May 1, 2008
Un texte indispensable sur l’un des personnages les plus douteux de Suisse, Jean Ziegler, paraît dans la dernière édition d’Azure, un journal intellectuel juif, et sous la plume de Hillel Neuer, directeur de l’ONG UN Watch.
C’est un examen critique complet de la carrière et de la personnalité du sociologue et auteur suisse. L’auteur y examine notamment les tendances de Jean Ziegler à l’affabulation:
He claims that as a child in Switzerland in the 1940s he witnessed a train accident in which a crashed vehicle was revealed to be carrying Nazi weapons, demolishing his youthful illusions about his country’s alleged neutrality. Ziegler presents this incident as a primal, formative experience, essential to the shaping of his adult character. Der Spiegel has reported, however, that there is no record of such a crash, and Ziegler’s own sister thinks he invented the story. Indeed, Ziegler’s strained relationship with the truth has led one Swiss reporter to conclude a lengthy profile of the UN Special Rapporteur by describing him as a “menteur et affabulateur”–a liar and a teller of tales.
Sa fascination pour les mouvements anti-occidentaux violents:
In a 1976 photograph, he is shown brandishing a Kalashnikov while on a solidarity visit with the Eritrean Liberation Front. In an image from 1979, he is in Ho Chi Minh’s Hanoi, standing atop a captured American tank. A 1981 picture shows him at a podium in Managua, addressing Sandinista soldiers (Ziegler has a medal from the Sandinista National Liberation Front). Finally, there is a photograph of him in a tent with armed militants from the Polisario Front, fighting for the independence of the Western Sahara — this time his 12-year-old son is holding the Kalashnikov.
This affinity for the radical and violent side of politics is more than aesthetic. Ziegler has actively supplied political and diplomatic aid to some of the most brutal regimes in recent memory. Ethiopian dictator colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam, accused of widespread human rights violations and of bringing his country to starvation, handpicked Ziegler in 1986 to be one of five experts who prepared a constitution calling for one-party rule–Ziegler was the only one from outside the Soviet bloc.
Ziegler has also paid visits to Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Kim Il Sung in North Korea, and in 2002 he fawned over Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe–then in the midst of engineering mass famine through violent land seizures–saying, “Mugabe has history and morality with him.” Regarding Hezbollah, Ziegler has stated that “I refuse to describe Hezbollah as a terrorist group. It is a national movement of resistance.”
Ses amitiés troubles:
In April 1996, for instance, he came to the defense of Roger Garaudy, a former French Stalinist and convert to Islam whose book The Founding Myths of Modern Israel denies the Holocaust. In response to the public controversy provoked by the book, Ziegler wrote a letter of support to Garaudy, which the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (codoh)–a group dedicated to the promotion of Holocaust denial–published in full on its website:
I am outraged at the legal case they are making against you…. All your work as a writer and philosopher attests to the rigor of your analysis and the unwavering honesty of your intentions. It makes you one of the leading thinkers of our time…. It is for all these reasons that I express here my solidarity and my admiring friendship.
Ziegler has also come to the aid of Tariq Ramadan, the controversial Islamic author who has written in praise of his maternal grandfather Hasan al-Banna, the Egyptian founder of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, and Sheikh al-Qaradawi, the contemporary theologian of the human bomb. Ramadan, also reared in Geneva and now a leading European intellectual, is a close friend of Ziegler and his family: He stuffed envelopes, made phone calls, and put up posters for Ziegler’s parliamentary election campaigns.
This affection apparently is reciprocated. In 1993, Ramadan wrote an open letter protesting the staging of Mahomet–a play written in 1736 by the French philosopher Voltaire–in Geneva, on the grounds that it would offend the Muslim community. Ziegler’s wife, Erika Deuber Ziegler–a member of the communist-affiliated Swiss Party of Labor and then director of the cultural affairs department for the city of Geneva–promptly blocked the performance by withholding a 310,000 franc subsidy.
