04 October, 2002

A long way from Pyongyang to Paris

This morning I saw the unbelievable pictures of the two Corean stateleaders, Kim Jong-Il and Roh Moo-hyun, touch glasses on CNN. Glasses with champagne.

The meeting took place in the capital of North Corea, Pyongyang. The South Corean president Roh had crossed no-mans-land as the first South Corean for 54 years. Since technically the two countries have been at war with each other all this time.

Now the two stateleaders have signed a deal of reconciliation. The intention is to work towards a formal peace treaty. All the good work was celebrated with bubbly.

Despite all the historical whirr of wings, champagne in this connection worked quite oppositely than probably intended on my mind. Since North Corea is one of the very poor nations in the world, with a population that has lived on the edge of starvation for years. I wonder, what kind of image is achieved from such pictures?

Almost at the same time, in Paris, the sublime Italian dressmaker Valentino - you know, the guy with the red gowns - was sent off to retirement by a tremendous accompaniment of popping champagne corks. That kind of champagne celebration is sort of more comme il faut. In Denmark French Marie was toasted into her new job as future wife of prince Joachim.

A big day for champagne.

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