Saturday, February 09, 2013

Le Garde des sceaux de France

Le Garde des sceaux des France, or the keeper of the seals, is an ancient title of the French monarchy which livs on today as one of the titles of the Minister of Justice or, the American equivalent, The Attorney General.  In The USA, the role of the Seal Keeper is part of the "job description"of the role of the Secretary of State. Today, in France, a fairly amazing phenomena is taking place, the emergence, like the birth of a butterfly from a chrysalis, of  a major political force for good. Let me introduce you to the present Minister of Justice under The Socialiste Administration of Francois Hollande, Christiane Taubira. Madame Taubira was born in 1952 in Cayenne, French Guiana in a very poor African American family. Her intelligence was encouraged as a child and she rose academically ambitious through the educational system. She became an economist. She also has degrees in sociology and ethnology. As a socially conscious  intellectual in Guiana, she became a professor of Economics by the time she was 26. She was then appointed Director General of the Agricultural Coop for the French Antilles.
By 1993, she was a divorced mother with 4 children. She created the very powerful Guianian Walwari Poltical Party. Guiana is a DOM of France...which means it is an Overseas Department of France with as many rights and representation as any other part of France. Taubira became an elected member of the Guianian administration and her party allied itself with the French Socialiste Party about the same time. In 1994, she was an observer for the EU of the South African Elections.
In 2001, she split with the Socialistes and formed the Radical Left Party. She actually ran for the presidency of France in 2002 and got 2.32% of the vote. During this time, she wrote 4 best selling books and as an elected member of the French Government, she introduced the bill, which bears her name, that finally acknowledged the French role in the Slave Trade. That's an entire history in itself. Bordeaux was the hub for sugar, slavery and rum. That is what made Bordeaux the maritime power it was. In 2004, she introduced the legislation which made religious symbols illegal in any fashion in French Public Schools.
She continued as the Guianian Walwari majority Party representative in the French National Assembly, but in 2007, allied herself with Segolene Royale in her Socialiste Party Presidential bid. After Royale's defeat and Sarkozy's election, The Nationalist Center UMP Administration offered a position, which she refused. Instead, she took leadership of a commission  that investigated the relationship of the EU and the rest of the world. Her work was highly critical of the EU and considered too controversial for the Sarkozy Government to consider. It was pretty amazing that the Hollande administration under Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault asked her to become our new Minister of Justice. 
The results, France has fallen in love with this passionate humanitarian. A tireless eloquent and actually very witty woman who took it upon herself to personally push the "Mariage pour Tous" (That's what we call Gay Marriage here) Law through the legislature. She did it. The Christian Right Nationalists fought tooth and nail, pulling every trick in the book they learned from the American Religious Homophobic Right Wing it looked as if the bill was gaining favor with the French population, they started to tack repetitive and ridiculous amendments on it. Final count? Almost 3,000 meaningless amendments and then started to attack Taubira personally on the floor of the assembly. The results? She destroyed them all eloquently with intellect and above all her good natured sense of humor. She literally left a trail of bodies, laughing helplessly in her wake as the she left the assembly after a marathon 30 hour session in triumph. Within a few days, the bill go to the Senate, which has a Socialiste majority and will become the law of the land. An incredible triumph for a an incredible woman, who has just become the most potentially powerful woman in France!

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