Globalisation: To kill a Chinese

Guilt, moral and distance.

In The Genius of Christianity, published in France in 1802, Chateaubriand formulated one of the most repeated questions of the XIX century: would you agree to the killing of an old, sick Chinese mandarin in distant China, just by wishing it, to inherit his immense fortune?

Today we don't kill the Chinese, nor the Indians, nor the Uzbeks - we eat them. We feed ourselves on human flesh, we dress ourselves on human skin, and our houses are made of human bones.

"Go, buy yourself another pair of jeans", said the fake priest to the fake blind man.

"O conscience ! ne serais-tu qu'un fantôme de l'imagination, ou la peur des châtiments des hommes ? Je m'interroge ; je me fais cette question : « Si tu pouvais par un seul désir tuer un homme à la Chine et hériter de sa fortune en Europe, avec la conviction surnaturelle qu'on n'en saurait jamais rien, consentirais-tu à former ce désir ? » J'ai beau m'exagérer mon indigence ; j'ai beau vouloir atténuer cet homicide en supposant que par mon souhait le Chinois meurt tout à coup sans douleur, qu'il n'a point d'héritier, que même à sa mort ses biens seront perdus pour l'État ; j'ai beau me figurer cet étranger comme accablé de maladies et de chagrins ; j'ai beau me dire que la mort est un bien pour lui, qu'il l'appelle lui-même, qu'il n'a plus qu'un instant à vivre : malgré mes vains subterfuges, j'entends au fond de mon cœur une voix qui crie si fortement contre la seule pensée d'une telle supposition, que je ne puis douter un instant de la réalité de la conscience." - François René de Chateaubriand , in The Genius of Christianity


Tom Waits in Europe (San Sebastian, Barcelona, Milan, Prague, Paris, Edinburgh and Dublin)


"European tour dates are as follows:
July 12 - SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN – Auditorium Kursaal - Ticket Hotline 902 10 12 12. International enquiries +34 933 262 946. Tickets also available online from http://www.telentrada.com/. Tickets on sale Monday 2nd June at 9.00AM.
July 14 & 15 - BARCELONA, SPAIN – Auditorium Forum - Ticket Hotline 902 10 12 12. International enquiries +34 933 262 946. Tickets also available online from http://www.telentrada.com/. Tickets on sale Monday 2nd June at 9.00AM.
July 17, 18 & 19 – MILAN, ITALY – Teatro Degli Arcimboldi - Ticket Hotline – valid only in Italy – 892101. International enquiries +39 0584 46477. Tickets also available online from http://www.ticketone.it/. Tickets on internet presale on Friday 23rd May at 9.00AM and all other outlets from Monday 26th May at 9.00AM.
July 21 & 22 – PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC – KCP - Tickets available on http://www.ticketpro.cz/ with ticket@ticketpro.cz handling enquiries from English and German speaking customers. Tickets on sale on Friday 30th May at 9.00AM.
July 24 & 25 – PARIS, FRANCE – Grand Rex - Ticket Hotline is 0890 39 01 00 – accessed from France only – with +33 (0)1 46 91 57 67 for international enquiries. Tickets on sale as an internet presale here on Monday 26th May at 9.00AM, with all other outlets from Wednesday 28th May at 9.00AM.
July 27 & 28 – EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – Playhouse - Ticket Hotline on +44 870 606 3424 and online from http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/. On sale at 9.00AM on Tuesday 27th May.
July 30, 31 and August 1 – DUBLIN, IRELAND – The Ratcellar, Phoenix Park - Ticket Hotline is 0818 719 300 – accessed from Ireland only – with 0870 243 4455 for the UK and +353 1 4 569 569 for international enquiries. Tickets also available online from http://www.ticketmaster.ie/. On sale at 9.00AM on Tuesday 27th May.T"


Human rights in Burma

"As hold-ups continue in the supply of foreign aid to Myanmar, Asian leaders have been urged to pressure the country's military rulers into taking swift action to address a growing humanitarian catastrophe. Amnesty International believes that by deliberately blocking life-sustaining aid, the government of Myanmar may be violating the right of the population to life, food and health."
(in http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/asian-governments-urged-pressure-myanmar-20080513)


Is it the beginning of the end for the London Congestion Charge ?

Boris Johnson, London's new mayor, plans to drop the £25-a-day traffic congestion charge for "urban" SUV (> 225g of CO2 per km), that was due to be introduced in October. Crikey !

"Bring the boys back home !" (with choir)


Labour Day at the "Familistère"

Thanks to TF1, I've spent the last holiday at the Godin "Familistère" (Guise, near St Quentin, Aisne). The "Familistère" or "Social Palace" project was started in 1859 by Jean-Baptiste André Godin, a disciple of Charles Fourier's utopian socialism. Godin, a wealthy industrialist, founder of the famous stove factory that bears his name, transferred his foundries to Guise in 1846 and decided to follow his heart and his dreams of a better society, offering his workers a decent place to live and to raise a family.

"work facilities […] were linked to a communal settlement to form an harmonious society, equipped with all the necessary amenities: residential buildings, a pool, cooperative stores, a garden, a nursery, schools and a theatre (the temple of the Familistère community). This experiment lasted in cooperative form until 1968." (in http://familistere.com/site/english/utopia/prog_utopia.php)

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)