Friday, March 24, 2006

Chirac Defends His Walkout!

Here's what Chirac told reporters after his walkout:
"I have to say I was profoundly shocked to see a Frenchman express himself in English at the (EU) Council table. That's why the French delegation and myself walked out rather than listen to that,"
As an English teacher in France, I am shocked too - wow, a(n) (older) Frenchman CAN actually speak English?! Shocking indeed!
The French president also said:
"It is not just national interest, it is in the interest of culture and the dialogue of cultures. You cannot build the world of the future on just one language and, hence one culture."
bla, bla, bla... Do you see the French president defend the use of.. say, Spanish or German? This is very much like what the French call "cultural exceptionalism" which means the defense of French culture - but not of other cultures as if the French culture was entitled to some special treatment and protection. Chirac's defense of "other cultures" would be credible if he really defended other ones.
His reaction is so.. weird by the way that it got to be in the 'Odly Enough Reuters News'
The walkout drama was not just about English though. It was also about Chirac refusing to hear his old friend Seillière (whom I don't particularly like) criticize his government for their economic protectionism of late.
As the Telegraph figured out:
France was under attack for its increasingly protectionist ways and Mr Seillière was among the attackers. The walkout was a classic diversionary tactic.
And The Telegraph gives another illustration of his lack of influence within the EU in his pro-French fight:
Mr Chirac's attempt to block Peter Mandelson's appointment as EU external trade commissioner, on the grounds that his French was not good enough, fell on deaf ears in any language.
The other EU members are probably getting sick of hearing the same old rhetoric. I know I am. Times are changing and everybody is anxious to see Chirac retire. Finally! (One more year to go though... )

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