pageants. Prohibitions against the display of women in public began to fade, though not to disappear altogether. One of the earliest known resort beauty pageants had been held in 1880, at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. However, it was not until the twentieth century that beach resorts began to hold regular beauty pageants as entertainments for the growing middle class. In 1921, in an effort to lure tourists to stay past Labor Day, Atlantic City organizers staged the first Miss America Pageant in September. Stressing that the contestants were both youthful and wholesome, the Miss America Pageant brought together issues of democracy and class, art and commerce, gender and sex — and started a tradition that would grow throughout the century to come.

Transcript

ARCHIVAL NEWSREEL: You can have wars and atom bombs, but so it seems there must always be a Miss America.

ARCHIVAL NEWSREEL: Just one talented young girl receives top honors as Miss America. So democracy works here too for the Atlantic City Miss America contest is predicated on the conviction that the typical American girl has talent and brains as well as beauty.

KATHY PEISS, Historian: I think the Miss America Pageant has been about the American dream for some women. It has been about a dream of being beautiful. It’s also been about a dream of being successful. And that combination is I think the kind of complicated stew that is very much American women’s experience of the last eighty years.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: I am tingling with excitement wondering who will be the next Miss America.

BILL GOLDMAN: When my kids were little, one of the big nights of the year was just the four of us sitting there watching the Miss America and saying oh she’s got to win. And you root and you got involved in it. And we all loved it. It was a part of our lives.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: Bert Parks: You know in this twentieth century, we have witnessed the birth of a legend, the legend of the American girl.

MARGARET CHO, Comedian: I think it’s a really important story to tell, because it’s about how we feel about ourselves as women, and how we’ve changed as women and who we are as women and what it means to be judged by men.

ARCHIVAL NEWSREEL: There are beauty contests and beauty contests, and then there’s the Miss America competition and this year’s crop seems to be the most beauteous bevy of breathtaking beauties in decades.

TRICIA ROSE, Cultural Critic: The Pageant is this example where you can be sort of nationalistic and patriotic and pro American and get to see some "T and A" all in the same event.

KATE SHINDLE, Miss America 1998: The thing about the pageant is that you have to have a sense of humor about it. I mean you’ve got girls who have invested their entire lives in wanting to become Miss America. On the one hand, it’s this investment of thousands of dollars in this huge goal, and on the other hand a girl is spray gluing her swimsuit to her butt so it doesn’t ride up.

JULIA ALVAREZ, Writer: You know this is like Miss America. I mean it’s not Miss Coffee Beans. It’s not Miss Peach Blossoms. This is the woman that sort of represents the country like the President does. And so it’s seeing what is the way to be the woman of the most powerful country on earth.

MISS AMERICA

ARCHIVAL NEWSREEL: These were the fabulous furious roaring 20s and this is why they roared.

NARRATOR: The Miss America Pageant started out as a promotional gimmick — dreamed up by Atlantic City businessmen in 1921, as a way to keep tourists in town after Labor Day. Over the next eight decades, it would become a national tradition dedicated to defining the ideal American woman.

Year after year, the Miss America Pageant would struggle to pull off a delicate balancing act — objectifying women while providing them with real opportunities; promoting traditional roles while encouraging women’s independence; glorifying feminine modesty while trading on female sexuality. Along the way, it would come to be a barometer of the nation’s shifting ideas about American womanhood.

But in 1921, Atlantic City’s businessmen were simply trying to turn a profit — by capitalizing on the country’s fascination with beauty.

KATHY PEISS: Well, there are many beauty pageants in the 1920′s, and they range from pageants oriented towards African-American women, Miss Bronze America. Even the Ku Klux Klan has a beauty pageant for Miss 100 Percent America. So there’s something about beauty as a symbol that is extremely important and many different groups are getting together and saying, we have the most beautiful woman who represents us. And Miss America is the national symbol of what is going on all over the country.

NARRATOR: The first Miss America Pageant was a spectacular two-day festival, culminating with a beachfront parade called the Bather’s Revue. The only rule for the competition was that all participants "must positively be attired in bathing costumes." A board of censors had been appointed to review questionable entries.

VICKI GOLD LEVI, Atlantic City Historian: Atlantic City was a place where everybody was kind of given to letting your hair down and having a delicious, romantic time. Bathing suits had changed a great deal and stockings were now being rolled beneath your knees, which was very daring. And women had to have their bathing suits at a certain length. And so there were beach censors who would actually come down and measure the length of your bathing suit.

NARRATOR: On the morning of the Revue, more than 100,000 people swarmed onto the Boardwalk, hoping to catch a glimpse of the scantily-clad young women down on the sand. The spectators’ stand out favorite was a slight, freckled sixteen-year-old from the nation’s capitol. Named Margaret Gorman.

RIC FERENTZ, Pageant Historian: Margaret Gorman was a sensation. She was tiny, petite, five one, with blonde, long ringlets who looked very much like Mary Pickford who was the biggest star of the day. So, the combination made this young, sixteen-year-old girl a star.

NARRATOR: Gorman swept the competition — and later that evening, she was crowned the very first Miss America. "Margaret Gorman represents the type of womanhood America needs," the New York Times declared, "strong, red-blooded, able to shoulder the responsibilities of homemaking and motherhood. It is in her type that the hope of the country rests."

NARRATOR: The first Miss America Pageant was a staggering success. Before the receipts were even tallied, city officials announced plans to continue the contest through the decade — confident that as long as there were girls in bathing suits, the crowds would come.

LEONARD HORN, Former CEO Miss America Organization: It was one of the first, if not the first instances of the marriage between advertising and the beauty of the female form which was ingenious because from then on many, many advertisers thought they could get more attention by putting a good looking woman into the picture. Some say it got started in 1921 in Atlantic City.

RIC FERENTZ: The very first years, there was a literal breakdown. Five points for the construction of the head, five points for the limbs, three points for the torso, two points for the leg…I mean it…you know and it added up to a hundred percent. Whether they really went by that, it’s hard to say.

NARRATOR: Throughout the 1920′s, scores of young women flocked to Atlantic City each year, most hoping the Pageant would land them a career in show business. While the average working woman labored in a factory or a typing pool, Miss America had offers from Hollywood and vaudeville — and the opportunity to cash in on her looks.

ARCHIVAL NEWSREEL: "5 feet 4 inches tall, 118 pounds of beauty. Norma Smallwood is crowned Miss America of 1926."

NARRATOR: During the year of her reign, Miss America 1926 — a small-town girl from Tulsa, Oklahoma — reportedly made over $100,000, more than either Babe Ruth or the President of the United States.

RIC FERENTZ: Norma Smallwood had an acute business sense. In 1927, when she was due to return to crown her successor, she demanded a fee for her appearance in Atlantic City. And although she arrived and took part in the early part of the pageant, during the middle when that money was not forthcoming, Norma picked up and left for another job in North Carolina. And the press was not very kind to that. They thought that she should have been the gracious one that didn’t take the money and stayed around to crown her successor, and Norma thought, I’m sorry, this is a business.

KATHY PEISS: There was a general sense that the Old World had died and a new one was being born. And I think that was especially important for women. There’d been a women’s movement that had been successful in certain ways, women had gotten the right to vote for example, and women are increasingly in the labor force in the 1920′s. A number are getting college educated. And so in some ways the pageant seems to be a contradiction. Here, feminists had wanted women to move into the public sphere to sort of gain the positions that men had gained, and yet the pageant represents women very much as female and as in some ways, sexualized, as beauty objects.

NARRATOR: The Pageant’s attention to the female form had troubled conservative Americans since the very beginning. But in the late-1920′s, critics finally went on the offensive.

All over the country, women’s clubs and religious organizations publicly attacked the Miss America Pageant, and accused organizers of corrupting the nation’s morals. "Before the competition, the contestants were splendid examples of innocence and pure womanhood," one protestor argued. "Afterward their heads were filled with vicious ideas."

In 1928, fearing the controversy would ruin Atlantic City’s reputation, the Chamber of Commerce voted twenty-seven to three to cancel the Miss America Pageant.

For now, morality had shut the Pageant down. But America’s infatuation with beauty would endure.

CONTEMPORARY FOOTAGE: Brandi: "It’s very me, it’s very Brandi…"

MARGARET CHO: I think the fascination with beauty pageants is that there can be a winner. That there are certain rules, guidelines that constitute beauty, that it is not necessarily in the eye of the beholder. That we as the collective beholder have agreed on certain qualities that create beauty and uh that there can be a contest to judge it. It’s this fascinating thing.

TRICIA ROSE: What gets defined as beauty? I mean, it’s not unlike high fashion supermodels in that the bodies that work are the bodies that are least like what women look like. So what are we saying? What are we actually saying about what women look like when we say, well you know what, to be most beautiful you have to not look like what women look like?

ISAAC MIZRAHI, Designer: I think that fashion and beauty is everything in the way a woman marks her identity today, unfortunately. But I can’t think of a period of time when it wasn’t about that, and there are all sorts of obvious manifestations of that you know, the length of your skirt, the size of your waist. But there are other even more subtle things. Like when you shave your legs, even if you’re wearing pants that day you feel three times prettier, I think.

JULIA ALVAREZ: You know, there’s a yearning in the human spirit, an aspiring for beauty. And, the successful man still has a beautiful woman on his arm. That’s the prize. It’s been our power structure and it’s…it’s still operative. Beauty is still the currency out there.

GLORIA STEINEM, Writer: The traditional way to get ahead is to compete with other women for the favors of men, you know and this is not different from any other marginalized or less powerful group. You’re supposed to compete with each other for the favors of the powerful. So what could be a greater example of that than a beauty contest?

NARRATOR: Not long after the Miss America Pageant was cancelled, a devastating economic depression brought Atlantic City’s tourist trade to a halt. Desperate, local businessmen opted to ignore the critics and revived their lucrative beauty pageant. In 1933, thirty young women were brought to Atlantic City, aboard a chartered train called the Beauty Special, to compete for Miss America’s crown.

ARCHIVAL NEWSREEL: Yeah it’s sort of relaxin’ what with strikes and food shortages and international disputes and so on to have the lassies back with us once again. Oh well, one good turn deserves another.

NARRATOR: "So striking was the change between the ideal figure of the twenties and that of 1933," one observer said of the contestants, "that one might almost have thought that a new anatomical species had come into being."

Among the entries was Marion Bergeron, a high school sophomore and the daughter of a Connecticut policeman.

MARION BERGERON SETZER, Miss America 1933: 1933, it was a depression and at 15 years old I hadn’t been out of Westhaven, Connecticut, let alone wind up in Atlantic City.

NARRATOR: A curvaceous blonde with a striking resemblance to screen-siren Jean Harlow, Bergeron had competed in her first local pageant just weeks before.

To her surprise, she had won the title of Miss New Haven, and then Miss Connecticut — and before she knew it, she was being crowned Miss America.

MARION BERGERON SETZER: To the judge’s eyes, I was the typical American girl. Totally unsophisticated, very naïve, had a lot of enthusiasm, had a lot of talent that they didn’t ask for, but I did have that. And I was just, I was just a 1933 typical American girl. My figure then as they described it was a typical Mae West figure which was hourglass, thirty-four bust, a twenty-six waist, eighty-two buns.

NARRATOR: The new Miss America was just the kind of girl vaudeville producers were looking for — and they soon came waving contracts, promising to make her a star.

But all the attention was short-lived. As soon as the newspapers reported that she was only fifteen, the show business contracts were quickly withdrawn — and Bergeron went back to high school.

MARION BERGERON SETZER: On our way home, I had to go back only to be met by the nuns that said I had had entirely too much undue publicity. And they felt that it would be better if I chose another school. Yeah, and that’s practically being kicked out of school. Here I feel like I’m really somebody. You know, I’m just the most glamorous thing that ever happened at 15 years old, but the but the nuns didn’t think so.

KATHY PEISS: Beauty pageants by the early thirties had a reputation for being somewhat disreputable, like …a carnival atmosphere. And especially the association with Atlantic City and the seaside resorts made that venue somewhat of a question mark I think for women in terms of their respectability. To be a public woman had a longstanding connotation of having loose morals, of being either a prostitute or sexually loose. And that doesn’t disappear, certainly through the 1930′s.

NARRATOR: In October 1935, a Pageant scandal rocked Atlantic City. Less than a month after seventeen-year-old Henrietta Leaver was crowned Miss America, a nude statue of her was unveiled in her hometown of Pittsburgh.

Leaver — a high school dropout and dime store salesgirl — swore she had worn a bathing suit when she posed, and that her grandmother had been present at all times. But the press coverage was merciless, and the businessmen behind the Pageant finally decided to make some changes.

For help, they turned to a single, 29-year-old Southern Baptist with years of experience in public relations. As the Pageant’s Executive Secretary, she would spend the next three decades inventing a new image for Miss America. Her name was Lenora Slaughter.

RIC FERENTZ: She was the iron fist in a velvet glove. I think that she was a woman that was well ahead of her time. She was tough when she had to be. But knew how to get by on a Southern drawl.

NARRATOR: Slaughter’s mission now was to eliminate scandal and to attract what she called "a better class of contestants."

She immediately established a minimum age requirement of eighteen, then added a talent competition to the traditional line-up of bathing suits and evening gowns. Once the contestants were in Atlantic City, Slaughter insisted they be chaperoned at all times, and that they observe a strict curfew of one a.m. They were barred from drinking establishments, forbidden to smoke, and there were to be no private visits with men — not even their fathers.

A Pageant judge once asked Slaughter what to look for in a winner. "Honey," she answered, "just pick me a lady."

VICKI GOLD LEVI: She brought a respectability to the pageant. She presented her girls with class, with style. She transformed the pageant by setting the standards high, by making it something that women would want to participate in.

NARRATOR: Sometime later, Slaughter slipped one final entry requirement into the Pageant by-laws. Known as Rule Seven, the new regulation strictly limited Pageant participation to women "in good health and of the white race."

SARAH BANET WEISER, Communication Scholar: Race has always factored into anyone’s notion of ideal womanhood in the United States. It’s just that the way in which whiteness functions is through invisibility. It’s not seen as a race. It’s just the normal way to be. It’s just regular. And it’s really no different in the Miss America Pageant.

TRICIA ROSE: That’s what’s most interesting about it to me that we are supposed to believe that this is what American womanhood looks like. And it really is an enormously narrow conception from facial features, you know, height, weight. And then of course there are the most obvious more political categories: race, ethnicity and all of these things are very important in the historical understanding of the Pageant.

NARRATOR: By the early 1940′s, Slaughter had constructed an ideal woman to represent the Miss America Pageant. Now, the mass media would make her a star.

Each September, millions of Americans watched the annual newsreel of Miss America’s crowning. She was featured in newspapers and advertisements, and honored with her own day at the World’s Fair. And when the United States entered World War II, and the Federal Government shut down most large public events, Slaughter convinced officials that the Pageant should be allowed to go on. "Miss America is emblematic of the nation’s spirit," she told them, "and that spirit [continues] through war and peace, good times and bad." Permission was granted — on the condition that the winner sell war bonds.

KATHY PEISS: The early period of the 1940′s is one where we see women being mobilized for the war effort. They’re being encouraged to take jobs, to work more than full time to support the war effort. At the same time, those women are encouraged to maintain their femininity and their beauty. And there’s a huge effort to sell women lipstick, to see cosmetics as morale boosters. And they are one product that is not rationed during the war. There’s an attempt to ration cosmetics but it’s overturned within six months. Women are given the pitch that one of the reasons we’re fighting the war is for women to be beautiful.

NARRATOR: Lenora Slaughter believed there was more to a woman than her looks — and she wanted Miss America to prove it. So in 1944, she convinced the Pageant’s new board of directors to award Miss America a scholarship to college.

Raising money proved a bigger challenge. Of the 236 companies Slaughter approached for contributions, only five signed on as sponsors. But between them, Slaughter had enough cash for a five thousand-dollar prize — and in 1945, the Miss America Pageant became one of the first organizations in the country to offer college scholarships to women.

VICKI GOLD LEVI: That’s immediately what redefined Miss America because no other pageant, competition, beauty contest was giving scholarship money. And by doing this it really, really set the pageant in a different category. You didn’t have to go in there just to prove you had a pretty figure, you could go in there to prove you had brains.

NARRATOR: Among those vying for the first scholarship in 1945 was a twenty-one year-old New Yorker named Bess Myerson. The American-born daughter of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Myerson had paid her own way through New York’s Hunter College by giving piano lessons in the Bronx neighborhood where she grew up. Now she hoped to go on to graduate school, where she planned to study conducting.

BESS MYERSON, Miss America 1945: Talent was very important because that was the way we were going to make our living. That’s what we were going to support ourselves doing when we grew up. The most important thing was that you do well at school…oh no. The most important thing was that you listened to your parents. That you do well in school. And that you play a musical instrument. We never imagined anything else would be open to us.

NARRATOR: To Lenora Slaughter, Myerson seemed the ideal candidate for the new scholarship prize. She was beautiful, talented, smart. There was only one problem: she would have to change her name.

BESS MYERSON: Lenora Slaughter said my name was not a good name for show business. And I said well, you know I have no intention of going into show business. I said, what do you want me to change it to? Well you know there are a lot of good stage names like Beth…Beth Merrick. I said…the problem is that I’m Jewish, yes? And with that kind of name it’ll be quite obvious to everyone else that I’m Jewish. And you don’t want to have to deal with a Jewish Miss America. And that really was the bottom line. I said I can’t change my name. You have to understand. I cannot change my name. I live in a building with two hundred and fifty Jewish families. The Sholom Aleichem apartment houses. If I should win, I want everybody to know that I’m the daughter of Louie and Bella Myerson.

NARRATOR: On September 3rd, Myerson and the other contestants appeared on Atlantic City’s Boardwalk for the Miss America Pageant’s opening ceremony: a victory parade to celebrate the end of the war. In the crowd was Myerson’s older sister Sylvia. Her mother, who spoke no English, had been left at home in the Bronx.

BESS MYERSON: The first night I compete with a group of girls on talent, I won. Headline says, "Jewish Girl in Atlantic City Wins Talent in Miss America Pageant." Now we’ve just learned all the details of six million Jews being killed, slaughtered, burned, tortured. And naturally it attracts attention, and the juxtaposition of the two things was so improbable. There were people that would come to the hotel where I was staying with my sister, and they would introduce themselves to me and say I’m Jewish, and it’s just wonderful that you’re in this contest. But how about when people came up to you with numbers on their arms, which they did as well, and said, you see this? You have to win. You have to show the world that we are not ugly. That we shouldn’t be disposed of and so on however they worded it. I have to tell you that I felt this tremendous responsibility. I owed it to those women to give them a present, a gift, that to them was the gift.

NARRATOR: On the second night of preliminaries, Myerson scored another win, in the swimsuit competition, and she now seemed a strong favorite for the finals. "The new Miss America will either be Miss New York City, Bess Myerson," one newspaper predicted, "or somebody else."

ARCHIVAL NEWSREEL: They’re about to pick Miss America of 1945. Well, they’ve made their choice and the crown goes to Miss New York City, a 21-year-old, 5’10" brunette, Bess Myerson, Hunter College graduate.

NARRATOR: By the time Myerson’s name was announced, her sister Sylvia was already in tears. From the audience came shouts of "Mazel tov!" "Don’t let anybody kid you," Myerson said years later. "It was one hell of a terrific moment."

VICKI GOLD LEVI: Bess was the answer to every Jewish woman’s dream. Her win was such a multilevel symbol. It was a symbol of a certain statement against anti-Semitism. It was a symbol of a victory against Hitler. It was a symbol for women, and when she won there was great celebration in our house. It was like when Roosevelt won or something.

NARRATOR: Myerson expected to spend her reign making appearances and promoting the Pageant’s new sponsors. But after an obligatory four-week performance tour, where drunks in the audience demanded she play the piano in her bathing suit, there were few requests for her time. None of the sponsors wanted a Jewish girl — even a Jewish Miss America — posing with their products.

BESS MYERSON: Half way through that year, I said to the pageant, I’m not available to you anymore because I want to do something else. I’ve met people from an organization called the Anti-defamation League. And they’ve asked me to go out on a tour speaking at the high schools and colleges, speaking to students where there are problems having to do with anti-Semitism, with hatred, with racism. And I did a speech called "You Can’t Hate and be Beautiful."

SARAH BANET WEISER: Bess Myerson took on the mantle of Miss America in a different way. It’s the historical moment, it’s her ethnic identity, it’s her own aspirations, and all those put together you know provided a very different kind of Miss America and a very different kind of reign.

NARRATOR: Myerson had made Miss America a scholar and a lady. But the following year, pageant judges made it clear that looks still counted. "It was the year they brought out the rubberized bathing suit," one of them said later, "and we voted for the girl with the best of everything showing."

GLORIA STEINEM: The swimsuit competition is probably the most honest part of the competition because it really is about bodies. It is about looking at women as objects. That’s what it’s about. The fact is that the most disqualifying part of the competition is how you look.

MARGARET CHO: When you see their bodies, it’s so interesting because they seem so not real. You don’t see anything off. They are so perfect and not sexual really but you just kind of these perfectly shaped women that their bodies are very smooth. There’s no creases or lines, there’s no stretch marks or nipples or hair. It’s kind of jarring. You think god whose body is like that? And then you think, oh, maybe I’m not the woman. Maybe they’re the women, and I’m not the woman. And then you kind of feel like an imposter too.

ISAAC MIZRAHI: It’s always so sort of…heartbreaking to watch the swimsuit competition because these…these good girls they’re sort of like ooh, I’m such a piece of meat or something you know. Of all the parts of the pageant that I feel victimize women the most, it’s that part of the pageant. These poor girls in those painful looking high heels my heart goes out to them. But you know honestly if you have to wear a swimsuit and you have to parade, good, you should wear the high heels, because there’s nothing better on your leg than a high heel.

KATE SHINDLE: I worked so hard to be ready to compete in swimsuit that I didn’t dread it. You know, I actually found it kind of empowering because I figured that once I could get over enough issues to walk around on the stage in a bathing suit in front of twenty million people, I could pretty much do anything I wanted to.

ARCHIVAL NEWSREEL: "Go ahead and drool, it’s Miss America time…"

NARRATOR: For more than a quarter century, the bathing suit competition had been the Miss America Pageant’s feature attraction. But with the scholarship program now in place, Lenora Slaughter wanted to project a more dignified image.

The challenge was to downplay the bathing suits without offending Catalina Swimwear, one the Pageant’s major sponsors. In 1947, Slaughter struck the term "bathing suit" from the official Pageant vocabulary, and replaced it with the more athletic-sounding "swimsuit." Then, she banned two-piece suits from the competition, and announced that Miss America would now be crowned in an evening gown.

Still, when most Americans thought of the Pageant, a girl in bathing suit was the first thing that came to mind.

Then along came Yolande Betbeze. A twenty-one-year-old opera singer from Mobile, Alabama, Betbeze had been recently sprung from convent school when she captured her first local crown, Miss Torch 1949. Miss Alabama wasn’t far behind.

YOLANDE BETBEZE, Miss America 1951: I didn’t plan on the Miss America Pageant. I didn’t know anything about it. I was in a convent for fourteen years. The last four years in a cloistered convent, behind high walls, and no escape, and I was very naïve when I arrived in Atlantic City. I mean coming from a small town in Alabama borrowing shoes of high heels and taking the braces off my teeth. I had a ball.

NARRATOR: The minute Betbeze stepped off the train in Atlantic City, Slaughter knew she was looking at the next Miss America. "Yolande was the sexiest, most glamorous thing I had ever laid eyes on," she later said. Slaughter’s new husband, a business manager for the Pageant, agreed. "She can’t lose," he predicted, "unless the women judges run away from her."

YOLANDE BETBEZE: I thought I was a little bit plain to be Miss America, but I knew that I would do well in talent as an operatic coloratura, and indeed I did… I did win the talent. The swimsuit was difficult. Fortunately, it was a suit in good taste, one piece, white, nothing very revealing. But even so, I mean to stand up for the first time in your life in front of fifty thousand people in a bathing suit is…is awkward. ARCHIVAL NEWSREEL: The field is squared off at 16 curvaceous finalists. The winner is brown haired brown-eyed Yolande Betbeze, 21, of Mobile, Alabama.

NARRATOR: The morning after she was crowned, the new Miss America was summoned to a breakfast meeting, where she was to be briefed on her duties for the coming year.

YOLANDE BETBEZE: I did not know what to expect with this. So I arrived and they…all these…these suits were sitting about. Older men, board of directors, congratulated me and said now Miss Betbeze, this is what I represent, this is what you’re going to do for us. Then it came to the bathing suit, the most important sponsor. And this man said to me, November we’ll be in Wyoming, and you’ll wear this and that bathing suit. I said wait a minute please. No. No way. To…go into Milwaukee in the middle of the winter and walk around a department store in a bathing suit is not my idea of Miss America, scholarship foundation, the reason I’m here. And he really, really thought I had lost my mind. He couldn’t believe it.

RIC FERENTZ: I love the fact that she made the statement that she had to play their game to become Miss America and once she became Miss America they had to play by her game. I thought it was very bold of her to say to one of its major sponsors which was Catalina that she just wasn’t going to pose in a swimsuit, that she was an opera singer, she was not a pinup.

NARRATOR: Catalina withdrew its sponsorship of Miss America, and soon launched not one, but two pageants of its own — Miss USA and Miss Universe. Both judged contestants entirely on looks and absolutely required them to wear Catalina swimsuits.

VICKI GOLD LEVI: For the Pageant there was always this pull between the pulchritude and the pulpit. There was always this sort of dichotomy about how are you an upstanding, religious, well-educated girl and you could show your thighs and cleavage — which is always kind of a theme of America anyhow, sexuality and godliness. The Elvis Presley phenomenon. Shake your hips while singing "Nearer My God to Thee."

NARRATOR: In the fall of 1952, the Pageant’s directors invited an up-and-coming Hollywood actress named Marilyn Monroe to serve as the Grand Marshall of the Boardwalk Parade. "She wore the first dress anybody had ever worn," that year’s Miss America said later, "that was cut down to her navel." Monroe was not asked back to Atlantic City.

NARRATOR: It had taken nearly three decades to transform Miss America from a local celebrity to a national phenomenon. But making her a household name would take just one night — September 11th, 1954, when Miss America would be crowned live on national television.

The Pageant’s board of directors had asked former Miss America Bess Myerson to provide backstage commentary for the viewers at home, and had even invited Academy award-winning actress Grace Kelly to judge the competition.

Now, as the cameras wheeled into position on Atlantic City’s Convention Hall stage, ABC sent out the broadcast signal — and television audiences coast-to-coast joined the Miss America finals already in progress.

ARCHIVAL: "Live from Atlantic City . . . "

LEE MERIWETHER, Miss America 1955: The only time I really noticed a camera was we were waiting to have the crowning. I saw a television camera, and it was coming toward us, so I thought, ooh it’s…it’s time. And then I saw Lenora Slaughter, the head of the pageant bringing a banner over, and she put it on my lap. She said, Lee, you’re our Miss America.

ARCHIVAL: 19 year old, Lee Ann Meriwether of San Francisco, California. She triumphed over 49 other…

LEE MERIWETHER: My head flipped back and that is all I remember. And I was crying hysterically. Crying, crying, I couldn’t stop, but I do remember my mother being pulled backstage. And my mother said, stop your sniveling. And that did it.

NARRATOR: More than 27 million people, nearly half of the television audience, watched the Miss America Pageant that night — in a broadcast that broke all records for TV viewership. "To think that folks out in Idaho could see this was just amazing," one Pageant volunteer recalled. "It just knocked everything off the airwaves."

WILLIAM GOLDMAN, Screenwriter: The Miss America contest was something that seemed very glamorous to all of us in the thirties and forties and fifties. But all we ever saw of it were snippets on newsreels in movie theaters. And then suddenly when television happened, here was this fabulous event and in that period it was incredibly popular. When you look at old black and white television now it looks so prehistoric, but my god, it was free, it was in your house, you could watch it. And it changed everything.

NARRATOR: By the second broadcast, the Pageant had been redesigned for TV, and a celebrity singer and announcer had been hired to serve as the regular master of ceremonies. The forty-year-old star of a popular TV program called Stop the Music; he was known to audiences across the country as the guy with "the smile you can read by." His name was Bert Parks.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: Bert Parks: Thank you very much. Thank you. Good Evening. What a wonderful audience …

LEONARD HORN: Bert Parks came along at just the right time. And his ability to be funny, to be extemporaneous, to be silly, and yet at the same time allow the women to be the stars of the show was a perfect, series of ingredients that the Miss America program needed at that time.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: Bert Parks: "Hi. And this of course ladies and gentlemen is Miss Oklahoma. From what city please?" Miss Oklahoma: "I’m from Alva, Oklahoma." Parks: "Alva?" Miss Oklahoma: "Alva." Parks "What is the population of Alva?" Miss Oklahoma: "7000." Parks: "7000. What’s Alva most famous for?" Miss Oklahoma: "Wheat and cattle and my daddy’s bakery." Parks: "Golden Krust bakery, call him up tonight."

VICKI GOLD LEVI: I don’t know if he would fly today, but he was really into the girls, the women, and that’s what made Bert Parks so different. He wasn’t a celebrity flown in on a Saturday night. He was there all week getting to know them. They trusted him. He loved what he was doing, and he really was one of the defining factors that made households and television households love Miss America. And when he sang "There She Is" that was it. There she was.

NARRATOR: Making its debut right alongside Parks was the official Miss America theme song. Composed in just under an hour by a New York songwriter named Bernie Wayne, the song was an instant hit. It would soon be as recognizable as the national anthem.

KATHY PEISS: It evokes a wedding with Bert Parks kind of giving away the… bride, or…in his youth he was more of the groom. It evokes the debutante ball. There is this real sense of suddenly being the most beautiful woman at the ball. And so there is this sense that this could happen to anyone, or at least that’s the fantasy, that this could happen to any girl.

JULIA ALVAREZ: We didn’t see a whole lot of what it was like to be an American woman. This was our little window into what it was like, what this world was like. It was a way to, I don’t know, climb the ladder of success. And so you know it was like watching a female version of a Horatio Alger story.

LEE MERIWETHER: I had no knowledge of the pageant really at all. I knew there was a Miss America Pageant, but I thought it was a quote unquote bathing beauty contest, and as such I would never have entered. And then my father passed away and just my life sort of stopped right there. And my mother said the money is no longer here, daddy’s gone and if you want to continue on with school, that’s the thing, go to Atlantic City.

GLORIA STEINEM: Beauty contests are ways that if you live in a poor neighborhood, you can imagine getting ahead because it is a way up. It is a way to scholarships, to attention, and it’s one of the few things that you see out there as a popular symbol. When I was living in a kind of factory working neighborhood of Toledo, the K-Part television Miss TV contest, something like that, was advertised. And I decided I would try to enter the contest even though I was underage. I think I was 16 and the limit was, was 18. So I lied about my age. It wasn’t a terrible experience. It was a surrealistic experience. You had to put on your bathing suit and walk and stand on a beer keg. I did three or four different kinds of dances. Spanish and Russian and heaven knows what. I thought I would get money for college. And it seemed glamorous. It seemed to me in high school like a way out of a not too great life in a pretty poor neighborhood.

