Saturday, 26 November 2011

Farewell to a Daughter of Cluny.

Today Cluny, along with hundreds of representatives from around the Socialist world, paid tribute to one of her greatest daughters. Danielle Mitterrand was laid to rest in Cluny cemetery this afternoon. Danielle spent her formative years in Cluny where she actively fought in the Résistance, alongside her parents and it was at her parental home that she met the young François Mitterrand, marrying him a couple of years later.

When we heard that the funeral was going to be in Cluny and that it was amazingly open to the public, we just had to go. Large chunks of town were blocked off to traffic from 6 o’clock last night and so we parked at the Intermarché at the top of town and walked down into the town centre past Mrs Mitterrand’s family home.

The funeral itself was held in the open air in the grounds of the ENSAM with the students forming a guard of honour along the long path from the entry to the back of the cloister. I was surprised at how few politicians came to pay their respects, I had expected Sarko or at the very least his wife to turn up, but Mitterrand was the wrong colour politics I suppose. There was talk that several ex-First Ladies would be there, but sadly not one was to be seen. Martine Aubry and François Holland turned up which was to expected and we managed to get a couple of snaps of them, not the best photos in the world, but when Hollande gets elected president next year I can at least say I have seen him in the flesh.

The service concentrated on Mrs Mitterrand’s achievements with France Libertés an organisation she set up 25 years ago. Her support the Kurds seems to have been her biggest achievements which explained the very large Kurdish presence and the singing of a beautiful Kurdish song written especially for the occasion.

After the coffin was carried back down the long path to the gates of the ENSAM, the hearse took over and made its way up the hill to the cemetery with everyone following on foot. At the cemetery only the invited were allowed in for the short service. Halfway up the hill I stopped and took a photo forwards and backwards of the crowds, I am sure the news will tell us how many walked behind the coffin, I have no idea how many were there, but it was a sea of people as far as the eye could see.

A great send-off for a great lady.

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