Affaire Enderlin/20e: Montrez-moi le pays et je vous trouve le crime (Looking back at the fake news of the century)

30 septembre, 2020

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Montrez-moi l’homme et je vous trouve le crime. Lavrenti Beria (chef de la police secrète de Staline)
L’image correspondait à la réalité de la situation, non seulement à Gaza, mais en Cisjordanie. Charles Enderlin (Le Figaro, 27/01/05)
En répondant à Denis Jeambar et à Daniel Leconte dans le Figaro du 23 janvier 2005 que « l’image correspondait à la réalité de la situation, non seulement à Gaza, mais en Cisjordanie », alors que la diffusion d’un reportage s’entend comme le témoignage de ce que le journaliste a vu et entendu, Charles Enderlin a reconnu que le film qui a fait le tour du monde en entrainant des violences sans précédent dans toute la région ne correspondait peut-être pas au commentaire qu’il avait donné. Laurence Trébucq (Présidente de la Cour d’appel de Paris, 21.05.08)
This is not staging, it’s playing for the camera. When they threw stones and Molotov cocktails, it was in part for the camera. That doesn’t mean it’s not true. They wanted to be filmed throwing stones and being hit by rubber bullets. All of us — the ARD too — did reports on kids confronting the Israeli army, in order to be filmed in Ramallah, in Gaza. That’s not staging, that’s reality. Charles Enderlin
La mort de Mohammed annule, efface celle de l’enfant juif, les mains en l’air devant les SS, dans le Ghetto de Varsovie. Catherine Nay (Europe 1)
Enderlin (Charles) : Scénariste et producteur de fictions. Capable de transformer le vivant en mort ; de faire apparaître et disparaître les cicatrices ; d’empêcher les blessures par balles de guerre de saigner. Journaliste à l’objectivité sans faille. Modèle professionnel de Jacques Chirac et des journalistes français. Détenteur de rushes invisibles, mais néanmoins accablants. Les montrera le jour suivant la Saint-GlinGlin 2019, à cause d’une clause signée avec les acteurs, MM. Al-Dura père et fils. Laurent Murawiec
Ce reportage de 27 secondes a été une « source d’inspiration » et a servi à justifier le terrorisme, l’antisémitisme, et la délégitimation de l’Etat juif. L’image choc a été diffusée et rediffusée sur toutes les chaînes de la planète et a déclenché dans les territoires et en Israël des vagues de protestation, de haine et de violence. Depuis lors, « les soldats de Tsahal sont désormais des tueurs à gage et des assassins d’enfants innocents. » « Les soldats juifs se comportent comme des nazis… » Et l’enfant palestinien devient martyr et comparé à la célèbre photo de l’enfant juif du ghetto de Varsovie, levant les bras devant un soldat allemand… Dans les pays arabes, la mort du petit Mohammed est sur toutes les lèvres. Des milliers de photos sont affichées sur les murs des rues et dans les appartements. Les nouveau-nés prennent le nom de Mohammed al-Doura. Des timbres nationaux et des places publiques aussi. L’enfant tué « avec préméditation » devient le symbole de la lutte des Palestiniens contre l’occupation israélienne dans les territoires et dans les pays islamiques. Freddy Eytan
Ce reportage est devenu une « affaire » parce qu’il a été monté de toutes pièces, semblable à « l’affaire Dreyfus » dans lequel on retrouve désinformation, manipulation et mensonge, Charles Enderlin n’était même pas présent sur le lieu du « crime » qu’il décrivait. Avec une différence, la France de Dreyfus était divisée, alors que la France d’Enderlin est unie dans son antisionisme, il y a même un parti politique antisioniste, le PAS. (…) Charles Enderlin est coupable d’avoir oublié ses certitudes et d’avoir fait siennes les convictions d’une France majoritairement antisioniste, anti-israélienne. Charles Enderlin est coupable d’avoir choisi l’autre côté, l’autre coté, c’est le chemin de tout le monde, c’est le chemin de la majorité. La France veut des reportages anti-israéliens, Charles Enderlin va les lui fournir, avec zèle. (…) Charles Enderlin s’est condamné lui-même, il est condamné à être l’ami de tous les anti-sionistes, les anti-Israéliens, les antijuifs, du premier tristement célèbre d’entre eux, Pascal Boniface. Lui le juif, le sioniste, va servir d’alibi à Dieudonné et à ses amis, il va devenir leur exemple, leur modèle. Raphaël Kalfon
Il est maintenant établi, grâce au travail d’investigation de personnes issues de pays et de professions très variées (journalistes, documentaristes, universitaires, experts médicaux et balistiques) que le reportage diffusé le 30 septembre 2000 au JT de France 2, où Charles Enderlin affirme, sur la foi d’images tournées à Gaza par son cameraman palestinien Talal Abou Rahma qu’un enfant, Mohammed Al Dura, a été tué et son père Jamal grièvement blessé par des tirs venus d’une position militaire israélienne, était une mise en scène. Depuis douze ans, Charles Enderlin s’est enfermé dans un déni le contraignant à enchaîner mensonges sur mensonges pour sauver sa peau de journaliste vedette de la chaîne publique française. Depuis douze ans tous les moyens ont été mis en œuvre pour faire obstacle au surgissement de cette vérité maintenant admise presque partout, sauf en France. France Télévisions a d’abord prétexté de la protection des sources pour ne pas livrer à la justice les « rushes », c’est-à-dire les images tournées par Talal Abou Rahma, mais non diffusées dans le sujet du JT. Lorsqu’elles furent rendues publiques sur l’injonction de la présidente de la Cour d’appel de Paris, il apparut de manière éclatante que la version servie jusque-là par Enderlin et France 2 ne tenait pas la route : les images invalidaient tous les récits du drame dont ses protagonistes ne s’étaient pas montrés avares dans les médias du monde entier. L’affirmation répétée moult fois par Enderlin qu’il avait coupé au montage celles montrant l’agonie de l’enfant, car elles étaient trop horribles, s’est révélée totalement mensongère. D’autres éléments mis en lumière par ces rushes sont tout aussi accablants pour la thèse défendue par France 2 : absence de sang sur les vêtements de Mohammed et Jamal Al Dura, incompatibilité des cicatrices présentes sur le corps du père avec des blessures par balles, etc. Une journaliste allemande de premier plan, Esther Schapira, aujourd’hui chef du service documentaire de la principale chaîne de télévision d’Outre-Rhin a réuni, dans un film impressionnant « L’enfant, la mort et la vérité » (http://vimeo.com/59475901) une série de témoignages accablants pour Charles Enderlin et Talal Abou Rahma. Leurs mensonges successifs, leurs faux fuyants ne résistent pas une seconde aux « vérités de faits » collectés sur le terrain, à Gaza et en Israël. Les téléspectateurs français ont été privés de la possibilité de se faire une opinion sur le travail d’Esther Schapira : France 2 a exercé des pressions sur toutes les chaînes diffusées en France, y compris ARTE, pourtant franco-allemande, pour empêcher de programmer ce documentaire. Pire, elle a menacé l’ARD de dénoncer les accords de coopération entre les deux chaînes si l’ARD vendait ce programme à l’étranger. Fort heureusement, les dirigeants de cette dernière ne se sont pas laissé intimider par France 2 et le documentaire a été diffusé en Israël et de nombreux pays. Luc Rosenzweig
La tâche sacrée des journalistes musulmans est, d’une part, de protéger la Umma des « dangers imminents », et donc, à cette fin, de « censurer tous les matériaux » et, d’autre part, « de combattre le sionisme et sa politique colonialiste de création d’implantations, ainsi que son anéantissement impitoyable du peuple palestinien ». Charte des médias islamiques de grande diffusion (Jakarta, 1980)
Il s’agit de formes d’expression artistique, mais tout cela sert à exprimer la vérité… Nous n’oublions jamais nos principes journalistiques les plus élevés auxquels nous nous sommes engagés, de dire la vérité et rien que la vérité. Haut responsable de la Télévision de l’Autorité palestinienne
Karsenty est donc si choqué que des images truquées soient utilisées et éditées à Gaza ? Mais cela a lieu partout à la télévision, et aucun journaliste de télévision de terrain, aucun monteur de film, ne seraient choqués. Clément Weill-Raynal (France 3)
Nous avons toujours respecté (et continuerons à respecter) les procédures journalistiques de l’Autorité palestinienne en matière d’exercice de la profession de journaliste en Palestine… (Roberto Cristiano, représentant de la « chaîne de télévision officielle RAI, Lettre à l’Autorité palestinienne)
Je suis venu au journalisme afin de poursuivre la lutte en faveur de mon peuple. Talal Abu Rahma (lors de la réception d’un prix, au Maroc, en 2001, pour sa vidéo sur al-Dura)

Montrez-moi le pays et je vous trouve le crime !

En ce triste 20e anniversaire …

Du faux du siècle …

Et d’un reportage de 27 secondes qui, diffusé et rediffusé sur la planète entière et entre posters, timbres et noms de rue …

A inspiré et servi à justifier les pires exactions terroristes comme l’antisémitisme et la délégitimation de l’Etat d’Israël …

Et à l’heure où complètement discrédités – Accord du siècle de Trump oblige – par leurs anciens soutiens au sein même du Monde arabe …

Les dirigeants, de l’Autorité paelstinienne au Hamas et au Hezbollah, des divers mouvements terroristes palestiniens …

N’auront bientôt plus comme raison d’être pour continuer à martyriser leur peuple et assassiner des innocents …

Que la perversité de leurs commanditaires iraniens, turcs et qataris …

Ou, Macron et Biden en tête, l’ignorance et la naïveté de leurs idiots utiles occidentaux …

Quelle meilleure et plus révélatrice preuve de l’infâmie …

Que cette phrase de celui par qui, avec l’aide du correspondant de France 2 Charles Enderlin, le scandale est arrivé …

Et que célèbre aujourd’hui 20 ans après la notoire chaine boute-feu qatarie Al Jazeera

Le preneur de vue palestinien lui-même, Tala Abou Rahma, lors de la réception d’un prix un an plus tard au Maroc:

« Je suis venu au journalisme afin de poursuivre la lutte en faveur de mon peuple » ?

Behind the lens: Remembering Muhammad al-Durrah, 20 years on

Twenty years ago, a video of a 12-year-old boy being killed in Gaza reverberated around the world. Talal Abu Rahma, the cameraman who shot the video, remembers that day.

On September 30, 2000, a Palestinian cameraman from Gaza, Talal Abu Rahma, shot a video of a father and his 12-year-old son under fire on the Saladin Road, south of Gaza City. The boy, Muhammad al-Durrah, was mortally wounded and died soon after.

The video of Jamal al-Durrah trying to shield his son as bullets rained down on them was aired by France 2, the news channel Abu Rahma was working for. It became one of the most powerful images of the Second Intifada.

The Israeli government tried to challenge the veracity of the video, with the Israeli military denying that its soldiers had been responsible.

It took until 2013 for a French court to vindicate France 2 and Abu Rahma, ultimately upholding their defamation case against Philippe Karsenty, a French media commentator who had accused them of staging the video, and fining him 7,000 euros.

Abu Rahma, who has won numerous awards for his work, including the Rory Peck Award in 2001, is now based in Greece, where he, his wife and six-year-old son are residents. He works between there and Amman, Jordan. He has been banned from returning to Gaza since 2017.

Twenty years on, he recalls the events of that day:

The day before, I was in Jerusalem working at the France 2 office. Charles Enderlin, the France 2 bureau chief in Jerusalem, called me at 10am and said “I am sending you the car, you have to go back quickly to Gaza because the situation in the West Bank is getting very, very bad.”

So I went back. Charles called me when I arrived and asked about the situation in Gaza. I said: “Gaza, it’s quiet, nothing in Gaza.” “OK,” he replied, “well keep your eyes on it, if anything happens, just let me know and go and film.”

At 3pm, 4pm, there was nothing happening. It was a Friday, you know. The West Bank was on fire, but Gaza was really quiet. I knew why it was quiet – because the schools were closed and it was the holy day.

We were watching the situation and I knew, as a journalist, that on Saturday morning there would be a demonstration in Gaza. At that time there were three very sensitive points in Gaza – one at Erez, one north of Gaza City, and the third in the middle, on Saladin Road.

Many people have asked why I went to Saladin Road. It was because it was in the middle. If something happened in Erez or elsewhere I could quickly move there. Like me, all the journalists knew what would happen on Saturday morning. I went down at about 7am because that is the time the students go to school and I knew there would be lots of people around.

They started throwing stones. And hour by hour it increased. I was in contact with my colleagues at Erez, to know what was going on over there – as that was the real hot point.

I stayed where I was until about 1pm. At this point it was tear gas, it was rubber bullets, it was stone-throwing; you know, it was normal. But there were a lot of people throwing stones. Not hundreds. Thousands.

I called the office and told them that about 40 people had been injured by rubber bullets and tear gas. Charles told me “OK, try to make interviews and send it in by satellite.”

‘It was raining bullets’

As I was conducting my second interview, the shooting started. I took my camera off its stand and put it on my shoulder. I started moving left and right to see who was shooting – shooting like crazy. Who was shooting at whom and why, I really didn’t know. I tried to hide myself because there were a lot of bullets flying around.

There was a van to my left, so I hid behind it. Then a few children came and hid there, too. At that point, I hadn’t seen the man and the boy. Ambulances were arriving and taking the injured away.

I could not hear anybody over the sound of the bullets. It just kept getting worse. There was a lot of shooting, many injured. I was really scared. There was blood on the ground. People were running, falling down; they didn’t know where the bullets were coming from, they were just trying to hide. I was confused about what to do to – whether to continue filming or to run away. But I’m a stubborn journalist.

At that moment, Charles called and asked me, “Talal, do you have your helmet on, do you have your jacket on?” Because he knows me, I don’t put the helmet and flak jacket on – it’s too heavy. But he was screaming at me, “Put it on, please, Talal.” I got really mad because I didn’t want to hear it. I told him, “I am in danger. Please, Charles, if something happens to me, take care of my family.” Then I hung up the phone.

In that moment, I was thinking about my family: about my girls, about my boy, about my wife, and about myself. I could smell death. Every second I was checking myself to see if I had been injured.

Then one of the children who was hiding beside me said: “They are shooting at them.” I asked: “Shooting at who?” That was when I saw the man and the boy against the wall. They were hiding and the man was moving his hand and saying something. The bullets were coming right at them. But I couldn’t tell where they were coming from.

In the corner on the right side of the man, there were Israeli soldiers and Palestinian security forces. In front of that point was the Israeli base. What could I do? I couldn’t cross the street. It was too busy and very wide, and the shooting was like rain. I couldn’t do anything.

The children beside me were scared and screaming and, in that moment, I saw through my camera that the boy had been injured. Then the man was injured, but he was still waving and shouting, asking for help, asking for the shooting to stop. The boys with me were really going crazy. I was trying to calm them down. I was scared about taking care of myself and them. But I had to film. This is my career. This is my work. I was not there just to take care of myself. There is a rule: a picture is not more valuable than a life. But, believe me, I tried to protect myself and I tried to save this boy and the father, but the shooting was too much.

France 2 TV footage shows Muhammad al-Durrah after he was fatally struck in the abdomen; his seriously wounded father, Jamal, shook with convulsions and lost consciousness, and was later hospitalised in Gaza [Photo by France 2/AFP]

It was too dangerous to cross the street. It was raining bullets. Then, I heard a boom and the picture was filled with white smoke.

Before the boom, the boy was alive but injured. I think the first injury was to his leg. But after the smoke moved, the next time I saw the boy, he was laying down on his father’s lap and his father was against the wall, not moving. The boy was bleeding from his stomach.

The ambulances tried to get in many times. I saw them. But they couldn’t because it was too dangerous. Eventually, one ambulance came in and picked up the boy and the man. I whistled to the driver, he saw me clearly and slowed down. I asked if we could go with him. He said, “No, no, no, I have very serious cases” and then he drove off.

When the shooting stopped, the boys near me started running, left and right. I stayed by myself and then decided to walk away. I walked for about five to seven minutes towards my car. I was trying to call the office in Jerusalem – it took a while to get a signal back then when mobile phones were still quite new. As I was walking, I saw a colleague from another news agency.

I asked him, “How many injured, how many killed?” He told me about three. I said, “Look, if you are talking about the three dead, add another two. I think there are another two, they were killed against the wall.” I showed him what I had filmed and he started screaming, “Oh no! Oh no! This is Jamal, this is his son, Muhammad, they were in the market. Oh my God, oh my God!”

I asked him, “Do you know them?” He replied, “Yes, I am married to his sister.”

The office was silent

I called Charles and he asked me, “Where have you been?” I said, “Don’t talk to me, I am very tired.” He said, “OK, you’ve got until 5pm, go feed it right now.”

When I fed the footage, everyone in my office in Gaza and in the France 2 office in Jerusalem went quiet. You couldn’t hear any noise. Everyone was astonished; even the journalists around me.

Charles spoke first. He said, “OK, Talal, I think you need to rest because this is unbelievable. But are you sure no one else filmed it?”

I said, “I was on my own, you can write exclusive for France 2.”

He said, “OK, go rest” and I went back home.

‘The camera doesn’t lie’

Then Charles called me back and asked me some questions: the angles of my footage, my position, how, who – a lot of questions. It aired at 8pm that day but Charles had to deal with a lot of questions. High-level people in Paris and Israel, he called the Israeli army, as he was obliged to, according to the law. These were strong pictures.

High-level people in Paris started asking me questions. I answered it all, knowing that Charles trusts me and knows who I am. I am not biased. From the beginning, before I started working for France 2, Charles told me, “Talal, don’t be biased.” And up until now I have taken him at his word, not to be biased.

There was a lot of talk about this video, claims that it was fake. But the people saying this didn’t even know the area. There were a lot of calls and investigations with me about how true the images were. I had one answer for them. The camera doesn’t lie. Whatever they say about these pictures, it can’t hurt me, except in one way – my career. They hurt what I am working for – journalism. To me journalism is my religion, my language, there are no borders for journalism.

I received a lot of awards for that video. I was honoured in Dubai, in Qatar, even in London twice. I received awards from America and France. I really don’t know how these people think we could have staged it.

The day after the shooting, I went to the hospital to see Jamal. I could not talk to him too much. I took a few pictures and spoke to a doctor who told me that Jamal’s condition was very bad, that there were a lot of bullets in his body.

A few people asked me how much we sold the pictures for. But France 2 told me the images would be distributed for free and I was in agreement with them. They said, “We will not make money from the blood of children.”

The court case in Paris went on until 2013. We won. We didn’t receive any money at all from the case. It was the dignity of our job that pushed us to fight the case.

This account has been edited for clarity and brevity.


When they see us: Dans notre société tout homme qui ne parle pas bien risque d’être condamné à mort (Just in time: Guess why a Netflix series by Obama close friend on the 30-year old Central Park Five wilding case amplifying the theme that Trump is a longtime racist just happened to come out a year and a half away from election time ?)

8 décembre, 2019

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J’ai résumé L’Étranger, il y a longtemps, par une phrase dont je reconnais qu’elle est très paradoxale :“Dans notre société tout homme qui ne pleure pas à l’enterrement de sa mère risque d’être condamné à mort.” Je voulais dire seulement que le héros du livre est condamné parce qu’il ne joue pas le jeu. En ce sens, il est étranger à la société où il vit, où il erre, en marge, dans les faubourgs de la vie privée, solitaire, sensuelle. Et c’est pourquoi des lecteurs ont été tentés de le considérer comme une épave. On aura cependant une idée plus exacte du personnage, plus conforme en tout cas aux intentions de son auteur, si l’on se demande en quoi Meursault ne joue pas le jeu. La réponse est simple : il refuse de mentir.  (…) Meursault, pour moi, n’est donc pas une épave, mais un homme pauvre et nu, amoureux du soleil qui ne laisse pas d’ombres. Loin qu’il soit privé de toute sensibilité, une passion profonde parce que tenace, l’anime : la passion de l’absolu et de la vérité. Il s’agit d’une vérité encore négative, la vérité d’être et de sentir, mais sans laquelle nulle conquête sur soi et sur le monde ne sera jamais possible. On ne se tromperait donc pas beaucoup en lisant, dans L’Étranger, l’histoire d’un homme qui, sans aucune attitude héroïque, accepte de mourir pour la vérité. Il m’est arrivé de dire aussi, et toujours paradoxalement, que j’avais essayé de figurer, dans mon personnage, le seul Christ que nous méritions. On comprendra, après mes explications, que je l’aie dit sans aucune intention de blasphème et seulement avec l’affection un peu ironique qu’un artiste a le droit d’éprouver à l’égard des personnages de sa création. Albert Camus (préface américaine à L’Etranger, 1955)
Le thème du poète maudit né dans une société marchande (…) s’est durci dans un préjugé qui finit par vouloir qu’on ne puisse être un grand artiste que contre la société de son temps, quelle qu’elle soit. Légitime à l’origine quand il affirmait qu’un artiste véritable ne pouvait composer avec le monde de l’argent, le principe est devenu faux lorsqu’on en a tiré qu’un artiste ne pouvait s’affirmer qu’en étant contre toute chose en général. Albert Camus (discours de Suède, 1957)
Personne ne nous fera croire que l’appareil judiciaire d’un Etat moderne prend réellement pour objet l’extermination des petits bureaucrates qui s’adonnent au café au lait, aux films de Fernandel et aux passades amoureuses avec la secrétaire du patron. René Girard (Critiques dans un souterrain, 1976)
La même force culturelle et spirituelle qui a joué un rôle si décisif dans la disparition du sacrifice humain est aujourd’hui en train de provoquer la disparition des rituels de sacrifice humain qui l’ont jadis remplacé. Tout cela semble être une bonne nouvelle, mais à condition que ceux qui comptaient sur ces ressources rituelles soient en mesure de les remplacer par des ressources religieuses durables d’un autre genre. Priver une société des ressources sacrificielles rudimentaires dont elle dépend sans lui proposer d’alternatives, c’est la plonger dans une crise qui la conduira presque certainement à la violence. Gil Bailie
En présence de la diversité, nous nous replions sur nous-mêmes. Nous agissons comme des tortues. L’effet de la diversité est pire que ce qui avait été imaginé. Et ce n’est pas seulement que nous ne faisons plus confiance à ceux qui ne sont pas comme nous. Dans les communautés diverses, nous ne faisons plus confiance à ceux qui nous ressemblent. Robert Putnam
What they’re trying to do is what the KGB under Lavrentiy Beria said to Stalin, the dictator — I’m not comparing our country to the Soviet Union — I just want to make sure it never becomes anything like that. Beria, once the Soviet deputy premier and interior minister, famously would reassure Stalin, « Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime. » And that’s what some of the Democrats are doing. They have Trump in their sights. They want to figure out a way of impeaching him and they’re searching for a crime. First, they came up with abuse of power — not a crime — it’s not in the Constitution. So now they’re saying ‘bribery,’ but they’re making it up. There is no case for bribery based on, even if all the allegations against the president were to be proved, which they haven’t been. Alan Dershowitz
I see him as the quintessential bully. Too much power truly does warp a person, even a very brilliant person who was once an authentic idealist. Like some of today’s bullies and Machiavellian politicians, he and his family benefited from the democratic society that he later scorned and tried to overpower. We can look back and use the clarity about the past to raise a warning about the present. You can experience viscerally what we lost when we let corrupt people move unchecked. What is our core national character?  Are we going to make heroes out of bullies and prioritize the achievements of power, or are we going to assert that heroism means having empathy for people’s struggles? Edward Norton
C’est une période au cours de laquelle les choses changeaient. On associe souvent New York à une ville libérale, progressive et cosmopolite. Mais dans les années 50, il y avait énormément d’anti-démocratie, de racisme, ce qui a eu un important impact sur le reste du siècle, jusqu’à aujourd’hui. Et je crois que choisir cette période m’a permis d’évoquer ce qui se passe aujourd’hui sans en parler directement. Edward Norton
In an op-ed from Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, former New York City prosecutor Linda Fairstein responded to the recent Netflix series on the Central Park Five, and accused its producer, Ava DuVernay, of fabricating words attributed to her character, played by Felicity Huffman, to portray her as a racist who was determined to convict the teens in the face of an alleged lack of evidence against them. Fairstein began the article, titled « Netflix’s False Story of the Central Park Five, » by declaring that the series, When They See Us, is « so full of distortions and falsehoods as to be an outright fabrication, » and complained that it is « an utterly false narrative involving an evil mastermind (me) and the falsely accused (the five). » She added that it « attempts to portray me as an overzealous prosecutor and a bigot, the police as incompetent or worse, and the five suspects innocent of all charges against them. None of this is true. Fairstein listed a number of pieces of misinformation from the series and argued that there was plenty of evidence to reasonably convict them at the time, as she stood by charges that they attacked several other people in the park that same night. Among several pieces of misinformation she claimed were included in the series was that it « portrays the suspects as being held without food, deprived of their parents’ company and advice, and not even allowed to use the bathroom, » and argued that if such accusations were true, they would have come out in the pre-trial hearings or inthe lawsuit that was filed years after their release from prison. Fairstein — who was supervisor over the sex crimes unit — argued that the series exaggerates how closely involved she was in handling the case and recalled that she « did not run the investigation, and never made any of the comments the screenwriter attributes to me. » She also directly contradicted a couple of scenes involving the questioning of an underage member of the group: The film claims that when Mr. Salaam’s mother arrived and told police that her son was only 15 — meaning they could not question him without a parent in the room — I tried to stop her, demanding to see a birth certificate. The truth is that Mr. Salaam himself claimed to be 16 and even had a forged bus pass to « prove » it. When I heard his mother say he was 15, I immediately halted his questioning. This is all supported by sworn testimony. The former prosecutor also argued that there was additional evidence of their guilt: There is, for example, the African American woman who testified at the trial — and again at the 2002 reinvestigation — that when Korey Wise called her brother, he told her that he had held the jogger down and felt her breasts while others attacked her. There were blood stains and dirt on clothing of some of the five. She soon added that more than a dozen other witnesses « named some or all of the five » in helping attack other victims. It is noteworthy that, while the Netflix series depicts the five teens as innocent bystanders who merely witnessed other assailants attacking and beating up other victims in the park, the film, The Central Park Five, by Ken Burns, accepted that they were « beating up other people » in the park even while that film was devoted to defending the teens regarding the attack on the jogger, Trisha Meili. Fairstein also recalled that Salaam « testified that he had gone into the park carrying a 14-inch metal pipe — the same type of weapon that was used to bludgeon both a male school teacher and Ms. Meili. » The former prosecutor also argued that the fact that DNA testing on the semen found at the scene did not match any of the five teens did not mean that they could not have been part of the attack on her, as they were charged as « accomplices » to the person who eventually confessed to raping her, serial rapist Matias Reyes. She further recalled that « two of them admitted to climbing on top of her and siimulating intercourse, » adding that « Semen was found on the inside of their clothing, corroborating those confessions. » Fairstein concluded her article: That Ms. DuVernay ignored so much of the truth about the gang of 30 and about the suffering of their victims — and that her film includes so many falsehoods — is nonetheless an outrage. Ms. DuVernay does not define me, and her film does not speak the truth. Newsbusters
The NYPD police officer who made the first arrests in the Central Park Five investigation has condemned Netflix’s drama When They See Us as ‘lies’ and said it puts the lives of cops and prosecutors at risk. Eric Reynolds, who as a plainclothes officer arrested Raymond Santana and Kevin Richardson, tells DailyMailTV that the four-part television adaptation is so filled with errors that it is ‘malicious recreation’. He described the miniseries, produced by Robert De Niro and Oprah Winfrey and directed by Ava DuVernay, as ‘total nonsense’ that left him ‘flabbergasted’ (…) He spoke out after an outcry in the wake of the series led to prosecutors Linda Fairstein and Elizabeth Lederer losing publishing contracts, board seats and lecturing roles. Reynolds, 59, rejected criticism of the investigation, prosecution and conviction of the five for the rape of 28-year-old jogger, Patricia Meili – and particularly took issue with the portrayal of the black men as victims of a racist system. As an African American, he said, the allegations of racism cut particularly deep. (…) And he said that even the brief appearance he makes in the series, which has been watched by 23 million Netflix accounts worldwide, is pure ‘fiction,’ portraying events which simply did not happen; he was shown as a uniformed officer when he in fact wore plain clothes. He believes the series is inflammatory by depicting members of the five looking badly beaten when they were arrested. Reynolds told DailyMailTV, ‘Please, someone, show me the pictures of them. Show me the injuries, show me the black eyes, show me the swollen faces because every single one of them that came out of that precinct had none of that.’ He has shared his own recollections of the night of April 19, 1989 when more than 30 young men embarked on a violent spree of terror, and Meili was found raped and close to death in Central Park. Raymond Santana, then 14, Kevin Richardson, 14, Korey Wise, 16, Antron McCray, 15 and Yusef Salaam, 15 all confessed and were convicted of participating in multiple crimes on April 19. But the one that is remembered is Meili’s rape. In 2002 their convictions were sensationally vacated in their entirety when Matias Reyes, a serial rapist already in prison, confessed to the crime and claimed to have acted alone. The five sued New York City, said their confessions were coerced and won a $41 million payout. Supporters said they had been exonerated and the Central Park Five became synonymous with an unimaginable miscarriage of justice. When They See Us opens on the night of the ‘wilding’, where a mass of young men rushed through Central Park, casting the five very squarely as innocents caught up in events and on the fringes of any violence. Reynolds said, ‘When I saw the opening scenes it was like watching a musical. I was flabbergasted. That absolutely was not what occurred.’ The Central Park Five had their convictions vacated after serial rapist Matias Reyes admitted raping jogger Patricia Meili. His DNA matched evidence found at the scene In one scene a man, most likely a depiction of teacher John Loughlin, is shown being felled by a single punch while three of the five look on. Reynolds said, ‘It did not happen that way. They were beating him with a pipe. They beat him so savagely that both of his eyes were shut and he had a cracked skull.’ Testimony from one who was there stated that Yusef Salaam was wielding that pipe and ‘going to work on him.’ The cop who found Loughlin told Reynolds that he ‘looked like his head was dunked in a bucket of blood.’ In another scene the boys are part of a crowd halfheartedly harassing a couple on a tandem bike. Again Reynolds watched in outrage at what he said is a ‘total fiction.’ He explained, ‘The group lay in wait. They stretched out across the roadway and held hands to knock them off their bike. It was a couple on the tandem and the woman said she was scared for her life. ‘Her boyfriend just told her, ‘Put your head down and pedal as hard as you can.’ And they rode through them as they were grabbing at her clothes and by the grace of God they got away.’ Pointing to the couple attacked on their tandem he said it was the violence, not the ethnicity, of its perpetrators that mattered to police officers. He said, ‘I don’t understand how that’s a race issue if you’re in the middle of a park riding on a bike in the middle of the night and a group of males, whether they’re black, white or whatever, you know are standing on the road with the express purpose of knocking you off the bike. (…) He recalled, ‘We were getting numerous radio runs of a large crowd of black and Hispanic kids assaulting and robbing people. We had people going into the station house and cops out in the field who had gotten flagged down by civilians saying, ‘There’s a crowd of kids there. They’ve tried to assault us and thrown rocks. (…)  Reynolds recalled, ‘There were 30 of them on the move. There’s only two of us so, you know, clearly we’re not going to get all of them. Long story short we got five of them.’ Two were Raymond Santana – who had, Reynolds said, been leading the pack – and Kevin Richardson who started crying in the back of the squad car. Reynolds said, ‘He [Richardson] started crying and saying that he ‘knew who did the murder’. He said it was Antron McCray and he would tell us where he lived.’ The officers assumed he was talking about Loughlin who was beaten unconscious. (…) Reynolds’ partner asked Santana and Stephen Lopez, a member of the group he was arrested alongside, what they were doing out making trouble and why weren’t they with their girlfriends instead. According to Reynolds, ‘Santana said, ‘I already got mine,’ and they kind of laughed. I just assumed it was an in-joke. It only became significant after we learned what had happened to the jogger.’ (…) While the boys were waiting, at around 1.30am, the call came in that a female jogger had been found in the park, raped and beaten to within an inch of her life. The detectives responding to the crime had been told that Reynolds had arrested five out of a group of about 30 kids ‘wilding’ in the park. Now they instructed Reynolds not to let them go. He recalled, ‘They said, ‘Look, we don’t think these kids have anything to do with it but they were up there at the same time that she was attacked. They might have seen something so we’re going to come down and debrief them.’ Reynolds was in the room for all of those interviews. He said, ‘Their parents are there, they’re getting their rights read. We ask them what happened in the park? According to Reynolds they did not ask the kids about the rape directly. The first two kids told almost identical stories. They said they’d been in the park with a bunch of kids who were beating people up but they didn’t touch anybody Reynolds wrote them up and let them go home. Then, he said, ‘The third kid is Kevin Richardson. He’s there with his mother. We read him his rights. We ask him what happened. He said the exact same thing the other kids said – everyone else was beating people up but I didn’t touch anyone.’ Then one of the detectives noticed he had a scratch on his face. They asked him how he’d got it and at first he blamed Reynolds’s partner for the injury. When told the officer was next door and would be asked if that was true Richardson changed his story. Reynolds said, ‘He said, « Okay, it was the female jogger. » And I’ll be honest with you I almost fell off my seat because I was not expecting him to say that. ‘And then he starts to go into the story of the attack on the jogger. No coercion. We didn’t even think he was involved. He starts to give it up right there in front of us.’ Ultimately police questioned 37 boys and, contrary to Netflix’s dramatic depiction, there was nothing random or rushed in the five who were ultimately charged. They became the Central Park Five, he said, not because cops were anxious to pin the crime on someone but because they implicated themselves and each other when interviewed. In DuVernay’s drama particular attention is given to Korey Wise’s story. He is shown accompanying his friend Salaam to the station, an act of loyalty that sees him embroiled in the case when he wasn’t even on the cops’ radar. Reynolds is exasperated by this. He said: ‘Korey Wise was named by other participants in the wilding that day. We went specifically to look for him. ‘When detectives asked a couple of people in front of their building if they had seen him they said they saw him earlier and he said, « Y’all better stay away from me because the cops are after me. »‘ When they asked him why, Reynolds said, the people in front of the building stated that Wise had told them: ‘You see that woman in Central Park last night? That was us.’ (…) Reynolds points to a wealth of physical evidence that was never refuted at trial: hair and blood ‘consistent’ with the jogger’s was found on the boys’ sneakers and clothing, along with semen in the boys’ underwear. The fact that none of them claimed to be able to finish the act of penetrative sex is the reason, Reynolds said, that their semen was only found on the inside of their underwear and clothing rather than on Meili. (…) Reynolds explained, ‘Reyes comes forward to say he did it by himself and he can prove it because he knows something we don’t know. And he’s correct. ‘She had a fanny pack with her Walkman in it and he took it and he threw it away. (…) ‘But then Armstrong found that a detective had taken some notes of an interview with Korey Wise. And Korey said that there was a guy named ‘Rudy,’ who he said took her fanny pack and her Walkman.’ Reynolds believes that Rudy was Reyes and his name muddled up by Wise who has hearing difficulties. He said, ‘He told that to us on April 20, 1989, the day after. So how in the world does Korey Wise know about her fanny pack and Walkman in 1989 when Reyes says he knows about it because he was the only person there?’ (…) The report stated, ‘the most likely scenario for the events of April 19, 1989 was that the defendants came up on the jogger and subjected her to the same kind of attack, albeit with sexual overtones, that they inflicted upon other victims in the park that night. ‘Perhaps attracted to the scene by the jogger’s screams, Reyes either joined in the attack as it was ending or waited until the defendants have moved on to their next victims before descending upon her himself, raping her and inflicting upon her the brutal injuries that almost caused her death.’ Reynolds’s view is supported by both the medical opinion of Meili’s two Urgent Care Physicians at Metropolitan Hospital and the Armstrong Report. Dr Robert Kurtz is on record as saying Meili had injuries consistent with a sharp, clean blade or object while Reyes’ confession only mentioned a blunt object. Dr Kurtz noted that Reyes, ‘never said he had used a knife, or broken glass, or broken bottle or something like that that would have been able to inflict a clean laceration.  Dr Jane Mauer, a surgeon who helped reconstruct Meili’s face recalled seeing hand print bruising on her thighs Dr Mauer said, ‘You could see the four fingers and the thumb indented in her skin to hold her legs apart.’ It led her to doubt that this could be the work of one man. Moreover the Armstrong Report concluded Reyes could not be considered a reliable witness. It revealed a fellow inmate in prison with Reyes said Reyes told him ‘the attack on the jogger was already in progress when he joined, attracted to the scene by the jogger’s screams.’ Reynolds does not believe that the five should still be in prison. He said, ‘They did their time. They paid the price for what they did. You know, that’s it.’ When Bill de Blasio was elected New York City mayor in 2014 he ordered the $41 million settlement to go through for the five men. All legal action finished in 2016 when the men were awarded a further $3.9 million from New York State But despite the case now being closed, Reynolds feel the Netflix mini-series is unfairly punishing people who prosecuted the five. In the wake of the drama’s release Linda Fairstein, who supervised the prosecution, and lead prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer have both fallen victim to an angry public backlash. Fairstein, who now writes crime fiction, was dropped by her publisher. Lederer, who continues to work in the District Attorney’s office, resigned from teaching law as an adjunct at Columbia University in New York. Reynolds said, ‘It’s like mob justice. People are doing everything they can to destroy these women’s lives and they’ve done nothing wrong. They don’t even know that they’re not basing their opinions and their fury on what actually happened. (…) Reynolds believes the show falsely depicts a racist criminal justice system. He is keen to point out that growing up in Eighties New York, criminals posed the threat to public safety, not police officers. (…) He said, ‘This has got people so divided and so at each other’s throats it’s sad. Let me tell you there’s a lot of people who believe that they are guilty but they’re not going to say anything because they don’t want to get shouted down. They don’t want to be called racist.’ Daily Mail
More than three decades have passed since Jane Jacobs and Robert Caro tore down Moses’s once pristine public image, but his physical legacy remains standing. Our New York is Moses’s New York. He built 13 bridges, 416 miles of parkways, 658 playgrounds, and 150,000 housing units, spending $150 billion in today’s dollars. If you are riding the waves at Jones Beach or watching the Mets at Shea Stadium or listening to « La Traviata » at Lincoln Center or using the Triborough Bridge to get to the airport, then you are in the New York that Moses built. If we are to realize Mayor Bloomberg’s plans for a city of 9 million people with newer, greener infrastructure, then New York will again need to embrace construction and change. We will need again builders like Moses, who can put the needs of the city ahead of the opposition of a neighborhood. Yet Moses’s flaws, which were emphasized so eloquently by Jacobs and Mr. Caro, have led many to see nothing but evil in Moses and his works. Moses’s supposed villainy has established its place in the iconography of the preservationists who stand against growth. The opening of a three-part exhibition on Moses — at the Queens Museum of Art on January 28, at the Wallach Art Gallery of Columbia University on January 31, and at the Museum of the City of New York on February 1 — gives us a chance to reappraise his achievements. We should avoid the excesses of Moses’s early hagiography or his later vilification. The successes and failures of this master builder teach us that great cities need great builders, but that we must check their more Pharaonic excesses. The lessons of Moses’s life are taught by his projects. His best work, such as the parks and pools that had large benefits and modest costs, happened early in his career. When he was starting as Governor Smith’s park tsar, Moses could get public funding for his projects only if they were popular. The need to build support didn’t stop Moses from taking risks. Indeed, Smith accused Moses of wanting to « give the people a fur coat when what they need is red flannel underwear, » but Moses’s bold vision was just what the public wanted. Society was getting richer, and those parks and pools helped New York succeed as a place of consumption and as a center of production. Most of Moses’s bridges and expressways are also major successes. New York is a city of islands. The city’s waterways were ideal in the ages of sail and steam, but they became a major headache in the age of the car. Despite his lack of a driver’s license, Moses understood that New York needed to adapt to the automobile. His bridges made it easier for cars to cross between the city’s islands. His parkways made it more pleasant to drive into New York. Boston’s Big Dig should remind us that it is hard to retrofit a pre-car city for the automobile. By comparison, Moses’s achievements look cheap and effective. Some say Moses was wrong to build for the car. Some say the city should have bet exclusively on public transportation that would better serve the poor. But those critics ignore the millions of people who fled the older cities that weren’t car friendly. Every one of the 10 largest cities in the country in 1950 — except for Los Angeles and, miraculously, New York — lost at least one-fifth of its population between 1950 and today. Moses’s bridges and highways helped to keep some drivers living and working in New York. Those middle-class drivers helped New York to survive and grow, while every other large, cold city in the second half of the 20th century shrank. Not all of Moses’s transportation projects were winners. To build the Cross Bronx Expressway, Moses took thousands of apartments using the power of eminent domain. Neighborhoods were shattered as the highway smashed through a once-vibrant area. I cannot tell whether the benefits to the millions who have used the expressway outweigh the costs to the thousands who were evicted, but I am sure that the process was deeply flawed. To any friend of liberty, Robert Moses’s use of eminent domain represents big government at its most terrifying. At the stroke of a pen, entire communities can be wiped out because someone in government thinks that this removal is in the public interest. Without eminent domain, however, large-scale projects will either flounder or cost as much as the Big Dig. Mayor Bloomberg’s dream of a renewed New York will need eminent domain. But I hope that eminent domain in the post-Bloomberg era will become much fairer than it was during the era of Robert Moses. The state should develop better legal infrastructure to oversee takings. Perhaps there should be a state-level commission, independent of local government, with both elected and appointed members, that can subject each use of eminent domain to cost-benefit analysis and determine just compensation for the evicted. The right response to Moses’s excesses is not to renounce eminent domain, but to strengthen the process so that it can play its needed role. Mr. Caro criticizes Moses for catering to the prosperous by destroying low-income housing to build roads, housing, and amenities for the rich like Lincoln Center. This criticism may be apt, but the problem lies not in the man but in his situation. Moses was an appointed official whose career depended on the approval of elites, not the votes of the poor. While elected officials have an unfortunate tendency toward shortsighted populism, appointed officials have a tendency to cater to the well-connected. One of the most bizarre responses to the unelected power of Moses was to create the unelected power of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which seems almost designed to empower the most eloquent of squeaky wheels. A better response would have been to seek pro-growth solutions that combine the involvement of appointed and elected officials. Moses’s greatest failures were his housing projects. More than 40 years ago, Jacobs attacked Moses for replacing well-functioning neighborhoods with Le Corbusier-inspired towers. She was prescient. Moses spent millions and evicted tens of thousands to create buildings that became centers of crime, poverty, and despair. A simple but stark lesson emerged from Moses’s travails as housing tsar: The government is not good at the housing business. New York is filled with apartment buildings that provide decent housing and a comfortable social environment for their residents. Almost none of them were built by the government. New York has an affordable-housing problem, but it is the result of government intervention in the housing market that has limited housing supply. Rent control and an increasingly anti-growth regulatory environment have ensured that new supply has not kept up with the demand to live in reinvigorated New York. We need people with the vision of Robert Moses building homes in New York, but they should come from a private sector that is less fettered by government constraints. Moses was at his best when he had to make sure his projects would fund themselves or would really appeal to the people of New York. When Moses acquired vast federal funding, he also acquired the freedom to pursue his own vision, and that vision wasn’t always in the interests of the city. Mr. Bloomberg’s plan for New York in 2030 needs its own Moses-like master builders, but the city will be best served if those builders are funded by and accountable to the city. Those builders must not be beholden to every neighborhood group or cadre of unelected elites. While Moses’s successes would have been impossible under such conditions, his failures could have been checked if he had faced a greater degree of citywide oversight. Edward Glaeser
La violence le long de la ligne de tramway bordée de chênes Uptown a troublé ce qui avait été jusque là une journée de festivités plutôt paisible dans laquelle des centaines de milliers de personnes avaient fait la fête dans les rues en ce dernier jour du carnaval. NYT (sur les six victimes du Mardi gras de la Nouvelle–Orléans hier soir)
A l’exception d’un demandeur d’asile afghan, tous sont d’origine pakistanaise. Toutes les filles sont blanches. L’équation est aussi froide et simple qu’explosive, dans un Royaume-Uni en proie au doute sur son modèle multiculturel. (…) Dans les semaines suivant le procès, les médias égrènent les noms de villes où des gangs similaires à celui de Rochdale sont démantelés : Nelson, Oxford, Telford, High Wycombe… Et, fin octobre, c’est à nouveau à Rochdale qu’un groupe de neuf hommes est appréhendé. Chaque fois, les violeurs sont en grande majorité d’origine pakistanaise. Les micros se tendent vers les associations ou les chercheurs spécialisés dans la lutte contre les abus sexuels. Selon leurs conclusions, entre 46 % et 83 % des hommes impliqués dans ce type précis d’affaires – des viols commis en bande par des hommes qui amadouent leurs jeunes victimes en « milieu ouvert » – sont d’origine pakistanaise (les statistiques ethniques sont autorisées en Grande-Bretagne). Pour une population d’origine pakistanaise évaluée à 7 %. (…) En septembre, un rapport gouvernemental conclura à un raté sans précédent des services sociaux et de la police, qui renforce encore l’opinion dans l’idée qu’un « facteur racial » a joué dans l’affaire elle-même, mais aussi dans son traitement par les autorités : entre 2004 et 2010, 127 alertes ont été émises sur des cas d’abus sexuels sur mineurs, bon nombre concernant le groupe de Shabir Ahmed, sans qu’aucune mesure soit prise. A plusieurs reprises, les deux institutions ont estimé que des jeunes filles âgées de 12 à 17 ans « faisaient leurs propres choix de vie ». Pour Ann Cryer, ancienne députée de Keighley, une circonscription voisine, aucun doute n’est permis : police et services sociaux étaient « pétrifiés à l’idée d’être accusés de racisme ». Le ministre de la famille de l’époque, Tim Loughton, reconnaît que « le politiquement correct et les susceptibilités raciales ont constitué un problème ». L’air est d’autant plus vicié que, à l’audience, Shabir Ahmed en rajoute dans la provocation. Il traite le juge de « salope raciste » et affirme : « Mon seul crime est d’être musulman. » Un autre accusé lance : « Vous, les Blancs, vous entraînez vos filles à boire et à faire du sexe. Quand elles nous arrivent, elles sont parfaitement entraînées. » (…) un employé de la mairie s’interroge. Anonymement. « Où est la limite du racisme ? Les agresseurs voyaient ces filles comme du « déchet blanc », c’est indéniablement raciste. Mais les services sociaux, des gens bien blancs, ne les ont pas mieux considérées. » A quelques rues de là, dans sa permanence, Simon Danczuk, député travailliste de Rochdale qui a été l’un des premiers à parler publiquement d’un « facteur racial », juge tout aussi déterminant ce qu’il appelle le « facteur social » : « Les responsables des services sociaux ont pu imaginer que ces filles de même pas 15 ans se prostituaient, alors qu’ils en auraient été incapables à propos de leurs propres enfants. » (…) Mohammed Shafiq estime qu’ »une petite minorité d’hommes pakistanais voient les femmes comme des citoyens de seconde catégorie et les femmes blanches comme des citoyens de troisième catégorie ». Mais, pour lui, les jeunes filles agressées étaient surtout vulnérables. « Le fait qu’elles traînent dehors en pleine nuit, qu’elles soient habillées de façon légère, renforçait les agresseurs dans leur idée qu’elles ne valaient rien, qu’elles étaient inférieures. Mais cela faisait surtout d’elles des proies faciles, alors que les filles de la communauté pakistanaise sont mieux protégées par leur famille, et qu’un abus sexuel y est plus difficilement dissimulable. » Le Monde
Cologne résonne pourtant avec ce qui a pu être constaté en Egypte. On pense au film de Mohamed Diab Les Femmes du bus 678 (2011), et la façon dont des femmes subissent des attouchements. On pense à une enquête de l’écrivain et ancien journaliste du Monde Robert Solé qui décrivait les viols collectifs à répétition en Egypte (« Culture & idées » du 27 avril 2013). Des dizaines voire des centaines d’hommes se jettent sur une ou plusieurs femmes pour arracher leurs vêtements, les toucher, les pénétrer avec leurs doigts. Cette folie collective porte le nom de « taharosh ». Elle a souvent lieu lors de fêtes religieuses. Cela ressemble à ce qui s’est passé lors du soulèvement place Tahrir, au Caire, en 2011. Et cela ressemble à Cologne. Le Monde
We see more blind violence where people are attacked, ambushed and beaten up. This is terrorising our community. Jan Bøhler (Norwegian Labour Party)
Over the last month (…) Oslo’s city centre has witnessed an eruption of unprovoked attacks on random victims—most of them ethnic Norwegian men—by what police have described as youth gangs, each consisting of five to 10 young immigrants. The attacks typically take place on weekends. On Saturday, October 19, as many as 20 such attacks were recorded, with victims suffered varying degrees of injuries. One of the incidents involved a group of young men, originally from the Middle East, detained for attacking a man in his twenties in the affluent west end. According to police, the victim had been kicked repeatedly in the head while lying on the ground, in what appeared to be a random, unprovoked beating. Another victim that weekend was the uncle of Justice Minister Jøran Kallmyr, who suffered several broken ribs after being mobbed at the Romsås subway station. The following weekend in Oslo, Kurds and Turks clashed over recent developments in Turkey, and ended up looting a branch of the Body Shop on Karl Johan gate, as well as destroying several cars. Car fires also have been on the rise, though the problem has been around for years. (Even in 2013, cars were set alight in Oslo at the rate of about one per week, mostly in the city’s poorer east end.) Overall, crime rates are still low by the standards of other cities, but the recent rise in youth crime suggests that may be changing. “We see more blind violence where people are attacked, ambushed and beaten up,” said Labour Party politician Jan Bøhler to the media last month. “This is terrorising our community.” While such observations are widely shared, Bøhler is notable for being one of the few politicians on the left who’s raised his voice about rising crime among young immigrants. Oslo is the fastest growing capital city in Europe, despite the fact the country now is registering fewer births than at any time since the government started keeping track in the 19th century. About 14% of the country’s population is now composed of immigrants, with Poles, Lithuanians and Swedes topping the European migration sources; and Somalian, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria supplying the greatest number of non-OECD arrivals. Many of the immigrants congregate in Oslo, where, according to Statistics Norway, about a third of all residents are immigrants or born to immigrants. (As recently as 2004, the figure was just 22%.) In several areas, such as Stovner, Alna and Søndre Nordstrand, the figure is over 50%. According to a 2015 Statistics Norway report, “most persons with an immigrant background living in Oslo come from Pakistan (22,000), while 13-14,000 are from Poland, Sweden and Somalia. There are large differences between the districts: Persons with a background from Pakistan and Sri Lanka are most represented in [the far eastern suburbs of] Oslo.” By one 2012 estimate, 70 percent of Oslo’s first- and second-generation immigrants will have roots outside Europe by 2040, and about half of the city’s residents will be immigrants. Until now, Norway had seemed to cope well with the influx of immigrants from war-torn Muslim countries, in part because the intake levels generally were kept at a level that permitted newcomers to be integrated without overwhelming local resources. Indeed, there has been a broad consensus in Norwegian politics to keep immigration rates lower than those of comparable countries such as Sweden and Germany. Nevertheless, concerns have been rising in recent years, even if the ruling class was hesitant to discuss the issue. The country’s libertarian Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet) has repeatedly asked the country’s statistical agency to report on the statistical relationship between crime and country of origin. In the past, Statistics Norway refused, saying that such a task was “beyond its capacity.” But this year, for the first time, such a report was published. And the numbers were clear: Immigrants from certain backgrounds—particularly Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghanis—were many times more likely to commit violent crimes than other Norwegians (including other immigrant groups). In 65 out of 80 crime categories, non-Norwegians were over-represented. The largest discrepancy was in regard to domestic violence: Immigrants from non-Western countries were found to be eight times more likely to be charged for such crimes. Rape and murder were also heavily skewed toward these immigrant groups. Worryingly, the figures showed that second-generation immigrants were more likely to be criminals than their parents. For a long time, the expression svenske tilstander—“Swedish conditions”—has been used to describe large Swedish cities such as Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm, which feature areas plagued by bombings, gang-related gun violence, robbery and rape. In the past, Norwegians used the expression somewhat disparagingly, insisting that such issues would never arise in Norway (while also suggesting that the situation in Sweden was itself exaggerated by those with an anti-immigration agenda). But gradually, “Swedish conditions” have seemed less distant. Heidi Vibeke Pedersen, a Labour politician representing the immigrant-heavy area of Holmlia, recently wrote a Facebook post about her own experience, which was subsequently reprinted in VG, Norway’s biggest tabloid, under the headline “We have a problem in Oslo” (…) Pedersen’s article alluded to the fact that, in the quest to maintain their own cultures, some Muslims in Norway prefer to segregate instead of integrate. The newspaper Aftenposten recently uncovered the existence of Islamic schools presenting as cultural centres. And Islamsk Råd, the Islamic Council of Norway, now has proposed a separate branch of the Barnevernet—the government-run social services responsible for children—to deal with Muslim children. The article was shared by many. But Pedersen’s use of such terms as “Norwegian-Norwegian” (or norsk-norske) didn’t sit well with progressives and community advocates. Hasti Hamidi, a writer and Socialist Party politician, and Umar Ashraf, a Holmlia resident, wrote in VG that Pedersen’s use of the term “must mean that the author’s understanding of Norwegian-ness is synonymous with white skin.” Camara Lundestad Joof, a well known anti-racist activist and writer at the Dagbladet newspaper, accused Pedersen of branding local teenagers as terrorists. Using her own hard-done-by brother as an example, she explained how, in her opinion, Norwegian society has failed non-white young people. Had he been treated better, she argues, he and others like him would fare better. (One problem with this argument is that Norway is one of the least racist countries in the world.) Of course, this tension between racial sensitivity and blunt talk on crime has existed for generations in many Western societies. But it’s a relatively new topic in Norway, which is only now embracing certain hyper-progressive academic trends. (Oslo Metropolitan University, for instance, has recently produced an expert in so-called Whiteness Studies.) In fact, some influential Norwegians apparently would prefer that Statistics Norway had never released its report on crime and immigration in the first place. This includes Oslo’s vice mayor, Kamzy Gunaratnam, who told Dagbladet, “Damn, I’m angry! I’m not interested in these numbers…We don’t have a need to set people up against each other. These are our children, our people.” But burying the truth is never a good long-term strategy for anyone, including members of immigrant communities. The more persuasive view is that these issues should be addressed candidly, while they are still manageable. Unlike many other European countries, Norway doesn’t yet have an influential far-right party. But that may change if voters see that mainstream politicians are too polite to address a problem that ordinary people all over Oslo are talking about. Quillette
Les jeunes grandissent aujourd’hui dans un environnement où les menaces et la violence sont monnaie courante, où les adultes ont parfois peur d’intervenir et où on leur dit que la police est raciste. Notre quartier est de plus en plus divisé. Nous avons des régions qui sont principalement ‘norvégiennes-norvégiennes’, et d’autres à forte majorité immigrée. Ce n’est pas cela, la diversité. Heidi Vibeke Pedersen (élue travailliste norvégienne)
Depuis plusieurs semaines, le centre-ville d’Oslo est le théâtre d’agressions gratuites, qui prennent pour cible des hommes norvégiens « de souche ». Le mode opératoire est désormais connu des policiers, qui évoquent des gangs de jeunes immigrés, dont le nombre varie entre 5 et 10 habituellement. Une vingtaine de ces attaques, d’une rare violence, ont été recensées durant le seul samedi 19 octobre. Un jeune du quartier riche de la ville avait notamment été passé à tabac, prenant plusieurs cours de pied au visage. Au même moment, l’oncle du ministre de la Justice, le jeune Jøran Kallmyr, s’est fait casser plusieurs côtes. Le week-end suivant, plusieurs voitures ont été brûlées dans des échauffourées entre communautés turque et kurde. Mais en Norvège, rares sont les politiciens à se prononcer sur la hausse de la criminalité chez les jeunes immigrés… Valeurs actuelles
The random, apparently motiveless rampage in Central Park last week that the suspects in the case called wilding was an especially ferocious version of group delinquency that is common but usually not so vicious, law-enforcement officials and psychologists said this week. A 28-year-old investment banker, who was raped and savagely beaten, remains in a coma at Metropolitan Hospital as a result of the gang violence, and at least eight other people were assaulted by members of a group that the police now say numbered between 32 and 41. Eight youths have been arraigned on charges of rape, assault and attempted murder in the case, while five charges of assault, one involving a 13-year-old suspect, have been filed in the beating of a male jogger in his 40’s, who was seriously wounded in the head with a metal pipe. He was released from St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center over the weekend. Also, a 15-year-old has been charged with being one of 17 youths who beat and robbed a male jogger who has been identified only as wearing an Army jacket. A grand jury is expected to take up all of the cases on Thursday.  »’Wilding seems to be a new term, but it’s hardly a new activity, » said Peter Reinharz, chief prosecutor for the Family Court Division of the city’s Law Department.  »In terms of group attacks, the No. 1 crime that we’ve seen among juveniles in Family Court, at least prior to the crack invasion, is robbery 2 – that is, aided robberies, the wolf-pack robberies.  »Prior to that, » he said,  »the No. 1 crime was jostling, which is pickpocketing. But for some reason, I guess it became a little bit easier to knock the old lady over and just grab the bag rather than to reach into the pocket and hope you came out with something. So things have gotten a lot rougher in the city with respect to wolf packs. » Last year, Mr. Reinharz said, 622 wolf-pack cases were referred to Family Court, along with 139 attempted robberies of that type. In 1987, there were 608 such cases and 144 attempted wolf-pack robberies. The police quoted some of the youths questioned in the case, all of whom live in Harlem near the park, as saying that the rampage grew out of a plan to attack joggers and bicyclists in the park for fun.  »It certainly got out of control, » Mr. Reinharz said of the episode,  »but I don’t know if it was out of control for these types of kids. I think that kids like this, given what I would call their predatory nature, are people who, given the chance, would do something like this again. There really isn’t any way to control them – at least we haven’t found it in the juvenile justice system. Although Chief of Detectives Robert Colangelo said last week that the eight separate assaults on nine people seemed unrelated to money, drugs, alcohol or race, police officials said yesterday that they were investigating to what extent racial factors may have played a role in the youths’ choice of victims.  »The question of whether this was a series of bias-related incidents is being looked at very closely, » said Deputy Police Commissioner Alice T. McGillion. Police officials said that the evidence of bias consisted of testimony from victims, as well as a statement from one suspect in the rape attack, 15-year-old Yusef Salaam, who is said to have told detectives that one member of the group had suggested that they  »get a white girl. » Another 15-year-old, Jermain Robinson, who is charged with robbery of the male jogger in the Army jacket, is also said to have told detectives that youths who chased and threw stones at a white couple on a tandem bicycle had shouted racial epithets. All of those involved in the Central Park attacks are said to be black. The victims were a black man, who was briefly harassed until one youth shouted that he knew the man, two Hispanic people, – and six whites. Police investigators also said that while the other suspects had made no explicit references to racial factors, their acknowledgement that the chief target of their forays were joggers and bicyclists in the park was an indication that a racial motive was at work because, the police suggested, the majority of those who tend to use that part of the park at night tend to be white. For many psychologists, the idea of attacking people who seem to personify a level of unattainable affluence is a common pattern among particpants in wolf-pack attacks.  »From what I have been able to gether about the Central Park case, there seem to be some socioeconomic factors involved, » said Dr. Leah Blumberg Lapidus, a specialist in adolescent behavior in Columbia University’s department of clinical psychology.  »The media, especially television, is constantly advertising these various things that are necessary to define yourself, and the joggers may represent a level of socioeconomic attainment that the media has convinced everybody is necessary to have in order to be an acceptable person, » she said.  »So, to that extent, such people become a target. » On the other hand, Dr. Lapidus said, that did not explain why some of the victims were black or Hispanic. Law-enforcement officials said the the scale of the Central Park episode was reminiscent of an incident in July 1983, when gangs of youths ran amok at a Diana Ross concert in Central Park, beating and robbing scores of people. Two years later, in April 1985, a March of Dimes walkathon in which 26,000 people marched through Manhattan broke up in turmoil after packs of youths attacked and harassed dozens of people in and around Central Park, snatching chains, purses and other property. Police officials, who said Friday that none of the suspects in the park case had a criminal record, said yesterday that they had discovered that that one, 17-year-old Michael Brisco, had been on three years’ probation since December after a wolf-pack-style robbery last year. Officials said he and two others, 12 and 15 years old, had assaulted and robbed a 14-year-old on Nov. 10 on East 90th Street near Second Avenue. Authorities reported over the weekend that they were investigating the possibility that some of the participants in the park attacks had been involved in three separate robbery sprees four days earlier in East Harlem, one of which involved a stabbing. Professor Lapidus and another psychologist, Dr. Ann M. Jernberg, who is director of the Theraplay Institute of Chicago and Wilmette, Ill., both said that what they found set the park rampage apart from others were the intensity of the violence and the apparent failure of almost all of the nine accused youths to show any remorse. Police and prosecutors said they laughed and joked while in police custody, and that only one expressed any sorrow.  »This lack of awareness of the consequences of what they’ve done – almost as if they’re benumbed – is a little more extreme than what we’ve seen, » Dr. Lapidus said. For Dr. Jernberg, who traces the origin of many forms of antisocial behavior to early childhood problems in the family,  »the mob psychology that these kids were obviously caught up in protects them against remorse. » ‘You get together a group of adolescents and you’ve got the worst possible combination for trouble, » Dr. Jernberg said in a telephone interview from Chicago.  »The idea of collective violence, the risks involved, is terribly exciting, very dramatic, and sometimes all kids this age need is to see a violent movie or hear a song to encourage them. » For Mr. Reinharz, the randomness of such attacks – which he believes are largely underreported because  »people expect this kind of activity in the city » – is a component of what he called the  »predatory instincts » of youths who carry out wolf-pack behavior. NYT
En quatre épisodes, Dans leur regard reconstitue par la fiction l’affaire des “cinq de Central Park”, symbole de la violence et de l’arbitraire de la justice américaine envers les Noir.e.s. Au printemps 1989, cinq adolescents (quatre Afro-Américains et un Hispanique) ont été injustement accusés du viol et de la tentative de meurtre d’une joggeuse à Central Park. Condamnés par deux jurys successifs, ils ont passé entre six et treize ans derrière les barreaux avant que le véritable coupable ne se dénonce. Exonérés de toutes les charges en 2002, ils n’ont obtenu réparation de la part de l’Etat de New York qu’en 2014. Les Inrockuptibles
Pour ceux qui ne connaitraient pas l’affaire, elle a secoué New York et les États-Unis à la fin des années 80, et ses dernières répercussions ont eu lieu en 2014. Dans la nuit du 19 avril 1989, la joggeuse Trisha Melli est sauvagement attaquée, violée et laissée pour morte dans Central Park. La même nuit, une bande d’ados afro-américains et latinos (dont Raymond Santana et Kevin Richardson), sortis pour terrifier les promeneurs du parc, est raflée par la police et emmenée au poste. Le lendemain, trois autres jeunes (Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, et Korey Wise) sont à leurs tours arrêtés, interrogés par les inspecteurs et poussés à avouer ce crime qu’ils n’ont jamais commis.  Les cinq garçons seront jugés coupables et jetés en prison en 1990. Il faudra attendre 2002 pour que le véritable criminel (ironie du sort, il était blanc) vienne se dénoncer et soit arrêté. La libération de Korey Wise et l’acquittement des cinq garçons suivront plus ou moins rapidement. Enfin, en 2014, ils recevront une compensation financière d’environ 40 millions de dollars. (…) Comment dépeindre, 30 ans après les faits, un New York pré-Giuliani gangréné par la drogue et les violences interraciales ? (…) Comment la presse a-t-elle a pu les jeter en pâture et les rendre coupables avant même le procès ? (…) Mais l’injustice de l’histoire de ce garçon commence bien avant le procès : au départ, il n’aurait même pas dû être arrêté. Celui qui n’était pas sur la liste de noms donnés par Raymond Santana au moment de son arrestation, celui qui s’est retrouvé au poste dans l’unique but de ne pas laisser son ami seul, est finalement celui qui a purgé la plus longue peine et a connu les conditions d’incarcération les plus difficiles – conditions auxquelles un jeune de 16 ans n’est absolument pas préparé. Le choix d’Ava DuVernay d’offrir à Korey Wise un épisode entier n’a alors rien d’étonnant. Si le calvaire du jeune garçon est de moins en moins supportable à regarder à mesure que l’épisode se déroule, c’est sans doute grâce au talent de son interprète. (…) Dans leur regard est puissante, l’injustice de son histoire et la souffrance de ses personnages font facilement passer de la rage aux larmes. En 1989, l’affaire avait pris une proportion nationale. L’attaque raciale et contre les minorités avait été mise en avant par les défenseurs des « Cinq de Central Park ». Mais Ava DuVernay se plaît à rappeler autre chose : contre eux, il y avait un milliardaire de l’immobilier (dont les bureaux bordaient le parc) maintenant président des États-Unis. Donald Trump avait payé plus de 80 000 dollars pour des pages entières dans des journaux, appelant notamment au rétablissement de la peine de mort dans l’État. Outre Donald Trump, la procureur Linda Fairstein, campée par Felicity Huffman, est également pointée du doigt. Les accusations de la réalisatrice vont même plus loin : elle serait responsable de l’arrestation et surtout de l’acharnement de la police et de la cour sur les cinq adolescents et leur famille. Aujourd’hui, l’ex-procureur reconvertie en autrice est à son tour lynchée sur la place publique (et notamment la tweetosphère). Il faut dire que devant les conditions des interrogatoires des cinq garçons, la violence verbale et physique dont ils ont (ou auraient, pour Fairstein) fait les frais, et l’instrumentalisation politique de leur incarcération, l’opportunisme de la procureur se confond facilement avec un racisme aveugle. Aujourd’hui encore, la femme dément la vision des interrogatoires que propose DuVernay et reproche à la réalisatrice d’avoir non seulement omis une grande partie des méfaits du gang cette nuit du 19 avril 1989, mais aussi de ne s’être penchée que sur l’innocence des cinq garçons. S’il fallait faire un reproche à la série émouvante et militante, on pourrait pointer du doigt sa mise en scène très classique. Comme le but n’est pas d’esthétiser, mais de redonner leur place, leur parole et leur dignité à des personnes à jamais meurtries, la réalisation use d’effets dramatiques (musique, ralentis…) pour augmenter l’empathie du spectateur. C’est un peu facile et attendu, mais rien d’étonnant de la part de la réalisatrice de Selma. Ecran large
“The fact that wilin’ became wilding, became wolf pack, became these boys are animals… I remember for the first time realizing that the news might not be true, that the news is something that you have to really think about and question. Ava DuVernay
When Donald Trump took out that full-page ad, and put them in all of New York City’s newspapers, calling for our execution, he placed a bounty on our head. Yusuf Salaam
I look at Donald Trump, and I understand him as a representation of a symptom of America. We were convicted because of the colour of our skin. People thought the worst of us. And this is all because of prominent New Yorkers – especially Donald Trump. Yusuf Salaam
Though the Central Park attacks were certainly the backdrop to Trump’s ad, his language did not presume the guilt of the defendants, whom he scarcely mentioned, and he did not call specifically for the execution of anyone. In fact, Trump demanded capital punishment only for murderers, and by the time his ad appeared, Trisha Meili was expected to survive. Moreover, Trump was hardly alone, in New York City, in expressing horror and anguish about the attack—neither the New York Times nor the Daily News objected to running the ad, after all. New York City in 1989 was under violent assault from predatory criminals. There were nine times as many murders then as now; robbery and muggings were more than ten times as frequent as they are today. Rape and felony assault were well over double today’s rates. Pack-style violence like what happened that night in Central Park was all too common. Gangs “ran amok” at a 1983 Diana Ross concert in the Park, according to the Times, “beating and robbing scores of people.” In 1985, a March of Dimes walkathon was broken up around Central Park when “packs of youth attacked and harassed dozens of people,” stealing jewelry and pocketbooks. David Dinkins, running against Ed Koch in the 1989 Democratic primary for mayor, called for “anti-wilding” legislation in the wake of the Central Park Jogger attack. He won the general election against Rudy Giuliani in part for his promise to be tough on crime. Trump’s ad, though cast as a brutal call for revenge, is actually a demand for public safety, and a return to the “feeling of security New York’s finest once gave to the citizens of this City.” Written in 1989, it is a prescient call for Broken Windows policing, which from 1994 on resulted in the sharpest and most enduring decrease in crime that any city has seen in American history. The policies that Trump called for saved the lives of tens of thousands of people—most of them black and Latino—who would otherwise have fallen victim to New York’s spiraling violence. The latest outbreak of passions regarding this case, and the novel twist of making Trump a central player in it, raise other questions. Given that there have been no new developments, except for the city payouts, in the Central Park case since Burns’s 2012 documentary, why was a new movie called for, anyway? The Netflix series, arguably, exists only to make Trump a target for his behavior in a long-ago New York episode—just in time for the 2020 campaign. Ana DuVernay, director of the docudrama, is a close friend of Barack and Michelle Obama. Like DuVernay, the Obamas have multiyear, multimillion-dollar development deals with Netflix. Amplifying the theme that Trump is a longtime racist is likely to be part of the eventual Democratic candidate’s campaign strategy. When They See Us may be a valuable tool for that purpose; it certainly has little value for truthfulness. Seth Barron
Before their arrest, the teens crested through their city with youthful ebullience. They were “just baby boys.” But in the days following the rape of Trisha Meili, the teens—ages 14 to 16—transmogrified into a “wolf pack.” They became “savage.” Meili, who became known as the “Central Park jogger,” was often characterized as their “prey.” The flurry of media attention reached a galling crescendo when Donald J. Trump, then a local real-estate mogul, purchased full-page ads in four New York publications calling for the return of the death penalty so that the boys could be executed. The boys eventually became known as the “Central Park Five,” a pithy moniker picked up by local and national media outlets that served as much to undercut their humanity as it did to free up copy space. “If they had their way,” Salaam told CNN in 2012, 10 years after a man named Matias Reyes confessed to the crime and two years before the Central Park Five received a $41 million settlement from the City of New York, “we would have been hanging from one of those lovely trees here in Central Park.” In rendering their journeys, DuVernay pays careful attention to the terrifying power of language, especially the animalistic rhetoric with which prosecutors and journalists referred to the teens. (Trump is referenced often, particularly in the second installment; he is depicted as the most powerful of the boys’ zealous detractors, not the sole purveyor of racial animus.) In its early installments, When They See Us implicates New York media, and the ensuing frenzy of the public, in spurring along the boys’ wrongful verdicts. The series re-creates the glee with which people seized upon words such as wildin’, common slang for any range of boisterous behavior, as evidence of the boys’ inherent criminality. The series enters a broader landscape of artistic reckoning with the Central Park Five case, as well as with the country’s history of weaponizing language against black and brown people. Most immediately, a new project from the artist and journalist Alexandra Bell appears in this year’s Whitney Biennial. No Humans Involved—After Sylvia Wynter takes its name from a seminal 1994 essay by the scholar and poet. In it, Wynter wrote at length about “NHI,” the unofficial acronym that Los Angeles law enforcement used to classify cases involving black men. Referencing a term coined by the sociologist Helen Fein, Wynter wrote that the acronym, and its attendant category of “nonhuman,” rendered black men (and by extension, all black people) targets for systemic violence: For the social effects to which this acronym, and its placing outside the “sanctified universe of obligation,” of the category of young Black males to which it refers, leads, whilst not overtly genocidal, are clearly having genocidal effects with the incarceration and elimination of young Black males by ostensibly normal and everyday means. Bell’s Wynter-inspired series is composed of photo prints she made using an exacting process of lithography and screen-printing. No Humans Involved zeroes in on the New York Daily News coverage of the Central Park Five case. The paper published some of the most egregious reporting on the case—details of the minors’ addresses and family histories, and inflammatory headlines such as “WOLF PACK’S PREY”—well before the case was even (wrongfully) adjudicated. The Daily News also published Trump’s full-page ad. By redacting and highlighting specific text and images from 10 days of the publication’s 1989 issues, Bell underscores the devastating effects of the outlet’s glaring bias against the young black and brown boys. “I really want people to look at [my series] and question the role that the Daily News played in the way we viewed these particular people,” she told The New Yorker recently. “And maybe even in some ways the outcome ultimately of the case.” (…) DuVernay’s project enters a wildly different political landscape. The man who wielded his money and influence to call for the teens’ execution now occupies the White House. From his perch, he refers to Mexicans as “rapists” and black men as “thugs”; the language of dehumanization has again shed its politesse. It’s understandable, then, if also sometimes frustrating, that When They See Us sometimes abandons subtlety in its references to Trump. The president’s lengthy, bombastic oeuvre of bigotry creates both a moral terror and an artistic quandary. Still, When They See Us pulls back the language of biased prosecution and journalistic malfeasance to revelatory effect. At the end—despite the cloud of animus that surrounds them—Yusef, Antron, Kevin, Korey, and Raymond get to be human. The Atlantic
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, DuVernay said that when the case was first publicized, she was shocked at how the media’s misinterpretation of slang in the Central Park Five case led to the further dehumanization of the boys. One scene in Episode Two shows how, after some of the boys told detectives that they were “wilin’ out” in Central Park on the same night the rape occurred, the media interpreted the phrase to mean “wilding,” when it just means having fun or hanging out. The screen cuts to tabloids and newspapers with the words “WILDING” splashed across them as an indictment. Audio clips play newscasters interpreting « wilin’ out » as a description of violent acts committed by “wolf packs” of young people. To translate « wilin’ out » as « wilding » cements a vision of these innocent boys as « wild, » as savage, as animal, as other, a vision that’s rooted in the institutional dehumanization of Black people. (…) Unfortunately, even though the Central Park Five were convicted in 1990, this is still an issue today. In addition to facing barriers in employment, housing, healthcare, and education, Black people are often punished simply for a way of speaking. Black language is thought to be deviant, something that is undesirable or indicative of unintelligence, criminality, or depravity (until, of course, it’s appropriated by non-Black pop stars). When neither court recorders, jurors, lawyers, or judges possess a grasp of this valid form of language, it can lead to injustices that take years to correct — if they ever are meaningfully addressed. The men of the Central Park Five case lost years of their lives because of linguistic discrimination. How many are still suffering? Bustle

