Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Journalists Are Freed, French Anti-American Mindset Is Not

As the two French hostages have been freed on the 124th day of their captivity, the spin is already starting…

(What am I saying? The spin never stopped in the first place…)

Towards the end of its article, the AFP states:

Their liberation "brings an enormous relief to the collaborators of Radio France Internationale", indicated Antoine Schwarz, president of RFI, in a statement. He thanked "the political, the religious, and the diplomatic authorities" who contributed to the liberation.
How about the military authorities, Antoine? Well, that would mean thanking les Américains, and we couldn't have that, could we now? It would seem that by "authorities", the RFI head means everybody but the Americans…

Now, noone can deny the possibility that the Americans, military or other, may not have had much, if anything, to do with the release of Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot per se. But surely, we can thank the American soldiers for freeing the journalists' Syrian driver? Non; that part of history is already being rewritten, so that the GIs' feat is being obliviated. Not only is the AFP rewriting the circumstances of the Syrian's release (so they read like the kidnappers simply, of their own free will — and out of the kindness of their hearts? — let him go), they manage to throw a punch at the men who risked life and limb to put an end to the Faluja uprising:

As for their Syrian guide, Mohamed Al-Joundi, he had already been released [not freed]. Discovered by the American army on November 12 in Falujah, West of Baghdad, he has complained of the bad treatment by the American soldiers.
Meanwhile, the newspaper of reference had little choice but to quote the words of Iraq's ambassador to France, when he blasted the vocabulary of choice of France's media and government officials, i.e.,
that pseudo-resistance which uses the same barbaric methods as Saddam Hussein, which kills more innocent Iraqis than foreign soldiers, and which, in reality, is doing all in its power to ensure that the so-called 'occupation' remains as long as possible
Mouaffak Aboud adds that he deplores a debate "which is no longer topical", explaining that French officials have "remained prisoners" of their prewar position as they continue to try to "prove that they were right to oppose" the American invasion of Iraq. Those final five words are the Le Monde writer's. We will not know what expression the ambassador really used for the American intervention in Iraq, because Patrice Claude cut the quotation off, in order to insert his own expression — "American invasion".

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