Diplomacy: an Olympic Sport.

A Unified Korean Olympic Team as a Push Towards Peace.

Symbol on the ice hockey’s uniform symbolizing a Unified Korea

30 years after hosting its first Olympics at Seoul in the summer of 1988, South Korea hosts its second Olympic games: the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The event, joined by athletes from 92 countries, began on 9 February 2018 and will last for 17 days. One of the highlights of the event is the North and South Korea Unified Team; however, while this unification is a historical one, it is not unprecedented.

The first unified Korean team was formed in 1991 for the World Table Tennis Championship Tournament in Japan, proving to be a great success as the team won first place. In the same year, a second unified Korean team was formed. Competing at the World Youth Football Championship, they placed in the top 8. Despite the results achieved by both unified teams, further attempts to collaborate proved unsuccessful. Nevertheless, North and South Korean athletes entered together under the same flag during the Opening Ceremony of the 2000, 2004, and 2006 Olympic Games without the official unification of the two teams. Thus, the formation of a unified team for the 2018 Winter Olympics is a remarkable achievement and coincides with the spirit of the Olympics itself – harmony and unity.

Thee Grand National Party of South Korea (now Liberty Korea Party) initiated the “Enforcement Decree of the Special Act on Support for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic And Paralympic Winter Games” in 2011 upon being selected as the host for this year’s games. The act clearly approves the conception of a unified team “for rapport between South and North Korea and peace of Korean Peninsula”

After heated discussions between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chairman and North and South Korea officials, the IOC officially announced – on 2nd January 2018 during the North and South Korean Olympic Participation Meeting held in Lausanne, Switzerland – the creation of the first unified North-South Korean women’s ice hockey team. The team consists of 23 South Korean players and 12 North Korean players with the coach being Sarah Murray of the South’s national team. The unified team competed under the KOREA team (COR for short). “Arirang” – a Korean folk song that has also been the unofficial national anthem of Korea – was played instead of the national anthems of either country. The Korean peninsula flag was raised and the athletes wore a uniform bearing the initials ‘COR’.

Whilst the unification was a significant achievement, the sporting results did not live up to its predecessors. The unified women’s ice hockey team was defeated by Switzerland and Sweden with a score of 8:0 for both games. On February 14, the team lost to Japan, scoring 4:1. The unified team played against Switzerland again for the ranking game and showed improvement with a smaller loss of 0:2.

Nevertheless, discussions on the pros and cons of the unified team persist. While proponents argued that a unified team would be a foothold for the Peace Olympic Games, encouraging a positive future for North and South Korea, others dissented. Counterarguments followed stating that the South Korean ice hockey athletes were disadvantaged, as they trained exclusively with each other for the Olympics over the span of four years. Additionally, the merging of both teams was announced only shortly in advance, leaving no time for joint practices. Finally, allegations that the Olympics were being excessively promoted for political reasons also existed.

It is undeniable that the unified team has made the 2018 Winter Olympics a memorable one. The unified team conducted a joint team-building exercise; although it only lasted for a short amount of time, the harmony between athletes from North and South Korea is touching, with North and South Korean cheerleaders supporting each other being especially heartwarming. As the games continued, some public backlash against the unified team changed its perception positively after witnessing the harmonization of the two Koreas. Subsequently, the Minister of Culture and Physical Education Dong Jung-hwan managed to put tensions at bay by stating that he will compensate the South Korea women’s hockey team who was partially disadvantaged due to this political maneuver.

However, there are some immediate challenges faced by North and South Korea. Firstly, the Olympics was highly politicized; it was easy to sense that plenty of attention was placed on North Korea which obstructed the sporting focus of the games. Secondly, North Korean nuclear threats are still prevalent and unresolved. Even though North Korea showed their efforts towards building a peaceful relationship with South Korea, there has been no mention of a resolution of nuclear threats which remains a major obstacle to reconciliation. Thirdly, North and South Korea would have to maintain constant contact with one another in order to establish the unified team permanently and successfully. These challenges must be addressed, and further efforts to foster interactions between the two countries must take place in order to achieve long-lasting peace in the Korean peninsula.

Jungwon Kim is a first year student from South Korea

Edited by Alex Kloß and Paxia Ksatryo.

“You Don’t Understand”: Reflections on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooti

On February 14th, 2018 in Parkland, Florida Nikolas Cruz brought an AR-15 assault rifle to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed seventeen people. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who has accepted $3.3 million dollars in donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA), offered his constituents “thoughts and prayers” in wake of the shooting.

