Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.

Stéphane Hessel, Outrageous

by afew Sat Mar 2nd, 2013 at 09:55:46 AM EST

Stéphane Hessel est mort Stéphane Hessel has died
Stéphane Hessel, auteur d'Indignez-vous !, est mort dans la nuit du mardi 26 au mercredi 27 février à l'âge de 95 ans, a-t-on appris mercredi. L'ancien diplomate et résistant "est mort dans la nuit", a confirmé son épouse, Christiane Hessel-Chabry.Stéphane Hessel, author of Indignez-vous! (Time for Outrage!), died on the night of Tuesday 26 to Wednesday 27 February at the age of 95, it was learned Wednesday. The former diplomat and resistance fighter "died in the night" , confirmed his wife, Christiane Hessel-Chabry .
Né le 20 octobre 1917 à Berlin, "l'année de la révolution soviétique", aimait-il à rappeler, dans une famille juive convertie au luthéranisme, il arrive en France en 1925. Sa mère, Helen Grund, sera le modèle de Catherine dans "Jules et Jim", l'histoire d'une femme aimée par deux amis que Truffaut portera à l'écran en s'inspirant du roman de Henri-Pierre Roché. Son père, lui, traduit Proust en allemand avec le philosophe Walter Benjamin.Born on October 20, 1917 in Berlin, "the year of the Soviet revolution" , he liked to remind people, in a Jewish family converted to Lutheranism , he arrived in France in 1925. His mother, Helen Grund was the model for Catherine in "Jules et Jim", the story of a woman loved by two friends that Truffaut brought to the screen based on the novel by Henri-Pierre Roche. His father translated Proust into German with the philosopher Walter Benjamin.
Naturalisé en 1937, reçu à Normale Sup en 1939, Stéphane Hessel, qui parle allemand, français et anglais, est l'incarnation de l'intellectuel européen. Il suit les cours de Merleau-Ponty, lit Sartre. Mobilisé en 1939, fait prisonnier, il s'évade et rejoint Charles de Gaulle à Londres. Envoyé en France en 1944, il est arrêté et déporté à Buchenwald, où il maquille son identité pour échapper à la mort. Il s'évade de nouveau, est rattrapé, saute d'un train, rallie les troupes américaines et arrive gare du Nord en mai 1945.Naturalized in 1937, joining Normale Sup in 1939, Stéphane Hessel, who spoke German, French and English, was the epitome of the European intellectual. He attended Merleau-Ponty's classes, read Sartre. Called up in 1939, taken prisoner, he escaped and joined Charles de Gaulle in London. Sent to France in 1944, he was arrested and deported to Buchenwald, where he disguised his identity to escape death. He escaped again, was caught, jumped from a train, rallied the American troops and arrived at Gare du Nord in May 1945.
A la Libération, il rejoint le secrétariat général de l'ONU, participe en tant que secrétaire à la rédaction de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l'homme et devient diplomate. Elevé à la dignité d'ambassadeur de France par François Mitterrand en 1981, il milite pour les sans-papiers - il est médiateur lors de l'occupation à Paris de l'église Saint-Bernard - et pour les Palestiniens, ce qui lui vaut les foudres des associations juives.After the Liberation, he joined the General Secretariat of the UN, participating as a secretary in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and became a diplomat. Raised to the rank of ambassador of France by François Mitterrand in 1981, he campaigned for undocumented migrants -- he acted as mediator during the occupation of the Saint-Bernard church in Paris -- and for the Palestinians, which earned him the ire of Jewish groups.


Stéphane Hessel, writer and inspiration behind Occupy movement, dies at 95 | World news | The Guardian

The story of the French author Stéphane Hessel's long and extraordinary life reads like a Boy's Own adventure.

From his childhood in Berlin and then Paris, where he was brought up by his writer and translator father, journalist mother and her lover in an unusual ménage à trois, to his worldwide celebrity at the age of 93, when a political pamphlet he wrote became a bestselling publishing sensation and inspired global protest and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

And then there was everything in between: his escape from two Nazi concentration camps where he had been tortured and sentenced to death, his escapades with the French resistance and his hand in drawing up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

Sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday, just a week after his last big interview was published, Hessel's long and extraordinary life came to an end. He was 95 years old, but as one French magazine remarked: "Stéphane Hessel, dead? It's hard to believe. He seemed to have become eternal, the grand and handsome old man."

