Sunday, January 07, 2007

France's — and Europe's — Inviolate Human Rights Principles

When interacting with Americans, French citizens at all levels — common people, media outlets, government leaders — must make them (likewise, America's common people, media outlets, government leaders) understand the rock-hard base of European principles and the fundamental position of the latter in the European Union. Europeans must make Americans understand that they disagree with the death penalty, that they disagree with Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, that they disagree with pre-emptive war and saber-rattling and the Iraq conflict and Bush's lies, etc etc etc…

Europeans are not against America per se, you understand; they are only against America's current government. They are only against America's leaders and the country's policies. Thus, Europeans must tell Americans that they preferred the policies of the country's past administrations, and that they have no choice, but that they are compelled to say (in a snotty voice or otherwise) that this side of America is not the America that they like.

Europeans are the good friends of the Americans, in fact; they just want to make Americans (its citizens as well as its leaders) aware of certain realities in the new world and, indeed, make them understand that their (the Europeans') outbursts are done for their (the Americans') own good.

This is Europe's human rights principles!

How about Russia (whose "sensibilities" France's president said the French "should manage") and China (for whose leader's state visit the Eiffel Tower was lit up in red)? Where Moscow and Beijing and their "extremely sensitive political questions" are concerned, the Europeans haven't exactly come around to making a stand and stating their principles forcefully yet, but don't worry. The Chinese will soon feel the full force of France's outrage (danke zu Jörg Wolf) and the Russians can't be far behind.
Here is a French government tip on how best to do business with the Chinese: Do not mention Tibet, Taiwan or the Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

…And do not mention politics, the guide says. "Avoid speaking about Chinese politics, for example: The events on Tiananmen Square, strategic questions of Taiwan or of Tibet," it says.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of unarmed protesters were killed when the Chinese army cleared the square in the heart of Beijing of student demonstrators on June 4, 1989. China has threatened to use force to assert its claim of sovereignty over the self-ruling island of Taiwan and has been accused of widespread human rights abuses in Tibet since it invaded the Himalayan territory in 1950.

Update: Currently on a visit to China, Ségolène Royal, who famously told a Hezbollah (!) "lawmaker" how awful Bush was and who like most French people is constantly trying to give Americans lessons,
told reporters that she plans to discuss human rights — without browbeating her Communist Party hosts. "I am not going as a giver of lessons," she told reporters.
The French Socialists' presidential candidate has gone out of her way to minimize human rights, an issue that is "sensitive" to the Chinese (no sh-t!), in favor of questions like globalisation and ecological rights.

No comments: