Meanwhile, in the real world, repression continues in the Polisario-run camps near Tindouf in Algeria, which remain on lock down after protests over the deaths of two Sahrawis who were ambushed by an Algerian security patrol. Photo: Polisario-run camps near Tindouf, Algeria.
Javier Bardem would be best advised to save his flights of fancy for his various roles on the silver screen rather than play them out on life’s real stage, where what you say has real life consequences.
In Paris a week ago touting his pro-Polisario propaganda piece about Western Sahara as part of his persistent effort to demean Morocco, Bardem’s apparent enthusiasm for extravagant statements perhaps slipped him free of some tether to reality.
Bardem seems to have confused the notion that what an actor can say on the silver screen as part of a script can also be said in front of a live audience as a representation of fact. Unfortunately for Bardem, in real life facts matter. We don’t get to make things up and claim they are real just because we think it serves our purpose to pretend they are.
Bardem said at a press conference in Paris after a screening of his film that a French Ambassador in the United States had told him in a private meeting in 2011 that ”Morocco is a mistress that you sleep with every night who you don’t particularly love but have to defend.” At first, a newspaper erroneously reported that he was referring to France’s Ambassador to the US, François Delattre. The following day, the French Foreign Ministry forcefully and categorically denied that there had ever been a meeting of any kind between Javier Bardem and Mr. Delattre, which means he could not have made any such comment. Bardem has now corrected the first report, attributing the comment to French UN Ambassador Gérard Araud instead. News outlets report that Ambassador Araud has requested permission of the French Foreign Ministry to sue Bardem for defamation.
Bardem’s apparently fictitious claim that such a salacious, degrading and sexist remark was made by a senior French diplomatic official caused a serious diplomatic incident between France and the Kingdom of Morocco. Serious enough that the French President felt compelled to phone the King of Morocco to discuss the matter directly.
Mr. Bardem is entitled to his opinions. But frankly, his documentary about Western Sahara is about as credible as the degrading comment he alleges came from the mouth of a French Ambassador. There is a big difference between a script and what happens in real life. Maybe he needs to revisit this issue before he alleges any more “facts” about this particular issue and Morocco.
Robert M. Holley is Senior Policy Advisor for the Moroccan American Center for Policy, MACP