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Archive for March, 2012

From The Onion, so it’s a joke. Just for laughs.

MATTOON, IL—Ending the firestorm of controversy that erupted after he made a highly critical comment about the United States, 43-year-old hardware store employee Keith Nellson bowed to public pressure Wednesday and announced he would be stepping down as an American citizen, effective immediately.

Last month, when Nellson was heard in a YouTube video of a friend’s birthday party remarking that “this country really needs to get its act together,” the gaffe quickly went viral and led to extensive coverage across all major news outlets. Soon protesters were surrounding his home around the clock and calling for him to relinquish his citizenship.

The Mattoon High School graduate addressed the media at a press conference on his front lawn early Monday morning.

“First of all, I would like to offer my deepest apologies to anyone I may have hurt with my comments,” said Nellson, flanked by his wife and two children, who have supported him throughout the ordeal. “While I truly love America, I believe the best thing I can do right now—for my family and for my nation—is to resign as U.S. citizen. After the distraction of these past few weeks, I hope my decision will allow the United States to resume its pursuit of all the things that make it the best country in the world.”

Added Nellson, “I also hope that one day the American people can forgive me for my thoughtless words.”

Though Nellson initially claimed his quote was taken out of context, criticism continued to mount, and when he was confronted by reporters last week during his afternoon shift at the town’s Ace hardware store, it seemed there was little he could say or do to assuage the growing antipathy toward him.

In a Gallup poll conducted shortly before his resignation, 93 percent of U.S. residents described Nellson’s comments as “reprehensible” and “entirely unbefitting a United States citizen,” with 87 percent agreeing the time had come for him to step down from his citizenship.

“While I do believe Keith Nellson cares for this country and its core values, the reality is there’s no ‘right’ context for someone in his position to be saying the things he said,” CNN political analyst Jack Cafferty said. “By handing over his passport and constitutionally afforded native citizenship, Mr. Nellson did the right thing, and I’m glad he chose to do so graciously and with what appeared to be sincere remorse.”

Adding to Nellson’s struggles was the discovery of prior negative comments he reportedly made about the United States. The Wall Street Journal published an account of him saying to a neighbor, “Jesus Christ…this country,” after a discussion of rising gas prices. Even more incriminating was a 2008 incident in which Nellson allegedly said to members of his bowling team, “I tell you, America’s really going down the tubes.”

Making matters worse, longtime friend and local plumber Evan Klinner, 45, was forced to rescind his public support for his former high school classmate after his statement that Nellson was “a good guy and didn’t mean anything by it” was swiftly pounced on by the national media.

“It’s a classic tale of a flawed individual; worthy, I think, of Greek tragedy,” said media analyst Brian Jacoby, who is currently writing a book on the 43-year-old suburbanite’s fall from grace. “Nellson opened a Pandora’s box and found that, in our 24-hour media culture, there was very little he could do to close it back up again. We can debate as much as we like whether there was any merit in his comments—and I’m sure millions will—but in the end it won’t save his citizenship.”

Nellson told reporters that despite “what is really just a big misunderstanding,” he still loves the American people.

“The past 43 years have been truly incredible, and I wouldn’t trade my time as a U.S. citizen for anything,” said Nellson, holding back tears. “But when 300 million of your countrymen are asking for you to stand down, then I guess you have to decide what’s best for everyone, even at great personal sacrifice.”

Despite his voluntary exile, many have speculated it is too soon to rule out the possibility of a relationship between Nellson and the United States of America in the future.

“Trust me, this is not the last we’ll be hearing from Keith Nellson,” Jacoby said. “In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if in, a few years time, after everything has died down, he tries to make a run at becoming an American citizen again.”

Added Jacoby, “After all, America loves a second act.”

