Tribute to President Jacques Chirac
Extract from the address by the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron (September 26, 2019).
President Chirac embodied a certain idea of France.
A France, whose unity and cohesion he continuously sought to ensure, and which he courageously protected from excesses and hatred.
A France that looks history in the face and whose responsibility during the darkest hours of World War II he acknowledged during his speech at the Vel d’Hiv site. Just as he honored the “righteous” 12 years later.
An independent and proud France, capable of protesting against an unjustified military intervention when he refused to take part in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 without a UN mandate, when pledged to put an end to the wars in the former Yugoslavia, and when he sought to re-establish peace and security in Lebanon.
A France that fulfills its historic role of universal conscience.
President Chirac embodied a certain idea of the world.
By committing to a Europe of the people rather than a market-driven Europe, a stronger and more protective Europe, founded on an unfailing French-German friendship.
By committing early to climate. Because Jacques Chirac always took a long-term view, a view that teaches us about the infinite fragility of life. "Our house is on fire": The alarm he sounded to urge leaders to take action to protect the environment and combat global warming was not just the call of a head of state rising up to meet the challenge of history, but of a man among others, refusing with his entire being to allow the survival of our planet to be threatened.
He devoted his life to ensuring respect for differences and promoting dialogue between cultures. In his view, no art was superior to others. But the art and sensitive expressions of man, his soul, should be evaluated equally, promoted equally. That’s what he did when he launched the museum that now bears his name, where the treasures of the civilizations of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas reach out to us across the centuries.
Yes, a certain idea of France, a certain idea of the world, exchanges, cooperation. This evening, President Chirac will not just be mourned in France. He will be mourned throughout Europe, he will also, I know, be mourned in the beautiful continent of Africa that he loved so much, and around the world.