French press review 28 November 2015

7 min

This morning's front pages are torn between yesterday's memorial service for those who lost their lives in the Friday 13 Paris attacks and the UN climate conference which opens in the French capital on Monday.


In a ceremony at the former military hospital Les Invalides, French president François Hollande, told the families of the 130 victims of the Paris killings that their loved ones had died in the name of a betrayed god, victims of a lost cause.

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The president promised that France will do everything possible to destroy the army of fanatics responsible for these odious crimes, without losing sight of its own republican values and humane standards.

He said the killings were a tragic reminder to an entire generation that the world can be a difficult place but the events of Friday 13 were also an invitation to confront that difficulty with courage.

Catholic La Croix turns its attention to the injured survivors of Friday 13, many of whom remain in a critical condition in hospitals around the capital. The paper suggests that the internal wounds of many who escaped physically unharmed will take years to heal, stressing that the medical and psychological services to help deal with such trauma are readily available. A psychaitrist interviewed by La Croix says the vast majority of those psychologically injured can be healed, provided they, and society in general, recognise that they have been seriously hurt.

Le Figaro's editorial is an attempt to move Hollande''s memorial service speech into the non-partisan political realm.

France, says Le Figaro, needs to turn its back on the dishonesty, the illusions, the dogmas which have caused the country to lose its way over the past three decades. The freedom, equality and brotherhood promised by the republican slogan can exist only in a society which is upheld by authority and responsibility. Too often, laments the right-wing paper, those values have been forgotten, in our schools, in the wider society, in the state itself.

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Without them, the much-vaunted French lifestyle is meaningless, there is no hope of a future society based on peaceful sharing.

The war which has been declared against the menace of Islamic fundamentalism has to start, not in Syria, but on our own doorsteps, and by an unflinching defence of our own values, it says.

The editorial in left-leaning Libération looks forward to Monday's grand opening of the Cop21 climate conference here in Paris.

The paper thinks that an agreement to keep global warming down to 2.0°C or slightly more is likely to emerge from the talks. Libé recognises that even that modest objective is now generally recognised as too little, too late but says it should be hailed as an important way-marker on the route to a collective acceptance of responsibility.


Libération is upset that the current state of emergency has resulted in the cancellation of the Paris marches planned to mark the opening and end of the climate conference. The left-leaning paper wonders if it was reasonable to put terrorists and ecology activists in the same box.

Le Monde notes that several ecology activists have had their homes raided and are subject to house arrest under the terms of the emergency legislation put in place after the terrorist attacks.

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Libération wonders if this kind of conference will function correctly, deprived of the energy and critical thinking brought by groups of enthusiastic, informed protestors.

Libé quotes from Hollande's speech at yesterday's memorial service when he promised that France would fight while remaining true to her own values.

The editorial ends by suggesting that those values, including civil liberties, are just as important in the struggle against global warming as in the war against terrorism.

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