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Frédéric Mitterrand


The Thanksgiving week of 2009 was covered with stories about a surprising nomination for Nobel Peace Prize, Afghanistan strategic troubles, and "cultural" debates over a crime done decades ago.

American President Barack Obama surprisingly received the 2009 Nobel Prize for Peace. He said he feels humbled by the recognition and he will accept the prize. The predominant reactions after the decision of Norwegian Nobel Committee are unfavourable. In the U.S. and Europe, many commentators argued that the decision is too hasty. The U.S. leader and his administration have been only nine months in office. The critics say that Obama should prove his real ability and determination to bring peace in the world. In the British Independent Robert Fisk opinionated: "Obama, man of peace? No, just a Nobel prize of a mistake. The US president received an award in the faint hope that he will succeed in the future." In the last months, Obama's popularity seems in retreat, not only in the United States, but also over the world.

Meanwhile, the war in Afghanistan is continuing to be a center of debate. The main question is if America should raise its troops there to put the country in order. The critics of Afghanistan surge say that Afghanistan will turn into a bog, as it was with the Vietnam War. They ask for clear goals and careful assessment of the resources that the U.S. has. Newsweek reports about a meeting with the President Obama and top national-security advisers on Sept. 13, where the VP Joe Biden said, "Can I just clarify a factual point? How much will we spend this year on Afghanistan?" Someone provided the figure: $65 billion. "And how much will we spend on Pakistan?" Another figure was supplied: $2.25 billion. "Well, by my calculations that's a 30-to-1 ratio in favor of Afghanistan. So I have a question. Al Qaeda is almost all in Pakistan, and Pakistan has nuclear weapons. And yet for every dollar we're spending in Pakistan, we're spending $30 in Afghanistan. Does that make strategic sense?"

Another war, this time called "cultural", broke out after the arrest of filmmaker Roman Polanski. In 1977, Polanski have been accused by the American court for having sex with thirteen years old girl, he was charged with both rape and sodomy involving drugs. The case is more than three decades old and still unresolved. After charges and unfinished stay in jail, Polanski left America and for years lives in France. The film director has been arrested in Switzerland few weeks ago and now faces extradition to the U.S.

The intellectual defenders of Polanski (such as Bernard-Henri Levy "On Polanski Affair") do not say much about what Polanski did but fiercely questioned the American conservatism. The first victim in the war of arguments pro and against the filmmaker is the French Minister of Culture, Frederic Mitterrand, a nephew of the late President Mitterrand. The minister, after defending Polanski, was suddenly forced to defend his own reputation. Right wing politicians in France led by Marine Le Pen, the daughter of Jean Marie Le Pen, dug out Mitterand's 2005 autobiographical book "My bad life," where he shares his sexual experience with young boys in Thailand. | read more on Mitterrand's story |Montreal Review




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