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Letchimy versus Guéant

Translated Sunday 19 February 2012, by Kristina Wischenkamper and reviewed by Henry Crapo

Serge Letchimy, MP for Martinique and affiliated to the Parti Socialiste, did not overstate his case. He did, however, pose a vital question, full of humanity and literary flair.

The Right, as well as far too many newspaper articles, have been crying outrage, citing Godwin’s Law. Godwin is the name of the sociologist who found (humourously) that the longer a debate progresses online, the greater the probability of a comparison with Hitler or the Nazis. Yet one need only reread the question Letchimy asks the Prime Minister, to realize that the evocation of Nazism is not a lack of argument here.

The best way to do justice to this MP is to publish his question here, the text of which is also available on his blog. It is an indignant speech, but one marked with the seal of the humanist, for which the Right is still calling for him to apologize.

"Mr. Prime Minister,

We already know that for Mr Guéant, the line between "immigration" and "invasion" is invisible, and that he can cleverly blur the distinction between civilization and political régime.

This is no slip of the tongue!

It is a completely voluntary decision!

In short: it is a state of mind and it is almost a crusade!

Mr Guéant, you stoop so low as to claim, with neither remorse nor regret, that "all civilizations are not created equal." Some are more "advanced" or "superior" to others.

No, Mr Guéant, this is not common sense!

It is quite simply an insult to mankind!

It is a denial of the richness of human experience!

And it is an attack upon the diversity of peoples, cultures and civilizations!

No single civilization holds the candle to light or to darken reason!

No single race has a monopoly on beauty, science, progress, or intelligence!

Montaigne said that "Each man carries in him the entire experience of the human condition."

And I agree with him.

But you Mr Guéant, you prefer the darkness!

Day after day you take us back to those European ideologies that led to concentration camps after campaigns of slavery and colonialism.

Mr Guéant the Nazi regime, so fretful about remaining pure, so hostile to all differences, was it a civilization? The barbarism of slavery and colonization, was it a civilizing mission?

Mr Prime Minister, it is an obscure corner of France that nurtures nostalgia for those dark days that you are trying to win over from the National Front.
This is a dangerous game you are playing and one of unacceptable demagogy.

But there is another view: that of Montaigne, Montesquieu, Condorcet, Voltaire, Schoelcher, Hugo, Césaire, Fanon, and so many others!
A France that invites us to recognize that every one of us, in his identity and her difference, defines the human condition, and that is what should be at the root of all our alliances: our difference!

So Mr Prime Minister, my question is this: When will the Minister of the Interior cease to be an affront to the image of your government and to the honour of France?"

Serge Letchimy

Deputy of Martinique

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