Showing posts with label French journalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label French journalism. Show all posts

Friday, July 19, 2013

Real Aussies attract attention

What's the point of coming all the way to Europe, to watch the Tour de France, if you can't attract attention?

Click to enlarge

Incidentally, before publishing this photo, I obtained an authorization from the AFP journalist known on Twitter as Simon.


Although photography is not his main job, he has taken some great roadside shots during the current Tour de France.


Besides cycling, Simon also works on rugby and wine. Interested newspapers Down Under might contact him through Twitter.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Honest words on Egypt

The French intellectual Franz-Olivier Giesbert didn't mince his words in an editorial in the weekly magazine Le Point concerning the recent rebellion and military intervention in Egypt. In the political domain, Giesbert—a journalist who has often whispered in the ears of French presidents—is reputed for his habit of calling a spade a spade.


Concerning the lukewarm reactions of leftist France to major events in Egypt, "FOG" (as he is called) pulls no punches. The French magazine has authorized me to publish my translation of Franz-Olivier Giesbert's editorial. Click here to access the original article.

Egyptian Rebellion and Unspeakable Racism


Editorial by Franz-Olivier Giesbert

In France, unspeakable thoughts of a racist or colonial kind are starting to taint the soul of the leftist establishment. African economic progress, for example, has been hailed by observers throughout the world, except in France (apart from a few exceptions). Recent Arab revolutions have not really been taken seriously by the French Left, which observed with horror the fall of the nasty president Morsi.

A week or so ago, when 14 million Egyptians (out of a population of 83 million) took to the streets to condemn the Islamic regime of the Muslim Brotherhood, astute leftist observers in France found the situation confusing, as if it were normal that Arab peoples should remain forever under the yoke of rigidly absurd Islamic systems, forbidden to break down the archaic walls that have held them in for so long.

In conventional thinking, every Arab is necessarily a Muslim. In a slip of the tongue, a former French president once laid bare the dogmatic logic that dominates French attitudes towards Arabs. They are all Muslims, not of the moderate kind, but rather bigoted Islamists of a backward nature, unfit for the 21st century. This is the humiliating caricature that was recently erased by millions of Egyptians with a thirst for liberty. And their massive emergence on the political scene triggered the fall of the Morsi regime.

One of the greatest human tidal waves in history swept over Egypt, and outside observers were at a loss to understand what was happening. The Tamarod rebellion was not a familiar item in their mindset, so they imagined it as something dangerous. Then the military intervention seemed to mess up the situation even more.

Certain observers predict utter chaos. They forget that the chaos was already present, prior to the rebellion. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood were hopeless managers, who operated in a suicidal sectarian style, driving the nation to doom. They chained up the nation's economic forces and resources, and hung on jealously to the key. That was their sole achievement. Instead of creating a lawful state and establishing meaningful links between all the nation's economic actors, they confiscated Egypt's wealth and installed subservient pawns in all the key roles throughout the nation, using methods that brought back memories of the Iranian mullahs under Khomeini. Furthermore, they turned a blind eye upon thugs who terrorized religious minorities such as the Copts, many of whom were pushed into exile as a consequence of this "like it or leave" state of affairs.

Stultified by their religious convictions, members of the Muslim Brotherhood were obsessed by the unique goal of Islamizing the topsy-turvy Egyptian society, whose citizens were already in a state of frustrated frenzy. Drivers had to queue up for hours at gas stations. Murders were multiplied by three in a single year. Among young people under 24 years old, unemployment soared to over 40%, while annual inflation hit the 11% mark. (Concerning the phenomenon of inflation, still seen by certain anti-Europeans as a miracle solution for France, the Egyptian disaster should have been interpreted as a terrible warning.)

When a government decides foolishly to ignore economics, the inexorable rigors of economic science soon seek revenge, spontaneously. In Egypt, this revenge was dramatic. Tourism provides a frightening example of the economic stupidity of the Muslim Brotherhood, who simply despised this industry that used to represent 11% of Egypt's gross domestic product, employing some 3 million individuals. The Brotherhood even added insult to injury by appointing a radical Islamist as the governor of Luxor. In the domain of tourism, this fellow had acquired some experience. In 1997, his group of insurgents, al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, had participated in the massacre of 58 foreign tourists (not to mention 4 Egyptians) at the Hatchepsut temple. Those were notorious credentials, indeed, which did not go unnoticed in the world of tourism.

The management of a nation is far too serious an affair to be left to a rabble band. Encouraged by the people, the Egyptian army therefore kicked out Morsi just in time to avoid a catastrophe. If ever the Islamic trap had engulfed the nation, bringing with it the threat of civil war, that catastrophe would have become a reality. Today, it is still too early to affirm that the catastrophe has been definitively avoided. The army will be responsible for writing Egypt's imminent history.

