The International Herald Tribune is my Anglophone news source. I am not that big of a fan—but as it is delivered to my office, I cannot complain. And at any rate, whether I like it (sometimes) or not (often), it is often amusing to compare the news of the world or just to share a few critical reflections. The followings are my harvest of the day.

Let us start with Roger Cohen’s Column, “the netsuke survived” reporting on “Edmund de Waal’s extraordinary book The Hare with Amber Eyes”, which tells the story of Charles Ephrussi’s collection of Japanese netsukes. Given to a cousin as a wedding gift at the end of the 19th century, they miraculously escaped four decades after the Gestapo pillaging of the family’s house after the German rule was imposed to Austria. The “Jewish upheaval and loss” illustrated by the story of this extremely wealthy family scattered by exile, impoverished, if not massacred by the Nazi is, to his opinion, akin to the fugacious relevance of Japanese art. It makes all the glory and patriotism of this Jewish family appear “brittle as aged Japanese parchment”. The sentence is beautiful, but it is a wrong one. It suggests that the wealth, power and destiny of the family were frail and no more than a “tenacious” “delusion”. But the family spirit was not delusional and weak. It was the Nazi brutality and the support of the masses that were too strong even for the boldest of those placed by history on the wrong side of violence. The tenacious delusion was not the one of a Jewish family, but the one of too many people who praised or participated to, or even just silently consented to, the expropriation and mass assassination of Jews. This delusion was not brittle as parchment, but iron-clad collective rage.

On a funnier note, I read (in the Monday issue) that lawyers say that former French President Chirac is healthy enough to be present at his trial, while he requests to be excused for health reasons. French media say exactly the opposite: Chirac’s claim appears to them substantial.

Last but not least, in the same Monday issue, Sciences Po, a well-known academic institution of Paris, is praised for its endeavor to recruit students from “disadvantaged areas”, a policy that shows “signs of success” says the article. Sciences Po, unfortunately, is now the most expensive school in Europe—and still is heavily subsidized by the French tax payer. At that price, having a few (I say a few because the article does not give any figure) disadvantaged students is the minimum that can be done. I always find it a cruel irony that expensive, cosmopolitan and bourgeois Sciences Po is praised for receiving a few people that they usually do not accept while state universities who have masses of young poor people working hard to attend are just ignored for their continuous but not media-glamorous endeavor in favor of the forgotten fringes of French society.