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Sarkozy: Leave French people alone - Part 1 Sarkozy: Leave French people alone - Part 1
by Joseph Gatt
2008-03-04 08:15:17
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The personality cult

Ever since Sarkozy became visible on the political scene, he never missed an opportunity to make people talk about him. His accession presidency has made him elaborate a personality cult that bothers many inside and outside France.

Why would the actions of a French president matter to the world? Who would care anyway? France is the world’s seventh largest economy and possesses the nuclear weapon. It is also the country where human rights were established, and once occupied 25% of the world’s territory. French is one of the most spoken languages in the world. And France has strong relationships with dictatorships, notably in Africa, providing them with unconditional support.

France also made its voice heard when the US was about to intervene in Iraq, as if France did not intervene militarily in African nations, notably Ivory Coast. And France has a biased press, one that could easily remind someone of the Soviet press, a manipulative, shrewd press that divides French people, misleads them and lies to them.

Sarkozy was became a distinguished figure of French politics in 2002, after the presidential election won by then president Jacques Chirac and the legislative elections won by the UMP, France’s right wing party, to which Sarkozy belonged. Sarkozy was then one of the favorites, if not the hot favorite to become Chirac’s Prime Minister, but Chirac ended up choosing Raffarin, who was largely unknown to the public. Sarkozy got the ministry of Home Affairs.

Perhaps out of vengeance for not becoming Prime Minister, which he felt was because if Chirac were to run for a third mandate, Sarkozy might have bothered him, Sarkozy started a personality cult, acting as the one who would reestablish order in a France that was torn by violence or what was back then called “insecurite”, and growing ethnic violence, of which the Jewish population suffered the most.

Though Sarkozy’s policies were highly ineffective in dealing with the violence problem, Sarkozy was on television every single day, monitoring police actions on young people, often from ethnic minorities, which were portrayed everyday on television as the criminals that should be arrested. The results were ridiculous: I remember seeing a news report in which a Sarkozy-led operation involving dozens of policemen in a school resulted in the seizing of a couple of grams of marijuana.

But Sarkozy never felt ridiculous, and made successive television appearances in which he explained why he was leading such a rough policy. Violence records went down by tiny percentages, yet Sarkozy always appeared on television as a national hero. Sarkozy back then also made it clear that he would run for the presidential elections.

Declaring that intention gave Sarkozy a considerable advantage: that means he, as the Minister of Home Affairs, had access to highly sensitive confidential information that came from the secret services, and that he also had access to continuous media coverage, a privilege that no other candidate had access to. It should be reminded that Sarkozy first declared his intention to run for the 2007 presidency in 2003, giving him four years to campaign!

This unfair and unequal treatment by the media meant automatic endorsement for Sarkozy. Even though left-wing media didn’t like him, they still covered his actions, granting him attention. When Sarkozy left the Ministry of Home Affairs to become Minister of Finance, one could have thought that the media would not have dedicated so much time to Sarkozy. But wrong! One could not escape Sarkozy’s image or interviews. Because Sarkozy became Minister of Finance, France’s fiscal policy, a matter that had little media attention, became one of the primary focuses of French people. Sarkozy proved that he was a star!

What made Sarkozy so famous and popular to many were his speeches, as he used a direct tone, always blaming those who were to blame, using no diplomacy at all. His speeches became progressively irritating, as one could doubt the intentions of that man. He went back to the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2005, which gave him the ultimate opportunity to show off how determined he was in getting rid of a portion of the population that was considered useless and disturbing to many: Black and North African young immigrants.

When riots broke out in areas where there was a strong concentration of that category of citizens, Sarkozy became France’s wartime hero. The media clearly emphasized that without him, the crisis would never have been solved. That gave Sarkozy not only national attention, but worldwide attention, as he became one of France’s most notorious living figures.

The fact that the media dedicated so much time to Sarkozy also meant that Sarkozy knew what he was doing. Getting so much attention meant that no matter what he said, what mistakes he had done, his popularity and repeated media appearances would forgive him. Sarkozy proved that he had a hand on the media when things were not going the right way with his wife. He was quick to silence all rumors that his wife had left him for another guy, and when one magazine did dare cover the story of who I would call France’s Dear Leader, the guy who published the article was fired.

Once he was elected president, in large part thanks to the media, Sarkozy made it clear that he had his hands on the media. Instead of covering Sarkozy doing something about France’s stagnating economy or declining educational and political system, they showed Sarkozy with his team jogging in the woods, eating dinner and doing whatever casual thing he might do.

Sarkozy clearly has his hands on the media and will do whatever it takes to make the media talk about him as much as possible. In a world where staying one day out of the news means the possibility of being forgotten by the public (look at Britney Spears doing every crazy thing she can to be noticed by the media), Sarkozy had better do every crazy thing he can possibly think of to satisfy his ego and to know that people like me will be talking about him.

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Emanuel Paparella2008-03-04 11:44:55
Unfortunately the authoritarian Napoleonic personality, otherwise known as a dictator or the common bully (there is one in charge of Russia too) will never leave anybody alone, especially those who refuse to be their enablers whom they conceive as enemies. But then the enabler is partly responsible for the situation: the people with the help of the media elect them in a democracy. They eventually are disposed of when people realize their mistale. run out of patience and tire of their abuse and ideological bigotry, but not before they have caused a lot of damage.

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