holiday:new year's day

  • Top 3 #programming Language To Watch Out in 2019
    https://hackernoon.com/top-3-programming-language-to-watch-out-in-2019-95995e81ad2b?source=rss-

    I Feel:Every piece of code we software developers wrote/write is largely responsible for the progressive and connected world we are experiencing currently. It changed the fate of the humanity in a big way. So you need to be proud of what you have done and has to act more responsibly, as the whole world is looking towards you to create more magic and enable more innovation.As the clock is ticking and days are passing by we all are heading for another new year which looks promising and challenging as well. We have seen how AI and ML has been raising lots of hope for all visionaries, how blockchain irrespective of Bitcoin mess is looking to be the most promising tech innovation of the current century.The whole automation wave is taking industries by storm. While all these promising tech (...)

    #software-development #javascript #technology #business



  • The rise of Nazism

    About | Roman Vishniac Archive
    http://vishniac.icp.org
    https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/oct/28/roman-vishniac-rediscovered-photographer-nazism?CMP=fb_gu
    https://www.ushmm.org/collections/the-museums-collections/collections-highlights/vishniac-collection

    Born in 1897 to an affluent Russian Jewish family, Vishniac immigrated to Berlin in 1920 in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. As an amateur photographer, he took to the streets with his camera throughout the 1920s and ’30s, offering astute, often humorous visual commentary on his adopted city and experimented with new and modern approaches to framing and composition. Documenting the rise of Nazi power, he focused his lens on the signs of oppression and doom that soon formed the backdrop of his Berlin street photography. From ca. 1935 to 1938, while living in Berlin and pursuing his lifelong interests in zoology, biology and science photography, he was commissioned by the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the world’s largest Jewish relief organization, to photograph impoverished Jewish communities in central and eastern Europe. On New Year’s Eve, 1940, he arrived in New York and soon opened a portrait studio. At the same time, he began documenting American Jewish communal and immigrant life and established himself as a pioneer in the field of photomicroscopy. In 1947, Vishniac returned to Europe and documented Jewish Displaced Persons camps and the ruins of Berlin. During this time, he also recorded the efforts of Holocaust survivors to rebuild their lives, and the work of the JDC and other Jewish relief organizations in providing them with aid and emigration assistance.


  • Trip report - CppCon 2018—Jean Guegant
    http://isocpp.org/feeder/?FeederAction=clicked&feed=All+Posts&seed=http%3A%2F%2Fisocpp.org%2Fblog%2F2

    A new one!

    Trip report - CppCon 2018 by Jean Guegant

    From the article:

    New year, new conference! This time, my employer, King, helped me to organize a first pilgrimage to CppCon for me and another colleague. You cannot fathom how enthusiastic I was to finally making it there! Although I might be a bit late on the “trip-report-race”, I think that it is still worth to relate my overall experience of the event and then move onto a list of recommended talks you should watch-out on Youtube...

    #News,Articles&_Books,_Events,


  • Suite de la compilation de chansons contre #Donald_Trump après un petit tour sur Youtube...

    La première partie est là:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/727919

    JELLO BIAFRA AND D.O.A. - Trump’s Power is Boring (2016)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5firAfW_3U

    Joan Baez - Nasty Man (2017)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHQ7N9lEl_E

    Snoop Dogg - Lavender (2017)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjqfzFCLt9s

    Bruce Springsteen & Joe Grushecky - That´s What Makes Us Great (2017)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtkVkbVxpjc

    Joey Bada$$ - Land of the Free (2017)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeQW-9Cg8qs

    Green Day - Troubled Times (2017)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cVJr3eQfXc

    Fiona Apple - Tiny Hands (2017)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVvPs3zZj6w

    Stew - Klown Wit Da Nuclear Code (2017)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn5RnjEHR10

    Gorillaz - Hallelujah Money (2017)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDUrpPvU1_4

    Arcade Fire - I Give You Power (2017)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6jma9VQEls

    CocoRosie - Smoke’em Out (2017)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMb4TGFEVYw

    OI POLLOI - DONALD TRUMP FUCK YOU (2017)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHC0uac4Apg

    Prophets of Rage - Hail to the Chief (2017)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asP2BHnyUTo

    #Musique #Musique_et_politique #playlist


  • Compilation de chansons contre #Donald_Trump :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvqYabGI6HQ&index=1&list=PLkeA_mTMOkTtgSXyRLTzunt6ZPMZRdT3P

    #Musique #Musique_et_politique #compilation #playlist #recension

    ============================================

    Anthony Hamilton - Donald Trump will Grab You by the Pu**y (2016)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/532425
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yU7UqXF68M

    Pussy Riot - Straight Outta Vagina (2016)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/536722
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bp-KeVBNz0A

    Pussy Riot - Organs (2016)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/536722
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTmNxp3e4m4

    Pussy Riot - Make America Great Again (2016)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/536722
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-bKFo30o2o

    Ryan Harvey, Ani DiFranco & Tom Morello - Old Man Trump (2016)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/546050
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmZnlGBhwKg

    Aretha Franklin ne chantera pas pour Donald Trump
    Jazz Radio, le 15 decembre 2016
    https://seenthis.net/messages/552736

    Dee Snider - So What (2016)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/566521
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAigAI-dZgQ

    John Legend - Love Me Now (2016)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/542046
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmCFY1oYDeM

    John Legend - Surefire (2017)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/601935
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kZ46Lz8rug

    A New York, les jazzmen sonnent la charge contre Trump
    Eric Delhaye, Télérama, le 11 janvier 2017
    https://seenthis.net/messages/561478

    Dumpstaphunk - Justice (2017)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/563842
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp_tdt61EVA

    Stone Foundation - Season of Change (2017)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/566521
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o8SsH9sZrE

    Lee Fields - Make The World (2017)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/599341
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U231bka4als

    Sheila E. - America (2017)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/616928
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=um4sJhdyWGU

    Sheila E. - Funky National Anthem: Message 2 America (2017)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/632453
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd0n9Fu6P44

    Mavis Staples - If All I Was Was Black (2017)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/632453
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTgFZtu2ohk

    Mighty Mo Rodgers - Charlottesville Song (2017)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/632453
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZj8M1oZZLc

    Stevie Wonder, toujours en pointe, s’agenouille contre Donald Trump et la pauvreté
    Le Figaro, le 24 septembre 2017
    https://seenthis.net/messages/632454

    Eminem Rips - The Storm (2017)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/636772
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LunHybOKIjU

    Rafeef Ziadah - In Jerusalem (2017)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/660181
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9OOUb-z5b0

    Miguel - Now (2017)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/576637
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eFL1zzGK8o

    Marc Ribot - Never Again (Muslim Jewish Resistance) (2017)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/722355
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP7bdigwRgU

    Marc Ribot - Songs Of Resistance (2018)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/721583

    Avec par exemple:

    Marc Ribot, Steve Earle & Tift Merritt - Srinivas (2018)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/721583
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BszPwW2tpyM

    Sharon Jones - Tear It Down (2018)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/661484
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PUsEt5IJHM

    Trio Joubran & Roger Waters - SUPREMACY (2018)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/676836
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i-TMG7k_QM

    Janelle Monáe - PYNK (2018)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/685655
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaYvlVR_BEc

    Janelle Monae - Americans (2018)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/685655
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ivqFkLYxp8

    Childish Gambino - This Is America (2018)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/692466
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYOjWnS4cMY

    Madeleine Peyroux- Anthem (2018)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/723202
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYo5lBQ-Fa0

    Eric Bibb - What’s he gonna say today (2018)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/721203
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-eGbB4uhDE

    Ben Comeau - Donald Trump is a Wanker (2018)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/722115
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZxCAqCUgug


  • Conscientious objector to mark Jewish new year in prison
    +972 Magazine | Published September 7, 2018
    https://972mag.com/conscientious-objector-hilel-garmi-military-prison/137656

    Hilel Garmi is in prison for the third time, for refusing to serve in the Israeli military. His decision was partly inspired by one of the lead organizers of the Great Return March in Gaza.

    Conscientious objector Hilel Garmi was sentenced to 10 days in prison on Monday, after he again refused to serve in the Israel Defense Forces, in protest of Israel’s policies in the occupied territories. This is Garmi’s third detention, at the end of which he would have served 37 days in military prison.

    Garmi, 18, from Kibbutz Yodfat in northern Israel, was first imprisoned in late July, after military police forces arrived at his home to arrest him. “I know I will be proud of this decision for the rest of my life, knowing that in the moment of truth, I was loyal to my beliefs, and did the only thing that seems moral to me. The way I see it, I chose to be on the right side of history,” said Garmi, upon his entry to prison.

    #objecteurs


  • Israel is too strong
    If Israel were weaker, it would work harder to be accepted in the region. If it were less strong, Israel would have had to put an end to the curse of the occupation
    Gideon Levy | Sep 08, 2018 11:36 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-is-too-strong-1.6464641

    In the end, after deducting all the other ills, we find that the worst of them all, the mother of all disasters, is that Israel is too strong. If it weren’t so strong – too strong – it would be more just. If it couldn’t do whatever it felt like doing, its conduct would be more moral and more considerate. A good part of its crimes and whims comes from its power drunkenness. A good part of what it does stems from the fact that it simply can. It can thumb its nose at the whole world; ignore international law; control another people by force for generations; infringe on the sovereignty of its neighbors; act like it’s the be-all and the end-all, only because it has the power to do so.

    Like any other country, Israel needs to be strong. Weakness might indeed lead to its destruction, as Israelis are told constantly from the day they are born. But too much power has ruined it and caused it damage of a different kind. It’s not its weakness, as it describes itself – surrounded by enemies that seek only to destroy it, little David facing Goliath – that molded its character. It’s the overabundance of power that it has accumulated that has molded it more than anything else. If Israel were weaker, it would work harder to be accepted in the region. If it were less strong, Israel would have had to put an end to the curse of the occupation.

    Even if it was born in sin, Israel is not a country of particularly bad people. Even the arrogance Israelis show the whole world is not an inborn trait. Israel probably did not intend to become what it is: a regional power, which largely dictates to the most powerful country, the United States, how it should conduct itself; a country that many others court and even fear and at the same time is considered an outcast by anyone with a conscience. Israel has become this way because it is brimming with power. It accumulated it gradually, and today it has reached its zenith.

    Israel has never been stronger. It is not by chance that now its image is at the lowest point in its history. That’s the price of too much power.

    Israel is walloping the whole world. Not only with the occupation, which it continues undisturbed despite the opposition of most of the world; not only in the horrific siege on Gaza and its cruel attacks on it, which include war crimes that Israel is never punished for; not only with the settlements, whose legitimacy most of the world also doesn’t recognize – the entirety of its foreign policy says hubris.

    The daily bombings in Syria and other countries and regular flyovers of Lebanon as if there were no border and no tomorrow; arrogant, criminal, unrestrained international assassinations; leading the world to fight the Iranian nuclear program; the shocking international criminalization campaign against the BDS movement; the fact that it refrains from signing international treaties to which all democratic countries are signatories; that it endlessly disregards resolutions by international bodies; attempts to interfere in the domestic matters of its neighbors, becomes involved in wars that have nothing to do with it and even attempts to stir things up in the European Union and lead to disunity there; takes subversive action against the (former) president of the United States and closes its embassy in Paraguay only because the latter took a step that Israel didn’t like – doing all of these things like it’s a superpower.

    It’s hard to think of another country that is not the United States, Russia or China that would dare to act like this. Israel can.

    Ostensibly, this is a dizzying success of the Zionist enterprise. Who would have dreamed that we’d become like this? In fact, this is the greatest threat to its justness. Except for a few mishaps, like in 1973, this power drunkenness has so far continued without Israel having to pay any significant price, except in terms of its image, which it has also learned to disregard.

    On the eve of the new year, Israel is not facing challenges that endanger its belligerent super-powerful status. It seems that it can probably go on doing what it is doing – in the occupied territories, the Middle East and the whole world.

    Only history itself insists on reminding us from time to time that such shows of unbridled power drunkenness usually end badly. Very badly.


  • 9 Reasons why your #ico Advisor fails to raise funds
    https://hackernoon.com/9-reasons-why-your-ico-advisor-fails-to-raise-funds-f0f01a23a562?source=

    Source: Bitcoin NewsCryptocurrencies have taken a big fall from their highs of November 2017. While the rest of the world was jubilantly waiting for the clock to strike midnight on New Year’s eve, crypto-traders all over the world were constantly logged into their favourite crypto-exchanges, hoping for a miracle to reverse the sudden fall in crypto-prices. They consoled themselves by saying that it was temporary.Those who had bought their first bitcoin during December 2017 learned first hand why cryptocurrencies are called the new wild west.Fast forward to July 2018 and the cryptocurrency prices are stuck at a third of their December 2017 highs with no sign of repeating their earlier feat. John McAfee claims that the BTC price will touch $500,000 by 2020 and an ICOBENCH report says that (...)

    #ico-advisor #ico-fundraising #fundraising #blockchain


  • Is the Chinese Language a Superstition Machine? - Issue 59: Connections
    http://nautil.us/issue/59/connections/is-the-chinese-language-a-superstition-machine-rp

    Every year, more than a billion people around the world celebrate Chinese New Year and engage in a subtle linguistic dance with luck. You can think of it as a set of holiday rituals that resemble a courtship. To lure good fortune into their lives, they may decorate their homes and doors with paper cutouts of lucky words or phrases. Those who need a haircut make sure to get one before the New Year, as the word for “hair” (fa) sounds like the word for “prosperity”—and who wants to snip away prosperity, even if it’s just a trim? The menu of food served at festive meals often includes fish, because its name (yu) sounds the same as the word for “surplus”; a type of algae known as fat choy because in Cantonese it sounds like “get rich”; and oranges, because in certain regions their name sounds like (...)


  • Gregory Klimov. The Terror Machine. Chapter 16
    http://g-klimov.info/klimov-pp-e/ETM16.htm

    Stalin’s Party

    The days passed into weeks, the weeks into months. An incessant lapse of time in which there was no purpose, in which one only looked back and felt a great emptiness in the soul.

    Winter had come. The New Year of 1947 was approaching. In us Soviet men, who stood on the bound between two worlds, this aroused few cheerful memories and still fewer cheerful expectations. We had recently witnessed two noteworthy events: in the October there had been the first post-war elections to the Berlin municipal council, and in November the regular election of candidates to the Supreme Soviet of the U. S. S. R.

    The German elections aroused far greater interest among the Soviet residents in Berlin than one would have expected. Perhaps it was because they differed fundamentally from those to which we were accustomed. It was strange to see the pre-election slogans of the various parties. We were struck by the powerful and intelligent propaganda of the Socialist Unity Party. Here one sensed the long experience of Soviet propaganda; it was self-confident and shameless. We, who were the masters of the S. E. D. and knew what was behind it all, were particularly struck by this latter aspect.

    I well remember one incident that occurred during the Berlin elections. One Sunday morning I and two other officers decided to take advantage of the fine weather to go for a motorcycle ride. We borrowed three heavy military motorcycles from the Auto Battalion and tore out of Karlshorst along the Frankfurter-Allee.

    On our way to the Alexanderplatz we overtook a slowly marching column of men with crimson banners and flags in their hands. The demonstrators made an exceptionally depressing and joyless impression. Men in Thaelmann caps and red armbands were bustling backward and forward along its sides. We accelerated to drive past. It had been organized by the trade unions of the Soviet sector to express the wishes and desires of the German people. Attendance was compulsory. Any man who didn’t turn up was in danger of losing his job. It was pitiful and absurd to see this flock of sheep moving along under the supervision of the herdsmen in Thaelmann caps.

    I don’t know how it came about, but all the three of us Soviet officers began to ride our powerful military motorcycles round and round that column. The demonstrators looked at one another anxiously, assuming that we were a military patrol sent to ensure that the procession didn’t melt away. The herdsmen stared at us in astonishment, and as we drove close to the edge of the column they had to jump aside to avoid being knocked down. For our part, we were sickened at the sight of this shameful comedy, and on the other hand we enjoyed not having to take part in it ourselves for once.

    On that same day a Soviet patrol shot an American who was attempting to photograph a similar demonstration in the Soviet sector of Berlin. Evidently someone was of the opinion that such photographs might have the same effect on the close observer that that procession had made on us.

    The elections were held on 21 October. I have never known people in the Soviet Union to take any interest in the results of elections to the Soviet elected authorities. But on that election day in Berlin I doubt whether there was one man in Karlshorst who was not interested in the results. Most interesting of all was the fact that the S. E. D. came last but one of the parties. Not much was said about this eloquent circumstance.

    In the S. M. A. Administration for Industry the Berlin elections led to the following conversation between Captain Bagdassarian and Major Zhdanov:

    “You know,” Captain Bagdassarian said, as he pointed to the results printed in one of the newspapers, “when I think of these elections I get a queer thought. All the parties are voting. Supposing the Communist Party gets a majority. Does it mean that the others will let it take over the power?”

    “Yes, it looks like it,” Major Zhdanov answered uncertainly.

    “That’s funny! If the Communist Party comes to power, its first step will be to wring the necks of all the other parties. Yet these other parties are ready to give the power into the Communist Party’s hands without making any resistance. That doesn’t make sense!”

    “You can’t make sense of this democracy business all at once!” the major sighed.

    “It’s utter idiocy!” the captain agreed.

    “Perhaps it isn’t so stupid after all.” The major knitted his brows in the attempt to get to the bottom of it all. “Democracy as a political form is the will of the majority. If the majority votes for communism, there will be communism. True, very few are voting for it at the moment!” he ended on a different note.

    “All the same, it’s queer.” Captain Bagdassarian ran his fingers through his curly hair. “They all sling abuse at one another, but nobody puts anybody else into prison. But we do just the reverse: one says nothing and is put in prison. A man doesn’t even think, and still he’s put in prison...”

    In December 1946 the Officers’ Club in Karlshorst was the scene of electoral meetings at which candidates were nominated for the U. S. S. R. Supreme Soviet. On the day set apart for the Administration for Industry all the workers in the Administration had to be present in the Club, which had been decorated for the occasion with additional portraits of the leaders, and red bunting.

    We sat for some time in the hall, utterly bored. At last the chairman called on a speaker, who had been previously arranged. With a paper in his hand the speaker went to the platform and, speaking in a monotonous tone, began to explain how happy we all were that we ourselves could elect the representatives to our country’s supreme governmental authority. Then a further speaker went to the platform to propose our candidate from the Special Electoral District formed by the Soviet Occupation Zone.

    Then the candidate himself came out from the wings and told us his life story. He was a general, but I doubt whether he had ever spoken in such a humble and lackadaisical manner in his entire previous military career. The second candidate was someone quite unknown to all of us. We knew such a person existed only when he went to the platform not from the wings, but from the body of the hall. He was chosen to play the role of candidate ’from the very heart of the people’. Both candidates had been put forward in advance by the S. M. A. Political Administration and had been approved by Moscow.

    We all waited impatiently for this boring procedure to finish, especially as it was to be followed by a film show. When the chairman announced that he proposed to take the vote the hall sighed with relief, and everybody hurriedly raised their hands without waiting to be invited. Armed with pencils and paper, the tellers hurried through the hall. The audience began to murmur with impatience. At last the votes were counted, and the chairman asked in a drowsy tone: “Those against?”

    There was a dead silence. Nobody stirred.

    The chairman waited for a moment or two, then looked round the hall. Then, to intensify the effect of the unanimous decision, he asked in a tone of assumed surprise: “Nobody against?”

    And thus we elected two men ’chosen of the people’ to the U. S. S. R. Supreme Soviet.

    The turn of the year brought several innovations that made one take yet another glance back over the eighteen months that had passed since the capitulation of Germany.

    In the early autumn of 1946 the United States Secretary of State, Byrnes, had made a speech in Stuttgart, soberly surveying events since the end of the war and indicating the main features of American foreign policy. Only now, after eighteen months, were the Americans beginning to suspect that it was hard to sup out of the same bowl as good old Uncle Joe.

    Byrne’s’ speech was not to the Kremlin’s liking, and it was given a sharp answer in Molotov’s speech on the occasion of the revolutionary celebrations on 7 November. So much importance was attached to this speech that it was made the subject of compulsory study in all the political study circles throughout the S. M. A.

    There was no attempt to conceal the connection between the Byrnes and Molotov speeches from the senior officials of the S. M. A.; the two speeches were studied simultaneously, and those taking part in the discussion had to unmask the American’s imperialist intrigues and to stress Molotov’s peace-loving policy. But Byrne’s’ speech was regarded as too dangerous for the less politically educated workers, and they were allowed to discuss only their own leader’s speech.

    These two political speeches can be regarded as marking the beginning of the cold war. In the Control Commission Allied relations cooled off still more and went no further than diplomatic courtesy required. Decisions affecting the future of Germany were more and more removed from the Control Commission meetings to the private offices of the Kremlin and the White House.

    This situation also served as a signal for a final tightening of the screw on the Soviet post-war front. The S. M. A. Political Administration issued an instruction accusing minor Party authorities of having lost contact with the masses and neglecting political educational work. This was the crack of the whip. One could guess what would follow. In fact the first consequence was a change of Party organizers in all the S. M. A. departments. This was followed by measures to tighten things up all through the Soviet machinery.

    Hitherto the Soviet residents of Karlshorst had lived and worked without engaging in political study. Anybody who knows anything about Soviet life will know what that meant. The higher authorities were secretly astonished, the smaller fry quietly rejoiced; but one and all held their tongues, on the principle of not mentioning the devil in case he appeared. But now political studies were started, including study of the Short History of the C. P. S. U. And it had to be carried through in shock tempo at that. Evidently to make up for lost time.

    The next step was a campaign to raise labor discipline. It was decided to remind Soviet citizens abroad that there was such a thing as the Soviet labor code. Brand-new boards with hooks and numbers were hung up in all the departments, and every worker in each department had to take off and re-hang his own allotted number four times a day. In the Soviet Union these boards are the object of fear, but their effect on us was rather to get our backs up.

    The head of the Administration for Industry, Alexandrov, entrusted his number to his chauffeur, who very quickly lost it. We officers regarded the boards as an insult and took it in turn to remove several numbers at a time. But once more Soviet law with all its consequences hung as a threat over the head of every one of us.

    Then a hysterical ’vigilance’ campaign was inaugurated. Personnel Departments were instituted in all the S. M. A. offices with the obvious job of keeping closer watch on the workers. Once more extensive questionnaires were drawn up ’for Soviet citizens abroad’. These with their endless list of questions had to be filled afresh every three months. Many of us kept a copy of the questionnaire and our answers, and next time simply copied the old answers on to the new form.

