French press review 23 August 2011

Text by: Carla Westerheide
4 min

Like its African counterparts, Kadhafi, Kadhafi and Kadhafi are dominating the headlines in France.


Le Figaro headlines “The fall of a tyrant,” saying the dictatorship has crumbled after 42 years.

The paper published an editorial saying that this is not just a triumph for the rebels, but also for France which spearheaded the UN resolution authorising the international military invention.

The writer continues by comparing the situation to France's intervention in Côte d’Ivoire, where it had the population’s safety in mind and should be congratulated on its efforts.


“A free Libya” says Libération, which dedicates its first 10 pages to the issue. The paper takes a closer look at what’s next for Libya, in an interview with Jean-Yves Moisseron, an economist and the editor of Maghreb-Machrek.

He says that the National Transitional Council’s top priority should be to “emancipate itself from the international community.” It might have gotten to Tripoli with help from Nato, but it now needs to govern the country on its own.

Something Moisseron says is easier said than done, There are 140 different tribes in Libya, he says, 10 of which are strong enough to make any political decisions.

Communist paper L’Humanité says the Kadhafi regime has been “knocked down,” saying the National Transitional Council now needs a charismatic leader to overcome political divisions.

And there is a very powerful picture on the front page of Aujourd’hui en France. It’s a photograph of Kadhafi saluting. But it’s on the ground and on fire, so it almost looks as though he’s waving good-bye as he succumbs to the flames.

Also making the headlines here is Dominique Strauss-Khan. The New York prosecutor has asked to dismiss all charges against the former IMF chief, in which case the man many thought would become France’s next president could return to France.

The alleged victim’s lawyer calls it a “refusal to serve justice,” but the prosecutor says the allegations simply don’t hold. Is this a case of ‘the man in power wins because of his status’? I’m sure the press will debate that question for some time.

Dossier: The Strauss-Kahn affair rocks France, IMF

But not necessarily the French press. The French press is more likely to report on other papers debating it. Like Libération which quotes the New York tabloid Daily News as saying: “he might not be guilty of sexual assault, but he still is a dirty bastard.”

Libération also interviewed a Frenchman in New York, asking him if he thought it was fair that even thought he’s been cleared of all charges, he lost his job as head of the IMF after he was thrown in jail. The Frenchman responds by saying: “That’s just the American system.”

And what do you need to have if you don’t have mobile phone reception on your holiday? How about the U.S. President as your neighbour?

According to Le Figaro, when Barack Obama takes his vacation, he travels with phone antennae to stay in contact with friends. The paper says he has “sophisticated measures” to stay up-to-date about what’s going on in the world.

But not all fellow holiday makers welcome the move. For one, maybe they didn’t want to be reached and two, those who don’t use the same provider as the White House don’t even benefit from the antennae.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning