Dear Emile Zola, you would do this better than me if you lived in our times, but I hope you are going to guide my pen and that what will be written here under will have your approval, at least in part.
Voltaire, who unlike you, was an anti-semite, said it perfectly, in approximately these terms: “I may not like what you say but you have all the right to counter me”. He was a freedom fighter like you, and for that alone I have some respect for him.
There were so many other great French writers and philosophers: Montesquieu, Montaigne (a Jew), Chateaubriand, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (who was actually Swiss), Albert Camus (whom I prefer to Jean-Paul Sartre), George Sand, Simone de Beauvoir, Simone Weill, to name but a few enlightened thinkers.
What has happened to you, France, a land that gave so much to the world, and which I don’t recognise anymore? I’ve spent half of my life in Paris, one of the most beautiful cities in the world – I still think Rome and New York surpass it, for beauty and for energy.
I perceived this degradation of liberty, equality and fraternity about twenty-five years ago.
Now, most of your leaders and so-called intellectuals are so politically correct that one cannot express one’s opinion without being called names. I don’t care whether the insults come from the left, the far left, Le Pen or even from the center. I can say the same thing concerning much of the media – and here I am only considering dailies or journals of ‘quality’, such as Le Monde, Libération, Le nouvel Observateur, Le Point or even Le Figaro magazine. As for the news on French television, the only thing I still appreciate are the debates in which specialists take part, otherwise, I find most of it very biased, in the sense that they never mention things by their names. This is also true for most of Europe’s governments and media, especially the British media, like the BBC, the Times or the Guardian. Of course these all have excellent programs, incredible documentaries, and articles written by serious reporters. Yet, when they treat subjects such as colonisation, the Middle East, and particularly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they are often very far from the truth, serving us clichés we all have heard or read over and over again. Ideology is not facts. The problem is that most Europeans believe them.
You hear that one image is worth 1000 words. To which I counter: one image can be such a lie that you would need more than 1000 words to deconstruct it and lay down the truth. Just an example to illustrate what I mean: I have lived through 5 decolonisations and I am an anti-colonialist – a concrete proof of this: my ‘African Quatuor’ is being studied by the new generations of students in Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria. My anti-apartheid book, ‘Devil’s Peak’ / ‘Le Cap des Illusions’, was banned in South Africa before Mandela became president.
I recognised one photo published in a so-called prestigious magazine and the caption read: “They can’t even bury their dead.” I was there when the picture was taken, and the person the journalist claimed to be dead, was just having a rest on the lawn.
I accuse the European powers and their media for always demeaning Israel and for blindly supporting the Palestinians, including Hamas, the terrorist organization which rules over Gaza. They either don’t know or pretend not to be aware of the fact that in Hamas’ chart, Israel and the Jews should be eliminated, that in their children’s geography books, the nation of Israel is called Palestine and does not belong to the Jews. That these same children learn to hate Jews and Israelis alike, wishing them death, everywhere. They still call Temple Mount, the Mount of Mosques, when it is well known, thanks to modern archeology, that the Muslims built their two mosques almost 700 years after the destruction by the Romans of the Second Temple, right where the center of Judaism stood. That Jerusalem, called Al Quds in Arabic (which is not a specific name, since it mainly means ‘the holy place’, and which is never mentioned in the Koran, whilst Jerusalem is mentioned in the Torah at least 700 times) is only the third holy site of Islam, whereas it is Judaism’s only sacred city. We aren’t even sure that prophet Muhammad died there and ‘flew’ to heaven, he who murdered hundreds of Jews in Medina, with his own hands, just because they didn’t want to convert to his new religion, while he reappropriated much of the Torah’s stories or legends – I insist on these terms, since I am an agnostic -, even though some of these former are proven facts.
The ‘International Quds Day’ was initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, led by the heinous Khomeini, to express support for the Palestinians and to oppose Zionism and Israel’s existence. And you all know that the Arab nations think of Palestinians as scum, they enclose them inside ghettoes in Lebanon and in every other Arab country; they don’t even allow them to go to the rich ones, except as slave workers – Remember ‘Black September’, when Jordan killed thousands of Palestinians and expelled the remaining ones? Since then, the whole Islamic world honors that day, with screams, burnings of Israeli and American flags, and threats of destruction – 1.6 billion people against just 8.5 million Israelis, of which 20% are Muslim, who would never want to live in either a future Palestine or in any other Arab country, for this is where they are the freest and where they get the same excellent health services and education as the Jews, and they can complain, which they do, even at the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament), without the fear of being imprisoned or worse, like in the neighboring countries. The same can be said of the Christians and the other minorities, including atheists and agnostics like me.
I never said Israel was a paradise, it’s a democracy and democracies are always perfectible. Of course there are racists here too. The 10% of ultra-Orthodox Jews don’t frequent the rest of the population, and vice-versa. Actually the former are a bit mocked by the majority of Israeli Jews who aren’t religious or who only go to synagogue on the Holy days. Those ultra-Orthodox Jews don’t even look at you in the face, nor do they speak to you, it’s like the cats and the dogs of Israel, they avoid each other but don’t fight.
I totally disapprove of the new colonies being built on the West Bank, it is a provocation. Yet, now that I’ve been in Israel for the last 7 months, I believe I understand the Israeli- Palestinian problem much better than when I lived in Europe. It’s much less a territorial than an ideological question. The Palestinians, and the Muslims in general DO NOT WANT A JEWISH STATE in their midst. Actually, they constantly threaten to destroy it. Any other country in the world would consider this a threat of war and would respond in acts. Remember: in 1947, the Arabs living in this area had the possibility of having their country, but, with the advice of the 5 surrounding Arab nations, who jointly attacked Israel, born in 1948, they refused it, and now they are crying, or pretend to cry, to get it.
And every pretext is used to refuse to make peace with Israel. Even Saudi Arabia had told Arafat, before he died, to accept the Israeli conditions. But Arafat, a very clever politician, refused, saying one thing in English and the exact opposite in Arabic. Poor Mrs. Arafat, she has villas in many places and wears haute couture dresses, along with beautiful jewels. How come all that money handed out by America and Europe didn’t benefit the Palestinian population? How much more patient can one be?
I accuse the Western media, especially in Europe, to only show that minority, to define Jews, and never to mention all the fantastic things that Israel has invented, in medicine, agriculture, electronics, science, clean water technology, etc. that benefit the whole world.
Without essential Israeli-invented parts, you could never use your mobile phone or your computer. Without the cheaper generic medicine, produced by Teva (the world’s largest pharmaceutical company), many more millions of poor people around the world would die.
I consequently accuse all of you, BDS supporters, for being nincompoops, and that is too lenient a word to describe you.
By the way, I would like to add a couple of personal anecdotes.
Last year on a Tel Aviv beach I was sitting next to two handsome couples, in bathing suits, the two young ladies wore pretty one-piece swimming suits with vivid flower motifs. We started talking, in English, then, watching the two husbands, pulling out of their backpacks nargilehs, I told them I had never tried smoking one, and it is after they showed me how, that I learned they were Israeli Arabs from Nazareth. They told me that they came to Tel Aviv every weekend to have fun.
A week ago, again in Tel Aviv, but this time on a terrace of the old port, facing the sea, sitting with a friend, I was surrounded by two families. We started a conversation, comparing our dishes, and asking them what they had ordered, since I couldn’t recognise the delicacies on their plates. Some of them even offered us a piece of their fare so that we could taste it. This went on for about three hours. We joked, laughed, exchanged opinions, and at the end, they told us they lived in Jaffa and that they were Israeli Arabs.
I accuse you, people from Europe, America and elsewhere (even from South Africa, which is so familiar to me) to dare organize ‘Israel-apartheid-week’ demonstrations.
Yes, I accuse you for being so ridiculously gullible or downright ill-intentioned, when YOU are the real racists. Actually, you are the last ones to seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians, neigh, by acting so inanely, you are fomenting war, and should be locked up in psychiatric wards, since you don’t realise how dangerous you can be. You are perverts.
I accuse Ban ki Moon for his short-sightedness and for being so weak – I don’t believe him to be very bright, I may be wrong, but that is my impression when I see him on television, dishing out opinions like a naive teenager – as to be influenced by 57 Muslim countries – representing about one fourth of the UN members -, for giving lessons of morality to Israel, when most of the above-cited nations have appalling records in civil and human rights.
I accuse most European politicians and some university professors, especially in Great Britain, in the Scandinavian countries, but also in North America, of disseminating lies and anti-zionist propaganda to their compatriots and to their students, inasmuch as these universities receive millions of dollars of donations from … Saudi Arabia and the Emirates – wonderful examples of democracies, where women are treated as servants, servants and construction workers as near slaves and members of the LGBT communities as the scum of the earth, to be eliminated, when everyone knows how homosexuality thrives in these very same countries (behind locked doors in mansions and palaces), and where no other religion is permitted but Islam.
I accuse these same intellectuals of being either materialistic or downright anti-semitic, or both – this has been written in their DNA for over 2000 years, but of course, they will deny or even ignore it, telling you: “We have nothing against Jews, it’s against Israel.”
I’d like to quote Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist with ‘Il Foglio’: “British culture is full of examples of primitive anti-Semitism. The dark, irrational, appeal to the oppression of the Jews has once again prevailed in our society, against all logic, against all progress.”
And I also wish to paraphrase George Steiner, one of Britain’s great thinkers. Referring to the Nazis, he said that even the most advanced culture could not prevent the Holocaust. In other words, there are some very poor and illiterate people – you meet them on every continent – who only wish you good things, and on the other side, erudites, philosophers, composers and authors of great works, whose heart is of stone and who can spread poison around them, in words and in acts. The list of these is too long to mention. I’ll name but a few: Céline, the author of that wonderfully innovative novel ‘Voyage au bout de la nuit’, Wagner, who composed the extraordinary ‘Niebelungen’ and ‘Götterdämmerung’, and who at first admired Mendelssohn, then became such an anti-semite that his music was Hitler’s favorite; the philosopher Heidegger, the Greek composer who wrote magnificent pieces for the movies, Theodorakis, etc … Among the politicians, let’s take the example of the Peron couple. Evita was such a good person for her people that she is revered in her country as a goddess, when both she and her husband Juan were intimate friends of Hitler. So, ‘don’t cry for me Argentina …’ Doesn’t that tune break your heart? It is so nostalgic and so melodious!
I also accuse some self-hating Jewish intellectuals, both in the Diaspora and in Israel itself, for siding with the above. There are quite a handful of them, such as the co-founder of Médecins du Monde, which is, by the way, a laudable humanitarian association, as well as a number of leftist Israeli journalists, who, by transmitting their poisonous articles to the outside world give the anti-semites the ‘proof’ that they are right to hate Israel too.
I accuse the West much more than the Muslim dictators and tyrants like Assad, the Iranian ayatollahs, and even the monstrous Daesh terrorists. They have the culture of death and of destruction, killing many more Muslims than non-Muslims. One cannot reason with them, for, in my eyes, they don’t belong to humanity, that is, to humane beings. Yet, I often hear people repeat that they are worse than animals. This is a terrible insult to our fellow earthlings. I have lived many years in countries full of crocodiles, scorpions and other species which we find repelling. Yet, I claim that the latter are still better than the monsters mentioned earlier, for they kill to eat or to defend themselves, they don’t cut you into pieces for the fun of it, but for practical reasons!
Yes, I accuse all our opportunistic leaders, for whom, money comes before morality, and who support the most dangerous regimes which created Daesh in the first place. Now, the West, but not only the West, Hindu India, China, the Buddhist nations of Asia, the Christians of Black Africa, and all the other non-Muslim countries of the world in which the rulers have played with these regimes just to fill their pockets with millions of dollars, money that should have gone to their people, are exposing their populations to generations of war and destruction. France’s Prime Minister has said it at last – after 50 years of lies -: “We are at war with the world’s most dangerous lot, and this war will last decades”. It’s too late, dear.
I accuse the UN, ‘le grand machin’ (that big thingamajig), as De Gaulle used to call it, for ignoring the million or so Jewish refugees, who were expelled from North Africa and from all the Arab countries of the Middle East, with just their clothes on them, after Nasser, the ‘revered’ ruler of Egypt decided that there would be no more foreigners on his land. Look how Egypt is so much the poorer for it, when Alexandria and Cairo were thriving international centers!
A good thing Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey still think that foreigners are a welcome source of revenue, but with the recent terror attacks inflicted on these countries, the tourists are afraid of going there. I’ve been several times to all three and received a very warm welcome. My heart aches for their mostly kind and generous populations.
