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LES ECHOS

The Underpriviledged 'Ghosts' Haunting French Universities

Young people sign up for higher education solely for scholarship money, while officials turn a blind eye to those permanently absent from class. Is this a twisted way to buy social peace?

Empty seats
Empty seats
Pascale Kremer

PERPIGNAN – The sociology exam started less than half an hour ago. In small groups of two or three, a continuous flood of students is leaving the University of Perpignan lecture hall n°4.

None of them answered any of the questions on the test. They only came in to sign the attendance sheet so that they could continue to be eligible for their scholarship. “We just sign and leave as quickly as possible," says one. "Here, we’re being paid to do nothing.”

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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