    A demobilized lieutenant of the N. K. V. D. forces was appointed head of the Personnel Department in the Administration for Industry. From the very beginning he behaved with such rudeness and insolence that many of the officers, who were of higher rank, were infuriated. His room was in the basement, and he would ring someone up: “Comrade Colonel, come down to me and fill in your questionnaire.” But as often as not he got the answer: “If you need it filled in, bring it up to me. At the moment I’m still a colonel, I believe.”

    An order issued by General Dratvin, chief of staff of the S. M. A., was circulated for the information of all members of the S. M. A. In it, without actually mentioning names, he stated that the wives of quite a number of highly placed Soviet officials were going to the Berlin western sector while their husbands were at work, and were forming impermissible acquaintances among officers of the western powers. The order spoke in very sharp terms; it referred to fashionable restaurants, expensive furs, and, to crown all, agents of foreign intelligence services. All the accused women were returned to the Soviet Union at twenty-four hours’ notice, and the husbands were sternly reprimanded for their lack of Bolshevik vigilance.

    The secret purpose of this unusually frank order was revealed in its second paragraph, in which all members of the S. M. A. were strictly forbidden to visit the western sector, and were reminded of the necessity to be particularly vigilant in the circumstances of residence abroad. The women were chastised in order to serve as a warning to others.

    In conclusion General Dratvin threatened the application of sterner measures to all who violated the order... down to and including return to the Soviet Union. In saying so much, the general went too far. For thus officially, in the words of the S. M. A. chief of staff, return to one’s native land was recognized as serious punishment for Soviet citizens abroad.

    None of this was anything new to us. We had experienced it all before, at home. But coming after we had won the war, after we had looked forward hopefully to changes in the Soviet system, and above all after our comparatively free life in occupied Germany, this abrupt return to former practices gave us furiously to think. Or rather, to avoid thinking if possible. That was the only hope.

    II

    I had made Major Dubov’s acquaintance during the war. Even a brief comradeship at the front binds men together more strongly than many years of acquaintance in normal conditions. That may have been the reason why we greeted each other as old acquaintances when we met again as fellow workers in the S. M. A

    He was over forty. Outwardly stern and incommunicative, he had few friends, and avoided society. At first I regarded his reserve simply as a trait of his character. But after a time I noticed that he had a morbid antipathy to anybody who began to talk politics in his hearing. I assumed that he had good reasons for his attitude, and never bothered him with unnecessary questions.

    It so happened that I was the only person Dubov introduced to his family. He had a charming, well-educated wife, and two children. When I came to know his family, I realized that he was not only a good husband and father, but also a rarely decent fellow morally.

    His one great passion was hunting. That brought us still closer together. We often drove out of Berlin on a Saturday and spent all day and all night hunting, cut off from Karlshorst and the entire world.

    On one occasion, tired out after hours of wandering through the dense growth of thickets and innumerable little lakes, we flung ourselves down to have a rest. The conversation happened to turn to discussion of an officer we both knew, and I casually remarked: “He’s still young and stupid...”

    The major gave me a close look and asked with a queer smile:

    “And are you so old and wise?”

    “Well, not quite,” I answered. “But I’ve learned to keep a still tongue in my head.”

    He again looked at me fixedly. “Tell me, has anything ever happened to you... of... you know what?”

    “Absolutely nothing,” I replied, realizing what he was hinting at.

    “Then why aren’t you in the Party?” he asked almost roughly.

    “I’ve simply not had the time,” I answered shortly, for I had no wish to go further into details.

    ’Now listen, Gregory Petrovich, it’s not a joking matter," he said slowly, and I caught an almost fatherly note in his voice. “For a man in your position it smacks almost of a deliberate demonstration. It might even have serious consequences for you.”

    “I’m doing my job as well as any Party man!” I retorted.

    He smiled, rather sadly. “That’s how I argued once,” he said with bitter irony.

    Then, without my prompting him, in an objective sort of tone he told me his story: how he had come to join the Party, and why he avoided people who talked politics.

    In 1938 Dubov was an engineer working in a Leningrad factory producing precision instruments. He was a capable engineer, and held a responsible post connected with the construction of instruments for the air force and the navy. He liked his job, devoted all his free time to research, and bothered little about politics. Despite his responsible post he remained a non-Party man.

    One day he was summoned to the director’s room. From that moment he was not seen in the works again. Nor did he return home. His wife found out what had happened to him when the N. K. V. D. men turned up at their apartment in the middle of the night, made a thorough search, and confiscated all her husband’s personal property. Next day she went to the N. K. V. D. to ask for news of him. She was told they knew nothing about him, and was advised not to worry, nor to worry others. If there were any need, she would be informed.

    Dubov spent more than a year in the investigation cells of the N. K. V. D. He was charged with sabotage and counter-revolutionary activity. The sentence was the standard one: ten years’ imprisonment, to be spent in one of the camps in Central Siberia, where new war factories were being built. There he continued to work as an engineer.

    He discovered the real reason for his arrest only two years later. Among a fresh batch of prisoners he recognized the former chief engineer at the Leningrad factory for precision instruments. Dubov was delighted to see him, but the man seemed restrained and avoided Dubov as much as possible. But as the months passed the two engineers struck up a friendship based on their common memories of freedom. One day the conversation turned to the reasons why they had been sent to the camp.

    “Someone denounced me,” Dubov said.

    The chief engineer looked away, then sighed, and laughed bitterly. “Would you like to know who it was?” he asked.

    Dubov stared at him distrustfully.

    “I did it,” the other man said, and hurried on without giving Dubov a chance to comment: “We regularly received orders from the N. K. V. D. to provide them with so many persons possessing such and such qualifications. The lists had to be drawn up by the Party organizer and confirmed by the chief engineer and the director. What could I do? I too had a wife and children....”

    “But why was I put on the list?” Dubov asked.

    “Because you were not a Party member,” the former chief engineer said. “The Party organizer put you down.”

    Dubov said nothing for some time, then he looked wearily at the other man and asked: “But how did you get here?”

    The engineer only shrugged his shoulders helplessly.

    Dubov spent four years in the camp. But during all those years he did not suffer as much as his wife and children. Under Soviet law a political prisoner’s guilt extends to include his family. His wife was morally and physically shattered. Their children grew up in the knowledge that their father was ’an enemy of the people’, and felt always that they were not like other children.

    In 1948 he was released before the expiration of his term. With no explanation given, he was completely rehabilitated and the conviction quashed. He was called up straight from the camp into the army. That was the real reason for his premature discharge. Without seeing his family he went as an officer directly to the front.

    At the front he was an exemplary officer, just as he had been an exemplary engineer in Leningrad and an exemplary prisoner in the Siberian camp. He was just to his men and ruthless to the enemy. And he was devoted to his native land, with all its Party organizers and prison camps.

    Shortly before the end of the war he received another battle decoration, and in addition was singled out for the honor of being invited to join the Communist Party. This time he did not hesitate. Without a word he filled in the questionnaires. And without a word he accepted the Party ticket, which the corps commander’s political deputy presented to him.

    In the S. M. A. Major Dubov was regarded as one of their most reliable and knowledgeable engineers. He was given the responsible task of transferring the German industry in the Soviet zone to new lines, but his rank and position remained unchanged. Why? Because, although he had been completely rehabilitated and the conviction had been quashed, in his personal file was a curt note: ’Conviction under article 58.’ That was enough to cast a shadow over all his future life.

    III

    During my stay in Karlshorst I formed a close friendship with Captain Belyavsky. Little by little I came to know his story too, though he talked about himself very reluctantly, and only dropped hints. In 1936 Belyavsky was in Spain, where he was a lieutenant in the staff of the Republican forces. This was about the time that the Yezhov terror was at its height in the Soviet Union, and one night his father was arrested, to vanish without trace. Belyavsky was immediately recalled from Spain and demobilized. Until 1941 he shared the fate of other relatives of ’enemies of the people’; in other words, he was outside the pale.

    All those spheres of Soviet life in which the first requirement is a completed questionnaire were closed to him. Only a Soviet citizen can understand all the significance of such a situation. When war broke out in 1941 he was not called up for the army, since he was ’politically unreliable’. But when the German forces began to lay siege to his native city, Leningrad, he went to the military commander and volunteered for service. His request was granted, and that same day, as an ordinary private, he was flung into the fight - in a punitive battalion. In other words, straight to his death. But fate was more merciful to him than the Soviet regime, and he escaped with a wound.

    He spent the next three years as an ordinary soldier, going right through the siege of Leningrad. His service was exemplary, and he was recommended again and again for officer’s rank, but each time the questionnaire put an end to the story. In 1944, when the Soviet armies were suffering from a very serious shortage of officers, he was summoned to the staff once more.

    The colonel who interviewed him pointed to the entry: ’article 58’ on his questionnaire and asked: “Why do you always mention that?”

    Belyavsky did not reply.

    “Is it that you don’t want to fight?” the colonel asked sharply; he avoided looking at the decorations on Belyavsky’s chest. Belyavsky only shrugged his shoulders. The decorations rattled a little, as though answering the colonel’s question.

    “If you continue to make such entries, I must regard it as an attempt to avoid military service,” the colonel said. “Take a new form and fill it in properly. Leave a space for your service rank.”

    Private Mikhail Belyavsky did not return to his company. But next day First-Lieutenant Belyavsky was on his way to Moscow. In his pocket he had an order to proceed to the Military-Diplomatic College of the Red Army General Staff. Men were needed in wartime, and there was no bothering about a thorough examination of questionnaires. There would be plenty of opportunity for that after the war. And so Mikhail Belyavsky entered one of the most privileged military colleges in the Soviet Union.

    He was discharged from the college in the autumn of 1945 with the rank of captain, and was sent to work in the Soviet Military Administration. That was nothing extraordinary. Many of the students were freed from further study even in the middle of their second-year course, in order to take up a post.

    Captain Belyavsky’s personal file, which was kept in the S. M. A. Personnel Department, was in spotless order. All through his documents the phrase occurred again and again: ’Devoted to the Lenin-Stalin Party’. That was a stereotyped remark and was to be found in almost every officer’s personal file, but it was truer of him than of the majority.

    Certain days were set apart for political instruction, and on one of these days Belyavsky went to his office two hours earlier, as was his custom, and unfolded his papers. The educational circle to which he belonged was of a rather higher level, for it consisted exclusively of men with advanced education. With earnest faces they pored over the pages of the Short Course, though they must have known that the book was full of lies and falsifications.

    The leader of the circle, who normally was one of themselves, began proceedings by asking:

    “Well, who’s prepared to open on the third chapter? Any volunteers?”

    They all bowed their heads even lower over their books. Some of them began to turn over their papers hurriedly; others fixed their eyes on the table as though collecting their thoughts with a view to speaking later. There was no volunteer.

    “All right, then we’ll follow the list,” the leader proposed. There was a sigh of relief.

    The majority of the circle leaders kept alphabetical lists of their circle members. Each member knew whom he followed. And so the question was settled quite simply. The first on the list began to deliver a summary of the chapter, while the one who was to follow him read farther, underlining passages with red pencil. In this way the majority of circles got through their course without difficulty.

    All the members of Belyavsky’s circle had worked through the Short Course several times already. They were all bored to tears. When each had done his duty he sat gazing out of the window, smoking, or sharpening his pencil.

    Everything went off as usual. The speakers droned away monotonously. The leader sat with his eyes on his notebook, not even listening. It was a hot day, and everybody felt sleepy. And in that drowsy kingdom something happened to Captain Belyavsky that he himself would have had difficulty in explaining.

    When his turn was reached he had to expatiate on the passage which deals with the Entente’s three anti-Soviet campaigns. The theme had a heroic quality and there were parallels to the experiences of the war just ended. As soon as Belyavsky began to speak the leader raised his sleepy eyes and stared at him in astonishment. And one by one all the others began to gaze at him in bewilderment.

    For he spoke as though addressing a meeting. His voice had a note of unusual conviction. It sounded a note of faith, of challenge. He depicted the three foreign interventions in Soviet Russia after the 1917 revolution, and cleverly linked them up with the invasion and destruction of the Nazi armies in 1941-1945. He did not summarize the Short Course; he spoke extemporaneously, from a heart burning with conviction. The bewildered looks of his fellows expressed the mute question: ’Has he gone mad? Why all this unnecessary bother?’

    It happened that the circle that day included the Instructor from the S. M. A. Political Administration, who was there as observer. Belyavsky’s speech attracted his notice; obviously he had not often heard anyone speak with conviction in these circles for political education. He made a note of the name. Next day Belyavsky was summoned to the Political Administration.

    “Listen, Comrade Captain,” the instructor said to him. "I’m amazed at you. I’ve been looking through your personal file. An exemplary officer, the finest of testimonials, and yet you’re not a Party member. That simply won’t do. The Party must interest itself in men like you...

    “No, no, no...” he raised his hand, as though afraid Belyavsky might make some objection. “You made a very remarkable speech in the political circle yesterday... And yet you’ve never been drawn into Party work. We shall assign you to the task of giving political instruction to the officers’ wives. That to begin with. And secondly, you must put in your application for Party membership at once. No objections! Get that?”

    Belyavsky had no thought of objecting. Membership of the Party connoted a full and valid position in Soviet society. His heart was filled with joy; he shook the instructor’s hand with genuine gratitude.

    The November revolutionary celebrations were drawing near. In addition to having charge of a political education circle, Belyavsky was entrusted with the preparations for the festival. He plunged headlong into social and political activity and devoted all his free time to it. Spiritually he was born again. But above all he rejoiced because the Party had forgotten his past, because he was no longer a lone wolf. Only now did he fully realize how bitterly he had felt his alienation from society.

    Just about then an insignificant incident occurred which had unexpected consequences.

    Belyavsky was a keen motorcyclist. While working in the S. M. A. he had had innumerable specimens of motorcycles pass through his hands, and in the end he had picked on a very fine BMW sports model for himself. All Karlshorst knew that machine, and many a young officer stood to admire it as it flashed by.

    One evening, as he was riding past the house where Valia Grinchuk lived, he saw a light in her rooms, and decided to drop in and see her. He leaned the motorcycle against the railings, but did not lock it up, as was his habit, for he did not intend to stay long.

    Valia had guests, the company was a merry one, and he stayed longer than he thought. He left about ten o’clock. When he got outside his motorcycle had disappeared. He looked about him, thinking someone must be playing a practical joke. But there was no sign of it anywhere.

    He broke into a string of curses. Obviously someone had stolen the machine. But what infuriated him most was the knowledge that the thief must be one of his own, Soviet, people. No Berlin thief would ever have dared to take anything from Karlshorst, least of all a motorcycle.

    The Karlshorst commandatura was only a few paces away. He went and reported the theft to the officer on duty. The lieutenant sympathized with him and promised to find out whether the theft had been committed by one of the commandatura guards. He knew well enough who were responsible for the majority of the thefts that took place in Karlshorst.

    Belyavsky had no great faith in the commandatura, and he decided to go straight to a German police station situated just outside the sealed-off Soviet area. He returned accompanied by a German policeman and a police dog. At the spot where the motorcycle had been left the policeman put the dog on the scent. It made directly for the next wicket gate and began to paw at it.

    Belyavsky knew that the Party organizer for the Administration of Justice, Major Yeroma, and his deputy, Major Nikolayev, lived there, and he thought the dog was completely on the wrong trail. But each time they tried out the animal it persistently led them to that wicket gate. In the end Belyavsky shrugged his shoulders hopelessly and let the German policeman go.

    Next day he happened to be passing the gate at which the dog had pawed, and he decided to go in and make inquiries. He found four young women sitting in the sitting room. One of them was the wife of Major Nikolayev; another was the wife of the head of the S. M. A. Political Administration, General Makarov.

    All the women were rather problematic wives, wives only within the bounds of Karlshorst. Almost all the high S. M. A. officials had exceptionally young wives. Marshal Sokolovsky’s wife was several years younger than his daughter was. Such things were the result of the war.

    Belyavsky apologized for troubling them, explained why he had called, and inquired whether they had noticed anything suspicious the previous evening. They exchanged embarrassed glances and expressed their indignation at the theft. They seemed bored, and they invited him to stay awhile. Quite an animated conversation followed, a conversation, which played a large part in the further developments, chiefly because he made a very good impression on those young women.

    After searching fruitlessly for a week he had resigned himself to | the loss of his favorite machine, when one evening he was called | to the telephone. He was astonished to hear a woman’s voice

    “Is that Comrade Captain Belyavsky?” the unknown asked, and went on hurriedly: “You mustn’t mind my not mentioning my name. I I’m one of the ladies who... you remember, you called to inquire | about the motorcycle.... I phoned up to let you know that your machine is in the cellar of the house you called at. Go at once and you’ll find it. You can guess who took it.... Please don’t tell anybody how you found out. I wouldn’t like...”

    He hurriedly thanked her and put down the receiver. He sat for a moment considering what he should do next. For the thief could be no other than the S. M. A. Party organizer for the Administration of Justice, Yeroma himself. Finally he decided to ask a Lieutenant-Colonel Potapov and Major Berko to go with him as witnesses. On their way to Major Yeroma’s house they picked up the officer on duty at the commandatura.

    Major Yeroma was not at home. At the commandatura officer’s request the cellar was opened. There they found the missing motorcycle. The commandatura officer drew up an official report on the theft and discovery of the machine. In his simplicity he wrote: ’The thief is Major Yeroma, of the Administration of Justice, and Party organizer to the Administration of Justice.’ The report was signed by all the witnesses, including Major Yeroma’s wife.

    As the four officers struggled to haul the heavy machine up the stairs, between their groans and pants the officer could not help remarking: “One man couldn’t have got it down there by himself. He must have had at least two others to help him.”

    It transpired that the day the machine was stolen Major Yeroma was returning late in the evening from the Political Administration, accompanied by two other officers of the Administration of Justice. As he approached his house the Major noticed the machine and, without stopping to think, persuaded the other two officers to help him put it in his cellar. Probably it would not have been found if Belyavsky hadn’t chanced to call on the young women.

    They knew that Major Yeroma had got hold of a motorcycle the previous evening, but they had no idea where he had obtained it. When Belyavsky told his story they put two and two together, but they did not tell him what they were thinking, for obvious reasons. After he had gone they quarreled among themselves. The young wife of the head of the Political Administration took Belyavsky’s side and declared that the machine must be returned to him.

    In his indignation he decided to take steps to bring the culprits to justice. He wrote reports of the affair to General Dratvin, the S. M. A. chief of staff, to the Political Administration, and the S. M. A. Military Prosecutor. If justice were done, Major Yeroma should be expelled from the Party, stripped of his officer’s rank and sentenced to imprisonment for theft. So the law prescribed.

    When Major Berko heard what Belyavsky intended to do he advised him not to be in any hurry. A charge against Yeroma involved much else besides him, and in such cases it was advisable to be prudent. He suggested that Belyavsky should first go and see Yeroma personally, and they decided to call on him during lunchtime.

    They found him at home. He was sitting at the table, with his tunic unbuttoned and unbelted. Before him was an aluminum dish of steaming beetroot soup. He did not even look up when the visitors were shown in, but went on spooning up his soup.

    “Well, Yeroma,” Belyavsky said, “how did my motor-cycle get into your cellar?”

    “I found it,” the major answered with his mouth full of food, and not batting an eyelid.

    “I shall send a report to the Political Administration.” Belyavsky was so taken aback by the Party organizer’s impudence that he didn’t know what else to say.

    Yeroma went on eating, or rather guzzling his soup; the sweat rolled down his face. When he had finished the dish he picked it up and poured the last few drops into his spoon. Then he licked the spoon and smacked his lips.

    “You’ll never make any impression on him with a report,” Berko said in a rage. “Spit in his plate and let’s go!” They went, slamming the door behind them. The same evening Belyavsky went to the office of the head of the Political Administration and handed the adjutant on duty his report. While the adjutant was reading it with some interest General Makarov himself came out of his room.

    “Another case relating to Yeroma, Comrade General,” the adjutant reported with a smile.

    “Ah! That’s good!” the general observed. “He’s already on our list for bigamy...”

    The adjutant afterwards explained to Belyavsky that, following his superiors’ example; Yeroma had taken a new wife to himself. But in doing so he had made one tactical error: unlike others, he had registered his marriage at the Soviet register office in Karlshorst. But he had not taken the trouble to obtain a divorce from his first wife, who was in Russia.

    Belyavsky then went to the S. M. A. military prosecutor, Lieutenant-Colonel Orlov. Orlov knew Belyavsky personally, and he told him frankly: “We can’t take him to court. In this case it all depends on the Political Administration. You know yourself it’s a Party matter.”

    If Belyavsky had had more experience in Party matters, he would probably have avoided measuring his strength against the Party. Meanwhile, the Political Administration had received a resolution from a local Party group recommending Captain Belyavsky’s acceptance as a Party member. His application was accompanied by brilliant testimonials to his conduct during the war. But now the affair of the stolen motorcycle was beginning to be talked about all over Karlshorst. In order to smother the scandal the Political Administration decided that it must close the mouth of one of the two antagonists, and the choice fell on Belyavsky.

    Quite unexpectedly he received the order that he was to be demobilized and returned to the Soviet Union. He knew at once what was behind that order. What he did not know was that on his return he was to be brought to trial. The explanation was quite simple. Not long before the motorcycle incident he had filled up one of the regular questionnaires. This time, in accordance with new, strict instructions, it was sent to the local M. V. D. departments in all his previous places of residence, to be checked. It was returned from Leningrad with the comment: ’father sentenced under article 58.’ So he was demobilized and sent back to the U. S. S. R., where he was tried for making a false statement which he had been forced into making under threat of court-martial.

    Belyavsky’s collision with the Party in the person of Major Yeroma was not a decisive factor in his recall to the Soviet Union. He belonged to a category of people whose fate was predetermined. That was shown by the fact that almost at the same time Major Dubov also was demobilized and recalled. Only the S. M. A. Personnel Department and Major Dubov himself knew what was behind that order. He, too, had to take his postwar place in life.

    IV

    Two men in my close circle of acquaintances had been cut out of life and thrown overboard. I respected them as men and liked them as colleagues. Others, too, thought of them as fine exemplars of the new Soviet society. Neither of them had anything in common with the old classes, which, according to Marxism, were destined to be eliminated. They had both been created by the Soviet world and were, in the best sense of the words, true citizens of Soviet society. Yet they were condemned, irrevocably condemned to death. To spiritual death at the least. And there are millions of similar cases.

    That can easily be proved. During the thirty years of the Soviet regime at least thirty million people have been subjected to repressive measures on political grounds. As the families of all such people are automatically classified as politically unreliable, if we assume that each of them had only two relatives at least sixty million people must be on the black list.

    If ten million out of the thirty million died in prison camps, and at least another ten million are still in the camps, while ten million have served their time and been released, we get a figure of eighty million people whom the Soviet State has turned into its enemies, or, at least, regards as its enemies. That explains why in every section of the Soviet state apparatus there are personnel departments charged with the scrutiny and check of questionnaires. Today it is indubitable that the main class of the new Soviet society consists of millions of automatic enemies of the Soviet State.

    This invisible class of enemies who are also slaves permeates all society from top to bottom. Is it necessary to cite examples? One could mention the names of many marshals of the Soviet Union, as well as Stalin prize-winners, who have been in N. K. V. D. prisons; and these would be names known all over the world. Of the millions of petty collisions between State and individual who can speak?

    State and individual! Involuntarily I think of Valia Grinchuk, an undersized girl, and a partisan fighter who in the fight for her freedom took up arms. She fought bravely. She not only defended her freedom against the foreign enemy; she climbed the ladder of Soviet society. She raised herself out of the gray mass and became an individual. And hardly had she achieved this when she felt the heavy hand of the State.

    Her duties often took her to the Allied Control Commission. There she came to know a young Allied officer. There could be no outward objection to this acquaintance, as she visited the Control Commission in the course of her work. After some time the acquaintance developed into a personal friendship.

    One day she was summoned to the Party organization. She was given to understand quite amiably that the Party knew of her acquaintance with an Allied officer. To her astonishment, that was all that was said, and it seemed that the Party leaders were quite sympathetic in regard to the friendship. Some time later this incident was repeated, and she had the impression that they were even encouraging the acquaintance.

    Time passed and this friendship between a Soviet girl and an Allied officer developed into a genuine attachment. But now she was once more summoned to the Party organization, and, as a Party member, was confronted with the demand to harness her love to State interests.

    Next day she was taken to hospital. The doctors found she had a very high temperature and blood pressure, but could find no visible reason for her condition. Weeks passed without any change for the better.

    One day an elderly, experienced neuro-pathologist came to her ward, studied her case history, and shook his head as he asked her: “Have you met with any great unpleasantness... in your personal life?”

    “No!” she curtly replied.

    She spent more than two months in hospital. When she was discharged she applied on health grounds to be transferred to work which did not bring her into contact with the Control Commission. Through acquaintances she informed her lover that she had been recalled to Russia. Valia had the heart of a soldier.

    Only very few people knew the connection between these incidents. Everybody continued to regard her as a fine officer who was assiduously doing her duty in Soviet society. And only a few noticed that she began to leave off wearing her officer’s tunic with its decorations, and took to ordinary feminine clothes.

    All these things happened to people who were close acquaintances of mine. They affected me personally because sooner or later I, too, would have to join the Party. There was no other choice, except to face up to a future, which for Major Dubov and Captain Belyavsky had become the present.

    Today there is no Communist Party in the Soviet Union. There is only Stalin’s Party with its obsolete facade. The aim and end of that Party is power, indivisible power. The ideal Party member should not have any independent thought; he must be only a dumb executive of the higher will. A striking example is provided by Party organizer Major Yeroma, a bestial brute and an ideal Bolshevik of the Stalin school.

    I was wearing Soviet officer’s uniform and I was a child of the October Revolution. If I had been born twenty years earlier, I would perhaps have been a convinced Marxist and revolutionary, active in the October Revolution. Today, despite everything, I was still not a member of the Communist Party. If I had not been faced with the necessity, the indubitable necessity, it would never even have entered my head to join the Party, which was called the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

    Sommaire https://seenthis.net/messages/683905
    #anticommunisme #histoire #Berlin #occupation #guerre_froide


  • Heaps and Priority Queues in C++ – Part 1: Heaps Basics
    https://www.fluentcpp.com/2018/03/13/heaps-priority-queues-stl-part-1

    One of our 7 good resolutions for the new year was to learn our data structures. Indeed, using the right data structure simplifies the code, and knowing them lets you understand the code that uses them. Let’s see two related data structures, heaps and priority queues. This is a deep topic that we are going to […]


  • Je n’en dirai pas plus (sinon, je vais trop m’énerver), juste quelques mots-clé :
    #invasion #préjugés #livre #afflux

    La #ruée vers l’#Europe. La jeune #Afrique en route pour le Vieux Continent de #Stephen_Smith

    Recension dans Le Monde, avec un titre tout aussi problématique... :
    Jusqu’où l’Europe peut-elle accueillir des migrants africains sans perdre son #identité ?

    http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2018/02/28/jusqu-ou-l-europe-peut-elle-accueillir-des-migrants-africains-sans-perdre-so
    #migrations #asile #réfugiés

    • #le_jeune_continent, c’est dingue !
      Quant au spécialiste des chiffres,…

      Celui qui raconte ces grands préparatifs est un amoureux des chiffres, un fin connaisseur de l’Afrique et un globe-trotter qui a lui-même vécu entre Europe, Afrique et Etats-Unis. Aujourd’hui, il enseigne les Affaires africaines à l’université de Duke (Etats-Unis), après avoir été spécialiste du jeune continent pour Libération, de 1988 à 2000, et Le Monde, de 2000 à 2005, et avoir prêté son expertise à des organisations internationales (ONU, International Crisis Group).

      Très documentée, riche en références littéraires, son analyse se nourrit d’abord d’un suivi longitudinal des statistiques africaines, avec, en arrière-plan, le fait que 10 % des terriens se partagent 50 % des richesses, quand la moitié le plus pauvre de l’humanité ne dispose, elle, que de 10 % des biens.

      D’après le Crédit Suisse, en 2014, les chiffres étaient :
      • 1% de la population mondiale possède 48,2% de la richesse totale (46,1% pour l’Afrique)
      • 10% de la population mondiale se partage 87,4% de la richesse (78,3% en Afrique)
      https://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/?fileID=5521F296-D460-2B88-081889DB12817E02
      (à la fin du chapitre 4, p. 124)

      Chiffres repris par Oxfam, et cités par nos amis Décodeurs de Le Monde (article du 19/01/2015)
      (bon, d’accord, tout ça ce sont des estimations…

      La concentration des richesses dans le monde en graphiques
      http://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2015/01/19/la-concentration-des-richesses-dans-le-monde-en-graphiques_4558914_4355770.h

      Deux jours avant l’ouverture du Forum économique mondial, qui se tient traditionnellement dans la station suisse de Davos, l’ONG Oxfam a publié un rapport accablant sur la concentration des richesses dans le monde. Basé notamment sur des données fournies par un rapport de la banque Crédit suisse, il révèle que 1 % des habitants de la planète possède 48 % du patrimoine, contre « seulement » 44 % en 2009. Le seuil des 50 % devrait être dépassé en 2016.

      Quant au précédent succès de librairie de l’auteur (Négrologie : pourquoi l’Afrique meurt, 2003),…

      Négrologie : pourquoi l’Afrique meurt — Wikipédia
      https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%A9grologie_:_pourquoi_l%27Afrique_meurt

      [Stephen Smith] cherche à expliquer cet état de fait en « réhabilitant » l’Afrique comme actrice de sa propre histoire. Selon lui, en effet, la responsabilité historique des pays occidentaux dans le dénuement de l’Afrique serait exagérée et les caractéristiques sociologiques africaines seraient les premières responsables du sous-développement. Il pense que « l’Afrique meurt d’un suicide assisté » et qu’elle serait accompagnée dans sa chute par une forme d’« autisme identitaire » qui l’empêcherait de s’attaquer à ses maux.

    • Dites, ça m’intéresse beaucoup, mais j’ai pas de quoi passer le paywall de LeMonde. Quelqu’une peut-ille mettre le texte intégral pour un jour ou deux ?
      Quitte à modifier le commentaire ensuite, juste entre nous :p
      Merci merci.

    • #Stephen_Smith ravive le mythe des #invasions_barbares, Macron et l’Académie française applaudissent

      Deux universitaires, Julien Brachet, de l’IRD et Judith Scheele, de l’EHESS pointent la #responsabilité des #médias et des institutions influentes qui font la promotion du dernier essai « xénophobe et raciste » de Stephen Smith, « La ruée vers l’Europe. La jeune Afrique en route pour le Vieux Continent ».

      La mécanique semble bien huilée. À la sortie de chacun de ses livres, l’ex-journaliste Stephen Smith reçoit sous les projecteurs les louanges de personnalités politiques et de la grande majorité de la profession journalistique française, avant de s’attirer, plus discrètement, les foudres des universitaires.

      Son dernier ouvrage, « La ruée vers l’Europe. La jeune Afrique en route pour le Vieux Continent » (Grasset, 2018), ne déroge pas à la règle. En l’espace de quelques mois, l’Académie française lui attribue un prix littéraire, le ministre de l’Europe et des affaires étrangères, Jean-Yves Le Drian, lui décerne le prix du livre de géopolitique de l’année, et le président de la république, Emmanuel Macron, salue un homme qui a « formidablement bien décrit » les migrations africaines.

      Pourtant, la thèse de Stephen Smith n’est pas exempte de critiques, loin s’en faut. Cette thèse est simple : selon Smith « 20 à 25 % de la population européenne » sera « d’origine africaine » d’ici trente ans (p. 18) ; « l’Europe va s’africaniser. […] C’est inscrit dans les faits » (S. Smith sur France Culture, 17/03/2018). Une thèse qui joue sur les peurs de populations européennes déjà sensibles aux sirènes xénophobes, tout en assénant des chiffres avec autorité. Or, toutes les études scientifiques montrent que les projections de Smith en matière de flux migratoires sont totalement invraisemblables.

      Il n’y a pas de « ruée » des ressortissants du continent africain vers l’Europe et il n’y en aura pas dans les décennies à venir.

      Les travaux des démographes des universités, de l’INED et de l’ONU sont sans équivoque : le taux d’émigration des populations africaines est comparable à la moyenne mondiale (un peu plus de 3%) ; la grande majorité des migrants africains restent à l’intérieur de leur continent d’origine ; les immigrés originaires d’Afrique représentent 2,3% de la population d’Europe de l’Ouest, et moins de 2% de l’ensemble de la population européenne. Sans même parler de la part des seuls immigrés irréguliers : absolument négligeable d’un point de vue statistique, et sans commune mesure avec l’ampleur des moyens légaux et sécuritaires déployés à l’intérieur du continent africain pour les empêcher de venir en Europe.

      Au regard de la forte croissance démographique de l’Afrique, on peut légitimement supposer que la part des ressortissants d’Afrique subsaharienne dans les pays de l’OCDE va augmenter dans les décennies à venir. Mais dans des proportions nettement plus faibles que celles annoncées par Smith. Les experts du Fond Monétaire International prédisent par exemple qu’en 2050, environ 34 millions de migrants originaires d’Afrique subsaharienne seront installés dans l’ensemble des 36 pays de l’OCDE (dont seulement 26 sont situés en Europe), soit 2,4% de la population totale de l’OCDE. Les démographes des Nations Unies annoncent quant à eux qu’entre 2015 et 2050, le solde migratoire net de l’Europe sera de 32 millions de migrants, toutes nationalités extra-européennes confondues. On est très loin des « 150 millions » d’Africains dont Smith prévoit l’arrivée en Europe « d’ici à 2050 » (p. 178).

      Il ne s’agit pas ici de développer plus avant l’inconsistance scientifique des « prévisions » de Smith, son absence de rigueur méthodologique et la manière fallacieuse dont il utilise les statistiques démographiques, mais bien de souligner ses objectifs politiques.

      À la fin de son essai supposément « guidé par la rationalité des faits » (comme indiqué au dos du livre), l’auteur dévoile clairement sa position. Ainsi, lorsqu’il rappelle une énième fois que selon lui « la migration massive d’Africains vers l’Europe » n’est dans l’intérêt de personne, que les non-Européens noirs et arabes dérangent inévitablement les Européens blancs (p. 182, 212), que dorénavant, les « bons augures » pour l’Afrique seront « de funestes présage pour l’Europe » (p. 225), et après avoir assené pendant 200 pages que la « ruée » de la jeunesse africaine sur l’Europe était « inéluctable », Stephen Smith change de ton. Soudainement, une autre perspective est offerte au lecteur : « l’union forcée entre la jeune Afrique et le Vieux Continent n’est pas encore une fatalité. Il y a de la marge pour des choix politiques » (p. 225).

      De manière à peine voilée, Smith suggère que face à sa prédiction d’une invasion de l’Europe par les « nouveaux barbares », le seul salut possible passe par les bons « choix politiques ». Et Smith de donner un exemple en guise de conclusion : « seule l’entrée très sélective de quelques bras et, surtout, de cerveaux africains apporterait des avantages à l’Europe » (p. 223). Un exemple qui n’est pas sans rappeler le programme de certains partis politiques européens.

      À la lecture de « La Ruée vers l’Europe », il apparaît que Smith compile les souvenirs, les anecdotes de comptoirs et les données chiffrées sans se préoccuper de la plausibilité ni de la cohérence de son argumentation. Tout connaisseur des migrations africaines ne peut que constater que Stephen Smith ne s’embête pas avec une quelconque rigueur scientifique. Il ne cherche ni à étudier ni à comprendre les dynamiques des migrations entre l’Afrique et l’Europe mais vise à asséner un discours principalement idéologique.

      En signant un essai xénophobe et raciste qui ressemble à une vaine tentative de légitimation de la théorie complotiste du « grand remplacement » prêchée par les idéologues d’extrême droite, et en multipliant les références à Maurice Barrès, Jean Raspail, Robert Kaplan ou Samuel Huntington (p. 70, 72, 188, 220), Stephen Smith s’inscrit ouvertement dans une tradition idéologique dont les chantres prédisent depuis des décennies la fin de la « civilisation occidentale » voire du « monde blanc ».

      La question qui se pose alors est de savoir comment un tel ouvrage peut-il être si largement encensé, devenir un succès de librairie, et influencer le débat public ?

      Car Smith n’est pas inquiétant seulement parce qu’il est un fervent promoteur de l’idée selon laquelle les populations africaines seraient un #risque, un #danger ou une #menace pour l’Europe. Il l’est bien plus encore parce que des dizaines de journaux, radios et télévisions, des représentants politiques et des institutions influentes relaient ses idées délétères, et ce faisant les cautionnent. Tout en le présentant sous les traits d’un intellectuel apolitique, ce qu’il n’est pas. En cela, l’ouvrage de Stephen Smith est révélateur de la manière dont les opinions publiques peuvent se forger sur la base d’arguments tronqués, et des difficultés qu’ont les sciences sociales à imposer dans l’arène médiatique et politique des arguments sérieux sur des sujets complexes.

      https://blogs.mediapart.fr/les-invites-de-mediapart/blog/021018/stephen-smith-ravive-le-mythe-des-invasions-barbares-macron-et-l-aca

    • How Oracles Are Forged. The prophecy of an African scramble for Europe

      Alarmist predictions about African migration are all the rage. François Héran shows that they are based less on a demographic approach than on an economic conjecture, and on the fallacy that development in Africa can only be achieved at the expense of Europe.

      On the cover, a satellite image of Africa at night, and a title in yellow letters: “The Scramble for Europe”. A few dim points of light pierce the darkness in Nigeria, South Africa and the Maghreb, while others outline the Nile and its delta. The contrast with the bright splashes of light across the European continent is striking, and the message is clear: how could the populations of dark Africa not be attracted by the radiance of the North?

      Clearly designed to grab our attention, the title “The Scramble for Europe” [1] is not the editor’s choice; the author begins his book with his stark conclusion: “Young Africa will rush to the Old Continent; the writing is on the wall…” (p. 15). He backs his argument with two precedents: the exodus of poor Europeans towards the New World in the late 19th century and the mass migration of Mexicans to the United States since the 1970s. If Africans were to follow the Mexican example between now and 2050, then “in slightly more than 30 years, a fifth to a quarter of the European population would be of African origin (p. 18). In an interview published in the Figaro daily newspaper on 14 September 2018, Stephen Smith expresses surprise that some people—such as myself in a recent analysis— [2]question the validity of such claims. For Smith, challenging his predictions with arguments based on facts and figures is a “castigation” of his book, an attempt to “stifle debate”. My intention, on the contrary, is to reopen it. Given the gravity of the question in hand, it is important to look more closely at the methods, hypotheses and assumptions of a prophecy whose very appeal lies in its desire to shock, but also to convince.

      For the figures announced by Smith have reached their target. In an interview given on 15 April 2018, President Macron justified his immigration policy by evoking the African demographic “timebomb” so “remarkably described” in Smith’s book. In France, a number of intellectuals and politicians, from the centre left to the far right, have raised the spectre of his nightmare scenario to demand that political leaders “assume their responsibilities” in response to migrant inflows.
      An Inevitable Scramble, Provided…

      It is not until pages 139 and 143 of his essay that Stephen Smith makes the sensational announcement that a scramble of sub-Saharan Africans for Europe will only occur on “two key conditions”: that this region of the world escapes from poverty in the space of 30 years, and that its diasporas have already become well-established. We thus discover—and I will return to this point—that the prophecy of an Africanization of Europe is more an economic conjecture than a demographic forecast. Notwithstanding the UN biennial demographic projections that forecast a doubling of the sub-Saharan population before 2050 (from 900 million to 2.2 billion under the median scenario), Smith knows well that this will not be enough to trigger the human tidal wave that he announces. More powerful mechanisms are needed. But to argue his point, Smith presumes the veracity of the result he is seeking to prove. If we imagine that sub-Saharan Africa reaches the same level of development as Mexico within the next 30 years, then its inhabitants will migrate to the same extent as the Mexicans.

      But this overlooks the fact that sub-Saharan Africa is not Mexico—not even the Mexico of 30 years ago—and that Ouagadougou or Niamey have little in common with Mexico City or Guadalajara. If we measure the human development index on a scale of 1 to 10, as I did in the above-mentioned essay, most sub-Saharan countries are at level 1, Mexico at 6, France at 9 and the United States at 10. While from level 6 to level 10 migration is massive (25 million people in the diasporas concerned), from level 1 to level 9 or 10 it is limited (less than 2.3 million). So it is hard to believe that by 2050 development in sub-Saharan Africa will have accelerated to the point where it reaches the current relative position of Mexico.

      One cannot simply apply the hypothesis of a “critical mass” of inhabitants achieving prosperity to give plausibility to the scenario of a general transformation of behaviours in such a short time, especially in a region where the population explosion and the record fertility levels that are of such concern to the author reflect a persistent stagnation of the demographic transition. Pointing up this stagnation does not imply that Africa is doomed to chronic under-development; it simply adds a dose of realism: there is no evidence to suggest that sub-Saharan fertility will decline in spectacular fashion over the next few years, as it did in China, Iran or Algeria.
      Using the Known to Gauge the Unknown

      There is little need to refute the parallel with European migration to the Americas, given the vast differences between the New World pull factors of the 19th century and those of Europe in the 21st. I will examine the parallel with Mexico, however, as it illustrates the author’s method of documentary research and his mode of reasoning. The “Millman 2015” and “Douthat 2015” supporting references that he cites are not scientific studies but, in the first case, a Politico editorial by Noah Millman entitled “Africa will dominate the next century” published in May 2015, and in the second (missing from the bibliography but easily retrievable on the Internet), an opinion piece by Ross Douthat called “Africa’s Scramble for Europe” published in the New York Times in August 2015. If we compare the two texts, we discover that Smith’s long discussion of the Mexican analogy (p. 179) is filled with unacknowledged citations of Millman’s own words. But who is Millman? Head of Politico’s literary pages, he is neither a demographer nor an African specialist, but a former financier who knows how to do everyday arithmetic. His method is simple; it involves convincing the American public with scant knowledge of African realities that the known can be used to gauge the unknown, i.e. that the situation in Africa can be likened to that of Mexico. As for Ross Douthat, a regular author of op-eds on practically all topics, he is cited in turn because he cites none other than… Millman!

      At the end of the book, Smith explains that by continuing the timeworn practices of development aid, European policy “may end up turning the flow of Africans towards Europe into a tidal wave” (p. 225). The reader is puzzled. Does this mean that the demographic determinism proclaimed so loudly at the beginning of the book is not so inescapable after all? But few readers go so far. The message they take away is that of the book cover: there is no escape, Africa is out to conquer Europe.

      At global level it is not the poorest regions that produce the most emigrants, as the author well knows. He also knows that sub-Saharan Africans do not have the resources to emigrate in large numbers. Likewise, he is not unaware that development aid is more likely to stimulate emigration than curb it—to the point where some commentators credit him with this discovery, as if development economists had not already established this fact many years ago. But Smith’s knowledge in this respect is second-hand. He quotes extensively an editorial by Jeremy Harding, a contributing editor of the London Review of Books and author of a book recounting the experiences of migrants at border crossings (pp. 148-149). Smith’s essay thus includes research-based knowledge, but obtained indirectly—mainly from journalists or literary sources. I have no qualms with that; the problem lies in the fact that Smith no longer applies this knowledge when he imagines sub-Saharan Africa’s rapid escape from poverty and the migrant flows that this entails.
      Incomplete Documentation

      For a seasoned specialist of Africa, Smith’s documentation is surprisingly incomplete and obsolete. He claims, for example, that demographers have closed their eyes to the ongoing trends in African fertility. My analysis for “La vie des Idées”, cites numerous demographers (Caldwell, [3] Tabutin, Schoumaker, [4] Leridon, [5] Casterline, [6] and more) who have been signalling the slow pace of demographic transition in Africa and its link with under-development since the 1990s. Are demographers really so blind? It is the author who seems to be wearing blinkers; he cites none of these publications, all of which are easily accessible.

      Smith gives great credence to the findings of surveys of migration intentions compiled by the Gallup Institute in which one-third of sub-Saharans reported wishing to leave their country. He cites the figures from second-hand sources (via an article in a French daily) and without the slightest critical comment. However, we need to look at the actual question that was asked: “ideally, if you had the opportunity, would you like to settle in another country or carry on living here?”. In fact, when asked if they were planning to leave within the next 12 months or, more tellingly, if preparations were under way, the proportion dropped to below 5%. Dreams are one thing; practical realities are another. Italian researchers who retrieved the data from these surveys at the request of the European Commission reach the same conclusion: the Potential Migration Index constructed by Gallup on this basis is of no predictive value. [7]
      The Global Database of Diasporas: Discrediting the Notion of Communicating Vessels

      The most glaring omission in Smith’s essay is the absence of any reference to the Global Bilateral Migration Database, a major source of knowledge on the state of world diasporas developed over the last 15 years by the OECD, the World Bank and the IMF. [8] It served as the basis for my recent analysis in the monthly bulletin Population and Societies, and has been used by countless migration researchers before me. The open access Bilateral Migration Matrix comprises a table of 215 lines and 215 columns giving, for each country, the number of natives living abroad. It counts a total of 266 million migrants out of a world population of 7.7 billion. Information on origin and destination is systematically matched to ensure overall consistency.

      A series of additional indicators can be added to this open-access database to characterize each country, or the differences between countries, such as growth rate by sex and age drawn from the United Nations population projections. While it is more time-consuming to perform such analyses than to read political opinion pieces and literary editorials, they produce conclusions that have long been familiar to economists and demographers alike: the model of communicating vessels is a fallacy. It is wrong to imagine that the most fertile countries migrate to the least fertile ones, the poorest to the richest, the most densely populated to the least densely populated, the tropical to the temperate and, last but not least, the youngest to the oldest, as claimed in the sub-title of Smith’s book. I cannot count the times I have read that “high population pressures” will inevitably escape to fill the areas of “low pressure”! Alas, just because a metaphor is evocative does not mean that it is necessarily true. The image of a bursting pressure cooker is incapable of conveying the complexity of population movements. The largest emigration flows towards rich countries tend to be from middle-sized, middle-income nations such as Mexico and Turkey, or the countries of North Africa, the Balkans or Central Asia. And above all, from countries where fertility is already falling rapidly—which is certainly not the case in sub-Saharan Africa.

      In his interview in the Figaro newspaper, Stephen Smith dismisses the World Migration Database because it does not consider his scenario of rapid African economic growth! He seems to have got his wires crossed. A database which gives the world distribution of migrants at a given moment in time cannot take account of future growth hypotheses. But it forms a vital starting point for those wishing to make such hypotheses. Without this grounding in fact, hypotheses are plucked out of thin air and become unverifiable, at the mercy of all and any analogies, including the most implausible ones.
      An Economic Rather than Demographic Conjecture

      By cross-matching the global migration data and the United Nations projections for 2050 for each birth cohort, we can estimate the weight of the diasporas in receiving countries, on the assumption that current emigration factors remain unchanged. This is what I did in the September 2018 issue of Population and Societies, obtaining a number of sub-Saharan migrants in 2050 around five times lower than the figure advanced by Stephen Smith. What does this difference tell us? Simply that the scenario of a “scramble” of sub-Saharan African migrants to Europe is, for the most part, not built upon demographic determinism, but upon a highly speculative hypothesis about African economic development. The demographic reasoning in the book’s sub-title (“Young Africa on the Way to the Old Continent”) and in the introduction is actually very secondary in the fabrication of Smith’s prophecy. This is hardly surprising, given that he fails to analyse any data. [9]

      My estimates for 2050 are of the same order of magnitude as those obtained by two in-depth analyses based on the same Global Bilateral Migration Database, one by the World Monetary Fund, [10] the other by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. [11] Smith cites the first, but without mentioning that since the 2000 censuses, the increase in numbers of sub-Saharans leaving the sub-continent primarily reflects population growth. In proportional terms, the share of migrants who remain in the region has changed little since 1990, at around three-quarters (70% today, versus just 15% who head to Europe). Internal migration within sub-Saharan Africa should benefit greatly from the treaty on the free movement of persons signed in March 2018 by 27 African countries.

      While Stephen Smith knows that extreme poverty is not a factor of migration, he perpetuates the other variants of the “communicating vessels” fallacy, notably when he mentions the inexorable pressure exerted upon ageing societies by surplus masses of young people impatient for emancipation. He even suggests that European societies, incapable of financing their pension systems due to population ageing, will face the dilemma of closing their borders and dying a slow death, or of opening them to keep the system afloat, at the risk of being submerged by a flood of African workers: “to maintain a minimum level of social security coverage, must we accept that a quarter of Europe’s inhabitants in 2050 – more than half of them aged below 30 years – will be ‘Africans’?” (pp. 179-180). The French text (p. 180) even speaks of “more than half of the under-30s” in the European population being “African” by 2050! And Smith inevitably mentions the famous report by the United Nations Population Division on “replacement migration” [12] regularly cited by the proponents of the “great replacement” theory.

      Yet the last scenario of this publication, in which young migrants serve to create a permanent numerical balance between the working-age population (15-64) and older adults (65 and above), was acknowledged to be unrealistic by the United Nations itself, due to the increase in life expectancy which is continuing to age the population. Freezing the ratio of young to old would involve massive inflows of migrants, who would in turn grow older themselves. The United Nations used this absurd fictitious scenario to show that immigration is not a solution to population ageing, including in France, and that measures of a different kind are needed (with respect to employment rates, working hours, retirement age).
      The Social Welfare Pie

      If one is truly convinced by the scenario of a massive and disorderly inflow of migrants from the South, then the only remaining question is whether there is still time to prevent it. With the debate couched in these terms, Smith can allow himself some hesitancy: policy makers still have “room for manoeuvre” but “time is running out”. There is one certainty, however, central to his argument: development prospects are “auspicious” for Africa, but “an ill omen for Europe” (p. 225). As if the two continents can only survive at the expense of each other. According to a Neapolitan custom, one must not wish a Happy New Year to someone without secretly wishing evil upon someone else. This is the linchpin of Smith’s book: not the rigorous analysis of a demographic mechanism, but an economic conjecture whose optimism for Africa (a closing of the development gap within 30 years) is more than counterbalanced by its pessimism for Europe.

      At the end of his essay, Smith reiterates the idea that immigration is fundamentally incompatible with the welfare state, a popular misconception totally disproven by the social history of western Europe since the Second World War. Need we mention the detailed studies on this question by the OECD, [13] extended more recently by d’Albis and his team, [14] which demonstrate that immigration or, more precisely, a sudden influx of migrants or asylum seekers, far from bankrupting the welfare state and raising unemployment, actually increases GDP and employment rates over the long term? D’Albis shows that the positive effect is merely delayed in the case of asylum seekers, and for a simple reason: they are not allowed to work until their asylum request has been granted.

      The error is always the same: forgetting that immigrants are also producers and consumers, tax-payers and pension contributors, imagining that they take from the collective pie rather than adding to it. Of course, they are an expense for society when they are young, an asset in adulthood, and become an expense again in old age but, as clearly shown by the OECD, this life cycle is the same for the rest of the population, with minimal differences linked to age structures. The idea the immigrants “steal” natives’ jobs or take an unfair share of their welfare benefits again harks back to the fallacy of a fixed quantity of resources to be shared, around which the entire final part of Stephen Smith’s essay is constructed. As if realism and respect for political and moral rights were irreconcilable. Until these research findings have been seriously refuted, they are irresistible. But evocative metaphors or implausible analogies are no substitute for scientific argument.

      Likewise, simply pitting the advocates of a fortress Europe against those of an open-door Europe is not enough to claim the title of pragmatist or upholder of the “ethics of responsibility” in opposition to the “ethics of conviction”. While the author regularly contrasts two extreme positions to establish his credentials as a moderate realist, he takes an extremist path himself when he claims that sub-Saharan population projections signal an imminent threat of mass incursion culminating in nothing less than the creation of “Eurafrica” (p. 227)
      Establishing the Facts: Neither Scaremongering nor False Reassurance

      Demography is like music: it attracts many players, but few know how to read the score. In the present case, the very nature of the tune is misunderstood: Smith’s essay is an exercise in economic speculation and sensationalist communication, rather than a demographic demonstration. In response to the fear of mass invasion, a falsely objective variant of the fear of others, it is the duty of demographers to explain the orders of magnitude of population movements. They must also identify the nature of the hypotheses put forward and of the prejudices upon which they are built. Contrary to popular belief, the purpose of demography is not to alarm or reassure but to take stock of the issues by establishing their true proportions. Only in this way can it provide the necessary insights for lucid long-term policy-making. Inflammatory metaphors have a powerful effect on public opinion, yet in these uncertain times, for the press and politicians alike, the true “ethic of responsibility” demands that they turn their back on false prophecies couched in pseudo-scientific language.

      https://booksandideas.net/How-Oracles-Are-Forged.html
      #oracles #prophétie

      #François_Héran

    • L’Europe doit-elle décourager les migrations africaines ?

      Le pacte de Marrakech sur les migrations a été adopté aujourd’hui par plus de 150 pays. En Europe, les arrivées d’exilés, notamment en provenance d’Afrique, devraient se multiplier dans les décennies à venir. Comment s’y préparer ? Quelle politique mettre en place ?

      https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/du-grain-a-moudre/du-grain-a-moudre-du-lundi-10-decembre-2018
      #François_Gemenne


  • Chinese police are using facial recognition sunglasses to track citizens
    https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/8/16990030/china-facial-recognition-sunglasses-surveillance

    The glasses are being used by officers in police stations to oversee travelers during the Lunar New Year China’s police have a new weapon in their surveillance arsenal : sunglasses with built-in facial recognition. According to reports from local media, the glasses are being tested at train stations in the “emerging megacity” of Zhengzhou, where they’ll be used to scan travelers during the upcoming Lunar New Year migration. This is a period of extremely busy holiday travel, often described as (...)

    #algorithme #lunettes #biométrie #voyageurs #CCTV #surveillance #vidéo-surveillance

    ##voyageurs


  • Que faire avec votre boite #courriel trop remplie ? Réponse la plus raisonnable :

    At 5.10pm on New Year’s Day, I had 16,516 unread emails in my inbox.

    At 5.11pm on New Year’s Day, my inbox was empty.

    Unanswered emails were the bane of my life - until I spent a month in search of inbox nirvana | Technology | The Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/feb/08/unanswered-emails-inbox-nirvana-bane-of-life

    Is your life weighed down by thousands of emails? Moya Sarner’s was too. So she decided to try all the top recommended techniques to stop the deluge

    Moya Sarner

    Thu 8 Feb 2018 06.00 GMT

    As chaos vanished to nothingness, a euphoric feeling of purity washed over me. Bright sunshine burst through the windows turning my living room gold and, from nowhere, a heavenly choir sang. I decided I was probably quite hungover, and went back to bed.

    I remember when getting an email was quite exciting. I opened my first account as a pre-teen, not long after Hotmail brought electronic mail to the masses in 1996. It was a simpler time, when emails were deemed thrilling enough to form the entire premise of Nora Ephron’s 1998 film You’ve Got Mail, and audiences around the world watched and thought, “Yes! I too have received emails!”, and loved it. My first address was the mortifying thehottestfemale@hotmail.com, and boy, was I proud of that pun.


  • Indigenous Sengwer man shot and killed by EU-funded guards | Forest Peoples Programme
    http://www.forestpeoples.org/en/rights-based-conservation/press-release/2018/indigenous-sengwer-man-shot-and-killed-eu-funded

    41-year-old Robert Kirotich has today been shot by EU-funded guards working for the Kenya Forestry Service. Another wounded man, David Kipkosgei Kiptilkesi was taken away by the guards and his condition unknown.

    At 2pm today, Robert Kirotich was herding cattle in Kapkok Glade, in the Embobut Forest area of the Cherangany Hills in west Kenya when he was attacked by a group of around 40 guards working for the Kenya Forestry Service (KFS). He was shot and killed and his body was retrieved by community members at 6.30pm today.

    On Christmas Day, guards employed by the KFS entered Sengwer lands and forcibly evicted them, supposedly in the name of conservation. After evicting them, they set fire to their homes. The violence was one of many forced evictions that the community has endured and they have continued, on 29 December, 1 January, and right up to today. On January 4, the Sengwer held a press conference, calling for change for the new year.

