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French weekly magazines review

Rwanda’s standoff with France over genocide charges, the challenges facing France's new Prime Minister Manuel Valls and a bestseller on the hidden life of Jesus hit the cover pages of the French magazines.


L’Express reviews a new book about the hidden political life of Jesus. It’s titled Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by bestselling Iranian-American scholar Reza Aslan. The right-wing magazine sheds lights on Aslan’s core contention that Jesus was one of the members of the Jewish zealot movement which at the time advocated for the toppling of the established authority. That was well before the start of Jesus’ spiritual ministry, according to the author.

L’Express also reports that the author resurrects the theory that it was the failure of the regime Jesus and his followers plotted for that caused his arrest and execution alongside two other rebels. Also in Zealot, Reza Aslan purports that Jesus' followers became convinced that their master had been raised from the dead and that his mission had not been a failure after all. It is such beliefs, he concluded which have inspired the Jesus Movement enabling it to spread to non-Jewish lands.

Dossier: Rwanda remembers genocide 20 years later

L’Express says the notion by the Muslim author that Jesus may not have been the pacifist touted about in the bible is bound to cause revulsion and shock waves in Christian circles.

As Rwanda commemorates the 20th anniversary of the 1994 genocide, Marianne comments about the case being made against France, President Paul Kagame charging that Paris played a direct role in the preparing and execution of the genocide. Marianne reports that the accusations took the government by surprise forcing the Elysée to call off sending Justice Minister Christiane Taubira to represent France at the commemoration in Kigali.

The diplomatic row it explains ended with the expulsion of France’s envoy to Rwanda. The stand off according to Marianne was clearly a stunt to make Kagame look like a hero during the commemoration. Marianne says that fake heroism Kagame may have earned from the diplomatic row is bound to be wiped out UN-backed charges that his forces committed crimes against humanity in the DRC, and the targeted assassination of dissidents, including a former top RPF intelligence officer strangled to death in a South Africa hotel room.

Marianne caught up with Franco-Cameroonian journalist Charles Onana who has been investigating the massacre for years. He dismisses the charges made against France by the Rwandan leader in a long interview.

The satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné holds that Kagame described as a very undemocratic and skillful tactician knew exactly what he was doing when he unleashed the tsunami against France. It reports that he was the one who crushed the hardline Hutu regime installed in Kigali in the summer of 1994, putting an end to the 100-day massacre of Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Le Canard describes it a holocaust carried with unprecedented intensity - 800,000 people killed in three months, at the rate of 8000 people per day, almost four times more than during the First World War.

Le Point accuses the Rwandan leader of playing with the conscience of the genocide victims and of trying to mask his authoritarian excesses. It points to a clear message Kagame addressed to his enemies. "Whoever betrays our cause or wishes evil to befall on his people is set to become will become a victim”, he said.

Le Nouvel Observateur reviews a new book on the Rwandan genocide by French writer Jean Hatzfeld titled Englebert des Collines: Tales from Rwandan Streams. The hero is a Tutsi sexagenarian vagabond from the market town of Nyamata where 50,000 Tutsis representing more than 90 percent of the population were slaughtered in a 2-months killing spree. Engelbert recalls the horror scenes still very fresh in his mind and blood reddened rivers he swam cross in his desperate escape to safety. Another genocide survivor Claudine still grieves about the Hutu tribesmen, with machetes in hand cut until their arms were broken.

Le Point sends out a distress call to President François Hollande and his new Prime Minister Manuel Valls warning that France is sinking, as they struggle to contain the economic problems that caused the Socialist party‘s devastating defeat in local elections. The right-wing weekly regrets that despite Valls’ voluntarism, the government is still unable to choose between economic realities and the frenzies of hard-line leftists. It warns that France risks being isolated by Europe if it can’t deliver on its budget obligations.

And Marianne has a ferocious yellow-eyed eagle perched on the star spangled banner on its cover page as it explores the stakes of Transatlantic free trade talks opening in a few weeks. The caption of the lead article: “How the Americans are going to guzzle us up”. The left-leaning magazine holds that the EU and the United States are negotiating a commercial treaty on the eve of European elections in great secrecy.

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