Morsi's supporters have been manhandled brutally in the streets, but the army seems to be acting more subtly, with political skill, behind the scenes. The army has looked kindly upon the al-Nour Salafist group, whose members first supported the military intervention and then reneged over the appointment of Mohamed el-Baradei, the army's choice as a prime minister. The military chiefs have promised legislative elections by the start of 2014. Let us see this as a harbinger of future Egyptian harmony.

Friday, June 7, 2013

French news agency

Many people who see the three letters AFP attached to a news story or a photo may not be aware that this acronym designates Agence France-Presse : a celebrated and time-honored French news agency whose representatives operate in some 200 countries. Click here to watch a rapid but revealing panorama of recent AFP images.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Effaced from Facebook

I've just submitted a request to be effaced permanently from Facebook, and I'm apparently scheduled for deletion within a fortnight. I've always detested the Facebook system... for gut reasons that I would be incapable of analyzing. I only joined Facebook for superficial reasons, because friends invited me to do so.

Today, of course, people who wish to contact me can do so by looking up my name through Google and then visiting my Antipodes blog.

Concerning my dislike of Facebook, the straw that broke the camel's back was the situation surrounding the recent Islamist bombing of the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

[Click to access French-language explanations from Charlie Hebdo]

In the wake of the terrorist attack against this splendid French journalistic institution, Charlie Hebdo has evoked "the feeble moral solidity" of Facebook. The Facebook pages of Charlie Hebdo were indeed submerged in Islamic shit, including death threats. It seems that Facebook authorities reacted by reprimanding Charlie Hebdo in a red-tape fashion. And all that remains is a mess.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Super-sacred rock

I warn Antipodes readers that you won't necessarily understand much, if anything, of what I'm about to say. First, it's in French. And second, even I don't grasp the theme of things. But, here goes...

Recently, a distinguished French newspaper, Le Figaro, displayed a quiz on its website [display] comprising twenty questions designed to test your awareness of French political happenings, generally at an anecdotal level, over the last twelve months. The 14th question was perfectly topical: a simple matter of identifying the personality who said: "I'm reminded of words from the Bible: Forgive them, for they don't know what they're doing." Many people in France know the answer to this question. The Socialist presidential candidate Ségolène Royal dared recently to talk like Jesus when she was criticizing certain elders of her party, designated in colloquial French political talk as "elephants". [Our metaphors start to get terribly mixed if we try to imagine Jesus talking of jungle beasts.]

What intrigues me is: Why did the French graphic artist of Le Figaro decide to illustrate their question by an image of Australia's Uluru?

Has Ayer's Rock ever been a specifically Christian symbol? I don't think so. Would it be a symbol of folk who deserve to be forgiven because they don't know what they're doing? Surely not. Finally, I end up believing that the employee of Le Figaro chose this image of Uluru for the simple reason that this sacred rock strikes us all as being terribly Biblical, like the words of Jesus... whatever that means. Funny, no?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

French Communist irony

One of France's oldest newspapers is the Communist daily L'Humanité, founded in 1904 by the great Socialist Jean Jaurès, who was celebrated because of his defense of Alfred Dreyfus. His pacifist views provoked his assassination by a nationalist student from Alsace-Lorraine, Raoul Villain, three days before the outbreak of World War I. At the end of this war, in which France emerged as a winner, pacifism was considered retrospectively as a misdeed. Villain was therefore liberated. The widow of Jaurès was even obliged to pay the court costs! In modern France, Jean Jaurès became a national hero, and streets and avenues bear his name from one end of France to the other.

L'Humanité, read by countless folk who don't belong to the French Communist party, has printed one of the few articles I've discovered in France concerning the start of the APEC conference in Sydney. I've translated the following tongue-in-cheek extract:

On this occasion, John Howard made an odd appeal on the Internet video platform YouTube. He asked protest groups to support the fundamental efforts made by the USA and Australia since their nonsigning, in common, of the Kyoto protocol. Protestors will surely respect Howard's electronic gesture and refrain from transforming the prime minister's environmental celebrations into a demonstration against a global economic order.

The banner of L'Humanité is beautifully cynical, in the time-honored spirit of the Parti communiste français. The US bomber is dropping teddy bears. No need for explanations. The journal's slogan is a splendid play on its name: In an ideal world, Humanity would not exist. For those who might not understand: If everything were fine in the world [meaning, among other things, that bombers would not be dropping explosive devices disguised as teddy bears], then there would be no need for a newspaper, defending the powerless innocents, such as L'Humanité. I'm in no way a Communist, but I agree.

Click the banner to see the English-language version of this great French daily newspaper.