Paul Lannoye (1939–2021), death of a scout

Since Kairos was founded in 2012, for the first time we have had to deal with grief, the loss of a valued collaborator and friend. Paul Lannoye passed away on December 4th, at the age of 82 years old, after a poorly treated disease called covid. He kept his column faithfully, the readers waited for this bimonthly appointment marked by the intelligence, the relevance, the power of analysis, the clear-sightedness and the frankness which characterized him. Paul was a pioneer and the most illustrious representative of ecology in French-speaking Belgium: in the early 1980s, co-founder of Ecolo, a party he finally left some 25 years later, disappointed by its institutionalization; MEP of the Green group from 1989 to 2001, where he wielded the art of compromise without ever accepting compromise; founder of the Groupe de réflexion et d’action pour une politique écologique (GRAPPE) in 2004, co-founder of the Mouvement politique des objecteurs de croissance (mpOC) (political movement of growth objectors) in 2009, more recently of the asbl Fin du nucléaire (end of nuclear power), of the collectives STOP compteurs communicants (communicating meters), and, and most recently of the Resistance and Freedom Network, in reaction to the hygienic and security inflation. A doctor of physical sciences, he knew that « science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul » and was early committed to a political ecology while remaining attentive to scientific ecology.

Faithful to his column in Kairos since April 2012, from the beginning he rarely failed to do his duty, and when it happened because he was overwhelmed with work, he always regretted it. And he wasn’t the only one… the proofreaders were eagerly awaiting Paul’s text, which often appeared on page 3, a tribute to the old lion that he was, who had lost none of his righteous anger, his probity and his greatness, intractable with cowards and opportunists. When his text was not there, something was missing.

As early as spring 2020, Paul stood up to the Belgian government’s « health » policy. He had chosen not to be vaccinated and did not hide it, without bragging about it either, the man was far too discreet and modest for that. It was this disease that took him away in its severe form.  » Aaah, we said it well, he should have been vaccinated! « , comment with an indecent and imbecilic triumphalism the scientists, the hygienists and the vaccinologists.  » Now that covid has killed one of your own, will you finally admit how dangerous this virus is and change your tune?  » No, we won’t change it: apart from the impossibility of being cured early from covid — which Paul, like others, paid dearly for — the real question is not the danger of the virus, but that of psychobiopower. We make a distinction between individual cases — always dramatic — and the collective and statistical dimension. We are able to leave emotion aside and focus on reason, which should always prevail in the exercise of politics and philosophy. Paul would have been the first one to yell at us if we had made an inbound curve after he left. He has always been a step ahead in the perception of societal issues, avant-garde, pioneering, daring to swim against the tide and defend his ideas. This also applies to his latest battle, which has occupied him since the outbreak of the crisis in early 2020. No, he didn’t get lost! To the end, this capacity for vision and lucidity remained with him. To a certain extent, the last battle he fought was to die for his ideas as a coherent man responsible for himself. May his model of courage and probity inspire us, and may his free and committed spirit continue to inspire our struggles.

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