Mort Report is a labor of love by old-style correspondents with lifetimes on the road and young ones with fresh eyes. Our philosophy is simple: we report at first hand with analysis based on non-alternative fact, not opinion. If we get something wrong, we fix it.
PARIS – Café de la Paix went on war footing, its Belle Epoque windows near the Opera shielded by thick plywood panels. The Champs-Élysées, normally alive in December with a Christmas market full of food and fun, looks as if the Grinch stormed past in an armored column.
This is still France, with plenty of joie left in its vivre. But the Gilets Jaunes, quickly mastering Internet mob democracy, are rattling the foundations of an old society buffeted by extremist threats, a new world disorder and a fast-changing physiognomy.
The insurgency has neither leaders nor a plan. Yet, as Facebook alone suggests, it has millions of sympathizers in France, and those neon-yellow vests are spreading across Europe and beyond. On Friday, 1,000 “Elod Tsahov” (the Hebrew translation) wore them on the streets of Tel Aviv.
Attention focuses on louts who enliven their Saturdays by pitching cobblestones at cops. Riot police fire off teargas canisters directly into the scrum. Emergency rooms and jail cells fill. Ranks swell with kids from well-off families attracted by revolutionary zeal.
Mostly, though, the Gilets Jaunes are simply pissed-off people who work harder than ever yet still come up short, while a rich upper class (in French, “les ‘appy few”) socks away yet more wealth and pays less tax. They plot on social media and take to the streets to show their force.
The result is a Gallic Winter, a faint echo of the Arab Spring. Remember? A vegetable seller in a Tunisian backwater, protesting petty authority, set himself aflame. A groundswell deposed the president. Then Egyptians rose up against Hosni Mubarak. Things have not gone well since.
“Sometimes it seems as if I’ve banged out a trillion words over the last half-century in news dispatches, books and assorted screeds. None, I believe, are more important than these.”
PARIS – Let's be clear before it is too late. Any government leader or corporate executive who flouts irrefutable evidence of climatic shifts is complicit in murdering the human race.
Nobel laureate Paul Krugman called willful denial of climate change “depravity” in a New York Times essay on heedless greed and hubris. That's not the half of it.
Bill McKibben, in The New Yorker, outlined in devastating detail what he has watched closely since sounding the alarm 30 years ago. Yet as fire, flood and famine steadily worsen toward Endgame, the world dithers.
“It's now reasonable to ask,” he wrote, “whether the human game has begun to falter - perhaps even to play itself out.”
As people obsessed on a flash of street mayhem in Paris, few noticed wise old David Attenborough speak gravely in Poland: “If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”
Crocodiles and cockroaches will survive as temperatures rise, but humans will be among the first to go. When? Does it matter?