Latest update: 10/01/2011
Would you like to bite into Marine le Pen?
FRENCH PAPERS, Wed., 5/1/2011: A baker in Deauville is criticized for selling "galette des rois" cakes embedded with political figurines, including far-right politician Marine Le Pen; a poll in Le Monde indicates increasing worries in France and Germany over the integration of Muslim minorities; also TV presenter Patrick Poivre d’Arvor is accused of plagiarism and Libération covers protests in Tunisia.
Le Monde leads with a poll conducted by Ifop on “Islam and integration” in France and Germany. It concluded that 68% of the French and 75% of Germans think Muslims are poorly integrated in their respective countries. 40% of French and German people consider Islam “a threat”.
The poll shows that negative sentiments are growing towards signs of Islam in our societies. One example: in 2010, 39% of French people were opposed to the building of mosques while in 2002, only22% of people were opposed.
The paper offers some possible explanations for these sentiments amongst the French and German population: the right-wing discourse on the dangers of “islamisation”; the impact of French and German leaders stating that integration of immigrant populations has failed; the national identity debate in France. “All or some of this cocktail,” notes Le Monde, seems to have convinced many French and Germans that the integration of Muslim minorities is “difficult to achieve”.
Libération covers the “hidden protests” that have been taking place in Tunisia since mid-December in several cities. The protests group together unemployed graduates, lawyers and other Tunisians who are frustrated by Ben Ali’s authoritarian rule and the lack of jobs. Ben Ali is President of Tunisia since 1987. The paper’s editorial criticises France for too much complacency with regard to Ben Ali’s regime. “Local and foreign journalists cannot do their jobs without being pursued, intimidated or even imprisoned,” the paper notes. It concludes that Ben Ali’s refusal to allow a plurality of voices in Tunisian politics could contribute to the rise of radical Islam in the country.
Le Parisien leads with allegations that one of France’s leading TV personalities may have plagiarised large tracts of a book he is publishing on Ernest Hemingway. Patrick Poivre d’Arvor (known as “PPDA”) is a former presenter of the main evening news on the flagship TF1 network and writes a number of books every year. Around a hundred pages of his upcoming work on the American writer Hemingway seem to bear a considerable resemblance to passages in a biography written by deceased author Peter Griffin. PPDA’s publishers insist the book is not complete and that journalists have merely had access to a draft of the book.
We finish with a look at news website Rue89 which covers a controversy in the northern French town of Deauville. Every year for the feast of the Epiphany (6th January), the French eat a traditional almond-based cake known as the “galette des rois”. It usually contains a religious figurine and the person who eats the slice which contains the figurine is crowned king… or perhaps crowned far-right politician? A wily baker in Deauville decided to embed his galettes with twelve different political figurines, including the far-right politician Marine Le Pen, much to the disgust of some customers!