Danielle Mitterrand

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Danielle Mitterand - photo credit: Manuelle Toussaint

 

When I first met Danielle Mitterrand, it was clear that I was in front of a one of a kind woman.

Indeed, our TV interview was uncommon, I have to confess, and I have always said it loudly.

Uncommon in every sense of the word; so was her life path, a quest for justice

Her life at the Elysees did not affect Danielle Gouze who, as a young woman, was awarded the War Cross for her work in the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation in World War II.

Confrontational advocate for the poor, she broke the mold as first lady refusing to play the role of decorative accessory to her husband during his 14 years in power, the longest of any French president.

“There is no traditional role for a first lady”, she said. “Each woman has her own personality and acts according to her conscience and her sensibilities”

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Pierre Amin Gemayel

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I remember Pierre Amin Gemayel in his first TV appearance. It was in 1997 on the eve of our National day, November 22nd, just like today. I wonder how much independent we’ve been since 1943 and Rashaya’s captivity days! Anyhow, I had invited 8 grand-children of the pillars of the Lebanese Independence, among whom Pierre, to my weekly show at that time “Maraya”. When we first met, I was impressed by Pierre’s energy, vivacity, wit and courage. I recall Joyce, his mother, and Joseph Abou Khalil, the prominent writer, while preparing for the show with them, how supportive and excited they were. D-Day: Top Camera and here we went. I have to admit that Pierre was the star among the participants! Later on, Pierre started re-organising the Kataeb Party and he rose at the top among tycoons of local Politics. Our paths crossed occasionally afterwards as we rarely met. In 2006, just like today as well, he was savagely killed. Today, Lebanon is remembering him in the midst of an Arab Spring which might yield to an Arab Winter. God bless his soul and may every courageous Arab citizen perpetuate his living memory.