« Andromaque, je pense à vous… »

Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, 1813, Andromaque et Pyrrhus

« Andromaque, je pense à vous » c’est ainsi que Baudelaire commence à entonner sa déploration d’un Paris qui n’est plus (Le Cygne, Les Fleurs du mal, 1857). « Ce petit fleuve, Pauvre et triste miroir où jadis resplendit / L’immense majesté de vos douleurs de veuve, / Ce Simoïs menteur qui par vos pleurs grandit, / A fécondé soudain ma mémoire fertile. » Le rythme est funèbre, le ton nostalgique, le poète se place sous l’invocation de la Troyenne qui vit en une nuit disparaitre sa famille et sa cité. La veuve d’Hector, symbole séculaire de constance et de fidélité m’apparait aujourd’hui surtout comme l’archétype de la femme en exil, de celle qu’on a forcé à quitter le sol natal et qui ne trouve que dangers et périls dans un séjour étranger. Dans les textes grecs, on exalte souvent la figure de l’exilée, de celle qu’on enlève, de la captive qui suit le vainqueur sous d’autres cieux, de celle qu’un péril pousse à chercher le salut dans la fuite. Sans compagnons à leur côté, elles définissent en creux par le manque, l’absence et le chagrin.

L’idée de cette analyse m’a été soufflée lors d’une représentation récente d’Andromaquede Racine à laquelle j’ai assisté. Jamais auparavant l’acuité de la situation de cette femme éponyme ne m’avait semblé aussi flagrante. On ne parlera pas de modernité, on ne fera pas d’anachronisme, on dira simplement que rien ne change vraiment sous le soleil et que les tragiques grecs rendaient déjà compte du malheur millénaire que vivent encore aujourd’hui tant de femmes, par fait de guerre, de violence, de préjugés sociaux, étatiques ou religieux. Chacun et chacune saura entendre le lieu, le pays, où ces destins mythiques s’accomplissent encore de nos jours même si les protagonistes actuelles restent souvent sans visage et anonyme. Andromaque est avant tout une prise de guerre, elle échoit en butin à Pyrrhus, fils d’Achille qui devrait la haïr puisque la prise d’Ilion, selon la prophétie, ne pouvait s’accomplir qu’au prix du trépas de son père. Il doit la garder asservie mais voilà qu’il s’en éprend et Racine lui donne un argument déterminant pour faire sa cour, en gardant en vie Astyanax. Le jeune prince a pourtant été tué, précipité du haut des remparts de la ville par Néoptolème, si on en croit la tradition homérique et la version d’Euripide. Sur la scène classique du XVIIème siècle, il devient un enjeu de pouvoir et la victime d’un chantage amoureux.

Chez Racine, donc, Pyrrhus convoite sa prisonnière et, pour l’obliger au marriage, il fait garder son fils en otage. Qu’Andromaque l’épouse et il préservera la vie du dernier dardanien, dût-il pour cela encourir le courroux d’Oreste puis la vindicte des Grecs coalisés contre le sang d’Hector. La tragédie, composée par Racine en 1667 se résume facilement : Oreste aime Hermione, qui aime Pyrrhus, qui aime Andromaque, qui aime Hector, défunt, et qui cherche à protéger son fils Astyanax… Ce n’est plus un dilemme tragique, c’est une longue torture, un harcèlement sans fin : Accepter l’hymen honni puis se suicider semble la seule échappatoire. (Racine, Andromaque, Acte II, scène I)

PYRRHUS.

« Eh bien, madame, eh bien, il faut vous obéir :

Il faut vous oublier, ou plutôt vous haïr.


Oui, mes vœux ont trop loin poussé leur violence


Pour ne plus s’arrêter que dans l’indifférence ;


Songez-y bien : il faut désormais que mon cœur,


S’il n’aime avec transport, haïsse avec fureur.


Je n’épargnerai rien dans ma juste colère :


Le fils me répondra des mépris de la mère ;


La Grèce le demande ; et je ne prétends pas


Mettre toujours ma gloire à sauver des ingrats.

