abril 30, 2007

“Turcos laicos desafiam islamistas na rua” in Le Figaro, 30 de Abril de 2007


Plus d'un million de Turcs ont manifesté dimanche à Istanbul en faveur de la laïcité sur fond de querelle en pleine élection présidentielle entre le gouvernement islamo-conservateur et l'armée, gardienne des principes séculiers. La manifestation sur la place Caglayan était organisée à l'appel de quelques 600 organisations non-gouvernementales et fait suite à un premier rassemblement qui avait réuni de 500.000 à près d'1,5 million de personnes, selon diverses estimations, le 14 avril dernier à Ankara sur le même thème. Elle vise principalement à dénoncer "la dérive islamiste" en Turquie provoquée, selon les organisateurs, par le gouvernement du Premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/20070429.WWW000000077_un_million_de_turcs_manifestent_pour_la_laicite.html
JPTF 2007/04/30

abril 29, 2007

“O mundo manifesta-se para intervenção humanitária no Darfur” in BBC, 29 de Abril de 2007


Organisers of Global Day for Darfur say events will take place in over 35 capitals to mark the fourth anniversary of the conflict. Celebrities backing the campaign, such as Mick Jagger and George Clooney, have signed a statement accusing the international community of apathy. Some 200,000 people have died since the conflict began, according to the UN. Under the slogan "Time is up... protect Darfur", demonstrators will turn round some 10,000 hourglasses filled with fake blood to highlight the continuing violence in Darfur. Other events include: a rally at midday in London opposite the prime minister's residence at 10 Downing Street an interactive event at Berlin's Sony Center, one of the city's tourist attractions a march through Rome to the Colosseum a day of cultural events in Cairo including the showing of a documentary called "Jihad on Horse Back" containing victims' testimony a demonstration outside the Sudanese embassy in Abuja, Nigeria 'Stop stalling'. The statement signed by the stars calls on the world to "end its stalling and take decisive action". What was originally a conflict between the Sudanese government and rebel groups in Darfur opposed to it has now spilled over into Chad and the Central African Republic. Last year the government of Sudan agreed in principle to accept a joint African Union/UN peacekeeping force but Khartoum wants the force to be mostly African in composition and for the African Union to take the leading role, not the UN. There has been a lot of diplomatic traffic between Washington, Beijing, New York and Khartoum recently as international pressure is brought to bear on Sudan's government, BBC UN correspondent Laura Trevelyan notes. The US and the UK have been persuaded to hold off on imposing sanctions against the Sudanese government for now to see if Khartoum does shift significantly and allow for a major deployment of peacekeepers.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6604555.stm
JPTF 2007/04/29

abril 28, 2007

“A oposição turca pede a anulação da eleição presidencial” in Le Monde, 28 de Abril de 2007


Abdullah Gül, candidat du Parti de la justice et du développement (AKP) au pouvoir, n'a pas obtenu suffisamment de voix, vendredi 27 avril, au premier tour de scrutin au Parlement pour être élu président. Le ministre des affaires étrangères a obtenu 357 voix, alors qu'il lui en fallait 367 sur un total de 550 sièges, soit deux tiers du Parlement, pour être élu. Un deuxième tour a été fixé à mercredi, mais le principal parti d'opposition turc a déposé un recours devant la Cour constitutionnelle pour demander l'annulation de l'élection, le quorum ne semblant pas atteint. Un journaliste de Reuters a constaté que 360 députés étaient présents pour le vote. Or selon Haluk Koc, député du Parti républicain du peuple (CHP), principale formation laïque d'opposition, les deux tiers du Parlement doivent aussi être présents pour que le scrutin soit valide. "Le président du Parlement n'a pas accédé à notre requête d'un décompte des députés présents à l'Assemblée pour le vote. Il est évident qu'il n'y avait pas les 367 élus requis et c'est pourquoi nous saisissons la Cour", a expliqué Haluk Koc. La Cour a indiqué qu'elle s'efforcerait de se prononcer d'ici à mercredi. Si elle invalide le scrutin, le premier ministre, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, devra convoquer des élections législatives anticipées. Le chef de l'Etat sortant, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, conserverait ses fonctions à titre provisoire dans l'attente de l'élection de son successeur par la nouvelle Assemblée. Si, en revanche, elle donne raison au gouvernement, M. Gül devrait l'emporter au troisième tour, fixé au 9 mai, car alors il n'aura besoin que de la majorité simple, soit 276 voix, ce que l'AKP peut obtenir sans aucun problème.

CONTRE L'ÉLECTION D'UN CANDIDAT ISSU DE LA MOUVANCE ISLAMISTE
Le CHP et deux petits partis de l'opposition de centre droit, le Parti de la juste voie (DYP) et le Parti de la mère patrie (ANAP), avaient fait savoir juste avant la réunion du Parlement que leurs députés boycotteraient le scrutin. L'objectif de ces formations est d'empêcher l'élection à la présidence du candidat présenté par l'AKP, le ministre des affaires étrangères Abdullah Gül, un ex-islamiste. L'élite laïque de Turquie, notamment l'état-major militaire et l'appareil judiciaire, craignent que l'élection d'un membre de l'AKP à la présidence ne menace la stricte séparation entre religion et Etat héritée du fondateur de la Turquie moderne, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. L'armée et M. Sezer mènent ainsi depuis plusieurs semaines une vaste campagne de défense des principes laïques de la République turque, ce qui, selon certains observateurs, a incité M. Erdogan à ne pas briguer lui-même la présidence. Des centaines de milliers de personnes ont ainsi manifesté contre l'AKP le 14 avril à Ankara. La candidature d'Abdullah Gül revêt un caractère historique car il pourrait devenir le premier chef d'Etat de la Turquie moderne issu de la mouvance islamiste, alors que ce poste est généralement occupé par un défenseur de la laïcité.
http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3210,36-903046@51-895736,0.html
JPTF 2007/04/28

abril 27, 2007

“A Rússia suspende o Tratado sobre as Forças Militares Convencionais na Europa” in Le Monde, 27 de Abril de 2007


Le ministre russe des affaires étrangères, Sergueï Lavrov, a confirmé, jeudi 26 avril, aux vingt-six pays de l'OTAN, que la Russie suspendait l'application du traité sur les Forces conventionnelles en Europe (FCE), a indiqué le secrétaire général de l'OTAN, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. Plus tôt dans la journée de jeudi, à l'occasion de son dernier discours annuel à la nation, le président russe, Vladimir Poutine, avait annoncé que son pays allait geler l'application de ce traité, qui limite les déploiements militaires sur le continent, après avoir critiqué l'attitude des pays occidentaux, accusés d'"ingérence interne" dans les affaires russes. La décision du Kremlin est une réponse au projet de bouclier antimissile américain en Europe de l'Est. Pour justifier sa décision, M. Poutine a déclaré :"[Les pays de l'OTAN] construisent des bases militaires à nos frontières et, en outre, prévoient aussi de baser des éléments de systèmes de défense antimissile en Pologne et en République tchèque". "Dans ce contexte, j'estime opportun de décréter un moratoire sur l'application du traité, en tout cas jusqu'à ce que tous les pays l'aient ratifié et commencé à l'appliquer de façon stricte." Par le passé, la Russie a déjà, à plusieurs reprises, menacé de se retirer de ce traité, mais n'avait jamais franchi le pas du moratoire.

"L'UNE DES PIERRES ANGULAIRES DE LA SÉCURITÉ EUROPÉENNE"
Réagissant à la décision unilatérale du Kremlin, le secrétaire général de l'OTAN a déclaré : "Les Alliés ont accueilli avec regret (cette décision) car le traité FCE est l'une des pierres angulaires de la sécurité européenne". Signé en 1990, puis adapté en 1999, le traité FCE limite le déploiement d'armes conventionnelles de l'OTAN et des signataires du pacte de Varsovie. Le ministre allemand des affaires étrangères, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a estimé jeudi que les Européens devaient empêcher que ne se forme une "spirale de défiance entre les Etats-Unis et la Russie". Dans son discours à la nation, M. Poutine a par ailleurs vivement dénoncé l'augmentation du "flux d'argent venant de l'étranger" qui viserait à financer des partis de l'opposition et des organisations des droits de l'homme. "A l'époque du colonialisme, on parlait du rôle civilisateur des Etats colonisateurs", a-t-il dit, en référence aux pays qu'il accuse, stigmatisant "ceux qui, en utilisant habilement une phraséologie pseudo-démocratique, aimeraient revenir à un passé proche : les uns pour piller comme avant, sans être châtiés, les richesses du pays, voler les gens et l'Etat, les autres pour priver notre pays de son autonomie économique et politique". Devant les deux chambres du Parlement, réunies pour l'écouter, M. Poutine est arrivé à la conclusion que tout le monde ne semble pas apprécier l'essor de l'économie russe. Les Occidentaux "utilisent des slogans sur la démocratisation, mais le but est le même : l'acquisition de manière unilatérale d'avantages destinés à assurer leurs intérêts propres", a-t-il estimé.
http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3214,36-902119@51-856119,0.html
JPTF 2007/04/27

abril 25, 2007

Robert Fisk sobre a Turquia e o Genocído Arménio: “A verdade deve ser proclamada bem alto” in The Independent



