The baguette is a rather peculiar type of bread that is synonymous with France. On the outside it is both golden and crispy, promising the most delicious of treats, with its elongated shape glistening from afar, as it’s proudly carried under your arm. Then something unusual occurs. You place it on a table to slice it or just rip it up with your fingers only to discover to your utter amazement that it contains a lot of hot air, a fluffy, indescribable spongy substance. A déjà vu of disappointment; there’s hardly any nutritional value.
This is exactly what France’s President Emmanuel Macron served to his diners at the US Congress, on the 25th April 2018, while well cognizant that the rest of the world was watching this choreographed spectacle of a speech. What was missing on this new Sun God, a near reincarnation of Louis XIV, was a powdered wig and rouge cheeks. Undoubtedly France has contributed immensely to the notion of fine living like no other nation. But this was not the site of an haute couture presentation, with lovely wispy Beings fluttering on a walkway. Or was it?
To be clear; Mr. Emmanuel Macron on a private level seems a likable person, and appears to be genuinely striving to be principled. But when one decides to become a leader, much more is required than niceness, as the pitiful case of the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain dramatically illustrated. It can, in fact be calamitous, even deadly, no matter the good intentions.
Yes, we were served with a constant reminder of the special relationship of these two nations, with a litany of agreeable leaders like Gen. Layette or Rev. Martin Luther Jr., followed by lots of ingratiating name throwing, for the consumption of different political constituents, often at complete loggerheads. Voltaire, of those mentioned, for one was a rabid anti-Semite, and is on record as having urged death for Jews in 1772, as he had declared; “(Jews) have to be punished, for this is your fate”. So much for those vaunted with inspiring the deadly French Revolution. A blind and uncritical deification of Enlightenment’s luminaries leads to such ‘slip ups’. Ignorance can’t be used as an excuse, at this level of discourse in both politics and ethics. Mr. Macron, playing, though most likely unknowingly, the commensurate agent provocateur, as a philosopher was incoherently self contradictory, for he went further to include divisive figures, though always according to the specifically French cannon as to what constitutes greatness, such as Simone de Beauvoir.
Then, there was a heart rendering tribute to an American WWII veteran, who had been especially drafted one more time, to act the living statue. The only misstep that the organizers of this stunt made was they forgot that he was indeed a Real Hero. This was no bit player for hire from Hollywood. What we got was more than a prancing Elephant in a delicatessen, but a veritable Giraffe whose head ungainly poked above a pompous speech. No one had spared a minute to ask this veteran, Mr. Robert Jackson Ewald, whether he indeed fought for the “freedom of France” as was claimed by Mr. Macron. The veteran was unwittingly used as an extra with no voice at all though I’m sure he had one. The cameras did not even bother to leave the shining apparition of the Sun God, to at least show at a glance the face of a real hero to the entire world. They begrudged him this minute honor that he deserved. But to a portion of this elegant gathering he was most likely a mere member of the ‘deplorables,’ from a place no one visits and cannot remember its name. I would say that this fine man fought for something else than was ascribed to him. He did not fight for France but fought against France, which to a large extent had aligned itself with the Germans who were the main ruthless Grim Reapers of Europe.
Only once did Mr. Macron make a perfunctory claim that together with the USA his country fought “against Nazism during the Second World War”. But whose Nazi’s was he referring to? Twice more in his speech the President referred to WWII, but significantly only to its aftermath. A glaring blank gurgled in between. What a brilliant sleight of hand by the dozen or so professional ghost-writers who had been conscripted to bake a Perfect Speech. But here they are caught flat footed, if they thought no one would notice this underhand Las Vegas trick of theirs.
Could Mr. Macron for instance answer why it required just 1500 (as in one thousand five hundred) Germans at first, to guard the entire Occupied France? Commonly any big city has more traffic wardens. For some secret, though truly not so secret reason, the Germans simply didn’t need more troops. In fact being billeted to France, and especially to the cafes along Paris’ Champs-Elysees, was considered by the Wehrmacht and SS killers as a well deserved relaxing holiday and reward for exerting themselves in being particularly and gratuitously murderous in Eastern Europe.
It took France exactly 53 years after the war to kind of admit to the nefarious and outright partnership of Vichy France with Germany. But then, simultaneously and suddenly, everyone’s dad, granddad, mum, and grandma in France, miraculously morphed into members of the Resistance. Not a single wizened ‘Monsieur’ or ‘Madame’ came forth to claim contritely that they had personally worked hand in glove with the Germans. And admit that the main line of business of many citizens of the Republique was the rounding up and betraying of Jews and shipping them off in cattle wagons to gas chambers in Bergen-Belsen, Mauthausen, Buchenwald, Auschwitz-Birkenau and numerous other slaughter houses spread across Europe. France had its own concentration camps, euphemistically called ‘holding camps’, though in these equally many died horribly of disease, starvation, torture and execution. Five such particularly ignominious places are Drancy, Pithiviers, Gurs, Les Milles and the Vélodrome d’Hiver, Paris’ major cycling stadium.
I have always been personally baffled and dismayed whenever I’d wonder around Paris, an enchanting capital so resplendent with statues, plaques and all sorts of historical markers that it is next to impossible to find anything that commemorates the plight of Jews. Why I ask? Will this despoil Beauty? For in this City of Lights, there’s a lurking Darkness. A Beast.
Mr. Macron treated us to the loftiest platitudes, to give a couple of teasers; “Since then, we have shared a common vision of humanity” or “We have worked together for the universal ideals of liberty, tolerance and equal rights”. Oh really? Do I smell a baguette? No, for even baguettes are devoid of a basic scent. Where were all these theatrically flaunted virtues for those gruesome years, when France was working lock, stock and barrel with Germany to annihilate Jews from the face of the earth? And they did so eagerly, voluntarily with gusto and élan. A considerable number participated either directly or indirectly in the murder of 77,000 French Jews, and those Jews who were citizens of other countries and had sought shelter in France. In particular the French State Police, Paramilitary Organizations and the French National Railways were at the forefront of this involvement in the Holocaust. In July 1942 the French Police imprisoned so many Jews that amazingly they earned the ire of the German Gestapo, since they had supplied more victims than even the efficient German death conveyance system could service. This is the only such instance during the entire WWII, when the Germans were displeased with the number of ‘netted’ Jews. What happened to 5000 Jewish children, forcibly separated from their parents by French police, is one of the cruelest and most heartless deeds of WWII. They were all sent to be gassed. Some were as young as 3 years old.
In the restored Fourth Republic, an edict was passed in 1946, whereby all documents proving French participation in the Holocaust should be destroyed with utmost urgency, was done with President Charles De Gaulle’s approval. The French Police, largely due to ineptness, simply forgot to carry out this order in its entirety. It was compelled to open its surviving files marked ‘Top Secret’, with redacted details of their hideous WWII past in the year 2012. But they still waivered until 2015 to reveal the actual names of the collaborators they so assiduously protected all along. They made sure that in this way they would not have to put to trial any of their colleagues. Here’s an example of an entire State willfully taking part in a dirty cover-up. As if this component of France’s near past had escaped Mr. Macron’s attention, he moralized during his melodramatic exercise about “concerns regarding privacy and personal data”. But the following was the cherry on the cake; “To protect our democracies, we have to fight the ever-growing virus of fake news”. After all which country has had such plentiful practical experience in this field, and indeed can make a claim to its “copyright”, as in dissembling and concealment?
Though within the privacy of his homeland, Mr. Macron was the first French President who fully acknowledged that France as a State freely and without compulsion assisted in the Holocaust, for what he should be rightly commended, when will the time arrive when this is done openly, within an International setting? Without the hush hush tone to it. One such lost opportunity was the Capitol Hill Speech, in which he regaled all with an entirely pristine, saintly and untainted image of his country. No such perfect country exists anywhere, as we were supposed to believe. Fake history for the world’s consumption?
It is an incontrovertible fact that one reason why Israel is resurrected and exists as the only homeland for Jews on earth, a tiny sliver of land, is so that they should never endure the backstabbing of any so-called ‘hosts’, with the above mentioned country being one such perfect example. It is so easy to pontificate on Capitol Hill that; “This is my position. That is why France will not leave the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), because we signed it”. Well, Mr. Macron, please kindly take into account that Israel is a sovereign country that will never fall for the whims of a single person, especially stating like a king ensconced in the Versailles, in a self aggrandizing manner that; “This is my position”. Who with the tiniest iota and sense of logic and responsibility would base the destiny of their entire Nation on the ‘feelings’ or ‘position’ of any single individual? Didn’t France also sign a document with the League of Nations, founded in 1920, subsequent to the Paris Peace Conference, which turned out to be completely worthless, and in the end it was to all intents and purposes also a death warrant for Jews? Currently, fortunately prudence and wisdom trumps any such dilettante statements. How can a party to a treaty be trusted, if one of its raisons d’existence is the total destruction of the State of Israel? What is a listener to make of:” I believe in building a better future for our children”? Our children, Mr. Macron are being threatened as of now, with nuclear obliteration, for us to have the luxury of playing along with your climate scare fetishes. I have no idea how much carbon dioxide would be generated, should a rouge regime acquire a nuclear weapon, and detonate it. I guess that as a new holy grail, the statistics of the resultant pollution would be a moot point to its victims.
Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, never to be outdone by anyone who might consider themselves to be the apogee of International oratory, had succinctly and curtly put Mr. Macron in his place, when the latter impinged on Israel’s Independence. Mr. Netanyahu told him as a matter of fact; “Paris is the capital of France, and Jerusalem is the capital of Israel”.
In turn Mr. Macron must be credited with his unusual boldness, when compared with many EU leaders, for he risked his own popularity when he forcefully fought back against the BDS movement. As such, given his statements to the Chamber, at least when referring to free trade, he sounded honest, for he had backed his forceful rhetoric back home with enforcement by Courts across his country. For this he is owed a genuine Merci.
Notwithstanding, does this meaningfully compensate, for how France unleashed upon the ancient nation of Persia a certain guest, whom they had carefully pampered, groomed and harbored in Paris, only to foist him upon this hapless nation, on a special Air France flight? But of course, according to Mr. Macron, it was now the duty of his hosts to take care of a critical situation his country took more than an active role in molding. Unfortunately for him, the former community organizer and President Barack Hussein Obama, who led from the back while sending billions of dollars upfront, without a care for the consequences of such largess, which nourishes global terror, was nowhere to be found near the hallowed Hill, to support a fellow traveler. At least one has to be fair to Mr. Macron that he made a splendid declamatory performance without recourse to a teleprompter
An elated Mr. Macron added in Washington; “In fact, the 2Ist century has brought a series of new threats and new challenges that our ancestors might not ever have imagined”. How very wrong was he about his own progenitors, who would have described his ‘newfound’ knowledge as passé, for 1400 years, to be exact. Furthermore it’s sad that he was belittling their vast experience and acumen, while in a foreign country. Not having a facebook account seems to have made them more lucid, as in knowing how to distinguish between actual friends and foes.
These were Titans. They did not have to “imagine’ anything but dealt with it, using facts and not flights of fancy. Firmly, emphatically and unapologetically. For the greatest moment of French history, I dare say, was when it acted unilaterally in 732 AD, at the battle of Tours, when their truly gallant knights, under the astute King Charles Martel (Charles the Hammer), saved Western Civilization, without which the resultant concept of Democracy would be gone forever. If it wasn’t for the courage and ultimate sacrifice of the heavily outnumbered defending forces that obliterated the Caliphate’s invading army led by Abdul Ghafiqi, it would have been the end of the World as we know it. This is a well earned Vive la France!
Unfortunately all Post-war WWII governments of France have obliterated and nullified the sacrifice of those knights by bringing into the country, on an unprecedented scale, people who detest and abhor all Judeo-Christian values, the secularism of the Republique, and are once more engaged in uninhibited anti-Semitism. Jews, in order to survive, have to make aliyah, for there is no future for their children in a country where they get abused, spat on and beaten up along boulevards in broad daylight, while the police look the other way. In recent times 14 Jews were killed for being Jews. Yet in his speech Mr. Macron lauded the “rights of minorities”. Was he being serious? Ostensibly his government does not understand at all why these attacks on Jews are happening, and by whom this hatred is perpetrated. It has employed legions, neigh, armies and Divisions of sociologists, journalists, philosophers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and perhaps, who can guess, bakers too, who are all still conveniently completely clueless and perplexed, to search for the mysterious cause of this mayhem. Inspector Clouseau, the Cocteau Twins, and Louis de Funes’ Gendarme, would have been by far more effective.
As your government dithers, and spends precious time lecturing other nations in their sacred Chambers about how they should feel, think, talk and act, The Dance Macabre continues unabated, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, right below the shuttered windows of your own pretty palace, as you bite into your empty baguette.
Copyright, 2018, Jacob Barua