Attention: une instrumentalisation peut en cacher une autre !

A l’heure où, entre chasse aux sorcières et procès de Moscou, un parti d’opposition américain n’ayant jamais accepté le choix populaire poursuit sa fuite en avant suicidaire pour se débarrasser de Trump …

Et où une vidéo de surveillance montre deux jeunes noirs cagoulés dévalisant avec force violence deux jeunes touristes étrangères à leur sortie du métro de Brooklyn …

Pendant que de Cologne à Stockholm ou même  Oslo, l’Europe découvre à son tour l’autre face de la diversité

Comment ne pas voir …

Ecrite par une proche de la famille Obama eux-mêmes sous contrat de la plateforme et sortie à un an et demi d’une élection présidentielle cruciale …

Et suvie de près, Alec Baldwin dans le rôle du méchant promoteur compris, par un autre film anti-Trump

La minisérie de Netflix sur les Cinq de Central Park « sortis pour terrifier les promeneurs du parc » (sic) .. …

Comme la continuation, sous prétexte d’une tribune alors publiée appelant au retour de la paix civile y compris par la peine de mort, de l’actuel hallali sur l’actuel occupant de la maison Blanche ?

Et au moment où faisant l’impasse sur nombre des conditions de l’affaire comme notamment le climat de véritable sauvagerie de bandes de jeunes noirs descendant, avant la reprise de contrôle par Giuliani, en meutes dépouiller et molester les passants du célèbre parc de New York …

La réalisatrice elle-même et certains des commentateurs présentent les évnèments comme un effet de la discrimination linguistique …

Ne pas repenser au premier Camus qui avant de remettre lui-même en cause le « thème du poète maudit » qui ne pouvait s’affirmer que « contre la société de son temps, quelle qu’elle soit » …

Expliquait aussi doctement que faussement que « dans notre société tout homme qui ne pleure pas à l’enterrement de sa mère risque d’être condamné à mort » ?

Ava DuVernay’s new Netflix docuseries When They See Us depicts the heartbreaking story of the 1990 Central Park Five case in which a group of young Black and Latinx boys were convicted of a crime that they did not commit. Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise, falsely confessed to the rape of a female jogger, which led to them being imprisoned for six to 13 years. The series explores the ways the Central Park Five were villainized in the media and in public opinion — and particularly for their use of African American English (AAVE) and Black slang.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, DuVernay said that when the case was first publicized, she was shocked at how the media’s misinterpretation of slang in the Central Park Five case led to the further dehumanization of the boys. One scene in Episode Two shows how, after some of the boys told detectives that they were “wilin’ out” in Central Park on the same night the rape occurred, the media interpreted the phrase to mean “wilding,” when it just means having fun or hanging out. The screen cuts to tabloids and newspapers with the words “WILDING” splashed across them as an indictment. Audio clips play newscasters interpreting « wilin’ out » as a description of violent acts committed by “wolf packs” of young people. To translate « wilin’ out » as « wilding » cements a vision of these innocent boys as « wild, » as savage, as animal, as other, a vision that’s rooted in the institutional dehumanization of Black people.

“The fact that wilin’ became wilding, became wolf pack, became these boys are animals… I remember for the first time realizing that the news might not be true, that the news is something that you have to really think about and question,” DuVernay told The Hollywood Reporter. Unfortunately, even though the Central Park Five were convicted in 1990, this is still an issue today. In addition to facing barriers in employment, housing, healthcare, and education, Black people are often punished simply for a way of speaking.

It’s important to stress that not every Black person speaks AAVE and not every speaker of AAVE is Black. Nonetheless, it is a Black dialect with its own unique structure, rules, and syntax — all vital components of every language. Although many linguists now recognize the validity of AAVE, its association with a marginalized racial group can have devastating consequences.

University of Pennsylvania linguist Taylor Jones, along with New York University sociologist Jessica Kalbfeld, Ryan Hancock of Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity and Robin Clark, recently authored a study showing that Philadelphia court reporters frequently misinterpret AAVE. Philadelphia court reporters are required to score 95% accuracy when transcribing court proceedings, but none were able to score 95% when tested on AAVE. The study also found that most of the court recorders held negative beliefs about both AAVE and Black people, impacting their ability to correctly interpret what they heard.

Taylor tells Bustle that his team’s research illuminates how “the toxic mix of misunderstanding the language, negative attitudes about the language, negative attitudes about slang, and not understanding facial expressions,” can lead to unfair legal consequences for Black people. Think of what happened when Warren Demesme, then 22, was denied a lawyer because, during an interrogation by New Orleans police, he said, “just give me a lawyer, dawg.” This was misinterpreted to mean that he wanted a canine attorney and his request was denied, in a bewildering misapplication of justice. Anyone familiar with hip-hop slang or pop culture at large would know that “dawg” is shorthand for “dude” or “man.” While this kind of willfully obtuse reading of AAVE ultimately is rare, the more common forms of misinterpretation are more insidious.

That’s one reason, of many, that the Central Park Five case is so haunting.

Taylor points out that due to extensive racial segregation in the U.S., many non-Black folks truly don’t understand the most basic expressions of AAVE. He says although their study was intentionally careful about omitting slang terms — which he says are “ever-changing and shifting » — the participants were not able to accurately translate AAVE language structures into standard English. “We assume that we understand way more than we do and we assume that we’re communicating more effectively than we are,” Taylor says, meaning that sometimes AAVE speakers also don’t realize that they aren’t being heard.

Many speakers of AAVE — and this includes non-Black people, too — have found that to avoid the the possibility of their dialect being misinterpreted, they must code-switch, or use different tone and diction in different social settings. As a Black woman, I’ve had to code-switch in all aspects of my life. I even had to code-switch around my own family, as my great-grandmother felt that Black American language and slang was « undignified. » However, the ability to code-switch is a kind of privilege of its own, because as Taylor’s study points out, dialect is also correlated with socio-economic status. And while many people are vulnerable to discrimination within the criminal justice system, lower-income people with less education are disproportionately impacted. And in moments of intense emotion — such as an interrogation — anyone’s ability to code-switch can be impacted. This lack of access to code-switching can be devastating.

A 2016 paper by Stanford University researchers John R. Rickford and Sharese King argues that linguistic discrimination led to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the man who killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Martin’s close friend Rachel Jeantel was the prosecution’s main witness, but because she spoke Carribbean-inflected AAVE, Rickford and King say her “crucial testimony was dismissed as incomprehensible and not credible.” On Megyn Kelly’s show America Live, attorney Jonna Spilbor said that Jeantel, then 19, seemed “brutally ignorant.” On Fox News, Sean Hannity said that she had a “credibility problem.” In their paper, Rickford and King state that “the disregard for her speech in court and the media is familiar to vernacular speakers.”

These cases are infuriating, because they’re unfair. It’s shocking to think of how many people might be wrongfully punished simply because they use a dialect that’s different to what’s considered standard. That’s one reason, of many, that the Central Park Five case is so haunting; these men spent years in prison because of institutionalized racism around the way they spoke.

Black language is thought to be deviant, something that is undesirable or indicative of unintelligence, criminality, or depravity (until, of course, it’s appropriated by non-Black pop stars). When neither court recorders, jurors, lawyers, or judges possess a grasp of this valid form of language, it can lead to injustices that take years to correct — if they ever are meaningfully addressed. The men of the Central Park Five case lost years of their lives because of linguistic discrimination. How many are still suffering?

Voir aussi:

Is Trump the Real Target of a Netflix Series?

A new film about the Central Park Jogger case seems conveniently timed.

Seth Barron
City journal

June 13, 2019

A Netflix docudrama about the 1989 Central Park “wilding” case has enflamed passions about the purported injustice done to the five teenagers who went to prison for it. Though they confessed that they had sexually assaulted Trisha Meili and beaten half-a-dozen other people in the park that night, their convictions were vacated 12 years later when a convicted murderer—whose DNA matched semen found on the victim—owned up to the rape. In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio settled a civil suit brought by the “Central Park Five,” and the city paid out more than $40 million in damages—even though Linda Fairstein, head of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Sex Crimes Unit in 1989, and others have long maintained that significant evidence exists that the young men participated in the attack on Meili and committed other acts of violence in the park that night.

When They See Us, the new film about the case, has sparked fury among activists and retaliation against both Fairstein and Elizabeth Lederer, the prosecutor in the case. Fairstein, also a bestselling novelist, has been dumped by her publisher, Dutton, and Lederer has quit her professorship at Columbia University. Jumaane Williams, the New York City public advocate, has called for both women to be disbarred and wants all their previous cases opened for review by Manhattan DA Cy Vance.

Somehow, amid the current rage about the Central Park case, President Trump has become a part of the story—at least, the story that activists are telling. That’s because, on May 1, 1989, ten days after news of the assaults broke, Trump took out a full-page ad in four New York City dailies calling for a tough-on-crime approach to policing in a city then suffering an average of more than five murders a day. “Bring back the death penalty. Bring back our police!” the ad blared in bold type. Trump spoke of the “complete breakdown of life as we knew it,” and lamented that “New York families—White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian—have had to give up the pleasure of a leisurely stroll in the Park at dusk.” Trump affirmed his “hate” for “muggers and murderers,” who, he said, “should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes.”

In Netflix’s dramatized version of the story, Trump’s role in the prosecution of the teens is pivotal. “That devil wants to kill my son,” says the mother of one of the defendants. “You gonna take an ad out about killing my son?” The media have amplified this theme of Trump as a central figure in the purported hysteria surrounding the case. Receiving a “courage award” from the ACLU last week, Yusuf Salaam, one of the participants in the 1989 Central Park wilding, tearfully said, “when Donald Trump took out that full-page ad, and put them in all of New York City’s newspapers, calling for our execution, he placed a bounty on our head.”

Ken Burns, whose documentary about the Central Park case was highly regarded but lacked the cultural impact of When They See Us, now gives Trump more significance than he did in his 2012 film. “There was an orange-haired real estate developer in New York. . . . And he believed that these children should be executed.” Time reports that “President Trump played a key role in the Central Park Five case.” The BBC tells us that Trump’s ad fed into “the atmosphere of high crime rates and poor race relations in the city at the time.” The New Yorker says that “one of Trump’s first political acts” was to demand the teens’ execution. CNN White House correspondent April Ryan tweeted, “The injustice against the Central Park Five and @realDonaldTrump inability to apologize after wrongfully asking for the death penalty is horrific.”

Though the Central Park attacks were certainly the backdrop to Trump’s ad, his language did not presume the guilt of the defendants, whom he scarcely mentioned, and he did not call specifically for the execution of anyone. In fact, Trump demanded capital punishment only for murderers, and by the time his ad appeared, Trisha Meili was expected to survive. Moreover, Trump was hardly alone, in New York City, in expressing horror and anguish about the attack—neither the New York Times nor the Daily News objected to running the ad, after all. New York City in 1989 was under violent assault from predatory criminals. There were nine times as many murders then as now; robbery and muggings were more than ten times as frequent as they are today. Rape and felony assault were well over double today’s rates.

Pack-style violence like what happened that night in Central Park was all too common. Gangs “ran amok” at a 1983 Diana Ross concert in the Park, according to the Times, “beating and robbing scores of people.” In 1985, a March of Dimes walkathon was broken up around Central Park when “packs of youth attacked and harassed dozens of people,” stealing jewelry and pocketbooks. David Dinkins, running against Ed Koch in the 1989 Democratic primary for mayor, called for “anti-wilding” legislation in the wake of the Central Park Jogger attack. He won the general election against Rudy Giuliani in part for his promise to be tough on crime.

Trump’s ad, though cast as a brutal call for revenge, is actually a demand for public safety, and a return to the “feeling of security New York’s finest once gave to the citizens of this City.” Written in 1989, it is a prescient call for Broken Windows policing, which from 1994 on resulted in the sharpest and most enduring decrease in crime that any city has seen in American history. The policies that Trump called for saved the lives of tens of thousands of people—most of them black and Latino—who would otherwise have fallen victim to New York’s spiraling violence.

The latest outbreak of passions regarding this case, and the novel twist of making Trump a central player in it, raise other questions. Given that there have been no new developments, except for the city payouts, in the Central Park case since Burns’s 2012 documentary, why was a new movie called for, anyway? The Netflix series, arguably, exists only to make Trump a target for his behavior in a long-ago New York episode—just in time for the 2020 campaign. Ana DuVernay, director of the docudrama, is a close friend of Barack and Michelle Obama. Like DuVernay, the Obamas have multiyear, multimillion-dollar development deals with Netflix. Amplifying the theme that Trump is a longtime racist is likely to be part of the eventual Democratic candidate’s campaign strategy. When They See Us may be a valuable tool for that purpose; it certainly has little value for truthfulness.

Voir également:

David E. Pitt
The New York Times
April 25, 1989

The random, apparently motiveless rampage in Central Park last week that the suspects in the case called wilding was an especially ferocious version of group delinquency that is common but usually not so vicious, law-enforcement officials and psychologists said this week.

A 28-year-old investment banker, who was raped and savagely beaten, remains in a coma at Metropolitan Hospital as a result of the gang violence, and at least eight other people were assaulted by members of a group that the police now say numbered between 32 and 41.

Eight youths have been arraigned on charges of rape, assault and attempted murder in the case, while five charges of assault, one involving a 13-year-old suspect, have been filed in the beating of a male jogger in his 40’s, who was seriously wounded in the head with a metal pipe. He was released from St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center over the weekend. Also, a 15-year-old has been charged with being one of 17 youths who beat and robbed a male jogger who has been identified only as wearing an Army jacket. A grand jury is expected to take up all of the cases on Thursday.

‘Things Have Gotten a Lot Rougher’

 »’Wilding seems to be a new term, but it’s hardly a new activity, » said Peter Reinharz, chief prosecutor for the Family Court Division of the city’s Law Department.  »In terms of group attacks, the No. 1 crime that we’ve seen among juveniles in Family Court, at least prior to the crack invasion, is robbery 2 – that is, aided robberies, the wolf-pack robberies.

 »Prior to that, » he said,  »the No. 1 crime was jostling, which is pickpocketing. But for some reason, I guess it became a little bit easier to knock the old lady over and just grab the bag rather than to reach into the pocket and hope you came out with something. So things have gotten a lot rougher in the city with respect to wolf packs. »

Last year, Mr. Reinharz said, 622 wolf-pack cases were referred to Family Court, along with 139 attempted robberies of that type. In 1987, there were 608 such cases and 144 attempted wolf-pack robberies.

The police quoted some of the youths questioned in the case, all of whom live in Harlem near the park, as saying that the rampage grew out of a plan to attack joggers and bicyclists in the park for fun.

 »It certainly got out of control, » Mr. Reinharz said of the episode,  »but I don’t know if it was out of control for these types of kids. I think that kids like this, given what I would call their predatory nature, are people who, given the chance, would do something like this again. There really isn’t any way to control them – at least we haven’t found it in the juvenile justice system.

Racial Epithets, But Victims Mixed

Although Chief of Detectives Robert Colangelo said last week that the eight separate assaults on nine people seemed unrelated to money, drugs, alcohol or race, police officials said yesterday that they were investigating to what extent racial factors may have played a role in the youths’ choice of victims.

 »The question of whether this was a series of bias-related incidents is being looked at very closely, » said Deputy Police Commissioner Alice T. McGillion.

Police officials said that the evidence of bias consisted of testimony from victims, as well as a statement from one suspect in the rape attack, 15-year-old Yusef Salaam, who is said to have told detectives that one member of the group had suggested that they  »get a white girl. »

Another 15-year-old, Jermain Robinson, who is charged with robbery of the male jogger in the Army jacket, is also said to have told detectives that youths who chased and threw stones at a white couple on a tandem bicycle had shouted racial epithets.

All of those involved in the Central Park attacks are said to be black. The victims were a black man, who was briefly harassed until one youth shouted that he knew the man, two Hispanic people, – and six whites.

Police investigators also said that while the other suspects had made no explicit references to racial factors, their acknowledgement that the chief target of their forays were joggers and bicyclists in the park was an indication that a racial motive was at work because, the police suggested, the majority of those who tend to use that part of the park at night tend to be white.

For many psychologists, the idea of attacking people who seem to personify a level of unattainable affluence is a common pattern among particpants in wolf-pack attacks.

 »From what I have been able to gether about the Central Park case, there seem to be some socioeconomic factors involved, » said Dr. Leah Blumberg Lapidus, a specialist in adolescent behavior in Columbia University’s department of clinical psychology.

 »The media, especially television, is constantly advertising these various things that are necessary to define yourself, and the joggers may represent a level of socioeconomic attainment that the media has convinced everybody is necessary to have in order to be an acceptable person, » she said.  »So, to that extent, such people become a target. »

On the other hand, Dr. Lapidus said, that did not explain why some of the victims were black or Hispanic.

Law-enforcement officials said the the scale of the Central Park episode was reminiscent of an incident in July 1983, when gangs of youths ran amok at a Diana Ross concert in Central Park, beating and robbing scores of people.

Two years later, in April 1985, a March of Dimes walkathon in which 26,000 people marched through Manhattan broke up in turmoil after packs of youths attacked and harassed dozens of people in and around Central Park, snatching chains, purses and other property.

Police officials, who said Friday that none of the suspects in the park case had a criminal record, said yesterday that they had discovered that that one, 17-year-old Michael Brisco, had been on three years’ probation since December after a wolf-pack-style robbery last year. Officials said he and two others, 12 and 15 years old, had assaulted and robbed a 14-year-old on Nov. 10 on East 90th Street near Second Avenue.

Authorities reported over the weekend that they were investigating the possibility that some of the participants in the park attacks had been involved in three separate robbery sprees four days earlier in East Harlem, one of which involved a stabbing.

Unusual in Intensity

Professor Lapidus and another psychologist, Dr. Ann M. Jernberg, who is director of the Theraplay Institute of Chicago and Wilmette, Ill., both said that what they found set the park rampage apart from others were the intensity of the violence and the apparent failure of almost all of the nine accused youths to show any remorse. Police and prosecutors said they laughed and joked while in police custody,and that only one expressed any sorrow.

 »This lack of awareness of the consequences of what they’ve done – almost as if they’re benumbed – is a little more extreme than what we’ve seen, » Dr. Lapidus said. For Dr. Jernberg, who traces the origin of many forms of antisocial behavior to early childhood problems in the family,  »the mob psychology that these kids were obviously caught up in protects them against remorse. »

 »You get together a group of adolescents and you’ve got the worst possible combination for trouble, » Dr. Jernberg said in a telephone interview from Chicago.  »The idea of collective violence, the risks involved, is terribly exciting, very dramatic, and sometimes all kids this age need is to see a violent movie or hear a song to encourage them. »

Attacks Thought Underreported

For Mr. Reinharz, the randomness of such attacks – which he believes are largely underreported because  »people expect this kind of activity in the city » – is a component of what he called the  »predatory instincts » of youths who carry out wolf-pack behavior.

 »These tend to be situations where these kids get together and there really isn’t any specific plan, » he said,  »I’m not a psychologist, so I don’t profess to understand them – but it seems to me that that one of the common threads you see among the most violent of these kids is that they really don’t have a game plan with respect to the day, let alone their lives.

 »They get up in the morning, or they get up in the afternoon many of them certainly only have only limited contact with school – and they just live for the moment. »

Slight Improvement Seen

Physicians at Metropolitan Hospital caring for the Wall Street banker said yesterday that she was still comatose and in critical condition, and that the prospects for her survival remained uncertain.

There have been a few improvements, including a reduction of brain swelling, according to Dr. Robert S. Kurtz, assistant chief of surgery and director of the surgical intensive care unit, and Dr. Kent Duffy, chief of neurosurgery.

Besides brain injuries, the woman also sustained fractures of the skull, of the bone around the left eye and the bone crossing the left temple.

 »We are worried about brain damage caused by lack of oxygen during the four to five hours she lay in the in the park, » Dr. Kurtz said.  »We won’t be able to assess that until the swelling is down. That is our deep and underlying concern. But the statistics are against her. »

Voir de plus:

EXCLUSIVE: ‘When They See Us is LIES.’ NYPD cop who arrested two of the Central Park Five says they DID attack jogger and forensic evidence proves it – and showing police and prosecutors as racist is putting lives at risk

  • On April 19, 1989, more than 30 young men terrorized New York’s Central Park, teacher James Loughlin was beaten and jogger Patricia Meili was raped
  • Raymond Santana, then 14, Kevin Richardson, 14, Korey Wise, 16, Antron McCray, 15 and Yusef Salaam, 15 all confessed and were convicted of participating in multiple crimes. They were known as the Central Park Five.
  • In 2002 their convictions were vacated after serial rapist Matias Reyes said he was Meili’s lone attacker. His DNA matched evidence found at the scene
  • The five sued New York City, said their confessions were coerced and won a $41 million payout
  • Their arrest, incarceration and exoneration is the subject of Netflix miniseries When They See Us, directed by Ava DuVernay and produced by Oprah Winfrey
  • But Eric Reynolds, lead police officer in the Central Park Five case tells DailyMailTV the series is filled with ‘malicious’ lies
  • Reynolds believes the Central Park Five did attack Meili and said, ‘That notion that there was none, no physical evidence, that tied them to the crime is an absolute lie.
  • Despite Reyes confession for rape, Reynolds said, ‘There was blood, semen, there was grass stains on Kevin Richardson’s underwear.’
  • He said inaccuracies in the show could cause people to threaten the lives of Central Park Five prosecutors Linda Fairstein and Elizabeth Lederer
  • Reynolds said: ‘It’s a malicious recreation, which has nothing to do with the facts other than they ended up arrested and going to jail’

The NYPD police officer who made the first arrests in the Central Park Five investigation has condemned Netflix‘s drama When They See Us as ‘lies’ and said it puts the lives of cops and prosecutors at risk.

Eric Reynolds, who as a plainclothes officer arrested Raymond Santana and Kevin Richardson, tells DailyMailTV that the four-part television adaptation is so filled with errors that it is ‘malicious recreation’.

He described the miniseries, produced by Robert De Niro and Oprah Winfrey and directed by Ava DuVernay, as ‘total nonsense’ that left him ‘flabbergasted’.

Reynolds retired in 2001 after a 20-year career where he rose to Detective Third Grade and earned department recognition multiple times for his police work.

He spoke out after an outcry in the wake of the series led to prosecutors Linda Fairstein and Elizabeth Lederer losing publishing contracts, board seats and lecturing roles.

Reynolds, 59, rejected criticism of the investigation, prosecution and conviction of the five for the rape of 28-year-old jogger, Patricia Meili – and particularly took issue with the portrayal of the black men as victims of a racist system.

As an African American, he said, the allegations of racism cut particularly deep.

Asked if he has been accused of being a race-traitor he said, ‘Oh yes and worse.’ Yet all he wanted to do as an officer was, he said, ‘serve his community.’

And he said that even the brief appearance he makes in the series, which has been watched by 23 million Netflix accounts worldwide, is pure ‘fiction,’ portraying events which simply did not happen; he was shown as a uniformed officer when he in fact wore plain clothes.

He believes the series is inflammatory by depicting members of the five looking badly beaten when they were arrested.

Reynolds told DailyMailTV, ‘Please, someone, show me the pictures of them. Show me the injuries, show me the black eyes, show me the swollen faces because every single one of them that came out of that precinct had none of that.’

He has shared his own recollections of the night of April 19, 1989 when more than 30 young men embarked on a violent spree of terror, and Meili was found raped and close to death in Central Park.

Raymond Santana, then 14, Kevin Richardson, 14, Korey Wise, 16, Antron McCray, 15 and Yusef Salaam, 15 all confessed and were convicted of participating in multiple crimes on April 19. But the one that is remembered is Meili’s rape.

In 2002 their convictions were sensationally vacated in their entirety when Matias Reyes, a serial rapist already in prison, confessed to the crime and claimed to have acted alone. The five sued New York City, said their confessions were coerced and won a $41 million payout.

Supporters said they had been exonerated and the Central Park Five became synonymous with an unimaginable miscarriage of justice.

When They See Us opens on the night of the ‘wilding’, where a mass of young men rushed through Central Park, casting the five very squarely as innocents caught up in events and on the fringes of any violence.

Reynolds said, ‘When I saw the opening scenes it was like watching a musical. I was flabbergasted. That absolutely was not what occurred.’

The Central Park Five had their convictions vacated after serial rapist Matias Reyes admitted raping jogger Patricia Meili. His DNA matched evidence found at the scene

In one scene a man, most likely a depiction of teacher John Loughlin, is shown being felled by a single punch while three of the five look on.

Reynolds said, ‘It did not happen that way. They were beating him with a pipe. They beat him so savagely that both of his eyes were shut and he had a cracked skull.’

Testimony from one who was there stated that Yusef Salaam was wielding that pipe and ‘going to work on him.’

The cop who found Loughlin told Reynolds that he ‘looked like his head was dunked in a bucket of blood.’

In another scene the boys are part of a crowd halfheartedly harassing a couple on a tandem bike. Again Reynolds watched in outrage at what he said is a ‘total fiction.’

He explained, ‘The group lay in wait. They stretched out across the roadway and held hands to knock them off their bike. It was a couple on the tandem and the woman said she was scared for her life.

‘Her boyfriend just told her, ‘Put your head down and pedal as hard as you can.’ And they rode through them as they were grabbing at her clothes and by the grace of God they got away.’

Pointing to the couple attacked on their tandem he said it was the violence, not the ethnicity, of its perpetrators that mattered to police officers.

He said, ‘I don’t understand how that’s a race issue if you’re in the middle of a park riding on a bike in the middle of the night and a group of males, whether they’re black, white or whatever, you know are standing on the road with the express purpose of knocking you off the bike.

‘As a woman I think you’re going to be scared out of your mind.’

As an example of one of the worst ‘lies’ in the drama Reynolds pointed to the scenes where Fairstein, played by Felicity Huffman, arrives at the precinct to take charge of the rape investigation.

She is shown repeatedly referring to the boys in the park as ‘animals’ and delivering orders to detectives with the words, « I need the whole group. Every young black male who was in the park. You go into the projects and stop every motherf**** you see. »‘

According to Reynolds, ‘It is so preposterous that it’s laughable. The sad thing is people believe it and are incensed by this.

‘As detectives we work on evidence. We don’t go rounding people up and Linda Fairstein wasn’t even there the first day. It just never happened.’

Reynolds was a plainclothes officer in the Anti-Crime Unit on patrol with his partner on the night of April 19, 1989.

He recalled, ‘We were getting numerous radio runs of a large crowd of black and Hispanic kids assaulting and robbing people. We had people going into the station house and cops out in the field who had gotten flagged down by civilians saying, ‘There’s a crowd of kids there. They’ve tried to assault us and thrown rocks.’

Reynolds and his partner were just one of many units looking for the group reportedly moving through the vast dark interior of Central Park.

And the reports were getting more serious. Reynolds said, ‘We find out about John Loughlin who had been beaten savagely and we figured because there were so many cops in the park they must have left.’

The cops were barely out of the park when they saw them. Reynolds recalled, ‘There were 30 of them on the move. There’s only two of us so, you know, clearly we’re not going to get all of them. Long story short we got five of them.’

Two were Raymond Santana – who had, Reynolds said, been leading the pack – and Kevin Richardson who started crying in the back of the squad car.

Reynolds said, ‘He [Richardson] started crying and saying that he ‘knew who did the murder’. He said it was Antron McCray and he would tell us where he lived.’

The officers assumed he was talking about Loughlin who was beaten unconscious.

Back at the precinct Reynolds began processing the arrests, reaching out to their parents and writing up appearance tickets for the boys who, as juveniles, would have to return to family court at a later date.

Reynolds’ partner asked Santana and Stephen Lopez, a member of the group he was arrested alongside, what they were doing out making trouble and why weren’t they with their girlfriends instead.

According to Reynolds, ‘Santana said, ‘I already got mine,’ and they kind of laughed. I just assumed it was an in-joke. It only became significant after we learned what had happened to the jogger.’

Reynolds couldn’t release any of them or complete the mounds of paperwork required by their juvenile status until their parents had shown up.

Reynolds, played by ‘Power’ actor Ty Jones, makes a brief appearance in the mini-series’ first episode – but Reynolds says the show makers got this wrong as well.

Reynolds is seen angrily remonstrating with Santana’s father Raymond Santana Sr, played by John Leguizamo, for turning up late. Reynolds says that never happened.

Instead, Reynolds explained, he sent a squad car to bring Santana’s grandmother to the station as various family members who said they would come failed to show.

He also noted, as a plainclothes officer, he never wore his uniform when in the police precinct. Jones wears a uniform in the scene.

While the boys were waiting, at around 1.30am, the call came in that a female jogger had been found in the park, raped and beaten to within an inch of her life.

The detectives responding to the crime had been told that Reynolds had arrested five out of a group of about 30 kids ‘wilding’ in the park. Now they instructed Reynolds not to let them go.

He recalled, ‘They said, ‘Look, we don’t think these kids have anything to do with it but they were up there at the same time that she was attacked. They might have seen something so we’re going to come down and debrief them.’

Reynolds was in the room for all of those interviews. He said, ‘Their parents are there, they’re getting their rights read. We ask them what happened in the park?’

According to Reynolds they did not ask the kids about the rape directly. The first two kids told almost identical stories. They said they’d been in the park with a bunch of kids who were beating people up but they didn’t touch anybody.

Reynolds wrote them up and let them go home.

Then, he said, ‘The third kid is Kevin Richardson. He’s there with his mother. We read him his rights. We ask him what happened. He said the exact same thing the other kids said – everyone else was beating people up but I didn’t touch anyone.’

Then one of the detectives noticed he had a scratch on his face. They asked him how he’d got it and at first he blamed Reynolds’s partner for the injury.

When told the officer was next door and would be asked if that was true Richardson changed his story.

Reynolds said, ‘He said, « Okay, it was the female jogger. » And I’ll be honest with you I almost fell off my seat because I was not expecting him to say that.

‘And then he starts to go into the story of the attack on the jogger. No coercion. We didn’t even think he was involved. He starts to give it up right there in front of us.’

Ultimately police questioned 37 boys and, contrary to Netflix’s dramatic depiction, there was nothing random or rushed in the five who were ultimately charged.

They became the Central Park Five, he said, not because cops were anxious to pin the crime on someone but because they implicated themselves and each other when interviewed.

In DuVernay’s drama particular attention is given to Korey Wise’s story. He is shown accompanying his friend Salaam to the station, an act of loyalty that sees him embroiled in the case when he wasn’t even on the cops’ radar.

Reynolds is exasperated by this. He said: ‘Korey Wise was named by other participants in the wilding that day. We went specifically to look for him.

‘When detectives asked a couple of people in front of their building if they had seen him they said they saw him earlier and he said, « Y’all better stay away from me because the cops are after me. »‘

When they asked him why, Reynolds said, the people in front of the building stated that Wise had told them: ‘You see that woman in Central Park last night? That was us.’

This account was committed to written statements.

Reynolds also pointed to the fact that the first thing Wise did when he got home late on April 19 was wash the clothes he’d been wearing.

When they went to pick up Antron McCray – whom Reynolds had earlier let go – the detective asked him to go and get the clothes he had been wearing the night before.

Reynolds said, ‘He comes back out and he’s got on a sweat suit. The front of it is completely covered with mud from head to toe. What could he possibly be doing that he’s completely flat in mud?’

NYPD mug shots taken of the Central Park Five on April 23, 1989. Top Row (L-R): Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana. Lower Row (L-R) Kevin Richardson, Korey Wise, Antron McCray

Reynolds said the officers who discovered the jogger told him she was ‘covered from head to toe in mud.’

Several weeks after his police confession to participating in the attack on Meili, McCray repeated this admission, while minimizing his own role, to the pre-trial psychologist appointed by his own team.

Meanwhile, while Wise was being held on Riker’s Island awaiting trial, a female friend came forward with information she thought would exonerate him but in fact only bolstered the case against him.

Reynolds said, ‘He called this young lady and she was surprised to hear his voice. She was like, ‘Korey, what did you do? They’re saying that you raped this woman.’

‘He says, ‘I didn’t rape her. I only held her legs while Kevin Richardson f***** her.’

If true, that scenario would make Wise every bit as guilty of rape as Richardson under New York law.

The crime, the trial and the convictions of the four black and one Hispanic teen were the focus of public outrage and racial conflict at the time.

Donald Trump took out newspaper advertisements demanding the death penalty for the Central Park Five in 1989

Donald Trump, then a real estate mogul in New York, took out newspaper advertisements calling for the return of the death penalty.

But Reynolds insisted, ‘Look, this idea that there’s outside pressure for us to wrap it up and get some suspects is totally false.

‘Nobody was looking at the newspaper and saying, ‘Donald Trump’s mad, we’d better do something.’ And the jury weren’t asking to see the newspaper, they were asking to see the evidence.’

Reynolds points to a wealth of physical evidence that was never refuted at trial: hair and blood ‘consistent’ with the jogger’s was found on the boys’ sneakers and clothing, along with semen in the boys’ underwear.

The fact that none of them claimed to be able to finish the act of penetrative sex is the reason, Reynolds said, that their semen was only found on the inside of their underwear and clothing rather than on Meili.

But isn’t Reynolds in danger of sounding like somebody who just can’t accept that he was involved in a terrible miscarriage of justice?

After all, weren’t the five exonerated thanks to Reyes’ confession – one backed up by the presence of his DNA on the victim and clear proof that he had penetrated her?

Reynolds rejected this notion. He does not equate the vacation of the five’s sentences with their exoneration. And he does not believe that Reyes’ clear guilt is proof of the others’ innocence.

Reynolds said, ‘They were not cleared. The convictions were vacated. They were given the opportunity to have another trial but there was no reason to retry because they had already done their time.

‘The reason they were granted that is because Matias Reyes came forward with the fictitious claim that he had attacked her alone.

Reynolds explained, ‘Reyes comes forward to say he did it by himself and he can prove it because he knows something we don’t know. And he’s correct.

‘She had a fanny pack with her Walkman in it and he took it and he threw it away.

‘She didn’t have it on her in the hospital. She was in a coma for 50 something days. She couldn’t tell us that she’d had one and it had been stolen, right?

‘But then Armstrong found that a detective had taken some notes of an interview with Korey Wise. And Korey said that there was a guy named ‘Rudy,’ who he said took her fanny pack and her Walkman.’

Reynolds believes that Rudy was Reyes and his name muddled up by Wise who has hearing difficulties.

He said, ‘He told that to us on April 20, 1989, the day after. So how in the world does Korey Wise know about her fanny pack and Walkman in 1989 when Reyes says he knows about it because he was the only person there?’

The Armstrong report noted, ‘At the time of this interview the police had no way of knowing that the jogger had a Walkman or that she carried it in a pouch.’

It said that, based on the evidence including Reyes confession, ‘it was more likely than not that the defendants participated in an attack upon the jogger.’

The report stated, ‘the most likely scenario for the events of April 19, 1989 was that the defendants came up on the jogger and subjected her to the same kind of attack, albeit with sexual overtones, that they inflicted upon other victims in the park that night.

‘Perhaps attracted to the scene by the jogger’s screams, Reyes either joined in the attack as it was ending or waited until the defendants have moved on to their next victims before descending upon her himself, raping her and inflicting upon her the brutal injuries that almost caused her death.’

Reynolds’s view is supported by both the medical opinion of Meili’s two Urgent Care Physicians at Metropolitan Hospital and the Armstrong Report.

Dr Robert Kurtz is on record as saying Meili had injuries consistent with a sharp, clean blade or object while Reyes’ confession only mentioned a blunt object.

Dr Kurtz noted that Reyes, ‘never said he had used a knife, or broken glass, or broken bottle or something like that that would have been able to inflict a clean laceration.’

Dr Jane Mauer, a surgeon who helped reconstruct Meili’s face recalled seeing hand print bruising on her thighs.

Dr Mauer said, ‘You could see the four fingers and the thumb indented in her skin to hold her legs apart.’

It led her to doubt that this could be the work of one man.

Moreover the Armstrong Report concluded Reyes could not be considered a reliable witness.

It revealed a fellow inmate in prison with Reyes said Reyes told him ‘the attack on the jogger was already in progress when he joined, attracted to the scene by the jogger’s screams.’

Reynolds does not believe that the five should still be in prison. He said, ‘They did their time. They paid the price for what they did. You know, that’s it.’

When Bill de Blasio was elected New York City mayor in 2014 he ordered the $41 million settlement to go through for the five men.

All legal action finished in 2016 when the men were awarded a further $3.9 million from New York State.

But despite the case now being closed, Reynolds feel the Netflix mini-series is unfairly punishing people who prosecuted the five.

In the wake of the drama’s release Linda Fairstein, who supervised the prosecution, and lead prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer have both fallen victim to an angry public backlash.

Fairstein, who now writes crime fiction, was dropped by her publisher. Lederer, who continues to work in the District Attorney’s office, resigned from teaching law as an adjunct at Columbia University in New York.

Reynolds said, ‘It’s like mob justice. People are doing everything they can to destroy these women’s lives and they’ve done nothing wrong. They don’t even know that they’re not basing their opinions and their fury on what actually happened.

‘If they knew what actually happened they would be ashamed of themselves.’

But, he said, ‘Don’t come back for revenge and destroy two people who were only doing their job and did nothing wrong. Linda Fairstein and Elizabeth Lederer did absolutely nothing wrong.’

Reynolds believes the show falsely depicts a racist criminal justice system.

He is keen to point out that growing up in Eighties New York, criminals posed the threat to public safety, not police officers.

He said, ‘I grew up in the projects, my mother used to go to school at night. She got her high school diploma the same year I got mine. She went to college at night also.

‘I would have to go every night and meet [my mother] at the bus-stop and bring her upstairs because it just wasn’t safe. And who was she going to get victimized by? It wasn’t the cops.’

Reynolds said of When They See Us, ‘We can’t even call it a sanitized version. It’s a malicious recreation, which has nothing to do with the facts other than they ended up arrested and going to jail.

‘I think that’s the only thing in it that stays true to what actually occurred.’

He said, ‘This has got people so divided and so at each other’s throats it’s sad. Let me tell you there’s a lot of people who believe that they are guilty but they’re not going to say anything because they don’t want to get shouted down. They don’t want to be called racist.’

But Reynolds, who was there and part of it all, believes facing that backlash is the lesser of two evils and remaining silent in the face of what he sees as injustice isn’t an option.

For Reynolds, his reason for speaking up is clear and unimpeachable, ‘The truth matters.’

Voir encore:

In an op-ed from Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, former New York City prosecutor Linda Fairstein responded to the recent Netflix series on the Central Park Five, and accused its producer, Ava DuVernay, of fabricating words attributed to her character, played by Felicity Huffman, to portray her as a racist who was determined to convict the teens in the face of an alleged lack of evidence against them.

Fairstein began the article, titled « Netflix’s False Story of the Central Park Five, » by declaring that the series, When They See Us, is « so full of distortions and falsehoods as to be an outright fabrication, » and complained that it is « an utterly false narrative involving an evil mastermind (me) and the falsely accused (the five). »

She added that it « attempts to portray me as an overzealous prosecutor and a bigot, the police as incompetent or worse, and the five suspects innocent of all charges against them. None of this is true. »

Fairstein listed a number of pieces of misinformation from the series and argued that there was plenty of evidence to reasonably convict them at the time, as she stood by charges that they attacked several other people in the park that same night.

Among several pieces of misinformation she claimed were included in the series was that it « portrays the suspects as being held without food, deprived of their parents’ company and advice, and not even allowed to use the bathroom, » and argued that if such accusations were true, they would have come out in the pre-trial hearings or inthe lawsuit that was filed years after their release from prison.

Fairstein — who was supervisor over the sex crimes unit — argued that the series exaggerates how closely involved she was in handling the case and recalled that she « did not run the investigation, and never made any of the comments the screenwriter attributes to me. » She also directly contradicted a couple of scenes involving the questioning of an underage member of the group:

The film claims that when Mr. Salaam’s mother arrived and told police that her son was only 15 — meaning they could not question him without a parent in the room — I tried to stop her, demanding to see a birth certificate. The truth is that Mr. Salaam himself claimed to be 16 and even had a forged bus pass to « prove » it. When I heard his mother say he was 15, I immediately halted his questioning. This is all supported by sworn testimony.

The former prosecutor also argued that there was additional evidence of their guilt:

There is, for example, the African American woman who testified at the trial — and again at the 2002 reinvestigation — that when Korey Wise called her brother, he told her that he had held the jogger down and felt her breasts while others attacked her. There were blood stains and dirt on clothing of some of the five.

She soon added that more than a dozen other witnesses « named some or all of the five » in helping attack other victims.

It is noteworthy that, while the Netflix series depicts the five teens as innocent bystanders who merely witnessed other assailants attacking and beating up other victims in the park, the film, The Central Park Five, by Ken Burns, accepted that they were « beating up other people » in the park even while that film was devoted to defending the teens regarding the attack on the jogger, Trisha Meili.

Fairstein also recalled that Salaam « testified that he had gone into the park carrying a 14-inch metal pipe — the same type of weapon that was used to bludgeon both a male school teacher and Ms. Meili. »

The former prosecutor also argued that the fact that DNA testing on the semen found at the scene did not match any of the five teens did not mean that they could not have been part of the attack on her, as they were charged as « accomplices » to the person who eventually confessed to raping her, serial rapist Matias Reyes.

She further recalled that « two of them admitted to climbing on top of her and siimulating intercourse, » adding that « Semen was found on the inside of their clothing, corroborating those confessions. »

Fairstein concluded her article:

That Ms. DuVernay ignored so much of the truth about the gang of 30 and about the suffering of their victims — and that her film includes so many falsehoods — is nonetheless an outrage. Ms. DuVernay does not define me, and her film does not speak the truth.

Voir par ailleurs:

Dans leur regard Saison 1 : pourquoi Netflix frappe fort avec sa nouvelle série puissante, révoltante et politique

Camille Vignes
Ecran large
15 juin 2019

Après le biopic un peu académique Selma, et après le four Un raccourci dans le tempsAva DuVernay revient avec une nouvelle oeuvre engagée et sans concession, sur Netflix cette fois. Dans leur regard retrace la sordide histoire de cinq jeunes de Harlem, arrêtés en 1989, accusés à tort du viol d’une joggeuse et incarcérés. Et c’est certainement l’une des séries les plus bouleversantes de l’année, s’attaquant au racisme institutionnel et systémique aux Etats-Unis.

« CENTRAL PARK FIVE »

D’Escape at Dannemora(série de Brett Johnson et Michael Tolkin, réalisée par Ben Stiller) à The Act(de Nick Antosca et Michelle Dean), en passant par Dirty John (d’Alexandra Cunningham) ou American Crime Story : The People v OJ Simpson, c’est une mutation qui anime la télévision américaine depuis quelques années, laissant fleurir de plus en plus de séries romancées retraçant des faits divers glaçants. Que ce soit pour pointer du doigt un système corrompu ou pour en montrer l’efficacité, un nombre croissant de showrunners s’attaque à des affaires criminelles pour rappeler leur importance dans l’histoire judiciaire américaine.

Loin de la froideur et de la rigidité induite par le format du documentaire classique, comme The Central Park Five(Ken BurnsSarah Burns et David McMahon), et ne lésinant pas sur les effets de pathos, la minisérie Netflix Dans leur regard (When They See Us en VO – « Quand ils nous voient ») d’Ava DuVernay se détache du lot. La cinéaste (qui a coécrit et réalisé les quatre épisodes) se penche sur l’histoire tristement connue des « Cinq de Central Park ». 

Pour ceux qui ne connaitraient pas l’affaire, elle a secoué New York et les États-Unis à la fin des années 80, et ses dernières répercussions ont eu lieu en 2014. Dans la nuit du 19 avril 1989, la joggeuse Trisha Melli est sauvagement attaquée, violée et laissée pour morte dans Central Park. La même nuit, une bande d’ados afro-américains et latinos (dont Raymond Santana et Kevin Richardson), sortis pour terrifier les promeneurs du parc, est raflée par la police et emmenée au poste. Le lendemain, trois autres jeunes (Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, et Korey Wise) sont à leurs tours arrêtés, interrogés par les inspecteurs et poussés à avouer ce crime qu’ils n’ont jamais commis. 

Les cinq garçons seront jugés coupables et jetés en prison en 1990. Il faudra attendre 2002 pour que le véritable criminel (ironie du sort, il était blanc) vienne se dénoncer et soit arrêté. La libération de Korey Wise et l’acquittement des cinq garçons suivront plus ou moins rapidement. Enfin, en 2014, ils recevront une compensation financière d’environ 40 millions de dollars. 

DÉCOUPE CHIRURGICALE

Comment traiter une affaire aussi difficile et injuste ? Comment dépeindre, 30 ans après les faits, un New York pré-Giuliani gangréné par la drogue et les violences interraciales ?

Deux questions simples, terriblement actuelles et tellement innocentes comparées à celles que n’importe quelle personne ayant vu la série a dû se poser. Comment est-il possible de traiter cinq jeunes de la sorte ? Comment une procureur et un système peuvent-ils être assez cruels pour ignorer l’amas d’éléments prouvant leur innocence ? Comment la presse a-t-elle a pu les jeter en pâture et les rendre coupables avant même le procès ?

Divisé en quatre longues parties (64, 71, 73 et 88 minutes), le récit d’Ava DuVernay est extrêmement bien construit. Chacun des chapitres s’attarde sur un élément clef de l’histoire globale des cinq accusés, sans jamais dépasser le propos ni tomber dans la simplicité ou le cliché d’une série policière ou du récit d’un procès. Ce découpage permet non seulement de remettre en question différents aspects du système judiciaire américain, mais surtout de faire monter crescendo le sentiment de révolte et d’injustice du spectateur. 

Le premier chapitre montre comment les cinq jeunes ont été piégés et forcés de mentir pour avouer un crime qu’ils n’ont pas commis, pointant du doigt les méthodes plus que douteuses de la police et de la procureur Linda Fairstein (Felicity Huffman). Ils auraient contourné la loi et mené la plupart des interrogatoires sans la présence des parents (alors que les jeunes étaient âgés de 14 à 16 ans).

Le deuxième chapitre est centré sur le déroulement du procès, expliquant rapidement pourquoi il a été divisé en deux, mettant sous le feu des projecteurs le racisme systémique américain, et laissant tomber comme une sentence de mort la décision du jury en fin de course.

Après la narration linéaire des deux premiers chapitres, les deux suivants s’aventurent dans des chemins différents, s’attardant plus sur les destins des accusés. Le troisième épisode montre ainsi l’adaptation en milieu carcéral des quatre plus jeunes (Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray et Yusef Salaam) et surtout leur difficile tentative de réhabilitation dans le monde à leur sortie de prison, de nombreuses années après (6 à 13 ans).

Quant au dernier chapitre, il tourne autour de Korey Wise et de l’enfer qu’il a vécu en prison, entre passages à tabac et isolement volontaire. Âgé de 16 ans au moment des faits et jugé comme un adulte, il passe de prison en prison, demandant son transfert régulièrement pour se rapprocher de sa mère – sans réussite. 

WISE DECISION

Ce dernier chapitre est tout particulièrement poignant. S’il fallait faire une gradation, l’histoire de Korey Wise reste d’ailleurs peut-être la plus déchirante. Parce qu’il avait 16 ans au moment des faits, il a été jugé et jeté dans une prison pour adulte, alors que tous les autres ont été placés en détention pour mineurs. 

Mais l’injustice de l’histoire de ce garçon commence bien avant le procès : au départ, il n’aurait même pas dû être arrêté. Celui qui n’était pas sur la liste de noms donnés par Raymond Santana au moment de son arrestation, celui qui s’est retrouvé au poste dans l’unique but de ne pas laisser son ami seul, est finalement celui qui a purgé la plus longue peine et a connu les conditions d’incarcération les plus difficiles – conditions auxquelles un jeune de 16 ans n’est absolument pas préparé. Le choix d’Ava DuVernay d’offrir à Korey Wise un épisode entier n’a alors rien d’étonnant.

Si le calvaire du jeune garçon est de moins en moins supportable à regarder à mesure que l’épisode se déroule, c’est sans doute grâce au talent de son interprèteJharrel Jerome (vu dans MoonlightMr. Mercedesou encore Mon premier combat) se glisse dans la peau de Korey avec brio. C’est le seul à jouer le Korey Wise adolescent et adulte, alors que les quatre autres personnages ont chacun deux interprètes. C’est certainement l’acteur le plus marquant et puissant, même si Kevin RichardsonCaleel HarrisEthan Herisse, Marquis Rodriguez, Michael Kenneth WilliamsJovan AdepoChris Chalk et Justin Cunningham font aussi un excellent travail.

Et justement, deux de ses scènes sont particulièrement déchirantes et méritent d’être citées (bien qu’elles ne soient absolument pas les seules à révéler l’acteur). La première a lieu pendant le procès de Korey, alors qu’il est appelé à la barre, et qu’on le harcèle pour qu’il lise sa déposition, alors qu’il a bien dit et répété ne pas en être capable : il y a une telle détresse dans le regard de l’acteur, une telle incompréhension, que l’on ne peut qu’être révolté avec lui. 

