The scenes of despair and chaos amid humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

In Herat, north-west Afghanistan, several refugees were injured as they implored the Taliban for humanitarian aid.. © Rachida El Azzouzi/Mediapart In Herat, north-west Afghanistan, several refugees were injured as they implored the Taliban for humanitarian aid.. © Rachida El Azzouzi/Mediapart

It is estimated that around half the population of Afghanistan is facing famine this winter as the humanitarian crisis in the country, described by the UN as one of the worst worldwide, continues to develop following the return to power of the Taliban and subsequent international sanctions. Rachida El Azzouzi and Mortaza Behboudi report from the north-west city of Herat, where some families have sold daughters to buy food. There, they witnessed, and filmed, a stampede by desperate refugees, mostly mothers seeking vital aid kits from the overwhelmed Taliban.


French surgeon discovered trying to sell X-ray of Bataclan victim online

By
The Bataclan theatre, November 13th 2021, where flowers were laid in tribute to the victims the terrorist attacks. © Aurore Thibault / Hans Lucas via AFP The Bataclan theatre, November 13th 2021, where flowers were laid in tribute to the victims the terrorist attacks. © Aurore Thibault / Hans Lucas via AFP

French orthopaedic surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean placed for sale online an X-ray of a woman survivor of the November 2015 terrorist shooting attack at the Bataclan theatre in Paris, on which a Kalashnikov bullet can be seen lodged in her arm. The victim had not been asked her permission for the sale and publication of her X-ray, which the surgeon priced at 2,776 dollars. Following Mediapart’s revelation of the attempted sale, the Paris public hospital administration described Masmejean’s behaviour as “shocking and indecent” and he now faces legal and disciplinary action. Matthieu Suc reports.

The wealthy donors funding French far-right presidential candidate Éric Zemmour

Far-right presidential candidate Éric Zemmour. © Samuel Boivin / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP Far-right presidential candidate Éric Zemmour. © Samuel Boivin / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP

Last November, far-right polemicist Éric Zemmour, a newspaper columnist and TV pundit with several conviction for hate speech, announced he was standing in France’s presidential elections. Without an established party apparatus behind him, Zemmour’s campaign team have been networking the wealthy in search of financial donors. Mediapart has gained access to documents that reveal the identities of 35 of the largest donors, mostly found through fundraising dinners where guests include industrialists, bankers, high-flying lawyers and management consultants. Sébastien Bourdon, Ariane Lavrilleux and Marine Turchi report.

The 'exposome': tracing chronic diseases and their environmental causes

By
Paolo Vineis. © Chaine YouTube The Climate group Paolo Vineis. © Chaine YouTube The Climate group

Around the world, tens of thousands of chemicals are present in the environment, in soil, the air and in water, and little is known about their individual consequences on human health nor how to measure them. Lifelong exposure to environmental pollution and the non-genetic causation of diseases this may have is the focus of a relatively recent and pioneering field of inter-disciplinary scientific research, and which encompasses social and dietary factors, a notion called the ‘exposome’. In this interview with Mediapart’s Jade Lindgaard, epidemiologist Paolo Vineis, one of Europe’s leading specialists on the subject, explains the umbrella approach of ‘exposomics’.       

French Left divisions deepen ahead of April presidential elections

By and
Christiane Taubira announcing her election bid in Lyon, January 15th 2022. © Jean-Philippe Ksiazek / AFP Christiane Taubira announcing her election bid in Lyon, January 15th 2022. © Jean-Philippe Ksiazek / AFP

Unable to unite around a single candidate for France’s presidential elections in April, France’s profoundly divided broad Left faces a trouncing at the polls. Its stand-alone candidates were joined at the weekend by Christiane Taubira, an icon for some among the socialist movement, whose bid threatens to further splinter the leftwing vote. Fabien Escalona and Mathilde Goanec report.

French teachers denounce ‘infernal’ conditions in schools amid pandemic

By
A primary school class in Vouillé, close to Poitiers, north-west France, January 5th 2022. © Photo Jean-Francois Fort/Hans Lucas via AFP A primary school class in Vouillé, close to Poitiers, north-west France, January 5th 2022. © Photo Jean-Francois Fort/Hans Lucas via AFP

French school teachers and education staff held a crippling strike and nationwide protest marches last Thursday over what they say are chaotic and unsafe working conditions brought about by ever-changing, last-minute anti-Covid measures imposed without consultation by the education ministry, and which they too often learn about from the media. Mathilde Goanec has been hearing from teachers and local councils about their nigh impossible mission amid the government’s determination to keep schools open.

The volunteers helping domestic violence victims in rural France

By Élodie Potente
One association in south-east France offers equine therapy to women victims of violence. © DR / Femmes répit One association in south-east France offers equine therapy to women victims of violence. © DR / Femmes répit

According to a 2021 report by French senators, half of all murders of women in France are committed in rural regions, where just one third of the country’s female population reside. The plight of women victims of domestic violence is particularly acute in rural areas where isolation, local taboos and the relative scarcity of public services combine to aggravate their distress. Élodie Potente reports from the Drôme, a rural south-east département (county), where local associations and volunteers provide help for victims amid the absence of adequate state support.

France's unvaccinated hit back at Macron: 'Forcing us isn't the answer'

By
A sticker on a lamppost saying no to the Covid-19 vaccine, at Montreuil in the Paris suburbs. © NB. A sticker on a lamppost saying no to the Covid-19 vaccine, at Montreuil in the Paris suburbs. © NB.

