Maurice Papon: 'I Know Nothing'

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The Whole World Is Going Chapon Crazy

Paris:- Saturday, 27. December 1997:- Maurice Papon was in court again last Monday and at the end of the session, the trial was suspended until Monday, 5. January 1998.

The President of the court, Jean-Louis Castagnède, spent a long time on Monday trying to find out exactly who ordered Jewish children, who were being lodged with families in the Bordeaux region, to be sent to the camp at Mérignac.

Maurice Papon's normally excellent memory failed to serve him.

The children totalled 13 in all when they were finally brought together in the camp on 25. August 1942, and the following day they were sent by train to Drancy near Paris. Drancy was the last stop before Auschwitz.

The train that went on 26. August, carried 450 Jews, 80 of them children. The parents of the 13 little ones had already been sent to Drancy on 18. July 1942, and by the time the SS started rounding up the children on 21. August - to be 'reunited with their parents at Drancy' - their parents were already dead at Auschwitz.

The 13 names of the enfants were read in court. Again.

It is known that some of the Jewish children, who were being lodged with families in the Bordeaux region, were hidden instead of being turned over to the SS. From the report, it is not clear that there will be testimony from anybody in this group when the trail resumes.

Web sites devoted to the History and Trial of Maurice Papon

The Matisson family were the first to launch a civil case against Maurice Papon, in 1981. Jean-Marie Matisson runs the website, and reports from the courtroom. At the website, click on 'Affaire Papon.'

Another website of interest contains daily coverage of the trial by the Bordeaux paper, the Sud Ouest.

Carlos Condemned to Life in Prison

As expected, a jury found Carlos guilty early Wednesday morning of the multiple murders for which Palais de Justice he has been on trial. The prosecution's evidence was overwhelming - too many witnesses, too many fingerprints - linked Carlos to the crime.

The Palais de Justice on the Ile de la Cité, where Carlos has been boring jurors.

Taking what might be one of his last chances to speak in public, Carlos addressed the court with a irrational speech lasting over four hours. During the trial, he proclaimed his autobiography as a 'professional revolutionary,' but never mentioned anything concerning the case for which he was tried - as a cold-blooded killer.

Two of his lawyers did their jobs and put as much doubt as they could into the hard evidence, and his third lawyer announced the intention to appeal the sentence.

Carlos is facing multiple other charges of murder, but it might be a few years before he gets back to court again.

Chapon or Turkey - That Is the Question

Radio, television, magazines and newspapers, decided that the French should have a chapon instead of the traditional turkey this year for the Christmas feast.

Turkey leads the bird race with it being preferred by 34 percent of the French. Chapon is catching up fast, with a 24 percent 'intention to buy' rating.

Although chapons have been around since Noah found his ark high and dry, this nevertheless meant that every time Noel Anglais - Gal. Lafayette you opened your eyes and pulled out your ear-stoppers, somebody was telling you how wonderful a chapon really is, once you get to know one. The main thing is - do something 'new' for the festive season!

Noël Anglais was the theme at Galeries Lafayette this season.

For the extremely doubtful, all sorts of mentions of 'Appellations d'Origine - Contrôlée!' were strewn about with wild abandon. This is because a chicken, no matter what you call it, does not have a serial number branded on it - and may possibly be a forgery.

For some new and exotic bird like the chapon, this seal of quality is doubly important. How is the buyer to know that it hasn't been raised on cat food, for example? There are armies of unscrupulous chapon ranchers out there - of course there are!

Waitaminute! What is a chapon, you say? The 'real' chapon is a castrated chicken, slaughtered not before it is 140 to 150 days old. It should have fat on its back, and this is to make it juicy. The beak should be red, not black. A black beak is bad. If it has dirt on its - what are they? - feet, this is a good sign because it might mean the bird was raised outside.

The kings of chapons come from Bresse, where they are fed on milk and cereals, and an average three to four-kilo bird will sell for 170 to 300 francs - per kilo! Nothing less than the Mercedes of chickens. Lesser, ordinary chapons, go for a measly 50 to 70 francs per kilo.

Anyhow, according to Le Parisian, if you are going to go for a high-end bird, you are supposed to read its stuck-on label carefully. I say anybody can stick any sort of label on a dead chicken - it would be better to trust your bird dealer.

He's seen the things before and he might be interested in your custom. You would insult him or her by reading the label; you are supposed to talk to them and listen to what they say because they do nothing but deal in birds that people eat. If people stop eating them, they stop selling them. The people who put stickers on birds don't sell them; they're just 'sticker' people.

If you don't trust the bird dealer; are you going to trust a shrinkwrapped supermarket bird with an impressive label more?

But all of this is mere chicken-feed. The Maison de la Truffe in Paris showed off the world's largest truffle on Monday. It weighed 1,130 grams and if it had been a normal truffle, its market value would have been 7,700 francs. As it was the 'world's largest,' it is of course, without price, or beyond it, or something.

Toss Out Your Diets for a Day!

