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Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Une petite remise à jour s’impose pour les TermS dont la classe est fermée pour cause de grippe A.

Visitez les rubriques BAC / révisions et terminales !!

Thank you !

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

100,000 visitors and more !

a year and a half …

Time flies …

Ending the silence on 'honour killing'

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

The number of young women – and men – being killed or assaulted after supposedly bringing shame on their families keeps on rising. But more than ever before, those who have escaped violence are speaking out to break the code of silence. Old attitudes of accepting the crimes in the name of cultural sensitivity have also disappeared and the police are targeting the abusers

Zena had been following a murder trial in London with an interest verging on obsession.”I really wanted to go to court myself but I can never risk going to the city and being seen by someone,” she said.

“But I feel such a bond with other women who may have been through what I went through, even though you never meet these girls; you just hear about them when these ‘honour killing’ trials come up. I wish I could get involved with the support groups and help but you know, I’m just a coward.”

Having first walked out of an abusive marriage at the age of 17 and then from a hostile family who had had a meeting to discuss whether or not she should die, Zena does not lack courage but she is still very scared.

She has every reason to be. Her Bangladeshi-born mother had suggested that Zena might be allowed to poison herself rather than be murdered for bringing shame on the family. Zena, born in England, is second-generation British Asian and her accent betrays where she was brought up although it is far from where she lives now.

“I’m sorry to be so cloak-and-dagger but you never know what they might be capable of, I know there are plenty of young men who would love to play bounty hunter just for a bit of kudos in the community.”

Another court case six years ago had shocked Zena into climbing out of the window of her locked bedroom and leaving home with £46 and a change of clothes, an impulsive act she believes saved her life.

It was the story of Heshu Yones, 16, from Acton, west London, who was stabbed 11 times and then had her throat cut by her father who said he had to kill her because other men in his circle of Kurdish friends thought she had a boyfriend and his honour was shamed. Abdalla Yones was convicted of murder and jailed for life in 2003.

“A family member told me that there had been a meeting about killing me but it was seeing that case in the paper that made it real,” said Zena. The threat to women in this country from such violence is very real and the list of names of girls and women killed in the name of “honour” is growing.

Police estimate at least 12 are dying each year in the UK but others will be hidden – forced suicides and murders made to look like suicide are widely believed to take place undetected. Women aged 16-24 from Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi backgrounds are three times more likely to kill themselves than the national average for that age and it is impossible to tell what pressures some must have been under. And for every woman who dies, it seems certain that there are many, many more living with honour-based abuse and hidden away in shuttered communities.

Support groups are springing up. The Henna Foundation is based in Cardiff and Jasvinder Sanghera, who fled a forced marriage and made a new life for herself, set up a charity called Karma Nirvana in Derby after her sister Robina killed herself to escape the misery of her loveless marriage.

When it opened its helpline in April 2008, Karma Nirvana received 4,000 calls in the first year and is now taking 300 calls a month from people under threat of honour-based violence, often linked to forced marriage.

After the government’s forced marriage unit was set up in April last year, it received 5,000 calls and rescued 400 victims in the first six months.

Sanghera believes about 3% of women manage to escape forced marriage in the UK and when they leave they have to live with fear and rejection of not only their families but also their communities and sometimes their friends.

They also face being hunted down, said Detective Chief Inspector Gerry Campbell of the Metropolitan police. “It’s not uncommon to have bounty hunters out hunting down young people who have left forced marriages or fled from a family where they are at risk. It’s rare for [one person] to take unilateral action, it’s all done in consultation and there is logistical support and collusion in the extended community,” he said.

Campbell, head of the Met’s violent crime directorate, has led a number of investigations into honour-based violence and hate crimes. He believes the Met has learned some tough lessons from tragedies such as that of Banaz Mahmod, who made contact with police five times to say she thought her life was in danger but always drew back from pressing charges. Banaz, 19, a Kurd, was murdered by family members at her home in Mitcham, Surrey, in 2006.

She had been raped and beaten by the older man she had been forced to marry, and had left him. Her elder sister, Bekhal, had also left home to escape their father’s violence and the extended family was beginning to regard Mahmod Mahmod as a man who had lost control of his daughters. The shame became so unbearable that he held a meeting to discuss killing his daughter and her new boyfriend.

“We have had previous investigations where mistakes have been made but we at the Met have improved the frontline training for our officers and been quite clear around the issues with community groups that we’re working with too,” said Campbell. “I’m confident that no victim will ever be turned away in London and that officers know that to do nothing is not an option.

“Honour is about a collection of practices used by the family to control behaviour, to prevent perceived shame, but there’s no honour in murder, rape, or kidnapping and with 25% of the [cases] we are seeing involving a person under 18: this is a child abuse issue too. The simple message is: If you do this you will be caught and brought to justice.

“Young woman are predominately the victims of honour-based violence but we are seeing an increase in young men and boys – it’s now about 15% of the total numbers,” he said.

“Honour-based violence is complicated and a sensitive crime to investigate. It’s fathers, brothers, uncles, mums and cousins and the victim, or potential victim, has a fear of criminalising or demonising their family so they can be reluctant to come forward.”

He said that in many cases it was not new immigrants but third or fourth generation families where the worst problems lay. “People who actually are hanging on to traditions that in the country of origin have gone, things have moved on back home but they don’t know that.

“We don’t know how many victims are out there suffering in silence but as an example in the financial year of 2008-9 we had 132 forced marriage and honour-based violence offences reported to us. From April to the end of September this year we have had 129 cases so it’s rising all the time. We’ve been learning about this for 10 years and have been really galvanised over the past four years so while we are not complacent we have come on leaps and bounds.

“This crime genre transcends every nationality, religious faith or group, nor is it unique to the UK, every country in the world has honour-based violence. But we want to make it clear that people can come forward to us; they will be believed.”

Things have undoubtedly improved since the cases that campaigners see as the low points in the fight against honour killings, such as the sentence of six-and-a-half years handed down to Shabir Hussain who in 1995 deliberately drove over and crushed to death his cousin and sister-in-law, Tasleem Begum, 20. The acceptance of a plea of manslaughter through “provocation” by the court was widely attacked by women’s groups. Tasleem was killed because she had fallen in love with a married man she worked with.

Roger Keene, QC, prosecuting, told the court: “The family as a whole, including the defendant, had been distressed for some time about the behaviour of the deceased.”

The behaviour of women seen to have dishonoured their families can be as harmless as wearing make-up or talking to boys. One suspected murder is believed to have been caused by a girl having a love song dedicated to her on a community radio show.

Diana Nammi, who runs the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation in London, has been working to encourage more women to seek help when they are in danger. “The number of women that we know of and hear about and the cases dealt with in court is really just a handful of the full picture,” she said. “But even one case is too many. For someone to be killed for their make-up or clothes or having a boyfriend or for refusing to accept a forced marriage is so brutal and unacceptable.

“A few years ago when Heshu Yones was killed it was silent, but her sister gave evidence against her father and that was a turning point. Those same communities who were silent seven years ago when Banaz was killed, when people were aware she was in danger and did nothing, they are not happy to stay quiet any more, this silence is being broken.

“It is not a problem of culture or religion or education – it is happening in educated families. It’s not one person but several who are dangerous for that woman; sometimes even the woman might underestimate the danger she is in.

“Here in the UK younger people are at risk because they have grown up in this country and they want to adapt and live in the modern world, they don’t want barriers to who they can be in love with or not be in love with, whether they wear traditional clothes or not, basic freedoms that many traditional families don’t like.

“Honour is a very old tradition but it cannot operate in this country. The children do not even understand it. It’s two lives for these children and the differences put huge emotional pressures and guilt on them and leave them very vulnerable,” she said.

“Before Heshu, honour killing was not a serious crime and perpetrators were treated leniently under the name of cultural sensitivity. Now there are no reductions in sentence. In the case of Banaz, the judge said that if this is the culture then the culture needs to be changed, not the women sacrificed for the culture.” Nammi believes that patriarchal religious leaders are failing women.

“Those who are lagging behind now are the religious leaders. They may pay lip service to change but they have networks and contacts and they are not trying to change anything. Sharia courts are letting Muslim women down and I am sorry to say that the British government is turning a blind eye to these courts. We have civil laws that cover every individual; none of these religious courts provide the same rights and protections for women.”

Irfan Chishti, a leading imam in Manchester, said the phenomenon was so secretive that it could be hard to identify who was at risk: “It is not an Islamic issue, it’s more of a tribal tradition that cuts across several faiths, but I can say categorically that it is not acceptable.

“It’s difficult to ascertain the extent of this problem but I like to think that faith leaders are speaking out against it. Honour is a way of measuring dignity and respect and it is a very individualistic thing. Dishonour to one person is not the same as to another but we have to be very clear that there is never any justification for such horrific crimes.”

Honour-based violence can be a socioeconomic issue. Experts say there is a strong correlation between violence against women and issues such as inequality between men. In deprived communities where men are struggling to earn a living they can feel subordinated and lacking in respect, and so try to get their authority back by dominating anyone below them, usually women.

In Pakistan the practice of honour killing – called karo-kari – sees more than 10,000 women die each year. In Syria, men can kill female relatives in a crime of passion as long as it is not premeditated. It is legal for a husband to kill his wife in Jordan if he catches her committing adultery. Crime of passion can be a full or partial defence in a number of countries including Argentina, Iran, Guatemala, Egypt, Israel and Peru.

Confusion in immigrant communities where people feel adrift in a new culture and try to anchor themselves to the past is a key factor, says Haras Rafiq, a former government adviser on faith issues and the co-founder of the Sufi Muslim Council. “Religion becomes infused with cultural practices and honour takes on an overinflated importance,” he said.

He agreed with anti-forced marriage campaigners that women were being let down by their religious and community leaders.

“The Sharia courts are not doing anything about the forced marriage or honour killing issue as a whole,” he said. “Other countries, the places many immigrants have come from, have moved on, but the immigrant doesn’t know that and he needs to be told.”

He wants his children to do whatever he tells them to do and this he sees as right but from a religious perspective it is not. “The reality is that honour killing is a crime and a crime of deep shame,” he said.

For Zena, she has her life but does not have her freedom. “When I first ran away I would go to the library and read loads of spy books to pick up tips. You have to teach yourself how to best keep hidden,” she said. “My life is about keeping a very low profile now and about looking over my shoulder, but at least I know I am alive and I grieve for those poor girls who are not.”

taken from :

Pierre Soulages and his all-black canvases

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

By Tobias Grey

Published: October 9 2009 22:15 | Last updated: October 9 2009 22:15 in The Financial Times


Pierre Soulages
Pierre Soulages: ‘There are people who refuse to accept that you can create light on a black canvas’

Members of the media are seen at the Pompidou Center in Paris, ...Centre Pompidou, French abstractionist Pierre Soulages, Photo: Reuters/Jacky Naegelen (France Entertainment) 

Black is the new black for Pierre Soulages, France's best-known living artist

“Painting is a play of opacities and transparencies.”  ~Pierre Soulages

Standing over six feet two inches tall and dressed in his habitual black, Pierre Soulages looks as though he’s just stepped out of one of his monumental all-black canvases, suspended like cavernous portals from the ceilings of Paris’s Pompidou Centre. It is a banner year for Soulages, who never fails to oversee the hanging of his paintings.

The Pompidou’s autumn show, which anticipates Soulages’s 90th birthday on December 24, is the biggest it has ever mounted for a living French artist. It looks back over more than 60 years of his painting, with emphasis on more recent developments in his work, which have led to him being dubbed the “painter of black and light”.

The exhibition brings together more than a hundred significant works dating from 1946 to the present, from the revolutionary walnut stain works painted between 1947 and 1949 to the “beyond black” oil paintings of recent years, most of the latter being shown for the first time.

At the same time, the Louvre is exhibiting a 300x235cm canvas that Soulages completed in July 2000. He specifically chose Le Salon Carré to display this luminous, striated work where black- and-white lines converge on an all-black background of broad, horizontal brush-strokes.

“I picked this room because the paintings are a mixture of Byzantine and Renaissance works,” Soulages says. “I wanted to underline the rupture, not only between Byzantine and Renaissance art, but also between Renaissance figurative art and my own style.”

One would venture to describe this style as “abstract” but Soulages disagrees. “Abstract art is a general term which is incredibly vague,” he says. “I wanted to call my first painting ‘concrete’ not ‘abstract’. But people told me concrete art designates paintings made up of geometric shapes. I replied, ‘If that’s how you define ‘concrete’ art, then you better find another term for ‘figurative’ art because geometric shapes are like figures.’ ”

With these words a smile creeps on to Soulages’ lips: he knows there are some battles that are not worth fighting. A confirmed “individualist”, Soulages has never aligned himself with any art movement or school, shunning the distraction of urban mondanities, or anything that might lead him to neglect his art.

“I’ve got nothing against people who are part of a group but I don’t like being bossed around,” he says. “Groups are interesting for sociologists or historians but artistically it’s a mistake because by grouping artists together you only become focused on what they share. What did artists like Manet or Sisley have in common? Impressionism; but what’s much more interesting is what makes each unique.”

It is one of the reasons Soulages has always looked to fabricate his own painting materials. Not content with the kind of “chic material” sold in art shops for “specific purposes”, he appropriates builder’s paintbrushes, book-binding tools, tanning knives, pieces of cardboard – even the soles of his own shoes.

Meanwhile, Soulages’s fascination for the artistic possibilities of the colour black dates back even further than he can remember: “A cousin of mine, who is 100 years old, told Pierre Encrevé, the curator of this exhibition, that when I was a boy I dipped my paintbrush in the ink-well and began to paint swathes of black on a white sheet of paper. When my family asked me what I was doing, apparently I replied: ‘Painting snow’. Of course that made everyone laugh. But I was a shy child and not trying to show off. Looking back now, I think I was trying to make the white paper appear whiter by laying down the black.”

As a boy growing up in the southern French town of Rodez, Soulages liked to paint the stark black branches of leafless trees. He used to visit centuries-old caves such as those of Pech-Merle in the Lot or Font-de-Gaume in the Dordogne, where prehistoric hunting scenes worked in crushed charcoal had been made on the walls.

“It astounded me that for 340 centuries men have been painting in black in some of the most obscure places on earth, caves pitched in absolute darkness,” he says. “I wrote once that black is the colour of painting’s origin. I don’t think it’s possible to refute this.”

By his own recollection, Soulages started painting seriously in 1940. His first major exhibition was in Germany in 1948 as part of a collective of abstract painters. It was the first exhibition of abstract art in a German city since the rise and fall of the Nazis. At 27 years old, Soulages was easily the youngest artist to be exhibited. “There was Kupka, Domela, Hartung, Schneider,” he says. “[Gerard] Schneider would be 112 years old now, [Frantisek] Kupka 143 years old.”

But it was Soulages’s distinctive walnut stain painting that was chosen for the exhibition’s poster, a copy of which is on display at the Pompidou Centre. “It’s interesting because most American painters of the time got to know my work because of that poster,” he notes.

By 1954 the influential American art dealer Samuel Kootz was selling Soulages’s paintings all over the US, to large museums, but also to European expatriate filmmakers such as Billy Wilder and Otto Preminger. Such precocious success by a Frenchman was not universally welcomed by the American art world. But Soulages, who had been forewarned by the French painter and poet Francis Picabia that he would not want for enemies, shrugged it off.

“When you’re noticed very young you’re bound to have enemies; there is jealousy – it’s inevitable,” says Soulages, who last year sold a canvas for €1.5m, a record price for a living French artist. “There are also those who dislike you on an aesthetic level: people who don’t accept abstract art, for example, or who refuse to accept that you can create light on a black canvas.”

