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NewsletterNovember 2002


I know you don't think, foliage when you hear the words 'France in the autumn', as say you might with 'Maine in the autumn'. Think again. I spent the weekend of October 19-20 at my in-law's farm in southern Burgundy and the colors were magnificent. There were yellows and reds as good as I saw when I was living in the northeast United States.
I was told that this year was better than last because the spring and summer were wetter.
Being wine country the leaves on the vines were changing colors and they were beautiful too. The leaves on the vines along with the leaves on the trees made a nice mix. Some of the towns that I drove through were Cluny, Cormatin, and La Chalelle-sous-Brancion.
There was also the foliage along the Autoroutes A6 and A 36 on our trip back to Strasbourg, especially between the towns of Dole and Montbéliard. Click here to see photos of the foliage. To bad for us but in Alsace there is very little foliage as the trees are not the right types.

Assassination Attempt

Bertrand Delanoë, the mayor of Paris was stabbed on October 7th. It was not clear what the intentions of Azedine Berkan, the man who stabbed Delanoë, were. It is know that Berkan did not like politicians or homosexuals (Delanoë is one of the few openly gay politicians in France) and he suffered from menial illness in the past. This following the assassination attempt July 14th, on French President Jacques Chirac, has left some in France feeling that France has become more violent and less secure.

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry who escaped the guillotine in 1976 after being convicted of kidnapping and murdering a seven year old (See August 2002 Letter) has returned to prison. He was caught with ten kilos of hash in his car at the Spanish border. France asked for his extradition.This not just a case of an ex-con going back to prison, it is more about someone that never either understood the gravity of his crimes or if he did, never changed. He spoke of his crimes as a mistake and in a non-emotional way.
Henry was a model prisoner. Interviews of those that knew him in prison stated that his behavior was a way to gain freedom. He really was unchanged. Once outside of prison, Henry seemed to like the limelight. He even wrote a memoir and gave an interview where his photo was published. A psychiatrist interviewed on television about Henry said that you couldn't force someone to change.

What the French think

On the six-month anniversary of what the French call the shock of April 21st, the second place showing of far right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen in the presidential election. Two polls: one published in Libération and the other in Le Parisien; reported 78% of the French feel that crime and public safety remain major problems in France. 48% responded that the political establishment did not learn the lesson of April 21st; elected politicians were still making promises and then not keeping them. 49% noted their belief that President Jacques Chirac ignored the underlying voter message: general dissatisfaction with French life.

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