Stéphane Hessel, writer and inspiration behind Occupy movement, dies at 95 | World news | The Guardian

"The global protest movement does not resemble the Communist movement, which declared that the world had to be overturned according to its viewpoint," Hessel said in an interview a year ago.

"This is not an ideological revolution. It is driven by an authentic desire to get what you need. From this point of view, the present generation is not asking governments to disappear but to change the way they deal with people's needs."

Display:
He was so active, so present, up to a short time ago, that it didn't seem that death could take him. In a sense, it didn't.

Stéphane Hessel, still with us.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2013 at 02:52:02 PM EST
Is there a link available to an English language version of the referenced pamphlet he wrote that inspired Occupy Wall Street?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2013 at 04:03:58 PM EST
Google books reference. Maybe you can find a free version of the text.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2013 at 04:08:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just bought an $8 copy new from an Amazon affiliate. Could have gotten a Kindle version for <$6, but still prefer paper.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2013 at 04:22:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know what I bought recently? A preprint of Fisher's summary paper on the Debt-Deflation theory, as  paperback booklet. I have to thank you for linking to the Fed online version of the paper so many months ago...

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2013 at 05:05:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A preprint, that is.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2013 at 06:19:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A preprint would truly have been a prize.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2013 at 09:29:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Try this html page, or this e-book download.

No guarantee as to good translation.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2013 at 04:26:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm planning on using this translation with my students.  I'm "making" them read it in my political philosophy class. The further that we get away from Plato and Aristotle the less mystified that they become.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Feb 28th, 2013 at 07:25:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mystified about what?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 1st, 2013 at 01:21:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The abstractness of the ancient Greek philosophers.  They already kvetch because they feel that 40-50 pages is to much to read for a single class session. I use public domain Google books so that they don't have to buy a $150 book for the class, so it's pre-1900 stuff mostly.  A page isn't really a page, but the translations can be difficult for them.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Fri Mar 1st, 2013 at 09:43:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Do you recommend them to read this ? A useful and very readable antidote to the many reverential treatments of Plato and Socrates:


But why should we care at this late date?

Because Plato turned the trial of his master, Socrates, into a trial of Athens and of democracy. He used it to demonstrate that the common people were too ignorant, benighted and fickle to entrust with political power. In Plato's "Apology," the contrast drawn between the nobility of Socrates and the grim verdict of his juror-judges indicted democracy in the eyes of posterity. And thanks to his genius, no other trial except that of Jesus has so captured the imagination of Western man.

Plato made Socrates the secular martyred saint of the struggle against democracy. He stigmatized it as "mobocracy." Yet this was the very same "mob" which applauded the anti-war plays of Aristophanes when Athens was fighting for its life against Sparta. (No such antiwar plays were allowed, by either side, during our last two World Wars). This was the same "mob" whose eagerness for new ideas, and its readiness to hear them, drew philosophers from all over the ancient world. It made Athens - in the proud words of Pericles - "the school of Hellas," the university of the Greek world. It is the high repute of Athens that makes the trial of Socrates so puzzling.

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/socrates/ifstoneinterview.html

You might introduce a sort of anti-philosophy - a la Michel Onfray - by referring them to somewhat more dissident philosophers and the violent imperialism some of them dared criticise:

Stoic theory had earlier on favoured the notion of a mixed constitution as the best form of government, as indeed, Panaetius had regarded the Roman Republic. Thus Cicero hard argued that the victories of the Roman people were at first maintained by their justice and excellence: -

. . . the truth is that as long as the empire of the Roman people was maintained through acts of beneficence rather than injustices, wars were waged either on behalf of allies or for the empire, wars were terminated with clemency or only the necessary harshness, our senate was a refuge for kings, populaces, and nations, our magistrates and rulers strove to win glory only from the equitable and faithful defense of provinces and allies; and thus our rule could more truly be called a paternal protectorate of the entire earth rathe than an empire. This policy and discipline declined gradually, and in truth after Sulla's victory we abandoned it. (Cicero On Duties 2.26-28, in Pangle 1998, p256).
...
At a later date we find the emperor Domitian killing the Stoic adherents Junius Rusticus and Herennius Senecio because they wrote in praise of Thrasea and Priscus, and later on banishing all philosophers from Rome and Italy (Suetonius Domitian, viii, 2-4).

http://www.international-relations.com/History/Stoics.htm



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sat Mar 2nd, 2013 at 03:52:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even under the Republic the Romans were a bunch of homicidal maniacs.  Look what they did to Athens.  How many ancient languages had a single word for "killed every tenth person?"

The extant Latin writings have been deconstructed to show (prove?) they reflect a sliver of the Roman 1% concentrated in the Senatorial Class.  Tiberius is well pilloried by Tacitus yet his reign was a success for the majority of citizens/subjects of the Empire, the majority of the time.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Sat Mar 2nd, 2013 at 04:01:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I'm sure Cicero was adopting the an "in the good old days"/ "the Golden age" approach to the past, but the important point is his criticism of his own country "from the time of Sulla". The more general point was that some Stoics, less well-known than Socrates and Plato, who was anti-democratic (see the I F Stone self-interview), were dissident philosophers.

Of course the Romans were no more "homicidal maniacs" than any other imperialists, though they were undoubtedly ruthless. Those other imperialists included the Athenians, who could be pretty ruthless themselves:


Ultimately, the Athenians were influenced by Diodotus' argument and chose to spare the lives of the Mytilenians and only executed prominent leaders. However, this decision could not alter the fact that the Athenians had already killed thousands of Mytilenian men in their bloodthirsty craze prior to the debate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mytilenian_Debate



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sat Mar 2nd, 2013 at 07:39:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for that interview about Socrates, Ted.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 2nd, 2013 at 05:08:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No.

It's a struggle to get them to read the small portions I do assign.  They are used to the idea that they shouldn't have to own the book, let alone read, because it will all be fed to them in class.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Mar 2nd, 2013 at 09:26:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Abstract thought is an acquired skill, not a natural ability of the human mind as the enlightened philosophers assumed. And it's being lost.

Yet another mistake in the enlightened view of human nature which explains the failure of the enlightened political project.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 2nd, 2013 at 04:51:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]

What do you mean by "abstract thought" ? - clearly there's a spectrum  from instinctive response to say, quantum theory. Which "enlightened philosopher" claimed it was "natural" and not an acquired skill ?  (isn't the dichotomy simplistic ?) Was there one "enlightened political project" and is it not perhaps too sweeping and too early to claim that it was/they were (a) failure(s) ?

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sat Mar 2nd, 2013 at 07:49:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't disagree.  In fact I think that you can draw a line from Hobbes to Gramsci that's pretty interesting. To use the International Relations theory jargon, anarchy (or the state of nature) is permissive, not constitutive.  

Ideas of natural rights ultimately flow from the people who are able to create order from this chaos. Ideas exist before the structure of society and construct meaning.  Notice the way that the neoliberals have been able to virtually erase alternatives from the public agenda. The public sector could do a great deal to reduce obscene transaction costs created by the private sector, yet the same charge coming from the public sector is unacceptable where the private sector gets a pass.  For example, how much cheaper would online transactions be if there electronic transfers like the kind done by Visa where performed by a public sector agency at cost instead of accruing massive profits to the financial sector at cost to the real economy.  Yet, any fee from a government run scheme would be an "unnatural" tax, while the same thing in the private sector is right as rain.


And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Mar 2nd, 2013 at 09:25:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Strange that, how people who live in accordance with the values they profess still seem to be able to garner respect in our cynical, cynical world.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Feb 28th, 2013 at 08:27:46 AM EST

Yes and maybe we should praise such people a bit more often, and encourage the cynics a bit less. For example, Edgar Morin, who wrote "The Path to Hope" with Hessel is still around and in 2005 dared to criticise Israel and was of course attacked, but fortunately strongly supported:

The accusation of anti-Semitism and racism against Morin is, of course, absurd. A petition supporting Morin and released on June 24 was signed by 100 of France's most prominent intellectuals:

"Edgar Morin is recognized internationally as a humanist who all his life has condemned every form of denial of the humanity of the Other. This is why we are indignant at any measure that seeks to reduce the freedom to criticize the policies of any State, whatever it may be. We fear that this condemnation of an imaginary anti-Semitism may contribute to the expansion of real anti-Semitism. And we express clearly our profound preoccupation with a judgment condemning an article that clearly pleads for Peace and fraternity between the protagonists of the Israel-Palestine tragedy on the basis of an analysis that is both equitable and complex." [My translation -- D.I.]

http://direland.typepad.com/direland/2005/07/the_persecution.html



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sat Mar 2nd, 2013 at 04:17:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]