INTRODUCTION TO ERIC HAZAN
Amid the intellectual murkiness of the European scene, a few bright flames are burning: as witness the work of Eric Hazan. Founder-director of Editions La Fabrique, since 1998 he has published a steady stream of radical and imaginative works, notably translations of dissident Israeli and Palestinian writings. Over the last six years he has produced four books of his own, among them L’Invention de Paris (2002), Chronique de la guerre civile (2004) and Changement de Propriétaire: La guerre civile continue (2007)—extracts from which are reproduced below. Hazan was born in Paris in 1936, and trained as a medical student. Briefly a young Communist militant, he broke with the Party in 1956—not over Hungary, but Algeria: a pcf that disavowed its Arab comrades, and expelled militants arrested for supporting the fln, was no longer the Party of the Resistance. Hazan joined a trickle of doctors in counter-flow to the mass exodus of French professionals from Algeria in 1962, working as village medic. In 1970 he helped form the Franco-Palestinian Medical Association and served as a volunteer doctor in a refugee camp outside Beirut. The shift to publishing came in 1983, when he took over his father’s art house, Editions Hazan; forced into a deal with Hachette 15 years later, he broke free to set up La Fabrique. A rare figure in France to speak out in trenchant terms—‘a duty as a Jew’—against the overwhelming official consensus on the Middle East, Hazan has eloquently analysed the ways in which traditional French antisemitism, inadmissable after the collaboration with Nazism, has been ‘delegated’ to the descendants of the colonized, while traditional French racism has found new expression in attacking the latter for a media-inflated judeophobia. In his work, the metaphor of a ‘world civil war’, its frontlines everywhere, also takes concrete form in the state coercion of the banlieue, the slums, the imperial warzones. His writings assemble collages—fragments of time, scenes from the street—in an attempt to recompose the totality which the operations of the liberal-democratic media work to disperse. Hazan has described his programme as putting Rancière’s notion of ‘the equality of anyone with anyone’ into practice. The views of a singular internationalist, informed by a broad historical culture.