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Silent Tornado Menacing the Frontline

Raleigh, Rally for Wisconsin, February 26, 2011

Raleigh, Caroline du Nord, Manifestation en solidarité avec le Wisconsin,
26 Février 2011

On March 20, I found an email in my inbox, from Richard Ortoli, an elected French official representing French folks from the East Coast. The fellow was writing that he would like Nicolas Sarkozy to emulate Scott Walker in his attacks on the public employees "priviledges" and union rights. I forwarded that to my contacts at Radio France, he was interviewed, prosecuted, jailed, executed (just kidding, he was just interviewed for now) and the podcast of that is in the previous entry, or
here. An explanation of my "Frontline" concept is also at the beginning of that entry.

Here is the podcast of my conversation with Eric Lange of "Le Forum du Mouv" on Radio France on April 11, 2011, following up on what is described in the above paragraph, a translation is below :



... 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. With Eric Lange, The Mouv's Forum ....

Eric Lange :
Let's go the United States catch up with our friend the Photographer Jean-Christian Rostagni .. How are you doing Jean-Christian ?

J-C : Very well thank you, good evening Eric.

Eric Lange : Good evening, welcome to the show ... So it is you who talked with us several times of movements .. I was going to say "revolutionary," almost huh ? Marches in Wisconsin, of Americans who were protesting budget cuts in public service, in everything that is public service ... We talked about it because it is very rare that Americans march like that ... Huh .. what's new, what is going on now ? ... There are two things, there is that story of the American budget that passed this weekend ?

J-C : Yes, that passed at the last minute. And as for Wisconsin, there is, I think there is already one Republican senator who has been recalled, there is also ... There is a lot going on .. but if we want to make it simple, in short, we can observe that everything that the Tea Party and its Governor Scott Walker have done in Wisconsin, does not fare very well with that State's citizens, and there is an evolution in vote intentions favorable to Democrats, subsequently to what happened since the end of January.

Eric Lange : But as a general rule, in the U.S. it is open season on public services currently ?

J-C : Well yes, because on the top of it, all this in the end .. the Wisconsin is one thing, but as a general rule the United States at the federal level, are in the same situation as some states are, there are budgetary problems, which almost resulted in the shut down of the federal government last week, which is rather incredible, isn't it ? For all I know, I have never heard of any other country in the world were it was considered to shut down the government because people could not agree on budgetary issues, .. it is a different take on things I suppose. And so, there are problems of means, and once more, in Wisconsin, as in other states as at the federal level, what is in question is to decide whether the expenses are going to be cut, or are we going to increase taxes ? Because that is what the debate is about.

Eric Lange : And in the United States, it is the expenses tat are cut, right ?

J-C : Yes, because it is completely anathema to raise taxes. It is anathema, but there is the vague start of a talk about it. Because if taxes weren't to be raised, .. and also military expenditure, ok ? There is the beginning of a discussion that it is rather unbelievable that the United States spend by themselves, practically as much as the rest of the world combined, and to top it, at that price Americans don't even have such a great defense, since they can't really win a war in Iraq, they can't really kick the butt of the Taliban, and now that there was a call to intervene in Libya, they pulled out rather quickly because they thought that it was too expensive ... It is therefore appropriate to wonder what does it serve to spend such a fortune on the defense department, if at that price we can't even take care of Ghadafi ? And that we need the French to do it for us. It is rather unbelievable. And therefore some folks envision, well, actually few really do, .. there is only folks like .. not like me, because I don't account for much, but some intellectuals, .. some intellectuals like, let's say .. there is Joseph Stieglitz, who is a Nobel Prize winner of economy who says that, and here and there others do so as well.

So this starts to be said, and it is also starting to be said that it is rather incredible, in the United States, the top 1%, the top 1% of the richest Americans, ...... earn 25% of the revenues, so the ratio is 1/25, and the top 90% as well, own ... of sorry, the top 10% own 90% of the wealth. There is therefore maybe something that can be done there, because ..

Eric Lange : Yes, but there you are walking on some ground .. you are on a reflection path which is very European and French. Since you know the United States better than I do, can this type of idea, of debate, penetrate the American intellect ? They don't want .. you know that better than I do .. the less government intervention there is, the better they feel ...

J-C : Yes, well, I don't know ...

Eric Lange : Do you think it is evolving some ?

J-C : Well, .. it is always difficult to assess this kind of things, because we all evolve in our little bubble, and therefore, we all tend to surround ourselves, to exchange with people who are not too foreign to our own state of mind ... I sometimes listen to some alternative media where Joseph Stieglitz may be heard, but anyway, Joe Stieglitz is not somebody who is "underground" either, ok ? He teaches at Columbia, Paul Krugman says more or less the same, writes in the NY Times and teaches at Princeton. So all this is not that far away from what we call "mainstream," but it is also true that in the evening news this is never said, or then it will be glided over very fast. There is often somebody who is invited in some anecdotical fashion to say that kind of thing, but it is true that the focus is "what budget is going to be slashed?" "Who's pay is going to be cut?" And so on. It is not at all contemplated, for now at least, to say "wait up, there are some untouched pools of revenues, and maybe if we were to do that, there would not be any crisis any longer."

Eric Lange : That is not digestible there ... The word "social" remains a bad word ...

J-C : Uuuuh ... Well, I would rather say that there is like a media blockage, there is plenty of folks who strive to hide all this, more or less consciously, I don't know. I see that recently you had our friend Richard Ortoli, who came to speak on your antenna, who more or less was doing that on a French scale ... There are stuff like this that happen that ...

Eric Lange : Richar Ortoli is the Councilman for French living abroad who published a text on the internet in which he was saying what you say .. "that the United States are going to slash into public services' budget .. and dare to attack the unions of the public sector." And he was saying that maybe this is going to arrive in France as well ... But, you know, we had him on the phone .. and he was not necessarily for it, He said that in the United States, that's how it is ...

J-C : Well, all right. I am glad that you followed up on all this and you brought him on the air, because you are pretty much the only ones in France to do that. So I heard what he said ... He was back peddling, he was peddling backward very strongly, which makes me say that when the Tour de France, which is scheduled to come to Corsica soon .. in 2013 if my memory is correct, .. I need to precise that Richard Ortoli's origins are more or less from Ajaccio, .. he might have a card to play then, if the Tour organizers want to create a stage that would favor the adepts of back peddling, because he is a real virtuoso at that ... He nevertheless wrote, isn't it ? It is written black on white in his newsletter, .. that he was suggesting to Nicolas Sarkozy to inspire himself from Scott Walker's actions .. That's in short what he was writing in his post. So now I heard what he was saying on the air ...

Eric Lange : He was much more balanced ...

J-C : Yes, yes, yes, .. very well, I am happy that he comes back to more appropriate feelings ... I would have preferred if he had been a little more honest and had said "I am sorry, I am under bad influences in NY, I was brought to think certain things, and in the end well it is true that etc ... " So, he tried to drown the fish, that is not very important, that is not the heart of the issue. The core of the issue is that there are people like this, who when they see Scott walker, find him inspiring. I think that you asked him the right question "how is it that in a world which is more and more global, things always follow the same trajectory. Which is that we always want to import from the United Sates the good and the bad, often the bad, and that it apparently does not function very well in the other direction ? While when it come to social reforms, one might wonder if it is not rather the United States that should inspire themselves of the French or European model rather than the opposite ? This reminded me what I heard years ago, on France Inter I believe, "French love beautiful Americans" he was talking of American classic cars, "and they bring them in and transform them into homely fats." That is a little bit what Mr. Ortoli and others are busy doing, they want to import in france anAMerican model ... They import the worst and they leave the best.

Eric Lange : Jean-Christian, Jean-Christian I interrupt you, we must go, there is people waiting ... In any case it is always that famous debate between "what society do we want, more social, more government, what do we want ?"

J-C : Exactly, once more we could observe that in the past 10-15 years, the only ones who have benefited from growth, are the ones at the very top brackets. I was talking on teh phone with my friend Pascal yesterday, he was telling me that in France it is the same thing, in Paris it is now common to see 500,000€ cars on the boulevards ...

Eric Lange : Commonly, he is exaggerating a bit, there are not tons of it, but it is true that Paris is becoming a very expensive city ...

J-C : From what I hear, there is more and more luxury goods shops, .. and these folks need to find customers somewhere ... In any case this is not me who is saying this, it is once more Joseph Stieglitz, who demonstrate rather brilliantly, that the only ones who have benefited from growth in the last 10-15, even 20 last years are the 1%. As a matter of fact, he has a new book that I recommend to everybody "of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%" which is a twist on ...

Eric Lange : Jean-Christian, I interrupt you this time, as I feel it that you are going to start over, and we need to go, there is people waiting ...

J-C : All right, thank you Eric ..

Eric Lange : Thank you in any case, talk to you soon again, we'll come back for news regularly.

J-C : All right, thank you Eric. Bye ...

Eric Lange : Thank you Jean-Christian Rostagni, talk to you very soon ... 01-45-24-20-20 if you want to react on the importation of the American System ... We are going to put some music, "Larves in the hinge of light .." on The Mouv ...


Le 20 Mars dernier, je trouvai dans ma boite mail, un billet dit "d'humeur" de Richard Ortoli, l'un des conseillers des Français de l'étranger représentant ceux de la côte Est des Etats Unis. M. Ortoli concluait son billet par un désir que Nicolas Sarkozy s'inspire de Scott Walker Gouverneur du Wisconsin, et étudie comment il serait possible de réduire les avantages sociaux présumément considérables ainsi que les abus de droit de grève dont jouissent les fonctionnaires français, car l'on ne saurait durablement avoir une société à deux vitesses, où les fonctionnaires seraient privilégiés sans commune mesure avec le secteur privé.

Je m'empressai alors de faire suivre le billet de M. Ortoli à mes contacts de Radio France, suite à quoi il fut interviewé dans le Forum du Mouv pour s'expliquer, voir précédent billet avec podcast
ici. Le Comité de Salut Publique délibère en ce moment sur son cas. L'explication de mon concept de "Ligne de Front" est aussi au début de ce billet-là.

Voici ici le podcast de ma discussion avec Eric Lange le 11 Avril 2011, en suite à l'interview de M. Ortoli :



On the Frontline, in the Shadows

Raleigh, Rally for Wisconsin, February 26, 2011

Raleigh, Caroline du Nord, Manifestation en solidarité avec le Wisconsin,
26 Février 2011

On the Frontline ? That is because I specialize in bridging the U.S and France, and that bridge constantly the making, can be considered as the frontline of the debate on democracy, certainly in the western world.

On March 20, I found an email in my inbox, from Richard Ortoli, an elected French official representing French folks from the East Coast. If you ever wondered why there was so many French here that you did not feel at home anymore, don't wonder any longer call homeland security, we even have representation!

The email (see reproduction in the French column and its translation below in this column) would not have attracted my attention, if not for the world "Wisconsin" in its first sentence. As you might know, I had just then published a tribune in Le Monde on the matter, and had spoken three times on Radio France about it (see entries
here, here and here), but was about the only one talking about this to French folks until Mr. Ortoli jumped in, hence my curiosity.

I can't remember now if I was surprised to discover that Mr. Ortoli, while presumably a little chocked by the methods, was nevertheless inspired by the substance governing Scott Walker's actions, and thought that indeed Nicolas Sarkozy should emulate the Wisconsin Governor. What surprised me for sure, was not that a right leaning French politician would think of importing the worst of American politics in France, but rather that the guy would have chosen the right to strike, which is as everybody knows, quite cherished in France, and even protected by the constitution, and that he would have thought of doing so when the corpse of the Wisconsin public workers' rights was still warm.

But nothing really moves us too much anymore here on the frontline, we built up the immunities for mental health survival, and therefore, a few seconds later I was forwarding Mr. Ortoli's email to the superior authorities, my Radio France contacts.

This is how we now get to hear Mr. Ortoli's voice, interviewed my Eric Lange on the Forum du Mouv, see podcast below, and its translation
here. It should be noted that the Tour de France is supposed to have a couple stages in Corsica in 2013, Corsica being where Mr.Ortoli is from. Mr. Ortoli might find then another opportunity to shine, as if we judge from this interview, he is certainly a virtuoso of back peddling.

I will be on the Forum du Mouv myself Monday April 11, to develop all this, and the podcast will be posted here as soon as possible afterward.


Translation of Mr. Ortoli's Email :

Dear Compatriots,

In Wisconsin, the new Republican governor Scott Walker did something for now unthinkable in France : he attacked public employees unions.

On march 11, he passed a law that weakens their power. From now on, they will not be able to collectively negotiate salaries or vacations. Raises will be paired with inflation, no more. Every year they will have to dutifully ask their members if they want to renew. Finally, every public employee in Wisconsin will have to spend a little more out of pocket for health insurance.

Neither the public workers marches, of a rare violence for the United States, nor the scants from Democrats, some of which fled to Illinois in order to prevent a vote to take place, not event the Capitol's occupation, deterred Scott Walker. Until the end he maintained that these reforms were necessary to balance the State's budget otherwise much in deficit. It is difficult to see clearly. Some say that the deficit will be of 3.6 billion in 2012, others estimate it to 2.5 billion. Unions claim that all this is much exaggerated, and that the Governor simply wants to eliminate their rights.

