FRANÇOIS BRUTSCH [Un Swissroll]: Décès de Norman Geras


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François Brutsch

[first published on François’ blog Un Swissroll]

Un Swissroll perd un frère aîné et la gauche une conscience morale

Dernière màj: dimanche 20 à 16h00

C’est par un billet posté par une de ses deux filles vendredi matin sur Normblog que ses amis de la blogosphère ont appris le décès quelques heures plus tôt de Norm (par ailleurs professeur retraité de l’Université de Manchester et auteur marxiste reconnu): il avait manifestement pris ses dispositions, et le blog va rester en ligne avec tout ce qu’il contient.

Norm avait indiqué il y a quelques mois avoir commencé une thérapie anticancéreuse (dont il a ultérieurement donné de rares échos) après avoir été diagnostiqué en 2003, mais le ralentissement alors annoncé ne s’est guère manifesté sur le blog, avec toujours la même humanité dans le style et la même variété de sujets, du jazz (et country, et classique) à l’éthique, de la littérature à sa famille en passant par le cricket ou bien sûr la politique et la lutte pour une gauche fidèle à elle-même.

Son dernier billet remonte à 9 jours: rien moins que la liste des 100 romans qu’il a lu et recommande (en réaction à l’agaçante prétention des médias à dicter ce type de classement).

Je n’ai donc pas eu le temps de lui écrire comme je le faisais occasionnellement1 pour le taquiner sur ce que je voyais comme une contradiction: dans un de ses récents billets, il a défendu le droit des détenus à obtenir des conditions leur permettant de fumer, position que je partage également2 – mais précédemment il ne voyait curieusement pas en quoi il était choquant qu’en Grande-Bretagne la privation du droit de vote soit généralisée pour les détenus condamnés3.

Né quelques jours avant Un Swissroll, Normblog était comme un frère aîné éperdument admiré. De cette gauche réellement démocratique et réellement internationaliste, mentionné sur ce blog dès son premier jour effectif via un prolifique blogueur américain, il en avait manifestement reçu la trace4: il nous a inscrit à son blogroll (13.8), trouvé un nom pour ce blog et signalé mes prises de position dans les médias genevois en faveur d’une intervention internationale en Irak, puis relevé (7.11) un autre billet où j’évoquais une sortie antisémite crasse d’une amie tout ce qu’il y de plus humaniste et progressiste… Il est immédiatement devenu le fer de lance d’un petit réseau de blogs résistant à la veulerie générale à gauche. Plus tard il m’a invité à répondre à son questionnaire pour l’une de ces séries thématiques dont il avait le secret, portraits de blogueurs. J’ai aussi coordonné la traduction française du Euston Manifesto, dont une réunion à Londres fut l’occasion de notre unique et brève rencontre en chair et en os – mais nous n’en avions pas vraiment besoin pour être amis.

Dans un autre domaine, Norm a également accepté de publier un article dans lequel je présentais au public anglo-saxon la loi sur le partenariat enregistré qui a réalisé en Suisse, à l’issue d’une campagne de dix ans, l’égalité entre couples hétéros mariés et couples de même sexe5.

En manière de faire le deuil, j’ajouterai ci-dessous dans les heures et jours qui viennent les hommages qui commencent d’être publiés. Complément: Je passe le relais à Normfest, un splendide site d’hommage ouvert par Damian Counsell6 (PooterGeek)!

 

  1. Car Normblog a eu cette clairvoyance anticipatrice, compte tenu du caniveau que sont devenus les commentaires pour les blogs à forte diffusion, de n’engager la conversation qu’entre blogs, par billets interposés, ou par courriel – et plus récemment par Twitter dont @normblog était aussi un utilisateur avisé (15’200 tweets!). []
  2. Ce sont les gardiens de prison qui réclament l’interdiction complète. []
  3. Ce que la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme a jugé contraire à la CEDH. []
  4. Surtout à leurs débuts, les blogueurs sont complètement obsessionnels sur leurs statistiques de fréquentation et leurs mentions sur le web – après ça passe, donc nous avons eu de la chance qu’il le remarque! []
  5. A regret, j’ai dû constater que Norm évoluait ensuite rapidement sur ce sujet certainement nouveau pour lui, et tombait du côté de ceux que je tiens pour des doctrinaires pour qui c’est la dématrimonialisation du mariage ou rien; mais c’était toujours un plaisir de débattre avec lui, et se découvrir une approche différente qui n’entame pas l’estime réciproque, bien au contraire, fait partie du processus de maturation même par rapport au frère aîné… []
  6. Voir son analyse professionnelle de ce qui fait de Normblog un blog absolument exemplaire. []