La seconde arrive quand il est en prison, à des centaines de kilomètres de New York. Alors qu’il passe la plupart de son temps dans une cellule isolée pour ne pas se faire battre à mort par les autres détenus, il implore sa mère de venir le voir plus souvent lors d’une de ses trop rares visites. La scène est un véritable crève-coeur, un moment de désespoir brut.  

QUAND FICTION ET RÉALITÉ S’EMMÊLENT

Dans leur regard est puissante, l’injustice de son histoire et la souffrance de ses personnages font facilement passer de la rage aux larmes. En 1989, l’affaire avait pris une proportion nationale. L’attaque raciale et contre les minorités avait été mise en avant par les défenseurs des « Cinq de Central Park ».

Mais Ava DuVernay se plaît à rappeler autre chose : contre eux, il y avait un milliardaire de l’immobilier (dont les bureaux bordaient le parc) maintenant président des États-Unis. Donald Trump avait payé plus de 80 000 dollars pour des pages entières dans des journaux, appelant notamment au rétablissement de la peine de mort dans l’État.

Outre Donald Trump, la procureur Linda Fairstein, campée par Felicity Huffman, est également pointée du doigt. Les accusations de la réalisatrice vont même plus loin : elle serait responsable de l’arrestation et surtout de l’acharnement de la police et de la cour sur les cinq adolescents et leur famille. Aujourd’hui, l‘ex-procureur reconvertie en autrice est à son tour lynchée sur la place publique (et notamment la tweetosphère).

Il faut dire que devant les conditions des interrogatoires des cinq garçons, la violence verbale et physique dont ils ont (ou auraient, pour Fairstein) fait les frais, et l’instrumentalisation politique de leur incarcération, l’opportunisme de la procureur se confond facilement avec un racisme aveugle. Aujourd’hui encore, la femme dément la vision des interrogatoires que propose DuVernay et reproche à la réalisatrice d’avoir non seulement omis une grande partie des méfaits du gang cette nuit du 19 avril 1989, mais aussi de ne s’être penchée que sur l’innocence des cinq garçons. 

S’il fallait faire un reproche à la série émouvante et militante, on pourrait pointer du doigt sa mise en scène très classique. Comme le but n’est pas d’esthétiser, mais de redonner leur place, leur parole et leur dignité à des personnes à jamais meurtries, la réalisation use d’effets dramatiques (musique, ralentis…) pour augmenter l’empathie du spectateur. C’est un peu facile et attendu, mais rien d’étonnant de la part de la réalisatrice de Selma.

Dans tous les cas, Dans leur regard reste un uppercut porté par des acteurs formidables, et une série passionnante et déchirante, particulièrement importante.

Dans leur regard est disponible en intégralité sur Netflix depuis le 31 mai.

Résumé

L’adaptation de faits réels en fiction se soumet toujours à un point de vue (auteur, réalisateur…), et Dans leur regard n’y échappe pas. C’est pourtant une série forte, qui imprègne le spectateur et le suivra plusieurs heures après l’avoir finie. Et quand bien même le personnage incarné par Felicity Huffman n’est pas un témoignage de vérité, la série rappelle que le racisme institutionnel accuse encore aujourd’hui sans savoir. Elle éveille les consciences et met la lumière sur un système judiciaire américain à deux vitesses, qui existe toujours. 

Voir encore:

Dans leur regard: que vaut la mini-série de Netflix réalisée par Ava DuVernay?

 Constance Jamet

Le Figaro

CRITIQUE – Avec cette mini-série qui provoque une véritable onde de choc outre-Atlantique, Ava DuVernay, la réalisatrice de Selma, poursuit sa trilogie sur le racisme dans le système judiciaire américain.

C’est une des plus édifiantes erreurs judiciaires de l’histoire contemporaine américaine. En 1989, cinq adolescents originaires de Harlem sont condamnés à tort pour le viol barbare d’une joggeuse blanche dans Central Park. Embarqués par des policiers sur les dents, les garçons, quatre Afro-Américains et un Hispanique, se promenaient ce soir-là dans le parc de New York. Ils livrent des confessions forcées au bout de 42 heures d’interrogatoire musclé sans sommeil, sans nourriture, sans avocat. Malgré l’absence de preuves matérielles (leurs ADN ne correspondent pas à celui trouvé sur la victime) et leurs protestations, ils passeront entre six et quatorze ans en prison. Et ne seront innocentés qu’après les aveux du vrai coupable… en 2002.

Ce fait divers qui avait inspiré Donald Trump, alors simple magnat, à demander le rétablissement de la peine de mort, a divisé les États-Unis mais reste peu connu en France. Il est à redécouvrir dans le puissant réquisitoire Dans leur regard (When they see us), remarquable mini-série de quatre épisodes signée pour Netflix par Ava DuVernay. La réalisatrice engagée de Selma poursuit sa réflexion implacable sur le racisme latent du système judiciaire américain, inadapté à protéger les plus faibles. Comme avec son film Middle of Nowhere et son documentaire 13, nommé aux Oscars, qui liait esclavage et incarcération de masse, la cinéaste déconstruit les préjugés à l’égard des minorités.

Procès ubuesque

Face à l’engrenage, le quinté d’ados est d’une naïveté enfantine douloureuse. Ignorant jusqu’à la définition du mot viol. Considérés d’office comme de la mauvaise graine. Des boucs émissaires de l’insécurité qui gangrenait alors la Grosse pomme. Perdus, leurs parents les poussent à dire ce que les enquêteurs veulent entendre.

Lycéenne au moment des faits, Ava DuVernay s’est laissé convaincre de reconstituer l’affaire après avoir été contactée sur Twitter par l’un des membres de cette tragédie. Épaté par la rigueur de la réalisatrice sur Selma, Raymond Santana rêvait du même traitement pour raconter leur histoire. La réalisatrice a passé quatre ans de sa vie à discuter avec Santana, ses compagnons d’infortune et leurs familles.

Dans leur regard ne retrace pas uniquement le procès ubuesque. La fiction plonge dans l’enfer carcéral, les marques que ces années passées derrière les barreaux ont laissées. Corruption des gardiens, passage à tabac des autres détenus, isolement, réinsertion impossible… La série montre comment le système pousse à la récidive. Comme dans le fabuleux et éprouvant Chernobyl, le sens méticuleux des détails le dispute à l’humanité des personnages. Mention spéciale à Jharrel Jerome. Découvert dans Moonlight, il interprète Korey Wise, l’un des cinq innocents, à tous les âges. Fiction la plus regardée sur Netflix aux États-Unis depuis son lancement fin mai, Dans leur regard a déjà un impact qui la dépasse. Face à cette onde de choc, l’ex-procureur en charge du dossier a été lâché par son éditeur. De même, l’avocate générale de l’époque a démissionné de l’université de Columbia où elle enseignait. Et cette réparation tardive n’est sans doute pas terminée…

Voir enfin:

Fearful Norwegians Wonder: Are ‘Swedish Conditions’ Coming to the Streets of Oslo?

Quillette
November 21, 2019

Oslo is an unremarkable place compared to other European capitals, lacking the picturesque charm of smaller Norwegian cities such as Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger. But it’s pleasant and pretty enough. Tourists find it easy to get around, with lots to explore. The Oslo Opera House, which opened in 2008, is spectacular. And in summer, you can swim in the Oslofjord and enjoy expensive utepils (“outside beer”) on the seafront or on Karl Johans gate, the city’s broad main street. Like the rest of Norway, Oslo traditionally has been a safe place, even by the standards of other wealthy countries. It’s also remained more demographically homogenous than most of its neighbours, being geographically isolated from migration patterns that have affected the rest of Europe.

Over the last month, however, Oslo’s city centre has witnessed an eruption of unprovoked attacks on random victims—most of them ethnic Norwegian men—by what police have described as youth gangs, each consisting of five to 10 young immigrants. The attacks typically take place on weekends. On Saturday, October 19, as many as 20 such attacks were recorded, with victims suffered varying degrees of injuries.

One of the incidents involved a group of young men, originally from the Middle East, detained for attacking a man in his twenties in the affluent west end. According to police, the victim had been kicked repeatedly in the head while lying on the ground, in what appeared to be a random, unprovoked beating. Another victim that weekend was the uncle of Justice Minister Jøran Kallmyr, who suffered several broken ribs after being mobbed at the Romsås subway station.

The following weekend in Oslo, Kurds and Turks clashed over recent developments in Turkey, and ended up looting a branch of the Body Shop on Karl Johan gate, as well as destroying several cars. Car fires also have been on the rise, though the problem has been around for years. (Even in 2013, cars were set alight in Oslo at the rate of about one per week, mostly in the city’s poorer east end.) Overall, crime rates are still low by the standards of other cities, but the recent rise in youth crime suggests that may be changing. “We see more blind violence where people are attacked, ambushed and beaten up,” said Labour Party politician Jan Bøhler to the media last month. “This is terrorising our community.” While such observations are widely shared, Bøhler is notable for being one of the few politicians on the left who’s raised his voice about rising crime among young immigrants.

Oslo is the fastest growing capital city in Europe, despite the fact the country now is registering fewer births than at any time since the government started keeping track in the 19th century. About 14% of the country’s population is now composed of immigrants, with Poles, Lithuanians and Swedes topping the European migration sources; and Somalian, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria supplying the greatest number of non-OECD arrivals. Many of the immigrants congregate in Oslo, where, according to Statistics Norway, about a third of all residents are immigrants or born to immigrants. (As recently as 2004, the figure was just 22%.) In several areas, such as Stovner, Alna and Søndre Nordstrand, the figure is over 50%.

According to a 2015 Statistics Norway report, “most persons with an immigrant background living in Oslo come from Pakistan (22,000), while 13-14,000 are from Poland, Sweden and Somalia. There are large differences between the districts: Persons with a background from Pakistan and Sri Lanka are most represented in [the far eastern suburbs of] Oslo.” By one 2012 estimate, 70 percent of Oslo’s first- and second-generation immigrants will have roots outside Europe by 2040, and about half of the city’s residents will be immigrants.

Until now, Norway had seemed to cope well with the influx of immigrants from war-torn Muslim countries, in part because the intake levels generally were kept at a level that permitted newcomers to be integrated without overwhelming local resources. Indeed, there has been a broad consensus in Norwegian politics to keep immigration rates lower than those of comparable countries such as Sweden and Germany. Nevertheless, concerns have been rising in recent years, even if the ruling class was hesitant to discuss the issue. The country’s libertarian Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet) has repeatedly asked the country’s statistical agency to report on the statistical relationship between crime and country of origin. In the past, Statistics Norway refused, saying that such a task was “beyond its capacity.”

A map of the Oslo area published by Statistics Norway, showing immigrant concentrations, from under 20% (yellow) to over 40% (brown).

But this year, for the first time, such a report was published. And the numbers were clear: Immigrants from certain backgrounds—particularly Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghanis—were many times more likely to commit violent crimes than other Norwegians (including other immigrant groups). In 65 out of 80 crime categories, non-Norwegians were over-represented. The largest discrepancy was in regard to domestic violence: Immigrants from non-Western countries were found to be eight times more likely to be charged for such crimes. Rape and murder were also heavily skewed toward these immigrant groups. Worryingly, the figures showed that second-generation immigrants were more likely to be criminals than their parents.

For a long time, the expression svenske tilstander—“Swedish conditions”—has been used to describe large Swedish cities such as Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm, which feature areas plagued by bombings, gang-related gun violence, robbery and rape. In the past, Norwegians used the expression somewhat disparagingly, insisting that such issues would never arise in Norway (while also suggesting that the situation in Sweden was itself exaggerated by those with an anti-immigration agenda). But gradually, “Swedish conditions” have seemed less distant.

Heidi Vibeke Pedersen, a Labour politician representing the immigrant-heavy area of Holmlia, recently wrote a Facebook post about her own experience, which was subsequently reprinted in VG, Norway’s biggest tabloid, under the headline “We have a problem in Oslo”:

Yesterday, my 15-year-old daughter went past [the suburb of] Bøler on a bus half an hour before another 15-year-old was robbed and beaten. Now I need to make a risk assessment: Is it too dangerous for her to go alone to the youth club…Young people now grow up in an environment where threats and violence are common, where adults might be afraid to interfere, and where they are told that the police are racist…Our part of the city is becoming more and more divided. We have areas that are mainly “Norwegian-Norwegian,” and others that have large immigrant populations. This isn’t diversity.

Pedersen’s article alluded to the fact that, in the quest to maintain their own cultures, some Muslims in Norway prefer to segregate instead of integrate. The newspaper Aftenposten recently uncovered the existence of Islamic schools presenting as cultural centres. And Islamsk Råd, the Islamic Council of Norway, now has proposed a separate branch of the Barnevernet—the government-run social services responsible for children—to deal with Muslim children.

The article was shared by many. But Pedersen’s use of such terms as “Norwegian-Norwegian” (or norsk-norske) didn’t sit well with progressives and community advocates. Hasti Hamidi, a writer and Socialist Party politician, and Umar Ashraf, a Holmlia resident, wrote in VG that Pedersen’s use of the term “must mean that the author’s understanding of Norwegian-ness is synonymous with white skin.”

Camara Lundestad Joof, a well known anti-racist activist and writer at the Dagbladet newspaper, accused Pedersen of branding local teenagers as terrorists. Using her own hard-done-by brother as an example, she explained how, in her opinion, Norwegian society has failed non-white young people. Had he been treated better, she argues, he and others like him would fare better. (One problem with this argument is that Norway is one of the least racist countries in the world.)

Of course, this tension between racial sensitivity and blunt talk on crime has existed for generations in many Western societies. But it’s a relatively new topic in Norway, which is only now embracing certain hyper-progressive academic trends. (Oslo Metropolitan University, for instance, has recently produced an expert in so-called Whiteness Studies.)

In fact, some influential Norwegians apparently would prefer that Statistics Norway had never released its report on crime and immigration in the first place. This includes Oslo’s vice mayor, Kamzy Gunaratnam, who told Dagbladet, “Damn, I’m angry! I’m not interested in these numbers…We don’t have a need to set people up against each other. These are our children, our people.”

But burying the truth is never a good long-term strategy for anyone, including members of immigrant communities. The more persuasive view is that these issues should be addressed candidly, while they are still manageable. Unlike many other European countries, Norway doesn’t yet have an influential far-right party. But that may change if voters see that mainstream politicians are too polite to address a problem that ordinary people all over Oslo are talking about.

Kathrine Jebsen Moore grew up in Norway. She now lives with her husband and four children in Edinburgh.


« Zoos humains »: Arte invente la théorie du complot pour tous (It’s domination and racism, stupid ! – From commercial ethnological to colonial and missionary exhibitions, looking back at the very problematic indiscriminate use of the concept of the “human zoo”)

30 septembre, 2018

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Poster of an ethnological exposition in 1885 (picture-alliance/akg-images)

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Theodor Wonja Michael's parents (Familie Michael)

 Comment ne pas penser à ces enclos quand on voit les murs qui se construisent autour de l’Europe ou aux Etats-Unis ? Lilian Thuram
Malheur à vous, scribes et pharisiens hypocrites! parce que vous bâtissez les tombeaux des prophètes et ornez les sépulcres des justes, et que vous dites: Si nous avions vécu du temps de nos pères, nous ne nous serions pas joints à eux pour répandre le sang des prophètes. Vous témoignez ainsi contre vous-mêmes que vous êtes les fils de ceux qui ont tué les prophètes. Jésus (Matthieu 23: 29-31)
Ne croyez pas que je sois venu apporter la paix sur la terre; je ne suis pas venu apporter la paix, mais l’épée. Car je suis venu mettre la division entre l’homme et son père, entre la fille et sa mère, entre la belle-fille et sa belle-mère; et l’homme aura pour ennemis les gens de sa maison. Jésus (Matthieu 10 : 34-36)
Il n’y a plus ni Juif ni Grec, il n’y a plus ni esclave ni libre, il n’y a plus ni homme ni femme; car tous vous êtes un en Jésus Christ. Paul (Galates 3: 28)
Je pense qu’il y a plus de barbarie à manger un homme vivant qu’à le manger mort, à déchirer par tourments et par géhennes un corps encore plein de sentiment, le faire rôtir par le menu, le faire mordre et meurtrir aux chiens et aux pourceaux (comme nous l’avons non seulement lu, mais vu de fraîche mémoire, non entre des ennemis anciens, mais entre des voisins et concitoyens, et, qui pis est, sous prétexte de piété et de religion), que de le rôtir et manger après qu’il est trépassé. Il ne faut pas juger à l’aune de nos critères. (…) Je trouve… qu’il n’y a rien de barbare et de sauvage en cette nation, à ce qu’on m’en a rapporté, sinon que chacun appelle barbarie ce qui n’est pas de son usage. (…) Leur guerre est toute noble et généreuse, et a autant d’excuse et de beauté que cette maladie humaine en peut recevoir ; elle n’a d’autre fondement parmi eux que la seule jalousie de la vertu… Ils ne demandent à leurs prisonniers autre rançon que la confession et reconnaissance d’être vaincus ; mais il ne s’en trouve pas un, en tout un siècle, qui n’aime mieux la mort que de relâcher, ni par contenance, ni de parole, un seul point d’une grandeur de courage invincible ; il ne s’en voit aucun qui n’aime mieux être tué et mangé, que de requérir seulement de ne l’être pas. Ils les traitent en toute liberté, afin que la vie leur soit d’autant plus chère ; et les entretiennent communément des menaces de leur mort future, des tourments qu’ils y auront à souffrir, des apprêts qu’on dresse pour cet effet, du détranchement de leurs membres et du festin qui se fera à leurs dépens. Tout cela se fait pour cette seule fin d’arracher de leur bouche parole molle ou rabaissée, ou de leur donner envie de s’enfuir, pour gagner cet avantage de les avoir épouvantés, et d’avoir fait force à leur constance. Car aussi, à le bien prendre, c’est en ce seul point que consiste la vraie victoire. Montaigne
Etrange destinée, étrange préférence que celle de l’ethnographe, sinon de l’anthropologue, qui s’intéresse aux hommes des antipodes plutôt qu’à ses compatriotes, aux superstitions et aux mœurs les plus déconcertantes plutôt qu’aux siennes, comme si je ne sais quelle pudeur ou prudence l’en dissuadait au départ. Si je n’étais pas convaincu que les lumières de la psychanalyse sont fort douteuses, je me demanderais quel ressentiment se trouve sublimé dans cette fascination du lointain, étant bien entendu que refoulement et sublimation, loin d’entraîner de ma part quelque condamnation ou condescendance, me paraissent dans la plupart des cas authentiquement créateurs. (…) Peut-être cette sympathie fondamentale, indispensable pour le sérieux même du travail de l’ethnographe, celui-ci n’a-t-il aucun mal à l’acquérir. Il souffre plutôt d’un défaut symétrique de l’hostilité vulgaire que je relevais il y a un instant. Dès le début, Hérodote n’est pas avare d’éloges pour les Scythes, ni Tacite pour les Germains, dont il oppose complaisamment les vertus à la corruption impériale. Quoique évoque du Chiapas, Las Casas me semble plus occupé à défendre les Indiens qu’à les convertir. Il compare leur civilisation avec celle de l’antiquité gréco-latine et lui donne l’avantage. Les idoles, selon lui, résultent de l’obligation de recourir à des symboles communs à tous les fidèles. Quant aux sacrifices humains, explique-t-il, il ne convient pas de s’y opposer par la force, car ils témoignent de la grande et sincère piété des Mexicains qui, dans l’ignorance où ils se trouvent de la crucifixion du Sauveur, sont bien obligés de lui inventer un équivalent qui n’en soit pas indigne. Je ne pense pas que l’esprit missionnaire explique entièrement un parti-pris de compréhension, que rien ne rebute. La croyance au bon sauvage est peut-être congénitale de l’ethnologie. (…) Nous avons eu les oreilles rebattues de la sagesse des Chinois, inventant la poudre sans s’en servir que pour les feux d’artifice. Certes. Mais, d’une part l’Occident a connu lui aussi la poudre sans longtemps l’employer pour la guerre. Au IXe siècle, le Livre des Feux, de Marcus Graecus en contient déjà la formule ; il faudra attendre plusieurs centaines d’années pour son utilisation militaire, très exactement jusqu’à l’invention de la bombarde, qui permet d’en exploiter la puissance de déflagration. Quant aux Chinois, dès qu’ils ont connu les canons, ils en ont été acheteurs très empressés, avant qu’ils n’en fabriquent eux-mêmes, d’abord avec l’aide d’ingénieurs européens. Dans l’Afrique contemporaine, seule la pauvreté ralentit le remplacement du pilon par les appareils ménagers fabriqués à Saint-Étienne ou à Milan. Mais la misère n’interdit pas l’invasion des récipients en plastique au détriment des poteries et des vanneries traditionnelles. Les plus élégantes des coquettes Foulbé se vêtent de cotonnades imprimées venues des Pays-Bas ou du Japon. Le même phénomène se produit d’ailleurs de façon encore plus accélérée dans la civilisation scientifique et industrielle, béate d’admiration devant toute mécanique nouvelle et ordinateur à clignotants. (…) Je déplore autant qu’un autre la disparition progressive d’un tel capital d’art, de finesse, d’harmonie. Mais je suis tout aussi impuissant contre les avantages du béton et de l’électricité. Je ne me sens d’ailleurs pas le courage d’expliquer leur privilège à ceux qui en manquent. (…) Les indigènes ne se résignent pas à demeurer objets d’études et de musées, parfois habitants de réserves où l’on s’ingénie à les protéger du progrès. Étudiants, boursiers, ouvriers transplantés, ils n’ajoutent guère foi à l’éloquence des tentateurs, car ils en savent peu qui abandonnent leur civilisation pour cet état sauvage qu’ils louent avec effusion. Ils n’ignorent pas que ces savants sont venus les étudier avec sympathie, compréhension, admiration, qu’ils ont partagé leur vie. Mais la rancune leur suggère que leurs hôtes passagers étaient là d’abord pour écrire une thèse, pour conquérir un diplôme, puisqu’ils sont retournés enseigner à leurs élèves les coutumes étranges, « primitives », qu’ils avaient observées, et qu’ils ont retrouvé là-bas du même coup auto, téléphone, chauffage central, réfrigérateur, les mille commodités que la technique traîne après soi. Dès lors, comment ne pas être exaspéré d’entendre ces bons apôtres vanter les conditions de félicité rustique, d’équilibre et de sagesse simple que garantit l’analphabétisme ? Éveillées à des ambitions neuves, les générations qui étudient et qui naguère étaient étudiées, n’écoutent pas sans sarcasme ces discours flatteurs où ils croient reconnaître l’accent attendri des riches, quand ils expliquent aux pauvres que l’argent ne fait pas le bonheur, – encore moins, sans doute, ne le font les ressources de la civilisation industrielle. À d’autres. Roger Caillois (1974)
Le monde moderne n’est pas mauvais : à certains égards, il est bien trop bon. Il est rempli de vertus féroces et gâchées. Lorsqu’un dispositif religieux est brisé (comme le fut le christianisme pendant la Réforme), ce ne sont pas seulement les vices qui sont libérés. Les vices sont en effet libérés, et ils errent de par le monde en faisant des ravages ; mais les vertus le sont aussi, et elles errent plus férocement encore en faisant des ravages plus terribles. Le monde moderne est saturé des vieilles vertus chrétiennes virant à la folie.  G.K. Chesterton
L’inauguration majestueuse de l’ère « post-chrétienne » est une plaisanterie. Nous sommes dans un ultra-christianisme caricatural qui essaie d’échapper à l’orbite judéo-chrétienne en « radicalisant » le souci des victimes dans un sens antichrétien. René Girard
Nous sommes encore proches de cette période des grandes expositions internationales qui regardait de façon utopique la mondialisation comme l’Exposition de Londres – la « Fameuse » dont parle Dostoievski, les expositions de Paris… Plus on s’approche de la vraie mondialisation plus on s’aperçoit que la non-différence ce n’est pas du tout la paix parmi les hommes mais ce peut être la rivalité mimétique la plus extravagante. On était encore dans cette idée selon laquelle on vivait dans le même monde: on n’est plus séparé par rien de ce qui séparait les hommes auparavant donc c’est forcément le paradis. Ce que voulait la Révolution française. Après la nuit du 4 août, plus de problème ! René Girard
Nous sommes entrés dans un mouvement qui est de l’ordre du religieux. Entrés dans la mécanique du sacrilège : la victime, dans nos sociétés, est entourée de l’aura du sacré. Du coup, l’écriture de l’histoire, la recherche universitaire, se retrouvent soumises à l’appréciation du législateur et du juge comme, autrefois, à celle de la Sorbonne ecclésiastique. Françoise Chandernagor
Malgré le titre général, en effet, dès l’article 1, seules la traite transatlantique et la traite qui, dans l’océan Indien, amena des Africains à l’île Maurice et à la Réunion sont considérées comme « crime contre l’humanité ». Ni la traite et l’esclavage arabes, ni la traite interafricaine, pourtant très importants et plus étalés dans le temps puisque certains ont duré jusque dans les années 1980 (au Mali et en Mauritanie par exemple), ne sont concernés. Le crime contre l’humanité qu’est l’esclavage est réduit, par la loi Taubira, à l’esclavage imposé par les Européens et à la traite transatlantique. (…) Faute d’avoir le droit de voter, comme les Parlements étrangers, des « résolutions », des voeux, bref des bonnes paroles, le Parlement français, lorsqu’il veut consoler ou faire plaisir, ne peut le faire que par la loi. (…) On a l’impression que la France se pose en gardienne de la mémoire universelle et qu’elle se repent, même à la place d’autrui, de tous les péchés du passé. Je ne sais si c’est la marque d’un orgueil excessif ou d’une excessive humilité mais, en tout cas, c’est excessif ! […] Ces lois, déjà votées ou proposées au Parlement, sont dangereuses parce qu’elles violent le droit et, parfois, l’histoire. La plupart d’entre elles, déjà, violent délibérément la Constitution, en particulier ses articles 34 et 37. (…) les parlementaires savent qu’ils violent la Constitution mais ils n’en ont cure. Pourquoi ? Parce que l’organe chargé de veiller au respect de la Constitution par le Parlement, c’est le Conseil constitutionnel. Or, qui peut le saisir ? Ni vous, ni moi : aucun citoyen, ni groupe de citoyens, aucun juge même, ne peut saisir le Conseil constitutionnel, et lui-même ne peut pas s’autosaisir. Il ne peut être saisi que par le président de la République, le Premier ministre, les présidents des Assemblées ou 60 députés. (…) La liberté d’expression, c’est fragile, récent, et ce n’est pas total : il est nécessaire de pouvoir punir, le cas échéant, la diffamation et les injures raciales, les incitations à la haine, l’atteinte à la mémoire des morts, etc. Tout cela, dans la loi sur la presse de 1881 modifiée, était poursuivi et puni bien avant les lois mémorielles. Françoise Chandernagor
La tendance à légiférer sur le passé (…) est née des procédures lancées, dans les années 1970, contre d’anciens nazis et collaborateurs ayant participé à l’extermination des juifs. Celles-ci utilisaient pour la première fois l’imprescriptibilité des crimes contre l’humanité, votée en 1964. Elles devaient aboutir aux procès Barbie, Touvier et Papon. (…) L’innovation juridique des « procès pour la mémoire » se justifiait, certes, par l’importance et la singularité du génocide des juifs, dont la signification n’est apparue que deux générations plus tard. Elle exprimait cependant un changement radical dans la place que nos sociétés assignent à l’histoire, dont on n’a pas fini de prendre la mesure. Ces procès ont soulevé la question de savoir si, un demi-siècle après, les juges étaient toujours « contemporains » des faits incriminés. Ils ont montré à quel point la culture de la mémoire avait pris le pas, non seulement sur les politiques de l’oubli qui émergent après une guerre ou une guerre civile, afin de permettre une reconstruction, mais aussi sur la connaissance historique elle-même. L’illusion est ici de croire que la « mémoire » fabrique de l’identité sociale, qu’elle donne accès à la connaissance. Comment peut-on se souvenir de ce que l’on ignore, les historiens ayant précisément pour fonction, non de « remémorer » des faits, des acteurs, des processus du passé, mais bien de les établir ? Dans le cas du génocide des juifs, dans celui des Arméniens ou dans le cas de la guerre d’Algérie, encore pouvons-nous avoir le sentiment que ces faits appartiennent toujours au temps présent — que l’on soit ou non favorable aux « repentances ». L’identification reste possible de victimes précises, directes ou indirectes, et de bourreaux singuliers, individus ou Etats, à qui l’on peut demander réparation. Mais comment peut-on prétendre agir de la même manière sur des faits vieux de plusieurs siècles ? Comment penser sérieusement que l’on peut « réparer » les dommages causés par la traite négrière « à partir du XVe siècle » de la même manière que les crimes nazis, dont certains bourreaux habitent encore au coin de la rue ? (…) Pourquoi (…) promulguer une loi à seule fin rétroactive s’il n’y a aucune possibilité d’identifier des bourreaux, encore moins de les traîner devant un tribunal ? Pourquoi devons-nous être à ce point tributaires d’un passé qui nous est aussi étranger ? Pourquoi cette volonté d’abolir la distance temporelle et de proclamer que les crimes d’il y a quatre siècles ont des effets encore opérants ? Pourquoi cette réduction de l’histoire à la seule dimension criminelle et mortifère ? Et comment croire que les valeurs de notre temps sont à ce point estimables qu’elles puissent ainsi s’appliquer à tout ce qui nous a précédés ? En réalité, la plupart de ces initiatives relèvent de la surenchère politique. Elles sont la conséquence de la place que la plupart des pays démocratiques ont accordée au souvenir de la Shoah, érigé en symbole universel de la lutte contre toutes les formes de racisme. A l’évidence, le caractère universel de la démarche échappe à beaucoup. La mémoire de la Shoah est ainsi devenue un modèle jalousé, donc, à la fois, récusé et imitable : d’où l’urgence de recourir à la notion anachronique de crime contre l’humanité pour des faits vieux de trois ou quatre cents ans. Le passé n’est ici qu’un substitut, une construction artificielle — et dangereuse —, puisque le groupe n’est plus défini par une filiation passée ou une condition sociale présente, mais par un lien « historique » élaboré après coup, pour isoler une nouvelle catégorie à offrir à la compassion publique. Enfin, cette faiblesse s’exprime, une fois de plus, par un recours paradoxal à l’Etat, voie habituelle, en France, pour donner consistance à une « communauté » au sein de la nation. Sommé d’assumer tous les méfaits du passé, l’Etat se retrouve en même temps source du crime et source de rédemption. Outre la contradiction, cette « continuité » semble dire que l’histoire ne serait qu’un bloc, la diversité et l’évolution des hommes et des idées, une simple vue de l’esprit, et l’Etat, le seul garant d’une nouvelle histoire officielle « vertueuse ». C’est là une conception pour le moins réactionnaire de la liberté et du progrès. Henry Rousso
La loi (…) « portant reconnaissance de la nation et contribution nationale en faveur des Français rapatriés » risque, surtout en ses articles 1 et 4, de relancer une polémique dans laquelle les historiens ne se reconnaîtront guère. En officialisant le point de vue de groupes de mémoire liés à la colonisation, elle risque de générer en retour des simplismes symétriques, émanant de groupes de mémoire antagonistes, dont l' »histoire officielle » , telle que l’envisage cette loi, fait des exclus de l’histoire. Car, si les injonctions « colonialophiles » de la loi ne sont pas recevables, le discours victimisant ordinaire ne l’est pas davantage, ne serait-ce que parce qu’il permet commodément de mettre le mouchoir sur tant d’autres ignominies, actuelles ou anciennes, et qui ne sont pas forcément du ressort originel de l’impérialisme ou de ses formes historiques passées comme le(s) colonialisme(s). L’étude scientifique du passé ne peut se faire sous la coupe d’une victimisation et d’un culpabilisme corollaire. De ce point de vue, les débordements émotionnels portés par les »indigènes de la République » ne sont pas de mise. Des êtres humains ne sont pas responsables des ignominies commises par leurs ancêtres ­ – ou alors il faudrait que les Allemands continuent éternellement à payer leur épisode nazi. C’est une chose d’analyser, par exemple, les « zoos humains » de la colonisation. C’en est une autre que de confondre dans la commisération culpabilisante le « divers historique », lequel ne se réduit pas à des clichés médiatiquement martelés. Si la colonisation fut ressentie par les colonisés dans le rejet et la douleur, elle fut aussi vécue par certains dans l’ouverture, pour le modèle de société qu’elle offrait pour sortir de l’étouffoir communautaire. (…)Les historiens doivent travailler à reconstruire les faits et à les porter à la connaissance du public. Or ces faits établissent que la traite des esclaves, dans laquelle des Européens ont été impliqués (et encore, pas eux seuls), a porté sur environ 11 millions de personnes (27,5 % des 40 millions d’esclaves déportés), et que les trafiquants arabes s’y sont taillé la part du lion : la »traite orientale » fut responsable de la déportation de 17 millions de personnes (42,5 % d’entre eux) et la traite « interne » effectuée à l’intérieur de l’Afrique, porta, elle, sur 12 millions (30 %). Cela, ni Dieudonné ni les « Indigènes » , dans leur texte victimisant à sens unique, ne le disent ­ – même si, à l’évidence, la traite européenne fut plus concentrée dans le temps et plus rentable en termes de nombre de déportés par an. (…) L’historien ne se reconnaît pas dans l’affrontement des mémoires. Pour lui, elles ne sont que des documents historiques, à traiter comme tels. Il ne se reconnaît pas dans l’anachronisme, qui veut tout arrimer au passé ; il ne se reconnaît pas dans le manichéisme, qu’il provienne de la »nostalgérie » électoraliste vulgaire qui a présidé à la loi du 23 février 2005, ou qu’il provienne des simplismes symétriques qui surfent sur les duretés du présent pour emboucher les trompettes agressives d’un ressentiment déconnecté de son objet réel. Gilbert Meynier
The enigmatic showman Martin Couney showcased premature babies in incubators to early 20th century crowds on the Coney Island and Atlantic City boardwalks, and at expositions across the United States. A Prussian-born immigrant based on the East coast, Couney had no medical degree but called himself a physician, and his self-promoting carnival-barking incubator display exhibits actually ended up saving the lives of about 7,000 premature babies. These tiny infants would have died without Couney’s theatrics, but instead they grew into adulthood, had children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and lived into their 70s, 80s, and 90s. This extraordinary story reveals a great deal about neonatology, and about life. (…) Drawing on extraordinary archival research as well as interviews, [Raffel’s] narrative is enhanced by her own reflections as she balanced her shock over how Couney saved these premature infants and also managed to make a living by displaying them like little freaks to the vast crowds who came to see them. Couney’s work with premature infants began in Europe as a carnival barker at an incubator exposition. It was there he fell in love with preemies and met his head nurse Louise Recht. Still, even allowing for his evident affection, making the preemies incubation a public show seems exploitative. But was it? In the 21st century, hospital incubators and NICUs are taken for granted, but over a hundred years ago, incubators were rarely used in hospitals, and sometimes they did far more harm than good.  Premature infants often went blind because of too much oxygen pumped into the incubators (Raffel notes that Stevie Wonder, himself a preemie, lost his sight this way). Yet the preemies Couney and his nurses — his wife Maye, his daughter Hildegard, and lead nurse Louise, known in the show as “Madame Recht” — cared for retained their vision. The reason? Couney was worried enough about this problem to use incubators developed by M. Alexandre Lion in France, which regulated oxygen flow. Today it is widely accept that every baby – premature or ones born to term – should be saved.  Not so in Couney’s time. Preemies were referred to as “weaklings,” and even some doctors believed their lives were not worth saving. While Raffel’s tale is inspiring, it is also horrific. She does not shy away from people like Dr. Harry Haiselden who, unlike Couney, was an actual M.D., but “denied lifesaving treatment to infants he deemed ‘defective,’ deliberately watching them die even when they could have lived.” (…) True, he was a showman, and during most of his career, he earned a good living from his incubator babies show, but Couney, an elegant man who fluently spoke German, French and English, didn’t exploit his preemies (Hildegard was a preemie too).  He gave them a chance at the lives they might not have been allowed to live. Couney used his showmanship to support all of this life-saving. He put on shows for boardwalk crowds, but he also, despite not having a medical degree, maintained his incubators according to high medical standards. In many ways, Couney’s practices were incredibly advanced. Babies were fed with breast milk exclusively, nurses provided loving touches frequently, and the babies were held, changed and bathed. (…) Yet the efforts of Dr. Couney’s his nurses went largely ignored by the medical profession and were only mentioned once in a medical journal. As Raffel writes in her book’s final page, “There is nothing at his  grave to indicate that [Martin Couney] did anything of note.” The same goes for Maye, Louise and Hildegard. Louise’s name was misspelled on her shared tombstone (Louise’s remains are interred in another family’s crypt), and Hildegard, whose remains are interred with Louise’s, did not even have her own name engraved on the shared tombstone. With the exception of Chicago’s Dr. Julius Hess, who is considered the father of neonatology, the majority of the medical establishment patronized and excluded Couney. Hess, though, respected Couney’s work and built on it with his own scientific approach and research; in the preface to his book Premature and Congenitally Diseased Infants, Hess acknowledges Couney “‘for his many helpful suggestions in the preparation of the material for this book.’” But Couney cared more about the babies than professional respect. His was a single-minded focus: even when it financially devastated him to do so, he persisted, so his preemies could live. National Book Review
Carl Hagenbeck had the idea to open zoos that weren’t only filled with animals, but also people. People were excited to discover humans from abroad: Before television and color photography were available, it was their only way to see them. Anne Dreesbach
The main feature of these multiform varieties of public show, which became widespread in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Europe and the United States, was the live presence of individuals who were considered “primitive”. Whilst these native peoples sometimes gave demonstrations of their skills or produced manufactures for the audience, more often their role was simply as exhibits, to display their bodies and gestures, their different and singular condition. In this article, the three main forms of modern ethnic show (commercial, colonial and missionary) will be presented, together with a warning about the inadequacy of categorising all such spectacles under the label of “human zoos”, a term which has become common in both academic and media circles in recent years. Luis A. Sánchez-Gómez
Between the 29th of November 2011 and the 3rd of June 2012, the Quai de Branly Museum in Paris displayed an extraordinary exhibition, with the eye-catching title Exhibitions. L’invention du sauvage, which had a considerable social and media impact. Its “scientific curators” were the historian Pascal Blanchard and the museum’s curator Nanette Jacomijn Snoep, with Guadalupe-born former footballer Lilian Thuram acting as “commissioner general”. A popular sportsman, Thuram is also known in France for his staunch social and political commitment. The exhibition was the culmination (although probably not the end point) of a successful project which had started in Marseille in 2001 with the conference entitled Mémoire colonial: zoos humains? Corps Exotiques, corps enfermés, corps mesurés. Over time, successive publications of the papers presented at that first meeting have given rise to a genuine publishing saga, thus far including three French editions, one in Italian, one in English and another in German. This remarkable repertoire is completed by the impressive catalogue of the exhibition. All of the book titles (with the exception of the catalogue) make reference to “human zoos” as their object of study, although in none of them are the words followed by a question mark, as was the case at the Marseille conference. This would seem to define “human zoos” as a well-documented phenomenon, the essence of which has been well-established. Most significantly, despite reiterating the concept, neither the catalogue of the exhibition, nor the texts drawn up by the exhibit’s editorial authorities, provide a precise definition of what a human zoo is understood to be. Nevertheless, the editors seem to accept the concept as being applicable to all of the various forms of public show featured in the exhibition, all of which seem to have been designed with a shared contempt for and exclusion of the “other”. Therefore, the label “human zoo” implicitly applies to a variety of shows whose common aim was the public display of human beings, with the sole purpose of showing their peculiar morphological or ethnic condition. Both the typology of the events and the condition of the individuals shown vary widely: ranging from the (generally individual) presentation of persons with crippling pathologies (exotic or more often domestic freaks or “human monsters”) to singular physical conditions (giants, dwarves or extremely obese individuals) or the display of individuals, families or groups of exotic peoples or savages, arrived or more usually brought, from distant colonies. The purpose of the 2001 conference had been to present the available information about such shows, to encourage their study from an academic perspective and, most importantly, to publicly denounce these material and symbolic contexts of domination and stigmatisation, which would have had a prominent role in the complex and dense animalisation mechanisms of the colonised peoples by the “civilized West”. A scientific and editorial project guided by such intentions could not fail to draw widespread support from academic, social and journalistic quarters. Reviews of the original 2002 text and successive editions have, for the most part, been very positive, and praise for what was certainly an extraordinary exhibition (the one of 2012) has been even more unanimous. However, most commentators have limited their remarks to praising the important anti-racist content and criticisms of the colonial legacy, which are common to both undertakings. Only a few authors have drawn attention to certain conceptual and interpretative problems with the presumed object of study, the “human zoos”, problems which would undermine the project’s solidity. (…) Although the public display of human beings can be traced far back in history in many different contexts (war, funerals and sacred contexts, prisons, fairs, etc…) the configuration and expansion of different varieties of ethnic shows are closely and directly linked to two historical phenomena which lie at the very basis of modernity: exhibitions and colonialism. The former began to appear at national contests and competitions (both industrial and agricultural). These were organised in some European countries in the second half of the eighteenth century, but it was only in the century that followed that they acquired new and shocking material and symbolic dimensions, in the shape of the international or universal exhibition.The key date was 1851, when the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations was held in London. The triumph of the London event, its rapid and continuing success in France and the increasing participation (which will be outlined) of indigenous peoples from the colonies, paved the way from the 1880s for a new exhibition model: the colonial exhibition (whether official or private, national or international) which almost always featured the presence of indigenous human beings. However, less spectacular exhibitions had already been organised on a smaller scale for many years, since about the mid-nineteenth century. Some of these were truly impressive events, which in some cases also featured native peoples. These were the early missionary (or ethnological-missionary) exhibitions, which initially were mainly British and Protestant, but later also Catholic. Finally, the unsophisticated ethnological exhibitions which had been typical in England (particularly in London) in the early-nineteenth century, underwent a gradual transformation from the middle of the century, which saw them develop into the most popular form of commercial ethnological exhibition. These changes were initially influenced by the famous US circus impresario P.T. Barnum’s human exhibitions. Later on, from 1874, Barnum’s displays were successfully reinterpreted (through the incorporation of wild animals and groups of exotic individuals) by Carl Hagenbeck.The second factor which was decisive in shaping the modern ethnic show was imperial colonialism, which gathered in momentum from the 1870s. The propagandising effect of imperialism was facilitated by two emerging scientific disciplines, physical anthropology and ethnology, which propagated colonial images and mystifications amid the metropolitan population. This, coupled with robust new levels of consumerism amongst the bourgeoisie and the upper strata of the working classes, had a greater impact upon our subject than the economic and geostrategic consequences of imperialism overseas. In fact, the new context of geopolitical, scientific and economic expansion turned the formerly “mysterious savages” into a relatively accessible object of study for certain sections of society. Regardless of how much was written about their exotic ways of life, or strange religious beliefs, the public always wanted more: seeking participation in more “intense” and “true” encounters and to feel part of that network of forces (political, economic, military, academic and religious) that ruled even the farthest corners of the world and its most primitive inhabitants.It was precisely the convergence of this web of interests and opportunities within the new exhibition universe that had already consolidated by the end of the 1870s, and which was to become the defining factor in the transition. From the older, popular model of human exhibitions which had dominated so far, we see a reduction in the numbers of exhibitions of isolated individuals classified as strange, monstrous or simply exotic, in favour of adequately-staged displays of families and groups of peoples considered savage or primitive, authentic living examples of humanity from a bygone age. Of course, this new interest, this new desire to see and feel the “other” was fostered not only by exhibition impresarios, but by industrialists and merchants who traded in the colonies, by colonial administrators and missionary societies. In turn, the process was driven forward by the strongly positive reaction of the public, who asked for more: more exoticism, more colonial products, more civilising missions, more conversions, more native populations submitted to the white man’s power; ultimately, more spectacle. Despite the differences that can be observed within the catalogue of exhibitions, their success hinged to a great extent upon a single factor: the representation or display of human beings labelled as exotic or savage, which today strikes us as unsettling and distasteful. It can therefore be of little surprise that most, if not all, of the visitors to the Quai de Branly Museum exhibiton of 2012 reacted to the ethnic shows with a fundamental question: how was it possible that such repulsive shows had been organised? Although many would simply respond with two words, domination and racism, the question is certainly more complex. In order to provide an answer, the content and meanings of the three main models or varieties of the modern ethnic show –commercial ethnological exhibitions, colonial exhibitions and missionary exhibitions– will be studied. (…) The opposition that missionary societies encountered at nineteenth-century international exhibitions encouraged them to organise events of their own. The first autonomous missionary events were Protestant and possibly took place prior to 1851. In any case, this has been confirmed as the year that the Methodist Wesleyan Missionary Society organised a missionary exhibition (which took place at the same time as the International Exhibition). Small in size and very simple in structure, it was held for only two days during the month of June, although it provided the extraordinary opportunity to see and acquire shells, corals and varied ethnographic materials (including idols) from Tonga and Fiji. The exhibition’s aim was very specific: to make a profit from ticket sales and the materials exhibited and to seek general support for the missionary enterprise.Whether or not they were directly influenced by the international event of 1851, the modest British missionary exhibitions of the mid-nineteenth century began to evolve rapidly from the 1870s, reaching truly spectacular proportions in the first third of the twentieth century. This enormous success was due to a particular set of circumstances which were not true for the Catholic sphere. Firstly, the exhibits were a fantastic source of propaganda, and furthermore, they generated a direct and immediate cash income. This is significant considering that Protestant church societies and committees neither depended upon, nor were linked to (at least not directly or officially) civil administration and almost all revenue came from the personal contributions of the faithful. Secondly, because Protestants organised their own events, there was no reason for them to participate in the official colonial exhibitions, with which the Catholic missions became repeatedly involved once the old prejudices of government had fallen away by the later years of the nineteenth century. In this way, evangelical communities were able to maintain their independence from the imperial enterprise, yet in a manner that did not preclude them from collaborating with it whenever it was in their interests to do so.However, whether Catholic or Protestant, the main characteristic of the missionary exhibitions in the timeframe of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, was their ethnological intent. The ethnographic objects of converted peoples (and of those who had yet to be converted) were noteworthy for their exoticism and rarity, and became a true magnet for audiences. They were also supposedly irrefutable proof of the “backward” and even “depraved” nature of such peoples, who had to be liberated by the redemptive missions which all Christians were expected to support spiritually and financially. But as tastes changed and the public began to lose interest, the exhibitions started to grow in size and complexity, and increasingly began to feature new attractions, such as dioramas and sculptures of native groups. Finally, the most sophisticated of them began to include the natives themselves as part of the show. It must be said that, but for rare exceptions, these were not exhibitions in the style of the famous German Völkerschauen or British ethnological exhibitions, but mere performances; in fact, the “guests” had already been baptized, were Christians, and allegedly willing to collaborate with their benefactors.Whilst the Protestant churches (British and North American alike) produced representations of indigenous peoples with the greatest frequency and intensity, it was (as far as we know) the (Italian) Catholic Church that had the dubious honour of being the first to display natives at a missionary exhibition, and did so in a clearly savagist and rudimentary fashion, which could even be described as brutal. This occurred in the religious section of the Italian-American Exhibition of Genoa in 1892. As a shocking addition to the usual ethnographic and missionary collections, seven natives were exhibited in front of the audience: four Fuegians and three Mapuches of both sexes (children, young and fully-grown adults) brought from America by missionaries. The Fuegians, who were dressed only in skins and armed with bows and arrows, spent their time inside a hut made from branches which had been built in the garden of the pavilion housing the missionary exhibition. The Mapuches were two young girls and a man; the three of them lived inside another hut, where they made handicrafts under the watchful eye of their keepers.The exhibition appears to have been a great success, but it must have been evident that the model was too simple in concept, and inhumanitarian in its approach to the indigenous people present. In fact, whilst subsequent exhibitions also featured a native presence (always Christianised) at the invitation of the clergy, the Catholic Church never again fell into such a rough presentation and representation of the obsolete and savage way of life of its converted. To provide an illustration of those times, now happily overcome by the missionary enterprise, Catholic congregations resorted to dioramas and sculptures, some of which were of superb technical and artistic quality.Although the Catholic Church may have organised the first live missionary exhibition, it should not be forgotten that they joined the exhibitional sphere much later than the evangelical churches. Also, a considerable number of their displays were associated with colonial events, something that the Protestant churches avoided. (…) Whilst it was the reformed churches that most readily incorporated native participation, they seemed to do so in a more sensitive and less brutalised manner than the Genoese Catholic Exhibition of 1892. (…) The exhibition model at these early-twentieth century Protestant events was very similar to the colonial model. Native villages were reconstructed and ethnographic collections were presented, alongside examples of local flora and fauna, and of course, an abundance of information about missionary work, in which its evangelising, educational, medical and welfare aspects were presented. Some of these were equally as attractive to the audience (irrespective of their religious beliefs) as contemporary colonial or commercial exhibitions. However, it may be noted that the participation of Christianised natives took a radically different form from those of the colonial and commercial world. Those who were most capable and had a good command of English served as guides in the sections corresponding to their places of origin, a task that they tended to carry out in traditional clothing. More frequently these new Christians assumed roles with less responsibility, such as the manufacture of handicrafts, the sale of exotic objects or the recreation of certain aspects of their previous way of life. The organisers justified their presence by claiming that they were merely actors, representing their now-forgotten savage way of life. This may very well have been the case. At the Protestant exhibitions of the 1920s and 1930s, the presence of indigens became progressively less common until it eventually disappeared. This notwithstanding, the organisers came to benefit from a living resource which complemented displays of ethnographic materials whilst being more attractive to the audience than the usual dioramas. This was a theatrical representation of the native way of life (combined with scenes of missionary interaction) by white volunteers (both men and women) who were duly made up and in some cases appeared alongside real natives. Some of these performances were short, but others consisted of several acts and featured dozens of characters on stage. Regardless of their form, these spectacles were inherent to almost any British and North American exhibition, although much less frequent in continental Europe.Since the 1960s, the Christian missionary exhibition (both Protestant and Catholic) has been conducted along very different lines from those which have been discussed here. All direct or indirect associations with colonialism have been definitively given up; it has broken with racial or ethnological interpretations of converted peoples, and strongly defends its reputed autonomy from any political groups or interests, without forgetting that the essence of evangelisation is to maximize the visibility of its educational and charitable work among the most disadvantaged. (…)The three most important categories of modern ethnic show –commercial ethnological exhibitions, colonial exhibitions and missionary exhibitions– have been examined. All three resorted, to varying degrees, to the exhibition of exotic human beings in order to capture the attention of their audience, and, ultimately, to achieve certain goals: be they success in business and personal enrichment, social, political or financial backing for the colonial enterprise, or support for missionary work. Whilst on occasion they coincided at the same point in time and within the same context of representation, the uniqueness of each form of exhibition has been emphasised. However, this does not mean that they are completely separate phenomena, or that their representation of exotic “otherness” is homogeneous.Missionary exhibitions displayed perhaps the most singular traits due to their spiritual vision. However, it is clear that many made a determined effort to produce direct, visual and emotional spectacles and some, in so doing, resorted to representations of natives which were very similar to those of colonial exhibitions. Can we speak then, of a convergence of designs and interests? I honestly do not think so. At many colonial exhibitions, organisers showed a clear intention to portray natives as fearsome, savage individuals (sometimes even describing them as cannibals) who somehow needed to be subjugated. Peoples who were considered, to a lesser or greater extent, to be civilised were also displayed (as at the interwar exhibitions). However, the purpose of this was often to publicise the success of the colonial enterprise in its campaign for “the domestication of the savage”, rather than to present a message of humanitarianism or universal fraternity. Missionary exhibitions provided information and material examples of the former way of life of the converted, in which natives demonstrated that they had abandoned their savage condition and participated in the exhibition for the greater glory of the evangelising mission. Moreover, they also became living evidence that something much more transcendent than any civilising process was taking place: that once they had been baptised, anyone, no matter how wild they had once been, could become part of the same universal Christian family.It is certainly true that the shows that the audiences enjoyed at all of these exhibitions (whether missionary, colonial or even commercial) were very similar. Yet in the case of the former, the act of exhibition took place in a significantly more humanitarian context than in the others. And while it is evident that indigenous cultures and peoples were clearly manipulated in their representation at missionary exhibitions, this did not mean that the exhibited native was merely a passive element in the game. And there is something more. The dominating and spectacular qualities present in almost all missionary exhibitions should not let us forget one last factor which was essential to their conception, their development and even their longevity: Christian faith. Without Christian faith there would have been no missionary exhibitions, and had anything similar been organised, it would not have had the same meaning. It was essential that authentic Christian faith existed within the ecclesiastical hierarchy and within those responsible for congregations, missionary societies and committees. But the faith that really made the exhibitions possible was the faith of the missionaries, of others who were involved in their implementation and, of course, of those who visited. Although it was never recognised as such, this was perhaps an uncritical faith, complacent in its acceptance of the ways in which human diversity was represented and with ethical values that occasionally came close to the limits of Christian morality. But it was a faith nonetheless, a faith which intensified and grew with each exhibition, which surely fuelled both Christian religiosity (Catholic and Protestant alike) and at least several years of missionary enterprise, years crucial for the imperialist expansionism of the West. It is an objective fact that the display of human beings at commercial and colonial shows was always much more explicit and degrading than at any missionary exhibition. To state what has just been proposed more bluntly: missionary exhibitions were not “human zoos”. However, it is less clear whether the remaining categories: are commercial and colonial exhibitions worthy of this assertion (human zoos), or were they polymorphic ethnic shows of a much greater complexity?The principal analytical obstacle to the use of the term “human zoo” is that it makes an immediate and direct association between all of these acts and contexts and the idea of a nineteenth-century zoo. The images of caged animals, growling and howling, may cause admiration, but also disgust; they may sometimes inspire tenderness, but are mainly something to be avoided and feared due to their savage and bestial condition. This was definitely the case for the organisers of the scientific and editorial project cited at the beginning of this article, so it can be no surprise that Carl Hagenbeck’s joint exhibitions of exotic animals and peoples were chosen as the frame of reference for human zoos. Although the authors state in the first edition that “the human zoo is not the exhibition of savagery but its construction” [“le zoo humain n’est pas l’exhibition de la sauvagerie, mais la construction de celle-ci”], the problem, as Blanckaert (2002) points out, is that this alleged construction or exhibitional structure was not present at most of the exhibitions under scrutiny, nor (and this is an added of mine) at those shown at the Exhibitions. Indeed, the expression “human zoo” establishes a model which does not fit with the meagre number of exhibitions of exotic individuals from the sixteenth, seventeenth or eighteenth centuries, nor with that of Saartjie Baartmann (the Hottentot Venus) of the early nineteenth century, much less with the freak shows of the twentieth century. Furthermore, this model can neither be compared to most of the nineteenth-century British human ethnological exhibitions, nor to most of the native villages of the colonial exhibitions, nor to the Wild West show of Buffalo Bill, let alone to the ruralist-traditionalist villages which were set up at many national and international exhibitions until the interwar period. Ultimately, their connection with many wandering “black villages” or “native villages” exhibited by impresarios at the end of the nineteenth century could also be disputed. Moreover, many of the shows organised by Hagenbeck number amongst the most professional in the exhibitional universe. The fact that they were held in zoos should not automatically imply that the circumstances in which they took place were more brutal or exploitative than those of any of the other ethnic shows.It is evident from all the shows which have been discussed, that the differential racial condition of the persons exhibited not only formed the basis of their exhibition, but may also have fostered and even founded racist reactions and attitudes held by the public. However, there are many other factors (political, economic and even aesthetic) which come into play and have barely been considered, which could be seen as encouraging admiration of the displays of bodies, gestures, skills, creations and knowledge which were seen as both exotic and seductive.In fact, the indiscriminate use of the very successful concept of “human zoo” generates two fundamental problems. Firstly it impedes our “true” knowledge of the object of study itself, that is, of the very varied ethnic shows which it intends to catalogue, given the great diversity of contexts, formats, persons in charge, objectives and materialisations that such enterprises have to offer. Secondly, the image of the zoo inevitably recreates the idea of an exhibition which is purely animalistic, where the only relationship is that which exists between exhibitor and exhibited: the complete domination of the latter (irrational beasts) by the former (rational beings). If we accept that the exhibited are treated merely as as more-or-less worthy animals, the consequences are twofold: a logical rejection of such shows past, present and future, and the visualization of the exhibited as passive victims of racism and capitalism in the West. It is therefore of no surprise that the research barely considers the role that these individuals may have played, the extent to which their participation in the show was voluntary and the interests which may have moved some of them to take part in these shows. Ultimately, no evaluation has been made of how these shows may have provided “opportunity contexts” for the exhibited, whether as commercial, colonial or missionary exhibitis. Whilst it is true that the exhibited peoples’ own voice is the hardest to record in any of these shows, greater effort could have been made in identifying and mapping them, as, when this happens, the results obtained are truly interesting. Before we conclude, it must be said that the proposed analysis does not intend to soften or justify the phenomenon of the ethnic show. Even in the least dramatic and exploitative cases it is evident that the essence of these shows was a marked inequality, in which every supposed “context of interaction” established a dichotomous relationship between black and white, North and South, colonisers and colonised, and ultimately, between dominators and dominated. My intention has been to propose a more-or-less classifying and clarifying approach to this varied world of human exhibitions, to make a basic inventory of their forms of representation and to determine which are the essential traits that define them, without losing sight of the contingent factors which they rely upon. Luis A. Sánchez-Gómez
Une théorie du complot (on parle aussi de conspirationnisme ou de complotisme) est un récit pseudo-scientifique, interprétant des faits réels comme étant le résultat de l’action d’un groupe caché, qui agirait secrètement et illégalement pour modifier le cours des événements en sa faveur, et au détriment de l’intérêt public. Incapable de faire la démonstration rigoureuse de ce qu’elle avance, la théorie du complot accuse ceux qui la remettent en cause d’être les complices de ce groupe caché. Elle contribue à semer la confusion, la désinformation, et la haine contre les individus ou groupes d’individus qu’elle stigmatise. (…) Derrière chaque actualité ayant des causes accidentelles ou naturelles (mort ou suicide d’une personnalité, crash d’avion, catastrophe naturelle, crise économique…), la théorie du complot cherche un ou des organisateurs secrets (gouvernement, communauté juive, francs-maçons…) qui auraient manipulé les événements dans l’ombre pour servir leurs intérêts : l’explication rationnelle ne suffit jamais. Et même si les événements ont une cause intentionnelle et des acteurs évidents (attentat, assassinat, révolution, guerre, coup d’État…), la théorie du complot va chercher à démontrer que cela a en réalité profité à un AUTRE groupe caché. C’est la méthode du bouc émissaire. (…) La théorie du complot voit les indices de celui-ci partout où vous ne les voyez pas, comme si les comploteurs laissaient volontairement des traces, visibles des seuls « initiés ». Messages cachés sur des paquets de cigarettes, visage du diable aperçu dans la fumée du World Trade Center, parcours de la manifestation Charlie Hebdo qui dessinerait la carte d’Israël… Tout devient prétexte à interprétation, sans preuve autre que l’imagination de celui qui croit découvrir ces symboles cachés. Comme le disait une série célèbre : « I want to believe ! » (…) La théorie du complot a le doute sélectif : elle critique systématiquement l’information émanant des autorités publiques ou scientifiques, tout en s’appuyant sur des certitudes ou des paroles « d’experts » qu’elle refuse de questionner. De même, pour expliquer un événement, elle monte en épingle des éléments secondaires en leur conférant une importance qu’ils n’ont pas, tout en écartant les éléments susceptibles de contrarier la thèse du complot. Son doute est à géométrie variable. (…) La théorie du complot tend à mélanger des faits et des spéculations sans distinguer entre les deux. Dans les « explications » qu’elle apporte aux événements, des éléments parfaitement avérés sont noués avec des éléments inexacts ou non vérifiés, invérifiables, voire carrément mensongers. Mais le fait qu’une argumentation ait des parties exactes n’a jamais suffi à la rendre dans son ensemble exacte !   (…) C’est une technique rhétorique qui vise à intimider celui qui y est confronté : il s’agit de le submerger par une série d’arguments empruntés à des champs très diversifiés de la connaissance, pour remplacer la qualité de l’argumentation par la quantité des (fausses) preuves. Histoire, géopolitique, physique, biologie… toutes les sciences sont convoquées – bien entendu, jamais de façon rigoureuse. Il s’agit de créer l’impression que, parmi tous les arguments avancés, « tout ne peut pas être faux », qu’ »il n’y a pas de fumée sans feu » (…) Incapables (et pour cause !) d’apporter la preuve définitive de ce qu’elle avance, la théorie du complot renverse la situation, en exigeant de ceux qui ne la partagent pas de prouver qu’ils ont raison. Mais comment démontrer que quelque chose qui n’existe pas… n’existe pas ? Un peu comme si on vous demandait de prouver que le Père Noël n’est pas réel. (…) A force de multiplier les procédés expliqués ci-dessus, les théories du complot peuvent être totalement incohérentes, recourant à des arguments qui ne peuvent tenir ensemble dans un même cadre logique, qui s’excluent mutuellement. Au fond, une seule chose importe : répéter, faute de pouvoir le démontrer, qu’on nous ment, qu’on nous cache quelque chose. #OnTeManipule !
Hoax[es], rumeurs, photos ou vidéos truquées… les fausses informations abondent sur internet. Parfois la désinformation va plus loin, et prend la forme de pseudo-théories à l’apparence scientifique qui vous mettent en garde : « On te manipule ! » A en croire ces « théoriciens » du complot, États, institutions et médias déploieraient des efforts systématiques pour tromper et manipuler les citoyens. Il faudrait ne croire personne… sauf ceux qui portent ces thèses complotistes ! Étrange, non ? Et si ceux qui dénoncent la manipulation étaient eux-mêmes en train de nous manipuler ? Oui, #OnTeManipule quand on invente des complots, quand on désigne des boucs émissaires, et quand on demande d’y croire, sans aucune preuve. Découvrez les bons réflexes à avoir pour garder son sens critique et prendre du recul par rapport aux informations qui circulent. On te manipule
Peintures, sculptures, affiches, cartes postales, films, photographies, moulages, dioramas, maquettes et costumes donnent un aperçu de l’étendue de ce phénomène et du succès de cette industrie du spectacle exotique qui a fasciné plus d’un milliard de visiteurs de 1800 à 1958 et a concerné près de 35 000 figurants dans le monde. À travers un vaste panorama composé de près de 600 oeuvres et de nombreuses projections de films d’archives, l’exposition montre comment ces spectacles, à la fois outil de propagande, objet scientifique et source de divertissement, ont formé le regard de l’Occident et profondément influencé la manière dont est appréhendé l’Autre depuis près de cinq siècles. L’exposition explore les frontières parfois ténues entre exotiques et monstres, science et voyeurisme, exhibition et spectacle, et questionne le visiteur sur ses propres préjugés dans le monde d’aujourd’hui. Si ces exhibitions disparaissent progressivement dans les années 30, elles auront alors accompli leur oeuvre : créer une frontière entre les exhibés et les visiteurs. Une frontière dont on peut se demander si elle existe toujours ? Musée du quai Branly
Pendant plus d’un siècle, les grandes puissances colonisatrices ont exhibé comme des bêtes sauvages des êtres humains arrachés à leur terre natale. Retracée dans ce passionnant documentaire, cette « pratique » a servi bien des intérêts. Ils se nomment Petite Capeline, Tambo, Moliko, Ota Benga, Marius Kaloïe et Jean Thiam. Fuégienne de Patagonie, Aborigène d’Australie, Kali’na de Guyane, Pygmée du Congo, Kanak de Nouvelle-Calédonie, ces six-là, comme 35 000 autres entre 1810 et 1940, ont été arrachés à leur terre lointaine pour répondre à la curiosité d’un public en mal d’exotisme, dans les grandes métropoles occidentales. Présentés comme des monstres de foire, voire comme des cannibales, exhibés dans de véritables zoos humains, ils ont été source de distraction pour plus d’un milliard et demi d’Européens et d’Américains, venus les découvrir en famille au cirque ou dans des villages indigènes reconstitués, lors des grandes expositions universelles et coloniales. S’appuyant sur de riches archives (photos, films, journaux…) ainsi que sur le témoignage inédit des descendants de plusieurs de ces exhibés involontaires, Pascal Blanchard et Bruno Victor-Pujebet restituent le phénomène des exhibitions ethnographiques dans leur contexte historique, de l’émergence à l’essor des grands empires coloniaux. Ponctué d’éclairages de spécialistes et d’universitaires, parmi lesquels l’anthropologue Gilles Boëtsch (CNRS, Dakar) et les historiens Benjamin Stora, Sandrine Lemaire et Fanny Robles, leur passionnant récit permet d’appréhender la façon dont nos sociétés se sont construites en fabriquant, lors de grandes fêtes populaires, une représentation stéréotypée du « sauvage ». Et comment, succédant au racisme scientifique des débuts, a pu s’instituer un racisme populaire légitimant la domination des grandes puissances sur les autres peuples du monde. Arte
On assiste au passage progressif d’un racisme scientifique à un racisme populaire, un passage qui n’est ni lié à la littérature ni au cinéma, puisque celui-ci n’existe pas encore, mais à la culture populaire, avec des spectateurs qu vont au zoo pour se divertir, sans le sentiment d’être idéologisés, manipulés. Pascal Blanchard
On payait pour voir des êtres hors norme, le frisson de la dangerosité faisait partie du spectacle. (… ) Imaginez ici des pirogues, un décorum de village lacustre wolof. Tout était fait pour donner au public l’illusion de voir le sauvage dans son biotope. C’est d’ailleurs dans ce décor factice que les frères Lumière tourneront leur douzième film, Baignade de nègres, comme s’ils étaient en Afrique… Pour le visiteur, cette représentation caricaturale du monde et de l’autre était perçue comme la réalité. (…) Ces articles et ces photos contribuent alors à la propagation de clichés et d’idées reçues sur le “sauvage”. Autant de représentations qui légitiment l’ordre colonial, popularisent la théorie et la hiérarchie des races, le concept de peuples “inférieurs” qu’il convient de faire entrer dans la lumière de la civilisation. (…) Ici, vous aviez la grande esplanade des exhibitions humaines. Celle-là même où avaient été placés les Fuégiens de Patagonie en 1881. Sur les photos que nous avons pu retrouver, on voit qu’ils sont installés sur une planche, en hauteur, sans doute à cause du froid et de l’humidité. Ils étaient arrivés en plein mois d’octobre et n’étaient quasiment pas vêtus. Beaucoup avaient attrapé des maladies pulmonaires. (…) Ils étaient enterrés sur place, dans le cimetière du zoo, au même rang que les animaux. Dans certains cas, les corps étaient envoyés à l’Institut médico-légal ou à la Société d’anthropologie de Paris, où le public payait pour assister à leur dissection. (…) Même pour les spécialistes, ce pan de l’histoire coloniale était considéré com­me un élément secondaire. (…) Il a fallu six mois pour obtenir l’autorisation de réaliser quelques séquences à l’intérieur du jardin, et nous ne l’avons eue que parce que nous avons menacé de filmer à travers les grilles… Pascal Blanchard
Grâce à l’historien Pascal Blanchard, que j’ai rencontré lors d’un colloque, à l’époque où je jouais à Barcelone. Après notre rencontre, il m’a envoyé un livre sur le sujet, et c’est comme ça que j’ai appris à connaître un peu mieux cette histoire des « zoos humains ». Une histoire extrêmement violente, dont les enjeux m’intéressent car elle permet de comprendre d’où vient le racisme, de saisir qu’il est lié à un conditionnement historique. (…) Les zoos humains sont le reflet d’un rapport de domination, celui de l’Occident sur le reste du monde. La domination de celui qui détient le pouvoir économique et militaire, et qui l’utilise pour que d’autres personnes, dominées, venues d’Asie, d’Océanie, d’Afrique, soient montrées comme des animaux dans des espaces clos, au nom notamment de la couleur de leur peau. (…) Ces exhibitions ont attiré des millions de spectateurs et ont ancré dans leur tête l’idée d’une hiérarchie entre les personnes, entre les prétendues « races » – la race blanche étant considérée comme supérieure. Les mécanismes de domination qui existent dans nos sociétés se sont construits petit à petit. La plupart des gens sont devenus racistes sans le savoir, ils ont été éduqués dans ce sens-là. Après avoir visité ces zoos humains, les populations occidentales étaient confortées dans l’idée qu’elles étaient supérieures, qu’elles incarnaient la « civilisation » face à des «  sauvages ». Lorsque je préparais l’exposition au Quai Branly, en 2011, je me suis rendu à Hambourg. Là-bas, sur le portail d’entrée du zoo, une sculpture représente des animaux et des hommes, mis au même niveau. C’est d’une violence totale. Mais cela permet aussi de comprendre pourquoi certains sont aujourd’hui encore dans le rejet de l’autre. Il reste des séquelles de ce passé, les barrières existent toujours dans nos sociétés. Comment ne pas penser à ces enclos quand on voit les murs qui se construisent autour de l’Europe ou aux Etats-Unis ? Les zoos humains permettent de nous éclairer sur ce que nous vivons aujourd’hui. (…) Mais ce n’est pas seulement l’évocation des zoos humains qui pose problème, c’est le passé en général. Ce passé lié à de la violence, au fait de s’accaparer des biens d’autrui. Mais, ce passé-là, nous devons nous l’approprier car il raconte l’histoire du monde actuel. Le regarder en face doit nous permettre de nous éclairer sur ce que nous sommes en train de vivre, pour essayer de choisir un futur différent. Dans nos sociétés, la chose la plus importante est-elle le profit, le fait de s’octroyer le bien des autres pour s’enrichir ? C’est important de se poser ces questions-là aujourd’hui. (…) Ces manifestations racistes dont vous parlez viennent directement des zoos humains. De cette histoire. Les gens ont été éduqués ainsi. Les cultures dans lesquelles il y a eu des zoos humains gardent ce complexe de supériorité, conscient ou inconscient, sur les autres cultures. Pour progresser, il faut savoir faire preuve d’autocritique. Dans le sport de haut niveau, c’est essentiel. Cela vaut aussi pour la société. Mais nos sociétés, françaises, européennes, portent très peu de critiques sur elles-mêmes. Très souvent, les gens ne veulent pas critiquer leur propre culture. Il n’y a pas si longtemps encore, l’Europe était persuadée d’être le phare de l’univers. Les zoos humains sont liés à l’histoire coloniale. Les gens ont souvent tendance à croire qu’après la colonisation il y a eu l’égalité. Mais non, il y a une culture de la domination qui perdure. Notre système économique ne fait-il pas en sorte qu’une minorité, qui vit bien, exploite une majorité, qui vit mal ? (…) Avant toute chose, je pense qu’il faut connaître notre passé pour mieux comprendre ce que nous vivons aujourd’hui. Pourquoi certaines personnes ne veulent-elles pas connaître cette histoire, de quoi ont-elles peur ? Le plus beau cadeau que l’on puisse faire à une société, c’est de lui apprendre à connaître son histoire. Il n’y a que sur des bases solides que l’on peut construire un présent et un futur solides. Lilian Thuram
Entre 1877 et 1937, des millions de Parisiens se bousculèrent ici, à la lisière du bois de Boulogne, pour assister au spectacle exotique de Nubiens, Sénégalais, Kali’nas, Fuégiens, Lapons exposés devant le public parés de leurs attributs « authentiques » (lances, peaux de bêtes, pirogues, masques, bijoux…). On se pressait pour voir les « sauvages », des hommes, des femmes et des enfants souvent parqués derrière des grillages ou des barreaux, comme les animaux qui faisaient jusqu’alors la réputation du Jardin zoologique d’acclimatation. D’étranges étrangers, supposés non civilisés et potentiellement menaçants, à l’image de ces Kanaks présentés comme des cannibales et exhibés… dans la fosse aux ours. (…) Lorsque le directeur du Jardin d’acclimatation, le naturaliste Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, organise les tout premiers « spectacles ethnologiques » en 1877 avec des Nubiens et des Esquimaux, il est en quête de nouvelles attractions pour remettre à flot son établissement. Quelques mois plus tôt, à Hambourg, un certain Carl Hagenbeck, marchand d’animaux sauvages, a connu un succès phénoménal en présentant une troupe de Lapons. Au bois de Boulogne, le premier ethnic show fait courir les foules. La fréquentation du jardin double, pour atteindre un million de visiteurs en un an. Certains dimanches, plus de soixante-dix mille personnes se pressent dans les allées. C’est le début d’une mode qui va gagner le monde entier, d’expositions coloniales en expositions universelles. Trente-cinq mille individus seront ainsi exhibés, attirant près d’un milliard et demi de curieux de l’Allemagne aux Etats-Unis, de la Grande-Bretagne au Japon. Pour le promeneur de 2018, impossible de deviner ce passé sinistre derrière les contours ripolinés du parc d’attractions. Les bâtiments de l’époque ont été démolis. Quant aux villages exotiques qui servaient de cadre aux « indigènes », ils étaient éphémères, un ailleurs succédant à un autre. Mais Pascal Blanchard, qui a compulsé des kilos d’images d’archives, n’a aucun mal à en faire ressurgir le souvenir face à ce paisible plan d’eau où patientent des barques (…) Une réalité dont on pouvait conserver le souvenir en s’offrant, après le show, ses produits dérivés, cartes postales, gravures ou coquillages samoans signés de la main des indigènes. Les exhibitions coloniales font le bonheur des anthropologues, qui se bousculent chaque matin avant l’arrivée du public et payent pour pouvoir observer et examiner les « spécimens », publiant ensuite des articles dans les revues les plus sérieuses. S’inspirant des clichés anthropométriques de la police, le photographe Roland Bonaparte constitue, lui, un catalogue de plusieurs milliers d’images « ethnographiques », dans lequel puiseront des générations de scientifiques. (…) Nombre d’exhibés sont ainsi morts dans les zoos humains. On estime entre trente-deux et trente-quatre le nombre de ceux qui auraient péri au Jardin d’acclimatation. » L’acte de décès était déposé à la mairie de Neuilly, mais les morts n’avaient le plus souvent pas de nom. C’est à la lettre « F » comme Fuégienne que les chercheurs ont retrouvé, sur les registres, la trace d’une fillette de 2 ans morte peu après son arrivée à Paris. Une des pièces du puzzle qu’il a fallu patiemment assembler pour reconstituer la mémoire des zoos humains, longtemps ignorée de tous. (…) Aujourd’hui encore, le sujet reste sensible, y compris pour la direction du Jardin d’acclimatation (géré par le groupe LVMH), comme l’a constaté Pascal Blanchard lors du tournage de son documentaire (…) En 2013, au terme d’un combat de cinq ans, les historiens, soutenus par Didier Daeninckx, Lilian Thuram et des élus du Conseil de Paris, ont obtenu que soit posée au Jardin d’acclimatation une plaque commémorative faisant état de ce qu’avaient été les « zoos humains », « symboles d’une autre époque où l’autre avait été regardé comme un “animal” en Occident ». Mais le visiteur doit avoir l’œil bien ouvert pour remarquer la discrète inscription un peu cachée dans les herbes, à l’extérieur de l’enceinte du jardin… Comme le signe d’un passé refoulé qui peine encore à atteindre la lumière. Télérama
Après l’antisémitismeArte invente le conspirationnisme pour tous !

« Grandes puissances colonisatrices »,  « exhibés comme des bêtes sauvages »,  « êtres humains arrachés à leur terre natale », « servi bien des intérêts », « curiosité d’un public en mal d’exotisme », « présentés comme des monstres de foire, voire comme des cannibales, « véritables zoos humains », « théâtre de cruauté », « exhibés involontaires », « représentation stéréotypée du ‘sauvage' », « racisme scientifique », « racisme populaire légitimant la domination des grandes puissances sur les autres peuples du monde », « voyages dans wagons à bestiaux », « histoire inventée de toutes pièces » et « mise en scène pour promouvoir la hiérarchisation des races et justifier la colonisation du monde », « page sombre de notre histoire », « séquelles toujours vivaces » …

Au lendemain, après l’exposition du Quai Branly de 2011, de la diffusion d’un nouveau documentaire sur les « zoos humains » …

Où, à grands coups d’anachronismes et de raccourcis entre le narrateur de couleur de rigueur (le joueur de football guadeloupéen Lilian Thuram sautant allégrement des « zoos humains » aux cris de singe des hooligans des stades de football ou aux actuelles barrières de sécurité contre l’immigration llégale « Comment ne pas penser à ces enclos quand on voit les murs qui se construisent autour de l’Europe ou aux Etats-Unis ? »), la musique angoissante et les appels incessants à l’indignation, l’on nous déploie tout l’arsenal juridico-victimaire de l’histoire à la sauce tribunal de l’histoire …

Où faisant fi de toutes causes accidentelles ou naturelles (maladies, mort ou suicide), plus aucun fait ne peut être que le « résultat de l’action d’un groupe caché » au détriment de l’intérêt de populations qui ne peuvent autres que victimes …

Où la mise en épingle de certains éléments (colonisation, suprémacisme blanc) éclipse systématiquement tout élément susceptible de contrarier la thèse présentée (comme, au-delà par exemple de l’incohérence d’hommes âpres au gain censés mettre inconsidérément en danger à l’instar des esclavagistes dont l’on tient tant à les rapprocher la vie d’exhibés ramenés à grand frais d’Afrique ou de Nouvelle-Calédonie, les « exhibitions » non commerciales à fins humanitaires comme par exemple celles des sociétés missionnaires chrétiennes, l’implication ou la volonté, sans compter ceux qui décidèrent de rester en Europe et y compris à s’y marier avec des Européennes, de membres du groupe « victime » eux-mêmes comme le riche recruteur sénégalais Jean Thiam ou la danseuse nue au tutu de bananes du Bal nègre et future tenancière du « zoo humain » de Milandes présentant à la planète entière sa tribu arc en ciel recomposée d’enfants de toutes les races et ethnies du monde devient comme par enchantement « déconstructrice » de la facticité du mythe du sauvage) …

Où, écartant toute possibilité de véritable curiosité autre que morbide ou raciste (quel racisme attribuer à l’exhibition préalable et même parallèle des « monstres » blancs des « freak shows », dont le cas certes singulier du Dr. autoproclamé Couney sauvant ainsi des milliers de bébés incubés ? ou qui des actuels parcs ethnographiques ou de tourisme industriel où des artisans blancs dument costumés rejouent pour les visiteurs les gestes de leurs aïeux supposés ?), l’on impute invariablement les pires motivations aux méchants colons ou public voués de ce fait à l’exécration publique …

Comment ne pas reconnaitre, dans cette énième tentative d’absolution du péché originel de collusion de l’ethnologie avec l’ordre colonial, nombre des ingrédients des théories du complot que dénonce le site gouvernemental « #On te manipule »

Sauf que bien sûr on n’est plus cette fois dans la vulgaire théorie du complot ….

Mais – c’est pour une bonne cause (« Plus jamais ça ! ») – la théorie du complot vertueuse ?

Dans ce jardin, il y avait un “zoo humain”
Virginie Félix
Télérama
29/09/2018

Au Jardin d’acclimatation, de 1877 à 1937, on a parqué et exhibé des êtres humains venus d’ailleurs. L’historien Pascal Blanchard cosigne pour Arte un documentaire remarquable sur ces “zoos humains”, théâtres de cruauté. Et revient sur les lieux où le racisme s’exprimait sans vergogne. A voir samedi 29 septembre, 20h50.

Neuilly ronronne sous le soleil de septembre. En ce mardi de fin d’été, on pénètre dans les allées du Jardin d’acclimatation comme dans une parenthèse enchantée. Des haut-parleurs crachotent une mélodie guillerette, les brumisateurs nimbent l’air d’un brouillard vaporeux et quelques bambins tournicotent devant les manèges. Mais, au milieu des voix d’enfants, celle de l’historien Pascal Blanchard vient jeter une ombre sur ce décor insouciant. Pour le chercheur, qui nous guide ce matin-là parmi les carrousels et les autos tamponneuses, la féerie du parc d’attractions cache une autre histoire, plus ancienne, aussi sombre que méconnue. Celle des zoos humains, ces « exhibitions ethnographiques » qui attirèrent les foules sur les pelouses du Jardin d’acclimatation à l’orée du XXe siècle, et auxquels il vient de consacrer, avec Bruno Victor-Pujebet, un magistral documentaire pour Arte.

On se pressait pour voir les “sauvages” 

Entre 1877 et 1937, des millions de Parisiens se bousculèrent ici, à la lisière du bois de Boulogne, pour assister au spectacle exotique de Nubiens, Sénégalais, Kali’nas, Fuégiens, Lapons exposés devant le public parés de leurs attributs « authentiques » (lances, peaux de bêtes, pirogues, masques, bijoux…). On se pressait pour voir les « sauvages », des hommes, des femmes et des enfants souvent parqués derrière des grillages ou des barreaux, comme les animaux qui faisaient jusqu’alors la réputation du Jardin zoologique d’acclimatation. D’étranges étrangers, supposés non civilisés et potentiellement menaçants, à l’image de ces Kanaks présentés comme des cannibales et exhibés… dans la fosse aux ours. « On payait pour voir des êtres hors norme, le frisson de la dangerosité faisait partie du spectacle », explique l’historien.

Une mode qui va gagner le monde entier

Lorsque le directeur du Jardin d’acclimatation, le naturaliste Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, organise les tout premiers « spectacles ethnologiques » en 1877 avec des Nubiens et des Esquimaux, il est en quête de nouvelles attractions pour remettre à flot son établissement. Quelques mois plus tôt, à Hambourg, un certain Carl Hagenbeck, marchand d’animaux sauvages, a connu un succès phénoménal en présentant une troupe de Lapons. Au bois de Boulogne, le premier ethnic show fait courir les foules. La fréquentation du jardin double, pour atteindre un million de visiteurs en un an. Certains dimanches, plus de soixante-dix mille personnes se pressent dans les allées. C’est le début d’une mode qui va gagner le monde entier, d’expositions coloniales en expositions universelles. Trente-cinq mille individus seront ainsi exhibés, attirant près d’un milliard et demi de curieux de l’Allemagne aux Etats-Unis, de la Grande-Bretagne au Japon.

L’illusion de voir l’“indigène” dans son biotope

Pour le promeneur de 2018, impossible de deviner ce passé sinistre derrière les contours ripolinés du parc d’attractions. Les bâtiments de l’époque ont été démolis. Quant aux villages exotiques qui servaient de cadre aux « indigènes », ils étaient éphémères, un ailleurs succédant à un autre. Mais Pascal Blanchard, qui a compulsé des kilos d’images d’archives, n’a aucun mal à en faire ressurgir le souvenir face à ce paisible plan d’eau où patientent des barques : « Imaginez ici des pirogues, un décorum de village lacustre wolof. Tout était fait pour donner au public l’illusion de voir le sauvage dans son biotope. C’est d’ailleurs dans ce décor factice que les frères Lumière tourneront leur douzième film, Baignade de nègres, comme s’ils étaient en Afrique… Pour le visiteur, cette représentation caricaturale du monde et de l’autre était perçue comme la réalité. » Une réalité dont on pouvait conserver le souvenir en s’offrant, après le show, ses produits dérivés, cartes postales, gravures ou coquillages samoans signés de la main des indigènes.

La légitimation de l’ordre colonial 

Les exhibitions coloniales font le bonheur des anthropologues, qui se bousculent chaque matin avant l’arrivée du public et payent pour pouvoir observer et examiner les « spécimens », publiant ensuite des articles dans les revues les plus sérieuses. S’inspirant des clichés anthropométriques de la police, le photographe Roland Bonaparte constitue, lui, un catalogue de plusieurs milliers d’images « ethnographiques », dans lequel puiseront des générations de scientifiques. « Ces articles et ces photos contribuent alors à la propagation de clichés et d’idées reçues sur le “sauvage”. Autant de représentations qui légitiment l’ordre colonial, popularisent la théorie et la hiérarchie des races, le concept de peuples “inférieurs” qu’il convient de faire entrer dans la lumière de la civilisation. »

Au pied de la Fondation Vuitton, Pascal Blanchard désigne une large pelouse. « Ici, vous aviez la grande esplanade des exhibitions humaines. Celle-là même où avaient été placés les Fuégiens de Patagonie en 1881. Sur les photos que nous avons pu retrouver, on voit qu’ils sont installés sur une planche, en hauteur, sans doute à cause du froid et de l’humidité. Ils étaient arrivés en plein mois d’octobre et n’étaient quasiment pas vêtus. Beaucoup avaient attrapé des maladies pulmonaires. »

Les morts, enterrés sur place, n’avaient le plus souvent pas de nom

Nombre d’exhibés sont ainsi morts dans les zoos humains. On estime entre trente-deux et trente-quatre le nombre de ceux qui auraient péri au Jardin d’acclimatation. « Ils étaient enterrés sur place, dans le cimetière du zoo, au même rang que les animaux. Dans certains cas, les corps étaient envoyés à l’Institut médico-légal ou à la Société d’anthropologie de Paris, où le public payait pour assister à leur dissection. » L’acte de décès était déposé à la mairie de Neuilly, mais les morts n’avaient le plus souvent pas de nom. C’est à la lettre « F » comme Fuégienne que les chercheurs ont retrouvé, sur les registres, la trace d’une fillette de 2 ans morte peu après son arrivée à Paris. Une des pièces du puzzle qu’il a fallu patiemment assembler pour reconstituer la mémoire des zoos humains, longtemps ignorée de tous. « Même pour les spécialistes, ce pan de l’histoire coloniale était considéré com­me un élément secondaire. » Aujourd’hui encore, le sujet reste sensible, y compris pour la direction du Jardin d’acclimatation (géré par le groupe LVMH), comme l’a constaté Pascal Blanchard lors du tournage de son documentaire : « Il a fallu six mois pour obtenir l’autorisation de réaliser quelques séquences à l’intérieur du jardin, et nous ne l’avons eue que parce que nous avons menacé de filmer à travers les grilles… »

En 2013, au terme d’un combat de cinq ans, les historiens, soutenus par Didier Daeninckx, Lilian Thuram et des élus du Conseil de Paris, ont obtenu que soit posée au Jardin d’acclimatation une plaque commémorative faisant état de ce qu’avaient été les « zoos humains », « symboles d’une autre époque où l’autre avait été regardé comme un “animal” en Occident ». Mais le visiteur doit avoir l’œil bien ouvert pour remarquer la discrète inscription un peu cachée dans les herbes, à l’extérieur de l’enceinte du jardin… Comme le signe d’un passé refoulé qui peine encore à atteindre la lumière.


on aime passionnément Sauvages, au coeur des zoos humains, samedi 29 septembre, 20h50, Arte.

Voir aussi:

Lilian Thuram : “Les zoos humains permettent de comprendre d’où vient le racisme »
Virginie Félix
Télérama
29/09/2018

Engagé dans la lutte contre le racisme, l’ancien footballeur a été le commissaire d’une exposition consacrée aux zoos humains au musée du Quai Branly. Il évoque cette page sombre de notre histoire, et ses séquelles toujours vivaces, à l’occasion d’un documentaire coup de poing diffusé sur Arte.

Depuis qu’il a raccroché les crampons, l’ex-défenseur de l’équipe de France Lilian Thuram joue les attaquants sur le terrain de la lutte contre le racisme. En 2011, il fut le commissaire d’une exposition consacrée aux « zoos humains » organisée au musée du Quai Branly, mettant en lumière la violence de ces exhibitions de « sauvages » qui firent courir les foules dans le monde entier à la fin du XIXe et au début du XXe siècle. Alors qu’Arte consacre cette semaine un documentaire coup de poing à cette page d’histoire méconnue (Sauvages, au cœur des zoos humains), le footballeur devenu « passeur » explique pourquoi il est essentiel de mettre en lumière un passé qui dérange pour mieux en tirer les leçons.

Comment avez-vous découvert l’histoire des « zoos humains » ?
Grâce à l’historien Pascal Blanchard, que j’ai rencontré lors d’un colloque, à l’époque où je jouais à Barcelone. Après notre rencontre, il m’a envoyé un livre sur le sujet, et c’est comme ça que j’ai appris à connaître un peu mieux cette histoire des « zoos humains ». Une histoire extrêmement violente, dont les enjeux m’intéressent car elle permet de comprendre d’où vient le racisme, de saisir qu’il est lié à un conditionnement historique.

Qu’est-ce qui peut expliquer que certaines personnes se retrouvent ainsi exhibées dans des zoos, et que d’autres soient des visiteurs, de l’autre côté des barrières ?
Les zoos humains sont le reflet d’un rapport de domination, celui de l’Occident sur le reste du monde. La domination de celui qui détient le pouvoir économique et militaire, et qui l’utilise pour que d’autres personnes, dominées, venues d’Asie, d’Océanie, d’Afrique, soient montrées comme des animaux dans des espaces clos, au nom notamment de la couleur de leur peau.

“Les zoos humains permettent de nous éclairer sur ce que nous vivons aujourd’hui.”

Comment les zoos humains ont-ils participé à la fabrication d’un racisme populaire ?
Ces exhibitions ont attiré des millions de spectateurs et ont ancré dans leur tête l’idée d’une hiérarchie entre les personnes, entre les prétendues « races » – la race blanche étant considérée comme supérieure. Les mécanismes de domination qui existent dans nos sociétés se sont construits petit à petit. La plupart des gens sont devenus racistes sans le savoir, ils ont été éduqués dans ce sens-là. Après avoir visité ces zoos humains, les populations occidentales étaient confortées dans l’idée qu’elles étaient supérieures, qu’elles incarnaient la « civilisation » face à des «  sauvages ».

Lorsque je préparais l’exposition au Quai Branly, en 2011, je me suis rendu à Hambourg. Là-bas, sur le portail d’entrée du zoo, une sculpture représente des animaux et des hommes, mis au même niveau. C’est d’une violence totale. Mais cela permet aussi de comprendre pourquoi certains sont aujourd’hui encore dans le rejet de l’autre. Il reste des séquelles de ce passé, les barrières existent toujours dans nos sociétés. Comment ne pas penser à ces enclos quand on voit les murs qui se construisent autour de l’Europe ou aux Etats-Unis ? Les zoos humains permettent de nous éclairer sur ce que nous vivons aujourd’hui.

Avez-vous le sentiment que c’est aujourd’hui un sujet tabou, difficile à aborder ?Effectivement. Mais ce n’est pas seulement l’évocation des zoos humains qui pose problème, c’est le passé en général. Ce passé lié à de la violence, au fait de s’accaparer des biens d’autrui. Mais, ce passé-là, nous devons nous l’approprier car il raconte l’histoire du monde actuel. Le regarder en face doit nous permettre de nous éclairer sur ce que nous sommes en train de vivre, pour essayer de choisir un futur différent. Dans nos sociétés, la chose la plus importante est-elle le profit, le fait de s’octroyer le bien des autres pour s’enrichir ? C’est important de se poser ces questions-là aujourd’hui.

“Les gens ne veulent pas critiquer leur propre culture. Il n’y a pas si longtemps encore, l’Europe était persuadée d’être le phare de l’univers.”

Ce racisme populaire, en tant que footballeur, vous avez pu le voir s’exprimer dans les stades, par exemple à travers ces cris de singe des hooligans  ?
Ces manifestations racistes dont vous parlez viennent directement des zoos humains. De cette histoire. Les gens ont été éduqués ainsi. Les cultures dans lesquelles il y a eu des zoos humains gardent ce complexe de supériorité, conscient ou inconscient, sur les autres cultures.

Pour progresser, il faut savoir faire preuve d’autocritique. Dans le sport de haut niveau, c’est essentiel. Cela vaut aussi pour la société. Mais nos sociétés, françaises, européennes, portent très peu de critiques sur elles-mêmes. Très souvent, les gens ne veulent pas critiquer leur propre culture. Il n’y a pas si longtemps encore, l’Europe était persuadée d’être le phare de l’univers. Les zoos humains sont liés à l’histoire coloniale.

Les gens ont souvent tendance à croire qu’après la colonisation il y a eu l’égalité. Mais non, il y a une culture de la domination qui perdure. Notre système économique ne fait-il pas en sorte qu’une minorité, qui vit bien, exploite une majorité, qui vit mal ?

Le message que vous voulez faire passer est un message de réconciliation plutôt que de culpabilisation ?
Avant toute chose, je pense qu’il faut connaître notre passé pour mieux comprendre ce que nous vivons aujourd’hui. Pourquoi certaines personnes ne veulent-elles pas connaître cette histoire, de quoi ont-elles peur ? Le plus beau cadeau que l’on puisse faire à une société, c’est de lui apprendre à connaître son histoire. Il n’y a que sur des bases solides que l’on peut construire un présent et un futur solides.


on aime passionnément Sauvages, au cœur des zoos humains, samedi 29 septembre, à 20h50, sur Arte.

Voir de plus:

Exemple à suivre La fondation Lilian Thuram. Éducation contre le racisme

Lilian Thuram

D’origine guadeloupéenne, Lilian Thuram a mené une carrière prestigieuse de footballeur de haut niveau (Champion du monde 1998, Champion d’Europe 2000), il détient le record de sélections en équipe de France masculine. Il est membre du Haut conseil à l’intégration et du collectif antiraciste « Devoirs de mémoires ».

Si la Fondation Lilian Thuram-Education contre le racisme [1][1] Cf. site internet de la Fondation : www.thuram.org existe, c’est avant tout le fruit d’une rencontre à Barcelone, lorsque j’étais footballeur professionnel. Invité chez le Consul de France, je rencontrai un publicitaire espagnol qui me demanda ce que j’aimerais faire après le football. Je lui répondis : « changer le monde ». Il sourit et me dit : « vous le pensez parce que vous êtes jeune, c’est une tâche difficile, impossible ». Un débat s’ensuivit.

Il m’interroge sur ma vision des choses. Je lui explique que, pour moi, le racisme perdure parce qu’on n’a jamais pris le temps de déconstruire son mécanisme, que c’est avant tout une invention de l’homme. Toute forme de racisme est une construction sociale. Nous portons toutes et tous des lunettes culturelles : nous ne regardons jamais l’autre de façon innocente. Nous sommes marqués par l’éducation reçue, par nos religions, l’histoire racontée dans notre propre pays. Quelques jours après, cet homme me téléphone pour me dire que je l’ai convaincu, qu’il souhaite me rencontrer pour me faire part de son expérience professionnelle et m’aider dans cette tâche. Il me convainc de créer une fondation, ce que je fais en mars 2008, en Espagne, où je réside alors.

Du « boche » à l’« arabe »

Vous et moi, nous sommes conditionnés ; aujourd’hui, notre propre imaginaire est avant tout le fruit de notre éducation – parentale, scolaire, environnementale – et, pour toute analyse, nous faisons appel à notre connaissance et à nos croyances. Pour essayer de vous expliquer l’impact des croyances collectives, je vais vous raconter deux histoires. Un jour, parlant de « Mes étoiles noires »[2][2] Lilian Thuram, « Mes étoiles noires, de Lucy à Barack… à une pharmacienne, elle me dit que ses parents normands avaient vu pour la première fois un homme noir en 1944, durant le débarquement. Elle me dit aussi que pendant toute son enfance, son adolescence et sa vie d’adulte, elle avait été conditionnée à détester les « boches », et ce n’est que par la réflexion et la compréhension de cette histoire, qu’elle avait pu comprendre que tous les Allemands n’étaient pas méchants et, surtout, que les Allemands nés après cette guerre n’étaient pas responsables de ce qui s’était passé avant eux. Une autre histoire, celle de « Papy Dédé » : il a vingt ans quand on l’envoie faire la guerre en Algérie. Il explique qu’on l’a conditionné à détester l’« arabe ». Aujourd’hui il ne se dit pas Français, il se dit Homme du monde, car, selon lui, la France lui a menti.

« Les noirs sont forts en sport »

Le conditionnement se fait par la répétition. Répétée mille fois, une bêtise, quelle qu’elle soit, devient une vérité. Les scientifiques du XIXe siècle, les politiques, les intellectuels, les sociétés du spectacle, ont prétendu qu’il y avait plusieurs races ; aujourd’hui, tous les scientifiques sont d’accord pour affirmer qu’il n’y a qu’une espèce, l’Homo sapiens. Pourtant en 2010, les enfants, conditionnés par l’imaginaire collectif, disent qu’il existe une race noire, une jaune, une blanche, une rouge. A la question : « puisque vous pensez qu’il existe plusieurs races, quelles sont les qualités de chacune ? », ils répondent que « les Noirs sont plus forts en sport ». Est-ce anodin ? Sachant que dans notre imaginaire collectif, le corps est dissocié de l’esprit, si les noirs sont plus forts en sport, ils sont aussi moins intelligents. Mais n’est-ce pas compréhensible quand vous savez que c’est à l’école, par le biais de l’esclavage, de l’apartheid et de la colonisation que 80 % de la population française a entendu parler pour la première fois des Noirs ? Ne sommes-nous pas conditionnés de façon inconsciente à voir les personnes de couleur noire comme inférieures ?

Retour à Socrate

L’antisémitisme, par exemple, est d’abord une construction intellectuelle ; on a diabolisé les personnes de religion juive, on leur a attribué des caractéristiques précises à certaines époques de l’Histoire. Un autre exemple concerne les Amérindiens : les Espagnols débarquant aux Amériques avaient en tête tous les préjugés des Européens sur les autres peuples, ils les voyaient comme inférieurs, et c’est pour cela que toutes les entreprises de colonisation et d’esclavagisme ont été présentées comme autant d’œuvres civilisatrices. On prétend civiliser des personnes qui ne le sont pas ; dès lors, dans cette non-civilisation, se retrouve la construction d’une non-humanité de l’autre.

La Fondation veut expliquer avec insistance que le racisme n’est pas un phénomène naturel, c’est un phénomène intellectuel et culturel qui peut être éradiqué en profondeur. Mais cette éradication demande une vigilance car, dans toute société, il y a des tensions identitaires. Pourtant une idée simple pourrait nous aider dans cette éducation contre le racisme : « connais-toi toi-même », selon l’injonction de Socrate. Ce qui singularise notre espèce, c’est cette capacité exceptionnelle d’apprentissage : nous sommes programmés pour apprendre, ce qui explique l’origine de la diversité culturelle et pourquoi chaque être humain peut acquérir n’importe quelle culture. Cette idée doit être absolument développée dans tout discours sur la diversité humaine.

Ils sont ce qu’on leur a appris à être

La couleur de la peau d’une personne, son apparence physique n’ont rien à voir avec la langue qu’elle parle, la religion qu’elle pratique, les valeurs et les systèmes politiques qu’elle défend, ce qu’elle aime ou déteste.

C’est cette idée, pourtant simple, qu’un certain nombre de personnes ne comprend pas ou dont elles n’ont tout simplement pas conscience. Elles sont souvent essentialistes : elles croient, plus ou moins confusément, qu’une « nature physique » est reliée substantiellement à une « nature culturelle ». Elles naturalisent la culture. Un exemple de la version la plus radicale de cette croyance a été produit par l’idéologie nazie. Les racistes naturalisent la culture, comme le misogyne naturalise la femme (sa nature fait que sa place est déterminée), comme les homophobes naturalisent l’homosexualité (on naît homosexuel). C’est donc cette connexion « culture/nature » qu’il faut déconstruire.

Ce qu’il faut expliquer aux enfants, c’est qu’ils sont des constructions sociales et culturelles, qu’ils intègrent des modes de pensée, de façon consciente comme inconsciente, qu’ils sont bourrés de traits culturels qui n’ont rien à voir avec leurs patrimoines génétiques ni avec leur apparence physique. Ils sont ce qu’on leur a appris à être. Le problème fondamental du racisme est qu’il y a trop de personnes qui n’acceptent pas cette idée… Ils n’acceptent pas ou ne comprennent pas que les humains sont construits par d’autres humains.

Heureuse diversité

Nous devons apprendre vraiment à nous connaître nous-mêmes en tant qu’espèce, car nous sommes capables d’apprendre n’importe quoi, le pire comme le meilleur. Nous sommes très sensibles au conditionnement et avons, par nature, du mal à admettre que nous en sommes victimes et à accepter d’en changer. Nous sommes tous persuadés que nous détenons la Vérité. C’est ce qui explique que nous soyons parfois intolérants.

Fort heureusement, le côté positif de notre spécificité est de pouvoir « bricoler » ce qu’on apprend de nos semblables, d’où les changements culturels. Les femmes et les hommes d’aujourd’hui n’ont rien à voir avec celles et ceux qui vivaient il y a quatre ou cinq générations ; nos ancêtres du Moyen Âge ne comprendraient rien au monde dans lequel nous vivons aujourd’hui. On voudrait nous faire croire que nous vivons une période de régression du vivre ensemble, mais heureusement c’est tout le contraire : dans l’inconscient collectif, la diversité n’a jamais été aussi présente.

Les enfants d’abord

Avant tout, j’aime aller régulièrement à la rencontre des enfants, dans les écoles principalement, pour les écouter et les interroger, m’inspirer de leurs expériences. La première grande action de la fondation a été la publication en janvier dernier de « Mes étoiles noires ». Nous avons préparé pour la mi-octobre un outil pédagogique multimédia pour les enseignants de CM1-CM2 et leurs élèves. Ce sera une proposition de contribution à l’éducation contre le racisme sous la forme de deux DVD et d’un livret. Il sera envoyé gratuitement à tous les enseignants qui en feront la demande, le moment venu. La troisième grande action est une exposition consacrée aux exhibitions, qui, entre 1880 et 1931, ont vu défiler près d’un milliard d’occidentaux devant 40 000 « indigènes » montrés dans des « zoos humains ». L’exposition aura lieu au musée du quai Branly, de fin novembre 2011 à mai 2012. Elle participera à la déconstruction du racisme dans nos imaginaires. Elle voyagera ensuite en Espagne, en Allemagne et en Suisse, puis, nous l’espérons, en Angleterre et aux Etats-Unis.

Notes

[1]

Cf. site internet de la Fondation : www.thuram.org

[2]

Lilian Thuram, « Mes étoiles noires, de Lucy à Barack Obama », Editions Philippe Rey, 2010.

[3]

Avec le soutien de la banque CASDEN, de la MGEN (Mutuelle Générale de l’Education Nationale) et la Fondation du FC Barcelone.

Voir encore:

Human Zoos or Ethnic Shows? Essence and contingency in Living Ethnological Exhibitons
Luis A. Sánchez-Gómez
Facultad de Geografía e Historia, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain
Culture & History Digital Journal
Dec. 22, 2013

INTRODUCTION

Between the 29th of November 2011 and the 3rd of June 2012, the Quai de Branly Museum in Paris displayed an extraordinary exhibition, with the eye-catching title Exhibitions. L’invention du sauvage, which had a considerable social and media impact. Its “scientific curators” were the historian Pascal Blanchard and the museum’s curator Nanette Jacomijn Snoep, with Guadalupe-born former footballer Lilian Thuram acting as “commissioner general”. A popular sportsman, Thuram is also known in France for his staunch social and political commitment. The exhibition was the culmination (although probably not the end point) of a successful project which had started in Marseille in 2001 with the conference entitled Mémoire colonial: zoos humains? Corps Exotiques, corps enfermés, corps mesurés. Over time, successive publications of the papers presented at that first meeting have given rise to a genuine publishing saga, thus far including three French editions (Bancel et al., 2002, 2004; Blanchard et al., 2011), one in Italian (Lemaire et al., 2003), one in English (Blanchard et al., 2008) and another in German (Blanchard et al., 2012). This remarkable repertoire is completed by the impressive catalogue of the exhibition (Blanchard; Boëtsch y Snoep, 2011). All of the book titles (with the exception of the catalogue) make reference to “human zoos” as their object of study, although in none of them are the words followed by a question mark, as was the case at the Marseille conference. This would seem to define “human zoos” as a well-documented phenomenon, the essence of which has been well-established. Most significantly, despite reiterating the concept, neither the catalogue of the exhibition, nor the texts drawn up by the exhibit’s editorial authorities, provide a precise definition of what a human zoo is understood to be. Nevertheless, the editors seem to accept the concept as being applicable to all of the various forms of public show featured in the exhibition, all of which seem to have been designed with a shared contempt for and exclusion of the “other”. Therefore, the label “human zoo” implicitly applies to a variety of shows whose common aim was the public display of human beings, with the sole purpose of showing their peculiar morphological or ethnic condition. Both the typology of the events and the condition of the individuals shown vary widely: ranging from the (generally individual) presentation of persons with crippling pathologies (exotic or more often domestic freaks or “human monsters”) to singular physical conditions (giants, dwarves or extremely obese individuals) or the display of individuals, families or groups of exotic peoples or savages, arrived or more usually brought, from distant colonies.[1]The purpose of the 2001 conference had been to present the available information about such shows, to encourage their study from an academic perspective and, most importantly, to publicly denounce these material and symbolic contexts of domination and stigmatisation, which would have had a prominent role in the complex and dense animalisation mechanisms of the colonised peoples by the “civilized West”. A scientific and editorial project guided by such intentions could not fail to draw widespread support from academic, social and journalistic quarters. Reviews of the original 2002 text and successive editions have, for the most part, been very positive, and praise for what was certainly an extraordinary exhibition (the one of 2012) has been even more unanimous.[2] However, most commentators have limited their remarks to praising the important anti-racist content and criticisms of the colonial legacy, which are common to both undertakings. Only a few authors have drawn attention to certain conceptual and interpretative problems with the presumed object of study, the “human zoos”, problems which would undermine the project’s solidity (Blanckaert, 2002; Jennings, 2005; Liauzu, 2005: 10; Parsons, 2010; McLean, 2012). Problems which may arise from the indiscriminate use of the concept of the “human zoo” will be discussed in detail at the end of this article.Firstly, however, a revision of the complex historical process underlying the polymorphic phenomenon of the living exhibition and its configurations will provide the background for more detailed study. This will consist of an outline of three groups which, in my view, are the most relevant exhibition categories. Although the public display of human beings can be traced far back in history in many different contexts (war, funerals and sacred contexts, prisons, fairs, etc…) the configuration and expansion of different varieties of ethnic shows are closely and directly linked to two historical phenomena which lie at the very basis of modernity: exhibitions and colonialism. The former began to appear at national contests and competitions (both industrial and agricultural). These were organised in some European countries in the second half of the eighteenth century, but it was only in the century that followed that they acquired new and shocking material and symbolic dimensions, in the shape of the international or universal exhibition.The key date was 1851, when the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations was held in London. The triumph of the London event, its rapid and continuing success in France and the increasing participation (which will be outlined) of indigenous peoples from the colonies, paved the way from the 1880s for a new exhibition model: the colonial exhibition (whether official or private, national or international) which almost always featured the presence of indigenous human beings. However, less spectacular exhibitions had already been organised on a smaller scale for many years, since about the mid-nineteenth century. Some of these were truly impressive events, which in some cases also featured native peoples. These were the early missionary (or ethnological-missionary) exhibitions, which initially were mainly British and Protestant, but later also Catholic.[3] Finally, the unsophisticated ethnological exhibitions which had been typical in England (particularly in London) in the early-nineteenth century, underwent a gradual transformation from the middle of the century, which saw them develop into the most popular form of commercial ethnological exhibition. These changes were initially influenced by the famous US circus impresario P.T. Barnum’s human exhibitions. Later on, from 1874, Barnum’s displays were successfully reinterpreted (through the incorporation of wild animals and groups of exotic individuals) by Carl Hagenbeck.The second factor which was decisive in shaping the modern ethnic show was imperial colonialism, which gathered in momentum from the 1870s. The propagandising effect of imperialism was facilitated by two emerging scientific disciplines, physical anthropology and ethnology, which propagated colonial images and mystifications amid the metropolitan population. This, coupled with robust new levels of consumerism amongst the bourgeoisie and the upper strata of the working classes, had a greater impact upon our subject than the economic and geostrategic consequences of imperialism overseas. In fact, the new context of geopolitical, scientific and economic expansion turned the formerly “mysterious savages” into a relatively accessible object of study for certain sections of society. Regardless of how much was written about their exotic ways of life, or strange religious beliefs, the public always wanted more: seeking participation in more “intense” and “true” encounters and to feel part of that network of forces (political, economic, military, academic and religious) that ruled even the farthest corners of the world and its most primitive inhabitants.It was precisely the convergence of this web of interests and opportunities within the new exhibition universe that had already consolidated by the end of the 1870s, and which was to become the defining factor in the transition. From the older, popular model of human exhibitions which had dominated so far, we see a reduction in the numbers of exhibitions of isolated individuals classified as strange, monstrous or simply exotic, in favour of adequately-staged displays of families and groups of peoples considered savage or primitive, authentic living examples of humanity from a bygone age. Of course, this new interest, this new desire to see and feel the “other” was fostered not only by exhibition impresarios, but by industrialists and merchants who traded in the colonies, by colonial administrators and missionary societies. In turn, the process was driven forward by the strongly positive reaction of the public, who asked for more: more exoticism, more colonial products, more civilising missions, more conversions, more native populations submitted to the white man’s power; ultimately, more spectacle.Despite the differences that can be observed within the catalogue of exhibitions, their success hinged to a great extent upon a single factor: the representation or display of human beings labelled as exotic or savage, which today strikes us as unsettling and distasteful. It can therefore be of little surprise that most, if not all, of the visitors to the Quai de Branly Museum exhibiton of 2012 reacted to the ethnic shows with a fundamental question: how was it possible that such repulsive shows had been organised? Although many would simply respond with two words, domination and racism, the question is certainly more complex. In order to provide an answer, the content and meanings of the three main models or varieties of the modern ethnic show –commercial ethnological exhibitions, colonial exhibitions and missionary exhibitions– will be studied.

ETHNOLOGICAL COMMERCIAL EXHIBITIONS: LEISURE, BUSINESS AND ANTHROPOLOGICAL SCIENCE

Commercial ethnological exhibitions were managed by private entrepreneurs, who very often acted as de facto owners of the individuals they exhibited. With the seemingly-noble purpose of bringing the inhabitants of exotic and faraway lands closer to the public and placing them under the scrutiny of anthropologists and scholarly minds, these individuals organised events with a rather carnival-like air, whose sole purpose was very simple: to make money. Such exhibitions were held more frequently than their colonial equivalents, which they predated and for which they served as an inspiration. In fact, in some countries where (overseas) colonial expansion was delayed or minimal –such as Germany (Thode-Arora, 1989; Kosok y Jamin, 1992; Klös, 2000; Dreesbach, 2005; Nagel, 2010), Austria (Schwarz, 2001) or Switzerland (Staehelin, 1993; Minder, 2008)– and even in some former colonies –such as Brazil (Sánchez-Arteaga and El-Hani, 2010)– they were regular and popular events and could still be seen in some places as late as the 1950s. Even in the case of overseas superpowers, commercial exhibitions were held more regularly than the strictly-colonial variety, although it is true that they sometimes overlapped and can be difficult to distinguish from one another. This was the case in France (Bergougniou, Clignet and David, 2001; David, s.d.) and to an even greater extent in Great Britain, with London becoming a privileged place to experience them throughout the nineteenth century (Qureshi, 2011).Almost all of these exhibitions attracted their audiences with a clever combination of racial spectacle, erotism and a few drops of anthropological science, although there was no single recipe for a successful show. Dances, leaps, chants, shouts, and the blood of sacrificed animals were the fundamental components of these events, although they were also part of colonial exhibitions. All of these acts, these strange and unusual rituals, were as incomprehensible as they were exciting; as shocking as they were repulsive to the civilised citizens of “advanced” Europe. It is unsurprising that spectators were prepared to pay the price of admission, which was not cheap, in order to gain access to such extraordinary sights as these “authentic savages”. Over time, the need to attract increasingly demanding audiences, who quickly became used to seeing “blacks and savages” of all kinds in a variety of settings, challenged the entrepreneurs to provide ever more compelling spectacles.For decades the most admired shows on European soil were organised by Carl Hagenbeck (1844–1913), a businessman from Hamburg who was a seasoned wild animal showman (Ames, 2008). His greatest success was founded on a truly spectacular innovation: the simultaneous exhibition in one space (a zoo or other outdoor enclosure) of wild animals and a group of natives, both supposedly from the same territory, in a setting that recreated the environment of their place of origin. The first exhibition of this type, organised in 1874, was a great success, despite the relatively low level of exoticism of the individuals displayed: a group of Sami (Lap) men and women accompanied by some reindeer. Whilst not all of Hagenbeck’s highly successful shows (of which there were over 50 in total) relied upon the juxtaposition of humans and animals, all presented a racial spectacle of exotic peoples typically displayed against a backdrop of huts, plants and domestic ware, and included indigenous groups from the distant territories of Africa, the Arctic, India, Ceylon, and Southeast Asia. For many scholars Hagenbeck’s Völkerschauen or Völkerausstellungen constituted the paradigmatic example of a human zoo, which is also accepted by the French historians who organised the project under the same name. They tended to combine displays of people and animals and took place in zoos, so the analogy could not be clearer. Furthermore, the performances of the exhibited peoples were limited to songs, dances and rituals, and for the most part their activities consisted of little more than day-to-day tasks and activities. Therefore, little importance was attached to their knowledge or skills, but rather to the scrutiny of their gestures, their distinctive bodies and behaviours, which were invariably exotic but not always wild.However, despite their obvious racial and largely-racist components, Hagenbeck’s shows cannot be simply dismissed as human zoos. As an entrepreneur, the German’s objective was obviously to profit from the display of animals and people alike, and yet we cannot conclude that the humans were reduced to the status of animals. In fact, the natives were always employed and seem to have received fair treatment. Likewise, their display was based upon a premise of exoticism rather than savagery, in which key ideas of difference, faraway lands and adventure were ultimately exalted. Hagenbeck’s employees were apparently healthy; sometimes slender, as were the Ethiopians, or even athletic, like the Sudanese. In some instances (for example, with people from India and Ceylon) their greatest appeal was their almost-fantastic exoticism, with their rich costumes and ritual gestures being regarded as remarkable and sophisticated.Nevertheless, on many other occasions, people were displayed for their distinctiveness and supposed primitivism, as was the case on the dramatic tour of the Inuit Abraham Ulrikab and his family, from the Labrador Peninsula, all of whom fell ill and died on their journey due to a lack of appropriate vaccination. This is undoubtedly one of the best-documented commercial exhibitions, not because of an abundance of details concerning its organisation, but owing to the existence of several letters and a brief diary written by Ulrikab himself (Lutz, 2005). As can easily be imagined, it is absolutely exceptional to find information originating from one of the very individuals who featured in an ethnic show; not an alleged oral testimony collected by a third party, but their own actual voice. The vast majority of such people did not know the language of their exhibitors and, even if they knew enough to communicate, it is highly unlikely that they would have been able to write in it. All of this, coupled with the fact that the documents have been preserved and remain accessible, is almost a miracle.However, in spite the tragic fate of Ulrikab and his family, other contemporary ethnic shows were far more exploitative and brutal. This was the case with several exhibitions that toured Europe towards the end of the 1870s, whose victims included Fuegians, Inuits, primitive Africans (especially Bushmen and Pygmies) or Australian aboriginal peoples. Some were complex and relatively sophisticated and included the recreation of native villages; in others, the entrepreneur simply portrayed his workers with their traditional clothes and weapons, emphasising their supposedly primitive condition. Slightly less dramatic than these, but more racially stigmatising than Hagenbeck’s shows, were the exhibitions held at the Jardin d’Aclimatation in Paris, between 1877 and the First World War. A highly-lucrative business camouflaged beneath a halo of anthropological scientifism, the exhibitions were organised by the director of the Jardin himself, the naturalist Albert Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (Coutancier and Barthe, 1995; Mason, 2001: 19–54; David, n.d.; Schneider, 2002; Báez y Mason, 2006). This purported scientific and educational institution enjoyed the attention of French anthropologists for a time; however, after 1886, the Anthropological Society in Paris distanced itself from something that was little more than it appeared to be: a spectacle for popular recreation which was hard to justify from an ethical point of view. In the case of many private enterprises from the 1870s and 1880s, in particular, shows can be described as moving away from notions of fantasy, adventure and exotism and towards the most brutal forms of exploitation. However, despite what has been said about France, Qureshi (2011: 278–279) highlights the role that ethnologists and anthropologists (and their study societies) played in Great Britain in approving commercial exhibitions of this sort. This enabled exhibitions to claim legitimacy as spaces for scientific research, visitor education and, of course, the advancement of the colonial enterprise.Leaving aside the displays of isolated individuals in theatres, exhibition halls, or fairgrounds (where the alleged “savage” sometimes proved to be a fraud), photographs and surviving information about the aforementioned commercial ethnological shows speak volumes about the relations which existed between the exhibitors and the exhibited. In nearly all cases the impresario was a European or North American, who wielded almost absolute control over the lives of their “workers”. Formal contracts did exist and legal control became increasingly widespread, especially in Great Britain, (Qureshi, 2011: 273) as the nineteenth century progressed. It is also evident, nevertheless, that this contractual relationship could not mask the dominating, exploitative and almost penitentiary conditions of the bonds created. Whether Inuit, Bushmen, Australians, Pygmies, Samoans or Fuegians, it is hard to accept that all contracted peoples were aware of the implications of this legal binding with their employer. Whilst most were not captured or kidnapped (although this was documented on more than one occasion) it is reasonable to be skeptical about the voluntary nature of the commercial relationship. Moreover, those very same contracts (which they were probably unable to understand in the first place) committed the natives to conditions of travel, work and accommodation which were not always satisfactory. Very often their lives could be described as confined, not only when performances were taking place, but also when they were over. Exhibited individuals were very rarely given leave to move freely around the towns that the exhibitions visited.The exploitative and inhuman aspects of some of these spectacles were particularly flagrant when they included children, who either formed part of the initial contingent of people, or swelled the ranks of the group when they were born on tour. On the one hand, the more primitive the peoples exhibited were, the more brutal their exhibition became and the circumstances in which it took place grew more painful. Conversely, conditions seemed to improve, albeit only to a limited extent, when individuals belonged to an ethnic group which was more “evolved”, “prouder”, held warrior status, or belonged to a local elite. This was true of certain African groups who were particularly resistant to colonial domination, with the Ashanti being a case in point. In spite of this, their subordinate position did not change.There was, however, a certain type of commercial show in which the relations between the employer and the employees went beyond the merely commercial. More professionalised shows often required natives to demonstrate skills and give performances that would appeal to the audience. This was the case in some (of the more serious and elaborate) circus contexts and dramatised spectacles, the most notable of which was the acclaimed Wild West show. Directed by William Frederick Cody (1846–1917), the famous Buffalo Bill, the show featured cowboys, Mexicans, and members of various Native American ethnic groups (Kasson, 2000). This attraction, and many others that followed in the wake of its success, could be considered the predecessors of present-day theme park shows. Many of the shows which continued to endure during the interwar period were in some measure similar to those of the nineteenth century, although they were unable to match the popularity of yesteryear. Whilst the stages were still set with reproduction native villages, as had been the case in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, the exhibition and presentation of natives acquired a more fair-like and circus-like character, which harked back to the spectacles of the early-nineteenth century. Although it seems contradictory, colonial exhibitions at this time were in fact much larger and more numerous, as we shall see in the following section. It was precisely then, in the mid-1930s, that Nazi Germany, a very modern country with the most intensely-racist government, produced an ethnic show which illustrates the complexity of the human zoo phenomenon. The Deutsche Afrika-Schau (German African Show) provides an excellent example of the peculiar game which was played between owners, employees and public administrators, concerning the display of exotic human beings. The show, a striking and an incongruous fusion of variety spectacle and Völkerschau, toured several German towns between 1935 and 1940 (Lewerenz, 2006). Originally a private and strictly commercial business, it soon became a peculiar semi-official event in which African and Samoan men and women, resident in Germany, were legally employed to take part. Complicated and unstable after its Nazification, the show aimed to facilitate the racial control of its participants while serving as a mechanism of ideological indoctrination and colonial propaganda. Incapable of profiting from the show, the Nazi regime would eventually abolish it.After the Second World War, ethnic shows entered a phase of obvious decline. They were no longer of interest as a platform for the wild and exotic, mainly due to increasing competition from new and more accessible channels of entertainment, ranging from cinema to the beginnings of overseas tourism within Europe and beyond. While the occasional spectacle tried to profit from the ancient curiosity about the morbid and the unusual as late as the 1950s and even the 1960s, they were little more than crude and clumsy representations, which generated little interest among the public. Nowadays, as before, there are still contexts and spaces in which unique persons are portrayed, whether this is related to ethnicity or any other factor. These spectacles often fall into the category of artistic performances or take the banal form of reality TV.

