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The Freedom to Be Funny: Reflecting on France’s Tradition of Satire

In a 2012 Le Monde interview the late publishing director of Charlie Hebdo, Stéphane Charbonnier said these now iconic words: “I would rather die standing up than live on my knees.” (In fact the quote originates with Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata.) In the same article, another of the magazine’s cartoonists injured in the attack, Riss […]

Are the French as Cynical About Lobbying As Americans?

HOUSTON – In 2010, the movie Casino Jack premiered in theatres. For many, especially in America, this film was a first glimpse into Washington, DC lobbying. It is based on the true story of Jack Abramoff, former lobbyist and businessman who was found guilty in 2006 of extensive corruption, along with other political lobbyists, Members […]

Les Tondues: Remembering a Dark Chapter in French Liberation

The Liberation of France is usually associated with joy, relief, and celebration. Allied Forces stormed the beaches of Normandy in June of 1944 and had liberated Paris by August (70 years ago this month). Nazi German forces surrendered unconditionally in May of 1945, and the French people were free once again. Yet, the Liberation was […]

The Last Newspaper Vendor: an Unlikely Celebrity of Saint-Germain-des-Prés

PARIS – Seeing Ali Akbar selling Le Monde on the streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés is startling. Not simply because he is often calling out his own headlines like, “Monica Lewinsky pregnant by Obama! She’s got twins!” or “Sarkozy converts to Islam!” But when was the last time you saw someone selling paper newspapers on foot in […]

Corsican Nationalist Group Trades Guns for Politics

LONDON – After the National Front for Corsican Independence (FNLC) was founded in 1976, it became known as a violent nationalist group prone to detonating bombs targeting French immigrants in Corsica and other sites on the French mainland. Their goal was French recognition of Corsican political independence and their group photos featured Corsican flags, black […]

Attack on Roma Teen in Paris Suburb Begs Bigger Questions

Darius, a sixteen-year-old Roma teenager was found nearly beaten to death in a shopping cart on Friday in a housing project outside of Paris. This story has made it into the headlines of the major French and some international press outlets. Called a “lynching” by Le Monde, the event has sparked the ongoing discussion about […]

Copé Out: Right-Wing Party President Resigns Amid Scandal and Poor Election Results

On June 15, the resignation of Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) party president Jean-François Copé will go into effect. The mayor of Meux and deputy from Seine-et-Marne took charge of the party in 2012 amidst infighting and a contest between him and François Fillon. Since then he has proven unable to unify the party. […]

Drugged-Up: Studies Reveal Alarming Psychotropic Drug Use in France

Drug overuse has emerged as an unintended side effect of the French universal national health care system. It is not surprising that the French people are one of the world’s top consumers of prescription drugs considering the 20 million Euros the French government spends on prescription reimbursements annually (the single greatest expense on governmental health […]

26-year-old French Photojournalist Found Dead in Central African Republic

Camille Lepage, a photojournalist from Anvers, France was found dead in western Central African Republic (CAR) on May 13. The 26-year-old had been living in Africa for about a year and a half, in Juba and South Sudan, before her last project in the CAR. According to her final Instagram post, about a week before […]

Back to the Polls? French Abstentions Threaten Fledgling Party in European Parliamentary Elections

PARIS – The French media recently stopped publishing stories about the national Municipal Elections. One of the primary topics of this coverage was the unprecedented 36.45% abstention rate. In barely over a month French citizens will be called to the polls again to elect the European Parliament, but in these latter elections abstentions are the […]