Thursday, July 29, 2010

France Yawns at WikiLeaks

French reactions to the WikiLeaks release of secret documents about the war in Afghanistan have been muted:

But reaction in France, another key member of the NATO coalition, has been much more muted, said Justin Vaïsse, director of research for the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“It’s nothing in magnitude compared with what happened two years ago, in August ’08, when 10 French soldiers were killed in a firefight with the Taliban,” Mr. Vaïsse said. That, he said, had “really prompted soul-searching about the French presence in Afghanistan and also prompted debate in the National Assembly. Here we have nothing of the sort.”
According to the same article, the leaks have sparked a more intense reaction elsewhere in Europe, especially Germany.

Incidentally, Vaïsse's book on neoconservatism (which I translated) is a must-read (link above to purchase from Amazon).

Carla and Woody, Take 35

Apparently, Carla Bruni's début as an actress isn't going well. The scene was shot, it seems, in the 5th. Arrdt., my old haunts. Anybody know where? Perhaps one of you encountered the shoot.

A Serious Matter

Bernard Girard eloquently analyzes why Sarkozy's absurdly overplayed attack on les gens du voyage, Roms, etc. is such a serious matter.

Other reactions here. And here.

I hate to perpetuate the government's amalgame by writing gens du voyage, Roms, etc., but how else to say what the target of this latest repression is? The attack is so crude, the conflation of categories so blatant, the identification of whole classes of people as "criminal or potentially criminal" so outrageous, that one is drawn into indiscriminate bluntness in response.

Of course I still have some way to go before I can match Brice Hortefeux's latest foray into ethnic indelicacy: seeking to discredit the communities of travelers, he remarked on "la cylindrée de certains véhicules qui traînent des caravanes.".Strange. I thought one of the tenets of Sarkozysm was that the pursuit of wealth ought to be encouraged, not stigmatized.