An interview with a French Journalist

FOB Morales-Frazier, Afghanistan - Me today, with French Journalist Pierre Babey of France 3 Television. He went outside the wire with us today.  Babey? Cool. Eating Frog legs? Not so much.

FOB Morales-Frazier, Afghanistan –
Me today, with French Journalist Pierre Babey of France 3 Television. He went outside the wire with us today.
Babey? Cool. Eating Frog legs? Not so much.

Pierre Babey, a reporter with France’s France 3 television station, was embedded with Task Force La Fayette for the past few days. While he spent most of his time learning about the French contribution in Afghanistan, he asked to spend his last day with the Americans (i.e., our Provincial Reconstruction Team.) We took him outside the wire to join us on a site inspection.

From what I read, the French public are very critical of France’s participation in the ‘stan right now, so every move our French higher command makes is scrutinized very closely. Although I am a Public Affairs Officer representing our American team in Kapisa, since we fall under the French, French audiences might be interested in what Babey reports about us.

I gave a short interview, discussing the importance of development projects in Afghanistan. I spoke a little too quickly when answering his first question, but the rest of the interview went okay. When the camera stopped rolling, I asked the cameraman if I could do a re-take, giving me a chance to more clearly answer his question.

He said, “Oh, it’s no problem, because your voice will be translated into French anyway, so most people will not be able to hear what you say.”

To which, I replied: “Yeah, but that just means that there’s a possibility I may sound like an idiot in both English AND French!” We both had a laugh.

I’m eager to see Babey’s final report. Hopefully, he’ll accurately portray the French contributions to the war effort here. No matter what you think about our being here, it is important for people to understand that MANY people from MANY countries are sacrificing their lifestyles, families, civilian jobs, and sometimes, their lives to be here. I’m not necessarily some extremist right-winged, flag-waving, pro-war uber-patriot, but I respect the profession of “Soldier,” regardless of the cause. The same way I complain about missing home, I’m sure my French friends are feeling the same way.

Speaking of complaining, that reminds me of the French chow hall …

Yesterday, they served us frog legs and escargot for lunch.

You might be thinking: “Oooh, frog legs are a delicacy! What a treat!”

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Yeah, right.

I’ve traveled to many a country around the world, and tried many different foods. And, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: The word “delicacy” is just a word American people use to describe something that tastes questionable and costs a lot of money.

I did the right thing … I wanted to debunk the myth of the “ignorant” American. You know … They guy who only wants to eat American food? The guy who isn’t willing to enjoy anything that isn’t American? I didn’t want to be THAT guy (especially in front of my French friends.) So, I ate some of the frogs legs and escargot.

Notice, I wrote “some.”

I tried my best, but simply could not stomach either dish. Maybe it was the sight of the frog-butt. (I could actually see the bone junction where the legs meet!) Or, maybe it was the uncertainly of knowing whether or not the liquid substance surrounding the snails was sauce or slime. Whatever it was, I found it hard to be “sophisticated” enough to enjoy this particular meal.

I like French journalist, French forces, French language, and French culture … but for the next go-round of French “delicacies,” I’ll just take a burger, thanks.

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