Étienne Balibar comments on Charlie Hebdo.
An old Japanese friend of mine, Haruhisa Kato – formerly a professor at Todai university – wrote to me with this: ‘I’ve seen the images of all of France in mourning. I’ve been deeply moved by all this. Over the years I really loved Wolinksi’s collections. I have always been a subscriber to the Canard enchaîné, and I enjoyed Cabu’s “Beauf” cartoons every week. I still have his collection Cabu et Paris by my desk, including a number of fine drawings he did of Japanese girls, tourists having fun on the Champs-Élysées’. But further on, this reservation: ‘The 1 January Le Monde editorial starts with the words “A better world? This firstly supposes an intensified struggle against the Islamic State and its blind barbarism”. I was very struck by this statement, a rather contradictory one I thought, that we need a war for the sake of peace!’.
While the situation is evolving from one hour to the next, it seems like the worst may well have been avoided – that is, a repetition of the Warsaw Rising, which was crushed by the Nazis in full view of the Red Army, which was waiting to take the chestnuts out of the fire by itself… The Americans did end up coordinating with the fighters on the ground and even Turkey seems to have been forced to half-open the border, allowing reinforcements to come in. Let’s hope that the city has indeed been saved, stopping the Islamist advance. In the little space that I have here and with the information that I have available to me, I would like to insist on two points.