News & Logs

November 22, 2015

What is so discouraging about the terrorist acts is that our discussion of what motivated the operations is as insane as the acts themselves. With each attack of this nature, we restage the grand war drama, the nation in peril and the protector-state purporting to rise up against barbarity. This is what states do, we say: we should have a basic expectation of security, and the state should have the means to provide it. End of story.
But what makes the current situation so much more dismaying is that the crimes committed on 13 November have occurred within a few days of another event...

November 7, 2015

The simulation of the COP-21 done in Sciences Po in May 2015 in the Amandiers theatre in Nanterre near Paris had mobilized 200 students from many universities around the world and has explored a very original procedure, one that tried to approximate the "Parliament of Things" that has been the object of many studies over the year. This innovation in political theory and international relations, is now visible as a film realized by David Borstein and Les films de l'air. It is now available in English as a video on demand on the...

June 25, 2015

There is one thing more difficult than to tell good from evil, it is to decide which time we are in, which epoch, and on which land we have our feet on. I was reminded of that difficulty Saturday at the border when the police officer, after having asked me what research I was doing, and on learning that I work en environment with a special interest for the drought, retorted: “Drought, which drought? Have you not read the Bible, it is all there, 7 years dry, 7 years wet, I have been in California for forty years, it’s always like this, it never fails. So don’t believe environmentalists,...

February 14, 2015

Confronted with hideous crimes, the first temptation is to portray the perpetrators as archaic bloodthirsty fanatics who have no place in our midst and that should be uprooted and forever eliminated. It’s especially tempting to say that we are at war with them, since they themselves claim to be at war with us. However, we begin to have second thoughts when we learn that they have been educated in the same schools as our children and that until the moment when they started to be, as it is said, “radicalized”, they were fully “assimilated” to our “secular culture”. The more we learn about...

January 19, 2015

Kindly translated by Timothy Howles (and slightly abridged in Le Monde)
Sometimes artists supply the key to current events before they happen. I’m not referring to the novel of a certain Michel Houellebecq , but rather to the film Timbuktu (directed by Abderrahmane Sissako). In that film we find a local imam resisting jihadists who have come from outside the country. Is this Islam against Islam? No, what we have here is a very ancient Islam confronted by foreigners who show themselves incapable of understanding the history and values of the country on which they have laid...