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LES ECHOS

Suicide Vows: When Elderly Couples Bid Farewell Together

The recent dual suicide of Bernard and Georgette Cazes at Paris' landmark Lutetia Hotel is a symbolic nod to the right-to-die movement, but also a melancholic reminder of eternal love.

Lover's knot
Lover's knot
Frédéric Potet and Marion Van Renterghem

PARIS — They are already a legend, Bernard and Georgette Cazes, the elderly lovers who chose to die together because one could not live without the other. The stoic symbolism of their joint suicide at the shared age of 86 is perhaps more romantic because of the location where it was carried out: a luxurious Art Deco room of the famed Lutetia hotel in central Paris.

A few days after the couple's death on Friday, Nov. 22, several of their friends received letters Bernard Cazes had sent them. The one addressed to Michel Kantor, a colleague from the magazine La Quinzaine Littéraire, ended with “Farewell, friend.” The one received by Dominique David, from the French Institute of International Relations (FIIR), had been written with a steady hand. It said Bernard's wife was losing her eyesight and that he could not imagine living without her. “You should know that we will do anything we can to end our lives. It is with difficulty that I bid you farewell,” he wrote.

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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.

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