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Michel Houellebecq: Cómo los líderes franceses le fallaron a su pueblo

descargaMichel Houellebecq, el ensayista y novelista francés, es profundamente crítico de lo «políticamente correcto«, y ha sido acusado por sus detractores (que son abundantes) de una variada gama de errores (peronista, reaccionario, bastardo, cínico, misógino, decadente). Sus ataques a los eventos de mayo del 68 y sus consecuencias han desatado iras en diversos sectores. En 2001, en una entrevista afirmó que «la religión más idiota del mundo es el Islam» y que «cuando lees el Corán se te cae el alma a los pies».  Acaba de publicar un bestseller en Francia (y que ya está siendo traducido a otros idiomas) llamado «Sumisión», una novela en cuya ficción el escritor recrea los terribles cambios que sufre Francia, en 2022, al caer bajo el gobierno de un presidente islamista, Mohammed Ben Abbes (quien gana gracias al apoyo de la izquierda, dispuesta a todo con tal de impedir el triunfo del Frente Nacional, de extrema derecha). «Sumisión« salió a la venta, casualmente, el día del ataque al semanario satírico Charlie Hebdo.


Houllebecq es hoy, sin duda alguna, la bestia negra del establishment político e intelectual de su país (el primer ministro ha llegado a decir que el escritor es «todo lo que Francia no es«, que Francia no es el país intolerante que el escritor ha descrito en sus trabajos.) 

En su sección literaria, el New York Times publicó hace pocos días una crítica de la novela (por Karl Ove Knausgaard) en la cual se pregunta: ¿No puede Francia soportar una novela?  Afirma asimismo Knausgaard: «lo que es crucial en la novela es que los eventos políticos que se muestran son psicológicamente persuasivos y creíbles»; su autor critica «la carencia de fe, y la pérdida de significado de toda una cultura en la cual los vínculos comunitarios están desapareciendo y los valores son abandonados». 

El mismo New York Times publicó ayer esta nota de Houllebecq. A continuación están, en primer lugar, la traducción al inglés, y luego, el original en francés (recomendable su lectura en el original galo.) Nótese que el título de la nota en inglés no coincide con el título original en francés. 

Una afirmación contundente de la nota: «La conclusión obvia es  dura, por desgracia. Durante 10 (¿20? ¿30?) años, nuestros sucesivos gobiernos han patética, deplorable y sistemáticamente fallado en su misión esencial: proteger a la población bajo su responsabilidad».

Marcos Villasmil/América 2.1


Michel Houellebecq: How France’s Leaders Failed Its People


A minute of silence is observed in front of Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, on MondayCredit Ian Langsdon/European Pressphoto Agency

Paris — IN the aftermath of the January attacks in Paris, I spent two days transfixed watching the news. In the aftermath of the Nov. 13 attacks, I hardly turned on the television; I just called the people I knew (no small number) who lived in the neighborhoods that were hit. You get used to terrorist attacks.

In 1986, there was a series of bombings in various public places in Paris. I think Hezbollah was behind those attacks. They occurred a few days, or maybe a week, apart; I’ve forgotten exactly. But I remember very well the atmosphere in the subway that first week. The silence inside the cars was absolute, and people exchanged glances loaded with suspicion.

That was the first week. And then, soon enough, conversations resumed, the mood returned to normal. The prospect of another imminent explosion was still there in everyone’s mind, but it had retreated into the background. You get used to terrorist attacks.

France will hold on. The French will hold on, without even needing a “sursaut national,” a national pushback reflex. They’ll hold on because there’s no other way, and because you get used to everything. No human force, not even fear, is stronger than habit.

“Keep calm and carry on.” All right, then, that’s just what we’ll do (even though, alas, there is no Churchill to lead us). Despite the common perception, the French are rather docile, rather easy to govern. But they are not complete idiots. Instead, their main flaw is a kind of forgetful frivolity that necessitates jogging their memory from time to time. There are people, political people, who are responsible for the unfortunate situation we find ourselves in today, and sooner or later their responsibility will have to be examined. It’s unlikely that the insignificant opportunist who passes for our head of state, or the congenital moron who plays the part of our prime minister, or even the “stars of the opposition” (LOL) will emerge from the test looking any brighter.

Who exactly weakened the capacities of the police forces until they were totally on edge and almost incapable of fulfilling their mission? Who exactly drilled into our heads for years the notion that borders were a quaint absurdity, and evidence of a foul and rancid nationalism?

The blame, as one can see, is widely shared.

Which political leaders committed France to ridiculous and costly operations whose main result has been to plunge Iraq, and then Libya, into chaos? And which political leaders were, until recently, on the verge of doing the same thing in Syria?

(I was forgetting: We didn’t go into Iraq, not the second time. But it was close, and it looks as though Dominique de Villepin, then minister of foreign affairs, will go down in history for that reason — which is not nothing — for having prevented France, for the one and only time in its recent history, from participating in a criminal operation that also distinguished itself for its stupidity.)

The obvious conclusion is scathing, unfortunately. For 10 (20? 30?) years, our successive governments have pathetically, systematically, deplorably failed in their essential mission: to protect the population under their responsibility.

As for the population, it hasn’t failed at all. It’s unclear, at bottom, exactly what the population thinks, since our successive governments have taken great care not to hold referendums (except for one, in 2005, on a proposed European constitution, whose result they then preferred to ignore). But opinion polls are allowed, and for what they’re worth, they more or less reveal the following: that the French population has always maintained its trust in and solidarity with its police officers and its armed forces. That it has largely been repelled by the sermonizing airs of the so-called moral left (moral?) concerning how migrants and refugees are to be treated. That it has never viewed without suspicion the foreign military adventures its governments have seen fit to join.

One could cite many more examples of the gap, now an abyss, between the population and those supposed to represent it. The discredit that applies to all political parties today isn’t just huge; it is legitimate. And it seems to me, it really seems to me, that the only solution still available to us now is to move gently toward the only form of real democracy: I mean, direct democracy.

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