France seen from Down Under.

If you look carefully at this  upside down Map, you may understand that this small hexagon far relegated on the right side in the « South » East End of the world (North West really)  doesn’t count anymore for much.                                                                                                                                 In the opposite this huge Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean became a major actor in the twenty first century.

Therefore, it seems necessary to keep some modesty and those who wants to be heard, have enormous progress to be done. It is a real displeasure to evocate on this case the story of « the frog who wants to look as an ox » fable from the french author Jean de La Fontaine.

First : a former President of the French Republic who has been found guilty and sentenced for mismanagement and misappropriation, obtained 3 suspended years of jail.                     This brig who during 40 years has succeeded in posing as a heir of De Gaulle is due to endorse the decline of the country being the initiator of all mischiefs against his own camp, providing twice the keys of the house France to his supposed worst political enemies, and having the good fortune to end up as a winner in an election snapped up by default. Lying and betraying he still has the nerves to claim being a white Knight. Incredible but true this gus remains the most favorite french politician.                                                                        In that case we can consider this phenomenon as a media desinformation those having fully understood they have found in their marxist language a « useful idiot ».                            But much more seriously, one can be feared that a whole population identifies herself in such a senile.

Second ; an old billionaire, also in the wreck of old age being furtively plucked by crooks virtually organized as a gang, her manager, her accountant, a missed and no talented photographer-writer making friend with « the rich and beautiful » and his companion,corrupt gigolo, add to those beautiful a loving-hating daughter, to poison the matter a former important minister and of course the future-former-president. Shake it all you may obtain a crappy movie or just for the moment some journalistic toilet-paper.

Third and best of all, the adventures of the perv priapic DSK is the daily
pittance and attractive image of a small country on the other side of the planet who still believes of being the center of the world and is only but the tip.

« It is very boring, very painful, very humiliating, when once believed you were the navel of the world, and suddenly discover no longer being his tear glands.  »(Roger Nimier)

Happy New Year 2012!

** ‘. (La Fontaine Book I – Fable 3)

A frog saw an ox
It seemed a good size.
She, who was not as big as an egg,
Envy, lies, and swells and works,
To match the animal size,
Saying, « Look, brother;
Is it enough? tell me I’m there yet?
Nay! – Here I am, then? -Not at all. Here I am?
-You will approach point.  »The pitiful dickhead
Swelled so that it exploded.                                                                                                 The world is full of people who are not wiser.
Every bourgeois wants to build as the great lords,
Every prince has ambassadors,
Marquis wants to have all pages.

 

 

At the Festival of Cannes a movie : Gull’s night !

By announcing the holding of a referendum in the purpose to dramatize the issues of the assistance to Greece, the Socialist Prime Minister Papandréou has believed winning a round.

Alas the conjunction of the greek governmental parties who have shared the power during 35 years and the anger of their European counterparts, who blackmailed with the play anything or nothing, has shown that eventually the bully was a balloon.

Papandréou could expect to be fired through the front door, he creeps back through the window. So far the problem of the Greek debt is not settled, he adds to this economic crisis a political crisis that neither a government of National Unity with the same dishonest and inefficient politicians, nor the uncertainty of a general election are able to clear up.

Vox populi was indeed the only way, and the only question was “should Greece abandon the euro and in the meantime quit Europe”.

No one dares to ask, especially by bad weather, but the reactions of the European populations are very much alive.

Germans are reluctant to continue to carry the burden as they did previously by carrying the bankruptcy of the former communist D.D.R.. Germany is certainly much more entitled to ask for a referendum on this matter.                                                                         Greeks reject any loss of their sovereignty taken under foreign’s wings, which is quite natural.                                                                                                                                 The Brits feel, as usual, not affected. The ambiguity of their position shows the selfishness of the nations. It is easier to vilify when the other players find out that the dice are loaded.   And the French’s ? These ridiculous masters of teaching had better to swab their doorstep before to give any lessons. With the economy on the edge, an excessive and sucking public offices, wretch minority unions whose distinctive matter is to take the all country as hostage, and to conclude this picture, plethoric representatives who abuse the benefits of the country. For Christ’s sake imagine that they are ready to accept an European troika telling them where they have to defecate.

Once again the ruling classes seek to save time, just to protect their privileges. This Europe looks like a woman seen from behind as a girlish body, full-face her constant facelifts made her monstrous.

Putting such a cobbler job in Cannes festival Palace is tantamount to call it a mug. Cheated people will remember.

 

Greece – EROS VS EURO

EROS VS EURO or the Greek crisis seen through  ‘Le Dictionnaire amoureux de la Grèce’

 by Jacques Lacarrière (*)

Which place will Greece occupy within the European Union?

That is the question. Jacques Lacarrière – author of ‘L’été grec’ [The Greek Summer] and forever in love with Greece and passionate about it- would probably have pleaded for this country which is facing an unprecedented crisis at the moment. This is my intention, today, on his behalf. We all know the country is in jeopardy: the Greek government is facing bankruptcy, everywhere the citizens are demonstrating against the tough and intolerable measures that are imposed onto them. Ok, the Greeks have forged their accounts, they have  a low and fanciful tax system, a bottomless public deficit. In other words they are the bad pupil in Europe. So…  what can be done?

Should Greece be excluded from the Euro zone?

This is what Germany is threatening to do. I’m not an ace in economics but I am told – and it seems obvious – that the consequences would be much worse for Europe as well as for Greece – the only solution, and everyone knows it, is a common economic policy of the euro zone (as well as a political vision, interdependent and caring) which should have been there long ago, not to press the point.

