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mardi, 17 janvier 2017

The Epic of Human Evolution: Johannes V. Jensen’s The Long Journey


The Epic of Human Evolution:
Johannes V. Jensen’s The Long Journey

Johannes V. Jensen cannot be called a forgotten writer — he won the Nobel Prize in Literature for 1944 and is still remembered in his native Denmark — yet his name will probably be unfamiliar to most of my readers. He was born in 1873, the second of eleven children of a veterinary surgeon in the village of Farsø in Northern Jutland. To help finance his medical studies at the University of Copenhagen, he began writing “cliffhanger” newspaper serials. After three years, he switched to full-time writing and journalism. 

Johannes-Vilhelm-Jensen_6378.jpegJensen’s first success in the realm of serious literature was a series of sketches set in his native region, the Himmerland Stories. While still in his twenties, he produced The Fall of the King, a historical novel about Christian II of Denmark (reigned 1513–1523); the novel remains a classic of Danish literature, and in 1999 was named Denmark’s greatest twentieth-century novel by two separate newspapers. Jensen also wrote poetry and introduced the prose poem to Denmark. His travels in America inspired one of the most famous poems in Danish literature: “At Memphis Station.”

Both his rural background and his scientific training gave Jensen a strong interest in the natural world, and he turned to the study of evolution. Never a religious man, he was interested in the question of whether and how science and evolution might provide a worldview and hierarchy of values such as religions have traditionally provided. As a novelist, he undertook to recreate the evolutionary history of mankind in imaginative form. Between 1908 and 1923 he published a series of short works devoted to significant steps in mankind’s rise to civilization, with an emphasis on explorers and discoverers. These were then collected into a single epic work called The Long Journey, which was the work cited by the Swedish Academy in awarding Jensen the Nobel Prize.

The Long Journey is divided into three principal parts: “Fire and Ice,” “The Cimbrians,” and “Christopher Columbus.” The first part is set in prehistory and concerns anthropogenesis, the process by which apes of the genus Homo became recognizable human beings. The story also involves the differentiation of humans into distinct races and the issue of relations between races.

At the start of The Long Journey, the climate is warm and primeval hominids wander the forests in bands, competing with the other animals for food. To other species, the proto-humans are distinguished mainly by their restlessness and continual vocal noises. Hominid bands do not get along well, and try to stay out of each other’s way, although there are occasional exchanges of females.

Anything small enough to be held in the hand is food: not everyone can tell the difference between a berry and a spider, so they are eaten indifferently. When a band exhausts the foodstuffs in one place, they simply move on to another. An outside observer could have observed that they were following an annual course synchronized with the seasons, but the still apelike creatures themselves are unaware of this. Indeed, they have little memory at all. Dusk is a new crisis every twenty-four hours, for the previous night has already been forgotten. Band members huddle together on the forest floor, keeping as still as possible. Higher ranking males occupy the protected center along with the more fertile females; wild animals are left free to pick off the children or the aged from the margins until daylight returns.

Fear is the most common state of mind. Hominids fear the water, the night-time, other bands, larger animals such as elephants and big cats—but most of all they fear the occasional outbreaks of fire. When fire appears, there is nothing to do but run until one drops. Looming high above the forest is a mysterious mountain that is seen to spit fire from its top from time to time; it is the presumed source of the fires which periodically spread panic through the forest. No one dares approach it.

Each band is led by a dominant male known simply as “the Man.” He is larger and usually somewhat older than most of the rest, with a more powerful voice and a woollier and more fearsome head of hair. Most importantly, he has a rudimentary memory, which tells him the proper course of action when dangerous situations recur.

The narrative begins with fire breaking out in the forest. The Man has seen fire stopped in its tracks by water, so he leads the band to a swampy area. Only the greater fear of fire could induce primeval men to enter the water; even so, the Man must encourage a few recalcitrants with well-aimed rocks. Crouching in terror with their nostrils barely above water, the band waits out the fire. One female is so frightened that she goes into labor during the blaze; she names the boy Fyr (fire).

The band survives to marvel at the destruction wrought by the fire. Fyr grows up to be more restless and more courageous than most of his fellows, early on learning to wander far from the band, exploring the world around him. Eventually, as an adolescent, he finds his way up the lower slopes of the fire mountain. Although the nights are cold there, the ground is always warm, and predatory animals keep their distance. He takes to spending whole nights on the mountain by himself. As he ventures farther up, he sees veins of reddish fire half-hidden inside the ground. Poking around in one of these spots one day, the end of his stick catches fire. Frightened, he runs away. But eventually he comes back to find the fire gone out and the stick blackened. He learns that the behavior of fire is not random; it obeys certain rules, such as that when there is nothing left to burn, it goes out. Soon, he is going about with lit branches: primitive torches. He learns that fire cannot spread as long as he does not let it come into contact with anything flammable.

Eventually, Fyr brings his new discovery back to the band. At first, they flee as usual. But they notice that the wayward explorer is not afraid. He sets up the first hearth, where the fire can be tended and kept from spreading. Gradually, his fellows return and he finds himself recognized as the big man of the band: the tamer of fire.

The band has less to fear at night now, for the fire keeps dangerous animals away and allows them to see one another. It is a great day when they make the accidental discovery that animal flesh tastes better after it has been in the fire for a time. Soon they are bringing regular “offerings” to the Fire God of the tribal hearth, and a primitive religion is born.

In Jensen’s view, however, fire is not the decisive step which separates man from the other animals; the decisive step is the contest with ice.

After the passing of many ages, the fire mountain goes into a long sleep and the forest turns cool and rainy. Floods wash away the remains of once-lush vegetation, and the ground becomes a morass of decaying wood and naked stones. Blackened trunks are all that remain of the palms. As edible plants become scarce, the weaker animals die and the stronger start heading south where warmth and food are still to be found. (There are a few exceptions: pachyderms who remain in the north to become woolly mammoths, bears who prefer to sleep until the warmth comes back.)

The hominids go south as well. With their short memories, most are hardly aware that they are doing so. Each winter finds them one more valley farther south, and most assume it has always been so. One obstinate fellow, however, remembers each retreat and resents having to constantly give way to the encroaching ice. A descendant of Fyr, he belongs to the priestly class which tends the sacred fire. But like his ancestor, he is a rebel and a curious man who likes to wander far from his tribe. His name is Carl, and he will become the first human being.

He followed his tribe, gave ground with it from one valley to another, but it was against his humor. There was coercion in it, and that hardened his heart. How long was the retreat to be kept up, was it to go on forever? Must they not one day turn and face the cold, set their teeth against this silent power that had begun to make everything whither and stiffen?

It was not a matter of rational decision:

fallking.jpgHe was a primitive man, with mighty impulses but no reflective mind. He simply did not turn aside for anyone or anything, and this savage strength that blindly revolted against any kind of compulsion was the cause which sundered his fate from that of his tribe.

The tribe occasionally sends out search parties: to the south, of course, but also back to the north to scavenge any foodstuffs that may remain. On one such northward journey, Carl is tending the fire for his sleeping companions. Feeling pity for them, he rebels against his sedentary duties and determines to go out to do battle with the common enemy, Cold. He prepares the fire as best he can to go on burning until his return, and quietly steals away. He heads up the slope of a nearby mountain until the trees disappear and the rocky ground is covered by nothing but moss. There are outlandish sights to behold here: the rain has become white, and the surfaces of puddles are hard and unyielding. Yet he finds the atmosphere oddly congenial:

Carl sniffed with wide nostrils and drank in the pungent frosty air which sharpened his sense of smell to the utmost, but brought him no message either of plants or beasts. Instead he had a keener feeling of himself, of his blood and his breath, the singing purity and sweetness of the air made him more alive, he snorted like a horse and shook himself violently.

From the top, the valley below is a confused mass of uprooted trees lying like sticks and the bloated carcasses of drowned animals. The devastation of the rains shows like channels which a finger has drawn through the carpet of the forest. But Cold is nowhere to be found. Looking out toward the north, he finds that climbing the mountain has only gained him a view of yet higher mountains trailing off into the distance: “Ah, then the pursuit might be long, then it would be hard indeed to reach the Mighty One who sent down cold into the valleys.”

