Elimination du général Soleimani: Attention, une décision irresponsable peut en cacher une autre ! (Guess who just pulled another decisive blow against Iran’s rogue adventurism ?)

3 janvier, 2020

CA502K5W8AAepmb"Soleimani is my commander" says the lower graffiti on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad at the very end of 2019LONG LIVE TRUMP ! (On Tehran streets after Soleimani's elimination, Jan. 3, 2019)
Image result for damet garm poeticPersian is a beautifully lyrical and highly emotional language, one that adds a touch of poetry to everyday phrases. Discover these 18 poetic Persian phrases you'll wish English had.

3 a.m. There is a phone in the White House and it’s ringing. Who do you want answering the phone? Hillary Clinton ad (2008)
The assassination of Iran Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani is an extremely dangerous and foolish escalation. The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.  Mohammad Javad Zarif (Iranian Foreign Minister)
Le président Trump vient de jeter un bâton de dynamite dans une poudrière, et il doit au peuple américain une explication. C’est une énorme escalade dans une région déjà dangereuse. Joe Biden
Iraqis — Iraqis — dancing in the street for freedom; thankful that General Soleimani is no more. Mike Pompeo
Qassem Soleimani was an arch terrorist with American blood on his hands. His demise should be applauded by all who seek peace and justice. Proud of President Trump for doing the strong and right thing. Nikki Haley
To Iran and its proxy militias: We will not accept the continued attacks against our personnel and forces in the region. Attacks against us will be met with responses in the time, manner and place of our choosing. We urge the Iranian regime to end malign activities. Mark Esper (US Defense Secretary)
At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more. He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months – including the attack on December 27th – culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week. This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world. US state department
In March 2007, Soleimani was included on a list of Iranian individuals targeted with sanctions in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747. On 18 May 2011, he was sanctioned again by the U.S. along with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and other senior Syrian officials due to his alleged involvement in providing material support to the Syrian government. On 24 June 2011, the Official Journal of the European Union said the three Iranian Revolutionary Guard members now subject to sanctions had been « providing equipment and support to help the Syrian government suppress protests in Syria ». The Iranians added to the EU sanctions list were two Revolutionary Guard commanders, Soleimani, Mohammad Ali Jafari, and the Guard’s deputy commander for intelligence, Hossein Taeb. Soleimani was also sanctioned by the Swiss government in September 2011 on the same grounds cited by the European Union. In 2007, the U.S. included him in a « Designation of Iranian Entities and Individuals for Proliferation Activities and Support for Terrorism », which forbade U.S. citizens from doing business with him. The list, published in the EU’s Official Journal on 24 June 2011, also included a Syrian property firm, an investment fund and two other enterprises accused of funding the Syrian government. The list also included Mohammad Ali Jafari and Hossein Taeb. On 13 November 2018, the U.S. sanctioned an Iraqi military leader named Shibl Muhsin ‘Ubayd Al-Zaydi and others who allegedly were acting on Soleimani’s behalf in financing military actions in Syria or otherwise providing support for terrorism in the region. Wikipedia
The historic nuclear accord between a US-led group of countries and Iran was good news for a man who some consider to be the Middle East’s most effective covert operative. As a result of the deal, Qasem Suleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Qods Force and the general responsible for overseeing Iran’s network of proxy organizations, will be removed from European Union sanctions lists once the agreement is implemented, and taken off a UN sanctions list after eight or fewer years. Iran obtained some key concessions as a result of the nuclear agreement, including access to an estimated $150 billion in frozen assets; the lifting of a UN arms embargo, the eventual end to sanctions related to the country’s ballistic missile program; the ability to operate over 5,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges and to run stable elements through centrifuges at the once-clandestine and heavily guarded Fordow facility; nuclear assistance from the US and its partners; and the ability to stall inspections of sensitive sites for as long as 24 days. In light of these accomplishments, the de-listing of a general responsible for coordinating anti-US militia groups in Iraq — someone who may be responsible for the deaths of US soldiers — almost seems gratuitous. It’s unlikely that the entire deal hinged on a single Iranian officer’s ability to open bank accounts in EU states or travel within Europe. But it got into the deal anyway. So did a reprieve for Bank Saderat, which the US sanctioned in 2006 for facilitating money transfers to Iranian regime-supported terror groups like Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. As part of the deal, Bank Saderat will leave the EU sanctions list on the same timetable as Suleimani, although it will remain under US designation. Like Suleimani’s removal, Bank Saderat’s apparent legalization in Europe suggests that for the purposes of the deal, the US and its partners lumped a broad range of restrictions under the heading of « nuclear-related » sanctions. Suleimani and Bank Saderat are still going to remain under US sanctions related to the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses and support for terrorism. US sanctions have broad extraterritorial reach, and the US Treasury Department has turned into the scourge of compliance desks at banks around the world. But that matters to a somewhat lesser degree inside of the EU, where companies have actually been exempted from complying with certain US « secondary sanctions » on Iran since the mid-1990s. (…) Some time in the next few years, Qasem Suleimani will be able to travel and do business inside the EU, while a bank that’s facilitated the funding of US-listed terror group’s will be allowed to enter the European market. As part of the nuclear deal, the US and its partners bargained away much of the international leverage against some of the more problematic sectors in the Iranian regime, including entities whose wrongdoing went well beyond the nuclear realm. The result is the almost complete reversal of the sanctions regime in Europe. Iran successfully pushed for a broad definition of « nuclear-related sanctions, » and bargained hard — and effectively — for a maximal degree of sanctions relief. And the de-listing of Bank Saderat and Qasem Suleimani, along with the late-breaking effort to classify arms trade restrictions as purely nuclear-related, demonstrates just how far the US and its partners were willing to go to close a historic nuclear deal. Armin Rosen
This was a combatant. There’s no doubt that he fit the description of ‘combatant.’ He was a uniformed member of an enemy military who was actively planning to kill Americans; American soldiers and probably, as well, American civilians. It was the right thing to do. It was legally justified, and I think we should applaud the president for his decision. We send a very powerful message to the Iranian government that we will not stand by as the American embassy is attacked — which is an act of war — and we will not stand by as plans are being made to attack and kill American soldiers. I think every president who had any degree of courage would do the same thing, and I applaud our president for doing it, and the members of the military who carried it out, risking their own lives and safety. I think this is an action that will have saved lives in the end.  The president doesn’t need congressional authorization, or any legal authorization … The president, as the commander-in-chief of the army is entitled to take preventive actions to save the lives of the American military. This is very similar to what Barack Obama did with Ben Rhodes’s authorization and approval — without Congress’s authorization — in killing Osama bin Laden. In fact, that was worse, in some ways, because that was a revenge act. There was no real threat that Osama bin Laden would carry out any future terrorist acts. Moreover, he was not a member of an official armed forces in uniform, so it’s a fortiori from what Obama did and Rhodes did that President Trump has complete legal authority in a much more compelling way to have taken the military action that was taken today. Alan Dershowitz
Trump in full fascist 101 mode-,steal and lie – untill there’s nothing left and start a war – He’s so idiotic he doesn’t know he just attacked Iran And that’s not like anywhere else. John Cusak
Dear , The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people. 52% of us humbly apologize. We want peace with your nation. We are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us. . Rose McGowan
On se réveille dans un monde plus dangereux (…) et l’escalade militaire est toujours dangereuse. Amélie de Montchalin (secrétaire d’État française aux Affaires européennes)
C’est d’abord l’Iranienne qui va vous répondre et celle-là ne peut que se réjouir de ce qui s’est passé. Je parle en mon nom mais je peux vous l’assurer aussi au nom de millions d’Iraniens, probablement la majorité d’entre eux : cet homme était haï, il incarnait le mal absolu ! Je suis révoltée par les commentaires que j’ai entendus venant de certains pseudo-spécialistes de l’Iran, le présentant sur une chaîne de télévision comme un individu charismatique et populaire. Il faut ne rien connaître et ne rien comprendre à ce pays pour tenir ce genre de sottises. Pour l’Iranien lambda, Soleimani était un monstre, ce qui se fait de pire dans la République islamique. (…) Soleimani en était un élément essentiel, aussi puissant que Khameini et ce n’est pas de la propagande que d’affirmer que sa mort ne choque presque personne. (…) Je ne suis pas dans le secret des généraux iraniens mais une simple observatrice informée. Le régime est aux abois depuis des mois, totalement isolé. Ils savent qu’ils n’ont pas d’avenir, la rue et le peuple n’en veulent plus, ils ne peuvent pas vraiment compter sur l’Union européenne et pas plus sur la Chine. Ils n’ont aucun avenir et c’est ce qui rend la situation particulièrement dangereuse car ils sont dans une logique suicidaire. (…) En réalité, ils ont tout perdu et ne peuvent plus sortir du pays pour s’installer à l’étranger car des mandats ont été lancés contre la plupart d’entre eux. Les sanctions ont asséché la manne des pétrodollars et c’est essentiel car il n’y avait pas d’adhésion idéologique à ce régime. (…) Donald Trump (…) a considérablement affaibli ce régime, comme jamais auparavant, et peut-être même a-t-il signé leur arrêt de mort. Nous verrons. Lors des manifestations populaires, à Téhéran et dans d’autre villes, les noms de Khameini, de Rohani, de Soleimani étaient hués. Il n’y a jamais eu de slogans anti-Trump ou contre les Etats-Unis. (…) [Mais] hélas ils n’abandonneront pas le pouvoir tranquillement, j’en suis convaincue. Mahnaz Shirali
The whole “protest” against the United States Embassy compound in Baghdad last week was almost certainly a Suleimani-staged operation to make it look as if Iraqis wanted America out when in fact it was the other way around. The protesters were paid pro-Iranian militiamen. No one in Baghdad was fooled by this. In a way, it’s what got Suleimani killed. He so wanted to cover his failures in Iraq he decided to start provoking the Americans there by shelling their forces, hoping they would overreact, kill Iraqis and turn them against the United States. Trump, rather than taking the bait, killed Suleimani instead. I have no idea whether this was wise or what will be the long-term implications. But (…) Suleimani is part of a system called the Islamic Revolution in Iran. That revolution has managed to use oil money and violence to stay in power since 1979 — and that is Iran’s tragedy, a tragedy that the death of one Iranian general will not change. Today’s Iran is the heir to a great civilization and the home of an enormously talented people and significant culture. Wherever Iranians go in the world today, they thrive as scientists, doctors, artists, writers and filmmakers — except in the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose most famous exports are suicide bombing, cyberterrorism and proxy militia leaders. The very fact that Suleimani was probably the most famous Iranian in the region speaks to the utter emptiness of this regime, and how it has wasted the lives of two generations of Iranians by looking for dignity in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways. (…) in the coming days there will be noisy protests in Iran, the burning of American flags and much crying for the “martyr.” The morning after the morning after? There will be a thousand quiet conversations inside Iran that won’t get reported. They will be about the travesty that is their own government and how it has squandered so much of Iran’s wealth and talent on an imperial project that has made Iran hated in the Middle East. And yes, the morning after, America’s Sunni Arab allies will quietly celebrate Suleimani’s death, but we must never forget that it is the dysfunction of many of the Sunni Arab regimes — their lack of freedom, modern education and women’s empowerment — that made them so weak that Iran was able to take them over from the inside with its proxies. (…) the Middle East, particularly Iran, is becoming an environmental disaster area — running out of water, with rising desertification and overpopulation. If governments there don’t stop fighting and come together to build resilience against climate change — rather than celebrating self-promoting military frauds who conquer failed states and make them fail even more — they’re all doomed. Thomas L. Friedman
It is impossible to overstate the importance of this particular action. It is more significant than the killing of Osama bin Laden or even the death of [Islamic State leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi. Suleimani was the architect and operational commander of the Iranian effort to solidify control of the so-called Shia crescent, stretching from Iran to Iraq through Syria into southern Lebanon. He is responsible for providing explosives, projectiles, and arms and other munitions that killed well over 600 American soldiers and many more of our coalition and Iraqi partners just in Iraq, as well as in many other countries such as Syria. So his death is of enormous significance. The question of course is how does Iran respond in terms of direct action by its military and Revolutionary Guard Corps forces? And how does it direct its proxies—the Iranian-supported Shia militia in Iraq and Syria and southern Lebanon, and throughout the world? (…) The reasoning seems to be to show in the most significant way possible that the U.S. is just not going to allow the continued violence—the rocketing of our bases, the killing of an American contractor, the attacks on shipping, on unarmed drones—without a very significant response. Many people had rightly questioned whether American deterrence had eroded somewhat because of the relatively insignificant responses to the earlier actions. This clearly was of vastly greater importance. Of course it also, per the Defense Department statement, was a defensive action given the reported planning and contingencies that Suleimani was going to Iraq to discuss and presumably approve. This was in response to the killing of an American contractor, the wounding of American forces, and just a sense of how this could go downhill from here if the Iranians don’t realize that this cannot continue. (…) Iran is in a very precarious economic situation, it is very fragile domestically—they’ve killed many, many hundreds if not thousands of Iranian citizens who were demonstrating on the streets of Iran in response to the dismal economic situation and the mismanagement and corruption. I just don’t see the Iranians as anywhere near as supportive of the regime at this point as they were decades ago during the Iran-Iraq War. Clearly the supreme leader has to consider that as Iran considers the potential responses to what the U.S. has done. It will be interesting now to see if there is a U.S. diplomatic initiative to reach out to Iran and to say, “Okay, the next move could be strikes against your oil infrastructure and your forces in your country—where does that end?” (…) We haven’t declared war, but we have taken a very, very significant action. (…) We’ve taken numerous actions to augment our air defenses in the region, our offensive capabilities in the region, in terms of general purpose and special operations forces and air assets. The Pentagon has considered the implications, the potential consequences and has done a great deal to mitigate the risks—although you can’t fully mitigate the potential risks.  (…) Again what was the alternative? Do it in Iran? Think of the implications of that. This is the most formidable adversary that we have faced for decades. He is a combination of CIA director, JSOC [Joint Special Operations Command] commander, and special presidential envoy for the region. This is a very significant effort to reestablish deterrence, which obviously had not been shored up by the relatively insignificant responses up until now. (…) Obviously all sides will suffer if this becomes a wider war, but Iran has to be very worried that—in the state of its economy, the significant popular unrest and demonstrations against the regime—that this is a real threat to the regime in a way that we have not seen prior to this. (…) The incentive would be to get out from under the sanctions, which are crippling. Could we get back to the Iran nuclear deal plus some additional actions that could address the shortcomings of the agreement? This is a very significant escalation, and they don’t know where this goes any more than anyone else does. Yes, they can respond and they can retaliate, and that can lead to further retaliation—and that it is clear now that the administration is willing to take very substantial action. This is a pretty clarifying moment in that regard. (…) Right now they are probably doing what anyone does in this situation: considering the menu of options. There could be actions in the gulf, in the Strait of Hormuz by proxies in the regional countries, and in other continents where the Quds Force have activities. There’s a very considerable number of potential responses by Iran, and then there’s any number of potential U.S. responses to those actions. Given the state of their economy, I think they have to be very leery, very concerned that that could actually result in the first real challenge to the regime certainly since the Iran-Iraq War. (…) The [Iraqi] prime minister has said that he would put forward legislation to [kick the U.S. military out of Iraq], although I don’t think that the majority of Iraqi leaders want to see that given that ISIS is still a significant threat. They are keenly aware that it was not the Iranian supported militias that defeated the Islamic State, it was U.S.-enabled Iraqi armed forces and special forces that really fought the decisive battles. Gen. David Petraeus
[Qasem Soleimani] was our most significant Iranian adversary during my four years in Iraq, [and] certainly when I was the Central Command commander, and very much so when I was the director of the CIA. He is unquestionably the most significant and important — or was the most significant and important — Iranian figure in the region, the most important architect of the effort by Iran to solidify control of the Shia crescent, and the operational commander of the various initiatives that were part of that effort. (…)  He sent a message to me through the president of Iraq in late March of 2008, during the battle of Basra, when we were supporting the Iraqi army forces that were battling the Shia militias in Basra that were supported, of course, by Qasem Soleimani and the Quds Force. He sent a message through the president that said, « General Petraeus, you should know that I, Qasem Soleimani, control the policy of Iran for Iraq, and also for Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Afghanistan. » And the implication of that was, « If you want to deal with Iran to resolve this situation in Basra, you should deal with me, not with the Iranian diplomats. » And his power only grew from that point in time. By the way, I did not — I actually told the president to tell Qasem Soleimani to pound sand. (…) I suspect that the leaders in Washington were seeking to reestablish deterrence, which clearly had eroded to some degree, perhaps by the relatively insignificant actions in response to these strikes on the Abqaiq oil facility in Saudi Arabia, shipping in the Gulf and our $130 million dollar drone that was shot down. And we had seen increased numbers of attacks against US forces in Iraq. So I’m sure that there was a lot of discussion about what could show the Iranians most significantly that we are really serious, that they should not continue to escalate. Now, obviously, there is a menu of options that they have now and not just in terms of direct Iranian action against perhaps our large bases in the various Gulf states, shipping in the Gulf, but also through proxy actions — and not just in the region, but even in places such as Latin America and Africa and Europe. (…) I am not privy to the intelligence that was the foundation for the decision, which clearly was, as was announced, this was a defensive action, that Soleimani was going into the country to presumably approve further attacks. Without really being in the inner circle on that, I think it’s very difficult to either second-guess or to even think through what the recommendation might have been. Again, it is impossible to overstate the significance of this action. This is much more substantial than the killing of Osama bin Laden. It’s even more substantial than the killing of Baghdadi. (…) my understanding is that we have significantly shored up our air defenses, our air assets, our ground defenses and so forth. There’s been the movement of a lot of forces into the region in months, not just in the past days. So there’s been a very substantial augmentation of our defensive capabilities and also our offensive capabilities.  And (…) the question Iran has to ask itself is, « Where does this end? » If they now retaliate in a significant way — and considering how vulnerable their infrastructure and forces are at a time when their economy is in dismal shape because of the sanctions. So Iran is not in a position of strength, although it clearly has many, many options available to it, as I mentioned, not just with their armed forces and the Revolutionary Guards Corps, but also with these Quds Force-supported proxy elements throughout the region in the world. (…) I think one of the questions is, « What will the diplomatic ramifications of this be? » And again, there have been celebrations in some places in Iraq at the loss of Qasem Soleimani. So, again, there’s no tears being shed in certain parts of the country. And one has to ask what happens in the wake of the killing of the individual who had a veto, virtually, over the leadership of Iraq. What transpires now depends on the calculations of all these different elements. And certainly the US, I would assume, is considering diplomatic initiatives as well, reaching out and saying, « Okay. Does that send a sufficient message of our seriousness? Now, would you like to return to the table? » Or does Iran accelerate the nuclear program, which would, of course, precipitate something further from the United States? Very likely. So lots of calculations here. And I think we’re still very early in the deliberations on all the different ramifications of this very significant action. (…) I think that this particular episode has been fairly impressively handled. There’s been restraint in some of the communications methods from the White House. The Department of Defense put out, I think, a solid statement. It has taken significant actions, again, to shore up our defenses and our offensive capabilities. The question now, I think, is what is the diplomatic initiative that follows this? What will the State Department and the Secretary of State do now to try to get back to the table and reduce or end the battlefield consequences? [The flag that Donald Trump posted last night, no words] (…) I think relative to some of his tweets that was quite restrained. Gen. David Petraeus
Washington gave Israel a green light to assassinate Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported on Monday. Al-Jarida, which in recent years had broken exclusive stories from Israel, quoted a source in Jerusalem as saying that « there is an American-Israeli agreement » that Soleimani is a « threat to the two countries’ interests in the region. » It is generally assumed in the Arab world that the paper is used as an Israeli platform for conveying messages to other countries in the Middle East. (…) The agreement between Israel and the United States, according to the report, comes three years after Washington thwarted an Israeli attempt to kill the general. The report says Israel was « on the verge » of assassinating Soleimani three years ago, near Damascus, but the United States warned the Iranian leadership of the plan, revealing that Israel was closely tracking the Iranian general. Haaretz (2018)
Most revered military leader’ now joins ‘austere religious scholar’ and ‘mourners’ trying to storm our embassy as word choices that make normal people wonder whose side the American mainstream media is on. Buck Sexton
Make no mistake – this is bigger than taking out Osama Bin Laden. Ranj Alaaldin
The reported deaths of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani and the Iraqi commander of the militia that killed an American last week was a bold and decisive military action made possible by excellent intelligence and the courage of America’s service members. His death is a huge loss for Iran’s regime and its Iraqi proxies, and a major operational and psychological victory for the United States. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), led by Suleimani, was responsible for the deaths of more than 600 Americans in Iraq between 2003-2011, and countless more injured. He was a chief architect behind Iran’s continuing reign of terror in the region. This strike against one of the world’s most odious terrorists is no different than the mission which took out Osama bin Laden – it is, in fact, even more justifiable since he was in a foreign country directing terrorist attacks against Americans. Lt. Col. (Ret.) James Carafano (Heritage Foundation)
This is a major blow. I would argue that this is probably the most major decapitation strike the United States has ever carried out. … This is a man who controlled a transnational foreign legion that was controlling governments in numerous different countries. He had a hell of a lot of power and a hell of a lot of control. You have to be a strong leader in order to get these people to work with you, know how and when to play them off one another, and also know which Iranians do I need within the IRGC-QF, which Lebanese do I need, which Iraqis do I need … that’s not something you can just pick up at a local five and dime. It takes decades of experience. (…) It’s an incredible two-fer. This is another one of those old hands. These guys don’t grow on trees. It takes time. Iran has been at war with the United States since the Islamic Revolutionary regime took power in Tehran in 1979. To say that we are going to war or that this is yet another American escalation — I think we need to be a little more detailed. Over the past year, Kata’ib Hizballah, was launching rockets and mortars at Americans in Iraq and eventually killed one. Over the past couple of years we’ve had a number of issues in the Gulf, we’ve had a number of issues in different countries, we’ve had international terrorism issues, you name it, you can throw everything at the wall, and the Iranians have in some way been behind some of it. Even arm supplies to the Taliban … so this didn’t just appear in a vacuum because ‘we didn’t like the Iranians. What the administration must offer now is firm diplomacy backed by the continuing, credible threat of the use of military force. President Trump has wisely shown that he will act with the full powers of his office when American interests are threatened, and the extremist regime in Tehran would be wise to take notice. Phillip Smyth (Washington Institute)
From a military and diplomatic perspective, Soleimani was Iran’s David Petraeus and Stan McChrystal and Brett McGurk all rolled into one. And that’s now the problem Iran faces. I do not know of a single Iranian who was more indispensable to his government’s ambitions in the Middle East. From 2015 to 2017, when we were in the heat of the fighting against the Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq, I would watch Soleimani shuttle back and forth between Syria and Iraq. When the war to prop up Bashar al-Assad was going poorly, Soleimani would leave Iraq for Syria. And when Iranian-backed militias in Iraq began to struggle against the Islamic State, Soleimani would leave Syria for Iraq. That’s now a problem for Iran. Just as the United States often faces a shortage of human capital—not all general officers and diplomats are created equal, sadly, and we are not exactly blessed with a surplus of Arabic speakers in our government—Iran also doesn’t have a lot of talent to go around. One of the reasons I thought Iran erred so often in Yemen—giving strategic weapons such as anti-ship cruise missiles to a bunch of undertrained Houthi yahoos, for example—was a lack of adult supervision. Qassem Soleimani was the adult supervision. He was spread thin over the past decade, but he was nonetheless a serious if nefarious adversary of the United States and its partners in the region. And Iran and its partners will now feel his loss greatly. Soleimani was at least partially, and in many cases directly, responsible for dozens if not hundreds of attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq going back to the height of the Iraq War. Andrew Exum
Soleimani is responsible for the Iranian military terror reign across the Middle East. Many Arab Muslims across the region are celebrating today. Unfortunately, many US Democrats are not. Instead, they are criticizing President Trump. If the death of Soleimani leads to any escalation, it is the Islamic regime of Iran that is to blame. The same Islamic terror regime that past President Obama wanted to align as the US closest ally in the Middle East, handing them the disastrous nuclear deal, as well as billions of dollars in cash. As Iran considers the US “big satan” and Israel as “little satan”, Israel is on high alert for any Iranian attacks in retaliation. Iran has always viewed an attack on Israeli interests as an attack on the USA. Avi Abelow
The successful operation against Qassem Suleimani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, is a stunning blow to international terrorism and a reassertion of American might. (…) President Trump has conditioned his policies on Iranian behavior. When Iran spread its malign influence, Trump acted to check it. When Iran struck, Trump hit back: never disproportionately, never definitively. He left open the possibility of negotiations. He doesn’t want to have the greater Middle East — whether Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, or Afghanistan — dominate his presidency the way it dominated those of Barack Obama and George W. Bush. America no longer needs Middle Eastern oil. Best to keep the region on the back burner and watch it so it doesn’t boil over. Do not overcommit resources to this underdeveloped, war-torn, sectarian land. The result was reciprocal antagonism. In 2018, Trump withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated by his predecessor. He began jacking up sanctions. The Iranian economy turned to a shambles. This “maximum pressure” campaign of economic warfare deprived the Iranian war machine of revenue and drove a wedge between the Iranian public and the Iranian government. Trump offered the opportunity to negotiate a new agreement. Iran refused. And began to lash out. Last June, Iran’s fingerprints were all over two oil tankers that exploded in the Persian Gulf. Trump tightened the screws. Iran downed a U.S. drone. Trump called off a military strike at the last minute and responded indirectly, with more sanctions, cyber attacks, and additional troop deployments to the region. Last September a drone fleet launched by Iranian proxies in Yemen devastated the Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia. Trump responded as he had to previous incidents: nonviolently. Iran slowly brought the region to a boil. First it hit boats, then drones, then the key infrastructure of a critical ally. On December 27 it went further: Members of the Kataib Hezbollah militia launched rockets at a U.S. installation near Kirkuk, Iraq. Four U.S. soldiers were wounded. An American contractor was killed. Destroying physical objects merited economic sanctions and cyber intrusions. Ending lives required a lethal response. It arrived on December 29 when F-15s pounded five Kataib Hezbollah facilities across Iraq and Syria. At least 25 militiamen were killed. Then, when Kataib Hezbollah and other Iran-backed militias organized a mob to storm the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, setting fire to the grounds, America made a show of force and threatened severe reprisals. The angry crowd melted away. The risk to the U.S. embassy — and the possibility of another Benghazi — must have angered Trump. “The game has changed,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said hours before the assassination of Soleimani at Baghdad airport. (…) Deterrence, says Fred Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute, is credibly holding at risk something your adversary holds dear. If the reports out of Iraq are true, President Trump has put at risk the entirety of the Iranian imperial enterprise even as his maximum-pressure campaign strangles the Iranian economy and fosters domestic unrest. That will get the ayatollah’s attention. And now the United States must prepare for his answer. The bombs over Baghdad? That was Trump calling Khamenei’s bluff. The game has changed. But it isn’t over. Matthew Continetti
D’un point de vue fonctionnel, [Soleimani] était responsable de la force al-Qods des Gardiens de la Révolution, c’est-à-dire de l’ensemble des opérations menées par l’Iran dans toute la région. Cet homme avait beaucoup de secrets. Il était l’un des vecteurs, sinon le vecteur principal, du déploiement de l’influence de l’Iran. Je ne suis pas de ceux qui pensent qu’il y a une volonté expansionniste de l’Iran, mais Téhéran a développé des réseaux d’influence et c’est probablement Soleimani qui avait la haute main sur ceux-ci. Sur tous les terrains chauds de la région où l’Iran a une influence, on retrouve le général Soleimani. Il avait été localisé en Syrie ces dernières années, ce qui indique que la coordination des opérations des milices chiites dans le pays était sous sa responsabilité. Le fait qu’il ait été assassiné à Bagdad cette nuit prouve qu’il avait une importance logistique sur la coordination des milices en Irak. (…) Il ne faut pas sous-estimer l’importance de cette décision irresponsable de Donald Trump. Depuis le retrait unilatéral des Etats-Unis de l’accord sur le nucléaire, en mai 2018, les tensions avec l’Iran se sont accrues. Ce qui était très important, c’est que ces tensions étaient mesurées, sous contrôle. Elles avaient un fort impact sur la vie quotidienne des Iraniens. Pour autant, il n’y avait pas beaucoup de dérapages militaires : quelques incidents dans le golfe, le bombardement de sites pétroliers en Arabie-Saoudite. C’était un combat à fleuret moucheté. Personne ne franchissait la ligne rouge. Je crains fort qu’elle ait été franchie par cette décision, en raison de la qualité de la cible et de son importance dans le dispositif régional iranien. Les tensions s’étaient ravivées au cours des dernières heures, avec le siège de l’ambassade américaine à Bagdad, sans nul doute mené par les milices iraniennes. Il est évident que Soleimani a tenu un rôle. Cette prise d’assaut venait à la suite d’attaques ciblées des Etats-Unis. (…) Cela s’explique par le manque de sang-froid de Donald Trump. Ce matin, les démocrates s’insurgent, car cette décision a été prise sans concertation. C’est une décision à l’emporte-pièce, il a été sans doute un peu excité par les va-t-en-guerre de son camp, comme le secrétaire d’Etat Mike Pompeo, qui prône une ligne dure contre l’Iran. On y est presque. (…) Les Iraniens ne vont pas rester les deux pieds dans le même sabot. Je ne sais pas de quelles manières ils réagiront, ni où et quand. Ce ne sera sans doute pas tout de suite, mais nul doute qu’ils réagiront. Nous sommes dans une nouvelle séquence, ouverte par cet assassinat ciblé, réalisé au mépris de toutes les conventions internationales. Je ne maîtrise pas tous les paramètres, mais, à chaud, je peux imaginer qu’il y aura une recrudescence d’action militaire contre des objectifs américains, des bases militaires, des ambassades ou des intérêts sur place. Il y a également des risques pour Israël, qui sera peut-être une cible. Les milices pro-iraniennes déployées en Syrie ont une capacité de feu contre des villes israéliennes. Dans la région, il va y avoir un regain de mobilisation de toutes les forces proches de l’Iran, en Irak, au Liban et en Syrie. Je ne veux pas dire qu’il y a un risque d’embrasement général, je n’en sais rien, ce n’est pas la peine d’alimenter le fantasme. Mais la situation est infiniment préoccupante. Il y aura des conséquences, même si on ne sait pas bien les mesurer. (…) Une action sur le détroit d’Ormuz [où transitent de nombreux pétroliers] peut faire partie des mesures mises en œuvre par les Iraniens. Ils peuvent bloquer ou menacer de bloquer. Je ne pense pas qu’ils feront un blocage complet : les Iraniens font de la politique et ils savent que cela se retournerait contre eux. Mais il peut y avoir quelques arraisonnements de navires pétroliers et les cours du pétrole pourraient monter, même si cela n’avait pas été le cas après les incidents de l’été dernier dans le détroit. Didier Billion

Attention: une décision irresponsable peut en cacher une autre !

A l’heure où …

Après les attaques de pétroliers, la destruction d’installations pétrolières saoudiennes et les roquettes sur des bases américaines ayant entrainé la mort d’un citoyen américain …

Et avant sa brillante élimination par les forces américaines …

Le cerveau du dispositif terroriste des mollahs au Moyen-Orient préparait une possible deuxième attaque de l’ambassade américaine à Bagdad …

Pendant que la rue arabe comme la rue iranienne peinent à cacher leur joie …

Devinez quelle « décision irresponsable » dénoncent le parti démocrate américain, nos médias ou nos prétendus spécialistes ?

Mort du général Soleimani : « C’est une décision irresponsable de Donald Trump », estime un spécialiste de la région
Interrogé par franceinfo, Didier Billion, directeur adjoint de l’Institut de relations internationales et stratégique (Iris), spécialiste du Moyen-Orient, redoute qu’une « ligne rouge » ait été franchie.
Propos recueillis par Thomas Baïetto
France Télévisions
03/01/202

Qassem Soleimani est mort. Cet influent général iranien a été tué, vendredi 3 janvier, par une frappe américaine contre son convoi qui circulait sur l’aéroport de Bagdad (Irak). Cette élimination, ordonnée par le président américain Donald Trump, fait craindre une nouvelle escalade militaire dans la région.

Pour franceinfo, Didier Billion, directeur adjoint de l’Institut de relations internationales et stratégiques (Iris) et spécialiste du Moyen-Orient, analyse les possibles conséquences de cette mort.

Franceinfo : Pouvez-vous nous rappeler le rôle de Qassem Soleimani dans le régime iranien ?

Didier Billion : D’un point de vue fonctionnel, il était responsable de la force al-Qods des Gardiens de la Révolution, c’est-à-dire de l’ensemble des opérations menées par l’Iran dans toute la région. Cet homme avait beaucoup de secrets. Il était l’un des vecteurs, sinon le vecteur principal, du déploiement de l’influence de l’Iran. Je ne suis pas de ceux qui pensent qu’il y a une volonté expansionniste de l’Iran, mais Téhéran a développé des réseaux d’influence et c’est probablement Soleimani qui avait la haute main sur ceux-ci.

Sur tous les terrains chauds de la région où l’Iran a une influence, on retrouve le général Soleimani.Didier Billion à franceinfo

Il avait été localisé en Syrie ces dernières années, ce qui indique que la coordination des opérations des milices chiites dans le pays était sous sa responsabilité. Le fait qu’il ait été assassiné à Bagdad cette nuit prouve qu’il avait une importance logistique sur la coordination des milices en Irak.

Comment analysez-vous la décision des Etats-Unis de le tuer ?

Il ne faut pas sous-estimer l’importance de cette décision irresponsable de Donald Trump. Depuis le retrait unilatéral des Etats-Unis de l’accord sur le nucléaire, en mai 2018, les tensions avec l’Iran se sont accrues. Ce qui était très important, c’est que ces tensions étaient mesurées, sous contrôle. Elles avaient un fort impact sur la vie quotidienne des Iraniens. Pour autant, il n’y avait pas beaucoup de dérapages militaires : quelques incidents dans le golfe, le bombardement de sites pétroliers en Arabie-Saoudite. C’était un combat à fleuret moucheté. Personne ne franchissait la ligne rouge.

Je crains fort qu’elle ait été franchie par cette décision, en raison de la qualité de la cible et de son importance dans le dispositif régional iranien. Les tensions s’étaient ravivées au cours des dernières heures, avec le siège de l’ambassade américaine à Bagdad, sans nul doute mené par les milices iraniennes. Il est évident que Soleimani a tenu un rôle. Cette prise d’assaut venait à la suite d’attaques ciblées des Etats-Unis.

Tout indiquait une montée en tension, mais là, ce n’est pas seulement un mort de plus, c’est très important.Didier Billionà franceinfo

Cela s’explique par le manque de sang-froid de Donald Trump. Ce matin, les démocrates s’insurgent, car cette décision a été prise sans concertation. C’est une décision à l’emporte-pièce, il a été sans doute un peu excité par les va-t-en-guerre de son camp, comme le secrétaire d’Etat Mike Pompeo, qui prône une ligne dure contre l’Iran. On y est presque.

A quelles réactions peut-on s’attendre de la part de l’Iran ?

Les Iraniens ne vont pas rester les deux pieds dans le même sabot. Je ne sais pas de quelles manières ils réagiront, ni où et quand. Ce ne sera sans doute pas tout de suite, mais nul doute qu’ils réagiront. Nous sommes dans une nouvelle séquence, ouverte par cet assassinat ciblé, réalisé au mépris de toutes les conventions internationales. Je ne maîtrise pas tous les paramètres, mais, à chaud, je peux imaginer qu’il y aura une recrudescence d’action militaire contre des objectifs américains, des bases militaires, des ambassades ou des intérêts sur place.

Il y a également des risques pour Israël, qui sera peut-être une cible. Les milices pro-iraniennes déployées en Syrie ont une capacité de feu contre des villes israéliennes. Dans la région, il va y avoir un regain de mobilisation de toutes les forces proches de l’Iran, en Irak, au Liban et en Syrie. Je ne veux pas dire qu’il y a un risque d’embrasement général, je n’en sais rien, ce n’est pas la peine d’alimenter le fantasme. Mais la situation est infiniment préoccupante. Il y aura des conséquences, même si on ne sait pas bien les mesurer.

Peut-on s’attendre à des conséquences économiques ?

Une action sur le détroit d’Ormuz [où transitent de nombreux pétroliers] peut faire partie des mesures mises en œuvre par les Iraniens. Ils peuvent bloquer ou menacer de bloquer. Je ne pense pas qu’ils feront un blocage complet : les Iraniens font de la politique et ils savent que cela se retournerait contre eux. Mais il peut y avoir quelques arraisonnements de navires pétroliers et les cours du pétrole pourraient monter, même si cela n’avait pas été le cas après les incidents de l’été dernier dans le détroit.

Voir aussi:

Mort de Soleimani : l’Iran menace, la scène internationale s’inquiète
Le puissant général Qassem Soleimani a été tué à Bagdad. L’ambassade américaine à Bagdad a appelé ses ressortissants à quitter l’Irak « immédiatement ».
Le Point/AFP
03/01/2020

C’est certainement un moment clé du conflit qui oppose les États-Unis à l’Iran. Le puissant général Qassem Soleimani a été tué, jeudi 2 janvier, dans un raid américain à Bagdad, trois jours après une attaque inédite contre l’ambassade américaine. Le général Soleimani « n’a eu que ce qu’il méritait », a abondé le sénateur républicain Tom Cotton. Rapidement, des ténors républicains se sont félicités de ce raid ordonné par Trump. Une attaque dénoncée par ses adversaires démocrates, dont son potentiel rival à la présidentielle, Joe Biden.

Le Premier ministre israélien, Benyamin Netanyahou, a interrompu vendredi son voyage officiel en Grèce afin de rentrer en Israël, a indiqué son bureau à l’Agence France-Presse. Benyamin Netanyahou, arrivé à Athènes jeudi où il a signé un accord avec Chypre et la Grèce en faveur d’un projet de gazoduc, devait rester dans ce pays jusqu’à samedi, mais il a écourté son voyage après l’annonce du décès de Qassem Soleimani, chef des forces iraniennes al-Qods souvent accusées par Israël de préparer des attaques contre l’État hébreu.

La France a plaidé pour la « stabilité »

Le chef du mouvement chiite libanais Hezbollah, grand allié de l’Iran, a promis « le juste châtiment » aux « assassins criminels » responsables de la mort du général iranien Qassem Soleimani. « Apporter le juste châtiment aux assassins criminels […] sera la responsabilité et la tâche de tous les résistants et combattants à travers le monde », a promis dans un communiqué le chef du Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, qui utilise généralement le terme de « Résistance » pour désigner son organisation et ses alliés.

De son côté, la France a plaidé pour la « stabilité » au Moyen-Orient estimant, par la voix d’Amélie de Montchalin, secrétaire d’État aux Affaires européennes, que « l’escalade militaire [était] toujours dangereuse ». « On se réveille dans un monde plus dangereux. L’escalade militaire est toujours dangereuse », a-t-elle déclaré au micro de RTL. « Quand de telles opérations ont lieu, on voit bien que l’escalade est en marche alors que nous souhaitons avant tout la stabilité et la désescalade », a-t-elle ajouté.

Le ministre britannique des Affaires étrangères, Dominic Raab, a appelé « toutes les parties à la désescalade ». « Nous avons toujours reconnu la menace agressive posée par la force iranienne Qods dirigée par Qassem Soleimani. Après sa mort, nous exhortons toutes les parties à la désescalade. Un autre conflit n’est aucunement dans notre intérêt », a déclaré le chef de la diplomatie britannique dans un communiqué.

Éviter une « escalade des tensions »

La Chine a fait part de sa « préoccupation » et a appelé au « calme ». La Chine est l’un des pays signataires de l’accord sur le nucléaire iranien, dont les États-Unis se sont retirés unilatéralement en 2018, et l’un des principaux importateurs de brut iranien. « Nous demandons instamment à toutes les parties concernées, en particulier aux États-Unis, de garder leur calme et de faire preuve de retenue afin d’éviter une nouvelle escalade des tensions », a indiqué devant la presse un porte-parole de la diplomatie chinoise, Geng Shuang.

La Russie a mis en garde contre les conséquences de l’assassinat ciblé à Bagdad du général iranien Qassem Soleimani, une frappe américaine « hasardeuse » qui va se traduire par un « accroissement des tensions dans la région ». « L’assassinat de Soleimani […] est un palier hasardeux qui va mener à l’accroissement des tensions dans la région », a déclaré le ministère russe des Affaires étrangères, cité par les agences RIA Novosti et TASS. « Soleimani servait fidèlement les intérêts de l’Iran. Nous présentons nos sincères condoléances au peuple iranien », a-t-il ajouté.

Les ressortissants américains en Irak appelés à fuir

L’assassinat ciblé du général iranien Qassem Soleimani représente « une escalade dangereuse dans la violence », a déclaré, vendredi, la présidente de la Chambre des représentants, la démocrate Nancy Pelosi. « L’Amérique et le monde ne peuvent pas se permettre une escalade des tensions qui atteigne un point de non-retour », a estimé Nancy Pelosi dans un communiqué.

Le pouvoir syrien a dénoncé la « lâche agression américaine » y voyant une « grave escalade » pour le Moyen-Orient, a rapporté l’agence officielle Sana. La Syrie est certaine que cette « lâche agression américaine […] ne fera que renforcer la détermination à suivre le modèle de ces chefs de la résistance », souligne une source du ministère des Affaires étrangères à Damas citée par Sana.

L’ambassade américaine à Bagdad a appelé ses ressortissants à quitter l’Irak « immédiatement ». La chancellerie conseille vivement aux Américains en Irak de partir « par avion tant que cela est possible », alors que le raid a eu lieu dans l’enceinte même de l’aéroport de Bagdad, « sinon vers d’autres pays par voie terrestre ». Les principaux postes-frontières de l’Irak mènent vers l’Iran et la Syrie en guerre, alors que d’autres points de passage existent vers l’Arabie saoudite et la Turquie.

« Une guerre dévastatrice en Irak »

Le Premier ministre démissionnaire irakien Adel Abdel Mahdi a estimé que le raid allait « déclencher une guerre dévastatrice en Irak ». « L’assassinat d’un commandant militaire irakien occupant un poste officiel est une agression contre l’Irak, son État, son gouvernement et son peuple », affirme Adel Abdel Mahdi dans un communiqué, alors qu’Abou Mehdi al-Mouhandis est le numéro deux du Hachd al-Chaabi, une coalition de paramilitaires pro-Iran intégrée à l’État. « Régler ses comptes contre des personnalités dirigeantes irakiennes ou d’un pays ami sur le sol irakien […] constitue une violation flagrante des conditions autorisant la présence des troupes américaines », ajoute le texte.

Le guide suprême iranien, l’ayatollah Ali Khamenei, s’est engagé vendredi à « venger » la mort du puissant général iranien Qassem Soleimani, tué plus tôt dans un raid américain à Bagdad, et a décrété un deuil national de trois jours dans son pays. « Le martyre est la récompense de son inlassable travail durant toutes ces années. […] Si Dieu le veut, son œuvre et son chemin ne s’arrêteront pas là, et une vengeance implacable attend les criminels qui ont empli leurs mains de son sang et de celui des autres martyrs », a dit l’ayatollah Khamenei sur son compte Twitter en farsi.

L’Iran promet une vengeance

L’Iran et les « nations libres de la région » se vengeront des États-Unis après la mort du puissant général iranien Qassem Soleimani, a promis le président Hassan Rohani. « Il n’y a aucun doute sur le fait que la grande nation d’Iran et les autres nations libres de la région prendront leur revanche sur l’Amérique criminelle pour cet horrible meurtre », a déclaré Hassan Rohani dans un communiqué publié sur le site du gouvernement.

Qaïs al-Khazali, un commandant de la coalition pro-iranienne en Irak, a appelé « tous les combattants » à se « tenir prêts », quelques heures après l’assassinat par les Américains du général iranien Qassem Soleimani à Bagdad. « Que tous les combattants résistants se tiennent prêts, car ce qui nous attend, c’est une conquête proche et une grande victoire », a écrit Qaïs al-Khazali, chef d’Assaïb Ahl al-Haq, l’une des plus importantes factions du Hachd al-Chaabi qui regroupe les paramilitaires pro-Iran sous la tutelle de l’État irakien, dans une lettre manuscrite dont l’Agence France-Presse a pu consulter une copie.

Les républicains serrent les rangs

« J’apprécie l’action courageuse du président Donald Trump contre l’agression iranienne », a salué sur Twitter l’influent sénateur républicain Lindsey Graham, proche allié du président peu après la confirmation par le Pentagone que le locataire de la Maison-Blanche avait donné l’ordre de tuer le général iranien Qassem Soleimani, dans un raid à Bagdad. « Au gouvernement iranien : si vous en voulez plus, vous en aurez plus », a-t-il menacé, avant d’ajouter : « Si l’agression iranienne se poursuit et que je travaillais dans une raffinerie iranienne de pétrole, je songerais à une reconversion. »

Comme cet élu de Caroline du Sud, les républicains serraient les rangs jeudi soir derrière la stratégie du président américain. « Les actions défensives que les États-Unis ont prises contre l’Iran et ses mandataires sont conformes aux avertissements clairs qu’ils ont reçus. Ils ont choisi d’ignorer ces avertissements parce qu’ils croyaient que le président des États-Unis était empêché d’agir en raison de nos divisions politiques internes. Ils ont extrêmement mal évalué », a également salué le sénateur républicain Marco Rubio.

« Un bâton de dynamite »

Dans l’autre camp, les adversaires démocrates du président qui ont approuvé le mois dernier à la Chambre basse du Congrès son renvoi en procès pour destitution ont dénoncé le bombardement et les risques d’escalade avec l’Iran. « Le président Trump vient de jeter un bâton de dynamite dans une poudrière, et il doit au peuple américain une explication », a dénoncé l’ancien vice-président Joe Biden, en lice pour la primaire démocrate en vue de l’élection présidentielle de novembre. « C’est une énorme escalade dans une région déjà dangereuse », a-t-il insisté, dans un communiqué.

« La dangereuse escalade de Trump nous amène plus près d’une autre guerre désastreuse au Moyen-Orient », a dénoncé Bernie Sanders, autre favori de la primaire démocrate. « Trump a promis de terminer les guerres sans fin, mais cette action nous met sur le chemin d’une autre », a poursuivi le sénateur indépendant.

« Un affront aux pouvoirs du Congrès »

Le chef démocrate de la commission des Affaires étrangères de la Chambre des représentants a déploré que Donald Trump n’ait pas notifié le Congrès américain du raid mené en Irak. « Mener une action de cette gravité sans impliquer le Congrès soulève de graves problèmes légaux et constitue un affront aux pouvoirs du Congrès », a écrit dans un communiqué Eliot Engel.

« D’accord, il ne fait aucun doute que Soleimani a beaucoup de sang sur les mains. Mais c’est un moment vraiment effrayant. L’Iran va réagir et probablement à différents endroits. Pensée à tout le personnel américain dans la région en ce moment », a, quant à lui, estimé Ben Rhodes, ancien proche conseiller de Barack Obama. « Un président qui a juré de tenir les États-Unis à l’écart d’une autre guerre au Moyen-Orient vient dans les faits de faire une déclaration de guerre », a réagi le président de l’organisation International Crisis Group Robert Malley.

Voir également:

Frappe américaine : « Pour l’Iranien lambda, le général Soleimani était un monstre »
Propos recueillis par Alain Léauthier
Marianne
03/01/2020

Le puissant général iranien Qassem Soleimani a été éliminé ce vendredi 3 janvier, dans un raid américain sur l’aéroport de Bagdad. Y’a-t-il un risque d’escalade et de guerre ouverte avec les Etats-Unis ? Décryptage avec Mahnaz Shirali, chercheuse iranienne à Sciences Po.

Au fou ! Quelques heures après l’élimination spectaculaire, tôt dans la matinée de ce vendredi 3 janvier, du général Qassem Soleimani, le chef des opérations extérieures (la force al-Qods) des Gardiens de la Révolution iranienne et pilier du régime des mollahs, nombre de chancelleries étrangères condamnaient à demi-mot le raid aérien ciblé ordonné par Donald Trump. « On se réveille dans un monde plus dangereux (…) et l’escalade militaire est toujours dangereuse », a ainsi benoitement déclaré Amélie de Montchalin, la secrétaire d’État française aux Affaires européennes.

En Irak même, l’ex Premier ministre Adel Abdoul Mahdi, proche de Téhéran et obligé de démissionner en décembre sous la pression de la rue, a dénoncé une « atteinte aux conditions de la présence américaine en Irak et atteinte à la souveraineté du pays », allant jusqu’à qualifier d’ « assassinat » la frappe qui a également coûté la vie à Abou Mehdi al-Mouhandis, le numéro deux du Hachd al-Chaabi, une coalition de paramilitaires pro-Iran, désormais intégrés à l’Etat irakien et très actifs dans la tentative d’assaut de l’ambassade américaine à Bagdad il y a trois jours. Dans un tweet musclé, le secrétaire d’État Mike Pompéo l’avait clairement désigné comme un des responsables des évènements ainsi que Qaïs al-Khazali, fondateur de la milice chiite Assaïb Ahl al-Haq, une des factions du Hachd al-Chaabi.

Les mollahs disposent d’une grande variété de relais pour semer le chaos dans la région

Ce dernier ne se trouvait pas dans le convoi visé par la frappe létale et a lancé un appel au djihad – « Que tous les combattants résistants se tiennent prêts car ce qui nous attend, c’est une conquête proche et une grande victoire » – relayant une déclaration tonitruante de l’ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Dans un tweet, le guide suprême iranien a promis une « vengeance implacable » aux « criminels qui ont empli leurs mains de son sang et de celui des autres martyrs », menace sur laquelle s’est aussitôt calé le président Hassan Rohani, longtemps présenté comme le chef de file des « modérés » et réformateurs.

Les dignitaires de la République islamique ne pouvaient guère faire moins à l’issue de plusieurs mois de tensions et d’accrochages indirects qui ont culminé vendredi 27 décembre avec la mort d’un sous-traitant américain lors d’une énième attaque à la roquette contre une base militaire, située cette fois à Kirkouk, dans le nord de l’Irak, en pleine zone pétrolière.

Deux jours plus tard, les avions américains avaient répliqué en bombardant des garnisons des brigades du Hezbollah, autre faction pro-iranienne à la solde de Qassem Soleimani, et c’est autour du cortège funéraire des vingt-cinq « martyrs » tombés ce jour-là qu’avait débuté l’assaut contre l’ambassade des Etats-Unis à Bagdad. En attendant les éventuelles représailles iraniennes, les Etats-Unis ont encouragé leurs ressortissants à quitter au plus vite le sol irakien, tâche qui ne sera pas forcément des plus aisées, et les forces israéliennes ont été placées en état d’alerte maximal. Si une confrontation directe semble pour l’heure exclue, du Yemen au Liban en passant par la Syrie et bien sûr l’Irak, les mollahs disposent d’une grande variété de relais pour semer le chaos dans la région, à l’image du bombardement téléguidé d’installations pétrolières dans l’est de l’Arabie saoudite en septembre dernier.

Aux Etats-Unis, à en croire les commentaires alarmistes de Nancy Pelosi, la présidente démocrate de la Chambre des représentants, et ceux d’une presse lui reprochant déjà des vacances prolongées en Floride alors qu’il met le feu aux poudres, Donald Trump aurait montré une fois de plus l’incohérence de sa politique étrangère. Traître à la cause des Kurdes un jour mais jouant les apprentis sorciers un autre. Tel n’est pourtant pas tout à fait le sentiment de la chercheuse iranienne Mahnaz Shirali, enseignante à Science-Po, dans l’entretien qu’elle nous accorde ce vendredi.


Marianne : Quelle est votre première réaction après la mort de Qassem Soleimani ?

Mahnaz Shirali : C’est d’abord l’Iranienne qui va vous répondre et celle-là ne peut que se réjouir de ce qui s’est passé. Je parle en mon nom mais je peux vous l’assurer aussi au nom de millions d’Iraniens, probablement la majorité d’entre eux : cet homme était haï, il incarnait le mal absolu ! Je suis révoltée par les commentaires que j’ai entendus venant de certains pseudo-spécialistes de l’Iran, le présentant sur une chaîne de télévision comme un individu charismatique et populaire. Il faut ne rien connaître et ne rien comprendre à ce pays pour tenir ce genre de sottises. Pour l’Iranien lambda, Soleimani était un monstre, ce qui se fait de pire dans la République islamique.

C’est un coup dur pour le régime ?

Évidemment, Soleimani en était un élément essentiel, aussi puissant que Khameini et ce n’est pas de la propagande que d’affirmer que sa mort ne choque presque personne.

A quoi peut-on s’attendre ?

Je ne suis pas dans le secret des généraux iraniens mais une simple observatrice informée. Le régime est aux abois depuis des mois, totalement isolé. Ils savent qu’ils n’ont pas d’avenir, la rue et le peuple n’en veulent plus, ils ne peuvent pas vraiment compter sur l’Union européenne et pas plus sur la Chine. Ils n’ont aucun avenir et c’est ce qui rend la situation particulièrement dangereuse car ils sont dans une logique suicidaire.

Les mollahs ont accumulé des fortunes à l’étranger. Ne voudront-ils pas préserver leurs acquis financiers ?

En réalité, ils ont tout perdu et ne peuvent plus sortir du pays pour s’installer à l’étranger car des mandats ont été lancés contre la plupart d’entre eux. Les sanctions ont asséché la manne des pétrodollars et c’est essentiel car il n’y avait pas d’adhésion idéologique à ce régime.

Est-ce à dire que ligne suivi par Trump sur la question iranienne et durement critiquée par de nombreux experts, peut se révéler positive ?

Je ne suis pas compétente pour juger de la politique de Donald Trump. Je peux juste faire quelques observations. Il a considérablement affaibli ce régime, comme jamais auparavant, et peut-être même a-t-il signé leur arrêt de mort. Nous verrons. Lors des manifestations populaires, à Téhéran et dans d’autre villes, les noms de Khameini, de Rohani, de Soleimani étaient hués. Il n’y a jamais eu de slogans anti-Trump ou contre les Etats-Unis.

Mais la situation désormais est explosive…

Probablement oui, hélas, ils n’abandonneront pas le pouvoir tranquillement, j’en suis convaincue.

Voir de même:

Soleimani : La rue iranienne félicite Trump
Iran Resist
03.01.2020

Trump dit avoir mis à mort le Vador immortel des mollahs, Qassem Soleimani. Les adversaires de Trump le blâment. La France s’est jointe à eux par l’intermédiaire de Malbrunot. Mais les Iraniens sont heureux et se félicitent de cette mort et félicitent Trump comme le montre ce slogan écrit dans un quartier chic de Téhéran : Trump Damet garm ! Trump ! Reste en forme !

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Par ailleurs, à Kermanshâh (Kurdistan iranien), les gens ont fait un gâteau pour une fête en honneur de l’élimination de Hadj Ghassem Soleimani. Dans une vidéo faisant part de cette initiative, un homme qui partage le gâteau fait référence à Soleimani en utilisant son sobriquet de Shash Ghassem (pisseux Ghassem) !

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Il y a d’autres vidéos ou images du même genre.

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D’autres opposants en exil appellent aussi les ambassades du régime pour faire part de leur joie et leurs interlocuteurs ne prennent pas la peine de protester !

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Il y a aussi des scènes de joie en Irak et en Syrie !

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Contrairement aux prédictions des Malbrunot & co (voix du Quai d’Orsay), le Moyen-Orient ne va pas basculer dans le chaos pro-mollahs ! Les Français feraient mieux de changer de discours et suivre les peuples de la région au lieu de suivre leurs ennemis par aversion pour Trump ou par jalousie pour ses succès.

Trump Damet garm !

Voir de plus:

Petraeus Says Trump May Have Helped ‘Reestablish Deterrence’ by Killing Suleimani
The former U.S. commander and CIA director says Iran’s “very fragile” situation may limit its response.
Lara Seligman
Foreign policy
January 3, 2020

As a former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and a former CIA director, retired Gen. David Petraeus is keenly familiar with Qassem Suleimani, the powerful chief of Iran’s Quds Force, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad Friday morning.

After months of a muted U.S. response to Tehran’s repeated lashing out—the downing of a U.S. military drone, a devastating attack on Saudi oil infrastructure, and more—Suleimani’s killing was designed to send a pointed message to the regime that the United States will not tolerate continued provocation, he said.

Petraeus spoke to Foreign Policy on Friday about the implications of an action he called “more significant than the killing of Osama bin Laden.” This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Foreign Policy: What impact will the killing of Gen. Suleimani have on regional tensions?

David Petraeus: It is impossible to overstate the importance of this particular action. It is more significant than the killing of Osama bin Laden or even the death of [Islamic State leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi. Suleimani was the architect and operational commander of the Iranian effort to solidify control of the so-called Shia crescent, stretching from Iran to Iraq through Syria into southern Lebanon. He is responsible for providing explosives, projectiles, and arms and other munitions that killed well over 600 American soldiers and many more of our coalition and Iraqi partners just in Iraq, as well as in many other countries such as Syria. So his death is of enormous significance.

The question of course is how does Iran respond in terms of direct action by its military and Revolutionary Guard Corps forces? And how does it direct its proxies—the Iranian-supported Shia militia in Iraq and Syria and southern Lebanon, and throughout the world?

FP: Two previous administrations have reportedly considered this course of action and dismissed it. Why did Trump act now?

DP: The reasoning seems to be to show in the most significant way possible that the U.S. is just not going to allow the continued violence—the rocketing of our bases, the killing of an American contractor, the attacks on shipping, on unarmed drones—without a very significant response.

Many people had rightly questioned whether American deterrence had eroded somewhat because of the relatively insignificant responses to the earlier actions. This clearly was of vastly greater importance. Of course it also, per the Defense Department statement, was a defensive action given the reported planning and contingencies that Suleimani was going to Iraq to discuss and presumably approve.

This was in response to the killing of an American contractor, the wounding of American forces, and just a sense of how this could go downhill from here if the Iranians don’t realize that this cannot continue.

FP: Do you think this response was proportionate?

DP: It was a defensive response and this is, again, of enormous consequence and significance. But now the question is: How does Iran respond with its own forces and its proxies, and then what does that lead the U.S. to do?

Iran is in a very precarious economic situation, it is very fragile domestically—they’ve killed many, many hundreds if not thousands of Iranian citizens who were demonstrating on the streets of Iran in response to the dismal economic situation and the mismanagement and corruption. I just don’t see the Iranians as anywhere near as supportive of the regime at this point as they were decades ago during the Iran-Iraq War. Clearly the supreme leader has to consider that as Iran considers the potential responses to what the U.S. has done.

It will be interesting now to see if there is a U.S. diplomatic initiative to reach out to Iran and to say, “Okay, the next move could be strikes against your oil infrastructure and your forces in your country—where does that end?”

FP: Will Iran consider this an act of war?

DP: I don’t know what that means, to be truthful. They clearly recognize how very significant it was. But as to the definition—is a cyberattack an act of war? No one can ever answer that. We haven’t declared war, but we have taken a very, very significant action.

FP: How prepared is the U.S. to protect its forces in the region?

DP: We’ve taken numerous actions to augment our air defenses in the region, our offensive capabilities in the region, in terms of general purpose and special operations forces and air assets. The Pentagon has considered the implications the potential consequences and has done a great deal to mitigate the risks—although you can’t fully mitigate the potential risks.

FP: Do you think the decision to conduct this attack on Iraqi soil was overly provocative?

DP: Again what was the alternative? Do it in Iran? Think of the implications of that. This is the most formidable adversary that we have faced for decades. He is a combination of CIA director, JSOC [Joint Special Operations Command] commander, and special presidential envoy for the region. This is a very significant effort to reestablish deterrence, which obviously had not been shored up by the relatively insignificant responses up until now.

FP: What is the likelihood that there will be an all-out war?

DP: Obviously all sides will suffer if this becomes a wider war, but Iran has to be very worried that—in the state of its economy, the significant popular unrest and demonstrations against the regime—that this is a real threat to the regime in a way that we have not seen prior to this.

FP: Given the maximum pressure campaign that has crippled its economy, the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, and now this assassination, what incentive does Iran have to negotiate now?

DP: The incentive would be to get out from under the sanctions, which are crippling. Could we get back to the Iran nuclear deal plus some additional actions that could address the shortcomings of the agreement?

This is a very significant escalation, and they don’t know where this goes any more than anyone else does. Yes, they can respond and they can retaliate, and that can lead to further retaliation—and that it is clear now that the administration is willing to take very substantial action. This is a pretty clarifying moment in that regard.

FP: What will Iran do to retaliate?

DP: Right now they are probably doing what anyone does in this situation: considering the menu of options. There could be actions in the gulf, in the Strait of Hormuz by proxies in the regional countries, and in other continents where the Quds Force have activities. There’s a very considerable number of potential responses by Iran, and then there’s any number of potential U.S. responses to those actions

Given the state of their economy, I think they have to be very leery, very concerned that that could actually result in the first real challenge to the regime certainly since the Iran-Iraq War.

FP: Will the Iraqi government kick the U.S. military out of Iraq?

DP: The prime minister has said that he would put forward legislation to do that, although I don’t think that the majority of Iraqi leaders want to see that given that ISIS is still a significant threat. They are keenly aware that it was not the Iranian supported militias that defeated the Islamic State, it was U.S.-enabled Iraqi armed forces and special forces that really fought the decisive battles.

Lara Seligman is a staff writer at Foreign Policy.

Voir encore:

Gen. Petraeus on Qasem Soleimani’s killing: ‘It’s impossible to overstate the significance’
The World
January 03, 2020

The United States is sending nearly 3,000 additional troops to the Middle East from the 82nd Airborne Division as a precaution amid rising threats to American forces in the region, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Iran promised vengeance after a US airstrike in Baghdad on Friday killed Qasem Soleimani, Tehran’s most prominent military commander and the architect of its growing influence in the Middle East.

The overnight attack, authorized by US President Donald Trump, was a dramatic escalation in the « shadow war » in the Middle East between Iran and the United States and its allies, principally Israel and Saudi Arabia.

As former commander of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and a former CIA director, retired Gen. David Petraeus is very familiar with Soleimani. He spoke to The World’s host Marco Werman about what could happen next.

Marco Werman: How did you know Qasem Soleimani?

Gen. David Petraeus: Well, he was our most significant Iranian adversary during my four years in Iraq, [and] certainly when I was the Central Command commander, and very much so when I was the director of the CIA. He is unquestionably the most significant and important — or was the most significant and important — Iranian figure in the region, the most important architect of the effort by Iran to solidify control of the Shia crescent, and the operational commander of the various initiatives that were part of that effort.

General Petraeus, did you ever interact directly or indirectly with him?

Indirectly. He sent a message to me through the president of Iraq in late March of 2008, during the battle of Basra, when we were supporting the Iraqi army forces that were battling the Shia militias in Basra that were supported, of course, by Qasem Soleimani and the Quds Force. He sent a message through the president that said, « General Petraeus, you should know that I, Qasem Soleimani, control the policy of Iran for Iraq, and also for Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Afghanistan. »

And the implication of that was, « If you want to deal with Iran to resolve this situation in Basra, you should deal with me, not with the Iranian diplomats. » And his power only grew from that point in time. By the way, I did not — I actually told the president to tell Qasem Soleimani to pound sand.

So why do you suppose this happened now, though?

Well, I suspect that the leaders in Washington were seeking to reestablish deterrence, which clearly had eroded to some degree, perhaps by the relatively insignificant actions in response to these strikes on the Abqaiq oil facility in Saudi Arabia, shipping in the Gulf and our $130 million dollar drone that was shot down. And we had seen increased numbers of attacks against US forces in Iraq. So I’m sure that there was a lot of discussion about what could show the Iranians most significantly that we are really serious, that they should not continue to escalate.

Now, obviously, there is a menu of options that they have now and not just in terms of direct Iranian action against perhaps our large bases in the various Gulf states, shipping in the Gulf, but also through proxy actions — and not just in the region, but even in places such as Latin America and Africa and Europe.

Would you have recommended this course of action right now?

I’d hesitate to answer that just because I am not privy to the intelligence that was the foundation for the decision, which clearly was, as was announced, this was a defensive action, that Soleimani was going into the country to presumably approve further attacks. Without really being in the inner circle on that, I think it’s very difficult to either second-guess or to even think through what the recommendation might have been.

Again, it is impossible to overstate the significance of this action. This is much more substantial than the killing of Osama bin Laden. It’s even more substantial than the killing of Baghdadi.

Final question, General Petraeus, how vulnerable are US military and civilian personnel in the Middle East right now as a result of what happened last night?

Well, my understanding is that we have significantly shored up our air defenses, our air assets, our ground defenses and so forth. There’s been the movement of a lot of forces into the region in months, not just in the past days. So there’s been a very substantial augmentation of our defensive capabilities and also our offensive capabilities.

And, you know, the question Iran has to ask itself is, « Where does this end? » If they now retaliate in a significant way — and considering how vulnerable their infrastructure and forces are at a time when their economy is in dismal shape because of the sanctions. So Iran is not in a position of strength, although it clearly has many, many options available to it, as I mentioned, not just with their armed forces and the Revolutionary Guards Corps, but also with these Quds Force-supported proxy elements throughout the region in the world.

Two short questions for what’s next, Gen. Petraeus — US remaining in Iraq, and war with Iran. What’s your best guess?

Well, I think one of the questions is, « What will the diplomatic ramifications of this be? » And again, there have been celebrations in some places in Iraq at the loss of Qasem Soleimani. So, again, there’s no tears being shed in certain parts of the country. And one has to ask what happens in the wake of the killing of the individual who had a veto, virtually, over the leadership of Iraq. What transpires now depends on the calculations of all these different elements. And certainly the US, I would assume, is considering diplomatic initiatives as well, reaching out and saying, « Okay. Does that send a sufficient message of our seriousness? Now, would you like to return to the table? » Or does Iran accelerate the nuclear program, which would, of course, precipitate something further from the United States? Very likely. So lots of calculations here. And I think we’re still very early in the deliberations on all the different ramifications of this very significant action.

Do you have confidence in this administration to kind of navigate all those calculations?

Well, I think that this particular episode has been fairly impressively handled. There’s been restraint in some of the communications methods from the White House. The Department of Defense put out, I think, a solid statement. It has taken significant actions, again, to shore up our defenses and our offensive capabilities. The question now, I think, is what is the diplomatic initiative that follows this? What will the State Department and the Secretary of State do now to try to get back to the table and reduce or end the battlefield consequences?

The flag that Donald Trump posted last night, no words. Was that restraint, do you think?

I think it was. Certainly all things are relative. And I think relative to some of his tweets that was quite restrained.

Voir enfin:

Iran’s strategic mastermind got a huge boost from the nuclear deal

The historic nuclear accord between a US-led group of countries and Iran was good news for a man who some consider to be the Middle East’s most effective covert operative.As a result of the deal, Qasem Suleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Qods Force and the general responsible for overseeing Iran’s network of proxy organizations, will be removed from European Union sanctions lists once the agreement is implemented, and taken off a UN sanctions list after eight or fewer years.

Iran obtained some key concessions as a result of the nuclear agreement, including access to an estimated $150 billion in frozen assets; the lifting of a UN arms embargo, the eventual end to sanctions related to the country’s ballistic missile program; the ability to operate over 5,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges and to run stable elements through centrifuges at the once-clandestine and heavily guarded Fordow facility; nuclear assistance from the US and its partners; and the ability to stall inspections of sensitive sites for as long as 24 days. In light of these accomplishments, the de-listing of a general responsible for coordinating anti-US militia groups in Iraq — someone who may be responsible for the deaths of US soldiers — almost seems gratuitous.

It’s unlikely that the entire deal hinged on a single Iranian officer’s ability to open bank accounts in EU states or travel within Europe. But it got into the deal anyway. So did a reprieve for Bank Saderat, which the US sanctioned in 2006 for facilitating money transfers to Iranian regime-supported terror groups like Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. As part of the deal, Bank Saderat will leave the EU sanctions list on the same timetable as Suleimani, although it will remain under US designation.

