Empire of Shame

March 27, 2005

Jean Zigler, rapporteur at UNO (60.000 civils servant) for the food resources questions has just published with the Editions Fayard a book translated in 14 languages, titled :

Empire of Shame. Editions Fayard

In 11 Mb video that you will be able to see hereafter, and who corresponds to his recent interview on TV5 he presents his work. He explains why at the time of the French revolution the idea of bringing enough food to live to all humen beings on Earth still was a Utopia, a dream, but that today that would be a technically possible thing. But it is impossible because of the collecting of the wealth by a few people, that he calls the Lords of the Economic War. Those institute a Feudal Order and their armed arm is nothing but the American military power, which operates from now on without the approval of UNO, without any control. The United States use from now on torture and assassination as "a needed thing" and withdrew from the Convention of genêve. The author announces that the nomination of Wolfowitz to the direction of the World Bank is once more a disaster for from now on this one, instead of trying to tend towards justice will put himself at the service of the most powerful.

Ziegler reminds that Bush signed a decree that authorizes armed American commandos to operate out of the USA while eliminating physically not guilty ones, but simple suspects. He talks about a New Cruelty and an "Organization of Hunger" to the service of a New World Order, murderous and absurd. Ziegler talks about the need for a moral insurrection.

The tone of the man is impressive. The interview on a canadian television channel (TV5) is at a time of great audience. Unthinkable in France where these niches are occupied by sillinesses and businesses of crushed dogs.

Listen to what this man says, read its book diffuse its message. It is your future of human being that is at stake:


The Complete Interview :

Jean Ziegler: "We go towards a new feudalisation of the world"

In its new essay, Empire of the shame (Fayard), which came out on March 10, the subversive Genevese sociologist and intellectual - today special rapporteur on the right to food access at the commission of UNO for the humans right - move onto the attack of the "private transcontinental companies". Blamed to maintain famine, to destroy nature and to subvert democracy, they extend their influence on the world and want to reduce to nothing the conquests Enlightenment. To resist to them, it is necessary to get back the spirit of the French revolution and to raise the head, as already does in Brazil the president Lula da Silva.

Your book is entitled the Empire of shame. Which is this empire? Why "shame"? Which is this shame?

Jean Ziegler: In the north of Brazil favelas, some mothers may, the evening, put water in a pot and to deposit stones in it. To their children who cry of hunger they explain that "soon the meal will be ready…", while hoping that meanwhile the children will fall asleep.
Does one measure the shame felt by a mother in front of his children martyrized by the hunger and which she is unable to feed ?

However the murderous order of the world - which kills out of hunger and epidemic 100 000 people per day - does not cause only shame on its victims, but also on us, Westerners, Whites, rulers, who are of complicity of this hecatomb, conscious, informed and, however, silent, cowardly and paralysed.
Empire of shame? It could be this generalized influence of the shame feeling caused by the inhumanity of the world order. Indeed, he indicates the empire of the private transcontinental companies, directed by the cosmocrats. The 500 most powerful of them controlled last year 52 % of the gross world product, i.e. of all the wealthes produced on the planet.

In your book, you talk about a "structural violence". What do you mean so ?

Jean Ziegler : In the empire of shame, controlled by the organized scarcity, war is not sporadic any more, it is permanent. It is not any more a crisis, a pathology, but normality. It is not equivalent any more to the eclipse of reason - as Horkheimer said it -, it is the very justification of the empire. The lords of the economic war put the planet under the well-organized control. They attack the normative power of States, challenge sovereignty of the people, subvert democracy, devastate nature, destroy humen and their freedoms. The liberalization of economy, the "invisible hand" of the market are their cosmogony; the maximalisation of profit, their practice. I call structural violence this practice and this cosmogony.

Also you talk about a "death throes of the right". What means this expression ?

Jean Ziegler : From now on, the preventive war without end, the permanent aggressiveness of the lords, the arbitrary, the structural violence reign without obstacles. The majority of the barriers of the international law break down. UNO itself is bloodless. Cosmocrats are above any law. My book makes the account of the international right collapse, quoting many examples drawn directly from my experiment of special rapporteur at the United Nations for the right to food access.

You qualify famine of "massive destruction weapon". Which solutions do you recommend ?

Jean Ziegler : With the debt, the hunger is the massive destruction weapon which is used by the cosmocrats to crush - and to exploit - the people, in particular in the Southern hemisphere. A complex set of measures, immediately feasible and that I describe in the book, could quickly put a term to hunger. It is impossible to summarize them in a sentence. A thing is certain: world agriculture, in the current state of its productivity, could feed the double of today humanity. There is not thus any fate: the hunger is made of hand of man.

Some countries are crushed, you say, by a "odious debt". What do you mean by "odious debt" and which solutions do you recommend ?

Jean Ziegler : Rwanda is a small farming republic of 26 000 km2, located on the crest of central Africa separating water from the Nile and Congo, and cultivating tea and coffee. From April to June 1994, an dreadful genocide, organized by the Hutu government allied wih France of François Mitterrand, caused the death of more than 800 000 tutsis men, women and children. The machetes having been used for the genocide were imported from China and Egypt, and were financed, essentially, by the Crédit Lyonnais. Today, the survivors, peasants farmers very poor, must refund to banks and creditor governments even the credits which were used for the purchase of the machetes of the genocide makers. Here is an example of odious debt. The solution passes by immediate cancellation and without counterpart or, to start, by a audit of this one, as the International Socialist recommends it or as president Lula made in Brazil, for then renegotiating it item by item. In each item, there are indeed criminal elements – corruption, over invoicing, etc. - which must be reduced. Audit international companies, like PriceWaterhouseCooper or Ernst & Young, can absolutely undertake some, as they take responsability for, each year, to audit the multinationals accounts.

You quote on several occasions president Lula da Silva like model. What inspires this consideration in his action to you ?

Jean Ziegler : I feel at the same time admiration and concern by considering the political objectives and the action of president Lula: admiration because he is the first president of Brazil to agree to recognize that its country counts 44 million citizens seriously and permanently underfed and to want to put a term at this inhuman situation; concern, also, because with a foreign debt of its country of 235 billion dollars Lula does not have the means of ending with this situation.

In your book you also talk about a "new feudalisation of the world". What do you mean ?

Jean Ziegler : August 4, 1789, the deputies of the French National Assembly abolished feudalism. Their action had a universal repercussion. However, today, we witness a formidable step backward. September 11, 2001 did not only provide to George W. Bush the occasion to extend the influence of the United States on the world, the event also justified the setting out of a well-organized control of the people of the Southern hemisphere by the large private transcontinental companies.

In your book, you very often refer to the French revolution and some of its protagonists (Danton, Babeuf, Marat…) : in what do you estimate that it has still something to bring, two centuries after and in a quite different world ?

Jean Ziegler : Read the texts! The Proclamation of the Enraged of Jacques Roux fixes the outlook of any struggle for planetary social justice. The foundervalues of the republic, better, of civilization itself, date from the time of the Enlightenment. However empire of shame destroyes even the hope of the concretization of these values.

In your book, you reproach the total war against terrorism of diverting resources necessary to other more important struggle like the one against the hunger. Do you think that terrorism is a false threat, ,cultivated by some States? If so, what makes you think it? Do you think that this threat is not real or that it deserves a different treatment ?

Jean Ziegler : The terrorism of State of Bush, Sharon, Putin... is as hateful as Islamic Djihad terrorism of very smal group or other insane bloodthirsty men of this kind. They are the two faces of the same cruelty. Both are quite real, since Bush kill and that Ben Laden kill. The problem is the eradication of terrorism: it can be done only by one total upheaval of the empire of shame. Planetary social justice only will be able to cut off the djihadists of their roots and to deprive the lackeys of the cosmocrats with the pretexts of their responses.

In 2002, you were appointed special rapporteur of UNO for the right to the food. Which reflexion did you draw from this mission ?

Jean Ziegler : My mandate is exciting: in a total independence - person in charge before the General Assembly of UNO and the commission for the humans rights -, I must make justiciable, by the duty statutory or conventional, a new human right: right to the food. It is a work of Sisyphus! It progresses millimetre per millimetre. The essential place of this struggle, it is the collective conscience. For a long time, the destruction of human beings by hunger was tolerated in a kind of cold normality. Today, it is regarded as intolerable. The opinion makes pressure on the governments and the interetatic organizations (OMC, the IMF, the World Bank, etc.) so that basic measures are taken to kill the enemy: land reform in the Third World, suitable prices paid for the agricultural produces of the South, rationalization of the humanitarian aid in the event of abrupt catastrophes, closing of the Chicago Stock Exchange of the raw agricultural materials, which bulles in main food, fights against the privatization of drinking water, etc.

In your book, you appear as a defender of the cause "altermondialist", even like a spokesman of this movement. How is it done that you so seldom intervene in the "alter" demonstrations and that one generally does not regard you as an "alter" intellectual ?

Jean Ziegler : How thus? I spoke in front of 20 000 people in the "Gigantino" of Porto Alegre in January 2003. I feel like an organic intellectual of the new planetary civil society, of its multiple faces of resistance, this tremendous fraternity of the night. But I remain faithful to the principles of the revolutionary analysis of class, in Jacques Roux, Babeuf, Marat and Saint-Just.

You seem to credit with all misfortunes of the world the multinationals and a handle of States (the United States, Russia, Israël…) : isn't this a little reducing?

Jean Ziegler : The order of the current world is not only murderous, it is also absurd. It kills, destroys, slaughter, but it makes it without another need that the research of maximum profit for some cosmocrats driven by an obsession of power, an unlimited eagerness.
Bush, Sharon, Putin? Lackeys, auxiliaries. I add a postscript on Israel: Sharon is not Israel. He is its perversion. Michael Warshavski, Lea Tselem, the "Rabbis for the humans right" and many other organizations of resistance incarnate true Israel, the future of Israel. They deserve our total solidarity.

Do you think that morals has its place in the international relations, which are rather dictated by the economic and geopolitical interests?

Jean Ziegler : There is no choice. Or you choose the development and the normative organization or you choose the invisible hand of the market, the violence of the strongest and arbitrary. Feudal power and social justice are radically paradoxical.
"Ahead towards our roots", requires the German Marxist Ernst Bloch. If we do not restore urgently the values of the Enlightenment, the Republic, the international law, civilization such as we have built it for two hundred and fifty years in Europe will be covered, absorbed by the jungle.

Since the departure of the talibans, the Middle East and the arabo-Moslem world seem traversed by a wave of more or less spontaneous democratization (elections in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Palestine, opening of presidential to other candidates in Egypte…). How do you judge that and do you think that the democracy can be exported in these countries? Or do you believe that they are condemned to have despotic systems ?

Jean Ziegler : It is not a question "to export the democracy". The desire of autonomy, democracy, popular sovereignty is consubstantial with the human being, whatever the area of the world where it was born. My friend the great Syrian sociologist Bassam Tibi wants an existence in democracy and has right to it. However, since thirty years, he lives in Germany, exile from the dreadful dictatorship which prevails in its country. Elias Sambar, Palestinian writer, another of my friends, have right to free and democratic Palestine, not to an occupied Palestine, nor with a life under the obscurantist islamists' iron rule. Tibi, Sambar and me want the same thing and have right to it: democracy. The problem: the cold war, the instrumentalisation of the systems in place by the great powers, finally the cowardice of the Western democrats, their lack of active and real solidarity make that the tyrants of the Middle East, of Saudi Arabia, of Egypt, of Syria, of the Gulf, Iran could last until today.

Gian Paolo Accardo

Source: La Libre Belgique :

"empire of shame", according to Ziegler
Special rapporteur of UNO, the Swiss citizen publishes a new wild indictment of globalization.
The United Nations, he says, are in danger to disappear.
Alexis Haulot


United Nations special rapporteur for the right to the food access, the Swiss citizen Jean Ziegler publishes a new indictment of globalization, "the empire of shame"(1).

Your experience at the United Nations left its mark on this book...

Completely. I have an observation post like never before. And I am very worried. The United Nations is sixty years old this year and it is fatally threatened. Of its bureaucracy, on the one hand, with its 62000 civils servant. Of its inefficiency in certain major crises, then: Srebrenica, the genocide of Rwanda, all that is unforgivable. Its charter contains the essential elements of civilization: the collective security, planetary social justice and humans right. However, these three pillars are attacked by the unilateralism of the current American system,which denies the collective security in Iraq, sends Wolfowitz to the World Bank and denounces Convention on torture that the Americans had however signed. Since the first time of office of Bush, a unit was installed in the basement of the White House to keep watch on all the senior executive of the United Nations. All those who have a conflicting interest with the immediate interests of the United States are fought. At this rate, the United Nations are likely to disappear...

The secretary-general Kofi Annan has just presented a reform of UNO. Do you think that is a way of saving it?

Its proposals are courageous. Kofi Annan is someone very, very respectable. One attacks it on all fronts by the means of slanderous campaigns, one tries to destroy it psychologically, but he wants to go at the end of his mandate and to conclude the Objectives of the millenium for the development. That goes against the American imperial interests and to the private capital. When one proposes to reduce by two extreme poverty - two billion people lives with less than one dollar per day -, that implies land reforms, control of the profits of the multinationals, reduction in the pharmaceutical prices, food sovereignty...

Your book is a speech for the defence of cancellation of the debt.

Yes, all is there. It is the garrotte which creates the hunger and prevents the development. Let us take the example of Brazil. There are 180 million inhabitants of which 53 million are seriously and permanently underfed. They are official statistics. President Lula, elected with 61% of votes in October 2002, has an incredible democratic legitimacy but he can do nothing. He set up a program named "Hunger zero" which requires a financing. However, he does not have the first penny because of a debt of 235 billion dollars. If he does not manage to find a solution, it has had it. But for that, he must negotiate with the IMF. If he made this decision unilaterally, the first Brazilian boat to dock abroad would be immediately seized.

However, the pure and simple cancellation of the debt is not the only solution. There are corrupted systems. The civil society - NGO "Jubilee 2000" in fact - proposed a mechanism which would convert the debt of the 49 least advanced countries into local currency in order to contribute to the development, under the monitoring of the IMF. It is a way. But there is a true hypocrisy consisting in saying that if the Third World countries did not pay their debt, the world banking structure would break down. However, the statistics show that it is absolutely wrong. At the time of the last stock exchange crisis, capitals which were 14 times greater to the whole debt of the 122 Third World countries were destroyed. The economy digested that perfectly.

Who benefits this hypocrisy?

To cosmocrats. The 500 larger transcontinental companies of the world controlled last year more than 54% of the world gross Product. We live the new feudalisation of the world! The new feudal lords have a power infinitely more powerful than any pope or emperor in history. Great concern is expressed everywhere about this orientation of the world. And Europe remains in my eyes too quiet whereas it has the means of putting forward another model.

(1) Ed. Fayard, 323 pp, 20€


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