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I don't think he meant it that way. He was simply comparing the difference in the celebrations between the two countries. Maybe it's a good thing that the French are able to see the two sides of their history (as Austerlitz is linked to slavery when we talk about the celebrations), but there are also times when it can temporarily be put to rest - and that does not seem to be happening. The point is not the debate about colonialism - it's the debate on whether talking about colonialism on the anniversary of Austerlitz is relevant.

As to your note on the riots, I don't see how you read this in his words. All he is saying is - those that think (gleefully) that this is a specifically French problem are probably wrong. He said nothing about France not looking elsewhere, he is only saying that France is not the only one with integration problems. In this case, YOU are putting spin in his words.

In fact, you are basically proving his point, because you are criticizing him for daring to say that there are shades of grey, and that not everything about France is black. So you are effectively saying that we have no right to say anything positive about France, because that would be neglecting all that is wrong.

And the dig about this article being worthy of Chevénement is a pretty damn cheap one. I am opposed to a lot of things coming from Chevénement, but I did not find this article objectionable for these reasons.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 29th, 2005 at 11:36:53 AM EST
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