Interviews

  • Saving biodiversity 'just as crucial' as tackling climate change, says French academic

    By
    Marine park at Tenia Island in New Caledonia in the South Pacific. © Photo Nicolas-Alain Petit / Biosphoto via AFP Marine park at Tenia Island in New Caledonia in the South Pacific. © Photo Nicolas-Alain Petit / Biosphoto via AFP

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature, which is currently holding its annual conference at Marseille in the south of France, has hit the headlines for its latest update on the number of animal species which face imminent extinction on the planet. But there are some experts who query whether the NGO's conserving strategy of preserving species in designated areas such as natural parks is the right one. Mediapart spoke with French geographer Estienne Rodary who argues that this modernist and colonial approach to the environment has become outdated in an inter-connected world. He says that the issues of biodiversity and climate change are interlinked and that when it comes to conserving nature the “carbon cost” of any policies needs to be taken into account. Amélie Poinssot reports.

  • ‘You live through unimaginable events’: prosecutor François Molins on the November 2015 Paris terror attacks

    By
    François Molins, June 2021. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart François Molins, June 2021. © Photo Sébastien Calvet / Mediapart

    The trial of 20 people accused of various roles in the series of terrorist attacks in Paris during the evening of November 13th 2015, which claimed the lives of 130 people and wounded more than 400 others, opens on Wednesday. In this interview with Mediapart's Matthieu Suc, the public prosecutor then in charge of the investigations, François Molins, recalls the night of the attacks, the aftermath and distress for victims’ families, and reflects on the successes and failures of France’s efforts to counter terrorism.

  • Historicizing evil: the story behind a new translation of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’

    By Santiago Artozqui (En attendant Nadeau)

    Adolf Hitler’s notorious, two-volume manifesto Mein Kampf was published in France last month in a scholarly version, heavily annotated by a team of historians, destined as a work of academic reference that analyses and explains the contexts, notably historical and cultural, of the hate-filled text. Olivier Mannoni is the German-to-French translator of this revised version of Hitler’s rantings, and here he tells Santiago Artozqui of the challenges of working for nine years on thesticky, vile, deceitful, paranoiac and violent text”, and how the rigour of the historians gave a “solidity” and “reassuring stability” to his work.

  • French study identifies further grave illnesses linked to chemical pesticides

    By
    A farmer in the Sarthe département (county) of north-west France, filling up his crop dusting machine with a glyphosate product for use on his maize fields, April 2021. © Jean-François Monier / AFP A farmer in the Sarthe département (county) of north-west France, filling up his crop dusting machine with a glyphosate product for use on his maize fields, April 2021. © Jean-François Monier / AFP

    France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research, INSERM, has published a report on its studies into the use of pesticides and the increasing evidence of their causal effect on grave pathologies, including cancers, among farmers and also among children. Amélie Poinssot interviews toxicologist Xavier Coumoul, a co-author of the report.  

  • The 'final straw': why French singer Médine is suing an MP over 'Islamist rapper' claim

    By
    Médine released his first album '11 septembre, récit du 11e jour' ('September 11, account of the 11th day') in 2004. © Fifou Médine released his first album '11 septembre, récit du 11e jour' ('September 11, account of the 11th day') in 2004. © Fifou

    In an interview with Mediapart, the French rapper Médine explained why he is suing Member of Parliament Aurore Bergé of the ruling La République en Marche party for defamation after she described him as an “Islamist rapper” and accused him of “incitement to murder”. He told Mediapart: “She's ascribing an ideology to me which obviously isn't mine. It's the final straw. I'm hoping for a conviction and a public apology.” Ismaël Bine reports.

