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Appropriating The Past

Nicholas Sarkozy is not “pure” French.  In fact, his grandfather was Jewish but he has an acute sense of how authentic symbols make the nation one.  Sarkozy has established as an iconographic piece of history a letter from Guy Moquet, a seventeen year old boy, to his family on the eve of his execution by the Nazis.  Guy was a communist.  Communists were French, too. But he was also a member of the French Resistance -- an actual member. Sarkozy is getting it from all sides now; from the right for appropriating a communist and from the communists for appropriating one of their own. He must be doing something right.