French weekly magazines review 6 December 2015

This week, the French magazines are mostly talking about the regional elections. The first round of elections takes place Sunday afternoon and in the magazines, it takes precedent over both the November 13 attacks and the Cop21 climate change conference in Paris, two other huge stories here in France.


Both Le Nouvel Observateur and L’Express have photographs of the ladies of the French far-right party, Front National, on their covers, that is Marine Le Pen and Marion Marechal Le Pen.

In the colours of the French flag, L’Obs headlines with “The other state of emergency”, with the subtitle ‘In the heads of Front National voters’. The editorial says that there’s a need to keep in mind the unity the French showed in the wake of the November attacks, despite the fact that so many things are now being done to try and cast that aside.

It underlines the rise of “fraternity” in the weeks since those attacks in Paris in which 130 people lost their lives and calls to mind a quote from the famous French writer Romain Gary who wrote “Patriotism is the love of our own, nationalism is the hatred of others”. The editorial ends by saying that if war in Syria has been decided upon, the right question to ask is not “why are we fighting?”, but “why are we defending ourselves?”

Nouvel Obs carries a profile of 12 new far-right voters, saying that discussions have been quite “enlightening”. One person said that the Front National will get their vote because “Those who don’t understand that in France we speak French, we don’t wear a veil... they shouldn't stay here!” Another said: “The Muslims give unpronounceable names to their kids… Look at the terrorists’ names, when someone’s named Abdeloud whatsit, it’s bound to be harder to blend in!” and last but not least, “If one doesn’t like France, one should move to Islam or another country where shit is tolerated!”

L’Express headlines with “The Front National tidal wave." Its editorial begins by wondering “what if this time it worked out well for the far-right?” implying that this would be bad for the rest of France. It begs several questions. What if the far-right took over several regions? What if they actually started to wield power over certain crucial decisions, for example, the future of education in France?

L'Express explains that since 1995, never has the far-right been so close to power which could actually enable its leaders to take action. It says the migrant crisis and the attacks in Paris this year have largely contributed to the rise of the Front National. L’Express ends by asking “will those who couldn’t stave off the Front National's far right ideology for the past 30 years be able to do so in the remaining 18 months?” before the 2017 presidential elections in France.

Left leaning Marianne’s editorial is also about the regional elections and how the November 13 attacks have shaken up somehow all the parties in France. Between Francois Hollande’s rise in popularity, the Front National saying they had the solution all along and the right party really being in a sort of limbo between the other two giants. Ending by saying that at least, the French have realised it was time they rallied together.

Le Point chose to picture Russian President Vladimir Putin on its cover, with the headline “our new friend” asking, what do the Russians really want? Its editorial headlines with “Proud to be French, not so much to be European…” It states that the country is currently enjoying an “outburst” of patriotism, but that it doesn’t necessarily mean that France will let go of its pathological pessimism. The right-leaning publication also praises the Muslim community for being so French at the moment, getting in on the patriotic bandwagon by singing La Marseillaise national anthem and such.

But Le Point also tackles Turkey and its double standards politicy. Its editorial goes into length on how Turkey is the big political winner right now, since, one, it will receive 3 billion euros from the European Union to help out with the flood of Syrian migrants arriving in the country and two, its “racketeers” will benefit from big bribes coming from the Islamic state’s oil-production sector. The editorial underlines the duplicity of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, since he seems quite content to have his opponents - that is to say the sizeable Kurdish people - being the targets of the Islamic State armed group,  although Le Point laments that IS should simply be called “Syria’s islamo-nazi” terrorists. The article concludes by saying that while it is fine to give Turkey some money for the migrants, but allowing the country to join the European Union - should make French people ashamed of being European.

Finally, satirical paper Le Canard Enchainé, headlines with the Cop21 coupled with one of the most prominent problem in France: unemployment. It reads “2 degrees below, 42 000 more unemployed people - Hollande desperate to say ‘I can’t turn it all down at the same time!” It goes into how both the right and left parties are trying to counter the rise of the far-right, saying that within 15 days, it’s not only the planet that needs to be saved, but the Socialist party might need to be rescued as well.

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