“l’humanité, l‘eau n’a pas de prix” - Danielle Mitterand
Today, Danielle Mitterand, a tireless campaigner for human rights and the wife of the late President, was buried in the cemetary at Cluny. About two thousand people were at the Parc d’Abbaye to celebrate her life. Friends and family of the Mitterands were there along with leading officials. Frédéric Mitterand, the Minister for Culture, was representing the government. Also present was François Hollande, leader of the Socialist party and the candidate for next year’s presidential elections, with Martine Aubry, the mayor of Lille, who recently lost her bid against him.
The ENSAM students in their uniforms formed a guard of honour and the cortege arrived to the music of Chopin played by the Argentinian pianist, Miguel Angel Estrelle. Speeches were given by Michel Joli, the director of the Fondation de France Libertés and one of the sons, Gilbert Mitterand. Other family members included the other son, Jean-Christophe, and Mazarine Pingeot, the daughter of François Mitterand.
From the speeches and a film of her work we learned that Danielle Mitterand was a remarkable woman. Despite becoming First Lady when her husband came to power she did not lose her individuality and continued to follow own passions. She fought for the right for everyone to have access to clean water.
“Elle était comme une métaphore de l’eau”, “diverse, libre”, “trouvant naturellement la bonne direction et le bon sens“ - Michel Joli.
Twenty five years ago she set up the Fondation de France Libertés to support the oppressed and she went to see for herself the aftermath of ethnic cleansing. She struck up a special relationship with the Kurds. A group of them were at the funeral. One sang a special song for her. They obviously loved her and called her Mum.
Other groups that she fought for included the Tibetans, Afghans, the Iranians and the repressed people all over the world. She used to tell Fidel Castro in no uncertain terms what she thought of his policies. When she asked him why he did not get angry with her he replied that he liked her too much.
When the cortege left to go up to the cemetary a huge number of people followed on foot. Once there Danielle was buried in the family grave next to her parents. Red and white roses were scattered on the coffin.
Danielle Mitterand “revient à sa source pour y reposer” - Gilbert Mitterand