As an American student, this copy-paste response to tragedy struck me as insensitive, because our representatives truly do not understand.

None of our representatives know what it’s like to be in first grade in Orlando: You’re turning in your homework packets you did while watching Arthur on TV and you hear the announcement: “Lockdown in effect”. Your teacher stays composed as she tells you to shuffle into the corners and away from the windows – under the desks where they can’t see you. She closes the curtains, locks the doors, and turns off the lights. You’re still a little afraid of the dark. Sometimes, at home, when the hallways are dark and the light switch is far away, you call out to your mom until you reach it; a periodic reassurance that you’re safe, you’re safe, you’re safe. With your younger sibling, who can only count to seventeen: you do it in your head while they speak aloud. You shush them – it’ll be fine. But mom is forty five minutes away working. So when the custodian comes to check whether the door is locked or not and shakes the handle so hard you can hear the door hit the metal frame, you struggle to keep quiet. You’re an obedient child; you love to follow rules. You like pleasing the teacher and your peers and your parents. Now, when you have to pretend not to exist as the looming figure’s shadow covers the curtain on the door window, you can’t count to seventeen until it’s over, you can’t call your mom. You can’t make a sound. They will find you.

In first grade you’re scared. In fifth grade you’re a little scared too, because last summer your school had a little break-in. Nothing to worry about, they tell you. But suddenly you become more aware of the metal detectors at the entrance and the teachers standing by the front door making rapid eye contact and greeting you good morning as you come in, checking if you belong here; if you’re armed, if we’re safe. You remember, in third grade, when you of all people – who would rather do reading corner than play during recess, who spent free time drafting a first novel (it was awful) – went to the principal’s office for having your fingers shaped like guns and pointing them at the lunch table. “Were you serious?,” they ask, “Did you want to hurt people?” No, of course not. The teacher who found you – she never knew, let alone taught you – would struggle to make eye contact for a long time. You always felt uncomfortable around the principal. Did she still think about it? How hard did I have to work to prove that I was not a school shooter?

You remember wanting to bring your cool Swiss Army knife to school. You and your neighbors used it when you made arrows and bows and wands that summer when trying to film a Lord of the Rings knock off. You were the only girl, so you played all of the girl roles in your ruffled skirt and magenta blouse set – the coolest outfit in your closet after your fuzzy purple hoodie. Your dad says you shouldn’t take it. He hesitates when he says, “Maybe this won’t be the most appropriate thing for show-and-tell.” It is an entire toolkit smaller than your palm. Without him making the link you realize – it is also a weapon. You’re brown already, you can’t be dangerous on top of that. You can’t remember what you brought to show-and-tell.

It’s scary in ninth grade, when after three years of being away from the States you forget what the sound of a door hitting the metal frame sounds like. It’s just Kevin. It’s just Kevin. He and Mr. Cross were joking together yesterday at lunch. It might be Kevin. You can’t see through the frosted glass. It’s over soon enough.

You remember Sandy Hook, almost two years ago. You weren’t home – in America – for it but you remember Obama crying, and kids your baby cousin’s age, being murdered. You’ve grown up in a post-Columbine world, where it feels like there is a shooting every month – if not more. We’ve had eight this year. It’s not scary in tenth grade or eleventh grade nor in senior year.

By the time you’re nineteen and in college a continent away, you’ve heard about more shootings than you can count or remember off the top of your head. You’re eating breakfast and drinking coffee in your monkey-patterned pajamas while listening to National Public Radio on your phone. You’re giving unfair commentary to Steve Inskeep when he relays that the insensitive “thoughts and prayers” is being spewed at survivors by politicians instead of the promise of change and solutions. And then they talk about how old the shooter was and how old the victims were and you think for the first time since Sandy Hook: a man has killed children; babies. This is the first time since Sandy Hook that you remember so distinctly being older than these victims.

You snap back into frustration soon enough – they play a sound clip where the President talks about mental health and fortifying mental health services to prevent these tragedies. Suddenly you’re mad. NPR, being the best, ends their segment with the fact that those with mental health issues are far more likely to be the victims rather than perpetrators of violence. This is why you and so many like you were afraid to reach out when you really needed it. Would they see you as unhinged? Or, even worse, threatening? A depressed brown girl is always more concerning than a precocious student. You cannot go back to being that little kid in the principal’s office. You have it together.

Though, now you’re an ocean away and safe and not judged, all you can think of is what that kid told Rubio. You want to shake your phone and scream it at Congress. You don’t understand.

You don’t understand that I grew up in a world where gun violence is an ever-present reality. Where we always thought, ”this could be us- this could have been us.” I don’t, and hope I never will, understand what it is like to survive a shooting. However, unlike Senator Rubio, I have grown up terrified of them.

This was my status quo: fear. Not the unfounded fear of monsters under my bed. No, the fear of being shot and killed in some fatalistic gamble.

These kids and adults were killed before they could before they could do any of the things they wanted to – lead the lives they were entitled to. And they were killed by guns. Guns are killing people. Mental illness is not the weapon – guns are. You are helping neither those suffering with mental illness nor gun violence by blaming it on this false and unfounded cause.

You are killing children by absolving guns.

This is how I grew up. This was an indelible part of my childhood – and I refuse to let my children live in fear.

Maya and her brother on the way to school

Maya Shenoy as a child

Maya Shenoy is a first year student in the Sciences Po and Columbia University dual degree based in Le Havre. She was born in Florida and raised in Delaware.

Edited by Paxia Ksatryo and Alex Kloß

The Main Hall, Where East Meets West: “Formes” by Yiming Min

Photo by Nolwenn Voléon

“Formes” the sculpture by Chinese artist Mr. Yiming Min may combine the artistic heritages of East and West, however, it profoundly divides student opinion.

Mr. Yiming Min – the Chinese visual artist behind the sculpture that was installed in the main hall on February 8th, “Formes” – has displayed some of his artwork in London and Paris, and has also worked on an architectural project in Germany. In 2004 however, he shifted towards more contemporary art, seeking to deconstruct shapes and predefined perceptions, to allow us to interpret his work more freely. Formes first arrived in France in 2014 and was exhibited in Paris. It is heavily inspired by the Louvre’s Hellenistic sculpture of Nike, “The Winged Victory of Samothrace” this time, with an Oriental twist: pagoda roof-looking tiles fused with the feathers, on which porcelain doves give a military salute. After the inauguration of the sculpture, musical performance by students Mark Ma and Ziyu Deng took place to honor our prestigious guests. Then, in the presence of Dean Florent Bonaventure, representatives of the Chinese Embassy in Paris, and the Mayor of Le Havre, Mr. Yinming Min gave a talk to the student body in Mandarin, being translated live by student Meixi Zhang. The essence of his talk was his development of a comparison between Oriental and Occidental Art.

According to Mr Min, art in the Eastern world is more figurative, less realistic, and less scientific than it is in the West. Seeking to use Western techniques, he took what he called an impressionist approach to his work. This crux of his talk came down to the following sentence: Western art emphasizes on objective perception and accurate representation, while Eastern art concerns of the “whole picture”: the atmosphere, the imagery. The artist further showcased his transition from statues to his works in landscape and architecture. Mr. Min told us how happy he was about the increase in cultural exchanges between China and the West, as he believes these dialogues are as crucial as economic exchanges. We, as students on the Euro-Asian campus also have a role to play in these increasing cultural relations, and this was reflected in the way Mr. Min addressed the student body by saying, as a conclusion to his first speech, “The world is yours and the future is yours.”

Meixi Zhang:

“I believe that as much as our campus is honored to have Mr Min’s work showcased here, the work itself is quite crude. I do not appreciate how he considers Formes as the embodiment of the convergence and proof of similarities between Eastern and Western art. The simple reference to The Winged Victory of Samothrace representing the West, and changing the wings to resemble the traditional Chinese eaves does not, in my perspective, have much value and artistry in reflecting the ideas it claims to represent. During the Q&A session, someone asked why birds were included in Formes, why there were so many, and why they were posed as if it were saluting; Mr Min let out a crisp laugh and answered that he thought it would be fun.

There was another question raised by a Chinese student from a nearby University in Le Havre. She asked in genuine concern, what direction is the Chinese art world heading towards? She continues, saying that society has become to an extent, materialistic and superficial. How can art and artists stay true to themselves? This question pins directly to the heart of Chinese art turmoil. How can art, as a form of expression, survive in its true forms in a world that has no place for personal diverging expressions? Mr. Min was optimistic and vague, responding “I think it is heading to a very positive direction.”

Nolwenn Voléon:

“I walked into the hallway last Thursday and found myself having to stop. Something did not feel right. The usually open, bright corridor that I liked so much now seemed like it had been cut in two. Standing in my way was a brown statue with saluting birds, elevated on a pedestal and looming way above everything else to appear friendly. Other people stopped and we all shared our curiosity, doubts and observations concerning the cumbersome newcomer. Although confused as to what the artist’s intention was, I decided to give the statue a chance and wait for the explanation scheduled to take place in the afternoon.

I think that the whole reason of how the statue got to our campus remains rather mysterious. Why is this statue standing in our hallway, when it was given to the city of Le Havre? How long is it going to stay here for? While I believe we need more art to be displayed around campus, I also think the priority should be given to our students. We are gifted with a talented batch of students practicing their art in a variety of domains, yet visual artists don’t have the occasion to showcase their work as often. By doing so, we miss out on the artistic prowess of our fellow students who enjoy photography, writing, or other forms of visual arts; students who are not necessarily performers but have stories to tell, and images to share. During the BDA campaign, plenty of candidates expressed their will to provide a platform for students to share their personal artwork. While LDD has begun to display our artists’ work, it should also be a recurring presence on campus. I believe through whatever means possible, individual artists should have the opportunity to publicize their work to allow us to have the chance to get to know them and their artwork.”

But not all students have such a harsh opinion of the installation.

Alice Morisseau:

“I took some time to reflect on the meaning of this statue and ended up liking it. It is a singular and pedagogical embodiment of European and Asian cultural exchange. The “Winged Victory of Samothrace” is a direct representation of European culture: like the Joconde or the “Venus de Milo,” it has been celebrated as a masterpiece of ancient Greece sculpture since its discovery in 1863.

Mr. Min’s “Winged Victory of Samothrace” comes with a twist, namely bamboo-shaped tiles in its feathers, which are not really noticeable at first and come as a symbol of Europe’s subtle links with Asia. On top of the statue, little porcelain doves come to reinforce the idea. The artist seems to have put the emphasis on both culture’s art traditions: classical Greek sculpture for the West and porcelain for the East. As for the military salute of the birds, which the artist said to have put it “for fun”, I still like to see a link between the idea of victory and triumph that the “Winged Victory of Samothrace” embodies with the idea of military triumph for the birds.

I think that as our campus really embodies the link of Europe with Asia, the choice to put the sculpture in our lobby is logical. The fact that a famous and recognized artist would accept to have his production in our little campus rather than anywhere else in Le Havre is pretty impressive and shows that the spirit of the piece is in line with the one of our campus. What I like with this sculpture is that it conveys a message that is not totally blurry to us. Through some observation, it is easy to come up with subjective interpretations.”

Visibly, the sculpture has been a divisive topic on campus. Its location is less than ideal. Indeed, between cheerleading and Bollywood practice, the main hall of our campus has a functional use that is now being impaired. Indeed, students fear accidentally toppling the installation. Furthermore, the color of the clay sculpture, placed in direct sunlight since the hall has a glass roof, already seems to be fading. It is an honor for our campus to receive such a gift from the city of Le Havre, and the idea behind it truly does reflect the philosophy or our campus: intercultural dialogue, particularly between Europe and Asia. We will simply have to wait and see if students get used to its presence.

Nolwenn Voléon is a first year French student at Sciences Po Paris, Campus du Havre.

Alice Morisseau is a second year French student at Sciences Po Paris, Campus du Havre.

Meixi Zhang is a second year Singaporean student at Sciences Po Paris, Campus du Havre, and was the Mandarin – English translator for Mr. Yiming Min’s conference on Thursday, February 8, 2018.

Edited by Emma Dailey and Paxia Ksatryo.

(Not) in the Mood for Love?

Valentine’s Day: a taste of “la vie en rose” for some, a day full of cringe for others.

This Feb 14th – whether you’re ridin’ solo or cuffed – Le Dragon Déchaîné has you covered! Here are two playlists – one sweet and the other not-so-sweet – for both the lovestruck and those who bemoan your unnecessary PDA. Treat yourself (and perhaps your partner) to some holiday-appropriate jams. Hope you get up to some rom-antics!

01. valentine

For the unapologetic romantic, we present a collection of love-themed tracks. Ranging from the dreamy ballad to the heavy love confession, this playlist has got you covered – or not!

Open on spotify here

Cover by Marcus Cheah

02. enitnelav

Whether from its cliché or from an emotional sting, Feb 14 isn’t everyone’s box of chocolates. These songs will get you in the (anti-)mood: of heartbreak, apathy, or cautious optimism.

Open on Spotify here

Cover by Yilan Ling

Srivatsan Anand, Leesa Ko, and Maya Shenoy make up the music section of Le Dragon Déchaîné. Listen to their latest playlist on our music tab here

Leviathan (2014)

Leviathan (2014)

A Film Review

Violence, love, corruption, heroic tales and tragic fates, so many subjects exploited to depletion by the great cinematographic industry of modern times. Today, directors of modern dramas destined to be projected on the big screen, live for the most original screenplay, the most unhinged realisation, the most upsetting result or the deepest message, so much that our screens are now seldom without bankable star-riddled, anglo-saxon centred, glamorous but empty sob- stories destined to re-examine the place of you or me in modern society.

Caught in this head-spinning profligacy operated by the great producing houses, one might, upon arriving at saturation-point, wish for a breath of fresh air and seek to spend a worthy couple of hours watching a mind-opening, enriching piece of cinema, an insight into a world that one might not even know exists, or a refresher on a region that is so often forgotten by the dictatorial principles of pop culture.

The appeal.

Enter Leviathan, directed in 2014 by Andrey Zvyagintsev, and starring Aleksei Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, and Vladimir Vdovichenkov. Russian cinema, it will have been difficult to miss. Despite the frequency with which she appears in the news, the potency of her reach in international relations, or the relevancy of her participation in world conflicts, rarely is Mother Russia depicted on our screens, with the notable exceptions of cold war history films, or subjective politico-mafioso documentaries on Putin and his cronies.

But Leviathan is another story altogether, one that comes straight from the source. Zvyagintsev’s picture brings a depiction of mundane, industrial Russia which, to the non-Slavic layman, has something of an authentic feel, allowing us to peek through the keyhole and discover life in today’s Russia – in all its complexity and with all the challenges that come to bear.

The story.

A coastal town in Northern Russia. A fisherman, Kolya, fights against a corrupt local town official, a mayor fixing to expropriate him from his house and land to construct a new property. The protagonists war with the weapons at their disposals – the former with an old army pal turned Muscovite lawyer, and his second wife, the latter with the full force of the local Courts, the muscle of Russian thugs and the sermons of the Orthodox Church. As the plot patiently unfolds, leading Kolya from bad to worse, the characters reveal their complexity and many facets – a loving but unrestrained son, a power-wielding Orthodox pope, a drunken local police chief, a thick but friendly industrial plant worker, flocks of brutalising ruffians.

The cinematography.

An opening on stills of broken, rotting, wooden vessels half submerged in water. Every shot is drawn out, patient, crystalline, the exact reverse of Bresson’s decisive moment. Every scene is a scene that was present a decade ago, and will still be present a decade from now – shots that can do nothing but evoke a static, unchanging image of Russia and its vast territory, a life scale model of the five year plans, the Soviet economy and its industrial wreckage. Despite the pain represented on screen, the mind can do nothing but appreciate such a slowness of tempo, being used to action-packed scenes unwrapping at the speed of light. Quand tout va trop vite, penser à ralentir! In Leviathan, the photography reveals a vast, cold, wind-stricken bay where whales occasionally venture, a rundown town where its inhabitants struggle to scrap a living off the derelict economy. Close on stills of the same broken, rotting, wooden vessels, and the immutable ebb and flow of the ocean pounding on rocks.

The effect.

In all its measured and deliberate rhythm, the plot packs a nail-biting suspense, as we are drawn into the fate of Kolya and find ourselves rooting for David in his fight against Goliath, so much so that the more dire the situation becomes, and the better we start to apprehend its inexorable end, the more anxious we are. This stunningly beautiful but dishearteningly sad narrative offers to its viewer a commentary on the unforgiving slaughterhouse that a society can become when power and scheme collide with booze and high stakes – it is not for nothing that the title itself evokes Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, a monumentally well-known and seminal text on the role, inter alia, of the State in modern societies. Finally, make what you will of the beached whale skeleton half submerged in sand, that appears at times, perhaps the symbol of a derelict and bereft world leading itself to its own demise?

The controversy.

As with many manifestations of the seventh art, Leviathan has elicited a huge reaction, and not an entirely positive one at that. The movie’s representation of Russians in their daily lives as brutal and agressive, men and women alike, permanently drunk on absurd quantities of vodka, corrupt on all levels and having as sources of enjoyment violent activities have caused some to take issue as to their characterisation in Zvyagintsev’s movie. This has in turn allegedly, and one must here appreciate the sense of irony, led the Russian Ministry of Culture to issue some guidelines as to movies produced on Russian culture and with governmental funds, as to the characterisation of Russians on-screen.

The critique.

Leviathan has reaped a significant number of awards across the board, including Best Screenplay at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Best Foreign Language Film at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards, and Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards. Yet, and as much as the critics hail it un obra maestra, Leviathan first and foremost packs a simple but powerful message – a fresco of the weak against the strong, of the frail against the powerful, of the downtrodden against the mighty.

À aller voir, Antoine Faure