Absolutely hilarious but there’s just a little something about this that is not unserious, that’s on to something real, as there are a certain number of Americans—on the Tea Party GOP end of the political spectrum—who would no doubt like to make Americans who say things about America they don’t like “resign” from their citizenship. The kind of people who will come at you with “America love it or leave it!” or “If you don’t like it here go to Russia!” (which I was told more than once four decades back after some critical comment I made about something American). Or when, in an exchange some four years ago, a right-wing GOPer I know sent a one-line email asking me in all seriousness, after a critical remark I made about the US involvement in Iraq, “Why do you hate your country?” Huh?

(photo caption: Experts say that if Nellson had apologized sooner, it is likely he would have only had to suspend his citizenship for six months.)

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Choses racontées par Le Canard Enchaîné (28 mars 2012, p.2), qui a des sources fiables dans les hautes sphères du pouvoir

Coup de gueule du président-candidat, la semaine dernière, devant des visiteurs :

« Je suis le seul à faire le boulot. Il n’y a que moi qui ai des idées. Je ne peux compter sur personne, strictement personne. Si je gagne, je le devrai à moi à 120 %. »

Du coup, un ministre de Fillon imagine déjà l’ambiance au gouvernement en cas de réelection de Sarkozy.

« Je les plains, les futurs ministres ! s’exclame-t-il devant un journaliste du “Canard”. Sarko s’essuiera les pieds sur eux. Il les traînera plus bas que la terre. Que ce soit les ministres, le Premier ministre ou le secrétaire général de l’UMP. »  (…)

Sarko a déjà été assez imbuvable et tyrannique envers ses inférieurs hiérarchiques (c-à-d, tout le monde) pendant son premier mandat. Peut-on imaginer le deuxième ?

À propos, si on ne l’a pas fait, il faut absolument lire le dernier livre de Franz-Olivier Giesbert.

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Claude Lanzmann

Adam Shatz, contributing editor at the London Review of Books (and dear personal friend), has a fine review essay in the LRB’s latest issue on the English translation of Claude Lanzmann’s memoir. The essay—which is lengthy (7450 words) and unfortunately behind the paywall—takes the reader through

The life of Claude Lanzmann, [which] Claude Lanzmann declares at the beginning of his memoir, has been ‘a rich, multifaceted and unique story’. Self-flattery is characteristically Lanzmannian, but its truth in this case can hardly be denied. He has lived on a grand scale. A teenage fighter in the Resistance, he became Sartre’s protégé in the early 1950s as an editor at Les Temps modernes [and, like Sartre, enthusiastically supported the Soviet Union in the early postwar years]. He also became – with Sartre’s blessing – Beauvoir’s lover, ‘the only man with whom Simone de Beauvoir lived a quasi-marital existence’. He marched with the left against the wars in Algeria and Vietnam; moonlighted in Beijing as an unofficial conduit between Mao and de Gaulle; and fell under the spell of Frantz Fanon in Tunis. Writing for the glossies at the height of the Nouvelle Vague, he interviewed Bardot, Moreau, Deneuve, Belmondo and Gainsbourg: ‘I met them all … and, I can say without vanity, I helped some of them make a qualitative leap in their careers.’ He had a brief, stormy marriage to the actress Judith Magne, and was Michel Piccoli’s best man at his marriage to Juliette Gréco. He knew how to woo his subjects off and on the page. ‘You are the only one who talked about me as I would have wished,’ the novelist Albert Cohen told him.

He certainly is modest, that Monsieur Lanzmann…  Shatz continues

It was a charmed life, particularly for a Jew who’d spent his youth on the run from the Gestapo and the collaborationist Milice. But the war never really ended for Lanzmann. Seventy-five thousand Jews were deported by Vichy, and, as Beauvoir writes in her memoir La Force des choses, ‘his rancour with respect to the goys never went away.’ Once he tired of covering the dolce vita, Lanzmann began a second, more celebrated career as a chronicler of the Holocaust. Shoah, released in 1985 after more than a decade of labour, is a powerful nine and a half hour investigation, composed almost entirely of oral testimony. Neither a conventional documentary nor a fictional re-creation but, as Lanzmann called it, ‘a fiction of the real’, Shoah revealed the way the Holocaust reverberated, as trauma, in the present. It was soon declared a masterpiece.
I have to admit that I’ve only seen part of ‘Shoah’—an hour or so on television—but never the whole thing. As a cinéphile and with an interest in this particular subject, I suppose I should fill the gap one of these days. Shatz’s discussion of this Lanzmannian episode, though, does not precisely increase my enthusiasm to make that ten-hour investment

