The concept of this page came to me only recently during table talks with my wife on the problem, now quite serious, of illegal immigration. It would be more accurate to say “after” these always inconclusive conversations since Marjorie was taking the humanitarian point of view into consideration while I was not. Enough said on this problem which, to me, is more political than humanitarian (see my quotations from Boumedienne and Kadhafi in this blog).
On the other hand these conversations helped me to ask myself what was the exact meaning of “a migrant who stayed on for life” as myself. This question sounds stupid, of course, as no two cases are the same ! However, case by case, two more, very interesting, questions remain : (i) how useful the migrant has been for the welcoming country ? and (ii) what has been, for the migrant, the result of having two nationalities (or a new nationality in the case of a displaced person) ?
I am not in a position to answer the first question but the second one fascinates me. Far from feeling torn between my two nations I do love both of them for different reasons and I regard it as my good fortune to have been “a migrant who stayed on for life” in Australia. Without understating either my French education or my aptitude to “learn” (learning is the national fetish of French Education) which came with my French genes, what made me more capable of “understanding” is that I now weigh everything from the dual point of view of the two nations in my head.
In conversations this very point tends to annoy and I am often called a fence-sitter (or even pedantic) when I try to put myself in the shoes of the opponent (i.e. the “enemy” in the case of the disastrous “War against Terror”). I do not care because, to my mind, only morons and political zealots are led like sheep instead of trying to understand.
UNDERSTANDING is the paramount quality of the human race. Without the ability to understand their situations and stakes, humans would not be able to make free and rational CHOICES. Therefore they would be on the same level as the rest of the animate world where everything solely depends on the position of the animal on the food chain.
Without going all the way to push us down to the level of animal life, the people who govern us (the “Gentlemen called Great” as in the song “Le déserteur”) have an unquestionable loathing for granting too much choice to the citizens, and therefore they resort to all kinds of political maneuvering to discourage open debate and to get round universal voting.
Similarly the super-rich getting richer at the ordinary people’s expense are still more averse than the politicians to giving us choices. They have invented publicity and, wherever its power is not sufficient, they resort to the “illusion of choosing” (e.g. choice of packaging, colour, brilliance) when in fact the product is the same.
Any HINDERING of our efforts to understand is the first step towards the exploitation of man by man because it is easier to govern, and to abuse, the people who accept to obey blindly. In the past this exploitation was done by brute force (slavery, restraint of Princes, etc.), now it results from brainwashing (teaching, publicity, media control, politically correct language, etc.) which delude us into thinking that “human affairs” are more civilised and that “human relations” are more tolerant.
The reality of the twenty-first century is very different to this illusion : slavery still exists in some countries, a small minority of individuals own one half of the wealth of the whole world, the American hegemon behaves like the self-appointed sheriff of the world, the French President deludes himself into being the “gendarme” of Africa, and International Finance is wealthier than ever after having invented the toxic assets of the Great Financial Crisis, i.e. probably the most gigantic fraud in the history of mankind. As for the International Relations, one wonders whether they still make sense now that the U.S.A. has declared a “quasi-religious war” against Islamism as if Washington was trying to make the Middle-East mess still more unrightable.
THE HUMAN CONDITION : Comedy or Tragedy ?
Let’s be serious; I’m not talking about the book of Malraux (that “King’s buffoon” of President Charles De Gaulle, who wrote “La Condition humaine”), I mean the painting of René Magritte also called “the human condition”. The date of both works is 1933, the year I was born and the year Hitler became German Chancellor.
In my own case, and in the reality of everyday life, “the human condition” is a useful comedy rather than a tragedy because I like life and at the age of eighty-one I love to be still alive. In the same way as Magritte’s painting “the human condition” is an enigma; and why on earth does the human stupidity insist on forcing into it the search for absolutes such as religion, chauvinism, etc. ?
SOME IMMUTABLE FACTS ?
Most of the setbacks to the human race come from its refusal to accept immutable facts. For instance, refusal to realise that evolution does not aim at a target.
Another example is politics, that impossible art which struggles in a mixture of dirty tricks, political skulduggery and authoritarianism. Instead of castigating ourselves about our choice of political system, we should try to minimize the impact of the system on ordinary people like you and me. China, and perhaps Russia, direct themselves towards this compromise while America and its servile allies scorch the earth to export their imperfect democracy.
The two motors of capitalism are the invention and propagation by the advertising industry of needs the usefulness of which is less and less evident. Globalisation is a secondary effect of the meteoric rise of capitalism. The positive side of globalisation is the material progress made by part of the third world; the negative one remains to be discovered. The future of the world seems less hopeful than the enthusiasts for universal democracy believe.
Dismantling of the US Hegemony
From the fifteenth to the twenty-first century, Western colonialism has been the curse of the rest of the world. Much worse, in our bigoted twenty-first century, it seems to me that the current hegemony of the U.S.A. is the most serious threat for World Peace.
Whatever the pious thoughts used as its spin, hegemony always is a complete disaster because it renders useless any treaty that the weaker party believes to have negotiated.
The U.S. hegemon has involved the world in a religious war whilst nowadays any sensible person would consider such a war as a disgusting memory of the human past.
To me it seems inconceivable that my two countries (France and Australia, that I would have believed to be wiser) did let themselves be dragged into the quagmire of the Middle-East by their peace-threatening, American, so-called “ally”.