COLONIAL EXHIBITIONS: LEISURE, BUSINESS AND INDOCTRINATION
This category of exhibition was organised by either public administrations or private institutions linked to colonial enterprise, and very often featured some degree of collaboration between the two. The main aim of these events was to exhibit official colonial projects and private initiatives managed by entrepreneurs and colonial settlers, which were supposedly intended to bring the wealth and well-being of the metropolis to the colonies. The presentation also carried an educational message, intended not only to reinforce the “national-colonial conscience” among its citizens, but also to project a powerful image of the metropolis to competing powers abroad. Faced with the likelihood that such content would prove rather unexciting and potentially boring for visitors, the organisers resorted to various additions which were considered more attractive and engaging. Firstly they devised a museum of sorts, in which ethnographic materials of the colonised peoples: their traditional dress, day-to-day objects, idols and weapons, were exhibited. These exotic and unusual pieces did draw the interest of the public, but, fearing that this would not be sufficient, the organisers knew that they could potentially sell thousands of tickets by offering the live display of indigenous peoples. If the exhibition was official, the natives constituted the ideal means by which to deliver the colonial message to the masses. In the case of private exhibitions, they were seen as the fastest and safest way to guarantee a show’s financial success.Raw materials and a variety of other objects (including ethnographic exhibitions) from the colonies were already placed on show at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. These items were accompanied by a number of individuals originating from the same territories, either as visitors or as participants in the relevant section of the exhibition. However, such people cannot be considered as exhibits themselves; neither can similar colonial visitors at the Paris (1855) or London (1862) exhibitions; nor the Paris (1867) and (1878) exhibitions, which featured important colonial sections. It was only at the start of the 1880s that Europeans were able to enjoy the first colonial exhibitions proper, whether autonomous or connected (albeit with an identity and an entity of their own) to a universal or international exhibition. It could be argued that the Amsterdam International Colonial and Export Exhibition of 1883 acted as a letter of introduction for this model of event (Bloembergen, 2006), and it was quickly followed by the London Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886 (Mathur, 2000) and, to a lesser though important extent, by the Madrid Philippines Exhibition of 1887 (Sánchez-Gómez, 2003). All three housed reproductions of native villages and exhibited dozens of individuals brought from the colonies. This was precisely what attracted the thousands of people who packed the venues. Such success would not have been possible by simply assembling a display of historical documents, photographs or ethnographic materials, no matter how exotic.Thereafter, colonial exhibitions (almost all of which featured the live presence of native peoples) multiplied, whether they were autonomous or connected with national or international exhibitions. In France many municipalities and chambers of commerce began to organise their own exhibits, some of which (such as the Lyon Exhibition of 1894) were theoretically international in scope, although some of the most impressive exhibits held in the country were the colonial sections of the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889 (Palermo, 2003; Tran, 2007; Wyss, 2010) and 1900 (Wilson, 1991; Mabire, 2000; Geppert, 2010: 62–100). Equally successful were the colonial sections of the Belgian exhibitions of the last quarter of the nineteenth century, which displayed the products and peoples of what was called the Congo Independent State (later the Belgian Congo), which until 1908 was a personal possession of King Leopold II. The most remarkable was probably the 1897 Tervuren Exhibition, an annex of the Brussels International Exposition of the same year (Wynants, 1997; Küster, 2006). In Germany, one of the European capitals of commercial ethnological shows, several colonial exhibitions were orchestrated as the overseas empire was being built between 1884 and 1918. Among them, the Erste Deutsche Kolonialausstellung or First German Colonial Exhibition, which was organised as a complement to the great Berlin Gewerbeausstellung (Industrial Exhibition) of 1896, was particularly successful (Arnold, 1995; Richter, 1995; Heyden, 2002).As far as the United States was concerned, the country’s late but impetuous arrival as a world power was almost immediately heralded by the phenomenon of the World’s Fair, and the respective colonial sections (Rydell, 1984 y 1993; Rydell, Findling y Pelle, 2000). Whilst a stunning variety of ethnic performances were already on show at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, it was at Omaha, (1898) Buffalo, (1901) and above all at the 1904 Saint Louis Exhibition, that hundreds of natives were enthusiastically displayed with the purpose of publicising and gathering support for the complex and “heavy” civilising task (“The White Man’s Burden”) that the North American nation had to undertake in its new overseas possessions (Kramer, 1999; Parezo y Fowler, 2007).In principle, those natives who took part in the live section of a colonial exhibition did so of their own accord, whether they were allegedly savage or civilised individuals, and regardless of whether the show had been organised through concessions to private company owners or those who indirectly depended on public agencies. Although neither violence nor kidnapping has been recorded, it is highly unlikely that most of the natives who took up the invitation were fully aware of its implications: again, the great distances they had to travel, the discomforts they would endure and the situations in which they would be involved upon arrival in the metropolis.Until the early-twentieth century, the sole purpose of native exhibitions was to attract an audience and to show, with the exemplar of a “real” image, the inferior condition of the colonised peoples and the need to continue the civilising mission in the faraway lands from which they came. In all cases their living conditions in the metropolis were unlikely to differ greatly from those of the participants in purely commercial shows: usually residing inside the exhibition venue, they were rarely free to leave without the express permission of their supervisors. However, it must be said that conditions were considerably better for the individuals exhibited when the shows were organised by government agencies, who always ensured that formal contracts were signed, and were probably unlikely to house people in the truly gruesome conditions present in some domains of the private sector. In some cases, added circumstances can be inferred which reveal a clear interest in “doing things properly”, by developing an ethical and responsible show, no matter how impossible this was in practice. Perhaps the clearest example of this kind of event is the Philippines Exhibition which was organized in Madrid in 1887.The most striking feature of this exhibition was its stated educational purpose, to present a sample of the ethnic and social diversity of the archipelago. Other colonial exhibitions attempted to do the same, but in this case the intentions of the Spanish appeared to be more authentic and credible. Of course the aim was not to provide a lesson in island ethnography, but to prove the extent to which the Catholic Church had managed to convert the native population, and to show where savage tribes still existed. Representing the latter were, among others, several Tinguian and Bontoc persons (generically known as Igorots by the Spanish) and an Aeta person, referred to as a Negrito. Several Muslim men and women from Mindanao and the Joló (Sulu) archipelago (known to the Spanish as Moros or “Moors”) also took part in the exhibition, not because they were considered savages but on account of their pagan and unredeemed condition. Finally, as an example of the benefits of the colonial enterprise, Christian Filipinos (both men and women) were invited to demonstrate their artistic skill and craftsmanship and to sell their artisan products from various structures within the venue. All were legally employed and received regular payment until their return to the Philippines, which was very unusual for an exhibition at that time.However, despite the “good intentions” of the administration, an obvious hierarchy can be inferred from the spatial pattern through which the Filipino presence in Madrid was organised. Individuals considered savage lived inside the exhibit enclosure and were under permanent control; they could visit the city but always in a scheduled and closely-directed way. Muslims, however, did not live inside the park, but in boarding houses and inns. Their movements were also restricted, but this was justified on the basis of their limited knowledge of their surroundings. Christians also lodged at inns, and although they did enjoy a certain autonomy, their status as “special guests” imposed a number of official commitments and the compulsory attendance of events. Such differences became even more obvious, especially for the audience, not just because the savages lived inside the ranchería or native village, where they were exhibited, but also because their only purpose was to dance, gesture, eat and display their half-naked bodies. Muslims were not exhibited, nor did they have a clear or specific task to perform beyond merely “representing”. Christian men and women (cigar makers and artisans) simply performed their professional tasks in front of the audience, and were expected to complete a given timetable and workload as would any other worker.In the light of the above, it may be concluded that the Philippines Exhibition of 1887 (specifically the live exhibition section) was conducted in a manner which questions the simplistic concept of a human zoo that many historians apply to these spectacles. Although there were certain similarities with commercial shows, we must admit that the Spanish government made considerable efforts to ensure that the exhibition, and above all the participation of the Filipinos, was carried out in a relatively dignified fashion. It must be reiterated that this is not intended to project a benevolent image of nineteenth-century Spanish colonialism. The position of some of the exhibited, especially those considered savages, was not only subordinate but almost subhuman (almost being the key word), in spite of the fact that they received due payment and were relatively well fed. Moreover, we cannot forget that three of the participants (a Carolino man and woman, and a Muslim woman) died from diseases which were directly related to the conditions of their stay on the exhibition premises.As the twentieth century advanced, colonial shows changed their direction and content, although it was some time before these changes took effect. The years prior to the First World War saw several national colonial exhibitions (Marseille and Paris in 1906; London in 1911),[4] two binational exhibitions (London, 1908 and 1910)[5] and a trinational (London, 1909),[6] which became benchmarks for exhibition organisers during the interwar years. The early twentieth century also saw several national colonial sections, wich had varying degrees of impact, in three universal exhibitions organised in Belgium: Liège (1905), Brussels (1910) and Ghent (1913) and in several exhibitions organised in three different Italian cities, although none of these included a native section.[7] However, it was during the 1920s and 1930s that a true eclosion of national and international exhibitions, whose main focus was colonial or which included important colonial elements, occurred.[8] The time was not only ripe for ostentatious reasons, but also because the tension originated by certain European powers, especially Italy, encouraged a vindication of overseas colonies through the propaganda that was deployed at these events.For all these reasons, and in addition to many other minor events, national colonial exhibitions were staged in Marseille (1922), Wembley (1924–25),[9] Stuttgart (1928),[10] Koln (1934), Oporto (1934), Freiburg im Breisgau (1935), Como (1937),[11] Glasgow (1938),[12] Dresden (1939), Vienna (1940) and Naples (1940).[13] At an international colonial level, the most important was the 1931 Parisian Exposition Coloniale Internationale et des Pays d’Outre Mer. In addition, although they were not specialised international colonial exhibitions, outstanding and relevant colonial sections could be found at the Turin National Exhibition of 1928, the Iberian-American Exhibition of 1929, the Brussels Universal Exhibition of 1935, the Paris International Exhibition of 1937 and the Lisbon National Exhibition of 1940.At most of these events, a revised perspective of overseas territories was projected. Although, with some exceptions, metropolises continued to import indigenous peoples and persisted in presenting them as exotic, the focus was now shifted on to the results of the civilising process, as opposed to strident representations of savagery. This meant that it was no longer necessary for exhibited peoples to live at the exhibition venue. The aim was now to show the most attractive side of empire, and displays of the skills of its inhabitants, such as singing or dancing continued, albeit in a more serious, professional fashion. In principle, natives taking part in these exhibitions could move around more freely; in addition, they were all employed as any other professional or worker would be. However, once again the ethnic factor came into play, materialising under many different guises. For example, at the at the Paris Exhibition of 1931, people who belonged to “oriental civilisations” appeared at liberty to move around the venue, they were not put on display, and devoted their time to the activities for which they had been contracted (such as traditional songs and dances, handicrafts or sale of products). Once their working day was completed, they were free to visit the exhibition or travel around Paris. However, the same could not be said for the Guineans arriving at the Seville Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929, where they were clearly depicted in a savagist context, similar to the way in which Africans had been displayed in colonial and even commercial exhibitions in the nineteenth century (Sánchez-Gómez, 2006).Another interwar colonial exhibition which was unable to free itself from nineteenth-century stereotypes was the one held in Oporto in 1934, which included several living villages inhabited by natives, children included (Serén, 2001). Their presence in the city and the fact that they were displayed and lived within the same exhibition space was something that neither the press nor contemporary politicians saw fit to criticise. In fact it was the pretos (black African men) and especially pretas (black African women) who were the main attraction for thousands of visitors who thronged to the event, which was probably related to the fact that all the natives were bare-chested. Interestingly, the Catholic Church did not take offense, perhaps interpreting the women shown as being merely “black savages” who had little to do with chaste Portuguese women. Of course they had no objections to the exhibition of human beings either.Two interwar exhibitions (Seville and Oporto) have been cited as examples where the management of indigenous participants markedly resembled the practices of the nineteenth century. However, this should not imply that other events refrained from the (more or less) sophisticated manipulation of the native presence. The most significant example was the Parisian International Colonial Exhibition of 1931.[14] Some historians highlight the fact that the general organiser, Marshall Lyautey, managed to impose his criterion that the exhibition should not include displays of the traditional “black villages” or “indigenous villages” inhabited by natives. Although it is true that the official (French and International) sections did not include this feature,[15] there can be little doubt that this was a gigantic ethnic spectacle, where hundreds of native peoples (who were present in the city as artists, artisans or simply as guests) were exhibited and manipulated as a source of propaganda of the highest order for the colonial enterprise. This is just one more example, although a particularly significant one, of the multi-faceted character that ethnic shows acquired. It is difficult to define these simply on the basis of their brutality or “animal” characteristics, their closeness to Hagenbeck’s Völkerschauen or the anthropological exhibitions that were organised at the Jardin d’Acclimatation in late-nineteenth century Paris.The last major European colonial exhibition took place in the anachronistic Belgian Congo section of the Brussels Universal Exhibition of 1958, the first to be held after the Second World War.[16] In principle, its contents were organised around a discourse which defended the moral values of interracial fraternity and which set out to convince both Belgian society and the Congolese that Belgians were only in Congo to civilise, and not to exploit. In order to prove the authenticity of this discourse, the organisers went to great pains to avoid the jingoistic exoticism which had characterised most colonial exhibits thus far. In accordance with this, the event did not include the traditional, demeaning spectacle of natives living within the exhibition space. However, it did include an exotic section, where several dozen Congolese artisans demonstrated their skills to the audience and sold the products manufactured there in a context which was intended to be purely commercial. Unfortunately, the good will of the organisers was betrayed by an element of the public, who could not help confronting the Africans in a manner reminiscent of their grandparents back in 1897. This resulted in the artisans abruptly leaving the exhibition for Congo after being shocked by the insolence and bad manners of some of the visitors.The Congolese presence in Brussels was not limited to these artisans: almost seven hundred Africans arrived, two hundred of which were tourists who had been invited with the specific purpose of visiting the exhibition. Most of them were members of the “Association of African Middle Classes”, that is, they were part of the “evolved elite”. The remaining figures were made up of people who were carrying out some sort of task in the colonial section of the exhibition, whether as specialised workers, dancers, guides or as assistants in the various sections, perhaps including some members of the Public Force, made up of natives. The presence in Brussels of the tourists, in particular, was part of a policy of association, which, according to the organisers, was intended to prepare “the Congolese population for the complete realisation of their human destiny.” The Belgian population, in turn, would have the chance to become better acquainted with these people through a “direct, personal and free contact with the civilised Congolese” (Delhalle, 1985: 44). Neither this specific measure nor any others taken to bring blacks and whites closer seem to have had any practical effect whatsoever. In fact, although the Congolese visitors were cared for relatively well (although not without differences or setbacks), their movements during their stay in Brussels were under constant scrutiny, to prevent them from being “contaminated” by the “bad habits” of the metropolitan citizens.Despite everything mentioned thus far, or perhaps even because of it, the 1958 exhibition was an enormous public success, on a par with the colonial events of the past. This time, as before, it was predicated on a largely negative image of the Congolese population. Barely any critical voices were heard against the exhibiting model or the abuses of the colonial system, not even from the political left. Finally, as with earlier colonial exhibitions, it is obvious that what was shown in Brussels had little to do with the reality of life in Congo. In fact, as the exhibition closed down, in October 1958, Patrice Lumumba founded the Congolese National Movement. On the 11th of January of 1959, repression of the struggles for independence escalated into the bloody killings of Léopoldville, the colonial capital. Barely one year later, on the 30th of June 1960, Belgium formally acknowledged the independence of the new Democratic Republic of Congo; two years later Rwanda and Burundi followed.
MISSIONARY EXHIBITIONS: DOMINATION, FAITH AND SPECTACLE
The excitement that exhibitions generated in the second half of the nineteenth century provoked reactions from many quarters, including Christian churches. Of course, the event which shook Protestant propagandist sensibilities the hardest (as Protestants were the first to take part in the exhibition game) was the 1851 London Exhibition. However, the interest which both the Anglican Church and many evangelical denominations expressed in participating in this great event was initially met with hesitation and even rejection by the organisers (Cantor, 2011). Finally their participation was accepted, but only two missionary societies were authorised to officially become an integral part of the exhibition, and they could only do so as editors of printed religious works.The problems that were documented in London in 1851 continued to affect events organised throughout the rest of the century; in fact, the presence of the Christian churches was permitted on only two occasions, both in Paris, at the exhibitions of 1867 and 1900. At the first of these, it was only Protestant organisations that participated, as the Catholic Church did not yet recognise the importance of such an event as an exhibitional showcase. By the time of the second, which was the last great exhibition of the nineteenth century and one of the most grandiose of all time, the situation had changed dramatically; both Protestants and Catholics participated and the latter (the French Church, to be precise) did so with greater success than its Protestant counterpart.[18]The opposition that missionary societies encountered at nineteenth-century international exhibitions encouraged them to organise events of their own. The first autonomous missionary events were Protestant and possibly took place prior to 1851. In any case, this has been confirmed as the year that the Methodist Wesleyan Missionary Society organised a missionary exhibition (which took place at the same time as the International Exhibition). Small in size and very simple in structure, it was held for only two days during the month of June, although it provided the extraordinary opportunity to see and acquire shells, corals and varied ethnographic materials (including idols) from Tonga and Fiji.[19] The exhibition’s aim was very specific: to make a profit from ticket sales and the materials exhibited and to seek general support for the missionary enterprise.Whether or not they were directly influenced by the international event of 1851, the modest British missionary exhibitions of the mid-nineteenth century began to evolve rapidly from the 1870s, reaching truly spectacular proportions in the first third of the twentieth century. This enormous success was due to a particular set of circumstances which were not true for the Catholic sphere. Firstly, the exhibits were a fantastic source of propaganda, and furthermore, they generated a direct and immediate cash income. This is significant considering that Protestant church societies and committees neither depended upon, nor were linked to (at least not directly or officially) civil administration and almost all revenue came from the personal contributions of the faithful. Secondly, because Protestants organised their own events, there was no reason for them to participate in the official colonial exhibitions, with which the Catholic missions became repeatedly involved once the old prejudices of government had fallen away by the later years of the nineteenth century. In this way, evangelical communities were able to maintain their independence from the imperial enterprise, yet in a manner that did not preclude them from collaborating with it whenever it was in their interests to do so.However, whether Catholic or Protestant, the main characteristic of the missionary exhibitions in the timeframe of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, was their ethnological intent (Sánchez-Gómez, 2013). The ethnographic objects of converted peoples (and of those who had yet to be converted) were noteworthy for their exoticism and rarity, and became a true magnet for audiences. They were also supposedly irrefutable proof of the “backward” and even “depraved” nature of such peoples, who had to be liberated by the redemptive missions which all Christians were expected to support spiritually and financially. But as tastes changed and the public began to lose interest, the exhibitions started to grow in size and complexity, and increasingly began to feature new attractions, such as dioramas and sculptures of native groups. Finally, the most sophisticated of them began to include the natives themselves as part of the show. It must be said that, but for rare exceptions, these were not exhibitions in the style of the famous German Völkerschauen or British ethnological exhibitions, but mere performances; in fact, the “guests” had already been baptized, were Christians, and allegedly willing to collaborate with their benefactors.Whilst the Protestant churches (British and North American alike) produced representations of indigenous peoples with the greatest frequency and intensity, it was (as far as we know) the (Italian) Catholic Church that had the dubious honour of being the first to display natives at a missionary exhibition, and did so in a clearly savagist and rudimentary fashion, which could even be described as brutal. This occurred in the religious section of the Italian-American Exhibition of Genoa in 1892 (Bottaro, 1984; Perrone, n.d.). As a shocking addition to the usual ethnographic and missionary collections, seven natives were exhibited in front of the audience: four Fuegians and three Mapuches of both sexes (children, young and fully-grown adults) brought from America by missionaries. The Fuegians, who were dressed only in skins and armed with bows and arrows, spent their time inside a hut made from branches which had been built in the garden of the pavilion housing the missionary exhibition. The Mapuches were two young girls and a man; the three of them lived inside another hut, where they made handicrafts under the watchful eye of their keepers.The exhibition appears to have been a great success, but it must have been evident that the model was too simple in concept, and inhumanitarian in its approach to the indigenous people present. In fact, whilst subsequent exhibitions also featured a native presence (always Christianised) at the invitation of the clergy, the Catholic Church never again fell into such a rough presentation and representation of the obsolete and savage way of life of its converted. To provide an illustration of those times, now happily overcome by the missionary enterprise, Catholic congregations resorted to dioramas and sculptures, some of which were of superb technical and artistic quality.Although the Catholic Church may have organised the first live missionary exhibition, it should not be forgotten that they joined the exhibitional sphere much later than the evangelical churches. Also, a considerable number of their displays were associated with colonial events, something that the Protestant churches avoided. This happened, for example, at the colonial exhibitions of Lyon (1894), Berlin 1896 (although this also involved Protestant churches) and Brussels-Tervuren (1897), as well as at the National Exhibition of 1898 in Turin. Years later, the great colonial (national and international) exhibitions of the interwar period continued to receive the enthusiastic and uncritical participation of Catholic missions (although some, as in 1931, included Protestant missions too). The most remarkable examples were the Iberian-American Exhibition of Seville in 1929, the International Exhibitions held at Amberes (1930) and Paris (1931), and the Oporto (1934) and Lisbon (1937 and 1940) National Exhibitions.[20] This colonial-missionary association did not prevent the Catholic Church from organising its own autonomous exhibitions, through which it tried to emulate and even surpass its more experienced Protestant counterpart. Their belated effort culminated in two of the most spectacular Christian missionary exhibitions of all time: the Vatican Missionary Exhibition of 1925 and the Barcelona Missionary Exhibition of 1929, which was associated with the great international show of that year (Sánchez-Gómez, 2007 and 2006). Although both events documented native nuns and priests as visitors, no humans were exhibited. Again, dioramas and groups of sculptures were featured, representing both religious figures and indigenous peoples. Let us return to the Protestant world. Whilst it was the reformed churches that most readily incorporated native participation, they seemed to do so in a more sensitive and less brutalised manner than the Genoese Catholic Exhibition of 1892. We know of their presence at the first North American exhibitions: one of which was held at the Ecumenical Conference on Foreign Missions, celebrated in New York in 1909 and, most significantly, at the great interdenominational The World in Boston Exhibition, in 1911 (Hasinoff, 2011). Native participation has also been recorded at the two most important British contemporary exhibitions: The Orient in London (held by the London Missionary Society in 1908) and Africa in the East (organised by the Church Missionary Society in 1909). Both exhibitions toured a number of British towns until the late 1920s, although for the most part without indigenous participation (Coombes, 1994; Cheang, 2006–2007).[21] However, the most spectacular Protestant exhibition, with hundreds of natives, dozens of stands, countless parades, theatrical performances, the latest thrill rides and exotic animals on display, was the gigantic Centenary Exhibition of American Methodist Missions, celebrated in Columbus in 1919 and popularly known as the Methodist’s World Fair (Anderson, 2006).The exhibition model at these early-twentieth century Protestant events was very similar to the colonial model. Native villages were reconstructed and ethnographic collections were presented, alongside examples of local flora and fauna, and of course, an abundance of information about missionary work, in which its evangelising, educational, medical and welfare aspects were presented. Some of these were equally as attractive to the audience (irrespective of their religious beliefs) as contemporary colonial or commercial exhibitions. However, it may be noted that the participation of Christianised natives took a radically different form from those of the colonial and commercial world. Those who were most capable and had a good command of English served as guides in the sections corresponding to their places of origin, a task that they tended to carry out in traditional clothing. More frequently these new Christians assumed roles with less responsibility, such as the manufacture of handicrafts, the sale of exotic objects or the recreation of certain aspects of their previous way of life. The organisers justified their presence by claiming that they were merely actors, representing their now-forgotten savage way of life. This may very well have been the case.At the Protestant exhibitions of the 1920s and 1930s, the presence of indigens became progressively less common until it eventually disappeared. This notwithstanding, the organisers came to benefit from a living resource which complemented displays of ethnographic materials whilst being more attractive to the audience than the usual dioramas. This was a theatrical representation of the native way of life (combined with scenes of missionary interaction) by white volunteers (both men and women) who were duly made up and in some cases appeared alongside real natives. Some of these performances were short, but others consisted of several acts and featured dozens of characters on stage. Regardless of their form, these spectacles were inherent to almost any British and North American exhibition, although much less frequent in continental Europe.Since the 1960s, the Christian missionary exhibition (both Protestant and Catholic) has been conducted along very different lines from those which have been discussed here. All direct or indirect associations with colonialism have been definitively given up; it has broken with racial or ethnological interpretations of converted peoples, and strongly defends its reputed autonomy from any political groups or interests, without forgetting that the essence of evangelisation is to maximize the visibility of its educational and charitable work among the most disadvantaged.
FINAL WORD
The three most important categories of modern ethnic show –commercial ethnological exhibitions, colonial exhibitions and missionary exhibitions– have been examined. All three resorted, to varying degrees, to the exhibition of exotic human beings in order to capture the attention of their audience, and, ultimately, to achieve certain goals: be they success in business and personal enrichment, social, political or financial backing for the colonial enterprise, or support for missionary work. Whilst on occasion they coincided at the same point in time and within the same context of representation, the uniqueness of each form of exhibition has been emphasised. However, this does not mean that they are completely separate phenomena, or that their representation of exotic “otherness” is homogeneous.Missionary exhibitions displayed perhaps the most singular traits due to their spiritual vision. However, it is clear that many made a determined effort to produce direct, visual and emotional spectacles and some, in so doing, resorted to representations of natives which were very similar to those of colonial exhibitions. Can we speak then, of a convergence of designs and interests? I honestly do not think so. At many colonial exhibitions, organisers showed a clear intention to portray natives as fearsome, savage individuals (sometimes even describing them as cannibals) who somehow needed to be subjugated. Peoples who were considered, to a lesser or greater extent, to be civilised were also displayed (as at the interwar exhibitions). However, the purpose of this was often to publicise the success of the colonial enterprise in its campaign for “the domestication of the savage”, rather than to present a message of humanitarianism or universal fraternity. Missionary exhibitions provided information and material examples of the former way of life of the converted, in which natives demonstrated that they had abandoned their savage condition and participated in the exhibition for the greater glory of the evangelising mission. Moreover, they also became living evidence that something much more transcendent than any civilising process was taking place: that once they had been baptised, anyone, no matter how wild they had once been, could become part of the same universal Christian family.It is certainly true that the shows that the audiences enjoyed at all of these exhibitions (whether missionary, colonial or even commercial) were very similar. Yet in the case of the former, the act of exhibition took place in a significantly more humanitarian context than in the others. And while it is evident that indigenous cultures and peoples were clearly manipulated in their representation at missionary exhibitions, this did not mean that the exhibited native was merely a passive element in the game. And there is something more. The dominating and spectacular qualities present in almost all missionary exhibitions should not let us forget one last factor which was essential to their conception, their development and even their longevity: Christian faith. Without Christian faith there would have been no missionary exhibitions, and had anything similar been organised, it would not have had the same meaning. It was essential that authentic Christian faith existed within the ecclesiastical hierarchy and within those responsible for congregations, missionary societies and committees. But the faith that really made the exhibitions possible was the faith of the missionaries, of others who were involved in their implementation and, of course, of those who visited. Although it was never recognised as such, this was perhaps an uncritical faith, complacent in its acceptance of the ways in which human diversity was represented and with ethical values that occasionally came close to the limits of Christian morality. But it was a faith nonetheless, a faith which intensified and grew with each exhibition, which surely fuelled both Christian religiosity (Catholic and Protestant alike) and at least several years of missionary enterprise, years crucial for the imperialist expansionism of the West. It is an objective fact that the display of human beings at commercial and colonial shows was always much more explicit and degrading than at any missionary exhibition. To state what has just been proposed more bluntly: missionary exhibitions were not “human zoos”. However, it is less clear whether the remaining categories: are commercial and colonial exhibitions worthy of this assertion (human zoos), or were they polymorphic ethnic shows of a much greater complexity?The principal analytical obstacle to the use of the term “human zoo” is that it makes an immediate and direct association between all of these acts and contexts and the idea of a nineteenth-century zoo. The images of caged animals, growling and howling, may cause admiration, but also disgust; they may sometimes inspire tenderness, but are mainly something to be avoided and feared due to their savage and bestial condition. This was definitely the case for the organisers of the scientific and editorial project cited at the beginning of this article, so it can be no surprise that Carl Hagenbeck’s joint exhibitions of exotic animals and peoples were chosen as the frame of reference for human zoos. Although the authors state in the first edition that “the human zoo is not the exhibition of savagery but its construction” [“le zoo humain n’est pas l’exhibition de la sauvagerie, mais la construction de celle-ci”] (Bancel et al., 2002: 17), the problem, as Blanckaert (2002) points out, is that this alleged construction or exhibitional structure was not present at most of the exhibitions under scrutiny, nor (and this is an added of mine) at those shown at the Exhibitions. L’invention du sauvage exhibit.Indeed, the expression “human zoo” establishes a model which does not fit with the meagre number of exhibitions of exotic individuals from the sixteenth, seventeenth or eighteenth centuries, nor with that of Saartjie Baartmann (the Hottentot Venus) of the early nineteenth century, much less with the freak shows of the twentieth century. Furthermore, this model can neither be compared to most of the nineteenth-century British human ethnological exhibitions, nor to most of the native villages of the colonial exhibitions, nor to the Wild West show of Buffalo Bill, let alone to the ruralist-traditionalist villages which were set up at many national and international exhibitions until the interwar period. Ultimately, their connection with many wandering “black villages” or “native villages” exhibited by impresarios at the end of the nineteenth century could also be disputed. Moreover, many of the shows organised by Hagenbeck number amongst the most professional in the exhibitional universe. The fact that they were held in zoos should not automatically imply that the circumstances in which they took place were more brutal or exploitative than those of any of the other ethnic shows.It is evident from all the shows which have been discussed, that the differential racial condition of the persons exhibited not only formed the basis of their exhibition, but may also have fostered and even founded racist reactions and attitudes held by the public. However, there are many other factors (political, economic and even aesthetic) which come into play and have barely been considered, which could be seen as encouraging admiration of the displays of bodies, gestures, skills, creations and knowledge which were seen as both exotic and seductive.In fact, the indiscriminate use of the very successful concept of “human zoo” generates two fundamental problems. Firstly it impedes our “true” knowledge of the object of study itself, that is, of the very varied ethnic shows which it intends to catalogue, given the great diversity of contexts, formats, persons in charge, objectives and materialisations that such enterprises have to offer. Secondly, the image of the zoo inevitably recreates the idea of an exhibition which is purely animalistic, where the only relationship is that which exists between exhibitor and exhibited: the complete domination of the latter (irrational beasts) by the former (rational beings). If we accept that the exhibited are treated merely as as more-or-less worthy animals, the consequences are twofold: a logical rejection of such shows past, present and future, and the visualization of the exhibited as passive victims of racism and capitalism in the West. It is therefore of no surprise that the research barely considers the role that these individuals may have played, the extent to which their participation in the show was voluntary and the interests which may have moved some of them to take part in these shows. Ultimately, no evaluation has been made of how these shows may have provided “opportunity contexts” for the exhibited, whether as commercial, colonial or missionary exhibitis. Whilst it is true that the exhibited peoples’ own voice is the hardest to record in any of these shows, greater effort could have been made in identifying and mapping them, as, when this happens, the results obtained are truly interesting (Dreesbach, 2005: 78).Before we conclude, it must be said that the proposed analysis does not intend to soften or justify the phenomenon of the ethnic show. Even in the least dramatic and exploitative cases it is evident that the essence of these shows was a marked inequality, in which every supposed “context of interaction” established a dichotomous relationship between black and white, North and South, colonisers and colonised, and ultimately, between dominators and dominated. My intention has been to propose a more-or-less classifying and clarifying approach to this varied world of human exhibitions, to make a basic inventory of their forms of representation and to determine which are the essential traits that define them, without losing sight of the contingent factors which they rely upon.

NOTES

ABSTRACT
The aim of this article is to study the living ethnological exhibitions. The main feature of these multiform varieties of public show, which became widespread in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Europe and the United States, was the live presence of individuals who were considered “primitive”. Whilst these native peoples sometimes gave demonstrations of their skills or produced manufactures for the audience, more often their role was simply as exhibits, to display their bodies and gestures, their different and singular condition. In this article, the three main forms of modern ethnic show (commercial, colonial and missionary) will be presented, together with a warning about the inadequacy of categorising all such spectacles under the label of “human zoos”, a term which has become common in both academic and media circles in recent years.Figure 8.   Postcard from the Deutsche Colonial-Ausstellung, Gewerbe Ausstellung (German Colonial Exhibition, Industrial Exhibition, Berlin 1896). Historische Bildpostkarten, Universität Osnabrück, Sammlung Prof. Dr. S. Giesbrecht (http://www.bildpostkarten.uni-osnabrueck.de).

[1]In order to avoid loading the text through the excessive use of punctuation marks, I have decided not to put words as blacks, savages or primitives in inverted commas; but by no means does this mean my acceptance of their contemporary racist connotations.

[2]Apart from its magnificent catalogue, the contents of the exhibition are also available online: http://www.quaibranly.fr/uploads/tx_gayafeespacepresse/MQB_DP_Exhibitions_01.pdf [accessed 13/November/2012].

[3]Missionary exhibitions are not an integral part of the repertoire of exhibitions studied as part of the French project on “Human zoos”, nor do they appear at the great Quai de Branly exhibition of 2012.

[4]The Marseille and Paris exhibitions competed with each other. The Festival of Empire was organised in London to celebrate the coronation of George V, thus also being known as the Coronation Exhibition. For more information about these and other British colonial exhibitions, or exhibitions which had important colonial sections, organised between 1890 and 1914, see Coombes (1994: 85–108) and Mackenzie (2008).

[5]These were the Franco-British exhibition (1908) and the Japan-British Exhibition (1910); although their contents were not exclusively colonial these do make up an important part of the exhibitions. They are both private and run by the successful show businessman Imre Kiralfy. For the former, see Coombes (1994: 187–213), Leymarie (2009) and Geppert (2010: 101–133); and for the latter, Mutsu (2001).
[6]This was the International Imperial Exhibition, where the Great Britain, France and Russia took part, although other countries also had a minor presence. It was organized by the businessman Imre Kiralfy.
[7]The exhibition fever of those years even hit Japan, where colonial and anthropological exhibitions were organized in Osaka (1903) and Tokyo (1913). These showed Ainu peoples and persons from the newly incorporated territories of the Japanese Empire (Siddle, 1996; Nanta, 2011).
[8]For a good summary of the extensive colonial propaganda movement which spread around Europe during the interwar period (with detailed references to the exhibitions) see Stanard (2009).
[9]British Empire Exhibition.
[10]After its defeat in the Great War, the 119 Versailles Treaty article specified that Germany should give up all its overseas territories. Therefore, whenever exhibitions were celebrated during the interwar period Germany lacked any possessions whatsoever. Thus, German competitions mentioned (including Vienna) were nothing but mere patriotic exhibitions of colonial revisionism, which were celebrated during the Weimar Republic and reached their heyday in the Nazi era.
[11]This was the Mostra Coloniale Celebrativa della Vittoria Imperiale, a propagandist national-colonial exhibition of a strong rationalist character.
[12]This was the British Empire Exhibition.
[13]This was the grandiose Prima (and unique) mostra triennale delle Terre Italiane d’Oltremare, which was to be celebrated between the 9 of May and the 15 of October 1940, and which was suspended after a month owing to Mussolini’s declaration of war on France and Great Britain. See Kivelitz (1999: 162–171), Abbattista and Labanca (2008), Vargaftig (2010) and, more specifically, Dore (1992).
[14]The available literature on the exhibition of 1931 is very abundant. A very brief selection of titles could include the following: Ageron (1984), Blévis et al. (2008), Exposition Coloniale (2006), Hodeir and Pierre (1991), L’ Estoile (2007), Lebovics (2008) and Morton (2000).
[15]However, the organization of two purely commercial ethnological exhibitions was authorized.
[16]On the Congolese section of the 1958 Brussels exhibition, the works of Cornelis (2005), Halen (1995), and Stanard (2005 and 2011) can be used as references.
[17]The territory of Rwanda-Urundi (former German colony of Rwanda and Burundi) was administered as a trusteeship by Belgium from 1924, on accepting a League of Nations mandate which was renewed through the UN after the end of the Second World War.
[18]For the encounters and disagreements between Christian exhibitions and Universal exhibitions during the nineteenth century, see Sánchez-Gómez (2011).
[19]The New-Zealander (Auckland), 22 October 1851. Available at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast [accessed 3/April/2009].
[20]This was the Historical Exhibition of Occupation (1937) and the Exhibition of the Portuguese World (1940); For the Catholic Church’s participation in these events, see Sánchez-Gómez (2009).
[21]The presence of natives has not been recorded at Protestant exhibitions celebrated in France, Sweden, Switzerland or Germany during those years.

REFERENCES


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Ageron, Charles-Robert (1984) “L’Exposition Coloniale de 1931: Mythe républicaine ou mythe impérial?” In Les lieux de mémoire, edited by Nora, Pierre, Gallimard, Paris, I, pp. 561–591.
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Human zoos: When people were the exhibits
Annika Zeitler
Dw.com
10.03.2017

From the German Empire through the 1930s, humans were locked up and exhibited in zoos. These racist « ethnological expositions » remain a traumatizing experience for Theodor Wonja Michael.

« We went throughout Europe with circuses, and I was always traveling – from Paris to Riga, from Berne to Bucharest via Warsaw, » remembers Theodor Wonja Michael. He is the youngest son of a Cameroonian who left the then German colony at the turn of the century to live in the German Empire.

« We danced and performed along with fire-eaters and fakirs. I began hating taking part in these human zoos very early on, » says the now 92-year-old. For several years, did stopped talking about that period in his life. Then in 2013, Theodor Wonja Michael wrote about his and his family’s story in the book « Deutsch sein und schwarz dazu » (Being German and also Black).

Traveling with a human zoo

Theodor Wonja Michael’s father moved with his family from Cameroon to Europe at the end of the 19th century. In Berlin, he quickly realized that he wouldn’t be allowed to do normal jobs. The only available way of making a living was through ethnological expositions, also called human zoos.

At the time, performers of a human zoo would tour through Europe just like rock bands today. They were scheduled to do several presentations a day while visitors would gawk at them.

« In some cases, the performers had contracts, but they didn’t know what it meant to be part of Europe’s ethnological expositions, » says historian Anne Dreesbach. Most of them were homesick; some died because they didn’t manage to get vaccinated. That’s how an Inuit family, which was part of an exhibition, died of smallpox after shows in Hamburg and Berlin in 1880. Another group of Sioux Indians died of vertigo, measles and pneumonia.

Carl Hagenbeck’s exposition of ‘exotics’

A 1927 photo of Carl Hagenbeck, surrounded by the Somalians he put in a Hamburg zoo

Up until the 1930s, there were some 400 human zoos in Germany.

The first big ethnological exposition was organized in 1874 by a wild animal merchant from Hamburg, Carl Hagenbeck. « He had the idea to open zoos that weren’t only filled with animals, but also people. People were excited to discover humans from abroad: Before television and color photography were available, it was their only way to see them, » explains Anne Dreesbach, who published a book on the history of human zoos in Germany a few year ago.

An illusion of travel

The concept already existed in the early modern age, when European explorers brought back people from the new areas they had traveled to. Carl Hagenbeck took this one step further, staging the exhibitions to make them more attractive: Laplanders would appear accompanied by reindeer, Egyptians would ride camels in front of cardboard pyramids, Fuegians would be living in huts and had bones as accessories in their hair. « Carl Hagenbeck sold visitors an illusion of world travel with his human zoos, » says historian Hilke Thode-Arora from Munich’s ethnological museum.

How Theodor Wonja Michael experienced racism in Germany

« In these ethnological expositions, we embodied Europeans perception of ‘Africans’ in the 1920s and 30s – uneducated savages wearing raffia skirts, » explains Theodor Wonja Michael. He still remembers how strangers would stroke his curled hair: « They would smell me to check if I was real and talked to me in broken German or with signs. »

Hordes of visitors

Theodor Wonja Michael’s family was torn apart after the death of his mother, who was a German seamstress from East Prussia. A court determined that the father couldn’t properly raise his four children, and operators of a human zoo officially became the young Theodor’s foster parents in the 1920s. « Their only interest in us was for our labor, » explains Michael.

All four children were taken on by different operators of ethnological expositions and had to present and sell « a typical African lifestyle » for a curious public, like their father had done previously. For Theodor Wonja Michael, it was torture.

Just like fans want to see stars up close today, visitors at the time wanted to see Fuegians, Eskimos or Samoans. When one group decided to stay hidden in their hut during the last presentation of a day in a Berlin zoo in November 1881, thousands of visitors protested by pushing down fences and walls and destroying banks. « This shows what these expositions subconsciously triggered in people, » says Dreesbach.

Theodor Wonja Michael was nine years old when his father died in 1934, aged 55. He only has very few memories of him left. From his siblings’ stories, he knows that his father worked as an extra on silent films at the beginning of the 1920s. The whole family was brought with him to the studio and also hired as extras because they were viewed as « typically African. »

Several human zoos stopped running after the end of World War I. Hagenbeck organized his last show of « exotic people » in 1931 – but that didn’t end discrimination.

Theodor Wonja Michael’s book is available in German under the title, « Deutsch sein und Schwarz dazu. Erinnerungen eines Afro-Deutschen » (Being German and also Black. Memoires of an Afro-German).

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REVIEW: The Strange Tale of a Coney Island ‘Doctor’ Who Saved 7,000 Babies

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies by Dawn Raffel (Blue Rider Press, 284 pp.)

By Laura Durnell

The National Book Review

8.15. 2018

With a couturier’s skill, Dawn Raffel’s The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies threads facts and education into a dramatic and highly unusual narrative.  The enigmatic showman Martin Couney showcased premature babies in incubators to early 20th century crowds on the Coney Island and Atlantic City boardwalks, and at expositions across the United States. A Prussian-born immigrant based on the East coast, Couney had no medical degree but called himself a physician, and his self-promoting carnival-barking incubator display exhibits actually ended up saving the lives of about 7,000 premature babies. These tiny infants would have died without Couney’s theatrics, but instead they grew into adulthood, had children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and lived into their 70s, 80s, and 90s. This extraordinary story reveals a great deal about neonatology, and about life.

Raffel, a journalist, memoirist and short story writer, brings her literary sensibilities and great curiosity, to Couney’s fascinating tale. Drawing on extraordinary archival research as well as interviews, her narrative is enhanced by her own reflections as she balanced her shock over how Couney saved these premature infants and also managed to make a living by displaying them like little freaks to the vast crowds who came to see them. Couney’s work with premature infants began in Europe as a carnival barker at an incubator exposition. It was there he fell in love with preemies and met his head nurse Louise Recht. Still, even allowing for his evident affection, making the preemies incubation a public show seems exploitative.

But was it? In the 21st century, hospital incubators and NICUs are taken for granted, but over a hundred years ago, incubators were rarely used in hospitals, and sometimes they did far more harm than good.  Premature infants often went blind because of too much oxygen pumped into the incubators (Raffel notes that Stevie Wonder, himself a preemie, lost his sight this way). Yet the preemies Couney and his nurses — his wife Maye, his daughter Hildegard, and lead nurse Louise, known in the show as “Madame Recht” — cared for retained their vision. The reason? Couney was worried enough about this problem to use incubators developed by M. Alexandre Lion in France, which regulated oxygen flow.

Today it is widely accept that every baby – premature or ones born to term – should be saved.  Not so in Couney’s time. Preemies were referred to as “weaklings,” and even some doctors believed their lives were not worth saving. While Raffel’s tale is inspiring, it is also horrific. She does not shy away from people like Dr. Harry Haiselden who, unlike Couney, was an actual M.D., but “denied lifesaving treatment to infants he deemed ‘defective,’ deliberately watching them die even when they could have lived.”

Haiselden’s behavior and philosophy did not develop in a vacuum. Nazi Germany’s shadow looms large in Raffel’s book. Just as they did with America’s Jim Crow laws, Raffel acknowledges the Nazis took America’s late nineteenth and early twentieth century fascination with eugenics and applied it to monstrous ends in the T4 euthanasia program and the Holocaust. To better understand Haiselden’s attitude, Raffel explains the role eugenics played throughout Couney’s lifetime. She dispassionately explains the theory of eugenics, how its propaganda worked and how belief in eugenics manifested itself in 20th century America.

Ultimately, Couney’s compassion, advocacy, resilience, and careful maintenance of his self-created narrative to the public rose above this ignorant cruelty. True, he was a showman, and during most of his career, he earned a good living from his incubator babies show, but Couney, an elegant man who fluently spoke German, French and English, didn’t exploit his preemies (Hildegard was a preemie too).  He gave them a chance at the lives they might not have been allowed to live. Couney used his showmanship to support all of this life-saving. He put on shows for boardwalk crowds, but he also, despite not having a medical degree, maintained his incubators according to high medical standards.

In many ways, Couney’s practices were incredibly advanced. Babies were fed with breast milk exclusively, nurses provided loving touches frequently, and the babies were held, changed and bathed. “Every two hours, those who could suckle were carried upstairs on a tiny elevator and fed by breast by wet nurses who lived in the building,” Raffel writes.  “The rest got the funneled spoon.”

Yet the efforts of Dr. Couney’s his nurses went largely ignored by the medical profession and were only mentioned once in a medical journal. As Raffel writes in her book’s final page, “There is nothing at his  grave to indicate that [Martin Couney] did anything of note.” The same goes for Maye, Louise and Hildegard. Louise’s name was misspelled on her shared tombstone (Louise’s remains are interred in another family’s crypt), and Hildegard, whose remains are interred with Louise’s, did not even have her own name engraved on the shared tombstone.

With the exception of Chicago’s Dr. Julius Hess, who is considered the father of neonatology, the majority of the medical establishment patronized and excluded Couney. Hess, though, respected Couney’s work and built on it with his own scientific approach and research; in the preface to his book Premature and Congenitally Diseased Infants, Hess acknowledges Couney “‘for his many helpful suggestions in the preparation of the material for this book.’” But Couney cared more about the babies than professional respect. His was a single-minded focus: even when it financially devastated him to do so, he persisted, so his preemies could live.

A Talmud verse Raffel cites early in her book sums up Martin Couney: “If one saves a single life, it is as if one has saved the world.” The Strange Case of Dr. Couney gives Couney his due as a remarkable human being who used his promotional ability for the betterment of premature infants, and for, 7,000 times over, saving the world.


Laura Durnell’s work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Room, The Antigonish Review, Women’s Media Center, Garnet News, others. She currently teaches at DePaul University, tutors at Wilbur Wright College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, and is working on her first novel. Twitter handle:  @lauradurnell

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On te manipule

Une Théorie du complot, c’est quoi ?

Youtubeur cagoulé Une théorie du complot (on parle aussi de conspirationnisme ou de complotisme) est un récit pseudo-scientifique, interprétant des faits réels comme étant le résultat de l’action d’un groupe caché, qui agirait secrètement et illégalement pour modifier le cours des événements en sa faveur, et au détriment de l’intérêt public. Incapable de faire la démonstration rigoureuse de ce qu’elle avance, la théorie du complot accuse ceux qui la remettent en cause d’être les complices de ce groupe caché. Elle contribue à semer la confusion, la désinformation, et la haine contre les individus ou groupes d’individus qu’elle stigmatise.Les 7 commandements de la théorie du complot

1. Derrière chaque événement un organisateur caché tu inventeras

Bureau national des complotsDerrière chaque actualité ayant des causes accidentelles ou naturelles (mort ou suicide d’une personnalité, crash d’avion, catastrophe naturelle, crise économique…), la théorie du complot cherche un ou des organisateurs secrets (gouvernement, communauté juive, francs-maçons…) qui auraient manipulé les événements dans l’ombre pour servir leurs intérêts : l’explication rationnelle ne suffit jamais. Et même si les événements ont une cause intentionnelle et des acteurs évidents (attentat, assassinat, révolution, guerre, coup d’État…), la théorie du complot va chercher à démontrer que cela a en réalité profité à un AUTRE groupe caché. C’est la méthode du bouc émissaire.

2. Des signes du complot partout tu verras

Signe du complot La théorie du complot voit les indices de celui-ci partout où vous ne les voyez pas, comme si les comploteurs laissaient volontairement des traces, visibles des seuls « initiés ». Messages cachés sur des paquets de cigarettes, visage du diable aperçu dans la fumée du World Trade Center, parcours de la manifestation Charlie Hebdo qui dessinerait la carte d’Israël… Tout devient prétexte à interprétation, sans preuve autre que l’imagination de celui qui croit découvrir ces symboles cachés. Comme le disait une série célèbre : « I want to believe ! »

3. L’esprit critique tu auras… mais pas pour tout

La théorie du complot a le doute sélectif : elle critique systématiquement l’information émanant des autorités publiques ou scientifiques, tout en s’appuyant sur des certitudes ou des paroles « d’experts » qu’elle refuse de questionner. De même, pour expliquer un événement, elle monte en épingle des éléments secondaires en leur conférant une importance qu’ils n’ont pas, tout en écartant les éléments susceptibles de contrarier la thèse du complot. Son doute est à géométrie variable.

4. Le vrai et le faux tu mélangeras

Affiche "i want to believe"La théorie du complot tend à mélanger des faits et des spéculations sans distinguer entre les deux. Dans les « explications » qu’elle apporte aux événements, des éléments parfaitement avérés sont noués avec des éléments inexacts ou non vérifiés, invérifiables, voire carrément mensongers. Mais le fait qu’une argumentation ait des parties exactes n’a jamais suffi à la rendre dans son ensemble exacte !

5. Le « millefeuille argumentatif » tu pratiqueras

C’est une technique rhétorique qui vise à intimider celui qui y est confronté : il s’agit de le submerger par une série d’arguments empruntés à des champs très diversifiés de la connaissance, pour remplacer la qualité de l’argumentation par la quantité des (fausses) preuves. Histoire, géopolitique, physique, biologie… toutes les sciences sont convoquées – bien entendu, jamais de façon rigoureuse. Il s’agit de créer l’impression que, parmi tous les arguments avancés, « tout ne peut pas être faux », qu’ »il n’y a pas de fumée sans feu ».

6. La charge de la preuve tu inverseras

ILivre sur "la vérité"ncapables (et pour cause !) d’apporter la preuve définitive de ce qu’elle avance, la théorie du complot renverse la situation, en exigeant de ceux qui ne la partagent pas de prouver qu’ils ont raison. Mais comment démontrer que quelque chose qui n’existe pas… n’existe pas ? Un peu comme si on vous demandait de prouver que le Père Noël n’est pas réel.

7. La cohérence tu oublieras

A force de multiplier les procédés expliqués ci-dessus, les théories du complot peuvent être totalement incohérentes, recourant à des arguments qui ne peuvent tenir ensemble dans un même cadre logique, qui s’excluent mutuellement. Au fond, une seule chose importe : répéter, faute de pouvoir le démontrer, qu’on nous ment, qu’on nous cache quelque chose. #OnTeManipule !

Voir enfin:

« Le clip de Nick Conrad illustre la montée de la haine raciale en France »
Céline Pina
Le Figaro
28/09/2018

FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE – Réagissant au clip du rappeur Nick Conrad appelant à massacrer des «Blancs», Céline Pina assure que cet épisode n’est que la partie visible d’une idéologie raciste de plus en plus violente, prenant les «Blancs» pour cible.

Ancienne élue locale, Céline Pina est essayiste et militante. Elle avait dénoncé en 2015 le salon de «la femme musulmane» de Pontoise et a récemment publié Silence Coupable (éd. Kero, 2016). Avec Fatiha Boutjalhat, elle est la fondatrice de Viv(r)e la République, mouvement citoyen laïque et républicain, appelant à lutter contre tous les totalitarismes et pour la promotion de l’indispensable universalité des valeurs républicaines.


«Je rentre dans des crèches, je tue des bébés blancs,

attrapez-les vite et pendez leurs parents

Écartelez-les pour passer le temps

Divertir les enfants noirs de tout âge, petits et grands.

Fouettez-les fort, faites-le franchement,

Que ça pue la mort, que ça pisse le sang»

Si vous pensez que l’État islamique donne maintenant ses ordres en rimes laborieuses ou que la nouvelle mode est de semer la haine et de lancer des appels au meurtre en chanson, c’est, d’après l’auteur de ce texte, que vous êtes plein de préjugés racistes. Certes tuer des enfants dans les écoles ou les crèches est bien un mot d’ordre que les terroristes islamistes ont lancé, certes le clip de ce rappeur appelle au meurtre de masse des Blancs, mais, selon ses défenseurs, il s’agit d’Art, de création, d’amour incompris. En fait, être choqués par ces paroles, témoignerait d’un refus collectif de prendre conscience de nos fautes et de celles de nos pères et serait un effet de notre racisme ontologique puisque le rappeur explique avoir voulu «inverser les rôles, (…) le système, de manière à ce que Blancs comme noirs puissent se rendre compte de la situation.». Son clip serait «une fiction qui montre des choses qui sont vraiment arrivées au peuple noir.». Rappelons qu’il s’agit ici de montrer des actes de torture, d’humiliation puis l’exécution d’un homme blanc, le tout filmé avec une jouissance sadique.

Au regard de la ligne de défense du rappeur on peut constater d’abord que s’il chante la haine, c’est qu’il la porte en lui. Il la légitime d’ailleurs par l’histoire. Dans son imaginaire et sa représentation du monde, tuer des «blancs» est une œuvre de justice pour un «noir» puisqu’il ne ferait que remettre les compteurs de l’histoire à zéro et venger les souffrances de son peuple, victime de l’esclavage. Sauf que pour raisonner ainsi il faut être profondément inculte et ne pas craindre la falsification historique. L’historien Olivier Petré-Grenouilleau a travaillé sur l’histoire des traites négrières. À l’époque il fut violemment attaqué car son travail déconstruisait un discours idéologique visant à réduire l’esclavage à la seule histoire de l’oppression de l’homme blanc sur l’homme noir. Or la réalité est bien plus diverse. Il y eut trois types de traite: la traite africaine, celle où des noirs capturaient et vendaient des esclaves noirs, on estime cette traite à 14 millions de personnes déportées. La traite arabo-musulmane où les marchands arabes capturaient et vendaient des esclaves noirs, celle-ci a concerné 17 millions d’individus et avait une particularité notable, la castration systématique de tous les hommes. Enfin la traite transatlantique, celle des «blancs», qui a concerné 11 millions d’individus.

Au vu de ce triste constat, nul ne peut pavoiser. Aucune couleur de peau ne peut revendiquer un quelconque avantage moral sur l’autre. En revanche, ce sont les Européens qui ont aboli les premiers l’esclavage, à l’issue d’un travail intellectuel et politique amorcé durant Les Lumières, qui changèrent la conception de l’homme et de la société. Grâce au concept d’égale dignité de l’être humain, il devenait impossible pour un homme d’en posséder un autre. Cette idée d’égalité est une construction, une représentation, une vision de l’homme et du monde qui rendit l’esclavage illégitime. En Europe, cette situation perdure car elle est liée à une perception du monde sur laquelle nous nous efforçons d’appuyer nos lois et nos mœurs. En Afrique et en Orient, l’esclavage existe encore (souvenez-vous des images du marché d’esclaves en Libye) et le combat pour l’abolir complètement est très discret, alors que la mémoire de l’esclavage, en Occident, finie par être instrumentalisée à des fins politiques douteuses. L’esclavage n’intéresse les idéologues gauchistes que pour faire le procès du blanc et justifier tous les passages à l’acte. Ce qui ne sert ni la connaissance historique, ni la lutte contre les discriminations.

Quant à l’excuse par l’art, mobilisée pour donner un boulevard à la haine et censurer ceux qui s’en indignent, elle a pour corollaire le droit de juger et de rejeter du spectateur. Elle a également pour limite l’appel au meurtre. Souvenez-vous de la radio Mille collines au Rwanda. Un bien joli nom pour une entreprise génocidaire. A coup d’appels enflammés et de texte haineux auquel celui-ci n’a rien à envier, elle sema sciemment la détestation et la mort. Et elle fut entendue. Largement.

C’est ce que fait à son niveau ce rappeur. Car son délire ne lui appartient pas en propre. Il relaie une logique, un discours de haine et un projet politique qui a été forgé d’abord aux États-Unis et qui revient ici porté par le PIR (Parti des Indigènes de la République), par l’extrême-gauche et par leurs alliés islamistes. Ce discours de haine raciale est légitimé et s’installe dans nos représentations car cette idéologie trouve des relais politiques et intellectuels. Elle se développe même au sein des universités à travers l’imposture du champ des études post-coloniales, où l’on préfère souvent former des activistes politiques, plutôt que s’astreindre à l’aride rigueur de la démarche scientifique. Ce discours est porté politiquement dans les banlieues où il construit les représentations des jeunes, il est accueilli dans les médias mainstream où les lectures raciales de la société se développent de plus en plus. Cette dérive violente est nourrie par un travail politique mené par des forces identifiables et il porte ses fruits: oui, il y a bien un racisme «anti-blancs» qui se développe dans les banlieues. Oui, on peut se faire agresser pour le seul crime d’être «blanc». Oui, la montée de la haine raciale aujourd’hui participe aux passages à l’acte et à l’explosion de la soi-disant violence gratuite.

Mais cela, une partie du système médiatique le nie, participant aussi à la légitimation de ceux qui font monter les tensions raciales. Imaginons juste qu’un chanteur ait chanté les mêmes horreurs à propos des noirs. Croyez-vous que la presse lui aurait ouvert ses colonnes pour qu’il se justifie? N’eût-il été immédiatement mis au ban par ses pairs? Quand les bien-pensants réclament qu’Eric Zemmour soit interdit d’antenne, alors que sa sortie ridicule n’a rien à voir de près ni de loin avec un appel au meurtre, ils sont curieusement muets quand il s’agit d’un rappeur pourtant indéfendable sur le fond et qui, lui, lance des appels à la haine.

Pire encore, pour ne pas avoir à se positionner sur des sujets épineux, ils vont jusqu’à nier la réalité. C’est Dominique Sopo, président de SOS Racisme, qui refuse de voir monter la haine raciale érigée en posture politique et estime que le racisme anti-blanc n’est qu’une invention de l’extrême-droite. Même son de cloche chez le député France insoumise Eric Cocquerel. En cela, la justification du rappeur qui prétend «inverser», mettre le blanc à la place du noir et évoque un clip copié sur le passage d’un film américain où deux membres du Klu Klux Klan font subir les mêmes atrocités à un homme noir, est calibrée pour fermer la bouche à ceux qui confondent gauche et repentance. Et cela marche. Pourtant le raisonnement sous-tendu par cette référence est stupide: les membres du KKK appartiennent à une idéologie particulière. Ils ne sont pas des références, ni des modèles, encore moins des exemples. Ils font honte à leurs concitoyens et leurs idées politiques sont combattues et rejetées. Ils ne représentent pas les «blancs». Leur donner une telle portée symbolique, c’est un peu comme confondre nazi et allemand ou islamistes et musulmans.

Quant à l’ultime provocation du rappeur, le fait que d’après lui, si on creuse un peu, derrière le couplet «pendez les blancs», c’est de l’amour que l’on entend, nous avons déjà eu droit à ce salmigondis stupide quand Houria Bouteldja a tenté de défendre son livre raciste: «les Blancs, les Juifs et nous». Et s’il fallait une preuve de ce que ce rappeur pense vraiment, la phrase de Malcom X qui clôt son clip nous le rappelle: «Le prix pour faire que les autres respectent vos droits humains est la mort.». Une phrase qui ne peut être entendue par les jeunes que comme un appel au meurtre dans le contexte du clip. Pire, même, qui voit dans le fait de donner la mort, la marque de ceux qui savent se faire respecter. Phrase toute aussi terrible et impressionnante que fausse: le prix pour faire que les autres respectent vos droits est la reconnaissance de l’égale dignité des êtres humains, la fraternité qui naît du partage de cette condition humaine et les devoirs qu’elle nous donne les uns envers les autres. Et la couleur de la peau n’a aucune importance dans cette histoire-là.


