Saturday, 19 July 2008

the new Marianne?

The handmade rosary on Ingrid Betancourt's right hand is prominent. The joy on the family's faces clear.

Betancourt's liberation from the Columbian jungle, after being held hostage by FARC insurgents for 6 years, is a strategic PR coup for President Nicolas Sarkozy.

While Sarkozy valiantly struggles to come back from being voted the most unpopular first-term president of France in 52 years, and is casting himself as peacemaker in the Israeli-Syrian theatre, the French-Columbian Betancourt could be a potent symbol for a new France: liberte et raison with a difference. This Marianne also has la foi.

Yet where is Mr. Betancourt a.k.a. Juan Carlos Lecompte in this family-faith scenario? The head of the family has been lopped off. Lecompte, who worked hard for his wife's release during her ordeal, told the Bogota newspaper El Tiempo of his fears that their marriage might be over. Betancourt went to France without him. [Associated Press]

It is unsurprising yet somewhat ironic that Betancourt was awarded - and accepted - the Knighthood of the Legion of Honour on Bastille Day, France's highest Order of Merit instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte...

[Image courtesy of the Huffington Post]

No comments: