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Ageing French rockers slammed for jobless jibe at young

Patrick Hertzog, AFP I French singer Jean-Jacques Goldman performs during the TV musical show "Les Enfoires" in Strasbourg, eastern France, in 2014

A music video by a group of mostly middle-aged French stars telling the young to “get moving” if they wish to succeed has triggered a bitter generational row in a country grappling with record-high youth unemployment.


The row underlined the anger felt by France’s young, facing unemployment rates upwards of 25 percent and increasingly shut out of a jobs market where permanent contracts are jealously guarded.

Penned by Grammy-winning singer Jean-Jacques Goldman and sung by a star-studded charity music collective called “Les Enfoirés” (roughly translated as “The Bastards” or "The Tossers"), the song “Your Whole Life” prompted a tirade of angry Twitter and blog comments.

The video has two groups of singers face off against each other and trade accusations, with people under 30 on one side and mostly older and well-established entertainers on the other.

The younger group tells the elder that they enjoyed “peace, liberty and full employment” while their own generation faces “joblessness, violence and AIDS”.

The elders respond that they didn’t “steal anything” and that young people should “get moving".

“When ‘Les Enfoirés’ say ‘get moving’, are they talking to the 25 percent of young people who are unemployed, or just the 22 percent who are under the poverty line?” tweeted Laura Slimani, head of the Socialist Party youth movement.

“A monument of vulgarity and hatred for young people,” economist Jacques Attali, a former adviser to Socialist ex-president Francois Mitterrand, commented on Twitter.

In 1975, France’s youth unemployment rate was around 7 percent and overall joblessness was about 3 percent. The overall jobless rate is now three times higher and post new jobs are now offered only as temporary contracts.

The song and its video are aimed at promoting an annual series of concerts whose proceeds go to the “Restos du Coeur” food charity for the needy.

Goldman, 63, often shown in polls as France’s most popular entertainer, defended the song as being well-intentioned.

“The ‘Enfoirés’ are playing the role of adults who answer (young people) the way they do too often: by skirting blame and with hypocrisy, but hoping they will do better.”


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