It is a great paradox that France’s first ever ministers from a family with a background in postcolonial migration were appointed not by the Left, with its universalist rhetoric of internationalism (and for whom most ethnic minority voters actually vote), but by the Right, traditionally associated with xenophobia and exclusion. But while much publicity surrounded Nicolas Sarkozy’s first appointments, before Rachida Dati and Rama Yade, there were Tokia Saïfi, Hamlaoui Mékachéra, and Azouz Begag, who served in Dominique de Villepin’s government from 2005 to 2007. Born the year of the Battle of Algiers, Begag’s life story, from a shantytown in the suburbs of Lyons to minister, via a successful career as the author of more than twenty books, mirrors chronologically that of the Fifth Republic. Now that Begag has celebrated his fiftieth birthday, and the Republic prepares to mark its own, what does the encounter between the two tell us about the recent history of France?
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2007|