Real Deal - real Devil
France has always been the crucible of social experiments for the better. But that could be about to stop for a long time
May 4, 2007
The first round of presidential elections in France on April 22 led to the selection of the two main candidates who after having been the frontrunners throughout the campaign, have confirmed their respective positions by the voters, Nicolas Sarkozy the near-far-right president of UMP, and the socialist Ségolène Royal.
Ségolène (as she is often called in France) was born on September 22 1953 in Dakar (Senegal) and is a graduate of National School of Higher Administration (ENA), the university which has for mission to prepare France's future leaders and civil servants. She has occupied several ministerial positions as well as elected positions to the parliament. She is the mother of four children.
On the other side, Nicolas Sarkozy was born on the 28 January 1955 in Paris, from a Hungarian father and a French Jewish mother. He is a graduate in public law and political science, and is a barrister by profession. He has occupied numerous elected and ministerial positions. He is the father of three children. He was in charge of the minister of interior in 2005 during the civil unrest in the suburbs of Paris which lasted 8 weeks and resulted in more than a thousand cars burned.
Sarkozy's odds of winning the second and final round of elections seems rather high, according to political analysts and opinion polls. But the final result depends on the abstention rate and those who in the first round of elections have voted for the centrist president of UDF, Francois Bayrou, and the Far-Right national front president, Jean Marie le Pen.
While most of the small candidates with leftist and green agendas have called to bar Sarkozy from being president, the destiny of France remains in the hands of 19% of right wing centrist voters and 10% of far-right nationalist voters.
In the past days, the centrist Francois Bayrou have met with Ségolène Royal in an unfruitful debate witch has shown no signs of clear message of alliance with her. He has repeated that "Sarkozy is a dangerous man", while remaining silent in guiding his electorate in choosing one of the candidates, even though his party UDF is a center-right party.
On May 1st which is the international workers day, in a symbolic annual meeting for celebrating Jean-d'Arc martyrdom in saving France from the British invaders, Le Pen has asked his electorate to abstain from voting for any of the two candidates.
The two candidates represent the eternal debate of left and right which has always divided French citizens in a deeper manner than in any other country. France is said to be the place where the Leftist-Anarchist movement had expressed itself for the first time after the industrial revolution, during a popular insurrection at the city of Paris (commune de Paris) in 1871. According to Karl Marx, that event was the first autonomous proletarian insurrection in modern history.
Another notable date of French social revolution is the student movement of May 1968 in Paris, which remains a cornerstone of many social and political changes throughout the world. A movement which had many ramifications, among which it is worthwhile to note the inception of the French feminist movement (movement de liberation des femmes).
In late 1960s, France is remembered as a place where the first topless woman walking on a French riviera beach had created a scandal and opened the way for other women to behave as they desired, but 1968 is also the date before which Frenchwomen did not have the right to open a personal check account or to work, without the permission of their husband or parents. Not to mention the sexual liberation brought by May 68, which liberated Frenchwomen who until then were submitted to the Mediterranean Patriarchal matchstick traditions.
Wednesday's one and only debate between Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal before the final round of elections, was a reminder of how the two candidates perceived the rebellions of May 1968. For the past two weeks, Sarkozy's stance has been "let's turn the page of May 68 which has brought us a society with no values and no moral compass". Ségolène instead has said; "when I hear Nicolas Sarkozy say that we have to liquidate May 68, I think it is a very violent language, and he whom discovers in the end of this campaign the blue collars in front of the cameras, he should remember that May 68 was also 11 millions of workers in strike, who have opened the path for the unions to be present in the core of any enterprise".
Sarkozy has been submitted by journalists to questions such as ; If Iranians are Shiites, then what could Al-Quaida be? A Shiite movement or a Sunni one?
His answer; "emmm..., Al-Quaida is a nebulous".
In another political talk show while talking about Muslims he has said: "when you are a Muslim, it is obvious because of your physical features".
Ségolène Royal is not better placed in that regard. She has said that she is not in favor of authorizing Iran to develop it's civil nuclear reactor. And this is only one of her gaffs amongst many with respect to foreign affairs, which is the most important portfolio in the hands of the president.
The outcome of this election will be known on May the 6th. Like most of today's democratic elections, the choice is often not between two candidates, but how to eliminate one of them. As they say in French "choisir entre la Pest et le Cholérà" , literally meaning "to choose between the Plague and the Cholera".
In the mean time, US and Israel have announced their preference for Sarkozy, while the editor of the prestigious newspaper "Le Monde" and the "French Human Rights League" has called to bar the route to injustice and intolerance, and to vote for defending our rights and freedoms, meaning to vote for Ségolène Royal.
As expected, their debate has been considered as a draw by the media, while each camp has declared his/her candidate the winner.
Sarkozy showed his skills in argumentation while Ségolène's forte was his combativeness on matters related to human well being. She also showed that she has gained in maturity which is needed for being president. On many topics she had the upper hand and she has sent an alarm signal to the undecided voters who are probably more concerned about their own economical shortcomings on a daily basis, than the impact their president will have on the world affairs.
The Sarkozy's main slogan during this campaign was : "together, everything becomes possible", and as they say in Ségolène's camp, "with Sarko, everything becomes possible, especially the worst".
France has always been the crucible of social experiments for the better. But that could be about to stop for a long time. And one dares not imagine what will be the impact of such madness on an international scale. This is a wake up call for the free people of France whose contribution on a more just society had always been acknowledged by the world community.
The planet earth does certainly not need another George W. Bush , notwithstanding the fact that Bush is just a puppet who is where he is by a combination of accident and constant manipulative help of those neocons surrounding him.
But Sarkozy is the real Deal - the real Devil. Comment