The right winger Eric Zemmour gave a speech announcing his candidacy for President of France.
Political speeches of recent years have been SO forgettable. But this is the kind of ringing "to the barricades comrades!" populist speech we haven't heard in years from politicians on EITHER side of politics. This one plays on the very real feelings of alienation of a broad swathe of the populous, whose concerns have been discounted for decades. Does he have a chance of election? Who knows. Only one thing is certain. Every dirty trick and false accusation will be marshalled to the cause of preventing him getting to that place. Here's the speech.
My dear Countrymen— For years, the same feeling has swept you along, oppressed you, shamed you: a strange and penetrating feeling of dispossession. You walk down the streets in your towns, and you don’t recognize them.
You look at your screens and they speak to you in a language that is strange, and in the end foreign. You turn your eyes and ears to advertisements, TV series, football matches, films, live performances, songs, and the schoolbooks of your children.
You take the subways and trains. You go to train stations and airports. You wait for your sons and your daughters outside their school. You take your mother to the emergency room.
You stand in line at the post office or the employment agency. You wait at a police station or a courthouse. And you have the impression that you are no longer in a country that you know.
You remember the country of your childhood. You remember the country that your parents told you about. You remember the country found in films and books. The country of Joan of Arc and Louis XIV. The country of Bonaparte and General de Gaulle.
The country of knights and ladies. The country of Victor Hugo and Chateaubriand. The country of Pascal and Descartes. The country of the fables of La Fontaine, the characters of Molière, and the verses of Racine.
The country of Notre Dame de Paris and of village church towers. The country of Gavroche and Cosette. The country of barricades and Versailles. The country of Pasteur and Lavoisier. The country of Voltaire and Rousseau,
of Clemenceau and the soldiers of ’14, of de Gaulle and Jean Moulin. The country of Gabin and Delon; of Brigitte Bardot and Belmondo and Johnny and d’Aznavour and Brassens and Barbara; the films of Sautet and Verneuil.
This country— at the same time light-hearted and illustrious. This country— at the same time literary and scientific. This country— truly intelligent and one-of-a-kind. The country of the Concorde and nuclear power. The country that invented cinema and the automobile.
This country— that you search for everywhere with dismay. No, your children are homesick, without even having known this country that you cherish. And it is disappearing.
You haven’t left, and yet you have the feeling of no longer being at home. You have not left your country. Your country left you. You smell foreigners in your own country. You are internal exiles.