Wednesday, December 6, 2006

I Predict a Bright Future in the Headlines for Madame

From the New York Times, Dec. 6, 2006, a report about Ségolène Royal, the Socialist nominee in next April’s French presidential election, who was taking her first trip to the Middle East since nomination.

This lady knows which side her croissant is buttered on.

“She staked out a position as a staunch defender of Israel, supporting its right to construct a security barrier on the West Bank and opposing any nuclear power program, however peaceful, in Iran.

“She also seemed to be learning along the way. As she embarked on her trip, she said it was important to 'talk to everyone.' By the time she arrived in Israel, however, she declared that there should be no contact with Hamas, the militant governing Palestinian party.

“In Lebanon, she called for an end to flights by Israeli warplanes over French peacekeeping positions in southern Lebanon. By the time she got to Israel, she said the ones that were still being conducted were justified."

Politicians lined up to criticize her for merely speaking with Mr. Ali Ammar of Lebanon, a member of Hezbollah, which drove out the Israeli invaders. He said to her, “The Nazism [referring to Zionism/Israel] that has spilt our blood and usurped our independence and our sovereignty is no less evil than the Nazi occupation of France.” He also attacked the “unlimited dementia of the American administration” and called Israel the “Zionist entity.”

“Ms. Royal replied to him that she agreed ‘with a lot of things that you have said, notably your analysis of the United States.’ She defended Israel, calling it not an 'entity' but a sovereign state that had the right to security. She did not comment on the Nazi reference.” Later she hedged on her remark about the U.S.

“On Tuesday, the French foreign minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy, accused her of contradicting official French policy on Iran and undermining the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which allows signatories like Iran to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. ‘To question Iran’s right to obtain civilian nuclear energy, and I stress civilian, as Ms. Royal has done, amounts to calling into question the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which has been signed by almost every country in the world,’ Mr. Douste-Blazy said at a news conference.” (Note: Israel refused to sign the Treaty. Iran signed it.)

Do you think that we Americans may receive some media coaching on whether Mr. Douste-Blazy or Ms. Royal is the more admirable person?

Update on President Chavez of Venezuela.

After he won re-election, USA Today reported on December 4, “Touting his victory in a speech before thousands, Chavez said. . .”

Critique: When an American president makes a statement after an election win, would he be described as “touting” his victory . . . a term which for most readers has connotations of over-promotion or unwarranted boasting?

Iran and Syria often pop up in journalistic explanations of why we don’t like certain leaders. USA Today: “Chavez has posed a growing challenge to the United States while leading a widening bloc of Latin American leftists, influencing elections across the region, and allying himself with U.S. opponents like Iran and Syria.”

Nevertheless, Americans apparently need to be reminded constantly never to think a kind thought about Iran. Here’s TV lineup for a single channel, "Dtimes", on a single night, December 4. The titles tell the tale. “Execution in Iran”, “Iran: The Most Dangerous Nation” (for about the fifth time in the past week), “Hamas: Behind the Mask”, and “Iran: The Most Dangerous Nation” (again).

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