French far-right leader Marine Le Pen removed a picture of an American journalist beheaded by the Islamic State (IS) group from her Twitter account Wednesday after the graphic image sparked widespread condemnation, including from the victim’s family. The image of James Foley, who was abducted in Syria in 2012 and executed by his IS group captors…
Cover Photo Credit: Blandine Le Cain/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)
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By Nate Nkumbu
Election Season is upon us here in the United States but across the Atlantic, France is also getting ready for a very important election that could have global implications.
With a whole range of issues that are in the voter’s mind from national security to the economy, this election season will prove to be one that could shape France’s future at home and abroad.
After a wave of terrorist attacks that have plagued the country in recent years and a meddling economy that has failed to take off, many in France are willing to turn to the far right of the political spectrum for salvation and safety.
But before going into too much detail, let’s do a little overview of how the French political system actually works.
The country is led by a President, who is elected every five years.
France uses a two round system to elect its president so the top two finishers in the first round of voting then face off in a run off election two weeks later.
The next election is scheduled to be held on April 23, 2017 with the second round scheduled for May 7.
Many experts believe that incumbent Socialist President Francois Hollande could be in real trouble if he does decide to run for reelection.
“The Socialist party, which Hollande is member of doesn’t have much love for him like the rest of the France because he’s failed on number of things, mostly the economy as France is still struggling,” William R. Keylor, a Professor at Boston University who specializes in International Relations and is expert on US and French politics said to RISE NEWS.
According to Keylor, Hollande’s mismanagement of the economy has seen his approval rating drop to as low as 10%.
The professor added that because of Hollande’s unpopularity, many of the political parties in France see an opportunity to challenge his Presidency.
One of those parties is led by a rising star in French politics by the Name of Emmanuel Macron, the 38-year-old who Hollande had as his finance minister has become the rising star of French intellectuals who wish for a more moderate future.
His brand of politics, and his campaign (which is called “En Marche!”, or On Our Way) are marked with a form of optimism not unlike Canadian Prime minister Justin Trudeau.
But Macron is not the only challenger in the election.
The Republicans (the center-right political party) will hold a primary in the fall that is being hotly contested by Former President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Alain Juppé.
There is also a far right party that is actually leading current opinion polls in the election- the National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, a member of the European Parliament.
Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie Le Pen is a rabid racist who founded the National Front as a reactionary force meant to inform more traditional ideas of how French society should be run.
Keylor suggest that on the international scene, Sarkozy, Hollande, and Macron would continue the international presences that France has with NATO and the European Union, but under Le Pen, France’s international presences would change drastically.
“Under both the Socialist and Republicans, France would continue their obligations to the Nato and the EU being charter members and one the more influential nations but under Le Pen, you would see France renege on the obligation” Keylor said.“Le Pen’s policy, much like Trump’s in America is all about making France first. Under her, you would see France retreat inwards”
With the Socialists discredited under Hollande’s poor economic management and weakness in dealing with terrorist threats, there is a real chance that France will have to choose from the right and the far right in the Presidential run-off election.
Why does that matter?
Well just look at the recent “burkini” controversy.
The nation has been gripped in debate over whether women should be allowed to wear a form of the Islamic covering known as a “burqa” on the beach. The issue came to a head when one beach community banned the outfit and forced women to remove it while on the beach.
The controversy has angered human rights campaigners and progressives the world over, but it is not clear-cut in France.
Le Pen and Sarkozy support making the ban a national one while Juppé and Macron want to relax the ban.
Macron, who speaks English and is married to his former high school teacher who is over 20 years his senior also wants to reform the French economy and is willing to go after some of its sacred cows, like the 35 hour workweek.
He is not a Socialist and has angered many labor unions due to his more reform minded view of the world, but he may be France’s only hope to prevent the country from plunging into a far right reality.
A 38 year old may be the man France needs in this time of great need.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.Post Views: 678
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Every hurricane, experts warn against taping up your windows.
And every hurricane, people do it anyway. They almost always regret it.
In short, tape will do nothing to stop hurricane force wind.
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By Kelsey D’Auben
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens has become one of the most successful films in modern movie history.
It had the most successful opening weekend in history, grossing over $200 million in box office sales worldwide. This past week the highly anticipated Star Wars sequel broke yet another box office record, passing both Jurassic World and Titanic to become the second most grossing film of all time. And with this after only 19 days of being in theaters, Star Wars is also expected to pass James Cameron’s Avatar and claim the number one spot shortly.
A new trilogy means one sure thing in the Star Wars world- a new trio set to save the galaxy from the dark side.
First came Luke, Leia, and Han Solo in episodes IIV, X, and XI, then Obi Wan, Anakin, and Padame in episodes I, II, and III.
In The Force Awakens we are introduced to the new team- Rey, Finn, and Poe.
This new group of leading characters is much different than the ones before them. They are made up of a Black man, a Hispanic man, and a woman. This is a significantly more diverse cast than the saga’s previous films that had casts that were nearly all white.
Not to say that this film doesn’t have a largely white cast as well. Rey, the female lead of the film, is white and so are Leia and Han Solo, previous lead characters brought back from the original saga.
Star Wars has always been sure to include strong, kick ass, fighter women in their films.
But this time the role wasn’t of the girl who fell for the Jedi, or the princess who needed saving.
Rey isn’t either of those tropes. Rey is (spoiler alert) the young Jedi discovering her powers – a role traditionally only given to the white male characters.
This kind of representation is a crucial aspect of film and television that often is ignored, especially in big budget blockbuster movies. Nearly every other film on the most-grossing films list alongside Star Wars have all-white, mostly male casts.
Titanic, Jurassic World, and Avengers to name a few. For films that are meant to make money and sell a lot of tickets, they seem to only be marketing towards a select few.
That is one reason why Star Wars is gaining more success over it’s competitors. A wider and more diverse cast is more attractive to wider and more diverse audiences.
More people will be willing to go to the movies and spend $15 dollars on a ticket because they see there is a character there for them, someone they can watch and relate to.
This representation is even more important to younger audiences. Seeing a hero who looks like you, up on the big screen, can mean the world to a child. It gives them someone they can look up to.
Star Wars is the first in what will hopefully become a new wave of representation in television and film, opening doors for new actors and audiences of all genders and colors and creating an industry where everyone is represented and welcome.
Cover Photo Credit: DAVID HOLT/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 467
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