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Country Report: France, February 2023

Time to read: 10 min

Poor France

Throughout February, France has been gripped by the "Pierre Palmade" affair, named after a famous comedian and showbiz star known to all French people. On 10 February, his car violently collided with another car whose passengers were a six-year-old boy, his father and his sister-in-law, a young pregnant woman. The whole of France was shocked, because the baby the young woman was carrying died, and the little boy remained in a coma for six days, his jaw broken. Throughout the month, new revelations were made almost every day. First we learned that the prognosis of the victims was life-threatening. Then that Pierre Palmade was driving the wrong way. The next day, the press revealed that he was under the influence of cocaine. As time went on, we learned that there were two other men in Pierre Palmade's car – but that they ran away, because they were also under the influence of drugs. That one of them was a Moroccan who is in France illegally. That they were coming out of a "Chemsex" (Chemsex implies the use of drugs in the service of sexual activities planned to last from several hours to several days) between men at Pierre Palmade's house. Following a report of paedophilia by a new person in the file (who said he had participated in several 'Chemsex' with Pierre Palmade), the police searched the comedian's house. The latter allegedly boasted to this person that he was able to "offer" two children aged 7 and 9 years old for sexual abuse. Then the second man accused him, this time of using child pornography. As a result of all this, Pierre Palmade suffered a stroke in hospital, while under house arrest and wearing an electronic bracelet. This vascular accident is said to have aggravated his memory loss, which had been noted following the pile-up. Two days later, we learned that Pierre Palmade was to be transferred to prison. This was because the justice system considered that there was a risk of reiteration (the comedian could again behave deviantly under the influence of drugs if he was left free), and the judiciary wanted to avoid the risk of interference with the pending investigations. The next day, we learned that a close friend of Mr Palmade, a Chinese transgender, was under investigation for possession and distribution of child pornography images during a party at the comedian's home.

Of course, this story gives rise to all sorts of rumours about the identity of the "Chemsex" guests at Pierre Palmade's house and the pedo-criminal networks at the highest level. For the moment, the transparency and speed of the French police and justice system mean that the majority of French people do not pay too much attention to the latter. We were also subjected to the usual indignation contests. Both from the right, who thought that the left was minimising the horror of Pierre Palmade's act by trying to make him a victim of drugs - and from the left, who accused the right of homophobia and racism. Just classic. Of course, such tragedies involving well-known characters happen in any era. The difference, perhaps, is that they are not counterbalanced by any positive tutelary figure who inspires respect by his or her exemplary nature. There is nothing to compensate, balance, or counterbalance this gloomy France.

Ask any French person in the street to name an honest, serving political leader and you will have a hard time getting an answer. In addition to the "classic" affairs, all parties are affected by sex scandals. Like the emblematic socialist Jack Lang who, despite being the signatory of a pro-pedophilia tribune and having been "sponsored" by the paedo-criminal Epstein, continues to be invited to all TV platforms. Or the paedo-criminal and socialist Olivier Duhamel who reached the top of the media elite, while apparently the whole cream of the Parisian Nomenclature knew about his inclinations. Or the socialist Elisabeth Guigou, former Minister of Justice: how could she be appointed president of the commission on incest, when apparently everyone knew about her links with the paedo-criminal Duhamel, who had invited her to his holiday home where highly alcoholic quasi-orgies took place under the watchful eye of children? And I'm not talking about the "Matzneff", "Unef" and "Dominique Strauss Kahn" scandals. The right is far from being spared. The current right-wing Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, has been accused of rape and is known to have been a regular guest at the very select Parisian swingers' club: the "Chandelles". The eminence grise of the “conservative” right, Jean-Marie Couteaux, was indicted for administering MDMA to a young man during a dinner in a restaurant. During his presidential campaign, Eric Zemmour had an official and public mistress who accompanied him everywhere. And I'm only talking about what is public knowledge: if you frequent the Parisian right-wing scene, what you learn things about the morals of its main leaders that would give most people a nausea.

When you discuss these issues with French people, they will all repeat the same phrase over and over again, like automatons: "it concerns their private life, everyone does what they want as long as it is between consenting adults". This is true, but for all that, these are still transgressions. To free oneself from all constraints is also to abdicate all responsibility - and this can only lead to tragedy, as illustrated by the Palmade affair. This is all the more important in case of people who are in charge of the public interest and hold the future of the nation in their hands. How can we entrust it to leaders who show such disrespect for people and exhibit such criminally irresponsible behaviour? What is at stake here is nothing less than human dignity. Without it, how can we imagine mutual respect between the ruling class and the population? France, Europe itself, has abandoned any common will to strive for virtuous living, exemplary conduct and excellence. Worse, these values have almost become dirty words.

And even if one wishes to ignore all these important issues, one cannot ignore the fact that such behaviours endanger national security. Let's take the example of the Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin. Swinging in clubs leads you to have sex with people you don't know. Imagine the blackmail power the mafia or a foreign power could have over the French interior minister if they had a video of him hobnobbing with unsavoury or underage people. This is not just a private affair, it is a matter of national security.

Of course, the fact that there are one or two MPs out of the total of 577 associated with such practices is not fundamentally "serious" - it may even be statistically representative of the French population. The problem is the generalisation of these addictive deviant behaviours. We cannot ignore the phenomenon of the reproduction of creepy elites. How can you not have a tendency to bring up, to surround yourself, in the circles of power with people who share the same values, the same passions as you? How else can you explain the fact that we were sold all these shady characters as references? Why were they chosen from among thousands of others who were at least as competent? How, for example, could someone like Mr Duhamel have risen so high when he has never written or proposed anything remarkable?

As you will understand, we cannot expect salvation from the elites in place. France has been confronted with this type of situation many times. It has always been resolved either by a change of regime or by the emergence of a providential man. Such as de Gaulle, Clemenceau, Gambetta, Napoleon. Or a woman such as Joan of Arc to whom the Archangel Saint Michael appeared. I invite you, by way of conclusion, to a comparative reading of these two prayers to the patron saint of France:

A popular prayer to Saint Michael "Guardian Angel of the Church and of France" :

"O Saint Michael, guardian angel of the Church and of France,

We place our perople, our families, our parishes, the whole of France,

under your special protection. May God raise up saints among us!

Establish the reign of Christ over France and the world. Amen".

And another one from Louise France, daughter of Louis XV:

"Glorious Archangel! Have regard to the needs of a Kingdom of which you are the special patron.

Banish, remove from our lands all that the derangement of morals

which heresy and impiety are trying to spread. Overcome the attacks of

Lucifer, do not allow him to triumph over your heritage. Amen."


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