Stand by for a quotation to take your breath away. It's from a letter from my Istanbul publishers, who are chickening out of publishing the Turkish-language edition of my book The Great War for Civilisation. The reason, of course, is a chapter entitled "The First Holocaust", which records the genocide of one and a half million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915, a crime against humanity that even Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara tried to hide by initially refusing to invite Armenian survivors to his Holocaust Day in London.
It is, I hasten to add, only one chapter in my book about the Middle East, but the fears of my Turkish friends were being expressed even before the Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink was so cruelly murdered outside his Istanbul office in January. And when you read the following, from their message to my London publishers HarperCollins, remember it is written by the citizen of a country that seriously wishes to enter the European Community. Since I do not speak Turkish, I am in no position to criticise the occasional lapses in Mr Osman's otherwise excellent English.
"We would like to denote that the political situation in Turkey concerning several issues such as Armenian and Kurdish Problems, Cyprus issue, European Union etc do not improve, conversely getting worser and worser due to the escalating nationalist upheaval that has reached its apex with the Nobel Prize of Orhan Pamuk and the political disagreements with the EU. Most probably, this political atmosphere will be effective until the coming presidency elections of April 2007... Therefore we would like to undertake the publication quietly, which means there will be no press campaign for Mr Fisk's book. Thus, our request from [for] Mr Fisk is to show his support to us if any trial [is] ... held against his book. We hope that Mr Fisk and HarperCollins can understand our reservations."
Well indeedydoody, I can. Here is a publisher in a country negotiating for EU membership for whom Armenian history, the Kurds, Cyprus (unmentioned in my book) - even Turkey's bid to join the EU, for heaven's sake - is reason enough to try to sneak my book out in silence. When in the history of bookselling, I ask myself, has any publisher tried to avoid publicity for his book? Well, I can give you an example. When Taner Akcam's magnificent A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility was first published in Turkish - it uses Ottoman Turkish state documents and contemporary Turkish statements to prove that the genocide was a terrifying historical fact - the Turkish historian experienced an almost identical reaction. His work was published "quietly" in Turkey - and without a single book review.
Now I'm not entirely unsympathetic with my Turkish publishers. It is one thing for me to rage and roar about their pusillanimity. But I live in Beirut, not in Istanbul. And after Hrant Dink's foul murder, I'm in no position to lecture my colleagues in Turkey to stand up to the racism that killed Dink. While I'm sipping my morning coffee on the Beirut Corniche, Mr Osman could be assaulted in the former capital of the Ottoman empire. But there's a problem nonetheless.
Some months earlier, my Turkish publishers said that their lawyers thought that the notorious Law 301 would be brought against them - it is used to punish writers for being "unTurkish" - in which case they wanted to know if I, as a foreigner (who cannot be charged under 301), would apply to the court to stand trial with them. I wrote that I would be honoured to stand in a Turkish court and talk about the genocide. Now, it seems, my Turkish publishers want to bring my book out like illicit pornography - but still have me standing with them in the dock if right-wing lawyers bring charges under 301!
I understand, as they write in their own letter, that they do not want to have to take political sides in the "nonsensical collision between nationalists and neo-liberals", but I fear that the roots of this problem go deeper than this. The sinister photograph of the Turkish police guards standing proudly next to Dink's alleged murderer after his arrest shows just what we are up against here. Yet still our own Western reporters won't come clean about the Ottoman empire's foul actions in 1915. When, for example, Reuters sent a reporter, Gareth Jones, off to the Turkish city of Trabzon - where Dink's supposed killer lived - he quoted the city's governor as saying that Dink's murder was related to "social problems linked to fast urbanisation". A "strong gun culture and the fiery character of the people" might be to blame.
Ho hum. I wonder why Reuters didn't mention a much more direct and terrible link between Trabzon and the Armenians. For in 1915, the Turkish authorities of the city herded thousands of Armenian women and children on to boats, set off into the Black Sea - the details are contained in an original Ottoman document unearthed by Akcam - "and thrown off to drown". Historians may like to know that the man in charge of these murder boats was called Niyazi Effendi. No doubt he had a "fiery character".
Yet still this denial goes on. The Associated Press this week ran a story from Ankara in which its reporter, Selcan Hacaoglu, repeated the same old mantra about there being a "bitter dispute" between Armenia and Turkey over the 1915 slaughter, in which Turkey "vehemently denies that the killings were genocide". When will the Associated Press wake up and cut this cowardly nonsense from its reports? Would the AP insert in all its references to the equally real and horrific murder of six million European Jews that right-wing Holocaust negationists "vehemently deny" that there was a genocide? No, they would not.
But real history will win. Last October, according to local newspaper reports, villagers of Kuru in eastern Turkey were digging a grave for one of their relatives when they came across a cave containing the skulls and bones of around 40 people - almost certainly the remains of 150 Armenians from the town of Oguz who were murdered in Kuru on 14 June 1915. The local Turkish gendarmerie turned up to examine the cave last year, sealed its entrance and ordered villagers not to speak of what they found. But there are hundreds of other Kurus in Turkey and their bones, too, will return to haunt us all. Publishing books "quietly" will not save us.
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/fisk/article2366519.ece
JPTF 2007/04/25

Sociedade de Química do Reino Unido oferece prémio de £500 a alunos que resolverem exercício de matemática de um teste pré-universitário chinês


The UK's Royal Society of Chemistry is offering a £500 prize to one lucky but bright person who answers the question below correctly. A test used in English universities to assess how strong incoming science undergraduates' maths skills also appears below. A glance at the two questions reveals how much more advanced is the maths teaching in China, where children learn the subject up to the age of 18, the society says.Science undergraduates in England are likely not to have studied maths beyond GCSE level at the age of 16, it says. It has sounded a warning about Britain's future economic prospects which it claims are threatened by competition from scientists in China. RSC chief executive Richard Pike says mathematics is seen as integral to the sciences in China and its economy."There, the concept of remedial courses at university would be inconceivable."UK chemistry departments are often world-renowned for their creativity; however, mathematics tests set in England by many universities for undergraduate chemistry students in their first term to diagnose remedial requirements are disconcertingly simple. "They encapsulate the challenge facing this country," says Dr Pike.






http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/6589301.stm
JPTF 2004/04/25

abril 23, 2007

Comentário: o que aconteceu a Karl Marx e ao proletariado?



Decididamente as concepções de esquerda e direita já não são o que eram, desde que os conceitos de esquerda e direita surgiram com a Revolução Francesa de 1789 (a ala esquerda da assembleia constituinte era ocupada pelos jacobinos, bem conhecidos pelo seu anti-clericalismo, laicismo e ideário igualitarista radical, precursor do pensamento de Karl Marx e da luta do proletariado contra a burguesia). Uma concepção contemporânea de esquerda obcecada pela différence (Jacques Derrida), e que vê a igualdade e a universalidade como uma forma de opressão, está a emergir e deve-se, entre outras influências marcantes, a teorizadoras feministas como Iris Marion Young, da Universidade de Chicago, e a Judith Butler, professora de Literatura e teoria queer da Universidade de Berkeley. Provavelmente de forma bastante decepcionante para estas, a candidata socialista à presidência da república francesa, Ségolène Royal, está ainda presa a concepções “patriarcais” e igualitárias de uma esquerda herdeira do Iluminismo e da Revolução Francesa, avessa às inovações académico-políticas anglo-saxónicas, que causam sempre muita perturbação em França (onde, por exemplo, não há globalização mas mondialisation). Em Portugal não temos desses problemas pois é bem conhecida a nossa propensão para a inovação (leia-se para a importação e imitação), por isso as novas teorizações da esquerda política, incluindo os estudos queer, que são um saber anglo-saxónico, já estão a dar os primeiros passos (veja-se, por exemplo, o nº 76 da Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais, da Universidade de Coimbra) o que, naturalmente, entusiasma as mentes abertas, na academia e fora dela. Mas quem faz parte desta nova concepção de esquerda, que não é propriamente a da Revolução Francesa e a da luta do proletariado? No Verão passado, Judith Butler, ao comentar a guerra entre Israel e o Hezbollah, terá afirmado, perante uma audiência académica em Berkeley, que o Hamas e o Hezbollah eram “movimentos sociais que fazem parte da esquerda global”. Nesta perspectiva, a direita conservadora e religiosa do Médio Oriente (constituída pelos partidos islamistas, entre os quais se encontram os radicais Hezbollah do Líbano e Hamas da Palestina e os islamistas-conservadores do AKP da Turquia), surge, agora, como uma nova imagem de “progressismo” social, e com uma identidade de “esquerda” global (com esta lógica, podemos imaginar como a FN de Jean-Marie Le Pen é também “progressista”). Todavia, nada de muito original se tivermos em conta que Michel Foucault viu na revolução iraniana de 1979 e nos islamistas radicais xiitas, liderados pelo Ayatollah Khomeini, uma nova forma de “política espiritual”. E que fazer, então, com o pensamento de Karl Marx e as suas preocupações igualitárias de um proletariado explorado pela burguesia e com a sua crítica à religião, vista como “ópio do povo”? Naturalmente que Marx só pode ser desconstruído (Jacques Derrida, Spectres de Marx) como mais uma “narrativa” feita por um Dead White European Male nascido numa família judaica, o que levanta a “suspeição”, dentro destes novos “movimentos sociais da esquerda global”, que deveria ser também islamófobo. Quo vadis esquerda?
JPTF 2007/04/23

“Príncipe Harry é um alvo das milicias iraquianas” in Guardian, 22 de Abril de 2007


Iraqi militia groups have drawn up detailed plans to seize Prince Harry as a hostage when he arrives in Iraq next month, The Observer can reveal. Some of the most notorious paramilitary factions in southern Iraq claim they have informants placed inside British military barracks in Iraq monitoring the third in line to the throne. The claims call into question the Ministry of Defence's decision to allow Harry to serve in Iraq where he and his unit will be seen as a valuable target.Last night an MoD spokesman said: 'We have not concealed the fact that he [Harry] is going out there and the bad guys know that he's coming, and we expect that they will consider him a high-profile scalp.' Despite the threats, Whitehall officials ruled out the possibility that the prince might not be sent to Maysan, the most volatile province in southern Iraq, where British casualties are mounting. Harry will serve with the Blues and Royals for a six-month tour of duty. He is trained as a troop leader to take command of four Scimitars and will be deployed in Iraq alongside 11 men who will serve under him. Militia leaders claim that photographs of Harry have already been downloaded from the internet and disseminated to insurgent groups.
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2062970,00.html
JPTF 2004/07/23

“Convertidos ao Cristianismo vivem com medo numa Turquia intolerante” in Spiegel online International


Tilman Geske, 46, had a dream when he moved to Turkey. As a practicing Christian, he wanted to live in peace among Muslims in a country that was a cradle of early Christianity. The German immigrant gave language instruction, established a consulting firm and translated Christian literature. "He was a likeable man," says a Turkish accountant who worked in the office next to Geske's. "Whenever I asked him how he was doing, he responded in traditional Turkish: 'Cok seker -- very sweet.'" His sweet dream came to an abrupt end last Wednesday, when five Turkish fanatics armed with bread knives stormed into the office of the Christian Zirve publishing house in the south-eastern city of Malatya, tied up Geske and two other employees, before torturing them and finally killing them by slitting their throats. One of the victims was stabbed 150 times in a particularly brutal attack. A note left at the scene read: "This should serve as a lesson to the enemies of our religion. We did it for our country." But the attack undoubtedly did their country more harm than good. The damage the murders have caused could hardly be more devastating. The "missionary massacre," as Turkey's papers have called the unusually brutal crime, has plunged Turkey into new turmoil. It has also shone an uncomfortable spotlight on the question of whether the country will succeed in its bid to join the European Union. For critics of Turkey, including some in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, the incident merely confirms their warnings that the country simply doesn't belong to Europe. Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said the crime "certainly does not help" the country's bid for EU membership. Merkel, who currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, said Sunday that she expected Turkey to take action to show it was tolerant of Christianity after the murders. "This episode has no influence on the accession negotiations, which will continue with the result open. But the episode is a cause for concern," she told the Münchner Merkur newspaper in an interview for its Monday edition. "Everything must be done to inhibit a climate that makes such appalling deaths possible," she told the paper. "I expect clear action from the government in Ankara (to show) that intolerance of Christianity and other religions has no chance." Optimists, on the other hand, hope the murder was merely a provocation by opponents of democracy intent on steering Turkey away from its westward course. "Just as one cannot claim, in the wake of the killings in Virginia, that all Americans are serial killers, it would be wrong to hold the entire country responsible for this crime," warns sociologist Dogu Ergil.

Nevertheless, there is no longer any doubt that Turkey has run into serious difficulties as far as the development of its civil society is concerned. The murder of the Turkish Protestants exposes a deep-seated problem: Turkey is at a standstill - or even regressing - when it comes to key issues like tolerance and pluralism. "In Germany, Turks residing there have opened up more than 3,000 mosques. If in our country we cannot abide even by a few churches, or a handful of missionaries, where is our civilization?" wrote Ertugrul Özkök, editor-in-chief of leading secular Turkish daily Hürriyet, in a hard-hitting editorial on the murders. "Where is our humanity, our freedom of belief, our beautiful religion?" he asks. The danger does not come - as one might expect - from the usual fundamentalist Muslims. Instead, it is an unholy alliance of nationalists ranging from the left to the Islamic right that is inciting hatred against free thinkers and those of other faiths. According to Ergil, there is a "mixture of fanatical nationalism and militant religious fervor" that prepared the ground for the Malatya massacre - and that also appears to have been behind the murders of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and Roman Catholic priest Andrea Santoro last year. Experts like Ergil see the murders as part of an unsettling new trend, in which fanatical nationalist-religious groups see violence as a "cleansing force" and themselves as supposed "saviors of the nation" -like the 19- and 20-year-old attackers in Malatya, who were students and all lived in the same conservative Islamic dormitory. The hate speech comes from both the left and the right. Rahsan Ecevit, the widow of popular former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit and a supposed leftist, routinely launches into tirades against foreigners who buy land in Turkey. She claims that those who encourage citizens to convert to another religion want to divide Turkey. Christianity is gaining ground in Turkey, especially in the southeast, the chairman of the far-right nationalist Great Union Party (BBP) recently warned, even going so far as to accuse Christian missionaries of being "supported by the CIA." The bolder such conspiracy theories are, the more popular they seem to be. And yet, all nationalist sentiment aside, Turks were shocked by the brutal murders, which the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quick to condemn. Erdogan wants to bring Turkey into the European fold. But to do so, says Joost Lagendijk, a Dutch member of the European parliament for the GreenLeft party who is himself married to a Turkish woman, it must "actively appeal to its citizens to accept people of other religions and ethnic origins." In some cases state institutions even help to promote the hostile mood. As far back as 2001, the country's National Security Council, under then Prime Minister Ecevit, classified "missionary activities" as a threat to national security.

The government office of religion has in the past distributed sample sermons targeted against missionaries. In addition, Erdogan's government, which is dominated by his right-wing Justice and Development Party (AKP), undermines its credibility when, for example, an official like Minister of State Mehmet Aydin claims that missionary activities are not "an innocent declaration of religious beliefs, but rather a planned movement with political goals." With politicians stirring up public anger, some segments of the population seem all too willing to fall in line. The more aggressive forms of Christianity, such as that espoused by free evangelical churches, are especially suspect to many Turks. Even the friendly Muslim who worked in the office next door to Tilman Geske became skeptical when he heard that the German was "proselytizing." To ease his doubts, he took a look around Geske's office to see if there were Bibles lying around, but he found nothing. "This terrible murder brings shame upon us," says the horrified accountant, who prefers to remain anonymous. And yet, he says, he is not pleased about some of the things he hears, such as the rumor that missionaries "place money in the Bibles that they hand out in front of our schools." For the beleaguered Christians, it is sometimes better not to be noticed at all. There was no sign on the door of the Zirve publishing company's office in Malatya - a deliveryman was attacked there two years ago and nationalists later staged angry protests in front of the building. "We are experiencing a witch hunt straight out of the Middle Ages, and the Malatya victims were certainly not the last," complains Ihsan Özbek, the chairman of the Salvation Church, a union of Protestant groups which claims to have 5,000 members throughout Turkey. "We are portrayed as traitors and potential criminals," he says. Tensions are so high that Özbek warns that it has become very dangerous to be called a missionary. "That would be the equivalent of a death sentence these days," he says. Christians are reporting efforts to file lawsuits against supposed missionaries, even though proselytizing is not officially against the law in Turkey. In fact, the opposite is true. It is against the law in Turkey - theoretically, at least - to prevent anyone from practicing or disseminating his faith. But creative approaches are sometimes taken to prosecuting unpopular infidels, says attorney Orhan Cengiz. In Silivri, a town west of Istanbul, two converts are currently on trial for the uniquely Turkish offense of "insulting Turkishness" and for "incitement of religious hatred," both considered crimes under the notorious Article 301 of the country's penal code.

Necati Aydin, a local pastor and one of the publishing company employees murdered in the Malatya killings, had already been arrested once before for distributing Bibles and religious pamphlets. "Villagers claimed that Aydin and his colleagues had insulted Islam," says his attorney. They were charged with distributing "propaganda against religious freedom." One of the most difficult positions is that of Turkish converts who turn their backs on the "true faith." Sociologist Behnan Konutgan, 54, converted to Christianity while still a student. "While all my fellow students were constantly reading the Koran, I had a Bible sent to me," he recalls. "I read the New Testament with excitement." Konutgan now works as a pastor and is translating the Bible. "Society is our problem, not the laws," he says, describing his own experiences. "The church is perceived as an enemy." The murdered Christians were members of Malatya's small Protestant community, which included a few foreigners like Tilman Geske and 15 Turks who have converted from Islam to Christianity. The liberal newspaper Radikal estimates that there are about 10,000 converts in Turkey, expressing surprise that they could be seen as a "threat" in a country of 73 million people, 99 percent of whom are Muslim. But it seems that this is exactly the case. According to an opinion poll, 59 percent of Turks favor taking legal action against missionaries, and more than 40 percent said they would not want Christian Armenians or Greeks as neighbors. Tilman Geske was buried last Friday in his adopted Turkish home of Malatya. In an interview on Turkish television, his wife Susanne said that he was a "martyr for Jesus" and that she would pray for forgiveness for his killers. Ugur Yüksel, one of the two Turkish Christian employees murdered with Geske, had already been interred. Unlike Geske, though, he had been given a Muslim burial, admitted a spokesman from the local Protestant community: "His family insisted on it."
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,druck-478955,00.html
JPTF 2007/04/23

abril 20, 2007

“Três pessoas assassinadas numa editora de Biblias” em Malatya na Turquia in Turkish Daily News, 19 de Abril de 2007


Turkey was the scene of a bloody attack against Christians yesterday, as assailants killed three people at a publishing house that distributed Bibles in Malatya, a city in eastern Anatolia that had witnessed similar provocative attacks in the recent past. International news agencies focused on the brewing tensions in Turkey once again, after the murder of Catholic Priest Andrea Santoro on Feb. 5, 2006, while sources from the city told the Turkish Daily News that the victims had been receiving threats for years. The TDN also contacted the brother-in-law of one of the victims. The three victims were found with their throats slit and their hands and legs bound, Malatya Gov. Ibrahim Daşöz said. One was still alive when found, and was taken to hospital but died later, he said, adding that one of the victims was a foreigner, possibly a German. A fourth man who jumped from a window to escape was hospitalized with injuries, officials said, according to The Associated Press. Dr. Murat Cem Miman told CNN-Turk television that the man was undergoing surgery for head trauma, while a local source told the TDN he was in fact one of the assailants. Police detained four suspects after the incident.

Continuous threats
The Zirve (Zenith) publishing house, in the city of Malatya, has been the site of previous protests by nationalists. Zirve's general manager told CNN-Turk that his employees had been threatened recently. "We know that they have been receiving threats," Hamza Özant said. The identity of one of the victims, Necati Aydın, 35, was confirmed to the TDN by his brother-in-law, Wolfgang Hade. Aydın was the director of the publishing house, said Hade yesterday, who is the pastor of the Protestant church in Izmit. “Aydın had told me of the threats," said Hade. He said two men had come into the shop four or five months ago and told him that he was not welcome in Malatya. But he did not take it seriously.” Isa Karataş, the speaker for the Union of Turkish Churches also knew Aydın, and described him as "a man of good heart and compassion."Aydın was trying to publish Christian books in Malatya, Rev. Karataş said, whereas other victims might simply be working for the publishing house. "Of course they had been receiving threats," Rev. Karataş replied to the TDN's question. "Is it possible to evangelize Christianity in Turkey and not get threatened?" "Their only guilt was that they believed in Jesus and were open about it and they died for their faith," Hade said.

Had to change name
A local journalist, speaking to the TDN, gave a detailed account of the publishing house, and the threats against it “Zirve was seen here as the continuation of ‘Kayra' publishing house, which was targeted by various nationalist groups on the grounds that they were missionaries,” said the journalist, on condition of anonymity. “Some ultra-nationalist local papers here, plus nationalist organizations demonstrated against them.” ‘Kayra' was led by a South African named Martin Delange, he continued. “Delange could not withstand the threats and left the country. The publishing house also had to change its name due to ongoing threats.” ‘Zirve' did not even have a nameplate or an outdoor sign because of this fearsome climate, the journalist noted. Coming back to the horrific incident, he said the person who tried to escape from the window was actually an assailant: “The witnesses I spoke to said after he jumped off, the man signaled to the people on the street that they should stay silent. After he was caught, on the way to hospital, he continued his charade, shouting that the publishing house was forcing him to sell books.”

A deviation?
The journalist said the slicing of throats might be an attempt to make people think that the massacre was committed by the Turkish Hezbollah, a violent and shadowy group. “There has never been such a Hezbollah operation in this city before,” he said. “Those people were threatened and now they are dead. Nobody protected them. The government did not act as it should have.” Relating the incident to recent tensions over the presidential elections, the journalist said some cities in Turkey are like powder barrels at such times, such as Malatya, Mersin and Trabzon. “We are living through a period of concocted tension, which also includes the murder of Hrant Dink,” he concluded. Earlier this year, a suspected nationalist fatally shot Armenian Christian editor Hrant Dink in Istanbul. Dink was born in Malatya, and tensions in the city increased significantly after the murder. At a football match on 28 Feb., Trabzonspor supporters chanted “Armenian Malatya” as an ‘insult' to Malatyaspor supporters. A foreign journalist, reporting on religious persecution, told the TDN that they have witnessed an increase in violence against Christians for the last three years. “The threats were not taken seriously until the deaths of priest [Santoro] and Hrant Dink," she said.

Rightwing at the center
In the past the main population of Malatya consisted of Armenians and Alevis, said Sinan Özbek, a lecturer at the Kocaeli University's philosophy department. “Yet in the center of the city, the rightwing has always been strong.” Before the military coup in 1980, Malatya used to be known as the city that “exported” radical rightwing militants to other cities, he continued: “The style of the killings reminds one of the murders committed by the Turkish Hezbollah. The political climate of Malatya is convenient for such an organization to flourish, but one can never know for sure.” Malatya is also known as the hometown of Mehmet Ali Ağca, the nationalist hit man who shot and wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981. It was also the scene of violent attacks against the Alevi sect in the late 1970s.Damaris Kremida, Onur Burçak Belli, Mustafa Akyol and Taylan Bilgiç contributed to this story.
http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=71087
JPTF 2007/04/20

abril 19, 2007

“Irão exonera seis membros de milícia que mataram em nome do Islão” in New York Times, 19 de Abril de 2007


por Nazila Fathi
The Iranian Supreme Court has overturned the murder convictions of six members of a prestigious state militia who killed five people they considered “morally corrupt.” At an Army Day parade Wednesday in Tehran, a soldier saluted a portrait of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The reversal, in an infamous five-year-old case from Kerman, in central Iran, has produced anger and controversy, with lawyers calling it corrupt and newspapers giving it prominence. “The psychological consequences of this case in the city have been great, and a lot of people have lost their confidence in the judicial system,” Nemat Ahmadi, a lawyer associated with the case, said in a telephone interview. Three lower court rulings found all the men guilty of murder. Their cases had been appealed to the Supreme Court, which overturned the guilty verdicts. The latest decision, made public this week, reaffirms that reversal. “The objection by the relatives of the victims is dismissed, and the ruling of this court is confirmed,” the court said in a one-page verdict. The ruling may still not be final, however, because a lower court in Kerman can appeal the decision to the full membership of the Supreme Court. More than 50 Supreme Court judges would then take part in the final decision. According to the Supreme Court’s earlier decision, the killers, who are members of the Basiji Force, volunteer vigilantes favored by the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, considered their victims morally corrupt and, according to Islamic teachings and Iran’s Islamic penal code, their blood could therefore be shed. The last victims, for example, were a young couple engaged to be married who the killers claimed were walking together in public. Members of the Basiji Force are known for attacking reformist politicians and pro-democracy meetings. President Ahmadinejad was a member of the force, but the Supreme Court judges who issued the ruling are not considered to be specifically affiliated with it. Iran’s Islamic penal code, which is a parallel system to its civic code, says murder charges can be dropped if the accused can prove the killing was carried out because the victim was morally corrupt. This is true even if the killer identified the victim mistakenly as corrupt. In that case, the law requires “blood money” to be paid to the family. Every year in Iran, a senior cleric determines the amount of blood money required in such cases. This year it is $40,000 if the victim is a Muslim man, and half that for a Muslim woman or a non-Muslim. In a long interview with the Iranian Student News Agency, a Supreme Court judge, Mohammad Sadegh Al-e-Eshagh, who did not take part in this case, sought Wednesday to discourage vigilante killings, saying those carried out without a court order should be punished. At the same time, he laid out examples of moral corruption that do permit bloodshed, including armed banditry, adultery by a wife and insults to the Prophet Muhammad. “The roots of the problems are in our laws,” said Mohammad Seifzadeh, a lawyer and a member of the Association for Defenders of Human Rights in Tehran. “Such cases happen as long as we have laws that allow the killer to decide whether the victim is corrupt or not. Ironically, such laws show that the establishment is not capable of bringing justice, and so it leaves it to ordinary people to do it.” The ruling stems from a case in 2002 in Kerman that began after the accused watched a tape by a senior cleric who ruled that Muslims could kill a morally corrupt person if the law failed to confront that person. Some 17 people were killed in gruesome ways after that viewing, but only five deaths were linked to this group. The six accused, all in their early 20s, explained to the court that they had taken their victims outside the city after they had identified them. Then they stoned them to death or drowned them in a pond by sitting on their chests. Three of the families had given their consent under pressure by the killers’ families to accept financial compensation, said Mr. Ahmadi, the lawyer. Such killings have occurred in the past. A member of the security forces shot and killed a young man in 2005 in the subway in Karaj, near Tehran, for what he also claimed was immoral behavior by the victim. A judge caused outrage in 2004 in Neka, in the north, after he issued a death sentence for a 16-year old girl for what he said were chastity crimes. After the summary trial, he had her hanged in public immediately, before the necessary approval from the Supreme Court. “Such laws are not acceptable in our society today,” said Hossein Nejad Malayeri, the brother of Gholamreza Nejad Malayeri, who was killed by the group in Kerman. “That means if somebody has money, he can kill, and claim the victim was corrupt.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/19/world/middleeast/19iran.html?hp
JPTF 2007/04/19

abril 16, 2007

“Turcos protestam entre receios de ‘plano secreto‘ para afastar Estado secular” in Times, 16 de Abril de 2007


por Suna Erdem
Hundreds of thousands of Turks took part in two days of protests hoping to persuade the Prime Minister against running for president, amid concerns that his election would put at risk the separation of religion and state in the predominantly Muslim country. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to decide this week whether to stand for president next month. Since his Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has roots in political Islam, has a substantial parliamentary majority, its candidate is assured of succeeding Ahmet Necdet Sezer, the President, who is a staunch secularist. Mr Erdogan, who has presided over strong economic growth and has worked hard to secure Turkey’s European Union candidacy, presents himself as a conservative democrat. But opponents remain suspicious of his Islamist past. Mr Erdogan has served a prison term for sedition and his wife covers her head in the Islamic manner. During his leadership his party has attempted to criminal-ise adultery, banish alcohol from some establishments and relax restrictions on religious education and headscarves. His opponents, who include top bureaucrats, academics, judges and generals, believe that he has a hidden Islamist agenda to undermine the strict separation of religion and state, which he could put into practice if AKP held all the top government and state posts. Although in Turkey the Government makes the decisions, the President has the power of veto and traditionally only the staunchest secularists have occupied the most senior position in the State. Kemal Atatörk, the creator of modern Turkey 84 years ago, who dismantled the Islamic Caliphate as part of his political reforms, was the first President of the country, and his successors include several top generals. Mr Erdogan, still testing the waters, has played down his ambitions publicly and told his MPs that general elections due by November are more important. His failure to confirm so far whether he will stand has sparked prolonged debate and led to what amounts to a grudging acceptance of his inevitable ascent, and even the pragmatic financial markets have factored in his election after some volatility. But as the moment of truth approaches, feelings run higher than ever. Increasingly alarmist talk surrounding the possibly candidacy culminated in strident speeches last week by the outgoing President Sezer and General Yasar Buyukanit, the head of the powerful military. “The political regime in Turkey has not faced as big a threat as it does today at any stage since the Republic was founded,” said Mr Sezer, referring to a period in which the military dislodged the elected Government four times. In a more circumspect statement, General Buyukanit said the popular military hoped that the new president would be “a president who embraced the Republic’s secularist, democratic attribute in spirit and not just words”. Shockwaves ran through the country when Nokta, a political magazine, revealed what it said were aborted plans by the senior figures in the Armed Forces for a coup to dislodge Mr Erdogan. They apparently believed that, as well as the Islamist threat, Mr Erdogan’s Government was prepared to make too many concessions to the EU. The chief of staff, who is believed to have opposed the plans, has not rebuffed the report. Last week police raided the offices of Nokta. Concerns about an Erdogan presidency are not exclusive to his opponents. Some supporters worry that the loss of their charismatic leader would lead to a disintegration of the party at the next polls. Pragmatists worry that this could bring to an end a rare period of stable.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article1657904.ece
JPTF 2007/04/16

“Irão treina ‘milhares‘ de guerrilheiros xiitas iraquianos” in The Independent, 15 de Abril de 2007


por Phil Sands
Thousands of Iraqi Shias are being trained in advanced guerrilla warfare tactics at a secret camp near the Iranian capital, according to militants who say they have spent time there. Through an Iraqi intermediary who also went to Iran, The Independent on Sunday spoke to two seasoned guerrilla fighters. They said large numbers of Mahdi Army volunteers loyal to the maverick Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr had gone to the base in Jalil Azad, near Tehran, for instruction. Abu Amer, a 39-year-old Mahdi Army fighter who asked that his full name not be used, said he had been trained by instructors he believed were from Iran's Revolutionary Guard. "Shia fighters are being trained in modern fighting methods, such as use of powerful explosives and bringing down helicopters," he told the IoS.Another fighter, who asked to be identified only as Abu Rafed, said he had seen hundreds of fellow Iraqi Shia militants there. "We were taught how to attack the Americans, we learned all the modern ways to shoot down helicopters and destroy tanks and armoured vehicles. It is preparation for the time when we will have a big battle with the occupiers."Sketchy though these accounts are, they are the first independent confirmation of repeated British and US claims that Iraqi militants are being trained, funded and armed by elements in Iran. The implications for the American-led security "surge" in Baghdad, disrupted by high-profile bombings last week, are extremely serious. Last week Maj-Gen William Caldwell, the US military spokesman in Iraq, said that questioning of fighters captured as recently as this month confirmed many had been in Iranian training camps.
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2449980.ece
JPTF 2007/04/16

abril 15, 2007

“Ahmet Necdet Sezer: a ameça dos islamistas ao Estado secular na Turquia é mais elevada do que nunca” in Turkish Daily News, 15 de Abril de 2007


Turkey's staunchly pro-secular president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, said Friday that the threat Islamic fundamentalism poses to the country's secular establishment is higher than ever - a warning directed at Erdoğan. "For the first time, the pillars of the secular republic are being openly questioned," Sezer said in an address to officers of the country's military, the self-appointed guarantor of the secular regime. "We are aware of the danger," the pro-secular Cumhuriyet newspaper headlined on Saturday in white letters printed against a red background. Erdoğan's government denies it has an Islamic agenda, but pro-secular Turks say the government is slowly moving the country toward increased religious rule. Since taking power, Erdoğan has shown his commitment to future European Union membership by enacting sweeping reforms that allowed the country to start accession talks in 2005. But he has also stoked secularist concerns by speaking out against restrictions on wearing Islamic-style head scarves in government offices and schools and taking steps to bolster religious schools. He tried to criminalize adultery before being forced to back down under intense EU pressure. Some party-run municipalities have taken steps to ban alcohol consumption. The government is widely accused of appointing Islamist-leaning officials to key state positions. Most recently an alleged suggestion by Culture Minister Atilla Koç to add Arabic letters to the Turkish alphabet – which is based on the Latin script - had fueled concerns from secularists. Sezer steps down on May 16. Parliament, which is dominated by lawmakers from Erdoğan's party, will elect the new president early next month. Erdoğan's party was expected to announce its candidates for the position this month.

Army urges loyalty to secularism:
"As a citizen and as a member of the armed forces, we hope that someone who is loyal to the principles of the republic - not just in words but in essence - is elected president," Gen. Yasar Büyükanıt, chief of the military, said Thursday. Büyükanıt's words were widely interpreted as a warning to Erdoğan not to run. The military views itself as the protector of Turkey's secular identity. The fiercely secular generals have staged three coups between 1960 and 1980, and in 1997 led a campaign that pressured a pro-Islamic government out of power. The rally was organized by Şener Eruygur, president of the Atatürk Thought Association and former commander of Turkey's paramilitary forces. Although largely ceremonial, the presidency has become a symbol for secularism under Sezer. A former Constitutional Court judge, Sezer has vetoed a record number of laws he deemed to be in violation of the secular constitution and has blocked government efforts to appoint hundreds of reportedly Islamic-oriented candidates to important civil service positions.
http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=70698
JPTF 2007/04/15

abril 12, 2007

Baltasar Garzón: “Ceuta e Melilla estão entre os próximos objetivos da Al Qaeda” in La Vanguardia, 12 de Abril de 2007



Las plazas de Ceuta y Melilla, primero, y la Península y Europa continental a continuación, son objetivos preferentes de la nueva estrategia terrorista de la rama de Al Qaeda que se desarrolla en el norte de África. Una facción que, como podemos comprobar tras los sangrientos hechos de Argelia y Marruecos, es cada vez más activa y peligrosa. Por esa razón debemos considerar que en España estamos ante un riesgo muy alto de sufrir un nuevo atentado de origen islamista. Por tanto, es preciso extremar la prudencia y no perder de vista lo que sucede tan cerca, sólo al otro lado del Estrecho". Estas duras palabras de alerta son del juez Baltasar Garzón, instructor de la Audiencia Nacional, pionero en las investigaciones sobre terrorismo internacional de corte islamista, entrevistado ayer por La Vanguardia acerca de los episodios de violencia por la que están pasando Argelia y Marruecos.

- ¿Tan grave es la situación?
- Sí. Y hay varios datos que así lo indican. Por una parte está la amenaza concreta y confirmada lanzada a través de internet el 13 de marzo pasado por Aymar al Zauahiri, el número dos de Al Qaeda. Su mensaje puede y debe considerarse el relanzamiento de sus campañas terroristas. Otro elemento claro que muestra el camino que va a seguir el integrismo es que el argelino, tradicional y muy activo Grupo Salafista para la Predicación y el Combate (GSPC) ha pasado a denominarse Al Qaeda para el Magreb, lo que implica una conexión de criterios en todo el norte de África en cuanto a actividades terroristas.

- Entonces, ¿el núcleo de este peligro dónde se sitúa?
- Marruecos y Argelia son los dos grandes focos conocidos del integrismo que amenaza ahora Europa, mientras que Túnez permanece en una nebulosa de la que apenas nos llega información, aunque la escasa que se obtiene también es muy alarmante. Se ha comprobado que hay campos de entrenamiento de Al Qaeda en el sur de Argelia, en el Sahel, cerca de Mali. También sabemos que el norte africano es, por ahora, el campo de batalla que han escogido estos nuevos terroristas, que pronto intentarán dar un paso más en sus acciones.

- ¿Un paso? ¿Hacia dónde?
- Pues, como le decía, hacia Ceuta y Melilla. Ambas ciudades españolas están en su punto de mira y luego sigue su vieja reivindicación sobre Al Ándalus, es decir, sobre España. Las grandes ciudades europeas tampoco se libran de la amenaza, pues consideran a Europa corresponsable del desastre de Iraq y detestan la presencia de tropas en Afganistán.

- ¿Hay activistas en España?
- Claro que los hay, como también están en marcha distintas investigaciones policiales y judiciales de las que obviamente no se puede decir nada. Sin embargo, puedo decirles que el problema con el que se encuentran todos los investigadores que siguen este modelo de terrorismo es su horizontalidad y su falta clara de estructura jerárquica. En otras palabras, hay mucho individualismo que se une eventualmente a través del fanatismo para formar una células terroristas que reciben doctrina, por ejemplo, por internet.

- Es decir, que es muy difícil de investigar...
- Efectivamente. Por sus características es muy difícil armar el conjunto probatorio para conseguir condenas. Europa y España más concretamente están a tiempo de poner en práctica lo que han aprendido dolorosamente, y, sin embargo, creo que no se está haciendo lo necesario en materia de terrorismo.

- ¿A qué se refiere?
- No hay consenso sobre cómo abordar el terrorismo y ése es un asunto fundamental. Además, en Europa no hay un convencimiento pleno de que es posible afrontar con ciertas garantías de éxito la amenaza si se dispone de medios modernos, humanos y materiales. Claro que si estos medios no están especializados y perfectamente coordinados se vuelven ineficaces.

- ¿Una coordinación europea?
- Claro. Hablo de un espacio común de confianza en el que se fortalezca la coordinación de inteligencia, policial y judicial, que, como he dicho en otras ocasiones, se adelante a las intenciones del terrorismo global que se alimenta del odio y rencor que les produce la invasión de Iraq. Piense, como prueba lo sucedido en Argelia y Marruecos, es decir, muy cerca, que España y Europa están al alcance de cualquier acción terrorista. Insisto: tenemos que actuar ahora y no cuando no tenga remedio. Pero que quede muy claro: sólo la ley y el Estado de derecho son eficaces en la lucha contra el terrorismo yihadista o cualquier otro. Es una evidencia incontestable que los espacios sin derecho no han aportado nada a la seguridad mundial.
http://www.lavanguardia.es/gen/20070412/51327529898/noticias/
JPTF 2004/12/04

“Um 11 de Abril em Argel” in La Nouvelle Republique, 12 de Abril de 2007


por Mussa Acherchour

Les Etats-Unis ont connu le 11 septembre, date emblématique et annonciatrice d’un bouleversement à l’échelle planétaire ; l’Espagne a eu son 11 mars ; l’Algérie a, depuis hier, son 11 avril. La comparaison ne se limite pas à l’aspect strictement symbolique, mais tient aussi du fait que l’Etat algérien se sent touché au plus profond de ses fondements et de ses symboles de souveraineté. Car c’est la première fois qu’un attentat terroriste ait pu atteindre ce niveau-là, en ciblant le Palais du gouvernement. Et ce qu’il y a de commun entre les trois évènements cités, c’est qu’ils portent tous la même griffe, celle de l’internationale islamiste réhabilitée sous le cliquetant label d’El-Qaïda, auquel le GSPC algérien, coupé de ses relais locaux, venait tout juste d’adhérer… Pourquoi Alger et pourquoi maintenant ? Après les dernières opérations de ratissage qui avaient pris dans la sourcilière les derniers groupes actifs dans les régions de Kabylie, dont le noyau dur a été décimé et les bases démantelées dans le massif forestier de Béjaïa, les terroristes devaient riposter ailleurs, et rapidement, par des actions sanglantes. Il y a eu d’abord l’embuscade meurtrière qui a pris pour cible un convoi de l’armée dans la région d’Aïn Defla, où une dizaine de soldats seront tués ; et ce double d’attentat dans la capitale s’inscrit dans la même logique de remontée du GSPC, dont l’objectif est de démontrer qu’il gardait une grande capacité de nuisance, malgré tout ce qui s’est passé et tout ce qu’avaient rapporté les médias qui parlaient du «dernier quart d’heure» d’un groupe déconfit, acculé dans ses derniers retranchements. Par cette action spectaculaire – la plus spectaculaire en fait depuis plus de dix ans —, la branche maghrébine d’Al Qaïda réussit, à l’évidence, un coup médiatique très précieux, et par-là à briser cette image justement de groupe décimé ; puisque l’événement d’hier a été médiatisé et suivi en direct dans le monde entier, et ressuscite, du coup, le «syndrome du terrorisme en Algérie qui n’était plus à la Une» des médias internationaux depuis belle lurette. Vu de l’extérieur, El-Qaïda — ou ce qui s’y apparente — semblait comme contrainte d’intensifier ses actions dans la région du Maghreb, sans doute pour obtenir la grâce et la reconnaissance de ses maîtres d’Orient, après s’être rebatipsée et mise au service du djihad. Il faut noter, au passage, que le double attentat d’Alger survient juste au lendemain d’un double attentat qui avait secoué la ville de Casablanca au Maroc, revendiqué par la même nébuleuse. Ce qui prouve, encore une fois, que toute la région est dans le collimateur de ce réseau transnational. Au plan interne, ces attentats vont certainement avoir des répercussions directes sur le processus électoral en cours, à la veille du coup d’envoi de la campagne électorale. Et c’est ce qui est inquiétant. Ces groupes radicaux, ayant déjà rejeté l’offre de la réconciliation nationale, gagneraient à ce que cette consultation ne soit pas un succès. Il faut donc s’attendre à ce que les discours de campagne soient réadaptés à l’aune de ce qui s’est passé hier à Alger. Et, plus important encore, il faut s’attendre à ce que le pouvoir en place repense toute sa démarche politique pour la recentrer sur une nouvelle vision en matière de lutte antiterroriste. Il n’y a eu ni «ultime bataille» ni terrorisme résiduel, il faudra désormais composer avec cette terrible réalité qui a frappé aux portes du gouvernement.
http://www.lanouvellerepublique.com/actualite/lire.php?ida=49582&idc=126&date_insert=20070412
JPTF 2007/04/12

