Special Envoy in Abu Dhabi
Some visitors are disappointed. From afar, from near, from side or from below, it is difficult to capture with a smartphone the immensity of the metal dome that covers the Louvre Museum. Not that of Paris, that of Abu Dhabi, about 7000 kilometers away. The one that Emmanuel Macron inaugurated on Wednesday during his official visit to the United Arab Emirates, his first in a Gulf country. A symbol for this president who loves them and who, once again, has played until they wear.
Initiated by Jacques Chirac in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, launched by Nicolas Sarkozy, this project of "Louvre du désert" was born in 2012, under François Hollande. A monumental metal dome so, in the form of moucharabieh to let only a few rays of light depending on the time of day. Below, the architect Jean Nouvel has built a medina, 26 white buildings that house the works of art.
"A bridge between the West and the East"
The Louvre and twelve other French museums have rented nearly 600 to their cousin Abu Dhabi. "For a country like France, to separate, even in the form of a loan, some of its finest works, this is not self-evident. It's even torture, "joked Emmanuel Macron. Without a doubt. But the works are exhibited in Abu Dhabi where they adjoin the collections of Islamic, Byzantine, Pre-Columbian or Asian art. "The idea is to create this bridge between the West and the East, to dialogue cultures and civilizations through this museum," says one at the Elysee.
The project was late. And it is finally to Emmanuel Macron that returned the task of pronouncing the inaugural speech.
Accompanied by his wife, Brigitte, the head of state visited several rooms of the museum before speaking in front of a parterre of local dignitaries, including Sheikh Mohammed Ben Zayed al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of the Emirate. But if Emmanuel Macron praised the architecture of the place, he especially took advantage of his speech to engage in a virulent load against religious obscurantism. "You are the neuralgic point where the Western and Eastern world meet. You hold this balance point between the continents of Europe, Africa and Asia, he said explaining that, because of their geographical position, the United Arab Emirates were mainly "at the heart of the geopolitical tensions that shake the world" . An allusion to the rising tensions between neighboring Saudi Arabia and Iran but not only.
Because during his speech, Emmanuel Macron's remarks then turned to religion. Or rather the religions, the three monotheisms which he recalled were born in this region. "In an indebributable, irreducible way, our religions are linked. Those who believe that Islam is built by destroying other monotheisms are liars and betray you, "said Emmanuel Macron, causing applause in the audience.
The United Arab Emirates is also one of France's first allies in the region in the fight against terrorism. Beyond police cooperation, it also passes for the head of state by culture and education.
Thursday, before going to Dubai for the second leg of his trip, Emmanuel Macron will also go to the University of Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi. To hammer again his message, that of the responsibility of the generation of leaders to which it belongs to engage the fight "against obscurantism and for intelligence". At the Louvre, to complete his speech, Emmanuel Macron assured him: "Here begins the fight of a generation for our youth, against all folds and hate speech."
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