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Quick Reads + France

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Latest stories from Quick Reads + France

French Newspaper Publishes Chart on What Nationalities Commit Crimes

The newspaper Le Progrès based in Lyon, France published an infographic [fr]entitled “”Délinquance : à chacun sa spécialité – principales nationalités impliquées” (Crimes: To each his own- the main nationalities implicated [for each type of crimes]) (see image in the twitter update below):     

In its daily publication, newspaper Le Progrès dared to publish a comparison of crime rates in the Rhône by nationality 

Thibeau Perezat notes that the newspaper did not mention the sources of the data. Global Voices contributor Julie Owono comments that the newspaper failed to distinguish that “Africans” or “Roma” are not nationalities.

French Economist Piketty Links Inequality to Instability of Democracies

French economist and Associate Chair at the Paris School of Economics, Thomas Piketty recently published a book called “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” that has generated quite a buzz among fellow economists and political leaders. Piketty's central thesis is that inequality is not an accident, but one of the consequences of the excess of capitalism. Piketty also opines that inequality could threaten the democratic process as recently seen in Greece. Critics of his thesis on inequality also abound

Increase in the annual income of the top 1% of wealthy persons in the U.S. before economic crises using data initially published as Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez (2003) on wikimedia commons CC-NC-3.0

Increase in the annual income of the top 1% of wealthy persons in the U.S. before economic crises using data initially published as Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez (2003) on wikimedia commons CC-NC-3.0

Top1%USA

France, the Czech Republic and Greece Under Scrutiny for Their Treatment of Roma Community

 
On International Romani Day (April 8) the French branch of Amnesty International wrote a statement entitled “Facing a spiral of violence, the Roma of Europe are demanding justice and protection”. The statement is especially critical of the treatment of the Roma community in France, the Czech Republic and Greece [fr]:
Les gouvernements, dans toute l’Europe, manquent à leur devoir envers les Roms de multiples façons. Les discriminations, les expulsions forcées et l'accès à une éducation de moindre qualité sont la norme dans de nombreux pays.

Governments across Europe are failing in their duties towards the Roma community in many ways. Discrimination, forced evictions and limited access to quality education are the norm in many countries. 

An exhibition called Dignity in Strasbourg [fr] can be found on Facebook that displays photos of the community that links dignity, human rights and poverty.

 

The Kidnapping Industry Takes Hold in Cameroon

The Matango Club blog reflects upon the kidnapping of two italian priests and a canadian nun [fr] on April 4, 2014 in Northern Cameroon:

 Pour l’histoire, les kidnappings de ce genre ne datent pas d’aujourd’hui. Rappelons que  dernièrement, le rapt du prêtre français Georges Vandenbeusch, 42 ans, a fait beaucoup de bruit. Il avait été kidnappé un 14 novembre 2013 dans son monastère, la paroisse de Nguetchewe, près de Koza, dans le nord du pays, à 700 kilomètres de la capitale Yaoundé, une zone considérée comme très dangereuse. Avant lui, le 19 février 2013, la famille Moulin-Fournier avait elle aussi été enlevée. Ces deux derniers kidnapping avaient connu un tapage médiatique international à tel point que les soupçons qui pesaient sur le groupe islamique Boko Haram ont fini par être confirmés par le chef Abubakar Shekau, leader du groupuscule depuis 2009.

Tout juste après la libération de la famille Moulin-Fournier, la presse camerounaise et beaucoup d’opinion diverses soupçonnaient le gouvernement camerounais d’avoir donné une rançon au groupe islamique Boko Haram pour la libération des français. Ces soupçons se sont encore renforcés lorsque la même France a encore eu maille à partir avec le kidnapping du prêtre Georges qui a été libéré quelque semaines après. Ces séries de rapts et de libérations à n’en plus finir font penser que c’est devenu un marché tant du côté du Nigeria que du  Cameroun.

 Kidnapping of this kind is not new in Cameroon. The abduction of French priest Georges Vandenbeusch, 42, made ​​a lot of noise recently. He was kidnapped on November 14, 2013 in his monastery, in the parish Nguetchewe near Koza, 700 kilometers north of the capital city Yaoundé, an area that is considered very dangerous. Before him, on February 19 2013, the Moulin-Fournier family were also kidnapped. These last two kidnappings were covered to a certain extent in the international media with suspicions aimed at the Islamic group Boko Haram. These suspicions were eventually confirmed by Boko Haram's leader since 2009 Abubakar Shekau.  Just after the release of Moulin- Fournier family, the Cameroonian press suspected that the Cameroonian government paid a ransom to Boko Haram for the release of the French hostages. These suspicions were further strengthened when France seems involved in the release of priest Georges Vandenbeusch some weeks later. These series of kidnappings and releases suggest that the kidnapping industry has become a booming sector in Nigeria and now in Cameroon as well.

Why Rwanda Accuses France of Aiding 1994 Genocide

As Rwanda pays tribute to the victims of the genocide 20 years after the tragedy, President Kagame states again that France must “face up to the difficult truth” of its role in the 1994 genocide [fr]. As a result of this statement, France has pulled out of the commemorative events and former Foreign Affairs Minister of France demands that president Hollande defends the Honor of France and its army.  Rémi Noyon at French site Rue 89 lists the reasons why Rwanda accuses again France of aiding the genocide [fr] :

 1) La France va « de facto » prendre le commandement de l’armée rwandaise face au rebelles du Front patriotique rwandais (FPR).

