Saturday, January 03, 2009

The burst tyre

Daniel Cohn-Bendit,  leader of the "68 generation" in Paris,  now a German MEP,  co-president of the "Green" group,  but still a prominent intellectual called on frequently by the French media,  around the time of the Beijing Olympics on the irony of his position on China and Tibet being close to that of George W. Bush ('Bush et Cohn-Bendit sur la même ligne?' asks the interviewer.)
An extract can be heard here.
Et Reagan.  A l'époque des dissidents,  alors que les Giscard d'Estaing,  Helmut Schmidt et autres refusaient de recevoir les dissidents,  il n'y avait que Reagan et Thatcher qui recevaient les dissidents.  Je sais que c'est un vieux problème.
Round about 19 August,  the BBC World Service's Europe Today had an in-depth look at the conflict that had broken out between Georgia and Russia earlier that month.  As the tension increased,  a meeting was arranged of the military leaders of both sides.  The representative of  the Russian / South Ossetian side did not make it to the meeting because,  it is said,  of a burst tyre.  I was unable to confirm the details of this story,  because the BBC had suspended the "listen again" service for the duration of the Beijing Olympics.

Not to worry,  I thought,  it is bound to be mentioned again.  There was indeed considerable coverage subsequently on the outbreak of the conflict.  But as for the burst tyre,  like Proust's pretty girl with the cigarette (*),  I never saw it again.

* Remembrance of Things Past II,  Tr. Scott Moncrieff & Kilmartin,  Penguin 1983,  P912;  Sodome et Gomorrhe,  Gallimard/Folio 1954,  P321.

Update (9 Feb): Daniel Cohn-Bendit can be heard again, in English, via the BBC World Service. This is at 14:00 into the recording: 'Is it your intention to overthrow all the capitalist governments ... ?' although it is not specifically attributed to him at this point (DocArchive: '1968: The year that changed the world?' Part 2).