When he returns to camp, the fire has gone out and his companions have left. When he catches up with them, they are hostile. They do not understand that he had set out on his mad chase for their sake; they believe he has betrayed them, and are determined to kill him if he approaches them again.

Carl survives from day to day by hunting, gorging himself on the blood and raw flesh of the animals he catches and pressing himself against their carcasses to enjoy the last warmth ebbing out of their bodies. He learns to cover himself with bearskins. As his search for the Great Spirit of Cold continues to prove fruitless, “the foundation was laid in his mind of the first heathenism, the consciousness of the impersonal forces of nature.” He begins to feel that “merely to be alive was a victory.”

Turning to the north, Carl decides to seek out the fire mountain he barely remembers from his earliest youth, from before his tribe began their annual southward trek. After many days he finds it, still with plenty of traces of the old fire upon it. But it is cold all the way to the top. Carl will not be able to recover fire in this way, and he weeps with despair.

Soon after, however, an unexpected development occurs. He chances upon an isolated member of his own kind and determines to hunt it down. The chase goes on for hours, but Carl perseveres until his quarry drops from exhaustion. When he comes close to examine the catch, he is strangely charmed by it and decides to keep it alive. “Thus arose monogamy,” observes Jensen deadpan.

Carl’s new mate follows him farther north, where he gradually improves as a hunter and maker of clothes. All he has to remind him of fire is the flint he uses to make axes. He realizes that fire is somehow contained in the flint, for each time he flakes off a bit of it, he detects the scent of fire. Soon he is flaking flint just to recover the sense of the warm element he has lost. For hours on end he pounds the flint with various stones, but no fire appears.

One day he accidentally comes upon a yellow (i.e., sulfurous) rock. When he pounds the flint with it, generous sparks fly out. Trembling with excitement, Carl gathers dry wood into a pile and contrives to let the sparks fall upon it. Within minutes, a huge bonfire is blazing. Carl and his mate are beside themselves with joy; their lives have been changed forever.

Children start arriving and Carl becomes the patriarch of a growing clan. Soon his children are plentiful enough to hunt even mammoths. After Carl’s death, the sacred fire stone is passed down through his eldest line. His grave becomes the shrine where it is kept.

Life is still not easy for the men of the north, and the land of eternal warmth becomes a beckoning racial memory to them, “the imperishable legend of the Garden of Paradise”:

Legends more and more romantic were told of the lovely dusky daughters of the jungle, but the few specimens it was still possible to procure in the flesh smelt of civet and were not to the taste of the Icemen. A dream that makes your mouth water is one thing, the unappetizing reality another. And when at last distance and time had entirely sundered the two races, any propensity for the savage women came to be regarded as indecent.

jvj.gifThus the gulf between the two races parted by the ice became a profound eternal chasm. They were no longer each other’s like. The division between them was fateful in its effect. The primitive people who continually gave ground remained the same, whereas Carl, who could not yield, had become another and had passed on his changed nature to his descendants.

Carl’s race remained settled in the North and adjusted itself to ever more difficult conditions, which necessitated progress at home. They no longer resembled the naked and forgetful savages from whom they were originally descended, they were other men.

One should bear in mind that Jensen wrote this tale between 1908 and 1923, whereas the theory of cold selection did not enter the scientific literature until 1931.

[Carl’s tribe] had lost the forest man’s way of going slap-dash at a thing and then stopping to scratch himself; their life had taught them to take good thought and strike home when the time came. They did not live exclusively in the moment, the eternal summer of the jungle; they had to remember and think ahead if they were to survive the seasons. In place of the passion, harmless enough, of primitive man, they had assumed a self-command which might have an air of coldness; the wider range of their activities compelled them to think twice and hesitate. This made them introspective and apparently joyless; there was no sound of chirruping about their dwellings as in the leafy booths of the forest.

The sobriety of Carl’s descendants could be misleading, however:

Impulsiveness and joy of life lay deep in their nature, and had acquired added strength. In this they took after Carl, whose lifelong calm was legendary, but of whom it was also related that on two or three occasions he had used his primitive strength with all the violence of rage. It was said that none had seen Carl laugh, and yet there was proof that he had enjoyed existence more hugely than anyone alive.

Many generations pass and the sons of Carl multiply greatly. Parallel to the story of human evolution runs that of human inventions and discoveries: the snow sledge, the boiling of food, the consumption of milk, the domestication of the dog, baked clay pottery, and so on. Carl’s eldest line evolves into a corrupt priesthood whose power is based on possession of the yellow fire stone and superstitious fear in the minds of others. They do no hunting, getting fat on the quarry brought home by others. One little boy named White Bear marvels to see his tall, strong father cringe before a puny priest who arrogantly orders him around.

When White Bear comes of age, he kills a priest in a fight over a girl and is banished from the tribe. He and his mate May journey many days to the south until they reach the coast and can go no further. He learns to build rafts to travel across the rivers and lakes of his new homeland, and dreams of one day crossing the open ocean in such a craft.

May makes an offering of corn to the gods of the earth, and is surprised when the earth returns her gift many times over. Each spring thereafter she makes a more generous offering. Thus agriculture is born, and White Bear’s family enjoys an improved diet.

But the climate is getting warmer again, and the melting glaciers to the north begin to flood their lowland home. Nature forces White Bear’s hand; he builds the largest raft he can and sets sail with his family across the waters to the south. After several days of terror and near despair, the family reaches a new land which they name Lifeland. The climate is mild and food plentiful; horses roam the grassy plains, and the family begins to tame them. Fatefully, the land is already inhabited:

In Lifeland White Bear met with the primitive folk. It never occurred to him that the scurvy little savages who infested the thickets like vermin were the beautiful naked people he had dreamt of finding in the southern forests; and yet it was they. They were directly descended from the same people who long ago had thrust out Carl and left him at the mercy of the winter.

White Bear names them “Badgers.” They are frightened of the newcomers, and it takes a long time for him to get a good look at them. He makes many signs of friendship and goes about with green boughs in his hand in place of weapons—the first racial liberal, as it were. Eventually the Badgers understand that he does not intend to eat them, and a mutually beneficial trading relationship grows up between the two peoples.

The Badgers do not build themselves houses, sleeping on the bare ground or in the bushes. The lot of their women is miserable. Monogamy is unknown, and thievery their only way of obtaining property. They have fire, but have made no progress in its use since the days of Fyr. They have never noticed that there is such a thing as corn, though they are wading to their necks in it. The Badgers consider themselves elevated in a positively transcendental degree above all that bore the name of beast.

They were altogether unfeeling towards animals, in a way that struck White Bear as both foreign and revolting; not content with killing them in the chase, they tortured them in cold blood for their amusement. They only knew of killing horses; they had no notion of taming them.

The only new thing to which they introduce White Bear is music, developed from plucking the bowstrings they use to hunt. White Bear is astonished at the capacity of the Badgers’ music to awaken previously unsuspected emotions within him.

The easy availability of food leaves White Bear much leisure for building. Soon he is traveling around in rafts and canoes of his own construction, and the Badgers begin to take an interest in his projects:


They showed a certain constancy as far as watching White Bear’s work and copying him went. They developed a peculiar sidelong look through always stealing with their eyes without a word of thanks to the owner. They showed a surprising capacity for imitation, learning in a twinkling how to clothe themselves and boil and drive a sledge and sail on the water and everything White Bear could do. In fact, they assimilated all this so well that it was not long before they began to hint among themselves that they had really been well acquainted with all these things beforehand. They were not far from jeering at the Firebeard who gave himself out to be the originator of the most obvious things. All the same they never got any further with the new things they had learned until they had gone and pried on White Bear’s fingers while he was at work.