Five years later, when his dissertation to the University of Geneva was rejected, Ramadan turned once again to Ziegler and his wife for assistance. Ramadan’s thesis recast the Muslim Brotherhood as a progressive social and religious movement and excised its teachings of jihad and misogyny, not to mention its support for Nazi Germany–a position that struck Ramadan’s two French supervisors as so untenable that they refused to award him a commendation. After Ziegler and his wife threatened a public scandal, however, a new jury of supervisors was formed–an exceedingly rare occurrence. With the removal of a few passages, Ramadan’s work was approved, giving him the academic credentials that have allowed his career to flourish.
Son goût pour les terroristes:
Most striking, however, is Ziegler’s role in co-founding, co-managing, and eventually winning the Muammar al-Qaddafi International Prize for Human Rights. In April 1989, just a few months after Pan Am flight 103 was blown up by Libyan intelligence agents, killing all 259 people on board, Ziegler announced the prize’s creation. It was widely believed to be a transparent attempt to change Libya’s damaged international image as a terrorist state.
Less than a year into his term at the UN, Ziegler delivered a report accusing Israel of policies that “created hunger and threaten starvation of the most destitute.” In January 2003, he told Al-Siyassa Al-Dawliya, an Egyptian quarterly, that the policies of “colonial repression” practiced by Ariel Sharon and other Israeli officials are “criminal and classifiable as crimes against humanity.” (…)
His twenty-five-page report accused Israel of numerous violations of human rights while simultaneously exculpating Palestinian terrorist groups from any responsibility for the conflict. Ziegler then swiftly issued a UN press release that “urgently” condemned Israel for destroying tunnels used by Palestinians for smuggling weapons and called for an “outpouring of condemnation” against the Jewish state. The Israeli army was accused of torturing and killing civilians, and then-prime minister Ariel Sharon of committing “state terror.”
(…) A few months later, Ziegler fired off another official UN letter, this time to the European Commission, urging it to cancel its trade agreement with Israel because of the latter’s alleged violations of the Palestinians’ right to food. This final missive was particularly bizarre because by the UN’s own standards, the food, situation in the Palestinian territories has never come remotely close to the “catastrophe” Ziegler described, nor has it ever been ranked as one of the world’s food emergencies. In fact, when the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition compared nutritional risk in selected refugee populations in November 2003, the West Bank and Gaza ranked lowest.
Ziegler had by this time become so identified with the Palestinian cause that when reporters in Brussels asked the Commission on Human Rights for a response to the report, they identified him as the “Special Rapporteur on Palestine”–a position Ziegler has never held.
Son approche très personnelle de ses charges onusiennes (rapporteur spécial pour le droit à l’alimentation):
The (UN Watch) study found that in the first four years of his mandate, Ziegler used his UN position to publicly criticize the United States on thirty-four occasions. In contrast, he never criticized any party involved in fifteen of the seventeen food emergencies examined, nor did he speak out on behalf of the people suffering under these famines.
Regarding food emergencies in such nations as Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Guinea, Haiti, Liberia, Chechnya, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda, Ziegler said nothing.
Sadly, his personal politics appear to have trumped his interest in the documented suffering of starving populations around the world–populations who are thus deprived of the benefits of the UN mechanism created expressly to serve their needs.
Et les raisons pour lesquelles cet individu reste si bien installé aux Nations-Unies, parmi lesquelles il faut citer le soutien sans réserve du Département fédéral des affaires étrangères. Mais Hillel Neuer conclut que le DFAE a eu tout à fait raison de propulser Jean Ziegler au Comité consultatif du Conseil des droits de l’homme: il incarne parfaitement la déliquescence actuelle de cet organe.
UPDATE: Aujourd’hui, dans Le Monde, Ziegler
admet volontiers que son mandat de plus de sept ans comme rapporteur spécial de l’ONU sur le droit à l’alimentation s’est achevé, le 30 avril, sur “un terrible échec”. En dépit de ses efforts controversés, la faim a gagné du terrain pour frapper aujourd’hui plus de 850 millions d’êtres humains, sur une planète qui “pourrait nourrir 12 milliards de personnes”, nous dit-il.