Who’s tired? Are you tired? Nicolas Sarkozy is tired:
“François Hollande’s national union already fatigues Nicolas Sarkozy.” That much is clear, even in a rather spectacular manner. For on Monday evening there was a big ceremony held in Paris in honor of Agence France-Presse, the main French news-agency, supposedly to celebrate that organization’s 70th anniversary. President Hollande was there, and so was François Fillon, of the opposition and who had served under Sarkozy as Prime Minister. Just to show how non-political an event this was supposed to be, even far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen was there (and she had not been invited to the huge JAN 11 Paris march).
By the way, I write “supposedly” there in connection with AFP’s 70th anniversary because, according to my standard Wikipedia sources, the organization really got started back in August, 1944 as Paris was being liberated from the Nazis by the advancing Allied forces – that means 70 years is August, 2014. Perhaps the earliest that the French political elite could find a mutually agreeable free spot in their agendas was last Monday – Blue Monday, in fact, said to be the most depressing day of the year, in case that had anything to do with it. Or – more likely – perhaps the shocking attacks against freedom of expression in France of two weeks ago caused the country’s movers-and-shakers to decide that there needed to be some occasion, something celebrating freedom of the press, so that the AFP was enlisted for that.
Another “supposedly” is in order here, however, a far more bitter one, for by its actions after the Charlie Hebdo attacks the French government has betrayed its actual indifference to that “freedom of expression” which one could argue all those people – the non-politicians – were marching down Paris avenues on Sunday, January 11, to support. Or maybe not “indifference” but rather a stark partisanship: it’s OK to mock Islam and Muslims, but the same is not true when the target is Jews or, indeed, those who mock Islam and Muslims. The latter are allowed to dish it out; they must be shielded from actually having to take it. (more…)