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EDITORIAL: Testing times for India and France

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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ALL’S WELL that ends well. The Commonwealth Games were supposed to bring India the kind of attention China got from the 2008 Beijing’s Olympics. In some ways it did though the preparations for the Games had been plagued by construction delays, bad Press and tales of official incompetence.
Notwithstanding, in the end the Games went fairly well. In fact, defying all scenarios of doom and gloom, the high profile and much debated sporting spectacle concluded on a high note, bringing richly deserved laurels to India and the hosts.
As with Beijing Olympics that proved to be a phenomenal success for a resurgent China, the Delhi Games did not exactly prove an ideal photo opportunity for the new India, largely because of all the controversies and corruption charges that dogged the event in the run-up to the opening ceremony.
Yet the 2010 Delhi Games will be remembered long for India’s resolve and determination to make a success of the mega-sporting event despite all the hard work and efforts put in by the organising committee chief and efforts to derail to derail it.
But now that the curtain has come down on the spectacle, it would be a serious mistake to pretend nothing happened and all is well with the world. The allegations of corruption, incompetence and general mismanagement that plagued the game until the very last moment have embarrassed the government and Indians everywhere.
Notwithstanding, the Games were not a total disaster as was initially thought and went reasonably well for most participants. The hoopla surrounding the pre-opening ceremony may well have been part of an ethnocentric snobbery.
On the French side however, capitalism seems to have come full circle in Europe, and France is experiencing today what could have been staged in most European countries as and when governments try to “reform” the economy in a global financial crisis.
The general strike is, however, more of a political nature than economic. The growing unpopularity of centre-right President Nicolas Sarkozy is at the heart of the movement. It is unclear how he will be able to sail the bill through the Senate for the vote today.
There have been many attempts to derail this initiative or at least to delay the vote. Whatever the fate of the bill on the floor of the house, President Sarkozy appears to have already lost the battle.
Raising or lowering of retirement age is always been a bone of contention in the most countries. This is especially so in a country that takes pride in the fact that it works the least in Europe. The syndrome of financing pensions by raising new debts has been an irksome experience for governments facing a credit crunch.
In the 21st century, most governments have been forced to give up the utopia of taking care of their citizens from cradle to the grave. Even social welfare has its limits.