A section of the Bayeux Tapestry depicting Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, wielding a club and encouraging the troops of William, Duke of Normandy during the Battle of Hastings.
During Emmanuel Macron’s first official visit to Britain last Thursday, when Brexit, defence cooperation and immigration policies topped the agenda, the French president also announced the loan to Britain of the famous Bayeux Tapestry, the nearly 70-metre long, 11th-century embroidered cloth of images and commentary that recounts the 1066 Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Amid the many interpretations of Macron’s move, from simple goodwill gesture to tongue-in-cheek reminder of Britain’s continental roots, Joseph Confavreux turned to French university lecturer in mediaeval history Julien Théry for his analysis.
Tangiers in Morocco. © Rachida El Azzouzi
In the summer of 2017 two videos showing sexual assaults on women in Morocco, one in Tangiers, the other in Casablanca, caused outrage in the North African country. Yet though the government has for years been promising a law to protect women, progress has been slow. Academic Safaa Monqid explains to Rachida El Azzouzi how women are still excluded from public areas in Morocco and the Arab world in general.
The recently appointed president and nearly all of the members of France’s independent advisory commission on digital affairs, the CNNum, resigned this week in protest at the government’s move to exclude from the body outspoken feminist and anti-racist activist Rokhaya Diallo. She and another newly chosen CNNum advisor, start-up entrepreneur and rapper Hicham Kochman, also known as Axiom, were the target of a political campaign that has reignited the debate over the extent of institutional racism in France, and the stigmatisation of racial minorities in the country. In an interview with Mediapart, Kochman speaks of his despair that “if you are Black or Arab, if you come from certain neighbourhoods, however competent you might be you have no chance of succeeding”.
Brexit repeal bill turns back 'on a system of laws that influenced and became the fabric' of UK society
The British parliament was on Thursday presented with the bill of law that aims to transfer European Union (EU) law into British law at the moment of the country’s exit from the EU in two years time. The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, more widely known as the “repeal bill”, is necessary to avoid a black hole in legislation on the day after Britain leaves the union, but will allow the British parliament to subsequently remove any number of the EU laws adopted into national legislation. For an explanation of the complexity of the task, Mediapart’s UK correspondent Hélaine Lefrançois spoke to lawyer Robert Bell, specialised in EU and British competition laws with the London law firm Bryan Cave who says that, beyond the proposed legislation, “I just do not see how Brexit can be negotiated in two years”.
Dissident Wang Dan. © Reuters
Wang Dan was one of the student leaders in the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing in 1989 and was later jailed twice before going into exile. He recently visited Paris to give a series of lectures on the continuing impact of the movement and spoke to Mediapart about his involvement in the protests and his reading of the situation today in China and its role in the world. Gilles Taine reports.
Emmanuel Macron, who was elected as France’s new president on Sunday, gave his last interview before his landslide victory to Mediapart, in which he detailed the measures and policies he would adopt over his five-year term of office. During the two-hour interview on Friday evening, he detailed his approach to a number of foreign policy issues - which were little mentioned during his campaign - including French military intervention abroad, his views on Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Greek debt crisis, and US reluctance to implement the Paris COP 21 measures to combat climate change.
Robert Bourgi. © Reuters
Lawyer Robert Bourgi, 72, is a veteran figure of “la Françafrique”, the once-rife secret and corrupt network of relations between successive French and despotic African governments, which included the illegal funding of French politicians and parties in return for favours and protection. His name resurfaced last month in the scandal-hit presidential election campaign of conservative candidate François Fillon, when Bourgi revealed it was he who offered Fillon two expensive tailor-made suits, raising further questions over Fillon’s probity and political independence. In this interview from Beirut, where he is sitting out the rest of the election campaign, Bourgi gave Mediapart his version of his relationship with Fillon, who he says asked him to deny being a benefactor, and lifts the lid on the murky practices in French politics. His account offers an insight into decades of political corruption.
Eva Joly and Éric de Montgolfier. © Reuters
The scandals hanging over this spring’s French presidential elections highlight the endemic problems of corruption across the French political class which has been steeped in sleaze for decades. In this interview with Mediapart, two veteran and emblematic figures of the fight against corruption, former investigating magistrate Eva Joly and former public prosecutor Éric de Montgolfier, set out why they believe the problem has flourished for so long and what measures must be taken to effectively tackle it.
Geoffrey Le Guilcher © DR
During the summer of 2016, journalist and Mediapart contributor Geoffrey Le Guilcher covertly gained employment as a worker on the production line of an industrial slaughterhouse in Brittany, north-west France. Le Guilcher infiltrated the lines to see for himself the infernal environment where, knife in hand, he was tasked with removing the fat from half-carcasses of cows at a rate of one every minute. He discovered not only the dreadful plight of the animals, but also the extreme duress placed on employees, whose relentless working rhythm drove some of those he befriended to drink and drugs. His experiences are detailed in a book, Steak Machine, published this month in France. Here he tells Rachida El Azzouzi about the horrors of the slaughterhouse.
US President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn into office on Friday, as much of the world holds its breath for the start of what is arguably the most controversial presidency in American history. In this interview with Mediapart, US thinker and academic Judith Butler analyses the true political nature of the 70-year-old businessman and reality-show star who is to lead the world's most powerful nation, and who is already at the centre of international tensions. She argues that behind Trump’s electoral success is “a fascist phenomenon” and says that “many rejoice to see this awkward and not very intelligent person posturing as the centre of the world, and gaining power through that posturing”.