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Sarko hits Dublin...

Jul 20

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Sunday, July 20, 2008  RssIcon

So you in Eire will get your first look at Sarko on Monday, as the president of France visits Dublin to ‘listen’ to your ‘views’ on the Lisbon treaty. Good luck with that.
 
(We remind you that the first Irish leader to encounter President Sarkozy was none other than Eoghan O’Neill, CLUAS gaffer, at a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe. You can read the full story here.)
 
No doubt some of our more politically-active readers will be welcoming Sarkozy with a spot of May ’68 street-protesting. Well, enjoy your day out but be thankful that you’re protesting in Dublin and not Paris. Otherwise, you could be facing a stretch in a modern-day Bastille. We shall explain:
 
France has a piece of legislation on its statute books, the French Press Freedom Law of 1881, which outlaws insults to the President. The last known enforcement of this law was in the mid-‘60s, when a heckler was arrested for booing General de Gaulle as he drove along the Champs-Elysées in the Bastille Day parade.
 
Don’t go thinking, though, that Monsieur Bruni is any cooler about these things than the old-timers. While Interior Minister, just until his election as President, Sarkozy is believed to have initiated the prosecution of several hardcore French rappers for the violent anti-police and unpatriotic nature of their lyrics.
 
In one high-profile case during 2006 and early 2007, two French MPs of Sarkozy's UMP party brought charges of incitement to hatred and sexism against a rapper called Monsieur R, whose single 'FranSSe' featured a video with topless dancers (female, of course) in front of the national flag, and whose lyrics inferred that France was a 'salope' (slut). The twin capital S in the song's title reflects the track's comparison of France's governing class with the Nazi regime. Monsieur R also raps that he 'pisses on Napoleon and General de Gaulle'. The charges against Monsieur R were eventually thrown out of court. 
 
An anti-Sarko poster in ParisA French rapper called Poison is flirting with similar prosecution. He writes anti-president lyrics such as "anti-Sarko / anti-right / Nicolas don't you hear? / We're anti-you".
 
Poison’s producer, Mosey, may then be indicted as an accessory. (We picked up that phrase off the TV. It sounds impressive.) Mosey happens to be none other than – ta-dah! – Pierre Sarkozy, son of Nicolas.

It remains to be seen if young Sarkozy will face similar court action for helping those who aren't tugging the forelock to his old man. 

And don't go dissing the French national anthem either. As Interior Minister, Sarkozy also introduced a law which makes it an offence to disrespect 'La Marseillaise'. If it is playing and Jacques le Frenchman isn’t putting his back into it, technically he’s facing a penalty of €7,500 and six months in prison.

However, a subsequent ruling by France's constitutional council limits the law's application to official events and allows for an exemption in artistic or private circumstances. 

One final reminder: the French embassy on Ailesbury Road is French national territory. Now, anyone fancy scaling the wall, calling Sarko a “sale con” and singing ‘The Frog Princess’?

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Author

Aidan Curran, based in Paris, has been writing for CLUAS since 2004. More info about Aidan...

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