Of course the method used by Scott Walker is chocking. Of course the cuts planed in the new budget, notably for education, risk to harm everyone in Wisconsiin, whether public worker or not, But the Pew Research center finds in its polls that the Wisconsin Governor is supported by 31% of Americans ... His actions therefore signal a deep malaise. Is it possible to maintain as many inequalities between public and private sectors employees when unemployment nears 10%, and when most States are near bankruptcy ? Why should there be 2 categories of workers : those who risk unemployment, pay cuts, work until 70, and those seating on very generous social advantages at tax payers expense ?

The situation in France is not much different from that of Wisconsin, but Nicolas Sarkozy has too many problems with foreign politic now, to examine those issues carefully enough ... He first must restore the Foreign Affairs Ministry, damaged by Michelle Alliot-Marie fishy relationships and her subsequent firing from her post as Foreign Affairs Minister. But when he will have digested the government shake up, when the middle East fires will be calmer, and before the 2012 election that appears to be very hot if D.S.K. is a candidate, it is not impossible that Nicolas Sarkozy, by respect for those who voted for him in 2007, attempts something to break the omnipotence that unions exercise on French political life.

Madison/Paris, same fight ?

Richard Ortoli


Sur la ligne de Front ? C'est parce que je me spécialise dans le rapprochement des conceptions politiques, sociales et culturelles entre la France et les Etats Unis, et que cela peut être considéré comme la ligne de front du débat sur la démocratie, en tout état de cause pour ce qui est du monde occidental.

Le 20 Mars dernier, je trouvai dans ma boîte mail, un billet dit "d'humeur" de Richard Ortoli, l'un des conseillers des Français de l'étranger représentant ceux de la côte Est des Etats Unis. J'aurais sans doute envoyé ce billet sans humour aux oubliettes préconisées, si le troisième mot de la première phrase n'avait été "Wisconsin." Il faut dire qu'à l'époque je venais de publier une tribune dans le Monde basée précisément sur la situation et les événements du Wisconsin, que j'étais intervenu 3 fois sur le Forum du Mouv (voir billets
ici, ici, et ici) et que je pensais très autarsiquement être probablement le seul expatrié jusqu'à ce 20 Mars, à attirer l'attention des français sur ce sujet.

Curieux, je me mis à lire le billet de M. Ortoli (voir repro à droite). Je découvrais alors que ce Monsieur trouvait que les actions de Scott Walker (le Gouverneur du Wisconsin), bien que un peu choquantes dans la forme, étaient dans le fond néanmoins probablement salutaires et qu'il conviendrait à Nicolas Sarkozy d'examiner comment il pourrait en faire de même au pays de Cocagne.

Là j'étais surpris pour de bon, non pas qu'un politique apparenté de droite puisse avoir une idée aussi saugrenue,
Fighting Like an Egyptian

Raleigh, February 26, 2011,
Rally for Wisconsin

Raleigh, 26 Février 2011, Manifestation en solidarité avec le Wisconsin
mais plutôt qu'il ait le toupet de le claironner, et de surcroît aussi tôt, sans respect pour le deuil des pauvres bougres, alors que le corps des droits défunts des fonctionnaires Wisonsinois gisait encore chaud dans le Capitol de Madison.

Mais si sur la ligne de front l'on s'étonne encore, l'étonnement n'y est guère paralysant depuis longtemps, grâce aux immunités que l'on développe assez vite afin de garder une santé morale. Quelques secondes plus tard je faisais donc suivre le billet pas doux du tout de M. Ortoli aux autorités compétentes relevant de mon secteur, en l'occurrence mes contacts à Radio France.

Et c'est ainsi qu'il nous est donné d'entendre la voix de M. Ortoli interviewé par Eric lange dans le Forum du Mouv, voir podcast ci-dessous. Notons au passage que le Tour de France a prévu de passer par la Corse en 2013 je crois, et que si l'on en juge par la prestation de M. Ortoli à l'antenne (M. Ortoli est originaire des environs d'Ajaccio) celui-ci pourrait surprendre sans doute ne serait-ce qu'au titre de "régional de l'étape", à condition que les dirigeants du tour puisse concevoir un parcours privilégiant le rétro-pédalage dont notre ami corsico-NewYorkais est de toute évidence un virtuose de classe internationale.

Je serai à l'antenne sur le Forum Lundi 11 Avril afin de développer tout ceci, et le podcast sera posté sur ce blog dans la foulée.



The Madison-Raleigh Non Stop

Labor Rights Article in the N&O

Article sur la demande du droit de grève
Raleigh, Caroline du Nord

On February 22, I was invited in the Forum du Mouv," a Radio France Broadcast from Paris, to talk about the evolution of the migration of the Arab revolution on the U.S. front. That day the news had arrived that there had been some protests in Raleigh asking for the rebirth of the right to engage in collective bargaining in North Carolina. the podcast is linked below, and the translation follows. The podcast of my prior intervention on the original development in Wisconsin, is in the post below, or here.

Le 22 Février 2011, j'ai été invité dans le Forum du Mouv' pour parler de l'évolution de la transmission de l'esprit révolutionnaire arabe sur le front Américain. Ce jour là, la Caroline du Nord avait fait l'objet de manifestations demandant la réinstallation du droit de grève, perdu depuis 1959. Le Podcast est ci-dessous, celui de mon intervention précédente lors du déclenchement du mouvement dans le Wisconsin, est dans le billet précèdent ou ici.

La traduction du podcast est bien entendu pour le bénéfice des anglophoones.


: 01 45 24 20 20 to join us, we are going to talk about the sitcom "Skins" in a moment, but before that we are going to take a short trip to the U.S.A., isn't it, it is Jean-Christian who is here with us? ... How are you doing Jean-Christian ?

J-C : Yes, I am doing fine thank you, good evening.

ERIC LANGE : We come for some news, because a few days ago you were announcing to us that a revolution had started in Wisconsin.., nobody believed me here... it's funny, it is not talked about much here in the media ...

J-C : Well, you know, it is as always, even more so in France which is a country relatively conservative from an ideological point of view, ... not politically ... the French mind structure is conservative, which is why they always elect Presidents who are beyond 50 years old or even beyond 60, and consequently, I think that people have a hard time admitting to themselves that a movement.., how should I say, .. political, revolutionary, which begins in the Middle East, in the Arab world, may contaminate a Country as developed, as superior, as.. whatever as the U.S.A, but that is nevertheless what is going on...

ERIC LANGE : What is indeed going on.. I precise in two words who you are, Jean-Christian has a long history with us in the show, he has been living in the U.S. for ... a very long time, he is a photographer, and the other day you told us about this story in Wisconsin, where the Republican Governor wanted to pass a bill lowering State Employees compensation, and taking away some of their benefits, and consequently, in a surprising fashion for the U.S., there are thousands of Americans who marched in the streets in Madison.. where are we about that...?

