[Marxism] Their Morals and Ours

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Jul 6 08:00:51 MDT 2008

>For those interested in exploring these questions further, last 
>night I watched
>the fascinating film "Terror's Advocate," about French lawyer 
>Jacques Vergès and
>his defense of Algerian and Palestinian (and many other) "terrorists." Well
>worth watching.
>More extensive comments and links:
>   http://lefti.blogspot.com/2008_07_01_archive.html#6393421443055486136

Here was my take:

The Terror's Advocate

A documentary on French lawyer Jacques Vergès, who is that country's 
version of Ramsey Clark but even more defiant in his willingness to 
stand up to the warmongering pieties of people like Bernard Kouchner. 
Vergès, a WWII veteran, was born to a French father who was serving 
as a diplomat on Réunion island and a Vietnamese mother. He became a 
lawyer after the war and defended Djamila Bouhired, the woman who was 
depicted blowing up the Algiers café in Pontecorvo's movie. They 
later married and had two children. Vergès, no exemplary as a human 
being, abandoned his family and returned to Paris, where he began 
practicing law after a 7 year "disappearance" and on the same basis 
as years past. He agreed to defend some of the imperialist world's 
most hated enemies, from Slobodan Milosevic to Saddam Hussein.

He even decided to defend Klaus Barbie, but on a completely 
unexpected basis. Rather than trying to prove his innocence, he 
turned the tables on the prosecution, pointing out that Barbie did 
nothing different in France than they did in Algeria. One of director 
Barbet Schroeder's main goals is to prove that Vergès is some kind of 
crypto-Nazi. Not only is the defense of Barbie held against him, 
there is an amalgam made with Francois Genoud, a Nazi sympathizer who 
financed Barbie's defense as well as donating money to Palestinian 
resistance groups that Vergès was defending in court. Basically, 
Schroeder has made a film that is consistent with the "Islamofascism" 
narrative spun out by Paul Berman, Christopher Hitchens and others.

What redeems this film is Vergès ample opportunity to make his own 
case, which is far more convincing than his detractors. In an 
interview with Schroeder that can be read on the film's website, the 
director states that he initially saw the world like Vergès but 
eventually had a change of heart: "I felt very close to the Algerian 
cause, but shortly after independence, Ben Bella made a speech saying 
that, now, they were going to take care of Israel and I was shocked. 
At that time, I knew a lot about the Holocaust, and nothing about the 
Palestinian cause, and for me it was a crushing disappointment, 
seeing this great struggle ending up in one country's waging war 
against another." I would say that Schroeder still knows nothing 
about the Palestinian cause. "The Terror's Advocate" is now available in DVD.

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