Wednesday's edition of Le Parisien has yet more good advice for having a fine Christmas. One nutritionist says it is okay to forget your diet for a day - "Noël is good for you!" - and offers a bit of other common-sense advice: don't eat too much fat - foie gras and fat cheese and the bûche de Noël made from nearly solid butter - and don't mix the types of booze too much.

In another box on the same page, there is a list of remedies for those without common-sense. The two most common ailments seems to be upset stomachs and hangovers - discreetly called 'migraines.' A homeopathic cocktail is proposed as well as a 'tea-cure,' which some French firmly believe in.

Coca-Cola is given the nod for the morning after as is a really potent bomb with a base of Fernet-Branca. Another alternative is two big glasses of beer. To be on the safe side, stick a bar of savon de Marseille under the covers at the foot of your bed before passing out.

Unemployed Go On Strike

shoppers Gal. LafayetteIn scattered areas around France, groups of unemployed workers picketed or occupied unemployment centres and called for Christmas 'bonuses' of up to 5,000 francs.

Many department stores have booths on the sidewalks - for buying those things you need in a hurry - like wedding rings, or umbrellas, or potato peelers.

There are many people who have been unemployed for a long time and their benefits have run out - and some of these were demanding 'bonuses' in order to reduce the debts many have accumulated.

At one agency, the demands were met with payments of up to 1,000 francs. Other agencies were closed completely in order to avoid any dialogue with the protestors.

Honeymoon in Paris

After getting married on Tuesday in Venice, Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Prévin took up residence in Paris' Hotel Ritz for their honeymoon.

On Christmas Day, with the aid of their Ritz driver, an arrangement was reached with paparazzi and all went off happily to the place de la Concorde for a photo session.

Le Parisien's front-page photo in yesterday's editions was small and blurry, and buried bottom-left under a very large and clear photo of a storm scene in Brittany.

Christmas TV

Out of the non-stop miasma of holiday TV-programming, Charles Aznavour's show on France-2 TV at 20:50 on Thursday was an absolute hit.

France's top entertainers showed up to sing duets, engage in sketches and even the somewhat reclusive Alain Delon walked on stage to recite a poem - written by Aznavour.

I missed the best part, which was a sketch with Aznavour and Michel Serrault - but the part I did see, made me think we don't see this sort of class entertainment on TV often these days.

Did You Give?

There are many traditions in France and one f them is to present a gift at New Year to those who do a service for you. Thus I have given to the garbage men, who I never see otherwise; to my postman who I do see fairly often and who does do little favors for me; and the firemen haven't shown up yet and when they do I hope it is only to get their 'étrennes.'

Finally, I am going to have to go looking for the apartment manager on Monday because he won't be coming around to exchange a calendar for an envelope. It's not his style.

He is a busy guy because there are about 250 apartments spread over ten buildings in this park we have, and the size of it keeps him hopping. He is what used to be called a 'concierge' but in a place this size, it is like an industrial job - with a heavy public relations side to it.

Jean-Marie Le Pen Found Guilty, Again

It is the Front National Party's leader second conviction for saying on 5. December, that the 'gas chambers were a detail of history.'

He said this at a news shoppers, Printemps conference in Munich, while publicizing a book about himself, written by Franz Schoenhuber, described by Le Parisien as a former member of the Waffen SS.

Red and green are favorite colors during the holidays, but purple is catching on.

He was convicted of saying almost the same thing in public once before, in 1987, and was eventually fined over one million francs in that case.

In yesterday's judgement at Nanterre, he was fined a considerable amount. He was ordered to pay from one franc to 5,000 francs, to 11 antiracist organizations. In addition, he is required to deposit 300,000 francs - within a week - as a deposit to pay for the publication of the text of the judgement - in ten national and regional daily papers and six weeklies.

France has a 1990 law that makes it a crime to deny the Holocaust.

Sports News: Called Off On Account of Noël

Correction for New Years Day: The 20th Paris-Dakar circus is assembling in front of the Château de Versailles to get ready for its 'grand depart' - starting at 04:30 on Thursday, 1. January 1998. Versailles merchants have been whipped into a frenzy of 'Dakar Fever' and there are non-stop festivities going on, most of them apparently commercial.

If you are planning to visit by car, the normal public parking in front of the château has been reduced considerably. I would recommend parking some distance away, and be sure to put some money into the ever-present parcometres. I don't think the parking-metre ladies are going to Dakar.

Bon voyage!

The World Cup SportsBar Is Open Throughout the Holidays

Real SportsFans should hang out the SportsBar where the fans have all the cognog they can make themselves, at the Football Café, and have relaxing bowls of peanuts while discussing the finer points of the world of football, without getting too 'psychofluide' about it. Cognog is cool.

Less uplifting are the 'official' Web sites: represenred by the FIFA - which stands for Federation International - and the French Organizing Committee, known to all far and wide as the CFO. I don't know what the initials stand for; just like RATP does not sound like métro to me.

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