市民の目と口をふさぎたい理由


世界がネルソン・マンデラの訃報に接した12月6日、安倍政権は特定秘密保護法案を強行採決しました。自由の闘士が亡くなった日に、日本の民主主義が踏みにじられるとは、あまりにも皮肉です。

なるほど今の法律ではできない情報隠蔽や言論弾圧の必要性が差し迫ってきた、知られるとまずいことがあるのだということが、彼らの拙速なやり方でかえって明らかになりました。

秘密は隠せば隠すほど、ハデに知れ渡る
1898年1月13日、文豪エミール・ゾラがスパイ容疑で逮捕されたドレフュスを弁護する手紙を、L'Aurore紙の一面に「J'Accuse...! 我は弾劾する!」という見出しで発表しました。フォール大統領に宛てたその手紙が世論を喚起し、冤罪事件解決への大きな一歩となりました。

Quand on enferme la vérité sous terre, elle s’y amasse, elle y prend une force telle d’explosion, que, le jour où elle éclate, elle fait tout sauter avec elle. On verra bien si l’on ne vient pas de préparer, pour plus tard, le plus retentissant des désastres.

(要約)真実を黙らせて地下にうめると、それは増幅し爆発力としての力をたくわえ、ある日、一切を爆破しふきとばす。有名な一節です。

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Japan's secrecy law

"Quand on enferme la vérité sous terre, elle s’y amasse, elle y prend une force telle d’explosion, que, le jour où elle éclate, elle fait tout sauter avec elle. On verra bien si l’on ne vient pas de préparer, pour plus tard, le plus retentissant des désastres."

Émile Zola (1840-1902)

(Extrait de la lettre "J'Accuse... ! Lettre au Président de la République, M. Félix FAURE")

(When truth is buried underground, it grows and it builds up so much force that the day it explodes it blasts everything with it. We shall see whether we have been setting ourselves up for the most resounding of disasters, yet to come.)

(Excerpt of the letter "I accuse... ! Letter to the President of the Republic, M. Félix FAURE")

[Translation and notes © Shelley Temchin and Jean-Max Guieu, Georgetown University, 2001]
 
 

The hasty passage of the secrecy law has made me think that some leaders have urgent issues to desperately hide. In other words, they are afraid that the truth will hurt them soon. I can think of two of them.

特定秘密保護法案

欧州にいてもこの法案を、ずっと心配してましたよ。この法案が通れば、日本を離れる人がさらに増えると思い、じゃあヨーロッパに移住したい人たちのお手伝いをしようかと昨夜は考えたものでした。でも、簡単に日本を出れない人のほうが多いでしょう。

自民党の石破氏は、「大声を出すデモはテロと同じ」とおしゃったそうですが。ヨーロッパのデモを体験したことがないのでしょう、あの方。農民がトラクターで高速や幹線道路を完全にふさぎ、トラクターの古タイヤ(タイヤだけで人の背丈ほどある)を議会の前で燃やすのですよ。黒煙はあがり、公道はめちゃくちゃになるし、トラクターで一気に突進するから負傷者も多くでる。でも、職を失ったり税金が上がることがどういうことかみんな知っているから、互いにかばいあい、社会の機能は麻痺して、政府は大被害がでるから民意を尊重せざるを得なくなる。市民の声を聞かない代償は、高くつくのですね。

飛行機だって客を乗せてからスト、鉄道だって客を「人質」に国境あたりでいきなり動かなくなるのですよ。いつ終わるかもわからないゼネスト。日本のデモやストは、みなさんがんばってらしゃるけど、お行儀がいいなあと感じます。

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応用力におとる日本人 *** 「OECD国際成人力調査」

通称・金持ちクラブ。

経済協力開発機構(OECD)加盟国が行っているPIAACやPISAなどの国順リスト調査結果は、国の威信がかかっている。政治的な責任が問われるから、不面目な恥ずかしい結果は公表しづらく、できればいちゃもんをつけてごまかしたい。逆にいい結果は、誇張したいという各国の裏事情があるようだ。

OECDに限らず国際調査結果を見ると、世界のどこにも完璧なユートピアの国はないとあらためて感じる。

日本はどうだろう。どうも関係者から聴いた情報と日本の文部科学省・報道発表内容との間に、ズレがあるように思う。

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Generosity, Politics, Economy and Disasters

Like most weekends, my last Saturday was spent talking to family and friends in Australia. Our conversations focused mainly on Halyan, a category 5 typhoon that hit the Philippines badly on November 2013 causing deaths, injuries and destructions. One of these friends was still saying goodbye to her guests when I called. They had a birthday party and instead of gifts, she requested cash donation for the typhoon victims. The A$1,000 she collected will be used to buy nails, lumber and other basic construction materials for three families whose houses were destroyed. When there’s a disaster, no effort or help is insignificant.

Overall, the global community has been kind to the Halyan victims and there are reports of many Governments that pledged to send cash: e.g. the USA US$20 plus massive military rescue operations; Australia A$10M; Japan A$10M; European Union about E13M; UK £6M – just to name a few. As well, there are international, national and local NGOs; banks; companies and individuals whose generosity hasn’t made headlines. On the contrary, China – the second largest economy in the world – has attracted world’s attention due to its original pledge of $200,000 (which was increased to $2M after global criticisms – i.e. “peanuts” compared to a Swedish furniture chain’s offer of $2.7M through its charitable foundation). Meanwhile the Canadian Government matches every dollar donated by its citizens to the Halyan victims.

Is giving aid or helping others (during disaster or not) culturally- and nationally-driven?

Literature & Arts or Maths & Science?

I bumped recently into an acquaintance, who with an obvious sigh of relief on her face, announced that her high school daughter is doing Literature. We’re in France, hence I would like to talk first about the secondary schooling in this country.

Secondary education in France consists of Collège (junior high, 11 - 14 years old; 4 years of schooling) and Lycée (senior high, 15 - 18 years old; 3 years of schooling). Like in most high schools in developed countries, the core subjects in Collège are Math, Science, History, Geography, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Music, Physical Education and languages. At the Lycée students prepare for the Baccalauréat (known as ‘le bac’) which opens the door to a tertiary education or the workforce.

The Lycée is divided into general (for university studies), technology (for short-term studies) and professional (vocational qualification). During the first year at Lycée (known as Seconde), students choose a stream (série): S – Scientific, ES – Economic and Social, and L – Literature. The S is mainly high level mathematics, physics-chemistry and biology-geology. The L is heavily focused on French language & literature, foreign languages & literature and philosophy. ES covers economics and social sciences.

アメリカとのつき合いかた

米国に胸をかりた。アメリカに育ててもらった、と感謝している。

加藤周一だったと思う。はてしなく広大なアメリカでは、とてつもなく美しい頭脳と美しい心の両方を持ち合わせた人に出会う(大意)と書いていた。私の知る昔日の米国は、そうだった。

アメリカの底力、生真面目さや良さを深く知らない人は、その恐ろしさも知りえないだろう。アメリカに住んで、どうしてこんな超大国と戦争をしたのだろうと、母国の愚かさを実感した。日本ではエリートと目された人たちも、あちらではかなり稚拙に見劣りした(もちろん活躍している人も多いが)。

欧州に移住してから、第三者として日米を俯瞰するヨーロッパの視点が加わった。国際会議の場でいつも末席に座り、他国の思惑や交渉の場から孤立している日本の代表や官僚に出くわした。

Taxes, taxes, taxes

There’s no half a day when I don’t encounter newspaper articles, radio reports, TV documentaries and talks about taxes. Every tax payer I come across sounds unhappy with how much they contribute to Government services.

