Russie: Ce qui reste du communisme quand on a tout oublié (Last refuge of the scoundrel: For Putin’s new robber baron Russia, anti-Americanism is the name of the game)

25 septembre, 2013
https://i1.wp.com/media.hoover.org/sites/default/files/imagecache/large/images/digest20033_satter1.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
La destruction de l’URSS fut la plus grande catastrophe géopolitique du siècle. Poutine (25.04. 05)
Les dirigeants européens et américains espèrent que les tyrans et les autocrates du monde vont disparaître tout seuls. Mais les dinosaures comme Vladimir Poutine, Hugo Chávez et les ayatollahs iraniens ne vont pas s’effacer comme cela. Ils ne doivent leur survie qu’au manque de courage des chefs du Monde libre. Garry Kasparov
Les lecteurs dans d’autres pays pourront être tentés de se réjouir, un tant soit peu, des difficultés des États-Unis. Une telle réaction ne devrait surprendre personne. Les États-Unis et ceux qui les représentent ont été accusés d’arrogance, car les États-Unis peuvent souvent être considérés comme une nation incontournable, mais il serait préférable si c’étaient les autres pays qui attiraient l’attention sur ce point. De plus, les exemples d’incohérences entre ce que les États-Unis pratiquent et ses principes suscitent à juste titre des accusations d’hypocrisie. La source de ressentiment réside dans le fait que les États-Unis n’appliquent pas les principes que ses propres représentants prêchent aux autres. Mais, comme pour d’autres tentations, il est de mise de résister à l’envie de se réjouir des imperfections et des difficultés des États-Unis. Les gens du monde entier doivent prendre garde de ne pas souhaiter trop fort que les États-Unis ne réussissent pas à résoudre ses problèmes intérieurs, car le prix d’un tel dénouement pourrait bien être exorbitant. En fait, le reste du monde a presque autant d’intérêt au succès des États-Unis que les Américains eux-mêmes. Une partie de la raison est économique. L’économie américaine compte encore pour le quart de la production mondiale. L’accélération de la croissance américaine augmentera le pouvoir d’achat des États-Unis pour des biens et services d’autres pays, améliorant du même coup les perspectives de croissance mondiale. Au moment où l’économie de l’Europe est à la dérive et où celle de l’Asie se refroidit, les États-Unis (ou, plus précisément, l’Amérique du Nord) ont le potentiel de remettre l’économie mondiale sur les rails de la relance. Les États-Unis sont encore un formidable creuset d’innovations. La plupart des citoyens du monde communiquent par l’entremise d’appareils portables dont la technologie est issue de Silicon Valley; comme l’Internet qui a pris son essor en Amérique. Plus récemment, de nouvelles technologies créées en Amérique augmentent grandement la capacité d’extraction de pétrole et de gaz naturel. Ces technologies de forage sont en train de faire le tour de la planète entière, ce qui permet à d’autres sociétés d’accroître leur production énergétique et de diminuer leur dépendance sur les importations tout en réduisant leurs émissions de carbone. Les États-Unis sont également une source inépuisable d’idées. Ses universités de classe internationale forment une forte proportion des futurs dirigeants du monde. Plus fondamentalement, les États-Unis ont été à la fine pointe de tout ce que les économies de marché et la démocratie politique peuvent accomplir. Les gens et les gouvernements du monde entier seront d’autant plus ouverts que le modèle américain sera perçu comme une réussite. Enfin, la communauté internationale fait face à plusieurs défis importants : elle doit stopper la prolifération des armes de destruction de masse, lutter contre les changements climatiques et maintenir un ordre économique mondial qui facilite le commerce et l’investissement. Elle doit aussi se préoccuper de la réglementation des pratiques dans le cyberespace, de l’amélioration de la santé dans le monde et de la prévention de conflits armés. Ces problèmes ne s’en iront pas de sitôt et ne se régleront pas d’eux-mêmes. Même si la « main invisible » d’Adam Smith est ce qui fait fonctionner le libre marché, elle est inopérante dans le monde de la géopolitique. Pour atteindre un certain équilibre dans les affaires mondiales, une main dirigiste visible est nécessaire pour formuler et réaliser des solutions mondiales aux problèmes mondiaux. Ne nous méprenons pas ! Rien de tout cela ne veut dire que les États-Unis puissent vraiment régler tous les problèmes du monde. L’unilatéralisme produit rarement l’effet désiré. Ce n’est pas simplement que les États-Unis n’en ont pas les moyens ; la nature même des problèmes mondiaux contemporains nous permet de penser que seules les mesures collectives ont de bonnes chances de réussite. Évidemment, il est plus facile de faire l’apologie de solutions multilatérales que de les formuler et de les mettre en œuvre. Pour l’instant, un seul candidat est prêt à jouer ce rôle : les États-Unis. Aucun autre pays n’a la combinaison requise de la capacité et de la volonté de le faire. Richard Haas
Je veux aller porter le témoignage de notre reconnaissance, éternelle, au combat des Russes lors de cette bataille. (…) Je pense que les Russes sont profondément européens. Ils appartiennent pour une très large part à la civilisation européenne, et c’est une raison suffisante pour mettre en œuvre tous les efforts nécessaires afin de faire progresser cette unité du continent européen. L’avenir commun de la Russie et de l’Europe est dans ce partenariat stratégique qui a été proposé. François Fillon
La politique de « redémarrage » des relations russo-américaines proposée par le président Obama a été interprétée à Moscou comme l’indice de la prise de conscience par les Américains de leur faiblesse, et par conséquent comme une invitation à Moscou de pousser ses pions (…) Le contrat d’achat des Mistrals présente un triple avantage: d’abord, la Russie acquiert des armements de haute technologie sans avoir à faire l’effort de les développer elle-même ; deuxièmement, elle réduit à néant la solidarité atlantique et la solidarité européenne ; troisièmement, elle accélère la vassalisation du deuxième grand pays européen après l’Allemagne. Un expert russe a récemment comparé cette politique à celle de la Chine face aux Etats-Unis : selon lui, à Washington le lobby pro-chinois intéressé aux affaires avec la Chine est devenu si puissant que les Etats-Unis sont désormais incapables de s’opposer à Pékin; la même chose est déjà vraie pour l’Allemagne face à la Russie et elle le sera pour la France après la signature du contrat sur les Mistrals. (…) Aujourd’hui, Moscou (…) se pose en rempart de la civilisation « du Nord », ce qui ne manque pas de sel quand on se souvient avec quelle persévérance Moscou a défendu le programme nucléaire iranien, contribuant grandement à l’émergence de cette « menace » du Sud, et avec quel enthousiasme elle célébrait, il y a un an encore, le naufrage de la civilisation occidentale. (…) On l’a vu dans les années 1930, la présence d’un Etat revanchard sur le continent européen peut réduire à néant toutes les tentatives de fonder un ordre international sur le droit et l’arbitrage. Françoise Thom
During the reform period, which witnessed a massive effort to remake Russian society and the Russian economy, Russia once again fell victim to a false idea. The victory over communism was a moral victory. Millions took to the streets not because of shortages but in protest over communism’s attempt to falsify history and change human nature. As a new state began to be built, however, all attention shifted to the building of capitalism and, in particular, to the creation of a group of wealthy private owners whose control over the means of production, it was assumed, would lead automatically to a free market economy and a law-based democracy. This approach, dubious under the best of conditions, could not but be disastrous in the case of Russia. It meant that, in a country with a need for moral values after more than seven decades of spiritual degradation under communism, the introduction of capitalism came to be seen as an end in itself. (…) The decision to transform the economy of a huge country without the benefit of the rule of law led not to a free market democracy but to a kleptocracy with several dangerous economic and psychological features. (…) Perhaps more important than these economic features, however, was the new system’s social psychology, which was characterized by mass moral indifference. If under communism, universal morality was denied in favor of the supposed “interests of the working class,” under the new reform government, people lost the ability to distinguish between legal and criminal activity. (…) The young reformers were lionized in the West, but, as the years passed and the promised rebirth of Russia did not materialize, arguments broke out in Russia over whether progress was being prevented by the resistance of the Duma, inadequate assistance from the West, or the inadequacies of the Russian people themselves. These arguments, however, had a surrealistic quality because they implicitly assumed that, with the right economic combination, it was possible to build a free market democracy without the rule of law. In fact, a market economy presupposes the rule of law because only the rule of law is able to assure the basis of a free market’s existence, which is equivalent exchange. Without law, prices are dictated not by the market but by monopolization and the use of force. The need for a framework of law was particularly pronounced in the case of Russia because socialism for ordinary Russians, in addition to being an economic system, was also a secular religion that lent a powerful, albeit false, sense of meaning to millions of lives. When the Soviet Union fell, it was necessary to replace not only the socialist economic structures but also the “class values” that gave that system its higher sanction. This could only be done by establishing the authority of transcendent, universal values, which, as a practical matter, could only be assured by establishing the rule of law. David Satter
Russian anti-Americanism is likely to intensify. Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia has no universal ideology capable of inspiring loyalties that transcend national boundaries. Anti-Americanism is a kind of substitute. It allows Russia to carve out a prominent role for itself in world affairs that it could never have if it were concerned only with acting positively. At the same time, the regime is threatened by a deteriorating economy. In the second quarter of this year, growth fell to 1.2%. During the 2000s, the rate was 7.2%. Because of its immense corruption, Russia is critically dependent on high oil prices, and these are supported by Middle East instability. Under such circumstances, the U.S. is not only a helpful distraction but a convenient scapegoat. Mr. Putin is losing support in Moscow, but his defense of the Assad regime evokes nostalgia for the Soviet empire and strengthens his support among the conservative and provincial part of the population. As Mr. Putin’s political position weakens further, his antagonism toward the U.S. will almost certainly increase.(…) At the same time, and probably more important, anti-Americanism can be used to distract Russians from the corruption of the Putin regime and the pillaging of the country. Mr. Putin and his associates stand at the apex of a corrupt system and, according to some estimates, control 15% of the national wealth. During protest demonstrations last year over the falsification of elections, Mr. Putin was openly referred to as a « thief, » a serious development in a society where the charge is widely believed but usually not made publicly. David Satter

Quand la Russie redécouvre les vertus de ce qui reste du communisme quand on a tout oublié

Corruption systématisée, violence institutionnalisée, pillage, indifférence morale généralisée …

A l’heure où, face au plus velléitaire des présidents américains et de la Syrie à l’Iran et à l’Affaire Snowden, la Russie de Poutine semble engranger les succès diplomatiques …

Pendant que, fidèle à son habitude, la France de l’Obama corrézien reprend à son compte avec les bonimenteurs de Téhéran (ou de Moscou pour l’opposition) la politique de « redémarrage » dont on a vu l’efficacité avec la Russie …

Remise des pendules à l’heure avec le politologue américain David Slatter sur une kleptocratie russe …

Réduite, face à une économie étouffée par la corruption, à attiser les flammes de l’instabilité au Moyen-Orient pour faire remonter les prix du pétrole qui ont fait sa fortune …

Et contrainte, face à son discrédit intérieur, à jouer la facile diversion de l’anti-américanisme …

Russia’s Anti-American Foreign Policy

Putin needs high oil prices and a distraction from his domestic troubles.

David Satter

The Wall Street Journal

September 22, 2013

Moscow

The difference in values between the U.S. and Russia—and the subordination of Russian foreign policy to the personal interests of the members of a corrupt regime—should have been obvious to the Obama administration from the beginning. But it did nothing to forestall the policy of « reset. » At the 2009 Moscow Summit, Mr. Obama praised the « extraordinary work » that Vladimir Putin, who was then officially the prime minister, had done for Russia. Mr. Obama described Mr. Putin as « sincere, just and deeply interested in the welfare of the Russian people. »

The praise was never reciprocated, in part because Russian leaders fear and distrust their own population, and they understand that Western advocacy of the rule of law and human rights is a potential threat to their rule. In recent years, U.S. officials have often said that it is difficult to solve the world’s problems without Russia. Unfortunately, it is often even harder to solve them with it.

The U.S. needs three things from Russia: understanding in defense matters, assistance in the war on terror, and help in curbing the ambitions of rogue states. In each case, the record of the Putin regime is one of relentless obstruction.

One source of conflict has been Russian objections to U.S. plans to construct an antimissile shield in Europe to protect U.S. allies against an attack from Iran. Russia has treated the shield as a threat to its nuclear deterrent, despite the opinion of Russia’s own experts that the missiles pose no threat to the Russian ICBM force and are intended for a completely different purpose.

In 2009, Mr. Obama canceled plans for antimissile installations in Poland and the Czech Republic, in part to improve U.S.-Russian relations. But the U.S. is now preparing to station interceptors in Romania. In response, Russia is demanding legal guarantees that the missiles will not be used against Russia and is threatening to target U.S. missile-defense sites if there is no agreement.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen described the Russian position as « crazy. » « You can’t in any rational way think that NATO constitutes a threat against Russia, » he told the AP in February 2012. « It’s a complete waste of money to deploy offensive weapons and capabilities against NATO territory. »

Russia has also undermined U.S. efforts to combat terror. Two striking recent examples are the cases of the Boston Marathon bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and the NSA leaker, Edward Snowden.

Tsarnaev spent six months in the Dagestan region of Russia in 2012 before the attack on April 15. Two of his contacts, Mahmud Nigal, a suspected link with the Islamist underground, and William Plotnikov, a Russian-Canadian Islamic radical, were killed by Russian forces while he was there. Yet the Russians insist that Tsarnaev was not under surveillance in Dagestan and never questioned. If this is true, it is in complete contradiction to all known Russian practice. Tsarnaev left Russia freely through Moscow’s Sheremetevo Airport and the Federal Security Service never warned the U.S. about his contacts in Dagestan.

Russia also showed little concern for efforts to protect U.S. civilians in its decision to shelter Edward Snowden. In light of the quantity and quality of what Mr. Snowden stole, an adequate damage assessment depends on getting him back to the U.S. Until that happens, the efforts of the NSA and other agencies to defend the U.S. against terror are going to be crippled.

Aware of this, Mr. Putin seems to be mainly concerned with subjecting the U.S. to ridicule. The Russian media have published articles about Mr. Snowden’s « new life, » « proposals of marriage » and a future career defending human rights. At the same time, although Mr. Putin said that a condition of Mr. Snowden’s asylum was that he « stop harming our American partners, » the leaks of NSA information have continued.

Russian obstruction of the U.S. has had its gravest consequences, however, in interstate relations. Russia has defended Iran against Western economic sanctions, arguing that they are « a violation of international law. » Moscow also has been unswerving in its support for Bashar Assad in Syria, from voting to block three U.N. Security Council resolutions on sanctions against Syria to insisting that the chemical-weapons attack on Aug. 21 that killed more than 1,400 Syrians was carried out by the rebels.

The U.S. will now try to enforce a U.S.-Russian agreement on the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons under conditions in which Russia and Syria can use delay, obfuscation and disinformation to string out the process indefinitely. Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition, which has endured chemical-weapons attacks without seeing a serious response from the civilized world, is likely to continue to radicalize.

Russian anti-Americanism is likely to intensify. Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia has no universal ideology capable of inspiring loyalties that transcend national boundaries. Anti-Americanism is a kind of substitute. It allows Russia to carve out a prominent role for itself in world affairs that it could never have if it were concerned only with acting positively.

At the same time, and probably more important, anti-Americanism can be used to distract Russians from the corruption of the Putin regime and the pillaging of the country. Mr. Putin and his associates stand at the apex of a corrupt system and, according to some estimates, control 15% of the national wealth. During protest demonstrations last year over the falsification of elections, Mr. Putin was openly referred to as a « thief, » a serious development in a society where the charge is widely believed but usually not made publicly.

At the same time, the regime is threatened by a deteriorating economy. In the second quarter of this year, growth fell to 1.2%. During the 2000s, the rate was 7.2%. Because of its immense corruption, Russia is critically dependent on high oil prices, and these are supported by Middle East instability.

Under such circumstances, the U.S. is not only a helpful distraction but a convenient scapegoat. Mr. Putin is losing support in Moscow, but his defense of the Assad regime evokes nostalgia for the Soviet empire and strengthens his support among the conservative and provincial part of the population. As Mr. Putin’s political position weakens further, his antagonism toward the U.S. will almost certainly increase.

In the wake of the Russian initiative over Syria, the U.S. is now much more reliant on Russia than it should ever have permitted itself to be. In our fixation with « deliverables, » we forgot that what really matters in relations between states are intangibles, such as good faith. That’s something Mr. Putin has not shown toward America in the past, and U.S. policy makers would be unwise to rely on it in the future.

Mr. Satter is affiliated with the Hudson Institute, Johns Hopkins University and the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. He is the author, most recently, of « It Was a Long Time Ago and It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past » (Yale, 2011).

Voir aussi:

The Rise of the Russian Criminal State

David Satter

Hoover Digest

July 30, 2003

During the decade following the fall of communism, Russia became mired in poverty and crime. Hoover fellow David Satter explains what went wrong.

Few at that time could have foreseen the outlines of what exists today. Many former communist countries, in the intervening years, experienced a rebirth of freedom, but Russia came to be dominated by poverty, intimidation, and crime.

The reason is that, during the reform period, which witnessed a massive effort to remake Russian society and the Russian economy, Russia once again fell victim to a false idea.

The victory over communism was a moral victory. Millions took to the streets not because of shortages but in protest over communism’s attempt to falsify history and change human nature. As a new state began to be built, however, all attention shifted to the building of capitalism and, in particular, to the creation of a group of wealthy private owners whose control over the means of production, it was assumed, would lead automatically to a free market economy and a law-based democracy.

This approach, dubious under the best of conditions, could not but be disastrous in the case of Russia. It meant that, in a country with a need for moral values after more than seven decades of spiritual degradation under communism, the introduction of capitalism came to be seen as an end in itself.

No Questions Asked

The “young reformers” were in a hurry to build capitalism, and they pressed ahead in a manner that paid little attention to anything except the transformation of economic structures.

“The calculation was sober,” said Aliza Dolgova, an expert on organized crime in the office of the general prosecutor. “Create through any means a stratum in Russia that could serve as the support of reform. . . . All capital was laundered and put into circulation. No measures of any kind were enacted to prevent the legalization of criminal income. No one asked at [privatization] auctions: Where did you get the money? Enormous sums were invested in property and there was no register of owners. A policy similar to this did not exist in a single civilized country.”

Kleptocracy in the Guise of Reform

The decision to transform the economy of a huge country without the benefit of the rule of law led not to a free market democracy but to a kleptocracy with several dangerous economic and psychological features.

In the first place, the new system was characterized by bribery. All resources, at first, were in the hands of the state; businessmen thus competed to “buy” critical government officials. The winners were in a position to buy more officials, with the result that the practice of giving bribes grew up with the system.

Besides bribery, the new system was marked by institutionalized violence. Gangsters were treated like normal economic actors, which tacitly legitimized their criminal activities. At the same time, they became the partners of businessmen who used them as guards, enforcers, and debt collectors.

The new system was also characterized by pillage. Money obtained as a result of criminal activities was illegally exported to avoid the possibility of its being confiscated at some point in the future. This outflow deprived Russia of billions of dollars in resources that were needed for its development.

Perhaps more important than these economic features, however, was the new system’s social psychology, which was characterized by mass moral indifference. If under communism, universal morality was denied in favor of the supposed “interests of the working class,” under the new reform government, people lost the ability to distinguish between legal and criminal activity.

Official corruption came to be regarded as “normal,” and it was considered a sign of virtue if the official, in addition to stealing, also made an effort to fulfill his official responsibilities. Extortion also came to be regarded as normal, and vendors, through force of habit, began to regard paying protection money as part of the cost of doing business.

At the same time, officials and businessmen took no responsibility for the consequences of their actions, even if they led to hunger and death. Government officials helped organize pyramid schemes that victimized persons who were already destitute, police officials took bribes from leaders of organized crime to ignore extortion, and factory directors stole funds marked for the salaries of workers who had already gone months without pay.

Lawlessness

The young reformers were lionized in the West, but, as the years passed and the promised rebirth of Russia did not materialize, arguments broke out in Russia over whether progress was being prevented by the resistance of the Duma, inadequate assistance from the West, or the inadequacies of the Russian people themselves. These arguments, however, had a surrealistic quality because they implicitly assumed that, with the right economic combination, it was possible to build a free market democracy without the rule of law.

In fact, a market economy presupposes the rule of law because only the rule of law is able to assure the basis of a free market’s existence, which is equivalent exchange. Without law, prices are dictated not by the market but by monopolization and the use of force.

The need for a framework of law was particularly pronounced in the case of Russia because socialism for ordinary Russians, in addition to being an economic system, was also a secular religion that lent a powerful, albeit false, sense of meaning to millions of lives. When the Soviet Union fell, it was necessary to replace not only the socialist economic structures but also the “class values” that gave that system its higher sanction. This could only be done by establishing the authority of transcendent, universal values, which, as a practical matter, could only be assured by establishing the rule of law.

A Cautionary Tale

On May 10, 1997, the Greek police found in a shallow grave under an olive tree, two miles from the Athenian suburb of Saronida, the dismembered body of Svetlana Kotova, one of Russia’s top models and a former “Miss Russia.” It was learned that she had been the guest of Alexander Solonik (Sasha Makedonsky), Russia’s number one professional killer who had himself been found strangled three months earlier in the Athenian suburb of Baribobi.

Svetlana’s story evoked intense interest in Russia because of her youth and beauty and because there was something about the romance between a 21-year-old beauty queen and a professional killer that was symbolic of the condition of modern Russia.

Svetlana met Solonik in a Moscow nightclub on New Year’s night, 1997, and traveled to Greece on January 25 at his invitation. She was met at the bottom of the staircase from the airplane with armloads of flowers. Waiting for her was a Mercedes with an elegant chauffeur. The rent on the villa where she stayed was about $90,000 a year. There was a swimming pool, gym, basketball court, golf course, and gardens with sculptures. From the 26th on, she called her mother every evening and said that this was not life but a miracle.

In the villa and in Solonik’s car were a large quantity of firearms and other weapons, but it is not known whether Svetlana was aware of them. For five nights, she lived as if in a dream, but on the 30th, gangsters from the Kurgan criminal organization, a supplier of hired killers to the Russian underworld, arrived at the villa. While they were talking to Solonik, someone threw a thin cord around his neck and strangled him from behind. The visitors then came for Svetlana, who was on the second floor.

When word of Svetlana’s murder was released, the Russian newspapers were full of her pictures: Svetlana with flowing black hair in a long black gown with thin shoulder straps, Svetlana in a bathing suit looking out shyly from behind spread fingers, Svetlana with her head cupped in her hands, Svetlana in an evening dress with her hair off her forehead in a bun. From her appearance, it seemed that no one could have been less prepared for the devilish game that she had fallen into.

Yet the fate of Svetlana Kotova had something in common with the fate of her nation, which was freely delivered into the hands of criminals during the period of reform. The rewards were quick and easy. There was a willful desire not to know.

It remains to be seen whether, in the long run, Russia will share Svetlana’s fate.

David Satter was a research fellow at the Hoover Institution from 2003 to 2008.

Adapted from David Satter’s new book Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State. Published by Yale University Press (800.405.1619).

Voir par ailleurs:

Un monde sans l’Amérique

Richard N. Haas

Project syndicate

Apr 30, 2013

NEW YORK – Je voudrais d’emblée avancer l’idée assez peu répandue que les principales menaces avec lesquelles les États-Unis doivent composer maintenant ou dans un proche avenir ne découlent pas de la montée de la Chine, du comportement irrationnel de la Corée du Nord, d’un Iran doté de l’arme nucléaire, des nouvelles formes de terrorisme ou des changements climatiques. Même si ces facteurs constituent des menaces potentielles ou réelles, les enjeux les plus importants auxquels les États-Unis doivent faire face gravitent autour de sa dette galopante, de ses infrastructures en décrépitude, de la qualité médiocre de son système d’enseignement primaire et secondaire, de son système d’immigration désuet et de la faiblesse de sa croissance économique : tous des éléments qui affectent directement les forces vives de la nation américaine.

Les lecteurs dans d’autres pays pourront être tentés de se réjouir, un tant soit peu, des difficultés des États-Unis. Une telle réaction ne devrait surprendre personne. Les États-Unis et ceux qui les représentent ont été accusés d’arrogance, car les États-Unis peuvent souvent être considérés comme une nation incontournable, mais il serait préférable si c’étaient les autres pays qui attiraient l’attention sur ce point. De plus, les exemples d’incohérences entre ce que les États-Unis pratiquent et ses principes suscitent à juste titre des accusations d’hypocrisie. La source de ressentiment réside dans le fait que les États-Unis n’appliquent pas les principes que ses propres représentants prêchent aux autres.

Mais, comme pour d’autres tentations, il est de mise de résister à l’envie de se réjouir des imperfections et des difficultés des États-Unis. Les gens du monde entier doivent prendre garde de ne pas souhaiter trop fort que les États-Unis ne réussissent pas à résoudre ses problèmes intérieurs, car le prix d’un tel dénouement pourrait bien être exorbitant. En fait, le reste du monde a presque autant d’intérêt au succès des États-Unis que les Américains eux-mêmes.

Une partie de la raison est économique. L’économie américaine compte encore pour le quart de la production mondiale. L’accélération de la croissance américaine augmentera le pouvoir d’achat des États-Unis pour des biens et services d’autres pays, améliorant du même coup les perspectives de croissance mondiale. Au moment où l’économie de l’Europe est à la dérive et où celle de l’Asie se refroidit, les États-Unis (ou, plus précisément, l’Amérique du Nord) ont le potentiel de remettre l’économie mondiale sur les rails de la relance.

Les États-Unis sont encore un formidable creuset d’innovations. La plupart des citoyens du monde communiquent par l’entremise d’appareils portables dont la technologie est issue de Silicon Valley; comme l’Internet qui a pris son essor en Amérique. Plus récemment, de nouvelles technologies créées en Amérique augmentent grandement la capacité d’extraction de pétrole et de gaz naturel. Ces technologies de forage sont en train de faire le tour de la planète entière, ce qui permet à d’autres sociétés d’accroître leur production énergétique et de diminuer leur dépendance sur les importations tout en réduisant leurs émissions de carbone.

Les États-Unis sont également une source inépuisable d’idées. Ses universités de classe internationale forment une forte proportion des futurs dirigeants du monde. Plus fondamentalement, les États-Unis ont été à la fine pointe de tout ce que les économies de marché et la démocratie politique peuvent accomplir. Les gens et les gouvernements du monde entier seront d’autant plus ouverts que le modèle américain sera perçu comme une réussite.

Enfin, la communauté internationale fait face à plusieurs défis importants : elle doit stopper la prolifération des armes de destruction de masse, lutter contre les changements climatiques et maintenir un ordre économique mondial qui facilite le commerce et l’investissement. Elle doit aussi se préoccuper de la réglementation des pratiques dans le cyberespace, de l’amélioration de la santé dans le monde et de la prévention de conflits armés. Ces problèmes ne s’en iront pas de sitôt et ne se régleront pas d’eux-mêmes.

Même si la « main invisible » d’Adam Smith est ce qui fait fonctionner le libre marché, elle est inopérante dans le monde de la géopolitique. Pour atteindre un certain équilibre dans les affaires mondiales, une main dirigiste visible est nécessaire pour formuler et réaliser des solutions mondiales aux problèmes mondiaux.

Ne nous méprenons pas ! Rien de tout cela ne veut dire que les États-Unis puissent vraiment régler tous les problèmes du monde. L’unilatéralisme produit rarement l’effet désiré. Ce n’est pas simplement que les États-Unis n’en ont pas les moyens ; la nature même des problèmes mondiaux contemporains nous permet de penser que seules les mesures collectives ont de bonnes chances de réussite.

Évidemment, il est plus facile de faire l’apologie de solutions multilatérales que de les formuler et de les mettre en œuvre. Pour l’instant, un seul candidat est prêt à jouer ce rôle : les États-Unis. Aucun autre pays n’a la combinaison requise de la capacité et de la volonté de le faire.

Ce qui me ramène à l’argument que les États-Unis doivent remettre de l’ordre dans leurs affaires intérieures, sur les plans économiques, matériels, sociaux et politiques, pour que le pays puisse disposer des ressources requises pour assurer la paix dans le monde. Tout le monde devrait espérer que l’Amérique y arrive : la perspective d’un monde mené par les États-Unis n’est pas un monde dirigé par la Chine, l’Europe, la Russie, le Japon, l’Inde, ou tout autre pays, mais plutôt un monde qui serait à la dérive où crises et conflits chroniques régneraient fort probablement. Une situation dont les Américains pâtiraient certainement, mais également la grande majorité des habitants de la planète.

Traduit de l’anglais par Pierre Castegnier

Publicités

Boucherie de Nairobi: C’est le syndrome du vestiaire, imbécile ! (In a narcissistic pursuit of fame: Iran, Libya and Egypt-backed Al-Shabaab Islamist extremists attempting to build an even more multi-ethnic generation of fighters as foot soldiers, mercenaries and propaganda tools)

24 septembre, 2013
https://i0.wp.com/i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02158/samantha-lewthwait_2158361b.jpghttps://i1.wp.com/graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/05/23/magazine/23-americanjihadi/23-americanjihadi-blog480.jpgEn réalité, tous ces tueurs fous sont en rivalité passionnée les uns avec les autres. Ils se prennent mutuellement pour modèles et aussitôt une émulation passionnelle explose dans leur troisième cerveau pour rivaliser avec leur modèle: faire plus et mieux et plus horrible que lui. Leur premier cerveau est malade et fou en ce qu’il se laisse submerger par la passion du troisième cerveau, et non seulement il ne peut pas s’y opposer mais il est le plus souvent contraint de fournir des justitifcations politiques, religieuses ou autres à la folle passion de celui-ci. Dans cette rivalité passionnée avec le modèle, l’objet disparait, n’a plus aucune importance, presque aucune réalité matérielle: un être humain, un enfant, la vie d’autrui, tout cela est chosifié, instrumentalisé, perdu de vue pendant le combat, la « lutte à mort » avec le modèle-rival. jean-Michel Oughourlian
L’erreur est toujours de raisonner dans les catégories de la « différence », alors que la racine de tous les conflits, c’est plutôt la « concurrence », la rivalité mimétique entre des êtres, des pays, des cultures. La concurrence, c’est-à-dire le désir d’imiter l’autre pour obtenir la même chose que lui, au besoin par la violence. Sans doute le terrorisme est-il lié à un monde « différent » du nôtre, mais ce qui suscite le terrorisme n’est pas dans cette « différence » qui l’éloigne le plus de nous et nous le rend inconcevable. Il est au contraire dans un désir exacerbé de convergence et de ressemblance. (…) Ce qui se vit aujourd’hui est une forme de rivalité mimétique à l’échelle planétaire. (…) Ce sentiment n’est pas vrai des masses, mais des dirigeants. Sur le plan de la fortune personnelle, on sait qu’un homme comme Ben Laden n’a rien à envier à personne. Et combien de chefs de parti ou de faction sont dans cette situation intermédiaire, identique à la sienne. Regardez un Mirabeau au début de la Révolution française : il a un pied dans un camp et un pied dans l’autre, et il n’en vit que de manière plus aiguë son ressentiment. Aux Etats-Unis, des immigrés s’intègrent avec facilité, alors que d’autres, même si leur réussite est éclatante, vivent aussi dans un déchirement et un ressentiment permanents. Parce qu’ils sont ramenés à leur enfance, à des frustrations et des humiliations héritées du passé. Cette dimension est essentielle, en particulier chez des musulmans qui ont des traditions de fierté et un style de rapports individuels encore proche de la féodalité. (…) Cette concurrence mimétique, quand elle est malheureuse, ressort toujours, à un moment donné, sous une forme violente. A cet égard, c’est l’islam qui fournit aujourd’hui le ciment qu’on trouvait autrefois dans le marxisme. René Girard
Les médias modernes, par le simple fait qu’ils publient ce que font les révolutionnaires, sont d’importants instruments de propagande. La guerre des nerfs, ou guerre psychologique, est une technique de combat reposant sur l’emploi direct ou indirect des médias de masse.( …) Les attaques de banques, les embuscades, les désertions et les détournements d’armes, l’aide à l’évasion de prisonniers, les exécutions, les enlèvements, les sabotages, les actes terroristes et la guerre des nerfs sont des exemples. Les détournements d’avions en vol, les attaques et les prises de navires et de trains par les guérilleros peuvent également ne viser qu’à des effets de propagande. Carlos Marighela (« Minimanuel de guerilla urbaine », 1969)
Nous avons offert des sacrifices humains à vos dieux du sport et de la télévision et ils ont répondu à nos prières. Terroriste palestinien (Jeux olympiques de Munich, 1972)
More ink equals more blood,  newspaper coverage of terrorist incidents leads directly to more attacks. It’s a macabre example of win-win in what economists call a « common-interest game. Both the media and terrorists benefit from terrorist incidents ». Terrorists get free publicity for themselves and their cause. The media, meanwhile, make money « as reports of terror attacks increase newspaper sales and the number of television viewers ». Bruno S. Frey (University of Zurich) et Dominic Rohner (Cambridge)
Le tueur de masse, et c’est important, commet un crime d’imitation. On le voit dans le cas de Breivik puisqu’il pompe des centaines de pages du manifeste de Théodor Kaczynski, Unabomber. Il se contente à certains endroits de remplacer le marxisme par multiculturalisme ou par islamisme. Il copie, c’est frappant. Pourtant, idéologiquement, ils sont à l’opposé puisque Unabomber est un terroriste écologique. Autre imitation, pour sa bombe, il utilise exactement la même recette de fabrication que Timothy McVeigh dans l’attentat de l’immeuble fédéral d’Oklahoma City, en 1995. Il a trouvé la recette sur Internet, sur des sites suprématistes blancs et de survivalistes américains. (…)  J’estime à 10 % d’entre eux ceux qui manifestent des revendications idéologiques. Mais ce ne sont pas uniquement ces revendications idéologiques qui poussent Anders Breivik ou Timothy McVeigh à commettre de tels attentats meurtriers. C’est aussi une véritable haine de la société. Ils s’estiment victimes de la société parce qu’elle ne les a pas reconnus à leur juste valeur. Et ils souffrent de troubles psychologiques voire psychiatriques profonds.. (…) Le phénomène est amplifié par les nouvelles technologies, notamment Internet. Depuis Columbine, les tueurs laissent tous un testament numérique. On a retrouvé de nombreuses vidéos où ils se mettent en scène, apprennent à tirer. Où ils tiennent un journal de bord. Idem pour le massacre de Virginia Tech, qui a fait une trentaine de victimes en 2007. Idem avec les deux tueurs allemands dans deux écoles (Erfurt en 2002, Winnenden en 2009, ndlr). Idem pour le tueur finlandais de Kauhajoki en 2008, etc. Depuis le massacre de Colombine, c’est pareil pour tous les tueurs de masse : on laisse un testament en vidéo ou un long post sur un blog. C’est assez frappant. C’est un crime d’imitation. D’ailleurs, j’ajoute que les médias sont également un peu responsables de la prolifération de ce type d’acte criminel en raison de la place qu’ils accordent à ces criminels. Si, par exemple, les médias décidaient de ne jamais publier l’identité des auteurs ni leur texte ou leur vidéo, je pense qu’on verrait une réduction de ce type d’actes criminels. Ce que veulent ces individus, c’est passer à la postérité, or si on ne publie pas leur identité, la frustration sera extrême. La mégalomanie et le narcissisme d’un personnage comme Anders Breivik est éloquent ! Il voulait apparaître en uniforme lors d’un procès public, pour montrer au monde entier sa puissance. Ils savent ce qui va se passer après les meurtres et s’en délectent à l’avance, comme se délecte Anders Breivik à l’idée de son procès, qui devrait se tenir d’ici un an et demi. Stéphane Bourgoin
Si tu es musulman, lève-toi et pars. nous sommes venus te secourir. .. Nous sommes ici pour secourir uniquement les musulmans. Terroristes de Nairobi
‘I witnessed a few people get up and say something in Arabic and the gunmen let them go. ‘A colleague of mine said he was Muslim and recited something in Arabic and they let him go as well. I saw a lot of children and elderly people being shot dead. I don’t understand why you would shoot a five-year-old child. They were firing at random at anyone who tried to escape.’
Radio presenter Saadia Ahmed was one of the 1,000 who managed to flee.
I hid under a car with my daughters, and I saw the men line up maybe 40 people and ask them who was Muslim, and if they were, to prove it by saying the name of the Prophet’s mother. Those who got it wrong were shot. There was blood everywhere.
A French woman said she was freed by the Islamic terrorists because they told her they only wanted to kill Kenyans and Americans. The woman, who only gave her name as Pauline, said she escaped with her two young children, who were given Mars bars by the gunmen. Pauline said she was asked for forgiveness by the terrorists who told her ‘we are not monsters’. The mother of two, who was in the supermarket when the attack began, said once she agreed Muslims were not ‘bad people’ they gave her children, Emily, 6, and Eliot, 4, chocolate. She told The Independent: ‘He said we only only want to kill Kenyans and Americans. He then told me I had to change my religion to Islam and said « do you forgive us? do you forgive us?’ She said she was able to escape with another two children, including a wounded 12-year-old boy whose mother had been murdered. Daily Mail
Charles Karani (Kenyan IT engineer, 41)The new al-Shabab statement says Hammami’s video releases are the result of personal grievances that stem from a “narcissistic pursuit of fame.” The statement said al-Shabab has been speaking to Hammami in private but that those efforts have been “fruitless.” The statement said al-Shabab was morally obligated to out his “obstinacy.” AP
In December of 2011, Kenyan police raided a two-room apartment in Mombasa, Kenya. They found chemicals similar to those used in the July 7, 2005 bombing in London. Lewthwaite was identified as the person who rented the apartment but she wasn’t captured.However, Jermaine Grant, who is British, was captured at the Mombasa apartment. He faces charges of conspiring to explode devices to hurt civilians, according to Kenyan police. Grant told police that he was working for Lewthwaite. She faces the same charges as Grant and another man later arrested trying to flee the country. In March, the London Daily Telegraph reported that Lewthwaite and Fouad Manswab were plotting to free Grant, whose trial was set to begin Sept. 23 (today) in Mombasa. « We know that Fouad is in touch with Samantha Lewthwaite, and they were planning to rescue their accomplice, » said Jacob Ondari, the deputy public prosecutor, at the time. CS Monitor
A senior source said: “There is a strong possibility that Samantha Lewthwaite could be one of the terrorists. We have reports that at least one, possibly two women were involved in this siege.” He added: “There are strong indications Lewthwaite has the capability and influence within al-Shabaab to carry out such an atrocity.” Lewthwaite, whose Muslim fundamentalist husband Jermaine Lindsay, blew himself up on a Piccadilly Line train during the 7/7 attacks in 2005, is also wanted over a bomb plot to kill hundreds of British tourists in Mombasa. Together with her British accomplice Jermaine Grant, the pair were days away from carrying out their attack before being arrested in December 2011. Grant from East London, is due to stand trial in Mombasa today. He was snared before their deadly plan succeeded but Lewthwaite escaped and has been on the run ever since … Daily Mirror
Samantha Lewthwaite, the British terror suspect on the run in East Africa, was plotting an armed operation to free her accomplice Jermaine Grant from court custody, Kenya’s state prosecutor said … Telegraph

C’est le syndrome du vestiaire, imbécile !

