Monday, May 2, 2011

"Grands, costauds, puissants"

Football's not my strong suit, so I'll outsource this post to two shrewd observers, Éric Fassin and Bernard Girard. About what the tapes published by Mediapart reveal, Bernard is succinct:

On y découvre plusieurs mécanismes à l'oeuvre :- la stupidité de responsables qui accumulent sans sourciller les sottises sur les qualités athlétiques des jeunes noirs et des jeunes maghrébins comme si l'on ne trouvait pas des petits noirs malingres et de grands blondinets  ;- les euphémismes qui permettent de concevoir des politiques discriminatoires sans jamais tenir le moindre propos raciste ;- la perte des repères démocratiques et républicains : ces responsables envisagent tout simplement d'établir un distingo entre jeunes Français selon l'origine de leurs parents ou grands-parents (entre ceux dont la parentèle permet d'avoir une double nationalité et les autres). Ont-ils donc oublié que la loi ne peut qu'être la même pour tous?- l'oubli des valeurs méritocratiques du sport devenu spectacle de masse. On veut que l'équipe de France ressemble à… mais à quoi? au public de la télévision? Je doute que ce soit comme cela que l'on gagne des compétitions.

Laïdi on the Death of bin Laden

Zaki Laïdi sees bin Laden's death as a vindication of what he calls Obama's realism "à sang froid peu soucieux de théoriser son pragmatisme." His analysis of the constraints on American foreign policy is quite lucid. The one point he does not cover sufficiently in his tour d'horizon is the likely effect of the American commando raid on internal Pakistani politics.


Of course, one consequence of the raid is to reveal to anyone who did not yet sufficiently appreciate the point just how murky Pakistani domestic politics are. The location and character of the bin Laden "compound" in Abbotabad, just yards from a major Pakistani military installation, make it clear that he had protection. Just how extensive sympathy for him was and will remain among the Pakistani populace (to say nothing of the Pakistani elite) is one important question for the future.


Heads may roll inside Pakistan, but which heads? Those of bin Laden's covert supporters, or those of his ostensible enemies? Laidi points to the way in which "the Arab spring" has changed calculations across the Fertile Crescent, but I don't believe that the Arab spring has had much influence in Pakistan, a country whose social dynamics I have never been able to grasp (the Lieven book advertised above left is a useful introduction, however).


As for France, any internal changes that occur in the Pakistani power structure might well have a bearing on "Karachigate," on which light will never be shed until it's in the interest of some party or parties within Pakistan to share what they know, which of course almost certainly will not be the whole truth.