Saturday, February 03, 2007

When Facts Go Beyond Slogan

“Sarko Facho”. It’s a well-known label that was used against Nicolas Sarkozy, equating him with a fascist. This slogan was adamantly denied and fought by supporters of the authoritarian minister of interior, and as those things go, it wasn’t long before all those who used it were considered “extremists” or “intellectually dishonest” by a great majority of people.

Fascist isn’t a word to use lightly in Europe, and in France in particular. Fascist echoes memories of our darkest hours, of collaboration with the Nazis and the Hitler/Mussolini era. So using the adjective to qualify Nicolas Sarkozy kind of backfired at the time, no matter how authoritarian and how the minister of interior appeared to be flirting with the far-right on quite a few affairs.

But last week, an interesting piece of evidence appeared, which shed a rather unholy light on Nicolas Sarkozy’s true political alignment. Mr Sarkozy published a book (which he didn’t write, but that’s they way these things are done, be it by him or others) to gift the world with his vision of what France should be, how he saw things, and what he would do if elected president. There was nothing surprising in there, but.

But the book was published in Italy as well. And there, it was prefaced by a very special friend of Nicolas Sarkozy’s. An Italian friend, whose name didn’t appear in the preface of the French version of the book, safely prefaced by someone else. It’s likely Mr Sarkozy thought he’d get away with this little stunt, and that nobody would notice who he chooses to preface a book as important as the one describing his ideas and his vision for France, Europe and the world.

And that friend, that very special friend of Mr Sarkozy’s is none other than Gianfranco Fini, the infamous leader of the MSI – National Alliance party. This party is heir to the old Italian fascist tradition, one which proudly claimed to uphold the values and heritage of the dictator Mussolini, who was Adolf Hitler’s closest ally during World War II. The party used to be proud to have Alessandra Mussolini, Mussolini’s granddaughter among its members. It’s well known for its extremist positions against immigration, against homosexuality, and all the usual rhetoric of far-right parties.

Of course, brainwashed supporters of Nicolas Sarkozy will start yelling that this was a long time ago, that Gianfranco, poor Gianfranco, has changed, that he’s curbed his fascist views and has renounced his old demons. That is nothing more than a sham and a bad lure. Yes, Mr Fini’s party has softened its declarations, and has strived to appear more “respectable” and “normal”. But the facts, the declarations of its members give out the lie for what it is.

And what’s more, Mr Sarkozy can’t pretend this was all a mistake: his ities with darling Gianfranco are anything but new. Nobody can claim they don’t know what our nice Gianfranco is about.

The “Courrier International” depicts an “alliance of iron” between Italy’s far-right, fascist figures, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the English Tories. The newspaper calls this alliance “the new right”. It is a daunting, frightening prospect to envision such an alliance taking place and growing in Europe, slowly staining our freedoms and our social security systems, our ways of life—all the while luring people’s votes with promises of being the ones who’ll reward their labor, because they’ll lash out and punish all those who abuse the system (the weakest ones, those who have no power, no voice, no money, no status…hmm, why does this ring a very dark bell in my mind?)

And, amusingly enough (read: I am not amused—not amused at all), not a word of this appeared on the TV news. Not even a whisper. The only media which reported this oh so unimportant piece of news were the left-leaning newspapers, and that’s all.

Funny, when you think that all the TV news simply dashed to cover and give precious prime time to the hoax of a French humorist who managed to dupe Segolene Royal, Socialist candidate to the presidency. But then again, the fact that said humorist is a friend of Nicolas Sarkozy’s, and that the hoax would be used to discredit the Socialist candidate had nothing to do with the zeal and speed with which it was put in the headline news on TV.

Just as the fact that the TV network’s occulting the revelation of Mr Sarkozy’s ties and closeness of opinion and ideas with a man whose ideology stinks all the way to Pluto, Proxima Centauri and beyond has nothing to do with favoring the one candidate who has been known to claim that he owns the supposedly neutral media.

If there is one reason which should unite people and make them vote for anyone but Nicolas Sarkozy, regardless of their political views, it should be this one: Mr Sarkozy isn’t what he tries to sell to the voters. Mr Sarkozy’s friendship lies to the right. To the fascist far-right. And the danger he represents must be stopped.

Sources (in French):
Le Courrier International