Alors qu’il semble se confirmer que des djiadistes étrangers (peut-être à la recherche d’otages au moment où allait se tenir dans la ville même le procès d’un des leurs ?) étaient parmi les barbares qui viennent au nom d’une religion prétendument pacifique de massacrer et blesser plus d’une centaine de civils désarmés dans un centre commercial de Nairobi …

Pendant que du Pakistan à l’Irak l’épuration des chrétiens continue …

Comment ne pas voir derrière ces étrangers qui servent de mercenaires et instruments de propagande aux terroristes somaliens et à leurs commanditaires et financiers iraniens, saoudiens ou qataris

Notamment la tristement fameuse « veuve blanche » (tirant son surnom des « veuves noires » tchéchènes), une certaine Samantha Lewthwaite veuve d’un des terroristes-suicides des attentats de Londres de juillet 2005 …

Ou le Syrio-américain Omar Hammami récemment abattu par ses anciens amis pour « poursuite narcissique de la célébrité »  …

Cette « rivalité passionnée » dont parle le neuropsychiatre Jean-Michel Oughourlian dans son dernier livre (« Notre troisième cerveau ») …

Qui, sans compter l’effet à la fois démultiplicateur et incitateur des médias, les pousse à se prendre mutuellement pour modèles » et dont la seule passion, derrière les justitifcations politiques ou religieuses et au-delà de toute émotion pour la vie d’autrui, n’est plus que de « faire plus et mieux et plus horrible » les uns que les autres …

La « veuve blanche » de Londres à la tête des terroristes ?

Clément Mathieu

Paris Match

23 septembre 2013

Samantha Lewthwaite, surnommée la « veuve blanche », épouse de l’un des terroristes des attentats suicide de Londres en 2005, aurait-elle mené l’attaque des Chabaab somaliens dans le centre commercial de la capitale kényane ?

A Nairobi, la prise d’otages de Westgate s’achève lundi dans le sang, le feu, la confusion. Dans le même temps à Londres, une question se fait toujours plus pressante. Une Britannique serait-elle derrière l’attaque du centre commercial de la capitale kényane ? La «veuve blanche», épouse de l’un des terroristes des attentats-suicide de Londres en 2005, aurait-elle menée l’attaque des Chabaab somaliens ? Citant témoins et responsables locaux, la presse anglaise soupçonne en effet Samantha Lewthwaite d’avoir été à la tête du groupe islamiste qui, pour exiger le retrait de l’armée kényane de Somalie, a tué au moins 68 personnes ces deux derniers jours.

Des témoins du massacre ont évoqué la présence d’une femme blanche, portant le voile, hurlant des ordres aux combattants islamistes. «Tout est dirigé par cette femme muzungu (blanc en swahili, ndlr). Elle leur ordonne ce qu’il faut faire», a confirmé un soldat en première ligne face aux assaillants. «Je soupçonne que cette femme, Lewthwaite, soit derrière cette attaque», a confié un haut responsable du contre-terrorisme kényan au «Daily Mail». Selon le quotidien, les terroristes ont écrit dimanche sur Twitter : «Sherafiyah Lewthwaite alias Samantha est une femme courageuse ! Nous sommes heureux de la compter dans nos rangs !» A Londres, le ministère des Affaires étrangères a dit enquêter sur l’éventuel rôle de cette « veuve blanche» dont l’histoire avait bouleversé la Grande-Bretagne.

S’il venait à être confirmé que Samantha Lewthwaite est bien la patronne de cette entreprise de mort, ce serait la dernière étape d’un parcours édifiant, mais cela n’aurait rien de surprenant. Le choc est arrivé en février 2012, en Une du «Times». Le Royaume-Uni découvre avec effarement que des djihadistes kenyans comptent dans leur rang l’une de ses concitoyennes, et pas n’importe laquelle. Cette jeune femme est déjà apparue en Une du quotidien ultra populaire «The Sun», au lendemain des attentats de Londres. Samantha Lewthwaite avait dû répondre de son époux. Le 7 juillet 2005, à 8h51, Jermaine Lindsay s’était fait exploser dans un des wagons du métro de la Piccadilly Line, entre les stations King’s Cross et Russell Square. Le jeune homme de 19 ans s’était rendu à lui seul responsable de 26 des 52 morts des attentats de Londres.

La «sœur blanche» est soupçonnée d’être recruteuse en chef des Chabaab au Kenya, et notamment d’une escouade de femmes «kamikazes»

Dans le «Sun», sa veuve, la vingtaine, voilée et tenant leur nouveau-né en Une, avait assuré qu’elle ne savait rien, qu’elle n’avait rien vu venir et «abhorrait ses actions meurtrières». Elle l’avait même quitté, selon ses dires, en raison de ses infidélités. Ce n’est pas une maitresse que Jermaine Lindsay allait retrouver, mais probablement Mohammad Sidique Khan, cerveau des attentats de Londres. Deux jours après l’hypothétique séparation, il se faisait exploser dans le métro. Samantha Lewthwaite est enceinte de huit mois de leur deuxième enfant. Elle et Jermaine Lindsay s’étaient connus via un site de discussion pour musulmans. Elle est convertie depuis l’âge de 15 ans. Née dans le Buckinghamshire, fille de soldat, elle a été très perturbée par le divorce de ses parents, à 11 ans. Samantha a trouvé alors du réconfort auprès de la famille unie de ses voisins musulmans.

Quelques années plus tard, elle s’engage dans des études religieuses et adopte avec le temps un islam de plus en plus rigoureux. Celui prôné par Jermaine Lindsay, devenu Abdullah Shaheed Jamal, était plus dur encore. La mort de Lindsay a-t-elle fait de la jeune femme une héritière de la terreur, ou partageait-elle déjà la même vision dévoyée de l’Islam que son martyr de mari ? Quoi qu’il en soit, la jeune femme réapparait sur les radars de l’antiterrorisme au Kenya, voilà près de deux ans. Aujourd’hui âgée de 29 ans, Samantha Lewthwaite est recherchée par les autorités kényanes pour une attaque à la grenade dans un bar de la station balnéaire de Mombasa qui a fait trois morts en juin dernier.

Les autorités de Nairobi, comme les services de renseignement britanniques, la soupçonnent d’être recruteuse en chef du mouvement dans la région – notamment d’une escouade de femmes «kamikazes» – et d’être la porte-parole des Chabaab au Kenya. Elle serait à l’origine de la mort d’Omar Shafik Hammami, membre d’un groupe terroriste rival, dans le cadre d’une bataille pour la domination regionale du djihadisme. Son nouveau mari, autre sommité locale de la guerre sainte, serait mort dans la bataille. Sa réputation ne serait plus à faire en Somalie, comme au Kenya. Elle serait surnommée «dada muzungu», «sœur blanche» par ses troupes fidèles, ceux qu’elle a peut-être poussé à répandre la mort dans le centre commercial de Nairobi.

Nairobi : l’ombre de Samantha Lewthwaite, la « veuve blanche »

Direct matin

23 septembre 2013

Selon plusieurs sources d’informations, dont le quotidien britannique The Daily Mail, Samantha Lewthwaite pourrait être l’instigatrice des attentats du centre commercial de Nairobi . Cette Britannique convertie à l’islam est la veuve de Jermaine Lindsay, l’un des quatre terroristes à l’origine des attentats de Londres en 2005. Pour le moment toutefois, cette information n’est pas confirmée.

Le chef du commando de Nairobi serait-il une femme ? Le Daily Mail rapporte que, selon plusieurs témoins du massacre, une femme voilée semblait en effet commander les autres terroristes pour pourchasser et tuer des « non musulmans ».

Cette femme pourrait bien être Samantha Lewthwaite, une Anglaise convertie à l’Islam, connue pour avoir été la veuve de Jermaine Maurice Lindsay, l’un des quatre terroristes islamistes à l’origine des attentats de Londres en 2005.

Le quotidien britannique, selon une information qui lui aurait été communiquée hier par la police anti-terroriste kenyane, indique que la jeune femme, connue sous le surnom de « veuve blanche », pourrait être le cerveau des attentats du centre commercial de Nairobi, débuté samedi et toujours en cours, et dont le dernier bilan fait état de 69 morts, dont deux Françaises, et de 63 disparus.

La presse britannique rapporte également que Robert Alai, un blogueur Kenyan, fait état de sa présence probable sur le terrain dans le centre commercial de Nairobi. «Meneur de #WestgateAttack est une dame avec un accent britannique. Pourrait être la veuve insaisissable», a-t-il ainsi tweeté.

A contrario, un homme présenté par la radio britannique BBC comme un « commandant » des islamistes somaliens shebab a démenti ce matin que des étrangers figuraient parmi les responsables de l’attaque meurtrière de Nairobi.

Pour étayer ses propos, il a ajouté que son organisation n’inclut pas de femme dans le commando : « Nous ne demandons pas à nos sœurs de mener des attaques militaires de ce type. Ce sont simplement des rumeurs infondées » a-t-il ainsi déclaré.

Pourtant, même si pour le moment cette information n’est pas confirmée, l’idée selon laquelle Samantha Lewthwaite aurait pu ordonner cet attentat n’est pas dénuée de vraisemblance.

Il semblerait qu’elle ait quitté l’Angleterre en 2005 pour rejoindre les shebab, ce groupe islamiste créé en 2006 basé en Somalie et rallié à Al-Qaida depuis février 2012.

Toujours selon le Daily Mail, la « veuve blanche » aurait même été impliquée dans la formation d’un groupe de kamikazes exclusivement féminins dans des camps en Somalie.

Elle ferait même partie des « terroristes les plus recherchés d’Afrique de l’Est », d’après le Daily Post de Nairobi. En 2012, elle était déjà suspectée d’avoir participé à une attaque à la grenade au Kenya, tuant trois personnes qui regardaient un match de foot de l’Euro.

Un autre quotidien britannique, le Daily Mirror, rapporte que Samantha Lewthwaite avait alors écrit sur son blog : « Ma décision de revenir à l’islam est le don le plus précieux que mon créateur m’a accordé. »

Qui est Samantha Lewthwaite ?

Samantha Lewthwaite est une jeune femme Britannique de 29 ans convertie à l’Islam à l’adolescence. Elle est originaire d’Aylesbury, comté de Buckinghamshire, dans le centre de l’Angleterre. Son père, soldat britannique, a stationné en Irlande du Nord au début des années 80, Samantha Lewthwaite serait la cadette d’une fratrie de trois enfants.

Ses parents se seraient séparés quand elle avait onze ans. Elle aurait trouvé le réconfort dans l’islam à 15 ans. Deux ans plus tard, elle rencontre son futur mari, Jermaine Lindsay, un musulman britannique d’origine jamaïcaine, sur Internet.

De leur union, naitront deux enfants. Samantha Lewthwaite condamnera l’implication de son époux dans les attentats de Londres et niera avoir eu connaissance de son plan. Mais l’enquête prouvera par la suite qu’il s’agissait d’un mensonge.

Samantha Lewthwaite, la «veuve blanche» à la tête du commando de Nairobi ?

Pierre Magnan

FranceTV info

23/09/2013

Plusieurs sources affirment que le chef du commando de Nairobi serait une femme. Il s’agirait de Samantha Lewthwaite, une anglaise convertie, veuve de Jermaine Lindsay, qui s’était fait exploser lors des attentats de Londres en 2005. Une information non confirmée.

Samantha Lewthwaite est une Britannique convertie, originaire d’Aylesbury dans le Buckinghamshire, au Royaume-Uni. Elle aurait quitté l’Angleterre en 2005 et rejoint les shebab en Somalie. Elle fait partie des «terroristes les plus recherchés d’Afrique de l’Est», précise le Daily Post de Nairobi.

En 2012, elle est suspectée d’avoir participé, au Kenya, à une attaque à la grenade, tuant trois personnes qui regardaient un match de foot de l’Euro.

Elle avait écrit alors sur son blog : «Ma décision de revenir à l’islam est le don le plus précieux que mon créateur m’a accordé», rapporte le Mirror de 2012.

Samantha Lewthwaite, surnommée «la veuve blanche» serait née en Irlande du Nord où son père était soldat. Elle serait la cadette des trois enfants de la famille. Ses parents se seraient séparés quand elle avait onze ans. Et elle aurait trouvé le réconfort dans l’islam à l’âge de quinze ans.

Un tweet fait état de sa présence sur le terrain, dans le centre commercial de Nairobi. «Meneur de #WestgateAttack est une dame avec un accent britannique. Pourrait être la veuve insaisissable», a déclaré Robert Alai, un blogueur kényan qui a été tweeté en direct pendant plus de 36 heures, rapporte la presse britannique.

Un homme présenté par la BBC comme un «commandant» des islamistes somaliens shebab a cependant démenti le 23 septembre sur la radio britannique que des étrangers figuraient parmi les assaillants responsables de l’attaque meurtrière d’un centre commercial à Nairobi. Il a ajouté à propos de la présence d’une femme dans le commando : «Nous ne demandons pas à nos sœurs de mener des attaques militaires de ce type. Ce sont simplement des rumeurs infondées».

Who is the ‘White Widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite?

The Independent

23 September 2013

DAYS after her husband blew himself up in a Tube carriage beneath King’s Cross station on July 7, 2005, killing 26 people, Irish woman Samantha Lewthwaite professed complete « incomprehension » at his « horrific » act.

Within weeks, the soldier’s daughter and teenage Muslim convert from Banbridge, Co Down, disappeared from view, with the two children she had by bomber Jermaine Lindsay, one of them the couple’s weeks-old newborn.

Police sources said surveillance on the family was « switched off » late in 2005.

Spin forward six years, to Christmas 2011, and that surveillance was on again.

But Samantha (29) was far from England. On this occasion, she was in a rundown suburb of Mombasa, on Kenya’s coast, where she had just slipped a clumsy police dragnet.

In a two-room flat she rented in the city, one of four she paid for in cash with months of rent upfront, anti-terror police found chemicals identical to those her husband used at King’s Cross on 7/7. In another, more upmarket villa close to tourist hotels, ammunition, detonators, an assault rifle and cash in black bin-liners were seized.

Lewthwaite, then using a faked South African passport in the name of Natalie Faye Webb (a nurse from Essex who had never been to East Africa), had again disappeared.

A picture soon emerged of a woman « intending to cause harm to innocent civilians » by means of « an explosive device », according to Kenyan police charges against her. She was on the run, Scotland Yard said, with a British-Kenyan man of Pakistani origin, Habib Saleh Gani. An associate of Lewthwaite’s, Jermaine Grant, again British, was arrested at the house with the bomb-making chemicals and is currently on trial for the same charges Lewthwaite faces, which he has denied.

But since the charges were drawn up, the following January, there has been « zero concrete information » about Lewthwaite, one senior anti-terror official in Mombasa said.

She has been accused variously of being al-Qa’ida’s chief financier in East Africa, funding the recruitment and smuggling of Muslim youth to terror training camps in Somalia, and coaching her own all-women jihadist squad there.

And this woman — nicknamed the White Widow by police and « our white sister » by sympathisers — has been said to have directed grenade attacks against the kuffar worshipping in Kenyan churches and watching Euro 2012 in its bars.

Voir encore:

Terrorism & Security

Samantha Lewthwaite: Is ‘White Widow’ behind Kenya mall attack?

Samantha Lewthwaite is a British mom who is suspected by some Kenyan officials to be behind the Nairobi mall attack. British media call Samantha Lewthwaite the « White Widow,’ the wife of a deceased London suicide bomber.

David Clark Scott

September 23, 2013

The Christian Science Monitor

A Kenyan government spokesperson said that some of those rescued from the mall had sighted a « white woman » among the hostage-takers. When asked if the woman was Lewthwaite, replied “Nothing is being ruled out.”

The London daily, The Mirror, reported that Al Shabab had praised the « White Widow » on their Twitter account and boasted that she was with them.

On a site that has been repeatedly closed down, they wrote: “Sherafiyah lewthwaite aka samantha is a vrave (sic) lady! were happier to have her in our ranks!” In another posting they warned: “This is no more than a drill for a bigger event!”

« I suspect this woman Lewthwaite is behind this attack,’ a senior anti-terror source told the Daily Mail, as survivors described how a woman in a veil appeared to be commanding the other terrorists as they hunted down and killed non-Muslim shoppers.

Who is Samantha Lewthwaite?

She is the wife of Germaine Lindsay, a man who blew himself up on July 7, 2005, at London’s King’s Cross subway station killing 26 people. At the time, Lewthwaite, denied having any prior knowledge of the attack. Shortly thereafter, she became a fugitive.

Lewthwaite, the 29-year-old daughter of a soldier, hails from Banbridge, County Down, Ireland. She converted to Islam as a teenager, and according to British rmedia reports, has three children with whom she has been on the run.

In December of 2011, Kenyan police raided a two-room apartment in Mombasa, Kenya. They found chemicals similar to those used in the July 7, 2005 bombing in London. Lewthwaite was identified as the person who rented the apartment but she wasn’t captured.

However, Jermaine Grant, who is British, was captured at the Mombasa apartment. He faces charges of conspiring to explode devices to hurt civilians, according to Kenyan police. Grant told police that he was working for Lewthwaite. She faces the same charges as Grant and another man later arrested trying to flee the country.

In March, the London Daily Telegraph reported that Lewthwaite and Fouad Manswab were plotting to free Grant, whose trial was set to begin Sept. 23 (today) in Mombasa. « We know that Fouad is in touch with Samantha Lewthwaite, and they were planning to rescue their accomplice, » said Jacob Ondari, the deputy public prosecutor, at the time.

In media reports, Lewthwaite has been variously described as a financier, recruiter, and trainer for al Qaeda, and the creator of an all-women jihadist squad in Africa. She has been accused of orchestrating grenade attacks at worship centers of ‘unbelievers of Islam’ and believed to be behind an attack on those watching soccer in a bar in Mombasa during Euro 2012. Three people died in that attack. One eyewitness of the latter incident identified her from pictures of the incident.

And the nickname « White Widow »? The British media are playing off the term « black widow, » which has been used by Chechen terrorists to describe women who take part in bombings and assaults after the death of their husbands. Some al Shebab postings have described Lewthwaite as the « White Sister. »

Voir enfin:

Somalie

Un jihadiste américain tué par les Shebab

Jeune Afrique

13/09/2013

Un jihadiste américain qui combattait en Somalie serait mort jeudi selon des témoins. Il aurait été abattu lors d’une fusillade avec des anciens alliés shebab.

C’est un homme activement recherché par les Américains qui aurait été tué. En effet, le département d’État promettait 5 millions de dollars (3,8 millions d’euros) de récompense pour sa capture. Né en Alabama, Omar Hammami, plus connu par son surnom de Al-Amriki (« l’américain ») était l’un des plus célèbres combattants étrangers en Somalie. Âgé de 29 ans, il avait rejoint ce pays en 2006, comme des dizaines d’autres américains, dont des membres de la communauté somalienne de Minneapolis. Il travaillait au recrutement de jeunes recrues étrangères pour les Shebab, à travers des chansons de rap en anglais. Dans ses clips, on pouvait ainsi le voir promouvoir avec enthousiasme la lutte du groupe armé islamiste pour renverser le gouvernement Somalien, soutenu par la communauté internationale.

Des résidents du village de Bardhere, dans le sud de la Somalie ont affirmé à l’AFP que « Amriki » avait été tué, ainsi que deux autres combattants, lors d’une fusillade avec des Shebab. Des sites internet extrémistes, dont l’un était lié à Hamami, ont confirmé sa mort, ainsi que celle d’un autre étranger, Osama Al-Britani (« Le Britannique »). La porte-parole adjoint du département d’État à Washington, Marie Harf, a précisé qu’une investigation avait été lancée pour vérifier ces informations.

Depuis 2012, Hammami avait affirmé sur internet que sa vie était menacée par les Shebab, en raison de divergences à propos de l’interprétation de la Charia (loi islamique) et de questions stratégiques.

Les Shebab divisés

Il semblerait que Hammami ait été victime de luttes intestines au sein du groupe islamiste. Il s’était brouillé avec Ahmed Abdi Godane, le leader des Shebab et dont la tête est mise à prix à 7 millions de dollars. Hammami accusait ce dernier d’avoir trahi et mené à la mort en 2011 Fazul Abdullah Muhammad, le précédent chef présumé d’Al-Qaïda en Afrique de l’Est, et probable responsable des attentats de 1998 sur les ambassades américaines de Nairobi et Dar es Salam.

La mort de Hammami, comme celles de nombreux autres islamistes, serait liée à la lutte de Godane pour le contrôle des Shebab. Selon Abdi Aynte, directeur du think tank Somalien Heritage Institute for Policy Studies, si la mort de l’américain est confirmée, cela signifierait que « l’alliance anti-Godane est presque neutralisée ».

Au sein du groupe, il y aurait schisme entre les nationalistes, dont l’agenda est de bouter hors du pays les 17 700 soldats de l’Union Africaine, afin de renverser ensuite le gouvernement Somalien ; et les partisans de Godane, rêvant d’une révolution jihadiste mondiale.

Le jour de la mort d’Hammami, le groupe a revendiqué une attaque à Kismayo, contrôlée par Ahmed Madobe, ancien allié islamiste de Godane. Plusieurs de ses hommes ayant été tué, le seigneur de guerre, légèrement blessé, a juré de se venger lors d’une conférence de presse. En juin, les partisans de Godane ont assassiné deux co-fondateurs du groupe, dont Ibrahim Haji Jama Mead, surnommé Al-Afghani (« l’afghan ») et recherché pour 5 millions de dollars. De son côté, le leader islamiste Hassan Dahir Aweys, allié aux Shebab depuis 2010, a dû fuir la purge, après avoir critiqué le commandement de Godane. Il a depuis été arrêté à Mogadiscio.

Malgré les divisions, les Shebab sont forts de 5 000 hommes, et restent « la principale menace contre la paix et la sécurité en Somalie », indiquait en juillet un rapport du Groupe de contrôle de l’ONU. Quelques 200 combattants étrangers combatteraient pour le groupe islamiste selon un institut de recherche britannique, le Royal United Services Institution.

(Avec AFP)

Voir enfin:

Foreigners

Al-Shabaab is said to have many foreigners within its ranks, particularly at the leadership level.Fighters from the Persian Gulf and international jihadists were called to join the holy war against the Somali government and its Ethiopian allies. Though Somali Islamists did not originally use suicide bombing tactics, the foreign elements of Al-Shabaab have been blamed for several suicide bombings. A 2006 UN report identified Iran, Libya and Egypt, among countries in the region, as the main backers of the Islamist extremists. Egypt has a longstanding policy of securing the Nile River flow by destabilizing Ethiopia.

Formerly a predominantly nationalist organization, Al Shabaab repositioned itself as a militant Islamist group that also attracted a large cadre of Western devotees. As of 2011, the outfit’s foreign recruitment strategy was active in the United States, where members attempted to recruit from the local Muslim communities. According to an investigative report by the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, Al Shabaab recruited over 40 Muslim Americans since 2007 In 2010, the New York Times reported that after more than a dozen Americans were killed in Somalia, the organization’s recruiting success had decreased in the US.

These American and foreign recruits played a dual role within the organization, serving as mercenaries and as a propaganda tool for radicalization and recruitment. These individuals, including Omar Hammami, appeared in propaganda videos posted in online forums in order to appeal to disaffected Muslim youth and inspire them to join the Islamist struggle. This was a top-down strategy, wherein Islamist agents attempted to use mosques and legitimate businesses as a cover to meet, recruit, and raise funds for operations in the US and abroad. By mid-2013, the U.S. Congress reported that such militant recruitment appeared to have halted.

Most of the foreign Al-Shabab members come from Yemen, Sudan, the Swahili Coast, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. As of 2010, their number was estimated at between 200 to 300 militants, augmented by around 1,000 diasporan ethnic Somalis.Many of Al-Shabaab’s foot soldiers also belong to Somalia’s marginalized ethnic minorities from the farming south. Of the foreign members, Jonathan Evans, head of the British MI5, indicated in 2010 that around 100 British nationals of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and West African backgrounds had traveled to Somalia to train under the group, and that their presence there could inspire terrorist incidents in the UK.

In 2012, it was also reported that the group was attracting an increasing number of non-Somali recent converts from Kenya, a predominantly Christian country in the African Great Lakes region. Estimates placed the figure of Kenyan fighters at around 10% of Al-Shabaab’s total forces. Referred to as the « Kenyan Mujahideen » by Al-Shabaab’s core members, the converts are typically young and overzealous. Poverty has made them easier targets for the outfit’s recruiting activities. The Kenyan insurgents can blend in with the general population of Kenya, and they are often harder to track by law enforcement. Reports suggest that Al-Shabaab is attempting to build an even more multi-ethnic generation of fighters in the larger region. One such recent convert, who helped carry out the Kampala bombings but now cooperates with the Kenyan police, believes that the group is trying to use local Kenyans to do its « dirty work » for it, while its own core members escape unscathed. According to diplomats, Muslim areas in coastal Kenya and Tanzania, such as Mombasa and Zanzibar, are especially vulnerable for recruitment.

Foreigners from Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as Afghan-trained Somalis, play an important role in the group’s leadership ranks owing to their combat experience. Bringing with them specialized skills, these commanders often lead the indoctrination of new recruits, and provide training in remote-controlled roadside bombings, suicide attack techniques, and the assassination and kidnapping of government officials, journalists, humanitarian and civil society workers.

Foreign al-Shabaab commanders include:

Foreign leaders:

Fazul Abdullah Mohammed: Mohammed, a Kenyan national, was appointed by Osama bin Laden as al Qaeda’s leader in East Africa in late 2009. Before the death of Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, Mohammed served as the military operations chief for al Qaeda in East Africa. He was an experienced al Qaeda leader who is known to be able to move in and out of East African countries with ease. In August 2008, he eluded a police dragnet in Kenya. Mohammed had been hiding in Somalia with Shabaab and the Islamic Courts for years. Mohammed was considered to be Shabaab’s military leader, while Sheikh Muktar Abdelrahman Abu Zubeyr was Shabaab’s spiritual leader. He was killed on June 8, 2011.

Shaykh Muhammad Abu Fa’id: Fai’d, a Saudi citizen, serves as a top financier and a « manager » for Shabaab.

Abu Musa Mombasa: Mombasa, a Pakistani citizen, serves as Shabaab’s chief of security and training.

Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki: Amriki, whose real name was Omar Hammami, was a U.S. citizen who converted to Islam and traveled to Somalia in 2006. Once in Somalia, he quickly rose through the ranks. He served as a military commander, recruiter, financier, and propagandist. Amriki appeared in several Shabaab propaganda tapes. He became a primary recruiter for Al Shabaab; issued written statements on their behalf and appeared in its propaganda videos and audio recordings. An indictment unsealed in August 2010 charged him with providing material support to terrorists. In January 2013, Amriki was ousted from Al-Shabaab because it felt he had joined in a « narcissistic pursuit of fame ». He then publicly voiced ideological differences with the group via YouTube and Twitter, asserting that local militant leaders were only concerned with fighting in Somalia and not globally. He was reportedly assassinated by the insurgents in September 2013.

Mahmud Mujajir: Mujajir, a Sudanese citizen, is Shabaab’s chief of recruitment for suicide bombers.

Issa Osman Issa: Issa serves as a top al-Qaeda recruiter and military strategist for Shabaab. Before joining, he participated in the simultaneous attacks on the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998. He has been described as a central player in the simultaneous attacks on the Paradise Hotel in Kikambala, Kenya, in 2002, and the attempt that year to down an Israeli airliner in Mombasa.


Education: C’est le syndrome du vestiaire, imbécile ! (Harvard to outraise Stanford in new 6.5 billion fundraising drive)

23 septembre, 2013
https://i1.wp.com/www.smallworldbeauty.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/jla_lockerroom.jpgJ’ai travaillé avec Freud à Vienne. On s’est brouillé sur le concept d’envie du pénis. Il voulait le limiter aux femmes. Leonard Zelig
La taille du pénis chez des hommes a souvent fait l’objet de fantasme. Toutefois, le contenu de ces fantasmes varie selon des époques. En effet, durant la période dite de l’Antiquité, c’était la petite taille du pénis qui fut valorisée, alors que dans la période actuelle c’est plutôt la grande taille qui se trouve être prisée. Pour les Grecs de l’Antiquité, un homme viril devait être doté d’un petit sexe. Ainsi, pour Aristote, un pénis trop long était signe de stérilité. Les travaux notamment de l’historien Thierry Eloi ont montrés que chez les Romains la grosse taille d’un pénis était considérée comme à la fois une vulgarité au niveau social et une disharmonie au niveau esthétique. Aujourd’hui encore, dans certaines tribus amérindiennes, le statut social est dicté par la taille du sexe masculin, seuls les hommes ayant un petit pénis sont amenés à occuper les places les plus hautes de la structure sociale. Wikipedia
Harvard, the richest university in the United States (about $30.7 billion, roughly the size of the annual gross domestic product of the Baltic nation of Latvia), said on Saturday it would seek to raise some $6.5 billion in donations to fund new academic initiatives and bolster its financial aid program. The fundraising drive by the Cambridge, Massachusetts, institution is believed to be the most ambitious ever undertaken by a university, ahead of one concluded last year by Stanford University in California that raised $6.2 billion. Reuters
Australian researchers found even men who feel secure when they’re alone or in the bedroom fall prey to “locker room syndrome”—wishing for larger muscles or penises when comparing themselves to other men. “It’s not always a bad thing to be competitive, as a slight push for improvement can do everyone good,” says study author Annabel Chan Feng Yi, Psy.D., of Victoria University ... Men’s health
‘Locker room syndrome’ drives men to think big … We have relatively little data about the body image of men because most of the research in this area concentrates on women, » Ms Chan says. « It means men don’t really get much help in terms of therapy, and options out there to get help. » Stuff
“Men’s preoccupation with size was rarely to do with pleasing sexual partners or even appearing as a better sexual partner, […] It was often more about competition with other men. Many felt most insecure about their size in environments where other men might see them, such as gym change rooms.” (…) all of which goes to show that it isn’t just women who suffer from appearance issues … Inquisitr

Attention: un syndrome peut en cacher un autre !