It was this last discovery, the result of an ultimately happy accident, that has sustained and nourished the past 30 years of the artist’s career. “It happened in 1979,” says Soulages, whose powers of recall are of a rare precision. “I was working on a painting and floundering around in a morass of paint, unable to understand what I was doing, but with something deep inside me compelling me to continue.”

Finally Soulages went to bed. When he woke up, what he saw “was not just a black painting any more but a painting where reflected light had been transformed and transmuted by the black surface. When I realised that light can emanate from the colour which has the biggest absence of light, I was both perturbed and profoundly moved. From that moment my eye changed and I’ve worked in this way ever since.”

The patient and deliberate way in which Soulages sets about creating continuity in his art goes hand-in-hand with his private life. Always there to give objective advice or provide le mot juste is Colette, his wife and muse of 67 years’ standing.

“I met a person with whom I have had a conversation that has never ceased,” says Soulages. “She had the same tastes as me, was interested in the same things, and we’ve continued to live together. I didn’t think it was going to last so long, but here we are.”

Earlier this year, the green light was given to a Soulages museum in the artist’s native Rodez; it is scheduled to open in 2012. For Soulages, that is just one more thing to look forward to. “I don’t live in the past,” he says. “What interests me is the next toile I want to do or the one I’m already working on.”

taken from :

see also : 

Soulages at the Pompidou Centre, Paris, October 14-March 8 2010.

Soulages at the Louvre, Paris, October 14-January 18 2010.

Airlines vow to halve carbon emissions by 2050

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

The aviation industry will tomorrow make a dramatic pledge to slash carbon dioxide emissions in half by 2050 in a move that will force up air fares and spark a green technology race among aircraft manufacturers.

Dan Milmo: Its a bit murky – a global trading system Link to this audio

The British Airways chief executive, Willie Walsh, will unveil an agreement between airlines, airports and aircraft companies to cut emissions to 50% below 2005 levels by 2050. In a bid to seize the initiative from environmental groups clamouring for higher taxes on the industry, the plan will be presented to world leaders at the United Nations forum on climate change in New York.

Airlines have been accused of dragging their heels over climate change, but the strategic shift reflects industry concerns that it could be ambushed at the global warming summit in Copenhagen in December if it does not address its growing emissions.

Writing in the Guardian, climate change secretary Ed Miliband says he is haunted by the possibility that politicians will fail to reach a global climate deal. Calling for a new urgency and spirit of co-operation in the negotiations, he writes: “The fate of every nation on earth hangs on the outcome of Copenhagen. It is too important to play the cards-close-to-your-chest poker games that marked diplomacy of the twentieth century.”

UN officials are hoping that China’s president, Hu Jintao, may break the deadlock in the negotiations by announcing in New York ambitious plans to reduce China’s carbon emissions.

If Walsh’s proposals are accepted by the UN, they will be on the agenda at Copenhagen, where world leaders hope to agree global emissions reduction targets. The pledges drawn up by members of the global airline body, the International Air Transport Association, are:

• To reduce net carbon dioxide emissions by 50% by 2050, compared with 2005 levels.

• To make all industry growth carbon-neutral by 2020.

• To cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5% per year over the next decade.

• To submit plans for joining a global carbon trading scheme to the UN by November 2010.

The 50% reduction target by 2050 goes further than the UK government’s target of limiting airline emissions to 2005 levels by the same deadline. Walsh’s presentation to UN delegates on behalf of IATA will be viewed by climate change campaigners as an attempt to pre-empt punitive measures at Copenhagen, amid fears among airline executives that the aviation industry will be singled out over its exclusion from carbon dioxide caps enshrined in the 1997 Kyoto protocols.

Walsh will say: “International aviation emissions were not included in the Kyoto protocol 12 years ago. Now we have a chance to rectify that omission, and we must seize it. Our proposals represent the most environmentally effective and practical means of reducing aviation’s carbon impact. They are the best option for the planet and we urge the UN to adopt them.”

