April 2007

french-flag.jpg Out of the 3,680 registered French nationales of voting age in the Kanto region (Tokyo consulate), about 59% or 2,187 turned out to vote on the first round of the Presidential elections. The results were:

Nicolas Sarkozy …. 835 votes (36.86%)
François Bayrou … 620 (28.46%)
Ségolène Royal …. 530 (25.51%)
J-M Le Pen … 75 (3.64%)

Elsewhere around the world, 40% of French expatriates in the United States voted:

Nicolas Sarkozy … 48.73%
Ségolène Royal … 23.97%
François Bayrou … 20.32%
J-M Le Pen … 2.39%

and in Canada where there are about 70,000 French expatriates:

Ségolène Royal … 34.67%
Nicolas Sarkozy … 31.84%
François Bayrou … 22.61%
J-M Le Pen … 3.43%

Subjective conclusions: In Canada, it seems Ségolène Royal’s stand on the independence of Quebec has some following in the French community of that country. In New York, Nicolas Sarkozy’s friendly terms with America has a strong following among French expatriates. And in Tokyo where 3% of the ballots were cast for Jean-Marie Le Pen the anti-immigration candidate, I would tell these 75 hypocrites, these immigrants to Japan, to go back where they came from.


Alan Johnston banner

BBC correspondent Alan Johnston of Scotland disappeared on his way home from his Gaza City office on 12 March. There is still no clear picture of who might be holding Alan Johnston, where or why.

If you or anyone you know has influence on securing Alan Johston’s release, please help. This is an international-wide appeal.


update: 26 April 2007

There must be an appalling agenda in the works here. Who benefits from Alan Johnston’s disappearance? It’s certainly not the Palestinians. Who doesn’t want the world to know what is happening in Gaza?

Israel’s Lab in Palestine: Disturbing reports allege that Israel is using Gaza as a field to experiment its new lethal weapons…

update: 9 May 2007

After they “put together” their proxy group, the previously unheard of Tawhid and Jihad brigades and now the blame-shift on the Jaish al-Islam, it took them 59 days to find a way to disguise their tracks by issuing “demands”: Demands issued on Johnston tape

On the Mindless Menace of Violence
Speech by Robert F Kennedy
Cleveland, Ohio April 5, 1968

This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one – no matter where he lives or what he does – can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet.

No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily – whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence – whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.

“Among free men,” said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs.”

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.

Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.

Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books, and homes without heat in the winter.

This is the breaking of a man’s spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.

I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set for a broad and adequate outline. We know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers.

Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children’s future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.

“Life under dictatorship is far more safer than behind the bars of your democracy…”

soutien-sarkozy-japon-160.jpg On the 22nd of April and the 6th of May, France will elect its next President. Twelve candidates have presented themselves, but among these, four stand out: Nicolas Sarkozy (UMP, Conservative Party), Ségolène Royal (PS, Socialist Party), François Bayrou (UDF, Centrist Party), and Jean-Marie Le Pen (FN, Far Right).

Sarkozy as Interior Minister in Chirac’s government, has worked hard and acted upon issues of the day. He has a firm hand and he speaks his mind. He doesn’t dilly-dally to please anyone. He will do what he thinks is right. Among the candidates, he has the most experience and the best pragmatic ideas necessary to be France’s next President. For details of his political platform, see the website: Ensemble Tout Devient Possible.

Royal has made a series of gaffes during her campaign, including a wrong answer to the question of how many nuclear submarines France has. On the diplomatic front, she has endorsed Quebec’s independence and expressed admiration for China’s justice system. The power of the French Presidency encompasses two major responsibilities: chief of the armed forces and international diplomacy.

Bayrou is a part-time farmer who studied literature in school. His political programme is an unrealistic mix of both the Left and Right. He is capitalising on the idea that if he should pass the first round with either Sarkozy or Royal, the electorate of the losing party will vote for him — not for his sake, but to cast a vote against the other political party. Hence, his pandering to both Left and Right.

Le Pen continues to prey on the fears of the French with regards to immigration issues.

After the referendum debacle on the European Union’s Constitution, here’s hoping that the French will vote wisely this time.