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The 10th of May is from now on going to be the national day in commemoration of abolition of slavery. 10th of May in 2001 was the day slavery was declared crime against humanity in France, which was the first country in the world to adopt such a law. It was the deputy from French Guiana, Christiane Taubira, who proposed the law, and its been named Loi Taubira after her.
In his speech, President Chirac proclaimed that “the greatness of a country is to take on all its history, the glorious pages as well as the dark parts. Our history is that of a great nation. Look at her with pride. And look at her as she is. That’s the way a people can unite and become more close(-knit).”
(As a foreigner, I do find interesting this constant return to the greatness of the French nation, and I can’t forget another of Chirac’s speeches lately on the issue of nuclear weapons, but be that as it may).
Le Monde greets Chirac’s speech and holds it together with two other speeches as strong and important moments of his reign as President: 16th July 1995 when he for the first time recognised the French state’s role in the deportation of thousands of Jews during the Second World War; 15th August 2004 when he honoured the North African and African veterans’ contribution to the liberation of France and the speech 30 January 2006.
(Again, many others in this country will not remember Chirac for these three speech, but rather for the one 19 June 1991, gone into history as “le bruit et l’odeur” (the noise and the smell), where the President lately so famous for his antiracist stance made speech worthy of Le Pen. I’d really like to say a lot about it, but be that as well as it may for the moment).
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