Why I Choose Nicolas Sarkozy
by André Glucksmann
Paris, 30 January
(...) But a large-hearted France has never forgotten the oppressed. Vietnamese boatpeople fleeing communism, the embattled Trade Unionists of Solidarity, those who suffered under Argentinean fascism, Algerians confronted by terrorism, victims of torture in Chile, Russian dissidents, Bosnians, Kosovans, Chechens… In no other country were these barbarities and the resistance to them discussed so much. Our ability to open our hearts to our brothers worldwide is etched into our cultural heritage – witness Montaigne, Victor Hugo, the 'French doctors' and those who would emulate them.
Nicolas Sarkozy is the only candidate today to place himself in this large-hearted French tradition. He deplores the sacrifice of the Bulgarian nurses condemned to death in Libya, he denounces massacres in Darfur and the murder of journalists, and then states a principle of governance far removed from that of Jacques Chirac: 'I don't believe in what people call 'realpolitik', which rejects values and still doesn't win any deals. I don't accept what's going on in Chechnya, since 250,000 dead or persecuted Chechens are more than a detail of world history. Because General de Gaulle wanted freedom for everyone, the right to liberty is theirs, too. To be silent is to be an accomplice, and I don't want to be any dictator's accomplice' (14/1/2007).
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A Response to André Glucksmann
by Philip Spencer
London, March, 2007
(...) But the French left is not the prime culprit here. It is the French right which has been in government for several years and has colluded with such regimes. One can argue that Sarkozy has made some effort to distance himself from Chirac's opposition to the Americans over Iraq, an opposition he called 'arrogant' rather than what it actually was - grossly hypocritical and grounded in past collusion with Saddam's regime. This French government has been complicit, or worse, with several murderous regimes around the world, from Rwanda in the 1990s to the Sudan today. There is mounting evidence that the French knew about and abetted the plans of the Hutu Power genocidaires. Most recently it was the French government which welcomed Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir with full pomp and ceremony at the very moment a global campaign was calling for his regime to be indicted for genocide.
Sarkozy is a powerful figure in this government. He may have differences with Chirac but he is not a candidate running against the machine or the right itself. He is the unchallenged leader of the right and a prominent figure in its government - Minister of the Interior no less. In that position, from which he has repeatedly said he has no intention of resigning (despite credible claims that he has abused it in the presidential campaign itself) he has openly flirted with racism against minorities, calling for the banlieues to be 'hosed clean'. This was widely perceived as a semi-naked appeal to Le Pen's voters on the racist right. At the same time, and perhaps almost as troublingly, he has made efforts to ingratiate himself with some of the most reactionary elements and leaders of France's large Muslim population, funding organisations which they control and which repress Muslim voices, not least those of women trapped by patriarchal rules and controls over their bodies and movement. In funding such organisations, Sarkozy has given a further boost to a divisive communalism when what is most urgently needed is a strong defence of secularism and a robust commitment to civil liberties for all.
None of this is to suggest that the actually existing French left has many answers to deeply troubling domestic and international problems. But if answers are to be found they will come not from the right, and not from a deeply suspect figure such as Sarkozy, but from a reformation of the left itself, by those who are committed to the left's basic and most fundamental beliefs: equality, liberty and solidarity at home and abroad.
Texto completo en: http://www.democratiya.com/review.asp?reviews_id=76
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