I usually don’t comment french political facts, but since this blog is about my work, projects AND thoughts, this post fits in. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is on television everyday and he is described as a workaholic. It is not a decease, it could even be a harbinger for presidential ambitions. So if you’re worried because your young boy is hyperactive, don’t be, if Sarkozy were still a schoolboy, he would be for sure diagnosed as hyperactive. Everyday or week, a new statement, trip, event or plot (yes, plot). And last week, the new episode of the French presidency soap could have been titled: ‘When Gaddafi met Sarkozy’ (you decide who plays Harry and who plays Sally). A high budget event (but a drop in the ocean of the high French Public debt…) with the French State producing, and an imposed world premiere, for which French citizens had front-row seats.
After the teaser about the recent political blockbuster, showing how the ephemeral First Lady Cecilia Sarkozy suddenly flew to Libya and ushered five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to life in prison and tortured for 8 years to freedom, French citizens were ready for the new tragicomedy. Sarkozy has rolled out the red carpet for Colonel Moammar Gaddafi‘s first visit to France in 34 years. The UN lifted sanctions on Libya in 2003 and the US restored full diplomatic relations the following year. Gaddafi dismantled Libya’s clandestine nuclear weapons program and has renounced all acts of terrorism (we didn’t forget the bombing of the Pan Am Fligh and UTA Flight in the late 80s). Enough for Sarkozy to justify the warm welcome: ‘France must speak with all of those who want to return to the road of respectability and reintegrate the international community’. Not to mention, of course, the $14.7 billion in contracts for armaments and a nuclear reactor.
The ‘curiosity’ of the visit came when Gaddafi pitched his Bedouin tent in the garden of the Hôtel Marigny (the official guest residence), an almost empty place but equipped with the latest communication devices. Then the statements. And this is when the flamboyant and wild-haired Libyan leader, the “guide of the Libyan revolution” has stormed onto the satirical comedy scene, playing cat and mouse with Sarkozy. French president did his best to keep his head up and contain the critics about this official visit marked by controversy, insisting on the fact that he has, of course, discussed with Gaddafi the need to increase the progress in human rights in Libya. But during an interview to French television, the Libyan leader made the point clear: ‘President Sarkozy and I, we did not discuss these questions’. He also said recently: ‘We are in the country that speaks of human rights. Before talking about human rights, you should make sure that immigrants all enjoy these rights in your country’. Touché! Rama Yade, the Minister for Human Rights, criticized this visit the day Gaddafi landed on French soil, telling Le Parisien newspaper: ‘Colonel Gaddafi must understand that our country is not a doormat on which a leader, terrorist or not, can come and wipe the blood of his crimes off his feet. France should not receive this kiss of death’. Deuce!
The nurses, the red carpet, the contracts, the statements, the tent; last part: tourism. Gaddafi visited the Louvre and he was filled with child-like amazement observing the Venus de Milo, La Gioconda, and was captivated by Louis XVI’s throne in Versailles. Gaddafi didn’t care about critics, polemics and protests his official visit sparked off in France, he wandered around Paris, coming and going as he pleased between contracts, making the most of this moment of grace, which would probably not occur again for some time (but who knows…). It kind of reminds me ‘Sarkozy, the American’, during his official visit in the United States last month. When the United States Congress welcomed him with loud cheers and standing ovations, he was jubilant. But being an unabashed admirer of America and the so called American Dream, how wouldn’t you? In ‘When Harry met Sally’, after Sally’s faked orgasm, a woman said: ‘I’ll have what she’s having’. Like Sarkozy when in the United States, Gaddafi wanted the honors of an official visit, and he had it in France (the freedom of the nurses and the doctor may had its price after all). The epilogue came on Saturday when Gaddafi and the 30 cars of his official convoy finally took off. No ceremony, no officials to say good-bye but a relief for many, from the right-wing government to the left-wing opposition. It looks like ‘Sally-Sarkozy’ really faked the orgasm, but ‘Harry-Gaddafi’ definitely enjoyed this special moment anyway.
For seven days, we saw Gaddafi on television (Gaddafi at the Ritz, Gaddafi with Sarkozy, Gaddafi shopping, Gaddafi meeting with french CEOs, Gaddafi making interviews from his tent, Gaddafi hunting…), then when came the epilogue, the visit of this inhibited guest left french citizens with a bitter taste in their mouth, and the feeling the Colonel took it too far by abusing their hospitality. And it is the exact moment (excellent timing) the new episode aired: Saison (Year of Sarkozy’s presidency) 1, Episode (Day) 255, ‘The Disney fairy tale’. Saturday, Sarkozy was spotted at Disneyland Paris with pop singer and former top model Carla Bruni. Photographers openly snapped the pair, and the couple seemed at ease with the attention. So forget Gaddafi and the $14.7 billion contracts (promises?), and enjoy the new episode appearing on the front page of all the french magazines. Sarkozy just left the ‘guide’ but he found love. I may sound inelegant, but this time, ‘Sally-Sarkozy’ probably won’t fake it ^_^