Late last year, in France, there was the famous (or infamous) decision of one of its film stars, Gerard Depardieu, to take a Russian citizenship for tax reason, i.e. in response to the Socialist Government’s introduction of 75% tax on earnings above 1M Euros. Paying taxes is an act of duty and solidarity, but …

When we think of taxes, we often have ‘personal income tax’ in mind; but there are many other national, regional and local taxes, such as those imposed on capital gains, land and residential properties, corporations and specific situations (e.g. inheritance and lodging taxes in France). It’s true though that we mostly pay taxes on our personal income and purchases (VAT - Value Added Tax).

There are national similarities and differences when it comes to taxes and how these are spent. In France, its citizen-residents have to pay taxes on their world-wide income; whereas non-residents must complete a return only if they receive income from letting properties in the country. Similarly, in Australia, non-residents are taxed only on their Australian-sourced income.

TPP as Star Wars’ Trade Federation!?

I find trading is like a war. When I wrote a blog on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in Japanese a few months ago, I drew an analogy between the TPP and Star Wars’ Trade Federation. I did not mean to be funny at all. Rather, I think my analogy was not bad at all. Senator Palpatine (who seemed to be a good guy in the beginning) said:

"Supreme Chancellor, delegates of the Senate, a tragedy has occurred, which started right here with the taxation of trade routes, and has now engulfed our entire planet in the oppression of the Trade Federation!" (from Star Wars wikia)

Now I see Mr. Obama is like Senator Palpatine who is eager to conclude the TPP, “corporate power tool of the 1%.”

Remember? In his August 31 statement on Syria, President Obama said:

"I’m also mindful that I’m the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. I’ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Find more references here...

オリンピックとTPP。希望を歴史の中に見つける

フランス人の友人が「さちえ、オリンピックの招致おめでとう」と言ったのがきっかけで、欧州の仲間はブラック・ユーモアで日本の放射能問題を延々と笑いとばした。

日本は大地震、津波、台風、竜巻、豪雨、豪雪と災害が多いけど、一番の災害はあの人だ。もはや安倍首相の嘘は、世界中に知れ渡ることとなった。「ああいう友達がいるだけで、もう敵は他にいらない。(バカな友達を持つと、自分に大きな災いをもたらすという意味)」ヨーロッパ地方の言い伝えがある。

ヨーロッパのブラック・ユーモアは、イジメではなく徹底的に苦いニガイ風刺で、日本も欧州の問題も自らの死でさえも、トコトン笑い飛ばし辛らつに批判する。(笑い飛ばすからと言って、彼らが死を怖れないのではない)。でもあそこまでブラックに笑い飛ばすと、ともかく「後は、元気に一日一日を生きていこう」という気になるから不思議だ。

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Beggars and begging

While watching the French Chess championship in Nancy last month, a lady sitting next to me said that she regrets giving one Euro to a teenage beggar with a non-French accent. According to her, in less than a second the one Euro disappeared from the beggar’s palm while a 10-cent coin emerged from his sleeve. She was embarrassed being told in public that the 10 cents won’t buy half a loaf of bread thus she grinned, “You won’t get a penny from me again.”

Recently, while entering a supermarket, a young woman with a baby caught my friend’s attention and thought of giving them some money on her way out. Fair enough, an hour later there was a woman with a baby at the same spot; however, they had different faces and other physical attributes, hairstyles and clothes. She concluded that the ones she saw earlier on had finished their shift.

I’m ambivalent when it comes to beggars: my heart says give while my mind dictates otherwise. A few months ago, I read an article about an Austrian Police’s revelation that beggars in Vienna are tied to the Eastern-European mafia. Apparently, the mafia requires women, children and the disabled from Rumania to bring in 80 Euros a day by begging and subject them to violent abuse when they fail to do so. Consequently, a new law has been introduced to make professional begging illegal in Austria.

Des nouvelles de Ogura Noboru Hanshi (小倉昇範士) - Maître de iaïdo 8ème dan

(Traduit de l'article de Sachié intitulé "News about Ogura Noboru Hanshi (小倉昇範士)")

On m'a demandé de contacter Ogura sensei il y a environ deux semaines. Je lui ai téléphoné immédiatement et nous avons discuté pendant 18 minutes. Comme d'habitude, j'ai adoré parler et rire avec lui.