NARRATOR: By 1958, Atlantic City’s local tourist attraction had become one of the most popular television events in the country. With networks competing over the broadcasting contract, and companies clamoring to provide the high-profile program with sponsorship, the Miss America Pageant could now afford to award over 200,000 dollars worth of scholarships. But winning money for college was only part of the Pageant’s appeal. As every contestant knew, being crowned Miss America on national television could turn a small-town girl into an instant celebrity.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: I’m sure you all realize, ladies and gentleman, what a frightening experience it is for these young ladies, most of whom have never appeared in public before much less here in the convention hall in Atlantic City before some 25,000 people and over a full television network.

NARRATOR: One of the contestants that year was Mary Ann Mobley, a nineteen-year-old drama major with her eye on the Broadway stage. A native of Brandon, Mississippi — population twenty-five hundred — Mobley had competed in her first pageant only two weeks before, at the personal request of Brandon’s mayor, and had walked off with the state title.

MARY ANN MOBLEY, Miss America 1959: Everyone was in shock. I said to my Sunday school teacher, I said, Miss Long I can’t believe I’m on the way to Atlantic City. I mean, I had seen the previous Miss America. She was tall, I mean her legs started at my armpits. And she had these wonderful features and long blonde hair, and I thought that’s what Miss America should look like and I’m nowhere near that.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: Bert Parks: and now ladies and gentlemen, we come to the talent competition…

MARY ANN MOBLEY: Now I have to tell you that I had never sung with an orchestra. And there I was in front of two football fields put together. Well, I was panicked. And my horror was I was going to get out there and no sound was going to come out. And one of the stagehands tapped me on the shoulder and he said you go get ‘em Mississippi.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: Bert Parks: Mississippi, let’s bring her on…

MARY ANN MOBLEY: And they swagged the curtain and I thought I’ve got two options, I can run or I can walk out there. And I said I can’t embarrass my home state and myself by running away, I have to walk out there.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: Mary Ann Mobley: Tonight as my talent, may I sing a portion of the lovely, "Un bel di" from Puccini’s opera, Madame Butterfly.

MARY ANN MOBLEY: And I started "Un bel di," and it came out and it sounded okay. And then I said stop, but I’m tired of being proper and cultured and of appreciating Beethoven, Puccini and Bach …

PAGEANT BROADCAST: Mary Ann Mobley: I want to sing and dance to something that’s solid and hot. So, there’ll be some changes made.

MARY ANN MOBLEY: (SINGS) There’ll be a change in the weather and…

PAGEANT BROADCAST: (SINGING)…a change in the sea. And from now on, there’ll be a change in me. My…."

MARY ANN MOBLEY: They started to applaud.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: (SINGING)…nothing about me’s going to be the same.

MARY ANN MOBLEY: And I said they like me, or else they’re just applauding that I’m not going to finish the aria.

RIC FERENTZ, Pageant Historian: I think Mary Ann was very popular because she was different. She was tiny and spunky and had a little bit of guts.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: Bert Parks: Here is your question, Miss Mississippi. What is your favorite topic when with a young man for opening the conversation? Mary Ann Mobley: Well, I’ve read different articles that tell you how to get along with the opposite sex, and the first thing that they say is get him to talk about himself. So the first thing I ask is, Do you play football or what sport are you interested in? And then if he doesn’t say anything, then you say, Well, what are your hobbies? And you go down the line from there and if you can’t get him to answer you on any of those then you’re just quiet for the rest of the evening.

RIC FERENTZ: I think that she showed a different side to Miss America. A more girl next door type. I think that more young women could relate to Mary Ann than they perhaps could to the Miss Americas that had preceded her.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: Bert Parks: First runner up, Joan Lucille McDonald, Miss Iowa. Miss America … Miss Mississippi.

MARY ANN MOBLEY: Once I won, I came unglued. I mean, I’m not talking about glistening tears. They were running down my chin onto my chest and my dress. CBS ran that for a long time because you really saw someone terribly, terribly affected by what was happening in her life. But I remember thinking, what am I … what am I doing here, no one’s going to believe this. And I’m not pretty enough to be Miss America, but here I am with a crown on my head. It’s real, and how could it happen to the little girl from Brandon, Mississippi. I think even now it evokes memories. I guess what I was really feeling was I was Cinderella.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: "Everybody’s got talent."

PAGEANT BROADCAST: Over the years the talent competition has become the most significant and the most popular part of this decisive final night. The ability to be poised and personable in the living room is a far cry from the ability to be self possessed on the stage of this great convention hall before a live audience of 25,000 people and a television audience of many millions.

VICKI GOLD LEVI, Atlantic City Historian: I do remember a girl having a talent where she told us how she packed her suitcase. I definitely remember that. And illustrators were big. They had big pieces of paper clipped on and they would quickly do cartoon sketches and things.

WILLIAM GOLDMAN, Screenwriter: I have this great memory of this beautiful blonde girl from Wisconsin whose talent was telling a fishing story with an accent. And she was just beautiful. And it was…you were laughing at the screen even then, you couldn’t believe that that was her talent, telling a story with a Norwegian accent.

ISAAC MIZRAHI, Designer: I don’t really remember any of the talent except that it was always terrible you know and completely not interesting. And that you know what I used to think was a giant flop would get the biggest applause. Like I’d sit there thinking, wow that stank. And then the audience would just go mad, loving every second of it you know.

LEONARD HORN, Former CEO Miss America Organization: A lot of people sat back and laughed at it. I always thought it was kind of cruel to laugh at it because here was a young woman that was competing her little heart out for a coveted prize that was important to her. That’s what the program was all about. It was another reason why it became so popular because it was every woman and every woman was competing. And every woman is not an accomplished singer or an accomplished monologist.

MARGARET CHO, Comedian: If I had a talent I don’t know what I would do. I think that I would probably collate a script. Collate some new pages in a script. That’s…I’m really good at that, that’s probably my talent, or operating a three hole punch, I can do that pretty swiftly and, I’m probably the best at that.

ISAAC MIZRAHI, Designer: What would I do as my talent? I would probably sing a song.

GLORIA STEINEM, Writer: I wouldn’t enter but now I would I suppose read something I’d written.

JULIA ALVAREZ, Writer: As my talent? You know I worried about that. I mean there was a way in which I thought I could never be that, but it wasn’t just because of the beauty, I just didn’t have any displayable talents. I couldn’t sing. I couldn’t dance. I had an accent, so I couldn’t do a dramatic part. And I sort of wondered what I would do.

NARRATOR: By 1960, the Miss America Pageant had become a national ritual. Each year, on the second Saturday in September, Americans gathered in their living rooms, switched on their sets, and settled in to see if their favorite contestant would capture the crown. Five times over the next decade, the Miss America Pageant was the highest-rated show of the year.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: With her beauty, brains, poise and talent, the American girl has become the most envied and admired girl in the world.

NARRATOR: Richard Nixon claimed it was the only program his daughters were allowed to stay up late to watch.

And all across the country now, little girls dreamed of becoming Miss America.

VICKI GOLD LEVI: It was this time when I sort of call the debutante era of the pageant, sort of the late ’50s, early ’60s, when everyone looked like they were at a cotillion with the high white gloves and the crinolines and the big hoop skirts and they were for god, motherhood and apple pie. They wanted to be good mothers, good wives. They wanted to be supporters of what their husbands chose to do, they wanted world peace.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: Parks "This is a presidential election year. If a qualified woman were running for president, how would you feel about voting for her and why?" Contestant: If the men candidates running were qualified, I feet I would vote against her. My reasons being that women are very high strung and emotional people. They aren’t reliable enough when it comes to making a decision, a snap decision. I believe that a man in such a predicament would be able to make a more justifiable and better decision.

PAGEANT BROADCAST Parks "What in your opinion constitutes the ideal wife?" Contestant: "I imagine that the ideal wife depends entirely upon the viewpoint of the husband."

PAGEANT BROADCAST: Parks "Some sociologists say that American women are usurping the place of the male in American life and have become too dominant. Do you agree or disagree and why?" Contestant: "I do agree w/that. I believe that there are far too many women in the working world. I can see many cases where this is a necessary arrangement, but I do feel that a woman’s place is in the home with her husband and with her children."

LEONARD HORN: The concept of Miss America as an ideal American woman was consistent with society’s ideas of what an ideal young woman was. She was your everyday young girl who any man would be happy to call daughter, any man would be happy to call wife. Miss America was the American girl next door. She was an ideal that many women aspired to.

NARRATOR: Until now, the Pageant had managed to present a vision of ideal womanhood that most of the country shared. But by the mid-1960′s, the all-American girl-next-door was changing fast.

At a time when bikinis and miniskirts were all the rage, Pageant contestants continued to wear the regulation one-piece suits and dresses that fell within two inches of their knees. While anti-war protestors marched through the nation’s streets, Miss America was in Vietnam, touring with the USO. And in a moment of sexual revolution, the Pageant’s ideal remained wholesome and pure.

KATHY PEISS, Historian: Well, the pageant bore no relationship to the reality of life in the United States at that moment. The height of the Vietnam War, a period of great civil unrest, the civil rights movement and black power movements at their height, and the beginnings of a feminist movement. The birth control pill, the counterculture, the origins of the gay and lesbian liberation movement. All of these suggested that the pageant was terribly out of date and that it really was no longer relevant to the lives of women.

GLORIA STEINEM: It was a very exhilarating, affirming, funny explosion of rebellion and consciousness. It was partly about taking off the symbols, the gloves, the little white gloves, the dyed to match shoes, and in the middle of all of that, the artificiality of the Miss America Contest was an obvious kind of cartoon.

NARRATOR: In the spring of 1968, a 27-year-old writer and editor named Robin Morgan decided to take a stand — and with help from a group called New York Radical Women, she began laying plans for a protest at the annual Miss America Pageant.

"Where else could one find such a perfect combination of American values?" Morgan argued. "Racism, militarism, and capitalism — all packaged in one ideal symbol: a woman."

ROBIN MORGAN, Writer: It seemed to me you know a sort of epiphany moment because it was the nexus of so many issues, beauty standards, money, women’s freedom, objectification of women, patriotism, and all of this somehow wrapped up in motherhood and apple pie or virgin hood and apple pie, in terms of Miss America. So it seemed like my god, what is not to dislike about this?

NARRATOR: Word of the protest soon reached Atlantic City, and pageant organizers braced themselves for the picket line.

It would be the first major demonstration of the women’s liberation movement in the United States.

ROBIN MORGAN: We had you know prepared for about maybe fifty people, and to do some guerilla theater, some songs, some chants, to picket on the boardwalk all day. What we had not counted on was that close to four hundred women showed up on the boardwalk. They came from all over. I mean they were carrying signs from Florida and from Wisconsin and some people drove from California, and that was just amazing. I mean it had clearly this protest tapped into something that was enormous and very, very moving.

GLORIA STEINEM: They put on the boardwalk a big trashcan and dumped in it all kinds of symbols of the stereotypical female role, a steno pad, a dust mop, an apron, a bra, all of these things. I think they never did burn those items because they couldn’t get a fire permit. Just shows you we’ve been too law abiding.

ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE: singing "Ain’t she sweet. Makin’ profit off her meat. Beauty sells she’s told, so she’s out pluggin’ it. Ain’t she sweet. Ain’t she quaint with her face all full of paint. After all how can she face reality? Ain’t she quaint."

NARRATOR: The demonstration soon drew a crowd of more than 600 spectators — most of them men, and nearly all unsympathetic. One suggested that the protestors throw themselves into the Freedom Trash Can.

ROBIN MORGAN: The threats, the epithets, the screams were mostly from guys who would, you know lean over the barricades and do the usual. I mean say sort of you know go back to Russia, you’re commie pinko lesbian crazy broom riding witches. You name it. You’re all too ugly to be in the Miss America Pageant.

NARRATOR: Inside Convention Hall, the Miss America contestants were running through one last rehearsal before show time. Outside, on the Boardwalk, the protestors were burning Bert Parks in effigy.

Parks was unfazed. When he got wind that one of the demonstrators was planning to infiltrate the Pageant finals that evening, he didn’t miss a beat. "I’ll grab her by the throat," he said, "and keep right on singing."

PAGEANT BROADCAST: 1968 Bert Parks sings, and Judy Ford crowned…

NARRATOR: Judy Ann Ford, an eighteen-year-old gymnast from Illinois, was the first blonde in eleven years to be crowned Miss America. "I’m so glad," she gushed to the press that evening. "I feel like it’s a breakthrough."

Meanwhile, just four blocks from Convention Hall, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, another ideal was about to be chosen.

Calling itself a "positive protest," the Miss Black America Pageant had been scheduled to begin at midnight, in the hopes that newsmen would drop by when they left Convention Hall. It was nearly three in the morning before nineteen-year-old Philadelphian Saundra Williams was crowned. "Miss America does not represent us," Williams told the audience. "With my title, I can show black women they, too, are beautiful."

TRICIA ROSE, Cultural Critic: Miss Black America is of course an effort to say well, look, trying to be like a white person is not what’s at stake. But appreciating what is black is quite important. So Essence Magazine emerges. Black is beautiful, afros, you know, black women emphasizing that which is black as beautiful and so this was a way of saying, we exist as both a market and as a kind of esthetic really begins to take place in the late 1960s and gets even stronger in the late 70s and 80s.

NARRATOR: All the controversy of 1968 took its toll on Miss America. And before the year was out, Pepsi Cola, a sponsor of the Pageant for over eleven years, withdrew its support. "Miss America as run today," the company declared, "does not represent the changing values of our society."

LEONARD HORN: Society was swirling around it but the Miss America pageant stayed the same, continuing to worship an outmoded ideal. In fact, the powers that be at the pageant never did learn. They never did learn. They didn’t because they regard the Miss America pageant as sacrosanct. The Miss America pageant had developed a formula. The formula worked and nobody wanted to change it.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: Bert Parks: "You know often I’ve heard it said, "Is Miss America relevant today? Well, is personal achievement relevant, is scholarship, is good citizenship relevant? We think it is. And we think it will be for a long time to come."

NARRATOR: The Miss America Pageant still drew an enormous audience — reaching a peak, in 1970, of over 22 million households. But then the ratings started to slip — and the Pageant was finally forced to catch up with the times.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: Song and dance number: "Call Me Ms."

GLORIA STEINEM: It just seemed as if they were just trying to keep the lid on. You know they were just hoping against hope that…that somehow there wouldn’t be too many demonstrations or that the contestants wouldn’t stand up and raise a fist. You know somehow the people who ran the pageant were trying desperately to preserve it.

NARRATOR: The time had come for a new-style Miss America — and in 1973, the Pageant found one in an aspiring attorney from Denver, Colorado named Rebecca Ann King.

REBECCA KING DREMAN, Miss America 1974: I started watching it, the Miss America Pageant as a young girl and I wasn’t really sure that it was the kind of young woman that I was going to be, because I knew I was going to be president of the United States some day. The young women looked a little Barbie dollish to me. They looked a little too made up to me and a little too world peace and I just didn’t think I was that kind of young woman.

NARRATOR: King was finishing up her senior year at Colorado Women’s College, when a friend tried to talk her into entering the Miss America Pageant.

REBECCA KING DREMAN: I said what’s in it for me? She said there’s scholarship money so you can go on to law school. And so I said okay. I’ll think about it, but don’t tell anybody.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: King "During the past 23 years, my grandmother often said to me, that the character of the nation is determined through its womanhood. Through the practice of law, I hope to make a productive contribution to mankind, and find the happiness of a fulfilled woman."

