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.
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.