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September 2004

Madonna put in the stocks

On Sept 16th, the prime time TV News broadcasting, Antenne 2 (second national broadcasting program), did not miss on the fact that Madonna, visiting Israel at that time, is a member of Kabale. The Parisian center of that group was then shown, and it was mentionned that french " anti-cults " associations consider it as a " cult ". After the cinema with Tom Cruise, are we going to " filter " entertainment music ? They could have similarly suspected the three former US presidents, as those french " authorities " consider that all of them belong to " cults " !

OSCE against racism and discrimination

September 15th was the end of a 3 days conference organized by OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), featuring Tolerance and fighting against racism, xenophobia and discrimination.

The highlight was a firm support given to the Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

In particular, in Point 2 and 3 of the session’s conclusions, the Conference condemns organizations and individuals promoting hatred or acts of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, or related intolerance, and urges participating States to adopt effective measures to combat acts motivated by intolerance and to speak out publicly against such acts.

This should be embarassing for the french government which has set up an institution, the MIVILUDES, promoting intolerance in all areas of economic and civil life.

Writing to the Mayor of Paris to protest

This month, the Parisian Townhall has launched a big marketing campaign featuring : " Paris says no to anti-semitism, racism and to all discrimination. " Yet, the mayor’s deputy, Anne Hidalgo, who replaced him for several months last year, is supporting actively intolerant groups – like " Attention, children " (Attention enfants) – which, under the improbable pretext of " protecting children ", sets up downright mediatic pogroms in the streets of Paris, against so-called " cults ". An instance was in front of the buildings of " La Nouvelle Acropole " which runs a high-class university on ancient civilisations.

In desperate need of a hobby horse, " Attention enfants " has just protested against the coming of Tom Cruise to Paris, and his one hour private talk with Nicolas Sarkozy, head of the Economics National Department. This probably gives nightmares to parisian childen !

Every parisian citizen is invited to protest the high hypocrisy of this campaign.

The city of Chatellerault (France) condemned for discrimination

The city of Chatellerault has just been condemned in two different cases, at the court of Poitiers (South-West). The judges cancelled the ban on a gathering organized in town quarters by the Jehovah witnesses, a ban based on the sole point that this movement is quoted on the 1996 Parliamentary " blacklist ".

This ban was not in fact motivated by any legal point. The court decision should have enabled a new gathering in town quarters, however the city has just changed its policy and excludes any " cultual use " of its quarters.

A cabal in the professional field

Here is a shameful case of witch hunt in France. A consultant who is training people in management and personal enhancement, has been working and training a fair amount of employees of a pharmacy company for 7 years ; the company is obviously satisfied with the service as his contract is renewed every year. He held also responsabilities at the same time in a spiritual movement of hindouist type, which is his constitutional right and is not a public issue.

An association " combat face au sida " (solidarity with AIDS victims) publicized his convictions, and the communist newspaper " l’Humanité " then started an " outing " campaign on this topic.

The company’s training manager has resisted so far to the pressure, stating that the private life of their consultant is not a company’s concern ; the spiritual group he belongs to is not " listed " ; " no witch hunt here " ; this consultant is competent and we are satisfied. But the coming months will be hot as the Trade-unions are getting involved.

Discrimination within business condemned in Court

On Sept 14th, the owner of a housage has been condemned by the Court of Toulouse to a 10 000 euros fee, coupled with a 4 months suspended sentence because she had refused to sell to a person with arab origins.

As a reminder, article 225-1 and 225-2 of the french Penal Code is very severe for any person who would refuse goods or a service based on racial, religious or philosophical reason. A simple discriminatory hindrance to the normal practice of an economic activity may be punished by a 2 years sentence and a 30 000 euros fee. (Even more for state employees). It is almost never applied.

French Ayatollahs

On september 2nd, Jean-Pierre Brard, a communist member of Parliament, criticized Nicolas Sarkozy, french minister of economics and the most popular ascending politician in France, because he had an hour talk with Tom Cruise, who was on a promotion tour in Europe for his new movie " Collateral ", arguing the actor is known as a scientologist and that a member of the french government should not talk with such persons. " This is a serious fault " added JP Brard, who is also a member of the MIVILUDES (French governmental committee of watch and fight against sectarian practices).

" Tom Cruise does not hide what he is in the US " answered N. Sarkozy, " Does this mean that one cannot go and see certain actors at the movies ? ". His deputy for industry, Patrick Devedjian, added on national aircast RTL : " N. Sarkozy is not concerned about people’s convictions or their private life. Do you think we should ask every person we meet what they think or investigating into their convictions ? "

Laicite against discrimination ?

The President of the French Protestant Federation, Jean-Arnold de Clermont, told " La Croix " ( a Catholic daily newspaper) that : " The churches cannot do all the work to help each and every one in finding marks in order to be able to live together. The problem of intolerance is much deeper than religious issues. It is linked with general indifference from french people who, in their majority, don’t react against ordinary dicriminatory acts.

Jean-Pierre Brard persists in making up a controversy on MD Pelloux

In summer 2003, a heavy heat had officially caused thousands of deaths amongst elder people in France, often due to lack of means in hospitals. At that time, MD Pelloux, national president of emergency services, had asked real means to be able to treat such situations. He had also criticized the fact that government authorities, although duly alerted by him regarding the catastrophy, had not reacted and had minimized the situation, politicians being often on holidays during that period. Revelations by MD Pelloux have then caused the replacement of Mr. Mattei, Health Department Minister.

JP Brard, a commmunist member of Parliament, has pushed this summer a controversy against MD Pelloux, saying that he would have links with Jehovah’s witnesses, which MD Pelloux denies firmly. Searching to further extend the controversy, JP Brard even accused Jehovah’s witnesses of " high criminality " (for their convictions) in the weekly newspaper VSD of september 2nd. MD Pelloux has then attacked JP Brard to court under the charge of slander. JP Brard is currently working together with former minister M. Mattei in a Parliament commission, which may explain his assault against MD Pelloux. We can only condemn once again the use of the " cult " issue for political interests.

JP Brard, whose statements are usually extremist, has been convicted of slander against religious groups several times in court. He joined the French communist Party in 1956, the year of Budapest tanks, which should invite him to play it down on religious matters.

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