REBECCA KING: I was really in it for the money. And I think it shocked the pageant when I said I was in it for the money. And I didn’t think it was strange at all. I said what is it? It’s a scholarship program, right? Isn’t that what we’re here for?

PAGEANT BROADCAST: Parks "The winner of a 15,000 dollar scholarship and our new Miss America Rebecca Ann King, Miss Colorado…"

REBECCA KING: Well I didn’t fall apart as Miss America. Walked over, got the crown on, and I think my mother received maybe a hundred letters because I didn’t cry. She didn’t cry. What kind of Miss America do we have here on our hands walking down the runway not crying?

NARRATOR: For most Americans, the real surprise came later, when the new Miss America began speaking to the press — and came out in favor of legalized abortion.

REBECCA KING: It was right at the time of Roe v. Wade. I thought a woman ought to have the right to choose whether to continue with the pregnancy or not. And it just blew completely up and the Pageant never said not talk about it.

KATHY PEISS: Well the Miss America pageant in the 1970′s is faced with the growing politicization of women on both the left and the right. And one of the key moments of course is the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973. So when Miss America comes out as pro-choice, inserting a political stand in the Pageant which had always seen itself as nonpolitical or apolitical it really is an important moment.

REBECCA KING: The pageant has always been a little behind the times, but it was definitely the ’70s. It was time for people to move on and the pageant was trying.

NARRATOR: The national press applauded Miss America’s new image. Even feminists, who had been protesting against the Pageant for half a decade, now called off their war and invited King to speak at the National Organization for Women’s annual convention.

Still Miss America’s television audience continued to shrink, edged out by competition from new cable networks and dismissed by younger viewers as old-fashioned.

LEONARD HORN: I think that a large number of people began not watching the Miss American pageant probably about the mid-70s. The ideals upon which the Miss America pageant appeared to rest no longer seemed very exciting or relevant. And I think we lost a generation of people.

NARRATOR: By the late 1970′s, Pageant organizers were desperate for viewers and casting about for ways to update the show. So they decided to fire Bert Parks, Miss America’s master of ceremonies for a quarter of a century.

It was later reported that the Pageant’s sponsors considered 65-year-old Parks "too old and too out of touch." The decision caused such an uproar that Tonight Show host Johnny Carson even held an on-air campaign to get Parks reinstated. The Pageant replaced him anyway.

But a new host did not bring new viewers.

TRICIA ROSE: I was a teenager in the late-70s, and I, my recollection of the Pageant was that it just being a New Yorker, it just didn’t seem to reflect what the City looked like to me. So the pageant was a sort of helpful travelscape for me like oh this is what women look like in Texas and Florida. I was pretty much sure that the most blonde was going to be in the top two if not the number one slot. If a brunette was going to win, it was because of some other extraordinary traits that were compensating, but I very much understood it as a tall, blonde, you know, Southern woman’s festival.

MARGARET CHO: My father was very into it. And then, at one point when I was a little girl, I said oh I want to be one of those contestants. I want to grow up and do that, and he said no, oh no, you cannot do that, no. You know like, and I took it to mean that the beauty pageant was not open to all women. I mean my father thought that this whole pageant was fascinating and we would pick out the winners, but I was not allowed to even entertain the fantasy of becoming one of these women. And I thought well maybe I’m just not pretty enough. Maybe I’m just not white.

LENCOLA SULLIVAN, Miss Arkansas 1980: I remember always sitting in front of the television watching the Miss America every single year when I was a little kid, and I was the only one watching. Everybody else kind of went to bed, and I would be so excited, mom, mom, I got a … I chose the first runner up or the second runner up. But the interesting thing about that, I always kind of saw myself on stage as well, although no one looked like me. There was no one who looked like me.

NARRATOR: Twenty-year-old Cheryl Brown, Miss Iowa 1970, had been the first African-American woman ever to compete in Atlantic City. In the decade that followed, there had been just ten other black contestants — and of those, only one had made the top five: Lencola Sullivan, Miss Arkansas 1980.

LENCOLA SULLIVAN: You know I made history that night by being the first black woman to ever make top five in the Miss America Pageant’s history. And even though that was wonderful, of course I was sad that I didn’t make it to the top and didn’t walk away with the…the title of Miss America. That was actually one of the questions that was asked of me when I competed, was…is America ready for a black woman to become Miss America? And I said if Arkansas is ready, America is ready, but obviously America wasn’t ready.

NARRATOR: But in 1983, the 61st year of the Miss America Pageant, everything suddenly changed.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: 1983 Vanessa Williams singing and being crowned.

NARRATOR: A twenty-year-old musical theater major at Syracuse University, Williams had entered the Pageant in the hope of breaking into show business. Like so many Miss America before her, she wanted to be a star. But first, she would become a political symbol.

To some, the crowning of a black Miss America was a milestone in the struggle against bigotry. "Thank God I have lived long enough," said Congresswomen Shirley Chisholm, "that this nation has been able to select the beautiful young woman of color to be Miss America."

KIMBERLY AIKEN COCKERHAM, Miss America 1994: I remember watching the pageant, and I don’t know that I had watched it before and I remember her singing. I remember her performance. I remember her being crowned, I remember thinking wow, she looks like me. This is something that I could do. I had never to that point thought that Miss America was something that was for me or something that I could do. So I think that that was a turning point for me. I think everybody was shocked, excited and just looking forward to having a year where there was a Miss America that was black and would get to do all the great things that every other Miss America had ever done. So I think it was just a time of excitement and anticipation.

NARRATOR: Williams’ fans made her the most heavily-booked Miss America in the Pageant’s history. Not quite ten months into her reign, she had already earned a record $125,000 in fees.

WILLIAM GOLDMAN: I remember talking to some pageant people and they said that the best Miss Americas they ever had was Vanessa Williams. Apparently she was just sensational. She was just the most verbal, bright, terrific seller of the Miss America contest they’d ever had.

NARRATOR: But there were those who considered Williams’ victory an affront. For the first time, Miss America received death threats and hate mail. When she made appearances in the South, armed guards had to be posted at her hotel room door. And even in the African-American community, there were those who assailed her for not being "black" enough.

Then, in July of 1984, Williams was informed that an unauthorized pictorial, featuring explicit nude photos she had posed for two years earlier, was about to be published in Penthouse magazine. Pageant officials were quick to respond.

ARCHIVAL: L. Horn press conference: "We do not believe that under the content and spirit of the rules as well as the contracts as well as the image of Miss America that she should remain Miss America and still give this particular program the vitality as well as the respect to which it is entitled. If we don’t draw the line here, where do you draw the line?"

LEONARD HORN: The sponsors were waiting on the sidelines. We had received a warning that if we didn’t handle this right, it didn’t turn out right, they were going to pull out. If they pulled out at the end of July, there would have been no money and no Miss American pageant in 1984. And there would not be a Miss America pageant today. That’s how close we came.

NARRATOR: Williams was given 72 hours to resign. She would be allowed to keep her scholarship and the money she had earned, but her title would be given to the first runner-up, Suzette Charles.

ARCHIVAL/Vanessa Williams: "It is one thing to face up to a mistake that one makes in youth. But it is almost totally devastating to have to share it with the American public and the world at large as both a human being and as Miss America. I put the session in the back of my mind and believed the photos would never be used for any purpose as the photographer had verbally assured me. I never consented to the publication or the use of these photographs in any manner.

NARRATOR: It was the first time in the Pageant’s six-decade history that a Miss America was asked to give up her crown.

KIM AIKEN: A lot of people were very disappointed. And I think any community, any minority community looks to their role models that are so accepted and are so loved by everybody as a point of inspiration, and maybe at that point it is, you are let down that okay, these are choices that she made that have caused a lot of embarrassment to her and her family but also to the black community.

TRICIA ROSE: I do remember feeling … incredibly sorry for her. I just felt that she was carrying the weight of this whole history of vicious stereotypes about black women and simply by trying to win the Pageant, she was in a sense trying to counter many of those stereotypes. And then to have these pictures emerge to undermine it was probably the most vicious way to have it because I would be stunned if she was the first Pageant contestant to have tried to raise money as a model by doing these kinds of pictures. I would be stunned if she were the first. But I wouldn’t be surprised if people were more interested in finding hers to undermine it because she in a sense you know, by definition threw the rest of the contestants into stark relief.

NARRATOR: The Vanessa Williams issue of Penthouse would ultimately bring in over 20 million dollars, the magazine’s all-time, single-issue sales record.

MARGARET CHO: You know what’s great about it is that she’s the only Miss America that anybody remembers, and she’s the only one that ever really became a star and that is what’s really great is that her … she has the most kiss my ass story that you can triumph over anything so she’s certainly a big hero of mine.

NARRATOR: For a time, the scandal revived public interest in the Miss America Pageant, and ticket sales for the 1984 finals rose by twenty percent.

That night, after only two months as Miss America, Suzette Charles walked the Convention Hall runway to a standing ovation, before crowning her successor: 20-year-old Sharlene Wells, a tall, blonde Mormon whom USA Today described as "squeaky-clean."

NARRATOR: Confronted now by the possibility of scandals that Lenora Slaughter never could have imagined, Pageant directors drew up a new contestant contract, gradually adding dozens of regulations to which potential Miss Americas were subject.

KATE SHINDLE, Miss America 1998: That you’ve always been female, is one. Is that hilarious? You have to sign a contract saying I’ve always been female. There is, there’s a clause in the contract that you have never posed in the nude there’s always a clause that you can’t have ever, you can’t be the natural or adoptive parent of a child that you have never done anything that could possibly be interpreted as illegal, immoral, unethical, whatever. And everybody signs the contract, but who didn’t cheat on a second grade math test, you know what I mean?

NARRATOR: With the changes in the contract came a renewed campaign to portray Miss America as a "thinking woman" who could make a positive contribution to society. In 1989, Pageant officials introduced a new competition called "the platform," which required contestants to demonstrate on ongoing commitment to a social problem — and to back it up with community service.

PAGEANT FOOTAGE: Miss Florida ‘Hello from the Sunshine State. I’m devoted to promoting unity through the celebration of our cultural diversity’ … Miss North Dakota, ‘I am devoted to encouraging youth to postpone their sexual activities …’

KATE SHINDLE: It’s one of those things that people love to make fun of. I’d love to, I support world peace and I want to give everyone a flower. It’s, it’s the kind of stereotype that we abhor that we really want to get away from, and the way of doing that at least in my mind is to show that we can walk the walk as well.

PAGEANT FOOTAGE: Kate Shindle being crowned? And talking about AIDS

KATE SHINDLE: Because I was talking about AIDS which was something people don’t necessarily associate with the sort of conservative, white bread grass roots Miss America organization, it got a lot of media attention I took some flack for talking to students about sexual activity, certainly about abstinence but also about safer sex. There are people who don’t want you to come to their high school and say things like that. But I will tell you that Miss America got me so much access. The fact that I was invited to speak at middle and high schools in middle America where they would never never invite an AIDS activist to come and speak to their kids. But they’ll roll out the red carpet for Miss America and hope she brings her crown was an enormous part of what I felt was effective during that year.

NARRATOR: More than eighty years after the first contest was held in Atlantic City, the Miss America Pageant still endures. It is one of the longest-running television programs in American history, seen by more than a billion people since its first broadcast in 1954.

It is also the single largest scholarship organization for women in the world. Each year, 1200 state and local pageants are franchised by the Miss America Organization. And each year, more than 10,000 young women enter those contests, all of them hoping Miss America’s crown will change their lives.

KIM AIKEN: I think every contestant that comes to Miss America has a different agenda. Some contestants and I remember even my year said, I don’t want to win this pageant, I really just want to be on TV. Some contestants come there because they want to be discovered by a modeling agency or they want to go into acting or broadcasting. Many contestants go because of their social activism. Many contestants go just because they have this idea of Miss America with the crown and the walking down the runway and many contestants go for that reason.

PAGEANT BROADCAST: 50′s contestant: I would love to be your next Miss America . . . it would enable me to further my studies at Sacramento State College … It would also give the opportunity to meet many wonderful people that I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to meet … and it would considerably broaden my outlook on life … I would love to be your next Miss America.

MARGARET CHO: I think that women’s roles have changed so much in the last twenty years that we are constantly looking for the outside world to tell us who we are and that we really search for this sure identity, for this sure being of who we are and the pageant is one way of defining ourselves.

SARAH BANET-WEISER: It’s not you either love it or you hate it. It’s not it’s either good or bad. It just doesn’t fit that neatly into one of those boxes. I think that what civic rituals do is that they are stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves. And I think that along with considering the Miss America Pageant as popular culture we needed to consider it as a civic ritual, as something that is about imagining citizenship and imagining, who we are, why we’re here, what we’re for.

WILLIAM GOLDMAN: I wonder, I don’t know, do little girls now of six and seven dream of being Miss America? I don’t know. Or do they dream of replacing Bill Gates, I have no idea.

Voir également:

AS IT HAPPENED

ATLANTIC CITY IS A TOWN WITH CLASS — THEY RAISE YOUR MORALS WHILE THEY JUDGE YOUR ASS

Judith Duffett, New York

On Sept. 7, nearly 150 women committed to women’s liberation from New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Florida, Boston and Detroit, converged on Atlantic City to protest the degrading image of women perpetuated by the Miss America Pageant.

Our goal was No more Miss America! Our objections to the Pageant, its racism (there’s never been a black contestant); its use of Miss America as a military mascot to entertain the troops abroad and symbolize the "unstained, patriotic American womanhood our boys are fighting for"; the degrading Mindless-Boob-Girlie symbol which puts women on a pedestal/auction block to compete for male approval; the consumer con game which makes Miss America a walking commercial and oppresses all women into commodity roles; the cult of youth and the American institution of planned obsolescence which makes last year’s Miss America as stale as yesterday’s news and makes all women "useless" when they are no longer ripe for exploitation as sex objects, the Madonna/Whore image of womanhood which means that Miss America must be seductive in a bathing suit and at the same time be pure and untouched; and the whole idea of beauty contests, which create one "winner" and millions of insecure, frustrated losers, who feel they must meet the imposed standards of beauty or face disaster: "You won’t get a man!"

photo source: "The Liberated Woman’s Appointment Calendar And Survival Handbook, 1971," by Jurate Kazickas and Lynn Sherr. Universe Books, 1970

Our purpose was not to put down Miss America but to attack the male chauvinism, commercialization of beauty, racism and oppression of women symbolized by the Pageant. We arrived on the Boardwalk at 2 p.m. Saturday and began picketing in front of Convention Hall. Some of our signs read: "Everyone is Beautiful," "I am a Woman, Not a Toy, Pet or Mascot," "Who Dares to Judge Beauty," and "Welcome to the Miss America Cattle Auction."

Guerrilla theater was used to illustrate some of our points. A live sheep was crowned "Miss America" and paraded on the liberated area of the boardwalk to parody the way the contestants (all women) are appraised and judged like animals at a county fair.

"Women are enslaved by beauty standards" was the theme of another dramatic action in which some of us chained ourselves to a life-size Miss America puppet. This was paraded and auctioned off by a woman dressed up as a male Wall Street financier. "Step right up, gentlemen, get your late model woman right here–a lovely paper dolly to call your very own property … She can push your product, push your ego, or push your lawnmower …"

The highlight of the afternoon was the giant Freedom Trash Can. With elaborate ceremony and shouts of joy, we threw away instruments of torture to women–high-heeled shoes, Merry Widow corsets, girdles, padded bras, false eyelashes, curlers, copies of Playboy, Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal, etc.

Throughout the afternoon activities, we were observed by some five or six hundred onlookers, mostly men, who were by turns amused, perplexed, and mostly enraged by our presence. The heckling was led by two young men: "You’re just jealous–you couldn’t be Miss America if you were the last man (?) on earth!" "Get back on your broom!" "Why don’t you go back to Russia?" "Which one of your girlfriends is your husband?" The women in the mainly lower middle class crowd by and large agreed with them. One woman, however, crossed the police line with her three children and joined us!

