Today, it's some great photos of WW I cemeteries in France that are meticulously kept up.
"The war cemeteries of the Western Front are as well-maintained as if they had been built this year. Their poignant message of peace is equally fresh." http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/0,5538,26815,00.html
The IHT has a fantastic photo of a beleaguered woman visibly wearing her disgust, who acts as an everyman while standing next to a burned truck in Villiers-le-Bel, which is roughly four miles northeast of Le Bourget, where Lindy landed, and has the unhappy distinction of not being served by any station of the Paris Métro or the suburban rail network.
"It feels like we live in a war zone," said Nadège Tanier, 40, a mother of two. Headlined 'Caught in the middle' of French unrest, the photo and article is available at: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/11/29/europe/riots.php#end_main
As to the riots in Paris and Sarkozy's deft handling of the situation -so far- by refusing to walk into the tar pit his opponents want him to stumble into, I'm glad that Fadela Amara, who I've seen on France 2 before, http://www.france2.fr/ will finally have a chance to flex her muscles a bit for the benefit of the Trans-Atlantic media, who've largely never heard of her, rather than some mealy-mouthed apologist bueaucrat straight out of Central Casting doing his best Inspector Clouseau impression. Oui, another sharp Sarko personnel move!
I mention Amara now because she was mentioned prominently in Elaine Sciolino's good Nov. 11th dispatch, Proposal in France to Test Some Immigrants’ DNA,
as being dead set against the DNA test, to which Sarko adroitly retorted:
“This DNA test exists in 11 countries in Europe — including some Socialist ones, like Great Britain,” Mr. Sarkozy said in a television interview last month. “How is it that it doesn’t pose a problem in these countries, but it creates a debate here?”
He also said that the test would be voluntary and would be used only where
there were no clear records “to prove that children are really your own.”
Today's WaPo dispatch from Molly Moore in Paris concludes thusly:
"But Roger, the Bondy mayor and a member of the opposition Socialist Party, is skeptical of Amara's efforts. "She tours France and meets with people, but she doesn't bring any answers to our problems," Roger said. "What is currently happening shows that we need more than nice words from the government. Things have to start changing tomorrow, not in five years."
For more on what's happening, check out Joshua Boswell's excellent blog on French politics and culture, http://frenchpolitique.blogspot.com/.
Another p.o.v on the current riots, as well as their underlying social and political causes, is much more sobering and depressing to consider, however much it may be accurate: http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/
So, when in the Fall of 2001, you and thousands of your Algerian pals,
a.) insult the country you live in by booing the playing of La Marseillaise before the start of the Algeria-France 'friendly' soccer game, the first game between the countries since Algerian Independence, then choose to b.) run out on the soccer pitch, en masse waving Algerian flags, before
c.) laying on the field, en masse,
you shouldn't be too surprised if the average French citizen's first thought isn't, "What can I ever do to help YOU assimilate successfully, when so much of your identity is tied-in to your NOT being French in both your head and heart?"
If you never saw the way that story was portrayed on PBS' Frontline program -honestly, for perhaps the first and only time on PBS!- here's the link. http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/france/facts.html
It's quite good and well worth your time!
Predictable result: continual jeering by the huge Mexican contingent of fans, and the English-language American TV networks closing their eyes tight so they don't have to acknowledge the reality, or comment on it.
That was most painfully evident on ESPN, the same cable network that patted them self on the back to no apparent end for airing the recent Women's World Cup in China, most of which I watched.
But on the very day that American head coach Greg Ryan was actually fired for reasons having to do with his coaching moves during the World Cup, ESPN had NONE of their soccer experts and analysts on SportsCenter to give some perspective on what it all means.
Now that some news is actually happening!
What a black eye for their peculiar brand of sports marketing/journalism!
(FYI: Pia Sundhage replaced Ryan and will lead the team at the Beijing Olympics next year.)
And the fan behavior in Los Angeles and the firing of the Women's National coach don't even rate an eight-minute segment on ESPN sister ABC News' Nightline? After all the crummy, 1,001 who-really-cares news segments they've run since the program was changed for the worse, especially the endlessly repetitive Katrina story lines? Wow.
Meanwhile, lest we forget, our pals at The Brookings Institution remind us, Al Qaeda Targeted France first: http://www.brookings.edu/articles/2007/0614france_riedel.aspx
More Brookings insight on France is at http://www.brookings.edu/topics/france.aspx
Bookmark it, because President Nicolas Sarkozy clearly has no intentions of wasting time sitting behind a desk at the Élysée Palace, http://www.info-france-usa.org/atoz/elysee.asp and Philip H. Gordon of Brookings actually translated Sarko's book "Testimony."
For an excerpt of the book, see http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2007/1101_sarkozy_gordon.aspx
C'est la vie.