DOSSIER. Guerre en Israël, attentat terroriste en France… la semaine noire qui change le monde

l’essentielThe terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel and the retaliation on Gaza by the Israeli state, the ongoing war in Ukraine, the exile of Armenians from the Nagorno-Karabakh region, tensions in Asia, and the terrorist assassination of a professor, all amidst a sea of misinformation on social media. We are deeply disturbed by this dark week…

On December 10, 1957, Albert Camus received the Nobel Prize in Literature in Stockholm and delivered a speech that would be remembered for its powerful words and its tragically prophetic nature. « Each generation, no doubt, believes itself destined to remake the world. Mine, however, knows that it will not succeed in doing so. But perhaps its task is even greater. It consists of preventing the world from falling apart. »

More than sixty years later, this speech, delivered at a time when the world was emerging from a deadly World War II, when a new world order was being shaped at Yalta, and when the Cold War was settling in with its confrontation between the Eastern and Western blocs for three decades, this speech resonates more than ever in our minds and sheds light on the challenges of the world today, after a dark week marked by terrorism, wars, and international tensions, from Israel to Gaza, from Ukraine to Armenia, and even Taiwan.

Empêcher que le monde se défasse,

c’est d’abord dire, haut et fort, notre refus clair et implacable du terrorisme qu’aucune cause ne justifiera jamais. Les populations civiles qui sont la cible d’attentats, d’attaques terroristes, partout dans le monde, ne sauraient être comptables des positions de leur gouvernement et quand bien même le seraient-elles que rien ne justifierait des assassinats d’innocents aussi horribles que ceux que l’on a vus ces dernières années, que ceux que l’on a vus avec effroi samedi 7 octobre dans les kibboutz israéliens, lors d’une pacifique rave party ou dans la cour d’un lycée de France ce vendredi.

A Ashkelon en Israël le 11 octobre.
A Ashkelon en Israël le 11 octobre. AFP – RONALDO SCHEMIDT

Not clearly condemning these acts, not labeling as terrorists those who commit them or the organizations they claim to be part of is a political mistake and a moral fault. It is unworthy for a part of our country’s political class – namely, France Insoumise – to refuse to acknowledge that Hamas is a terrorist organization and to engage in convoluted arguments. This is disrespectful to both Israeli victims and the memory of those who died in attacks in Toulouse, Montauban, Paris, Nice, Magnanville, Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, or Arras.

Empêcher que le monde se défasse,

c’est aussi accepter sa complexité, être nuancé et refuser l’affrontement « eux » contre « nous » qu’adorent tous les populismes. Oui, on peut condamner avec force les attaques terroristes du Hamas et en même temps condamner avec la même force les bombardements de l’armée israélienne sur la bande de Gaza qui tuent depuis le 7 octobre des centaines d’hommes, de femmes et d’enfants.

Le camp de réfugiés palestiniens de Jabalia, rasé le 11 octobre. /AFP.
Le camp de réfugiés palestiniens de Jabalia, rasé le 11 octobre. /AFP. AFP – YAHYA HASSOUNA

Yes, we can assure the Israeli people of our unwavering support and express our affection for the families of the victims and hostages. At the same time, we can criticize the government of Benyamin Netanyahu, who, through cynical political calculations and to evade justice for being charged in three corruption cases, has formed political alliances and made decisions that have clearly jeopardized the country’s security and are condemned by many Israelis today.

« I cannot reword »

Une unité de l’armée israélienne le 11 octobre. /AFP.
Une unité de l’armée israélienne le 11 octobre. /AFP. AFP – JACK GUEZ

At a time when the most extreme individuals are loudly fueling hatred on both sides, further distancing the hope for peace that seemed so close during the Oslo Accords between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin thirty years ago, it is also necessary to listen to the voices of appeasement, in Israel as well as in France.

« I cannot reword »

Empêcher que le monde se défasse,

c’est justement respecter le droit international, patiemment mis en place depuis l’installation des Nations unies en 1947, et défendre la déclaration universelle des droits de l’Homme, inspirée de notre déclaration française de 1789.

Today, both of them, accused of having a solely Western vision rather than a universal one, are being challenged everywhere. Not firmly defending the first one in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea gave Vladimir Putin the opportunity to push further by triggering a war with Ukraine 19 months ago, which continues to claim civilian victims every day. And who knows if Xi Jinping dreams of doing the same by invading Taiwan, the democratic island around which the Chinese fleet and aviation are increasing acts of intimidation? Not defending the second one leads us to be powerless spectators of the exodus of Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh and perhaps tomorrow from other regions.

Deux soldats ukrainiens secourent un des leurs, le 13 octobre.
Deux soldats ukrainiens secourent un des leurs, le 13 octobre. AFP – ANATOLII STEPANOV

The United Nations are becoming less and less united when it comes to sharing a vision of the world’s progress. The recently expanded BRIC summit (Brazil, Russia, India, China) presents itself as an alternative, even as an opponent to democracies. « The world’s fracture line today intersects with that of Ukraine. The voice of Europe, the voice of the West is not in the majority. Everything that will happen will be under the watchful eye of the world, which does not see things as we do, » rightly reminds Dominique de Villepin.

Empêcher que le monde se défasse,

Defending the fundamental basis around which debates can be organized is to uphold the relationship with indisputable facts and therefore with the truth. For several years now, both have been challenged and undermined by voices that were once marginal but have gradually gained public opinion and ultimately power in several countries. Donald Trump in the United States, who advocates for « alternative facts » and conspiracy theories, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom during Brexit are perfect examples of this. However, if conspiracy theories, anti-vax beliefs, anti-Semitism, homophobia, unabashed racism, election destabilization, hatred, and harassment have spread to such an extent, it is because certain internet giants have prioritized their profits over the defense of the democratic framework.

La marine taïwanaise surveille le porte-avions chinois Shandong..
The Taiwanese navy is monitoring the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong.AFP.

The war in Ukraine and the recent events in Israel have led to a surge of false information, fake news, and manipulations on an unprecedented scale. « People who turned to X (formerly Twitter) for up-to-the-minute information on the Israel-Hamas conflict are being bombarded with old videos, fake photos, and video game sequences like never before seen by researchers, » Wired magazine noted. « Enhanced by an algorithm that favors users willing to pay $8 per month for a premium subscription, posts from those with a blue checkmark are placed at the top of news feeds, at the expense of journalist-verified publications. »

La situation est telle qu’elle a conduit Thierry Breton, commissaire européen au Numérique, à rappeler cette semaine à Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg et Shou Zi Chew, patrons de X, Facebook et Tik Tok, les obligations de modération qu’ils doivent respecter dans l’Union européenne sous peine de sanctions.

Preventing the world from falling apart is a huge challenge, both in 2023 and in 1957. The stakes are different, the actors have obviously changed, the world is globalized, hyperconnected, and the idea of democracy is declining.

After this dark week, it is clear that the « world after » – and therefore a better world – that we all dreamed of for the end of the Covid crisis is increasingly resembling not the world of yesterday, but the world of the day before yesterday. We feel it in the same state that Jean Jaurès perceived it in these columns on the eve of the First World War. On July 30, 1914, he wrote in La Dépêche, his penultimate article « The oscillation on the edge of the abyss, » calling for a wake-up call to avoid, in vain, the war. Will we be able to avoid this abyss?

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