Like Suleimani’s removal, Bank Saderat’s apparent legalization in Europe suggests that for the purposes of the deal, the US and its partners lumped a broad range of restrictions under the heading of « nuclear-related » sanctions.

Suleimani and Bank Saderat are still going to remain under US sanctions related to the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses and support for terrorism. US sanctions have broad extraterritorial reach, and the US Treasury Department has turned into the scourge of compliance desks at banks around the world. But that matters to a somewhat lesser degree inside of the EU, where companies have actually been exempted from complying with certain US « secondary sanctions » on Iran since the mid-1990s.

Any company that transacts with a US-designated individual takes on a certain degree of US legal exposure. That actually creates problem for US allies whose companies operate under less restrictive legal regimes. It’s perfectly legal under domestic law for companies in many EU countries — among the US’s closest allies — to perform transactions for certain US-listed individuals and entities. This has been the cause of some trans-Atlantic tensions in the past, with an upshot that’s of immediate relevance to the nuclear deal reached Tuesday.In 1996, the US Congress passed the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, targeting entities in two longstanding opponents of the US. But these were countries where European companies had routinely invested. The law didn’t just sanction two unfriendly regimes — it effectively sanctioned US allies where business with both countries was legally tolerated.

The law triggered consultations between the US and the EU under the World Trade Organization’s various dispute mechanisms. Diplomatic protests forced the US and and its European allies to figure out a compromise that wouldn’t expose their companies to additional legal scrutiny or lead to an unnecessary escalation in trans-Atlantic trade barriers.

The result is that the US kept the law on the books, but scaled back their implementation in Europe. Then-President Bill Clinton « negotiated an agreement under which the United States would not impose any ISLA sanctions
on European firms – much to Congress’ dismay. »

And in November 1996, the Council of Europe adopted a resolution protecting European companies from the reach of US law. The resolution authorized « blocking recognition or enforcement of decisions or judgments giving effect to the covered laws, » effectively canceling the extraterritoriality of certain US sanctions on European soil (although legal exposure continued for European companies with enough of a US presence to put them under American jurisdiction). In past disputes, companies inside of Europe have had an EU-authorized waiver for complying with US secondary sanctions.

In a post-deal environment in which European companies are eager investors in a far less diplomatically isolated Iran, the 1996 spat could be a sign of things to come, as well as a guideline for smoothing out disputes over US sanctions enforcement in Europe.

Some time in the next few years, Qasem Suleimani will be able to travel and do business inside the EU, while a bank that’s facilitated the funding of US-listed terror group’s will be allowed to enter the European market. As part of the nuclear deal, the US and its partners bargained away much of the international leverage against some of the more problematic sectors in the Iranian regime, including entities whose wrongdoing went well beyond the nuclear realm.The result is the almost complete reversal of the sanctions regime in Europe. « If you look at the competing annexes, the European list is much more comprehensive and there are going to be significant differences between the designation lists that are maintained, » Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Business Insider. « The Europeans look as if they’re about to just open up entirely to Iran. »

Iran successfully pushed for a broad definition of « nuclear-related sanctions, » and bargained hard — and effectively — for a maximal degree of sanctions relief.

And the de-listing of Bank Saderat and Qasem Suleimani, along with the late-breaking effort to classify arms trade restrictions as purely nuclear-related, demonstrates just how far the US and its partners were willing to go to close a historic nuclear deal.

Voir par ailleurs:

Iran: le général Soleimani raconte sa guerre israélo-libanaise de 2006
Le Point/AFP
01/10/2019

La télévision d’Etat iranienne a diffusé mardi soir un entretien exclusif avec le général de division Ghassem Soleimani, un haut commandant des Gardiens de la Révolution, consacré à sa présence au Liban lors du conflit israélo-libanais de l’été 2006.

L’entretien est présenté comme la première interview du général Soleimani, homme de l’ombre à la tête de la force Qods, chargée des opérations extérieures –notamment en Irak et en Syrie— des Gardiens, l’armée idéologique de la République islamique.

Au cours des quelque 90 minutes d’entretien diffusées sur la première chaîne de la télévision d’Etat, le général Soleimani explique avoir passé au Liban, avec le Hezbollah chiite libanais, l’essentiel de ce conflit ayant duré 34 jours.

Le général dit être entré au pays du Cèdre au tout début de la guerre à partir de la Syrie avec Imad Moughnieh, haut commandant militaire du Hezbollah (tué en 2008) considéré par le mouvement chiite comme l’artisan de la « victoire » contre Israël lors de ce conflit ayant fait 1.200 morts côté libanais et 160 côté israélien.

Il revient sur l’élément déclencheur de la guerre: l’attaque, le 12 juillet, d’un commando du Hezbollah parvenu « à entrer en Palestine occupée (Israël, NDLR), attaquer un (blindé) sioniste et capturer deux soldats blessés ».

Mis à part une courte mission au bout « d’une semaine » pour rendre compte de la situation au guide suprême iranien, l’ayatollah Ali Khamenei, et revenir au Liban le jour-même avec un message de sa part pour Hassan Nasrallah, le chef du Hezbollah, le général dit être resté au Liban pour aider ses compagnons d’armes chiites.

Dans l’entretien, l’officier ne mentionne pas la présence d’autres Iraniens. Il livre le récit d’une expérience avant tout personnelle, au contact de Moughnieh et de M. Nasrallah.

Il raconte comment, pris sous des bombardements israéliens sur la banlieue sud de Beyrouth, bastion du Hezbollah, il évacue avec Moughniyeh le cheikh Nasrallah de la « chambre d’opérations » où il se trouve.

Selon son récit, lui et Moughniyeh font passer le chef du Hezbollah cette nuit-là d’abri en cachette avant de revenir tous deux à leur centre de commandement.

La publication de l’interview, réalisée par le bureau de l’ayatollah Khamenei, survient quelques jours après la publication, par ce même bureau, d’une photo inédite montrant Hassan Nasrallah « au-côté » de M. Khamenei et du général Soleimani et accréditant l’idée d’une rencontre récente entre les trois hommes à Téhéran.

Voir aussi:

Trump Calls the Ayatollah’s Bluff

And scores a victory against terrorism
Matthew Continetti
National review
January 3, 2020

The successful operation against Qassem Suleimani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, is a stunning blow to international terrorism and a reassertion of American might. It will also test President Trump’s Iran strategy. It is now Trump, not Ayatollah Khamenei, who has ascended a rung on the ladder of escalation by killing the military architect of Iran’s Shiite empire. For years, Iran has set the rules. It was Iran that picked the time and place of confrontation. No more.

Reciprocity has been the key to understanding Donald Trump. Whether you are a media figure or a mullah, a prime minister or a pope, he will be good to you if you are good to him. Say something mean, though, or work against his interests, and he will respond in force. It won’t be pretty. It won’t be polite. There will be fallout. But you may think twice before crossing him again.

That has been the case with Iran. President Trump has conditioned his policies on Iranian behavior. When Iran spread its malign influence, Trump acted to check it. When Iran struck, Trump hit back: never disproportionately, never definitively. He left open the possibility of negotiations. He doesn’t want to have the greater Middle East — whether Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, or Afghanistan — dominate his presidency the way it dominated those of Barack Obama and George W. Bush. America no longer needs Middle Eastern oil. Best to keep the region on the back burner and watch it so it doesn’t boil over. Do not overcommit resources to this underdeveloped, war-torn, sectarian land.

The result was reciprocal antagonism. In 2018, Trump withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated by his predecessor. He began jacking up sanctions. The Iranian economy turned to a shambles. This “maximum pressure” campaign of economic warfare deprived the Iranian war machine of revenue and drove a wedge between the Iranian public and the Iranian government. Trump offered the opportunity to negotiate a new agreement. Iran refused.

And began to lash out. Last June, Iran’s fingerprints were all over two oil tankers that exploded in the Persian Gulf. Trump tightened the screws. Iran downed a U.S. drone. Trump called off a military strike at the last minute and responded indirectly, with more sanctions, cyber attacks, and additional troop deployments to the region. Last September a drone fleet launched by Iranian proxies in Yemen devastated the Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia. Trump responded as he had to previous incidents: nonviolently.

Iran slowly brought the region to a boil. First it hit boats, then drones, then the key infrastructure of a critical ally. On December 27 it went further: Members of the Kataib Hezbollah militia launched rockets at a U.S. installation near Kirkuk, Iraq. Four U.S. soldiers were wounded. An American contractor was killed.

Destroying physical objects merited economic sanctions and cyber intrusions. Ending lives required a lethal response. It arrived on December 29 when F-15s pounded five Kataib Hezbollah facilities across Iraq and Syria. At least 25 militiamen were killed. Then, when Kataib Hezbollah and other Iran-backed militias organized a mob to storm the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, setting fire to the grounds, America made a show of force and threatened severe reprisals. The angry crowd melted away.

The risk to the U.S. embassy — and the possibility of another Benghazi — must have angered Trump. “The game has changed,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said hours before the assassination of Soleimani at Baghdad airport. Indeed it has. The decades-long gray-zone conflict between Iran and the United States manifested itself in subterfuge, terrorism, technological combat, financial chicanery, and proxy forces. Throughout it all, the two sides confronted each other directly only once: in the second half of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. That is about to change.

Deterrence, says Fred Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute, is credibly holding at risk something your adversary holds dear. If the reports out of Iraq are true, President Trump has put at risk the entirety of the Iranian imperial enterprise even as his maximum-pressure campaign strangles the Iranian economy and fosters domestic unrest. That will get the ayatollah’s attention. And now the United States must prepare for his answer.

The bombs over Baghdad? That was Trump calling Khamenei’s bluff. The game has changed. But it isn’t over.

Voir également:

The Shadow Commander
Qassem Suleimani is the Iranian operative who has been reshaping the Middle East. Now he’s directing Assad’s war in Syria.
The New Yorker
September 23, 2013

Last February, some of Iran’s most influential leaders gathered at the Amir al-Momenin Mosque, in northeast Tehran, inside a gated community reserved for officers of the Revolutionary Guard. They had come to pay their last respects to a fallen comrade. Hassan Shateri, a veteran of Iran’s covert wars throughout the Middle East and South Asia, was a senior commander in a powerful, élite branch of the Revolutionary Guard called the Quds Force. The force is the sharp instrument of Iranian foreign policy, roughly analogous to a combined C.I.A. and Special Forces; its name comes from the Persian word for Jerusalem, which its fighters have promised to liberate. Since 1979, its goal has been to subvert Iran’s enemies and extend the country’s influence across the Middle East. Shateri had spent much of his career abroad, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, where the Quds Force helped Shiite militias kill American soldiers.

Shateri had been killed two days before, on the road that runs between Damascus and Beirut. He had gone to Syria, along with thousands of other members of the Quds Force, to rescue the country’s besieged President, Bashar al-Assad, a crucial ally of Iran. In the past few years, Shateri had worked under an alias as the Quds Force’s chief in Lebanon; there he had helped sustain the armed group Hezbollah, which at the time of the funeral had begun to pour men into Syria to fight for the regime. The circumstances of his death were unclear: one Iranian official said that Shateri had been “directly targeted” by “the Zionist regime,” as Iranians habitually refer to Israel.

At the funeral, the mourners sobbed, and some beat their chests in the Shiite way. Shateri’s casket was wrapped in an Iranian flag, and gathered around it were the commander of the Revolutionary Guard, dressed in green fatigues; a member of the plot to murder four exiled opposition leaders in a Berlin restaurant in 1992; and the father of Imad Mughniyeh, the Hezbollah commander believed to be responsible for the bombings that killed more than two hundred and fifty Americans in Beirut in 1983. Mughniyeh was assassinated in 2008, purportedly by Israeli agents. In the ethos of the Iranian revolution, to die was to serve. Before Shateri’s funeral, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s Supreme Leader, released a note of praise: “In the end, he drank the sweet syrup of martyrdom.”

Kneeling in the second row on the mosque’s carpeted floor was Major General Qassem Suleimani, the Quds Force’s leader: a small man of fifty-six, with silver hair, a close-cropped beard, and a look of intense self-containment. It was Suleimani who had sent Shateri, an old and trusted friend, to his death. As Revolutionary Guard commanders, he and Shateri belonged to a small fraternity formed during the Sacred Defense, the name given to the Iran-Iraq War, which lasted from 1980 to 1988 and left as many as a million people dead. It was a catastrophic fight, but for Iran it was the beginning of a three-decade project to build a Shiite sphere of influence, stretching across Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean. Along with its allies in Syria and Lebanon, Iran forms an Axis of Resistance, arrayed against the region’s dominant Sunni powers and the West. In Syria, the project hung in the balance, and Suleimani was mounting a desperate fight, even if the price of victory was a sectarian conflict that engulfed the region for years.

Suleimani took command of the Quds Force fifteen years ago, and in that time he has sought to reshape the Middle East in Iran’s favor, working as a power broker and as a military force: assassinating rivals, arming allies, and, for most of a decade, directing a network of militant groups that killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has sanctioned Suleimani for his role in supporting the Assad regime, and for abetting terrorism. And yet he has remained mostly invisible to the outside world, even as he runs agents and directs operations. “Suleimani is the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today,” John Maguire, a former C.I.A. officer in Iraq, told me, “and no one’s ever heard of him.”

When Suleimani appears in public—often to speak at veterans’ events or to meet with Khamenei—he carries himself inconspicuously and rarely raises his voice, exhibiting a trait that Arabs call khilib, or understated charisma. “He is so short, but he has this presence,” a former senior Iraqi official told me. “There will be ten people in a room, and when Suleimani walks in he doesn’t come and sit with you. He sits over there on the other side of room, by himself, in a very quiet way. Doesn’t speak, doesn’t comment, just sits and listens. And so of course everyone is thinking only about him.”

At the funeral, Suleimani was dressed in a black jacket and a black shirt with no tie, in the Iranian style; his long, angular face and his arched eyebrows were twisted with pain. The Quds Force had never lost such a high-ranking officer abroad. The day before the funeral, Suleimani had travelled to Shateri’s home to offer condolences to his family. He has a fierce attachment to martyred soldiers, and often visits their families; in a recent interview with Iranian media, he said, “When I see the children of the martyrs, I want to smell their scent, and I lose myself.” As the funeral continued, he and the other mourners bent forward to pray, pressing their foreheads to the carpet. “One of the rarest people, who brought the revolution and the whole world to you, is gone,” Alireza Panahian, the imam, told the mourners. Suleimani cradled his head in his palm and began to weep.

The early months of 2013, around the time of Shateri’s death, marked a low point for the Iranian intervention in Syria. Assad was steadily losing ground to the rebels, who are dominated by Sunnis, Iran’s rivals. If Assad fell, the Iranian regime would lose its link to Hezbollah, its forward base against Israel. In a speech, one Iranian cleric said, “If we lose Syria, we cannot keep Tehran.”

Although the Iranians were severely strained by American sanctions, imposed to stop the regime from developing a nuclear weapon, they were unstinting in their efforts to save Assad. Among other things, they extended a seven-billion-dollar loan to shore up the Syrian economy. “I don’t think the Iranians are calculating this in terms of dollars,” a Middle Eastern security official told me. “They regard the loss of Assad as an existential threat.” For Suleimani, saving Assad seemed a matter of pride, especially if it meant distinguishing himself from the Americans. “Suleimani told us the Iranians would do whatever was necessary,” a former Iraqi leader told me. “He said, ‘We’re not like the Americans. We don’t abandon our friends.’ ”

Last year, Suleimani asked Kurdish leaders in Iraq to allow him to open a supply route across northern Iraq and into Syria. For years, he had bullied and bribed the Kurds into coöperating with his plans, but this time they rebuffed him. Worse, Assad’s soldiers wouldn’t fight—or, when they did, they mostly butchered civilians, driving the populace to the rebels. “The Syrian Army is useless!” Suleimani told an Iraqi politician. He longed for the Basij, the Iranian militia whose fighters crushed the popular uprisings against the regime in 2009. “Give me one brigade of the Basij, and I could conquer the whole country,” he said. In August, 2012, anti-Assad rebels captured forty-eight Iranians inside Syria. Iranian leaders protested that they were pilgrims, come to pray at a holy Shiite shrine, but the rebels, as well as Western intelligence agencies, said that they were members of the Quds Force. In any case, they were valuable enough so that Assad agreed to release more than two thousand captured rebels to have them freed. And then Shateri was killed.

Finally, Suleimani began flying into Damascus frequently so that he could assume personal control of the Iranian intervention. “He’s running the war himself,” an American defense official told me. In Damascus, he is said to work out of a heavily fortified command post in a nondescript building, where he has installed a multinational array of officers: the heads of the Syrian military, a Hezbollah commander, and a coördinator of Iraqi Shiite militias, which Suleimani mobilized and brought to the fight. If Suleimani couldn’t have the Basij, he settled for the next best thing: Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani, the Basij’s former deputy commander. Hamedani, another comrade from the Iran-Iraq War, was experienced in running the kind of irregular militias that the Iranians were assembling, in order to keep on fighting if Assad fell.

Late last year, Western officials began to notice a sharp increase in Iranian supply flights into the Damascus airport. Instead of a handful a week, planes were coming every day, carrying weapons and ammunition—“tons of it,” the Middle Eastern security official told me—along with officers from the Quds Force. According to American officials, the officers coördinated attacks, trained militias, and set up an elaborate system to monitor rebel communications. They also forced the various branches of Assad’s security services—designed to spy on one another—to work together. The Middle Eastern security official said that the number of Quds Force operatives, along with the Iraqi Shiite militiamen they brought with them, reached into the thousands. “They’re spread out across the entire country,” he told me.

A turning point came in April, after rebels captured the Syrian town of Qusayr, near the Lebanese border. To retake the town, Suleimani called on Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, to send in more than two thousand fighters. It wasn’t a difficult sell. Qusayr sits at the entrance to the Bekaa Valley, the main conduit for missiles and other matériel to Hezbollah; if it was closed, Hezbollah would find it difficult to survive. Suleimani and Nasrallah are old friends, having coöperated for years in Lebanon and in the many places around the world where Hezbollah operatives have performed terrorist missions at the Iranians’ behest. According to Will Fulton, an Iran expert at the American Enterprise Institute, Hezbollah fighters encircled Qusayr, cutting off the roads, then moved in. Dozens of them were killed, as were at least eight Iranian officers. On June 5th, the town fell. “The whole operation was orchestrated by Suleimani,” Maguire, who is still active in the region, said. “It was a great victory for him.”

Despite all of Suleimani’s rough work, his image among Iran’s faithful is that of an irreproachable war hero—a decorated veteran of the Iran-Iraq War, in which he became a division commander while still in his twenties. In public, he is almost theatrically modest. During a recent appearance, he described himself as “the smallest soldier,” and, according to the Iranian press, rebuffed members of the audience who tried to kiss his hand. His power comes mostly from his close relationship with Khamenei, who provides the guiding vision for Iranian society. The Supreme Leader, who usually reserves his highest praise for fallen soldiers, has referred to Suleimani as “a living martyr of the revolution.” Suleimani is a hard-line supporter of Iran’s authoritarian system. In July, 1999, at the height of student protests, he signed, with other Revolutionary Guard commanders, a letter warning the reformist President Mohammad Khatami that if he didn’t put down the revolt the military would—perhaps deposing Khatami in the process. “Our patience has run out,” the generals wrote. The police crushed the demonstrators, as they did again, a decade later.

Iran’s government is intensely fractious, and there are many figures around Khamenei who help shape foreign policy, including Revolutionary Guard commanders, senior clerics, and Foreign Ministry officials. But Suleimani has been given a remarkably free hand in implementing Khamenei’s vision. “He has ties to every corner of the system,” Meir Dagan, the former head of Mossad, told me. “He is what I call politically clever. He has a relationship with everyone.” Officials describe him as a believer in Islam and in the revolution; while many senior figures in the Revolutionary Guard have grown wealthy through the Guard’s control over key Iranian industries, Suleimani has been endowed with a personal fortune by the Supreme Leader. “He’s well taken care of,” Maguire said.

Suleimani lives in Tehran, and appears to lead the home life of a bureaucrat in middle age. “He gets up at four every morning, and he’s in bed by nine-thirty every night,” the Iraqi politician, who has known him for many years, told me, shaking his head in disbelief. Suleimani has a bad prostate and recurring back pain. He’s “respectful of his wife,” the Middle Eastern security official told me, sometimes taking her along on trips. He has three sons and two daughters, and is evidently a strict but loving father. He is said to be especially worried about his daughter Nargis, who lives in Malaysia. “She is deviating from the ways of Islam,” the Middle Eastern official said.

Maguire told me, “Suleimani is a far more polished guy than most. He can move in political circles, but he’s also got the substance to be intimidating.” Although he is widely read, his aesthetic tastes appear to be strictly traditional. “I don’t think he’d listen to classical music,” the Middle Eastern official told me. “The European thing—I don’t think that’s his vibe, basically.” Suleimani has little formal education, but, the former senior Iraqi official told me, “he is a very shrewd, frighteningly intelligent strategist.” His tools include payoffs for politicians across the Middle East, intimidation when it is needed, and murder as a last resort. Over the years, the Quds Force has built an international network of assets, some of them drawn from the Iranian diaspora, who can be called on to support missions. “They’re everywhere,” a second Middle Eastern security official said. In 2010, according to Western officials, the Quds Force and Hezbollah launched a new campaign against American and Israeli targets—in apparent retaliation for the covert effort to slow down the Iranian nuclear program, which has included cyber attacks and assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.

Since then, Suleimani has orchestrated attacks in places as far flung as Thailand, New Delhi, Lagos, and Nairobi—at least thirty attempts in the past two years alone. The most notorious was a scheme, in 2011, to hire a Mexican drug cartel to blow up the Saudi Ambassador to the United States as he sat down to eat at a restaurant a few miles from the White House. The cartel member approached by Suleimani’s agent turned out to be an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. (The Quds Force appears to be more effective close to home, and a number of the remote plans have gone awry.) Still, after the plot collapsed, two former American officials told a congressional committee that Suleimani should be assassinated. “Suleimani travels a lot,” one said. “He is all over the place. Go get him. Either try to capture him or kill him.” In Iran, more than two hundred dignitaries signed an outraged letter in his defense; a social-media campaign proclaimed, “We are all Qassem Suleimani.”

Several Middle Eastern officials, some of whom I have known for a decade, stopped talking the moment I brought up Suleimani. “We don’t want to have any part of this,” a Kurdish official in Iraq said. Among spies in the West, he appears to exist in a special category, an enemy both hated and admired: a Middle Eastern equivalent of Karla, the elusive Soviet master spy in John le Carré’s novels. When I called Dagan, the former Mossad chief, and mentioned Suleimani’s name, there was a long pause on the line. “Ah,” he said, in a tone of weary irony, “a very good friend.”

In March, 2009, on the eve of the Iranian New Year, Suleimani led a group of Iran-Iraq War veterans to the Paa-Alam Heights, a barren, rocky promontory on the Iraqi border. In 1986, Paa-Alam was the scene of one of the terrible battles over the Faw Peninsula, where tens of thousands of men died while hardly advancing a step. A video recording from the visit shows Suleimani standing on a mountaintop, recounting the battle to his old comrades. In a gentle voice, he speaks over a soundtrack of music and prayers.

“This is the Dasht-e-Abbas Road,” Suleimani says, pointing into the valley below. “This area stood between us and the enemy.” Later, Suleimani and the group stand on the banks of a creek, where he reads aloud the names of fallen Iranian soldiers, his voice trembling with emotion. During a break, he speaks with an interviewer, and describes the fighting in near-mystical terms. “The battlefield is mankind’s lost paradise—the paradise in which morality and human conduct are at their highest,” he says. “One type of paradise that men imagine is about streams, beautiful maidens, and lush landscape. But there is another kind of paradise—the battlefield.”

Suleimani was born in Rabor, an impoverished mountain village in eastern Iran. When he was a boy, his father, like many other farmers, took out an agricultural loan from the government of the Shah. He owed nine hundred toman—about a hundred dollars at the time—and couldn’t pay it back. In a brief memoir, Suleimani wrote of leaving home with a young relative named Ahmad Suleimani, who was in a similar situation. “At night, we couldn’t fall asleep with the sadness of thinking that government agents were coming to arrest our fathers,” he wrote. Together, they travelled to Kerman, the nearest city, to try to clear their family’s debt. The place was unwelcoming. “We were only thirteen, and our bodies were so tiny, wherever we went, they wouldn’t hire us,” he wrote. “Until one day, when we were hired as laborers at a school construction site on Khajoo Street, which was where the city ended. They paid us two toman per day.” After eight months, they had saved enough money to bring home, but the winter snow was too deep. They were told to seek out a local driver named Pahlavan—“Champion”—who was a “strong man who could lift up a cow or a donkey with his teeth.” During the drive, whenever the car got stuck, “he would lift up the Jeep and put it aside!” In Suleimani’s telling, Pahlavan is an ardent detractor of the Shah. He says of the two boys, “This is the time for them to rest and play, not work as a laborer in a strange city. I spit on the life they have made for us!” They arrived home, Suleimani writes, “just as the lights were coming on in the village homes. When the news travelled in our village, there was pandemonium.”

As a young man, Suleimani gave few signs of greater ambition. According to Ali Alfoneh, an Iran expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, he had only a high-school education, and worked for Kerman’s municipal water department. But it was a revolutionary time, and the country’s gathering unrest was making itself felt. Away from work, Suleimani spent hours lifting weights in local gyms, which, like many in the Middle East, offered physical training and inspiration for the warrior spirit. During Ramadan, he attended sermons by a travelling preacher named Hojjat Kamyab—a protégé of Khamenei’s—and it was there that he became inspired by the possibility of Islamic revolution.

In 1979, when Suleimani was twenty-two, the Shah fell to a popular uprising led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the name of Islam. Swept up in the fervor, Suleimani joined the Revolutionary Guard, a force established by Iran’s new clerical leadership to prevent the military from mounting a coup. Though he received little training—perhaps only a forty-five-day course—he advanced rapidly. As a young guardsman, Suleimani was dispatched to northwestern Iran, where he helped crush an uprising by ethnic Kurds.

When the revolution was eighteen months old, Saddam Hussein sent the Iraqi Army sweeping across the border, hoping to take advantage of the internal chaos. Instead, the invasion solidified Khomeini’s leadership and unified the country in resistance, starting a brutal, entrenched war. Suleimani was sent to the front with a simple task, to supply water to the soldiers there, and he never left. “I entered the war on a fifteen-day mission, and ended up staying until the end,” he has said. A photograph from that time shows the young Suleimani dressed in green fatigues, with no insignia of rank, his black eyes focussed on a far horizon. “We were all young and wanted to serve the revolution,” he told an interviewer in 2005.

Suleimani earned a reputation for bravery and élan, especially as a result of reconnaissance missions he undertook behind Iraqi lines. He returned from several missions bearing a goat, which his soldiers slaughtered and grilled. “Even the Iraqis, our enemy, admired him for this,” a former Revolutionary Guard officer who defected to the United States told me. On Iraqi radio, Suleimani became known as “the goat thief.” In recognition of his effectiveness, Alfoneh said, he was put in charge of a brigade from Kerman, with men from the gyms where he lifted weights.

The Iranian Army was badly overmatched, and its commanders resorted to crude and costly tactics. In “human wave” assaults, they sent thousands of young men directly into the Iraqi lines, often to clear minefields, and soldiers died at a precipitous rate. Suleimani seemed distressed by the loss of life. Before sending his men into battle, he would embrace each one and bid him goodbye; in speeches, he praised martyred soldiers and begged their forgiveness for not being martyred himself. When Suleimani’s superiors announced plans to attack the Faw Peninsula, he dismissed them as wasteful and foolhardy. The former Revolutionary Guard officer recalled seeing Suleimani in 1985, after a battle in which his brigade had suffered many dead and wounded. He was sitting alone in a corner of a tent. “He was very silent, thinking about the people he’d lost,” the officer said.

Ahmad, the young relative who travelled with Suleimani to Kerman, was killed in 1984. On at least one occasion, Suleimani himself was wounded. Still, he didn’t lose enthusiasm for his work. In the nineteen-eighties, Reuel Marc Gerecht was a young C.I.A. officer posted to Istanbul, where he recruited from the thousands of Iranian soldiers who went there to recuperate. “You’d get a whole variety of guardsmen,” Gerecht, who has written extensively on Iran, told me. “You’d get clerics, you’d get people who came to breathe and whore and drink.” Gerecht divided the veterans into two groups. “There were the broken and the burned out, the hollow-eyed—the guys who had been destroyed,” he said. “And then there were the bright-eyed guys who just couldn’t wait to get back to the front. I’d put Suleimani in the latter category.”

Ryan Crocker, the American Ambassador to Iraq from 2007 to 2009, got a similar feeling. During the Iraq War, Crocker sometimes dealt with Suleimani indirectly, through Iraqi leaders who shuttled in and out of Tehran. Once, he asked one of the Iraqis if Suleimani was especially religious. The answer was “Not really,” Crocker told me. “He attends mosque periodically. Religion doesn’t drive him. Nationalism drives him, and the love of the fight.”

Iran’s leaders took two lessons from the Iran-Iraq War. The first was that Iran was surrounded by enemies, near and far. To the regime, the invasion was not so much an Iraqi plot as a Western one. American officials were aware of Saddam’s preparations to invade Iran in 1980, and they later provided him with targeting information used in chemical-weapons attacks; the weapons themselves were built with the help of Western European firms. The memory of these attacks is an especially bitter one. “Do you know how many people are still suffering from the effects of chemical weapons?” Mehdi Khalaji, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said. “Thousands of former soldiers. They believe these were Western weapons given to Saddam.” In 1987, during a battle with the Iraqi Army, a division under Suleimani’s command was attacked by artillery shells containing chemical weapons. More than a hundred of his men suffered the effects.

The other lesson drawn from the Iran-Iraq War was the futility of fighting a head-to-head confrontation. In 1982, after the Iranians expelled the Iraqi forces, Khomeini ordered his men to keep going, to “liberate” Iraq and push on to Jerusalem. Six years and hundreds of thousands of lives later, he agreed to a ceasefire. According to Alfoneh, many of the generals of Suleimani’s generation believe they could have succeeded had the clerics not flinched. “Many of them feel like they were stabbed in the back,” he said. “They have nurtured this myth for nearly thirty years.” But Iran’s leaders did not want another bloodbath. Instead, they had to build the capacity to wage asymmetrical warfare—attacking stronger powers indirectly, outside of Iran.

The Quds Force was an ideal tool. Khomeini had created the prototype for the force in 1979, with the goal of protecting Iran and exporting the Islamic Revolution. The first big opportunity came in Lebanon, where Revolutionary Guard officers were dispatched in 1982 to help organize Shiite militias in the many-sided Lebanese civil war. Those efforts resulted in the creation of Hezbollah, which developed under Iranian guidance. Hezbollah’s military commander, the brilliant and murderous Imad Mughniyeh, helped form what became known as the Special Security Apparatus, a wing of Hezbollah that works closely with the Quds Force. With assistance from Iran, Hezbollah helped orchestrate attacks on the American Embassy and on French and American military barracks. “In the early days, when Hezbollah was totally dependent on Iranian help, Mughniyeh and others were basically willing Iranian assets,” David Crist, a historian for the U.S. military and the author of “The Twilight War,” says.

For all of the Iranian regime’s aggressiveness, some of its religious zeal seemed to burn out. In 1989, Khomeini stopped urging Iranians to spread the revolution, and called instead for expediency to preserve its gains. Persian self-interest was the order of the day, even if it was indistinguishable from revolutionary fervor. In those years, Suleimani worked along Iran’s eastern frontier, aiding Afghan rebels who were holding out against the Taliban. The Iranian regime regarded the Taliban with intense hostility, in large part because of their persecution of Afghanistan’s minority Shiite population. (At one point, the two countries nearly went to war; Iran mobilized a quarter of a million troops, and its leaders denounced the Taliban as an affront to Islam.) In an area that breeds corruption, Suleimani made a name for himself battling opium smugglers along the Afghan border.

In 1998, Suleimani was named the head of the Quds Force, taking over an agency that had already built a lethal résumé: American and Argentine officials believe that the Iranian regime helped Hezbollah orchestrate the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992, which killed twenty-nine people, and the attack on the Jewish center in the same city two years later, which killed eighty-five. Suleimani has built the Quds Force into an organization with extraordinary reach, with branches focussed on intelligence, finance, politics, sabotage, and special operations. With a base in the former U.S. Embassy compound in Tehran, the force has between ten thousand and twenty thousand members, divided between combatants and those who train and oversee foreign assets. Its members are picked for their skill and their allegiance to the doctrine of the Islamic Revolution (as well as, in some cases, their family connections). According to the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, fighters are recruited throughout the region, trained in Shiraz and Tehran, indoctrinated at the Jerusalem Operation College, in Qom, and then “sent on months-long missions to Afghanistan and Iraq to gain experience in field operational work. They usually travel under the guise of Iranian construction workers.”

After taking command, Suleimani strengthened relationships in Lebanon, with Mughniyeh and with Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s chief. By then, the Israeli military had occupied southern Lebanon for sixteen years, and Hezbollah was eager to take control of the country, so Suleimani sent in Quds Force operatives to help. “They had a huge presence—training, advising, planning,” Crocker said. In 2000, the Israelis withdrew, exhausted by relentless Hezbollah attacks. It was a signal victory for the Shiites, and, Crocker said, “another example of how countries like Syria and Iran can play a long game, knowing that we can’t.”

Since then, the regime has given aid to a variety of militant Islamist groups opposed to America’s allies in the region, such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The help has gone not only to Shiites but also to Sunni groups like Hamas—helping to form an archipelago of alliances that stretches from Baghdad to Beirut. “No one in Tehran started out with a master plan to build the Axis of Resistance, but opportunities presented themselves,” a Western diplomat in Baghdad told me. “In each case, Suleimani was smarter, faster, and better resourced than anyone else in the region. By grasping at opportunities as they came, he built the thing, slowly but surely.”

In the chaotic days after the attacks of September 11th, Ryan Crocker, then a senior State Department official, flew discreetly to Geneva to meet a group of Iranian diplomats. “I’d fly out on a Friday and then back on Sunday, so nobody in the office knew where I’d been,” Crocker told me. “We’d stay up all night in those meetings.” It seemed clear to Crocker that the Iranians were answering to Suleimani, whom they referred to as “Haji Qassem,” and that they were eager to help the United States destroy their mutual enemy, the Taliban. Although the United States and Iran broke off diplomatic relations in 1980, after American diplomats in Tehran were taken hostage, Crocker wasn’t surprised to find that Suleimani was flexible. “You don’t live through eight years of brutal war without being pretty pragmatic,” he said. Sometimes Suleimani passed messages to Crocker, but he avoided putting anything in writing. “Haji Qassem’s way too smart for that,” Crocker said. “He’s not going to leave paper trails for the Americans.”

Before the bombing began, Crocker sensed that the Iranians were growing impatient with the Bush Administration, thinking that it was taking too long to attack the Taliban. At a meeting in early October, 2001, the lead Iranian negotiator stood up and slammed a sheaf of papers on the table. “If you guys don’t stop building these fairy-tale governments in the sky, and actually start doing some shooting on the ground, none of this is ever going to happen!” he shouted. “When you’re ready to talk about serious fighting, you know where to find me.” He stomped out of the room. “It was a great moment,” Crocker said.

The coöperation between the two countries lasted through the initial phase of the war. At one point, the lead negotiator handed Crocker a map detailing the disposition of Taliban forces. “Here’s our advice: hit them here first, and then hit them over here. And here’s the logic.” Stunned, Crocker asked, “Can I take notes?” The negotiator replied, “You can keep the map.” The flow of information went both ways. On one occasion, Crocker said, he gave his counterparts the location of an Al Qaeda facilitator living in the eastern city of Mashhad. The Iranians detained him and brought him to Afghanistan’s new leaders, who, Crocker believes, turned him over to the U.S. The negotiator told Crocker, “Haji Qassem is very pleased with our coöperation.”

The good will didn’t last. In January, 2002, Crocker, who was by then the deputy chief of the American Embassy in Kabul, was awakened one night by aides, who told him that President George W. Bush, in his State of the Union Address, had named Iran as part of an “Axis of Evil.” Like many senior diplomats, Crocker was caught off guard. He saw the negotiator the next day at the U.N. compound in Kabul, and he was furious. “You completely damaged me,” Crocker recalled him saying. “Suleimani is in a tearing rage. He feels compromised.” The negotiator told Crocker that, at great political risk, Suleimani had been contemplating a complete reëvaluation of the United States, saying, “Maybe it’s time to rethink our relationship with the Americans.” The Axis of Evil speech brought the meetings to an end. Reformers inside the government, who had advocated a rapprochement with the United States, were put on the defensive. Recalling that time, Crocker shook his head. “We were just that close,” he said. “One word in one speech changed history.”

Before the meetings fell apart, Crocker talked with the lead negotiator about the possibility of war in Iraq. “Look,” Crocker said, “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do have some responsibility for Iraq—it’s my portfolio—and I can read the signs, and I think we’re going to go in.” He saw an enormous opportunity. The Iranians despised Saddam, and Crocker figured that they would be willing to work with the U.S. “I was not a fan of the invasion,” he told me. “But I was thinking, If we’re going to do it, let’s see if we can flip an enemy into a friend—at least tactically for this, and then let’s see where we can take it.” The negotiator indicated that the Iranians were willing to talk, and that Iraq, like Afghanistan, was part of Suleimani’s brief: “It’s one guy running both shows.”

After the invasion began, in March, 2003, Iranian officials were frantic to let the Americans know that they wanted peace. Many of them watched the regimes topple in Afghanistan and Iraq and were convinced that they were next. “They were scared shitless,” Maguire, the former C.I.A. officer in Baghdad, told me. “They were sending runners across the border to our élite elements saying, ‘Look, we don’t want any trouble with you.’ We had an enormous upper hand.” That same year, American officials determined that Iran had reconfigured its plans to develop a nuclear weapon to proceed more slowly and covertly, lest it invite a Western attack.

After Saddam’s regime collapsed, Crocker was dispatched to Baghdad to organize a fledgling government, called the Iraqi Governing Council. He realized that many Iraqi politicians were flying to Tehran for consultations, and he jumped at the chance to negotiate indirectly with Suleimani. In the course of the summer, Crocker passed him the names of prospective Shiite candidates, and the two men vetted each one. Crocker did not offer veto power, but he abandoned candidates whom Suleimani found especially objectionable. “The formation of the governing council was in its essence a negotiation between Tehran and Washington,” he said.

Voir de même:

Gen. Soleimani: A new brand of Iranian hero for nationalist times
Not a Shiite religious figure and not a martyr, Qassem Soleimani, the living commander of Iran’s elite Qods Force, has been elevated to hero status.
Scott Peterson
The Christian Science Monitor
February 15, 2016

Tehran, Iran
For years the commander of Iran’s elite Qods Force worked from the shadows, conducting the nation’s battles from Afghanistan to Lebanon.

But today Qassem Soleimani is Iran’s celebrity general, a man elevated to hero status by a social media machine that has at least 10 Instagram accounts and spreads photographs and selfies of him at the front lines in Syria and Iraq.

The Islamic Republic long ago turned hero worship into an art form, with its devotion to Shiite religious figures and war martyrs. But the growing personality cult that halos Maj. Gen. Soleimani is different: The gray-haired servant of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is very much alive, and his ascent to stardom coincides with a growing nationalist trend in Iran.

“Propaganda in Iran is changing, and every nation needs a live hero,” says a conservative analyst in Qom, who asked not to be named.

“The dead heroes now are not useful; we need a live hero now. Iranian people like great commanders, military heroes in history,” he says, ticking off a string of names. “I think Qassem Soleimani is the right person for our new propaganda policy – the right person at the right time.”

Soleimani’s face surged into public view after the self-described Islamic State (IS) swept from Syria into Iraq in June 2014. Frontline photographs of the general mingling with Iranian fighters went viral.

Iranians cite many reasons for his rise, from “saving” Baghdad from IS jihadists and reactivating Shiite militias in Iraq to preserving the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during nearly six years of war.

Never mind that some analysts suggest that earlier failures to prevent internal upheaval in Iraq and Syria – for years those countries were part of Soleimani’s responsibility – are the reason for Iran’s deep involvement today.

For his part, Soleimani attributes the “collapse of American power in the region” to Iran’s “spiritual influence” in bolstering resistance against the United States, Israel, and their allies.

“It is very extraordinary. Who else can come close?” says a veteran observer in Tehran, Iran, who asked not to be named. “I don’t know how intentional this is; you see people in all walks of life respect him. It shows we can have a very popular hero who is not a cleric.”

“There is no stain on his image,” says the observer.

Indeed, Soleimani has become a source of pride and a symbol for Iranians of all stripes of their nation’s power abroad. At a pro-regime rally, even young Westernized women in makeup pledge to be “soldiers” of Soleimani. At a bodybuilding championship held in his honor, bare-chested men flaunted their muscles beside a huge portrait of him.

Among the Islamic Revolution’s true believers, Soleimani’s exploits are sung by religious storytellers and posted online. His writings about the Iran-Iraq War are steeped in religious language.

In a video from the Syrian front line broadcast on state TV last month, he addressed fighters, saying, of an Iranian volunteer who was killed, “God loves the person who makes holy war his path.”

When erroneous reports of Soleimani’s death recently emerged (Iran has lost dozens of senior IRGC commanders in Syria and Iraq and hundreds of “advisers”), he laughed and said, “This [martyrdom] is something that I have climbed mountains and crossed plains to find.

Some say the hero worship has gone too far; months ago the IRGC ordered Iranian media not to publish frontline selfies. When a young director wanted to make a film inspired by his hero, the general said he was against it and was embarrassed.

Yet Soleimani appears to have relented for Ebrahim Hatamikia, a renowned director of war films.

“Bodyguard” is now premièring at a festival in Tehran. “I made this film for the love of Haj Qassem Soleimani,” the director told an Iranian website, adding that he is “the earth beneath Soleimani’s feet.”

Voir de plus:

The war on ISIS is getting weird in Iraq
Michael B Kelley
Business insider
Mar 25, 2015

The US has started providing « air strikes, airborne intelligence, and Advise & Assist support to Iraqi security forces headquarters » as Baghdad struggles to drive ISIS militants out of Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit.

The Iraqi assault has heretofore been spearheaded by Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, the foreign arm of the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and most of the Iraqi forces are members of Shiite militias beholden to Tehran.

The British magazine The Week features Suleimani in bed with Uncle Sam, which is quite striking given that Suleimani directed « a network of militant groups that killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq, » as detailed by Dexter Filkins in The New Yorker.The notion of the US working on the same side Suleimani is confounding to those who consider him a formidable adversary.

« There’s just no way that the US military can actively support an offensive led by Suleimani, » Christopher Harmer, a former aviator in the United States Navy in the Persian Gulf who is now an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War, told Helene Cooper of The New York Times recently. « He’s a more stately version of Osama bin Laden. »

Suleimani’s Iraqi allies — such as the powerful Badr militia — are known for allegedly burning down Sunni villages and using power drills on enemies.

« It’s a little hard for us to be allied on the battlefield with groups of individuals who are unrepentantly covered in American blood, » Ryan Crocker, a career diplomat who served as the US ambassador to Iraq from 2007 to 2009, told US News.

Nevertheless, American warplanes have provided support for the so-called special groups over the past few months.

Badr commander Hadi al-Ameri recently told Eli Lake of Bloomberg that the US ambassador to Iraq offered airstrikes to support the Iraqi army and the Badr ground forces. Ameri added that Suleimani « advises us. He offers us information, we respect him very much. »

The Wall Street Journal noted that « U.S. officials want to ensure that Iran doesn’t play a central role in the fight ahead. U.S. officials want to be certain that the Iraqi military provides strong oversight of the Shiite militias. »

The question is who tells Suleimani to get out of the way but leave his militias behind.

Voir de plus:

Trump Kills Iran’s Most Overrated Warrior
Suleimani pushed his country to build an empire, but drove it into the ground instead.
Thomas L. Friedman
NYT
Jan. 3, 2020

One day they may name a street after President Trump in Tehran. Why? Because Trump just ordered the assassination of possibly the dumbest man in Iran and the most overrated strategist in the Middle East: Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

Think of the miscalculations this guy made. In 2015, the United States and the major European powers agreed to lift virtually all their sanctions on Iran, many dating back to 1979, in return for Iran halting its nuclear weapons program for a mere 15 years, but still maintaining the right to have a peaceful nuclear program. It was a great deal for Iran. Its economy grew by over 12 percent the next year. And what did Suleimani do with that windfall?

He and Iran’s supreme leader launched an aggressive regional imperial project that made Iran and its proxies the de facto controlling power in Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Sana. This freaked out U.S. allies in the Sunni Arab world and Israel — and they pressed the Trump administration to respond. Trump himself was eager to tear up any treaty forged by President Obama, so he exited the nuclear deal and imposed oil sanctions on Iran that have now shrunk the Iranian economy by almost 10 percent and sent unemployment over 16 percent.

All that for the pleasure of saying that Tehran can call the shots in Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Sana. What exactly was second prize?

With the Tehran regime severely deprived of funds, the ayatollahs had to raise gasoline prices at home, triggering massive domestic protests. That required a harsh crackdown by Iran’s clerics against their own people that left thousands jailed and killed, further weakening the legitimacy of the regime.

Then Mr. “Military Genius” Suleimani decided that, having propped up the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and helping to kill 500,000 Syrians in the process, he would overreach again and try to put direct pressure on Israel. He would do this by trying to transfer precision-guided rockets from Iran to Iranian proxy forces in Lebanon and Syria.

Alas, Suleimani discovered that fighting Israel — specifically, its combined air force, special forces, intelligence and cyber — is not like fighting the Nusra front or the Islamic State. The Israelis hit back hard, sending a whole bunch of Iranians home from Syria in caskets and hammering their proxies as far away as Western Iraq.

Indeed, Israeli intelligence had so penetrated Suleimani’s Quds Force and its proxies that Suleimani would land a plane with precision munitions in Syria at 5 p.m., and the Israeli air force would blow it up by 5:30 p.m. Suleimani’s men were like fish in a barrel. If Iran had a free press and a real parliament, he would have been fired for colossal mismanagement.

But it gets better, or actually worse, for Suleimani. Many of his obituaries say that he led the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq, in tacit alliance with America. Well, that’s true. But what they omit is that Suleimani’s, and Iran’s, overreaching in Iraq helped to produce the Islamic State in the first place.

It was Suleimani and his Quds Force pals who pushed Iraq’s Shiite prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, to push Sunnis out of the Iraqi government and army, stop paying salaries to Sunni soldiers, kill and arrest large numbers of peaceful Sunni protesters and generally turn Iraq into a Shiite-dominated sectarian state. The Islamic State was the counterreaction.

Finally, it was Suleimani’s project of making Iran the imperial power in the Middle East that turned Iran into the most hated power in the Middle East for many of the young, rising pro-democracy forces — both Sunnis and Shiites — in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

As the Iranian-American scholar Ray Takeyh pointed out in a wise essay in Politico, in recent years “Soleimani began expanding Iran’s imperial frontiers. For the first time in its history, Iran became a true regional power, stretching its influence from the banks of the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. Soleimani understood that Persians would not be willing to die in distant battlefields for the sake of Arabs, so he focused on recruiting Arabs and Afghans as an auxiliary force. He often boasted that he could create a militia in little time and deploy it against Iran’s various enemies.”

It was precisely those Suleimani proxies — Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen — that created pro-Iranian Shiite states-within-states in all of these countries. And it was precisely these states-within-states that helped to prevent any of these countries from cohering, fostered massive corruption and kept these countries from developing infrastructure — schools, roads, electricity.

And therefore it was Suleimani and his proxies — his “kingmakers” in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq — who increasingly came to be seen, and hated, as imperial powers in the region, even more so than Trump’s America. This triggered popular, authentic, bottom-up democracy movements in Lebanon and Iraq that involved Sunnis and Shiites locking arms together to demand noncorrupt, nonsectarian democratic governance.

On Nov. 27, Iraqi Shiites — yes, Iraqi Shiites — burned down the Iranian consulate in Najaf, Iraq, removing the Iranian flag from the building and putting an Iraqi flag in its place. That was after Iraqi Shiites, in September 2018, set the Iranian consulate in Basra ablaze, shouting condemnations of Iran’s interference in Iraqi politics.

The whole “protest” against the United States Embassy compound in Baghdad last week was almost certainly a Suleimani-staged operation to make it look as if Iraqis wanted America out when in fact it was the other way around. The protesters were paid pro-Iranian militiamen. No one in Baghdad was fooled by this.

In a way, it’s what got Suleimani killed. He so wanted to cover his failures in Iraq he decided to start provoking the Americans there by shelling their forces, hoping they would overreact, kill Iraqis and turn them against the United States. Trump, rather than taking the bait, killed Suleimani instead.

I have no idea whether this was wise or what will be the long-term implications. But here are two things I do know about the Middle East.

First, often in the Middle East the opposite of “bad” is not “good.” The opposite of bad often turns out to be “disorder.” Just because you take out a really bad actor like Suleimani doesn’t mean a good actor, or a good change in policy, comes in his wake. Suleimani is part of a system called the Islamic Revolution in Iran. That revolution has managed to use oil money and violence to stay in power since 1979 — and that is Iran’s tragedy, a tragedy that the death of one Iranian general will not change.

Today’s Iran is the heir to a great civilization and the home of an enormously talented people and significant culture. Wherever Iranians go in the world today, they thrive as scientists, doctors, artists, writers and filmmakers — except in the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose most famous exports are suicide bombing, cyberterrorism and proxy militia leaders. The very fact that Suleimani was probably the most famous Iranian in the region speaks to the utter emptiness of this regime, and how it has wasted the lives of two generations of Iranians by looking for dignity in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways.

The other thing I know is that in the Middle East all important politics happens the morning after the morning after.

Yes, in the coming days there will be noisy protests in Iran, the burning of American flags and much crying for the “martyr.” The morning after the morning after? There will be a thousand quiet conversations inside Iran that won’t get reported. They will be about the travesty that is their own government and how it has squandered so much of Iran’s wealth and talent on an imperial project that has made Iran hated in the Middle East.

And yes, the morning after, America’s Sunni Arab allies will quietly celebrate Suleimani’s death, but we must never forget that it is the dysfunction of many of the Sunni Arab regimes — their lack of freedom, modern education and women’s empowerment — that made them so weak that Iran was able to take them over from the inside with its proxies.

I write these lines while flying over New Zealand, where the smoke from forest fires 2,500 miles away over eastern Australia can be seen and felt. Mother Nature doesn’t know Suleimani’s name, but everyone in the Arab world is going to know her name. Because the Middle East, particularly Iran, is becoming an environmental disaster area — running out of water, with rising desertification and overpopulation. If governments there don’t stop fighting and come together to build resilience against climate change — rather than celebrating self-promoting military frauds who conquer failed states and make them fail even more — they’re all doomed.

Voir encore:

Love is a Battlefield
Jon Stewart takes the U.S.-Iran ‘strange bedfellows’ line literally, imagines Iraq as a love triangle
Peter Weber
The Week
June 17, 2014

Yes, Jon Stewart is a comedian, and no, The Daily Show isn’t a hard news-and-analysis show. But on Monday night’s show, Stewart gave a remarkably cogent and creative explanation of the geopolitical situation in Iraq. The U.S. and Iran are discussing coordinating their efforts in Iraq to defeat a common enemy, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militia. Meanwhile, ISIS is getting financial support from one of America’s biggest Arab allies, and Iran’s biggest Muslim enemy, Saudi Arabia.

Forget « strange bedfellows » — this is a romantic Gordian knot. But it makes a lot of sense when Stewart presents the situation as a love triangle. « Sure, you say ‘Death to America’ and burn our flags, but you do it to our face, » Stewart tells Iran. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has been funding America’s enemies behind our backs — but what about its sweet, sweet crude oil? Like all good love triangles, this one has a soundtrack — Stewart draws on the hits of the 1980s to great effect. In fact, the only ’80s song Stewart left out that would have tied this all together: « Love Bites. » –Peter Weber

State Department urges U.S. citizens to ‘depart Iraq immediately’ due to ‘heightened tensions’

4:37 a.m.

The State Department on Friday urged « U.S. citizens to depart Iraq immediately, » citing unspecified « heightened tensions in Iraq and the region » and the « Iranian-backed militia attacks at the U.S. Embassy compound. »

Iranian officials have vowed « harsh » retaliation for America’s assassination Friday of Iran’s top regional military commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, outside Baghdad International Airport. Syria similarly criticized the « treacherous American criminal aggression » and warned of a « dangerous escalation » in the region.

Iraq’s outgoing prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, also slammed the the « liquidation operations » against Soleimani and half a dozen Iraqi militiamen killed in the drone strikes as an « aggression against Iraq, » a « brazen violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and blatant attack on the nation’s dignity, » and an « obvious violation of the conditions of U.S. troop presence in Iraq, which is limited to training Iraqi forces. » A senior Iraqi official said Parliament must take « necessary and appropriate measures to protect Iraq’s dignity, security, and sovereignty. »

The Pentagon said President Trump ordered the assassination of Soleimani as a « defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad, » claiming the Quds Force commander was « actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. » Peter Weber

If President Trump was watching Fox News at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday night, he got a violently mixed messages on his order to assassinate Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, national hero, and scourge of U.S. forces.

Sean Hannity called into his own show to tell guest host Josh Chaffetz that the killing of Soleimani was « a huge victory and total leadership by the president » and « the opposite of what happened in Benghazi. » Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) channeled Ronald Reagan and praised Trump’s « peace through strength. » Oliver North, Karl Rove, and Ari Flesischer also lauded Trump’s decision.

Earlier, fellow host Tucker Carlson saw neither peace nor strength in Trump’s actions. He blamed « official Washington, » though, and suggested Trump had been « out-maneuvered » by more hawkish advisers who might be pushing America « toward war despite what the president wants. »

« There’s been virtually no debate or even discussion about this, but America appears to be lumbering toward a new Middle East war, » Carlson said. « The very people demanding action against Iran tonight » are « liars, and they don’t care about you, they don’t care about your kids, they’re reckless and incompetent. And you should keep all of that in mind as war with Iran looms closer tonight. » Trump, he added, « doesn’t seek war and he’s wary of it, particularly in an election year. » When his guest, Curt Mills of The American Conservative, said war with Iran « would be twice as bad » as the Iraq War and « if Trump does this, he’s cooked, » Carlson sadly concurred: « I think that’s right. »

Media Matters’ Matt Gertz pointed out that Hannity has always been more « bellicose » than Carlson on Iran, and both men informally advise Trump off-air as well as on-air. And « if you pay attention to the impact the Fox News Cabinet has on the president, » he tweeted Thursday night, « Tucker Carlson has been off for the holidays the past few days as tensions with Iran mounted. » Coincidence? Maybe. But on such twists does the fate of our world turn.

Voir enfin:

Le massacre des prisonniers politiques de 1988 en Iran : une mobilisation forclose ?
Henry Sorg
Raisons politiques
2008/2 (n° 30), pages 59 à 87

« Au nom de Dieu clément et miséricordieux. J’ai décidé afin de me distraire et me calmer l’esprit, sachant qu’il n’y a pas d’issue pour me sauver de cette douleur, de présenter [mes filles] disparues, Leili et Shirine, dans une note pour mes chers petits-enfants qui ignoreront cette histoire et comment elle est arrivée ­ spécialement les enfants de Shirine. D’abord je dois dire que je n’ai pas de savoir pour exprimer correctement tous mes souvenirs et mes observations sur ce qui s’est passé pour moi et mes enfants durant cette période funeste de la Révolution [en Iran]. Je n’ai pris un crayon et une feuille de papier qu’en de rares occasions de ma vie, alors que dire maintenant que je suis un vieillard de 70 ans aux mains tremblantes, aux yeux plein de sang (…). Mais que faire puisque je suis en conflit avec moi-même. Mon appel intérieur m’a tout pris et me crie : â?œnote ce que tu as vu, ce que tu as entendu et ce que tu as vécuâ?. Mon appel intérieur me crie : â?œpuisque c’est vrai, rapporte que Leili était enceinte de huit mois lorsqu’ils l’ont exécutéeâ?Â ; il me crie : â?œEcris au moins que Shirine, après six ans et neuf mois de prison, et après avoir supporté les tortures les plus sauvages et les plus modernes a finalement été exécutée, et ils n’ont pas rendu son corpsâ?. Si ces souvenirs comportent des erreurs d’écriture, on en comprendra l’essentiel du propos à un certain point. Certainement, les enfants de Shirine veulent savoir qui était leur mère et pourquoi elle a été exécutée. »
Carnet de notes retrouvé à T., Iran

1LA RÉVOLUTION IRANIENNE s’est instituée sur la double violence d’une « guerre sainte [2][2]L’ayatollah Khomeini qualifie la guerre de Jihad défensif et… » contre un ennemi extérieur, l’Irak, et d’une élimination physique des opposants intérieurs, celle notamment des prisonniers politiques en 1988 [3][3]L’auteur remercie Sandrine Lefranc pour sa lecture attentive et…. Durant l’été 1988, après que l’ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini eut accepté de mauvaise grâce la résolution 598 de l’ONU mettant fin à la longue guerre contre l’Irak, les prisons du pays ont été purgées de leurs prisonniers politiques. Le nombre exact de prisonniers exécutés et enterrés dans des fosses communes ou des sections de cimetière reste jusqu’à ce jour inconnu. Les rares recherches menées sur la question, les organisations qui ont capitalisé les témoignages de survivants, les groupes politiques dont les membres ont été exécutés, les témoignages individuels, mais aussi certains anciens responsables de l’État islamique s’accordent pour reconnaître que ce bilan se chiffre en plusieurs milliers [4][4]Voir notamment Ervand Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions. Prisons…. Cet événement a non seulement fait l’objet de la part des autorités publiques iraniennes d’un silence orchestré et d’un déni, mais il n’a pas non plus été documenté ou analysé de façon exhaustive. Vingt ans après les faits, on peine encore à mettre au jour cette réalité qui existe de façon fragmentaire, par assemblage d’ouï-dire et de témoignages : matrice à mythes pour certains acteurs politiques exclus du champ national (tel le Parti des Moudjahidines du Peuple dont les membres furent les principales victimes [5][5]Voir E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit., p. 215 ;…), drames familiaux couverts d’un silence gêné pour une population iranienne qui ne souhaite pas vraiment connaître ce qu’elle appelle, pudiquement, « ces histoires-là ».

2 Dans le contexte d’une « démocratisation » de la vie sociale et politique [6][6]Farhad Khosrokhavar, « L’Iran, la démocratie et la nouvelle… à partir des années 1990, les exécutions de 1988 sont absentes du débat initié sur les libertés publiques et, notamment, des revendications exprimées en faveur d’un État de droit et d’une nouvelle société civile [7][7]Ibid., p. 309 et Nouchine Yavari d’Hellencourt, « Islam et…. En effet, le contexte politique autoritaire dans lequel se sont perpétrées les violences d’État ­ de 1979, juste après la Révolution, jusqu’aux massacres de 1988 ­ évolue dans la décennie suivante vers une demande de « réforme » et de libéralisation du régime islamique. Cette transformation procède principalement autour de trois mouvements : d’une part, la réflexion théorique (à la fois politique et théologique) qui occupe le débat publique sur les rapports entre islam et droits de l’homme [8][8]Ibid. ; d’autre part, une série de changements politiques au sein des institutions suite à l’élection du président Khatami en 1997, aux élections municipales de 1999 et celles du 6e Parlement en 2000 ; enfin, l’apparition d’un nouveau rapport au politique dans la société avec l’émergence d’une culture politique qui, en rupture avec l’islamisme révolutionnaire des deux décennies précédentes, se détourne des « concepts identitaires classiques comme “peuple” ou “nation” [vers ceux, nouveaux] de société civile (jâme’e madani), de citoyenneté (shahrvandi) et d’individu (fard)  [9][9]Ibid. ». Ces nouveaux mouvements, s’ils mentionnent éventuellement et discrètement les « événements » de 1988, le font sur le mode de l’allusion et non pas sur celui de la mobilisation.

3 L’étoffe du silence qui entoure les exécutions massives de l’été 1988 est complexe : Qui sont les victimes ? Quelles en sont les raisons ? Quelles en sont les conditions et qui en sont les responsables ? Il s’agit d’abord, en s’appuyant sur la littérature existante ainsi que sur les sources premières accessibles, d’exposer quelques éléments de réponses à ces questions, sur un sujet d’étude inédit en France. D’autre part, il s’agit de réfléchir autour de ces faits connus, mais non reconnus ­ selon la définition que Cohen propose du « déni [10][10]Stanley Cohen, States of Denial, Knowing about Atrocities and… » ­ en se demandant comment fonctionnent les dispositifs d’invisibilisation mis en place par le pouvoir et comment y répondent des pratiques de souvenir. Le massacre de 1988 est l’enjeu d’une mémoire dont il s’agit pour le pouvoir d’effacer la trace, d’abord, de façon à la fois concrète et symbolique, à travers l’interdit du rituel funéraire pour les victimes. Cette tension mémorielle travaille la société iranienne et oppose depuis deux décennies un passé non « commémorable » à un travail de mémoire qui se cristallise autour des sépultures.

4 Peu de matériaux empiriques et d’analyses sont disponibles sur l’exécution en masse des prisonniers politiques qui a clos la période de consolidation du pouvoir et de suppression de l’opposition au Parti républicain islamique de 1981 à 1988. Les sources, disponibles en persan et en anglais, se composent principalement de témoignages et de quelques travaux d’investigation historiques [11][11]E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit., p. 209-229 ;…, sociologiques [12][12]Maziar Behrooz, « Reflections on Iran’s Prison System During… et juridiques ­ ces derniers s’intéressant à la qualification des exécutions de masse comme « crime contre l’humanité [13][13]Reza Afshari, Human Rights in Iran : The Abuse of Cultural… ». Les rapports non-gouvernementaux et internationaux [14][14]Conseil Économique et Social des Nations Unies (ECOSOC),… constituent une autre source, qui, tout comme les travaux scientifiques, se fondent principalement sur des entretiens avec de rares prisonniers témoins exilés à l’étranger et avec les proches des victimes, ainsi que sur des témoignages écrits [15][15]Un impressionnant travail a été accompli sur ce point par E.…. À cet égard, les Mémoires de l’ayatollah Montazeri documentent les faits du point de vue de l’organisation politique et, dans une certaine mesure, de l’organisation administrative. D’un autre côté, plusieurs témoignages ont été publiés sous forme de romans, de lettres écrites depuis la prison ou de mémoires [16][16]Notamment Nima Parvaresh, Nabardi nabarabar : gozareshi az haft…. D’autres témoignages, nombreux, restent encore à découvrir et assembler, comme celui que nous nous proposons d’explorer dans cet article.

5 Lors d’un séjour dans la ville de T. en 2004, nous avons pu prendre connaissance d’un carnet de notes d’une cinquantaine de pages écrites entre 1989 et 1990 par un homme âgé. Ce cahier a été trouvé à sa mort par ses proches dans ses effets personnels. Javad L., retraité d’une compagnie publique résidant à T., était père de six enfants dont les cinq aînés, qui avaient suivi de solides formations universitaires, commençaient leur vie adulte à la fin des années 1970. Dans ces pages, il racontait dans le détail les circonstances de l’arrestation et de l’exécution de ses deux filles à la suite de la Révolution de 1978. Celles-ci avaient pris part de façon active au mouvement d’opposition des Moudjahidines du Peuple [17][17]Nous reprenons, parmi les différentes transcriptions possibles,…, au cours de la révolution iranienne et dans les premières années de la nouvelle République islamique. Elles ont été arrêtées dans le cadre de la répression politique mise en place à partir de 1980. Le carnet de notes relate des faits qui s’étendent de 1980 à 1988 et détaille l’arrestation, l’emprisonnement et l’exécution des deux jeunes femmes, la première en 1982 et la seconde en 1988. Les destinataires étant de jeunes enfants au moment des faits, l’écriture cherche à faire passer une mémoire qui imbrique généalogie familiale et histoire nationale : « Certainement, les enfants de Shirine veulent savoir qui était leur mère et pourquoi elle a été exécutée. » Le texte poursuit : « Peut-être qu’il leur sera intéressant de connaître les moudjahidines, de quelles franges de la société ils étaient issus, quels étaient leurs buts et leurs intentions et pourquoi ils ont été massacrés sans merci. Je reprends donc depuis le début, du plus loin que vont mes souvenirs. Inhcha’Allah. »

Les moudjahidines : de la révolution à la répression

6 Les membres, et de façon bien plus déterminante en nombre, les proches et sympathisants du Parti des Moudjahidines du peuple (Moudjahidine-e Khalq) sont les principales cibles des vagues de répression successives entre 1981 et 1988 et forment une large majorité des prisonniers exécutés en 1988. Ce parti politique, dont la formation remonte au lendemain des mouvements de mai 1968 dans le monde, se fonde sur une synthèse entre islamisme, gauche radicale et nationalisme anti-impérialiste. À l’origine, le mouvement revendique l’inspiration du Front National (Jebhe-ye Melli) de Mossadeq et Fatemi [18][18]Mohammad Mossadeq a été Premier ministre de 1951 à 1953. Ayant…. Fortement influencés par les écrits de Shariati [19][19]Ervand Abrahamian, The Iranian Mojahedins, New Haven/Londres,…, sociologue des religions et figure intellectuelle de l’opposition à la monarchie pahlavie, les moudjahidines articulent la pensée d’un islam chiite politique à une approche socio-économique marxiste et la revendication d’une société sans classe (nezam-e bi tabaghe-ye tawhidi), ainsi qu’une critique de la domination occidentale et un nationalisme révolutionnaire proche des mouvements de libération nationale du Tiers-monde [20][20]Ibid., p. 100-102.. « Quel était leur programme ? écrit Javad, je ne le sais pas. Ce que je sais, c’est que comme la peste et le choléra, en un clin d’ il, tous les jeunes éduqués, engagés et pieux, filles ou garçons, ont commencé à soutenir le programme des moudjahidines, grisés par leur enthousiasme, comme s’ils avaient trouvé réponse à tous leurs manques dans cette école de pensée. (…) Au début, ils se comptaient parmi les partisans de l’ayatolla Khomeini et de feu l’ayatollah Taleghani, et ils considéraient ceux-ci comme les symboles de leur salut. De jour en jour, le nombre de leurs partisans augmentait. Surtout chez les gens éduqués, des professeurs de lycée aux lycéens. » À la différence des autres partis de gauche, et particulièrement l’historique parti communiste (le Tudeh) dirigé par l’élite intellectuelle et bénéficiant d’une certaine base populaire, le parti mobilise une nombreuse population étudiante et lycéenne issue d’une jeunesse non fortunée, mais qui a eu accès à l’éducation [21][21]Ibid., p. 229 ; voir également A. Matin-Asgari, « Twentieth…. « Les moudjahidines, avec leur combinaison de chiisme, de modernisme et de radicalisme social exerçaient une évidente séduction sur la jeune intelligentsia, composée de plus en plus par les enfants, non pas de l’élite aisée ou des laïques éduqués, mais de la classe moyenne traditionnelle [22][22]E. Abrahamian, The Iranian Mojahedins, op. cit., p. 229 (notre… », rappelle Abrahamian, qui insiste d’autre part sur l’extrême jeunesse de sa base. Alors que les cadres du parti ont été politisés dans les mouvements étudiants de la fin des années 1960, la base militante a été socialisée et politisée en 1977-79. En 1981, elle se compose principalement de lycéens et d’étudiants radicalisés par l’expérience de la révolution, vivant encore pour la plupart dans le foyer familial.
Présentés comme « islamo-marxistes » et poursuivis dans les dernières années de la monarchie, les moudjahidines prennent une part active au mouvement qui initie la révolution de 1979. Accueillant avec enthousiasme le retour de l’ayatollah Khomeini de son exil français en 1978, les moudjahidines s’opposent pourtant au principe du Velayat-e Faghih (gouvernement du docteur de la loi islamique) [23][23]Appliqué dans la Constitution iranienne de 1979, ce principe…, qui est au fondement constitutionnel de la nouvelle République islamique, et soutiennent le président de la République laïque Bani Sadr. Mobilisant d’importantes manifestations d’opposition dans les principales villes, les moudjahidines sont un des seuls partis politiques à présenter des candidats dans tout le pays en vue des élections législatives de 1981. Le mouvement et ses membres sont violemment écartés de la vie publique à partir de l’attentat du 28 juin 1981 au siège du Parti républicain islamiste : officiellement attribué aux moudjahidines, cet attentat à la bombe fait 71 morts parmi les hauts responsables de ce parti qui amorce à cette époque son appropriation exclusive du pouvoir [24][24]Haleh Afshar (dir.), Iran : A Revolution in Turmoil, Albany,…. Une Fatwa énoncée par Khomeini rend alors les moudjahidines illégaux, en les identifiant comme monafeghins, « hypocrites en matière de religion ». Cette étiquette, télescopant encore une fois l’actualité politique et la tradition musulmane, reprend le nom donné aux polythéistes de Médine qui s’étaient déclarés du côté de Mahommet et ses premiers fidèles, tout en vendant la ville aux assiégeants de la Mecque : le couperet distingue le chiisme « vrai », en condamnant et en discréditant définitivement l’islamisme révolutionnaire inspiré par Chariati. Le 29 juillet 1981, le dirigeant des Moudjahidine-e Kalq, Massoud Rajavi quitte clandestinement le pays en compagnie du président Bani Sadr pour former, en France, le Conseil National de la Résistance. Par la suite, l’ex-président se distancie du mouvement pris en main par le dirigeant moudjahidine qui recompose une structure politique fermée en recrutant de nouveaux sympathisants dans les villes européennes et américaines. Pour les moudjahidines, l’opposition au régime post-révolutionnaire s’est traduite par un anti-patriotisme stratégique qui les a amenés à s’allier avec l’Irak durant le conflit des années 1980 [25][25]Connie Bruck, « Exiles : How Iran’s Expatriates Are Gaming the…. C’est à cette évolution qu’Abrahamian attribue l’évolution sectaire du parti [26][26]E. Abrahamian, The Iranian Mojahedins, op. cit., p. 260-261. et sa rupture avec la société iranienne dans les années 1980. L’isolement du parti et de ses membres, ses pratiques hiérarchiques, ses prises de position ambiguës depuis 2001 sont dénoncées [27][27]C. Bruck, « Exiles… », art. cité ; Human Rights Watch, No… et semblent l’avoir marginalisé comme acteur politique dans l’espace iranien [28][28]Elizabeth Rubin, « The Cult of Rajavi », New York Times….

7 « Pourquoi les moudjahidines ont-ils réussi à élargir la base de la mobilisation politique [dans les années 1970 et 1980], mais échoué à accéder au pouvoir [29][29]E. Abrahamian, The Iranian Mojahedins, op. cit., p. 3 (notre… ? » Cette question, qui guide la recherche historique d’Abrahamian sur le mouvement [30][30]Ibid., Javad cherche lui aussi à l’éclaircir quand il évoque les élections de 1981 : « En fait dans beaucoup de villes iraniennes, les moudjahidines avaient la majorité des voix [31][31]Le mouvement était le seul à présenter des candidats partout en…. Malheureusement, après le décompte des votes, la situation a changé, et la raison en était que les jeunes moudjahidines n’étaient pas faits pour la politique. Ils n’avaient pas commencé la lutte pour avoir des postes de pouvoir et du prestige. Ils pensaient établir une société pieuse [32][32]Le manuscrit dit : « une société Tohidie  », d’après le Tohid… et sans classe (…) Quel qu’aient été ces idées en tous cas, elles ont été étouffées dans l’ uf. Par ceux qui s’étaient cachés derrière la Révolution et qui sont apparus tout à coup. »

Le massacre de l’été 1988

8 L’institution d’un État islamique en Iran s’est fondée, à partir de 1981, sur un « régime de terreur » qui a duré aussi longtemps que la guerre contre l’Irak, et s’est traduit concrètement par une élimination physique des opposants politiques potentiels, le recours à la torture et une grande publicité de ces deux pratiques afin de « tenir » la population [33][33]E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confession, op. cit., p. 210.. C’est dans ce contexte que vient en 1988, de l’ayatollah Khomeini, l’ordre de purger les prisons en éliminant les opposants politiques. Les membres les plus actifs de l’opposition au régime islamiste ont déjà été éliminés entre 1981 et 1985 (environ 15 000 exécutions) [34][34]Nader Vahabi, « L’obstacle structurel à l’abolition de la peine… ou se sont exilés à cette même époque. Les prisonniers politiques et d’opinion en 1988 sont des (ex-)sympathisants ou des membres des moudjahidines pour la grande majorité, du Tudeh (PC), de partis d’extrême gauche minoritaires, du PDKI (parti indépendantiste kurde), ou encore sans affiliation. Cette purge a lieu au terme de procès spéciaux : d’une part, une condamnation à mort doit être signée par le Vali-e Faghih, mais Khomeini donne procuration à une équipe composée de membres du clergé et de divers corps administratifs (Information, Intérieur, autorités pénitentiaires) pour mener ces procès qui prennent en réalité la forme de brefs interrogatoires à la chaîne. D’autre part, l’ayatollah Montazeri, alors numéro deux du régime, cite une Fatwa énoncée par Khomeini à propos des moudjahidines : « Ceux qui sont dans des prisons du pays et restent engagés dans leur soutien aux Monafeghin [Moujahidines], sont en guerre contre Dieu et condamnés à mort (…) Annihilez les ennemis de l’Islam immédiatement. Dans cette affaire, utilisez tous les critères qui accélèrent l’application du verdict [35][35]H.-A. Montazeri, Khaterat, op. cit.. » Des témoignages de prisonniers acquittés d’Evin et de Gohar Dasht, à Téhéran, ont été par la suite diffusés dans certains journaux libres de langue iranienne et sur les sites Internet d’ONG iraniennes. Celui de Javad est l’un des rares qui évoque l’événement en province, dans la ville de T. Cet épisode, qui clôt son carnet, commence quand il reçoit un appel le 30 juillet 1988 à 22 h 00, de la prison de D. où sa fille est détenue depuis 1981, lui demandant de venir immédiatement la voir car elle « va partir en voyage demain ». Il est surpris : on est dimanche, or personne ne lui a rien dit lors de la visite hebdomadaire du samedi, qui s’est déroulée normalement la veille. Il se rend à la prison où il rencontre sa fille et lui demande des explications. Shirine raconte : « “Hier soir à 23 heures, alors que tout le monde dormait et que la prison était totalement silencieuse, ils sont venus me chercher, ils m’ont bandé les yeux sans expliquer de quoi il s’agissait et ils m’ont emmenée dans une salle où se tenaient un grand nombre de responsables : le gouverneur municipal, le directeur de la prison, le procureur, le chef du département exécutif et quelques membres [du ministère] de l’Information ainsi que quelques personnes que je n’avais jamais vues auparavant. D’abord, le gouverneur municipal se tourne vers moi et me dit : `D’après ce que nous savons, tu es encore partisane des Monafeghins‘. Je réponds : `S’il n’a pas encore été prouvé pour vous que je ne suis plus dans aucune action et que je n’en soutiens aucune, que faut-il faire pour vous convaincre ?’ Ensuite il demande : `Que penses-tu de la République islamique ?’ Je réponds : `Depuis que la République islamique a vu le jour, il y a de cela sept ans et quelques mois, je suis quant à moi en prison. Je n’ai pas eu de contact avec la société pour pouvoir avoir quelconque aperçu des façons de faire de la République islamique.’ Le gouverneur municipal a ordonné `Emmenez-la’. Il était alors minuit environ. Je ne sais pas quel est le but de cet événement.” Le gardien de prison intervient : “Le but est celui que nous avons dit : ils veulent vous envoyer en voyage, mais j’ignore où”. Moi qui étais le père de la prisonnière, je demande : “Quelle somme d’argent peut-elle avoir avec elle dans ce voyage ?” Il me répond : “Elle peut avoir la somme qu’elle veut”. J’ai donc donné 500 tomans que j’avais sur moi à Shirine. Sa mère lui a donné les habits qu’elle avait apportés. (…) Ensuite, j’ai demandé au responsable de la prison : “Quand pourrons-nous avoir des nouvelles de Shirine et savoir où elle est ?” Il répond “Revenez ici dans quinze jours, peut-être qu’on en saura plus d’ici là.” »
À partir du 19 juillet 1988 à Téhéran, et quelques jours plus tard dans les autres villes, les autorités pénitentiaires isolent les prisons. « Quinze jours plus tard, sa mère et moi nous sommes rendus à la prison. Un grand nombre de proches de prisonniers s’étaient regroupés là, même ceux dont les enfants avaient été libérés il y a un ou deux ans ou quelques mois. Nous leur avons demandé ce qu’ils faisaient là. Ils nous ont répondu qu’ils ne savaient pas eux-mêmes. “Tout ce qu’on sait, c’est que nos enfants sont venus pour leur feuille de présence et ils ne sont pas encore ressortis.” Car la règle était que chaque prisonnier libéré devait se présenter une à deux fois par semaine pour signer une feuille de présence. Des gardiens armés postés sur le trottoir devant la prison ne laissaient personne s’approcher et, de la même façon, des gardiens armés étaient postés devant la porte du tribunal révolutionnaire, situé un peu plus loin, pour empêcher les gens d’approcher. Une grande affiche était placardée au mur : “Pour raison de surcharge de travail, nous ne pouvons accueillir les visiteurs.” » Dans les prisons, les détenus sont isolés par groupes d’affiliation politique et par durée de peine ; les espaces communs sont fermés. À l’extérieur, aucune nouvelle des prisons ne paraît plus dans la presse du pays qui, pour des raisons d’intimidation et de propagande, en est très friande en temps normal : c’est le huis-clos dans lequel s’organisent les exécutions, dont le plus gros se déroule en quelques semaines à la fin août 1988. Selon un prisonnier qui se trouvait alors dans la principale prison d’Evin : « À partir de juillet 1988, pas de journaux, pas de télévision, pas de douche, pas de visite des familles et souvent, pas de nourriture. Dans chaque pièce (d’environ 24 mètres carrés) il y avait plus de 45 prisonniers. Finalement, le 29 ou le 30 juillet, ils ont commencé le massacre [36][36]Hossein Mokhtar, Testimony at the September 1st Conference,….  » Les exécutions ont donc lieu à la suite des « procès » spéciaux menés en quelques jours à l’encontre de milliers de prisonniers. Alors que les questions posées à Shirine sont d’ordre politique et interrogent sa loyauté envers le régime en place, les interrogatoires cités par de nombreuses sources, notamment pour les prisons d’Evin et de Gohar Dasht, indiquent l’usage d’une grammaire religieuse, d’une forme « inquisitoire [37][37]E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit., p. 209 et… » et d’une certaine vision politique de l’islam qui cherche, à la surprise des prisonniers, non plus à connaître leurs opinions, mais à déterminer s’ils sont de bons musulmans. Au cours d’un échange de quelques minutes, un jury d’autorités religieuses demandait ainsi aux prisonniers communistes s’ils priaient et si leurs parents priaient : en cas de double réponse négative, les prisonniers étaient acquittés (une personne élevée dans l’athéisme ne peut être un « apostat »), si par contre ils étaient athées de parents religieux, ils étaient alors condamnés à mort pour apostasie. Les moudjahidines quant à eux devaient, pour avoir la vie sauve, prouver qu’ils étaient repentants (et donc s’affirmer prêts à étrangler un autre moudjahidine) et loyaux (prêts à nettoyer les champs de mine de l’armée iranienne avec leur corps) : ceux qui répondaient par la négative à ces questions, et ils furent nombreux, étaient condamnés à mort pour « hypocrisie » [38][38]Ibid.. Le processus, qui se déroule de mi-juillet à début septembre, est orchestré dans la discrétion, notamment par le recours aux pendaisons, qui correspondent par ailleurs à l’exécution appropriée pour les non-musulmans (les Kafer, dont il est interdit de faire couler le sang). D’après témoignages, des prisonniers ignoraient que leurs co-détenus étaient en train d’être exécutés par centaines et pensaient qu’ils étaient « transférés ailleurs [39][39]Témoignage cité dans E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…,… ». La forme de ces procès, menés par des autorités ad hoc pour des prisonniers qui ont déjà été jugés une première fois (parfois rejugés plusieurs fois lors de leur peine ou qui l’ont parfois déjà purgée) soulève la question de savoir si l’on doit parler d’« exécution ». Abrahamian parle des « exécutions de masse de 1988 » [40][40]E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit., p. 209. ; le mot avancé par ceux qui ont travaillé sur la qualification juridique des événements comme « crimes contre l’humanité » est celui de « massacre » [41][41]K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor… », art.….

Pratiques d’invisibilisation

9 À partir du mois de novembre 1988, la nouvelle des exécutions est annoncée aux familles lors de la visite hebdomadaire ; très vite, l’émotion gagne la foule qui se rassemble devant la prison. Face à la volonté de discrétion du pouvoir, d’autres méthodes sont adoptées. « C’est en âbân [octobre-novembre] qu’un jour, contre toute attente, la porte de la prison s’ouvrit et on nous dit d’entrer. Nous ne tenions plus en place de joie, et nous nous reprochions de ne pas avoir amené quelques fruits avec nous au cas où, ou d’avoir pris quelques vêtements. Mais après un moment d’attente et d’impatience, ils nous ont distribué des formulaires en nous ordonnant de les remplir, afin de consigner tous renseignements concernant les prisonniers et leur famille : domicile, lieu de travail, salaire, activités quotidiennes, connaissances. Ceux qui pouvaient remplir ce formulaire le faisaient eux-mêmes, et ceux qui ne savaient pas écrire se faisaient aider. Quand les formulaires ont été remplis, ils ont été collectés un par un (…) puis la porte s’est ouverte et on nous a dit : “C’est bon, vous pouvez partir” (…) Cette situation incertaine se poursuivait. Les jours de visite, nous nous réunissions comme d’habitude devant la prison, et finalement, comme d’habitude, nous nous dispersions bredouille. Jusqu’à un samedi, au début du mois d’âzar [novembre] : j’étais moi-même parti à la prison quand on a appelé à la maison en disant : “Dites au père de Shirine L. de se rendre demain matin à D.” (…) Le jour suivant, comme indiqué, nous nous sommes rendus devant la prison de D. à 9 heures. Il y avait d’autres personnes attroupées qui avaient reçu le même appel. Quand je les ai vues, je me suis un peu apaisé.(…) Nous étions une centaine ce jour-là, car ils avaient déjà rendu les affaires personnelles d’une trentaine de prisonnières à leur famille. Après un moment d’attente, ils ont appelé la première personne, qui était un vieillard de 60 à 70 ans, comme moi. Tous, nous retenions notre souffle : pourquoi ont-ils appelé cette seule personne ? Nous attendions tous que le vieil homme ressorte afin de lui demander de quoi il retournait. Cela ne dura pas longtemps, peut-être dix minutes, avant que l’on revoie de loin le vieillard, tenant un bout de papier dans la main. Nous nous sommes rués sur lui, mais il était analphabète et ne savait pas de quoi il s’agissait : “Ils m’ont donné ce papier et m’ont dit de partir, et de me le faire lire dehors. Ensuite ils m’ont présenté une lettre et m’ont dit de mettre mes empreintes au bas. Ils m’ont prévenu de ne pas faire le moindre bruit, sans quoi ils viendraient arrêter toute la famille. Ils m’ont recommandé de ne pas perdre le bout de papier.” Ce bout de papier que le vieillard tenait à la main (…) disait ceci : “telle section, tel rang, tel numéro”. Le vieillard s’est assis dans un coin et s’est mis à pleurer. La deuxième et la troisième personne s’en vont et reviennent de la même manière. J’étais le quatrième : un responsable de l’Information venait devant la porte, appelait la personne, l’accompagnait dans le couloir de la prison. Là-bas, on nous faisait entrer dans une pièce pour une fouille complète ; ensuite on entrait dans une deuxième pièce où un jeune de 25 à 30 ans était assis sur une chaise, entouré de deux pasdars[42][42]Les pasdaran-e Sepah, gardiens de la Révolution, sont la milice…. Après des salutations mielleuses, celui-ci nous demandait : “Que pensez-vous de la République islamique ? Quel souvenir gardez-vous du martyre des 72 compagnons de l’Imam [43][43]Expression désignant l’attentat terroriste de juin 1981 où… ?” Je ne sais pas ce qu’on répondait d’habitude ; quant à moi, j’ai exprimé clairement ma pensée. Puis il me tendit un morceau de papier imprimé en disant : “Lis-le, c’est l’accord qui stipule que vous n’avez aucun droit d’organiser une cérémonie de mise en terre, vous n’avez pas le droit d’organiser de cérémonie religieuse privée, ni dans une mosquée, ni à domicile, ni au cimetière, vous devez vous garder de pleurer à haute voix ou faire réciter le Coran pour les défunts.” Puis il lut lui-même la lettre (…) et me demanda de signer. J’ai déchiré la lettre en morceaux sur sa table. Deux personnes sont entrées dans la pièce et m’ont pris ; elles m’ont emmené par la porte de derrière de la prison et m’ont mis dans une voiture. Elles m’ont conduit jusqu’au carrefour de l’aéroport [à une autre extrémité de la ville] et m’ont fait descendre là-bas, en me mettant dans la poche le bout de papier où était écrit : Cimetière X, section 22, rang 3, tombe no 4. Mais dans cette section du cimetière, il y a beaucoup de tombes recouvertes d’une simple dalle de ciment. Des gens trop curieux ont démontré que ces tombes sont anciennes et ne portent pas de nom ; ou bien c’est en recouvrant la dalle en pierre d’une couche de béton qu’ils les présentaient aux familles comme la tombe des êtres chers qu’ils venaient de perdre. On nous disait : “Ce n’est pas la peine d’aller pleurer sur une tombe vide.” Selon un des gardiens de la prison, il restait 400 prisonniers moudjahidines dans les prisons de D. et du Sepah à T. qui ont été emmenés de nuit avec plusieurs camions spéciaux accompagnés d’un groupe de garde, entre 1 et 3 heures du matin. Ils les ont tous emmenés les yeux bandés, et aucun gardien ordinaire de la prison n’a été engagé pour cette affaire. Où ils les ont emmené et ce qu’ils leur ont fait, Dieu seul le sait. »
Les recherches de Shahrooz [44][44]K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor… », art.… sur la façon dont les familles ont été averties des exécutions confirment le récit de Javad : l’isolement des prisons durant l’été, l’usage du téléphone et l’annonce individuelle des exécutions, la demande d’un engagement écrit au silence, mais aussi la surveillance des familles qui se rendent au cimetière et des interrogatoires hebdomadaires au Komité[45][45]Du français « comité » : désigne les cellules informelles… sur le chemin du retour. Ces stratégies s’inscrivent dans un ensemble de pratiques élaborées par le pouvoir depuis 1981 pour « tenir » les familles, dans un contexte où la grande majorité des prisonniers et des condamnés à mort sont des adolescents ou de jeunes adultes. C’est au niveau de la parenté immédiate qu’agit la répression : les frères et s urs, voisins proches et parents sont souvent incarcérés, pour quelques mois, en même temps que les opposants. Si les parents inquiets parlent trop, s’agitent ou se conduisent de façon bruyante dans les différentes situations administratives (devant le procureur révolutionnaire, le tribunal, etc.) où ils viennent s’enquérir du sort de leurs enfants détenus, une pratique courante du Sepah, d’après Javad, est d’emmener les enfants restant de la famille en représailles. Face aux pratiques de terreur qui prennent appui dans le tissu social immédiat (voisinage, parenté), « personne n’osait respirer fort » remarque Javad, qui se souvient avoir perdu son calme un jour, dans le tribunal, alors qu’on l’y avait envoyé pour demander des nouvelles de sa fille. Quinze jours plus tard, une voiture du Sepah s’arrête chez Javad à minuit et vient chercher la jeune s ur de Shirine « pour un interrogatoire ».

10 Les pratiques d’invisibilisation semblent s’organiser en couches successives : si du cercle témoin de la répression, la famille, peu d’information et d’agitation doit filtrer au-dehors, vers des relais sociaux plus larges, les gardiens s’assurent quant à eux que certaines pratiques de gestion des centres de détention ne soient pas connues des familles. Javad identifie ainsi « trois sortes de morts. Ceux qui meurent sous la torture : leur corps ne sont pas rendus et ils ne disent pas aux proches où ils se trouvent ; ceux qui sont pendus : ils donnent un bout de papier disant qu’ils sont enterrés à tel endroit, mais interdisent les cérémonies et les regroupements autour de la tombe ; ceux qui sont fusillés : ils peuvent rendre le corps à la famille contre une somme de 7 à 10 000 tomans ». Cette distinction s’explique peut-être du fait que la pendaison est réservée aux Kafer, aux non-musulmans, et en l’occurrence aux moudjahidines qui sont considérés tels depuis la Fatwa de 1981. Dès lors, les sépultures doivent être dans les carrés non-musulmans des cimetières, ce qui ne serait pas forcément respecté si le corps était rendu aux familles. En 1988, les corps des victimes ne sont pas rendus aux familles qui refusent de leur côté de reconnaître comme authentiques les tombes indiquées par le pouvoir, en particulier depuis la découverte de charniers qui laissent penser que les prisonniers exécutés ont été enterrés dans des fosses communes [46][46]AI, « Mass Executions of Political Prisoners », Amnesty….

11 Le gouvernement dénie les rumeurs d’exécution massive. Le président de la République, aujourd’hui « Guide suprême de la Révolution », Ali Khamenei, reconnaît que quelques Monafeghins ont été exécutés durant l’été, mais justifie cette action au nom de la sûreté d’État et de la préservation du territoire national [47][47]Ibid.. En 1989, une lettre ouverte de la mission permanente de la République islamique d’Iran à l’ONU répond de manière ambiguë au communiqué d’Amnesty International : « Les autorités de la République islamique d’Iran ont toujours nié l’existence d’exécutions politiques, mais cela ne contredit pas d’autres déclarations postérieures confirmant que des espions et des terroristes ont été exécutés [48][48]UN document A/44/153, ZB février 1989, cité dans AI, Iran :…. » En effet, le 5 juillet 1988, peu après la signature du cessez-le-feu entre l’Iran et l’Irak, l’Organisation des moudjahidines exilée dans une base militaire en Irak lance une offensive armée à la frontière iranienne et pénètre brièvement sur le territoire iranien, avant d’être sévèrement défaite par l’armée adverse. Shahrooz réfute l’idée selon laquelle les exécutions massives de 1988, dont les analystes peinent à saisir clairement l’objectif ou le mobile, seraient une riposte à cette tentative d’attaque militaire, en s’appuyant sur plusieurs témoignages individuels et le rapport du représentant spécial auprès de la Commission des Droits de l’Homme des Nations Unies, selon lesquels les procès et les exécutions de 1988 commencent à partir du mois d’avril, soit avant l’attaque du 5 juillet [49][49]Final Report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic….

12 Il faut mentionner que le pouvoir impliqué dans les violences d’État de 1988, comme dans la gestion de leur héritage, est un corps hétérogène, parcouru de divisions d’au moins deux sortes. D’une part, il comprend des acteurs gouvernementaux, officiels, et différents groupes privés ou paramilitaires liés au Parti républicain islamique (le Hezbollah, le Sepah). D’autre part, le dispositif de répression et l’évolution des pratiques carcérales dans les années 1980 s’inscrivent, au sein même du parti au pouvoir, dans des jeux d’influences et des luttes politiques dont l’enjeu est la succession de Khomeini [50][50]M. Behrooz, « Reflections on Iran’s Prison System… », art.…. Une analyse des ordres mettant en place le massacre et des réponses aux réticences exprimées dans les rangs du Parti républicain islamique montre que cet événement est l’occasion pour le pouvoir de faire « le tri entre les mitigés et les vrais croyants parmi [l]es partisans [du régime], leur imposant par ailleurs le silence au sujet des droits humains [51][51]E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit., p. 221 (notre…  » : les exécutions de masse auraient servi à verrouiller et à assurer la continuité du gouvernement mis en place par Khomeini, qui s’éteint en 1989. L’ayatollah Montazeri ­ dauphin et successeur pressenti de Khomeini à la fonction de Guide suprême de la Révolution depuis 1979 ­ est ainsi écarté de la scène publique et placé en résidence surveillée à partir de 1988, suite à ses prises de positions critiques au sujet des exécutions [52][52]Ibid., p. 221-222 ; Azadeh Kian-Thiébaut, « La révolution….

13 À défaut de pouvoir s’appuyer sur un recensement officiel ou encore sur des investigations auprès des familles et dans les fosses présumées ­ les gouvernements successifs rendant risquée les mentions ou recherches sur le sujet ­ il est difficile d’estimer le nombre de victimes du massacre. Pour Amnesty International, elles étaient 2 500 en 1990, soit quelques mois après les événements. Depuis, la collecte d’informations auprès des familles, que ce soit par les partis politiques dont les membres étaient concernés ou par des initiatives de droits de l’homme [53][53]H. Mokhtar, Testimony at the September 1 Conference, op. cit…, dresse une liste nominative de 4 000 à 5 000 victimes. Le Parti des Moudjahidine-e Kalq chiffre le massacre à 30 000 [54][54]Christina Lamb, The Telegraph, « Khomeini fatwa “led to killing…, ce qui est bien supérieur aux chiffres avancés ailleurs. Une récente étude qui tente de rassembler les données dans les différentes provinces conclue au chiffre de 12 000 [55][55]Nasser Mohajer, « The Mass Killings in Iran », Aresh, no 57,…. Aux pratiques violentes du pouvoir répond le souci de mettre au jour des faits précis et de prendre la mesure de l’ampleur de l’événement.

14 Face à cela, les analyses juridiques du « crime contre l’humanité » de 1988 s’interrogent sur l’impossibilité ou l’absence de volonté politique actuelle en ce qui concerne la mobilisation sur le terrain du droit, et en particulier du droit pénal international [56][56]K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor… », art.…. Il serait fort utile de confronter les mobilisations du droit dans l’espace publique en Iran depuis la « démocratisation » des années 1990, et les essais de reformulation des exécutions massives de 1988 en un enjeu des droits de l’homme qui n’ont paradoxalement pas connu de relais effectif et de réalisation concrète [57][57]K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor… », art.…. Ce décalage, ou cette absence, se comprend notamment par le passé révolutionnaire, nezami, et l’implication plus ou moins directe de certains responsables du mouvement réformateur dans les violences d’État durant la mise en place du régime islamique, et, notamment, dans le massacre de 1988. Ainsi, Akbar Ganji, journaliste d’opposition connu pour ses engagements en faveur des libertés civiles, plusieurs fois emprisonné depuis 2000, est-il un ancien commandant des Pasdaran-e Sepah[58][58]Voir par exemple N. Yavari d’Hellencourt, « Islam et…. Saïd Hajarian, autre figure de l’opposition démocrate et directeur du journal réformateur Sobh-e Emrooz, était adjoint du ministre de l’Information Reyshahri 1984 à 1989 [59][59]Voir par exemple Ahmed Vahdat, « The Spectre of Montazeri »,…. Abdullah Nouri, qui s’impose à la fin des années 1990 comme la figure principale du parti réformateur, était ministre de l’Intérieur en 1988 et a fait des déclarations niant les allégations d’exécutions, qu’il attribuait à « une campagne organisée à l’étranger  » tout en affirmant que « la loi islamique et le gouvernement de la République islamique d’Iran respectent la dignité humaine et ont organisé les institutions de la République islamique sur ce principe essentiel [60][60]Cité dans K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and… ». Si l’évocation des événements de l’été 1988 a été une ligne rouge à ne pas franchir sous les mandats réformateurs des années 1990-2000, les élections présidentielles de 2005 et les cadres conservateurs au pouvoir sous le mandat d’Ahmadinejad éloignent d’autant plus une perspective de reconnaissance ou de publicisation que la responsabilité pénale individuelle des membres actuels du gouvernement est engagée dans les exécutions de 1988 ­ et, plus généralement, dans le système pénitentiaire des années 1980. Selon plusieurs sources, l’actuel ministre de l’Intérieur, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, a siégé au sein de la commission chargée des procès-minute de l’été 1988, en tant que représentant du ministère de l’Information [61][61]E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit., p. 210 ;….

La commémoration

15 Ainsi, en dehors des témoignages mentionnés, les faits dont nous parlons n’ont jamais été évoqués dans l’espace public à un niveau politique ou juridique [62][62]E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit. ; R. Afshari,…. Il s’agit alors de regarder du côté des pratiques mémorielles ­ comme nous le suggère la démarche de Javad. Comment la mémoire intime et familiale acquiert-elle une dimension politique ? Face aux pratiques d’invisibilisation (gestion du deuil, confiscation funéraire, etc.), les rites et les lieux funéraires sont travaillés par l’enjeu d’une commémoration dont il s’agit de saisir la porté et les limites, politiques. Ce mouvement se noue d’abord autour de la référence au « martyre » autour de laquelle s’organise l’Islam révolutionnaire. Face aux exécutions de masse, de 1981 à 1988, la réalité des victimes est revisitée à travers la notion de martyre. L’idée du martyre est présente dans la pensée politique de Chariati [63][63]Paul Vieille, « L’institution shi’ite, la religiosité…, et participe à configurer l’action politique des Moujahidines, qu’il s’agisse de l’engagement révolutionnaire ou, plus tard, de la résistance [64][64]Voir par exemple E. Abrahamian, The Iranian Mojahedins, op.…. Principal ressort du discours public et de la communication pour l’engagement populaire dans la guerre contre l’Irak, elle est davantage encore une pierre de touche de l’islam chiite à l’aune de l’idéologie révolutionnaire du Parti républicain islamique [65][65]F. Khosrokhavar, L’islamisme et la mort : le martyre…. Autour de ce « culte du martyre », relayé par un art mural prolifique, s’organise la mobilisation nationale, puis la mémoire officielle du conflit [66][66]Ulrich Marzolph, « The Martyr’s Way to Paradise. Shiite Mural…. Entre 1981 et 1988, les jeunes bassidjis révolutionnaires ont nettoyé par centaines de milliers les champs de mines de l’armée, dans une utopie mortifère et salvatrice qui les érigeait en nouveaux « martyrs » de l’Islam. Dans le contexte d’une guerre qui laisse la société iranienne exsangue de 600 000 à un million d’hommes, la sépulture chiite, l’anonymat, la célébration du martyr et de la nation sont fondus dans des offices religieux publiques et médiatisés pour les combattants victimes [67][67]Ali Reza Sheikholeslami, « The Transformation of Iran’s…. Comme l’illustrent la production et le souvenir des martyrs, et le rapport qu’ils instituent à la mort et au corps, à la colère et à la vengeance, la République islamique s’appuie sur une idéologie « martyropathe [68][68]F. Khosrokhavar, L’islamisme et la mort…, op. cit. », née d’un effondrement de l’utopie révolutionnaire, qui s’impose comme la clé de voûte de l’action politique et de la raison d’État. Or, tandis qu’elle enserre l’espace public dans un réseau de passions orchestré par un dispositif rhétorique et institutionnel, elle verrouille toute possibilité de saisir le souvenir et l’émotion collective hors de cette grille logique étroite. C’est dans cette canalisation politique et totalitaire de l’émotion et du deuil que va s’inscrire, de manière subvertie et discrète, une mémoire émotive du massacre de 1988.
Le vendredi matin, dans les cimetières de province, dans le carré des promis au paradis, les mères des enfants « martyrs » de la guerre pleurent ensemble leurs morts, alors que dans le carré d’à côté, sur des tombes sans inscriptions, d’autres mères, dans une même sociabilité et un même rituel, pleurent leurs « martyrs » à elles : ceux de 1988. Un jeune bassidji écrit ainsi à ses parents depuis le front : « Jusqu’à présent, on n’a pas trouvé le corps de certains martyrs. Si cela se produit dans mon cas, n’en soyez pas tristes [mes parents] : vous n’avez pas épargné ma vie et vous l’avez donné pour Dieu, alors renoncez à mon corps et quand vous en ressentez le besoin, rendez-vous sur la tombe des autres martyrs [69][69]Témoignage paru dans le journal islamiste Keyhan en 1984, cité… ! » Le corps dérobé, disparu, du martyr, qui est une constante de l’idéologie islamique révolutionnaire, se réalise paradoxalement dans le cimetière de Khavaran, dans les fosses communes où ont été enterrés les prisonniers de la prison d’Evin exécutés en 1988. Pour les journalistes de la BBC : « Le cimetière de Khavaran n’est rien d’autre qu’un terrain vague terreux où, ça et là, des familles ont démarqué au hasard et de façon symbolique des tombes à l’aide de pierres. Il y a aussi quelques vraies pierres tombales et les familles affirment les y avoir mises car elles disent que leurs proches exécutés ont été enterrés à cet endroit [70][70]BBC Persia, « Le cimetière de Khavaran : des sépultures sans…. » Les cadres religieux où s’ancre le travail du deuil dessinent un espace de négociation, de répression et de détournement pour les acteurs : l’État en joue pour étouffer la possibilité d’une mémoire du massacre, les familles les détournent pour pleurer et se souvenir, malgré tout. Dès lors, la mémoire des exécutés de l’été 1988 flotte silencieusement dans l’imaginaire « martyropathe » de la République islamique ­ qui a assis sa domination précisément sur ces morts politiques. La mère d’un prisonnier exécuté écrit à sa fille exilée à l’étranger : « Le vendredi, toutes les mères et d’autres membres de la famille sont allés au cimetière. Quelle journée de deuil ! C’était comme l’Ashura. Des mères sont venues avec des portraits de leurs fils ; l’une d’elles avait perdu cinq fils et belles-filles. Finalement, le Komité est venu et nous a dispersé [71][71]AI, Iran : Violations of Human Rights 1987-1990, p. 3. Notre…. »

16 L’Ashura, dans la tradition chiite, est un moment de socialisation et de deuil où chacun pleure pour ses morts et ses peines dans le cadre de la commémoration religieuse du « martyr » d’Hussein. La référence à l’Ashura, et l’idée d’une communauté du deuil qui transparaît dans le témoignage, renvoie à une certaine socialité entre les familles de prisonniers comme le noyau autour duquel s’embraient les pratiques de souvenir. Les exécutions ne sont pas pensées dans le cadre préexistant des partis politiques auxquels appartenaient les victimes, mais à un niveau familial et intime. Toutefois, à partir des proches liés par une communauté d’expérience s’élaborent des pratiques de souvenir à un niveau collectif. Cette socialité est nouée dans l’épreuve qu’a été pour les familles de soutenir les prisonniers durant leur peine et de se tenir informées de leur sort. On trouve la trace de ce lien entre les familles, dans le témoignage de Javad. Ainsi commence le récit de l’annonce des exécutions en automne 1988 : « Le jour suivant, comme indiqué, nous nous sommes rendus devant la prison de D. à 9 heures. Il y avait d’autres personnes attroupées qui avaient reçu le même appel. Quand je les ai vus, je me suis un peu apaisé. Nous nous demandions les uns aux autres : “Et vous, qu’en pensez-vous ?” Chacun donnait son avis, l’un disait : “Ils veulent sûrement accorder une visite”, l’autre : “Ils veulent expliquer pourquoi ils ont interdit les visites”. Bref, dans ce brouhaha, nous étions tous d’accord pour dire que nous allions enfin connaître la fin de cette angoissante incertitude. » Ces moments de rencontre et de socialité jouent une fonction essentielle dans la circulation de l’information. Dans le témoignage de Javad, ce sont les nouvelles données par les familles dont les proches sont transférés d’une ville à l’autre, ou qui ont plusieurs proches prisonniers dans plusieurs villes différentes, qui permettent d’avoir une appréhension plus générale de l’échelle et des procédés de répression politique à un niveau national. La sociabilité des proches apparaît ainsi comme le lieu d’une résistance face aux pratiques du pouvoir, à travers une circulation de l’information qui répond aux stratégies de secret, mais aussi à travers la constitution de solidarités ponctuelles. Après 1988, cette socialité des proches de prisonniers semble avoir été une ressource à partir de laquelle des pratiques collectives de souvenir ont peu à peu vu le jour. La mère d’un prisonnier exécuté à Téhéran et enterré dans le cimetière de Khavaran explique dans un entretien : « Quand nous voulions aller sur sa tombe, on nous emmenait au Komité : “Pourquoi êtes-vous venus ? Et les gens avec qui vous parliez, qui était-ce ?” Un jour par semaine, le Komité nous attendait en chemin et nous emmenait là-bas. Jusqu’en 1989, quand on a organisé une cérémonie avec quelques autres mères pour nos enfants. Le soir, ils sont venus et nous ont dit « Venez à [la prison d’] Evin demain. Le lendemain matin de bonne heure nous sommes allés à Evin. Ils nous ont gardés jusqu’à 14 heures les yeux bandés, puis ils nous ont mis dans une voiture et nous ont emmenés au Komité. Ils nous ont gardés trois jours, et nous ont interrogés individuellement pour savoir comment nous nous connaissions. “Ça fait huit ans que nous allons en visite ensemble, nous avons appris à nous connaître ; ça fait un an que vous avez tué nos enfants, nous avons appris à nous connaître. C’est comme dire bonjour à ses voisins : à force d’aller à Evin, aux Komités, nous avons fini par nous connaître.” Ils ont demandé les noms de famille de toutes les mères. “Je ne les connais pas, ai-je répondu. Je connais leur prénom, c’est tout [72][72]Entretien filmé reproduit sur le site internet de l’ONG de….” » La réponse qui semble émerger dans les décennies suivant l’exécution des prisonniers est celle de pratiques mémorielles qui s’organisent autour de deux choses : la commémoration collective des morts dans le cadre d’une cérémonie rituelle qui est celle du bozorgdasht, et l’identification du massacre de 1988 à un lieu spécifique, qui est le cimetière de Khavaran. Ce dernier point renvoie en effet à l’émergence progressive d’un lieu-symbole, investi d’une mémoire presque narrative de l’événement et des pratiques qui ont orchestré les procès et les exécutions collectives, la confiscation des corps, le silence public. La place qu’a progressivement acquise cet endroit dans la commémoration des exécutions, alors qu’il n’est qu’un lieu parmi les cimetières municipaux et les charniers (dont 21 seraient localisés à ce jour [73][73]Entretien télévisé disponible sur internet : Mosahebe-ye…) où les dépouilles ont été enfouies en 1988, semble indiquer qu’au-delà des souvenirs individuels, les pratiques mémorielles tendent à se ressaisir à un niveau collectif. « Khavaran est un nom qui signifie “ne pas oublier” » titrait ainsi un article consacré à une cérémonie de commémoration dans le cimetière en septembre 2005 [74][74]Mohammad Reza Mohini, « Khavaran est un nom qui signifie “ne…. Pourquoi et comment ce mot-symbole a-t-il émergé ? Qu’indique-t-il sur la façon dont les enjeux de non-oubli se saisissent en termes collectifs, et éventuellement politiques ?

« Khavaran : un nom qui signifie “ne pas oublier” »

17 Les procès orchestrant le massacre de 1988 témoignent de cet Islam politique particulier réintroduit par Khomeini, qui repose notamment sur le réinvestissement politique des mythes fondateurs et de la tradition historique du chiisme. Les condamnés le sont pour « hypocrisie » ou pour « apostasie » ; c’est donc en « damnés », et en vue d’assurer cette damnation, que leur passage de ce monde à l’autre sera organisé. On enterre les victimes avec leurs habits et même leurs chaussures (le rituel exige un linceul blanc) dans des fosses communes très peu profondes, à fleur de terre (l’islam exige une profondeur minimum de 1,5 mètre) [75][75]E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confession…, op. cit., p. 218 ; K.…. Le deuil s’organise dans la société chiite autour de plusieurs étapes de commémoration collectives et de rassemblements funéraires : le troisième jour, le septième jour, le quarantième jour, qui marque la fin officielle des funérailles. En 1988, le quarantième jour était passé lorsque les familles furent informées de la mort de leurs proches. La majorité des exécutions eurent lieu à Téhéran et la gestion des corps semble s’être organisée dans l’obsession des règles du najes (la séparation des musulmans et des non-musulmans, du pur et de l’impur) : des fosses sont apparues, non pas dans le cimetière musulman de Behesht-e-Zara (où même des opposants politiques marxistes exécutés par l’ancien régime furent exhumés et déplacés), mais dans un carré situé dans le cimetière de Khavaran perdu sur une route à 16 km au sud-est de Téhéran, qui est un lieu d’inhumation ba’haie [76][76]Communauté religieuse persécutée.. Le lieu a été renommé Kaferestan (la terre des Kafer, des incroyants) ou encore Lanatabad (le lieu des damnés) ; les familles s’y réfèrent comme Golzar-e Khavaran (le champ de fleurs de Khavaran) car elles y ont planté des fleurs, et qu’une fois par an, à la date anniversaire du massacre, la terre du terrain vague est recouverte de bouquets. Le lieu est même parfois désigné comme golestan (le champ de fleurs), par analogie phonique et retournement du mot gourestan (le cimetière). La guerre des noms en fait en tous cas le lieu d’une mémoire laborieuse, tendue.
C’est dans ce contexte que se sont mises en place à Khavaran des cérémonies de commémoration des morts de 1988, inscrites dans la tradition ritualisée du bozorgdasht, qui est celle d’une visite au cimetière à la date anniversaire de la mort, donnant lieu à un rassemblement laïque des proches pour évoquer le souvenir du défunt. Progressivement, ces visites se sont transformées en cérémonies de commémoration du massacre de 1988. Une fois par an, lors du bozorgdasht, « le cimetière de Khavaran, rapportent les observateurs, est transformé en champs de fleurs et des opposants au régime islamique se mêlent aux familles : on récite des poèmes et on lit des textes sur la vie des disparus, de petites marches de protestation s’organisent même dans le cimetière [77][77]BBC Persia, « Le cimetière de Khavaran… », art. cité ; voir…. » Cependant, deux décennies après les faits, les enjeux de visibilisation du massacre, qui engage la responsabilité individuelle de membres de certaines administrations encore en fonction, restent sensibles. En novembre 2005, une radio américaine en langue persane, Radio Farda, annonce que des pierres tombales du cimetière de Khavaran sont détruites par « des individus non-identifiés [78][78]Nouvelles radiophonique du 19 novembre 2005, Radio Farda,… ». En automne 2007, sept personnes ayant participé au bozorgdasht de proches à Khavaran sont arrêtées et détenues dans la « section 209 » de la prison d’Evin à Téhéran, sous autorité du ministère de l’Information [79][79]AI, Action Urgente, « Iran : Craintes de mauvais traitements/…. Un rapport de Human Rights Watch avance des témoignages de familles de victimes selon lesquels « des tombes improvisées, placées par les familles ont été détruites. On dit que le gouvernement prépare une intervention importante à [Khavaran] afin de supprimer les traces d’inhumation [80][80]Human Rights Watch, Minister of murders, op. cit. Notre…. »

18 Lors des commémorations, la présence d’« opposants du régime » aux côtés des familles des victimes ­ la manifestation regroupait 2 000 personnes en 2005 ­ et de « petites marches de protestations » semble témoigner d’une politisation des rites mortuaires autour desquels se sont cristallisés les enjeux d’oubli et de souvenir liés à l’événement. Ce qu’on constate, c’est la fonction de catalyse du lieu dans l’organisation d’une action collective qui dépasserait le cercle des intimes. Ainsi, les membres de Kanoon-e Khavaran (l’Association Khavaran) fondée en 1996 par les sympathisants d’un groupe politique marxiste exilés en Europe et Amérique du Nord, s’organisent-ils en un réseau d’information qui a pour objet la constitution d’archives relatives aux exécutions, la production d’une liste nominale des victimes ainsi que la localisation de charniers à travers le pays [81][81]Kanoon-e Khavaran, op. cit. (site internet).. D’autre part, dans les différents textes lus lors des commémorations, le nom propre, Khavaran, émerge comme une synthèse des événements de 1988 et de leur mémoire. Ainsi de cette chanson qui commence par : « Khavaran ! Khavaran ! Terre des souvenirs. Il y vient parfois des mères… », ou encore de ce poème lu lors d’un bozorgdasht : « Je suis le cri rouge de la liberté / Lis mon nom, ma mère, dans le ciel de Khavaran / Je suis le drapeau sanglant de la liberté / Lis mon nom, mon épouse, dans le ciel de Khavaran / Je suis la bannière rouge de la liberté / Lis mon nom, mon enfant, dans le ciel de Khavaran / Je suis prisonnier sous la terre sèche de Khavaran / Lis mon nom, peuple courageux, dans le ciel de Khavaran [82][82]M. R. Mohini, « Khavaran est un nom qui signifie “ne pas… ». Si les trois premiers vers opposent le parcours politique des victimes (« le cri rouge de la liberté ») à un lien familial autour duquel se noue le souvenir (la mère, l’épouse, l’enfant), le dernier vers propose la mémoire de l’événement non-publicisé (« prisonnier sous la terre sèche de Khavaran ») comme le levier d’une appropriation politique, et presque la condition de reformation du « peuple courageux », en s’insérant ainsi dans un schème essentiel du discours post-révolutionnaire qui est l’invitation au peuple à réitérer la mobilisation héroïque de la révolution. Or, la difficulté d’une politisation de cette histoire alternative que propose Khavaran se négocie précisément autour de cette référence à l’histoire et la grammaire révolutionnaires, et à son « anachronisme » par rapport à un répertoire contemporain de discours et d’actions centré autour de la revendication de libertés civiles [83][83]F. Khosrokhavar, « L’Iran, la démocratie et la nouvelle…. En effet, la charge mémorielle attribuée à ce charnier signifie-t-elle pour autant la formation d’une mémoire collective à partir de laquelle se reconstruit, dans le contexte iranien actuel, l’enjeu politique des exécutions de masse ? Mais alors, quelle identité se cristallise autour de cette mémoire commune ? C’est avec cette question qu’apparaissent les limites et les tensions liées à la possibilité de « se mobiliser » autour de la constitution des exécutions comme une cause publique.

19 Les enjeux de mémoire et d’identité sont pris dans une relation plastique de réciprocité, rappelle Gillis : « Une dimension fondamentale de toute identité individuelle ou collective, à savoir un sentiment de communauté [a sense of sameness] dans le temps et l’espace, s’élabore à partir du souvenir ; et ce dont on se souvient ainsi est défini par l’identité revendiquée [84][84]John R. Gillis (dir.), Commemorations : The Politics of…. » Or il y a une tension entre les pratiques mémorielles qui émergent sur des sites comme Khavaran, et l’identification des victimes du massacre au mouvement des moudjahidines (auquel plus de 70 % des prisonniers exécutés étaient en effet affiliés). Si les exécutions de 1988 ne sont pas vraiment un secret au sein de la population iranienne, elles sont directement rapportées à la trajectoire politique des moudjahidines qui semblent avoir été exclus des revendications et des références par lesquelles une identité nationale iranienne s’est négociée dans les pays depuis la Révolution. De leur côté, les moudjahidines entretiennent une mémoire des « martyrs » de 1988 liée aux narrations et aux symboles qui construisent l’identité forte et exclusive du groupe en exil, et pour ce faire relisent l’événement comme une confrontation entre le pouvoir et la résistance (c’est-à-dire les moudjahidines) ; cette interprétation laisse de côté la diversité des appartenances politiques des victimes en 1988, comme le fait que de nombreux prisonniers d’opinion s’étaient, au cours de leur détention, détachés de toute étiquette politique ou militante. Pour Shahrooz, c’est là le principal obstacle politique à une mobilisation par le droit faisant du massacre de 1988 un « crime contre l’humanité [85][85]K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor… », art.… ».

Un enjeu actuel

20 Dans ses analyses sur la non-commémoration et l’oubli dans la cité athénienne, Nicole Loraux identifiait le « deuil inoublieux [86][86]Nicole Loraux, La cité divisée. L’oubli dans la mémoire… » comme une passion politique qui lie le familial et la vie de la cité. À l’image de Javad qui a décidé de consigner ses mémoires pour ses petits-enfants, on peut observer que l’enjeu d’une résistance mémorielle face aux événements de 1988 engage les notions d’oubli et de déni face à un silence orchestré du pouvoir. Orchestré, et non total, ni effectif. Cette orchestration, c’est cette attitude ambivalente du pouvoir qui enterre en secret les victimes à fleur de terre, tout en faisant de l’odeur putride qui se dégage du charnier la preuve que ces personnes (qui ne sont officiellement pas là) étaient des non-musulmans ; c’est aussi annoncer la mort des prisonniers aux familles, mais en organisant un dispositif de mise sous silence du deuil (contrats de non-sépulture, annonces différées et au téléphone) ; c’est encore l’énonciation d’une Fatwa de mort de la part du Guide suprême, mais la négation d’exécutions de masse, puisque si l’exécution de prisonniers est reconnue, leur échelle niée. L’émergence d’une commémoration esquisse un réinvestissement politique des rites et des lieux de sépulture là où l’invisibilisation du massacre se fondait sur leur confiscation. Il faudrait pouvoir mener une observation interne, comparée, des structures de mobilisation que révèlent ces commémorations, même si une telle étude s’avère difficile dans le contexte actuel marqué par une nouvelle surveillance du pouvoir, comme le montrent les interventions de 2005 à 2007 sur le site de Khavaran, auprès des familles engagées ou de chercheurs souhaitant explorer le sujet [87][87]Nathalie Nougayrède, « Une chercheuse franco-iranienne empêchée…. En se fondant sur les articles scientifiques, les sources médiatiques, les différents témoignages publiés et les sites associatifs consacrés à ce sujet, il apparaît toutefois que les enjeux du non-oubli restent pris dans une tension mémorielle qui enserre les possibilités de mobilisation [88][88]Nader Khoshdel, « Marasem-e bozorgdasht-e zendanian-e siasi :…. Cette tension ne concerne pas uniquement les écarts entre le travail de commémoration initié par les familles et l’investissement politique et identitaire de l’événement parmi les groupes qui se sont, dans une faible mesure, réorganisés en exil. Elle concerne également l’impossibilité paradoxale de constituer la demande de reconnaissance et de justice comme une cause commune, dans un espace public marqué par la revendication de libertés civiles. L’extériorité des événements de 1988 par rapport à la vie politique et l’étanchéité des revendications civiles face à cette réalité invitent à penser la place singulière qu’occupe le massacre de 1988 dans la complexité des jeux de rupture et de continuité qui tissent l’histoire iranienne contemporaine ­ et donc, les enjeux politiques actuels dont est chargée sa mémoire.

Notes

  • [1]
    Notre traduction.
  • [2]
    L’ayatollah Khomeini qualifie la guerre de Jihad défensif et l’appelle « Défense Sacrée » (Def¯a’e moghaddas) ; au sujet des offensives iraniennes il parle de « Kerbala » en référence à la bataille qui, dans cette ville irakienne, marque en 680 le début de la rupture entre les Chiites et les Sunnites ; la guerre en Irak est appelée « Qadisiyya de Sadam » par référence, ici encore religieuse, à la bataille al-Qadisiyya de Sa’d qui eut lieu en Mésopotamie en 636 entre Musulmans et Perses sassanides, dans le cadre de la conquête musulmane de la Perse (voir à ce sujet Sinan Antoon, « Monumental Disrespect », Middle East Report, no 228, automne 2003, p. 28-30).
  • [3]
    L’auteur remercie Sandrine Lefranc pour sa lecture attentive et ses commentaires.
  • [4]
    Voir notamment Ervand Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions. Prisons and Public Recantations in Modern Iran, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1999 ; Amnesty International (AI), « Iran : Violations of Human Rights 1987-1990  », décembre 1990 ; AI, « Iran : Political Executions », décembre 1988 ; anonyme, « Man shahede ghatle ame zendanyane siyasi boodam » (« J’ai été témoin du massacre des prisonniers politiques »), Cheshmandaz, no 14, hiver 1995 ; Hossein-Ali Montazeri, Khaterat (Mémoires), hhhhttp:// wwww. amontazeri. com(consulté le 7 avril 2008).
  • [5]
    Voir E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit., p. 215 ; AI, « Iran : Violations of Human Rights 1987-1990  » ; Kaveh Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor : A Preliminary Report on The 1988 Massacre of Iran’s Political Prisoners », Harvard Human Rights Journal, vol. 20, 2007, p. 227-261, p. 228.
  • [6]
    Farhad Khosrokhavar, « L’Iran, la démocratie et la nouvelle citoyenneté », Cahiers internationaux de sociologie, no 111, 2001/2, p. 291-317.
  • [7]
    Ibid., p. 309 et Nouchine Yavari d’Hellencourt, « Islam et démocratie : de la nécessité d’une contextualisation  », Cemoti, no spécial, La question démocratique et les sociétés musulmanes. Le militaire, l’entrepreneur et le paysan, no 27, hhhhttp:// cemoti. revues. org/ document656. html(consulté le 20 avril 2008).
  • [8]
    Ibid.
  • [9]
    Ibid.
  • [10]
    Stanley Cohen, States of Denial, Knowing about Atrocities and Suffering, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2001.
  • [11]
    E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit., p. 209-229 ; Afshin Matin-Asgari, « Twentieth Century Iran’s Political Prisoners », Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 42, no 5, 2006, p. 689-707.
  • [12]
    Maziar Behrooz, « Reflections on Iran’s Prison System During the Montazeri Years (1985­1988)  », Iran Analysis Quarterly, vol. 2, no 3, 2005, p. 11-24.
  • [13]
    Reza Afshari, Human Rights in Iran : The Abuse of Cultural Relativism, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001 ; K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor… », art. cité, p. 243-257 ; Raluca Mihaila, « Political Considerations in Accountability for Crimes Against Humanity : An Iranian Case Study », Hemispheres : The Tufts University Journal of International Affairs, no spécial, State-Building : Risks and Consequences, 2002, hhhhttp:// ase. tufts. edu/ hemispheres/ (consulté le 7 avril 2008).
  • [14]
    Conseil Économique et Social des Nations Unies (ECOSOC), Commission sur les droits humains, « On the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran », Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 27, U.N. Doc. A/44/620 (2 novembre 1989) ; Final Report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, pursuant to Commission resolution 1992/67 of 4 March 1992, E/CN.4/1993/41 ; Human Rights Watch, « Pour-Mohammadi and the 1988 Prison Massacres », Ministers of Murder : Iran’s New Security Cabinet, hhhhttp:// wwww. hrw. org/ backgrounder/ mena/ iran1205/ 2. htm#_Toc121896787(consulté le 7 avril 2008).
  • [15]
    Un impressionnant travail a été accompli sur ce point par E. Abrahambian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit., p. 209-229, qui reste la principale référence à ce jour.
  • [16]
    Notamment Nima Parvaresh, Nabardi nabarabar : gozareshi az haft sal zendan 1361­68 (Une bataille inégale : rapport de sept ans en prison 1982­1989), Andeesheh va Peykar Publications, 1995 ; Reza Ghaffari, Khaterate yek zendani az zendanhaye jomhuriyeh islami (Les mémoires d’un prisonnier dans les prisons de la République Islamique), Stockholm, Arash Forlag, 1998 ; anonyme, « Man shahede ghatle ame zendanyane siyasi boodam », op. cit.
  • [17]
    Nous reprenons, parmi les différentes transcriptions possibles, l’orthographe adoptée par l’organisation aujourd’hui [[[[http:// wwww. maryam-rajavi. com/ fr/ content/ view/ 300/ 66/ (consulté le 7 avril 2008). « Moudjahidines » est le pluriel de « moudjahed ».
  • [18]
    Mohammad Mossadeq a été Premier ministre de 1951 à 1953. Ayant nationalisé l’industrie pétrolière iranienne en 1951, il est renversé en 1953 suite à l’opération « TP-Ajax » (menée par la CIA), condamné à trois ans d’emprisonnement, puis assigné à résidence jusqu’à sa mort en 1967. Hosein Fatemi est le fondateur du Front de Libération exécuté en 1955.
  • [19]
    Ervand Abrahamian, The Iranian Mojahedins, New Haven/Londres, Yale University Press, 1992, p. 115-125.
  • [20]
    Ibid., p. 100-102.
  • [21]
    Ibid., p. 229 ; voir également A. Matin-Asgari, « Twentieth Century Iran’s Political Prisoners », art. cité, p. 690.
  • [22]
    E. Abrahamian, The Iranian Mojahedins, op. cit., p. 229 (notre traduction).
  • [23]
    Appliqué dans la Constitution iranienne de 1979, ce principe théologique confère aux religieux la primauté sur le pouvoir politique et assure une gestion réelle du pouvoir par le Guide de la Révolution (Vali-e Faghih) qui détermine la direction politique générale du pays, arbitre les conflits entre pouvoirs législatif, exécutif et judiciaire et est chef des armées (régulières et paramilitaires).
  • [24]
    Haleh Afshar (dir.), Iran : A Revolution in Turmoil, Albany, SUNY Press, 1985 ; Shaul Bakhash, The Reign of the ayatollahs : Iran and the Islamic Revolution, New York, Basic Books, 1984.
  • [25]
    Connie Bruck, « Exiles : How Iran’s Expatriates Are Gaming the Nuclear Threat », The New Yorker, 6 Mars 2006, p. 48.
  • [26]
    E. Abrahamian, The Iranian Mojahedins, op. cit., p. 260-261.
  • [27]
    C. Bruck, « Exiles… », art. cité ; Human Rights Watch, No exit : human rights abuses inside the MKO camps, 2005, [[[http:// hrw. org/ backgrounder/ mena/ iran0505/ ?iran0505.pdf, consulté le 7 avril 2008] ; Human Rights Watch, Statement on Responses to Human Rights Watch Report on Abuses by the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), 15 février 2006, [[[[http:// hrw. org/ mideast/ pdf/ iran021506. pdf(consulté le 7 avril 2008).
  • [28]
    Elizabeth Rubin, « The Cult of Rajavi », New York Times Magazine, 13 juillet 2003, p. 26.
  • [29]
    E. Abrahamian, The Iranian Mojahedins, op. cit., p. 3 (notre traduction).
  • [30]
    Ibid.
  • [31]
    Le mouvement était le seul à présenter des candidats partout en Iran.
  • [32]
    Le manuscrit dit : « une société Tohidie  », d’après le Tohid qui est le premier principe d’Islam (« Je dis qu’il y a un seul Dieu ») : une société islamique selon la perspective d’Ali Chariati.
  • [33]
    E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confession, op. cit., p. 210.
  • [34]
    Nader Vahabi, « L’obstacle structurel à l’abolition de la peine de mort en Iran », Panagea, « Diritti umani », mars 2007, hhhttp:// wwww. panagea. eu/ web/ index. php? ?option=com_content&task=view&id=150&Itemid=99999999 (consulté le 28 avril 2008).
  • [35]
    H.-A. Montazeri, Khaterat, op. cit.
  • [36]
    Hossein Mokhtar, Testimony at the September 1st Conference, Mission for Establishment of Human Rights in Iran (MEHR), 1998, en ligne, hhhhttp:// wwww. mehr. org/ massacre_1988. htm(consulté le 7 avril 2008). Notre traduction.
  • [37]
    E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit., p. 209 et suiv.
  • [38]
    Ibid.
  • [39]
    Témoignage cité dans E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit., p. 214 ; K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor… », art. cité, p. 238.
  • [40]
    E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit., p. 209.
  • [41]
    K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor… », art. cité, p. 227 ; R. Mihaila, « Political Considerations in Accountability for Crimes Against Humanity… », art. cité. Ces travaux prolongent une recherche initiale d’Amnesty International qui a produit plusieurs rapports quasi contemporains aux événements (« Iran : Violations of Human Rights 1987-1990  », art. cité ; « Iran : Political Executions », art. cité) et adopte aujourd’hui la définition de crime contre l’humanité : « Aux termes du droit international en vigueur en 1988, on entend par crimes contre l’humanité des attaques généralisées ou systématiques dirigées contre des civils et fondées sur des motifs discriminatoires, y compris d’ordre politique. » (AI, Action Urgente, « Iran : Craintes de mauvais traitements/ Prisonniers d’opinion présumés », 2 novembre 2007, [en ligne hhhhttp:// asiapacific. amnesty. org/ library/ Index/ FRAMDE131282007,consulté le 7 avril 2008]).
  • [42]
    Les pasdaran-e Sepah, gardiens de la Révolution, sont la milice paramilitaire de la République islamique.
  • [43]
    Expression désignant l’attentat terroriste de juin 1981 où 72 cadres du Parti républicain islamique sont morts : le terme renvoie aux « compagnons l’Imam de Hussein » dans la tradition chiite ; l’« Imam » désigne ici Khomeini.
  • [44]
    K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor… », art. cité, p. 240-241.
  • [45]
    Du français « comité » : désigne les cellules informelles d’ordre public mises en place par le Hezbollah au début de la Révolution, et qui se solidifient peu à peu en para-forces de l’ordre, surveillant notamment les m urs islamiques.
  • [46]
    AI, « Mass Executions of Political Prisoners », Amnesty International’s Newsletter, février 1989 ; K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor… », art. cité, p. 239.
  • [47]
    Ibid.
  • [48]
    UN document A/44/153, ZB février 1989, cité dans AI, Iran : Violations of Human Rights 1987-1990. Notre traduction.
  • [49]
    Final Report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights.
  • [50]
    M. Behrooz, « Reflections on Iran’s Prison System… », art. cité.
  • [51]
    E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit., p. 221 (notre traduction).
  • [52]
    Ibid., p. 221-222 ; Azadeh Kian-Thiébaut, « La révolution iranienne à l’heure des réformes », Le Monde diplomatique, janvier 1998 : hhhhttp:// wwww. monde-diplomatique. fr/ 1998/ 01/ KIAN_THIEBAUT/ 9782. html#nh1(consulté le 20 avril 2008).
  • [53]
    H. Mokhtar, Testimony at the September 1 Conference, op. cit (notre traduction) ; Kanoon-e Khavaran hhhhttp:// wwww. khavaran. com/ HTMLs/ Fraxan-Zendanian-Jan3008. htm(consulté le 7 avril 2008) ; Bidaran, hhhhttp:// wwww. bidaran. net/ (consulté le 7 avril 2008) ; OMID, A Memorial in Defense of Human Rights in Iran, [en llllignehttp:// wwww. abfiran. org/ english/ memorial. php,consulté le 7 avril 2008].
  • [54]
    Christina Lamb, The Telegraph, « Khomeini fatwa “led to killing of 30,000 in Iran” », 19 juin 2001 ; Conseil National de la Résistance Iranienne, site des moudjahidines du Peuple en exil, hhhhttp:// wwww. ncr-iran. org/ fr/ content/ view/ 3966/ 89/ ,(consulté le 7 avril 2008).
  • [55]
    Nasser Mohajer, « The Mass Killings in Iran », Aresh, no 57, août 1996, p. 7, cité in E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit., p. 212.
  • [56]
    K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor… », art. cité, p. 257 ; R. Mihaila, « Political Considerations in Accountability for Crimes Against Humanity… », art. cité.
  • [57]
    K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor… », art. cité, p. 243-257 ; R. Mihaila, « Political Considerations in Accountability for Crimes Against Humanity… », art. cité.
  • [58]
    Voir par exemple N. Yavari d’Hellencourt, « Islam et démocratie… », art. cité.
  • [59]
    Voir par exemple Ahmed Vahdat, « The Spectre of Montazeri », Rouzegar-e-Now, no 8, janvier-février 2003, p. 48.
  • [60]
    Cité dans K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor… », art. cité, p. 241.
  • [61]
    E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit., p. 210 ; R. Ghaffari, Khaterate yek zendani az zendanhaye jomhuriyeh islami, op. cit., note 23, p. 248 ; HRW, « Pour-Mohammadi and the 1988 Prison Massacres », op. cit. ; H.-A. Montazeri, Khaterat, op. cit.
  • [62]
    E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions…, op. cit. ; R. Afshari, Human Rights in Iran, op. cit.  ; H.-A. Montazeri, Khaterat , op. cit.
  • [63]
    Paul Vieille, « L’institution shi’ite, la religiosité populaire, le martyre et la révolution », Peuples Méditerranéens, no 16, 1981, p. 77-92.
  • [64]
    Voir par exemple E. Abrahamian, The Iranian Mojahedins, op. cit., p. 206 et 243.
  • [65]
    F. Khosrokhavar, L’islamisme et la mort : le martyre révolutionnaire en Iran, Paris, l’Harmattan, 1995 ; F. Khosrokhavar, Anthropologie de la révolution iranienne. Le rêve impossible, Paris, l’Harmattan, 1997.
  • [66]
    Ulrich Marzolph, « The Martyr’s Way to Paradise. Shiite Mural Art in the Urban Context  », Ethnologia Europaea, vol. 33, no 2, 2003, p. 87-98.
  • [67]
    Ali Reza Sheikholeslami, « The Transformation of Iran’s Political Culture », Critique : Critical Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 17, no 9, 2000, p.105-133.
  • [68]
    F. Khosrokhavar, L’islamisme et la mort…, op. cit.
  • [69]
    Témoignage paru dans le journal islamiste Keyhan en 1984, cité par F. Khosrokhavar, L’islamisme et la mort…, op. cit., p. 92.
  • [70]
    BBC Persia, « Le cimetière de Khavaran : des sépultures sans nom, et la mise au jour des exécutés », 1er septembre 2005, hhhhttp:// wwww. bbc. co. uk/ persian/ iran/ story/ 2005/ 09/ 050902_mf_cemetery. shtml(notre traduction, consulté le 7 avril 2007).
  • [71]
    AI, Iran : Violations of Human Rights 1987-1990, p. 3. Notre traduction.
  • [72]
    Entretien filmé reproduit sur le site internet de l’ONG de défense des droits humains : hhhhttp:// wwww. bidaran. net/ (consulté le 7 avril 2008).
  • [73]
    Entretien télévisé disponible sur internet : Mosahebe-ye Televisione Internasional ba Babake Yazdi Dar Morede Koshtare Tabestane 67 (interview de la chaîne télévisée Internationale avec Babak Yazdi, concernant les massacres de l’été 88), hhhhttp:// khavaran. com/ Ghatleam(consulté le 7 avril 2007).
  • [74]
    Mohammad Reza Mohini, « Khavaran est un nom qui signifie “ne pas oublier” », Bidaran, hhhhttp:// wwww. bidaran. net/ spip. php? article48(consulté le 7 avril 2008).
  • [75]
    E. Abrahamian, Tortured Confession…, op. cit., p. 218 ; K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor… », art. cité, p. 282 ; AI, « Mass Executions of Political Prisoners », art. cité.
  • [76]
    Communauté religieuse persécutée.
  • [77]
    BBC Persia, « Le cimetière de Khavaran… », art. cité ; voir aussi M. R Mohini, « Khavaran est un nom qui signifie “ne pas oublier” », art. cité.
  • [78]
    Nouvelles radiophonique du 19 novembre 2005, Radio Farda, Afrade Nashenas Ghabrhaye Edamyane Siyasiye Daheye 60 ra dar Goorestane Khavaran Takhreeb Kardand (« Des individus non identifiés ont détruit les tombes des prisonniers politiques exécutés dans les années 1980 dans le cimetière de Khavaran »).
  • [79]
    AI, Action Urgente, « Iran : Craintes de mauvais traitements/ Prisonniers d’opinion présumés », op. cit.
  • [80]
    Human Rights Watch, Minister of murders, op. cit. Notre traduction.
  • [81]
    Kanoon-e Khavaran, op. cit. (site internet).
  • [82]
    M. R. Mohini, « Khavaran est un nom qui signifie “ne pas oublier” », art. cité.
  • [83]
    F. Khosrokhavar, « L’Iran, la démocratie et la nouvelle citoyenneté », art. cité.
  • [84]
    John R. Gillis (dir.), Commemorations : The Politics of National Identity, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1994, p. 3 (notre traduction).
  • [85]
    K. Shahrooz, « With Revolutionary Rage and Rancor… », art. cité, p. 259 ; voir aussi R. Mihaila, « Political Considerations in Accountability for Crimes Against Humanity… », art. cité, en ligne.
  • [86]
    Nicole Loraux, La cité divisée. L’oubli dans la mémoire d’Athène, Paris, Payot-Rivages, 2005, p. 164.
  • [87]
    Nathalie Nougayrède, « Une chercheuse franco-iranienne empêchée de quitter Téhéran », Le Monde, 6 septembre 2007.
  • [88]
    Nader Khoshdel, « Marasem-e bozorgdasht-e zendanian-e siasi : goft-o-gou ba Mihan Rousta » (« La cérémonie de bozorgdasht des prisonniers politiques : entretien avec Mihan Rousta »), Sedaye-ma, 13 octobre 2004, hhhhttp:// wwww. sedaye-ma. org/ web/ show_article. php? file= src/ didgah/ mihanrousta_10132006_1. htm(consulté le 7 avril 2008).