Under the proposals, airlines would leave the EU emissions trading scheme, which they are due to join in 2012, and would buy carbon dioxide permits in a global market. Walsh warned earlier this year that a global scheme would add around £3bn per year to industry costs, which would be passed on to passengers through higher fares. According to the European commission, the EU trading scheme will add €9 (£8.16) to the cost of a return short-haul flight and €40 to a long-distance return flight. However, campaigners suggested the new pledge was undermined by its reliance on the industry funding emissions cuts elsewhere. “It is a real problem that this will include offsetting and buying carbon credits,” said John Sauven, director of Greenpeace. “It shows that Willie Walsh is not really taking the issue of climate change seriously.”

Aviation accounts for 1.6% of global greenhouse emissions currently, but will become the biggest emitter in the developed world if it grows unchecked. The government’s advisory body, the committee on climate change, warned ministers this month that aviation will account for a quarter of all emissions in the developed world even if it caps 2050 emissions at 2005 levels.

The committee also recommended state investment in the green technology. Cutting the industry’s emissions will require radical advances in technology that, if they are not achieved, would force airlines to make up the difference on carbon trading or offset markets. Airlines are expected to lose $11bn (£6.8bn) this year, according to IATA, and their weak balance sheets will be strained further by carbon permits, analysts say.

taken from :

250,000 Irish workers go on strike

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Up to a quarter of a million public sector workers have taken part in a national strike in the Republic of Ireland.

Civil servants, some medical staff and teachers are protesting at government plans to cut the public sector pay bill by 1.3bn euros next year.

They say they cannot take any more cuts in their wages after an emergency budget earlier this year.

Almost all public offices and schools were closed.

Hospital appointments for up to 16,000 patients were cancelled.

Thousands of people also faced delays in social security payments.

Irish police have said that no speeding fines will be issued because of the strike.

Trade unions said the government had refused to engage with them on ways of cutting the state pay and pensions bill by 1.3bn euros without cutting pay, pensions or services.

They said the government had forced the action by failing to negotiate a fair alternative to plans for a second huge pay cut this year.

However, a number of unions have deferred strike action in areas affected by recent floods.

The strike affected a wide range of the public sector:

  • A majority of civil service employees took part;
  • A limited customs service is running at ports and airports;
  • Prison officers have been striking for an hour at different times – prisoners are being locked in their cells during the action;
  • Emergency cover being provided by fire and water services;
  • Most local authorities staff are on strike but staff at flood-hit areas are still working;
  • Hospital staffing is at Christmas Day levels – only “genuine emergency” cases advised to show up at A&E departments, hospital appointments are being deferred and non-emergency procedures postponed, although strike exemptions were granted to key areas including palliative and intensive care;
  • Police are forbidden by law to strike but members of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors have been instructed not to make themselves available for overtime; and,
  • More than 50,000 teachers are on strike.

taken from :

Want to Boost Your Memory? Try Sleeping on it !

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Dubai’s Improbable Tale

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

They journeyed to the desert emirate of Dubai by the tens of thousands. Laborers from small towns on the Indian subcontinent and white-collar executives from the capitals of Europe. They came seeking fortune, and they built a modern city unlike any the world had ever seen: a city with the world’s largest tower, an indoor ski slope and a honeymoon suite with a live whale shark in the window.

A city where anything was possible. Sand too hot? Then build a beach with underground refrigeration.

“I call the story an improbable fairy tale,” Ms. Greenfield said. “Anything that could be fantasized could be built. It really was the land of opportunity. It’s more Las Vegas than Las Vegas.”

At first glance, Dubai might seem an odd place to find Ms. Greenfield. She is best known for powerful photographs and films that explore the corrosive effect of modern consumer culture on American teenage girls, and also for her disquieting images of women with eating disorders.

But Dubai offered Ms. Greenfield, 43, the opportunity to further explore wealth and the effects of unbridled materialism. So after several months of research, she spent two weeks photographing there.

“Dubai is a cautionary tale in the same way as the foreclosure crisis — which I photographed — was,” Ms. Greenfield said last weekend, as the financial crisis in Dubai unfolded. “Dubai was this miracle of development with minimal planning and no infrastructure.”

Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest skyscraper, is still under construction, overlooking artificial islands shaped like palm trees. The tower is a useful symbol for considering Dubai. Is it the Tower of Babel? Is it Icarus, flying too close to the sun? It’s unclear whether this crisis will simply be a pause in Dubai’s ascent or whether Dubai’s story will itself become a cautionary tale of mythical dimensions.

taken from :

see pictures here

Il était une fois une île

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

La FIFA a tenu une réunion de son comité exécutif jeudi sur l’île de Robben Island, qui a accueilli pendant près de 30 ans des prisonniers politiques tels que Nelson Mandela et Jacob Zuma, l’actuel président sud-africain. Emotions…

Il est des endroits que ni le temps, ni les hommes ne pourront totalement transformer, malgré tous leurs efforts. Il y a quarante ans, Robben Island était le symbole d’une certaine forme d’oppression politique. C’est là, sur ce caillou situé à plusieurs kilomètres des côtes sud-africaines, au large du Cap, qu’un gouvernement autoritaire et raciste avait regroupé ceux qui avaient choisi de combattre cette abomination qu’était le régime d’apartheid. Des centaines de prisonniers, noirs et indiens, parmi lesquels plusieurs futurs présidents de la République. C’était entre 1960 et 1990.

La Makana FA, fédération créée de toutes pièces par les prisonniers

Ce jeudi, le Comité exécutif de la FIFA a tenu sur ce caillou balayé par les rafales de vent une réunion historique, évidemment. Plusieurs centaines de journalistes, venus du monde entier, avaient effectué la traversée, et ils ont visité ce qui fut l’une des prisons les plus terribles de l’histoire de l’humanité. Sur place, plusieurs ex-détenus, dont un ministre, Tokyo Sexwale, également membre de la Commission FIFA du fair-play, et surtout quatre membres fondateurs de la Makana FA, cette fédération créée de toutes pièces par ces prisonniers politiques, en 1967.

Anthony Suze (68 ans) était justement l’un de ces « freedom fighters », et son récit, édifiant, nous raconte l’histoire d’hommes qui ont survécu tout en défendant pleinement leur passion. « On avait créé huit clubs, tous rattachés à une famille politique. Moi, j’en voulais un qui rassemble tout le monde, je l’ai baptisé Manong Vultures. Et je choisissais les meilleurs joueurs de la prison ! » Les prisonniers, qui administraient cette Ligue avaient adopté les règlements de la FIFA, ont commencé par fabriquer leur propre ballon, puis ils ont pétitionné auprès des gardiens de l’île, leurs bourreaux, afin d’obtenir plus de temps pour jouer. « On s’entraînait dans nos cellules, où l’on mettait d’ordinaire 90 personnes. »

«J’ai passé quinze ans ici, ensuite je n’ai plus jamais joué au foot»

Deux terrains sablonneux, à l’intérieur de la prison, leur permettaient alors de s’évader. Et de redevenir, pour quelques heures, des hommes libres. « On n’a commencé qu’à partir de 1965 parce qu’avant, les conditions de survie étaient atroces », raconte encore Mister Suze, dans un immense sourire. « Pour nombre d’entre nous, cette Ligue a constitué un terrain d’entraînement pour nos vies futures. J’ai passé quinze ans ici, ensuite je n’ai plus jamais joué au foot. » Le récit de ces hommes courageux a donné lieu à un film, « More than just a game », ainsi qu’à un superbe ouvrage. Quelques années plus tard, la Makana FA a été faite membre honoraire par la FIFA…

En quittant tout à l’heure Robben Island, ce musée vivant qui témoigne de tant de souffrances endurées par des milliers d’hommes, on comprend évidemment pourquoi cette Coupe du monde 2010, organisée sur le sol africain, a tant d’importance pour cette génération. Les survivants, malheureusement, ne savent même pas s’ils pourront assister à quelques rencontres au See Point, le nouveau stade du Cap, qu’on aperçoit, au loin, depuis Robben Island…

Franck Simon, au Cap

taken from :

An Open Letter to President Obama from Michael Moore

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Read Michael Moore’s Letter to President Obama here

Protesters oppose Obama military decision