Search France Today

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

François Hollande's lesson on how to offend a country's national hero

Canadian's amongst you will be familiar with the name Kevin Vickers and will probably be able to put a face to the name.

And there's a fair bet that those of you from other countries will at least know what the 58-year-old is famous for, even if you don't know what he looks like and the name doesn't immediately ring the proverbial bell.

Vickers is the sergeant-at-arms at the House of Commons of Canada in Ottawa.

Kevin Vickers (screenshot CBC news)

And on October 22, he was the man who killed gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau who had earlier fatally shot a soldier, Nathan Cirillo, guarding the national war memorial in the capital before going on a shooting rampage in the nearby parliamentary building.

Vickers has since been hailed as a hero, both at home and abroad, proving that the largely ceremonial role he normally plays also has an accompanying serious element in being "responsible for safety and security" within the grounds of the parliamentary building.

Indeed, as if to emphasise just how far Vickers' fame had spread, Hollande, paid tribute to him during a speech to parliamentarians from both chambers of the Canadian parliament on Monday, "saluting his courage" and saying that Vickers was now "a hero across the world".

François Hollande addressing parliamentarians in Canada (screenshot BFM TV)

Hollande, sometimes not always up to speed on who to praise or to whom his condolences should be made (see the last sentence in this post) while on an official trip, seemed to have been well briefed by his accompanying advisors during his state visit to Canada- the first by a French president since 1987.

Or had he?

Because just moments before, Hollande had, according to a report on Europe 1, appeared to all but ignore Vickers - or at the very least not recognise the man he would later describe as "a hero across the world."

It happened as Hollande entered the parliamentary building with apparently both the presidents of the senate and the house of commons there to greet him.

They were accompanied by...well, none other than Vickers who would, in his role as sergeant-at-arms, shortly afterwards show Hollande and the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, to their seats.

And all Hollande could offer Vickers - in terms of a personal face-to-face tribute - was a simple handshake...of a man who seemingly hadn't a clue who the other person was.

And that, dear reader, is a classic Hollande lesson on how to offend your hosts while on an official visit and yet another example of his seemingly muddled understanding of protocol or grasp on international events.

Remember his recent renaming of the Syrian town of Kobane as "Konabe?

Or, while on a trip to Japan in 2013 the tribute he paid to the Japanese nationals who had died in the Algerian hostage crisis earlier in the year by referring to them as "Chinese"?

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Blog Archive

Check out these sites


All photos (unless otherwise stated) and text are copyright. No part of this website or any part of the content, copy and images may be reproduced or re-distributed in any format without prior approval. All you need to do is get in touch. Thank you.