The joys and sorrows of the extraordinary Stéphane Hessel© Voix de l'Enfant/Indigène éditions
The outspoken French social and political campaigner Stéphane Hessel (pictured), whose recent best-selling manifesto Time for Outrage became an inspiration for social protest movements worldwide, died during the night of February 26th, aged 95. Born German, Hessel was seven years’ old when he arrived in France, becoming a naturalised citizen after which, at the outbreak of World War II, he joined the Resistance movement. He was eventually arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp from where he escaped during transfer to Bergen-Belsen. After the war, he helped draft the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and was appointed as an honorary ‘Ambassador of France' for special government missions abroad. Hessel detailed his extraordinary life, his political engagement and his cultural influences in this revealing interview with Sylvain Bourmeau, first published by Mediapart in 2011. He began by explaining how his escape from execution in Germany in 1944 left him with a purpose he had to fulfil.
'We just lost the chance to rethink capitalism' laments Stiglitz
"The moment of rethinking capitalism in America has gone", bemoans Joseph E. Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel prize in economics, former World Bank chief economist and now professor of economics at Columbia University, in this exclusive interview with Mediapart. Stiglitz says the height of the current economic crisis was a lost opportunity to re-order the economy, "one of those rare moments, many of us thought a Roosevelt-ian moment" but "as soon as the fire was brought down, the political influences of the banks came back."
The 'devastating' stigmatisation of the Roma in FranceRoma family in Strasbourg. © L.F.In the summer of 2010, the French government launched a crackdown on Gypsy immigrants in France,with the demolition of hundreds of Roma camps and mass expulsions, mainly to Romania. In an interview with Mediapart, French sociologist Jean-Pierre Liégeois, one of Europe's leading experts on the Gypsy community, traces the history of the Roma and slams the campaign of stigmatisation against them as "economically costly and humanly devastating".
The forgotten story of the Atlantic Wall
A book by the writer and documentary director Jérôme Prieur reveals how the Atlantic Wall, a line of fortifications along France's western and northern coastline, erected to resist an allied troop landing, was a cornerstone of the collaboration effort between the Vichy government and Nazi Germany.
'Euro bail outs heading into a wall' warns top French economistDemonstrators in Ireland protest austerity plan. © DR.
Ireland has introduced its toughest austerity plan in history in return for a debt bail out by the European Union and International Monetary Fund. In an exclusive interview with Mediapart, French economist André Orléan warns such policies are "heading into a wall" and that Europe's "strategic inertia" leaves it "divided and powerless" in face of market pressures. It needs a New Deal, he argues, not austerity.
Pierre Rosanvallon on this thing called Sarkozy-ism© Mediapart
The arrival of Nicolas Sarkozy to the office of president has unquestionably ushered in a new era of French politics. But just what is Sarkozy-ism, his policies and regime? How is it changing French society and where is the opposition? Pierre Rosanvallon (pictured), a leading French political historian and thinker, offers his analysis in an interview with Mediapart.
Karachi blast probe rapporteur demands truth from Constitutional CouncilB. Cazeneuve © DR
Bernard Cazeneuve, rapporteur for the French parliament's mission of enquiry into the deaths in a bomb blast in Karachi in 2002 of 11 French naval engineers, tells Mediapart of his outrage at the 'obstruction'of the judicial investigation into the murders, and says the Constitutional Council "owes it to the victims" to reveal the truth about Edouard Balladur's presidential election campaign funds.
Chinese Nobel Peace Prize wife: 'He wants me to go to Oslo'Liu Xia. © (dr)
Chinese political activist, the academic and author Liu Xiaobo, jailed for 11 years in 2009 for incitiment to subvert state power, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on October 8th for "his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China". His wife Liu Xia (pictured), subsequently placed under house arrest, gave this exclusive telephone interview to Beijing-based French journalist and Mediapart contributor Jordan Pouille.
Behind the mask of Claude Chabrol
The career of celebrated French film director Claude Chabrol, who died in September, spanned five decades and more than 50 films. But the director of thrillers like The Butcher and The Flower of Evil leaves behind an enduring mystery about himself and the true focus of his work. Jean Douchet, an authority on French cinema and a lifelong friend of Chabrol, offers a clue to understanding both.
Joseph Stiglitz: the "extraordinary risk" of European austerity policies
Back in September 2010, former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz told Mediapart in a series of video interviews why austerity plans were "counter-productive", threatening a "double-dip recession", and warned how the flawed and derided financial practices that led to the 2008 crash were back in business. "It is conceivable that one or more countries would either default or drop the euro", said the 2001 winner of Nobel Prize in Economics. Why was no-one listening?