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On September 17, 2001, six days after the known events, Marc-Édouard Nabe, a forty-year old French author, visits his publisher Jean-Paul Bertrand of the Éditions du Rocher publishing house. Nabe offers to write “the first book on the September 11 attacks”. Two weeks later, having secluded himself in a Paris hotel for the task, the work is done. A month later, the pamphlet is released in France under the title Une Lueur d’Espoir (A Glimmer of Hope). In some one hundred and fifty pages, Nabe articulates a perspective that few at the time dared contemplate, namely the hope that the terrible punishment inflicted upon the United States, and a Western world for far too long blinded by its own decadence, would provide the men of the new millennium with a chance to open their eyes.

Shortly thereafter invited in style by the man and televi-sion show of the moment, Thierry Ardisson’s Tout Le Monde en Parle, Nabe presents his views amidst an atmosphere of scandal. He is the first and only one at that time to call George W. Bush names. The “bastard” had not yet launched his wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The next day, A Glimmer of Hope ’s sales pick up dramatically with the book even-tually reaching the twenty-five thousand mark – a notable achievement for an author whose previous novels and poli-tical essays critical of the United States’ and Israel’s policies had been the subject of a dedicated media boycott.

The persistent feeling of guilt, prevalent among French people in relation to their behavior towards the Nazi during World War II, remains a heavy burden for independent spi-rits such as Nabe who reject the idea of guilt by association. A Frenchman of Greek-Italian ancestry, Nabe decries the self-censorship that characterizes many an intellectual of his country and, as such, utters truths that never fail to outrage his contemporaries. He is, above all, for a “revolution of the mind”. In the time-honored tradition of the likes of Charles Péguy, Georges Bernanos, indeed Léon Bloy and Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Marc-Édouard Nabe is of that rare breed that uses a precise literary style to express truth no holds barred. Today, such a mission must inevitably tackle the fate of an Arab and Muslim world that awakened on a famous September morning to launch a cry of revolt and distress whose echoes are still heard in Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon. Living up fully to the logic of his argument, Nabe – in a move that puts other ‘engaged artists’ to shame – later tra-veled to Bagdad on the eve of the invasion launched by the United States and the United Kingdom on Iraq, bringing back another urgent work, Printemps De Feu (Spring Of Fire).

At the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, we are making available for the English-speaking audience a short collection of excerpts from this modern classic that A Glimmer of Hope is already proving to be. This book by an author that has, as of now, released twenty-seven books, and who, in spite of near-universal ack-nowledgment of his blinding literary talent, remains scan-dalously boycotted by the media and literary elite in France, deserves more than ever to be made accessible to internatio-nal readers. Particularly so, at a time when the world is still grappling with the lasting effects of that fateful September day, five years ago.

September 11, 2006

 

A GLIMMER OF HOPE
Translated excerpts from Marc-Édouard Nabe’s Une Lueur d’Espoir (2001)

Today, my mother was born. As is the case every September 11, I call to wish her a happy birthday...
-Turn on the television, she says.
The news anchor, Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, is blowing the candles of a strange cake. One of the two World Trade Center towers in New York breaks down in a black cloud of smoke. It is 4:00 p.m. in Paris, and the television itself can’t get over showing what it sees: an American plane has just sunk head on in the Twin Towers. Another one emerges in the blue sky and is, at once, embedded in the second tower. A moment later, a third plane is voluntarily crushed on the Pentagon in Washington, and a fourth one in a forest in Pennsylvania. Four suicide attacks in half an hour, on this sunny September Tuesday (right in the middle of the Indian summer)... Happy birthday, Mom! I always knew this date of September 11 was catastrophic! Since I was conceived (in New York), I suspected that my mother, this Virgin, would cause with her birthing a new apocalypse... She the Immaculate! I had been complaining that here, in the West, nothing happens anymore. I was about to give up. Give up what? Just about everything. What use living in a time that is continuously dying?...

...

On the 10th, I had asked myself: Is it good to still hope that the world requires grace? From now on, I will not be the only one to remember September 11 anymore. That relieves me, almost! I have been so much up into symbols of late. I have a handful of them, of my dear crowned figures... The date is so splendid that we should have considered what this day would hold in the world... And on September 11, a hundred and eleven days before the end of the year were remaining!! 11: two1s set up like twin towers!! Poivre is still talking. Before my TV set in flames, I read extracts of chapter XVIII of the Apocalypse of Midsummer's Day. Our two voices mix.
- Nobody really knows what occurred. The big Babylon fell down, and it became the residence of the demons, the retirement of any obnoxious spirit, and the den of any impure and hateful bird. It is impossible for the moment to say how many victims there are. Because she made all the nations drink the wine of the fury of its prostitution, and the kings of the ground are corrupt with her, and the merchants of the ground grew rich by the excess of its luxury. We did not see the first explosion live, but there is footage of the second one. Because its sins are assembled to Heaven and god remembered his iniquities. Treat her just like she treated you, return to her the double of all her errors. The only thing that we can say is that it is a terrorist act. These planes which struck full whip the two towers did not arrive there by chance. In the same chalice where it gave you to drink, make drink it twice as much; multiply its torments and its pains, with proportion of what it is plunged in the delights. Jacques Chirac condemns the terrorist act. Then the kings of the ground who are corrupt with her, and who lived in the delights, will cry over it, and will strike their chest by seeing the smoke of her flashover.

...

The American night is Prussian blue. The sky of New York spits its lungs. Plunderers, wearing doctor’s masks, draw red crosses in the back with adhesive plaster to empty the emptied stores…. You can see them carrying gifts in the sticky fog. Merry Christmas! They play hide-and-seek with the police in the middle of the seven stages. Plundering on one hand, soli-darity on the other. Chapels of rest light their candles. There’s nothing else to do but sing “God Bless America”. And then taking out the famous minute of silence of the mothballs. Shutting up for one minute is what the unfanatic has to replace religion! “The number of victims is quite high,” says an announcer, “because at the time the planes crashed in the buildings, the offices were full, and workers in their offices”. Here’s the problem: besides a few Puerto Rican cleaning ladies, a handful Black watchmen and a Belgian window cleaner, there were almost only golden boys, who, all day long were fiddling on their computers in the Babel Towers, taken into service by the great Yankee buggery.

...

Individually, it is wicked. Globally, it is brilliant. The tears are so salted that the tongues are sweetened. What are we waiting to speak? Sending commercial aircraft in the world symbols of materialism and contempt requires genius. An evil’s genius per-haps, but all the same, genius. Using the adversary’s means in order to turn them into weapons against him. From now on, it is useless to compete with the enemy’s technological power. As the last ones will be the first ones, the strongest ones will be the weakest ones. A little method is never superfluous. The purpose? To spectacularly destroy the World Cash Centre. How? By attacking it by surprise. Where from? From the sky, what with God and all! With what? With the products of its imperialism themselves. With due respect to small and large malignant people who deny with any frontality the least effectiveness, it is the first time that such a sophisticated strategy is accompanied by a frontal attack. Blitzterrorismus!

...

They don’t need bombs anymore. Kamikaze determination is enough. The plane is metamorphosed into a missile. The hijackers transformed it, as if by miracle. It is hardly less difficult than turning water into wine! In fact only the planes were diver-ted, it is their function. Boeing-bombs! Hostage taking becomes suddenly very obsolete! From now on, even a firearm is use-less. A cutter and you can put the first country of the world at your feet. This art of the boomerang responds to metaphysical worries that are too often neglected: how to render concrete an allegory ?… That’s why we have to feel very concerned by this strategic triumph of September 11, vulgarly called a “wretched attack”. The “unbiased” journalists cannot understand and help understand the range of such an event. As far as the “sensationalist” ones are concerned, they fill the hole with tears, since jour-nalists hate a vacuum. Take out the handkerchiefs! They are the best condoms to prevent the Protest Fever from spreading. The media rather prefer exciting their pity on the victims by showing images (those that Mother CNN serves them up) than turning it over to see what is hidden behind. Sympathy can’t be discussed. Empathy is required. Intelligence melts like marshmallows under the aggression of the News. Power invests on Pathos to limit Chaos.

