Thursday, November 24, 2005

French lawmakers accuse rappers of inciting riots

If it’s not the Muslim extremists, it must be the rappers....

An article by Nolan Strong on cites an AFP report (“Lawmakers accuse French rappers of inciting riots,” Wednesday, November 23) that 201 French lawmakers (152 Deputies, 49 Senators) have signed a petition accusing seven rap outfits of helping provoke the country’s recent riots through their rap lyrics. The petition is addressed to Justice Minister Pascal Clement. François Grosdidier, of the ruling center-right UMP (Union pour un mouvement populaire), the deputy who initiated the petition, charges the rappers’ lyrics with “sexism, racism and anti-Semitism.” The petition singles out Monsieur R and his song, “FranSSe” (from the album Politikment Incorrekt) which describes France as a "bitch" to be "screwed until she drops". (Here are the lyrics: “La France est une salope, n’oublie pas de la baiser jusqu’à l’épuiser. Comme une salope il faut la traiter, mec!”) The petition also targets singers Smala, Fabe and Salif and the rap groups Lunatic, 113, and Ministère Amer.

Grosdidier had already, prior to the riots, filed a complaint against Monsieur R. On August 12, Grosdidier requested that Justice Minister Clement forbid the dissemination of Monsieur R’s “FranSSe” (both the recording and the video), charging that it was an incitement to “racism and hate” and that its message could, when received by “destructured (destructuré)” and “lost (paumé)” urban youth, legitimate “at best incivility and at worst terrorism” among them. Grosdidier cited lyrics describing France as a “bitch” (garce, salope) and attacked the state and the police. He describes the video as containing a scene where two nude women rub themselves with the French tricolor (flag), and states that the clip’s “amalgames” liken France to the Third Reich. The clip also shows Chirac shaking the hands of the late Zairean dictator Joseph Mobutu. (Monsieur R is originally from Zaire/Congo.) (And here’s another line frequently criticized: "Moi, je pisse sur Napoléon et le général de Gaulle.")

Monsieur R responded to the charges in an interview with Libération (August 12, p. 11), saying “when I speak of France, I’m not talking about the French people (les Français) but about the leaders of a state who, from slavery to colonization, exploit us.”

Meanwhile, Daniel Mach, another UMP deputy, has brought a procedure against Monsieur R at the correctionnal court of Melun, where Monsieur R was to appear yesterday (Wednesday November 23).

The line, “La France est une salope” reminds me of the great song, “Inglan is a Bitch,” by England’s brilliant leftwing anti-racist dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson. It’s on his album Bass Culture (1980). Here’s a sample:

Inglan is a bitch
Dere’s no escapin it
Inglan is a bitch
Y´u haffi know how fi survive in it

Well mi do day wok an´ mi do night wok
Mi do clean wok an´ mi do dutty wok
Dem seh dat black man is very lazy
But if y´u si how mi wok y´u woulda sey mi crazy

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