Topic: World View
Our Man in Paris: Nicolas to the Rescue
Nicolas to the Rescue
PARIS - Friday, November 25 -
A week ago Le Parisien had an exciting headline. 'The Incredible History of a Forbidden Book' spread over five columns, followed by, 'Nicolas to the Rescue of Céilia' in 96-point bold, equally over five columns, with two very poor photos of these lovely people flanking the essential of the story.
Since we were having no riots last Friday, the front-page scoop continued on pages 2 and 3, filling them with everything we need to know about the private relations between the short minister of the interior, Nicolas Sarkozy, and his wife, Cécilia Sarkozy, his apparently former right-hand man.
According to Céilia she met with the journalist, Valérie Domain, for a half hour, 'not more.' She admits that she liked the journalist's earlier book, 'Femmes de, filles de,' which also includes a brief portrait of her.
But after the new book, 'Céilia Sarkozy, entre le coeur et la raison,' rolled off the presses to the tune of 25,000 copies and was headed to bookstores for its debut on November 24, Céilia freaked out.
Although apparently separated from Nicolas since a late June trip to Disneyworld, when Céilia discovered the book's sale was imminent she phoned the minister, told him her worries and asked him to take care of it.
Sarkozy had the editor visit him at the ministry of the interior, for, as Le Parisien puts it, a 'muscular' discussion. The following day the publisher called the author and told her the book wouldn't go on sale.
Then there was public silence for a week, except quite a bit of talk that is imagined to have gone on within the cabinets of several lawyers.
Books don't get banned all that often in France but it happens. A book about President Mitterrand's health was stopped before finally appearing eight years later. Alain Delon banned a book about himself before it was written, but it might have come out two years later with a different publisher.
The author, Valérie Domain, former 'grand' reporter for France Soir and head of the information department at Prisma magazine's 'Gala,' is not an amateur. She has given her lawyer a CD-ROM containing two hours and forty minutes of recorded conversations between the author and her subject.
Note of this has turned up on page six of today's Le Parisien, which goes on to mention that the lawyer for the author will go after the publisher, and that the publisher's lawyer will counter-sue the author for damages. Meanwhile the book was supposed to appear yesterday, and 25,000 copies of it are collecting fresh dust in some cool warehouse.
Le Monde noted on November 18, talking to other publishers, that Sarkozy seemed to be unaware that there are legal methods for suppressing a book, which in turn raised questions about the courage of the book's publisher. Another pointed out that books used to be banned for 'state reasons,' but the level is lower now.
At this point the publisher isn't talking so it is impossible to know exactly what arguments Sarkozy used to prevent the book from going on sale. In France everybody is guilty of something so the poor guy probably expected to spend Christmas in the Santé if he didn't do as he was told.
This is also probably much ado about very little, except that Sarkozy is involved, maybe a bit over-excited, momentarily forgetting his presidential candidate status. According to those who might know, there can't be much in the book that the public hasn't already read - except for some juicy tidbits possibly served up by Céilia exclusively to the author.
Paris, Friday, November 25 - Street Scenes -
Matching Smart Cars on rue de Rivoli -
Things are quiet behind La Samaritaine now that it has closed -
Text and Photos, Copyright © 2005 - Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis