Sunday, September 15, 2013

Albert Jacquard: a utopian humanist

Albert Jacquard was a scientist who studied population genetics and worked long for the WHO. But he was known for his humanism and activism in defense of the weakest. He was obsessed by the idea that we should act to leave a better world to our grand-children. 

In 1978, he published 'L'Eloge de la Différence- la génétique et les autres" where he argued that all men were different from a genetic point of view. But none of these differences was a justification that a human group was superior to any other.  Becoming a member of the National Consultative Ethics Committee, he fought vigorously against racist arguments developed by far right extremism. 

Lately, he became an activist for human rights.  His engagement was expressed in a simple sentence : " devenir soi nécessite un détour par les autres"  ( to become oneself requires a detour through others). His reckless fight for the homeless to give them a home contributed to raise awareness among the population of the situation of people deprived of civil rights.  

In 2009, he participated to to another initiative, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine,  to reach a fair and durable settlement of the israeli-palestine conflict. His last battle was for a total nuclear disarmament together with Stéphane Hessel , an idea he defended since he ran for an ecologist list for the European elections in 1999. 

Prof. Jacquard was convinced that another model of society is possible. He considered that 'competition undermined the foundations of society" and denounced  the abuse of the word ' competitiveness' on which current policies are founded. He was a utopian but a realist one. 

France has lost one of his best men. Our hope is that many will take over his ideas and engagement . 


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