ANDROMAQUE.

Hélas, il mourra donc ! Il n’a pour sa défense

Que les pleurs de sa mère, et que son innocence…


Et peut-être après tout, en l’état où je suis,


Sa mort avancera la fin de mes ennuis.


Je prolongeais pour lui ma vie et ma misère ;


Mais enfin sur ses pas j’irai revoir son père.


Ainsi, tous trois, seigneur, par vos soins réunis,


Nous vous…

PYRRHUS.

Allez, madame, allez voir votre fils.

Peut-être, en le voyant, votre amour plus timide


Ne prendra pas toujours sa colère pour guide.


Pour savoir nos destins j’irai vous retrouver :


Madame, en l’embrassant, songez à le sauver. »

Andromaque, HécubeetLes Troyennesd’Euripide, composées respectivement en 424 et en 415, donnaient déjà le ton : la princesse Polyxène fut immolée sur le tombeau d’Achille, Cassandre, fille de Priam et désirée par Apollon, fut violée par Ajax, fils d’Oïlée, après avoir été arrachée à la protection du Palladium, contrainte ensuite à suivre Agamemnon, tuée enfin sur ordre de Clytemnestre (Homère, Odyssée, Chant XI). Eschyle avait décrit Cassandre affolée par ses pouvoirs divinatoires, Euripide la montrait tremblante et comme anéantie devant l’épouvantable engrenage qui la conduisait à la mort. Sénèque lui faisait décrire l’horreur de la chute de Troie, le carnage qui suivit et les maux sans fin qu’elle souffrait deux fois puisqu’elle les anticipait sans pouvoir les éviter.

Dans l’incipit des Troyennes, Neptune s’apprête donc à quitter la ville de Priam qu’il protégea longtemps, il introduit l’action avant de s’adresser à Athéna, protectrice des Achéens victorieux :

« Le Scamandre retentit des lamentations des captives à qui le sort vient d’assigner un maître. Les unes sont échues aux Arcadiens, les autres aux Thessaliens, d’autres aux fils de Thésée, rois d’Athènes. Celles des Troyennes qui n’ont pas été tirées au sort sont dans cette tente, réservées aux chefs de l’armée ; la fille de Tyndare, Hélène, est avec elles, et c’est avec justice qu’on la compte parmi les captives. Là, s’offre à tous les regards l’infortunée Hécube ; prosternée à l’entrée de la tente, elle verse des larmes abondantes sur la perte de tout ce qui lui fut cher. Sa fille Polyxène vient d’être immolée sur le tombeau d’Achille, à l’insu de sa mère ; Priam n’est plus, ses enfants ne sont plus; et celle dont Apollon respecta la virginité, Cassandre, qu’inspire l’esprit prophétique, Agamemnon, au mépris du dieu et par une violence impie, la contraint de s’unir à lui par une alliance clandestine. »

La tragédie desTroyennes s’insère dans une trilogie, la pièce s’ouvre sur un rappel de la prise d’Ilion avant que chaque captive soit fixée sur son sort. Chacune devra en effet suivre un maître. Cassandre accompagnera Agamemnon à Mycènes, Andromaque sera remise à Néoptolème et la reine Hécube donnée à Ulysse, son plus farouche ennemi. Comme les servantes à Ithaque, pendues sur ordre d’Ulysse, les Troyennes n’ont aucune défense, aucun droit. Vae Victis. Leurs chants se succèdent, égrenant le destin croisé de ces femmes contraintes à l’exil, soumises aux volontés des vainqueurs.

