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SPOTLIGHT: PALESTINIAN PRISON LETTER

"My release is bound to happen, sooner or later ... "

The most charismatic living Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, who has been in an Israeli prison since 2002, offered a rare written exchange recently with Le Monde. Some see the 56-year-old, who was sentenced to five life imprisonments in 2004 for directing suicide bombings during the second Intifada, as the only figure who can unite the Palestinians — and then, the thinking follows, forge peace with Israel. A sort of "Mandela of the Middle East" is the dreamy hope: A Hebrew-speaking visionary with street cred in Gaza could not only bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but could in turn reverse the spiral of violence across the entire Arab world, and make those in the West safer in the process.


Middle East dreamers, however, are a vanishing breed. Not only are heels dug in deep in both Jerusalem and Ramallah, but few still hold onto the illusion that the conflicts burning within the Muslim world can be tamed in one fell swoop by the achievement of Palestinian statehood. That, of course, is no reason not to seek it more urgently than ever.

Check out the English edition of the Le Monde story, Marwan Barghouti, A Palestinian Mandela Or Israel's Worst Nightmare?

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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