Pour faire court, Ogura sensei va super bien!

Il pense souvent à ses ardents disciples en Europe. Toutefois, il ne peut voyager à l'étranger pour le moment car sa maman âgée de 97 ans a quelques ennuis de santé et réclame une attention constante.

Ogura sensei enseigne partout au Japon et doit souvent se déplacer jusqu'à trois jours maximum, auquel cas ses soeurs prennent soin de leur mère. Il promet du fond du coeur qu'il reviendra enseigner le iaïdo en Europe dès que sa maman ira mieux.

Il vous demande de continuer à vous entraîner vaillamment pour parfaire votre technique! Courage! Keiko gambatte kudasai!

Pour information, voici son agenda d’entraînements pour 2013:

... en savoir plus ...

News about Ogura Noboru Hanshi (小倉昇範士)

I was asked to contact Ogura sensei two weeks ago or so. I telephoned him immediately and we chatted for 18 minutes. As usually, I enjoyed talking and laughing with him.

To make a long story short, Ogura sensei is alive and kicking!

He often thinks of his ardent disciples in Europe. Though, he cannot travel abroad at the moment because his 97 year-old mother is frail and needs constant care.

Ogura sensei teaches all over in Japan and is often away three days maximum, while his sisters look after their mother. He faithfully promised that he will come back to Europe to teach Iaido as soon as his mother gets better.

He asks you continue your hard work! Keep it up! Keiko gambatte kudasai!

For your information, here is his training schedule:

... read more ...

Preventing Strokes

A stroke occurs when brain cells die because of lack of oxygen impacting on the person’s mental and physical abilities. This happens when: a) blood clot blocks an artery carrying blood from the heart to the body; or b) blood vessel breaks interrupting the flow of the blood to the brain. Its effect on the patient depends on which part of the brain the stroke takes place and how much damage has been done. Those with a small stroke have minor problems and recover completely. Serious strokes can lead to disability or death.

According to www.medicalnewstoday.com (seen on 26/7/13), the risk factors of stroke are: over 55 years old, middle-aged women with clinical depression, male, family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking cigarettes, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, high levels of amino acid in the blood, cocaine use, birth control or use of hormone therapy, heavy use of alcohol; men from divorced families have a higher chance.

The prevention of stroke is based on a healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that walking for at least 30 minutes each day reduce the risk of stroke for women. The food known to help fight against stroke are: tomatoes and other antioxidant fruits and vegetables, beans, oats, almonds, soy, salmon and other fatty fish, and those rich in potassium (e.g. bananas, potatoes, prunes, raisins) and magnesium (e.g. barley and cornmeal). Meanwhile, the bad triggers are processed food with fatty or unhealthy ingredients in the form of preservatives and colourings.

...selected paragraphs from Being Intelligent Gifted

三つの国の国境にて

突然、義弟が再婚するという知らせがあった。彼は、やんちゃでプレイボーイなので、来夏の結婚まで持つかは分からない。いや、彼は本気か? <神妙にお縄を受けて共暮らし> (時実新子)。「とにかく婚約はメデタイ。楽しもう」と、彼らの住むベルギーにむかった。

彼らの新居は、オランダ・ドイツ・ベルギーの三つの国境が集まった、三国点の近くにある。普段、欧州の国境を、県境のように行き来しているにもかかわらず。かつてヨーロッパや世界を制覇しようとした三つの大国が合体する一点を見ながら、それぞれの国境をひと足でとび越えながら、なぜか言いようのない興奮と感動をおぼえた。

おそらくヨーロッパ人にとって、三国点は私が子どもの頃に三国岳に登った体験と似通っているのかもしれない。

だが、島国で生まれた私には、三国点はものすごく新鮮だった。「日本もこんな地続きの国境があったら、もっと外交に長けていただろうに」と、ふと義妹となる人につぶやいたら、「ウイ(そうね)」と即答が返ってきた。

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