Hats off to the illustrious analyst of French political life, Jean-François Kahn: a year ago, in an interview he gave us for our special issue “Resist the cretinization of the world”, he warned – with his customary brio – against the “fascisation of the mind”, while pointing out that fascism does not come from the rise of the far right or the far left, but from the junction of the two extremes.
Here we go!
Illustrious intellectual and humanist figure, great historian of the French left, dean of columnists and editorialists of the Parisian press, which he enriched with his sharp analyses and enlightened opinions for more than half a century, Jacques Julliard died on September 8, at the age of 90.
“A great republican, humanist and socialist voice has just died out. Jacques Julliard cherished the Nation without ever losing his European commitments. He gave in nothing on universal values and secularism without ever stifling his vibrant faith. He tirelessly campaigned for emancipatory socialism, without ever forgiving its faults and weaknesses. He made fun of affiliations and lines as long as they offered the opportunity for elevated debate and fruitful confrontation. The press loses one of its most beautiful pens, the left one of its most fertile intellectuals, France one of its most chilled lovers, and we a friend.’’, writes François Hollande in a vibrant tribute to the author of ‘‘The Left and the People”, who has always shown “great respect” for the action of the former French President.
Last December, Jacques Julliard received us for a major interview, as part of a Special Edition of our monthly Screen Watch entitled “How to resist the cretinisation of the world?”. As a critical historian, he deplored in this interview the popular delegitimisation of his political family, considering that the fact of ‘‘abandoning universalism is suicidal for the left’’, because ‘‘that is why the exacerbation of particularisms – the migrants, women, sexual minorities – is sweeping across France’’. And concluded, with a hint of bitterness that “it is distressing, when one is a man of the left, to be constantly brought to load the boat of his own camp. I do it without pleasure and less often than I want to!’’.
The decision by the French new Minister of National Education, Gabriel Attal, to ban the wearing of the ‘Abaya’ (and its male equivalent, the ‘Qamis’) in schools has sparked a heated controversy. Several voices, especially from the left, have risen to denounce the establishment of a “clothing police” and La France Insoumise (LFI) has announced its intention to challenge this decision in the Council of State. However, the ban on Abayas and Qamis is not a subject of much debate within the teaching profession, as shown by a survey conducted by IFOP for our monthly magazine “Screen Watch” last November.
The rapper Médine, who has been accused of anti-Semitism, was the guest of honour at summer conference of ‘‘Europe Ecologie Les Verts (EELV) and ‘‘La France Insoumise’’ (LFI). An invitation that speaks volumes about the state of intellectual and moral decay of the French radical left.
Solidaris is the name of the socialist mutual societies in Belgium. A venerable institution, it was founded in 1869 as a cooperative and mutual aid fund in Fayt-lez-Manage, Wallonia. Since then, the Mutualités Socialistes have grown considerably, with a grassroots presence in Wallonia, Flanders and Brussels, working “on a daily basis to humanise change and reinvent a model of society that is inclusive, emancipating and sustainable”.
Every year since 1998, Solidaris has been organising a festival in Namur that brings together “a family audience where all generations come together around the same desire for togetherness, social justice and the fight against inequality”.
On the instructions of President Emmanuel Macron, the Ministry of the Interior Gérald Darmanin is quietly working on a draft referendum on immigration issues.
The heatwave episode that crosses France accentuates tensions in hospitals. But the heat wave is only an aggravating factor in a crisis which has continued to worsen, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic, and which is putting the hospital on the brink of agony: in Ile-de-France, 16% of the beds in the 38 AP-HP hospitals are closed due to lack of staff, i.e. twice as many as before the Covid! The overcrowding of the hospitals is symptomatic of the global crisis of the health system: because of medical desertification, for lack of attending physicians or specialists, many French people fall back on emergencies, which are saturated. From general practitioners to emergency physicians, including nurses in nursing homes and even to health executives, everyone is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
For six months, director Éric Guéret filmed the daily life of young medical interns in the emergency department of the Delafontaine hospital in Saint-Denis, a Paris suburb. The result is a touching and ambitious documentary, Premières Urgences (released in cinemas on 16 November). As patients pile up in the corridors, the five interns (Amin, Evan, Hélène, Lucie and Mélissa) do their best, with courage and self-sacrifice, despite a glaring lack of resources.
Those who have dismissed the recent wave of urban violence in France as yet another suburban riot are suffering from acute socio-political short-sightedness. Admittedly, the spark that ignited the violence is reminiscent of previous riots following police blunders that cost the lives of young people from the suburbs, as was the case in October 2005, after the deaths of Zyad and Bouna in Clichy-sous-Bois. Except that, unlike the 2005 riots, the recent urban violence cannot be blamed solely on the suburbs.
Social networks have certainly facilitated communication and the sharing of information between young people living on housing estates during the latest outbreak of violence. Hence the rapid spread of acts of destruction and looting throughout France. But Nahel’s death was merely a pretext for settling scores with French society, which is accused of being responsible for all the ills suffered by young people of immigrant origin. Hate messages against the host society had already been circulating on the web for a long time. And on Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and Twitter, Islamists and other extremist groups are working day and night to use these networks of discord for propaganda and recruitment purposes, or to incite minors and young adults to smash, loot and set fire to all the symbols of the Republic.