May 6, 2012 by AlJazeeraEnglish
Francois Hollande is the new president of France – yet he’s never really tasted power in a lifetime of Soclialist politics.
Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons reports from Tulle.
I went to Lille in northern France a few days before the first round of the French presidential election to attend a rally held by the socialist candidate François Holland. It was a depressing experience. Thunderous music pulsated through the ugly and poorly heated Zenith convention hall a few blocks from the city center. The rhetoric was as empty and cliché-driven as an American campaign event. Words like “destiny,” “progress” and “change” were thrown about by Holland, who looks like an accountant and made oratorical flourishes and frenetic arm gestures that seemed calculated to evoke the last socialist French president, François Mitterrand. There was the singing of “La Marseillaise” when it was over. Continue reading
“ … she becomes the endless scream in the breaking news,
which was no longer breaking news, when the aircraft returned to bomb a house with two windows and a door.”
(The Girl/The Scream, Mahmoud Darwish, 1941-2008)
March was another month of tragic, needless lives lost, the searing grief of mother’s and father’s for lost son’s and daughters.
When Britain lost control of Egypt in 1956, Prime Minister Anthony Eden said he wanted the nationalist president Gamal Abdel Nasser “destroyed … murdered … I don’t give a damn if there’s anarchy and chaos in Egypt”. Those insolent Arabs, Winston Churchill had urged in 1951, should be driven “into the gutter from which they should never have emerged”.
Le Monde confirmed in a poll conducted by CSA that for 57% of the French population, Strauss-Kahn is the victim of a plot. Reviewing the French Press reveals that most of the mass media in France published articles of main political figures, including political rivals, stating that they do not believe the charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn are genuine. In the meantime the career of the Chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and potential future French President, who was favourable to the people instead of global corporations, is over. Unless somehow the belief of his innocence could be turned to his advantage, even if found guilty by forged evidence. A crucial mistake perhaps, the French simply don’t think like Americans, anything is possible. Here is a review of the most substantial articles in the French Press.
A year after assuming the post of president of the French Republic in 2007, and while his nation held the rotating European Union presidency, Nicolas Sarkozy invited the heads of state of the EU’s 27 members and those of 17 non-EU Mediterranean countries to attend a conference in Paris to launch a Mediterranean Union.
In the words of Britain’s Daily Telegraph regarding the subsequent summit held for the purpose on July 13, 2008, “Sarkozy’s big idea is to use imperial Rome’s centre of the world as a unifying factor linking 44 countries that are home to 800 million people.”
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, however, announced that his nation would boycott the gathering, denouncing the initiative as one aimed at dividing both Africa and the Arab world, and stating:
“We shall have another Roman empire and imperialist design. There are imperialist maps and designs that we have already rolled up. We should not have them again.” 
(Rome) Last Saturday night I saw the Supermoon. The same March 19 night that Operation “Odyssey Dawn” was launched against the Libya of Muammar Gadaffi, the earth’s star in all its glory passed its nearest point to planet Earth as it does every 19 years. This time it was a full moon. It hovered over my house. At midnight the yellow Supermoon illuminated my front yard almost as a winter sun does at midday. That same night the same moon shone also over Tripoli, 600 miles the south, illuminating all of Libya as it did my front yard.
Many (with ample reason) doubt claims of a spontaneous uprising of Libyan people, poorly armed and disorganized. Many suspect the usual hidden roles of foreign powers and that the Libyan crisis was created artificially, something like Iraq and Kosovo.
[tweetmeme source= “DandelionSalads” only_single=false]
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is playing with fire after his country’s parliament voted to ban Muslim women from wearing the Islamic veil in public places.
Last month, Sarkozy ordered the French parliament to debate introducing a ban on Muslim women donning in public the garment known as the burka or nijab, which covers the face except for the eyes.
This week, 11 May, the French parliament voted unanimously – after 30 communist deputies walked out in protest – to condemn the practice of Muslim women wearing the burka publicly. The ban is expected to become law later this year. France will be the second European country after Belgium to introduce such legislation that in effect criminalises Muslims over their choice of dress, which is seen as a symbol of religious devotion.
