Chirac and nuclear testing

ari fainchtein (ari@BEST.COM)
Mon, 17 Jul 1995 10:33:31 -0700

On Candice Bradley's question:

Interesting that while posts circulate about the bad boy nuclear French,
the president of France is (to my knowledge) the only world leader sounding
appropriately alarmed (i.e. urging real personal/national/international
humanitarian responsibility) about the holocaust in Bosnia. I also wonder if
any of the Moslem nations have reacted, though I am not sure we would
necessarily hear about it if they did. I would like to hear what fellow
anthropologists are thinking about this situation.

I guess one wrong and one right don't make two rights. Chirac is right
about Bosnia and he is wrong about nuclear testing in the Pacific.
Hopefully the fact that he is right about Bosnia means that he will be
capable of seeing the wrong with nuclear testing in the Pacific.

There are three sets of problems which Chirac must face over nuclear
testing: issues of environment, the opinion of the international community,
and local sentiments in French Polynesia. Not surprisingly, nuclear
testing is giving Tahitians the idea that may be they should try and severe
the tie with France, that nuclear testing can be done on their door step
rather than that of the metropolitan French because they are indigenous
people living under quasi colonial rule. The facts are that nuclear testing
serves neither French political interests, nor the ideals which at least
some people in France feel their country should stand for, including M.
On 16th July,Jacques Chirac became the first French president to address
the role played by the French state in the deporation of Jews during World
War II without trying to somehow wriggle out of the awful historical and
inescapable responsibility which must be carried for this past. He said:
'To recognise the errors of the past and the errors committed by the state
and not to hide the dark hours of our history, that is plainly the way to
defend a vision of man, of his freedom and dignity.' (New York Times,July
17 1995). Opposing nuclear testing and the destruction it brings to the
environment, and taking note of the protests raised by the regional and
indigenous communities whose homes and health are threatened - doesn't all
of this also speak for defending a vision of man, his freedom and his

Christine Mathieu