We generally ignored their jeers, but in the evening (we stayed until midnight), when the crowd was somewhat less hostile, we changed our tactics. Many of us put down our signs and went right up to the police line and began engaging in dialogue with the people. Two more women crossed the line to our side, though we did not make any noticeable conversions. But a dialogue was established, and women who had felt confused and hurt by the signs and leaflets which they didn’t understand and demonstrators with whom they could not identify, began to go through some changes in their heads when we started to talk to them personally. Proving what many of us have felt for a long time: women who are unreachable on most radical issues can be reached on this one, since it involves their daily lives.

Sixteen of us purchased tickets to the Pageant and from seats in the balcony near the stage, began a disruption as the outgoing Miss America was making her farewell speech. Although there was no TV coverage of the disruption (we were told later that one of the cameramen was about to pan to the balcony when he was told that if he did he would lose his job), the cameras and microphones did record the visible turning of heads and the stuttering and trembling of Miss America as we shouted "Freedom for Women!" and "No More Miss America" and hung a banner from the balcony reading "Women’s Liberation."

The sixteen were quickly hustled out, and five were arrested, charges against them later dropped. Earlier Peggy Dobbins had been arrested and held on $1,000 bail. She was charged with disorderly conduct and "emanating a noxious odor" for spraying a can of Toni home permanent throughout the audience. The Pageant and city officials were undoubtedly sensitive on this area of commercial products. We had already declared a boycott of the products sponsoring the Pageant, of which Toni is one (the others are Pepsi-Cola and Oldsmobile). We expected that they would sweep Peggy’s case under the rug. Instead the charges against her were escalated to an indictable offense, with a possible sentence of two to three years.

All in all, the day was a tremendous success. We intend to be back in Atlantic City next year and every year until the Miss America Pageant is closed down. It may not take too long. There have been rumors that because of the disturbance, the Pageant next year may be taped with no studio audience.

We have also been in contact with a former Miss America who is on our side, and have heard from a woman who was asked to be a judge but declined, partly because she heard of our plans. I suppose it’s possible to have the Pageant without an audience, but you can hardly have one without contestants or judges!

‘BEAUTY OF THE BLACK WOMAN’

source:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh

"There’s a need for the beauty of the black woman to be paraded and applauded as a symbol of universal pride," said J. Morris Anderson, an organizer of the competing pageant. "We’re not protesting against beauty. We’re protesting because the beauty of the black woman has been ignored. It hasn’t been respected. We’ll show black beauty for public consumption — herald her beauty and applaud it."

At Convention Hall, at least a few of the women pickets were Negroes. They were aware of the Miss Black America contest, but were not sure what they ought to do about it. "I’m for beauty contests," said Mrs. Bonnie Allen, a Negro Bronx housewife in her mid-thirties. "But then again maybe I’m against them. I think black people have a right to protest." "Basically, we’re against all beauty contests," Miss Morgan said. "We deplore Miss Black America as much as Miss White America but we understand the black issue involved."

NEGRO FINALISTS ACTIVE

While the Miss America finalists stayed out of sight, reportedly primping for their last show in Convention Hall, the eight Miss Black America finalists were out on the town acting like

source:http://www.pbs.org

beauty queens. They rode in open convertibles from the Ritz Carlton past the hall, around the business district and on into the Negro community. They waved white-gloved hands, smiled perfect smiles and showed off themselves as well as their elegant evening gowns in the afternoon sun.

They were cheered everywhere. The predominantly white strollers along the boardwalk waved and applauded. But nowhere was the reception more enthusiastic than along the main streets within the Negro community. Besides a motorcycle escort, they were accompanied by music makers with bongos, cowbells and flutes. And after their automobile tour, they went off to swim, party and wait for the midnight judging to begin. The final’s beginning coincided with the Miss America finale.

The Miss America Organization

The Miss America Pageant and its sponsor, the Miss America Organization, has evolved from a beach-side showcase for frolicking bathing beauties to a competition that still includes bathing suits, but now emphasizes scholarships and social causes. In 1921 the winner of the first Inter-City Beauty Contest was crowned "Miss America," and she won a first place prize of $100. The first pageant had only seven contestants from cities along the East Coast. Although the number of contestants and the pageant’s popularity increased throughout the decade, the event was closed down in 1927 due to growing criticism and charges of immorality, as well as a lack of financial support.

In 1933 organizers revived the pageant. By 1940, the pageant had regained its financial footing and respectability. It continued as a not-for-profit event; its official title became the "Miss America Pageant" and chose the Atlantic City Convention Hall as its permanent venue. The national executive director, Lenora Slaughter, shaped the modern pageant by adding features such as state competitions, the scholarship program, and a judging category based on personal interviews.

In the 1990s the pageant was reformed into The Miss America Organization, a not-for-profit corporation which comprised three distinct divisions: the traditional Miss America Pageant, the scholarship fund, and a Miss America foundation. The organization grants state franchises to one "responsible" organization in each state — usually the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees). The state organization conducts a state competition in accordance with all the rules and regulations established by the Miss America Organization. These include having a panel of Miss-America-certified judges. The state pageant organizations, in turn, are responsible for reciprocal franchising of "responsible" organizations within each state to sponsor local and regional competitions. The local, state, and national organizations all rely on a vast army of volunteers and financial supporters to work throughout the year.

Contestants at all levels of the pageant compete in four categories: talent, evening wear, interview and physical fitness. Further, every Miss America state titleholder must select a platform for a social cause that is important to her. She spends her year’s service as a state winner advocating her issue. On the national level, Miss America also spends her year (since 1989, when the platform requirement was established) advocating her cause to the media, business people, public officials, and civic and charitable organizations.

The pageant competitions and the national broadcast are only one part of what the Miss America Organization does. The national and state organizations operate twelve months a year, raising scholarship funds from large and small businesses. The Miss America Organization’s main mission is to provide contestants with the opportunity to pursue their professional and educational goals through monetary grants and awards.

On the national level, scholarships are distributed as follows:

Miss America, $40,000

First runner-up, $30,000

Second runner-up, $20,000

Third runner-up, $15,000

Fourth runner-up, $10,000

Each of the five semi-finalists also wins $8,000. Each of the other 40 contestants receives $3,000. The three preliminary talent winners get $2000 each. The three preliminary swimsuit winners gain $500 each. One non-finalist interview winner is awarded $1,000. There are a number of other scholarship awards on the national level, including ten Bert Parks non-finalist talent winners, receiving $1,000 each, and a newly established Steinway Music Scholarship of $5,000.

Since establishing the scholarship program in 1945, the Miss America program has distributed more than $150 million in educational grants, making it the world’s largest scholarship program for women. Each year more than $30 million in diverse scholarships are made available to thousands of women who participate in local, state and national Miss America programs.

Lenora Slaughter Transforms the Pageant

From its inception, the Miss America Pageant wrestled with its image. In the 1920s, pageant organizers worked to make it a sophisticated event. But critics such as women’s clubs and religious groups abhorred the display of the female form in public; it was not considered respectable behavior. Although Victorian values had relaxed, new freedoms for women — from the expression of more direct sexuality to winning the vote in 1920 — led to a general anxiety about women’s apparently loosening morals. To make matters worse, most of the women who flocked to the pageant came with hopes of landing a Hollywood or stage career, cashing in on their good looks but raising questions about their morality. The growing criticism caused pageant officials to shut down the event in 1928.

The economic depression of the 1930s brought a more conservative understanding of "proper" femininity. The ideal of the frugal homemaker replaced that of the flapper. Before the pageant could be revived, organizers had to create an event that had a higher moral tone. In 1935 Lenora Slaughter was hired to produce an event that was respectable and legitimate.

Lenora Slaughter, a Southern Baptist and businesswoman, had made a name for herself in St. Petersburg, Florida, by working tirelessly at the Chamber of Commerce to put that town on the map. Slaughter came to the Miss America Pageant on a six-week leave of absence from St. Petersburg. She ended up staying, and in time would become director of the pageant, in a reign that lasted until 1967. The pageant became her passion. She would bring the most significant and lasting changes to its structure.

The newly revived pageant of 1935 marked the beginning of a concerted effort to attract an appropriate "class of girl" to represent the nation with the title of Miss America. Unfortunately, Slaughter’s early years were plagued with scandal and notoriety. In 1935, a sculptor unveiled a nude statue of that year’s Miss America, Henrietta Leaver. Later, Miss America 1937, eighteen-year-old Bette Cooper, changed her mind about becoming Miss America and escaped in the middle of the night.

Slaughter initiated an all-out crusade to improve the pageant’s image. First, she banned contestants who held titles that represented commercial interests, such as newspapers, amusement parks and theaters. Contestants were required to carry the title of a city, region, or state. This distanced the pageant from the crass practices of other pageants where the connection between money and women displaying themselves in public was obvious. The contestants now had to be between 18 and 25 years old, and never married. And while in Atlantic City, they had to observe a 1 am curfew and a ban on bars and nightclubs. Slaughter initiated the talent competition in 1938, introducing the idea that the contestants could be judged on more than beauty.

Slaughter did not stop there. At the time, theaters, swimming pools, state fairs, and amusement parks ran local pageants. She persuaded local Junior Chambers of Commerce (Jaycees) to become sponsors, allowing parents to feel their daughters were in safe hands. Further still, Slaughter persuaded socialites from Atlantic City’s upper strata to act as hostesses and chaperones for the young women when they were in Atlantic City. A pageant judge once asked Slaughter what to look for in a winner. "Honey," she said, "just pick me a lady."

Slaughter’s most significant legacy is the Miss America scholarship program. "I knew that the shine of a girl’s hair wasn’t going to make her a success in life," she wrote in her autobiography. Prizes before Slaughter consisted of such things as a fur coat, a Hollywood contract, or the chance to earn money modeling. In offering opportunities for advancement through education, Slaughter fashioned a pageant that appealed to middle-class sensibilities. Slaughter sat down and personally wrote about three hundred letters to businesses asking for college scholarship money that could be offered as the prize for the Miss America title. She initially raised $5000, and in 1945 the Miss America Pageant became one of the first organizations in the country to offer college scholarships to women. Lenora Slaughter died in December 2000 at the age of 94. By the time of her death, the Miss America Organization was the single largest contributor of scholarships to women in the United States.

Breaking the Color Line at the Pageant

The first African Americans to appear in the Miss America Pageant came onstage as ‘slaves’ for a musical number in 1923. It was not until 1970 that a black woman, Iowa’s Cheryl Brown, won a state title and made it to Atlantic City as a contestant. Lencola Sullivan, Miss Arkansas 1980, was the first African American to make it to the top five. In 1984 Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America, beginning the year as one of the best Miss Americas ever, in the eyes of many pageant insiders, but ending her reign mid-year amidst scandal.

The pageant’s long history of excluding women of color dates from its beginnings. At some point in the 1930s, it was formalized in the notorious rule number seven of the Miss America rule book. Instituted under the directorship of Lenora Slaughter, rule number seven stated that "contestants must be of good health and of the white race." As late as 1940, all contestants were required to list, on their formal biological data sheet, how far back they could trace their ancestry. In the pageant’s continual crusade for respectability, ancestral connections to the Revolutionary War or perhaps the Mayflower would have been seen as a plus.

Bess Myerson, Miss America 1945 and daughter of Russian-Jewish parents, while technically eligible to compete under rule seven, sensed the far-reaching bigotry behind it. She had, after all, been pressured (unsuccessfully) to change her name to a less Jewish-sounding name. Myerson was the first Jewish Miss America — and the only one ever to be crowned, as of 2001. Myerson later recalled her discussion with Slaughter:

"I said… the problem is that I’m Jewish, yes? And with that kind of name it’ll be quite obvious to everyone else that I’m Jewish. And you don’t want to have to deal with a Jewish Miss America. And that really was the bottom line. I said I can’t change my name. You have to understand. I cannot change my name. I live in a building with two hundred and fifty Jewish families. The Sholom Aleichem apartment houses. If I should win, I want everybody to know that I’m the daughter of Louie and Bella Myerson."

In addition to Myerson, others had pushed the boundaries of the pageant’s unwritten and written rules for inclusion. In 1941 a Native American, Mifauny Shunatona, represented Oklahoma at the pageant, though there would not be another Native American contestant for 30 years. Irma Nydia Vasquez from Puerto Rico, and Yun Tau Zane from Hawaii, the first Asian contestant, both broke the color bar in 1948.

Asian American comedian Margaret Cho recalls watching the pageant: "My father was very into it. And then, at one point when I was a little girl, I said oh I want to be one of those contestants. I want to grow up and do that, and he said no, oh no, you cannot do that, no. …and I took it to mean that the beauty pageant was not open to all women. I mean my father thought that this whole pageant was fascinating and we would pick out the winners, but I was not allowed to even entertain the fantasy of becoming one of these women. And I thought well maybe I’m just not pretty enough. Maybe I’m just not white."

By the 1960s there still had not been a black contestant. Following the advances of the civil rights movement, black Americans set up their own contest in 1968. Black communities had sponsored segregated black beauty contests for years, dating farther back than the Miss America contest. However, the 1968 Miss Black America Contest, held in Atlantic City on the same day as the Miss America Pageant, was organized as a direct protest of the pageant. On that same day, feminists staged a boardwalk demonstration protesting the pageant. The 1968 Miss America Pageant was confronted with its shortcomings on several fronts.

It was not until 1984 that Vanessa Williams of New York was crowned as the first black Miss America. Many likened her accomplishment to that of Jackie Robinson breaking the color line in baseball. Controversy followed Williams as, for the first time, Miss America recieved death threats and hate mail. By all accounts, Williams was doing an excellent job of representing the pageant at her public appearances. But halfway into her year, the discovery of pornographic photos of her forced Williams to resign. She had been pressured into posing for the photographs that she had been told would never appear in print. In 1984 they came out in the most successful issue of Penthouse magazine ever printed, netting publisher Bob Guccione a windfall profit of $14 million.

When Williams resigned, the media and the American public could talk of little else. Williams’ situation seemed to be about more than a single young woman’s error in judgment. Many people, both inside the black community and outside it, saw racial politics at the heart of the scandal, and debated how Williams’ race might have affected events. No matter how people viewed the scandal, Williams often was cast as representing not only herself, but also her race.

Vanessa Williams persevered, and went on to have a major recording career. Her runner-up, an African American woman from New Jersey named Suzette Charles, took over as the 1984 Miss America. Since then, there have been other black Miss Americas, as well as the first Asian Miss America, Angela Baraquio, Miss Hawaii of 2000. Today, the Miss America Pageant has made diversity part of its official mission.

Still, it is a particular kind of diversity. For recent historians and commentators, the question that is becoming most significant is how "diverse" a contestant can be. Is the pageant truly diverse, or is it peddling an outdated image of America as a homogenized melting pot? Do women of color need to fit the idealized white version of femininity that is the legacy of the pageant? Can more ethnic and racially diverse features be represented at the pageant? And can modern beauty even be reduced to a single, representative face? These questions are likely to be raised by the pageant for years to come.

History follows former Miss Iowa First black pageant winner recalls her crowning moment

Shirley Davis

Quad-City Times

October 19, 2000

Cheryl Brown Hollingsworth, now of Lithonia, Ga., is married and the mother of two married children. She hopes to be in Davenport for tonight’s pageant.

Thirty years ago a pretty and talented ballet dancer from Iowa set the international press spinning when she became the first-ever African-American contestant in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J.

