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Ethnic cleansing at the public entity, France Monde: Radio France International Fires the Journalist Richard Labévière


Translated by  Ernesto Páramo, revised by Machetera and the author

Last 12 August  Radio France Internationale summarily dismissed the famous French writer and  journalist Richard Labévière. This fact makes quite evident the new management methods that are being implemented under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as the neoconservative victory of the Atlanticist leading team of the French foreign broadcasting network (RFI, TV and France24) headed by Christine Ockrent, wife of the fugitive Bernard Kouchner, a one time "Socialist" who changed sides, moving to the right to be able to become the French Republic's Foreign Minister.

The reasons given for his summary dismissal are surreal:  Richard Labévière is accused of not having informed  the management of this public body that  he had interviewed  the Syrian president Bachar al-Assad  in Damascus. The interview was re-transmitted on the 9th of July by the television channel TV5 and  the following day by Radio France Internationale, just before the official arrival of al-Assad to Paris as a guest of president Sarkozy.

Richard Labévière is not just another Siné [1]. He was the editor in chief of RFI until they dismissed  him for supporting Alain Ménargues [2], who was also forced to resign accused of  “ anti-Semitism “ under pressure from Nissim Zvili, the Israeli ambassador in France. Labévière took charge then of the morning broadcast of “ Propose? ”, from which he was also sacked, yet again, after pressure from the Israeli ambassador. He was only left with a 40 minute programme “ Géopolitique, le débat ”, broadcast  every Saturday. They have now taken that from him too.

Next Tuesday Bernard Kouchner has to meet Bachar al-Assad in Damascus. I wonder how he will explain to him the dismissal of Labévière. Will he blame it on the last book published by the journalist in collaboration with the philosopher Bruno Jeanmart, "Bernard-Henri Lévy ou la règle du Je" ["Bernard-Henri Lévy or the Rule of I"] [3], an attack  against this predatory mass media outlet known in France as BHL, his initials. Or will he tell  his Syrian host that he could no longer stand Labévière saying that the capital of Israel is Tel Aviv and not Jerusalem?
And how will Kouchner explain such an incredible dismissal to Anne Gazeau-Secret, his ambassador in the Netherlands, who is also the wife of Richard Labévière?

And when will the French media decide it is time to publish the news? At the time of writing these lines, four days after Labévière's  dismissal, not even one news service in France had made any reference to this matter. The only news outlets to bring the Labévière affair out into the open are the Arab speaking ones: Assafir and Al Manar in Beirut, Al Quds Al Arabi in London and a website Aleppo in Syria. Funny, isn't it? Or perhaps it is not really so strange?

In conclusion, the only thing left for me to do, is to advise all the readers who want to be informed in real-time about the facts and the misdemeanors of Sarkozyan France, is that they ought to start learning Arabic. To those who have already done so, I would like to suggest that they read an excellent article by Mohamed Balut, Paris correspondent of the  Assafir daily newspaper in Beirut. However, for those of you who are not yet familiar with the language, here is a short summary:

After interviewing al-Assad
Dismissal of a French journalist sympathizer of the Arab cause

It is possible that the fact that he spoke with president Bachir al-Assad has cost the French journalist his position with RFI and TV5; the official French mass media do not seem to be  aware that France and Syria have a much warmer relationship now  or perhaps it is possible that they are trying to ignore it. Richard Labévière has written dozens of articles favorable to the Palestinian cause and two books last year, one of them with Pierre Péan, “Bethléhem in Palestine” [Bethlehem in Palestine] [4]. After the publication of this book, Labévière found a letter on his desk in his office that read: " We are going to skin you ”. His dismissal does pose the following question: is it possible to criticize Israel in the French media? We need to remember too that Labévière confronted in his book "La règle du je" the Jewish philosopher BHL, who in his magazine criminalizes anyone who dares criticize Israel. Alain Ménargues has already paid a very high price; Pascal Boniface, the French investigative journalist was the victim of a violent media campaign when he published his book with the unequivocal title, "Est-il permis of critiquer Israël?" ["Is it allowed to criticize Israel?"]. Is it a coincidence that this campaign against Labévière has been orchestrated by the same team - made up of Pierre Ganz, the director of the French programmes at RFI, Frank Weil-Rabaud and Nicolas Vespucci - who acted openly against Ménargues? So, who has supported Richard Labévière? Only the CFDT Trade Union [5] ”

Notes from the author and the translators

[1] The satirical and anarchist cartoonist Siné, who was employed in Charlie Hebdo, and who was accused of “ anti-Semitism “ and dismissed by Philippe Val, the neocon director of the weekly, after writing that Jean Sarkozy, Nicolas' son, was going to convert to Judaism before marrying the heiress of the Darty stores.

[2] The author of two books that the Israeli authorities and their apologists in France have not forgiven him for : Les Secrets de la guerre du Liban : Du coup d'état de Béchir Gémayel aux massacres des camps palestiniens and Le Mur de Sharon [Sharon’s Wall] .

[3] The play of words works much better in French than in English when the word jeu [game] is replaced with the word je [I], both with a very similar pronunciation. It is a poisonous allusion to the title of the magazine run by Bernard-Henri Lévy [The rules of the game] which in itself is, without a doubt, a reference to the title of one of film maker Jean Renoir’s masterpieces. Bernard-Henri Lévy is an arrogant, megalomaniac, postmodern French pseudo-philosopher totally identified with right wing politics, although he pretends in his latest book to be a leftie.  

[4] The author is wrong: the book was published in 1999.

[5] See : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conf%C3%A9d%C3%A9ration_Fran%C3%A7aise_D%C3%A9mocratique_du_Travail

PS: I can only encourage you to follow my example and sign this petition:

Abuse of power and crimes of opinion: the French press once again muzzled and its pluralism violently when it comes to Middle East.

The French foreign broadcasting network (RFI, TV5 Monde and France24) headed by the wife of French Foreign Minister, Christine Ockrent, and publicist Alain de Pouzilhac take over the editorial options of three major public media to impose an unconditionally pro-Israeli one-thought/one-discourse system. The precipitated dismissal during the summer holydays of Richard Labévières, Editor in Chief at RFI and specialist in Near and Middle East affairs, for having interviewed Syrian President Bashar el Assad, is consistent with the logic of yet another attack on journalistic pluralism, freedom of expression, and Human Rights in France, the country of the principles of the Enlightenment. Don’t let arbitrary and ideological diktat settle in France.

Sign the petition

Cartoon by Juan Kalvellido, Tlaxcala

Source: Basta ! Journal de marche zapatiste and Tlaxcala

Original article published on August 16, 2008

About the author

Fausto Giudice, Ernesto Páramo and Ma Chetera are members of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, translator and reviser are cited.

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