Today, the Greeks owe a towering 300 billion euros. It is colossal. However, have European people forgotten about what they owe Greece? They have given us Democracy, Philosophy, Geometry, Tragedy, not to mention the Mermaids, the Sirtaki, the Olympic Games, or this wonderful poet Constantin Cavafy . Our debt to Greece is not huge, it is endless ! Do we have to remind Angela Merkel and the European technocrats from Brussels about it? Europe, without Greece, would not be Europe, it’s impossible . Just like Germany without Greece would not be Germany: Goethe, Schiller, Hölderlin, Nietzsche, Rilke or Heidegger (who never stopped to study  Germany through the myths of ancient Greece) must be turning in their graves…

Let’s forget about Orpheus and Socrates, Apollo and Dionysus, Œdipus and Pericles! (Œdipus, we could have done without, even if, whether we want to or not, Greek tragedy is at the origin of Freedom, dear to the European heart.) Let us forget about it. In this  dictionary,  Lacarrière makes an inventory (logical as well as emotional) of what Europe owes to Greece.  I shall underline three things, only three, but they are essential:

1. To begin with, Europe owes Greece its name: Europe.

It is a beautiful story, or rather a myth – as the Greeks invented both, history with Herodotus, and mythology with Homer and Hesiodes.

It begins like this: Europe was the name of a Phoenician princess so beautiful that Zeus fell madly in love with her. To seduce her, he took the appearance of a magnificent white bull: he took the princess beyond seas to Crete, then laid her down in the shade of a tree at feet of which they united Later on, this place became a Roman city known as Gortyne. Today however, if you go to Gortyne  in Crete, and take a walk, (having by-passed the ruins of a beautiful Roman odeon), you will see an arrow indicating Platanus Orientalis. A little further, you can read on a wooden panel, in Greek (if you can read Greek):  “At the feet of this Platanus Orientalis, a very rare and very interesting tree for Greek mythology, Zeus, having taken the appearance of a bull, laid down princess Europe and united with her to give birth to king Minos .“ This fragment is signed not Hesiodes or Pindare (as we could expect) but:  » The Forest Trust of Crete « , to whom we can be nothing else than grateful.

Indeed, what is a Platanus Orientalis? In fact, it is an evergreen maple tree. Why, will you ask me, is it the unique evergreen maple? That’s because its distant ancestor, having shaded the mating of Zeus and Europe, was granted by the grateful God the gift to keep its foliage forever.  King Minus would thus be – I am afraid the technocrats from Brussels don’t know about it – the ancestor of the Europeans Later, his wife Persephone gave birth to Phaedra, origin of some beautiful racinian [from Racine] verses, and also the Minotaur, but that’s another story… In any case, Europe carries the name of a princess who became Greek in the name of love…  a fact that is well worth remembering.

 

2. We owe to Greece a certain idea of love. Or rather three ideas (in one.) Eros: the sensual love; Philia: the friendship, the love between equals;  but especially Agape: love itself, the self-sacrifice,  » The love which gives and takes « , says Lacarrière. For the first Christians, it indicates the love of men for God as well as God’s love for men. Plato will describe it as the hidden face of Desire, the dark side of Eros, the one who aims at the purification of passions, becomes pure emotion and touches the essence of things. In French, we say ‘agapé’ (plural: ‘agapes’) to indicate the meal shared by the believers.  It is like a banquet, the pleasure of being together, the exchange and the gift. It is when passion becomes a promise, and unity becomes communion. Isn’t it about time for the so-called European Union to get inspired by this concept?

Eros or the Euro?  Europe, displeases the  British,  is not only a common market, nor limited to business transactions .«I want my money back!», shouted Mrs Thatcher, to the displeasure of Jacques Delors. We can -thanks to the Greeks- have a different idea of unity, a different idea of Europe.

3. Finally, Europe owes to Greece the humanities. You have heard of ‘do one’s humanities’, ie  or rather: it WAS-  to study languages  which are of no use like dead languages, authors without any interest such as Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Cicero, Plutarch, and Virgil. Well, yes, what the use of Greek and Latin when we have Internet?

You could also reply  that we can be at the same time a distinguished Hellenist and a relentless enemy of the democracy, and even a fanatical pro Nazi collaborator just like Robert Brasillach, for example, when he celebrated the « humanity » of the Greek poets, and was capable of publishing at the same time, criminal and despicable articles, against the Jews.

Well, answers Lacarrière, this is it: Greece is a school of freedom because it leaves us the choice. On one side, there is Sparta, the warrior city. On the other, there is Athens, the city where the arts (and the idea of the democracy) bloom.   On one side,  » Iliad « , the poem of strength, death and blood. On the other, “The Odyssey” the poem of travels, fantasia, love and initiation. Which hero do you prefer? Ulysses, the eternal seaman, master of the monsters and lover of the Nereides,  or Achilles, the arrogant and cruel warrior? Indeed, Greece gives us a choice between the magical world of Eoles and the mermaids, or the brutal world of the Achaeans, with corpses dragged on the shore, their violated or captured women given as prices to the winners. And all this, Jacques Lacarrière tells us –he who remembers his childhood at the time Europe was occupied- you can learn, from an early age, from books.

You Europeans, put Greece under control, impose a reasonable tax system, fight against corruption and emoluments, yes! But do not punish its people! Do not expel Greece from Europe! Remember that too, European people,  we have a big debt to this small country.

 

Texte traduit par Marie Cécile STREET.

This chronicle was read in the radio program entitled « Pas la peine de crier »[No need to shout] run by  Marie Richeux on September 27, 2011 on  France-Culture. «Le Dictionnaire amoureux de la Grèce » by Jacques Lacarrière is published by Plon.