...

The Arabs have something more: faith. They are not even “religious” like the atheists understand it. It is not a blind belief in God, but a determination based on certainty. Perverted by culture and politics, the Koranic mystic cannot be apprehended positively. There is yet only one negative apprehension of it… Each religion had its hour of fanaticism. The Crusades will be forever the cross that the Church will have to bear. Perhaps we should have wondered why, today, Islam is the most enthusias-tic blazing inferno of faith. If the Westerners of the twentieth century had not been so iniquitous, perhaps today the Muslims would have been satisfied with a cushy Islam. If the Muslims’ faith is so strong, it is because they are the only ones who still believe in something. They call it Allah, but it is rather “Get Going!”. Islam is their means of transport. A way of saying no. A “no” of black gold which shines in the green hearts. A “no” to the rot of the heart and the spirit of the men who can only make money and cholesterol.

...

An intact wheel of plane in the middle of the mountains of white rubble. A good American family had a son in one of the towers and a daughter at the Pentagon: both are safe. Some other people lost their brothers on an aircraft and their uncle on another one. George Bush’s father found his son. Two George are hugging. H and W are as one. The Gulf warrior expects a lot from his son. Will he spread the plague as much as him, or more? Suspense. Oedipus at Disneyland! At Ground Zero, Jr. borrows a loudspeaker and holds the honest helmeted fireman N°64 by the neck… While waiting for the “Memorial”, the Texan boy is perched on a heap of glass and concrete. On this Sinai of rubble, Bush improvises a crying speech. “I am a good guy. We are good. The others are diabolic. I like my cheeseburger cooked medium”. Then patriotism is showing off. It’s neces-sary to avenge this humiliation which points out Pearl Harbor! Connections are made quickly. Pearl Harbor prepared Hiroshima, and the veterans would like to see an atomic bomb on the country which hides the persons responsible of this hecatomb. However, we’re not in 1941, in the Pacific… There is no Japanese at the horizon… It is not war…
- Yes, it’s war! War!
- Really? Who are we fighting?
- Terrorism!
- What is terrorism?
- We don’t care about what it is! … We just want to get rid of it! ...
Bin Laden. The new monster! Saddam Hussein himself looks suddenly older! We need to go back to the Ayatollah Khomeini to find such a famous Devil! The Saudi billionaire has got everything going for him: that’s the reason why he fascinates the whole world. Besides Bin Laden, the big bad wolf is the Little Red Riding Hood! Within twenty-four hours he became a worldwide legend. He pulled out all the stops! 4567 deaths within half an hour in Manhattan! Our planet’s going crazy! Russians supporting Americans! Khatami expressing his solidarity! Bashar Al Assad his sympathy! Kadhafi sharing in his grief with his former bombers! Fidel Castro is not so Cuban! Arafat has a lump in his throat. All of that, it’s him! Bin Laden! The upside down world is his work. Very tall, a beautiful beard, and a gentle self-confidence face. Something indo-lent. Such an angelic smile that even Mona Lisa seems to make a hate scowl. A statuesque nose. Long and thin hands. He’s hugging his shining Kalashnikov gun. Behind him, a map subtly colored. While attending his son’s wedding day, he is moved to tears. He is capped with his red and white squared keffiyeh like the fabric lids of the pots of jam. A terrorist Bonne-Maman! A very beautiful light-colored wooded cane carries him. A great force emerges from his morbid appearance. Left-handed man but not clumsy, he has a powerful index. He looks at the world with slowness under his eyebrows looking like warheads of Romance church. His eyes seem to break down like steel towers in his eyelids. Bin Laden is so biblical that he seems to come from Judea. It is completely the way I see Christ. During His ministry of course! It’s still a little early to take note of the Christ-like body of Bin Laden. When he will be crucified, it will be always time to confirm this impression. What if he were the Messiah of the millennium? The one the Arabs had been waiting for to start the Holy War? We can’t reproach him for playing an underhand trick on his enemies. By surprise, but not as a traitor. In his propaganda videos, he takes credit for being clear.