J-C : The situation is rather in stand by if you will. In English we would say "stalemate," things are stagnating. We have on one side the Governor who is hunkered down on his position, and on the other side we have the protesters who do not back down either, because in fact, the most contemptuous aspect is that the Governor wants the abolition of right to strike for public employees, although in fact it is not as much the right to strike that he is after. In English there is something called "collective bargaining," and in France we do not dissociate the two, as evidently one goes on strike when demanding something, is the U.S. it is not as much the right t strike that would be withdrawn, as the right to get together to negotiate collectively: "collective bargaining." Is there a name in French for that?..

ERIC LANGE : The right to negotiate.. no..

J-C : Collective negotiations, if you will, what the C.G.T. the C.F.D.T. and Cny do.. and so, he wants to abolish that, because he is explaining us that otherwise things get too expensive, because State employees can then exercise pressures that are unbearable,,. .. and if we were to buy what he says, we would think that the State always has to backdown facing the pressure from its employees, and is always forced to pay them more. So we the wonder then how it is that all those employees are not millionaires, because if that is so, might as well ask for the same pay as in Wall St.... But.. that's how he sees it..

ERIC LANGE : But you, in your own look at things, from your own prism, it is evident that those movements in the U.S. are influenced by what has happened in the Magreb?

J-C : Well yes, in fact is not even I who demonstrated that, it is you....

Laughs ...

J-C : When we spoke Friday, it is you who fetched--I would love to have that picture--you told me that yu found that photograph in the Canadian press in which some guy was holding a sign in arabic that meant "Get Out" (as in Tunisia)...

ERIC LANGE : yes, that's right, a guy who had copied in arabic the sign "Get Out" which he had presumably saw on TV or on the net, that's right..

J-C : So, you saw the photograph ?

ERIC LANGE : yes, I saw the photograph, i need to fetch on which blog, site that was ...

J-C : Please retrieve it, send it to me, I would like to put that photograph on my own blog..

ERIC LANGE : I think it was on Cyberpress.ca, you know, that site which regroups press from Canada

J-C : Cyberpress.ca, I'll look for it....

ERIC LANGE : ..But has it grown now..

J-C : ..Well, I don't know if you recall, Friday at the end of our conversation I was saying that "Yes with a little luck, the movement will spread all the way to North Carolina .. one may always dream." these are my words from Friday. And this morning, the dream turns reality, I see, front page in my paper, the Raleigh paper, the North Carolina State's Capital. It was a little on the side, but it was nevertheless front page, that there had been a protest yesterday in Raleigh, asking for the reinstallation of collective bargaining rights in North Carolina (see article here), and clearly the article was linking that to what is going on in Wisconsin. There is therefore a snowball effect if you will, what is going on in Tunisia influences Egypt, what is going on in Egypt influences Wisconsin, what goes on in Wisconsin now influences people in North Carolina, on the whole those folks are black, because blacks in North Carolina, in the South as a general matter, are the ones who have the most.. have the most interest.., the largest tendency, to be pro-unionist, .. sorry, that's English, pro-union, they are the most likely to have "ethnic" opinions .. no, that's no correct either, well.. you know what I mean, they have a strong sensibility for a vision of society which would be more "Socialist" than wild Capitalism, if you will...

ERIC LANGE : "Socialism" is a bad word in United States...

J-C : "Socialism" ? Oh yes, it is a very very bad word ...

ERIC LANGE : Jean-Christian, I am surprised, I have been wondering since the beginning of this story, if really ... Because you know, we talk of Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, China, Bahrein, .. and now we talk of the United States.., I don't know what is going on... Is there really something...

J-C : We need TV crews to re-focus on the United States, because here is the main field of operation now..giggle...

ERIC LANGE : You are going to see that we are going to be guilty of .... giggle...

J-C : Yes, well, I don't know if we are going to be responsible for it, but I think that... Everything is there.., there are pressures, political ones, social ones, which are strong,.. in the United States at the end of the day, as there was in the Arab world when all this started,.. maybe a little less strong in the U.S. .. but no matter what, if one wanted to look into it, .. much stronger than one imagines I think, in France anyhow, .. and then .. that creates.. that allows, .. that motivates people in doing something, I mean after a while .. enough is enough.. and...

ERIC LANGE : Well, .. Americans are starting to change. Jean-Christian ? Thank you, thank you for the news, we keep in touch, and we follow this, I am going to follow this up close...

J-C : Well, very well, and send the TV crews will you?

ERIC LANGE : Ok, I am going to send teh TV crews, ok. Hey Jean-Christian, that's it, Anneka put a link to your blog, on our blog, if the listeners want to discover your work and all your photographs.

J-C : Thank you very much.

ERIC LANGE : you are welcome, thank you very much Jean-Christian...

J-C : Talk to you soon Eric.

ERIC LANGE : Talk to you soon. 01 45 24 20 20 of course if you want to talk of the United States with us, and Jean-Christian's blog, you go on the forum's blog, ericlange.org, you will find the link to go see everything he does.


The Cairo-Madison Express

Pyramide 1972

The Cairo-Madison Express

On February 18, I was invited in the Forum du Mouv," a Radio France Broadcast from Paris, to talk about the possible contamination of the Egyptian revolution into the U.S. through Wisconsin. the podcast is linked below, and the translation follows.

The photograph above is rather unremarkable, but is one of the very few I have left from what I photographed in 1972, the only time I ever went to Egypt, and my early debut in photography. My mother, step father and your immodest reporter, took a two week cruse around the mediterranean that summer, organized by the "benefit bureau" of the State company that they were working for. It is the same organization that in 2009 allowed us to spend "
A Socialist Vacation among Princes and Divinities" but that is a different story, for later. The cruse brought us in several Arab countries, our first encounter with that culture otherwise present in our streets, but with which we never interacted. It is during that trip on a Russian cruse liner (yes, the benefit bureau was a little run by communists) that I started my companionship with photography. My father had lent me his Foca, a 1950's French take on the Leica, and all was captured on Kodachrome 25.

In those days I listened to a lot of Crosby Stills Nash & Young ....


ERIC LANGE : 01 45 24 20 20 If you would like to add some opinion about the reliability of information on the web.... The revolution has started in the United States and we'll talk about it in a minute, just after the announcements, please stay with us ...

ERIC LANGE : 01 45 24 20 20 If you would like to continue, and this time it is indeed Jean-Christian who is with us, good evening Jean-Christian ...