Less than a week ago President Emmanuel Macron caused controversy when he said he wanted to “piss off” the unvaccinated in France, whom he described as “irresponsible” and “no longer citizens” in his eyes. As Mediapart has found out, these comments shocked people who have not – yet – made the decision to get vaccinated against Covid. Divided between those who have doubts about the vaccine, others who are afraid, or some who simply feel that it is their duty to defend public liberties, the unvaccinated say they feel misunderstood and are unhappy about being stigmatised. Nejma Brahim reports.

France's silence over civilians killed by Malian soldiers in joint operations

By
Patrol by French soldiers in the streets of Gao, in Mali, December 4th 2021. © Thomas Coex/AFP Patrol by French soldiers in the streets of Gao, in Mali, December 4th 2021. © Thomas Coex/AFP

A year ago the French military bombed a wedding ceremony at Bounty in Mali, killing 22 men, of whom 19 were civilians. This terrible blunder was widely covered by the media at the time. But abuses committed in the following weeks and in the same region by the Malian army passed unnoticed. As Rémi Carayol reports, it would have been hard for French troops, who were on the ground with their Malian colleagues as part of a wide-ranging counter-insurgency operation, not to have been aware of what was going on. Yet the French military have remained silent about the incidents.

The danger of Macron's decision to depict the unvaccinated as 'non-citizens'

By
Emmanuel Macron at a meeting of the Defence Council to discuss the pandemic, December 27th 2021. © Nicolas Tucat/Pool/AFP Emmanuel Macron at a meeting of the Defence Council to discuss the pandemic, December 27th 2021. © Nicolas Tucat/Pool/AFP

In an interview with daily newspaper Le Parisien French president Emmanuel Macron cheerfully admitted that he wanted to “piss off” those who had chosen not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as much as possible. The comment has made headlines around the world. But less remarked upon was his extraordinary description of anyone unvaccinated as an “irresponsible person who is no longer a citizen”. In saying this, says Mediapart's political correspondent Ellen Salvi, the head of state – the guarantor of law in the French Republic – has committed a moral, institutional and political error. In this op-ed article she argues that Emmanuel Macron is adding hysteria to the debate, dividing society and giving fresh impetus to the very people he is claiming to be combating.

Why voters in one corner of France are quietly turning their back on politics

By
On the ferry across the Rhine, between France and Germany. © Pascal Bastien pour Mediapart On the ferry across the Rhine, between France and Germany. © Pascal Bastien pour Mediapart

The Bas-Rhin département or county in north-east France, which borders Germany, is dominated politically by the Right and far-right. Mediapart visited the region to test the mood on the ground and found that more and more local people, and especially those in rural areas, are choosing to abstain from voting. Quietly, and with no fanfare, swathes of people in this area are saying a discreet farewell to the world of politics. Mathilde Goanec reports from the towns of Drusenheim and Haguenau.

Macron's 'out of touch' New Year's address to the nation ahead of presidential election

By
Emmanuel Macron during his televised New Year's message on December 31st 2021, the last of his presidency. © Martin Bureau/AFP Emmanuel Macron during his televised New Year's message on December 31st 2021, the last of his presidency. © Martin Bureau/AFP

On Friday evening Emmanuel Macron delivered the final New Year's presidential broadcast to the nation of his five-year term of office. Ahead of April's presidential elections – for which Macron has yet to officially declare himself as a candidate – the incumbent gave a rapid overview of what he sees as his achievements in office. Despite the Covid pandemic, President Macron sought to describe a political landscape that embraced both “optimism” and “tolerance” - an assessment, says Ellen Salvi, that stands in stark contrast to the reality of his presidency. Political opponents immediately accused the president of being “out of touch”.

An encounter - with a difference - with French film legend Jean-Luc Godard

By and
Jean-Luc Godard, November 30th 2010 in Zurich. © Photo Fabrice Coffrini / AFP Jean-Luc Godard, November 30th 2010 in Zurich. © Photo Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

The current wave of political, environmental and social upheavals appears to be marking the ending of an era across the Western world. Mediapart was keen to visit the legendary Franco-Swiss film director Jean-Luc Godard, whose films are an unrivalled chronicle of both the world's beauty and its problems, to get his take on events. However, nothing about the interview with the filmmaker at his home in Switzerland went exactly as planned. Ludovic Lamant and Jade Lindgaard describe the encounter that ensued.

Ethical dilemma: French patients could be denied ICU access as Covid cases rise

By
A patient with breathing difficulties in intensive care at the Hôpital Nord in Marseille, February 2021. © Nicolas Tucat/AFP A patient with breathing difficulties in intensive care at the Hôpital Nord in Marseille, February 2021. © Nicolas Tucat/AFP

Mediapart has seen a document in which doctors in the south of France are drawing up plans to decide which patients will be admitted to hospital intensive care units - and which will not - amid fears that the current wave of Covid-19 cases could overwhelm them. The revelation comes as France recorded 179,807 Covid cases in a single day. According to the working document, if the situation worsens ICU staff in Marseille and across the southern region of PACA could refuse admission to frail patients over 65. Meanwhile doctors have told Mediapart of their concern over the ethical issues they will face if they have to deny patients healthcare. Pascale Pascariello reports.

Massive leak of tritium at French nuclear plant Tricastin

By
Inside Tricastin’s N°1 reactor building (June 27th 2019). © Philippe Desmazes/AFP Inside Tricastin’s N°1 reactor building (June 27th 2019). © Philippe Desmazes/AFP

A massive leak of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, occurred earlier this month at the Tricastin nuclear power plant, one of the oldest in France, when subsequent radiation levels recorded in groundwater below it reached 28,900 becquerels per litre. Both the plant’s operator, EDF, and the French nuclear safety watchdog, the ASN, insist that the spill has been contained. But, as Jade Lindgaard reports, despite that claim it appears inevitable that that the radioactive effluent will pollute the local environment.