Episode 3/5: Liberty, Equality, Diversity
In this third episode, we are in Paris to look at what it means to be French. What defines Frenchness in a country where a quarter of the population are either immigrants or have immigrant heritage? It is a question that seems to come up in every presidential campaign and inevitably leads to heated debate and by default much tension and soul-searching.
Immigration is a particular concern of the far-right candidates Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour who talks about ‘assimilation’ rather than ‘integration’ of all immigrants. It is also an important factor in the campaign of right-wing candidate Valérie Pécresse and is dividing an already disunited left.
At a Zemmour rally on the ouskirts of the capital, we meet Ludovic, son of a Malaysian immigrant, who says he is "proud to be French and fully assimilated".
We also hear from Assa Traore, France-born of Malian parentage, whose brother Adama died while being arrested by police in 2016. It was France’s George Floyd moment and exposed the systemic racism that many believe still prevails in French life.
Narrator & translator: Barney Spender
Creator in French: Antoine Boyer
Original music: Clémence Reliat et Nicolas Vair
Engineer: Christophe Robert
Illustrator: Julie Pereira
Marketing and communication: Laurent Nicolas, Coline Sallois
Editor: Guy Jackson
Editor-in-chief: Michaëla Cancela-Kieffer
An AFP Audio podcast.