J-C : Yes, good evening, good evening Eric. It was weird earlier to hear my name, I thought "but I am not on the phone" ... (Eric had announced the previous caller as "Jean Christian" while his name was really "Christian")

ERIC LANGE : But yes, what is going on ...? Tell me Jean-Christian, you sent us an email earlier on, and I therefore looked on the net, and as we were talking earlier in the show of verifying infos on the net, I looked around, and all this seems perfectly true, there would be like a perfume of revolution in Wisconsin, a State of the U.S.A. ?

J-C : Yes, yes, the ways of the lord are unfathomable are they? Who would have guessed that a revolutionary movement or a revolutionary aspiration that would have originated in the Middle East or in the Magreb, would end up so quickly contaminating the U.S.? Who would have guessed that?

ERIC LANGE : We need to briefly recount the story. In Wisconsin, stop me if I am wrong, there is a Republican Governor, who yesterday wanted to pass a budget that was going to restrain public services a lot, and consequently, there has been some protests.

J-C : Yes, well if we wanted to develop the analogy, we could say "A governor/Dictator" because, sure, he has been elected, but he was elected in a State, Wisconsin, which is traditionally a State more or less to the left of the political spectrum, on the whole, just as there are some districts in France which are more traditionally Socialist than U.M.P (President Sarkozy's party). And one day they made a mistake, they voted Republican, in the last election, because they were seduced by some sirens, but nevertheless, Wisconsin is not Alabama or Oklahoma. And here we have a Governor, who like many Governors nowadays in the U.S. is forced to.. has to deal with some atrocious budget circumstances because with the crisis they have less and less revenues and yet there is still just as much expenses to face.

Something needs to be done, but the only thing he can think of doing is proposing to eliminate positions, and distribute pay cuts. And on the top of that, which is already plenty controversial, and to spice the sauce, that Governor adds to the bill a provision that will take away bargaining rights. That is something that already exists in a number of States in America, notably in the South where I live. In North Carolina, folks like my wife who are State Employees, since she is an elementary school teacher, do not have bargaining rights, and God knows that is not good. In Wisconsin they have kept that right, and they are threatened to have it taken away. so they are not happy at all and they take it to the streets.

But there is something that is even more hilarious, although what preceded was actually not funny, so it becomes hilarious when we learn that there are 19 Republican Senators in Wisconsin, and 14 Democrats. 19 vs. 14 the Republicans are bound to win all the times, except that in order for a vote to happen, there needs to be a quorum of 20. So yesterday, the Democrat Senators of Wisconsin, that's unbelievable, they left.

ERIC LANGE : They left the State altogether to prevent the vote to take place!

J-C : They left the State and as of this morning in my paper, nobody knew where they were. For all I know they are in the studio next to yours, or in Canada, we don't know, because they left Wisconsin since if it was possible to apprehend them, they could be forced to take a vote.

ERIC LANGE : You are telling me that in an American State called Wisconsin, the Republican Senator in place, huh.. the Governor, sorry, wanted to pass a list of reforms, of bills, that the population is protesting in the streets, that opposition Senators have left the State in order to prevent a vote to take place. But when I looked I saw some photographs, it seems that some folks were occupying the place, aren't they?

J-C : Yes! Necessarily, all this creates a synergy. When I make an analogy with Egypt or Tunisia, it seems a little stretched at first ...

ERIC LANGE : huh, yes, a little ...

J-C : But in fact it not that much stretched, because the problem is still along the same lines. If you want, we have in the U.S. ... The top one percent in the U.S. owns 40% of the wealth, and 22% of earnings, these are official statistics, I don't make them up, and if were declining the whole picture--we might not have time on the air right now--we would discover that there are discrepancies in revenues, in wealth, and therefore in power that are unbearable. Consequently when we arrive in crisis situations such as now, when there is a real issue of revenues (for the State), we deal with some characters who are eventually in position of power like this Wisconsin Governor, who would rather resort to pass bills that would be already unbearable due to the pay cuts, that if they were implemented in France, I mean, would set the Country on fire ... And then as if that wasn't enough he wants to modify laws as to take away the right to strike and to collectively bargain... I don't know, where are we now, Burkina Faso ?...

ERIC LANGE : What is crazy is that for once Americans have come down in the streets. It is rather rare, that they protest, occupy places, that they start such a political action to counter a decision ... it is rather crazy stuff...

J-C : it sure isn't common, and we can't help wonder ... maybe the Egyptians have inspired the folks in Wisconsin....

ERIC LANGE : Well, I don't know, I saw somewhere, .. it was in the Canadian Press. they were explaining that they had noticed an American protester who was there, in Wisconsin, it's Madison huh, the town's name, he had a little sign with written in arabic "Get Out" (what folks were writing and saying in Tunisia). And so I imagine that the guy had seen the news, and he copied ... it is a real acknowledgement from one protester to the ones in Egypt.

J-C : It is not possible to state that the spirit of Egypt or Tunisia ...

ERIC LANGE : no no but ...

J-C : And still ....

ERIC LANGE : And still one may wonder ...

J-C : Yes, we may wonder because, it is also true that in the U.S. as in France and practically anywhere, a lot of attention has been paid to the events in Egypt, above all, because they understand (the Americans) the implications that this has about the relationship between the U.S. and the Arab world,, if you wish, it is talked about all the time, even last night in the news there was a ton on Egypt, so somewhere no, it is not innocent ...

ERIC LANGE : it does not come out of nowhere, no. Jean-Christian, in any case, thank you for telling us, and keep us informed, next week, so that we know what is going on.

J-C : My pleasure, and maybe by contagion it will spread everywhere and maybe even in North Carolina, one may always dream huh?

ERIC LANGE : Thanks a lot Jean-Christian, thank you, we'll follow it. Is Wisconsin becoming the Tunisia of the United States? It is crazy!

Le Cairo-Madison Express

Le 18 Février 2011, j'ai été invité dans le Forum du Mouv' pour parler de la possible contamination des Etats Unis par la révolution Egyptienne au travers du Wisconsin. Les similitudes ne sont pas si fortuites que cela, comme on le découvrira dans le Podcast ci-dessous.


La photographie à gauche n'a rien de particulièrement remarquable, mais a l'avantage d'être l'une des rares qu'il me reste d'une brève escale en Egypte en 1972, à mes tout débuts en photographie. Cet été là, ma mère, mon beau-père et votre immodeste reporter, avions fait une croisière autour de la Méditerranée, croisière organisée par le comité d'entreprise d'EDF, la CCAS dont nous bénéficions. C'est cette même CCAS qui nous permettra en 2009 de passer "Des Vacances Socialistes parmi les Princes et les Divins" mais cela est une autre histoire. Le paquebot était Russe, et c'est durant ce périple qui nous emmenait pour la première fois en visite notamment dans le monde Arabe, que je découvris la photographie. Mon père m'avait prêté son Foca, que j'alimentais avec du Kodachrome 25.