...

Words matter. But Westerners do not believe in words anymore. For these deaf people, the sentences that leave a mouth are volatile filling of atmosphere, and that’s all. The speeches are firmly entrenched in any heart. The last real taboo is mea-ning… As for holy war, is it still time to explain to the arrogant secularity ignoramus what Jihad means? The inversion of despair which it proposes? Its imaginative engine? Its epic movement? The sincerity and intrepidity of its warriors, who, since the end of the Byzantine Empire, haven’t found a better response to the Crusades known as Christian ones? Without speaking about the concepts of Revealing, of Revelation which so extremely bring it closer to the Apocalypse… And of the avenger Holy Spirit!… Journalists aren’t aware that they indulge theology when they pronounce words that they don’t understand. Yes, the Apocalypse is the mother of the Holy War.

...

Maybe Bin Laden follows the news from his Afghan den. I can just imagine him in his cave, with his Kalash gun against a rock. He sits on a pillow, wearing his smart khaki jacket. In front of his TV set, he smokes a joint, caressing his beard from time to time. Bush says: “those who are against us are with the terrorists”. Bin Laden bites off a pastry cake. Pope Jean-Paul II prays while trem-bling in Kazakhstan. Bin Laden helps himself to a cup of tea. Arafat donates his blood to the American victims. Bin Laden goes to piss. At midday, all Europeans observe three minutes of silence. Bin Laden listens to a CD of Oum Kalthoum. How smart! This son of a Syrian woman and a Yemeni man is so luminous that the guilty Westerners cannot treat him of “loony”: “The col-lapse of the Soviet Union made the United States feel haughtier, and they started to regard themselves as the Masters of this world by establishing what they call a new world order”. Are these the words of an insane bastard? “Today, the United States have a dou-ble language, regarding as terrorist whoever is running counter to their injustice. In Japan, hundreds of thousands of men, young people and old men, were killed and they say that it wasn’t a world crime”. And when he adds “They want to occupy our coun-tries, steal our resources, impose their agents to direct us and they want us to agree!”, how not to agree?

...

Bin Laden is supposed to have planned financial advantages from the catastrophic 11th chance since he was in position to fore-see its moment. These are no more insiders trading but rather attacks trading! Transactions on the edge of the pit. It looks like they had a premonitory vision of the fall of the Market, some mysterious shareholders speculated for the fall until the day before… Direct actions on the American and United Airlines companies! He put all of them in short sales! Colossal benefits by sales options and overdraft stock sales. Qualified assholes say with a funny spite: “Bin Laden succeeded in financing by the Stock Exchange his own attacks against capitalism. It is the roof of perversity!” Perverse, Osama? It is really not to an international usurers’ society to reproach him anything! Ezra Pound would be proud of him. In the mission of turning over the West against its own system, Bin Laden has an admirable coherence. A morality is in his logic. On his videos, he is shown wearing a white dress aiming with his kalashnikov gun, but the machine-gun is not his single weapon… When you note that the Goods Empire, with all his satellites sys-tem, Level of the world monitoring and technoscience, does not manage to find a fellow riding on horseback in the mountain! It certainly makes the Che Guevara of Islam laugh! A billion fingers are pointed at Bin Laden! Even the Talibans claimed they had lost his trace…

...

You all are American. Not me. I don’t even feel like having the right to consider myself as a pro-Arab since I’m not a Muslim. I simply agree with those who harm the Western pseudo-democratic system that makes so many souls spoil their life everyday. If some Papuans, Tahitians, Inuit had committed suicide attacks against the symbolic skyscrapers, it would have been the same. How can’t you greet anyone who put the Nation-State at risk? Target! Target! Actually, the only problem the crazy-about-demo-cracy Americans have is that they don’t know where to strike. If Kaddafi or Saddam Hussein had hit the New York towers, Bagdad or Tripoli would have already been wiped out. Then, don’t ecstasy too much on the calm determination, the quiet patriotism, the dignity, and the political “maturity” of the Americans!