A l’heure où la plus riche université du monde (30 milliards de dollars: le PIB de la Lituanie ou le budget annuel des Instituts nationaux de la santé !) se lance dans une levée de fonds de 6, 5 milliards de dollars …

Alors que sa rivale de la côte ouest vient de lever 6, 2 milliards …

Et que Polytechnique se félicite de lever 35 millions d’euros …

Comment ne pas y voir l’évident effet, bien connu des sportifs (au grand bonheur des sites et officines d’allongement pennal), du syndrome du vestiaire ?

Harvard asks donors for $6.5 billion

Reuters

Sep 21 2013

BOSTON (Reuters) – Harvard, the richest university in the United States, said on Saturday it would seek to raise some $6.5 billion in donations to fund new academic initiatives and bolster its financial aid program.

The fundraising drive by the Cambridge, Massachusetts, institution is believed to be the most ambitious ever undertaken by a university, ahead of one concluded last year by Stanford University in California that raised $6.2 billion.

Harvard unveiled its campaign at an event featuring Bill Gates, who spent three years at the school in the 1970s before dropping out to co-found Microsoft Corp.

Gates, who was ranked by Forbes magazine this year as the world’s second-richest person behind Mexico’s Carlos Slim, joked about his decision to leave the university during a talk before alumni and donors.

« You never say that you are ‘dropping out’ of Harvard. I ‘went on leave’ from Harvard, » he said. « If things hadn’t worked out for my company, Microsoft, I could have come back. »

The university has already raised $2.8 billion from more than 90,000 donors during the pre-launch phase of the campaign, its first major fundraising drive in more than a decade, it said in a press release.

Harvard’s investment portfolio is worth about $30.7 billion, roughly the size of the annual gross domestic product of the Baltic nation of Latvia.

That endowment shrank 0.05 percent in the fiscal year ended in 2012, after double-digit gains the previous year, according to the most recent figures from the university.

« The endowment is meant to last forever. … It enables our faculty to do groundbreaking research and supports financial aid for our students, » Vice President for Alumni Affairs & Development Tamara Rogers said in a statement. « In order to undertake new activities, we are going to have to raise new funds. »

Nearly half of the money raised in the new campaign will support teaching and research, while a quarter will go for financial aid and related programs. The rest will go toward capital improvements and a flexible fund, according to Harvard, recently ranked America’s No. 2 university behind Princeton by U.S. News & World Report.

Four years ago, Harvard was forced to suspend its campus expansion and put the construction of a $1 billion science complex on hold after its endowment lost 27.3 percent during the financial crisis.

The science building was slated to be the cornerstone of an ambitious 50-year expansion plan designed to increase the campus size by 50 percent.

(Reporting by Richard Valdmanis; Additional reporting by Jim Finkle; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz and Peter Cooney)

Voir aussi:

‘Locker Room Syndrome’ Has Men Bothered About Penis Size

The Inquisitr

June 15, 2013

Australian researchers have discovered that men are more bothered about their penis size when they’re in the locker room.

The traditional view that men are bothered about their penis size and whether they’re good in bed because of it, isn’t actually what bothers them the most, according to clinical psychology doctoral graduate, Annabel Chan Feng Yi.

The study, carried out by Victoria University, has surveyed over 700 men between the ages of 18 and 76 in order to come to the conclusion that ‘locker room syndrome’ affects men more than size worries in the bedroom.

This is apparently because, in the locker room, men have other men to compare themselves with, while at home they only have their partners to pass judgement (normally).

Yi and her fellow researchers have discovered that, while penis size is important, it’s not how their partners perceive it that has men on edge:

“Men’s preoccupation with size was rarely to do with pleasing sexual partners or even appearing as a better sexual partner, […] It was often more about competition with other men. Many felt most insecure about their size in environments where other men might see them, such as gym change rooms.”

No doubt French men at the gym will be more concerned about their penis size than other men, if a penis size survey from 2012 is accurate.

Furthermore, men who revealed their locker room syndrome, actually felt more than comfortable when they were intimate with their partners, which seems evident in how successful the ‘condom size’ app has been since its launch; there’s no need to worry when it’s only you judging your member.

In addition to penis size worries, the men surveyed also held strong worries regarding their body size, with gay participants statistically more concerned with their muscle size than straight men; all of which goes to show that it isn’t just women who suffer from appearance issues.

The researchers concluded that, while their study on locker room syndrome was a breakthrough in bringing men’s body issues to light, more studies are needed if men’s overall experiences and concerns are to be fully understood.

Voir enfin:

Syndrome du vestiaire

Vulgaris médical

Définition

Le syndrome du vestiaire, appelé autrefois dysmorphophobie génitale et actuellement dénommé BDD (Penile Body Dysmorphic Disorder), est un trouble de la dysmorphie corporelle pénienne, et un ensemble de symptômes caractérisant les réactions de certains hommes convaincus de posséder un pénis (verge) trop petit et pour lequel ils éprouvent un sentiment d’incomplétude, d’infériorité voire de gène ou de honte. C’est essentiellement dans les lieux publics où il est nécessaire de se déshabiller comme cela se conçoit dans les vestiaires, que le syndrome du vestiaire apparaît. Les douches publiques, les gymnases, les piscines sont ces lieux où certains individus sont persuadés de souffrir d’un sexe trop petit par rapport aux autres hommes.

Le syndrome du vestiaire engendre une certitude d’être plus mal loti que les autres et cela même sous les sous-vêtements. La petitesse supposée du sexe engendre chez ces patients une impression d’être exposé constamment à de la raillerie de la part des autres hommes et des femmes.

Il s’agit d’une perception anormale du corps qui est ici centré sur le pénis et qui traduit un trouble psychologique avec préoccupation trop importante, presque permanente qui s’explique par un manque d’estime et de confiance en soi. Pour ces individus qui ont du mal à s’aimer et à être aimés, tout est centré sur le pénis et ce trouble qui engendre des problèmes de sexualité, et aggravé durant certaines périodes, en particulier au cours du syndrome dépressif dont il constitue un symptôme.

Le syndrome du vestiaire ne doit pas être confondu avec les troubles concernant également le pénis mais survenant durant l’adolescence et qui se caractérise par l’absence de rumination permanente et de conviction négative.

La cause, s’il est possible d’en avancer une ou plusieurs, et sans doute la recherche au sein de la société, la surestimation croissante de la nécessité de performances sexuelles liée à la taille du pénis surtout en ce qui concerne l’obtention du plaisir chez la femme. Les films pornographiques ainsi que le manque d’information en ce qui concerne la taille réelle du pénis qui est d’environ 13 cm + ou – 4 cm au cours de l’érection (phallus) aggravent la survenue du syndrome du vestiaire. Signalons que la taille du sexe à l’état flacide (mou) est le plus souvent, chez la majorité des hommes, inférieur à 4 à 6 cm.


Désinformation: L’islam était une religion de paix et nous ne le savions pas ! (More whitewash of Islamic antisemitism from Turkish TV producer – courtesy of the Zionist press !)

20 septembre, 2013
https://i2.wp.com/sheikyermami.com/wp-content/uploads/22309-4-8-0b946.jpgGardez-vous des faux prophètes. Ils viennent à vous en vêtement de brebis, mais au dedans ce sont des loups ravisseurs.Vous les reconnaîtrez à leurs fruits. Cueille-t-on des raisins sur des épines, ou des figues sur des chardons?Tout bon arbre porte de bons fruits, mais le mauvais arbre porte de mauvais fruits.Un bon arbre ne peut porter de mauvais fruits, ni un mauvais arbre porter de bons fruits. Jésus (Matthieu 7: 15-18)
Celui qui change de religion, tuez-le. Mahomet (Sahîh de al-Bukhari)
Les musulmans doivent s’approprier le véritable esprit du Coran qui est amour, compassion et faternité pour tous. Sinem Tezyapar
Dans la foi musulmane, il y a un aspect simple, brut, pratique qui a facilité sa diffusion et transformé la vie d’un grand nombre de peuples à l’état tribal en les ouvrant au monothéisme juif modifié par le christianisme. Mais il lui manque l’essentiel du christianisme : la croix. Comme le christianisme, l’islam réhabilite la victime innocente, mais il le fait de manière guerrière. La croix, c’est le contraire, c’est la fin des mythes violents et archaïques. René Girard
La condition préalable à tout dialogue est que chacun soit honnête avec sa tradition. (…) les chrétiens ont repris tel quel le corpus de la Bible hébraïque. Saint Paul parle de  » greffe » du christianisme sur le judaïsme, ce qui est une façon de ne pas nier celui-ci . (…) Dans l’islam, le corpus biblique est, au contraire, totalement remanié pour lui faire dire tout autre chose que son sens initial (…) La récupération sous forme de torsion ne respecte pas le texte originel sur lequel, malgré tout, le Coran s’appuie. René Girard
Les mosquées sont nos casernes, les coupoles nos casques, les minarets nos baïonnettes et les croyants nos soldats. Erdogan (1998)
Ni la mosquée d’Al Aksa, ni le tombeau du prophète Ibrahim ni la tombe de Rachel n’ont été et ne seront jamais des sites juifs, mais uniquement musulmans. Erdogan (mars 2010)
Il serait singulier que la Turquie, elle aussi candidate à l’Union [mais à l’horizon 2008], continue d’occuper militairement une portion de l’organisation qu’elle souhaite précisément intégrer. Fonctionnaire européen (2002)
Nous n’avons jamais cherché à obtenir une bombe nucléaire, et nous n’allons pas le faire. Nous voulons seulement une technologie nucléaire pacifique. Hassan Rohani

Attention: un enfumage peut en cacher un autre !

Révolutions, conflits sunnites-chiites, bombes de l’autre côté du monde, crise économique, violence et désordres en Afrique, troubles dans le Monde arabe, désécration des sites sacrés de Syrie, attentats de Boston et du Texas, 11 septembre, déstabilisation de la Syrie, soutien d’Assad, coup d’Etat égyptien, attaque de requins en Mer rouge, tremblement de terre en Iran, y a-t-il un mauvais coup que les Sionistes n’auront pas fomenté ?

Alors que le dernier pantin en date et prétendu « modéré » de la mollahcratie iranienne nous refait le coup de la main tendue et de l’Iran aspirant à la paix

Comment, à la lecture d’une dénonciation aussi éclatante des méfaits systématiquement attribués à Israël par ses ennemis arabes et musulmans qui se termine de plus par un appel auxdits musulmans à prendre leurs responsabilités pour leurs propres problèmes (et, par ailleurs excusez du peu,… aider les Sionistes à rebâtir leur temple !), ne pas se réjouir de voir autant de lucidité pour une rare fois écrite noir sur blanc ?

Surtout quand de surcroit on découvre l’identité de l’auteur, non seulement musulmane mais productrice de la télévision turque ?

Du moins jusqu’à la dernière phrase où l’on réalise brusquement à quoi on a affaire …

A savoir, faisant l’impasse sur les textes les plus embarrassants dudit Coran (comme,  par parenthèses et sans parler des déclarations d’un certain Erdogan sur « les mosquées-casernes, les minarets-baïonettes et les croyants-soldats », du pays responsable du premier et toujours nié génocide du XXe siècle comme de l’occupation continuée depuis bientôt 40 ans d’un membre de l’Union européenne dont l’impétrante se trouve être la ressortissante)…

A l’habituel refrain sur « le vrai esprit du Coran pétri d’amour, de compassion et fraternité pour tous » …

Reste à voir, si l’on ne peut que se réjouir de voir ainsi lancé noir sur blanc le débat sur les contradictions de l’islam par l’une de ses propres adeptes comme le rappelle l’islamologue américain Robert Spencer, pourquoi la presse sioniste justement semble si empressée de publier tel quel ce petit monument d’enfumage ?

Jewish Press publishes Muslim writer’s whitewash of Islamic antisemitism

Robert Spencer

Jihad watch

Sinem Tezyapar was so proud of this article that she sent it to me directly. I read it with great interest, as we’re constantly told by Muslim and non-Muslim spokesmen in the U.S. that when jihadis justify their violence by referring to the Qur’an and Sunnah that they are misinterpreting and misunderstanding those sources, and that they really teach peace and tolerance. But rare indeed is a detailed explanation of exactly how the Qur’an and Sunnah teach peace and tolerance. So I read this to see if it could fill that gap. No such luck.

In this entire lengthy piece that purports to establish that Islam « does not command war against Jews, » Tezyapar never mentions Qur’an 5:82, which designates the Jews « the most hostile of men to the believers. » She never mentions 5:51, which tells Muslims not to take Jews or Christians as friends and protectors. She never mentions Sahih Muslim 6985, in which Muhammad says that “the last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.”

In an article purporting to show that Islam doesn’t command war against Jews, these omissions (and there are others) make the whole piece highly questionable. If Sinem Tezyapar really wanted to strike a blow against Islamic Jew-hatred, she could have explained why those and other passages should not be taken at face value, and shown how Islamic antisemites were actually misunderstanding them (if such a thing could really be done). Pretending they do not exist may fool credulous kuffar into complacency, but it will do nothing to stop Islamic Jew-haters from reading such passages and acting on them.

So why did the Jewish Press publish this exercise in soothing deception?

« Listen to Me: Islam Does Not Command War Against Jews, » by Sinem Tezyapar in the Jewish Press, January 6:

In an op. ed. piece for the Jewish Press, I cited from the Qur’an to show that war is an exceptional matter for Muslims, an unwanted obligation to be fulfilled in limited circumstances, and for defensive purposes only.

In response, I’ve been denounced and accused of being a Trojan horse, the wolf trying to devour Little Red Riding Hood, of not being a Muslim or being the worst kind of liar, misguided, deceiver, of practicing taqiyya, of disseminating propaganda with the intention of deceiving Israelis & Westerners, of using jihadist tactics in disguise, etc.

The most moderate reaction has been that I am young, naive… and don’t know my religion and the real world.

Despite the criticism, I stand behind my words, and I say further that Hamas or any other Islamic group that uses violence against civilians is doing wrong according to the Qur’an and that Jews, Christians, and Muslims must and can live co-exist together in harmony and peace. The reactions to my statements have been along the following lines: “What about the jihad verses in Qur’an? What about taqiyyah? What about abrogation of the verses which counsel peace?”

Let me clarify these misconceptions about Islam so that there is no excuse for warmongers and those who wish to shed oceans of blood.

She then goes on at great length, sidestepping the real issues, and thereby raising the question of whether she really wants to take away the « excuse for warmongers, » or aid and abet them.

Voir aussi:

Muslims, stop blaming Israel
Sinem Tezyapar
Jewish Journal
September 11, 2013

« Whenever calamities befall Muslim-majority nations, there is always a country to blame: Israel. Is there a revolution against a tyrant? Zionists are responsible. Who else could be at fault if there is a clash between Sunni and Shia groups? The Jews. Did a bomb explode on the other side of the world, or is there a problem with the economy? No need look any further than Israel. And where else would the control center for destabilizing the Arab world be? In Tel Aviv, of course!

The late Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi blamed Israel for the violence and unrest in Africa. Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said that the turmoil in the Arab world is a pro-Zionist conspiracy. Saudi cleric Sheikh Ismae’il al-Hafoufi blamed Israel for the desecration of Islamic holy sites in Syria. Sheik Abd al-Jalil al-Karouri, a Sudanese cleric, pointed to Israel for the Boston and Texas bombings. And then there’s the belief that Zionists planned the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, to demonize Arabs and Muslims in the eyes of the world.

This madness of putting the blame on Zionists — and Israel in general — is a knee-jerk reaction with no basis in logic. The most surprising part is that so many people believe this without question and continue to disseminate such rumors far and wide.

Syria, Egypt, Iran and Lebanon all aggressively hold the “Zionist regime” responsible for their woes. While Bashar Assad accuses Israel of trying to destabilize Syria, the Syrian opposition blames Israel for assisting the Assad regime by giving them diplomatic cover. Both sides see Israel as responsible for all the bloodshed and unrest going on in Syria. Now with the possibility of an international intervention in Syria, Iranian legislators and commanders are issuing blunt warnings, saying any military strike from the United States on Syria would lead to a retaliatory attack on Israel. Israel’s staying out of the equation, it seems, is simply not possible. Even though Israeli politicians refrain from taking sides in the regional conflicts, all sides point toward Israel anyhow.

On the other hand, we have the Egyptian coup d’état, where we see both sides ascribe blame to Israel. Interestingly, the Egyptian grass-roots protest movement Tamarod blames Israel but urges the Egyptian government not to renege on the Camp David accords. If Israel condemns the violence committed against the anti-coup alliance, she is labeled as an enemy of Egypt and accused of collaborating to destroy the Egyptian army. Even the state-allied newspaper al-Ahram claimed that Israel is in an alliance to demolish the Egyptian army and to balkanize the country. Furthermore, in 2010, an Egyptian government official blamed Israel intelligence for a fatal shark attack off Egypt’s shores.

It must sound like a bizarre joke for some, but this tragicomic situation is quite serious for many in the Middle East. We are no longer surprised to hear Israel’s being the scapegoat for every single evil in the world, but Iran’s blaming the Zionist entity for the deadly earthquake in Iran was pushing the limits of credulity. This, despite the fact that Jews are a handful of people, a tiny population when compared to the overall population of the world.

Now let’s look at what is really going on in the Islamic-Arab world. There is a continuous and unending stream of hate — hate of the Shia, hate of the Wahabbi, hate of the Sunni, hate of the Alawi, hate of the Christians, hate of the Jews and so on. We also see slogans such as: “May God Destroy Israel,” “Down With the United States,” “Damn the West.” Hatred is deeply ingrained in their tradition, in their culture and in their own education. This fierce, venomous style is what is tearing the Islamic world apart; this is exactly what is happening in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan and others — Muslims killing Muslims.

This outcome is the result of intense efforts by some Muslim clerics who encourage hatred of the “other.” Muslims kill each other and then both sides blame the Jews. Wahabbi scholars say that all Sunnis are unbelievers and should be destroyed. Sunni scholars say Shias are unbelievers and their death is obligatory. Shias say that it is obligatory to kill Sunnis, as they are enemies. These are Muslim clerics who are promoting the most violent brand of sectarianism, preaching hatred and calling upon their followers to commit massacres. How do Jews make Muslims kill other Muslims?

When Muslim followers heed these clerical calls for violence, these same clerics turn around and promptly blame the Jews. What about calls for Muslims to not kill each other? What about Muslims unifying to solve their own problems without resorting to violence? What about the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, with its 57 member states, or the League of Arab States, with its 22 states, both which seem utterly helpless to bring about any solutions?

Some religious scholars have led many ignorant people astray with their false teachings, which plant seeds of hate. They implement a faith they have largely invented under the name of Islam — a faith that includes hatred, violence, darkness, which attaches no value to human life. They espouse bloodshed in the name of Islam, spreading hatred toward Christians, Jews and even other Muslims. These loveless, misguided people are most definitely not Muslims, but bigots and radicals.

As Muslims, let’s stop pointing the finger at others for our problems. It is time for the Muslim world to take responsibility and to ponder what has gone so horribly wrong with the Muslim world. Why is there so much bloodshed? Superstitions, innovations, localized traditions and bigotry have replaced the Quran in some Islamic countries, and their religiosity is a deeply artificial one. This hatred has to stop and Muslims must embrace the true spirit of the Quran, which is love, compassion and brotherhood for all.

Sinem Tezyapar is a political and religious commentator from Turkey, and an executive producer at a Turkish TV network.

Voir encore:

Listen to Me: Islam Does Not Command War Against Jews

Sinem Tezyapar
Jewish Press
january 6, 2013

Turkish political and religious commentator Sinem Tezyapar. Turkish political and religious commentator Sinem Tezyapar. In an op. ed. piece for the Jewish Press, I cited from the Qur’an to show that war is an exceptional matter for Muslims, an unwanted obligation to be fulfilled in limited circumstances, and for defensive purposes only.

In response, I’ve been denounced and accused of being a Trojan horse, the wolf trying to devour Little Red Riding Hood, of not being a Muslim or being the worst kind of liar, misguided, deceiver, of practicing taqiyya, of disseminating propaganda with the intention of deceiving Israelis & Westerners, of using jihadist tactics in disguise, etc.

The most moderate reaction has been that I am young, naive… and don’t know my religion and the real world.

Despite the criticism, I stand behind my words, and I say further that Hamas or any other Islamic group that uses violence against civilians is doing wrong according to the Qur’an and that Jews, Christians, and Muslims must and can live co-exist together in harmony and peace. The reactions to my statements have been along the following lines: « What about the jihad verses in Qur’an? What about taqiyyah? What about abrogation of the verses which counsel peace? »

Let me clarify these misconceptions about Islam so that there is no excuse for warmongers and those who wish to shed oceans of blood.

War and violence in the Holy Books

– Admittedly, there are commandments about war in the Qur’an, and those verses pertain to self-defense. The Tanakh and the Gospel also contain provisions about war and violence, and there are verses full of killing, especially in the Torah. The passages about war in those are, just as with the Qur’an, in regard to self-defense. The Torah and the Gospel command peace and love, and contain commandments about love and affection too. A person of love will interpret that in one way, and a cruel person in another. One can interpret it truly if one looks at it sincerely. For instance the Gospel speaks of blood up to the manes of the horses; it speaks of nobody being saved apart from 144,000 Jews. These are actually metaphorical and must be elucidated within the general tone of the Gospel, which is one of love and affection prevailing. But if someone insists on interpreting it in terms of violence, if he adds additional things to it out of his own mind, then a climate of violence will of course ensue. But a real Jew or a real Christian would never murder innocent people simply because there exists verses regarding killings in their Holy Books. In the same way, people who will look at Islam and the Qur’an through the eyes of love will not come up with violent interpretations.

Dictators against Prophets’ divine message

– Let us not forget that the Prophet Mohammed was a prophet who sought to spread the pure faith of the Prophet Abraham, which is faith in God, the One and Only and ascribing no equals to Him, in a pagan society which had been dominated by idol worship. Like many prophets whose names appear in the Tanakh, the Prophet Mohammad has been commissioned for transmitting the message of God. It was impossible for the prophets to make any concessions on this, and they carried the true message, even at the cost of their own lives, to the most extreme leaders of their times and the most perverse communities. Conveying this message sometimes meant to oppose the tyrant Nimrod, as in the case of the Prophet Abraham, and sometimes to oppose dictators such as Pharaoh, as with the Prophet Moses. At all such times, believers found opposition from people who sought to take their lives. Despite circumstances where no one enjoyed freedom of expression, all the prophets communicated God’s message without regard to the cost. And this is no different in Islam as well.

War (qital) and jihad are not the same

– The basic claim of the accusations and reactions trying to portray Islam as violent -God forbid- is that there are verses about jihad in the Qur’an and that these speak of killing. First and foremost, jihad and war are entirely different concepts: Jihad is not synonymous with holy war, as some misguided people think. Jihad means rather exertion, which is to strive, to make effort toward some object identified to the will of God as revealed in the Qur’an. Some worthy objects of jihad include strife against one’s egoistic passions, or to make an intellectual challenge against irreligion, radicalism or fanaticism. One convinces people with scientific and intellectual evidence. To expose the signs of God’s existence, to convey His revelation, to explain the malice of atheistic ideologies etc… These are the legitimate objects of the « jihad » for a Muslim, not beating someone about the head, killing someone or forcing a person to embrace Islam as an act of coercion.

There is also war or combat (qital) in the Qur’an. Whereas jihad is an affirmative duty to confront falsehood with the truth of God, the verses that command war in the Qur’an apply to situations in which a Muslim is called to respond to aggression. In such situations God describes what Muslims may be allowed to do for their own self defense. For instance, if Muslims come under attack; if, their lives, possessions and honor are threatened, if they are being killed and if there is no alternative but to fight, then it becomes obligatory and lawful for Muslims to defend themselves and to come to the aid of the innocent.

Pagan rule and self defense

– In order to understand the Qur’anic prescriptions to war, it is necessary to understand the historical context in which the commandments came. The revelation of the Qur’an to Prophet Mohammad was delivered over a period of 23 years. The first thirteen years of this period passed in Mecca, where Muslims lived as a minority and faced much oppression under a pagan rule. At that time, the Arabian peninsula was dominated by Bedouin Arab tribes who wandered about looting, robbing and murdering as a manner of life. They were hooligans that murdered, got drunk and enjoyed killing people. They made war against the Prophet Mohammad and against anyone who followed his teachings. When they were warned not to murder, they kept on murdering. Despite the fact that many Muslims were harassed, dispossessed of their homes, abused, tortured, and even murdered, Muslims strove to co-exist without resorting to any violence and always called pagans to peace. As a matter of fact, the Muslims dug trenches in the Khandaq war as a defensive strategy to avoid conflict as much as possible. They also emigrated (hejira), and ran away from them, but even then the aggressors pursued them.

In sum, nowhere in the Qur’an are Muslims commanded to wage wars of aggression, and certainly not as a means for to propagate Islam. If a community does not attack, and behaves normally, then naturally, there is no call to war. The obligation to war is and remains a limited, unwanted obligation, applicable only to repel attack.

War commandments

– It is not an easy thing to decide to wage war, and Prophet Mohammad was undecided, worrying about whether he would be committing a sin. As the aggressors in question are human beings, he felt a responsibility of conscience and was unable to make a decision. Under these circumstances, God commanded the Prophet Mohammad to kill the polytheists wherever he finds them. However that is a commandment delivered within a context of an ongoing war, not as a method for the propagation of Islam. God commanded: « … Whenever they are made to revert to hostility, they fall headlong into it. Therefore, if they do not keep aloof from you, nor offer you peace nor restrain their hands, then seize them and kill them, wherever you find them. Against these We have given you clear authority. » (Qur’an, 4:91) In this same vein, the Qur’an commands blockade and taking prisoners as a peaceful means of neutralizing a potentially aggressive community (Quran, 9:5). But if a blockade or taking prisoners are not possible, then killing is permissible only as a last resort.

Verses special for a particular time

– In addition, some of the verses that are in regard to the strategic wars are specific to that particular period. There is clearly no such situation at the moment. For instance God informs « if they do not accept conditions of agreement », that refers to a special circumstance. Regarding a battle, God says, « Behold! they came on you from above you and from below you, » (Qur’an, 33:10) and describes a a particular situation. Additionally, there are verses that refer to Prophet Mohammad in particular, and verses specific to a particular event. However a Muslim reads with wisdom and takes lessons from whatever is described in the Qur’an, just like a Jew would read the battles in the Torah with meditation.

Commandments for specific situations and general situations are different. The general commands are orders that are valid until the Day of Reckoning. For instance, God informs us to say, « Your religion is to you, our religion is to us. » (Qur’an, 109:6) This is a general verse. In another verse He says « There is no compulsion in religion, » (Qur’an, 2:256); this is also a general verse. And there certainly is no meaning such as to kill disbelievers or people from other religions, God forbid. It is required that a clear and general command should exist in the Qur’an, but there is no such verse or no general command that is still binding to this day.

Taqiyyah

– Taqiyyah is a word which is used to describe justifiable deception on behalf of Islam, and once again, self willed people have pressed this concept to their own purposes. First, as a general matter, taqiyyah only applies in a specific situation where a person is coerced to renounce Islam under the threat of violence. Under that exceptional circumstance, it is acceptable to renounce Islam with the mouth, while not actually doing so in the heart or the conscious mind. However, the notion that taqiyyah represents some broad license to commit « pious fraud » against non-Muslims is wholly incorrect. Just as the object of any truly Islamic jihad must be circumscribed to the revealed will of God in the Qur’an, likewise there can be no truly pious act of deception that conflicts with God’s command.

Abrogation

– Some people suggest that the verses sent down during the Meccan period and those sent down during the period of Medina are different, and that verses about peace have been annulled. Those claims are unfounded. All the verses of the Qur’an are valid, from beginning to end. It is disbelief to speak of the annulment of any of God’s commandments. These are ideas some people have invented for themselves, and therefore have no validity whatsoever. No commandment in the Qur’an can cease to apply. It is not acceptable to annul a verse on the basis of fabricated hadiths and of historical information. It must be kept in mind that no hadith (saying of the Prophet Mohammad) can conflict with the Qur’an. If it does, it is not an authentic hadith.

Evidence only from the Qur’an

– There is no need to look to another source when the verses of the Qur’an are so explicit. All kinds of stories appear in various historical sources, and every society has its own stories. There is the history of the Umayyad, the Abbasid, the Iranians etc., and they are all very different. We do not know what is objectively true in ancient history, therefore they are not evidence against Islam. About the hadith resources; the criteria of its authenticity is its coherence with the Qur’an. Most strife and conflict has been the result of misinterpretation and misinformation of history. That is also why the Islamic world is fragmented at the moment. The false fabrications of people today or in the past are of no concern to us; the person who applies things wrongly is in manifest error. If people have falsely made things up, their actions have nothing to do with religion itself.

In addition, the Qur’an is a whole and every verse expounds one another. So any verse from the Qur’an should be interpreted within the spirit of the Qur’an. If somebody picks one verse from the Qur’an and tries to implement it out of its context or without the knowledge of the general spirit of the Qur’an, he might practice it falsely. Most of the time, even with the explicit statement, there are conditions or exceptions explained. God warns people « Do you then believe in a part of the Book and disbelieve in another part ? » (Qur’an, 2:85)

Protecting unbelievers

– In the Qur’an, God says if any unbeliever asks you for protection, give them protection and escort them to a place where they are safe (Qur’an, 9:6). Thus, Muslims have the responsibility to protect even the unbelievers when they seek protection. This means a Muslim may have to give his life to protect the unbelievers and this is a must in the Qur’an. How can one claim that a Book which makes it a rule for Muslims to protect the unbelievers would make it a rule for them kill everyone if they do not believe? And there is no point in claiming otherwise because they have the right to live as unbelievers as God says there is no compulsion in religion.

Social life with the People of the Book

– According to the Qur’an, Christians and Jews, are people Muslims can marry, live with, and eat with, as People of the Book. Under Islam, one person has a Christian wife and another a Jewish wife; one person worships at the synagogue, another at the church and yet another at the mosque. Meanwhile, they all live in peace. This provision alone is more than sufficient evidence that Muslims are bound to live together with Christians and Jews in a climate of peace and love. If a Muslim trusts and loves a woman enough to eat what she cooks, and enough to raise his children, why would he want to kill her? Which part of a true book would advise Muslims to kill their wives? Therefore, the entire idea that Muslims are authorized to kill Christians and Jews collapses into its own absurdity.

God commands peace

– God does not love war. God does not love bloodshed. God does not want people to die by violence. God says in the Qur’an that killing someone for no reason is like killing all of mankind (Qur’an, 5:32) and He further says the punishment for killing someone is eternal hell. The commandments of these verses are quite clear. Almighty God does not want strife and conflict in this world. God says that the essential thing is peace; He tells people to enter the abode of peace (Qur’an, 10:5). He also tells us to hold to forgiveness (Qur’an, 7:9) and to enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil (Qur’an, 9:71); He does not tell us to kill and slaughter. That must not be forgotten.

In Conclusion

– I am a devout believer who strongly believes that the message of Islam, Judaism and Christianity is the same: Peace. The vision of all the Abrahamic religions talk about the coming of a better world, without pain, hunger, hatred and war. I know that in my own religious community, there are fanatics who believe that my religion should fight against those who do not embrace it and force them till they accept. But I disagree with them. What is more I believe that I have far better proof that the radicals distort the true meaning of my religion. Therefore I say, let us unite against terrorism, radicalism and bigotry, and help each other by building bridges accross the rift that the radicals work so hard to dig.

About the Author: Sinem Tezyapar is an executive producer on Turkish Television. She is a political and religious commentator and a peace activist. She can be reached on Facebook, and Twitter.

Voir également:

Activist: Al Jazeera TV Misrepresented Pro-Israel Muslim

Sinem Tezyapar
Jewish Press
April 26, 2013

Sinem Tezyapar, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, has written The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on behalf of Turkish Muslim leader Adnan Oktar, regarding an Al-Jazeera TV interview with Oktar, dated September 28, 2007, titled “Turkish Thinker Adnan Oktar Tells about His Struggle against the Freemasons.”

According to Tezyapar, Oktar’s references to Zionism in the video are not subtitled correctly.

“I assume that Al Jazeera might have edited and translated them in a way that is coherent to its own ideology,” she notes, saying that “if you will listen to the Turkish original uncut film which was recorded and broadcast on Harun Yahya (Oktar’s literary pseudonym) websites,” he does not object to Zionism. He merely entertains the idea that had Zionism been an expansionist ideology, Oktar would have resisted it. But the Arabic voice over translation depicts him as actually objecting to Zionism.

In her letter to MEMRI, Tezyapar provides the original Turkish transcript, and the following English translation:

ADNAN OKTAR: Zionism is the same, of course. If there is an ideology that aims to rule the world, that rejects other religions, that claims the dominion of a single religion and rejects other people and tries to impose its ideology on them, I will of course fight it. But if somebody does not espouse such ideas, then there is nothing I can say. The Jews are a People of the Book. If they want to practice their own religion, if they want to live in their own country, they should stay and live freely in their own country. I respect that, but, if they say “This is not enough for me. I am going to rule the whole world and will destroy all other religions, so that only I survive”, that I cannot accept.

Tezyapar then requests that the service edit the clip accordingly, or remove it altogether, since it is misleading. She offers “many links where Mr. Adnan Oktar advocates the rights of Jews to dwell in the Holy Land, to have their own sovereign state.”

We’ll keep you posted.

In an Ocean of Islamic Hatred We Discovered True Friends

Sinem Tezyapar
Jewish press
April 22, 2013

The Jewish Press has been widely and wildly criticized for giving voice to a young Turkish, Muslim author named Sinem Tezyapar, who is, essentially, a spokesperson for author and television personality Adnan Oktar, pen named Harun Yahya, also a Turkish religious Muslim.

Oktar and his followers (feel free to use the terms “Sect” or “Cult,” it’s not anything they haven’t heard before) are no friends of the secularist establishment in Turkey. Oktar himself has done some serious time in Turkish prison, and his followers live in constant fear of persecution. They are also hated and regularly harassed by fascistic Muslims such as the Al Qaida thugs.

