France

The Disappearance of Émile Zola

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On Monday 18 July 1898 the French novelist Emile Zola was sentenced to a year in prison and a 3,000 franc fine. His crime was to have written an open letter to the French president entitled “J’accuse” (I accuse).

In it Zola accused military officials, including the minister of war, of falsely convicting Major Alfred Dreyfus (a Jewish officer) of passing military secrets to Germany. Fully aware that he risked prosecution for libel by denouncing the army and government’s handling of the Dreyfus affair, Zola boldly stated:

Rage against police racism rocks France

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The racist assault of a young man by Paris police has provoked angry protests. Jad Bouharoun looks at the prospects for a nationwide anti-racist movement.

The assault and rape by the police of Théo L, a young black man from the Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois, has sparked angry demonstrations throughout the country. They come in the wake of a sustained grassroots movement demanding justice for Adama Traore, another black youth killed in police custody in the Paris suburb of Beaumont-sur-Oise in July 2016.

Civil war in France

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After a summer of burkini bans, Ugo Palheta argues that France's ruling class is waging a strategic offensive against Muslims - with "socialist" prime minister Manuel Valls leading the charge

France’s highest constitutional court has overturned the burkini bans brought in by over 30 mayors in France through the month of August. Most of these mayors belong to the centre-right party Les Republicaines (LR), but also some to the fascist Front National and the governing Labour-type Socialist Party (PS).

Paris in context: Islamophobia and social marginalisation

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It is now established that all the perpetrators of the atrocious November 2015 attacks in Paris, like those of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, were born and lived in France. It is important for us to understand the internal French context in which these attacks happened.

The nauseating but expected Islamophobic backlash across the Western world and particularly in France will only add to the political and socioeconomic discrimination that French Muslims have been enduring for decades.

Assia Djebar (1936 - 2015)

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 Assia Djebar

Assia Djebar, one of Algeria's most gifted writers, died on 6 February. Sheila McGregor celebrates her life and her part in the struggle for independence.

Born as Fatima-Zohra Imalayène in Cherchell in 1936, Assia Djebar took her pen name to save her parents from embarrassment when she wrote her first novel, La Soif (Thirst).

Satire should spear the powerful

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The savage killing of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and journalists by terrorists in Paris is utterly contemptible, but not inexplicable. For me as a cartoonist this seemed to be horribly close to home. As the great cartoonist Joe Sacco commented immediately after the massacre, “This is my tribe”. Sadly, the ensuing media storm has done little to explain and a lot to foment division and put the blame upon “backward” Islam and Muslims in general.

France after the Charlie Hebdo killings

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The immediate response to the attack on Charlie Hebdo was that of “national unity” in the face of terrorism. This mood benefitted the government of Francois Hollande, because it masked many of the contradictions inside French society. In the first week there was a horrific wave of Islamophobia, with more attacks on Muslims and other minorities reported than in the whole of last year.

The French Intifada

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When a copy of Andrew Hussey’s The French Intifada, The Long War Between France and Its Arabs, first came across my desk, I set it aside. The cover is of the Eiffel Tower surrounded by Islamic designs, with the French cock, the symbol of revolution, imprisoned in an Arabesque style cage. At the base are rising flames — presumably depicting French society burning from below. But since the Charlie Hebdo killings it provides a useful insight into a mindset that has gripped many intellectuals on the left.

France: Paralysis and danger

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Hollande

The sudden purge of France’s cabinet was neither the beginning nor the end of the crisis that has gripped French politics under Socialist Party president François Hollande.

In prime minister Manuel Valls’s new team, former banker and architect of austerity Emmanuel Macron is in and critics of Hollande's austerity programme are out. But those who were pushed out or jumped were hardly the left wing radicals portrayed in the press.

France: a warning from Europe

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The European elections saw a huge victory for the fascist Front National (FN) in France. The FN came out on top with 25 percent of the votes. This is the first time in its history it has secured first place in a nationwide poll. This is a terrible setback and an urgent call to action.

The reasons for the FN's victory have much to do with the actions of the Parti Socialiste (PS) which has been in office since 2012. Those who voted for President Francois Hollande had hoped for a different course to that steered by his hard Tory predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy.

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