Reader Gregory rightly points out that this development is all the more perverse given that Sarkozy directly attacked the politics of memorializing – not only the Taubira law, but also remembering (and taking responsibility for) the crimes of Vichy.
At Caen on the 9th of March, he declared:
"France … did not invent the final solution; it has not committed any crime against humanity, nor any genocide. … Repentance is a miserable fashion. I don’t accept asking sons to atone for the faults of their fathers, especially when they didn’t commit them. I don’t accept forever judging the past with the prejudices of the present. I don’t accept this moralizing good conscience that rewrites history with the sole objective of accusing the nation.
In damaging the pride in being French, in dwelling indefinitely on old hatreds that belong to the past, in wanting to make sons atone for the mistakes of their fathers, in looking to history for the causes of failures, one misses the real causes which lie in the present and in each one of us. This does a disservice to the cause it claims to serve. Because setting the French up against each other, stirring up bitterness and self-hatred, that risks diminishing national solidarity, and that does a disservice to the cause of integration that one claims to serve. Because one rarely wishes to integrate into that which one has learned to detest. "
And, on 30 March: “France need not be embarrassed by its history. It did not invent the final solution…” He gave similar speeches in April.
For Gregory, the speculation that Taubira may have been asked to take part in a government led by the UMP raises the question of Sarkozy’s seriousness in forming a cabinet. It will be interesting to see how long, after the second round of the legislatives, it will take for a shake-up in government to occur.
- Mary D. Lewis