After a fairly jaded start, in which Oktar, or people in his employ, published several books denying the Holocaust and attacking Israel, this Muslim leader began a kind of transformation. He became better acquainted with Judaism and with Zionist history through some new Jewish friends (e.g. Jerusalem-based writer Ehud Tokatly) he was making over the Internet. He recognized his mistakes, apologized for the Holocaust denial book–which he had not authored, and started forging a brand new Muslim vision of a peaceful Middle East in which Israel is not only a Jewish Homeland ruling over its entire biblical territory, but also a place where the Jewish Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem to become the center of adoration by the entire faithful world.

In addition, Adnan Oktar has played host to major Jewish and Israeli figures, including former Israeli Chief Rabbi Israel Lau, the late Rabbi Menachem Froman, and several past and present Israeli politicians, including many of the Shas leadership.

Sinem Tezyapar, essentially representing her teacher’s lessons, has been laboring over the virtual pages of The Jewish Press to debate against Islamic antisemitism, and presenting through cited verses a positive and optimistic vision of the Koran. At every turn, she has expressed nothing but love and acceptance of Jews and the Torah tradition. I’ve been responsible for bringing her work to this website and for preparing it for publication, and so I’ve been intimately familiar with it. There are no false notes here, no hidden agendas.

And so I was taken aback by the vitriolic response of so many of our readers, who attacked Sinem either as a naïve simpleton who doesn’t really understand what a hateful religion she follows, or a sinister Svengali, looking to trap innocent Jews in her web of lies.

At this stage of the game, the caustic debate has spread beyond our own website, to dedicated websites and Facebook pages, intended to smear both the author and us, the supposedly duped Jewish Press. That’s why I feel compelled to respond, so that we’re on the record, rather than to allow some outsider decide what our position might be.

For the record, then, and please feel free to copy and paste this to your hearts’ content (you got that, Israel Matzav?), here are the reasons why The Jewish Press has been publishing these articles:

First, Sinem and Oktar are not promoting terrorism, on the contrary, they openly and unequivocally denounce violence, hatred, anti-Semitism and terrorism.

That’s huge. As a Jew, member of a persecuted minority, my first inquiry regarding a gentile person must be: is he interested in killing me? It’s also recommended to anyone else when picking friends and loved ones, but to Jews it’s absolutely essential.

So, while millions of Muslims want me dead in many different hellish ways, these folks from Istanbul don’t. I find it refreshing and a very good start towards a better future. In fact, once I’m convinced—and I am—that they don’t want me dead, I don’t really care how truly devout they are, how chaste they are (or are not), and what are their preferred peccadilloes. It’s a group of monotheistic gentiles what don’t want me dead – I’m totally happy.

Second, they are preaching an alternative interpretation of Islam, promoting peace, love, tolerance and democracy.

They live in Turkey, for crying out loud, don’t you think they know that most Muslim leaders and followers the world over disagree with them? But they have the courage, even the chutzpah, to tell the world—and they publish unabashedly on Muslim and Arab websites as well—what Islam should be.

Unlike some American sitting in his Mom’s basement, typing away how naïve Sinem is, she is actually putting her money—and her life—where her keyboard is. And she’s doing it patiently, humbly, never an angry word, never a snappy retort. I couldn’t do it, honestly.

So we discovered these lovely Muslim peaceniks, who are lovey-dovey about Jews and Israel, and who completely ignore the grim realities of a billion Muslims out there who hate us. Fine. It still means these strange Muslim don’t want me dead, right? That definitely goes on the plus side in my ledger.

Third, they support Israel’s right to exist as an independent Jewish State, based on the Koran, they pray for the coming of the King Mashiach ben David, they support the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, they oppose Holocaust denial, they support the rebuilding of the Third Temple on the same Temple Mount. Is it any wonder they are being accused by radical Islamists that they are Zionist agents?

A recent Al Qaida attack in Istanbul, I’m told, was in retaliation for Oktar’s hosting of Rabbi Lau. So, Muslim peaceniks, don’t want to kill me, and they’re saying my country belongs to me. Beats my European friends who say I must give away another two thirds of my country so that my neighbors might agree I have the right to exist.

Fourth, it is in our own interest to embrace friends of the Jews and of Israel. Plenty of Jews happily embrace messianic evangelicals who write openly that all they want is for us to convert to Christianity, and they even know that we’re all going there, like it or not, when That Man supposedly returns. We trumpet any pope who says we no longer have to pay for crucifying what’s his name. We’re a tiny nation, we can’t afford to scoff at anyone who wants to be our friend and lives up to it.

So, please, people, get with it. We’re in a war for our lives in which every friend counts. Enough with the crazy talkbacks.

A New Muslim Vision: Rebuilding Solomon’s Temple Together

Sinem Tezyapar
Jewish press
March 12, 2013

The unique importance of the Temple Mount to Judaism and to Islam makes the location vulnerable to tensions and conflicts between Jews and Muslims. Usually, these incidents originate in rumors such as: “The Jews are coming today to bomb the mosques and build their Third Temple.” Obviously, false accusations and baseless suspicions like these turn the site from a holy place of prayer and love into a site of violent political demonstrations. And, consequently, potential escalation of tension brings more restrictions and discomfort to all. Who benefits from this? Surely not the believers.

While the Israeli government ensures limited public access to the Temple Mount regardless of religious beliefs, only Muslims are allowed to pray at the place, which is known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif. Otherwise, the government has prohibited everyone except Muslims from worshipping there since 1967, due to security concerns. Nevertheless, Muslims, too, are occasionally restricted. The Jordanian Waqf which administers the site has restricted non-Muslims from entering the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque since the year 2000. What’s more, non-Muslim religious symbols are not allowed to be worn while entering the site.

Freedom of worship is an essential issue. The Temple Mount, where the First and Second Temples stood, is the holiest place to the people of Israel. However, it is no less holy to both Muslims and Christians. Since this is a location that God has announced to be a “house of prayer for all nations,” it should be a place of festivity for all believers. As all who call on the God of Abraham are brothers, Jews and Christians should be able to offer prayers there in dignity and peace along with Muslims. To cast believers out from such a place, to prevent worship there, is a heinous and, quite frankly, cruel policy, which is an offense not only to men, but to Islam. God Himself condemns anyone who forbids worship:

“And who is more unjust than he who forbids that in places for the worship of God, God’s name should be celebrated?-whose zeal is (in fact) to ruin them? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them except in fear. For them there is nothing but disgrace in this world, and in the world to come, an exceeding torment.” (Koran 2:214)

Likewise, the Tanakh declares the will of God to make this unique spot a common sanctuary where all people learn to coexist and pray together: “For then will I turn clear language to the Nations, that they may all call upon the name of God, to serve Him shoulder to shoulder.” (Zephaniah 3:9)

Anywhere one prays to the One and Only Almighty God is a house of prayer. Therefore, it is an atrocious thing to forbid anyone from praying at the Temple Mount. The longings of Bnei Israel to pray in that place can never be an offense to a Muslim. On the contrary, it is very pleasant to see Jewish people praying at the Temple Mount. Indeed, all the faithful people should be able to pray there. As a matter of fact, in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and others houses of worship, foreign tourists often come and pray. Some perform their religious obligations according to their own faith, and it is something quite beautiful to see.

As a devout Muslim, I take pleasure when Jews pray to Almighty God, and their praying anywhere in the world, including at the Temple Mount, would be a glad tiding for me as well.

As a devout Muslim, it would be a joy for me to see Prophet Solomon’s Temple rebuilt as well. No, you did not hear me wrong. Prophet Solomon’s Temple being rebuilt in all its magnificence and glory would be a great delight for me, as it would be to any Muslim. Under different circumstances, in an atmosphere of trust, love and brotherhood, Muslims would welcome this with enthusiasm. The Temple of Solomon is also a historically important place, and rebuilding it would be a wonderful occasion for all believers to contemplate. Every Muslim, every believer, will want to experience the spirit of those days again, and strive to bring the beauty of those days back to life. Actually, it is everyone’s aspiration for that city to be adorned, to be beautified, and to regain the magnificent glory it had in the days of the Prophet Solomon.

Solomon’s Temple being rebuilt does not entail any harm to these shrines. So I beg my Muslim brothers and sisters not to take my words in a direction that I do not intend. They should not feel unease at all, because the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock will stand until the Last Day. Nobody will be able to harm them, because they are under the protection of God.

There is a broad expanse of land around the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The land there is quite convenient in that respect, and the Temple can be placed just a little way from Qubbat As-Sakhrah, and a little ahead of Masjid el-Aqsa.

The Prophet Solomon—King Solomon as the Jews call him—is a prophet to Muslims too. All Muslims have profound love for him. Prophet Solomon had a superior understanding of beauty and aesthetics, and no doubt, rebuilding of his Temple in its original form would be a splendid undertaking. Decorated exactly as it was, with the same beautiful ornaments, covered in gold, adorned with fruit trees and beautiful gardens, and restored to its former glory, would be splendid!

It is of course very exciting to remember those beautiful days, to rebuild this beautiful compound, and let this beautiful prayer house be open to all. This very much excites me as a Muslim and excites other believers as well. The very thought of Christians, Jews and Muslims cooperating to rebuild this house of worship, together hand in hand, and worshipping there together, is a matter of joy.

Think of the waste of energy and resources consumed all over the world by the contention between Arabs and Jews, which could be used to beautify these holy places, to put them in a brilliant state, instead! There is plenty of space, and there are overwhelmingly sufficient resources for everyone to live there in peace and tranquility and enjoy their freedom of worship.

How have we allowed these unending wars, sporadic clashes, security walls, unnecessary discrimination and restrictions to bar us from being able to embrace each other as brothers? Why do we take it for granted that we are under any obligation to perpetuate these senseless conflicts? Why does everyone simply presume that this is the way things are meant to be? We all want suffering to end and peace to prevail in the region! Obviously we cannot achieve this peace as long as we lack the spirit of unity.

The Jews have the exact same vision, with the Third Temple being a center for all believers, not only for Jews:

“Also the aliens, that join themselves to God, to minister unto Him, and to love the name of God, to be His servants… Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon Mine altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:6-7)

We will rebuild—not only the Temple of Solomon, but those of all the prophets too. As a matter of fact, apart from the Prophet Solomon’s Temple, the other prayer houses of other prophets, the places where they inhabited, should be rebuilt as well. The places where they worshiped should be restored and glorified. Similarly, they should be opened, and Christians, Muslims and Jews should be allowed to visit them at the same time. The places where the Prophets Abraham, Joseph, Isaac, Jacob, Aaron lived should be restored and beautified also.

The main entrance to the Old City is the Jaffa Gate. This gate was built by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1538. The name in Arabic, Bab el-Halil, or Hebron Gate, means “The Beloved,” and refers to Prophet Abraham. In the entrance hall of the Gate, there is a stone on which the following text is engraved: “There is only one God and Abraham is his friend.” It is written this way because Jews and Christians were also using this gate along with Muslims, and the text refers to our common belief in the Prophet Abraham. So this should be the spirit in this site: We all worship the same One God and we are all children of Prophet Abraham!

Let us embrace each other with respect and love! Let us talk together, and envision better days in which we can all pray, and unite in celebration and brotherhood in this Prayer House of our blessed Prophet Solomon, and praise the glory of Almighty God together! Let every Christian, every Muslim, every Jew unite in this one godly desire! Let us endeavor to achieve this together, and let us believe that it is possible for everyone to perform their prayers in joy and peace!

Much of What You Think You Know about Islam Is Wrong (Video)

Sinem Tezyapar
Jewish press
January 17, 2013

Editor’s Note: Some of the terminology used by this Muslim author to describe the relationship between God and people is foreign to us. Notions of God “cursing” people for their actions have long been cast off by our own Rabbinic tradition. But restraint and openness are essential if we are to admit into our intellectual environment Muslim voices that seek to dialog with us. In your comments, we encourage you to challenge any point you wish. But we ask that you not denigrate the character, honesty, sincerity and courage of Ms. Tezyapar. This article is a response to antisemitic notions common among some Muslims, and expressed in a vile video made by Egyptian Cleric Mahmoud Al-Masri. Yori Yanover

It is important for people to understand the context of the verses and hadiths regarding the Jews, and it is particularly important for Muslims to understand them properly. Taking verses or hadiths out of context leads not only to poor understanding, it leads to prejudicial attitudes and outright hatred of people who have done nothing wrong. Perhaps even worse is the hypocrisy of those who wish to impose their extremist views by selecting particular verses and hadiths and deliberately distorting the meaning.

Thus it is important to stand against such despicable tactics and to speak out when these are used as a way of incitement. Here are a few of the main examples that cause a prejudiced mindset among many and are frequently misused as political propaganda by certain Islamic groups.

Why It Is a False Statement to Say Jews Are Cursed or Apes According to Islam?

Those Muslims who say “All Jews are cursed” are mistaken. They do not understand the Qur’an. They do not pay attention to the provisions in the Qur’an and interpret it only superficially. Yet if they read the verses with care, they would know that God would never issue an unjust commandment.

Every child is born innocent; this is a fundamental aspect of Islamic theology. How can a child be born cursed? Such a claim is incompatible with God’s justice. Such people are ignorant of the existence and attributes of God. They think that God could commit such an injustice. They think a child can be born cursed for reasons beyond its control, cursed for no crime, and that no matter what it does it can never escape that curse. This has nothing to do with Islam. To expect such injustice from God means to truly not understand Him. No true believer in God could ever say this. In the Qur’an

God says:

“They said ‘Our hearts are wrapped up in covers.’ Nay, God has cursed them for their disbelief. Little is that which they believe.” (Qur’an, 2:88) They have obviously failed to pay attention to what is set out in the verse. Why does God curse people? For disbelief. If someone denies God’s commandments and does not repent, and if God does not forgive him, he will go to hell; that person is already cursed. God imposes the condition of denial. God does not say ‘I have cursed every Jew, I regard them as cursed en masse.’ He says He curses people who deny Him. Some people who have set themselves up as hodjas and scholars misunderstand this and use it as anti-Jewish propaganda. In another verse, God informs the crimes of some people from the community of the Prophet Moses:

“And for their covenant we raised over them (the towering height) of Mount (Sinai); and (on another occasion) we said: ‘Enter the gate with humility’; and (once again) we commanded them: ‘Transgress not in the matter of the sabbath.’ And we took from them a solemn covenant. (They have incurred divine displeasure): In that they broke their covenant; that they rejected the signs of God; that they slew the Messengers in defiance of right; that they said, ‘Our hearts are the wrappings (which preserve God’s Word; We need no more)’;- Nay, God hath set the seal on their hearts for their blasphemy, and little is it they believe.” (Qur’an, 4:154-155)

Yet all the things listed in these verses are crimes. God lists those actions that are unlawful. People are cursed because of these, and those who commit them in any case go to hell. What about the provision regarding people who do not do these? Why should they be cursed?

God imposes these conditions and says that people who do these things are cursed. God also speaks of the existence of believers. Believers are obviously not cursed. God does not regard people as cursed if they abide by His commandments. People who are immoral, who are cruel or declare war on God’s commandments are cursed. People who do these things in any case go to hell. There are also Muslims who will go to hell. If they disobey God’s commandments, then they go to hell, and they are cursed. It is wrong to ascribe this to the Jews alone, or to interpret it in such a way as to apply only to Jews. God regards all those who declare war on His commandments as cursed. Many people misunderstand this.

The Qur’an refers to the community of the Prophet Moses who must abide by the Torah. God sometimes mentions their crimes and sometimes their good acts. For instance, in one verse we are informed about the existence of righteous Jews as such: “Of the people of Moses there is a section who guide and do justice in the light of truth.” (Qur’an, 7:159)

This is actually very similar to the threat of a curse in the Torah. God explains the potential curses in great detail in Deuteronomy, chapter 28 if they don’t obey the His commandments and the reason for this curse is stated as such:

“However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all His commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country… All these curses will come upon you… because you did not obey the Lord your God and observe the commands and decrees He gave you…” (Deuteronomy, 28:15-45)

Furthermore some Muslims unwisely say that all Jews are apes based on this verse:

“When they disregarded the warnings that had been given them, We rescued those who forbade Evil; but We visited the wrong-doers with a grievous punishment because they were given to transgression. When in their insolence they transgressed (all) prohibitions, We said to them: ‘Be ye apes, despised and rejected.’” (Qur’an, 7:165-166)

However, God says that they are cursed if they rebel or insist on doing something they should not. God does not call people apes if they do not rebel against His commandments but some Muslims fail to understand this and say Jews are all humiliated like apes. God does not say this unless they rebel against Him.

It is also important to remember that God curses people because of their denial. If a Muslim stands in denial, then he is cursed as well. This is a valid statement for all people, and thus Muslims are also addressed in these verses. To present this as a curse on all Jews or calling them all apes is against the Qur’an. Most of those who say such things are mistaken and they expound on these verses falsely. However the verses are more than clear, and God discriminates between innocent people and those regarded as cursed, and He explains the conditions of what causes some to be cursed in a clear and straightforward manner.

Why It Is a False Statement to Say Jews Are the Army of Dajjal (Anti-Messiah) According to Islam?

People keep asking me if Islam is as I say, then why there is so much hatred and violence among the Muslims. And the answer is given by the Prophet of Islam 1,400 years ago. He reveals the hypocrisy prevalent in the Muslim community in the End Times as such:

“Such a time will befall my community that rulers will be oppressive and scholars will be avaricious and without fear of Allah, those who worship will be hypocritical…” (Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 23, p. 22)

In another hadith (saying of Prophet Mohammed) he says:

“People will spring up in the End Times: but their brains will not function. They will speak fine words when they. The will read the Qur’an, but their faith will go no further than their throats…” (Buhari, 3611, 5057, 6930, Muslim, 1066, Abu Dawud 4767, Ahmed ibn Hanbal, Musnad 1, 81, 113, 131, 289; Al-Tayalisi, al-Musnad, no. 1984.)

So it is clear that people will read the Qur’an but not think and live according to the teachings of the Qur’an. This is what I call the religion of the bigots. They implement a faith they have largely invented themselves under the name of Islam. And in this faith there is hatred, violence, darkness. These people who follow the religion of bigotry are the enemies of beauty, art, aesthetics and science as well as women, children etc. They attach no value to human beings and their hearts are far removed from love or compassion.

This is why their life and spirit contradicts the Qur’an concerning love, peace, affection, brotherhood and unity; and the Qur’an encourages beauty, art and science. They only speak hostility and they espouse bloodshed in the name of Islam, spread hatred toward Christians, Jews and even other Muslims. These loveless, misguided people are most definitely not Muslims, but bigots or radicals -however you would like to name them. And this is why we also see hatred for Jews in their mindset.

In Islamic eschatology, there is a hadith that the dajjal (anti-messiah/anti-christ) will come and will be followed by 70,000 Jews.

“Seventy thousand people from the Jews of Isfahan with turbans and gowns will follow the antichrist.” (Muslim, At-Taj Ali Nasif al-Husayn, vol. 5, p. 627)

Based on this hadith, some people who present themselves as Muslim clerics falsely claim that all Jews will be the army of the dajjal, in other words anti-messiah. It goes without saying that this hadith is not referring to each and every Jewish man, woman or child. It is referring specifically only to some who are against God’s way. Like many things from the Qur’an and hadiths, this particular example has been taken out of context and used by extremists to justify their desire to commit wanton slaughter.

However there is an apparent evidence to this hypocrisy. In another hadith, Prophet Mohammed says that “Seventy thousand scholars from my community, all wearing turbans, will follow the dajjal [anti-messiah].” (Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, p. 796)

In referring to the people who will follow the anti-messiah in the hadith, Prophet Muhammed speaks in particular of those who are from the Islamic community and what is more, he draws attention to the ones who regard themselves as scholars.

The army of the anti-messiah will emerge from every religion, and they will constitute bigots who seek to damage their own faiths and the world. Among them there will be Muslims, Jews, Christians and others who are insincere in their faith and who are removed from God’s will. As a matter of fact, backwardness, fanaticism and bigotry is a real threat to Islam as well as to all humanity. Prophet Mohammed himself also warns against this threat:

“My community will be destroyed because of evil scholars and ignorant servants.” (Darimi)

And in another one he says: “Such a time will come that scholars will be an element of mischief.” (Abu Nuaim)

These statements are all talking about the corruption and mischief among the Muslim community. The harm done by some religious scholars is highly destructive to be sure because they lead many ignorant people astray with their false teachings. And just as it was in history, to this day they are largely responsible for the disasters that have befallen Islamic states.

Mahdi (King Messiah) Will Surely Not Kill Jews:

These people who misuse the hadiths while referring to Jews as an army of the anti-messiah also claim that the Mahdi will kill all the Jews. This is far from the truth. This anti-Jewish hatred does not reflect anything about Islam.

First of all, the Mahdi that Muslims are waiting is the same holy person that the Jews are waiting for as King Messiah and this leader’s attributes are similar in both Islamic and Judaic accounts. The Mahdi will govern the world through love, not through war. He is someone who avoids war, a man of peace, who is full of love and compassion for all humanity. The way he will operate is described as follows in the hadith:

In the time of [Mahdi/King Messiah] no one will be woken up from their sleep or have a bleeding nose. (Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi ‘Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 44)

“People will seek refuge in the Mahdi [King Messiah] as honey bees cluster around their sovereign. He will fill the world that was once full of cruelty with justice. His justice will be as such that he will not wake a sleeping person not even one drop of blood is shed. The earth will return to the age of happiness.” (Al-Qawl al-Mukhtasar fi ‘Alamat al-Mahdi al-Muntazar, p. 29 and 48)

“Enmity and hatred between people will cease… Like the cup fills with water, so will earth fill with peace… There will be religious unity. Nobody but Allah will be worshiped. War will put down its burden.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, 10:334)

The climate of peace in the time of King Messiah -the Mahdi- is described very similarly in the Judaic scriptures:

“… In the last days… He [the Lord]… will settle disputes for many peoples… Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” (Isaiah, 2:2-4; Micah, 4:1-3) “…

Burn them [the weapons] up—the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears… They will use them for fuel… declares the Sovereign Lord.” (Ezekiel, 39:9-10)

Consequently it is not only false information that the Mahdi will kill Jews, but it is also against Islamic theology in every way, shape and form. “Not one drop of blood will be shed” is an indisputable expression and thus the Mahdi will not shed the blood of anyone from any religion.

According to Islam, Muslims Should Not Be at War With Jews

Sinem Tezyapar
The Jewish press

December 12th, 2012

As a Muslim, I have to clarify regarding some false ideas that have been taken for granted as “Islamic.” What goes between Israel and Palestine is an artificial conflict and, what’s more, it is against Islam from several points:

Relations with Jews: Muslims are not at war with Jews. According to the Qur’an, Jews have a special status as “People of the Book” and Muslims can establish good relations with them through marriage and the sharing of food. Kosher food is also lawful for Muslims to eat and permission has been given for Muslim men to marry Jewish women. So from an Islamic perspective, this shows that there can be no obstacle to living together and in harmony, and this is clear evidence that enable the formation of warm human relationships and tranquil togetherness between Jews and Muslims.

War only for self-defense: From an Islamic point of view, there can be only defensive war and war is only an unwanted obligation when one’s life, security and honor is under attack. Muslims do not attack, they can only defend themselves. War has to be inevitable at the point that one has to defend oneself. Even if it is considered obligatory for self-defense, it has to be carried out with strict observance of humane and moral values. To put it in another way, God granted permission for war only for defensive purposes, and Muslims are warned against the use of unnecessary violence. “Fight in the Way of God against those who fight you, but do not go beyond the limits. God does not love those who go beyond the limits.” (Qur’an, 2:190)

In another verse, God commands justice and warns Muslims against feeling rage toward enemies, so that their judgments are not impaired: “You who believe! Show integrity for the sake of God, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to heedfulness…” (Qur’an, 5:8) I don’t accept any kind of hatred between people, but even at those times when they are not strong enough to overcome their anger, they still are responsible to be just.

Protecting peace: When there is a peace treaty, both sides should adhere to the peace agreement meticulously, and commit not to attack to each other. Especially for Muslims, after making a peace agreement, according to the Qur’an one has to watch out to protect it and abide by it. This the way according to the Qu’ran. God says: “If they incline to peace, you too incline to it…” (Qur’an, 8:61) In the case of the Palestine-Israel conflict, when one side fires rockets at the other side, the other side is fully entitled (and obligated) to protect its citizens. If there is a peace agreement, in times of peace launching rockets from Gaza is a violation of the Qur’an. When Hamas fires rockets, it’s not firing rockets only at Israel, but at its own people as well; Israel retaliates and it becomes inevitable that civilians, including innocent children, are severely effected by this. The same goes for Israel.

Protection of civilians: There is no justification in the Qur’an for killing innocent people. God says that this is like killing all mankind (Qur’an, 5:32). It is a sin to target civilians or be reckless of their security during an attack. When Hamas launches rockets over Israel, there is no aim, no precise target, and thus these rockets fall sometimes on empty land but sometimes onto the homes of innocent Israeli civilians. It is a sin to take an innocent life, and it is also a sin to cause disorder, to cause people to panic. Another important matter is that Islam absolutely forbids suicide attacks. God says: “Do not kill yourselves.” (Qur’an, 4:29) Consequently, killing oneself and killing other people are both prohibited in Islam. The right to live in the Holy Land: It is against any conscience and above all against the Qur’an to tell Jews to go somewhere else. Jews have been expelled from Spain, they have been slaughtered in Europe and there has been enormous intimidation against them in many places all over the world. So where do they have to go? These lands are places where their forefathers lived. The graves of their grandfathers are on these lands. And it is confirmed by the Qur’an that Bnei Israel will be living in the Holy Land till the end of the world. God says: “And thereafter We said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land.’” (Qur’an, 17:104) and the Prophet Moses (pbuh) says “O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously…” (Qur’an 5: 21) Thus, it is against the Qur’an to tell Jews to leave these lands; any Muslim who does so is in contradiction of the very Word of God Himself.

Let us not forget the sons of Ishmael and the sons of Jacob, the descendants of the prophets, are fighting one another. Both sides are Abraham’s children and surely the land is spacious enough for all. There is no real reason that we can’t coexist together. Let’s live together as brothers; dine together, have conversations together; let us pray side by side, Jews in synagogues, and Muslims in mosques. Let us adopt a language of peace, a language of love. This is easy! And there is no other way.

Voir par ailleurs:

EXCLUSIVE: Iran president blames Israel for ‘instability,’ calls for peace

In an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Ann Curry, newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani talks about Israel, his viewpoints on previous president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the Iranian people’s access to the Internet.

F. Brinley Bruton, Staff Writer, NBC News

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blamed Israel for causing « injustice to the people » of the Middle East during an exclusive interview with NBC News in which he also called for peace, saying Iran is not « looking for war. »

Unlike his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rouhani struck a moderate tone on many issues, but he deflected a question from NBC News’ Ann Curry about whether he believed that the Holocaust was « a myth. »

« I’m not a historian. I’m a politician, » he replied. « What is important for us is that the countries of the region and the people grow closer to each other, and that they are able to prevent aggression and injustice. »

Rouhani’s comments came in his first interview with a U.S. news outlet since his June election. The interview was broadcast Thursday on TODAY.

David Lom / NBC News

NBC News’ Ann Curry speaks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday. It was Rouhani’s first interview with a U.S. news outlet since being elected.

When asked by Curry about the fact that Ahmadinejad had people believing that Iran wanted to wipe Israel off the map, Rouhani replied: « What we wish for in this country is rule by the will of the people. We believe in the ballot box. »

Curry also asked Rouhani to respond to comments by Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, who has called him a « wolf in sheep’s clothing. »

Rouhani described Israel as « an occupier and usurper government » that « does injustice to the people of the region, and has brought instability to the region, with its warmongering policies. »

He added Israel « shouldn’t allow itself to give speeches about a democratically and freely elected government. »

Netanyahu has previously hinted at the possibility of Israeli military strikes on Iran over the country’s controversial nuclear program if Western sanctions and diplomacy fail.

However, Rouhani also said it was important that countries across the Middle East learn to peacefully coexist.

« We are not seeking … and looking for war with any nations. We are seeking peace and stability among all the nations in the region, » Rouhani said.

In an exclusive interview with NBC’s Ann Curry, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country is asking for peace, stability and the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction.

Rouhani replaced Ahmadinejad who had been quoted as describing the Nazi Holocaust as « a myth » while in office. In 2009, Ahmadinejad dropped language from a speech at a U.N. conference on racism that branded the Holocaust « ambiguous and dubious. »

Rouhani’s comments underscored the shift in tone since he was elected with just over 50 percent of the vote. During his inaugural address, the new president spoke of engagement with the West to end bruising sanctions over his country’s controversial nuclear program.

Rouhani also appeared to pledge his support for increasing Iranians’ access to the Internet and other political and social freedoms.

« We want the people, in their private lives, to be completely free, and in today’s world having access to information and the right of free dialogue, and the right to think freely, is the right of all peoples, including the people of Iran, » he said.

When asked whether his government would stop censoring the Internet, Rouhani said « a commission for citizens’ rights » would be established.

« Does that mean that people in Iran will have access now to Twitter and to Facebook? » Curry asked.

« The viewpoint of the government is that the people must have full access to all information worldwide, » Rouhani replied. « Our opinions on this should based on protection of our national identity and on our morals. »

Officials in Washington, D.C., say the time is right for Iran, which wants a deal to get out from sanctions that are crippling its economy. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

In the interview with Curry, Rouhani also said his country will never develop nuclear weapons and that he has the clout to make a deal with the West on the disputed atomic program.

« In its nuclear program, this government enters with full power and has complete authority, » he said, adding that Iran has repeatedly pledged that « under no circumstances would we seek any weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, nor will we ever. »

Rouhani, who earned a Ph.D. from a Scottish university, was the only non-conservative in the field during the election to replace Ahmadinejad. He got more than 18 million votes while five conservative candidates combined garnered just under 18 million.

Rouhani also discussed how he and President Barack Obama have exchanged letters in which they traded views on « some issues. »

« From my point of view, the tone of the letter was positive and constructive, » Rouhani said of the note he got from the White House congratulating him on his election.

The two countries severed diplomatic ties in 1980 after students supporting the Iranian revolutionaries who overthrew the U.S.-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

« It could be subtle and tiny steps for a very important future, » Rouhani told Curry. « I believe the leaders in all countries could think in their national interest and they should not be under the influence of pressure groups. I hope to witness such an atmosphere in the future. »

Rouhani’s is due to appear next Tuesday at the U.N. General Assembly — where Western diplomats regularly walked out during Ahmedinejad’s fiery speeches.

NBC News’ Tracy Connor and Henry Austin contributed to this report.