Note: Propaganda Alert
compiled by Cem Ertür
19 January, 2009
1) Hamas announces week-long ceasefire in Gaza
2) Leaders pledge to end arms smuggling
3) Olmert: Hamas an offshoot of Iran
4) Text of U.S.-Israel agreement to end Gaza arms smuggling
5) Presentation of the wishes of the Diplomatic corps; Speech by the President of France Nicolas Sarkozy
excerpt from ‘Hamas announces week-long ceasefire in Gaza’
by Martin Fletcher and Azmi Keshawi, Times, 19 January 2009
[UK Prime Minister Mr Gordon] Brown said British naval vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden would help to intercept weapons from countries like Iran. “This fragile ceasefire has got to be followed immediately, if it is to be sustainable, by humanitarian access . . . by troop withdrawals, by an end to arms trafficking,” he said.
excerpt from ‘Leaders pledge to end arms smuggling’
by Gaither Stewart
10 January 2009
I Saw Jean Jaures On Boulevard Strasbourg
C’est la lutte finale
Groupons nous et demain
Sera le genre humain.
(The Internationale in its French version)
(Paris) The great tower stands like a beacon over Europe. From the top one can see the Chartres Cathedral seventy kilometers away, on a rare clear day. Evenings from my bedroom window I watch the magnificent tower illuminate. Gradually. Gracefully. As day ends the searchlight at the top at 1000 feet altitude begins sweeping the sky. During last year’s French EU Presidency, as daylight departed and night fell, the gigantic iron structure progressively turned blue, bit by bit, nearly unnoticeable. At first it was a faint, very faint, shade of blue, before, when winter night arrived, it assumed its luxuriant cobalt sheen.
A magic moment for prescient dreamers fascinated by towers and overviews. Nostalgic views, too, which might also end in illusion, in mirage and chimera.
Or in pipe dreams.
By Robert Fisk
Saturday, 27 December 2008 “The Independent”
A test of Obama’s gumption will come scarcely three months after his inauguration
If reporting is, as I suspect, a record of mankind’s folly, then the end of 2008 is proving my point.
Let’s kick off with the man who is not going to change the Middle East, Barack Obama, who last week, with infinite predictability, became Time’s “person of the year”. But buried in a long and immensely tedious interview inside the magazine, Obama devotes just one sentence to the Arab-Israeli conflict: “And seeing if we can build on some of the progress, at least in conversation, that’s been made around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be a priority.”
What is this man talking about? “Building on progress?” What progress? On the verge of another civil war between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, with Benjamin Netanyahu a contender for Israeli prime minister, with Israel’s monstrous wall and its Jewish colonies still taking more Arab land, and Palestinians still firing rockets at Sderot, and Obama thinks there’s “progress” to build on?
Updated: Dec. 12, 2008 added a couple more links to stories
compiled by Cem Ertür
9 December 2008
“Robert Mugabe must go” – Comments by Brown, Sarkozy, Bush and the British press
I have been in close contact with African leaders to press for stronger action to give the Zimbawean people the Government they deserve. [UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, 6 December 2008] 
I say today that President Mugabe must go. Zimbabwe has suffered enough. [France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy, 8 December 2008] 
As my Administration has made clear, it is time for Robert Mugabe to go… We urge others from the region to step up and join the growing chorus of voices calling for an end to Mugabe’s tyranny. [US President George Bush, 9 December 2008] 
by Gaither Stewart
Nov 30, 2008
(Paris) It is counterproductive to attempt to debunk Parisian cafés and café culture. Whether revisionists and debunkers approve or not, the Café de Flore on Paris’ Boulevard Saint Germain is a living institution. Since its founding in 1870 it has existed as a café and second home for writers, artists and intellectuals of the likes of Apollinaire, Camus, Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, and frequented by Hemingway and even Truman Capote. In the 1920s and 30s, the Flore was the meeting place of the Right, after World War II of the Left. Forming a triangle with the famous but touristy Deux Magots (today “out” and taboo for the Parisian intelligentsia) and the Brasserie Lipp just across the street, the history of the Flore has always been linked with Paris, culture and political ideas.
For purposeful and inflexible urban walkers like Henry Miller and myself certain cityscapes palpitate with the violent ideas that have made great cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, Berlin, Munich and Budapest. It is impossible to pass the Café de Flore without pausing a moment to imagine Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre ensconced at a back table in that left-bank citadel of thought on a rainy November day, discussing the rage and the alienation and the revolt and the urge for revolution of their age.
In their works those existentialist intellectuals wrote the biography of European rebellion born with the French Revolution. Much of their thought was born in the Flore.
Now we too might pause to wonder who is going to write where the history of the great modern American Revolution in the making. When will it begin, we wonder now? Or has it already begun somewhere in the guts of America? We can’t help but wonder.