< SWITCH ME >

Illustration by Laura Hempel
"Goodbye, children. Goodbye, Mr Le Pen!"

The political platform of Jean-Marie Le Pen and his party is clear. They are a right wing party and rely on the promotion of "traditional values." But Le Pen's statements make it clear that he considers such things as extreme nationalism, xenophobia, anti-egalitarianism and racism to be traditional values. His connections with WWII Nazi collaborators are a painful thorn in the side of modern French society.

Today's Western Europe, as the basis of the EU, was formed around the French-German axis of reconciliation, which is threatened by Le Pen's attitudes. He does not bother to hide his antipathy towards the Jews, using the well-known model of the world controlling conspiracy. He has been legally and publicly condemned for his statement that "the gas chambers constituted a detail in the history of the Second World War".

His terrifying absence of human consciousness when it comes to an individual, his life and dignity was shown in his attack on HIV infected people (les sidaïques), when he marked them as a threat to the national balance and suggested placing them in "sidatoriums."

Just to confirm that he considers his own race more valuable than the others, he shouted out loud: "Yes, I do believe in the inequality of races!" In his opinion, black people can make their best contribution to society by running at the Olympics. For these reasons, Le Pen would like to see his country clear of immigrants that would "ruin, invade, overflow us, sleep with our women, daughters and sons." It is obvious that his perception of the basic idea of the EU is at the very least paranoid and psychotic. But Mr Le Pen's euroscepticism is not news. He used every opportunity in the European Parliament to criticize further European integration and promote his bigotted views.

In the recent elections he ran and entered the Parliament again. He will now be the oldest member of the assembly, meaning that he should have been granted the honor of opening the first session. Considering Le Pen's rhetoric inappropriate for the opening of this important European institution, some current members succeeded in changing the protocol.

"In his opinion, black people can make their best contribution to society by running at the Olympics."

This sets us in front of insoluble dilemma. Does this restriction reveal the hypocrisy of democracy, or is it our responsibility to stop racial hatred being propagated from the most respected seat in Europe? Le Pen is not likely to change his attitude, and the Liberals claimed that the change of protocol would just attract unnecessary attention and give Le Pen more publicity. Some say that European Parliament has become a dumping ground for failed national politicians, but Le Pen and his family and associates play a significant part in French politics, too. The reason for this, according to surveys, is that most of his voters approve of his "traditional values" policies, but disapprove of his extreme nationalism.

We can only hope that for the sake of Europe the movement of extreme nationalism will slowly die out with Le Pen's generation, leaving some healthier right-wing parties and making the future Europe aware of the mistakes of its past.

NEXT ISSUE
IN -933 DAYS