Seeing that sledges are of little use in his new environment, White Bear ponders other means of transportation. The use of log rollers soon leads him to the discovery of the wheel. White Bear eventually builds a cart with wooden wheels and axles, but his first horse-drawn test drive ends in a smoky crash as the axles catch fire. The Badgers erupt in laughter at the sight, perceiving nothing but a man taking a tumble and getting singed. For White Bear the experience provides a new method of obtaining fire and reveals the need for lubricants.

White Bear’s greatest project is a large ship, now for the first time with a keel and held together with nails. The Badgers look on, and their attitude to White Bear imperceptibly begins to change:

The Badgers knew very well that the white men were no more supernatural than themselves. And truly it was no longer with abject wonder that they looked at the great masterpiece of a ship that White Bear had under construction on the beach; it rather weighed on them like a burning sickness from which they were suffering.

Who did this man think he was? His experiments were a challenge to the very gods!

One day, White Bear lets slip an unfortunate jest, telling the Badgers it was after all a lucky thing that had occurred to him at the start to propel a ship end-on, otherwise they might have sailed broadside to the end of time. White Bear quickly forgets the remark, but the Badgers remember, and the shame of it seems to burn more strongly as time goes on. White Bear sees that something is bothering the Badgers and tries to cheer them, but nothing seems to work.

Soon White Bear is ready to load his family on his new ship and sail for the distant horizon. A few supplies are still wanting, so he drives his cart inland after game.

When White Bear had been gone some hours, the Badgers come creeping up to the settlement from different sides, surrounding it and hiding themselves, while three or four of them openly go towards White Bear’s house.

May is at home with her three daughters, the youngest of whom is still a little child, and a half-grown boy called Worm. To him the Badgers address themselves, and they talk for a while of this and that. Worm knows them well, as they were in the habit of coming to the settlement and asking favors of White Bear. This time they only want to borrow a clay pot, and as Worm turns his back to fetch one, they throw straps around his arms and legs and pull him down. Worm defends himself desperately, but more Badgers come to help and Worm is overpowered.

The confusion brings May out with the little girl. The two grown-up daughters stay below, in the stone house. Not a word is spoken between May and the Badgers, but when she looks around at them and sees Worm lying bound, she takes up a heavy piece of wood, lifts the little girl up on her arm, and begins to fight for her life and the children’s. She fights for as long as she can still see, raging like a she-bear, till she can feel no more.

The settlement is thick with Badgers, as whole armies of them have swarmed up from the grass and undergrowth; they are so many that they press each other backwards and forwards like a tideway, swaying in and out, almost too numerous to get anything done. But that only happens after a while. Some of them make for the ship, while others split White Bear’s sledges to pieces and kill the domestic animals. The daughters are brought up, shrieking, from the house, but soon their cries are stifled by skins thrown over their heads and die away as they are carried off.

One group takes Worm and leads him to a tree to be tortured.

Deep inland on his hunting excursion, White Bear sees smoke rising from the horizon and hurries back. It is his ship burning.

Outside his house, White Bear sees things even worse. Here, the Badgers had spent at least an hour amusing themselves at their ease, and the whole settlement is bespattered with blood. May is dead; in her arms, she holds the unrecognizable body of the little girl. Dying and bound to a tree, White Bear finds his son Worm. They have cut his back open and torn the lungs from his living body.

The chapter that describes these events is entitled “The Call of the Blood.”

s-l300.jpgWhite Bear takes plenty of revenge upon the Badgers, of course, but he gradually realizes both that their numbers are inexhaustible and that they no longer have any idea why he is killing them. They have already forgotten the attack on the settlement and sincerely believe that White Bear is the aggressor. So the killing comes to seem pointless to White Bear, and he leaves off.

It is not always easy to identify the exact races or geographical areas depicted in Fire and Ice. The land of ice is probably the Scandinavian mountain ridge; Lifeland is at one point said to be Russia, and is obviously a steppe area. But who are the Badgers? They seem to combine the traits of Black Africans and American Indians, and their attack on White Bear’s settlement may well have been based on accounts of North American Indian raids. Jensen had both artistic and scientific reasons for leaving some of the details of his account vague; he wished to produce a narrative that would not lose its value after another generation of paleo-anthropological discoveries.

The second volume of The Long Journey follows a skald, or traveling poet and storyteller, as he wanders north into Jutland toward the author’s own native region of Himmerland. In this Iron Age society, there are two kinds of person: free men and thralls. The thralls are darker-haired, shorter, and sturdier; the free population are tall, blond, and lithe. Repeated flooding forces them to pull up stakes and wander southward, repeating collectively the earlier journey of White Bear. Here, prehistory melds into history as the Jutlanders run into not Badgers, but Romans. The narrative becomes the story of the Cimbric Wars (113–101 BC), which gave the Republic its greatest fright since Hannibal. The narrative ends with the luckless Cimbric survivors living as slaves in Rome and contributing their blood to the servile class. Of course, five hundred years later, their cousins who remain in the north will attack Rome once again with a very different result.

The third volume of The Long Journey focuses on the first journey of Columbus, whose story is presented as another reprise of the northerner’s return, under the influence of unconscious racial memories, toward the south from which he had first emerged.

Christopher Columbus came from Genoa, a Ligurian by birth, but we shall understand the roots of his nature if we regard him as a descendant of the Longobards, of people who had moved from Lombardy to the coast. As by virtue of his nature and his surroundings he was compelled to develop, [Columbus] may be taken as the type of that flaring up of the faculties and that profound bewilderment which mark the Northerner when he is transferred to the South.

Once again, northern man is brought face to face with his remote cousins, and the meeting is fateful for all of his future development. The last chapter of this story, of course, has yet to be written.

Jensen closes his epic with a brief vignette of Charles Darwin on his journey past Tierra del Fuego through the Beagle Channel. Darwin’s significance, of course, is that he revealed to men their primitive kinship—and, by implication, the different histories which separated them as well; in Jensen’s words, “he drew the despised ‘savage’ up to the breast of civilization as the distant kinsman who stands between the white man and the beast.” In Darwin, man became conscious of the long journey which had made him what he is.

Jensen lived until 1950, continuing to write prolifically, but never again producing a work of prose fiction. His epic of human evolution was his ultimate message for mankind.

The Long Journey has not been reprinted in the English-speaking world since 1961. As Jensen’s Wikipedia entry sagely observes, “his often dubious racial theories have damaged his reputation.”

Source: The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 15, no. 1, Spring 2015

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2017/01/the-epic-of-human-evolution/

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samedi, 05 septembre 2015

Lars von Trier’s The Idiots


Lars von Trier’s The Idiots

The Idiots (Idioterne) is not an accessible film, and neither is it is easy to digest. The sexual content is so extreme that The Idiots is rated the same as any pornographic film in the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, Norway, and several others. The depiction of mentally disabled individuals, both real and those merely acting as such, is alarming and controversial. During the screening at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998, film critic Mark Kermode was removed from the venue for exclaiming, ‘Il est merde!’ He was responding less to the actual quality of the film, and more to its remarkably provocative and unsettling subject matter.

TheIdiots-213x300.jpgLars von Trier, of course, thrives on such reactions. His aim is to disturb and unnerve, to stir the viewer out of his seat and out of his comfort zone. This is done not simply for the ‘shock value’ in itself, as there is no legitimate artistic worth in managing to provoke or enrage the audience; instead this is done in order to communicate something through the shocking material. By knocking the viewer out of his ordinary perspective, where everything is comfortably perceived and organized according to a familiar worldview, Lars von Trier can assault him with a new perspective, a new challenge that might threaten his old way of viewing reality.

This is truer of The Idiots than any other LvT film, and that includes the psychological horror of Antichrist and the raw sexual trauma of Nymphomaniac. This is due to the highly abrasive nature of the film’s narrative, which tells the story of a group of people who act like they are mentally retarded as a form of rebellion against what they understand to be a constrictive, conformist, and sterilizing society. Their antics, which they call ‘spazzing,’ include going into town to sell Christmas ornaments that they have made, going to the pool to create mischief with the other swimmers, and eating at restaurants only to spazz and leave without paying.

