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Frying the French

Long version: mp3, 4.21 MBs, 3:51
Short version: mp3, 2.72 MBs, 3:21

[Col. Writ. 6/23/03]

In politics a community of hatred is almost always the foundation of friendships.
-- Alexis de Tocqueville (1806-1859)

The American people, through the corporate media, have been exposed to an
unprecedented level of antagonism against a long-time ally: the French.

The U.S. President, George W. Bush, vows to punish them for their temerity.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld virtually snorts when the French are mentioned: “The French? Old Europe!”

A host of lesser political lights, federal and state legislatures alike, rush to their rostrums to denounce the perfidious French, and use their legislative expertise to pass resolutions directing government cafeterias to rename the ubiquitous "French fries", the “Freedom fries."

For what crime(s) have the French become the target of U.S. ire?

They dared to instruct their diplomats to oppose unilateral (one-sided)
war in Iraq, and advocated the use of increased weapons inspectors in Iraq. They choose to use their diplomacy to deny U.S. dominance on the United Nations Security Council.

Their ultimate offense then, was daring to use the UN structure to promote their own national views, rather than blind submission to the will of "the world’s sole superpower."

*Sacre Bleu!* How dare they? How dare they not bow to the imperial might of the U.S. of A.?

The French have become the butt of offensive jokes in American life that are tantamount to calling someone unbathed, or cowardly, something accelerated by the tone emerging from the White House and the State Department.

Why this level of anger? Of vitriol? Of hatred?

Why not a similar response to German diplomatic differences?

One suspects the reason lie in history; and perhaps, in human psychology.

Were it not for the French, the United States might not exist today, at least in this form. The French sent soldiers from France and its colonies to fight with the Americans against its long-time arch-enemies - the British, during the American Revolution (think back to Shakespeare’s play, *Henry V*, for an example of Anglo-Franco enmity). If the French had not joined the American anti-royalist enterprise, this region of the world would be something like the 'United Colonies of British America'.

When the US leaped into the Vietnam adventure, it did so, in part, to protect the remnants of a failing French colonial regime (it also sought its own economic interests, of course). Left unspoken though, was a kind of 'gentlemen’s agreement'; an unspoken acknowledgement between white republics to dominate and exploit an Asian nation (Vietnam). From the American perspective, that old quasi-colonial 'gentlemen’s agreement' was broken over the issue of Iraq.

France was expected to sit silently by, and let their Big Brother do its thing. When it did not, the American elite, and its corporate media launched into a vicious attack against them, which hinted at their ‘betrayal’.

What France recognizes however, is something that the U.S. is still struggling with. France, due in large part to its colonial past in Asia and Northern, Central Africa, is a 'white' nation no more. Millions of her citizens hail from their former colonial outposts, and have non-Gallic names, but feel, through education, culture and custom, part of the French Republic.

Meanwhile, the United States (at least through its present Administration) thinks, acts, and speaks as if it is still a white republic, ignoring or downplaying the millions of nonwhite, non-European people who populate the state. The U.S. remains a *herrenvolk* democracy, in essence if not in law, and seeks to reestablish colonial domination in several parts of the world (especially the Middle East). It sees itself as an Empire, and thus expectssubmission. France has moved past these imperial pretensions.

May the U.S. someday outgrow its own delusion... and lay off the French.

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"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life of African and African-American People" at

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Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa

Text © copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.