In the wake of France’s staunch opposition to the use of force to disarm Saddam Hussein, anti-France events are popping up across America to vent public disdain.
French goods before crushing in radio promotion (KXNT photo)
“This is not a pro-war rally. Just anti-French,” said Gavin Spittle, program director for KXNT-AM radio, which had a 14-ton armored vehicle flatten a variety of French goods.
A few dozen people were on hand Tuesday in Las Vegas to watch a retired Navy veteran crush a pile of French bread, yogurt, and bottles of wine, vodka and Perrier water in the event dubbed “KXNT’s ‘Flip-off’ to the French.”
Some on hand felt France has simply been struggling to maintain influence in geopolitics, but others ripped the country for being disloyal to the U.S., which fought to keep France free twice in the last century.
“We’ve bailed them out time after time, but the only time I remember them being there for us was the American Revolution,” Tony Sager told the Associated Press. The 38-year-old shoe salesman brought a bottle of French wine and his 18-month-old son to the protest.
Morning team stands atop armored vehicle before crushing French goods (KXNT photo)
Last week in Reno, restaurateurs were pouring French champagne in the street, and a fast-food eatery in North Carolina had renamed its french fries as “freedom fries.”
As WorldNetDaily reported, there’s also a move in Congress to boycott the upcoming Paris Air Show, the largest event of its kind which generates billions of dollars in aircraft contracts.
“The whole thing just mystifies me,” said Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J. “When they were in need [in two World Wars], we were there to help. A lot of American blood was lost on French soil defending that country. … We and other countries should expect help from allies whom we have helped in the past.”
“Americans fought for freedom in Europe. Much too many died,” Emmanuel Gagniarre at the French Embassy told WorldNetDaily. “It’s a pity, but it’s not the problem now. Everything’s different. We don’t have to fall behind the U.S. and do whatever it wants.”
The owner of a popular French restaurant in Las Vegas complains such demonstrations are missing the mark.
“Who are you going to hurt if you protest French products and French food?” Andre Rochat asked.”Not the French government, but the guy in a factory making those products or the guy working to run a restaurant.”
The Paris Las Vegas hotel-casino, famous for its half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower on the Las Vegas Strip, hasn’t seen a backlash, according to a hotel spokesman.
At UNLV, assistant French history Professor Gregory Brown told AP that President Bush is viewed by the French as “a guy who doesn’t play well with others, a guy who doesn’t like and doesn’t care for the rest of the world.”
Meanwhile in the coastal town of Beaufort, N.C., Cubbie’s restaurant owner Neal Rowland says his new name of freedom fries for fried potatoes has gained overwhelming notoriety.
“I had no idea something so small could get so big,” he told the Carteret News-Times. “I thought it might get some attention in Carteret County, but I had no idea this would have this much attention.”
It’s not the first time Americans have renamed items in times of conflict. During World War I, sauerkraut became known as liberty cabbage and frankfurters were renamed hot dogs.
“We’re 100 percent behind our president and the government,” Rowland told the News-Times. “Nobody likes to go to war – but showing our support of our troops and our government is a must – especially in difficult times.”