Hécube ira encore en Thrace venger son dernier fils que Priam croyait avoir confié à la protection d’un roi ami. Le traitre Polymnestor, fourbe et cupide, tua l’enfant pour conserver les trésors qu’on lui avait remis avec sa garde. Entre les deux premiers épisodes des Troyennesqui scellent le sort de Cassandre avec celui d’Andromaque et les adieux finals d’Hécube, une longue joute oppose également Ménélas à Hélène, la belle Hélène, le casus belliféminin du conflit, que son époux entend mettre à mort dès qu’ils auront regagné Sparte. Victime, elle l’est aussi, si on se souvient du rapt qui la conduisit avec Pâris en Troade, jouet à la fois de la Discorde en colère et du jugement de trois déesses vaniteuses. Dans La guerre de Troie n’aura pas lieu,en 1935, Giraudoux campe une Hélène languide et changeante, aguicheuse mais sans volonté claire, tour à tour artificieuse et naïve, une femme dont l’essencese résume à sa seule beauté et dont l’existencedépend du regard et des exigences des hommes.

S’il demeure un sentiment de tragique devant la fatalité qui s’acharne sur les personnages féminins des Troyennes, on se rend vite compte que la guerre reste avant tout une chose sordide et vile. Dégrisés après la fureur des batailles, les héros masculins font pour une fois piètres figures. Les plaintes pathétiques des trois femmes et de celles qui composent le chœur, en écho, suscitent la pitié et la compassion. Il ne reste plus rien de grand ni de courageux à accomplir sur les décombres de Troie. Ni la piété due aux Dieux, ni le respect pour l’âge et pour la majesté déchue n’ont droit de cité Les Troyennes n’ont survécu que pour devenir proie, elles ont porté le deuil de leurs pères, de leurs frères, de leurs époux, de leurs fils avant de devenir les esclaves des Achéens. Il ne demeure vraiment rien de glorieux dans la pièce d’Euripide mais la catharsisaristotélicienne fonctionne parfaitement : la terreur et la pitié saisissent le lecteur, foudroient le spectateur. Il faut donc partir, sans rien, sans autre bagage que des souvenirs, avec l’icône d’un époux adoré comme Andromaque ou avec les cendres d’un fils comme Hécube qui devient la sépulture vivante de son fils Hector.

D’autres femmes fuient encore et toujours. Les filles de Danaos refusent un mariage imposé avec leurs cousins et cherchent refuge en Grèce. Les Suppliantesd’Eschyle, vers 466, nous les montrent éperdues arrivant en Argos, ne pouvant se résoudre à épouser leurs prétendants imposés. Poursuivies par leurs fiancés, les fils d’Egyptos, elles chantent la douleur de quitter le sol de Lybie, d’être démunies et sans soutien aucun en pays étranger. Le roi Pelasge les accueille avec bienveillance. Il entend même leur supplique mais la guerre gronde aux frontières alors que se referme le premier volet de la trilogie dont ils nous manquent les deux suivants. La menace imminente rend leur asile fragile, leur situation précaire. La suite des pérégrinations des Danaïdes est connue : Contraintes aux noces, elles accompliront dans la nuit qui les suivra le meurtre de leurs époux et seront condamnée pour l’éternité à remplir d’eau un récipient sans fond.

Revenons à Troie, avec une pointe d’humour… Le seul être qui, finalement, comprendra Andromaque, se nomme Léopold, (Marcel, Aymé, Uranus1948), Léopold le simplet, Léopold le cabaretier, un grand ami de la dive bouteille, qui s’éprend d’Andromaque rien qu’en écoutant l’instituteur faire cours sur Racine, dans son café, car l’école a été détruite par les bombardements de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale. Parmi les décombres d’une sempiternelle guerre, le cafetier ému improvise des alexandrins en comptant les pieds sur ses doigts, des vers boiteux mais si émouvants, pour sauver la veuve d’Hector et le rejeton d’Ilion. Léopold est incapable de la laisser subir un sort qu’il juge épouvantable. Andromaque s’extasie, fort prosaïquement mais visiblement soulagée d’avoir trouvé enfin un allié.

LEOPOLD :

« Passez-moi Astyanax, on va filer en douce – Attendons pas d’avoir les poulets à nos trousses.