The fact that she came from a conservative Midwestern state like Iowa was doubly astounding to those who were reporting on the pageant, and she drew attention not only from newspaper and magazine writers around the world but from the security forces in Atlantic City, who were quite visible during rehearsals in Convention Hall.

Today, Cheryl Brown Hollingsworth of Lithonia, Ga., who was Miss Iowa of 1970, says, “Iowans were very accepting of me, but I think it took the country by surprise to realize that it was a young woman from Iowa who became the first African-American contestant.

“I don’t feel I personally changed the pageant,” Brown said in a phone interview from her home this week, “ but I feel that my presence expanded people’s minds and their acceptance. And, in subsequent years, they were much more open to African-American candidates.” She says, “I didn’t feel hounded by the press, but it was obvious that security was tight —especially at Convention Hall rehearsals when our chaperones weren’t always present.

“There were women’s lib protesters on the Boardwalk, and no one knew whether there would be more protesters because of the African-American connection.” The reigning Miss Iowa, Jennifer Caudle of Davenport, who will give up her crown tonight, is only the second African-American contestant from Iowa in the past 30 years.

Brown, who has been working in banking industry for 26 years, manages a financial center for First Union National Bank in Atlanta, Ga. Her husband Karl, formerly of Moline, is regional human resources manager for the Federal Express. Her mother-in-law, Mildred Taylor, still lives in Moline.

The couple has been married 28 years. Their daughter Etienne Thomas of Durham, N.C., finished law school in December and was married in January. Son Joshua also is married and is an Army paratrooper at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Brown was to have judged this week’s state pageant in Davenport, but a conflict with her job made that impossible at the last minute. At this writing, she planned to arrive in Davenport by Friday evening, operating on a very tight schedule. “I’ll be pushing it,” she said, “but I hope to make it.” She’d also hoped to be here for the 50th anniversary pageant two years ago, but had to cancel because of another conflict. “This would have been only the third pageant I’d have judged,” she said. She was an Iowa judge in the early ’80s.

Brown came to Davenport in 1970 as a student from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. As Miss Decorah, she won a college scholarship —then more scholarships from the state and national pageants, with an extra scholarship for being a non-finalist talent winner in Atlantic City.

These helped with her education at Luther College, where she met her husband.

Although she didn’t place in the coveted “top 10” in Atlantic City, Brown’s talent brought her back to the Miss America Pageant the following year. “I was one of the Miss America contestants chosen to go on a USO tour to Vietnam, and we were all invited back to the pageant.

“I think it was one of the last Miss America groups to go to Vietnam,” Brown said.

Because she was a New Yorker, Brown stayed in the Bettendorf home of Marge and Walter Steffens during her reign, because her title required her to maintain a Quad-City residence. The Steffens’ daughter Barbara was a friend of Brown’s. She remembers the fun she had shopping for her Atlantic City wardrobe —all at the expense of the pageant board.

Brown now keeps up with Miss Iowa news through a pageant newspaper.

She had hoped to come back for the 50th anniversary of the Miss Iowa Pageant in 1998, but another conflict prevented that.

“My daughter isn’t interested in pageants and is not a dancer,” Brown said. Brown’s father, who had been employed at a New York City airport, died three years ago, and recently her mother moved to Atlanta to be near her.

Fighting Racism, One Swimsuit at a Time

Belva Davis

February 10, 2011

As we celebrate Black History Month and honor progress against racial and gender bias, it’s good to acknowledge some of the roadblocks that had to be overcome, especially for African American women.

In the 1960s, nobody had to tell me that a dark-skinned girl was ineligible to be Miss America; everybody knew the crown was reserved for white girls only. The rare occasions when the pageant included African Americans had been demeaning, such as the 1923 competition in which blacks played the roles of slaves during a Court of Neptune musical extravaganza. By the 1930s, the exclusion was made explicit with Pageant Rule #7, which required that Miss America contestants “be of good health and of the white race.”

By the 1940s, contestants were required to complete a biological data sheet tracing their ancestry as far back as possible —preferably to the Mayflower.

Not until 1970 would a U.S. state be so rebellious as to send a black contestant to the Miss America Pageant, and ironically it would be one of the whitest states in the nation: Iowa. The first black woman to win the Miss America crown was Vanessa Williams in 1983, a surprising triumph at a time when the prototypical “beautiful woman” in the mainstream culture of the day had a slim build, blonde hair and blue eyes.

Internalizing this racism, many black females put themselves through a torturous process trying to appear “less black” —straightening the kinks out of their hair, bleaching their skin, minimizing their curvaceous bodies and even occasionally clamping their wider noses with clothespins in a preposterous attempt to narrow them. They weren’t unaware of the consequences of skin color: Social science research would later establish that lighter-toned African Americans had better employment prospects than their darker counterparts.

But I had no doubt that attractive girls and women came in all colors, from pale porcelain to glorious ebony, as history has taught us. And if the Miss America pageant was too stubbornly prejudiced to see that, I decided, we should simply initiate a contest all our own. Maxine Craig, associate professor of women and gender studies at the University of California, Davis, took note of it in her scholarly paper ”Walking like a Queen: Learning to be Miss Bronze:”

On June 9, 1961 an Oakland, California black newspaper announced the beginning of the ‘first major beauty contest for Negro girls held in Northern California.’ Belva Davis, an energetic free-lance journalist, recruited contestants, trained them, found sponsors, a band and a banquet hall, sold tickets, arranged for press coverage and thus created the first northern California ‘Miss Bronze’ contest.

The pageant was open to unmarried African American women 17 to 25 years old, from the Oregon border all the way south to Fresno. I recruited contestants in the Bay Area via my newspaper column, my radio show and even church appearances. Eventually Sacramento, Merced and Fresno staged their own local pageants, with their winners advancing to the Miss Bronze Northern California finals. The winner and first runner-up, as well as the talent-competition winners, were awarded free trips to Los Angeles to compete in the Miss Bronze California Pageant finals.

I did everything I could to make the competition affordable to all young women. Entrance was free, as were the required charm school classes. We secured donated swimsuits for the contestants — always modest one-pieces, to keep the churches happy —and provided stipends for their evening gowns.

Today, few would consider the creation of a beauty pageant as a serious way to fight injustice, but it proved to be an effective tool four decades ago. The Miss Bronze contest gave our young contestants the confidence and self-pride they needed to pursue the dreams they held of breaking through the crust of doubts about their own self-worth. Simple things such as good posture, a confident smile, the rewards of volunteering–all helped the contestants define and aspire to become their best selves. Participation in the Miss Bronze California pageant opened the door to talented women of that era, some who continue to enjoyed long careers in the entertainment industry–like Oscar nominee (for The Color Purple) Margaret Avery, and Marilyn McCoo and Florence LaRue of The Fifth Dimension.

The words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave me the comfort I needed to realize the value of what some saw as frivolous and demeaning to women. He said,

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.

Those words hold true today. Find a place where you can work toward equality, forget the name and go to work.

Belva Davis’s new memoir is Never in My Wildest Dreams; see an excerpt from it in the latest issue of Ms. magazine.

Photo of Marilyn McCoo of The Fifth Dimension performing in 1970, from Wikimedia Commons. McCoo won the Miss Bronze California pageant in 1962.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Miss America Pageant

FOX News Magazine

September 13, 2013

The preliminary rounds for this year’s Miss America pageant are already under way in Atlantic City, with the final night of competition airing on ABC this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

But before you settle down for an extravaganza of swimsuits, singing and sashaying, why not take a few minutes to learn a bit more about one of America’s favorite national pastimes? After all, there’s a whole lot more to Miss America than meets the eye (besides her hidden talent for playing the marimba).

Here’s a few of the most interesting stories, scandals and secrets surrounding the Miss America pageant.

* * * * *

#1. The Miss America pageant started as a ploy to keep tourists on the Atlantic City boardwalk after Labor Day. In 1920, a group of local businessmen organized an event called the Fall Frolic, which happened to feature a rolling chair parade of young ladies. At the following year’s Fall Frolic, the parade was reworked as the Inter-City Beauty contest, and entrants were chosen through newspaper-sponsored photo contests. Sixteen-year-old Margaret Gorman won the title of "The Most Beautiful Bathing Girl in America" and took home the Golden Mermaid trophy. She returned to defend her title in 1922, where she was informally dubbed "Miss America."

#2. After Yolande Betbeze won the title of Miss America for 1951, she flat-out refused to wear or promote Catalina swimwear, one of the pageant’s sponsors. (Betbeze told the company she was a singer, "not a pin-up.") Because of this, Catalina cut ties with Miss America and created their own beauty competition in 1952: the Miss USA pageant.

#3. To compete for the Miss America crown, a contestant can’t be married — but she can certainly be divorced. A rule change in 1999, which was applied to the 2000 pageant and onward, states that the contestants only need to swear that they’re unmarried, not pregnant, and not the adoptive or biological parent of a child (rather than the previous rule that required a Miss America contestant to swear that she had never been married or pregnant).

#4. California, Oklahoma and Ohio boast the most Miss America wins with six each. Nineteen states and two U.S. territories share the distinction of earning zero Miss America titles.

#5. In 2012, the widow of the songwriter who penned the familiar Miss America tune ("There she is, Miss America … ") filed a lawsuit against the pageant. Phyllis Wayne felt that the song — written by her late husband Bernie Wayne — had been improperly licensed at the 2011 and 2012 ceremonies. A confidential settlement was reached in late 2012, but the song wasn’t heard at the 2013 pageant, and it won’t be heard at the 2014 pageant, either.

#6. Historically, there has always been a set of qualifying criteria that must be met in order to enter the Miss America pageant, but none was as controversial as rule #7. This rule, which was in place until 1940, stated that "contestants must be of good health and of the white race." To satisfy this requirement, Miss America hopefuls were required to trace their ancestry back through as many generations as they could.

#7. The first and only Jewish Miss America, Bess Myerson, was crowned in 1945. She was pressured to change her name to "Beth Merrick" for the pageant, but the Bronx native told her pageant director that she wouldn’t do it. "I said … the problem is that I’m Jewish, yes? And with that kind of name it’ll be quite obvious to everyone else that I’m Jewish. And you don’t want to have to deal with a Jewish Miss America," Myerson recounted. "And that really was the bottom line. I said I can’t change my name. You have to understand. I cannot change my name. I live in a building with two hundred and fifty Jewish families. The Sholom Aleichem apartment houses. If I should win, I want everybody to know that I’m the daughter of Louie and Bella Myerson."

#8. Television and radio announcer Bert Parks has hosted more Miss America pageants than anyone else, having emceed the event every year between 1955 and 1979. When he was fired at the age of 65 (organizers were trying to revamp the show for a younger audience), Johnny Carson staged a "We Want Bert" campaign to get him reinstated. It didn’t work, but Parks was eventually invited back to appear as a guest for the pageant’s 70th anniversary in 1990.

#9. Prior to becoming an Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning actress, Cloris Leachman competed in the 1946 Miss America pageant as Miss Chicago. (In the pageant’s earlier years, delegates representing larger metropolitan areas such as New York City and Chicago were allowed to enter alongside delegates from New York State and Illinois. After complaints, the pageant did away with these positions — as well as the position of Miss Washington D.C., albeit temporarily.)

#10. The morning after winning the title of Miss America at the 1937 pageant, Bette Cooper decided she didn’t want to commit to the role and ran off with a man (by motorboat, some say). She opted to return to school instead of fulfilling her Miss America duties, and no other contestant was awarded the title in her stead.

Regina

Vintage Powder Room

a window into the past

1 Jul, 2012

All hail the Queen! The Regina hair net envelope suggests that any wearer of the net inside will become a queen. Well, a hair net is much easier to wear out in public than a jeweled crown is — unless you’re Miss America.

The Miss America Pageant was conceived in Atlantic City. The Businessmen’s League of Atlantic City devised a plan that would keep profits flowing into the city past Labor Day, which was when tourists traditionally left for home.

The kick-off event was held on September 25, 1920, and was called the Fall Frolic. Who could resist an event in which three hundred and fifty men pushed gaily decorated rolling wicker chairs along a parade route? The main attractions were the young maidens who occupied the chairs. The head maiden was Miss Ernestine Cremona who, dressed in a flowing white robe, was meant to represent peace.

The Atlantic businessmen had scored a major success with the Frolic. They immediately realized the powerful appeal of a group of attractive young women dressed in bathing suits, and so a committee was formed to organize a bather’s revue for the next year’s event.

The bather’s revue committee contacted newspapers in cities as far west as Pittsburgh and as far south as Washington, D.C. asking them to sponsor local beauty contests. The winners of the local contests would participate in the Atlantic City beauty contest.

Atlantic City newspaperman Herb Test reported that the winner of the city’s pageant would be called Miss America.

The 1921 Fall Frolic was five days of, well, frolicking. There were tennis tournaments, parades, concerts, a fancy dress ball and SEVEN different bathing divisions! If you were in Atlantic City during those five days and not dressed in a bathing suit you would have been out of place. Children, men, even fire and police personnel, all were in bathing suits. There was a category created specifically for professional women, and by professional the pageant’s organizers didn’t mean corporate women, secretaries or hookers, they meant stage and screen actresses.

Margaret Gorman

The first Miss America was chosen by a combination of the crowd’s applause and points given to her by a panel of artists who served as judges. Sixteen-year-old Margaret Gorman (30-25-32), who bore a strong resemblance to screen star Mary Pickford, was proclaimed the winner. Gorman was crowned, wrapped in an American flag, and presented with the Golden Mermaid trophy and $100.

Atlantic City expanded the frolic during the 1920s and the number of contestants grew to 83 young women from 36 states. The event drew protestors who thought that the girls were immoral — why else would they be willing to parade around in bathing suits in public? The organizers countered the protests by publicizing that the contestants were wholesome, sweet young things who neither wore make-up, nor bobbed their hair.

Louise Brooks, bobbed haired beauty.

With the runaway success of the Atlantic City pageant, other groups saw an opportunity to jump on the bandwagon by promoting their own ideals of beauty. The 1920s saw pageants for a Miss Bronze America, and even the Ku Klux Klan staged a pageant for Miss 100 Percent America! It’s difficult for me to visualize a woman wearing a bathing suit and one of those dopey conical hats.

For the next several years the Atlantic City pageant continued to thrive and to change. One of the changes was in scoring. How does a panel of judges determine a beauty contest winner? By the mid-1920s a points system was established: five points for the construction of the head, three points for the torso, two points for the leg…I’m wondering just how many points a perky rounded posterior was worth.

Norma Smallwood

In 1926, Norma Smallwood, a small-town girl from Tulsa, Oklahoma, was crowned Miss America. She parlayed her reign into big bucks. She reportedly made over $100k — more than either Babe Ruth or President Calvin Coolidge!

Smallwood appears to have been the first Miss America who realized that her crown was a business opportunity. When she was asked to return to Atlantic City in 1927 to crown her successor, she demanded to be paid. When the pageant reps didn’t come forward with a check, Norma bid them adieu and headed for a gig in North Carolina.

By 1928 women’s clubs, religious organizations and other conservative Americans went on the attack and accused the organizers of the Miss America Pageant of corrupting the nation’s morals. One protester said, “Before the competition, the contestants were splendid examples of innocence and pure womanhood. Afterward their heads were filled with vicious ideas.”

Still from OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS (1928)

The controversy over the beauty contest scared the Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce so badly that, in 1928, they voted twenty-seven to three to cancel the event!

The stock market crash and resulting economic depression made the Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce rethink the event, and it was revived 1933.

In 1933, thirty young women were brought to Atlantic City aboard a chartered train called the Beauty Special.

The Atlantic City Press newspaper reported:

“Queens of pulchritude, representing 29 states, the District of Columbia and New York City, will arrive here today to compete for the crown of Miss America 1933.

