« Sorry About That | Main | The Last Person to Know It All »

"I Have Never Known a Time..."

These are the opening lines of Thomas Friedman's latest column for the New York Times:

We are in danger of losing something much more important than just the war in Iraq. We are in danger of losing America as an instrument of moral authority and inspiration in the world. I have never known a time in my life when America and its president were more hated around the world than today.
It's difficult to believe that the sympathy and solidarity shown to the US by the world in the aftermath of 9/11 took place only 32 months ago. Consider this speech by France's ambassador to the US in November 2001:
President Jacques Chirac was... naturally the first foreign head of state to come to the U.S. after September 11, to meet on September 18 with President Bush at the White House, and to pay a visit to Mayor Giuliani and to the wounded city of New York on September 19. He came to express the "total solidarity" of the French people and the French authorities. He put it quite forcefully: "France will be in the front line in the combat against international terrorist networks, shoulder to shoulder with America, its ally forever."

Actually as soon as it learned of the September 11 tragedy, France expressed its complete solidarity with an America wounded to the core. If I had to take just one example, it would be the solemn ceremony in tribute to the victims, held a few days later in the courtyard of the Elysée, attended by President Jacques Chirac and the American Ambassador to Paris, Howard Leach, the two flags flying at half mast. It was the first time in history that the national anthem of a country other than France, the "Star Spangled Banner," rang out in the courtyard of the Elysée.

But the reaction was not confined to officialdom. All of France has been with America in thought. Le Monde (not exactly a paragon of exalted americanophilia, in normal circumstances), got it right when it aptly titled its editorial, "We are all Americans," a sentence that has been much quoted since. The spontaneous outpourings of sympathy and solidarity from ordinary French people in all walks of life with all sorts of convictions illustrated the magnitude of this flow of emotion. The American Embassy in Paris was literally swamped with messages of sympathy and support: sympathy from French people overwhelmed by such barbarous acts against a friendly country, and support from people who, as Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said, are still profoundly grateful to their great American ally who twice aided them in the darkest hours of their history.

"Nous sommes tous Américains." How times have changed.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://boosman.com/blog-mt/mt-tb.fcgi/499

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "I Have Never Known a Time...":

» Ancora, Iraq (un post serio) from Macchianera
Dopo le non parole dell'altro giorno, dopo un paio di informazioni lette in giro (soprattutto su Brodoprimordiale), mi sono fatto un'idea un po' più chiara... [Read More]

» Ancora, Iraq (un post serio) from Macchianera
Dopo le non parole dell'altro giorno, dopo un paio di informazioni lette in giro (soprattutto su Brodoprimordiale), mi sono fatto un'idea un po' più chiara... [Read More]

» Ancora, Iraq (un post serio) from Magenta & Woland
Dopo le non parole dell'altro giorno, dopo un paio di informazioni lette in giro (soprattutto su Brodoprimordiale), mi sono fatto un'idea un po' più chiara... [Read More]

Post a comment