En ce temps là j'écoutais beaucoup de Crosby Stills Nash and Young ...

La photographie ci-dessus me viens grâce à la vigilance de mon ami Rodrigo Dorfman, et appartient à
The above photograph arrives here thanks to my friend Rodrigo Dorfman's vigilance, and belongs to http://twitpic.com/419nfm


Forum du Mouv' 31 décembre 2010

Wikileaks Shakes the U.S.
From the "N&O Clippings" series, December 4, 2010

Jean-Christian On Radio France Broadcast "Le Forum du Mouv, December 31, 2010


ERIC LANGE : And this is Jean-Christian who is with us, Good evening Jean-Christian.

J-C : Good evening Eric, how are you?

ERIC LANGE : Very well thanks, still in Durham in the United States ?

J-C : Oh yes, yes, we don't move from here, when one arrives to Durham you know, not only does one always come back, but also sometimes, one never leaves, like.

ERIC LANGE : Jean-Christian is one of those French, installed in the United States, since what ? Quite a long time now, isn't it ?

J-C : 17 years, 17 years.

ERIC LANGE : Here it is, and nevertheless, you never really integrated in America, did you, you keep an extremely critical eye ?

J-C : oh yes, yes, no, yes, I don't know, you know, when I immigrated here, I was full of good intentions, and then I had to face reality, and this is how I became the gesture, the one who says what the others often don't dare to utter, or even sometimes don't even see, because they are too Americans or too complacent. There is a lot of French who actually give me strange looks, I mean French folks from here, because I say .., I don't know, because I don't behave in a good, well disciplined immigrant fashion, but hey, that's life, one cannot change nature.

ERIC LANGE : But it seems to me that in the U.S. it is kind of tough to have political discussions, no ? Because folks don't want to argue with each others, they want to stay on the "enjoy" level, they don't want to fight.

J-C : Bingo! And you know, where I am it is the South, that is even worse. I fell that you did not really often went in the South, that your experience of the U.S. might be more North East or California bound, but here in the south, there is a culture of absolute complacency, never make any wave, it is an extremely conservative environment, as a matter of fact, it shows politically. The South which historically was Democrat, in fact because it went back to civil rights fights (Note to reader : yes sorry, got that wrong in the spur of the moment, I meant "Civil War"), when around 1968, Blacks got their more or less final emancipation, then the whites who had become Democrats, I don't even remember why... (Note to reader : "well yeah J-C, you can't remember because you were confusing historical facts) but there was a reason, although in fact they were "sunny days" Democrats, not real ones, hyper conservative Democrats, and now they have decided to be Republicans once in for all, which at least has the merit of being honest. So, yes, the South, that is very very conservative, and one tries to never say anything that would remotely be controversial.

ERIC LANGE : And that is quite astonishing, in an America where people are quite free speaking in the media, in books, in movies, conversely, between individuals there is much more difficulty to approach challenging topics.

J-C : But even in the media, there is never ... I don't know, I sometimes feel that in France we are freer in our tone, if you want. If one compares Radio France, France Inter and NPR, , the former are freer in their tone than on NPR ! For instance there is never any instance of sexual talk in the U.S., any. For instance I remember hearing Guillon rather recently on France iNter, and apparently that did not bring him luck, he was talking of "Dicks" "Balls, and so on. Never, never, will you hear that here, it is an absolutely taboo.

ERIC LANGE : You can't say "Fuck" in America.

J-C : Or even a language that may be remotely little crass, or a little Gaelic, oh no, absolutely not.

ERIC LANGE : In two words Jean-Christian, this year was important for you, you were featured in Le Mode, the newspaper Le Monde ?

J-C : Yes, yes, that was a high note. That was very satisfying, obviously, yes, that's very honorific. Additionally, I am probably part ... I am not absolutely sure of that, I don't know the statistics, but I assume that there is quite few people that have been published in Le Monde, both in writing and photography. Because most of time photographers don't write, and I am primarily a photographer. So yes, I was extremely flattered by this, yes.

ERIC LANGE : Jean-Christian, thanks a lot, Happy New Year, you are partying tonight ?

J-C : You are welcome, the pleasure is mine. I just wanted to add that what stands out for me in 2010, is Wikileaks. I heard the fellow earlier, who started his summary with Wikileaks, I think that was an important part of 2010, as a materialization of the fracture between the establishment on one side, and the people on the other, which found that Wikileaks in the end that was not that bad, they like it when the powerful get hit and their crap gets revealed. And it was also very revealing to see that fracture, even among journalists ...

ERIC LANGE : Yes ,yes. I don't know what you got in the U.S., in France all the so called pundits, you know, all the journalism establishment, all of a sudden when they saw Wikileaks arrive, all the syndicated columnists,everybody well installed in journalism in France were saying "oh but no, but that is not good, they have invented a new dictatorship of transparency ..." and when I saw all these guys, these well tinkling fellows, all those well established editorialists plus all the politics around, all undermining Wikileaks, of course I automatically thought that was something wonderful ...

J-C : I don't know if we are allowed to talk of ... It is not really a competitor, is it ? But on France inter there was a debate, either the day of, or the following one, they had invited in the morning show, Hubert Védrines, who as a start is not ... I was kind of disappointed by him, because here is one I used to have more respect for, So here he was, offended by ... or more exactly as the incarnation of the establishment offended by, saying that "Wikileaks.., where was the big deal ... They did not reveal anything that everybody did not already know etc ..." Which was not really true, as a matter off act, because it is not quite the same thing as hearing rumors, and all of a sudden seeing the cables from the U.S. Department of State verifying that all the suspicions we may have had were founded. And around the table, and that is what was most marvelous about it, on one hand you had Bernard Guetta, posing as the chief pundit, clearly associated with Védrines, those two seem to be very good friends, and across you had Thomas Legrand, whom I like very much, I love his writing style ... and they just got into it. Politely of course, on France Inter, we rest polite .... But between Bernard Guetta and Thomas Legrand, I though that was an extraordinary radio moment.

ERIC LANGE : I am very much with you, Wikilaks, that was a great event this year, it it will change the landscape. Thank you my dear Jean-Christian, we keep in touch ?

J-C : My pleasure, of course Eric, talk to you soon. Bye.

ERIC LANGE : All right, talk to you very soon, in a moment you come back on the air. We put some music, Marc Antoine says we need some music ...

Jean-Christian dans le Forum du Mouv, 31 Décembre 2010


Les Anglophones ont droit à une traduction (colonne de gauche). Dans le podcast inclus au bas de ce post, vous entendrez ma conversation avec Eric Lange dans l'émission de clôture de l'année 2010 qui récapitulait les temps forts des 12 mois écoulés. Nous y parlons notamment de comment Wikileaks secoua l'establishment et mis à jour la fracture entre d'un côté l'establishment et ses laquais, notamment ceux de la presse, les barons qui sont en charge de faire l'opinion, et de l'autre la masse de ceux qui en ont assez de la suffisance de l'establishment et de ses privilèges, et se régalent de voir les seigneurs révélés dans leurs duplicité.

Detail 1

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Justice not Just Us

Justice, not Just Us
Fayetteville, N.C., April 2006

Justice, not Just Us

(Revised on November 16, 2010)

Much has been written about the Tea Party (see entry
"Sur la Route du Tea Party" ) and its nonsense is now well documented, as well as the superficial reasons which prompted its partisans to espouse its agenda and vote accordingly. It is crucial though, to realize that the Tea Party would still be mostly a fantasy in Carl Rove’s and Dick Armey’s plotting strategies, if not for two American fundamentals:

* Self-Righteousness
* Lack of education.

The lack of education deprives many citizens of the tools to understand what is going on in the world and the U.S. This for instance, allows an irrational fear of socialism (see entry
"Le Rouge et le Noir" ) from people chronically victimized by the breed of capitalism exercised here. Such fear may be why 25 % of Americans associate Barack Obama and Hitler as several polls confirm, since it has weirdly settled in America, that Hitler was a Socialist or a Communist, we are not sure. More broadly, the American brand of education is hollow enough that it prevents many to hold any perspective beyond much of what they know from direct experience. Add self-righteousness, and the mix becomes toxic for democracy, as then all kinds of easy to swallow, bogus arguments, will result in the individual responding very predictably to stimulations aimed at exacerbating frustration levels and at re-enforcing the idea that she/he, does not get the rewards deserved.

What is defined so far is a populist nation, and such a regime could theoretically be conservative or progressive, although latter societies have a harder time locking minds as they are typically education prone. In the U.S. the distribution of enlightenment antidote is done through media (Fox News, Rush Limbaugh etc…) which are devoted to shamelessly destroy the natural impulse that this country would have to reform itself in the face of numerous and recurrent failures : permanent poverty of certain social/ethnic categories, inability for the United States to compete in the globalized economy that it so adamantly advocated for, astounding inequality levels with the one top percent owning as much wealth as the bottom 95%, blatant inefficiency of the health care system, especially compared to those of European "socialist nations," etc... But the impact of those media is only possible due to the lack of critical sense, and critical sense is typically the result of a good education. It is true that enough reasonably well educated folks are very conservative. This is where self-righteousness kicks in, as being conservative is inherently about being satisfied with the primal packing order. Self-righteousness
prevents those folks from seeing that others have not had the chances, circumstantial, genetic, familial
This Appeared in the Raleigh, North Carolina News & Observer on November 12, 2010 and illustrates the cult for the wealthy in the U.S, see focus on text below
and what not, that they have enjoyed.
Ceci est apparu dans le News & Observer de Raleigh, Caroline du Nord, et montre le culte pour les grandes fortunes aux Etats Unis, voir vue du texte ci-dessous
It is then easy for those privileged folks to rationalize that "others"
need to work as “hard” as they have, will then be rewarded since the system is presumed perfect, and that in the meantime, there is no reason for them, the worthiest, not to get a tax cut. Self-righteousness is not an American monopoly, it is universal, but in a society relying so much on individualism, the idea that the righteous will be rewarded and that the sum of them will be the pillars of a successful nation, invasive self-righteousness is the collateral unforeseen, unrecognized and unspoken damage.

Self-righteousness is so rampant in this country that it might as well be part of the D.N.A. I remember my dentist’s assistant, 15 years ago, when I was still new here, asking me if “I had been working hard lately? " That always shocked me, because I never felt that I worked especially hard, nor that she did either. In my book,the hard working folks are the ones going down in the mine, building roads in the heat or the cold, that’s hard work. Being a photographer, no matter how many hours one puts in a week, does not qualify for hard labor. That is so un-American of me, which is how this photograph “Justice, not Just Us”, struck me. It is a rather simple image, well composed and featuring African American activists, but other than that, simple. The strength of a photograph does not always resides in its sophisticated innovative way. Sometimes its intimate connection with contemporary affairs, the testimony given, its originality, makes it attractive. Here this exceptional play on words based on a probably typical African American slide on the last syllable, a principle often found in Rap or Blues, profoundly underlines that justice should not be dispensed only for “us,” whether for the one self or the one nation, which in many American minds is most certainly the "chosen" one. This photograph was shot at the time of the war in Iraq, when many of the same who now vote for the Tea Party’s agenda were satisfied to fight Al Queda in other people’s country so that they would not have to fight them here, which was the ultimate argument given to justify the unjustifiable. This photograph is still very current, like
"Dans les Moments de Vérité," it promotes the necessity to be intellectually honest, which my math teacher when I was thirteen, taught us is the most difficult yet indispensable thing to do.

Justice pour Tous, pas que pour Nous

(Révisé le 16 Novembre 2010)

Beaucoup a été écrit sur le Tea Party (voir post
"Sur la Route du Tea Party"), et les raisons pour lesquelles ses partisans épousent la cause ont été abondement couvertes. Mais l'on aurait tord de prêter trop d'attention à ce qui motive en surface les adhérents à ce mouvement, car celui-ci ne serait encore qu’un fantasme dans l’imagination machiavélique de Carl Rove (architecte des campagnes de George Bush II, et fondateur de "American Crossroads" l’un des bras "teapartyesques"), et Dick Armey (lieutenant de la révolution Républicaine de 1994 et président de "Freedom Works", un autre bras "teapartyesque"), si ce n’était pour deux composantes fondamentales de la société Américaine:

* L’autosatisfaction, l'arrogance, la bonne conscience, la propension de l’individu à se croire plus méritant.

* Le manque d'éducation.

L’ignorance empêche une grande partie des citoyens Américains d’avoir une perspective sur le monde, d’en comprendre la situation, les aboutissants, y compris en ce qui concerne leur propre pays. Cela permet par exemple, grâce aussi à 60 ans de propagande, la peur irrationnelle du “socialisme” (voir post
“Le Rouge et le Noir”), chez ceux qui sont en fait des victimes permanentes du capitalisme encore assez pur en vigueur ici. Une peur irrationnelle? Indubitablement, 25% d'Américains associaient dans un sondage récent, Hitler et Obama ; l’honnêteté force à préciser que Hitler ne se trouverait pas en si mauvaise compagnie si il n’avait pas nommé son mouvement “National Socialism.” Plus largement, l’inculture limite l’horizon d’une grande partie de la population Américaine à ce que ces gens connaissent directement, garantissant ainsi assez bien la pérennisation de la médiocrité. Si l’on ajoute l’autosatisfaction, la défense naturelle qu’à l’individu dans une société basée sur l’individualisme, le mélange devient toxique pour la démocratie, puisqu’il suffit alors de diffuser des arguments faciles et démagogiques, pour que les masses se montent contre une cible donnée.

