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I didn't blog all weekend because -- well, sometimes I don't blog for several days anyway -- I was more interested in watching the news than in talking about it. I had no particularly profound observations about the latest tragedy the country has suffered, and I didn't think it appropriate to spend my time discussing Iraq and mocking the French.

But I saved up this French bashing piece, because, hey, why not?

The streets of Abidjan apparently spoke for him today. Leaders of the Young Patriots, an umbrella group that organized the rally, wore T-shirts emblazoned with an X over the word Marcoussis. They reserved their wrath for France, this country's former colonial ruler, which brokered the peace talks. They accuse the French of forcing their president's hand. They have appealed to the United States to intervene on their behalf. American government officials have expressed support of the fragile peace deal.

Still, the affection for Americans and anger toward the French was on full display today. Demonstrators waved American flags. One held up a photograph of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. "We Trust in USA," read one placard. Another: "Bush please help Ivory Coast against French terrorism." R. Kelly and Aaliyah songs blasted improbably from the stage speakers.

Anyone who could speak a few words of English did, whether broken or polished. "Do you want me to speak French?" the firebrand leader of the Young Patriots, Charles Ble Goude, shouted from the stage. The crowd hollered its disapproval.

"Are you ready for English?" he shouted again. The crowd hollered heartily.

"I want the United States to come and help my country, which is being destroyed by the right wing of the French government," Mr. Goude, 30, said in an interview later in the afternoon.

"Ivoirians love America because America governs peace of the world," said Zadi Any Roland, 49, a rally participant.

It's not French obstructionism that's so annoying. It's France's air of moral superiority, as if they've ever done anything useful in the world. If they'd just say, "We don't think it's likely than an attack on Iraq will work out well," or even more straightforwardly, "Look, we don't think an attack on Iraq is in our interests," we could deal with them. But they act as if they're more sophisticated than the United States, as if they're the only ones who truly understand how the world works, and we should take directions from them. That's why it's so amusing to see what happens when they apply their deeper understanding of the world. Schadenfreude may not be mature, but it's fun.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 3, 2003 4:50 PM.

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