Lanzmann’s first film was an admiring portrait of [Israel]. Released in 1973, Pourquoi Israël led to a summons from Alouph Hareven, director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Hareven told him that Israel had a mission for him: ‘It’s not a matter of making a film about the Shoah, but a film that is the Shoah. We believe you are the only person who can make this film.’

Monsieur Lanzmann is almost self-effacing in his modesty, I must say…

Lanzmann accepted the assignment. The Foreign Ministry’s support for him reflected a shift in priorities. Until the 1960s, Israel had shown little interest in the Holocaust. The survivors, their stories, the Yiddish many of them spoke – these were all seen as shameful reminders of Jewish weakness, of the life in exile that the Jewish state had at last brought to an end. But with the Eichmann trial, and particularly after the 1967 war, Israel discovered that the Holocaust could be a powerful weapon in its ideological arsenal. Lanzmann, however, had more serious artistic ambitions for his film than the Foreign Ministry, which, impatient with his slowness, withdrew funding after a few years, before a single reel was shot. Lanzmann turned to the new prime minister, Menachem Begin, who put him in touch with a former member of Mossad, a ‘secret man devoid of emotions’. He promised that Israel would sponsor the film so long as it ran no longer than two hours and was completed in 18 months. Lanzmann agreed to the conditions, knowing he could never meet them. He ended up shooting 350 hours of film in half a dozen countries; the editing alone took more than five years. Despite his loyalty to Israel, his loyalty to Shoah came first, and he was prepared to do almost anything to make it his way.

One thing I know about ‘Shoah’ and that has put me off is Lanzmann’s negative portrayal of the Polish people

Lanzmann insists that he left out ‘nothing essential’ about Poland in Shoah, and that he captured ‘the real, true Poland’, where the people living near the gas chambers and death convoys ‘ate and … made love in the unbearable stench of charred flesh’. The Nazis interviewed in Shoah come off rather better than the Poles, a rogues’ gallery of Jew haters. When Shoah was shown in Warsaw a ‘tsunami’ of anger greeted it. Polish reactions were, in part, a denial of reality. Lanzmann had not invented Polish anti-Semitism, as he points out; indeed, he found enough of it in Poland to confirm the worst stereotypes. But what this anti-Semitism explained about the Holocaust was less clear. The Polish villagers in Shoah – who were themselves regarded by the Germans as scarcely more human than the Jews – would not have been capable of organising anything more than a drunken pogrom: industrialised killing was beyond not only their imagination but their competence. Lanzmann, however, alleges that the Nazis set up camps in Poland because they could count on Polish complicity, a claim no historian credits. ‘It would have been impossible to have death camps in France,’ he says. ‘The French peasants would not have stood for it.’ In fact, French peasants were known to dig into the lavatories of deported Jews in search of gold; the French government, on its own initiative, passed anti-Jewish laws more severe than the Nuremberg laws and oversaw the deportations of Jewish children.