The American Beauty Special train will arrive at the Pennsylvania-Reading Railroad Station at South Carolina Avenue at 1:20 p.m. to mark the opening of the eighth edition of the revived Atlantic City Pageant. The five-day program will be climaxed Saturday night with the coronation ceremonies in the Auditorium.

A collection of blondes, brunettes and red heads, will assemble in Broad Street Station, Philadelphia, this morning, and the beauty special will leave at 11:55 a.m.”

It is surprising that more women didn’t participate in the 1933 Miss America pageant. In the midst of the Great Depression the contest prizes sounded fabulous, “Wealth and many honors await the Miss America this year. She will receive many valuable prizes and a cash award as well. In addition, she will have opportunities to pursue a theatrical career.”

Some of the contestants may have believed the stories related in rags-to-Broadway-riches films like GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933. The opportunity for a girl to win a part in a film or on Broadway would have been a potent lure for those who saw themselves as the next Joan Blondell or Ruby Keeler. I can imagine many of the Miss America hopefuls on the Beauty Train singing WE’RE IN THE MONEY.

The 1933 winner was Marian Bergeron, a talented girl from Westhaven, Connecticut. She was poised for a shot at stardom until the newspapers reported her age; she was only fifteen. Her young age put a damper on an offer from RKO, but she was buoyed by a two year reign – no pageant was held in 1934.

Marian Bergeron

During the 1930s the Miss America pageant continued to be viewed by many as a circus of sin. In October 1935 a scandal rocked the contest.

Less than a month after seventeen-year-old Henrietta Leaver had been crowned Miss America, a nude statue of her was unveiled in her hometown of Pittsburgh.

Henrietta swore up and down that she had worn a bathing suit when she posed for the statue, and she also said that her grandmother had been with her each time she had posed. Nobody bought Henrietta’s story and the image of the Miss America pageant was further tarnished.

One of my favorite Miss America contestants of the 1930s was Rose Veronica Coyle (1936 winner). Rose was twenty-two when she won title of Miss America. Rose wore a short ballet shirt with a white jacket, brightened by huge red polka dots, and sang “I Can’t Escape from You”.

Rose Coyle, Truckin’

She then wowed the judges with her eight-minute long tap dance routine performed to TRUCKIN’. The audience loved her so much the judges allowed her an encore — the first in the pageant’s history.

The Miss America Pageant lost its venue after WWII broke out because it was needed by the military. Rose Coyle and her husband, Leonard Schlessinger (National General Manager of Warner Bros. Theaters) saved the day by relocating the Miss America Pageant to the Warner Theatre on the Boardwalk. It would be the pageant’s home until 1946.

Beauty Pageants, Miss America, Miss American Rose Day

A Return to True Beauty

In What Day is it?

October 20, 2009

In thousands of beauty pageants across America, she stands there, an aura around her as she tries with all of her might not to squint under the bright, hot kleig lights causing tiny beads of sweat to form on her forehead, as she focuses on holding that perfect vasoline-covered smile, praying not to trip on the dress while walking past the dimly-lit judges’ table in front of the stage….

Origin of Modern-Day Beauty Pageant

In 1921 the Businessman’s League of Atlantic City, a fun-loving group of guys to be sure, decided to hold what they called a ”Fall Frolic.” Sticking wheels on 350 colorful wicker chairs, the organizers decorated them and assembled together scores of attractive women to pose on the chairs, as men pushed them down the Boardwalk. The spectacle was such a success (go figure) that organizers decided to ask cities far and wide to run photo pageants in their newspapers, perform state-wide runoffs, and send all the winners to Atlantic City the following year as state representatives. A local newspaperman, Herb Test, spoke up and stated that the ultimate winner should be crowned “Miss America.” Although only a handful of states sent women the next year, an empire was born, changing how beauty was perceived for decades to come.

Rubber-stamping Beauty

The nationalizing and glamorizing of beauty pageants significantly helped to standardize what it means to be “beautiful” in America. Oh, I’m not trying to villify the Billion-Dollar pageant industry…. They were only building on the commercial success that came with parading a steady stream of female cinema bombshells in Hollywood. It’s no coincidence that the first winner of the Miss America Pageant was 16-year-old Margaret Gorman, noted to have been popular because she looked like then-famous movie starlet Mary Pickford.

Little girls in small towns scattered across America read about the annual winners, pouring over photographs of the contest in their local papers. Quite a bit more than a handful of young women began that dream of competing someday in what has become over 1,200 local and state-level pageants leading to the now televised national pageants, hoping to be picked (by the new pageant ”experts,” tape measure in hand) as perfect.

Eating Disorders : The 800 lb. Gorilla in the Room

A Johns Hopkins University study showed that the average contestant on Miss America is 5’7″ talls, weighs in at a feathery-light 120 lbs., and has a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18.5, placing her squarely in the undernourished category for her height. This is to be compared to the average American woman, with a height of 5’4″, weighing 142 lbs., with a BMI of 24.4. In other words, to be considered as the next nationally televised representative of American beauty, a young women has to put serious consideration in joining the population of those residing deeply in the territory bordering an eating disorder.

My three young girls see the woman who is pressed forward by the crowd, to cut the ribbon on the new mall’s ground-breaking with impossibly large scissors. They see the happy young girl waving from the car passing by on the parade, the one in the beautiful white formal. My girls are health, having been known to turn down seconds at the dinner table many a time. Despite these continual exercises in self-control, they don’t see the same figure in the mirror as those that represent our shared ideals of shapeliness. How easy it must be for them to equate success in life with that waif-like figure paraded in front of them in magazines and on television, in music videos and commercials. I work hard to make sure they understand the difference between perception and reality…

It is estimated by the National Institute of Mental Health that between 5-10% of all women in America suffer from eating disorders, and up to 15% have had issues with them in their lives. Women have begun to fight back at this impossible body image, demanding a more realistic view of what is considered beautiful by the media, often lashing out at the beauty pageants, television conglomerates, and fashion industry.

From Skinny to “Fit”

She looks fat?

She looks fat?

Beauty pageant marketers have heard the complaints, simply moving their message from thin to the more popular image of “fit,” adding the word “fitness” to describe swimsuit competitions, as though to wear a skinny slip of fabric is akin to a sporting activity. My Dad used to watch pretty much any sport that was on television, including of all things Bass Fishing. If they had grass growing competitions, I am sure he would have owned a hat with Kentucky Blue Grass emblazoned on it. To my surprise, he also loved to watch Women’s Baskeball. I’m not always sure it was for the right reasons… The players looked pretty fit to me. The average female Olympic women’s basketball player (a Hell of a lot taller, fitter and thinner than the average woman) coincidentally has a BMI averaging 24.4, same as your typical, much shorter red-blooded and totally hot American female.

There is nothing fit in the rapid (and dangerous) weight-loss regimen that one not-long-ago Miss America winner underwent, going from a size 7 to a size 2 in just four months in preparation for the competition. I seriously doubt she played basketball to get in that condition. Our girls cannot (and should not) try to keep up with this dangerous example of American “fitness.” They don’t wind up on stages with tiaras after that type of behavior. They wind up in hospitals.

The Addition of “Good Causes”

National and International Beauty Pageants have further pushed away the issue of eating disorders by brandishing before them (and perhaps hiding behind) a variety of wonderful causes they support financially, including AIDS Education, Women’s Rights, School Violence and Breast Cancer Awareness. They are certainly incredible, worthy causes. I believe in and support them all, in case an apologetic wants to bash me over the head with one. But the pageants continue to fail to take on the 800 lb. gorilla in the room head-on, undertaking the loosening of what body style has to be met to compete and win. What better way to create a more healthy, positive body image for our daughters, one that empowers them to stop looking in the mirror so much and begin looking more seriously at their educations, than to change what they physically see in beauty pageant winners? In that girl who cuts the ribbon or waves in the parade?

Even Barbie is No Longer Skinny Enough…

Cankles? Really?

Cankles? Really?

French Shoe Designer Christian LouBoutin recently complained that he felt that Barbie, the perennial American doll that pretty much everybody acknowledges has impossible proportions, has cankles. Yes, fat ankles. He wants the doll redesigned to have skinnier ankles. Thanks, jerk.

Ralph Lauren model Filippa Hamilton (size 4) sparked controversy in the news recently, stating she was let go for being too fat to fit in the clothing provided to her for photograph sessions. In support of these statements, fashion shots of the 5’10″ 120 lb. model were produced to the media, doctored in order make her hips appear even skinnier than her head, because a size 4 was not small enough to produce the desirable eye-candy on a sailboat look…

The Power of Beauty

There is no mistaking the power of attractiveness. Have we been trained to believe that beautiful people somehow possess greater faculties of the mind, or a deeper reservoir of essential, earthy goodness? Researchers have shown that when handing in homework of equal merit, more attractive students get higher grades on average by their googly-eyed teachers. More attractive criminals tend to get lighter sentences from their jurors. Less attractive people earn less than average-looking people, who make less than more attractive workers holding similar positions.

Where Does It Stop? Who Will Take a Stand?

Thank you Miss American Rose!

Thank you Miss American Rose!

The Miss American Rose Pageant is very unlike other pageants. Competitors of all ages are not invited to attend at a particular location, instead mailing in their applications to pageant headquarters. That’s right, mail-in. There are no travel expenses, no clothing and hairstyle costs, no hotel rooms and trainers, no poise school and singing lessons, no tape under the boobs, no wardrobe malfunctions, no stupid answers to canned questions. And definitely no itching powder in a competitor’s swimsuit.

The competition is based largely on a girl (or woman’s) lifetime achievements, rather than being almost wholely focused on one’s appearance and poise. There are optional competitions based on academics, talent, community service, career, and finally beauty. But before you roll your eyes, the beauty portion of the pageant is based on either photograph or written essay, as outer and inner beauty are each being considered as having their merit..

I have to stand and applaud the Miss American Rose Pagaent. They have shirked the standardized beauty specifications, put down the tape measures and scales, and allowed the definition of what is beautiful to return to the eye of the beholder. They have drawn forth and celebrated the inner beauty in each and every girl and woman, empowering and pushing them to be leaders, teachers, and examples for all of us.

From the bottom of my heart I thank you, Miss American Rose Pageant. My daughters and I love you.

Timeline: Miss America

1845

Women’s History entry

Newspaperman Horace Greeley publishes a landmark book by journalist and social reformer Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century. The work argues for women’s equality in all aspects of life.

1848

Women’s History entry

Leading women in early feminist movement American women move further into the public sphere; the first Women’s Rights Convention is held at Seneca Falls, New York.

1849

Women’s History entry

Amelia Bloomer begins her crusade to reform American women’s fashions.

1854

Miss America entry

P.T. Barnum’s efforts to launch a live beauty contest are unsuccessful. Respectable women do not parade their beauty in public. He launches a picture-based beauty contest sponsored by local newspapers. It is highly successful and imitated.

1861-64

Civil War soldier holding flag The nation is divided in two as North and South clash in the U.S. Civil War.

1863

January 1: President Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation.

1880

Miss America entry

The first recorded bathing beauty contest takes place at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Inventor Thomas Edison is a judge. A bridal trousseau is the prize. Contestants must be under 25, not married, at least 5 feet 4 inches tall, and weigh no more than 130 pounds.

1889

Women’s History entry

November 18: Journalist Nellie Bly sets off to travel around the world in under 80 days.

1890

Women’s History entry

An umbrella organization, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, is formed. Women’s clubs are venues for women’s education and development, and will increasingly focus on community service.

In a second wave of U.S. immigration, people from Eastern Europe and Italy come to America.

1893

Miss America entry

The Chicago Columbian Exposition features a Congress of Beauty.

1895

Women’s History entry

The National Federation of Afro-American Women is formed. A year later it joins with the League of Colored Women to become the National Association of Colored Women.

1896

U.S. Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson rules that segregation is not unconstitutional. The doctrine treating African Americans as "separate but equal" holds for the next half century.

1898

Rough Riders, San Juan American soldiers fight the Spanish American War in Cuba and the Philippines.

1902

Women’s History entry

The National Women’s Trade Union League is formed.

Women’s History entry

November: McClure’s Magazine publishes the first installment of muckraker Ida Tarbell’s exposé, The History of the Standard Oil Company.

1907

Miss America entry

Swimmer Annette Kellerman is arrested for indecent exposure while trying to popularize a one-piece swimsuit worn with tights rather than bloomers.

1909

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded.

1914

World War I begins in Europe.

1915

D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation is the first full-length feature film in the new motion picture industry. It portrays the Ku Klux Klan as American heroes.

The new sound recording industry begins a phase of rapid growth.

1917-18

World War I poster The U.S. enters World War I. Of the 4.3 million American soldiers who fight, 126,000 are killed. The total number dead in the bloodiest war mankind has ever seen is 8.5 million, from over a dozen nations.

1919

Women’s History entry

Meter readers The First International Congress of Working Women meets in Washington, D.C.

The Red Summer: widespread anti-Communist sentiment, racial and labor unrest, and the aftermath of war combine and cause the nation to erupt in violence.

1920

prohibition January: The Eighteenth Amendment makes the sale, manufacture, and transportation of intoxicating liquors illegal.

Women’s History entry

August: The Nineteenth Amendment is ratified, giving women the right to vote. The National League of Women Voters is organized.

1921

Miss America entry

Margaret Gorman with other contestants September 7: The first Miss America Pageant, called the "Inter-City Beauty Pageant," takes place in Atlantic City as a part of a Fall Frolic to attract tourists. There are seven contestants. Sixteen-year-old Margaret Gorman from Washington, D.C., wins the title, Miss America.

1923

Miss America entry

September: The Inter-City Beauty Contest grows in popularity, attracting over 70 contestants. After pageant officials forget to include a "no marriage" rule, it is discovered that "Miss" Alaska, Helmar Leiderman, is not only married but is also a resident of New York.

Miss America entry

September: Mary Katherine Campbell becomes the only woman to win the Miss America title two years in a row. Pageant officials subsequently establish a rule that a woman cannot hold the title more than once.

1924

The Immigration Act establishes a national quota system for limiting immigration.

1926

Miss America entry

Norma Smallwood, Miss America 1926, makes $100,000 in appearance fees, an income higher than either Babe Ruth or the president of the United States.

1927

September: Baseball star Babe Ruth hits record-breaking home run number 60. All the people in attendance wave handkerchiefs in his honor. The record will stand for over 3 decades.

1929

Miss America entry

Religious groups and women’s clubs protest the loose morals of young women in the pageant. Bad press plus financial trouble shut the pageant down between 1929 and 1932.

Unemployment lines October 24: The stock market crashes. The Great Depression begins.

1931

March 25: Nine black youths are accused of the rape of two white women in Paint Rock, Alabama. The Scottsboro boys’ case becomes one of the most significant legal fights of the twentieth century.

1932

Women’s History entry

Female nurse May 20: Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She becomes a Depression-era hero and advocate for women’s equality, saying, "A pilot’s a pilot. I hope that such equality could be carried out in other fields so that men and women may achieve equally in any endeavor…"

Miss America entry

September: Atlantic City sponsors revive the Miss America Pageant. Fifteen-year-old Marian Bergeron is Miss America 1933. Age requirements are instituted afterwards requiring contestants to be between 18 and 26.

1930s

Miss America entry

Sometime in the 1930s a pageant rule is established requiring contestants to be of the white race.

Women’s History entry

Union membership among women in the U.S. increases threefold, to almost 20% of the female workforce.

1933

Franklin Roosevelt President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated.

1935

Miss America entry

- Pageant officials hope to re-invent the pageant. They hire Lenora Slaughter to do the job for six weeks. She will stay for 32 years, serving as the pageant’s director.