Why does the UN only consider the Palestinian refugees, who are despised by their Arab brethren? And if Israel (tinier than Belgium or Maryland – while the Arabs have thousands of square kilometers at their disposal) is not the land of the Jews, where did Hebrew come from? The galaxy? Come on guys, and you do know whom I am addressing, use your brains once in a while, instead of your stupid left-over superstitions.
Lastly, I accuse Western Europe and the Church for having ill-treated, tortured, and murdered millions of Jews (that didn’t start with the Nazis – open your History books), while calling themselves good Christians, when Jesus, whom they glorify as their god, was a Jew (a rabbi who was circumcised), and so where his parents and all the apostles; Jesus who would be horrified to see the way so many of these so-called good Christians have treated and are still treating his people. How could Isabel the queen of Spain be called Isabel the Catholic – by the way, she was going to be beatified, but the Jewish community worldwide (a mere 15 million souls) convinced the Pope not to sanctify that murderess – when she and her husband Ferdinand, perpetuated the Inquisition, with the blessings of the Pope? And this list too is very long: take Saint Louis, still called like that in France, who had thousands of Jews massacred.
The early Christians were a sect which did not apply Jesus’ precepts of goodness and of forgiveness, they used the Torah as their foundation and yet they did everything to harm the original Jews, mainly with ‘Saint’ Paul’s major lie. Paul was a pagan born in Tarsus, who became Jewish, to better spread the ‘good news’, i.e. that ‘The Jews killed Jesus’, when all of Israel was Jewish. That lie was and still is the poison that created and still nurtures European anti-semitism. The radical Muslims are now imitating those Europeans, adding their own hatred, but not only of the Jews, of all the non-Muslims. Look at the thousands of Oriental and African Christians, and other minorities, being either chased from their homes after thousands of years of residence – they were there much earlier than the Muslims -, or hacked to death, while the West … does nothing to save them. Nice example solidarity.
Please read what a former Israeli Ambassador has to say about the most antisemitic continent in the world: How Europe’s ‘Obsession’ With Jews Should Serve as Warning to America and to the rest of the civilised world (this last phrase is mine).
Albert Russo, who has published worldwide over 85 books of poetry, fiction and photography, in both English and French, his two mother tongues (Italian being his ‘paternal’ tongue, also speaks Spanish and German and still has notions of Swahili), is the recipient of many awards, such as The New York Poetry Forum and Amelia (CA) Awards, The American Society of Writers Fiction Award, The British Diversity Short Story Award, The AZsacra international Poetry Award (Taj Mahal Review – US$ 500), the Books & Authors Award, several Writer’s Digest poetry and fiction Awards (winner and finalist), aquillrelle Awards, the Prix Colette and the Prix de la Liberté, among others. His work has been translated into a dozen languages in 25 countries, on the five continents. He has co-published Gaytude with Adam Donaldson Powell, which won Best Gay Book in the USA. Albert Russo was also a member of the 1996 jury for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature which often leads to the Nobel Prize of Literature. Latest Prize: Best 2013 Unicef Short Story award in defense of childhood worldwide, entitled: Revenge by proxy / Vengeance par procuration.
Besides writing novels in English and in French, with work translated into a dozen languages, Albert Russo has garnered several prizes for his photography books, Indie Excellence Awards (both winner and finalist), The London Book Festival awards (finalist), The Gallery Photografica awards (silver medal), among others. Some of his photos have been exhibited at the Louvre Museum, in Paris, in Times Square, NYC, as well as at the Museum of Photography in Lausanne, Switzerland. Now, he is exhibiting at the Espace Pierre Cardin, in Paris, his work AIR DE MONTMARTRE, as well as photos on canvas. The Mayor of the Big Apple has lauded his two photobooks on Paris and New York. Some of his novels and memoirs have also been filmed in English, with videos 90 and 100 minutes long.
Visit his websites HERE and HERE!
Researchers and students of literature may now access the Albert Russo Literary Archives in Brussels, Belgium, the capital of the European Union:
ARCHIVES & MUSÉE DE LA LITTÉRATURE
Bibliothèque Royale Albert Ier
Boulevard de l’Empereur 4 -1000 Bruxelles – Belgique
search / rechercher: Auteur Albert Russo
Ranker: 300+ World’s best LGBT writers.
(This essay was previously published in The Times of Israel.)