C’est le rôle de Fox et sa filiale Fox News ici, soutenus par les Rush Limbaugh de tous acabits, ces animateurs de radio qui passent leurs journées à débiter courtes vues, mensonges et coups bas sur tout ce qui n’est pas en ligne avec l’orthodoxie de la classe dominante blanche et chrétienne. Fox appartient à Rupert Murdoch, le Berlusconi Anglo-Saxon, si ce n'est qu'il n'a lui, jamais été élu Chef d’Etat. Cette chaîne de télévision au ton résolument populiste et qui par comparaison fait ressembler TF1 à Arte, est la source d’information des masses populaires dans un pays ou l’intellectualisme est mal vu. Cela en son temps avait servi la stratégie de George Bush, lui permettant d’arriver au poste d’idiot du village en chef, avec l’Américain moyen convaincu que le président était l’un de ses semblables.

Dans la stratégie de l’establishment conservateur Américain, les Fox et Rush Limbaugh de tous poils permettent de contrecarrer la tendance naturelle que les Etat Unis auraient à se réformer dû aux constats d’échec répétés dans autant de domaines que la persistance d’un niveau de pauvreté incompatible avec le statut dominant des U.S.A., une inégalité de revenus avoisinant celle de républiques bananières (1% des ménages possèdent 40% des richesses, autant que les 95% du “bas de l’échelle”), le coût et inefficacité du système de santé, notamment comparé à ceux de L’Europe dite “Socialiste,” l’incapacité de ce pays à s’adapter à la globalisation pour laquelle il a pourtant milité milité si ardemment, les déficits budgétaires et de la balance des échanges chroniques qui mettent le Dollar en péril ...etc. Mais l’impact de ces sources de désinformation ne peut exister qu’en absence de sens critique, un sens critique qui est typiquement le résultat d’une bonne éducation, tant académique qu’au sens plus large qui englobe les valeurs d’une nation et est inculqué à l’individu par son environnement. L’on objectera que aux Etats-Unis comme ailleurs, bon nombre de conservateurs ont un excellent niveau d’éducation. C’est là que l’ingrédient numéro un, l’autosatisfaction, l’arrogance de la bonne conscience, interviennent, empêchant certains de ceux qui pensent avoir réussi, de comprendre, si tant est qu’ils essaient de la faire, que les autres du fardeau d’en bas, n’ont avant tout pas bénéficié des mêmes circonstances familiales, historiques, génétiques, qui ont fait d’eux ce qu’ils sont. Les nantis aiment souvent blâmer la plèbe pour sa situation, convaincus que lorsqu’ils travailleront autant qu’eux, et prendront autant de décisions difficiles mais méritantes, les plébéiens seront récompensés par un système nécessairement sans faille, puisqu’il les a consacré eux, les nantis, dans leur position. Aux Etats Unis il n’est pas rare qu’ils ajoutent alors, qu’en attendant, eux les nantis pourraient utiliser à bon escient une réduction d'impôt fort méritée, et nul doute salutaire pour la nation dont ils sont le moteur.

Les Américains n’ont bien entendu pas le monopole de l’autosatisfaction, qui est à peu près universelle. Mais une société comme celle des Etats Unis, fondée sur l’individualisme, l’idée que les vertueux seront récompensés et que la somme de leurs valeurs créera les piliers sur lesquels la nation toute entière reposera, génère une autosatisfaction envahissante, aussi sûrement que les radiations s’accompagnent de chaleur. C’est là une conséquence imprévue, inavouée, et d’ailleurs inexplorée, d’une charte sociétale en rupture délibérée avec la tradition Européenne dont elle est issue, et une contradiction de plus pour le pays le plus religieux du monde occidental, où l’on s’attendrait subséquemment à bien davantage d’humilité.

L’autosatisfaction est si omniprésente aux Etats Unis qu’elle y semble atavique, sans doute inscrite dans le patrimoine génétique. Je me souviens, il y a quinze ans au moins, j’étais encore tout neuf ici, de l’assistante de mon dentiste qui me demandait à chaque visite si “j’avais travaillé dur ces jours-ci ?” Cela me surprenait toujours, parce que dans mon esprit, on ne travaille dur que dans la mine, aux champs, au bord des routes, aux travaux forcés, et en tout cas lorsque la sueur est versée quotidiennement et abondamment. Dans mon état de photographe, quel que soit le nombre d’heures qui fasse ma semaine, on ne travaille pas dur, on travaille peut-être intensément, mais ce n’est pas la même chose.

C’est ainsi que cette photographie “Justice, not Just Us,” m’est apparue aussi critique. Cette une image assez simple, bien composée, et figurant des activistes noir-Américains, mais malgré tout, simple d’un point de vue photographique. la force d’une photographie ne vient pas uniquement de sa sophistication, son innovation dans l’art photographique. Parfois l’adéquation avec le temps présent, le témoignage apporté, son originalité, confèrent un souffle attirant. Ici le jeu de mots basé sur la prononciation, une dérive du sens par une glissade sur la dernière syllabe, ce qui est assez volontiers noir-Américain, et dont le principe se retrouve dans le Rap et le Blues, est particulièrement fin et puissant. Ce jeu de mots va directement à la racine du problème Américain, la contradiction fréquente mais rarement admise, entre l’impératif moral et l'intérêt individuel ou collectif d’une nation qui s’imagine élue. Cette photo a été prise au temps de la Guerre en Irak, lorsque beaucoup de ceux qui soutiennent aujourd’hui les thèses du Tea Party, se félicitaient que leur pays aille combattre Al Queda sur le territoire d’autres peuples, afin de ne pas avoir à le faire dans leurs banlieues. C’était en tout cas l’ultime argument employé pour justifier l’injustifiable. Cette photographie est toujours d’actualité, comme
“Dans les Moments de Vérité,” elle demande l'honnêteté intellectuelle sans laquelle une société se fourvoie et court à sa perte.

More on the Air :

I appeared in Eric Lange's broadcast on Le Mouv (Radio France,
see site), to discuss this on November 2nd, 2010. The podcast of this conversation is linked below.


Et sur les Ondes :

J'ai eu le plaisir d'être invité dans l'émission d'Eric Lange, Le Forum du Mouv (Radio Farnce,
voir site) le 2 Novembre 2010 pour discuter des élections de mi-mandat qui avaient lieu ici ce même jour. Cette discussion se réfère à ce qui est expliqué dans ce blog, et son podcast est accessible ci-dessous.