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In France, Sarkozy And Hollande Must Woo Fans Of Far-Right Leader Le Pen

The big surprise in Sunday’s first-round presidential election came from the far right. Marine Le Pen’s National Front won 17.9% of the vote, a record high for the party. President Sarkozy and his Socialist challenger will battle for her voters from both

Marine Le Pen earlier this month in Paris (RemiJDN)
Marine Le Pen earlier this month in Paris (RemiJDN)


PARIS -- "If Le Pen is a jerk, then those who vote for him are jerks…" This memorable line came from Bernard Tapie in 1992 before becoming one of then-President Francois Mitterrand's government ministers. And he was referring to Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the far right National Front party, and perennial presidential candidate.

The National Front is now led by the founder's daughter, Marine Le Pen, who tallied an all-time record in Sunday's first round of voting, just shy of 18%. Many analysts say the winner of the runoff on May 6 between President Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist challenger François Hollande will be the candidate best able to woo Le Pen's first-round supporters.

Sarkozy is clearly not taking Tapie's route. "I wouldn't dare lecture them," he said Monday about the 17.9% of French voters who opted for Le Pen. "I saw that some criticized them for voting for the extremes. I don't blame them," Sarkozy added during his first post-election rally near Tour.

The incumbent also fired away at the Socialist camp. "I will not be lectured, especially not by a left that wanted to bring Dominique Strauss-Kahn to the presidency. Just imagine if it had been us," he said. Later that afternoon Sarkozy set off for a campaign tour of rural France, where support for Le Pen was especially high. "Why should there be good and bad votes?" he said.

Sarkozy has decided to hold a major rally on May 1, international Labor Day, a date traditionally marked by rallies from both the National Front on the right and the country's major labor unions. "We will organize a Labor day, but a real labor day, for those who work hard, who are under threat, who are hurting and who don't want people who don't work to get more than those who do work," he said.

Hollande, who finished more than a percentage point ahead of Sarkozy on Sunday, also kicked off his second-round campaign with an overture to disenchanted voters, promising greater government attention for "the workers who wonder what tomorrow will bring, the pensioners who are exhausted, the farmers who fear for the survival of their livelihood, the youth who wonder about their future."

Hollande is heading east to "regions hit hard by unemployment" – and where Le Pen got some of her highest support.

Hollande faces a complicated political equation. On the one hand he must concentrate his fire on Sarkozy, all the while doing his best to shore up votes from the far left and environmental parties. At the same time, he'll try to gain ground in the political center and, hopefully, convince some of Le Pen's voters to get on board as well.

"François thought he would have had a higher tally, with a bigger gap between him and Sarkozy and a much stronger Jean-Luc Mélenchon," says one Socialist party official. "The difficulty is less mathematical than political. We must point to Sarkozy's failings, push him to the right in order to get the center, while at the same time speaking to National Front voters. It's a matter of proportion."

Read more from Le Monde in French

Photo - RemiJDN

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The Colonial Spirit And "Soft Racism" Of White Savior Syndrome

Tracing back to Christian colonialism, which was supposed to somehow "civilize" and save the souls of native people, White Savior Syndrome lives on in modern times: from Mother Teresa to Princess Diana and the current First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

photo of a child patient holding hand of an adult

Good intentions are part of the formula

Ton Koene / Vwpics/ZUMA
Sher Herrera


CARTAGENA — The White Savior Syndrome is a social practice that exploits or economically, politically, symbolically takes advantage of individuals or communities they've racialized, perceiving them as in need of being saved and thus forever indebted and grateful to the white savior.

Although this racist phenomenon has gained more visibility and sparked public debate with the rise of social media, it is actually as old as European colonization itself. It's important to remember that one of Europe's main justifications for subjugating, pillaging and enslaving African and American territories was to bring "civilization and save their souls" through "missions."

Even today, many white supremacists hold onto these ideas. In other words, they believe that we still owe them something.

This white savior phenomenon is a legacy of Christian colonialism, and among its notable figures, we can highlight Saint Peter Claver, known as "the slave of the slaves," Bartolomé de Las Casas, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Princess Diana herself, and even the First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

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