Thursday, November 18, 2004


Derrida and a new world

The following is a small excerpt from Jacques Derrida's speech at Le Monde Diplomatique’s 50th anniversary celebrations in May. In it, Derrida expresses his hopes and vision for a new Europe. Hopefully, it can be a vision that is realized worldwide, and not just in Europe.
This Europe, as a proud descendant of the Enlightenment past and a harbinger of the new Enlightenment to come, would show the world what it means to base politics on something more sophisticated than simplistic binary oppositions. In this Europe it would be possible to criticise Israeli policy, especially that pursued by Ariel Sharon and backed by George Bush, without being accused of anti-semitism. In this Europe, supporting the Palestinians in their legitimate struggle for rights, land and a state would not mean supporting suicide bombing or agreeing with the anti-semitic propaganda that is rehabilitating (with sad success) the outrageous lie that is the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In this Europe it would be usual to worry both about rising anti-semitism and rising Islamophobia. Sharon and his policies are not directly responsible for the rise of anti-semitism in Europe. But we must defend our right to believe that he does have something to do with it, and that he has used it as an excuse to call European Jews to Israel.

In this Europe it would be possible to criticise the policies of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz without being accused of sympathy for Saddam Hussein and his regime. In this Europe no one would be called anti-American, anti-Israeli, anti-Palestinian or Islamophobic for allying himself with those Americans, Israelis or Palestinians who bravely speak out against their own leaders,often far more vehemently than we do in Europe.

That is my dream. I am grateful to all those who help me to dream it; not only to dream, as Ramonet says, that another world is possible, but to muster the strength to do all that is needed to make it possible. This dream is shared by billions of men and women all over the world. Some day, though the work may be long and painful, a new world will be born.

Derrida. Kicks. My. Ass.
As my Aunt Deb says, he was so smart it was fun.
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