...

If they believe that the whole world is going to follow them in their antiterrorist Crusade, the Americans are wrong. Once the emotion evaporates like the cloud of smoke in Manhattan, the other countries will get a grip. Long ago, Europe despi-sed Muslims and was afraid of the Americans: today it’s the other way round. The Fifteen don’t need America to manage business. Neither does Asia. In France, between two silence minutes, there’s a rumor going around that America only saved Europe to reduce it to slavery. These people never act for no reason. If they came to defend Saudi Arabia at the time Saddam invaded Kuwait, it’s not for the sake of the nice and fat King Fahd’s chin. The Yankee boy has a good sixth sense to smell rotten regimes. Particularly when they’re the first oil producers in the world! No need to go back to the massacred Redskins or the African Negroes imported and persecuted by the Ku Klux Klan, nor Hiroshima and its “Little Boys” to be aware of the pain the Americans produced. Given the circumstances, we can’t be too critical of them. The only thing George Bush should have done on the evening of the eleventh is to kneel before the ruins and beg Pardon. “A little fervor, and repent”, said St. John. Instead, we are subjected to “Infinite Justice”, a programmed new war…

...

American “foreign” policy! We can hear everywhere that it is responsible for what happened on this bloody Tuesday, and that it needs to be reviewed from A to Z, yet the leaders refrain from explaining the reasons of this to the surprised mass. Uncle Sam washes his hands with the others’ blood. There were no Yankees in sight to intervene when the mosque’s espla-nade in Jerusalem was invaded by the Unfaithful. At Camp David, not a single second of silence when little Mohammed was shot by a “stray bullet”, not protected enough by his father’s body. Too bad, that the Americans will not choose positive firm-ness in the Middle East over negative hardness in Afghanistan.

...

After the tragic beauty of the attacks and ruins in New York, the show of American stars paddling in the patho-business has something of revolting display. Bush and his ones do not realize how much, in these cases, they give reason to the terrorists. TRI-BUTE TO HEROES! Which HEROES? Except a few hundreds overzealous firemen, the thousands of dead are only victims. There is no heroism in receiving a billion tons of burning concrete on the mug! From Tom Cruise to Julia Roberts, from Muhammad Ali (sorry, Cassius Clay) to Jack Nicholson, from Celine Dion to Rambo… standing to attention! To support the injured, to give blood! Is Yasser Arafat’s not to their liking? There is already too much! Certain groups are refused. O+, universal donor, is very snuffed. There, these Draculas would have already emptied me down in one go! Ah, Mohammed Atta, you died for nothing… Bambi Jackson will compose a new chart-topping anthem to the “heroes” glory”! It is what France-Soir calls “The America we love”… West Side Story, Elvis Presley, and Country Music! And of course of Liza Minnelli’s New York! New York! I refuse to announce that “The America we love” is also Edgar Poe’s, Charles Ives’ and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s. I would be asha-med to point out the name of those that this country sent to break on its block of indifference: Charlie, Parker, Thelonious Monk, and Albert Ayler… George Bush has just prohibited the airing on the radio of Louis Armstrong’s song What a Wonderful World. What is this civilization that decides at which “decent” time the world will or not have the permission to be wonderful? It is that one that is called the leader of West? Well, then thank you.
There’s the terrorist and the terrorised. The terrorised ones don’t look this way, but they’re very harmful too! Faint-hearted, spi-neless, reasoning, and dull… They’re so conditioned to think that democracy is the least evil (corny), that they cannot imagine one would refute that. The most cynic ones faint to understand for five minutes the Eastern exacerbated frustration reaching saturation point. But they end very quickly in spreading egoist protectionism. Fashionable yokels posing like pro-Arab dandies until the attack threat hovers above their small family! They already see themselves polluted by green chemical clouds, bacteriologically contami-nated by phantasmagorical viruses, as if they weren’t poisoned all the day long for real, by the noxious clouds of the media-staged political terror. Once they asserted their antiracism, they can turn over their liberal exaction, while pretending to believe that, in all their social clutter of situationist integrated chicanery, freedom exists. Freedom of profiteers, that’s all. Even after what happened, the terrorised go on believing that Evil doesn’t come from Good! That the attacks will only be useful in one thing: linking the free nations and starting a moral crusade, at last! What crusade? “ It’s war!” The terrorised believe they are in Sarajevo in 1914… They were already shaking with fear at the Kosovo time. They see Third World War detonators everywhere! The only problem is that you need at least two states to have a war… But terrorism is not a state. It’s just a state of things. A right state of things. In this poli-tical chaos, battles are mixing… And finally neither crusades nor wars: just a little antiterrorist reform that will lead to the world-wide middle-class standardization so much dreamed of. Globalization and antiterrorism have never gotten on so well…