Lanzmann’s anti-Polishness is sadly typical of Jews. The essentializing of Poles as anti-Semites is something I’ve been hearing from American Jews—including numerous friends—for decades. Jews seem to consider it acceptable to denigrate Poland and Poles in terms that would be labeled racist if applied to other groups. Poles often get it even worse from Jews than do Germans. Or Russians, who have historically been second-to-none in their anti-Semitism. But the fact is, Poles were no more anti-Semitic than any of the other peoples in the lands of Catholicism. Anti-Semitism has had its historical ups and downs, and when it was high in Poland it was likewise in France, Italy, and elsewhere. It just seemed higher in Poland, as there were so many more Jews there than in western Europe. And anti-Semitism was definitely higher in the lands of Orthodoxy. When it came to anti-Semitism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Russian empire—the Orthodox parts of it—and Romania were considerably worse than the Polish lands. The pogroms mainly happened in the former, with relatively few in the latter (and those that happened in the Polish lands—in Białystok, Warsaw, etc—were stoked up by the Czarist police). As for the behavior of Poles toward Jews during the interwar years and the Nazi occupation, sure, a lot of it was despicable, but then a lot of French behavior—of ordinary Frenchmen, not to mention agents of the French state—was despicable too. Of course many Frenchmen helped and protected Jews during the war. But two things. First, the penalty for Poles who were caught sheltering Jews was immediate execution and of the entire family. Such was not the case in France. The Germans were rather nicer to the French than they were to the Poles. Secondly, a disproportionate percentage of Frenchmen who aided Jews during the war were Protestants (e.g. Le Chambon-sur-Lignon is a Protestant village). Not that this matters, as French Protestants are French above all. But still…

In any case, almost no one from the bad old anti-Semitic days in Poland is still alive, so there is no reason whatever for Jews to continue stigmatizing Poland and Poles. Such reverse bigotry is unacceptable.

Back to Lanzmann and his memoir, after discussing ‘Shoah’ Adam gets to Lanzmann’s film on the IDF, ‘Tsahal’, and his general relationship with Israel. I haven’t seen ‘Tsahal’—though I should at some point—but have seen most of another documentary—which I found quite interesting—that Adam brings into his essay

The Nakba’s traces in contemporary Israel have been the subject of a deeply Lanzmannian film, Route 181, a four-hour documentary co-directed by Eyal Sivan, a French-Israeli Jew, and Michel Khleifi, a Palestinian citizen of Israel. In 2003, Sivan and Khleifi spent two months travelling along the border outlined by the UN in Resolution 181, the 1947 partition plan, interviewing Arabs and Jews. Like Shoah and Tsahal, the film cuts between oral testimony and slow tracking shots of roads and infrastructure. Among those interviewed is an Arab barber in Lod who recalls the expulsions while cutting a man’s hair: an obvious, provocative allusion to the barbershop scene in Shoah. Sivan and Khleifi insisted that their intention was not to compare the Nakba to the Holocaust, but to show the thread that links them. Outraged by this scene, Lanzmann denounced Sivan as an anti-semite, and, with Alain Finkielkraut, successfully lobbied the Ministry of Culture to prevent the film being shown at a documentary festival at the Pompidou Centre. Lanzmann, Sivan said, ‘is the only intellectual in the world whom you are not allowed to quote’.

Not too tolerant on Lanzmann’s part. As we say over here, Lanzmann est imbu de sa personne, which should already be apparent by now. I’ve seen Lanzmann speak once, six years ago at the Montparnasse cemetery, at the funeral of a friend cut down by cancer, where he gave a moving eulogy. But while watching Lanzmann I couldn’t help but think of the film critic Roger Ebert’s one encounter with him, at the Cannes film festival in 2001, which he wrote about at the time

The poolside buffet of the Hotel Majestic always has a line of people eager to sample its delights. After waiting a long time the other day, I finally found myself with a plate in my hand and the buffet before me. Then a man pushed in front of me so roughly, he actually jostled me.

“There is a queue,” I said.

“I do not use the queue!” he barked.

“It is not for you?” I asked.

“It is not for me. I pay no attention to it.”

He began to pile his plate with cold shrimp. As an American, I believe the Declaration of Independence when it says that everyone in a buffet queue has been created equal. I was not willing to let this jerk off the hook.

“But all of these people have been waiting,” I said.

“So what?” he said.

“You are more important than them?”

“Yes. Now get out of my way.”

I was not in his way. He was in my way.

I stared at him, making my eyes narrow and mean. He stared at me. His eyes were already narrow and mean. I thought for a moment he might hurl his shrimp at me. Finally he snapped:

“Leave me alone! Leave me alone!”

