Friday, August 04, 2006

Denis Jeambar contre le monde

It's reassuring to know that L'Express, one of the flagship magazines for the French version of the so-called MSM (mainstream media), places a gent like Denis Jeambar front and center on its website. Jeambar writes for L'Express, but also sits before a camera and, in the stiff, self-serious style of old-school French journalists, offers a discourse-- a video editorial (édito vidéo)-- on certain topical issues. The link that caught my eye today was titled "Il faut croire," which I translate roughly as "We Should Believe." As is also typical of the French style, the title doesn't quite refer to what you think it might.

I've taken the time to transcribe and translate what Jeambar is saying here about the Israel-Lebanon war. I offer this to my anglophone audience in part because I hope to dispel rightie illusions about the hopeless leftism of France-- things aren't as hopeless as you imagine-- and partly because what Jeambar says needs to be disseminated to more than la francophonie. In that spirit, I offer you the following French transcript and English translation:

Trop souvent dans les démocraties, nous avons fini par ne plus croire les hommes politiques, et pourtant nous nous trompons. Nous devons les croire, et surtout quand ils appartiennent à des formations extrémistes. Il faut croire le président iranien quand il dit que les Juifs doivent quitter la Paléstine et Israël disparaître. Il faut croire le leader du Hezbollah quand il dit "Mort à Israël." Et il faut se demander pourquoi-- oui, pourquoi-- le Hezbollah a déclenché cette guerre donc qui ne cesse de prendre de l'ampleur. Il faut se demander pourquoi Israël ait bien décidé à aller jusqu'au bout. Tout simplement parce qu'Israël croit que sa survie est aujourd'hui en danger, croit que le président iranien et les responsables du Hezbollah sont décidés à en finir avec l'état juif.

Et pourtant Israël, ces derniers mois, vivait dans l'espérance d'une véritable paix. Pour la première fois de son histoire, au début de l'année, les électeurs israéliens avaient envoyé un gouvernement dans lequel on ne comptait pas le moindre militaire. Et jamais, sans doute, depuis la fondation de l'état d'Israël, le pays n'avait été aussi peu préparé à l'idée de la guerre. Et aussi, porté par l'espoir de la paix, après le retrait de Gaza et l'annonce du retrait des territoires cisjordaniens, si Israël réplique aujourd'hui avec la violence que l'on sait, c'est parce que sa survie est en jeu et c'est pour cela que, aujourd'hui, Jérusalem n'écoute pas les recommandations internationales et continue son combat jusqu'à ce que le Hezbollah soit désarmé-- ce qui (est) impératif pour la paix dans le monde.

Too often in democracies, we end up no longer believing the politicians, but that (attitude) is a mistake. We should believe them, especially when they belong to extremist entities. We should believe the Iranian president when he says that the Jews should leave Palestine and Israel should vanish. We should believe the leader of Hezbollah when he says, "Death to Israel." And we should wonder why-- yes, why-- Hezbollah started this war, which grows ever wider in scope. We should wonder why Israel has decided to go all-out. Quite simply, it is because Israel today sees its survival as in danger; it believes that the president of Iran and the leaders of Hezbollah have decided to eliminate the Jewish state.

And despite this, Israel had been living the last few months in the hopes of a true peace. For the first time in its history, at the beginning of the year, the Israeli electorate ushered in a government that included not a single soldier. And the country has never, without a doubt, been less prepared for the prospect of war. Also: if Israel, buoyed by the hope for peace after the pullback from Gaza and the announcement of the pullback from the West Bank, is responding (to attacks) today with violence, it is because its survival is at stake. For that reason, today, Jerusalem is not listening to international recommendations and is continuing its fight until Hezbollah is disarmed-- which is imperative for peace in the world.

I think Jeambar overstates the matter at the very end (I don't quite get how a disarmed Hezbollah leads to overall world peace; perhaps Jeambar is merely saying the world will be less violent once Hezbollah is disarmed), but otherwise, I agree with him. If you read French, you might want to check out the replies to Jeambar's editorial-- almost entirely negative. Maybe I was too hasty about "hopeless leftism"...

By the way-- does Ahmadinejad remind anyone else of an evil Roddy McDowell?


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