ANDROMAQUE :

Mon Dieu, c’est-il possible. Enfin voilà un homme ! Voulez-vous du vin blanc ou voulez-vous du rhum ?

LEOPOLD:

Du blanc !

ANDROMAQUE:

C’est du blanc que buvait mon Hector pour monter au front.


Il n’avait pas tort.

The Dinner Party est une installation artistique de Judy Chicago qu’on peut voir dans l’aile appelée Elizabeth A. Sackler center for Feminist Art du Brooklyn Museum de New York. La structure en forme de table de banquet triangulaire fut élaborée de façon collective entre 1974 et 1979. Cette œuvre a été autant décriée qu’encensée mais elle possède l’immense mérite de proposer une lecture épique des destins de centaines de figures féminines historiques ou mythiques. Elles sont au nombre de 1038, référencées directement ou symboliquement. Hélène et Hécube y figurent. Juste revanche ? On pourrait légitimement ajouter Andromaque, si affligée, si forte aussi.

Sophie Rochefort-Guillouet is a history professor at Sciences Po Paris Campus du Havre.

Nostalgia in North Korea: traveling to the DPRK

It is a great pride for me to be invited to talk about the misconceptions of North Korea. Admittedly, traveling to North Korea is not commonplace, nor totally safe. However, my journey to North Korea this winter was a rather brief one. I’m not capable of interpreting the social phenomena in the country like a geopolitics expert, but it’d be useful to review our impression of the state that media has imposed on us in the light of what we have experienced and witnessed.

(above) click on image to view full gallery. All photos provided by Runhang Zhong

To clarify, I am not, and will not in the short run, glorify the regime. Nor will I state that what the media has told us may be wrong or biased to undermine the fact that North Korea is falling behind. It is by no means a paradise, with an ironic hierarchy in a revolutionary state, a strict control of society, a culture castrated by the government, and of course, after paying attention to the poor conditions of roads in Kaesong it is self-evident that the economy is far from prospering.

But these are less exposed to and less known by the public; Ryomyong Avenue rose from dust in nine months; 4D films are available in the Palace of Science, Technology, and Culture in Pyongyang; citizens of Pyongyang chanted and danced happily with us foreign visitors to celebrate the new year of 2018. North Koreans are not as dull and emotionless as one may imagine. It should never be forgotten that the DPRK is, rather than a keyword of international politics’ news, a state where 25 million people are living.

Let’s begin with the economy: the most striking contrast between the DPRK and its Southern counterpart. It’s easy to observe the poverty in the country upon crossing the Yalu River, with the grey buildings and poorly-equipped railway station in sight. But a more impressive point haunting my mind is the wide gap between Pyongyang and other cities. While other cities like Sinuiju and Kaesong reflect the image of the DPRK in our minds, Pyongyang is definitely another world

Image: View of Pyongyang seen from the top of Juche Tower (Source: Runhang Zhong)

Pyongyang is comparable to second-tier or third-tier cities in China with neat streets, tall buildings, and crowds shopping for the New Year in supermarkets. Public transportation is well developed: buses and trams, which are always purchased from former East Germany, come every other minute, carrying people to every corner of the city. Though not a large amount of vehicles are kept, traffic jams do occur at around 7 pm. Electricity shortage remains the biggest problem; the city was completely dark at 8 pm, which I witnessed from the 44-storage high Goryeo Hotel. Despite this being said, computers are accessible for free to Pyongyang citizens, especially primary school students, to get access to local networks for academic papers and resources about science, technology, languages and many other disciplines.

Image: Celebrating the new year of 2018 with Pyongyang citizens. (Source: Fangzhou Zhao)

It’d be a unique experience to speak English with North Korean people in Pyongyang. Certainly, they know English, though limited. “Class of Mao Zedong” of East Pyongyang No. 1 High School was not only a class to enchant the Sino-DPRK friendship but also to select outstanding students to serve the country.

