World Leaders Warn Against Nationalism At World War I Remembrance Ceremony

14 November, 2018, 01:07 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech while President Donald Trump looks on before a lunch at the Elysee Palace in Paris

Standing in a Paris drizzle just feet from leaders including Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, Macron used the culmination of a ceremony commemorating the centenary of the end of World War I to champion the work of worldwide institutions such as the European Union and the United Nations.

French President Emmanuel Macron led the ceremonies, warning of the continued danger of unchecked nationalism in a speech. And I say, really, we're not supposed to use that word.

But Mr. Trump, a leader who has proudly declared himself a "nationalist" and advocated an "America First" approach, stood out at a memorial ceremony that focused on global cooperation.

"The lesson we draw of the Great War can not be rancor and resentment against other nations and it can not be allowing the past to be forgotten", Macron said Sunday. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited security protocols for the presidential motorcade's solo trip down the grand flag-lined avenue, which was closed to traffic.

Trump, Putin, First Lady Melania, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte all stood together and exchanged pleasantries during ceremonies near the Arch de Triomphe Sunday.

In a 20-minute address delivered beside the tomb of the unknown soldier, Macron described the "unimaginable hell" of those who fought in the trenches, denouncing the nationalism that fanned the flames of war and now shows signs of resurgence.

The commemoration included children reading out letters from German, French and British soldiers during the war, a recital by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and a moving performance of Maurice Ravel's Bolero. "We made a great job during the past years but it's not yet sufficient", he said, when asked whether the European Union will come up with a response to the USA withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in terms of currency.

Macron warned against the rise of nationalism, saying "patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism". Other topics, in addition to the ones listed by the French, were trade, sanctions, Afghanistan and China, she said.


Mr. Trump lumbered through a series of commemorations rife with complex symbolism and diplomatic pitfalls and then went out on a high note Sunday by refusing to let Mr. Macron's political barbs disturb a solemn Veterans Day tribute.

Trump caused controversy by refusing to attend a ceremony for the American fallen outside Paris because of the rain.

"The old demons are rising again".

"History sometimes threatens to repeat its tragic patterns, and undermine the legacy of peace we thought we had sealed with the blood of our ancestors", he said.

Solemn ceremonies took place around the world Sunday to mark 100 years to the day since the Armistice that saw the end of World War I.

In Paris, the jewel that Germany sought to capture in 1914 but which the Allies fought successfully to defend, the armistice commemorations were being followed by the afternoon opening of a peace forum pushed by the host, Mr Macron.

The message was both a call to learn the lessons of 1918, when an armistice was signed that led to another world war with two decades, and a rebuke to present-day leaders who shun the global order in favour of protectionist, nativist policies.

"As I see it, several elements today have many parallels with both the start of the twentieth century and the 1930s, giving us grounds to fear that an unpredictable chain of events could ensue", Guterres said at the forum, according to RFI.

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