Monday, November 09, 2009

Sarkozy's Fond Remembrance of the Fall of Berlin Wall

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has fond remembrances of the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago. He even posted a photo of himself at the wall on Facebook.

Just one minor problem. He allegedly wasn't there.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been accused of reinventing history after he posted on Facebook a photo that he claimed showed him chipping away at the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.

The photo, posted on Sunday, shows a younger Sarkozy taking what appears to be a small pickax to the graffiti-covered wall on the day it fell 20 years ago.

The problem is that official council records show that Sarkozy, then the mayor of Neuilly, was in Paris that night celebrating the anniversary of Charles de Gaulle.

The earliest he could have arrived in Berlin was November 11.

Yet in a text accompanying the photo, Sarkozy said he arrived in West Berlin on the morning of the 9th and then crossed Checkpoint Charlie to the East, where he chipped at the wall.

'The night continued amid general enthusiasm,' the posting read. 'The reunion of the German people signaled the end of the Cold War and the start of a period of great liberty in Europe.'

In 1989, Sarkozy was 34 and a top official in France's conservative RPR party.
As such, his movements were already being well-documented - a fact which appears to have escaped his memory.

Even without the council records, critics have attacked his story as dubious.

For a start his claim that he ‘decided to leave Paris’ on the morning of November 9th 1989 because he wanted ‘to take part in the event which was looming’ sounded unlikely.

Journalist Alain Aufray, of Liberation newspaper, said : ‘Nobody in Paris, not even in Berlin, could tell that the Wall was going to fall...

‘Radios and televisions in West Germany had began to describe what was happening at 8pm... It was not until 11pm that Berliners in the west began to gather infront of the border.’
He might want to consider updating his Facebook post before he looks even more ridiculous.
Sarkozy’s account was made to look even more ridiculous when Alain Juppe admitted during a radio programme at the weekend that he was actually in Berlin on November 11th, rather than the 9th.

Despite this, an Elysee Palace spokesman said the President stood by every word of his account, including the fact that he travelled to Berlin at the last minute.
The spokesman said: ‘What he said was strictly the truth. Nicolas Sarkozy doesn’t say the Wall was going to fall, he only says there was information about a change in Berlin.’

Many remained unconvinced, however, with Twitter postings saying the President was trying to portray himself as ‘Super hero Sarko’.

One suggested that Sarkozy believed he had ‘filmed Neil Armstrong on the moon’, while another said he was ‘probably in the stable at Nazareth on December 25th.’
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