Monday, October 18, 2010

Shocker: Leftist Pacifist Who Ended France's Death Penalty Made Liberal Use of the Guillotine During Algerian War 25 Years Earlier

There are few things that enlightened Frenchmen enjoy more than attacking, ridiculing, and/or demonizing Americans for abhorrent features of American life, such as the death penalty and alleged wartime atrocities (along with racism and human rights violations). This is easier to do, needless to say, when their own failures are ignored and/or kept secret for an extended period of time, say, oh, 50 years or more.

For example, François Mitterrand managed to win two seven-year terms to the French presidency without anybody — in the opposition, in the press, among historians — pointing out until the last year or so (and only with Mitterrand's connivance) that the proud leftist had served prominently in the Vichy government that collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.

Now, 15 years (!) after the Socialist leader left the Élysée palace, it transpires that the man who famously abolished the death penalty in France (after coming to power in 1981) liberally made use of the guillotine for Algerian rebels captured during the Algerian War
Death sentences come raining down. The guillotine, never used against a nationalist from the beginning of "the events" [the Algerian uprising], started doing its work in Paris as well as in Algiers. The heads of the Fellaghas are lopped off at a rate not seen since the German occupation: on some days, up to five.