Arxivar per Setembre 2007


Setembre 9, 2007

A un cafè amagat de Gant ahir al vespre, mots impresos d’un poema de Remco Campert:
Verzet begint niet met grote woorden
maar met kleine daden

La resistència comença no amb les grans paraules sinó amb els petits fets.


Fin août, début septembre

Setembre 1, 2007

I spent this last week in Paris for job reasons. Eventually, I managed to visit some spots of the city for a couple of hours before heading back for Belgium. I found myself very much in a World War II mindset, most probably under the effects of my recent readings on the matter. Close to Pont de l’Alma, about to get on my car, the visit finished, I was struck by a small official board with the words de Gaulle wanted printed on posters spread across London. It was 1940:

La France a perdu une bataille !

Mais la France n’a pas perdu la guerre !

Des gouvernants de rencontre ont pu capituler, cédant à la panique, oubliant l’honneur, livrant le pays à la servitude. Cependant, rien n’est perdu !

Rien n’est perdu, parce que cette guerre est une guerre mondiale. Dans l’univers libre, des forces immenses n’ont pas encore donné. Un jour, ces forces écraseront l’ennemi. Il faut que la France, ce jour-là, soit présente à la victoire. Alors, elle retrouvera sa liberté et sa grandeur. Tel est mon but, mon seul but !

Voilà pourquoi je convie tous les Français, où qu’ils se trouvent, à s’unir à moi dans l’action, dans le sacrifice et dans l’espérance.

Notre Patrie est en péril de mort.

Luttons tous pour la sauver !


Général de Gaulle, Quartier Général, 4, Carlton Gardens, London, S.W.I.

This very much nationalist speech is however remarkable for an overriding reason. Beyond the necessary populist stream, there is the fundamental insight of being right about history, even when having to face the very officialdom of your country. The ability of grasping what the majority, even the government, is unable to. The will of being radical in his conviction even in despair, the strength in adversity, the skill in cheering up his people, the mastery in telling and explaining a way out to the current misery. And also his uniquely true maniqueism, nowadays so banalized. I also kept for myself this “gouvernants de rencontre”, that led my thought to catalan latitudes.

Already in the car, Sarkozy had just delivered his speech over his second bunch of economical reforms since he took office, at the Jobgivers official convention. Two days before he had been in Corsica, where he met some victims of blackmailing and announced his policy towards the island. It is difficult I can agree on hardly anything with him on Corsica, an island in the very centre of the Mediterranian that 200 years ago had barely heard a word of French and that nowadays has been almost entirely ‘frenchized’ (and also modernised, it is true, but all Europe has, I want to stress). But his words sounded convincing, as almost everything he says, especially if you are a foreigner and may not know details behind the scenes. He stressed the weaknesses of the island, with its local mafias having little interest in cultural matters and much in transaction, zoning and property. He skilfully showed some open-mindness for dialogue, with regard to the families with local convicted spending their days in continental France, and hinting that he is ready to go very far if the island assumes that Corsica is a part of the Republic, invoking the magical concept of much needed solidarity. He also said he will be visiting it regularly, and even holding ministerial meetings (all previous Presidents of the Republic visited the island just once during their mandate). He also threatened, talking to state officials: “I want results, if they don’t come, ON CHANGE!” To sum it up, he is probably the most gifted European politician of the moment, as it already became clear to me during the final debate against Segolene Royal, in which he showed a mastery in dialectical speech and explanatory skills that I reckon rather rare in current days. I have heard a new book on him by Yasmina Reza is coming out. The title, L’Aube le soir ou la nuit hints that he hardly has a notion of the ‘day’, so absorbed is he in the frenzy he has embarked on.

It was also an important week in Turkey, with Abdula Gul and Recep Erdogan eventually succeeding after a long and complicated manoeuvre to get the first sworn in as President, in a bitter battle against secularist elite. I am far from being a specialist in this country, but there is little doubt this week’s event are really epoch-making. It is also true, I believe-beyond the undoubted skills of both Erdogan and Gul- that European Union helped keeping militaries home, unlike the last decades, in which they have overthrown up to 4 governments in order to protect Ataturk’s consigns. Not by direct mediation, just as pure equilibrium of forces. Now Turkey cannot behave as it used to. For this, and many other things, the European Union is worth it. It can really become a driving force against corruption and backwardness, through well employed solidarity from the West. It is a beautiful lesson of how changes can be brought about, so far with little violence and clashes .Gul, though of deeply Islamist and conservative origins-he married a girl half his age when he was 28, that his mother picked up for him-, is undoubtedly metropolitan and has already shown great ability for dialogue in the European scene, even calming down Erdogan when this had already lost his temper in negotiations for accession.

Back home I started gathering data on the puzzling issue of political abstentionism. It is really hard, apparently, to correlate low turnovers with any significant indicator-economic, social, cultural-. Indeed, only the UN “Human Development Index” (HDI) , that summarizes the degree of civilization reached in that country via complicated weighted contributions (I shall explain it in another post), seems to correlate well: higher HDI, higher turnover in general. But unfortunately, Finland, with one of the highest HDI in the world, does not have one of the more impressive records in terms of turnover. But at least I know something about abstentionist in the country I come from: in Catalonia we know for sure that the average abstentionist knows less about politics-and therefore about economy, institutions, society, solutions and suggestions to it,etc…- than the average voter. How to find out? Asking to match the name of the political leaders to the correct political party, a really easy task in principle, if you live in a modern country of course. Here the results(extract of an official survey from the Generalitat de Catalunya). What a pity that some commentators and ‘enlightened’ journalists support them claiming they are right in not voting, and that actually they are some kind of hidden consciousness of the land. Of course the government is failing if it does not get these people voting, but at least now we know that those who are voting are better prepared to do so that those who are not.The opposite would be indeed terrifying.

Finally, in high quality newspaper Les Echos-because they start with empirical evidence and data before embarking on reasonings-, a profound question for scientists that should truly matter in politics: “Les processus darwiniens de sélection sont-ils remplaçables par des modes altruistes n’exigeant pas la mort ou l’extinction?”

I per molts anys estimat Alexandre!