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 former French detainee in Qatar, Jean-Pierre Marongiu, died on June 13 in Nancy. This engineer had set up a management training company in Qatar. In 2013, he was not only robbed by his Qatari “associate”, but sentenced to seven years in prison. Jean-Pierre Marongiu was not released until 2018. Since then, he has published several books on his imprisonment.
Where does this dangerous and particularly unhealthy idea come from, that we can, for a single moment, discuss the real responsibilities in the massacre of Charlie? Wriggling in front of these twelve graves, wondering, with a penetrating air, if these dead people did not try a little bit to be murdered? You have to be really contaminated to think such a thing, that cartoons could be responsible for the execution of their authors. And then what? A text, an opinion, a thought, an attitude? Bullshit! We stagger about, it’s so stupid. So we would all be guilty, laymen that we are, of believing that freedom of expression and thought are not mortal sins?
My first meeting with Jacques Chirac was organised by Michel Baroin (François Baroin’s father, whom Jacques Chirac considered as a son). At the time, Jacques Chirac was mayor of Paris and Michel Baroin, former head of cabinet of the President of the National Assembly, Edgar Faure, had become CEO of the GMF (Garantie Mutuelle des Fonctionnaires).