Since his accession to the French presidency, I seem to have lost track of the times when to hear Nicolas Sarkozy speak is to re-affirm that truth indeed is stranger than fiction. It's likely that for most of his listeners who were present on 26 July 2007, in an auditorium of Senegal's Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, this was another one of those days.
Nicolas Sarkozy's original discours in Dakar was in French, but as this event is so important, it was also important to share it as well in English. I'm sure there must be other language translations out there. We will look for them in order to post them. Now, a group of mostly African intellectuals has recently published a French-language response to Mr. Sarkozy. The edited volume is L'Afrique Repond a Sarkozy: Contre le discours de Dakar (Editions Philippe Rey, Paris, 2008) - "Africa Responds to [Nicolas] Sarkozy: Against the Dakar Discourse." Luckily for we Afrodescendants of the Americas (or "Negroes of the diaspora," as book editor Makhily Gassama quite oddly refers to us), the book includes a contribution by our Haitian writer-sister Kettly Mars. The following is an unofficial translation of Sarkozy's speech which is posted at the blog Dionysius Stoned. A thank you to DS, and certainly to the party or parties who made this original translation.
ADDRESS BY MR NICOLAS SARKOZY, PRESIDENT OF THE FRENCH REPUBLIC, AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHEIKH ANTA DIOP, DAKAR, SENEGAL, ON 26 JULY 2007
Ladies and gentlemen
Allow me first of all, to thank the Senegalese Government and people for their warm welcome. Allow me to thank the University of Dakar that allows me for the first time to address myself to the elite of the youth of Africa in the capacity of President of the French Republic.
I have come to talk to you with the frankness and sincerity that one owes to friends that one appreciates and respects. I appreciate and respect Africa and the Africans.
Between Senegal and France history has woven ties of a friendship that no one can undo. This friendship is strong and sincere. It is for this reason that I wanted to address, from Dakar, the fraternal greeting of France to all of Africa...