Editorial

Ah! Comme c’est beau! (‘How beautiful it is!’)

Summary

Mandel had a mind that could see beyond the immediate and self-interest; Pelosi has a mouth and two tongues, selective and narrow in their usage.

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On May 10, 1968, i.e. on the “Night of the Barricades,” the Belgian Marxist economist and Trotskyite activist Ernest Mandel was in Paris, addressing student protesters about to face down riot police in the Latin Quarter. Mandel, walking back to his car after the event found it had been set on fire. It is reported that Mandel had then climbed on top of the nearest barricade and shouted as loud as he could, “Ah! Comme c’est beau! C’est la revolution!” (“How beautiful it is! It’s the revolution!”).

It’s all in the eye of the beholder and from his/her political standpoint too.

Not too long ago, when US-backed ‘democracy activists’ trashed the HongKong legislature, and put up the English and US flags, US Speaker of the House Nanci Pelosi said, ‘It is a beautiful sight to behold!’

And just the other day, another set of activists, each a democracy activist in his/her mind, stormed the Capitol Building. Pelosi’s office was occupied. She didn’t say ‘“Ah! Comme c’est beau!’ She didn’t tweet ‘සුන්දරත්වය මෙය මැයි!’ She didn’t give a thumbs-up sign.

This is what she said: ‘To those who strove to tear us from our responsibility, you have failed; to  those who engaged in the gleeful desecration of this, our temple of … American democracy, justice will be done.’

Karl Marx in ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,’ wrote the following which is oft quoted and misquoted: ‘Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Caussidière for Danton, Louis Blanc for Robespierre, the Montagne of 1848 to 1851 for the Montagne of 1793 to 1795, the nephew for the uncle.’

Maybe he could have added, ‘and sometimes this is true in the case of moments whose potentials were overestimated.’

May 1968, simply for the hope it represented, was tragic — the only yield that remained was the word, ‘Spring’ and that was bastardized by the USA (remember ‘Arab Spring’?); January 2021 in the USA was a farce. Mandel had a mind that could see beyond the immediate and self-interest; Pelosi has a mouth and two tongues, selective and narrow in their usage.

So how would be caption the overall picture, i.e. the one that includes ‘1968’?

‘Ah! Comme c’est beau!’

It’s as good as anything else. Probably better. It’s good to see. It’s good to see through!  

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