Effet spectateur: C’est le mimétisme, imbécile ! (Monkey see, monkey do: New example of bystander effect on Paris commuter train confirms everything is mimetic in whatever we do whether good or bad, but compounded by the effect of diversity)

4 juillet, 2018

Je vous le dis en vérité, toutes les fois que vous avez fait ces choses à l’un de ces plus petits de mes frères, c’est à moi que vous les avez faites. Jésus (Matthieu 25: 40)
Un docteur de la loi (…) voulant se justifier, dit à Jésus : Et qui est mon prochain ? Jésus reprit la parole, et dit : Un homme descendait de Jérusalem à Jéricho. Il tomba au milieu des brigands, qui le dépouillèrent, le chargèrent de coups, et s’en allèrent, le laissant à demi mort. Un sacrificateur, qui par hasard descendait par le même chemin, ayant vu cet homme, passa outre. Un Lévite, qui arriva aussi dans ce lieu, l’ayant vu, passa outre. Mais un Samaritain, qui voyageait, étant venu là, fut ému de compassion lorsqu’il le vit. Il s’approcha, et banda ses plaies, en y versant de l’huile et du vin ; puis il le mit sur sa propre monture, le conduisit à une hôtellerie, et prit soin de lui. Le lendemain, il tira deux deniers, les donna à l’hôte, et dit : Aie soin de lui, et ce que tu dépenseras de plus, je te le rendrai à mon retour. Lequel de ces trois te semble avoir été le prochain de celui qui était tombé au milieu des brigands ? C’est celui qui a exercé la miséricorde envers lui, répondit le docteur de la loi. Et Jésus lui dit : Va, et toi, fais de même. Jésus (Luc 10 : 25-37)
Alors les scribes et les pharisiens amenèrent une femme surprise en adultère; et, la plaçant au milieu du peuple, ils dirent à Jésus: Maître, cette femme a été surprise en flagrant délit d’adultère. Moïse, dans la loi, nous a ordonné de lapider de telles femmes: toi donc, que dis-tu? Ils disaient cela pour l’éprouver, afin de pouvoir l’accuser. Mais Jésus, s’étant baissé, écrivait avec le doigt sur la terre. Comme ils continuaient à l’interroger, il se releva et leur dit: Que celui de vous qui est sans péché jette le premier la pierre contre elle. Et s’étant de nouveau baissé, il écrivait sur la terre. Quand ils entendirent cela, accusés par leur conscience, ils se retirèrent un à un, depuis les plus âgés jusqu’aux derniers; et Jésus resta seul avec la femme qui était là au milieu. Alors s’étant relevé, et ne voyant plus que la femme, Jésus lui dit: Femme, où sont ceux qui t’accusaient? Personne ne t’a-t-il condamnée? Elle répondit: Non, Seigneur. Et Jésus lui dit: Je ne te condamne pas non plus: va, et ne pèche plus. Jean 8: 3-11
Ne croyez pas que je sois venu apporter la paix sur la terre; je ne suis pas venu apporter la paix, mais l’épée. Car je suis venu mettre la division entre l’homme et son père, entre la fille et sa mère, entre la belle-fille et sa belle-mère; et l’homme aura pour ennemis les gens de sa maison. Jésus (Matthieu 10 : 34-36)
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. Lorsque j’ai lu les premiers documents de Ben Laden, constaté ses allusions aux bombes américaines tombées sur le Japon, je me suis senti d’emblée à un niveau qui est au-delà de l’islam, celui de la planète entière. Sous l’étiquette de l’islam, on trouve une volonté de rallier et de mobiliser tout un tiers-monde de frustrés et de victimes dans leurs rapports de rivalité mimétique avec l’Occident. Mais les tours détruites occupaient autant d’étrangers que d’Américains. Et par leur efficacité, par la sophistication des moyens employés, par la connaissance qu’ils avaient des Etats-Unis, par leurs conditions d’entraînement, les auteurs des attentats n’étaient-ils pas un peu américains ? On est en plein mimétisme. 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 marxismeRené Girard
L’inauguration majestueuse de l’ère « post-chrétienne » est une plaisanterie. Nous sommes dans un ultra-christianisme caricatural qui essaie d’échapper à l’orbite judéo-chrétienne en « radicalisant » le souci des victimes dans un sens antichrétien. (…) Jusqu’au nazisme, le judaïsme était la victime préférentielle de ce système de bouc émissaire. Le christianisme ne venait qu’en second lieu. Depuis l’Holocauste , en revanche, on n’ose plus s’en prendre au judaïsme, et le christianisme est promu au rang de bouc émissaire numéro un. (…) Le mouvement antichrétien le plus puissant est celui qui réassume et « radicalise » le souci des victimes pour le paganiser. (…) Comme les Eglises chrétiennes ont pris conscience tardivement de leurs manquements à la charité, de leur connivence avec l’ordre établi, dans le monde d’hier et d’aujourd’hui, elles sont particulièrement vulnérables au chantage permanent auquel le néopaganisme contemporain les soumet. René Girard
Notre monde est de plus en plus imprégné par cette vérité évangélique de l’innocence des victimes. L’attention qu’on porte aux victimes a commencé au Moyen Age, avec l’invention de l’hôpital. L’Hôtel-Dieu, comme on disait, accueillait toutes les victimes, indépendamment de leur origine. Les sociétés primitives n’étaient pas inhumaines, mais elles n’avaient d’attention que pour leurs membres. Le monde moderne a inventé la « victime inconnue », comme on dirait aujourd’hui le « soldat inconnu ». Le christianisme peut maintenant continuer à s’étendre même sans la loi, car ses grandes percées intellectuelles et morales, notre souci des victimes et notre attention à ne pas nous fabriquer de boucs émissaires, ont fait de nous des chrétiens qui s’ignorent. René Girard
« Que celui qui se croit sans péché lui jette la première pierre ! » Pourquoi la première pierre ? Parce qu’elle est seule décisive. Celui qui la jette n’a personne à imiter. Rien de plus facile que d’imiter un exemple déjà donné. Donner soi-même l’exemple est tout autre chose. La foule est mimétiquement mobilisée, mais il lui reste un dernier seuil à franchir, celui de la violence réelle. Si quelqu’un jetait la première pierre, aussitôt les pierres pleuvraient. En attirant l’attention sur la première pierre, la parole de Jésus renforce cet obstacle ultime à la lapidation. Il donne aux meilleurs de cette foule le temps d’entendre sa parole et de s’examiner eux-mêmes. S’il est réel, cet examen ne peut manquer de découvrir le rapport circulaire de la victime et du bourreau. Le scandale qu’incarne cette femme à leurs yeux, ces hommes le portent déjà en eux-mêmes, et c’est pour s’en débarrasser qu’ils le projettent sur elle, d’autant plus aisément, bien sûr, qu’elle est vraiment coupable. Pour lapider une victime de bon coeur, il faut se croire différent d’elle, et la convergence mimétique, je le rappelle, s’accompagne d’une illusion de divergence. C’est la convergence réelle combinée avec l’illusion de divergence qui déclenche ce que Jésus cherche à prévenir, le mécanisme du bouc émissaire. La foule précède l’individu. Ne devient vraiment individu que celui qui, se détachant de la foule, échappe à l’unanimité violente. Tous ne sont pas capables d’autant d’initiative. Ceux qui en sont capables se détachent les premiers et, ce faisant, empêchent la lapidation. (…) A côté des temps individuels, donc, il y a toujours un temps social dans notre texte, mais il singe désormais les temps individuels, c’est le temps des modes et des engouements politiques, intellectuels, etc. Le temps reste ponctué par des mécanismes mimétiques. Sortir de la foule le premier, renoncer le premier à jeter des pierres, c’est prendre le risque d’en recevoir. La décision en sens inverse aurait été plus facile, car elle se situait dans le droit fil d’un emballement mimétique déjà amorcé. La première pierre est moins mimétique que les suivantes, mais elle n’en est pas moins portée par la vague de mimétisme qui a engendré la foule. Et les premiers à décider contre la lapidation ? Faut-il penser que chez eux au moins il n’y a aucune imitation ? Certainement pas. Même là il y en a, puisque c’est Jésus qui suggère à ces hommes d’agir comme ils le font. La décision contre la violence resterait impossible, nous dit le christianisme, sans cet Esprit divin qui s’appelle le Paraclet, c’est-à-dire, en grec ordinaire, « l’avocat de la défense » : c’est bien ici le rôle de Jésus lui-même. Il laisse d’ailleurs entendre qu’il est lui-même le premier Paraclet, le premier défenseur des victimes. Et il l’est surtout par la Passion qui est ici, bien sûr, sous-entendue. La théorie mimétique insiste sur le suivisme universel, sur l’impuissance des hommes à ne pas imiter les exemples les plus faciles, les plus suivis, parce que c’est cela qui prédomine dans toute société. Il ne faut pas en conclure qu’elle nie la liberté individuelle. En situant la décision véritable dans son contexte vrai, celui des contagions mimétiques partout présentes, cette théorie donne à ce qui n’est pas mécanique, et qui pourtant ne diffère pas du tout dans sa forme de ce qui l’est, un relief que la libre décision n’a pas chez les penseurs qui ont toujours la liberté à la bouche et de ce fait même, croyant l’exalter, la dévaluent complètement. Si on glorifie le décisif sans voir ce qui le rend très difficile, on ne sort jamais de la métaphysique la plus creuse. Même le renoncement au mimétisme violent ne peut pas se répandre sans se transformer en mécanisme social, en mimétisme aveugle. Il y a une lapidation à l’envers symétrique de la lapidation à l’endroit non dénuée de violence, elle aussi. C’est ce que montrent bien les parodies de notre temps. Tous ceux qui auraient jeté des pierres s’il s’était trouvé quelqu’un pour jeter la première sont mimétiquement amenés à n’en pas jeter. Pour la plupart d’entre eux, la vraie raison de la non-violence n’est pas la dure réflexion sur soi, le renoncement à la violence : c’est le mimétisme, comme d’habitude. Il y a toujours emballement mimétique dans une direction ou dans une autre. En s’engouffrant dans la direction déjà choisie par les premiers, les « mimic men » se félicitent de leur esprit de décision et de liberté. Il ne faut pas se leurrer. Dans une société qui ne lapide plus les femmes adultères, beaucoup d’hommes n’ont pas vraiment changé. La violence est moindre, mieux dissimulée, mais structurellement identique à ce qu’elle a toujours été. Il n’y a pas sortie authentique du mimétisme, mais soumission mimétique à une culture qui prône cette sortie. Dans toute aventure sociale, quelle qu’en soit la nature, la part d’individualisme authentique est forcément minime mais pas inexistante. Il ne faut pas oublier surtout que le mimétisme qui épargne les victimes est infiniment supérieur objectivement, moralement, à celui qui les tue à coups de pierres. Il faut laisser les fausses équivalences à Nietzsche et aux esthétismes décadents. Le récit de la femme adultère nous fait voir que des comportements sociaux identiques dans leur forme et même jusqu’à un certain point dans leur fond, puisqu’ils sont tous mimétiques, peuvent néanmoins différer les uns des autres à l’infini. La part de mécanisme et de liberté qu’ils comportent est infiniment variable. Mais cette inépuisable diversité ne prouve rien en faveur du nihilisme cognitif ; elle ne prouve pas que les comportements sont incomparables et inconnaissables. Tout ce que nous avons besoin de connaître pour résister aux automatismes sociaux, aux contagions mimétiques galopantes, est accessible à la connaissance. René Girard
Jésus s’appuie sur la Loi pour en transformer radicalement le sens. La femme adultère doit être lapidée : en cela la Loi d’Israël ne se distingue pas de celle des nations. La lapidation est à la fois une manière de reproduire et de contenir le processus de mise à mort de la victime dans des limites strictes. Rien n’est plus contagieux que la violence et il ne faut pas se tromper de victime. Parce qu’elle redoute les fausses dénonciations, la Loi, pour les rendre plus difficiles, oblige les délateurs, qui doivent être deux au minimum, à jeter eux-mêmes les deux premières pierres. Jésus s’appuie sur ce qu’il y a de plus humain dans la Loi, l’obligation faite aux deux premiers accusateurs de jeter les deux premières pierres ; il s’agit pour lui de transformer le mimétisme ritualisé pour une violence limitée en un mimétisme inverse. Si ceux qui doivent jeter » la première pierre » renoncent à leur geste, alors une réaction mimétique inverse s’enclenche, pour le pardon, pour l’amour. (…) Jésus sauve la femme accusée d’adultère. Mais il est périlleux de priver la violence mimétique de tout exutoire. Jésus sait bien qu’à dénoncer radicalement le mauvais mimétisme, il s’expose à devenir lui-même la cible des violences collectives. Nous voyons effectivement dans les Évangiles converger contre lui les ressentiments de ceux qu’ils privent de leur raison d’être, gardiens du Temple et de la Loi en particulier. » Les chefs des prêtres et les Pharisiens rassemblèrent donc le Sanhédrin et dirent : « Que ferons-nous ? Cet homme multiplie les signes. Si nous le laissons agir, tous croiront en lui ». » Le grand prêtre Caïphe leur révèle alors le mécanisme qui permet d’immoler Jésus et qui est au cœur de toute culture païenne : » Ne comprenez-vous pas ? Il est de votre intérêt qu’un seul homme meure pour tout le peuple plutôt que la nation périsse » (Jean XI, 47-50) (…) Livrée à elle-même, l’humanité ne peut pas sortir de la spirale infernale de la violence mimétique et des mythes qui en camouflent le dénouement sacrificiel. Pour rompre l’unanimité mimétique, il faut postuler une force supérieure à la contagion violente : l’Esprit de Dieu, que Jean appelle aussi le Paraclet, c’est-à-dire l’avocat de la défense des victimes. C’est aussi l’Esprit qui fait révéler aux persécuteurs la loi du meurtre réconciliateur dans toute sa nudité. (…) Ils utilisent une expression qui est l’équivalent de » bouc émissaire » mais qui fait mieux ressortir l’innocence foncière de celui contre qui tous se réconcilient : Jésus est désigné comme » Agneau de Dieu « . Cela veut dire qu’il est la victime émissaire par excellence, celle dont le sacrifice, parce qu’il est identifié comme le meurtre arbitraire d’un innocent — et parce que la victime n’a jamais succombé à aucune rivalité mimétique — rend inutile, comme le dit l’Épître aux Hébreux, tous les sacrifices sanglants, ritualisés ou non, sur lesquels est fondée la cohésion des communautés humaines. La mort et la Résurrection du Christ substituent une communion de paix et d’amour à l’unité fondée sur la contrainte des communautés païennes. L’Eucharistie, commémoration régulière du » sacrifice parfait » remplace la répétition stérile des sacrifices sanglants. (…) En même temps, le devoir du chrétien est de dénoncer le péché là où il se trouve. Le communisme a pu s’effondrer sans violence parce que le monde libre et le monde communiste avaient accepté de ne plus remettre en cause les frontières existantes ; à l’intérieur de ces frontières, des millions de chrétiens ont combattu sans violence pour la vérité, pour que la lumière soit faite sur le mensonge et la violence des régimes qui asservissaient leurs pays. Encore une fois, face au danger de mimétisme universel de la violence, vous n’avez qu’une réponse possible : le christianisme. René Girard
Si nous voulons aborder le « fait religieux » autrement que sous la forme d’une collection de savoirs, forcément émiettés et terriblement lacunaires, une voie peut être l’approfondissement d’un texte assez bien choisi pour qu’il rende le « religieux » intelligible. Ce postulat d’intelligibilité fonde le christianisme par essence. Il ne saurait y avoir contradiction, en toute dernière instance, entre ce message « religieux » et la rationalité, et ce malgré le contentieux historique lourd entre l’Eglise et la philosophie des Lumières. Ce texte en est une illustration magnifique. Il suffit de le lire en oubliant qu’il nous a été transmis par une institution religieuse pour qu’il nous devienne singulièrement utile, et pour commencer sur le plan professionnel. Voilà une situation dite de « conflit » et qui pourrait dégénérer en « violence ». Cette fois c’est l’analyse du philosophe René Girard qui peut servir d’éclairage. Comme F. Quéré, il observe que l’épisode marque une étape dans un drame qui aboutira à l’explosion de violence du Golgotha, lieu où Jésus mourra crucifié. Mais au cours de cette scène qui se déroule au Temple, la spirale de violence est enrayée. Cette spirale, que Girard nomme aussi « l’escalade » est toujours mimétique ; elle procède d’un entraînement mutuel et aboutit dans un cercle fermé, où, comme dans un chaudron, la tension monte, les pulsions violentes convergeant vers une victime placée sans défense « au milieu du groupe ». La réponse apportée par cet artiste de la non violence qu’est Jésus tient ici d’abord à une attitude. « Mais Jésus, se baissant, se mit à tracer des traits sur le sol ». Les yeux baissés évitent ainsi la rencontre des regards. Or c’est de leur croisement que procède la violence mimétique. Il faut en avoir fait l’expérience pour comprendre à quel point une formule comme « Regarde-moi dans les yeux ! » peut être vécue comme agressive lorsque le maître, outré, croit ainsi provoquer les aveux de l’élève ! Donc, sans regarder cette troupe d’excités, Jésus s’absorbe dans une autre occupation : « il trace des traits sur le sol ». (…) Le verbe « graphein » qui a donné « graphie » pointe aussi bien l’écriture que le dessin. Dommage pour les commentateurs ultérieurs qui y voyaient la relativisation de la Loi de l’Ancien Testament, destinée à être dépassée, puisqu’écrite sur le sable. Mais le terme « gué » n’a pas ce sens : c’est la « terre », ou le « sol », ce socle qui nous est commun, que nous soyons agresseurs ou agressés. Il est possible d’ailleurs que Jésus ait su lire, mais non écrire, ce qui était courant à l’époque. Tout au plus, mais c’est là l’interprétation que me suggère mon enthousiasme, pourrait-on comprendre que l’activité graphique, par la concentration qu’elle requiert, oblige à prendre du recul, et contribue à la résolution du conflit ! (…) Les peintres quant à eux, astreints à rassembler dans une image immobile un développement narratif, anticiperont souvent la suite, et inscriront dans leur représentation la parole de Jésus : « que celui qui n’a jamais péché lui jette la première pierre ». Cette phrase est un coup de génie, parce que c’est aussi la solution la plus simple. D’abord l’énonciation se fait au singulier, sans pour autant désigner nommément quelqu’un. La spirale du « défoulement », toujours collectif, est rompue. Mais avec un grand doigté, par un protagoniste qui prend le risque calculé de l’accompagner : « Allez-y, lapidez-la, mais… ». La phrase reprend très certainement la disposition juridique du Deutéronome relative aux témoins, mais en procurant un éclairage aigu sur son fondement. En matière de lapidation, c’est « commencer » qui est la grande affaire ! Le fait de pointer ainsi la nature du phénomène suffit apparemment à l’inverser : le cercle mortel se défait, et les agresseurs s’en vont, « à commencer par les plus vieux ». Jean-Marc Muller
Des neurones qui stimulent en même temps, sont des neurones qui se lient ensemble. Règle de Hebb (1949)
Le phénomène est déjà fabuleux en soi. Imaginez un peu : il suffit que vous me regardiez faire une série de gestes simples – remplir un verre d’eau, le porter à mes lèvres, boire -, pour que dans votre cerveau les mêmes zones s’allument, de la même façon que dans mon cerveau à moi, qui accomplis réellement l’action. C’est d’une importance fondamentale pour la psychologie. D’abord, cela rend compte du fait que vous m’avez identifié comme un être humain : si un bras de levier mécanique avait soulevé le verre, votre cerveau n’aurait pas bougé. Il a reflété ce que j’étais en train de faire uniquement parce que je suis humain. Ensuite, cela explique l’empathie. Comme vous comprenez ce que je fais, vous pouvez entrer en empathie avec moi. Vous vous dites : « S’il se sert de l’eau et qu’il boit, c’est qu’il a soif. » Vous comprenez mon intention, donc mon désir. Plus encore : que vous le vouliez ou pas, votre cerveau se met en état de vous faire faire la même chose, de vous donner la même envie. Si je baille, il est très probable que vos neurones miroir vont vous faire bailler – parce que ça n’entraîne aucune conséquence – et que vous allez rire avec moi si je ris, parce que l’empathie va vous y pousser. Cette disposition du cerveau à imiter ce qu’il voit faire explique ainsi l’apprentissage. Mais aussi… la rivalité. Car si ce qu’il voit faire consiste à s’approprier un objet, il souhaite immédiatement faire la même chose, et donc, il devient rival de celui qui s’est approprié l’objet avant lui ! C’est la vérification expérimentale de la théorie du « désir mimétique » de René Girard ! Voilà une théorie basée au départ sur l’analyse de grands textes romanesques, émise par un chercheur en littérature comparée, qui trouve une confirmation neuroscientifique parfaitement objective, du vivant même de celui qui l’a conçue. Un cas unique dans l’histoire des sciences ! (…) Notre désir est toujours mimétique, c’est-à-dire inspiré par, ou copié sur, le désir de l’autre. L’autre me désigne l’objet de mon désir, il devient donc à la fois mon modèle et mon rival. De cette rivalité naît la violence, évacuée collectivement dans le sacré, par le biais de la victime émissaire. À partir de ces hypothèses, Girard et moi avons travaillé pendant des décennies à élargir le champ du désir mimétique à ses applications en psychologie et en psychiatrie. En 1981, dans Un mime nommé désir, je montrais que cette théorie permet de comprendre des phénomènes étranges tels que la possession – négative ou positive -, l’envoûtement, l’hystérie, l’hypnose… L’hypnotiseur, par exemple, en prenant possession, par la suggestion, du désir de l’autre, fait disparaître le moi, qui s’évanouit littéralement. Et surgit un nouveau moi, un nouveau désir qui est celui de l’hypnotiseur. (…) et ce qui est formidable, c’est que ce nouveau « moi » apparaît avec tous ses attributs : une nouvelle conscience, une nouvelle mémoire, un nouveau langage et des nouvelles sensations. Si l’hypnotiseur dit : « Il fait chaud » bien qu’il fasse frais, le nouveau moi prend ces sensations suggérées au pied de la lettre : il sent vraiment la chaleur et se déshabille. De toutes ces applications du désir mimétique, j’en suis venu à la théorie plus globale d’une « psychologie mimétique » – qui trouve également une vérification dans la découverte des neurones miroirs et leur rôle dans l’apprentissage. Le désir de l’autre entraîne le déclenchement de mon désir. Mais il entraîne aussi, ainsi, la formation du moi. En fait, c’est le désir qui engendre le moi par son mouvement. Nous sommes des « moi du désir ». Sans le désir, né en miroir, nous n’existerions pas ! Seulement voilà : le temps psychologique fonctionnant à l’inverse de celui de l’horloge, le moi s’imagine être possesseur de son désir, et s’étonne de voir le désir de l’autre se porter sur le même objet que lui. Il y a là deux points nodaux, qui rendent la psychologie mimétique scientifique, en étant aussi constants et universels que la gravitation l’est en physique : la revendication du moi de la propriété de son désir et celle de son antériorité sur celui de l’autre. Et comme la gravitation, qui permet aussi bien de construire des maisons que de faire voler des avions, toutes les figures de psychologie – normale ou pathologique – ne sont que des façons pour le sujet de faire aboutir ces deux revendications. On comprend que la théorie du désir mimétique ait suscité de nombreux détracteurs : difficile d’accepter que notre désir ne soit pas original, mais copié sur celui d’un autre. (…) Boris Cyrulnik explique (…) que – souvent par défaut d’éducation et pour n’avoir pas été suffisamment regardé lui-même – l’être humain peut ne pas avoir d’empathie. Les neurones miroirs ne se développent pas, ou ils ne fonctionnent pas, et cela donne ce que Cyrulnik appelle un pervers. Je ne sais pas si c’est vrai, ça mérite une longue réflexion. (…) Ce rôle de la pression sociale est extraordinairement bien expliqué dans Les Bienveillantes, de Jonathan Littel. Il montre qu’en fait, ce sont des modèles qui rivalisent : révolté dans un premier temps par le traitement réservé aux prisonniers, le personnage principal, officier SS, finit par renoncer devant l’impossibilité de changer les choses. Ses neurones miroirs sont tellement imprégnés du modèle SS qu’il perd sa sensibilité aux influences de ses propres perceptions, et notamment à la pitié. Il y a lutte entre deux influences, et les neurones miroirs du régime SS l’emportent. La cruauté envers les prisonniers devient finalement une habitude justifiée. Plutôt qu’une absence ou carence des neurones miroirs, cela indique peut-être simplement la force du mimétisme de groupe. Impossible de rester assis quand la « ola » emporte la foule autour de vous lors d’un match de football – même si vous n’aimez pas le foot ! Parce que tous vos neurones miroirs sont mobilisés par la pression mimétique de l’entourage. De même, les campagnes publicitaires sont des luttes acharnées entre marques voisines pour prendre possession, par la suggestion, des neurones miroirs des auditeurs ou spectateurs. Et c’est encore la suggestion qui explique pourquoi les membres d’un groupe en viennent à s’exprimer de la même façon. Il semblerait normal que les neurones miroirs soient dotés, comme les autres, d’une certaine plasticité. Ils agissent en tout cas tout au long de la vie. Et la pression du groupe n’a pas besoin d’être totalitaire : dans nos sociétés, c’est de façon « spontanée » que tout le monde fait la même chose. Jean-Michel Oughourlian
En présence de la diversité, nous nous replions sur nous-mêmes. Nous agissons comme des tortues. L’effet de la diversité est pire que ce qui avait été imaginé. Et ce n’est pas seulement que nous ne faisons plus confiance à ceux qui ne sont pas comme nous. Dans les communautés diverses, nous ne faisons plus confiance à ceux qui nous ressemblent. Robert Putnam
J’étais à l’étage inférieur quand j’ai entendu des premiers gémissements, assez faibles. J’ai pensé à des enfants qui avaient fait une bêtise. Les gémissements ont recommencé encore une fois, puis une autre alors je suis montée voir à l’étage ce qu’il se passait. Avec une autre dame, Aurélie, nous nous sommes retrouvées seules. Tous les gens qui étaient là sont descendus à Auber. On a vu la maman vaciller. Nous l’avons allongée et j’ai juste eu le temps de prendre le bébé qui arrivait dans mes bras. (…) Ce qui est grave, c’est l’indifférence. Personne n’est allé voir pourquoi cette dame gémissait, ce qui se passait. Et puis, tous les gens sont descendus sans apporter de l’aide. Ça aurait pu mal finir ou être encore plus grave. Eliane (cadre commerciale)
Il suffit d’une toute petite étincelle et c’est tout le groupe qui s’élève contre l’agresseur. […] Le but ce n’est pas de faire de chacun d’entre nous un super-héros, mais juste de savoir que l’union fait la force. Aurélia Bloch (france info)
Bibb Latané et John Darley, deux chercheurs américains en psychologie sociale, ont mis en lumière l’existence de ce « bystander effect », ou « effet spectateur ». En laboratoire, un participant est installé dans un box, avec un système d’interphone. Un complice, présent dans la discussion, simule alors une crise d’épilepsie. Les chercheurs constatent que si le participant pense être le seul interlocuteur de la victime, il aura davantage tendance à intervenir. Par contre, s’il est dans une discussion de groupe et que les autres ne réagissent pas, c’est le contraire. « L’effet spectateur, c’est le fait que plus il y a de témoins, moins on est poussé à agir parce que la réaction individuelle est influencée par celle des autres », explique Olivia Mons, porte-parole de la fédération France Victimes, à franceinfo. Lorsqu’un groupe de personnes assiste à une scène de détresse, un phénomène de « dilution de la responsabilité » opère. Ainsi, « plus on est nombreux, moins on va réagir », affirme Martine Batt, professeure de psychologie à l’université de Lorraine. Est-ce que j’interprète bien ce qui est en train de se passer, ou bien peut-être que j’exagère ce que je vois ? Pourquoi réagirais-je, alors que les autres ne le font pas ? Est-ce que je suis légitime à intervenir ou est-ce que je vais être ridicule ? Toutes ces interrogations retardent le temps d’action, voire empêchent toute intervention des témoins. Lorsque quelqu’un est le seul spectateur des faits, « il peut y avoir une espèce de calcul qui va se faire », explique Peggy Chekroun, professeure de psychologie sociale à l’université de Paris Nanterre. Il opère alors, « assez automatiquement, rapidement et pas forcément de manière consciente », la balance « coût-bénéfice » de sa propre intervention. Ces facteurs peuvent être personnels (« Vais-je perdre du temps ? ») ou collectifs (« Que va-t-on penser de moi si je n’interviens pas ? »). « La réponse va sortir en fonction de ce calcul », conclut l’enseignante. Sans compter la peur que peut inspirer une situation surprenante et inhabituelle. « C’est une émotion très puissante qui peut être vraiment inhibitrice d’une aide », rappelle Olivia Mons. (…) Culpabilité, honte… Les témoins passifs vivent avec le poids de leur apathie. « On a parfois des personnes qui viennent nous voir en se sentant quasiment autant victimes que la victime directe », explique Olivia Mons. « Bien sûr que la société condamne la non-réaction, on dit toujours ‘Moi j’aurais fait mieux’, parce qu’on a le syndrome du sauveur… Mais il faut nuancer ! », surenchérit-elle. A cause de ces mécanismes de psychologie sociale et de la peur paralysante d’une telle situation, elle appelle à « relativiser le côté ‘je suis témoin et je me sauve parce que je suis lâche' ». Mais pour les victimes, cette apathie de la part des témoins est désastreuse. Elle peut être ressentie comme une double peine : « La peine d’avoir été agressé et la peine surtout de ne pas avoir de valeur aux yeux des autres et d’être rien », analyse Aurélia Bloch, lors de son passage dans l’émission « C à vous », en décembre 2015. L’article 223-6 du Code pénal prévoit une peine de cinq ans de prison et une amende de 75 000 euros pour non-assistance à personne en danger. Mais peu de témoins passifs sont poursuivis en justice : « C’est quelque chose sur lequel on n’a pas beaucoup de jurisprudence », explique Jean-Philippe Vauthier, professeur de droit à l’université de Guyane. Le procureur de Lille avait, dans un premier temps, envisagé des poursuites dans l’affaire de Cécile P., avant d’abandonner, faute d’informations suffisantes sur les témoins. La non-assistance à personne en danger existe « pour combattre l’égoïsme sans imposer l’héroïsme », rappelle Jean-Philippe Vauthier. « Il faut que l’intervention soit sans péril pour moi ou pour les autres, décrypte le spécialiste. Tout va dépendre du mode d’action choisi. On ne va pas forcer quelqu’un à intervenir directement, mais si la personne n’appelle pas les secours, ça pourra lui être reproché. » Comment lutter contre notre inclinaison à rester inactifs ? Qu’il s’agisse d’un accident de la route, un malaise dans la rue ou du harcèlement dans les transports, des attitudes peuvent permettre de contrer l’apathie des témoins. « Il y a différents degrés d’action. Tirer une sonnette d’alarme à quai, avoir une intervention active en cas de harcèlement… ça peut être aussi un simple sourire, se lever ou se rapprocher… ça peut aider, le fait de montrer par un moyen ou un autre une sorte d’empathie avec la victime », argue Olivia Mons La connaissance de « l’effet spectateur » pourrait en limiter les conséquences. « On peut éduquer très tôt contre ses effets, expliquer comment appeler à l’aide et faire des enseignements sur les effets de groupe », prône Martine Batt. Aurélia Bloch en est persuadée, « si c’était à refaire, [elle] ne referai[t] pas du tout de la même façon » : « À l’époque, je ne savais pas du tout quoi faire. […] En fait, je pense que j’étais comme la plupart des personnes qui sont témoins. Je n’étais pas formée. » France info

C’est monkey see, monkey do, imbécile !

A l’heure où l’on reparle …

Avec cet accouchement spontané dans le RER parisien il y a deux semaines où quasiment personne n’est intervenu …

Du fameux effet spectateur

Comment ne pas repenser à ce fascinant documentaire de 2015 d’une journaliste de Franceinfo …

Mais aussi aux lumineuses analyses du regretté René Girard

Montrant l’importance, pour toutes nos actions et confirmé par la découverte des « neurones miroirs », de l’effet mimétique …

Et ce aussi bien pour le mal (les effets de lynchage) …

Que, mondialisation oblige, pour le bien (les effets de sauvetage) …

Ou même ses parodies (les emballements que l’on sait du politiquement correct) …

Et donc de l’importance, à l’instar du fameux épisode évangélique de la femme adultère, de la première pierre …

Ou plus précisément du refus de la première pierre qui peut entrainer tous les autres ?

Mais comment aussi ne pas repenser …

En ces temps d’invasion migratoire (pardon: « mixité sociale » !) imposée

Où entre déséquilibrés ou crieurs d’Allah akbaru la moindre rencontre peut se révéler fatale …

Aux célèbres analyses de Robert Putnam …

Et en particulier au facteur aggravant de la diversité

Qui loin des discours émerveillés et édifiants de nos élites protégées des conséquences de leurs propres décisions …

Peut nous pousser à ne plus faire confiance non seulement à ceux qui ne sont pas comme nous …

Mais aussi à ceux qui nous ressemblent ?

Ils assistent à une agression ou à un accident mais ne font rien : on vous explique le « bystander effect »
Une femme accouche dans une rame de RER et seulement deux personnes parmi les nombreuses présentes lui viennent en aide. Une autre se fait sexuellement agresser sur un quai de métro et aucun des dix témoins ne réagit… Etonnant ?
Lison Verriez
Franceinfo
03/07/2018

Il est environ 11 heures, ce lundi 18 juin. Les passagers du RER A arrivent en gare d’Auber, lorsque des gémissements commencent à se faire entendre à l’étage supérieur de la rame. Lamata Karamoko vient de perdre les eaux et s’apprête à accoucher dans le wagon. « Personne n’est allé voir pourquoi cette dame gémissait, ce qu’il se passait, témoigne Eliane, qui a assisté à la scène, dans Le ParisienEt puis tous les gens sont descendus sans apporter de l’aide. » Avec une autre passagère, elle tente d’épauler la jeune maman.

Et vous, qu’auriez-vous fait ? Accidents, malaises, agressions… Ces dernières années, la presse s’est fait l’écho à de nombreuses reprises de la passivité des témoins de certains faits-divers. Ce phénomène a un nom : le « bystander effect ».

« Plus on est nombreux, moins on va réagir »

Le concept émerge après le meurtre de Kitty Genovese en 1964. Cette New-Yorkaise de 28 ans est agressée, violée et poignardée en pleine rue dans un quartier tranquille du Queens, vers 3 heures du matin, alors qu’elle rentrait du travail. Le lendemain, la presse (en anglais) dénonce le silence des 38 témoins qui auraient assisté, depuis leur domicile, à la lente agonie de la jeune femme. Si le nombre de témoins a par la suite été contesté, des scientifiques se sont emparés de ce cas pour interroger la réaction – ou l’absence de réaction – des témoins.

Bibb Latané et John Darley, deux chercheurs américains en psychologie sociale, ont mis en lumière l’existence de ce « bystander effect », ou « effet spectateur ». En laboratoire, un participant est installé dans un box, avec un système d’interphone. Un complice, présent dans la discussion, simule alors une crise d’épilepsie. Les chercheurs constatent que si le participant pense être le seul interlocuteur de la victime, il aura davantage tendance à intervenir. Par contre, s’il est dans une discussion de groupe et que les autres ne réagissent pas, c’est le contraire.

« L’effet spectateur, c’est le fait que plus il y a de témoins, moins on est poussé à agir parce que la réaction individuelle est influencée par celle des autres », explique Olivia Mons, porte-parole de la fédération France Victimes, à franceinfo. Lorsqu’un groupe de personnes assiste à une scène de détresse, un phénomène de « dilution de la responsabilité » opère. Ainsi, « plus on est nombreux, moins on va réagir », affirme Martine Batt, professeure de psychologie à l’université de Lorraine. Est-ce que j’interprète bien ce qui est en train de se passer, ou bien peut-être que j’exagère ce que je vois ? Pourquoi réagirais-je, alors que les autres ne le font pas ? Est-ce que je suis légitime à intervenir ou est-ce que je vais être ridicule ? Toutes ces interrogations retardent le temps d’action, voire empêchent toute intervention des témoins.

Lorsque quelqu’un est le seul spectateur des faits, « il peut y avoir une espèce de calcul qui va se faire », explique Peggy Chekroun, professeure de psychologie sociale à l’université de Paris Nanterre. Il opère alors, « assez automatiquement, rapidement et pas forcément de manière consciente », la balance « coût-bénéfice » de sa propre intervention. Ces facteurs peuvent être personnels (« Vais-je perdre du temps ? ») ou collectifs (« Que va-t-on penser de moi si je n’interviens pas ? »). « La réponse va sortir en fonction de ce calcul », conclut l’enseignante. 

Sans compter la peur que peut inspirer une situation surprenante et inhabituelle. « C’est une émotion très puissante qui peut être vraiment inhibitrice d’une aide », rappelle Olivia Mons.

« J’ai été témoin d’un viol et je n’ai pas bougé »

« Je suis coupable de non-assistance à personne en danger », reconnaît Aurélia Bloch, dans son documentaire du même nom, diffusé le 8 décembre 2015 sur France 5. Un dimanche d’avril 2004, elle s’installe dans son train apparemment vide, en direction de Paris. Les voix d’une femme et de plusieurs hommes s’élèvent dans la rame. Elle ne les voit pas, mais entend des bruits de coups, la femme dire non et les hommes, ricaner. L’alarme du train est loin. « Elle ne demande pas d’aide », « elle est sûrement consentante », « j’ai peur de passer pour une folle »« Je me posais plein de questions », raconte la journaliste à franceinfo. Elle se terre dans son fauteuil, le reste du trajet, « trente minutes figées, comme anesthésiée », commente-t-elle dans son film.

On est dans la culpabilité sans en parler. […] C’était quelque chose de très enfoui, ça ne faisait pas l’objet d’une culpabilité quotidienne.Aurélia Bloch, journalisteà franceinfo

Jusqu’à l’affaire de Cécile P., en 2014. Sur un quai de métro lillois, cette jeune femme est sexuellement agressée par un homme aux alentours de 22h30. Autour d’elle, une dizaine de témoins, mais aucune réaction. L’affaire, très médiatisée, réveille les souvenirs d’Aurélia Bloch.

C’est une sorte d’exutoire. […] C’était une façon, en comprenant pourquoi les témoins étaient passifs, de comprendre pourquoi je l’avais été.Aurélia Bloch, journalisteà franceinfo

Culpabilité, honte… Les témoins passifs vivent avec le poids de leur apathie. « On a parfois des personnes qui viennent nous voir en se sentant quasiment autant victimes que la victime directe », explique Olivia Mons. « Bien sûr que la société condamne la non-réaction, on dit toujours ‘Moi j’aurais fait mieux’, parce qu’on a le syndrome du sauveur… Mais il faut nuancer ! », surenchérit-elle. A cause de ces mécanismes de psychologie sociale et de la peur paralysante d’une telle situation, elle appelle à « relativiser le côté ‘je suis témoin et je me sauve parce que je suis lâche' ».

Mais pour les victimes, cette apathie de la part des témoins est désastreuse. Elle peut être ressentie comme une double peine : « La peine d’avoir été agressé et la peine surtout de ne pas avoir de valeur aux yeux des autres et d’être rien », analyse Aurélia Bloch, lors de son passage dans l’émission « C à vous », en décembre 2015.

L’article 223-6 du Code pénal prévoit une peine de cinq ans de prison et une amende de 75 000 euros pour non-assistance à personne en danger. Mais peu de témoins passifs sont poursuivis en justice : « C’est quelque chose sur lequel on n’a pas beaucoup de jurisprudence », explique Jean-Philippe Vauthier, professeur de droit à l’université de Guyane. Le procureur de Lille avait, dans un premier temps, envisagé des poursuites dans l’affaire de Cécile P., avant d’abandonner, faute d’informations suffisantes sur les témoins.

La non-assistance à personne en danger existe « pour combattre l’égoïsme sans imposer l’héroïsme », rappelle Jean-Philippe Vauthier. « Il faut que l’intervention soit sans péril pour moi ou pour les autres, décrypte le spécialiste. Tout va dépendre du mode d’action choisi. On ne va pas forcer quelqu’un à intervenir directement, mais si la personne n’appelle pas les secours, ça pourra lui être repproché. »

« Il y a différents degrés d’action »

Comment lutter contre notre inclinaison à rester inactifs ? Qu’il s’agisse d’un accident de la route, un malaise dans la rue ou du harcèlement dans les transports, des attitudes peuvent permettre de contrer l’apathie des témoins. « Il y a différents degrés d’action. Tirer une sonnette d’alarme à quai, avoir une intervention active en cas de harcèlement… ça peut être aussi un simple sourire, se lever ou se rapprocher… ça peut aider, le fait de montrer par un moyen ou un autre une sorte d’empathie avec la victime », argue Olivia Mons.

Il suffit d’une toute petite étincelle et c’est tout le groupe qui s’élève contre l’agresseur. […] Le but ce n’est pas de faire de chacun d’entre nous un super-héros, mais juste de savoir que l’union fait la force.Aurélia Bloch, journalisteà franceinfo

La connaissance de « l’effet spectateur » pourrait en limiter les conséquences. « On peut éduquer très tôt contre ses effets, expliquer comment appeler à l’aide et faire des enseignements sur les effets de groupe », prône Martine Batt. Aurélia Bloch en est persuadée, « si c’était à refaire, [elle] ne referai[t] pas du tout de la même façon » : « À l’époque, je ne savais pas du tout quoi faire. […] En fait, je pense que j’étais comme la plupart des personnes qui sont témoins. Je n’étais pas formée. »

Voir aussi:

Bébé né dans le RER : «J’ai eu très peur mais j’étais contente de l’entendre pleurer»
Elia Dahan et Nicolas Maviel

Le Parisien

19 juin 2018

Nous avons rencontré la femme qui a mis au monde, ce lundi, un bébé dans le RER A avec l’aide de deux femmes présentes. Maman et bébé vont bien.
Allongée sur son lit d’hôpital Lamata, 28 ans, se remet doucement de son accouchement, ce mardi soir. A ses côtés, Mohamed, en layette bleu, dort à poings fermés. Le bébé, prénommé Mohamed, du RER est serein, il mesure 51 cm et pèse 3,4 kilos. L’enfant et sa mère sont arrivés à l’hôpital de Clamart (Hauts-de-Seine) lundi 18 juin vers 18 heures. Quelques heures plus tôt, Lamata donnait naissance à son troisième enfant à la station Auber du RER. « J’étais avec mes deux enfants et je me rendais à l’hôpital, raconte la mère de famille. J’avais rendez-vous ce jeudi, mais je sentais des contractions donc j’ai voulu y aller plus tôt. » Mais dans le RER, les contractions s’accentuent. Lamata, avec ses deux aînés, âgés de 7 et 2 ans se trouve alors à l’étage du wagon. « Il n’y avait personne à ce moment-là, se souvient la jeune maman. Puis mes enfants se sont mis à pleurer, et des gens sont venus. Je ne pensais pas du tout que j’étais en train d’accoucher. » Il est 11h10 et Mohamed pousse son premier cri dans le train. « J’ai eu très peur, mais j’étais contente de l’entendre pleurer », confie la jeune femme. Encore alitée, elle peut compter sur le soutient de sa famille, et de sa cousine, Makoulanga, qui s’est rendu à son chevet ce mardi soir après le travail. « Je m’occupe de ses enfants qui vivent chez moi à Antony pour l’instant », confie cette-dernière en caressant la tête du nouveau-né. Latima a encore à réaliser le caractère exceptionnel de son accouchement. Pour l’instant elle récupère et prend doucement son petit dernier dans ses bras quand il se met à crier pour lui donner le biberon.

Eliane, cadre commerciale, est encore toute bouleversée et émue par son lundi dans le RER A mais aussi… révoltée. Cette maman de quatre grands enfants, entre 20 et 25 ans, a aidé Lamata à accoucher avec une autre passagère, Aurélie.

« J’étais à l’étage inférieur quand j’ai entendu des premiers gémissements, assez faibles. J’ai pensé à des enfants qui avaient fait une bêtise. Les gémissements ont recommencé encore une fois, puis une autre alors je suis montée voir à l’étage ce qu’il se passait », explique cette habitante du Val-de-Marne qui revenait d’un cours d’anglais sur les Champs-Elysées (VIIIe). Et d’enchaîner : « Avec une autre dame, Aurélie, nous nous sommes retrouvées seules. Tous les gens qui étaient là sont descendus à Auber. On a vu la maman vaciller. Nous l’avons allongée et j’ai juste eu le temps de prendre le bébé qui arrivait dans mes bras. »

« Les minutes m’ont paru interminables »
Les deux femmes demandent alors à un monsieur qui passait par là, de tirer la sonnette d’alarme et d’appeler les secours. La maman et ses deux « sages-femmes » se retrouvent à nouveau seules dans leur wagon. « Les minutes m’ont paru interminables avant que les secours n’arrivent. Moi, je ne pensais qu’à mettre le bébé de côté pour qu’il puisse respirer et à couper le cordon ombilical. Aurélie faisait en sorte que la maman reste consciente et que le bébé n’ait pas froid », détaille Eliane.

Si, depuis lundi soir, les enfants d’Eliane sont encore plus fiers de leur maman, cette dernière est très remontée, comme sa comparse. « Ce qui est grave, c’est l’indifférence. Personne n’est allé voir pourquoi cette dame gémissait, ce qu’il se passait. Et puis, tous les gens sont descendus sans apporter de l’aide. Ça aurait pu mal finir ou être encore plus grave », conclut Eliane qui sourit toujours lorsqu’elle repense à ce petit garçon qu’elle a accueilli.


Cinéma: Pallywood tous les jours sur un écran chez vous (It’s just standard evacuation practice, stupid ! – complete with shouts of pain and Allahu akbar)

7 avril, 2018

 

Abattre un Européen, c’est faire d’une pierre deux coups, supprimer en même temps un oppresseur et un opprimé ; restent un homme mort et un homme libre. Sartre (préface des « Damnés de la terre » de Franz Fanon, 1961)
L’action de Septembre Noir a fait éclater la mascarade olympique, a bouleversé les arrangements à l’amiable que les réactionnaires arabes s’apprêtaient à conclure avec Israël […] Aucun révolutionnaire ne peut se désolidariser de Septembre Noir. Nous devons défendre inconditionnellement face à la répression les militants de cette organisation […] A Munich, la fin si tragique, selon les philistins de tous poils qui ne disent mot de l’assassinat des militants palestiniens, a été voulue et provoquée par les puissances impérialistes et particulièrement Israël. Il fut froidement décidé d’aller au carnage. Edwy Plenel (alias Joseph Krasny)
Je n’ai jamais fait mystère de mes contributions à Rouge, de 1970 à 1978, sous le pseudonyme de Joseph Krasny. Ce texte, écrit il y a plus de 45 ans, dans un contexte tout autre et alors que j’avais 20 ans, exprime une position que je récuse fermement aujourd’hui. Elle n’avait rien d’exceptionnel dans l’extrême gauche de l’époque, comme en témoigne un article de Jean-Paul Sartre, le fondateur de Libération, sur Munich dans La Cause du peuple–J’accuse du 15 octobre 1972. Tout comme ce philosophe, j’ai toujours dénoncé et combattu l’antisémitisme d’où qu’il vienne et sans hésitation. Mais je refuse l’intimidation qui consiste à taxer d’antisémite toute critique de la politique de l’Etat d’Israël. Edwy Plenel
Pendant 24 mn à peu près on ne voit que de la mise en scène … C’est un envers du décor qu’on ne montre jamais … Mais oui tu sais bien que c’est toujours comme ça ! Entretien Jeambar-Leconte (RCJ)
Au début (…) l’AP accueillait les reporters à bras ouverts. Ils voulaient que nous montrions des enfants de 12 ans se faisant tuer. Mais après le lynchage, quand des agents de l’AP firent leur possible pour détruire et confisquer l’enregistrement de ce macabre événement et que les Forces de Défense Israéliennes utilisèrent les images pour repérer et arrêter les auteurs du crime, les Palestiniens donnèrent libre cours à leur hostilité envers les Etats-Unis en harcelant et en intimidant les correspondants occidentaux. Après Ramallah, où toute bonne volonté prit fin, je suis beaucoup plus prudent dans mes déplacements. Chris Roberts (Sky TV)
La tâche sacrée des journalistes musulmans est, d’une part, de protéger la Umma des “dangers imminents”, et donc, à cette fin, de “censurer tous les matériaux” et, d’autre part, “de combattre le sionisme et sa politique colonialiste de création d’implantations, ainsi que son anéantissement impitoyable du peuple palestinien”. Charte des médias islamiques de grande diffusion (Jakarta, 1980)
Il s’agit de formes d’expression artistique, mais tout cela sert à exprimer la vérité… Nous n’oublions jamais nos principes journalistiques les plus élevés auxquels nous nous sommes engagés, de dire la vérité et rien que la vérité. Haut responsable de la Télévision de l’Autorité palestinienne
Je suis venu au journalisme afin de poursuivre la lutte en faveur de mon peuple. Talal Abu Rahma (lors de la réception d’un prix, au Maroc, en 2001, pour sa vidéo sur al-Dura)
Karsenty est donc si choqué que des images truquées soient utilisées et éditées à Gaza ? Mais cela a lieu partout à la télévision, et aucun journaliste de télévision de terrain, aucun monteur de film, ne seraient choqués. Clément Weill-Raynal (France 3)
Nous avons toujours respecté (et continuerons à respecter) les procédures journalistiques de l’Autorité palestinienne en matière d’exercice de la profession de journaliste en Palestine… Roberto Cristiano (représentant de la “chaîne de télévision officielle RAI, Lettre à l’Autorité palestinienne)
La mort de Mohammed annule, efface celle de l’enfant juif, les mains en l’air devant les SS, dans le Ghetto de Varsovie. Catherine Nay (Europe 1)
Dans la guerre moderne, une image vaut mille armes. Bob Simon
Oh, ils font toujours ça. C’est une question de culture. Représentants de France 2 (cités par Enderlin)
L’image correspondait à la réalité de la situation, non seulement à Gaza, mais en Cisjordanie. Charles Enderlin (Le Figaro, 27/01/05)
J’ai travaillé au Liban depuis que tout a commencé, et voir le comportement de beaucoup de photographes libanais travaillant pour les agences de presse m’a un peu troublé. Coupable ou pas, Adnan Hajj a été remarqué pour ses retouches d’images par ordinateur. Mais, pour ma part, j’ai été le témoin de pratique quotidienne de clichés posés, et même d’un cas où un groupe de photographes d’agences orchestraient le dégagement des cadavres, donnant des directives aux secouristes, leur demandant de disposer les corps dans certaines positions, et même de ressortir des corps déjà inhumés pour les photographier dans les bras de personnes alentour. Ces photographes ont fait moisson d’images chocs, sans manipulation informatique, mais au prix de manipulations humaines qui posent en elles-mêmes un problème éthique bien plus grave. Quelle que soit la cause de ces excès, inexpérience, désir de montrer de la façon la plus spectaculaire le drame vécu par votre pays, ou concurrence effrénée, je pense que la faute incombe aux agences de presse elles-mêmes, car ce sont elles qui emploient ces photographes. Il faut mettre en place des règles, faute de quoi toute la profession finira par en pâtir. Je ne dis pas cela contre les photographes locaux, mais après avoir vu ça se répéter sans arrêt depuis un mois, je pense qu’il faut s’attaquer au problème. Quand je m’écarte d’une scène de ce genre, un autre preneur de vue dresse le décor, et tous les autres suivent… Brian X (Journaliste occidental anonyme)
Pour qui nous prenez-vous ? Nous savons qui vous êtes, nous lisons tout ce que vous écrivez et nous savons où vous habitez. Hussein (attaché de presse du Hezbollah au journaliste Michael Totten)
L’attaque a été menée en riposte aux tirs incessants de ces derniers jours sur des localités israéliennes à partir de la zone visée. Les habitants de tous les villages alentour, y compris Cana, ont été avertis de se tenir à l’écart des sites de lancement de roquettes contre Israël. Tsahal est intervenue cette nuit contre des objectifs terroristes dans le village de Cana. Ce village est utilisé depuis le début de ce conflit comme base arrière d’où ont été lancées en direction d’Israël environ 150 roquettes, en 30 salves, dont certaines ont atteint Haïfa et des sites dans le nord, a déclaré aujourd’hui le général de division Gadi Eizenkot, chef des opérations. Tsahal regrette tous les dommages subis par les civils innocents, même s’ils résultent directement de l’utilisation criminelle des civils libanais comme boucliers humains par l’organisation terroriste Hezbollah. (…) Le Hezbollah place les civils libanais comme bouclier entre eux et nous, alors que Tsahal se place comme bouclier entre les habitants d’Israël et les terroristes du Hezbollah. C’est la principale différence entre eux et nous. Rapport de l’Armée israélienne
Après trois semaines de travail intense, avec l’assistance active et la coopération de la communauté Internet, souvent appelée “blogosphère”, nous pensons avoir maintenant assez de preuves pour assurer avec certitude que beaucoup des faits rapportés en images par les médias sont en fait des mises en scène. Nous pensons même pouvoir aller plus loin. À notre avis, l’essentiel de l’activité des secours à Khuraybah [le vrai nom de l’endroit, alors que les médias, en accord avec le Hezbollah, ont utilisé le nom de Cana, pour sa connotation biblique et l’écho du drame de 1996] le 30 juillet a été détourné en exercice de propagande. Le site est devenu en fait un vaste plateau de tournage, où les gestes macabres ont été répétés avec la complaisance des médias, qui ont participé activement et largement utilisé le matériau récolté. La tactique des médias est prévisible et tristement habituelle. Au lieu de discuter le fond de nos arguments, ils se focalisent sur des détails, y relevant des inexactitudes et des fausses pistes, et affirment que ces erreurs vident notre dossier de toute valeur. D’autres nous étiquètent comme de droite, pro-israéliens ou parlent simplement de théories du complot, comme si cela pouvait suffire à éliminer les éléments concrets que nous avons rassemblés. Richard North (EU Referendum)
Lorsque les médias se prêtent au jeu des manipulations plutôt que de les dénoncer, non seulement ils sacrifient les Libanais innocents qui ne veulent pas que cette mafia religieuse prenne le pouvoir et les utilise comme boucliers, mais ils nuisent aussi à la société civile de par le monde. D’un côté ils nous dissimulent les actes et les motivations d’organisations comme le Hamas ou le Hezbollah, ce qui permet aux musulmans ennemis de la démocratie, en Occident, de nous (leurs alliés progressistes présumés) inviter à manifester avec eux sous des banderoles à la gloire du Hezbollah. De l’autre, ils encouragent les haines et les sentiments revanchards qui nourrissent l’appel au Jihad mondial. La température est montée de cinq degrés sur l’échelle du Jihad mondial quand les musulmans du monde entier ont vu avec horreur et indignation le spectacle de ces enfants morts que des médias avides et mal inspirés ont transmis et exploité. Richard Landes
Nous avons commis une terrible erreur, un texte malencontreux sur l’une de nos photos du jour du 18 avril dernier (à gauche), mal traduit de la légende, tout ce qu’il y a de plus circonstanciée, elle, que nous avait fournie l’AFP*: sur la « reconstitution », dans un camp de réfugiés au Liban, de l’arrestation par de faux militaires israéliens d’un Palestinien, nous avons omis d’indiquer qu’il s’agissait d’une mise en scène, que ces « soldats » jouaient un rôle et que tout ça relevait de la pure et simple propagande. C’est une faute – qu’atténuent à peine la précipitation et la mauvaise relecture qui l’ont provoquée. C’en serait une dans tous les cas, ça l’est plus encore dans celui-là: laisser planer la moindre ambiguïté sur un sujet aussi sensible, quand on sait que les images peuvent être utilisées comme des armes de guerre, donner du crédit à un stratagème aussi grossier, qui peut contribuer à alimenter l’exaspération antisioniste là où elle s’enflamme sans besoin de combustible, n’appelle aucun excuse. Nous avons déconné, gravement. J’ai déconné, gravement: je suis responsable du site de L’Express, et donc du dérapage. A ce titre, je fais amende honorable, la queue basse, auprès des internautes qui ont été abusés, de tous ceux que cette supercherie a pu blesser et de l’AFP, qui n’est EN AUCUN CAS comptable de nos propres bêtises. Eric Mettout (L’Express)
Comment expliquer qu’une légende en anglais qui dit clairement qu’il s’agit d’une mise en scène (la légende, en anglais, de la photo fournie par l’AFP: « LEBANON, AIN EL-HELWEH: Palestinian refugees pose as Israeli soldiers arresting and beating a Palestinian activist during celebrations of Prisoners’ Day at the refugee camp of Ain el-Helweh near the coastal Lebanese city of Sidon on April 17, 2012 in solidarity with the 4,700 Palestinian inmates of Israeli jails. Some 1,200 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails have begun a hunger strike and another 2,300 are refusing food for one day, a spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Service (IPS) said. »), soit devenue chez vous « Prisonnier palestinien 18/04/2012. Mardi, lors de la Journée des prisonniers, des centaines de détenus palestiniens ont entamé une grève de la faim pour protester contre leurs conditions de détention », étonnant non ? David Goldstein
Que ce soient des attaques au couteau, des opérations de martyrs (c’est à dire des attentats-suicides à la bombe), des jets de pierres, tout le monde doit agir pour que nous puissions ainsi nous unir et permettre de faire passer notre message comme il convient, et atteindre l’objectif qui est la libération de la Palestine, si Allah le veut. Ahed Tamimi
Nous le soutenons tous et sommes fiers de lui. Ahed Tamimi (parlant du chef du Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, qui partage avec elle l’objectif de détruire Israël)
Le monde doit reconnaître la cause palestinienne. L’occupation n’est pas seulement le vol de terres. Nous nous opposons au racisme, au sionisme, à tout le système d’occupation et pas seulement aux colonies. Ahed Tamimi
Israël est une grande colonie. Bassem Tamimi
On Friday, the Palestinian terror group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is inaugurating what it is calling “The March of Return.” According to Hamas’s leadership, the “March of Return” is scheduled to run from March 30 – the eve of Passover — through May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment. According to Israeli media reports, Hamas has budgeted $10 million for the operation. Throughout the “March of Return,” Hamas intends to send thousands of civilians to the Israeli border. Hamas is planning to set up tent camps along the border fence and then, presumably, order participants to overrun it on May 15. The Palestinians refer to May 15 as “Nakba,” or Catastrophe Day. (…) what is it trying to accomplish by sending them into harm’s way? Why is the terror group telling Gaza residents to place themselves in front of the border fence and challenge Israeli security forces charged with defending Israel? The answer here is also obvious. Hamas intends to provoke Israel to shoot at the Palestinian civilians it is sending to the border. It is setting its people up to die because it expects their deaths to be captured live by the cameras of the Western media, which will be on hand to watch the spectacle. In other words, Hamas’s strategy of harming Israel by forcing its soldiers to kill Palestinians is predicated on its certainty that the Western media will act as its partner and ensure the success of its lethal propaganda stunt. Given widespread assessments that Iran is keen to start a new round of war between Israel and its terror proxies, Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, it is possible that Hamas intends for this lethal propaganda stunt to be the initial stage of a larger war. By this assessment, Hamas is using the border operation to cultivate and escalate Western hostility against Israel ahead of a larger shooting war. (…) The real issue revealed by Hamas’s planned operation — as it was revealed by the Mavi Marmara, as well as by Hamas’s military campaigns against Israel in 2014, 2011 and 2008-09 —  is not how Israel will deal with it. The real issue is that Hamas’s entire strategy is predicated on its faith that the Western media and indeed the Western left will side with it against Israel. Hamas is certain that both the media and leftist activists and politicians in Europe and the U.S. will blame Israel for Palestinian civilian casualties. And as past experience proves, Hamas is right to believe the media and leftist activists will play their assigned role. So long as the media and the left rush to indict Israel for its efforts to defend itself and its citizens against its terrorist foes, who turn the laws of war on their head as a matter of course, these attacks will continue and they will escalate. If this border assault does in fact serve as the opening act in a larger terror war against Israel, then a large portion of the blame for the bloodshed will rest on the shoulders of the Western media for empowering the terrorists of Hamas and Hezbollah to attack Israel. Caroline Glick
Je pense que les Palestiniens et les Israéliens ont droit à leur propre terre. Mais nous devons obtenir un accord de paix pour garantir la stabilité de chacun et entretenir des relations normales. Prince héritier Mohammed ben Salmane
A set of photos, below, has been spreading all over social media in the past week. Sometimes, the photos are reposted individually. However, they all send the same message: Israel is supposedly deceiving the world into thinking their soldiers are getting wounded in Gaza by using special effects makeup. Closer analysis of these photos, however, shows that none of them are recent, most were not even taken in Israel, and all of them are taken out of context. France 24
The video turned out to be from an art workshop which creates this health exercise annually in Gaza. The goal of the workshop is to recreate child injuries sustained in warzones so that doctors can get familiar with them and learn how to care for injured children, the owner of the workshop, Abd al-Baset al-Loulou said. Al Arabya
Dix-huit morts et au moins 1 400 blessés. La « grande marche du retour », appelée vendredi par la société civile palestinienne et encadrée par le Hamas, le long de la barrière frontalière séparant la bande de Gaza et Israël, a dégénéré lorsque l’armée israélienne a tiré à balles réelles sur des manifestants qui s’approchaient du point de passage. (…) Famille, enfants, musique, fête, puis débordements habituels de jeunes lançant des cailloux à l’armée. Lorsque les émeutiers sont arrivés à quelques centaines de mètres de la fameuse grille, les snipers israéliens sont entrés en action. L’un des garçons, « armé » d’un pneu, a été abattu d’une balle dans la nuque alors qu’il s’enfuyait. (…) Ce mouvement, qui exige le « droit au retour » et la fin du blocus de Gaza, doit encore durer six semaines. C’est long. Le gouvernement israélien compte peut-être sur l’usure des protestataires, la fatigue, le renoncement, persuadé que quelques balles en plus pourraient faire la différence. A-t-il la mémoire courte ? Selon la Torah, Moïse avait 80 ans lorsqu’a commencé la traversée du désert. Ces quarante années d’errance douloureuse sont au coeur de tous les Juifs. Espérer qu’après soixante-dix ans d’exil les Palestiniens oublient leur histoire à coups de fusil est aussi absurde que ne pas faire la différence entre une balle de 5,56 et une pierre calcaire … Le Canard enchainé (Balles perdues, 04.04.2018)
Pro-Israel organization StandWithUs has resorted to claiming Palestinians are faking injuries to garner international sympathy and supported their claims by posting videos showing « Palestinians practicing for the cameras. » The Palestinians in the video were actually practicing how to evacuate the wounded during the protest… Telesur
On the living-room wall was a “Free Bassem Tamimi” poster, left over from his last imprisonment for helping to organize the village’s weekly protests against the Israeli occupation, which he has done since 2009. He was gone for 13 months that time, then home for 5 before he was arrested again in October. (…) It took the people of Nabi Saleh more than a year to get themselves organized. In December 2009 they held their first march, protesting not just the loss of the spring but also the entire complex system of control — of permits, checkpoints, walls, prisons — through which Israel maintains its hold on the region. Nabi Saleh quickly became the most spirited of the dozen or so West Bank villages that hold weekly demonstrations against the Israeli occupation. Since the demonstrations began, more than 100 people in the village have been jailed. Nariman told me that by her count, as of February, clashes with the army have caused 432 injuries, more than half to minors. The momentum has been hard to maintain — the weeks go by, and nothing changes for the better — but still, despite the arrests, the injuries and the deaths, every Friday after the midday prayer, the villagers, joined at times by equal numbers of journalists and Israeli and foreign activists, try to march from the center of town to the spring, a distance of perhaps half a mile. And every Friday, Israeli soldiers stop them with some combination of tear gas, rubber-coated bullets, water-cannon blasts of a noxious liquid known as “skunk” and occasionally live fire. (…) In March 2011, Israeli soldiers raided the house to arrest him. Among lesser charges, he had been accused in a military court of “incitement,” organizing “unauthorized processions” and soliciting the village youth to throw stones. (In 2010, 99.74 percent of the Palestinians tried in military courts were convicted.) The terms of Bassem’s release forbade him to take part in demonstrations, which are all effectively illegal under Israeli military law, so on the first Friday after I arrived, just after the midday call to prayer, he walked with me only as far as the square, where about 50 villagers had gathered in the shade of an old mulberry tree. They were joined by a handful of Palestinian activists from Ramallah and East Jerusalem, mainly young women; perhaps a dozen college-age European and American activists; a half-dozen Israelis, also mainly women — young anarchists in black boots and jeans, variously pierced. Together they headed down the road, clapping and chanting in Arabic and English. Bassem’s son Abu Yazan, licking a Popsicle, marched at the back of the crowd. Then there were the journalists, scurrying up hillsides in search of better vantage points. In the early days of the protests, the village teemed with reporters from across the globe, there to document the tiny village’s struggle against the occupation. “Sometimes they come and sometimes they don’t,” Mohammad Tamimi, who is 24 and coordinates the village’s social-media campaign, would tell me later. Events in the Middle East — the revolution in Egypt and civil war in Syria — and the unchanging routine of the weekly marches have made it that much harder to hold the world’s attention. That Friday there was just one Palestinian television crew and a few Israeli and European photographers, the regulars among them in steel helmets. In the protests’ first year, to make sure that the demonstrations — and the fate of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation — didn’t remain hidden behind the walls and fences that surround the West Bank, Mohammad began posting news to a blog and later a Facebook page (now approaching 4,000 followers) under the name Tamimi Press. Soon Tamimi Press morphed into a homegrown media team: Bilal Tamimi shooting video and uploading protest highlights to his YouTube channel; Helme taking photographs; and Mohammad e-mailing news releases to 500-odd reporters and activists. Manal, who is married to Bilal, supplements the effort with a steady outpouring of tweets (@screamingtamimi). News of the protests moves swiftly around the globe, bouncing among blogs on the left and right. Left-leaning papers like Britain’s Guardian and Israel’s Haaretz still cover major events in the village — deaths and funerals, Bassem’s arrests and releases — but a right-wing Israeli news site has for the last year begun to recycle the same headline week after week: “Arabs, Leftists Riot in Nabi Saleh.” Meanwhile, a pilgrimage to Nabi Saleh has achieved a measure of cachet among young European activists, the way a stint with the Zapatistas did in Mexico in the 1990s. For a time, Nariman regularly prepared a vegan feast for the exhausted outsiders who lingered after the protests. (Among the first things she asked me when I arrived was whether I was a vegan. Her face brightened when I said no.) Whatever success they have had in the press, the people of Nabi Saleh are intensely conscious of everything they have not achieved. The occupation, of course, persists. When I arrived in June, the demonstrators had not once made it to the spring. Usually they didn’t get much past the main road, where they would turn and find the soldiers waiting around the bend. That week though, they decided to cut straight down the hillside toward the spring. Bashir led the procession, waving a flag. As usual, Israeli Army jeeps were waiting below the spring. The four soldiers standing outside them looked confused — it seemed they hadn’t expected the protesters to make it so far. The villagers marched past them to the spring, where they surprised three settlers eating lunch in the shade, still wet from a dip in one of the pools. One wore only soggy briefs and a rifle slung over his chest. (…) Bassem is employed by the Palestinian Authority’s Interior Ministry in a department charged with approving entrance visas for Palestinians living abroad. In practice, he said, P.A. officials “have no authority” — the real decisions are made in Israel and passed to the P.A. for rubber-stamping. Among other things, this meant that Bassem rarely had to report to his office in Ramallah, leaving his days free to care for his ailing mother — she died several weeks after I left the village last summer — and strategizing on the phone, meeting international visitors and talking to me over many cups of strong, unsweetened coffee. We would talk in the living room, over the hum of an Al Jazeera newscast. A framed image of Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque hung above the television (more out of nationalist pride than piety: Bassem’s outlook was thoroughly secular). Though many people in Nabi Saleh have been jailed, only Bassem was declared a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International. Foreign diplomats attended his court hearings in 2011. Bassem’s charisma surely has something to do with the attention. A strange, radiant calm seemed to hover around him. He rarely smiled, and tended to drop weighty pronouncements (“Our destiny is to resist”) in ordinary speech, but I saw his reserve crumble whenever one of his children climbed into his lap. When Israeli forces occupied the West Bank in 1967, Bassem was 10 weeks old. His mother hid with him in a cave until the fighting ended. He remembers playing in the abandoned British police outpost that is now the center of the I.D.F. base next to Halamish, and accompanying the older kids who took their sheep to pasture on the hilltop where the settlement now stands. His mother went to the spring for water every day. The settlers arrived when he was 9. (…) When the first intifada broke out in late 1987, Nabi Saleh was, as it is now, a flash point. The road that passes between the village and the settlement connects the central West Bank to Tel Aviv: a simple barricade could halt the flow of Palestinian laborers into Israel. Bassem was one of the main Fatah youth activists for the region, organizing the strikes, boycotts and demonstrations that characterized that uprising. (Nabi Saleh is solidly loyal to Fatah, the secular nationalist party that rules the West Bank; Hamas, the militant Islamist movement that governs Gaza, has its supporters elsewhere in the West Bank but has never had a foothold in the village.) He would be jailed seven times during the intifada and, he says, was never charged with a crime. Before his most recent arrest, I asked him how much time he had spent in prison. He added up the months: “Around four years.” After one arrest in 1993, Bassem told me, an Israeli interrogator shook him with such force that he fell into a coma for eight days. He has a nickel-size scar on his temple from emergency brain surgery during that time. His sister died while he was in prison. She was struck by a soldier and fell down a flight of courthouse stairs, according to her son Mahmoud, who was with her to attend the trial of his brother. (The I.D.F. did not comment on this allegation.) Bassem nonetheless speaks of those years, as many Palestinians his age do, with something like nostalgia. The first intifada broke out spontaneously — it started in Gaza with a car accident, when an Israeli tank transporter killed four Palestinian laborers. The uprising was, initially, an experience of solidarity on a national scale. Its primary weapons were the sort that transform weakness into strength: the stone, the barricade, the boycott, the strike. The Israeli response to the revolt — in 1988, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin reportedly authorized soldiers to break the limbs of unarmed demonstrators — began tilting international public opinion toward the Palestinian cause for the first time in decades. By the uprising’s third year, however, power had shifted to the P.L.O. hierarchy. The first Bush administration pushed Israel to negotiate, leading eventually to the 1993 Oslo Accord, which created the Palestinian Authority as an interim body pending a “final status” agreement.  But little was resolved in Oslo. A second intifada erupted in 2000, at first mostly following the model set by the earlier uprising. Palestinians blocked roads and threw stones. The I.D.F. took over a house in Nabi Saleh. Children tossed snakes, scorpions and what Bassem euphemistically called “wastewater” through the windows. The soldiers withdrew. Then came the heavy wave of suicide bombings, which Bassem termed “the big mistake.” An overwhelming majority of Israeli casualties during the uprising occurred in about 100 suicide attacks, most against civilians. A bombing at one Tel Aviv disco in 2001 killed 21 teenagers. “Politically, we went backward,” Bassem said. Much of the international good will gained over the previous decade was squandered. Taking up arms wasn’t, for Bassem, a moral error so much as a strategic one. He and everyone else I spoke with in the village insisted they had the right to armed resistance; they just don’t think it works. Bassem could reel off a list of Nabi Saleh’s accomplishments. Of some — Nabi Saleh, he said, had more advanced degrees than any village — he was simply proud. Others — one of the first military actions after Oslo, the first woman to participate in a suicide attack — involved more complicated emotions. In 1993, Bassem told me, his cousin Said Tamimi killed a settler near Ramallah. Eight years later, another villager, Ahlam Tamimi escorted a bomber to a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed, eight of them minors. Ahlam, who now lives in exile in Jordan, and Said, who is in prison in Israel, remain much-loved in Nabi Saleh. Though everyone I spoke with in the village appeared keenly aware of the corrosive effects of violence — “This will kill the children,” Manal said, “to think about hatred and revenge” — they resented being asked to forswear bloodshed when it was so routinely visited upon them. Said, Manal told me, “lost his father, uncle, aunt, sister — they were all killed. How can you blame him?” The losses of the second intifada were enormous. Nearly 5,000 Palestinians and more than 1,000 Israelis died. Israeli assassination campaigns and the I.D.F.’s siege of West Bank cities left the Palestinian leadership decimated and discouraged. By the end of 2005, Yasir Arafat was dead, Israel had pulled its troops and settlers out of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, had reached a truce with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The uprising sputtered out. The economy was ruined, Gaza and the West Bank were more isolated from each other than ever, and Palestinians were divided, defeated and exhausted. But in 2003, while the intifada was still raging, Bassem and others from Nabi Saleh began attending demonstrations in Budrus, 20 minutes away. Budrus was in danger of being cut off from the rest of the West Bank by Israel’s planned separation barrier, the concrete and chain-link divide that snakes along the border and in many places juts deeply into Palestinian territory. Residents began demonstrating. Foreign and Israeli activists joined the protests. Fatah and Hamas loyalists marched side by side. The Israeli Army responded aggressively: at times with tear gas, beatings and arrests; at times with live ammunition. Palestinians elsewhere were fighting with Kalashnikovs, but the people of Budrus decided, said Ayed Morrar, an old friend of Bassem’s who organized the movement there, that unarmed resistance “would stress the occupation more.” The strategy appeared to work. After 55 demonstrations, the Israeli government agreed to shift the route of the barrier to the so-called 1967 green line. The tactic spread to other villages: Biddu, Ni’lin, Al Ma’asara and in 2009, Nabi Saleh. Together they formed what is known as the “popular resistance,” a loosely coordinated effort that has maintained what has arguably been the only form of active and organized resistance to the Israeli presence in the West Bank since the end of the second intifada in 2005. Nabi Saleh, Bassem hoped, could model a form of resistance for the rest of the West Bank. The goal was to demonstrate that it was still possible to struggle and to do so without taking up arms, so that when the spark came, if it came, resistance might spread as it had during the first intifada. “If there is a third intifada,” he said, “we want to be the ones who started it.” (…) Eytan Buchman, a spokesman for the I.D.F., took issue with the idea that the weekly protests were a form of nonviolent resistance. In an e-mail he described the protests as “violent and illegal rioting that take place around Judea and Samaria, and where large rocks, Molotov cocktails, improvised grenades and burning tires are used against security forces. Dubbing these simply demonstrations is an understatement — more than 200 security-force personnel have been injured in recent years at these riots.” (Molotov cocktails are sometimes thrown at protests at the checkpoints of Beitunia and Kalandia but never, Bassem said, in Nabi Saleh.) Buchman said that the I.D.F. “employs an array of tactics as part of an overall strategy intended to curb these riots and the ensuing acts of violence.” He added that “every attempt is made to minimize physical friction and risk of casualties” among both the I.D.F. and the “rioters.” (…) In the 1980s, youth organizers like Bassem focused on volunteer work: helping farmers in the fields, educating their children. They built trust and established the social networks that would later allow the resistance to coordinate its actions without waiting for orders from above. Those networks no longer exist. Instead there’s the Palestinian Authority. Immediately after the first Oslo Accord in 1993, the scholar Edward Said predicted that “the P.L.O. will . . . become Israel’s enforcer.” Oslo gave birth to a phantom state, an extensive but largely impotent administrative apparatus, with Israel remaining in effective control of the Palestine Authority’s finances, its borders, its water resources — of every major and many minor aspects of Palestinian life. More gallingly to many, Oslo, in Said’s words, gave “official Palestinian consent to continued occupation,” creating a local elite whose privilege depends on the perpetuation of the status quo. That elite lives comfortably within the so-called “Ramallah bubble”: the bright and relatively carefree world of cafes, NGO salaries and imported goods that characterize life in the West Bank’s provisional capital. During the day, the clothing shops and fast-food franchises are filled. New high-rises are going up everywhere. “I didn’t lose my sister and my cousin and part of my life,” Bassem said, “for the sons of the ministers” to drive expensive cars. The NYT
A compter de 2009, les villageois ont décidé de s’investir collectivement. Au point qu’une sorte de rituel du vendredi s’est imposé, sous l’attention grandissante des médias. D’abord, une courte marche dans les rues ; les soldats se tiennent à l’entrée du village, à pied ou en véhicule blindé ; ils décident d’interrompre ce rassemblement, tirent des grenades lacrymogènes ou assourdissantes ; des jeunes, le visage masqué, essaient de les viser avec des pierres, provoquant une réponse plus forte, des arrestations, des blessures. Mais la famille Tamimi ne s’est pas contentée de ce rituel local. En utilisant les réseaux sociaux, elle en a fait une sorte de série sans fin. Une page Facebook, une chaîne sur YouTube, des comptes Twitter, des listes d’envoi par courriel : le visage d’Ahed n’est pas devenu viral par magie. La famille Tamimi a appliqué au village les recettes qui ont marché partout dans le monde, hors des cadres partisans traditionnels, des partis ou des syndicats. Les manifestations ont simplement cessé d’être hebdomadaires, car elles banalisaient la mobilisation et la privaient de tout effet de surprise. « On était conscients de l’importance de ces réseaux sociaux pour toucher la jeunesse, pour planter des graines en eux et susciter un questionnement, explique Manal, 43 ans, tante d’Ahed. Les vidéos changent le regard des gens. Ils ont vu grandir Ahed ainsi. » A l’entrée de la maison de Manal, il y a une sorte de galerie des canettes de gaz lacrymogène, récupérées au fil des ans. Sur sa terrasse, de vieux canapés ont été installés. D’ici, on voit la silhouette des soldats se dessiner sur la colline, en début d’après-midi, le vendredi, à l’heure des confrontations. On peut alors prévenir les gamins qui traînent dans la rue. Le Monde
Imposante crinière blonde, regard azur déterminé, mains désarmées: du haut de ses 16 ans, la jeune Ahed Tamimi est devenue le symbole de la révolte palestinienne contre l’occupation en Cisjordanie. Une vidéo où on la voit en train de frapper deux soldats israéliens à l’entrée de sa maison a fait exploser sa notoriété le 15 décembre dernier. Elle l’a aussi envoyée en prison où la jeune femme doit répondre de douze chefs d’inculpation. Courageuse résistante pour les uns, figure instrumentalisée pour les autres: Ahed Tamimi divise au Proche-Orient et au-delà. Originaire du petit village de Nabi Saleh, jouxtant la colonie de Halamish, la jeune fille est issue d’une famille de militants. Son père, Bassem Tamimi, 50 ans, est l’un des leaders du mouvement de contestation non violent qui a vu le jour dans cette bourgade arabe, privée de sa source d’eau depuis 2009. Marches pacifistes, confrontations avec l’armée: la famille multiplie les actions avec la population locale, caméra au poing. Les images sont ensuite diffusées par Tamimi Press International, un blog créé par l’oncle d’Ahed. «La caméra fait partie de notre lutte, elle rétablit la vérité, explique Bassem Tamimi au Monde. La diffusion de nos films sur les réseaux sociaux permet de contrer les médias conventionnels qui fournissent une image biaisée de la situation.» Les premières traces d’Ahed Tamimi remontent à 2010. Alors âgée de 9 ans, la petite fille vêtue d’une robe taillée dans un keffieh tient tête à un soldat armé. Rebelote en 2012, où elle est filmée brandissant un poing menaçant sous le nez de soldats israéliens. Avec ses jeunes frères et cousins, Ahed est systématiquement placée en tête des cortèges. Une présence jugée «cruciale pour les aider à prendre confiance et leur apprendre à faire face aux problèmes», détaille Bassem Tamimi au Figaro. De quoi alimenter les soupçons de manipulation pour les détracteurs. Quoi qu’il en soit, la notoriété de la jeune militante est lancée. En 2012, le premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan la reçoit pour la féliciter. En mars 2013, le New York Times Magazine consacre sa une au village de Nabi Saleh et immortalise le visage d’Ahed Tamimi au côté de onze autres Palestiniens. Le titre en dit long sur la détermination prêtée aux villageois: «S’il y a une troisième intifada, nous voulons être ceux qui l’ont lancée». Dans la vidéo du 15 décembre visionnée plusieurs milliers de fois, Ahed et sa cousine interpellent et molestent physiquement deux soldats israéliens qui demeurent immobiles. Coups de poing, coups de pied, gifles: les deux jeunes femmes rejointes par d’autres habitants finissent par former une chaîne humaine pour bloquer l’entrée du domicile. La veille, son cousin, Mohammed al-Tamimi, avait été touché à la tête par une balle en caoutchouc. Symbole du courage palestinien et d’une jeunesse qui se révolte sans armes, Ahed Tamimi bénéficie d’un large soutien. Sur Twitter, le hashtag #FreeAhedTamimi est devenu viral. Selon la psychiatre Samah Jabr, interrogée par Le Monde, ce mouvement de solidarité n’est pas dû au hasard. «Si Ahed avait été brune et voilée, elle n’aurait pas reçu la même empathie de la part des médias internationaux. Un tel profil [brune et voilée] est plus facilement associé à l’islamisme et donc au terrorisme. Son attitude aurait alors été aussitôt liée à de la violence plus qu’à de l’héroïsme, comme c’est le cas aujourd’hui.» Du côté israélien en revanche, Ahed Tamimi est vue comme une «provocatrice qui sait médiatiser ses actes», elle-même manipulée par sa famille. Face aux méthodes de la jeune activiste, le quotidien Times of Israel souligne la réaction «professionnelle» des soldats de Tsahal qui restent impassibles, malgré l’humiliation. Le Temps