It is during the last antic that the group comes into contact with Karen, a seemingly ordinary person who becomes drawn and intimately attached to the spazz community over the next two weeks. Karen initially provides the neutral perspective of the group, the backdrop of normality to their witting insanity; she is very curious, though, and constantly questions the reasoning behind their activities, allowing the viewer to get a keener understanding of what they do. She firstly represents the ignorant audience who nevertheless desire to know more, but later, as we will see, she represents the fulfilment of the ‘spazz way of life.’

The group is led by a man named Stoffer, who is clearly the one who takes their mission the most seriously, ostensibly giving it an ideological basis and a higher cause than merely acting like idiots. Karen asks Stoffer why they do what they do, and Stoffer replies, ‘In the stone age all the idiots died. It doesn’t have to be like that nowadays. Being an idiot is a luxury, but it is also a step forward. Idiots are the people of the future. If one can find the one idiot that happens to be one’s own idiot . . .’ Stoffer finds in idiocy an outlet for what bourgeois society has repressed or camouflaged, namely a kind of personal creativity that does not accord with social normalcy. It is a new freedom, one which was obviously unavailable in a more brutal time, but which is presently imperative in an era that prizes comfort, material luxury, and ostracizes everything that is not conducive to ‘making one’s way in the world,’ i.e., becoming rich and popular. Stoffer asks meaningfully, ‘What’s the idea of a society that gets richer and richer when it doesn’t make anyone happier?’ Stoffer’s idea is instead to make one happier regardless of riches.

The means of achieving this are chiefly to ‘find the one idiot that happens to be one’s own idiot,’ a demonstrably individualistic and interiorized path that cannot help but hearken back to the Dionysian nature of the Breaking the Waves heroine, Bess. The idea is to determine the other side of oneself, the side that society has dispelled and rejected from its embrace. It is in this sense that we are reminded of C. G. Jung’s conception of the ‘shadow,’ or the secret personality that is imbued with our darker elements, with everything that has been evicted from and cannot fit into conscious life. Stoffer’s aim is essentially to reconcile modern man with his shadow self in a radical way; he aims to reintegrate man with his inner darkness to create something that is once again whole, independent of outer definitions and social parameters. When one character wakes him up, telling him that another spazzer is breaking things on the property, Stoffer responds, ‘Sheds are bourgeois crap. Smashing windows is obviously part of Axel’s inner idiot.’ The smashing of windows is an act that is socially reprehensible, but, since it allegedly exists as part of Axel’s ‘inner idiot,’ his ‘shadow self,’ it is perfectly acceptable in spazzer society.

This opposition between consciousness and the shadow is present not only in the individual sense, where the characters play out this drama in themselves, but in the collective sense as well. What this means is that the bourgeoisie, which is invariably treated as a great evil and as something to be rebelled against, represents the conscious side, and the spazzer society represents the shadow side; they are the ‘reservoir of darkness’ that has spilled out from respectable society, and has come to life after society has failed to suppress it. They even use society’s own tools against it, inverting the logic of social machinations to serve immoral ends. In one scene, for example, Stoffer has one of the spazzers pretend to have tripped over a loose cobblestone near a well-to-do homeowner’s property, then pesters the man to pay them off in order to avoid a lawsuit. When the wealthy man asks whether the spazzer didn’t simply trip on his own rather than a loose stone, Stoffer answers, ‘Are you saying they drag their feet? that they are clumsy?,’ which forces the man to retreat, unwilling to be responsible for anything that might be considered ‘politically incorrect.’ Stoffer considers this to be a victory over the ‘fascist’ system that he hates, contemptuously gazing into its soul and mocking it.

There are other scenes, too, that reveal other ‘victorious’ moments against other, more typical members of society. The house where they are staying, for example, is that of Stoffer’s uncle, who has entrusted Stoffer to sell it. When he visits the house, he remarks that he take better care of it, saying that, ‘These floors have been waxed every day for fifty years,’ which of course exemplifies the hated bourgeois attitude. Later on, coming into possession of caviar, Stoffer shows his group how to ‘eat it the way they eat caviar in Soelleroed [their town],’ stuffing it into his mouth as though he were a child eating chocolate. Allured by the antics of her new friends, Karen also learns to spazz, and though she meaningfully does not participate to the same extent as the others, she says that, ‘We’re so happy here. I’ve no right to be so happy.’

II (Major Spoilers)

The ‘paradise’ of Soelleroed is largely an illusion, however, as the final third of the film reveals. It is in these segments that the real darkness of the shadow comes out, which altogether reflects the failure of Stoffer’s mission to reconcile it with their conscious lives. This is as manifest in Stoffer himself as in any of the others. In one scene, for instance, a city official arrives at the house to offer them a government grant and a new location where they might stay, somewhere that is further away from normal society and which therefore makes it harder for them to intrude upon normal people. Stoffer of course reacts violently to this, ripping off his clothes and chasing the official all the way back to town naked, screaming ‘Fascist! fascist!’ the whole time. The others drag him back to the house, but they have to physically restrain him, strapping him to a bed overnight as he has reverted to a purely irrational state, succumbing to an episode that was formerly merely an act.

Another character, too, after the girl he fell in love with is stolen away from the house by her father, chases after him, running into his car, gesturing wildly and speaking nonsense. Affected so deeply by his feeling for her, he is no longer able to bridge the gap between his conscious self and the primitive he used to play at but has now become reality. This is not a successful integration between consciousness and the shadow; this is the conquest of the former by the latter, resulting in the personality regressing to something animalistic and instinctual. Stoffer’s experimentation in human happiness has failed, because there is no longer anything human in his subjects.

There are more obvious instances of this darkness, too. After the night which Stoffer spends in straps, they have a party, and at the end of the party he requests a gangbang. Most of his fellows willingly participate, but some do not; this leads Stoffer and another to chase one of the unwilling women down, essentially raping her in a violently disturbing scene of spazz sex. It is significant that Karen retreats from this scene altogether, abstaining from the evil that has infiltrated the rest of the ‘shadow group.’ It is even more significant that she is not raped, for she has maintained her own sense of self in contradistinction to the others; her personality is still intact while those of the others have been overwhelmed and utterly ransacked of their humanity.

Nearing the end of the film, Stoffer comes to doubt the sincerity of his fellow idiots, suspecting that this is all just some sort of game to them. He orders them to play ‘spin the bottle,’ with whomever the bottle points at having to demonstrate his commitment to the cause by spazzing in ‘real life’ places such as at work or at home with the wife and kids. The first fails completely, refusing to spazz in front of his family; he elects a normal life instead of the idiot life and the mistress he kept among them. The second opts to spazz in front of an art class he will be teaching, but he fails as well, causing Stoffer to storm out of the class, saying, ‘You love this middle class crap. These old dames use more make-up than the national theatre.’ The teacher, Henrik, says, ‘I had no pride in my inner idiot.’ The shadow self was just an illusion for them, something to play at in an insubstantial expression of inward identity.

Stoffer himself comes no closer to the reconciliation between the shadow and the ego. Instead of being the romantic and anarchic hero revolting against the oppressive bourgeois system that he likes to consider himself, he  is infact a representation of it in its inverted sense; he is the ‘other side of the same coin,’ reflecting the absence of a genuine morality that extends to both the ‘middle class’ and the bohemian individualism. His ethos is fundamentally the same as that of his bourgeois uncle: ‘In reality, the acceptance of the shadow-side of human nature verges on the impossible. Consider for a moment what it means to grant the right of existence to what is unreasonable, senseless, and evil! Yet it is just this that the modern man insists upon. He wants to live with every side of himself — to know what he is. That is why he casts history aside. He wants to break with tradition so that he can experiment with his life and determine what value and meaning things have in themselves, apart from traditional presuppositions’ (C. G. Jung, ‘Psychotherapists or the Clergy’).

Stoffer is the epitome of the ‘modern man’ in that he wants to throw off all social inhibitions, not merely those of the 20th Century middle class, but the entire framework of human society. His revolt is the same as the student and hippy revolts of the sixties, revolts which were ultimately codified into the same bourgeois vassals that they originally reacted against. This is what makes Stoffer the superficial counterpart to the bourgeoisie; this is what makes him its useful idiot.

Karen is the only one who  volunteers to spazz in her own life. Taking along her friend Suzanne for company, Karen returns to her home, somewhere she has not been for two weeks. We soon learn that her son had died, and that her son’s funeral was the day after she joined the group. Her husband comes home, and they sit down to eat – and Karen drools and dribbles at her food, which causes her family to stare, and her husband to hit her. Suzanne takes her hand, and they leave together, smiling naively, innocently.

Earlier in the film, Karen says to Stoffer, ‘I just want to be able to understand why I’m here,’ to which he replies, ‘Perhaps because there is a little idiot in there that wants to come out and have some company.’ While that is true in a certain, limited sense, it is truer to say that Karen’s ‘little idiot’ needed to come out to save her conscious self. Besieged by an impossible grief and a mother’s mourning, Karen’s ego longed for an escape route from the world’s immense difficulty. That she alone found it amongst all the idiots testifies both to the extent of her trauma and her extraordinary capability of dealing with it; she alone could make real sense of what the idiots were only playing at. Their reactions (aside from Stoffer, who was overcome by his own shadow) were conditioned by their belonging to the bourgeois order, something from which they recoiled in theory, but which they nevertheless could not do without; Karen’s reaction, on the other hand, was conditioned by a more profound disorder, which demanded an extreme process in order to be able to cope with it. Her struggle was far more real than that of the others, which is why she was the only one to find the solution to it.

The Idiots reveals both the positive and the negative scenarios that are the consequence of a Dionysiac revolt against the Apollonian dream-world. In order to ‘revolt successfully,’ to truly indulge in Dionysian fruit, the individual’s actions must be founded on something universally real that transcends particular circumstances; he must determine himself based on who he really is rather than merely a perception or a projection of who he is. This is where most of the idiots failed: ‘The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge’ (C. G. Jung, Aion). The idiots never really became conscious of their shadow; they acted it out either as a meaningless game that allowed them an illusion of rebellion against their bourgeois lives, or, in the case of Stoffer, as a license to perform whatever irrational and pernicious acts that occurred to him, as long as they did not agree with the prevailing social order. They never addressed the shadow as a ‘moral problem,’ as something that directly influences the person; they addressed it as a ‘social problem,’ and thus remained chained to the illusions of Apollo’s dream-world.

Karen alone represents Dionysus as the purveyor of dynamic, uninhibited truth. She refused the moral violations of the other idiots, she refused their pretensions of abandoning society, and she refused their needless and unlawful interdictions with the rest of the town; in a word, Karen rejected rejection, and she did so because her rebellion was founded on an affirmation of self rather than on its negation. Unlike Stoffer, who loses control when he is confronted with that which he hates and fears most (the bourgeois city official), Karen maintains perfect control as she releases her inner idiot in front of her family, again exemplifying a personal command that eluded the others.

Speaking of her return home, where she demonstrates her restored personal strength, she says to the idiots, ‘We’ll see if I can show you if it has all been worthwhile.’ This follows a farewell in which Karen expresses an open, authentic love for many of the idiots, and repeats her avowal of happiness to have been amongst them.  Karen’s family, cold, unfeeling, and uncomprehending of what it must be for a mother to lose her son, failed to ease her grief; it was only in her introspection, the confrontation with her ‘inner idiot’ as a lifeboat that carries her from the drowning ego, that actually saves the ego. By acknowledging her despair in this radical context, she could dilute and eventually sublimate it into something far more positive, to the extent that, all things considered, she does not even know why or how she can be so happy. In this sense, the freedom of Dionysus is attained not as a rejection of Apollo, but as a victorious affirmation of the reconciliation between the unconscious and the conscious; while the rest of the idiots founded their shadow-search on a rejection of Apollo, Karen had to be rejected by him instead. This is what led to her final freedom; this is what made it all worthwhile.

Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/08/lars-von-triers-the-idiots/

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dimanche, 21 juin 2015

Législatives danoises : à droite toute!


Législatives danoises : à droite toute!
Personne ne s’y attendait, pas même les instituts de sondage: le Parti populaire danois Dansk Folkeparti (DF) réalise son meilleur score aux législatives avec 21,1 % des suffrages, soit une progression de neuf points et de quinze sièges par rapport à 2011.
Ex: http://www.bvoltaire.fr 

Personne ne s’y attendait, pas même les instituts de sondage : le Parti populaire danois Dansk Folkeparti (DF) réalise son meilleur score aux législatives avec 21,1 % des suffrages, soit une progression de neuf points et de quinze sièges par rapport à 2011. « Nous sommes un parti que ce pays doit prendre au sérieux », s’est réjoui son chef de file, Kristian Thulesen Dahl. Devançant son allié libéral Venstre, qui plafonne à 19,5 %, il devient du même coup, pour la première fois, le plus important parti du bloc de droite. Réunissant aussi Alliance libérale et les conservateurs, celui-ci totalise 52 % des voix et 90 sièges. S’il se maintient en tête avec 26,3 %, le camp des sociaux-démocrates de l’actuel Premier ministre, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, ne pourra prétendre rester au pouvoir, le bloc de gauche ne comptant plus que 85 sièges.

Présenté par la plupart des médias français comme « populiste » et « xénophobe », bien que classé au centre au Danemark, le DF ne cesse de progresser depuis sa création en 1995. Son but : préserver « l’héritage culturel danois ». Lentement mais sûrement, il a réussi à imposer sa ligne, voire à peser sur celle de ses adversaires, au point que l’immigration a été, avec l’économie, le thème phare de la campagne… y compris à gauche. Car pour ne pas se retrouver à la traîne, les sociaux-démocrates n’ont eu d’autre choix que de faire miroiter une politique plus stricte. Helle Thorning-Schmidt est allée jusqu’à poser sur des affiches arborant le slogan « Si vous venez au Danemark, vous devez travailler » – un procédé également utilisé par le gouvernement hongrois de Viktor Orbán ; on imagine la levée de boucliers des associations si François Hollande s’aventurait sur ce terrain miné. « Ils jouent maintenant la carte dure, pour qu’on ne vienne pas les accuser de mollesse », s’agace Andreas Kamm, secrétaire général du Conseil danois pour les réfugiés. L’entreprise de séduction n’aura toutefois pas suffi, les électeurs préférant le discours plus crédible de ses opposants.

Entre 2013 et 2014, le nombre de demandeurs d’asile a doublé au Danemark, pour s’établir à 14.680. Parmi les propositions du bloc de droite durant la campagne : la baisse des allocations pour les nouveaux arrivants et l’attribution d’un permis de séjour permanent uniquement pour ceux ayant un emploi et parlant la langue. Le programme du DF préconise aussi un contrôle des frontières, davantage d’indépendance face à l’Union européenne (via un éventuel recours au référendum, dans le sillage de David Cameron), le refus d’une « transformation multiethnique du pays » et le renforcement de l’État-providence pour les plus précaires et les retraités (à l’inverse des sociaux-démocrates et du Venstre, qui ont privilégié une approche libérale pour stimuler la reprise).