Hanouka/2184e: Trump invente le sionisme antisémite ! (Ultimate sleight of hand: How can opposition to the existence of an apartheid state be called racism ?)

23 décembre, 2019
tied willyPresident Trump at the Israeli American Council National Summit last week in Hollywood, Fla.En ces jours-là surgit d’Israël une génération de vauriens qui séduisirent beaucoup de personnes en disant : “Allons, faisons alliance avec les nations qui nous entourent, car depuis que nous nous sommes séparés d’elles, bien des maux nous sont advenus.” (…) Plusieurs parmi le peuple s’empressèrent d’aller trouver le roi, qui leur donna l’autorisation d’observer les coutumes païennes. Ils construisirent donc un gymnase à Jérusalem, selon les usages des nations, se refirent des prépuces et renièrent l’alliance sainte pour s’associer aux nations. 1 Maccabées 1: 11-15
Il n’était même pas permis de célébrer le sabbat, ni de garder les fêtes de nos pères, ni simplement de confesser que l’on était Juif. On était conduit par une amère nécessité à participer chaque mois au repas rituel, le jour de la naissance du roi et, lorsqu’arrivaient les fêtes dionysiaques, on devait, couronné de lierre, accompagner le cortège de Dionysos. (…) Ainsi deux femmes furent déférées en justice pour avoir circoncis leurs enfants. On les produisit en public à travers la ville, leurs enfants suspendus à leurs mamelles, avant de les précipiter ainsi du haut des remparts. D’autres s’étaient rendus ensemble dans des cavernes voisines pour y célébrer en cachette le septième jour. Dénoncés à Philippe, ils furent brûlés ensemble, se gardant bien de se défendre eux-mêmes par respect pour la sainteté du jour. (…) Eléazar, un des premiers docteurs de la Loi, homme déjà avancé en âge et du plus noble extérieur, était contraint, tandis qu’on lui ouvrait la bouche de force, de manger de la chair de porc. Mais lui, préférant une mort glorieuse à une existence infâme, marchait volontairement au supplice de la roue,non sans avoir craché sa bouchée, comme le doivent faire ceux qui ont le courage de rejeter ce à quoi il n’est pas permis de goûter par amour de la vie. 2 Maccabées 6 : 6-20
On célébrait à Jérusalem la fête de la Dédicace. C’était l’hiver. Et Jésus se promenait dans le temple, sous le portique de Salomon. Jean 10: 22
La crise maccabéenne n’est pas un affrontement entre un roi grec fanatique et des Juifs pieux attachés à leurs traditions. C’est d’abord une crise interne au judaïsme, d’un affrontement entre ceux qui estiment qu’on peut rester fidèle au judaïsme en adoptant néanmoins certains traits de la civilisation du monde moderne, le grec, la pratique du sport, etc.., et ceux qui au contraire, pensent que toute adoption des mœurs grecques porte atteinte de façon insupportable à la religion des ancêtres. Si le roi Antiochos IV intervient, ce n’est pas par fanatisme, mais bien pour rétablir l’ordre dans une province de son royaume qui, de plus, se place sur la route qu’il emprunte pour faire campagne en Égypte. (…) Là où Antiochos IV commettait une magistrale erreur politique, c’est qu’il n’avait pas compris qu’abolir la Torah ne revenait pas seulement à priver les Juifs de leurs lois civiles, mais conduisait à l’abolition du judaïsme. Maurice Sartre
L’assemblée générale (…) considère que le sionisme est une forme de racisme et de discrimination raciale. Résolution 379 (ONU, le 10 novembre 1975)
L’assemblée générale décide de déclarer nulle la conclusion contenue dans le dispositif de sa résolution 3379 (XXX) du 10 novembre 1975. Résolution 4686 (ONU, le 16 décembre 1991)
I stand before you as the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, parents who experienced being stripped of their human rights – the right to freedom of travel, equal treatment. I cannot stand by and watch this attack on our freedom of speech and the right to boycott the racist policies of the government and the State of Israel. I love our country’s freedom of speech, madam speaker. Dissent is how we nurture democracy. and grow to be better and more humane and just. This is why I oppose resolution 243. All Americans have a right, a constitutional right guaranteed by the first amendment to freedom of speech. To petition their government and participate in boycotts. Speech in pursuit of civil rights at home and abroad is protected by our first amendment. That is one reason why our first amendment is so powerful. With a few exceptions the government is simply not allowed to discriminate against speech based on its viewpoint or speaker. The right to boycott is deeply rooted in the fabric of our country. What was the Boston tea party but a boycott ? Where would we be now with the civil rights activists in the 1950’s and 1960’s like the united farm workers grape boycott? Some of this country’s most important advances in racial equality and equity and workers’ rights has been achieved through collective action, protected by our constitution. Americans of conscience have long and proud history of participating in boycotts, specifically to advocate for human rights abroad. Americans boycotted nazi Germany in response to dehumanization, imprisonment, and genocide of Jewish people. In the 1980’s, many of us in this very body boycotted South African goods in the fight against apartheid. Our right to free speech is being threatened with this resolution. It sets a dangerous precedent because it attempts to delegitimatize a certain people’s political speech and to send a message that our government can and will take action against speech it doesn’t like. Madam speaker, the Supreme court has time and time again recognized the expressive conduct is protected by the constitution. from burning a flag to baking a cake, efforts to restrict and target that protected speech run the risk of eroding the civil rights that form the foundation of our democracy. All Americans have the right to participate in boycotts, and I oppose all legislative efforts that target speech. I urge congress, state governments, and civil rights leaders from all communities to preserve our constitution, preserve our bill of rights, and preserve the first amendment’s guaranteed of freedom of speech by opposing h. res. 246 and the boycott, anti-boycott efforts wherever they rise. Rashida Tlaib (July 23, 2019)
Melania and I send our warmest wishes to Jewish people in the United States, Israel and across the world as you commence the 8-day celebration of Hanukkah. More than 2,000 years ago, the Maccabees boldly reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, securing a victory for the Jewish people and their faith. They proudly lit the menorah to rededicate the Second Temple. Even though there was only enough olive oil to burn for one day, through divine providence, the flames miraculously burned for eight nights. As the Jewish community gathers together to celebrate this special and sacred time of year, we are reminded of God’s message of hope, mercy, and love. Throughout the coming eight days, each candle to be lit on the menorah will signal to the world that freedom and justice will always shine brighter than hate and oppression. Today, the relationship between the United States and Israel, one of our most cherished allies and friends, is stronger than ever. We will continue to stand with the Jewish people in defending the God-given right to worship freely and openly. As our Jewish brothers and sisters gather around the menorah each night, we pray for a memorable and blessed celebration of the Festival of Lights. May the light of the menorah and the fellowship of family and friends fill your hearts with happiness and a renewed sense of faith. Happy Hanukkah! President Trump
Le président Donald J. Trump prend un décret présidentiel pour renforcer la lutte contre la montée de l’antisémitisme aux États-Unis. Le décret du président Trump indique clairement que le Titre VI de la loi sur les droits civils de 1964 s’applique à la discrimination antisémite fondée sur la race, la couleur ou l’origine nationale. Dans le cadre de l’application du Titre VI contre la discrimination antisémite dissimulée, les agences se référeront à la définition de l’antisémitisme de l’Alliance internationale pour la mémoire de l’Holocauste (IHRA) ainsi que ses exemples contemporains. (…) Ces dernières années, les Américains ont assisté à une augmentation inquiétante des incidents antisémites et à une montée de la rhétorique correspondante dans l’ensemble du pays. (…) Les incidents antisémites se sont multipliés en Amérique depuis 2013, en particulier dans les écoles et sur les campus universitaires. Il s’agit en particulier d’actes de violence horribles à l’encontre de Juifs américains et de synagogues aux États-Unis. 18 membres démocrates du Congrès ont coparrainé cette année une législation en faveur du mouvement antisémite « Boycott, désinvestissement, sanctions » (BDS). Dans leur résolution, ces membres du Congrès comparaient de manière choquante le soutien à Israël à celui à l’Allemagne nazie. Ambassade des Etats-Unis en France
États-unis. Quand Trump voit le judaïsme comme une nationalité: Sous prétexte de combattre l’antisémitisme, le président américain signe un décret qui empêche toute critique d’Israël. L’Humanité
Le président Trump prévoit de signer mercredi un décret visant à cibler ce qu’il considère comme de l’antisémitisme sur les campus universitaires en menaçant de retenir l’argent fédéral des établissements d’enseignement qui ne parviennent pas à lutter contre la discrimination, ont déclaré mardi trois responsables de l’administration. L’ordonnance devrait effectivement interpréter  le judaïsme comme une race ou une nationalité, et pas seulement comme une religion, pour inciter une loi fédérale pénalisant les collèges et universités qui se dérobent à leur responsabilité à favoriser un climat ouvert pour les étudiants issus de minorités. Ces dernières années, le boycott, le désinvestissement et les sanctions – ou B.D.S. – le mouvement contre Israël a troublé certains campus, laissant certains étudiants juifs se sentir importuns ou attaqués. En signant l’ordonnance, M. Trump utilisera son pouvoir exécutif pour agir là où le Congrès ne l’a pas fait, reproduisant essentiellement une législation bipartite bloquée par le Capitol Hill depuis plusieurs années. D’éminents démocrates se sont joints aux républicains pour promouvoir un tel changement de politique afin de combattre l’antisémitisme ainsi que le mouvement de boycott d’Israël. Mais les critiques se sont plaints qu’une telle politique pourrait être utilisée pour étouffer la liberté d’expression et l’opposition légitime à la politique d’Israël envers les Palestiniens au nom de la lutte contre l’antisémitisme. La définition de l’antisémitisme utilisée dans l’ordonnance correspond à celle utilisée par le Département d’État et par d’autres nations, mais elle a été critiquée comme étant trop ouverte et trop générale. Par exemple, il y est décrit comme antisémite « nier au peuple juif son droit à l’autodétermination » dans certaines circonstances et offre comme exemple de ce comportement « affirmer que l’existence d’un État d’Israël est une entreprise raciste ». (…) Les responsables de l’administration, qui ont insisté sur l’anonymat pour discuter de l’ordonnance avant son annonce officielle, ont déclaré qu’elle n’était pas destiné à étouffer la liberté d’expression. La Maison Blanche a contacté certains démocrates et groupes militants qui ont critiqué le président pour obtenir un soutien à cette décision. (…) Au fil des ans, M. Trump a été accusé de faire des remarques antisémites, de fermer les yeux sur les tropes antisémites ou d’enhardir les suprémacistes blancs comme ceux de Charlottesville, en Virginie, en 2017. Le week-end dernier, il a été critiqué pour ses propos tenus en Floride devant le Conseil israélo-américain au cours de laquelle il a déclaré au public juif qu’ils n’étaient « pas des gens sympas » mais qu’ils appuieraient sa réélection parce que « vous n’allez pas voter pour l’impôt sur la fortune ». Mais il s’est également positionné comme un partisan indéfectible d’Israël et un champion des Juifs américains, en déplaçant l’ambassade des États-Unis à Jérusalem, en soutenant les colonies en Cisjordanie et en reconnaissant la saisie des hauteurs du Golan. Il a également agressé la représentante Ilhan Omar, démocrate du Minnesota, lorsqu’elle a déclaré que le soutien à Israël était « tout au sujet des Benjamins », ce qui signifie de l’argent. (…) L’ordonnance à signer par M. Trump habiliterait le Département de l’éducation à de telles actions. En vertu du titre VI de la loi sur les droits civils de 1964, le ministère peut retenir le financement de tout collège ou programme éducatif qui établit une discrimination «fondée sur la race, la couleur ou l’origine nationale». La religion n’était pas incluse dans les catégories protégées, donc l’ordre de Donald Trump aura pour effet d’embrasser un argument selon lequel les Juifs sont un peuple ou une race d’origine nationale collective au Moyen-Orient, comme les Italo-Américains ou les Polonais américains. La définition de l’antisémitisme qui doit être adoptée par le Département d’État et formulée à l’origine par l’Alliance internationale pour la mémoire de l’Holocauste comprend « une certaine perception des Juifs, qui peut être exprimée comme de la haine envers les Juifs ». Cependant, elle ajoute que « des critiques d’Israël similaires à ce niveau contre tout autre pays ne peut pas être considéré comme antisémite ». (…) Bien qu’un ordre exécutif ne soit pas aussi permanent que la législation et puisse être annulé par le prochain président, l’action de M. Trump peut avoir pour effet d’étendre la politique au-delà de son administration, car ses successeurs peuvent trouver politiquement peu attrayant de le renverser. NYT
President Trump plans to sign an executive order on Wednesday targeting what he sees as anti-Semitism on college campuses by threatening to withhold federal money from educational institutions that fail to combat discrimination, three administration officials said on Tuesday. The order will effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion, to prompt a federal law penalizing colleges and universities deemed to be shirking their responsibility to foster an open climate for minority students. NYT
In an alternate universe, the idea of a presidential order designed to protect Jews from discrimination on college campuses would not necessarily create a firestorm of mutual recrimination and internecine political warfare. True, there is no consensus on whether “Jewish” is a religious, cultural, ethnic, or national identity. Most often, it is framed as a combination of at least three, but not always and certainly not in the views of all the various denominations and sects that accept the appellation. But there is no question that anti-Semitic acts are increasing across the United States, and they are being undertaken by people who could not care less about these distinctions. And there is nothing inherently objectionable about using the power of the federal government to try to protect people, including college students, from those incidents’ consequences. But in this universe, the guy who ordered this protection, Donald Trump, has revealed himself repeatedly to be an inveterate anti-Semite. (…) That’s on the one hand. On the other, Trump has been a perfect patsy for Israel’s right-wing government and its supporters in what is misnamed the American “pro-Israel” community. While previous presidents sought, without much success, to restrain Israel on behalf of a hoped-for future peace agreement with the Palestinians, Trump has given that nation’s most corrupt and extremist leadership in its 71-year-history carte blanche—peace and the Palestinians be damned. If the simultaneous embrace of anti-Semitism at home and philo-Semitism when it comes to Israel strikes one as contradictory, this is a mistake. Trump, like so many of today’s elected “populists,” sees considerable advantage in playing to hometown prejudices for personal gain while boosting Israel as a bulwark against worldwide Islam, which many of the president’s supporters consider an even greater offense to Christian belief than Jews are. Jews may be greedy and disloyal at home, but as long as Israel is out there kicking the shit out of the Arabs, it’s a trade-off that right-wing autocrats and their neofascist followers can get behind. (…) But the issue of the executive order is complicated by the fact that it is understood by all to be a means for the federal government to step in and quash the intensifying criticism of Israel on college campuses—most notably, criticism that takes the form of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, or BDS. And it does this in part by insisting, as Jared Kushner recently argued in a New York Times op-ed, that all “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.” I’ve been an outspoken critic of the academic BDS movement for some time now. But if you ask me, the movement has been a spectacular failure in every respect, save one: It has succeeded in turning many college campuses into anti-Israel inculcation centers and therefore has scared the bejesus out of the Jewish parents paying for their kids to attend them. At the same time—even if you allow that occasional anti-Semitic comments and actions by some of BDS’s supporters are outliers and not indicative of most of its followers—I find the idea and, even more so, the practice of an academic boycott to be undeniably contradictory to universities’ philosophical commitment to freedom of expression and ideas. Nonetheless, the explicit and intellectually indefensible equation of anti-Zionism with actionable anti-Semitism is an obvious offense to the notion of freedom of expression, however much it cheers the tiny hearts of right-wing Jews and other Trump defenders. Jewish students already had all the protections they needed before Trump’s executive order. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act covers discrimination on the basis of a “group’s actual or perceived ancestry or ethnic characteristics” or “actual or perceived citizenship or residency in a country whose residents share a dominant religion or a distinct religious identity.” The New York Times’ early, inaccurate reporting on the executive order, in which the paper falsely stated that the order would “effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality,” deserves special mention here for creating the panic. But the result of the entire episode is that, yet again, the Trump administration has placed a stupid, shiny object before the media, and the hysteria that has ensued has divided Americans, Jews, liberals and conservatives, and free speech and human rights activists, all while the administration continues its relentless assault on our democracy and better selves. The Nation
US President Donald Trump thinks that anti-Semitism is a serious problem in America. But Trump is not so much concerned about neo-Nazis who scream that Jews and other minorities “will not replace us,” for he thinks that many white supremacists are “very fine people.” No, Trump is more worried about US college campuses, where students call for boycotts of Israel in support of the Palestinians. (…) In the first years of the Jewish state, Israel was popular among many leftists, because it was built on socialist ideas. Left-wing opinion in Europe and the United States began to turn against Israel after the Six-Day War in 1967, when Arab territories were occupied by Israeli troops. More and more, Israel came to be seen as a colonial power, or an apartheid state. One may or may not agree with that view of Israel. But few would deny that occupation, as is usually the case when civilians are under the thumb of a foreign military power, has led to oppression. So, to be a strong advocate for Palestinian rights and a critic of Israeli policies, on college campuses or anywhere else, does not automatically make one an anti-Semite. But there are extreme forms of anti-Zionism that do. The question is when that line is crossed. Some would claim that it is anti-Semitic to deny Jews the right to have their own homeland. This is indeed one of the premises of Trump’s presidential order. There are also elements on the radical left, certainly represented in educational institutions, who are so obsessed by the oppression of Palestinians that they see Israel as the world’s greatest evil. Just as anti-Semites in the past often linked Jews with the US, as the twin sources of rootless capitalist malevolence, some modern anti-Zionists combine their anti-Americanism with a loathing for Israel.In the minds of certain leftists, Israel and its American big brother are not just the last bastions of racist Western imperialism. The idea of a hidden Jewish capitalist cabal can also enter left-wing demonology as readily as it infects the far right. This noxious prejudice has haunted the British Labour Party, something its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has consistently failed to recognize.In short, anti-Zionism can veer into anti-Semitism, but not all critics of Israel are anti-Zionist, and not all anti-Zionists are prejudiced against Jews.Quite where people stand on this issue depends heavily on how they define a Jew – a source of endless vagueness and confusion. (…)There is, in any case, something ill-conceived about the stress on race and nationhood in Trump’s order on combating anti-Semitism. Israel is the only state claiming to represent all Jews, but not all Jews necessarily identify with Israel. Some even actively dislike it. Trump’s order might suggest that such people are renegades, or even traitors. This idea might please Israel’s current government, but it is far from the spirit of the Halakha, or even from the liberal idea of citizenship.Defining Jews as a “race” is just as much of a problem. Jews come from many ethnic backgrounds: Yemenite, Ethiopian, Russian, Moroccan, and Swedish Jews are hard to pin down as a distinctive ethnic group. Hitler saw Jews as a race, but that is no reason to follow his example.To combat racism, wherever it occurs, is a laudable aim. But singling out anti-Semitism in an executive order, especially when the concept is so intimately linked to views on the state of Israel, is a mistake. Extreme anti-Zionists may be a menace; all extremists are. But they should be tolerated, as long as their views are peacefully expressed. To stifle opinions on campuses by threatening to withhold funds runs counter to the freedom of speech guaranteed by the US Constitution. This is, alas, not the only sign that upholding the constitution is not the main basis of the current US administration’s claim to legitimacy. Ian Buruma
Donald Trump has a knack for taking some of humanity’s most problematic ideas and turning them on their head to make them even worse. He has done it again. On Wednesday, he signed an executive order that will allow federal funds to be withheld from colleges where students are not protected from anti-Semitism—using an absurdly defined version of what constitutes anti-Semitism. Recent precedent and the history of legislative efforts that preceded the executive order would suggest that its main targets are campus groups critical of Israeli policies. What the order itself did not make explicit, the President’s son-in-law did: on Wednesday, Jared Kushner published an Op-Ed in the Times in which he stressed that the definition of anti-Semitism used in the executive order “makes clear what our administration has stated publicly on the record: Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.” Both Kushner and the executive order refer to the definition of anti-Semitism that was formulated, in 2016, by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance; it has since been adopted by the State Department. The definition supplies examples of anti-Semitism, and Kushner cited the most problematic of these as the most important: “the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity”; denial to “the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor”; and comparing “contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” All three examples perform the same sleight of hand: they reframe opposition to or criticism of Israeli policies as opposition to the state of Israel. And that, says Kushner, is anti-Semitism. To be sure, some people who are critical of Israeli policies are opposed to the existence of the state of Israel itself. And some of those people are also anti-Semites. I am intimately familiar with this brand of anti-Semitism, because I grew up in the Soviet Union, where anti-Zionist rhetoric served as the propaganda backbone of state anti-Semitism. The word “Zionist,” when deployed by Pravda, served as incitement to violence and discrimination against Soviet Jews. All of this can be true at the same time that it is also true that Israel has effectively created an apartheid state, in which some Palestinians have some political rights and the rest have none. Human-rights organizations such as Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem—Israeli groups, founded and run by Jews—continue to document harrowing abuse of Palestinians in Israel, the occupied West Bank, and Gaza. One does not have to be an anti-Semite to be an anti-Zionist, but one certainly can be both an anti-Semite and an anti-Zionist. Trump, however, has inverted this formula by positioning himself as a pro-Zionist anti-Semite. Masha Gessen (New Yorker)
The key point we were making is that sometimes discrimination against Jews, Muslims, and others is based on a perception of shared race, ethnicity, or national origin, and in those cases it’s appropriate to think of that discrimination as race or national origin discrimination as well as religious discrimination. It doesn’t mean that the government is saying that the group is a racial or national group. The government is saying that the discrimination is based on the discriminator’s perception of race or national origin. That’s a very different matter from saying that anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian speech constitutes discrimination. Sam Bagenstos (University of Michigan Law School)
The text of the order, which leaked on Wednesday, does not redefine Judaism as a race or nationality. It does not claim that Jews are a nation or a different race. The order’s interpretation of Title VI—insofar as the law applies to Jews—is entirely in line with the Obama administration’s approach. It only deviates from past practice by suggesting that harsh criticism of Israel—specifically, the notion that it is “a racist endeavor”—may be used as evidence to prove anti-Semitic intent. There is good reason, however, to doubt that the order can actually be used to suppress non-bigoted disapproval of Israel on college campuses. Title VI bars discrimination on the basis of “race, color or national origin” in programs that receive federal assistance—most notably here, educational institutions. It does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion, an omission that raises difficult questions about religions that may have an ethnic component. For example, people of all races, ethnicities, and nationalities can be Muslim. But Islamophobia often takes the form of intolerance against individuals of Arab or Middle Eastern origin. If a college permits rampant Islamophobic harassment on campus, has it run afoul of Title VI? In a 2004 policy statement, Kenneth L. Marcus—then–deputy assistant secretary for enforcement at the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights—answered that question. “Groups that face discrimination on the basis of shared ethnic characteristics,” Marcus wrote, “may not be denied the protection” under Title VI “on the ground that they also share a common faith.” Put differently, people who face discrimination because of their perceived ethnicity do not lose protection because of their religion. The Office of Civil Rights, Marcus continued, “will exercise its jurisdiction to enforce the Title VI prohibition against national origin discrimination, regardless of whether the groups targeted for discrimination also exhibit religious characteristics. Thus, for example, OCR aggressively investigates alleged race or ethnic harassment against Arab Muslim, Sikh and Jewish students.” The Obama administration reaffirmed this position in a 2010 letter written by Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, who is now the chair of the Democratic National Committee. “We agree,” Perez wrote, with Marcus’ analysis. “Although Title VI does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion, discrimination against Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and members of other religious groups violates Title VI when that discrimination is based on the group’s actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, rather than its members’ religious practice.” Perez added that Title VI “prohibits discrimination against an individual where it is based on actual or perceived citizenship or residency in a country whose residents share a dominant religion or a distinct religious identity.” On Wednesday, I asked Perez’s former principal deputy, Sam Bagenstos—now a professor at University of Michigan Law School—whether he felt this reasoning equated any religious group of a nationality or race. “The key point we were making,” he told me, “is that sometimes discrimination against Jews, Muslims, and others is based on a perception of shared race, ethnicity, or national origin, and in those cases it’s appropriate to think of that discrimination as race or national origin discrimination as well as religious discrimination. It doesn’t mean that the government is saying that the group is a racial or national group. The government is saying that the discrimination is based on the discriminator’s perception of race or national origin. That’s a very different matter from saying that anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian speech constitutes discrimination.” Trump’s executive order mostly just reaffirms the current law. Trump’s EO does not deviate from this understanding of the overlap between discrimination on the basis of race or nationality and discrimination against religion. It only changes the law insofar as it expands the definition of anti-Semitism that may run afoul of Title VI. In assessing potential violations, the order directs executive agencies to look to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition—chiefly “hatred toward Jews” directed at individuals, their property, their “community institutions and religious facilities.” Agencies must also refer to the IHRA’s “Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism.” That list contains a number of obvious, unobjectionable examples. But it also includes two more controversial examples: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor,” and “Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.” To the extent that anyone is alarmed by Wednesday’s order, these examples should be the focus of their concern. A tendentious reading of this rule could theoretically get students in trouble for severe condemnation of Israeli policy, even when it does not cross the line into a condemnation of Jews. But the order only directs agencies to consider the IHRA’s list “to the extent that any examples might be useful as evidence of discriminatory intent.” In other words, applying double standards to Israel alone would not trigger a Title VI investigation. Instead, the IHRA’s list would only come into play after an individual is accused of overt anti-Semitism with an ethnic component, and then only as evidence of bigoted intent. Moreover, the order states that agencies “shall not diminish or infringe upon any right protected under Federal law or under the First Amendment” in enforcing Title VI. Because political criticism of Israel is plainly protected speech, the impact of the order’s revised definition of anti-Semitism will likely be limited. In fact, it’s unclear whether Wednesday’s order will have any impact, given that it mostly just reaffirms the current law. The New York Times’ reporting provoked anger among many Jews, who feared that an order to “effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality” would stoke anti-Semitism. But the order does no such thing. It restates the federal government’s long-standing interpretation of Title VI to encompass some anti-Jewish bias. And it raises the faint possibility that, in some case down the road, a student’s sharp criticism of Israel may be used as evidence of anti-Semitic intent after he has been accused of targeting Jews because of their perceived race or nationality. Is this order red meat for Republicans who believe colleges are increasingly hostile to Jews? Probably. Will it quash the pro-Palestine movement on campuses or impose an unwanted classification on American Jews? Absolutely not.

Plus raciste que moi, tu meurs !

En cette première journée d’Hanoukah, la Fête des lumières juive célébrant la reconsécration du Temple par les Maccabées en décembre 165 avant notre ère suite à sa désécration par le roi Séleucide (syrien descendant des généraux d’Alexandre) Antiochus (ou Antiochos) IV dit Epiphane …

Qui derrière la tentative d’héllénisation forcée et les mesures d’une sorte de génocide culturel …

Et la véritable crise identitaire que déclencha, avant celle des Romains puis la nôtre aujourd’hui, cette première mondialisation …

Vit en fait au sein même d’Israël non seulement une révolte fiscale…

Mais une véritable guerre civile entre factions opposées du judaïsme (héllenisés contre traditionalistes) …

Les premiers allant jusqu’à faire appel à la puissante occupante des Séleucides pour arbitrer le conflit …

Et au lendemain de la retentissante et réjouissante remise aux poubelles de l’histoire par le peuple britannique …

De la véritable institutionnalisation de l’antisémitisme, derrière le parti de Jeremy Corbyn, de toute une gauche européenne et américaine …

Comment ne pas voir rejouer sous nos yeux, toutes proportions gardées, cette même guerre culturelle …

Au sein même de la communauté juive aussi bien américaine que mondiale …

Et, 70 ans après sa re-création, ce même refus d’une souveraineté juive restaurée

Suite aux premières fuites (d’un toujours aussi zélé NYT ayant conclu un peu hâtivement à une assimilation qui y aurait été faite du judaïsme à une race ou un groupe ethnique) d’un décret que vient de publier le président Trump contre l’antisémitisme  …

Qui, entre appels au boycott d’Israël et intimidation de toute parole pro-israélienne, continue ses ravages sur les campus américains …

Et comment ne pas découvrir horrifié derrière l’interdiction de l’antisionisme …

L’opposition à un « Etat d’apartheid » ne pouvant être, y compris on le sait à coup d’associations au nazisme, qualifié de racisme …

L’abomination de cette nouvelle race de super-racistes …

A savoir celle du… sioniste antisémite ?

Trump’s Racist Ban on Anti-Semitism
To combat racism, wherever it occurs, is a laudable aim. But singling out anti-Semitism in an executive order, especially when the concept is so intimately linked to views on the state of Israel, is a mistake.
Ian Buruma
Project syndicate
Dec 13, 2019

NEW YORK – US President Donald Trump thinks that anti-Semitism is a serious problem in America. But Trump is not so much concerned about neo-Nazis who scream that Jews and other minorities “will not replace us,” for he thinks that many white supremacists are “very fine people.” No, Trump is more worried about US college campuses, where students call for boycotts of Israel in support of the Palestinians.

Trump just signed an executive order requiring that federal money be withheld from educational institutions that fail to combat anti-Semitism. Since Jews are identified in this order as a discriminated group on the grounds of ethnic, racial, or national characteristics, an attack on Israel would be anti-Semitic by definition. This is indeed the position of Jared Kushner, Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, who believes that “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”There are, of course, as many forms of anti-Semitism as there are interpretations of what it means to be Jewish. When Trump and his supporters rant in campaign rallies about shadowy cabals of international financiers who undermine the interests of “ordinary, decent people,” some might interpret that as a common anti-Semitic trope, especially when an image of George Soros is brandished to underline this message. Trump even hinted at the possibility that the liberal Jewish human rights promoter and philanthropist was deliberately funding “caravans” of refugees and illegal aliens so that they could spread mayhem in the US. In Soros’s native Hungary, attacks on him as a cosmopolitan enemy of the people are unmistakably anti-Semitic.Conspiracy theories about sinister Jewish power have a long history. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Russian forgery published in 1903, popularized the notion that Jewish bankers and financiers were secretly pulling the strings to dominate the world. Henry Ford was one of the more prominent people who believed this nonsense.The history of extreme anti-Zionism is not so long. In the first years of the Jewish state, Israel was popular among many leftists, because it was built on socialist ideas. Left-wing opinion in Europe and the United States began to turn against Israel after the Six-Day War in 1967, when Arab territories were occupied by Israeli troops. More and more, Israel came to be seen as a colonial power, or an apartheid state.One may or may not agree with that view of Israel. But few would deny that occupation, as is usually the case when civilians are under the thumb of a foreign military power, has led to oppression. So, to be a strong advocate for Palestinian rights and a critic of Israeli policies, on college campuses or anywhere else, does not automatically make one an anti-Semite. But there are extreme forms of anti-Zionism that do. The question is when that line is crossed.

Some would claim that it is anti-Semitic to deny Jews the right to have their own homeland. This is indeed one of the premises of Trump’s presidential order. There are also elements on the radical left, certainly represented in educational institutions, who are so obsessed by the oppression of Palestinians that they see Israel as the world’s greatest evil. Just as anti-Semites in the past often linked Jews with the US, as the twin sources of rootless capitalist malevolence, some modern anti-Zionists combine their anti-Americanism with a loathing for Israel.

In the minds of certain leftists, Israel and its American big brother are not just the last bastions of racist Western imperialism. The idea of a hidden Jewish capitalist cabal can also enter left-wing demonology as readily as it infects the far right. This noxious prejudice has haunted the British Labour Party, something its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has consistently failed to recognize.In short, anti-Zionism can veer into anti-Semitism, but not all critics of Israel are anti-Zionist, and not all anti-Zionists are prejudiced against Jews.Quite where people stand on this issue depends heavily on how they define a Jew – a source of endless vagueness and confusion. According to Halakha, or Jewish law, anyone with a Jewish mother, or who has converted to Judaism, is Jewish. That is the general Orthodox view. But more liberal Reform Jews allow Jewish identity to pass through the father as well.On the other hand, while most Orthodox Jews consider a person to be Jewish even if they convert to another religion, Reform Jews do not. Israel’s Law of Return grants “every Jew” the right to immigrate, but refrains from defining Jewishness. Since 1970, even people with one Jewish grandparent have been eligible to become Israeli citizens. In the infamous Nuremberg laws, promulgated by the Nazis in 1935, people with only one Jewish parent could retain German citizenship, while “full” Jews could not.The whole thing is so complicated that Amos Oz, the Israeli novelist, once sought to simplify the matter as follows: “Who is a Jew? Everyone who is mad enough to call himself or herself a Jew, is a Jew.”There is, in any case, something ill-conceived about the stress on race and nationhood in Trump’s order on combating anti-Semitism. Israel is the only state claiming to represent all Jews, but not all Jews necessarily identify with Israel. Some even actively dislike it. Trump’s order might suggest that such people are renegades, or even traitors. This idea might please Israel’s current government, but it is far from the spirit of the Halakha, or even from the liberal idea of citizenship.Defining Jews as a “race” is just as much of a problem. Jews come from many ethnic backgrounds: Yemenite, Ethiopian, Russian, Moroccan, and Swedish Jews are hard to pin down as a distinctive ethnic group. Hitler saw Jews as a race, but that is no reason to follow his example.To combat racism, wherever it occurs, is a laudable aim. But singling out anti-Semitism in an executive order, especially when the concept is so intimately linked to views on the state of Israel, is a mistake. Extreme anti-Zionists may be a menace; all extremists are. But they should be tolerated, as long as their views are peacefully expressed. To stifle opinions on campuses by threatening to withhold funds runs counter to the freedom of speech guaranteed by the US Constitution. This is, alas, not the only sign that upholding the constitution is not the main basis of the current US administration’s claim to legitimacy.

Voir aussi:

The Real Purpose of Trump’s Executive Order on Anti-Semitism
The President’s new order will not protect anyone against anti-Semitism, and it’s not intended to. Its sole aim is to quash the defense—and even the discussion—of Palestinian rights.
Masha Gessen
The New Yorker
December 12, 2019

Donald Trump has a knack for taking some of humanity’s most problematic ideas and turning them on their head to make them even worse. He has done it again. On Wednesday, he signed an executive order that will allow federal funds to be withheld from colleges where students are not protected from anti-Semitism—using an absurdly defined version of what constitutes anti-Semitism. Recent precedent and the history of legislative efforts that preceded the executive order would suggest that its main targets are campus groups critical of Israeli policies. What the order itself did not make explicit, the President’s son-in-law did: on Wednesday, Jared Kushner published an Op-Ed in the Times in which he stressed that the definition of anti-Semitism used in the executive order “makes clear what our administration has stated publicly on the record: Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”

Both Kushner and the executive order refer to the definition of anti-Semitism that was formulated, in 2016, by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance; it has since been adopted by the State Department. The definition supplies examples of anti-Semitism, and Kushner cited the most problematic of these as the most important: “the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity”; denial to “the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor”; and comparing “contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” All three examples perform the same sleight of hand: they reframe opposition to or criticism of Israeli policies as opposition to the state of Israel. And that, says Kushner, is anti-Semitism.

To be sure, some people who are critical of Israeli policies are opposed to the existence of the state of Israel itself. And some of those people are also anti-Semites. I am intimately familiar with this brand of anti-Semitism, because I grew up in the Soviet Union, where anti-Zionist rhetoric served as the propaganda backbone of state anti-Semitism. The word “Zionist,” when deployed by Pravda, served as incitement to violence and discrimination against Soviet Jews. All of this can be true at the same time that it is also true that Israel has effectively created an apartheid state, in which some Palestinians have some political rights and the rest have none. Human-rights organizations such as Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem—Israeli groups, founded and run by Jews—continue to document harrowing abuse of Palestinians in Israel, the occupied West Bank, and Gaza.

In August, I went on a tour designed by Breaking the Silence that aims to show Israelis and foreigners what the occupation looks like. This particular tour ended in a Palestinian village which has been largely overtaken by an Israeli settlement that is illegal under international law. One of the Palestinian houses ended up on territory claimed by the settlers, so the settlers built a chain-link cage around the house, the yard, and the driveway. A young Palestinian child, who is growing up in a house inside a cage, waved to us through the fencing. Comparing this sort of approach to Nazi policies may not make for the most useful argument, but it is certainly not outlandish. The memory of the Holocaust stands as a warning to humanity about the dangers of dehumanizing the other—and invoking that warning in Palestine is warranted.

One does not have to be an anti-Semite to be an anti-Zionist, but one certainly can be both an anti-Semite and an anti-Zionist. Trump, however, has inverted this formula by positioning himself as a pro-Zionist anti-Semite. He has proclaimed his support often for the state of Israel. His Administration’s policies, which have included moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and, more recently, declaring that the U.S. does not view Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal, have pleased the state of Israel, especially its most militantly expansionist citizens. Over the weekend, however, at the Israeli American Council National Summit, in Florida, Trump gave a speech that brimmed with Jewish stereotypes: Jews and greed, Jews and money, Jews as ruthless wheeler-dealers. “A lot of you are in the real estate business because I know you very well,” he said. « You’re brutal killers, not nice people at all.” It was the kind of stuff that requires no definitions, op-eds, or explanations—it was plain, easily recognizable anti-Semitism. And it was not the first time that Trump trafficked in anti-Semitic stereotypes. The world view behind these stereotypes, combined with support for Israel, is also recognizable. To Trump, Jews—including American Jews, some of whom vote for him—are alien beings whom he associates with the state of Israel. He finds these alien beings at once distasteful and worthy of a sort of admiration, perhaps because he ascribes to them many of the features that he also recognizes in himself.

It should come as no surprise that anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. increased by sixty per cent during the first year of Trump’s Presidency, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The current year is on track to set a record for the number of anti-Semitic attacks. The latest appears to have occurred on Tuesday, when shooters reportedly connected to a fringe group targeted a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, killing four people.

The new executive order will not protect anyone against anti-Semitism, and it’s not intended to. Its sole aim is to quash the defense—and even the discussion—of Palestinian rights. Its victim will be free speech.

Voir également:

No, the Trump Administration Is Not Redefining Judaism as a Nationality

Its executive order on anti-Semitism won’t change much at all.

The New York Times published a bombshell report on Tuesday claiming that President Donald Trump planned to sign an executive order that interpreted Judaism “as a race or nationality” under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI governs federally funded educational programs, so the Times warned that the order might be deployed to squelch anti-Israel speech on campus. “Mr. Trump’s order,” the Times further claimed, “will have the effect of embracing an argument that Jews are a people or a race with a collective national origin in the Middle East, like Italian Americans or Polish Americans.”

That turned out to be untrue. The text of the order, which leaked on Wednesday, does not redefine Judaism as a race or nationality. It does not claim that Jews are a nation or a different race. The order’s interpretation of Title VI—insofar as the law applies to Jews—is entirely in line with the Obama administration’s approach. It only deviates from past practice by suggesting that harsh criticism of Israel—specifically, the notion that it is “a racist endeavor”—may be used as evidence to prove anti-Semitic intent. There is good reason, however, to doubt that the order can actually be used to suppress non-bigoted disapproval of Israel on college campuses.

Title VI bars discrimination on the basis of “race, color or national origin” in programs that receive federal assistance—most notably here, educational institutions. It does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion, an omission that raises difficult questions about religions that may have an ethnic component. For example, people of all races, ethnicities, and nationalities can be Muslim. But Islamophobia often takes the form of intolerance against individuals of Arab or Middle Eastern origin. If a college permits rampant Islamophobic harassment on campus, has it run afoul of Title VI?

In a 2004 policy statement, Kenneth L. Marcus—then–deputy assistant secretary for enforcement at the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights—answered that question. “Groups that face discrimination on the basis of shared ethnic characteristics,” Marcus wrote, “may not be denied the protection” under Title VI “on the ground that they also share a common faith.” Put differently, people who face discrimination because of their perceived ethnicity do not lose protection because of their religion. The Office of Civil Rights, Marcus continued, “will exercise its jurisdiction to enforce the Title VI prohibition against national origin discrimination, regardless of whether the groups targeted for discrimination also exhibit religious characteristics. Thus, for example, OCR aggressively investigates alleged race or ethnic harassment against Arab Muslim, Sikh and Jewish students.”

The Obama administration reaffirmed this position in a 2010 letter written by Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, who is now the chair of the Democratic National Committee. “We agree,” Perez wrote, with Marcus’ analysis. “Although Title VI does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion, discrimination against Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and members of other religious groups violates Title VI when that discrimination is based on the group’s actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, rather than its members’ religious practice.” Perez added that Title VI “prohibits discrimination against an individual where it is based on actual or perceived citizenship or residency in a country whose residents share a dominant religion or a distinct religious identity.”

On Wednesday, I asked Perez’s former principal deputy, Sam Bagenstos—now a professor at University of Michigan Law School—whether he felt this reasoning equated any religious group of a nationality or race. “The key point we were making,” he told me, “is that sometimes discrimination against Jews, Muslims, and others is based on a perception of shared race, ethnicity, or national origin, and in those cases it’s appropriate to think of that discrimination as race or national origin discrimination as well as religious discrimination. It doesn’t mean that the government is saying that the group is a racial or national group. The government is saying that the discrimination is based on the discriminator’s perception of race or national origin. That’s a very different matter from saying that anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian speech constitutes discrimination.”

Trump’s EO does not deviate from this understanding of the overlap between discrimination on the basis of race or nationality and discrimination against religion. It only changes the law insofar as it expands the definition of anti-Semitism that may run afoul of Title VI. In assessing potential violations, the order directs executive agencies to look to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition—chiefly “hatred toward Jews” directed at individuals, their property, their “community institutions and religious facilities.”

Agencies must also refer to the IHRA’s “Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism.” That list contains a number of obvious, unobjectionable examples. But it also includes two more controversial examples: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor,” and “Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.” To the extent that anyone is alarmed by Wednesday’s order, these examples should be the focus of their concern. A tendentious reading of this rule could theoretically get students in trouble for severe condemnation of Israeli policy, even when it does not cross the line into a condemnation of Jews.

But the order only directs agencies to consider the IHRA’s list “to the extent that any examples might be useful as evidence of discriminatory intent.” In other words, applying double standards to Israel alone would not trigger a Title VI investigation. Instead, the IHRA’s list would only come into play after an individual is accused of overt anti-Semitism with an ethnic component, and then only as evidence of bigoted intent. Moreover, the order states that agencies “shall not diminish or infringe upon any right protected under Federal law or under the First Amendment” in enforcing Title VI. Because political criticism of Israel is plainly protected speech, the impact of the order’s revised definition of anti-Semitism will likely be limited.

In fact, it’s unclear whether Wednesday’s order will have any impact, given that it mostly just reaffirms the current law. The New York Times’ reporting provoked anger among many Jews, who feared that an order to “effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality” would stoke anti-Semitism. But the order does no such thing. It restates the federal government’s long-standing interpretation of Title VI to encompass some anti-Jewish bias. And it raises the faint possibility that, in some case down the road, a student’s sharp criticism of Israel may be used as evidence of anti-Semitic intent after he has been accused of targeting Jews because of their perceived race or nationality. Is this order red meat for Republicans who believe colleges are increasingly hostile to Jews? Probably. Will it quash the pro-Palestine movement on campuses or impose an unwanted classification on American Jews? Absolutely not.

Voir de même:

In an alternate universe, the idea of a presidential order designed to protect Jews from discrimination on college campuses would not necessarily create a firestorm of mutual recrimination and internecine political warfare. True, there is no consensus on whether “Jewish” is a religious, cultural, ethnic, or national identity. Most often, it is framed as a combination of at least three, but not always and certainly not in the views of all the various denominations and sects that accept the appellation. But there is no question that anti-Semitic acts are increasing across the United States, and they are being undertaken by people who could not care less about these distinctions. And there is nothing inherently objectionable about using the power of the federal government to try to protect people, including college students, from those incidents’ consequences.

But in this universe, the guy who ordered this protection, Donald Trump, has revealed himself repeatedly to be an inveterate anti-Semite. Just a few days before he issued the executive order, he told supporters of the Israeli-American Council, “You’re brutal killers, not nice people at all…. Some of you don’t like me. Some of you I don’t like at all, actually.” He went on to insist nevertheless that the Jews gathered to hear him were “going to be my biggest supporters,” because Democrats were proposing to raise taxes on the superwealthy. In other words, Jews are greedy and care only about their personal fortunes. Trump, of course, was playing to type. He, his party, and his highest-profile supporters have repeatedly demonized Jews in political advertisements, deploying age-old anti-Semitic tropes that have been used to stir up violence against vulnerable Jewish communities in Europe and elsewhere. In addition, Trump frequently implies that Jews are not “real” Americans. He tells Jews that Bibi Netanyahu is “your prime minister” and complains that Jewish Democrats—which is most Jews—are “disloyal to Israel.”

That’s on the one hand. On the other, Trump has been a perfect patsy for Israel’s right-wing government and its supporters in what is misnamed the American “pro-Israel” community. While previous presidents sought, without much success, to restrain Israel on behalf of a hoped-for future peace agreement with the Palestinians, Trump has given that nation’s most corrupt and extremist leadership in its 71-year-history carte blanche—peace and the Palestinians be damned.

If the simultaneous embrace of anti-Semitism at home and philo-Semitism when it comes to Israel strikes one as contradictory, this is a mistake. Trump, like so many of today’s elected “populists,” sees considerable advantage in playing to hometown prejudices for personal gain while boosting Israel as a bulwark against worldwide Islam, which many of the president’s supporters consider an even greater offense to Christian belief than Jews are. Jews may be greedy and disloyal at home, but as long as Israel is out there kicking the shit out of the Arabs, it’s a trade-off that right-wing autocrats and their neofascist followers can get behind.

Most American Jews understandably want no part of this devil’s bargain. They are not interested in having their patriotism questioned. They remain among the most loyal and liberal constituencies in what is left of the decidedly tattered New Deal coalition that Franklin Roosevelt constructed back in the 1930s. And most hold Trump and his alt-right supporters accountable for the atmosphere of menace that has led to horrific attacks on Jews, like the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue last year.

But the issue of the executive order is complicated by the fact that it is understood by all to be a means for the federal government to step in and quash the intensifying criticism of Israel on college campuses—most notably, criticism that takes the form of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, or BDS. And it does this in part by insisting, as Jared Kushner recently argued in a New York Times op-ed, that all “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”

I’ve been an outspoken critic of the academic BDS movement for some time now. But if you ask me, the movement has been a spectacular failure in every respect, save one: It has succeeded in turning many college campuses into anti-Israel inculcation centers and therefore has scared the bejesus out of the Jewish parents paying for their kids to attend them. At the same time—even if you allow that occasional anti-Semitic comments and actions by some of BDS’s supporters are outliers and not indicative of most of its followers—I find the idea and, even more so, the practice of an academic boycott to be undeniably contradictory to universities’ philosophical commitment to freedom of expression and ideas.

Nonetheless, the explicit and intellectually indefensible equation of anti-Zionism with actionable anti-Semitism is an obvious offense to the notion of freedom of expression, however much it cheers the tiny hearts of right-wing Jews and other Trump defenders. Jewish students already had all the protections they needed before Trump’s executive order. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act covers discrimination on the basis of a “group’s actual or perceived ancestry or ethnic characteristics” or “actual or perceived citizenship or residency in a country whose residents share a dominant religion or a distinct religious identity.”

The New York Times’ early, inaccurate reporting on the executive order, in which the paper falsely stated that the order would “effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality,” deserves special mention here for creating the panic. But the result of the entire episode is that, yet again, the Trump administration has placed a stupid, shiny object before the media, and the hysteria that has ensued has divided Americans, Jews, liberals and conservatives, and free speech and human rights activists, all while the administration continues its relentless assault on our democracy and better selves.

The president’s order would allow the government to withhold money from campuses deemed to be biased, but critics see it as an attack on free speech.

Peter Baker and

NYT

WASHINGTON — President Trump plans to sign an executive order on Wednesday targeting what he sees as anti-Semitism on college campuses by threatening to withhold federal money from educational institutions that fail to combat discrimination, three administration officials said on Tuesday.

The order will effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion, to prompt a federal law penalizing colleges and universities deemed to be shirking their responsibility to foster an open climate for minority students. In recent years, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions — or B.D.S. — movement against Israel has roiled some campuses, leaving some Jewish students feeling unwelcome or attacked.

In signing the order, Mr. Trump will use his executive power to take action where Congress has not, essentially replicating bipartisan legislation that has stalled on Capitol Hill for several years. Prominent Democrats have joined Republicans in promoting such a policy change to combat anti-Semitism as well as the boycott-Israel movement.

But critics complained that such a policy could be used to stifle free speech and legitimate opposition to Israel’s policies toward Palestinians in the name of fighting anti-Semitism. The definition of anti-Semitism to be used in the order matches the one used by the State Department and by other nations, but it has been criticized as too open-ended and sweeping.

For instance, it describes as anti-Semitic “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination” under some circumstances and offers as an example of such behavior “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, said Mr. Trump’s order is part of a sustained campaign “to silence Palestinian rights activism” by equating opposition to Israeli treatment of Palestinians with anti-Semitism.

“Israeli apartheid is a very hard product to sell in America, especially in progressive spaces,” Mr. Munayyer said, “and realizing this, many Israeli apartheid apologists, Trump included, are looking to silence a debate they know they can’t win.”

Administration officials, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the order before its official announcement, said it was not intended to squelch free speech. The White House reached out to some Democrats and activist groups that have been critical of the president to build support for the move.

Among those welcoming the order on Tuesday was Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, who said the group recorded its third-highest level of anti-Semitic episodes in the United States last year.

“Of course we hope it will be enforced in a fair manner,” he said. “But the fact of the matter is we see Jewish students on college campuses and Jewish people all over being marginalized. The rise of anti-Semitic incidents is not theoretical; it’s empirical.”

David Krone, a former chief of staff to Senator Harry Reid of Nevada when he was Senate Democratic leader, has lobbied for years for such a policy change and praised Mr. Trump for taking action.

“I know people are going to criticize me for saying this,” Mr. Krone said, “but I have to give credit where credit is due.” He added, “It’s too important to let partisanship get in the way.”

Mr. Reid helped push for legislation similar to the order called the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016. It passed the Senate in December 2016 unanimously but died in the House as that session of Congress ended. It has been reintroduced by Democrats and Republicans but has made little progress to Mr. Trump’s desk.

Mr. Krone continued to work on the issue after Mr. Reid retired and reached out through a mutual friend last summer to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser. The Jewish grandson of Holocaust survivors, Mr. Kushner embraced the idea, which also had been explored over the past year by the president’s domestic policy aides. With Mr. Kushner’s support, the White House drafted the order and Mr. Trump agreed to sign it.

Mr. Trump over the years has been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks, turning a blind eye to anti-Jewish tropes or emboldening white supremacists like those in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017. Just last weekend, he drew criticism for remarks in Florida before the Israeli American Council in which he told the Jewish audience they were “not nice people” but would support his re-election because “you’re not going to vote for the wealth tax.”

But he has also positioned himself as an unflinching supporter of Israel and a champion of Jewish Americans, moving the United States Embassy to Jerusalem, supporting settlements in the West Bank and recognizing the seizure of the Golan Heights. He also assailed Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, when she said support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins,” meaning money.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a liberal Israel advocacy group, said the president’s order was a cynical effort to crack down on critics, not to defend Jews from bias. “It is particularly outrageous and absurd for President Trump to pretend to care about anti-Semitism during the same week in which he once again publicly spouted anti-Semitic tropes about Jews and money,” he said in a statement.

The president’s action comes soon after the Education Department ordered Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to remake their joint Middle East studies program on the grounds that it featured a biased curriculum. The move was part of a broader campaign by Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, and her civil rights chief, Kenneth L. Marcus, to go after perceived anti-Israel bias in higher education.

The order to be signed by Mr. Trump would empower the Education Department in such actions. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the department can withhold funding from any college or educational program that discriminates “on the ground of race, color, or national origin.” Religion was not included among the protected categories, so Mr. Trump’s order will have the effect of embracing an argument that Jews are a people or a race with a collective national origin in the Middle East, like Italian Americans or Polish Americans.

The definition of anti-Semitism to be adopted from the State Department and originally formulated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance includes “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.” However, it adds that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.”

The American Civil Liberties Union was among the groups that opposed using the definition in the 2016 legislation, deeming it overly broad. “It cannot and must not be that our civil rights laws are used in such a way to penalize political advocacy on the basis of viewpoint,” the group said in a letter to Congress at the time. Kenneth S. Stern, the original lead author of the definition, also objected to using it, saying that “students and faculty members will be scared into silence, and administrators will err on the side of suppressing or censuring speech.”

But Representative Ted Deutch, Democrat of Florida, who was among the sponsors of the 2016 legislation, wrote in an op-ed article in The Times of Israel last week that the definition “was drafted not to regulate free speech or punish people for expressing their beliefs.” Instead, he wrote, “This definition can serve as an important tool to guide our government’s response to anti-Semitism.”

Last week, a group of 80 education, civil rights and religious organizations sent a letter to Ms. DeVos complaining that some Middle East studies centers on college campuses financed by the government under Title VI have sought to boycott Israel or shut down their universities’ study abroad programs in Israel.

“Recent incidents have demonstrated the willingness of faculty across the country to implement the academic boycott of Israel on their campuses,” the letter said.

The president is expected to be joined at the signing by several prominent Republican lawmakers, including Senators Tim Scott of South Carolina and James Lankford of Oklahoma and Representative Doug Collins of Georgia. But Democrats who have advocated the legislation in the past are not expected, including Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, who on Tuesday released articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump.

While an executive order is not as permanent as legislation and can be overturned by the next president, Mr. Trump’s action may have the effect of extending the policy beyond his administration anyway because his successors may find it politically unappealing to reverse.

Peter Baker reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from Hershey, Pa.

Etats-Unis/Antisémitisme – Donald Trump cible l’antisémitisme et le boycott israélien sur les campus universitaires

L’ordonnance du président permettrait au gouvernement de retenir de l’argent sur les campus réputés biaisés, mais les critiques y voient une attaque contre la liberté d’expression.

Publié le 10 décembre dans le New York Times sous le titre Trump Targets Anti-Semitism and Israeli Boycotts on College Campuses

Traduction proposée par le Crif

Le président Trump prévoit de signer mercredi un décret visant à cibler ce qu’il considère comme de l’antisémitisme sur les campus universitaires en menaçant de retenir l’argent fédéral des établissements d’enseignement qui ne parviennent pas à lutter contre la discrimination, ont déclaré mardi trois responsables de l’administration.

L’ordonnance interprétera efficacement le judaïsme comme une race ou une nationalité, et pas seulement comme une religion, pour inciter une loi fédérale pénalisant les collèges et universités réputés pour se dérober à leur responsabilité afin de favoriser un climat ouvert pour les étudiants issus de minorités. Ces dernières années, le boycott, le désinvestissement et les sanctions – ou B.D.S. – le mouvement contre Israël a troublé certains campus, laissant certains étudiants juifs se sentir importuns ou attaqués.

En signant l’ordonnance, M. Trump utilisera son pouvoir exécutif pour agir là où le Congrès ne l’a pas fait, reproduisant essentiellement une législation bipartite bloquée par le Capitol Hill depuis plusieurs années. D’éminents démocrates se sont joints aux républicains pour promouvoir un tel changement de politique afin de combattre l’antisémitisme ainsi que le mouvement de boycott d’Israël.

Mais les critiques se sont plaints qu’une telle politique pourrait être utilisée pour étouffer la liberté d’expression et l’opposition légitime à la politique d’Israël envers les Palestiniens au nom de la lutte contre l’antisémitisme. La définition de l’antisémitisme utilisée dans l’ordonnance correspond à celle utilisée par le Département d’État et par d’autres nations, mais elle a été critiquée comme étant trop ouverte et trop générale.

Par exemple, il y est décrit comme antisémite « nier au peuple juif son droit à l’autodétermination » dans certaines circonstances et offre comme exemple de ce comportement « affirmer que l’existence d’un État d’Israël est une entreprise raciste ».

Yousef Munayyer, directeur exécutif de la Campagne américaine pour les droits des Palestiniens, a déclaré que l’ordonnance de M. Trump faisait partie d’une campagne soutenue « pour faire taire l’activisme pour les droits des Palestiniens » en assimilant l’opposition au traitement israélien des Palestiniens à l’antisémitisme.

« L’apartheid israélien est un produit très difficile à vendre en Amérique, en particulier dans les espaces progressistes« , a déclaré M. Munayyer, « et réalisant cela, de nombreux apologistes de l’apartheid israélien, Trump inclus, cherchent à faire taire un débat qu’ils savent qu’ils ne peuvent pas gagner… « 

Les responsables de l’administration, qui ont insisté sur l’anonymat pour discuter de l’ordonnance avant son annonce officielle, ont déclaré qu’elle n’était pas destiné à étouffer la liberté d’expression. La Maison Blanche a contacté certains démocrates et groupes militants qui ont critiqué le président pour obtenir un soutien à cette décision.

Mardi, Jonathan Greenblatt, directeur général de la Ligue anti-diffamation, a déclaré que le groupe avait enregistré son troisième épisode antisémite aux États-Unis l’année dernière.

« Bien sûr, nous espérons qu’il sera appliqué de manière équitable », a-t-il déclaré. « Mais le fait est que nous voyons des étudiants juifs sur les campus universitaires et des Juifs partout marginalisés. La montée des incidents antisémites n’est pas théorique; c’est empirique. « 

David Krone, ancien chef de cabinet du sénateur Harry Reid du Nevada lorsqu’il était leader démocrate du Sénat, a fait pression pendant des années pour un tel changement de politique et a félicité M. Trump d’avoir pris des mesures.

« Je sais que les gens vont me critiquer pour avoir dit cela », a déclaré M. Krone, « mais je dois donner du crédit là où le mérite est dû ». Il a ajouté: « Il est trop important de laisser la partisanerie faire obstacle. »

M. Reid a aidé à faire pression pour une législation similaire à l’ordonnance appelée Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016. Elle a été adoptée à l’unanimité par le Sénat en décembre 2016, mais est décédée à la Chambre à la fin de cette session du Congrès. Il a été réintroduit par les démocrates et les républicains mais a peu progressé sur le bureau de M. Trump.

M. Krone a continué de travailler sur la question après que M. Reid a pris sa retraite et a contacté l’été dernier un ami commun avec Jared Kushner, gendre du président et conseiller principal. Le petit-fils juif des survivants de l’Holocauste, M. Kushner, a adopté l’idée, qui avait également été explorée au cours de l’année écoulée par les aides à la politique intérieure du président. Avec le soutien de M. Kushner, la Maison-Blanche a rédigé l’ordonnance et M. Trump a accepté de la signer.

Au fil des ans, M. Trump a été accusé de faire des remarques antisémites, de fermer les yeux sur les tropes antisémites ou d’enhardir les suprémacistes blancs comme ceux de Charlottesville, en Virginie, en 2017. Le week-end dernier, il a critiqué les propos tenus dans La Floride devant le Conseil israélo-américain au cours de laquelle il a déclaré au public juif qu’ils n’étaient « pas des gens sympas » mais qu’ils appuieraient sa réélection parce que « vous n’allez pas voter pour l’impôt sur la fortune ».

Mais il s’est également positionné comme un partisan indéfectible d’Israël et un champion des Juifs américains, en déplaçant l’ambassade des États-Unis à Jérusalem, en soutenant les colonies en Cisjordanie et en reconnaissant la saisie des hauteurs du Golan. Il a également agressé la représentante Ilhan Omar, démocrate du Minnesota, lorsqu’elle a déclaré que le soutien à Israël était « tout au sujet des Benjamins », ce qui signifie de l’argent.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, président de J Street, un groupe de défense libéral d’Israël, a déclaré que l’ordre du président était un effort cynique pour réprimer les critiques, pas pour défendre les Juifs contre les préjugés. « Il est particulièrement scandaleux et absurde que le président Trump prétende se préoccuper de l’antisémitisme au cours de la même semaine au cours de laquelle il a de nouveau publiquement jeté des tropes antisémites sur les Juifs et l’argent », a-t-il déclaré dans un communiqué.

L’action du président intervient peu de temps après que le département de l’éducation a ordonné à l’Université Duke et à l’Université de Caroline du Nord à Chapel Hill de refaire leur programme d’études conjointes sur le Moyen-Orient au motif qu’il comportait un programme biaisé. Cette décision faisait partie d’une campagne plus large menée par Betsy DeVos, la secrétaire à l’Éducation, et son chef des droits civiques, Kenneth L. Marcus, pour s’attaquer aux préjugés anti-Israël perçus dans l’enseignement supérieur.

L’ordonnance à signer par M. Trump habiliterait le Département de l’éducation à de telles actions. En vertu du titre VI de la loi sur les droits civils de 1964, le ministère peut retenir le financement de tout collège ou programme éducatif qui établit une discrimination «fondée sur la race, la couleur ou l’origine nationale». La religion n’était pas incluse dans les catégories protégées, donc l’ordre de Donald Trump aura pour effet d’embrasser un argument selon lequel les Juifs sont un peuple ou une race d’origine nationale collective au Moyen-Orient, comme les Italo-Américains ou les Polonais américains.

La définition de l’antisémitisme qui doit être adoptée par le Département d’État et formulée à l’origine par l’Alliance internationale pour la mémoire de l’Holocauste comprend « une certaine perception des Juifs, qui peut être exprimée comme de la haine envers les Juifs« . Cependant, elle ajoute que « des critiques d’Israël similaires à ce niveau contre tout autre pays ne peut pas être considéré comme antisémite ».

L’American Civil Liberties Union faisait partie des groupes qui se sont opposés à l’utilisation de la définition dans la législation de 2016, la jugeant trop large. « Il ne peut et ne doit pas être que nos lois sur les droits civils sont utilisées de manière à pénaliser le plaidoyer politique sur la base du point de vue », a déclaré le groupe dans une lettre au Congrès de l’époque. Kenneth S. Stern, l’auteur principal de la définition, s’est également opposé à son utilisation, affirmant que « les étudiants et les professeurs seront effrayés dans le silence, et les administrateurs se tromperont du côté de la suppression ou de la censure du discours. »

Mais le représentant Ted Deutch, démocrate de Floride, qui était parmi les sponsors de la législation de 2016, a écrit dans un article d’opinion dans le Times of Israel la semaine dernière que la définition « avait été rédigée pour ne pas réglementer la liberté d’expression ou punir les gens pour avoir exprimé leur opinion ». Au lieu de cela, il a écrit: « Cette définition peut servir d’outil important pour guider la réponse de notre gouvernement à l’antisémitisme ». 

La semaine dernière, un groupe de 80 organisations de l’éducation, des droits civils et des organisations religieuses a envoyé une lettre à Mme DeVos se plaignant que certains centres d’études du Moyen-Orient sur les campus universitaires financés par le gouvernement au titre VI ont cherché à boycotter Israël ou à fermer les programmes d’études de leurs universités à l’étranger en Israël.

« Les récents incidents ont démontré la volonté des professeurs à travers le pays de mettre en œuvre le boycott universitaire d’Israël sur leurs campus », indique la lettre.

Le président devrait être rejoint lors de la signature par plusieurs éminents législateurs républicains, dont les sénateurs Tim Scott de Caroline du Sud et James Lankford d’Oklahoma et le représentant Doug Collins de Géorgie. Mais les démocrates qui ont préconisé la législation dans le passé ne sont pas attendus, y compris le représentant Jerrold Nadler de New York, qui a publié mardi des articles de destitution contre M. Trump.

Bien qu’un ordre exécutif ne soit pas aussi permanent que la législation et puisse être annulé par le prochain président, l’action de M. Trump peut avoir pour effet d’étendre la politique au-delà de son administration, car ses successeurs peuvent trouver politiquement peu attrayant à renverser.

Voir de plus:

Donald Trump signe un décret controversé pour élargir la définition de l’antisémitisme sur les campus

Alors que le décret présidentiel vise à défendre les étudiants juifs, les détracteurs de Donald Trump dénoncent une atteinte à la liberté d’expression.

Le Monde avec AFP

12 décembre 2019

Le président américain se retrouve au cœur d’une nouvelle controverse. Donald Trump a signé, mercredi 11 décembre, un décret visant à lutter contre l’antisémitisme sur les campus américains. Ce texte élargit la définition de l’antisémitisme utilisée par le ministère de l’éducation lorsqu’il fait appliquer la loi sur les droits civiques de 1964. Il ordonne en particulier d’utiliser la définition de l’antisémitisme donnée par l’Alliance internationale pour la mémoire de l’Holocauste (IHRA).

« C’est notre message aux universités : si vous voulez bénéficier des énormes sommes que vous recevez chaque année de la part de l’Etat fédéral, vous devez rejeter l’antisémitisme », a déclaré M. Trump à l’occasion d’une cérémonie à la Maison Blanche pour célébrer Hanouka, la fête des lumières. Avec ce décret, Donald Trump « défend les étudiants juifs » et « indique clairement que l’antisémitisme ne sera pas toléré », a insisté son gendre et conseiller Jared Kushner dans une tribune publiée dans le New York Times.

Un décret pour « limiter » les critiques visant Israël

Mais des défenseurs de la liberté d’expression redoutent qu’une définition trop large et trop vague de l’antisémitisme soit utilisée pour interdire tous les propos critiques envers la politique du gouvernement israélien.

Pour Jeremy Ben-Ami, président de l’organisation progressiste juive J-Street, le décret présidentiel « semble moins destiné à combattre l’antisémitisme qu’à limiter la liberté d’expression et sévir sur les campus contre les critiques visant Israël ».

Voir encore:

Ambassade des Etas-Unis en France

« Le poison vil et haineux de l’antisémitisme doit être condamné et combattu quel que soit le lieu et le moment auquel il surgit. »

Président Donald J. Trump

COMBATTRE L’ANTISÉMITISME : Le président Donald J. Trump prend un décret présidentiel pour renforcer la lutte contre la montée de l’antisémitisme aux États-Unis.

  • Le décret du président Trump indique clairement que le Titre VI de la loi sur les droits civils de 1964 s’applique à la discrimination antisémite fondée sur la race, la couleur ou l’origine nationale.
  • Dans le cadre de l’application du Titre VI contre la discrimination antisémite dissimulée, les agences se référeront à la définition de l’antisémitisme de l’Alliance internationale pour la mémoire de l’Holocauste (IHRA) ainsi que ses exemples contemporains.
  • Le président demande également aux agences fédérales d’identifier d’autres moyens par lesquels le gouvernement peut utiliser ses pouvoirs en matière de lutte contre la discrimination pour combattre l’antisémitisme.
  • Cette action démontre en outre l’engagement indéfectible du président Trump et de son administration à lutter contre toutes les formes d’antisémitisme.

LUTTER CONTRE LA MONTÉE DE LA HAINE : Ces dernières années, les Américains ont assisté à une augmentation inquiétante des incidents antisémites et à une montée de la rhétorique correspondante dans l’ensemble du pays.

  • Au cours des quelques dernières années, on a assisté à une tendance inquiétante à la montée de l’antisémitisme aux États-Unis.
  • Les incidents antisémites se sont multipliés en Amérique depuis 2013, en particulier dans les écoles et sur les campus universitaires.
  • Il s’agit en particulier d’actes de violence horribles à l’encontre de Juifs américains et de synagogues aux États-Unis.
  • 18 membres démocrates du Congrès ont coparrainé cette année une législation en faveur du mouvement antisémite « Boycott, désinvestissement, sanctions » (BDS).
    • Dans leur résolution, ces membres du Congrès comparaient de manière choquante le soutien à Israël à celui à l’Allemagne nazie.