We filled our plates in a tense silence. I went back to my table.

“I have just met the rudest man in the world,” I said.

“Don’t tell me, let me guess,” said a fellow film critic, whose name is available on request. “Is it that man over there in the white shirt?”

“Yes!” I said. “How did you know?”

“It had to be him. Do you know who that is?”

“No.”

Claude Lanzmann, the director of `Shoah.’ “

“You’re kidding! The nine-hour documentary about the Holocaust?”

“At the New York screening,” my friend said, “I introduced him to my mother, who is a Holocaust survivor. He brushed right past her. Didn’t have a moment to spare for her.”

This story has an encouraging moral. You don’t have to be a nice man to make a good film.

Or to have had an interesting life, had many interesting friends, and written an interesting memoir…

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[update below]

E.J. Dionne Jr. has an on target column in today’s Washington Post on a fundamentally undemocratic feature of the American political system

Three days of Supreme Court arguments over the health-care law demonstrated for all to see that conservative justices are prepared to act as an alternative legislature, diving deeply into policy details as if they were members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Senator, excuse me, Justice Samuel Alito quoted Congressional Budget Office figures on Tuesday to talk about the insurance costs of the young. On Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts sounded like the House whip in discussing whether parts of the law could stand if other parts fell. He noted that without various provisions, Congress “wouldn’t have been able to put together, cobble together, the votes to get it through.” Tell me again, was this a courtroom or a lobbyist’s office?

It fell to the court’s liberals — the so-called “judicial activists,” remember? — to remind their conservative brethren that legislative power is supposed to rest in our government’s elected branches.

Justice Stephen Breyer noted that some of the issues raised by opponents of the law were about “the merits of the bill,” a proper concern of Congress, not the courts. And in arguing for restraint, Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked what was wrong with leaving as much discretion as possible “in the hands of the people who should be fixing this, not us.” It was nice to be reminded that we’re a democracy, not a judicial dictatorship.

The conservative justices were obsessed with weird hypotheticals. If the federal government could make you buy health insurance, might it require you to buy broccoli, health club memberships, cellphones, burial services and cars? All of which have nothing to do with an uninsured person getting expensive treatment that others — often taxpayers — have to pay for.

Liberals should learn from this display that there is no point in catering to today’s hard-line conservatives. The individual mandate was a conservative idea that President Obama adopted to preserve the private market in health insurance rather than move toward a government-financed, single-payer system. What he got back from conservatives was not gratitude but charges of socialism — for adopting their own proposal.

The irony is that if the court’s conservatives overthrow the mandate, they will hasten the arrival of a more government-heavy system. Justice Anthony Kennedy even hinted that it might be more “honest” if government simply used “the tax power to raise revenue and to just have a national health service, single-payer.” Remember those words.

One of the most astonishing arguments came from Roberts, who spoke with alarm that people would be required to purchase coverage for issues they might never confront. He specifically cited “pediatric services” and “maternity services.”

Well, yes, men pay to cover maternity services while women pay for treating prostate problems. It’s called health insurance. Would it be better to segregate the insurance market along gender lines?

The court’s right-wing justices seemed to forget that the best argument for the individual mandate was made in 1989 by a respected conservative, the Heritage Foundation’s Stuart Butler.

“If a man is struck down by a heart attack in the street,” Butler said, “Americans will care for him whether or not he has insurance. If we find that he has spent his money on other things rather than insurance, we may be angry but we will not deny him services — even if that means more prudent citizens end up paying the tab. A mandate on individuals recognizes this implicit contract.”

Justice Antonin Scalia seemed to reject the sense of solidarity that Butler embraced. When Solicitor General Donald Verrilli explained that “we’ve obligated ourselves so that people get health care,” Scalia replied coolly: “Well, don’t obligate yourself to that.” Does this mean letting Butler’s uninsured guy die?

