Le scandal

Eric Pape in FP on France’s vacillement faced with revolution in Francafrique:

‘At least 35 people had been killed by Jan. 11, when Alliot-Marie shockingly offered to bolster Ben Ali’s grip on power. She suggested to France’s Parliament that the world-renowned “savoir-faire of our security forces” allows for the “solving of security problems of this sort.” (She later clarified that she meant to help control protesters without killing them, but the distinction was lost to many people in France and Tunisia.)

An array of opposition politicians called for her resignation. “Here is a people who rises up after 23 years of dictatorship, the police fire into the [crowd], and the only thing that the [French] government says is: ‘We are going to help you through police cooperation,'” said former prime minister and prominent Socialist Laurent Fabius on French radio. “It is one thing to have state-to-state relations. It is another to pat a dictator on the back.”

It was only after Ben Ali fled into exile on Jan. 14 that French officials finally took the side of the Tunisian people.

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