AGIR : Le président Trump et son administration ont pris des mesures à plusieurs reprises pour lutter contre la haine et soutenir la communauté juive.

  • Lors du discours sur l’état de l’Union de cette année, le président Trump a promis de « ne jamais ignorer le vil poison de l’antisémitisme ou ceux qui répandent cette idéologie venimeuse ».
  • Depuis janvier 2017, la division des droits civils du département de la Justice a obtenu 14 condamnations dans des affaires d’attentats ou de menaces contre des lieux de culte.
    • La division a également obtenu 11 condamnations dans des affaires de crimes motivés par la haine en raison des convictions religieuses des victimes.
  • Le département de la Justice a lancé un nouveau site web complet qui constitue un portail centralisé permettant aux forces de l’ordre, aux médias, aux groupes de défense des droits et à d’autres organismes d’accéder à des ressources sur les crimes motivés par la haine.
  • Le service des relations avec la communauté du département de la Justice a facilité 17 forums axés sur la protection des lieux de culte et la prévention des crimes motivés par la haine depuis septembre 2018.
  • Le président a signé la loi JUST Act en faveur des efforts de restitution à la suite de l’Holocauste.
  • L’administration Trump a expulsé le dernier criminel nazi connu des États-Unis.
    Voir enfin:

    NYT

    WASHINGTON — The House, brushing aside Democratic voices of dissent over American policy in the Middle East, on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan resolution condemning the boycott-Israel movement as one that “promotes principles of collective guilt, mass punishment and group isolation, which are destructive of prospects for progress towards peace.”

    The 398-to-17 vote, with five members voting present, came after a debate that was equally lopsided; no one in either party spoke against the measure. The House’s two most vocal backers of the boycott movement — Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, freshman Democrats and the first two Muslim women in Congress — did not participate in the floor debate.

    However, earlier in the day, Ms. Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American, delivered an impassioned speech in defense of the boycott movement. She branded Israel’s policies toward Palestinians “racist” and invoked American boycotts of Nazi Germany, among others, as an example of what she described as a legitimate economic protest to advance human rights around the world.

    “I stand before you as the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, parents who experienced being stripped of their human rights, the right to freedom of travel, equal treatment,” Ms. Tlaib said. “So I can’t stand by and watch this attack on our freedom of speech and the right to boycott the racist policies of the government and the state of Israel.”

    The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or B.D.S., movement is intended, among other things, to pressure Israel into ending the occupation of the West Bank, and backed by some who advocate a single state with equal rights for all, instead of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Opponents warn it would lead to the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state; during Tuesday’s debate, they repeatedly quoted from a founder of the movement, Omar Barghouti, who has argued for the creation of a “secular democratic state” and has called for Israel to “accept the dismantling of its Zionist apartheid regime.”

    “Boycotts have been previously used as tools for social justice in this very country,” said Representative Ted Deutch, Democrat of Florida and a backer of the resolution. “But B.D.S. doesn’t seek social justice. It seeks a world in which the state of Israel doesn’t exist.”

    For months, Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar have been the target of intense criticism for statements about Israel and Israel’s supporters that many have regarded as anti-Semitic tropes, including insinuations that Jews have dual loyalty to the United States and Israel. Ms. Omar drew the condemnation of House Democratic leaders, and was forced to apologize after invoking an ancient trope about Jews and money by suggesting that American support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins” — a reference to $100 bills.

    At a hearing last week, Ms. Omar spoke out forcefully against Israel, and the resolution.

    “We should condemn in the strongest terms violence that perpetuates the occupation, whether it is perpetuated by Israel, Hamas or individuals,” she said. “But if we are going to condemn violent means of resisting the occupation, we cannot also condemn nonviolent means.”

    Ms. Tlaib, Ms. Omar and two other freshman Democratic women of color — Representatives Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York — have lately been under fire from President Trump, who has accused them of being anti-American and suggested they should “go back” to their home countries, even though just one of them, Ms. Omar, was born outside the United States. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez voted against the resolution, as did a number of other progressives; Ms. Pressley voted in favor.

    The timing of the vote drew complaints from Palestinian rights activists and supporters of Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib, who said House Democratic leaders were effectively isolating them. Both women have also joined with Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia and a civil rights icon, in introducing a measure affirming that “all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad,” as protected by the First Amendment.

    “They are displaying leadership even as the president is attacking and marginalizing people of color,” said Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

    But Democratic backers of Israel were eager to have their votes on record before Congress goes home for its six-week August recess. Earlier Tuesday, Representative Josh Gottheimer, an ardent supporter of Israel, was joined in his home state, New Jersey, by Elan Carr, the State Department’s envoy to combat anti-Semitism, at an event billed to address anti-Semitism.

    The coming vote proved to be a central topic.

    “There is of course nothing wrong about having a robust debate about our foreign policy, as I said, but that debate veers into something much darker when there is talk of dual loyalty or other ancient tropes,” Mr. Gottheimer said. “These are not legitimate opinions about our foreign policy. We have often seen such anti-Semitic tropes and rhetoric when it comes to the global B.D.S. movement.”

    Asked if he thought the timing of the vote was inopportune, Mr. Gottheimer said, “We should look for any moment to stand up to anti-Semitism, and I think, to me, the sooner the better.”

    Backers of the boycott movement say the resolution threatens free speech rights, and they argue that boycotts are a legitimate form of economic protest. In her remarks, Ms. Tlaib cited civil rights boycotts, boycotts of apartheid South Africa and American boycotts of Nazi Germany “in response to dehumanization, imprisonment and genocide of Jewish people” — a comment that raised eyebrows among Republicans.

    Proponents of the resolution argue that nothing in it abridges the right to free speech; indeed, House Democrats rejected a more far-reaching bill, passed by the Republican-led Senate, that would allow state and local government to break ties with companies that participate in the boycott movement.

    The chief sponsor of the Senate bill, Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, on Tuesday accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi of promoting a watered-down measure and allowing “the radical, anti-Semitic minority in the Democratic Party to dictate the House floor agenda.”

    During Tuesday’s floor debate, many Republicans, including Representative Lee Zeldin of New York and Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the Republican whip, argued for the Rubio measure. But in a rare moment of House comity, both sounded eager to join with Democrats in passing the bipartisan resolution.

    “If a boycott is being used to advance freedom, that’s one we should support,” Mr. Scalise said. “But if a boycott is being used to undermine the very freedoms that exist in the only real elective democracy in the Middle East, we all need to rise up against that.”


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.


Livres: Pourquoi les riches n’aiment pas leur pays (Francesco Duina’s unasked question: Why rich Americans don’t like their country)

23 novembre, 2019
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NationalitésToi qui as fixé les frontières, dressé les bornes de la terre, tu as créé l’été, l’hiver !  Psaumes 74: 17
The little man loves his country because it’s all he’s got. Sergeant Leroy Taylor
Look at the rest of the world: they keep trying to come to America. This must be the place to be. Respondents to Francesco Duina
For me to give up hope on the country in which I live in is almost to give up hope for self. So I gotta keep the light burning for me and for my country or I’m gonna be in the dark. 46-year-old unemployed black woman in Birmingham with plans to become a chef)
For me, yeah, it starts with the individual, naturally. And according to our constitution, rules and rights, you know … everybody is afforded that without question … I believe, right, that I can have a conversation not just with you; I could sit down, talk with the President of the United States … you know? Older African American Birmingham resident
You have to have some shred of dignity. Even the bottom-of the-barrel person has to have some shred of dignity … and so when we’re struggling and we’re super poor and broke and going through all these things, you almost have to believe in something better or higher … and the Americans’ ideals ring on that level because they’re a lot different than maybe other countries’ because the American ideals are supposed to embody those things that are, are like good for humanity, you know … and it’s true. Middle-aged white man living out of a car in Billings, Montana, with his young and pregnant wife
Tout racisme est un essentialisme et le racisme de l’intelligence est la forme de sociodicée caractéristique d’une classe dominante dont le pouvoir repose en partie sur la possession de titres qui, comme les titres scolaires, sont censés être des garanties d’intelligence et qui ont pris la place, dans beaucoup de sociétés, et pour l’accès même aux positions de pouvoir économique, des titres anciens comme les titres de propriété et les titres de noblesse. Pierre Bourdieu
Un peuple connait, aime et défend toujours plus ses moeurs que ses lois. Montesquieu
Aux États-Unis, les plus opulents citoyens ont bien soin de ne point s’isoler du peuple ; au contraire, ils s’en rapprochent sans cesse, ils l’écoutent volontiers et lui parlent tous les jours. Ils savent que les riches des démocraties ont toujours besoin des pauvres et que, dans les temps démocratiques, on s’attache le pauvre par les manières plus que par les bienfaits. La grandeur même des bienfaits, qui met en lumière la différence des conditions, cause une irritation secrète à ceux qui en profitent; mais la simplicité des manières a des charmes presque irrésistibles : leur familiarité entraîne et leur grossièreté même ne déplaît pas toujours. Ce n’est pas du premier coup que cette vérité pénètre dans l’esprit des riches. Ils y résistent d’ordinaire tant que dure la révolution démocratique, et ils ne l’abandonnent même point aussitôt après que cette révolution est accomplie. Ils consentent volontiers à faire du bien au peuple ; mais ils veulent continuer à le tenir à distance. Ils croient que cela suffit ; ils se trompent. Ils se ruineraient ainsi sans réchauffer le coeur de la population qui les environne. Ce n’est pas le sacrifice de leur argent qu’elle leur demande; c’est celui de leur orgueil. Tocqueville
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
Condamner le nationalisme parce qu’il peut mener à la guerre, c’est comme condamner l’amour parce qu’il peut conduire au meurtre. C.K. Chesterton
Il faut constamment se battre pour voir ce qui se trouve au bout de son nez. George Orwell
Le plus difficile n’est pas de dire ce que l’on voit mais d’accepter de voir ce que l’on voit. Charles Péguy
Nous apprenons à nous sentir responsable d’autrui parce que nous partageons avec eux une histoire commune, un destin commun. Robert Reich
Vous allez dans certaines petites villes de Pennsylvanie où, comme ans beaucoup de petites villes du Middle West, les emplois ont disparu depuis maintenant 25 ans et n’ont été remplacés par rien d’autre (…) Et il n’est pas surprenant qu’ils deviennent pleins d’amertume, qu’ils s’accrochent aux armes à feu ou à la religion, ou à leur antipathie pour ceux qui ne sont pas comme eux, ou encore à un sentiment d’hostilité envers les immigrants. Barack Hussein Obama (2008)
Pour la première fois de ma vie d’adulte, je suis fière de mon pays. Michelle Obama
Pour généraliser, en gros, vous pouvez placer la moitié des partisans de Trump dans ce que j’appelle le panier des pitoyables. Les racistes, sexistes, homophobes, xénophobes, islamophobes. A vous de choisir. Hillary Clinton (2016)
Il n’y a pas d’identité fondamentale, pas de courant dominant, au Canada. Il y a des valeurs partagées — ouverture, compassion, la volonté de travailler fort, d’être là l’un pour l’autre, de chercher l’égalité et la justice. Ces qualités sont ce qui fait de nous le premier État postnational. Justin Trudeau
Nous qui vivons dans les régions côtières des villes bleues, nous lisons plus de livres et nous allons plus souvent au théâtre que ceux qui vivent au fin fond du pays. Nous sommes à la fois plus sophistiqués et plus cosmopolites – parlez-nous de nos voyages scolaires en Chine et en Provence ou, par exemple, de notre intérêt pour le bouddhisme. Mais par pitié, ne nous demandez pas à quoi ressemble la vie dans l’Amérique rouge. Nous n’en savons rien. Nous ne savons pas qui sont Tim LaHaye et Jerry B. Jenkins. […] Nous ne savons pas ce que peut bien dire James Dobson dans son émission de radio écoutée par des millions d’auditeurs. Nous ne savons rien de Reba et Travis. […] Nous sommes très peu nombreux à savoir ce qu’il se passe à Branson dans le Missouri, même si cette ville reçoit quelque sept millions de touristes par an; pas plus que nous ne pouvons nommer ne serait-ce que cinq pilotes de stock-car. […] Nous ne savons pas tirer au fusil ni même en nettoyer un, ni reconnaître le grade d’un officier rien qu’à son insigne. Quant à savoir à quoi ressemble une graine de soja poussée dans un champ… David Brooks
Pour généraliser, en gros, vous pouvez placer la moitié des partisans de Trump dans ce que j’appelle le panier des pitoyables. Les racistes, sexistes, homophobes, xénophobes, islamophobes. A vous de choisir. Hillary Clinton
J’entends les voix apeurées qui nous appellent à construire des murs. Plutôt que des murs, nous voulons aider les gens à construire des ponts. Mark Zuckerberg
Mes arrière-grands-parents sont venus d’Allemagne, d’Autriche et de Pologne. Les parents de [mon épouse] Priscilla étaient des réfugiés venant de Chine et du Vietnam. Les Etats-Unis sont une nation d’immigrants, et nous devrions en être fiers. Comme beaucoup d’entre vous, je suis inquiet de l’impact des récents décrets signés par le président Trump. Nous devons faire en sorte que ce pays reste en sécurité, mais pour y parvenir, nous devrions nous concentrer sur les personnes qui représentent vraiment une menace. Etendre l’attention des forces de l’ordre au-delà des personnes qui représentent de vraies menaces va nuire à la sécurité des Américains, en dispersant les ressources, tandis que des millions de sans-papiers qui ne représentent aucune menace vivront dans la peur d’être expulsés. Mark Zuckerberg
We can suggest what you should do next, what you care about. Imagine: We know where you are, we know what you like. A near-term future in which you don’t forget anything, because the computer remembers. You’re never lost. Eric Schmidt (Google)
I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time. (…) Let’s say you’re walking down the street. Because of the info Google has collected about you, we know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are. (…) I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next. Eric Schmidt
The average American doesn’t realize how much of the laws are written by lobbyists (…) Washington is an incumbent protection machine. Technology is fundamentally disruptive. (…) Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it. Google implants, he added, probably crosses that line. (…) With your permission you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches. We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less now what you’re thinking about. Eric Schmidt
There’s such an overwhelming amount of information now, we can search where you are, see what you’re looking at if you take a picture with your camera. One way to think about this is, we’re trying to make people better people, literally give them better ideas—augmenting their experience. Think of it as augmented humanity. Eric Schmidt
Les démocrates radicaux veulent remonter le temps, rendre de nouveau le pouvoir aux mondialistes corrompus et avides de pouvoir. Vous savez qui sont les mondialistes? Le mondialiste est un homme qui veut qu’il soit bon de vivre dans le monde entier sans, pour dire le vrai, se soucier de notre pays. Cela ne nous convient pas. (…) Vous savez, il y a un terme devenu démodé dans un certain sens, ce terme est « nationaliste ». Mais vous savez qui je suis? Je suis un nationaliste. OK? Je suis nationaliste. Saisissez-vous de ce terme! Donald Trump
I think it’s very unfortunate. (…) it’s almost like they’re embarrassed at the achievement coming from America. I think it’s a terrible thing. (…) because when you think of Neil Armstrong and when you think about the landing on the moon, you think about the American flag. And I understand they don’t do it. So for that reason I wouldn’t even want to watch the movie. (…) I don’t want to get into the world of boycotts. Same thing with Nike. I wouldn’t say you don’t buy Nike because of the Colin Kaepernick. I mean, look, as much as I disagree, as an example, with the Colin Kaepernick endorsement, in another way, I wouldn’t have done it. In another way, it is what this country is all about, that you have certain freedoms to do things that other people may think you shouldn’t do. So you know, I personally am on a different side of it, you guys are probably too, I’m on a different side of it. Donald Trump
Très intéressant de voir des élues démocrates du Congrès, “progressistes”, qui viennent originellement de pays dont les gouvernements sont des catastrophes complètes et absolues, les pires, les plus corrompus et les plus ineptes du monde (si tant est qu’on puisse parler de gouvernement) et qui maintenant clament férocement au peuple des États-Unis, la plus grande et la plus puissante nation du monde, comment notre gouvernement doit être dirigé. Pourquoi ne retournent-elles pas d’où elles viennent, pour aider à réparer ces lieux totalement dévastés et infestés par le crime ? Puis, qu’elles reviennent et qu’elles nous montrent comment elles ont fait. Ces endroits ont bigrement besoin de votre aide, vous n’y partirez jamais trop vite. Je suis sûr que Nancy Pelosi serait très heureuse d’organiser rapidement un voyage gratuit ! Donald Trump
Ces idées ont un nom : nationalisme, identitarisme, protectionnisme, souverainisme de repli. Ces idées qui, tant de fois, ont allumé les brasiers où l’Europe aurait pu périr, les revoici sous des habits neufs encore ces derniers jours. Elles se disent légitimes parce qu’elles exploitent avec cynisme la peur des peuples. (…) Je ne laisserai rien, rien à toutes celles et ceux qui promettent la haine, la division ou le repli national. Je ne leur laisserai aucune proposition. C’est à l’Europe de les faire, c’est à nous de les porter, aujourd’hui et maintenant (…) Et nous n’avons qu’un choix, qu’une alternative : le repli sur nous frontières, qui serait à la fois illusoire et inefficace, ou la construction d’un espace commun des frontières, de l’asile et de (…) faire une place aux réfugiés qui ont risqué leur vie, chez eux et sur leur chemin, c’est notre devoir commun d’Européen et nous ne devons pas le perdre de vue. (…) C’est pourquoi j’ai engagé en France un vaste travail de réforme pour mieux accueillir les réfugiés, augmenter les relocalisations dans notre pays, accélérer les procédures d’asile en nous inspirant du modèle allemand, être plus efficaces dans les reconduites indispensables. Ce que je souhaite pour l’Europe, la France commence dès à présent à le faire elle-même. Emmanuel Macron
On vous demande une carte blanche, et vous salissez l’adversaire, et vous proférez des mensonges. Votre projet, c’est de salir, c’est de mener une campagne de falsifications, de vivre de la peur et des mensonges. La France que je veux vaut beaucoup mieux que ça. Il faut sortir d’un système qui vous a coproduit. Vous en vivez. Vous êtes son parasite. L’inefficacité des politiques de droite et de gauche, c’est l’extrême droite qui s’en nourrit. Je veux mener la politique qui n’a jamais été menée ces trente dernières années. Emmanuel Macron (2017)
Le patriotisme est l’exact contraire du nationalisme. Le nationalisme en est sa trahison. Emmanuel Macron
Nous n’avons pas besoin de visages basanés qui ne veulent pas être une voix basanée. Nous n’avons pas besoin de visages noirs qui ne veulent pas être une voix noire. Nous n’avons pas besoin de musulmans qui ne veulent pas être une voix musulmane. Nous n’avons pas besoin d’homos qui ne veulent pas être une voix homo. Si vous craignez d’être marginalisé et stéréotypé, ne vous présentez même pas, nous n’avons pas besoin de vous pour représenter cette voix. Ayanna Pressley (représentante démocrate, Massachusetts)
So apparently Donald Trump wants to make this an election about what it means to be American. He’s got his vision of what it means to be American, and he’s challenging the rest of us to come up with a better one. In Trump’s version, “American” is defined by three propositions. First, to be American is to be xenophobic. The basic narrative he tells is that the good people of the heartland are under assault from aliens, elitists and outsiders. Second, to be American is to be nostalgic. America’s values were better during some golden past. Third, a true American is white. White Protestants created this country; everybody else is here on their sufferance. When you look at Trump’s American idea you realize that it contradicts the traditional American idea in every particular. In fact, Trump’s national story is much closer to the Russian national story than it is toward our own. It’s an alien ideology he’s trying to plant on our soil. ​ Trump’s vision is radically anti-American.​ The real American idea is not xenophobic, nostalgic or racist; it is pluralistic, future-oriented and universal. America is exceptional precisely because it is the only nation on earth that defines itself by its future, not its past. America is exceptional because from the first its citizens saw themselves in a project that would have implications for all humankind. America is exceptional because it was launched with a dream to take the diverse many and make them one — e pluribus unum.​ (…) Trump’s campaign is an attack on that dream. The right response is to double down on that ideal. The task before us is to create the most diverse mass democracy in the history of the planet — a true universal nation. It is precisely to weave the social fissures that Trump is inclined to tear. David Brooks
In the matter of immigration, mark this conservative columnist down as strongly pro-deportation. The United States has too many people who don’t work hard, don’t believe in God, don’t contribute much to society and don’t appreciate the greatness of the American system. They need to return whence they came. I speak of Americans whose families have been in this country for a few generations. Complacent, entitled and often shockingly ignorant on basic points of American law and history, they are the stagnant pool in which our national prospects risk drowning.​ (…) Bottom line: So-called real Americans are screwing up America. Maybe they should leave, so that we can replace them with new and better ones: newcomers who are more appreciative of what the United States has to offer, more ambitious for themselves and their children, and more willing to sacrifice for the future. In other words, just the kind of people we used to be — when “we” had just come off the boat.​ O.K., so I’m jesting about deporting “real Americans” en masse. (Who would take them in, anyway?) But then the threat of mass deportations has been no joke with this administration.​ On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security seemed prepared to extend an Obama administration program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which allows the children of illegal immigrants — some 800,000 people in all — to continue to study and work in the United States. The decision would have reversed one of Donald Trump’s ugly campaign threats to deport these kids, whose only crime was to have been brought to the United States by their parents. Yet the administration is still committed to deporting their parents, and on Friday the D.H.S. announced that even DACA remains under review — another cruel twist for young immigrants wondering if they’ll be sent back to “home” countries they hardly ever knew, and whose language they might barely even speak.​ Beyond the inhumanity of toying with people’s lives this way, there’s also the shortsightedness of it. We do not usually find happiness by driving away those who would love us. Businesses do not often prosper by firing their better employees and discouraging job applications. So how does America become great again by berating and evicting its most energetic, enterprising, law-abiding, job-creating, idea-generating, self-multiplying and God-fearing people?​ Because I’m the child of immigrants and grew up abroad, I have always thought of the United States as a country that belongs first to its newcomers — the people who strain hardest to become a part of it because they realize that it’s precious; and who do the most to remake it so that our ideas, and our appeal, may stay fresh.​ That used to be a cliché, but in the Age of Trump it needs to be explained all over again. We’re a country of immigrants — by and for them, too. Americans who don’t get it should get out.​ Bret Stephens
N’en déplaise aux chiens de garde de la pensée unique, il n’y a rien de choquant dans ce texte. Trump ne critique ni des peuples ni des cultures, mais des gouvernements. Il mentionne des « élues démocrates », mais sans les citer nommément. Quant à ce qu’elles partent à l’étranger redresser ces pays qui sont à les entendre tellement mieux que les États-Unis, il ne s’agit pas d’un exil, puisqu’il mentionne explicitement qu’elles en reviennent. La seule flèche réelle est à l’encontre de Mme Pelosi, qui a le plus grand mal à tenir les rênes de ses troupes démocrates à la Chambre des Représentants. (…) Quatre élues démocrates se sentirent donc indignées par ces tweets: Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts) et Rashida Tlaib (Michigan), et Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York). Trois d’entre elles ne correspondent même pas au portrait brossé par Trump puisqu’elles sont nées aux États-Unis, mais qu’importe, les médias se chargent de tous les raccourcis. (…) Ayanna Pressley déclencha une polémique il y a quelques jours par une vision de la société uniquement basée sur l’appartenance raciale, religieuse ou sexuelle, soit l’exact opposé du melting pot américain (…) Pour Mme Pressley, quelqu’un est blanc ou noir avant d’être Américain. Rashida Tlaib, qui grandit dans le paradis socialiste du Nicaragua, devint la première élue musulmane du Michigan. Ce qui n’est pas en soi un problème, si ce n’est qu’elle se fit remarquer dès son arrivée au Congrès par de nombreuses attaques antisémites. Elle traita également Trump de « fils de pute » dans sa première déclaration officielle, ce qui donne le niveau de finesse de la dame. Sur la carte du monde dans son bureau, elle recouvrit Israël avec un Post-It sur lequel il était marqué « Palestine ». Elle soutient l’organisation de promotion de l’islam CAIR, proche des Frères Musulmans. Bref, elle affiche clairement son allégeance (…) Ilhan Omar est née en Somalie et avoua en public son allégeance somalienne. Son statut civil est délicat: des rumeurs persistantes affirme qu’aurait pu être mariée à son propre frère pour s’installer aux États-Unis. Elle est en délicatesse avec le fisc américain pour de fausses déclarations fiscales. Politiquement, elle se fit remarquer par son indifférence à l’égard des attentats du 11 septembre 2001 (rien de plus pour elle que « des gens ont fait quelque chose ») mais surjoua son émotion à l’évocation de l’opération de secours « Black Hawk Down » où des soldats américains virent libérer un des leurs dans un hélicoptère abattu dans une mission de maintien de la paix. Enfin, elle refuse toujours de condamner publiquement Al-Qaeda (…) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez est la plus souvent mise en avant par les médias, au point d’avoir son abréviation AOC. Issue d’une riche famille de New-York, elle travailla brièvement comme serveuse (permettant de donner corps à ses « humbles débuts » dans son récit personnel) avant d’embrasser la carrière politique. Depuis son élection, son radicalisme de gauche et ses délires utopiques montrent à quel point elle est coupée de la réalité. Ses sorties plongent régulièrement les responsables démocrates dans l’embarras. Elle réussit à faire fuir Amazon qui envisageait de s’installer à New York, perdant ainsi l’opportunité de créer 25’000 emplois, un exploit remarqué. Sans-frontiériste convaincue et imbue de son image, elle se fit aussi photographier dans une poignante séquence où elle pleure face à une clôture grillagée… Le tout étant en fait une mise en scène dans un parking vide. (…) Avec des rivales comme celles-ci, Trump pourrait dormir sur ses deux oreilles pour 2020. Leur bêtise et leur extrémisme fait fuir les électeurs centristes et provoque des remous jusque dans le camp démocrate. (…) Trump n’a que faire des accusations de racisme ; il est traité de raciste cent fois par semaine depuis qu’il est Président. De leur côté, les stratèges démocrates sont on ne peut plus embarrassés par leurs « étoiles montantes ». Nancy Pelosi essayait depuis plusieurs semaines de diminuer leur exposition médiatique dans l’espoir de restaurer un semblant de crédibilité au Parti Démocrate pour l’échéance de 2020 ; tout vient de voler en éclat. Les médias ne s’intéressent même plus aux candidats à l’investiture présidentielle. Seules comptent les réactions et les invectives des élues d’extrême-gauche. Pire encore, par réaction, les autres Démocrates ont été contraints de s’aligner avec elles pour prendre leur défense – augmentant encore l’alignement du parti avec ces extrémistes repoussantes pour qui n’est pas un militant d’extrême-gauche. En poussant le Parti Démocrate dans les cordes de l’extrême-gauche comme il le fait, Trump s’assure que les Démocrates passent pour des fous et des illuminés sans la moindre crédibilité. Les glapissements hystériques d’AOC, la vulgarité antisémite de Rashida Tlaib, l’obsession raciale de Ayanna Pressley et la sympathie affichée d’Ilhan Omar pour les islamistes auront tôt fait de détourner les Américains modérés de se rendre aux urnes pour chasser « l’ignoble Trump » du pouvoir – lui sur lequel il n’y a plus grand-chose à ajouter tant les médias lui envoient quotidiennement du fumier depuis trois ans. Stéphane Montabert
Obama est le premier président américain élevé sans attaches culturelles, affectives ou intellectuelles avec la Grande-Bretagne ou l’Europe. Les Anglais et les Européens ont été tellement enchantés par le premier président américain noir qu’ils n’ont pu voir ce qu’il est vraiment: le premier président américain du Tiers-Monde. The Daily Mail
Culturellement, Obama déteste la Grande-Bretagne. Il a renvoyé le buste de Churchill sans la moindre feuille de vigne d’une excuse. Il a insulté la Reine et le Premier ministre en leur offrant les plus insignifiants des cadeaux. A un moment, il a même refusé de rencontrer le Premier ministre. Dr James Lucier (ancien directeur du comité des Affaire étrangères du sénat américain)
We want our country back ! Marion Maréchal
La jeune génération n’est pas encouragée à aimer notre héritage. On leur lave le cerveau en leur faisant honte de leur pays. (…) Nous, Français, devons nous battre pour notre indépendance. Nous ne pouvons plus choisir notre politique économique ou notre politique d’immigration et même notre diplomatie. Notre liberté est entre les mains de l’Union européenne. (…) Notre liberté est maintenant entre les mains de cette institution qui est en train de tuer des nations millénaires. Je vis dans un pays où 80%, vous m’avez bien entendu, 80% des lois sont imposées par l’Union européenne. Après 40 ans d’immigration massive, de lobbyisme islamique et de politiquement correct, la France est en train de passer de fille aînée de l’Eglise à petite nièce de l’islam. On entend maintenant dans le débat public qu’on a le droit de commander un enfant sur catalogue, qu’on a le droit de louer le ventre d’une femme, qu’on a le droit de priver un enfant d’une mère ou d’un père. (…) Aujourd’hui, même les enfants sont devenus des marchandises (…) Un enfant n’est pas un droit (…) Nous ne voulons pas de ce monde atomisé, individualiste, sans sexe, sans père, sans mère et sans nation. (…) Nous devons faire connaitre nos idées aux médias et notre culture, pour stopper la domination des libéraux et des socialistes. C’est la raison pour laquelle j’ai lancé une école de sciences politiques. (…) Nous devons faire connaitre nos idées aux médias et notre culture, pour stopper la domination des libéraux et des socialistes. C’est la raison pour laquelle j’ai lancé une école de sciences politiques. (…) La Tradition n’est pas la vénération des cendres, elle est la passation du feu. (…)Je ne suis pas offensée lorsque j’entends le président Donald Trump dire ‘l’Amérique d’abord’. En fait, je veux l’Amérique d’abord pour le peuple américain, je veux la Grande-Bretagne d’abord pour le peuple britannique et je veux la France d’abord pour le peuple français. Comme vous, nous voulons reprendre le contrôle de notre pays. Vous avez été l’étincelle, il nous appartient désormais de nourrir la flamme conservatrice. Marion Maréchal
« Pourquoi la Suède est-elle devenue la Corée du Nord de l’Europe ? » C’est la question qu’un Danois avait posée sous forme de demi-boutade au caricaturiste suédois Lars Vilks lors d’une conférence à laquelle j’ai participé en 2014. En guise de réponse qui n’avait d’ailleurs pas convaincu, Vilks avait marmonné en disant que la Suède avait une prédilection pour le consensus. Aujourd’hui, il existe à cette question une réponse plus convaincante qui nous est donnée par Ryszard Legutko, professeur de philosophie et homme politique polonais influent. Traduit en anglais par Teresa Adelson sous le titre The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies (Le démon de la démocratie : les tentations totalitaires au sein des sociétés libres), son livre paru chez Encounter montre de façon méthodique les similitudes surprenantes mais réelles entre le communisme de type soviétique et le libéralisme moderne tel qu’il est conçu par la Suède, l’Union européenne ou Barack Obama. (Avant d’analyser son argumentation, je tiens toutefois à préciser que là où Legutko parle de démocratie libérale, un concept trop complexe selon moi, je préfère parler de libéralisme.) Legutko ne prétend pas que le libéralisme ressemble au communisme dans ce que celui-ci a de monstrueux et encore moins que les deux idéologies sont identiques. Il reconnaît pleinement le caractère démocratique du libéralisme d’une part et la nature brutale et tyrannique du communisme d’autre part. Mais une fois établie cette distinction nette, il met le doigt sur le point sensible commun aux deux idéologies. C’est dans les années 1970 au cours d’un voyage effectué en Occident qu’il s’est rendu compte pour la première fois de ces similarités. Il s’est alors aperçu que les libéraux préféraient les communistes aux anti-communistes. Par après, avec la chute du bloc soviétique, il a vu les libéraux accueillir chaleureusement les communistes mais pas leurs opposants anticommunistes. Pourquoi ? Car selon lui le libéralisme partage avec le communisme une foi puissante en l’esprit rationnel propre à trouver des solutions. Cela se traduit par une propension à améliorer le citoyen, à le moderniser et à le façonner pour en faire un être supérieur, une propension qui conduit les deux idéologies à politiser, et donc à dévaloriser, tous les aspects de la vie dont la sexualité, la famille, la religion, les sports, les loisirs et les arts. (…) Les deux idéologies recourent à l’ingénierie sociale de façon à créer une société dont les membres seraient « identiques dans les mots, les pensées et les actes ». L’objectif serait d’obtenir une population en grande partie interchangeable et dépourvue de tout esprit dissident susceptible de causer des ennuis. Chacune des deux idéologies assume complètement le fait que sa vision particulière constitue le plus grand espoir pour l’humanité et représente la fin de l’histoire, l’étape finale de l’évolution de l’humanité. Le problème, c’est que de tels plans d’amélioration de l’humanité conduisent inévitablement à de terribles déceptions. En réalité, les êtres humains sont bien plus têtus et moins malléables que ne le souhaitent les rêveurs. Quand les choses vont mal (disons la production alimentaire pour les communistes, l’immigration sans entraves pour les libéraux), apparaissent deux conséquences néfastes. La première est le repli des idéologues dans un monde virtuel qu’ils cherchent ardemment à imposer à des sujets réfractaires. Les communistes déploient des efforts colossaux pour convaincre leurs vassaux qu’ils prospéreront bien plus que ces misérables vivant dans des pays capitalistes. Les libéraux transforment les deux genres – masculin et féminin – en 71 genres différents ou font disparaître la criminalité des migrants. Quand leurs projets tournent au vinaigre, les uns et les autres répondent non pas en repensant leurs principes mais, contre toute logique, en exigeant l’application d’un communisme ou d’un libéralisme plus pur et en s’appuyant fortement sur le complotisme : les communistes blâment les capitalistes et les libéraux blâment les entreprises pour expliquer par exemple pourquoi San Francisco détient aux États-Unis le record d’atteintes à la propriété ou pourquoi la ville de Seattle est gangrenée par une mendicité épidémique. La deuxième conséquence survient quand les dissidents apparaissent immanquablement. C’est alors que les communistes comme les libéraux font tout ce qu’ils peuvent pour étouffer les opinions divergentes. Autrement dit, les uns comme les autres sont prêts à forcer leurs populations ignorantes « à la liberté » selon les termes de Legutko. Ce qui signifie, bien entendu, le contrôle voire, la suppression de la liberté d’expression. Dans le cas du communisme, les bureaux de la censure du gouvernement excluent toute opinion négative vis-à-vis du socialisme et les conséquences sont fâcheuses pour quiconque ose persister. Dans le cas du libéralisme, les fournisseurs d’accès à Internet, les grands réseaux sociaux, les écoles, les banques, les services de covoiturage, les hôtels et les lignes de croisière font le sale boulot consistant à mettre hors-jeu les détracteurs qui tiennent ce qui est appelé un discours de haine consistant notamment à affirmer l’idée scandaleuse selon laquelle il n’y a que deux genres. Bien entendu l’islam est un sujet insidieux : ainsi le fait de se demander si Mahomet était un pédophile, est passible d’une amende, et une caricature, d’une peine de prison. Résultat : en Allemagne à peine 19% des citoyens ont l’impression qu’ils peuvent exprimer leur opinion librement en public. Daniel Pipes
Ce qui est nouveau, c’est d’abord que la bourgeoisie a le visage de l’ouverture et de la bienveillance. Elle a trouvé un truc génial : plutôt que de parler de « loi du marché », elle dit « société ouverte », « ouverture à l’Autre » et liberté de choisir… Les Rougon-Macquart sont déguisés en hipsters. Ils sont tous très cools, ils aiment l’Autre. Mieux : ils ne cessent de critiquer le système, « la finance », les « paradis fiscaux ». On appelle cela la rebellocratie. C’est un discours imparable : on ne peut pas s’opposer à des gens bienveillants et ouverts aux autres ! Mais derrière cette posture, il y a le brouillage de classes, et la fin de la classe moyenne. La classe moyenne telle qu’on l’a connue, celle des Trente Glorieuses, qui a profité de l’intégration économique, d’une ascension sociale conjuguée à une intégration politique et culturelle, n’existe plus même si, pour des raisons politiques, culturelles et anthropologiques, on continue de la faire vivre par le discours et les représentations. (…) C’est aussi une conséquence de la non-intégration économique. Aujourd’hui, quand on regarde les chiffres – notamment le dernier rapport sur les inégalités territoriales publié en juillet dernier –, on constate une hyper-concentration de l’emploi dans les grands centres urbains et une désertification de ce même emploi partout ailleurs. Et cette tendance ne cesse de s’accélérer ! Or, face à cette situation, ce même rapport préconise seulement de continuer vers encore plus de métropolisation et de mondialisation pour permettre un peu de redistribution. Aujourd’hui, et c’est une grande nouveauté, il y a une majorité qui, sans être « pauvre » ni faire les poubelles, n’est plus intégrée à la machine économique et ne vit plus là où se crée la richesse. Notre système économique nécessite essentiellement des cadres et n’a donc plus besoin de ces millions d’ouvriers, d’employés et de paysans. La mondialisation aboutit à une division internationale du travail : cadres, ingénieurs et bac+5 dans les pays du Nord, ouvriers, contremaîtres et employés là où le coût du travail est moindre. La mondialisation s’est donc faite sur le dos des anciennes classes moyennes, sans qu’on le leur dise ! Ces catégories sociales sont éjectées du marché du travail et éloignées des poumons économiques. Cependant, cette« France périphérique » représente quand même 60 % de la population. (…) Ce phénomène présent en France, en Europe et aux États-Unis a des répercussions politiques : les scores du FN se gonflent à mesure que la classe moyenne décroît car il est aujourd’hui le parti de ces « superflus invisibles » déclassés de l’ancienne classe moyenne. (…) Toucher 100 % d’un groupe ou d’un territoire est impossible. Mais j’insiste sur le fait que les classes populaires (jeunes, actifs, retraités) restent majoritaires en France. La France périphérique, c’est 60 % de la population. Elle ne se résume pas aux zones rurales identifiées par l’Insee, qui représentent 20 %. Je décris un continuum entre les habitants des petites villes et des zones rurales qui vivent avec en moyenne au maximum le revenu médian et n’arrivent pas à boucler leurs fins de mois. Face à eux, et sans eux, dans les quinze plus grandes aires urbaines, le système marche parfaitement. Le marché de l’emploi y est désormais polarisé. Dans les grandes métropoles il faut d’une part beaucoup de cadres, de travailleurs très qualifiés, et de l’autre des immigrés pour les emplois subalternes dans le BTP, la restauration ou le ménage. Ainsi les immigrés permettent-ils à la nouvelle bourgeoisie de maintenir son niveau de vie en ayant une nounou et des restaurants pas trop chers. (…) Il n’y a aucun complot mais le fait, logique, que la classe supérieure soutient un système dont elle bénéficie – c’est ça, la « main invisible du marché» ! Et aujourd’hui, elle a un nom plus sympathique : la « société ouverte ». Mais je ne pense pas qu’aux bobos. Globalement, on trouve dans les métropoles tous ceux qui profitent de la mondialisation, qu’ils votent Mélenchon ou Juppé ! D’ailleurs, la gauche votera Juppé. C’est pour cela que je ne parle ni de gauche, ni de droite, ni d’élites, mais de « la France d’en haut », de tous ceux qui bénéficient peu ou prou du système et y sont intégrés, ainsi que des gens aux statuts protégés : les cadres de la fonction publique ou les retraités aisés. Tout ce monde fait un bloc d’environ 30 ou 35 %, qui vit là où la richesse se crée. Et c’est la raison pour laquelle le système tient si bien. (…) La France périphérique connaît une phase de sédentarisation. Aujourd’hui, la majorité des Français vivent dans le département où ils sont nés, dans les territoires de la France périphérique il s’agit de plus de 60 % de la population. C’est pourquoi quand une usine ferme – comme Alstom à Belfort –, une espèce de rage désespérée s’empare des habitants. Les gens deviennent dingues parce qu’ils savent que pour eux « il n’y a pas d’alternative » ! Le discours libéral répond : « Il n’y a qu’à bouger ! » Mais pour aller où ? Vous allez vendre votre baraque et déménager à Paris ou à Bordeaux quand vous êtes licencié par ArcelorMittal ou par les abattoirs Gad ? Avec quel argent ? Des logiques foncières, sociales, culturelles et économiques se superposent pour rendre cette mobilité quasi impossible. Et on le voit : autrefois, les vieux restaient ou revenaient au village pour leur retraite. Aujourd’hui, la pyramide des âges de la France périphérique se normalise. Jeunes, actifs, retraités, tous sont logés à la même enseigne. La mobilité pour tous est un mythe. Les jeunes qui bougent, vont dans les métropoles et à l’étranger sont en majorité issus des couches supérieures. Pour les autres ce sera la sédentarisation. Autrefois, les emplois publics permettaient de maintenir un semblant d’équilibre économique et proposaient quelques débouchés aux populations. Seulement, en plus de la mondialisation et donc de la désindustrialisation, ces territoires ont subi la retraite de l’État. (…) Même si l’on installe 20 % de logements sociaux partout dans les grandes métropoles, cela reste une goutte d’eau par rapport au parc privé « social de fait » qui existait à une époque. Les ouvriers, autrefois, n’habitaient pas dans des bâtiments sociaux, mais dans de petits logements, ils étaient locataires, voire propriétaires, dans le parc privé à Paris ou à Lyon. C’est le marché qui crée les conditions de la présence des gens et non pas le logement social. Aujourd’hui, ce parc privé « social de fait » s’est gentrifié et accueille des catégories supérieures. Quant au parc social, il est devenu la piste d’atterrissage des flux migratoires. Si l’on regarde la carte de l’immigration, la dynamique principale se situe dans le Grand Ouest, et ce n’est pas dans les villages que les immigrés s’installent, mais dans les quartiers de logements sociaux de Rennes, de Brest ou de Nantes. (…) In fine, il y a aussi un rejet du multiculturalisme. Les gens n’ont pas envie d’aller vivre dans les derniers territoires des grandes villes ouverts aux catégories populaires : les banlieues et les quartiers à logements sociaux qui accueillent et concentrent les flux migratoires. Christophe Guilluy
Comment expliquer que les ouvriers constituent toujours le groupe social le plus important de la société française et que leur existence passe de plus en plus inaperçue ? Stéphane Beaud et Michel Pialoux (Retour sur la condition ouvrière, 1999)
J’ai regardé les premières cartes qui avaient été faites par l’IFOP concernant les ronds-points occupés par les Gilets jaunes. Ce qui était frappant, c’était la parfaite corrélation avec celle de la France périphérique, développée autour d’un indicateur de fragilité sociale. Ce qui est très intéressant c’est que cette carte fait exploser toutes les typologies traditionnelles : la division est-ouest entre la France industrielle et la France rurale par exemple. En réalité, le mouvement est parti de partout, aussi bien dans le sud-ouest que dans le nord-est, on voit donc quelque chose qui correspond exactement à la France périphérique, c’est-à-dire à la répartition des catégories modestes et populaires dans l’espace. Cette typologie casse celle de la France du vide qui n’est plus pertinente et cela nous montre bien les effets d’un modèle économique nouveau qui est celui de la mondialisation. C’est pour cela que je dis que le mouvement des Gilets jaunes n’est pas une résurgence de la révolution française ou de mai 68, cela est au contraire quelque chose de très nouveau : cela correspond à l’impact de la mondialisation sur la classe moyenne au sens large : de l’ouvrier au cadre supérieur. La classe moyenne, ce ne sont pas seulement les professions intermédiaires, c’est un ensemble, ce sont les gens qui travaillent et qui ont l’impression de faire partie d’un tout, peu importe qu’il y ait des inégalités de salaires. (…) Ce qui était malsain dans l’analyse qui en a été fait, cela a été le moment ou l’on a dit « en réalité, ils ne sont pas pauvres ». On opposait une nouvelle fois les pauvres aux classes populaires alors que la presque totalité des pauvres sont issus des classes populaires. Il y a un lien organique entre eux. Quand on prend ces catégories, ouvriers, employés, paysans etc.…ils peuvent être pauvres, au chômage, et même quand ils ont un emploi, ils savent très bien que la case pauvreté est toute proche sur l’échiquier.  Surtout, ils ont un frère, un cousin, un grand parent, un ami, un voisin qui est pauvre. On oublie toujours de dire que la pauvreté n’est pas un état permanent, il y a un échange constant entre classes populaires et pauvreté. Opposer ces catégories, c’est refuser ce lien organique entre pauvres et travailleurs modestes. C’est donc ne rien comprendre à ce qui se joue actuellement. (…) Ce que nous constatons aujourd’hui, c’est une dysfonction entre l’économie et la société. Et cela est la première fois. Avant, l’économie faisait société, c’était les 30 glorieuses avec un modèle économique qui intègre tout le monde et qui bénéficie à l’ensemble de la société. Là, nous avons un modèle qui peut créer de la richesse mais qui ne fait pas société. Le modèle économique mondialisé, parce qu’il n’a pas de limites, frappe les catégories sociales les unes après les autres. Après les employés, il y a les professions intermédiaires, les jeunes diplômés, et après nous aurons les catégories supérieures. La seule chose qui protège les catégories supérieures est qu’elles vivent aujourd’hui dans des citadelles. C’est ce qui fait aussi que la baisse du soutien des Français au mouvement des Gilets jaunes touche ces catégories-là. Mais cela n’empêche pas que le socle électoral d’Emmanuel Macron se restreint comme peau de chagrin, cela est mécanique. Depuis les années 80, on a souvent compensé ces destructions d’emplois sur ces territoires par des emplois publics, mais les gens ont parfaitement compris que ce modèle était à bout de souffle. Les fonctionnaires de catégorie B et C, qui sont présents dans le mouvement, ont compris que cela était fini, qu’ils n’auraient plus d’augmentations de salaires ou que leurs enfants ne pourront plus en profiter. On a bien là une angoisse d’insécurité sociale qui s’est généralisée à l’ensemble de ces catégories qui étaient, hier, totalement intégrées à la classe moyenne, et cela démontre bien comment un mouvement parti des marges est devenu majoritaire. Cela est la limite du modèle économique néolibéral. Je n’aurais aucun problème à adhérer au modèle néolibéral, s’il fonctionnait. On a vu comment cela avait commencé, ouvriers d’abord, paysans etc.. Et aujourd’hui, des gens que l’on pensait finalement sécurisés sont touchés ; petite fonction publique et retraités. Or, ce sont les gens qui ont, in fine, élu Emmanuel Macron. Son effondrement vient de ces catégories-là. Mais les classes populaires n’ont rien contre les riches, ils jouent au loto pour devenir riches, la question est simplement de pouvoir vivre décemment avec son salaire et d’être respecté culturellement. Nous payons réellement 30 années de mépris de classe, d’ostracisation, d’insultes en direction du peuple. (…) C’est ce que ne comprennent pas les libéraux. Je crois que le débat –libéral-pas libéral- est vain. Si je dis qu’il y a un problème avec ce modèle dans ces territoires, alors on me dit que je suis pour la suppression des métropoles ou que je suis favorable à un retour à une économie administrée. Et surtout, ce qui est intolérable, c’est que je cliverais la société en termes de classes sociales. En relisant récemment une biographie de Margaret Thatcher, je me suis rendu compte que le plus gros reproche fait aux travaillistes et aux syndicats dans les années 70 était justement de cliver la société à partir des classes sociales. L’argument était de dire qu’ils sont de mauvais Anglais parce qu’ils fracturent l’unité nationale. Ce qui est génial, c’est que nous voyons aujourd’hui exactement les mêmes réactions avec la France périphérique. Une arme sur la tempe, on vous dit d’arrêter de parler des inégalités. Ils veulent bien que l’on parle de pauvres mais cela ne va pas plus loin. Mais quand on regarde finement les choses, Emmanuel Macron n’aurait pas pu être élu sans le niveau de l’État providence français. À la fin il passe, évidemment parce qu’il fait le front des bourgeoisies et des catégories supérieures, des scores soviétiques dans les grandes métropoles mais aussi et surtout parce que la majorité de la fonction publique a voté pour lui, tout comme la majorité des retraités a voté pour lui. C’est-à-dire les héritiers des 30 glorieuses et surtout le cœur de la redistribution française. Emmanuel Macron se tire deux balles dans le pied en attaquant la fonction publique et les retraités. Nous assistons à un suicide en direct. C’est ce qui explique qu’il soit très vite passé de 65 à 25%. Finalement, et paradoxalement, le modèle français ne résiste au populisme et perdure dans le sens de la dérégulation néolibérale que grâce à un État providence fort. Mais en l’absence d’un État providence- ce que veulent les libéraux- nous aurons alors le populisme. (…) J’en veux à la production intellectuelle et universitaire parce qu’à partir du moment ou on met les marges en avant, les journalistes vont suivre cette représentation en allant voir une femme isolée dans la Creuse qui vit avec 500 euros, en se disant qu’elle est Gilet jaune, tout cela pour se rendre finalement compte qu’elle ne manifeste pas. Parce que quand on est pauvre, on n’a même pas l’énergie de se mobiliser, le but est de boucler la journée. Historiquement, les mouvements sociaux n’ont jamais été portés par les pauvres, et cela ne veut pas dire qu’ils ne soutiennent pas le mouvement. Ce que nous voyons aujourd’hui, ce sont des journalistes qui vont dans les salons des Gilets jaunes pour vérifier s’ils ont un écran plat, un abonnement Netflix, ou un IPhone. Ils sont prêts à les fouiller, cela est dingue. Lors des manifestations de 1995, les journalistes ne sont pas allés vérifier si les cheminots avaient un écran 16/9e chez eux, ou quand il y a eu les émeutes des banlieues, de vérifier si le mec qui brule une voiture vit chez lui avec une grande télé ou pas. Cette façon de délégitimer un mouvement est une grande première. C’est la première fois que l’on fait les poches des manifestants pour savoir s’ils ont de l’argent ou pas, et s’il y en a, on considère que cela n’est pas légitime. Ce qu’ils n’ont pas compris, c’est que si on gagne le revenu médian à 1700 euros, la perspective est que, même si cela va aujourd’hui, cela ne va pas aller demain. L’élite n’a toujours pas compris que les gens étaient parfaitement capables de faire un diagnostic de leurs propres vies. Cette condescendance dit un gigantesque mépris de classe. J’ai moi-même été surpris, je ne pensais pas que cela irait si vite. En quelques heures, les Gilets jaunes sont devenus antisémites, homophobes, racistes, beaufs… Et là encore, on voit bien que l’antiracisme et l’antifascisme sont devenus une arme de classe. (…) Nicolas Mathieu vient d’avoir le prix Goncourt avec son livre « Leurs enfants après eux », dont il dit qu’il s’agissait du roman de la France périphérique. Le combat culturel est en cours. Cela gagne le champ littéraire, culturel et médiatique. Les Gilets jaunes ont gagné l’essentiel, ils ont gagné la bataille de la représentation. On ne pourra plus faire comme si cette France n’existait pas, comme si la France périphérique était un concept qui ne pouvait pas être incarné par des gens. Si nous sommes encore démocrates nous sommes obligés de le prendre en compte. Ce qu’il faut espérer, c’est que les élites se rendent compte que les peuples occidentaux sont encore relativement paisibles. Le mouvement réel de la société, que nous constatons partout dans le monde occidental, et que nous ne pourrons pas arrêter, continue d’avancer, de se structurer, et que cela est de la responsabilité des élites d’y répondre. Ils n’ont pas d’autre choix, celui de l’atterrissage en douceur. Je crois que ce qui vient d’arriver, c’est que le rapport de force vient de changer, la peur a changé de camp. Aux Etats-Unis, au Royaume Uni, en Europe, maintenant, ils ont le peuple sur le dos. Et puis il y a une vertu à tout cela, prendre en compte les aspirations des plus modestes, c’est pour moi le fondement de la démocratie, c’est-à-dire donner du pouvoir à ceux qui n’en ont pas plutôt que de renforcer le pouvoir de ceux qui l’ont déjà. (…) Nous avons eu en direct ce qui essentiel pour moi ; la fracture culturelle gigantesque entre tout le monde d’en haut au sens large et la France périphérique. Ce qui s’est déployé sous nos yeux, ce n’est pas seulement la fracture sociale et territoriale mais plus encore cette fracture culturelle. L’état de sidération de l’intelligentsia française rappelle clairement celle de l’intelligentsia britannique face au Brexit, et cela est la même chose aux Etats-Unis avec l’élection de Donald Trump. Cette sidération a déclenché immédiatement l’emploi des armes de l’antifascisme, parce qu’ils n’ont rien d’autre. Ils ont découvert la dernière tribu d’Amazonie et – incroyable -elle est potentiellement majoritaire. C’est un mouvement très positif, contraire à toute l’analyse intellectuelle qui voit le peuple dans le repli individualiste, qui refuse le collectif, ou dans des termes comme celui de la « droitisation de la société française » alors que les gens demandent des services publics et un État providence. Après, on pointe le fait qu’ils sont contre l’immigration, ce à quoi on peut répondre « comme tout le monde », soit une très large majorité de Français. Le plus important est que nous avons sous les yeux un peuple qui veut faire société et des élites qui ne veulent plus faire société, comme je le disais dans « No Society » (Flammarion). C’est un moment de rupture historique entre un monde d’en haut, intellectuels, politiques, showbiz etc.… qui a peur de son propre peuple. Ils ne veulent plus faire société avec un peuple qu’ils méprisent. C’est la thèse de Christopher Lasch de la « sécession des élites ». On le voit aussi avec le discours anti-média des Gilets jaunes qui ne fait que répondre à 30 ans d’invisibilisation de ces catégories. Les classes populaires n’étaient traitées qu’au travers des banlieues et ils payent aujourd’hui ce positionnement. C’est un mouvement fondamentalement collectif et du XXI siècle. Ce qui est très nouveau, c’est que c’est un mouvement social du « No Society », c’est-à-dire sans représentants, sans intellectuels, sans syndicats, etc. Cela n’est jamais arrivé. Tout mouvement social est accompagné par des intellectuels mais pour la première fois nous ne voyons personne parler en leur nom. Cela révèle 30 ans de sécession du monde d’en haut. Le peuple dit « votre modèle ne fait pas société », tout en disant « nous, majorité, avec un large soutien de l’opinion malgré les violences, voulons faire société ». Et en face, le monde d’en haut, après le mépris, prend peur. Alors que les gens ne font que demander du collectif. (…) Les politiques pensent qu’en agglomérant des minorités ils font disparaître une majorité. Or, les minorités restent des minorités, on peut essayer de les agglomérer, mais cela ne fait pas un tout. Il est très intéressant de suivre l’évolution de la popularité de Donald Trump et d’Emmanuel Macron à ce titre. Trump garde son socle électoral alors que Macron s’est effondré, comme Hollande s’est effondré avant lui. Cela veut dire que l’on peut être élu avec un agglomérat de minorités, cadres supérieurs, minorités ethniques ou sexuelles -c’est à dire la stratégie Terra Nova – et cela peut éventuellement passer avec un bon candidat d’extrême droite en face. Mais cela ne suffit pas. Cela est extrêmement fragile. Quel rapport entre les catégories supérieures boboïsées de Paris et les banlieues précarisées et islamisées qui portent un discours traditionnel sur la société ? Quel rapport entre LGBT et Islam ? Et cela, c’est pour longtemps. Ils n’ont pas compris que les pays occidentaux, précisément parce qu’ils sont devenus multiculturels, vont de plus en plus s’appuyer sur un socle qui va être celui de la majorité relative. L’électorat de Donald Trump est une majorité relative mais cela est malgré tout ce que l’on appelait la classe moyenne dans laquelle des minorités peuvent aussi se reconnaitre. On a présenté les Gilets jaunes comme étant un mouvement de blancs « Ah..ils sont blancs », comme si cela était une surprise de voir des blancs dans les zones rurales françaises. Mais ce que l’on ne voit pas, c’est que beaucoup de Français issus de l’immigration participent à ce mouvement et qu’ils ne revendiquent aucune identité, ils sont totalement dans l’assimilation. Ils font partie d’un tout qui s’appelle la classe moyenne, ou l’ancienne classe moyenne. Le mouvement a été très fort à la Réunion, on voit donc bien que cela n’est pas ethnique. Mais cela a été présenté comme cela parce que cela permettait d’avoir le discours sur l’antiracisme et l’antifascisme. Il y a eu une ostracisation des Gilets jaunes par la gauche bienpensante parce que trop blancs, mais il y aussi eu une mise à l’écart et un mépris très fort de la part de la bourgeoisie de droite. C’est la même posture que vis-à-vis du White Trash américain : ils sont pauvres et ils sont blancs, c’est la honte de la société. (…) La question culturelle et ethnique existe, je veux bien que l’on clive, mais ce qui est intéressant c’est de voir que par exemple qu’un juif de Sarcelles rejette le CRIF ou Bernard-Henri Levy. C’est fondamental parce que cela dé-essentialise la communauté juive. C’est la même fracture que l’on retrouve dans toute la société. De la même manière, les musulmans ne se retrouvent absolument pas plus dans les instances musulmanes que dans Jamel Debbouze. Et à ce propos, ce que l’on voit le plus souvent, c’est que le destin des gens issus des classes populaires qui parviennent à s’élever, c’est de trahir. C’est banalement ce qui se passe parce que cette trahison permet l’adoubement. Edouard Louis fait son livre en ciblant sa propre famille, alors il fait la une des magazines. On a vu le même phénomène aux Etats-Unis avec le livre de J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy), qui est quand même plus intéressant, mais il décrit aussi le « White Trash » en disant que la classe ouvrière américaine n’est quand même pas terrible, qu’ils sont fainéants, qu’ils boivent et qu’ils se droguent, et cela lui a permis d’accéder au New York Times. En rejetant son propre milieu. Je n’ai pas de jugement moral sur les classes populaires, je prends les Français tels qu’ils sont. Je ne demande à personne d’arrêter de penser ce qu’il pense, notamment sur l’immigration. De toute façon cette question va être réglée parce que 80% des Français veulent une régulation, et qu’on ne peut pas penser cette question comme on le faisait dans les années 60, parce que les mobilités ont évolué. La question n’est même plus à débattre. Les gens que je rencontre en Seine Saint Denis qui sont majoritairement d’origine maghrébine ou sub-saharienne veulent l’arrêt de l’immigration dans leurs quartiers. C’est une évidence. Il ne faut pas oublier que les deux candidats de 2017 rejetaient le clivage gauche droite. Les gens se positionnent par rapport à des thématiques comme la mondialisation ou l’État providence, et de moins en moins sur un clivage gauche droite. Aujourd’hui, des gens comme ceux qui sont avec Jean-Luc Mélenchon ou avec Laurent Wauquiez veulent réactiver ce clivage. En faisant cela, ils se mettent dans un angle mort. Gauche et droite sont minoritaires. Jean-Luc Mélenchon a derrière lui la gauche identitaire qui dit – »nous sommes de gauche »- mais cela lui interdit de rayonner sur ce monde populaire. La question est donc celle du débouché politique, mais tout peut aller très vite. L’Italie a basculé en 6 mois. (…) À la fin des années 90, j’avais fait une analyse croisée sur la relance de politique de la ville et les émeutes urbaines. On voyait bien que toutes les émeutes urbaines génèrent une relance des politiques de la ville. La réalité est ce que cela marche. Et surtout, le mouvement des Gilets jaunes n’existerait pas en France et dans le monde sans les violences aux Champs-Élysées. Le New York Times a fait sa Une parce qu’il y avait cela, parce que cela est parfaitement corrélé à ce qu’est la communication aujourd’hui. Il y a cette violence et il faut la condamner. Mais cela veut aussi dire que nous ne sommes plus au XXe siècle. C’est tout le mythe du mouvement social qui est ringardisé. Réunir des gens à République et les faire manifester jusqu’à Bastille avant qu’ils ne rentrent chez eux, c’est fini. C’est aussi une réécriture du mouvement social qui est en train de se réaliser. Christophe Guilluy
La Corse est un territoire assez emblématique de la France périphérique. Son organisation économique est caractéristique de cette France-là. Il n’y a pas de grande métropole mondialisée sur l’île, mais uniquement des villes moyennes ou petites et des zones rurales. Le dynamisme économique est donc très faible, mis à part dans le tourisme ou le BTP, qui sont des industries dépendantes de l’extérieur. Cela se traduit par une importante insécurité sociale : précarité, taux de pauvreté gigantesque, chômage des jeunes, surreprésentation des retraités modestes. L’insécurité culturelle est également très forte. Avant de tomber dans le préjugé qui voudrait que « les Corses soient racistes », il convient de dire qu’il s’agit d’une des régions (avec la PACA et après l’Ile-de-France) où le taux de population immigrée est le plus élevé. Il ne faut pas l’oublier. La sensibilité des Corses à la question identitaire est liée à leur histoire et leur culture, mais aussi à des fondamentaux démographiques. D’un côté, un hiver démographique, c’est-à-dire un taux de natalité des autochtones très bas, et, de l’autre, une poussée de l’immigration notamment maghrébine depuis trente ans conjuguée à une natalité plus forte des nouveaux arrivants. Cette instabilité démographique est le principal générateur de l’insécurité culturelle sur l’île. La question qui obsède les Corses aujourd’hui est la question qui hante toute la France périphérique et toutes les classes moyennes et populaires occidentales au XXIe siècle : « Vais-je devenir minoritaire dans mon île, mon village, mon quartier ? » C’est à la lumière de cette angoisse existentielle qu’il faut comprendre l’affaire du burkini sur la plage de Sisco, en juillet 2016, ou encore les tensions dans le quartier des Jardins de l’Empereur, à Ajaccio, en décembre 2015. C’est aussi à l’aune de cette interrogation qu’il faut évaluer le vote « populiste » lors de la présidentielle ou nationaliste aujourd’hui. En Corse, il y a encore une culture très forte et des solidarités profondes. À travers ce vote, les Corses disent : « Nous allons préserver ce que nous sommes. » Il faut ajouter à cela l’achat par les continentaux de résidences secondaires qui participe de l’insécurité économique en faisant augmenter les prix de l’immobilier. Cette question se pose dans de nombreuses zones touristiques en France : littoral atlantique ou méditerranéen, Bretagne, beaux villages du Sud-Est et même dans les DOM-TOM. En Martinique aussi, les jeunes locaux ont de plus en plus de difficultés à se loger à cause de l’arrivée des métropolitains. La question du « jeune prolo » qui ne peut plus vivre là où il est né est fondamentale. Tous les jeunes prolos qui sont nés hier dans les grandes métropoles ont dû se délocaliser. Ils sont les pots cassés du rouleau compresseur de la mondialisation. La violence du marché de l’immobilier est toujours traitée par le petit bout de la lorgnette comme une question comptable. C’est aussi une question existentielle ! En Corse, elle est exacerbée par le contexte insulaire. Cela explique que, lorsqu’ils proposent la corsisation des emplois, les nationalistes font carton plein chez les jeunes. C’est leur préférence nationale à eux. (…) La condition de ce vote, comme de tous les votes populistes, est la réunion de l’insécurité sociale et culturelle. Les électeurs de Fillon, qui se sont majoritairement reportés sur Macron au second tour, étaient sensibles à la question de l’insécurité culturelle, mais étaient épargnés par l’insécurité sociale. À l’inverse, les électeurs de Mélenchon étaient sensibles à la question sociale, mais pas touchés par l’insécurité culturelle. C’est pourquoi le débat sur la ligne que doit tenir le FN, sociale ou identitaire, est stérile. De même, à droite, sur la ligne dite Buisson. L’insécurité culturelle de la bourgeoisie de droite, bien que très forte sur la question de l’islam et de l’immigration, ne débouchera jamais sur un vote « populiste » car cette bourgeoisie estime que sa meilleure protection reste son capital social et patrimonial et ne prendra pas le risque de l’entamer dans une aventure incertaine. Le ressort du vote populiste est double et mêlé. Il est à la fois social et identitaire. De ce point de vue, la Corse est un laboratoire. L’offre politique des nationalistes est pertinente car elle n’est pas seulement identitaire. Elle prend en compte la condition des plus modestes et leur propose des solutions pour rester au pays et y vivre. Au-delà de l’effacement du clivage droite/gauche et d’un rejet du clanisme historique, leur force vient du fait qu’ils représentent une élite et qu’ils prennent en charge cette double insécurité. Cette offre politique n’a jamais existé sur le continent car le FN n’a pas intégré une fraction de l’élite. C’est même tout le contraire. Ce parti n’est jamais parvenu à faire le lien entre l’électorat populaire et le monde intellectuel, médiatique ou économique. Une société, c’est une élite et un peuple, un monde d’en bas et un monde d’en haut, qui prend en charge le bien commun. Ce n’est plus le cas aujourd’hui. Le vote nationaliste et/ou populiste arrive à un moment où la classe politique traditionnelle a déserté, aussi bien en Corse que sur le continent. L’erreur de la plupart des observateurs est de présenter Trump comme un outsider. Ce n’est pas vrai. S’il a pu gagner, c’est justement parce qu’il vient de l’élite. C’est un membre de la haute bourgeoisie new-yorkaise. Il fait partie du monde économique, médiatique et culturel depuis toujours, et il avait un pied dans le monde politique depuis des années. Il a gagné car il faisait le lien entre l’Amérique d’en haut et l’Amérique périphérique. Pour sortir de la crise, les sociétés occidentales auront besoin d’élites économiques et politiques qui voudront prendre en charge la double insécurité de ce qu’était hier la classe moyenne. C’est ce qui s’est passé en Angleterre après le Brexit, ce qui s’est passé aux Etats-Unis avec Trump, ce qui se passe en Corse avec les nationalistes. Il y a aujourd’hui, partout dans le monde occidental, un problème de représentation politique. Les électeurs se servent des indépendantismes, comme de Trump ou du Brexit, pour dire autre chose. En Corse, le vote nationaliste ne dit pas l’envie d’être indépendant par rapport à la France. C’est une lecture beaucoup trop simpliste. Si, demain, il y a un référendum, les nationalistes le perdront nettement. D’ailleurs, c’est simple, ils ne le demandent pas. (…) [Avec la Catalogne] Le point commun, c’est l’usure des vieux partis, un système représentatif qui ne l’est plus et l’implosion du clivage droite/gauche. Pour le reste, la Catalogne, c’est l’exact inverse de la Corse. Il ne s’agit pas de prendre en charge le bien commun d’une population fragilisée socialement, mais de renforcer des positions de classes et territoriales dans la mondialisation. La Catalogne n’est pas l’Espagne périphérique, mais tout au contraire une région métropole. Barcelone représente ainsi plus de la moitié de la région catalane. C’est une grande métropole qui absorbe l’essentiel de l’emploi, de l’économie et des richesses. Le vote indépendantiste est cette fois le résultat de la gentrification de toute la région. Les plus modestes sont peu à peu évincés d’un territoire qui s’organise autour d’une société totalement en prise avec les fondamentaux de la bourgeoisie mondialisée. Ce qui porte le nationalisme catalan, c’est l’idéologie libérale libertaire métropolitaine, avec son corollaire : le gauchisme culturel et l’« antifascisme » d’opérette. Dans la rhétorique nationaliste, Madrid est ainsi présentée comme une « capitale franquiste » tandis que Barcelone incarnerait l’« ouverture aux autres ». La jeunesse, moteur du nationalisme catalan, s’identifie à la gauche radicale. Le paradoxe, c’est que nous assistons en réalité à une sécession des riches, qui ont choisi de s’affranchir totalement des solidarités nationales, notamment envers les régions pauvres. C’est la « révolte des élites » de Christopher Lasch appliquée aux territoires. L’indépendance nationale est un prétexte à l’indépendance fiscale. L’indépendantisme, un faux nez pour renforcer une position économique dominante. Dans Le Crépuscule de la France d’en haut (*), j’ironisais sur les Rougon-Macquart déguisés en hipsters. Là, on pourrait parler de Rougon-Macquart déguisés en « natios ». Derrière les nationalistes, il y a les lib-lib. (…) L’exemple de la Catalogne préfigure peut-être, en effet, un futur pas si lointain où le processus de métropolisation conduira à l’avènement de cités-Etats. En face, les défenseurs de la nation apparaîtront comme les défenseurs du bien commun. Aujourd’hui, la seule critique des hyperriches est une posture trop facile qui permet de ne pas voir ce que nous sommes devenus, nous : les intellectuels, les politiques, les journalistes, les acteurs économiques, et on pourrait y ajouter les cadres supérieurs. Nous avons abandonné le bien commun au profit de nos intérêts particuliers. Hormis quelques individus isolés, je ne vois pas quelle fraction du monde d’en haut au sens large aspire aujourd’hui à défendre l’intérêt général. (…) [Pour Macron] Le point le plus intéressant, c’est qu’il s’est dégagé du clivage droite/gauche. La comparaison avec Trump n’est ainsi pas absurde. Tous les deux ont l’avantage d’être désinhibés. Mais il faut aussi tenir à l’esprit que, dans un monde globalisé dominé par la finance et les multinationales, le pouvoir du politique reste très limité. Je crois davantage aux petites révolutions culturelles qu’au grand soir. Trump va nous montrer que le grand retournement ne peut pas se produire du jour au lendemain mais peut se faire par petites touches, par transgressions successives. Trump a amené l’idée de contestation du libre-échange et mis sur la table la question du protectionnisme. Cela n’aura pas d’effets à court terme. Ce n’est pas grave car cela annonce peut-être une mutation à long terme, un changement de paradigme. La question est maintenant de savoir qui viendra après Trump. La disparition de la classe moyenne occidentale, c’est-à-dire de la société elle-même, est l’enjeu fondamental du XXIe siècle, le défi auquel devront répondre ses successeurs. (…) On peut cependant rappeler le mépris de classe qui a entouré le personnage de Johnny, notamment via « Les Guignols de l’info ». Il ne faut pas oublier que ce chanteur, icône absolue de la culture populaire, a été dénigré pendant des décennies par l’intelligentsia, qui voyait en lui une espèce d’abruti, chantant pour des « déplorables », pour reprendre la formule de Hillary Clinton. L’engouement pour Johnny rappelle l’enthousiasme des bobos et de Canal+ pour le ballon rond au moment de la Coupe du monde 1998. Le foot est soudainement devenu hype. Jusque-là, il était vu par eux comme un sport d’ « ouvriers buveurs de bière ». On retrouve le même phénomène aux États-Unis avec le dénigrement de la figure du white trash ou du redneck. Malgré quarante ans d’éreintement de Johnny, les classes populaires ont continué à l’aimer. Le virage à 180 degrés de l’intelligentsia ces derniers jours n’est pas anodin. Il démontre qu’il existe un soft power des classes populaires. L’hommage presque contraint du monde d’en haut à ce chanteur révèle en creux l’importance d’un socle populaire encore majoritaire. C’est aussi un signe supplémentaire de l’effritement de l’hégémonie culturelle de la France d’en haut. Les classes populaires n’écoutent plus les leçons de morale. Pas plus en politique qu’en chanson. Christophe Guilluy
En Europe comme aux Etats-Unis, la contestation émerge sur les territoires les plus éloignés des métropoles mondialisées. La « France périphérique » est celle des petites villes, des villes moyennes et des zones rurales. En Grande-Bretagne, c’est aussi la « Grande-Bretagne périphérique » qui a voté pour le Brexit. Attention : il ne s’agit pas d’un rapport entre « urbains » et « ruraux ». La question est avant tout sociale, économique et culturelle. Ces territoires illustrent la sortie de la classe moyenne des catégories qui en constituaient hier le socle : ouvriers, employés, petits paysans, petits indépendants. Ces catégories ont joué le jeu de la mondialisation, elles ont même au départ soutenu le projet européen. Cependant, après plusieurs décennies d’adaptation aux normes de l’économie-monde, elles font le constat d’une baisse ou d’une stagnation de leur niveau de vie, de la précarisation des conditions de travail, du chômage de masse et, in fine, du blocage de l’ascenseur social. Sans régulation d’un libre-échange qui défavorise prioritairement ces catégories et ces territoires, le processus va se poursuivre. C’est pourquoi la priorité est de favoriser le développement d’un modèle économique complémentaire (et non alternatif) sur ces territoires qui cumulent fragilités socio-économiques et sédentarisation des populations. Cela suppose de donner du pouvoir et des compétences aux élus et collectivités de ces territoires. En adoptant le système économique mondialisé, les pays développés ont accouché de son modèle sociétal : le multiculturalisme. En la matière, la France n’a pas fait mieux (ni pire) que les autres pays développés. Elle est devenue une société américaine comme les autres, avec ses tensions et ses paranoïas identitaires. Il faut insister sur le fait que sur ces sujets, il n’y a pas d’un côté ceux qui seraient dans l’ouverture et de l’autre ceux qui seraient dans le rejet. Si les catégories supérieures et éduquées ne basculent pas dans le populisme, c’est parce qu’elles ont les moyens de la frontière invisible avec l’Autre. Ce sont d’ailleurs elles qui pratiquent le plus l’évitement scolaire et résidentiel. La question du rapport à l’autre n’est donc pas seulement posée pour les catégories populaires. Poser cette question comme universelle – et qui touche toutes les catégories sociales – est un préalable si l’on souhaite faire baisser les tensions. Cela implique de sortir de la posture de supériorité morale que les gens ne supportent plus. J’avais justement conçu la notion d’insécurité culturelle pour montrer que, notamment en milieu populaire, ce n’est pas tant le rapport à l’autre qui pose problème qu’une instabilité démographique qui induit la peur de devenir minoritaire et de perdre un capital social et culturel très important. Une peur qui concerne tous les milieux populaires, quelles que soient leurs origines. C’est en partant de cette réalité qu’il convient de penser la question du multiculturalisme. Christophe Guilluy
Pour la première fois, le modèle mondialisé des classes dominantes, dont Hillary Clinton était le parangon, a été rejeté dans le pays qui l’a vu naître. Fidèles à leurs habitudes, les élites dirigeantes déprécient l’expression de la volonté populaire quand elles en perdent le contrôle. Ainsi, les médias, à travers le cas de la Pennsylvanie – l’un des swing states qui ont fait le succès de Trump -, ont mis l’accent sur le refus de mobilité de la working class blanche, les fameux « petits Blancs », comme cause principale de la précarité et du déclassement. Le « bougisme », qui est la maladie de Parkinson de la mondialisation, confond les causes et les conséquences. Il est incapable de comprendre que, selon la formule de Christopher Lasch, « le déracinement déracine tout, sauf le besoin de racines ». L’élection de Trump, c’est le cri de révolte des enracinés du local contre les agités du global. (…) La gauche progressiste n’a eu de cesse, depuis les années 1980, que d’évacuer la question sociale en posant comme postulat que ce n’est pas la pauvreté qui interdit d’accéder à la réussite ou à l’emploi, mais uniquement l’origine ethnique. Pourtant, l’actuelle dynamique des populismes ne se réduit pas à la seule révolte identitaire. En contrepoint de la protestation du peuple-ethnos, il y a la revendication du peuple-démos, qui aspire à être rétabli dans ses prérogatives de sujet politique et d’acteur souverain de son destin. Le populisme est aussi et peut-être d’abord un hyperdémocratisme, selon le mot de Taguieff, une demande de démocratie par quoi le peuple manifeste sa volonté d’être représenté et gouverné selon ses propres intérêts. Or notre postdémocratie oscille entre le déni et le détournement de la volonté populaire. (…) Au XIXe siècle, la bourgeoisie a eu recours à la loi pour imposer le suffrage censitaire. Aujourd’hui, les classes dominantes n’en éprouvent plus la nécessité, elles l’obtiennent de facto : il leur suffit de neutraliser le vote populiste en l’excluant de toute représentation par le mode de scrutin et de provoquer l’abstention massive de l’électorat populaire, qui, convaincu de l’inutilité du vote, se met volontairement hors jeu. Ne vont voter lors des élections intermédiaires que les inclus, des fonctionnaires aux cadres supérieurs, et surtout les plus de 60 ans, qui, dans ce type de scrutin, représentent autour de 35 % des suffrages exprimés, alors qu’ils ne sont que 22 % de la population. Ainsi, l’écosystème de la génération de 68 s’est peu à peu transformé en un egosystème imposé à l’ensemble de la société. Dans notre postdémocratie, c’est le cens qui fait sens et se traduit par une surreprésentation des classes favorisées aux dépens de la France périphérique, de la France des invisibles. (…) On est arrivé à une situation où la majorité n’est plus une réalité arithmétique, mais un concept politique résultant d’une application tronquée du principe majoritaire. Dans l’Assemblée élue en 2012 avec une participation de 55 %, la majorité parlementaire socialiste ne représente qu’un peu plus de 16 % des inscrits. La majorité qui fait et défait les lois agit au nom d’à peine plus de 1 Français sur 6 ! Nous vivons sous le régime de ce qu’André Tardieu appelait déjà avant-guerre le « despotisme d’une minorité légale ». On assiste, avec le système de l’alternance unique entre les deux partis de gouvernement, à une privatisation du pouvoir au bénéfice d’une partitocratie dont la légitimité ne cesse de s’éroder. (…) Plus les partis ont perdu en légitimité, plus s’est imposée à eux l’obligation de verrouiller le système de crainte que la sélection des candidats à l’élection présidentielle ne leur échappe. Avec la crise de la représentation, le système partisan n’a plus ni l’autorité ni la légitimité suffisante pour imposer ses choix sans un simulacre de démocratie. Les primaires n’ont pas d’autre fonction que de produire une nouvelle forme procédurale de légitimation. En pratique, cela revient à remettre à une minorité partisane le pouvoir de construire l’offre politique soumise à l’ensemble du corps électoral. Entre 3 et 4 millions de citoyens vont préorienter le choix des 46 millions de Français en âge de voter. Or la sociologie des électeurs des primaires à droite comme à gauche ne fait guère de doute : il s’agit des catégories supérieures ou moyennes, qui entretiennent avec la classe politique un rapport de proximité. Les primaires auront donc pour effet d’aggraver la crise de représentation en renforçant le poids politique des inclus au moment même où il faudrait rouvrir le jeu démocratique. (…) D’un tel processus de sélection ne peuvent sortir que des produits de l’endogamie partisane, des candidats façonnés par le conformisme de la doxa et gouvernés par l’économisme. Des candidats inaccessibles à la dimension symbolique du pouvoir et imperméables aux legs de la tradition et de l’Histoire nationale. Sarkozy et Hollande ont illustré l’inaptitude profonde des candidats sélectionnés par le système à se hisser à la hauteur de la fonction. Dans ces conditions, il est à craindre que, quel que soit l’élu, l’élection de 2017 ne soit un coup à blanc, un coup pour rien. D’autant que les hommes de la classe dirigeante n’ont ni les repères historiques ni les bases culturelles pour défendre les sociabilités protectrices face aux ravages de la mondialisation. En somme, ils ne savent pas ce qu’ils font parce qu’ils ne savent pas ce qu’ils défont. Quant au FN, privé de toute espérance du pouvoir, contrairement à ce qu’on voudrait nous faire croire, il offre un repoussoir utile à la classe dirigeante, qui lui permet de se survivre à bon compte. Il est à ce jour encore la meilleure assurance-vie du système. Patrick Buisson
Les «élites» françaises, sous l’inspiration et la domination intellectuelle de François Mitterrand, on voulu faire jouer au Front National depuis 30 ans, le rôle, non simplement du diable en politique, mais de l’Apocalypse. Le Front National représentait l’imminence et le danger de la fin des Temps. L’épée de Damoclès que se devait de neutraliser toute politique «républicaine». Cet imaginaire de la fin, incarné dans l’anti-frontisme, arrive lui-même à sa fin. Pourquoi? Parce qu’il est devenu impossible de masquer aux Français que la fin est désormais derrière nous. La fin est consommée, la France en pleine décomposition, et la république agonisante, d’avoir voulu devenir trop bonne fille de l’Empire multiculturel européen. Or tout le monde comprend bien qu’il n’a nullement été besoin du Front national pour cela. Plus rien ou presque n’est à sauver, et c’est pourquoi le Front national fait de moins en moins peur, même si, pour cette fois encore, la manœuvre du «front républicain», orchestrée par Manuel Valls, a été efficace sur les électeurs socialistes. Les Français ont compris que la fin qu’on faisait incarner au Front national ayant déjà eu lieu, il avait joué, comme rôle dans le dispositif du mensonge généralisé, celui du bouc émissaire, vers lequel on détourne la violence sociale, afin qu’elle ne détruise pas tout sur son passage. Remarquons que le Front national s’était volontiers prêté à ce dispositif aussi longtemps que cela lui profitait, c’est-à-dire jusqu’à aujourd’hui. Le parti anti-système a besoin du système dans un premier temps pour se légitimer. Nous approchons du point où la fonction de bouc émissaire, théorisée par René Girard  va être entièrement dévoilée et où la violence ne pourra plus se déchaîner vers une victime extérieure. Il faut bien mesurer le danger social d’une telle situation, et la haute probabilité de renversement qu’elle secrète: le moment approche pour ceux qui ont désigné la victime émissaire à la vindicte du peuple, de voir refluer sur eux, avec la vitesse et la violence d’un tsunami politique, la frustration sociale qu’ils avaient cherché à détourner. Les élections régionales sont sans doute un des derniers avertissements en ce sens. Les élites devraient anticiper la colère d’un peuple qui se découvre de plus en plus floué, et admettre qu’elles ont produit le système de la victime émissaire, afin de détourner la violence et la critique à l’égard de leur propre action. Pour cela, elles devraient cesser d’ostraciser le Front national, et accepter pleinement le débat avec lui, en le réintégrant sans réserve dans la vie politique républicaine française. Y-a-t-il une solution pour échapper à une telle issue? Avouons que cette responsabilité est celle des élites en place, ayant entonné depuis 30 ans le même refrain. A supposer cependant que nous voulions les sauver, nous pourrions leur donner le conseil suivant: leur seule possibilité de survivre serait d’anticiper la violence refluant sur elles en faisant le sacrifice de leur innocence. Elles devraient anticiper la colère d’un peuple qui se découvre de plus en plus floué, et admettre qu’elles ont produit le système de la victime émissaire, afin de détourner la violence et la critique à l’égard de leur propre action. Pour cela, elles devraient cesser d’ostraciser le Front national, et accepter pleinement le débat avec lui, en le réintégrant sans réserve dans la vie politique républicaine française. Pour cela, elles devraient admettre de déconstruire la gigantesque hallucination collective produite autour du Front national, hallucination revenant aujourd’hui sous la forme inversée du Sauveur. Ce faisant, elles auraient tort de se priver au passage de souligner la participation du Front national au dispositif, ce dernier s’étant prêté de bonne grâce, sous la houlette du Père, à l’incarnation de la victime émissaire. Il faut bien avouer que nos élites du PS comme des Républicains ne prennent pas ce chemin, démontrant soit qu’elles n’ont strictement rien compris à ce qui se passe dans ce pays depuis 30 ans, soit qu’elles l’ont au contraire trop bien compris, et ne peuvent plus en assumer le dévoilement, soit qu’elles espèrent encore prospérer ainsi. Il n’est pas sûr non plus que le Front national soit prêt à reconnaître sa participation au dispositif. Il y aurait intérêt pourtant pour pouvoir accéder un jour à la magistrature suprême. Car si un tel aveu pourrait lui faire perdre d’un côté son «aura» anti-système, elle pourrait lui permettre de l’autre, une alliance indispensable pour dépasser au deuxième tour des présidentielles le fameux «plafond de verre». Il semble au contraire après ces régionales que tout changera pour que rien ne change. Deux solutions qui ne modifient en rien le dispositif mais le durcissent au contraire se réaffirment. La première solution, empruntée par le PS et désirée par une partie des Républicains, consiste à maintenir coûte que coûte le discours du front républicain en recherchant un dépassement du clivage gauche/droite. Une telle solution consiste à aller plus loin encore dans la désignation de la victime émissaire, et à s’exposer à un retournement encore plus dévastateur. (…) Car sans même parler des effets dévastateurs que pourrait avoir, a posteriori, un nouvel attentat, sur une telle déclaration, comment ne pas remarquer que les dernières décisions du gouvernement sur la lutte anti-terroriste ont donné rétrospectivement raison à certaines propositions du Front national? On voit mal alors comment on pourrait désormais lui faire porter le chapeau de ce dont il n’est pas responsable, tout en lui ôtant le mérite des solutions qu’il avait proposées, et qu’on n’a pas hésité à lui emprunter! La deuxième solution, défendue par une partie des Républicains suivant en cela Nicolas Sarkozy, consiste à assumer des préoccupations communes avec le Front national, tout en cherchant à se démarquer un peu par les solutions proposées. Mais comment faire comprendre aux électeurs un tel changement de cap et éviter que ceux-ci ne préfèrent l’original à la copie? Comment les électeurs ne remarqueraient-ils pas que le Front national, lui, n’a pas changé de discours, et surtout, qu’il a précédé tout le monde, et a eu le mérite d’avoir raison avant les autres, puisque ceux-ci viennent maintenant sur son propre terrain? Comment d’autre part concilier une telle proximité avec un discours diabolisant le Front national et cherchant l’alliance au centre? Curieuses élites, qui ne comprennent pas que la posture «républicaine», initiée par Mitterrand, menace désormais de revenir comme un boomerang les détruire. Christopher Lasch avait écrit La révolte des élites, pour pointer leur sécession d’avec le peuple, c’est aujourd’hui le suicide de celles-ci qu’il faudrait expliquer, dernière conséquence peut-être de cette sécession. Vincent Coussedière
With their politicization of their victory, their expletive-filled speech, and their publicly expressed contempt for half their fellow citizens, the women of the U.S. women’s soccer team succeeded in endearing themselves to America’s left. But they earned the rest of the country’s disdain, which is sad. We really wanted to love the team. What we have here is yet another example of perhaps the most important fact in the contemporary world: Everything the left touches, it ruins. Dennis Prager
The San Francisco Board of Education recently voted to paint over, and thus destroy, a 1,600-square-foot mural of George Washington’s life in San Francisco’s George Washington High School. Victor Arnautoff, a communist Russian-American artist and Stanford University art professor, had painted “Life of Washington” in 1936, commissioned by the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration. A community task force appointed by the school district had recommended that the board address student and parent objections to the 83-year-old mural, which some viewed as racist for its depiction of black slaves and Native Americans. Nike pitchman and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently objected to the company’s release of a special Fourth of July sneaker emblazoned with a 13-star Betsy Ross flag. The terrified Nike immediately pulled the shoe off the market. The New York Times opinion team issued a Fourth of July video about “the myth of America as the greatest nation on earth.” The Times’ journalists conceded that the United States is “just OK.” During a recent speech to students at a Minnesota high school, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) offered a scathing appraisal of her adopted country, which she depicted as a disappointment whose racism and inequality did not meet her expectations as an idealistic refugee. Omar’s family had fled worn-torn Somalia and spent four-years in a Kenyan refugee camp before reaching Minnesota, where Omar received a subsidized education and ended up a congresswoman. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won the World Cup earlier this month. Team stalwart Megan Rapinoe refused to put her hand over heart during the playing of the national anthem, boasted that she would never visit the “f—ing White House” and, with others, nonchalantly let the American flag fall to the ground during the victory celebration. The city council in St. Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis, voted to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before its meeting on the rationale that it wished not to offend a “diverse community.” The list of these public pushbacks at traditional American patriotic customs and rituals could be multiplied. They follow the recent frequent toppling of statues of 19th-century American figures, many of them from the South, and the renaming of streets and buildings to blot out mention of famous men and women from the past now deemed illiberal enemies of the people. Such theater is the street version of what candidates in the Democratic presidential primary have been saying for months. They want to disband border enforcement, issue blanket amnesties, demand reparations for descendants of slaves, issue formal apologies to groups perceived to be the subjects of discrimination, and rail against American unfairness, inequality, and a racist and sexist past. In their radical progressive view — shared by billionaires from Silicon Valley, recent immigrants and the new Democratic Party — America was flawed, perhaps fatally, at its origins. Things have not gotten much better in the country’s subsequent 243 years, nor will they get any better — at least not until America as we know it is dismantled and replaced by a new nation predicated on race, class and gender identity-politics agendas. In this view, an “OK” America is no better than other countries. As Barack Obama once bluntly put it, America is only exceptional in relative terms, given that citizens of Greece and the United Kingdom believe their own countries are just as exceptional. In other words, there is no absolute standard to judge a nation’s excellence. About half the country disagrees. It insists that America’s sins, past and present, are those of mankind. But only in America were human failings constantly critiqued and addressed. (…) The traditionalists see American history as a unique effort to overcome human weakness, bias and sin. That effort is unmatched by other cultures and nations, and explains why millions of foreign nationals swarm into the United States, both legally and illegally. (…) If progressives and socialists can at last convince the American public that their country was always hopelessly flawed, they can gain power to remake it based on their own interests. These elites see Americans not as unique individuals but as race, class and gender collectives, with shared grievances from the past that must be paid out in the present and the future. Victor Davis Hanson
There is a ‘try a hijab on’ booth at my college campus. So you’re telling me that it’s now just a fashion accessory and not a religious thing? Or are you just trying to get women used to being oppressed under Islam? I said that it was (getting women used to) being oppressed because there are so many women in Middle Eastern countries that are being punished and stoned for refusing to wear a hijab. Nobody is talking about that in the West because all they see is everyone being at peace, but that is the beauty of America. Kathy Zhu
Did you know the majority of black deaths are caused by other blacks? Fix problems within your own community before blaming others. (…) This applies for every community. If there is a problem, fix things in your own community before lashing out at others and trying to find an issue there. That is all I wanted to say. It is not a problem against black people. Obviously I am not racist or stuff like that. Kathy Zhu
My first act will be to ask Megan Rapinoe to be my secretary of State and thus return “love rather than hate” to the center of America’s foreign policy. Jay Inslee (Washington governor)
The progressive agenda is America’s agenda, and we need to get out there and fight for it! Elizabeth Warren
America is changing. By 2043, we’ll be a nation [that’s] majority people of color, and that’s — that is the game here — that’s what folks don’t want to understand what’s happening in this country. Roland Martin (African-American journalist)
How’d we lose the working class? Ask yourself, what did we do for them? You called them stupid. You marginalized them, took them for granted and you didn’t talk to them. For 20 years, the right wing has invested tremendous amounts of money in talk radio, in television, in every possible platform to be in their ears, before their eyes, and on their minds. And they don’t call them stupid. Rick Smith (talk-show host)
On several polarizing issues, Democrats are refusing to offer the reassurances to moderate opinion that they once did. They’re not saying: We will secure the border and insist on an orderly asylum process, but do it in a humane way; we will protect the right to abortion while working to make it less common; we will protect gun rights while setting sensible limits on them. The old rhetorical guardrails — trust us, there’s a hard stop on how far left we’ll go — are gone. Ramesh Ponnuru
This month, Netroots Nation met in Philadelphia. The choice was no accident. Pennsylvania will probably be the key swing state in 2020. Donald Trump won it by only 44,000 votes or seven-tenths of a percentage point. He lost the prosperous Philadelphia suburbs by more than Mitt Romney did in 2012 but more than made up for it with new support in “left behind” blue-collar areas such as Erie and Wilkes-Barre. You’d think that this history would inform activists at Netroots Nation about the best strategy to follow in 2020. Not really. Instead, Netroots events seemed to alternate between pandering presentations by presidential candidates and a bewildering array of “intersectionality” and identity-politics seminars. Senator Elizabeth Warren pledged that, if elected, she would immediately investigate crimes committed by border-control agents. Julian Castro, a former Obama-administration cabinet member, called for decriminalizing illegal border crossings. But everyone was topped by Washington governor Jay Inslee. “My first act will be to ask Megan Rapinoe to be my secretary of State,” he promised. Naming the woke, purple-haired star of the championship U.S. Women’s Soccer team, he said, would return “love rather than hate” to the center of America’s foreign policy. It is true that a couple of panels tried to address how the Left could appeal to voters who cast their ballots for Barack Obama in 2012 but switched to Trump in 2016. (…)  But that kind of introspection was rare at Netroots Nation. Elizabeth Warren explicitly rejected calls to keep Democrats from moving too far to the left in the next campaign (…) Warren and her supporters point to polls showing that an increasing number of Americans are worried about income inequality, climate change, and America’s image around the world. But are those the issues that actually motivate people to vote, or are they peripheral issues that aren’t central to the decision most voters make? Consider a Pew Research poll taken last year that asked respondents to rank 23 “policy priorities” from terrorism to global trade in order of importance. Climate change came in 22nd out of 23. There is a stronger argument that Democrats will have trouble winning over independent voters if they sprinting so far to the left that they go over a political cliff. (…) Many leftists acknowledge that Democrats are less interested than they used to be in trimming their sails to appeal to moderates. Such trimming is no longer necessary, as they see it, because the changing demographics of the country give them a built-in advantage. Almost everyone I encountered at Netroots Nation was convinced that President Trump would lose in 2020. (…) It’s a common mistake on both the right and the left to assume that minority voters will a) always vote in large numbers and b) will vote automatically for Democrats. Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 in part because black turnout fell below what Barack Obama was able to generate. There is no assurance that black turnout can be restored in 2020. As for other ethnic groups, a new poll by Politico/Morning Consult this month found that Trump’s approval among Hispanics is at 42 percent. An Economist/YouGov poll showed Trump at 32 percent among Hispanics; another poll from The Hill newspaper and HarrisX has it at 35 percent. In 2016, Trump won only 29 to 32 percent of the Hispanic vote. Netroots Nation convinced me that progressive activists are self-confident, optimistic about the chances for a progressive triumph, and assured that a Trump victory was a freakish “black swan” event. But they are also deaf to any suggestion that their PC excesses had anything to do with Trump’s being in the White House. That is apt to be the progressive blind spot going into the 2020 election. John Fund
The immigrant is the pawn of Latin American governments who view him as inanimate capital, someone who represents thousands of dollars in future foreign-exchange remittances, as well as one less mouth to feed at home — if he crosses the border, legality be damned. If that sounds a cruel or cynical appraisal, then why would the Mexican government in 2005 print a comic booklet (“Guide for the Mexican Migrant”) with instructions to its citizens on how best to cross into the United States — urging them to break American law and assuming that they could not read? Yet for all the savagery dealt out to the immigrant — the callousness of his government, the shakedowns of the coyotes and cartels, the exploitation of his labor by new American employers — the immigrant himself is not entirely innocent. He knows — or does not care to know — that by entering the U.S., he has taken a slot from a would-be legal immigrant, one, unlike himself, who played by the rules and waited years in line for his chance to become an American. He knowingly violates U.S. immigration law. And when the first act of an immigrant is to enter the U.S. illegally, the second to reside there unlawfully, and the third so often to adopt false identities, he undermines American law on the expectation that he will receive exemptions not accorded to U.S. citizens, much less to other legal immigrants. In terms of violations of federal law, and crimes such as hit-and-run accidents and identity theft, the illegal immigrant is overrepresented in the criminal-justice system, and indeed in federal penitentiaries. Certainly, no Latin American government would allow foreigners to enter, reside, and work in their own country in the manner that they expect their own citizens to do so in America. Historically, the Mexican constitution, to take one example, discriminates in racial terms against both the legal and illegal immigrants, in medieval terms of ethnic essence. Some $30 billion in remittances are sent back by mostly illegal aliens to Central American governments and roughly another $30 billion to Mexico. But the full implications of that exploitation are rarely appreciated. Most impoverished illegal aliens who send such staggering sums back not only entered the United States illegally and live here illegally, but they often enjoy some sort of local, state, or federal subsidy. They work at entry-level jobs with the understanding that they are to scrimp and save, with the assistance of the American taxpayer, whose laws they have shredded, so that they can send cash to their relatives and friends back home. In other words, the remitters are like modern indentured servants, helots in hock to their governments that either will not or cannot help their families and are excused from doing so thanks to such massive remittances. In sum, they promote illegal immigration to earn such foreign exchange, to create an expatriate community in the United States that will romanticize a Guatemala or Oaxaca — all the more so,  the longer and farther they are away from it. Few of the impoverished in Mexico paste a Mexican-flag sticker on their window shield; many do so upon arrival in the United States. Illegal immigration is a safety valve, by which dissidents are thanked for marching north rather than on their own nations’ capitals. Latin American governments really do not care that much that their poor are raped while crossing the Mexican desert, or sold off by the drug cartels, or that they drown in the Rio Grande, but they suddenly weep when they reach American detention centers — a cynicism that literally cost hundreds their lives. America is increasingly becoming not so much a nonwhite nation as an assimilated, integrated, and intermarried country. Race, skin color, and appearance, if you will, are becoming irrelevant. The construct of “Latino” — Mexican-American? Portuguese? Spanish? Brazilian? — is becoming immaterial as diverse immigrants soon cannot speak Spanish, lose all knowledge of Latin America, and become indistinguishable in America from the descendants of southern Europeans, Armenians, or any other Mediterranean immigrant group. In other words, a Lopez or Martinez was rapidly becoming as relevant or irrelevant in terms of grievance politics, or perceived class, as a Pelosi, Scalise, De Niro, or Pacino. If Pelosi was named “Ocasio-Cortez” and AOC “Pelosi,” then no one would know, or much care, from their respective superficial appearance, who was of Puerto Rican background and who of Italian ancestry. Such a melting-pot future terrifies the ethnic activists in politics, academia, and the media who count on replenishing the numbers of unassimilated “Latinos,” in order to announce themselves the champions of collective grievance and disparity and thereby find careerist advantage. When 1 million of some of the most impoverished people on the planet arrive without legality, a high-school diploma, capital, or English, then they are likely to remain poor for a generation. And their poverty then offers supposed proof that America is a nativist or racist society for allowing such asymmetry to occur — a social-justice crime remedied best the by Latino caucus, the Chicano-studies department, the La Raza lawyers association, or the former National Council of La Raza. Yet, curb illegal immigration, and the entire Latino race industry goes the way of the Greek-, Armenian-, or Portuguese-American communities that have all found parity once massive immigration of their impoverished countrymen ceased and the formidable powers of the melting pot were uninterrupted. Democrats once were exclusionists — largely because they feared that illegal immigration eroded unionization and overtaxed the social-service resources of their poor citizen constituents. Cesar Chavez, for example, sent his thugs to the border to club illegal aliens and drive them back into Mexico, as if they were future strike breakers. Until recently, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton called for strict border enforcement, worried that the wages of illegal workers were driving down those of inner-city or barrio American youth. What changed? Numbers. Once the pool of illegal aliens reached a likely 20 million, and once their second-generation citizen offspring won anchor-baby legality and registered to vote, a huge new progressive constituency rose in the American Southwest — one that was targeted by Democrats, who alternately promised permanent government subsidies and sowed fears with constant charges that right-wing Republicans were abject racists, nativists, and xenophobes. Due to massive influxes of immigrants, and the flight of middle-class citizens, the California of Ronald Reagan, George Deukmejian, and Pete Wilson long ago ceased to exist. Indeed, there are currently no statewide Republican office-holders in California, which has liberal supermajorities in both state legislatures and a mere seven Republicans out of 53 congressional representatives. Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado are becoming Californized. Soon open borders will do the same to Arizona and Texas. No wonder that the Democratic party has been willing to do almost anything to become the enabler of open borders, whether that is setting up over 500 sanctuary-city jurisdictions, suing to block border enforcement in the courts, or extending in-state tuition, free medical care, and driver’s licenses to those who entered and reside in America illegally. If most immigrants were right-wing, middle-class, Latino anti-Communists fleeing Venezuela or Cuba, or Eastern European rightists sick of the EU, or angry French and Germans who were tired of their failed socialist governments, the Democratic party would be the party of closed borders and the enemy of legal, meritocratic, diverse, and measured immigration. Employers over the past 50 years learned fundamental truths about illegal immigrants. The impoverished young male immigrant, arriving without English, money, education, and legality, will take almost any job to survive, and so he will work all the harder once he’s employed. For 20 years or so, young immigrant workers remain relatively healthy. But once physical labor takes its toll on the middle-aged immigrant worker, the state always was expected to step in to assume the health care, housing, and sustenance cost of the injured, ill, and aging worker — thereby empowering the employer’s revolving-door use of a new generation of young workers. Illegality — at least until recently, with the advent of sanctuary jurisdictions — was seen as convenient, ensuring asymmetry between the employee and the employer, who could always exercise the threat of deportation for any perceived shortcoming in his alien work force. Note that those who hire illegal aliens claim that no Americans will do such work, at least at the wages they are willing to, or can, pay. That is the mea culpa that employers voice when accused of lacking empathy for out-of-work Americans. If employers were fined for hiring illegal aliens, or held financially responsible for their immigrant workers’ health care and retirements, or if they found that such workers were not very industrious and made poor entry-level laborers, then both the Wall Street Journal and the Chamber of Commerce would be apt to favor strict enforcement of immigration laws.  Wealthy progressives favor open borders and illegal immigration for a variety of reasons. The more immigrants, the cheaper, more available, and more industrious are nannies, housekeepers, caregivers, and gardeners — the silent army that fuels the contemporary, two-high-income, powerhouse household. Championing the immigrant poor, without living among them and without schooling one’s children with them or socializing among them, is the affluent progressive’s brand. And to the degree that the paradox causes any guilt, the progressive virtue-signals his loud outrage at border detentions, at separations between parents in court and children in custody, and at the contrast between the burly ICE officers and vulnerable border crossers. In medieval fashion, the farther the liberal advocate of open borders is from the objects of his moral concern, the louder and more empathetic he becomes. Most progressives also enjoy a twofer: inexpensive immigrant “help” and thereby enough brief exposure to the Other to authenticate their 8-to-5 caring. If border crossers were temporarily housed in vacant summer dorms at Stanford, Harvard, or Yale, or were accorded affordable-housing tracts for immigrant communities in the vast open spaces of Portola Valley and the Boulder suburbs, or if immigrant children were sent en masse to language-immersion programs at St. Paul’s, Sidwell Friends, or the Menlo School, then the progressive social-justice warrior would probably go mute. Victor Davis Hanson
Libéralisme économique et libéralisme culturel sont les deux faces d’une même monnaie. Les libertaires favorables à l’extension infinie des droits individuels et à la destruction des « structures » traditionnelles (famille, nation) font le jeu du libéralisme économique, puisque celui-ci se déploie sur et par la dilution des sentiments d’appartenances (nation, famille, corporations) qui laisse l’individu isolé. À l’inverse, la recherche permanente du profit amène à marchandiser ce qui, dans la philosophie kantienne, ne devait pas l’être dans la mesure où l’objet avait une dignité – Pour Emmanuel Kant, « tout a un prix ou une dignité » alors que pour Adam Smith « tout a un prix ». Le marché, quand il n’est pas contenu, fait partout son intrusion et remodèle les structures selon ses besoins. Dans leurs livres, Christopher Lasch et, après lui, Jean-Claude Michéa – s’en sont donc logiquement pris à la gauche, et à la matrice dont elle est issue, la philosophie des Lumières dont le programme d’émancipation individuelle par la Raison universelle se fait au mépris de la tradition. (…) Le détachement aussi bien social, économique que géographique, qui est aujourd’hui celui des élites par rapport aux modes de vie et aux préoccupations populaires, met en péril la démocratie américaine. La méritocratie leur sert à justifier leur pouvoir et leur isolement. Le populisme, au contraire, offre selon Christopher Lasch une alternative à la fois à l’État-providence et au Marché. Il s’appuie sur les communautés, fondements de la démocratie américaine, plutôt que sur les individus. (…) La vie civique est détériorée parce que l’ »art de la controverse » a été perdu : le journalisme est devenu « objectif », le milieu universitaire s’est coupé du réel et l’école a été isolée de ce qui enflamme les imaginations (religion, politique). Les lieux-tiers comme les quartiers, situés entre la famille et le monde extérieur, ont subi les assauts du marché et les intrusions de l’État. (…) La religion est reléguée dans la « coulisse du débat public », ce qui signifie pour Christopher Lasch la sécularisation des États-Unis. Les élites américaines estiment que notre époque est sortie de l’enfance de l’humanité, associée à la religion – elle-même confondue avec la superstition. Elles se signalent par leur refus des limites. Elles vivent dans l’ »illusion de la maîtrise » de son destin et du monde. Substituts à la religion, la psychanalyse – bien qu’utilisée par Christopher Lasch dans ses travaux -, la médecine contemporaine qui promet de guérir tous les maux, ou encore la politique multiculturaliste, souhaitent toutes en finir avec la honte et la culpabilité au nom de « l’estime de soi ». La maladie a remplacé le péché dans la nouvelle « religion » des élites qui ne mérite pas ce nom. Christopher Lasch préfère la désigner comme un « pharisianisme laïc » (…) Comme Christopher Lasch l’écrit lui-même : « d’une façon ou d’une autre, l’essentiel de mes travaux récents tourne autour de la question de l’avenir possible de la démocratie ». La parution de La révolte des élites est postérieure à la théorie de Francis Fukuyama selon laquelle la chute de l’URSS acte la fin de l’Histoire et provoquerait l’extension du modèle de la démocratie libérale au monde. Plutôt que de réfléchir à l’extension ou non de ce modèle, Christopher Lasch interroge cette démocratie américaine telle qu’elle est ou, plutôt, telle qu’elle est dévoyée à ses yeux, en s’appuyant sur la tradition états-unienne (les Pères fondateurs, le populisme, Abraham Lincoln etc.). La thèse de Christopher Lasch – le lecteur s’en rend très rapidement compte – s’applique aussi à l’Europe occidentale. Le constat fait par l’historien au début de son essai nous est familier : « le déclin de l’activité industrielle et la perte d’emplois qui en résulte ; le recul de la classe moyenne ; l’augmentation du nombre des pauvres ; le taux de criminalité qui monte en flèche ; le trafic de stupéfiants en plein essor ; la crise urbaine ». Il n’est pas anodin que l’on ait parlé de révolte des peuples contre les élites quand les partisans du Brexit ont gagné le référendum, et après l’élection de Donald Trump – la géographie électorale a alors montré combien les votes étaient corrélés au niveau de diplômes. La trahison des élites est une expression qui a aussi servi à qualifier la ratification en 2007 par les parlementaires français du traité de Lisbonne, alors que le projet pour une Constitution européenne (TCE) avait été rejeté par référendum en 2005. Le taux d’abstention aux élections est aussi compris comme un détachement des élites des préoccupations des gens ordinaires, soit exactement l’analyse faite par Christopher Lasch dans son livre. « Jamais, selon lui, la classe privilégiée n’a été aussi dangereusement isolée de son environnement ». Il décrit le « fatal éloignement du côté physique de la vie » des classes intellectuelles. « Leur seul rapport avec le travail productif, déplore Christopher Lasch, est en tant que consommateur ». L’historien et sociologue définit ces élites comme les personnes qui « contrôlent les flux internationaux d’argent et d’informations, président aux fondations philanthropiques et aux institutions d’enseignements supérieurs (…) gèrent les instruments de la production culturelle et fixent ainsi les termes du débat public » (directeurs de journaux, hommes politiques, dirigeants de grandes entreprises, universitaires etc.). Elles travaillent aussi bien dans le public que dans le privé et concentrent les avantages financiers, d’éducation et de pouvoir. La bourgeoisie aisée constitue le cœur de ces élites. Pour l’ancien marxiste qu’est Christopher Lasch, la lutte des classes est encore une réalité. L’ambition politique défendue dans son livre correspond à ce qui est d‘après lui l’idéal originel américain d’une société sans classe. Il est étonnant, néanmoins, de ne pas trouver dans cet essai un long développement sur ce que Jacques Ellul, l’un des « maîtres » de Christopher Lasch, appelait le « système technicien »¹¹. L’historien et sociologue, dans son analyse, met bien plus l’accent sur les modes de vie et les évolutions urbaines. (…) Les élites américaines ciblées par Christopher Lasch se définissent moins par leur idéologie, que par leur mode de vie distinctif. Sans vision politique commune, elles ne peuvent pas, d’après lui, être qualifiées de « classe dirigeante ». Elles cherchent moins à commander qu’à « échapper au sort commun » et à la « vie commune ». Elles vivent repliées sur elles-mêmes. Alors qu’ils contribuaient auparavant – souvent de façon intéressée, certes- au financement des équipements de la communauté (bibliothèques, hôpitaux, universités etc.), les 20% les plus riches de la population se rendent aujourd’hui indépendants « non seulement des grandes villes industrielles en pleine déconfiture », du fait notamment de la globalisation, « mais des services publics en général », qu’ils n’utilisent plus. Ils investissent en masse dans l’éducation et l’information plutôt que dans la propriété. Leur argent leur permet de se constituer des ghettos volontaires : ils monopolisent les collèges et universités les plus célèbres où est encore transmise la culture humaniste et ils ont recours à des services de ramassage de déchets ainsi qu’à des sociétés de sécurité privées. Coupées de la solidarité nationale économique (la fraude fiscale des entreprises dites « multinationales » en est un exemple), les élites le sont aussi de la solidarité politique. La plupart des personnes qui font partie des élites ont « cessé de se penser américains » ou de se sentir « impliquées dans le destin de l’Amérique pour le meilleur et pour le pire ». Le sujet central du livre de Christopher Lasch, la démocratie, se confond en fait en bonne partie avec celui de la nation, dont les élites pensent qu’elle est un cadre obsolète et contraignant. Un tel détachement des élites, de la nation et du peuple, implique une dangereuse déresponsabilisation. Il en est la cause directe. (…) Comme l’homme-masse de Ortega y Gasset, les élites sont inconséquentes à l’égard des générations futures, elles exigent des droits plutôt que d’être exigeantes envers elles-mêmes. En se disant « citoyens du monde », elles séparent la citoyenneté de la nationalité et se déchargent donc de leurs obligations civiques. La fracture sociale décrite et analysée par l’auteur est aussi une fracture géographique. Aux yeux des élites, qui vivent majoritairement sur les côtes du pays, l’« Amérique du milieu », est un fardeau obscurantiste, rétrograde car rétif à l’esprit émancipateur des Lumières, en tout cas à l’idée qu’elles s’en font. (…) Si les élites s’emploient à « créer des institutions parallèles ou alternatives », c’est parce qu’elles ne cherchent pas à « imposer leurs valeurs à la majorité (qu’elles perçoivent comme incorrigiblement raciste, sexiste, provinciale et xénophobe) » et « encore moins à (la) persuader au moyen d’un débat public rationnel » (puisque la majorité, selon les élites, n’est pas raisonnable ni rationnelle). Ici est la limite de leur optimisme progressiste. La vie de la majorité n’en est pas moins, évidemment, bouleversée par les décisions prises par les élites politique, médiatique, universitaire et économique. Christopher Lasch qualifie de « touristique » la vision du monde des élites qu’il décrit. « Ce qui, ajoute-t-il, a peu de chances d’encourager un amour passionné pour la démocratie ». Leur idéal est celui de la mobilité. Elles se meuvent dans les réseaux internationaux, plutôt qu’elles ne s’inscrivent dans des lieux. « Jamais, souligne l’auteur, la réussite n’a été plus étroitement associée à la mobilité ». Elles participent ainsi, malgré elles, à faire surgir en réaction ce que Christopher Lasch appelle un nouveau « tribalisme ». Vingt ans après la parution de la Révolte des élites, ce constat est plus vrai que jamais. Les infra-nationalismes, dont la Catalogne est une des illustrations, relèvent de ce même processus de fragmentation. (…) S’il relativise exagérément le danger islamiste, Christopher Lasch s’inquiète cependant du multiculturalisme promu par les élites. Elles en ont une image là aussi touristique, celle du « bazar » qui met à leur portée les vêtements et cuisines les plus diverses du monde. Une telle conception biaise leur approche de la démocratie. L’État, selon les élites, a pour mission de démocratiser « l’estime de soi ». Des mesures dites « tolérantes », comme la discrimination positive, sont prises au nom de la diversité pour réparer le préjudice qu’auraient subi dans l’histoire les minorités, qu’elles soient ethniques ou sexuelles. Le « sociétal » efface les rapports de classe. Selon Christopher Lasch, une telle politique déresponsabilise et assiste ces minorités au lieu de les inciter à gagner « le respect ». Elle favorise la formation de parodies de communautés, caractérisées par un « entre-soi » sectaire. Des critères comme l’ethnie et le sexe y conditionnent les opinions. Si une personne en dévie, elle devient un traître à sa cause – elle est par exemple accusée de « penser blanc ». Christopher Lasch a ce mot terrible : « nous sommes devenus aujourd’hui une nation de minorités ». Il note très justement que ces communautés, substituts pour la gauche à la classe ouvrière, « ne cherchent plus à transformer révolutionnairement les rapports sociaux mais à intégrer les structures dominantes ». Ladite classe ouvrière a été sacrifiée sur l’autel du libéralisme promu par les élites américaines. Elles sont libérales, dans les deux sens du mot : pour la marchandisation croissante du monde et pour une prétendue « libération » sur le plan des mœurs. Un tel programme idéologique affaiblit l’État-nation « par le haut », au sens où par exemple la globalisation transfère le pouvoir du politique vers les multinationales, et par « le bas », les discours différentialistes générant du communautarisme. La fragilisation de l’État-nation provoque, d’une part, une unification du monde par le marché et le droit, et, d’autre part, une fragmentation identitaire et ethnique. Christopher Lasch estime qu’elle est profondément liée à l’effondrement de la classe moyenne sans laquelle il n’y aurait pas eu d’État-nation. C’est pourquoi ce qui reste de la classe moyenne aux États-Unis, au moment où Christopher Lasch écrit, est l’ « élément le plus patriote, pour ne pas dire chauvin et militariste de la société ». Laurent Ottavi
Lasch n’a jamais fait mystère de sa dette envers l’héritage protestant et l’étude de la théologie protestante dans la formulation de sa philosophie de l’espérance. Ce que lui ont apporté des théologiens comme Jonathan Edwards ou Reinhold Niebuhr, et des penseurs comme Emerson ou William James peut être résumé dans l’idée que l’espérance est la prédisposition mentale de ceux qui persistent à vouloir croire, envers et contre tout, dans l’infinie bonté de la vie, même en présence des preuves du contraire, et «dans la justice, la conviction que l’homme mauvais souffrira, que les hommes mauvais retrouveront le droit chemin, que l’ordre qui sous-tend le cours des évènements n’a rien à voir avec l’impunité». Et il n’est pas anodin que, se sachant condamné, Lasch ait consacré les deux derniers chapitres de son dernier livre à la religion dans lesquels il rappelle que, face à l’hybris technologique et l’illusion de la maîtrise totale, seule une vision religieuse de l’existence nous rappelle à notre nature divisée d’être «dépendant de la nature et en même temps incapable de la transcender», d’ «humanité oscill[ant] entre une fierté transcendante et un sentiment humiliant de faiblesse et de dépendance». À l’opposé de l’obsession de la certitude au détriment de la réalité du monde des démiurges de la Silicon Valley ou des gnostiques New Age, Lasch écrit que c’est «à la croyance douillette d’une coïncidence entre les fins du Tout-Puissant et nos fins purement humaines que la foi religieuse nous demande de renoncer». Seul ce sens des limites peut nous amener à réinvestir le monde par une «activité pratique qui lie l’homme à la nature en qualité de cultivateur soigneux». En d’autres termes, en fondant une éthique de l’attention au monde, comme nous y exhorte Matthew Crawford, sans doute le continuateur le plus juste de l’œuvre de Lasch. (…) Lasch avait très bien analysé avant la lettre le phénomène Trump au travers de la nouvelle droite, ou conservatisme de mouvement, incarnés successivement par Barry Goldwater ou Reagan. Tout comme ces derniers, Trump est parvenu à formuler un récit bien plus cohérent qu’il n’y paraît à partir de questions comme la crise des opiacés, les délocalisations, l’immigration, la menace chinoise et à s’en servir pour «diriger le ressentiment “petit bourgeois” à l’endroit des riches vers une “nouvelle classe” parasitaire constituée par des spécialistes de la résolution des problèmes et des relativistes moraux», afin d’en appeler aux «producteurs de l’Amérique» à se mobiliser autour de leur «intérêt économique commun» pour «limiter le développement de cette nouvelle classe non productive, rapace». Ainsi, concluait Lasch, le grand génie de la nouvelle droite était d’avoir retourné à son profit «les classifications sociales imprégnées de la tradition populiste – producteurs et parasitaires- et à les mettre au service de programmes sociaux et politiques directement opposés à tout ce que le Populisme avait toujours signifié». La différence est que Reagan est arrivé à la Maison Blanche au début de la contre-révolution monétariste, qui inaugurait la spécialisation de l’économie US dans le recyclage des surplus de la planète, alors que Trump arrive à un moment ou cette politique ininterrompue depuis la fin des années 1970 ne laisse qu’un champ de ruines, ce qui explique leurs divergences sur la question du commerce international. L’élection de Reagan était concomitante de l’entrée des États-Unis dans la période d’exubérance financière que connaissent tous les centres de l’économie-monde lorsqu’ils entament une phase de financiarisation, alors que celle de Trump est intervenue près de 10 ans après le début de la crise terminale de ce que Giovanni Arrighi appelait le long vingtième siècle ou siècle américain. Mais sur le fond, Trump n’est qu’un avatar actualisé de Reagan, allant d’ailleurs jusqu’à reprendre exactement le même slogan que ce dernier dans sa campagne victorieuse de 1980. (..) Récupéré sélectivement par des idéologues aux marges du parti républicain, comme Steve Bannon, qui a fait de La révolte des élites un de ses livres de chevet, Lasch est pour l’essentiel absent du paysage intellectuel engagé à gauche, à l’exception de The Baffler dans lequel officient des auteurs comme George Scialabba ou Thomas Frank. Il est tout aussi ignoré par les mouvements regroupés autour de Sanders, en raison de sa critique du progrès, qui le rend inaudible à leurs oreilles, et de leur tropisme en faveur d’une social-démocratie scandinave. C’est regrettable, car Lasch incarne un vrai socialisme à l’américaine, une sorte de proudhonisme américain, qui exhorte la gauche à chercher à s’allier, non pas avec les «médias de masse et les autres entreprises d’homogénéisation culturelle, ni avec la vision d’une société sans pères, et sans passé […] mais avec les forces qui, dans la vie moderne, résistent à l’assimilation, au déracinement et à la “modernisation forcée”». Mais, paraphrasant Simon Leys à propos d’Orwell, la gauche américaine, en persistant dans sa béatitude progressiste et sa perception simpliste et commode du capitalisme comme un système patriarcal, vertical et autoritaire, ne fait au fond que reproduire avec Lasch les mêmes erreurs qui l’ont poussée régulièrement à se laisser scandaleusement confisquer ses plus puissants penseurs. Renaud Beauchard
Naguère, c’était “la révolte des masses” qui était considérée comme la menace contre l’ordre social et la tradition civilisatrice de la culture occidentale. De nos jours, cependant, la menace principale semble provenir de ceux qui sont au sommet de la hiérarchie sociale et non pas des masses. Christopher Lasch
Many of the more privileged Americans who frequent fancy restaurants, stay in hotels and depend on hired help for lawn and pool maintenance, home repair and childcare don’t think illegal immigration is that big of a deal. Those in the higher-paid professions do not fear low-wage competition for their jobs in law, medicine, academia, the media, government or the arts. And many who have no problem with the present influx live in affluent communities with good schools insulated from the immediate budgetary consequences of meeting the needs of the offspring of the 11 million here illegally. These wealthier people aren’t so much liberal in their tolerance of illegal immigration as they are self-interested and cynical. In contrast, the far more numerous poor and lower middle classes of America, especially in the Southwest, are sincerely worried — and angry. (…) For the broad middle class, the poor and minorities — people who dine mostly at home, travel infrequently, mow their own lawns and change their children’s diapers — inexpensive service labor is not seen as much of a boon to them. Plus, lower- and middle-class Americans live in communities where schools are more impacted by an influx of Spanish-only speakers. And as janitors, maids, groundskeepers, carpenters, factory workers and truckers, they fear competition from lower-wage illegal alien laborers. Legal immigrants who wait years in line to enter the United States legally can be particularly unsympathetic to others who cut in front — in violation of the law. Victor Davis Hanson (October 6, 2006)
The furor of ignored Europeans against their union is not just directed against rich and powerful government elites per se, or against the flood of mostly young male migrants from the war-torn Middle East. The rage also arises from the hypocrisy of a governing elite that never seems to be subject to the ramifications of its own top-down policies. The bureaucratic class that runs Europe from Brussels and Strasbourg too often lectures European voters on climate change, immigration, politically correct attitudes about diversity, and the constant need for more bureaucracy, more regulations, and more redistributive taxes. But Euro-managers are able to navigate around their own injunctions, enjoying private schools for their children; generous public pay, retirement packages and perks; frequent carbon-spewing jet travel; homes in non-diverse neighborhoods; and profitable revolving-door careers between government and business. The Western elite classes, both professedly liberal and conservative, square the circle of their privilege with politically correct sermonizing. They romanticize the distant “other” — usually immigrants and minorities — while condescendingly lecturing the middle and working classes, often the losers in globalization, about their lack of sensitivity. On this side of the Atlantic, President Obama has developed a curious habit of talking down to Americans about their supposedly reactionary opposition to rampant immigration, affirmative action, multiculturalism, and political correctness — most notably in his caricatures of the purported “clingers” of Pennsylvania. Yet Obama seems uncomfortable when confronted with the prospect of living out what he envisions for others. He prefers golfing with celebrities to bowling. He vacations in tony Martha’s Vineyard rather than returning home to his Chicago mansion. His travel entourage is royal and hardly green. And he insists on private prep schools for his children rather than enrolling them in the public schools of Washington, D.C., whose educators he so often shields from long-needed reform. In similar fashion, grandees such as Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos do not live what they profess. They often lecture supposedly less sophisticated Americans on their backward opposition to illegal immigration. But both live in communities segregated from those they champion in the abstract. The Clintons often pontificate about “fairness” but somehow managed to amass a personal fortune of more than $100 million by speaking to and lobbying banks, Wall Street profiteers, and foreign entities. The pay-to-play rich were willing to brush aside the insincere, pro forma social-justice talk of the Clintons and reward Hillary and Bill with obscene fees that would presumably result in lucrative government attention. Consider the recent Orlando tragedy for more of the same paradoxes. The terrorist killer, Omar Mateen — a registered Democrat, proud radical Muslim, and occasional patron of gay dating sites — murdered 49 people and wounded even more in a gay nightclub. His profile and motive certainly did not fit the elite narrative that unsophisticated right-wing American gun owners were responsible because of their support for gun rights. No matter. The Obama administration and much of the media refused to attribute the horror in Orlando to Mateen’s self-confessed radical Islamist agenda. Instead, they blamed the shooter’s semi-automatic .223 caliber rifle and a purported climate of hate toward gays. (…) In sum, elites ignored the likely causes of the Orlando shooting: the appeal of ISIS-generated hatred to some young, second-generation radical Muslim men living in Western societies, and the politically correct inability of Western authorities to short-circuit that clear-cut connection. Instead, the establishment all but blamed Middle America for supposedly being anti-gay and pro-gun. In both the U.S. and Britain, such politically correct hypocrisy is superimposed on highly regulated, highly taxed, and highly governmentalized economies that are becoming ossified and stagnant. The tax-paying middle classes, who lack the romance of the poor and the connections of the elite, have become convenient whipping boys of both in order to leverage more government social programs and to assuage the guilt of the elites who have no desire to live out their utopian theories in the flesh. Victor Davis Hanson
Illegal and illiberal immigration exists and will continue to expand because too many special interests are invested in it. It is one of those rare anomalies — the farm bill is another — that crosses political party lines and instead unites disparate elites through their diverse but shared self-interests: live-and-let-live profits for some and raw political power for others. For corporate employers, millions of poor foreign nationals ensure cheap labor, with the state picking up the eventual social costs. For Democratic politicos, illegal immigration translates into continued expansion of favorable political demography in the American Southwest. For ethnic activists, huge annual influxes of unassimilated minorities subvert the odious melting pot and mean continuance of their own self-appointed guardianship of salad-bowl multiculturalism. Meanwhile, the upper middle classes in coastal cocoons enjoy the aristocratic privileges of having plenty of cheap household help, while having enough wealth not to worry about the social costs of illegal immigration in terms of higher taxes or the problems in public education, law enforcement, and entitlements. No wonder our elites wink and nod at the supposed realities in the current immigration bill, while selling fantasies to the majority of skeptical Americans. Victor Davis Hanson
Who are the bigots — the rude and unruly protestors who scream and swarm drop-off points and angrily block immigration authority buses to prevent the release of children into their communities, or the shrill counter-protestors who chant back “Viva La Raza” (“Long Live the Race”)? For that matter, how does the racialist term “La Raza” survive as an acceptable title of a national lobby group in this politically correct age of anger at the Washington Redskins football brand? How can American immigration authorities simply send immigrant kids all over the United States and drop them into communities without firm guarantees of waiting sponsors or family? If private charities did that, would the operators be jailed? Would American parents be arrested for putting their unescorted kids on buses headed out of state? Liberal elites talk down to the cash-strapped middle class about their illiberal anger over the current immigration crisis. But most sermonizers are hypocritical. Take Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of the House. She lectures about the need for near-instant amnesty for thousands streaming across the border. But Pelosi is a multimillionaire, and thus rich enough not to worry about the increased costs and higher taxes needed to offer instant social services to the new arrivals. Progressives and ethnic activists see in open borders extralegal ways to gain future constituents dependent on an ever-growing government, with instilled grudges against any who might not welcome their flouting of U.S. laws. How moral is that? Likewise, the CEOs of Silicon Valley and Wall Street who want cheap labor from south of the border assume that their own offspring’s private academies will not be affected by thousands of undocumented immigrants, that their own neighborhoods will remain non-integrated, and that their own medical services and specialists’ waiting rooms will not be made available to the poor arrivals. … What a strange, selfish, and callous alliance of rich corporate grandees, cynical left-wing politicians, and ethnic chauvinists who have conspired to erode U.S. law for their own narrow interests, all the while smearing those who object as xenophobes, racists, and nativists. Victor Davis Hanson
For the last two decades, Apple, Google, Amazon and other West Coast tech corporations have been untouchable icons. They piled up astronomical profits while hypnotizing both left-wing and right-wing politicians. (…) If the left feared that the tech billionaires were becoming robber barons, they also delighted in the fact that they were at least left-wing robber barons. Unlike the steel, oil and coal monopolies of the 19th century that out of grime and smoke created the sinews of a growing America, Silicon Valley gave us shiny, clean, green and fun pods, pads and phones. As a result, social media, internet searches, texts, email and other computer communications were exempt from interstate regulatory oversight. Big Tech certainly was not subject to the rules that governed railroads, power companies, trucking industries, Wall Street, and television and radio. But attitudes about hip high-tech corporations have now changed on both the left and right. Liberals are under pressure from their progressive base to make Silicon Valley hire more minorities and women. Progressives wonder why West Coast techies cannot unionize and sit down for tough bargaining with their progressive billionaire bosses. Local community groups resent the tech giants driving up housing prices and zoning out the poor from cities such as Seattle and San Francisco. Behind the veneer of a cool Apple logo or multicolored Google trademark are scores of multimillionaires who live one-percenter lifestyles quite at odds with the soft socialism espoused by their corporate megaphones. (…) Instead of acting like laissez-faire capitalists, the entrenched captains of high-tech industry seem more like government colluders and manipulators. Regarding the high-tech leaders’ efforts to rig their industries and strangle dissent, think of conniving Jay Gould or Jim Fisk rather than the wizard Thomas Edison. (…) The public so far has welcomed the unregulated freedom of Silicon Valley — as long as it was truly free. But now computer users are discovering that social media and web searches seem highly controlled and manipulated — by the whims of billionaires rather than federal regulators. (…) For years, high-tech grandees dressed all in hip black while prancing around the stage, enthralling stockholders as if they were rock stars performing with wireless mics. Some wore jeans, sneakers, and T-shirts, making it seem like being worth $50 billion was hipster cool. But the billionaire-as-everyman shtick has lost his groove, especially when such zillionaires lavish their pet political candidates with huge donations, seed lobbying groups and demand regulatory loopholes. Ten years ago, a carefree Mark Zuckerberg seemed cool. Now, his T-shirt get-up seems phony and incongruous with his walled estates and unregulated profiteering. (…) Why are high-tech profits hidden in offshore accounts? Why is production outsourced to impoverished countries, sometimes in workplaces that are deplorable and cruel? Why does texting while driving not earn a product liability suit? Victor Davis Hanson
Tout ce que demande aujourd’hui le Kansas, c’est qu’on lui donne un petit coup de main pour se clouer à sa croix d’or.(…) Votez pour interdire l’avortement et vous aurez une bonne réduction de l’impôt sur le capital (…). Votez pour faire la nique à ces universitaires politiquement corrects et vous aurez la déréglementation de l’électricité (…). Votez pour résister au terrorisme et vous aurez la privatisation de la sécurité sociale. Thomas Frank
One of the reasons that inequality has probably gone up in our society is that people are being treated closer to the way that they’re supposed to be treated. Larry Summers
Purity of thought — mental cleansing of all possible bias — is demanded of the populace. (…) We were living in a form of dictatorship without knowing it . . . a dictatorship of elite moral narcissists who decided between right and wrong . . . before we could even begin to evaluate the facts for ourselves. Roger L. Simon
Tout ce que demande aujourd’hui le Kansas, c’est qu’on lui donne un petit coup de main pour se clouer à sa croix d’or.(…) Votez pour interdire l’avortement et vous aurez une bonne réduction de l’impôt sur le capital (…). Votez pour faire la nique à ces universitaires politiquement corrects et vous aurez la déréglementation de l’électricité (…). Votez pour résister au terrorisme et vous aurez la privatisation de la sécurité sociale. Thomas Frank
Nothing is more characteristic of the liberal class than its members’ sense of their own elevated goodness.” The liberals’ need to repeatedly signal their virtue has become ever more tortured, as with the “civil rights” struggle for gender-neutral bathrooms. Thomas Frank
In his new book, the social critic Thomas Frank ­poses another possibility: that liberals in general — and the Democratic Party in particular — should look inward to understand the sorry state of American politics. Too busy attending TED talks and ­vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, Frank argues, the Democratic elite has abandoned the party’s traditional commitments to the working class. In the process, they have helped to create the political despair and anger at the heart of today’s right-wing insurgencies. They may also have sown the seeds of their own demise. (…) Frank has been delivering some version of this message for the past two decades as a political essayist and a founding editor of The Baffler magazine. “Listen, Liberal” is the thoroughly entertaining if rather gloomy work of a man who feels that nobody has been paying attention. Frank’s most famous book, “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” (2004), argued that Republicans had duped the white working class by pounding the table on social issues while delivering tax cuts for the rich. He focused on Kansas as the reddest of red states (and, not incidentally, the place of his birth). This time Frank is coming for the Ivy League blue-state liberals, that “tight little network of enlightened strivers” who have allegedly been running the country into the ground. Think of it as “What’s the Matter With Massachusetts?” Frank’s book is an unabashed polemic, not a studious examination of policy or polling trends. In Frank’s view, liberal policy wonks are part of the problem, members of a well-educated elite that massages its own technocratic vanities while utterly missing the big question of the day.  (…) As Frank notes, today some people are living much better than others — and many of those people are not Republicans. Frank delights in skewering the sacred cows of coastal liberalism, including private universities, bike paths, microfinance, the Clinton Foundation, “well-meaning billionaires” and any public policy offering “innovation” or “education” as a solution to inequality. He spends almost an entire chapter mocking the true-blue city of Boston, with its “lab-coat and starched-shirt” economy and its “well-graduated” population of overconfident collegians. Behind all of this nasty fun is a serious political critique. Echoing the historian Lily Geismer, Frank argues that the Democratic Party — once “the Party of the People” — now caters to the interests of a “professional-managerial class” consisting of lawyers, doctors, professors, scientists, programmers, even investment bankers. These affluent city dwellers and suburbanites believe firmly in meritocracy and individual opportunity, but shun the kind of social policies that once gave a real leg up to the working class. In the book, Frank points to the Democrats’ neglect of organized labor and support for Nafta as examples of this sensibility, in which “you get what you deserve, and what you deserve is defined by how you did in school.”  (…) The problem, in Frank’s view, is not simply that mainstream Democrats have failed to address growing inequality. Instead, he suggests something more sinister: Today’s leading Democrats actually don’t want to reduce inequality because they believe that inequality is the normal and righteous order of things. As proof, he points to the famously impolitic Larry Summers, whose background as a former president of Harvard, former Treasury secretary and former chief economist of the World Bank embodies all that Frank abhors about modern Democrats. (…) No surprise, under the circumstances, that the working class might look elsewhere for satisfying political options. (…) Frank gives Obama a middling-to-poor grade — something in the D range, let’s say — for what he deems to be the president’s vague and rambling answer to the “social question.” Frank compares Obama unfavorably with Franklin Roose­velt, another Democratic president who inherited an economic crisis from his Republican predecessor. Roosevelt took advantage of the Great Depression to reshape American society in fundamental ways, introducing social welfare and labor protections that shifted real power into the hands of the middle and working classes. (Frank largely gives Roosevelt a pass on the New Deal’s own structural inequalities, including its exclusions of women and nonwhite workers.) Obama, by contrast, let the crisis go “to waste,” according to Frank, tweaking around the regulatory edges without doing anything significant to change the economic balance of power. (…) Frank sees this uneven recovery as a tragedy rather than a triumph, in which Obama “saved a bankrupt system that by all rights should have met its end.” He says little, however, about what sort of system might have replaced it, or about what working-class voters themselves might say that they want or need. In a book urging Democrats to pay attention to working-class concerns, there are decidedly few interviews with working people, and a lot of time spent on tech conferences and think tanks and fancy universities. Beverly Gage
Thomas Frank, who wrote the bestselling What’s the Matter with Kansas? (2004), admonishes the Democratic party for its residual moderation, and Roger L. Simon, a playwright and novelist and one of the founders of PJ Media, writes from a conservative perspective. They come at the issue from different angles but reach surprisingly congruent conclusions. “Today,” notes Frank, “liberalism is the philosophy not of the sons of toil” but of the winners in the “knowledge economy”: “Silicon Valley chieftains, the big university systems, and the Wall Street titans who gave so much to Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.” Similarly, Simon shows how “moral narcissism has allowed the Democratic party to become a hidden party of the rich, thus wounding the middle class.” Frank traces the origins of today’s liberal elitism back to the McGovern years and the influential arguments of Washington lobbyist Fred Dutton. Dutton’s book The Changing Sources of Power (1971) showed that the professional upper middle class, once a mainstay of the GOP, had in the Nixon years migrated to the anti-war wing of the Democratic party. Contemptuous of blue-collar America, the upper-end professionals wanted to become the party of the “aristocrats — en masse.” Likewise, Simon reflects on the ways in which liberal “compassion” became a “masquerade for selfishness, a way for elites to feel good about themselves” while insulating themselves from accountability. Simon describes this masquerade as a form of narcissism in which “what you believe, or claim to believe or say you believe — not what you do or how you act or what the results of your actions may be — [determine] how your life will be judged.” Kim Holmes of the Heritage Foundation, in his new book, describes the same disconnect, in which words are judged independently of actions, but he calls it “postmodernism.” “The postmodernist Left,” he writes, “is radically subjective, arguing that all truth is merely a matter of interpretation.” And liberals, because they hold largely uncontested power in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and most of the media, generally get to decide which interpretation shall prevail. Liberalism’s dreams of an American aristocracy, as I explained in my 2014 book The Revolt against the Masses, were integral to the modern ideology from its very inception in the aftermath of World War I. High-toned New Deal liberals looked down on Harry Truman, the Kansas City haberdasher, but liberal social snobbery emerged with full force in the Kennedyites’ open disdain for Lyndon Johnson. LBJ biographer Robert Caro described the denizens of Camelot as people who were “in love with their own sophistication”: They were “such an in-group, and they let you know they were in, and you were not.” “Think of the snotty arrogance displayed,” Caro continued, “as these people laughed at LBJ’s accent, his mispronunciations, his clothes, his wife.” In the years since Kennedy, liberal politics has been driven by an alliance of the top and the bottom, the over-credentialed and the under-credentialed, against the middle. Liberals, notes the American-born British journalist Janet Daley, have taken on the pseudo-aristocratic tone of disdain for the aspiring, struggling middle class that is such a familiar part of the British scene. Rather than face up to the failures of the Great Society to fully incorporate African Americans into the general American prosperity, liberals have lost interest in social mobility: The aim now is to make the marginal more comfortable. (The problem is not solely with liberals: Social snobbery blinded most politicians to the rumblings that emerged as Trumpism.) Bill Clinton, explains Kim Holmes, was strongly influenced by the political philosophy of John Rawls. When President Clinton criticized the welfare system as “trapping” people in poverty, he was, says Holmes, “trying to find a balance,” as Rawls did, “between liberty and the welfare state.” Thomas Frank will have none of it: Against those Democratic-party moderates who found Clinton preferable to the Republicans, he thunders: “Bill Clinton was not the lesser of two evils. . . . He was the greater of the two.” Frank denounces both the 1994 crime bill and welfare reform as perfidious acts, without providing empirical evidence to support his assertions. Holmes points out that, in recent years, liberals have jettisoned any affection for the evidence-based arguments of the Clinton years and adopted instead an “epistemic relativism” that assumes that “all knowledge is expedient and politicized.” Holmes describes postmodern liberalism as “schizophrenic”: In the name of an identity politics advancing the interest of putative victims, it marries epistemological skepticism and the absolute certainties of politically correct posturing. Obama exemplifies this double game. Obama the cultural relativist, who is not a Muslim but has a strong affinity for Islam, insists that the Islam he encountered as a young boy in Indonesia was a religion of peace (even as he asserts that Western civilization should still be doing penance for the Crusades). At the same time, notes Roger Simon, Obama can say with great confidence that ISIS — the Islamic State — is not Islamic. Frank has a point when he notes that the incestuous relationships among Hollywood, Washington, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley that define the Obama years had already blossomed in the Clinton era. But with Obama, the ties have grown even tighter. Ninety percent of the first Obama administration’s staffers had a professional degree of some kind; some 25 percent had either graduated from Harvard or taught there. The situation Frank describes is a government of, by, and for the increasingly self-interested professionals. When the Russians recently invaded parts of Syria, the worst thing the Obama administration could think to say about them was that their actions were “unprofessional.” Fred Siegel
Une vague d’optimisme a balayé le monde des affaires américaines… De France on ne se rend pas compte a quel point la baisse du chômage dans ce pays est spectaculaire. De nouvelles usines, de nouveaux équipements et des mises à niveau d’usines qui stimulent la croissance économique, stimulent la création d’emplois et augmentent les salaires de manière significative. (…) Le taux de chômage nominal officiel est descendu à 4,1%. Il a diminué de 2% au cours de la seule dernière année. C’est le plus bas depuis 17 ans. (…) Le chômage a diminué pour les travailleurs dans tous les niveaux d’éducation. Parmi les diplômés du secondaire qui n’ont jamais fréquenté l’université et qui ont 25 ans et plus, il a atteint son plus bas niveau. Le Bureau of Labor Statistics indique que le taux de chômage des travailleurs noirs et hispaniques a chuté au plus bas depuis 1972. C’était il y a 45 ans ! Des générations complètes de défavorisés n’avaient jamais connu une telle demande d’embauche et le plein emploi. Les personnes dépendantes de « food stamps » ont diminué de plus de 2 millions en 2017. Les « food Stamp » sont des bons d’achat à échanger dans les commerces alimentaires pour les personnes et familles à faible ou aucun revenu, les migrants et les étudiants vivant dans le pays pour se nourrir. L’économie, revitalisée par l’enthousiasme des perspectives d’avenir, se développe à nouveau. L’indice de confiance des consommateurs du Conference Board est à son plus haut niveau depuis 17 ans et l’Indice des perspectives de l’Association nationale des manufacturiers est à sa moyenne annuelle la plus élevée de son histoire. La Federal Reserve Bank d’Atlanta a publié une estimation de la croissance du PIB 2018 d’un taux de 5,4%. Comme dans les années glorieuses. Même le journal expert en misérabilisme, de gauche, le New York Times a dû admettre : « Une vague d’optimisme a balayé les chefs d’entreprise américains et commence à se traduire par des investissements dans de nouvelles usines, équipements et mises à niveau d’usines qui stimulent la croissance économique, stimulent la création d’emplois. et peut enfin augmenter les salaires de manière significative. « (…) Selon les estimations les plus récentes du Département du Trésor, 90% des personnes verront, dès février 2018 une augmentation de leur salaire net. Une autre étude conclut que plus d’un million de travailleurs recevront des augmentations de salaire en 2018. Les entreprises ont commencé à anticiper la baisse de l’impôt sur les sociétés de 38 à 21%. 300 entreprises ont annoncé des augmentations de salaire et des primes. (…) Le PIB a atteint 3% au cours des deux derniers trimestres de 2017. (Au cours des 32 trimestres de la « reprise » d’Obama, il n’a enregistré que deux fois un PIB de plus de 3%). Les entreprises américaines ont créé plus de 1,7 million de nouveaux emplois, dont près de 160 000 emplois manufacturiers et 58 000 autres emplois dans l’exploitation minière et l’exploitation forestière. L’extraction de pétrole et de gaz dont la réglementation anti-libérale interdisait l’exportation a été ouverte. En décembre, 1,5 million de barils ont été exportés hors des États-Unis. La guerre des prix avec les pays producteurs de l’OPEP qui devait mettre l’industrie pétrolière des gaz de schiste américaine à genoux a fait l’inverse. Elle a stimulé l’innovation, les embauches et les seuils de rentabilité ont étés abaissés. Le tribulations à la baisse de l’OPEP, n’ont servi qu’a mettre les pays de l’OPEP dans la difficulté. Les salaires ont progressé en taux annualisé de 2,9%, soit le rythme le plus rapide en plus de huit ans. (…) Au 1er janvier, les accords patronaux devant l’embellie du marché ont augmenté le salaire minimum dans 18 états. Agoravox
Harvey Weinstein (…) était aussi, et surtout, un partisan inconditionnel de M. Barack Obama et de Mme Hillary Clinton. Nul n’incarnait mieux que lui les ambiguïtés de ce gratin démocrate représenté par la Fondation Clinton. Les soirées caritatives qu’elle organisait assuraient la même fonction que les bonnes œuvres passées de M. Weinstein : celle d’une chambre de compensation sociale où les nouveaux entrants dans le beau monde reçoivent leurs lettres de noblesse — en France, autrefois, on appelait cela une « savonnette à vilain ». Participer à un événement de la Fondation Clinton revient à faire un plein de bonté à gros indice d’octane. Vous y rencontrez une ribambelle de célébrités, un éventail de personnages glorifiés pour leur altruisme et leur infaillible valeur morale et qui, bien souvent, portent un nom simple, comme le chanteur Bono ou la jeune Pakistanaise Malala, Prix Nobel de la paix. Des personnages sanctifiés, béatifiés, au contact desquels s’opère un échange de bons procédés qui permet aux gros poissons du monde des affaires de se procurer à coups de contributions financières un brevet de bon Samaritain. Au centre de ce jeu de passe-passe, les Clinton jouent les maîtres de cérémonie. Ils ont un pied dans chaque camp, celui des grandes âmes vertueuses et celui, moins reluisant, de l’affairisme entrepreneurial. M. Weinstein personnifiait mieux que quiconque cette Bourse des valeurs morales. (…) Le progressisme de M. Weinstein se mesurait en lauriers au moins autant qu’en dollars. Le prodige de Hollywood siégeait au conseil d’administration de divers organismes à but non lucratif ; les films de sa société, Miramax, récoltaient Oscars et Golden Globes à foison ; en France, il a même reçu la Légion d’honneur. En juin 2017, quatre mois avant qu’éclate le scandale de ses agressions et de ses manœuvres pour réduire au silence les victimes de sa tyrannie sexuelle, le club de la presse de Los Angeles lui décernait encore le Truthteller Award, le prix du « diseur de vérité ». (…) Dans le monde de M. Weinstein, l’engagement politique se place sous le patronage de l’industrie du luxe, à Martha’s Vineyard comme dans les Hamptons — deux hauts lieux de la jet-set américaine —, au gala de soutien d’un candidat comme à une soirée de bienfaisance. (…) Dans le monde des grandes fortunes, le progressisme fait office de machine à laver pour rendre sa rapacité plus présentable. (…) Bien des gens de gauche se perçoivent comme des résistants à l’autorité. Mais, aux yeux de certains de ses dirigeants, la gauche moderne est un moyen de justifier et d’asseoir un pouvoir de classe — celui notamment de la « classe créative », comme certains aiment à désigner la crème de Wall Street, de la Silicon Valley et de Hollywood. L’idolâtrie dont font l’objet ces icônes du capitalisme découle d’une doctrine politique qui a permis aux démocrates de récolter presque autant d’argent que leurs rivaux républicains et de s’imposer comme les représentants naturels des quartiers résidentiels aisés. Que cette gauche néolibérale mondaine attire des personnages comme M. Weinstein, avec leur capacité prodigieuse à lever des fonds et leur révérence pour les « grands artistes », n’a rien pour nous surprendre. Dans ces cercles qui mêlent bonne conscience et sentiment de supériorité sociale, où se cultive la fiction d’un rapport intime entre classes populaires et célébrités du showbiz, le cofondateur de Miramax était comme un poisson dans l’eau. Ils sont légion, les habitués de ce milieu qui, sachant parfaitement à quoi s’en tenir, prennent à présent de grands airs scandalisés devant les turpitudes d’un des leurs. Leur aveuglement est à la mesure de leur puissance. Ces temps-ci, les voici qui errent dans un labyrinthe de miroirs moraux déformants en versant des larmes d’attendrissement sur leurs vertus et sur leur bon goût. Thomas Frank
Pour la huitième année consécutive, la nationalité française vient d’être désignée meilleure nationalité du monde selon l’Indice de qualité de la nationalité de Kälin et Kochenov (QNI). Pour établir ce constat, les auteurs de cette évaluation s’appuient sur plusieurs critères internes et externes aux pays étudiés tels que la paix et la stabilité, la puissance économique, le développement humain, la liberté de voyager ou de travailler à l’étranger… La nationalité française arrive ainsi en tête du classement avec un score de 83,5%, juste devant la nationalité allemande et néerlandaise à égalité avec 82,8%. Le Danemark complète le podium (81,7%). D’autres grands pays sont loin derrière. Ainsi, le Royaume-Uni arrive huitième (80,3%). Et la nationalité britannique devrait dégringoler dans les prochaines années avec le Brexit, selon l’étude de Kälin et Kochenov. La nationalité américaine se classe pour sa part 25e (70%), la nationalité chinoise 56e (44,3%) et la russe 62e (42%). BFMTV
Nous devrions être très reconnaissants à Francesco Duina pour son nouveau livre, Broke and Patriotic: Pourquoi les Américains pauvres aiment leur pays. Il commence par le dilemme suivant. Les pauvres aux États-Unis sont à bien des égards moins bien lotis que dans les autres pays riches, mais ils sont plus patriotes que les pauvres de ces autres pays et encore plus patriotes que les riches de leur propre pays. Leur pays est (parmi les pays riches) au sommet en termes d’inégalité et de soutien social, et pourtant ils croient de manière écrasante que les États-Unis sont «fondamentalement meilleurs que les autres pays». Pourquoi? Duina n’essaya pas de résoudre ce problème pour lui-même. Il est sorti et a enquêté sur les pauvres patriotes en Alabama et au Montana. Il a trouvé des variations entre ces deux endroits, par exemple des personnes aimant le gouvernement pour les avoir un peu aidées et des personnes aimant le gouvernement pour ne pas les aider du tout. Il a trouvé des variations entre les hommes et les femmes et les groupes raciaux, mais surtout un intense patriotisme construit autour de mythes et de phrases identiques. (…) Duina est très respectueux de tous ceux à qui il a parlé et très académique dans sa prose. Mais il cite suffisamment de déclarations de ses interlocuteurs pour indiquer clairement, à mon sens, que leur patriotisme est en grande partie une foi religieuse délibérément délirante basée sur l’ignorance et l’évitement des faits. Tout comme les moins fortunés sont un peu plus religieux, ils sont aussi un peu plus patriotes et ne font aucune distinction entre les deux. Duina rapporte que beaucoup des personnes avec qui il s’est entretenu l’ont assuré que Dieu favorisait les États-Unis au détriment de tous les autres pays. Un homme a même expliqué son extrême patriotisme et celui des autres comme un besoin religieux de croire en quelque chose qui donne la «dignité». Il existe bien sûr un parallèle avec le racisme américain, comme beaucoup de pauvres Américains de race blanche s’y sont depuis des siècles à la notion qu’au moins ils sont meilleurs que les non-blancs. La croyance qu’au moins un est meilleur que les non-Américains est répandue dans toutes les couches de la population. Duina note que même pour ceux qui luttent le plus désespérément, il peut être plus facile de penser que tout va bien et que le système qui les entoure est plus facile que de reconnaître l’injustice. Paradoxalement, si les gens étaient mieux lotis, leur patriotisme pourrait diminuer. Le patriotisme décline également à mesure que l’éducation augmente. Et il semble que le nombre de types d’informations et d’attitudes données sera réduit. Tout comme on a constaté que les gens préféraient bombarder un pays en proportion inverse de leur capacité à le localiser correctement sur une carte, je suppose qu’ils seraient un peu moins susceptibles de croire que les États-Unis les traitent mieux que les pays scandinaves s’ils connaissaient les faits. sur les pays scandinaves. Actuellement, ils ne le décident pas. Duina cite des personnes qui lui ont assuré que tous les Suédois fuient la Suède dès qu’ils ont terminé leurs études universitaires gratuites, que le Canada peut avoir des soins de santé, mais qu’il est une dictature, qu’en Allemagne ou en Russie ils vous couperont la main ou la langue, que au Japon communiste, on vous coupera la tête pour avoir parlé contre le président, etc. Toutes ces croyances, toutes dans le même sens (dénigrer les autres nations), sont-elles des erreurs innocentes? Un homme assure à Duina que les autres nations sont inférieures parce qu’elles se livrent à des exécutions publiques, puis plaide en faveur de telles exécutions aux États-Unis. Un certain nombre de personnes déclarent supérieur aux États-Unis parce qu’il jouit de la liberté de religion et rejettent ensuite l’idée qu’un non-chrétien puisse jamais être président des États-Unis. Les sans-abri lui assurent que les États-Unis sont le pays par excellence des opportunités. Beaucoup parlent de «liberté» et dans de nombreux cas, ils désignent les libertés énumérées dans le Bill of Rights, mais dans d’autres, ils désignent la liberté de marcher et de conduire. Ils opposent cette liberté de circuler avec les dictatures, bien qu’ils n’aient que peu ou pas d’expérience, bien que cela semble mieux contraster avec ce que les Américains pauvres connaissent probablement davantage: l’incarcération de masse. La conviction que les guerres sur des nations étrangères sont bénéfiques pour leurs victimes et constituent des actes de générosité semble presque universelle, et les nations étrangères sont souvent décriées pour la présence de guerres (sans se rendre compte que nombre de ces guerres impliquent l’armée américaine, qui est financée des millions de fois. financement nécessaire pour éliminer la pauvreté aux États-Unis). Un homme croit que le Vietnam est toujours divisé en deux comme la Corée. Un autre estime que le président irakien a invité les États-Unis à l’attaquer. Un autre est tout simplement fier du fait que les États-Unis ont «la meilleure armée». Interrogés sur le drapeau des États-Unis, beaucoup expriment immédiatement leur fierté concernant la «liberté» et les «guerres». Quelques libertaires ont exprimé leur soutien à l’idée de ramener des troupes à la maison, accusant ainsi d’autres nations réticence à être civilisé – y compris ceux du Moyen-Orient, qui «n’a jamais été civilisé». (…)  L’existence même de pays moins bien lotis et d’immigrants fuyant vers les États-Unis est généralement considérée comme la preuve du statut de plus grande nation sur Terre, même si d’autres pays riches sont mieux lotis et plus désirés par les immigrants. Les résultats incluent un public passif prêt à absorber d’énormes injustices, un public disposé à suivre les politiciens qui promettent de les tromper mais à le faire patriquement, un public favorable aux guerres et au mépris du droit international et de la coopération, et un public disposé à rejeter les avancées dans les lois sur les soins de santé ou les armes à feu, les politiques climatiques ou les systèmes éducatifs s’ils sont élaborés dans d’autres pays. Ce livre nous en dit plus sur les origines de Trump que sur les 18 derniers mois de Fox news, mais c’est le moins que l’on puisse dire. David Swanson
As long as they remain deeply patriotic, America’s poor won’t rise up. Indeed, they’ll continue to fill the ranks of the military, strive and sacrifice to help America assert itself in the world, and even feed into and support the slogans and successes of the country’s political leaders – starting with Donald Trump. So, a pressing question arises: why are America’s poor so patriotic? Francesco Duina
I could understand why those Americans who were well-off would be patriotic. But I wanted to understand why low-income Americans are so patriotic when there are reasons to think that they would have issues with their country or its underlying social contract, considering their personal circumstances. (….) What I thought to be a puzzle is, for them, not a puzzle at all. First, they don’t attribute their situation to their country — they don’t say, “I’m in this situation because of the society I live in.” They take ownership of their life histories. And so why would they be resentful toward their country? Also — and this is one of the most moving things that I discovered — if anything, the idea of the greatness of America actually gives them something to hang onto, despite everything. “Everything else has gone poorly for me. Don’t take my being an American away from me, because it’s the one thing that I can still hang onto with pride.” I would push them by saying, “Well, what about rich people? Do you think it’s unfair that they have what they have?” They’d say, “No, they’ve earned everything they’ve made.” (…) One of the interviewees that really struck me was Marshall, in Montana, who chose to be homeless, in a way. He said, “Look, I am so free. I can be homeless, and they don’t force me to go anywhere. I live on the prairie, I’m working on an app right now, and I’m taking a sabbatical from life. What other country would allow me to just do my thing?” That is really a trait of American society in many ways: “We’re all equal and therefore this equality guarantees me some sense of freedom. I may have nothing, but I have that freedom. I can come and go, do whatever I want, and say whatever I want. This country guarantees that.” And the fact that they would recognize and hold onto that was really moving. What I heard satisfied my curiosity. Culturally, the United States is very free — freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of saying and doing whatever you want to do. And they’re accurately describing that. There’s certainly more conformity in many countries, a lot more pressure to do things in certain ways. (…) Many of the people I spoke with perceive the country to be a special project designed to give deliverance, to free humanity from problems that have plagued people throughout history. The hope that the U.S. represents for humanity is what gives them hope and dignity as well, and what makes them continue, despite the odds. Many of them were very optimistic as a result. Something I heard a lot was, “Tomorrow something is going to change. I’m poised for a change.” (…) Yeah, despite all of the data that suggests that, in fact, there’s less social mobility nowadays in the United States than in many other advanced countries, and your personal financial success is tied to contextual and structural things, not personal qualities — there’s clearly a sense that this is a place of enormous wealth, and that the American Dream is still alive. I would say, “But you know, you don’t get as much as other people in other countries.” And they would say, “Well, I don’t know what other people get, but I get a lot. I’m not going to go hungry tonight. There will be kitchens and shelters that I can go to and churches that will help me. So the wealth will reach me. And if I have a problem, it’s my problem, not the system’s problem.” (…) I think this discourse of American greatness is something that Trump tapped into very, very much. To the extent that one wonders why “Make America great again” resonated so well, you have elements of the answer in this book, whether with low-income people or middle-class people. I would think that Bernie Sanders also tapped into it a bit, but in a very different way. (…) My respondents have a genuine attachment to the idea of America, and I think that’s because, in the end, what one discovers is that America is for the people and the people own it. We should all try and understand their patriotism. Much depends on it. They contribute heavily to the military — their investment in the country, in a way, contributes to stability and social peace. As long as they believe in the American Dream and in the United States as a country they are unlikely to demand fundamental changes of society. And so, if we want to understand why the United States is a stable country, we have to understand why people latch on so tightly to it, even though they appear to be suffering and getting a lot less than the poor elsewhere. Francesco Duina
[how Donald Trump was able to win the 2016 presidential election] I think there are two or three reasons. One is nationalism. National identity is especially important to certain sections of the population, but I think that the Democratic Party has assumed a type of « global elite, » East Coast-West Coast mentality. In so doing, I think it has forgotten a bit about national identity. For those who feel like many other things in their lives have fallen by the wayside, such a person could hear “Make America Great Again » and it would resonate. I also think that people who voted for Trump were, as he said, « not interested in that P.C. stuff. » Sociologists and others would rephrase « political correctness » as « collective demands for equality. » This is a way of saying that these collective identities — whether it’s blacks, gays, women, etc. — demand things from the government as a matter of right. To be clear, I would agree that those demands are legitimate. In a way this is, historically speaking, a non-American thing. It goes against the tradition of individualism. You have certain basic rights as an individual, not as a group. I think the people who voted for Trump by and large could be characterized as more individualistic-oriented. They lack interest in the government providing things for them and are more interested in the government getting out of their way. His voters and other supporters also feel that the government is corrupt and catering to all sorts of people instead of them. (…) I think the Trump supporters were, in a way, reacting against identity politics. (…) His voters and other supporters wouldn’t say that they are embracing white supremacy at all. They would say, « I’m embracing true American values that are values of individualism and civic nationalism based on certain principles. » They would also say, like Trump, “I am not racist. I don’t hate anybody. I love women, I love gays and I love everybody. » (…) That goes back to this sense of individual self-determination. They feel that they are unable to determine their own future as hard-working individuals, which should be the key to success in America. They think to themselves, “Well we do work hard, yet we’re unable to be successful because the government has been helping ‘special interests’ but also corporate America. » As you said, these people also don’t want to be told what to do. (….) Another way of thinking about it that I find useful is to differentiate between the nation and the state. I think that Trump ran a campaign that was based on the nation, not the state. The state was made the culprit, almost. It was a partner in crime. It’s a swamp. The state has not done its job. It has, over the decades, done the wrong things — gone against the fundamental American values of individual self-determination and colorblindness and all of these things. On the other hand, I think Trump has said we need to go back to the nation. The nation is good. We need to rescue it. He played the « nation card, » and it worked fantastically. We also need to define terms. The nation is the fundamental social contract, which in every country is a bit different. In the American case, it is civic individualism, based on certain civic values such as self-determination and freedom and the like. That’s what is celebrated. That’s the key to how Trump won. That’s why it doesn’t matter what you throw at him and his supporters. It can be logic, it can be fact. It doesn’t matter whether Trump contradicts himself one moment or the other because that’s not what they’re listening to. He is just a provocateur, as a revolutionary agent against the status quo. (…) Symbols of patriotism are everywhere in America. National anthems at major sport events, the Pledge of Allegiance in schools, flags everywhere. Then you see those flags outside of homes which are not well kept, but somebody with barely any means has a flag pole with a big American flag. Over the years I started wondering about that: It just doesn’t make sense to me. The poor in America are actually worse off by most measures than the poor in other advanced countries. Whether it’s the number of hours worked, the social safety net, intergenerational mobility, you name it. But by most measures, the American poor are the most patriotic, compared to the poor elsewhere, and certainly relative to rich Americans. (…) What is a puzzle for you and me is actually not a puzzle for them at all. It is, in fact, the opposite. It is precisely because so many things have gone wrong for them that they get so much mileage out of being an American, which still happens to be a very prestigious national identity. One could argue that in a way it gives them a sense of identity like nothing else. They’re hanging on to it precisely because they have nothing else to hang on to. Saying they are possessed by false consciousness is actually a condescending take. Because when you talk to these people they are quite knowledgeable about American history. They are quite knowledgeable about the American social contract. They don’t have their history wrong. I think they’re being too harsh on themselves. They also differentiate between themselves and the government and say, “What happened to me is my responsibility.” In the end, they hang onto this idea. They feel motivated to continue and to do better the next morning. Many of them said that. I would push back and ask, « Have you reconciled what happened to you with your love of country? Didn’t you get screwed? » They would respond, “No, what happened to me is my thing.” This is not false consciousness. This is a true sense of dignity that they get from the social contract as they perceive it. (…) The God thing, I should say, was also very prevalent. This sense that they’re walking with God and that America is God’s country. God loves America more than he loves other countries. This sense, still, of walking with God in God’s country, trying to do the right thing. (…) Why don’t the poor rise up and rebel in America? Well, I think I discovered that part of the reason is that they still believe in the nation. Not necessarily the state, but the nation. They still believe in it. Well, if they do, then they’re not going to ask for a major rewrite of the social contract. Maybe, if you want to be cynical about it, it is a way of perpetuating the inequality and the status quo. At the same time, I felt enormous power and self-determination and hope and knowledge. (…) One fellow said to me, « It’s got to be choices. It’s got be bad choices or good choices, but it’s got to be choices. It comes down to choices. » But this same man had just told me how his father had beaten him up all his life. He was 14 years old and homeless; he ran away. Those are not choices. It was very difficult to get them away from that type of thinking. They thought that the rich essentially deserved it. The rich were generous. They get a lot of things as a result of that. (…) Now, I also spoke to a few people — out of the 90 total, three or four — who were not so patriotic. They would talk about feeling that the system has duped us. They want to rip up the American flag. We are invaders of other countries. There’s imperialism. The rich don’t care for us. The government doesn’t care for us. One guy told me that American nationalism and the American flag reminded him of a bunch of preppy boys at a fraternity party at some university. But no matter how you measure it, the poor in America are very patriotic. Francesco Duina
Why do the worst-off American citizens love their country so much? Patriotism may be defined as a belief in the greatness, if not superiority, of one’s country relative to others. Depending on how one defines the term exactly, somewhere between 85 to 90% of America’s poor are “patriotic.” They would rather be citizens of their country, for instance, than of any other country on Earth, and they think America is a better place than most other places in the world. This is striking for at least three reasons. First, those are very high figures in absolute terms. Secondly, the corresponding figures for working class, middle class, and upper class Americans are generally lower. And, thirdly, the worst-off in most other advanced nations are also less patriotic than America’s—even in countries where people receive better social benefits from their government, work fewer hours, and have better chances of upward intergenerational mobility than their counterparts in the United States. Why are America’s poor so patriotic? The short answer is: We don’t know for sure. And we should, because so much depends on the patriotism of poor Americans. Their love of country contributes to social stability, informs and supports America’s understanding of itself as a special place, and is essential for military recruitment. It is also a force that can be tapped into by politicians eager to rally a large contingent of voters. (…) I came away with three overarching insights. First, many view the United States as the “last hope”—for themselves and the world. Their strong sense is that the country offers its people a sense of dignity, a closeness to God, and answers to most of humanity’s problems. Deprive us of our country, the people I met told me, and you deprive us of the only thing that is left for us to hang on to. (…) In my interviews, people separated the country’s possibilities from their own frustrations; many took full responsibility for their own troubles in life. That comment connected to a second insight. America appeals to the poor because it is rich. “The land of milk and honey” was a phrase I heard often. The poor see it as a place where those who work hard have a chance to succeed. In my interviews, people separated the country’s possibilities from their own frustrations; many took full responsibility for their own troubles in life. “People make their own life, make their own money the way that they wanna make it and however much they wanna make it,” said Jeff, a white man in a bus station in Billings, Montana. Many saw this as an American virtue. Here, at least, your failures belong to you. Your chances aren’t taken away by others. “If you fail,” said Harley, a vet now on food stamps, “gotta be bad choices.” This sentiment was articulated with particular frequency by African American interviewees in Alabama—something that particularly struck me, given the legacies of slavery and segregation in that part of the country. For the same reason, many were confident that the future was about to bring them better things. Several felt that they had just turned a corner—perhaps with God on their side. Rich Americans, they told me, deserve what they have. Besides, they added, look at the rest of the world: They keep trying to come to America. This must be the place to be. That related to a third source of pride in the nation: America is the freest country on earth. Many of the people I met spoke of feeling very free to come and go from different places, and to think as they wish. America allows people to be as they want, with few preconceived notions about what the good life should look like. Such a narrative took on libertarian tones in Montana. For some, this included the freedom to be homeless, if they choose. As Marshall, a young, white homeless man, told me in Billings, “it’s a very free country. I mean, I’m actually, I live on the streets, I’m kinda choosing to do that … sabbatical. Nobody bothers me for it; I’m not bothering anybody. I got my own little nook. There are other places in the world where I’d be forced into some place to shelter up or, you know, herded off or … jailed.” When conversations turned to freedom, guns were often mentioned. Guns give one security and make hunting possible—enabling one to feed one’s self and family. I was accordingly often reminded that Americans rebelled against the English by making guns. Guns equal freedom. And America, thankfully, ensures gun ownership. Taken together, these conversations helped me understand that the patriotism of the poor is rooted in a widespread belief that America belongs to its people. There is a bottom-up, instinctive, protective, and intense identification with the country. This is a people’s country. Of course, some of this patriotism is clearly grounded in misconceptions about other countries. One person told me that there are only two democracies in the world: Israel and the United States. Another told me that Japan is a communist country. Yet another that in Germany one’s tongue can get cut off for a minor crime. Many also assumed that other countries are poorer than they really are. But these were almost tangential reflections that further justified—rather than drive—their commitment to the country. They seldom came up on their own unless I asked about the limitations of other countries. As I completed my interviews and reflected on what I heard from these patriots, I realized that their beliefs about America are not a puzzle to be solved. In America, there is no contradiction between one’s difficult life trajectories and one’s love of country. If anything, those in difficulty have more reasons than most of us to believe in the promise of America. Francesco Duina
Being poor in America is terrible in a lot of ways. But even the poorest American is ensured a vote upon turning 18, their day in court if charged with a crime with a jury of their peers, a right to a public defender, their right to speak their mind and criticize anyone in government without the state prosecuting him, their right to assemble and protest, the right to own a firearm if they have no mental impairment or criminal record, no search or seizure of their property without a warrant, rights against self-incrimination, the right to believe whatever religion they want or none at all, and the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. There are wealthy moguls in China who don’t have half those rights I’d argue the more interesting question is not why do the poor assess living the United States so positively, but why the wealthy assess living the United States so negatively? (And why is there often an implicit assumption that the wealthy see their country clearly and accurately, while the poor do not?) Perhaps the remarkable opportunities of the wealthy give them a skewed view of life at home and abroad. Yes, a wealthy person is more likely to have traveled to more foreign countries, and have more firsthand experience with life in other countries. But what do they see in their encounters with other countries? The life of a wealthy person in New York is not all that different from the life of a wealthy person in London or Paris or Dubai or Tokyo or Shanghai. It’s not surprising that almost everyone at the Davos conference gets along well. They’ve all been to the best schools, they all enjoyed enormous opportunities in their careers, they all dress in similar tailored suits, live well, eat well, enjoy the finer things in life . . . It is unsurprising that a CEO from Silicon Valley meets a CEO from Switzerland and, after chatting over a tray of canapes, concludes they’re not so different after all.If you have been lucky enough to stay or even just step inside more than one luxury hotel in more than one world capital, you’ll realize they all look more or less the same. The lobby of the Four Seasons doesn’t look all that different from one in the Mandarin Oriental, which doesn’t look all that different from the one in Ritz-Carlton, and most of us would be stumped if we had to pick out which one was which, and in which city. There’s a worldwide homogeny to the signifiers of the luxury lifestyle. While there’s a lot of overwrought denunciation of “globalists” out there these days, it’s safe to conclude that most of the wealthy elite in any given nation have more in common with other countries’ wealthy elites than with their own countrymen. (…) You’re more likely to spot symbols of religious faith, flags, sports team paraphernalia — all kinds of displays that declare, ‘this is where we come from, this is who we are, this is why we’re proud to be who we are.’ It is not surprising that poor and middle-class citizens would find “globalism” as an odd and not-that-appealing prospect, and express patriotism (and perhaps nationalism) in ways that wealthier, more cosmopolitan citizens find naive and parochial. Jim Geraghty

Attention: une question peut en cacher une autre !

En ces temps d’inversions généralisées …

Où il faut à présent construire des murs

Pour empêcher d’entrer des gens qui, nous dit-on, ne veulent même plus de l’Amérique …

Où non seulement les pauvres ne votent plus à gauche

Mais les riches ne votent plus à droite

Comment à la lecture des propos du sociologue  américain Francesco Duina …

Sur son livre « Pourquoi les Américains pauvres aiment leur pays » …

Ne pas voir en creux l’incroyable meilleur des mondes où vivent tant de nos intellectuels …

Où l’on se paie le luxe non seulement du meilleur du confort matériel …

Mais, entre condescendance et pur mépris social, de la tranquille inconscience

De sa propre contribution et responsabilité personnelle et collective …

Dans l’origine, entre délocalisations et immigration sauvage, des difficiles conditions de vie que l’on fait semblant de déplorer …

Chez ces « déplorables accrochés à leurs armes et à leur religion » …

A qui il ne reste plus, incarné par le Trump honni, que leur identité nationale ?

Mais surtout comment ne pas se poser …

Sur ces gens qui après leur avoir pris tout le reste voudraient en plus leur prendre l’amour de leur pays …

La pourtant évidente question – et seule en fait véritable surprise – que suppose cette énième recherche …

Dont parlait déjà il y a plus de 30 ans l’historien américain Christopher Lasch

A savoir pourquoi cette « sécession des élites » …

Qui pousse ces Américains si (culturellement) riches

A tant détester leur propre pays ?

Pourquoi les pauvres patriotes?
David Swanson
World beyond war
Juin 15, 2018

Nous devrions être très reconnaissants à Francesco Duina pour son nouveau livre, Broke and Patriotic: Pourquoi les Américains pauvres aiment leur pays. Il commence par le dilemme suivant. Les pauvres aux États-Unis sont à bien des égards moins bien lotis que dans les autres pays riches, mais ils sont plus patriotes que les pauvres de ces autres pays et encore plus patriotes que les riches de leur propre pays. Leur pays est (parmi les pays riches) au sommet en termes d’inégalité et de soutien social, et pourtant ils croient de manière écrasante que les États-Unis sont «fondamentalement meilleurs que les autres pays». Pourquoi?

Duina n’essaya pas de résoudre ce problème pour lui-même. Il est sorti et a enquêté sur les pauvres patriotes en Alabama et au Montana. Il a trouvé des variations entre ces deux endroits, par exemple des personnes aimant le gouvernement pour les avoir un peu aidées et des personnes aimant le gouvernement pour ne pas les aider du tout. Il a trouvé des variations entre les hommes et les femmes et les groupes raciaux, mais surtout un intense patriotisme construit autour de mythes et de phrases identiques.

Je pense qu’il convient de souligner que les Américains les plus riches ne sont que légèrement moins patriotes que les Américains pauvres, et que la question morale de savoir pourquoi on devrait aimer une institution qui cause de grandes souffrances aux autres est identique à celle de pourquoi on devrait aimer une institution qui crée de grandes choses. souffrance personnelle (et que la plus grande souffrance créée par le gouvernement des États-Unis se situe en dehors des États-Unis). Je soupçonne qu’une grande partie de ce que Duina a trouvé parmi les pauvres pourrait se retrouver dans certaines variations parmi les moins pauvres.

Duina est très respectueux de tous ceux à qui il a parlé et très académique dans sa prose. Mais il cite suffisamment de déclarations de ses interlocuteurs pour indiquer clairement, à mon sens, que leur patriotisme est en grande partie une foi religieuse délibérément délirante basée sur l’ignorance et l’évitement des faits. Tout comme les moins fortunés sont un peu plus religieux, ils sont aussi un peu plus patriotes et ne font aucune distinction entre les deux. Duina rapporte que beaucoup des personnes avec qui il s’est entretenu l’ont assuré que Dieu favorisait les États-Unis au détriment de tous les autres pays. Un homme a même expliqué son extrême patriotisme et celui des autres comme un besoin religieux de croire en quelque chose qui donne la «dignité». Il existe bien sûr un parallèle avec le racisme américain, comme beaucoup de pauvres Américains de race blanche s’y sont depuis des siècles à la notion qu’au moins ils sont meilleurs que les non-blancs. La croyance qu’au moins un est meilleur que les non-Américains est répandue dans toutes les couches de la population.

Duina note que même pour ceux qui luttent le plus désespérément, il peut être plus facile de penser que tout va bien et que le système qui les entoure est plus facile que de reconnaître l’injustice. Paradoxalement, si les gens étaient mieux lotis, leur patriotisme pourrait diminuer. Le patriotisme décline également à mesure que l’éducation augmente. Et il semble que le nombre de types d’informations et d’attitudes données sera réduit. Tout comme on a constaté que les gens préféraient bombarder un pays en proportion inverse de leur capacité à le localiser correctement sur une carte, je suppose qu’ils seraient un peu moins susceptibles de croire que les États-Unis les traitent mieux que les pays scandinaves s’ils connaissaient les faits. sur les pays scandinaves. Actuellement, ils ne le décident pas.

Duina cite des personnes qui lui ont assuré que tous les Suédois fuient la Suède dès qu’ils ont terminé leurs études universitaires gratuites, que le Canada peut avoir des soins de santé, mais qu’il est une dictature, qu’en Allemagne ou en Russie ils vous couperont la main ou la langue, que au Japon communiste, on vous coupera la tête pour avoir parlé contre le président, etc. Toutes ces croyances, toutes dans le même sens (dénigrer les autres nations), sont-elles des erreurs innocentes? Un homme assure à Duina que les autres nations sont inférieures parce qu’elles se livrent à des exécutions publiques, puis plaide en faveur de telles exécutions aux États-Unis. Un certain nombre de personnes déclarent supérieur aux États-Unis parce qu’il jouit de la liberté de religion et rejettent ensuite l’idée qu’un non-chrétien puisse jamais être président des États-Unis. Les sans-abri lui assurent que les États-Unis sont le pays par excellence des opportunités.

Beaucoup parlent de «liberté» et dans de nombreux cas, ils désignent les libertés énumérées dans le Bill of Rights, mais dans d’autres, ils désignent la liberté de marcher et de conduire. Ils opposent cette liberté de circuler avec les dictatures, bien qu’ils n’aient que peu ou pas d’expérience, bien que cela semble mieux contraster avec ce que les Américains pauvres connaissent probablement davantage: l’incarcération de masse.

La conviction que les guerres sur des nations étrangères sont bénéfiques pour leurs victimes et constituent des actes de générosité semble presque universelle, et les nations étrangères sont souvent décriées pour la présence de guerres (sans se rendre compte que nombre de ces guerres impliquent l’armée américaine, qui est financée des millions de fois. financement nécessaire pour éliminer la pauvreté aux États-Unis). Un homme croit que le Vietnam est toujours divisé en deux comme la Corée. Un autre estime que le président irakien a invité les États-Unis à l’attaquer. Un autre est tout simplement fier du fait que les États-Unis ont «la meilleure armée». Interrogés sur le drapeau des États-Unis, beaucoup expriment immédiatement leur fierté concernant la «liberté» et les «guerres». Quelques libertaires ont exprimé leur soutien à l’idée de ramener des troupes à la maison, accusant ainsi d’autres nations réticence à être civilisé – y compris ceux du Moyen-Orient, qui «n’a jamais été civilisé».

Il existe un soutien similaire similaire à la prolifération incroyablement destructrice d’armes à feu aux États-Unis, qui contribue à la supériorité de ce pays.

Une faute attribuée à d’autres pays est de priver les enfants de leurs parents. Pourtant, on suppose au moins que certains condamnant cette pratique ont trouvé un moyen de s’excuser ou de ne pas en prendre conscience dans les nouvelles récentes aux États-Unis.

L’un des défauts les plus communs, cependant, est de couper la tête des gens. Cela semble être une vision si commune de ce qui ne va pas avec les pays étrangers, que je me demande même si le soutien des États-Unis à l’Arabie saoudite est en partie motivé par un moyen aussi efficace de garder la population américaine sous sédation.

D’une manière ou d’une autre, le public américain a été persuadé de toujours comparer les États-Unis avec les pays pauvres, y compris ceux dans lesquels le gouvernement américain soutient des dictateurs brutaux ou impose des souffrances économiques, et jamais avec les pays riches. L’existence même de pays moins bien lotis et d’immigrants fuyant vers les États-Unis est généralement considérée comme la preuve du statut de plus grande nation sur Terre, même si d’autres pays riches sont mieux lotis et plus désirés par les immigrants.

Les résultats incluent un public passif prêt à absorber d’énormes injustices, un public disposé à suivre les politiciens qui promettent de les tromper mais à le faire patriquement, un public favorable aux guerres et au mépris du droit international et de la coopération, et un public disposé à rejeter les avancées dans les lois sur les soins de santé ou les armes à feu, les politiques climatiques ou les systèmes éducatifs s’ils sont élaborés dans d’autres pays.

Ce livre nous en dit plus sur les origines de Trump que sur les 18 derniers mois de Foxnews, mais c’est le moins que l’on puisse dire.

##

Les livres de David Swanson incluent Guérir l’exceptionnalisme.

Voir aussi:

Why Are the Poor Patriotic?
David Swanson

Peaceworker

We should be very grateful to Francesco Duina for his new book, Broke and Patriotic: Why Poor Americans Love Their Country. He begins with the following dilemma. The poor in the United States are in many ways worse off than in other wealthy countries, but they are more patriotic than are the poor in those other countries and even more patriotic than are wealthier people in their own country. Their country is (among wealthy countries) tops in inequality, and bottoms in social support, and yet they overwhelmingly believe that the United States is “fundamentally better than other countries.” Why?

Duina didn’t try to puzzle this one out for himself. He went out and surveyed patriotic poor people in Alabama and Montana. He found variations between those two places, such as people loving the government for helping them a little bit and people loving the government for not helping them at all. He found variations between men and women and racial groups, but mostly he found intense patriotism built around identical myths and phrases.

I think it’s worth pointing out that wealthier Americans are only slightly less patriotic than poor Americans, and that the moral question of why one should love an institution that creates great suffering for others is identical to that of why one should love an institution that creates great suffering for oneself (and that the greatest suffering the United States government creates is outside the United States). I suspect that much of what Duina found among the poor could be found in some variation among the less poor.

Duina is very respectful of everyone he spoke with, and very academic in his prose. But he quotes enough of his interviewees’ statements to make it quite clear, I think, that their patriotism is largely a willfully delusional religious faith based on ignorance of and avoidance of facts. Just as the less wealthy are a bit more religious, they are also a bit more patriotic, and they draw no clear line between the two. Duina reports that many of the people he spoke with assured him that God favored the United States above all other nations. One man even explained his own and others’ extreme patriotism as a religious need to believe in something when struggling, something to provide “dignity.” There is, of course, a parallel to U.S. racism, as many poor white Americans for centuries have clung to the notion that at least they are better than non-whites. The belief that at least one is better than non-Americans is widespread across every demographic.

Duina notes that even for those struggling most desperately a belief that all is right and just with the system around them can be easier on the mind than recognizing injustice. If people were better off, paradoxically, their patriotism might decrease. Patriotism also declines as education increases. And it seems likely to decline as particular types of information and attitudes are conveyed. Just as people have been found to favor bombing a nation in inverse proportion to their ability to correctly locate it on a map, I suspect people would be marginally less likely to believe the United States treats them better than a Scandinavian country would if they knew facts about Scandinavian countries. They currently decidedly do not.

Duina quotes people who assured him that every Swede flees Sweden as soon as they’ve completed their free college education, that Canada may have healthcare but is a dictatorship, that in Germany or Russia they’ll cut off your hand or your tongue, that in communist Japan they’ll cut off your head for speaking against the president, etc. Can all of these beliefs, all in the same direction (that of disparaging other nations) be innocent errors? One man assures Duina that other nations are inferior because they engage in public executions, and then advocates for public executions in the United States. A number of people declare the United States superior because it has freedom of religion, and then reject the idea that any non-Christian can ever be U.S. president. Homeless people assure him that the United States is the quintessential land of opportunity.

Many speak of “freedom,” and in many cases they mean the freedoms listed in the Bill of Rights, but in others they mean the freedom to walk or drive. They contrast this freedom to move about with dictatorships, despite having little or no experience with dictatorships, although it seems best contrasted with something poor Americans are likely to have a lot more familiarity with: mass incarceration.

The belief that wars on foreign nations benefit their victims and are acts of generosity seems nearly universal, and foreign nations are often disparaged for having wars present (with no apparent awareness that many of those wars involve the U.S. military which is funded with millions of times the funding that would be required to eliminate poverty in the United States). One man believes that Vietnam is still divided in half like Korea. Another believes the president of Iraq invited the United States to attack it. Another simply takes pride in the United States having “the best military.” When asked about the U.S. flag, many immediately express pride in “freedom” and “wars.” A few libertarians expressed support for bringing troops home, blaming other nations for their unwillingness to be civilized — including those of the Middle East, which has “never been civilized.”

There is similar strong support for the incredibly destructive proliferation of guns in the United States as something that makes the United States superior.

One fault attributed to other countries is taking children away from parents, yet one assumes that at least some who condemn that practice have found a way to excuse it or not become aware of it in recent news from the United States.

One of the more common faults, though, is chopping people’s heads off. This seems such a common view of what is wrong with foreign countries, that I almost wonder if U.S. support for Saudi Arabia is in part motivated by such an effective means of keeping the U.S. population sedated.

Somehow, the U.S. public has been persuaded to always compare the United States with poor countries, including countries where the U.S. government supports brutal dictators or imposes economic suffering, and never with wealthy countries. The very existence of countries that are worse off, and from which immigrants flee to the United States is generally taken as proof of Greatest Nation on Earth status, even though other wealthy nations are better off and more desired by immigrants.

The results include a passive public willing to absorb huge injustices, a public willing to follow politicians who promise to screw them but to do so patriotically, a public supportive of wars and dismissive of international law and cooperation, and a public willing to reject advances in healthcare or gun laws or climate policies or education systems if they are made in other countries.

This book tells us more about where Trump came from than the past 18 months of cable news, but Trump is the least of it.Φ

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie and Curing Exceptionalism. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.

Voir également:

The Patriotism of the Poor Isn’t So Mysterious
Jim Geraghty
National Review
November 21, 2019

Francesco Duina is professor of sociology at Bates College and author of Broke and Patriotic: Why Poor Americans Love Their Country. Over in the Guardian, he grapples with what strikes him as a surprising and troubling phenomenon:

The World Values Survey indicate that 100% of Americans who belong to the lowest income group are either “very” or “quite” proud of their country. This isn’t the case for any other major advanced country in the world. These positive feelings are also resilient: they intensified, in fact, during the Great Recession of the late 2000s.

As long as they remain deeply patriotic, America’s poor won’t rise up. Indeed, they’ll continue to fill the ranks of the military, strive and sacrifice to help America assert itself in the world, and even feed into and support the slogans and successes of the country’s political leaders.

I realize that these days, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews is now the subject of jokes about unregulated methane emissions, but way back in 2002 he wrote a book, Now Let Me Tell You What I Really Think that included a clarifying anecdote from Matthews’ days as an armed officer of the U.S. Capitol Police in the 1960s.

But the core of the force was made up of “lifers” from the military, enlisted guys who’d done long hitches with the Army, Navy, or Marines. I’d spend hours hanging out with these guys. My favorite was Sergeant Leroy Taylor. He was one of those citizen-philosophers who instinctively grasped this country’s real politics, the kind that people live and are ready to die for. He and the other country boys would talk about how they would do anything to defend the Capitol. More than some of the big-shot elected officials, my colleagues in blue revered the place and what it meant to the republic. It wasn’t about them, but about something much bigger.

I will never forget what Leroy once told me and the wisdom it contained: “The little man loves his country, Chris, because it’s all he’s got.”

Being poor in America is terrible in a lot of ways. But even the poorest American is ensured a vote upon turning 18, their day in court if charged with a crime with a jury of their peers, a right to a public defender, their right to speak their mind and criticize anyone in government without the state prosecuting him, their right to assemble and protest, the right to own a firearm if they have no mental impairment or criminal record, no search or seizure of their property without a warrant, rights against self-incrimination, the right to believe whatever religion they want or none at all, and the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. There are wealthy moguls in China who don’t have half those rights.

I’d argue the more interesting question is not why do the poor assess living the United States so positively, but why the wealthy assess living the United States so negatively? (And why is there often an implicit assumption that the wealthy see their country clearly and accurately, while the poor do not?)

Perhaps the remarkable opportunities of the wealthy give them a skewed view of life at home and abroad.

Yes, a wealthy person is more likely to have traveled to more foreign countries, and have more firsthand experience with life in other countries. But what do they see in their encounters with other countries? The life of a wealthy person in New York is not all that different from the life of a wealthy person in London or Paris or Dubai or Tokyo or Shanghai. It’s not surprising that almost everyone at the Davos conference gets along well. They’ve all been to the best schools, they all enjoyed enormous opportunities in their careers, they all dress in similar tailored suits, live well, eat well, enjoy the finer things in life . . . It is unsurprising that a CEO from Silicon Valley meets a CEO from Switzerland and, after chatting over a tray of canapes, concludes they’re not so different after all.

If you have been lucky enough to stay or even just step inside more than one luxury hotel in more than one world capital, you’ll realize they all look more or less the same. The lobby of the Four Seasons doesn’t look all that different from one in the Mandarin Oriental, which doesn’t look all that different from the one in Ritz-Carlton, and most of us would be stumped if we had to pick out which one was which, and in which city. There’s a worldwide homogeny to the signifiers of the luxury lifestyle. While there’s a lot of overwrought denunciation of “globalists” out there these days, it’s safe to conclude that most of the wealthy elite in any given nation have more in common with other countries’ wealthy elites than with their own countrymen.

If you step into lower-class or middle-class person’s house in “flyover country” in the United States, or Morocco, or Israel, or France, or Brazil, you will much more likely to immediately spot distinctions and differences. Even something as simple as tea with grandma is going to be immediately distinctive from country to country — the Japanese tea set is going to look different from the English tea set, and different from the Turkish tea set, and if you see a samovar, there’s a good chance you’re in Russia. If there is Frida Kahlo or Diego Rivera art on the walls, there’s a really good chance the inhabitants are Mexican or have Mexican heritage. You’re more likely to spot symbols of religious faith, flags, sports team paraphernalia — all kinds of displays that declare, ‘this is where we come from, this is who we are, this is why we’re proud to be who we are.’ It is not surprising that poor and middle-class citizens would find “globalism” as an odd and not-that-appealing prospect, and express patriotism (and perhaps nationalism) in ways that wealthier, more cosmopolitan citizens find naive and parochial.

Voir de même:

Data indicates that 100% of Americans who belong to the lowest income group are either ‘very’ or ‘quite’ proud of their country. Why is that?

To be poor anywhere in the world is hard, but being poor in America is especially difficult. While the income of wealthier Americans has grown significantly in the recent decades, the wages of the country’s worst-off have stagnated. The available social benefits (for unemployment, illness or old age, for instance) pale in comparison with those enjoyed by poor people in other advanced countries. America’s poor also work longer hours than their counterparts elsewhere, while their children have less opportunity to escape poverty than if they lived in Europe.

On these and other fronts America has let them down. From time to time, observers, like Thomas Edsall of the New York Times and the former United States secretary of labor Robert Reich, have asked why the poor don’t rebel despite these stark inequities. As the Economist recently put it, “Why aren’t the poor storming the barricades?” For answers, we have to take into account the intensity of their patriotic feelings.

If we define patriotism not only as an attachment to country but also as a belief in its greatness, if not superiority – the brand of patriotism expressed by America’s poor is extraordinary. Data analysis from the authoritative General Social Survey (run by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago) shows that over 90% of America’s poorest would rather be citizens of the United States than of any other nation. The figure is higher than that for working-class, middle-class and upper-class Americans. About 80% also believe that America is a “better” country than most other countries.

In parallel, data from the World Values Survey indicate that 100% of Americans who belong to the lowest income group are either “very” or “quite” proud of their country. This isn’t the case for any other major advanced country in the world. These positive feelings are also resilient: they intensified, in fact, during the Great Recession of the late 2000s.

As long as they remain deeply patriotic, America’s poor won’t rise up. Indeed, they’ll continue to fill the ranks of the military, strive and sacrifice to help America assert itself in the world, and even feed into and support the slogans and successes of the country’s political leaders – starting with Donald Trump. So, a pressing question arises: why are America’s poor so patriotic?

To find out, I spent time in Alabama and Montana, two “hotbeds” of patriotism among the poor as measured with data from the General Social Survey. I headed to urban and rural settings in both states, and spoke to people in bus stations, laundromats, homeless shelters, used clothing stores, senior citizen centers, public libraries and other places. I talked with people of different races, genders, religious and political orientations, histories of military service and ages. The findings were at once striking and humbling.

First, America’s poor still see their country as the “last hope” for themselves specifically and for humanity more generally. Because of its foundational social contract, the country offers each citizen a sense of dignity. As Ray (all names have been disguised), an older African American man in Birmingham, Alabama, told me, only in America is everybody equal in principle to everyone else:

“For me, yeah, it starts with the individual, naturally. And according to our constitution, rules and rights, you know … everybody is afforded that without question … I believe, right, that I can have a conversation not just with you; I could sit down, talk with the President of the United States … you know?” Add to this the lingering traces of Manifest Destiny, the long-held belief that America is God’s country, and why would anyone – especially someone poor – not want to live here? God, I was told by many, loves all of humanity – but God loves America best of all.

Certainly, as one man told me, the government or some leaders have at times gone astray from the country’s promises. But the essence of the nation is pure and unique. And this serves as a lifeline for those who struggle financially. Thus, as Darrius, a middle-aged white man living out of a car in Billings, Montana, with his young and pregnant wife, stated:

“You have to have some shred of dignity. Even the bottom-of the-barrel person has to have some shred of dignity … and so when we’re struggling and we’re super poor and broke and going through all these things, you almost have to believe in something better or higher … and the Americans’ ideals ring on that level because they’re a lot different than maybe other countries’ because the American ideals are supposed to embody those things that are, are like good for humanity, you know … and it’s true.”

Second, to many, America is seen as the land of “milk and honey”. It’s perceived as a rich and generous place, where those who work hard can achieve much. The people I spoke with took personal responsibility for the difficult trajectories they had experienced, even if in fact all odds were stacked against them. As Kysha, an African American woman in her 60s in a shelter in Birmingham, told me, “It’s on you … you got a chance like anyone else … everybody got a chance. Some people don’t wanna do right. You gotta realize that.” America, moreover, gives money to countries all over the world: it’s a place of abundance, that attracts people from all over the world. Under this reasoning, anyone who’s poor in America should be thankful to be here.

Third, the US is seen as the land of freedom – in the physical, spiritual and mental senses. Marshall, a young man from Montana, told me he was homeless by choice because he wanted a “sabbatical” from life. “Nobody bothers me for it, if I am not bothering anybody.” Where else, he asked me, could he be left alone and not be, “you know, herded off or … jailed”? America is seen as a place of self-determination and choice. Guns came up often in my conversations with people. People mentioned them for the very practical reason that they’re needed to hunt for food. How else to put meat on the table or in the freezer? The constitution grants the right to bear arms, and guns are perceived as essential symbols of freedom. Just think back to the American Revolution, when the settlers had to make their own weapons to fight British oppression.

In Montana, these thoughts often took on libertarian tones, while in Alabama they often connected to the civil rights movement. Some variations could also be seen across racial and other dimensions. But, on the whole, they amounted to a surprisingly consistent and strong perspective shared by most of the people I met.

What at first looks like a puzzle may not be a puzzle at all. America’s poor hang on fiercely to the ideals of freedom, dignity, abundance, and self determination that America has long represented precisely because they have so little else to depend on. Is this a kind of delusion on the part of poor Americans? Is there cynicism or exploitation in the country’s continued promotion of those ideals? Or is there nothing negative or sinister about it? Is it merely an example of what’s beautiful and inspiring about the strength and perseverance of the human spirit and, yes, America itself? I leave the answer to you.

  • Francesco Duina is professor of sociology at Bates College. His most recent book is Broke and Patriotic: Why Poor Americans Love Their Country
  • Voir de plus:

The bottom line for impoverished Americans is, of course, that they have less money than their fellow citizens.

Which leads to other things they likely have less of: nutritious food, personal safety, health benefits, vacation time, career opportunities, child care, retirement funds, peace of mind. And the list goes on.

Still, there’s one thing the poorest Americans do possess a lot of: patriotism. It’s a fact: By many measures, the Americans who have the least nevertheless love their country the most, despite ample cause for feeling the opposite.

Paradoxical, no? It struck Professor of Sociology Francesco Duina that way, too. But, as he learned in researching his latest book, it isn’t really a paradox after all.


From his research, Francesco Duina offers three possible reasons why the poorest Americans love their country the most.

New from Stanford University Press, Broke and Patriotic: Why Poor Americans Love Their Country lets economically disadvantaged people explain their devotion to the United States. It’s a collection of views that may move readers to think again about America’s poorest citizens — whose patriotism, as Duina suggests, fueled the White House aspirations of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

+An excerpt from Broke and Patriotic

Visiting four municipalities in Alabama and Montana, Duina interviewed more than 60 subjects who had poverty in common but were otherwise quite diverse. The book is his third study of American culture, after Winning: Reflections on an American Obsession, from 2011, and 2014’s Life Transitions in America.

Duina notes that while social scientists have studied the patriotism of many groups, this is the first research to look specifically at the patriotism of low-income Americans.

What led you to write Broke and Patriotic?

I could understand why those Americans who were well-off would be patriotic. But I wanted to understand why low-income Americans are so patriotic when there are reasons to think that they would have issues with their country or its underlying social contract, considering their personal circumstances.

As you point out, worse-off folks in places like Sweden and France typically enjoy greater public benefits than America’s poor. And yet poor Americans are more patriotic than their counterparts in other wealthy countries.

What I thought to be a puzzle is, for them, not a puzzle at all. First, they don’t attribute their situation to their country — they don’t say, “I’m in this situation because of the society I live in.” They take ownership of their life histories. And so why would they be resentful toward their country?

Also — and this is one of the most moving things that I discovered — if anything, the idea of the greatness of America actually gives them something to hang onto, despite everything. “Everything else has gone poorly for me. Don’t take my being an American away from me, because it’s the one thing that I can still hang onto with pride.”

I would push them by saying, “Well, what about rich people? Do you think it’s unfair that they have what they have?” They’d say, “No, they’ve earned everything they’ve made.”

You describe three common elements, broadly speaking, within your respondents’ love of country. They feel that America represents an exceptional promise of hope, and also that the U.S. is both wealthy and generous — the land of milk and honey. But what hit home for me was how they explained America’s greatness in terms of American freedoms.

One of the interviewees that really struck me was Marshall, in Montana, who chose to be homeless, in a way. He said, “Look, I am so free. I can be homeless, and they don’t force me to go anywhere. I live on the prairie, I’m working on an app right now, and I’m taking a sabbatical from life. What other country would allow me to just do my thing?”

That is really a trait of American society in many ways: “We’re all equal and therefore this equality guarantees me some sense of freedom. I may have nothing, but I have that freedom. I can come and go, do whatever I want, and say whatever I want. This country guarantees that.” And the fact that they would recognize and hold onto that was really moving. What I heard satisfied my curiosity.

Culturally, the United States is very free — freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of saying and doing whatever you want to do. And they’re accurately describing that. There’s certainly more conformity in many countries, a lot more pressure to do things in certain ways.

Many of Duina’s interviewees felt that that social equality helps to guarantee their freedom. (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

A respondent that you call Eddie said the U.S. is “the last best hope of man on earth.” That’s quite a sentiment.

Great guy, very talented. Many of the people I spoke with perceive the country to be a special project designed to give deliverance, to free humanity from problems that have plagued people throughout history. The hope that the U.S. represents for humanity is what gives them hope and dignity as well, and what makes them continue, despite the odds.

Many of them were very optimistic as a result. Something I heard a lot was, “Tomorrow something is going to change. I’m poised for a change.”

And then there’s the American Dream, the U.S. as the land of milk and honey.

Yeah, despite all of the data that suggests that, in fact, there’s less social mobility nowadays in the United States than in many other advanced countries, and your personal financial success is tied to contextual and structural things, not personal qualities — there’s clearly a sense that this is a place of enormous wealth, and that the American Dream is still alive.

I would say, “But you know, you don’t get as much as other people in other countries.” And they would say, “Well, I don’t know what other people get, but I get a lot. I’m not going to go hungry tonight. There will be kitchens and shelters that I can go to and churches that will help me. So the wealth will reach me. And if I have a problem, it’s my problem, not the system’s problem.”

How is this book relevant to our current politics?

I think this discourse of American greatness is something that Trump tapped into very, very much. To the extent that one wonders why “Make America great again” resonated so well, you have elements of the answer in this book, whether with low-income people or middle-class people. I would think that Bernie Sanders also tapped into it a bit, but in a very different way.

Who is the book written for?

People who are interested in understanding the United States, how it functions, what keeps it together — what is at the heart of its social contract, its national identity. My respondents have a genuine attachment to the idea of America, and I think that’s because, in the end, what one discovers is that America is for the people and the people own it.

We should all try and understand their patriotism. Much depends on it. They contribute heavily to the military — their investment in the country, in a way, contributes to stability and social peace. As long as they believe in the American Dream and in the United States as a country they are unlikely to demand fundamental changes of society. And so, if we want to understand why the United States is a stable country, we have to understand why people latch on so tightly to it, even though they appear to be suffering and getting a lot less than the poor elsewhere.

Voir encore:

Why are poor people in America so patriotic? One man went on an odyssey to find outFrancesco Duina visited bus stations and laundromats to find out why inequality’s victims still love America
Chauncey DeVegaSalon

June 11, 2018
By many important measures, the United States is not a democracy. It is an oligarchy.The evidence is not hidden. Ninety percent of the wealth in the United States is held by .1 percent of households. Intergenerational class mobility has been stagnant for several decades. The racial wealth gap continues to persist. It is so extreme that economists and other experts predict that African-Americans as a group will have zero wealth by 2053. « Tax reform » has continued to divert money upward to the very rich and away from all other Americans. Political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page have shown that America’s elected officials are almost wholly unresponsive to the political demands of the average American.There can be no real democracy in a country where the courts have decided that money is speech. Such a power dynamic suppresses the political power of most citizens and grotesquely favors rich people and large corporations.Despite these facts, poor and working-class Americans are extremely patriotic and nationalistic — much more so than any other group in the country.Why is this? How do poor and working-class Americans reconcile such enthusiastic support for a country that has in many ways failed them? Is this a form of false consciousness? What explains the power of cultural myths about meritocracy and individualism, in the face of ample evidence that they do not represent reality for most people? How was Donald Trump able to exploit the patriotism and nationalism of poor and working-class white Americans (and others) to win the White House?In an effort to answer these questions, I recently spoke with sociologist Francesco Duina. He is a professor of sociology at Bates College and the author of the award-winning new book « Broke and Patriotic: Why Poor Americans Love Their Country.« This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.How would you explain how Donald Trump was able to win the 2016 presidential election?I think there are two or three reasons. One is nationalism. National identity is especially important to certain sections of the population, but I think that the Democratic Party has assumed a type of « global elite, » East Coast-West Coast mentality.In so doing, I think it has forgotten a bit about national identity. For those who feel like many other things in their lives have fallen by the wayside, such a person could hear “Make America Great Again » and it would resonate. I also think that people who voted for Trump were, as he said, « not interested in that P.C. stuff. »Sociologists and others would rephrase « political correctness » as « collective demands for equality. » This is a way of saying that these collective identities — whether it’s blacks, gays, women, etc. — demand things from the government as a matter of right. To be clear, I would agree that those demands are legitimate.In a way this is, historically speaking, a non-American thing. It goes against the tradition of individualism. You have certain basic rights as an individual, not as a group. I think the people who voted for Trump by and large could be characterized as more individualistic-oriented. They lack interest in the government providing things for them and are more interested in the government getting out of their way. His voters and other supporters also feel that the government is corrupt and catering to all sorts of people instead of them.There is all this talk about the perils of « identity politics » among liberals and progressives who want to privilege discussions of class inequality over racism and racial inequality. You hear Bernie Sanders and others echoing this narrative: « We need to get away from identity politics if we’re going to win the next election. » How do we respond with the fact that all politics is identity politics? White identity politics has dominated America since before the founding. I think the Trump supporters were, in a way, reacting against identity politics.By embracing white identity politics, white supremacy and white nationalism.Correct, but that’s you and I saying that. His voters and other supporters wouldn’t say that they are embracing white supremacy at all. They would say, « I’m embracing true American values that are values of individualism and civic nationalism based on certain principles. » They would also say, like Trump, “I am not racist. I don’t hate anybody. I love women, I love gays and I love everybody. »Trump is also giving his supporters a sense of value and identity by railing against « the system. » His use of the language and terms like « political correctness » is a way of channeling resentment against experts, the college-educated, nonwhites, bureaucrats and others who his voters feel are telling them what to do.That goes back to this sense of individual self-determination. They feel that they are unable to determine their own future as hard-working individuals, which should be the key to success in America. They think to themselves, “Well we do work hard, yet we’re unable to be successful because the government has been helping ‘special interests’ but also corporate America. » As you said, these people also don’t want to be told what to do.Trump’s white voters — and white Americans as a group — benefit a great deal from government benefits such as tax subsidies [for] educational opportunities not historically allowed to nonwhites. They say that other people are « skipping ahead in line, » but they are the ultimate group that has « skipped ahead in line » in America. But you’re not going to get anywhere talking to Trump’s voters, and most other white people, about those facts.
They don’t feel it. Another way of thinking about it that I find useful is to differentiate between the nation and the state. I think that Trump ran a campaign that was based on the nation, not the state. The state was made the culprit, almost. It was a partner in crime. It’s a swamp. The state has not done its job. It has, over the decades, done the wrong things — gone against the fundamental American values of individual self-determination and colorblindness and all of these things.On the other hand, I think Trump has said we need to go back to the nation. The nation is good. We need to rescue it. He played the « nation card, » and it worked fantastically.We also need to define terms. The nation is the fundamental social contract, which in every country is a bit different. In the American case, it is civic individualism, based on certain civic values such as self-determination and freedom and the like. That’s what is celebrated.That’s the key to how Trump won. That’s why it doesn’t matter what you throw at him and his supporters. It can be logic, it can be fact. It doesn’t matter whether Trump contradicts himself one moment or the other because that’s not what they’re listening to. He is just a provocateur, as a revolutionary agent against the status quo.What was the genesis of your book?Symbols of patriotism are everywhere in America. National anthems at major sport events, the Pledge of Allegiance in schools, flags everywhere. Then you see those flags outside of homes which are not well kept, but somebody with barely any means has a flag pole with a big American flag.Over the years I started wondering about that: It just doesn’t make sense to me. The poor in America are actually worse off by most measures than the poor in other advanced countries. Whether it’s the number of hours worked, the social safety net, intergenerational mobility, you name it. But by most measures, the American poor are the most patriotic, compared to the poor elsewhere, and certainly relative to rich Americans.I wanted to talk to these people and ask, « Why do you love this country so much? Why is it such a prominent aspect of your life? »Americans do not like to talk about class. The old truism holds that everyone is middle-class in America. What was your approach to finding people to speak with? I spent time at places like bus stations, laundromats and homeless shelters. I went to Montana and Alabama. I would begin general conversations with people. Those are places where people usually have a lot of time on their hands.I would start talking to people, waiting for a moment. Maybe there was a basketball game on or something. The American flag shows up and I would say, « Hey, listen, I’m kind of curious: Are you patriotic? Do you like the American flag? » They would start talking to me. Then I would probe a little deeper and then eventually I would say, “Listen, I’m traveling across the country. I would like to talk to you, if you want to, for about a half hour or 45 minutes of your time. I’ll give you a little bit of money, I have some funding. Can we talk? « I think it was rather smooth. I never had any trouble that way. People were very happy to talk. Many of the conversations became very emotional for them, and for me actually, once I got into their life stories and what happened to them over time. These are very poor people, working-class people, who had difficult lives. They really were hanging on to their America that deeply. It was very meaningful for me and for them. I also made sure to ensure variety by traveling to urban and rural areas, men and women, people of different ethnic and racial backgrounds.Why would poor and working-class people be so patriotic? This country has failed them. Is this a form of false consciousness?What is a puzzle for you and me is actually not a puzzle for them at all. It is, in fact, the opposite. It is precisely because so many things have gone wrong for them that they get so much mileage out of being an American, which still happens to be a very prestigious national identity. One could argue that in a way it gives them a sense of identity like nothing else. They’re hanging on to it precisely because they have nothing else to hang on to.Saying they are possessed by false consciousness is actually a condescending take. Because when you talk to these people they are quite knowledgeable about American history. They are quite knowledgeable about the American social contract.They don’t have their history wrong. I think they’re being too harsh on themselves. They also differentiate between themselves and the government and say, “What happened to me is my responsibility.” In the end, they hang onto this idea. They feel motivated to continue and to do better the next morning. Many of them said that.I would push back and ask, « Have you reconciled what happened to you with your love of country? Didn’t you get screwed? » They would respond, “No, what happened to me is my thing.” This is not false consciousness. This is a true sense of dignity that they get from the social contract as they perceive it.In America, aren’t we brainwashed by capitalism through these myths about meritocracy and individualism? Every society has to reproduce itself.I largely agree. But I must ask, who’s not brainwashed? I lived in Denmark for a year and I go to Denmark quite often. I love the society and it’s very humane and has done great in many ways. It’s a different society and an « almost perfect society, » as they describe it. But they are equally collectively hypnotized around their nation and what they call themselves: « the Tribe. » There are plenty of myths about themselves and plenty of stories they tell themselves about who they are. Citizens of Denmark are so homogeneous and so collectively oriented they’re just as brainwashed as anybody else.Who are we to judge? Who am I to judge the person in Montana who tells me, “Yeah, I love the United States. I can own guns and that way I can feed my family.” Of course I can say, “Look, I can go to Canada and do the same thing.” But who am I to judge their logic?How did the people you spoke to narrate the stories of their own lives?I was talking to people who were prostitutes, former drug addicts and current drug addicts. Many were homeless. They would say several things in common. One was that they felt free to come and go and do the things they wanted and also to do and think whatever they wanted. In Montana, I met a young white person in the library who was homeless. I asked him, “Why are you homeless?” He said to me, “I’m homeless because it’s basically a sabbatical from life for me. I’m working on an app.” I thought, that cannot possibly be true. He then said, “In other countries, they would probably force me into a shelter. Whereas here, I can stay homeless and nobody bothers me for it.” I thought to myself, that is amazing.