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick called attention to this exchange and was eloquent in describing its meaning. “This case isn’t so much about freedom from government-mandated broccoli or gyms,” Lithwick wrote. “It’s about freedom from our obligations to one another . . . the freedom to ignore the injured” and to “walk away from those in peril.”

This is what conservative justices will do if they strike down or cripple the health-care law. And a court that gave us Bush v. Gore and Citizens United will prove conclusively that it sees no limits on its power, no need to defer to those elected to make our laws. A Supreme Court that is supposed to give us justice will instead deliver ideology.

UPDATE: E.J. Dionne has a follow-up column (April 2) on “The right’s stealthy coup.”

(photo credit: Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

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Bradley Burston, who writes a column for Haaretz, linked to this article from +972 on his Facebook page today, calling it “maybe the most radical and important piece about Israel written in the last decade.” The article, by Noam Sheizaf, is entitled “One or two states? The status quo is Israel’s rational choice,” where he observes that “[t]he secret to understanding Israeli political behavior lies in the widespread (and fundamentally evident) notion that any change to the status quo is likely to bring more harm than good” (political scientists: yes, he does make reference to rational choice theory). Sheizaf argues—as have I for a few years now, BTW—that the binary choice between a two-state solution and permanent occupation leading to one-state ignores a third choice, which is the indefinite perpetuation of the status quo. For Israelis, a withdrawal from the West Bank and creation of a Palestinian state—which, according to polls, the majority says it favors in principle, if this would end the conflict—would entail not only a high risk of civil war among Jews—as a significant minority of settlers would likely resist violently—but may not end the conflict with the Palestinians and regardless of the provisions in the peace treaty, as the Palestinians cannot be expected to guarantee Israel’s security—security being Israel’s paramount priority—and no one could be sure of what would happen in the event of a future change of government or regime in Palestine (on this, see this earlier article by Sheizaf, which is also most interesting; one may also note the fate of the Evian Accords—signed fifty years ago this month—that ended the Algerian war, that the independent Algerian state did not entirely respect). So given the risks and uncertainties, the Israelis are not likely to quit the West Bank anytime in the foreseeable future.

But the other binary choice, of permanent occupation leading to annexation, is also unacceptable for most Israelis, as this would result in the dreaded (for Israelis) binational one state, which, if democratic, would signal the end of the state of Israel. And if it were undemocratic, i.e. a formalized apartheid regime, Israel would not only become a pariah state—more so than it ever was in the past—but would be a recipe for permanent instability, insecurity, and conflict (I’m extrapolating from Sheizaf’s argument here, as he doesn’t put it in these words). So given the seeming impossibility of either a two- or one-state solution, Israelis—politicians and voters—prefer the indefinite perpetuation of the status quo, particularly as this has brought them security (except for the occasional rocket around Sderot or Ashkelon), hardly undermined economic prosperity, and—appearances to the contrary—not led to Israel’s international isolation. As for the status quo being “unsustainable”—which is what one often hears—, this has not been demonstrated. The continued occupation of the West Bank may be immoral—which is what Sheizaf thinks it is (and I entirely agree with him)—but that’s not the issue here.

What about the Palestinians? What do they think? As it happens, yesterday evening I attended a two-hour talk at IISMM-EHESS by Jean-François Legrain, entitled “La Palestine au rythme de ses intifada.” Legrain has been one France’s leading academic specialists of the Palestinians for the past three decades, and notably of Hamas in Gaza (for a list of his many publications—including his translations of Hamas documents—go here and scroll down). One of his arguments, among others, was that ending the occupation is not presently a priority for either the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah or Hamas in Gaza. The overriding priority of the PA is to maintain the “peace business” (he said it in English), to keep the money from Western and other donors flowing, which is what keeps the PA and West Bank economy afloat. This does not only concern the middle class in the Ramallah-El Bireh bubble—which has gone into debt buying houses, cars, flat screen TVs, etc—but also much of the West Bank (on the relative prosperity in the WB, see my post w/photos of last September). As for Hamas, Legrain said that its priority is the “resocialization” of the Palestinian people according to its precepts of Islam. For Hamas, the “liberation” of all of Palestine is the ultimate goal, but is something that will happen in the distant future and for which it has no strategy for bringing about. In the meantime, Hamas has an interest in maintaining calm with Israel—the occasional rocket attacks being the work of Islamic Jihad, Fatah, or other Hamas detractors—so it can pursue the “resocialization” of the Palestinians under its control. One may presume that with the Muslim Brotherhood now in charge in Cairo, the Gaza-Egypt border will fully open at some point, enabling Gazawis to break out of their open-air prison and lessening some of the privations there. And allowing Hamas to further entrench its rule.

