Thursday, October 28, 2004

Negative News of France?
Let It Be Censored

Decades-old footage showing French soldiers shooting an unarmed Muslim is in the news because of controversy surrounding the exact year that the images were shot.

What I take from Sophie Malexis and Simon Roger's article, however, is less the debate over whether the footage dates from 1945 or 1955 but the reaction of the authorities and the French in general to the news of the massacre:

Seeing the atrocious scenes, the editor in chief of Movietone France, Charly Meunier, delivered the images to the United States without showing them in France. "The film was shown some weeks later in Mexico, provoking anti-French demonstrations", [says Bernard Favre, author of the 1991 documentary The Algerian Years]. "The French foreign ministry then decideed to censor the images in France and threatened Fox with a ban on all business." [Except for a single issue of L'Express], the images will not be seen in France until well after the war …
Refraining from rocking the establishment, of course, is the rule in France and Europe, even in the strangest occasions. Think only of Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory, which remained banned in France for almost 20 years.

So probably, in, say, 5, 10, or 30 years' time, the French will learn all about their country's participation in the food-for-oil scandal. Then, of course, it will be relegated to the backburner because it doesn't really concern any VIP of the time (i.e., of the future) and, most importantly, because the media and public are more concerned with current (future) issues, being notably captivated by the current (future) drama involving Uncle Sam, the current (future) occupant of the Oval Office (imagine: a worse cowboy than even George W Bush!), and capitalist society…

The French will be able to say, again (as usual), that they are more tolerant, more wise, and more generous than the Americans, and if some VIPs betrayed this rosy potrayal of themselves 5, 10, or 30 years ago, that is only a detail, that is only an exception that has nothing to do with the current (future) heroic generation of Europeans!…

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