I am Charlie,
I am a cop,
I am Jewish
And we are François...
The French President, whose popularity was at its lowest, suddenly rose from 19% to 25%, and this does not fully account for his very dignified attitude after the terrorists' attacks of last week. For this poll (opinion way) was done partly before the tragic events.
François Hollande, whom we use to make fun of - me first - was just perfect in handling the terrible crisis. In 24 hours, the terrorists were stopped in their crazy criminal race.
Furthermore the head of state made it immediately clear that islamist terrorists should not be confused with the Muslims. He celebrated the courage of the police forces, that sure sounded different coming from a member of a left wing party. He was also very adamant in condemning the antisemitic attack against the kosher supermarket.
Many people joked about the fact that the anarchist Charlie Hebdo staff, wherever they were in paradise, were certainly laughing that, because of them, the French were celebrating the police forces. For once, pointed out many, the numbers of demonstrators was the same on both sides, demonstrators and the police, which was so unique !
But may be it was not only Charlie, but the President, who was the hub between his left wing friends, the Republican police, and the Jewish community, and who made it incredibly smoother than it might otherwise have been.
The French President refused – against the opinion of some right wing party members - to invite the extreme right ( Front National) of Marine Le Pen, to take part into the demonstration to celebrate republican values.
Fair enough, right after that, Marine Le Pen advocated a return of the death penalty...
That gesture, not to invite officially the Front National to the « marche » ( but of course any citizen was free to come) could have been very dangerous, but skillfully, the President, just as in family meetings that may spin out of control, did the right thing : if you want to avoid quarrelling with your retrograde great uncle, you invite non family members in order to neutralize him or her within the crowd.
With 50 heads of state gathered on the front row ( even if not all of them were patented democrats), having Benjamin Netanyahu, Muhammad Abbas walking together, OMG ! Even if security was under good control, when they were looking at onlookers on the balconies, it was a very courageous example for our nations.
And a good reason to be absolutely proud of our President, proud of the French people.
At the end of the year, I remember, les « restaurants du cœur » « the heart restaurant » who provide food to the poorest during winter time launched a very touching advertising campaign just to show these clichés were wrong given the activity of people working for no reward for the « restaurant du cœur » : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Hf3wOCUr7s « The French are grumpy », « The French are racist », “The French are lazy”, “The French are losers”, “The French don’t believe in anything any longer”, “What if we thought differently”. It made me think, but still at the time, it looked more like a « wishful thinking », than reality.
The national union that we could see during Sunday’s march, was stunning, impressing, mesmerizing.
In the evening, the impertinence of French TV, France 2 which improvised an incredibly irreverent show for the whole night from Radio France ( the equivalent of the BBC) made me suddenly realise my TV tax was for the first time worth it and the power of collective energies... It was very touching, funny and sometimes borderline... They went quite far – a bit too far sometimes, as if to get high so as not to be afraid. No censorship at all, quite an experience, even for the French.
The Cassandra predicted it won't last, and we should not rejoice it. No doubt about it, it cannot possibly last. But we need to enjoy this moment of community like an orgasm, which is really a very long one even if lasting only a few hours.
And just as in marriages, if you are able to create good (and sexy) memories, you have more chances of sticking together and of being able to settle your disputes and live happily.
As Churchill wrote" in war you get killed once, in politics many times"... Before January 11, I thought the President and the French were dead, but they are alive...
And we all are François.1
1« François » which is the first name of the French président is also is the old name for « French »