France election are approaching and all the eyes of the world look to Paris. This beautiful classic European capital, which has been the world model for all things elegant and classic from wine, pastry to art and perfumes is keeping us in suspense over its voter’s choice on May 7th. Will it be Marine Le Pen the Iron women from the National Front right or Emmanuel Macron the young and charming centralist whose party ‘En Marche'(Forward) is one year old. In any way I always wanted to speak French.
France has given the world sophisticated philosophy through Rousseau, Descartes, Sartre, Voltaire and Pascal to name a few of the names in any political science introduction class. The spirit of revolution and free thinking is one the great signatures that France left on the world stage from the Middle Ages to the Nineteen Century Europe, and I am a big fan of free thinking.
This country whose farmers grotesquely killed their monarchy, questioned this antique institution and decided to take it down with passion. Their freedom of thought and their ultimate fate in their right inspired the American colonies to fight for emancipation from the British kingdom. The French know their power, it is felt in their beautiful passionate language, which was at one point, the accepted international diplomatic language ‘lingua franca’. Diplomats documents were written in French because governments around the world, had elites people who could understand it, read it, write it. They have always been the wings that carried the spirit of the European influence in the world, its classic western ideas, democracy and organized institutions. Nations around the world looked up to France for inspiration and admiration.
This classic sovereign nation is now afraid. It feels threatened by the new influence brought by the influx of immigrants from the Middle East and the overall France weakened economy. The economic pressure is felt in two folds. One is the fact that France is losing local businesses to other countries in Europe, while the other is due to the wide social benefits offered to immigrants, which is putting a heavy toll on the French budget. But these challenges are seen throughout Europe and they don’t answer to one solution only. The French have watched closely last summer as the British surprised the world upon the Brexit referendum results. Now it’s their time to make their point, which might influence the rest of Europe. What will it be??
The spirit of revolution is once again breathing on the neck of this nation. They are fed up with old politics, and big European institutions and they are looking for something fresh – new, yet originally French. Will it be the fearless daughter of Jean- Marie Le Pen, who passionately says “We the French are viscerally attached to our Liacite (French law), our sovereign, and our independence. The world know that when France is attacked it is liberty that is dealt a blow” or will it be Macron, son of two public doctors, who eagerly says back:” And my life today is primarily a fight for values that I have pegged to my body” giving the audience a feeling of religious devotion. Big gaps stretched between the call to exit the European Union, NATO, and defend French independence that is headed by Le Pen and the promise of French innovative thinking that is fought by Macron. We won’t know until May 7th final count of the votes. What we do know is that at least Paris indicated on the last round, that Le Pen is too radical and they rather go with the young candidate who stayed loyal to his heart against all odds and married his drama teacher after years of waiting. So romantic…Meanwhile I shall continue practicing my beginners French… you never know when it will be useful… Au’ revoir!