Image: The Class of Mao Zedong. They were preparing for the college-entrance exam (source: Ruhang Zhong)

How old are you?” One of our teammates asked.

Sixteen.” Responded a shy girl.

She went on to introduce all her subjects, her favorite, and the fact that she was preparing an exam to get enrolled in a university in April, with English impressive enough for all of us.

Image: The girl who spoke English with us. (Left) (Source: Wanting Hsieh)

But that was only part of the story. Another occasion where I showed off my English was when I encountered a woman selling snacks on the street. She was well aware that I am a foreigner for there was no badge of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il pinned on my chest. I pointed at the snack I would like to try and handed out my Renminbi.

No. No. No, accept Yuan.” Renminbi seemed to be too expensive for her, or perhaps she did not have the correct license to conduct business with foreigners. But “accept” doesn’t sound like a word spoken by a woman who did not study English.

Yes. 5 for 2.” She finally reluctantly accepted my coins. One may make the accusation that her grammar constitutes a solid reason to suspect her as an American spy.

English can be seen even in kindergartens. Displayed together with propaganda posters and portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, there were toys to learn English which were said to have been smuggled from South Korea because some Korean vocabularies like pencil had been erased to be replaced by more “native” ones.

Some may question those to be “performed” in front of visitors to deliver an embellished vision of the country. Surely the DPRK authority lies sometimes, like what they told us about religious freedom when we were in a Catholic church. But I’m inclined to attribute the seemingly surprising phenomenon to the inequality and hierarchy in North Korean society, within which the most trustworthy social groups are relocated the most resources. And undoubtedly the DPRK requires educated people to sustain the functioning of the regime.

Images: Ryomyong Avenue. Probably it shows an unknown side of the mysterious state (Source: Runhang Zhong)

Let’s conclude with my favorite travel destination, Ryomyong Avenue, which was constructed in March 2016 and was finished the December of the same year. Walking among the post-modernist buildings, I realized the potential of the often mocked and despised state. DPRK reminded me of my own nation, China, in the sense that so many remnants of socialism kept in the North Korean society resembled that of China a few decades ago. China was negligible 40 years ago and was predicted to soon collapse by observers 20 years ago. However it only grew to be the second largest economy, so there’s no harm keeping an open and objective attitude towards the seemingly insane country in our current world, where everything is possible.

Runhang Zhong, also known as Marco, is a second year student from China at Sciences Po Paris, Campus du Havre.

Edited by Paxia Ksatryo.

Macron: France’s best communicant

20:00, 7 May 2017. France breathes again.

After more than ten months of one of the most rampant electoral campaigns France has ever known and the rise of populist parties – from the Insoumis to the National Front – Emmanuel Macron is elected President. Since the very beginning of his mandate, Macron emphasized on the use of symbols more than ever before. For those who were in France at the time, you surely remember his long walk in the Palais du Louvre as “Ode to Joy” blared through the speakers. Ten months later, one could consider Macron as the European Trudeau: the same youthfulness, but perhaps the same hypocrisy too? Let me offer him my congratulations first.

Just a few weeks ago, during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Macron addressed world leaders stating: “France is back”. Even if we can’t credit the originality of the expression to him (and I’d rather not compare him to Ronald Reagan), we can agree with him. Indeed, France is back. We’ve faced tribulations: a President that looked and acted like a six-year old child, and another one that was unable to execute his proposals. We had a vulnerable country facing enormous socio-political tensions. Macron is young, handsome, clever, and he speaks English: he has everything needed to get a job, especially if this job is called “President of the French Republic”. Since he came to power, France seems to have gone through a phase of transformation. A new type of government, made of specialists (such as Blanquer, former director of ESSEC who is now Minister of Education), a reformed national assembly full of new deputies; younger, more globalized and closer to the realities of the population? This is debatable. Closer to the realities of a population for sure: the population that has succeeded, the one that has the money, that speaks English. But what about the other part: the poorer half, the ones who did not have the chance to pursue further education? This part of the population seems to be placed on the sidelines by the start-up nation; a country where everyone can be their own boss! The election of Macron and his policies have, to me, furthered the social tensions in France.

However, these tensions arise between alternative classifications of the society. From a country that opposed the rich part of the society to the poorer one, we now enter a conflict amongst those who do and those who do not embrace globalization. But don’t you dare worry, because France is back and that’s the most important.

Yes, we’re back. We have a whole new president that is going to China, speaking MANDARIN with Xi Jinping because he’s COOL and made the effort of learning a page of Mandarin. He’s cool, right? Routinely, he uses this handy phrase that will trigger the media’s curiosity: “la meilleure façon de s’acheter un costard c’est de travailler” (The best way to afford a suit is to get a job) ,“une gare, c’est un lieu où on croise des gens qui réussissent et des gens qui ne sont rien” (A train station is a place in which you can find people that are succeeding and people who are nothing), etc. Macron knows he’s being filmed when he’s saying that, he knows this will be used by the media and “répété, amplifié, déformé”, as some would say. Nevertheless, he loves it, he gloats about it. Why? Because it raises questions. Is working the best way to get yourself a suit? Can we really find people who are nothing and people who have succeeded in train stations? More seriously, even though we may and will have opposite views on what the answer to these questions are, and to what extent Macron’s words are condemnable, we all hold these feelings. Macron wants to change French society. Now, his project is highly contestable. Personally, I am a Macron defender in most facets, although I do have my reservations on some points. However, putting political opinions aside, one cannot object that he is trying to change society. Step by step, through reforms, he wants to get France back on the tracks of world leadership. Macron is not aiming at an American-style hegemonic leadership, rather a multipolar one in which France can compete with other world powers. Changing a society that says “no” so much that it could say no to a proposal of increasing all wages (never forget that the only candidate that implemented universal income in his program ended up obtaining 6% of the votes) is a challenging task. In a society where our politicians love themselves so much that they turn themselves into holograms, it is all about appearance.

Right from the get-go, his mandate has always been a question of communication. Take for example the documentary about Macron’s campaign which was broadcasted the day after his presidential victory. After six months of one of the most violent political campaigns France has known… we were looking at a startup filled with young and joyful people who speak English and look like they are having the best time of their life. Where is the violence? Macron himself complained facing very violent attacks during his campaign about his wife, his alleged homosexuality, etc. None of this was shown in the documentary. Macron knew he was being filmed, he knew everything he would say could be in the final product. He contained himself. Because it was all about communication, again. But then, where is the line between communication and propaganda? This documentary is considered by many to basically be a 45-minute advertisement for Macron. What do you learn from it? Nothing. And that’s exactly what Macron wanted: he managed to survive this campaign, to avoid falling in the traps created to shatter his image. He managed to retain his image as the innocent boy, far away from the dirty work of politics. Macron introduced a whole new way of doing politics. I completely acknowledge the claim that his policies can be contested and disagreed upon. But I think we should all agree that he is an excellent communicator. Instead of letting Trump take the spotlight at every occasion, Macron uses his counterpart’s notoriety to achieve his own goals. “Make America Great Again” transformed into “Make Our Planet Great Again”. I don’t think Macron’s call for the environment would have had the same notoriety if he didn’t spoof Trump’s infamous campaign slogan.

Macron’s opponents like to compare him with a macaron: beautiful on the outside, empty on the inside, and certainly only for the rich. While the comparison is understandable, it is completely wrong. Macron has a project for France: he wants to succeed in leading it, and he will use everything in his power to do so. Thanks to his communication strategy, the French society is becoming the least of his problems in this fight.

Nathan Lefievre is a second year French student at Sciences Po Paris, Campus du Havre.

Edited by Alex Kloß and Paxia Ksatryo

Image: AFP

Diplomacy: an Olympic Sport.

A Unified Korean Olympic Team as a Push Towards Peace.

An 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.

(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