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France: The death of freedom of speech
by Sally Ross
Gérard Boyadjian (born and brought up in Paris France) is currently being prosecuted in France for a film called Camel NO Amalgam.
At the website Postcards from Paris the blogger, Rita, posts another short film by Boyadjian, The Orphan Tree which she calls “a touching little movie by French film-maker, Gérard Boyadjian…. who is currently prosecuted in France for a film we are going to sub-title soon. We will tell you that story then”.
The Orphan Tree is a lovely ode to an Armenian Grandfather, who, it is hinted, came to France as a refugee after the Armenian genocide of 1915.
FRANCE The Death of freedom of speech from Gérard BOYADJIAN on Vimeo.
Although I have at present no details about Camel NO Amalgam, there is a short video entitled France: the death of freedom of speech in which Boyadjian explains his position (above) and seems to have been recorded shortly after the election of Emanuel Macron. It is in English and I have transcribed it below:
This is not a movie. It is this deaf beating of the heart of a man who sees his country dying, the heart of a moviemaker forced into exile to be able to keep making his movies.
. . . I’m here to tell you what’s going on in my country. I was born in Paris France. My parents are from Armenia . . . I‘m making this short video in English – because I want you to share it as much as you can so people can realize what France has become. France was well known for its culture, for its sophistication, for Its refinement. France was the meeting point where intellectuals, writers, artists from all around the world, especially those who were banned in their countries, would come to expose their work. Let’s put it this way. France, at least for the two last centuries has been the Motherland for Freedom of Speech.
Now what I’m about to tell you ‘ain’t gonna’ be easy to say, neither to hear. Many things are falling apart here in our country. Politicians will tell you – it’s not that bad. TV and news will say – ‘it’s gonna get better’. So-called artists, in order to maintain their status, will sing ‘Life is beautiful’ – but let’s face it – France is declining. The country is divided – between religions, colors, races, whatever you want to call it. Homeless people everywhere, social security is collapsing, multiculturalism is a complete failure. Paris is not a safe city anymore.
I would like to remind you of two statements made by two of the most powerful nations and their presidents: First, Vladimir Putin in 1995 said: In less than 20 years France will become a colony of its old colonies. In 2016 Donald Trump said: France is not France anymore!
I’m not Russian, I’m not American. I’m French, and I’m pretty sad to conclude they were both completely right. Freedom of Speech is dying here. It’s been dying for more than a decade and it is getting worse every day. You cannot think, say or joke unless you are ready to go to court. There’s no real intellectual debate anymore. I mean there is no ‘politically incorrect’ intellectual debate that might not take you to court. Many intellectuals, philosophers, writers, are sent to court. Why? Because they don’t think the right way. Yes, that’s our reality.
As a French moviemaker, the Public Prosecutor has sentenced me to a three-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 10,000 Euros, because my movie was ‘too offensive’.
So even with fiction, even with movies, you might end up in jail. This is France today. But that’s not enough.
Three days ago, our brand-new president Emanuel Macron said he wants a new law on ‘fake news’. Our television is already full of crap and ‘fake news’. Our mainstream media belongs to the richest interests of the country. Every access of any kind to decent information is completely locked and blocked. But our government is (pointing the finger at) Russia, the US, China, Poland, Venezuela, as the bad examples.
Otherwise you understand our regime is not what they proudly call a democracy. It’s becoming a ‘soft’ dictatorship – with candles, with hugs, entertainments and a despicable propaganda.
I’m not a politician. I’m an actor, a moviemaker – I make movies. I’m a free man just like Oliver Stone did with “South of the Border”, or “Conversations with Mr Putin”. Just like the Italian director Erik Gandini did with his documentary “Basta apparire”. Just like Mexican director Roberto Hernandez did with his documentary “Presunto culpable”.
Like many others I’m about to leave my country. Maybe it’s time for me, maybe its time for you, maybe it’s time for us – for those who deeply think we are living the nightmare of George Orwell’s 1984 – to stand up, to struggle to fight.
Please share what’s going on in France