C’est juste un entrainement à l’évacuation, imbécile !

A l’heure où devant le désintérêt croissant du Monde arabe ….

Le Hamas tente par une ultime mise en scène de faire oublier le fiasco toujours plus criant de leur régime  terroriste …

Et qu’entre deux leçons de théologie, nos belles âmes et médias en mal de contenu nous resservent le scénario réchauffé de la riposte disproportionnée d’Israël …

Alors que l’on redécouvre que nos anciens faussaires – certains ayant toujours pignon sur rue – n’avaient rien à envier à nos actuels Charles Enderlin

Retour via notamment l’une de ses plus célèbres praticiennes, récemment prise en flagrant délit de provocation musclée contre un soldtat israélien et arrêtée, Ahed Tamimi alias « Shirley Temper » …

Sur la florissante industrie de fausses images palestinienne plus connue sous le nom de Pallywood …

Ahed Tamimi, icône ou marionnette de la résistance palestinienne?
Issue d’une famille de militants contre l’occupation, la jeune fille de 16 ans s’est récemment filmée en train de molester des soldats israéliens. Son incarcération fait polémique
Sylvia Revello
Le Temps
3 janvier 2018

Imposante crinière blonde, regard azur déterminé, mains désarmées: du haut de ses 16 ans, la jeune Ahed Tamimi est devenue le symbole de la révolte palestinienne contre l’occupation en Cisjordanie. Une vidéo où on la voit en train de frapper deux soldats israéliens à l’entrée de sa maison a fait exploser sa notoriété le 15 décembre dernier. Elle l’a aussi envoyée en prison où la jeune femme doit répondre de douze chefs d’inculpation. Courageuse résistante pour les uns, figure instrumentalisée pour les autres: Ahed Tamimi divise au Proche-Orient et au-delà.

Originaire du petit village de Nabi Saleh, jouxtant la colonie de Halamish, la jeune fille est issue d’une famille de militants. Son père, Bassem Tamimi, 50 ans, est l’un des leaders du mouvement de contestation non violent qui a vu le jour dans cette bourgade arabe, privée de sa source d’eau depuis 2009. Marches pacifistes, confrontations avec l’armée: la famille multiplie les actions avec la population locale, caméra au poing. Les images sont ensuite diffusées par Tamimi Press International, un blog créé par l’oncle d’Ahed. «La caméra fait partie de notre lutte, elle rétablit la vérité, explique Bassem Tamimi au Monde. La diffusion de nos films sur les réseaux sociaux permet de contrer les médias conventionnels qui fournissent une image biaisée de la situation.»

Jeunes en tête de cortège

Les premières traces d’Ahed Tamimi remontent à 2010. Alors âgée de 9 ans, la petite fille vêtue d’une robe taillée dans un keffieh tient tête à un soldat armé. Rebelote en 2012, où elle est filmée brandissant un poing menaçant sous le nez de soldats israéliens.

Avec ses jeunes frères et cousins, Ahed est systématiquement placée en tête des cortèges. Une présence jugée «cruciale pour les aider à prendre confiance et leur apprendre à faire face aux problèmes», détaille Bassem Tamimi au Figaro. De quoi alimenter les soupçons de manipulation pour les détracteurs.

Rencontre avec Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Quoi qu’il en soit, la notoriété de la jeune militante est lancée. En 2012, le premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan la reçoit pour la féliciter. En mars 2013, le New York Times Magazine consacre sa une au village de Nabi Saleh et immortalise le visage d’Ahed Tamimi au côté de onze autres Palestiniens. Le titre en dit long sur la détermination prêtée aux villageois: «S’il y a une troisième intifada, nous voulons être ceux qui l’ont lancée».

#FreeAhedTamimi

Dans la vidéo du 15 décembre visionnée plusieurs milliers de fois, Ahed et sa cousine interpellent et molestent physiquement deux soldats israéliens qui demeurent immobiles. Coups de poing, coups de pied, gifles: les deux jeunes femmes rejointes par d’autres habitants finissent par former une chaîne humaine pour bloquer l’entrée du domicile. La veille, son cousin, Mohammed al-Tamimi, avait été touché à la tête par une balle en caoutchouc. Symbole du courage palestinien et d’une jeunesse qui se révolte sans armes, Ahed Tamimi bénéficie d’un large soutien. Sur Twitter, le hashtag #FreeAhedTamimi est devenu viral.

Apparence et empathie

Selon la psychiatre Samah Jabr, interrogée par Le Monde, ce mouvement de solidarité n’est pas dû au hasard. «Si Ahed avait été brune et voilée, elle n’aurait pas reçu la même empathie de la part des médias internationaux. Un tel profil [brune et voilée] est plus facilement associé à l’islamisme et donc au terrorisme. Son attitude aurait alors été aussitôt liée à de la violence plus qu’à de l’héroïsme, comme c’est le cas aujourd’hui.»

«Provocatrice qui médiatise ses actes»

Du côté israélien en revanche, Ahed Tamimi est vue comme une «provocatrice qui sait médiatiser ses actes», elle-même manipulée par sa famille. Face aux méthodes de la jeune activiste, le quotidien Times of Israel souligne la réaction «professionnelle» des soldats de Tsahal qui restent impassibles, malgré l’humiliation.

Voir aussi:

Ahed Tamimi, le nouveau visage de la révolte palestinienne

Julien Licourt

Le Figaro

PORTRAIT – Deux yeux bleus sous un amas de cheveux blonds et bouclés. En quelques années, la jeune fille est devenue un symbole. Âgée de 16 ans, elle jugée aujourd’hui pour avoir frappé des soldats israéliens. Elle risque 7 ans de prison.

Elle rêvait de devenir footballeuse au FC Barcelone. Le sport n’aura pas fait d’elle une icône, l’activisme politique, oui. Ahed Tamimi, 16 ans seulement, est devenue en quelques années, et autant d’images choc, le nouveau visage de la révolte palestinienne face à l’occupation israélienne de la Cisjordanie. La jeune femme, placée en détention fin décembre suite à la diffusion d’une vidéo, devenue virale, où on la voit frapper deux soldats israéliens, est jugée aujourd’hui par un tribunal militaire. Mardi, à l’ouverture de l’audience, la juge a demandé aux journalistes et aux diplomates présents de sortir, autorisant seulement la famille à rester. Retour sur le parcours éclair d’une militante tombée dans l’activisme dès son plus jeune âge.

L’histoire d’Ahed Tamimi est intrinsèquement liée à Nabi Saleh, petit village de Cisjordanie, situé entre Tel Aviv et Jérusalem. Cette bourgade arabe de quelques centaines d’habitants fait face à la colonie israélienne de Halamish, qui s’est appropriée des terres et une source d’eau appartenant au village. Un acte qui révolte les habitants de Nabi Saleh. Dès 2009, une marche hebdomadaire de protestation est organisée et tourne régulièrement à la confrontation avec les forces israéliennes. La famille Tamimi est en pointe de la contestation.

Ahed Tamimi, ici en 2010. Elle est âgée de seulement 9 ans.
Ahed Tamimi, ici en 2010. Elle est âgée de seulement 9 ans. – Crédits photo : ABBAS MOMANI/AFP

Arrêté de nombreuses fois, le père d’Ahed, Bassem Tamimi, 50 ans, en est un des leaders. Bassem rêve de créer «un modèle de résistance civile, qui prouverait que nous ne sommes pas des terroristes et que nous sommes les propriétaires de ces terres, explique-t-il au journal israélien Haaretz, en 2010. Nous voulons envoyer aux Palestiniens et Israéliens le message qu’il existe cet autre modèle de résistance, non-violent.» En 2012, son activisme le conduit une nouvelle fois en prison, Amnesty international mènera une campagne pour faire libérer celui que l’ONG qualifie de «prisonnier de conscience».

L’arme, c’est l’image

Lors des manifestations de Nabi Saleh, les pierres volent. Mais ce ne sont pas les projectiles principaux. La véritable arme ici, c’est l’image. L’oncle d’Ahed, Bilal Tamimi a lancé son «agence de presse citoyenne», «Tamimi press international». En réalité un blog diffusant quelques nouvelles de la lutte locale. La mère d’Ahed, Nariman Tamimi, tout aussi engagée que son mari, se retrouve souvent derrière la caméra, à filmer les confrontations.

Ahed Tamimi, en 2012. C'est l'image qui la fait connaître à l'international.
Ahed Tamimi, en 2012. C’est l’image qui la fait connaître à l’international. – Crédits photo : ABBAS MOMANI/AFP

Et pour parvenir à ses fins, la famille Tamimi ne craint pas non plus de mettre en avant ses enfants. Bassem Tamimi estime même que leur présence est «cruciale pour les aider à prendre confiance et leur apprendre à faire face aux problèmes». C’est ainsi qu’en 2010, Ahed Tamimi se retrouve sur la première photo diffusée à l’international par l’Agence France presse (voir ci-dessus). Âgée de 9 ans, la petite fille est alors vêtue d’une robe taillée dans un keffieh palestinien. Devant elle s’avance un soldat israélien, dont le fusil d’assaut semble presque aussi grand qu’elle.

Deux ans plus tard sera prise la photo qui fera d’elle une icône. La fillette a un peu grandi. Elle est cette fois vêtue d’un débardeur où l’on voit distinctement le mot Love (amour) et le symbole de la paix popularisé par les hippies. Ahed Tamimi, poursuit des militaires, lève un poing menaçant, bien que totalement dérisoire face aux grands soldats qui l’entourent et que cette rébellion infantile fait sourire. «Je suis plus forte que n’importe lequel de tes soldats», hurle-t-elle. Un reportage de France 2 montre qu’Ahed sait déjà comment jouer avec les caméras. De quoi s’attirer les premières critiques de manipulation.

«L’image est la seule arme dont ils disposent, explique au Figaro Bertrand Heilbronn, le président de l’association France Palestine solidarité, qui a pu rencontrer plusieurs fois certains membres de la famille. Bien sûr, ils cherchent à se faire photographier. Mais c’est également la seule façon qu’ils ont de se protéger face à des soldats. Cela fait partie de la lutte non-violente.»

Le New York Times magazine du 17 mars 2013. Ahed Tamimi est située en bas, la deuxième en partant de la droite.
Le New York Times magazine du 17 mars 2013. Ahed Tamimi est située en bas, la deuxième en partant de la droite. – Crédits photo : Capture d’écran.

Notoriété internationale

Qu’importe, sa notoriété est faite. Le premier ministre turc, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, l’invite pour la féliciter. Un honneur dont l’adolescente n’a que faire. «N’importe quel Palestinien vaut deux Erdogan, car on se bat pour notre terre», dira-t-elle en retour. Le New York Times magazine consacre sa une de mars 2013 à Nabi Saleh, avec pour titre «S’il y a une troisième intifada, nous voulons être ceux qui l’ont lancée.» Ahed Tamimi est l’un des douze portraits mis en valeur par la publication américaine.

En 2015, une nouvelle image fait le tour du monde. On y voit un soldat israélien plaquer au sol un jeune enfant, le frère d’Ahed, le bras dans le plâtre, mais accusé d’avoir lancé des pierres sur les militaires. Un groupe de femmes l’agrippent, dont Ahed Tamimi, qui mord la main de l’homme.

Ahed Tamimi tente de faire lâcher prise en mordant le soldat israélien qui tente d'arrêter son petit frère.
Ahed Tamimi tente de faire lâcher prise en mordant le soldat israélien qui tente d’arrêter son petit frère. – Crédits photo : ABBAS MOMANI/AFP

À l’été 2017, Ahed Tamimi réapparait en Afrique du Sud. À 16 ans, elle est maintenant une jeune fille à la grande chevelure blonde et bouclée. Elle porte toujours le keffieh palestinien. La visite est hautement symbolique: accompagnés de deux autres jeunes activistes, elle dépose une gerbe de fleurs au mémorial de Hector Pieterson, jeune Sud-Africain tué lors d’une manifestation de la population noire à Soweto dans les années 1960. Elle expliquait alors lors d’une rencontre avec les habitants qu’elle ne voulait pas être soutenue «à cause de quelques larmes photogéniques, mais parce que nous avons fait le choix d’une juste lutte. C’est la seule façon d’arrêter de pleurer un jour.»

La jeune fille est de toutes les luttes. Aussi, lorsque le président américain Donald Trump décide de transférer l’ambassade américaine à Jérusalem, elle se joint aux manifestations de Palestiniens. Avec sa cousine Nour, elles s’en prennent à deux soldats israéliens, comme elles l’ont fait si souvent. Elles les frappent, les giflent. Les deux hommes restent impassibles.

Relayée par les médias, la vidéo est vue des millions de fois. Sauf que l’image d’Ahed Tamimi n’est pas du tout la même, côté israélien. On n’y voit pas la résistante, mais une «provocatrice qui sait médiatiser ses actes», selon certains journaux, qui soulignent l’humiliation dont sont victimes les soldats de Tsahal et, à travers eux, de tout le pays. Dans la nuit du 18 au 19 décembre, l’adolescente est arrêtée. Les images de la jeune femme sont à nouveau publiées dans tous les médias.

Ahed Tamimi, lors de sa comparution devant le tribunal militaire, le 1er janvier.
Ahed Tamimi, lors de sa comparution devant le tribunal militaire, le 1er janvier. – Crédits photo : AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

Le 1er janvier, le tribunal décide de retenir 12 chefs d’inculpation contre elle, portant notamment sur 5 autres faits de l’année précédente (agression des forces de sécurité, lancé de pierres ou encore pour avoir participé à des émeutes). La jeune femme risque 7 ans de prison.

Voir aussi:

L’adolescente palestinienne Ahed Tamimi plaide coupable devant la justice militaire israélienne

L’adolescente, devenue un symbole de la lutte contre l’occupation pour une vidéo la montrant giflant un soldat en Cisjordanie, a été condamnée à huit mois de prison.

Piotr Smolar (Nabi Saleh, Cisjordanie, envoyé spécial)

Le Monde

Ahed Tamimi sortira de prison d’ici à l’été. La jeune Palestinienne, arrêtée pour avoir giflé et bousculé un soldat israélien dans son village de Nabi Saleh, en Cisjordanie, a accepté de plaider coupable, mercredi 21 mars. Détenue depuis décembre 2017, elle a été condamnée à huit mois de prison. Le parquet militaire a abandonné huit des douze charges retenues à l’origine contre cette adolescente, devenue une figure iconique sur les réseaux sociaux, dans les territoires occupés et à l’étranger.

Ahed Tamimi, 17 ans, a fait comme les centaines d’autres mineurs palestiniens arrêtés chaque année : elle a plaidé coupable car elle ne pouvait se défendre conformément aux normes du droit.

En 2013, le Fonds des Nations unies pour l’enfance (Unicef) parlait de mauvais traitements « institutionnalisés » sur les mineurs par la justice militaire israélienne. Dans un rapport publié le 20 mars, l’ONG israélienne B’Tselem s’est également penchée sur ce système. Elle souligne la continuité des abus depuis que cette justice des mineurs est apparue en 2009 : arrestations de nuit, isolement, menaces, abus verbaux et parfois physiques…

Selon le rapport, dans « l’écrasante majorité des cas », le tribunal pour mineurs se contente d’entériner la pratique du « plaider coupable ». Une issue acceptée par le clan Tamimi, dès lors que le tribunal avait refusé la publicité des débats. « Cela signifiait qu’il n’y aurait aucun procès équitable, devant témoins, explique Me Gaby Lasky, l’avocate d’Ahed. C’était une façon de la faire taire. » Mais faire taire les Tamimi n’est pas une affaire aisée.

Débat national

L’obstination est le trait de caractère partagé dans le clan, contaminant l’ensemble du village de Nabi Saleh. Depuis tant d’années, la cuisine familiale est le quartier général de la lutte locale. Là où les résidents affluent, où les militants passent, où les journalistes se succèdent, posant la même question : « Pourquoi ici ? » Qu’est-ce qui rend cette commune spéciale, sur la carte des mobilisations palestiniennes ?

Cette interrogation a redoublé de vigueur, le 15 décembre 2017, lorsque Ahed Tamimi a pris à partie un soldat israélien qui s’était présenté, une millième fois, devant la maison familiale. Peu avant, son cousin Mohammed avait eu la boîte crânienne fracassée par une balle en caoutchouc. Il est à présent défiguré. Ahed s’est avancée avec sa cousine. Sa mère Nariman filmait, ce qui lui vaudra la même peine de prison que l’adolescente. Les deux Israéliens en uniforme ont fait preuve de retenue : il s’agissait là d’un épisode banal dans le quotidien de l’occupation. Mais la diffusion virale de la vidéo va changer la donne.

Un débat national s’installe sur la fermeté à adopter en pareilles circonstances. « La société israélienne est malade, affirme Bassem Tamimi. Ils ne supportent pas que leurs soldats soient stoppés. Ils voulaient punir Ahed. » Quatre jours après les faits, elle est placée en détention, comme plus de 300 autres mineurs palestiniens actuellement. La différence est que son procès a éveillé une attention sans égal. Selon un sondage publié le 20 mars par le Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey (PSR), 92 % des personnes interrogées disent connaître l’adolescente. Parmi eux, 64 % l’érigent en modèle.

Résistance

Il faut oublier les boucles d’or d’Ahed, expliquant en partie l’empathie qu’elle suscite à l’étranger. Elle est photogénique, certes, mais surtout elle vient de loin, sans légèreté. « Ahed n’a pas eu d’enfance, murmure son père. Ce n’est pas à elle et à sa génération de gifler ce soldat. Je me sens coupable, mais j’espère qu’ils réussiront. Ahed n’a pas giflé un individu mais un uniforme. Je hais ce régime, ce système, la colonisation. »

Bassem Tamimi est un vétéran de la lutte contre l’occupation, qui a intégré l’échec des négociations de paix dans la foulée des accords d’Oslo (1993). Longtemps favorable à la solution à deux Etats, il a changé d’avis pendant la seconde Intifada.

« Les Israéliens gagnent du temps. Leur plan, c’est le grand Israël, de la mer au Jourdain. »

Les dirigeants palestiniens sont à ses yeux déconsidérés. Pourtant, il a accepté d’être reçu par le président Mahmoud Abbas, le 5 février. « On a besoin de tout le monde », lâche-t-il.

Bassem Tamimi a passé une semaine dans le coma en 1993 après avoir été frappé lors d’un interrogatoire. Sa sœur a été tuée, d’autres membres du clan aussi. Emprisonné à neuf reprises, pour une période totale d’environ quatre ans, le père d’Ahed a confronté ses vues à celles d’autres prisonniers. La lutte armée lui paraissait être une voie sans issue.

Il décida alors de transformer Nabi Saleh en laboratoire de la résistance populaire. Consécration en 2013 : le village fait la « une » du New York Times Magazine. Autant dire que Nabi Saleh exaspère les Israéliens. En 2016, une sous-commission à la Knesset (Parlement) a même demandé des vérifications confidentielles, pour établir si les Tamimi constituaient une vraie famille.

Nabi Saleh est situé à environ vingt kilomètres au nord-ouest de Ramallah. Tout le monde se connaît parmi les 600 habitants. On y dit qu’ils sont déjà 260 à être allés en prison, dont 44 mineurs. On partage les deuils et les mariages, les colères et les joies.

Le village dispose d’une source d’eau naturelle qui fait l’objet d’un conflit intense avec les habitants de Halamish, la colonie israélienne qui occupe un flanc de colline en face. Les colons, installés ici depuis 1977, ont rogné les terres privées palestiniennes, au fil des ans, sous la protection de l’armée.

Viral

A compter de 2009, les villageois ont décidé de s’investir collectivement. Au point qu’une sorte de rituel du vendredi s’est imposé, sous l’attention grandissante des médias. D’abord, une courte marche dans les rues ; les soldats se tiennent à l’entrée du village, à pied ou en véhicule blindé ; ils décident d’interrompre ce rassemblement, tirent des grenades lacrymogènes ou assourdissantes ; des jeunes, le visage masqué, essaient de les viser avec des pierres, provoquant une réponse plus forte, des arrestations, des blessures.

Mais la famille Tamimi ne s’est pas contentée de ce rituel local. En utilisant les réseaux sociaux, elle en a fait une sorte de série sans fin. Une page Facebook, une chaîne sur YouTube, des comptes Twitter, des listes d’envoi par courriel : le visage d’Ahed n’est pas devenu viral par magie.

La famille Tamimi a appliqué au village les recettes qui ont marché partout dans le monde, hors des cadres partisans traditionnels, des partis ou des syndicats. Les manifestations ont simplement cessé d’être hebdomadaires, car elles banalisaient la mobilisation et la privaient de tout effet de surprise.

« On était conscients de l’importance de ces réseaux sociaux pour toucher la jeunesse, pour planter des graines en eux et susciter un questionnement, explique Manal, 43 ans, tante d’Ahed. Les vidéos changent le regard des gens. Ils ont vu grandir Ahed ainsi. »

A l’entrée de la maison de Manal, il y a une sorte de galerie des canettes de gaz lacrymogène, récupérées au fil des ans. Sur sa terrasse, de vieux canapés ont été installés. D’ici, on voit la silhouette des soldats se dessiner sur la colline, en début d’après-midi, le vendredi, à l’heure des confrontations. On peut alors prévenir les gamins qui traînent dans la rue.

Voir également:

Particularly violent pictures from a West Bank rally, featuring a young girl biting an IDF soldier, have received international attention.

Distinctively violent images have emerged from an almost typical protest in the West Bank on Friday and have made their way to major media networks around the world.The pictures, taken during a protest in the village of Nebi Salah, show a young girl and two other women struggling with an IDF soldier, who is holding a Palestinian boy by his arm, preventing the boy from moving.

Video purporting to show the violent incident

The IDF said in response that the boy was throwing stones, and as such a decision was made to arrest him.

The Daily Mail featured the image and wrote, « With terror etched on his face, the boy is powerless to move as the gunman towers over him, with the muzzle of his weapon just inches from his cheek. »

Photo: AFP

Photo: AFP

Photo:Reuters

Photo:Reuters

Photo:Reuters

Photo:Reuters

Photo:Reuters

Photo:Reuters

The British daily further added, « But as he pins the boy to a rock, the soldier suddenly finds himself ambushed by a young girl who forces the weapon from his grasp and bites his hand. Meanwhile, two women claw at his balaclava-clad face and drag him off the youngster. Eventually, the gunman flees the scene, leaving the young girl to cradle the terrified boy in her arms. »

Photo:Reuters

Photo:Reuters

Photo:AFP

Photo:AFP

The Daily Mail mentioned that the circumstances of the incident were unclear, and they were unaware of what caused the soldier to « take such drastic actions. »

However, they do mention that these protests often involve Palestinian youths and children throwing stones at security forces.

The IDF spokesperson has confirmed that the events occurred during a violent protest in which Palestinians threw stones at an IDF force that was set up in the area.

Photo:Reuters

Photo:Reuters

« The youth in the picture was seen throwing rocks, and as such a decision was made to arrest him. During the arrest, a violent provocation began which included a number of Palestinian women and children. As a result of the violent clash, a decision was made by the regional commander to cease the arrest, » the IDF said in a statement.

Army officials added that: « Two additional Palestinian youths were arrested for throwing stones during the violent clashes. The soldier pictured was lightly wounded as a result of the violent actions against him. »

Palestinians also threw stones at an IDF bulldozer during clashes on Friday in the village of Kadum, near Nablus.

The protests occurred a mere day after the outgoing EU envoy to the Palestinian Territories announced that 28 EU member states were advancing measures against the settlements. According to the envoy, John Gatt-Rutter, « there is support within the union to go on with the measures ». Rutter added that, « There are more tools » which the Union could use against the settlements. »

Voir de même:

Israellycool And Readers Get Shirley Temper’s Name Splashed Across Daily Mail (Updated)


Ostensibly, it looks like every Israel hater’s wet dream: images of an armed IDF soldier trying to detain a young boy wearing a sling, while having women and children trying to stop him, armed with nothing but their hands.

Of course, there was context.

“The youth in the picture was seen throwing rocks, and as such a decision was made to arrest him. During the arrest, a violent provocation began which included a number of Palestinian women and children. As a result of the violent clash, a decision was made by the regional commander to cease the arrest,” the IDF said in a statement.

Army officials added that: “Two additional Palestinian youths were arrested for throwing stones during the violent clashes. The soldier pictured was lightly wounded as a result of the violent actions against him.”

But the initial Daily Mail report very much reflected the “simple” narrative

And then something amazing happened.

Israellycool readers recognized the biting girl as the Pallywood star “Shirley Temper”, whose exploits I have documented comprehensively on this blog. Exploits which involve deliberately trying to provoke IDF soldiers under the watchful and encouraging eye of her parents, in order to produce great images for propaganda.

And they might have gotten away with it too, had it not been for those meddling yids!

Readers inundated the Daily Mail with links to this blog showing what Shirley Temper and her family have been up to. And Brian of London also contacted an editor over at the paper.

And the Daily Mail responded – by changing the tone of the story entirely, providing context to it and revealing Shirley Temper’s history.

Questions raised over shocking West Bank image of boy with a broken arm being held at gunpoint by an Israeli soldier after girl, 13, seen biting attacker is revealed as prolific ‘Pallywood star’

Questions have been raised over the authenticity of shocking images of a boy with a broken arm being held at gunpoint by an Israeli soldier after a 13-year-old girl seen biting his attacker is said to be a prolific ‘Pallywood star’.

The remarkable images which surfaced online on Friday appeared to show an IDF soldier armed with a machine gun grappling with the little boy as two women make desperate attempts to pull him off following protests in the West Bank.

A young girl is seen ambushing the balaclava-clad soldier by forcing the weapon from his hands and biting him before he flees the scene.

But it is thought the young girl in the photographs is Ahed Tamimi, whose parents Bassem and Nariman – also pictured – are well-known Palestinian activists in their village of Nabi Saleh.

The teenager has appeared in a string of similar videos where she challenges Israeli security forces and rose to prominence after she was filmed confronting one who arrested her brother, which resulted in her being presented with a bravery award.

She was handed the ‘Handala Award for Courage’ by the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, in Istanbul, where she reportedly expressed she would like to live.

Online blogs have dubbed her ‘Shirley Temper’ and accused her of being a ‘Pallywood’ star – a term coined by author Richard Landes, describing the alleged media manipulation by Palestinians to win public relations war against Israel.

Her father, Bassem al-Tamimi, was convicted by an Israeli military court in 2011 for ‘sending people to throw stones, and holding a march without a permit’ – a charge his lawyers deny.

He has been jailed eight times, while his wife has been detained five times. Other family members, including their son Waed, has also been arrested.

Bassem organises weekly protests and it was reportedly at one of these demonstrations that the shocking images are said to have been taken.

An Israeli army spokesman said that Palestinians had been throwing stones at an IDF force which was set up in the area.

An image has emerged on the internet of a boy, said to be the youth that was held at gunpoint, throwing rocks with one arm, while his other remained in plaster and in a sling.

The spokesman added that a decision was made to arrest the boy and it was during the detention that a ‘violent provocation’ began, including a number of Palestinian women and children.

He told Haaretz that there was ‘a violent disturbance of the peace in Nabi Saleh, in which Palestinians threw stones at IDF forces that were in the place.

‘The youth who was photographed was identified by the lookout force as a stone-thrower, and because of this it was decided to detain him.

At the time of the arrest, a violent provocation by a number of Palestinians developed, including women and children. In light of the violent altercation, the commander decided to not to go ahead with the detention.’

He added: ‘Two additional Palestinian youths were arrested for throwing stones during the violent clashes. The soldier pictured was lightly wounded as a result of the violent actions against him.’

Notice the oblique reference to Israellycool as “online blogs” (for the record, I invented the label Shirley Temper).

But I’ll take this as a win. Allowed to go unchecked, this would have been an unmitigated PR disaster for Israel. As it is, I am sure some damage has been done, but not as much as would have been the case had the Daily Mail not been alerted to the Tamimi family’s background in Pallywood productions. Now, Daily Mail readers will see the images, read the article, and might ask “What kind of parents would allow their child – already in a sling – to be placed in harm’s way?”

So thank you dear readers. We really can make a difference.

Update: Ahed Tamimi, Shirley Temper herself, shared on her Facebook page a link to the original Daily Mail story.

She’s in for a rude shock when she discovers it now points to the updated version, which exposes her family’s antics to a larger audience.

Update: It looks like The Telegraph had covered the confrontation, but has now pulled the story.

Update: This photo confirms the IDF account – Shirley Temper’s brother was throwing rocks before his Oscar-winning performance (hat tip: Johnny and other readers).

Update (Brian): The photo of the brother throwing rocks may have been doctored. We have taken it down pending more investigation.

Voir de plus:

Questions raised over shocking West Bank image of boy with a broken arm being held at gunpoint by an Israeli soldier after girl, 13, seen biting attacker is revealed as prolific ‘Pallywood star’

  • Israeli soldier was pictured pinning boy to the floor with machine gun held up near his cheek in the West Bank
  • But the gunman is ambushed by young girl who forces weapon from his hand and two women who claw at his face 
  • Girl in pictures is believed to be Ahed Tamimi, whose parents Bassem and Nariman are Palestinian activists
  • She has appeared in a string of similar videos where she confronts Israeli soldiers and once won a bravery award 
  • Clash happened during demonstrations against Palestinian land confiscation to expand nearby Jewish settlement 

The Daily Mail

Questions have been raised over the authenticity of shocking images of a boy with a broken arm being held at gunpoint by an Israeli soldier after a 13-year-old girl seen biting his attacker is said to be a prolific ‘Pallywood star’.

The remarkable images which surfaced online on Friday appeared to show an IDF soldier armed with a machine gun grappling with the little boy as two women make desperate attempts to pull him off following protests in the West Bank.

A young girl is seen ambushing the balaclava-clad soldier by forcing the weapon from his hands and biting him before he flees the scene.

Scroll down for video 

This shocking image which appears to show Palestinians fighting to free a little boy held by an Israeli soldier appeared online on Friday

This shocking image which appears to show Palestinians fighting to free a little boy held by an Israeli soldier appeared online on Friday

But it is thought the young girl in the photographs is Ahed Tamimi, whose parents Bassem and Nariman – also pictured – are well-known Palestinian activists in their village of Nabi Saleh.

The teenager has appeared in a string of similar videos where she challenges Israeli security forces and rose to prominence after she was filmed confronting one who arrested her brother, which resulted in her being presented with a bravery award.

She was handed the ‘Handala Award for Courage’ by the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in Istanbul, where she reportedly expressed she would like to live.

Online blogs have dubbed her ‘Shirley Temper’ and accused her of being a ‘Pallywood’ star – a term coined by author Richard Landes, describing the alleged media manipulation by Palestinians to win public relations war against Israel.

The Israeli soldier is said to have put the young boy in a headlock at gunpoint following a march against Palestinian land confiscation to expand the Jewish Hallamish settlement in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh

The Israeli soldier is said to have put the young boy in a headlock at gunpoint following a march against Palestinian land confiscation to expand the Jewish Hallamish settlement in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh

According to an Israeli army spokesperson, the boy in the pictures was accused of throwing stones at IDF soldiers and was arrested

According to an Israeli army spokesperson, the boy in the pictures was accused of throwing stones at IDF soldiers and was arrested

It was then that the soldier was ambushed by a girl, who forces the weapon from his grasp, while two other women desperately fight to free the little boy

It was then that the soldier was ambushed by a girl, who forces the weapon from his grasp, while two other women desperately fight to free the little boy

Her father, Bassem al-Tamimi, was convicted by an Israeli military court in 2011 for ‘sending people to throw stones, and holding a march without a permit’ – a charge his lawyers deny.

He has been jailed eight times, while his wife has been detained five times. Other family members, including their son Waed, has also been arrested.

Bassem organises weekly protests and it was reportedly at one of these demonstrations that the shocking images are said to have been taken.

An Israeli army spokesman said that Palestinians had been throwing stones at an IDF force which was set up in the area.

An image has emerged on the internet of a boy, said to be the youth that was held at gunpoint, throwing rocks with one arm, while his other remained in plaster and in a sling.

The spokesman added that a decision was made to arrest the boy and it was during the detention that a ‘violent provocation’ began, including a number of Palestinian women and children.

He told Haaretz that there was ‘a violent disturbance of the peace in Nabi Saleh, in which Palestinians threw stones at IDF forces that were in the place.

It has emerged that the girl in the pictures (far left) is believed to be Ahed Tamimi, who has appeared in similar videos online where she confronts Israeli soldiers

It has emerged that the girl in the pictures (far left) is believed to be Ahed Tamimi, who has appeared in similar videos online where she confronts Israeli soldiers

She rose to prominence after she was filmed confronting a soldier who arrested her brother, which resulted in her being presented with a bravery award

She rose to prominence after she was filmed confronting a soldier who arrested her brother, which resulted in her being presented with a bravery award

Online blogs have dubbed her 'Shirley Temper' and accused her of being a 'Pallywood' star - a term coined by author Richard Landes, describing the alleged media manipulation by Palestinians to win public relations war against Israel 

Online blogs have dubbed her ‘Shirley Temper’ and accused her of being a ‘Pallywood’ star – a term coined by author Richard Landes, describing the alleged media manipulation by Palestinians to win public relations war against Israel

‘The youth who was photographed was identified by the lookout force as a stone-thrower, and because of this it was decided to detain him. At the time of the arrest, a violent provocation by a number of Palestinians developed, including women and children. In light of the violent altercation, the commander decided to not to go ahead with the detention.’

He added: ‘Two additional Palestinian youths were arrested for throwing stones during the violent clashes. The soldier pictured was lightly wounded as a result of the violent actions against him.’ 

The clash happened in the village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, during protests against Palestinian land confiscation to expand the nearby Jewish Hallamish settlement.

In another flashpoint, Palestinian protester hurled stones at Israeli army bulldozer during clashes which following a protest against Israeli settlements in Qadomem, Kofr Qadom village, near the the West Bank city of Nablus.

They come a day after the European Union’s outgoing envoy to the Palestinian territories said the 28-nation bloc was moving forward with measures against Jewish West Bank settlements.

The envoy, John Gatt-Rutter, did not provide a timeframe. But his remarks to reporters underline European discontent with Israel’s continued expansion of settlements in territory that Palestinians want for a future state.

A Palestinian protester, with a petrol bomb in his pocket, hurls rocks towards Israeli security forces during clashes following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel on August 28, 2015 in the village of Kafr Qaddum, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank

A Palestinian protester throws stones towards a vehicle of Israeli security forces firing tear gas canisters during clashes following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel on August 28, 2015 in the village of Kafr Qaddum, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank

Violent: A Palestinian protester (left), with a petrol bomb in his pocket, hurls rocks towards Israeli security forces during clashes after a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kafr Qaddum, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank

Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli army bulldozer during clashes which following a protest against Israeli settlements in Qadomem

Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli army bulldozer during clashes which following a protest against Israeli settlements in Qadomem

Gatt-Rutter said ‘there is support within the union to go on’, adding that there are ‘more tools’ the EU can use.

The EU, Israel’s biggest trading partner, is exploring guidelines that would require Israel to label settlement products.

It already bars goods produced in settlements from receiving customs exemptions given to Israeli goods.

Gatt-Rutter’s remarks come as a grassroots movement promoting boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel is gaining steam.

Members of Israeli security forces aims their weapons towards Palestinian stone throwers during clashes following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kafr Qaddum, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank

Members of Israeli security forces aims their weapons towards Palestinian stone throwers during clashes following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kafr Qaddum, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank

Voir encore:

After at least 20 were killed last Friday by Israeli forces, protesters ignited tires to create black smoke hoping to block visibility
Telesur
6 April 2018

At least four Palestinian protesters were killed, and over 200 have been wounded after Israeli troops opened fire on protesters along the Israel-Gaza border Friday. Five of the persons injured as thousands participated in the March of Return are said to be in critical condition according to medical officials.

The deaths in Friday’s protest follow 24 others, which took place in the first round of demonstrations last week, and add to the trend of severe violence from Israeli troops that led to over 1000 injuries over the same period. Thousands converged on Gaza’s border with Israel and set fire to mounds of tires, which were supposed to block the visibility of Israeli snipers and avoid more deaths, in the second week of demonstrations.

Israel’s violent response to peaceful protests has been heavily criticized over the last week. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged troops to exercise restraint, these calls, however, haven’t been heeded.

Israeli officials have attempted to portray the use of deadly force and firearms as a necessary measure to prevent “terrorists” from infiltrating into Israel and to « protect its border. »

An Israeli military spokesman said Friday they “will not allow any breach of the security infrastructure and fence, which protects Israeli civilians.”

However, the U.N. has reminded the Israeli government that an attempt to cross the border fence does not amount to “threat to life or serious injury that would justify the use of live ammunition.”

The U.N. has also stressed Israel remains the occupying force in Gaza and has the « obligations to ensure that excessive force is not employed against protestors and that in the context of a military occupation, as in the case in Gaza, the unjustified and unlawful recourse to firearms by law enforcement resulting in death may amount to willful killing. »

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israeli public radio Thursday that « if there are provocations, there will be a reaction of the harshest kind like last week, » showing no sign that his government would reconsider their strategy when responding to unarmed protesters.

Pro-Israel organization StandWithUs has resorted to claiming Palestinians are faking injuries to garner international sympathy and supported their claims by posting videos showing « Palestinians practicing for the cameras. » The Palestinians in the video were actually practicing how to evacuate the wounded during the protest.

Other claims advanced by Israeli authorities include accusing the political party Hamas, which Israel considers a terrorist organization, of being, behind the protests.

Asad Abu Sharekh, the spokesperson of the march, has countered the claim saying « the march is organized by refugees, doctors, lawyers, university students, Palestinian intellectuals, academics, civil society organizations and Palestinian families. »

Since March 30th, which marks Palestinian Land Day, thousands have set up several tent encampments within Gaza, some 65 kilometers away from the border.

The symbolic move is part of the Great March of Return which aims to demand the right of over 5 million Palestinian refugees to return to the lands from which they were expelled from after the formation of the state of Israel.

More than half of the 2 million Palestinians who live in Gaza under an over 10-year-long blockade are refugees.

Israel has denied Palestinian refugees this right because of what they call a “demographic threat.”

Voir enfin:

En 1972, dans la revue « Rouge », Edwy Plenel a-t-il vraiment déclaré être solidaire des terroristes des Jeux olympiques de Munich ?

Aerimnos
Checknews
Libération
02/04/2018

Bonjour,

Dans un texte écrit en 1972, publié dans Rouge, l’hebdomadaire de la Ligue communiste révolutionnaire (LCR), Edwy Plenel a, en effet, appelé à «défendre inconditionnellement» les militants de l’organisation palestinienne Septembre Noir, qui venait alors d’assassiner onze membres de l’équipe olympique israélienne lors d’une prise d’otage pendant les Jeux Olympiques de Munich, qui ont eu lieu cette année-là. En ces termes :

« L’action de Septembre Noir a fait éclater la mascarade olympique, a bouleversé les arrangements à l’amiable que les réactionnaires arabes s’apprêtaient à conclure avec Israël (…) Aucun révolutionnaire ne peut se désolidariser de Septembre Noir. Nous devons défendre inconditionnellement face à la répression les militants de cette organisation (…) A Munich, la fin si tragique, selon les philistins de tous poils qui ne disent mot de l’assassinat des militants palestiniens, a été voulue et provoquée par les puissances impérialistes et particulièrement Israël. Il fut froidement décidé d’aller au carnage ».

Voilà plusieurs années que ces mots, signés Joseph Krasny, nom de plume de Plenel dans Rouge, sont connus. C’est en 2008 dans Enquête sur Edwy Plenel, écrit par le journaliste Laurent Huberson, qu’ils sont pour la première fois exhumés. Quasiment un chapitre est consacré à l’anticolonialisme, l’antiracisme, et l’antisionisme radical du jeune militant Plenel. C’est dans ces pages que sont retranscrites ces lignes.

Aujourd’hui, elles figurent en bonne place sur la page Wikipedia du journaliste.

Depuis plusieurs jours, ils refont pourtant surface sur Twitter, partagés la plupart du temps par des comptes proches de l’extrême droite. Ce 3 avril, Gilles-William Goldnadel, avocat, longtemps chroniqueur à Valeurs Actuelles, qui officie aujourd’hui sur C8 dans l’émission de Thierry Ardisson Les Terriens du Dimanche, a interpellé le co-fondateur de Mediapart sur Twitter : «Bonsoir Edwy Plenel, c’est pour une enquête de la France Libre [la webtélé de droite lancée par l’avocat début 2018]. Pourriez-vous s’il vous plaît confirmer ou infirmer les infos qui circulent selon lesquelles vous auriez sous l’alias de Krasny féliciter dans Rouge Septembre Noir ?».

« Ce texte exprime une position que je récuse fermement aujourd’hui »

Plenel n’a pas répondu à Goldnadel sur Twitter. Mais contacté par CheckNews, il a accepté de revenir, par ce mail, sur ce texte écrit en 1972.  En nous demandant de reproduire intégralement sa réponse, «car évidemment, cette campagne n’est pas dénuée d’arrière-pensées partisanes». Que pense donc le Plenel de 2018 des écrits de Krasny en 1972 ?

« Je n’ai jamais fait mystère de mes contributions à Rouge, de 1970 à 1978, sous le pseudonyme de Joseph Krasny. Ce texte, écrit il y a plus de 45 ans, dans un contexte tout autre et alors que j’avais 20 ans, exprime une position que je récuse fermement aujourd’hui. Elle n’avait rien d’exceptionnel dans l’extrême gauche de l’époque, comme en témoigne un article de Jean-Paul Sartre, le fondateur de Libération, sur Munich dans La Cause du peuple–J’accuse du 15 octobre 1972. Tout comme ce philosophe, j’ai toujours dénoncé et combattu l’antisémitisme d’où qu’il vienne et sans hésitation. Mais je refuse l’intimidation qui consiste à taxer d’antisémite toute critique de la politique de l’Etat d’Israël ».

On résume : le co-fondateur de Mediapart, sous le pseudo Joseph Krasny, a bien soutenu en 1972 l’action de l’organisation palestinienne Septembre Noir, qui venait alors d’assassiner onze athlètes israéliens lors des Jeux Olympiques de Munich. Cette chronique, exhumée en 2008 dans un livre critique sur Plenel, a refait surface ces derniers jours sur les réseaux sociaux. Contacté par CheckNews, Edwy Plenel, récuse fermement ce texte aujourd’hui qui, selon lui, n’avait rien d’exceptionnel dans l’extrême gauche de l’époque.

Bien cordialement,

Robin A.

Voir par ailleurs:

On the evening of Feb. 10, the living room of Bassem Tamimi’s house in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh was filled with friends and relatives smoking and sipping coffee, waiting for Bassem to return from prison. His oldest son, Waed, 16, was curled on the couch with his 6-year-old brother, Salam, playing video games on the iPhone that the prime minister of Turkey had given their sister, Ahed. She had been flown to Istanbul to receive an award after photos of her shaking her fist at an armed Israeli soldier won her, at 11, a brief but startling international celebrity. Their brother Abu Yazan, who is 9, was on a tear in the yard, wrestling with an Israeli activist friend of Bassem’s. Nariman, the children’s mother, crouched in a side room, making the final preparations for her husband’s homecoming meal, laughing at the two photographers competing for shots from the narrow doorway as she spread onions onto oiled flatbreads.

On the living-room wall was a “Free Bassem Tamimi” poster, left over from his last imprisonment for helping to organize the village’s weekly protests against the Israeli occupation, which he has done since 2009. He was gone for 13 months that time, then home for 5 before he was arrested again in October. A lot happened during this latest stint: another brief war in Gaza, a vote in the United Nations granting observer statehood to Palestine, the announcement of plans to build 3,400 homes for settlers, an election in Israel. Protests were spreading around the West Bank.

That night, the call came at about 7:30. Twenty people squeezed into three small cars and headed to the village square. More neighbors and cousins arrived on foot. (All of Nabi Saleh’s 550 residents are related by blood or marriage, and nearly all share the surname Tamimi.) Then a dark Ford pulled slowly into the square, and everyone fell silent.

Bassem, who is 45, stepped out of the car, straight-spined, his blue eyes glowing in the lamplight. He seemed a little thinner and grayer than the last time I saw him, in July. He hugged and kissed his eldest son. Ahed was next, then one by one, in silence, Bassem embraced family and friends, Palestinian activists from Ramallah and Jerusalem, Israeli leftists from Tel Aviv. When he had greeted everyone, he walked to the cemetery and stopped in front of the still-unmarked grave of his brother-in-law Rushdie, who was shot by Israeli soldiers in November while Bassem was in prison. He closed his eyes and said a quick prayer before moving on to the tomb of Mustafa Tamimi, who died after being hit in the face by a tear-gas canister in December 2011.

Back at home, Bassem looked dazed. Nariman broke down in his arms and rushed outside to hide her tears. The village was still mourning Rushdie’s death, but the young men couldn’t keep up the solemnity for long. They started with little Hamoudi, the son of Bassem’s cousin, tossing him higher and higher in the air above the yard. They set him down and took turns tossing one another up into the night sky, laughing and shouting as if they never had anything to grieve.