Reste à savoir si le DF acceptera d’entrer dans un nouveau gouvernement mené par le leader de Venstre, Lars Løkke Rasmussen. Jusqu’alors, il s’était contenté de lui apporter son soutien en échange de mesures fermes pour freiner l’immigration, au grand dam du patronat qui réclame de la main-d’œuvre étrangère pour pallier le vieillissement de la population. « Nous n’avons pas peur d’entrer au gouvernement, si c’est par là que nous obtenons la plus grande influence politique », assure Kristian Thulesen Dahl. Il ne leur sera sans doute pas aisé d’accorder leurs violons, mais preuve est faite que des alliances constructives peuvent être scellées entre les courants qui, au-delà de leur petite cuisine interne, défendent une certaine idée de leur pays et de ses racines. À bon entendeur…

jeudi, 21 mars 2013

Groenland: un nouveau marché pour les ressources énergétiques



Groenland: un nouveau marché pour les ressources énergétiques


Au Groenland, les élections récentes ont été remportées par la sociale-démocrate Aleqa Hammond et elles pourraient fort bien modifier le visage de l’île autonome, sous souveraineté danoise


Quelques milliers d’électeurs ont choisi la sociale-démocrate Aleqa Hammond pour diriger le nouveau gouvernement du Groenland, une île de dimensions continentales mais qui n’a que la population d’un gros bourg (plus ou moins 57.000 habitants). L’opposition sociale-démocrate du “Siumut” (ce qui signifie “En Avant!”, comme le journal socialiste italien d’antan, “Avanti”, ou son équivalent allemand “Vorwärts!”) a battu le premier ministre sortant Kuupik Kleist et son parti socialiste “Inuit Ataqatigiit” (“Hommes et Solidarité”). Aleqa Hammond a obtenu 42,8% des voix et Kuupik Kleist, 34,4%. Le parti de Madame Hammond a obtenu quatorze sièges et une majorité relative sur les 31 sièges que compte le Parlement du Groenland. Elle devra former une coalition pour s’assurer une majorité absolue. Elle s’est d’ores et déjà affirmée prête à donner vie à une vaste coalition avec tous ceux qui sont disposés à en faire partie.


L’intérêt politique et géographique que suscite aujourd’hui le Groenland est en grande partie dû aux changements climatiques en cours. Le dégel du permafrost en zone arctique a ouvert de nouvelles routes de navigation et a rendu plus facile l’accès aux ressources naturelles, que l’on trouve en abondance sur le “continent blanc” au Nord de l’Europe. Les investisseurs se bousculent pour obtenir une licence et exploiter au maximum les réserves de pétrole, de gaz, de minerais comme le fer, l’aluminium et les terres rares. “Il y a là-bas une quantité énormes de ressources de grande valeur qui attendent d’être exploitées”, a observé Jan Fritz Hansen, vice-directeur de l’association qui regroupe les armateurs danois. L’intérêt que portent les sociétés étrangères coïncide avec les aspirations des Groenlandais à devenir complètement indépendants du Danemark mais pour y arriver, ils doivent disposer de suffisamment de fonds propres; alors seulement, ils pourront satisfaire cette volonté fébrile de s’autonomiser par rapport à Copenhague. “Il sera bien intéressant de voir le résultat des élections”, avait souligné Damien Degeorges, un spécialiste du Groenland, fondateur de l’ “Arctic Policy and Economic Forum”, qui ajoutait que le Groenland avait toujours été jusqu’ici sous-évalué dans les projets de développement futur de la région arctique. Jusqu’à présent, une seule mine fonctionne au Groenland mais les autorités viennent d’augmenter considérablement le nombre de licences octroyées pour exploiter des minerais: le nombre de ces licences atteint désormais le chiffre de 150 unités. Il y a une dizaine d’années, les licences octroyées étaient moins de 10! L’exploitation potentielle des ressources pourrait apporter des richesses considérables aux citoyens du Groenland mais aussi leur faire courir des dangers nouveaux, surtout sur les plans écologique et social: pollutions à grande échelle et bouleversements dans l’ordre social pourraient en résulter.






On prévoit l’exploitation d’une mine de fer près d’Issua, à quelques kilomètres seulement de la capitale, où des milliers de tonnes de ce minerais seraient disponibles pour être envoyées chaque année en Chine. Pour sa part, le géant américain ALCOA cherche depuis plusieurs années à installer un complexe de fusion de l’aluminium à Maniitsoq où des milliers de travailleurs chinois seraient embauchés à des prix nettement inférieur aux salaires locaux.


Les élections qui viennent de se dérouler au Groenland, province autonome du Danemark, ont donc porté aux affaires le parti social-démocrate de Madame Hammond, favorable à l’exploitation des vastes ressources minérales de l’île, tout comme l’était d’ailleurs son rival politique, le leader socialiste Kleist. Les gisements d’uranium au Groenland, s’ils étaient exploités, pourraient redimensionner le marché mondial de l’énergie nucléaire. L’île, de par sa position géographique, forme également la porte d’accès à l’Arctique où la fonte progressive des glaces permet d’envisager l’ouverture de nouvelles routes de navigation maritime dans cette zone que l’on considère de plus en plus comme économiquement rentable et exploitable. Certains analystes estiment que l’intérêt que porte la Chine au Groenland est de nature plus économique que géopolitique. En effet, les puissances qui ont, au Groenland, des intérêts géostratégiques évidents sont surtout les Etats-Unis, le Canada, l’Union Européenne et les pays d’Europe septentrionale, sans oublier, bien entendu, la Russie. Tous ces Etats se contentent pour l’instant de sonder les fonds marins et de redéfinir le tracé des frontières maritimes dans l’Arctique. Le réchauffement du Groenland a déjà révélé bien des ressources du sous-sol de l’île, notamment les terres rares, c’est-à-dire les métaux utilisés comme ingrédients principaux dans la fabrication de téléphones cellulaires, d’armes et de technologies ultramodernes. C’est aujourd’hui la Chine qui contrôle environ 90% de la production globale de ces terres rares donc l’exploitation des gisements groenlandais pourrait mettre un terme au monopole chinois en ce domaine.


Les villages de l’île qui jusqu’ici n’ont vécu que de la pêche s’inquiètent bien entendu des changements climatiques, dont l’effet premier est la fonte des glaces. L’uranium dans ce cas pourrait être l’occasion d’acquérir davantage d’indépendance et d’obtenir un travail plus sûr. Tout cela n’est pas sans danger pour la santé et pour l’environnement. Mais il n’y a pas que cela. Le quotidien danois “Politiken” estime que l’exploitation de ces gisements ne fera qu’augmenter le népotisme et la corruption, déjà solidement implantés dans les milieux politiques de l’île. A ce danger, il convient aussi d’évoquer une possible polarisation sociale déstabilisante pour la société groenlandaise: celle qui opposera les centres urbains proches des mines aux villages isolés. Tous ces éléments doivent nous induire à poser des questions quant à l’avenir du Groenland, victime prédestinée des grands consortiums américains et européens sans oublier ceux des pays émergents comme la Chine, la Russie et la Corée du Sud en toute première ligne.



(article paru sur le site de la revue romaine “Rinascita”, 15 mars 2013, http://www.rinascita.eu/ ).

mardi, 11 mai 2010

Russie et Danemark: coopération énergétique


Russie et Danemark: coopération énergétique


Medevedev en visite officielle à Copenhague: renforcement du partenariat stratégique et énergétique entre la Russie et le Danemark


Le Président russe Dmitri Medvedev a entamé un voyage en Europe du Nord dans le but de souder un partenariat énergétique, de renforcer les relations bilatérales et multilatérales dans la zone arctique et la coopération en matières de haute technologie et d’énergies renouvelables.


Mercredi 28 avril 2010, Medvedev se trouvait au Danemark. Le chef du Kremlin y a atterri et y a été accueilli par la Reine Margarete II et par le Premier Ministre Lars Lokke Rasmussen. Le thème privilégié de cette rencontre au sommet, qui doit sceller la coopération russo-danoise, a été l’énergie, plus particulièrement la construction du gazoduc North Stream.