So those arguing for a two-state solution—don’t even talk about one-state—are shooting at the moon. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are interested. Not now, in any case. The only realistic solution at the present time is a long-term interim agreement, such as Ehud Yaari spelled out in Foreign Affairs two years ago. For the foreseeable future that’s as good as it will get.

(The above photo—taken by me in 2009—is of the Har Homa settlement seen from Bethlehem)

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I’ve been sort of following the Supreme Court hearings on the Affordable Care Act the past couple of days. I hope the Court upholds it, of course, though it looks uncertain. There’s tons of analyses out there of what happened today, several of which I’ve read. This one, by John Cassidy in The New Yorker, is quite good I think.

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Je me permets de publier un commentaire du psychanalyste tunisien Fethi Benslama—qu’il a publié aujourd’hui sur sa page Facebook—à propos de Mohamed Merah

Je voudrais ajouter à l’entretien sur les Salafistes que j’ai donné récemment (La Presse de Tunisie 02/03/12), un bref commentaire sur le cas de Mohamed Merah qui permet d’éclairer la configuration psychologique de certains Salafistes djihadistes qui passent à l’action violente extrême. La courte trajectoire de sa vie montre qu’il s ‘agit de ce qu’on appelait auparavant « un psychopathe », c’est-à-dire une personne qui a de puissantes pulsions anti-sociales, dont il va recycler le penchant criminel dans des idéologies salvatrices folles, idéologies qui servent de niche à ce genre de personnes, afin de les capter et de les utiliser. En général, ce sont des délinquants (Merah fut condamné 15 fois) ou des criminels qui rencontrent un jour un instructeur qui va les enrôler, en fournissant à leur pulsions meurtrières une justification idéale pour s’exercer sans limite et revêtir le sceau de l’héroïsme. C’est ce qui les rend encore plus impitoyables, c’est-à-dire capables de mettre une balle de sans froid dans la tête d’un enfant, comme à Toulouse, ou égorger n’importe qui, sans éprouver la moindre émotion. Bien plus, ils vont filmer leurs méfaits pour les montrer et en jouir, c’est aussi le cas de Merah. Le recyclage du crime dans des idéologies de salut n’est pas un fait nouveau. Les périodes de troubles ou de mutation sont propices à ce phénomène. L’Europe en a connu. Le monde musulman (je ne dis pas « les Islamistes » et tout le baratin sur ce qui est et ce qui n’est pas l’islam, comme si « les Islamistes » radicaux ne faisaient pas partie de l’islam) est propice aujourd’hui à ces productions, parce qu’il y a un dérèglement effrayant de ses structures anthropologiques fondamentales. Ce qui tient de telles structures, comme ailleurs, c’est la question du crime, son interdiction ou son autorisation au nom de…au nom de la référence la plus élevée. Je pense que des psychopathes, tels Merah, existent en Tunisie et peuvent sévir, dès lors qu’ils sont autorisés par des prédicateurs et autres sergents recruteurs. Les mouvements politiques qui se réclament de l’islam et les autorités de l’Etat sont prévenus : s’ils n’écartent pas de tels individus, s’ils ne mettent pas un terme rapidement aux discours autorisant le meurtre, ils se rendent complices de passages à l’acte atroces à venir.

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