...

Bin Laden’s act does not propose more solution. It raises a question, draws a punctuation mark in history. A plane crashing in a tower is a question mark. What remains to understand is what is being asked. Bin Laden leaves the freedom of interpretation. Not the Americans. “War! ”, they say. When the CIA was sponsoring the Afghan Arabs in the Eighties, was it already “war”? Before becoming a sort of Promised Land to liberate, Afghanistan was an ideal opportunity for the Americans to promote a new Vietnam where they would not have to dirty their hands. Up to the Afghans to put up with the Soviets! Thus, the Russians will know what humiliation is! The more fanatic the mujahidins will be, the more they will give the Commies a hammering! And the verb was turn into cannon fodder… In 1989, after a great failure, the Communists left, Kalashnikovs between their legs. The Berlin Wall had nothing more to do but collapse in the Gulf.
Then, this war is it coming? America turns people away. All is plain for all to see, but the Yankees are spoiling for a fight. They are millions to want to commit themselves in order to give Bin Laden and his Talibans a trashing! Bush boosts his WASPs. More brutal the ones than the others. National cohesion is total. The young, the old, women, and children exchange their ice creams for rifles. The operation is now called “Enduring Freedom” in order to make the Crusade look less aven-ging, but what is it actually? Immutable opposition to change! The country bumpkins of Kentucky are clear: “It is necessary to turn Afghanistan into No man' s landistan!” All that the Americans will be able to do is bribe the Afghans by sending US marked food so that they will turn against their chiefs! What a beautiful mentality. Humanitarian and soldier rhyme, but it doesn’t make sense. Their mission should be “humilitarian”! A bag of rice, three bombs, a bag of noodles, and ten bombs… Only eggs are missing! The “liberators” are able to release millions of their bomber-hens…. The fact remains that children of Iraq will not have them!

...

Soon, the whole planet will be constraint to the “vigikamikaze” plan. Enormous budgets to protect the “citizens”! Which means to hold them. Very quickly, car searches will be systematic. In each apartment, there will be more cameras and micro-phone-spies than in a television show. Internet sites will be searched without mandate. On planes, bodyguards will accom-pany each traveler. Agents of the FBI will appear as soon as a North African asks a flight attendant for a glass of water! Each will have on his passport his fingerprints, and his iris photographed… Inspection of parking spaces, destruction of suspicious luggage, mine clearances of the dustbins, but also tightened interrogations, random detentions, and zeal… This is a far cry from the easy replacement of metal forks and knives by plastic ones!

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Is this the modern world? Preventive police custody! Permanent suspicion encouraging crime… How the masks fall! A day will soon arrive when people will have enough to live in a corner like punished children. Police measurements due to the attacks of the Eleventh must cause a revolt and not only a social one… Let us return to real concerns!… What to live? What to let die? Who lies to whom? What do have I to enjoy? Why not give me? A whole heap of questions more real than “What am I going to buy on Saturday and where will I on holiday?”… It would be time for man to be interested in him rather than in what the society makes him believe he is.

...

Tell me who you are not and I will tell to you who to kill.

 

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