Le Président russe, en participant à un sommet d’affaires russo-danois, a souligné qu’il s’avère surtout nécessaire “de créer un critère général et des réglementations pour la coopération énergétique du futur”. Ensuite: “Il s’avère nécessaire de mettre à l’ordre du jour des normes et des réglementations internationales pour la coopération énergétique”, a poursuivi le chef du Kremlin, “parmi lesquelles une nouvelle version de la Charte de l’énergie”. La Russie a déjà présenté à ses interlocuteurs un document de ce type, dans l’espoir que les Danois feront de même, de leur côté. Medvedev a ensuite rappelé que le secteur énergétique représente un secteur clef de la coopération entre la Russie et le Danemark. Moscou et Copenhague, a souligné le Président russe, ont désormais visibilisé leur contribution à la sécurité énergétique en Europe et leur souhait de voir se diversifier les routes d’acheminement du gaz, dont le gazoduc North Stream. Il a ensuite adressé ses meilleurs compliments au Danemark, premier pays à avoir participé à la construction du gazoduc et à avoir permis son passage à travers sa propre zone économique. La réalisation du gazoduc North Stream, a poursuivi Medvedev, rendra possible, non seulement la satisfaction des besoins en gaz du Danemark, mais aussi son rôle d’exportateur de gaz vers les autres pays européens, tandis que les contrats à long terme dans les secteurs du pétrole et du gaz naturel pourront garantir le partenariat énergétique russo-danois pour les trente prochaines années. Medvedev a également mis en exergue la participation des entreprises danoises dans les programmes de mise à jour et de rentabilisation des implantations énergétiques dans diverses régions de Russie. Le premier ministre danois et le chef du Kremlin ont ensuite signé, au terme de la rencontre, une série d’accords portant pour titre “partenariat au nom de la modernisation” et visant la coopération dans le secteur de la haute technologie et le développement de l’économie russe dans certaines régions de la Fédération de Russie, comme le Tatarstan.




(article paru dans “Rinascita”, Rome, 29 avril 2010; trad. franç.: Robert Steuckers; http://www.rinascita.eu ).

dimanche, 20 septembre 2009

Rusia y Dinamarca estudian tender el gasoducto Nord Stream por territorio danés


Rusia y Dinamarca estudian tender el gasoducto Nord Stream por territorio danés

El jefe del Gobierno ruso, Vladímir Putin, sostuvo hoy una conferencia telefónica con su homólogo danés Lars Lokke Rasmussen, con quien estudió la posibilidad de tender el gasoducto Nord Stream (Corriente Norte) a través de la zona económica exclusiva de Dinamarca.

“Las partes examinaron la posibilidad de construir un tramo del gasoducto en la zona económica exclusiva de Dinamarca”, informó el portavoz del Gobierno ruso, Dmitri Peskov.

Al principio, cuando el proyecto llevaba el nombre de Gasoducto de Europa del Norte, se pensaba tenderlo hasta el Reino Unido. Pero luego, los parámetros del proyecto cambiaron y recibió el nombre de Nord Stream. Finalmente se decidió tenderlo hasta el territorio alemán.

El gasoducto Nord Stream será una nueva ruta de exportación del gas ruso principalmente a Alemania, Reino Unido, Holanda, Francia y Dinamarca. Su extensión alcanzará 1.220 km y el primer tramo deberá entrar a funcionar en 2010.

Extraído de RIA Novosti.

~ por LaBanderaNegra en Septiembre 16, 2009.

vendredi, 10 juillet 2009

Actualité géopolitique du Groenland


Actualité géopolitique du Groenland


Par quel adjectif qualifieriez-vous un pays qui, d’un seul coup de plume, perdrait 98% de son territoire national? Un pays “décapité”? Un pays “pulvérisé”? Peu importe. Si l’on fait abstraction des très  nombreux paramètres qui jouent en l’affaire, c’est exactement ce qui risque d’arriver au Danemark si les Groenlandais, qui sont un peu moins de 60.000, décidaient de faire désormais cavaliers seuls. Cela se passera-t-il? Et quand? Nous ne le savons pas, nous ne disposons pas d’une boule de cristal... Mais une chose est sûre: la tendance va dans ce sens. Sans commune mesure avec le nombre fort modeste des habitants de cette immense masse territoriale qu’est le Groenland, l’abandon des liens avec le Danemark provoquerait un glissement de terrain géopolitique que plusieurs pays observent déjà, avides et intéressés.


L’évolution lente vers l’autonomie ou l’indépendance du Groenland, qui se séparerait définitivement du Danemark, est en marche selon un calendrier graduel mis au point depuis des années. Il y a une trentaine d’années, les Groenlandais ont obtenu un statut d’auto-détermination qui, peu le savent, a des conséquences pour l’UE. Ce nouveau statut permettait aux Groenlandais de sortir unilatéralement de l’Union Européenne, ce qui eut effectivement lieu en 1985 après une querelle sur les droits de pêche. Tout comme, disons, les Açores ou la Guadeloupe, le Groenland est devenu en 1973, en même temps que le Danemark, membre de la “Maison européenne”, tout en ayant le statut de “région ultra-périphérique”. Les Groenlandais sont dès lors un exemple d’école: ils sont le seul “peuple” qui ait jamais réussi à tourner le dos à l’UE.


Le pragmatisme danois


Entretemps, une nouvelle étape vers l’indépendance pure et simple vient d’être franchie. En novembre 2008, une bonne majorité de 75% s’est prononcée en faveur d’un démantèlement supplémentaire de l’administration “coloniale” danoise. Les Groenlandais sont désormais maîtres de leur justice et de leur police. La politique étrangère reste à Copenhague. Les Danois continuent cependant à payer cher pour les Groenlandais. Chaque année, ils consacrent quelque 633 millions d’euro à la grande île: des “transferts” en quelque sorte. Le trésor danois alimente un tiers du PNB du Groenland, ce qui explique pourquoi l’indépendance pleine et entière se fera encore un peu attendre... Sauf si, bien entendu, certaines évolutions se manifesteront plus rapidement que prévu.


Sans tenir compte de quelques remarques acides, l’attitude danoise est toute de sérénité face à cet inéluctable processus. Un morceau supplémentaire de ce qui fut jadis l’Empire maritime danois disparaîtrait. Les Danois s’y sont habitués. Il fut un temps, en effet, où le Danemark possédait quelques îles dans les Antilles, l’Islande et quelques lambeaux de territoire aujourd’hui suédois, norvégiens ou allemands. Si cet empire ne s’était pas désintégré, la principale ville danoise resterait certes Copenhague mais elle serait quasiment sur pied d’égalité avec Oslo (Norvège), Kiel (Allemagne) et Malmö (Suède). Le pragmatisme des Danois est certes une chose. Mais l’attention de plus en plus soutenue qu’accordent les puissances tierces à l’évolution de la situation au Groenland en est une autre, qui me semble sortir de l’ordinaire.


Le passage “GIUK”


Un regard sur la carte me paraît fort éclairant. Le Groenland occupe une position stratégique très intéressante entre l’Amérique du Nord et l’Europe. Les régions du sud de l’île font partie de ce que stratégistes et géopolitologues nomment la zone du “Passage GIUK” (pour “Greenland, Iceland, United Kingdom”). Ce n’est pas un hasard si cette aire maritime constituait l’un des points stratégiques les plus sensibles de la Guerre Froide. Ce fut une zone où l’OTAN et le Pacte de Varsovie s’épiaient et se testaient. C’est pourquoi, d’ailleurs, les Américains, y ont installé une base militaire, Thulé. L’importance stratégique de cette aire est antérieure à la Guerre Froide: déjà lors de la Bataille de l’Atlantique entre puissances anglo-saxonnes et forces de l’Axe, cet espace océanique a révélé toute son importance.


Mais l’enjeu actuel dépasse largement l’aire GIUK. La fonte de parties substantielles de la calotte glaciaire dans la zone arctique rend possible la navigation des mers autour du Groenland. Sur la façade occidentale de l’île, une route semble se former qui rendrait bientôt possible la circulation maritime entre le Pacifique et l’Atlantique, via la zone polaire arctique. Même si le “Northwest Passage” ne deviendra navigable qu’en été, nous verrions se constituer la principale mutation dans les liaisons maritimes depuis le creusement du Canal de Panama.


Ensuite, autre facteur d’intérêt: les richesses naturelles qui se trouvent sous le sol de la région polaire arctique. La règle est claire: ce qui se trouve dans la zone du plateau continental appartient au pays qui le borde. C’est pourquoi plusieurs Etats lancent des enquêtes pour déterminer scientifiquement à qui appartient, effectivement ou non, certaines zones de ce plateau. Le sous-sol groenlandais semble fort bien pourvu de matières premières. Certes, les estimations divergent mais certaines d’entre elles font état d’immenses réserves de pétrole, perspective allèchante même si leur exploitation éventuelle sera difficile. Peut-être que derrière l’apparente sérénité danoise, face à l’éventualité d’une indépendance pleine et entière du Groenland, se  cache en réalité une inquiétude politique. Ce ne serait nullement illogique.


Lors des sondages et des forages, il vaut mieux faire preuve de prudence. Ainsi, au début 2009, le gouvernement danois a décidé de rouvrir un dossier ancien, celui d’un accident d’avion datant de 1968. Cette année-là un bombardier B52 des forces aériennes américaines s’est écrasé; il avait à son bord quatre bombes nucléaires. Immédiatement après l’accident, Danois et Américains ont mis tout en oeuvre pour les récupérer. Ils ont réussi à en retrouver trois. Mais la bombe n°78.252 est resté introuvable jusqu’ici. Il faudra bien se fier à l’honnêteté de ceux qui la retrouveront...


“M.”/”’t Pallieterke”.

(article paru dans “ ’t Pallieterke”, Anvers, 1 juillet 2009; trad. franç.: Robert Steuckers).

jeudi, 25 juin 2009

Mogens Camre: Möglichst grosse Gruppen bilden...


Möglichst große Gruppen bilden

UEN-Vize Mogens Camre über Chancen einer rechten Fraktion

Ex: http://www.zurzeit.at

Herr Camre, wie beurteilen Sie das Ergebnis der EU-Wahl im Hinblick auf Europas Rechtsparteien?

Mogens Camre: Es ist ein großer Erfolg für die nationalen Einstellungen in den Mitgliedsländern. Es ist ja ganz klar, daß in den Mitgliedstaaten der Widerstand gegen den EU-Zentralismus und gegen die Machtübernahme Brüssels größer geworden ist, und wir sehen ja überall in Europa, daß die Sozialisten schwächer als zuvor sind. Daher hat bei uns in Dänemark die Dänische Volkspartei die Mandatszahl verdoppelt, und in vielen anderen europäischen Ländern, auch in Österreich, hat es eine ähnliche Entwicklung wie bei uns gegeben.

Welche Möglichkeiten auf rechter Seite sehen Sie zur Fraktionsbildung im EU-Parlament?

Camre: Wir wissen zur Zeit nicht genau, wer dabei sein kann, Aber ich hoffe, daß sich eine größere Koalition als bisher zwischen den EU-skeptischen Parteien ergeben wird. Die UEN, also die Fraktion Union für ein Europa der Nationen, hat derzeit einen Verlust von italienischen Mitgliedern, weil nach dem Zusammenschluß mit der Partei von Berlusconi die Mitglieder der Alleanza Nazionale die UEN verlassen. Auch sind unsere Mitglieder aus Litauen nicht wiedergewählt worden und die Iren haben einen Verlust von einem Mandat. Zur Zeit gibt es nur 35 Mitglieder und aus nur fünf Ländern, und das ist ja nicht genug. Deshalb muß unsere Gruppe erweitert werden, und wir müssen andere Parteien finden. Bereits vor der Wahl haben wir mit der österreichischen Freiheitlichen Partei und auch mit der Vlaams Belang gesprochen, aber wir brauchen viele mehr und wir hoffen, daß wir eine Gruppe in ähnlicher Größe wie die liberale Fraktion bilden können. Das heißt also, eine Gruppe von 60 bis 80 Mitgliedern bilden zu können.

Eine Reihe von Parteien, etwa die ungarische „Jobbik“ oder die British National Party, haben den Einzug ins Europaparlament geschafft. Wären diese Parteien, die mitunter als „rechtsextrem“ bezeichnet werden, mögliche Partner für eine neue Fraktion?

Camre: Die Dänische Volkspartei ist nicht das, was man eine rechtsorientierte oder rechtsnationalistische Partei nennt. An sich sind wir eine konservative Zentrumspartei mit dem Wunsch, die Selbständigkeit Dänemarks sowie die Selbständigkeit anderer Länder zu bewahren und die Einwanderung nach Europa und damit auch die Vertreitung antieuropäischer Werte zu verhindern. Das ist für uns sehr wichtig und wir finden, daß man das nicht als rechtsorientiert oder extrem rechts bezeichnen kann, wie man es oft in den Zeitungen liest, und deshalb möchten wir mit allen zusammenarbeiten, die dieselben Werte wie wir vertreten. Und ich glaube, es gibt in meh Ländern als zuvor Parteien mit derselben Einstellung. Das wären die FPÖ, der Vlaams-Belang und Parteien aus Schweden, Belgien, Holland und hoffentlich auch England. Aber wir müssen erst abwarten, wer als Mitglieder der UEN-Gruppe ansucht und welche Möglichkeiten es im allgemeinen gibt. Wir sehen nur ungern, daß es zwei verschiedene EU-skeptische Gruppen gibt, also eine links- und eine rechtsorientierte Gruppe, deshalb hoffen wir, daß wir eine größere Gruppe bilden können.

Wie lange wird es dauern, bis feststeht, wer der UEN-Fraktion angehört?

Camre: Zusammen mit Morten Messerschmidt, unserem neugewählten jungen EU-Parlamentarier, werde ich in Brüssel mit den verschiedenen Parteien verhandeln, und wir werden untersuchen, welche Möglichkeiten es gibt. Es ist ja zur Zeit unklar, wo die englischen Konservativen stehen, ob sie selbständig werden oder ob sie doch bei der Europäischen Volkspartei bleiben wollen. Aber bevor wir einen Standpunkt einnehmen, möchten wir gerne die Realitäten sehen.

Immer wieder ist zu hören, daß die britischen Konservativen, die ODS-Partei aus Tschechien und die PiS-Partei aus Polen eine konservative Fraktion gründen wollen. Sollten sich dann die UEN-Mitgliedsparteien dieser Gruppe anschließen?

Camre: Also, wenn die polnischen PiS-Abgeordneten, die zur Zeit bei der UEN sind, und die Engländer eine Gruppe bilden wollen, dann glaube ich, daß es unmöglich ist, eine andere Gruppe zu bilden. Denn diese neue Fraktion hätte dann eine so hohe Anzahl von Mitgliedern, daß wir einen Anschluß von vielen anderen sehen werden.

Aber gerade bei kleineren Parteien wie der Dänischen Volkspartei oder der FPÖ besteht doch dann die Gefahr, daß sie ihr Programm nicht umsetzen können, weil die starken Parteien wie die englischen Tories mit 24 Mitgliedern oder die PiS mit 16 Mitglieder die Fraktion dominieren.

Camre: Also ich kenne die polnischen Mitglieder sehr lange, und die haben vor den Wahlen ganz klar gesagt, sie möchten in der UEN-Gruppe bleiben und auf Basis der UEN-Gruppe eine noch größere Gruppe bilden. In diesem Fall könnten sich die englischen Konservativen anschließen. Aber selbstverständlich gibt es auch eine gewisse Konkurrenz innerhalb der Mitgliedsländer: Das heißt, die englischen Konservativen wollen wahrscheinlich nur ungern die United Kingdom Independence Party in der gleichen Fraktion sehen.

Aber letztendlich hängt alles von den Mandatsverhältnissen ab, und das kann ich heute nicht beurteilen, weil wir nicht wissen, wie viele zusammengehen werden. Also vor den Wahlen haben die Engländer gemeint, daß sie für eine eigene Fraktion etwa 70 oder 80 Mitglieder aus verschiedenen Mitgliedsländern kriegen könnten. Wenn das sich realisiert, dann gibt es kaum eine Möglichkeit, andere ähnliche Gruppen zu bilden.

Das Gespräch führte Bernhard Tomaschitz.

Mogens Camre ist (noch) EU-Abgeordneter der Dänischen Volkspartei und Vizepräsident der Fraktion „Union für ein Europa der Nationen“ (UEN). Bei der EU-Wahl am 7. Juni trat der 73jährige nicht mehr an