France: land of love, wine and warmongering

As violence escalates in Libya, active members of the NATO coalition face a growing backlash at home and abroad. Warmongering French politicians are quickly losing points with the population they are supposed to represent.

French rapper Saidou says the home of “liberté, égalité, fraternité” is nowadays anything but.

“French society is white, masculine and rich,” he says. “For them anyone else is sub-human and needs to be taught their ‘civilization’.”

France has been condemned for targeting ethnic groups, for example, illegally deporting Roma. The French Interior Minister was also heard labeling Muslims as a “problem”.

France was also responsible for securing the arrest of former Côte d'Ivoire leader Laurent Gbagbo and it was the first state to attack Libya.

Pierre-Victor Bainier is a blogger whose website protesting the Libyan war has been swamped with support from the United States to the Middle East.

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Click to enlarge
“Since I created this page I get messages from Libyans, from Tunisians, from Egyptians, from many people in the world,”

he says.

“They are saying, ‘What is going on in Paris?’ and ‘Why are you going there and bombing these people, when you do not even know them?’”

According to the latest polls, Nicolas Sarkozy is the most unpopular president in the history of the Fifth Republic. France's bombing of Libya has made him even more disliked.

“As soon as you use force, there will be casualties, there is no middle ground,” says Etienne de Durand from the French Institute for International Relations. “There is no such thing as a clean war, war is about killing people.”

Three out of four voters think Sarkozy is a bad president, polls say. They add he has abused the UN mandate on Libya, which allowed only the creation of a strict demilitarized area of sky.

“A no-fly zone is an act of war,” says former president of Doctors Without Borders, Rony Brauman. “It is a very palatable expression to say that we are going to engage in an air campaign.”

France, for many, has long been the country of love, wine, and the Eiffel Tower. For growing numbers around the world, however, France is now a very different kind of state.