A terror attack in Paris has hit France like a seismic shock only three days before voting begins in a presidential election where anything seems possible, even the end of the European Union.
A gunman shot three policemen on Champs-Elysées Thursday evening, killing one and wounding two, before being shot dead. The government says the attack was “of a terrorist nature.” The shooting took place as the candidates were just going on the air to make their final televised appeal to voters.
Far-right populist Marine Le Pen and neophyte centrist Emmanuel Macron are slight favorites in the April 23 first-round vote to ultimately elect a French president. Meanwhile, the world is nervously awaiting a possible “Frexit” — French withdrawal from the EU — after the UK’s “Leave” vote on Brexit and Donald Trump’s election in the United States.
A strange psychosis has France in its grip. Confronted with an unprecedented terrorist threat, the entire nation is obsessing over a full-body swimsuit called the burkini. The world outside of France is struggling to understand why wearing it is a terrorist-sympathizing provocation. And why women are expected to affirm “French” values by wearing something else at the beach – like an itsy bitsy bikini-thong.
The bodies of French Muslim women have become a battleground.
Anne Hidalgo, the first woman mayor of Paris in its two thousand year history, didn’t appreciate the joke a fellow mayor made behind her back at the building site of a new rapid transit line.
The men eagerly gathered around her, quipped Philippe Pemezec, acted like they were going to get blowjobs.
So she named and shamed him. “Let’s grow your audience,” she wrote in an open letter posted on twitter, “so that everyone can enjoy your sense of humor, your worldview and your dignified conduct as mayor.”
Whose law will rule the Internet: French or American?
An epic struggle is underway. The World’s Search Engine has collided with the French Exception. It’s the Internet’s Right To Know (everything) versus a citizen’s Right To Be Forgotten (sometimes). The stakes are high.
Nuit Debout (“Up All Night”) began as demonstration against changes in France’s labor laws. It has since unleashed a seismic social shock, evoking memories of the spring that shook the world 48 years ago.