Thursday, December 08, 2005

Napoleon is to blame again....

The French have a problem with Napoleon – believe it or not.
On December 2nd, it was the bicentennial of the Battle of Austerlitz (1805).

However, President Chirac stayed home, PM Villepin disappeared to somewhere else, and Minister of Defense Alliot-Marie showed up briefly at one of the side events.

It’s not that the French fell out of admiration with le petit Corsair, but admiring let alone officially applauding him is political incorrect.
You see, activists from French colonies, especially the Antilleans and French-Guineans, resent the fact that Napoleon reinstalled slavery in the year 1802.
Needless to say, this is a fact that European history books never mention….

The author Claude Ribbe, a member of the prestigious Académie Française, wrote a poignant pamphlet under the title: Le Crime de Napoléon (the crimes of Napoleon).

Please don’t think that Ribbe represents the intellectual conscience of the French intelligentsia - philosopher Alain Finkielkraut complained in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz that “African immigrant are not grateful enough for all the good things that France has done for them and their continent”.
Yeah, sure, being poor, unemployed and discriminated against is just great!
Finkielkraut added that the French national soccer team is being ridiculed as 'black-black-black'.
Now let me get this straight: the French colonized parts of Africa, ensured that the locals became “French” (language, culture) and then, when they play in the national team (with great success I might add), they are suddenly not French enough? Pfffff.

Finkielkraut is not alone – Pierre Nora, the leading and innovative historian in France, believes that France is suffering from its own version of American PC - a “re-ideology of its history,”
with too much emphasize on colonization and slavery.
As if we can ever pay to much attention and learn lessons from it.

French politics got involved as well – the month November saw two major issues.
The Socialist Party demanded in parliament (Assemblée Nationale) that the legal requirement that schools must pay attention to the “positive role” that France played in North-Africa will be scrapped.
This law came in February in effect, and embarrassing enough, the Socialist Party voted in favor of it (“out of oversight” as the party leader Ayrault declared.
Protest also came from history teachers, professors, and the Algerian president Bouteflik.
They were unsuccessful –colonization will officially remain “positive.”

This law is seen as a reaction to the Taubira Law from 2001.
That law was initiated by a left-wing representative from French-Guyana and marks slavery as a crime against humanity.
It might be me, but this should be clear to every decent person and it says a lot that the French needed a law for this….
The Taubira Law will play a major role in the upcoming court case against historian Oliver Pétré-Grenouilleau, who is being charged with “negationism.”
In a news interview, he denied that slavery is a crime against humanity.
Pétré-Grenouilleau conducted a study about the spread of slavery in different cultures and came to the conclusion that it didn’t have genocide as a goal.
Of course not, but in my humble opinion, treating human beings as merchandize to make a maximum profit is still a crime against humanity…
And the fact that he dedicated his book to “all those that suffered under slavery” doesn’t change that one iota.
Nora is a staunch supporter of Pétré-Grenouilleau, and is convinced that he will be acquitted. Please note that Monsieur Nora was also one of the few historians that opposed the law that forbid denial of the Holocaust.

If France wants to remain “French” and cultivate its “liberté, egalité, fraternité,” it better shape up – pronto.
The recent revolt of the immigrant youth is just the top of the iceberg and global warming will not save their fleur-de-lis white skin.

No comments: