Symbolic Politics

19 February 2024

Emmanuel Macron is putting the resistance fighter Missak Manouchian in the Pantheon but has disinvited the Rassemblement National from the ceremony. The RN intends to make its presence felt anyway “despite the president’s insulting words.” This despite Macron’s effort to soften the blow by allowing that the RN is not “overtly antisemitic and negationist as [its predecessor] the Front National was.” A deft pirouette by Macron, who had previously contradicted his prime minister Gabriel Attal for including the RN in “the republican arc.” Macron would prefer it remain outside the republican arc but somehow, en même temps, inside its penumbra. And to add insult to injury, Macron expressed his views on the RN in the pages of L’Humanité, which quite naturally claims Manouchian, the great communist résistant, as one of its own, thereby establishing its own place within the republican rainbow.

It’s hard to decide which party to this debate is the more cynical. Perhaps the question could be decided by asking whether either Macron or Le Pen would welcome a refugee like Manouchian into today’s France.

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1 Comment

  • bernard says:

    You are correct of course. And yet. I have been waiting for the heroes of the FTP-MOI to be honored for half a century. The ceremony today was deeply moving and the controversy started by the RN is small indeed and reflects very poorly on them on a day where their woman leader had the nerve to meet with the pro-nazi leader of the German AFD.

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