“Os argelinos enfrentam de novo o terrorismo” in Le Monde, 12 de Abril de 2007


Un mot d'ordre ressort des éditoriaux de la presse algérienne, jeudi matin, au lendemain des attentats qui ont frappé Alger : "Ne pas céder". C'est d'ailleurs le titre de l'édito du quotidien El Watan qui rappelle que "les Algériens ont su résister, dans les années 90, à la machine de guerre du terrorisme islamiste avec héroïsme et une extraordinaire abnégation" et affirme : "Ils sont en mesure de le faire à nouveau. [...] Ils craignent, par contre, le renoncement, la faiblesse, les compromissions de ceux chargés de faire sortir l'Algérie de la crise. Il est temps pour l'Etat algérien, au risque de plonger le pays dans une grave crise politique et morale, de déterminer, une fois pour toutes, une politique claire d'éradication du terrorisme. La politique de la main tendue a ses limites. Nous le vivons. Il ne faut surtout pas sous-estimer l'impact désastreux des attentats d'hier sur l'état de l'opinion algérienne. Les Algériens ont besoin, aujourd'hui, plus que jamais d'un Etat fort, qui combatte le terrorisme avec fermeté." "Le terrorisme a récidivé, mais ses répliques resteront vouées à l'échec, parce que le peuple algérien refusera toujours de se laisser abattre, de plier devant des exigences criminelles" , renchérit le quotidien gouvernemental El Moudjahid dans un éditorial intitulé Cette paix qui dérange !

"ON PENSAIT NAÏVEMENT QUE LA CAPITALE ÉTAIT SÉCURISÉE"
Faire pression sur l'opinion, c'est bien là l'objectif de ces attentats. C'est "un message aux Algériens pour démissionner face à la vie. Capituler face à la fatalité", explique La Liberté. "Les attentats d'Alger, sanctuaire sécurisé jusque-là, contre le symbole même du pouvoir politique, sont destinés à maintenir les Algériens sous le joug de la peur et de la résignation", explique le journal. Car les terroristes ont frappé là où on ne les attendait pas. "Comment en sommes-nous arrivés à relâcher les mailles de la sécurité au point de ne rien voir venir, particulièrement lorsque nous sommes à la veille d'une importante campagne électorale qui s'annonce périlleuse ?" , interroge Le Quotidien d'Oran. "On pensait naïvement que le cœur battant de la capitale était sécurisé. Et que le quartier dans lequel est implanté le Palais du gouvernement est aussi sûr et imperméable à toute infiltration, à toute incursion, que l'est la célèbre zone verte de Baghdad. Jamais, au grand jamais, jusque dans les années dramatiques du terrorisme, une institution nationale n'a eu à subir une attaque terroriste aussi foudroyante. Excepté peut-être celle perpétrée, en 1995, contre le commissariat du boulevard Amirouche", rappelle L'Expression. Mais Alger, souligne le quotidien, c'est aussi les "portes de l'Europe". "Que l'on soit à Tanger, à Alger ou à Tunis, le hasard géographique, s'il en est, fait que l'Espagne, la France et l'Italie ne sont qu'à quelques encablures du Maghreb", indique le journal.

LUTTE COMMUNE CONTRE LA MENACE D'AL-QAIDA DANS LE MAGHREB
Bien sûr, le spectre d'Al-Qaida fait ressurgir toute une histoire récente : "Les Etats-Unis ont connu le 11 septembre, date emblématique et annonciatrice d'un bouleversement à l'échelle planétaire ; l'Espagne a eu son 11 mars ; l'Algérie a, depuis hier, son 11 avril. La comparaison ne se limite pas à l'aspect strictement symbolique, mais tient aussi du fait que l'Etat algérien se sent touché au plus profond de ses fondements et de ses symboles de souveraineté", développe La Nouvelle République. Et puis, rappelle La Tribune, ces attentats surviennent au lendemain de ceux de Casablanca. Cette série noire vient "confirmer une nouvelle fois, et plus que jamais peut-être, la capacité d'Al-Qaida d'agir n'importe où et à n'importe quel moment dans le Maghreb" et de "menacer d'instabilité toute une région, de l'Algérie à la Mauritanie, en passant par le Maroc, la Tunisie ou la Libye". "D'où la logique qui veut qu'à menace commune, une lutte commune qui passerait par plusieurs actions en concertation. Reste à savoir si dans la configuration actuelle d'une UMA [Union du Maghreb arabe] où les intérêts des pays membres ne sont pas toujours les mêmes, voire divergents, la lutte contre une menace commune est susceptible d'être perçue avec le même regard".
http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3212,36-894802@51-894796,0.html
JPTF

abril 11, 2007

“Cercados pela polícia, três presumíveis terroristas fizeram-se explodir em Casablanca, Marrocos” in Le Monde, 11 de Abril de 2007


La traque des responsables de l'explosion d'un cybercafé à Casablanca le 11 mars 2007 a conduit à la mort de quatre terroristes présumés, mardi 10 avril à Casablanca, dont trois se sont donné la mort en activant les ceintures d'explosifs qu'ils portaient. Le dernier kamikaze a activé sa charge en fin de journée quand, selon une source proche des services de sécurité, "il a vu qu'il ne pouvait pas s'en sortir". L'explosion a fait dix-neuf blessés. De source policière, on affirme que les suspects avaient vraisemblablement décidé de porter en permanence leur ceinture d'explosifs pour faire face à l'éventualité d'une opération de police. Les autorités avait apparemment identifié un groupe de quatre hommes liés à l'explosion du 11 mars dernier. Ces hommes soupçonnés de préparer d'autres actions étaient "activement recherchés". Selon Mohamed Mouadab, adjoint du préfet de police de la ville, la première interpellation a eu lieu à 5 heures du matin (7 heures, heure de Paris) , quand un homme, identifié comme Mohamed Mentala, est sorti d'un appartement avec un sabre et une ceinture d'explosifs. Il a menacé les policiers avec son arme, puis menacé de se faire exploser avant d'être abattu. En entendant la déflagration, un deuxième homme, Mohamed Rachidi, est monté sur le haut de l'immeuble, puis a sauté sur une terrasse avant de se faire exploser. Les deux derniers membres du groupe ont ensuite été pourchassés par les autorités, qui avaient bouclé le quartier de Fida. En se faisant exploser, à 150 mètres environ du lieu de la première opération, le troisième homme a tué un policier et en a blessé un autre. Selon l'agence Associated Press, cet homme était le frère du responsable de l'explosion du cybercafé le 11 mars.

31 PERSONNES ARRÊTÉES AU COURS DE L'ENQUÊTE
Ce jour-là, Abdelfettah Raydi avait trouvé la mort en actionnant les explosifs qu'il transportait. Son complice présumé, Youssef Khoudri, avait été blessé, ainsi que trois clients du café Internet. Le parquet avait expliqué que les deux hommes "n'avaient pas l'intention d'attaquer le cybercafé, où ils s'étaient rendus dans le cadre des contacts que les membres de la cellule entretenaient via Internet". Trente et une personnes ont été arrêtées dans le cadre de cette enquête. "Il s'agissait d'une organisation terroriste en cours de formation, financée par des Marocains dans le but de perpétrer des attentats contre le port de Casablanca", avait estimé le parquet. Cependant, selon le politologue Mohamed Darif, un des principaux experts sur l'islamisme marocain, "il est difficile d'imaginer que ce groupe n'ait pas de lien avec l'étranger". "Il semble au contraire qu'ils appliquent l'ordre donné par Ayman Al-Zawahiri, numéro deux d'Al-Qaida, de se faire exploser plutôt que de tomber aux mains de la police", a-t-il indiqué mardi.
http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3212,36-893791@51-893796,0.html
JPTF 2007/04/11

abril 10, 2007

Livro: “A Guerra das Ideias: Jihadismo contra a Democracia” de Walid Phares, Nova Iorque, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007



Nos Estados Unidos existe uma grande tradição de acolhimento de pessoas que, pelas mais diversas razões, acabam por se fixar no país e contribuir para a sua produção económica, científica, artística e intelectual. Se isso é bem conhecido pelo contributo da emigração europeia, já no caso de populações oriundas de outras partes do mundo o fenómeno é relativamente mal conhecido, sobretudo quando a sua proveniência é o Médio Oriente. Para as elites intelectuais europeias, a principal excepção a esse desconhecimento é o professor de Literatura da Universidade de Columbia, Edward Said, recentemente falecido, que se tornou um autor canónico dos Estudos Pós-Coloniais constituídos sob o modelo pós-moderno das genealogias de Nietzsche/Foucault e das desconstruções de Paul de Man e Jacques Derrida. Nesta visão ideológica, a identidade do “outro” (neste caso dos árabes e muçulmanos do Médio Oriente), é vítima do “imperialismo cultural” do Ocidente, sendo representada de forma distorcida na Literatura, nos textos dos orientalistas, no discurso político e nas imagens dos media. Com este o ideário en vogue na academia, o autor do livro em análise poderia facilmente adoptar similar abordagem, pois, tal como Edward Said, é árabe (cristão), provém do Médio Oriente (Líbano) e emigrou relativamente novo para o Ocidente (EUA), onde já vive há bastante tempo, tendo adquirido aí a notoriedade internacional que o Oriente nunca lhe permitiria. Mas as semelhanças entre os dois terminam aqui. Walid Phares é actualmente é investigador associado da Fundação para a Defesa das Democracias nos EUA, sendo também professor de Estudos do Médio Oriente e de conflitos étnico-religiosos. Ressalvadas as devidas proporções, gera provavelmente na Middle East Studies Association da América do Norte um desconforto parecido ao que o escritor britânico de ascendência indiana, e Prémio Nobel da Literatura, V. S. Naipaul – que preenchendo os requisitos de vítima das “distorções de identidade” não se revê nelas – provoca em vários teóricos dos Estudos Pós-Coloniais.