1937

Miss America entry

Winner Bette Cooper changes her mind about being Miss America, and flees Atlantic City.

1937

Farmer Dust Bowl farmers in the Great Plains suffer the effects of severe dust storms as well as economic hard times.

1938

Miss America entry

A "society matron" chaperone system is enacted, to keep pageant contestants away from scandal.

Miss America entry

A talent competition is added as part of the scoring process.

Miss America entry

Contestants are no longer allowed to represent cities, resorts, or theaters. Instead, they are required to represent states.

1939

April: RCA’s National Broadcasting Company (NBC) broadcasts the opening of the New York World’s Fair. One of the first television sets is displayed at the Fair.

September 1: Germany invades Poland. World War II begins.

1940

Miss America entry

September: The pageant is officially dubbed the Miss America Pageant and moves into Atlantic City’s Convention Hall.

1941

Pearl Harbor December 7: The Japanese bomb a U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. A day later, President Roosevelt declares war on Japan and the U.S. enters World War II.

1941-1945

Women’s History entry

Women working for war effort Women’s employment rises dramatically as women take on new wartime jobs.

1942

Miss America entry

Miss America is transformed into an emblem of patriotism. Miss America 1942, Jean Bartel, turns down a lucrative movie offer to sell a record number of war bonds.

1942-1943

Women’s History entry

Women’s branches of armed forces are formed, including the Army WACS, the Navy WAVES, the Coast Guard SPARS, the Marines MCWR, and the Army Air Force’s WASPS. Women are six percent of the armed services.

1944

January 22: More than 17 months after news of Hitler’s plan to annihilate Europe’s Jews reaches the U.S., President Roosevelt issues an executive order to establish the War Refugee Board.

Miss America entry

Director Lenora Slaughter raises $5000 to launch the Miss America scholarship program. Previously Miss America is offered furs and movie contracts. Now she is offered funds for college. The original scholarship patrons are: Joseph Bancroft and Sons, Catalina Swimwear, F.W. Fitch Company, and the Sandy Valley Grocery Company. She also enlists Junior Chambers of Commerce across the country to sponsor local and state contests.

Miss America entry

September 8: Bess Myerson becomes Miss America 1945, the first Jewish Miss America and the first winner of the scholarship program. She plans to study conducting.

1945

Miss America entry

Bess Myerson receives few offers for appearances and product endorsement. America appears not to be ready for a Jewish Miss America. Myerson decides to spend her year speaking for the Jewish Anti-Defamation League on the topic, "You Can Not Be Beautiful and Hate."

May 8: V-E Day. President Harry Truman announces the end of the war in Europe via radio.

September 2: V-J Day, when Japan formally surrenders, ends World War II.

1946

Miss America entry

Lenora Slaughter bans the phrase "bathing suit"– the garments are to be called "swimsuits."

The Baby Boom begins. The birth rate will rise dramatically over the next decade.

1947

Miss America entry

Lee Meriwether September: For the last time, Miss America is crowned in a bathing suit. Afterwards, winners are crowned in evening gowns.

1948

Women’s History entry

June 12: President Harry Truman signs into law the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, enabling women to serve as permanent, regular members of the armed services. The law limits the number of women that can serve in the military to two percent of the total forces in each branch.

1949

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is formed.

1950s

A "Cold War" develops between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

1950

Korean woman and child June: North Korea invades South Korea. President Truman commits U.S. troops.

Miss America entry

September: Yolande Betbeze sings an operatic aria and is crowned Miss America 1951. Catalina Swimwear withdraws sponsorship of the pageant after Betbeze refuses to appear in public in a swimsuit.

1952

Dwight Eisenhower is elected president.

Miss America entry

Catalina inaugurates the Miss Universe and Miss USA Pageants, two years after withdrawing support for the Miss America Pageant.

1953

June 2: Queen Elizabeth II is crowned in England.

Miss America entry

ABC approaches the pageant about televising the event. Fearful of losing the Atlantic City audience to TV, pageant officials say no. Movie star Eddie Fisher hosts the pageant.

September: Alfred Kinsey’s report, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, challenges many myths about sexual behavior in American society.

December: Playboy, a men’s magazine featuring photographs of nude women, publishes its inaugural issue, featuring Marilyn Monroe on the cover.

1954

May 17: The "separate but equal" doctrine established by Plessy v. Fergusson in 1892 is overruled in Brown v. Board of Education. The Supreme Court unanimously rules that segregation in schools is unconstitutional.

Miss America entry

Miss America on television Philco Television Sets purchases 1954 television broadcast rights to the pageant for $10,000 and contracts with ABC for the broadcast.

Miss America entry

September 11: Twenty-seven million people tune in to see Lee Ann Meriwether crowned Miss America. Grace Kelly is a judge and Bess Myerson reports from backstage. The scholarship award is $10,000.

1955

Miss America entry

Bert Parks Bert Parks is hired as the pageant’s emcee. He introduces a theme song, There She Is , written by Bernie Wayne.

1959

Miss America entry

Every state in the nation is at last represented at the pageant.

1960s

Women’s History entry

Women protesting in Washington Women are major participants in the civil rights and anti-war movements.

1961

Women’s History entry

The President’s Commission on the Status of Women is established, chaired by former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The commission will take two years to publish its Peterson Report, documenting workplace discrimination against women and making recommendations for child care, maternity leave, and equal opportunity for working women.

1963

Women’s History entry

Betty Freidan publishes The Feminine Mystique, reflecting a groundswell of dissatisfaction with women’s social status, and it is a best seller. Gloria Steinem’s magazine article, "I Was a Playboy Bunny," details the author’s undercover investigation of the New York Playboy Club.

Martin Luther King Jr. August 28: Martin Luther King leads a March on Washington to urge support for pending civil rights legislation. He delivers his famous "I have a dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

November 22: President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.

1964

Women’s History entry

The 1964 Civil Rights Act includes a key provision for women. Title VII outlaws discrimination in public accommodations or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin. At the last minute the word "sex" is added by a Southern congressman, thinking it will kill the entire bill. Instead, it passes.

The Immigration Act abolishes a quota system that had restricted immigration.

1965

President Johnson with American soldiers The first American troops arrive in Vietnam.

1966

Miss America entry

The Miss America Pageant is televised in color in its first year on NBC.

Women’s History entry

October: The National Organization for Women is formed.

1967

Women’s History entry

The women’s liberation movement begins to grow. In Berkeley, California, women gather to raise consciousness about feminist issues.

Miss America entry

Lenora Slaughter, the pageant’s director, retires.

1968

April 4: Martin Luther King is assassinated. Rioting occurs in 100 American cities.

June 6: Senator Robert Kennedy is assassinated.

August: Protesters disrupt the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Miss America entry

Miss Black America pagent September 7: Judi Ford is crowned Miss America 1969. Feminists get national media attention for their protest on the Atlantic City boardwalk, where they crown a sheep and throw products like lipstick and hair curlers into a "Freedom Trash Can." The same day, the first Miss Black America Contest is held in Atlantic City in protest of the "white" Miss America Pageant.

Miss America entry

Pepsi Cola withdraws its 11-year sponsorship, claiming the pageant no longer represents the changing values of American society.

Women’s History entry

Shirley Chisholm is the first African American woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

1969

Miss America entry

Feminist protesters at Atlantic City Feminist protesters return to Atlantic City, claiming the pageant treats women as sex objects. Protesters will return every year well into the 1970s.

1970

May 4: National Guardsmen kill four students at anti-war demonstrations at Ohio’s Kent State University.

Miss America entry

Rules barring non-whites have finally changed. The first black contestant to make it to Atlantic City is Cheryl Brown, Miss Iowa.

Miss America entry

Pam Eldred, Miss America 1970, has to be evacuated to safety while entertaining soldiers in Vietnam.

1971

Women’s History entry

A prototype of Ms. Magazine is published.

1972

Women’s History entry

March 22: The Equal Rights Amendment passes Congress and is sent to the states for ratification. The amendment will be defeated, after a lengthy battle, in 1982.

Women’s History entry

Title IX of the Higher Education Act bans exclusion on the basis of sex from programs or activities in universities receiving federal financial assistance, marking a turning point for women’s access to athletics programs.

June 17: Five men are arrested for breaking into Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate apartment and office complex in Washington, D.C.

1973

Women’s History entry

January 22: In Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court grants women the right to legal abortions.

March 29: The last American troops leave Vietnam.

Miss America entry

Becky King Rebecca King is chosen Miss America 1974. She is the first winner to use her scholarship award for professional education, studying to become a lawyer.

1974

Women’s History entry

Little League Baseball votes to allow girls on its teams.

President Richard Nixon August 9: President Nixon resigns.

1979

March 28: The nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania has a meltdown at its core, in America’s worst nuclear accident.

November 4: Militant Islamic students seize hostages at the American Embassy in Teheran, Iran. Fifty-two hostages will be detained for 444 days — over 14 months.

1980

Miss America entry

Miss Alabama, Lencola Sullivan, is the first African American to make the pageant’s top five finalists.

Women’s History entry

Only 27% of the nation’s households conform to traditional ideas of a family with a male breadwinner and female housewife. Two-income families or female-headed households are rapidly replacing the older pattern.

President Ronald Reagan Ronald Reagan is elected president.

1981

Miss America entry

Bert Parks is fired. He is considered too old, too corny, and too sexist for the times. Talk show host Johnny Carson initiates a protest that is unsuccessful. Ron Ely and then Gary Collins replace Parks.

Women’s History entry

September 25: Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the U.S. Supreme Court’s first female judge.

1983

Women’s History entry

Sally Ride June 18: The first woman astronaut, Sally K. Ride, travels into space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger.

Miss America entry

Vanessa Williams Vanessa Williams is crowned Miss America 1984 and is the first black woman to hold the title. Two months before the end of her reign, Penthouse magazine will publish nude photos of her taken when she was 17. Pageant officials will force her to resign.

1984

Women’s History entry

The Democratic Party nominates Geraldine Ferraro for the vice presidency, the first time a major party has nominated a woman.

1987

Miss America entry

Albert Marks retires as Chairman of the Board of the Miss America Organization after 27 years. The first paid CEO, Leonard Horn, is hired.

1988

Miss America entry

Miss America Kaye Lani Rae Rafko devotes her year to advocacy of care for the terminally ill, becoming the first winner to dedicate her reign to a social issue.

1989

Miss America entry

The social issue platform, where contestants commit to advocating for a cause if they become Miss America, becomes part of the pageant’s requirements.

1990

The Berlin Wall falls, marking the end of the Cold War.

1990-1991

President George Bush with leader of Kuwait Persian Gulf War. The U.S. leads a multi-national coalition against Iraq after that country invades Kuwait; Iraq surrenders.

1991

Women’s History entry

Anita Hill, a law professor, testifies before a U.S. Senate committee that the conservative Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas, engaged in sexual harassment. Issues of race and gender are debated across the country.

1992

Miss America entry

Kim Aiken, Miss America 1993, is the fifth African American Miss America. She uses her year to promote the cause of the homeless.

1994

Miss America entry

Alabama’s Heather Whitestone wins the swimsuit and talent competitions and is crowned Miss America 1995. She is deaf and becomes the first Miss America with a physical handicap.

1996

Miss America entry

Record low TV ratings prompt NBC to drop the Miss America Pageant after 30 years. ABC picks up broadcast rights.

1997

Miss America entry

The swimsuit competition is modified. Contestants can wear any style, including two piece and bikini.

1999

Miss America entry

The swimsuit rules are again modified, barring string bikinis and thong swimsuits.

2000

Miss America entry

In the year 2000, the first Asian American Miss America is crowned. Angela Perez Baraquio of Hawaii is Miss America 2001.

2001

September 11: Terrorists from the Middle East highjack four airplanes. Two crash into New York’s World Trade Center, destroying both towers and killing thousands. One crashes into the Pentagon, also causing extensive damage and loss of life. The fourth plane crashes in a field in Pennsylvania, killing all passengers.

The United States commits to a war on terrorism.

Miss America entry

September 26: Katie Harman, Miss America 2002, rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, along with several New York firefighters.

Voir enfin:

Indian Americans

Pew

June 19, 2012

History

The arrival of more than 6,000 Indians from Asia between 1904 and 1911, mainly to work as farmhands, marked the first major influx of this population into the United States. Indians from Asia in the U.S. were first classified in court decisions of 1910 and 1913 as Caucasians, and therefore could become citizens as well as intermarry with U.S.-born whites. However, the decisions were reversed by the Supreme Court in 1923, when Indians from Asia were legally classified as non-white and therefore ineligible for citizenship.

That court decision prevented Indian immigrants from naturalizing. New immigration from India already had been prohibited by a 1917 law.

The restrictions were lifted after passage of comprehensive immigration legislation in 1965. Since then, a large influx of highly educated professionals from India has immigrated to the U.S. for skilled employment. In 2010, an estimated 2.2 million adult Indian Americans lived in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Indians are the third-largest group among Asian Americans and represent about 17% of the U.S. adult Asian population.

Characteristics (2010 ACS)

Nativity and citizenship. Nearly nine-in-ten (87%) adult Indian Americans in the United States are foreign born, compared with about 74% of adult Asian Americans and 16% of the adult U.S. population overall. More than half of Indian-American adults are U.S. citizens (56%), lower than the share among overall adult Asian population (70%) as well as the national share (91%).

Language. More than three-quarters of Indian Americans (76%) speak English proficiently, (41) compared with 63% of all Asian Americans and 90% of the U.S. population overall.

Age. The median age of adult Indian Americans is 37, lower than for adult Asian Americans (41) and the national median (45).

Marital status. More than seven-in-ten (71%) adult Indian Americans are married, a share significantly higher than for all Asian Americans (59%) and for the nation (51%).

Fertility. The share of Indian-American women ages 18 to 44 who gave birth in the 12 months prior to the 2010 American Community Survey was 8.4%, higher than the comparable share for Asian-American women overall (6.8%) and the national share (7.1%). The share of these mothers who were unmarried was much lower among Indian Americans (2.3%) than among all Asian Americans (15%) and the population overall (37%).

Educational attainment. Among Indian Americans ages 25 and older, seven-in-ten (70%) have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree; this is higher than the Asian-American share (49%) and much higher than the national share (28%).

Income. Median annual personal earnings for Indian-American full-time, year-round workers are $65,000, significantly higher than for all Asian Americans ($48,000) as well as for all U.S. adults ($40,000). Among households, the median annual income for Indians is $88,000, much higher than for all Asians ($66,000) and all U.S. households ($49,800).

Homeownership. More than half of Indian Americans (57%) own a home, compared with 58% of Asian Americans overall and 65% of the U.S. population overall.

Poverty status. The share of adult Indian Americans who live in poverty is 9%, lower than the shares of all Asian Americans (12%) and of the U.S. population overall (13%).

Regional dispersion. Indian Americans are more evenly spread out than other Asian Americans. About 24% of adult Indian Americans live in the West, compared with 47% of Asian Americans and 23% of the U.S. population overall. More than three-in-ten (31%) Indian Americans live in the Northeast, 29% live in the South, and the rest (17%) live in the Midwest.

Attitudes

Here are a few key findings from the 2012 Asian-American survey about Indian Americans compared with other major U.S. Asian groups:

Indian Americans stand out from most other U.S. Asian groups in the personal importance they place on parenting; 78% of Indian Americans say being a good parent is one of the most important things to them personally.

Indian Americans are among the most likely to say that the strength of family ties is better in their country of origin (69%) than in the U.S. (8%).

Compared with other U.S. Asian groups, Indian Americans are the most likely to identify with the Democratic Party; 65% are Democrats or lean to the Democrats, 18% are Republican or lean to the Republicans. And 65% of Indian Americans approve of President Obama’s job performance, while 22% disapprove.