From most south-facing windows in Nabi Saleh, you can see the red roofs of Halamish, the Israeli settlement on the hilltop across the valley. It has been there since 1977, founded by members of the messianic nationalist group Gush Emunim, and growing steadily since on land that once belonged to residents of Nabi Saleh and another Palestinian village. Next to Halamish is an Israeli military base, and in the valley between Nabi Saleh and the settlement, across the highway and up a dirt path, a small freshwater spring, which Palestinians had long called Ein al-Qaws, bubbles out of a low stone cliff. In the summer of 2008, although the land surrounding the spring has for generations belonged to the family of Bashir Tamimi, who is 57, the youth of Halamish began building the first of a series of low pools that collect its waters. Later they added a bench and an arbor for shade. (Years after, the settlers retroactively applied for a building permit, which Israeli authorities refused to issue, ruling that “the applicants did not prove their rights to the relevant land.” Recently, several of the structures have been removed.) When Palestinians came to tend to their crops in the fields beside it, the settlers, villagers said, threatened and threw stones at them.

It took the people of Nabi Saleh more than a year to get themselves organized. In December 2009 they held their first march, protesting not just the loss of the spring but also the entire complex system of control — of permits, checkpoints, walls, prisons — through which Israel maintains its hold on the region. Nabi Saleh quickly became the most spirited of the dozen or so West Bank villages that hold weekly demonstrations against the Israeli occupation. Since the demonstrations began, more than 100 people in the village have been jailed. Nariman told me that by her count, as of February, clashes with the army have caused 432 injuries, more than half to minors. The momentum has been hard to maintain — the weeks go by, and nothing changes for the better — but still, despite the arrests, the injuries and the deaths, every Friday after the midday prayer, the villagers, joined at times by equal numbers of journalists and Israeli and foreign activists, try to march from the center of town to the spring, a distance of perhaps half a mile. And every Friday, Israeli soldiers stop them with some combination of tear gas, rubber-coated bullets, water-cannon blasts of a noxious liquid known as “skunk” and occasionally live fire.

Last summer, I spent three weeks in Nabi Saleh, staying in Bassem and Nariman’s home. When I arrived in June, Bassem had just been released from prison. In March 2011, Israeli soldiers raided the house to arrest him. Among lesser charges, he had been accused in a military court of “incitement,” organizing “unauthorized processions” and soliciting the village youth to throw stones. (In 2010, 99.74 percent of the Palestinians tried in military courts were convicted.) The terms of Bassem’s release forbade him to take part in demonstrations, which are all effectively illegal under Israeli military law, so on the first Friday after I arrived, just after the midday call to prayer, he walked with me only as far as the square, where about 50 villagers had gathered in the shade of an old mulberry tree. They were joined by a handful of Palestinian activists from Ramallah and East Jerusalem, mainly young women; perhaps a dozen college-age European and American activists; a half-dozen Israelis, also mainly women — young anarchists in black boots and jeans, variously pierced. Together they headed down the road, clapping and chanting in Arabic and English. Bassem’s son Abu Yazan, licking a Popsicle, marched at the back of the crowd.

Then there were the journalists, scurrying up hillsides in search of better vantage points. In the early days of the protests, the village teemed with reporters from across the globe, there to document the tiny village’s struggle against the occupation. “Sometimes they come and sometimes they don’t,” Mohammad Tamimi, who is 24 and coordinates the village’s social-media campaign, would tell me later. Events in the Middle East — the revolution in Egypt and civil war in Syria — and the unchanging routine of the weekly marches have made it that much harder to hold the world’s attention. That Friday there was just one Palestinian television crew and a few Israeli and European photographers, the regulars among them in steel helmets.

In the protests’ first year, to make sure that the demonstrations — and the fate of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation — didn’t remain hidden behind the walls and fences that surround the West Bank, Mohammad began posting news to a blog and later a Facebook page (now approaching 4,000 followers) under the name Tamimi Press. Soon Tamimi Press morphed into a homegrown media team: Bilal Tamimi shooting video and uploading protest highlights to his YouTube channel; Helme taking photographs; and Mohammad e-mailing news releases to 500-odd reporters and activists. Manal, who is married to Bilal, supplements the effort with a steady outpouring of tweets (@screamingtamimi).

News of the protests moves swiftly around the globe, bouncing among blogs on the left and right. Left-leaning papers like Britain’s Guardian and Israel’s Haaretz still cover major events in the village — deaths and funerals, Bassem’s arrests and releases — but a right-wing Israeli news site has for the last year begun to recycle the same headline week after week: “Arabs, Leftists Riot in Nabi Saleh.” Meanwhile, a pilgrimage to Nabi Saleh has achieved a measure of cachet among young European activists, the way a stint with the Zapatistas did in Mexico in the 1990s. For a time, Nariman regularly prepared a vegan feast for the exhausted outsiders who lingered after the protests. (Among the first things she asked me when I arrived was whether I was a vegan. Her face brightened when I said no.)

Whatever success they have had in the press, the people of Nabi Saleh are intensely conscious of everything they have not achieved. The occupation, of course, persists. When I arrived in June, the demonstrators had not once made it to the spring. Usually they didn’t get much past the main road, where they would turn and find the soldiers waiting around the bend. That week though, they decided to cut straight down the hillside toward the spring. Bashir led the procession, waving a flag. As usual, Israeli Army jeeps were waiting below the spring. The four soldiers standing outside them looked confused — it seemed they hadn’t expected the protesters to make it so far. The villagers marched past them to the spring, where they surprised three settlers eating lunch in the shade, still wet from a dip in one of the pools. One wore only soggy briefs and a rifle slung over his chest.

The kids raced past. The grown-ups filed in, chatting and smoking. More soldiers arrived in body armor, carrying rifles and grenade launchers. Waed and Abu Yazan kicked a soccer ball until a boy spotted a bright orange carp in one of the pools and Abu Yazan and others tried to catch it with their bare hands, splashing until the water went cloudy and the carp disappeared.

Four settlers appeared on the ledge above the spring, young men in sunglasses and jeans, one of them carrying an automatic rifle. Beside me, a sturdy, bald officer from the Israel Defense Forces argued with an Israeli protester. “I let you come,” the officer insisted. “Now you have to go.”

The children piled onto the swing the settlers had built and swung furiously, singing. A young settler argued with the I.D.F. officer, insisting that he clear the protesters away.

“What difference does 10 minutes make?” the officer said.

“Every 10 seconds makes a difference,” the settler answered.

But before their 10 minutes were up, one hour after they arrived, the villagers gathered the children and left as they had come, clapping and chanting, their defiance buoyed by joy. For the first time in two and a half years, they had made it to the spring.

They headed back along the highway, which meant they would have to pass the road leading to Halamish. Ahed, her blond hair in a long braid, clutched a cousin at the front of the procession. As they approached the road, a border-police officer tossed a stun grenade — a device that makes a loud bang and a flash but theoretically, at least, causes no bodily harm — at Ahed’s feet, and then another, and another. Within a few seconds, the marchers were racing up the hill back toward their village, tear-gas grenades streaking through the sky above their heads.

On warm summer evenings, life in Nabi Saleh could feel almost idyllic. Everyone knows everyone. Children run in laughing swarms from house to house. One night, Bassem and Nariman sat outside sharing a water pipe as Nariman read a translated Dan Brown novel and little Salam pranced gleefully about, announcing, “I am Salam, and life is beautiful!”

Bassem is employed by the Palestinian Authority’s Interior Ministry in a department charged with approving entrance visas for Palestinians living abroad. In practice, he said, P.A. officials “have no authority” — the real decisions are made in Israel and passed to the P.A. for rubber-stamping. Among other things, this meant that Bassem rarely had to report to his office in Ramallah, leaving his days free to care for his ailing mother — she died several weeks after I left the village last summer — and strategizing on the phone, meeting international visitors and talking to me over many cups of strong, unsweetened coffee. We would talk in the living room, over the hum of an Al Jazeera newscast. A framed image of Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque hung above the television (more out of nationalist pride than piety: Bassem’s outlook was thoroughly secular).

Though many people in Nabi Saleh have been jailed, only Bassem was declared a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International. Foreign diplomats attended his court hearings in 2011. Bassem’s charisma surely has something to do with the attention. A strange, radiant calm seemed to hover around him. He rarely smiled, and tended to drop weighty pronouncements (“Our destiny is to resist”) in ordinary speech, but I saw his reserve crumble whenever one of his children climbed into his lap.

When Israeli forces occupied the West Bank in 1967, Bassem was 10 weeks old. His mother hid with him in a cave until the fighting ended. He remembers playing in the abandoned British police outpost that is now the center of the I.D.F. base next to Halamish, and accompanying the older kids who took their sheep to pasture on the hilltop where the settlement now stands. His mother went to the spring for water every day. The settlers arrived when he was 9.

Halamish is now fully established and cozier than most gated communities in the United States. Behind the razor wire and chain-link perimeter fence, past the gate and the armed guard, there are playgrounds, a covered pool, a community center and amphitheater, a clinic, a library, a school and several synagogues. The roads are well paved and lined with flowers, the yards lush with lemon trees. Halamish now functions as a commuter suburb; many of the residents work in white-collar jobs in Tel Aviv or Modi’in. The settlement’s population has grown to more than double that of Nabi Saleh.

I first met Shifra Blass, the spokeswoman for Halamish, in 2010. She talked about how empty the West Bank — she used the biblical name, Judea and Samaria — was when she and her husband emigrated from the U.S. in the early 1970s, intent on establishing a Jewish presence in a land they believed had been promised to them. Relations with the surrounding villages, she told me, had remained cordial, friendly even, until the first intifada. (When I asked people in Nabi Saleh about this, no one remembered it that way.) During the second intifada, three residents of the settlement, Blass said, were killed by gunfire on nearby roads. They weren’t near the village, but attitudes hardened.

When I visited her again last month, she was not eager to talk to me about the conflict over the spring and the lands surrounding it. “We want to live our lives and not spend time on it,” Blass said. She dismissed the weekly demonstrations as the creation of “outside agitators who come here and stir the pot — internationalists, anarchists, whatever.” It was all a show, she said, theater for a gullible news media. “I’ll tell you something: it’s unpleasant.” On Fridays, she said, the wind sometimes carries the tear gas across the valley into the settlement. “We have some grown children who say they cannot come home from university for Shabbat because of the tear gas. They call and say, ‘Tell me how bad it is, because if it’s really bad, I’m not coming.’ ”

When the first intifada broke out in late 1987, Nabi Saleh was, as it is now, a flash point. The road that passes between the village and the settlement connects the central West Bank to Tel Aviv: a simple barricade could halt the flow of Palestinian laborers into Israel. Bassem was one of the main Fatah youth activists for the region, organizing the strikes, boycotts and demonstrations that characterized that uprising. (Nabi Saleh is solidly loyal to Fatah, the secular nationalist party that rules the West Bank; Hamas, the militant Islamist movement that governs Gaza, has its supporters elsewhere in the West Bank but has never had a foothold in the village.) He would be jailed seven times during the intifada and, he says, was never charged with a crime. Before his most recent arrest, I asked him how much time he had spent in prison. He added up the months: “Around four years.”

After one arrest in 1993, Bassem told me, an Israeli interrogator shook him with such force that he fell into a coma for eight days. He has a nickel-size scar on his temple from emergency brain surgery during that time. His sister died while he was in prison. She was struck by a soldier and fell down a flight of courthouse stairs, according to her son Mahmoud, who was with her to attend the trial of his brother. (The I.D.F. did not comment on this allegation.)

Bassem nonetheless speaks of those years, as many Palestinians his age do, with something like nostalgia. The first intifada broke out spontaneously — it started in Gaza with a car accident, when an Israeli tank transporter killed four Palestinian laborers. The uprising was, initially, an experience of solidarity on a national scale. Its primary weapons were the sort that transform weakness into strength: the stone, the barricade, the boycott, the strike. The Israeli response to the revolt — in 1988, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin reportedly authorized soldiers to break the limbs of unarmed demonstrators — began tilting international public opinion toward the Palestinian cause for the first time in decades. By the uprising’s third year, however, power had shifted to the P.L.O. hierarchy. The first Bush administration pushed Israel to negotiate, leading eventually to the 1993 Oslo Accord, which created the Palestinian Authority as an interim body pending a “final status” agreement.

But little was resolved in Oslo. A second intifada erupted in 2000, at first mostly following the model set by the earlier uprising. Palestinians blocked roads and threw stones. The I.D.F. took over a house in Nabi Saleh. Children tossed snakes, scorpions and what Bassem euphemistically called “wastewater” through the windows. The soldiers withdrew. Then came the heavy wave of suicide bombings, which Bassem termed “the big mistake.” An overwhelming majority of Israeli casualties during the uprising occurred in about 100 suicide attacks, most against civilians. A bombing at one Tel Aviv disco in 2001 killed 21 teenagers. “Politically, we went backward,” Bassem said. Much of the international good will gained over the previous decade was squandered. Taking up arms wasn’t, for Bassem, a moral error so much as a strategic one. He and everyone else I spoke with in the village insisted they had the right to armed resistance; they just don’t think it works. Bassem could reel off a list of Nabi Saleh’s accomplishments. Of some — Nabi Saleh, he said, had more advanced degrees than any village — he was simply proud. Others — one of the first military actions after Oslo, the first woman to participate in a suicide attack — involved more complicated emotions.

In 1993, Bassem told me, his cousin Said Tamimi killed a settler near Ramallah. Eight years later, another villager, Ahlam Tamimi escorted a bomber to a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed, eight of them minors. Ahlam, who now lives in exile in Jordan, and Said, who is in prison in Israel, remain much-loved in Nabi Saleh. Though everyone I spoke with in the village appeared keenly aware of the corrosive effects of violence — “This will kill the children,” Manal said, “to think about hatred and revenge” — they resented being asked to forswear bloodshed when it was so routinely visited upon them. Said, Manal told me, “lost his father, uncle, aunt, sister — they were all killed. How can you blame him?”

The losses of the second intifada were enormous. Nearly 5,000 Palestinians and more than 1,000 Israelis died. Israeli assassination campaigns and the I.D.F.’s siege of West Bank cities left the Palestinian leadership decimated and discouraged. By the end of 2005, Yasir Arafat was dead, Israel had pulled its troops and settlers out of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, had reached a truce with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The uprising sputtered out. The economy was ruined, Gaza and the West Bank were more isolated from each other than ever, and Palestinians were divided, defeated and exhausted.

But in 2003, while the intifada was still raging, Bassem and others from Nabi Saleh began attending demonstrations in Budrus, 20 minutes away. Budrus was in danger of being cut off from the rest of the West Bank by Israel’s planned separation barrier, the concrete and chain-link divide that snakes along the border and in many places juts deeply into Palestinian territory. Residents began demonstrating. Foreign and Israeli activists joined the protests. Fatah and Hamas loyalists marched side by side. The Israeli Army responded aggressively: at times with tear gas, beatings and arrests; at times with live ammunition. Palestinians elsewhere were fighting with Kalashnikovs, but the people of Budrus decided, said Ayed Morrar, an old friend of Bassem’s who organized the movement there, that unarmed resistance “would stress the occupation more.”

The strategy appeared to work. After 55 demonstrations, the Israeli government agreed to shift the route of the barrier to the so-called 1967 green line. The tactic spread to other villages: Biddu, Ni’lin, Al Ma’asara and in 2009, Nabi Saleh. Together they formed what is known as the “popular resistance,” a loosely coordinated effort that has maintained what has arguably been the only form of active and organized resistance to the Israeli presence in the West Bank since the end of the second intifada in 2005. Nabi Saleh, Bassem hoped, could model a form of resistance for the rest of the West Bank. The goal was to demonstrate that it was still possible to struggle and to do so without taking up arms, so that when the spark came, if it came, resistance might spread as it had during the first intifada. “If there is a third intifada,” he said, “we want to be the ones who started it.”

Bassem saw three options. “To be silent is to accept the situation,” he said, “and we don’t accept the situation.” Fighting with guns and bombs could only bring catastrophe. Israel was vastly more powerful, he said. “But by popular resistance, we can push its power aside.”

As small as the demonstrations were, they appeared to create considerable anxiety in Israel. Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told me that while the West Bank demonstrations do not pose an “existential threat” to Israel, they “certainly could be more problematic in the short term” than a conventional armed revolt. Eytan Buchman, a spokesman for the I.D.F., took issue with the idea that the weekly protests were a form of nonviolent resistance. In an e-mail he described the protests as “violent and illegal rioting that take place around Judea and Samaria, and where large rocks, Molotov cocktails, improvised grenades and burning tires are used against security forces. Dubbing these simply demonstrations is an understatement — more than 200 security-force personnel have been injured in recent years at these riots.” (Molotov cocktails are sometimes thrown at protests at the checkpoints of Beitunia and Kalandia but never, Bassem said, in Nabi Saleh.) Buchman said that the I.D.F. “employs an array of tactics as part of an overall strategy intended to curb these riots and the ensuing acts of violence.” He added that “every attempt is made to minimize physical friction and risk of casualties” among both the I.D.F. and the “rioters.”

One senior military commander, who would agree to be interviewed only on the condition that his name not be used, told me: “When the second intifada broke out, it was very difficult, but it was very easy to understand what we had to do. You have the enemy, he shoots at you, you have to kill him.” Facing down demonstrators armed with slings and stones or with nothing at all is less clear-cut. “As an Israeli citizen,” the commander said, “I prefer stones. As a professional military officer, I prefer to meet tanks and troops.”

But armies, by their nature, have one default response to opposition: force. One soldier who served in Nabi Saleh testified to the Israeli veterans’ group Breaking the Silence about preparing for Friday protests. “It’s like some kind of game,” he said. “Everyone wants to arm themselves with as much ammo as possible. . . . You have lots of stun grenades . . . so they’re thrown for the sake of throwing, at people who are not suspected of anything. And in the end, you tell your friend at the Friday-night dinner table: ‘Wow! I fired this much.’ ”

According to a leaked 2010 U.S. State Department memo, Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi of Israel “expressed frustration” with the West Bank protests to American diplomats, and “warned that the I.D.F. will start to be more assertive in how it deals with these demonstrations, even demonstrations that appear peaceful.” The memo concluded that “less-violent demonstrations are likely to stymie the I.D.F.,” citing the Israeli Defense Ministry policy chief Amos Gilad’s admission to U.S. officials, “We don’t do Gandhi very well.”

Sagi Tal, a former I.D.F. soldier, who was stationed near the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, which also held weekly demonstrations, explained to me that his unit sometimes conducted night raids to gather intelligence or make arrests and sometimes simply so “that they should feel that we are here and we are watching them.”

After dinner one Sunday, Nariman put on a DVD shot both by her and Bilal, the village videographer. (“From the beginning,” Bilal told me at the march on the previous Friday, filming calmly as tear-gas grenades landed all around us, “we decided that the media is the most important thing in the popular resistance.”) We watched a clip shot in the house in which we sat: soldiers banged on the door late at night; they rifled through the boys’ room as Salam and Abu Yazan cowered beneath the covers and Nariman yelled in Arabic: “What manliness this is! What a proud army you’re part of!” The soldiers confiscated a gas mask, two computers, Waed’s camera and two of his schoolbooks — geography and Palestinian history. (In an e-mail, an I.D.F. spokesman described such night raids as “pre-emptive measures, taken in order to assure the security and stability in the area.”)

We watched footage of Nariman being arrested with Bilal’s wife, Manal, early in 2010. Soldiers had fired tear gas into Manal’s house, Nariman explained. Manal ran in to fetch her children, and when she came out, a soldier ordered her back in. She refused, so they arrested her. Nariman tried to intervene, and they arrested her too. They spent 10 days in prisons where, they say, they were beaten repeatedly, strip-searched and held for two days without food before each was dumped at the side of a road. (The I.D.F.’s Buchman said, “No exceptional incidents were recorded during these arrests.” He added that no complaints were filed with military authorities.)

We watched a clip of crying children being passed from a gas-filled room out a second-story window, down a human ladder to the street. Early on, the villagers took all the children to one house during demonstrations, but when the soldiers began firing gas grenades into homes, the villagers decided it was safer to let them join the protests. We watched footage of a soldier dragging a 9-year-old boy in the street, of another soldier striking Manal’s 70-year-old mother. Finally, Nariman shook her head and turned off the disc player. “Glee” was on.

One Friday, shortly after the marchers had barricaded the road with boulders and burning tires in order to keep the army out of the village center, a white truck sped around the bend, a jet of liquid arcing from the water cannon mounted on its cab. Someone yelled, “Skunk!” and everyone bolted. Skunk water smells like many things, but mainly it smells like feces. Nariman wasn’t fast enough. A blast of skunk knocked her off her feet. Moments later, she was standing defiantly, letting the cannon soak her and waving a Palestinian flag at the truck’s grated windshield. An hour or so later, smelling of skunk and shampoo, she was serving tea to a dozen protesters.

Every Friday was a little different. Some demonstrations were short and others almost endless. Some were comic, others not at all. Some days the I.D.F. entered the village, and others they stuck to the hills. Sometimes they made arrests. The basic structure, though, varied little week to week: a few minutes of marching, tear gas fired, then hours of the village youth — the shebab, they’re called — throwing stones while dodging tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets until the sun set and everyone went home. Or failed to make it home.

It was strange, asymmetric combat: a few dozen masked shebab ranging in age from 8 to 38, armed with slings and stones, against 20 or more soldiers in armored vehicles and on foot, dressed in helmets and body armor, toting radios and automatic weapons. The shebab put a great deal of thought into tactics, trying to flank and surprise the soldiers. But even when their plans were perfectly executed, they could not do much more than irritate their enemies. The soldiers, though, would inevitably respond with more sophisticated weaponry, which would motivate the shebab to gather more stones Friday after Friday despite — and because of — the fact that nothing ever seemed to change, for the better at least.

I asked one of the boys why he threw stones, knowing how futile it was. “I want to help my country and my village, and I can’t,” he said. “I can just throw stones.”

“We see our stones as our message,” Bassem explained. The message they carried, he said, was “We don’t accept you.” While Bassem spoke admiringly of Mahatma Gandhi, he didn’t worry over whether stone-throwing counted as violence. The question annoyed him: Israel uses far greater and more lethal force on a regular basis, he pointed out, without being asked to clarify its attitude toward violence. If the loincloth functioned as the sign of Gandhi’s resistance, of India’s nakedness in front of British colonial might, Bassem said, “Our sign is the stone.” The weekly clashes with the I.D.F. were hence in part symbolic. The stones were not just flinty yellow rocks, but symbols of defiance, of a refusal to submit to occupation, regardless of the odds. The army’s weapons bore messages of their own: of economic and technological power, of international support. More than one resident of Nabi Saleh reminded me that the tear gas used there is made by a company based in Pennsylvania.

One afternoon, I visited the family of Mustafa Tamimi, who was 28 when he died in December 2011 after being shot at close range with a tear-gas canister from the back of an Israeli Army jeep. (An I.D.F. investigation concluded, according to Buchman, that when the soldier fired the canister “his field of vision was obscured.”) The walls were covered with framed photos: an action shot of Mustafa in profile, his face behind a red Spider-Man mask as he slung a stone at soldiers outside the frame.

In the weeks before her son’s death, Ekhlas, his mother, told me that soldiers had twice come to the house looking for him. When she got a call that Friday asking her to bring Mustafa’s ID to the watchtower, she thought he’d been arrested, “like all the other times.” Beside me, Bahaa, a tall young man who was Mustafa’s best friend, scrolled through photos on a laptop, switching back and forth between a shot of Mustafa falling to the ground a few feet behind an I.D.F. jeep, and another, taken moments later, of his crushed and bloody face.

Ekhlas told me about a dream she’d had. Mustafa was standing on the roof, wearing his red mask. There were soldiers in the distance. She called to him: “Mustafa, come down! Everyone thinks you are dead — it’s better that they don’t see you.”

He turned to her, she said, and told her: “No. I’m standing here so that they will see me.”

“This is the worst time for us,” Bassem confided to me last summer. He meant not just that the villagers have less to show for their sacrifices each week, but that things felt grim outside the village too. Everyone I spoke with who was old enough to remember agreed that conditions for Palestinians are far worse now than they were before the first intifada. The checkpoints, the raids, the permit system, add up to more daily humiliation than Palestinians have ever faced. The number of Israeli settlers living in the West Bank has more than tripled since the Oslo Accords. Assaults on Palestinians by settlers are so common that they rarely made the news. The resistance, though, remained limited to a few scattered villages like Nabi Saleh and a small urban youth movement.

I sat down one afternoon in Ramallah with Samir Shehadeh, a former literature professor from Nabi Saleh who was one of the intellectual architects of the first intifada and whom I met several times at Bassem’s house. I reminded him of the car accident that ignited the first uprising and asked what kind of spark it would take to mobilize Palestinians to fight again. “The situation is 1,000 times worse,” he said. “There are thousands of possible sparks,” and still nothing has happened.

In the 1980s, youth organizers like Bassem focused on volunteer work: helping farmers in the fields, educating their children. They built trust and established the social networks that would later allow the resistance to coordinate its actions without waiting for orders from above. Those networks no longer exist. Instead there’s the Palestinian Authority. Immediately after the first Oslo Accord in 1993, the scholar Edward Said predicted that “the P.L.O. will . . . become Israel’s enforcer.” Oslo gave birth to a phantom state, an extensive but largely impotent administrative apparatus, with Israel remaining in effective control of the Palestine Authority’s finances, its borders, its water resources — of every major and many minor aspects of Palestinian life. More gallingly to many, Oslo, in Said’s words, gave “official Palestinian consent to continued occupation,” creating a local elite whose privilege depends on the perpetuation of the status quo.

That elite lives comfortably within the so-called “Ramallah bubble”: the bright and relatively carefree world of cafes, NGO salaries and imported goods that characterize life in the West Bank’s provisional capital. During the day, the clothing shops and fast-food franchises are filled. New high-rises are going up everywhere. “I didn’t lose my sister and my cousin and part of my life,” Bassem said, “for the sons of the ministers” to drive expensive cars.

Worse than any corruption, though, was the apparent normalcy. Settlements are visible on the neighboring hilltops, but there are no checkpoints inside Ramallah. The I.D.F. only occasionally enters the city, and usually only at night. Few Palestinians still work inside Israel, and not many can scrape a living from the fields. For the thousands of waiters, clerks, engineers, warehouse workers, mechanics and bureaucrats who spend their days in the city and return to their villages every evening, Ramallah — which has a full-time population of less than 100,000 — holds out the possibility of forgetting the occupation and pursuing a career, saving up for a car, sending the children to college.

But the checkpoints, the settlements and the soldiers are waiting just outside town, and the illusion of normalcy made Nabi Saleh’s task more difficult. If Palestinians believed they could live better by playing along, who would bother to fight? When Bassem was jailed in decades past, he said, prisoners were impatient to get out and resume their struggles. This time, he ran into old friends who couldn’t understand why he was still fighting instead of making money off the spoils of the occupation. “They said to me: ‘You’re smart — why are you doing this? Don’t you learn?’ ”

At times the Palestinian Authority acts as a more immediate obstacle to resistance. Shortly after the protests began in Nabi Saleh, Bassem was contacted by P.A. security officials. The demonstrations were O.K., he said they told him, as long as they didn’t cross into areas in which the P.A. has jurisdiction — as long, that is, as they did not force the P.A. to take a side, to either directly challenge the Israelis or repress their own people. (A spokesman for the Palestinian security forces, Gen. Adnan Damiri, denied this and said that the Palestinian Authority fully supports all peaceful demonstrations.) In Hebron, P.A. forces have stopped protesters from marching into the Israeli-controlled sector of the city. “This isn’t collaboration,” an I.D.F. spokesman, who would only talk to me on the condition that he not be named, assured me.“Israel has a set of interests, the P.A. has a set of interests and those interests happen to overlap.”

Bassem saw no easy way to break the torpor and ignite a more widespread popular resistance. “They have the power,” he said of the P.A., “more than the Israelis, to stop us.” The Palestinian Authority employs 160,000 Palestinians, which means it controls the livelihoods of about a quarter of West Bank households. One night I asked Bassem and Bilal, who works for the Ministry of Public Health, how many people in Nabi Saleh depend on P.A. salaries. It took them a few minutes to add up the names. “Let’s say two-thirds of the village,” Bilal concluded.

Last summer, my final Friday in Nabi Saleh was supposed to be a short day. One of the shebab was getting engaged to a girl from a neighboring village, and everyone planned to attend the betrothal ceremony. The demonstration would end at 3.

Four armored cars waited at the bend in the road, the skunk truck idling behind them. Manal pointed to the civilian policemen accompanying the soldiers. “There is a new policy that they can arrest internationals,” she explained. Earlier that month, as part of the effort to combat what Israelis call the “internationalization” of the conflict, the defense forces issued an order authorizing Israeli immigration police to arrest foreigners in the West Bank.

About half the marchers headed down the hillside. Soldiers waiting below arrested four Israelis and detained Bashir, the owner of the land around the spring. Everyone cheered as Mohammad raced uphill, outrunning the soldiers. (Three months later they would catch up to him in a night raid on his father’s house. He was imprisoned until late December.) I saw Nariman standing in the road with a Scottish woman. I walked over. Two soldiers grabbed the Scottish protester. Two more took me by the arms, pulled me to a jeep and shoved me in. I showed my press card to the driver. His expression didn’t change. Two frightened young women, both British, were already locked inside. After almost an hour, the soldiers brought a Swede and an Italian who had been hiding in the convenience-store bathroom. More soldiers piled in. I showed one my press card and asked if he understood that I was a journalist. He nodded. Finally, the driver pulled onto the road. As we passed the gas station, the shebab ran after us.

“They were so beautiful a few minutes ago, right?” the soldier beside me said as the shebab’s stones clanged against the jeep. “They were so cute.”

They drove us to the old British police station in the I.D.F. base in Halamish. While I was sitting on a bench, an I.D.F. spokesman called my cellphone to inform me that no journalists with press cards had been detained in Nabi Saleh. I disagreed. (The next day, according to Agence France-Presse, the I.D.F. denied I had been arrested.) A half-hour later, an officer escorted me to the gate.

As I walked back to Nabi Saleh, the road was empty, but the air was still peppery with tear gas. I made it back in time for the engagement party and flew home the next day. The five activists detained with me were deported. Two nights after I left, soldiers raided Bassem’s house. The following week, they raided the village five days in a row.

This past October, the popular resistance movement began to shift tactics, trying to break the routine of weekly demonstrations. They blocked a settler road west of Ramallah, and the following week staged a protest inside an Israeli-owned supermarket in the settlement industrial zone of Shaar Binyamin. Bassem was arrested outside the market — soldiers grabbed at Nariman and dragged Bassem off when he stepped forward to put his arms around her. Less than two weeks later, Waed was arrested at a Friday demonstration. Soldiers beat him, he said, “with their fists and their rifles.” When he appeared in court, Waed was still bruised. The judge threw out the charges. But while he was detained, he was in the same prison as his father and saw him briefly there. “When I said goodbye to him,” Waed told me with obvious pride, “he had tears in his eyes. I was stronger than him.”

On the day of Waed’s arrest, a camera caught Ahed shaking her fist, demanding that soldiers tell her where they were taking her brother. The Internet took over: video of the tiny, bare-armed blond girl facing down a soldier went viral. She and Nariman were invited to Istanbul, where, to their surprise, Nariman said, they were greeted at the airport by dozens of children wearing T-shirts printed with Ahed’s photo. They drove past billboards displaying Ahed’s image. Reporters followed them everywhere. Crowds gathered when they walked in the streets. They were taken to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the southeastern city of Urfa, Nariman said, and flew back with him to Istanbul on his plane.

Not everyone reacted so enthusiastically. One right-wing blogger dubbed Ahed “Shirley Temper.” The Israeli news site Ynet took the images as evidence that “Palestinian protesters use children to needle I.D.F. soldiers in the hope of provoking a violent response.”

In mid-November, Israeli rockets began falling on Gaza. Protests spread throughout the West Bank. “We thought it was the start of the third intifada,” Manal told me. The demonstrations in Nabi Saleh stretched beyond their usual Friday-evening terminus. One Saturday in November, Nariman’s brother Rushdie — who worked as a policeman near Ramallah and was rarely home on Fridays — joined the shebab on the hill. He was standing beside Waed when he was hit by a rubber-coated bullet. Then the soldiers began shooting live ammunition, but Rushdie was hurt and couldn’t run. As he lay on the ground, a soldier shot him in the back from a few meters away. Nariman ran to the hillside with her video camera and found her brother lying wounded. “I wanted to attack the soldier and die with Rushdie right there, but I knew I had to be stronger than that,” Nariman said. “Why is it required of me to be more humane than they are?” Rushdie, who was 31, died two days later. An I.D.F. investigation found that soldiers fired 80 shots of live ammunition and neglected to “control the fire.” The unit’s commander was reportedly relieved of his command.

When the fighting stopped in Gaza, the protests in the West Bank ceased. I went back to Nabi Saleh in January, three weeks before Bassem was expected home. The village seemed listless and depressed, as if everyone were convinced of the futility of continuing. On my first Friday back, the demonstration ended early: the shebab had a soccer match in another village. It rained the next week, and everyone went home after an hour. “We are still living the shock of Rushdie’s killing,” Mohammad told me.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, though, momentum was building. In late November, Netanyahu announced plans to build 3,400 settlement units in an area known as E1, effectively cutting off Jerusalem from the West Bank. Just before I arrived in January, popular-resistance activists tried something new, erecting a tent “village” called Bab al-Shams in E1, symbolically appropriating the methods of land confiscation employed by settlers. “The time has come now to change the rules of the game,” the organizers wrote in a news release, “for us to establish facts on the ground — our own land.” The numbers were relatively small — about 250 people took part, including Nariman and a few others from Nabi Saleh — and, on direct orders from Netanyahu, soldiers evicted everyone two days later, but the movement was once again making headlines around the globe. Copycat encampments went up all over the West Bank — some in areas where the popular resistance had not previously been active.

The day after his release, Bassem told me that even sitting in prison he had felt “a sense of joy” when he learned about Bab al-Shams. The popular resistance was finally spreading beyond the village demonstrations. “We have to create a sense of renewal,” he said, “not only in Nabi Saleh but on a larger scale.” The village’s losses — and his own — he acknowledged, were daunting. “The price is now higher,” he said, but “if we don’t continue, it would mean that the occupation has succeeded.” It would take constant creativity, he said, to hold onto the momentum. He didn’t know what it would look like yet, but just talking about it seemed to add inches to his height.

Within days, thousands of Palestinians would protest around the West Bank, first in solidarity with prisoners on hunger strikes to demand an end to the indefinite detention of Palestinians without trial, later in outrage at the death of a 30-year-old prisoner named Arafat Jaradat. Once again, the words “third intifada” were buzzing through the press. Avi Dichter, the head of Israeli domestic security during the second intifada and the current minister of Home Front Defense, cautioned in a radio interview that an “incorrect response by the security forces” might push the protests into full-out revolt.

When I saw Bassem in February, I asked him whether he was worried that the uprising might finally arrive at Nabi Saleh’s moment of greatest self-doubt, that it might catch the village drowsing. “It doesn’t matter who is resisting,” he said. “What’s important is that they are resisting.”

On the last Friday I was there, the wind was against the demonstrators. Nearly every grenade the soldiers fired, regardless of how far away it landed, blew a cloud of gas up the road right at them. A dozen or so villagers watched the clashes from the relative safety of the hillside. Bassem’s cousin Naji was sitting on a couch cushion. Mahmoud, Bassem’s nephew, poured coffee into clear plastic cups. Bright red poppies dotted the hill between the rocks. The way was clear, but no one tried to walk down to the spring.

When the demonstration seemed over, I trekked back to the village with a young Israeli in a black “Anarchy Is for Lovers” T-shirt. He told me about his childhood on a kibbutz bordering the Gaza Strip. His parents were “right-wing Zionists,” he said, “hard-core.” They didn’t talk to him anymore. A group of soldiers appeared behind us, and we ducked into Nariman’s yard as they tossed a few stun grenades over the wall. Later that evening, at Naji’s house, I watched Bilal’s video of the same soldiers as they strolled down the drive, lobbing tear-gas grenades until they reached their jeeps. They piled in and closed the armored doors. One door opened a crack. A hand emerged. It tossed one last grenade toward the camera. Gas streamed out, the door closed and the jeep sped off down the road.


Octomom: C’est la rivalité, imbécile ! (Baby-hoarding: The reproductive equivalent of your buying 30 giant bottles of ketchup at Costco, even though the cupboard is already overflowing)

3 janvier, 2018
 Voici, des fils sont un héritage de l’Éternel, Le fruit des entrailles est une récompense. Comme les flèches dans la main d’un guerrier, Ainsi sont les fils de la jeunesse. Heureux l’homme qui en a rempli son carquois! Psaumes 127: 3-5
Lorsque Rachel vit qu’elle ne donnait point d’enfants à Jacob, elle porta envie à sa soeur, et elle dit à Jacob: Donne-moi des enfants, ou je meurs! La colère de Jacob s’enflamma contre Rachel, et il dit: Suis-je à la place de Dieu, qui t’empêche d’être féconde? Elle dit: Voici ma servante Bilha; va vers elle; qu’elle enfante sur mes genoux, et que par elle j’aie aussi des fils. (…) Rachel dit: J’ai lutté divinement contre ma soeur, et j’ai vaincu. (…) Ruben (…) trouva des mandragores dans les champs. Il les apporta à Léa, sa mère. Alors Rachel dit à Léa: Donne moi, je te prie, des mandragores de ton fils. Elle lui répondit: Est-ce peu que tu aies pris mon mari, pour que tu prennes aussi les mandragores de mon fils? Et Rachel dit: Eh bien! il couchera avec toi cette nuit pour les mandragores de ton fils. Le soir, comme Jacob revenait des champs, Léa sortit à sa rencontre, et dit: C’est vers moi que tu viendras, car je t’ai acheté pour les mandragores de mon fils. Et il coucha avec elle cette nuit. Dieu exauça Léa, qui devint enceinte, et enfanta un cinquième fils à Jacob. Léa dit: Dieu m’a donné mon salaire parce que j’ai donné ma servante à mon mari. Et elle l’appela du nom d’Issacar. Genèse 30: 1-18
Tout comme d’autres types de comportement humain, l’ascétisme religieux peut être contaminé par l’esprit compétitif. (…) Nous vivons à une époque où les actions les plus saines comme les plus malsaines peuvent avoir la même motivation. (…) Il y a une grande ironie dans le fait que le processus moderne d’éradication de la religion en produit d’innombrables caricatures. On nous dit souvent que nos problèmes sont dus à notre incapacité à nous débarrasser de notre tradition religieuse mais ce n’est pas vrai. Ils sont enracinés dans la débâcle de cette tradition, qui est nécessairement suivie par la réapparition, dans des habits modernes, de divinités plus anciennes et plus féroces nées du processus mimétique. (…) nous entrons dans une hiérarchie de jeux compétitifs qui deviennent toujours plus subtils à mesure que l’escalade progresse. A la fin, ce processus peut aboutir à un rejet total de la compétition, ce qui peut être, même si ce n’est pas toujours le cas, la plus intense des compétitions. Ainsi, il existe des rivalités de renoncement plutôt que d’acquisition, de privation plutôt que de jouissance. Dans toute société, la compétition peut assumer des formes paradoxales parce qu’elle peut contaminer les activités qui lui sont en principe les plus étrangères, en particulier le don. Dans le potlatch, comme dans notre société, la course au toujours moins peut se substituer à la course au toujours plus, et signifier en définitive la même chose. Nous avons repéré l’ennemi et c’est nous. Chaque individu finit par trouver son équivalent personnalisé de la folie du potlatch. (…) La rivalité s’intensifie à mesure que le nombre d’imitateurs augmente. René Girard
Often connected with obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoarding involves excessive collecting and an inability to throw things away, a pattern that in severe cases can lead to major health hazards. The syndrome even has its own reality program. A&E’s « Hoarders » takes viewers into homes that are literally collapsing under the weight of their own squalor. One episode featured a woman whose dead cats had been decomposing under her living room debris for a decade. Oh, and it’s doing great in the ratings. Just when we thought we knew everything there was to know about Nadya Suleman, there’s suddenly another Octo-news flash. In an accusation of gross negligence filed by the Medical Board of California against Michael Kamrava, the Beverly Hills doctor who performed the in vitro fertilization procedures that led to the births of Suleman’s 14 children, it’s been revealed that the Octomom demanded the creation of fresh embryos despite having a stockpile of frozen ones. This despite her claim that she pursued multiple pregnancies because she didn’t want her existing embryos to be destroyed or go unused. In other words, what’s disturbing here is not just that Kamrava « went beyond the reasonable judgment of any treating physician. » It’s that Suleman, with Kamrava, engaged in the reproductive equivalent of your buying 30 giant bottles of ketchup at Costco, even though the cupboard is already overflowing. Suleman, as far as I can tell, is a decent housekeeper, but am I the only one who sees her obsession with childbearing as a manifestation of the hoarding impulse? Am I the only one who reads about Suleman returning to the doctor for more embryo transfers just three or four months after giving birth and wonders just how different her mentality is from whatever drives someone to let newspapers pile up so they block the windows? I hear about Angelina Jolie wanting « up to 14 kids » and the Duggars giving all their children names that start with « J » and wonder if, in addition to being magnanimous or true to Scripture or whatever they’d like to think they’re being, they’re not also a little . . . compulsive? Of course, I’m not a psychologist, a fact I was reminded of when I called Gail Steketee, dean of the School of Social Work at Boston University and coauthor of the forthcoming « Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things. » Steketee sees no connection between hoarding and addiction to baby-making or baby-adopting. In fact, she’s never heard the two referenced together. She points instead to hoarders’ problems with decision-making; with fundamental difficulties understanding what they need and don’t need. She thinks that behavior like Suleman’s « no doubt represents some form of need » but that « it’s unlikely to be similar to the need for information [a reason hoarders save years’ worth of newspapers], for keeping sentimental items or for having control over one’s stuff. » OK, so the research community isn’t backing my theory. But when we ask why we’re simultaneously so repelled and captivated by Suleman, perhaps we also need to ask why we’re so drawn in by stockpiling excess: Is it pure voyeurism? Is it strictly us versus them, the rational versus the nut jobs? Or does the notion of acquisition-run-amok resonate with an extreme ketchup buyer in all of us? LA Times

Après la syllogomanie, le syndrome de Noé, le syndrome de Diogène ou la bibliomanie, … la bébémanie ?

Angelina Jolie rêvant tout haut, pour compléter sa collection, de 14 enfants …

Séries de télé-réalité (« Hoarders », « Hoarding Buried alive ») suivant, il y a quelques années, la vie quotidienne de personnes souffrant de syllogomanie, (syndrome de Noé, syndrome de Diogène ou bibliomanie) …

Autre série de téléréalité (récemment arrêtée elle aussi) à la gloire d’une famille à « 19 enfants et ce n’est pas fini »

Incarnation d’un mouvement religieux dit « carquois pleins » anti-contraception et pro-enseignement à domicile et prônant une progéniture nombreuse …

Revndication, après l’aberration du « mariage homosexuel », de la « gestation pour tous » …

A l’heure où l’on reparle de la fameuse Octomom

Qui avait justement avec ses 14 enfants …

Dont une naissance d’octuplés, s’ajoutant, suite à une insémination de douze embryons, à six autres enfants dont une paire de jumeaux …

Défrayé la chronique il y a neuf ans …

Comment ne pas voir …

Dans cette véritable obsession de la gestation qu’elle incarne …

A l’image de l’authentique compétition gestative à laquelle se livrent, y compris via servantes-mères porteuses et mandragores viagra-, les deux proverbiales femmes du Jacob biblique …

Non seulement, avec le LA Times, la énième manifestation de la pulsion accumulatrice …

Mais aussi de cet esprit de compétition et de rivalité …

Qui, comme l’avait si brillamment montré René Girard, peu à peu gagne la moindre de nos conduites ?

Octomom, ‘Hoarders’ and compulsion
Whether it’s having lots of kids or just lots of stuff, Americans are compulsive about watching those who are compulsive.
Meghan Daum
The LA Times
January 07, 2010

Just when we thought we knew everything there was to know about Nadya Suleman, there’s suddenly another Octo-news flash. In an accusation of gross negligence filed by the Medical Board of California against Michael Kamrava, the Beverly Hills doctor who performed the in vitro fertilization procedures that led to the births of Suleman’s 14 children, it’s been revealed that the Octomom demanded the creation of fresh embryos despite having a stockpile of frozen ones. This despite her claim that she pursued multiple pregnancies because she didn’t want her existing embryos to be destroyed or go unused.

In other words, what’s disturbing here is not just that Kamrava « went beyond the reasonable judgment of any treating physician. » It’s that Suleman, with Kamrava, engaged in the reproductive equivalent of your buying 30 giant bottles of ketchup at Costco, even though the cupboard is already overflowing.

I know some of you are probably wagging your fingers at me — for comparing embryos to ketchup (hey, there are worse analogies) and for discussing Octomom at all (believe me, I’m wagging my finger at myself, then stabbing it into my eye). And yes, Sulemania has waned, but it hasn’t disappeared. The paparazzi still follow her every move, and the New York Times Magazine published a cover story in November about the filming of a British documentary series, « My Life As the Octomom. »

Of course, ultra-fecundity is in vogue these days, particularly in the realm of unscripted television. From the unceasing car alarm that is the din of « Jon & Kate Plus Eight » to the more subdued though strangely creepier Duggar family, who’ve added a 19th child to their reality show-making, home-schooling, birth-control-eschewing dynasty, there’s no doubt that large broods attract viewers. And why wouldn’t they? If there’s anything television audiences like watching more than cute kids, it’s adults whose lives are more harried and banal than their own.

Lately, however, I’ve been wondering if some of the interest in mega-families is cut from the same psychological cloth as another phenomenon that’s captured a lot of attention: hoarding. Often connected with obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoarding involves excessive collecting and an inability to throw things away, a pattern that in severe cases can lead to major health hazards.

The syndrome even has its own reality program. A&E’s « Hoarders » takes viewers into homes that are literally collapsing under the weight of their own squalor. One episode featured a woman whose dead cats had been decomposing under her living room debris for a decade. Oh, and it’s doing great in the ratings.

Suleman, as far as I can tell, is a decent housekeeper, but am I the only one who sees her obsession with childbearing as a manifestation of the hoarding impulse? Am I the only one who reads about Suleman returning to the doctor for more embryo transfers just three or four months after giving birth and wonders just how different her mentality is from whatever drives someone to let newspapers pile up so they block the windows? I hear about Angelina Jolie wanting « up to 14 kids » and the Duggars giving all their children names that start with « J » and wonder if, in addition to being magnanimous or true to Scripture or whatever they’d like to think they’re being, they’re not also a little . . . compulsive?

Of course, I’m not a psychologist, a fact I was reminded of when I called Gail Steketee, dean of the School of Social Work at Boston University and coauthor of the forthcoming « Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things. » Steketee sees no connection between hoarding and addiction to baby-making or baby-adopting. In fact, she’s never heard the two referenced together. She points instead to hoarders’ problems with decision-making; with fundamental difficulties understanding what they need and don’t need. She thinks that behavior like Suleman’s « no doubt represents some form of need » but that « it’s unlikely to be similar to the need for information [a reason hoarders save years’ worth of newspapers], for keeping sentimental items or for having control over one’s stuff. »

OK, so the research community isn’t backing my theory. But when we ask why we’re simultaneously so repelled and captivated by Suleman, perhaps we also need to ask why we’re so drawn in by stockpiling excess: Is it pure voyeurism? Is it strictly us versus them, the rational versus the nut jobs? Or does the notion of acquisition-run-amok resonate with an extreme ketchup buyer in all of us?

I’m not sure what’s worse, that we want to gawk at it or that we secretly relate to it (either way, A&E wins). But one thing’s for sure: If Kamrava loses his medical license — a distinct possibility — maybe he could land a job at Costco.

Voir aussi:

EXCLUSIVE: Two bedrooms for 14 kids and living paycheck to paycheck – but Octomom tells how she is FINALLY ‘at peace’ with her octuplets after giving up stripping and searching for a man
Nadya Suleman, who now goes by Natalie, says she wants to share her story with other women after admitting her controversial pregnancy led her to the brink of suicide
Speaking to DailyMail.com the mom of 14 revealed: ‘Every day I would wake up with the ugliest, dead, visceral feeling inside of me’
Suleman’s notoriety landed her roles in porn films which she has now come to deeply regret. Although she admits residuals from the film help pay the bills
She became infamous in 2009 after undergoing IVF treatment and became pregnant with octuplets, even though she already had six and was unemployed
Now Suleman admits she was ‘very foolish, immature and selfish’ to have 14 children but can’t ‘imagine my life at this point in time any different than it is’
The 42-year-old reveals how she decided to make a change after a stranger approached her at a strip club and  told her: ‘You do not have to do this’

Karen Ruiz

The Dailymail

20 December 2017

‘Octomom’ Nadya Suleman says she is now finally ‘at peace’ after her financial problems and strain of trying to look after her 14 children led her to the brink of suicide.

Now, the controversial mother who gave birth to octuplets after in vitro fertilization (IVF), wants to share her story and personal battle with other women, hoping it will inspire them.

Nadya, 42, who now goes by the name of Natalie, has also turned her back on her media persona of ‘Octomom’ who she says ‘nearly destroyed me and my family.’

Speaking to DailyMail.com she revealed: ‘Every day I would wake up with the most ugly, dead, visceral feeling inside of me.

‘I didn’t want to live. I felt less than human as that character I was pretending to be, to survive and provide for my family.

‘What she was disgusted me and I did not want my children to remember me like that. I was forced into doing things I didn’t want to do because I was so terrified I couldn’t support them and give them the life I deserved.

‘When I abandoned it and went back to who I really am I had that sense of peace, internal joy.

‘Struggle is the best teacher. I have become more grateful for every minute of every day – little moments, not material things, can measure up to those times I have with my family.’

Natalie became infamous in 2009 when it was revealed she had undergone IVF treatment to become pregnant with eight children, even though she was already a mother of six and unemployed.

Her notoriety led her to do a pornographic film, which saw her win four Adult Video Network (AVN) awards, and appear in strip clubs.

Recalling the moment she realized she had to turn a corner she said: ‘I was so low I was taking prescription drugs, benzodiazepines.

‘I had to medicate to just get through what I was doing. I would mix it with alcohol which I later found out was what Whitney Houston, died from.

‘I didn’t want to be here anymore, but then I thought about my children and just had to keep going for them.’

She told how her breaking point came after she was approached by a stranger one night while she was working as a stripper.

‘I was in a strip club in Florida in February 2013, and this very tall man, this stranger came in. He walked straight to me and looked straight into my eyes.

‘He took my hand and grabbed my arm and said in a very gentle but firm way: « You do not have to do this. » He repeated it five times.

‘I couldn’t control the tears that were streaming down my face. I had that ugly feeling of nausea. I looked down for a moment, and looked up and he was gone,’ she says.

Natalie says she thought it was possible the man could have been ‘an angel’ and she decided to make a change: ‘I knew I had to be my healthy self again. I didn’t want my kids not to have a mom.’

Natalie has six children from her first five rounds of IVF – Elijah, 16, Amerah, 15, Joshua, 13, Aiden, 11, and 10-year-old twins Calyssa and Caleb.

The octuplets, Makai, Josiah, Isaiah, Jonah, Maliyah, Jeremiah, Nariyah and Noah turn nine in January, and are the only surviving set in the world.

To try and give them a more stable upbringing she moved the family back to Laguna, in Orange County, CA, where she had grown up.

But as she tried to get her life on track, in 2014 she was found guilty of welfare fraud, and ordered to do community service.

Natalie says she was innocent, and claims her management were to blame: ‘The only thing I was guilty of was being desperate and trusting.

‘I gave them my cards and checkbook and that is what happened. I was trying to manage my children instead of my money. The fraud, was totally expunged thankfully.’

Now Natalie works part time as a counselor, speaking to men and women who suffer drug and alcohol issues.

She says despite caring for 14 children on her own, she is not looking for a partner: ‘That’s just not me. My calling was to be a mom. I am happiest at home with the kids. And I knew when I did this I would be sacrificing a social life. But that’s OK because I’m not social.’

She confessed she was ‘very foolish, immature and selfish’ to have 14 children, and didn’t really think through the consequences: ‘I was on a mission. I just wanted to have a bunch of kids. But I couldn’t imagine my life at this point in time any different than it is.’

Natalie admits things are tight but she helps feed the family with food stamps.

The octuplets follow a vegan diet, but her other six children are ‘omnivores.’

She said: ‘We live paycheck to paycheck. It’s a struggle every day. I am very grateful for food stamps, and I do get some residuals from that horrible porn thing. But I am not worried.’

The family live in a two bedroom townhouse in Laguna Niguel, California and have converted the office into a third bedroom so all her children have beds to sleep in.

She says they ‘fight, play, fight and play again’ like any normal family.

A lot of the children are ‘shy and introverted,’ taking after their mom.

And she revealed that the octuplets know that their home life is different to most households: ‘The whole family, we are all kind of different. The kids say, « oh are we weird somehow? » and I say, « it’s OK to be different if there is nothing wrong with it.’ ‘The kids are happy and that is all that matters.’

Natalie’s son Aiden, 12, is autistic, which adds another dimension to family life.

She says his siblings help look after him: ‘Aiden is a challenge. But the other children they are like his guardian angels.

‘His brother Makai, he literally shadows him, and helps give him bites of food – they have a very special bond.

‘Aiden has the mind of an 18-month-old, he’s still non-verbal and in his diapers 24/7.

‘I am open with the kids and I teach them about autism.’Natalie’s son inspired her to write her book which she is hoping to get published.

‘Originally it wasn’t a memoir, it was about raising my son with disabilities and the challenges. But the little kids made it a lot more interesting,’ she says.

‘It’s a story that needs to be told and I think it will encourage a lot of women to draw up strength they didn’t know they had.

‘I believe it will help inspire women to keep pressing forward despite the pain and suffering they may be experiencing. If you set a goal you can achieve anything.

Voir également:

Octomom : finie la galère
Déjà mère célibataire de six enfants, « Octomom » a ensuite accouché d’octuplés. L’Amérique la prenait pour une folle. Aujourd’hui, elle s’en sort.

Karen Isère

Paris Match|

Octomom n’est plus. Natalie dit avoir « tué » l’avatar qui l’a menée en enfer. De ce surnom donné par les médias américains à la naissance de ses octuplés, elle avait pourtant aussitôt fait une marque déposée. En janvier 2009, Nadya Suleman, comme elle s’appelle alors, fait la une des médias pour avoir accouché, par césarienne, de huit prématurés. Minuscules, ils ont vu le jour, ou plutôt les couveuses, à 7 mois et demi. Le plus lourd pèse 1,5 kilo ; le plus léger, moins de 700 grammes. Dans les gazettes de la planète, l’image de mère courage vire illico au phénomène de foire : sans emploi, la parturiente de l’extrême a déjà six enfants de 2 à 7 ans, dont un fils autiste. De quoi séduire les Américains puritains, partisans de familles XXL ? Après tout, les nourrissons portent des prénoms bibliques. Et, lors de sa grossesse, Nadya a refusé qu’on lui retire quelques embryons. Autant de bons points pour les Pro-Life… A un détail près : elle fait des bébés toute seule. Cette pécheresse n’a pas de mari, ni même de compagnon, et sa progéniture est 100 % made in éprouvette. Haro sur l’« Octo » ! Elle assure avoir « juste » voulu donner la vie une septième fois. Mais on lui aurait implanté six « œufs », dont deux se sont divisés. En réalité, il y en avait même douze, alors qu’une procédure normale se limite à deux ou trois. Un « surdosage » qui vaudra au médecin responsable d’être radié. Selon les experts, il aurait aussi dû s’interroger sur la santé mentale de sa patiente. L’Amérique libérale, elle, torpille d’ailleurs la jeune femme à coups de munitions psy. Les talk-shows parlent de narcissisme, de déséquilibre, d’irresponsabilité… Sur le plateau de Whoopi Goldberg, on se repasse en boucle les éclats de rire stridents d’Octomom, tout en susurrant qu’elle devrait faire adopter ses bébés.

Ses confidences ne rassurent personne : fille unique, elle aurait toujours rêvé d’une grande fratrie et « manqué d’attention » de la part de son père, Edward, un ex-militaire irakien, et de sa mère, Angela, enseignante. Alors elle s’est offert une compensation. Et une vengeance inconsciente ? A 33 ans, Nadya loge toujours dans le trois-pièces de ses parents, qui l’aident à élever sa couvée du siècle et y engloutissent leurs pensions de retraite. Angela assure que sa fille dépense ses allocations en jouets : « Elle n’a aucune idée de ce qu’elle nous fait endurer, aux petits et à moi. » En pleine crise des subprimes, ses concitoyens s’étranglent de rage en apprenant aussi le coût de cette naissance à haut risque : quelque 2 millions de dollars, aux frais de l’Oncle Sam. Et ce n’est qu’un début ! Pauvre Trésor public, se lamente l’Amérique.

Dans « Home Alone », Octomom se masturbe sous un fil où sèchent culottes et chaussettes d’enfants

Nadya a de faux airs d’Angelina Jolie, mais ni Brad ni millions. A quelques encablures de Hollywood, elle va produire une version originale du rêve américain. Un show vendeur mais décadent. Si les octuplés portent tous le même deuxième prénom, Angel, « ange », la vie de leur mère n’aura rien d’éthéré. Octomom devient un logo et ses propos une logorrhée sans filet, comme quand elle confie vouloir adopter un petit cochon et lui faire porter des couches. Elle assure qu’elle va travailler. Et le prouve : supermaman pose en Bikini sur un lit couvert de croix, « comme Madonna », sort le single « Sexy Party », tourne dans « 666, The Devil’s Child » (« L’enfant du diable ») puis dans un film porno, « Home Alone » (« Seule à la maison »). Elle s’y masturbe sous un fil où sèchent culottes et chaussettes d’enfant. Le bon goût près de chez vous. La pluie de dollars s’évapore vite, dans un parfum de scandale. La « mom » que les Américains adorent détester sera même condamnée à deux cents heures de travaux d’intérêt général pour fraude aux allocations. Elle les purge encore.

Aujourd’hui, Natalie assure qu’elle avait confié son compte en banque à son agent et ignorait tout de cette malversation. Surtout, elle vomit ses années X : « Un travail honteux et déshumanisant. Certains racontent que je l’ai fait par plaisir, mais c’était juste pour payer les factures. Je n’éprouvais plus que dégoût pour moi-même, alors j’anesthésiais sans cesse mes émotions à l’aide d’anxiolytiques. » Un soir de 2013, elle rentre d’une séance de photos coquines quand elle trouve sa petite Amerah, alors âgée de 10 ans, paradant dans le salon en talons aiguilles. « J’ai eu la nausée et je me suis dit “stop”. J’ai compris que je préférais devenir SDF avec mes 14 enfants que de laisser une de mes filles prendre le même chemin que moi. Dès lors, je me suis sentie aussi libre que si je m’étais évadée de prison. » A l’entendre, la transition est rondement menée : titulaire d’une maîtrise de psychothérapie, elle déménage fissa et trouve un travail social auprès de femmes en difficulté. Exit Octomom, et même Nadya. Désormais, miss Suleman répond au prénom de Natalie.

Je reçois des bons alimentaires de l’Etat, mais ils ne paient qu’un tiers de ce que mes enfants consomment

« On me traite de paresseuse qui profite des allocations, s’insurge-t-elle, alors que je travaille depuis trois ans et demi. Oui, je reçois encore des bons alimentaires de l’Etat, mais ils ne paient qu’un tiers de ce que mes enfants consomment en nourriture. » Elle venait de prendre ce nouveau départ quand sa mère fut atteinte d’un cancer de l’utérus. « Cela nous a beaucoup rapprochées, dit Natalie. Nous avions enfin la relation dont j’avais toujours rêvé. Elle s’est éteinte dans mes bras, fin 2014. Juste après, mon père a annoncé qu’il se soûlerait jusqu’à ce que mort s’ensuive. Je l’ai accueilli chez moi. Un soir, nous avons entendu un énorme choc. Sous l’empire de l’alcool, il était tombé dans l’escalier. Les pompiers sont arrivés à temps pour le sauver, mais il est resté tétraplégique et sous assistance respiratoire. Il ne peut même plus parler. »

De ses années nases, Natalie veut faire table rase. Tout en assumant ses erreurs. La bouche en cœur, et comme gonflée à l’hélium, elle a longtemps nié avoir eu recours à la chirurgie esthétique, notamment dans l’émission d’Oprah Winfrey. « En fait, dit-elle maintenant, je me suis fait augmenter la poitrine après avoir allaité trois enfants, j’ai subi une abdominoplastie après la naissance des jumeaux et je me suis fait faire par deux fois des injections dans les lèvres. Mais le résultat était si affreux que j’en avais honte. Alors j’ai menti. Je me sens soulagée de l’avouer enfin. » Elle estime aussi ses enfants capables d’entendre la vérité : « Ils savent ce que j’ai fait sous le nom d’Octomom. Je leur dis que j’ai commis des actions honteuses. Ils me répondent qu’ils m’aiment et m’aimeront toujours. » Au programme, donc, des confessions, mais aussi des bénédicités à chaque repas et l’église le dimanche. Le soir, la repentie fait jouer son petit monde au « jeu de la gratitude » : chacun doit trouver dix éléments pour lesquels il se sent reconnaissant. Natalie ne rêve même pas d’un amoureux : « Je ne peux pas prendre de mon temps aux enfants pour l’offrir à un étranger. Je suis mariée avec eux. »


Polémique Arte: Vous avez dit accablant ? (The worst documentary on antisemitism, except for all the others)

23 juin, 2017