Sunday, January 26, 2014

French Day of Wrath

The mood appears to have been rather ugly as the extreme right took to the streets in Paris today:

A sample slogan:
L’antisémitisme n’est jamais loin, comme ces manifestants qui crient « juif, juif » à des détracteurs, selon un journaliste sur le parcours. Ou ces autres qui crient : « Faurisson a raison, la Shoah c’est bidon. »

Meanwhile, Marine Le Pen continues to lead the polls for the European elections.

It's a very poor moment for le vide du pouvoir that exists right now in France thanks to Hollande's extremely low favorability ratings and the distraction of the presidential love life. It's an odd thing, but I have been asked several times in recent days to give interviews regarding the president's affair. I did a few when the story first broke but felt rather smarmy afterwards. The questions are always the same. "What does America think of our president? Would US media have covered the story differently? Has France's image abroad been harmed?" Etc. etc. As if I could speak for the US or the world outside France or have any more insight into Hollande's behavior than anyone else.

Meanwhile, you have "the Day of Wrath," and the media are for some reason less interested in "the US view." Not that "the US" has a view about this event any more than it does about Hollande's love life. As always, most Americans will remain at best peripherally aware of what is happening in France or Europe or most other places in the world until the irreparable occurs. And then they will look back at premonitory signs like the Day of Wrath, the Dieudonné Affair, the Bonnets Rouges, the anti-Gay Marriage mobilization, etc. and ask, "Why didn't we see this coming?"