Our Heartland professors, nephew and wife Matt and Regan, are immersing themselves in Middlebury's seven-week French-language program, where students "use their target language exclusively in classes, dining halls, dormitories, and co-curricular activities." No English allowed. We've been encouraged to email them early and often, but only in French. 'Were delighted to learn via Yahoo's "Babel Fish" translation program that we are married to a "fold." That's their translation of Tuck. “But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.” Above, two kinds of French fold, the napkin version, left, and the paper one.
"In France, you can't own up to a mistake," writes Anne-Elisabeth Moutet in "L'Affaire Enderlin" at The Weekly Standard. She's talking about the latest wrinkle in the ongoing legal wranglings over al-Dura — blogged here from time to time — a signature episode in the life-and-death struggle for hearts and minds that is the Israeli-Palestinian propaganda wars:
So, in the case of Muhammad al-Dura — a 12-year-old Palestinian boy allegedly killed by Israeli fire during a skirmish in the Gaza strip on September 30, 2000 — it was not really to be expected that the journalist who released the 59-second news report, Charles Enderlin, longtime Jerusalem correspondent for France 2 TV, would immediately admit having hastily slapped together sensational footage supplied by the channel's regular Palestinian stringer, and not checked whose bullets had, in fact, killed, or perhaps even not killed, the boy.
In the ensuing eight years, the small figure of Muhammad al-Dura cowering beside his crouching father became the defining image of the second Intifada. The "child martyr's" picture cropped up on posters, websites, postage stamps, and street names throughout the Muslim world from Mali to Indonesia, fueling lynchings and suicide bombings
Yet another egregious example of the big lie's ability to travel halfway around the world while the truth is either putting on its shoes or getting its pants on, and the court battles to get those shoes and pants on have dragged on for years, giving substance to the old saw that "justice delayed is justice denied." Can anything be done about it? Yes. Dogged determination is where it's at. Our own sub rosa blog friend, the distinguished Boston University professor of medieval history Richard Landes, has been on the case for years. He's the one who coined the term "Pallywood" to refer to "the staging of scenes by Palestinian journalists in order to present the Palestinians as hapless victims of Israeli aggression." As Richard explained at The Second Draft, politically correct, multicultural fellow travelers in the MSM are the Palestinian journalists' willing enablers:
They are able to succeed in this endeavor in large part due to the credulity and eagerness of the Western press to present these images, which reinforce the image of the Palestinian David struggling valiantly against the overpowering Israeli Goliath. Pallywood has led to astonishing lapses in Western journalistic standards in which badly staged scenes regularly appear on the news as "real events."
Then, as we wrote a month back, "the French court pleasantly surprised the seekers-of-wisdom-and-truth community this week by dismissing charges brought against [French media watchdog Philip] Karsenty by truthiness-monger France2." That was a breath of fresh air, but the forces of darkness — the totalitarian instinct that is our birthright — are forever lurking beyond the light of the campfire. No sooner had the court ruled than French journalism's old-cowboy network circled the wagons. More from Moutet's Weekly Standard report:
You might think Enderlin's professional standing would have been damaged by all this. You would be wrong. In less than a week, a petition was whipped up by his friends at Le Nouvel Observateur, France's premier left-wing newsweekly. The petition conceded no gray areas, no hint of doubt. It called Karsenty's vehemently argued but exhaustively documented stance a "seven-year hate-filled smear campaign" aimed at destroying Enderlin's "professional dignity." It flatly stated in the opening paragraph that Muhammad al-Dura was killed "by shots coming from the Israeli position." It expressed rank astonishment at a legal ruling "granting equal credibility to a journalist renowned for his rigorous work, and to willful deniers ignorant of the local realities and with no journalistic experience." It professed concern about a jurisprudence that would — shock! horror! — allow "anyone, in the name of good faith and of a supposed right to criticize and so-called freedom of speech, to smear with impunity the honor and the reputation of news professionals."
Moutet placed calls to a number of the signers, several of whom hadn't even read the petition they signed. One of our favorite responses:
There was the noted Paris-based former Washington Post foreign correspondent, 75-year-old Jon Randal, a Middle East expert I'd looked up to for years as a cub reporter, who trenchantly explained that he was seeing in all this a dangerous American trend of "vindictive pressure groups interfering with news organizations," now unfortunately crossing the Atlantic. (Having lived in Paris for over 40 years, Jon had become alarmingly French.)
"Americans have been under the gun of such people for some time, but France used to be free of this kind of thing. [These groups] are paranoid, they're persistent, they never give up, they sap the energy of good reporters. I can't imagine how much money France 2 has spent defending this case. Charles Enderlin is an excellent journalist! I don't care if it's the Virgin Birth affair, I would tend to believe him. Someone like Charles simply doesn't make a story up."
God bless America and those "vindictive pressure groups" and "such people" as Richard Landes who will call the self-appointed arbiters of "truth" to task.