Em The War of Ideas. Jihadism Against Democracy/A Guerra das Ideias: Jihadismo contra a Democracia Walid Phares retoma algumas das ideias avançadas na anterior publicação Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies Against the West/A Jihad Futura: Estratégias Terroristas contra o Ocidente (2006), assumiu em mãos a tarefa de alertar as democracias e o mundo ocidental face aos perigos do “jihadismo”. Este é o extremo violento da ideologia islamista corporizado em diversos grupos radicais (salafistas, khomeinistas, etc.), e que, entre outros meios, recorre também ao terror como arma política, tendo aliados “objectivos” à direita e à esquerda, sobretudo nos extremos do espectro político ocidental. A abordagem a este difícil e complexo tema que marca a actual política internacional foi estruturada em treze capítulos: 1) Os debates históricos; 2) O eixo anti-democrático; 3) Visões irreconciliáveis; 4) A guerra jihadista contra os princípios internacionais; 5) O assalto ao pluralismo; 6) Os pilares da democracia sob ataque; 7) Apartheid do género; 8) O jihadismo espera o desenlace da Guerra-Fria: a primeira guerra de ideias, 1945-1990; 9) Batalhas sobre as mentes: a segunda guerra de ideias, 1990-2001; 10) O choque dos futuros: a terceira guerra de ideias, 2001-2006; 11) A guerra ao ensino; 12) Inflamando os corações e estupidificando as mentes; 13) A guerra aos mensageiros.

Como ponto de partida da análise, o autor explica o que, na sua óptica, deve historicamente ser entendido por jihad – bem como a actual ideologia política que foi construída a partir do conceito clássico da mesma –, “desconstruindo” aquilo a que este chama, de forma irónica (e numa alusão cáustica aos trabalhos de John Esposito, Tariq Ramadan e outros), as teses da “jihad como uma espécie de yoga”. Atente-se no teor deste excerto (p.35): “Em síntese, qual foi a realidade da jihad, como conceito, através de séculos de prática e a ideologia específica que a jihad defende? [...] Historicamente é claro que foi um instrumento estadual para a mobilização de guerra, sob os califados árabe e otomano e várias dinastias muçulmanas tais como os omíadas, os abássidas, os seljúcidas, os mogóis, os mamelucos e muitos outros. As referências oficiais à jihad e o número de fatwas (éditos religiosos) autorizando-a são demasiado volumosos para a ignorar. Através dos séculos da primeiro Fatah (conquista) islâmica, da Síria, Iraque, Norte de África, da Pérsia até à Espanha, milhares de discursos e declarações de jihad, nestas vastas terras fora da Península Arábica. Comparando a jihad com a conhecida “agressão ao outro” no período medieval – as cruzadas –, feita pela Europa/Ocidente cristão, este afirma ainda (p. 35-36): A “forma estadual de jihad durou cerca de treze séculos em três continentes: Ásia, África e Europa. A última jihad sancionada por um califa ocorreu durante a I Guerra Mundial, através do sultão otomano contra os Aliados, pouco antes do colapso dos exércitos imperiais turcos. Em 1924, a jihad islâmica estadual, ou a guerra global dos poderes muçulmanos baseada na decisão do califa terminou. Em comparação, as ‘guerras cristãs‘ foram interrompidas por desenvolvimentos religiosos como resultado da Reforma, dos acordos do Vaticano e da emergência do Estado secular no Ocidente. As ‘guerras judaicas‘ terminaram fisicamente em 70 a. C. com a queda de Jerusalém. Mas dos fragmentos do sultanato a jihad foi agarrada por um movimento que construiu uma apropriada ideologia e que a pôs em prática à medida que se desenrolava o século XX”.

Na sua abordagem a esta ideologia, Walid Phares assumiu também uma certa defesa de Samuel Huntington e da sua conhecida tese sobre o “choque de civilizações”, face ao “oceano de críticos que emergiu de todos os quadrantes das Ciências Sociais, bem como de jornalistas e activistas” (p. 237), por ter sido um dos primeiros académicos a alertar as democracias ocidentais para os perigos destes desenvolvimentos no mundo islâmico. Todavia, importa notar que o trabalho de Samuel Huntington, sejam quais forem as suas intenções ou méritos, acabou também por contribuir para criar um quadro mental distorcido. O que está em causa não é um conflito civilizacional, mas, como sugere o próprio Walid Phares, uma confrontação ideológica de um tipo mais complexo e difícil de apreender que o da Guerra Fria. Por isso, tomar a parte (a ideologia islamista-jihadista) pelo todo (a cultura ou civilização onde esta tem origem) é uma distorção na apreensão da realidade. Pior do que isso, é ainda uma distorção particularmente conveniente para as estratégias dos movimentos islamistas que procuram criar e apresentar, aos olhos ocidentais, um Islão essencialista e homogéneo funcionando como um bloco, algo que não existe. Importa ainda referir que para além de ser estrategicamente errada, é uma categorização extremamente injusta para com as diversas correntes de pensamento e os movimentos de muçulmanos liberais que se opõem à ideologia islamista, muitas vezes com risco da sua própria vida.

Mas o livro não se restringe à explicitação da ideologia jihadista, nem às controvérsias em torno do trabalho de Samuel Huntington. Um dos aspectos mais interessantes (e polémicos) relaciona-se com uma questão já abordada na sua publicação anterior, onde este faz um ataque demolidor aos Estudos sobre o Médio Oriente, tal como estão actualmente constituídos na maioria das universidades dos EUA. Na sua óptica, estes não estão a funcionar de acordo com princípios de rigor académico e científico que se espera das universidades e, muito menos, a prestar qualquer serviço útil à nação norte-americana. A explicação reside no que este denuncia como sendo os “lobbies wahabistas” (por referência à ideologia religioso-política fundamentalista de Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, um árabe “saudita” do século XVIII), patrocinados pela Arábia Saudita e outras monarquias do golfo (por exemplo, o Qatar). Estes terão conseguido desenvolver, nas últimas décadas, com o suporte dos imensos meios financeiros obtidos após o choque petrolífero de 1973, uma estratégia hábil e bem sucedida de difusão da sua ideologia na América do Norte. Esta consistiu em instituir e/ou financiar generosamente os departamentos de Estudos Árabes, do Islão e do Médio Oriente, na esmagadora maioria das universidades norte-americanas, influenciando, directa ou indirectamente, a produção intelectual e as formas de pensar este assunto, tendo já produzido três gerações de académicos, professores e investigadores, com influência nos media, nas agências governamentais e nas artes (p. 194). Se a as críticas de Walid Phares têm algum fundamento, como parecem ter, a ironia tudo isto é que a tese de Edward Said sobre o Orientalismo até se pode aplicar bem aqui: de facto, surgiu nas últimas décadas um “Oriente criado pelo Ocidente” (leia-se pelos académicos dos muitos departamentos de Estudos do Médio Oriente) e que está urgentemente a precisar de ser desconstruído. Ironias à parte, a ilação mais séria e preocupante que resulta desta leitura é que se já tínhamos muitas razões para nos preocuparmos com o actual modelo de crescimento económico, baseado no petróleo, pelos enormes custos ambientais que está a acarretar, agora temos ainda uma preocupação adicional: é em grande parte a economia do petróleo que suporta financeiramente o islamismo-jihadista e o ataque às democracias.
JPTF 2007/04/10

abril 08, 2007

Filme: “300” de Zack Snyder, a história ficcional da Batalha das Termópilas (480 a.C.), entre gregos e persas, que irritou Mahmoud Ahmadinejad



O filme 300 é uma adaptação ao cinema da banda desenhada 300, do norte-americano Frank Miller. A história é inspirada na Batalha das Termópilas, ocorrida em 480 a.C., onde as cidades-estado gregas se uniram para enfrentar e derrotar o invasor persa. A narrativa decorre à volta do Rei de Esparta (Leónidas) e 300 dos seus soldados, que lutaram até o último homem contra o imperador da Pérsia, Xerxes, dotado do maior exército da Antiguidade. Praticamente sem possibilidades de sobrevivência e de vitória, o sacrifício dos 300 espartanos para travar os exércitos imperiais persas, inspirou a posterior união das cidades-estado helénicas, que acabaram por derrotar e repelir os invasores do seu território. O Presidente do Irão, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, provavelmente a pensar no mau presságio que a Batalha das Termópilas traz ao seu sonho de potência nuclear, não gostou desta mistura entre ficção e realidade. A guerra de ideias já chegou à banda desenhada e ao cinema.
JPTF 2007/04/08

abril 06, 2007

“Pequim, Jogos Olímpicos e Transparência” in Courrier International




Cartoon de Harry

A cinq cents jours de l’ouverture des JO de Pékin, la Chine vient de dévoiler en grande pompe les médailles qui seront remises aux vainqueurs - leur centre est garni de jade. Pour impliquer les habitants de la capitale dans la préparation des premiers JO de l’histoire chinoise, les autorités ont conçu un slogan ad hoc : “Je participe, je contribue, je suis heureux." Un accident mortel sur un chantier du métro (dans un tunnel de la future ligne qui doit relier le village olympique au nord de la capitale), que l’entreprise de construction a tenté de dissimuler, pose néanmoins la question de la transparence dans les préparatifs de ces Olympiades.
http://cartoons.courrierinternational.com//dessins/dessin.asp?obj_id=72339
JPTF 6/04/2007

