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Us And Them

by john_evans Mon Nov 16th, 2015 at 05:14:52 AM EST

Daniel Schneidermann this morning (by e-mail). This is my translation, the original French follows.

Us. Our street cafés. Our laughter. Our unarmed hands in the streets of thirst. And then our flowers. Our candles. Our glistening eyes. Our proud statues. Our little hands making hearts in front of the candles and the statues, like yesterday with the pencils. Our solidarity retweets. Our little Joann Sfar cartoons. Our little crowd-replicas of the 11 January. Our little bravados. Our little braveries. We're not going to stop living. Right away this evening we're going back to the street cafés. And our little panics. Our nerves that give way when we hear firecrackers, since we keep on hearing that they thought it was firecrackers, at first. Our irresolute fears.

Our politicians. Our Sarkozies. Our Vallses. Our Cazeneuves. Their jaws set. Their bursts of figures. Their thousands of soldiers, of police officers, of border controls, of expulsions, their deprivations of nationality, their hundreds of police busts all through the night. Their inventories, their balance sheets, their imperturbable catalogues of measures to be taken, of suggestions. Their blocked software. Their incapacity to admit that it all hasn't worked.

Our newspapers. Our leader writers. Their war headlines. Their memorial special numbers. Their journalist-witnesses who live in the stricken areas, are regulars of the martyred bars. The fine words they find, here or here. Their Pantheons raised out of the sand, when suddenly it's the hipsters who have fallen. The tender hipsters. Our hipsters. Our children. Our brothers. Us. This innocent between-us of grief, that invites, as with the 11 January, tomorrow's eye-openers and disillusions.

Marking out this us is marking out a them. It is to draw, between the two, a radical, uncrossable line. It is to accept that this line exists. To discover it bounding their enclosure, unless it is ours. So, them. Who are not us, and never will be. Who we are bombing over there, don't let us forget. And who here hold the automatics. Who kill tranquilly. Who give orders. Who receive them. Who do their job. Who must have a good laugh, when they see us, with our candles and all the paraphernalia.

This unbroken line, let's dare call it by its name. Marc Trévidic [investigating magistrate in terrorist cases] is on TF1. One of the only voices that sounds right in the tumult. Who talks technique. Who talks business. Who talks shop. Hands in the motor. Who has nothing to sell, nothing to defend, neither political mandate, nor subsidised research institute. TF1 gave him three minutes, two or three times less than to Sarkozy [in the same newscast]. Three minutes to translate "state of emergency", this term that has been going the rounds since the day before, half-threat half-shield, first of all twelve days, then three months, without anyone wishing to state exactly what it means. State of emergency, Mister Judge, what does it mean? "More or less, we do Guantanamo. Perhaps the French will be in favour, perhaps the politicians will be in favour. But either we remain within a judicial system, where you need evidence to arrest and imprison someone, or we take leave of it. I'm a judge, I'm very attached to... I would have wanted us to go on being efficient while holding on to our principles. If we can't do so any longer, we'll take leave of it, and we'll do Guantanamo, that we criticised the Americans for." That's exactly what it's about. Do Guantanamo, or reopen Cayenne, it doesn't matter what we call it. We're almost there. What am I saying, we're right there. In another world, already, where no one can find the emergency exit.

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Brutish, Nasty, Prolonged

by john_evans Tue Aug 18th, 2015 at 02:11:09 AM EST

Wolfgang Streeck, in the Guardian's Comment Is Free, has a summary of recent events in the Eurozone and future developments (if that's the word).

Brutish, nasty - and not even short: the ominous future of the eurozone | Wolfgang Streeck | Comment is free | The Guardian

Politics can make strange bedfellows, but sometimes just for a one-night stand. In the end Varoufakis was overruled by Alexis Tsipras and Schäuble was overruled by Angela Merkel. The latter, displaying truly breathtaking political skills, managed within a day or two to redefine the resounding no of the Greek people to their creditors' demands into a yes to "the European idea", defined as a common currency - allowing him to sign on to even harsher conditions than had been rejected in the referendum (called, it seems, at the suggestion of Varoufakis, who was sacked on the very evening the results were in). Afraid of the unimaginable economic disaster publicly imagined by fear-mongering euro supporters, and perhaps encouraged by informal promises by Brussels functionaries of future injections of other peoples' money, Tsipras was ready to split his party and govern with those who had for decades let Greece rot in clientelism and corruption, offering the parties of Samaras and Papandreou an opportunity to regain legitimacy as pro-European supporters of "reform".

Merkel, for her part, used Schäuble's exit plan as a bargaining tool, certain that Tsipras would eventually cave in and get rid of Varoufakis. The new three-year rescue programme will carry her beyond her next election; it also avoids, or at least postpones, conflict with France, which wants Greece in for the same reasons that Schäuble wanted it out (Merkel expects less of France than Schäuble does, which makes it easier for her to live with François Hollande). It also spares her having to eat her famous motto from 2011: "If the euro fails, Europe fails" - as well as, for the time being, from having to let German voters in on the fact, commonplace among the cognoscenti but still mercifully hidden from the public, that the Greek rescue money will never be repaid. Moreover, after Schäuble had in earlier rounds talked the other EMU countries into sharing the Greek public debt, Merkel could count on their support for her refusal to consider debt restructuring. Most importantly, with Greece staying in common currency, she can now reassure her core constituency, the German export industry, that none of the captive members of eurozone will ever be released, not even on probation - something much appreciated also by the German trade unions, the Social Democrats, and her geostrategically-minded American friends.

Of course none of this means the euro mess won't continue. On the contrary, with a historic window for a fundamental recalibration of the euro system missed we are in for more of the same, and the next act of the drama is already beginning.

I think the whole article is a must-read. Another teaser below the fold:

Read more... (26 comments, 809 words in story)

News and Views

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by Bjinse - Apr 11, 79 comments

Your take on this week's news

 1 - 8 April 2018

by Bjinse - Mar 31, 92 comments

Your take on this week's news

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by Bjinse - Apr 11, 12 comments

It's the glory of the thread that has turned my head

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by Bjinse - Mar 31, 14 comments

It does not matter how slowly you thread as long as you do not stop

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