Opinions

  • Mandela's lesson of force and finesse

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    Deux vidéos dans l'article Deux vidéos dans l'article

    The death of Nelson Mandela, figurehead of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and who became the country's first black president, is being mourned around the world. His disappearance on Thursday, at the age of 95, amid heightened tension over next year’s parliamentary elections, now leaves the ideals of the Rainbow Nation that succeeded the apartheid regime under threat. Here, Mediapart’s Antoine Perraud pays a personal tribute to a man whose unusual combination of force, fraternity and finesse hoisted him to a political and moral highground. But he begins by underlining the role humour also played in overturning a regime of hate.

  • Why we need to march for equality and against racism

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    After earlier racist jibes aimed at justice minister Christiane Taubira, an extreme-right weekly news magazine has now published a front cover containing a racial slur against her. Here Mediapart's editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel attacks the growing tide of racism in France, arguing that the main casualty is the French Republic itself. He traces the immediate roots of its resurgence and calls for a protest march on December 3rd against racism - and for equality.

  • How Hollande has single-handedly led us astray over Syria

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     © Reuters © Reuters

    US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris late on Saturday to discuss what increasingly appears to be an imminent US-led military attack, with the active support of France, upon the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Kerry said the international community was now before a "Munich moment", referring to the appeasement that failed to stop Nazi Germany in the 1930s. "We in the United States know, and our French partners know, that this is not the time to be silent spectators to slaughter," he said. The present crisis will, whatever the outcome, be recorded as a turning point for French President François Hollande. Mediapart editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel argues here that Hollande has alone decided to lead his country to war in a simplistic and precipitated manner, while turning his back on the two challenges left by his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, namely a renewal of the democratic process in France and the establishment of a new approach to international relations.

  • Against the ‘state of exception’, the crucial battle to save freedom of information

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    The game of diplomatic bluff played out in the row between the Unites States and Russia over the asylum offered to former NSA computer analyst-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden disguises an essential issue that concerns all of us, writes Mediapart editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel. That issue, he argues here, is how a ‘state of exception’, symbolized by the US Patriot Act and which cites supposed security concerns above the just rule of law, is surreptitiously extending its already vast power amid hitherto widespread indifference. A battle is on to force its retreat, and it is being fought here, on the internet.

  • How Qatar bagged Printemps while taking French law for window-dressing

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     © Reuters © Reuters

    The Printemps department store chain, one of France’s oldest and most famous, was last week bought by a Qatari investment fund for a reported 1.75 billion euros after months of secret negotiations with the group’s principal shareholders and amid bitter opposition by unions representing its staff of 3,000. France’s competition regulator gave the green light despite a preliminary investigation opened in June by the Paris public prosecutor’s office into allegations that the transaction process involved fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. In this opinion article, Mediapart economy and finance specialist Martine Orange argues that the deal illustrates the recurrent impotence of  French law, and the unwillingness of government, to effectively rein in the excesses of rich and powerful wheeler-dealers.

  • The Bettencourt affair censored by the court of Versailles

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    The court of appeal at Versailles has ordered Mediapart to remove all quotes from the recordings whose publication transformed the Bettencourt affair into a major public scandal. Three years after Mediapart first revealed the content of these tapes, this decision is more than just an attack on the freedom of information, says editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel: it is an act of censorship.

  • This French elite on a merry-go-round of fat-cat jobs

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    The nominations last weekend of Anne Lauvergeon and Jean-Claude Trichet as France’s representatives on the re-vamped board of European aerospace and defence group EADS was anything but a surprise, argues Mediapart’s finance and economy specialist Martine Orange. Both are from an elite composed of graduates of France’s grandes écoles and former senior civil servants who are on a life-long merry-go-round of top jobs and fat salaries, and whose purportedly immeasurable talents have overseen the break-up and bankruptcy of the French economy.

  • Don't mention 'the war': the semantic battle of the French campaign in Mali

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    The French ‘military intervention’ that began in Mali on January 11th is also a war of words in which the socialist government has adopted semantics akin to neo-conservative rhetoric, argues Mediapart political correspondent Stéphane Alliès, who presents here some choice examples of ministerial sleight of tongue.

  • The verity of austerity as 2013 French economic outlook study points to grim year ahead

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    The French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, INSEE, last week published its economic forecast for the first half of 2013, predicting France will remain on the edge of recession with zero growth, ever-rising unemployment, a collapse of purchasing power and consumption in tatters. Mediapart's economics and finance specialist Laurent Mauduit argues here that the INSEE study provides a damning appraisal of the French socialist government’s austerity policies and its obedience to the fiscal compact.

  • Why 'bailout' of French cheap mortgage lender CIF was another gift to big banks

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    Last weekend, the French government announced it had agreed to issue a state guarantee for Crédit Immobilier de France, a major cooperative-owned mortgage lender for low-income households. The bank ran into severe liquidity problems because of its structural dependence on what was cheap financing from the credit market. The new soicialist government’s move was widely portrayed as a rescue of the troubled mortgage lender. But nothing could be further from the truth, argues Mediapart’s economics and finance correspondent Philippe Riès. CIF is to be run down, with serious consequences for jobs and modest house-buyers, while the real winners of the guarantee are the big banks. For they have escaped helping in a bailout and are now sure their loans to CIF will be repaid.