Fête des Cabanes: Les sionistes ont même inventé Thanksgiving ! (Sukkot 2013: Looking back at the original Thanksgiving)

19 septembre, 2013
Chagall-Tabernacles-1916The first Thanksgiving (JLG Ferris)
Le quinzième jour du septième mois, quand vous récolterez les produits du pays, vous célébrerez donc une fête à l’Éternel (…) et vous vous réjouirez devant l’Éternel, votre Dieu, pendant sept jours. (…) Vous demeurerez pendant sept jours sous des tentes … afin que vos descendants sachent que j’ai fait habiter sous des tentes les enfants d’Israël, après les avoir fait sortir du pays d’Égypte. Je suis l’Éternel, votre Dieu. Lévitique 23: 39-43
Tu observeras la fête de la moisson, des prémices de ton travail, de ce que tu auras semé dans les champs; et la fête de la récolte, à la fin de l’année, quand tu recueilleras des champs le fruit de ton travail. Exode 23: 16
Tous ceux qui resteront de toutes les nations venues contre Jérusalem monteront chaque année Pour se prosterner devant le roi, l’Éternel des armées, Et pour célébrer la fête des tabernacles. Zacharie 14: 16
Much has been written about the rejection of socialism by major powers like China and the former Soviet Union. But nowhere is the failure of socialism clearer than in the radical transformation of the Israeli kibbutz. The kibbutz movement started in the early twentieth century in what was then Palestine by Zionist émigrés from Europe who were idealistic and utopian. Capitalism, industrialization, and the conventional family repelled these émigrés. Kibbutzniks, as they were called, replaced these fundamental aspects of modern societies with collective agriculture where all property was owned by the kibbutz, where adults were treated equally regardless of productivity, and they were rotated every few months among the various tasks that had to be performed on a farm, such as milking cows, planting crops, serving meals, and so forth. They considered the close-knit family to be a creation of capitalism, and substituted for that family structure communal dining, a fair amount of promiscuity, and separate communal living for all children, who were allowed only brief visits with their parents each day. (..) The kibbutz movement was motivated in part by the Marxian dictum of « from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs ». By abolishing capitalistic organization, the founders expected members to live in contentment and harmony, and to work for the common good. However, from what I was told and could observe during my brief visit, there was not much harmony-jealousies abounded of those who were only a little better off, including my host because he was allowed to spend some time working at his profession off the kibbutz. Anger was also felt toward those who were considered slackers since they clearly lived off the labor of others. Since everyone ate, worked, and socialized together, small differences were magnified, and became festering sores. Nor were the family arrangements any more satisfactory since parents missed their children, and visa versa. The kibbutz movement was very important in the creation of Israel, and in its early days of independence. Many military leaders came from the Kibbutz, perhaps because they were accustomed to communal living. A disproportionate number of the early political leaders and intellectuals also had a kibbutz background. But as the New York Times recognized in an article this past week, the socialist zeal that propelled the kibbutz movement in its early days has largely now disappeared. A trend that began more than 40 years ago accelerated in the 1980’s as kibbutzim lost many young members, and they failed to attract enough new members. Many of them were forced into bankruptcy, and the future of this movement was exceedingly dim if they continued with their old ways. The vast majority of the kibbutz that remained survived because they changed their ways. They expanded into industry and even real estate, they allowed a substantial degree of private ownership and private enterprise on the kibbutz, pay is no longer equal and is now significantly related to productivity, and parents and children live and eat together privately in their own homes. These changes may have prevented the Kibbutz movement from disappearing along with the many past Utopian experiments, but they did not prevent the kibbutz from becoming of little importance in the Israeli economy as Israel shifted toward privately owned high tech industry, and also toward privately owned farms, including cooperatives, for its much less important agricultural output. The transformation of the kibbutz movement from avowedly socialist to mainly capitalist shows clearly in microcosm what happened in socialist countries. Although even in their most extreme moments these countries were never as radical as the kibbutzim since children continued to live and eat with parents, socialist countries too tried to divorce individual productivity from individual rewards. They also believed that self-interest was a relic of capitalism, and that they could change human behavior to produce « a new socialist man » by abolishing private property and reorganizing society. Instead of the small scale of a kibbutz, countries like China and the Soviet Union tried to created socialism on an enormous scale. Moreover, and this is crucial, while members of any kibbutz voluntarily joined and could leave at will, Russians and Chinese had no choice about whether they wanted to work on collective farms or in government run enterprises, and they could leave only with extreme difficulty and at personal risk. Utopian socialistic experiments like the kibbutz movement, and countries that tried to create large-scale efficient socialism, all failed for the same reasons. They did not realize that while the zeal of pioneers, and the result of revolutions, could sustain a collectivist and other-serving mentality for a short while, these could not be maintained as the pioneers died off or became disillusioned, and as circumstances became less revolutionary. Basically, they ignored the evidence of history that self interest and family orientation is not the product of capitalism, but is human nature due to selection from evolutionary pressure over billions of years. Sure, there is abundant altruism toward one’s family, and some altruism toward others, and the latter might sustain a society for a brief time. But it shows a depressing ignorance of history to believe that a little propaganda and the enthusiasm of some leaders can organize an effective long-term society on the basis of any altruism and desires of mostl persons to help institutions, such as a kibbutz or a country, rather than themselves and those close to them. Gary Becker
Tant le critique que l’aficionado du communisme commettent une erreur. Une expérimentation à assez grande échelle du collectivisme volontaire le plus intégriste a existé. Et l’échec de cette expérience apporte bel et bien la preuve ultime de l’impraticabilité per se du socialisme originel, sous toute ses formes. Un socialisme « idéal » ne peut en aucun cas exister dans le monde réel. L’expérience dont il est question est le développement des Kibboutz en Israël, depuis le début du XXème siècle et plus encore après l’indépendance de 1947. Le prix Nobel d’économie 1992 Gary Becker (photo), sur son blog à 4 mains, nous gratifie d’une remarquable analyse historique et économique des Kibbutzim, qui naquirent dès le début du XXème siècle sous l’impulsion de juifs utopistes. Son compère Richard Posner, spécialiste majeur de l’analyse économique du droit, y ajoute, comme toujours, des compléments d’information pertinents. Selon Becker, nowhere is the failure of socialism clearer than in the radical transformation of the Israeli kibbutz.
Dans la plupart des Kibboutz, les parents habitaient une maison modeste appartenant à la communauté. Les enfants en étaient séparés, et dormaient dans un dortoir. Il s’agissait d’éviter que certains enfants ne soient avantagés par l’énergie ou le savoir que tentent de leur transmettre les parents les plus motivés et cultivés… Quelles qu’aient été ses compétences initiales, chacun devait contribuer aux travaux des champs, quand bien même il aurait eu une qualification qui aurait apporté plus à la communauté, et chacun recevait la même part du produit du travail commun. Lorsqu’un membre gagnait de l’argent grâce à une activité en dehors du Kibboutz, il devait le partager avec la communauté, et ne devait rien garder pour lui. La rotation des tâches agricoles était la règle. La promiscuité aussi. Dans les premiers temps, La cohésion des kibboutz fut maintenue à la fois par le sentiment de communauté religieuse, par l’engagement idéologique de leurs premiers membres, et par l’environnement hostile de nations islamiques qui ont déclenché contre l’état Hébreu 4 guerres d’agression en 25 ans, soudant la communauté autour des nécessités défensives. Mais même cette pression extérieure ne put compenser le désamour des membres du Kibboutz vis à vis de l’utopie collectiviste. Très vite, de nombreux Kibboutz connurent des difficultés. Les jeunes, notamment, voulaient quitter cet environnement – ce qu’ils étaient libres de faire, contrairement à un russe ou un chinois, soviétisé de force – dès qu’ils en avaient les moyens, ce qui n’était pas toujours le cas, car leurs parents n’accumulaient pas de capital, et à l’extérieur du Kibboutz, le blocage des loyers introduits par l’état d’Israël (qui fut d’ailleurs fondé sur des bases très socialisantes) avait détruit le marché locatif, là bas aussi. Aussi beaucoup parmi eux se sentaient-ils plus prisonniers économiques du Kibboutz que participants enthousiastes. Les problèmes de jalousie entre membres, de tirage au flanc et de parasitage – problème connu par les économistes sous le nom de « passager clandestin » ou « free rider » : pourquoi se tuer à la tâche si vous recevez autant que celui qui travaille ? -, l’inefficacité du système productif dûe à l’absence de spécialisation des tâches et à la mauvaise utilisation des compétences, le stress né de la séparation des familles, ont provoqué la disparition de certains Kibboutz, et la transformation de la plus grande partie d’entre eux en entreprises de type privée, où les familles vivent réunies, où le marché détermine les rémunérations, où l’immobilier est privé, et où l’initiative individuelle permet de développer des activités autres que l’agriculture, permettant à chacun de se spécialiser. Bref, plus de 70% des Kibboutz sont devenus des entreprises de type capitaliste, dont l’aspect social se limite à la constitution de sociétés de secours mutuel des membres. Les Kibboutz, au nombre d’environ 250, ne représentèrent jamais plus de 7% de la société Israélienne, au temps de leur splendeur. Les quelques kibboutz qui conservent une structure collectiviste (il reste des utopiste croyants…) ne représentent quasiment plus rien, et ne survivent que parce qu’ils appartiennent à un ensemble largement capitaliste qui assure à leurs productions ou leurs actifs fonciers la possibilité d’intégrer un système d’échange libéral, en toute protection du droit de propriété. Bref, l’échec du Kibboutz socialiste est l’argument ultime contre les illusions des derniers zélotes du collectivisme qui ne veulent pas voir dans les échecs de l’URSS et autres pays comparables la preuve de l’absence de viabilité intrinsèque des sociétés communistes sous toutes leurs formes. Même volontairement souscrit par des communautés idéologiquement conquises et initialement très motivées, le communisme ne peut apporter ni satisfaction, ni prospérité aux individus. Vincent Bénard
The Puritans did not believe in fixed holidays. If it was a good season, they would announce a thanksgiving, but it’s not like the Jewish holiday which occurs on the 15th of the month of Tishrei (Sukkot). They did not believe in that. So in that respect it’s different.  In terms of thanking God for a bountiful harvest, the Puritans did learn that from the Bible. They knew what they called the Old Testament, what we call the Hebrew Bible, they knew it, and they were influenced by it. Now they didn’t go out and build huts, obviously. But the notion that one would be thankful for a bountiful harvest was certainly one they would have learned from the Hebrew Bible. Sarna (Brandeis University)
The Separatists at Plymouth did not create an annual holiday. Rather, a holiday that grew in popularity and stabilized into an annual celebration over the course of several decades was later traced back to an event that took place at Plymouth in December 1621. The thesis of my book on Thanksgiving is that it is a holiday rooted in the deeply held convictions of the New England settlers, and in the human love of a holiday. Diana Muir Applebaum
Applebaum explained that the Puritans separated the laws of the Hebrew Bible into two categories. “Some were deemed moral commandments, these applied to all men, at all times,” she said. “The others were regarded as ceremonial or temporal commandments, which applied only to Jews, or only to the olden days, but not to Christians.” For Puritans, the Sabbath was an eternal, moral commandment applying to Christians, but they considered Sukkot, Passover, Shavout, kashruth, and other laws to be ceremonial or temporal commandments, not intended by God to apply to the children of the new covenant, Christians. Puritan theology “supported the proclamation of special days of prayer when unusual events occurred,” Applebaum said. “In the event, for example, of an epidemic, drought, or famine, it was appropriate to call a special day of prayer and fasting in the hope that if the people repented, God would grant relief,” she said. “In the event that God did grant a special providence, such as the lifting of a drought or famine, a special day of prayer and thanksgiving would be proclaimed.” “[People feared that] proclaiming a day of thanksgiving every autumn might ‘harden the people in their carnal confidence’ of God’s grace, and people might begin to take God’s gifts for granted,” Applebaum said. “If a proclamation was expected every year, how was it different from the unbiblical Catholic error of creating fixed annual holidays? On the other hand, [some thought] God’s great bounty in sending the harvest was surely worthy of thanksgiving. And people like holidays. In years when the General Court (the Massachusetts legislature) failed to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, individual congregations sometimes did.” After 1676 in Connecticut, and by the 1690s in Massachusetts, the government of each of those colonies proclaimed a special day of prayer and thanksgiving every autumn. It was celebrated by families returning home to celebrate, with special dishes (mince pie and plum pudding) eaten at Christmas in old England, and with events like ballgames on the village green that would have been inappropriate violations of a Sabbath day. (…) Applebaum said that by the 1700s, Thanksgiving was a holiday throughout New England, and that it spread west with the migration of New Englanders. Settlers from New England largely populated the top third of the states, starting with Ohio and rolling west, she explained. “Because New England had a precocious public school system, it also disproportionately supplied schoolteachers, ministers, lawyers, journalists, and shopkeepers to the entire country, north, south and west,” Applebaum said. “This helped spread the popularity of Thanksgiving when these New England-born thought leaders backed the early 19th century campaign led by Sarah Hale to make Thanksgiving a national holiday,” she said. “Thanksgiving proclamations were issued by state governors.” During the Civil War era, southerners associated the concept of a thanksgiving holiday with Yankee abolitionists, and therefore the holiday “did not become popular in the South until the end of the 19th century,” according to Applebaum. JNS
While we cannot be certain about what motivated those Pilgrim settlers to initiate a feast of thanksgiving, it is likely that they consciously drew on a model well-known to them from the Bible they cherished.“Seeing themselves as new Israelites in a new ‘promised land,’ the Pilgrims surely found inspiration in the Bible, in the Books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, in which God commands the ancient Israelites to observe the Feast of Booths—in Hebrew, Sukkot, ‘To rejoice before Adonai your God’ at the time of the fall harvest’. (…) Both of these splendid holidays encourage us to stop and acknowledge the manifold blessings God bestows upon us each and every day. Whether we accomplish that stock-taking over a slice of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie or beneath the leafy branches of a sukkah roof—or both—we understand and embrace the impulse which inspired our Pilgrim and our Israelite ancestors. Rabbi Elias Lieberman (Falmouth Jewish Congregation in Massachusetts)

Attention: un Thanksgiving peut en cacher un autre !

En ce jour où à l’occasion de leur fête des récoltes (dite Fête des Cabanes) …

Nos amis juifs qui eux aussi ont tiré les leçons oubliées de Soukkot

Se remémorent la protection divine dont ils avaient bénéficié durant leur longue traversée du désert après leur expulsion du goulag égyptien …

Comment ne pas y voir les prémices d’une autre fête des récoltes d’un autre groupe de « Pères pèlerins »

Reconnaissants eux aussi d’avoir survécu la plus éprouvante des quêtes de leur Terre promise ?

Is Thanksgiving Rooted in a Biblical Festival?

Mario Seiglie [2]

Historians and Jewish sources point out that America’s Thanksgiving holiday may not have been a totally new celebration—but that its roots may go back thousands of years to the biblical Feast of Tabernacles.

Is Thanksgiving Rooted in a Biblical Festival?

Source: Painting by Jennie Brownscombe, Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that the first Thanksgiving in the United States has some strong similarities to the biblical Feast of Tabernacles? Although the pilgrims did not consciously observe this biblical feast, it is interesting to study the parallels between these two celebrations that share the common spirit of thanksgiving to God.

Both were celebrated in the autumn in the northern hemisphere, and both were a time for giving thanks to God for the blessings of the harvest season. Although forgotten by many, the American Pilgrims were a deeply religious people whose heritage was strictly founded on the Bible, both Old and New Testament.

Why did the Pilgrims have this strong attraction to the Hebrew Scriptures? Is it a coincidence that the Pilgrims were the first successful colony in New England and were able to set their stamp on American culture and religion? Let’s explore these questions and see what history reveals.

Few realize how solemnly and literally the Pilgrims took the Bible. Jewish sources in particular continue to note, although recognizing there is not a direct link between the two, the striking resemblance of the Thanksgiving celebration to the Feast of Tabernacles, which Scripture also calls the Feast of Ingathering.

Here is one typical opinion: « Sukkot, the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, celebrates the autumn harvest; a similarity to the Thanksgiving holiday observed in the United States which is not coincidental. Prior to making their way to the New World, the Pilgrims, themselves the victims of religious persecution, spent several years among Sephardic Jews in Holland. When they later celebrated the legendary first Thanksgiving, their conscious frame of reference was Sukkot » (« Sukkot [3] , »Cyber-Kitchen.com).

English Harvest Home festival

Now it’s true that the Harvest Home festival was celebrated in England at that time, but among the Pilgrims there was a general rejection of observing these English fall celebrations tainted by pagan traditions.

« The Harvest Home was a holiday, » notes historian Diana Karter Appelbaum, « on which the villagers joined together to bring the last loads of grain from the field and share a merry feast when the work was done…There was sufficient taint of idol worship and evidence of licentious behavior in the old English Harvest Home for Puritans to reject the custom summarily. They recoiled from these remnants of the pagan customs that predated Christianity in England, but memories of the harvest feast lingered all the same.

« The Puritans’ shunning of the ancient Harvest Home left a void in the New England year that might not have been problematic had a similar attitude not been extended to other holidays. But the Puritans had disapproved of so many causes for celebration that a holiday vacuum existed in the young colonies. ‘All Saint’s Day’ had been swept off the calendar along with Christmas and Easter, on the grounds that these mixed ‘popish’ ritual with pagan custom.

« Sunday, the occasion in Europe for afternoon ball games, cockfights, plays, gambling, fishing trips and dances, became the Puritan Sabbath, a day passed in prayer, church attendance and devotional reading…Remaining to New Englanders were three holidays—Muster Day, Election Day and the day of the Harvard Commencement » ( Thanksgiving: An American Holiday, an American History, 1984, p. 20).

Biblical connection of Thanksgiving

So it seems the Pilgrims didn’t base their Thanksgiving celebration on English feasts, which when linked with pagan customs were generally shunned by them. Where then did they get their inspiration for Thanksgiving? Could it have a biblical foundation?

Notice what David Stern says about the Feast of Tabernacles in The Jewish New Testament Commentary: « Families build booths of palm branches, partly open to the sky, to recall God’s providence toward Israel during the forty years of wandering in the desert and living in tents.

« The festival also celebrates the harvest, coming, as it does, at summer’s end, so that it is a time of thanksgiving. (The Puritans, who took the Old Testament more seriously than most Christians, modeled the American holiday of Thanksgiving after Sukkot [the Hebrew name for the Feast of Tabernacles]) » (1996, comment on John 7:2).

This connection is not well known among most secular U.S. historians, but the Jews, who also arrived very early at the New England colonies, have kept track of this historical parallel.

« As Leviticus 23 teaches, » explains Barney Kasdan, « Sukkot was to be a time of bringing in the latter harvest. It is, in other words, the Jewish ‘Thanksgiving.’ In fact, it is widely believed that the Puritan settlers, who were great students of the Hebrew Scriptures, based the first American Thanksgiving on Sukkot » ( God’s Appointed Times, 1993, p. 92).

William Bradford, who became the first Pilgrim governor and proclaimed the first Thanksgiving celebration, used the Scriptures—both Old and New Testaments—for guidance in governing the colony.

« Though it’s a uniquely American tradition, » adds a Jewish Web site, « the roots of Thanksgiving go back to ancient Israel. In a real sense, the Jews invented Thanksgiving. I count 28 references to the word thanksgiving in the King James Bible—all but six in the Old Testament. For the ancient children of Israel, thanksgiving was a time of feasting and fasting, of praising God, of singing songs. It was a rich celebration—and still is for observant Jews today.

« Bradford himself studied the Hebrew scriptures. The Pilgrims took them very seriously. The idea of giving thanks to God with a feast was inspired by that knowledge of the Bible. In a very real way, the Pilgrims saw themselves, too, as chosen people of God being led to a Promised Land…

« In addition to proclaiming a day of thanksgiving, like the ancient Hebrews did before them, Bradford and his flock also praised God’s loving kindness, the famous refrain of Psalms 106 and 107 and Jewish liturgy (‘Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His kindness endures forever’) » (« Thanksgiving, The Puritans and Prayer, » shalomjerusalem.com/heritage).

Brief history of the Pilgrims’ journey

It’s fascinating to review the Pilgrim’s history and their roots in America.

Attempting to reform the Church of England, the Puritans wanted to base their religion purely on biblical teaching—both from the Old and New Testaments. In England, they pressured the government so much to establish its laws on biblical principles that they provoked the ire of King James I of England. « King James vowed to make these deviants conform or he would ‘harry [harass] them out of the land or else do worse' » (Martin Marty, Pilgrims in Their Own Land, 1984 , p. 59).

So a group of Puritans fled from England and sailed to Holland. There they enjoyed more religious tolerance, but eventually became disillusioned with the Dutch way of life, believing it was ungodly and that it had a corrupting effect on their children.

A number of these Puritans, seeking a better place to practice their religion, began to set their sights on America. They finally negotiated with a London stock company to finance a journey to the New World.

They sailed from Holland to Plymouth, England, and from there to the new Plymouth they would reach after more than two months at sea. They dropped anchor at Cape Cod in November of 1620. Only about half of the original colonists were true Pilgrims. The rest, whom the Pilgrims called « strangers, » were hired to protect the company’s interests.

The Pilgrims finally disembarked at Plymouth Rock on Dec. 11, 1620. Their first winter was devastating. At the beginning of the following autumn, they had lost 46 of the original 102 who sailed on the Mayflower. But the harvest of 1621 was bountiful and the Pilgrims decided to celebrate with a feast—inviting Native American Indians who had helped them survive their first year. Historians believe that the Pilgrims would not have made it through the year without the help of the natives. The feast lasted three days.

The fledgling Plymouth colony of Puritans would not be the exception to the rule. Over the next 20 years, 16,000 Puritans would migrate from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and many more settled in Connecticut and Rhode Island—thus establishing a lasting influence on American culture and character.

The Pilgrims’ view of themselves

How did the Pilgrims view themselves?

« The Puritans in England, » writes Jewish historian Max Dimont, « regarded themselves as Hebraists. They took the Old Testament as their model of government and tried to reshape the Magna Carta in its image…The British rulers rightly regarded them as Jewish fellow-travelers, and when they departed for the Colonies, the British ruling class wrote them off as good riddance.

« In America, the Puritans modeled their new homeland upon Old Testament principles. When Harvard University was founded in 1636, Hebrew along with Latin was taught as one of the two main languages. Governor Cotton wanted to make the Mosaic Code the law of Massachusetts, and Hebrew at one point almost became the official language of the state » ( The Indestructible Jews, 1971, p. 346).

In the preface to his History of Plymouth Plantation, Governor Bradford wrote of his strong desire to learn Hebrew: « Though I am grown aged, yet I have had a longing desire to see with my own eyes something of that most ancient language and holy tongue, in which the Law and the oracles of God were written and in which God and angels spoke to the holy patriarchs of old time . . . My aim and desire is to see holy text, and to discern somewhat of the same, for my own content » (p. xxviii, edited by Samuel Eliot Morison, 1989).

These remarks were followed by some 25 biblical passages in the original Hebrew and their English translation.

It is no accident that the early settlers called their Plymouth Colony « Little Israel, » and they even compared Governor Bradford to Moses. They felt that they had fled lands of oppression and had found a new home, just as the Israelites had once fled Egyptian slavery and settled in the Holy Land.

It is, then, understandable from the association the Pilgrims had with the Bible and the traditions of Israel, that their Thanksgiving festival would be patterned after the biblical festivals of thanksgiving for abundance and harvest as found in the Bible—in particular, during the fall, the Feast of Tabernacles.

Again, this is not saying there is an explicit link here, just a biblical framework for the Thanksgiving celebration to arise.

Similarities of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

Just north of the Pilgrims’ colony of Plymouth, where the Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded in 1629 mostly by Puritans, we see a similar pattern.

« No Christian community in history, » says Gabriel Sivan, « identified more with the People of the Book than did the early settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, who believed their own lives to be a literal reenactment of the biblical drama of the Hebrew nation.

« They themselves were the children of Israel; America was their Promised Land; the Atlantic Ocean their Red Sea; the Kings of England were the Egyptian pharaohs; the American Indians the Canaanites (or the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel); the pact of the Plymouth Rock was God’s holy Covenant; and the ordinances by which they lived were the Divine Law. . .

« [They] saw themselves as instruments of Divine Providence, a people chosen to build their new commonwealth on the Covenant entered into at Mount Sinai » ( The Bible and Civilization, 1973, p. 236).

Puritan laws in America

What kind of laws was the United States founded on?

« In England, » writes Abraham Katsch, « the Puritan identification with the Bible was so strong that some Puritan extremists sought to replace English common law with biblical laws of the Old Testament, but were prevented from doing so. In America, however, there was far more freedom to experiment with the use of biblical law in the legal codes of the colonies, and this was exactly what these early colonist set out to do.

« The earliest legislation of the colonies of New England was all determined by Scripture. At the first assembly of New Haven in 1639, John Davenport clearly stated the primacy of the Bible as the legal and moral foundation of the colony.

« ‘Scriptures do hold forth a perfect rule for the direction and government of all men…The Word of God shall be the only rule to be attended unto in organizing the affairs of government in this plantation' » ( The Biblical Heritage of American Democracy, 1977, p. 97).

Notice how influential were the Old Testament principles in their civil government.

« Subsequently, » adds Rabbi Ken Spiro, « the New Haven legislators adopted a legal code—the Code of 1655—which contained some 79 statutes, half of which contained biblical references, virtually all from the Hebrew Bible. The Plymouth Colony had a similar law code as did the Massachusetts assembly, which, in 1641—after an exhortation by Reverend John Cotton who presented the legislators with a copy of Moses, His Judicials —adopted the so-called ‘Capitall Lawes of New England’ based almost entirely on Mosaic law » ( WorldPerfect: The Jewish Impact on Civilization, 2002, p. 248).

Much to be thankful for

So we should not forget that Thanksgiving is a feast of giving thanks, not only for receiving God’s blessings today, but also for how He founded America mostly on His biblical laws. He also poured Abraham’s blessings on it, intervening time and time again from its very beginnings to turn it into a rich and powerful nation to help lift up the rest of mankind. The nation has not had a perfect record, of course, but it is still trying to defend the weak from oppressors and to provide a home for those being persecuted.

I know—for I am one of those who was persecuted and was received in the United States with open arms—a gesture for which I will be forever grateful.

Also, we should consider that the biblical Feast of Tabernacles is an annual reminder of how we should thank God for all He has done for us. Indeed, Jesus Christ and His disciples celebrated this festival—and I hope one day you will join us in observing it. GN

Source URL: http://www.ucg.org/holidays-and-holy-days/thanksgiving-rooted-biblical-festival

Links:

[1] http://www.ucg.org/files/article/audio/is-thanksgiving-rooted-in-a-biblical-festival.mp3

[2] http://www.ucg.org/author/mario-seiglie

[3] http://www.cyber-kitchen.com/rfcj/category.cgi?category=SUKKOT

[4] http://www.ucg.org/bible/4/JHN/7/2#v2

[5] http://www.ucg.org/tags/american-history

[6] http://www.ucg.org/tags/blessings

[7] http://www.ucg.org/tags/feast-tabernacles-1

[8] http://www.ucg.org/holidays-and-holy-days

[9] http://www.ucg.org/tags/pilgrims

[10] http://www.ucg.org/tags/thanksgiving-3

[11] http://www.ucg.org/good-news-magazine

[12] http://www.ucg.org/holidays-and-holy-days/gods-holy-days/feast-tabernacles

[13] http://www.ucg.org/historian

Voir aussi:

Thanksgiving and Sukkot

What’s the Connection?

John J. Parsons

Hebrew4christians

THE AMERICAN HOLIDAY OF THANKSGIVING certainly has its roots in the Jewish tradition of giving thanks to God, and some historians believe that the early « pilgrims » derived the idea directly from the Biblical festival of Sukkot (i.e., « Tabernacles »). According to some scholars, before coming to the New World, the pilgrims lived for a decade among the Sephardic Jews in Holland, since Holland was considered a safe haven from religious persecution at the time. Since the pilgrims were devout Calvinists and Puritans, their religious idealism led them to regard themselves as « new Israel, » and it is likely that they learned that Sukkot commemorated Israel’s deliverance from their religious persecution in ancient Egypt at that time. After they emigrated to the « Promised Land » of America, it is not surprising that the pilgrims may have chosen the festival of Sukkot as the paradigm for their own celebration. As the Torah commands: « [Celebrate the feast] so that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God » (Lev. 23:39-43). The highly religious pilgrims regarded their perilous journey to the new world as a type of « Exodus event » and therefore sought the appropriate Biblical holiday to commemorate their safe arrival in a land full of new promise…

Recall that during the holiday of Sukkot we are commanded to dwell in sukkahs to remind ourselves of the sheltering presence of God given to our ancestors in the wilderness. After the Jews finally began inheriting the land, the theme of Sukkot shifted to an expression of thanks for God’s provision and steadfast love. In that sense, Sukkot is a sort of « Jewish Thanksgiving » celebration. During the fall harvest (traditionally called the « Season of our Joy ») the Torah commands us to « rejoice before Adonai your God » (Deut. 16:11-15; Lev. 23:39-43). When we wave our lulavs (symbols of the fruit of the earth and the harvest), it is customary to recite the following expression of thanks:

הוֹדוּ לַיהוה כִּי־טוֹב כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ

ho·du la·Adonai ki tov, ki le·o·lam chas·do

« Give thanks to the LORD for He is good;

for His steadfast love endures forever. »

Download Study Card

The Refrains of Praise

A basic principle in Bible interpretation is to note repeated occurrences of a word or phrase. This is sometimes called the « law of recurrence. » The assumption here is that since God is the consummate Communicator, if a word or phrase is repeated in Scripture, there is surely a good reason. In some cases the function appears to be instructive (such as the two sets of instructions given for building the Mishkan (tabernacle) in Exodus); in other cases it appears to be exclamatory: the LORD doesn’t repeat Himself without the intent of getting our attention.

But notice that the phrase, hodu la-donai ki-tov, ki le’olam chasdo (« Give thanks to the LORD for He is good, for His stedfast love endures forever ») appears no less than five times in Scripture (1 Chr. 16:34; Psalm 106:1; Psalm 107:1; Psalm 118:1,29; Psalm 136:1), and in each case it is clear that the Holy Spirit is emphasizing that God’s love for us — His chesed — is the primary reason for us to give Him thanks (in Psalm 136, the refrain, « ki le’olam chasdo » occurs no less than 25 times). Notice also that the verb hodu is the imperative of yadah (to confess or express gratitude) and therefore we can understand this verse to mean that we are to « confess » or « acknowledge » that the LORD is good. Indeed, the Hebrew word todah (תּוֹדָה), usually translated « thanks, » can mean both « confession » and « praise. »

A Thanksgiving Seder

Thanksgiving is perfectly compatible with Messianic Jewish observance, and since the holiday always falls on a Thursday there is never a conflict with Sabbath celebrations. You can create a simple « Thanksgiving Seder » by reciting Kiddush (the blessing over the wine and the bread) and then offering a special prayer of thanks before eating the meal. Everyone could recite the refrain: « Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His steadfast love endures forever » (see Hebrew text above). The « Shehecheyanu » blessing may then be recited to mark the occasion as spiritually significant:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם

שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה

ba·ruch at·tah Adonai E·lo·hei·nu Me·lekh ha·o·lam

she·he·che·ya·nu ve·ki·ye·ma·nu ve·hig·gi·a·nu la·ze·man haz·zeh

« Blessed are You, LORD our God, Master of the Universe,

Who has kept us alive and sustained us and brought us to this season. »

Download Study Card

During the meal, people might take some time to share their own experience of finding freedom in America or to discuss why they regard freedom as important. The connections between Passover (the Exodus), Shavuot (the Sinai and « Pentecost » experiences), Sukkot (God’s care for Israel during their wanderings in the desert), and the American holiday of Thanksgiving would also make an excellent discussion. It is also interesting to note that the Hebrew word for « turkey » is tarnegol hodu (תַּרְנְגוֹל הוֹדו), literally, « Indian chicken, » which is often shortened to hodu (הוֹדוּ). It is a happy coincidence that we customarily eat turkey on Thanksgiving, and this reminds us of the « thanks » connection: « Give thanks (hodu) to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever. »

Since Yeshua is the ultimate expression of God’s steadfast love (i.e., chesed: חֶסֶד), how much more should we give heartfelt thanks to God for Him? Is there anything greater than the astounding love of God? Can anything overcome it? Can even the hardness of your own heart somehow veto or negate it’s purposes? It was because of His great love that God (יהוה) « emptied Himself » of heavenly glory, becoming clothed in human flesh and becoming disguised a lowly slave (δοῦλος). God performed this act of « infinite condescension » in order to « tabernacle » with us as our « hidden King » (John 1:1,14, Phil. 2:7-8). Ultimately our thanks to God is our praise for Yeshua, our Savior, King, and LORD.

We wish you a joy-filled time of reflection during this Thanksgiving Holiday. May you remember the many blessings that the LORD God of Israel has lovingly bestowed upon you and your family…. Hodu La-Adonai!

Voir également:

Sukkot – The Harvest Holiday and Thanksgiving

Shiksa

September 22, 2010

Did the Jewish holiday of Sukkot inspire the first Thanksgiving?

Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, is a Jewish holiday celebrated on the 15th of Tishrei on the Hebrew calendar. While not as widely known or celebrated as some other Jewish holidays, Sukkot is a very important part of the Jewish experience. Historically many important events have occurred during Sukkot, including King Solomon’s dedication of the First Temple of Jerusalem.

The Sukkot holiday finds its origin in a Biblical mandate. In the Torah, God commands that the Jews must live in temporary outdoor structures for seven days in remembrance of the Israelites who fled from Egypt with Moses:

So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days; the first day is a day of rest, and the eighth day also is a day of rest. On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars, and rejoice before the Lord your God… All native-born Israelites are to live in booths so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt.

~ Leviticus 23:39 to 23:43

This is an example of an outdoor sukkah structure.

In this passage, God commands the Jews to build “booths” and live in them during the festival of Sukkot. These temporary structures are known as “sukkah,” and they can range in size from small (just large enough for two people) to enormous. A sukkah is constructed with three or four walls and a roof known as a “schach” made from natural organic materials. It must be at least three feet tall, and you must be able to see the sky through the roof—if you can’t, the sukkah is not considered “kosher.” Traditionally, Jewish families decorate the sukkah with a variety of decorations including homemade ornaments, paintings, and streamers. Often decorations are inspired by harvest foods and the seven species of Israel mentioned in Deuteronomy: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, dates, wheat and barley.

Rabbinic law encourages Jews to live, sleep, and eat in the sukkah for all seven days of the festival, weather permitting. Most modern Jews do not actually sleep in the sukkah; it is used instead as a special outdoor dwelling place for dining together with family and friends.

Which brings us to what I consider the most exciting part of Sukkot—the food!

Sukkot is a harvest holiday, which means that the foods served are seasonal in nature. The Sukkot menu generally features vegetables and fruits that are harvested at the turn of the season—apples, squash, eggplants, grapes, etc. As a food lover, this holiday is one of my favorites because we are encouraged to create dishes from fresh and delicious seasonal ingredients. The arrival of Sukkot ushers in the autumn season; Sukkot foods are inspired by the bounty of the harvest.

Does this all sound a little familiar? You might have noticed that the Sukkot holiday resembles the American tradition of Thanksgiving. Believe it or not, the similarities between Sukkot and Thanksgiving actually have a historical frame of reference. Before coming to the New World, the Pilgrims lived for a short time among Sephardic Jews in Holland. In fact, our American Thanksgiving tradition may have been indirectly inspired by the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

“The First Thanksgiving,” painted by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris (1863-1930)

Both the Pilgrims and the Jews were victims of religious persecution. The Sephardic Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492; they scattered and eventually settled in different parts of Europe and the Middle East. A small group of Jews made Holland their home. The Pilgrims escaped England in 1608 to avoid the increasing intolerance of their Separatist views by the Bishop of Lincoln and Archbishop of York. Both the Jews and the Pilgrims settled in Holland because of the country’s religious tolerance.

The Pilgrims only spent a decade in Holland before leaving for the New World (America), but they were certainly there long enough to interact with the local Jewish population; the Pilgrims also would have witnessed Sukkot celebrations while living among the Sephardic Jews of Holland.

The Thanksgiving cornucopia bears a strong resemblance to the Jewish shofar, blown during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

This possible tie between Thanksgiving and Sukkot is pretty intriguing, and can be seen on many symbolic levels. While harvest festivals were not unique during that time period (many Christian groups had their own harvest celebrations), there are some particular aspects of Thanksgiving that seem at least loosely connected to Sukkot. The first Thanksgiving meal in 1621 is said to have been eaten out-of-doors, which would correspond to the Sukkot tradition of dining outside in the sukkah. Sukkot, like Thanksgiving, is a holiday of welcoming; the Pilgrims welcomed the Wampanoag Native Americans to the original Thanksgiving table just as Jews are encouraged to welcome friends and extended family to dine in the sukkah. This was only fitting; the Wampanoag people and their leader, Massasoit, taught the Pilgrims vital harvesting and life skills after their arrival in the New World; the Pilgrims would not have survived without their help and guidance. The cornucopia, a Thanksgiving symbol of plenty, resembles the Jewish shofar that is blown during Yom Kippur (the holiday that precedes Sukkot). And of course, there’s the food: both Sukkot and Thanksgiving feature bountiful menus of delicious, seasonally-inspired foods.

Details on the very first Thanksgiving meal are slim. According to the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink, “The first association between the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving appeared in print in 1841, when Alexander Young published a copy of a letter dated December 11, 1621, from Edward Winslow, who described a three-day event held after the crops were harvested. In a footnote to the letter Young claimed that this was ‘the first Thanksgiving.’” Beyond these details, we know very little about that first Thanksgiving meal. We do know that it was a multi-day celebration, similar to Sukkot– some accounts say it lasted three days, others say seven. Over the years, it became customary to celebrate a single day of thanks during the harvest season, which evolved into the holiday we now celebrate as Thanksgiving.

While we may never know if the first Thanksgiving was directly inspired by Sukkot, it is fun to ponder!

Voir encore:

Thanksgiving: A Harvest Festival with Roots in Sukkot

Rabbi Elias Lieberman

Interfaith family

October, 2000

I have the great good fortune to live on Cape Cod, just a short drive from Plimoth Plantation. It was there, in the Plimoth settlement, that history records the first « Thanksgiving. »

The intervening centuries have made it difficult to sort fact from Hallmark-fiction, but this much we do know, from one contemporaneous account from 1621: There were three days of feasting, in the company of Native Americans. The Thanksgiving holiday that we celebrate did not become a national holiday until President Abraham Lincoln declared it one in 1863. And it wasn’t until the 1941 that its date was firmly established by Congress as the fourth Thursday in November.