Without “Balance of Power” there cannot be any real and lasting peace. All that we were taught at school on «Pax romana», «the white man’s burden» or any other missionary delusions was only a blatant lie.
Moreover, in the absence of some “balance of power”, any armed conflict between an hegemonic power and one or more (much less powerful) nations is bound to slide into acts of barbarousness.
Still worse, the more the much heralded “barbarousness” of the weaker side is used as propaganda ammunition by the hegemonic side in order to justify its own crimes (using drones for assassinations, ignoring “collateral damage”) the worse it gets.
As I have already said it in this blog, I have no doubt that the Americans will, probably sooner than later, be thrown out of the Middle-East in a still more shameful way than they were from Vietnam in 1975.
Why did the French and the Australians blindly follow the Americans in the inevitable fiasco of what they naively call their “War against Terror” ?
Of course, both in France and in Australia, other commentators have already asked that question but I feel that we must now go one step further.
Think again about the courage needed by the Swiss and the Swedes to adopt armed neutrality in the chaos of international relations of the nineteenth century. Think again about what the two countries have given to the world : the Red Cross, the Geneva conventions about the treatment of prisoners of war.
Australia, geographically an Asian country and culturally a European one, should also have the courage to adopt armed neutrality in the chaos of international relations of the twenty-first century !
Armed Neutrality For Australia ?
What is “Armed Neutrality” ? Google sends us to Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not very helpful on the definition of Armed Neutrality. Its main article on it starts with a warning : “The lead section of this article may need to be rewritten. Please discuss this issue on the talk page and read the layout guide to make sure the section will be inclusive of all essential details. (September 2014)“. No, thanks. Let us look at the Oxford dictionary. The Concise Oxford Dictionary has no entry for “neutrality” and it only tells us (within “neutral”, a. & n.) “4. n. ~ State or person; subject of ~ State.” Moreover, if you look for “armed neutrality”, you will find it (within “arm3, v.t. & i. ; … ; “ ~ed neutrality (of nations prepared for war)”. So, instead of wasting time, let us have a look at the two examples, Switzerland and Sweden, where “armed neutrality” has brought and is still bringing peace and prosperity.
The “neutrality” of Switzerland was declared in 1815 at the Congress of Vienna. In the last two hundred years this Swiss “armed neutrality” has dissuaded all the other European countries, included Hitler’s Germany, from invading Switzerland. The Americans, who felt that the Swiss had in fact collaborated with Hitler, tried to mount an International-Law case against Switzerland after World War II but they abandoned it. These two hundred years of peace have brought to Switzerland prosperity and an influence on International Relations (Red Cross, Geneva Conventions, etc.) well above its size (41 285 km2) and its population (approximately 8 million people). [See “Switzerland” article in Wikipedia].
The “neutrality” of Sweden came into existence more progressively but it has also lasted two centuries, from the end of the Swedish campaign against Norway in 1814 to the present. It is also an “armed neutrality” and the Swedes take very seriously their Defence Forces. During World War II they put up with small breaches of their neutrality by Hitler and (probably because they also indirectly contributed to the defence of Finland in the “Winter War” and permitted the training of Norwegian and Danish troops in Sweden after 1943) they were not bothered about it by the Americans after the end of World War II. Here again, these two hundred years of peace have brought to Sweden prosperity and an influence on International Relations well above its size (449 964 km2) and its population (9 716 962 people, 31/8/14 official estimate). [See “Sweden” article in Wikipedia].
In the new international scene, where China has just become the first economic power of the world, it seems to me that the better educated Australians should start to discuss the implications of declaring “Armed Neutrality for Australia” instead of lulling themselves into thinking that, under the “American umbrella”, Australia would be safe in case of an open conflict between the U.S.A. and China. Far from this naïve “dream” (and as happened to Singapore in 1942) we would be abandoned by our “protector”. Clearly America would have more important priorities than looking after our faraway island which is geographically part of Asia as Prime Minister Paul Keating had tried so hard to explain it to us.
Once this quite obvious message of Keating has sunk into the brains of the Australian electorate it should become more feasible for our governments (both Federal and State) to bring about a bipartisan change to the Constitution (in accordance with its prescribed referendum procedures) in order to enshrine “armed neutrality” into it.
This, in turn, would remove the accusation of Australia being a Western country meddling in Asian affairs.
In Australia as well as in many other countries two problems have been (intentionally?) swept under the carpet by the politicians.
These two problems are : (i) the urgent necessity to control the globalisation of our world and (ii) the still more urgent necessity to reveal the lie that it is the hegemony of the U.S. which protects the western world against extreme Islamism and/or Chinese Communism.
Why this urgency ? Simpy because the people to whom the political class has lied have already started to turn to extremist parties whether right or left.
It is still possible to slow this radicalisation if the voters can manage to force their political class to tell the truth.
For example it is easy to prove that it is not impossible to control the rate of the globalisation of our world.
Should anyone tell you that nothing can be done against globalisation as it is inevitable you can answer that death is still more inevitable and that despite that we have invented a remedy (medicine) in order to improve and lengthen our life.
In the same fashion if any politician from a major party tried to make you believe that the U.S. is our only protection in case of World War you can reply that World war is also avoidable in the case of “balance of power” as has been proved by the “Cold War” for nearly half a century.
This demonstration is not as self-evident as the first one. Granted ! However we could add to it that President George W. Bush has involved us into a religious war with the Middle East. What is the good of a so-called “protection” which involves your county in such a quagmire ?