    Three UN Special Rapporteurs this week wrote to the EU urging them to suspend funding to the asking them to the #WaTER_Project. John H. Knox, Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment; Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, jointly said: “We call on the Kenyan authorities to urgently halt the evictions of Sengwer community and undertake impartial investigations of these attacks. Furthermore, we urge the European Union to suspend funding for the project until measures have been taken to uphold international standards on indigenous peoples’ rights.”

    #meurtre #Kenya #peuples_autochtones

    • THE EUROPEAN Union has suspended a multi-million euro project in the face of mounting evidence that its funds were being used to carry out violent human rights abuses.

      The news came less than 24 hours after guards working from the EU-funded Kenya Forestry Service mounted a raid in Embobut Forest, where the Sengwer indigenous people live, shooting and killing 41-year-old Robert Kirotich and wounding another.

      The EU Ambassador to Kenya, Stefano A. Dejak, has condemned the news, saying: “Yesterday’s shooting took place after we had formally alerted Kenya’s Government that the use of force by Kenya Forest Service guards in the Embobut Forest or elsewhere against innocent locals would lead the EU to suspend its financial support for conservation work on the country’s water towers. Accordingly we are now suspending the support to the Water Towers Programme with the Government of Kenya.”

      http://www.forestpeoples.org/en/rights-based-conservation/press-release/2018/eu-suspends-funding-kenya-government-over-indigenous


  • Driverless Hotel Rooms: The End of Uber, Airbnb and Human Landlords

    https://hackernoon.com/driverless-hotel-rooms-the-end-of-uber-airbnb-and-human-landlords-e39f92

    “Good evening ladies and gentlemen, we’re about to begin our descent into Sydney. Please fasten your seatbelts and place your trays in the upright position. Local time is 8:42pm and a humid 27 degrees. Our flight crew wishes you a Happy New Year, and we hope you fly with us again in 2025.”

    Screeech. You’ve landed. Time to relax those butt cheeks.

    It was only this morning you booked this flight, and now you’re on the other side of the planet. Amazing. You’re nervous but excited to visit Australia for the first time. One week to explore the city and five weeks on a new design project. When that project match showed up in your feed you claimed it in two seconds. You’ve already earned 24,000 $design in the peerism economy.

    #uber #automatisation #robots #disparition_humaine



  • Germany’s populist AfD seeks to turn online ’censorship’ to its advantage
    http://www.dw.com/en/germanys-populist-afd-seeks-to-turn-online-censorship-to-its-advantage/a-42004730

    Gauland calls new law ’Stasi tactics’

    A Tuesday press release from party chair Alexander Gauland was given a rather grand title: “Freedom of opinion came to an end in 2017.”

    Watch video05:01
    German MP under fire for anti-Muslim tweets – DW’s Michaela Küfner and Marina Strauss
    “The censorship law of [acting Justice Minister] Heiko Maas is already showing its negative effects on freedom on the first day of the new year,” Gauland said. “These Stasi tactics remind me of the GDR [former East Germany]. I call on every single social media user to resist this repression and to publish the deleted comments over and over again!”

    But the AfD’s efforts to draw attention were most pronounced on social media itself, an effective channel of communication for the party. Parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel and her deputy, Beatrix von Storch, are both facing investigation by law enforcement authorities in Cologne on the basis of suspected incitement of racial hatred online. The party shared this news with photos of the two politicians, with gags photo-shopped onto their mouths, and linked it to the German government’s recent comments about protests in Iran.


  • Our fight with fat: Why is obesity getting worse?
    http://theconversation.com/our-fight-with-fat-why-is-obesity-getting-worse-86601

    Gyms across the country will be packed in the new year with people sticking, however briefly, to their New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Most of them do not know that the cards are stacked against them and that weight loss is much more complicated than working out and not eating dessert.

    Years into the obesity epidemic, millions of Americans have tried to lose weight, and millions of them have failed to do so long term.

    It’s so serious now that close to 40 percent of Americans are obese. The average woman in the United States today weighs about 168 pounds, or roughly the same as an average man in 1960.

    #santé #obésité #états-unis


  • 7 Good Resolutions to Write Better Code This Year
    https://www.fluentcpp.com/2018/01/01/7-good-resolutions-to-write-better-code-this-year

    Four… Three… Two… One…   Such are the words that resonated across the planet during the last 24 hours (and you’ll keep hearing them all January!) So let me join my voice in and wish you the best for this new year, that it be full of exciting projects and satisfying achievements. And that you […]


  • The New Year’s Feast That Transformed Fools Into Popes and Kings - Atlas Obscura
    https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/feast-of-fools-medieval-tradition


    A depiction of the Feast of Fools. Kim Støvring/CC BY 2.0

    The Feast of Fools, as described by the French theologians who condemned it in 1445, sounds like a ton of fun. This New Year’s Day celebration, they wrote, caught up high-ranking church officials in a bacchanal unworthy of their exalted positions.

    “Priests and clerks may be seen wearing masks and monstrous visages at the hours of office,” the theologians recounted, presumably with a sniff of horror. “They dance in the choir dressed as women, panders or minstrels. They sing wanton songs. They eat black puddings… while the celebrant is saying mass. They play at dice… They run and leap through the church, without a blush at their own shame.”

    Officially banned in the 15th century, the Feast of Fools had its origins 300 years before, in the 1100s, and continued as a tradition well into the 16th century. It was memorialized in church documents condemning its excesses and in paintings depicting streets full of merry chaos. It appears in Victor Hugo’s famous 19th century novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, when Quasimodo is swept up in the festivities and crowned King of Fools.

    This rowdy revelry may never has been quite as raucous as was rumored. It started out as a much tamer liturgical celebration, which accrued an outsized reputation for subversiveness. At its heart, though, the Feast of Fools always turned power on its head—a reversal that naturally made church leaders very nervous.


    A 14th century representation of a much tamer Feast of Fools. Public domain

    In the book Sacred Folly, independent scholar Max Harris traces the history of the Feast of Fools to three locations in northern France. There, on the first day of each year, lower members of the clergy would take on the duties of higher-ranking priests and bishops. (There was, for instance, a Pope of Fools.) This inversion of power, though, wasn’t meant to bring down the more powerful clergy so much as uplift the lower: The “fools” here were fools in a particular Biblical sense, people beloved of God precisely because they were of lower status.
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    There were some elements of merriment to these early Feasts of Fools, including a “song of the ass,” which “evoke[d] the beauty, strength, and virtues of an ass as it journey[ed] from the East, across the river Jordan, to Bethlehem,” and sometimes involved an actual donkey being led into church. And once, Harris reports, someone did use this celebration as an opportunity to hit a cleric with “an inflated and swollen hen’s bladder.”

    For the most part, though, he finds “no verifiable rowdiness,” only second- and third-hand reports from worrywarts distant from the actual celebrations.


    An engraving of the Feast of Fools, made in 1559, after it was banned. Pieter Van der Heyden

    But outside the church doors, concurrent celebrations were much more irreverent. In these medieval centuries, Harris writes, it became popular for students to parade through the streets with their faces blackened with mud (or even animal dung) to conceal their identities while they parodied clergy, doctors, civil officials, and rulers. These parades certainly featured cross-dressing, drinking, singing, and all manner of other mischief and behavior that usually wouldn’t be tolerated.

    Wintertime celebrations like these, where the less powerful parts of society had the chance to break loose for a day, trace their roots to Roman and other European pagan festivals of role-reversal. They weren’t always held on New Year’s Day, but in some places the New Year’s Feast of Fools took on a second, more secular meaning.

    Compared to other scholars, Harris goes unusually far in trying to distinguish the Feast of Fools inside the church from the revelry outside, a distinction that leads him perhaps too close to “the opposite statement of the Feast of Fools as lacking disarray,” as one reviewer wrote. Even if actual clergymen weren’t getting dressed up and rampaging through the streets, the reversal of power that they did indulge in was enough to make their leaders crack down on the tradition. People in power don’t always have a sense of humor about their power being questioned, even if this critique stops at donkey songs and hen bladders.

    It’s easy to imagine, too, that lower-ranking religious servants did occasionally get caught up in the madness going on in the streets. After all, if some strange behavior is banned, it’s usually because someone tried it.


  • Op-ed: Winter has arrived, thousands left at its mercy in Greece’s hot-spots

    The capacity of the hotspots in #Lesvos, #Samos, #Chios is exceeded by somewhere between 100 and 250 per cent. People including vulnerable groups like children, sick people and pregnant women are accommodated in anything from small summer tents to makeshift shelters and damaged prefabricated houses, left at the mercy of the hard weather. Further the lack of hot water and limited sanitation makes hygiene a problem and with very few NGO’s still operating in the hotspots there is a shortage of even basic provisions like milk powder and diapers on top of the extreme conditions. Traumatized, mentally ill or disabled people do not have sufficient access to proper medical, psychological support and treatment and the with the combination of confinement, lack of information and perspective tensions are running high with incidents of violence and self-harm.


    https://www.ecre.org/winter-has-arrived-thousands-left-at-its-mercy-in-greeces-hot-spots-op-ed-by-e

    #îles #Grèce #asile #migrations #réfugiés #chiffres #statistiques #hiver #sur-population #hotspots #Lesbos #Leros #Kos


  • How to maintain the trumpet of ultrafine milling machine
    After the Spring Festival, we all back to the post, began a new round of struggle. In the holiday during the rest of the ultrafine milling machine should also be re-put into production, and let it end up processing at the same time, give him a first maintenance it, let the body “blood” boiling up, Colliel to you Superfine grinding machine maintenance trilogy.
    Part 1: change the change on the bar, the old do not go, the new does not come. New year we all like to wear new clothes, string relatives. [url=http://www.ht-rent.net/product/grinding-mill/scm-ultrafine-mill.html]ultrafine mill[/url] waiting for the call, in order to start the year after the smooth, please defective parts of the year in time to replace it. Because the weather during the holiday cold and cold, equipment in the open environment, the components will be greatly affected, such as rust, dry, off, loose and so on.
    Part II: the protection of the good protection, do not wait to lose only to regret. ultrafine milling machine In addition to the sliding bearing with the spindle, the rest of the rotation part of the use of rolling bearings, which must be in good lubrication conditions. Refueling control in the class twice, the location of the cup in the top of the plum, can not find when you can consult after-sales. Spindle base bearings, fan bearings, roller shaft bearings, etc. every ten days with a butter gun filling 5 # calcium-based grease once. Analysis machine bearing to open every two months to clean once, plus 5 # calcium-based grease. To ensure that lubrication is an essential part of [url=http://www.canadacrusher.com/product/grinding-mill/scm-ultrafine-mill.html]ultrafine mill[/url] machine, this step must be done.
    Part III: ultrafine milling machine also need to “change clothes.” The winter cold will break the paint cover on the surface of the equipment, so after the holidays, check again and fill the rusty position. If you have the conditions, you can try to put it from top to bottom. Paint, but it is time consuming and laborious, but the benefits are also great. Users need to “do what”.


  • Macron veut « identifier » les demandeurs d’asile au Tchad et au Niger
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/290817/macron-veut-identifier-les-demandeurs-d-asile-au-tchad-et-au-niger

    Lors d’un mini-sommet organisé à l’Élysée lundi 28 août, Paris, Berlin, Madrid et Rome ont proposé l’envoi de « missions de protection » au Niger et au Tchad dans le but d’identifier en amont les #migrants éligibles à l’asile. Une initiative qui pose plus de questions qu’elle n’en résout.

    #International #asile #réfugiés