Posts Tagged ‘France’
French Radio stations (France-Inter and Europe 1) were full of this story this morning.
The lone gunman arrested on Wednesday night for carrying out two shootings and a carjacking in Paris had “recently returned from England”, it was reported on Thursday.
In a coup de theatre, police caught the gunman on Wednesday night in an underground carpark and named him as Abdelhakim Dekhar – convicted in 1998 for giving a gun to a leftist couple that went on a “Bonnie-and-Clyde”-style killing spree four years previously.
Investigators suggest Abdelhakim Dekhar went to live in Britain after serving a prison sentence in relation to a high-profile French murder case of the 1990s.
Police found “confused” notes on Mr Dekhar containing rants about the situation in Libya and Syria that “might be an attempt to explain his acts”, although they said it was far too early to say whether there was any “political motivation” behind the violence.
Mr Dekhar – known to have moved in leftist circles – also slammed the French media and capitalism in general as a “fascist plot”, according to the Paris prosecutor.
The suspect was previously sentenced to four years in jail for buying a gun used in the 1994 attacks by Florence Rey, a 19-year old political science student, and her lover Audry Maupin, who murdered 3 policemen and a taxi driver in a case that gripped France.
Mr Maupin died in the chase, while Miss Rey, a fresh-faced student from a middle-class family, was a figure of fascination, as she showed no emotion during her trial in which she maintained a stony silence.
She had claimed that Mr Dekhar, 46, was the “third man” in their killing spree.
More in Libération.
Details on the Rey-Maupin (‘Natural Born Killers’) case on Wikipedia (French).
English Wikipedia says,
“Florence Rey (born August 25, 1975) and her boyfriend Audry Maupin (born October 4, 1972) were involved in a shoot-out in central Paris on October 4, 1994 following a high speed car chase. The incident caused the deaths of five people; three policemen, a taxi driver, and Maupin.”
“Florence Rey was a 19 year old student studying philosophy at the Science-Po and Audry Maupin was a 22 year old drop-out from the faculty of medicine at Nanterre. At the time of the incident they were living together in a squat in an abandoned bourgeoise house in Nanterre. The pair were already under observation by the Renseignements Généraux, the French secret police, prior to the incident due to their involvement with an underground political group. When the police searched their squat after the killings they found revolutionary and anarchist literature, such as The Society Of The Spectacle by Guy Debord. They found the couple’s writings, which echoed surrealism, radicalism and situationism.”
Abdelhakim Dekhar was the “third man” in this affair.
The Nouvel Observateur reports that Dekhar claims that his actions had something to with a “fascist plot”.
Le tireur présumé avait écrit une autre lettre “non datée”, remise par l’homme qui l’hébergeait, dans laquelle il dénonçait “un complot fasciste” et accusait “les médias de participer à la manipulation des masses”. Il s’en prenait également au ”capitalisme” et à “la gestion des banlieues”, qui s’apparentait, selon lui, à “une entreprise de déshumanisation sur des populations dont le grand capitalisme ne veut pas”.
The presumed gunman had written a ‘undated’ letter, left in the hands of the man who lodged him, in which he denounced a “fascist plot”, and accused “the media of participation in the manipulation of the masses”. He also attacked “capitalism”, “the management of the suburban housing estates”, which is part, in his eyes, of an “enterprise which dehumanises the population of which big capital has no need.”
Rue 89 adds there is a second letter,
in which Abdelhakim Dekhar evokes Islam, the situation in Syria and condemns a ” conspiracy that aims to bring back fascism. “
The letter ends by quoting a passage from “Song of the Partisans ”
Le Monde reports that will undergo a psychiatric examination.
“Maligne comme un singe”, French Far-right Weekly Goes New Depths to Insult Minister Christiane Taubira.
Far-right Weekly says of French Minister of Justice, “ Maligne comme un singe, Taubira retrouve la banane”, Crafty (malignant) as a Monkey. Taubira gets her banana back.
Minute (Wikipedia entry in English) is widely available in French kiosks and newsagents.
It is not a minuscule circulation journal only sold by far-right activists.
The French Socialist-led Government has immediately reacted.
Le parquet de Paris a ouvert une enquête pour injure publique à caractère racial, après que le premier ministre Jean-Marc Ayrault a saisi le procureur de la République de Paris au sujet de la “une” de l’hebdomadaire d’extrême droite Minute. “Nous ne pouvons pas laisser passer cela”, avait-il ajouté, en dénonçant une “une” “révoltante”.
The Paris Prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation for public racial insult, after Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault took the case to the the prosecutor of Paris. The object of the inquiry is the front page of the far-right weekly Minute. “We can not let this go “ , he added, denouncing a this front page as “shocking” . Le Monde.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, co-president of the Parti de gauche tweeted, “Ils n’ont donc pas de limites. C’est même à ça qu’on les reconnaît. Pas une Minute à perdre. Les nazes en cage”. There are no limits,. There’s not a Minute to lose: put the Nazis in a cage.
