‘Gaddafi was taking drugs when I visited him’ - Former First Lady of France ― RT SophieCo

SS: Now, your ex-husband’s party is picking up again these days. Do you share their vision for the country?

CA: You know, I try not to talk about politics, because for me… I left this country six years ago, I’m living on the other side of the Atlantic, in the US, and of course I have the news immediately, because of the media, internet – I know exactly what happens here in France as soon as you can know, but I don’t want to take part in the debate and I don’t want to judge anything. It’s not my role. Of course, I have my own opinion, but it’s for me and I don’t want to share it. The only thing is that I love this country, it’s my country, I love France and I would like this country to go better and be better, because we deserve it. There are amazing people living here, we have great talents. It’s a fabulous country and we deserve now to put this country back on the international scene.

SS: Now, you have said that France reminds you of a “beautiful lamp which isn’t lit.” What exactly do you mean by that?

CA: It’s like a museum, it’s a beautiful country, Paris is a beautiful city, but people are sad and it’s like there [is] no more will or dynamism in this country. When you travel all over the world, which I’m doing with my husband for my Foundation, I can see countries really with a fantastic dynamism and I think we have lost that in this country. When I talk to people, they have lost hope – and that’s a problem for me, because we are living in the fantastic world and in a great country, we have been through an economic crisis all over the world and France deserves to get out of the crisis and deserves to have back all that people which are leaving the country to go and work in other places. It’s very sad to see that, and it’s really like that, like a lamp with no light, and it’s sad for me.

SS: You surely thought about it, because you love your country more than anything – why did France lose its dynamism, what would you say is the main reason? Is this France’s problem only, alone, or is it because of the crisis, like you’ve said, a crisis in the Eurozone, maybe?

CA: The crisis was not only in the Eurozone, even in the US we had a crisis, it was a worldwide crisis, and the thing is that… Spain is starting to be back in the game, Ireland is starting to be back in the game, in the US unemployment is going below 7.2 percent, and they are creating jobs every month, so now we need France to be back in the game. Why is it longer and more difficult in our country? I don’t know, there is no miracle solution, and there is no explanation, I’m not a specialist in that and there are many people much more intelligent than me and specialist than me are working on that and they cannot find the solution. So I cannot give an explanation, but what I want is my country to be back.

SS: I just want to touch upon the theme of women in politics one more time, but precisely in France. I know that being a mayor of Paris is a stepping stone for many presidents of France. In the coming election in Paris two women will be fighting for the position – do these women have any chance, in your opinion, of becoming presidential candidates one day?

CA: I hope so, I really hope so. Look at the US, Hillary Clinton has more than a chance, she should and she might be the next president. [So] why not in our country? We are not that bad and we are smart enough for that demand, there is not much difference. I think it’s not because she’s a woman that she has more or less a chance, I think it’s about being a smart woman or man – once again, it’s not a gender problem, it’s about being capable, to have the will, the courage – because it’s not easy, politics is very violent, and that’s my only concern: are women tough enough?

Politics is very violent today and I hope that women will have the will and the desire to run for important jobs as minister or president of this country. I hope so.

SS: So, do you think you could run for president of France one day? I mean, you certainly have all it takes.

CA: No, I’m not sure that I’m capable of it. I’m living in the States now, so… we’ll see.

SS: So I take it’s not a definite “no” and we’ll leave it at that. But, you know, I was actually growing up in Paris, Cecilia, and when I was growing up in Paris, the National Front…

CA: Your French is perfect, I’ve heard you.

SS: Thank you very much, but our viewers haven’t heard my French, so they will have to take your word for my French. Anyway, to get back to my childhood – I was growing up in Paris, and when I was growing up, the National Front, “Front National,” was a marginal party that no one took seriously. Now Marine Le Pen, whom I’ve interviewed couple of months ago, is one of the most popular politicians in France and her party is gaining ground. As someone who knows France, how do you explain this, why does this party resonate with one-third of your country so much?

CA: You know, when country is afraid or worried, you go to the extremes. Marine Le Pen tried to change the image of her party, but it’s the same, it’s the “Front National,” it is the extreme party of the right, which is frightening and I don’t want that for my country. People have to be aware that it’s not a joke, we are not talking about something easy. It’s a danger for our country: you have to be very, very careful with that, so when the country is worried, people are worried, they don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, they don’t know where the employment is going, they don’t know how the economy is going, they are starting to put hope into those extremes. We have to be very careful with that.

SS: Every French person that I’ve spoken to recently admits that immigration has become more of a problem, since the boundaries are open now. If it were up to you, as a regular citizen, what would you do with the immigration problem, because I have to say it does uncomfortable on the streets of Paris sometimes and this wasn’t there 10-15 years ago?

CA: It’s very difficult to me to answer your question, because that’s internal politics and we have people in charge today, so it’s very difficult to me to answer. I know that we have to be careful with the immigration, we cannot open our doors to everybody every time, but we have to be very tolerant – so it’s a mix of a lot of different postures. It’s not my role to talk about it.

SS: Neither of your parents were born French – your father was from the Russian Empire and your mom was from Spain. You’ve became a target for Marine Le Pen because of that. Now, having felt it personally, what do you think about the level of xenophobia in France.

CA: We have a global world and people are moving from one country to the other, which is a good thing, because if you have difficulties or issues in your country you can go and find work in other foreign countries. In the US if you don’t have work and you are living in Montana, you’re trying to go to Wyoming to find work. Europe is big and we created Europe to have this citizenship, going from one country to the other. The world now is getting smaller and smaller because of the internet and the way of communications, planes, trains, cars, whatever. We have to have a special rule because of that – we have to protect our identity, we have to protect our country, but we cannot close it completely, so it’s very delicate subject but we have to think about it and try to find the right way to live in a modern world.

SS: I want to talk to you about Gerard Depardieu; he made a lot of headlines here in Russia after giving up his French citizenship. There are others like him as well; they are leaving the country to avoid such high taxes – what is your attitude, your opinion toward that? Is it unpatriotic or is it okay?

CA: I told you at the very beginning of our talk. We have great talents in this country and I don’t want talents to leave this country, it is so dramatic and sad. Those people have to stay in their country and we have to find the way to have the economy back, employment back. I was in London few days ago to sign my book in a French bookstore, and there were a lot of people, French people, who left their country not because of the taxes but because they have no hope in France and not because they don’t want to pay anything, it’s because they found a job in London or in England or in Belgium and they didn’t find a job in France. So, it’s a bigger problem than that, it’s only that our country is not doing well at all and people are leaving because they need to work and to earn money – and they don’t have chances or opportunities in this country.