Original article by Dounia Hadni here: http://www.liberation.fr/france/2016/04/17/nuit-debout-alain-finkielkraut-chasse-de-la-place-de-la-republique_1446766. Translated by Daphne Lawless for Fightback. For background information on the “Nuit Debout” movement, a movement currently occupying public squares throughout France and elsewhere in Europe, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuit_debout. For background information on Alain Finkielkraut, an anti-multiculturalist and Zionist writer, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_Finkielkraut.
Nuit Debout: Alain Finkielkraut chased away from Place de la Republique
YouTube screen capture of Alain Finkielkraut.
The philosopher was booed at the gathering of protestors on Saturday evening. Videos of his altercation with the participants have been circulating since then on social media. The right and the far right have used this incident to condemn Nuit Debout.
Several dozen “Nuit-Deboutists” on Saturday were clearly not happy to see Alain Finkielkraut, the controversial philosopher, at Place de la Republique [a public square in central Paris] which they have occupied. And they let him know with violence.
In a video posed on social media, cries of “piss off”, “fascist” and insults rain down. Spitting can also be heard. The philosopher, accompanied by his wife, decided to leave very quickly, not without losing his cool. You can hear him shout “bullshit”, “fascists” and “blah blah blah, dumb bitch” at a young woman who insulted him. A person speaking to him asks him to “not make it worse”, to which he replies: “If they insult me, I can respond. I am a human being.”
Some minutes after leaving the square, the philosopher posted to the conspiracy-theory site “Circle of Volunteers” explaining that he went “to listen” to the demands of the Nuit Debout movement. “I was expelled from a place where democracy and pluralism were supposed to rule, so this democracy is a fraud, this pluralism is a lie. Though I only went to listen, I didn’t go to intervene or to promote my ideas, they wanted to purify Place de la Republique of my presence, and so I submitted to this purification, with my wife,” he added. And his wife added: “It must be said that if there had been no security, you would have been lynched.”
However, according to witness accounts received by Europe 1 radio this Sunday, Alain Finkielkraut was accompanied at the Popular Assembly, before being expelled, at a short distance away in the square near the statue by “a group of ‘aggressive’ persons”. This incident would therefore not have occurred as soon as he arrived, as claimed by a journalist from “Circle of Volunteers”. It should be noted that a few people made an effort to calm the crowd, by surrounding the undesirable intellectual until he left the square.
On the night of Saturday and Sunday, #Finkielkraut reached the top of Trending Topics France, pitting his supporters against his critics.
That same night, the Young Communists congratulated themselves on Twitter for having “thrown out” Alain Finkelkraut. On Sunday, the journalist and essayist Caroline Fourest denounced these “actions of bastards”:
You can disagree with Alain Finkielkraut, and I do very often, on many issues, but to chase him telling him to “get lost”, insulting him and physically intimidating him, just because he came to Place de la République to hear for himself, these are the actions of bastards.
These collective lynchings are already common enough on the web for us to not want to see them starting on the streets, in our public squares. Not at the Place de la Republique which belongs to all of us, where have our candles of mourning, and which must not be privatised by a few sectarians… Especially not if we want to create a better world.
[Translator’s note: Caroline Fourest is known as a neoconservative and Islamophobic journalist and was formerly associated with the Charlie Hebdo magazine.]
Voices from the right and the far right have taken advantage of the incident to try to discredit the Nuit Debout movement, such as Eric Ciotti: “Hate and intolerance, participants in Nuit Debout show their true face by insulting and expelling Finkielkraut from the Place de la Republique”
Or even Mario Maréchal-Le Pen [niece of National Front leader Marine Le Pen]: “When Nuit Debout chases away Finkielkraut, it shows its true face”.
The president of the “pro-sovereignty” party France Arise, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, also rushed to the rescue of the academic: “Total support to Finkielkraut. Intelligence faced with stupidity!”