A type of radical autonomy.

Certainly. Many of them felt very autonomous. Many of these people would also say fantastical things to me like, “Look, I’ve turned a corner a month ago » or « I found God six months ago. Now I’m in good standing before God I don’t drink anymore. On Monday I have a job lined up. » I don’t know if that was true or not.

The God thing, I should say, was also very prevalent. This sense that they’re walking with God and that America is God’s country. God loves America more than he loves other countries. This sense, still, of walking with God in God’s country, trying to do the right thing.

What were some of the conversations and life stories that really moved you?

One person I spoke with was a white woman struggling with brain cancer. She was young. She had three kids. We chatted at a bus station in Colorado but she was from Alabama. She was talking to me about her life. It was very important to her to have her kids read the Pledge of Allegiance, recite it at home. She was struggling to teach them the right values before she dies.

There was an African-American I met in Alabama. She was studying at a community college or the like to be a chef. She said to me, “Life out of country, life out of me.” She was saying: If you take the country away from me, you take the life away from myself; I have to have that. She was in her late 30s or early 40s.

I also met this couple who were living out of a very old Saab. I met them at laundromat in Billings, Montana. He was probably 20 years older than she was. He was probably in his 40s. She was in her early 20s. She had served in the military. He hadn’t.

She was expecting. We had an amazing conversation. They were very articulate and very thoughtful. It was him who said, “We have to be patriotic. You have to have a shred of dignity. Yeah, the system is corrupt, the police are corrupt, we’re being watched by everybody. » Mind you, this is Montana, so they were very libertarian.

Does a person believe that the system is fair because to accept the truth of how unfair and biased it is would be too devastating? 

Why don’t the poor rise up and rebel in America? Well, I think I discovered that part of the reason is that they still believe in the nation. Not necessarily the state, but the nation. They still believe in it.

Well, if they do, then they’re not going to ask for a major rewrite of the social contract. Maybe, if you want to be cynical about it, it is a way of perpetuating the inequality and the status quo. At the same time, I felt enormous power and self-determination and hope and knowledge.

How did the poor and working-class people you spoke with feel about the rich?

I asked that question many times. I would wait for the right moment when, for example, a big Mercedes would drive by. In almost all cases, what I heard was, « They earned it and they made it on their own. Just like my failures and my faults, their successes are their successes. » Now I would challenge that and say, « Come on, you were probably born in a certain context that was not helpful to you. They were probably born in well-to-do families. »

I have these quotes in my head. One fellow said to me, « It’s got to be choices. It’s got be bad choices or good choices, but it’s got to be choices. It comes down to choices. » But this same man had just told me how his father had beaten him up all his life. He was 14 years old and homeless; he ran away. Those are not choices. It was very difficult to get them away from that type of thinking. They thought that the rich essentially deserved it. The rich were generous. They get a lot of things as a result of that. These poor and working-class people actually told me that.

Now, I also spoke to a few people — out of the 90 total, three or four — who were not so patriotic. They would talk about feeling that the system has duped us. They want to rip up the American flag. We are invaders of other countries. There’s imperialism. The rich don’t care for us. The government doesn’t care for us. One guy told me that American nationalism and the American flag reminded him of a bunch of preppy boys at a fraternity party at some university.

But no matter how you measure it, the poor in America are very patriotic.

Voir aussi:

Why Poor Americans Are So Patriotic

Even in Hard Times, Pride in Country Offers Comfort, Security, and the Hope That Life Will Get Better

Why do the worst-off American citizens love their country so much?

Patriotism may be defined as a belief in the greatness, if not superiority, of one’s country relative to others. Depending on how one defines the term exactly, somewhere between 85 to 90% of America’s poor are “patriotic.” They would rather be citizens of their country, for instance, than of any other country on Earth, and they think America is a better place than most other places in the world.

This is striking for at least three reasons. First, those are very high figures in absolute terms. Secondly, the corresponding figures for working class, middle class, and upper class Americans are generally lower. And, thirdly, the worst-off in most other advanced nations are also less patriotic than America’s—even in countries where people receive better social benefits from their government, work fewer hours, and have better chances of upward intergenerational mobility than their counterparts in the United States.

Why are America’s poor so patriotic? The short answer is: We don’t know for sure. And we should, because so much depends on the patriotism of poor Americans. Their love of country contributes to social stability, informs and supports America’s understanding of itself as a special place, and is essential for military recruitment. It is also a force that can be tapped into by politicians eager to rally a large contingent of voters.

To understand this patriotism, I spent parts of 2015 and 2016 in Alabama and Montana—two distinctly different states that are both ‘hotbeds’ of patriotism among the poor. I hung out in laundromats, bus stations, homeless shelters, public libraries, senior citizen centers, used-clothing stores, run-down neighborhoods, and other venues. And I interviewed 63 poor Americans of different ages, genders, religious and political orientations, races, and histories of military service.

I came away with three overarching insights.

First, many view the United States as the “last hope”—for themselves and the world. Their strong sense is that the country offers its people a sense of dignity, a closeness to God, and answers to most of humanity’s problems. Deprive us of our country, the people I met told me, and you deprive us of the only thing that is left for us to hang on to.

This feeling of ownership is national and personal. Consider the words of Shirley (all names here are pseudonyms, per my research rules), a 46-year-old unemployed black woman in Birmingham with plans to become a chef: “For me to give up hope on the country in which I live in is almost to give up hope for self. So I gotta keep the light burning for me and for my country or I’m gonna be in the dark.”

In my interviews, people separated the country’s possibilities from their own frustrations; many took full responsibility for their own troubles in life.

That comment connected to a second insight. America appeals to the poor because it is rich. “The land of milk and honey” was a phrase I heard often. The poor see it as a place where those who work hard have a chance to succeed. In my interviews, people separated the country’s possibilities from their own frustrations; many took full responsibility for their own troubles in life. “People make their own life, make their own money the way that they wanna make it and however much they wanna make it,” said Jeff, a white man in a bus station in Billings, Montana.

Many saw this as an American virtue. Here, at least, your failures belong to you. Your chances aren’t taken away by others. “If you fail,” said Harley, a vet now on food stamps, “gotta be bad choices.” This sentiment was articulated with particular frequency by African American interviewees in Alabama—something that particularly struck me, given the legacies of slavery and segregation in that part of the country.

For the same reason, many were confident that the future was about to bring them better things. Several felt that they had just turned a corner—perhaps with God on their side. Rich Americans, they told me, deserve what they have. Besides, they added, look at the rest of the world: They keep trying to come to America. This must be the place to be.

That related to a third source of pride in the nation: America is the freest country on earth. Many of the people I met spoke of feeling very free to come and go from different places, and to think as they wish. America allows people to be as they want, with few preconceived notions about what the good life should look like. Such a narrative took on libertarian tones in Montana.

For some, this included the freedom to be homeless, if they choose. As Marshall, a young, white homeless man, told me in Billings, “it’s a very free country. I mean, I’m actually, I live on the streets, I’m kinda choosing to do that … sabbatical. Nobody bothers me for it; I’m not bothering anybody. I got my own little nook. There are other places in the world where I’d be forced into some place to shelter up or, you know, herded off or … jailed.”

When conversations turned to freedom, guns were often mentioned. Guns give one security and make hunting possible—enabling one to feed one’s self and family. I was accordingly often reminded that Americans rebelled against the English by making guns. Guns equal freedom. And America, thankfully, ensures gun ownership.

Taken together, these conversations helped me understand that the patriotism of the poor is rooted in a widespread belief that America belongs to its people. There is a bottom-up, instinctive, protective, and intense identification with the country. This is a people’s country.

Of course, some of this patriotism is clearly grounded in misconceptions about other countries. One person told me that there are only two democracies in the world: Israel and the United States. Another told me that Japan is a communist country. Yet another that in Germany one’s tongue can get cut off for a minor crime. Many also assumed that other countries are poorer than they really are. But these were almost tangential reflections that further justified—rather than drive—their commitment to the country. They seldom came up on their own unless I asked about the limitations of other countries.

As I completed my interviews and reflected on what I heard from these patriots, I realized that their beliefs about America are not a puzzle to be solved. In America, there is no contradiction between one’s difficult life trajectories and one’s love of country. If anything, those in difficulty have more reasons than most of us to believe in the promise of America.

Francesco Duina is Professor of Sociology at Bates College, as well as Honorary Professor of Sociology at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Broke and Patriotic: Why Poor Americans Love Their Country, published by Stanford University Press.
Voir enfin:

La nationalité française classée meilleure du monde

Puissance économique, stabilité, liberté de voyager et de travailler à l’étranger… Selon l’Indice de qualité de la nationalité mesuré chaque année, la nationalité française est celle qui offrirait le plus d’avantages.
BFM TV
21/11/2019

Cocorico! Pour la huitième année consécutive, la nationalité française vient d’être désignée meilleure nationalité du monde selon l’Indice de qualité de la nationalité de Kälin et Kochenov (QNI). Pour établir ce constat, les auteurs de cette évaluation s’appuient sur plusieurs critères internes et externes aux pays étudiés tels que la paix et la stabilité, la puissance économique, le développement humain, la liberté de voyager ou de travailler à l’étranger…

La nationalité française arrive ainsi en tête du classement avec un score de 83,5%, juste devant la nationalité allemande et néerlandaise à égalité avec 82,8%. Le Danemark complète le podium (81,7%).

D’autres grands pays sont loin derrière. Ainsi, le Royaume-Uni arrive huitième (80,3%). Et la nationalité britannique devrait dégringoler dans les prochaines années avec le Brexit, selon l’étude de Kälin et Kochenov. La nationalité américaine se classe pour sa part 25e (70%), la nationalité chinoise 56e (44,3%) et la russe 62e (42%).

Liberté de voyager et de s’installer à l’étranger

Comment expliquer la première place de la nationalité française? En tant que sixième puissance mondiale, l’Hexagone affiche un niveau de stabilité, de puissance économique et de développement humain élevé. Surtout, elle profite de l’Union européenne qui offre notamment à ses citoyens une grande liberté de voyager. D’ailleurs, les 28 États membres se trouvent tous dans le haut du classement.

Les Français peuvent également voyager librement dans de nombreux pays du monde (le passeport français permet de voyager dans 165 pays sans visa préalable). Ils jouiraient surtout d’une importante liberté d’établissement avec une plus grande facilité pour s’installer et travailler à l’étranger sans être empêchés par des formalités administratives trop lourdes, selon l’étude de Kälin et Kochenov.


Columbus Day/527e: Cherchez le massacre ! (Looking back at the holiday that helped Italians join the white race)

14 octobre, 2019

Chagall-Tabernacles-1916Le premier repas de Thanksgiving (novembre 1621), par Jean Leon Gerome FerrisImage result for Canadian Thanksgiving Oct 14 2019Related imagehttps://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/88/1891_New_Orleans_Italian_lynching.jpg?uselang=frMontgomery Advertiser, Vol. LXXVII, Issue 21, p. 4.https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/Biblioteca_del_Senado_de_la_Provincia_-_52_-_Por_una_raza_fuerte%2C_laboriosa%2C_pacifista_y_soberana.jpg

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Le quinzième jour du septième mois, quand vous récolterez les produits du pays, vous célébrerez donc une fête à l’Éternel (…) et vous vous réjouirez devant l’Éternel, votre Dieu, pendant sept jours. (…) Vous demeurerez pendant sept jours sous des tentes … afin que vos descendants sachent que j’ai fait habiter sous des tentes les enfants d’Israël, après les avoir fait sortir du pays d’Égypte. Je suis l’Éternel, votre Dieu. Lévitique 23: 39-43
They all laughed at Columbus when he said the world was round, They all laughed when Edison recorded sound. Ira Gershwin
Je vous diray, que soubs le ciel, il n’y a nation plus liberalle, de ce qui croist en leur païs, que ceux-cy, pourvu que ce ne soient point de leurs ennemys. Thevet
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
Aux États-Unis, certains musées d’ethnologie amérindienne minimisent, et parfois éliminent, toute violence religieuse et guerrière dans les cultures des native Americans. Pour en revenir aux Tupinambas, il se trouve qu’on est très bien renseigné sur eux. Alfred Métraux a fait le point sur la question, dès 1928, s’appuyant sur plusieurs témoignages distincts de contemporains de Montaigne : capturés par cette peuplade farouche, ils avaient pu s’en sortir, et nous décrivent par le menu les mœurs terribles de ces peuples, qui faisaient des prisonniers afin de se procurer de futures victimes sacrificielles, mises à mort et dévorées après acclimatation à la tribu des vainqueurs ! Métraux ironisait sur le fait que cette tribu fût justement à l’origine du mythe du « bon sauvage » ! Son texte, si contraire à la vague primitiviste qui allait suivre, fut repris plusieurs fois; L’anthropologie rituelle des Tupinambas se trouve aujourd’hui dans Religions et magies indiennes d’Amérique du Sud (Gallimard 1967). (…)  D’une part, on a pu trouver chez de vieux auteurs (imparfaitement christianisés !) la justification de l’offrande du Christ à la messe au titre d’une « efficacité » comparable à celle des sacrifices païens qui obtiennent quelques bons résultats, quand c’est, au cœur du salut, l’efficace de l’amour du Fils qui est à l’œuvre… et vous savez que la Rédemption elle-même a pu être interprétée dans des langages discutables. D’autre part, on rencontre, dans certains rites païens, une espèce d’excuse présentée à la victime, comme si, sachant qu’elle n’était pas vraiment coupable, on lui reprochait seulement son imprudence… (…) Toute la part esthétique de la religion, cette espèce d’amoindrissement du sacrifice que constitue la cérémonie (par rapport au lynchage), nous ne devons pas la négliger. On pourrait peut-être en dessiner le parcours dans une histoire de la danse, qui montrerait qu’elle va des choses les plus sauvages aux figures les plus sereines… En tous cas, l’apaisement obtenu par un rite sacrificiel de plus en plus symbolique, on aurait tort d’en faire fi trop vite, et d’en détruire sans précaution les usages sous prétexte de « lumières », dans un monde qui cherche fiévreusement des « repères ». (…) à Byzance, on jouait Oedipe-Roi comme la Passion du Christ ? Je trouve cela bouleversant; cette lecture naïve illustre, avec une grande force, le regard que le christianisme porte légitimement sur la culture. (…) je m’intéresse de plus en plus à Pascal. Cette œuvre est si puissante ! Mais, pour appliquer ce que vous dites à ce que nous vivons, n’est-il pas clair qu’on met bien à tort sur le dos de « différences » (traditionnelles, ancestrales, culturelles, religieuses…) des phénomènes enracinés au contraire dans la perte de ces traditions ? L’incapacité – par trop de retard pris – à participer à la concurrence avec l’Occident, dont on rêve, qui fait le tourment unique, et dont on a, par imitation, adopté les valeurs, devient le désir brûlant de briser ce qu’on ne peut atteindre. Peut-être Pascal n’a-t-il pas vu pleinement cet entraînement mimétique; mais comment ne pas admirer la mise en cause du désir qu’il opère à travers la notion de « divertissement » ? (…) J’adhère profondément à l’idée chrétienne que notre âme est une passion du divin. Simplement, quand nous le rencontrons, ce désir, il a déjà manqué son objet, il est dévoyé. Gare aux conséquences ! (…) Il semble en effet inconcevable qu’on puisse être jaloux du bien. Et cependant… Vous connaissez cette histoire de monarchie sacrée au Soudan : renversant les anciennes façons, le nouveau roi et son épouse avaient instauré le régime le plus raisonnable qu’il soit possible d’imaginer, et produisant le plus de bien commun. Une telle envie en était résultée que les voisins s’étaient réunis pour le détruire… Sans aucunement idéaliser notre propre histoire, c’est peut-être la fable du destin de l’Occident… (…) C’est justement ce qui justifie « la repentance », que certains catholiques ont bien tort de reprocher au pape. Certes, les non-chrétiens, qui oublient régulièrement de se repentir, n’ont pas moins de choses à se reprocher (souvent, bien davantage : quand je pense que l’on continue à monter en épingle les abus de l’Inquisition, après ce que l’incroyance a fait au XXe siècle !) Mais grâce à la Révélation, les chrétiens auraient dû avancer, et faire avancer le monde plus vite. Nous avons « les paroles de la vie éternelle ». Or, c’est toujours le petit nombre qui a compris, et vécu de l’esprit du Christ. Seulement, aujourd’hui, je ne vois pas d’autre lieu que l’Église pour faire barrière à cette terrible désagrégation de tout, qu’on appelle parfois l’apocalypse. Est-ce pour cela que cette Église devient comme un ultime bouc émissaire, et qu’on emploie tant d’efforts pour discréditer ou empêcher sa parole, alors qu’elle n’a plus de pouvoir que spirituel ? Et parfois de son sein même… On a l’impression d’une force diabolique d’auto-destruction. René Girard
My undergraduate alma mater, UC Santa Cruz, recently agreed to remove a mission bell donated years ago by a local women’s club. (…) Apparently, no one wondered, while considering the list of impediments to the progress of Native Americans, just how high an offending bell at UC Santa Cruz ranks. About the same time, at San Francisco’s Washington High School, it was announced that an 83-year-old mural chronicling George Washington’s life was slated to be removed, destroyed, or covered up, owing to “accusations of racism.” Yet the artist, Victor Arnautoff, was a leftist who in 1936 had sought to offer a realistic view of what he thought was a flawed American history. (…) These examples of destruction or removal could easily be multiplied. (…) Epidemics of iconoclasm (from the Greek “breaking of icons”) erupt often throughout history, usually but not always in a religious context. And is not political correctness our era’s version of religion? In our own time, we remember the Taliban’s recent destruction of the monumental sixth-century “Buddhas of Bamiyan” statues in Afghanistan, or the torching of priceless manuscripts in Timbuktu by Mali Islamists. The arguments for such destruction were not unfamiliar to American leftists and identity-politics activists: Such icons were hurtful to particular marginalized groups and an affront to their dignity and therefore must vanish. The destruction of pictures, books, statues, and icons occurred periodically during Byzantine, Catholic, and Protestant church history, and was usually marked spurts of religious fanaticism, intolerance, and fear. Indeed, in early Byzantine history, iconoclasm was in part driven by frontier Christian towns, terrified that Constantinople’s use of ubiquitous symbols of Christ and Church fathers might provoke their neighboring Muslim adversaries into violence. We forget the role of fear and cowardice in iconoclasm, ancient and modern. Politics of the day of course often determined who or what was defaced or destroyed. Yesterday’s deified Roman emperor was today’s persona non grata. Recently deceased Roman grandees suffered damnatio memoriae (damnation of memory) and so, Soviet-style, had their faces erased from stone imagery — albeit sometimes bodies were left intact as a money-saving gesture, in perhaps history’s first example of the efficacy of interchangeable parts. French revolutionaries, like our modern iconoclasts who topple statues of Confederate soldiers in the night, often went wild destroying monuments, portraits, and names affiliated with the Ancien Régime and the Catholic Church. Like frontier posses who stormed jails to lynch detained suspects, such gangs often relied on numbers and darkness. (…) So iconoclasm of the past and our current social-justice statue-topplers, aggrieved name-changers, and angry image-removers are often predictable. Here are a few of the rules of their ancient and modern wars on the past. The agitators are never democratic and rarely act with any popular mandate or consensus. (…) Instead, in most cases, bureaucrats simply react to the loudest and most bothersome agitation. Their assumption is that political activists can easily smear their résumés, while the silent majority of citizens is mostly too busy to object and will not rally en masse to their sobriety. When the wild demands of a few are made to destroy this or rename that, the race is on among administrators, bureaucrats, and careerist state officials to appease rapidly, and in the most unctuous fashion, usually by employing bureaucratese such as “harmful” and “hurtful” and “impacts” — without any real research into the complexities of the history in question, which so often is paradoxically tragic rather than simplistically melodramatic. (…) Rarely do the revisionists who wage war on history offer any rational and systematic agenda for their otherwise spontaneous tantrums. (…) Note that the university is no more likely to change the name of Stanford to something like Amah Mutsun University to rectify the theft of indigenous peoples’ lands than Yale University is willing to give up the names of its slave-owning founders. The selective outrage is not just because old white Neanderthal alumni love going to Yale or Stanford iconic football games, but rather because tens of thousands of woke nonwhite students and alumni are proud of their tony “Yale” and “Stanford” diplomas. They are not about to destroy their career investments in such a brand name on the altar of systematic and coherent politically correct name-changing. The new iconoclasm is almost as exclusively progressive in the West as it is reactionary in the contemporary Muslim world. But the common thread, past and present, East and West, to epidemics of name-changing, statue-smashing, and mural-erasing is political opportunism fueled by fear and careerist anxiety. Certainly — in the age of #MeToo and heightened awareness of the lifelong damage to women from rape, sexual harassment, and asymmetrical sexual relationships fueled by an imbalance of power — no one is suggesting that thousands of local and state boulevards that were renamed Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1970s should now retransition, given recent disturbing revelations that King might have allowed a rape to occur in his presence, was a serial philanderer, and often, under today’s definitions, pressured sex from younger and more vulnerable females. No one would dare suggest that feminist icon Margaret Sanger’s name be removed from awards, dinners, or monuments, given that by any modern standard she would be classified as a racist eugenicist. She saw abortion on demand, at least partly, as a way of limiting the growth of perceived nonwhite populations. The disproportionate number of African Americans aborted through the agency of Sanger’s legacy, Planned Parenthood, seems a logical consequence of her founding ideology. In my hometown, I certainly have not demanded that the city council remove what I see as a somewhat offensive statue of the Aztec goddess Coatlicue. She is usually portrayed as a hideous clawed mother goddess, decked out in writhing serpents, with a grotesque necklace of dangling human hearts, skulls, and hands. She was an unforgiving goddess for whom tens of thousands of innocent men, women, and especially children, many of them indigenous peoples enslaved by the Aztecs, were sacrificed. Why honor such a monster? In such a vein, one could argue that the San Diego State “Aztecs” glorify triumphalist imperialist mass murderers, even more than the supposedly offensively named Washington Redskins do. Immigrants from Oaxaca and southern Mexico are as likely to be descendants from Tlaxcala, which resisted the Aztec Empire, as they are descendants of the Aztecs themselves. So they could be the progeny of people targeted for extinction and human sacrifice by a neighboring fascist imperialist bully. The truth is that once the statue-smasher and name-changer gets a free hand, we should expect no logic, no respite from zealotry and bigotry. He operates from emotion, not reason, and his currency is intimidation, not persuasion, consistency, and coherence — when no official is willing to just say “No!” Taking down a mural of George Washington makes about as much sense as erasing all the thousands of streets and statues named for Caesar Chavez, who at times operated hand in glove with a nightmarish Synanon cult to denigrate his own members (“Every time we look at them, they want more money,” Chavez said in 1977, complaining about farm workers. “Like pigs, you know. Here we’re slaving, and we’re starving and the goddamn workers don’t give a shit about anything.”) Chavez sent his union goons down to the border to beat up, intimidate, and force back illegal aliens whom he derided as scab laborers dangerous to the unionizing efforts of his familial union empire. Pressed on his derogatory use of “illegals” and treatment of the undocumented, he scoffed, “No, a spade’s a spade. You guys get these hang-ups. Goddamn it, how do we build a union? They’re wets, you know. They’re wets, and let’s go after them.” (…) The insanity that we are witnessing has little or nothing to do with icons that institutionalize disparities or impede social justice. Iconoclasm is about power — and the psychological lift that comes with exercising it. Victor Davis Hanson
Si l’image nous révolte tant, c’est parce que nous en sommes tous collectivement responsables (…) cette scène, ces mots, ce comportement sont d’une violence et d’une haine inouïes. Mais par notre lâcheté, par nos renoncements, nous avons contribué, petit à petit, à les laisser passer, à les accepter. Cette femme a été « publiquement piétinée, chosifiée, déshumanisée, devant le groupe d’enfants qu’elle accompagnait bénévolement (…) Quelles seront les conséquences d’une telle humiliation publique si ce n’est renvoyer à cet enfant qu’il demeure un citoyen de seconde zone, indigne d’être pleinement français et reconnu comme tel ? Où est l’indignation générale ? Où sont les émissions de télévision, de radio, hormis quelques billets et tribunes comme celle-ci pour condamner cette agression ? Où est la parole publique de premier niveau, celle de nos élus, des partis politiques, celle des ministres, celle du président de la République pour refuser l’inacceptable ? Ne nous y trompons donc pas. L’extrême droite a fait de la haine contre les musulmans un outil majeur de sa propagande, mais elle n’en a pas le monopole. Des membres de la droite et de la gauche dites républicaines n’hésitent pas à stigmatiser les musulmans, et en premier lieu les femmes portant le voile, souvent -au nom de la laïcité-. Jusqu’où laisserons-nous passer ces haines ? (…) Jusqu’à quand allons-nous accepter que la laïcité, socle de notre République, soit instrumentalisée pour le compte d’une vision ségrégationniste, raciste, xénophobe, mortifère de notre société ? Acceptons-nous de nous laisser sombrer collectivement ou disons-nous stop maintenant, tant qu’il est encore temps ? Nous demandons urgemment au Président de la République de condamner publiquement l’agression dont cette femme a été victime devant son propre fils (…) de refuser que nos concitoyens musulmans soient fichés, stigmatisés, dénoncés pour la simple pratique de leur religion et d’exiger solennellement que cessent les discriminations et les amalgames envers une partie de notre communauté nationale. 90 personnalités
Dans une tribune publiée ce mardi sur lemonde.fr, 90 personnalités, dont l’acteur Omar Sy, le rappeur Nekfeu, le réalisateur Mathieu Kassovitz, ou encore la députée LFI Danièle Obono demandent au Chef de l’Etat d’intervenir pour condamner fermement « l’agression » dont a été victime la mère voilée vendredi dernier après la vidéo tournée par un élu RN au Conseil régional de Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. Parmi les 90 personnalités signataires : Rokhaya Diallo, journaliste et réalisatrice, DJ Snake, artiste, Marina Foïs, actrice, Mathieu Kassovitz, acteur et réalisateur, Kyan Khojandi, auteur, Tonie Marshall, réalisatrice, productrice, Guillaume Meurice, humoriste, Géraldine Nakache, actrice et réalisatrice, Nekfeu, artiste, Danièle Obono, députée (La France insoumise), Alessandra Sublet, animatrice, Omar Sy, acteur… France bleu
Columbus makes Hitler look like a juvenile delinquent. Russell Means
It’s almost obscene to celebrate Columbus because it’s an unmitigated record of horror. We don’t have to celebrate a man who was really — from an Indian point of view — worse than Attila the Hun. Hans Koning
The evidence of Aztec cannibalism has largely been ignored and consciously or unconsciously covered up. Michael Harner (New School for Social Research)
Dr. Harner’s theory of nutritional need is based on a recent revision in the number of people thought to have been sacrificed by the Aztecs. Dr. Woodrow Borah an authority on the demography of ancient Mexico at the University of California, Berkeley, has recently estimated that the Aztecs sacrificed 250,000 people a year. This consituted about 1 percent of the region’s population of 25 million. (…) He argues that cannibalism, which may have begun for purely religious reasons, appears to have grown to serve nutritional needs because the Aztecs, unlike nearly all other civilizations, lacked domesticated herbivores such as pigs or cattle. Staples of the Aztec diet were corn and beans supplemented with a few vegetables, lizards, snakes and worms. There were some domesticated turkeys and hairless dogs. Poor people gathered floating mats of vegetation from lakes. (…) In contemporary sources, however, such as the writings of Hernando Cortes, who conquered the Aztecs in 1521, and Bernal Diaz, who accompanied Cortes, Dr. Hamer says there is abundant evidence that human sacrifice was a common event in every town and that the limbs of the victims were boiled or roasted and eaten. Diaz, who is regarded by anthropologists as a highly reliable source, wrote in “The Conquest of New Spain,” for example, that in the town of Tlaxcala “we found wooden cages made of lattice‐work in which men and women were imprisoned and fed until they were fat enough to be sacrificed and eaten. These prison cages existed throughout the country.” The sacrifices, carried out by priests, took place atop the hundreds of steepwalled pyramids scattered about the Valley of Mexico. According to Diaz, the victims were taken up the pyramids where the priests “laid them down on their backs on some narrow stones of sacrifice and, cutting open their chests, drew out their palpitating hearts which they offered to the idols before them. Then they kicked the bodies down the steps, and the Indian butchers who were waiting below cut off their arms and legs. Then they ate their flesh with a sauce of peppers and tomatoes.” (…) Diaz’s accounts indicate that the Aztecs ate only the limbs of their victims. The torsos were fed to carnivores in zoos. According to Dr. Harner, the Aztecs never sacrificed their own people. Instead they battled neighboring nations, using tactics that minimized deaths in battle and maximized the number of prisoners. The traditional explanation for Aztec human sacrifice has been that it was religious—a way of winning the support of the gods for success in battle. Victories procured even more victims, thus winning still more divine support in the next war. (…) Traditional anthropological accounts indicate that to win more favor from the gods during the famine the Aztecs arranged with their neighbors to stage battles for prisoners who could be sacrificed. The Aztecs’ neighbors, sharing similar religious tenets, wanted to sacrifice Aztecs to their gods. The NYT
Specialists in Mesoamerican history are going to be upset about this for obvious reasons. They’re not going to have the people they study looking like cannibals. They’re clinging to a very romantic point of view about the Aztecs. It’s the Hiawatha syndrome. Michael Harner
Some conquistadors wrote about the tzompantli and its towers, estimating that the rack alone contained 130,000 skulls. But historians and archaeologists knew the conquistadors were prone to exaggerating the horrors of human sacrifice to demonize the Mexica culture. As the centuries passed, scholars began to wonder whether the tzompantli had ever existed. Archaeologists at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) here can now say with certainty that it did. Beginning in 2015, they discovered and excavated the remains of the skull rack and one of the towers underneath a colonial period house on the street that runs behind Mexico City’s cathedral. (The other tower, they suspect, lies under the cathedral’s back courtyard.) The scale of the rack and tower suggests they held thousands of skulls, testimony to an industry of human sacrifice unlike any other in the world. Science
Some post-conquest sources report that at the re-consecration of Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487, the Aztecs sacrificed about 80,400 prisoners over the course of four days. This number is considered by Ross Hassig, author of Aztec Warfare, to be an exaggeration. Hassig states « between 10,000 and 80,400 persons » were sacrificed in the ceremony. The higher estimate would average 15 sacrifices per minute during the four-day consecration. Four tables were arranged at the top so that the victims could be jettisoned down the sides of the temple. Nonetheless, according to Codex Telleriano-Remensis, old Aztecs who talked with the missionaries told about a much lower figure for the reconsecration of the temple, approximately 4,000 victims in total. Michael Harner, in his 1977 article The Enigma of Aztec Sacrifice, cited an estimate by Borah of the number of persons sacrificed in central Mexico in the 15th century as high as 250,000 per year which may have been one percent of the population. Fernando de Alva Cortés Ixtlilxochitl, a Mexica descendant and the author of Codex Ixtlilxochitl, estimated that one in five children of the Mexica subjects was killed annually. Victor Davis Hanson argues that a claim by Don Carlos Zumárraga of 20,000 per annum is « more plausible ». Wikipedia
Certains chercheurs ont émis l’hypothèse que l’apport en protéines des aliments dont disposaient les Aztèques était insuffisant, en raison de l’absence de grands mammifères terrestres domesticables, et que les sacrifices humains avaient pour fonction principale de pallier cette carence nutritionnelle. Cette théorie, en particulier quand elle a été diffusée par le New York Times, a été critiquée par la majorité des spécialistes de la Mésoamérique. Michael Harner a notamment accusé les chercheurs mexicains de minimiser le cannibalisme aztèque par nationalisme ; Bernardo R. Ortiz de Montellano, en particulier, a publié en 1979 un article détaillant les failles de l’analyse de Harner, en démontrant notamment que le régime alimentaire aztèque était équilibré, varié et suffisamment riche en protéines, grâce à la pêche d’une abondante faune aquatique et la chasse de nombreux oiseaux, et que donc l’anthropophagie ne pouvait pas être une nécessité, car elle n’aurait pas pu améliorer significativement un apport en protéines déjà suffisant. Michel Graulich a apporté d’autres éléments de critique. Il affirme que si cette théorie était exacte, la chair des victimes aurait dû être distribuée au moins autant aux gens modestes qu’aux puissants, mais il semble que ce n’était pas le cas ; il ajoute que seules les grandes villes pratiquaient le sacrifice humain de masse, et que ce phénomène n’a pas été prouvé dans la plupart des autres populations mésoaméricaines, dont l’alimentation semble pourtant comparable à celle des Aztèques. Wikipedia
Considérant que c’est le devoir de toutes les Nations de reconnaître la providence de Dieu Tout-puissant, d’obéir à sa volonté, d’être reconnaissantes pour ses bienfaits, et humblement implorer sa protection et sa faveur, et tandis que les deux Chambres du Congrès m’ont, par leur Comité mixte, demandé de recommander au Peuple des États-Unis qu’un jour public d’action de grâce et de prières soit observé en reconnaissance aux nombreux signes de faveur de Dieu Tout-puissant, particulièrement en ayant donné au Peuple les moyens d’établir pacifiquement une forme de gouvernement pour sa sûreté et son bonheur. Maintenant donc, je recommande et assigne que le premier jeudi après le 26e jour de novembre soit consacré par le Peuple de ces États au service du grand et glorieux Être, qui est l’Auteur bienfaisant de tout ce qu’il y a eu, qu’il y a et qu’il y aura de bon. Nous pouvons alors tous nous unir en lui donnant notre sincère et humble merci, pour son soin et sa protection, appréciés du Peuple de ce Pays, avant que celui-ci ne soit devenu une Nation de pitié ; pour les interpositions favorables de sa Providence lors de nos épreuves durant le cours et la fin de la récente guerre ; pour le grand degré de tranquillité, d’union, et d’abondance, que nous avons depuis appréciées ; pour le pacifisme et la raison qui nous ont été conférés pour nous permettre d’établir des constitutions de gouvernement pour notre sûreté et notre bonheur, en particulier la Loi nationale récemment instituée, ; pour la liberté civile et la liberté religieuse formant à elles seules une vraie bénédiction ; pour les moyens que nous avons d’acquérir et de répandre la connaissance utile ; et d’une manière générale pour toutes les grandes et diverses faveurs qu’il nous a bien heureusement conférées. Nous pouvons alors nous unir en offrant le plus humblement nos prières et supplications au grand Seigneur et Gouverneur des Nations et le solliciter pour pardonner nos transgressions nationales et autres transgressions ; pour nous permettre à tous, en poste public ou privé, de remplir nos nombreuses fonctions respectives, correctement et ponctuellement ; pour permettre à notre gouvernement national de rendre bénédiction à toutes les personnes, en étant constamment un Gouvernement de lois sages, justes, et constitutionnelles, discrètement et loyalement exécutées et obéies ; pour protéger, guider et bénir tous les Souverains et toutes les Nations (particulièrement celles qui ont montré de la bonté envers nous), afin de leur assurer paix et concordance, et assurer un bon gouvernement ; pour favoriser la connaissance et la pratique vraies de la religion et de la vertu, ainsi que davantage de science parmi eux et nous, et accorder généralement à toute l’Humanité un tel degré de prospérité temporelle comme lui seul sait pour être le meilleur. « Donné sous ma main à la Ville de New-York le troisième jour d’octobre par année 1789 de notre Seigneur. George Washington
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth. Abraham Lincoln
Whereas by a joint resolution approved June 29, 1892, it was resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled— That the President of the United States be authorized and directed to issue a proclamation recommending to the people the observance in all their localities of the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America, on the 21st of October, 1892, by public demonstrations and by suitable exercises in their schools and other places of assembly. Now, therefore, I, Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States of America, in pursuance of the aforesaid joint resolution, do hereby appoint Friday, October 21, 1892, the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus, as a general holiday for the people of the United States. On that day let the people, so far as possible, cease from toil and devote themselves to such exercises as may best express honor to the discoverer and their appreciation of the great achievements of the four completed centuries of American life. Columbus stood in his age as the pioneer of progress and enlightenment. The system of universal education is in our age the most prominent and salutary feature of the spirit of enlightenment, and it is peculiarly appropriate that the schools be made by the people the center of the day’s demonstration. Let the national flag float over every schoolhouse in the country and the exercises be such as shall impress upon our youth the patriotic duties of American citizenship. In the churches and in the other places of assembly of the people let there be expressions of gratitude to Divine Providence for the devout faith of the discoverer and for the divine care and guidance which has directed our history and so abundantly blessed our people. (…) Done at the city of Washington, this 21st day of July, A.D. 1892, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and seventeenth. US president Benjamin Harrison
Of all the bedtime-story versions of American history we teach, the tidy Thanksgiving pageant may be the one stuffed with the heaviest serving of myth. This iconic tale is the main course in our nation’s foundation legend, complete with cardboard cutouts of bow-carrying Native American cherubs and pint-size Pilgrims in black hats with buckles. And legend it largely is. In fact, what had been a New England seasonal holiday became more of a “national” celebration only during the Civil War, with Lincoln’s proclamation calling for “a day of thanksgiving” in 1863. That fall, Lincoln had precious little to be thankful for. The Union victory at Gettysburg the previous July had come at a dreadful cost – a combined 51,000 estimated casualties, with nearly 8,000 dead. Enraged by draft laws and emancipation, rioters in Northern cities like New York went on bloody rampages. And the president and his wife, Mary, were still mourning the loss of their 11-year-old son, Willie, who had died the year before. So it might seem odd that Lincoln chose this moment to announce a national day of thanksgiving, to be marked on the last Thursday in November. His Oct. 3, 1863, proclamation read: “In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity … peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict.” But it took another year for the day to really catch hold. In 1864 Lincoln issued a second proclamation, which read, “I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust.”(…) What prompted Lincoln to issue these proclamations – the first two in an unbroken string of presidential Thanksgiving proclamations – is uncertain. He was not the first president to do so. George Washington and James Madison had earlier issued “thanksgiving” proclamations, calling for somber days of prayer. Perhaps Lincoln saw an opportunity to underscore shared American traditions – a theme found in the “mystic chords of memory” stretching from “every patriot grave” in his first inaugural. Or he may have been responding to the passionate entreaties of Sara Josepha Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book – the Good Housekeeping of its day. Hale, who contributed to American folkways as the author of “Mary had a Little Lamb,” had been advocating in the magazine for a national day of Thanksgiving since 1837. (…)  But one crucial piece remained: The elevation of Thanksgiving to a true national holiday, a feat accomplished by Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1939, with the nation still struggling out of the Great Depression, the traditional Thanksgiving Day fell on the last day of the month – a fifth Thursday. Worried retailers, for whom the holiday had already become the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season, feared this late date. Roosevelt agreed to move his holiday proclamation up one week to the fourth Thursday, thereby extending the critical shopping season. Some states stuck to the traditional last Thursday date, and other Thanksgiving traditions, such as high school and college football championships, had already been scheduled. This led to Roosevelt critics deriding the earlier date as “Franksgiving.” With 32 states joining Roosevelt’s “Democratic Thanksgiving, ” 16 others stuck with the traditional date, or “Republican Thanksgiving.” After some congressional wrangling, in December 1941, Roosevelt signed the legislation making Thanksgiving a legal holiday on the fourth Thursday in November. And there it has remained. Kenneth C. Davis
Le 14 mars 1891, à la Nouvelle-Orléans, en Louisiane, onze Italiens furent lynchés par la foule en raison du rôle qu’ils avaient supposément joué dans le meurtre du commissaire de police David Hennessy. Ce lynchage, qui restera comme le lynchage de masse le plus important de toute l’histoire des États-Unis, eut lieu le lendemain du procès de neuf sur les dix-neuf hommes inculpés dans cette affaire de meurtre. Six de ces prévenus furent alors acquittés, et le jugement fut ajourné concernant les trois autres, pour défaut d’unanimité dans le jury sur le verdict. Croyant que le jury avait été soudoyé, une foule d’émeutiers fit irruption dans la prison où les hommes étaient détenus et tuèrent onze d’entre eux. Ce lynchage apparaît inhabituel en ceci que les émeutiers étaient au nombre de plusieurs milliers et que dans leurs rangs figuraient quelques-uns parmi les citoyens les plus en vue de la ville. La couverture de l’événement par la presse américaine fut d’ailleurs largement complaisante, et les responsables du lynchage ne furent jamais poursuivis. Le New York Times félicita les meurtriers, car la mort des Italiens « accroissait la sécurité des biens et de la vie des habitants de La Nouvelle-Orléans ». Le Washington Post assura que le lynchage mettrait un terme au « règne de la terreur » qu’imposerait les Italiens. Selon le Saint Louis Globe Democrat, les lyncheurs n’avaient fait qu’exercer « les droits légitimes de la souveraineté populaire ». L’incident eut de graves répercussions au plan national. L’Italie suspendit ses relations diplomatiques avec les États-Unis après le refus du président Benjamin Harrison d’ouvrir une enquête fédérale. La presse et la rumeur publique propagèrent l’idée que la marine italienne s’apprêtait à attaquer les ports américains et des milliers de volontaires se présentèrent pour faire la guerre à l’Italie3. La recrudescence des sentiments anti-italiens s’accompagna d’appels à une restriction de l’immigration. Le vocable mafia fit son entrée dans le lexique des Américains, et le stéréotype du mafioso italo-américain s’implanta durablement dans l’imaginaire populaire. En 1955, un homme d’affaires, décédé cette année-là, reconnut dans une lettre que l’assassinat du policier avait été organisé par un comité d’une cinquantaine d’hommes d’affaires anglo-saxons qui entendaient se débarrasser d’hommes d’affaires rivaux italiens. Ces lynchages constituent l’argument du téléfilm Vendetta, produit en 1999 par HBO et adapté d’un ouvrage de Richard Gambino paru en 1977, avec Christopher Walken dans le rôle principal. Wikipedia
La première célébration du jour de Christophe Colomb s’est faite dans la ville de San Francisco, en 1869, par une communauté majoritairement italo-américaine. Pourtant, le premier État tout entier à célébrer cette fête fut le Colorado, en 1907. Trente ans après, Franklin D. Roosevelt instaure ce jour comme un jour de fête nationale aux États-Unis. Il faudra cependant attendre la Proclamation du président George W. Bush du 4 octobre 2007 pour que le jour de Christophe Colomb soit officiellement fixé au deuxième lundi du mois d’octobre de chaque année. Christophe Colomb était au service de l’Espagne cependant il était d’origine italienne. « Cristoforo Colombo » est né en 1451 sur le territoire de la République de Gênes. Les Italiens ont été les premiers à célébrer le jour de Christophe Colomb lors de leur immigration vers les États-Unis. L’Empire State Building se pare alors des couleurs du drapeau italien (vert, blanc et rouge). Le Jour de Christophe Colomb (Columbus Day) est un jour férié fédéral aux États-Unis. Il est organisé depuis 1929 par la Columbus Citizens Foundation. Chaque État célèbre différemment le jour de Christophe Colomb. Cette fête a lieu sous forme de parades dans les rues américaines, il y a plusieurs défilés. Une Columbus Day Parade est organisée dans plusieurs villes comme à Denver. À New York, la Columbus Day Parade a lieu depuis 1915 le long de la célèbre 5e avenue à la hauteur de la 44e rue et continue sur la célèbre avenue de la Big Apple jusqu’au niveau de la 86e rue. On retrouve ainsi des fanfares, des chars, et différentes manifestations et fêtes dans tous les quartiers aux alentours de la route de la parade. À Washington, devant la Gare de l’Union a lieu une cérémonie officielle devant le Mémorial de Christophe Colomb. Les festivités commencent juste après le dépôt de gerbes aux pieds de ce monument. Ce n’est pas un jour férié dans tous les États des États-Unis, comme en Alaska, dans le Nevada, à Hawaï et dans le Dakota du Sud. Ces États ne reconnaissent pas le Jour de Christophe Colomb et fêtent d’autres événements. Cette fête est contestée aux États-Unis. Nombreux sont ceux rappelant que derrière la découverte de l’Amérique par Christophe Colomb se cachent des faits moins glorieux, tels que la colonisation ou encore le massacre des Indiens d’Amérique. Le Jour de Christophe Colomb est plus communément appelé « Jour de la Race » (Día de la Raza) dans les pays d’Amérique Latine comme le Brésil, le Guatemala, le Paraguay, Porto Rico, le Nicaragua ou la République Dominicaine. Il se déroule généralement le 12 octobre et est considéré, pour de nombreux pays, comme un anti-Colombus Day. Il célèbre la résistance à l’arrivée des européens dans le Nouveau Monde et est aussi utilisé pour commémorer les cultures indigènes. Au cours de cette journée des festivités sont organisées pour lutter contre le racisme, se souvenir des cultures et des traditions des peuples précolombiens. En Argentine la fête est appelée « Journée de la Diversité Culturelle » (Día de la Diversidad Cultural). Elle se veut être la naissance d’une nouvelle identité, issue de la fusion entre les peuples d’origine et les colonisateurs espagnols. Le 24 septembre 1892, le Congrès mexicain décréta le 12 octobre jour de fête nationale. Depuis 1917 à l’initiative de Venustiano Carranza il porte le nom de Día de la Raza. Le président Emilio Portes Gil lui donna le nom de Día de la Raza y Aniversario del Descubrimiento de América en 1929. Ce jour n’est plus un jour férié officiel actuellement, mais il donne lieu a de nombreuses festivités. L’Espagne est la seule à utiliser le nom de « Jour de l’Hispanité » (Día de la Hispanidad) pour célébrer cette fête. Le terme « hispanité » a été défini à la fin du XIXe siècle par des intellectuels. Il est officialisé fête nationale par Alfonso XIII en 1918 sous l’appellation «Fête de la Race » (Día de la Raza) en contradiction avec les idées progressistes. Après la restauration de la monarchie en 1981, un arrêté royal publié dans le premier Bulletin Officiel de l’État en 1982, officialise la date de 12 octobre en tant que Fête Nationale de l’Espagne et Jour de l’Hispanité. Cet événement est très cher au cœur des Espagnols puisque le navigateur est venu chercher la grande majorité de son équipage en Espagne. Wikipedia
Sans pouvoir préciser avec certitude l’ampleur de l’impact des maladies infectieuses chez les Amérindiens, le taux de mortalité aurait atteint 90 pour cent pour certaines populations durement affectées. Les Amérindiens, qui n’étaient pas immunisés contre des virus et maladies comme la coqueluche, la rougeole ou la variole qui sévissaient depuis des millénaires dans l’Ancien Monde, auraient été foudroyés par des épidémies plusieurs décennies avant que des colons arrivent dans des territoires apparemment peu peuplés de l’intérieur. N’ayant aucune connaissance sur les virus à l’époque, les Européens n’ont donc aucunement profité en connaissance de cause des faiblesses immunitaires des populations autochtones. Le processus a commencé dès les années 1500 et a emporté des centaines de milliers de vies. En 1520 et 1521, une épidémie de variole toucha les habitants de Tenochtitlan et fut l’un des principaux facteurs de la chute de la ville au moment du siège. En effet, on estime entre 10 et 50 % la part de la population de la cité qui serait morte à cause de cette maladie en deux semaines. Deux autres épidémies affectèrent la vallée de Mexico : la variole en 1545-1548 et le typhus en 1576-1581. Les Espagnols, pour compenser la diminution de la population, ont rassemblé les survivants des petites villes de la vallée de Mexico dans de plus grandes cités. Cette migration a brisé le pouvoir des classes supérieures, mais n’a pas dissous la cohésion de la société indigène dans un Mexique plus grand. Les épidémies de variole, de typhus, de grippe, de diphtérie de rougeole, de peste auraient tué entre 50 et 66 % de la population indigène selon les régions de Amérique latine. En 1617-1619, une épidémie de peste bubonique ravage la Nouvelle-Angleterre. Le bilan de ces épidémies est difficile à donner avec exactitude. Les sources sont inexistantes et les historiens ne sont pas d’accord sur les estimations. Certains avancent 10 millions d’Amérindiens pour tout le continent ; d’autres pensent plutôt à 90 millions, dont 10 pour l’Amérique du Nord. Le continent américain entier (de l’Alaska au Cap Horn) aurait abrité environ 50 millions d’habitants en 1492 ; pour comparaison, il y avait 20 millions de Français au XVIIe siècle. Les chiffres avancés pour le territoire des États-Unis d’aujourd’hui sont compris entre 7 et 12 millions d’habitants. Environ 500 000 Amérindiens peuplaient la côte Est de cet espace. Ils ne sont plus que 100 000 au début du XVIIIe siècle. Dans l’Empire espagnol, la mortalité des Amérindiens était telle qu’elle fut l’un des motifs de la traite des Noirs, permettant d’importer dans le « Nouveau Monde » de la main-d’œuvre pour les mines et les plantations. Wikipedia
Celebration of Christopher Columbus’s voyage in the early United States is recorded from as early as 1792. In that year, the Tammany Society in New York City (for whom it became an annual tradition) and the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston celebrated the 300th anniversary of Columbus’ landing in the New World. For the 400th anniversary in 1892, following a lynching in New Orleans where a mob had murdered 11 Italian immigrants, President Benjamin Harrison declared Columbus Day as a one-time national celebration. The proclamation was part of a wider effort after the lynching incident to placate Italian Americans and ease diplomatic tensions with Italy. During the anniversary in 1892, teachers, preachers, poets and politicians used rituals to teach ideals of patriotism. These rituals took themes such as citizenship boundaries, the importance of loyalty to the nation, and the celebration of social progress. Many Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage, and the first such celebration had already been held in New York City on October 12, 1866. The day was first enshrined as a legal holiday in the United States through the lobbying of Angelo Noce, a first generation Italian, in Denver. The first statewide holiday was proclaimed by Colorado governor Jesse F. McDonald in 1905, and it was made a statutory holiday in 1907. In April 1937, as a result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus and New York City Italian leader Generoso Pope, Congress and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed October 12 be a federal holiday under the name Columbus Day. Since 1971 (Oct. 11), the holiday has been attributed to the second Monday in October,[20] coincidentally exactly the same day as Thanksgiving in neighboring Canada since 1957. It is generally observed nowadays by banks, the bond market, the U.S. Postal Service, other federal agencies, most state government offices, many businesses, and most school districts. Some businesses and some stock exchanges remain open, and some states and municipalities abstain from observing the holiday. The traditional date of the holiday also adjoins the anniversary of the United States Navy (founded October 13, 1775), and thus both occasions are customarily observed by the Navy and the Marine Corps with either a 72- or 96-hour liberty period. Actual observance varies in different parts of the United States, ranging from large-scale parades and events to complete non-observance. Most states do not celebrate Columbus Day as an official state holiday. Some mark it as a « Day of Observance » or « Recognition.” Most states that celebrate Columbus Day will close state services, while others operate as normal. San Francisco claims the nation’s oldest continuously existing celebration with the Italian-American community’s annual Columbus Day Parade, which was established by Nicola Larco in 1868, while New York City boasts the largest, with over 35,000 marchers and one million viewers around 2010. As in the mainland United States, Columbus Day is a legal holiday in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. In the United States Virgin Islands, the day is celebrated as both Columbus Day and « Puerto Rico Friendship Day. » Virginia also celebrates two legal holidays on the day, Columbus Day and Yorktown Victory Day, which honors the final victory at the Siege of Yorktown in the Revolutionary War. The celebration of Columbus Day in the United States began to decline at the end of the 20th century, although many Italian-Americans, and others, continue to champion it. The states of Florida, Hawaii, Alaska, Vermont, South Dakota, New Mexico, Maine, Wisconsin, and parts of California including, for example, Los Angeles County do not recognize it and have each replaced it with celebrations of Indigenous People’s Day (in Hawaii, « Discoverers’ Day », in South Dakota, « Native American Day »). A lack of recognition or a reduced level of observance for Columbus Day is not always due to concerns about honoring Native Americans. For example, a community of predominantly Scandinavian descent may observe Leif Erikson Day instead. In the state of Oregon, Columbus Day is not an official holiday. Iowa and Nevada do not celebrate Columbus Day as an official holiday, but the states’ respective governors are « authorized and requested » by statute to proclaim the day each year. Several states have removed the day as a paid holiday for state government workers, while still maintaining it—either as a day of recognition, or as a legal holiday for other purposes, including California and Texas. The practice of U.S. cities eschewing Columbus Day to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day began in 1992 with Berkeley, California. The list of cities which have followed suit as of 2018 includes Austin, Boise, Cincinnati, Denver, Los Angeles, Mankato, Minnesota, Portland, Oregon, San Francisco, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Seattle, St. Paul, Minnesota, Phoenix, Tacoma, and « dozens of others. » Columbus, Ohio has chosen to honor veterans instead of Christopher Columbus, and removed Columbus Day as a city holiday. Various tribal governments in Oklahoma designate the day as Native American Day, or name it after their own tribe. Wikipedia
In a country of diverse religious faiths and national origins like the United States, it made sense to develop a holiday system that was not entirely tied to a religious calendar. (Christmas survives here, of course, but in law it’s a secular holiday much like New Year’s Day.) So Americans do not all leave for the shore on August 15th, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, the way Italians do; and while St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by many Americans, it is not a legal holiday in any of the states. The American system of holidays was constructed mostly around a series of great events and persons in our nation’s history. The aim was to instill a feeling of civic pride. Holidays were chosen as occasions to bring everyone together, not for excluding certain people. They were supposed to be about the recognition of our society’s common struggles and achievements. Civic religion is often used to describe the principle behind America’s calendar of public holidays. Consider the range and variability of the meanings of our holidays. Certainly they have not always been occasions for celebration: Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day involve mourning for the dead and wounded. Labor Day commemorated significant hardships in the decades when unions were struggling to organize. Having grown up in the 1960s I remember how Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday (now lumped in with Presidents’ Day, and with some of its significance transferred to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) took on special meaning during the Civil Rights movement and after the JFK assassination. When thinking about the Columbus Day holiday it helps to remember the good intentions of the people who put together the first parade in New York. Columbus Day was first proclaimed a national holiday by President Benjamin Harrison in 1892, 400 years after Columbus’s first voyage. The idea, lost on present-day critics of the holiday, was that this would be a national holiday that would be special for recognizing both Native Americans, who were here before Columbus, and the many immigrants—including Italians—who were just then coming to this country in astounding numbers. It was to be a national holiday that was not about the Founding Fathers or the Civil War, but about the rest of American history. Like the Columbian Exposition dedicated in Chicago that year and opened in 1893, it was to be about our land and all its people. Harrison especially designated the schools as centers of the Columbus celebration because universal public schooling, which had only recently taken hold, was seen as essential to a democracy that was seriously aiming to include everyone and not just preserve a governing elite. You won’t find it in the public literature surrounding the first Columbus Day in 1892, but in the background lay two recent tragedies, one involving Native Americans, the other involving Italian Americans. The first tragedy was the massacre by U.S. troops of between 146 and 200 Lakota Sioux, including men, women and children, at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on December 29, 1890. Shooting began after a misunderstanding involving an elderly, deaf Sioux warrior who hadn’t heard and therefore did not understand that he was supposed to hand over his rifle to the U.S. Cavalry. The massacre at Wounded Knee marked the definitive end of Indian resistance in the Great Plains. The episode was immediately seen by the government as potentially troubling, although there was much popular sentiment against the Sioux. An inquiry was held, the soldiers were absolved, and some were awarded medals that Native Americans to this day are seeking to have rescinded. A second tragedy in the immediate background of the 1892 Columbus celebration took place in New Orleans. There, on March 14, 1891—only 10 weeks after the Wounded Knee Massacre—11 Italians were lynched in prison by a mob led by prominent Louisiana politicians. A trial for the murder of the New Orleans police chief had ended in mistrials for three of the Italians and the acquittal of the others who were brought to trial. Unhappy with the verdict and spurred on by fear of the “Mafia” (a word that had only recently entered American usage), civic leaders organized an assault on the prison to put the Italians to death. This episode was also troubling to the U.S. Government. These were legally innocent men who had been killed. But Italians were not very popular, and even Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying that he thought the New Orleans Italians “got what they deserved.” A grand jury was summoned, but no one was charged with a crime. President Harrison, who would proclaim the Columbus holiday the following year, was genuinely saddened by the case, and over the objections of some members of congress he paid reparations to the Italian government for the deaths of its citizens. Whenever I hear of protests about the Columbus Day holiday—protests that tend to pit Native Americans against Italian Americans, I remember these tragedies that occurred so soon before the first Columbus Day holiday, and I shake my head. President Harrison did not allude to either of these sad episodes in his proclamation of the holiday, but the idea for the holiday involved a vision of an America that would get beyond the prejudice that had led to these deaths. Columbus Day was supposed to recognize the greatness of all of America’s people, but especially Italians and Native Americans. Consider how the first Columbus Day parade in New York was described in the newspapers. It consisted mostly of about 12,000 public school students grouped into 20 regiments, each commanded by a principal. The boys marched in school uniforms or their Sunday best, while the girls, dressed in red, white and blue, sat in bleachers. Alongside the public schoolers there were military drill squads and 29 marching bands, each of 30 to 50 instruments. After the public schools, there followed 5,500 students from the Catholic schools. Then there were students from the private schools wearing school uniforms. These included the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, the Barnard School Military Corps, and the Italian and American Colonial School. The Dante Alighieri Italian College of Astoria was dressed entirely in sailor outfits. These were followed by the Native American marching band from the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, which, according to one description, included “300 marching Indian boys and 50 tall Indian girls.” That the Native Americans came right after the students from the Dante Alighieri School speaks volumes about the spirit of the original Columbus Day. (…) So Columbus Day is for all Americans. It marks the first encounter that brought together the original Americans and the future ones. A lot of suffering followed, and a lot of achievement too. That a special role has been reserved for Italians in keeping the parades and the commemoration alive for well over a century seems right, since Columbus was Italian (…) So much for his ethnicity. What about his moral standing? In the late 19th century an international movement, led by a French priest, sought to have Columbus canonized for bringing Christianity to the New World. To the Catholic Church’s credit, this never got very far. It sometimes gets overlooked in current discussions that we neither commemorate Columbus’s birthday (as was the practice for Presidents Washington and Lincoln, and as we now do with Martin Luther King, Jr.) nor his death date (which is when Christian saints are memorialized), but rather the date of his arrival in the New World. The historical truth about Columbus—the short version suitable for reporters who are pressed for time—is that Columbus was Italian, but he was no saint. The holiday marks the event, not the person. What Columbus gets criticized for nowadays are attitudes that were typical of the European sailing captains and merchants who plied the Mediterranean and the Atlantic in the 15th century. Within that group he was unquestionably a man of daring and unusual ambition. But what really mattered was his landing on San Salvador, which was a momentous, world-changing occasion such as has rarely happened in human history. William J. Connell
These sneaking and cowardly Sicilians, the descendants of bandits and assassins, who have transported to this country the lawless passions, the cutthroat practices … are to us a pest without mitigations. Our own rattlesnakes are as good citizens as they. Our own murderers are men of feeling and nobility compared to them. The Times
Congress envisioned a white, Protestant and culturally homogeneous America when it declared in 1790 that only “free white persons, who have, or shall migrate into the United States” were eligible to become naturalized citizens. The calculus of racism underwent swift revision when waves of culturally diverse immigrants from the far corners of Europe changed the face of the country. As the historian Matthew Frye Jacobson shows in his immigrant history “Whiteness of a Different Color,” the surge of newcomers engendered a national panic and led Americans to adopt a more restrictive, politicized view of how whiteness was to be allocated. Journalists, politicians, social scientists and immigration officials embraced the habit, separating ostensibly white Europeans into “races.” Some were designated “whiter” — and more worthy of citizenship — than others, while some were ranked as too close to blackness to be socially redeemable. The story of how Italian immigrants went from racialized pariah status in the 19th century to white Americans in good standing in the 20th offers a window onto the alchemy through which race is constructed in the United States, and how racial hierarchies can sometimes change. Darker skinned southern Italians endured the penalties of blackness on both sides of the Atlantic. In Italy, Northerners had long held that Southerners — particularly Sicilians — were an “uncivilized” and racially inferior people, too obviously African to be part of Europe. Racist dogma about Southern Italians found fertile soil in the United States. As the historian Jennifer Guglielmo writes, the newcomers encountered waves of books, magazines and newspapers that “bombarded Americans with images of Italians as racially suspect.” They were sometimes shut out of schools, movie houses and labor unions, or consigned to church pews set aside for black people. They were described in the press as “swarthy,” “kinky haired” members of a criminal race and derided in the streets with epithets like “dago,” “guinea” — a term of derision applied to enslaved Africans and their descendants — and more familiarly racist insults like “white nigger” and “nigger wop.” The penalties of blackness went well beyond name-calling in the apartheid South. Italians who had come to the country as “free white persons” were often marked as black because they accepted “black” jobs in the Louisiana sugar fields or because they chose to live among African-Americans. This left them vulnerable to marauding mobs like the ones that hanged, shot, dismembered or burned alive thousands of black men, women and children across the South. The federal holiday honoring the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus — celebrated on Monday — was central to the process through which Italian-Americans were fully ratified as white during the 20th century. The rationale for the holiday was steeped in myth, and allowed Italian-Americans to write a laudatory portrait of themselves into the civic record. Few who march in Columbus Day parades or recount the tale of Columbus’s voyage from Europe to the New World are aware of how the holiday came about or that President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed it as a one-time national celebration in 1892 — in the wake of a bloody New Orleans lynching that took the lives of 11 Italian immigrants. The proclamation was part of a broader attempt to quiet outrage among Italian-Americans, and a diplomatic blowup over the murders that brought Italy and the United States to the brink of war. (…) Italian immigrants were welcomed into Louisiana after the Civil War, when the planter class was in desperate need of cheap labor to replace newly emancipated black people, who were leaving backbreaking jobs in the fields for more gainful employment. These Italians seemed at first to be the answer to both the labor shortage and the increasingly pressing quest for settlers who would support white domination in the emerging Jim Crow state. Louisiana’s romance with Italian labor began to sour when the new immigrants balked at low wages and dismal working conditions. The newcomers also chose to live together in Italian neighborhoods, where they spoke their native tongue, preserved Italian customs and developed successful businesses that catered to African-Americans, with whom they fraternized and intermarried. In time, this proximity to blackness would lead white Southerners to view Sicilians, in particular, as not fully white and to see them as eligible for persecution — including lynching — that had customarily been imposed on African-Americans. (…) The carnage in New Orleans was set in motion in the fall of 1890, when the city’s popular police chief, David Hennessy, was assassinated on his way home one evening. Hennessy had no shortage of enemies. The historian John V. Baiamonte Jr. writes that he had once been tried for murder in connection with the killing of a professional rival. He is also said to have been involved in a feud between two Italian businessmen. On the strength of a clearly suspect witness who claimed to hear Mr. Hennessy say that “dagoes” had shot him, the city charged 19 Italians with complicity in the chief’s murder. That the evidence was distressingly weak was evident from the verdicts that were swiftly handed down: Of the first nine to be tried, six were acquitted; three others were granted mistrials. The leaders of the mob that then went after them advertised their plans in advance, knowing full well that the city’s elites — who coveted the businesses the Italians had built or hated the Italians for fraternizing with African-Americans — would never seek justice for the dead. After the lynching, a grand jury investigation pronounced the killings praiseworthy, turning that inquiry into what the historian Barbara Botein describes as “possibly one of the greatest whitewashes in American history. (…) President Harrison would have ignored the New Orleans carnage had the victims been black. But the Italian government made that impossible. It broke off diplomatic relations and demanded an indemnity that the Harrison administration paid. Harrison even called on Congress in his 1891 State of the Union to protect foreign nationals — though not black Americans — from mob violence. Harrison’s Columbus Day proclamation in 1892 opened the door for Italian-Americans to write themselves into the American origin story, in a fashion that piled myth upon myth. As the historian Danielle Battisti shows in “Whom We Shall Welcome,” they rewrote history by casting Columbus as “the first immigrant” — even though he never set foot in North America and never immigrated anywhere (except possibly to Spain), and even though the United States did not exist as a nation during his 15th-century voyage. The mythologizing, carried out over many decades, granted Italian-Americans “a formative role in the nation-building narrative.” It also tied Italian-Americans closely to the paternalistic assertion, still heard today, that Columbus “discovered” a continent that was already inhabited by Native Americans. But in the late 19th century, the full-blown Columbus myth was yet to come. The New Orleans lynching solidified a defamatory view of Italians generally, and Sicilians in particular, as irredeemable criminals who represented a danger to the nation. The influential anti-immigrant racist Representative Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts, soon to join the United States Senate, quickly appropriated the event. He argued that a lack of confidence in juries, not mob violence, had been the real problem in New Orleans. “Lawlessness and lynching are evil things,” he wrote, “but a popular belief that juries cannot be trusted is even worse.” Facts aside, Lodge argued, beliefs about immigrants were in themselves sufficient to warrant higher barriers to immigration. Congress ratified that notion during the 1920s, curtailing Italian immigration on racial grounds, even though Italians were legally white, with all of the rights whiteness entailed. The Italian-Americans who labored in the campaign that overturned racist immigration restrictions in 1965 used the romantic fictions built up around Columbus to political advantage. This shows yet again how racial categories that people mistakenly view as matters of biology grow out of highly politicized myth making. NYT

Attention: un massacre peut en cacher beaucoup d’autres !

En cette journée où, entre Israël, les Etats-Unis et le Canada, voire les pays hispaniques, coïncident les célébrations de plusieurs traditions culturelles