The Economic Times reports,
In the last month alone, Taubira has twice been publicly compared to a monkey, once by a group of children whose parents had taken them on a protest against gay marriage and once by an electoral candidate of the far right National Front (FN), who wrote on her Facebook page that she would prefer to see the minister “swinging from the branches rather than in government”.
Taubira said those incidents were the tip of the iceberg in terms of the hostility she has encountered since being named to one of the top four posts in the Socialist government that took office last year.
“I’ve been getting monkey and banana insults for a long time but there is also something more subtle going on that nobody has highlighted,” she said.
By way of example, the minister noted how the opponents of gay marriage had targeted her personally rather than the government as a whole and had emphasised the “Frenchness” of the protest movement.
She also pointed to the outspoken reactions that her initial appointment had provoked. These included Jean-Francois Cope, one of the leaders of the main opposition party, warning centre-right voters that: “If you vote for the FN, you get the Left and you get Taubira.”
Taubira’s concern over a perceived increase in racism — or the acceptability of racism — in French society,echoes recent warnings by various rights groups and social commentators.
Taubira is a much loved person.
This is an utter utter disgrace.
But before the British media gets hot under the collar about this we should recall that France has no equivalent of the British Daily Mail, the Express, the Star and the Sun.
In the overwhelming majority of the French newspapers there is no daily stream of stories aimed against migrants, asylum seekers, benefit claimants and trade unions.
Indeed in most respects Minute, whose readership is tiny compared to the British hard-right press, resembles these papers more than they will admit.
Les Renards Pâles. Yannick Haenel. 2013. Situationism Reborn?
“The memory of Guy Debord and the Situationist International went through me like the flash of a flaming comet: they were the last, in France, to give life to the word ‘revolution’, and to live that out as true freedom.” (Page 26)
Jean Deichel, the narrator of Les Renards Pâles (the Pale Foxes), is 43 years old and unemployed. Rent unpaid, living in a kind of stupor, he leaves his flat and goes to live in his car, a Renault 11 Break, in one of the last streets in Paris where parking is not metered.
Turning the radio on Jean finds that a new French President has been elected – he had chosen not to cast his ballot. As he listens he keeps hearing the word “work”. Work? It destroys people’s lives. After having slogged his guts out in the Parisian suburbs, he has decided that he simply does not want a job. Jean imagines what would happen if everybody refused to be docile, to obey the “republican duty” to labour, a general strike against work…
A very different story to the man who loses his post and pretends to go out to the office every day follows. Jean roams Paris, guided by his ‘I Ching’, En attendant Godot, found in the glove compartment. He is unconcerned with current events, sensitive only to the changing “clouds and overgrown weeds that cover the last empty spaces of Paris.”
Something of a psychogeographer and a cousin of Walter Benjamin’s Flâneurs Jean does not linger in the modern Arcades, les Halles, or the luxury elsewhere but remains outside, often in the 19th and 20th Arrondissements. He sees the phantoms of the Commune rise, thinks, at Tourelles, of an Internment Camp for ‘undesirables’, refugees and resistance fighters, in 1941. Jean is aware of the hidden civil war that continues in France right till today. It was if the “blood of revolutionaries had never ceased flowing in France.” (Page 95)
A Belleville encounter with an acquaintance, and his circle of rebellious “artists” (the inverted commas are Haenal’s) rises into an intoxicating debate about confronting the “nouvel élu” (the President). Jean announces that he had voted for Max Stirner, the author of the Ego and His Own, (1844). Is this an affirmation of his “uniqueness”? One, Bison, is a veteran of the Genoa 2011 protests. He does not stop talking about the G8, that it crystallised the world split into the resistance and the repression. Corned about his own politics, Jean admits, to the disdain of his questioner, that he voted for nobody. He finishes by thinking that the phantoms of the state take a life of their own, “politics eats the body of those who have the weakness to believe in it.” (Page 43)
Two of this group leave to join the Tarnac Group (L’inssurection qui vient). Yet Jean’s own itinerary leads to perhaps a more radical end.
The Dogans and Les Renards Pâles
Fascinated by a wall slogan, La Société n’existe pas, Jean ponders the idea that there is no place for him, or us, in a society that talks of “re-educating” the unemployed through compulsory labour. He meets Malian migrants, working as dustmen, “picking up France’s shit to feed Mali.” A mysterious woman, nicknamed ‘La Reine de Pologne’ who visits the swimming pool he uses to keep clean, takes him to a Griot (Malian Sorcerer) who explains the story of the Renards Pâle, a creature of their cosmology, “cet animal anarchiste qui s’étatait rebellé contre la Création” (page 109) The cruelty of this anarchist animal, inspiring divination, could come to Paris and in an insurrection that could overturn our world.
