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Maigret May Have Had Scruples. Does France24?

Although the casual antisemitism in George Simenon’s books and his willingness to slot into life under Nazi and Vichy rule has been discussed, it has been less clear how far Commissiare Jules Maigret would have gone in assisting the identification and deportation of political and social enemies.

One account I read some years ago of a Parisian gendarme suggests he would have done so with a heavy heart. Not far from 36 Quai des Orfèvres he was seen sobbing as he, all the same, directed the removal of Jewish citizens.

Now France24 show that it may be somewhere between the self-pity of this anecdotal officer and the opportunism of adopted son, Simenon. This weekend, the broadcasters believed it had a scoop with the Syrian Ambassador to France, Lamia (no relation to any HP commenter) Shakkour announcing her intention on air to resign.

Alas, Shakkour quickly countered that it was not her voice, and data analysis by the channel confirmed this making them look almost as absurd as Syrian Information Ministry spokesman… oh, okay… spokesperson, Reem Haddad who compared current population flights to a visit to Turkish grandmothers.

Rather than accept this as one of life’s little tumbles, France24 now is reported to be filing “theft of identity” charges against whoever provided the misinformation and asking the Embassy for assistance in identifying them. If, as they insist, the conversation took place on an Embassy approved telephone number, I suspect the chances of another defection from a Syrian Embassy has shot-up.

Update: In the comments, Sy observes that a previous spelling of a word meant something as unfortunate as the preoccupations of certain minds when looking at suggestions for the London 2012 logo (I saw Zion); or the failure of the BBC Online team to notice this in readers’ suggestions.