Paris-based reporter (and Nicolas Sarkozy-loather) Elaine Sciolino still has to get used to France's conservative President-elect, judging by Friday's "The Sarkozy of the Future Jousts With the Chirac of the Past."
"Repentance for the sins of the past has come easy to President Jacques Chirac. He will be remembered as the first French leader to recognize the country's crimes against Jews in World War II and to commemorate formally its complicity in African slavery.
"President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy, by contrast, does not believe in saying he is sorry.
"'I'm going to make the French proud of France again,' Mr. Sarkozy said in his speech after he was elected president on Sunday. 'I am going to bring an end to repentance, which is a form of self-hatred, and the battle of memories that feeds hatred of others.'
Sciolino put a left-wing spin on the immigrant rioting in poor French suburbs in 2005.
"The issues of slavery and of France's colonial past have been particularly delicate since an orgy of unrest in 2005, mainly among ethnic Arab and black African youths in the troubled suburbs. The country's failure to integrate its minorities and to give them educational and employment opportunities will be one of the most important issues facing the Sarkozy presidency.
"Despite the many faults of his 12-year presidency, Mr. Chirac has been widely praised for trying to heal the wounds of history."