Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wave of Immigrants?

The last I heard of Lampedusa, it was the eponymous setting of Giuseppe di Lampedusa's magnificent lament for aristocracy, Il Gattopardo, which Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon then turned into an early Technicolor romp in the hay. Now Lampedusa is back in the news as the destination of supposed "hordes" of refugees from Tunisia and Libya, who are allegedly overwhelming Europe's ramparts. Marine Le Pen has gone there personally to head them off at the pass, and Silvio Berlusconi, between sessions in court stemming from "bunga-bunga parties" with underage Moroccan girls, has called upon Europe to take some of North Africa's tired and poor, yearning to be free, off of Italy's hands and welfare rolls.

But now Patrick Weil says that it's all trumped up, that there are no refugee hordes, and that the drama has been created to serve the propaganda purposes of various anti-immigrant parties.

Freewheelin' Dumas

Roland Dumas still has the mellifluous but forked tongue that served him so well at the bar. "La putain de la République" with whom he shared his leisure hours a while back must have enjoyed listening to his stories. Today Mitterrand's former defense minister tells us that he finds "a certain charm" in Marine Le Pen but that the Socialist Party "distresses" him. Not a dull boy, this old Musketeer.

Roland Dumas by franceinter


This is a tape recording of the interview of one of the accused Renault "spies" by Renault's security chief. "Kafkaesque" is the word that comes to mind. The man is accused of the gravest of crimes but in the most veiled terms, so that it is impossible for him to guess exactly what he is being accused of. His reaction is surprisingly mild--which may only have spurred his accuser's suspicions--but most likely he was stunned and bewildered. It is intimated that confession will be best for the soul of the accused, that things will go easier for him: but otherwise it will be la voie lourde. A chilling scene: imagine if this happened to you.

Grosse bourde ministérielle

If you like to see ministers make fools of themselves, try this. Nadine Morano has never been the sharpest pencil in the box, but this takes the cake. (On the other hand, a little sympathy is in order for those who live their lives in public: if all of our gaffes were televised, we'd all look like idiots. My conscience insisted that I add this note, but even my conscience is shaking its head in disbelief.)

France Complains about NATO

Alain Juppé says that NATO isn't doing enough in Libya. Despite France's willingness to go it alone in the Libyan operation, its capacity to sustain an extended campaign was always in doubt. Juppé didn't specify what help he wants from NATO, but it's simply a fact that France, even with the UK, is insufficiently equipped in planes, carriers, cruise missiles, and airborne surveillance capabilities to carry on a long fight without assistance. NATO is of course a polite way of bringing in US forces and supplies beyond the AWACS that are still flying in support of the Libyan mission.

More details here, particularly concerning A10 Warthog "tank-killer" aircraft.