abril 04, 2007

“Kosovo: que preço para a independência?” in The Economist, 3 de Abril de 2007



EIGHT years ago NATO planes were bombing Serbia. They were at the beginning of a 78-day campaign, which concluded with Serbian forces being driven out of Kosovo, its southern province. For much of that period diplomats from the big countries involved were in constant contact in a frantic attempt to end the war. With Russia's help, the bombing was brought to an end by a resolution at the UN Security Council. On Tuesday April 3rd the Security Council will discuss a plan for Kosovo's independence. Russia's involvement means that the session is not expected to be easy. There are still no good solutions to the thorny problem of Kosovo, only less bad ones. As far as most western countries are concerned a workable plan for the future of the province is now on the table. Russia however rejects this settlement, which proposes independence. Kosovo was (and technically remains) a province of Serbia. The overwhelming majority of its 2m people are ethnic Albanians who want nothing less than independence. Serbia’s leaders do not accept this. Ever since the end of the Kosovo war, the territory has been under the jurisdiction of the UN. Martti Ahtisaari, a former Finnish president asked by the UN to come up with a solution for Kosovo, delivered his plans to the Security Council on March 26th. In his accompanying report, Mr Ahtisaari did some plain speaking. He says that Serbs and Albanians have “diametrically opposed positions” and that “no amount of additional talks, whatever the format, will overcome this impasse.” His conclusion is that, “the only viable option for Kosovo is independence, to be supervised for an initial period by the international community.”Kosovo is now under the jurisdiction of the UN, so a new Security Council resolution is needed to change this. If the Security Council accepts Mr Ahtisaari’s plan then not only will NATO’s current peacekeeping force stay there, but a large EU mission will help to supervise the police and judiciary. And the position of a powerful international governor general will be created, with the ability to sack local officials and strike down laws inconsistent with the Ahtisaari settlement. Vojislav Kostunica, Serbia's caretaker prime minister, hopes Russia will veto this “plan to dismember Serbia.” Independence, he gives warning, “would be an act of violence against the law.” Russian officials meanwhile insist that more talks are necessary. They see Kosovo’s independence as a precedent under international law, something that the Americans, British and others reject. Across the former Soviet Union there are several “frozen conflicts” bearing some similarities to Kosovo. One is in Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan; another is in Transdniestria, a breakaway part of Moldova. Perhaps Russian officials believe that it is possible to keep Kosovo frozen too and thus avoid hard decisions. The problem is that Kosovo is near boiling point and could explode at any moment.Western diplomats warn that if Russia blocks Kosovo's independence at the UN, violence is certain to breakout. Also, without a Security Council resolution Kosovo's Albanians are likely to declare independence anyway. This could result in an almighty mess with some countries, perhaps including America, recognising the new state but with many others, including EU countries, not doing so. Mr Ahtisaari has told sceptics within the EU (Spain, Slovakia and Greece) that European unity is more important than their doubts. Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has thrown his weight behind the plan, as has the head of NATO. Western diplomats are worried that Russia will block a new resolution and spark a another conflagration in the Balkans. But Russia may not want to pick a fight against both America and the EU. No doubt some secret, bilateral diplomacy is underway, with senior American diplomats asking Russia what it wants in exchange for supporting a new UN resolution. If there is a new resolution we may not know until the history books are written what price Russia extracted in exchange for its support.
http://www.economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8945415
JPTF 2007/04/04

abril 03, 2007

Livro: “Conhecimento Perigoso. O Orientalismo e os seus Descontentes” de Robert Irwin, The Overlook Press, Woodstock & Nova Iorque, 2006


“É um escândalo e um mau comentário sobre a qualidade da vida intelectual britânica das recentes décadas que o argumento de Said sobre o Orientalismo ainda possa ser levado a sério [...] As qualidades do Orientalismo [de Said] são as de uma boa novela. É excitante está embalado num lote de vilões sinistros, bem como num numeroso bando de bonzinhos e a imagem que apresenta do mundo é ricamente imaginada, mas essencialmente ficcional” (p. 309).

Robert Irwin é um historiador britânico e professor na School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) de Londres, editor para o Médio Oriente do Times Literary Supplement. Com esta publicação intitulada Dangerous Knowledge. Orientalism and its Discontents/Conhecimento Perigoso. O Orientalismo e os seus Descontentes (que foi posteriormente editada sob o título For Lust of Knowing. The Orientalists and their Enemies/Pelo Desejo de Saber. Os Orientalistas e os Seus Inimigos) o autor dá-nos uma visão abrangente do Orientalismo, como campo de estudos, com um retrato dos percursos e obras dos principais nomes que marcaram a disciplina. Robert Irwin assume também que a motivação para esta publicação se deve, em boa medida, ao livro Orientalismo de Edward Said, publicado originalmente em 1978. Vamos por partes na análise do que nos oferece o conteúdo do livro. Os oito primeiros capítulos de Robet Irwin dão uma panorâmica do Orientalismo e retratam as suas figuras mais importantes - a esmagadora maioria das quais desconhecida do público não especializado (o mais conhecido é provavelmente Ernest Renan, que só secundariamente pode ser considerado orientalista) - , como Guillaume de Postel, um francês exótico do século XVI, que foi o fundador da disciplina; Ignatz Goldziher, um húngaro de ascendência judaica e cultura germânica, que foi o seu principal expoente na segunda metada do século XIX e inícios do século XX ; e Arminius Vambéry, também de origem húngara, mais um viajante intrépido do que um orientalista, que com os seus relatos das lendas balcânicas terá inspirado o escritor britâncico Bram Stocker, no romance Drácula. Nesta parte do livro, Robert Irwin aborda o tema de forma atraente e elegante, fazendo uma descrição das origens e evolução do Orientalismo numa linguagem acessível, entremeada com um certo humor e pormenores curiosos (por exemplo, Cristóvão Colombo levava consigo um intérprete judeu, falante de língua árabe, para lidar com os povos das Américas).

Nos últimos capítulos, especialmente no capítulo 9 (Uma Investigação sobre a Natureza de uma Certa Polémica do Século XX), o tom da escrita altera-se um pouco e dá lugar a uma crítica corrosiva, naquilo que ironicamente poderíamos chamar a “desconstrução do Orientalismo” de Edward Said. Para os menos familiarizados com o percurso de Said importa recordar que este nasceu em Jerusalém, numa família cristã árabe (protestante) da burguesia do Médio Oriente, tendo estudado numa escola de elite anglófila do Cairo e vivido a maior parte da sua vida nos Estados Unidos, onde foi professor de Literatura, na Universidade de Columbia, em Nova Iorque. Foi sobretudo um conhecido e emblemático activista da causa palestiniana (auto apresentando-se como palestiniano, naquilo que poderíamos chamar a “construção social da sua identidade”) apesar de ser provavelmente de ascendência libanesa. Sobre este, Robert Irwin começa por fazer notar (à semelhança do já tinham feito outros críticos, como, por exemplo, Bernard Lewis, Maxime Rodinson ou Albert Hourani) que o livro Orientalismo contem vários erros e imprecisões factuais (por exemplo, a sugestão que a Grã-Bretanha e a França dominavam o Mediterrâneo oriental no século XVII, ou a referência que este faz à conquista, pelos exércitos muçulmanos, da Turquia antes do Norte de África). Tal como já tinha anteriormente feito Lewis, Irwin chama à atenção dos leitores para o facto de os orientalistas alemães (com um peso enorme na disciplina de nomes como Hammer-Porstgall, Fleischer, Welhausen, Goldziher, Nöloeke e Becker) serem praticamente ignorados Orientalismo de Said, que pretendeu fazer uma análise crítica - ou melhor, uma genealogia do tipo Nietzsche/Foucault- desse campo de estudos.

Depois de se ler a argumentação de Robert Irwin, a sensação que fica é que Edward Said recorreu a um estratagema hábil mas que intelectualmente não deixa de merecer reparos. Said sugere aos seus leitores que o Orientalismo britânico e francês foram os mais importantes. A conveniência desta ideia assentou provavelmente em duas razões: primeiro, eram as línguas europeias que este conhecia melhor (ao contrário do alemão e também do russo, tendo também a Rússia uma grande tradição de Orientalismo, que este ignorou totalmente, seja por desconhecimento ou por outras razões); segundo, permitiam-lhe criar um elo de ligação (aparentemente convincente, sobretudo para o público não especializado) entre orientalismo e imperialismo, pois Grã-Bretanha e França foram os dois maiores poderes coloniais ocidentais. Todavia, se considerasse o caso alemão, como a Alemanha praticamente não teve império colonial, mas deu a mais importante contribuição isolada para o campo do Orientalismo, a genealogia de Edward Said ficava em dificuldades logo à partida (nada que não se resolva com uma velha técnica de escrita, que consiste em omitir a factualidade que é incómoda ou contradiz o que se pretende mostrar ...). Para além disso, apresentou o Orientalismo como um discurso unificado - o que também é uma distorção mais ou menos grosseira dada a diversidade e visões, frequentemente contraditórias, existentes na disciplina -, sugerindo que os orientalistas eram “agentes do imperialismo” e uma espécie de guarda avançada do “imperialismo cultural” do Ocidente. A realidade mostrada por Irwin é bastante diferente. Não invulgarmente simpatizavam genuinamente com a cultura e religião que estudavam e alguns até apoiaram causas políticas dos povos árabes e islâmicos, não sendo agentes do poder colonial, mas, na maioria dos casos, indivíduos motivados por uma grande curiosidade e uma vontade genuína de saber (curiosamente, o único exemplo que Said admite com este perfil foi o de Louis Massignon, que não foi propriamente um orientalista outsider, como este sugere, e esteve mesmo ligado ao poder político colonial francês).

Crítica contundente, perpassada de sarcástica ironia, mereceu ainda o cânone pós-moderno do Orientalismo - um dos livros de culto dos actuais Estudos Pós-Coloniais -, e a sua obsessão pela linguagem e descontruções de textos: (p. 286): “Tal como vimos, foi o discurso e as estratégias textuais que conduziram o projecto imperial, criaram plantações de borracha, fizeram o canal do Suez e estabeleceram guarnições de legionários no Sara. Como o Orientalismo é pela sua natureza uma doença ocidental, o mesmo deve ser verdade para o imperialismo. Os persas, que sob Ciro, Dário e Xerxes construíram um poderoso império e tentaram anexar a Grécia e esse império, não foram denunciados por Said por imperialismo. Pelo contrário, foram apresentados como trágicas e inocentes vítimas de distorções de dramaturgos. Mais tarde, os Omíadas, os Abássidas, os Fatimidas e os Otomanos presidiram a grandes impérios, mas as suas dinastias escaparam à censura. De facto, devem ter sido considerados vítimas da distorção ocidental.” Por tudo o que foi referido - e para além de algumas imprecisões, sobretudo no capítulo 10 ( “inimigos do Orientalismo”), notadas por Amir Taheri na recensão feita no jornal árabe Asharq Alawsat de Londres -, estamos perante um contributo relevante para um conhecimento mais equilibrado da tradição de estudos do Orientalismo; e estamos também perante uma defesa apaixonada contra os que a tentaram denegrir e banir, por razões que vão para além de considerações estritamente académicas e científicas e se encontram mais no terreno da luta política e ideológica. Adivinha-se uma recepção negativa e a irritação nos Estudos Pós-Coloniais a este “regresso dos fósseis”.
NOTA: Esta recensão foi publicada na Crítica: Revista de Filosofia e Ensino http://www.criticanarede.com/
JPTF 2007/04/03