When we said several months ago, that the French military incursion in Mali would have a hilarious, if sad ending, we didn't quite have this in mind but it will do. It turns out that after the French "liberation" of Mali, French president Francois Hollande, already the most unpopular president in French history and last week's Cahuizac tax-evasion affair hardly doing much to boost his popularity, was awarded a two-humped (there is some debate if it had one or two humps) camel as a present for driving away the "evil" Al Qaeda and various other "evil" extremists. Sadly for Hollande, and for animalistic symbolism as indicative of French foreign policy, said camel was just killed and "put in a stew". And it only goes downhill from here.
From The Telegraph:
The young two-humped animal, a gift to Mr Hollande for liberating Mali, has been killed and put in a stew, according to Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's defence minister.
Mr Le Drian was informed of the camel's demise by officers tracking Islamic terrorists in the former French West African colony and broke the news on to the Élysée Palace, according to Valeurs Actuelles magazine.
A local official had given the camel to Mr Hollande in gratitude for France spearheading a drive to flush out Islamic extremists from Mali. But the well-intentioned gift soon proved a liability.
The camel ruined its handover ceremony by drowning out a Malian official's speech with its screeching.
Mr Hollande's voice could just be heard over the din when he promised: "I will use it as a means of transport as often as possible."
With the animal covered in a cloak, there was also heated debate back in France over whether it had one hump or two.
Mr Hollande initially intended to have the camel vaccinated and transferred to a French zoo. But given the complex procedures required and "the rigours of the harsh French climate for a desert animal", he eventually decided to leave it in the care of a family in Timbuktu.
The camel had already embarrassed Mr Hollande when Said Toureg, a man from the Timbuktu region, claimed that it had been stolen from him after his house was destroyed in a French air raid.
Sigh.... Yes, so far it is a slow news day.