The novel unfolds into that tumultuous uprising: “un spectre hante la France, c’est L’Afrique”. Treated as slaves, massacred under colonial rule – as “brutes” in the Heart of Darkness – Africa has come to France as the ‘sans papiers’ (‘illegals’). The deaths of two Malians, Issa and Kouré, set the wheels of rebellion in motion. An “Insurrection of masks”, abolishing the very of countries, and…at the conclusion, masks and identity papers. “Cette nuit à travers les flames qui la consacraient, la place de la Concorde reprenait son ancien nom: elle était à nouveau la place de la Révolution.” (Page 173) The old name, Revolution, is restored, and, in a world where nobody has identity papers any more, the conclusion left just beyond the tips of our tongues. That may well be a world without borders, and free from the “republican duty” to toil in misery.
André Breton spoke of. “convulsive” beauty. He would have been stunned by Les Renards Pâles. The novel’s pages are studded with agitated movement (a frequent word is ‘tituber’), and glimpses of the majestic beyond. The past weighs in both through nightmarish revenants, and reappears through more kindly Furies. Heanal has made a political and artistic intervention that breaks the boundaries of what appears possible – and impossible. In this sense it is truly in the line of all that was best in Situationism. That is not all. The prose and delivery of Les Renards Pâles stands muster with the best contemporary world literature.
Le Monde critic Jean Birnbaum is amongst many who have fallen for Haenel’s “hypnotic charm” and “sublime voice” (le Monde des Livres. 23rd August 2013) This book is important: it must be read.
* The Tarnac group’s ideas are clearly referenced by Haenel, ““S’organiser par-delà et contre le travail, deserter collectivement le régime de la mobilisation, manifester l’existence d’une vitalité et d’une discipline dans la démobilisation même est un crime qu’une civilization aux abois n’est pas près de nous pardoner; c’est en effet la seule façon de lui survivre”
L’insurrection qui vient. 2007.
Account in English here.
64% of French Against Syrian Intervention, as Bernard Henri Lévy Regrets “English” Decision not to Take Part
BHL: Now the French Reject His Call for Syrian Intervention.
Bernard Henri Lévy (BHL) presented as somebody with influence on French international politics, was paraded round the British media yesterday.
BHL is in favour of an intervention in Syria.
Earlier this month he launched an appeal, with Alain Juppé, (former Chirac Prime Minister, convicted in 2004, of abuse of public funds, back in office as a Minister in 2007, and accused by the Rwandan government of complicity in the genocide in that country) and Bernard Kouchner (another Sarkozy former Foreign Minister, and humanitarian itnerventionsit) .
Lévy’s only specific proposal was for the creation of a “No Fly Zone”
First he was on Channel Four News. “French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy tells Channel 4 News that those who believe the UK has always been on “the good side of freedom” were saddened by the British decision not to attack Syria.” (Channel Four News).
Later, on Newsnight he announced, “For the first time in my life I don’t admire England tonight.”
Let us cast aside the unworthy suggestion that Lévy, with his strangulated efforts to speak English, and his intense self-regard, was paraded in an attempt to discredit supporters of humanitarian intervention in Syria.
It was, nevertheless, the case that he managed to rankle a hefty part of his audience by referring, more than once, to “England”, as if Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland did not exist.
Lévy also deftly annoyed those of us – numerous – who are suspicious of anybody who goes on, and indeed, on, about how much they love and admire our country.
As far as I am aware Lévy’s connection with Britain extends little beyond his visits to the (former) Paris ‘Pub’, Le Twickenham.
His efforts to persuade French President Sarkozy to back the no-fly zone in Libya were no doubt of great importance, not least in his own mind.
There are very long sections in the French version of the Wikipedia entry on Lévy, listing all the good things people think of him.
They undermine his credentials as a philosopher, a commentator, and as a politically engaged intellectual.
Criticisms include an inability get facts right (names of towns, in his book on Daniel Pearl) his distorted account of French anti-Semitism in L’idéologie française (roundly criticised by no less than Raymond Aron), the way he cited a fictitious philosopher, Jean-Baptiste Botul and the La Vie sexuelle d’Emmanuel Kant in his critique of the German philosopher…..one could continue for a long time.
In 1985, Bernard-Henri Lévy, with others, launched a petition to Ronald Reagan top keep backing the Contras in Nicaragua.
He was also known for his backing for the Afghanistan Mujahideen “Comander Massoud.” – assassinated by the Taliban.
Massoud was a complex figure, and it would be wrong to try to make an instant judgement about him.
But many suspect that hero-worship is not a good position to take about anybody involved in the wars in Afghanistan.
The French writer was prepared to take sides come what may.
Yet it is exactly this kind of simple moral choice that Lévy is presenting to us about Syria: you are for us, or against us.
This will not wash, and has not washed, with the British Parliament – or, it seems, with the French public.