While we cannot be certain about what motivated those Pilgrim settlers to initiate a feast of thanksgiving, it is likely that they consciously drew on a model well-known to them from the Bible they cherished. Seeing themselves as new Israelites in a new « promised land, » the Pilgrims surely found inspiration in the Bible, in the Books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, in which God commands the ancient Israelites to observe the Feast of Booths — in Hebrew, Sukkot, « to rejoice before Adonai your God » at the time of the fall harvest [Lev. 23:40].

In Jewish tradition, the Festival of Sukkot is a joyous occasion to give thanks and praise to the Source of Creation for the bounty we enjoy. In fact, we are told that during Sukkot, « you shall have nothing but joy. » [Deut. 16:15] Jews erect a sukkah, a harvest booth, in which they eat their meals, and sometimes sleep, during the festival. It is a reminder of the booths in which their ancestors are said to have dwelled during their forty-year Sinai sojourn. It is also precisely the kind of structure farmers in the Middle East still construct at the edges of their fields as crops come ripe and the need to rise early for harvesting makes it prudent to sleep nearby.

The sukkah is a temporary structure, hung with fruits and symbols of the harvest season. Its roof is thinly covered with branches, admitting sunlight, starlight, wind, and rain, reminding of us the precariousness of our existence in the face of the forces of nature. But the sukkah is also a powerful reminder of the many reasons for which we feel grateful to God, not the least of which is the fact that for the other fifty-one weeks of the year most of us are blessed to have solid roofs over our heads, clothes to wear, and food enough to fill our bellies.

Such was not always the case for the Pilgrims, who often contended with illness, meager rations, disappointed hopes, and death. During that very hard winter before the first « Thanksgiving, » it is recorded that food became so scarce in some settlements that the daily ration of food per person per day was five kernels of corn. In order to remember those harsh times and maintain their gratitude for the plenty they now enjoyed, some New Englanders started the custom of putting five kernels of corn on each plate at their feast.

There is a strong thread which runs from the Israelite wilderness experience to that of the Pilgrims and the harsh years they endured as they strove to sink roots in this new land. Like the ancient Israelites of whom they read in the Bible, they were people of great faith who believed themselves to be sustained through God’s great mercy and beneficence.

That they should rejoice and give thanks at harvest time was as natural an impulse for the Pilgrims as it was for the ancient Israelites.

Few of us today are farmers; we « gather » our food pre-packaged from the supermarket, far removed from the natural processes which make or break a harvest. But Thanksgiving and Sukkot come to remind us that there is far more to be grateful for in this world than a bounteous crop. Both of these splendid holidays encourage us to stop and acknowledge the manifold blessings God bestows upon us each and every day. And whether we accomplish that stock-taking over a slice of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie or beneath the leafy branches of a sukkah roof — or both — we understand and embrace the impulse which inspired our Pilgrim and our Israelite ancestors.

Rabbi Elias Lieberman

Rabbi Elias Lieberman has served the Falmouth Jewish Congregation in Falmouth, Mass., since 1990.

Voir de même:

Feast of Tabernacles

Mary Fairchild

About.com Guide

Bible Feasts:

Paul said in Colossians 2:16-17 that the Jewish feasts and celebrations were a shadow of the things to come through Jesus Christ. And though as Christians we may not commemorate these holidays in the traditional biblical sense, as we discover the significance of each, we will certainly gain a greater knowledge of God’s Word, an improved understanding of the Bible, and a deeper relationship with the Lord.

Sukkot – Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Booths:

Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles is a week-long fall festival commemorating the 40-year journey of the Israelites in the wilderness. It is one of the three great pilgrimage feasts recorded in the Bible when all Jewish males were required to appear before the Lord in the Temple in Jerusalem. The word Sukkot means « booths. » Throughout the holiday, Jews continue to observe this time by building and dwelling in temporary shelters, just like the Hebrew people did while wandering in the desert. This joyous celebration is a reminder of God’s protection, provision, and faithfulness.

Time of Observance:

Sukkot begins five days after Yom Kippur, from the 15-21 day of the Hebrew month of Tishri (September or October).

• See Bible Feasts Calendar for the actual dates of Sukkot.

Scripture Reference:

The observance of the Feast of Tabernacles is recorded in Exodus 23:16, 34:22; Leviticus 23:34-43; Numbers 29:12-40; Deuteronomy 16:13-15; Ezra 3:4; and Nehemiah 8:13-18.

About Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles:

The Bible reveals dual significance in the Feast of Tabernacles. Agriculturally, Sukkot is Israel’s « thanksgiving, » a joyous harvest festival to celebrate the ingathering of grain and wine. As an historical feast, it’s main characteristic is the requirement to dwell in temporary shelters or booths in remembrance of God’s protection, provision and care during their 40 years in the wilderness. There are many interesting customs associated with the celebration of Sukkot. These are explained in detail by About.com’s Judaism Guide, Ariela Pelaia.

Jesus and Sukkot:

During Sukkot, two important ceremonies took place. The Hebrew people carried torches around the temple, illuminating bright candelabrum along the walls of the temple to demonstrate that the Messiah would be a light to the Gentiles. Also, the priest would draw water from the pool of Siloam and carry it to the temple where it was poured into a silver basin beside the altar. The priest would call upon the Lord to provide heavenly water in the form of rain for their supply. During this ceremony the people looked forward to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Some records reference the day spoken of by the prophet Joel.

In the New Testament, Jesus attended the Feast of Tabernacles and spoke these amazing words on the last and greatest day of the Feast: « If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. » (John 7:37-38 NIV) The next morning, while the torches were still burning Jesus said, « I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. » (John 8:12 NIV)

More Facts About Sukkot:

The booth of Sukkot is called a sukkah. These shelters consist of at least three walls and are framed with wood and canvas. The roof or covering is made from cut branches and leaves, placed loosely atop, leaving open space for the stars to be viewed and rain to enter.

It is common to decorate the sukkah with flowers, leaves and fruits.

Today, the requirement to dwell in the booth can be met by eating at least one meal a day in it. However, some Jews still sleep in the sukkah.

Since Sukkot is a harvest celebration, typical foods include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

More about Sukkot.

Voir encore:

Did Sukkot help shape Thanksgiving?

Posted on August 14, 2013 by Robert Gluck / JNS.org and filed under Special Sections, Sukkot.

Robert Gluck

JNS.org

Thanksgiving-Brownscombe.jpg

Click photo to download. Caption: « The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, » by Jennie A. Brownscombe. JNS.org examines whether Thanksgiving was shaped by Sukkot. Credit: Jennie Augusta Brownscombe via Wikimedia Commons.

Did Sukkot help shape America’s Thanksgiving?

According to one of the foremost experts on American Judaism, Dr. Jonathan Sarna, the biblical holiday did not exactly guide the Puritans’ thinking during colonial times, but they were generally influenced by the idea of thanking God for their bounty.

“The Puritans did not believe in fixed holidays,” Sarna—the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and chief historian of the Philadelphia-based National Museum of American Jewish History—told JNS.org. “If it was a good season, they would announce a thanksgiving, but it’s not like the Jewish holiday which occurs on the 15th of the month of Tishrei (Sukkot). They did not believe in that. So in that respect it’s different.”

In terms of thanking God for a bountiful harvest, the Puritans did learn that from the Bible, Sarna said.

“They knew what they called the Old Testament, what we call the Hebrew Bible, they knew it, and they were influenced by it,” he said. “Now they didn’t go out and build huts, obviously. But the notion that one would be thankful for a bountiful harvest was certainly one they would have learned from the Hebrew Bible.”

Thanksgiving did not become a fixed holiday in America until President Abraham Lincoln declared it as such in 1863. The holiday also did not have a firm date until Congress established one—the fourth Thursday of each November—in 1941.

Although “you’ll commonly read all over the place” about the connection between Thanksgiving and Sukkot, Sarna said that Diana Muir Applebaum—a Massachusetts-based historian who wrote the book “Thanksgiving: An American Holiday, An American History”—set him straight on the subject when he consulted with her.

Applebaum believes there is always some difficulty in discovering the “first” of anything.

“The Separatists at Plymouth did not create an annual holiday [of Thanksgiving],” Applebaum told JNS.org. “Rather, a holiday that grew in popularity and stabilized into an annual celebration over the course of several decades was later traced back to an event that took place at Plymouth in December 1621. The thesis of my book on Thanksgiving is that it is a holiday rooted in the deeply held convictions of the New England settlers, and in the human love of a holiday.”

But did the Bible have any influence on the Puritans’ festival of thanks?

Applebaum explained that the Puritans separated the laws of the Hebrew Bible into two categories. “Some were deemed moral commandments, these applied to all men, at all times,” she said. “The others were regarded as ceremonial or temporal commandments, which applied only to Jews, or only to the olden days, but not to Christians.”

For Puritans, the Sabbath was an eternal, moral commandment applying to Christians, but they considered Sukkot, Passover, Shavout, kashruth, and other laws to be ceremonial or temporal commandments, not intended by God to apply to the children of the new covenant, Christians. Puritan theology “supported the proclamation of special days of prayer when unusual events occurred,” Applebaum said.

“In the event, for example, of an epidemic, drought, or famine, it was appropriate to call a special day of prayer and fasting in the hope that if the people repented, God would grant relief,” she said. “In the event that God did grant a special providence, such as the lifting of a drought or famine, a special day of prayer and thanksgiving would be proclaimed.”

There were robust debates among the Puritans in the mid-1600s over the propriety of issuing a proclamation of a day of thanksgiving every autumn. Was an ordinary harvest a routine event, or was it a special providence?

“[People feared that] proclaiming a day of thanksgiving every autumn might ‘harden the people in their carnal confidence’ of God’s grace, and people might begin to take God’s gifts for granted,” Applebaum said. “If a proclamation was expected every year, how was it different from the unbiblical Catholic error of creating fixed annual holidays? On the other hand, [some thought] God’s great bounty in sending the harvest was surely worthy of thanksgiving. And people like holidays. In years when the General Court (the Massachusetts legislature) failed to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, individual congregations sometimes did.”

After 1676 in Connecticut, and by the 1690s in Massachusetts, the government of each of those colonies proclaimed a special day of prayer and thanksgiving every autumn. It was celebrated by families returning home to celebrate, with special dishes (mince pie and plum pudding) eaten at Christmas in old England, and with events like ballgames on the village green that would have been inappropriate violations of a Sabbath day.

But there are those like Rabbi Elias Lieberman, leader of the Falmouth Jewish Congregation in Massachusetts, who see a stronger biblical influence on Thanksgiving.

“While we cannot be certain about what motivated those Pilgrim settlers to initiate a feast of thanksgiving, it is likely that they consciously drew on a model well-known to them from the Bible they cherished,” Lieberman told JNS.org. “Seeing themselves as new Israelites in a new ‘promised land,’ the Pilgrims surely found inspiration in the Bible, in the Books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, in which God commands the ancient Israelites to observe the Feast of Booths—in Hebrew, Sukkot, ‘To rejoice before Adonai your God’ at the time of the fall harvest.”

The fact that Jews eat in temporary structures during Sukkot “is a reminder of the booths in which their ancestors are said to have dwelled during their 40-year Sinai sojourn,” Lieberman noted. The sukkah is also a powerful reminder “of the many reasons for which we feel grateful to God, not the least of which is for the other 51 weeks of the year most of us are blessed to have solid roofs over our heads, clothes to wear, and food to fill our bellies,” he said.

“Such was not always the case for the Pilgrims, who often contended with illness, meager rations, disappointed hopes, and death,” Lieberman said. “During that very hard winter before the first Thanksgiving, it is recorded that food became so scarce in some settlements that the daily ration of food per person per day was five kernels of corn. In order to remember those harsh times and maintain their gratitude for the plenty they now enjoyed, some New Englanders started the custom of putting five kernels of corn on each plate at their feast.”

Applebaum said that by the 1700s, Thanksgiving was a holiday throughout New England, and that it spread west with the migration of New Englanders. Settlers from New England largely populated the top third of the states, starting with Ohio and rolling west, she explained.

“Because New England had a precocious public school system, it also disproportionately supplied schoolteachers, ministers, lawyers, journalists, and shopkeepers to the entire country, north, south and west,” Applebaum said.

“This helped spread the popularity of Thanksgiving when these New England-born thought leaders backed the early 19th century campaign led by Sarah Hale to make Thanksgiving a national holiday,” she said. “Thanksgiving proclamations were issued by state governors.”

During the Civil War era, southerners associated the concept of a thanksgiving holiday with Yankee abolitionists, and therefore the holiday “did not become popular in the South until the end of the 19th century,” according to Applebaum.

Whether or not its formation was actually influenced by Sukkot, the parallels between the holidays serve as meaningful symbolism for individuals like Rabbi Lieberman.

“Both of these splendid holidays encourage us to stop and acknowledge the manifold blessings God bestows upon us each and every day,” Lieberman said. “Whether we accomplish that stock-taking over a slice of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie or beneath the leafy branches of a sukkah roof—or both—we understand and embrace the impulse which inspired our Pilgrim and our Israelite ancestors.”

Voir enfin:

Le Kibboutz, preuve ultime de la faillite du communisme

Gary Becker

traduction Objectif liberté

Lorsque vous osez affirmer à des communistes impénitents que les crimes de Staline – qu’ils sont bien obligés de reconnaître – et de Lénine – sacrilège ! -, ainsi que l’état pitoyable des anciens pays du pacte de Varsovie après des décennies de soviétisation, disqualifient toute forme de collectivisme en tant que doctrine, vous vous entendez répondre – parfois poliment, parfois par des insultes – que le vrai communisme, celui des phalanstères et de Proudhon, celui de Marx, voire du « gentil Lénine » – prière de ne pas rire – n’a jamais eu la chance de pouvoir s’exprimer, qu’il a été dénaturé par des dictateurs qui n’étaient pas, en fait de « vrais » communistes.

Notre réponse à cette absurdité consiste généralement affirmer qu’une doctrine que jamais personne n’a jamais pu mettre en oeuvre sans l’accompagner de massacres de masse, de déportations, de répressions, et qui a toujours conduit les pays qui se le sont vu imposer à la misère, est une doctrine perverse dès le départ. Ce qui nous emmène généralement, si l’éducation de l’interlocuteur le permet encore, vers une discussion sur le rôle essentiel du droit de propriété dans la préservation de la liberté individuelle.

Mais votre opposant communiste ne voudra pas en démordre: « le vrai communisme, volontaire et partageur, on ne l’a jamais vu à l’oeuvre, il faudrait laisser une chance à ce vrai communisme là ».

Or, tant le critique que l’aficionado du communisme commettent une erreur. Une expérimentation à assez grande échelle du collectivisme volontaire le plus intégriste a existé. Et l’échec de cette expérience apporte bel et bien la preuve ultime de l’impraticabilité per se du socialisme originel, sous toute ses formes. Un socialisme « idéal » ne peut en aucun cas exister dans le monde réel.

Gary Becker L’expérience dont il est question est le développement des Kibboutz en Israël, depuis le début du XXème siècle et plus encore après l’indépendance de 1947. Le prix Nobel d’économie 1992 Gary Becker (photo), sur son blog à 4 mains, nous gratifie d’une remarquable analyse historique et économique des Kibbutzim, qui naquirent dès le début du XXème siècle sous l’impulsion de juifs utopistes. Son compère Richard Posner, spécialiste majeur de l’analyse économique du droit, y ajoute, comme toujours, des compléments d’information pertinents. Selon Becker, nowhere is the failure of socialism clearer than in the radical transformation of the Israeli kibbutz.

Dans la plupart des Kibboutz, les parents habitaient une maison modeste appartenant à la communauté. Les enfants en étaient séparés, et dormaient dans un dortoir. Il s’agissait d’éviter que certains enfants ne soient avantagés par l’énergie ou le savoir que tentent de leur transmettre les parents les plus motivés et cultivés… Quelles qu’aient été ses compétences initiales, chacun devait contribuer aux travaux des champs, quand bien même il aurait eu une qualification qui aurait apporté plus à la communauté, et chacun recevait la même part du produit du travail commun. Lorsqu’un membre gagnait de l’argent grâce à une activité en dehors du Kibboutz, il devait le partager avec la communauté, et ne devait rien garder pour lui. La rotation des tâches agricoles était la règle. La promiscuité aussi.

Dans les premiers temps, La cohésion des kibboutz fut maintenue à la fois par le sentiment de communauté religieuse, par l’engagement idéologique de leurs premiers membres, et par l’environnement hostile de nations islamiques qui ont déclenché contre l’état Hébreu 4 guerres d’agression en 25 ans, soudant la communauté autour des nécessités défensives. Mais même cette pression extérieure ne put compenser le désamour des membres du Kibboutz vis à vis de l’utopie collectiviste.

Très vite, de nombreux Kibboutz connurent des difficultés. Les jeunes, notamment, voulaient quitter cet environnement – ce qu’ils étaient libres de faire, contrairement à un russe ou un chinois, soviétisé de force – dès qu’ils en avaient les moyens, ce qui n’était pas toujours le cas, car leurs parents n’accumulaient pas de capital, et à l’extérieur du Kibboutz, le blocage des loyers introduits par l’état d’Israël (qui fut d’ailleurs fondé sur des bases très socialisantes) avait détruit le marché locatif, là bas aussi. Aussi beaucoup parmi eux se sentaient-ils plus prisonniers économiques du Kibboutz que participants enthousiastes.

Les problèmes de jalousie entre membres, de tirage au flanc et de parasitage – problème connu par les économistes sous le nom de « passager clandestin » ou « free rider » : pourquoi se tuer à la tâche si vous recevez autant que celui qui travaille ? -, l’inefficacité du système productif dûe à l’absence de spécialisation des tâches et à la mauvaise utilisation des compétences, le stress né de la séparation des familles, ont provoqué la disparition de certains Kibboutz, et la transformation de la plus grande partie d’entre eux en entreprises de type privée, où les familles vivent réunies, où le marché détermine les rémunérations, où l’immobilier est privé, et où l’initiative individuelle permet de développer des activités autres que l’agriculture, permettant à chacun de se spécialiser.

Bref, plus de 70% des Kibboutz sont devenus des entreprises de type capitaliste, dont l’aspect social se limite à la constitution de sociétés de secours mutuel des membres. Les Kibboutz, au nombre d’environ 250, ne représentèrent jamais plus de 7% de la société Israélienne, au temps de leur splendeur. Les quelques kibboutz qui conservent une structure collectiviste (il reste des utopiste croyants…) ne représentent quasiment plus rien, et ne survivent que parce qu’ils appartiennent à un ensemble largement capitaliste qui assure à leurs productions ou leurs actifs fonciers la possibilité d’intégrer un système d’échange libéral, en toute protection du droit de propriété.

Bref, l’échec du Kibboutz socialiste est l’argument ultime contre les illusions des derniers zélotes du collectivisme qui ne veulent pas voir dans les échecs de l’URSS et autres pays comparables la preuve de l’absence de viabilité intrinsèque des sociétés communistes sous toutes leurs formes. Même volontairement souscrit par des communautés idéologiquement conquises et initialement très motivées, le communisme ne peut apporter ni satisfaction, ni prospérité aux individus.


Journées du Patrimoine/29e: A Pantin, une cathédrale du vandalisme qui va disparaître (European Heritage Open Days: France mourns vandals’ spawning ground)

19 septembre, 2013
https://i2.wp.com/erreur14.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/dimanche_street.jpgIMG_1715La société du spectacle, [selon] Roger Caillois qui analyse la dimension ludique dans la culture (…), c’est la dimension inoffensive de la cérémonie primitive. Autrement dit lorsqu’on est privé du mythe, les paroles sacrées qui donnent aux œuvres pouvoir sur la réalité, le rite se réduit à un ensemble réglés d’actes désormais inefficaces qui aboutissent finalement à un pur jeu, loedos. Il donne un exemple qui est extraordinaire, il dit qu’au fond les gens qui jouent au football aujourd’hui, qui lancent un ballon en l’air ne font que répéter sur un mode ludique, jocus, ou loedos, société du spectacle, les grands mythes anciens de la naissance du soleil dans les sociétés où le sacré avait encore une valeur. (…) Nous vivons sur l’idée de Malraux – l’art, c’est ce qui reste quand la religion a disparu. Jean Clair
When you think back, and saw what eventually happened to the trains, you feel bad about it, said Taki, who asked that his last name not be used. « I never thought it would be such a big thing. » (…) Now, in an irony that would please city officials, Taki has his own graffiti problem, on his shopfront. « I am a victim, » he said, smiling. « I painted it over and two weeks later it was all written up again. But I guess what goes around, comes around. It’s justice. Joel Siegel (Daily News, April 9, 1989)
Pourquoi pas un musée du street art, au lieu d’une vulgaire agence de pub? Anonyme
A Pantin, une cathédrale du graff qui va disparaître. Rue 89

En ces temps étranges où la transgression a été littéralement élevée  au rang d’art …

Et où à l’occasion des Journées européennes du patrimoine l’une des principales frayères du vandalisme mural du pays se visite comme un musée …

Comment encore s’étonner, de la part de nos médias et gouvernants, de cette énième célébration d’une activité …

Qui, ayant désormais contaminé la planète entière, coûte probablement chaque année des centaines de millions à la communauté à nettoyer ?

Visite privée

Street-art : à Pantin, une cathédrale du graff qui va disparaître

Elodie Cabrera

Rue89

14/09/2013

Audrey Cerdan | Photographe Rue89

Ils n’allaient pas le laisser filer comme ça. En Seine-Saint-Denis, amarré au canal de l’Ourcq, les anciens magasins généraux de la Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris (aussi dit « bâtiment des douanes ») va changer de vie. Ce paquebot de béton, 41 000 mètres carrés de surface, accueillera d’ici 2015 les locaux d’une agence de publicité.

Les magasins généraux à Pantin, au milieu du XXe siècle (© AM Pantin) et en 2013 (Audrey Cerdan/Rue89)

Pour la première et la dernière fois, la mairie de Pantin se montre fière de cet édifice et l’ouvre pour les Journées du patrimoine. Ce week-end avaient lieu des concerts, projections et visite de monument historique. Des visites « strictement » encadrées.

Abandonnés à la fin des années 90

1929-1931. La ville de Paris décide d’élargir le canal de l’Ourcq pour faciliter la navigation des bateaux. Après d’importants travaux de remblai et de stabilisation des rives, les magasins généraux sont édifiés sur l’ancien lit du canal.

1931-fin des années 90. Les entrepôts stockent des marchandises (grains, papier de presse, fuel, bois, automobiles) surtout en provenance de l’étranger. L’activité diminue, jusqu’à l’arrêt complet à la fin des années 90.

2004. La vile de Pantin rachète à la ville de Paris les terrains de la CCIP pour 7 millions d’euros.

2006. De jour comme de nuit, les graffeurs s’approprient les lieux.

2013. Début des travaux pour créer le nouveau siège de l’agence de pub BETC.

Mais Rue89 s’est introduit là où vous n’aurez pas forcément le droit d’aller, dans ces deux énormes cubes en béton armé qui se dressent : 60 mètres de largeur sur 30 mètres de hauteur, reliés entre eux par des passerelles jetées dans le vide.

Le sol crépite. Un mélange de pierre éboulée et d’éclats de verre pilé, vestiges du temps qui passe et de soirées bien arrosées.

De larges portes métalliques protègent l’édifice de (presque) toute intrusion. Ces mêmes portes qui rythmaient le ballet des marchandises et des dockers. La singularité du bâtiment des douanes est sa résistance au sol : de 1 800 à 400 kilos au mètres carrés, les charges les plus lourdes étaient stockées au premier niveau.

Aux magasins généraux à Pantin (Audrey Cerdan/Rue89)

Depuis une coursive (Audrey Cerdan/Rue89)

D’’un niveau à l’autre, on retrouve de vastes plateaux éclairés par d’immenses baies vitrées en structure métallique, brisées pour la plupart. Partout, des vitraux, de la pierre, des gravats, des cloisons. Puis des pierres, du verre, oh… des cadavres de bombes de peinture (encore), des gravats…

Les techniciens qui préparent les éclairages pour les concerts de ce week-end ont fléché le sol, utilisant la même méthode que les artistes-squatteurs qui tatouaient le lieu de part en part.

Les grands noms du graff sur les façades, les locaux à l’intérieur

Presque chaque centimètre de son épiderme porte la trace des artistes qui s’y sont succédé depuis 2006. A l’intérieur, ce sont plutôt les « crews » (« équipes ») du coin. Les grands noms du graff, eux, se réservent les façades. Plus visibles et donc plus convoitées, mais aussi plus dangereuses.

Perchés sur des escabeaux, les graffeurs s’installaient sur les coursives qui ressemblent comme deux gouttes d’eau aux allées d’un bateau. Encerclant chaque étage, elles sont si étroites qu’il est impossible de prendre du recul sur son œuvre.

Artof Popof, Dacruz et Marko93, trois serial painters, ont même été mandatés par le comité départemental du tourisme de la Seine-Saint-Denis, l’année dernière pour « redonner des couleurs au bâtiment ». Et si un petit dernier se prend d’envie de recouvrir leurs créations, un message le met en garde : « Si tu touches, on te couche. »

Les anciens magasins généraux, à Pantin (Audrey Cerdan/Rue89)

D’autres graffeurs ont également apposé leur blase sur les façades, comme Bezyr, Kevlar ou encore Lilyluciole. Elle se souvient :

« J’ai toujours vu ce bâtiment de très loin. Il était là, incroyable, fantastique, sorti de nulle part. J’ai rencontré Artof Popof qui m’a invité à venir peindre l’extérieur. Et j’ai pu visité cet édifice insolite, de la tête au pied. […]

Personne ne s’est battu pour avoir les meilleurs morceaux. Il restait encore beaucoup place. Ce n’est pas un gâchis mais presque. »

« Un monstre du graff, comme le 5PointZ »

Pour Lilyluciole, le bâtiment des douanes lui rappelle un emblème du graff de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique, le 5Pointz, dans le quartier du Queens à New-York.

« C’est aussi un monstre du graff. Là-bas les artistes se battent pour préserver ce monument. Peut-être que le bâtiment des douanes aurait pu devenir un lieu de rencontre pour les artistes internationaux. »

Paris/Pantin : stop-motion & street art !

Au cinquième étage, les terrasses. Plus de dessins, mais la vue. Presque l’intégralité de la surface des deux bâtiments s’étend jusqu’au précipice. Ni rambardes, ni filet de sécurité. Et au centre, deux alcôves entourées de baies vitrées métalliques s’étirent.

Dans une pièce de plus de dix mètres sous plafond, s’élèvent des escaliers en métal qui grimpent. La dernière terrasse, la plus haute et la plus petite, offre une vue panoramique sur toute la Seine-Saint-Denis jusqu’à Paris.

Voir aussi:

Les anciens entrepôts de la Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris à Pantin

Le bâtiment « des douanes » situé à Pantin sur les berges du canal est devenu un formidable « terrain de jeu » pour de nombreux artistes graffeurs par ailleurs très actifs sur toute cette portion du canal. Dans le cadre de l’édition 2012 de l’Eté du canal, des artistes s’emparent des murs extérieurs du bâtiment pour célébrer, au travers d’un œuvre collective, la fin joyeuse de sa vie transitoire de spot artistique et sa nouvelle vie, L’œuvre collective sera ancrée sur la façade ouest, la plus visible depuis Pantin. Puis chacun des trois artistes, Artof Popof, Da Cruz et Marko, laissera sa propre esthétique envahir tel un flux horizontal un niveau de la façade nord, qui longe le canal. Les performances graff auront lieu chaque week-end du 23 juin au 26 août 2012, au Bâtiment des Douanes (métro église de Pantin).

Les entrepôts de la Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris (CCIP) s’installent sur les rives du canal de l’Ourcq en 1929 après l’élargissement du canal pour la création du port de Pantin. La plate-forme portuaire, gérée par la CCIP, est constituée du remblai de l’ancien lit du canal. Le site se composait, à l’origine, de deux entrepôts monumentaux situés de part et d’autre du canal. Ceux de la rive gauche ont été détruits par un violent incendie en juin 1995.

Le bassin de Pantin devient le plus grand port du canal de l’Ourcq

Le canal de l’Ourcq, long d’une centaine de kilomètres entre Mareuil-sur-Ourcq et le bassin de La Villette, est ouvert en 1822. Sa traversée de Pantin coupe le village en deux, mais la communication est rétablie grâce à la construction de deux ponts. Dans un premier temps, seules les galiotes, longs bateaux couverts, circulent sur le canal, transportant à la fois des marchandises et des passagers. Puis, le trafic de plus en plus florissant donne naissance à une flottille spéciale, les flûtes de l’Ourcq. Utilisées que sur ce canal, elles profitent de la descente pour se laisser porter par la vitesse du courant, évitant la traction humaine ou animale. D’une longueur de 28 mètres sur 3 mètres de large, ces bateaux peuvent transporter 40 à 50 tonnes de bois ou de matériaux de construction.

Dans son ouvrage sur Pantin, Roger Pourteau raconte qu’en 1837, deux organisateurs de voyages ont l’astucieuse idée de mettre en service un cargo en fer, long d’une vingtaine de mètres, qui assure un service régulier entre Paris et Meaux à raison de deux départs quotidiens dans chaque sens. Tracté par quatre chevaux, ce cargo file à la vitesse de quatre lieues à l’heure. Les affiches publicitaires précisent que « Les salons sont chauffés en hiver ». Le canal devient trop étroit et ne correspond plus au trafic. Dès 1892, il a fallu agrandir le canal entre la Villette et la mairie de Pantin, puis, en 1895, prolonger quelque peu vers l’amont cette mis à grande section. Pour ces travaux d’élargissement et d’approfondissement, la municipalité est mise à contribution à hauteur de 600 000 francs de l’époque. Somme considérable que la commune s’empresse d’amortir en établissant une « taxe de tonnage » sur les marchandises embarquées et débarquées dans la zone portuaire. À cette époque, le trafic atteint 95 800 tonnes par an.

En 1899 la Chambre de commerce de Paris, consciente du rôle majeur du canal de l’Ourcq, exprime le souhait d’établir à Pantin « des magasins appropriés à chaque nature de marchandises. La situation permettrait de faire arriver bateaux et wagons sans remplir aucune formalité d’octroi et d’effectuer de même les réexpéditions pour le dehors sans que la Ville de Paris puisse craindre aucune fraude. Ce serait, si l’on admet cette expression, un grand bassin de triage. ». Mais il faudra attendre 30 ans, le 10 mai 1929, pour que la mise en eau du bassin ait lieu. A ce moment le bassin de Pantin est devenu le port le plus important du canal de l’Ourcq, recevant les plus gros bateaux de la navigation intérieure en provenance de Rouen, via la Seine et la canal Saint-Denis.

Ces aménagements sont réalisés dans le cadre d’un ambitieux projet de prolongation de d’élargissement du canal qui le transforme en voie navigable pour les grands chalands. Au début de 1931 les deux magasins entrent en activité et stockent des produits variés.

Deux grands entrepôts à l’aspect d’un paquebot en bordure de berge

Ancienne CCIP – Crédit photo Gil Gueu – Ville de PantinLes magasins de la CCIP avaient pour fonction essentielle de recevoir des grains et des farines. La Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris est, à cette époque, raccordée aux gares de Pantin et de Noisy-le-Sec dont les voies ferrées desservaient les deux rives du canal. Les deux grands entrepôts qui dominent encore la rive droite sont particulièrement intéressants du point de vue de l’architecture. Construits sur six niveaux communiquant entre eux par des passerelles métalliques, leur structure est en béton et la façade composée d’un remplissage en briques gris claire dont la bichromie forme des motifs réguliers. De grandes verrières en façade éclairent les six étages tandis que les balcons soulignent l’horizontalité du bâtiment à l’aspect de paquebot.

Le grain y était à l’origine acheminé par bateaux. Un outillage pneumatique permettait de l’aspirer directement dans une tour de distribution, située dans la partie supérieure de l’édifice, tandis que des grues permettaient l’approvisionnement des bâtiments à partir des balcons. Avant d’être désaffectée, la Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie devient un lieu de stockage pour le fret venant des villes du nord. Celui-ci arrivant par route, une gare routière est ouverte à la demande de l’administration des douanes en 1950. Avec les Grands Moulins de Pantin, les entrepôts de la CCIP demeurent les témoins visibles du rôle majeur qu’ont tenu la Seine-Saint-Denis en général et Pantin en particulier dans l’approvisionnement de Paris.

Sur le plan architectural, la volumétrie des bâtiments, qui totalisent une surface utile de 41 000 m2, est des plus simples. Pour chacun, il s’agit d’un empilement de 6 plateaux identiques, desservis par des coursives extérieures, en porte-à-faux sur les quatre façades. Toute l’ossature des deux bâtiments est en béton armé. Dans un souci d’économie ou d’esthétique, le constructeur a pris le soin d’augmenter la taille des poteaux au fur et à mesure qu’on s’approche du soubassement comme s’il s’agissait d’exprimer la transmission des efforts et des surcharges dans le squelette de l’édifice. En façade, l’effet produit est singulier puisqu’à chaque niveau la section des poteaux change. Au rez-de-chaussée, de puissantes piles supportent tout le poids de l’édifice et son contenu, tandis qu’au dernier niveau les piles se sont amincies et laissent davantage de place aux éléments de remplissage en briques polychromes et aux surfaces vitrées.

Une reconversion en activités culturelle, résidentielle et de loisirs

Ancienne Chambre de Commerce de Paris à PantinL’ère industrielle étant révolue, la reconquête des berges du canal est à l’ordre du jour. L’emprise des bâtiments de la CCIP fait actuellement l’objet d’une requalification. Celle-ci s’inscrit dans la réalisation d’un nouveau quartier, identifié sur le plan local d’urbanisme comme la ZAC Sud Canal, qui s’articulera autour de deux axes principaux occupant pas moins de quatre hectares entre la voie d’eau et l’avenue Jean-Lolive. Les bâtiments jumeaux de l’ancienne Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris seront réhabilités afin d’y accueillir des activités économiques. Sur la partie sud du site, un espace résidentiel (de 400 logements), de loisirs et de promenade devrait être aménagé. Si l’on y intègre l’ancienne cité administrative devenue le Centre national de la Danse et les Grands Moulins de Pantin, la reconversion du site de la CCIP constituera une continuité cohérente de la problématique patrimoniale de l’architecture industrielle depuis le parc de la Villette.

Crédit photo 1 : Gil Gueu – Ville de Pantin

Crédit photo 2 : Hélène Sallet-Lavorel – Comité départemental du tourisme

Télécharger le fac-similé la transformation du canal de l’Ourcq en voie navigable à grande section et la création d’un port à Pantin, le génie civil, samedi 11 octobre 1930 (format pdf, 4,4 Mo). Ce document est conservé au pôle Mémoire et Patrimoine de la ville de Pantin.


Salinger: Attention, lire peut tuer (Watch myself getting tough in the mirror: Looking back at the violent subtext of The Catcher in the Rye)

18 septembre, 2013
https://i0.wp.com/www.rockshockpop.com/screencaps/TaxiDriver/09-1.jpg
https://jcdurbant.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/84433-mugshot.jpg
https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d9/John_Hinckley,_Jr._Mugshot.png
https://jcdurbant.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/d94f3-police_photo.jpeg
C’est une casquette de chasse à l’homme. Moi je la mets pour chasser l’homme. Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the rye, chap. 3)
Et alors je serais probablement resté sans bouger pendant cinq bonnes minutes, les foutus gants à la main et tout, en me disant que ce type je devrais bien lui balancer mon poing sur la gueule et lui défoncer la mâchoire. La suite, c’est que je manquerais d’estomac. Je resterais là à m’efforcer d’avoir l’air d’un dur. Ou alors peut-être je dirais quelque chose de cinglant et vachard pour le vexer au lieu de lui casser les dents. (…) Et ça pourrait durer des heures. Finalement, je me tirerais sans l’avoir effleuré. J’irais sans doute aux chiottes pour fumer une sèche en douce et me regarder devenir un gros dur dans la glace des lavabos. Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the rye, chap. 13)
Quelqu’un avait écrit « je t’encule » sur le mur … J’aurais bien tué celui qui avait écrit ça … je me voyais le prendre sur le fait et lui écraser la tête contre les marches de pierre jusqu’à ce qu’il soit mort et en sang. Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the rye, chap. 25)
Most young male characters in the movies are based on the character of Holden Caulfield. It’s been a very steady influence in the last 30 years. Every young man goes through the experiences of Holden Caulfield. Toby Maguire has made a career of being an updated Holden Caulfield. ‘The Ice Storm’ is almost a direct takeoff on ‘Catcher in the Rye.’ Since ‘Dead Poets Society,’ Ethan Hawke has played on that type of theme. Even Edward Burns, although not as young as the others, seems to fit that category. Raymond Haberski
Salinger touched on what’s at the heart of American repression: familial neglect. Parents are not paying attention or are aware of the movement of their children. That’s one of the worst things you can do. My ‘Good Girl’ character is disturbed, and I place the blame on the parents. Jake Gyllenhaal
I’ve been comparing ‘Igby’ to ‘Catcher in the Rye, Like Holden, Igby is very bright and very ironic, while the adults are lost and miserable and also affluent. When I first read ‘Catcher in the Rye,’ I didn’t identify with that kind of rebel. At the time, I thought he should get his act together. Boys are just much slower to mature in ways critical to society. They’re a couple of years behind the gals. It’s a developmental kind of glitch. Susan Sarandon
I wasn’t consciously influenced by ‘Catcher in the Rye’. I got kicked out of a prep school in Connecticut and a military school in Indiana. I liken it to being a musician and being influenced by the music ingrained in you, like the Beatles. It’s that journey of finding out. It’s a mythic story — just like ‘The Graduate’ or ‘The 400 Blows’ or ‘Hamlet.’ You feel like an anachronism in the world you’ve been born into. Everyone around you seems insane, and they see you as insane. A lot of movies have been influenced by this myth: ‘Flirting,’ ‘Rushmore,’ ‘The Graduate,’ ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien.’ I don’t think this situation will ever be played out. It’s mythic. It didn’t start with ‘Catcher in the Rye.’ It started with Christ, who rebelled against everything around him. It’s always been about iconoclasts rebelling against what came before them, challenging the rules and customs. Burr Steers
To me, ‘Catcher in the Rye’ is part of a literary trend that goes back to Goethe’s ‘The Sorrows of Werther’ (1774). I don’t think Salinger discovered it. He just did the quintessential American version. Mike White
« American Beauty, » for example, is at odds with « the tone and general warmth of Salinger. Salinger’s influence takes a comedic form, a life-affirming form. ‘American Beauty’ showed the dark underside of American culture, going further than I think Salinger would ever dream of. As for « Finding Forrester, you might find some kind of resonance with Salinger himself in Sean Connery’s character, although the boy (Rob Brown) is a little bland rather than plucky. And there is a kinship with ‘Wonder Boys.’ Toby Maguire’s character is plucky to a certain extent, and he takes chances. Anthony Caputi (Cornell University)
Ever since the book came out, it’s been a touchstone of that demographic — the 17-year-old kid who sees himself not fitting in. Movies like ‘American Pie’ and ‘Beavis & Butthead’ — guys looking for a good time — that genre is playing out. ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’ is the perfect example of a movie that bridges the two kinds of movies. It starts out like ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’ but becomes a thoughtful movie about the kids’ relationship to society. ‘Orange County’ (the teen movie White wrote last year starring Colin Hanks) had a Salinger element. It featured a book that changed a young man’s life, and he goes and seeks out the professor who wrote it. For me, it was about a kid’s quest for the meaning of life. Maybe a more thoughtful teenage coming-of-age movie is coming back into vogue. Mike White
it’s likely that Hinton’s echo of the testimonial frame Salinger used in “The Catcher in the Rye” (“If you really want to hear about it”) wasn’t consciously intended, nor was Hinton’s literalization of Holden’s “If a body catch a body coming through the rye” into the rescue of a group of children from a burning church. In fact, what struck me most as an adult reader (and sometime Y.A. novelist) is the degree to which “The Outsiders” is derivative of the popular literature of its time, sometimes obliquely, as in the Salinger parallels, sometimes more directly. Dale Peck
A substitute teacher out on Long Island was dropped from his job for fighting with a student. A few weeks later, the teacher returned to the classroom, shot the student unsuccessfully, held the class hostage and then shot himself. Successfully. This fact caught my eye: last sentence. Times. A neighbor described him as a nice boy. Always reading Catcher in the Rye. John Guare (« Six degrees of separation »)
You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin’ to? You talkin’ to me? Well I’m the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to? Travis Bickle (« Taxi driver »)
God is a concept by which we measure our pain I don’t believe in Bible I don’t believe in Jesus (…) I don’t believe in Beatles (…) I just believe in me Yoko and me and that’s reality … John Lennon
Imagine there is no heaven It’s easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky It isn’t hard to do (…) Nothing to kill or die for And no religion, too. (…) Imagine no possessionsJohn Lennon
When I left England I still couldn’t go on the street. It was still Carnaby Street and all that stuff was going on. We couldn’t walk around the block and go to a restaurant unless you wanted to go with the business of ‘the star going to the restaurant’ garbage. Now, here, I’ve been walking the streets for the last seven years. When we first moved to New York we actually lived in the village, Greenwich Village, the arty farty section of town where all the students and the would-be’s live, and a few old poets. Yoko told me, « Yes, you can walk on the street! » but I would be walking all tense-like, waiting for someone to say something or jump on me. It took me two years to unwind. I can go out of this door now and go to a restaurant. Do you want to know how great that is? Or go to the movies? People come up and ask for autographs or say « Hi! » but they won’t bug you. They say « How ya doing? Like your record » or « How ya doing? How’s the baby?… John Lennon
Who does he think he is saying these things about God and heaven and the Beatles? Mark David Chapman
I wasn’t killing a real person. I was killing an image. I was killing an album cover. Mark David Chapman
The notorious murderer Haig who killed and drank blood said he was inspired by the sacrament of the Eucharist. Does that mean we should ban the Bible? Anthony Burgess
I begin to accept that as a novelist, I belong to the ranks of the menacing. Anthony Burgess
I discussed the matter of the novelist’s moral responsibility with George Dwyer in his Leeds Bishopric. I was invited to a Yorkshire Post literary luncheon at which he said grace. George had written his master thesis on Baudelaire and knew all about flowers of evil. Literature, even the kind celebrated at a literary luncheon, was an aspect of the fallen world and one of its tasks was to clarify the nature of the fall. Thoughtful readers of novels with criminal, or merely sinful protagonists achieved catharsis through horror, setting themselves at a distance from their own sinful inheritance. As for thoughtless readers, there was no doing anything with them. With the demented literature could prime acts of evil, but that was not the fault of literature. the Bible had inspired a New York killer to sacrifice children to a satanic Jehovah; the murderer Haigh, who drank the blood of the women he slaughtered, was obsessed with the Eucharist. Anthony Burgess
The city’s schisms reflect a cultural schizophrenia as well. As Paul explains in a soliloquy inspired by  »The Catcher in the Rye, » we live in a time when imagination has become  »something outside ourselves » – not an integral part of our identities, a tool for the essential act of self-examination, but an anesthetizing escape from the inner life we should be embracing and exploring. So topsy-turvy is our definition of culture, in Paul’s view, that J. D. Salinger’s  »touching, beautiful, sensitive story » has been turned into  »a manifesto of hate » by assassins like Mark David Chapman and John Hinckley who use Holden Caulfield’s social estrangement as an excuse to commit murder. Frank Rich
The nitwit — Chapman — who shot John Lennon said he did it because he wanted to draw the attention of the world to The Catcher in the Rye and the reading of the book would be his defense. And young Hinckley, the whiz kid who shot Reagan and his press secretary, said if you want my defense all you have to do is read Catcher in the Rye. It seemed to be time to read it again. (…) I borrowed a copy from a young friend of mine because I wanted to see what she had underlined and I read this book to find out why this touching, beautiful, sensitive story published in July 1951 had turned into this manifesto of hate. I started reading. It’s exactly as I remembered. Everybody’s a phony. Page two: « My brother’s in Hollywood being a prostitute. » Page three: « What a phony his father was. » Page nine: « People never notice anything. » Then on page 22 my hair stood up. Remember Holden Caulfield — the definitive sensitive youth — wearing his red hunter’s cap. « A deer hunter hat? Like hell it is. I sort of closed one eye like I was taking aim at it. This is a people-shooting hat. I shoot people in this hat. » Hmmm, I said. This book is preparing people for bigger moments in their lives than I ever dreamed of. Then on page 89: « I’d rather push a guy out the window or chop his head off with an ax than sock him in the jaw…I hate fist fights…what scares me most is the other guy’s face… » I finished the book. It’s a touching story, comic because the boy wants to do so much and can’t do anything. Hates all phoniness and only lies to others. Wants everyone to like him, is only hateful, and he is completely self-involved. In other words, a pretty accurate picture of a male adolescent. And what alarms me about the book — not the book so much as the aura about it … John Guare
If one person uses something I have written as the justification for killing somebody, I’d say: “God, people are crazy!” But if three people use something I’d written as justification, I would be very very troubled by it. John Guare
In the months and years after Lennon’s murder, it was as if the secret life of The Catcher in the Rye came above ground for the first time since the book’s publication in 1951. It was found in Hinckley’s hotel room after he was arrested, and in 1989 Robert John Bardo had a copy of it on him when he murdered the actress Rebecca Schaeffer. The next year, in John Guare’s play Six Degrees of Separation, the con man protagonist holds forth on the book’s attraction to the violently disturbed, quoting Holden’s remark that his ever-present red hat is a “people-shooting hat.” In Richard Donner’s 1997 thriller Conspiracy Theory, the mere purchase of the book at a Barnes & Noble is enough to trip a signal to the computers of an unnamed government agency. Whoever reads Catcher, it seems, is up to no good. You could say that those events are signposts on the novel’s journey from shared totem to shared joke, or that the journey is part of the postmodern irony we’re all drowning in, when we’ve become too cool to be affected by Holden’s open wound of a psyche. But Catcher has become something even less harmless than a joke or postmodernism: a classic. The generations that once had to read it on the sly, or who saw their teachers face the ire of school boards and parents for assigning it, are now senior citizens or entering late middle age. While the book has retained its status as one of the most-censored books in American schools, that distinction now seems almost quaint. But God help The Catcher in the Rye should it ever stop being persecuted. What better confirmation for Holden’s disciples of the threat still posed by the phonies? It’s axiomatic that Holden Caulfield is the patron saint of adolescent sensitivity, that Catcher shows the cruelty with which the world treats such sensitivity and that the novel ends with a saddened, bruised Holden poised to re-enter that world and thus aware that, to make his way in it, he has to leave his sensitivity behind. What makes it hard to sustain that image of the book is reading it. “The cruellest thing you can do to Kerouac is to reread him at thirty-eight,” says a character in Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia. The cruelest thing you can do to Salinger, who died a year ago, on January 27, is to reread his fiction when an adolescent’s sneer and perpetual outrage over perceived injustice no longer seem an adequate way to view the world. If Holden Caulfield, that relentless hunter of phonies, hadn’t been there for Mark David Chapman to discover, Chapman could have invented him. Chapman’s claim that the book was his statement is disarmingly honest. Chapman, like many of us, heard the hypocrisy in John Lennon’s singing “Imagine no possessions.” But Chapman couldn’t chalk that silly line up to rock-star folly or, as Neil Young did many years later in a telethon performance to raise money for 9/11 families, rewrite the line to point it back at the person singing it: “Imagine no possessions/I wonder if I can.” Chapman, a 25-year-old with the zero-sum ethics of the most self-dramatizing adolescent, saw it as the inevitable betrayal. How dare Lennon sing about imagining no possessions while living in the Dakota? (…) As a public figure, Salinger was due the kind of freedom and anonymity Lennon enjoyed in Manhattan. But in the small town in New Hampshire to which Salinger retreated in 1953, you really can withdraw from the world. Yet for Salinger, retreat was immersion in a familiar point of view. Withdrawal—physical, emotional, spiritual—is the overriding preoccupation of his fiction. There are few authors who argue so strenuously, so consistently for exclusivity and insularity, who are so repulsed by human imperfection, especially the physical kind, as Salinger. In his fictional world compassion is extended only to those who have made the cut or whose need of compassion—like the mythical Fat Lady at the end of Franny and Zooey—can provide a vessel into which the characters can pour their higher sensibility. (…) Just as the stories constrict physically, they retreat emotionally into realms of Eastern mysticism that, for all the words Salinger lavishes on them, remain vague astral paths to some presumed higher state of consciousness. It all starts with Way of the Pilgrim, the book that unhinges Franny; and though it’s a Christian tract, Zooey likens its aim of automatic incessant prayer to the Eastern concept of the seven chakras, the opening of the third eye and such. It’s a short hop from there to Buddy (in “Seymour; an Introduction”) saying that the true poet or painter is “the only seer we have on earth” and that Seymour’s aim, the “hallmark, then, of the advanced religious,” was to find Christ in the most unimaginable places, Seymour’s preferred spot for Savior-sighting being loaded ashtrays. Some people take those spiritual preoccupations very seriously. In his new Salinger bio, Kenneth Slawenski suggests that the reason Mary McCarthy couldn’t abide Franny and Zooey is that her memoir Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, revealed “her disgust with religion, her descent into atheism, and the transfer of her faith into her own intellect.” The crude reduction of McCarthy’s book aside, it’s clear that acolytes, not apostates, are the ones qualified to enter Salinger’s higher realms. (…) The Catcher in the Rye, written before Salinger started larding his work with quotations from The Way of a Pilgrim and koans from the Mu Mon Kwan, can’t fall back on higher aspirations to disguise its misanthropy. The book squirms with a physical revulsion that is far too consistent and far too strong to belong merely to Holden—and besides, it remained a staple of Salinger’s writing. Salinger couldn’t get through the first paragraph of “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” without having Muriel tweezing hairs from a mole. Franny imagines the Fat Lady as not just having veiny legs but cancer. Catcher has a puerile, disgusted fascination with nose-picking, toenail clippings, grotty teeth, razors clogged with hair and lather. The essentials of a prep-school wardrobe can’t disguise the unkempt bodies they adorn. At times, the novel is all pimples and tweed. (…) Because so many of the people who repulse Holden are Ivy Leaguers or preps or the sort who might get fawned over by a snobbish bartender, it has been easy to talk of Catcher as a book about being an outsider when really it’s the exact opposite. There are so few people who make the cut—not just in Catcher but in all of Salinger’s work—that the reader who surrenders is reduced to hoping he or she is cool enough to be admitted to this club. This is what Mary McCarthy meant when she said that the book reads us. Don’t ever tell anybody anything,” the book ends. “If you do, you start missing everybody,” affirming silence over an admission of need. Only disconnect. It’s an attitude that puts Catcher in opposition to the great American coming-of-age novels—The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Member of the Wedding, True Grit—all books in which the protagonist is brought into close contact with people very unlike the protagonist, people whose humanity he or she can’t deny. Charles Taylor

John Lennon (pour attirer l’attention de la jeune actrice du « Taxi driver » de Scorsese), Reagan (via le même « Taxi driver » inspiré du journal de l’assassin de George Wallace et son « se regarder devenir un gros dur dans la glace des lavabos »), Rebecca Schaeffer

A l’heure où l’un des jeux vidéo les plus violents de l’histoire qui apprend à nos jeunes à abattre de simples passants se voit qualifier par nos sociologues de « fresque digne des œuvres de Steinbeck ou de Welles » …

Et suite à nos deux derniers billets sur la sortie d’une nouvelle biographie et d’un documentaire sur l’auteur culte de L’Attrape-coeurs » …

Comment ne pas repenser à tous ces livres ou films qu’il a plus ou moins directement ou consciemment influencés …

Mais aussi à tous ces livres qui, comme son « Catcher in the rye » avec son bilan de pas moins de trois assassinats ou tentatives d’assassinat, ont pu inspirer la pire violence ?

When books kill

Movies and video games get blamed for acts of senseless violence all the time. But some famous murderers got their ideas from literature.

Aidan Doyle

Salon

Dec 15, 2003

We’ve all heard about how computer games and films have supposedly influenced people to commit violence. In October a $246 million lawsuit was lodged against the makers of the game Grand Theft Auto III by the families of two people shot by teenagers allegedly inspired by the game. Such movies as “Natural Born Killers,” “A Clockwork Orange” and “Money Train” have routinely been accused of inspiring copycat crimes. But what about novels? Is literature incapable of inspiring moronic acts of mayhem?

Many of the controversial novels of the last century were publicly condemned because it was believed they would lead to a decay in public morals. These criticisms were often patronizing (“Won’t somebody please think of the children?”), expressing the belief that less educated members of society were likely to imitate anything and everything they read. The prosecutor in the 1960 British obscenity trial of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” asked jurors if it was the kind of book they wanted their wife or servants to read.

As ludicrous as that may sound today, obviously people are influenced by what they see and read, and authors have little control over how people will react to the ideas in their books. Although Isaac Asimov was a fierce critic of religion and New Age thinking, the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo was heavily influenced by his “Foundation” series of novels. The novels depict a universe where a galactic empire has become decadent and ripe for collapse. The empire’s ruling planet is a vast hive of people and the only natural environment is the garden surrounding the emperor’s palace. Only the foresight of Hari Seldon and his secret society of scientists can preserve civilization’s knowledge before it is lost in the dark ages. Seldon’s followers convert their society into a religion, believing “it is the most potent device known with which to control men and worlds.”

Although Asimov based his empire on ancient Rome, members of Aum Shinrikyo saw similarities between Asimov’s empire and modern Japanese society. The cult’s founder, Shoko Asahara, preached that civilization was coming to an end and only the faithful would survive. He gathered around him a team of scientists from diverse disciplines. David Kaplan and Andrew Marshall’s “The Cult at the End of the World” outlines how the cult’s chief scientist, Hideo Murai, saw Aum’s mission to save humanity from the coming apocalypse as mirroring the Foundation’s struggle:

“In an interview, Murai would state matter-of-factly that Aum was using the Foundation series as the blueprint for the cult’s long term plans. He gave the impression of ‘a graduate student who had read too many science fiction novels,’ remembered one reporter. But it was real enough to the cult. Shoko Asahara, the blind and bearded guru from Japan, had become Hari Seldon; and Aum Shinrikyo was the Foundation.”

Asahara directed his scientists to create a variety of chemical and biological weapons to fight their enemies. When the predicted apocalypse wasn’t forthcoming, Asahara decided to take matters into his own hands. On March 20, 1995, some of his followers released sarin gas in the Tokyo subway, killing 12 people and injuring more than 5,000.

An article in the Guardian, the British newspaper, speculated that “Foundation” may have also influenced Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. It related claims that “Foundation” had been translated into Arabic under the title “al-Qaeda” — which means the base or foundation — and that bin Laden might have identified with the idea of a small group of rebels fighting against a decadent evil empire. This speculation has not, however, been widely accepted. It isn’t even clear that an Arabic version of the novel was ever published.

“Foundation” is not the only novel to have influenced terrorists. A copy of “The Turner Diaries” was found in Timothy McVeigh’s car when he was arrested. The novel was written by a leader of the National Alliance and tells the story of a white supremacist group that overthrows the government and subsequently eradicates nonwhites as well as “race traitors.” The narrator destroys FBI headquarters by detonating a truck loaded with ammonium nitrate and fuel oil. McVeigh used a similar mechanism to destroy the federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.

Several of McVeigh’s friends testified he had given them copies of the book, encouraging them to read it. McVeigh had highlighted phrases in his copy of the book including: “the real value of all of our attacks today lies in the psychological impact, not in the immediate casualties,” as well as one promising that politicians will not escape: “We can still find them and kill them.” The novel ends with the narrator flying a bomb-laden plane into the Pentagon.

Another bomber with a fondness for reading was Ted Kaczynski. The Unabomber was a big fan of Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Agent,” an ironic novel in which a university professor turned anarchist is recruited to blow up a scientific icon, London’s Greenwich Observatory. A Washington Post article revealed that prior to Kaczynski’s arrest, the FBI had suspected the novel’s influence and contacted Conrad scholars to help them in constructing their profile.

Author Joe Haldeman has spoken about the unintended influence of a short story he published in the Magazine of Science Fiction & Fantasy in 1974. In “To Howard Hughes: A Modest Proposal,” a blackmailer forces world disarmament by developing his own nuclear bomb. Haldeman says the story contained “pretty detailed instructions for acquiring plutonium and constructing a subcritical nuclear device (information not that easy to find, pre-Internet, but nothing classified) … [Someone] used the story as a template and wrote a blackmail letter to the mayor of Los Angeles, saying he had a van parked somewhere downtown with a nuclear bomb in it, and he’d blow it up in 24 hours if he didn’t get a million dollars, delivered to such-and-such a park at noon. Evidently the details were accurate enough for them to respond with a suitcase full of money, and of course a park full of agents disguised as normal people. The miscreant turned out to be a 15-year-old science fiction fan.”

Science fiction operates on a grander scale than other genres, often portraying world-changing events that can be attractive to people who want to change the world. Such was the case with Robert Heinlein’s highly influential novel “Stranger in a Strange Land.” Time magazine reported that Charles Manson used the novel as a blueprint for his infamous family and that it led to the murder of Sharon Tate and others. It was later revealed, however, that Manson had never read the novel.

Some of Manson’s followers had indeed adopted ideas and terminology from the book into their rituals. “Stranger in a Strange Land” features a Martian with superpowers who comes to earth and starts a free love movement. The novel also influenced others to form their own polygamous societies, including a “neo-pagan” group known as the Church of All Worlds. The church’s Web site explains how its founders were inspired by Heinlein’s novel: “This book suggested a spiritual and social way of life and was a metaphor expressing the awakening social consciousness of the times.” (The Church of All Worlds has not been linked to any murders.)

Films reach a much wider audience than novels and often the real public outcry about a book isn’t raised until the film version is released. “A Clockwork Orange” was blamed for inspiring so many copycat crimes — from homeless people beaten to death to a gang rape where the attackers sang “Singin’ in the Rain” — that director Stanley Kubrick had it withdrawn from cinemas in England. The book’s author, Anthony Burgess, insisted that there was no definitive proof “that a work of art can stimulate antisocial behavior … the notorious murderer Haig who killed and drank [his victims’] blood said he was inspired by the sacrament of the Eucharist. Does that mean we should ban the Bible?”

Burgess was later to change his mind after the 1993 murder near Liverpool, England, in which 2-year-old James Bulger was abducted and tortured to death by two 10-year-old boys. The horror film “Child’s Play 3″ was linked to the case, and Burgess wrote that he now accepted the arts could exert a negative influence, adding, “I begin to accept that as a novelist, I belong to the ranks of the menacing.”

Criminals will sometimes blame a work of fiction for their crimes, hoping to shift responsibility. These claims are inevitably treated with considerable skepticism. But one book that has been linked to a number of serial killers is John Fowles’ “The Collector.” The 1963 novel tells the story of a butterfly collector who becomes so obsessed with a woman called Miranda that he kidnaps and imprisons her in his cellar. California serial killers Charles Ng and Leonard Lake named one of their schemes “Operation Miranda.” Lake later committed suicide, but Ng was found guilty of the imprisonment, torture and murder of 11 people during the 1980s. Ng blamed Lake for the murders and said he had been inspired to capture the women after reading “The Collector.”

In Fowles’ novel, Miranda encourages her kidnapper to read “The Catcher in the Rye,” hoping he might identify with Holden Caulfield’s feelings of alienation. Her captor complains that he doesn’t like the book and is annoyed that Holden doesn’t try harder to fit into society. There are enough rumors about murders linked to J.D. Salinger’s classic that the unwitting assassins in the Mel Gibson film “Conspiracy Theory” are portrayed as being brainwashed with the urge to buy the novel.

John Lennon’s murderer, Mark David Chapman, was famously obsessed with “The Catcher in the Rye.” Chapman wanted to change his name to Holden Caulfield and once wrote in a copy of the book “This is my statement,” and signed the protagonist’s name. He had a copy of the book in his possession when the police arrested him.

French author Max Valentin (a pseudonym) got more than he bargained for when he wrote “On the Path of the Golden Owl,” a 1993 novel featuring clues to the location of a real-life buried treasure. France was gripped with treasure-hunting fever as readers tried to find a replica of the golden owl (which could be exchanged for the real one) that Valentin had buried somewhere in rural France. In an interview with the Times of London, the author said he had received death threats and bribes amid the torrent of mail from people wanting to know where the owl was hidden.

He does not customarily respond to questions about the owl’s location, but once had to intervene to stop someone from digging up a cemetery. Others have gone even further. “There was one who tried to dig up a train track,” he said, “and another who walked into a bank with a pickaxe and started to dig up the floor of the lobby. I’ve told everyone it is buried in a public place but some people are crazy … a man had firebombed a church and left behind a book containing the message: ‘The golden owl is underneath the chapel.’” After more than 10 years, no one has yet managed to find the golden owl.

Voir aussi:

The Ballad of John and J.D.: On John Lennon and J.D. Salinger

Mark David Chapman was carrying a copy of The Catcher in the Rye when he shot John Lennon. The murder was a collision of cultures.

Charles Taylor

The Nation

January 26, 2011 (February 14, 2011 edition)

“A local crackpot.” That’s how a New York City cop, quoted by a TV reporter, described the man who had just been arrested for shooting John Lennon at the entrance to the Dakota. The cop turned out to be only half right: Mark David Chapman had come from Hawaii.

I can’t find the remark in any of the accounts of December 8, 1980, but it has stuck with me for thirty years. The cop didn’t appear on camera, but the way the reporter quoted him still makes me think that I’d heard the remark straight from his mouth. Cutting through all the breaking-news urgency, through the anchors and reporters who, having failed to rise to an unthinkable occasion, fumbled for shopworn lines about the man whose music united a generation, the policeman’s words conveyed disgust, dismissiveness, a determination to keep this killer, whoever he was, in his place. Who, the cop was asking, was this nobody to have murdered John Lennon?

Chapman’s identity, as it was pieced together through the following day, was slotted into a narrative predicated on his being a nobody. He was a fat loser who couldn’t hold a job, the newscasters said, who drifted from place to place, who wrestled with mental problems. Killing John Lennon was Chapman’s shortcut to fame—just as shooting Ronald Reagan would be John Hinckley’s a few months later.

But to Chapman, the nobody was Lennon. Chapman later reportedly said that in the week before the assassination he’d been listening to John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, the raw and abrasive 1970 record on which Lennon purged his music of the gorgeous harmonies and studio lushness of the Beatles. And yet for everything that was stripped down about the record, it is, like the music it turned its back on, magisterial. The penultimate track, “God,” builds to a close with Lennon’s rising list of denunciations: “I don’t believe in Bible … I don’t believe in Jesus … I don’t believe in Beatles.” “Who does he think he is,” Chapman remembered thinking, “saying these things about God and heaven and the Beatles?”

“I kept wanting to kill whoever’d written it…. I kept picturing myself catching him at it, and how I’d smash his head on the stone steps till he was good and goddam dead and bloody.” That’s not Chapman talking, though he had wished that it was. The voice belongs to Holden Caulfield, the name that Chapman signed in the paperback copy of The Catcher in the Rye that he was carrying with him when he shot Lennon. The signature appeared under the words “This is my statement.” After murdering Lennon, Chapman began reading from J.D. Salinger’s novel, which is what he was doing when the cops found him. A few months later at his sentencing hearing, asked if he wished to give a statement, Chapman offered these lines from Catcher:

Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around—nobody big, I mean—except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all.

Using Caulfield’s words to explain himself was taken as more proof that Chapman, who instructed his lawyer not to mount an insanity defense, was crazy. In any event, at the time it was easier to think Chapman was nuts than to think about the collision of two totems, easier than asking how many members of the American generation that had embraced John Lennon could also feel their adolescent angst was given voice by a book so opposed to everything Lennon and the Beatles had stood for. No one dwelt on that side of the story.

* * *

In the months and years after Lennon’s murder, it was as if the secret life of The Catcher in the Rye came aboveground for the first time since the book’s publication in 1951. It was found in Hinckley’s hotel room after he was arrested, and in 1989 Robert John Bardo had a copy of it on him when he murdered the actress Rebecca Schaeffer. The next year, in John Guare’s play Six Degrees of Separation, the con man protagonist holds forth on the book’s attraction to the violently disturbed, quoting Holden’s remark that his ever-present red hat is a “people-shooting hat.” In Richard Donner’s 1997 thriller Conspiracy Theory, the mere purchase of the book at a Barnes & Noble is enough to trip a signal to the computers of an unnamed government agency. Whoever reads Catcher, it seems, is up to no good.

You could say that those events are signposts on the novel’s journey from shared totem to shared joke, or that the journey is part of the postmodern irony we’re all drowning in, when we’ve become too cool to be affected by Holden’s open wound of a psyche. But Catcher has become something even less harmless than a joke or postmodernism: a classic. The generations that once had to read it on the sly, or who saw their teachers face the ire of school boards and parents for assigning it, are now senior citizens or entering late middle age. While the book has retained its status as one of the most-censored books in American schools, that distinction now seems almost quaint. But God help The Catcher in the Rye should it ever stop being persecuted. What better confirmation for Holden’s disciples of the threat still posed by the phonies?

It’s axiomatic that Holden Caulfield is the patron saint of adolescent sensitivity, that Catcher shows the cruelty with which the world treats such sensitivity and that the novel ends with a saddened, bruised Holden poised to re-enter that world and thus aware that, to make his way in it, he has to leave his sensitivity behind. What makes it hard to sustain that image of the book is reading it. “The cruellest thing you can do to Kerouac is to reread him at thirty-eight,” says a character in Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia. The cruelest thing you can do to Salinger, who died a year ago, on January 27, is to reread his fiction when an adolescent’s sneer and perpetual outrage over perceived injustice no longer seem an adequate way to view the world.

If Holden Caulfield, that relentless hunter of phonies, hadn’t been there for Mark David Chapman to discover, Chapman could have invented him. Chapman’s claim that the book was his statement is disarmingly honest. Chapman, like many of us, heard the hypocrisy in John Lennon’s singing “Imagine no possessions.” But Chapman couldn’t chalk that silly line up to rock-star folly or, as Neil Young did many years later in a telethon performance to raise money for 9/11 families, rewrite the line to point it back at the person singing it: “Imagine no possessions/I wonder if I can.” Chapman, a 25-year-old with the zero-sum ethics of the most self-dramatizing adolescent, saw it as the inevitable betrayal. How dare Lennon sing about imagining no possessions while living in the Dakota?

* * *

Salinger and Lennon may each have been a touchstone for youth culture, but Lennon’s sensibility could not help irritating the preciousness of Salinger’s. Lennon was hungry, ambitious (“I came out of the fuckin’ sticks to take over the world”). His vision, even with his slashing, acerbic wit, was exclusive, expansive. (“Love you every day, girl … Eight days a week,” as if time itself could expand to encompass the parameters of his love.) He argued for living in the world openly, even foolishly. You could send two acorns to world leaders and ask each to plant a tree for peace; or spend your honeymoon in bed with your bride, invite reporters over to talk about peace and even record a new single at your bedside. Or you could do something as petty and self-serving as returning your MBE to the queen, conflating Britain’s presence in Nigeria with your new single, “Cold Turkey,” slipping down the charts.

Lennon dropped out of the public eye for five years or so after the birth of his and Yoko Ono’s son, Sean, and his victory over the witch hunt begun by President Nixon to deport him. But if you want to cut yourself off from humanity, you don’t decide to retreat to New York City. “I can go out this door now and go into a restaurant,” Lennon was quoted as saying in Jay Cocks’s Time magazine cover story on his murder. “Do you want to know how great that is?” What Lennon was saying is that, after unimaginable, isolating fame, New York offered him what might be called companionable anonymity.

As a public figure, Salinger was due the kind of freedom and anonymity Lennon enjoyed in Manhattan. But in the small town in New Hampshire to which Salinger retreated in 1953, you really can withdraw from the world. Yet for Salinger, retreat was immersion in a familiar point of view. Withdrawal—physical, emotional, spiritual—is the overriding preoccupation of his fiction. There are few authors who argue so strenuously, so consistently for exclusivity and insularity, who are so repulsed by human imperfection, especially the physical kind, as Salinger. In his fictional world compassion is extended only to those who have made the cut or whose need of compassion—like the mythical Fat Lady at the end of Franny and Zooey—can provide a vessel into which the characters can pour their higher sensibility. Empathy, a new fragrance by Chanel.

Nothing Salinger wrote takes place on as large a physical scale as Catcher, in which Holden roams over New York City. The first half of Franny and Zooey occurs in a crowded restaurant, the second half in the Glass family’s overstuffed New York apartment—and most of that in the bathroom. Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters is set in an uncomfortably crowded and sweltering hired car (there never seems to be enough air in any of Salinger’s locales), and then that crowd transfers to Buddy and Seymour Glass’s small, sweltering Manhattan apartment. “Seymour; an Introduction,” from 1959, never leaves the confines of Buddy’s head. Even if it did, where would we be? In his cabin in the woods, a place to squawk over the inanity of the papers his job as a college professor obliges him to grade, and a meaner version of the home his creator had retreated to six years earlier.

