Celebration of Bastille Day at the French Residence on July 14th 2018

Celebration of Bastille Day at the French Residence on July 14th (...)

The Embassy of France hosted a celebration for the 14th of July at the French Residence. Hon. Christina //Hoebes, deputy minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Hon. Peya Mushelenga, minister of Urban and Rural Development, Hon. Chief Samuel Ankama, deputy Prime minister and members from the international community, Namibians and French were gathered to celebrate the Bastille Day

The ceremony began with the singing of the national anthems of France and Namibia performed by Chantal from the French Namibian Cultural Center (FNCC)

This was followed by a welcoming speech by the Ambassador of the Republic of France to Namibia Claire BODONYI, as followed :

Honorable Deputy Minister, dear Christine. You said once : “since I am not able to correctly pronounce your name, allow me to use just your first name”. I humbly ask to do the same. Unfortunately I am sure that I will leave Namibia without being able to pronounce the “clics”…

Speaking about language I have to refer to my last year speech. I promised then that I would speak in French today. Two elements made me change my mind. First of all, since I wasn’t accredited, no officials could attend. I cannot take you by surprise. Moreover, I noticed that the French lessons given by the French Namibian Cultural Center didn’t increase. It means that the ones who attended the French National Day last year and couldn’t speak French didn’t prepare themselves! The FNCC is still waiting for you. I hope you know the place which is the symbol of the Namibian French friendship through music, cinema, painting, archeology, sciences, all what culture offers as a cement of Nations. I take this opportunity to greed the French teachers who work in the Namibian schools and the principals and directors I meat this year. Merci d’être là. I would like we have a deep thought to the late Otillie Abrahams who passed away on the 2d July. I meat her at Jakob Marengo school, and I was so impressed by her dedication to the children.

Dear Christine, dear guests, this past year was again full of events, some nice and some concerning. As a diplomat… By the way, let’s talk about what a diplomat is. I have been hearing so many surprising definitions of a diplomat since I have started my career that I always make a point. A diplomat is first and foremost a negociator, to defend the interest of her or his own country, and an analyst of the situation of the country of residence. The ones who think that they are people enjoying cocktails and parroting their HQ are not exactly in the subject. But everybody knows that better results can be obtained during a good meal. This is why you are all here, dear guests, maybe I will come to you to ask for something! This is the diplomacy of the gastronomy that you are all aware of, since you attend the National day of the Nation of the gastronomy, part of the UNESCO Heritage. I am honored you all honored that special day by your presence. But without our sponsors, all French companies working in Namibia, you wouldn’t enjoy this reception. I name : AIR FRANCE/KLM, AIRBUS GROUP, AQUA SERVICES – VEOLIA, CMA CGM, JC DECAUX, ORANO Namibia, BOLLORE, ETS MAUREL & PROM, IMERYS, INNOSUN, MATITI SAFARIS, PAM - SAINT GOBAIN, PERNOD RICARD, PEUGEOT,TOTAL NAMIBIA, TriStone Africa. Thank you very much!

Dear Christine, dear guests, as a diplomat I was saying, I have to acknowledge the decline of the diplomacy which is less and less used to solve international crisis. We are back to the confrontation of egos. But France carries on believing in negociated solutions, through the multilateralism, within the European Union, within the United Nations through its SDGs. This is the only way to improve our common life. We are always more clever when together than when alone. The temptation to withdraw in a shell is short sighted and deadly. The most prominent example is the huge challenge we all face through the climate change. There is no individual solution, there is no country which wins and country which looses. We are all loosing our planet. And since my President said : there is no Planet B. Let’s act together. It is in that frame of collective response to the global challenges, that Emmanuel Macron launched a call for proposals through his initiative of the Paris Peace Forum. I urge all the Namibians who want to participate in the debate in order to find solutions to our human challenges to be part of that rendez-vous in Paris in November.

Our consular colleague, Pascale Césarini, will leave Namibia for Paris in some weeks time. A big thank to her. I hope you will help her successor Thomas Wastable to feel comfortable in Namibia, just like Pascale has been feeling from the very beginning.
Honorable Deputy Minister, in our respective anthems and motto we share two words: blood and liberty. In our both countries, the era of blood passed. We are enjoying the era of freedom. These two words were mentioned in President Macron founding speech in Ougadougou, talking about the relationship between France and Africa. On the blood he said I quote “We cannot simply look at each other as being at thousands and thousands of kilometers far. We have to look at each other because we are also from mingled blood, mingled History and mingled fate” unquote. On the freedom, he said I quote “I belong to a generation who doesn’t lecture Africa on what she has to do, what the rule of law is, but to a generation who encourages everywhere the ones who, in Africa, want to take their responsabilities, want to make the breath of freedom and of emancipation” Unquote. I am a bit older than my President but I belong to the same generation. Therefore his words are mine.
Honorable Deputy Minister, let’s make the best use of our freedom by deepening the friendship between our two countries.

May I ask you to raise your glass to the World cup champions of tomorrow. What is important is to participate, said the father of the Olympic games, the French Pierre de Coubertin. But we would also love to win!
May I now ask you to raise your glass to the health of His Excellency Dr Hage Gottfried Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia and to the President of the Republic of France, His Excellency Emmanuel Macron, and to the deepening of the relations between Namibia and France./.

Last updated on: 23 July 2018
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