  • The Algerian view of the report by historian Benjamin Stora on France's colonial past

    By
    The skulls of Algerian resistance fighters decapitated during France's conquest in the 19th century have been returned to the country. © Sofiane Bakouri / Hans Lucas via AFP The skulls of Algerian resistance fighters decapitated during France's conquest in the 19th century have been returned to the country. © Sofiane Bakouri / Hans Lucas via AFP

    In January 2021 the French historian Benjamin Stora delivered a report commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron that is aimed at “reconciling memories” between France and its former colony Algeria. The French head of state said he would follow a recommendation in the report and establish a “memories and truth” commission to address the history of France’s colonial past in Algeria, but he stopped short of issuing an official apology. The report itself has attracted criticism in both France and Algeria. Mediapart has asked two Algerian historians, Afaf Zekkour and Noureddine Amara, for their views of the document and of Franco-Algeiran relations in general. The pair criticise Stora for what they call “soft revisionism” and for prioritising France's needs for a united view over the recounting of history. Rachida El Azzouzi reports.

  • New Caledonia independence leader accuses Paris of meddling ahead of vote

    By
    New Caledonia pro-independence leader Jean-Pierre Djaïwé. © Le Pays New Caledonia pro-independence leader Jean-Pierre Djaïwé. © Le Pays

    The inhabitants of the semi-autonomous South Pacific French territory of New Caledonia are to vote on Sunday in a referendum on whether they want full independence from France, which colonised the archipelago in the mid-19th century. In a similar referendum in 2018, nearly 57% of votes cast were against cutting ties with Paris. Can the pro-independence movement swing the result in their favour this time around? Joseph Confavreux interviews New Caledonia's prominent pro-independence political leader Jean-Pierre Djaïwé.  

  • EU-Mercosur free trade deal under fire, but how hot might it get?

    By
    A burned-out, deforested area of the Amazon rainforest near Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, August 25th 2019. © Joao Laet/AFP A burned-out, deforested area of the Amazon rainforest near Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil, August 25th 2019. © Joao Laet/AFP

    The French government has announced it will not sign “as it stands” a proposed free trade deal between the European Union (EU) and the Mercosur economic bloc of South American countries Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, citing environmental concerns and notably the deforestation of swathes of the Amazon region for cattle farms. But while EU member countries appear increasingly divided over the terms of the trade agreement, French economist Mathilde Dupré, co-founder of the Paris-based Veblen Institute think tank on economic issues surrounding ecological transition, tells Mediapart why what she calls a “climaticidal” deal may yet go ahead.

  • Academic warns of dangers of 'simple solutions' as Macron tacks right on law and order

    By
    Jacques de Maillard. (© Sciences-Po Saint-Germain-en-Laye) Jacques de Maillard. (© Sciences-Po Saint-Germain-en-Laye)

    Through his appointment of the tough-talking Gérald Darmanin as interior minister, President Emmanuel Macron has shown himself to be a conservative on law and order issues, following in the footsteps of former president Nicolas Sarkozy. The French Left, meanwhile, which is wary of once again being portrayed as “soft” on crime, is showing signs of wanting to set its own agenda on the issue ahead of the 2022 presidential election. Against this backdrop Mediapart's Antoine Perraud spoke to political scientist Jacques de Maillard, an expert on the police and on law and order issues, about the fight against crime and the effectiveness of statistics. The academic warns against the “perverse effects” of focusing too narrowly on crime figures and of the dangers of proclaiming “simple solutions” to what are complex issues.

  • 'My life is still at risk' says Football Leaks whistleblower Rui Pinto ahead of trial

    By L’EIC and la rédaction de Mediapart
    Rui Pinto is living under police protection ahead of his trial which opens on September 4th. © Sonja Och / Der Spiegel Rui Pinto is living under police protection ahead of his trial which opens on September 4th. © Sonja Och / Der Spiegel

    Rui Pinto, the whistleblower behind the Football Leaks revelations of corruption and fraud that have rocked the world of professional football, is to stand trial in Portugal on September 4th. The 31-year-old faces 90 charges which carry up to 25 years in prison. But after reaching a cooperation agreement with Portuguese authorities, he is now in a witness protection scheme. Der Spiegel magazine, Mediapart’s partner in the European Investigative Collaborations network which jointly published the Football Leaks investigations, has met with Pinto ahead of his trial.