Just as the stories constrict physically, they retreat emotionally into realms of Eastern mysticism that, for all the words Salinger lavishes on them, remain vague astral paths to some presumed higher state of consciousness. It all starts with Way of the Pilgrim, the book that unhinges Franny; and though it’s a Christian tract, Zooey likens its aim of automatic incessant prayer to the Eastern concept of the seven chakras, the opening of the third eye and such. It’s a short hop from there to Buddy (in “Seymour; an Introduction”) saying that the true poet or painter is “the only seer we have on earth” and that Seymour’s aim, the “hallmark, then, of the advanced religious,” was to find Christ in the most unimaginable places, Seymour’s preferred spot for Savior-sighting being loaded ashtrays. Some people take those spiritual preoccupations very seriously. In his new Salinger bio, Kenneth Slawenski suggests that the reason Mary McCarthy couldn’t abide Franny and Zooey is that her memoir Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, revealed “her disgust with religion, her descent into atheism, and the transfer of her faith into her own intellect.” The crude reduction of McCarthy’s book aside, it’s clear that acolytes, not apostates, are the ones qualified to enter Salinger’s higher realms.

The attempt to move beyond the corporeal is always, in the most fundamental sense, inhuman. In Salinger, though, it’s a pretense for a tone that’s overwhelmingly judgmental, sneering and cruel. Consider the kind of people who don’t merit sympathy in Salinger. The cracked guru Seymour Glass permanently scars a little girl’s face by throwing a stone at it because “she looked so beautiful sitting there in the middle of the driveway” with his sister’s cat. There are also fleeting hints that Seymour held up an impossible standard for his younger siblings to follow. “Is he never wrong?” Buddy asks on the last page of “Seymour; an Introduction.” (“Seymour; an Intervention” might have accomplished more.) But the people whose life Seymour makes hell are afforded no sympathy. Certainly not Muriel, the bride he leaves at the altar in Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, because he’s “indisposed by happiness.” Muriel’s bridesmaid, worried for her friend and angered at how she’s being treated, is presented throughout the story as a meddling bitch. Salinger ends “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” before we have to register Muriel’s shock and horror at waking from her nap to find Seymour has blown his brains out. Earlier in the story we learn that Seymour calls his wife “Miss Spiritual Tramp of 1948,” and by that point Salinger has already spent pages characterizing Muriel as a vapid bimbo—washing, primping and reading a crummy women’s magazine.

Salinger’s characters don’t want higher knowledge; they just want to be left alone. Franny and Zooey—which ends with Zooey’s plea to his sister, Franny, to recognize the holy in the everyday, “a cup of consecrated chicken soup”—isn’t an argument for experiencing life on a higher plane but for being superior to it. Zooey tells his sister about how Seymour chastised him for disdaining the audience of the radio show the Glass brood were all on as children by telling him to remember the Fat Lady, listening at home. “This terribly clear, clear picture of the Fat Lady formed in my mind,” says Zooey. “I had her sitting on this porch all day, swatting flies, with her radio going full-blast from morning till night.” Seymour told Franny, too, it turns out, and she pictured the Fat Lady with “very thick legs, very veiny. I had her in an awful wicker chair. She had cancer, too, though, and she had the radio going full-blast all day!” Neither Franny nor Zooey is expected to engage with the Fat Lady, to talk to her, to get beyond her tacky furnishings or veiny legs or cancer, to see her as a person. They are performers, she is the audience, and they are expected merely to lavish their presence on her. For someone whose characters loved to talk about the phoniness of Hollywood, Salinger was outdone by the movies. In 1950, seven years before “Zooey” appeared in The New Yorker, Billy Wilder ended Sunset Boulevard with Gloria Swanson’s crazy Norma Desmond lauding “those wonderful people out there in the dark.” The noblesse oblige Wilder satirized is what Salinger holds up as salvation.

The Catcher in the Rye, written before Salinger started larding his work with quotations from The Way of a Pilgrim and koans from the Mu Mon Kwan, can’t fall back on higher aspirations to disguise its misanthropy. The book squirms with a physical revulsion that is far too consistent and far too strong to belong merely to Holden—and besides, it remained a staple of Salinger’s writing. Salinger couldn’t get through the first paragraph of “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” without having Muriel tweezing hairs from a mole. Franny imagines the Fat Lady as not just having veiny legs but cancer. Catcher has a puerile, disgusted fascination with nose-picking, toenail clippings, grotty teeth, razors clogged with hair and lather. The essentials of a prep-school wardrobe can’t disguise the unkempt bodies they adorn. At times, the novel is all pimples and tweed.

* * *

John Lennon was not above that kind of physical disgust. In the “Lennon Remembers” interviews he did for Rolling Stone in 1971, he told Jann Wenner about the nightmare of having crippled children foisted on the Beatles, as if they were capable of healing them. He said of the group’s first American tour, “When we got here you were all walking around in fucking Bermuda shorts with Boston crew cuts and stuff on your teeth…. The chicks looked like fuckin’ 1940s horses. There was no conception of dress or any of that jazz. I mean we just thought, ‘What an ugly race.’”

But Lennon was also one of the most frankly sexual rock ‘n’ roll singers, the man who was capable of bringing an erotic urgency to the Beatles’ cover of Smokey Robinson’s “You Really Got a Hold on Me” that wasn’t present in the original, and to the wry reverie of “Norwegian Wood,” his tale of a one-night stand that should have been. He was a man who, in one of the gestures of foolish bravery that caused Norman Mailer to mourn, “We have lost a genius of the spirit,” put the imperfect bodies of himself and his new lover bollocks-naked on an album cover.

It’s that kind of openness that both Holden Caulfield and his creator are incapable of imagining. In Salinger’s work, when people are not physically ugly, they are spiritually ugly: old Sally Hayes, who says “grand” and “marvelous,” and her Ivy League friend whose verdict on the Lunts is that they’re “angels.” There are the cabdrivers who can’t be asked a question without taking it as an invitation to a fight, hotel elevator operators who are pimps, bartenders who won’t talk to you unless you’re a celebrity, tourists dumb enough to think Gary Cooper has just sauntered into a shabby nightclub, and the “flits” (Salinger has a special distaste for homosexuals).

Because so many of the people who repulse Holden are Ivy Leaguers or preps or the sort who might get fawned over by a snobbish bartender, it has been easy to talk of Catcher as a book about being an outsider when really it’s the exact opposite. There are so few people who make the cut—not just in Catcher but in all of Salinger’s work—that the reader who surrenders is reduced to hoping he or she is cool enough to be admitted to this club. This is what Mary McCarthy meant when she said that the book reads us.

John Lennon read us a little, too. He couldn’t possess sarcastic wit without some sense of superiority. And yet he chose to work in the most populist art form, rock ‘n’ roll, always touting it above all the avant-gardisms and political trends he fell for. As part of the Beatles, he delineated a utopian vision that nonetheless admitted contingency, ambiguity and heartbreak, a vision in which camaraderie and love colored every aspect of life, made the work of living worthwhile: “It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’d been working like a dog … But when I get home to you I find the things that you do/Will make me feel alright”; “Life is very short, and there’s no time/For fussing and fighting, my friend”—those last two words asserting the bonds always present in Lennon’s work, whether the friend was Paul McCartney or, later, Yoko (“My best friend’s me wife,” he said in a radio interview on the day he was killed).

These human bonds are denied by Holden throughout Catcher and are what Salinger had no use for in any subsequent work. “Don’t ever tell anybody anything,” the book ends. “If you do, you start missing everybody,” affirming silence over an admission of need. Only disconnect. It’s an attitude that puts Catcher in opposition to the great American coming-of-age novels—The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Member of the Wedding, True Grit—all books in which the protagonist is brought into close contact with people very unlike the protagonist, people whose humanity he or she can’t deny.

* * *

For all the books that have been called descendants of The Catcher in the Rye, to me the closest relative to Holden Caulfield is Patrick Bateman, the serial-killer protagonist of American Psycho (1991). The sadistic torture killings Patrick inflicts on the trendy girls he picks up feel like the logical extreme of the contempt Holden shows the girls he meets in the nightclub, a demented echo of the way he recoils from the vulgarity of the prep crowd. The pages near the beginning detailing the products Patrick uses to clean and groom himself could have been inspired by the pages devoted to Zooey’s near-ritualistic ablutions.

There is, too, a connection between the era Bret Easton Ellis attempts to satirize in the book, the greed-is-good ’80s, and the time of Lennon’s murder, one month after the election of Ronald Reagan, the man who would make that era possible. In Lennon’s Rolling Stone obituary, Greil Marcus was the first person to note that “nothing like Lennon’s killing has happened before.” While Marcus was careful to say that Reagan’s election did not inspire Mark David Chapman—any more than Salinger did—he did note the confluence of Chapman’s actions with the “secret message” of Reagan’s election: “some people belong in this country, and some people don’t; that some people are worthy, and some are worthless; that certain opinions are sanctified, and some are evil.” He went on, “Such a message, which tells people they are innocent and others are to blame, can attach a private madness to its public justification.”

In 1980 John Lennon was far from the canonized figure he has become. The people who grew up with the Beatles had not yet moved into controlling positions in the media. In his Time cover story, Jay Cocks was talking about himself and his contemporaries when he wrote that some people “wondered what all the fuss was about and could not quite understand why some of the junior staff at the office would suddenly break into tears in the middle of the day.” It’s easy to dismiss Cocks’s piece for its openness of feeling. For all the things that Cocks had to do, and did exquisitely, in that piece—it was a news story, an obituary, a career retrospective—what still comes through strongest is shellshock, his disbelief that he is writing the story. Which is why it was a risk, and essential, for him to insist that the shooting was an assassination. Putting Lennon’s killing in the company of the killings that had preceded it in the previous decades is not, though, a contradiction of Marcus’s claim that this had never happened before. It had—but not to a popular artist. What both Cocks and Marcus understood was that Lennon’s murder was a symbolic murder of what he represented. Chapman was disturbed by the denunciations that ended “God,” Lennon’s brutal elaboration of Dylan’s line “don’t follow leaders.” But the Beatles, for all the adoration they inspired, stood for a vision in which people, as Marcus wrote, did not lose their identity but found it.

A vision that tells you it’s possible to live a good life and to live it your own way holds out possibilities that other visions—Reagan’s or Salinger’s—deny. Those visions judge who belongs and who doesn’t, who shuns contact with the wrong kind of people, chooses to withdraw from or tries to control the world rather than embrace it. Reagan’s America gave us the dimwit Forrest Gump as a fount of wisdom. Salinger gives us Phoebe Caulfield, and all the other little girls who turn up in his work, children who have not yet been contaminated by knowledge or experience.

Mary McCarthy called Salinger’s work a closed circuit. It can just as easily be an exclusive club, a nation drawing psychic borders around a false vision of itself, a monastery whose holy relics are those spare, monkish volumes designed by the high priest, Salinger himself. Because really, what is there to read after you’ve prostrated yourself before Salinger? What wouldn’t seem like a regression back to the dirty world? Better to immerse yourself further in the book, as Salinger’s perfect reader, Mark David Chapman, did, to open the book and turn from the still-warm body lying a few feet away.

Voir encore:

‘Rye’ misfit’s rugged spirit inspires works

« The Catcher in the Rye » has influenced the work of many writers, filmmakers and musicians. Here’s a look at some of the more notable entries.

Rachel Leibrock

The Sacramento Bee

June 7 2001

« The Blackboard Jungle » (1954): Evan Hunter’s novel about New York City’s public-school system may seem a million miles away from Holden’s tony prep-school environment – but the adults vs. kids theme is similar.

« Rebel Without a Cause » (1955): Nicholas Ray’s classic film stars James Dean as Jim Stark – the title rebel – a character that shares the same overwhelming sense of angst and alienation as Holden Caulfield.

« The Outsiders » (1967): S.E. Hinton’s story about the greasers and the socs (socials) is the quintessential tale of adolescent distress generated by social classes. The 1983 film version starred Matt Dillon and C. Thomas Howell.

« The Graduate » (1969): Benjamin Braddock, portrayed by Dustin Hoffman, is basically Holden Caulfield as he faces a lifetime of plastics.

« Heathers » (1989): A tour de force of teen isolation. Stars an anguished, ostracized Winona Ryder fighting for nonconformity and authenticity.

« Six Degrees of Separation » (1990): John Guare’s play (the 1993 silver-screen adaptation starred Will Smith and Stockard Channing) chronicles the exploits of Paul, an impostor who tries to ingratiate himself with a high-society New York family. Pretending to be a Harvard undergraduate, Paul claims that his thesis is devoted to « The Catcher in the Rye » and its connection to criminal loners.

« Smells Like Teen Spirit » (1992): The classic Nirvana song (from the album « Nevermind ») sums up an entire generation of Holden Caulfield-esque angst with just one line: « Well, whatever nevermind … »

« Who Wrote Holden Caulfield? » (1992): From Green Day’s album « Kerplunk, » this song muses about a boy « who fogs his world and now he’s getting lazy / there’s no motivation and frustration makes him crazy. »

« Buffy the Vampire Slayer » (1997): The 1992 movie spawned this popular TV series about a young vampire slayer’s quest to save the world. The theme evokes Holden’s timeless wish to be the « catcher in the rye. »

« The Perks of Being a Wallflower » (1999): Stephen Chbosky’s novel gives us the shy and intelligent Charlie. We learn his story through a series of letters he writes to an unknown person (that person’s name, age or gender is never revealed) and in the process rediscover truths about adolescence.

Voir de même:

Holden Caulfield’s many pretenders / Protagonist of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ is a continuing influence on Hollywood

Nancy Mills

The Chronicle

August 25, 2002

Hollywood — When J.D. Salinger’s « The Catcher in the Rye » was published in 1951, millions of teenage boys found a model for their confusion and rebellion in protagonist Holden Caulfield. Naturally, Hollywood wanted a piece of the character.

But Salinger would never allow his novel to be filmed. In fact, Holden consistently puts Hollywood down with such choice comments as: « Now he’s out in Hollywood, D.B. (his older brother), being a prostitute. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the movies. »

But Salinger’s refusal hasn’t stopped the studios from borrowing the Holden model for such movies as « The Graduate, » « Diner, » « Dead Poets Society, » « Rushmore, » « American Beauty » and « The Royal Tenenbaums. »

« Most young male characters in the movies are based on the character of Holden Caulfield, » says Raymond Haberski, 33, author of « It’s Only a Movie! Films and Critics in American Culture. » « It’s been a very steady influence in the last 30 years. Every young man goes through the experiences of Holden Caulfield.

« Toby Maguire has made a career of being an updated Holden Caulfield. ‘The Ice Storm’ is almost a direct takeoff on ‘Catcher in the Rye.’ Since ‘Dead Poets Society,’ Ethan Hawke has played on that type of theme. Even Edward Burns, although not as young as the others, seems to fit that category. »

Add Jake Gyllenhaal to the list. In the current « The Good Girl, » Jennifer Aniston starts an affair with Gyllenhaal, a disturbed young man who has renamed himself Holden and is fascinated with « The Catcher in the Rye. »

Gyllenhaal, 21, has epitomized qualities of Holden in all his most recent films: « Donnie Darko, » « Lovely & Amazing, » « The Good Girl » and the forthcoming « Moonlight Mile. » « I’ve read all of J.D. Salinger’s books, and my production company is called Nine Stories Productions (named after a Salinger book of short stories), » Gyllenhaal says.

« Salinger touched on what’s at the heart of American repression: familial neglect. Parents are not paying attention or are aware of the movement of their children. That’s one of the worst things you can do. My ‘Good Girl’ character is disturbed, and I place the blame on the parents. »

The parents are also the bad guys in « Igby Goes Down, » opening Sept. 13. « Igby » depicts yet another young man, played by Kieran Culkin, floundering through adolescence. « I’ve been comparing ‘Igby’ to ‘Catcher in the Rye,’  » says Susan Sarandon, who plays Igby’s mother. « Like Holden, Igby is very bright and very ironic, while the adults are lost and miserable and also affluent. »

Young women may not identify with Holden in quite the same way as young men,

but they are equally responsive to films about such characters, Sarandon adds.

« When I first read ‘Catcher in the Rye,’ I didn’t identify with that kind of rebel. At the time, I thought he should get his act together. Boys are just much slower to mature in ways critical to society. They’re a couple of years behind the gals. It’s a developmental kind of glitch. »

« Igby » writer and director Burr Steers, 36, contends his script is more of an autobiography than a nod to Salinger.

« I wasn’t consciously influenced by ‘Catcher in the Rye,’  » he insists. « I got kicked out of a prep school in Connecticut and a military school in Indiana. »

Yet he recognizes the influence of the book: « I liken it to being a musician and being influenced by the music ingrained in you, like the Beatles. It’s that journey of finding out. »

Steers, whose uncle is Gore Vidal, sees « Catcher in the Rye » as « a mythic story — just like ‘The Graduate’ or ‘The 400 Blows’ or ‘Hamlet.’ You feel like an anachronism in the world you’ve been born into. Everyone around you seems insane, and they see you as insane. A lot of movies have been influenced by this myth: ‘Flirting,’ ‘Rushmore,’ ‘The Graduate,’ ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien.’

« I don’t think this situation will ever be played out. It’s mythic. It didn’t start with ‘Catcher in the Rye.’ It started with Christ, who rebelled against everything around him. It’s always been about iconoclasts rebelling against what came before them, challenging the rules and customs. »

Mike White, 32, who wrote « The Good Girl, » agrees.

« To me, ‘Catcher in the Rye’ is part of a literary trend that goes back to Goethe’s ‘The Sorrows of Werther’ (1774), » he says. « I don’t think Salinger discovered it. He just did the quintessential American version. »

According to Anthony Caputi, a Cornell University dramatic literature specialist and avid moviegoer, « The Catcher in the Rye » inspires variations as well as imitations. « American Beauty, » for example, is at odds with « the tone and general warmth of Salinger, » Caputi believes.

« Salinger’s influence takes a comedic form, a life-affirming form. ‘American Beauty’ showed the dark underside of American culture, going further than I think Salinger would ever dream of. »

As for « Finding Forrester, » Caputi says, « You might find some kind of resonance with Salinger himself in Sean Connery’s character, although the boy (Rob Brown) is a little bland rather than

plucky. And there is a kinship with ‘Wonder Boys.’ Toby Maguire’s character is plucky to a certain extent, and he takes chances. »

« The Good Girl’s » writer and co-star White, who has also written for such teen series as « Freaks & Geeks » and « Dawson’s Creek, » thinks « The Catcher in the Rye » may become even more influential in Hollywood.

« Ever since the book came out, it’s been a touchstone of that demographic —

the 17-year-old kid who sees himself not fitting in, » he says.

« Movies like ‘American Pie’ and ‘Beavis & Butthead’ — guys looking for a good time — that genre is playing out. ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’ is the perfect example of a movie that bridges the two kinds of movies. It starts out like ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’ but becomes a thoughtful movie about the kids’ relationship to society.

 » ‘Orange County’ (the teen movie White wrote last year starring Colin Hanks) had a Salinger element. It featured a book that changed a young man’s life, and he goes and seeks out the professor who wrote it. For me, it was about a kid’s quest for the meaning of life.

« Maybe a more thoughtful teenage coming-of-age movie is coming back into vogue. »

 Voir encore:

Six Degrees of Separation

from the play « Six Degrees of Separation » written by John Guare

(Paul, a black man in his early twenties, has conned his way into the posh New York apartment of an art dealer and his wife, Louisa and Flan. They are examples of the politically correct and the socially concerned; he is an example of a con man par excellence, who has convinced them he is the son of Sidney Poitier, knows their children, and graduated from Harvard. They inquire about his thesis and how he became intrigued with its subject.)

Paul: Well…a substitute teacher out on Long Island was dropped from his job for fighting with a student. A few weeks later, the teacher returned to the classroom, shot the student unsuccessfully, held the class hostage and then shot himself. Successfully. This fact caught my eye: last sentence. Times. A neighbor described him as a nice boy. Always reading Catcher in the Rye.

The nitwit — Chapman — who shot John Lennon said he did it because he wanted to draw the attention of the world to The Catcher in the Rye and the reading of the book would be his defense.

And young Hinckley, the whiz kid who shot Reagan and his press secretary, said if you want my defense all you have to do is read Catcher in the Rye. It seemed to be time to read it again.

Flan: I haven’t read it in years. (Louisa shushes him.)

Paul: I borrowed a copy from a young friend of mine because I wanted to see what she had underlined and I read this book to find out why this touching, beautiful, sensitive story published in July 1951 had turned into this manifesto of hate.

I started reading. It’s exactly as I remembered. Everybody’s a phony. Page two: « My brother’s in Hollywood being a prostitute. » Page three: « What a phony his father was. » Page nine: « People never notice anything. »

Then on page 22 my hair stood up. Remember Holden Caulfield — the definitive sensitive youth — wearing his red hunter’s cap. « A deer hunter hat? Like hell it is. I sort of closed one eye like I was taking aim at it. This is a people-shooting hat. I shoot people in this hat. »

Hmmm, I said. This book is preparing people for bigger moments in their lives than I ever dreamed of. Then on page 89: « I’d rather push a guy out the window or chop his head off with an ax than sock him in the jaw…I hate fist fights…what scares me most is the other guy’s face… »

I finished the book. It’s a touching story, comic because the boy wants to do so much and can’t do anything. Hates all phoniness and only lies to others. Wants everyone to like him, is only hateful, and he is completely self-involved. In other words, a pretty accurate picture of a male adolescent. And what alarms me about the book — not the book so much as the aura about it — is this: the book is primarily about paralysis. The boy can’t function. And at the end, before he can run away and start a new life, it starts to rain and he folds.

Now there’s nothing wrong in writing about emotional and intellectual paralysis. It may indeed, thanks to Chekhov and Samuel Beckett, be the great modern theme.

The extraordinary last lines of Waiting For Godot — « Let’s go. » « Yes, let’s go. » Stage directions: they do not move.

But the aura around this book of Salinger’s — which perhaps should be read by everyone but young men — is this: it mirrors like a fun house mirror and amplifies like a distorted speaker one of the great tragedies of our times — the death of the imagination.

Because what else is paralysis?

The imagination has been so debased that imagination — being imaginative — rather than being the lynchpin of our existence now stands as a synonym for something outside ourselves like science fiction or some new use for tangerine slices on raw pork chops — what an imaginative summer recipe — and Star Wars! So imaginative! And Star Trek — so imaginative! And Lord of the Rings — all those dwarves — so imaginative —

The imagination has moved out out the realm of being our link, our most personal link, with our inner lives and the world outside that world — this world we share. What is schizophrenia but a horrifying state where what’s in here doesn’t match up with what’s out there?

Why has imagination become a synonym for style?

I believe that the imagination is the passport we create to take us into the real world.

I believe the imagination is another phrase for what is most uniquely us.

Jung says the greatest sin is to be unconscious.

Our boy Holden says « What scares me most is the other guy’s face — it wouldn’t be so bad if you could both be blindfolded — most of the time the faces we face are not the other guys’ but our own faces. And it’s the worst kind of yellowness to be so scared of yourself you put blindfolds on rather than deal with yourself… »

To face ourselves.

That’s the hard thing.

The imagination.

Voir enfin:

Who Was J. D. Salinger?
Adam Gopnik
The New Yorker
September 5, 2013

Sometime in late 1968, Charles Manson was listening to “The Beatles,” to use the proper name of what’s most often called the White Album, and decided that “Helter Skelter,” an upbeat rocker about a roller coaster at an English amusement park, was a call to black insurrection in America, to be set off by the brutal murders of an actress, a hairdresser, a coffee heiress, and several other innocents. The question that this horrible incident has always provoked was not just: How could anyone have thought anything so murderously insane? It was also: Why was Charles Manson listening with such hallucinative intensity to an album whose other highlights were John Lennon’s delicate bossa-nova ballad to his mother Julia, Paul McCartney’s lyrical invocation of Noël Coward, and George Harrison’s mystical celebration of the varieties in a box of English chocolates—not to mention a nine-minute-long tribute to concrete music? Why did he pay such close attention to something so inherently unsympathetic to his, ahem, sensibility?

The simple, sad answer is: because everyone did. There are certain artists, and some art, that become so popular that everyone peers into them, finding whatever they will, however they will. All the usual tests of sympathy, natural feeling, and do-I-really-respond-to-this? are lost in the gravitational pull of ubiquity. Not surprisingly, the artists who are, briefly, the beneficiaries and thereafter the victims of this kind of attention get totally freaked out by the intensity of it all: not too long after, Bob Dylan, another of the tribe, recorded his notorious “Self Portrait,” just back out in a new version, trying to demonstrate to his admirers the simple truth that he was an American singer, with a broad taste for American songs, not some kind of guru or mystic or oracle, please go away. It didn’t help.

These questions come to mind in reading David Shields and Shane Salerno’s heavily hyped biography “Salinger” (Simon & Schuster), not least because, in one of the most bizarre sections of a bizarre book, they themselves raise the issue of murder-by-bad-reading, in connection with the murder (fearful symmetry!) of the Beatles’ John Lennon by Mark Chapman, who happened to have hallucinated a motive within “The Catcher in the Rye.” Shields and Salerno’s own peculiar view of Salinger forces them to insist that Chapman was not just a crazy hallucinant, but in his own misguided way an insightful reader, responding to the “huge amount of psychic violence in the book.” Now, there is a section in “Catcher” in which Holden fantasizes about shooting the pimp who has set him up with a prostitute, but it is exactly a bit of extended irony about the movies and their effect on everyone’s imagination: a defusing of vengeance fantasies. In Salerno’s “acclaimed documentary film” (as the book’s jacket calls it), meanwhile, a witness points out that the word “kills” occurs with ominous regularity in the text—failing to acknowledge that this is Holden’s slang for the best things that happen to him. “She kills me” is what Holden says about his beloved little sister Phoebe. There’s no more “violence” implicit in the usage than there is sublimated religiosity in Holden’s New York cabbies saying “Jesus Christ!” It’s just an American idiom, lovingly preserved by a master of them.

That Chapman’s reading strikes the authors as logical, if unfortunate, is just one demonstration, in a strange chop-shop biography, that they are no more interested in Salinger the writer or artist than the people who go through Dylan’s garbage cans are really interested in Dylan. In both book and bad movie, a simple theory is flogged: that Salinger was a victim of P.T.S.D., screwed up by a brutal combat experience in the Second World War. It’s a truth that, as far as it goes, Salinger himself dramatized at beautiful length in his story “For Esmé—with Love And Squalor,” and then left behind. (Holden is far too young to be a veteran, and Seymour Glass, so far as a close reader can tell, was in the armed forces, like most of his generation, but never in combat: the proximate cause of his suicide is a bad marriage, not a bad war.)

In any case, Salinger’s work emphatically editorializes its moral point, which is about as far from celebrating or even sublimating violence as any writing can be. No writer could ever have had his moral pluses and minuses so neatly, so columnarly, arranged and segregated off from each other. Phoebe, the Fat Lady, Esmé, innocence, and small domestic epiphanies are good. Violence, the military, cruelty are all bad. To make this view somehow its opposite is to refuse to read what’s there on the page, in search of something that might sit better on Page Six. That Salinger was wounded, like many of a generation, by combat is obvious; that it “explains” everything he wrote after is the kind of five-cent psychiatry that gives a bad name to nickels. (In any case, as the authors admit, Salinger already had six or so chapters of the book finished before he set foot in France, while the Holdenish sensibility—if not Holden’s sweetness and essential helplessness—was shared by hundreds of artists of the period, most of whom had never held a rifle.)

***

But then Salinger as writer, or craftsman, or just listener—with a perfect ear for the sound of American mid-century speech—is invisible throughout. The subject of the book and documentary is not Salinger the writer but Salinger the star: exactly the identity he spent the last fifty years of his life trying to shed. Cast entirely in terms of celebrity culture and its discontents, every act of Salinger’s is weighed as though its primary purpose was to push or somehow extend his “reputation”—careerism is simply assumed as the only motive a writer might have. If he withdraws from the world, well, what could be more of a come on? If it turns out that he hasn’t entirely withdrawn from the world but has actually participated in it happily enough on his own terms: well, didn’t we tell you the whole recluse thing was an act? This kind of scrutiny might possibly say something about a writer like Mailer, whose loudest energies (if not his best ones) were spent playing in the public square, not to mention Macy’s windows. But it couldn’t be worse suited to a writer like Salinger, the spell of whose work is cast, after all, entirely by the micro-structure of each sentence—on choosing to italicize this word, rather than that; on describing a widower’s left rather than right hand; on the ear for dialogue and the feeling for detail; above all, on the jokes. (Salinger, as Wilfrid Sheed long ago pointed out in the best thing ever written about his style, was first of all a humorist, trained on other humorists. The two writers who meant the most to Salinger, Ring Lardner and Scott Fitzgerald, seem left largely, if not completely, out of the book’s discussion—though Hemingway, the celebrity writer whom he briefly courted but never imitated, is made much of. A book about J. D. Salinger with no Ring Lardner in it, one can say with certainty, is a book about something other than J. D. Salinger.)

The “documentary” method that the book employs is what was once quaintly called a “clip-job”—the kind of celebrity bio where, in the guise of research, previously published work is passed off, with varying degrees of honesty, as original discovery. Journalists who never met Salinger, old “friends” who saw him last in 1948, are quoted fragmentarily, in the manner of the kind of oral history that Jean Stein and George Plimpton used to honorably assemble, while large chunks of quotations are lifted out of other people’s published work and plunked right down alongside the rest, as though these writers, too, had stopped by for a chat. These unwilling contributors see their work chopped up and recycled without any indication on the page of its source. (You can, with diligent effort, figure out what’s from where by consulting the notes in the back, but surely the ordinary reader can’t be expected to show such diligence, and will understandably assume that everything is, so to speak, on the same level.) Gossip is offered interchangeably with fact, bald speculation is sold as though double-checked, salacious rumor (Salinger had one testicle!) is accepted with a shrug: well, somebody said it. To take one example among a hundred, John Updike’s intricately wrought review of “Franny and Zooey”—indicating both his debt to Salinger, which he admits is enormous, and his qualms about “Zooey,” which are real, and his conviction that, in any case, Salinger was a brave artist making a journey on behalf of us all—is reduced to a “merciless” dismissal, one writer from the grave breezily zinging another. (A significant bit of praise from that review appears in another place, pages from the put-down.)

Shields, of course, has written an entire testament, the manifesto-like book called “Reality Hunger,” in defense of the chop-shop approach to prose, with a high-minded po-mo appeal to the constant recycling of other people’s words as itself a kind of originality. Like many other capitalist ventures, though, this involves taking intricate handiwork done by other people, breaking it up, and selling it off again without permission, not to mention payment. If you have persuaded yourself that invention and recycling are the same thing, then you can’t begin to make sense of someone who would spend seven or eight hours a day laboring over a single line. This puts you in terrible shape with a writer like Salinger, who feels his entire life at stake over a semi-colon. What can he be doing all day in his “bunker” except stewing over his obsessions?

Throughout book and film both, the focus is leeringly on Salinger’s presumed oddities, the authors of this book seeming never to have met any others. That the writer who can be contagiously charming on the page might be actually rather ornery and difficult to live with is a revelation only to one who has never spoken to a writer’s spouse. And an urge to escape from the world, far from being an aberrant impulse driven by neurosis, or shame at an anatomical oddity, is just part of what American writers have always been up to. E. B. White, as Sheed points out, beat Salinger to the north country by a decade, for similar reasons, while Thomas Merton became a major literary figure in those same fifties by going into a honest-to-God monastery and publishing his stuff from there.

What is true is that Salinger, through no fault or even an act of his own, save publishing a book whose reception no one could have anticipated, became the victim/beneficiary of the kind of hyper-fame that usually gets reserved for singers and actors. Seen that way, there is little that’s peculiar or pathological about Salinger’s retreat, though much in it that’s sad. A book about a week in the life of a sensitive, observant kid—affectionately viewed by the author, as one might a teen-age son or a younger brother, but hardly idolized—became a bible to a whole generation. (The ironies could not have eluded the author, since the one thing that a loner like Holden doesn’t want to be is the voice of a generation—his contemporaries being the very thing he has most contempt for.)

That the book gave Salinger the real, mind-bending, freak-out kind of fame early on was a blessing in certain respects—one important reason that he didn’t publish was because he didn’t have to. It was a curse in most others, however, since it created the circumstance in which a parade of random stalkers felt free to come up to his driveway and ask him to tell them how to run their lives. His trouble was that the writing was him, or seemed to be, in the sense that the stories gave an impression, however misleading, of being personal sources of wisdom, judgment, or good advice. Most people who get this treatment retreat to a Graceland or Neverland. Salinger retreated to New Hampshire. (Philip Roth got the treatment for a period after “Portnoy,” and it was so disconcerting—success on such a scale being “as baffling as misfortune”—that he wrote a couple of novels just about what it felt like.) For what it’s worth, the movie suggests that Salinger responded to most of the stalkers with surprising generosity, trying to explain to them that he was a fiction writer, not a guru. It didn’t help him, either.

For the rest—aside from the genuine news that Salinger made a strange, short marriage to a German girl he met during the occupation—there are no real revelations here, with the New Hampshire years mostly sketched from already familiar memoirs by family members and ex-lovers. There is a lot of prurient gossip about Salinger and his courtship of teen-age (not, to be sure, prepubescent) girls, although it does seem that if you had been imprinted on, and then rejected by, the exquisite seventeen-year-old Oona O’Neill, there would be no mystery in spending your life searching for her duplicate. (Of their claim of new books to come from Salinger, tacked on in the movie in titles with pointlessly ominous music playing, about all one can say is, Hope so! And add that it seems unlikely that someone with so good an ear would call anything “The Family Glass,” and that one of the few forthcoming stories specified, about a party in the nineteen-twenties, was already explicitly promised by Salinger himself, in the introduction to his story “Hapworth 16, 1924.”)

We have decided, legally and mostly morally, that our interest in telling truths about human life is always greater than our need to protect people’s privacy, at least after the people are dead, and so be it. But if you want to grasp why silence is so appealing to artists whose audience has grown too loud—John Lennon himself withdrew for many years, then tried peeking out again, with the tragic results we know—here it is. Indeed, the great advantage of the whole new episode is this: from now on, if you want to understand why the young J. D. Salinger fled New York publishing, fanatic readers, eager biographers, disingenuous interpreters, character assassination in the guise of “scholarship,” and the literary world generally, you need only open this book.


%d blogueurs aiment cette page :