2) La France craint alors que l’offensive tutsi ne soit télécommandée via l’Ouganda par les Anglo-saxons, et ne vise à enfoncer un coin dans l’influence de la France sur la région

3) La France ne semble pas s’intéresser outre mesure aux négociations de paix.

4) Les soldats n’embarquent pas le personnel tutsi présent à l’ambassade de France (sauf une personne). Ils seront tous massacrés.

5) Quant à l’opération Turquoise, elle continue à diviser : elle a certainement permis de sauver des vies tutsi, mais l’armée est accusée d’être restée passive – et donc complice – face aux atrocités.

1) France commanded some branches of the Rwandan army against the rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

2) France feared that the Tutsi offensive was remotely piloted via Uganda by anglophone countries and was intended to drive a wedge into the influence of France in the region. 

3) France did not seem overly interested in peace negotiations before the conflict.

4) The soldiers did not evacuate any  of the Tutsi staff present at the Embassy of France (except for one person). They ended all being killed.

5) As for Operation Turquoise, it continues to divide: it certainly saved Tutsi lives, but the army is accused of having remained passive – and therefore was accomplice – to the atrocities.

 

 

UNESCO Mapping World Press Freedom Day Events

Press Freedom Day events

Screen shot of UNESCO's crowd map of Press Freedom Day events

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day and UNESCO is marking the occasion with an event in Paris, France that is free and open to the public.

There are lots of resources on their site for anyone who wishes to learn more about press freedom or host an event.

Using an online crowdmapping tool UNESCO is logging World Press Freedom Day events around the world and invite you to submit your own.

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The “Happy Voting” Project Encourages Young Europeans to Vote

Drawing on the Pharrell Williams worldwide hit “Happy” and the associated equally renown music video (over 143 million views on YouTube), the Brussels-based film company Full Tunes Production has recently launched on facebook an enthusiastic project  called “Happy Voting“ that strives to encourage voting for the next European elections.

The project can also be found on their website and on twitter (@HappyVoting).

Because of  the economic and financial crisis that undermines consumer confidence since 2007 in Europe and the political struggle that the European Union experiences to assert its political relevance on international issues such as the crises in Syria and in Crimea, many observers fear that voters’ participation will reach new low in the next European elections. Raphael Da Silva for Rue89 Strasbourg blog notes [fr] that in the 2009 European elections, 59.5% of French voters did not vote. The Happy Voting Project claims to be an independent initiative that only aims to promote voting, specifically amongst the european youth. Over 12.9 thousand people have already been invited to participate via facebook. The idea is to collaboratively produce a remake of the original “Happy” clip and help buzz the release of the video. Here is the teaser of the Happy Voting video: 

First Open Heart Surgery in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo

Child awaiting heart surgery via La chaine de l'espoir with their permission

Child awaiting heart surgery via La chaine de l'espoir with their permission

The health international network La Chaîne de l’Espoir (The Link of Hope) reports that 7 Congolese children in critical conditions benefited from open heart surgeries [fr] on February 14 in Brazzaville, Congo. With the help of the Congo Assistance Fundation as well, Prince Béni and Maya, both suffering from cardiomyopathy were operated for several hours as told in the following report [fr]:

Elle a dix ans et ne pèse que quinze kilos. Son cœur fonctionne mal. Il l'empêche de s'alimenter et donc de grandir. La petite fille doit être opérée le plus vite possible. L'intervention dure six heures.

(Mayala) is ten years old and weighs fifteen pounds. Her heart is malfunctioning. It prevents her from getting nutrients to all her cells and therefore growing. The girl needed an operation as soon as possible. The procedure took six hours.

SmartNomination, a Counter to the Binge Drinking Game Neknomination

The online drinking game Neknomination that promotes binge drinking for teenagers has outraged many people around the world. Neknomination asks participants to film themselves drinking an alcoholic beverage in one gulp, upload the footage to the web and nominate others to do the same. Julien Voinson, a young frenchman from Bordeaux, decided to counter the drinking game with a more positive initiative called SmartNomination [fr]. The idea is to film oneself doing charity work and then nominate a friend to do the same. Created on February 12, the facebook page has already close to 9,000 likes. In the following video,  Voinson explains the details of his project  [fr]:

In the Information Age, the End of Status Quo for Morrocan Media

Hicham Lasri is a film maker from Casablanca, Morocco. In his second movie called “C'est eux les chiens” (They are the dogs”), Lasri talks about the evolution of media in Morocco [fr] with the expansion of information technology:

Moi j'ai grandi dans un pays où les informations à la télévision expliquent que tout se passe bien, qu'on est géniaux [..]Forcément c'est une information qui ne dérange pas, qui ne crée pas de troubles, qui permet d'anesthésier la nation. Le film raconte deux événements : les émeutes de 1981 et trente plus tard, en 2011, c'est le printemps arabe. La première révolte en 1981 n'a pas marché parce que l'information ne circulait pas. En 2011, il y a une chaîne de solidarité qui s'est créée. Les gens sont interconnectés. Quand on tape sur quelqu'un tout le monde est au courant et l'indignation va gagner en ampleur. C'est la fin du statu quo.

I grew up in a country where tv news told us that everything was OK, that we are doing great [..] It was the type of information that did not bother anyone, did not create any troubles and anesthetized the nation. The film tells the story of two events: the riots of 1981 and 30 years later, in 2011, the Arab Spring. The first revolution in 1981 did not succeed because the information could not be shared. In 2011, a chain of solidarity has been created. Now people are interconnected. When someone is being beat up, everyone knows and outrage will rise. It's the end of the status quo.

Here is an interview of Lasri  talking about the movie [fr]:

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