Journalist and filmmaker Éric Ouzounian lost his 17-year-old daughter, Lola, in the devastating Paris attacks that struck France only a few weeks ago. On November 27th, a memorial for all the victims was held at the Hôtel des Invalides, a complex of buildings that houses monuments, including a large dome containing burial sites for noted French war heroes. President Hollande spoke at the pensive ceremony, denouncing the terrorists who had cowardly attacked his country.
Ouzounian did not attend. He expounded on this decision in a recent editorial he wrote for the Huffington Post, illuminating the very justifiable reasons he had for this choice.
According to Ouzounian, the state of France and its leaders “bear a huge responsibility for what happened.” He outlined the history of France’s policies in the Middle East, which do not reflect well on the country—Nicolas Sarkozy aided the downfall of the Gaddafi regime in Libya, defying UN resolutions and contributing to Libya’s instability. Similarly, Hollande worked to depose Bashar El-Assad and intervened in Syria, which had no ties to France.
Undoubtedly Gaddafi and Assad were ruthless dictators making morally reprehensible choices concerning their citizens. However, Ouzounian calls out France’s selectivity in overthrowing totalitarian governments: “[they aren’t] any more heinous than those currently in power in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with whom France maintains excellent diplomatic and business relations, and who have funded ISIS.”
He believes this disastrous foreign policy endangers French citizens and lacks any “political vision.” He also brings up the lack of involvement French leadership has in restoring dilapidated neighborhoods and increasing funding for its schools—instead, its money goes toward unnecessary military involvement.
To Ouzounian, “the separation between French people and their leaders is complete; the social contract has been broken… I am appalled by my devastated country, and I am devastated by the death of my daughter.”
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