Anti-globalization theorist Walden Bello on the shape of the world after Covid-19

By
'The independent Left has its work cut out': Walden Bello. © DR 'The independent Left has its work cut out': Walden Bello. © DR

In the aftermath, when it comes, of the Covid-19 virus pandemic the world will undoubtedly emerge with profound changes to old orders. In one of a series of reflections upon the transformations that lie ahead, Ludovic Lamant interviewed Filipino academic Walden Bello, a leading theoretician of the anti-globalization movement, who warns against the danger of the far-right “espousing deglobalization and economic nationalism of a frightening kind”.

The coronavirus crisis and the 'dethroning' of Emmanuel Macron

By
French President Emmanuel Macron during a televised address on April 13th 2020. © Hans Lucas via AFP French President Emmanuel Macron during a televised address on April 13th 2020. © Hans Lucas via AFP

In face of the Covid-19 virus crisis, French President Emmanuel Macron has failed in his mission, presiding over disorder, a sore lack of means to fight the epidemic and a ‘communications’ campaign of lies, argues Mediapart publishing editor and co-founder Edwy Plenel. In this op-ed article, he urges the dismissal of an antiquated presidential system and the establishment of a truly democratic republic in France.

The 'front line' worker facing deportation from France after violent arrest

By Olivier Bertrand
Mehdi Medjaheb, five days after his arrest. Mehdi Medjaheb, five days after his arrest.

Mehdi Medjahed has lived in France for 13 years, is a qualified fire safety security guard and is one of those “front line” heroes praised by French president Emmanuel Macron for working during the coronavirus epidemic. Yet when the 36-year-old was stopped by police and questioned over his immigration status, the situation not only developed into a violent confrontation, he was arrested, placed in custody and then a detention centre, and now finds himself the subject of a deportation order. Olivier Bertrand reports.

Lack of doctors contributed to plight of residents 'sacrificed' in French care homes

Residents confined to a care home in Nice in the south of France, April 21st 2020. © Arié Botbol / Hans Lucas via AFP Residents confined to a care home in Nice in the south of France, April 21st 2020. © Arié Botbol / Hans Lucas via AFP

An investigation by Mediapart has shown how a lack of doctors has been a contributory factor in the major problems faced in many of France's care homes during the coronavirus epidemic, with medical staff themselves falling ill to the virus. In some cases replacement doctors were turned away from care homes because of the apparent risk of spreading the disease, and death certificates have been signed remotely by doctors who have not physically examined the deceased. In the Paris region in particular the problems were compounded because the health authority took too long to realise the scale of the problem in nursing homes and how many people were dying in them. It was then slow to react to the situation, to the frustration and anger of both healthcare professionals and the relatives of those who died. Mathilde Goanec and Pascale Pascariello report.

Covid-19 crisis hastens dominance of digital world in French film and music sectors

By Mickaël Correia
Neighbours in the United States watch the 'One World : Together At Home' online concert on April 18th 2020. © AFP Neighbours in the United States watch the 'One World : Together At Home' online concert on April 18th 2020. © AFP

One of the side effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been a shake-up in the world of culture, including in France. As cinemas have stayed closed and music festival and tours have been cancelled, online streaming has stepped in to satisfy consumer demand for new film releases and live performances. Critics fear that not only is the culture industry rapidly becoming concentrated into the hands of a few major global players, there is also a risk that the dominance of online in films and music will reduce cultural diversity for many people – especially the poorest. Mickaël Correia reports.

Civil rights groups raise concerns as French police drones roam free during lockdown

By Clément Le Foll and Clément Pouré
A police drone in the southern French city of Marseille, March 24th 2020. © GERARD JULIEN / AFP A police drone in the southern French city of Marseille, March 24th 2020. © GERARD JULIEN / AFP

Since the start of the coronavirus lockdown on March 17th in France drones have become an increasingly familiar sight above public areas in France. They have been used by the authorities to fly over towns and cites, coastal areas and parks. But no one is sure if these drones are filming people and, if so, whether the images are being stored or cross-checked with police files. As Clément Le Foll and Clément Pouré report, civil liberties groups are increasingly worried about the situation.

Tackling social tensions in Toulouse as virus lockdown takes its toll on deprived areas

By

In common with other parts of the country, the potentially volatile La Reynerie district of the south-west city of Toulouse has seen flare-ups of violence since the start of the coronavirus lockdown in France on March 17th. On the ground, a combination of collectives, residents and associations have been trying to foster a sense of solidarity and set up support networks without waiting for a response from the city authorities who are only belatedly now trying to introduce measures to reduce local tensions. Emmanuel Riondé reports from Toulouse.

'Merkel speaks to adults...Macron talks as if we're children'

By
Angela Merkel - treating the German people as grown-ups. Angela Merkel - treating the German people as grown-ups.

In an interview with Mediapart, history lecturer Johann Chapoutot, an expert on contemporary Germany and the history of the Nazis, uses the example of Germany to highlight France's failings in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. He says that while the German chancellor Angela Merkel appeals to people's reason, in France “they lie to us”. Interview by Ludovic Lamant.

Children in France's poorest families go hungry during virus lockdown

By
Volunteers hand out food at Bordeaux in south-west France on April 10th 2020. © Hans Lucas via AFP Volunteers hand out food at Bordeaux in south-west France on April 10th 2020. © Hans Lucas via AFP

Families who usually rely on casual work to make ends meet have been unable to earn money since the lockdown began in France on March 17th. As a result their children are starting to go hungry. On May 15th the French state will pay “emergency aid” of an extra 150 euros to families who already receive welfare benefits. But voluntary groups say this is not soon enough and that help is needed now. To fill the gap left by the state, local support groups have meanwhile been springing up across the country, in some cases led by teachers. Faïza Zerouala reports.

EU's free trade dogma remains immune to Covid-19 pandemic

By

Trade officials working for the European Commission may be having to work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic but they are still busy negotiating free trade deals with countries around the world on behalf of the European Union. As Mediapart's Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant reports, these officials are behaving as if the Covid-19 outbreak has not had a dramatic effect on everything – including the way people regard world trade and globalisation.

Covid-19: the questions over French professor who claims a cure

By
Professor Didier Raoult in his Marseille office, February 2020. © GERARD JULIEN / AFP Professor Didier Raoult in his Marseille office, February 2020. © GERARD JULIEN / AFP

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues its devastating path across the world, wreaking close to 200,000 recorded deaths from the virus and a global economic meltdown, the only evident hopes for a stabilised return to normal activity lies in a vaccine or a drug treatment to contain its spread. But few believe a vaccine will be realistically ready before, at the earliest, 2021. French microbiologist Didier Raoult has championed an immediately available antiviral compound called chloriquine, previously used against malaria, as a miracle drug that neutralises the virus, receiving the support of US President Donald Trump and last week hosting a visit to his laboratory by French President Emmanuel Macron. But as Pascale Pascariello reports, deep controversy surrounds the work of Raoult, a maverick amid France’s scientific establishment.

Covid-19: a French ICU medic's fatigue and fear for when the curtain is raised

By
A post-intensive care respiratory unit created during the Covid-19 epidemic at a hospital in Mulhouse, south of Strasbourg. © Patrick HERTZOG / AFP A post-intensive care respiratory unit created during the Covid-19 epidemic at a hospital in Mulhouse, south of Strasbourg. © Patrick HERTZOG / AFP

Amid the coronavirus epidemic in France, Mediapart has been asking doctors from a range of different hospital services to describe, in their own words, their day-to-day experiences and difficulties in coping with the current crisis. Here, Matthieu, a 26-year-old junior doctor in an intensive care unit in the north-east city of Strasbourg, describes the physical and psychological exhaustion of his relentless duty shifts over recent weeks, and his fears of a backdraught of the epidemic after the lifting of the national lockdown.

The forgotten jobless facing ruin under lockdown in France

By Cécile Hautefeuille
French labour minister Muriel Pénicaud. © STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP French labour minister Muriel Pénicaud. © STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

After this week announcing the prolongation of the national lockdown on public movement to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus epidemic, the French government increased to 110 billion euros its financial aid package to cushion the effects of the shutdown. The aid, largely ploughed into helping businesses and paying the tab for their laid-off workforces, includes measures for low-income households and the extension of unemployment benefits for those about to lose them. “We provide responses to all human situations,” claimed labour minister Muriel Pénicaud. But, as Cécile Hautefeuille reports, a recent reform restricting access to the benefits system exposes many tens of thousands of the jobless to financial ruin.   

Covid-19: the chaos and blunders behind the mask shortages in France

By , , and mélanie delattre
In dire need and short supply: protective face masks. © Nicolas Liponne/Hans Lucas In dire need and short supply: protective face masks. © Nicolas Liponne/Hans Lucas

In a televised address on Monday evening when he announced the lockdown on public movement to contain the Covid-19 virus epidemic is now extended into May, French President Emmanuel Macron admitted “our country was not sufficiently ready for this crisis”. But while the unpreparedness can be traced back to its predecessors, the French government has failed with its strategy for the urgent procurement of a vital piece of equipment that frontline healthcare staff sorely lack: protective masks. In this second investigation into the fiasco, Mediapart details the blunders that continue to place healthcare workers in danger, and how the business world has been more effectively provided for than hospitals.

The drug dealers adapting to lockdown in France

By Mathieu Martinière (We Report for Mediacités Lyon)
File photo © AFP File photo © AFP

The coronavirus epidemic in France and the lockdown restrictions on public movement aimed at containing it are forcing drug dealers to adapt their business methods. They are also faced with a significant downturn in earnings as supplies are trapped behind closed national borders and their stock begins running out. In this report, originally published by Mediapart’s online regional news partner MediacitésMathieu Martinière investigates developments in the dark traffic in and around Lyon, France’s second-largest city.