Saturday, April 15, 2017

Marine Le Pen sparks outrage over Holocaust comments By James Masters and Margaux Deygas, CNN Updated 9:33 AM ET, Mon April 10, 2017 Leader of the french far-right Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen holds a press conference on March 9, 2015 in Metz, eastern France, ahead of the March 22 and 29, 2015 regional elections. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN (Photo credit should read JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Here we go again, as Reagan used to say.

Still more fresh evidence that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. 

Marine LePen, the leader of the controversial far rightwing party of France that has been viewed by many for decades now as extremist and, at best, borderline racist, has finally revealed her true colors.

Marine LePen is, of course, the daughter of Jean-Marie LePen, the man who created the Front National, or the National Front as it would be called in English. He railed against France's Muslim population (any wonder why Le Pen likes Trump?), and he also made controversial statements, such as referring to the Holocaust as a detail in history.

Well, Marine seemed to put on a kinder, gentler face to the Front National. First of all, she is a woman, and so her presentation was not nearly so harsh as that of her father (and the two of them do not get along). With this more subtle approach, the Front National had grown in popularity and acceptance, to the point that she was actually leading in the French presidential elections for most of the race. It seemed to be yet another step in the direction that the world seems to be gravitating towards of increased nationalism and xenophobia, along with the Brexit vote and Trump's victory in the American presidential elections. 

Marine LePen has generated fresh controversy with remarks suggesting that France was not responsible for round ups of Jews during World War II. These comments came with less than two weeks to go before the first round of elections, which LePen was considered to have a strong chance in.

Two recent French presidents, Jacques Chirac and current President Hollande, acknowledged France's role of rounding up thousands of Jews, and apologized for it. So, LePen's denial of what is widely regarded as a grim truth and a skeleton in France's history is raising more than a few eyebrows. It is calling into question just how different she and her movement really are from the movement that was widely condemned as blatantly racist just decades ago.

For now, LePen and the National Front as in the lead in the first round of the French elections. However, this comment likely hurts her, because it was clearly not what anyone wanted to hear, and perhaps reveals to more people, finally, her true colors. Also, it should be noted that while even though she leads still in the first round, projections also show her losing convincingly in the second round, so there is room for hope. That is what we have to hope for, that France will not be the next in line to have a Brexit or a Trump kind of knee jerk reaction, nationalist and pseudo-fascist vote. 

Marine Le Pen sparks outrage over Holocaust comments by James Masters and Margaux Deygas, CNN, April 10, 2017:

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