Sunday, April 25, 2010

Jacques Chirac Autographed 8X10 Picture

I've been known to hang in pretty elite circles in my time, but none more than my Political Circle of 2002-2003. They were the months leading to the Iraq war, when most of the planet were telling Americans not to go in there, that it had nothing to do with their will to combat terrorism, that they had no weapons of mass destruction, that removing Saddam Hussein from power would only ignite violence in that country...

The one man who took the most heat in the U.S. at the time was France's Jacques Chirac, Le Président De La République. He was called weak, a traitor, no longer an ally; the French in general were called invader-friendly, Americans in general forgetting that their own independence was facilitated by France taking their side while also fighting the British in Europe, and, more recently, that Chirac had not only been the first foreign leader to call George W. Bush on September 11th to offer support, but also the first to step on U.S. soil after the fact to reiterate his position in person.

It was just that Iraq was never part of those attacks and were a totally separate beast.

All over the world, people marched in protest for the upcoming invasion; political leaders with balls (not just Germany and France, but also Canada, China, Russia and most of the G-10) took a stand against their stronger ally.

I was active myself, writing to world leaders, keeping in contact with politicians I knew and trusted, contemplating running for office myself...

Chirac is the one person I'm proudest to have had answered me. He was probably the smartest politician at the time; he knew exactly what reactions his position(s) would bring forth, but he also knew which consequences would come to happen if he didn't take a stand. He was five moves ahead of anyone else, all while keeping calm, cool, collected and strong. Imagine Barack Obama's faith in mankind, with Bill Clinton's resolve. Just like there are heroes and superheroes, there are politicians and Super Politicians - he is one of the latter, one of a few.

I'm not saying I agree with everything he's done, or how he's done it, but, as President, the one thing that cannot be questioned is that each and every one of his decisions wasn't based on his own beliefs or a party line, but instead was made by asking himself the question: ''Is this a step forward for my country, and the democratic process in my country - or a step back in the evolution of mankind?'' You've got to respect that.

This picture came with his final letter to me, early in 2003 and reads ''Avec mes cordiales amitiés'', which roughly translates as ''with my warmest regards'', but with an undertone of ''friendship'' as well. I display it proudly.


  1. mads windeballe ""April 21, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    It's a preprint

  2. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    That's upsetting, considering we exchanged 5 formal letters and a dozen emails during those two years.

    Thanks for the heads-up, though.