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Thursday, September 04, 2008 

French President opens school in Damascus

President Nicolas Sarkozy has opened a French school in Damascus.

Sarkozy is aiming to deepen ties between the two countries. He has opened a school in Damascus, named after Charles de Gaulle.



It is making some of the older generation uncomfortable, because they remember France's brutal occupation of Syria.

The two countries have also signed a number of huge economic deals. The most important one is an agreement to allow the French oil company Total operate in Syria for the next ten years.

For the first time in years, the French tricolour flag covers most main roads in the Syrian capital, for Sarkozy's first visit. It is also the first time a western head of state has come to Damascus for five years.

Thanks to Amniya for this.

shouldn't we open a syrian school in return?
i don't feel comfortable about them openining schools and things on our land and we not doing the same on their land.
and I was thinkikng of something, i really don't know about it but did the french governmet ever applogize for their occuption to Syria?

I agree with Amniya's sentiment.

I remember being in Syria when Chirac visited, in the days of Hafez. When was that? I remember Chirac mumbling something then about the great relationship passing through some difficulties on occasion - I think he was referring to the deliberate crippling of the economy and the attempt to exacerbate sectarian tensions, in fact to split the country into several, known as the mandate.

so they never appologized?

i have read recently that Italy is going to hand Libya "a huge number of money" as a compensation for the damages they caused when they were occupying it!

I agree with you both, wholeheartedly.

I'm sure you know, I'm a big advocate of doing whatever we can to improve relations with France/US/Israel.

But this stinks of cultural imperialism. The CCF (French Cultural Centre) is the most active in Damascus - and they have branches across the country.

As for the Libya situation - that's a joke. Italy is throwing a couple of dollars at Libya, which pales in comparison to the money they robbed during the occupation.

And what's more - the money is not just being handed back, but being used for a purpose of Italy's choosing! I.e. projects which will benefit Italian companies (a motorway along the Mediterranean - surely Libya has more pressing needs for that money?).

Have France, and Italy ever apologised for their Imperial adventures - not to my knowledge. I think the Guallists are still quite proud of what they achieved in Algeria, aren't they?

What do you think of your president who let them chose this name? May be he does not have a choice, since he is eager to get recognition, but if he has intelligent cultural ministry he would not allow that. What happen to the Baath party, are they too can not say a word? I heard that the president went to a French School, is this the reason why he will side with the French president? I have a friend who lost his grandfather during the 1942 bombardment of the City.
Anyway, may be the air bus contract is more important and we should forget the past?

I think we Syrians should look at the future and for all who do not Like De Goul, should remember that he stopped arm shipment to Israel after the 1967 war and never restarted them .

time to move on?

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  • Written by sasa
  • From Damascus, Syria
  • From Damascus to London via Beirut. Based in and out of the central Damascene hamlet of Saroujah. News and feelings from the streets every day. I'm talking rubbish? Leave a comment. Welcome to the information democracy. See below for info about this site.
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