Monday, August 30, 2010

Kouchner Has It Both Ways

Bernard Kouchner feels pangs in his heart for the mistreated Roma. He came close to resigning, he says. But on Friday he defended the expulsion policy before an assembly of ambassadors, saying that it was slander to accuse the government of stigmatizing an entire people.

Is Kouchner confused, or is he deliberately trying to confuse people about where he stands? Or perhaps both.


Anonymous said...

I'd say it's a case of "I know it's bad, so I ought to say I feel bad about it; but losing my current position would make me feel even worse, so I'll mention my fluttering heart but keep saying what I'm supposed to say."

Kouchner's lost any moral standing he used to have from working in this government.

Analysis, tongue-in-cheek, by Schneiderman:

CJWilly said...

This is pretty sad. I heard he might soon lose his job in a cabinet reshuffle. If that's the case, he ought to have resigned already and regained his moral standing/saintly aura.

Paris Hotel Bastille said...

Pure in devotion to all things unwell,This sweet zen of our ill conditions sustain.. :)

Anonymous said...

Roger Petit suggests that Kouchner negotiated:
if he quits now, it's a PR disaster for the government; he thus negotiates for his not-quitting for a cushy position after the governmental reshuffle, if not a garanteed position in the future government...

Anonymous said...

Apparently, both Hervé Morin and Fadela Amara feel like him.
Quote at a Nouveau Centre-UMP forum: Morin reads a text he got from a French-Arab friend (he specifies "financially successful" lest we think he's got friends in the banlieue...)
"We Maghrebins are proud and happy to hand the Roms the crown of 'cause for all problems in France' after 30 years of service."
(rough translation)


Mary Campbell Gallagher said...

Not to suggest that Kouchner made his remarks without forethought, but perhaps we should put his words in context. If you look at the RTL interview, I think you will see that Kouchner was specifically asked about whether he had ever thought of resigning, and he responded yes to that question. He appeared to be in exceptionally good and even playful humor, by the way, jousting with the interviewer.

We all have active imaginations. Which of us, if asked, "Did you ever think about X or Y?" might not say yes, almost no matter what X or Y was, especially if we were in a good mood. Did you ever think of quitting your job? Your blog? Your wife or husband? Your house or apartment? Of course we have all had such thoughts!

To put his remarks in the most favorable light, Kouchner made a distinction we all make every day. Having thoughts is one thing, acting on them is another. There may be many, many, reasons--not all of them bad--why we choose not to act on most of our thoughts.

Anonymous said...

It's quite possible that Kouchner is so used to self agrandizing token gestures and words that the sentence slipped out without his really meaning it - a kind of rhetorical admission, sure I thought of it but... and then Aphatie pounced and destroyed Fillon's buzz on another station :)

Bilger has another idea: it was to test how important he is, either to himself or to the government.


Anonymous said...

C'est la rentrée!
Back to school for kids all accross France, and the risk for some to have teachers who had no training whatsoever. And since PTAs aren't all that powerful, no way to have your kid change classes if s/he's got one of these "untrained" teachers.

An article interviews the new "untrained" teachers:

A deux jours
de la rentrée, cet enseignant nouvelle mouture ne sait ni quels ni-
veaux de classe lui seront confiés, ni s’il a un tuteur
Carel, 28 ans, ancien assistant d'éducation, «angoisse». «On ne nous a expliqué que le 31 août
comment faire un cours, quelle longueur de trace écrite doivent
conserver les élèves, etc. , dit-il. Ça me fait très peur, je voudrais
faire les choses bien, mais le gouvernement nous tire une balle
dans le pied dès le début. »
Pour la plupart des stagiaires, qui ont au minimum un master 1,
«le dernier contact avec l’école remonte à la terminale (...)
«Nous n’avons pas eu l’occasion de
faire de stage , raconte Florian. De toutes façons, préparer un
concours où moins de 10% des candidats sont reçus est un boulot
à temps plein. » Parmi les sujets sur lesquels ont bûché à l’oral ou
à l’écrit les candidats au Capes d’histoire-géographie cette année,
«pouvoir et violence dans les royaumes de France, Bourgogne et
Germanie», «les Habsbourg», «l’émigration dans le monde bri-
tannique», etc. : «des thèmes souvent sans aucun rapport avec ce
qu’on enseigne en collège et lycée », explique Romain.
Julien, 28 ans, a hérité pour sa part de deux terminales S et STG,
en plus de sa seconde et de sa première, en contradiction avec
les textes qui conseillaient aux chefs d’établissement de ne pas
confier de classes à examen aux débutants. Quant à son tuteur, il
enseigne dans un lycée voisin (...)


Anonymous said...

Another expat on the same issue: